Silvertips add to defence corps . . . Giants and Hitmen swap veteran forwards . . . Ice trims two from roster


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The Everett Silvertips, it’s safe to say, are all in this season. Any doubt one may have had about that was erased on Wednesday when the Silvertips acquired Russian D Artyom EverettMinulin, 20, from the Swift Current Broncos.

The Silvertips gave up D Alex Moar, 17, in the exchange, while also getting back an eight-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft.

The Silvertips had room on their roster for a 20-year-old and an import, so Minulin fills both of those spots. The import spot was available because F Peter Melcher, a freshman from Slovakian, is, as general manager Garry Davidson put it, “currently unavailable to play.” Melcher was listed on this week’s WHL roster report as being out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

Minulin has yet to play this season after having had off-season shoulder surgery. The Broncos’ roster report listed him as day-to-day.

In 206 career regular-season games, all with the Broncos, Minulin put up 126 points. Last season, he had 13 goals and 30 assists in 64 regular-season games, then added a goal and seven assists in 20 playoff games as the Broncos won the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

“Artyom Minulin is a special talent who elevates the play of his teammates,” Davidson said in a news release. “The role he’s excelled in as a high-impact defenceman played a big piece in helping Swift Current win the WHL championship last season . . .

“He carries a tremendous reputation as a defenceman with an extremely hard shot, deft touch with the puck, and acumen to excel in all three zones.”

F Sean Richards and D Sahvan Khaira, a teammate of Minulin’s for the previous two seasons with the Broncos, are Everett’s other 20s. The other import on Everett’s roster is sophomore F Martin Fasko-Rudas, a Slovakian.

Moar was pointless in four games with the Silvertips. From Prince Albert, he was a fifth-round selection by the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft.

Last season, with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, Moar had six goals and 23 assists.

The defending-champion Broncos, who have the 22-team WHL’s poorest record (1-14-1), SCBroncosstill are carrying nine defencemen. They are next scheduled to play Friday against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Silvertips (10-5-0) lead the U.S. Division, by one point over the Spokane Chiefs (8-4-3) and two on the Tri-City Americans (9-4-0). Everett entertains Tri-City on Friday, but Minulin isn’t expect to play until sometime next week, once immigration issues get sorted out.

Meanwhile, G Max Palaga, 18, who was acquired by the Silvertips from the Kamloops Blazers earlier in the week, has arrived in Everett and practised with his new team on Wednesday. He joins Dustin Wolf as healthy goaltenders on the Silvertips’ roster.


The Calgary Hitmen and Vancouver Giants got together on Wednesday and swapped a Calgarypair of disgruntled forwards.

The Hitmen acquired F James Malm, 19, and an undisclosed conditional selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft in exchange for F Tristen Nielsen, 18.

Malm, from Langley, B.C., led the Giants in goals (9) and points (15) in 13 games. He hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury in a game against the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 20. The Giants’ weekly roster report lists Malm as being out day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

On Sunday, however, Malm asked Vancouver general manager Barclay Parneta to trade him.

A fourth-round selection by the Giants in the 2014 bantam draft, he has 134 points, including 48 goals, in 179 career regular-season games.

Malm could make his Calgary debut on Friday against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

Nielsen, from Fort St. John, B.C., was selected by Calgary in the first round of the 2015 Vancouverbantam draft. He was in third season with the Hitmen when he chose to leave the team and ask for a trade.

This season, he was pointless in five games; he didn’t play in seven games after asking to be moved. Last season, he put up 19 goals and 16 assists in 49 games in a season that was partially derailed by a wrist injury. In 2016-17, as a freshman, he had three goals and four assists in seven games.

Nielsen arrived in Ladner, B.C., on Wednesday afternoon and is to practise with his new team today.

Nielsen is expected to be in Vancouver’s lineup on Saturday when they meet the Kamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has speculated that the Giants, under new head coach Michael Dyck, are playing a more structured game, one that Malm felt didn’t suit his game. . . . Ewen has more right here on this trade.


The Kootenay Ice apparently has released two veteran players. According to the WHL’s Kootenaynewweekly roster report, D Sam Huston and F Brendan Semchuk no longer are with the team, and both have been dropped from the team’s official roster. . . . Huston, 19, is from Brandon. He was in his third season with the Ice, and had scored once in 12 games. In two previous seasons, he totalled three goals and 13 assists in 107 games. The Ice selected him in the ninth round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft. . . . Semchuk, from Kamloops, was the 10th overall selection by the Vancouver Giants in the 2014 bantam draft. They later dealt him to Edmonton and the Ice acquired him from the Oil Kings on Sept 27, giving up a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Semchuk, 19, had two goals and three assists in 14 games with the Ice. In 159 career regular-regular-season games, he has 23 goals and 30 assists. . . . Huston last played on Friday, while Semchuk is shown on the scoresheet as having played Tuesday night against the Broncos in Swift Current. Interstingly, that game will have been played well after the weekly roster report was posted on the WHL’s website.


Patti Dawn Swanson covered WHL teams in Winnipeg for the Tribune back in the day, and now blogs at pattitherivercityrenegade.wordpress.com.

On Thursday, she offered up these thoughts on a possible move by the Kootenay Ice to Winnipeg . . .

I have fond memories of riding the iron lung with Gerry Brisson, Muzz MacPherson and the Winnipeg Clubs/Monarchs in the 1970s, so the prospect of the Western Hockey League returning to Good Ol’ Hometown is intriguing.

I’m skeptical about it working, though.

If you missed it, Mike Sawatzky reported in the Winnipeg Free Press that the Kootenay Ice are having a rough go of it in Cranbrook, B.C. Average attendance is 2,307, lowest in the WHL, and the town’s mayor, Lee Pratt, told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman this: “With the fan support they are getting right now it’s not a viable operation.”

The Green Bay Committee held a town hall meeting in support of the Ice (on Oct. 24), and they’ll gather again tomorrow night (Thursday) in the hope they can corral 500-600 new season-ticket subscribers to save the franchise. Failing that, team owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell might be inclined to pull up stakes and head east.

That begs questions, though. To wit:

Would they be better off in River City?
Would a WHL franchise operating out of the University of Manitoba attract 2,000 or more customers?
If an average head count of 2,307 can’t work in Cranbrook, how can it possibly work in Winnipeg?
Would the arrival of a WHL outfit strike the death knell for Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League?

Remove the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and I’d say Fettes and Cockell might have a chance in Good Ol’ Hometown. As it is, I don’t see it happening. But I hope I’m wrong.


David Michaud, who has been a familiar face in B.C. arenas for a number of years, has been named president of Keycorp Sports and Entertainment Ltd., the owners of lacrosse’s legendary Victoria Shamrocks. . . . According to a news release, Michaud will be “responsible for growing the division of the Keycorp group of companies by working with new and existing sports teams, entertainment venues, concert promoters, and more to bring professional-level promotion, ticketing, and event-day production to Victoria, and across British Columbia. He also will be working with the Victoria Shamrocks to continue the excellence in promotion and entertainment that the club has provided in the Greater Victoria area for the last 70 years.” . . . Prior to this move, Michaud spent three years with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees as director of corporate partnerships. He also was the team’s alternate governor. He also has worked with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and with the major midget Okanagan Rockets. . . . Michaud won’t be too far removed from the BCHL in his new position. The Shamrocks play out of the Q Centre in Colwood, which has a capacity of 2,780 and also is home to the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies.


The Fort Sask Chiefs, a senior AAA men’s hockey team that played out of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., has folded, at least for the remainder of this season. . . . According to a team-issued news release: “Various factors led to the tough decision that it would no longer be sustainable for our organization to continue to operate this year. With that being said, we are hopeful our hockey club be back playing senior again in the coming years.” . . . The Chiefs were 0-6-1 and in last place in the five-team Allan Cup Hockey West. Their demise leaves the league with teams in Rosetown, Sask., and the Alberta communities of Stony Plain, Lacombe and Innisfail.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


Stephen Peat was as tough as they come during a four-season career in the WHL (Red Deer, Tri-City Calgary, 1996-2000), and he maintained that reputation in a pro career that included 130 NHL games. Now he’s living in his truck or couch surfing with friends on the Lower Mainland of B.C. Jeremy Allingham of CBC News has more right here.


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Who’s favoured as 2020 Memorial Cup host? . . . Tigers add d-men . . . Giants get Ettinger from Wheat Kings


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The WHL’s board of governors will gather in Calgary on Wednesday and one of the things on the agenda will be to hear bids from three teams/cities wanting to play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup.

The Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes will make their presentations in that order.

Each team will be allotted 15 minutes — five to show a video and 10 for a presentation — after which governors will have 15 minutes to ask questions.

Some thoughts as Taking Note sees it . . .

KELOWNA — The Rockets last played host to the four-team tournament in 2004 and they KelownaRocketsput on a tremendous show, icing the cake by winning the whole thing. . . . Who wouldn’t want to spend 10 days in May in Kelowna? . . . Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors. He is the most-powerful person in the WHL and don’t discount that as a factor. . . . Including standing room, Prospera Place, which opened in 1999, has room for 6,286 fans. . . . The Rockets are off to a slow start (1-4-0) but history shows that they are more likely to be a contender than a pretender come next season. . . . Odds: 1-1.

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LETHBRIDGE — Lethbridge has never been home to the Memorial Cup tournament. . . . LethbridgeThe Hurricanes, under general manager Peter Anholt and Terry Huisman, the general manager of business operations, have made a remarkable turnaround. After the 2014-15 season, the Hurricanes had missed the playoffs for six straight seasons and lost more than $1.25 million. Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was urging shareholders to sell the franchise to private interests. Today, the Hurricanes have reached two straight Eastern Conference finals and shown more than $1 million in profits over those two seasons. . . . On the ice, the future looks bright, led by forwards Dylan Cozens and Logan Barlage, two of the WHL’s best young players. . . . The ENMAX Centre, which opened in 1974 but has undergone recent upgrades, has a capacity of 5,479. . . . Odds: 2-1.

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KAMLOOPS — The Blazers played host to the 1995 tournament, which they won, giving Kamloops1them three Memorial Cup titles in four years. The 2020 tournament will be the 25th anniversary of the third one. . . . Tom Gaglardi and Co. are into their 11th season as the franchise’s owners and have yet to show they can build a winner. That won’t help their cause with the BoG. Neither will the ham-handed fashion in which the retirement/dismissal of Don Hay was handled in May. . . . The Blazers’ new braintrust — headed up by GM Matt Bardsley and head coach Serge Lajoie — hasn’t had time to prove itself. . . . Kamloops, the Tournament Capital of Canada, has a wonderful history of playing host to events like the Brier, the Canada Games and the IIHF World Women’s Championship, something that should hold the bid in good stead. . . . The Sandman Centre had 5,464 seats before some were removed in order to put loge seating in the upper deck on one side. That new seating, in itself, will be an attraction. Unfortunately, the Sandman Centre doesn’t include an on-site restaurant like Prospera Place and the ENMAX Centre. . . . Odds: 5-1.

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THE INTANGIBLE — At the end of the day, money talks . . . and that could be the case MemCup2020again on Wednesday in Calgary. When the WHL’s board of governors votes on a host team/city for the 2020 Memorial Cup, it could easily decide to go with the bid that includes the highest guaranteed profit — teams all get a cut of the profit. If it comes to that, Kamloops may have an edge because the Gaglardi family has more chips than the Kelowna or Lethbridge owners. . . . Earlier this year, Canadian Business estimated the net worth of the Gaglardi family, through Northland Properties, at $3.92 billion, up 10.4 per cent from 2017. . . . Tom Gaglardi owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars and is the majority owner of the Blazers. Might he be interested in attempting to buy the hosting rights for the 2020 Memorial Cup?


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added two 20-year-olds to their roster after learning Tigers Logo OfficialMonday that they will be getting back defencemen Dylan MacPherson and Linus Nassen. Both players had been in camp with the NHL’s Florida Panthers before being assigned to the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds. . . . MacPherson, from Redcliff, Alta., has played two seasons with the Tigers, putting up four goals and 18 assists in 124 regular-season games. . . . Nassen, from Sweden, was a third-round pick by the Panthers in the NHL’s 2016 draft. Last season, his first in the WHL, had had one goal and 25 assists in 44 games. . . . With those two in town, the Tigers have four 20-year-olds on their roster, the other two being F Ryan Jevne and D Dalton Gally. . . . As an import, Nassen would be a two-spotter should the Tigers keep him. His arrival won’t affect the Tigers’ import situation as freshmen G Mads Sogaard is their only other European player.


The Vancouver Giants, having lost D Bailey Dhaliwal to a shoulder injury and D Matt VancouverBarberis and D Joel Sexsmith to undisclosed injuries, have acquired D Ty Ettinger from the Brandon Wheat Kings for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that Dhaliwal, 19, who has a history of shoulder problems, could be out for six weeks. . . . Ettinger, 18, is from Ardrossan, Alta. He was dropped from Brandon’s roster late last week. The Wheat Kings selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . Last season, as a freshman, he had two goals and five assists in 45 games with Brandon. This season, he was pointless in one game. . . . As Ewen tweeted: “You’d think the Giants would have good intel on Ettinger, since scouting director Daryl Anning is the father of Wheat Kings head coach David Anning.” . . . Ettinger skated with the Giants on Monday afternoon and could make his debut with Vancouver on Wednesday against the Rockets in Kelowna.


With F Brad Goethals, 20, having left the Saskatoon Blades of his own accord, the club has room for a 20-year-old to join F Max Gerlach and D Dawson Davidson. . . . Goethals’ departure also leaves the Blades with 13 forwards, when they might prefer to carry 14. . . . Goethals was a prolific scorer during two seasons with the midget AAA Eastman Selects (129 points, including 73 goals, in 83 games), but wasn’t able to replicate that in the WHL. He had three goals and three assists in 23 games with the Everett Silvertips in 2016-17, and followed that up with 15 goals and 17 assists in 69 games with the Blades last season. . . . This season, he had one goal in three games with Saskatoon.


Stan Butler wasn’t behind the bench when the North Bay Battalion dropped a 7-5 OHL ohldecision to the host Oshawa Generals on Sunday night. According to the North Bay Nugget, Butler, the Battalion’s director of hockey operations and head coach since 1998-99, said before the game that he plans to take time “to try to get some things sorted out.” Butler, 62, apparently met with Oshawa’s club doctor before deciding not to go behind the bench on Sunday. . . . Butler was behind the bench on Saturday night for a 6-1 loss to the Niagara IceDogs in St. Catharines. . . . In Butler’s absence, assistant coaches Scott Wray and Adam Dennis ran the bench. . . . Butler is the fourth-winningest head coaching OHL history, his 703 victories trailing Brian Kilrea (1,194), Bert Templeton (907) and Dale Hunter (728). . . . Butler spent one season (1996-97) in the WHL, as the head coach of the Prince George Cougars.



MONDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders have dropped F Nikita Krivokrasov, who will turn 18 on Dec. 23, from their roster. From Westminster, Colo., he is the son of former NHLer Sergei Krivokrasov. . . . Nikita was pointless in two games with the Raiders in 2016-17, and had three goals in 34 games last season. . . . He didn’t dress for any of the Raiders’ first five games the season.

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The Regina Pats are down to two goaltenders after dropping Matthew Pesenti, 17, from their roster. He is expected to return for a third season with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Pats now are left with two 18-year-old goaltenders — returnee Max Paddock and Dean McNabb, who was acquired from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 24. . . . Paddock has started all four games as the Pats have started 0-4-0. McNabb has gotten into one game since joining Regina.

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A pair of WHLers drew three-game suspensions on Monday. . . . F Tristen Nielsen of the Calgary Hitmen was suspended after taking a boarding major and game misconduct during a game against the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Sunday. . . . F Cade McNelly was disciplined after becoming involved in what the WHL refers to as a “one-man fight” during a Saturday night game against the Winterhawks in Portland.

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Hey, Lane Lambert and Ross Mahoney . . . I can see you smiling all the way from Kamloops. Congratulations!

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The Calgary Flames revealed Monday that D Juusu Valimaki, 19, will open the NHL season on their roster. Valimaki, from Finland, will turn 20 on Oct. 6. The Flames selected him in the first round, 16th overall, of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Valimaki played the past three seasons with the Tri-City Americans. Last season, he had 14 goals and 31 assists in 43 games. In 159 career regular-season games, he recorded 40 goals and 98 assists. . . . The Flames also have F Dillon Dube, 20, on their roster. Dube, from Golden, B.C., was a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft. He spent the past four seasons with the Kelowna Rockets, putting up 232 points, including 101 goals, in 203 regular-season games. Last season, he finished with 38 goals and 46 assists in 43 games. . . .

George Johnson of calgaryflames.com has more right here.


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and add to the Taking Note coffee fund.


If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players, such as this one from Sunday night:


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Rockets deal for 20-year-old from Royals . . . Oil Kings win again . . . Brandon’s Burzan fills the net


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The Kelowna Rockets have acquired F Lane Zablocki, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 27, from the Victoria Royals. In exchange, the Royals got a conditional seventh-round selection in KelownaRocketsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. . . . The Royals’ news release indicated that both draft picks were conditional; the Rockets’ news release didn’t use the word ‘conditional.’ . . . The Royals got Zablocki from the Lethbridge Hurricanes at last season’s trade deadline, giving up a second-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, a conditional third-rounder in 2019 and a sixth-rounder in 2018. . . . He recorded one goal and five assists in 25 regular-season games with the Royals, then added two goals and an assist in 10 playoff games. . . . Zablocki also has played with the Regina Pats and Red Deer Rebels. In 201 regular-season games, he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Zablocki, from Wetaskiwin, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the 2013 bantam draft. The Detroit Red Wings selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . .

The Rockets were down to one 20-year-old for two weekend games in Prince George. They have been carrying two, but F Ryan Bowen was ill and didn’t play on the weekend. That left D Braydyn Chizen as the team’s lone 20-year-old. . . .

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, said that Zablocki isn’t expected to play “for another two weeks” as he recovers from an undisclosed injury. “He is just arriving back home to Regina from Detroit’s training camp where he was all summer,” Hamilton added, “and he will report to us on Monday.”

The Royals, meanwhile, have settled on F Dante Hannoun, D Ralph Jarratt and G Griffen Outhouse as their three 20s.

The Rockets snapped their season-opening four-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George on Saturday night. Kelowna went into this game having lost 12 straight — four playoff games, four exhibition games and the first four games of this regular season.


Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Friday night that D Bailey Dhaliwal had one arm in a sling after injuring a shoulder during a 3-1 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. Dhaliwal, 19, left the game in the first period. . . . He has a history of shoulder woes. He was limited to six games last season because of surgery. In 2016-17, he was able to play in only 29 games. . . . “We’re going to see where he’s at . . . but obviously I’m concerned,” Michael Dyck, the Giants’ head coach, told Ewen. “Anytime that shoulder is injured there’s a concern.” . . . Ewen has more on the Giants’ situation right here.


G Carl Stankowski is back in action after sitting out all of last season. You’ll recall that Stankowski, as a 16-year-old, was the story of the 2016-17 playoffs as he backstopped the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Ed Chynoweth Cup. But he didn’t play at all last season due to injury and illness. Now he’s back and playing with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Todd Saelhof of Postmedia has more right here.


SATURDAY NIGHT STUFF:

The Washington Capitals have signed F Riley Sutter of the Everett Silvertips to a three-year entry-level NHL deal. He is to turn 19 on Oct. 25. Sutter, who is back with the Silvertips, was a third-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2018 draft. His father, Ron, played 19 seasons in the NHL. . . . Last night, Sutter scored twice and added an assist to lead the visiting Silvertips to a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Each team scored twice via the PP. . . .

D Igor Merezhko of the Lethbridge Hurricanes was given a two-game suspension after he got tossed from Friday’s 8-4 victory over the Pats in Regina. Merezhko didn’t play in Lethbridge’s 8-4 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon and won’t play Friday against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Wheat Kings got four goals and an assist from F Luka Burzan as they built up a 7-0 second-period lead; he later added an empty-netter for a five-goal night, the first in the WHL this season. . . .

F Riley McKay scored in the 10th round of a shootout to give the host Saskatoon Blades a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Blades are 3-0-0 for the first time since 2011-12. Danish G Mads Søgaard, who stands 6-foot-7, made his first WHL start for the Tigers by stopping 39 shots. . . . The Blades had F Josh Paterson back in the lineup after he missed two games last weekend after taking a high hit from D Parker Gavlas of the visiting Regina Pats in an exhibition game on Sept. 13. When Paterson sat out the first game, it ended a streak of 145 straight regular-season games played. Gavlas was hit with a six-game suspension for the hit. . . . Paterson had two assists and was chosen the game’s first star. . . .

D Jared Freadrich, playing in his 200th regular-season game, had a goal and three assists as the Portland Winterhawks scored three PP goals and won their home-opener, 4-2, over the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Winterhawks got three assists from F Cody Glass, with linemate  Joachim Blichfeld getting a goal and two assists. . . . The Winterhawks next play on Wednesday (and Friday) when they visit the Blazers in Kamloops. This will be the return of Portland assistant coach Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history who spent the previous four seasons with the Blazers. . . .

F Parker Kelly scored the game’s last two goals as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders erased a 5-2 deficit late in the third period and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-5. Moose Jaw D Brandon Schuldaus completed a three-game suspension left over from last season. He was suspended after taking a match penalty in a playoff game against Swift Current on April 16. . . . F Brayden Tracey, the 21st overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft, scored his first two WHL goals for the Warriors. Tracey, 17, is from Calgary. He had two assists in five games last season. This season, he had been pointless in two games. . . .

The host Victoria Royals erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits, the latter in the second period, en route to a 6-3 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. The Royals had beaten the Blazers, 3-2, on Friday night. Victoria G Griffen Outhouse stopped 71 of 76 shots (.934) in the two victories. . . . Kamloops scratched sophomore F Connor Zary (ill) last night. . . . The Royals went 4-0-0 on a season-opening four-game homestand. . . .

The Swift Current Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, avoided a third straight shutout as they slipped to 0-4-0 by losing 5-2 to the Rebels in Red Deer. The Broncos have been outscored, 20-3. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs won their home-opener, getting two goals and an assist from Riley Woods in a 6-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. One night earlier, the Chiefs came out of Cranbrook with a 7-4 victory over the Ice. . . . D Ty Smith had one assist and was plus-3 in his first game with the Chiefs since returning from the camp of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils with a three-year entry-level deal in his hip pocket. . . .

The visiting Edmonton Oil Kings skated to a 6-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen, improving to 5-0-0 in the process. This is the first time in the franchise’s modern history, starting in 2007-08, that the Oil Kings have opened with five straight victories. . . . The Hitmen, who were 6-0-0 in the exhibition season, are 0-3-0. . . . This was the first meeting between these teams this season. During the offseason, the Oil Kings fired head coach Steve Hamilton and the Hitmen hired him.


If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players.


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Hey, WHL, how about filling us in on trade rules? . . . Kichton, Leslie head for school . . . Royals sign Danish skater


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F Oscar Möller (Chilliwack, 2006-08) signed a four-year contract extension with Skellefteå (Sweden, SHL). Möller has one year left on his current contract; the extension begins next season and runs through the 2022-23 season. Last season, he had 18 goals and 24 assists in 49 games.


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Here’s part of what I wrote here on July 24:

“Taking Note has been told that the WHL has acted in an attempt to put a halt to the number of young players who get traded within the league.

“The move is a reaction to the number of deals that were made in the period leading up to last season’s Jan. 10 trade deadline. . . .

“Taking Note has been told that the league has decided that its teams won’t be allowed to trade any 15- or 16-year-old players who have signed WHL contracts. On top of that, the only time the trading of a 17-year-old player will be allowed is if that player has requested a trade.

“The 17-year-old player will have had to approach the team’s general manager to ask for a trade; a team won’t be able to make the first move, asking said player to waive his no-trade clause. Taking Note was told that the WHL will approach a 17-year-old player’s parents to make sure the procedure was followed.”

That entire piece is right here.

It is most unfortunate that the WHL has such an uncomfortable relationship with transparency. It really would be nice if the league would let parents, players, fans, observers and anyone else who might be interested in on the particulars.

You will recall that the Edmonton Oil Kings and Swift Current Broncos made a deal this week that involved four players and three draft picks. After the deal was announced, there was speculation on social media as to which players had signed and which players hadn’t, and also wondering about the presence of no-trade clauses.

As one observer wrote in an email after that deal was made: “So the rules appear to be in effect. Nice of the league to publicize everything so we all know how things work.”

It also would be nice if the league and its teams worked a bit harder to keep the fans informed on the movement of players in the offseason.

What would be so wrong with someone revealing at some point that G Brodan Salmond, 20, no longer was with the Kelowna Rockets? Why should fans have to wait until training camp rosters start to appear before finding out these things?

Another note from an email to Taking Note:

“Brodan Salmond shows up on Moose Jaw’s camp roster and that’s the first anyone is aware that Kelowna released him. You waive your No. 1 goalie from the previous season over the summer and that’s not worthy of a press release? Or even a TWEET? Your fans get to find out he’s gone when another team shows him on their roster?

“What a (poor) PR job this league (and some of its teams in particular) does. Why do they continue to believe fans don’t care about anything other than the games themselves?”

That’s a good question.



It would seem that D Marcus Kichton, 19, won’t be back with the Vancouver Giants.

When his name didn’t appear on the Giants’ training camp roster, a fan asked Steve VancouverEwen of Postmedia via Twitter: “Do you know if he’s been released?”

Minutes later, Ewen responded: “Being told Marcus Kichton is going to school.”

Kichton, from Spruce Grove, Alta., was a second-round selection by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. The Giants acquired him, D Tyler Brown and a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft from the Warriors on Jan. 8, 2016, for D Josh Thrower and a fifth-rounder in 2017.

Kichton played two seasons with the Giants — 47 games in 2016-17 and 34 last season. He totalled one goal and three assists in 81 games.


D Jantzen Leslie is heading to school, rather than return to the WHL for his 19-year-old season. Leslie, who has played with the Everett Silvertips, Saskatoon Blades and Edmonton Oil Kings, will attend Red Deer College and play for the Kings. . . . A native of Lloydminster, Alta., he was a first-round selection by the Everett Silvertips in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . In 102 regular-season WHL games, he had one goal and five assists.


The Victoria Royals have signed F Phillip Schultz, 18, who was a selection in the 2018 VictoriaRoyalsCHL import draft. Schultz, from Rodovre, Denmark, played last season with the Rodovre Mighty Bulls of Denmark’s top pro league. He had five goals and seven assists in 40 games. He added nine goals and eight assists in 10 games with Rodovre SIK, which plays in the second tier. . . . The Royals finished last season with F Igor Martynov of Belarus and and Russian F Andrei Grishakov as their imports. Both are eligible to play this season as 19-year-olds; however, the Royals chose to bring back only Martynov, who had 18 goals and 25 assists in 63 games as a freshman last season.


If you haven’t heard, the Portland Winterhawks have a new assistant coach. Yes, it’s true. PortlandDon Hay, who was rather unceremoniously squeezed out by the Kamloops Blazers’ ownership group in May, already was in Portland on Monday when the team announced that he was joining the staff of Mike Johnston, who is vice-president, general manager and head coach. . . . Hay, of course, has more regular-season and playoff victories than any head coach in WHL history. He also has been part of four Memorial Cup championships — three as a head coach and one as an assistant. . . . “I was pretty excited when I got the phone call to see if I was interested,” Hay told Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune. “I’m really excited about (coaching) with Mike.” . . . Danzer’s story is right here.


F Ryan Bowen, 20, is in camp with the Kelowna Rockets, but his brother, Ethan, 16, isn’t. . KelownaRockets. . The Rockets acquired Ryan from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in January, but he chose to finish the season with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, who won the RBC Cup in May as the host team for the national junior A championship tournament. He and D Braydyn Chizen, who is preparing for his fourth season in Kelowna, are the only two 20s on the Rockets’ camp roster. . . . Ethan, who was a second-round selection by the Rockets in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, won’t be joining the Rockets, at least not right now. He will play for Chilliwack and protect his NCAA eligibility. . . . Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier has that story right here.



If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23, you are able to do so right here.


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Hurricanes captain back on ice . . . Three teams sign import picks . . . Schaefer back in coaching game


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F Curtis Hamilton (Saskatoon, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he was pointless in five games Tappara Tampere (Finland, Liiga), and had three goals and five assists in 16 games with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga).


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Slightly more than a month after F Jordy Bellerive of the Lethbridge Hurricanes was in hospital with burns, he has returned to the ice. Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that Bellerive, the Hurricanes’ captain, skated at Canlan Ice Sports in North Vancouver this week. . . . Ewen’s story is right here.


The Swift Current Broncos added two players to their roster on Thursday, as they SCBroncosclaimed D Ryan Pouliot, 20, off waivers from the Kootenay Ice and signed Finnish F Joona Kiviniemi. . . . Pouliot is preparing for his fourth WHL season, after playing with the Ice (135 games) and Red Deer Rebels (14 games). Last season, he had two goals and eight assists in 64 games with the Ice. . . . In 169 career games, he had three goals and 27 assists. . . . Kiviniemi, who will turn 17 on Dec. 17, played most of last season with Karpat’s U-18 team in the Jr. B SM-Sarja. He had one goal and two assists in 12 games.


The Kamloops Blazers have signed their two selections from the CHL’s 2018 import draft Kamloops1— Czech F Martin Lang, who will turn 17 on Sept. 15, and D Joonas Sillanpää, 17. . . . Lang had 32 goals and 22 assists in 35 games with HC Plzen’s U-18 team last season. He is expected to play Czech Republic at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. . . . The 6-foot-5 Sillanpää had two goals and six assists in 43 games split between HIFK’s U-18 and U-20 teams. . . . Last season, the Blazers’ imports were Czech D Ondrej Vala, who was traded to the Everett Silvertips in January, and Swiss F Justin Sigrist, who won’t be back for a second season.


The Kootenay Ice has signed D Valtteri Kakkonen of Finland, who was its only selection in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. Last season, Kakkonen, 18, had five goals and seven assists in 47 games with JYP’s U-20 team that played in the Jr. A SM-Liiga.


Peter Schaefer, the WHL’s player of the year for 1996-97 while with the Brandon Wheat Kings, has returned to the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as an assistant coach. . . . Schaefer, 41, was the Eagles’ general manager and head coach in 2013-14. This time, he will work alongside head coach Brandon West and assistant coach Linden Saip.


F Branden Klatt won’t be returning to the WHL for his 20-year-old season. He has cleared WHL waivers and chosen to sign with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . Klatt, who is from Moose Jaw, was a sixth-round pick by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . In 184 regular-season WHL games, 85 of them with Edmonton and 99 with the Moose Jaw Warriors, he had 15 goals and 30 assists. . . . Last season, with the Warriors, he had seven goals and eight assists in 69 games.


Nathan Oystrick is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He reported to work on Wednesday and Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix spent some time with him. . . . That piece is right here.


The Texas-based USA-Central Hockey League, which bills itself as a “non-tuition” junior A league, announced Thursday that Tory Mick is its first president. . . . Mick is a former WHL coach and player, who spent the past five seasons in the front office of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. . . . Kevin Mitchell of Black Press has more right here.


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Giants soon to add assistant coach? . . . Blades’ announcement today . . . Hockey world mourns death of long-time scout


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Steve Ewen of Postmedia is reporting that that much-speculated about signing of Jamie Heward is soon to happen. . . . “The Vancouver Giants,” Ewen writes,“will announce the hiring of former NHL defenceman Jamie Heward as their assistant coach in the coming days, according to sources.” . . . Heward, a former WHL and NHL defenceman, is a native of Regina. He has been the director of player development and an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos for six seasons. . . . Ewen’s story is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades are expected to announce today (Monday) that they have added Brian Leavold to their scouting staff. Leavold, who lives in Port Coquitlam, B.C., had been a B.C. scout with the Swift Current Broncos. With the Broncos going through numerous front-office changes, Leavold and other scouts chose to leave the organization. . . . In Saskatoon, Leavold will be working with Dan Tencer, the Blades’ director of scouting.



The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder is looking for an assistant coach following the resignation of Derek Wiest. Instead of working on the coaching staff, Wiest will be the Thunder’s head scout for southern Alberta. The switch is effective Aug. 1. . . . In making the change, Wiest cited family and work considerations. He and his wife are expecting their third child, and he recently landed a full-time job close to home. . . . Eric Thurston is the Thunder’s general manager and head coach, and said the search for a replacement has started.


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Veteran coach to join Raiders? . . . Leavold lands new scouting job . . . Votto: Eight-plus seasons, seven pop ups!


Scattershooting

The Prince Albert Raiders need to replace associate coach Dave Manson, who left to sign on as an assistant coach with the the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. . . . Taking Note has been told that spot with the Raiders may go to long-time coach Jeff Truitt. It makes sense because Truitt, who spent the past five-plus seasons with the Red Deer Rebels, and Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid have a history together. Truitt was an assistant coach in Kelowna during Habscheid’s time as the Rockets’ head coach. After four season’s as an assistant there, Truitt took over as head coach when Habscheid left after the 2003-04 season.



It’s Friday night and Sportsnet, coming off a Toronto Blue Jays telecast, has Sports Central showing on four channels. At 8 p.m. Pacific, it is to switch to a game between the Houston Astros and Mike Trout’s Los Angeles Angels. Finally, at 8:12 p.m., the switch is made. It’s the top of the fourth inning and Houston holds a 3-0 lead. . . . Here’s the deal Sportsnet. When you start showing viewers the respect they deserve and stop joining these games in progress, I’ll return to watching you again. See ya!


It’s Saturday night, and I just assumed Sportsnet would join the Houston Astros and host Seattle Mariners at 8 p.m. Pacific. So I watched the end of the game between the visiting St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. Turns out that Sportsnet started the game in Seattle on time. Oh well, maybe next time. Sheesh, who knew this could be so confusing?



Taking Note has been told that veteran WHL scout Brian Leavold now is working with the Saskatoon Blades. Leovold was one of those who left Swift Current as the Broncos went through a regime change.


I stumbled on this Twitter thread on Saturday morning. For the purposes of this tweet, a pop up is a flyball that lands or is caught within 140 feet of home plate. This, then, is amazing. . . . BTW, it seems that Joey Votto has yet to hit a pop up to a catcher, pitcher or first baseman. Seriously!


With so many Major League Baseball players in swing mode, why do pitchers throw fastballs in the strike zone? Why not one slider after another? Hey, just asking.



“Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander and model wife Kate Upton are expecting their first child,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “In lieu of Johnson’s baby powder, they plan to use a rosin bag.”


One more from Perry: “The minor-league Savannah Bananas’ rained-out game against the rival Macon Bacon — in which Bananas players will wear kilts — has been rescheduled for Wednesday, July 25. But why stop there? Kilt the umpire!”


Perry has a hat trick: “Canada will legalize marijuana nationwide on Oct. 17, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced. “Coming soon to an NHL trophy case near you: the Lady Bong Trophy.”


MLB commissioner Rob Manfred appeared on PTI early in the week and made the comment that Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout could raise his profile by putting himself out there more. To which Janice Hough — she’s over there at LeftCoastSportsBabe.com — commented: “What about if ESPN and Fox showed other teams beside the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs?” . . . Hey, hard to argue with her.


“Alabama coach Nick Saban isn’t sure whether Jalen Hurts or title-game hero Tua Tagovailoa will be his starting QB,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Note to Saban: Love Hurts.”


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