Scattershooting on a Sunday while watching Jason Bourne. Again . . . Tigers are road warriors . . . Giants latest to clinch playoff spot

Scattershooting

Sheldon Kennedy spent the weekend in Swift Current, which was the host location for Hockey Day in Canada on Saturday. While he was there, the City honoured him by naming an arena after him. To see the love affair between Kennedy and Swift Current makes my heart sing, because there once was a time when an observer never would have thought this was possible. . . . Well done!



ICYMI, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed F Auston Matthews to a new contract on Tuesday. . . . What! You didn’t know that! . . . Well, you’re welcome.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, on one of the Super Bowl commercials: “After the Washington Post ad in the fourth quarter, I mentioned to my Super Bowl party host that Jeff Bezos’ impending divorce action may influence the Post to the degree that their new slogan ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ may need to be altered to ‘Democracy dies in divorce.’ ”

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And here is The Sports Curmudgeon on the Super Bowl’s halftime show: “Granted that I had no idea who any of the performers for the half-time show were. After glimpsing pieces of their acts, I can say with certainty that I need not expend an erg of energy to find out the next time any of them will be in concert near to where I live. The ad slogan for Camel cigarettes used to be, ‘I’d walk a mile for a Camel.’ Well, I would not walk across the room to hear any of those folks perform.”


ChickenEgg


Perhaps you heard about the runner in Colorado who, when attacked by an 80-pound cougar, killed the big cat with his bare hands. As Dixon Tam put it on Twitter: “I hope Chuck Norris recovers from his injuries quickly.”


Ahh, yes, the Kootenay Ice Hall of Fame, announced eight days after the franchise’s post-season move to Winnipeg was confirmed. In an email, one fan told Taking Note that “it’s like sending flowers to your wife a week after you dumped her for another woman.”


If you’re wondering what Les Lazaruk, the play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades does on his nights off, he’s the star of the Saskatchewan karaoke circuit. . . . Actually, he was taking part in a Kinsmen-sponsored karaoke battle, so it was all in good fun and for a good cause.

 


Here for your reading pleasure is a piece written by Mark Fainaru-Wada, a staff writer at ESPN, about how the iconic Bob Costas came to the end of his run with NBC-TV. Yes, it had something to do with the NFL and, yes, it has something to do with concussions. . . . It’s all right here, and it’s another reminder about the power of the NFL.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Super Bowl halftime show marred by functioning sound system.


Luggage


ThisThat

Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, holds the WHL’s record for career victories as a head coach. He has 750 of those to his credit from stints with the whlKamloops Blazers, Tri-City Americans and Vancouver Giants.

It was just last season when Hay broke the record of 742 that had been held for so long by Ken Hodge, who worked with the original Edmonton Oil Kings before making the move to Portland with the franchise.

On Saturday night, Marc Habscheid, now the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, became the eighth man in WHL history to get to 500 victories.

So . . . you are wondering if Hay’s career victories record is safe, or whether Habscheid might break it?

Hay will turn 65 on Wednesday. Habscheid will hit 56 on March 1.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that Hay won’t be a WHL head coach again, although it’s apparent that he isn’t as done with coaching as we once were led to believe. (Hey, the Prince George Cougars might be in the market for a head coach once this season ends. Might Hay be a good fit there?)

Habscheid, meanwhile, is a career coach; he has been for more than 20 years. There is little doubt that he will coach for at least another 10 years. The question one has to ask is this: Will he spend the remainder of his coaching days in the WHL?

To date, Habscheid has had only one brief taste (2006-07) of the NHL, that as an associate coach, alongside head coach Dave Lewis, with the Boston Bruins. Peter Chiarelli, then the Bruins’ general manager, fired them after one season.

Perhaps Habscheid will end up as part of the management team with the NHL’s expansion Seattle franchise that is to begin play in 2021-22. When that organization starts hiring, it may take a look at the Vegas Golden Knights, see the number of former WHL head coaches involved there and decide to follow suit. Kelly McCrimmon, Mike Kelly, Ryan McGill, Bob Lowes, Kelly Kisio and Bruno Campese, each a former WHL head coach, all are on the Vegas payroll.

If Habscheid’s phone doesn’t ring and if he ends up staying in the WHL, and if Hay doesn’t get another head-coaching gig, you can bet Habscheid will end up with more regular-season victories than anyone else.

When would that happen? Perhaps sometime in 2025-26.

By that time, Habscheid might be the head coach of the WHL’s Abbotsford Aardvarks, or the Boise Bulls, or the Wenatchee Wings. Or he may still be in Prince Albert. Or perhaps he will settling comfortably in a new role as a pitchman for Dairy Queen.

No matter. It’ll be fun watching it all unfold.

There’s more on Habscheid right here in an interesting piece filed earlier this month by Mike Commito of Sportsnet.

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THE WHL’S 300 CLUB

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 500

9. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 495

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 386

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Mike Johnston (Portland) 348

21. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

22. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


F Logan Stankoven set a franchise single-game points record on Sunday, counting eight thompsonblazersof them as the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 10-0, in a B.C. Major Midget Hockey League game. . . . Stankoven scored three times and added five assists. . . . He leads the league in goals (43), assists (41) and points (84). His lead in the scoring race now is 34 points over F Tyler Crystal of the Vancouver North West Hawks. . . . According to a tweet from the team, Stankoven is one goal shy of the BCMMHL single-season goal record that is held by F Tyson Jost, who scored 44 times for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. . . . This was Stankoven’s third game of the weekend, after he played Friday and Saturday nights with the WHL’s Blazers, who selected him fifth overall in the WHLs 2018 bantam draft. This season, he has one assist in seven games with the Blazers. In Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets, head coach Serge Lajoie gave him third-period time with veterans Jermaine Loewen and Zane Franklin in an attempt to inject some life into a stagnant offence. The goals didn’t come, but the chances were there as Stankoven showed again that he is more than capable to making the jump to the WHL.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Riley McKay and F Chase Wouters had two goals each to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a Saskatoon6-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (34-13-8) has points in 10 straight games (8-0-2). It is second in the East Division, eight points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who have three games in hand. . . . Brandon (23-22-7) is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Blades took a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from McKay, at 9:23; F Kyle Crnkovic (7), on a PP, at 14:36; and Wouters, at 15:07. . . . The Wheat Kings got to within a goal in the second period as F Linden McCorrister (12) scored while shorthanded, at 0:32, and F Stelio Mattheos (33) scored on a PP, at 10:39. . . . Wouters countered with his 12th goal, at 11:22. . . . F Ridley Greig (11) pulled the Wheat Kings back to within a goal, again, at 13:29, on another PP. . . . Saskatoon put it away on third-period goals from D Dawson Davidson (11), on a PP, at 5:02, and McKay (11), into an empty net at 18:27. . . . Each team was 2-7 on the PP. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Max Gerlach. . . . G Jiri Patera returned from a leg injury to start for Brandon and stop 31 shots. He hadn’t played since being injured on Jan. 25. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 25 shots for Saskatoon. . . . The Blades were without F Kirby Dach, who left Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos after being struck by a puck in the throat area. Taking Note was told after Saturday’s game that Dach was taken from the game was only precautionary. Saskatoon next is to play Wednesday when it visits the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Blogger Darren Steinke was on hand for this one and his piece is right here.


G Carl Stankowski earned his first victory since Nov. 23 as the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarydumped the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-2. . . . Calgary (28-20-5) is fourth in the Central Division, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one in front of the Red Deer Rebels. Calgary does hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Moose Jaw (30-14-8) had won its previous two games. It is a comfortable third in the East Division. . . . The Warriors were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours; they went (2-1-0). . . . Stankowski was making his second appearance since suffering an ankle injury on Nov. 23 in a 5-2 victory over his former club, the Seattle Thunderbirds, in Kent. Wash. . . . On Sunday, Calgary took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Mark Kastelic (38), at 1:16, and F Tye Carriere (6), at 5:59. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (13) scored for Moose Jaw at 14:55. . . . Second-period goals by F James Malm (23), at 3:39, and F Kaden Elder (23), at 15:47, left Calgary with a 4-1 lead. . . . D Josh Brook (13) got the Warriors to within two, on a PP, at 1:40 of the third. . . . Calgary iced it as F Riley Stotts (17), at 4:33, and F Cael Zimmerman (7), at 14:46, scored. . . . The Hitmen got three assists from F Carson Focht. . . . G Brodan Salmond turned aside 33 shots for Moose Jaw.


F Andrew Fyten scored once and added two assists to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-EdmontonOilKings2 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Edmonton (30-16-8) is atop the Central Division, one point up on the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Regina (15-37-3) is 27 points out of a playoff spot with 13 games remaining. The host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament won’t be in the playoffs this time around. . . . The Pats went ahead 1-0 when F Austin Pratt (20) scored at 17:32 of the first period. . . . F Carter Souch (9) tied it 50 seconds into the second period and F Scott Atkinson (8) made it 2-1 at 1:52. . . . D David Kope (10) made it 3-1 at 6:25, giving Edmonton three goals in 5:35. . . . Fyten (13) upped the lead to 4-1 at 4:23 of the third period. He’s got five goals and nine assists in 20 games with Edmonton since being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos. . . . F Logan Nijhoff (5) scored for Regina, on a PP, at 9:13 of the third. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (29) of the Oil Kings closed out the scoring at 19:05. . . . The Oil Kings are 3-0-0 in the season series and have outscored the Pats, 16-4. Fix-Wolansky, who added an assist to his goal in this one, has two goals and eight assists in the series. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 34 saves, six fewer than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . Regina F Cole Dubinsky was back after serving a four-game suspension. . . . The Oil Kings welcomed back F David Kope and D Matthew Robertson from injury-related absences, while F Jake Neighbours served the second of a four-game suspension.


F Ryan Chyzowski scored the only goal of a five-round shootout to give the Medicine Hat Tigers Logo OfficialTigers a 2-1 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . Medicine Hat (31-18-5) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and three in front of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers went 3-0-1 in a four-game swing that included stops in Cranbrook, Everett and Kent, Wash. The only blemish was a 4-3 OT loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent. . . . Portland (33-16-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Both teams were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. The Tigers went (2-0-1), while the Winterhawks were (1-1-1). . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first period. He leads the WHL in goals (45) and points (93). . . . The Tigers tied it at 4:36 of the third when F Ryan Jevne (25) scored while shorthanded. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Søgaard made 28 saves through regulation time, then stopped four shots in OT and foiled five skaters in the shootout. . . . Portland got 38 saves from G Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks are without F Cody Glass (knee), who last played on Jan. 26, and D Brendan De Jong, who left Saturday’s 5-0 loss in Everett with an apparent injury to his left knee.


The Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Prince George VancouverCougars, 4-1, in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (37-13-3) has won five in a row. It will finish first in the B.C. Division, and now is one point behind the Everett Silvertips (38-13-2), who lead the Western Conference. . . . The Giants became the third WHL team — behind the Prince Albert Raiders and Everett — to clinch a playoff spot. Vancouver will be in the playoffs for a second straight season after missing three in a row. . . . Prince George (16-32-6) now has lost 13 in a row (0-10-3), the longest losing skid in the league this season. The Cougars are 10 points from a playoff spot. . . . F Ethan Browne (8) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:00 of the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (12) tied it 42 seconds into the second period. . . . Vancouver put it away with three third-period goals, from F Davis Koch (22), on a PP, at 7:06; F Justin Sourdif (15), at 11:35; and F Tristen Nielsen (10), at 15:24. . . . Vancouver D Bowen Byram, who had two assists, took a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner at 13:48 of the third period. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 32 shots for the Giants, while G Taylor Gauthier, back after being shaken up and leaving a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday, made 25 saves for Prince George. . . . The Giants dressed only 11 forwards and then lost Brayden Watts in the first period. “Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it looks,” head coach Michael Dyck told Postmedia’s Steve Ewen.


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Saturday night in the Dub . . . Evanoff sharp for Warriors . . . D-Jay spins hits for Royals . . . Wolf blanks Winterhawks


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period, and beat Saskatoonthe host Swift Current Broncos, 4-1. . . . Saskatoon (33-13-8) has points in nine straight (7-0-2). It leads the season series, 6-1-0. . . . The Blades are second in the East Division, six points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who have three games in hand. . . . Swift Current (10-38-4) has lost five straight (0-4-1). . . . While the Blades enjoyed Friday off, the Broncos played in Brandon and didn’t get home until 4 a.m. Because the Saturday game was part of a Hockey Day in Canada celebration in Swift Current, it started at 5 p.m. CT. . . . After a scoreless first period, F Gary Haden (26) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 9:29 of the second. . . . F Tyler Lees (2) tied it for the Broncos at 10:12. That was his first goal in nine games since the Broncos acquired him from the Victoria Royals with whom he had one goal in 27 games. . . . Saskatoon F Riley McKay broke the tie at 8:34 of the third period. He has nine goals in 54 games with the Blades, after totalling seven in 113 over two seasons with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Blades got insurance from F Max Gerlach (33), at 17:46, and F Cyle McNabb (6), into an empty net, at 19:41. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 24 shots for Saskatoon, 10 fewer than the Broncos’ Isaac Poulter. . . . Broncos D Matthew Stanley didn’t play after the first period, while Saskatoon F Kirby Dach, who will be a first-round selection in June’s NHL draft, left late in the second period after being struck by a puck in the throat area. A Blades official told Taking Note last night that Dach “will be fine” and that taking him out of the game was “precautionary.”


F Cole Fonstad broke a 5-5 tie at 13:32 of the third period as the Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertbeat the Hurricanes, 6-5, in Lethbridge. . . . Prince Albert (45-7-2) has won four in a row. It leads the Eastern Conference by 18 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Lethbridge (27-16-10) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). It is third in the Central Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and two behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The victory provided Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid with the 500th regular-season victory of his WHL career. . . . For someone who played the game with offensive flair, it was only fitting that Habscheid’s milestone victory should come in a game with 11 goals. . . . F Jake Elmer (22) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 5:42 of the first period. . . . The Raiders responded with three straight goals, from F Eric Pearce (6), at 12:40; F Parker Kelly (25), on a PP, at 1:48 of the second period; and Fonstad, again, at 7:25. . . . Lethbridge roared back with three goals of its own, from D Ty Prefontaine (2), at 8:59; D Igor Merezhko (4), at 13:53; and F Jake Leschyshyn, at 16:24. . . . F Sean Montgomery (22) got the Raiders into a 4-4 tie at 18:50. . . . Leschyshyn broke the tie with his 31st goal, shorthanded, at 5:57 of the third period. . . . The Raiders tied it at 6:05 as F Ozzy Wiesblatt (22) scored, on a PP. . . . Fonstad won it with his 26th goal of the season. . . . One night earlier, Fonstad had two goals and three assists in an 8-2 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. He now has 60 points, including 26 goals, in 54 games. . . . F Nick Henry had three assists for Lethbridge. . . . With G Ian Scott given the night off, Boston Bilous started for the Raiders and made 29 stops, two fewer than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . The Raiders also had F Tyson Laventure in their lineup. Laventure, who turned 16 on Jan. 28, is from Lloydminster, Alta., and plays for the OHA Edmonton prep team. He played in three games with the Raiders right before the Christmas break. Laventure was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . F Justin Nachbaur of the Raiders completed a three-game suspension by missing this one.


G Adam Evanoff stopped 47 shots to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 2-1 victory over MooseJawWarriorsthe Rebels in Red Deer. . . . Moose Jaw (30-13-8) has won two straight. It is third in the East Division, six points behind the Saskatoon Blades with three games in hand. . . . Red Deer (28-19-4) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. Red Deer also is fourth in the Central Division, four points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Warriors have been outshot 98-46 in their last two games, and have won both games. They beat the host Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3 in OT on Friday night, despite being outshot, 50-25. . . . F Brayden Tracey (24) got Moose Jaw’s first goal, at 13:03 of the second period. . . . F Tristin Langan (39) made it 2-0 at 16:44. . . . F Brett Davis (17) got Red Deer’s goal, but it didn’t come until 19:19 of the third period. . . . Red Deer was credited with winning 46 of the game’s 71 faceoffs. . . . Evanoff now is 15-8-3, 2.54, .919. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel broke the franchise’s career record for assists when he earned No. 162 on Davis’s goal. The previous record had been held by F Arron Asham (1994-98). . . . Warriors D Jett Woo missed this one as he completed a two-game suspension.


D Lassi Thomson scored twice and added an assist to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 4-1 KelownaRocketsvictory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Kelowna (23-26-5) has won two straight. It is third in the B.C. Division, six points behind the Victoria Royals and six ahead of Kamloops. . . . Kamloops (20-27-5) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is three points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who are in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Kamloops is 4-2-1 in the season series; Kelowna is 3-3-1. . . . F Mark Liwiski gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 9:18 of the first period but he needed video review to do it. It looked like the puck went off his leg as he kicked at it, which is legal in the WHL if the player is outside the crease. The call on the ice was ‘no goal,’ but that was overturned on review, giving Liwiski his fifth goal in 10 games. . . . One night earlier, Liwiski’s appeared to make contact with Prince George G Taylor Gauthier’s head in the third period of a 3-3 game in Kelowna. Gauthier had to leave the game, with Tyler Brennan, 15, coming on to make his WHL debut. Shortly after, Liwiski broke a 3-3 tie, at 12:10, and that goal stood up as the winner. . . . Thomson made it 2-0 at 1:21 of the second period, on a PP. . . . F Leif Mattson (19) upped it to 3-0, on another PP, at 9:38. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (20) got the Blazers’ goal, on a PP, with 0.9 showing on the clock. . . . Thomson put it away with an empty-netter at 19:58 of the third period. . . . An 18-year-old freshman from Finland, Thomson has 15 goals and 20 assists in 53 games. . . . Kelowna was 2-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-4. . . . The Rockets got 25 saves from G Roman Basran, while G Dylan Ferguson turned aside 30 shots for the Blazers. . . . F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 draft, played in his seventh game of the season with Kamloops because F Ryley Appelt (finger) isn’t yet ready to return. . . . Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi sat out as he completed a two-game suspension.


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F Matthew Wedman scored at 3:18 of OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 4-3 victory Seattleover the Medicine Hat Tigers in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (21-26-6) had lost its previous two games. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Medicine Hat (30-18-5) has points in four straight games (3-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers, who opened a U.S. Division swing with a 1-0 victory over the Everett Silvertips on Friday, held a 3-1 lead in this one. . . . They got their first goal from F James Hamblin (30), on a PP, at 8:15 of the first period. . . . F Andrej Kukuca tied it at 11:58 of the second. . . . Medicine Hat went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Tyler Preziuso (19), at 18:18 of the second, and F Ryan Chyzowski (19), at 4:51 of the third. . . . Kukuca (18) pulled Seattle to within a goal at 10:18, and D Jake Lee (4) tied it at 13:15. . . . Wedman won it with his 27th goal of the season. . . . Kukuca also had two assists, meaning he was in on all four Seattle goals. . . . The 19-year-old Slovakian freshman has 43 points in 47 games. . . . F Ryan Jevne had three assists for the Tigers. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 27 shots for Seattle, with Medicine Hat getting 36 stops from Jordan Hollett. . . . Seattle was without D Simon Kubicek, who left in the first period of Friday’s game, and remains without F Nolan Volcan, the team captain.


F Jack Finley scored twice to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-2 victory over the visiting SpokaneChiefsKootenay Ice. . . . Spokane (29-17-6) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kootenay (11-34-8) has lost three in a row. . . . The Chiefs swept the season series, 5-0-0; Kootenay was 0-4-1. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (8) and Finley gave the Chiefs an early 2-0 lead, with goals at 3:08 and 5:47 of the first period. . . . D Martin Bodak got the Ice on the scoreboard at 7:03. . . . Spokane got the next two goals, from F Riley Woods (26), on a PP, at 9:04, and Finley (8), at 4:34 of the second period. . . . Bodak (8) scored again at 8:52. . . . D Bobby Russell (4) rounded out the scoring for the Chiefs, at 18:03. . . . Russell, who played last season with Kootenay, has scored three of his four goals against the Ice.


The Victoria Royals broke a 1-1 with five straight goals, four of them in the second VictoriaRoyalsperiod, en route to a 7-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Victoria (27-22-3) is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets with two games in hand. . . . Tri-City (28-20-3) had won its previous three games. It is safely ensconced in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . F Igor Martynov (9) put the visitors out front at 3:21 of the first period. . . . F Connor Bouchard (5) tied it, on a PP at 9:23. . . . D Scott Walford (9) gave Victoria the lead back, at 11:41 of the first. . . . The Royals then took control on second period goals from F Phillip Schultz (12), at 5:06; F D-Jay Jerome, at 5:06 and again at 6:19; and F Kaid Oliver (23), at 17:06. The last two goals were via the PP. . . . Jerome now has 21 goals. Last season, he finished with one assist in 44 games — 31 with the Prince Albert Raiders and 13 with Victoria. This season, he has 37 points in 52 games. . . . In the third period, the Americans got goals from F Will Kushniryk (2), F Riley Sawchuk (6), while shorthanded, and F Samuel Huo (5). . . . F Kody McDonald (13) had Victoria’s other goal, on a PP. . . . Victoria was 3-6 on the PP; Tri-City was 1-2. . . . The Royals got three assists from D Jameson Murray, with Schultz adding two to his goal, and Jerome picking up one for a three-point night. . . . The Americans lost D Dom Schmiemann at 7:30 of the third period when he was given a major and game misconduct for becoming involved in a one-man fight. Chances are he will get a two-game suspension from the WHL.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 29 shots to record his sixth shutout of the season as the host EverettEverett Silvertips beat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-0. . . . Everett (38-13-2) leads the U.S Division by seven points over Portland. . . . With the victory, Everett clinched a playoff spot for the 16th straight season, meaning it has been in the playoffs in every season that it has been in the WHL. . . . The Winterhawks (33-16-5) are seven points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Everett leads the season series, 6-3-0; Portland is 3-5-1. . . . After a scoreless first period, the Silvertips struck four times in the second, including twice on the PP and once while shorthanded. . . . D Jake Christensen got it started, on a PP, at 5:31. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (30) scored while shorthanded at 14:27, and F Max Patterson (13) made it 3-0 on a PP at 18:49. . . . Christensen scored Everett’s last two goals, at 19:26 of the second and 8:08 of the third, the latter coming via a PP. He’s got 12 goals. . . . Not only did Christensen score his first career hat trick, it was the first three-goal game by a defenceman in franchise history. . . . F Zack Andrusiak helped out with three assists. . . . Wolf now has 10 career shutouts. This season, he leads the WHL in victories (34), GAA (1.77), save percentage (.933) and shutouts (6). . . . Portland was shut out for the first time this season. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 48 shots for Portland, which remains without F Cody Glass (knee). . . . The Winterhawks lost D Brendan De Jong to an apparent left knee injury in the first period. He wasn’t able to put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the ice following a hit into the end boards in Portland’s zone.

Rockets, Crickard part company . . . Raiders complete sweep of Wheaties . . . Americans beat ‘Canes in wild one


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The Kelowna Rockets and assistant coach Travis Crickard “have mutually parted ways,” KelownaRocketsaccording to a news release issued by the team late Saturday afternoon. . . . Crickard was in his fifth season with the Rockets. In his first season (2014-15) as an assistant coach and goaltending coach, the Rockets won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . Kris Mallette, the Rockets’ other assistant coach, also is in his fifth season. . . . The Rockets didn’t refer to hiring another assistant, but perhaps Adam Foote, who took over as head coach on Oct. 23, will be looking for someone with whom he is familiar.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Saturday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Saskatoon Blades scored four times in the second period en route to a 5-2 victory Saskatoonover the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Saskatoon (18-10-3) had lost 3-2 to the visiting Warriors on Friday. . . . Moose Jaw (16-7-5) had points in its previous two games (1-0-1). . . . The teams had been tied for second in the East Division going in, although Moose Jaw does have three games in hand. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (8) gave the Warriors at 2-1 lead at 17:34 of the first period. . . . The Blades responded with four second-period goals, from F Zach Huber (6), at 8:24; D Brandon Schuldhaus (4), at 10:58; F Gary Haden (8), at 11:14; and F Josh Paterson (9), at 15:57. . . . F Tristin Langan (21) scored Moose Jaw’s last goal, on a PP, at 6:36 of the third. . . . F Riley McKay scored his fifth goal for Saskatoon in his 31st game. Last seaosn, he finished with four goals in 62 games for the Spokane Chiefs. . . . G Dorrin Luding blocked 28 shots to record the victory. He is 4-2-1, 2.57, .927, with two victories in Moose Jaw. He had 24 saves in a 5-2 victory on Nov. 2. . . . Saskatoon took the game’s only minor penalty. . . . Tim Hunter, the Warriors’ head coach, now is off to join Canada’s national junior team, along with D Josh Brook. Hunter is Canada’s head coach. On-ice work begins Tuesday in Victoria. . . . The Blades are at home to the East Division-leading Raiders today in what will be the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both teams.


F Brett Leason ran his point streak to 30 games as the host Prince Albert Raiders beat the PrinceAlbertBrandon Wheat Kings, 5-2. . . . Prince Albert (28-1-1) now has points in 22 straight games (21-0-1). The Raiders are 14-0-0 at home. . . . Brandon (14-9-6) has lost two in a row. . . . The Raiders had won, 5-2, in Brandon on Friday night. . . . Leason drew an assist on the Raiders’ third goal, a PP score, and another one on their final goal, and now has at least one point in each game the team has played this season. The WHL record (56 games) was set by Raiders F Jeff Nelson in 1990-91. . . . The Raiders erased a 1-0 deficit with three goals on 24 second-period shots. . . . F Cole Fonstad tied it at 14:31, F Kody McDonald (6) gave the home side a 2-1 lead at 15:11 and F Sean Montgomery, on a PP, provided a 3-1 lead. . . . Montgomery has 13 goals in 30 games. He had 12 goals in 2015-16, 13 in 2016-17, and 12 last season. . . . F Luka Burzan (18) pulled Brandon to within a goal at 16:50 of the second. . . . Fonstad (10) got that one back at 1:56 of the third and F Noah Gregor, who also had two assists, made it 5-2 with his 14th goal at 14:30. That was the 100th regular-season goal of his career. . . . Brandon G Jiri Patera stopped 42 shots, three more than the Raiders’ Ian Scott. . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Cole Reinhardt as he served a one-game suspension for a boarding major and game misconduct that he incurred on Friday night. . . . F Bode Hagan, a 16-year-old from Alsike, Alta., made his Brandon debut. He was an eighth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. This season, he has five goals and 27 assists in 18 games with the Edmonton-OHA prep team. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at the game and filed this piece right here.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored 30 seconds into OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 EdmontonOilKingsvictory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Oil Kings (16-11-5) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Blazers have points in four straight (4-0-1). . . . F Jalen Luypen gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead with the Teddy Bear goal at 13:28 of the second period. The goal came on Edmonton’s 29th shot as the Oil Kings struggled to solve Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson, who was back after a three-game absence. . . . F Orrin Centazzo (9) tied it 1-1 at 18:41. . . . F Carter Souch gave Edmonton a 2-1 lead at 15:50 of the third period, only to have the Blazers tie it when F Martin Lang (5) scored with 12.7 seconds left in the period. . . . Fix-Wolansky won it with his 21st goal. . . . Ferguson finished with 37 saves. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen was ejected with a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 8:07 of the second period. Earlier this season, he served a four-game suspension for a headshot on Portland Winterhawks D Matthew Quigley in an Oct. 5 game.


F Ryan Jevne scored twice to help the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-2 victory over the Tigers Logo OfficialRegina Pats. . . . Medicine Hat (15-14-3) has won two in a row. . . . The Pats (8-22-1) have lost eight straight (0-7-1). . . . F Jadon Joseph (12) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 1:33 of the first period. . . . The Tigers went ahead 2-1 on goals from F James Hamblin (15), shorthanded, at 19:11 of the second and Jevne at 1:50 of the third. . . . F Sergei Alkhimov (7) tied it at 8:25. . . . The Tigers won it with goals 1:16 apart. F Logan Christensen (3) broke the tie at 13:38 and Jevne (14) added insurance at 14:54. . . . The Pats got 42 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Sogaard stopped 23 shots and earned his second WHL assist in three games. . . . Regina F Riley Krane was unsuccessful on a second-period penalty shot with his side leading, 1-0.


The line of Brandon Hagel, Cam Hausinger and Brett Davis combined for 11 points in Red Deerleading the Red Deer Rebels to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Rebels (19-9-2) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Broncos (5-23-2) have lost two in a row. . . . The Rebels held a 40-23 edge in shots, including 20-4 in the third period. . . . Hagel, who has 21 goals, scored twice and added two assists for the 12th four-point game of his career. . . . Davis scored his 10th goal and added three assists, and Hausinger scored twice, giving him 11, and added an assist. . . . Davis and Hausinger were acquired on Nov. 30 from the Kootenay Ice. . . . Red Deer grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period before F Alec Zawatsky (9) scored, on a PP, for the Broncos. . . . The Rebels promptly put it away with the next three goals — two from Hausinger and one from Davis. . . . Davis has three goals and five assists in four games with Red Deer, while Hausinger has three goals and an assist in two games.


G Shane Farkas stopped 22 shots to help the host Portland Winterhawks to a 3-0 victory Portlandover the Prince George Cougars. . . . Portland (18-10-2) has won four in a row, outscoring opponents 26-6 in the process. . . . Prince George (11-16-3) has lost two straight. . . . On Friday, the Winterhawks beat the visiting Cougars, 5-2. . . . Farkas has two shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . F Jake Gricius (14) opened the scoring at 16:38 of the first period. . . . F Ryan Hughes (10), on a PP, made it 2-0 at 13:40 of the second and F Jaydon Dureau (6) finished the scoring at 19:35. . . . Portland F Cody Glass had an assist to run his point streak to 16 games. He has eight goals and 26 assists over that stretch. . . . The Cougars were 0-6 on the PP. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Brendan De Jong, who didn’t finish Friday’s game. . . . F Jackson Leppard was back in the Cougars’ lineup after serving a one-game suspension.


G Dustin Wolf blocked 43 shots to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 2-1 victory over the EverettSeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Everett (24-7-1) has points in 10 straight (9-0-1). . . . The Thunderbirds now are 10-14-3. . . . The Silvertips are 3-0-0 in the season series. . . . This season, Wolf is 22-7-1, 1.90, .926. . . . F Sean Richards, who later was tossed from the game, opened the scoring at 16:25 of the first period. He’s got 10 goals. . . . F Nolan Volcan (7) pulled Seattle into a tie at 3:59 of the second. . . . F Max Patterson (9) won it when he scored on a breakaway at 7:46 of the third. That was Patterson’s first goal in his second game since being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos on Dec. 3. . . . Seattle was 0-2 on the PP; Everett was 0-1. . . . Richards was hit with a boarding major and game misconduct at 10:10 of the second period after a hit on D Loeden Schaufler. . . . This season, Richards already has served a five-game suspension for a headshot major against Seattle on Oct. 5. Last season, he drew a four-game sentence for a checking-from-behind major against Seattle on Feb. 16, two games after he took a match penalty against Swift Current on Jan. 21, and one game for a headshot major against Regina on Nov. 19.


F Eli Zummack scored in OT to give the host Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the SpokaneChiefsKootenay Ice. . . . The Chiefs (16-10-4) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice (7-20-6) has lost 11 straight (0-8-3). . . . F Peyton Krebs (12) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first period. Krebs also had two assists. He now has 35 points in 29 games. . . . Spokane D Bobby Russell, who was acquired from the Ice on June 25, scored the Teddy Bear goal at 2:05 of the second period. It was his third goal of the season. . . . F Jaeger White (12), who also had two assists, gave the Ice a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 11:06. . . . Spokane went ahead 3-2 on third-period goals from F Luc Smith (12), at 0:31 of the third period, and F Cordel Larson (5), at 3:13. . . . Kootenay tied it when F Brad Ginnell (6) struck with 8.6 seconds left in the third period. . . . Zummack won it with his ninth goal at 2:35 of extra time. He’s got a goal and five assists over his past two games.


F Isaac Johnson’s OT goal ended a wild affair and gave the Tri-City Americans an 8-7 tri-cityvictory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Tri-City (15-12-2) had lost its previous five games (0-3-2). . . . Lethbridge (15-9-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . The Americans ended up in OT despite having scored five second-period goals, three of them on the PP. . . . The teams combined for 15 goals on 87 shots, with 44 of those from the Americans, who went 3-6 on the PP. . . . Tri-City held a 7-4 lead after F Parker AuCoin (16) scored at 13:54 of the third period. . . . F Jake Elmer cut Lethbridge’s deficit to two at 14:22, and F Taylor Ross (17) made it a one-goal game just 37 seconds later. . . . Elmer completed a hat trick with his 15th goal at 17:49 to force OT. . . . Johnson won it with his 12th goal, at 1:10 of OT. . . . The Americans got for assists from F Krystof Hrabik, with F Nolan Yaremko scoring twice, giving him 15, and adding an assist. F Kyle Olson (6), AuCoin and D Aaron Hyman (7) each had a goal and two assists. . . . Olson’s score, on a PP at 1:39 of the second, was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . Elmer also had two assists, for a five-point night, while Ross added three assists to his goal, and F Dylan Cozens scored his 16th goal and had two assists. . . . Interestingly, both starting goaltenders went the distance. . . . Tri-City’s Beck Warm finished with 36 saves, one fewer than Lethbridge’s Reece Klassen. . . . There were 59 faceoffs in the game, with 14 of those following goals.


F Jared Dmytriw’s OT goal gave the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the visiting VancouverVictoria Royals. . . . Vancouver (21-6-2) has won seven straight. . . . Victoria (13-12-1) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Giants, who normally play in the Langley Events Centre, moved this one to their former home, Pacific Coliseum, for the Teddy Bear toss. . . . F Tarun Fizer (4) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 13:29 of the third period. . . . Just when it looked like the Giants might get blanked in a Teddy Bear game, D Bowen Byram (9) tied the game at 18:41. . . . It was Byram’s second straight Teddy Bear goal. . . . Dmytriw, the Giants captain and a former Royals skater, won it with his seventh goal at 3:02 of OT. Dmytriw also had the primary assist on Byram’s goal. . . . The Giants got 25 saves from G David Tendeck. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse stopped 36 shots. . . . The Royals went 1-3-1 on a five-game road trip that ended with this game. They were outscored 13-11 in the five games. . . . D Ralph Jarratt was back for a second straight game with the Royals. . . . With F Dawson Holt injured, the Giants had F Krz Plummer in the lineup. Plummer, 16, is from Whitecourt, Alta., and has nine goals and 15 assists in 21 games at the Delta, B.C., Hockey Academy. A third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, Plummer was pointless in one game with the Giants last season.


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Rockets deal for 20-year-old from Royals . . . Oil Kings win again . . . Brandon’s Burzan fills the net


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The Kelowna Rockets have acquired F Lane Zablocki, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 27, from the Victoria Royals. In exchange, the Royals got a conditional seventh-round selection in KelownaRocketsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. . . . The Royals’ news release indicated that both draft picks were conditional; the Rockets’ news release didn’t use the word ‘conditional.’ . . . The Royals got Zablocki from the Lethbridge Hurricanes at last season’s trade deadline, giving up a second-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, a conditional third-rounder in 2019 and a sixth-rounder in 2018. . . . He recorded one goal and five assists in 25 regular-season games with the Royals, then added two goals and an assist in 10 playoff games. . . . Zablocki also has played with the Regina Pats and Red Deer Rebels. In 201 regular-season games, he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Zablocki, from Wetaskiwin, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the 2013 bantam draft. The Detroit Red Wings selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . .

The Rockets were down to one 20-year-old for two weekend games in Prince George. They have been carrying two, but F Ryan Bowen was ill and didn’t play on the weekend. That left D Braydyn Chizen as the team’s lone 20-year-old. . . .

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, said that Zablocki isn’t expected to play “for another two weeks” as he recovers from an undisclosed injury. “He is just arriving back home to Regina from Detroit’s training camp where he was all summer,” Hamilton added, “and he will report to us on Monday.”

The Royals, meanwhile, have settled on F Dante Hannoun, D Ralph Jarratt and G Griffen Outhouse as their three 20s.

The Rockets snapped their season-opening four-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George on Saturday night. Kelowna went into this game having lost 12 straight — four playoff games, four exhibition games and the first four games of this regular season.


Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Friday night that D Bailey Dhaliwal had one arm in a sling after injuring a shoulder during a 3-1 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. Dhaliwal, 19, left the game in the first period. . . . He has a history of shoulder woes. He was limited to six games last season because of surgery. In 2016-17, he was able to play in only 29 games. . . . “We’re going to see where he’s at . . . but obviously I’m concerned,” Michael Dyck, the Giants’ head coach, told Ewen. “Anytime that shoulder is injured there’s a concern.” . . . Ewen has more on the Giants’ situation right here.


G Carl Stankowski is back in action after sitting out all of last season. You’ll recall that Stankowski, as a 16-year-old, was the story of the 2016-17 playoffs as he backstopped the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Ed Chynoweth Cup. But he didn’t play at all last season due to injury and illness. Now he’s back and playing with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Todd Saelhof of Postmedia has more right here.


SATURDAY NIGHT STUFF:

The Washington Capitals have signed F Riley Sutter of the Everett Silvertips to a three-year entry-level NHL deal. He is to turn 19 on Oct. 25. Sutter, who is back with the Silvertips, was a third-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2018 draft. His father, Ron, played 19 seasons in the NHL. . . . Last night, Sutter scored twice and added an assist to lead the visiting Silvertips to a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Each team scored twice via the PP. . . .

D Igor Merezhko of the Lethbridge Hurricanes was given a two-game suspension after he got tossed from Friday’s 8-4 victory over the Pats in Regina. Merezhko didn’t play in Lethbridge’s 8-4 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon and won’t play Friday against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Wheat Kings got four goals and an assist from F Luka Burzan as they built up a 7-0 second-period lead; he later added an empty-netter for a five-goal night, the first in the WHL this season. . . .

F Riley McKay scored in the 10th round of a shootout to give the host Saskatoon Blades a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Blades are 3-0-0 for the first time since 2011-12. Danish G Mads Søgaard, who stands 6-foot-7, made his first WHL start for the Tigers by stopping 39 shots. . . . The Blades had F Josh Paterson back in the lineup after he missed two games last weekend after taking a high hit from D Parker Gavlas of the visiting Regina Pats in an exhibition game on Sept. 13. When Paterson sat out the first game, it ended a streak of 145 straight regular-season games played. Gavlas was hit with a six-game suspension for the hit. . . . Paterson had two assists and was chosen the game’s first star. . . .

D Jared Freadrich, playing in his 200th regular-season game, had a goal and three assists as the Portland Winterhawks scored three PP goals and won their home-opener, 4-2, over the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Winterhawks got three assists from F Cody Glass, with linemate  Joachim Blichfeld getting a goal and two assists. . . . The Winterhawks next play on Wednesday (and Friday) when they visit the Blazers in Kamloops. This will be the return of Portland assistant coach Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history who spent the previous four seasons with the Blazers. . . .

F Parker Kelly scored the game’s last two goals as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders erased a 5-2 deficit late in the third period and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-5. Moose Jaw D Brandon Schuldaus completed a three-game suspension left over from last season. He was suspended after taking a match penalty in a playoff game against Swift Current on April 16. . . . F Brayden Tracey, the 21st overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft, scored his first two WHL goals for the Warriors. Tracey, 17, is from Calgary. He had two assists in five games last season. This season, he had been pointless in two games. . . .

The host Victoria Royals erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits, the latter in the second period, en route to a 6-3 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. The Royals had beaten the Blazers, 3-2, on Friday night. Victoria G Griffen Outhouse stopped 71 of 76 shots (.934) in the two victories. . . . Kamloops scratched sophomore F Connor Zary (ill) last night. . . . The Royals went 4-0-0 on a season-opening four-game homestand. . . .

The Swift Current Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, avoided a third straight shutout as they slipped to 0-4-0 by losing 5-2 to the Rebels in Red Deer. The Broncos have been outscored, 20-3. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs won their home-opener, getting two goals and an assist from Riley Woods in a 6-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. One night earlier, the Chiefs came out of Cranbrook with a 7-4 victory over the Ice. . . . D Ty Smith had one assist and was plus-3 in his first game with the Chiefs since returning from the camp of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils with a three-year entry-level deal in his hip pocket. . . .

The visiting Edmonton Oil Kings skated to a 6-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen, improving to 5-0-0 in the process. This is the first time in the franchise’s modern history, starting in 2007-08, that the Oil Kings have opened with five straight victories. . . . The Hitmen, who were 6-0-0 in the exhibition season, are 0-3-0. . . . This was the first meeting between these teams this season. During the offseason, the Oil Kings fired head coach Steve Hamilton and the Hitmen hired him.


If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players.


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Meier takes three Stanley Cup rings into retirement . . . Broncos lose scouts, associate coach . . . News on two WHL trades

NOTE: Updated to include resignation of Swift Current Broncos associate coach Ryan Smith.


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Meierrings
Wayne Meier’s three Stanley Cup rings.

Wayne Meier, a longtime WHL and NHL scout, has told Taking Note that he is “ending my career and off to retirement.” . . . Meier, from Edmonton, has scouted, mostly in the west, for more than 45 years, spending 31 seasons working for NHL teams. . . . He started his scouting career with the Portland Winter Hawks in 1976. He went on to spend a total of 10 seasons with Portland, and was the director of player personnel for seven of those seasons. . . . He also worked in the NHL as a scout with the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . He spent the past 12 seasons with the Penguins, so was part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams.


There have been rumblings out of Swift Current for the past while that there was going to be some upheaval in the Broncos’ scouting department following the signing of Dean SCBroncosBrockman as director of hockey operations and head coach.

The above tweet from veteran scout Brian Leavold would seem to signal that something is happening as he indicates that he is leaving the staff “as have many others.”

There has yet to be an announcement from the Broncos on the state of their scouting staff, but all names have been deleted from the team’s website. As well, one person familiar with the WHL scouting fraternity has told Taking Note that “I believe they all have quit.”

The Broncos won the WHL championship on May 14, and Manny Viveiros, the team’s director of player personnel and head coach, left shortly after to join the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers as an assistant coach.

Brockman was named the director of hockey operations and head coach on June 27.

One day before that, Jamie Porter, the Broncos’ assistant general manager and director of hockey operations, announced that he would be leaving the organization at the end of July. Porter had been with the Broncos since signing on as a scout in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Broncos also have lost a member of their coaching staff with the resignation of Ryan Smith, who had been their associate coach.

Smith had been the Humboldt Broncos’ general manager and head coach when he left three years ago to join Swift Current as associate coach.

In Humboldt, Smith, who had been the head coach of the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers, took over from Brockman, who had been there for 16 years before signing on as an assistant coach with the Saskatoon Blades.

Jamie Heward, the director of player development and head coach, is still with the team, although Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted this week that the Vancouver Giants “are talking” to Heward “about being assistant coach.”

As Ewen pointed out, Heward and Michael Dyck, the Giants’ new head coach, were teammates with the Regina Pats “in the late 1980s.”



The Saskatoon Blades have acquired veteran F Riley McKay, 19, from the Spokane Chiefs Saskatoonfor a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft and a seventh-round pick in 2020. . . . From Swan River, Man., MacKay has played two seasons with the Chiefs, putting up seven goals and 15 assists. . . . McKay is one of the WHL’s toughest players and you can bet that Mitch Love, the Blades’ first-year head coach, saw a lot of him while he was an assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips. In other words, you can bet that this deal has Love’s stamp of approval.


The Spokane Chiefs have acquired F Michael King, 18, from the Kootenay Ice for a conditional fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . King was selected by the Ice in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . King, from Winnipeg, had eight goals and seven assists in 56 games as a sophomore with the Ice last season. In his freshman season, he had two goals and seven assists in 66 games.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed F Vladimir Alistrov to a WHL contract. From Belarus, he was selected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. Last season, he had 31 goals and 39 assists while splitting 50 games with Team Belarus’s U-17 and U-18 teams. He also had three goals and four assists for Team Belarus at the IIHF’s U-18 World championship.


John Dean is the new head coach of the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds. Dean, 37, is the reigning coach of the year in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, where he guided the Toronto Patriots to a 40-8-3-3 record. . . . He spent three seasons (2014-17) as an assistant coach with the OHL’s North Bay Battalion. . . . Dean takes over from Drew Bannister, who left the Greyhounds to become the head coach of the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues.


Tweetoftheday

Dorothy and I live on Shuswap Road, about 20 km east of Kamloops. This fire, which started at 20 hectares and quickly grew to 400, was about 10 km west of us and we were never in any danger. As the fire burned, it moved north and west, but the crews did a tremendous job of keeping it away from homes and other structures.

It was a reminder, though, that it was one year ago when we were blanketed by smoke in what turned out to be an ugly summer.

Here’s hoping that we aren’t in for a repeat performance.

If you are interested in more photos and some terrific videos of planes fighting the fire, just go to Twitter and do a search for ‘Shuswap Road.’

Let’s help Hirsche leave his legacy . . . No playoffs so Blades fire Brockman . . . Second season next for WHL

Scattershooting

Scattershooting . . . following the end of another WHL regular season:

I don’t think there is a playoff format out there that would make everyone happy. But you are free to ask about the fairness of the format now being used by the WHL. Under it, eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. But the Saskatoon Blades, with the seventh-most points in the 12-team Eastern Conference, didn’t make it.


The Blades also finished with more victories (35) than two Eastern Conference teams that did qualify — the Prince Albert Raiders (32) and Red Deer Rebels (27). So what happened to the Blades? They got bit in the ass by the dreaded loser point. The Blades finished with four of them, while the Raiders and Rebels each finished 13.


The Blades, of course, fired head coach Dean Brockman on Sunday morning. You are free to discuss among yourselves if he lost his job because of the playoff format.


If the WHL playoff format called for the top eight teams in each conference to qualify, the Red Deer Rebels would have been on the outside, instead of preparing for a first-round set-to with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Had the Rebels missed, do you suppose the general manager would have fired the head coach? Hey, just asking.


Perhaps during the off-season the WHL pooh-bahs will take a look at a format that rewards losing in such a grand fashion. . . . Perhaps they also will take a serious look at banning fighting, because the time is long past for adults to stop allowing teenagers to punch each other in the face. There simply is too much evidence that cumulative blows to the head simply aren’t good for the brain. . . . And while they’re at it maybe they’ll get rid of that stupid trapezoid behind each goal and allow the goaltenders to get back to handling the puck.


Jayden Halbgewachs of the Moose Jaw Warriors is the WHL’s 2017-18 scoring champion, thanks to 129 points. The last time one of the Warriors won the WHL scoring title? Troy Brouwer, in 2005-06, with 102 points. Of course, Halbgewachs also led the WHL in goals, with 70. . . . In his past two seasons, Halbgewachs put up 230 points, 120 of them goals, in 143 games.


The Warriors acquired Halbgewachs from the Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 6, 2012. The Blazers had selected him 19th overall in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. They acquired D Joel Edmundson and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft for D Tyler Bell, then, 18, Halbgewachs, who was 15, and a first-round selection in the 2015 draft. . . . That first-rounder turned out to be the fourth-overall pick and the Warriors used it to take D Jett Woo, who might be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Kamloops later traded the fourth-round pick and a sixth in 2017 to Calgary for F Mike Winther, a 20-year-old who played 39 games with the Blazers before being dealt to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmundson played 34 regular-season and 15 playoff games with the Blazers, helping them to the Western Conference final where they lost in five games to the Portland Winterhawks.


Is it fair that Winnipeg is home to Canada’s best football play-by-play man — Bob Irving of CJOB — and a hockey play-by-play voice — TSN’s Dennis Beyak — who is at the top of his field, too?


Thank you to everyone who has stopped by here or at one of the earlier homes of Keeping Score. We have had a good time over the past few years and it’s been a great ride, but I have decided to step back.

I have been writing about the WHL for a long time and it’s time. There is no other reason for this decision than that — it simply is time.

I have been writing for 45 years, so I am sure that I will continue to post on this blog, but not in anything resembling a daily fashion. Nor will I be doing WHL roundups or reporting regularly on WHL-related news.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be behind the cover of a book. First up, it’s Roy MacGregor’s Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada, then Father Bauer and the Great Experiment, by Greg Oliver, and the just-published A Matter of Confidence: The Inside Story of the Political Battle for B.C., by journalists Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman.

And, of course, the baseball season is about upon us.

So . . . farewell, stay safe and, please, if you haven’t already, take a few minutes and think about signing on as an organ donor.


ThisThat

Two years ago, Brock Hirsche, the captain of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. That was one year after two other team members had been diagnosed with it. They both were able to beat it.

It looked like Hirsche had beaten it, too, but it wasn’t to be. The cancer is back and has spread. Treatment has been unsuccessful and Hirsche has been told his cancer is terminal.

Hirsche, 26, is from Lethbridge. He played four seasons (2009-13) with the Prince George Cougars, wearing an ‘A’ for two seasons and serving as captain in his final season. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to 26 games over his last two seasons.

He moved on to the U of L and was the Proghorns’ captain in 2015-16, his third season there.

He didn’t play last season and, of course, didn’t play this season.

So what did he do after getting the latest diagnosis? He started a scholarship fund in his name.

“He wants to leave a legacy behind,” Pronghorns head coach Spiros Anastas tells Taking Note. “It’s a testament to the type of person he is. In one night we raised $11,000.”

If you would like to help, the link is right here. The U of Lethbridge will provide tax receipts.


The Saskatoon Blades announced Sunday morning that they had fired head coach Dean Brockman “effective immediately.”

The move came the morning after the Blades ended their season with a 5-4 victory over Saskatoonthe visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

Brockman had two seasons left on a multi-year contract extension that was announced on Aug. 24.

The Blades finished 35-33-4, as they missed the playoffs for a fifth straight season, the last two under Brockman. He spent two seasons on the coaching staff as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach.

“While this was a difficult decision for us to make, we felt our performance over the last month of the season was very disappointing and the team did not meet the expectations we set out for them,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said in a news release. “We have been in a playoff position two years in a row coming down the stretch and just haven’t been able to take that next step, which ultimately led us to this decision.”

The news release didn’t make any mention of the status of assistant coaches Ryan Keller and Bryce Thoma, both of whom also are signed through 2019-20.

The Blades seemed to be comfortably in the conference’s second wild-card spot on Feb. 20, when they led the Raiders by eight points. The Raiders then went on a 9-0-2 rip, while the Blades were going 2-6-1. With everything decided, the Blades closed out the season by beating the Raiders twice.

The Blades were 63-68-13 over the past two seasons. Brockman is credited with 62 of those victories; he missed one while attending a funeral.

Priestner and Steve Hildebrand, the associate general manager, held exit interviews with the players on Sunday. Three players were provided to the media for interviews.

Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ veteran radio voice, reported at dubnetwork.ca that F Chase Wouters, when asked if he was surprised by the firing, “stammered” and said: “I actually can’t comment on that, sorry.”

According to Lazaruk, team captain Evan Fiala responded with: “Sorry, no comment on it.”

F Braylon Shymr said, “Yeah, definitely surprised.” But he quickly added: “No further comments other than that.”

Lazaruk’s story is right here.

Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at Priestner’s media availability and offered up this entry right here.


The U of Alberta Golden Bears, with a roster comprising former WHL players, won their 16th Canadian university men’s hockey championship Sunday, beating the St. Francis Xavier U X-Men, 4-2, in Fredericton, N.B. . . . D Will Tomchuk, who played in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and Prince George Cougars (2012-15), scored his only goal of the season at 4:18 of the second period and it stood up as the winner. That goal snapped a 2-2 tie as the Golden Bears erased a 2-0 deficit. . . . Alberta’s other goals came from F Stephane Legault (Edmonton Oil Kings, 2009-13), F Luke Philp (Kootenay Ice, Red Deer Rebels, 2011-2016) and F Jamie Crooks (Saskatoon Blades, Chilliwack Bruins, Victoria Royals, 2008-13). . . . G Zach Sawchenko, who joined the Golden Bears rather than return for a 20-year-old season with the Warriors this season, earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . Jason Hills of Postmedia has more right here.


The Kamloops Blazers’ season came to an end with a 6-5 shootout victory over the host Prince George Cougars on Saturday night.

The victory snapped a five-game skid for the Blazers and left head coach Don Hay with whl750 career regular-season victories. Earlier in the season, Hay broke the record of 741 that had been held by Ken Hodge since he retired after the 1992-93 season.

Unfortunately for Hay, after he broke Hodge’s record, the Blazers weren’t able to gain traction and they finished 7-14-2, which wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs.

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (following 2017-18):

1. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 750

2. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 720

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 468

9. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

11. Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

12. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 456

      Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 456

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 356

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326

23. Mike Johnston (Portland) 315

——

Victory totals of the remaining head coaches who finished the 2017-18 regular season:

John Paddock, Regina 165

Tim Hunter, Moose Jaw 145

Brent Kisio, Lethbridge 121

Steve Hamilton, Edmonton 110

Dan Lambert, Kelowna, Spokane 93

Jason Smith, Kelowna 88

Emanuel Viveiros, Swift Current 85

David Anning, Brandon, 79

Richard Matvichuk, Prince George 69

Dean Brockman, Saskatoon 62

Jason McKee, Vancouver 56

Dennis Williams, Everett 47

Dan Price, Victoria 39

Matt O’Dette, Seattle 33

James Patrick, Kootenay 27

Dallas Ferguson, Calgary 23



JUST NOTES . . .

F Alec Baer, who played out his 20-year-old season with the Kootenay Ice, will be joining the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. Baer, who is from St. Louis Park, Minn., finished this season with 30 goals and 31 assists in 72 games. . . . He played 342 regular-season games — he also skated with the Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes — and finished with 187 points, including 86 goals. . . .

Everett’s last goal of the regular season, in an 8-1 victory over the host Victoria Royals on Saturday, was scored by F Matt Fonteyne, with assists to F Patrick Bajkov and D Kevin Davis. They are the club’s three 20-year-old players. . . .

Not to be outdone, the Seattle Thunderbirds got one goal from each of their 20-year-olds — D Austin Strand, D Turner Ottenbreit and F Donovan Neuls — in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. . . .

A tweet from Caden Fanshaw (@cfanner4) of Prince George’s front office, points out that Cougars F Jared Bethune “has only missed one regular-season game in the past three seasons, and played every playoff game possible in his career. That’s a combined 230 of 231 possible games.” . . .

Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald points out that the Silvertips won their third U.S. Division title in the last four years “and sixth in the franchise’s 15-year history, but the first without Kevin Constantine as head coach.” . . .

F Cohner Saleski, who is from Saskatoon, made his WHL debut with the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night. Yes, he had family in attandance. In fact, according to a tweet from Jeff Helperl, Saleski’s father went home with a cool $53,250 in his jeans after winning the 50/50 draw.


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Calgary, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored five PP goals in the first period en route to a 7-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Neither Edmonton (22-42-8) nor Calgary (24-37-11) EdmontonOilKingsqualified for the playoffs. . . . Calgary went 3-2-1 in the season series; Edmonton was 3-3-0. . . . F Riley Stotts (19) gave the Hitmen the lead just 49 seconds into the first period. . . . It didn’t last long. . . . F Tomas Soustal got Edmonton’s first PP goal, at 5:47, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (32) put the Oil Kings ahead at 10:00. . . . Soustal (22) added a second goal at 12:41, and F Brett Kemp (17) made it 4-1 at 13:04. . . . D Matthew Robertson upped it to 5-1 at 17:54. . . . F Cael Zimmerman (7) got the Hitmen to within three goals, on a PP, at 19:38. . . . Robertson’s second goal of the game, and seventh of the season, put Edmonton ahead 6-2 at 16:34 of the second period. . . . Calgary D Egor Zamula (2) struck on a PP at 0:17 of the third period, before Edmonton F Colton Kehler (32) closed out the scoring on, yes, another PP, at 7:57. . . . The Oil Kings got two assists from each of F Jake Neighbours and Kemp, with one each going to Soustal, Robertson, Kehler and Fix-Wolansky. . . . Neighbours, the fourth overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, recorded four assists in 11 games with the Oil Kings. . . . Stotts added an assist to his goal for Calgary. . . . Edmonton finished 6-7 on the PP; Calgary was 2-6. . . . The WHL record for PP goals by one team in a single game is 10. The Tri-City Americans set that mark on Sept. 30, 1990, in a 16-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Cougars. . . . The Oil Kings got 34 stops from G Todd Scott, while Nick Schneider blocked 19 for the Hitmen. . . . Announced attendance: 13,075.


At Portland, F Riley McKay scored the only goal of a four-round shootout to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Spokane (41-25-6) finished third SpokaneChiefsin the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland (44-23-5). . . . The Winterhawks won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . These teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs, starting Saturday in Portland. . . . McKay opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season, at 9:46 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks scored the next four goals, the first three coming in the second period from F Mason Mannek (10), at 2:48; F Kieffer Bellows (41), at 12:15; and F Skyler McKenzie (47), at 16:07. . . . F Ryan Hughes (17) upped the lead to 4-1 at 2:11 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs got three goals in the last nine minutes of the period. . . . F Jake McGrew (19) scored, on a PP, at 11:43, and F Milos Fafrak (9) moved the visitors to within a goal at 12:20. . . . D Nolan Reid (14) tied it, 4-4, on a PP, at 19:39. . . . McGrew also had an assist. . . . Spokane was 2-3 on the PP; Portland was 0-3. . . . G Donovan Buskey earned the victory with 33 saves, 14 more than Portland’s Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Lukus MacKenzie, who is injured, along with F Alex Overhardt and D Brendan De Jong. . . . Among Spokane’s scratches were F Kailer Yamamoto, who missed his third straight game, G Dawson Weatherill, F Zach Fischer (undisclosed injury), D Ty Smith, F Hudson Elynuik and D Dalton Hamaliuk. . . . With all the scratches, the Chiefs had 11 freshmen in their lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 8,170.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Nolan Yaremko and F Parker AuCoin each scored twice to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Tri-City (38-25-TriCity309) is the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will open the playoffs in Kelowna on Thursday, against the Rockets, who finished atop the B.C. Division. . . . Seattle (34-28-10) will meet the U.S. Division-winning Everett Silvertips. That seres starts Friday in Everett. . . . Tri-City finished 6-3-1 in the season series with Seattle, which was 4-4-2. . . . On Sunday, Yaremko gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 3:55 of the first period, only to have Seattle F Zack Andrusiak (36) tie it at 5:06. . . . The Americans went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from D Jake Bean (12), at 13:41, and Yaremko (22), at 19:51. . . . Seattle got to within a goal when F Dillon Hamaliuk (15) scored, shorthanded, at 7:13 of the third period. . . . AuCoin iced it with two PP goals, at 7:57 and 15:10. He finished with 19 goals. . . . The Americans got two assists from D Juuso Valimaki, and one each from Bean and Yaremko. . . . Tri-City was 2-8 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . G Patrick Dea started for the Americans and stopped nine of 10 shots in 31:26. Beck Warm finished up by allowing one goal on 10 shots in 28:33. . . . G Dorrin Luding blocked 37 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . F Michael Rasmussen, F Max James and D Dylan Coghlan were among Tri-City’s scratches. . . . Seattle scratched D Turner Ottenbreit, F Noah Philp, who left Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury, F Donovan Neuls, F Tyler Carpendale and F Nolan Volcan, along with F Blake Bargar (undisclosed injury). . . . Announced attendance: 3,708.


END OF REGULAR SEASON


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