Ice acquires Savoie, the elder. . . . WHL firms up a pair of indefinite suspensions. . . . Minor illness keeps Byram off ice


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F Travis Ewanyk (Edmonton, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL). This season, he had two goals and five assists in 40 games. . . .

G Ville Kolppanen (Lethbridge, 2009-10) has signed a one-year-plus-option year contract with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Rögle Ängelholm (Sweden, SEL), he was 6-10-1, 2.30, .916 in 18 games as the backup to Just Pogge (Prince George, Calgary, 2003-06). . . .

F Richard Mueller (Brandon, Saskatoon, Calgary, 1998-2003) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). An alternate captain this season he had 26 goals and 25 assists in 52 games. He led the Huskies in goals, assists and points. Next season will be his 16th in Germany. . . .

D Jonathan Harty (Everett, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had five goals and 13 assists in 52 games.


The Winnipeg Ice has acquired the WHL rights to F Carter Savoie, who turned 17 on Jan. 23, from the Regina Pats in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and wpgiceconditional second- and third-round picks — the year or years undisclosed.

Those conditional picks will depend on if/when Savoie should sign with the Ice.

This has led to speculation that the Ice will select F Matt Savoie, Carter’s younger brother, with the first pick of the 2019 draft when it is held in Red Deer on May 2. The Ice also holds the ninth selection in the first round.

The Savoie brothers are from St. Albert, Alta., and both have committed to the U of Denver, Carter for the 2020-21 season and Matt, who turned 15 on Jan. 1, for 2021-22.

The Pats selected Carter in the ninth round of the 2017 bantam draft. He is playing with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders, having put up 31 goals and 42 assists in 58 regular-season games. The Crusaders are alive in the playoffs, and he has two goals and eight assists in 10 games.

Matt played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, scoring 31 goals and adding 40 assists in 31 games. In five playoff games, he had three goals and nine assists.

The Savoie family applied to Hockey Canada during the season in the hopes of gaining exceptional status for Matt, something that would allow him to spend 2019-20 on a WHL roster. Under present rules, a 15-year-old player is limited to five games — except under emergency conditions — while his club team’s season is alive. Although there has yet to be an official announcement from Hockey Canada, there have been reports that the family’s request has been denied.


Matt Cockell, the president and general manager of the Winnipeg Ice — formerly the KootenaynewKootenay Ice — did a question-and-answer session with the Winnipeg Sun’s Ted Wyman the other day. . . . Patti Dawn Swansson, who blogs as The River City Renegade, spent a goodly number of years covering junior and pro hockey in Winnipeg so is quite familiar with the puck scene in the Manitoba capital. She responded to one of Cockell’s answers at her blog.

At one point, Cockell told Wyman: “At the end of the day, the passion for hockey is really what’s exciting about Winnipeg. When you look across Canada, there really isn’t another city that embraces hockey the way Winnipeg does. We really believe it’s the hockey capital of Canada.”

To which, Swansson wrote: “Whoa boy. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Good Ol’ Hometown has already let one NHL franchise get away (no, it wasn’t Gary Bettman’s fault) and two Western Hockey League outfits. Pegtown is the ‘hockey capital of Canada’ like Pierre’s boy Justin is a man of all the people. And that’s coming from someone born and raised in River City, someone who recalls seeing a lot of empty seats in the old barn on Maroons Road. Yes, I realize that Cockell is going to say all the right things in order to sell his freshly minted WHL franchise to the rabble, but I’m not sure that faux flattery is the way to go about it. Peggers are hockey wise, they aren’t rubes.”

Wyman’s complete 21 questions with Cockell is right here.

If you are/were an Ice fan, who lives in the Cranbrook area, you shouldn’t read this. It might be bad for your health, especially the part where Cockell responds to a question about “what do you say to the hockey fans of Cranbrook?”

Cockell’s response: “We’ve had a lot of dialogue with them. I lived there right through to our last game. What our message has been in dialogue is that everybody did everything they possibly could, including the business community in Cranbrook, the fans in that community and our ownership group. We did everything we could to see if there was a sustainable opportunity there. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to get there, but at the end of the day we made a decision and we tried to be as honest as we could. It’s hard and yet, we need to focus now on what we’re doing moving forward and that’s really exciting.”

Some of that will be news to the Green Bay Committee, won’t it?


Chances are that F Logan Barlage of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will miss a game or two when the 2019-20 season opens, thanks to the slashing major and game misconduct that he was hit with as Tuesday’s game with the visiting Calgary Hitmen came to a close. . . . Barlage slashed Calgary F Carson Focht, who scored twice in Calgary’s 4-2 victory in Game 7 of the first-round series. . . . If you watch the video in the tweet below, you also will see the Lethbridge right winger break the stick of the Calgary left winger with a slash.


F Parker AuCoin, who played out his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans this season, has signed on with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. This season, he had 42 goals and 42 assists in 68 games with the Americans. . . . In 262 regular-season WHL games over four seasons, he has 88 goals and 92 assists. . . . From St. Albert, Alta., he was the 15th-overall pick in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft.


Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, will be an assistant coach with the Canadian team that will compete in the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden, April 18 through 28. . . . Brett Gibson, the head coach at Queen’s U for 13 seasons, will be the U18 team’s head coach. . . . The other assistant coach will be Serge Aubin, who most recently was the head coach of the ZSC Lions in Switzerland’s NL A. . . . Adam Brown of the Kelowna Rockets will be the U18 team’s goaltending consultant.


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NOTES: The Victoria Royals will be without F Kody McDonald for the first four games of their second-round series with the Vancouver Giants. McDonald had been under an indefinite suspension after being hit with a match penalty for a stick-swinging incident during Game 4 of their first-round series against the Blazers in Kamloops on March 27. The WHL announced Wednesday that the suspension has been set at six games. He has four games remaining on it. . . .

The WHL also announced that the indefinite suspension to F Sean Richards of the Seattle Thunderbirds has been set at eight games. He took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver F Aidan Barfoot in Game 4 of their first-round series on March 27. Richards, 20, missed the last two games of the series, so has six games remaining. He doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining. According to the WHL, Richards “will be required to serve the remaining six games of his suspension during the 2019-20 season should he continue his playing career.” . . .

Barfoot hasn’t played since being hit by Richards and isn’t expected back for the early part of the Giants’ second-round series. They open against the Victoria Royals with games in Langley, B.C., on Friday and Saturday. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Wednesday that Vancouver D Bowen Byram didn’t skate for a second straight day. “GM Barclay Parneta says it is minor illness” and that Byram is expected to practice today and play Friday. . . . Giants F Yannik Valenti also didn’t skate Wednesday. . . .

Sportsnet will televise the first three games of the second-round series between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades. . . . Games 1 and 2 are set for Friday (7 p.m. CST) and Sunday in Prince Albert (6 p.m. CST), with Game 3 in Saskatoon on Tuesday (7 p.m. CST). . . .

The Spokane Chiefs have added D Luke Gallagher, 18, to their roster as an AP. Gallagher, 18, had two assists in 22 games with the Chiefs earlier in the season. From Mead, Wash., he joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters in January, and recorded seven assists in 15 regular-season games and one in 12 playoff games.

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Hamilton: No plans “right now” to sell Rockets. . . . Hitmen take out Hurricanes. . . . Calgary, Edmonton to open on Saturday


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F Peter Lorentzen (Tri-City, 2001-03) has retired. This season, with the Stavanger Oilers (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had two goals and seven assists in 31 games. He announced on Feb. 27 that he would retire at the end of this season. . . . Stavanger lost Game 6 of a best-of-seven semifinal to Storhamar, 3-1, on Monday night. . . .

F Jaroslav Vlach (Prince George, 2009-11) has signed a three-year plus option year extension with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec, he had seven goals and seven assists in 43 games. He also had four goals and five assists in six games while on loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga).


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The rumours have been strong enough that Bruce Hamilton felt a need to issue a public denial.

Hamilton is the majority owner, president and general manager of the WHL’s Kelowna KelownaRocketsRockets, the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

For the last while there have been rumours circulating throughout the hockey community that the Rockets either are for sale, or that Hamilton will guide the organization through the 2020 Memorial Cup and then sell the franchise.

On Tuesday, he told Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice, that the Rockets aren’t for sale.

“To purchase this thing (franchise) won’t be a small operation, put it that way. It will have to be something big,” Hamilton said. “Someday it will happen, but I have no plans right now to do that. I am enjoying what I am doing. . . .

“It would be news to me if it was sold. I have the most shares, so I don’t think it is going to be sold under my watch right now anyway. I think it is too bad that there is a group of people, I will call ‘agents,’ that phone around and ask questions and then spread rumours which is unfortunate.”

Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, made the point that he still is enjoying his hockey life.

“If my passion wasn’t here, we wouldn’t have bid for the Memorial Cup,” Hamilton said.


If you were following along on Monday night, you will be aware that the WHL playoff game between the visiting Victoria Royals and the Kamloops Blazers was delayed twice Kamloops1due to broken panes of glass.

That glass was due to be replaced anyway, and it all will be gone before another season gets here.

A couple of years ago, the WHL established new standards for boards and glass, and Kamloops’ city council has agreed to fund the necessary changes. Hockey Canada also has been pushing for improvements.

Following Monday’s game, Jeff Putnam, Kamloops’ parks and civic facilities manager, tweeted: “And before next season there will be a brand new board and glass system that is equivalent to NHL standards as well as other facility improvements. The new glass will be ‘acrylic’ which is almost impossible to shatter and much easier to handle for our crew.”

It is believed that the replacement cost will be around $1 million.


The Tri-City Americans have signed G Mason Dunsford to a WHL contract. Dunsford, a 15-year-old from New Westminster, B.C., was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . He played this season with the Elite 15 team at the Burnaby Winter Club, and helped his club with the CSSHL championship. . . . He was 2.60, .911 in 23 regular-season games, then went 2.25, .931 in four playoff appearances.


The ECHL’s Fort Wayne Comets have added G Jiri Patera of the Brandon Wheat Kings and D Dalton Hamaliuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors to their roster. . . . Patera, who turned 20 on Feb. 24, was a sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft. This season, Patera, who is from Praha, Czech Republic, was 22-20-2, 3.31, .906 with the Wheat Kings. . . . Hamaliuk played out his junior eligibility with Moose Jaw, putting of four goals and 19 assists in 66 games this season.


F Noah Philp of the Seattle Thunderbirds has joined the AHL’s Stockton Heat on an ATO. Philp, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 26 goals and 49 assists in 56 games with Seattle this season.


D Dylan MacPherson of the Medicine Hat Tigers has signed an ATO with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds. MacPherson, who played out his junior eligibility this season, spent three seasons with the Tigers. This season, he had two goals and 10 assists in 62 games.


In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup qmjhltournament, beat the visiting Quebec Remparts, 3-1, on Tuesday night in Game 7 of a first-round series. . . . The Remparts went into Game 6 in Halifax on Monday with a 3-2 lead in the series. The Mooseheads tied the series with a 6-1 victory. . . . The Mooseheads (49-15-4) had finished first in the Eastern Conference; the Remparts (27-28-13) were eighth. . . . Next up for the Mooseheads will be the Moncton Wildcats, who beat the Baie-Comeau Drakkars, 3-2, in Game 7 last night.


A former WHL linesman worked his final NHL game on Tuesday night . . .


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NOTES: The only first-round WHL playoff series to go to Game 7 was decided Tuesday night in Lethbridge’s Nicholas Sheran Arena as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . The Hitmen will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. That series will open with games in Edmonton on Saturday and Sunday. . . . The Oil Kings (42-18-8) finished atop the Central Division; the Hitmen (36-26-6) were third. . . . Edmonton was 7-0-1 in the season series; Calgary was 1-6-1. . . . They have met four times since the trade deadline, with Edmonton winning all four — 3-2, 5-1, 6-1 and 3-1. . . . Among the story lines: Steve Hamilton, in his first season as Calgary’s head coach, spent the previous eight seasons with the Oil Kings, the last four as head coach. . . .

There aren’t any WHL playoff games scheduled until Friday night when two series are to open. . . . The Saskatoon Blades will face the Raiders in Prince Albert, while the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants will open in Langley, B.C. . . . The other second-round series will open Saturday night with the Spokane Chiefs visiting the Everett Silvertips. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia — that’s him hard at work in the above tweet — filed a neat story about the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday. It involves head coach Michael Dyck and associate coach Jamie Heward and how they helped unload the team bus in Kent, Wash., the other night, a move that allowed their players to get a bit more rest. . . . That story is right here. . . . Ewen also reported that Giants F Justin Sourdif was in a regular sweater for Tuesday’s practice. Sourdif missed the last five games of the Giants’ six-game first-round victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Vancouver will open the second round in Langley, B.C., against the Victoria Royals on Friday night. . . .

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The visiting Calgary Hitmen scored three first-period goals, two of them by F Carson CalgaryFocht, en route to a 4-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Calgary won the series, 4-3. It was the only one of the eight first-round series to go the distance. . . . The Hitmen will move on to play the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. That series is to open in Edmonton on Saturday. . . . Focht (3) got the Hitmen on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 3:30. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (1) made it 2-0 at 15:23. . . . Focht (4) upped it to 3-0 at 16:19. . . . The Hurricanes cut into the deficit at 2:49 of the second period as F Zachary Cox (2) scored, then got to within a goal at 12:52 on a goal from D Alex Cotton (1). . . . Calgary wasn’t able to put it away until F Mark Kastelic (5) scored an empty-netter at 19:41 of the third period. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots for the Hitmen, two more than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . Lethbridge F Logan Barlage was given a slashing major and game misconduct after he hacked Focht off a game-ending faceoff. Should Barlage be suspended, he will serve it at the beginning of the 2019-20 regular season. . . .

The Hurricanes won the first two games of the series — 3-2 and 4-1 (OT) — in the Enmax Centre, before announced crowds of 3,566 and 3,788. . . . With the world men’s curling championship then taking over that arena, the Hurricanes were forced to move to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorn women’s and men’s hockey teams. The Hitmen won Game 5 there, 6-5, before 1,200 fans, and clinched the series last night in front of 1,151 fans.


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Cutler, Royals boot Blazers from playoffs. . . . Game slowed by two broken panes of glass. . . . Hitmen, Hurricanes to play Game 7 tonight


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D Jesse Dudas (Lethbridge, Prince George, Swift Current, Regina, 2003-09) has signed a two-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with MAC Újbuda Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga), he had 11 goals and 28 assists in 51 games. He was an alternate captain. . . .

D Nick Walters (Everett, Brandon, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL). This season, he had one goal and seven assists in 48 games.


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F Nolan Yaremko, who played out his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans, has signed an ATO with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. Yaremko, from Spirit River, Alta., had 67 goals and 92 assists in 278 games over four regular seasons with the Americans. . . . This season, the Americans’ captain had 28 goals and 38 assists in 68 games.


D Jett Woo of the Moose Jaw Warriors has joined the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. They selected Woo in the second round of the NHL’s 2018 draft and have signed him to a contract. . . . This season, he had 12 goals and 54 assists in 62 games.


The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup, staved off elimination on Monday night as they beat the visiting Quebec Remparts, 6-1. . . . The first-round series is tied, 3-3, with Game 7 set for tonight in Halifax. . . . The Mooseheads (49-15-4) finished atop the Eastern Conference; the Remparts (27-28-13) wound up eighth.


Scott Barney has signed a three-year contract as the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He began this season as an assistant coach with the Broncos, then was named interim head coach when the organization and Nathan Oystrick parted company.


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NOTES: The Calgary Hitmen will be in Lethbridge tonight for Game 7 of their first-round series with the Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge forced a final game with a 7-6 OT victory in Calgary on Sunday. . . . With the world men’s curling championship in the Enmax Centre, tonight’s game will be played in the Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s hockey teams. . . . The Hitmen won Game 5, 6-5, in that building on Friday night. . . .

In Monday’s only playoff game, the visiting Victoria Royals beat the Kamloops Blazers, 4-1, to win the series, 4-2. . . . The Royals, who finished second in the B.C. Division, will meet the Vancouver Giants, who wound up on top of the Western Conference, in the second round. That series will open with games in Langley, B.C., on Friday and Saturday. . . . In the regular season, the Giants were 6-2-2 in the season series; the Royals were 4-4-2. . . . Last season, the Royals took out the Giants in seven games in a first-round series. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that F Justin Sourdif was on the ice wearing a non-contact sweater on Monday as the Vancouver Giants practised. Sourdif hasn’t played since being injured in Game 1 of Vancouver’s six-game victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Vancouver F Aidan Barfoot, who also was injured against Seattle, is doubtful for the weekend.

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MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Victoria Royals scored three second-period goals en route to a 4-1 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Royals won the series, 4-2, and will open the second-VictoriaRoyalsround against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . The burning question going into Game 6 was: Who will start in goal for the Blazers? Veteran Dylan Ferguson, 20, had started Game 5 in Victoria on Saturday, but it was Dylan Garand who finished what was a 6-3 Royals victory. . . . When Game 6 began, Garand, a 16-year-old freshman, was in goal. . . . There was a sellout crowd (5,876) on hand for this one, but, as things turned out, they didn’t get many reasons to cheer. . . .

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FIRST PERIOD: After the Blazers opened in a rush and carried much of the play, everything came screeching to a halt. . . . There was a 25-minute delay at 4:14 of the first period as a pane of glass shattered just inside the Victoria blue line on the penalty box side of the ice. Victoria F Logan Doust hit Kamloops F Connor Zary and the heel of Doust’s stick appeared to strike the glass, at which point it crumbled like yesterday’s toast. . . . Victoria got the game’s first goal at 12:05 by forcing a turnover high in the Kamloops zone. That allowed F Brandon Cutler (2) to gain some room and he was able to snap a quick shot past Kamloops G Dylan Garand. At that point, the Blazers held a 6-3 edge in shots. . . . The Blazers’ best chance came a few seconds later as F Zane Franklin came free on the left side, but Victoria G Griffen Outhouse got across and made a great save with his right pad. . . . Kamloops finished with an 11-3 edge in shots. . . . The Blazers were 0-2 on the PP, getting three shots on back-to-back opportunities. . . . Victoria was 0-1.

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SECOND PERIOD: The Royals scored on their second shot of the period to go up 2-0 as Cutler (3) got his stick on a point shot by D Jake Kustra and tipped it through Garand’s legs at 5:57. The Royals were on their second PP of the game at the time with Kamloops D Sean Strange off with one of those dreaded delay-of-game (puck over glass) penalties. . . . At that point, Kamloops had outshot Victoria, 14-5. . . .

Believe it or not, the second period featured a 20-minute delay as another pane of glass exploded after Victoria F Sean Gulka and Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen came together just above the hash marks in the Victoria zone on the penalty box side of the ice. Strangely enough, they didn’t even hit the pane that shattered, but rather one beside it. This one fell apart at 10:43. . . .

Franklin was whistled for cross-checking at 13:11 — he was behind Victoria’s net while the puck on its way out of the zone — and the Royals scored on the PP, as D Ralph Jarratt (1) beat Garand with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. . . . Kamloops was leading on the shot clock, 16-7, at that point. . . .

Victoria was awarded a penalty shot at 18:10 after F Tarun Fizur picked Kamloops D Luke Zazula’s pocket at the Royals’ blue line and headed in alone, only to be hooked from behind by F Kobe Mohr. Garand came up with a glove save and you know that the fans were hoping that would give the Blazers a lift. . . .

However, Victoria F Dino Kambeitz hit F Carson Miller (4) with a centring pass and he jammed the puck through Garand for a 4-0 lead with 12.3 seconds remaining. Kambeitz had passed the puck through Kamloops D Quinn Schmiemann and, after the goal, looked back at the home team’s player and said something. Schmiemann went right at Kambeitz behind the Blazers net and was hit with a roughing minor. . . . That put Victoria on the PP to open the third period.

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THIRD PERIOD: The Blazers began the period with Ferguson in goal. He took over from Garand, who was beaten four times on 13 shots. . . . Outhouse denied Kamloops F Connor Zary on two point-blank opportunities, one on a quick shot from the slot, at 4:50, and the other on a backhand, at 5:40. . . . The Blazers finally got on the scoreboard at 14:18 as F Orrin Centazzo (1), the trailer, took a pass from Mohr and whipped it past Outhouse. . . . For a moment the fans could see a glimmer of light. . . . But Mohr took a boarding penalty at 14:57 and F Josh Pillar went off for slashing at 15:45 and the Kamloops dream was over. . . . The Royals were 2-7 on the PP; the Blazers were 0-2. . . . Outhouse finished with 34 saves. . . . Ferguson stopped all 10 shots he faced. . . .

JUST NOTES: After the handshakes, and with almost all the players off the ice, all four on-ice officials skated over and shook hands with Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen, who played his final WHL game. Loewen is one of the great stories in WHL history; if you aren’t familiar with it, Google is a wonderful friend. . . . As good as Outhouse played in the series, D Scott Walford was the Royals’ series MVP in my eyes. He is their maestro back there, and he ran the show through six games with various defencemen moving in and out of the lineup every game. . . . 

Victoria D Jameson Murray left the ice gingerly at 11:10 of the second period. He played a couple of shifts before the period’s end, but wasn’t on the Royals’ bench for the third period. . . . The Royals had D Matthew Smith back after he missed Games 4 and 5. . . . Jarratt played in his 43rd career playoff game with Victoria, two shy of the franchise record that is held by F Tyler Soy (2012-18). . . .

The Royals were without F Tanner Sidaway, who was suspended for one game for a hit on Zary at 11:48 of the third period in Game 5. Zary wasn’t injured on the play. Sidaway was given a minor penalty for charging. Sidaway had a goal and two assists in the first five games of the series. . . . Victoria also is without F Kody McDonald, who was hit with an indefinite suspension for a stick-swinging incident in Game 4. As well, F Kaid Oliver (shoulder) is out for the remainder of the season.


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WHL’s Dept. of Discipline busy place. . . . Raiders, Blades complete sweeps. . . . Things get nasty in Blazers’ victory


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Things heated up on the WHL playoff front on Wednesday as the Department of Discipline suspended two players under supplemental discipline.

When the Victoria Royals and host Kamloops Blazers met in Game 4 of their series last whlnight, each team was missing one player after a hit in Game 3. Victoria won the game, 3-2, to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

F Brodi Stuart of the Blazers was suspended for one game after the Royals requested supplemental discipline for his unpenalized hit on D Matt Smith at 14:45 of the second period. Smith, who was back in the lineup after missing 10 games with an undisclosed injury, didn’t return and was scratched from Game 4.

At the time of the check, it was evident that the Royals felt the hit involved a high elbow. At the Victoria bench, head coach Dan Price could be seen indicating to referee Sean Raphael that an elbow was involved and that the referee should “watch the replay.”

The Blazers, of course, felt otherwise.

This was the second time this season that the Royals asked for supplemental discipline. In the first instance, the Blazers also were involved after D Jeff Faith hit Royals D Remy Aquilon during a game in Victoria on Jan. 9. The league reviewed it, found it to be a headshot, and suspended Faith for five games. Aquilon missed 11 games, not returning until Feb. 5.

F Kobe Mohr of the Blazers was suspended for two games after Game 1 of this series for slashing a linesman following a faceoff. Mohr was quoted as saying that the Royals had filed for supplemental discipline in that instance, too, but that turned out not to be true. The league handled that situation on its own.

Cam Hope, who is in his seventh season as the Royals’  general manager, told Taking Note on Wednesday afternoon that other than the two requests for supplemental this season, he “can’t even recall the last time we made a request. Maybe one other in the last five years?”

As Hope put it: “With big hitters like Tyler Stahl and Ryan Gagnon (in our lineup), most of my calls with the league have been from the other side.”

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Meanwhile, the WHL’s Dept. of Discipline had to deal with another review after the Vancouver Giants requested supplemental discipline following an incident in Game 3 of their series with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The Giants won that game, 6-4, in Kent, Wash., to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Seattle D Cade McNelly came out of it with a two-game suspension “under supplemental discipline and repeat offender,” according to the WHL.

Observers seemed to be at a loss for what McNelly might have done, although Steve Ewen of Postmedia indicated via Twitter that the Seattle player “did have some sort of exchange with (Vancouver defenceman) Bowen Byram from the penalty box.”

This is the fourth time this season that McNelly has been suspended.

McNelly was suspended for four games after taking a headshot major and game misconduct during a game against the Silvertips in Everett on Feb. 22. He also was hit with a three-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in a game against the Winterhawks in Portland on Dec. 31. There also was a three-game suspension for a one-man fight in a game at Portland on Sept. 29.

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Following Wednesday night’s playoff games, the Department of Discipline will have a couple of situations to deal with before Friday evening.

The Seattle Thunderbirds likely will be subjected to more discipline before Friday’s Game 5 against the Vancouver Giants after F Sean Richards took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 4:16 of the first period for a hit on F Aidan Barfoot.

Seattle won Game 4, 4-3, in Kent, Wash., to tie the series, 2-2. They’ll play Game 5 in Langley, B.C., on Friday.

The Thunderbirds acquired Richards, 20, from the Everett Silvertips in January. He already has been suspended five times in his WHL career, including twice this season, each time for an infraction against Seattle. He got eight games for a boarding major and game misconduct on Dec. 8, and five games for a headshot major and game misconduct on Oct. 5.

Meanwhile, F Kody McDonald of the Victoria Royals almost certainly will be suspended after being hit with a match penalty for attempt to injure

McDonald had been given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor at 5:34 of the third period. As he skated to the penalty box, he was most unhappy and kept showing the officials that he was bleeding from the mouth area.

The Royals killed the penalty but, at 7:58, McDonald, while on the Victoria bench, swung his stick at the head of F Zane Franklin while the Kamloops player was on his bench. McDonald was given the match penalty, while Franklin was handed an unsportsmanlike minor.

The Blazers scored on the ensuing 4-on-4 situation and then added a PP goal to snap a 3-3 tie. They ended up with a 5-3 victory to tie the series, 2-2.

McDonald was last suspended during the 2017-18 season while with the Prince George Cougars. He got three games for being involved in a one-man fight in a game against host Vancouver. The Cougars later traded him to the Prince Albert Raiders. The Royals acquired him in a deal with the Raiders on Jan. 3.


The Seattle Thunderbirds welcomed back D Jake Lee for Game 4 of their series with the Vancouver Giants last night. He served a two-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct with six seconds left Vancouver’s 7-1 victory in Game 1. That was for a hit on Vancouver F Justin Sourdif, who has yet to return to action.

Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck isn’t at all please with the two-game suspension or Lee’s return.

“I played with Brad Hornung. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it,” Dyck told Steve Ewen of Postmedia. “It was the same type of play. The only thing that saved Justin Sourdif was the net. It’s a terrible play. He (Lee) is a young guy. But somebody has to teach him. All two games is … I don’t know.

“It’s one of the worst plays in hockey. It had nothing to do with making a play. It’s emotion. I understand that. But you have to learn.”

Dyck was a defenceman with the Regina Pats on March 1, 1987, when Hornung, a teammate, was hit from behind and left a quadriplegic.

Ewen’s complete story is right here.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: There were seven games again last night, with only two scheduled for tonight. . . . The Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans, who played last night after sitting out Tuesday, will play Game 4 in Kennewick, Wash., tonight, while the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Hitmen will do the same in Calgary. . . . Everett leads its series, 2-1, while Lethbridge also is ahead, 2-1. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades both completed season sweeps last night. The Raiders ousted the Red Deer Rebels, while the Blades were taking care of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The second round will feature, yes, Saskatoon against Prince Albert. It will be the first time since 2011 that these teams have met in the playoffs. That spring, the Blades won a first-round series in six games. That was Saskatoon’s last series victory prior to ousting Moose Jaw last night. . . . The Raiders and Blades are expected to open in Prince Albert on April 5 and 6, then return to Saskatoon for games on April 9 and 10.

——

WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Leason returned from a one-game suspension to score twice and lead the Prince PrinceAlbertAlbert Raiders to a 4-1 victory over the host Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders won the series, 4-0, giving the organization its first series sweep and series victory since the spring of 2005. That year, the Raiders swept the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round series, then beat the Medicine Hat Tigers in six, before losing in seven to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference final. . . . The Rebels were swept for the first time since losing to the Blades in 2010. . . . Last night, F Jeff de Wit gave the Rebels their first lead of the series when he scored with 9.7 seconds in the first period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (3) tied it at 9:08 of the second period and Leason (1) gave his guys the lead 58 seconds into the third period. . . . Leason (2) added a PP goal at 11:27, and F Cole Fonstad (1), who also had two assists, got the empty-netter at 16:26. . . . F Brandon Hagel drew an assist on Red Deer’s goal, meaning he was in on six of the seven goals the Rebels scored in the four games. . . . Prince Albert was 1-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . The Raiders got 21 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . G Ethan Anders topped 31 shots for Red Deer.


F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen scored at 4:36 of OT to give the Saskatoon Blades a 4-3 Saskatoonvictory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Saskatoon won the series, 4-0. . . . This was the first time the Blazers have swept a series since the spring of 2010 when they took out the Red Deer Rebels. . . . F Max Gerlach (5) put the Blades on top at 7:37 of the first period. . . . The Warriors took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Luke Ormsby (1), at 18:03, and D Matthew Benson (1), at 2:06 of the second period. . . . F Tristen Robins (1) tied it at 9:40. . . . The Blades took a 3-2 lead when F Kirby Dach (3) scored, shorthanded, at 15:35 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw forced OT when F Tristin Langan (1) scored, shorthanded, at 17:43. . . . Roykas Marthinsen won it with his first playoff goal. A freshman from Norway, he had 13 goals and 16 assists in 62 regular-season games. . . . Gerlach has goals in seven straight games. . . . Saskatoon was 0-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . The Blades got 23 stops from G Nolan Maier, while Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff blocked 44 shots. . . . F Yegor Buyalski was among the Warriors’ scratches. According to a tweet from Marc Smith (@MarcSmith18), Buyalski was out “after taking a high hit” in Game 3.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s last five goals, two of them by F Vince EdmontonOilKingsLoschiavo, to beat the host Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-1. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 scheduled to be played in Edmonton on Friday night. Game 6 is in Medicine on Sunday. . . . F Ryan Jevne (1) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:34 of the first period. . . . Edmonton F Quinn Benjafield (2) tied it, on a PP, at 15:32, and F Andrew Fyten (1) put the visitors out front at 16:45. . . . Loschiavo (2) upped the lead to 3-1 at 17:28. . . . Loschiavo (3), who also had an assist, added his second goal at 7:31 of the third period, and D Matthew Robertson (1) closed it out at 11:19. . . . Edmonton was 2-5 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-5. . . . The Oil Kings held a 36-15 edge in shots, including 14-5 in the first period and 13-5 in the third. . . . Edmonton got 14 saves from G Todd Scott, while Medicine Hat’s Mads Søgaard turned aside 31 shots. . . . The Oil Kings had F Dylan Guenther, the first overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, make his playoff debut. He played eight games with them during the regular season, scoring three times and adding an assist. In 28 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, he had 32 goals and 26 assists.


F Parker AuCoin’s OT goal gave the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Everett tri-citySilvertips in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Everett leads the series, 2-1. They’ll play Game 4 tonight in Kennewick, with Game 5 in Everett on Saturday. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (3) gave Everett a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:35 of the first period. He has scored in each game of this series and in five straight overall. . . . D Samuel Stewart (1) got Tri-City even, on a PP, at 16:54 of the second period. . . . Everett went back out front at 19:51 as F Bryce Kindopp (1) scored, on a PP. . . . Tri-City F Nolan Yaremko (3) forced OT when he scored at 2:16 of the third period. . . . AuCoin’s first goal of the playoffs won it, on a PP, at 7:52 of extra time. . . . Tri-City was 2-3 on the PP; Everett was 2-5. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 39 shots for the Americans, 11 more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . The Silvertips had F Connor Dewar back in their lineup after he missed Game 2. . . . D Marc Lajoie made his debut with the Americans. From Sherwood Park, Alta., he was the 14th-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. He also is the son of Kamloops Blazers head coach Serge Lajoie. This season, in 35 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, Marc had 11 goals and 24 assists.


The Seattle Thunderbirds, losing 3-0 early in the second period, scored four times and Seattlebeat the Vancouver Giants, 4-3, in Kent, Wash. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 scheduled for Friday night in Langley, B.C. They’ll be back in Kent for Game 6 on Saturday. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (3) got Vancouver into a 1-0 lead at 10:33 of the first period, and F Brayden Watts (2) made it 2-0 at 17:00. . . . The Giants took a 3-0 lead when F Davis Koch (1) scored at 2:19 of the second period. . . . Seattle F Keltie Jeri-Leon (1) started the comeback, on a PP, at 5:18 of the second period. . . . The Thunderbirds won it with third-period goals from F Noah Philp (1), at 7:11; F Andrej Kukuca (3), on a PP, at 11:13; and F Matthew Wedman (2), at 15:46. . . . Seattle was 2-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . The Thunderbirds got 26 saves from G Roddy Ross. . . . Giants G David Tendeck stopped 30 shots. . . . Seattle F Sean Richards took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver F Aidan Barefoot at 4:16 of the first period. . . . Seattle D Jake Lee returned after serving a two-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in Game 1. F Justin Sourdif, who absorbed that hit, has yet to return to action.


F Adam Beckman scored a PP goal in OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the SpokaneChiefsWinterhawks in Portland. . . . The Chiefs hold a 3-1 lead in the series with Game 5 set for Saturday night in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead when D Ty Smith (1) scored 31 seconds into the first period. . . . Portland came back with the next three goals — from D Brendan De Jong (1), at 9:51; F Josh Paterson (3), at 18:30; and Paterson (4), again, at 7:46 of the second period. . . . Spokane got third-period goals from F Luke Toporowski (2), at 3:25, and F Eli Zummack (1), at 19:00. . . . Beckman (3) won it at 4:39 of OT. . . . Spokane was 1-3 on the PP. The Winterhawks didn’t get even one PP opportunity. . . . G Bailey Brkin earned the victory with 35 saves, two more than Portland’s Joel Hofer. . . . Spokane, which had the No. 1 PP in the regular season, is 5-for-9 with the man advantage in this series. . . . No, F Cody Glass (knee) wasn’t in Portland’s lineup.


The Kamloops Blazers broke a 3-3 tie with three third-period goals to beat the visiting Kamloops1Victoria Royals, 6-3, in a game that was highly emotional with a whole lot of nastiness. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game Game 5 in Victoria on Saturday night. . . . They’ll return to Kamloops for Game 6 on Monday night. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (3) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead with a 45-footer at 6:52 of the first period. . . . Two goals from F Dino Kambeitz gave the Royals a 2-1 lead. The first one came shorthanded when two Blazers bumped a bit as they chased a soft dump-in and G Dylan Ferguson fell down as he left the crease to chase the puck. F Tarun Fizer got their first and slid the puck to Kambeitz for the two-foot tap-in at 10:37. . . . At 13:48, the Royals, on the PP, were able to take advantage of a poor Kamloops change to get another Kambeitz goal, his fourth of the series. . . . The Blazers tied it with 20.5 seconds left in the period, as F Connor Zary (2) scored off a rebound from a blocked shot on a 4-on-3 PP. . . . F Zane Franklin (1) gave the Blazers a 3-2 lead at 8:11 of the second period, only to have Victoria tie it on a bad-angle goal by F Igor Martynov (1) at 15:09. . . . The game turned early in the third period as Victoria F Kody McDonald was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct at 5:34. The Royals killed the penalty, only to have McDonald take a match penalty for attempt to injure at 7:58. Franklin was given an unsportsmanlike minor on the play. . . . At 8:19, with the teams playing 4-on-4, Zary gave the Blazers a 4-3 lead with his third goal in two games. . . . Kamloops D Luke Zazula (1), who also had two assists, added a PP goal at 10:52, and F Martin Lang (1) iced it, with another PP goal, at 15:11. . . . Kamloops was 3-6 on the PP; Victoria was 1-6. . . . The Blazers got 15 stops from G Dylan Ferguson, while G Griffen Outhouse blocked 41 shots for the Royals. . . . Kamloops held a 17-5 edge in shots in the first period and 20-2 in the third. . . . Blazers F Kobe Mohr returned after serving a two-game suspension.


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Three organ donor games this weekend . . . Giants’ Byram won’t face discipline . . . Hitmen make four roster moves


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There are still 12 WHL teams yet to hold their second annual Organ Donation Awareness games.

Actually, the official name of the promotion — deep breath — is RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.

All 17 of the WHL’s Canadian teams play host to one game a night to raise money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

There are three of these games scheduled for this weekend, with the Regina Pats and Vancouver Giants playing host to their games on Friday and the Brandon Wheat Kings holding their game on Saturday.

Teams wear Don Cherry-themed uniforms, with the sweaters available via auction at some point.

Games still to come:

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants.

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings.

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos.

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice.

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals.

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen.

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars.

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.


According to a tweet from Steve Ewen of Postmedia, the Vancouver Giants “have been Vancouvertold by the WHL that D Bowen Byram won’t receive an additional suspension for his checking-to-the-head major on Sunday.” . . . Byram was hit with the major and game misconduct at 13:48 of the third period for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner. . . . The Giants won the game, 4-1, to clinch a playoff spot for a second straight season. . . . The Giants also lost F Brayden Watts with an undisclosed injury in that game. Ewen reports that Watts already has been ruled out for a game on Friday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs.


The Calgary Hitmen have made four roster moves, adding F Orca Wiesblatt and D CalgaryAndrew Viggars to their roster, while returning D Tyson Galloway and F Sean Tschigerl to their club teams. . . . Wiesblatt, 18, is from Calgary. He has six goals and nine assists in 16 games with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has earned one assist in six earlier games with Calgary this season. Last season, Wiesblatt had five goals and eight assist in 49 games with the Hitmen. . . . Viggars, 19, also is from Calgary. This season, he had one goal and nine assists in 40 games with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. He played with the Hitmen last season, earning five assists in 39 games. . . . Galloway, from Kamloops, was a second-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. He is on his way back to the Kamloops-based major midget Thompson Blazers after getting into three games with the Hitmen. . . . Tschigerl was the fourth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Whitecourt, Alta., he has gone back to the OHA Edmonton prep team. This season, he has played in six games with the Hitmen.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Brendan Williamson, 16, to a WHL contract. SeattleWilliamson, from Abbotsford, B.C., visited Seattle over the weekend and the signing was announced Monday morning. . . . The Thunderbirds acquired Williamson’s rights in a Jan. 1 deal in which they also got F Sean Richards, a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, a third-rounder in 2021 and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2022 from the Everett Silvertips for F Zack Andrusiak. . . . This season, Williamson has 12 goals and 28 assists in 29 games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.


If you like what you read here, and even if you don’t, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.


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Giants add veteran Legien . . . More roster moves for Ice . . . Broncos want Moar, Moar, Moar! . . . Pachal’s return keys Raiders’ 32nd victory


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Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Thursday that the Vancouver Giants have added F VancouverJared Legien, 20, to their roster. He had been playing with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . With D Matt Barberis out since Nov. 18 with an undisclosed injury, the Giants have been utilizing two 20s — F Davis Koch and F Jared Dmytriw. Should Barberis return at some date, they would have to make a decision and get back down to three. . . . Legien, from Pilot Butte, Sask., was selected by the Kootenay Ice with the ninth overall pick of the 2013 bantam draft. . . . In 84 games over three seasons (2014-17) with the Ice, he had four goals and five assists. Last season, he played 36 games with the Victoria Royals (13-20–33) and 25 with the Regina Pats (10-7—17). . . . This season, Legien had 28 goals and 24 assists in 32 games with the Terriers. . . . Legien is expected to be in Vancouver’s lineup tonight when they meet the Rebels in Red Deer.


According to a report out of Cranbrook, D Jonathon Smart, 19, didn’t return to the Ice Kootenaynewfrom the Christmas break. . . . Jeff Bromley (@JeffBromley1), a former newspaper reporter who covered the Ice for 15 years and a long-time season-ticket holder, tweeted that Smart left for “personal and hockey reasons.” . . . Smart, who is from Kelowna, had three goals and eight assists in 36 games this season. . . . The Kelowna Rockets selected him in the first round of the 2014 bantam draft. In 216 regular-season WHL games — 68 with Kelowna, 64 with the Regina Pats and 84 with the Ice — he had 14 goals and 66 assists. . . . Smart is at least the fourth veteran WHLer to leave the Ice this season, following D Sam Huston, F Nick Bowman and F Brendan Semchuk. As well, F Jack Cowell refused to report after being acquired from the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Ice also has traded away four veterans — forwards Brett Davis, Cam Hausinger, Kaeden Taphorn and Keenan Taphorn — since the start of the season. . . .

The Ice has added F Owen Pederson, 16, to its roster for the remainder of this season. He was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . This season, Pederson, who is from Stony Plain, Alta., had 11 goals and 19 assists in 18 games with the Edmonton-OHA prep team. He also got into eight earlier games with the Ice, scoring twice. . . .

The Ice also has brought in D Carson Lambos, a 15-year-old from Winnipeg who plays for the Rink Hockey Academy’s prep team. Lambos, the second overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, was pointless in one earlier game with Kootenay. . . .

The Ice is scheduled to visit the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added G Garin Bjorklund, 16, to their roster. From Calgary, Bjorklund will back up Jordan Hollett with Mads Sogaard playing for Denmark at the World Junior Championship. . . . Bjorklund is in his second season with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. He was a first-round pick by the Tigers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


I knew that I likely would miss someone when I listed players with WHL ties who are at the WJC. Sure enough. Thanks to Catherine Nielsen for pointing out that Slovakian F Milos Fafrak was a freshman with the Spokane Chiefs last season — he had nine goals and 10 assists in 66 games — before returning home to play with the two national U-20 sides.


In their first 32 games, the Portland Winterhawks met the Tri-City Americans once; the tri-cityAmericans won 6-5 in a shootout at home on Sept, 28. . . . Those two teams closed out the pre-Christmas schedule with back-to-back games — the host Americans won 3-2 in OT on Dec. 15, then won 4-3 in OT in Portland the next evening. So when those teams resume their schedules tonight it only makes sense that they should meet again. Right? . . . Yes, they’ll clash in Portland. . . . It’s also worth noting that the Americans will have faced the Winterhawks in three straight games with ace F Cody Glass out of the lineup. Glass, of course, is with Team Canada at the WJC. . . .

When this regular season is over, it will be interesting to look back and see how much of SpokaneChiefsan impact the Kootenay Ice will have had on the outcome of the U.S. Division race. Yes, the Everett Silvertips (27-7-2) are well on their way to the division title, what with a 14-point lead over Portland and the Spokane Chiefs, both of whom are 19-11-4. . . . The Winterhawks were scheduled to meet the Ice (8-22-6) once this season — Portland beat the visiting Ice, 10-2, on Dec. 2. . . . The Chiefs, meanwhile, will face the Ice on five occasions. Spokane won 7-4 in Cranbrook on Sept. 28, and then beat the Ice 6-3 at home the next night. The Chiefs also won 4-3 in OT in Spokane on Dec. 8. They’ll meet again Jan. 5 in Cranbrook and Feb. 9 in Cranbrook. . . . Should the Chiefs win the last two meetings, they’ll have picked up 10 points in games with the Ice, while Portland will have claimed two.


The WHL’s Christmas trade moratorium is over, having ended on Thursday at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Thursday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 14.

Players: 30.

Bantam draft picks: 23.

Conditional draft picks:6.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


Steve Wulf, a senior writer with ESPN, has written a wonderful feature about a team of hockey players that includes a 95-year-old and a few other youngsters. It’s great stuff and it’s right here.


THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Sergei Alkhimov scored twice to help the Regina Pats to a 3-2 victory over the Wheat PatsKings in Brandon. . . . Regina improved to 10-24-1, while Brandon slipped to 15-11-6. . . . The Pats took a 2-0 first-period lead on PP goals from F Robbie Holmes (7), at 3:29, and Alkhimov, at 11:30. . . . F Ridly Greig (8) got Brandon on the scoreboard with a PP goal at 5:07 of the second period. . . . Alkhimov gave the Pats a 3-1 lead with his ninth goal at 2:32 of the third period. . . . D Cole Reinhardt (6) scored Brandon’s second goal at 10:56. . . . Each team may have a player suspended before tonight’s rematch in Regina. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos, who leads the Wheat Kings in goals, assists and points, was hit with a  match penalty for attempt to injure at 6:39 of the first period. He apparently reacted after F Linden McCorrister was helped off the ice following a hit. . . . The Pats lost Holmes to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:46 of the second period for a hit on F Connor Gutenberg, who went to the dressing room then returned for the third period. . . . G Jiri Patera, Brandon’s go-to guy, is at the WJC with Czech Republic. With him gone, the Wheat Kings will run with Ethan Kruger, 17, and have Connor Ungar, 16, backing up. . . . Ungar, from Calgary, plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . D Braden Schneider was back in Brandon’s lineup after not playing since Nov. 17 because of an undisclosed injury.


D Alex Moar’s first WHL goal gave the Swift Broncos a 4-3 OT victory over the Warriors SCBroncosin Moose Jaw. . . . Swift Current (7-24-2) had lost its previous two games. It now is 2-16-0 on the road. . . . Moose Jaw is 17-8-6. . . . The Warriors will get another shot at the Broncos tonight in Swift Current. . . . Last night’s winner came as Moar successfully completed a 2-on-1 break with F Matthew Culling at 1:58 of OT. . . . Goals from Culling (5) and D Matthew Stanley (1) at 14:29 and 17:07 of the third period had given Swift Current a 3-1 lead. . . . The Warriors scored twice with G Brodan Salmond on the bench for the extra attacker, with F Brayden Tracey (11) making it 3-2 at 18:51 and F Keenan Taphorn (9) tying it at 19:13. . . . Moar, who was acquired from the Everett Silvertips, won it with his first goal in 22 career games, 18 of them with the Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw held a 42-21 edge in shots, including 10-3 in the first period and 20-7 in the second, but Swift Current G Joel Hofer continued his fine season. Despite a 5-19-2 record, and a 4.15 GAA, he has a .900 save percentage. . . . The Warriors were 0-4 on the PP; the Broncos didn’t get even one opportunity. . . . The Broncos scratched both of their 17-year-old Finnish freshmen imports — F Joona Kiviniemi and D Roope Pynnonen — due to travel-related issues on their way back from the break. Both players are expected to be available tonight. . . . The Warriors were without F Luke Ormsby, who completed a two-game WHL-issued suspension. . . . Moose Jaw also is missing head coach Tim Hunter and D Josh Brook, both with Team Canada at the WJC. In Hunter’s absence, associate coach Mark O’Leary is in charge of the bench.


D Brayden Pachal, who sat out the previous two games with a suspension, scored twice, including one in OT, as the Prince Albert Raiders beat the Blades, 4-3, in Saskatoon. . . . PrinceAlbertThe Raiders (32-2-1) have won four in a row. . . . The Blades (21-10-5) have points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . They’ll play the rematch tonight in Prince Albert. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (2) staked the Blades to a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:59 of the first period. . . . The visitors took a 2-1 lead on two goals from F Noah Gregor (21), at 13:37 of the first and 2:52 of the second. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Eric Florchuk (10), at 4:28, and F Max Gerlach (20), on a PP, at 6:22. . . . Pachal tied it at 6:28 of the third and won it with his ninth goal of the season, banging home a rebound 33 seconds into OT. . . . Pachal has 20 goals in 206 career regular-season games. This was his second career two-goal game. . . . F Cole Fonstad drew three assists for the Raiders, the fourth straight game in which he had at least two points. He has a goal and nine assists in that stretch. . . . Gregor also had an assist for a three-point outing. . . . Gregor has seven goals and three assists in helping the Raiders go 4-0-0 without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, both of whom are with Team Canada at the WJC.


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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.


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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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