Ex-Raiders captain succeeds Coach Q in Chicago . . . Kootenay suspends veteran defenceman . . . Russians earn split with WHL


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Last season, there wasn’t even one mid-season coaching change in the NHL. On Tuesday, the Chicago Blackhawks fired head coach Joel Quenneville, giving the league its second PrinceAlbertfiring in 48 hours days.

The Los Angeles Kings relieved John Stevens of his duties on Sunday, and promptly named Willie Desjardins as the interim head coach.

In Chicago, Jeremy Colliton was named the head coach of the Blackhawks.

Colliton, 33, is from Blackie, Alta. He played four seasons (2001-05) with the Prince Albert Raiders and was the team captain for the last two.

Colliton has been coaching since Jan. 15, 2014, when he was named the interim head coach with Mora IK in the Allsvenskan in Sweden. He spent three full seasons (204-17) as Mora IK’s head coach, before moving on to the Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate. He was in his second season as the IceHogs’ head coach when the Blackhawks promoted him to Chicago on Tuesday.

Glenn Hicks of panow.com spoke with former Raiders F Mark Odnokon about Colliton’s days in Prince Albert and that’s all right here.


The Kootenay Ice apparently has suspended veteran D Sam Huston.

Huston, a 19-year-old from Brandon, hasn’t played for the Ice since taking part in a 7-2 Kootenaynewloss to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Oct, 26. The WHL’s roster report of Oct. 30 showed him as having been deleted from Kootenay’s roster with no mention of having been placed on a suspended list.

The WHL roster report that was issued yesterday doesn’t contain any mention of Huston or F Brendan Semchuk, 19, who no longer is with the Ice.

According to Bradley Jones of Cranbrook radio station Summit 107FM, the Ice issued a statement saying that Huston’s “current status is suspended.”

Jones added: “It appears that Huston’s suspension from the team is indefinite as there were no further details provided about the current situation . . .”

The Ice didn’t provide any details as to why Huston was suspended.

A ninth-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft, he played 119 games with the Ice, and had four goals and 13 assists. This season, he had one goal in 12 games.

Semchuk, meanwhile, has left the team to “pursue his educational goals,” according to the Ice. He last played on Oct. 28 in an 8-5 home-ice loss to the Red Deer Rebels. Semchuk is shown as having played in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Broncos in Swift Current on Oct. 30, but, in fact, he was scratched.

Semchuk, from Kamloops, was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Sept. 27 for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Semchuk, 19, had two goals and three assists in 15 games with Kootenay. The Vancouver Giants selected him 10th overall in the 2014 bantam draft. In 159 career regular-season games, he recorded 23 goals and 30 assists.


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The Everett Silvertips have added D Dylan Anderson, 16, to their roster. Anderson, from Langley, B.C., plays for the prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., where he has 12 points, including two goals, in 12 games. . . . He was pointless in one game with Everett last season. . . . Anderson was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Silvertips are scheduled to play Friday against the Blazers in Kamloops.


Paul Elliott, a former WHL defenceman, has signed on as an assistant coach with the USA-Central Hockey League’s Laredo, Texas, Bucks. Elliott will work alongside Jarred Mohr, the team’s new head coach. Mohr has taken over from Wayne Smith, who left for what the team says is personal reasons after just one game, that on Oct. 26. . . . Elliott, 38, is from Surrey B.C. He played five seasons in the WHL (1996-2001), spending time with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers, Kamloops Blazers and Regina Pats. . . . He played five seasons with the Bucks of the now-defunct Central Hockey League. . . . The USA-CHL is a four-team junior league in its first season of operation.


F Stepan Starkov broke a 1-1 tie with a late PP goal as Team Russia beat Team WHL, 3-1, canadarussia2017in Langley, B.C. . . . The WHL had won the opener of the CIBC Canada Russia Series, 2-1, in Kamloops on Monday night. . . . Starkov’s first goal of the series came at 18:18 of the third period with WHL F Nolan Foote serving a high-sticking minor. The WHL had failed to score on a PP opportunity just four minutes earlier. . . . Russia was 1-3 on the PP; the WHL lads were 0-3. . . . The WHL took a 1-0 lead on a goal from D Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs at 5:10 of the first period. . . . F Bulat Shafigullin tied it at 19:07 of the first. . . . The Russians put it away at 19:10 of the third period as F Ivan Muranov got the empty-netter. . . . The Russian side got 33 saves from G Pyotr Kochetkov, who had backed up Daniil Tarasov on Monday. . . . G David Tendeck of the Vancouver Giants stopped 25 shots in a solid night’s work. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk was added to Team WHL’s roster yesterday, replacing F Justin Almeida of the Moose Jaw Warriors who was injured in Monday’s game. Almeida suffered an apparent shoulder injury and left the game early in the first period. . . . The series is scheduled to continue on Thursday in Sarnia, Ont., with the Russians playing Team OHL. Game 4 is to be played on Monday in Oshawa. . . . The games featuring Team QMJHL are scheduled for Sherbrooke on Nov. 13 and Drummondville on Nov. 15.


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Silvertips add to defence corps . . . Giants and Hitmen swap veteran forwards . . . Ice trims two from roster


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The Everett Silvertips, it’s safe to say, are all in this season. Any doubt one may have had about that was erased on Wednesday when the Silvertips acquired Russian D Artyom EverettMinulin, 20, from the Swift Current Broncos.

The Silvertips gave up D Alex Moar, 17, in the exchange, while also getting back an eight-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft.

The Silvertips had room on their roster for a 20-year-old and an import, so Minulin fills both of those spots. The import spot was available because F Peter Melcher, a freshman from Slovakian, is, as general manager Garry Davidson put it, “currently unavailable to play.” Melcher was listed on this week’s WHL roster report as being out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

Minulin has yet to play this season after having had off-season shoulder surgery. The Broncos’ roster report listed him as day-to-day.

In 206 career regular-season games, all with the Broncos, Minulin put up 126 points. 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 as the Broncos won the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

“Artyom Minulin is a special talent who elevates the play of his teammates,” Davidson said in a news release. “The role he’s excelled in as a high-impact defenceman played a big piece in helping Swift Current win the WHL championship last season . . .

“He carries a tremendous reputation as a defenceman with an extremely hard shot, deft touch with the puck, and acumen to excel in all three zones.”

F Sean Richards and D Sahvan Khaira, a teammate of Minulin’s for the previous two seasons with the Broncos, are Everett’s other 20s. The other import on Everett’s roster is sophomore F Martin Fasko-Rudas, a Slovakian.

Moar was pointless in four games with the Silvertips. From Prince Albert, he was a fifth-round selection by the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft.

Last season, with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, Moar had six goals and 23 assists.

The defending-champion Broncos, who have the 22-team WHL’s poorest record (1-14-1), SCBroncosstill are carrying nine defencemen. They are next scheduled to play Friday against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Silvertips (10-5-0) lead the U.S. Division, by one point over the Spokane Chiefs (8-4-3) and two on the Tri-City Americans (9-4-0). Everett entertains Tri-City on Friday, but Minulin isn’t expect to play until sometime next week, once immigration issues get sorted out.

Meanwhile, G Max Palaga, 18, who was acquired by the Silvertips from the Kamloops Blazers earlier in the week, has arrived in Everett and practised with his new team on Wednesday. He joins Dustin Wolf as healthy goaltenders on the Silvertips’ roster.


The Calgary Hitmen and Vancouver Giants got together on Wednesday and swapped a Calgarypair of disgruntled forwards.

The Hitmen acquired F James Malm, 19, and an undisclosed conditional selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft in exchange for F Tristen Nielsen, 18.

Malm, from Langley, B.C., led the Giants in goals (9) and points (15) in 13 games. He hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury in a game against the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 20. The Giants’ weekly roster report lists Malm as being out day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

On Sunday, however, Malm asked Vancouver general manager Barclay Parneta to trade him.

A fourth-round selection by the Giants in the 2014 bantam draft, he has 134 points, including 48 goals, in 179 career regular-season games.

Malm could make his Calgary debut on Friday against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

Nielsen, from Fort St. John, B.C., was selected by Calgary in the first round of the 2015 Vancouverbantam draft. He was in third season with the Hitmen when he chose to leave the team and ask for a trade.

This season, he was pointless in five games; he didn’t play in seven games after asking to be moved. Last season, he put up 19 goals and 16 assists in 49 games in a season that was partially derailed by a wrist injury. In 2016-17, as a freshman, he had three goals and four assists in seven games.

Nielsen arrived in Ladner, B.C., on Wednesday afternoon and is to practise with his new team today.

Nielsen is expected to be in Vancouver’s lineup on Saturday when they meet the Kamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has speculated that the Giants, under new head coach Michael Dyck, are playing a more structured game, one that Malm felt didn’t suit his game. . . . Ewen has more right here on this trade.


The Kootenay Ice apparently has released two veteran players. According to the WHL’s Kootenaynewweekly roster report, D Sam Huston and F Brendan Semchuk no longer are with the team, and both have been dropped from the team’s official roster. . . . Huston, 19, is from Brandon. He was in his third season with the Ice, and had scored once in 12 games. In two previous seasons, he totalled three goals and 13 assists in 107 games. The Ice selected him in the ninth round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft. . . . Semchuk, from Kamloops, was the 10th overall selection by the Vancouver Giants in the 2014 bantam draft. They later dealt him to Edmonton and the Ice acquired him from the Oil Kings on Sept 27, giving up a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Semchuk, 19, had two goals and three assists in 14 games with the Ice. In 159 career regular-regular-season games, he has 23 goals and 30 assists. . . . Huston last played on Friday, while Semchuk is shown on the scoresheet as having played Tuesday night against the Broncos in Swift Current. Interstingly, that game will have been played well after the weekly roster report was posted on the WHL’s website.


Patti Dawn Swanson covered WHL teams in Winnipeg for the Tribune back in the day, and now blogs at pattitherivercityrenegade.wordpress.com.

On Thursday, she offered up these thoughts on a possible move by the Kootenay Ice to Winnipeg . . .

I have fond memories of riding the iron lung with Gerry Brisson, Muzz MacPherson and the Winnipeg Clubs/Monarchs in the 1970s, so the prospect of the Western Hockey League returning to Good Ol’ Hometown is intriguing.

I’m skeptical about it working, though.

If you missed it, Mike Sawatzky reported in the Winnipeg Free Press that the Kootenay Ice are having a rough go of it in Cranbrook, B.C. Average attendance is 2,307, lowest in the WHL, and the town’s mayor, Lee Pratt, told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman this: “With the fan support they are getting right now it’s not a viable operation.”

The Green Bay Committee held a town hall meeting in support of the Ice (on Oct. 24), and they’ll gather again tomorrow night (Thursday) in the hope they can corral 500-600 new season-ticket subscribers to save the franchise. Failing that, team owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell might be inclined to pull up stakes and head east.

That begs questions, though. To wit:

Would they be better off in River City?
Would a WHL franchise operating out of the University of Manitoba attract 2,000 or more customers?
If an average head count of 2,307 can’t work in Cranbrook, how can it possibly work in Winnipeg?
Would the arrival of a WHL outfit strike the death knell for Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League?

Remove the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and I’d say Fettes and Cockell might have a chance in Good Ol’ Hometown. As it is, I don’t see it happening. But I hope I’m wrong.


David Michaud, who has been a familiar face in B.C. arenas for a number of years, has been named president of Keycorp Sports and Entertainment Ltd., the owners of lacrosse’s legendary Victoria Shamrocks. . . . According to a news release, Michaud will be “responsible for growing the division of the Keycorp group of companies by working with new and existing sports teams, entertainment venues, concert promoters, and more to bring professional-level promotion, ticketing, and event-day production to Victoria, and across British Columbia. He also will be working with the Victoria Shamrocks to continue the excellence in promotion and entertainment that the club has provided in the Greater Victoria area for the last 70 years.” . . . Prior to this move, Michaud spent three years with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees as director of corporate partnerships. He also was the team’s alternate governor. He also has worked with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and with the major midget Okanagan Rockets. . . . Michaud won’t be too far removed from the BCHL in his new position. The Shamrocks play out of the Q Centre in Colwood, which has a capacity of 2,780 and also is home to the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies.


The Fort Sask Chiefs, a senior AAA men’s hockey team that played out of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., has folded, at least for the remainder of this season. . . . According to a team-issued news release: “Various factors led to the tough decision that it would no longer be sustainable for our organization to continue to operate this year. With that being said, we are hopeful our hockey club be back playing senior again in the coming years.” . . . The Chiefs were 0-6-1 and in last place in the five-team Allan Cup Hockey West. Their demise leaves the league with teams in Rosetown, Sask., and the Alberta communities of Stony Plain, Lacombe and Innisfail.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


Stephen Peat was as tough as they come during a four-season career in the WHL (Red Deer, Tri-City Calgary, 1996-2000), and he maintained that reputation in a pro career that included 130 NHL games. Now he’s living in his truck or couch surfing with friends on the Lower Mainland of B.C. Jeremy Allingham of CBC News has more right here.


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