Ex-WHLer Henderson set to retire from scouting game . . . Remembering the night he met a future CFLer . . . Those were the days, my friends!


Archie Henderson, a legendary figure from the WHL’s past, will retire from his role as the Edmonton Oilers’ director of pro scouting after the NHL draft that is to be held in Montreal on Thursday and Friday. Henderson, 65, has been with the Oilers through three seasons. He had been with Detroit but moved to Edmonton when Ken Holland left the Red Wings to join the Oilers as their general manager. . . . The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Henderson played 23 NHL games after being a 10th-round selection by the Washington Capitals in the 1977 draft. . . . A native of Calgary, he played three seasons (1974-77) in the WHL — 86 games with the Lethbridge Broncos and 78 with the Victoria Cougars. In those 164 games, he totalled 26 goals, 29 assists and 700 — yes, 700! — penalty minutes. . . .

On Nov. 19, 1974, Henderson was involved in one of the most memorable scraps in WHL history. The Broncos were in Regina to play the Pats, who had a guy named Bob Poley in their lineup. At the time, the 6-foot-4, 244-pound Poley was a defensive end with the junior Regina Rams, but was still four years from starting his CFL career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. On this day, he was four days past his 19th birthday, while Henderson was two years younger. . . . Regina was leading 5-2 at 14:20 of the second period when Henderson and Poley came together. . . . Gyle Konotopetz, then of the Regina Leader-Post, wrote that Henderson “picked a fight” with Poley, who had never fought while wearing skates. “When Henderson dropped his gloves, Poley was caught off-guard,” Konotopetz wrote. “But, after taking a couple of punches, Poley tackled Henderson as if he were playing defensive end for the Rams and returned a few of his own punches.” . . . Later, Henderson said: “The second time I hit him I thought I knocked him out, but then he just nailed me. Where’d they get him anyway? Boy, is he strong.” . . . Yes, the fans booed Henderson, who said: “I think the fans are a little unreal here. He can’t even skate. At least I can play hockey.” . . . Earl Ingarfield, then the Broncos’ head coach, said Regina coach Bob Turner had put Foley on the ice “for a reason. That took the sting out of us. . . . It’s a good thing (Henderson) fell. (Poley) would have beaten the (bleep) out of Archie.” . . . Turner felt Poley, who hadn’t gotten even one shift as the Pats had lost their previous three games, had given his club “the shot in the arm we needed.” . . . The Pats went on to win the game, 9-3, to move within one point of the second-place Broncos in the Eastern Division. The starting goaltenders were a couple of guys who would go on to become rather well-known— Ed Staniowski of the Pats and Lorne Molleken of the Broncos.

——

Poley

By now, perhaps you’re wondering how it was that Bob Poley ended up wearing a Regina Pats’ uniform.

Well, in 1974-75, the legendary Norm Fong, who would go on to a lengthy career as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ equipment manager, was the Pats’ trainer/equipment manager; one person did both jobs back in the day. Fong also Reginaplayed some Friday night hockey, as did Poley and Roger Aldag, another aspiring football player.

Bob Turner, the Pats’ coach, was in the market for some size and toughness. One night he asked Fong if any of “those Rams kids . . . do any of them skate?”

So . . . Fong spoke with both of them.

“Roger didn’t want to have anything to do with it,” Fong recalled, “but Poley jumped at the chance.”

Poley dressed for his first game on Nov. 15, 1974 — a 6-6 tie with the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings — but didn’t see even one shift.

That led to the encounter with Lethbridge’s Archie Henderson on Nov. 19. Then, on March 11, the New Westminster Bruins went into Regina and came out with a 5-5 tie. The Bruins wound up in a post-game altercation with a Regina broadcaster after that one and coach Ernie (Punch) McLean ended up with a five-game suspension.

“It almost has reached the point where you have to go out and recruit some big stupid guy who can beat up everybody else,” Turner said after that one.

Ten days later, the Pats were in New Westminster. The Bruins won, 6-1, on March 21. The Pats beat the Cougars, 4-2, in Victoria the next night, then returned to New Westminster for a rematch on March 23 in McLean’s first game back from his suspension.

“We were playing in New West and Kerry Fraser was the ref,” Fong recalled. “They always pulled that crap where they’d have one of their guys shoot a puck in your end and then they’d come get the puck and challenge everybody. Poley shot a puck into the New West end and went and got it . . . and nobody touched him.”

Poley didn’t get a lot of ice time; in fact, his first shift came late in the game.

“With just over four minutes remaining in the game,” wrote Lyndon Little of the Vancouver Sun, “Turner sent 6-foot-5, 235-pound Bob Poley lurching off the bench to line up against Harold Phillipoff, one of the biggest of the Bruins. A former member of the Regina Rams . . . Poley — known affectionately as the Hulk from Hudson’s Bay — was along on the road trip, Turner candidly admits, to straighten out the Bruins.”

Turner told Little: ““I sent him out there to kick the bleep out of Phillipoff. I didn’t like the way he was picking on Mike McCann.”

“But,” Little wrote, “with the fans pleading for what they felt would be a classic matchup, McLean prudently replaced Phillipoff. And so the jockeying continued for the remainder of the game. Whenever Poley came on, Phillipoff would withdraw, despite the fact the Regina player was pointedly challenging the New Westminster bench.”

McLean explained his thought process: “I’m not going to risk having one of my best players break his hand on that guy’s skull. If I tried a crazy stunt like that I’d be suspended for life.”

At the time, Philipoff had 26 goals and 31 assists. Poley played 25 games with zero points and five penalty minutes to show for it. Then, in 11 playoff games, he had 10 PiMs.

But wait . . . there’s more . . .

“At the end of the game, they were lipping off and Poley went over to their bench,” Fong said. “All our guys are crapping themselves on their way to the dressing room and Poley’s out there . . . the whole New West team is in their bench and he’s chasing them into their locker room. Kerry Fraser comes over and says, ‘Bob (Turner), you’ve got to come out here and get this . . . monster off the ice. He’s chasing those guys into their dressing room.’ But nobody would fight him.”

Ahh, yes, those were the days, weren’t they?


On the day the CHL held its 2023 import draft, there were reports in the Russian media that G Ivan Fedotov of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers had been detained in Russia.

According to Joshua Manning of euroweeklynews.com, Fedotov “has been detained over suspicions of ‘dodging the Russian Army.’ ” He apparently was taken to a military registration and enlistment office.

Fedotov, 25, played this season in the KHL with CSKA Moscow. The team won the Gagarin Cup as KHL champions.

In April, Fedotov said he would be playing with the Flyers next season.

Of course, news like this makes one wonder if there might be more Russian players in this same situation. That also likely is why some players, like Flyers D Ivan Provorov, who played with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, chose not to return to Russia this offseason.


Two Russian players and one from Belarus were among 64 selected by teams in the CHL’s 2022 import draft on Friday.

Wait a minute, you’re saying. Didn’t the CHL announce in April that Russians CHLand Belarusians were ineligible for the draft, thanks to the invasion of Ukraine?

Well, as the CHL news release wrapping up the draft pointed out: “All non-(20-year-old), import players that were previously drafted in the CHL import draft but were deleted by a CHL team before the 2022 cut-down date were eligible to be re-drafted by another CHL club in the 2022 import draft.”

The Brandon Wheat Kings used their first-round selection on Russian D Andrei Malyavin, 18, who played last season with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. He had two goals and 11 assists in 44 games.

JUST NOTES: Nine of the CHL’s 60 teams didn’t participate in the 31st import draft. All told, six goaltenders, 18 defencemen and 40 forwards were selected. . . . Of the 64 players taken, 23 were from Czech Republic. . . . Of the WHL’s 22 teams, only the Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Winnipeg Ice sat out. . . . The WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers held the first overall selection and took Slovakian F Adam Sýkora, who will turn 18 on Sept. 7. He had 10 goals and seven assists in 46 games with HK Nitra of the Slovakian League last season. He also had two goals and an assist in six games with the Slovakian national team at the IIHF World Championship. Sýkora’s father, Roman, had one assist in eight games with the Tri-City Americans in 1997-98 before going on to play two seasons with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . F Nikita Zozulia, 17, was the lone Ukrainian player to be selected, going to the OHL’s Flint Firebirds in the first round. He played last season with the U-16 Anaheim Jr. Ice Dogs. . . . BTW, 47 of the CHL’s 60 teams didn’t take part in the draft’s second round. Of the WHL teams, only the Vancouver Giants, Regina Pats, Kamloops Blazers and Everett made second-round selections.


Osprey
An osprey couple mind the nest along the South Thompson River on Friday morning. I got close enough to overhear them. He was talking about how the temperature might get to 30 C, and she told him to quit his whining and to remember that one year ago, on June 30, it got to 46.6. That shut him up. BTW, this photo is for K.C., who likes the wildlife photos I sometimes post here.

The WHL rights to F Brad Lambert, a high-profile Finnish player who might be a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft, have been traded by the Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades to the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . In return, the Blades received fourth- and sixth-round selections in the WHL’s 2023 draft, a conditional first-round selection in 2023 and a conditional second-rounder in 2024. The 2023 fourth-rounder originated with the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Saskatoon had selected Lambert, whose father, Ross, is a former Blades player, in the 2020 CHL import draft. Brad also is a nephew to former WHL player/coach Lane Lambert, now the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders. . . . With the 2022 CHL import draft having been held Friday, days before the NHL draft, the Blades had to make a decision on whether to Seattlekeep Lambert’s rights or give them up in order to make a selection. With that pick they took Czech D Tomas Ziska, 17, who had one goal and 13 assists in 31 games with a junior team this season. . . . Their other import slot belongs to sophomore Belarusian F Egor Sidorov, 18. . . . NHL Central Scouting had Lambert rated No. 10 among European skaters going into the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . “This was definitely a unique situation all-around,” said Saskatoon general manager Colin Priestner in a statement, “given he’s a high-profile player with family connections to Saskatoon, but we’ve had his rights for over two full years and we felt the odds of him ever playing junior hockey in Canada were quite low and this way we get three good assets guaranteed up front plus two more really high picks if he ever plays in Seattle. We felt after two years of communications we’d exhausted all our options in recruiting him since he’s been playing pro hockey in Finland since he was 16-years-old.” . . . According to the Blades, they will get the conditional draft picks should Lambert sign with Seattle. . . . That likely will be a tall task for the Thunderbirds, who are looking to fill vacancies created by two of their leading scorers — Henrik Rybinski and Lukas Svejkovsky. Because Lambert, who will turn 19 on Dec. 19, will be drafted off a European roster, he will be eligible to play in the NHL, AHL or with Seattle next season.


Loon
Hey, K.C., here’s another one for you. A loon stops by the South Thompson River for a visit that ended up being short-lived because of the appearance of a couple of noisy boats.

Meanwhile, three teams from the WHL’s U.S. Divisions selected players in Friday’s import draft after losing 19-year-olds to pro contracts back home. . . . The Everett Silvertips took Czech F Dominik Rymon, 18, and Swiss G Tim Metzger, 17, after F Niko Huuhtanen signed with Jukurit of Liiga. He put up 37 goals and 40 assists in 65 games as a freshman with Everett last season after being the second-overall selection in the 2021 import draft. . . . The Silvertips still have Czech F Michal Gut on their roster, but, as a 20-year-old, he would be a two-spotter should he return. Still, he put up 18 goals and 53 assists in 53 games last season. . . .

As mentioned here the other day, Czech F Petr Moravec has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract at home with Mountfield. He had 16 goals and 19 assists in 68 games as a freshman in Tri-City last season. . . . The Americans had the fourth-overall pick and took Czech F Adam Mechura, 19. . . . Czech G Tomas Suchanek, who is heading into his second season, is the Americans’ other import. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs dropped F Yannick Proske and D Timafey Kovgoreniya prior to the draft, while retaining the rights to Czech D David Jiricek, who is the fourth-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting going into the NHL draft that is scheduled for July 7 and 8. The Chiefs selected Jiricek, now 18, in the 2020 import draft, but he has stayed at home to play for HC Plzen and the Czechia national team. . . . Proske, 19, had 12 goals and 18 assists in 58 games with the Chiefs last season and is returning to the German DEL’s Iserlohn Roosters, who chose not let him return to Spokane. . . . On Friday, the Chiefs took Italian F Tommaso De Luca, who will turn 18 on Dec. 19, then passed in the second round.



A former WHLer who knows his way around the movie/television scene and who once owned a chunk of an NHL team checks in. . . . What? You don’t know the name? You never SAW him play? Google is your friend. . . . 



Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Anti-vaxxer demands you produce a single study showing mRNA vaccines are safe — no not that one.


ShoppingCarts


THE COACHING GAME: The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have signed Levi Stuart as an assistant coach. Stuart, 26, spent the previous three seasons with his hometown team — the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. In Nipawin, he’ll work alongside general manager and head coach Tad Kozun, who signed a two-year deal on March 29. Before joining Merritt, Stuart worked with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants as a video coach. . . .

The junior B Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Connor McLuckie as an assistant coach. From Cranbrook, he played in the KIJHL with the Fernie Ghostriders and Golden Rockets in 2011-12, then had his playing career ended by injuries in 2012. He spent the past three seasons on the coaching staff of the East Kootenay Tier 1 Avalanche, last season as head coach. . . .

The QMJHL’s Val-d’Or Foreurs have signed head coach Maxime Desruisseaux to a contract extension, the length of which wasn’t revealed. Desruisseaux is preparing for his second season as the club’s head coach. . . .

Jeremy Colliton is the new head coach of the Abbotsford Canucks, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. He takes over from Trent Cull, who now is an assistant coach with the parent club. . . . Colliton spent most of the past four seasons as the head coach of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He was fired last season. . . . Colliton, 37, played four seasons (2001-05) with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.


Obama


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Math

Scattershooting on a Wednesday night while watching Shohei Ohtani weave his magic . . .

scattershooting

A lot of junior hockey teams have signed assistant coaches during my 50-plus years around the game. But I can’t recall an announcement like the one the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades made on Monday.

The Blades welcomed back Wacey Rabbit, this time as an assistant coach, but they also brought his wife, Ashley Callingbull, into their organization as an ambassador.

From a Blades’ news release: “Ashley is a Cree First Nations woman from the Enoch Cree Nation on Treaty Six territory in Alberta. Ashley has many passions that include dance, and she is professionally trained in jazz, ballet, pointe and tap. She also has developed a career in acting, starring in many commercials and television shows.”

These days, she also can be found in Edmonton where she is the in-game host at Commonwealth Stadium for games involving the CFL’s Elks.

But she is making her biggest mark working with First Nations people and in these days of reconciliation the Sask Entertainment Group, which owns the Blades and lacrosse’s Saskatchewan Rush, has done well be bringing her aboard.

“I work with a lot of women and children around the communities and within Saskatoon so I am here quite often and now it will be easier for me to be more accessible to these communities,” she said in that news release.

Her position with the Blades and Rush will allow her a large platform to continue her work in the Saskatoon area and in Saskatchewan.

“I’m hoping to create more programs for not only the youth but indigenous peoples,” she said. “I can’t wait so I will be at every game.”

Sorry, Wacey, but I think your wife’s inclusion in this deal has overshadowed your return.

——

With the Blades, Wacey Rabbit, 35, fills the vacancy created when associate Saskatooncoach Ryan Marsh left after four seasons to join the DEL’s Schwenninger Wild Wings in Germany as an assistant coach. . . . Rabbit, who is from the Kainai First Nation in Alberta, played four seasons (2002-06) with the Blades and 30 games with the Vancouver Giants in 2006-07. He ended his pro career by playing three seasons (2018-21) with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen, while also playing in Czechi and Romania. . . . In 2021-22, he was an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . . From a Blades’ news release: Rabbit “will join head coach Brennan Sonne, assistant coach Dan DaSilva, goaltending coach Jeff Harvey, video coach Karter Parisloff and assistant Jerome Engele on the staff.”


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Has the reputation of one organization taken a beating in recent days and weeks as much as Hockey Canada’s has? (It) should never get another cent of government money, which won’t begin to undo anything close to all that’s gone wrong here.”

He’s not wrong.


The good folks of Imperial, Sask., got it right. Well done, folks!


Giraffe


THINKING OUT LOUD: I learned a few days ago that Johnny Rivers isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. . . . It’s also wrong, wrong, wrong that Leo Cahill isn’t in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. . . . And while we’re on the subject, it’s embarrassing that Paul Henderson isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame. . . . Is there a better race track in B.C. than the highway between Vernon and Kelowna? If you haven’t been on it, it’s one of those tracks where the speed limit seems to be whatever you want it to be. . . . Look, 3-on-3 overtime is fine for a hockey league’s regular-season games. But in the Memorial Cup? How embarrassing to see the CHL decide meaningful games in this fashion. . . . There was news the other day of thieves breaking into the Atlanta home of former NBA star Vince Carter and making off with about $100,000 in cash. So I asked my wife: “How much cash do we have in our home?” We stopped counting at $70. . . . Hope you feel at home here despite the absence of gambling ads.


Have to wonder if any junior hockey teams might try this in an attempt to attract fans and keep them coming back?



With all that is going on in our world these days, you may have missed this story, from The Associated Press:

“ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Happy the elephant may be intelligent and deserving of compassion, but she cannot be considered a person being illegally confined to the Bronx Zoo, New York’s top court ruled Tuesday.

“The 5-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals comes in a closely watched case that tested the boundaries of applying human rights to animals.”

The complete story is right here.

As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, put it: “I guess I should be happy in these days of hyper-political correctness that the NY State Court of Appeals ruled that an elephant is not a person and that an elephant in the Bronx Zoo cannot be released under habeus corpus. . . . However, before I get too carried away in my euphoria, let me point out that the vote of the judges was only 5-2.  Two judges wanted the elephant released via habeus corpus.” 


Stupid


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held its annual general meeting recently, the details of which are included in the link in the above tweet. I’m disappointed that the news release didn’t include anything about the part of the gathering in which the commissioner was kind enough to give me some free publicity. . . . BTW, the Canadian government has extended pandemic-related border restrictions at least through Sept. 19. I’m told, Mr. Commissioner, that this means the Spokane Braves will be sitting out another KIJHL season. They last played in 2019-20.



THE COACHING GAME:

I’ve been coasting for the last couple of weeks, recharging the batteries, making certain that the mask supply is up to date, and watching to see if the quicksand completely envelops Hockey Canada before the Hlinka Gretzky Cup opens in Red Deer on July 31. So a lot of what follows is a bit dated . . .

The Spokane Chiefs have removed the ‘interim’ from Ryan Smith’s title and Spokanesigned him to “a multi-year contract” as head coach. The precise length of the deal wasn’t revealed. . . . Smith was in his second season as the WHL team’s associate coach when head coach Adam Maglio was fired on Feb. 10. Smith was named interim head coach and guided the Chiefs into the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Before joining the Chiefs, Smith spent two seasons on the Medicine Hat Tigers’ coaching staff and was with the Swift Current Broncos for three seasons. . . . The Chiefs also signed Dustin Donaghy as an assistant coach for 2022-23. A part-time assistant when last season began, he assumed a full-time role when Maglio was fired. As a player, Donaghy, now 33, helped the Chiefs to the 2008 Memorial Cup title. . . . Of course, the Chiefs’ decision to stay with Smith throws a wet blanket on the speculation that the job would be going to Kyle Gustafson, who spent 18 years with the Portland Winterhawks but now is a free agent after being released by the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . .

The MJHL’s Portage Terriers have signed Blake Spiller, their general manager and head coach, to another contract. The Terriers, who do things right, revealed that it is a three-year deal. . . . Spiller has been with the Terriers since 2001 and has been head coach since 2006. . . . The Terriers will be the host team for the 2023 Centennial Cup tournament. . . . From a news release: “Spiller won the CJHL coach-of-the-year award in 2015, 2016 and 2019. He holds the MJHL record for league championships (8) and ANAVET Cups (2). He also won the RBC Cup in 2015. Spiller holds all Terriers coaching records, and has 604 career wins. He is 67 regular-season victories away from breaking Doug Stokes’ all-time MJHL record.” . . .

Scott Burt, a former WHL player and coach, now is the general manager and head coach of the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. He signed on as the Rush’s head coach and director of hockey operations in July 2021, then got the club into the second round of the playoffs. Burt was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs for six seasons (2013-19). As a player, he split four seasons (1994-98) between the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels. . . .

The BCHL has announced the sale of the Nanaimo Clippers to Northern Lights bchlHockey Canada, “an investment group headed by Brad Kwong, a Western Canadian-born investment professional with a long history in the sport of hockey as a player, executive and team owner,” according to a news release. . . . That news release is right here. Interestingly, it doesn’t mention from whom Kwong and Co. purchased the franchise. . . .

Darren Naylor is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . You may recall that Naylor, then the general manager and head coach of the Nanaimo Clippers, was placed on administrative leave by the BCHL in February due to what the league said was “allegations of code of conduct breaches.” At the time, the BCHL said that Naylor would remain on administrative leave until at least May 31. At the time, Naylor was under contract to the Clippers through the 2022-23 season. . . . The BCHL said at the time that it had appointed an independent investigator to look into the allegations, but it has never updated Naylor’s status. . . . Colin Birkas, the Clippers’ associate coach at the time, also was placed on administrative leave when Naylor was, but shortly after was reinstated. On May 24, Birkas was named the Clippers’ general manager and head coach. . . . With the Blizzard, Naylor replaces Billy Keane, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the 2021-22 season. . . .

Barret Kropf has chosen to leave the Trinity Western Spartans of the BCIHL. He had been the head coach since 2013, but is moving on to the Moose Jaw-based Prairie Hockey Academy as general manager and U15 prep head coach. Kropf is from Estevan. A three-time coach of the year, he led the Spartans to BCIHL titles in 2018 and 2019, then led them into Canada West in 2020. . . .

Eric Thurston has signed on as head coach of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. He spent the past four seasons as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. There had been speculation a few weeks ago that Bill Peters, a former NHL, KHL and WHL coach, was going to sign with the Storm.


Wifi


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Petr Moravec, 19, has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract with his hometown team, Hradec Králove of the Czechia, Extraliga, as reported by the MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport). Moravec put up 16 goals and 19 assists 68 games in 2021-22, his only WHL season. Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told me that he wasn’t surprised that Moravec wouldn’t be back. “He’s a good kid,” Tory said. “This is a good opportunity for him.” Tory was pleased to have a decision before the CHL’s 2022 import draft that is scheduled for Friday. . . . The Americans expect to make one pick, what with Czech G Tomas Suchanek, 19, back for a second season. As a freshman, he was 12-24-4, 3.87, .901 in 42 games for a non-playoff team. . . . Don’t forget that the CHL won’t permit the selection of Russian or Belarusian players in this year’s import draft. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have promoted Mike Fraser to assistant general manager — he had been director of player personnel — and signed him to a multi-year contract extension. The exact length of the extension wasn’t revealed. Fraser has been with Everett through four seasons — three as head scout and one as director of player personnel. He is a veteran WHL scout, having also worked with the Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Silvertips also have added veteran scout Brian Leavold to their staff as a senior scout. He has worked for the Broncos (1999-2018) and Saskatoon Blades (2018-22). . . .

Dan O’Connor announced via Twitter recently that he is moving on from the Vancouver Giants. O’Connor will be joining the U of British Columbia as a sports information co-ordinator. O’Connor spent the past 11 seasons doing WHL play-by-play — six with the Prince George Cougars and five with the Giants.


Elevator


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


KidDraw

CFL players back to practice fields as strike ends . . . WHL conference finals on tap . . . Two veteran goalies change teams

Thankfully (mercifully?), the CFL and the CFLPA moved out of the media spotlight earlier this week, went quietly in behind closed doors and emerged with a seven-year agreement.

The CFL’s nine teams were on their respective practice fields on Thursday, with CFLlogoplayers and the board of governors expected to ratify the agreement in the days to come.

The players, it seems, made what TSN’s Dave Naylor referred to as “significant gains” in this agreement. But that doesn’t mean it was one of those deals with winners and losers.

Yes, Virginia, these labour disputes can have winners and winners. At first glance, this looks to be one of those deals.

In this instance, a league that has long talked about having its players as partners may actually have taken giant steps in that direction.

For example, while we don’t have access to numbers, the deal is said to include a decent increase in the salary cap and, more importantly for the players, the inclusion of all revenues, including from the Grey Cup game, as football-related revenues. And, it’s said, the players will have access to the books so will be able to have them independently audited.

Players also will be able to have some guaranteed money if they sign for a third year with the same team. Football, of course, is famous for having contracts that don’t feature guaranteed money.

The guaranteed money is all part of an attempt to keep players with teams for more than a year or two. While this CBA doesn’t directly tinker with the ratio and all that goes into that — teams must have seven Canadian starters — but it does allow players who have been with one team for three years or five in the league to, as Naylor put it, “play as Canadians in some circumstances.”

On top of all that, the players will get improved medical benefits from teams that want more padded practices. There will be 12 such practices permitted this season.

While this is a seven-year agreement, there is a clause that could end it after five years, which is when the current TV deal with TSN is to expire. If you aren’t aware the TSN deal is the CFL’s meat and potatoes. Without it, the CFL would starve to death.

One other key part is that this agreement is to end 30 days before the start of training camp. Past deals, including the one that just expired, were up the day before training camps opened, something that meant players had all travelled to sites and then had to sit around and wait. In the future, those extra 30 days could prove most important to those same players.

The exhibition season was to have started on Monday with the defending-champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers to travel to Regina for a game with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That game now will be played on May 31.

The first exhibition games now will be played on Friday, with the Toronto Argonauts in Ottawa to face the Redblacks, and the Edmonton Eskimos in Winnipeg.

The regular season is scheduled to open on June 9 with the Montreal Alouettes visiting the Calgary Stampeders.

Naylor’s piece for TSN is right here.



F Kris Foucault, who spent four seasons (2007-11) in the WHL, ran and swam to the rescue on May 10 in Nassau, Bahamas, when a six-year-old girl found herself in trouble at a beach. . . . “As I got through the wave, I saw her lifeless body floating on the top about 50 feet in front of me,” he told Lauren Merola of nhl.com. “I actually thought I was just recovering a body.” . . . The little girl was alive, but in great danger, and you can credit Foucault with saving her life. . . . Foucault, 31, has played the past six seasons in the DEL, Germany’s top league. This season, he had 12 goals and 16 assists in 24 games and now is coming off shoulder surgery. . . . Merola’s story is right here.


Strait


The WHL’s conference finals open tonight in Winnipeg and Kamloops. The last WHLplayoffs2022four standing are the teams with the first-, second-, fourth- and seventh-best regular-season records. Yes, that’s comparing apples and oranges because teams didn’t play outside their conferences this season, but it does show the quality of the remaining teams. . . . In Winnipeg, the Ice, who finished atop the overall standings, will play host to the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings. The Ice are 8-2 in the playoffs; the Oil Kings are 8-0. . . . In Kamloops, the Blazers, the No. 2 team in the Western Conference, will entertain the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds. The Blazers are 8-2; the Thunderbirds are 8-4, with four of those victories coming on the road. . . . Each of the two series will continue Saturday with games in Winnipeg and Kamloops.


The WHL held its annual draft on Thursday and you are able to find all the WHLdetails at whl.ca. . . . There also were a couple of trades involving veteran goaltenders, who could be impact players next season.

The Moose Jaw Warriors acquired G Connor Ungar, G Justen Maric and a fourth-round pick in 2026 from the Red Deer Rebels for G Kyle Kelsey, a fourth-rounder in yesterday’s draft and a sixth in 2026. With that fourth-round pick, which originally belonged to the Victoria Royals, the Rebels took D Tate Dolinsky of Winnipeg.

Ungar, a 20-year-old Calgarian, was acquired by Red Deer from the Brandon Wheat Kings prior to this season. He went 21-9-1, 2.43, .911 with the Rebels. . . . Maric, 18, is from Edmonton, and played this season with the U18 AAA CAC Canadians. The Rebels selected him in the fifth round of the 2019 draft. . . . Kelsey, 18, is from Maple Ridge, B.C. He was 14-12-0, 2.83, .913 with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies this season. The Warriors had picked him in the fifth round of the 2019 draft.

Ungar joins F Calder Anderson, D Daemon Hunt, D Cole Jordan and F Ryder Korczak as the 2002-born players on Moose Jaw’s roster.

As things now sit, the Rebels have Chase Coward, 19, and Kelsey atop their goaltending depth chart, with Chase Wutzke, who turns 16 on July 26, in the third slot. Coward was 22-10-2, 2.51, .906 in 35 games this season.

The Rebels still have six 2002-born players on their roster — D Blake Gustafson, F Jace Isley, F Ben King, F Dallon Melin, D Christoffer Sedoff and D Joel Sexsmith.

In the other  deal involving a veteran goaltender, the Regina Pats got Koen MacInnes from the Everett Silvertips for two draft picks — a sixth yesterday (130) and a conditional seventh in 2024. . . . MacInnes, 20, is from Burnaby, B.C. He played with the Saskatoon Blades in 2019-20 and the 2021 development season. This season, with Everett, he went 21-7-5, 2.60, .909. . . . The Pats were lacking in experience in the goaltending department this season and are hoping MacInnes will solve that problem for 2022-23. . . . The Silvertips used that sixth-round pick to take F Lukas Kaplan of Spruce Grove, Alta.

In the only other draft-day trade the involved a player as opposed to picks, the Prince George Cougars got F Noah Boyko from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-round pick yesterday. . . . The Blades had acquired Boyko, 20, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in late December. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he totalled 30 points, 16 of them goals, in 47 games. . . . Boyko and D Aiden Reeves are the lone 2002-born players on Prince George’s roster. . . . Saskatoon used that fourth-round pick to take F Maxx Hamelin of Winnipeg. . . . Boyko’s departure leaves the Blades with four 2002-born players on their roster — F Kyle Crnkovic, D Aidan De La Gorgendiere, F Josh Paulhus and F Josh Pillar.



From Wednesday’s New York Times: Federal health officials warned on COVIDWednesday that a third of Americans live in areas where the threat of Covid-19 is now so high that they should consider wearing a mask in indoor public settings. They cited new data showing a substantial jump in both the spread of the coronavirus and hospitalizations over the past week. . . . Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the seven-day average of hospital admissions from Covid rose 19 percent over the previous week. About 3,000 people a day were being admitted with Covid, she said, although death rates, a lagging indicator, remained low.

One more from The New York Times: More than 70 New York City judges descended on a Long Island resort last week to enjoy an annual three-night retreat. In the days after, 20 tested positive for the coronavirus. . . . Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for New York’s courts, confirmed Wednesday that the judges had tested positive. He said that, to his knowledge, none of the judges were seriously ill, and that those who were symptomatic had not reported to work.


Decisions


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Penticton Vees completed a BCHL championship series sweep of the host Nanaimo Clippers with an 8-2 victory on Wednesday night. Penticton lost its first game of this spring’s playoffs, then won 16 straight. . . . The Vees held a 58-23 edge in shots, including 21-1 in the third period. . . . F Bradly Nadeau, a Penticton native, led the Vees with three goals and an assist. Nadeau, who turned 17 on May 5, is committed to the U of Maine. His brother, Josh, who also is headed for Maine, added a goal and two assists. . . . The announced attendance was 2,069. . . . While the 10-team national junior A championship for the Centennial Cup opened Thursday in Estevan, Sask., the Vees weren’t there. You will recall that the BCHL pulled out of the CJHL, which oversees junior A hockey in Canada, prior to the start of this season. . . .

The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs have signed former WHLer Wacey Rabbit to a two-year contract extension as assistant coach. He just completed his first season as an assistant alongside Joe Martin, the general manager and head coach. . . . Rabbit, 35, played five seasons (2002-07) in the WHL, enjoying stints with the Saskatoon Blades and Vancouver Giants. He finished his pro career with three seasons (2018-21) with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen. . . .

Jake Grimes, who stepped down as head coach of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles during this season, is joining the U of Waterloo Warriors as an associate coach. Grimes also has worked in junior hockey with the OHL’s Belleville Bulls, Peterborough Petes and Guelph Storm. With the Warriors, he will be working alongside head coach Brian Bourque, who was a minor hockey teammate in Nova Scotia back in the day. . . .

The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials have added Sam Waterfield and Tyler Steel to their coaching staff. Waterfield, who had been with the Cowichan Valley Capitals, will be the assistant general manager and associate coach, while Steel, a former Centennials goaltender, is the new goaltending coach.


Masher


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Wine

Jets’ first-rounder could end up in Portland . . . Three WHL teams live to play another game . . . Winterhawks finish off Cougars


In a move that could have implications in the WHL, the Winnipeg Jets have signed F Chaz Lucius to a three-year entry-level contract that is to begin next WHLseason. . . . Lucius, who turns 19 on May 2, is from Lawrence, Kan. This season, as a freshman, he had nine goals and 10 assists in 24 games with the NCAA’s Minnesota Golden Gophers. Before that, he played two seasons in the U.S. National Team Development Program. . . . The Jets selected him with the 18th overall pick of the NHL’s 2021 draft. The Portland Winterhawks grabbed his major junior rights in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Next season, assuming he doesn’t crack the Jets’ roster, Lucius will be eligible to play in the AHL, with the Manitoba Moose, or the Winterhawks. . . . Eric Vegoe, a freelance writer who follows the Gophers, tweeted: “I’d be absolutely shocked if Lucius went to the AHL. He’d be a phenomenal fit in Portland and be one of the league’s top scorers for a franchise that knows what (it’s) doing with prospects.” . . . Lucius’s brother, Cruz, 18, has committed to playing at Minnesota next season after spending the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. He was selected by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. With his brother no longer at Minnesota, you wonder if the younger Lucius might be rethinking his immediate future, too?



WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

There were six playoff games with four of the teams staring elimination squarely in the face. Three of those teams lived to fight another day, with only the Prince George Cougars having their season come to an end. . . . You should know, too, that only two teams in WHL history have come back from trailing 3-0 to win a series. . . . In 1996, the Spokane Chiefs beat the Portland Winterhawks in Game 7 at home. . . . In 2013, the Kelowna Rockets did the same thing against the Seattle Thunderbirds, winning Game 7 at home. . . . In tonight’s only game, the Edmonton Oil Kings take a 3-0 lead into Lethbridge against the Hurricanes. . . . Here’s a brief look at what happened last night. . . .

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., the Everett Silvertips took a 2-1 series lead over the Vancouver EverettGiants with a 6-2 victory. . . . They’ll play again Friday in Langley, then head for Everett and Game 5 on Saturday. . . . Everett, which got two goals from each of Ryan Hofer (3), Niko Huuhtanen (5) and Matthew Ng (2), held period leads of 3-0 and 5-2. . . . Huuhtanen has nine points in the three games. . . . G Braden Holt stopped 32 shots to earn the win. . . . Vancouver G Jesper Vikman returned after missing Game 2 and blocked 18 shots. . . . Everett was without F Alex Swetlikoff, who was suspended for two games after taking a checking-from-behind major in Game 2 on Saturday. . . . Swetlikoff and F Jackson Berezowski, who is out with an undisclosed injury, were the Silvertips’ top two scorers in the regular season. . . . Vancouver F Tom Cadieux was tossed with an interference major at 12:50 of the third period. Then, at 19:00, F Matthew Edwards of the Giants left after taking a headshot major. . . . The Silvertips had Vancouver’s own Dave Sheldon handle the play-by-play “with Casey Bryant unavailable to travel.” Sheldon was part of the Everett broadcast crew back in the day (2003-06). These days, Sheldon is the team operations manager for the NLL’s Vancouver Warriors. . . .

In Prince George, the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks scored two first-period goals Portlandand hung on for a 2-1 victory over the No. 6 Cougars. . . . The Winterhawks swept the series, 4-0, and now go home to await and as-yet undecided second-round opponent. . . . F James Stefan (2) put the visitors out front at 8:22 of the first period and F Luke Schelter (1) made it 2-0 at 11:51. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal when F Jonny Hooker (1) scored at 6:55 of the third period. . . . Portland’s took the game’s only three minor penalties, the last one to D Cross Hanas for delay of game at 18:59 of the third period. With G Tyler Brennan on the bench, the Cougars held a 6-on-4 advantage but weren’t able to equalize. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 29 shots for Portland, including 12 in the third period. He finished the series 4-0, 1.00, .965. . . . Brennan turned aside 40 shots. He got into all four games, going 0-2, 1.86, .954. . . . The Cougars had to scratch F Riley Heidt as he served a one-game suspension for the kneeing major and game misconduct he took in Game 3 on Tuesday. . . .

In Kelowna, F Adam Kydd scored in OT to give the Rockets a 3-2 victory over the KelownaSeattle Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle holds a 3-1 lead as the series returns to Kent, Wash., for Game 5 on Friday night. . . . The Rockets erased a 2-0 second-period deficit to get the game into extra time. . . . F Lucas Ciona (3) scored both Seattle goals, at 19:41 of the first period and 3:16 of the second. . . . G Gabriel Szturc (1) got the Rockets to within a goal, on a PP, at 6:28 of the second and D Noah Dorey (1) tied it at 12:45 as he ended a 43-game goal drought. . . . Kydd won it with his second goal of the series, on a PP, at 15:55 of OT. . . . F Andrew Cristall drew the primary assist on each of Kelowna’s last two goals. . . . The Rockets got 36 saves from G Talyn Boyko, who had watched Game 3 from the bench. . . . Kelowna was 2-for-5 on the PP; Seattle, which went into the game 10-for-19, was 0-for-3. . . . The Rockets were without F Mark Liwiski, who was suspended for two games after taking a headshot major and game misconduct in Game 3 on Tuesday. . . . F Matthew Rempe (undisclosed) was among Seattle’s scratches. . . .

——

Eastern Conference

In Prince Albert, G Tikhon Chaika stopped 25 shots to help the No. 8 Raiders to a PrinceAlbert3-1 victory over the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Ice now holds a 3-1 edge in the series, with Game 5 in Winnipeg on Friday night. . . . D Remy Aquilon (1), on a PP, at 1:53 of the second period, and D Eric Johnston (1), at 1:06 of the third, gave the home team a 2-0 lead. . . . Ice F Mikey Milne got his fourth of the series, on a PP, at 18:51, but F Sloan Stanick (1) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . Winnipeg was 1-for-3 on the PP and now is 9-for-18 in the series. The Raiders are 2-for-19. . . .

In Brandon, the No. 6 Wheat Kings scored the game’s last three goals to earn a Brandon3-1 victory over the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Red Deer on Friday. Then they’ll return to Brandon for Game 6 on Sunday. . . . F Jace Isley (2) gave the Rebels the lead at 7:44 of the first period. . . . F Trae Johnson (1) tied it at 13:01. . . . The Wheat Kings won it on two PP goals from F Marcus Kallionkieli, at 18:24 of the second period and 19:22 of the third. The second one was an empty-netter. . . . Kallionkieli, a Finn who turned 21 on March 20, also drew an assist on Johnson’s goal.

In Saskatoon, F Kyle Crnkovic scored twice to lead the No. 5 Blades to a 5-3 Saskatoonvictory over the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw leads the series 3-1 and can win it at home on Friday night. . . . The Blades actually coughed up 2-0 and 3-1 leads with Warriors F Ryder Korczak (2) getting his guys even, at 3-3, at 2:54 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon D Rhett Rhinehart (1) broke the tie at 8:37 and Crnkovic’s second goal of the game and series, an empty-netter, iced it at 19:31. . . . D Maximus Wanner (3) scored twice for Moose Jaw. . . . The Blades got 32 saves from G Nolan Maier.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Tri-City Americans have named D Marc Lajoie as the 33rd captain in franchise history. The Americans went without a captain this season as they didn’t qualify for the playoffs. Lajoie, the 14th pick in the 2018 WHL draft, has played three seasons with the Americans. . . .

Neil Pilon, who played 263 games over five seasons in the WHL, was named head coach of the Kamloops-based U-18 AAA Thompson Blazers on Wednesday. Pilon played with the Kamloops Junior Oilers, Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors and Seattle Thunderbirds (1983-88). . . . Pilon also is the greens superintendent at the Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Club, which is located near Merritt, B.C. . . .

Eric Thurston, the general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder, is leaving after four seasons with the organization. In a news release, the Thunder said it “regrets to announce” that Thurston is leaving. . . . The news release didn’t indicate any reason for Thurston’s departure. . . . This season, the Thunder was 33-17-10, good for fourth in the North Division, before being swept from a first-round series by the Spruce Grove Saints. . . .

Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald tweeted Wednesday afternoon that “Brad Patterson is out as head coach of the (USHL’s) Youngstown Phantoms.” . . . Their season ended with first-round playoff loss on Tuesday night. . . . Patterson had been on the Phantoms’ coaching staff since 2009-10, and was the head coach since 2016-17. . . .

The OHL’s Peterborough Petes and general manager Michael Oke have agreed on a two-year contract that will take them through the 2023-24 season. Oke has been the Petes’ GM since Feb. 14, 2013. He joined the organization as the director of player personnel in July 2010.


Child


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.


A note involving Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, from Elliotte Friedman’s weekly 32 Thoughts:

“During the second week of April, five Canadians lived atop five 40-foot flagpoles for 100 hours. The significance of that length is 100 years ago, Sir Frederick Banting and Charles H. Best discovered insulin to help manage diabetes. One of those five was Wilson Gaglardi, the 16-year-old son of Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi. To donate toward a cure, please go to canadacuresdiabetes.ca.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Restaurant

Sorting through WHL tiebreaking procedure to set up playoff matchups . . . Chiefs, Cougars, Giants, Raiders get in . . . Voice of Wheat Kings calls last game

So . . . right here, from the WHL’s own website, is an explanation of how it is to deal with a three-team tie in its final standings . . .

“In the event three (3) or more clubs finish tied in total points in WHL WHLstandings, the edge goes to the club with the most victories. Should the clubs have won the same number of games, then the higher position shall be awarded to the club having the greatest ratio when taking goals for and subtracting goals against in regular schedule play.”

What the WHL forgot to tell us is that there is another step in the procedure, as you shall see if you read on . . .

After Saturday’s games, the Prince George Cougars, Spokane Chiefs and Vancouver Giants all had 24 victories and 53 points. They were tied for sixth place in the Western Conference.

So under the above tiebreaking procedure, I had thought you would take the goals-for and goals-against for each team, subtract, and go from there. That would have put the Cougars (-63) in sixth, the Giants (-69) in seventh, and the Chiefs (-101) eighth.

But it seems that there is a step missing, one that would have provided some clarity, from that tiebreaking procedure as it is spelled out on the WHL website.

You see, in this instance, you only use that tiebreaking procedure to decide the sixth-place team. In this case, that would be the Cougars.

With the Cougars out of the way, the WHL went to a two-team tiebreaker to decide between the Giants and Chiefs. And goals-for and goals-against isn’t used for that one. Instead, because the teams finished with the same number of victories, the edge goes “to the club with the most points in games between the two during the regular season.” The Chiefs won the season series, 3-1-0, so they get seventh place.

That leaves the Giants in eighth.

(Confusing? As I write this, the standings on the WHL website have the Chiefs in sixth, followed by the Giants and then the Cougars.)

What we do know for sure is that the Royals, with 52 points, fell one point shy of that logjam. We also know that each of the first-round series will feature a U.S. team against one from B.C.

In the Eastern Conference, the Prince Albert Raiders wrapped up eighth place, and the last playoff spot, while the Swift Current Broncos, Calgary Hitmen and Regina Pats were eliminated.


Happy


There are two games remaining in the WHL’s regular season but neither one will have any bearing on playoff positions. . . . Today, the Lethbridge Hurricanes are to visit the Calgary Hitmen, with the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina to play the Pats. . . . Here’s how things wound down last night (GR — games remaining). . . .

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Everett Silvertips — Will finish atop the U.S. Division and the conference. One point ahead of Kamloops and Portland. . . . Everett will play Vancouver in the first round. Each team was 2-2-0 in the season series. . . . GR (0).
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Won B.C. Division. . . . Also finished with one more victory than Portland, 48-47. . . . Will meet Spokane in first round. Series will have a 3-3-1 format with the first three games in Kamloops and next three in Spokane. . . . Kamloops won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . GR (0).
  3. Portland Winterhawks — One point behind Everett, tied with Kamloops. As third seed draws Prince George in first round. Portland swept the season series, 4-0-0. . . . GR (0).
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Finished fourth so have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . Seattle finished 3-1-0 in the season series; Kelowna was 1-2-1. . . . GR (0).
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Finish fifth and draw Seattle in first round. . . . GR (0).
  6. Prince George Cougars — Placed sixth through tiebreaking process. . . . Will be riding the bus to Portland to open there on Friday. . . . GR (0).
  7. Spokane Chiefs — Slipped into seventh by sweeping weekend series in Victoria. . . . Gets Kamloops in the first round. . . . GR (0).
  8. Vancouver Giants — Wound up eighth through the tiebreaking procedure. . . . Will open against Everett. . . . GR (0).
  9. Victoria Royals — Not this season.
  10. Tri-City Americans — Not this season either.

——

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Winnipeg Ice — Wins the East Division, Eastern Conference and WHL regular-season pennants. . . . Will meet Prince Albert in first round. Winnipeg was 5-1-2 in the season series; Prince Albert was 3-4-1. . . . GR (0).
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Finished second and open against Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 6-2-0; Lethbridge was 2-5-1. . . . GR (0).
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Wound up third and meet Brandon in the first round. . . . Each team was 2-2-0 in the season series. . . . GR (0).
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Ended up fourth and have home-ice advantage in first-round series with Saskatoon. . . . GR (1): at Regina today.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Will finish fifth and meet Moose Jaw in first round. . . . Saskatoon won the season series, 6-2-0; Moose Jaw was 2-5-1. . . . GR (0).
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Will finish sixth and meet Red Deer in the first round. . . . GR (0).
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Calgary today.
  8. Prince Albert — Woke up in 11th spot on Friday and clinched the conference’s eighth and final playoff spot with a victory in Swift Current on Friday and another over visiting Brandon last night. Will meet the Winnipeg Ice in the first round. . . . GR (0).
  9. Swift Current Broncos — Will finish ninth and out of the playoffs. . . . GR (0).
  10. Calgary Hitmen — No playoffs here either. . . . GR (1): at home to Lethbridge today.
  11. Regina Pats — In 11th spot after losing 6-4 to the Winnipeg Ice last night. The Ice were the home team for Friday and Saturday games in Regina and swept the Pats. . . . GR (1): at home to Moose Jaw today.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.

Stars


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

F Keaton Sorensen and F Evan Herman each scored twice to help the host Prince Albert Raiders to a 5-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The victory allowed the Raiders to grab the conference’s last playoff spot. They’ll be in Winnipeg to play the Ice in a first-round opener on Friday. . . . The Raiders go into the playoffs as defending champions. They won it all in 2018-19; the pandemic took care of playoffs the past two seasons. . . . Herman, who has 28 goals, scored the game’s first two goals. . . . Sorensen has 12 goals. . . .

In Regina, the Pats’ playoff hopes ended with a 6-4 loss to the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Ice played in Regina as the home team on Friday and Saturday nights in games moved from Winnipeg because of a Prairie blizzard that had hit the area. The Ice, with the WHL’s best record this regular season, won both games. . . . The Pats never led in this one, but got to within one, at 5-4, when F Easton Armstrong (6) scored at 8:22 of the third period. . . . Ice F Matt Savoie (35) got the empty-netter at 19:22. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 25 shots to earn the victory. He finished this season 34-3-1, 2.00, .914. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard had two assists. He has 95 points, including 49 goals, in 62 games. . . . Announced attendance was 1,481. . . .

In Red Deer, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 3-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . F Jake Neighbours (17) gave the visitors a 3-0 lead at 7:53 of the second period. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, who will win the WHL scoring title, got the Rebels to within a goal at 3-2 at 11:56 of the third period. But they weren’t able to equalize. . . . Bains, who also had an assist, unofficially leads the WHL in assists (69) and points (112). . . . The teams combined to take 22 minor penalties. Edmonton was 1-for-9 on the PP; Red Deer was 1-for-8. . . . Rogan Dean, the Oil Kings’ equipment manager, worked his 1,000th game with them.

——

Western Conference:

G Mason Beaupit stopped 35 shots to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-2 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . The outcome clinched a playoff spot for the Chiefs and eliminated the Royals. . . . Tied 1-1, the Chiefs scored two goals in the second half of the first period to take control. . . . The winners got a goal and an assist from each of F Ty Cheveldayoff (10) and F Cade Hayes (9). . . .

The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first three goals and went on to beat the Everett Silvertips, 4-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Sasha Mutala, who played 266 games over five-plus seasons with the Americans, scored the game’s last goal and also had two assists. He finished with 19 goals. . . . Everett wins the U.S. Division and Western Conference pennants, with 100 points, but have fewer victories than the Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks, both of whom finished with 99 points. While Everett won 45 games, Kamloops got to 48 and Portland 47. However, Everett ended up with 10 loser points; Portland got five and Kamloops three. . . .

F Andrew Cristall scored twice and added an assist to lead the host Kelowna Rockets to a 3-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Cristall’s second goal, his 28th of the season, gave the Rockets a 3-0 lead at 14:19 of the third period. . . . F Colton Dach drew three assists. . . . Cristall, who turned 17 on Feb. 5, finished with 69 points in 61 games. He tied the franchise record for most points by a player in his 16-year-old season. F Shane McColgan put up 69 points in 2009-10. . . .

F Logan Stankoven scored his 45th goal and added an assist to help the host Kamloops Blazers to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Stankoven finished with 104 points in 59 games as he led the league in points-per-game, at 1.76.


The Saskatoon Blades honoured former general manager/head coach Lorne Molleken prior to and during their 2-1 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night. . . . I only hope the music man played ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man at least once in Lorne’s honour.

Darren Steinke, the travelling blogger, was on hand and he posted this piece right here.


Brad Meier, a former WHL referee, worked his final game as an NHL referee on Saturday night. . . . Cory Wolfe is a former sports writer at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, which is in Meier’s hometown. . . .


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Branden Crowe, the radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings for six seasons, called his final game last night. He is moving on to work for Hockey Canada. He also has been the Wheat Kings’ director of strategic marketing and social sales. According to a news release: “An interim play-by-play voice for the upcoming playoffs will be named in the coming days Long-time colour commentator Pete Gerlinger will remain on the broadcast team.” The Wheat Kings are scheduled to open a first-round playoff series against the Rebels in Red Deer on Friday.


Begun


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation here, primarily because my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Locks

Canada’s U-18 staff has WHL flavour . . . Blades salute former GM/head coach . . . WHL playoff spots undecided with nine games remaining

Nolan Baumgartner, a former WHL player and most recently an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, and David Struch, also a former WHL HockeyCanadaplayer who started the season as the Regina Pats’ head coach, have been named to the coaching staff of the Canadian team that will play in the IIHF U-18 world championship. . . . That tournament is to be held in Landshut and Kaufbeuren, Germany, from April 23 through May 1. . . . Team Canada’s coaching staff also includes Kori Cheverie, who will be the first female to coach one of the country’s national men’s teams. She spent five seasons (2016-21) as an assistant with Ryerson U’s men’s team and this season worked with the Canadian women’s Olympic team. . . . Baumgartner was a defenceman with the Kamloops Blazers when they won the 1994 and 1995 Memorial Cup titles. He had been part of the Vancouver Canucks organization since 2012 until he was let go in a regime change this season. He was with the Canadian men’s Olympic team at the Winter Games in Beijing earlier this year. . . . Struch spent nine seasons with the Regina Pats before being fired as head coach earlier this season. He played four seasons (1988-92) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The U-18 team’s coach staff also includes assistant coach Todd Miller, who is a former head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals and was an assistant coach with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2020-21, and goaltending consultant Brad Kirkwood, who works with the Calgary Hitmen and the U of Calgary women’s and men’s teams. . . . The complete news release is right here.


Courage


The WHL’s 22 teams are into the final two days of their 68-game regular seasons. There are nine games remaining, with seven of them scheduled for tonight. . . . Here’s a look at where things are in terms of playoff opponents (GR — games remaining) . . .

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Everett Silvertips — Will finish atop the U.S. Division and the conference. One point ahead of Portland, which is out of games. . . . Will be without Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, until at least the start of the playoffs. . . . GR (1): at Tri-City tonight.
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Actually third in the conference, two points behind Portland, but are second seed as B.C. Division winners. . . . GR (1): at home to Vancouver tonight.
  3. Portland Winterhawks — One point behind Everett, two ahead of Kamloops. . . . GR (0).
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . GR (0).
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Will finish fifth and meet Seattle in first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Prince George tonight.
  6. Vancouver Giants — Tied with Prince George for sixth, one point ahead of Victoria and two up on Spokane. Each of the four has one game remaining. . . . GR (1): at Kamloops tonight.
  7. Prince George Cougars — Tied with Vancouver for sixth, one point ahead of Victoria and two ahead of Spokane. . . . GR (1): at Kelowna tonight.
  8. Victoria Royals — Two points behind Vancouver and Prince George, one ahead of Spokane. Beat visiting Spokane last night. . . . GR (1): at home to Spokane tonight.
  9. Spokane Chiefs — Slipped to ninth spot as they lost while Victoria and Prince George won on Friday night. . . . One point out of a playoff spot. . . . GR (1): at Victoria tonight.
  10. Tri-City Americans — Not this season.

——

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Winnipeg Ice — Will finish atop the overall standings so is assured of home ice through the playoffs. First-round opponent has yet to be decided. . . . GR (1): Ice will be designated as home team in Regina tonight.
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Will finish second and open against Lethbridge. . . . GR (1): at Red Deer tonight.
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Will finish third and meet Brandon in the first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Edmonton tonight.
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage in first-round series with Saskatoon. . . . GR (1): at Regina on Sunday.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Will finish fifth and meet Moose Jaw in first round. . . . GR (0).
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Will finish sixth and meet Red Deer in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Prince Albert tonight.
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Calgary on Sunday.
  8. Prince Albert — Moved from 11th place into eighth with a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current last night. . . . GR (1): at home to Brandon tonight.
  9. Swift Current Broncos — Actually tied for eighth with Prince Albert but have run out of games. . . . One point ahead of Calgary, two ahead of Regina. . . . GR (0).
  10. Calgary Hitmen — One point behind Prince Albert and Swift Current, one in front of Regina. . . . GR (1): at home to Lethbridge on Sunday.
  11. Regina Pats — In 11th place, two points behind Prince Albert and Swift Current, one behind Calgary. . . . GR (2): at home to Winnipeg tonight in what is an Ice home game, at home to Moose Jaw on Sunday.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

F Kyle Crnkovic broke a 1-1 tie at 11:56 of the second period as the host Saskatoon Blades edged the Brandon Wheat Kings, 2-1. . . . That was his 39th goal this season. . . . Nolan Maier, the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL history, stopped 35 shots for the Blades. He earned his 122nd career victory in his eighth straight start and his 60th appearance of the season. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Broncos, 4-1, in Swift Current. . . . F Carson Latimer (17), who also had two assists, snapped a 1-1 tie at 4:27 of the second period, with F Vladislav Shiloh (9) adding insurance, on a PP, at 13:16. . . . The winners got 32 saves from G Tikhon Chaika. . . .

In a game that was moved from Winnipeg to Regina due to inclement weather and poor driving conditions in the Manitoba capital, the Ice scored five times in the first period and beat the Pats, 6-1. . . . Pregame chatter about the Pats, fighting for their playoff lives, maybe taking advantage of home cooking turned out to be much ado about nothing. . . . In fact, the Ice, the WHL’s best team in this regular season, led this one 5-0 at the 11:09 mark of the first period. . . . The Ice had 14 players get at least one point, but only two — F Jakin Smallwood (25) and F Conor Geekie (25) — had two. Each had a goal and an assist. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 21 shots to record the victory. This season, he is 33-3-1, 1.94, .916. . . . The announced attendance, for what was a Winnipeg home game, was 2,799. . . . Oh, yes. The Pats had advertised this as Guaranteed Win Night. The meant each fan in attendance received a coupon good for a regular-season game in 2022-23. . . .

F Yegor Klavdiev scored his second goal of the game in OT to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Klavdiev, who also had one assist, notched his 21st goal at 1:00 of extra time. . . . F Brayden Edwards (9) also scored twice for Lethbridge. . . . D Cole Jordan (3) had given the Warriors a 4-3 lead at 16:20 of the third period, only to have F Alex Thacker (13) pull the Hurricanes even at 19:05. . . .

Ridley
Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, was back where he belongs on Friday night. (Photo: Scott Roblin/CHAT-TV)

G Sebastian Cossa stopped 21 shots to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-0 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Cossa put up his sixth shutout of this season and the 14th of his career. This season, he is 33-9-3, 2.28, .913. . . . The Oil Kings scored once in each period, with all three goals coming from freshmen — F Cole Miller (9), F Dawson Seitz (7) and F Shea Van Olm (8), who also had two assists. . . . The Oil Kings were 7-0-1 in the season series. . . . Bob Ridley, the only radio voice the Tigers had known prior to the start of this season, returned to the microphone for their final game of this season. Health issues had kept him on the sidelines to this point. . . .

——

Western Conference:

The host Victoria Royals struck four times in the first period and went on to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 7-3. . . . The Royals jumped into a 4-0 lead at 10:31 of the opening period. . . . F Marcus Almquist scored two of those early goals, giving him seven. Almquist, from Denmark, enjoyed his first career two-goal lead. He has scored six of his even goals in his past eight games. . . . F Tarun Fizer, the Royals’ captain, had a goal, his 16th, and two assists. . . . F Chase Bertholet had a goal, his 24th, and two assists for Spokane. . . .

F Jonny Hooker snapped a 2-2 tie at 7:57 of the third period as the Prince George Cougars went into Kamloops and beat the Blazers, 4-2. . . . The Cougars led 2-0 early in the second period, only to have the Blazers tie it early in the third. F Reese Belton (14) pulled the home side even at 4:42, with Hooker’s 17th goal putting the visitors back in front just 3:15 later. . . . The winners got 43 stops from G Ty Young. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds got three goals from F Jared Davidson as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-4, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Davidson, who has 42 goals, has put up hat tricks in two straight games. He went into this season with 39 points, including 19 goals, in 130 games. This season, he has 89 points in 64 games. . . . Seattle got three assists from D Jeremy Hanzel. . . . F Jake Sloan scored twice, giving him 17, and added an assist for the Americans, with F Parker Bell (18) adding a goal and two helpers. . . .  F Samuel Huo got No. 30 for Tri-City. . . . Seattle’s three 20-year-olds — F Henrik Rybinski, F Lukas Svejkovsky and D Ryan Gottfried — were given the night off. . . .

F Colton Dach’s OT goal gave the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Dach scored his 29th goal at 1:12 of extra time. . . . F Adam Kidd (18) pulled Kelowna into a 2-2 with a PP goal at 12:27 of the third period. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (25) had given the Giants a 2-1 lead, on a PP, just 39 seconds into the third. . . .

F Jaydon Dureau scored twice to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips. . . . F Michal Gut (17) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 3:45 of the second period. . . . The Winterhawks then rolled their way to five straight goals. . . . Portland was 3-for-5 on the PP, with Dureau’s second goal, and 24th of the season, coming after Everett F Jonny Lambos was tossed with a kneeing major. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 24 shots for Portland. He is 24-4-0, 2.16, .931 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Silvertips got 44 saves from G Koen MacInnes.


Lettuce


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders fired Jeff Woywitka, their head coach and assistant general manager, on Friday. Woywitka started as associate coach in 2006-07 and was named head coach in November, after the firing of Adam Manah. The Crusaders were 16-16-3 under Woywitka, and grabbed the Viterra North Division’s last playoff spot. The Fort McMurray Oil Barons beat the Crusaders, 4-1, in a first-round best-of-seven playoff series. . . .

The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced on Thursday that head coach Carter Rigby will be back for a second season. “Rigby . . . took the Coyotes from dead last in the 2019-20 pre-COVID season (21 points) to top of the KIJHL (72 points) in his first full season as head coach, earning him the top coach award in the Bill Ohlhausen Division,” reads the team’s news release. Rigby, 28, played five seasons in the WHL (Kelowna, Swift Current, 2011-15). . . .

F Michael Misa of the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s Mississauga Senators U16 AAA team has been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada and is expected to be the first overall selection in the OHL’s draft, which is scheduled for April 29. Misa is the sixth player to have been granted exceptional status in order to play in the OHL as a 15-year-old, the others being F Shane Wright, D Sean Day, F Connor McDavid, D Aaron Ekblad and F John Tavares. . . .

The junior B Aldergrove Kodiaks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League have hired Ron Johnson as their head coach. He replaces Chris Price, who had been head coach for two-plus seasons. Price has joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs as assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach. . . .

D Keith McInnis has signed a tender with the USHL’s Waterloo BlackHawks. McInnis, who turned 16 on Jan. 8, is from Red Deer and was selected by the Rebels in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2021 draft. He played this season at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C.


Sucks


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation here, primarily because my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here. . . . You should know that Dorothy was all smiles on Friday morning when an NHL team’s head coach joined her team with a donation. Talk about an ear-to-ear smile!


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Comcast

Remembering when Ginnell left the Bombers . . . Blades’ Maier king of WHL goaltenders . . . Bedard sets two Pats’ records

These days I am spending time going through more than 40 years worth of files. As pages and pages of clippings, news releases and more, most of them related to the WHL and various teams, go into the recycling bin there are memories, lots of memories involving personalities.

Like Patty Ginnell, or Paddy Ginnell, who was Pat Ginnell when he took over as head coach of the Flin Flon Bombers on June 1, 1966. Quick now . . . who did he succeed? That would be Tom Baird, who stayed on as the general manager.

The Bombers were in the SJHL at the time, but that changed when they moved FFBombersto what was then the Western Canada Junior Hockey League for its second season (1967-68). It had been the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League for its inaugural season (1966-67).

Anyway, Ginnell was 29 when he took over the Bombers. He had spent the previous three seasons playing for the IHL’s Des Moines Oak Leafs. You know that putting Ginnell behind the bench was a popular choice in Flin Flon because he had played for the Bombers when they won the 1958 Memorial Cup.

Ginnell coached the Bombers through Dec. 9, 1973, his final game a 6-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats.

Why was that his final game?

He had purchased 40 per cent of the Victoria Cougars and was about to step in as general manager and head coach.

PatGinnell
PAT GINNELL

Ginnell told Mal Isaac of the Regina Leader-Post that he had been trying to purchase a piece of the Bombers but hadn’t met with any success.

“I’ve been manager-coach in Flin Flon for nine years,” he told Isaac, “and I don’t have a thing to show for it. I don’t even own a stick.” (If you did the math, you know that he actually was in his eighth season with the Bombers, but, hey, facts didn’t get in the way of a lot of stories back in the day.)

“It’s always been my desire to own and operate my own club and that was something I was unable to do in Flin Flon,” Ginnell continued. “Now I’ll have my own team.”

Interestingly, Ginnell’s impending move leaked with the Bombers on the road and before he was able to inform the team’s board of directors.

With the Cougars, Ginnell bought out Eric Bishop, who said he was quitting as the team’s general manager. The Cougars, who started that season with Ollie Dorohoy as their head coach, were in their third WCHL season, hadn’t made the playoffs in their first two and were struggling again.

Victoria finished that season at 22-40-6, which left it fifth in the six-team Western Division.

At some point before Ginnell bought a piece of the Cougars, he had been asked how long it would take him to turn the team into a contender. “One year minimum,” he replied.

Well, the Cougars, led by Mel Bridgman, finished the 1974-75 season atop the West Division with a 47-18-5 record but dropped a best-of-seven semifinal series to the New Westminster Bruins, 4-2.

The Bombers’ board of directors, meanwhile, accepted Ginnell’s recommendation that Mel Pearson, a teammate on the 1958 Memorial Cup-winning team, be the next GM/head coach. Pearson had spent the 1972-73 season with the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints.

Pearson didn’t get to Flin Flon in time for the Bombers next game, on Dec. 13 against, yes, the Cougars. So trainer Nick Oklobdzija — he was known as Nick Alphabet — served as the interim head coach and posted one of his dozen or so career coaching victories, this one by a 10-2 score. Ginnell watched from the Whitney Forum stands as Dorohoy continued for the moment as the Cougars’ coach.

(Bruce Penton, writing in the Brandon Sun of March 7, 1974, noted that Oklobdzija “is undefeated in 12 tests as coach of the WCHL Bombers.”

“That goes back about eight or nine years,” Oklobdzija told Penton. “I’ve filled in here and there when (Ginnell) was away or suspended, or something. And we’ve never lost while I’ve coached.” The WHL’s coaching records show Oklobdzija with a 2-0-0 coaching mark.)

Pearson made his Flin Flon coaching debut on Dec. 18 with a 7-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. (One of Brandon’s goals came from John Paddock, now the Pats’ vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach.)

Pearson, who had signed a contract taking him through 1974-75, was gone early in the 1975-76 season, fired on Oct. 29. At the time, the Bombers had two victories in 12 games.

The Bombers then hired Mickey Keating to replace Pearson, thus ending Ginnell’s connection to the Flin Flon franchise.

As an aside, my favourite Keating quote emerged late in the 1976-77 season. At one point, I wrote a few stories detailing the history of the WHL and it included this:

A nine-hour meeting in Calgary resulted in a new playoff format. Under the original format, the Flin Flon Bombers, third in the East, were 20 points ahead of Regina and all but had a playoff spot locked up. Suddenly, there was a new format and the Bombers were fighting for a spot. Oh yes, they were also on a 15-game West Coast road trip.

“In this league, you need two pieces of equipment,” said Flin Flon boss Mickey Keating. “You need a face-guard when you play some of the teams on the ice and a back protector for the committee room. I had inklings that there may be changes in the playoffs but I had confidence there were intelligent hockey men in this league. I was shown different.”

Ahh, yes, those were the days.


Cats


If you have time on your hands, you could track down the Twitter account belonging to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs (@OHLIceDogs) and check out the ‘apology’ from the Burke brothers — Billy and Joey. And then see if you can find the screen shot of the WhatsApp chat that got them into trouble with David Branch, the OHL commissioner. . . . And after you have done all that, you are free to wonder why the Burke boys weren’t suspended for life.

Meanwhile, there is ample speculation that the IceDogs are soon to be sold to, as Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered reported, “a group headed by Darren DeDobberlaer, an insurance magnate from nearby Brantford, who owns both the Brantford 99ers Jr. A team and the Brantford Bandits Jr. B team.”

Campbell also wrote: “Oh, yes, and the selling price is rumoured to be in the range of $20 million, which should disavow anyone of the notion that major junior hockey operators in Canada are mom and pop operations that require millions of dollars in tax money to meet their scholarship commitments and provincial government laws to help them skirt minimum wage requirements. Teams make money when they are strong and struggle financially when they aren’t. If the operators know what they’re doing, they can make it work. And as we’re seeing with the IceDogs, they can cash out when they sell the team.”

Campbell’s piece is right here and it’s because of reports like this that I subscribe to his site.



“The Greater Toronto Hockey League has hired a private investigator to scrutinize allegations that Jewish players with the U-13 Avenue Road Ducks and their family members were targeted with anti-Semitic slurs during games this season,” reports Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . That story is right here.

——

Meanwhile, CBC Ottawa reports that “after some Black minor hockey players in western Quebec alleged they were racially abused, a Gatineau, Que., team has suspended six of its players and the provincial governing body cancelled weekend games.” . . . That story is right here.

——

And, from Oakland, Mich., comes this from clickondetroit.com: “A 15-year-old boy is suing three players on an under 16 youth hockey team, their parents and the coach after he said he endured antisemitic bullying until he quit the team.” . . . That story is right here.


Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . You are able to support her by making a donation right here.


Spider


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

G Nolan Maier became the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL Saskatoonhistory as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-0. . . . Maier stopped 20 shots in posting his 121st career regular-season victory, breaking a record he had shared with Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . . Hirsch tweeted: “Congrats Nolan! Your perseverance, resilience and dedication is nothing short of inspirational. Enjoy the moment; you’ve earned it!” . . . The Blades won it with two third-period goals, from F Egor Sidorov (23), at 12:17, and F Trevor Wong (16), at 18:01. . . . Maier has three shutouts his season; he holds the franchise career record, with 11. . . . Saskatoon (37-26-4) moved into fourth place, one point ahead of the idle Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Raiders (26-34-5) are 10th, two points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Jake Chiasson had two goals and two assists as the Brandon Wheat Kings Brandondoubled the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Chiasson, who has six goals, struck twice in the second period as Brandon took a 5-1 lead. Chiasson missed a huge chunk of the season with an injury and only began play on March 4. He now has 15 points in 16 games. . . . D Mason Ward added two goals, giving him six, and an assist for Brandon, with D Chad Nychuk getting a goal, his 21st, and two assists. Nychuk has 68 points in 60 games. . . . Brandon (34-25-5), which has won four in a row, is sixth, four points behind Moose Jaw. Each team has four games remaining. . . . Medicine Hat (11-50-4) has lost nine straight games. . . .

In Red Deer, F Ben King, who leads the WHL in goals, scored in OT to give the RedDeerRebels a 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . King, who also had two assists, scored his 49th goal of the season at 2:56 of OT. . . . King has a WHL-leading 15 game-winning goals this season. F Brian Propp of the 1978-19 Brandon Wheat Kings holds the WHL record of 16. . . . F Logan Wormald scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 14. His second goal, at 8:33 of the third period, gave his side a 4-3 lead. . . . D Christoffer Sedoff (7) forced OT with a goal at 12:04. . . . Red Deer (44-17-4) is third, four points behind the idle Edmonton Oil Kings, who have a game in hand. . . . Lethbridge (30-30-5) is headed for a seventh-place finish. . . .

F Connor Bedard set two franchise records as his Regina Pats beat the Broncos, Regina4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Bedard scored twice to give him 47 this season. His 46th goal, a shorthanded effort, set the Pats’ record for most goals by a player in his 16-year-old season. F Jeff Friesen scored 45 times in 1992-93. . . . Bedard now has 89 point in 58 games, and that also is a Pats’ franchise record for a player in his 16-year-old WHL season. F Doug Wickenheiser finished the 1977-78 season with 88 points. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Kelton Pyne. . . . Regina (25-34-5) is 11th and, with four games remaining, trails the eighth-place Broncos (26-34-7) by four points.

——

Western Conference:

F Matthew Seminoff scored with four seconds remaining in the third period to Kamloopsgive the Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kamloops. . . . The goal came one second after the end of a Victoria PP opportunity. . . . F Logan Stankoven had three assists for the Blazers, including the only one on the winner. . . . Seminoff has 25 goals. . . . F Bailey Peach (36) scored twice and added an assist for Victoria, which came back to tie the score three times but wasn’t able to grab the lead. . . . Stankoven now has 99 points, leaving him three behind F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels, who leads the points race. . . . Stankoven, who has played 56 games, leads the WHL in points-per-game (1.77). . . .  Kamloops (47-16-2) is second, four points behind the Everett Silvertips. Each team has three games remaining. . . . Victoria (22-37-6) is tied for seventh with the Vancouver Giants, one point behind the idle Spokane Chiefs. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff scored three times and added an assist as the host Everett EverettSilvertips dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . The Silvertips, who clinched the U.S. Division regular-season pennant, scored the game’s last four goals, the first two from Swetlikoff, who has 33 goals. . . . Everett was 3-for-9 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-for-2. . . . Everett had a 50-13 edge in shots. According to the online game sheet, shots were 10-0 in the third period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski had an empty-net goal and two assists for Everett. He’s got 46 goals. . . . Everett (45-10-10) leads the conference by four points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (18-42-7) has been eliminated from playoff contention. . . .

F Jack O’Brien had two goals to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 7-2 victory Portlandover the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . O’Brien has 13 goals. . . . F Cross Hanas scored his 25th goal and added two assists for the winners. . . . There was something of a brouhaha at 19:17 of the third period that resulted in 97 penalty minutes being handed out. . . . Portland (44-16-5) is third, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (23-36-4) is tied for seventh with Victoria, one point behind Spokane and one ahead of the idle Prince George Cougars.


JUST NOTES: F Logan Nijhoff, the Regina Pats’ captain, has signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. Nijhoff, 20, had 20 goals and 23 assists in 52 games when the signing was announced on Thursday. He is completing his fifth season with Regina. Nijhoff attended the Ducks’ rookie camp in September. . . . The EIHL’s Cardiff Devils have fired head coach Jarrod Skalde, who was in his first season there. Assistant coaches Brodie Dupont and Neil Francis will run things through the end of the season. With four games left in the regular season, the Devils are third at 27-15-3.


War


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Dog

Fan’s enthusiasm for WHL returns after visit to Everett . . . Maier ties WHL career record . . . Seattle star signs with Penguins


When the Portland Winterhawks visited the Silvertips in Everett on Friday at least one fan was in the Angel of the Winds Arena for the first time.

This individual is a long-time WHL fan and a season-ticket holder who rarely misses a game. After being in Everett for what he said was his first game “in many years” outside his home city, he sent me some of his thoughts . . .

“Wasn’t sure what to expect, but what a great experience it was compared to Everettwhat I’m used to. . . . Angel of the Winds Arena is a great facility . . . it feels like a smaller version of an NHL arena with two levels, and a nice concourse to walk around in. The concourse is open at one end so you can see the ice from that part of it, too. The lower level is only 12 rows deep, but close to the ice all the way around so fans are right on top of the action. Not to mention it has more concessions than I could count — you couldn’t walk more than about 50 feet without coming to another place to buy food or drinks . . . lots of variety and no long lineups.

“The announced attendance was about 6,800 and unlike other cities that number wasn’t inflated by too much . . . definitely well over 6,000 in the building, eyeballing the empty seats.

“I showed up at the rink at about 5:50 (10 minutes before the doors opened to non-season ticket holders). There already were numerous season-ticket holders going into the building, and by 6 p.m. the line for the general public to get in was over a block long.”

That, he added, was quite a contract to his home team’s games this season “where at 6 p.m. there might be a dozen or two people there.”

In Everett, he wrote, “not long after 6 p.m., the team store was packed with a lineup of about 20 people for the cash register.” That, too, was “a big contrast” to his home team’s games.

“The crowd had a real energy to it, too. It was a pretty young crowd (lots of people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, which is a great thing to see). Lots of Silvertips jerseys in the crowd, something I’m not used to seeing. . . . Anything that happened in the game got a reaction — whenever the Silvertips took the puck away from Portland, cleared it out of their zone, or started a rush up the ice out of their own zone, the crowd was making noise.”

That, he wrote, was “a welcome change” from crowds in his home arena “that for the most part sit on their hands the whole game other than when a goal is scored. And when Everett scores the entire crowd is on its feet.

“I’ve seen NHL games in a number of cities, and some crowds are just different — at a Rangers game, for example, there’s just a very different energy you feel compared to an L.A. Kings or Anaheim Ducks game and that’s the distinction I’d draw between Everett and (my home arena), a crowd where people were there to be part of the game rather than just sit and watch.

“It was just a fantastic experience, and none of it felt manufactured. There wasn’t anything on the scoreboard telling fans to make noise or anything. Even the fan contests during the intermission were fun and different than I’d seen before.

“If I were involved with running a WHL team I’d be sending my marketing team to Everett to learn something.”

When I wrote about the WHL and attendance last month, this fan told me that he was thinking about perhaps switching from a full season-ticket to a half. He changed his mind after his Everett experience.

“Attending that one game probably did more to bring back my enthusiasm for WHL hockey after the lost COVID season than an entire season of attending (my team’s) games,” he wrote.


Deer1
It must have been a tough shift at the factory on Sunday afternoon because the 16 or 17 deer in the field behind our humble abode all were laying down after having eaten. The light was fading and the ol’ peepers aren’t what they used to be so I couldn’t make an accurate count. And there were more there than I could fit into one frame.

Deer3


Dorothy-040719Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here.


Groceries


If you haven’t noticed, the honeymoon appears to be over in Vancouver where the vultures are starting to circle. . . . There was this from Jeff Paterson on the CanucksSekeres and Price podcast this week: “Bruce has to wear some of this, too. The shine is coming off of this team with 3 wins in 13 games at crunch time. 1 win in their last 8 at home. Bruce always wants to flush this thing about slow starts.” . . . Carol Schram of Forbes Sports tweeted: “It’s crunch time. The Canucks season could depend on 3 games in the next 9 days against Vegas, starting Sunday. Bruce Boudreau’s future may also hang in the balance.” . . . The Canucks lost that Sunday game, and they are in Vegas tonight in the opener of a doubleheader there. . . . Just a short time ago, Boudreau could do no wrong, but that doesn’t seem to be the case these days. . . . Where the fans in Vancouver used to chant “Bruce, there it is!,” now it seems that “Bruce, there it isn’t” would be more topical. And the whisperers are wondering: “Where is Paul Maurice?” . . . Gee, maybe the Canucks’ problems haven’t had a whole lot to do with coaching.


Back in the day, if a player tried to skill it up in the NBA this might happen . . .


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

Saskatoon’s Nolan Maier tied the WHL record for career goaltending victories Saskatoonas the Blades beat the Tigers, 4-0, in Medicine Hat. . . . Maier, 20, has 120 victories in his five seasons with the Blades, including 29 this season. He now shares the mark with Tyson Sexsmith (Medicine Hat, Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . . Maier’s second shutout of this season was the 11th of his career. . . . The Blades are to meet the Hurricanes in Lethbridge tonight. . . . Don’t forget that Maier played only 17 games in the 2021 development season when he earned 12 victories, so only the pandemic kept him from smashing this record. . . . D Ryan Nolan drew three assists. . . . The Blades (26-25-4), with three games remaining, are two points behind the fourth-place Moose Jaw Warriors, who have four to play. . . . The Tigers (11-49-4) have lost eight in a row. . . .

F Jake Chiasson and F Nolan Ritchie each had a goal and two assists as their BrandonBrandon Wheat Kings beat the visiting Regina Pats, 5-4. . . . Chiasson, who has four goals, tied it 2-2 at 16:46 of the second period and Ritchie, with 31 goals, broke the tie at 19:40. . . . D Mason Ward (4) upped the lead to 4-2 at 1:23 of the third period and the Pats never could equalize. . . . Regina got three goals from F Logan Nijhoff, whose first WHL hat trick left him with 20 goals. . . . Brandon (33-25-5) is sixth, five points behind Saskatoon. The Wheat Kings appear headed to a first-round matchup with the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Regina (24-34-5) is six points from a playoff spot with five games remaining.

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

In Prince George, D Tyson Feist scored at 1:02 of OT to give the Kelowna Rockets Kelownaa 1-0 victory over the Cougars. . . . He’s got 15 goals this season. . . . Kelowna G Talyn Boyko blocked 21 shots for his second shutout of the season. . . . The Cougars got 35 saves from G Ty Young. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Prince George. . . . The Rockets (38-19-6) are fifth, four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Cougars (22-37-5) are tied for the conference’s last playoff spot with the Spokane Chiefs, one point behind the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals.


Clam


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Mark Bomersback is the new general manager of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. Bomersback, 39, was the Storm’s GM from 2017-20, before stepping down. From a news release: “Mark was an elite player in the AJHL, his 394 career points still stands as the all-time record.  Upon finishing his junior career Mark moved on to Ferris State University in the NCAA.  Mark’s professional hockey career saw him play in the East Coast and American Hockey Leagues before finishing his career in Europe, including a season in the KHL.” Mike Vandekamp was the Storm’s general manager/head coach for the past two seasons, but they parted company at the conclusion of their season. A new head coach has yet to be hired. . . . Billy Keane has joined the Pilot Mound, Man., Hockey Academy as the male U18 head coach and the academy’s assistant general manager. He spent the previous two seasons as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. His contract wasn’t renewed when their season ended. . . .

Brandon Switzer is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Switzer, from Brandon, had been the club’s associate coach and assistant GM since June 26. He takes over from Bill Rotheisler, who had filled both positions for the past two seasons. . . . The NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins have signed F Lukas Svejkovsky, 20, of the Seattle Thunderbirds to a three-year entry-level contract that is to begin next season. It carries an annual average value of $859,167 at the NHL level — salaries of $750,000, $775,000 and $775,000 with a $92,000 signing bonus each year. There is an $80,000 minor-league salary in all three years. The Penguins selected him in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL draft. . . .

The NAHL announced on Tuesday that the Wichita Falls Warriors are on the move to Oklahoma City where they will play out of the Blazers Ice Center. They will continue with the Warriors nickname. There was a time when the NAHL franchise in Wichita Falls was known as the Wildcats and was owned by Rick Brodsky, a former WHL chairman of the board and owner of the Victoria/Prince George Cougars.


Sessions


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Dads

Dreger: NHL GMs want to talk about 19s in the AHL . . . Friedman: CHL to ban Belarusians, Russians from draft . . . Bananas skate to WHL victory

A couple of items that involve the WHL slipped through the cracks here this week, so allow me to touch on them now . . .

The NHL’s general managers met in Manalapan, Fla., early in the week.

Darren Dreger of TSN reported that there was some conversation about what CHLonce was known as the pro-junior agreement — the deal between the NHL and CHL that involves the 60 major junior teams. That contract expired a couple of years ago, and simply has been rolled over because of the pandemic. But it seems that the parties are getting closer to sitting down and hashing it out.

Dreger also reported: “The general managers coming out of Tuesday’s meetings want to talk more about 19-year-olds playing in the American Hockey League and it feels like every March, when we’re healthy enough to be in a face-to-face environment, that the topic comes up. I know Kelly McCrimmon of the Vegas Golden Knights gave a very passionate account — as the former owner of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings — to tell the general managers (there are 11 new guys in there) how devastating it would be to the CHL if they introduce 19-year-olds at the AHL level.”

The NHL and major junior operators love to talk about how the CHL teams are in the business of developing players. And that is true. But it is time for both parties to acknowledge that these teams, first and foremost, are in the entertainment business. If they don’t produce an entertaining product, they might not be in business.

There has long been chatter about the NHL teams wanting the OK to put 19-year-olds in the AHL. One school of thought has it that a 19-year-old who has been a first-round selection in the NHL draft should be able to be placed in the AHL.

As things stand now, an NHL team has two options with a 19-year-old whose rights it owns — keep him in the NHL or offer him to his major junior team.

These 19-year-olds are the best players in major junior hockey, the players people pay to watch. To take them away from CHL teams would be a real slap in the face to those teams and their fans.

——

Meanwhile, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet posted his weekly 32 Thoughts and it included this: “It’s not announced yet, but several CHL teams are indicating a ban will be enforced against selecting Russians and Belorusians in the upcoming import draft. Existing prospects will be grandfathered, allowed to return next (season).”

Here’s a look at Russian (3) and Belarusian (7) players on WHL rosters (age shown is as of start of this season):

Brandon — F Zakhar Polshakov, 18, Minsk, Belarus.

Calgary — F Anton Astashevich, 17, Minsk, Belarus; F Maxim Muranov, 17, Moscow, Russia.

Lethbridge — F Yegor Klavdiev, 18, Minsk, Belarus.

Medicine Hat — D Gleb Ivanov, 18, Moscow, Russia.

Prince Albert — G Tikhon Chaika, 18, Minsk, Belarus; F Vladislav Shilo, 18, Minsk, Belarus.

Saskatoon — F Egor Sidorov, 17, Vitebsk, Belarus.

Spokane — D Timafey Kovgoreniya, 18, Minsk, Belarus.

Swift Current — F Alexei Shanaurin, 17, Snezhinsk, Russia.


Sweater


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

F Matthew Savoie scored twice and added an assist, while G Daniel Hauser WinnipegIceearned the shutout as the visiting Winnipeg Ice dumped the Regina Pats, 7-0, for their 13th straight victory. . . . Savoie now has 32 goals and 52 assists in 60 games. . . . The Ice also got a goal, his 23rd, and three assists from F Zach Benson, with F Connor McClennon scoring his 40th goal of the season. . . . Hauser stopped 17 shots to put up his WHL-leading eight shutout of the season. He is 30-2-1, 1.97, .915 this season. . . . Winnipeg (49-9-5) is 15-0-2 in its last 17 games and leads the conference by eight points over the Edmonton Oil Kings, who have six games remaining. . . . Regina (24-32-5) is five points away from a playoff spot with seven games left. . . .

Bananas

In Saskatoon, F Egor Sidorov scored twice to lead the Blades to a 4-1 victory Saskatoonover the Moose Jaw Warriors in what may well have been a first-round playoff preview. . . . Sidorov, who has 21 goals, broke a 1-1 tie at 8:04 of the third period and added insurance at 14:36. . . . G Nolan Maier recorded the victory with 18 saves. That was the 119th victory of his career, one shy of the WHL record. . . . The Blades (35-24-4) are fifth, one point behind the Warriors (35-23-5). Each team has five games remaining. . . . The Blades rebranded themselves as the Saskatoon Bananas, complete with new sweaters, for this one. For more on that, check out the Blades’ website. . . . 

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored two empty-netters as they beat the Raiders, Brandon4-2, in Prince Albert. . . . F Nate Danielson got his 20th goal into an empty net and gave Brandon a 3-1 lead at 18:12 of the third period. . . . F Sloan Stanick scored his second of the game and 21st of the season at 19:03 to get the home team to within a goal. . . . Brandon F Chad Nychuk (19) iced it with another empty-net goal at 19:32. . . . F Nolan Ritchie scored his 30th goal of the season in the first period. . . . G Ethan Kruger stopped 35 shots for Brandon, which clinched a playoff spot. . . . The Wheat Kings (31-25-5) are sixth, seven points behind Saskatoon and eight ahead of Swift Current, which has only three games remaining. . . . Prince Albert (25-33-5) is three points from a playoff spot. . . .

In Swift Current, the Calgary Hitmen scored the game’s last three goals as they Calgarybeat the Broncos, 5-2. . . . F Sean Tschigerl (22) gave the Hitmen a 3-2 lead, at 15:38 of the second period, with his second of the game. He also had an assist. . . . F Cael Zimmerman, who has 14, scored Calgary’s last two goals. . . . The Hitmen (24-31-8) are ninth, three points behind the Broncos (26-32-7), who trail Lethbridge by a point. . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 2-0 deficit with five straight goals en route Lethbridgeto a 6-3 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Alex Thacker scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 12. He got the Hurricanes even at 9:08 of the second period and scored the eventual winner, on a PP, at 15:51. . . . Lethbridge got three assists from F Yegor Klavdiev. . . . The Hurricanes (28-30-4) are seventh, one point ahead of Swift Current. . . . The Tigers (11-47-4) have lost six in a row. . . .

Western Conference:

F Andrew Cristall, F Pavel Novak and F Scott Cousins each had three points as Kelownathe host Kelowna Rockets dumped the Prince George Cougars, 9-2. . . . The Cougars scored the game’s first goal — D Jonas Brøndberg got his first of the season at 1:31 of the first period — but the Rockets took a 4-1 lead into the second period. . . . Cristall had two goals, giving him 23, and an assist, with Novak scoring his 26th goal and adding two assist, and Cousins getting No. 3 and two assists. . . . Kelowna was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . The Rockets (36-19-6) appear headed to a fifth-place finish. . . . The Cougars (22-37-3) are eighth, two points ahead of Spokane and three behind Victoria. . . .

In Kamloops, the Spokane Chiefs took a 5-1 lead into the third period and hung Spokaneon for a 6-5 victory over the Blazers. . . . F Blake Swetlikoff (11) gave the visitors a 5-1 lead, on a PP, at 19:47 of the second period. . . . Kamloops outscored Spokane 4-1 in the third period, getting goals from D Logan Bairos (4), at 11:16, and F Daylan Kuefler (37), on a PP, at 13:10, to get within a goal. . . . F Nick McCarry, who started the season with Kamloops, had a goal, his 18th, and two assists for Spokane. He had 28 points in 34 games with the Blazers; he has 28 points in 30 games with Spokane. . . . Spokane was 3-for-5 on the PP. . . . The Blazers got a goal, his 41st, and two assists from F Logan Stankoven. . . . Kamloops, which is carrying three goaltenders, didn’t dress starter Dylan Garand. Dylan Ernst went the distance, with Jesse Sanche on the bench. . . . Mike Boyle, the radio voice of the Chiefs, called his 1,500th WHL game and you can bet it was one he’ll remember. . . . The Blazers (45-16-2) are second, three points behind Everett. . . . Spokane (20-37-5) is ninth, two points behind Prince George. . . .

F Cross Hanas ended a three-goal comeback in OT as the Portland Winterhawks Portlandbeat the Silvertips, 5-4, in Everett. . . . The Silvertips took a 4-2 lead on third-period goals from F Jackson Berezowski (44), at 12:58 and D Aidan Sutter (4), at 16:08. . . . F Marcus Nguyen (19) pulled Portland to within one at 16:29 and D Clay Hanus (18) tied it at 19:46. . . . Hanas, who also had two assists, won it with his 24th goal at 1:03 of extra time. . . . The announced attendance was 6,833, Everett’s third-largest crowd this season. . . . The Winterhawks (42-16-5), with five games left, are third, three points behind Kamloops and six in arrears of Everett (43-10-9). . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds opened up a 5-0 lead en route to a 6-4 Seattlevictory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Henrik Rybinski’s 19th goal gave Seattle a 5-0 lead just nine seconds into the second period. . . . The Americans scored the next four goals, getting started at 1:50 when F Jordan Gavin scored his first WHL goal in his sixth game. . . . Tri-City got to within a goal at 18:41 on D Marc Lajoie’s 11th goal, via the PP, but Seattle F Lukas Svejkovsky (32) put it away at 19:58 with his second of the game, this one into an empty net. . . . F Jared Davidson scored twice for the winners, giving him 35. . . . Seattle (40-17-6) is three points behind Portland. . . . Tri-City (18-40-5) is six points out of a playoff spot with five games remaining.


Mat


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Matthew Wood, a freshman with the Victoria Grizzlies, won the BCHL scoring title this season by putting up 85 points, including 45 goals, in 46 games. Wood, who turned 17 on Feb. 6, is from Lethbridge. He was selected by the Regina Pats in the second round of the WHL’s 2020 draft. However, he has committed to join the U of Connecticut Huskies in Hartford for 2023-24. . . . G Eve Gascon stopped 23 shots to earn the victory as the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques beat the visiting Drummondville Voltigeurs, 7-3, on Friday night. This was the first time a woman had posted a goaltending victory in the QMJHL since Charline Labonte did it with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 2000. . . . It seems there might be at least three bids being prepared with aspirations to play host to the 2023 World Junior Championship. The NHL’s Ottawa Senators are partnering with Quebecor, which owns the arena in Quebec City, and the Quebec government on one bid. Things are moving in Regina and Saskatoon with another bid being prepared from there; city councils in both cities already have approved some funding. Meanwhile, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that “the belief is the Halifax Mooseheads and the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are working on a bid with officials from their respective cities to host the tourney.”


Three former WHL players — F Jared Aulin, F Jayce Hawryluk and D Brennan Menell — have signed with 3ICE, a 3-on-3 pro hockey league that is scheduled to begin play in Las Vegas on June 18. . . . Each of the league’s six teams will comprise seven players, including one goaltender. All six teams will be in action on nights when the tour stops in Las Vegas, Denver, Grand Rapids, Mich., Hershey, London, Ont., Pittsburgh, Quebec City and Nashville. The 3ICE championship is to be decided in Las Vegas on Aug. 20. . . . Aulin, 40, played with the Kamloops Blazers (1998-2002), while Hawryluk, 26, was with the Brandon Wheat Kings (2012-16), and Menell, 24, skated with the Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes (2014-17). Hawryluk and Menell still are active; Aulin last played in 2019-20 with the Elite Ice Hockey League’s Manchester Storm and actually announced his retirement on July 26, 2021.


Ink


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Birthday

Season over for Blades’ captain . . . Regina, Saskatoon combine to bid on 2023 WJC . . . Blazers clinch B.C. flag

TurnSignals


The Saskatoon Blades announced on Wednesday that D Aidan De La SaskatoonGorgendiere, their 19-year-old captain, won’t play again this season. He will be undergoing surgery to repair an undisclosed injury. . . . “Aidan has been battling through an ailment for most of the season and, over the weekend, it finally reached a point where surgery was the only option for him,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, said in a statement. “We will miss his leadership and it certainly is difficult news given how much he means to our team on and off the ice.” . . . De La Gorgendiere is the Blades’ highest-scoring defenceman, with 45 points, including 41 assists, in 54 games. His 45 points are the fourth-highest on the team. . . . F Tristen Robins, 20, wore the captain’s ‘C’ for the first time on Wednesday night as the Blades dropped a 3-2 decision to the Pats in Regina.



Yes, it’s true. The virus reared its ugly head in the NHL again on Wednesday. The Winnipeg Jets were without F Kyle Connor and D Nate Schmidt when they met the Sabres in Buffalo last night after both players tested positive earlier in the day. . . . Connor hadn’t previously tested positive, while Schmidt missed time with COVID-19 last season while with the Vancouver Canucks. . . . Both players are expected to miss at least three games. Considering that Connor leads the Jets with a career-high 82 points, including 41 goals, this is a serious blow to a team that is chasing a playoff spot. . . . The Jets beat the Sabres, 3-2 in a shootout.


The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship was to have been held in IIHFNovosibirsk and Omsk, Russia, but those plans were scrubbed after the dictator chose to attack Ukraine. There have been reports that the IIHF has asked Canada to play host, even though the 2022 tournament is to be held in Edmonton in August. One option for Canada is for Ottawa and Quebec City to share hosting duties, while organizations in Regina and Saskatoon are preparing a joint bid. . . . From a press release issued by Tourism Regina and Tourism Saskatoon: “This is an exciting opportunity to host the IIHF World Junior Championships throughout Saskatchewan with potential games being played in municipalities like Humboldt, Swift Current, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.”


Doctor


Perry Bergson covers the Brandon Wheat Kings for the Brandon Sun . . .


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

In Regina, the Pats scored the game’s first three goals and held on for a 3-2 Reginavictory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . D Ryker Evans’ 14th goal, on a PP at 1:31 of the third period, stood up as the winner. . . . The Blades had stopped Regina F Connor Bedard’s 21-game streak on Friday in Saskatoon and held him to one assist last night. . . . The Blades won the season series, 5-1-0. . . . The Pats (24-31-5) are five points from the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. . . . The Blades (34-24-4) are fifth, three points behind the Moose Jaw Warriors, with each team having six games remaining. . . .

C Carson Latimer scored two first-period goals, the second via the PP, to lead PrinceAlbertthe Raiders to a 2-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in Prince Albert. . . . Latimer, who has 16 goals, struck at 14:27 and 16:33. . . . C Charlie Elick, the third overall selection in the WHL’s December draft, scored his first goal for Brandon. . . . The Raiders, who got 34 saves from G Chaika Tikhon, had lost their previous four games. . . . Prince Albert (25-32-5) now are within three points of eighth place but have only six games left. . . . The Wheat Kings (30-25-5) appear headed to a sixth-place finish in the conference. . . .

In Calgary, the Hitmen opened up a 2-0 first-period lead and went on to beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-2. . . . F Cael Zimmerman’s 12th goal, at 19:57 of the first period, gave the Hitmen a 3-1 lead. . . . Calgary (23-31-8) is 10th, four points from a playoff spot with six games left. . . . The Tigers (11-46-4) won’t be in the playoffs. . . .

F Raphael Pelletier broke a 4-4 tie at 5:34 of the third period and later added an SwiftCurrentempty-netter as the visiting Swift Current Broncos beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-4. . . . Pelletier, who also had an assist, now has 19 goals. He went into this season with six goals and nine assists in 69 career regular-season games. This season, he now has 46 points in 60 games. . . . The Broncos (26-31-7) are seventh, one point ahead of eighth-place Lethbridge (27-30-4), which is three points ahead of Prince Albert. . . .

The host Kamloops Blazers scored three goals early in the first period en route Kamloopsto a 8-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Blazers, who led 6-0 before the second period was four minutes old, clinched first place in the B.C. Division. . . . F Logan Stankoven led the Blazers with two goals, giving him 40, and two assists. . . . Stankoven, a Kamloopsian who turned 19 on Feb. 26, has 91 points in 53 games. He leads the WHL in points per game — 1.72. F Ridley Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings is second, at 1.62. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer scored his 30th goal of the season for the Cougars. He is the first Prince George freshman to get there since F Brett Connolly (2008-09). . . . Kamloops has had its two largest announced crowds of the season for its last two games — 4,969 for a 6-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets on Friday and 4,745 last night. . . . With two games left in the season series, the Blazers hold an 8-2-0 edge; the Cougars are 2-7-1. . . . Kamloops (45-15-2) is two points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips (43-10-8), who hold a game in hand.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Terry McFaul has been named the Kelowna Rockets’ director of player personnel. McFaul has been on the Rockets’ scouting staff for 31 years. He was named head scout on April 23, 2020. . . . If you like playoff OT, you should have been in Nelson, B.C., on Tuesday night for the Kootenay International Hockey League game. The Revelstoke Grizzlies and the Leafs got into the third OT period before the visitors got a goal from D Will McPhee at 15:04 for a 4-3 victory. Revelstoke G Brandon Weare stopped 49 shots, 12 more than Dylan Marshall of the Leafs. The Grizzlies lead the best-of-seven series, 3-1, with Game 5 in Revelstoke tonight.


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