A few odds, ends and numbers as WHL playoffs arrive. . . . Road to Ed Chynoweth Cup starts tonight. . . . Hofer, Mattheos get NHL deals


MacBeth

F James Wright (Vancouver, 2005-10) and Linköping (Sweden, SHL) have mutually agreed not to pick up the option year on his contract for next season. This season, he had five goals and six assists in 44 games.


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EdChynowethCupSome odds and ends as we prepare for the opening of the run to the Ed Chynoweth Cup . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Red Deer Rebels vs. Prince Albert Raiders — This one features the two most-recent members of the WHL’s 500 Club. Brent Sutter, the head coach of the Rebels, and Raiders’ head coach Marc Habscheid both reached the 500-victory mark this season. . . . Red Deer (33-29-6) will be without D Alex Alexeyev. With him in the lineup, the Rebels would be facing a tough task in the Raiders (54-10-4). Without him, Sutter will feel as though he has one hand tied behind his back. . . . These teams have faced each other once since the trade deadline, with the host Raiders winning 2-1 in a shootout on March 1. . . . They open with games in Prince Albert tonight and Saturday.

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Medicine Hat Tigers vs. Edmonton Oil Kings — In four games since the trade deadline, Edmonton (42-18-8) is 3-0-1 against the Tigers. . . . Edmonton G Dylan Myskiw is 5-0-1, 1.79, .940 against Medicine Hat this season. . . . Medicine Hat (35-27-6) will need a gigantic effort from 6-foot-7 G Mads Søgaard, who is 0-2-2, 3.47, .909 in games against the Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton put a bow on the regular season by winning its final 11 games. . . . They’ll play Saturday and Sunday in Edmonton.

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Moose Jaw Warriors vs. Saskatoon Blades — The Blades (45-15-8) last appeared in the playoffs in 2013, the season in which they went all-in as the host team for the Memorial Cup. Since then, they have undergone an ownership change and a massive rebuilding operation, and now, having clinched a playoff spot, the energy seems to be back in the city. . . . The Blades are 3-0-0 against the Warriors — including 4-2 and 5-3 victories this month — since the trade deadline, with a 15-6 edge in goals. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier is 3-1-0, 2.26, .907 against Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors (40-20-8) are the only team with two 100-point men — F Tristin Langan had 113, and F Justin Almeida 111. . . . The Blades outscored the Warriors, 259-234. . . . Games 1 and 2 are scheduled for Saskatoon tonight and Saturday.

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Calgary Hitmen vs. Lethbridge Hurricanes — These teams have met twice since the trade deadline, with the Hurricanes posting 7-4 and 6-2 home-ice victories. . . . Lethbridge (40-18-10) closed in a rush, winning nine of its last 10 games, and opens the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak. Calgary (36-26-6), which has lost four in a row, went 6-4-0 down the stretch. . . . The Hitmen need to find an answer for Lethbridge F Jordy Bellerive, who lit them up for seven goals and six assists in six games. . . . Lethbridge G Carl Tetachuk (24-9-2, 2.88, .909) took the reins and ran with them after G Liam Hughes left the club. . . . Only Prince Albert (307) scored more goals than Lethbridge (268). . . . Games 1 and 2 will be played in Lethbridge tonight and Saturday.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle Thunderbirds vs. Vancouver Giants — They split the season series, 2-2-0, but have only met once since Jan. 10 — the visiting Giants won 5-1 on March 12. . . . The Giants (48-15-5) had the WHL’s second-best record; the Thunderbirds (31-29-8) were 17th. . . . Both teams closed well, the Giants going 8-1-1, the Thunderbirds 7-1-2. . . . No one WHL player had a bigger impact after Jan. 10 than Seattle G Roddy Ross, who went 16-5-3, 2.76, .919 after moving up from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . As for the Giants, the doubters want to see how much they benefited from playing in a weak B.C. Division. . . . This series opens with games in Langley, B.C., tonight and Saturday.

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Tri-City Americans vs. Everett Silvertips — Is this the battle of the goaltenders? Dustin Wolf of the Silvertips went 41-15-4, 1.69, .936. The Americans’ Beck Warm was 32-23-5, 2.94, .916. Wolf played one more minute than Warm — 3,615-3,614 — but faced 607 fewer shots. That’s a huge disparity on a per-game basis. . . . These teams have met five times since the trade deadline, with Everett going 4-1-0, but the victories were by scores of 4-1, 2-0, 2-1 and 3-0. . . . The Silvertips (47-16-5) remain without F Riley Sutter, one of the league’s top faceoff men. . . . The Americans (34-28-6) are without freshman F Blake Stevenson, whose season was ended by an undisclosed injury. . . . They’ll play tonight and Saturday in Everett.

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Portland Winterhawks vs. Spokane Chiefs — Down the stretch, the Winterhawks missed D John Ludvig and F Cody Glass, both of whom were injured. Glass was limited to 38 games this season, missing a bunch because of a knee injury, finished with 15 goals and 54 assists. He and WHL scoring champion Joachim Blichfeld (68-53-61—114) form a deadly combination when they’re together. . . . Portland needs Ludvig and Glass back if it is to make a deep run. . . . Spokane has firepower with F Riley Woods, D Ty Smith, F Eli Zummack and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan all scoring at better than a point per game. Freshman F Adam Beckman put up 32 goals and 30 assists in playing all 68 games. . . . Spokane (40-21-7) finished second in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Portland (40-22-6). Should we read anything into the fact that Portland was 1-0-0 against Kootenay, while Spokane was 5-0-0 against the Ice? . . . In three games since the trade deadline, Spokane went 2-1-0, outscoring Portland, 17-10. . . . They open with games tonight and Saturday in Spokane.

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Kamloops Blazers vs. Victoria Royals — The Blazers (28-32-8) are in because they beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, in a tiebreaker on Tuesday. . . . The Royals (34-30-4) ran into injuries and rested players down the stretch. F Kaid Oliver, who led them in goals (27) and points (49), had his season ended by a shoulder injury. F Kody McDonald (concussion) hasn’t played since March 2. . . . A lot of fans thought the Blazers were done when G Dylan Ferguson, 20, went down during a 5-0 loss to visiting Vancouver on March 6. But freshman Dylan Garand, a 16-year-old from Vancouver, stepped in and went 6-0-1, 1.54, .943. He has given up 11 goals in those seven starts, with five of them coming in a 5-4 OT loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars. . . . Ferguson, who is from Lantzville, which is on Vancouver Island, has been cleared to play again. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse is 5-0-0, 2-10, .936 against Kamloops this season. . . . They’ve met four times since the trade deadline, with Kamloops going 3-1-0. The Blazers won the last three games, including an 8-0 home-ice victory on March 13 in which the Royals scratched nine players. . . . This series opens with games in Victoria tonight and Saturday.


Two more WHLers, both from Winnipeg, have signed three-year entry-level NHL NHLcontracts — G Joel Hofer of the Portland Winterhawks with the St. Louis Blues and F Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings with the Carolina Hurricanes. . . .

The Blues selected Hofer in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . The Winterhawks acquired Hofer, 18, from the Swift Current Broncos on Jan. 9, giving up six bantam draft picks, including first-rounders in 2019 and 2021. With Portland, he is 9-8-0, .318, .911, with two shutouts, in 18 appearances. . . . In 30 games with the rebuilding Broncos, he was 6-21-3, 4.02, .904, with one shutout. . . . In 67 career regular-season games, Hofer is 23-32-5, 3.45, .908, with four shutouts. . . . The Winterhawks, who finished third in the U.S. Division, open a first-round playoff series against the second-place Chiefs in Spokane tonight. . . .

Mattheos, 19, was a third-round pick by Carolina in the 2017 NHL draft. This season, he had 44 goals and 52 assists in ?? games. In 253 career regular-season games, he has 278 points, including 127 goals. . . . The Wheat Kings selected Mattheos with the first-overall pick of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . With Brandon out of the WHL’s playoff picture, Mattheos, the Wheat Kings’ captain, had reported to the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.


The Calgary Hitmen have added F Sean Tschigerl to their roster. Tschigerl, who will turn 16 on April 11, spent the season with the prep team at OHA Edmonton. He had 21 goals and 26 assists in 28 games, and also had one goal in eight games with the Hitmen. . . . Calgary selected him with the fourth-overall pick of the 2018 bantam draft.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added Cole Sillinger to their roster for the playoffs. He spent this season with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, whose season came to an end this week. . . . Sillinger was saluted as the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s top forward, rookie of the year and most valuable player. Oh, he also led the league in scoring with 76 points, including 31 goals, in 39 games. . . . A son of former WHL/NHL F Mike Sillinger, Cole was selected with the 11th-overall pick of the 2018 bantam draft. He has two assists in four games with the Tigers.


The Spokane Chiefs have added D Michael Ladyman, 17, to their roster. The Regina Pats selected him in the fifth round of the 2016 bantam draft. . . . He already has played 22 games with the Chiefs this season, recording two assists. In 26 games with the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues, he put up four goals and 24 assists.


If you’re a regular here, you will be aware that the OHL has disciplined the Niagara ohlIceDogs for being in violation of recruitment regulations. The IceDogs have been fined $150,000 and lost a first-round draft pick. . . . This comes a few years after the Windsor Spitfires were fined $400,000 and lost five draft picks for, yes, being in violation of recruitment regulations. . . .

“Well, now, isn’t that interesting?” writes Ken Campbell of The Hockey News. “The OHL, along with its partners in the QMJHL and WHL, have been spending the past couple of years convincing the public that many of their teams are mom-and-pop operations that would not survive without the help of ‘student-athletes’ and that to pay them any more than poverty wages would put some of their teams in peril. They’re fighting a class action lawsuit with everything they have and in many cases have successfully lobbied lawmakers to accommodate their needs when it comes to rewriting labor laws. All the while, they’re waving the flag that this beautiful Canadian institution of junior hockey is threatened if its owners are forced to pay players.”

Campbell’s complete piece is right here.


Shawn Martin has signed on as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines. For the past two seasons, Martin, who is from Wainwright, Alta., has been the Wolverines’ assistant GM and assistant coach. . . . He also has worked with three other AJHL teams — the St. Albert Steel, Grande Prairie Storm and Sherwood Park Crusaders. He also spent four seasons as GM and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves. . . . Martin had been the Wolverines’ interim GM/head coach since Feb. 8 when Gord Thibodeau left after three years with the organization.


Danton Danielson is the new head coach of the Prince Albert Mintos of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Danielson takes over from long-time coach Ken Morrison, who left the position after this season ended. . . . Danielson is coaching the bantam AA Saskatoon Outlaws, who are involved in playoffs at the moment.


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Mickey Mouse Night in Moose Jaw. Ohh, the memories. . . . Blazers adding goaltender. . . . Ridley talks way into AHHOF

If you haven’t seen this yet, take a look. Yes, we used to have some fun on the WHL beat and, no, there won’t ever be another Crushed Can. . . .


MacBeth

D Dominik Bittner (Everett, 2011-12) has signed a two-year contract with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL), he had two goals and 14 assists in 46 games.


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The Kamloops Blazers, their playoff hopes flickering like a fading light bulb, have lost G Dylan Ferguson to injury, so are expected to add G Rayce Ramsay to their roster.

Ramsay, who turned 18 on Jan. 3, has been playing with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Kamloops1From Saskatoon, Ramsay was 16-7-1, 2.73, .923 in his first season with Humboldt. . . . Ramsay got into 27 games with the Broncos, as he split time with Dane Dow, who made 34 appearances and was 19-12-2, 3.06, .906. . . . The Broncos aren’t scheduled to play again until March 15 when they open a best-of-seven first-round series with the Estevan Bruins. . . . Ramsay has made two appearances with the Blazers this season, going 1.99, .931 in 60 minutes of action.

Ferguson, who has played in 49 games (17-24-5, 3.01, .908), went down in the second period of a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Wednesday night. He needed to lean on his stick in order to get back on his feet, and tried to stay in the game. But he left at the next whistle, and needed help leaving as he was unable to put any weight on one leg.

G Dylan Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria, is the Blazers’ other goaltender. A third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he is 6-7-2, 3.40, .891.

The Blazers (23-32-7) have lost their past four games (0-3-1), three of them to the B.C. Division-champion Vancouver Giants. With six games left, Kamloops is fourth in the division, seven points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers and Rockets are to meet tonight in Kamloops and Saturday night in Kelowna.

Kamloops also is seven points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.


The Kelowna Rockets will be without F Mark Liwiski for their next three games, KelownaRocketsincluding this weekend’s home-and-home series with the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Liwiski drew a three-game suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on Portland F Seth Jarvis during a 4-3 victory over the visiting Winterhawks on Sunday. . . . The Rockets are to play in Kamloops tonight, with the Blazers in Kelowna on Saturday night. . . . Liwiski, who has 10 goals and six assists in 58 games, also will miss Kelowna’s game on Wednesday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, seven points ahead of the Blazers.


Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune reports that three Winterhawks skaters — F Cody PortlandGlass, F Seth Jarvis and D Matt Quigley — were listed as “week-to-week” by GM/head coach Mike Johnston going into this week. . . . Danzer writes that Glass “has experienced some nagging discomfort in the knee he injured in late January.” Glass has missed Portland’s past three games. . . . Quigley has missed eight games with an undisclosed injury. . . Jarvis was injured during a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna on Sunday. Kelowna F Mark Liwiski received a boarding major and game misconduct on the play, and since has been suspended for three games by the WHL. . . . The Winterhawks have added D Ryan Miley to their roster since his team, the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles, had its season come to an end. Miley, 18, is from Brooking, S.D. He had one goal and four assists in 43 games with the Eagles. He was pointless in one game with Portland last season.


The Victoria Royals have added a pair of defencemen — Kaden Reinders and D Noah VictoriaRoyalsLamb — to their roster. . . . They both played in Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Reinders had been with the midget AAA Grande Prairie Storm. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He is pointless in nine WHL games, six of them this season. . . . Lamb played for the midget AAA Edmonton Knights of Columbus Pats. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2017 bantam draft, and has played two WHL games, both this season. . . .


The Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2019 induction dinner is going to have a definite Tigers Logo OfficialMedicine Hat flavour. . . . The Class of 2019, as revealed on Thursday, includes Bob Ridley, the only play-by-play voice in the Tigers’ history, along with the 1986-87 and 1987-88 Tigers, the only team from Alberta to have won back-to-back Memorial Cup titles. . . . Ridley celebrated 50 years with CHAT in Medicine Hat last year. He has done more than 3,900 Tigers games and until recently doubled as the team’s bus driver. . . . Also to be inducted are Theo Fleury, who won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames, an Olympic gold medal and also played four seasons (1984-88) with the Moose Jaw Warriors; Shirley Cameron, a player, coach and builder of women’s hockey in Alberta; Kevin Lowe, who won six Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and two Olympic gold medals; and Duncan MacDougall, who is being recognized for “four decades of involvement at the grassroots level of the officiating program in Edmonton.” . . . The AHHF Awards Gala is scheduled for July 21 at the Coast Hotel in Canmore.

The 1986-87 Medicine Hat Tigers: Ron Bonora, Neil Brady, Dean Chynoweth, Rob Dimaio, Rocky Dundas, Mark Fitzpatrick, Kelly Hitchins, Jamie Huscroft, Wayne Hynes, Kevin Knopp, Mark Kuntz, Dale Kushner, Kirby Lindal, Trevor Linden, Mike MacWilliam, Wayne McBean, Scott McCrady, Mark Pederson, Guy Phillips, Jeff Wenaas, Keith Van Rooyen, Rod Williams, Russ Farwell (general manager), Bryan Maxwell (coach).

The 1987-88 Medicine Hat Tigers: Mike Barlage, Vince Boe, Neil Brady, Dean Chynoweth, Rob Dimaio, Mark Fitzpatrick, Clayton Gainer, Murray Garbutt, Wayne Hynes, Dan Kordic, Kirby Lindal, Trevor Linden, Wayne McBean, Scott McCrady, Ryan McGill, Jason Miller, Mark Pederson, Jason Prosofsky, Darren Taylor, Neil Wilkinson, Mark Woolf, Cal Zankowski, Russ Farwell (general manager), Barry Melrose (coach).

(Rosters from chlmemorialcup.ca/history-rosters/)



Alan Millar, the general manager of the Moose Jaw Warriors, is back with Hockey CanadaCanada as part of its Program of Excellence management group. . . . Millar will, according to a news release, “advise and support the Canadian contingents at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and 2020 IIHF U18 World Championship.” . . . This will be Millar’s second consecutive season with the program. . . . At the same time, Hockey Canada announced that Martin Mondou, the GM of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes, will “guide and support three teams at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Medicine Hat and Swift Current.” . . . Mark Hunter, the general manager of the OHL’s London Knights, will take over the U-20 program and Canada’s national junior team. Hunter spent four seasons with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs as director of player personnel (2014-16) and assistant GM (2016-18) before returning toe London. He is likely to get at least some consideration as the next GM of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. As well, the expansion Seattle franchise likely will have him on its list of possible general managers. . . . Hockey Canada’s complete news release is right here.


JUST NOTES: The 2020 U-17 World Hockey Challenge is to be played in Charlottetown and Summerside, both of which are on Prince Edward Island, from Oct. 31 through Nov. 7. Games will be played in in Charlottetown’s 3,717-seat Eastlink Centre, as well as Summerside’s 3,728-seat Credit Union Place. . . . The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs will play host to the next Top Prospects Game, which is set for Jan. 16, 2020. The 25th annual game will feature NHL draft-eligible players from the OHL, QMJHL and WHL. . . . The Calgary Hitmen have added F Sean Tschigerl to their roster. Tschigerl, 15, is from Whitecourt, Alta., and has been playing with the OHA Edmonton prep team. The fourth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, he is pointless in six games with the Hitmen this season. . . . The Tri-City Americans have added F Sequoia Swan, 17, to their roster. He had been playing with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard, whose season has ended. He was a sixth-round pick by the Americans in the 2017 bantam draft.


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Three organ donor games this weekend . . . Giants’ Byram won’t face discipline . . . Hitmen make four roster moves


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There are still 12 WHL teams yet to hold their second annual Organ Donation Awareness games.

Actually, the official name of the promotion — deep breath — is RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.

All 17 of the WHL’s Canadian teams play host to one game a night to raise money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

There are three of these games scheduled for this weekend, with the Regina Pats and Vancouver Giants playing host to their games on Friday and the Brandon Wheat Kings holding their game on Saturday.

Teams wear Don Cherry-themed uniforms, with the sweaters available via auction at some point.

Games still to come:

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants.

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings.

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos.

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice.

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals.

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen.

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars.

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


According to a tweet from Steve Ewen of Postmedia, the Vancouver Giants “have been Vancouvertold by the WHL that D Bowen Byram won’t receive an additional suspension for his checking-to-the-head major on Sunday.” . . . Byram was hit with the major and game misconduct at 13:48 of the third period for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner. . . . The Giants won the game, 4-1, to clinch a playoff spot for a second straight season. . . . The Giants also lost F Brayden Watts with an undisclosed injury in that game. Ewen reports that Watts already has been ruled out for a game on Friday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs.


The Calgary Hitmen have made four roster moves, adding F Orca Wiesblatt and D CalgaryAndrew Viggars to their roster, while returning D Tyson Galloway and F Sean Tschigerl to their club teams. . . . Wiesblatt, 18, is from Calgary. He has six goals and nine assists in 16 games with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has earned one assist in six earlier games with Calgary this season. Last season, Wiesblatt had five goals and eight assist in 49 games with the Hitmen. . . . Viggars, 19, also is from Calgary. This season, he had one goal and nine assists in 40 games with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. He played with the Hitmen last season, earning five assists in 39 games. . . . Galloway, from Kamloops, was a second-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. He is on his way back to the Kamloops-based major midget Thompson Blazers after getting into three games with the Hitmen. . . . Tschigerl was the fourth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Whitecourt, Alta., he has gone back to the OHA Edmonton prep team. This season, he has played in six games with the Hitmen.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Brendan Williamson, 16, to a WHL contract. SeattleWilliamson, from Abbotsford, B.C., visited Seattle over the weekend and the signing was announced Monday morning. . . . The Thunderbirds acquired Williamson’s rights in a Jan. 1 deal in which they also got F Sean Richards, a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, a third-rounder in 2021 and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2022 from the Everett Silvertips for F Zack Andrusiak. . . . This season, Williamson has 12 goals and 28 assists in 29 games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.


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Hughes leaves Hurricanes, cites ‘personal reasons’; Tetachuk starter in Lethbridge . . . Philly writers honour Propp


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The Lethbridge Hurricanes, in a heated race for the Central Division pennant, lost their Lethbridgestarting goaltender on Monday when Liam Hughes left the WHL team.

In a statement released by the team, Hughes, a 19-year-old from Kelowna, said:

“”At this time I have decided to leave hockey for personal reasons. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but for me, personally, it is the right time to step away from a game that I love.

“I want to thank all of my family, friends and fans for your support, as I pursued my hockey dreams. I leave with fond memories from the game and I am excited to start the next chapter in my life.”

In the same news release, the Hurricanes said they “respect the decision made by Liam and his family.”

The statement continued: “The entire organization wishes Liam the best moving forward. There will be no further comment from the hockey club.”

This leaves the Hurricanes with Lethbridge native Carl Tetachuk, who turned 18 on Jan. 8, as their starting goaltender. A list player, he moved up through the Lethbridge minor hockey ranks, playing bantam AA and AAA, and midget AA and AAA there.

This season, his first in the WHL, he is 10-5-0, 3.05, .903.

The Hurricanes have added G Bryan Thomson, a 16-year-old from Moose Jaw, to their roster for the remainder of this season. A second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, Thomson had been playing with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. With the Hounds, Thomson was 6-9-0, 2.94, .890.

Hughes was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

On Sept. 18, 2017, the Oil Kings dealt Hughes to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

The Hurricanes acquired Hughes and an eighth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft from Seattle on Jan. 1 in exchange for veteran F Keltie Jeri-Leon, F Michael Horon and a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. Horon, 17, is from Lethbridge. He has since played one game with the Thunderbirds.

This season, Hughes was 2-3-1, 3.44, .892 in six appearances with the Hurricanes. He had started six of their last eight game. In 29 games with Seattle, he had been 10-16-3, 3.67, .899.

In 78 career regular-season games, Hughes is 29-35-12, 3.38, .903.

Prior to acquiring Hughes, the Hurricanes had been going with Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old sophomore from Cloverdale, B.C., and Tetachuk as their goaltenders. The day after the trade for Hughes, the Hurricanes dealt Klassen to the Spokane Chiefs for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.

The Hurricanes (24-13-8) and Medicine Hat Tigers (26-16-4) are tied for third in the Central Division, two points behind the first-place Oil Kings (25-14-8) and one behind the Red Deer Rebels (27-14-3).

The Hurricanes are next to play on Friday when they meet the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash.


There’s more right here on former Brandon Wheat Kings’ star Brian Propp, this award and all that he has been through of late.


D Egor Zamula of the Calgary Hitmen has been suspended for one game after being hit with a headshot major and game misconduct during a 4-1 loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Sunday. . . . Zamula was tossed for a hit on Red Deer F Oleg Zaytsev at 3:47 of the third period. . . . Zamula won’t play Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars.


The Calgary Hitmen have returned G Brayden Peters and F Sean Tschigerl to their midget AAA teams. . . . Tschigerl, 15, is from Whitecourt, Alta., and was the fourth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was pointless in one game with the Hitmen, and now is back with the prep team at OHA Edmonton. . . . Peters, a 17-year-old from Taber, Alta., was brought in to back up starter Jack McNaughton with Carl Stankowski (ankle) out of action. Peters didn’t see any playing time, and now is back with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Hitmen selected Peters in the fifth round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Kootenay Ice has returned D Carson Lambos to the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg. . . . Lambos, 15, was the second-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Lambos, who is from Winnipeg, now has played five games with the Ice. He scored his first WHL goal on Saturday night in a 7-5 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon. Interestingly, he scored the goal while his brother, Jonny, a freshman defenceman with Brandon, was in the penalty box.


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Myth of junior hockey and national champions . . . Rizzo commits to UND . . . Hitmen sign two picks

It is time for hockey fans and the media alike to come to the realization, if they haven’t already, that events like the Memorial Cup and Royal Bank Cup don’t decide national championships.

They are entertainment vehicles and social gatherings and nothing more, and should be enjoyed as such.

They also are showcases for the players who are fortunate enough to get to participate in MemCupRegthe tournaments. Fans also are guaranteed to see some of the best teams in major junior and junior A hockey, so the games mostly are competitive and, as such, entertaining.

But so long as the formats include host teams and round-robin play, these events don’t culminate with the crowning of national champions.

The 2018 Memorial Cup, the 100th anniversary of the trophy, was played in Regina over the past few days. It concluded Sunday with the QMJHL-champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan beat the host Pats, 3-0.

To reach the final, the Pats, who had lost out in the first round of the WHL playoffs, eliminated two league champions — the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos and the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Pats didn’t have it on Sunday and were beaten by a superior team in the Titan.

After losing to the Pats in the final game of the round-robin and falling to 0-3, the Broncos talked of injuries and fatigue, their 26-game run to the Ed Chynoweth Cup apparently having taking a toll.

But are the Pats the better team because they won one particular game in a round-robin tournament?

Regina and Swift Current met six times in the regular season — the Broncos were 5-0-1, the Pats were 1-4-1. The Broncos wound up at 48-17-7, while the Pats finished 40-25-7.

In the playoffs, the Broncos took out the Pats in a first-round series that went seven games.

In 14 meetings between the teams this season, then, the Broncos were 9-4-1.

But on one night in May, the Pats won, 6-5. Does that mean Regina was the better team? No. It means that on any given day . . .

Meanwhile, in the world of junior A hockey, the host Chilliwack Chiefs won the Royal Bank Cup, which is a five-team tournament. Does that mean the Chiefs won the national championship and are junior A’s best team?

Consider that they finished the BCHL’s regular season at 26-26-3, with three ties. That left them fourth in the Mainland Division, 16 points out of first place. They then lost a seven-game first-round series to the Prince George Spruce Kings.

Meanwhile, the Wenatchee Wild was 37-16-4, with one tie, and third in the Interior Division, seven points out of first place. The Wild then went 16-4 to win the BCHL playoff championship. Wenatchee followed that with a five game Doyle Cup victory over the AJHL-champion Spruce Grove Saints.

At the RBC, Wenatchee won its four round-robin games, two in OT, including a 2-1 victory over Chilliwack. The Chiefs won three times, once in OT, and had the one OT loss.

During the round-robin, the Wild beat the Wellington Dukes, 7-1. But in a semifinal game, the Dukes posted a 2-1 victory, despite having been outshot 51-14.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, beat the Ottawa Jr. Senators, 3-2, in the other semifinal, then doubled the Dukes, 4-2, in the final.

Does all of this mean that Chilliwack is a better team than Wenatchee. No. It means that during one week in May things went the Chiefs’ way, just like things didn’t go Swift Current’s way the following week.

So, as long as there are host teams and round-robin formats, let’s stop concerning ourselves with national championships and just enjoy the proceedings.

OK?


The Memorial Cup final was nearing the end of the second period on Sunday when I heard from a long-time reader of this blog.

The message: “If I hear Mastercard one more time I’m gonna lose my (crap).”

If you are a regular visitor here, you will be well aware that this is one of my all-time pet peeves.

There are some things in life that should never have price tags placed on them, and the Memorial Cup is one of them.

Would the NHL sell naming rights to the Stanley Cup to, say, Visa? The Visa Stanley Cup?

How about the NBA? Would it turn its major trophy into the American Express Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy?

The winner of the NFL’s Super Bowl is awarded the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The team that wins MLB’s World Series gets the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Win the WHL title and you get the Ed Chynoweth Cup, not the Nike Ed Chynoweth Cup.

The Memorial Cup has been in competition since 1919, and if you understand its origin I think you will agree that naming rights to it never should have been on the table.

Here’s William J. Walshe, writing in the Kingston Whig-Standard on Jan. 6, 1939:

“The (Memorial) cup, coveted prize of Canadian junior hockey, was the brainchild of Capt. Jim (Sutherland) when he was overseas in the Great War (1914–18) and at the time, President of the Ontario Hockey Association (1915–17). He wrote suggesting the trophy in memory of the boys who were killed in the war and no doubt a big part of the idea was instigated by his devotion to his beloved (Alan) Scotty Davidson, who fell (June 6, 1915) with many other hockey players in the world conflict . . .”

Peter Robinson has more on the origin of the Memorial Cup right here.

Robinson writes, in part: “As the generation that it was originally meant to honour has passed on with the last surviving First World War veteran John Babcock’s death in 2010, the trophy now serves as a commemoration for all the country’s war dead and others that served.”


The 2018 Memorial Cup, held at the Brandt Centre in Regina:

Game 1, Friday, May 18 – Regina 3, Hamilton 2 (5,678)

Game 2, Saturday, May 19 – Acadie-Bathurst 4, Swift Current 3 (OT) (6,237)

Game 3, Sunday, May 20 – Acadie-Bathurst 8, Regina 6 (5,832)

Game 4, Monday, May 21 – Hamilton 2, Swift Current 1 (5,820)

Game 5, Tuesday – Hamilton 3, Acadie-Bathurst 2 (6,072)

Game 6, Wednesday – Regina 6, Swift Current 5 (6,484)

Thursday — Day off.

Friday’s Semifinal – Regina 4, Hamilton 2 (6,484)

Saturday — No Game Scheduled.

Sunday’s Final — Acadie-Bathurst 3, Regina 0 (6,484)


MacBeth

F Cam Braes (Lethbridge, Moose Jaw, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Thurgau (Switzerland, NL B), he had 25 goals and 22 assists in 45 games. He was second on the team in goals and points.


SThisThat

I have spent the past few weeks tinkering with three different blog sites.

Please take a few moments to check them out, then let me know which one you prefer.

Here are the three addresses . . .

greggdrinnan.com

greggdrinnan.blogspot.ca

gdrinnan.blogspot.ca

Let me know your preference by sending an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


F Massimo Rizzo, who was a first-round selection, 14th overall, in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft, told the Kamloops Blazers prior to the 2018 bantam draft that he wouldn’t be playing for them. On Saturday afternoon, Rizzo tweeted that he will attend the U of North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks, likely starting with the 2019-20 season.

Rizzo, from Burnaby, B.C., played last season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, putting up 38 points, including 13 goals, in his 16-year-old season. He was named the Vees’ captain earlier this month.

“It was a hard decision, especially being from Western Canada,” Rizzo told Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald. “Just seeing the success of players going through college and to the NHL, and feeling that I needed a bit more time to develop and grow and get stronger, and talking to people who went that route and the experience they had, that’s kind of why I decided to do it.”

According to Schlossman, Rizzo “chose UND over Denver, Wisconsin and Michigan.”

Rizzo will be the fourth recent Penticton captain to attend UND, following D Troy Stecher, F Tyson Jost and F Nick Jones.

Rizzo is the only one of the 21 first-round selections from the 2016 bantam draft not to sign with a WHL team.


The Calgary Hitmen have signed F Sean Tschigerl and D Tyson Galloway to WHL Calgarycontracts. . . . Tschigerl, from Whitecourt, Alta., was the fourth overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He had 70 points, including 31 goals, in 30 games with the OHA Edmonton bantam prep team. . . . Galloway, from Kamloops, played for the bantam prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. He had three goals and 11 assists in 29 games. Galloway was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.


Clayton Jardine, 27, is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. He takes over from Geoff Grimwood, who left the club earlier this month. . . . Jardine, a native of Lacombe, Alta., was an assistant coach under Grimwood in 2015-16. Jardine spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at New England College, an NCAA Division III school. . . . The Klippers also announced that Larry Wintoneak will be returning as an assistant coach. Wintoneak has been with the Klippers for four seasons in what is his second go-round in Kindersley.