Colina tells his mental health story. . . . Teams prepped for import draft. . . . Gustafson, Hay back with Winterhawks


MacBeth

F Robin Soudek (Edmonton, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-12) has signed a one-year contract extension with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). Last season, in 35 games, he had 32 goals and 37 assists. He tied for the league lead in goals and was fourth in points. . . .

F Lane Scheidl (Vancouver, Red Deer, Regina, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, in 57 games, he had 20 goals and 16 assists. . . .

G Jordon Cooke (Kelowna, 2010-14) has signed a one-year contract with Gyergyói HK Gheorgheni (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, in 35 games with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he was 18-13-4, 2.75, .909, with two shutouts. . . .

D Eric Roy (Brandon, 2010-15) has signed a one-year contract with Corona Brașov (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he had one goal and three assists in eight games with the Allen Americans (ECHL), two goals and three assists in 30 games with the Wichita Thunder (ECHL), and four goals and nine assists in 25 games with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL). . . .

F Greg Scott (Seattle, 2005-09) has signed a three-year contract with Byrnäs Gävle (Sweden, SHL). Last season, with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL), he had nine goals and eight assists in 45 games. He was an alternate captain. . . . Scott played three seasons wth Brynäs before playing the past three seasons with CSKA. . . .

F Nikita Scherbak (Saskatoon, Everett, 2013-15) has signed a three-year contract with Avangard Omsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one goal in five games with the Laval Rocket (AHL), one goal in eight games with the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), and four goals and seven assists in 23 games with the Ontario Reign (AHL). . . .

F Cam Braes (Lethbridge, Moose Jaw, 2007-12) has signed a one-year contract with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). Last season, he had three goals and two assists in 16 games with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga), and eight goals and five assists in 22 games with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). . . .

F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) has signed a one-year contract with the Leeds Chiefs (England, National). Last season, with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite), he had 10 goals and seven assists in 46 games. . . .

F Robin Figren (Calgary, Edmonton, 2006-08) has signed a one-year contract with Kloten (Switzerland, NL). Last season, in 50 games with HV71 Jönköping (Sweden, SHL), he had 15 goals and 15 assists.


ThisThat

F Ilijah Colina was just days from his 19th birthday when, in his third WHL season, he left the Prince George Cougars and went home. At the time, the Cougars said it was for “personal reasons.” . . . It later came out that Colina was struggling with mental illness. He recently sat down at a keyboard and told his story, something that should be mandatory reading for anyone involved not just in hockey but in any kind youth sport.

Here is part of what Colina wrote:

“During my recovery (from a concussion) my depression was reaching a point to where I felt attacked. I was lonely, as all I could do was lay in bed for the next 2 weeks. I questioned my existence and I wanted to kill myself. I felt my presence was not needed and that I would only hurt people with the negative energy I was creating. I had no control of anything. What came out is what I was truly thinking at the time. I remember crying in my bed, night after night. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared of my own mind and was worried for myself. It was like there was another person in the room trying to harm me. I didn’t know how to deal with it, it was horrifying.”

His complete essay is right here.


The Swift Current Broncos will be picking first overall this morning when the CHL’s 2019 CHLimport draft gets started. The Broncos, who had the WHL’s poorest record last season, cleared room for one pick by releasing Finnish D Roope Pynnonen, 18. . . . A freshman last season, Pynnonen was pointless in 44 games. . . . The Broncos’ other import is Finnish F Joona Kiviniemi, who will turn 18 on Dec. 17. Last season, his first in the WHL, he had 16 goals and nine assists in 25 games.

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The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders are expected to make one selection in the import draft, even though they have two Belarusians on their roster — F Aliaksei Protas, 18, and D Sergei Sapego, who is to turn 20 on Oct. 18. . . . Protas was selected by the Washington Capitals in the third round of the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . Because Sapego would be playing in his 20-year-old season, the Raiders are allowed to make one selection, even with him on their roster.

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The Everett Silvertips are expecting Slovakian F Martin Fasko-Rudas, 19, to return for a third season with them. So they will be making one selection in today’s import draft. . . . Fasko-Rudas had 15 goals and 16 assists in 60 regular-season games. He then added four goals and five assists in 10 playoff games. . . . In 2017-18, as a freshman, he had six goals and nine assists in 70 regular-season games. . . . Russian D Artyom Minulin, the other import on Everett’s roster at the end of last season, has played out his junior eligibility. . . .

A tip of the Taking Note fedora to the Silvertips, the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams to have their early 2019-20 pre-season roster available on the WHL website as of Wednesday night.

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The Portland Winterhawks are expected to make two selections in the import draft, after having released Czech F Michal Kvasnica, 19. . . . In his lone WHL season, Kvasnica had eight goals and 12 assists in 20 games. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld was Portland’s other import player last season. The Dane won the WHL scoring title in what was his 20-year-old season. . . . Having released Kvasnica, the Winterhawks will be eligible to pick twice today.

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The Spokane Chiefs will be able to make two selections in the import draft after releasing Russian D Egor Arbuzov, 18. He had four goals and nine assists in 58 games as a freshman last season. . . . Czech D Filip Kral, 20, remains on the Chiefs’ roster. Kral was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. Because he is 20, the Chiefs will be allowed to make two selections today.

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The Tri-City Americans revealed on Wednesday that Russian D Roman Kalinichenko, who will turn 19 on July 6, won’t be returning to the WHL after signing with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). He played two seasons with the Americans, scoring one goal and adding nine assists in 44 games as a freshman, then putting up two goals and seven assists in 67 games last season.

Czech F Krystof Hrabik, the other import on Tri-City’s roster, is heading into his 20-year-old season. As a freshman last season, he had 21 goals and 30 assists in 63 games. Because Hrabik will be 20, the Americans will be permitted to make two selections in today’s import draft.

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The Brandon Wheat Kings, with one import on their roster, are expected to make two selections in the import draft. Czech G Jiri Patera, 20, is the only import on Brandon’s roster; in fact, he was the only import used by Brandon last season. . . . Because he is 20, the Wheat Kings are free to select an import in case Patera ends up starting his professional career and doesn’t return to Brandon.

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The Moose Jaw Warriors are expected to make one selection in the import draft after releasing Belarusian F Yegor Buyalski, 18, who had six goals and eight assists in 66 games in his only WHL season. . . . The Warriors’ roster also includes two other Belarusians — F Daniil Stepanov, 18, and D Vladislav Yeryomenko, 20, who was acquired from Calgary on May 2 in a deal that had D Jett Woo join the Hitmen.

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The Red Deer Rebels haven’t yet received a commitment from Russian F Oleg Zaytsev, 18, Red Deerfor a second season, but have chosen to keep him on their roster and make one selection in today’s import draft. . . . In his final 31 Thoughts of the season, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wrote on Wednesday: “It was (Zaytsev’s) first season in North America, and while he petered out as the (season) continued, you could see the potential. Zaytsev went unselected last weekend, mainly because teams heard he will be signing an entry-level contract with the KHL. (Those contracts are also three years.) But, don’t be surprised if someone tries to get him as a free agent, therefore holding his rights until a return.” . . . Zaytsev’s play may have tailed off but he still put up 13 goals and 30 assists in 66 games as a 17-year-old freshman in a foreign country. . . . D Alex Alexeyev, who will turn 20 on Nov. 15, has played three seasons with the Rebels. A first-round pick by the Washington Capitals in 2018, has signed an NHL contract and is expected to at least start the season with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, if he doesn’t make the big club, that is.

——

The two-round import draft is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Eastern (8 a.m. Pacific).

The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs hold the No. 2 selection, followed by the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

If you are so inclined, you are able to follow the import draft right here.


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It’s looking more and more as though D Lassi Thomson, who played last season with the KelownaRocketsKelowna Rockets, won’t be returning to the WHL. Thomson was selected by the Ottawa Senators with the 19th overall pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft. This week, he is in Ottawa’s development camp. It seems that Thomson, 18, has two options — return to Kelowna or go home and play for Ilves, the pro team located in his hometown of Tampere. . . . On Wednesday, Thomson told Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch: “I think right now it’s back to Finland but you never know. We’ll see what they want. I think at this point it would be best for me to play against men.” . . . Trent Mann, Ottawa’s chief scout, said: “It’s a tough one because we’re told that he can play in the top pairing in the league in Finland. He’s going to get an opportunity to play with men in a pretty good league. Right now, that would probably be my guess of what he’ll end up doing. But a lot of things can change in the meantime.” . . . The Rockets will be permitted to pick twice in today’s import draft and keep Thomson on their roster, at least for now, because he was a first-round NHL draft pick. . . . Garrioch’s complete story is right here.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed Kyle Gustafson, their assistant general manager Portlandand associate coach, and assistant coach Don Hay to contract extensions. No contract details were revealed. . . . Gustafson is heading into his 17th season with the Winterhawks. He recently turned down a four-year contract offer to work as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers. Taking Note has been told that one of the things that figured into Gustafson’s decision to stay in Portland was that the Winterhawks “did a lot” to keep him. . . . Hay, who is the winningest head coach in WHL history, is going into his second season as an assistant coach alongside Mike Johnston, Portland’s vice-president, GM and head coach. Hay spent four seasons as the Blazers’ head coach before being ousted following the 2017-18 season.


TSN’s Kristen Shilton tweeted on Wednesday that F James Hamblin of the Medicine Hat Tigers Logo OfficialTigers, who is in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ development camp, went down with an injury to his “left knee/leg.” She added: “Hamblin clearly in a lot of pain, covering his head with his hands.” . . . Hamblin, 20, was taken from the ice on a stretcher with the leg immobilized. . . . Bobby Fox, the Tigers’ director of player personnel, late told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News that Hamblin underwent X-rays and that they came back negative. . . . Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun later reported that Hamblin suffered a “knee cap injury in an apparent skating mishap.” . . . Hamblin has played four seasons with the Tigers and was the team captain for the last two of them.


JUST NOTES:

Mitch Love, the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, is in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ development camp as a guest coach, as is Matt Anholt, who is a skills/development coach with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .

The WHL released its complete 2019-20 regular-season schedule on Wednesday. For details, visit your favourite team’s website. . . .

Hockey Canada has invited 44 players to a summer camp for the U-18 team that will play in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia, Aug. 5-10. . . . The camp is scheduled for Calgary, July 26-30. . . . Michael Dyck, the Vancouver Giants’ head coach, is Team Canada’s head coach, with Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, as one assistant. . . . There’s a news release and a link to the camp roster right here. . . .

A couple of former WHLers, both heading into their 20-year-old seasons, were involved in a junior A trade on Wednesday. The AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers dealt D Tylor Ludwar to the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins for F Tristyn DeRoose. Ludwar played 73 games with the Kamloops Blazers over three seasons (2016-19). DeRoose split 109 games between the Vancouver Giants and Moose Jaw Warriors (2015-19). . . .

The Halifax Mooseheads are looking for a head coach with Eric Veilleux having joined the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch as a head coach. Last season, the Mooseheads lost out in the QMJHL final and then were the host team for the Memorial Cup, where they were beaten in the championship game. . . . A coach since 2006-07, Veilleux spent one season in Halifax after having been the head coach of the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage for two seasons. . . .

The NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers have added Nick Schultz to their staff as a player development coach. Schultz, 36, is from Strasbourg, Sask. He played three seasons (1998-2001) with the Prince Albert Raiders and was the team captain in his final season there. He went on to play 1,066 regular-season NHL games, retiring after spending three seasons (2014-17) with the Flyers.


ThisThat

Source: BCHL takes over Warriors; Grimwood back as head coach . . . Chiefs trim two veterans from roster


MacBeth

D Nick Walters (Everett, Brandon, Lethbridge, 2010-15) had his tryout contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2) converted to a one-year contract after being granted German citizenship this week. Walters signed the tryout contract with conversion clause in July. . . . Last season, he had five goals and 14 assists in 50 games with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). . . .

F Robin Soudek (Edmonton, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). Last season, he had 17 goals and 17 assists in 42 games with Épinal (France, Ligue Magnus), and was pointless in one game with Eispiraten Crimmitschau (Germany, DEL2). . . .

D Cody Franson (Vancouver, 2003-07) signed a two-year contract with Avangard Omsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one goal and six assists in 23 games with the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), and nine goals and 19 assist in 37 games with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL).


ThisThat

With the regular season set to open with seven games on Friday night, the BCHL has taken over operation of the West Kelowna Warriors, a source familiar with the situation told Taking Note on Wednesday night.

At this point, it isn’t known how long this will be in place, but Warriors majority owner WestKelownaKim Dobranski isn’t pulling the strings, at least for now,

As well, Geoff Grimwood, who was dismissed as the general manager and head coach on Monday night, will be behind the bench when the Warriors open against the Smoke Eaters in Trail on Friday. Taking Note was told that a new contract for Grimwood was being drawn up on Wednesday.

This is the first real test for Chris Hebb, who is in his first season as the BCHL commissioner after taking over from the retiring John Grisdale. Hebb’s past includes a stint (2006-13) as the senior vice-president of content and communications with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Vancouver Canucks. He was heavily involved in media in both stops, so will have known the importance of acting quickly in this situation.

You can bet that that he and the board of governors also were aware that player agents already were calling other BCHL teams as they prepared to start requesting trades for clients on the Warriors’ roster.

It would appear that the BCHL also imposed a gag rule on the Warriors’ players. One player contacted on Wednesday told Taking Note: “I cannot comment on this matter at this time. . . . Thank you.”

All of this may explain why Dobranski didn’t introduce Jason Beckett as his new head coach on Wednesday.

Grimwood was named the interim general manager and head coach in a news release from the team on Aug. 21, which is when Rylan Ferster, the GM/head coach for the previous six seasons, left the organization. Under Ferster’s guidance, the Warriors won the national junior A championship in 2016.

It became known on Tuesday that Beckett, who had been coaching at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, was to take over as head coach. However, an announcement never was made.

On the ice, the Warriors players left the ice during Tuesday’s practice and didn’t return in protesting Grimwood’s dismissal. The players didn’t skate on Wednesday, instead going on a hike, which is where the photo that appears in the above tweet was taken. Cavin Tilsley, who tweeted that photo, is a 20-year-old forward from Delta, B.C., who was an alternate captain with the team last season.

Dobranski also dropped a Facebook post sometime on Wednesday in which he was critical of Wayne Moore, a former public address announcer with the Warriors who works for castanet.net. Moore wrote a story about the situation on Tuesday in which he revealed that Beckett was to be the new head coach. (As of Wednesday evening, Moore’s story had received more than 12,900 views, by far the most of any recent sports story on the site.)

The Facebook post disappeared sometime on Wednesday, but, as often happens, it lives somewhere on social media.


The Spokane Chiefs moved two veterans off their roster on Wednesday, as they placed F SpokaneChiefsCedric Chenier, 18, on their suspended list and released D Dalton Hamaliuk, 20. . . . Chenier, who had two goals and four assists in 37 games as a freshman last season, has left the team and returned home. “We are disappointed in his decision but wish him the best moving forward,” said Chiefs’ general manager Scott Carter in a news release. Chenier, from Winnipeg, was a ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . Hamaliuk, from Leduc, Alta., played 213 regular-season games over three seasons with the Chiefs. He had six goals and 31 assists in 37 points. He was a second-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Without Hamaliuk, the Chiefs are down to three 20-year-olds — F Jeff Faith, D Nolan Reid and F Riley Woods.


The Howard Johnson Harbourside Hotel in Nanaimo will close its doors for the last time on Oct. 31. The hotel is located in the downtown area and the property on which it sits once was suggested as a possible site for a 5,000-seat arena that would be home to a WHL franchise. . . . As Dominic Abassi of nanaimonewsnow.com writes: “In 2015, the hotel’s owner went public with intentions to build a new hotel and 5,000-seat arena on the land at the corner of Comox Rd. and Terminal Ave. But after an initial splash in local media, the plan was never seriously mentioned again.” . . . Abassi’s complete story is right here.


The American Hockey League released the prices for its AHL-TV package on Wednesday. A full-season all-access pass will set you back US$79.99, with monthly all-access going for $19.99, a daily all-access at $6.99. . . . A full season single team pass is going for $59.99, with home or away at $39.99.

As you can see from the above tweet, the AHL has cut its price by about 66 per cent over last season.

I couldn’t find WHL prices for its 2018-19 packages, but I believe last season’s all-access price was Cdn$319.95 for 792 regular-season games. This season, with teams’ schedules having been reduced from 72 to 68 games, that total would be 748 games.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


Tweetoftheday

Two WHLers get NHL deals . . . Warriors add first-rounder to their roster . . . Gilhooly writes about James, abuse


MacBeth

F Tomáš Plíhal (Kootenay, 2001-03) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Heilbronner Falken (Germany, DEL2) after being released  by mutual agreement by Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). He had three goals and 12 assists in 45 games, and was an alternate captain. . . . Znojmo has two games left in its playoff round and cannot advance. Heilbronn has two games left and is in the 10th and last playoff spot, three points ahead of 11th-place Weisswasser. If Znojmo doesn’t make the playoffs, Heilbronn will play in the ‘playdowns’ or relegation series. . . .

F Robin Soudek (Edmonton, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-12) has signed  a contract for the rest of the season with Eispiraten Crimmitschau (Germany, DEL2) after being released by mutual agreement from Épinal (France, Ligue Magnus). In 42 games, he had 17 goals and 17 assists. . . . Épinal has five games left in its playdown series and cannot be relegated. Crimmitschau has two games left, is in ninth place, and has either playoffs or playdowns remaining. . . .

D Alex Roach (Calgary, 2010-14) has been released by Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). He had three assists in 25 games. He also had two assists in eight games while on loan to Eispiraten Crimmitschau (Germany, DEL2).


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Vancouver Canucks have signed F Kole Lind of the Kelowna Rockets to a three-year entry-level NHL contract. Lind, 19, has 85 points, including 35 goals, in 51 games this season, his third in Kelowna. . . . He scored the game’s first three goals on Wednesday night in Prince George, but his Rockets went on to lose, 7-6 in OT, to the Cougars. . . . During his career, he has 214 points, including 79 goals, in 197 regular-season games. . . . From Shaunavon, Sask., Lind was a second-round pick by the Canucks in the 2017 NHL draft.


F Brayden Burke of the Moose Jaw Warriors has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. Burke was a free agent. This season, Burke, who turned 21 on Jan. 1, has 112 points, 81 of them assists, in 59 games. He is second in the WHL in assists and points. . . . Burke, who was never drafted by an NHL team, is from Edmonton. He has 337 points, 252 of them assists, in 236 regular-season WHL games. He also has played with the Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have added F Brayden Tracey to their roster for the remainder of the season. Tracey, 16, was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . From Calgary, he had 52 points, including 21 goals, in 30 games with the midget AAA Calgary Northstars this season, finishing third in the Alberta Midget Hockey League scoring race.


F Ryan Robinson, a 16-year-old from Plano, Texas, has committed to Arizona State for the 2020-21 season. Robinson has 19 goals and 23 assists in 36 games with the Dallas Stars U-16 team. . . . He was a seventh-round selection by the Everett Silvertips in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


Tyler Metcalfe was a terrific player through five WHL seasons, all of them with the Seattle Thunderbirds. These days, you are able to find Metcalfe coaching a high school team in Winnipeg — the Sturgeon Heights Huskies.

On Wednesday, the Huskies were involved in a game that ended prematurely when Metcalfe chose have it called.

“The game was getting out of control at that point, it seemed,” Metcalfe told CBC News. “It’s 5-0 and you don’t expect big hits to come when the game is essentially out of reach for us.

“I think it was the right call for all parties involved to call it quits at that point of the game. There’s nothing to gain other than to put more kids at risk.”

By that stage, one of Metcalfe’s players had left on a stretcher after behind hit from behind, and the St. Paul’s Crusaders also had a player who needed help getting back to the bench.

The full CBC story is right here.

The teams played the third game of the best-of three Tier 1 final on Thursday, with St. Paul’s winning, 2-1.


“More than 200 current and retired National Hockey League players have taken concerns about existing or potential brain injuries into their own hands by visiting a neurosurgeon in Kingston, Ont., for MRI brain scan procedures,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN. “Dr. Douglas James Cook says at least 120 former and some 80 active NHL players have undergone the scans over the past two years. He said that about 50 active players combined from the Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League have also been tested at Queen’s University over the same time frame.” . . . That complete story is right here.


In 2010, Graham James was charged with sexual abuse of Theo Fleury, Todd Holt and Greg Gilhooly. James pleaded guilty to the Fleury- and Holt-related charges; the charge involving Gilhooly was stayed. . . . Gilhooly now has written a book and the title says it all — I Am Nobody: Confronting the Sexually Abusive Coach Who Stole My Life. . . . I haven’t yet read Gilhooly’s book, but Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has, and his review is right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon/Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Prince Albert at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Spokane vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Kelowna at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY