Marc Habscheid, the fifth-winningest head coach in WHL regular-season history, is leaving the BEMER Pioneers Vorarlberg, who play out of Feldkirch, Austria. . . . Habscheid, 60, left the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders in August and took over as head coach of the Pioneers. . . . “Marc recently informed us that he will be leaving the Pioneers at the end of the 2022-23 season and would like to look for another job,” the team said in a news release. . . . This was Habscheid’s first European coaching job and he was guiding a team in its first season in the ICE Hockey League. The Pioneers finished last in the 13-team league, at 8-34-6. . . . “My next steps are currently still uncertain,” Habscheid said in the news release. “I would like to give myself the necessary time to consider various options before I set the course for the future.” . . . Habscheid spent 18 seasons as a WHL head coach, posting 582 victories with the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?), Victoria Royals and Prince Albert. . . . He also has posted 75 playoff victories, including guiding the Kelowna Rockets (2002-03) and Prince Albert (2018-19) to WHL championships. . . .
Pioneers management already has signed a new head coach — former WHLer Dylan Stanley. From Edmonton, the 39-year-old Stanley played five seasons (2000-05) as a forward with the Tri-City Americans. He played in Europe since 2008, spending 2014 through 2022 playing with VEU Feldkirch. He has been a skills coach and director of player development with the Feldkirch organization from 2017-22. In 2022-23, he was with Pioneers Vorarlberg as director of player development, assistant coach and conditioning coach.
A few Twitter tidbits from Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow), all of them involving Wednesday night in the WHL . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., the Prince George Cougars scored a 6-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans to even their series, 2-2. “F Koehn Ziemmer and F Jaxsen Wiebe both rack up a pair of tallies. Ziemmer gets on board for first time seeing 4-game goal drought end. Wiebe had a multi-goal game in last season’s playoffs.” . . .
In Kelowna, the Seattle Thunderbirds swept the Rockets with a 3-0 victory. The Thunderbirdsd “sow the final seeds of the series and move on to the conference semifinal. F Jordan Gustafson jimmies a goal and an assist in 3rd period to put game out of reach. G Thomas Milic stops all 19 faced, leaves series with a .958 save percentage.” . . .
In Calgary, the Rebels beat the Calgary Hitmen, 6-1, to go ahead 3-1 in the series. The Rebels “combine for five special teams goals (3 power play, 2 shorthanded) . . . D Mats Lindgren sets up four. Team’s first blueliner to do so in the Internet Era.” . . .
In Lethbridge, the Moose Jaw Warriors completed a sweep of the Hurricanes, winning 5-2. “F Brayden Yager blasted first two goals of playoffs, last into an empty net to complete a 3-goal third. D Maximus Wanner has inverse, setting up first two in final frame. Third career 3+ point competitive contest.” . . .
In Medicine Hat, the Winnipeg Ice completed a sweep of the Tigers with a 3-2 victory. “Winnipeg is outshot in all four games of series yet has more goals and that’s all that matters. F Ty Nash notches tilt’s final tally, scoring back-to-back. F Matthew Savoie starts scoring while shorthanded, 6th goal of series equaling last season’s total.”
In Regina, the Saskatoon Blades won, 4-3 in OT, to even the series with the Pats, 2-2. “The Blades are back to square one after turning around a 3-1 deficit, after conceding two goals in first minute of the final frame. F Jayden Wiens kickstarts comeback helped by D Charlie Wright who levels match halfway through third. Jake Chiasson finishes job. . . . First playoff goal for Chiasson in 10 career tries and ends a personal nine-game goalless drought. 11th goal since becoming a member of the Blades, fifth game-winning goal. . . . Team also won 2 overtime games in same series to start 2019 against Moose Jaw.”
While there was only one game in the WHL playoffs on Thursday night, there will be four played tonight with two of the teams involved facing elimination.
In Red Deer, the Calgary Hitmen trail the Rebels, 3-1, and are without two of their top three scorers in F Riley Fiddler-Schultz and F Sean Tschigerl. Fiddler-Schultz didn’t finish Game 2, while Tschigerl was injured in Game 3. . . .
In Everett, the Silvertips have lost the first three games of their series with the Portland Winterhawks, so need a victory to send the series back to Oregon. . . . A Portland victory will send the Winterhawks into the second round against the Kamloops Blazers, who completed a sweep of the Vancouver Giants last night. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., the Prince George Cougars and Tri-City Americans are 2-2 as they head into a fifth game. They’ll be in Prince George for Game 6 on Sunday, with a seventh game, if needed, scheduled for Tuesday . . .
And, in Saskatoon, the Blades will be looking for a third straight victory as they try to take a 3-2 lead over the Regina Pats. After the Pats won the first two games in Saskatoon, the Blades went into Regina and twice overcame 3-1 deficits to win in OT. . . . Regina will be without F Brayden Barnett, who drew a one-game suspension for a slew-footing double minor he was hit with in Game 4. . . . These teams so far have played in front of 33,861 fans, with more than 10,000 expected again for Game 5. . . . They’ll be back in Regina before another 6,499 fans for Game 6 on Saturday. . . .
Meanwhile, the Moose Jaw Warriors will be without F Robert Baco for the first three games of their second-round series. The Warriors completed a sweep of the host Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday night and Baco took a goaltender interference major and game misconduct during the game.
THURSDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:
Kamloops (2) at Vancouver (7) — D Olen Zellweger scored his second goal of the game and third in four games with 1.5 seconds left in OT to give the Kamloops Blazers a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Blazers swept the first-round series. . . . They outshot the Giants, 67-35, last night, including 26-7 in OT. . . . The Giants overcame 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 deficits, forcing OT when F Skyler Bruce (1) scored, on a PP, at 15:00 of the third period. . . . F Ty Thorpe, the Giants’ captain, scored three times and added an assist. He scored at even strength, while shorthanded and on the PP. His third goal of the series, on a PP, came 52 seconds into the third period and tied it 3-3. . . . Zellweger (2) put his guys back out front at 3:45. . . . Zellweger’s winner was the second goal Kamloops scored with 1.5 seconds left on the clock. F Connor Levis (1) put the Blazers in front, 3-2, with 1.5 seconds remaining in the first period. . . . F Ryan Hofer (5) had two goals and an assist for the Blazers, all in the first period. . . . F Samuel Honzek drew three assists for the Giants. . . . Vancouver scored twice in the first period after having been outscored 19-1 through the first three games. . . . Kamloops had a 221-93 edge in shots in the four games. . . . In the series, the Blazers were 6-for-22 on the PP; the Giants were 3-for-10, including 2-for-6 in Game 4. . . . With F Daylan Kuefler injured, Kamloops had F Nathan Behm, 15, skating alongside Logan Stankoven and Levis. Behm, from Calgary, was the 13th overall selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . . The Blazers went back to Kamloops with a little less money in their bank account after being fined $250 for a warmup violation prior to Tuesday’s game in Langley.
It seems that reports of WHL referee Steve Papp’s retirement were premature. A report in some Black Press newspapers/websites indicated that Papp “officiated his final WHL game on Tuesday night . . . between the Kelowna Rockets and Seattle Thunderbirds.” . . . Papp, 39, is from Kelowna and in his 17th season as a WHL referee. He also spent two seasons as a linesman. . . . But he is not yet done. . . . A WHL official told Taking Note on Thursday night that Papp “is planning on this being his last season . . . he will be continuing to skate in the playoffs.” . . .
In the OHL, the Kitchener Rangers completed a first-round sweep of the Windsor Spitfires, winning 5-1 at home on Friday night. The Spitfires had finished atop the Western Conference, 22 points ahead of the eighth-place Rangers. This is the first time in OHL history that an eighth seed has swept a No. 1 seed. . . . The Spitfires had loaded up in the hopes of a deep playoff run, their acquisitions including the highly touted F Shane Wright.
With the 10th anniversary of her kidney transplant within in sight, Dorothy is taking part in her 10th straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. So, yes, she is fund-raising. . . . The 2023 Walk is scheduled for June 4. . . . If you would like to donate to her cause, you are able to do so right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
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.