COVID-19 finds Roughriders . . . AHL team takes bite out of two WHL coaching staffs . . . Red Wings add former Everett coach as assistant


The WHL’s Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds have vacancies on their coaching staffs after the San Jose Barracudas signed Louis Mass and Kyle Hagel as assistant coaches. . . . The Barracudas are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Both men were on the ice with the Sharks at their development camp late last week. . . . Mass, who had been the Silvertips’ associate coach, spent four seasons with Everett. . . . Hagel had been with Seattle for five seasons. . . . They will be working with Barracudas head coach John McCarthy. . . .

Meanwhile, a couple of former Silvertips coaches were making news on Monday.

The long and winding coaching road finally has led Jay Varady to the NHL. A former assistant coach with the Silvertips, Varady now is an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings. He spent the past four seasons in the Arizona Coyotes organization, one as an NHL assistant and three as head coach of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. . . . Varady, 44, spent eight seasons (2003-11) on the Silvertips’ staff, the last four as associate head coach. Since leaving Everett, he has coached the Ducs d’Angers in France, the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs and the Roadrunners. . . .

Kevin Constantine, the Silvertips’ head coach for eight seasons, has been named the head coach of Hungary’s national men’s team. Constantine, 63, also is the head coach of Fehérvár AV19 in the Austrian-based ICE Hockey League, Fehérvár AV19 plays out of Székesfehérvár, Hungary. . . . Constantine did two stints as the Silvertips’ head coach — 2003-07, 2013-17.


A report from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A group of farmers and unemployed youngsters have been busted for running a fake Indian Premier League, streaming staged cricket matches online and swindling Russian bettors out of thousands of dollars. But we’ll never know how it turned out. The scam was detected before it reached the championship round.”


Perry, again:

No kidding — Simone Biles got reverse-carded at the airport.

The 4-foot-7 world-champion gymnast was mistaken for a child when she caught a flight home after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this month.

“The flight attendant (tried) to give me a coloring book when I board . . .” she wrote on Instagram. “I said, ‘No, I’m good, I’m 25.’

“The other flight attendant gave me a mimosa, so we’re in the clear.”

Even better, the pilot stuck the landing.

As you no doubt are aware, the BCHL withdrew from the Canadian Junior bchlHockey League, the umbrella under which junior A leagues operate in Canada, more than a year ago. That means that BCHL teams can’t compete for the Centennial Cup that was won this season by the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits at a 10-team tournament in Estevan, Sask. . . . With the BCHL on the outside of the CJHL and looking in, it is at least a bit interesting that the Wenatchee Wild will play four road exhibition games against USHL teams in September, while the Cranbook Bucks will go on the road to play games against the AJHL’s Bandits and the Okotoks Oilers. . . . If you’re wondering, the Wild will play two games against the Fargo Force and singles versus the Sioux Falls Stampede and Sioux City Musketeers.

THINKING OUT LOUD: Canada’s women’s soccer team had a chance to clinch a berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics on Monday night when it met the U.S. in Monterrey, Mexico, and the game wasn’t on Sportsnet or TSN. There is something horribly wrong with that picture. . . . By the way, the Americans won, 1-0. . . . If you were able to watch the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the visiting Calgary Stampeders, 26-19, on Friday night, you were treated to the CFL at its best. . . . And then, if you were lucky, you switched over to watch the Milwaukee Brewers and the host San Francisco Giants. OF Mike Yastrzemski won it with a ninth-inning walk-off grand slam, the first time the Giants have managed that since Bobby Bonds beat the Los Angeles Dodgers with one in 1973. The best part, though, was listening to Jon Miller, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow call the game. . . . I don’t know when/why the Saskatchewan Roughriders decided to try and become the CFL’s version of Al Davis’s Oakland Raiders but it isn’t working.


There was an interesting development in the junior B Kootenay International kijhlJunior Hockey League on Monday when it released its regular-season schedule, one that includes the Spokane Braves. . . . Because of the pandemic, the Braves have sat out the past two seasons. . . . From the KIJHL news release: “The Spokane Braves are scheduled to play their first KIJHL regular-season game since February 2020 when they host Osoyoos Coyotes on Sept. 23 to begin their long-awaited 50th season. The league is continuing to monitor circumstances around the Canada-U.S. border and will provide updates.” . . . Taking Note has been told that the Braves have been given until Aug. 1 to declare their intentions for 2022-23. So you have to think that the KIJHL has another schedule ready to be released, one that doesn’t include Spokane. . . . With the U.S. and Canadian governments not allowing anti-vaxxers to cross their borders, the Braves don’t have enough vaccinated players to ice a team. In fact, owner Bob Tobiason and head coach Darin Schumacher aren’t vaccinated, either. That fact prevented Tobiason from attending the KIJHL’s annual general meeting at Fairmont Hot Springs in late June.

After the International Olympic Committee decided — finally! — to give the late Jim Thorpe back his classic pentathlon and decathlon gold medals from the 1912 Olympic Summer Games in Stockholm, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg summed things up: “In an equally timely move, the IOC strongly feels women should be allowed to vote.”

Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Phil Mickelson keeps saying how happy he is that he went with that Blood Money Tour. And, boy, he sure looks happy these days, doesn’t he?”



The WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes revealed on Monday that F Yegor Klavdiev, 19, won’t be returning for a second season. He has decided to stay at home in LethbridgeBelarus and begin his pro career with Shakhtyor Soligorsk of the Belarusian Extraliga. . . . Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt, from a news release: “We are really disappointed about the news of Klavdiev not returning. It’s disappointing to lose a good player who was going to be a key 19-year-old for us this coming season and someone that we were going to count on. The timing isn’t great for us, but his decision was made, and we respect that and wish him the best in his next step.” . . . Klavdiev had 21 goals and 26 assists in 61 games last season; he was one of three 20-goal scorers on the roster. . . . F Justin Hall led Lethbridge with 34 goals last season, but that was as a 20-year-old. F Jett Jones, who is to turn 20 on Aug. 27, was the other 20-goal man last season, with 20. . . . In the CHL’s 2022 import draft, the Hurricanes selected Slovakian F Alex Ciernik, who turns 18 on Oct. 8, in the first round and then passed on their second pick. The Hurricanes also hold the rights to Swiss F Liekit Reichie, 19, who had two goals and nine assists in 34 games after being claimed off waivers from the Prince George Cougars last season.

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express is looking for a head coach with Brandon Shaw having left to join the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs as an assistant coach. Shaw, who was with Coquitlam for one season, also was the assistant general manager. . . . Shaw has been coaching in the BCHL for the past five seasons — two with the Merritt Centennials and two with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . .

The OHL’s Soo Greyhounds have extended the contract of general manager Kyle Raftis for four years, taking him through the 2025-26 season. Raftis is preparing for his ninth season with the Greyhounds.

Jason Knight, a former WHL player, died on June 30 in Regina, four days after his 49th birthday. . . . Knight played 56 WHL regular-season games over three seasons (1990-93) — 26 with the Saskatoon Blades, 29 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one with the Tacoma Rockets. He finished with three goals and four assists. . . . From the obituary: “There will be no Funeral Service at this time but a Celebration of Life will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made, in memoriam, to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 100 – 119 14 Street NW Calgary, AB, T2N 1Z6 or to KidSport Canada, 423 – 145 Pacific Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 2Z6.” . . . That obituary is right here.

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Meier takes three Stanley Cup rings into retirement . . . Broncos lose scouts, associate coach . . . News on two WHL trades

NOTE: Updated to include resignation of Swift Current Broncos associate coach Ryan Smith.


Wayne Meier’s three Stanley Cup rings.

Wayne Meier, a longtime WHL and NHL scout, has told Taking Note that he is “ending my career and off to retirement.” . . . Meier, from Edmonton, has scouted, mostly in the west, for more than 45 years, spending 31 seasons working for NHL teams. . . . He started his scouting career with the Portland Winter Hawks in 1976. He went on to spend a total of 10 seasons with Portland, and was the director of player personnel for seven of those seasons. . . . He also worked in the NHL as a scout with the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . He spent the past 12 seasons with the Penguins, so was part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams.

There have been rumblings out of Swift Current for the past while that there was going to be some upheaval in the Broncos’ scouting department following the signing of Dean SCBroncosBrockman as director of hockey operations and head coach.

The above tweet from veteran scout Brian Leavold would seem to signal that something is happening as he indicates that he is leaving the staff “as have many others.”

There has yet to be an announcement from the Broncos on the state of their scouting staff, but all names have been deleted from the team’s website. As well, one person familiar with the WHL scouting fraternity has told Taking Note that “I believe they all have quit.”

The Broncos won the WHL championship on May 14, and Manny Viveiros, the team’s director of player personnel and head coach, left shortly after to join the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers as an assistant coach.

Brockman was named the director of hockey operations and head coach on June 27.

One day before that, Jamie Porter, the Broncos’ assistant general manager and director of hockey operations, announced that he would be leaving the organization at the end of July. Porter had been with the Broncos since signing on as a scout in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Broncos also have lost a member of their coaching staff with the resignation of Ryan Smith, who had been their associate coach.

Smith had been the Humboldt Broncos’ general manager and head coach when he left three years ago to join Swift Current as associate coach.

In Humboldt, Smith, who had been the head coach of the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers, took over from Brockman, who had been there for 16 years before signing on as an assistant coach with the Saskatoon Blades.

Jamie Heward, the director of player development and head coach, is still with the team, although Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted this week that the Vancouver Giants “are talking” to Heward “about being assistant coach.”

As Ewen pointed out, Heward and Michael Dyck, the Giants’ new head coach, were teammates with the Regina Pats “in the late 1980s.”

The Saskatoon Blades have acquired veteran F Riley McKay, 19, from the Spokane Chiefs Saskatoonfor a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft and a seventh-round pick in 2020. . . . From Swan River, Man., MacKay has played two seasons with the Chiefs, putting up seven goals and 15 assists. . . . McKay is one of the WHL’s toughest players and you can bet that Mitch Love, the Blades’ first-year head coach, saw a lot of him while he was an assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips. In other words, you can bet that this deal has Love’s stamp of approval.

The Spokane Chiefs have acquired F Michael King, 18, from the Kootenay Ice for a conditional fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . King was selected by the Ice in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . King, from Winnipeg, had eight goals and seven assists in 56 games as a sophomore with the Ice last season. In his freshman season, he had two goals and seven assists in 66 games.

The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed F Vladimir Alistrov to a WHL contract. From Belarus, he was selected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. Last season, he had 31 goals and 39 assists while splitting 50 games with Team Belarus’s U-17 and U-18 teams. He also had three goals and four assists for Team Belarus at the IIHF’s U-18 World championship.

John Dean is the new head coach of the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds. Dean, 37, is the reigning coach of the year in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, where he guided the Toronto Patriots to a 40-8-3-3 record. . . . He spent three seasons (2014-17) as an assistant coach with the OHL’s North Bay Battalion. . . . Dean takes over from Drew Bannister, who left the Greyhounds to become the head coach of the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues.


Dorothy and I live on Shuswap Road, about 20 km east of Kamloops. This fire, which started at 20 hectares and quickly grew to 400, was about 10 km west of us and we were never in any danger. As the fire burned, it moved north and west, but the crews did a tremendous job of keeping it away from homes and other structures.

It was a reminder, though, that it was one year ago when we were blanketed by smoke in what turned out to be an ugly summer.

Here’s hoping that we aren’t in for a repeat performance.

If you are interested in more photos and some terrific videos of planes fighting the fire, just go to Twitter and do a search for ‘Shuswap Road.’

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