F Justin Maylan (Moose Jaw, Prince George, Prince Albert, 2007-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he had eight goals and 31 assists in 44 games with Heilbronn (Germany, DEL2).
Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, became the eighth coach in WHL history with 500 regular-season victories as his club beat the Hurricanes, 6-5, in Lethbridge on Saturday night.
Habscheid, a 55-year-old native of Swift Current, went into this season with 456 victories. The Raiders, who have the WHL’s best record, now are 45-7-2. Habscheid missed a Jan. 22 game — the Raiders beat the Royals, 4-1, in Victoria — while at the Top Prospects Game in Red Deer.
How did Habscheid celebrate last night? The Hurricanes stopped at a Dairy Queen. “I had a large chocolate sundae,” Habscheid told Taking Note. “The boys got whatever they wanted. Best $180 I ever spent.”
As for the picture in the above tweet, Habscheid said: “The picture with my boys will be with me forever.” If you look at the photo, that’s Habscheid wearing the top hat that is awarded to the team’s player of the game.
Habscheid coached in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Chilliwack Bruins and Victoria Royals before signing on with the Raiders as a midseason replacement for Cory Clouston in 2014-15.
On Saturday, Habscheid coached in his 995th regular-season game. He is en route to becoming the eighth head coach in WHL history to reach the 1,000-game mark.
The Raiders next are to play on Wednesday when they visit the Swift Current Broncos.
Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, is No. 1 in victories (750), while former Portland head coach Ken Hodge is tops in games coached (1,364).
This season, on his way to No. 500, Habscheid has passed Dean Clark, Kelly McCrimmon, Jack Shupe and Peter Anholt, all former coaches, as well as Brent Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels.
Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Rebels, will be the next to 500. With the Rebels at 28-19-4, Sutter now has 495 regular-season victories.
THE WHL’S 500 CLUB
1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750
2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742
3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692
4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626
5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572
6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548
7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518
8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 500
With G Jack McNaughton having been injured on Friday night, the Calgary Hitmen have again added G Brayden Peters to their roster. . . . McNaughton was hurt when he ventured out to the hashmarks after a loose puck and was involved in a first-period collision with F Brett Leason of the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. Both players left the game, which the Raiders won, 8-2, and didn’t return. . . . Peters plays for the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes and had been up with the Hitmen previously to backup McNaughton with Carl Stankowski injured. . . . Stankowski is back now and will carry the load with McNaughton out, starting today against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.
Meanwhile, F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders, who was involved in that collision with Calgary Hitmen G Jack McNaughton, sat out Saturday night’s game in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes.
Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told play-by-play man Trevor Redden that Leason is “nicked up . . . but it’s nothing earth-shattering and we’ll provide him with a bit of rest.”
The Raiders also scratched G Ian Scott, giving him a night off, and had Brett Balas up from the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks to back up Boston Bilous. . . . Balas, who turned 18 on Jan. 31, was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He got into two games with the Raiders earlier in the season, going 2-0-0, 2.56, .871.
This may have been the first time in WHL history that a team had a B.B. in goal and a B.B. on the bench.
F Conner Bruggen-Cate was welcomed with open mouths, as opposed to open arms, on Saturday night when his Kelowna Rockets met the Blazers in Kamloops.
These two teams played in Kelowna on Feb. 2 and, yes, something happened. Whatever it was it resulted in two-game suspensions to Bruggen-Cate and Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi.
Bruggen-Cate was suspended for what the WHL said were his “actions.” Those “actions” appeared to set off Oyebuchi, who tried to get at Bruggen-Cate, who chose not to engage. Onyebuchi was suspended for a one-man fight.
Had the WHL suspended each player for three games, neither would have been eligible to play on Saturday night.
As it was, Onyebuchi completed his sentence, while Bruggen-Cate was in the Rockets’ lineup.
The announced crowd of 3,365 didn’t seem too aware of Bruggen-Cate’s presence until early in the second period when he was booed while on an early power play. The boos turned to cheers less than two minutes later when he was penalized for interference.
From that point on, he was booed most times he touched the puck, but he turned the boos to cheers, again with another interference penalty late in the period.
The 19-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., got the last laugh, however, as the Rockets won the game, 4-1.
As for what happened on the ice on Feb. 2, well, no one’s talking. It’s almost as though the WHL implemented a gag rule.
On Friday night, Jo Hendricks, a frequent anthem singer at Blazers games, performed while wearing an Onyebuchi sweater. Without the rugged defenceman, the Blazers dropped a 3-1 decision to the Vancouver Giants.
The visiting WHL teams at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds, will notice a new look in their dressing room next season. The KeyArena in Seattle will be undergoing huge renovations in anticipation of the arrival of an NHL expansion team, so the Seattle University Redhawks men’s basketball team is expected to play a handful of games in Kent. University officials have asked that the visitors’ dressing room be painted in the team colours, and the arena operators have agreed. . . . Meanwhile, the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, which also plays in KeyArena, will play five home games in Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena, the home of the Silvertips. But the Storm season doesn’t begin until May, so the Silvertips shouldn’t be affected. . . . Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter has those tidbits and more in a story detailing the ShoWare Center’s 2018 finances, and it’s all right here.
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