Hunter takes over Team Canada . . . Ex-Hitmen coach lands in Denver . . . Everett adds Backus, Fraser to front office


MacBeth

F Kaspars Saulietis (Kelowna, Regina, 2006-08) signed a tryout contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he had eight goals and seven assists in 25 games with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . .

F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) signed a tryout contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he had two goals and three assists in 40 games with Dinamo Riga, and was pointless in three games while on loan to Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). . . .

F Curtis Valk (Medicine Hat, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL). Last season, he was pointless in one game with the Florida Panthers (NHL), and had 20 goals and 42 assists in 73 games with the Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL). He led the Thunderbirds in assists and points.


ThisThat

Tim Hunter, the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, has taken over as head coach of Canada’s national junior team. Hunter, 57, was an assistant with Canada each of the past Canadatwo seasons. . . . Hunter, who is preparing for his fifth season in Moose Jaw, replaces Dominique Ducharme, Canada’s head coach for each of the last two seasons. Ducharme has signed as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. . . . With Hunter moving up from assistant coach, Brent Kisio, the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, has been added to Canada’s staff. The other assistant coaches are Marc-Andre Dumont of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Jim Hulton of the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders. . . .

Mike Burnstein of the Vancouver Giants and Khore Elliott of the Victoria Royals have been named Team Canada’s athletic therapists. . . . Canada won the gold medal at the 2018 tournament in Buffalo, and will attempt to defend the title at the 2019 tournament that is scheduled to open in Vancouver and Victoria on Dec. 26. . . . While Canada will play its round-robin games in Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, it will hold its selection camp in Victoria. . . .

Group A comprises Canada, Czech Repulic, Denmark, Russia and
Switzerland, with Finland, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Sweden and Team USA in Group B, which will play out of Victoria’s Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.


Dallas Ferguson, who left the Calgary Hitmen last month, is joining the U of Denver Pioneers as an assistant coach. He will work under first-year head coach Matt Carle, 28. . . . Carle has taken over from Jim Montgomery, who now is the head coach of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . Ferguson, 45, left the U of Alaska-Fairbanks to join the Hitmen as head coach prior to last season. He had been on the Nanook’ coaching staff for 13 seasons, the last nine as head coach. . . . In announcing Ferguson’s resignation on June 26, Hitmen general manager Jeff Chynoweth explained in a news release: ““Dallas approached me 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 year.”


The Everett Silvertips firmed up the top end of their scouting department on Tuesday as Everettthey named Alvin Backus their director of player personnel and Mike Fraser as their head scout. . . . Backus spent the past seven seasons as an amateur scout with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. His contract with Montreal expired on Saturday and wasn’t renewed. . . . Backus lives in Salmon Arm, B.C. Garry Davidson, who is heading into his seventh season as the Silvertips’ general manager, was the owner, general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks for seven seasons (2001-08). . . . Fraser, a WHL scout since 2005, lives in Edmonton. . . . He started scouting with the Swift Current Broncos in 2005 and spent seven seasons with them. Fraser has been working with the Brandon Wheat Kings since 2012-13. . . . The Silvertips lost Bil La Forge, their director of player personnel for four seasons, to the Seattle Thunderbirds, who named him general manager on June 6.


Bob Jones has signed on as an assistant coach with the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Jones had been the head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals for three seasons, although he missed the 2017-18 season due to a serious health problem. Jones, 48, and the Generals then went their separate ways in April. . . . Derek Laxdal, a former head coach of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, is the head coach with Texas.


Nathan Oystrick, a native of Regina, has been named the general manager and head HumboldtBroncoscoach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Oystick, 35, replaces Darcy Haugan, who was killed in the April 6 bus crash that also claimed 15 other lives. . . . Oystrick spent last season coaching a high school team in Colorado. In 2016-17, he was an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators. . . . A defenceman, he played two seasons (2000-02) with the BCHL’s South Surrey Eagles before going on to four seasons at Northern Michigan U. His pro career included stints with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues. . . . Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.


Brayden Pettinger was a 20-year-old defenceman with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers when he suffered a devastating back injury during a game against the host Winnipeg Blues on Nov. 12, 2015. Pettinger, who is from Elgin, Man., now is in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. . . . These days, he and his father, Rick, are in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is undergoing a medical procedure. Brayden’s uncle, Larry, updated things with steinbachonline.com, and that piece is right here.


Geoff Grimwood has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors as assistant general manager and associate coach. Grimwood, 37, spent the past three seasons as the GM and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. . . . In the past, he has worked with the WHL’s Victoria Royals and the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. . . . With the Warriors, he’ll work alongside GM/head coach Rylan Ferster.


Jesse Dorrans is back as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He replaces Bill Rotheisler, who was dismissed after two seasons on the job. . . . Rotheisler was hired prior to the 2016-17 season, taking over from Dorrans, who left to become GM and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. He resigned after one season due to what the team said ws “personal reasons.”


F Skyler McKenzie of the Portland Winterhawks has signed a three-year entry-level deal Portlandwith the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. He was a seventh-round selection by the Jets in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Last season, McKenzie, 20, had 47 goals and 40 assists in 72 games. In 282 regular-season games with Portland, the Sherwood Park, Alta., native has 101 goals and 111 assist. He was an eighth-round pick by Portland in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . He is eligible to return to the WHL for one more season, but likely will start the season with the Manitoba Moose, the Jets’ AHL affiliate.


Two WHLers have been selected to the roster of USA Hockey’s representative for the U-18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is scheduled to be played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. It will feature teams from Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. . . . F Luke Toporowski of the Spokane Chiefs and G Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips were named to the roster. Toporowski is from Bettendorf, Iowa, while Wolf is from Tustin, Calif. . . . The complete Team USA roster is right here.


Tweetoftheday

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Halbgewachs sparks Warriors . . . Portland’s McKenzie fills hat in P.G. . . . Chiefs get split in Victoria

MacBeth
F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Selb (Germany, Oberliga). He has 19 goals and 42 assists in 33 games. He started the season with Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL), with nine goals and 10 assists in 15 games. He signed with Selb on Nov. 13. . . .

F Brett Breitkreuz (Kelowna, Edmonton, Vancouver, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 22 goals and 18 assists in 51 games.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The WHL, it would seem, blundered into a landscape strewn with Lego pieces and garden rakes when it tried to get Oregon politicians to exempt the Portland Winterhawks from minimum-wage legislation. As Ken Campbell of The Hockey News points out, what followed was “a public relations disaster.”

Campbell continues:

“But so much of this story over the past year or so has not looked good for those who operate major junior hockey teams. The WHL and Winterhawks thought they would be able to breeze legislation through the way they had in Washington, Michigan and several provinces that would presumably buttress them against a class action lawsuit that is demanding minimum wage and back pay for junior hockey players. Until they got to Oregon, junior hockey had found lawmakers who were only too happy to carry their water and keep them in business. British Columbia exempted the WHL from its Employment Standards Act two years ago with little consultation and a fair bit of support from owners of WHL teams, three of whom donated to the ruling Liberal party in B.C. in recent years.”

Of course, this story is nowhere near its end and it’s all going to be worth watching.

Campbell’s latest on this situation is right here.


TheCoachingGame

Luke Pierce, who spent the past two seasons (2015-17) as head coach of the Kootenay Ice, is in PyeongChang for the Paralympic Games as an assistant coach with Canada’s sledge hockey team. . . . Pierce was dismissed as the Ice’s head coach while the franchise was going through an ownership change. . . . Brad McLeod of the Cranbrook Townsman reports that Pierce “has served as an assistant coach with Hockey Canada for the men’s national (sledge) team since September.” . . . Ken Babey is the team’s head coach. Canada opens play at the Paralympics on Saturday against Sweden. . . . McLeod’s story is right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Jayden Halbgewachs scored three times and added two assists to lead the Warriors to a 6-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Moose Jaw (49-14-3) has MooseJawWarriorswon two straight. It leads the overall standings with 101 points, one more than Swift Current. . . . Lethbridge (32-28-6) has lost three in a row. It is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Halbgewachs now has a WHL-leading 64 goals. Not since 1998-99 has a player scored more than 64 goals in a season. Calgary F Pavel Brendl led the WHL with 73 goals that season. F Sergei Varlamov scored 66 times for Swift Current in 1997-98, and F Ronald Petrovicky of Regina scored 64 times in 1997-98. . . . D Brandon Schuldaus (8) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead 37 seconds into the game. . . . Halbgewachs made it 2-0, on a PP, at 4:07. . . . F Taylor Ross (21) scored for Lethbridge, on a PP, at 6:49, but F Justin Almeida (39) got that one back, while shorthanded, just 11 seconds later. . . . The Hurricanes got back to within a goal at 8:38 of the second period when F Dylan Cozens (22) scored while shorthanded. . . . Halbgewachs added another PP goal, at 9:56. . . . F Brett Howden (24) upped Moose Jaw’s lead to 5-2, on a PP, at 2:39 of the third period. . . . Halbgewachs completed his hat trick at 16:56. . . . The Warriors got two assists from each of F Tristin Langan and D Josh Brook, and one each from Almeida and Howden. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-6 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-4. . . . The Warriors got 27 saves from G Brody Willms. . . . G Logan Flodell stopped 33 shots for the Hurricanes. . . . The Warriors scratched F Brayden Burke, who is fourth in the WHL’s scoring race, with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 3,054.


At Prince Albert, the Raiders erased a 2-1 deficit to beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert (30-25-11) has won seven in a row. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s PrinceAlbertsecond wild-card spot, four points behind Brandon and four ahead of Saskatoon. . . . Edmonton (19-40-8) has lost three in a row. . . . The Oil Kings took a 1-0 lead on a goal from F David Kope (12) at 1:15 of the first period. . . . F Regan Nagy (24) pulled the Raiders even at 10:50. . . . F Colton Kehler (29) put the visitors back on top at 17:00. . . . F Curtis Miske (23) tied it for the Raiders at 1:22 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 14 seconds later as D Max Martin scored his eighth goal of the season. . . . F Parker Kelly (28) added insurance at 13:21 of the third period. . . . F Cole Fonstad had two assists for the Raiders. . . . Edmonton was 0-1 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 13 shots for the home side. . . . Edmonton G Josh Dechaine turned aside 26 shots. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky was among Edmonton’s scratches as he sat out a one-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 1,991.


At Swift Current, F Aleksi Heponiemi scored once and added two assists to lead the Broncos to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Swift Current (47-14-6) has points in SCBroncosfive straight (4-0-1). It is second in the overall standings, one point behind Moose Jaw. . . . Calgary (20-36-10) has points in its previous four games (1-0-3). . . . F Jakob Stukel gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 19:46 of the first period. . . . The Broncos went ahead 2-1 on second-period goals from F Tyler Steenbergen (45), at 1:20, and F Glenn Gawdin (56), on a PP, at 17:41. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (15) got the Hitmen into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 19:57. . . . Heponiemi won it with his 28th goal at 2:19 of the third period. . . . Gawdin added an assist to his goal. He leads the WHL with 124 points, six more than Moose Jaw F Jayden Halbgewachs. . . . Calgary was 1-2 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-6. . . . The Broncos got 26 saves from G Stuart Skinner. . . . G Nick Schneider of the Hitmen stopped 35 shots as he made his 200th regular-season appearance — nine with Regina, 133 with Medicine Hat and 58 with Calgary. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Prince George, F Skyler McKenzie scored three times and added an assist as the Portland Winterhawks dumped the Cougars, 7-1. . . . Portland (42-20-5) has points in eight Portlandstraight games (7-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, four points behind Everett. . . . Prince George (23-36-8) has lost three in a row. . . . F Connor Bowie gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period with his first WHL goal. It came in his seventh game. He was selected by Portland in the seventh round of the 2016 bantam draft. The Cougars acquired him in a deal in January. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (9) got Portland even at 8:30. . . . McKenzie scored the game’s next two goals, one on a PP and the other while shorthanded, at 10:33 and 13:36 of the second period. . . . McKenzie completed his hat trick with the game’s last goal, at 16:29 of the third period. He has 45 goals, three more than he scored last season. . . . F Lukus MacKenzie (2), F Lane Gilliss (7) and F Kieffer Bellows (39) also scored for Portland. . . . F Cody Glass had three assists, with Gilliss and Jokiharju getting one apiece. . . . Portland was 1-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-1. . . . G Cole Kehler recorded the victory with 18 saves. . . . F Taylor Gauthier started for the home team and allowed six goals on 31 shots in 44:00. Isaiah DiLaura finished up by stopped 21 of 22 shots in 16:00. . . . On Tuesday, the Winterhawks beat the host Cougars, 4-3. . . . Announced attendance: 2,596.


At Kelowna, F Tyler Benson scored in OT to give the Vancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Rockets. . . . Vancouver (34-23-9) is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind VancouverVictoria. The Giants have two games in hand. . . . Kelowna (38-22-7) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It leads the B.C. Division, by three points over Victoria. . . . According to Steve Ewen of Post media, the Giants had lost 26 straight games in Kelowna going into this one. . . . F Erik Gardiner (7) put the Rockets in front at 2:19 of the first period. . . . Vancouver went in front on goals from F Owen Hardy (11), at 7:44, and F Ty Ronning (56), at 1:31 of the second period. . . . The Rockets took a 3-2 lead on two PP goals from F Carsen Twarynski, at 6:33 and 19:12. He’s got 42 goals. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (5) got Vancouver into a 3-3 tie at 16:22. . . . Benson won it with his 24th goal, at 3:56 of OT. . . . F Brayden Watts had two assists for Vancouver. . . . The Rockets got two assists from F Kole Lind. . . . Kelowna was 2-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-2. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 35 shots for the Giants. . . . G James Porter turned aside 32 shots for the Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 4,723.


At Victoria, the Spokane Chiefs scored four third-period goals to defeat the Royals, 5-2. . . . Spokane (39-22-5) is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind Portland. . . . Victoria (37-SpokaneChiefs25-6) had points its previous three games (2-0-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, three points behind Kelowna and three ahead of Vancouver. . . . One night earlier, the Royals beat the visiting Chiefs, 7-3. . . . F Luke Toporowski (10) gave Spokane a 1-0 lead at 7:58 of the first period. . . . Victoria F Tyler Soy tied it, on a PP, at 14:47. . . . The Chiefs took a 3-1 on third-period goals from F Kailer Yamamoto (21), on a PP, at 7:58, and F Eli Zummack, at 10:05. . . . Soy (35) got the Royals to within a goal, while shorthanded, at 16:02. . . . Zummack (14) and F Hudson Elynuik (29) added empty-netters. . . . Elynuik added two assists to his goal. D Ty Smith also had two assists for the Chiefs, with Toporowski and Zummack each getting one. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . The Chiefs got 27 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . The Royals got 26 stops from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Announced attendance: 4,831.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Regina vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Vancouver vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Prince George at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Spokane vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.

WHL’s Saturday roundup: A quick look at 11 games . . . Big night for Giants in Langley . . . Who is the KHL’s King of Hat Tricks?

MacBeth

F Petr Šenkeřík (Kootenay, Prince George, 2009-10) has been assigned on loan by Slovan Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic, 1. Liga) to Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, 1. Liga) for the rest of this season. This season, he had three assists in 12 games with Vsetín (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), and two goals and two assists in nine games with Labem.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

It was on Jan. 6, 2014, when the announcement was made that the Kamloops Daily News was soon to be buried.

Employees worked their final shift on Friday, Jan. 10.

Since then, former employees have gathered once a year to renew acquaintance. We did just that on Saturday, which is why the night’s WHL games weren’t rounded up here on Sunday morning.

It’s always a good time when we gather. In a lot of instances, it’s the one time a year when we see each other so there is a lot of catching up to do. What was interesting this time is that there wasn’t a lot of reminiscing about our days at the newspaper. Instead, it was more about catching up with each other and discussing current events.

If you aren’t familiar with Kamloops, you should know that the city demolished The Daily News building late in 2017. The site now is a paved parking lot. Yes, they paved paradise . . .

You may be aware that the city had paid $4.8 million for the building. Yes, that’s one pricey parking lot.

While I am not about to pontificate on the newspaper industry, there is one thing that often is overlooked with the death of a smaller community’s newspaper. That is this: There no longer is a daily chronicle — a daily diary, if you will — of the area’s history. You can’t overestimate the impact of that loss.


Anyway . . . here are some notes from Saturday and short recaps of the night’s WHL games . . .

At Prince Albert, F Kody McDonald’s 21st goal, on a PP at 7:55 of the third period, stood up as the winner as the Raiders beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3. . . . The Raiders had lost 4-0 to the visiting Swift Current Broncos on ‘Guaranteed Win Night’ just 24 hours earlier. The Warriors lead the overall standings by eight points over the Broncos. . . . F Jordy Stallard had goals No. 28 and 29 for the Raiders. . . . F Brayden Burke, the WHL’s scoring leader, had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors had been 9-0-1 in their previous 10 games.


At Regina, D Josh Mahura had a career high five points as the Pats skated to an 8-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Mahura had a goal and four assists, and was a plus-6. . . . The Pats have points in four straight (3-0-1); the Hitmen have lost four in a row. . . . Four other Pats — F Sam Steel, F Jesse Gabrielle, F Jared Legien and D Cale Fleury — had three-point nights. . . . Announced attendance: 6,217.


At Swift Current, the Broncos got goals from nine different players as they whipped the Edmonton Oil Kings, 9-1, before a sellout crowd. . . . Before the game, the Broncos saluted D Artyom Minulin (Russia), F Aleksi Heponiemi (Finland) and F Tyler Steenbergen (Canada), all of whom played in the WJC. . . . The Broncos have points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . The Broncos have gone over 2,100 in season-ticket sales, with quite an upsurge since Wednesday’s trade deadline. That means they will be giving away one 2018-19 season-ticket at each of their final 10 home games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,879.


At Brandon, F Ryan Jevne’s goal at 1:02 of OT gave the Medicine Hat Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . The Tigers overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, with F Gary Haden forcing OT with a PP goal at 7:42 of the third period. . . . Brandon has points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . Announced attendance: 3,721.


At Lethbridge, F Dylan Cozens scored three times and added an assist as the Hurricanes dumped the Kootenay Ice, 5-2. . . . From Whitehorse, Cozens, who will turn 17 on Feb. 9, has 16 goals and 19 assists in 37 games as a freshman. . . . F Logan Barlage had two assists for Lethbridge, giving him four points, including two goals, in three games — all victories — since being acquired from Swift Current. He also has a shootout winner. . . .  The Ice has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Announced attendance: 3,651.


At Red Deer, the Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Rebels, 3-2 in OT. . . . F Josh Paterson tied it with his 21st goal, at 18:17 of the third period, and F Max Gerlach won it at 1:21 of OT. . . . Gerlach, who drew the primary assist on Paterson’s goal, was acquired from Medicine Hat at the deadline. . . . D Dawson Davidson and F Eric Florchuk, two other acquisitions, had the assists on the winner. . . . The Rebels have lost 11 straight games but have loser points in six of those games (0-5-6). . . . Announced attendance: 4,301.


At Portland, the Winterhawks skated to 3-0 and 5-2 leads en route to a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland F Skyler McKenzie scored twice, giving him 31, including one on a shorthanded penalty shot. . . . F Kieffer Bellows had three assists for Portland, which has won four in a row. . . . Seattle, which has lost three straight (0-2-1), got two goals from F Dillon Hamaliuk, who has 10. . . . Announced attendance: 8,622.


At Langley, B.C., F James Malm broke a 2-2 tie at 8:35 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Kelowna Rockets, 3-2. . . . The game drew the largest crowd for a Giants Vancouverhome game since the franchise moved from Pacific Coliseum to the Langley Events Centre prior to last season. . . . Malm, who also had an assist, has 17 goals. . . . F Ty Ronning scored his 40th goal of the season for Vancouver, which has points in nine straight (7-0-2). . . . The Rockets had won their previous three games. . . . The victory lifted the Giants to within one point of the Western Conference-leading Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 4,753.

Before the game, the Giants announced that they have played D Bailey Dhaliwal on the long-term injury list. He will miss the remainder of this season. . . . The Giants also announced that they have added F Hunor Torzsok, who will turn 18 on Feb. 1, to their roster for the remainder of the season. Torzsok was born in Budapest, Hungary but has played his minor hockey in Canada so is not an import. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder had seven goals and eight assists in 15 games with the major midget Valley West Hawks this season, and three goals in 10 games with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers.


At Spokane, F Garrett Pilon scored three times to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 5-2 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Pilon, who has 21 goals, was playing his second game since being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers on Jan. 7. . . . F Matt Fonteyne had Everett’s other two goals, giving him 24. . . . G Carter Hart earned the victory with 31 saves in his first appearance since returning from winning gold with Canada at the WJC. . . . Everett has won three in a row. . . . Announced attendance: 6,541.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Prince George Cougars scored three second-period goals and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Jared Bethune scored his 15th goal, into an empty net, and added two assists for the Cougars. . . . The Americans were without seven — yes, seven! — of their top-end players — D Juuso Valimaki, F Michael Rasmussen, F Max James, F Nolan Yaremko, F Kyle Olson, F Morgan Geekie and D Roman Kalinichenko. James is serving a suspension; the others are injured. . . . “Never seen anything like it,” Bob Tory, the Americans’ GM, told Taking Note. . . . The Americans have lost three in a row. . . . Announced attendance: 3,704.


At Victoria, F Dante Hannoun’s second goal of the game, at 16:29 of the third period, gave the Royals a 5-4 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The visitors led 3-0 before the first period was 11 minutes old and never trailed until Hannoun scored his second goal. . . . He’s got 18 goals, nine of them in seven games against Kamloops. . . . F Jeff de Wit, who came up short on a second-period penalty shot, also scored twice for Victoria, giving him eight goals. . . . The Royals were without F Lane Zablocki, who served a one-game suspension from a checking-from-behind major he took the previous night. . . . Announced attendance: 6,786.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


If you enjoy stopping by here, and even if you don’t, feel free to make a donation to the cause by visiting my old site, taking note.ca, and clicking on the DONATE button. Thank you, in advance.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Moose Jaw, 4 p.m.

Saskatoon vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 4:05 p.m.

Everett at Portland, 5 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

If you were wondering about former Kootenay Ice sniper Nigel Dawes . . . he is the KHL’s King of Hat Tricks.

Portland loses Glass in victory . . . Lind feasts on Blazers, again . . . Giants bounce back to beat Silvertips

Scattershooting

Heavy snow. In Buffalo. On Dec. 29. Who’da thunk it?



The outdoor game drew 44,592 fans to New Era Field in Buffalo, a record for a World Junior Championship game. The previous record (20,380) was set in Ottawa at the tournament final between Canada and Sweden. . . . But does record attendance mean the game was a success? . . . I don’t think so, but it does mean that there will be more of these monsters.


Considering that this is the WORLD Junior Championship, the game was an embarrassment and shot holes through the event’s integrity. It wasn’t fair to the players; it absolutely wasn’t fair. Some of the highest-skilled junior hockey players in the world were reduced to playing chip-and-chase and that’s too bad. Here’s hoping that if they meet again in Buffalo, the tournament organizers don’t get greedy and move that game outside, too.



Dennis Beyak, the radio voice of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, has been calling the play on some of the ‘lesser’ WJC games in Buffalo. It’s long past time that TSN gave him some serious national attention.


You are a real hockey fan if you know which WHL team once employed Beyak as its general manager.



If you are up for some major junior hockey, with two teams playing indoors, the Moose Jaw Warriors and the host Brandon Wheat Kings will be on Sportsnet this afternoon. Game time in Brandon is 2:30 p.m., which is 12:30 p.m. in Kamloops. . . . The Warriors (28-6-3) are atop the WHL’s overall standings; the Wheat Kings (25-9-1) are third, eight points back. Moose Jaw is 8-1-1 in its past 10 games; Brandon is 8-2-0.


Here for your reading pleasure is a Mike Royko column from Aug. 15, 1985. Royko, a legendary columnist with the Chicago Tribune, had written a column in which he skewered Frank Sinatra. The response? Sinatra wrote a letter to Royko, who responded with this piece right here. Enjoy!


MacBeth

F Richard Rapáč (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2006-07) has been assigned on loan by Poprad to Liptovský Mikuláš (both Slovakia, Extraliga) for the rest of the season. He had one goal and one assist in 11 games with Poprad.


Royals lose sniper to wrist injury

The Victoria Royals will be without F Noah Gregor for up to five weeks after he suffered a broken wrist in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night.

Gregor, who was acquired earlier in the month from the Moose Jaw Warriors, didn’t play in the host Royals’ 7-1 victory over the Cougars on Thursday night.

The Royals got Gregor, 19, and an eighth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft for F Ryan Peckford and a fourth-round pick in 2018.

This season, Gregor has two goals and an assist in four games with the Royals, after putting up 14 goals and 22 assists in 30 games with the Warriors.

The Royals did get F Dante Hannoun back on Wednesday after he was out since Dec. 2 with mononucleosis. He had two assists in each of the two games with Prince George. Hannoun has 13 goals and 28 assists in 33 games.

The Royals already were without F Regan Nagy, 20, who had 18 goals and six assists in 26 games when he suffered a broken finger. He has missed 10 games since last playing on Nov. 28. He also missed the two games prior to Nov. 28. Nagy isn’t likely to return for another couple of weeks.

It appears that Nagy won’t be back before the passing of the Jan. 10 deadline. The Royals have three other 20-year-olds on their roster — D Chaz Reddekopp, F Tyler Soy and D Kade Jensen, who was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Dec. 1 for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

It will be interesting to see what Victoria general manager Cam Hope does with his 20s between now and Nagy’s return.

Of course, with the departure of F Wyatt Sloboshan, the Regina Pats do have an opening for a 20-year-old, and Nagy is from Ogema, Sask. Ogema is located about 115 km south of Regina.


The Kootenay Ice has brought in F Jakin Smallwood, who turns 17 on Monday, from the midget AAA Leduc, Alta., Oil Kings. From Leduc, he has 11 goals and 15 assists in 23 games with the Oil Kings. . . . A fifth-round selection by Moose Jaw in the 2016 bantam draft, the Ice acquired him from the Warriors on Dec. 11, along with a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 draft for F Vince Loschiavo, 19.


A tip of the cap to the legendary Fred Sasakamoose, who has been named a Member of the Order of Canada. A native of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Sask., he lives in the nearby community of Sandy Lake. He was the first Indigenous player in the NHL when he got into 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54. . . . Sasakamoose told CBC: “It’s unbelievable. I thought getting to the NHL was to make it to the highest level of my life. But to reach the age of 84, and you receive the honours of Canada. That is one of the top awards that I will receive and remember for the rest of my life.” . . . These days, he works with young people who are fighting addictions. . . . Sasakamoose was saluted prior to last night’s game between the Blackhawks and the Oilers in Edmonton. . . . If you ever have an opportunity to hear Sasakamoose tell his story, don’t miss it.


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes broke a 3-3 tie with two third-period goals en route to a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Hurricanes (16-17-2) are third in the Central LethbridgeDivision, six points behind Medicine Hat and four in arrears of Kootenay. . . . The Tigers (19-15-2) had won their previous two games, including a 4-2 victory over the visiting Hurricanes on Wednesday. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead on goals from D Igor Merezhko (3), at 14:35 of the first period, and F Dylan Cozens (11), on a PP, at 1:21 of the second. . . . F Jaeger White (5) halved the lead at 4:33. . . . F Giorgio Estephan (16) restored Lethbridge’s two-goal lead at 6:23. . . . The Tigers pulled even on goals from D David Quenneville (15), at 10:45 of the second period and F Ryan Chyzowski (12), on a PP, at 4:56 of the third. . . . The Hurricanes went back out front at 9:37 as F Jordy Bellerive (19) came out of the penalty box to score. . . . F Zane Franklin (11) provided some insurance at 12:49 and it turned into the game-winner when Tigers F Mark Rassell (29) found the range at 15:45. . . . D Calen Addison had two assists for Lethbridge, with Estephan, Bellerive and Franklin getting one each. . . . Quenneville and F James Hamblin each recorded two assists for the Tigers and Rassell had one. . . . Lethbridge was 1-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-4. . . . G Reece Klassen earned the victory with 37 saves. . . . The Hurricanes scratched G Stuart Skinner (ill) for a second straight game since the Christmas break. . . . With Skinner out, Bryan Thomson backed up after being brought in from the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos of Wlcox, Sask. . . . The Tigers got 28 stops from G Jordan Hollett. . . . Medicine Hat GM/head coach Shaun Clouston remains tied with Willie Desjardins for the most career regular-season victories (323) in franchise history. . . . Announced attendance: 4,313.


At Kamloops, F Kole Lind scored all of the game’s goals, leading the Kelowna Rockets to a 3-0 victory over the Blazers. . . . The Rockets (22-11-3) have won four in a row and now KelownaRocketslead the Western Conference by one point over Everett. . . . The Blazers (16-18-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1) and have been shut out twice in a row at home. The Kootenay Ice posted a 4-0 victory on Dec. 3. . . . Kamloops is three points out of a wild-card playoff spot. . . . These teams also met Wednesday in Kelowna, with the Rockets winning 2-1 in a shootout. . . . In four games since being deemed not good enough to play for Canada’s national junior team, Lind has put up seven goals and four assists. He has two hat tricks and one four-assist game in that stretch. . . . In four games against Kamloops this season, Lind has seven goals and five assists. . . . The Rockets lead the season series, 4-0-0; the Blazers are 0-3-1. . . . Lind, who now has 20 goals, opened the scoring, on a PP, at 12:34 of the first period. . . . Lind made it 2-0, on another PP, at 11:26 of the second period, and he made it 3-0 2:07 later. . . . F Nolan Foote drew assists on each of the first two goals. . . . Kelowna was 2-8 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G James Porter Jr. stopped 28 shots for Kelowna as he recorded his second shutout of his freshman season. He has shutouts in two his last three starts. . . . With Brodan Salmond injured, Porter Jr. has taken over as the Rockets’ starter. This season, he is 14-5-2, 3.22, .904. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots for the Blazers. . . . Announced attendance: 4,310.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Skyler McKenzie’s goal at 2:45 of OT gave the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (22-12-1) had lost its Portlandprevious three games, including a 6-3 setback at the hands of the visiting Americans on Wednesday. The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, one point behind Everett. Portland holds three games in hand. . . . Tri-City (19-10-4) had won its previous four games. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . After two scoreless periods, F Parker AuCoin (7) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:36 of the third. . . . Portland F Ty Kolle (4) tied it at 8:24. . . . The Americans went ahead again as F Jordan Topping (17) scored, on a PP, at 13:58. . . . The Winterhawks forced OT with G Shane Farkas on the bench as F Mason Mannek (5) counted at 19:00. . . . McKenzie won it with his team-leading 24th goal. . . .  F Alex Overhardt had two assists for Portland. . . . Tri-City was 1-2 on the PP; Portland was 0-5. . . . The Winterhawks got 39 saves from Farkas. That included stopping F Morgan Geekie on a penalty shot at 19:37 of the second period. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 36 shots for the Americans. . . . The Winterhawks lost F Cody Glass, who leads them in assists (32) and points (54), in the dying seconds of the second period. He left after appearing to take a slash to his right leg from Tri-City D Dylan Coghlan. After the game, Glass had a brace on his right knee and he was to return to Portland, while the team went on to Kent, Wash., for a game tonight against Seattle. . . . D John Ludvig of the Winterhawks left for repairs after being struck by a puck while on the bench during the second period. . . . D Keoni Texeira was among Portland’s scratches. . . . With Texeira down, D Nick Cicek was in the lineup for his second WHL game. He had been returned to the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. . . . Tri-City was without F Michael Rasmussen, who is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 4,240.


At Kent, Wash., D Turner Ottenbreit broke a 4-4 tie at 11:49 of the third period as the Seattle Thunderbirds overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-4. . . . The SeattleThunderbirds (16-14-5) have points in four straight games (3-0-1). They are fifth in the U.S. Division, four points behind Spokane, but hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Chiefs (19-14-3) had beaten the visiting Thunderbirds, 5-4 in OT, on Wednesday. . . . Last night, Seattle took a 1-0 lead when F Nolan Volcan (15) scored at 11:21 of the first period, giving him nine points over four games. . . . The teams combined for five second-period goals, four of them by the Chiefs. . . . F Riley Woods pulled Spokane even, at 2:08. . . . The game remained tied until there were four goals in a span of 1:51 late in the period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (18) put the Chiefs out front at 17:34. . . . F Noah Philp (8) got Seattle back into a tie at 18:01. . . . Spokane then took a two-goal lead as Woods (16) scored, at 18:23, and F Eli Zummack (9) counted at 19:25. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it on third-period goals from F Nikita Malukhin (3), at 1:41, and F Zack Andrusiak (18), at 9:54. . . . Ottenbreit won it with his fifth goal this season. It was the second game-winner of his 248-game career. . . . F Donovan Neuls and F Dillon Hamaliuk each had two assists for the winners, with Philp getting one. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from Anderson-Dolan and one from Woods. . . . The teams combined for 70 penalty minutes, but there were only three PP opportunities. Seattle was 0-2; Spokane was 0-1. . . . G Matt Berlin record the victory with 29 saves, eight more than Spokane’s Donovan Buskey. . . . Announced attendance: 4,441.


At Everett, the Vancouver Giants, beaten 11-0 by visiting Everett two nights earlier, bounced back to beat the Silvertips, 2-1. . . . The Giants (19-14-4) now have won more Everettgames than they have lost. They are third in the B.C. Division, three points back of Victoria. . . . The Silvertips (22-14-2) had won their previous three games and 11 of 12. They had set a single-game franchise record for goals scored in Wednesday’s victory. . . . Everett is second in the Western Conference, one point behind Kelowna and one ahead of Portland and Victoria. . . . Last night, F Matt Fonteyne (18) provided Everett with a 1-0 lead 51 seconds into the second period. . . . F Dawson Holt (4) tied it at 6:43 and F Tyler Benson (14) scored what proved to be the winner at 13:19. . . . Vancouver was 0-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-3. . . . G David Tendeck continued his fine play with 34 saves for Vancouver. . . . Everett got 23 stops from G Dustin Wolf. . . . Announced attendance: 5,525.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 2:30 p.m.

Lethbridge at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Prince George at Vancouver, 7 p.m.

Kamloops at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

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


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