Winds of change blow through Kelowna . . . Foote set to replace Smith . . . Taphorn twins are on the move


MacBeth

D Michael Fora (Kamloops, 2014-15) has rejoined Ambrì-Piotta (Switzerland, NL A) after clearing unconditional NHL waivers on Saturday. This season, he was pointless in one game with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL). Last season, he was an alternate captain with Ambrì-Piotta and put up six goals and 21 assists in 50 games. . . . Fora signed a three-year extension through 2020-21 with Ambrì-Piotta in December with an out-clause allowing him to sign with an NHL team. He exercised the clause to sign with Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) in June. . . . Carolina wanted to assign Fora from Charlotte to the Florida Everblades (ECHL), but Fora wanted to return to Switzerland instead of reporting to Florida. Carolina and Fora mutually agreed to terminate his contract.


With Jason Smith having been fired as the head coach of the Kelowna Rockets, you likely are wondering who’s up next?

John Shannon of Sportsnet, who is friends with Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, tweeted Monday night that it will be Adam Foote. He will be the franchise’s fifth head coach in six seasons.

In all likelihood, Foote will be the Rockets’ head coach in the 2020 Memorial Cup, an event that will be played in Kelowna.

KelownaRockets

Earlier Monday, Hamilton told a media scrum in Kelowna that he had “a couple of guys that I’ve zeroed in on and I’ll probably have a good idea by (Tuesday). I’m dealing with a couple people and hopefully by (Tuesday) we’ll have somebody in place. Whether they’ll be here or not by then, time will tell.”

A new head coach, Hamilton said, doesn’t necessarily have to have junior experience.

“I think that’s really important but I don’t think that’s everything,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s all about communication with these guys today. If you can’t communicate with them, then you’re not going to get them to play for you.”

If Foote doesn’t get to Kelowna before tonight, assistant coaches Travis Crickard and Kris Mallette will run the bench against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

Foote, 47, played three seasons with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds — he was a rugged defenceman — before going on to an NHL career that included 1,154 regular season games and 170 more in the playoffs.

However, Foote doesn’t have any coaching experience, although he has been a development consultant with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. He also was the director of player development a year ago with Canada’s entry in the Spengler Cup.

Foote’s son Nolan, a defenceman who will turn 20 on Dec. 13, played three seasons with the Rockets and now is a first-year pro with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. The Tampa Bay Lightning selected him 14th overall in the NHL’s 2017 draft.

Cal’s younger brother, Nolan, who turns 18 on Nov. 29, is in his third season with the Rockets. A forward, he has seven goals and five assists in 12 games. Last season, he finished with 13 goals and 27 assists in 50 games. He is eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft and it is anticipated that he will be an early selection.

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Despite winning 88 games in his first two regular seasons as the head coach of the Kelowna Rockets, Jason Smith was fired on Monday.

The Rockets, who were 45-22-5 two seasons ago and 43-22-7 last season, are 4-10-0 after going 2-1-0 on a three-game weekend swing in which they twice beat the Victoria Royals (8-2 and 5-1) before losing to the Vancouver Giants (3-1).

The Rockets reached the third round of post-season play in Smith’s first season, but were swept by the Tri-City Americans in the first round last spring.

Smith was in the final season of a three-year contract. Assistant coaches Travis Crickard and Kris Mallette also are in the final seasons of their contracts.

“Any time that you are doing something like this, there’s no fun attached to it at all,” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, told the media on Monday afternoon, “and yet, at the end of the day, how this hockey club does sits on my shoulders and this isn’t a decision, nor something that I just thought of this morning. It’s been on my mind now for a few weeks. I just felt that we were getting to a point where a decision needed to be made. . . .”

Hamilton admitted that he had been thinking about making a change for some time, but because the Rockets will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup he wanted to make sure he does the right thing.

“I didn’t just make my mind up on Friday night,” he said. “I made my mind up a while ago, but it’s working to find somebody that is going to be the replacement.

“If you’re going to make a change, we’re better off making the change now than waiting until the end of the (season) and starting over. Whoever is going to coach the team from here on in, I’ve got to believe is going to be the coach next (season) and that’s probably a good thing from our perspective. . . .”

Smith’s replacement will be charged with changing things in the dressing room and making sure that the Rockets become harder to play against, especially at home.

“One of the things that has concerned me now, for a while,” Hamilton explained, “has been we . . . had a culture in our dressing room for many years here through the Ryan Huska era, that everybody coming into Kelowna to play us knew that they were going to have their hands full.

“I just have sensed the last couple of years for sure . . . probably more than that, that it started to leave the room. . . . that a lot of the time is based on the characters you have in the room and that’s on me, that’s not on the coach. It’s my job to get the players here.

“I really hope the person that we bring in is going to bring a little bit of character back in there somehow.”

Hamilton also wants to see more discipline from his team, which has been at the top of the penalty tables in recent times.

“We’re not a tough team,” Hamilton said. “We’re just taking a lot of foolish, lazy penalties and that’s got to change.”

This is only the second time in franchise history that Kelowna has changed coaches in mid-season. In 1999-2000, Hamilton moved out Garth Malarchuk on Nov. 14, 1999, and brought in Marc Habscheid.

Habscheid stayed through 2003-04, finishing his run when the Rockets won the Memorial Cup as the host team.

Jeff Truitt, who had been on Habscheid’s staff, was promoted to head coach and lasted three seasons.

Ryan Huska, who had been a Kelowna assistant coach, was up next. He stayed for seven seasons, before joining the Calgary Flames’ organization and turning things over to assistant coach Dan Lambert.

The Rockets won the WHL title under Lambert in 2014-15, but he joined the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres after that season, at which point Hamilton hired Brad Ralph. That was the first time since Hamilton brought in Habscheid that someone from outside the organization was hired as head coach.

Ralph lasted just one season, despite going 48-20-4 and getting into the third round of the playoffs.

Smith was hired to replace Ralph, lost in the third round in the spring of 2017, and was ousted in the first round last spring. There won’t be another go-round for him in Kelowna.

Late last week, Smith was named as an assistant coach with the WHL team that will play in the CIBC Canada-Russia series on Nov. 5 and 6.

What is apparent through Hamilton’s move is that he didn’t feel comfortable having Smith take the Rockets into a Memorial Cup season. Doing that would have meant signing Smith to a new contract, likely for another two or three seasons.

“I want to be real fair to Jason here,” Hamilton said. “The talent is part of it. He was doing the best he could with what he had.

“And yet when I’m looking forward to the Memorial Cup next (season), whoever coaches this team, I need to get them to get the group together and we need to decide who’s going to be here and who’s not going to be here when we finish this season.”

Hamilton was adamant that the firing of Smith didn’t have anything to do with the Rockets’ attendance, which after six home games is down 494 per game from the same point last season.

“The move today has got nothing to do with that,” Hamilton said. “Trust me.”


The Moose Jaw Warriors have acquired the Taphorn twins — Kaedan and Keenan — MooseJawWarriorsfrom the Kootenay Ice. In return for the Taphorns, 18, the Ice got F Nick Bowman, 18, and a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft. . . . The Taphorn brothers are from Yorkton, Sask., so this deal gets them closer to home. Keenan was a second-round pick by the Ice in the 2015 bantam draft, with Kaedan going to the Vancouver Giants in the third round. . . . Kaedan has 11 goals and 13 assists in 123 career games, while Keenan has 11 goals and 21 assists in 142 games. This season, Kaedan has a goal and two assists in 11 games, while Keenan has one of each in 11 games. . . . Bowman, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a sixth-round pick by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2015 bantam draft. He has 13 goals and 14 assists in 127 career regular-season games. Last season, he had six goals and six assists in 56 games with Edmonton. This season, he had one assist in 10 games with the Warriors. . . . The Warriors acquired him from Edmonton, along with a sixth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, in exchange for F Vince Loschiavo, 20, on May 3. . . .

The Warriors are at home to the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday night. That same evening, the Ice will play host to the Brandon Wheat Kings.


The Tri-City Americans have acquired F Wil Kushniryk, 18, from the Kelowna Rockets tri-cityfor a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft. . . . The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Kushniryk is from Chilliwack, B.C. . . . Last season, as a freshman, Kushniryk had two goals and three assists in 51 games with the Rockets. This season, he was pointless in four games. . . . “Wil is a big guy with WHL experience,” Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, said in a news release. “He skates very well and will add depth to our forward group. With the long-term injury to Paycen Bjorklund we felt it was necessary to add a veteran forward.”


MONDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The U of Lethbridge Pronghorns will retire the late Brock Hirsche’s number (10) on Friday night, prior to a Canada West game against the visiting Calgary Dinos. Hirsche, a former captain of the Pronghorns, died on April 8 after a battle with testicular cancer. From Lethbridge, Hirsche returned to his hometown to play for the Pronghorns after spending four seasons with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. . . . The news release announcing this is right here.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan has been returned to the Spokane Chiefs by the NHL’s Los SpokaneChiefsAngeles Kings. Anderson-Dolan, a second-round pick by the Kings in the NHL’s 2017 draft, had one assist in five games with the Kings. In 212 regular-season games with the Chiefs, he has 93 goals and 100 assists. Last season, he had 40 goals and 51 assists, and was named to the Western Conference’s first all-star team. . . . Anderson-Dolan already has been added to Team WHL for its two-game part of the CIBC Canada-Russia series. Game 1 is scheduled for Nov. 5 in Kamloops, with Game 2 the next night in Langley, B.C. . . . Anderson-Dolan is expected to be in the Chiefs’ lineup on Friday when they entertain the Portland Winterhawks.


D Bobby Russell of the Spokane Chiefs has been suspended for one game after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct in an 8-2 loss to the host Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night. He won’t play Friday against the visiting Portland Winterhawks.


The Prince Albert Raiders have brought in D Nolan Allan, the third-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He could make his WHL debut tonight against the visiting Everett Silvertips. From Davidson, Sask., Allan has six goals and five assists in 12 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have dropped F Hayden Clayton, 18, from their roster. He is expected to join the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines. He was pointless in four games with the Hurricanes this season. The same thing happened a year, as he went pointless in four games before being dropped and joining the Wolverines.


D Jayden Lee, a 17-year-old from North Vancouver, has committed to Quinnipiac U for the 2020-21 season. Last season, he had one goal and four assists in 29 games with the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen. This season, with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings, he had a goal and five assists in 15 games. . . . Lee was a 10th-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


Mitchell Kirkup has returned to the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders as their director of scouting. Kirkup, who is a former Stampeders player and scout, also is a longtime scout with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.


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Scattershooting while watching Brady vs. The Kid . . . Haden wants a trade . . .Giants hand Royals first loss . . . Weekend sweep for ‘Tips

Scattershooting

Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, with a good question: “Idle thought: Was Orioles manager Buck Showalter fired? Or was he granted clemency?”


Another question, this one from me: Do the New York Yankees bring back Buck Showalter or Joe Girardi to replace Aaron Boone, whose handling of his pitching staff oftentimes was mystifying?



A note from humourist Brad Dickson: “It hasn’t been easy to resist the siren call of fantasy football. Indeed in 2018 playing fantasy sports has become America’s new pastime, having supplanted the erstwhile, laudable pursuits of Fidget-spinning, dabbing and searching for Pokemon.”


With the NBA season almost upon us, it’s worth noting that the sports books in Las Vegas have taken more bets on the L.A. Lakers winning the title than on any other team. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports  Babe, noted: “If anyone wondered how they got the money to build all those big hotels.”


When you’re watching an NFL game on CTV, don’t you get the feeling that the network could squeeze in at least one more promo for an upcoming show if it really tried?


Just last week, with the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations having announced that she is leaving the post, Donald Trump suggested he might appoint his daughter, Ivanka, if not for the likelihood that he would be accused of nepotism. Here’s Hough: “Well that and it would interfere with her current duties as his real VP and First Lady.”


“The Nashville Predators, knocked out in Round 2 of the 2018 playoffs, raised three banners commemorating last season,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “I think one of them was for participation.”


Currie, again: “I heard on Sportsnet that the first requirement of a top-notch NHL goalie is a short memory. Hand me some goalie pads; I’m going to be an all-star!”


How naive am I? I had no idea that junior hockey players are using match-making apps like Tinder to meet up with young women while on the road.


Some scores for you to digest: 41-7, 59-1, 38-8, 79-7, 48-24, 36-16, 53-0, 48-7. . . . Those are the scores that carried junior football’s Saskatoon Hilltops to an 8-0 regular-season record.



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F Gary Haden has asked the Medicine Hat Tigers to trade him.

Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News reports that Haden, 19, made the request on Tigers Logo OfficialThursday, and that the Tigers sent him home on Friday.

This season, Haden had a goal and two assists in nine games. Last season, he had 17 goals and 25 assists in 70 games.

A ninth-round selection by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft, the native of Airdrie, Alta., has 53 points, including 25 goals, in 115 regular-season games, all with Medicine Hat.

The Tigers acquired Haden on Jan. 10, 2016, when they sent F Cole Sanford to the Pats and also got back F Brian Williams, a third-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft, a fifth-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick in 2018.


The WHL’s Department of Discipline is just like New York City — it never sleeps. . . . On whlSunday, the DoD issued three suspensions resulting from incidents in Saturday night games. . . . F Ryley Appelt of the Kamloops Blazers was given a two-game suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct during a 7-2 loss to the Silvertips in Everett. Originally, Appelt was penalized for a headshot, but was changed to charging. . . . D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors got one game after being hit with a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct during a 4-3 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . F Mike MacLean of the Prince George Cougars also got one game, this one for a boarding major and game misconduct during a 6-5 shootout victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. MacLean sat out the Cougars’ 2-1 OT victory over the host Kootenay Ice on Sunday.


F Brad Goethals, 20, who left the Saskatoon Blades earlier this month, now is with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. . . . They acquired his rights from the Selkirk Steelers over the weekend, giving up F Noah Basarab, 19, a 2019 sixth-round draft pick and future considerations in the exchange. . . . Goethals had 16 goals and 17 assists in 72 games with the Blades last season. . . . Goethals had a goal on Sunday, helping the Stampeders to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Steinbach Pistons.


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SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Vancouver Giants handed the host Victoria Royals their first loss of this regular-Vancouverseason, beating them, 3-2. . . . The Royals (7-1-0) had beaten the visiting Giants, 3-2 in OT, on Saturday night. . . . The Royals now are 5-1-0 at home. All eight of their games to this point have been against B.C. Division opponents. . . . At 7-0-0, the Royals had tied the franchise record for best start to a season. Last season, they also opened with seven straight victories. . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings now are the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have lost in regulation time. The Wheat Kings (5-0-2) are scheduled to entertain the Spokane Chiefs on Tuesday. . . . Vancouver has points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Giants were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, having beaten the Kamloops Blazers, 4-3 in a shootout, in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . F Milos Roman (5) scored twice for Vancouver; he’s got goals in four straight games. . . . F Brayden Watts (3) got the winner when he broke a 2-2 tie at 16:21 of the second period. . . . The Giants held a 40-20 edge in shots. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck stopped 18 shots in his third straight start. . . . Trent Miner, Vancouver’s other goaltender, missed all three games as he travelled home to Brandon after the deaths of both of his grandfathers. . . . According to the online scoresheets, the Giants didn’t dress a backup goaltender for any of the three weekend games.


The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last four goals to beat the Blades, 6-2, in PrinceAlbertSaskatoon. . . . The Raiders (10-1-0) are the first WHL team to 10 victories this season. They have won three in a row and now led the overall standings by three points over the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Blades (7-3-0) had won four in a row. . . . F Brett Leason (9) led the Raiders with two goals and an assist. He’s got at least a point in each of the Raiders’ 11 games. . . . Leason broke a 2-2 tie at 17:12 of the second period. . . . D Brayden Pachal (1) added a goal and two assists for Prince Albert. . . . Leason now is tied for the lead in the WHL’s points race. He and F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks have 22 points apiece. . . . Leason leads the WHL in goals with nine.


The Everett Silvertips completed a weekend sweep by beating the Winterhawks, 4-2, in EverettPortland. . . . The Silvertips (6-3-0) were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, having beaten the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 5-3, on Friday, and the Kamloops Blazers, 7-2, on Saturday. . . . The Winterhawks (5-3-1), who had been 5-0-1 in their previous six games, hadn’t played since Wednesday. . . . Everett got 30 saves from Dustin Wolf, who is the only goaltender the Silvertips have used to this point in the season. Wolf is 6-3-0, 1.90, .922. . . . The Winterhawks were 0-10 on the PP. . . . F Connor Dewar had two assists for Everett, giving him 14 points, including seven helpers, in nine games.


G Taylor Gauthier turned aside 45 shots to help the Prince George Cougars to a 2-1 OT PrinceGeorgevictory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice held a 46-27 edge in shots, including 21-5 in the third period. . . . Each team was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Cougars lost 4-1 to the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Friday, then beat the host Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-5 in a shootout, on Saturday. . . . The Ice lost 3-2 to the visiting Regina Pats on Friday night, then dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . On Sunday, F Jackson Leppard (1) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 13:32 of the second period. . . . The Ice pulled even at 3:39 of the third on a goal by F Peyton Krebs (3). . . . F Ilijah Colina (3) won it 33 seconds into extra time. . . . The Ice (3-4-1) has lost three in a row (0-1-2). . . . The Cougars improved to 4-5-1. . . . Prince George was without F Josh Maser and F Mike MacLean, both of whom were serving WHL-issued suspensions.


F Nick Henry scored 14 seconds into OT to give the visiting Regina Pats a 4-3 victory over Patsthe Calgary Hitmen. . . . D Aaron Hyman (3) had pulled the Pats (3-6-0) into a 3-3 tie, on a PP, at 11:06 of the third period. . . . Henry, who also had two assists, won it with his second goal of the season. . . . The Hitmen slipped to 1-5-2. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (4) had a goal and two assists for Regina. . . . F Cole Dubinsky, who won’t turn 16 until Dec. 4, scored his first goal for the Pats. From Ardrossan, Alta., he was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Tristen Nielsen was back in Calgary’s lineup after serving a three-game suspension.


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Kootenay puts some seats on ice . . . Broncos, Pats struggling early . . . Smith back to Chiefs after NHL stint


MacBeth

Cranbrooktarps

A few weeks ago, Taking Note received an email from a reader who reported that the Kootenay Ice had blocked off some seats in one end of the 4,268-seat Western Financial Place.

According to the emailer, some season-ticket holders had been asked to relocate to seats Kootenaynewelsewhere in the arena.

“The past three seasons, attendance in sections F, G and H was pretty sparse,” the emailer continued. “Now, if one goes to the website and tries to buy season tickets, almost every seat in those three sections is unavailable.”

As you can see from the above photo, the Ice has indeed closed off some seats; in fact, there now are tarps over those seats.

During the offseason, the Ice, which has worked hard as an organization on community involvement and raising its visibility in the Cranbrook area, mounted a season-ticket campaign — Drive to 25 — in an attempt to sell 2,500 before this season opened. Last week, Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman reported that the count was at “1,670, a drop of 247 from last (season).”

When the Ice played their home-opener a week ago, the announced attendance was 2,862. The Ice beat the Calgary Hitmen, 5-3, in that one.

On Friday night, the announced attendance was 2,375 as the Ice dropped a 7-4 decision to the visiting Spokane Chiefs.


It appears that F Lukus MacKenzie’s WHL career is over. MacKenzie, 19, has returned home after being in camp with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . According to someone familiar with the situation, MacKenzie “lost his interest in playing.” It is expected MacKenzie soon will be going back to school. . . . MacKenzie, from Calgary, was one of the WHL’s toughest players over the previous three seasons. A third-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in 2014 WHL bantam draft, he played two seasons (2015-17) there before being dealt to the Red Deer Rebels early last season. The Winterhawks later acquired him from the Rebels. . . . In 169 regular-season games, he put up 10 goals and 23 assists.


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D Dan Gatenby, who was released by the Tri-City Americans, has joined the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Gatenby, 20, is from Kelowna. He also has played in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers. . . . Last season, he had five assists in 57 games with the Americans. . . . In 120 regular-season WHL games, he has one goal and 12 assists. . . . Prior to joining Nanaimo, his junior A experience comprised two games with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors in 2014-15.


Barry Wolff, a long-time junior coach, has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. . . . Wolff spent the previous four-plus seasons with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, the first as head coach and then as general manager and head coach. He was fired by the Express, with whom he won the BCHL’s 2014 playoff championship, in late November with their record at 3-21-2. . . . He has been involved in junior B or junior hockey as a coach since at least 1996-97, spending most of that time in the BCHL. . . . He did spend one season (2004-05) in the MJHL, as the head coach of the OCN Blizzard. . . . The Stampeders had been looking for a GM/head coach since Taurean White resigned prior to beginning his second season with them. . . . Darren Webster, who will stay on as a part-time director of player personnel, has been working as the interim GM/head coach. . . . The Stampeders went into Friday’s action at 2-1-0.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES: The NHL’s New Jersey Devils have returned D Ty Smith to the Spokane Chiefs. The Devils selected Smith with the 17th overall pick of the NHL’s 2018 draft after he put up 73 points, including 59 assists, in 69 games. He is expected to be in Spokane’s lineup tonight as the Chiefs open their home schedule against the Kootenay Ice. . . . Two players off the Tri-City Americans’ 2017-18 roster remain with NHL teams. D Juusu Valimaki, who is to turn 20 on Oct. 6, is with the Calgary Flames. If he doesn’t start with them, he likely will be with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. F Michael Rasmussen, 19, is with the Detroit Red Wings; if he doesn’t stick there, he must be returned to the Americans. . . .

The WHL’s two representatives in the 2018 Memorial Cup are having a tough time finding that first victory this season. The Swift Current Broncos, the WHL’s defending champions, are 0-3-0 and have been outscored, 15-1. They were outshot 47-14 and beaten 5-0 by the host Edmonton Oil Kings last night, the second game in a row in which they’ve been blanked. Swift Current’s only goal in three games was scored by F Kaden Elder, who was dealt to the Calgary Hitmen on Thursday. . . . The Regina Pats, the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament, also are 0-3-0. Last night, they fell 8-4 at the hands of the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, who got three goals from F Dylan Cozens. . . . The Pats last opened 0-3-0 in 2008-09. . . . The Oil Kings, meanwhile, have started 4-0-0 for the first time since they entered the WHL in 2007-08. . . .

The Hurricanes lost D Igor Merezhko to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 19:31 of the second period for a hit on Regina F Austin Pratt. Pratt left the game at the time, but returned for the third period. . . . The Portland Winterhawks blew a 5-3 third-period lead, then failed to score on a rare 5-on-3 man advantage in overtime before dropping a 6-5 four-round shootout decision to the host Tri-City Americans.


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Hamilton talks a bit about lawsuit . . . Are Chiefs all-in on this season? . . . Pats player draws six-game suspension

Deer

We had some visitors to our backyard on Friday afternoon. Two does — one with two offspring, the other with one — stopped by to say hello and see how the hedge tasted. Oh, and the two moms also sampled what’s in the bird feeders. It’s amazing how their tongues fit perfectly in the slots in the feeders.



MacBeth

G Andrei Makarov (Saskatoon, 2011-13) has been placed on waivers by Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (Russia, KHL). In one game, he was 5.36, .786.


ThisThat

Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets and the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, was in attendance earlier this week when the Moose Jaw Warriors held their annual general meeting.

Among other things, the Warriors, one of the WHL’s four community-owned teams, MooseJawWarriorsrevealed a profit of $704,182 for the 2017-18 season and a bank balance of $1,157,466. As Marc Smith of discovermoosejaw.com reported, that bank balance is “after the team spent $233,648 on new boards and glass at Mosaic Place.” (Smith’s story on the annual meeting is right here.)

After the formal part of the meeting, Hamilton took part in an open session that also included Warriors general manager Alan Millar and head coach Tim Hunter.

According to Smith, Hamilton provided an update on the minimum-wage lawsuit that some of the CHL’s teams are facing. If you’ve tuned in late, some past and present players are involved in a class-action lawsuit asking, among other things, that teams pay minimum wage to players. The leagues/teams are fighting the lawsuit.

“We have legislation in every province now except Alberta and Ontario,” Hamilton said, referring to legislation to exempt teams from minimum-wage laws in some jurisdictions. “We anticipate Ontario when the new premier can find time to work towards that . . . we feel confident that it will go through; Alberta, we may need to wait until there’s an election there.”

Of the possibility that the teams could lose the lawsuit, Hamilton said: “It’s sad because if it came to be, it would really impact a lot of other sports and amateur athletics in Canada.”

According to Smith, Hamilton also said: “We’re confident that in the end, we’ll succeed, but how long it takes is the thing that probably wears people out a bit. But we can only do what we’re asked to by the courts and in the end our plan is to be successful and save the amateur status for the players.”

What I don’t understand is this . . . major junior players aren’t amateurs. They just aren’t.

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines amateur as “one who engages in a pursuit, study, science or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession.”

Over at dictionary.com, it’s “an athlete who has never competed for payment or for a monetary prize.”

Another online definition: “A person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid basis.”

By those definitions, there are few, if any, true amateurs left in our sporting world.

Major junior players already receive a stipend of some kind so they aren’t amateurs, something with which the NCAA obviously agrees.

So why not bring an end to all of this by negotiating a settlement, making certain that players receive, if not minimum wage, at least something from merchandise sales and cash cows like the World Junior Championship and Memorial Cup tournament?

If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of the book written by former NCAA and NBA basketball player Ed O’Bannon. It’s title is Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA.

Yes, comparing the CHL and its teams to the NCAA is in a lot of ways comparing apples and oranges. But O’Bannon’s book is all about the rights of a player to control his likeness — including in computer games — and there are similarities, for sure.

By the way, Smith’s piece on the hot-stove session is right here.


The WHL’s three other community-owned teams are the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos.

The Raiders held their AGM on Aug. 21 and declared a loss of $168,430 for 2017-18, after losing $250,850 in 2016-17. The Raiders made the playoffs last spring, but lost a seven-game first-round series to the Moose Jaw Warriors.

The Hurricanes’ AGM is scheduled for Sept. 17, with the Broncos’ on Sept. 25.

A year ago, the Hurricanes announced a profit of $737,710 for the 2016-17 season. In 2017-18, they reached the Eastern Conference final for a second straight season.

For 2016-17, the Broncos announced a profit of $135,922. That came after reaching Game 7 of a second-round playoff series. In 2017-18, the Broncos won the Ed Chynoweth Cup as playoff champions, so it will be most interesting to see what that has meant to the franchise’s bottom line.


If early indications mean anything, it would appear that the Spokane Chiefs are all-in on SpokaneChiefsthe 2018-19 WHL season. . . . It isn’t often that a WHL team keeps two 19-year-old goaltenders on its roster, but that’s the position in which the Chiefs find themselves after dropping Campbell Arnold, 16, from their roster. . . . The move left the Chiefs with a pair of 19-year-olds — Dawson Weatherill, who has rejoined the team after being in camp with the NHL’s Boston Bruins, and Bailey Brkin. . . . Weatherill made 46 appearances with the Chiefs last season, going 26-12-6, 3.09, .893. . . . Brkin got into 23 games with the Kootenay Ice (7-12-2, 4.51, .874) before being acquired by the Chiefs. In Spokane, he was 4-2-0, 2.59, .913 in seven games. . . . Arnold, a second-round selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, will remain on the Chiefs’ protected list. He played last season at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . .

Last season, the Chiefs, under head coach Dan Lambert, who was in his first season in Spokane, went 41-25-6 to finish third in the U.S. Division. They lost a seven-game first-round playoff series to the Portland Winterhawks.


F Brian Harris has joined the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders after being released by the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Harris, 19, is from Wawanesa, Man. . . . Last season, he had two goals and one assist in 49 games with the Oil Kings. In 2016-17, he had one goal in five games with Edmonton. He also played with Swan Valley that season, putting up 15 goals and 11 assists in 60 games. . . . He was an 11th-round selection by Edmonton in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . .

G Nick Sanders, 20, who was released by the Calgary Hitmen, has joined the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. Sanders missed a lot of last season due to hip problems, but he did get into 13 games with the Bobcats and four with the Prince Albert Raiders, who dealt him to the Hitmen. . . .

F Blake Bargar, 20, who played the past four seasons in the WHL, has joined the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild. Bargar, from Torrance, Calif., spent two seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors and one each with the Victoria Royals and Seattle Thunderbirds. In 238 regular-season games, he put up 19 goals and 23 assists.


The Moose Jaw Warriors now have four 20-year-olds on their roster after bringing in D Dalton Hamaliuk, who had been released by the Spokane Chiefs. Hamaliuk was in the Warriors’ lineup on Friday night for an exhibition game in Brandon against the Wheat Kings. He scored once in a 3-2 loss to the Wheat Kings. . . . From Leduc, Alta., Hamaliuk has six goals and 31 assists in 213 regular-season games, all with the Chiefs. . . . In Moose Jaw, he joins G Brodan Salmond, D Brandon Schuldhaus and F Tristin Langan in the competition for the three 20-year-old spots. . . . By the way, Schuldhaus will sit out the first three games of the regular season with a suspension left over from last season. He was suspended after taking a match penalty in Game 7 of a second-round playoff series with the visiting Swift Current Broncos on April 16.


D Parker Gavlas of the Regina Pats has been hit with a six-game suspension after taking a Patschecking-to-the-head major and game misconduct during an exhibition game against the host Saskatoon Blades on Thursday night. . . . Gavlas, 19, is from Saskatoon. He was pointless in eight games with the Pats last season. He had one goal and 11 assists in 35 games with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . The Blades won Thursday’s game, 3-2, to run their exhibition record to 6-0-0. . . . Gavlas sat out Regina’s final exhibition game — a 5-2 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night — and will miss the first five games of the regular season.


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 — a walk, I should point out, that she is helping to organize — you may do so right here. Thank you!


There was an interesting development in the camp of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. They announced that, effective immediately, they will be much more specific when it comes to reporting player injuries. In other words, there won’t be any more lower-body and upper-body injuries in the Blackhawks’ injury reports.

They were as good as their word on Friday, too, with goaltender Corey Crawford speaking with reporters about a concussion he suffered last season. He admitted that he still has symptoms, so hasn’t yet been cleared to take part in training camp.


Riley Cote played four seasons (1998-2002) with the Prince Albert Raiders before going on to a pro career that included 156 regular-season NHL games. He was an enforcer with the Philadelphia Flyers, totalling one goal, six assists in 411 penalty minutes. . . . These days, the 36-year-old native of Winnipeg is “preaching the gospel of medicinal marijuana,” writes David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail. . . . Canada will legalize marijuana in October, and Shoalts also spoke with CHL president Dave Branch, who said that his organization is educating itself about what remains a banned substance. . . . Shoalts’s complete story is right here.


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Warriors overcome turbulence for OT victory . . .Grandpa Delorme will be all smiles . . . Glen brothers buy BCHL franchise


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You can bet there was happy chatter as the West Kelowna Warriors boarded their bus for the trip back home from Trail on Friday night.

After a week that included a firing, a reinstatement and players choosing not to practice, WestKelownathe Warriors opened the BCHL regular season with a 4-3 OT victory over the Smoke Eaters before an announced crowd of 2,195 in Cominco Arena.

The Warriors scored the game’s last three goals, giving GM/head coach Geoff Grimwood his first victory when D Wyatt Head, a sophomore from Kelowna, scored at 2:29 of extra time.

Grimwood, then the interim GM and head coach, had been dismissed by majority owner Kim Dobranski on Monday night. However, the players rebelled, BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb intervened, and Grimwood was reinstated, without the interim part of his title, on Thursday morning.

The teams will meet again tonight (Saturday) at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna.


I am humbled by the outpouring of support that followed The Happening — this one didn’t feature Mark Wahlberg — in this neighbourhood on Thursday night.

Here is a small sampling . . .

You know, I really am trying to cut back. I have a stack of books here that I want to read, and I have in my mind at least one more book that I want to get written.

But stuff like this keeps getting in the way, and when I see the response to something like this, well, it’s hard to walk away completely. However, as time goes on, you may notice that I take some days off — like Saturdays — from posting here.

In the meantime, keep on coming back and happy reading.



The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Haydn Delorme, 18, to a WHL contract. From Port Moody, B.C., he was a training camp invitee after playing last season with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. He had six goals and 10 assists in 53 games. . . . He is a grandson to former WHLer Ron Delorme, the NHL-Vancouver Canucks’ chief amateur scout who has been with that organization for more than 20 years. He also was inducted in the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this summer.


The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, a franchise that had been owned and operated for 26 years by VernonDr. Duncan Wray and family, have been sold. Dr. Wray died on Jan. 11; his widow, Libby, made the decision to sell the franchise. . . . The new owners are brothers John and Tom Glen. John, from Edmonton, used to scout for the WHL’s Vancouver Giants; Tom lives in Regina. They own car dealerships in Calgary and Vancouver. . . . “This club was something my husband was very passionate about and we wanted to make the right decision going forward,” Mrs. Wray said in a news release. “The Glens will be excellent owners and very committed to the City of Vernon and the legacy which Duncan created. I truly believe the club is in great hands.” . . . Kevin Mitchell of the Vernon Morning Star has more right here.


The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders announced Thursday that general manager and SwanValleyhead coach Taurean White had “resigned from his position . . . effective immediately.” . . . No reason was provided for his departure. . . . Darren Webster was named interim GM/head coach. Webster, who is from Swan River, had been the club’s assistant coach and head scout. . . . White, who was preparing for his second season with the Stampeders, is from Nepean, Ont. Before joining the Stampeders, he had been the director of hockey operations and head coach with the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Kingston Voyageurs. . . . Last season, the Stampeders finished 28-25-7, good for the MJHL’s eighth and final playoff spot. They were swept in the first round by the eventual-champion Steinbach Pistons.


Have you ever watched a trophy presentation and wondered what happens to the carpet on which the participants are standing?

What about the carpet on which NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin were standing during the Stanley Cup presentation last spring?

Well, Dickson Liong, a long-time friend of Taking Note, has the answer to the latter question. He owns it. Oh, and he also owns the sweaty t-shirt that Ovechkin wore during that night’s game. Yes, he does!

That story is right here.


Here by request is something that I posted on Taking Note some time in the past; apologies for not thinking of it sooner but better late than never, one supposes. It deals with NCAA eligibility and comes from collegehockeyinc.com.

“NCAA student-athletes are amateurs and cannot have played for a professional sports team prior to enrolment. In hockey, specifically, this means that anyone who signs a contract with or plays for a team in the Canadian Hockey League (OHL, QMJHL or WHL) forfeits their NCAA eligibility.

“The NCAA Eligibility Center will certify each prospective student-athlete’s amateur status prior to clearing them for competition at the Division I level.

“What You Need to Do:

“Do not accept payment or gifts based upon your ability as a hockey player.

“Do not sign a contract or play a game (even an exhibition game) for a professional team, including those in the CHL.

“You may attend a camp with a professional team for up to 48 hours if they are covering expenses or longer if you cover all expenses.

“Junior, prep or high school teams may cover some or all of your costs to play for them, as long as they are actual and necessary expenses.”

There is more on all of this right here.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she has had to adjust her goal because she has gone over the original one, thanks to many of you — you are able to do so right here.


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Former WHL exec dies at 56 . . . Warriors sign first-round selection . . . Silvertips ink Slovakian forward


MacBeth

F Jannik Hansen (Portland, 2005-06) signed a one-year contract with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had two goals and 12 assists in 46 games with the San Jose Sharks (NHL).


ThisThat

Darryl Porter, who worked in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans, Chilliwack Bruins and Edmonton Oil Kings, died in Edmonton on July 25. He would have turned 57 on Aug. 12. . . . His death came after a long battle with cancer. . . . According to his obituary, a ‘Jeans and Jerseys’ celebration of life is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 13, 2 p.m., at Connelly-McKinley, 1011—114 St., in Edmonton. . . . That obituary is right here. . . . Porter spent 16 years with Molson Breweries before venturing into the WHL. He worked for three years as president of the Americans, and for five seasons was president and part-owner of the Bruins. The Oil Kings named him vice-president of family brands on May 31, 2011.


The IIHF has released the schedule for the 2019 World Junior Championship that is to be played in Victoria and Vancouver. . . . That schedule is right here, and it includes teams, venues and starting times. . . . The tournament opens on Dec. 26 and runs through Jan. 5.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed F Eric Alarie, their first-round selection in the MooseJawWarriorsWHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Alarie was the final pick in that first round. His signing leaves just four of the 22 first-round selections unsigned (see list below). . . . Alarie, from Winnipeg, had 28 goals and 27 assists in 30 games with the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy bantam prep team. He added a goal and six assists in five playoff games.


The WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong (committed to U of Denver, 2021-22).

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.


The Everett Silvertips have signed Slovakian F Peter Melcher, 17, who was Everetttheir lone selection in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. . . . Last season, he played with three teams, putting up 17 goals and 15 assists in 15 games with MHC Martin’s U-18 side; three goals and two assists in 12 games with MHC Martin’s U-20 team; and two goals and four assists in 21 games with the Iowa Wild’s U-16 club. He had one assist in four games with the Slovakian U-18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament. . . . Melcher joins Slovakian F Martin Fasko-Rudas, who is preparing for his second season, as Everett’s import players.


Tim Speltz, the former general manager of the Spokane Chiefs, now is the head amateur scout with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. Speltz left the Chiefs two years ago after having been with the organization since 1990. . . . He joined the Maple Leafs as director of western area scouting. . . . Speltz spent two seasons (1988-90) as GM of the Medicine Hat Tigers before joining the Chiefs.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


Former WHL coach Rob Daum will be inducted into the U of Alberta’s Sports Wall of Fame on Sept. 23. Daum was the Golden Bears’ hockey coach from 1995-2005, taking the team to nine straight national championships and winning three of them. He was Canada West’s coach of the year on five occasions and won the national award twice. He went on to coach in the AHL and NHL, and has coached in Europe since 2011-12. . . . Daum, 60, was an assistant coach (1989-90) and head coach (1990-91) with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, then worked for two seasons (1991-93) as an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos. He was the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ head coach for two seasons (1993-95) before taking over as head coach of the Golden Bears. . . . He presently is the head coach of the Iserlohn Roosters of the German DEL.


Judging by the above tweet, the Swift Current Broncos, who apparently lost all of their scouts following a regime change, have started filling the vacancies. . . . The Broncos, the reigning WHL champions, never did make an announcement regarding the departed scouts, nor have they added the names of any scouts to their website.


TheCoachingGame

Katie Greenway has been named the head coach of the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s female prep team. Greenway, 26, was an assistant coach with the team last season. . . . In her playing days, she was a goaltender at UBC and Simon Fraser, and also played for the ZSC Lions in Zurich, Switzerland. . . . At OHA, she will be joined on the bench by former NHL defenceman Blake Wesley, 59, who has been on the OHA staff since 2004. Wesley played three WHL seasons (1976-80) with the Portland Winter Hawks. He also worked as an assistant coach with the Tri-City Americans (2001-02) and Portland (2002-04).


The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders have hired Ryan Bettesworth as an assistant coach. He played two seasons (2005-07) with the Stampeders. . . . He has spent the past eight years in Thompson, Man., working with the Fire Emergency Services. . . . With the Stampeders, he will work with GM/head coach Taurean White.


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