Trumpeting Recchi in Kamloops . . . Winnipeg report has Ice ‘months away’ from possible move . . . Lots of notes from around the WHL


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On Oct. 11, in this very space, I wrote a short piece about the Kamloops Blazers looking to put together a cheerleading team in the hopes of improving the atmosphere in their home arena, the Sandman Centre.

I ended the piece with this: “Might I be so bold as to suggest a trumpet player? If it was good enough for the Montreal Forum . . .”

I am pleased to report that on Friday at 6:17 p.m., while seated in the cozy confines of the press box, I heard a trumpeter — Jerome Lidster — break out the theme from Hockey Night in Canada.

Later, he played a darn fine O Canada!

Unfortunately, the man and his horn weren’t heard from again.

Please give us more.


The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that “the Western Hockey League’s long-rumoured Kootenaynewreturn to Winnipeg could be only months away from coming to fruition.” . . . Veteran sports reporter Mike Sawatzky, who is familiar with the WHL having covered the Brandon Wheat Kings more than a few years ago, writes: “Owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice are believed to be considering a plan to move their franchise to Winnipeg in time for the start of the 2019-20 season, sources have told the Free Press.” . . . According to Sawatzky, the relocated Ice would play at the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena until a new 5,000-seat arena is built in conjunction with “the Rink Hockey Academy’s new training facility currently under construction at the west end of South Landing, just off McGillivray Boulevard.” . . . Sawatzky’s complete story is right here.


The Kelowna Rockets settled on their three 20-year-olds by adding F Lane Zablocki to their roster and releasing Ryan Bowen. . . . They had acquired Zablocki’s rights from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 29, giving up a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2021. Zablocki, who won’t turn 20 until Dec. 27, was injured at the time of the trade and didn’t get into a game until Friday night in Victoria. . . . Zablocki played for three teams last season. He had nine goals and 10 assist in 31 games with the Red Deer Rebels, two goals and four assists in nine games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and a goal and five assists in 25 games with Victoria. In 201 regular-season games,  he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Bowen was pointless in seven games with the Rockets. He also has played with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge. In 150 career games, he has 21 goals and 36 assists. . . . The Rockets also own the WHL rights to Bowen’s brother, Ethan, 16. Kelowna selected Ethan in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. He has committed to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21 and presently is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . The Rockets’ other 20-year-olds are D Braydyn Chizen and D Dalton Gally.


At least three players have been released by their WHL teams. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds have dropped D Payton McIsaac, who will turn 18 on Dec. 26, from their roster. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he was pointless in four games this season. He was a second-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. He had one assist in 12 games over three seasons with the Blades. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors have released F Brecon Wood, who is to turn 18 on Dec. 5. From Edmonton, he had one goal in seven games this season. In the previous two seasons, he had four goals and two assists in 84 games with the Warriors, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have dropped F Logan Moon, 18, from their roster. From Beaverlodge, Alta., he had yet to get into a game this season and was dropped after the team returned from its U.S. Division trip. He played last season with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. The Oil Kings selected him in the ninth round of the 2015 bantam draft.


F Lukas Sillinger, a sixth-round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, has committed to attend North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. From Regina, Sillinger, 18, is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. . . . Lukas is in his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. This season, he has one goal and one assist in one game. Last season, he finished with seven goals and 13 assists in 56 games.


The Prince George Cougars have released F Max Kryski, 18, and he has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. Kryski, from Kelowna, will remain on the Cougars’ protected list. This season, Kryski was pointless in four games with the Cougars. Last season, he had eight goals and two assists in 62 games. . . . He is a younger brother of Calgary Hitmen F Jake Kryski, 20.


The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline was busy again on Thursday as three more playes drew suspensions. . . . F Riley Bruce of the Tri-City Americans was hit with a four-game sentence under supplemental discipline for something that happened during a 5-4 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the WHL doesn’t add explainers to suspensions such as these so fans are left to wonder what happened. . . . D Max Martin of the Prince Albert Raiders got a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline for something that happened during an 8-4 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday. Again, because the WHL doesn’t add explainers, you are free to guess at what happened. . . . F Brady Nicholas of the Saskatoon Blades has been suspended for two games after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct during a 5-4 OT loss to the visiting Hitmen on Wednesday night. He hit Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who missed a couple of shifts but came back to finish the game.


ICYMI, F Ryan Vandervlis has rejoined the Lethbridge Hurricanes as he continues to recover from horrendous burns he suffered on June 15 in a campfire explosion at a home near Calgary. Vandervlis, 20, has lost about 30 pounds and is a long ways from returning to game action, but he has come miles from when he was in a medically induced coma after the accident. . . . Lara Fominoff of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here.


The OHL’s Flint Firebirds introduced Eric Wellwood, 28, as their new head coach on ohlThursday. He takes over from Ryan Oulahen, who was in his third season when he resigned earlier this month. At that point, the Firebirds were 0-7-0. Then then lost two more games under interim head coach Greg Stefan. . . . Wellwood, whose NHL career was halted by injuries, was an associate coach with the Firebirds in 2016-17, under Oulahen. As a player with the Windsor Spitfires, Wellwood won two Memorial Cups. He won another as an assistant coach with the Oshawa Generals.


F Mackenzie Wight, 19, who left the Swift Current Broncos earlier this month, has joined the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Wight, who is from Burnaby, B.C., was pointless in two games with the Broncos this season, after recording a goal and three assists in 55 games last season. . . . In 74 regular-season games, six with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 68 with the Broncos, he has two goals and three assists. . . . This is his second stint with the Bulldogs; he had six goals and six assists in 27 games with them in 2016-17.


We’re back after one day away. Yes, the laptop came back from a checkup; yes, it passed all the tests. . . . If you missed us, why not consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and making a donation to the Taking Note cause?


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Stelio Mattheos scored three times, the last one into an empty net, as the host Brandon BrandonWKregularWheat Kings dumped the Everett Silvertips, 5-2. . . . Everett (6-4-0), which had won three in a row, started its East Division swing with the game. . . . Mattheos now has 11 goals for Brandon (6-1-2). . . . G Jiri Patera continued his fine start for Brandon, this time with 36 stops. The Czech freshman is 6-1-1, 3.00, .919. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:32 of the third period. . . . Jordin Tootoo, who played his major junior career with the Wheat Kings, announced his retirement from hockey at a pregame news conference, then took part in the ceremonial faceoff.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and beat the Seattle tri-cityThunderbirds, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (6-2-1) had points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Americans improved to 4-4-0. . . . F Parker AuCoin broke a 2-2 tie at 14:51 of the third period, then added the empty-netter for his sixth goal. . . . F Nolan Yaremko drew three assists for the winners. . . . The Americans will play their next 11 games on the road, starting tonight against the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. The road trip also includes a six-game swing through the East Division. They won’t play at home again until Nov. 23.


F Brandon Hagel scored four times to lead the visiting Red Deer Rebels to a 5-2 victory Red Deerover the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Hagel has eight goals this season. He gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead at 1:08 of the first period, made it 3-1 at 1:16 of the second, completed his fourth career hat trick at 8:04 of the second for a 4-2 lead, and rounded out the scoring with his fourth goal, at 7:25 of the third. . . . G Ethan Anders blocked 41 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels (6-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Edmonton (5-7-1) opened the season with five victories, but has gone 0-7-1 since then.


F Kirby Dach scored two goals, including the winner in OT, and added an assist to give Saskatoonthe Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dach tied the game, 2-2, at 19:59 of the second period and won it with his seventh goal of the season just 37 seconds into extra time. . . . Dach, who almost certainly will be a top 10 pick in the NHL’s 2019 draft, has 22 points, including 15 assists, in 12 games. . . . The Blades (8-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Chiefs (6-2-3) are 3-1-1 on their East Division swing. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson ran his point streak to nine games with an assist. He has 19 points, including 15 assists, this season. . . . Saskatoon got 41 saves from G Nolan Maier.


The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting PortlandVancouver Giants, 5-3. . . . F Cody Glass (4) tied the score, 3-3, at 12:29 of the third period and F Reece Newkirk (7) have Portland its first lead at 13:39. . . . F Ryan Hughes (3) added the empty-netter. . . . Glass also added an assist, while linemate Joachim Blichfeld had two helpers. . . . F Jake Gricius scored two Portland goals in his 150th career game. . . . Portland (6-3-1) will meet the Giants again tonight, this time in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (9-2-1) had points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Winterhawks had D Matthew Quigley back for the first time since he was injured during a game in Kamloops on Oct. 5. Blazers F Jermaine Loewen drew a four-game suspension for the high hit, a suspension he completed Friday night.


The Calgary Hitmen opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-1 victory over the Warriors in CalgaryMoose Jaw. . . . F Mark Kastelic (8) scored twice and added an assist for Calgary (3-6-2) which has won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (4-3-2) had points in each of their previous six games (4-0-2). . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 30 shots for the Hitmen. . . . Calgary was 2-for-3 on the PP.


The Medicine Hat Tigers forced OT with two late third-period goals and then won it on a Tigers Logo Officialpenalty shot as they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . The Hurricanes had a 3-1 lead with less than two minutes left in the third period when F Tyler Preziuso (4) scored at 18:09 to get the Tigers to within a goal. . . . F Ryan Jevne (4) tied it at 19:06. . . . F James Hamblin (6) won it on a penalty shot at 4:08. . . . Tigers D Linus Nassen finished with a goal, his second, and two assists. . . . Medicine Hat (6-5-1) has won three in a row. . . . Lethbridge (4-4-3) has lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Lethbridge.


F Josh Pillar broke a 3-3 tie at 16:48 of the third period and the Kamloops Blazers went on Kamloops1to a 5-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 16-year-old Pillar, from Warman, Sask., was a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops, drew an assist, his first WHL point in his first game, on the winner. Stankoven was the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He will be back with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops, for a Saturday afternoon game. . . . Kamloops had lost its previous seven games (0-6-1) after opening the season with a pair of victories. . . . The Broncos (1-10-0) have lost three in a row, all on a B.C. Division swing. They have been outshot 146-52 over those three losses. . . . Broncos F Max Patterson, who is from Kamloops, had a goal and an assist. He pulled the visitors into a 3-3 tie at 6:38 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Kamloops D Luc Zazula left in the first period after taking a hard hit against the end boards that left him woozy. He didn’t return. . . . Blazers F Jermaine Loewen sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. . . . It was Mark Recchi Hall of Fame Night as the Blazers saluted the local star who went on to win three Stanley Cups during a lengthy NHL career. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. Recchi now is an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is a co-owner of the Blazers. . . . Rick Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was in attendance and presented Recchi with a WHL Alumni Achievement Award during a 30-minute pregame ceremony.


D Lassi Thomson and F Liam Kindree had four-point outings as the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketswhipped the Royals, 8-2, in Victoria. . . . F Dante Hannoun (6) gave the Royals a 2-1 lead at 10:47 of the second period but it was all Rockets after that. . . . Thomson finished with two goals, giving him six, and two assists, with Kindree adding his second goal and three assists. . . . Kelowna (3-9-0) was 4-for-6 on the PP and 6-for-6 on the PK. . . . The Royals (8-2-0) are 6-2-0 at home. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse, who had started eight of the team’s first nine games. With him out, Brock Gould made his second start, stopping 16 of 22 shots in 40:51. Joel Grzybowski was brought in from the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars to back him up and came on in the third period to stop eight of 10 shots. . . . A note from the Royals’ post-game news release points out that Gould “stopped Kelowna’s Leif Mattson on a penalty shot. Since their inaugural season in 2011-12, Victoria has had 19 penalty shots taken against it and has only allowed three goals.”


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Silvertips one win from WHL final . . . East final heating up . . . Broncos tell rowdy bunch to cool it

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G Carter Hart stopped 29 shots on Thursday night, leading the visiting Everett Silvertips Everettto a 3-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The result left the Silvertips with a 3-1 lead in the WHL’s best-of-seven Western Conference final, with Game 5 scheduled for Everett tonight (Saturday). . . . The Silvertips took a 2-0 second-period lead on goals from F Riley Sutter (6) and F Reece Vitelli (4), and never looked back. . . . Vitelli, who scored twice in 70 regular-season games, has four goals in 14 playoff games. . . . F Matt Fonteyne (6) added an empty-netter for the winners, after F Riley Sawchuk (2) had scored for the home side. . . . Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas left the game with an undisclosed injury. His status for Game 5 isn’t likely to be known much before tonight’s pregame warmup. . . . The announced attendance was 3,537, representing the Americans’ largest crowd in six home playoff games. The Americans’ average announced attendance in these playoffs is 3,056 in the 6,000-seat Toyota Center. . . . During the regular season, the Americans’ average, according to announced attendance figures, was 3,649.


The WHL’s Eastern Conference final, with the Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes tied 2-2, is scheduled to resume tonight (Saturday) in Swift Current.

Things seem to be heating up, too, especially off the ice.

Following Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final, won 5-1 by the host Hurricanes on Wednesday, Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Broncos, used his Twitter account to take Lethbridge hockey fans to task.

Dylan Purcell, a former Lethbridge Herald sports writer, chimed in with a tweet of his own.

Estephan, 20, played 288 regular-season games with the Hurricanes and was the team captain when he and G Stuart Skinner were traded to the Broncos in January.

Lethbridge fans responded Wednesday by booing Estephan when he was in possession of the puck. Of course, they also verbally abused Skinner, but that pretty much comes with the territory for a visiting team’s goaltender, doesn’t it?

Skinner responded by saying: “I’m fine with it. I like when fans get on me, but I would have expected a little bit more respect for the fans. Especially after everything me and Giorgio did for them.

“It kind of shows you the type of respect they have for us and how fast things can change. I’m fine with it . . . I saw it coming a long (time) ago.

“I want to beat the fans now. I’m ready to go.”

Meanwhile, in advance of Game 5, the Broncos announced a crackdown on “abusive or violent behaviour” at their home games. It seems the rowdies have been in evidence there, too.

In a news release, Trent McLeary, the organization’s acting chairman, stated that the SCBroncosteam “would like to ensure all of our fans that we are aware of incidents that have occurred at a couple of games in the first two rounds of playoffs involving visiting fans from Regina and Moose Jaw.

“Management from the hockey club has discussed behavioural issues with a number of individuals involved in incidents and made them aware there is zero tolerance for this behaviour in the future. All fans should be aware that abusive or violent behaviour will result in removal from the facility by security personnel and may be subject to review by the RCMP. . . .

“There have also been changes made to the seating arrangements for visiting fans to ensure everyone is having a safe and fun time at our events. We encourage our fans to hold themselves and others to a high standard that reflects appropriately on the hockey club and our community.”


The SJHL-champion Nipawin Hawks, led by three goals and an assist from F Brandan Arnold, downed the host Steinbach Pistons, 4-3, on Friday night in Game 1 of the ANAVET Cup. The best-of-seven series features the SJHL and MJHL champions against each other with the winner getting a berth in the Royal Bank Cup tournament at Prospera Place in Chilliwack, B.C., May 12-20. . . . Arnold snapped a 3-3 tie with his third goal at 18:56 of the third period. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight (Saturday) in Steinbach. . . . Arnold, 21, is from Dodsland, Sask. He has played 80 WHL games over three seasons, all with the Swift Current Broncos, recording five goals and five assists. . . . The Hawks got 29 saves from G Declan Hobbs.

In Wenatchee, Wash., F A.J. Vanderbeck scored at 6:17 of OT to give the BCHL-champion Wild a 3-2 victory over the AJHL-champion Spruce Grove Saints in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series for the Doyle Cup. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Wenatchee tonight (Saturday). . . . Vanderbeck, 20, is from Monument, Colo. In 20 playoff games, he put up 13 goals and 15 assists. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky gave the Wild a 2-1 lead at 12:51 of the third period. . . . Spruce Grove D Brad Forrest tied it at 14:22. . . . The announced attendance was 2,486.


TheCoachingGame

Jeff Tambellini is the new general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke TrailEaters. He replaces Cam Keith, who was fired on April 9 after two seasons on the job and despite having gotten the Smokies into the Interior Division final, where they lost in five games to the eventual-champion Wenatchee Wild. . . . From Port Moody, B.C., Tambellini played two seasons with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, during which he was named junior A player of the year in 2001-02. He played at the U of Michigan for three seasons before going on to a pro career that included 242 NHL games and finished in Europe. . . . He spent this season, his first after retiring as a player, as an assistant coach at the U of Michigan. . . . Tambellini’s father, Steve, is from Trail, while Steve’s father, Addie, played for the 1960-61 Smoke Eaters, the last amateur team from Canada to win the IIHF world championship.


Jay Woodcroft is the new head coach of the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Woodcroft takes over from Gerry Fleming who, along with assistant coach Tony Borgford, were fired. . . . Woodcroft, 41, spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach with the Oilers, under head coach Todd McLellan. The two of them also were together for three seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and seven with the San Jose Sharks. . . . This season, the Condors finished 31-27-9-1. They were seventh in the eight-team Pacific Division and missed the playoffs. . . . The Oilers also dumped assistant coaches Ian Herbers and Jim Johnson. . . . Herbers just completed a three-year sabbatical from the U of Alberta Golden Bears and will be returning to that post. Serge Lajoie, who was the head coach in Herberrs’ absence, has been interviewed by the Saskatoon Blades, who are looking for a head coach to replace the fired Dean Brockman. . . . With Herbers behind the bench, the Golden Bears won the Canadian university championship in 2014 and 2015. Lajoie just led the Golden Bears to the 2018 title.


Dominique Ducharme, the head coach of Canada’s national junior team at each of the past two World Junior Championships, has been signed as an assistant coach by the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. . . . A veteran QMJHL coach, Ducharme spent the past two seasons as GM/head coach of the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the Halifax Mooseheads for five seasons. . . . The Canadiens also announced that assistant coaches Jean-Jacques Daigneault and Dan Lacroix won’t return, while goaltender coach Stephane Waite has signed a new contract.


MacBeth

F Mike Aviani (Spokane, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract extension with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga). A dual Croatian-Canadian citizen, he had 10 goals and 14 assists in 50 games. . . .

F Andrew Clark (Brandon, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract extension with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). In 54 games, he had 24 goals and 35 assists. He led his team in scoring and was sixth in the league’s scoring race. . . .

F Ryan Hollweg (Medicine Hat, 1999-2004) signed a one-year contract extension with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga). In 41 games, he had two goals and two assists. Next season will be his seventh with Plzeň. . . .

D Troy Rutkowski (Portland, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Sparta Sarpsborg (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had 20 goals and 27 assists in 45 games. He led his team in goals, led the league in goals and points by a defenceman, and was named to the league’s all-star team. . . .

D Kristian Khenkel (Lethbridge, 2013-14) signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). In 55 games, he had two goals and three assists. . . .

F Greg Scott (Seattle, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract extension with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). An alternate captain, he had six goals and seven assists in 36 games.


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Scattershooting . . . Drawing goes viral . . . Big League for Broncos . . . Vandekamp back in coaching game

Scattershooting

A drawing showing players from the Humboldt Broncos asking Jonathan Pitre to join them in a game of shinny has exploded on social media. If you haven’t seen it, it’s in the tweet below. . . . It is the work of Kerry MacGregor, whose father, Roy, writes for The Globe and Mail and whose essay on the Broncos’ tragedy was linked to here on Monday. . . . The father and daughter have been in the news this year because of the release of their children’s book The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink.


Logan Boulet, a defenceman who didn’t survive the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus on Friday, registered as an organ donor as he turned 21 on March 2. That story became most popular on social media when the information was made public by his family. But who was Logan Boulet? Dylan Purcell has the answer right here as he visits with folks who knew Boulet in his hometown of Lethbridge.



There are wordsmiths and there are wordsmiths . . . and then there is Charles P. Pierce. On Tuesday, SI.com posted a Pierce essay that is well worth your time. Yes, it’s about hockey and Humboldt and billet families and a whole lot more, and it’s all right here.


On that subject, here is Doug Johnson, the general manager and head coach of the Nipawin Hawks, talking to Postmedia’s Nick Faris:

“The people (who) are no longer with us were on that bus to play. They were on that bus to chase a dream and make it to the Canalta Cup final. If we don’t play, we do them a huge disservice. To me, the only way to truly honour Humboldt is to play.

“I think it’ll help our players with the grieving process. Will it be tough? Absolutely. Will sometimes it not make sense? Absolutely. But talking with people (who) have been through tragedies, to a person, they just say, ‘Get back and honour them through play. That’s what they would want.”

That conference call is scheduled for today (Wednesday).



Tom Cochrane, who really should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, paid a visit to TSN on Tuesday evening. Cochrane, the pride of Lynn Lake, Man., took the time to treat viewers to a special version of his hit song Big League.


Thank you so much to all who commented on the story I posted here earlier on Tuesday. I am thrilled that so many people read it, and were able to get something positive out of it.

I awoke Tuesday at 3 a.m., after having been asleep for about two hours. I was wide awake, but couldn’t figure out why. As I poked and prodded the depths of my mind, it came to me. Anyone who has written will understand when I suggest that I didn’t get much sleep for the rest of the night.

Again, thank you so much for the reaction. I would respond individually but this, I think, is better than cluttering up timelines.


And now for a couple of BCHL-related items . . .

Mike Vandekamp is back in the coaching game as the general manager and head coach Cowichanof the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals.

Vandekamp was in his seventh season as the Nanaimo Clippers’ GM/head coach when he was fired by new owner Wes Mussio on Dec. 22. Mussio cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the move.

With the Capitals, Vandekamp takes over from Brian Passmore, who will stay on in the area of hockey development, working, according to a news release, with the team’s U-16 program and other youth hockey initiatives.

This season, the Capitals finished 10-41-5, with two ties, and didn’t make the playoffs.

Meanwhile, in Trail, the Smoke Eaters, who are owned by Minnesota businessman Rich Murphy, have fired Cam Keith, their general manager and head coach, after a season in Trailwhich they went 32-21-4, with one tie, and reached the league’s final four for the first time since 2003.

In the second round of the playoffs, the Smokies won a seven-game series from the Penticton Vees, who had finished 17 points ahead of them in the Interior Division. Trail then lost the conference final in five games to the Wenatchee Wild.

Keith’s departure was announced via a one-paragraph, two-sentence, 46-word news release.

Jim Bailey of the Trail Times reported that Keith, who is from Nelson, “was conspicuously absent at the City of Trail ceremony that honoured the team Monday afternoon, and it was revealed later in a press release that Keith had been relieved of his duties that morning.”

Keith completed two seasons in Trail. In 2016-17, they finished 26-26-5, with one tie, good for third in the division.