As of this moment, there are a total of 65 junior hockey teams in B.C. — five major junior, 17 junior A and 43 junior B. As of this moment, those teams all play under Hockey Canada’s umbrella. However, the BCHL — with 17 teams in B.C. and one in Washington state — has said it plans on leaving Hockey Canada when this month is up. . . . What will that mean for junior hockey in B.C.? Well, Cam Hope, the former Victoria Royals’ general manager who now is the CEO of BC Hockey, has told Steve Ewen of Postmedia that it may result in a new junior A league starting up. In fact, Hope told Ewen that such a move was “probable,” adding that no one is in a rush to get it done because “I’d much rather make sure we do it right than do it fast.” . . . Presumably, a new junior A league could include a number of junior B teams moving on up, along with any organizations that might decide to leave the BCHL. Ewen reported that “several sources” had told him the vote to leave Hockey Canada was 14-2 with two abstentions.
Ewen’s complete story, including something of a ho-hum response from Hockey Canada, is right here.
WHL PLAYOFF NOTES:
After a playoff doubleheader on Tuesday night, there will be one game tonight and another one on Thursday.
In the Eastern Conference, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice are in complete control after beating the Blades, 5-1, in Saskatoon last night. Winnipeg leads the series, 3-0, having outscored the Blades, 14-3, in the series. . . . They are scheduled to play Game 4 in Saskatoon tonight. . . . The Blades came back from 2-0 and 3-0 deficits to win their previous two series; if they are to do it again, they’ll have to get started tonight. . . . Saskatoon is 5-0 when facing elimination this spring. . . .
In the Western Conference, the host No. 2 Kamloops Blazers got past No. 1 Seattle, 4-1, to halt the Thunderbirds’ 10-game playoff winning streak. . . . These two teams will take a night off and then play Game 4 in Kamloops on Thursday night. . . . While Seattle is 10-1 in these playoffs, the Blazers are 9-2. . . . Seattle’s loss also means that the 1989 Swift Current Broncos and 2009 Calgary Hitmen remain the only WHL team to make unbeaten runs to championships. The Broncos and Hitmen both went 12-0.
The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . Hey, you could be the one to push her past $4,000. . . . If you are interested in helping, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.
TUESDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:
Winnipeg (1) at Saskatoon (2) — The Winnipeg Ice scored the game’s first four goals, three of them in the first 11 minutes, en route to a 5-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Ice now holds a 3-0 lead in the conference final and gets its first chance to wrap it up tonight in Saskatoon. . . . F Matt Savoie (11), on a PP at 2:46, F Zach Benson (4), at 9:48, and F Evan Friesen (4), at 10:33, had those first-period goals. . . . F Connor McClennon (11) made it 4-0, on another PP, at 1:13 of the second period. . . . F Justin Lies (3) got the Blades on the scoreboard at 5:40. . . . That was as close as the Blades were to get. . . . Ice F Owen Pederson (4) closed out the scoring with a PP goal at 19:26 of the third period. . . . Winnipeg was 3-for-6 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-for-2. . . . The Ice held a 34-18 edge in shots, including 10-4 in the third period. . . . Winnipeg got three assists from D Ben Zloty, and Savoie added two helpers to his goal. . . . Zloty has a WHL-leading 19 assists. . . . G Daniel Hauser earned the victory with 17 saves. His career record, including regular season games, now is 97-10-3. . . . The Blades continue to be without injured defencemen Blake Gustafson and Ben Saunderson, and they also scratched F Egor Sidorov from this one with an undisclosed injury. . . . Winnipeg remains without D Wyatt Wilson, who was injured in Game 5 of the first round.
Seattle (1) at Kamloops (2) — D Olen Zellweger had a goal and two assists to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Blazers, who held a 39-23 edge in shots, trail the series, 2-1, with Game 3 scheduled for Kamloops on Thursday night. Then the teams will head back to Kent, Wash., for Game 5 on Saturday. . . . Zellweger, who was acquired from the Everett Silvertips at the trade deadline in January, figured in Kamloops’ first three goals. . . . He gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, with his 10th goal at 8:29 of the first period. . . . After Seattle D Nolan Allan (2) tied it at 10:00, Zellweger and F Ryan Hofer, who also came over from Everett in that deal, drew the assists on F Jakub Demek’s fourth goal, at 17:43. . . . Hofer (6) added some insurance with an empty-netter at 18:53 of the third period, and Zellweger drew an assist on that one, too. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (6) added the Blazers’ last goal, at 19:18. . . . Zellweger has 27 points, including 17 assists, in 11 playoff games. In 43 games since the trade, he has 32 goals and 47 assists. . . . Zellweger and Blazers F Logan Stankoven, who had two assists, lead the playoff points derby, each with 27. . . . G Dylan Ernst made 22 saves for the Blazers, 13 fewer than Seattle’s Thomas Milic. . . . Kamloops remains without D Logan Bairos and D Ryan Michael. . . . The Thunderbirds scratched F Jordan Gustafson. There is speculation that he was injured during celebrations following Seattle’s OT goal to end Game 2. . . . The Thunderbirds went into this game having outscored the opposition 24-3 in third periods and OT. The Blazers went into the third period and were able to blank them over the final 20 minutes, while outshooting them 12-6. . . . Kamloops was 1-for-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-3.
The USHL held Phase 1 of its two-day draft on Tuesday. If you are interested in connections between selected players and WHL teams, check out the Twitter account belonging to Lucas Punkari (@lpunkari) of the Brandon Sun. . . . Phase 2 of that draft is scheduled for today. . . .
Both BCHL conference finals are one game from being over in four. . . . At Salmon Arm, the Penticton Vees won their 27th straight playoff game, beating the Silverbacks, 3-2 in OT. F Thomas Pichette (5) got the winner at 4:22 of OT. . . . Vees F Bradly Nadeau’s 15th playoff goal, on a PP at 19:01 of the third period, forced OT. . . . Penticton finished last season’s championship run on a 16-game winning streak and has won its first 11 games this time around. . . . The Vees get a chance to wrap it up tonight in Salmon Arm. . . . In the other conference final, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs took control with a 5-1 victory over the host Chilliwack Chiefs. The winners got two goals and an assist from F Dakota MacIntosh. . . . They are to play Game 4 tonight in Chilliwack.
THINKING OUT LOUD — You’re Gary Bettman, the commissioner of all things NHL. Do you want the Ottawa Senators to be sold to the group that includes Ryan Reynolds or the one that has Snoop Dogg in it? . . . Here’s Janice Hough (@leftcoastbabe) with a thought: “Not sure what’s more improbable, that the Tampa Bay Rays are by far the best team in the American League. Or that their closest competitor in the league is the Baltimore Orioles.” Gotta agree with that. . . . ICYMI, there was an American League game in Oakland last night where the A’s met the Seattle Mariners. The attendance was 2,583. . . . BTW, the A’s lost and now are 6-24. Yikes! That’s not good.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.