Gaglardi ‘suspects’ Lajoie will be back. . . . Habscheid, Love in war of the words. . . . Ice, assistant coach go separate ways


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F Aaron Gagnon (Seattle, 2001-07) has signed a one-year contract extension with Langnau (Switzerland, NL). This season, he had 14 goals and 14 assists in 39 games.


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It seems that a lot of folks who follow the WHL are wondering about the coaching situation with the Kamloops Blazers. Specifically, they want to know if Serge Lajoie will be back for a second season as the head coach.

You will be aware that the Blazers went 28-32-8 this season, then beat the Kelowna Kamloops1Rockets in a tiebreaker to get into the playoffs, where they were beaten in six games by the Victoria Royals in a spirited first-round series.

Let’s break down the Blazers’ season a little bit.

Darryl Sydor, one of the franchise’s five owners, was named a full-time assistant coach on Feb. 12. A former Blazers defenceman who went on to play and coach in the NHL, Sydor is a two-time Stanley Cup winner and also won a Memorial Cup.

When the Blazers made that announcement, they were 20-27-5. With Sydor officially on board, they finished the regular-season 8-5-3, won that tiebreaker, then went 2-4 in the playoffs.

So, all told, they were 11-9-3 after the Sydor announcement.

Which brings us to an interview that Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week did with Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner. Here are three questions and answers:

Hastings: Will Serge be the head coach to start next season?

Gaglardi: I suspect so. He’s got a long-term contract and we haven’t had any conversation about anything other than that. We’re very happy with where we are. We had a great finish to the year and we’re excited about next season, but this week is just a week to lick our wounds. This is a series (vs. Victoria) we truly thought we could win.

Hastings: What do you think assistant coach Darryl Sydor brought to the team?

Gaglardi: Darryl really understands what it takes to win and what a successful bench feels like. He’s been a long-time player and had success at the junior level, had success at the NHL level, won a couple of Stanley Cups. He knows what benches need. I think he was really instrumental in figuring out what his role could be to help. Sometimes you’ve got a coach that’s a hard coach and the kids need to be brought up and built back, and Darryl really understands the ying and yang, the methods, and figured out a role that he could help in. He really worked hard to make sure the kids believed they could actually get the job done. He perhaps brought something to the staff that was missing. Darryl is a tremendous guy and I was thrilled when he agreed to join full-time and come on board and he made a difference.

Hastings: Does Darryl have what it takes to be a head coach here or somewhere else?

Gaglardi: I’ve got to think so, if that’s what he wants to do. He’s come home and I think he’d like to be involved in some way. We’ve had lots of talks around this for a long time. What this blossoms into, I’m not sure. He’s a tremendous guy and we’d love to have him involved. He’s got kids playing competitive hockey. I’m not sure where he’s going to be, in terms of level of commitment next year, whether he’s ready to step in and take on some sort of full-time role again with the club. I’m not sure. He did make a big difference to us down the stretch.

That complete interview is right here.

I don’t have any idea what the future holds here. I do know that in the 12 seasons under the ownership of Gaglardi, Sydor, Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Mark Recchi, the Blazers have gotten out of the first round twice, been a first-round casualty six times, and have missed the playoffs on four occasions.

Lajoie is the 10th head coach or interim head coach, including Guy Charron on two occasions, this franchise has employed over those 12 seasons.


It’s ‘Game On’ in the Eastern Conference seminal between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades.

The series resumes tonight in Saskatoon, with the Raiders holding a 2-0 lead. Game 3 will be televised by Sportsnet.

Other than the quotes in the above tweets, Ryan Flaherty of Global TV in Saskatoon also Saskatoontweeted this quote from Blades head coach Mitch Love:

“There was four head-whipping incidents (Sunday) night, three of which led to penalties on our side, by their players. So is that embellishment? I don’t know. Is it? I hope they’re getting their necks fixed over there today.”

You’ll recall that prior to the series Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, offered up PrinceAlbertthese thoughts to Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix:

“They embellish. That’s what they do. They led the league in drawing minors. It’s known around (the league) that they do that. Hopefully, that stops because it’s not a good thing. You look at a guy like Kirby Dach. He’s a good player. I met the young man at the Prospects game. A great kid, awesome kid and really great player. He doesn’t need to embellish. He’s better than that. He’s a good enough player. He doesn’t need to that.”

As Zary reports in a story posted on Monday evening, Love went so far as to suggest that the WHL office needs to be paying more attention to player safety.

“I really chose not to say too much about it up until this point,” Zary quotes Love as having said, “but after watching two games in which I felt there were several incidents — especially (Sunday night’s) hockey game where there was a lot of contact towards players’ heads — I know our league stresses player safety, so I think the real story here is how people have turned a blind eye to that kind of thing, based on comments that were made previously, prior to the start of the series.”

Zary’s story is right here.

And, in case you missed it, here’s some video of Habscheid off the Sportsnet telecast early in Game 2 on Saturday night. . . .


The Winnipeg Ice revealed via Twitter on Monday that the organization and assistant coach Gord Burnett “have agreed to part ways.” Burnett, a native of Regina, just completed his fourth season on the Ice’s coaching staff. . . . According to the Ice’s website, its coaching staff now comprises head coach James Patrick and associate coach Jon Klemm. . . . Patrick, from Winnipeg, and Klemm, who is from Cranbrook, have been with the Ice through two seasons.


F Kyle Olson of the Tri-City Americans has joined the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, on an ATO. From Calgary, Olson was selected by the Ducks in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He hasn’t signed an NHL contract. . . . This season, Olson, who turned 20 on March 22, had 21 goals and 49 assists in 62 games with the Americans.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed D Matt Smith to a WHL contract. An Edmonton native, Smith was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . He played this season with the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Rangers, recording two goals and 10 assists in 41 regular-season and playoff games.


Rick Westhead of TSN filed another story regarding the minimum-wage lawsuit on Monday, and this one really involves the WHL.

“A fight is unfolding in the Western Hockey League minimum-wage class-action lawsuit over the privacy of current and former players who pursue a claim against the league for minimum wage, back pay and overtime,” Westhead writes.

“A year and a half after an Alberta judge certified a minimum-wage lawsuit against the WHL, lawyers for the plaintiffs and the league are now battling over how to notify those players about their right to proceed with a case or, if they choose, withdraw from the litigation.

“The two sides will appear at a hearing in Calgary on Monday to make arguments about the notice the players will be given regarding the lawsuit.”

The complete story is right here.

Westhead also mentioned that “the CHL and its three leagues have been battling minimum-wage lawsuits for the past five years.”

It is hard to fathom that it already has been that long. Wouldn’t you like to know how much money the WHL has spent on legal fees over that time?


F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks will play for Denmark’s national men’s team in a pair of exhibition games against visiting Finland this week. The games are scheduled for Thursday in Aalborg and Saturday in Vojens. . . . The Danish team, under head coach Heinz Ehlers, dropped eight players from its training camp after weekend workouts. . . . Blichfeld, who won the WHL scoring championship with 114 points in 68 games this season, is hoping to earn a spot on the national men’s A team that will play in the IIHF World Championship in the Slovakian cities of Bratislava and Košice, from May 10 through May 26.


Kevin Kaminski is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice larongeWolves. Kaminski, who is from Churchbridge, Sask., signed a three-year contract. . . . Kaminski, 50, spent three seasons (1986-89) with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades before going on to a pro career that included 139 games in the NHL. . . . For the past three seasons, he has been the head coach of the Western States Hockey League’s Fresno Monsters. . . . The Ice Wolves also announced that Gaelan Patterson, another former Blades skater, will be turning, but as associate GM and associate coach. Patterson finished the season as the team’s interim head coach after the firing of Evan Vossen. . . . The team also said that Travis Hegland will be returning as athletic therapist and trainer.


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NOTES: D Jake Kustra of the Victoria Royals has been suspended for two games after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jared Dmytriw of the DisciplineVancouver Giants at 2:54 of the second period on Saturday. That was in Game 2 of the series. The Giants won, 2-1 in OT, and hold a 2-0 leading going into Game 3 tonight in Victoria. . . .

Meanwhile, the Giants have been fined $750 for, according to the WHL website, “actions of player at end of game” on Saturday night. There was a bit of a brouhaha after Vancouver F Tristen Nielsen scored the game-winner at 3:29 of OT. G Griffen Outhouse of Victoria came out of it with a roughing minor, while Giants D Alex Kannok Leipert was hit with a roughing minor and a game misconduct. I would think it’s safe to assume that he is the “player” in question. . . .

In these playoffs, the WHL’s Dept. of Discipline now has issued 13 suspensions totalling 30 games, and handed out six fines worth a total of $4,250. . . . In all of last season’s playoffs, there were six players suspended for a total of 12 games, and two fines meted out worth $1,250. . . .

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After a quiet Monday night, there are three second-round games on the schedule tonight. . . .

As mentioned, the Vancouver Giants hold a 2-0 lead as they play Game 3 against the Royals in Victoria. The Royals obviously will be without D Jake Kustra, while F Kody McDonald serves the fifth of a six-game suspension. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt left late in Game 3 with an apparent injury to his left shoulder or arm and didn’t return. . . . The Giants are expected to again be without F Aidan Barfoot, who was injured in the first round. . . .

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In Calgary, the Edmonton Oil Kings, with a 2-0 lead, will meet the Hitmen as the Battle of Alberta resumes. . . . Here’s a note from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun involving the first two games:

“Two games and two won face-offs have ended up the back of the Hitmen net so far in the series.

“The Oil Kings won 3-2 in overtime Saturday after (Mark) Kastelic won a clean draw in his own zone and pulled it back through the legs of an unsuspecting (goaltender Jack) McNaughton and off the goal post. Jake Neighbours was then first to the rebound and knocked it into the net for the game-winner.

“On Sunday, Carson Focht pulled one back from the same face-off circle past McNaughton and into the net to give the Oil Kings a 2-1 lead in the second period.”

As Calgary head coach Steve Hamilton told Van Diest: “It’s not everyday you win two faceoffs and shoot two pucks into your own net in two games. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that. That was a bid odd, but it was probably par for the course, too.”

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The Prince Albert Raiders, with a 2-0 lead, venture into Saskatoon to meet the Blades in a game that will be televised by Sportsnet, which also showed the first two games of the series. . . . With the two head coaches firmly involved in a war of the words, it will be interesting to see the attendance in the SaskTel Centre tonight.

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The other second-round series, between the Everett Silvertips and Spokane Chiefs, is to resume on Wednesday. The Chiefs went into Everett and won twice, so they take a 2-0 lead on to home ice. The next three games, if necessary, are scheduled for Spokane because the Cirque du Soleil is in the Angels of the Wind Arena in Everett through Sunday.


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Latest on minimum-wage lawsuit front. . . . Battles of B.C., Saskatchewan open tonight. . . . Other two series begin Saturday

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There was news on the minimum-wage battleground between former major junior players and the OHL on Thursday.

“The Ontario Hockey League will be forced to defend allegations of conspiracy, ohlnegligence and breach of contract after a three-judge panel in Ontario reinstated those claims against the league in its legal battle against former players over minimum wage,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN. “The judgment, released late Wednesday by three Ontario Divisional Court judges, comes after an Ontario Superior Court judge dismissed those claims against the OHL in April, 2017. Lawyers for the former players appealed that decision.

“The judges on Wednesday also rejected an OHL appeal that asked for the case to be stripped of class-action status. As a class action, current and former players going back to the 2012-13 season automatically become plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Players will now have the option to opt out of the litigation.

“The judges also ordered the OHL to immediately pay roughly $500,000 worth of legal fees to the plaintiffs, in addition to another $700,000 in legal fees that must be paid if the OHL loses the lawsuit.”

Westhead’s complete story is right here.


F Nick Henry and F Jake Leschyshyn, both of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, have moved on Lethbridgeto pro teams. . . . Henry, who will turn 20 on July 4, has joined the Colorado Eagles, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, while Leschyshyn now is with the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . . Henry, a fourth-round pick in the NHL’s 2017 draft, has signed with the Avalanche. He had 29 goals and 65 assists in 69 games this season. . . . Leschyshyn, who turned 20 on March 10, was a second-round pick by Vegas in the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has signed an NHL contract. This season, he had 40 goals and 41 assists in 68 games. . . . The Hurricanes acquired Henry and Leschyshyn from the Regina Pats in an early-season trade.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Blake Swetlikoff to a WHL contract. The 15-year-old from Regina was a third-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft after putting up 32 goals and 40 assists in 31 games with the bantam AA Regina Monarchs. . . . This season, he had 10 goals and 19 assists in 40 games for the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians.


Whenever someone writes a WHL-related newspaper column that includes a mention of Bobby (The Brain) Heeney, well, you just know it has to be a good read. Ed Willes of Postmedia has that column right here and, while it’s more to do with Michael Dyck and Jamie Heard of the Vancouver Giants, there is a mention of Heeney. Oh, and Kelly Handy, a football player who once played for the Regina Pats, gets a mention too. Enjoy!


The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League made it official on Thursday . . . Dean Maynard is their general manager and head coach. Maynard had been interim head coach since the firing of Mark Chase in January. . . . Maynard will be joined by assistant coaches Brandon Watson and David Gordon, while Tyler Liebel is on board doing work on skills instruction player development and video. Mitch Fritz will be involved with player selection and development.



The SJHL’s Melville Millionaires have signed Kyle Adams to a two-year contract as general manager and head coach. Adams signed on as an assistant coach prior to this season, then was named interim GM and head coach following the firing of Devin Windle on Nov. 29.


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The WHL playoffs resume tonight with second-round series beginning on two fronts. . . . The other two series will open on Saturday night. . . . In each instance, if the outcome of the season series means anything, these all should be short series. . . . But, hey, it’s the playoffs and it’s junior hockey. . . .

The Battle of Saskatchewan opens in Prince Albert as the Raiders meet the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Raiders (54-10-4) won the Scotty Munro Trophy as the WHL’s regular-season champions. . . . The Blades were second to the Raiders in the East Division at 45-15-8. . . . Prince Albert was 6-2-0 in the season series; Saskatoon was 2-5-1. . . . They have only met twice since the trade deadline. The Blades won, 3-2, at home on March 15; the Raiders on, 3-1 in Prince Albert the next night. . . . Saskatoon is in the playoffs for the first time since the spring of 2013. . . . The first three games of this series will be televised by Sportsnet, with host Rob Faulds, play caller RJ Broadhead and analyst Sam Cosentino. . . .

Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, played for the Blades back in the day. This season, he recorded his 500th regular-season coaching victory. He also understands that he is in the entertainment business as much as he is in the hockey business. That’s one of the reasons he says things like this:

“They embellish. That’s what they do. They led the league in drawing minors. It’s known around (the league) that they do that. Hopefully, that stops because it’s not a good thing. You look at a guy like Kirby Dach. He’s a good player. I met the young man at the Prospects game. A great kid, awesome kid and really great player. He doesn’t need to embellish. He’s better than that. He’s a good enough player. He doesn’t need to that.”

That was Habscheid chatting with Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. The complete story is right here.

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The Battle of B.C. begins in Langley, B.C., with the Vancouver Giants playing host to the Victoria Royals. . . . Vancouver (48-15-5) finished atop the Western Conference. . . . Victoria (34-30-4) was second in the B.C. Division, 29 points behind the Giants. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 6-2-2; Victoria was 4-4-2. . . . They played each other four times after the trade deadline. Vancouver won at home, 3-2 and 4-0, on Jan. 13 and Feb. 22. Victoria won, 5-4 in a shootout, at home on Feb. 23, then lost 2-1 on Feb. 24. Yes, they played each other three times in as many days. . . .

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The Battle of Alberta will open on Saturday with the Calgary Hitmen in Edmonton to meet the Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton (42-18-8) finished atop the Central Division, with Calgary (36-26-6) 14 points in arrears. . . . The Oil Kings won the season series, 7-0-1; the Hitmen were 1-6-1. . . . They have met four times since the trade deadline, with Edmonton winning all four of them — 3-2 and 6-1 in Edmonton, 5-1 and 3-1 in Calgary. . . . Edmonton G Dylan Myskiw went 6-0-0, 2.00, .935 in six games against Calgary. . . . Steve Hamilton, Calgary’s head coach, was fired by the Oil Kings after last season. He spent eight seasons in Edmonton, the last four as head coach.

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The Battle of Washington also gets started on Saturday as the Everett Silvertips play host to the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (47-16-5) finished second in the Western Conference and first in the U.S. Division, 12 points ahead of Spokane (40-21-7). . . . Everett won the season series, 6-0-2; Spokane was 2-5-1. . . . However, they have played only once since the Jan. 10 trade deadline. The Silvertips skated to a 3-1 victory in Spokane on March 5. . . . If the Chiefs are to win, they are going to have to solve Everett G Dustin Wolf, who went 6-0-1, 1.75, .929 against them.

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NOTES: F Logan Barlage of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has been given a two-game suspension after taking a slashing major and game misconduct at the end of a first-round playoff game against the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday. Barlage slashed Calgary F Carson Focht right off a faceoff as the Hitmen closed out a 4-2 victory in Game 7. Barlage will have to sit out the first two games of the 2019-20 regular season. . . .

Focht, who scored twice in Calgary’s Game 7 victory, fell to the ice after the slash, clutching an arm. We won’t know whether he is injured until lineups are posted prior to Game 1 in Edmonton on Saturday. . . .

D Bowen Byram, who missed a couple of Vancouver practices this week, is expected to be in the Giants’ lineup tonight for Game 1 with the visiting Victoria Royals.


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Kamloops dumps visiting Kelowna in tiebreaker. . . . Two shorthanded goals in 28 seconds seal deal. . . . Blazers go to playoffs; Rockets go home

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The Kamloops Blazers scored two goals in 28 seconds on the same third-period penalty kill en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets in the seventh tiebreaker game in WHL history on Tuesday night. . . . With the victory, the Blazers move into the playoffs. They will open against the Royals in Victoria on Friday. . . . Last night was only the second time in the seven tiebreakers that the home team has won. . . .

Kamloops had taken a 2-1 lead in the third period when Blazers F Ryley Appelt was Kamloops1penalized for tripping at 8:16. . . . F Connor Zary got an early jump off the Kamloops bench during a change, allowing him to get to the back of the Kelowna net in a hurry. He stripped the puck from G Roman Basran, came out the back side and stuffed it home for a 3-1 lead at 8:44. . . . A short time later, Kamloops F Brodi Stuart avoided an attempt by Basran to get a hip into him behind the net, skated out and scored for a 4-1 lead at 10:12. . . . The Rockets, whose offence pretty much dried up late in the season, weren’t able to get back in this one. . . . F Jermaine Loewen got the Blazers’ last goal, into an empty net. . . .

The Blazers dominated the first period, especially the first 12 or 13 minutes, and held a 17-7 edge in shots. Only Kelowna G Roman Basran, a post and a crossbar kept the Blazers off the scoreboard. . . . Kamloops D Jackson Caller drilled a post from the point at 9:00; F Connory Zary glanced a bad-angle flip off the crossbar two minutes later. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand had his moments later, especially stoning F Alex Swetlikoff from the doorstep. . . .

Kelowna pushed back in the second, but Kamloops got the game’s first goal at 4:11, just six seconds after Rockets F Dallon Wilton was penalized for interference for a hit on D KelownaRocketsJeff Faith. Zary pulled the face-off win back to F Kyrell Sopotyk on the point. He ripped a wrist shot past Basran’s blocker, off a post and in. . . . The officials went to video review at 7:38 after the Blazers crashed the Kelowna net, but whatever had happened was ruled no goal. . . . The Rockets tied it at 7:56 when D Kaedan Korczak got to a shoot-in along the right boards, and slipped a pass to F Mark Liwiski. His quick backhand seemed to surprise Garand and got past him for the equalizer. . . . The Blazers thought they might have scored at 13:14 when the puck bounced off the back boards, over top of the net and into the Kelowna crease area. However, it was ruled that Kamloops F Logan Stankoven had come in contact with the puck with a high stick. . . . Kelowna got its first PP at 15:26 after Faith was hit with an interference penalty for a hit on F Nolan Foote. Other than Foote hitting a post early, the Rockets really didn’t threaten. . . . Kelowna outshot Kamloops, 13-7, in that period. . . .

The Blazers broke the 1-1 tie at 6:10 of the third period when Kelowna D Dalton Gally went down early in an attempt to cut off a pass, only to have Blazers F Kobe Mohr toedrag around him and snap a shot past Basran from the high slot. . . . Then came Zary’s shorthanded goal, followed by a Mohr penalty shot on which Basran was able to get his five-hole closed in time to prevent a goal. . . . It was left for Stuart to get his shorthanded goal and for Loewen to add the empty-netter. . . .

Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria, made his seventh straight start in the absence of the injured Dylan Ferguson. The Blazers are 6-0-1 over that stretch. . . . Garand finished with 27 saves in this one. . . . Ferguson skated with the Blazers on Monday, but wasn’t dressed last night. The burning question in Kamloops until Friday night will be this: Does Garand get to start his first playoff game in his hometown if Ferguson is healthy? . . . G Danton Belluk, whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips, remains with the Blazers on an emergency basis. He backed up Garand last night. . . .

Basran, who kept the Rockets from getting blown out in the first period, self-destructed in the third when he gave up the two shorthanded goals. He was beaten four times on 34 shots in 50:12. James Porter came on to finish up after the Blazers’ fourth goal. He stopped all five shots he faced. . . .

As expected, each team added a first-round 2018 bantam draft pick to its lineup. Stankoven, who won the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League scoring title with the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers, was in the Kamloops lineup. F Trevor Wong, from the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians, played for the Rockets. . . . Stankoven was the fifth-overall pick in that draft; Wong was taken with the 18th selection. . . .

Attendance was announced at 5,876, and there weren’t many empty seats. It was the Blazers’ second announced sellout of the season. On Feb. 18, the Blazers beat the visiting Tri-City Americans, 3-1, on Family Day. The announced crowed that day also was 5,876, but there were about 1,000 empty seats. . . .

While the Blazers head for Victoria, the Rockets’ season has ended. This means that the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup won’t appear in this spring’s playoffs. . . . The Rockets fired head coach Jason Smith after a 4-10-0 start. They hired Adam Foote to replace him and went 24-22-8, plus last night’s loss, with him in control. . . .

The WHL’s draft lottery is scheduled to be held today (Wednesday). As one of six non-playoff teams, the Rockets will be participants. The six lottery teams, with regular-season points in parenthesis, are the Swift Current Broncos (28), Winnipeg Ice (36), Regina Pats (42), Prince George Cougars (46), Kelowna Rockets (64) and Brandon Wheat Kings (70). . . . A team is able to move up only two spots in the lottery, so one of those first three teams will own the first pick. However, the Cougars hold Swift Current’s selection, and the Saskatoon Blades own Regina’s pick. . . . When the draft is held on May 2 in Red Deer, the Blazers will hold the seventh selection.

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There have been seven tiebreakers in WHL history . . .

2018-19: Kelowna 1 at Kamloops 5.

2015-16: Edmonton Oil Kings 6 at Medicine Hat Tigers 4.

2013-14: Prince Albert Raiders 5 at Red Deer Rebels 3.

2008-09: Edmonton Oil Kings 2 at Prince Albert Raiders 1 (OT).

1989-90: Brandon Wheat Kings 4 at Swift Current Broncos 5.

1983-84: Calgary Wranglers 8 at Saskatoon Blades 7 (OT).

1980-81: Spokane Flyers 10 at New Westminster Bruins 9 (OT).

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You may recall that on Feb. 15 the OHL announced that the Niagara IceDogs had been ohlfined $250,000 and also had two first-round draft picks taken away for recruiting violations. . . . Rick Westhead of TSN reported Tuesday that all of this had to do with a player emailing David Branch, the OHL commissioner, to say that the IceDogs had promised to pay him $10,000 for each season he played with them, and then reneged on the deal. . . . As Westhead reported: “A law firm hired by the Ontario Hockey League concluded that the Niagara IceDogs breached the league’s player recruitment rules by entering into a secret ‘side deal’ with a former player, according to a court decision obtained by TSN.” . . . Westhead’s story is right here.


The Prince George Cougars have signed D Ethan Samson to a WHL contract. He was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From North Delta, B.C., he played this season with the Delta Hockey Academy’s Elite 15 team. In 33 games, he had seven goals and 17 assists.



The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Logen Hammett to a WHL contract. From Regina, Hammett will turn 16 on April 3. This season, with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, he had four goals and 19 assists in 40 games. The Wheat Kings selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


F Rieger Lorenz, a likely first-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers. Lorenz, who will turn 15 on March 30, is from Calgary. He had 11 goals and 25 assists in 30 games with the Edge School’s bantam prep team this season. . . . Lorenz is the fourth high-end bantam draft prospect to announce a commitment to the NCAA route in the last while, following F Matt Savoie (Denver), D Mats Lindgren (Michigan) and F Connor Levis (Michigan).


F Tanner Nagel, who finished up his WHL career with the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday, made his pro debut on Tuesday night with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies. . . . Nagel was pointless in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Rapid City Rush. . . . With the Broncos, Nagel had 13 goals and 10 assists in 65 games.


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Ice, Rebels make 11-piece trade . . . Officiating has Brockman upset . . . Dewar gives Everett another victory

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D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL) after a successful tryout. He had two goals and an assist in 22 games. He had been signed in July to a tryout contract that ran through Nov. 30.


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COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

No. of trades: 6.

Players: 17.

Bantam draft picks: 15.

Conditional draft picks: 3.


Does this mean the next move is up to the Edmonton Oil Kings?

On Thursday, the Lethbridge Hurricanes acquired F Nick Henry and F Jake Leschyshyn, both 19, from the Regina Pats in a monster deal.

On Friday, the Red Deer Rebels picked up F Brett Davis and F Cam Hausinger, both 19, Red Deerfrom the Kootenay Ice, who acquired four players and as many as five bantam draft picks in the exchange.

Going into Friday’s games, the Rebels (16-8-1) led the Central Division by one point over the Oil Kings (14-10-4) despite having lost three straight. Red Deer was six points ahead of Lethbridge (11-8-5).

It would seem that the trading puck now is in Edmonton’s possession.

On Friday, here’s what went down between Red Deer and Kootenay . . .

The Rebels acquired . . .

  • F Cam Hausinger, 19
  • F Brett Davis, 19

The Ice acquired . . .

  • F River Fahey, 17
  • F Austin Schellenberg, 18
  • F Justin Svenson, 17
  • F Chase Bertholet, 15
  • 2019 first-round bantam draft pick
  • 2019 third-round bantam draft pick
  • 2019 sixth-round bantam draft pick
  • 2020 second-round bantam draft pick
  • 2022 conditional third-round bantam draft pick.

——

While not all-stars, Davis and Hausinger are experienced players who will score a bit and provide terrific depth to the Rebels’ forward ranks.

The Ice, meanwhile, add two more Manitoba prospects in advance of what is anticipated Kootenaynewwill be a move to Winnipeg before the 2019-20 season.

Davis, from Oakbank, Man., was selected by the Dallas Stars in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft, but has yet to sign. In 211 regular-season WHL games — 85 with Lethbridge and 126 with Kootenay — he has 55 goals and 65 assists. This season, he has seven goals and 12 assists in 24 games. Lethbridge selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

Like Davis, Hausinger, who is injured at the moment, is in his fourth WHL season. In 216 games, he has 42 goals and 44 assists. From Anchorage, he was a seventh-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2014 bantam draft. He played 78 games with the Blades before being dealt to the Rebels early in the 2016-17 season. Hausinger was in his second season with the Ice. This season, he has eight goals and nine assists in 17 games.

Fahey, from Campbell River, B.C., was a fourth-round pick by the Rebels in the 2016 bantam draft. He has one assist in 21 games after putting up one goal and two assists in 26 games with the Rebels last season.

Schellenberg is in his second season with the Rebels, and has one goal and five assists in 19 games. Last season, Schellenberg, a list player from Grande Prairie, Alta., had two goals and one assist in 46 games.

Svenson, from Ile Des Chenes, Man., has six goals and five assists in 15 games with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. He was a third-round pick by the Rebels in the 2016 bantam draft. He is pointless in 19 games with the Rebels, 18 of them last season.

Bertholet was a fifth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Thompson, Man., he has five goals and 11 assists in 21 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.

——

Later on Friday, the Kootenay Ice acquired F Jack Cowell, 19, from the Kelowna Rockets for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft.

Cowell, a list player, had two goals and three assists in 26 games with the Rockets. In 156 career games with Kelowna, he had 16 goals and 35 assists.

With all signs pointing to the Ice relocating to Winnipeg before another season gets here, it’s worth noting that Cowell is from the Manitoba capital.


It seems that there are issues in the USA-Central Hockey League, a junior league that popped up in Texas over the summer and was to have included at least four teams.

Zach Duncan of the Wichita Falls Times Record News reported that the Wichita Falls Force had to postpone a Friday game against the host Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees because of problems with a bus company.

Duncan also reported that the Texas Lawmen, one of those four teams, had announced via its Facebook page that it was folding.

According to that page, “The three players that were left have decided to pursue other options in other leagues. . . . Earlier this week, the coaching staff resigned.”

It turns out that the Lawmen and Killer Bees played a game last week, but it was 3-on-3 due to a shortage of players. The Lawmen apparently had only four skaters.

Interestingly, the Force’s first head coach, Misko Antisin, resigned on Oct. 13 and was replaced by Troy Mick, who was the USA-CHL’s president. However, it could be that Mick no longer is with the Force or the league.

“USA-CHL president Troy Mick, who was heavily involved in the league’s day-to-day operations and station in Wichita Falls,” Duncan wrote, “hasn’t been heard from in weeks.”

Spies tell Taking Note that Mick, who is no stranger to B.C. hockey circles, was spotted on Tuesday at a BCHL game game in the home arena of the West Kelowna Warriors, who beat the Langley Rivermen, 4-3. Yes, he was seen chatting up Warriors’ owner Kim Dobranski.


“Todd Ewen was posthumously diagnosed earlier this year by a Boston University neuropathologist with the brain-withering disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a development that contradicts the findings of a Toronto doctor two years ago that the former National Hockey League player didn’t have the disease,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN.

“Ewen, who fought his way through a dozen NHL seasons, battled depression, anxiety and memory loss for the last 20 years of his life. He was certain he had CTE. On Sept. 19, 2015, he killed himself in the basement of his family’s home in St. Louis.”

Before playing in the NHL, Ewen fought his way through three WHL seasons with the New Westminster Bruins, recording 771 penalty minutes in 187 games.

In the NHL, Ewen had 1,914 penalty minutes in 518 games.

Ewen’s widow, Kelli, has gone public in demanding that the NHL “stand up and admit that CTE is real, that CTE exists . . .”

Westhead’s story is right here.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ethan Kruger stopped 29 shots to help the host Brandon Wheat Kings to a 5-1 victory BrandonWKregularover the Regina Pats. . . . Brandon (12-7-6) has won two in a row. . . . Regina (8-18-0) has lost three straight. . . . The Pats ended a seven-game road swing with this one. The trek included a trek through the B.C. Division. All told, they went (1-5-0). . . . The Pats won’t have much time to do laundry, though, as they are at home to the Prince Albert Raiders tonight. . . . In six appearances, Kruger, a freshman from Sherwood Park, Alta., is 3-1-2, 2.95, .910. . . . F Linden McCorrister (5) gave Brandon a 2-1 lead at 10:14 of the first period. . . . F Luka Burzan (16) made it 3-1, on a PP, at 6:21 of the second. . . . F Ty Kolle (8) scored Regina’s goal, his first with the Pats since coming over in a Thursday deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Jadon Joseph, the other player Regina got in that deal, drew an assist in his Pats debut. . . . F Brett Clayton, acquired from the Tri-City Americans on Monday, also was in the Pats’ lineup for the first time. . . . The Pats headed home to play the Prince Albert Raiders tonight, while the Wheat Kings are off to Swift Current where they will meet the Broncos tonight.


The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last three goals as they beat the host MooseJawWarriorsEdmonton Oil Kings, 3-1. . . . Moose Jaw (14-5-4) has points in nine straight (8-0-1). . . . Edmonton (14-11-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . F Brett Kemp (18) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 15:17 of the first period. . . . Freshman F Brayden Tracey (9) got Moose Jaw even at 10:55 of the second and F Yegor Buyalski (5) snapped the tie at 13:22. . . . F Justin Almeida (5) provided the insurance at 2:57 of the third period. . . . The Warriors got 35 saves from G Adam Evanoff, including 14 in each of the last two periods. . . . Edmonton G Todd Scott was in uniform for the first time this season as he backed up Dylan Myskiw, who finished with 19 saves. . . . F Peyton McKenzie, 16, made  his debut with the Warriors and drew the primary assist on Buyalski’s goal. A third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, McKenzie plays for the Edmonton-OHA prep team. . . . The Warriors are in Red Deer tonight, while the Oil Kings face the Hitmen in Calgary.


F Zach Cox broke a 1-1 tie at 14:28 of the second period and the Lethbridge Hurricanes Lethbridgewent on to a 3-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Lethbridge (12-8-5) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . Swift Current (4-20-2) has lost two in a row. . . . F Justin Hall (1) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead with his first WHL score, at 4:07 of the second period. . . . F Max Patterson (8) tied it at 11:54. . . . Cox’s ninth goal turned into the winner. . . . F Jake Elmer (12) added insurance at 6:38 of the third. . . . F Nick Henry and F Jake Leschyshyn, who were acquired Wednesday from the Regina Pats, made their Lethbridge debuts on a line with F Jordy Bellerive, the team captain. . . . Leschyshyn drew an assist on Hall’s Teddy Bear goal. . . . Broncos F Alec Zawatsky, who drew an assist on their goal, didn’t finish the game. . . . Dean Brockman, the Broncos’ GM/head coach, wasn’t pleased about the officiating and likely will be making a contribution to the WHL office’s Christmas fund. After the game, Shawn Mullin, the Broncos’ radio voice, tweeted this from Brockman: “I didn’t like the way the game was called at all. It was awful. The third goal . . . I’m not sure what you’re looking at. When your team is battling the way it is and there’s some missed and non-calls . . . to me that’s really not acceptable. The third goal (Broncos G Joel Hofer) gets knocked into the net. It’s hard to make a save when you’re getting planted . . . we just hope the vision is little a bit broader in the next couple games.” . . . The Broncos headed home after the game to face the Brandon Wheat Kings tonight. . . . The Hurricanes are in Medicine Hat tonight.


The host Red Deer Rebels scored the game’s first five goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Red Deer (17-8-1) had lost its previous three games. . . . Calgary (10-14-3) had points in its previous three games (2-0-1). The Hitmen finished 4-2-1 on a seven-game road trip. They will entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight. . . . F Jeff de Wit, F Brandon Hagel and F Chris Douglas each scored twice for Red Deer. . . . De Wit now has 19 goals, with Hagel, who also had an assist, at 17 and Douglas at eight. . . . De Wit left in the third period with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Luke Coleman (8) and F Mark Kastelic (22) scored for Calgary to get the Hitmen to within three, at 5-2, in the third period. . . . Calgary had a 45-23 edge in shots, as Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 43 shots. . . . The Rebels had D Alex Alexeyev back in their lineup after a two-game absence. . . . The Rebels are at home again tonight, this time against Moose Jaw. . . . The Hitmen also will play at home as they meet Edmonton.


D Quinn Schmiemann scored in OT to give the Kamloops Blazers a 3-2 victory over the Kamloops1visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Kamloops improved to 10-11-2. It now is 1-4-2 in one-goal games. . . . The Blades (16-9-3) are 2-1-1 in their trip through the B.C. Division. . . . Saskatoon led this one 2-0 in the second period on goals from D Emil Malysjev (1) and F Max Gerlach (17), the latter on a PP. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (9), back after a two-game absence, scored Kamloops’ first goal, at 15:45 of the second period, and F Connor Zary (6) tied it on a breakaway at 9:15 of the third. . . . Schmiemann (2) won it at 1:29 of OT, beating Saskatoon G Nolan Maier with a quick shot under the cross-bar from the right wing. . . . G Dylan Ferguson was among the Blazers’ scratches. He was injured in a goal-mouth collision during a game in Spokane on Nov. 24. With Ferguson out, Royce Ramsay of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos was backing up Dylan Garand, who finished with 23 saves. . . . D Jackson Caller and F Jeff Faith, acquired in deals on Monday, were in the Blazers’ lineup. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who went to Saskatoon in the deal that had Caller land in his hometown, played his third game with the Blades. . . . With East Division teams playing in B.C. only once every two seasons, this was Blades D Dawson Davidson’s first game in Kamloops since the Blazers dealt him to the Regina Pats on Dec. 27, 2016. The Blades got him from the Pats on Jan. 8. . . . This game featured an interesting coaching matchup in that the head coaches — Mitch Love of Saskatoon and Serge Lajoie of Kamloops — are in their first seasons and were the last two candidates on the Blades’ shortlist during the off-season. . . . After the game, the Blades ate at Frankly Coffee and then it was off to Kelowna where they will meet the Rockets tonight. . . . The Blazers will be at home against the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.


F Andrej Kukuca broke a 4-4 tie in the third period and the Seattle Thunderbirds went on Seattleto a 7-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (9-12-3) had lost three in a row and were 1-8-1 in their last 10. . . . The Ice (7-18-4) have lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . F Peyton Krebs, who scored three times for the Kootenay, erased a two-goal deficit by scoring at 8:38 of the second period and 3:41 of the third. Krebs completed his first WHL hat trick with a PP goal. Krebs is seen as a likely first-round selection in the NHL’s 2019 draft and he put on a show for the scouts in the house. . . . Kukuca gave Seattle a 5-4 lead with his sixth goal at 4:49. . . . F Zack Andrusiak’s 18th goal, his third of the night, upped the lead to 6-4 at 9:50, and F Tyler Carpendale (2) added more insurance at 14:17. . . . Andrusiak, who has four career hat tricks, has goals in seven straight games, including six over his past two games. He also had an assist for a four-point evening. . . . The Ice got three assists from F Brad Ginnell. . . . Seattle F Noah Philp, back after a nine-game absence, scored his 10th goal and added an assist. . . . The Thunderbirds boarded their bus after the game and headed for Kamloops where they will meet the Blazers tonight. . . . The Ice will move on to Everett and a game against the Silvertips tonight.


F Leif Mattson scored in OT to give the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City KelownaRocketsAmericans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Kelowna (12-15-1) had lost its previous two games. . . . Tri-City (13-9-1) had won its previous two outings. . . . F Kyle Olson (5) gave Tri-City a 1-0 lead at 16:00 of the first period. . . . Mattson tied it at 5:58 of the second period and F Kyle Crosby (4) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at 15:39. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (8) pulled his guys even with 10.2 seconds left in the third period. . . . Mattson won it with his 11th goal just 20 seconds into extra time. . . . The Rockets lost F Ted Brennan to a checking-from-major and game misconduct for a hit on D Bryan McAndrews at 5:53 of the first period. . . . The Rockets headed home after the game because they are to play the travelling Saskatoon Blades tonight. . . . The Americans also are on the road today. They’ll face the Vancouver Giants at the Pacific Coliseum.


F Connor Dewar scored in OT to give the host Everett Silvertips a 5-4 victory over the EverettSpokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (21-7-1) has points in seven straight (6-0-1). The Silvertips went 11-2-1 in November. . . . Spokane (14-8-4) has point four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Chiefs held a 3-1 lead early in the third period but weren’t able to hold it. . . . D Filip Kral (2) gave Spokane that 3-1 lead, on a PP, at 4:38 of the third. . . . The Silvertips responded with three straight goals to take a 4-3 lead. . . . D Wyatte Wylie (6) scored at 10:23. F Akash Bains (5) tied it at 13:26. F Martin Fasko-Rudas (8) put Everett ahead at 17:33. . . . The Chiefs forced OT when F Ethan McIndoe (7) scored with 15.2 seconds left in the third. . . . Dewar’s 23rd goal won it 53 seconds into OT. . . . The Chiefs were 3-6 on the PP. . . . The Silvertips are at home tonight to the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Chiefs are off to Portland for a date tonight with the Winterhawks.


Tweetoftheday

Letter-writing time in Ontario . . . Jones close to KIJHL milestone . . . Raiders’ victory streak now at 10


ThisThat

So . . . early in the week, David Branch, the OHL’s commissioner, penned an open letter directed at the Ontario government, stating that his league’s players should be exempt ohlfrom the province’s minimum-wage legislation because they are student-athletes and not employees.

On Tuesday, Michael Tibollo, Ontarios’ minister of tourism, culture and sport, wrote an open letter pledging his support and, presumably, that of the provincial government.

Then it seems it was the turn of Goldblatt Partners, the Toronto law firm that represents an untold number of former and present players who filed a class-action lawsuit against the OHL — and the WHL — asking that, among other things, players be paid minimum wage.

Joshua Mandryk, a lawyer with Goldblatt, wrote that OHL teams are owned by companies “who make money, big money in most cases, from the players’ work — work that the owners and the media like to call ‘play’ . . . Virtually all (OHL teams) are owned by private companies that are able to hide their books, and their profits, from the players, from their employees.

“Other multi-million dollar employers don’t get to avoid paying the employees who drive their revenue. Paying wages is part of doing business. Why should the OHL be any different?”

Rick Westhead of TSN has more on this story right here.


Terry Jones, the head coach of the junior B Beaver Valley Nitehawks, who play in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, went into Friday night with 998 career victories — 759 of the regular-season variety and 239 from playoff games. . . . Jones, 52, is in his 23rd season with the Nitehawks. Imagine that . . . 23 seasons with one team. Amazing! . . . As a player, he spent two seasons (1982-84) with the Portland Winterhawks.

“When I started coaching, well before the Nitehawks, it was a ‘winning is everything’ attitude,” Jones told Jim Bailey of the Trail Times. “Now I’ve flip-flopped and believe coaching is more about developing young men into adults and good citizens, and hockey is the vehicle we do that. As a result of that attitude, we’ve won a lot of games, we’ve won some championships.

“When you change your goals of winning to just building a good team, a good group of guys that care about each other, I think anything can happen.”

Bailey’s complete story is right here and it is a great read about a remarkable man.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have acquired D Parker Gavlas, 19, from the Regina Pats for an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . The Pats, who acquired D Kyle Walker, 18, from the Everett Silvertips on Thursday, were carrying nine defencemen, so this kind of move was hardly a surprise. At the same time, the Oil Kings’ roster included only six healthy defencemen. . . . Gavlas, from Saskatoon, had one assist in 12 games with the Pats. Last season, he was pointless in eight games with Regina.


The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have fired general manager/head coach Travis Clayton. He was in his second season with the Bobcats. . . . According to a post on the team’s website, “IHD and Lance Ward will provide interim coaching support . . . while the organization seeks a new head coach and general manager.” . . . IHD is Impact Hockey Development and Ward, a former WHLer (Red Deer Rebels, 1994-98), is a lead instructor in Lloydminster. . . . At the time of the move, the Bobcats were 5-13-1 and in last place in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North Division. . . . On Friday night, the Bobcats dropped a 6-2 decision to the host Sherwood Park Crusaders.


Dinamo Minsk of the KHL has fired head coach Gordie Dwyer, along with assistant coaches Sergey Stas and Konstantin Koltsov, goaltending coach Andrey Kudin and trainer Gennady Lyango. . . . Dinamo was seven points out of a Western Conference playoff spot at the time. . . . Dwyer, 40, was in his second season as Dinamo’s head coach. . . . No replacements were named.


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FRIDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

In Brandon, the Wheat Kings erased a 2-0 second-period deficit with five straight goals BrandonWKregularen route to a 6-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Brandon improved to 9-4-5. This was Brandon’s first home game since Oct. 20. The Wheat Kings went 2-3-2 on a seven-game trek that included a 2-2-1 record in the B.C. Division. . . . Red Deer (11-5-1) had won its previous three games. . . . F Brandon Hagel (13) and F Arshdeep Bains (3) gave Red Deer a 2-0 lead early in the second period. . . . F Lynden McCallum (4) got the Wheat Kings started at 10:10 and F Stelio Mattheos (17) tied it on a PP at 15:26. That was his 100th regular-season goal. Mattheos also had two assists. . . . D Neithan Salame’s first goal, at 17:04, made it 3-2 and F Marcus Sekundiak (2) scored what proved to be the winner at 8:41 of the third. . . . The Wheat Kings got 40 stops from G Jiri Patera. . . . Brandon lost F Linden McCorrister to a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on Red Deer F Jacob Herauf at 4:47 of the first period. Herauf needed help getting off the ice and was taken to hospital “where he remained for several hours” with an undisclosed injury, according to Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. . . . Meachem’s story is right here.


F Noah Gregor, F Kody McDonald and F Sean Montgomery each scored twice as the PrinceAlbertPrince Albert Raiders beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 6-2. . . . The Raiders (17-1-0) have won 10 in a row. . . . The Broncos (3-15-1) had points in each of their previous three games (2-0-1). . . . F Eric Houk (2) got the Broncos to within a goal, at 3-2, at 18:17 of the second period. The Raiders, who had a 43-19 edge in shots, put it away with the next three goals. . . . Houk’s father, Rod, was a goaltender who played two seasons (1987-89) with the Regina Pats. . . . McDonald (3), playing his first game after missing eight, got his second of the night at 18:31 of the second. . . . Gregor (8) upped it to 5-2 at 2:11 of the third period. . . . Gregor also had three assists for a five-point outing. . . . F Brett Leason of the Raiders ran his point streak to 18 games with an assist on F Sean Montgomery’s eighth goal just eight seconds into the second period. Leason has at least one point in each of the Raiders’ 18 games this season. . . . Montgomery scored his ninth goal at 14:13 of the third period, on a PP. . . . The Raiders brought in D Nolan Allan for his fourth game and he picked up his first WHL point, an assist, on McDonald’s first goal. Allan, 15, was the third overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From Davidson, Sask., Allan plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Broncos were without D Matthew Stanley (ill) and D Garrett Sambrook (undisclosed injury). . . . Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com was at the game and has a story right here.


F Jake Leschyshyn scored three goals and F Nick Henry had four assists to lead the host PatsRegina Pats to a 5-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Regina (6-12-0) has won two in a row. . . . Tri-City (10-5-0) had won its previous six games. This was Game 6 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans, who are 5-0-0 since last playing at home on Oct. 19. They next are scheduled to play at home on Nov. 23. . . . The Pats got started 30 seconds into the first period when F Austin Pratt (9) scored. . . . Leschyshyn made it 2-0 at 2:36, scored his second at 15:53 of the second period, for a 4-0 lead, and completed the hat trick with his 12th goal of the season at 7:27 of the third. . . . Regina got 39 saves from G Max Paddock. . . . Pats D Aaron Hyman had three assists; he’s got four goals and 16 assists in 18 games. Last season, in 26 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 28 with Regina, he totalled three goals and 10 assists.


F Liam Keeler broke a 2-2 tie late in the second period and the Edmonton Oil Kings went EdmontonOilKingson to beat the Kootenay Ice, 5-2, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Oil Kings (11-7-1) have points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Ice (6-10-3) has lost three in a row. . . . Kootenay erased a 2-0 deficit to tie the game on F Jaeger White’s 11th goal at 9:01 of the second period. . . . Keeler’s third goal, at 19:01 of the second, stood up as the winner. . . . F Quinn Benjafield had a goal, his eighth, and two assists for Edmonton. . . . F Vince Loschiavo returned to Edmonton’s lineup after a five-game absence. . . . F Tyler Horstmann, 16, scored his first WHL goal in his first game with the Oil Kings, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2017 bantam draft. From Richmond, B.C., Horstmann plays for the Delta Hockey Academy’s prep team.


F Jadon Joseph of Lethbridge ran his point streak to 11 games as the Hurricanes doubled Lethbridgethe visiting Calgary Hitmen, 4-2. . . . Lethbridge (8-5-4) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Calgary (5-12-2) has lost three in a row. . . . Joseph scored the game’s first goal, his ninth, at 1:01 of the first period. He has nine goals and six assists during his streak. . . . D Calen Addison (4) gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead at 8:13 of the second period and D Alex Cotton (1) made it 3-1 at 12:31. . . . Each team was assessed one minor penalty. . . . Calgary had a 36-19 edge in shots, but Lethbridge G Reece Klassen was solid.


F Max Gerlach and F Gary Haden scored against their former team as the Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades beat the Tigers, 3-1, in Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon improved to 11-7-2. . . . The Tigers now are 9-8-2. . . . F Josh Williams (3) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 10:03 of the first period. . . . Gerlach, who was acquired from the Tigers in January, got his 13th goal, on a PP, at 17:57 of the second period. . . . Haden’s fifth goal — his fourth with the Blades since being acquired in a deal this season — turned into the winner at 5:31 of the third. . . . This was the first appearance in Medicine Hat as visiting players by Gerlach and Haden. . . . F Logan Christensen, who went the other way in the Haden deal, was pointless. . . . The Blades got 35 stops from G Nolan Maier.


The Everett Silvertips scored five PP goals as they beat the Blazers, 6-1, in Kamloops. . . . EverettEverett (12-6-0) has won two straight. . . . Kamloops (6-8-2) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . At 10:32 of the second period, the Silvertips had a 6-0 lead and had outshot the Blazers, 22-3. . . . F Sean Richards (3) got Everett rolling, on a PP, at 4:02 of the first period. . . . F Akash Bains then scored twice, at 10:29 on a PP, and at 1:41 of the second, for a 3-0 lead. He’s got four goals. However, he wasn’t on the bench for the third period after leaving while appearing to favour a knee in the second. . . . Everett finished 5-for-8 on the PP. . . . The Silvertips got four assists from D Gianni Fairbrother. . . . When Max Palaga entered the game for Everett to start the second period, it marked the first time this season that a goaltender other than Dustin Wolf was in the Silvertips’ goal. . . . Palaga, who is from Kamloops, spent last season with the Blazers, but was cut early this season. He was with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers when the Blazers dealt him to Everett on Oct. 29 for a sixth-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. . . . Palaga stopped seven of eight shots, after Wolf turned aside all six shots he faced. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson was beaten six times on 22 shots. He came out at 10:32 of the second, with Rayce Ramsay going in to make his WHL debut. He was perfect in stopping 14 shots. . . . Ramsay, 17, is with the Blazers while G Dylan Garand is at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. When Garand returns, Ramsay will go back to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . D Artyom Minulin, 20, had one assist in his debut with the Silvertips. He had been acquired from the Swift Current Broncos. This was Minulin’s first game after he had off-season shoulder surgery. . . . Part of the game was played with two referees and one linesman after Nick Bilko left with a knee injury. He was injured when he got caught up in traffic along the boards in the middle of the first period. Nick Panter entered late in the second period to replace Bilko. . . . Former Blazers head coach Guy Charron was in the press box, helping the team’s new coaching staff as an eye in the sky. He also has been on the ice during recent practices. . . . The Silvertips left immediately after the game as they are to meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., tonight. Everett then returns to Kamloops for a Sunday evening game. The Blazers don’t play tonight.


The Kelowna Rockets scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 3-1 victory over the KelownaRocketsSeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Rockets (8-10-0) have won four in a row and seven of their last nine. . . . Five of Kelowna’s victories have come on the road. . . . Seattle (7-7-2) has lost four in a row. . . . F Kyle Topping scored Kelowna’s first goal, on a PP, at 10:44 of the first period. He ran his goal-scoring streak to five games and his point streak to 12 games. . . . D Libor Zabransky (2) upped it to 2-0 at 3:10 of the second period. . . . F Nolan Foote (11) made it 3-0 at 4:57. Foote has eight goals in a six-game goal-scoring streak. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (7) scored for Seattle at 15:03 of the second. . . . Kelowna D Dalton Gally was hit with an interference major and game misconduct at 7:59 of the second period after a hit on Seattle F Jaxan Kaluski. . . . Kelowna is 4-0 since Adam Foote replaced the fired Jason Smith as head coach. . . . The Rockets opened a six-game road trip with this one; they’ll play those six games in nine nights. . . . The trip continues with games in Portland tonight and Sunday.


The host Victoria Royals scored nine seconds into the game and went on to a 7-5 victory VictoriaRoyalsover the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Royals (10-5-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Chiefs (8-7-3) have lost three in a row. . . . F Tarun Fizer (2) got the Royals going with the early goal. . . . The WHL record for fastest goal to start a game? Dean Sexsmith of the Seattle Thunderbirds scored five seconds into a 7-6 victory over the visiting Victoria Cougars on Jan. 30, 1987. . . . The Royals went ahead 2-0 when F D-Jay Jerome scored at 1:55. . . . The Chiefs would trail 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . Jerome, who also had an assist, got his second goal of the game, and 10th of the season, at 10:20 of the third period for a 6-4 lead and D Scott Walford (1) added insurance at 13:43. . . . The Royals got three assists from F Sean Gulka, who, as you will have noticed from the above tweet, had some fans in the stands. He went into the game with two assists in 11 regular-season games, eight of them with the Chiefs. . . . F Brandon Cutler added a goal, his fifth, and two assists for Victoria. . . . F Riley Woods scored twice and added an assist for Spokane. He’s got six goals and three assists over his past four games. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt (foot) is on the shelf for the second time this season. According to the team, this one could keep him out for up to six weeks. . . . F Dante Hannoun, who missed three games, and F Kaid Oliver, who missed one, both were back in the Royals’ lineup. . . . Hannoun scored his seventh goal and added an assist.


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Branch prepping to lobby Ontario gov’t . . . Reid, Brkin spark Chiefs . . . Franklin, Zary lead Blazers’ comeback


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F Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, 2002-06) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one assist in six games with Traktor Chelyabinsk (Russia, KHL) 6 GP, 0+1, and 17 goals and 19 assists in 47 games with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). He led Kunlun Red Star in goals and points. . . .

F/D Curt Gogol (Kelowna, Saskatoon, Chilliwack, 2007-11) has been released by mutual agreement by Manglerud (Norway, GET-Ligaen). He had one goal in six games. Earlier this season, he had one assist in four games with Kalmar (Sweden, Division 1).


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Rick Westhead of TSN reported Friday that David Branch, the OHL commissioner, “has registered as a provincial government lobbyist, a move signalling the league is renewing ohlefforts to argue its players should not be paid at least minimum wage.” . . . Branch doubles as the president of the CHL, the umbrella under which the OHL, WHL and QMJHL operate. . . . Westhead also reported that, according to Ontario’s lobbyist registry, Branch and Toronto-based lawyer Robert Bayne, who also registered as a lobbyist, “plan to meet with Ministry of Labour officials and other members of Queen’s Park to discuss the player wage issue.” . . . To date, seven provinces — B.C., Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan — have passed legislation that exempts major junior hockey teams from minimum wage legislation. Michigan and Washington State also have done so. . . . All of this is ongoing while a class-action lawsuit continues, asking that OHL and WHL players be paid a minimum wage. . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here.

The move by Branch to register as a lobbyist recalls a story written two years ago by Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun. It carried this headline: WHL being back-checked for whlpossibly violating lobby law. . . . Mulgrew wrote: “The Western Hockey League did not register as a lobbyist before leaning on B.C.’s cabinet to exempt major junior players form the minimum wage, the provincial watchdog says.” . . . Records showed that Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, began working the back-channels of the then-Liberal government in March 2015. “The direct lobbying effort worked — cabinet quietly passed an order-in-council on Feb. 15, 2016 granting the league the exemption,” Mulgrew wrote. . . . Erin Beatty, the communications director for the B.C. Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists, told Mulgrew at the time that the regulator now is “acting on the potential incident of non-compliance in this case.” . . . Robison told Mulgrew that the WHL didn’t spent a whole lot of time lobbying “and it was certainly not 100 hours. We were not required to register as a lobbyist.” . . . It’s not known what the outcome of the regulator’s investigation was, and it very well may have quietly disappeared when B.C. elected an NDP government. . . . Mulgrew’s piece from two years ago is right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders have returned D Nolan Allan, 15, to the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. From Davidson, Sask., he was the third-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was pointless in two games with the Raiders.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Wyatt Wylie scord 21 seconds into OT to give the Everett Silvertips a 2-1 victory over Everettthe Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Everett (9-5-0) is 3-2-0 on its East Division trek. . . . The Warriors (5-3-3) have lost two in a row. . . . F Tristin Langan (10) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 15:33 of the first period. . . . D Sahvan Khaira (3) pulled Everett even at 16:47 of the second period. . . . Wylie won it with his third goal of the season. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots for the winners. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. He’s eligible to return tonight as the Silvertips wrap up their eastern swing in Swift Current.


The Medicine Hat Tigers scored four times in the span of 5:59 of the second period en Tigers Logo Officialroute to a 8-5 victory over the host Regina Pats. . . . The Tigers (8-6-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Pats (3-10-0) have lost four straight. They now are 0-8-0 on home ice. . . . The Tigers got two goals and an assist from each of F James Hamblin, who has nine goals, and F Ryan Chyzowski, who has five. . . . F Duncan Pierce (3) gave Regina a 3-2 lead at 8:56 of the second period. . . . The Tigers scored the game’s next five goals, including one from F Logan Christensen (2), who was acquired Wednesday from the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Medicine Hat was 4-for-6 on the PP. . . . According to the online scoresheet, the Pats won 54 of the game’s 75 faceoffs. . . . F Cole Sillinger made his WHL debut for the Tigers. From Regina, he is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. Cole was the 11th-overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Regina Pats Canadians.


F Alex Morozoff scored in OT to give the host Red Deer Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Red DeerSaskatoon Blades. . . . The Rebels improved to 9-4-1. . . . The Blades (8-4-2) have lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . Morozoff won it with his second goal of the season, at 1:21 of extra time. . . . F Jeff de Wit (8) gave Red Deer a 3-1 lead at 11:01 of the second period. . . . The Blades tied it on third-period goals from D Brandon Schuldaus (2) and F Kirby Dach (8), the latter at 17:55. Schuldaus also had two assists. . . . F Brandon Hagel (12) had two goals for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels had a 48-26 edge in shots. . . . F Gary Haden, acquired Thursday by the Blades from the Medicine Hat Tigers, was pointless in his Saskatoon debut. . . . This was the third game between these teams this month, which each holding serve on home ice. They’ll complete the season series in Saskatoon on March 3. . . . Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ GM/head coach, was back behind the bench after missing two games while spending time with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks  on a road trip that included fathers. Sutter’s son, Brandon, plays for the Canucks.


F Zachary Cox broke a 6-6 tie at 13:26 of the third period as the visiting Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes beat the Calgary Hitmen, 7-6. . . . Lethbridge (7-4-3) has points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . Calgary (4-8-2) has lost two in a row. . . . The Hurricanes snapped a 2-2 tie with three goals in a span of 4:10 early in the second period. . . . The Hitmen tied it, 5-5, on F Mark Kastelic’s second goal of the game and 12th of the season at 6:29 of the third. . . . F Jadon Joseph (6) gave Lethbridge a 6-5 lead at 7:31, only to have Calgary F Kaden Elder (6) tie it at 10:29. . . . Cox won it with his third goal of the season. . . . D Igor Merezhko had three assists for the winners, with F Logan Barlage adding a goal, his seventh, and two assists. . . . Kastelic also had two assists for a four-point night, and Elder finished with two goals and an assist. . . . The Hitmen lost F Josh Prokop to a spearing major and game misconduct at 14:18 of the third period. . . .


The Edmonton Oil Kings built a 7-0 second-period lead and went on to a 7-2 victory over EdmontonOilKingsthe Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Oil Kings (7-7-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice slipped to 4-6-3. . . . Edmonton had beaten visiting Kootenay 6-3 on Sunday. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings took control on first-period goals from D Conner McDonald (4), F Scott Atkinson (4) and F Liam Keeler (2). . . . The visitors added four more in the second period and coasted from there. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 39 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . G Sebastian Cossa, who has yet to play this season due to an undisclosed injury, was on the bench backing up Myskiw. . . . The Ice had G Jesse Makaj back in the lineup after he was scratched for one game. He came on in relief of starter Duncan McGovern and stopped six of seven shots in 27:06.


D Nolan Reid had a goal and two assists to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 victory SpokaneChiefsover the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs (7-3-3) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Winterhawks (7-4-1) had won their previous two games. . . . Spokane G Bailey Brkin stopped 36 shots. . . . The Chiefs got out to a 3-0 lead, getting first-period goals from F Carter Chorney (4) and F Eli Zummack (6), shorthanded, and a second-period tally from F Adam Beckman (7), on a PP. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (9) got Portland’s goal 42 seconds into the third period. . . . Reid (2) iced it at 14:29. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan was pointless in his first game after being returned by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. . . . G Dante Giannuzzi made his first WHL start for Portland by stopping 18 shots.


F Zane Franklin scored three times as the Kamloops Blazers erased an early 2-0 deficit Kamloops1and went on to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-2, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Blazers (4-6-1) have won two in a row after a seven-game losing skid (0-6-1). . . . Kamloops hadn’t scored seven or more goals in a game since Feb. 21, 2017 when they beat the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-0. They last scored seven or more goals on the road on Dec. 17, 2016, in an 8-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Thunderbirds (6-3-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Seattle got off to a 2-0 lead on PP goals 50 seconds apart in the first period. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who scored his first two goals of the season, got Kamloops on the board at 11:47 of the first period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (3), playing his first game after serving a four-game suspension, tied it at 7:25 of the second. . . . Franklin then scored twice to give the Blazers a 4-2 lead heading to the third. He completed his second career hat trick with his 10th goal at 6:04 of the third. . . . Kamloops F Connor Zary had two goals, giving him four, and two assists, for his first career four-pointer. A sophomore, Zary went into the game with a goal and three assists in eight games. . . . The Blazers now head for Portland and a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader with the Winterhawks. Portland swept two games in Kamloops — 7-3 and 5-3 — on Oct. 3 and 5.


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Raiders’ loss improvement from previous season . . . WHL coverage takes two more hits . . . Blades and Warriors add scouts

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The Prince Albert Raiders, one of four community-owned WHL franchises, held their PrinceAlbertannual general meeting on Tuesday night and shareholders learned of a $168,430 loss from the 2017-18 season. That was an improvement from the $250,850 loss for 2016-17. . . . According to Trevor Redden of panow.com, the 2017-18 loss came despite “a 13 per cent year-over-year increase in revenues.” . . . Brad Toporowski, the organization’s vice-president, told shareholders there was an 18 per cent increase in travel expenses, some of that due to a U.S. road trip with a low Canadian dollar. . . . Redden’s story is right here.

Two of the other community-owned teams have scheduled their annual meetings for next month. Shareholders in the Moose Jaw Warriors are scheduled to meet on Sept. 12, with Lethbridge Hurricanes’ shareholders to gather on Sept. 17. . . . A year ago, the Hurricanes announced a profit of $737,710 for 2016-17, while the Warriors reported a loss of $463,566, but that came after they contributed more than $700,000 to Mosaic Place to cover a previous pledge and for upgrades in lighting and the sound system. . . . The Broncos don’t seem to have set a date for their annual general meeting just yet, but last year it was held on Sept. 25. They revealed a profit of $135,922 at that meeting.


The press coverage of two WHL teams has taken a huge hit with the departures of two reporters who have long written about the Tri-City Americans, Kelowna Rockets and, indeed, the WHL.

Annie Fowler, a reporter with the Tri-City Herald for more than 18 years, will work her last day there on Aug. 31. She has been laid off, another victim of everything that ails the newspaper industry these days.

In Kelowna, veteran writer Warren Henderson spent his last day with the Capital News after more than 17 years of banging out superb copy. It seems that he will be working in the landscaping business. Henderson didn’t waste away his last day as a reporter, either, as he posted a story on F Trevor Wong, the Rockets’ first-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, who has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers but admits that Kelowna isn’t out of the picture. That story is right here.


D Tyson Terretta, a seventh-round selection by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, apparently has ended his playing career. . . . Terretta, 18, is from Okotoks, Alta. . . . He was pointless in two games with Seattle in 2016-17, then had one assist in 42 games last season.


The Saskatoon Blades have added two Manitoba-based scouts to their staff. . . . Craig SaskatoonLane of Virden, Man., will be scouting for a WHL team for the first time, although he has scouted for MJHL and SJHL teams for at least 10 years. Lane, whose son, Grady, a forward, was an eighth-round pick of the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, is a senior manager with Tundra Oil and Gas. . . . Matt Patton of Winnipeg is also a first-time WHL scout. He is a veteran of the MJHL scouting game, and is a supervisor with Maple Leaf Foods.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have firmed up their scouting staff by adding Mark Blair, Zenon Herasymiuk and Todd Ripplinger. They join returnees Tanner McCall, Justin Rayner and MooseJawWarriorsBrendan Wust. . . . Blair, who spent the past 11 seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, is the Warriors’ senior regional scout — west, while Todd Ripplinger has been named senior regional scout — east. Ripplinger, a brother to Jason Ripplinger, the Warriors’ assistant general manager, has worked with the Kamloops Blazers (1991-97) and was the Regina Pats’ scouting director (1997-2011). Of late, he has been the head scout for the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. . . . Herasymiuk, from Calgary, was with the Kootenay Ice for the past two seasons. . . . McCall, from Weyburn, is into his third season with the Warriors. He also is the general manager and head scout for the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings. . . . Rayner, from Regina, is starting his third season with Moose Jaw. He is responsible for scouting WHL teams for the Warriors. . . . Just has been with the Warriors since January 2016. He is the director of player personnel for the junior B Abbotsford Pilots of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. . . . The Warriors’ complete news release is right here.


If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23, you are able to do so right here.


A note from Stuart Kemp’s wife, Cathy, indicates that he has been given the OK to start Portlanddriving again, “but during the daytime only.” . . . As she points out, “This is huge . . . as it gives him his freedom back. He has had to sit in the apartment by himself all day, every day by himself.” . . . If you’re late to this story, Stuart, the president of the Portland Winterhawks’ Booster Club, is working to come back from two recent strokes.

I had heard from Stuart earlier Wednesday. He wrote that he has been “working hard on getting better,” adding that he had seen a doctor on Tuesday, who was “amazed at my recovery.”

Later Tuesday, he attended Winterhawks’ training camp at the Moda Center, something that I’m sure did him a world of good.

“It was great seeing many people,” he wrote, “Probably 100 or so came up and said hello. I think I surprised a few as well. . . . It was great to talk to so many who either read online or had heard about it . . . and were shocked to see me there.”

He also has a goal in mind.

“I want to be close to 100 per cent going into the regular season,” he noted. “I figured I’d be between 50 and 60 right now. It’s a lofty goal, but one where I am determined to give this a run for its money.”

Don’t forget that there is a GoFundMe page where you are able to help out Cathy and Stuart. You are able to find it right here.


The junior B Traveland RV Storm of the Prairie Junior Hockey League has signed Cory Unser as head coach. . . . Unser, 38, is from Sedley, Sask. He played two seasons (1998-2000) in the WHL, both with the Brandon Wheat Kings.


Joe Murphy once was the first overall selection in an NHL draft. He was a skilled forward, the furthest thing from an enforcer. These days he’s homeless and hanging around Kenora, Ont. The road he travelled to get there isn’t pretty. But how much responsibility does the NHL have for what has happened to Murphy? . . . Rick Westhead of TSN has Murphy’s story, or at least part of it, right here.


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If you check out Steve McLean’s timeline, you will find some interesting chatter about OHL ticket prices . . .