Blades answer Farren’s request . . . Gulka leaves Spokane . . . Blazers looking for cheerleaders


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Michael Farren made a wish on Monday; it was granted on Thursday.

Farren, 18, was traded by the Saskatoon Blades to the Kelowna Rockets for a third-round KelownaRocketsselection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft.

Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said that Farren left the team on Monday and asked to be dealt.

“Michael texted me . . . to let me know he wasn’t satisfied with his role on the team and would be flying home to await a trade,” Priestner said in a news release. “We are disappointed in Michael’s decision, but this draft pick is an asset that allows to us to improve our team if needed in the future.”

Farren, from Surrey, B.C., was added to the Blades’ protected list in 2015 and signed a WHL contract at 16, following his first training camp. In 133 career regular-season games, he has 20 goals and 37 assists. This season, he had one goal and four assists in eight games.

The Rockets, at 1-8-0, are off to the poorest start in franchise history. They have scored only 21 goals in nine games, so are hoping that Farren will be able to provide a boost for their offence.

Kelowna will go home-and-home with the Tri-City Americans this weekend, playing tonight in Kennewick, Wash., and in the Little Apple on Saturday.

The Blades (6-2-0) are at home to the Red Deer Rebels tonight and the Prince Albert Raiders on Sunday afternoon.


F Sean Gulka, 18, has left the Spokane Chiefs and his rights have reverted to the Victoria SpokaneChiefsRoyals. . . . The Chiefs acquired Gulka from the Royals on Nov. 22, 2017, giving up, according to the WHL website, a sixth-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. According to a Chiefs’ news release, Gulka’s rights have been returned to the Royals “as per the conditions of the trade agreement.” . . . Gulka, from Langley, B.C., had one assist in four games with the Chiefs last this. This season, he had played in four games, recording one assist. . . . The Royals selected him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.


In an attempt to add some excitement to the atmosphere in their home arena, the Sandman Centre, the Kamloops Blazers are in the process of building a cheerleader squad. . . . “We’re just trying to find new ways to liven up the energy in the building,” David Hole, the Blazers’ new ticketing and promotions co-ordinator, told Eric Thompson of kamloopsmatters.com. “The Edmonton Oilers do it, granted theirs is a bit different and they’ve been doing it for a lot longer, but it’s just more to get a new aspect of energy in the building, get the people more excited and build more of an atmosphere.” . . . Hole is looking for about a dozen participants, each of whom must be at least 14 years of age. . . . If all goes according to plan, the cheerleaders would be used as part of larger promotions, or about eight games this season. . . . Thompson’s complete story is right here. . . . Might I be so bold as to suggest a trumpet player? If it was good enough for the Montreal Forum . . .


D Ryan Pouliot, who chose not to report to the Vancouver Giants after being claimed on waivers last week, has joined the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. Pouliot, 20, was waived by the Swift Current Broncos. He had been pointless in three games. . . . Pouliot had played the previous two-plus seasons with the Kootenay Ice, recording three goals and 25 assists in 155 games. . . . Pouliot was in the Kings’ lineup Thursday night as they beat the host Prince George Spruce Kings, 5-2. . . . Tyler Kuntz, a former Vancouver assistant coach, is Powell River’s head coach.



Chris Beaudry has left his position as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . Beaudry, who was an assistant coach with the Humboldt Broncos last season, cited personal reasons in stepping down, but will help the Millionaires in an advisory capacity. . . . Beaudry wasn’t on the Broncos’ bus when it crashed on April 6; as he often did, he was in his own vehicle driving to that night’s scheduled game in Nipawin. . . . Kyle Adams, who has worked with the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder and the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, has moved into the spot vacated by Beaudry.


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WHL and Cherry promoting organ donation again . . . Blades, Giants add defencemen . . . Minulin soon to rejoin Broncos


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The WHL revealed on Sept. 20 that it will partner with RE/MAX of Western Canada again this season for the second annual WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation. On Tuesday, the WHL released the full details of the promotion.

Last season, it raised $265,500 that, according to a WHL news release, represents “the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.”

According to the news release: “From January through March 2019, all 17 WHL clubs in Canadian markets will play host to their very own themed games, complete with a variety of special promotions for fans in attendance. A total of 1,000 limited second edition Don Cherry bobbleheads will be distributed to fans in attendance. . . .

“During the 2018-19 regular season, WHL teams will sport their own unique and specially designed Don Cherry-themed uniforms on a designated game night. This season, players will sport uniforms emblazoned with fun nicknames as opposed to traditional surnames across their shoulders. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on the limited-edition jerseys, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to local chapters of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. In addition to game-worn uniforms, fans will have the chance to bid on one Don Cherry-autographed jersey in each participating WHL market.”

Why is Don Cherry involved? Because his son, Tim, and daughter, Cindy, are well aware of kidney disease and the impact it can have on a family. Tim, then 13, received a kidney from Cindy in 1978.

Here are the dates for the WHL games:

Saturday, January 19 – Edmonton Oil Kings.

Friday, January 25 – Red Deer Rebels.

Friday, February 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors.

Saturday, February 2 – Prince Albert Raiders.

Friday, February 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants.

Saturday, February 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings.

Friday, February 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos.

Friday, March 1 – Kootenay Ice.

Saturday, March 2 – Victoria Royals.

Sunday, March 3 – Calgary Hitmen.

Friday, March 8 – Prince George Cougars.

Saturday, March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.

For more info or to sign up to be an organ donor, please visit CanadaDonates.ca.

The complete WHL news release is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades, with two defencemen down and an opening for a 20-year-old, have acquired veteran D Brandon Schuldhaus from the Moose Jaw Warriors.

The Blades gave up a fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft and a second-round pick in 2020. Both picks originated with the Blades; they have two other second-rounders in 2020, from the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Schuldhaus is joining his fourth WHL team, having also played for Moose Jaw, the Red Deer Rebels and Seattle Thunderbirds. He was a fifth-round pick by Seattle in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . In 189 regular-season games, he has 12 goals and 35 assists.

The Warriors acquired Schuldhaus and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft from Red Deer on Jan. 5, sending second-round selections in the 2019 and 2020 drafts to Red Deer.

This season, he was pointless in one game with Moose Jaw after missing the first three games of the regular season as he served a suspension left over from last season’s playoffs.

Born in Houston, Texas, Schuldhaus is a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S. . . . His grandfather, George Kirkwood, is from Edmonton and played for the Oil Kings (1955-57) when they were a junior A team.

The Blades opened an Alberta road swing with a 5-4 loss in Red Deer on Tuesday night. Saskatoon was without D Seth Bafaro and D Jackson Caller, both out with undisclosed injuries.

Schuldhaus is expected to make his Blades’ debut in Edmonton against the Oil Kings on Wednesday.

Saskatoon had room for a 20-year-old after F Brad Goethals left the team. Schuldhaus joins F Max Gerlach and D Dawson Davidson as Saskatoon’s 20s.

Meanwhile, the trading of Schuldhaus allowed the Warriors to get down to three 20s — D Dalton Hamaliuk, F Tristin Lang and G Brodan Salmond.



The Prince Albert Raiders received an upgrade to their offence on Tuesday when the NHL’s San Jose Sharks sent F Noah Gregor, 20, back to the WHL. . . . The Sharks selected PrinceAlberthim in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2016 NHL draft and have signed him to a three-year entry-level deal. . . . Gregor, from Beaumont, Alta., had been in camp with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda. . . . The Raiders acquired Gregor from the Victoria Royals on July 25 for a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2021. The conditions are triggered by point totals and games played. The Royals could end up with none, one or both picks depending on how Gregor does this season. . . . The Royals selected him in the third round of the 2013 bantam draft, later dealt him to the Warriors, then re-acquired him. . . . He split last season between Victoria and the Moose Jaw Warriors, totalling 29 goals and 36 assists in 60 games. In 194 career regular-season games, he has 205 points, including 86 goals. . . . Gregor also has played in 28 playoff games, recording 11 goals and 12 assists. . . . The Raiders open a Central Division swing tonight (Wednesday) in Medicine Hat and should have Gregor in their lineup against the Tigers.


Feel free to scoot on over to my Twitter timeline (@gdrinnan) and vote on a 2020 Memorial Cup-related poll that I posted on Tuesday night.


D Artyom Minulin, a 20-year-old Russian, is on his way back to the Swift Current Broncos after having had off-season shoulder surgery.

Minulin flew into Edmonton on Tuesday. He will travel to Calgary to do the necessary SCBroncosimmigration-related stuff, then rejoin the Broncos so that their medical team can check him over and determine how close he is to returning to action.

He has played three seasons with the Broncos, putting up 26 goals and 100 assists in 206 games. Last season, he had 13 goals and 30 assists in 64 regular-season games, then added a goal and seven assists in 20 playoff games.

When Minulin is added to the active roster, the Broncos will be carrying four 20-year-olds — the others are F Andrew Fyten, F Tanner Nagel and D Matthew Stanley — and three imports, the other two being freshman Finnish forwards Joona Kiviniemi and D Roope Pynnonen.

When Minulin does return, the Broncos will have 10 days to make a decision on their 20s. They also would have to get down to two imports by moving Minulin or releasing one of the other two. The window to trade first-year imports doesn’t open until Dec. 15.

The Broncos moved out a 20-year-old on Tuesday when the Vancouver Giants, who Vancouveracquired D Ty Ettinger, 18, from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Monday, added D Ryan Pouliot, 20, off waivers.

The Giants have three defencemen sidelined with injuries — Matt Barberis (undisclosed, indefinite), Baily Dhaliwal (shoulder, four weeks) and Joel Sexsmith (undisclosed, day-to-day).

Pouliot was born in Ottawa, but played some minor hockey in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, with the North Shore and Burnaby winter clubs. . . . The Broncos had claimed him on waivers from the Kootenay Ice during the off-season. . . . In 172 regular-season games — 14 with the Red Deer Rebels, 155 with Kootenay and three with the Broncos — he has three goals and 27 assists. . . . The Saskatoon Blades selected him in the 11th round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft.

Pouliot is expected to be in the Giants’ lineup tonight (Wednesday) when they meet the Rockets in Kelowna.

The Giants now have four 20-year-olds on their roster — Pouliot, Barberis, F Jared Dmytriw and F Davis Koch. Once Barberis returns, they will have 10 days to get down to three.


Stan Butler, the director of hockey operations and head coach of the OHL’s North Bay Battalion, has taken a medical leave while he deals with an undisclosed health issue. . . . Butler wasn’t behind the team’s bench on Sunday when they dropped a 6-1 decision to the Generals in Oshawa. . . . Adam Dennis, the assistant general manager and assistant coach, will handle the director of hockey operations’ duties, while Scott Wray, an assistant coach, will look after the coaching side of things. . . . Butler, the fourth-winningest head coach in OHL history, is into his 21st season with the Battalion. He spent one season (1996-97) as head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars.


TUESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Red Deer Rebels (4-2-0) ran their winning streak to four games by erasing a 2-0 first-Red Deerperiod deficits en route to a 5-4 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Blades have lost two in a row after opening the season with three straight victories. . . . The game featured two PP goals by each team. . . . F Jeff de Wit scored twice for Red Deer. He’s got five goals in six games; he finished last season with 11 goals in 43 games split among the Regina Pats, Kootenay Ice and Victoria Royals. . . . Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev had two assists to run his point streak to six games.


The WHL’s weekly roster report is right here.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who spent the past three seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, remains on the roster of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings as they prepare to open the regular season on Friday against the visiting San Jose Sharks. . . . Anderson-Dolan, 19, was a second-round pick by the Kings in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . From Calgary, he had 91 points, including 40 goals, with the Chiefs last season. In 212 regular-season games, he has 193 points, including 100 assists. . . . He has signed with the Kings, so is able to play nine games before the first year of his contract kicks in. . . . The Kings will be without F Dustin Brown (broken finger, four-to-six weeks), which may have opened the door for Anderson-Dolan to claim a roster spot. . . . The last two spots on the Kings’ 22-man roster went to Anderson-Dolan and F Austin Wagner, 21, a speedster who played four seasons (2013-17) with the Regina Pats.


The Regina Pats have signed D Jake Johnson, 15, who was a 10th-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. From Scottsdale, Ariz., he played the past two seasons with the bantam Phoenix Jr. Coyotes. This season, he is expected to play with the Jr. Coyotes U15 in the T1EHL.


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and add to the Taking Note coffee fund. One person helped us out on Tuesday and we thank him for that.


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Hurricanes captain back on ice . . . Three teams sign import picks . . . Schaefer back in coaching game


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F Curtis Hamilton (Saskatoon, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he was pointless in five games Tappara Tampere (Finland, Liiga), and had three goals and five assists in 16 games with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga).


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Slightly more than a month after F Jordy Bellerive of the Lethbridge Hurricanes was in hospital with burns, he has returned to the ice. Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that Bellerive, the Hurricanes’ captain, skated at Canlan Ice Sports in North Vancouver this week. . . . Ewen’s story is right here.


The Swift Current Broncos added two players to their roster on Thursday, as they SCBroncosclaimed D Ryan Pouliot, 20, off waivers from the Kootenay Ice and signed Finnish F Joona Kiviniemi. . . . Pouliot is preparing for his fourth WHL season, after playing with the Ice (135 games) and Red Deer Rebels (14 games). Last season, he had two goals and eight assists in 64 games with the Ice. . . . In 169 career games, he had three goals and 27 assists. . . . Kiviniemi, who will turn 17 on Dec. 17, played most of last season with Karpat’s U-18 team in the Jr. B SM-Sarja. He had one goal and two assists in 12 games.


The Kamloops Blazers have signed their two selections from the CHL’s 2018 import draft Kamloops1— Czech F Martin Lang, who will turn 17 on Sept. 15, and D Joonas Sillanpää, 17. . . . Lang had 32 goals and 22 assists in 35 games with HC Plzen’s U-18 team last season. He is expected to play Czech Republic at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. . . . The 6-foot-5 Sillanpää had two goals and six assists in 43 games split between HIFK’s U-18 and U-20 teams. . . . Last season, the Blazers’ imports were Czech D Ondrej Vala, who was traded to the Everett Silvertips in January, and Swiss F Justin Sigrist, who won’t be back for a second season.


The Kootenay Ice has signed D Valtteri Kakkonen of Finland, who was its only selection in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. Last season, Kakkonen, 18, had five goals and seven assists in 47 games with JYP’s U-20 team that played in the Jr. A SM-Liiga.


Peter Schaefer, the WHL’s player of the year for 1996-97 while with the Brandon Wheat Kings, has returned to the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as an assistant coach. . . . Schaefer, 41, was the Eagles’ general manager and head coach in 2013-14. This time, he will work alongside head coach Brandon West and assistant coach Linden Saip.


F Branden Klatt won’t be returning to the WHL for his 20-year-old season. He has cleared WHL waivers and chosen to sign with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . Klatt, who is from Moose Jaw, was a sixth-round pick by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . In 184 regular-season WHL games, 85 of them with Edmonton and 99 with the Moose Jaw Warriors, he had 15 goals and 30 assists. . . . Last season, with the Warriors, he had seven goals and eight assists in 69 games.


Nathan Oystrick is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He reported to work on Wednesday and Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix spent some time with him. . . . That piece is right here.


The Texas-based USA-Central Hockey League, which bills itself as a “non-tuition” junior A league, announced Thursday that Tory Mick is its first president. . . . Mick is a former WHL coach and player, who spent the past five seasons in the front office of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. . . . Kevin Mitchell of Black Press has more right here.


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