WHL not playing games, but some players are . . . Two football bowl games gone . . . Hobbs decides to go back home

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, addressed some media folks in a virtual whlgathering on Oct. 15. When the topic of WHL players moving to junior A during the shutdown arose, Trevor Redden of panow.com reported via Twitter that Robison said that if they were affiliated last (season), they’re eligible to play now, and that general managers were to discuss the subject this week.

That meeting apparently took place at some point this week, because the WHL issued a statement late Friday afternoon, stating that it “has granted temporary transfers for WHL roster players to continue their development by playing competitive hockey at the junior A, junior B and under-18 levels . . . through mid-December.”

That something had happened became apparent on Thursday night when the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers announced that they had signed Everett D Gianni Fairbrother, 20.

Then, on Friday morning, the Estevan Bruins revealed there was an agreement between the SJHL and WHL that will allow major junior players to play in the junior A league until Dec. 20. The Bruins did that as they announced the signing of F Cole Fonstad of the Everett Silvertips. Fonstad, 20, is from Estevan.

Everett also has loaned D Dylan Anderson, 18, to the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals, F Jackson Berezowski, 18, to the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, and F Ethan Regnier, 20, to the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs.

A news release from the Silvertips indicated that players are allowed “full participation in . . . practices, workout activities and games, until a loan expiration of Dec. 20. . . .”

The WHL has said it will start its next regular season on Jan. 8, with players reporting to teams shortly after Christmas.

According to Ryan Flaherty of Global Saskatoon, Blades D Rhett Rhinehart, who turns 19 next month, is with the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers. Flaherty added that G Nolan Maier, 19, “will likely play for Yorkton, although that has not been confirmed yet.”

As well, Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reported F Evan Herman, 18, of the Winnipeg Ice has joined the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard, while Connor Roulette, 17, of the Seattle Thunderbirds is with the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers.

Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate tweeted that Rebels F Jaxsen Wiebe, 18, is to play for the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks.

The Tri-City Americans have loaned F Parker Bell to the junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Bell, 17, is from Campbell River.

Meanwhile, Regan Bartel, the long-time radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, tweeted that the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors have run out of goaltenders — three of them are injured — so have added veteran goaltenders Roman Basran and Cole Schwebius, both 19, from the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets at least for this weekend.

——

Questions . . . yes, there are questions about the WHL’s agreement with junior A and junior B leagues about the loaning of players.

For starters, what happens to the transferred players if a WHL regular season doesn’t get started?

Also, some of these leagues have moved to a pay-for-play model. So who is paying for the WHL players to play in these other leagues?

Braden Malsbury, the radio voice of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves via MBC Radio, also has some thoughts in the following tweets:



Grandma


Hartley Miller, the GOAT at 94.3 The GOAT and the analyst on broadcasts of Prince George Cougars home games, offered up this today:

“Leagues like the BCHL and WHL insist they will play a season even if fans are not allowed to their games.
“The financial commitment from those owners should be applauded, but the question remains how safe is it to play?

“There does not appear to be a clear answer but regardless of whether it is a top-notch junior player or one competing at the rec level, the athlete needs to fully understand there is a health risk, even though we remain in the dark how much risk that is.”

That is from his latest Hartley’s Hart Attack, headlined ‘The risk of competition.’ . . . It’s all right here. . . . And if you aren’t a daily reader, you should be.


Nessman


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Among the many thousands who just don’t get the mask thing, there appear to be three options: (1) Wear it under the nose. Perfected by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth on Sunday Night Football. Gives those droplets a fighting chance. (2) Down around the chin. Extremely fashionable. Shows you might have cared at daybreak. (3) None at all. Because, you know, what the hell, it’s a hassle.” . . .

The Founders League, which comprises 11 prep schools, announced Friday that it has cancelled all interscholastic competition for the 2020-21 season. It includes 10 Connecticut schools and one from eastern New York. . . .

The KHL has postponed Jokerit’s next two games, which were scheduled for Monday and Wednesday, after four positive tests within the organization. Jokerit underwent testing after returning from its latest road trip. . . . Jokerit also had games postponed early in September because of positive tests. . . .

Two of U.S. college football’s bowl games are gone, at least for 2020. The Holiday Bowl was to have been held in San Diego, while the Fenway Bowl, which was to have been played for the first time, was scheduled for, yes, Fenway Park in Boston. . . .

Scotty Walden, the interim head coach at Southern Miss, tested positive earlier this week. He has been the head coach since Jay Hopson left after the season’s first game. . . . The Golden Eagles, who haven’t played since Oct. 3, are scheduled to play Liberty today (Saturday). Their game on Oct. 17 against UTEP wasn’t played because they were going through an outbreak. . . .

The U of Toledo has put its men’s basketball team on hold for two weeks because six players and head coach Tod Kowalczyk tested positive. . . . Marquette’s men’s and women’s basketball teams also have been shut down for two weeks after each experienced one positive test.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.



JUST NOTES: Some European teams are using the four-team Karjala Cup as a tuneup for the 2021 World Junior Championship that opens in an Edmonton bubble on Dec. 25. Former NHLer Igor Larionov is coaching the Russian team, with Valeri Bragin, normally the team’s head coach, having recently recovered from COVID-19. Also in the Karjala Cup are teams from Czech Republic and Sweden. The tournament, in Helsinki, runs from Nov. 5-8. . . . Former WHL D Connor Hobbs (Medicine Hat, Regina, 2013-17) has retired from pro hockey after playing three seasons with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. Hobbs is back at home in Saskatoon and taking online courses as the U of Saskatchewan. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has that story right here.


Leg

Kelly, Brent Kisio got there first . . . Luebke wins spot at city hall . . . Wolf, ‘Tips don’t show Blades any love


MacBeth

D Cam Barker (Medicine Hat, 2001-06) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga). The contract has a tryout period through Nov. 30. Last season, he had two goals and eight assists in 37 games with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), and one goal and one assist in three games with Langnau (Switzerland, NL A).


ThisThat

There wasn’t a clatter on the roof, but it was 6 o’clock Wednesday morning and I was wide awake.

Kelly and Brent Kisio.

Of course.

Just a few hours earlier, I had written a few paragraphs about Danny and Brad Flynn whlhaving become the first father-son combination to serve as head coaches in a WHL regular-season game.

Danny, a veteran major junior coach, spent last season as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks. He ran the bench for one game — a 5-3 loss to the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Jan. 19 — in the absence of Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach.

Danny’s son, Brad, is in his first season as an assistant coach with the Red Deer Rebels. With GM/head coach Brent Sutter away, Brad was the Rebels’ coach-of-record on Tuesday in a 3-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen and again Wednesday for ???? in Medicine Hat.

Apologies to Kelly and Brent Kisio. Talk about a brain cramp on my part!

Kelly, 59, spent 18 seasons in the front office of the Calgary Hitmen. For four of those seasons (2004-08), he was the general manager and head coach. These days, he is in his third season as a pro scout with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

Brent, 35, spent eight seasons (2007-15) as an assistant coach with the Hitmen. He now is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.


The Victoria Royals have added F Sean Gulka, 18, to their roster. Gulka, from Langley, B.C., was selected in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft, then was traded to the Spokane Chiefs in November. In eight games over two seasons, he had two assists with the Chiefs. . . . Spokane chose to drop him, so his rights reverted to the Royals. . . . The Royals now are carrying 24 players, including 15 forwards and seven defencemen. They conclude a six-game homestand on Saturday against the Brandon Wheat Kings.


Bruce Luebke, a former radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings, has turned to politics. Luebke was elected to Brandon’s city council during municipal elections in Manitoba on Wednesday. . . . Luebke had been the play-by-play voice for Wheat Kings’ games on radio station CKLQ for more than 20 years when he and the station surprised observers by parting company in July 2016. . . . Luebke was one of 10 people elected to Brandon’s city council. In the South Centre Ward, he got 348 (71 per cent) of the 492 votes cast to win in a two-man field.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders ran their winning streak to seven games with a 4-2 victory PrinceAlbertover the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . The Raiders (14-1-0) lead the overall standings by six points over the Vancouver Giants and 11 over the Red Deer Rebels and Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Warriors slipped to 5-4-2. . . . D Kaiden Guhle’s first WHL goal, on a PP, at 7:56 of the second period gave Prince Albert a 3-1 lead and stood up as the winner. Guhle was the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Carson Miller (6) scored two first-period goals as the Raiders got off to a 2-0 lead. He later added an assist. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason scored his WHL-leading 14th goal, a shorthanded empty-netter, and added an assist. He also leads the WHL in assists (18) and points (32). He holds an eight-point lead over F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (2) scored for the Warriors in his first game since being acquired from the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday. His twin brother, Kaeden, who came along in the same trade, had the secondary assist on the goal. . . . Prince Albert lost F Noah Gregor to a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on D Jett Wood at 16:44 of the third period. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 25 shots for the Raiders. He now is 12-1-0, 1.54, .945.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 23 shots to help the Everett Silvertips to a 3-0 victory over the EverettBlades in Saskatoon. . . . Everett (8-5-0) is 2-2-0 on its East Division trip. . . . The Blades (8-4-1) had been 1-0-1 in their previous two games. . . . That was Wolf’s first shutout of his sophomore season and the fifth of his career. . . . F Akash Bains (2) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 13:31 of the first period. . . . Everett held a 31-23 edge in shots, including 10-4 in the third period. . . . The Silvertips remain without F Connor Dewar, who is serving a four-game suspension. . . . This was the first meeting between Everett and Saskatoon since the Blades signed Mitch Love as their head coach during the off-season. Love spent two seasons as a hard-rock defenceman with Silvertips, then was on staff as an assistant coach for seven seasons.


F Peyton Krebs scored on a breakaway in OT as the Kootenay Ice got past the Brandon KootenaynewWheat Kings, 4-3, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (4-5-3) had lots its previous six games (0-3-3). Four of the Ice’s last six games have gone to extra time; Kootenay is 1-2-1 in those four games. . . . The Wheat Kings (6-2-4) have lost three in a row (0-1-2). They are 0-1-1 on a two-week trek that continues Saturday against the Royals in Victoria. Brandon next plays at home on Nov. 9. . . . F Jaeger White (8) scored two goals and drew the lone assist on Krebs’ game-winner at 2:09 of OT. Krebs also had two assists. . . . Brandon D Zach Wytinck (1) had given Brandon a 3-2 lead with a shorthanded goal at 3:56 of the third period. . . . Kootenay tied it when D Jonathan Smart (1) scored a PP goal at 4:28. . . . With G Jesse Makaj scratched — he wasn’t mentioned on Tuesday’s roster report — the Ice brought in Will Gurski, who turned 16 on Tuesday, as the backup behind Duncan McGovern. From Duncan, B.C., Gurski was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He is playing for the prep team at Shawnigan Lake School. . . . As for the above tweet, from Branden Crowe, the radio voice of the Wheat Kings, a source with knowledge of the situation told Taking Note that the goal judge “had to attend to an urgent family matter. There was a fire at his home.” Thankfully, no one was injured.


G Martin Søgaard blocked 30 shots to lead the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-1 victory Tigers Logo Officialover the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Tigers now are 7-6-1. . . . The Rebels (8-4-1) had won their previous three games. . . . Søgaard, a freshman from Denmark who turns 18 on Dec. 13, now is 4-0-1, 2.04, .936. . . . The Tigers scored the game’s first three goals to lead 3-0 before the second period was a minute old. . . . D Cole Clayton (1) got the first one at 8:00 of the opening period. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (6), F James Hamblin (7) and F Bryan Lockner (4) added PP goals for the winners. . . . Hamblin also drew two assists. . . . With GM/head coach Brent Sutter away for a second straight game, assistant coach Brad Flynn was the head coach of record. His record now is 1-1-0, after a 3-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday night.


The Tri-City Americans scored the only two goals of a shootout to beat the host Prince tri-cityGeorge Cougars, 4-3. . . . The Americans (8-4-0) have won four in a row. They won the opener of the doubleheader, 5-1, on Tuesday. Tri-City is 3-0-0 on an 11-game road trip. . . . The Cougars (5-6-2) have lost two in a row. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (1) gave the home side a 3-1 lead, on a PP, at 10:35 of the second period. . . . The Americans tied it on third-period goals from D Parker AuCoin (8), on a PP, and F Krystof Hrabik (3), the latter at 8:32. . . . F Nolan Yaremko, who scored his ninth goal earlier, and F Isaac Johnson, who had two assists, had the shootout goals for the visitors. . . . Tri-City lost F Blake Stevenson to a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jackson Leppard at 14:35 of the first period.


Tweetoftheday

Saturday’s WHL trades: Cougars get first-rounder, more from Raiders for McDonald . . . Pats add forward from Rebels

WHEELING AND DEALING …

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 24

PLAYERS: 45

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 29

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 5


THE DEAL: Prince Albert acquired F Kody McDonald, 19, and a conditional fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft for D Rhett Rhinehart, who turned 16 on Nov. 27, D PrinceAlbertAustin Crossley, 18, and the Raiders’ first-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: McDonald was the Cougars’ leading goal scorer, with a single-season career-high of 19. He also had 17 assists in 35 games. . . . In 232 regular-season games, all with the Cougars, he had 60 goals and 66 assists. . . . The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Rhinehart had one assist in 31 games with the Raiders this season. . . . Crossley, 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, had four assists in 19 games with the Raiders this season, after recording a goal PrinceGeorgeand an assist in 30 games last season.

THE INFO: McDonald is from Lethbridge and was in his fourth season with the Cougars, who selected him in the second round of the 2013 bantam draft. It was evident on Friday evening that something was up as McDonald was scratched from the lineup just moments before the Cougars met the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Rhinehart, a right-hand shot from Lloydminster, Alta., was a first-round pick, 12th overall, by the Raiders in the 2016 gantam draft. He played last season for the midget prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy, putting up 30 points, nine of them goals, in 25 games. . . . Crossley, from Fort St. John, B.C., signed with the Raiders last season after playing 25 games with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers.

WHY: Despite being seven points out of a playoff spot at the time of the trade and playing in the toughest division in major junior hockey, the Raiders continue to work at strengthening this season’s roster. They are looking for McDonald to bring goals and grit. . . . The Cougars also were seven points out of a playoff spot at the time of the trade, which is all about looking down the road. This deal gets them back into the first round of the 2018 bantam draft after they dealt their pick to the Raiders on Nov. 18, 2016, in a deal that had D Brendan Guhle go to Prince George. The Raiders also got D Max Martin, F Kolby Johnson and a third-rounder in 2019 in that exchange. Apparently, the Raiders keep the Cougars’ first-round pick in 2018, while sending their pick to Prince George.


THE DEAL: The Regina Pats acquired F Austin Pratt, 18, from the Red Deer Rebels for a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Pratt was in his third season with Red Deer. ReginaPats100This season, he had seven goals and nine assists in 39 games. In 165 career games, he has 62 points, including 31 goals.

THE INFO: Pratt, from Lakeville, Minn., was a fourth-round selection by the Rebels in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . NHL Central Scouting had him ranked 103rd among North American skaters eligible for the NHL’s 2017 draft, but he wasn’t selected. . . . The trade came the morning after Pratt was victimized on the game-winning goal in a 3-2 loss to the host Saskatoon Blades. “You have to be able to pick your guy up in your own zone,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ GM and head coach, told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. “It’s a back door play and Pratter lets his guy go. He’s puck watching, not watching his man. The guy drives the net and scores.”

WHY: Pratt adds more depth to the Pats’ forward ranks, while the Rebels add another chip for what is an obvious rebuild.