Scattershooting on a Sunday while watching Jason Bourne. Again . . . Tigers are road warriors . . . Giants latest to clinch playoff spot

Scattershooting

Sheldon Kennedy spent the weekend in Swift Current, which was the host location for Hockey Day in Canada on Saturday. While he was there, the City honoured him by naming an arena after him. To see the love affair between Kennedy and Swift Current makes my heart sing, because there once was a time when an observer never would have thought this was possible. . . . Well done!



ICYMI, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed F Auston Matthews to a new contract on Tuesday. . . . What! You didn’t know that! . . . Well, you’re welcome.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, on one of the Super Bowl commercials: “After the Washington Post ad in the fourth quarter, I mentioned to my Super Bowl party host that Jeff Bezos’ impending divorce action may influence the Post to the degree that their new slogan ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ may need to be altered to ‘Democracy dies in divorce.’ ”

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And here is The Sports Curmudgeon on the Super Bowl’s halftime show: “Granted that I had no idea who any of the performers for the half-time show were. After glimpsing pieces of their acts, I can say with certainty that I need not expend an erg of energy to find out the next time any of them will be in concert near to where I live. The ad slogan for Camel cigarettes used to be, ‘I’d walk a mile for a Camel.’ Well, I would not walk across the room to hear any of those folks perform.”


ChickenEgg


Perhaps you heard about the runner in Colorado who, when attacked by an 80-pound cougar, killed the big cat with his bare hands. As Dixon Tam put it on Twitter: “I hope Chuck Norris recovers from his injuries quickly.”


Ahh, yes, the Kootenay Ice Hall of Fame, announced eight days after the franchise’s post-season move to Winnipeg was confirmed. In an email, one fan told Taking Note that “it’s like sending flowers to your wife a week after you dumped her for another woman.”


If you’re wondering what Les Lazaruk, the play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades does on his nights off, he’s the star of the Saskatchewan karaoke circuit. . . . Actually, he was taking part in a Kinsmen-sponsored karaoke battle, so it was all in good fun and for a good cause.

 


Here for your reading pleasure is a piece written by Mark Fainaru-Wada, a staff writer at ESPN, about how the iconic Bob Costas came to the end of his run with NBC-TV. Yes, it had something to do with the NFL and, yes, it has something to do with concussions. . . . It’s all right here, and it’s another reminder about the power of the NFL.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Super Bowl halftime show marred by functioning sound system.


Luggage


ThisThat

Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, holds the WHL’s record for career victories as a head coach. He has 750 of those to his credit from stints with the whlKamloops Blazers, Tri-City Americans and Vancouver Giants.

It was just last season when Hay broke the record of 742 that had been held for so long by Ken Hodge, who worked with the original Edmonton Oil Kings before making the move to Portland with the franchise.

On Saturday night, Marc Habscheid, now the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, became the eighth man in WHL history to get to 500 victories.

So . . . you are wondering if Hay’s career victories record is safe, or whether Habscheid might break it?

Hay will turn 65 on Wednesday. Habscheid will hit 56 on March 1.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that Hay won’t be a WHL head coach again, although it’s apparent that he isn’t as done with coaching as we once were led to believe. (Hey, the Prince George Cougars might be in the market for a head coach once this season ends. Might Hay be a good fit there?)

Habscheid, meanwhile, is a career coach; he has been for more than 20 years. There is little doubt that he will coach for at least another 10 years. The question one has to ask is this: Will he spend the remainder of his coaching days in the WHL?

To date, Habscheid has had only one brief taste (2006-07) of the NHL, that as an associate coach, alongside head coach Dave Lewis, with the Boston Bruins. Peter Chiarelli, then the Bruins’ general manager, fired them after one season.

Perhaps Habscheid will end up as part of the management team with the NHL’s expansion Seattle franchise that is to begin play in 2021-22. When that organization starts hiring, it may take a look at the Vegas Golden Knights, see the number of former WHL head coaches involved there and decide to follow suit. Kelly McCrimmon, Mike Kelly, Ryan McGill, Bob Lowes, Kelly Kisio and Bruno Campese, each a former WHL head coach, all are on the Vegas payroll.

If Habscheid’s phone doesn’t ring and if he ends up staying in the WHL, and if Hay doesn’t get another head-coaching gig, you can bet Habscheid will end up with more regular-season victories than anyone else.

When would that happen? Perhaps sometime in 2025-26.

By that time, Habscheid might be the head coach of the WHL’s Abbotsford Aardvarks, or the Boise Bulls, or the Wenatchee Wings. Or he may still be in Prince Albert. Or perhaps he will settling comfortably in a new role as a pitchman for Dairy Queen.

No matter. It’ll be fun watching it all unfold.

There’s more on Habscheid right here in an interesting piece filed earlier this month by Mike Commito of Sportsnet.

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THE WHL’S 300 CLUB

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 500

9. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 495

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 386

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Mike Johnston (Portland) 348

21. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

22. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


F Logan Stankoven set a franchise single-game points record on Sunday, counting eight thompsonblazersof them as the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 10-0, in a B.C. Major Midget Hockey League game. . . . Stankoven scored three times and added five assists. . . . He leads the league in goals (43), assists (41) and points (84). His lead in the scoring race now is 34 points over F Tyler Crystal of the Vancouver North West Hawks. . . . According to a tweet from the team, Stankoven is one goal shy of the BCMMHL single-season goal record that is held by F Tyson Jost, who scored 44 times for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. . . . This was Stankoven’s third game of the weekend, after he played Friday and Saturday nights with the WHL’s Blazers, who selected him fifth overall in the WHLs 2018 bantam draft. This season, he has one assist in seven games with the Blazers. In Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets, head coach Serge Lajoie gave him third-period time with veterans Jermaine Loewen and Zane Franklin in an attempt to inject some life into a stagnant offence. The goals didn’t come, but the chances were there as Stankoven showed again that he is more than capable to making the jump to the WHL.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Riley McKay and F Chase Wouters had two goals each to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a Saskatoon6-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (34-13-8) has points in 10 straight games (8-0-2). It is second in the East Division, eight points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who have three games in hand. . . . Brandon (23-22-7) is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Blades took a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from McKay, at 9:23; F Kyle Crnkovic (7), on a PP, at 14:36; and Wouters, at 15:07. . . . The Wheat Kings got to within a goal in the second period as F Linden McCorrister (12) scored while shorthanded, at 0:32, and F Stelio Mattheos (33) scored on a PP, at 10:39. . . . Wouters countered with his 12th goal, at 11:22. . . . F Ridley Greig (11) pulled the Wheat Kings back to within a goal, again, at 13:29, on another PP. . . . Saskatoon put it away on third-period goals from D Dawson Davidson (11), on a PP, at 5:02, and McKay (11), into an empty net at 18:27. . . . Each team was 2-7 on the PP. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Max Gerlach. . . . G Jiri Patera returned from a leg injury to start for Brandon and stop 31 shots. He hadn’t played since being injured on Jan. 25. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 25 shots for Saskatoon. . . . The Blades were without F Kirby Dach, who left Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos after being struck by a puck in the throat area. Taking Note was told after Saturday’s game that Dach was taken from the game was only precautionary. Saskatoon next is to play Wednesday when it visits the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Blogger Darren Steinke was on hand for this one and his piece is right here.


G Carl Stankowski earned his first victory since Nov. 23 as the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarydumped the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-2. . . . Calgary (28-20-5) is fourth in the Central Division, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one in front of the Red Deer Rebels. Calgary does hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Moose Jaw (30-14-8) had won its previous two games. It is a comfortable third in the East Division. . . . The Warriors were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours; they went (2-1-0). . . . Stankowski was making his second appearance since suffering an ankle injury on Nov. 23 in a 5-2 victory over his former club, the Seattle Thunderbirds, in Kent. Wash. . . . On Sunday, Calgary took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Mark Kastelic (38), at 1:16, and F Tye Carriere (6), at 5:59. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (13) scored for Moose Jaw at 14:55. . . . Second-period goals by F James Malm (23), at 3:39, and F Kaden Elder (23), at 15:47, left Calgary with a 4-1 lead. . . . D Josh Brook (13) got the Warriors to within two, on a PP, at 1:40 of the third. . . . Calgary iced it as F Riley Stotts (17), at 4:33, and F Cael Zimmerman (7), at 14:46, scored. . . . The Hitmen got three assists from F Carson Focht. . . . G Brodan Salmond turned aside 33 shots for Moose Jaw.


F Andrew Fyten scored once and added two assists to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-EdmontonOilKings2 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Edmonton (30-16-8) is atop the Central Division, one point up on the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Regina (15-37-3) is 27 points out of a playoff spot with 13 games remaining. The host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament won’t be in the playoffs this time around. . . . The Pats went ahead 1-0 when F Austin Pratt (20) scored at 17:32 of the first period. . . . F Carter Souch (9) tied it 50 seconds into the second period and F Scott Atkinson (8) made it 2-1 at 1:52. . . . D David Kope (10) made it 3-1 at 6:25, giving Edmonton three goals in 5:35. . . . Fyten (13) upped the lead to 4-1 at 4:23 of the third period. He’s got five goals and nine assists in 20 games with Edmonton since being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos. . . . F Logan Nijhoff (5) scored for Regina, on a PP, at 9:13 of the third. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (29) of the Oil Kings closed out the scoring at 19:05. . . . The Oil Kings are 3-0-0 in the season series and have outscored the Pats, 16-4. Fix-Wolansky, who added an assist to his goal in this one, has two goals and eight assists in the series. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 34 saves, six fewer than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . Regina F Cole Dubinsky was back after serving a four-game suspension. . . . The Oil Kings welcomed back F David Kope and D Matthew Robertson from injury-related absences, while F Jake Neighbours served the second of a four-game suspension.


F Ryan Chyzowski scored the only goal of a five-round shootout to give the Medicine Hat Tigers Logo OfficialTigers a 2-1 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . Medicine Hat (31-18-5) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and three in front of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers went 3-0-1 in a four-game swing that included stops in Cranbrook, Everett and Kent, Wash. The only blemish was a 4-3 OT loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent. . . . Portland (33-16-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Both teams were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. The Tigers went (2-0-1), while the Winterhawks were (1-1-1). . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first period. He leads the WHL in goals (45) and points (93). . . . The Tigers tied it at 4:36 of the third when F Ryan Jevne (25) scored while shorthanded. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Søgaard made 28 saves through regulation time, then stopped four shots in OT and foiled five skaters in the shootout. . . . Portland got 38 saves from G Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks are without F Cody Glass (knee), who last played on Jan. 26, and D Brendan De Jong, who left Saturday’s 5-0 loss in Everett with an apparent injury to his left knee.


The Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Prince George VancouverCougars, 4-1, in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (37-13-3) has won five in a row. It will finish first in the B.C. Division, and now is one point behind the Everett Silvertips (38-13-2), who lead the Western Conference. . . . The Giants became the third WHL team — behind the Prince Albert Raiders and Everett — to clinch a playoff spot. Vancouver will be in the playoffs for a second straight season after missing three in a row. . . . Prince George (16-32-6) now has lost 13 in a row (0-10-3), the longest losing skid in the league this season. The Cougars are 10 points from a playoff spot. . . . F Ethan Browne (8) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:00 of the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (12) tied it 42 seconds into the second period. . . . Vancouver put it away with three third-period goals, from F Davis Koch (22), on a PP, at 7:06; F Justin Sourdif (15), at 11:35; and F Tristen Nielsen (10), at 15:24. . . . Vancouver D Bowen Byram, who had two assists, took a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner at 13:48 of the third period. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 32 shots for the Giants, while G Taylor Gauthier, back after being shaken up and leaving a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday, made 25 saves for Prince George. . . . The Giants dressed only 11 forwards and then lost Brayden Watts in the first period. “Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it looks,” head coach Michael Dyck told Postmedia’s Steve Ewen.


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Record isn’t Stankoven’s just yet . . . Makaj, Ice freeze out Broncos . . . Almeida sparks Warriors past Blazers

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MacBeth

G Brett Jaeger (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, Saskatoon, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Bayreuth Tigers (Germany, DEL2). This season, in 22 games, he is 10-10-0, 3.72, .892.

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ThisThat

Whoops!

It seems that F Logan Stankoven doesn’t own the major midget Thompson Blazers’ thompsonblazerssingle-season points record. At least, not yet.

The Kamloops-based Blazers, who play in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, sent out a tweet on Monday that indicated Stankoven, now with 63 points, had broken the record of 59 that had been set by F Riley Nash in 2005-06.

Except it seems that F Alex Rodgers finished that season with more points than did Nash, and it seems that Nash actually finished with 60.

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week asked a few questions and got a response from Nash, who now plays for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Nash told Hastings that Rodgers “actually holds the scoring record.”

Hastings got in touch with Rodgers “who thinks he had 67 in 2005-06.”

Or as a laughing Rodgers told Hastings: “Who is this kid coming after my record? Just write down 87 to keep him motivated.”

So, for now, the record doesn’t belong to Stankoven. But it will in time.

While Stankoven keeps piling up the points, the search for evidence of Rodgers’ 67-point season will continue.

Hastings’ story is right here.

Meanwhile, Stankoven played his second career WHL game on Tuesday night. His hometown Kamloops Blazers selected him fifth overall in the 2018 bantam draft. He had one assist in his first WHL game. Last night, he played his second game as the Blazers dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

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Notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report:

F Jake Kryski of the Calgary Hitmen is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Kryski, 20, is in his fifth WHL season and this one was shaping up as the best of them all. He has 46 points, including 19 goals, in 41 games. His goal total is one off his single-season high from 2016-17. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have dropped F Bronson Sharp from their roster. Sharp, who turned 19 on Dec. 29, is from Mission, B.C. He was pointless in seven games with Everett, but hadn’t played since Oct. 13 because of a concussion. . . . His junior A rights were traded on Thursday, going from the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials to the Langley Rivermen. . . .

The Regina Pats are showing G Max Paddock as being out indefinitely with an illness. With him out, G Matt Pesenti, 17, has been backing up Dean McNabb. . . . Pesenti, from Saskatoon, plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . .

F Eli Zummack of the Spokane Chiefs is out week-to-week with a lower-lower-body injury. Zummack, 18, is in his third WHL season and already has single-season career highs in assists (33) and points (45), in 41 games. . . . He had a goal and an assist in an 8-3 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Jan. 12.

The weekly roster report is right here.

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The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have signed Nigel Dube, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract. Dube, 30, joined the Bobcats in mid-November, replacing the fired Travis Clayton, who was in his third season in Lloydminster. . . . At the time he joined the Bobcats, Dube was in his second season as the associate coach with the aJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . The Bobcats are 8-33-1 and in last place in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North.

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The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that assistant coach Dean Maynard has been named interim head coach. . . . He replaces Mark Chase, who was fired on Monday.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Jesse Makaj stopped 16 shots to help the Kootenay Ice to a 2-0 victory over the Broncos Kootenaynewin Swift Current. . . . Kootenay (9-29-7) had lost its previous nine games (0-8-1). . . . The Broncos (9-31-3) now trail the Ice by four points in the race to stay out of the WHL’s cellar. . . . Makaj, who will turn 18 on Jan. 27, posted his first career WHL shutout by making 16 saves. It came in his 27th appearance, 26 of them this season. . . . The Broncos got 32 stops from G Isaac Poulter. . . . F Jaeger White (17) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 0:51 of the second period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (16) added insurance, on a PP, at 4:55 of the third period. . . . F Alex Thacker made his WHL debut with the Broncos. Thacker, 16, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., and was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He is in his second season with the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. . . . Thacker is the 37th player to have suited up for the Broncos this season. . . . The Ice has had 43 players dress for at least one game.

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F Justin Almeida scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors MooseJawWarriorsto a 5-2 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . Moose Jaw (22-11-7) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). The Warriors, who began a seven-game road trip with this one, are 13-3-1 on the road. They are third in the East Division, seven points behind Saskatoon but with five games in hand on the Blades. . . . Kamloops (15-23-3) has lost five in a row, and remains two points away from the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff berth. . . . F Tristin Langan (33) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:26 of the first period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (13) tied it at 6:40. . . . Moose Jaw took a 3-1 lead before the period ended on goals from Almeida, on a PP, at 9:59, and F Daniil Stepanov (4), at 16:01. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (15) got the Blazers to within a goal at 12:03 of the second period. . . . The Blazers hung around but weren’t able to get the equalizer past Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff, who finished with 34 saves. . . . Moose Jaw put it away with two late third-period goals from Almeida (13), at 15:27, and D Dalton Hamaliuk (3), on a PP, at 17:55. . . . Moose Jaw had either D Josh Brook or D Jett Woo, or both of them, on the ice for every shift in the third period until the score was 5-2. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson allowed three goals on 13 shots in the first period. Dylan Garand played the last two periods, stopping 17 of 19 shots. . . . Almeida enjoyed his third four-point game this season. He has 55 points, including 42 assists, in 36 games this season. . . . F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft, played his second game with the Blazers. . . . F Carson Denomie, who was acquired Thursday by the Warriors, played his third game with his new teammates and his first against his ex-teammates. Yes, head coach Tim Hunter had him in the starting lineup. . . . Blazers F Jeff Faith sat out the third game of a five-game WHL suspension. . . . With Faith, who can also play on the back end, and the injured Quinn Schmiemann out, the Blazers dressed five defencemen. . . . The Warriors are without D Daemon Hunt, who is listed as being out week-to-week. . . . According to the Warriors’ Twitter account, this road trip will involve playing seven games in 14 days, and spending 51 hours on the bus to travel 4,629 km.

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Warriors’ GM pays price for getting tossed . . . Stankoven lighting it up for Blazers . . . Huskies howl for Houlder

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MacBeth

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Blackburn Hawks (England, National). He started the season with Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga), and had five assists in eight games. . . . He was released by mutual agreement on Dec. 27. . . .

F Jan Eberle (Seattle, 2006-08) has signed a two-year contract extension with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He has nine goals and seven assists in 32 games. . . .

D Nolan Yonkman (Kelowna, Brandon, 1996-2001) has signed a contract extension for the rest of this season with JYP Jyväskylä (Finland, Liiga). Yonkman had signed a two-month contract on Nov. 7 that took effect on Nov. 14. He has one assist in 12 games. . . .

F Björn Svensson (Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, 2003-06) has been released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga). He had five goals and 15 assists in 35 games. . . . No reason was given for the release, however Medveščak Zagreb is in financial difficulties and has been releasing players for financial reasons over the past month.

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ThisThat

Ch-ch-ch-ching!

Alan Millar, the general manager of the Moose Jaw Warriors, is a little lighter in the MooseJawWarriorswallet today after being fined $1,500 on Monday.

According to the WHL website, Millar was fined “for receiving a game misconduct” during Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings.

On the online scoresheet from that game there is this line: “GM Alan Millar issued game misconduct at second intermission.”

That penalty may have had something to do with a Brandon goal and a minor penalty, as described at discovermoosejaw.com by James Gallo, who also is the Warriors’ play-by-play voice:

“Brandon scored a controversial goal with just over three minutes left in the (second) period to make it 3-1.

“While on the power play, (Brandon’s) Ben McCartney took a shot from the bottom of the Warriors’ left circle. As the rebound came between the circles, Brandon’s Ridly Greig crashed the Warriors’ net and was on top of goalie Adam Evanoff. The play was allowed to continue and Baron Thompson scored.

“Brandon’s goal was allowed to stand even though Greig was issued a penalty for goalie interference on the play.”

Thompson’s goal gave Brandon a 3-1 lead and ended up being the game-winner.

Millar is the first GM to be fined since Stu MacGregor, then the GM of the Kamloops Blazers, was touched up for $500 for “actions following game versus Spokane” on Jan. 9, 2018.

The Warriors open a seven-game road swing tonight against the Kamloops Blazers. It could be that Millar will have a little less spending money than usual on this trek.

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The Kelowna Rockets played host to a news conference on Monday at which former KelownaRocketscaptain Josh Gorges announced his retirement as a player.

Gorges, who is from Kelowna, was a list player who went on to play four seasons (2000-04) with the Rockets. An intelligent, puck-moving defenceman, he was the team captain in 2003-04, when he also played for Canada at the World Junior Championship, helping win silver in Helsinki, Finland.

Gorges, now 34, went on to a pro career that included 783 regular-season NHL games split among the San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres. He played 34 games with the Sabres last season.

There has been speculation that the Rockets would be adding Gorges to head coach Adam Foote’s staff. The Rockets have had a vacancy since parting company with Travis Crickard on Dec. 8.

There was no such announcement Monday, however, as the spotlight was strictly on Gorges and his retirement. The Rockets will honour Gorges on Saturday prior to a game against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

Could there be an announcement made at that time?

There is more on Gorges’ retirement right here.

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During the news conference at which former WHL/NHL D Josh Gorges announced his retirement, Bruce Hamilton, the owner, president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, said he wasn’t about to have any comment on a proposed class-action suit that has been filed by James McEwan. Like Gorges, McEwan is a former Rockets captain.

“This press conference has nothing to do (with) nor will we have any statement with regards to the legal issue that (was) brought forward this weekend,” Hamilton said.

Megan Turcato of Global News in Kelowna has more right here.

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You can hardly blame fans of the Kamloops Blazers if they are licking their lips at the thought of watching F Logan Stankoven over the next three or four WHL seasons.

Stankoven, who will turn 16 on Feb. 26, is from Kamloops, and was selected fifth overall thompsonblazersby the Blazers in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

Last season, he put up 90 points, including 57 goals, in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Abbotsford, B.C.

This season, he is lighting up the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League with his hometown Thompson Blazers.

Stankoven set a franchise record for points in a season on the weekend. He leads the league with 63 points, including 36 goals, in 26 games. The Blazers’ previous record (59) was set by F Riley Nash in 2005-06. Nash has played 443 NHL regular-season games and now is with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Stankoven also leads the league in goals and is tied for the lead in assists, with 27.

The league record for goals in a season (44) was set by F Tyson Jost of the  Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. He did it in 36 games.

The record for points in one season is held by F Alex Kerfoot, who put up 108 in 38 games with the Vancouver NW Giants in 2010-11. F Mathew Barzal had 103 in 34 games with the Vancouver NE Chiefs in 2012-13, and F Jordan Weal got to an even 100 points in 40 games with the Vancouver NW Hawks in 2007-08.

Of course, Jost and Kerfoot now are with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, while Barzal is with the New York Islanders and Weal is with the Arizona Coyotes.

Stankoven has played one game with the WHL’s Blazers this season, picking up an assist in a 5-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Oct. 19. He may have been the best of the Kamloops forwards on that night, too.

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The Grimshaw Huskies of the North Peace Hockey League honoured F Terry Houlder by retiring his number on Saturday night. According to NPHL stats guru Chris Clegg, Houlder put up 1,763 points in 669 regular-season games, plus 382 in 176 playoff games. He finally retired after turning 50. . . . Houlder, now 52, played three seasons (1984-87) in the WHL, the first two with the Lethbridge Broncos and the last one with the Calgary Wranglers. He enjoyed seasons of 88, 105 and 105 points. . . . Please read the thread on the above tweet for a whole lot more about Houlder and the game of senior hockey.

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One day after completing parent’s weekend, the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League tweeted on Monday that “as of today, Mark Chase has been relieved of his duties” as the team’s general manager and head coach. . . . The Coyotes are 13-21 with two ties and one OTL. They are third in the five-team Okanagan Division. . . . Chase was in his first season with the Coyotes after spending two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . Chase is from Kamloops, where he was the GM/head coach of the major midget Thompson Blazers from 2013-15. . . . The Coyotes are expected to announce an interim head coach today.

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Hay “surprised” by Kamloops move . . . TWU goalie writing neat story . . . Sydor gets back into coaching game

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In case there is any lingering doubt, Don Hay has told veteran Portland sports journalist Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest that he got caught up in a changing of the guard in Kamloops.

Hay, who has more regular-season and playoff victories than any WHL coach in history, Portlandjoined the Portland Winterhawks as an assistant coach on Monday, having spent the previous four seasons as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers.

“That’s our business. Things happen,” Hay told Jaynes of his ouster in Kamloops. “They wanted to make some changes, and that’s their right. It surprised me. You just have to make the best of it.”

Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner, announced on May 10 that Hay had retired. A news release issued by the team read that “Hay has announced his retired from coaching the Blazers and will remain with the hockey club in an advisory role.”

At the same news conference, which Hay didn’t attend, Gaglardi revealed that general manager Stu MacGregor had been reassigned to the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, a team also owned by Gaglardi, and that the contracts of assistant coach Mike Needham and director of player personnel Matt Recchi wouldn’t be renewed.

Hay won three Memorial Cups with the Blazers — he as an assistant coach in 1992, and was the head coach in 1994 and 1995. He returned to the Blazers during the summer of 2014 after working for 10 seasons as the head coach of the Vancouver Giants. He helped them to the 2007 Memorial Cup championship.

As for landing in Portland, Hay told Jaynes that “it just came out of the blue.”

Hay said he was “contemplating retiring” when he got a phone call from Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach. “Mike and I go back a long ways. We’ve both gone different ways but we’ve always kept in touch.”

Hay added that he is looking forward to working with Johnston and the Winterhawks, who will be a younger team this season.

“I love learning and trying to get better and working with kids,” Hay said. “I think this is a great situation to go to. . . . Their organization has done a great job here over the years . . . one of the elite franchises of the Western Hockey League.”

That complete interview is right here.


Here’s a neat hockey story . . .

Silas Matthys is a 26-year-old goaltender from Wollerau, Switzerland, who, for the past four years has been one of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League’s best players while TWUattending Trinity Western U in Langley, B.C.

Matthys played for HC Sierre in the NL B, Switzerland’s second tier pro league, in 2012-13. Unfortunately, the team folded late in the summer of 2013, leaving Matthys without anywhere to play.

Classes at TWU were 10 days from starting. His father, Christian, a goalie coach, had worked with the Hockey Ministries International camps in Winnipeg. Christian got in touch with an HMI staff member, who steered him to Barret Kropf, who had taken over the Spartans and needed a goaltender.

Matthys “knew no English and was bad his first three starts,” Kropf told Taking Note. “Then got hot in the second half and never looked back.”

In five seasons, starting in 2013-14, Matthys went 4.05, .893; 2.50, .930; 2.58, .925; 2.08, .930; and 2.26, .923.

In 2013-14, he was named a playoff all-star and the BCIHL’s playoff MVP. The next season, he had the league’s best save percentage (.930), was named to the first all-star team, was honoured as top goaltender and the league’s MVP. In 2015-16, he had the BCIHL’s top save percentage (.925) and was a second-team all-star. In 2016-17, he was a second-team all-star and a playoff all-star.

Then came last season when the 5-foot-11, 165-pounder had the best save percentage (.923) for a third time, was a first-team all-star and a playoff all-star, and was named the BCIHL’s top goaltender. He also helped the Spartans to the league title by going 1.50, .949 in four playoff games.

“He graduated with honours, too,” Kropf said. “He’s an incredible leader.”

Earlier this summer, Matthys got his reward — a contract with Ambri-Piotta of NL A, Switzerland’s top pro league. With G Connor Hughes out with a knee injury, Matthys signed a deal that runs through mid-September.

Matthys then was loaned to the Ticino Rockets of the NL B to allow him to get some playing time.


Bernadine and Toby Boulet were in Humboldt on Thursday where they accepted the HumboldtBroncosAngel’s Legacy Humanitarian Award, from the Angel’s Legacy Project, “on behalf of their son, 21-year-old Logan, who was among the 16 people who died when the Humboldt Broncos team bus collided with a semi trailer on April 6,” writes Andrea Hill of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. . . . The proceedings included an amazing flyover by the Snowbirds. . . . By now, you’re aware that Logan Boulet is a Canadian hero. Right? . . . Hill’s story is 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, you are able to do so right here.


The Kamloops-based minor midget Thompson Blazers have added a pair of former WHL players as assistant coaches. Neil Pilon and Darryl Sydor will be thompsonblazershelping out Chris Murray, the head coach of the first-year team. . . . Pilon, 51, is from Ashcroft, B.C. He played four-plus seasons (1983-88) in the WHL — nine games with the Kamloops Jr. Oilers, 52 with the Kamloops Blazers, 131 with the Moose Jaw Warriors and 71 with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Sydor played four seasons (1988-92) with the Kamloops Blazers and now is a co-owner of the franchise. He went on to play 1,291 regular-season and 155 playoff games in the NHL, while playing on two Stanley Cup-winners. He also served as an NHL assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild and was with the St. Louis Blues last season. . . . “It was just time to take a step back,” Sydor told Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV in Kamloops earlier this month. “I’ve been (coaching) for only eight years, but playing the game of hockey a lot longer. It’s time to give back to the family, give back to myself, and just take a step back.”

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Hurricanes power to Game 4 win . . . Wheat Kings mourn loss of long-time volunteer . . . Coaching news from here and there

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The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored four times on the PP en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday night. The WHL’s best-of-seven Eastern LethbridgeConference final is 2-2 and on its way back to Swift Current for Game 5 on Saturday night. They’ll return to Lethbridge for Game 6 on Monday. . . . Last night, the Hurricanes took a 3-1 lead into the second period and went from there. They got two goals from D Calen Addison and two assists from each of F Brad Morrison and F Jordy Bellerive. . . . Morrison leads all playoff skaters with 21 assists and 36 points. . . . Lethbridge got 25 stops from G Logan Flodell, while Stuart Skinner made 23 saves for the Broncos. . . . The Hurricanes were 4-10 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-7. . . . The Broncos played a second straight game without D Artyom Minulin and F Glenn Gawdin, their captain. Minulin left in Game 1 with an undisclosed injury; Gawdin was hurt in Game 2. . . . “We’ve got to remember how we looked tonight,” Broncos head coach Manny Viveiros told Shawn Mullin, their radio voice. “As a team I thought we embarrassed ourselves tonight. That’s not who we are. . . . It’s still 2-2. But tonight I’m not happy with how we presented ourselves.”


The WHL’s Western Conference final is scheduled to resume tonight (Thursday) in Kennewick, Wash., with the Everett Silvertips holding a 2-1 edge over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Everett scored the game’s last four goals on Monday to post an 8-4 victory. The teams then had two days off because the Toyota Center in Kennewick was playing host to Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story Onstage. . . . The teams will be back in Everett for Game 5 on Saturday.


Preben (Ben) Laursen, a long-time volunteer with the Brandon Wheat Kings, died on Wednesday at the age of 78. He had been involved with the Wheat Kings since 1965, which is two years before the franchise went into what now is the WHL. . . . Laursen worked in various roles with the Wheat Kings, from handling the public-address work to looking after statistics. He also served as the director of off-ice officials for a few seasons. . . . There’s more on the Wheat Kings’ website right here.


TheCoachingGame

The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup, have fired head coach Jim Midgley after just one season behind the bench. . . . This season, the Mooseheads went 43-18-6-1, leaving them fourth overall in the QMJHL. They were swept from a second-round playoff series by the Charottetown Islanders. . . . Before taking over as head coach in June, Midgley spent six seasons with the Mooseheads as an assistant coach. . . . According to a news release, the Mooseheads will retain assistant coaches Sylvain Favreau and Jon Greenwood, and goaltending coach Eric Raymond.


Chris Murray, a former NHL and WHL player, is the first head coach of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers, a minor midget team. . . . Murray, a Kamloops firefighter, has been an assistant coach with the WHL’s Blazers for four seasons, and also has coached minor hockey and at the Valleyview Hockey Academy. . . . Murray, 43, played three seasons (1991-94) with the WHL’s Blazers before going on to a pro career that included 242 NHL games. . . . The minor midget Blazers will be part of the B.C. Minor Midget Hockey League that is to begin play in the fall.


The QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts are expected to announce today (Thursday) that they have signed Patrick Roy as their new general manager and head coach. Roy, 52, would replace Philippe Boucher, who resigned as general manager and head coach earlier this month. . . . Roy is a former part-owner, GM and head coach of the Remparts, but has been out of the coaching game since leaving the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche in August 2016. . . . The Remparts have been owned by Quebecor Sports and Entertainment Group since 2015.


Ken Law is the new head coach and assistant GM of the junior B Kelowna Chiefs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Law spent the previous eight seasons as the GM/head coach of the KIJHL’s Osoyoos Coyotes. His contract wasn’t renewed at season’s end despite the fact the Coyotes finished atop the Okanagan Division for four straight seasons. Law takes over as head coach from Jason Tansem, who remains with the Chiefs as the director of hockey operations and also will help out as an assistant coach. . . . Grant Sheridan remains the Chiefs’ general manager.


The Ottawa-based Carleton U Ravens announced earlier this month that former WHLer Shaun Van Allen will be their head coach in 2018-19. He spent this season as the interim head coach, taking over when Marty Johnston joined the AHL’s Manitoba Moose prior to it getting started. . . . Under Van Allen, the Ravens went 17-7-4 and finished fourth in the OUA East, before losing a first-round series to the U of Ottawa. . . . Van Allen, 50, is from Calgary. He played two seasons (1985-87) with the Saskatoon Blades. His pro career included 794 regular-season NHL games. . . . Tip of the cap to Victor Findlay (@Finder_24) for this one.


The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars and Brandon Heck, their general manager and head coach, have, according to a team-issued news release, “mutually agreed to part ways immediately.” . . . According to the release, Heck “felt that he would like to pursue coaching opportunities closer to home and his family.” . . . Heck, 33, is from Forestburg, Alta. He spent one season with the North Stars, after coaching the bantam AAA Camrose Red Wings for two seasons. . . . This season, the North Stars finished atop the Global Ag Risks Solutions Divisions, at 42-14-2-0, which was the second-best record in the SJHL. They lost a third-round playoff series to the Estevan Bruins in five games.


MacBeth

F Ben Maxwell (Kootenay, 2003-08) signed a one-year extension with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL). He had 12 goals and 16 assists in 39 games.