Scattershooting on a Thursday night while wondering if the Blue Bombers are shopping for a kicker . . .

scattershooting

Tyler Chandler, an infield prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, hit four home runs on Wednesday night. Not only that, he hit a solo shot, a two-run blast, a three-run dinger and a grand slam as his Double-A Springfield Cardinals whipped the host Amarillo Sod Poodles, 21-4. . . . Redmond also had a single as he drove in 11 runs. . . . The only other player in pro baseball history to accomplish this was Tyrone Horne, who also was a Cardinals’ farmhand. On July 27, 1998, he did it while with the AA Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League.



Thermos



COVID-19 SAYS HELLO: The MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps had six players test positive late last week. They hope to be cleared in time to practice and then play in Saturday night’s game against the host L.A. Galaxy. . . . The Houston Astros had manager Dusty Baker back in the dugout on Thursday as they beat the visiting Texas Rangers, 7-3. Baker, 73, is fully vaccinated. He had tested positive on Friday. “I’m very fortunate that I had both my shots and the two boosters,” he said. “So, I’m really hoping that everybody goes and gets the shots and boosters, because if you do get (COVID-19), hopefully it’s mild like mine was.”



Chips


THE COACHING GAME:

The WHL-champion Edmonton Oil Kings have added Serge Lajoie to their coaching staff as an assistant to head coach Luke Pierce. Lajoie, 53, also has been named manager of player development. . . . Lajoie had been the head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears men’s hockey team for three seasons when he signed on as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers. But that relationship lasted just one season (2018-19). For the past three seasons, he has been the head coach of OHA Edmonton’s U18 prep side. . . . Pierce, who had been an assistant coach, was named the Oil Kings’ head coach on July 25. He took over from Brad Lauer, who has joined the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets as an assistant coach. . . .

Jamie Kompon, who spent two seasons with the Portland Winterhawks, has joined the NHL’s Florida Panthers as an assistant coach. Kompon, 55, was the Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach for two seasons (2014-16). He spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets. . . . Kompon also has worked in the NHL as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks. . . .

The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan have signed Gordie Dwyer to a four-year contract as their general manager and head coach. Dwyer, 44, was the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs, who went 47-17-4 last season. However, he was fired after a first-round playoff loss. . . . The Sea Dogs, of course, went on to win the Memorial Cup as the host team. . . . With the Titan, he takes over from Jason Clarke, who left to join the AHL’s San Diego Gulls as an assistant coach. . . .

The junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have hired Brad Tobin, 33, as their general manager and head coach. The announcement came Thursday, one day after Brandon Switzer left to join the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints as an assistant coach. . . . Switzer, 27, was named Creston Valley’s general manager and head coach on April 6. He had been assistant general manager and associate coach. . . . Tobin has worked with Creston Valley before, starting out as an assistant coach and winding up as GM and head coach in 2017-18. He spent the past four seasons with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. . . .

Bob Beatty is back with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers for his first full season as associate coach. The veteran junior hockey coach stepped in late last season following the order from the BCHL that put Darren Naylor, the Clippers’ general manager and head coach, on administrative leave. Naylor no longer is with the organization. . . . Beatty, 67, will be working alongside Colin Birkas, the GM and head coach, and fellow associate coach Bob Foglietta. . . .

Andrew Shaw has left the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs to join the Prince George Spruce Kings. Shaw, 32, had been an assistant coach with Chilliwack for three seasons. He joins the Spruce Kings as the associate coach, replacing Lukas Limicky, who now is with the Vernon Vipers. . . .

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express has extended the contract of Jeff Wagner for three seasons. He is preparing for his second season as associate coach and director of scouting. . . . The extension runs through 2024-25. . . .

The BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals have added Jason Becker to their coaching staff. He will help them out as skills coach, working alongside Brian Passmore, the general manager and head coach. For the past two seasons, Becker, 48, has been the head coach of the U18 men’s team at the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy in Victoria. While working with the Capitals, he also will be the head coach of the PCHA’s new U17 prep team. . . . Becker also has coached with the Prince George Cougars, the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and St. George’s School in Vancouver. He has long been involved with Hockey Canada and BC Hockey coaching programs and, at present, is the lead evaluator for the U16 team that will represent the province at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. . . . You look at this guy’s resume and ask yourself: Why isn’t he the head coach of a major junior team?



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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


SnowWhite

B.C. capacity restrictions staying put . . . Schedule forces Royals to grind it out . . . Goalie scores in AJHL game

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, announced on Tuesday that capacity limits will remain in place until at least Feb. 16. That means that the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the WHL’s five B.C. franchises won’t be able to open up their arenas to 100 per cent capacity for at least another month. . . . “We are still in a pandemic, as much as we would like to be over it,” Dr. Henry said during a news conference. . . . Dr. Henry also said that the rate of transmission and number of hospitalizations in B.C. haven’t been higher since the start of the pandemic almost two years ago. . . . The latest restriction on building capacity was announced on Dec. 17 with the hope that it would be in place for a month. Now it seems that it will be there for at least another month.


The WHL issued its weekly injury/roster report on Tuesday, one day after the WHLleague put the Winnipeg Ice on pause “out of an abundance of caution due to pending further test results for COVID-19 with players and staff.” . . . The weekly report listed 24 players in COVID-19 protocol, with 30 having come out of protocol. . . . The Ice didn’t list any players in either category. . . . So let’s no take the roster report as anything resembling gospel. OK? . . . BTW, the Seattle Thunderbirds, one of three teams not to have been shut down to this point, had 10 players in protocol as of Tuesday, with two others having been cleared to return. . . . The Kamloops Blazers and Vancouver Giants didn’t show anyone out or returning, despite officials from both organizations having said last week that the majority of players and staff had tested positive at some point. . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings and Kelowna Rockets are the other two teams not to have had to pause activities. The Rockets listed two players in protocol, and the Wheat Kings one.


Wolves


The Swift Current Broncos were to have visited the Winnipeg Ice on Tuesday WinnipegIcenight, but that didn’t happen. The WHL announced on Monday that it had postponed the game pending results of those tests with the Ice. The WHL didn’t issue an update on Tuesday. . . . The Ice last played on Saturday against the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . This isn’t the Ice’s first run-in with COVID-19. On Dec. 27, the WHL announced that the Ice had three players and/or staff in protocol. On Jan. 8, Winnipeg was one of 15 teams that were put on pause by the WHL. The Ice was cleared to return to team activities on Jan. 10. . . . Winnipeg is scheduled to visit the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night.


The Victoria Royals were swept by the Rockets — 6-4 and 9-1 — in a Friday-VictoriaRoyalsSaturday doubleheader in Kelowna. The Royals then rode their bus to Prince George, where they were beaten, 5-3, by the Cougars on Tuesday night. The teams will play there again tonight. . . . The Royals will get back on the bus after that and head for home where they are to entertain the Vancouver Giants on Friday and the Everett Silvertips on Saturday. By then, they will have played six games in nine nights. . . . Before this stretch is over, the Royals will have played 10 games in 16 nights. . . . Victoria listed 12 players on this week’s injury list — five in COVID-19 protocol, two week-to-week, two day-to-day, one two-to-four weeks and two season-ending.




ICYMI, Jim Matheson, Postmedia’s veteran hockey writer in Edmonton, and Oilers F Leon Draisaitl exchanged words during a Tuesday media availability. It was all rather interesting and, at the same time, totally harmless, something that would happen more often if reporters had access to dressing rooms. The pandemic, of course, has changed those rules. . . . But, in this instance, sheesh, the social media world exploded, with a lot of the venom towards Matheson being spewed by those enjoying the anonymity that is so popular with so many members of the peanut gallery.



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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Looters

Ingram a winner in NHL debut . . . Hockey Canada reveals its vax policy for 2022 WJC . . . COVID-19 strikes at Canada West hockey

Connor Ingram, who spent three seasons (2014-17) tending goal for the WHL’s PredatorsKamloops Blazers, made his NHL debut on Sunday with the Nashville Predators. And he did it in style, turning aside 33 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. . . . The Wild went into the game as one of the NHL’s unbeaten teams, at 4-0. . . . Dean Evason, one of the Blazers’ all-time great players, is the Wild’s head coach. . . . The Predators are 2-4-0. They recalled Ingram from the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals on Oct. 16 because G David Rittich was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. . . .“I still don’t think it’s hit me a little bit,” Ingram, 24, told reporters. “Ignorance is bliss at this point where you don’t really realize what’s going on yet, but it felt good.’’ . . . Ingram was beaten for the first time when F Nick Bjugstad beat him at 11:30 of the second period. . . . “My first shot in the Western League, my first shot in the American League both went in, so I was kind of half-expecting it to go in today, but it didn’t so that’s a nice way to start.’’ . . . The Predators next are scheduled to play on Tuesday night against the visiting San Jose Sharks. . . .

Ingram was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the third round of the NHL’s 2016 draft. He played one-plus season with the Lightning’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and 13 games with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears before Tampa Bay dealt him to Nashville on June 14, 2019, for a seventh-round pick in the NHL’s 2021 draft. He spent 2019-20 with Milwaukee.

Last season, with the hockey world experiencing pandemic turmoil, he got into nine games with IF Björklöven of Sweden’s HockeyAllsvenskan and five with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.

Ingram’s season ended in January when the NHL and NHLPA announced that Ingram was “voluntarily taking part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.” . . . At the time, he was on the Predators’ taxi squad as a mandatory third goaltender, something that was necessary under the NHL’s pandemic protocol. . . . The confidential program provides assistance to players and their families for mental health and substance abuse issues.


Hockey Canada announced its vaccination policy on Friday, something that will Canadaimpact the 2022 World Junior Championship that is scheduled for Red Deer and Edmonton, from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5

From a news release:

“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hockey Canada and its board of directors have voted to implement a policy mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all participants who are active in any international or national event hosted in Canada, including all on- or off-ice activities or programs hosted or controlled directly by Hockey Canada. This means that all participating players, coaches, team staff, on-ice officials, event volunteers, spectators and any other individual associated with an event who is in contact with the aforementioned group must have received the necessary doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the start of the event. Hockey Canada will consider exemptions based on guidance from government and public health authorities, as well as experts retained by the organization.”

The complete news release is right here.


If you thought COVID-19 was on its way out, you are sadly mistaken . . .

A Saturday night Canada West men’s hockey game between the visiting CovidSaskatchewan Huskies and Regina Cougars was postponed. According to a Canada West news release, “Positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed within the Cougars.” The two teams had played in Saskatoon on Friday night. . . . Earlier in the week, Canada West postponed a series between the Calgary Dinos and MacEwan after positive tests were found in the Griffins’ program. . . .

The Brandon Sun reported Saturday that “at least one confirmed COVID-19 case has been detected in association with an Oct. 17 hockey game between Elton/Forrest/Rivers/Strathclair/Hamiota and Vincent Massey high school hockey teams, according to a news release from the province on Oct. 20.” . . .

The Chicago Blackhawks played Sunday afternoon without F Jujhar Khaira and D Riley Stillman, both of whom are in COVID-19 protocol. Chicago also was without assistant coach Marc Crawford for the same reason. . . . The Blackhawks lost, 6-3, to the visiting Detroit Red Wings. Chicago now is 0-5-1. . . .

Kevin Ross, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive backs coach, was unavailable for Sunday’s game against the visiting Chicago Bears, so injured veteran DB Richard Sherman was on the sidelines wearing a headset. Tampa Bay won, 38-3.


Oranges


While Connor Ingram was making his NHL debut on Sunday, there were two games taking place in WHL arenas . . .

In Saskatoon, the Blades scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Regina Pats, 4-1. . . . F Brandon Lisowsky (5) broke a 1-1 tie at 1:43 of the second period. . . . F Tristen Robins (4) scored for the Blades but had his run of multi-point games halted at six. . . . The Blades (6-1-1), who were 1-for-9 on the PP, have points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Pats (2-7-0) have lost seven in a row. . . .

In Calgary, the Hitmen erased a 1-0 first-period deficit with three second-period goals en route to a 3-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (2) scored the eventual winner on a PP at 16:48. . . . The Hitmen (4-3-0) have won three in a row. . . . The Wheat Kings (4-6-0) went 0-3-0 on a weekend swing into the Central Division that also included stops in Edmonton and Red Deer.

——

There were eight WHL games on Saturday . . .

In Portland, G Braden Holt blocked 22 shots to help the Everett Silvertips to a 1-0 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Holt’s second shutout of the season — he blanked visiting Portland 4-0 on Oct. 8 — allowed the Silvertips to run their record to 6-0-0. . . . Portland is 3-4-1. . . . D Jonny Lambos’s first goal of the season won it at 17:27 of the first period. . . . Holt has three shutouts in his career. . . . Mike Johnston, Portland’s GM/head coach, was back behind the bench after a one-game absence while he travelled to Red Deer to watch some of the WHL Cup. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Spokane Chiefs erased a 2-1 first-period deficit with six straight goals, five of them in the second period, as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 7-2. . . . F Luke Toporowski (6) scored twice and added an assist, with F Eric Atchison drawing three assists. . . . The Chiefs improved to 3-4-1; the Americans’ fifth straight loss dropped them to 2-5-0. . . . 

In Vancouver, G Jesper Vikman turned aside 23 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . A freshman from Stockholm whose NHL rights belong to the Vegas Golden Knights, Vikman has two shutouts in four starts. . . . F Justin Lies (2) scored the game’s first goal, at 8:26 of the second period. . . . The Giants now are 3-2-0; the Rockets are 2-2-0. . . .

In Victoria, the Prince George Cougars scored the game’s last three goals to defeat the Royals, 4-1. . . . The Cougars (4-3-0) have won four in a row, all of them against the Royals as the teams play a six-game set. . . . The Royals (1-8-0) have lost seven in a row. They will conclude this series with games in Prince George on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer (2) had a goal and an assist. . . . G Campbell Arnold, 19, acquired earlier in the week from the Spokane Chiefs, stopped 30 shots for Victoria. . . . F Caleb Willms, 19, acquired earlier in the day from the Medicine Hat Tigers, was in the Royals’ lineup. He cost them a conditional sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2024 draft. He had five goals and 10 assists in 52 games with the Tigers. . . . The Royals also acquired D Anson McMaster, 19, from the Winnipeg Ice for a conditional seventh-rounder in the 2023 draft. McMaster, who had a goal and five assists in 66 games with the Ice, also made his Victoria debut in this one. . . . On Sunday, the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints announced that they have signed F Graeme Bryks, 20, who split four-plus seasons between the Royals and Seattle Thunderbirds. As well, the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos said they have signed F Cage Newans, 18, who played 25 games over three seasons with the Royals.

In Edmonton, the Oil Kings skated to a 5-2 lead and then hung on for a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Carson Latimer (4) scored twice for Edmonton, with F Jalen Luypen and F Carter Souch each earning three assists. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky scored his eighth goal of the season for the Tigers (4-4-1). . . . The Oil Kings are 6-2-1. . . .

In Lethbridge, the Hurricanes snapped a two-game losing skid with a 5-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Lethbridge (4-3-0) trailed 3-2 after two periods and then scored the only three goals of the third period. . . . F Alex Thacker (3) had two goals and an assist for the Hurricanes, who got three assists from F Ty Nash. . . . Thacker’s second goal, at 18:49 of the third, was the winner. . . . F Evan Herman scored his first two goals of the season for the Raiders (2-7-0). . . .

In Moose Jaw, the Winnipeg Ice erased a 4-1 deficit with four goals in the last half of third period and beat the Warriors, 5-4. . . . D Nolan Orzeck (2) tied the game at 14:03 of the third period and F Connor McClennon (8) won it at 19:15. . . . F Matt Savoie (6) scored twice for the Ice and F Mikey Milne had three assists. . . . Moose Jaw got two goals from F Brayden Yager (5). . . . The Ice (9-0-0) was 2-for-5 on the PP; the Warriors (3-5-0) didn’t receive even one opportunity. . . . The Warriors were without D Daemon Hunt, who drew a four-game suspension for a charging major and game misconduct in a game on Wednesday in Winnipeg. His hit took Winnipeg F Zach Benson out of the game; he didn’t play on Saturday. . . .

In Red Deer, F Blake Stevenson scored twice and added an assist as the Rebels dumped the Brandon Wheat Kings, 7-1. . . . Stevenson has four goals this season. . . . The Rebels (6-3-1) have won three straight. . . . The Wheat Kings (4-5-0) had lost 9-2 in Edmonton on Friday. . . . Red Deer lost D Jace Weir to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 12:37 of the first period.


Egg


There were nine WHL games on Friday night . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers erased a 2-1 second-period deficit with five goals as they skated to a 6-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . F Oren Shtrom (2) had a goal and two assists. . . . The game featured two Wiesblatt brothers — Oasiz with the Tigers (4-3-1) and Ozzy with the Raiders (2-6-0). . . .

In Swift Current, the Calgary Hitmen opened a 5-0 lead and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Broncos. . . . F Sean Tschigerl (4) had two goals and an assist, with Riley Fiddler-Schultz (1) scoring once and drawing two assists. . . . The Hitmen evened their record at 3-3-0, while the Broncos slipped to 2-5-2. . . .

In Regina, G Nolan Maier stopped 37 shots to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-2 victory over the Pats. . . . That gave the visitors at least a point in six straight (5-0-1). . . . F Tristen Robins had two assists for the Blades (5-1-1), his sixth straight multi-point game this season. That left him with 15 points, 12 of them assists, in six games. . . . The game featured only two minor penalties, both to the Pats (2-6-0), who surrendered one PP goal in their sixth straight loss. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels doubled the Lethbridge Hurricanes on the shot clock (42-21) and on the scoreboard, 6-3. . . . The Hurricanes (3-3-0) scored the game’s first goal at 1:00 of the opening period. The Rebels (5-3-1) led 4-1 after the period. . . . F Ben King scored his fourth goal of the season for the winners. . . . D Alex Cotton (4) scored twice for Lethbridge in his 150th game. . . .

In Edmonton, the Oil Kings scored five times in the game’s first 14:57 as they dropped the Brandon Wheat Kings, 9-2. . . . F Jared Luypen (3) had two goals and two assists, with F Carter Souch (2) scoring twice and setting up another in his 200th career game. F Dylan Guenther (2), F Jaxsen Wiebe (1) and F Logan Dowhaniuk (2) each added a goal and two assists. . . . Edmonton improved to 5-2-1, with Brandon slipping to 4-4-0. . . . The victory was the 109th for Brad Lauer as the Oil Kings’ head coach. That is second in the franchise’s history, behind only Derek Laxdal, who won 180 games during his four seasons (2010-14). . . .

In Victoria, the Prince George Cougars scored the game’s last five goals in a 5-1 victory over the Royals. . . . The Cougars (3-3-0) have won three in a row, all of them against the Royals (1-7-0). This was the third of six straight games between these teams. . . . The Royals listed seven scratches as being injured. They dressed 16 skaters, two under the maximum. . . . The Cougars got at least one point from 13 different skaters. . . . F Jonny Hooker’s fifth goal of the season stood up as the winner. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers scored three times in 48 seconds to take a 3-0 first-period lead as they beat the Vancouver Giants, 7-4. . . . The Blazers led 6-1 at one point before the Giants got to within two at 6-4. . . . F Logan Stankoven (5) and D Quinn Schmiemann (2) each scored twice for Kamloops (6-1-0), with F Josh Pillar (4) adding a goal and two helpers. . . . The Giants (2-2-0) got a goal, his first, and two assists from F Fabian Lysell. . . .

In Portland, F Alex Swetlikoff scored three times to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 5-2 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Swetlikoff, who has five goals, broke a 1-1 tie with goals at 15:40 and 19:58 of the second period and completed his first career hat trick at 15:36 of the third. He has played in 116 regular-season games, five of them with Everett. . . . Swetlikoff, 20, was acquired from the Kelowna Rockets in the off-season. . . . Everett stayed unbeaten (5-0-0); Portland was left at 3-3-1. . . . With Mike Johnston on a scouting trip to Red Deer, site of the WHL Cup, associate coach Don Hay ran the Portland bench. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., G Thomas Milic stopped 19 shots to help the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Tri-City Americans, 5-0. . . . Milic’s first shutout of this season and second of his career came in his 17th appearance over three seasons. . . . F Jordan Gustafson (3) scored twice and D Kevin Korchinski had three assists. . . .


A bus carrying the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s Miramichi Timberwolves was involved in a fatal accident on Sunday afternoon in Astle, N.B. . . . The Timberwolves were on their way to a game in Fredericton against the Red Wings when their bus and a car collided. The driver of the car died at the scene. The game was postponed. . . . According to the MJHL: “Those on the bus sustained limited injuries and grief counsellors have been brought in. Further counselling and support will be offered, as requested.”


JUST NOTES: F Jaydon Dureau signed an ATO with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch on Saturday. Dureau, 20, who played the previous three seasons with the Portland Winterhawks, then scored the game’s first goal as the Crunch dropped a 5-3 decision to the host Rochester Americans. . . . Former WHL referee Steve Kozari worked his 1,000th NHL game on Friday night as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the host Vegas Golden Knights, 5-3. Each team presented Kozari with an autographed team sweater. . . . Ryan Gibbons, who played five seasons (2001-06) with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, was one of the linesmen on Saturday night when the Seattle Kraken played its first home game in franchise history. The Vancouver Canucks beat the Kraken, 4-2.


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Novel

Where do Silvertips, Blazers go from here? . . . Would WHL expand for the money? Who and where?

I STAND WITH ETHAN BEAR . . .


What is sure to be an interesting summer in WHL circles is off to quite a start with two teams presently without general managers and one club looking for a head coach.

The Everett Silvertips parted company with general manager Garry Davidson on EverettMay 20, ending a highly successful relationship that was more than nine years old. The Silvertips chose not to renew Davidson’s contract, just 10 days after the club wrapped up the 2020-21 developmental season with a 19-4-0 record, easily the best in the five-team U.S. Division.

On Tuesday, Matt Bardsley announced that he was resigning as general manager of the Kamloops Blazers, citing a desire to move his family back to the U.S., to be closer to relatives and so that grandparents in California and Oregon would have more access to their two grandchildren.

Bardsley made his announcement just 13 days after the Blazers wound up their Kamloopsseason with an 18-4-0 record, easily the best in the five-team B.C. Division. The Blazers also had the division’s best record when the 2019-20 season was cut short by the arrival of COVID-19.

I wrote on Tuesday night that Bardsley was believed to have one year left on his contract with Kamloops. That turned out to be incorrect. A source with knowledge of the situation has since told Taking Note that Bardsley signed a five-year contract with the WHL team when he joined it from the Portland Winterhawks. Then, with COVID-19 coming along and employees taking pay cuts, the Blazers’ ownership group extended his contract another year.

So . . . where might those two teams go from here.

Well, in the news release announcing Davidson’s departure, the Silvertips said: “The past two seasons have necessitated the restructuring of Silvertips hockey operations, and this process is ongoing.”

That would suggest that the Silvertips are cutting payroll and perhaps trimming positions, what with not having had any playoff revenue for the past two years and having had to play a shortened season in front of empty seats for 2020-21.

Does it all mean that the Silvertips will operate without a traditional general manager, perhaps giving Mike Fraser, their head scout, more responsibilities?

(Of course, the administrative staff page on the team’s website still listed Davidson as the general manager as of Wednesday evening, so maybe . . .)

Meanwhile, in Kamloops, you can bet that the Blazers will take a serious look at adding the GM’s title to head coach Shaun Clouston’s portfolio. After all, he was the GM/head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers for seven seasons before landing in Kamloops. He still might be in Medicine Hat had the beloved Willie Desjardins not come available prior to the 2019-20 season.

Or perhaps the Blazers will turn Clouston into strictly a general manager, and promote his brother, Cory, to head coach. Cory, on staff as an assistant coach, certainly has ample experience as a head coach.

I really expect the Blazers to promote from within their organization rather than add a new face to the structure. And I would think that the vast majority of WHL teams will be taking the same approach to any vacancies that may arise in the next while.

Except for the Red Deer Rebels, who are in the market for a head coach after RedDeerBrent Sutter, who also is the owner, president and general manager, stepped down on April 10.

Assistant coaches Ryan Colville and Brad Flynn, along with assistant GM Shaun Sutter, handled the team for the remainder of the season. Brent was in his 17th season as the team’s head coach, although he spent some time in the NHL during that stretch.

The Rebels were 2-10-2 when he announced that he was stepping down; they finished 4-15-4.

While Sutter no doubt has some ideas and may well already have sounded out a few candidates, I would imagine that he isn’t in a hurry and will wait until the NHL season ends to see just who shakes free.

But ever since he announced his decision, I have wondered: What if he conducts a search and discovers that the best candidate for the job is Brent Sutter?


Scams


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, wrote a bit on Wednesday about whether the NBA might be able to recoup some pandemic-related losses by selling a couple of expansion franchises.

As he pointed out, the Los Angeles Clippers recently changed hands for US$2 billion, while the Houston Rockets went for US$2.2 billion and the New Jersey Nets for US$3.2 billion.

So if the NBA was to sell two expansions franchises for US$1.5 billion each, well, that would put $100 million in the jeans of each of the existing franchises. That kind of cash might help some of the franchises get over the pandemic pain.

All of which got me to thinking about the WHL, whose teams no doubt also have felt the pain, although not nine figures worth of it. But deep six-figure losses will sting a WHL franchise as much if not more than what NBA teams might be feeling.

Still, if the WHL could peddle a couple of expansion franchises for, say, Cdn$4 million apiece and then divvy up the proceeds, each of the existing teams would get about Cdn$364,000.

Remember, now, we’re just spitballin’ here . . .

Of course, I have no idea what an expansion franchise would be valued at, especially with the WHL working to escape the grip of this pandemic. Nor do I have any understanding as to whether there is anyone out there who might even be interested in purchasing a franchise.

On top of that, are there any arenas out there that aren’t being used by a junior team that would meet the WHL’s standards?

Nah, didn’t think so. Back to the drawing board.


Robert Morris U, which is located in Moon Township, Pa. announced on Wednesday that it has dropped it’s men’s and women’s hockey teams, both of which played at the NCAA Division I level. . . . RMU played host to the NCAA men’s Final Four in Pittsburgh just two months ago. . . . USCHO.com reported that the university attributed the decisions to a “series of strategic initiatives” intended to “position the university to be amongst the most agile and professionally focused schools in the nation” as it prepares for its upcoming 100th anniversary. . . . According to USCHO.com, “Approximately 55 student-athletes and seven staff positions will be impacted by this decision, which is effective immediately.” . . . Derek Schooley had been the men’s head coach since 2004-05, while Paul Colontino has been the women’s coach for 10 seasons.


Birthday


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation 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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Parker MacKay has joined the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints as an assistant coach. He will work alongside head coach Bram Stephen. MacKay played three seasons (2012-15) with the Saints, winning one title, before going on to the U of Minnesota-Duluth where he won two NCAA championships. There is a news release right here. . . . Burt Henderson is taking over as the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen. Henderson, 46, spent the past two seasons as president and head coach of the junior B Langley Trappers of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. With the Rivermen, he replaces Bobby Henderson, a cousin, who hasn’t been with the team since some time in March although the team didn’t mention his departure until May. . . . The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express has signed Tali Campbell, its vice-president and general manager, to a three-year extension. He joined the team in October 2020.


Cxn

This trade deadline bit quieter . . . Chiefs add some truculence . . . Smart, Peckford join junior A teams

MacBeth

F Alexander Kuvayev (Lethbridge, Vancouver, 2010-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga) after being released by mutual agreement by Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk (Kazakhstan, Vysshaya Liga). He had two goals and two assists in 17 games. . . . Kuvayev started this season with Yermak Angarsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). He had one goal and one assist in eight games when he was released on Sept. 26 by mutual agreement. . . .

D Ty Wishart (Prince George, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had four goals and thee assists in 27 games. He was released on Jan. 2. . . .

D David Turoň (Portland, 2002-03) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Zagłębie Sosnowie (Poland, PHL) after obtaining his release from Polonia Bytom (Poland, PHL). He had five goals and 11 assists in 27 games.

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ThisThat

If you were wondering . . .

A year ago, I began counting down the WHL trade deadline on Nov. 13, 2017, because tradewirethat was when the first major deal was made in the lead-up to Jan. 10.

It was on Nov. 13, 2017, when the Regina Pats, loading up because they were the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, dealt two players — D Jonathan Smart and F Cole Muir — along with two bantam draft picks and a conditional pick to the Kootenay Ice for D Cale Fleury.

By the time the deadline went by, the WHL’s 22 teams had made 58 trades involving 110 players, 77 bantam draft selections and 12 conditional picks.

So . . . how’d it go this time around?

This time, I started counting on Nov. 26. There hadn’t been a trade since Nov. 9; on Nov. 26, there were three trades — involving the Regina Pats and Tri-City Americans, the Kamloops Blazers and Saskatoon Blades, and the Blazers and Spokane Chiefs.

That signalled to me that teams were open for business.

In the end, the 22 teams combined to make 44 trades involving 77 players, 63 bantam draft selections and 15 conditional bantam draft picks.

A year ago, there were 17 transactions made on Jan. 10; this time, there were 11.

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The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Kaden Hanas, who turned 19 on Dec. 18, and added SpokaneChiefshim to they roster. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Hanas, from Strathmore, Alta., had been playing with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. An alternate captain, he had five goals and 12 assists, along with 85 penalty minutes, in 30 games. Last season, in 49 games, he had seven goals, six assists and 168 PiM.

The Chiefs also have released D Mike Ladyman, 17, who is expected to join the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. Ladyman is from Winnipeg.

He was a fifth-round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. However, the Pats dropped him from their protected list and the Chiefs added him to their list in November 2017.

This season, Ladyman had two assists in 22 games with the Chiefs, who will keep on their protected list.

On Tuesday, the Chiefs released D Luke Gallagher, who is expected to join the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. Gallagher, 18, is from Mead, Wash., and was an eighth-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2015 bantam draft.

This season, he had two assists in 22 games. Last season, he finished with a goal and three assists in 33 games.

Like Ladyman, Gallagher will remain on Spokane’s protected list.

The Chiefs found themselves overstocked with defenceman as Filip Kral returned from a stint with Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship and 6-foot-5 Matt Leduc, who hadn’t played since Oct. 12, returned for the Chiefs’ 4-2 victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars on Wednesday.

With these moves, Spokane now is carrying seven defencemen.

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D Alec Capstick of the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen has made a commitment to attend Miami of Ohio and play for the RedHawks next season. . . . Capstick, 19, made the announcement via Twitter. . . . On Feb. 12, 2015, he had made a verbal commitment to the U of Notre Dame and the Fighting Irish. . . . From Langley, he has three goals and 19 assists in 39 games this season. . . . He was a fourth-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

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The Lethbridge Hurricanes have added F Rylan Thiessen, 17, to their roster. He had been with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. A list player, Thiessen has 11 goals and 17 assists in 25 games with the Wheat Kings. Last season, he finished with eight goals and 24 assists in 48 games. . . . He has played two games with the Hurricanes this season, but has yet to earn a point.

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The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have acquired the junior A rights to D Jonathan Smart, 19, pentictonwho didn’t return to the WHL’s Kootenay Ice after the Christmas break. . . . The Vees acquired his rights from the Alberta Valley Bulldogs for future considerations. . . . Smart, a first-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the 2014 WHL bantam draft, played 216 regular-season WHL games, splitting time between the Rockets, Regina Pats and the Ice. . . . “Jonathan decided to leave the Kootenay Ice to be closer to home for personal reasons,” Fred Harbinson, the Vee’s president, GM and head coach, said in a news release. “At that point we acquired his rights from Alberni who had listed him a few weeks prior. Jonathan has a smooth skill set and adds experience to our backend with over 200 WHL games under his belt.” . . . Smart could make his Penticton debut on Friday against the visiting Powell River Kings.

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G Shane Farkas of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks had his junior A rights move from the West Kelowna Warriors to the Prince George Spruce Kings to the Cowichan Capitals on Thursday. . . . Farkas, 19, is 24-9-5, 2.86, .901 in 39 appearances with the Winterhawks this season. . . . On Wednesday, the Winterhawks sent six WHL bantam draft picks, including two first-rounders, to the Swift Current Broncos for G Joel Hofer, 18.

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F Ryan Peckford, who left the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors in November, is going to be playing for the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. . . . Peckford, 19, left the Warriors on Nov. 26, and went home to Stony Plain, Alta., to contemplate his future. A second-round selection by the Victoria Royals in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft, Peckford has 49 goals and 61 assists in 200 regular-season WHL games over four seasons. . . . This season, he had eight goals and eight assists in 20 games with Moose Jaw. . . . Peckford played 140 games with the Royals, who dealt him to the Warriors on Dec. 11, 2017, along with a fourth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, for F Noah Gregor and an eighth-round pick in 2018.

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F Quinton Waitzner, released this week by the Swift Current Broncos, has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Waitzner, an 18-year-old from Victoria, played 82 games with the Broncos. This season, he had two assists in 34 games.

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The MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals have acquired the rights to F Jesse Mistelbacher, 17, from the Swan Valley Stampeders for a fifth-round pick in that league’s 2019 draft. Mistelbacher, from Ile Des Chenes, Man., had one assist in 15 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors, but has been released and will join Virden. . . . He was a sixth-round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. They released him and the Warriors placed him on their protected list in October 2017.

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The midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings made a coaching change earlier this week, with former head coach Ken Schneider returning to take over form the fired Chris Johnston. . . . Chris Jaster of the Brandon Sun reports that the change was made after Tuesday night’s practice. . . . Schneider was the team’s coach from 2010-14. . . . The Wheat Kings were 23-8-0 and in third place in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League at the time of the change. . . . Jaster reported that Bruce Moar, the team’s president, “wouldn’t say why Johnston was fired.” However, Jaster wrote, “it did come on the heels of a full line brawl at the end of Saturday’s road game against the Winnipeg Thrashers. Brandon also finished a game against Yellowhead in November in fisticuffs.” . . . Schneider played for the WHL’s Wheat Kings (1980-82) and now scouts for the Regina Pats. . . . Johnston spent five seasons (1990-95) in the WHL, playing with the Wheat Kings, Red Deer Rebels and Regina.

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Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and contribute to the cause. Thank you, in advance, and stay safe out there.

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Tweetoftheday

Hawks’ Arnold burning it up . . . Saints stay alive at home . . . Raiders adding Gendur to staff?

MacBeth

G Marek Schwarz (Vancouver, 2004-05) signed a two-year contract with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, in 47 games with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga), he was 3.00, .894, with five shutouts. . . .

F Dylan Wruck (Edmonton, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with the Straubing Tigers (Germany DEL). This season, with Cologne Haie (Germany, DEL), he had two assists in 35 games. Wruck has dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

F Brandon McMillan (Kelowna, 2006-10) signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). In 51 games, he had 14 goals and eight assists while averaging 18:42 time on ice. He was second on his team in goals and points. . . .

D Jonathan Harty (Everett, 2004-08) signed a one-year contract extension with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). He had two goals and 12 assists in 32 games.


ThisThat

The AJHL-champion Spruce Grove Saints beat the BCHL-champion Wenatchee Wild, 4-2, in Spruce Grove on Wednesday in Game 4 of the best-of-seven Doyle Cup series. The Wild leads the series, 3-1, with Game 5 scheduled for Friday in Spruce Grove. . . . F Austin Parmiter scored two goals and added an assist for the Saints, who scored the game’s first three goals. . . .

Meanwhile, the best-of-seven ANAVET Cup is 2-2 after the SJHL-champion Nipawins Hawks, playing at home, beat the MJHL-champion Steinbach Pistons, 5-2, on Wednesday. They will clash again Friday in Nipawin, before returning to Steinbach for Game 6 on Monday and, if needed, Game 7 on Tuesday. . . . F Brandan Arnold had two goals and two assists in Game 4, meaning that he has been in on 10 of the 12 goals the Hawks have scored in the series. Arnold, who turned 21 on April 5, has five goals and five assists in the four games.


If you’re looking for the WHL award winners, you’ll find them at whl.ca. You will be able to follow Thursday’s bantam draft there, too.


Scattershooting

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times points out: “A 1952 Mantle baseball card has sold for US$2.88 million — or 384 times the $7,500 he was paid to play that season.”


Here’s Perry, again: “Two former cheerleaders who recently filed discrimination claims against the NFL said they’d settle them for $1 each if Commissioner Roger Goodell would agree to meet with them. Or, as their lawyers officially spelled it out: 2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a dollar.”


I haven’t noticed an announcement of any sort from the Prince Albert Raiders, but it would seem from the above tweet that former WHL F Dan Gendur is joining their organization. . . . Gendur, 30, had been the head coach of the midget AAA CFR Chemicals Bisons, who play out of Airdrie, Alta. He played in the WHL with the Victoria/Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips (2003-08). . . . Dustin Taylor, who had been the Bisons’ associate coach, is the Bisons’ new head coach.


With the summer driving season almost upon us, a couple of reminders for anyone planning on stopping in Kamloops for a day or two, or even just passing through. . . . 1. Turn-signals are optional. . . . 2. The numbers on speed-limit signs are only guidelines. The actual speed limit? It’s whatever you want it to be.


“Winnipeg’s two NHL franchises have not combined for a glorious history,” RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com writes. “This might be the first year the Jets store didn’t offer shopping bags with eye holes.”


Why do so many people feel a need to let all of us in the restaurant in on their phone conversations? Why do so many drivers think that other people feel a desire to hear their music? Have you noticed how much quieter winter is than summer?


After Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants had a record 21-pitch at-bat recently, Janie Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com noted: “Lasted longer than some celebrity marriages.”


Hough also wondered: “When’s the duet coming out with Kanye West and Shania Twain?”


Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen claimed that during Belt’s lengthy at-bat, Pittsburgh Penguins forward “Jake Guentzel scored four goals.”


If you haven’t already read it, Roy MacGregor’s latest — Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada — is well worth it. It tells the story of a number of Canada’s great waterways as only MacGregor can write it, and he is one of this country’s best. There is a lot of history packed between the covers, along with a humdinger of a warning shot about the way we have been treating some of our main sources of water.


Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express, on the soap opera that is the Toronto Maple Leafs: “If this is true, Auston Matthews better get his act together quickly. NHL analyst Nick Kypreos says Mike Babcock has ‘lost’ Matthews. The young forward better find himself quickly because Babcock isn’t going anywhere.”

Scattershooting: Kelowna favoured as 2020 MC host? . . . Broncos, Silvertips take early leads . . . Wild takes BCHL title to U.S.

Scattershooting

Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, announced Thursday that his organization, in conjunction with the city, Tourism Kelowna and KelownaRocketsProspera Place, officially is in the bidding to play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup.

The Rockets last played host to the four-team tournament in 2004, when they won it all. That season, the Rockets, under head coach Marc Habscheid, lost a seven-game Western Conference final to the Kevin Constantine-coached Everett Silvertips, who were in their first WHL season. The Silvertips then were swept from the championship final by the Medicine Hat Tigers.

What makes the Rockets’ decision to enter the 2020 fray so interesting is that it means officials from three of the five B.C. Division teams say they are preparing bids for the 2020 tournament.

Kamloops1The Kamloops Blazers announced on Nov. 9 that they will be in the chase, while the Victoria Royals also are expected to bid.

In November, I asked Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, if his organization is interested in playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup and he gave me a one-word answer: “Absolutely.”

Around the same time, Hope told the Victoria Times Colonist that “we intend to bid for the 2020 Memorial Cup.”

Victoria and Vancouver will be the host cities for the 2019 World Junior Championship, VictoriaRoyalsand Hope sees a link between a successful WJC and the 2020 Memorial Cup. You can bet that ticket sales from the WJC will be a big part of Victoria’s bid presentation.

Any one of the other 19 WHL teams has until June 1 to make an expression of interest. Those who are still interested will make their bid presentations at a board of governors’ meeting in Calgary on Oct. 3. Following the presentations, the governors will vote and a host team/city will be revealed at the conclusion of the meeting.

At this early date, I would suggest that the Rockets are the favourites, for at least three reasons. Firstly, the 2004 tournament was a fabulous show and really raised the bar for future Memorial Cups. Second, the Rockets, with super scout Lorne Frey on staff, have a history of icing competitive teams. Third, Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, carries a lot of weight at the executive level.

The Royals could upset the applecart, though, because as nice as Kelowna is in May, who wouldn’t want to spend a couple of weeks in Victoria at that time of year? They also have a recent history of being competitive, and Hope showed in January that he isn’t afraid to roll the dice at the trade deadline. It didn’t work this time, with the injury bug perhaps playing a role, but he definitely showed a willingness to pull the trigger.

Kamloops is the underdog in this three-horse race, having missed the playoffs in two of the past four seasons, and having lost out in the first round in the other two. The Blazers are rebuilding, witness their January deal with Everett in which Kamloops dealt two veterans — F Garrett Pilon and D Ondrej Vala — for two roster players in F Orrin Centazzo and D Montana Onyebuchi, two 2002-born prospects and two 2019 bantam draft picks.

By Oct. 3, however, the 2018-19 season won’t be nearly far enough along to give the voting governors a handle on the bidding teams’ expected level of competitiveness for 2019-20. That means it will be up to each team to convince the governors with a thorough scouting report.

In the end, of course, it may come down to money, meaning the team that guarantees the largest profit — and we’re talking a few million Canadian dollars here — may win the bid.

That being the case, Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner, could use some of his family money to guarantee the profit, a move that just might give Kamloops an edge.

The 2018 Memorial Cup is to be held in Regina, with the 2019 tournament in Halifax.


BTW, the Blazers revealed their 2018-19 season-ticket prices this week, with premium tickets going for $657, adult for $582, senior for $478, and youth/student for $403. The premium price is up $16 from last season, with the other three each having gone up by $15. . . . The WHL, of course, is reducing its regular-season schedule from 72 to 68 games, meaning that increase is for two fewer home games than in 2017-18.


The WHL has 22 teams. What might be the over-under for the number of teams to increase season-ticket prices?


The WHL’s conference finals began on Friday night, with the host Swift Current Broncos whlskating to a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and the Everett Silvertips getting past the visiting Tri-City Americans, also 3-2. . . . Game 2 in each series will be played in the same venue tonight. . . . When this season began, who had those four teams in the conference finals? . . . In Swift Current, G Stuart Skinner stopped 38 shots and F Aleksi Heponiemi broke a 2-2 tie at 11:11 of the third period. In 29 career playoff games, he has one goal and 27 assists. . . . Artyom Minulin didn’t finish the game for the Broncos, but head coach Manny Viveiros told Shawn Mullin, the team’s radio voice, that the third-year Russian defenceman has “a touch of the flu.” . . . In Everett, G Carter Hart stopped 24 shots and F Garrett Pilon scored twice for the Silvertips. . . . F Morgan Geekie had one of the Americans’ goals, meaning he has at least one goal in each of the club’s nine playoff games this season. Tri-City went into the game with an 8-0 record in these playoffs. . . . Everett now has won five straight games.


Please note that final is singular, so it is the Western Conference final and the other series is the Eastern Conference final. The next round will be the WHL final. OK?


The SJHL final continued Friday night, with the Nipawin Hawks beating the visiting Estevan Bruins, 3-1, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven final for the Canalta Cup. They’ll play Game 6 in Estevan on Sunday. . . . The Bruins got the game’s first goal, from F Michael McChesney at 2:24 of the first period, but weren’t able to get another one past G Declan Hobbs. D Josh McDougall pulled the Hawks even at 10:17, and F Chad McCartney got what proved to be the winner at 1:33 of the second period. D Gage Misskey also scored for Nipawin, at 19:55 of the second. . . .

In the MJHL, the Steinbach Pistons hold a 3-2 lead over the Virden Oil Capitals, who are scheduled to play host to Game 6 tonight. The Oil Capitals won the first two games in the series, only to have the Pistons roar back with three straight victories, including 4-0 in Virden on Monday and 7-1 in Steinbach on Thursday. . . . The MJHL and SJHL winners will meet for the ANAVET Cup, with a berth in the Royal Bank Cup on the line. That tournament opens in Chilliwack, B.C., on May 12. . . .

In the BCHL, the Wenatchee, Wash., Wild wrapped up its first championship on Thursday, beating the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, 3-0, to win the Fred Page Cup in front of 3,845 fans in the Toyota Town Center. The Wild is in its third season in the BCHL. Wenatchee is the first American team to win the BCHL title since the Bellingham Blazers in 1979. . . . The Wild next will face the AJHL-champion Spruce Grove Saints, starting in Wenatchee with games on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28. The winner of that series will advance to the Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack. . . . The Saints won the AJHL title on Friday, beating the host Okotoks Oilers, 3-2, to take the Inter Pipeline Cup final, 4-1.

If you’re wondering how Wenatchee and Spruce Grove will handle the travel, here’s an excerpt from an AJHL news release:

“If one team sweeps the first two games (in Wenatchee), the remainder of the series will be played in Spruce Grove. If the teams split the opening two games, Game 3 will be played in Wenatchee before the series switches to Spruce Grove for the remainder of the series.”


Assistant coach Ian Herbers’ three-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers is soon to Saskatoonexpire. He took a three-year sabbatical from the U of Alberta Golden Bears — he had been their head coach — to sign with the Oilers. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reports right here that Herbers, should his deal with the Oilers not be renewed, could be headed back to the Golden Bears. . . . Matheson also reports that Serge Lajoie, who replaced Herbers at the U of A, “has interviewed for the vacant (head-coaching) job with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, which sounds like he’s being proactive (in case) Herbers moves back to the Bears.” . . . The Blades are looking for a head coach after firing Dean Brockman at the end of the regular season.


USA Hockey announced Friday that David Quinn will be head coach of its junior team that will play in the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . . Quinn just completed his fourth season as the head coach of the Boston University Terriers. . . . Quinn’s assistant coaches with Team USA will be Mike Hastings of Minnesota State-Mankato, David Lassonde of Dartmouth and Steve Miller of Ohio State.


The Delta Hockey Academy has added a pair of former WHLers to its coaching staff. Milan Dragicevic takes over the Bantam Prep White team, while Rick Lanz will coach the U15 team. . . . Dragicevic played with the Regina Pats, New Westminster Bruins, Tri-City Americans, Spokane Chiefs and Victoria Cougars (1986-90), and later spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Americans and two (2000-02) as the Vancouver Giants’ head coach. He also spent 12 seasons as the head coach of the UBC Thunderbirds. . . . Lanz was on the Americans’ coaching staff for one season (1997-98).


If you’re young and thinking about a career as a play-by-play man, the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks may have a spot for you. They are looking for someone to handle play-by-play and to manage their social media accounts. . . . There’s more right here.


You see it before NHL games — a player seated on a bench cracks open a small packet, waves it under his nose and grimaces, and you know he’s ready. But what is that all about, and is it performance-enhancing? . . . The incomparable Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail checks it out in an entertaining read that is right here.

Scattershooting: Ex-player starts Hockey Gives Blood . . . Bruins win emotional opener . . . Holick signs with Yale

Scattershooting


Stu Middleton was playing for the junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies in 2000-01 when his father was killed in a car accident in the Rogers Pass while en route to a game. Since then, Middleton has been wanting to do something with his father’s memory in mind. Following the tragedy involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, Middleton hooked up with some former teammates and now a project is underway. It involves the Canadian Blood Services Partners for Life Program and a website — hockeygivesblood.ca. . . . If you are with a team or league, you will want to check this out and you also will want to make this a full-time part of your program. . . . Pam Cowan of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.



The SJHL issued its players-of-the-week news release on Friday. . . . If you haven’t yet read the news release, it’s right here and it is well worth your time.


When there are tragedies such as the one involving the Humboldt Broncos, major media outlets often send in long-form writers who will attempt to capture the atmosphere in the community. Sports Illustrated assigned Greg Bishop to the story. . . . The top reads: “An unthinkable tragedy struck Humboldt when a bus crash killed 16 members of the Broncos junior hockey team. As the small city recovers, it doesn’t want to be defined by the crash; it wants to be defined by how its heartbroken community responds.” . . . If you haven’t seen it, Bishop’s piece is right here.

Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail gave the assignment to Marty Klinkenberg, who writes that these days “there is no normal” in Humbolt. His piece is right here.


The Estevan Bruins opened the SJHL’s best-of-seven championship final with a 5-2 victory over the Hawks in Nipawin on Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 1,199 fans. They’ll play Game 2 tonight (Sunday) in Nipawin. . . . The Bruins put the game away with two late empty-net goals. . . . This was the first game for both teams since the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crashed en route to Nipawin for a playoff game on April 6. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was in Nipawin and filed two pieces. His game story is right here, while a piece looking at the overall scene is right here.



Meanwhile, there is quite a story being written in the AJHL where the Spruce Grove Saints have taken a 2-0 lead over the Okotoks Oilers in the best-of-seven championship final. . . . On Saturday night, the visiting Saints got an OT goal from F Chris Van Os-Shaw, who played the previous two seasons with the Humboldt Broncos, to beat the Oilers, 3-2. That was his second goal of the game. The Saints had tied the game on goal from F Josh Harris with 47 seconds left in the third period. . . . Van Os-Shaw, a 20-year-old from Regina, is ticketed for Minnesota State-Mankato next season. . . . One night earlier, Van Os-Shaw, the AJHL’s regular-season MVP, scored on a penalty shot and drew an assist on Harris’s OT winner in a 4-3 victory. . . . They’ll play Games 3 and 4 in Spruce Grove on Monday and Tuesday nights.



TheCoachingGame

Mark Holick is back in the coaching game, this time in Canada. He has been named head coach of the Yale Hockey Academy’s midget prep team and the director of the midget programs. According to a news release, Holick “will also be working with students this off-season on skill development and will be assisting with student recruitment.” . . . Holick has extensive coaching experience, including more than six seasons as a WHL head coach. . . . Most recently, he spent more than one season as the head coach of Pustertal/Val Pusteria, an Italian entry in the Alps Hockey League. . . . The Yale Hockey Academy is located in Abbotsford, B.C.


The AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys have signed Garry VanHereweghe to a two-year deal as general manager and associate coach, while removing the interim head coach tag from Joe Murphy, who also got a two-year deal. . . . The Grizzlys finished last in the South Division, at 18-37-5, this season, and head coach Adam Redmond and Doug Hergenhein, the director of player personnel and head coach left late in the season. Murphy, who had been associate coach and assistant GM, was named interim head coach at that time. . . . VanHereweghe had been the vice-president of hockey operations with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles.


The junior B Ridge Meadow Flames of the Pacific Junior Hockey League have signed Derek Bedard as their new general manager, replacing Jamie Fiset, who has joined the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Fiset, who had been with the Flames through 12 seasons, starting as the goaltending coach, will be the Hawks’ general manager. . . . The Flames also announced that Bayne Ryshak will return as head coach.


The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League need a new head coach after Ken Law’s contract wasn’t renewed. The Coyotes have been in Osoyoos for eight years, and Law had been there from the beginning. Owner Randy Bedard told Richard McGuire of the Osoyoos Times that “it’s just sometimes you know when it’s time to make a change. You get that feeling where it’s time to freshen up.” . . . Law told McGuire: “I was planning on coming back and was negotiating my contract. Randy just said that he decided to change things up. These things happen.” . . . This season, the Coyotes finished 32-11-2, with two ties, leaving them atop the Okanagan Division, nine points ahead of the Kelowna Chiefs. Osoyoos dropped the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference final in seven games to the Revelstoke Grizzlies. . . . McGuire’s story is right here.

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