Broncos sign assistant coaches . . . Warriors have imports in fold . . . Hitmen add ex-talking head to front office

MacBeth

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) requested and was granted his release for personal reasons by the Blackburn Hawks (England, National). He had signed a one-year contract in June. . . . Kovář, on the Hawks’ website: “I was really looking forward to playing for the Hawks next season and moving to the Altrincham area to continue my work as (a) personal trainer. Unfortunately, due to a family illness, I will now be staying in Kazakhstan for the foreseeable future.” . . . Kovář played for Ertis Pavlodar (Kazakhstan, Kazakh Vysshaya Liga) last season, putting up five goals and eight assists in 28 games. He had played the previous four seasons in England.


ThisThat

The Swift Current Broncos have announced the hiring of two assistant coaches — SCBroncosBrandin Cote and Scott Dutertre. . . . Cote, who is from Swift Current, was the associate coach at Red Deer College last season. Prior to that, he spent one season (2016-17) as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Raiders and two seasons as the head coach of the midget AAA Red Deer Chiefs. He played five seasons (1997-2002) with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dutertre, from Dinsmore, Sask., has been an assistant coach with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies, both men’s and women’s teams, for four seasons. He also is the national skating and skills coach for Ice Hockey Australia. . . . Cote and Dutertre fill the voids created by the departures of Ryan Smith, who now is with the Medicine Hat Tigers, and Jamie Heward, who has joined the Vancouver Giants.


Bil La Forge, who is into his first year as the general manager of the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds, has more than a bit of hockey in his background. And, yes, he paid his dues before signing on as the Thunderbirds’ GM. . . . Jason Gregor of oilersnation.com has more right here in a good read on La Forge and the road he travelled to get to where he is today.



The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed their two selections from the 2018 CHL import MooseJawWarriorsdraft — Daniil Stepanov and Yegor Buyalsky, both 17-year-old forwards from Belarus. . . . Stepanov had three goals and 17 assists in 31 games with the U-18 Team Belarus. . . . Buyalsky had 19 goals and 29 assists in 49 games with the U-17 Team Belarus. He played at the 2018 Mac’s tournament in Calgary, putting up five goals and an assist in six games. . . . Both players already are in Moose Jaw as they prepare for the opening of training camp on Aug. 22. . . . The Warriors finished last season with two import defenceman — Oleg Sosunov and Dmitri Zaitsev. Neither is expected back as a 20-year-old. Sosunov will play in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization; Zaitsev signed with Melallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.


Rob Kerr has been named assistant general manager, business operations by the Calgary Hitmen. He takes over from Melissa Blades, who now is manager, business operations with lacrosse’s Calgary Roughnecks. . . . Both organizations are owned by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, which also owns the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Kerr spent the past 15 years at Sportsnet and for 12 of those was an on-air host at Calgary radio station Sportsnet 960—The Fan.


Alex Dixon is the Seattle Thunderbirds’ new equipment manager, replacing Trevor Heinzerling, who left to sign on the assistant equipment manager with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. . . . Dixon spent last season as the equipment manager with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers. . . . Prior to that, he was with the USA National Team Development Program for two seasons and, before that, spent two seasons with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers.


Todd Harkins has joined the West Van Hockey Academy as the director of program development and head coach of the bantam varsity side. Harkins spent the previous six seasons with the Prince George Cougars, the last four as general manager. Prior to that, he was the hockey director at the North Shore Winter Club for 12 years. . . . At the same time, the West Van academy revealed that Yashar Farmanara is leaving “operational and ownership rules” in order to pursue “interests outside of hockey.” A co-founder of the academy, he coached the Elite 15 team for the past two seasons. . . . Farmanara split five WHL seasons (2003-08) among the Seattle Thunderbirds, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Medicine Hat Tigers.


We in the Kamloops area have been well aware of F Jermaine Loewen of the Blazers and his startlingly good story for a few years now. But now that he has been selected by the Dallas Stars in the NHL draft, more people are being introduced to Loewen, a 20-year-old power forward with the perpetual smile. Jeff Miller of nhl.com has a piece on Loewen right here.


Mitch Topinka has signed on as an assistant coach with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. Last season, he was on staff with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. Doug Hedley, who was the general manager and head coach with the Blizzard last season, now fills both those roles with the Kings. . . . Topinka, who is from Whitewood, Sask., also scouted for the Blizzard while coaching a junior B team in Regina. . . . According to a Kings’ news release, Topinka was a stick boy with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks when Hedley was coaching there “in the early 2000s.”


The junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have added Jered Neufeld as an assistant coach. He spent the past two seasons as coach/assistant general manager with the Esterhazy Flyers of the Triangle Hockey League. . . . Neufeld also spent time on the coaching staff of the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s Red Deer Vipers. . . . Neufeld now is the general manager of Legacy Ford Fernie.


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Hitmen get goalie from T-birds . . . Seattle playoff hero off to Calgary . . . Rockets sign Finnish defender


MacBeth

F Radim Valchar (Portland, Lethbridge, 2007-10) signed a one-year extension with Csíkszereda (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he had 22 goals and 27 assists in 32 games. He led his team in goals, assists and points, and was third in the league’s points race.


ThisThat

The Seattle Thunderbirds have traded G Carl Stankowski, who shone as they won the 2016-17 WHL championship but then didn’t play in 2017-18, to the Calgary Hitmen.

In return for Stankowski, an 18-year-old who played minor hockey in Calgary, and a Seattleconditional fourth-round selection, year undisclosed, in the WHL’s bantam draft, the Thunderbirds acquired D Mike Koster, 17, an eighth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft and a conditional pick in the 2019 or 2020 bantam draft.

“Carl’s medical needs have become very significant and we felt that being close to his home in Calgary would allow his family to more closely monitor his needs,” Seattle GM Bil La Forge said in a news release.

Stankowski, then in his 16-year-old season, took over from injured starter Rylan Toth late in the 2016-17 regular season and sparkled as Seattle won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. CalgaryStankowski, a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2014 bantam draft, was 3-0-0, 2.18, .910 in seven regular-season appearances, then went 16-4, 2.50, .911 in the playoffs. However, hip problems and health issues kept Stankowski from playing last season.

Andy Side of 710 ESPN Seattle detailed Stankowski’s issues in a February story that is right here. . . .

Koster, from Chaska, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2020-21. Last season, he had two goals and eight assists in 21 games with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. He also captained the Chaska High Team, and put up 14 goals and 41 assists in 25 games. Koster is playing for Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this week.

“Koster is an elite defenseman who is NCAA committed,” La Forge said. “We feel that we will provide him with a very viable option going forward. We look forward to opening the lines of communication with him.”

In Seattle, the trade means that G Liam Hughes, 19, is alone atop the depth chart. Last season, after being acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings, he was 16-12-6, 3.15, .909. It is likely that Cole Schwebius, 17, and Eric Ward, 17, will battle for the No. 2 spot. Schwebius, from Kelowna, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft; Ward is a list player from Edmonton.

In Calgary, the Hitmen, who didn’t make the playoffs last season, are looking to replace Nick Schneider, who completed his eligibility by making 61 appearances.

The Hitmen acquired G Nick Sanders, 20, who was limited by injuries to four games with the Prince Albert Raiders last season. Interestingly, Sanders, like Stankowski, has had hip-related problems. Also in the hunt will be Matthew Armitage, who turns 19 on Oct. 30. A fourth-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2014 bantam draft, he got into 19 games with Calgary last season (4-7-1, 3.55, .890).


There wasn’t anything on the Kelowna Rockets’ website as of Tuesday night, but if Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice, says they have signed Finnish D Lassi Thomson, well, that’s good enough for me. . . . Thomson will turn 18 on Sept. 24. . . . He is from Tampere. . . . Last season, he had 12 goals and 15 assists in 49 games with Ives U-20 in the Jr. A SM-liiga. He also played six games with the Ives U-18 team, putting up four goals and three assists. On top of that, he played 20 games with the U-18 national team, scoring three goals and adding seven assists. . . . The Rockets selected him in the CHL’s 2018 import draft.



The Calgary Hitmen are looking for an athletic therapist with the news that Kyle Vouriot has signed on with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose as assistant athletic trainer and assistant strength and conditioning trainer. . . . The Winnipeg-based Moose is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. . . . Vouriot, who is from Winnipeg, was with the Hitmen for three seasons.


Spiros Anastas is the new head coach of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. He spent the previous four seasons as head coach of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . . With the Stingrays, Anastas, 33, takes over from Ryan Warsofsky, who now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. . . . The Stingrays are coming of the best regular season (48-16-7-1) in franchise history. . . . Anastas was 36-68-8 with the Pronghorns. The school’s athletic department announced his departure on Friday, and now is searching for a replacement.


Matt Thomas is the new head coach of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. Thomas, a 42-year-old native of Maple Ridge, B.C., spent 11 seasons (2002-13) coaching in the ECHL, with the Atlantic Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons and Stockton Thunder. . . . From a news release: “He enters the 2018-19 campaign as the ECHL’s sixth-winningest coach with a career record of 342-225-80, just one win back of fifth place all time. He is also the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 97, and ranks third with 49 playoff wins.” . . . Thomas spent the past five seasons as the head coach of the U of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. . . . In Cincinnati, Thomas replaces Matt Macdonald, who left after four seasons to join the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins as an assistant coach.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


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Cougars release veteran goalie . . . Seattle drops veteran forward . . . Ex-WHLer has court date in Red Deer


MacBeth

F Andrei Grishakov (Calgary, Victoria, 2016-18) signed a one-year, two-way contract with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). The two-way deal is between Lada and its junior club, Ladia. Last season, he had 11 goals and 15 assists in 37 games with the Calgary Hitmen (WHL), and eight goals and five assists in 32 games with the Victoria Royals (WHL).


ThisThat

The Prince George Cougars have released G Tavin Grant, 20, after he cleared WHL PrinceGeorgewaivers. Grant, from Burnaby, B.C., got into 37 games with the Cougars last season, going 13-17-5, 3.74, .892, with one shutout. . . . He played 18 games with the Cougars in 2014-15 and one in 2015-16. All told, he was 16-23-5, 4.02, .880. . . . Taylor Gauthier, a 17-year-old preparing for his second season, is No. 1 on the Cougar’s depth chart. Last season, the Calgarian got into 32 games, going 8-18-3, 3.96, .885. Gauthier, a first-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, will play for Canada in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. . . . Gauthier will be pushed by Isaiah DiLaura, 18, from Lakeville, Minn. He was a fifth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, He was 3-3-2, 3.94, .888 in 14 appearances.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have released F Blake Bargar, 20. From Torrance, Calif., he had Seattle11 goals and 13 assists in 58 games with Seattle last season. Prior to that, he played two seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors and one with the Victoria Royals. In 238 career regular-season games, he has 19 goals and 23 assists. . . . The move leaves Seattle with four 20-year-olds on its roster — F Zack Andrusiak, F Mike MacLean, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan.


Jordan Hale, a former WHL player, is facing two charges — possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 — after the RCMP drug unit recently exercised search warrants in Red Deer. . . . He was among six people arrested and charged. . . . According to rdnewsNOW, the drug unit “conducted a series of search warrants and drug arrests over the past month, which resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine, cocaine, GHB and fentanyl.” . . . Hale, 28, is from Lacombe, Alta. He played three seasons (2007-10) with the Brandon Wheat Kings, who selected him in the second round of the WHL’s 2005 bantam draft. . . . Hale is scheduled to be in court in Red Deer on Aug. 23. . . . The complete rdnewsNOW story is right here.


Troy Hickman is the new director of scouting with the MJHL’s Waywayseecappo Wolverines, who play out of Russell, Man. Hickman also scouts for the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders and will continue in that role as he also works with the Wolverines. . . . Hickman, 37, played with the Wolverines as a 20-year-old. He is from Russell.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you may do so right here.


TheCoachingGame

Daren Machesney is the new goaltending coach with the OHL’s London Knights. He has spent the past four seasons as a goaltending scout with the Knights. . . . He takes over from Dave Rook, who is the goalie development coach with the NHL’s Nashville Predators.


The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs have added Stefan Legein to their front office as an assistant coach. . . . He will work alongside head coach Josh Dixon. . . . Last season, Legein worked with the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads an an assistant/video coach.


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WHL’s winds of change: Coaches and scouts on the move . . . and more news, too

MacBeth

F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) signed a one-year contract with the GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B). Last season, he had three goals and seven assists in 50 games with Kamloops (WHL). . . .

F James Wright (Vancouver, 2005-09) signed a one-year plus option contract with Linköping (Sweden, SHL). Last season, he had two goals and six assists in 26 games with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), and three goals and two assists in 15 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL).


ThisThat


Luke Pierce has signed on as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Pierce, 34, spent last season as an assistant coach with the Canadian men’s Paralympic sledge hockey team after working for two seasons as head coach of the Kootenay Ice. . . . He lost his job with the Ice when he got caught up in an ownership change. . . . Prior to that, he was the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials for five-plus seasons. . . .

In Edmonton, Pierce will work alongside head coach Brad Lauer, who is preparing for his first season in that role. Pierce replaces Ryan Marsh, who was fired on May 29, along with head coach Steve Hamilton, and has since joined the Saskatoon Blades as an assistant coach. Hamilton now is the head coach of the Calgary Hitmen.

Meanwhile, the Oil Kings also announced that Jamie Novakoski, their director of scouting, won’t be back. He had been with the Oil Kings since 2007, working as director of scouting for the past five seasons. . . . According to the Oil Kings, he “will assist with the transition to a new director of scouting before leaving to pursue an opportunity outside of hockey.”


The Prince Albert Raiders announced Monday that they have added Jeff Truitt, Dan Gendur and Mike Brodeur to their coaching staff. . . . Truitt, 53, fills the vacancy created when associate coach Dave Manson left to join the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Truitt and Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid know each other well, having worked together with the Kelowna Rockets from 2000-04. When Kelowna won the 2004 Memorial Cup, Habscheid was the Rockets’ head coach and Truitt was associate coach. Truitt spent the past six seasons as the associate coach with the Red Deer Rebels. He also has AHL coaching experience, having worked with the San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars. . . . Last season, Gendur, 31, was the head coach of the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. He joined the Raiders late in the WHL season and worked with them through the playoffs. He is a former WHL player, having played with the Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips (2004-08). . . . Brodeur, 35, is the Raiders’ new goaltending coach. He spent one season  (2003-04) playing with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. Last season, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. With the Raiders, Brodeur takes over from Kelly Guard, now an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats.


Veteran coach Willie Desjardins has signed on to work with the Prairie Rose School Division in establishing a new hockey academy that will involve three schools in the Medicine Hat Area. The 61-year-old Desjardins, who was the head coach of Canada’s national men’s team last season, continues to live in Medicine Hat, where he coached the Tigers for eight seasons (2002-10). . . . Collin Gallant of the Medicine Hat News has more right here.



The Seattle Thunderbirds have added Craig Goebel and Jared Crooks to their scouting staff. . . . Goebel spent the past 10 seasons scouting for the Regina Pats. His main assignment will be pre-scouting Seattle’s opponents. . . . Crooks, who played four seasons at MacEwan U in Edmonton, is the head instructor at the Mount Carmel Hockey Academy in Edmonton. He will scout for the Thunderbirds in northern Alberta.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have added Mark Sauer and Brennen York to their scouting staff. . . . Earlier this summer, the Wheat Kings lost veteran scout Mike Fraser when he left to sign on as the Everett Silvertips’ head scout. . . . Sauer, from Calgary, had been on the scouting staff at ISS for three years. . . . York is from Edmonton where he founded DraftGeek.


It’s official. The Vancouver Giants have added Jamie Heward to their coaching staff. The team announced Monday morning that Heward has been signed as the associate coach. . Vancouver. . He replaces Dean Chynoweth, who left after one season and has signed as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . As a player, Heward spent parts of nine seasons in the NHL, after playing four seasons (1987-91) with his hometown Regina Pats. . . . Heward, 47, spent the past six seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, as an assistant coach and the director of player development. . . . This means that the Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, have lost three coaches since the season ended. Head coach Manny Viveiros now is an assistant with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, while assistant coach Ryan Smith has joined the Medicine Hat Tigers.

During his playing days in Regina, Heward was a member of what was known as the PUP Line. Its other members also were Regina natives — Frank Kovacs and Mike Sillinger. All three played as 16-year-olds, thus the PUP moniker.

On Monday, while Heward was busy with the Giants, Kovacs was busy, too, as you can see from this tweet . . .


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Robbie Fromm-Delorme, who was a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Richmond, B.C., Fromm-Delorme played last season in Byfield, Mass., at The Governor’s Academy in the USHS-Prep league. He had seven goals and 10 assists in 27 games. . . . He attended the Winterhawks’ training camp prior to the 2017-18 season.


Bill Reddick will chair the committee that will prepare the bid by the Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes and the City of Lethbridge for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . Terry Huisman, the Hurricanes’ general manager of business operations, will be the co-chair. . . . Reddick is a partner with Mercer Wilde Group Chartered Accountants in Lethbridge and has long been involved with minor hockey in that city. . . . Huisman has been the general manager of business operations since 2012 and has played an integral role in leading the franchise out of the financial mess it was in not that long ago. . . . The Hurricanes, Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals all are preparing bids for the 2020 Memorial Cup. They are scheduled to present those bids at a meeting of the WHL’s board of governors in Calgary on Oct. 3. A host city is expected to be named at the conclusion of that meeting.


The AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs have added Alex Mandolidis, Josh Watson and Richie Hubbell to a coaching staff this is headed up by GM/head coach Tyler Drader. . . . Mandolidis has spent the past five seasons with either the midget AAA Calgary Flames or midget AAA Calgary Northstars, while Watson has worked with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . Hubbell has been the goaltending coach with the women’s team at Olds College.


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Hitmen lose their head coach . . . Porter leaving Broncos . . . A team-by-team look at what’s been happening


MacBeth

F Mark Derlago (Brandon, 2003-07) signed a one-year contract with Esbjerg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite), he had 18 goals and 33 assists in 54 games. He was second on the Panthers in goals, assists and points. . . . Derlago played for Esbjerg in 2014-15, when he finished third in league scoring. Mark Pederson (Medicine Hat, 1983-88) is Esbjerg’s GM and head coach. . . .

D Jesse Dudas (Lethbridge, Prince George, Swift Current, Regina, 2003-09) signed a one-year extension with MAC Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). Last season, he had five goals and 15 assists in 30 games with Budapest in Erste Bank Liga. The club is moving to Slovakia’s Extraliga for this season. . . .

D Dylan Yeo (Prince George, Calgary, 2003-07) signed a one-year contract with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had 11 goals and 12 assists in 51 games. An alternate captain, he led DEL defencemen in goals.


ThisThat

There were two more — that we know of — departures from the front offices of WHL teams on Tuesday.

The Calgary Hitmen announced that head coach Dallas Ferguson has resigned after one season “due to family reasons.”

General manager Jeff Chynoweth is quoted in a news release saying: “Dallas approached Calgaryme last week, stating his wife is unable to continue to work her current job in Alaska while moving to Calgary as originally planned. As a father to two young girls he does not want to live apart from his family again this (season). We respect this decision, supporting that family comes first and wish Dallas all the best in the future.”

Ferguson joined the Hitmen last summer after 13 seasons with the U of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks, the last nine as head coach.

In his lone season in Calgary, the Hitmen, who were in rebuilding mode, went 24-37-11, finished fifth in the six-team Central Division and missed the playoffs.

Chynoweth, the former long-time GM of the Kootenay Ice, just completed his first season with the Hitmen, and now he’ll have to hire his second Calgary head coach.

When Chynoweth starts sorting through resumes, assistant coaches Jason LaBarbera, Trent Cassan and Joel Otto will get consideration.

“If one of these guys is the best candidate,” Chynoweth told Calgary freelancer Rita Mingo, who covered the story for Postmedia, “we’ll definitely look at him. In my past in Kootenay, we promoted a couple of assistant coaches.”

As for when a replacement might be named, Chynoweth told Mingo: “No timeline. I remember one year in Cranbrook, we didn’t hire someone until I think Aug. 6, three weeks before training camp. Ideally, the sooner the better for everyone involved. We’ve had a lot of resumes already and we’ll get more. It’s something that will play out, we’ll get lots of good candidates and we’ll definitely hire the right guy.”

Mingo’s story is right here.

Meanwhile, the Swift Current Broncos announced that Jamie Porter, their director of SCBroncoshockey operations, is leaving the organization “at the end of July.”

Porter had been with the Broncos since 2002 and had been the top dog in the scouting department since 2005.

The terse three-paragraph news release from the Broncos concluded with: “There will be no further comments from the organization.”

That leads one to believe that, in this instance, perhaps parting won’t be such sweet sorrow.


With the Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos having introduced, or about to introduce, new head coaches this week, let’s take a team-by-team look at what has been happening . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

East Division

Brandon Wheat Kings — All is quiet on the WHL’s eastern front.

Moose Jaw Warriors — Things are quiet in Moose Jaw, too.

Prince Albert Raiders — Associate coach Dave Manson now is an assistant coach with the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. General manager Curtis Hunt and head coach Marc Habscheid will be looking for a replacement.

Regina Pats — There is speculation that general manager/head coach John Paddock will leave the bench, turning the head-coaching duties over to Dave Struch, the assistant GM and assistant coach. That move is expected to happen; it just hasn’t happened yet.

Saskatoon Blades — They have hired Mitch Love as head coach to replace Dean Brockman, who was fired when last season ended. Brockman had been with the Blades for four seasons, the last two as head coach. Love joins the Blades from the Everett Silvertips, where he was an assistant coach for seven seasons. . . . The Blades also hired Ryan Marsh as an assistant coach, to replace Bryce Thoma, who was dismissed shortly after Brockman. Marsh was fired by the Edmonton Oil Kings following the season. He had been there for four seasons.

Swift Current — The Broncos have hired Dean Brockman as their director of hockey operations and head coach, replacing Manny Viveiros, now an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Jamie Porter, who had been the director of hockey operations, will leave the organization at the end of July.

——

Central Division

Calgary Hitmen — Head coach Dallas Ferguson is leaving after one season, citing family reasons for his departure. Ferguson had taken over from Mark French, who spent three seasons with the Hitmen before leaving to become head coach of HC Fribourg-Gottéron in the Swiss National League.

Edmonton Oil Kings — They need a head coach, having fired Steve Hamilton, and an assistant after dismissing Ryan Marsh, who landed on his feet with the Saskatoon Blades. The Oil Kings also need a general manager after they and Randy Hansch chose to go in different directions. It has been speculated for almost two months that former WHLer Kirt Hill will be named director of hockey operations.

Kootenay Ice — Things have been quiet in Cranbrook, although the Ice did add Tyler MacDonald of Winnipeg to its scouting staff. According to the team website, he is the organization’s lone scout so it could be that more additions are soon to be made.

Lethbridge Hurricanes — The winds of change have left the Hurricanes alone.

Medicine Hat Tigers — They parted company with Carter Sears after one season as director of player personnel. Bobby Fox has moved from behind the bench as an assistant coach to replace Sears. Shaun Clouston, the GM and head coach, says he will hire an assistant coach if he finds a good fit.

Red Deer Rebels — The Rebels and Jeff Truitt, their veteran associate coach, went in separate directions after last season. Red Deer later hired Brad Flynn and Ryan Colville as assistant coaches, and is quietly looking for another assistant. Flynn had been the director of hockey operations and head coach for the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays. Most recently, Colville was the president, GM and head coach of the NAHL’s Cincinnati Thunder. . . . The Rebels also hired former WHL G Kraymer Barnstable as their goaltending coach after Taylor Dakers left for the Prince George Cougars.

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

B.C. Division

Kamloops Blazers — They moved out general manager Stu MacGregor, head coach Don Hay, assistant coach Mike Needham and Matt Recchi, the director of player personnel. . . . Matt Bardsley is the new GM, after being in the Portland Winterhawks’ front office since 1999. He has hired Serge Lajoie as head coach. Lajoie is fresh off three seasons as head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears — they won the Canadian university title last season. . . . Still to come — at least one assistant coach and a move atop the scouting department.

Kelowna Rockets — All quiet, although assistant coach Travis Crickard has been keeping busy in New Zealand, which is a long way from Flin Flon.

Prince George Cougars — The Cougars hired Mark Lamb as their general manager, replacing Todd Harkins, who was dismissed at season’s end. They also have added their first full-time goaltending coach, that being Taylor Dakers.

Vancouver Giants — Glen Hanlon left the club after two seasons as general manager, and that spot has been filled by Barclay Parneta, who had been the assistant GM with the Tri-City Americans. Parneta then dismissed head coach Jason McKee, who had been there for two seasons. There is speculation that former WHL D Michael Dyck could be the next head coach. . . . Dyck is a former WHL player and coach, who has worked with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Giants. He spent three seasons (2002-05) as an assistant coach with Vancouver and was Lethbridge’s head coach for four seasons (2005-09). Of late, he has been coaching minor hockey in Lethbridge. He was the head coach of the midget AAA Hurricanes last season.

Victoria Royals — Things are quiet on Vancouver Island.

——

U.S. Division

Everett Silvertips — They lost Bil La Forge, their director of player personnel, to the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hired him as general manager, so will be looking to fill that spot.

Portland Winterhawks — Matt Bardsley, who had been in the Portland front office since 1999, signed on with the Kamloops Blazers as general manager. He had been the Winterhawks’ since 1999.

Seattle Thunderbirds — Russ Farwell, the Thunderbirds’ general manager for 23 seasons, now is the vice president of hockey operations. Bil La Forge, who had been Everett’s director of player personnel, is the Thunderbirds’ new GM.

Spokane Chiefs — Things are quiet here, too.

Tri-City Americans — Bob Tory, the co-owner and general manager, needs to find an assistant GM to replace Barclay Parneta, now the GM with the Vancouver Giants. As well, head coach Mike Williamson is leaving after four seasons. Brian Pellerin, the associate coach for the past four seasons, may be the favourite to replace Williamson.


TheCoachingGame

Gilles Bouchard has left the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to join the Syracuse Crunch, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, as an assistant coach. Bouchard, 47, had been the Huskies’ general manager and head coach. . . . In Syracuse, he’ll work alongside head coach Benoit Groulx. . . . Bouchard also was the head coach of the Canadian U-18 entry for the Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is to be played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. Obviously, he will have to be replaced by Hockey Canada. . . . Mitch Love, the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, and Ryan Oulahen, the head coach of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds, are the assistant coaches.


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WHL title-winning coach out of work . . . Tigers’ Fox trots to a new position . . . Good read on Broncos’ trek to Vegas, too

MacBeth

F Tomáš Netík (Medicine Hat, 2000-01) signed a one-year contract with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga), he had 15 goals and 30 assists in 49 games. . . .

G Leland Irving (Everett, 2003-08) signed a one-year contract with Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, in six games with the San Diego Gulls (AHL), he was 1-3-0, 3.47, .909.


Scattershooting

Steve Konowalchuk, who guided the Seattle Thunderbirds to the WHL’s 2016-17 championship, is unemployed after one season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. They dismissed Konowalchuk some time last week but only revealed it late Friday at the NHL draft in Dallas. . . . Konowalchuk, 45, was the Thunderbirds’ head coach for six seasons.


“The Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl rings all have the motto ‘We all we got, we all we need’ inscribed on the side,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Well, except for that one ring they had specially made for Robert Di Nero.”


Headline at BorowitzReport.com: “Philadelphia Eagles accept Mueller’s offer to celebrate with him.”


The Medicine Hat Tigers announced Friday that Bobby Fox, an assistant coach for two Tigers Logo Officialseasons, now is the team’s director of player personnel. He replaces Carter Sears, who isn’t returning after one season with the Tigers. . . . Fox, who is from Calgary, joined the Tigers from the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers, where he had been assistant GM and associate coach. . . .  Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach, is left with one assistant coach, in Joe Frazer. . . . Clouston told Taking Note that he will add another assistant coach “if we find a good fit.”


I didn’t watch any of the NHL draft — not on Friday or Saturday. But I doubt that there is a drafted player who is a better story than F Jermaine Loewen of the Kamloops Blazers. He was selected by the Dallas Stars at No. 199 and, yes, Tom Gaglardi owns the NHL franchise and is majority owner of the Blazers. If you aren’t familiar with Loewen’s story, get thee to Google and check it out. On top of all that, he’s always got a smile on his face and he’s an engaging conversationalist. He’s also a power forward who, if he doesn’t make it to the NHL, will leave a trail of bruises along the way.

I noted somewhere that there were only 20 WHL players selected over the seven rounds — only four of the first 82 selections were from the WHL. It could be that this was a down draft for the WHL, or maybe more NHL execs are taking advantage of a part of the CBA that gives them four years to sign European and NCAA players, while they only hold a CHL player’s rights for two years.

The fact that neither the Kelowna Rockets nor the Portland Winterhawks — two teams with proven records of producing solid pros — didn’t have even one player taken may sum up the WHL’s weekend in Dallas.


You may have noticed that the victory parades saluting the Washington Capitals and Golden State Warriors were held on the same day. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “Well, that’s something that will never happen in New York City.” . . . Hough, again: “Trump no doubt expects to see his face on a coin. Except Canada already has the loonie.” . . . One more from Hough: “Alex Ovechkin is reportedly the first Russian to lead his team to a championship in Washington, DC. Well, maybe the second.”


Let’s be honest. The biggest winner of Washington’s Stanley Cup title was Barry Trotz, and it isn’t even close. Trotz, the fifth-winningest regular-season coach in NHL history, had a contract with the Capitals that reports say paid him US$1.5 million per season. Winning the championship earned him a two-year extension that would have added $300,000 per season to that total. Instead, Trotz walked over to the New York Islanders and got a deal that reportedly is five years in length and pays at least $4 million a season.


Ryan Howse, who sniped 51 times for the Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?) in 2010-11, is back in the coaching game. He is on board with the minor midget Cariboo Cougars, a new team that will play out of Prince George. He will work alongside head coach Brian Toll and assistant Chase Astorino. Howse has coached in Prince George, with the Coast Inn of the North Cougars, a midget Tier 1 team that he guided to a provincial title, and the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings.


There was a report that the Golden State Warriors went through US$900,000 in champagne after winning the NBA title. As Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen pointed out: “That barely gets Alex Ovechkin through lunch.”


So . . . you are of the opinion that there are too many junior hockey teams in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, do you? Well, guess what? Here come a few more. . . . The Western Provinces Hockey Association, which represents itself as the Canadian Division of the pay-to-play Western States Hockey League, is setting up shop in places like Edson and Hinton, Alta., and Meadow Lake, Sask. . . . The Edson Aeros have signed Bernie Lynch as head coach. Lynch, who has extensive coaching experience in Europe, was on the Regina Pats’ coaching staff for a couple of seasons (1988-90).


RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com wonders: “If people on foot are called pedestrians, why aren’t people on bikes called pedalestrians?”


Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix was in Vegas with 10 surviving members of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos for the NHL awards night. When Mitchell writes it, you know it’s hammer on nail, and that’s the case again with this one. . . . It’s all right here.


Here’s a recent tweet from forward Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks: “Just tried a corndog for the first time . . . Man, God Bless America!”


A drumroll, please, for three hits from Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express: “Nice of Trump to consider pardoning Muhammad Ali. Clearly no one told Trump that Ali’s conviction was overturned in 1971. Wasn’t that the same year Canada burned down the White House? . . . I think we could still take them — in a beauty pageant between our PM and their Prez. . . . I wonder when Putin will invite the Capitals to the Kremlin.”

Do Broncos have their man to take over from Manny? . . . Giants, Tigers part ways with veteran scouts . . . Blades get goalie from Thunderbirds

MacBeth

F Peter Mueller (Everett, 2005-07) signed a one-year contract with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had 14 goals and 28 assists in 38 games. . . .

F Shane Harper (Everett, 2005-10) signed a two-year contract with Örebro (Sweden, SHL). Last season, with Lada Togliatti (Russia, KHL), he had four goals and seven assists in 36 games.


ThisThat

The WHL’s head-coaching picture is starting to sort itself out.

Taking Note has been told that Dean Brockman will be joining the Swift Current Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, as general manager and head coach. He will take over SCBroncosfrom Manny Viveiros, who left after two seasons to sign on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

Viveiros had been the director of hockey operations and head coach. Jamie Porter remains with the Broncos, at least for now, as the director of player personnel.

Brockman, 51, spent the previous four seasons on the staff of the Saskatoon Blades, the past two as head coach. He was fired following the 2017-18 season.

Before joining the Blades, Brockman spent 17 seasons with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Many observers thought he would end up back in Humboldt, where he would have taken over from the late Darcy Haugan, the team’s general manager and head coach who was killed in the crash involving the Broncos’ bus on April 6.

The Broncos also are believed to have had Serge Lajoie, the former U of Alberta Golden Bears head coach, and Ryan Smith in their final three. Smith has been the Broncos’ associate coach for three seasons.

Lajoie is expected to sign on as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers, if he hasn’t already.

Lajoie, 49, moved from NAIT to the U of Alberta when Golden Bears head coach Ian Herbers left to spend three years as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

In Kamloops, Lajoie would take over from Don Hay, who now is in an advisory role with the Blazers. Hay has more regular-season and playoff coaching victories than any coach in WHL history. He has said that he is interested in continuing his coaching career.

Taking Note also has been told that the Edmonton Oil Kings were in on Lajoie, but things may have been slowed their because they don’t yet have a general manager in place.

The Oil Kings and general manager Randy Hansch went their separate ways on May 28, the same day the team fired head coach Steve Hamilton. He had been there through eight seasons, the last four as head coach.

The Oil Kings are expected to name Kirt Hill as their director of hockey operations, but have yet to make that official.


Meanwhile, the Medicine Hat Tigers and Vancouver Giants have parted company with veterans of the WHL scouting scene.

The Tigers have parted company with Carter Sears, who was hired as their director of Tigers Logo Officialplayer personnel on Oct. 5. Before joining the Tigers, he spent five seasons as a pro scout with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. He also worked as the Red Deer Rebels’ head scout for 13 seasons, and also has been a scouting consultant with the Kootenay Ice.

The Giants have split with Dan Bonar, their director of scouting since Aug. 21. Bonar had been with the Calgary Hitmen for the previous 14 seasons, the last Vancouverfour as head scout.

Bonar and former Vancouver general manager Glen Hanlon were teammates for three seasons (1974-77) with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Hanlon left the Giants after the season and has since been replaced by Barclay Parneta, who fired head coach Jason McKee on Friday.


The Saskatoon Blades have reacquired G Dorrin Luding, 19, from the Seattle Thunderbirds, giving up a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 Saskatoonbantam draft in exchange.

The Blades selected Luding, who is from Prince George, in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft. They dealt him to the Everett Silvertips on Dec. 5, 2016, getting back a sixth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft.

Seattle acquired him from Everett on Nov. 24, sending a ninth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft the other way.

In 30 games split among the Blades, Everett Silvertips and Thunderbirds, Luding is 9-15-1, 3.75, .886, with one shutout.

In Saskatoon, Luding likely slides into the depth chart behind sophomore Nolan Maier, 17.

The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, had two 19-year-old goaltenders on their roster, in Luding and Liam Hughes, who played in 36 regular-season games in 2017-18.

“We had two 19-year old goalies heading into this season and this trade will give Dorrin the chance to play more,” Bil La Forge, Seattle’s general manager, said in a news release.

It remains to be seen whether G Carl Stankowski is able to play for Seattle in 2018-19. You may recall that he missed all of 2017-18 with hip and health issues after starring in Seattle’s run to the WHL championship in the spring of 2017.


The Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds have cut ties with import players from last season, moves that will allow each team to pick twice in next week’s CHL import draft.

Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, tweeted on Thursday that the Blazers won’t be bringing back F Justin Sigrist, 19, who had three goals and seven assists in 50 games last season.

The Blazers’ other import last season was Czech D Ondrej Vala, who was traded to the Everett Silvertips in January.

Meanwhile, Andy Eide, who covers the Thunderbirds for 710 ESPN, reports that Russian F Nikita Malukhin won’t be back in Seattle. Malukhin, who will turn 18 on July 15, had five goals and four assists in 52 games last season.

F Sami Moilanen, who is from Finland, won’t be back in Seattle, either. Moilanen, 19, had 22 goals and 23 assists in 50 games last season, but has signed to play with Tappara in Finland’s top pro league, Liiga.

The CHL import draft is scheduled to be held on Thursday (June 28).

Although there hasn’t yet been an ‘official’ announcement, Willy Palov of the Halifax Chronicle Herald tweeted Thursday that “I’m hearing goalies are eligible again for the CHL import draft, effective immediately.” That is a move that had been rumoured since earlier this year.

The CHL chose to ban European goaltenders following the 2013 import draft.


Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune has provided us with a Winterhawks-related notebook in which he touches on a number of things, including the organization’s work towards building a two-sheet practice facility in Beaverton, the purchase of NHL-related domain names and where D Henrik Jokiharju might play in 2018-19. That’s all right here.


The Brandon Wheat Kings announced Wednesday that they have sold 1,850 season-BrandonWKregulartickets for 2018-19, including 500 that were purchased in the past week as the club held its annual ‘Seat Moving Day’ at the Keystone Centre. According to a news release from the team: “This year’s sales numbers are well ahead of last year and represent the second-highest number of early-bird season-tickets in the past seven years.” The news release didn’t include any figures to back up those statements. . . . Last season, the Wheat Kings sold around 2,500 season-tickets and had an announced average attendance of 3,858.


TheCoachingGame

The Winnipeg Jets have signed assistant coach Jamie Kompon to a two-year contract extension, according to a report Wednesday from Jeff Hamilton of the Winnipeg Free Press. . . . Kompon, 51, has spent two seasons on the Jets’ coaching staff after working as the general manager and head coach of the Portland Winterhawks for two seasons (2014-16).


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