Hanlon leaving Giants . . . Blazers’ top pick gives them the word . . . Thunderbirds’ import will stay home

MacBeth

F Adam Kambeitz (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Seattle, 2008-13) a signed one-year contract with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with the U of Calgary (Canada West), he had two goals and eight assists in 28 games. . . .

F Dominik Uher (Spokane, 2009-12) signed a two-year contract with the Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (Germany, DEL). This season, with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and three assists in 48 games. . . .

F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) signed a one-year contract extension with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). He had three goals and seven assists in 19 games. . . .

D Tomáš Kundrátek (Medicine Hat, 2008-10) signed a one-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL), he had two goals and 11 assists in 53 games. . . .

D Zack Yuen (Tri-City, 2008-13) signed a one-year two-way contract extension with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). He had two goals and one assist in 21 games this season. He also was pointless in eight games with KRS Heilongjiang Harbin (China, Russia Vysshaya Liga).


ThisThat

The Vancouver Giants became the third B.C. Division team searching for a general manager when they revealed on Monday that Glen Hanlon is leaving after two seasons in that role. . . . The Prince George Cougars, who didn’t bring back Todd Harkins, and Kamloops Blazers, who dumped Stu MacGregor, also are looking to hire general managers. . . . According to a Giants news release, Hanlon “has decided to pursue other opportunities.” . . . Hanlon, 61, spent two seasons (2011-13) with the Giants as an assistant coach under Don Hay before spending a couple of seasons coaching in Belarus and Switzerland. . . . Dean Chynoweth, the Giants’ associate coach, may be the leading candidate to replace Hanlon. Chynoweth, 49, spent five seasons (2004-09) as the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos. He just completed his first season with the Giants, working alongside head coach Jason McKee.


The Hamilton Bulldogs won the OHL championship on Sunday night. Here are a few paragraphs written earlier in the week by Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator:

When the Canadian Hockey League awarded the Memorial Cup to Regina, it cited the failings of FirstOntario Centre as the main reason why.

“At the end of the day, it was the facility that would not allow Hamilton to stay in the race,” CHL president David Branch said back then.

That may be true. Then again, the yellow-T-shirt-wearing, noise-making, atmosphere-creating, lower-bowl-filling crowd — which was 2,100 people bigger than will be at any of the Memorial Cup games at the Brandt Centre (capacity 6,500) — sure looked good and suggested the tournament really should’ve been here.

Not to mention the fact that Hamilton has a championship-calibre team that’s playing the country’s best outfit to a standstill right now. The host Regina Pats? They were eliminated from their playoffs 40 days ago.”


Here’s more from Radley:

Sure, most teams’ TV and radio announcers are homers to one degree or another. Many are employees of the team, so it’s hardly a surprise. Most keep it reasonably in check, however.

That said, is there any call in sports more finger-nails-on-a-chalkboard grating than Buck Martinez yelling “Get up, ball!” every time a Blue Jay hits a home run? It’s just one step short of running onto the field and hugging the guy as he rounds third base.


It seems that Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, didn’t give us all of the organization’s bad news when he announced the departure of four people from Kamloops1the front office on Thursday.

Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, reported Tuesday that the Blazers were told before the May 3 bantam draft that F Massimo Rizzo is “pursuing an NCAA scholarship and will not be coming to training camp in the fall.”

The Blazers selected Rizzo with the 15th overall selection of the 2016 bantam draft. This season, Rizzo had 13 goals and 25 assists in 50 games with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. He will be back with the Vees in 2018-19.

On Thursday, Gaglardi announced the departures of general manager Stu MacGregor, head coach Don Hay, assistant coach Mike Needham and director of player personnel Matt Recchi.


The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers signed G Stuart Skinner of the Swift Current Broncos to a three-year entry-level contract on Monday. Skinner, who is from Edmonton, was a third-round selection by the Oilers in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . He posted a record-tying six shutouts in helping the Broncos to the WHL championship.


So . . . if you’re Eli Manning, the New York Giants’ starting quarterback, what’s it like playing in Philadelphia?

“Philly, you just gotta get used to,” Manning tells Steiner Sports. “. . . because you’re not used to seeing a nine-year-old cursing at you and talking about my mom and stuff. Once you get used to it, it’s fine. It just takes a year or two. Now (15 years later) he’s 24 and training his four-year-old to curse at me.”


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed D Nolan Allan, the third overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Allan, from Davidson, Sask., had 12 goals and 32 assists in 26 games with the bantam AA Humboldt Broncos.


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times notes that Kiyaunta Goodwin of Louisville, Ky., “is six-feet-seven, weighs 370 pounds, wears size-18 shoes, leg presses 1,000 pounds, bench presses 315, displays uncanny agility, likes art music and robotics, and has a football offer from Georgia in his pocket, according to Bleacher Report.” . . . Perry then adds: “Oh and did we mention that he’s only 14 years old and an eighth-grader?”


It appears that F Sami Moilanen won’t be back with the Seattle Thunderbirds for what Seattlewould have been his 19-year-old season. From Sipoo, Finland, Moilanen played two seasons with Seattle. He had 43 points, including 21 goals, in 70 games as a freshman, adding 16 points, seven of them goals, in 20 playoff games as the Thunderbirds won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. This season, he had 22 goals and 23 assists in 50 games as he was hampered by injuries. . . . Seattle’s second import, Russian F Nikita Malukhin, had five goals and four assists in 52 games as a freshman this season.


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, is a hockey fan, and as he writes: “A difference between Canadian and U.S. hockey fans — at least Canadian fans can find Winnipeg on a map?”


“Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning should both do well with playoff ticket sales,” Hough notes. “As we get into mid- May, I’m guessing people in both cities will pay well for a chance to spend three hours inside out of 30-plus degree weather.”


“So the Leafs are bounced in the first round,” pens Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette, “the Raptors pull an epic choke after Drake makes an ass of himself, and the Jays get no-hit the night Stroman pitches. This Toronto 24/7 thing is entertaining.”


A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Reuters reports a Paris museum is offering special viewing hours to ‘naturists.’ Nudes taking in nudes? Busts before busts? Art-wise I’m not sure how to frame it.”


Currie, again: “The Toronto Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey two days after he was named NBA coach of the year.  It’s the fastest fall from grace for a Casey since the Mudville nine.”

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Royals, Raiders make a deal . . . OHL swap includes 5-year-old . . . Skinner returns with record shutout

Scattershooting

Come on, folks. Lighten up. Anyone piling on Christian Wohlwend, the Swiss junior team’s head coach, for his comments on Sunday needs to stop drinking so much coffee. He’s a funny man, and his team had zero chance of beating Canada. You can bet his players knew it, too, so how be we cut him some slack.


Canada dumped Switzerland, 8-2, on Tuesday, as Wohlwend had pretty much predicted. Did I watch? No, because I took Wohlwend at his word.


However, I did watch Sweden and Slovakia, with Dennis Beyak and Craig Button doing their usual excellent job. Earlier in the day, Beyak and Button called a thriller between Finland and Czech Republic. Later, I went in and out of the game between Russia and the U.S. The host team playing the Russians and the arena was devoid of people and atmosphere.



Let’s be honest. We all want to see Canada and the U.S. on a real ice surface in Friday’s championship final. We’ll watch then, unless the poohbahs take the game and move it outside.



Willie Desjardins, the head coach of Canada’s Olympic team, is in Buffalo now, having conquered Europe — they won the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland, last week. Also there are assorted other Team Canada officials, including GM Sean Burke, as they continue to look for those who would be Canadian Olympians.


This morning at 11 o’clock, Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops is expected to introduce Curtis Atkinson as its new athletic director. He will take over from Ken Olynyk, who is retiring after 14 years in charge. Atkinson, who has been working for Canada West, is a former interim AD at the U of Regina. Former WHLer Peter Soberlak, who is on staff at TRU, was the other candidate who received serious consideration.


BTW, America, can’t you do something about President Tweet? If you aren’t aware, he has become something of an embarrassment.


After President Tweet’s big button shot at North Korea on Tuesday, how comfortable are you if you’re preparing to head for South Korea and the Olympic Winter Games? Yeah, that’s what I thought.


A reader sends this note . . .

Before their loss in Kamloops on Monday, the Victoria Royals were listed as 1-0-0-1 in the ‘Streak’ column in the standings on the WHL website. That was for a win on Thursday against Prince George and a shootout loss Saturday in Kelowna. After Monday’s regulation loss to the Blazers, the Royals’ streak now is listed as 0-1-0-1. So I guess that a shootout loss can be part of both a winning streak and a losing streak.


MacBeth

F Rodrigo Ābols (Portland, 2015-17) has been assigned on loan by Örebro (Sweden, SHL) to Karlskoga (Sweden, Allsvenskan). The length of the loan wasn’t specified. He had one assist in 26 games, while averaging 7:34 time on ice per game with Örebro this season.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

There have been a number of trades in the OHL over the past few days, but only one of them included a five-year-old who, as Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator points out, “is somewhere in Ontario currently enjoying his Christmas break from the grinding rigours of kindergarten.” . . . Yes, a deal made Monday between the Windsor Spitfires and Kingston Frontenacs included a selection in the OHL’s 2028 draft. No one trades picks like OHL teams, and this deal was no different. Windsor traded away two veterans for a 16-year-old centre and draft picks from 2020, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, 2027 and, yes, 2028. . . . Radley has more right here and it’s an entertaining read.


The Seattle Thunderbirds are down to three 20-year-olds with the news that F Tyler Adams has joined the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks. . . . A native of Regina, Adams got into only one game with Seattle this season, thanks to an undisclosed injury. He was acquired last season from the Swift Current Broncos, and had three goals and five assists in 41 games with the WHL-champion Thunderbirds. . . . His departure leaves Seattle with F Donovan Neuls, D Turner Ottenbreit and D Austin Strand as its 20-year-olds.


The Calgary Hitmen have added F Bryce Bader, 16, to their roster. From Sherwood Park, Alta., he was a second-round selection by the Hitmen in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . This season, he has 10 goals and 12 assists in 25 games with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. . . . He got into one game with the Hitmen last season, but was pointless.


WHEELING AND DEALING . . .

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 18

PLAYERS: 32

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 20

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 4


TUESDAY:

THE DEAL: The Victoria Royals have acquired the WHL rights to F Hunter Strand, 15, a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, and sixth-and 10th-round picks in 2018 from the Prince Albert Raiders for F Regan Nagy, 20.

THE INFO: Strand was selected by the Raiders in the sixth round of the 2017 bantam draft. He hasn’t yet committed to the WHL. In fact, on Nov. 30, he made a verbal commitment to attend Notre Dame and play for the Fighting Irish, starting with the 2021-22 season. Of course, verbal commitments are non-binding, so the Royals have plenty of time to deliver their pitch. . . . Strand, who is in Grade 9, has a late birthday; he turned 15 on Nov. 13. . . . Nagy had  been a part of the Victoria organization since being a second-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Strand, who is from Anchorage, is playing for the U-16 Alaska Oilers, a midget AAA team in the Alaska State Hockey Association. In his first 21 games this season, through Nov. 5, he had 26 goals and 16 assists in 21 games. The Oilers’ website doesn’t include stats past that date. . . . The Royals got a good look at Strand in December 2016, when he put up 10 goals and eight assists in five games at the Rick LaPointe Memorial bantam tournament in Victoria. . . . Nagy, who is from Ogema, Sask., has 18 goals and six assists in 26 games this season. He hasn’t played since Nov. 28 due to a finger injury. Last season, the 6-foot-0, 195-pound Nagy had 18 goals and 23 assist in 69 games. In 253 career games, he has 50 goals and 47 assists.

WHY: The Royals are hoping they can convince a young player with high-end offensive skills to sign with them. They also added three bantam draft selections and those always are useful. . . . Moving Nagy also gets the Royals back to three 20-year-olds — D Kade Jensen, D Chaz Reddekopp and F Tyler Soy. . . . With the trade deadline arriving on Jan. 10, the Raiders, despite being seven points out of a playoff spot, appear to have signalled that they aren’t in a selling mode. Acquiring Nagy gives them four 20-year-olds, one over the maximum, meaning they will have to move one over the next week. The others, all forwards, are Curtis Miske, Devon Skoleski and Jordy Stallard.


Scoreboard

TUESDAY:

At Lethbridge, G Stuart Skinner, who had been in sick bay, stopped 20 shots to help the Hurricanes to a 7-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Hurricanes (17-17-3) have Lethbridgepoints in three straight games (2-0-1). . . . The Ice (18-18-3) have points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). . . . Kootenay is 0-1-1 to being a stretch of five games in six nights. The Ice will be in Swift Current tonight. . . . Lethbridge is third in the Central Division, two points behind Kootenay, which is five points back of Medicine Hat. . . . Skinner was back in goal after not having played since Dec. 16. He became ill after the Christmas break. He posted his fourth shutout this season and the 10th of his career. He now holds the franchise’s career record with one more than Logan Koopmans (1999-2004). . . . It may have been key that the Hurricanes scored in the last minute of each of the first two periods. . . . F Jordy Bellerive opened the scoring, on a PP, with five seconds left in the first period. . . . F Giorgio Estephan, who also had three assists, scored his 17th goal, on a PP, at 8:43 of the second period. . . . F Jadon Joseph (4) made it 3-0 at 19:08. . . . The home side put it away with four third-period goals, from Bellerive (22), at 3:43; F Taylor Ross (10), at 4:36; F Zachary Cox (1), at 5:42; and F Lane Zablocki (11), at 10:50. . . . Lethbridge got two assists from each of D Calen Addison, F Dylan Cozens and D Igor Merezhko, with Zablocki and Joseph adding one each. . . . Lethbridge was 2-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-4. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 34 shots for the Ice, which was outshot 34-13 over the final two periods. . . . D Nolan Jones, 16, a second-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, was in Lethbridge’s lineup, as was D Alex Cotton, 16, who was a fifth-round pick in that draft. Jones, who was pointless in three games last season, is from Moose Jaw and has four goals and 11 assists in 28 games with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. Cotton, who made his WHL debut, is from Langley, B.C. He has four goals and 32 assists in 24 games with the CSSHL’s Yale Hockey Academy prep team. . . . F Holden Kodak, 16, who is from Cloverdale, B.C., made his WHL debut with the Ice. An 11th-round selection by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2016 bantam draft, he was placed on Kootenay’s protected list in October and signed on Dec. 19. Kodak has been playing with the Yale Hockey Academy’s prep team in the CSSHL. He has 60 points, 36 of them goals, in 26 games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,973.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TWEET OF THE DAY

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