F Zack Ostapchuk, the Vancouver Giants’ captain, apparently suffered an undisclosed injury while in camp with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. He definitely won’t play tonight (Friday) against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that Ostapchuk “reportedly will be sidelined two to three weeks” and that GM Barclay Parnetta said he “wasn’t expecting to see Ostapchuk . . . back for as many as four weeks.” . . . Ostapchuk was a second-round selection by the Senators in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . On Wednesday, the Giants dealt F Cole Shepard, 20, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a third-round pick in the 2023 WHL draft. Shepard, who has struggled with injuries for the past few seasons, had seven goals and 13 assists in 28 games last season with Vancouver. Shepard is in camp with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.
The Edmonton Oil Kings have placed three players on what the team said in a news release is “Long-Term Injury Reserve.” F Jakub Demek, 19, D Graydon Gotaas, 18, and F Tyler Horstmann, 20, all went on LTIR as they continue to recover from offseason surgery to repair undisclosed injuries. . . . With Horstmann on the shelf, the Oil Kings claimed F Reid Jacobson, 20, off waivers from the Spokane Chiefs. Jacobson put up 35 points, including 12 goals, in 114 games over three seasons with the Chiefs. . . . The Oil Kings now have four 20-year-olds on their roster, with Jacobson joining D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golder and F Jaxsen Wiebe.
Hartley Miller, among other things the colour analyst on broadcasts of Prince George Cougars’ home games, is back with his Cat Scan podcast. And this week he discovered that Mark Lamb, the club’s general manager and head coach, has a new three-year contract extension. Lamb is entering his fourth season with the Cougars.
The @PGCougars coach/gm Mark Lamb has a new 3-year deal, new 20 years-olds on the team, and returning drafted goalies. He discusses these topics and looks ahead to the season that begins this weekend in this week's Cat Scan #podcasthttps://t.co/7BboG8J9fm
Joey Votto (out for the season) is walking around the stands at the @Reds game. He’s hanging with fans, taking selfies, signing autographs, and sitting with kids to watch with them. pic.twitter.com/vhSjg40wyB
THINKING OUT LOUD — Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that it is impossible to avoid gravel trucks on our streets and highways these days? . . . If you scurry over to Entertainment Weekly’s website, you will be able to find a story on all the new Hallmark Christmas movies that are on the way. . . . If you’re hoping to watch Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees hit No. 61 tonight (Friday) against the visiting Boston Red Sox, you’ll have to do it via Apple TV.
Thank you to long-time scouts Kim Ridd, Lonny Wilcox, and Percy Kosak.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS — The 2023 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is to be played at the Langley Events Centre — that is the home arena of the Vancouver Giants — on Jan. 25. From a news release: The game “showcases top NHL Draft eligible talent from across the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance.” . . . Yes, hundreds! . . . The game also was held in the Lower Mainland of B.C. in 2005 and 2016. . . . Don’t forget that the 2022 World U-17 Challenge is scheduled for the Langley Events Centre and the Sungod Arena in North Delta, from Nov. 5-12. . . . The Prince George Coliseum, the home of the BCHL’s Spruce Kings, is to be called the Kopar Memorial Arena under the terms of a four-year naming deal. Kopar Administration Ltd. is to pay $15,000 per year for the naming rights. Kopar also will be on the hook for new signage. . . .
Two junior B leagues — the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and the Pacific Junior Hockey League — have formed a partnership that they are calling the British Columbia Hockey Conference. According to a news release that is right here, the BCHC’s “inaugural season includes two major projects: the creation of a Department of Player Safety that will oversee enhanced supplementary disciplinary procedures for its members, as well as a Prospects Game that will highlight its top young players.” The KIJHL has 19 active franchises in the province’s Interior, while the PJHL has 13 teams centred on the Lower Mainland.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The Prince Albert Raiders told shareholders at their annual general meeting on Wednesday night that they had a profit of $152,191 for their 2021-22 fiscal year.
That is a considerable increase from 2020-21, a season that was shortened considerably by the pandemic. That season, which for East Division clubs featured 24 games and was played entirely in Regina, the Raiders showed a profit of $25,891. However, that included $1,081,179 in government grants, $600,000 of that from the Saskatchewan government.
“From the start of the (2021-22) regular season,” the team said in a news release last night, “the Raiders saw a large number of ticket sales, with the primary reason being it was the first time that the team had played at the Art Hauser Centre since March 6, 2020. The organization also saw a large uptick in promotions, fundraising and advertising, thanks to the ability to host events inside the rink.”
The Raiders’ news release included only three paragraphs on the AGM.
In 2019-20, a season that was halted by the pandemic in March before the regular season was completed, the Raiders lost $331,895. That followed a 2018-19 season in which they won the WHL championship and showed a profit of $633,314.
Four of the WHL’s 22 teams are owned by local shareholders and as such are required to present profit-loss statements at annual general meetings.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes have scheduled their AGM for Sept. 19, with the Moose Jaw Warriors going on Sept. 20 and the Swift Current Broncos on Oct. 4.
The WHL’s other 18 teams all are privately owned.
Gerry James is the only player to play in the Grey Cup (Winnipeg Blue Bombers, November 1959) and Stanley Cup final (Toronto Maple Leafs, April 1960) in same overlapping season. He played with Bombers 1952-62 and Leafs 1954-61, and is in Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and CFHOF. pic.twitter.com/gUv3T0DXIE
The Tri-City Americans, looking to add some experience and some offence to their lineup, acquired F Jalen Luypen, 20, from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Aug. 9. The Americans also got two conditional WHL draft picks — a fifth-rounder in 2024 and a second in 2026 — while giving up F Rhett Melnyk, 18, D Bryson Andregg, 19, and a conditional 2023 second-round selection. . . . Luypen had been picked by the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2021 draft and he signed a three-year entry-level deal earlier this summer. . . . But now comes the bad news. Luypen apparently suffered an injury to his left shoulder during last spring’s playoffs and tried to play through it as the Oil Kings made their run to the Memorial Cup. In the end, however, he needed more than offseason rehab, and he now has undergone rotator cuff surgery. The Blackhawks have said that he will be out for up to 18 weeks, which means he won’t be available to the Americans until after Christmas. . . . As a 20-year-old, Luypen is eligible to play in the AHL this season, but one would think the Blackhawks would much prefer him to play with the Americans once he has recovered from the surgery. . . .
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if the Americans and Oil Kings end up renegotiating any parts of what was an intricate deal. . . . As reported by Alan Caldwell shortly after the deal, here are the original conditions: Edmonton gets the 2023 second if Luypen comes back from the pros by Nov. 15. If he returns after Nov 15 but before Jan 10, it becomes a 2023 third-round pick instead. If he does not return to the WHL this year, Edmonton doesn’t get a 2023 pick at all, and Tri-City gets the Edmonton 2026 second-round pick. The 2024 pick is tied to the 2023 pick — if Edmonton gets Tri-City’s 2023 second, then Tri-City gets Edmonton’s 2024 fifth-round pick. If Edmonton gets the 2023 third-rounder instead, then Tri-City gets the 2024 sixth-rounder instead. . . .
Last season, Luypen put up 64 points, 29 of them goals, in 66 regular-season games. He added four goals and nine assist in nine playoff games as the Oil Kings won the WHL title. He followed that up with a goal and two assists in three Memorial Cup games.
There was good — nay, great — news for fans of the WHL and, in particular, the Saskatoon Blades on Tuesday. That’s when Les Lazaruk revealed that he hasn’t retired, nor has he moved on to another job. Yes, he will be back for a 29th season of calling Blades’ games. . . . Lazaruk tweeted that he “did pursue a job opportunity,” but was told on Monday that he wasn’t going to be offered that position. . . . “I may be 63 years old,” he added, “but doing Blades hockey play-by-play makes me feel more like 36!” . . . You likely wouldn’t be wrong if you guessed that Lazaruk had interviewed for the play-by-play opening that TSN has on the TV crew that covers the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. There has yet to be an announcement on who will replace Dennis Beyak, who has retired from the spot he held since 2011.
The Regina Pats erased a 2-0 deficit and beat the Swift Broncos, 4-2, in an exhibition game played in Estevan, Sask., on Tuesday night. The Pats, who got two goals from F Connor Bedard, hung around after the game to sign some autographs and visit with the fans.
The Portland Winterhawks have hired Brendan Burke, one of their former goaltenders, as assistant goaltending coach. Burke, 32, will work with goaltending coach Andy Moog “to assist in the development of Winterhawks goalies and prospects,” according to a news release. . . . Burke, who is from Scottsdale, lives in the Phoenix area and also works as the goaltending director with the Jr. Coyotes program. . . . Burke spent four seasons (2011-15) with the Winterhawks, then played his 20-year-old season with the OHL’s London Knights. And think about this — he won a WHL title with the Winterhawks (2013), an OHL title and a Memorial Cup championship with the Knights (2016), and three Canada West titles and a national championship with the U of Alberta Golden Bears. . . .
The NHL’s Calgary Flames have added Rebecca Johnston, a three-time Olympic gold medal-winner with the Canadian women’s team, as a full-time member of their organization. According to the Flames, Johnston, 32, “will work within the player development team, assisting in prospect evaluations and on-ice instruction and work with (the Flames Foundation) in grassroots, growing (hockey) in our community.” . . . You may have heard of her uncle — Mike Johnston is the vice-president, general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. . . .
The QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders have signed general manager and head coach Jim Hulton to a three-year contract. Hulton has been the QMJHL’s coach of the year each of the past two seasons; he was the CHL coach of the year last season. He is going into his eighth season as the Islanders’ head coach and his seventh as GM. . . . Guy Girouard, Charlottetown’s assistant GM and associate coach, signed a two-year deal, as did assistant coach Kevin Henderson, equipment manager Andrew (Spider) MacNeill and athletic therapist Devin Atkin. . . .
Former WHL F Dane Byers has joined the Prince Albert Mintos of the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League as an assistant coach. Byers, 36, is from Nipawin, Sask. He played four seasons (2002-06) with the Raiders before going on to a pro career that concluded after the 2018-19 season. He spent the last four seasons in Europe. . . . With the Mintos, he’ll be working alongside Tim Leonard, who is into his second season of his second stint as the Mintos’ head coach. another former WHLer, is the Mintos’ head coach. He was the head coach from 2002-12 before joining the Raiders for two seasons as an assistant coach. . . .
The junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Derek Stuart, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract extension that will take him through the 2026-27 season. . . . Stuart has been with the Dynamiters since May 9, 2016.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
After the interim chair of Hockey Canada’s board of directors gave the stamp of approval to the embattled organization’s leadership, Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered tried to answer the question: “Why?” . . . Here’s what he wrote: “Because it’s a hockey thing and it involves hockey people, a group that, generally speaking, loves to wear its status as an outlier like a badge of honour. It’s such an insular, tribal group and it believes the problems that plague the game can only be solved by people who are deeply involved in it, people who are well-versed in the supposed complex and unique nuances involved in a game where players chase a black disc around the ice. Even if those are the same people who cause the problems in the first place.”
And, ICYMI, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said that it’s “fairly clear that both the government and Canadians in general have lost confidence in the leadership at Hockey Canada.”
Sheldon Kennedy, who knows a thing or two about what’s going on here, told The Canadian Press: “For the betterment of the game and kids, the leadership group at Hockey Canada must resign as they have lost the trust of Canadians in their ability to lead. That is crystal clear.
“If we care about the game like we say we care about the game, I think that’s the best thing to do right now. Canadians are asking for the leadership group to step down. I don’t know how they’re not hearing that.”
They likely have some championship rings stuck in their ears.
The Saskatoon Blades have acquired F Justin Lies, who will turn 19 on Nov. 24, from the Vancouver Giants for F Kyren Gronick, 18, and a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2025 draft. . . . Lies, from Flin Flon, had eight goals and eight assists in 50 games last season. In 120 games with the Giants over three season, he scored 12 goals and added 18 assists. . . . The Giants picked Lies in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . .
The Blades, who dealt their leading scorer from last season, Kyle Crnkovic, 20, to the Seattle Thunderbirds for F Conner Roulette on Tuesday, are looking for some physical play from the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Lies. “Justin is the exact type of player we’ve been coveting over the last year to help add size, ability and tenacity to our forward group,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and GM, said in a news release. . . .
Gronick, from Regina, was picked by the Prince George Cougars in the second round of the 2019 bantam draft. He was dealt to the Blades on Dec. 29 in a three-team deal that also involved the Medicine Hat Tigers. Saskatoon gave up a third-round pick in the 2023 WHL draft and a 2015 seventh-rounder in that exchange. . . . In 38 games over two seasons with the Cougars, Gronick had eight goals and 12 assists. In 37 games with the Blades last season, he had four goals and 10 assists.
Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, has a question: “When we are all driving electric cars will be still call that thing on the car floor the ‘gas pedal?’ ”
Here’s the curmudgeonly on at his curmudgeonly best: “Am I the only one who is fed up to my earbrows with irrelevant ‘advanced stats’ from baseball broadcasts and telecasts? This has really gotten a bit out of hand. I do not care even a little bit about the velocity of the ball as it comes off the bat, nor do I care about the launch angle of a batted ball. I have a passing interest in the length of a home run that made it to the seats, but the exit velocity of a single to right field is stats for the sake of stats. Here is what I want to know from broadcasters/telecasters about batted balls: Was it fair or foul? Was it a hit or an out? That’s it; that’s the list!” . . .
I can only disagree with one part of that rant. It hasn’t “gotten a bit out of hand.” It is completely out of hand. I am so tired of hearing broadcasters refer to “exit velo” that I want to scream.
“A B.C. judge has frozen the assets of a former Vancouver Canucks draft pick who is being sued over allegations he defrauded a realtor of more than $2.8 million,” Keith Fraser of Postmedia wrote earlier this week. “Harpreet Singh Khela, the realtor, claims that Prab Rai, a fifth-round pick in the 2008 NHL draft, held himself out to be a successful and wealthy business person, purporting to have important connections with prominent local and international business people and retired hockey players.” . . . In freezing Rai’s assets, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick “noted that the only substantive assets of Rai are two Lamborghini luxury vehicles with a combined value of about $1.2 million.” . . . Rai, now 32, played five seasons (2005-10) in the WHL, getting into 62 games over one-plus seasons with the Prince George Cougars and then playing 238 with the Seattle Thunderbirds, who acquired him during 2006-07. The Cougars selected him in the seventh round of the 2004 bantam draft. In 300 regular-season games, he totalled 98 goals and 130 assists. . . . Fraser’s story is right here.
THE COACHING GAME:
The Seattle Thunderbirds have added Carter Cochrane to their organization as an assistant coach. . . . Cochrane, 25, is from Kamloops. He spent the past three seasons with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, the last two as an assistant coach, the first one as skills coach. . . . As a defenceman, he played 43 games in the WHL — 33 with the Everett Silvertips (2013-15), nine with the Tri-City Americans (2014-15) and one with the Vancouver Giants (2015-16). . . . With the Thunderbirds, Cochrane fills the vacancy created when Kyle Hagel left in July after being in Seattle for five years. He now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.
The Kamloops Blazers have added Morris Boyer to their organization as athletic therapist. He was the head athletic therapist with the Calgary Flames from 1998-2015, and also has extensive experience with Hockey Canada teams. In Kamloops, he will be working with Colin Robinson, who is into his 27th WHL season, 18 of those with the Blazers. . . .
The OHL’s Niagara IceDogs have traded D Sam Dickinson to the London Knights for seven — yes, SEVEN — draft picks. The IceDogs picked up second-rounders in 2024, 2025 and 2026, third-rounders in 2023, 2025 and 2026, and a fifth-round pick in 2023 in the exchange. . . . Dickinson, from Toronto, was selected by the IceDogs with the fourth overall pick in the OHL’s 2022 draft. He was the first defenceman taken in the draft. . . . From Ryan Pyette of Postmedia: “The 16-year-old was listed on the IceDogs’ training-camp roster this week, but, as has been rumoured for months, does not want to play for the club and did not report. That made him a defected player and eligible to be moved to the highest bidder.” . . .
Annie Fowler, who spent 16 seasons covering the Tri-City Americans for the Tri-City Herald, has joined the WHL team’s staff. She will supply feature stories to the team’s website — amshockey.com. . . . From a news release: “Fowler’s articles will be a part of the Americans News Center . . . They will be published on amshockey.com and distributed in print form at Americans home games.” . . . The Americans’ announcement on Wednesday came on the fourth anniversary of her final day at the Herald. She was laid off, caught up in cutbacks, after having worked at the newspaper for 18.5 years.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League made it official on Monday morning. As you read here on Sunday night, the Storm has promoted former NHLer Jan Ludvig to head coach, replacing Geoff Grimwood. . . . According to the Storm’s news release, “Grimwood is pursuing other opportunities closer to his family on Vancouver Island.” Shortly after the news release was issued, Taking Note was told that Grimwood now is an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. He was with the Storm for one season. . . . In Victoria, Grimwood will be working with GM/head coach Rylan Ferster. In July 2018, Ferster, then the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, hired Grimwood as assistant GM and associate head coach. Ferster resigned about a month later and Grimwood replaced him. If you’re wondering how that went, visit Google and search for Grimwood West Kelowna Warriors. . . . Ludvig was to have been an assistant coach with the Storm this season. The Storm is to begin training camp on Aug. 29. . . . The Storm’s complete news release is right here. . . .
The Tri-City Americans have added Jody Hull and T.J. Millar as associate coaches who will work alongside Stu Barnes, the co-owner who is heading into his second season as head coach. . . . Barnes and Hull played together for a bit with the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Hull, 53, has been coaching the OHL for the past 16 years, most recently as an associate coach with the Niagara IceDogs. . . . Millar, 28, was a coaching development associate with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He is familiar with the Americans, having worked for them on a work placement through university in 2015-16. . . .
The junior B 100 Mile House Wranglers have agreed to a multi-year contract extension with Dale Hladun, their general manager and head coach. The new deal will take them through the 2024-25 season. Hladun has been with the Wranglers since the 2014-15 season, and guided the Wranglers to the 2015-16 KIJHL, Cyclone Taylor Cup and the Keystone Cup titles. . . . The Wranglers opted out of the 2020-21 season because of the pandemic. . . .
The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers have added Coltyn Bates to their staff as assistant general manager and assistant coach. He’ll be working alongside Justin Falk, the GM and head coach. . . . Bates, 25, played three seasons (2015-18) with the Flyers before going on to the U of Wisconsin-Superior for four seasons. . . .
The MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues issued a news release on Monday about their “coaching and player development staff.” . . . That staff includes Alex Mandolidis, the general manager and head coach, along with two assistant coaches (Zach Heisinger and Austin Lauder, both back for a third season); a goaltending coach (Byron Spriggs, for a second season); a skill development coach (Larry Woo); someone to oversee culture and leadership (Mel Davidson); a strength-and-conditioning coach (Derek Tarko); a mental skills coach (Justine Fredette); an athletic therapist (Lana DeBeer, back for a 21st season); and a director, athlete performance (Tommy Howell). . . . The Blues are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, an organization that also includes the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze. Some of the aforementioned, including Spriggs, Wood, Fredette and Davidson, appear on the websites of two or three of the teams.
The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio have reached agreement on a deal that will have the WHL team’s games broadcast on 94.3 The Goat for the 2022-23 season. The deal includes one exhibition game — against the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Sept. 17 — along with 68 regular-season games and the playoffs. . . . Cole Waldie is prepping for his first season as the radio voice of the Cougars, with Hartley Miller back for a 10th season as the analyst for home games. . . . Under terms of the agreement, game broadcasts also may be found at myprincegeorgenow.com. . . . The WHL’s B.C. Division now has games scheduled to be heard on The Goat, The Lizard (Kelowna Rockets) and The Zone (Victoria Royals). . . .
Justin Sturtz is the new head equipment manager with the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks. He was the Seattle Thunderbirds’ head equipment manager last season. . . . Prior to that, he was with the AHL’s Iowa Wild for three seasons and the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers for four seasons (2013-17).
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Does Randy Moller hold the WHL record for most goals in one game by a defenceman? If so, why hasn’t the record portion of the WHL Guide credited Moller with a five-goal game?
According to the WHL Guide, the record for most goals in one game by a defenceman is four, and is shared by seven players:
Ron Greschner of the New Westminster Bruins (Dec. 10, 1972, in a 9-4 victory over the host Edmonton Oil Kings);
Deron Quint of the Seattle Thunderbirds (March 2, 1995, in a 6-3 victory over the host Tri-City Americans);
Sergei Klimentiev of the Medicine Hat Tigers (March 12, 1995, in a 4-3 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes);
Justin Kurtz of the Brandon Wheat Kings (Feb. 28, 1997, in a 6-5 loss to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors);
Nathan Paetsch of Moose Jaw (Jan. 26, 2002, in a 7-1 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos);
Richie Regehr of the Portland Winter Hawks (Nov. 27, 2002, in a 10-2 victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars); and,
Braydon Coburn of Portland (Feb. 4, 2005, in a 7-4 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds).
However, Mark Weninger, a longtime Lethbridge hockey fan, has discovered that Moller, a defenceman who played two seasons (1980-82) with the Lethbridge Broncos, has a five-goal game to his credit.
Weninger is writing a book on the Broncos, who spent 12 seasons (1974-86) in Lethbridge before being sold and moving to Swift Current.
During his research, Weninger spent a lot of time poring over back issues of the Lethbridge Herald, and he happened upon a story in which writer Randy Jensen detailed a March 7, 1982, game in which the Broncos edged visiting Moose Jaw, 7-6. Moller struck for five of the seven Lethbridge goals.
“Moller scored five times, including the winner,” Jensen wrote, adding that Moller’s brother, Mike, “set him up on four of his goals.”
“I haven’t scored that many goals since peewee,” Randy told Jensen. “From bantam on, I never had more than three goals. I just got the breaks tonight.”
Moller, who had scored four goals in 46 games in 1980-81, finished 1981-82 with 20 goals.
The Quebec Nordiques selected Moller in the first round, 11th overall, of the NHL’s 1981 draft. He went on to play 815 regular-season NHL games, the first seven with Quebec. He also played with the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers before retiring after the 1994-95 season. Now 58, Moller is on the Panthers’ broadcast crew.
But despite scoring five goals in one game, he isn’t in the WHL Guide as having scored more goals in one game than any defenceman in league history.
Hmmm . . . over to you, WHL.
It has been interesting watching Major League Baseball teams move players to the restricted list before they depart for Toronto and games with the Blue Jays.
Players need to be vaccinated in order to come into Canada — just like the Blue Jays have to be vaccinated to get into the U.S. — and it seems that most teams have three or four who have consulted with Dr. Google and decided not to bother.
And then there are the Kansas City Royals, who are scheduled to open a four-game series in Toronto today.
A MLB team carries 26 players on its roster; the Royals placed 10 players on the restricted list. Yes, there are 10 players in that locker room who aren’t vaccinated — OF Andrew Benintendi, P Dylan Coleman, 3B Hunter Dozier, C Cam Gallagher, OF Kyle Isbel, P Brad Keller, C MJ Melendez, 2B Whit Merrifield, P Brady Singer and OF Michael A. Taylor.
The Royals also will be missing some coaches for the same reason, although the team hadn’t released their names as of Wednesday night.
At some point prior to Thursday’s game, the Royals will announce the names of the 10 players from the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers who will be added for the games in Toronto.
“It’s an individual choice,” Royals manager Mike Matheny told reporters on Wednesday. “The organization’s done a real good job bringing in professionals and experts to talk guys through tough conversations and then put it in their hands to make the decisions they believe is best for them and their families.”
Merrifield explained his decision: “It was a choice I made talking with my family, talking with my wife. I didn’t think that the risk was worth it, honestly. . . . I don’t feel like COVID is a threat to me.”
Merrifield also claimed to have “had a really dear friend of mine die of COVID-19 . . . It’s something that I’ve taken seriously.”
Of course, he admitted that a trade could change his thought process.
“That might change down the road,” he told The AP. “If something happens and I happen to get on a team that has a chance to go play in Canada in the postseason, maybe that changes. As we sit here right now, I’m comfortable with my decision.”
Dozier, meanwhile, had COVID-19 during the 2020 season and even missed some games. He said Wednesday that he “doesn’t do any vaccines,” but added that he’s “not against vaccines.”
Dozier explained: “I live a healthy lifestyle. I work out. I want my body to naturally fight stuff off.”
A player on the restricted list doesn’t get paid and isn’t credited with service time.
The lost pay for the 10 unvaccinated #Royals, per @AP_Sports: Benintendi: $186,813 Merrifield: $153,846 Keller: $106,044 Dozier: $98,901 Taylor: $98,901 Gallagher: $19,451 Singer: $15,962 Isbel: $15,426 Coleman: $15,399 Melendez: $15,385
If we had a dollar for every American who doesn't understand that their country has the same vaccination rules as Canada, we might be able to end world hunger. We're months into the most tired baseball narrative I've seen in years.
THINKING OUT LOUD: With John Schneider now managing the Toronto Blue Jays, perhaps the players will start to act like the professionals they are supposed to be. Get rid of the home run jacket and forget about those dumb post-game water/Gatorade showers. That stuff got old more than a few weeks ago. . . . You know what is a lot of fun these days? Watching the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners make some noise in MLB’s wild-card races after being down and out seemingly forever. . . . According to the gang at capfriendly.com, the first day of NHL free agency included 153 player signings valued at a total of US$919,175,000 and covering 314 years. F Ondrej Palat signed with the New Jersey Devils to begin Day 2 and that $30-million deal pushed the total of $949,175,000. Yes, it seems some of the teams in Gary Bettman’s league are rolling in dough.
THE COACHING GAME:
Jim Hiller, a former WHL coach, has joined the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach, filling the vacancy created when Marco Sturm was named head coach of the NHL’s teams AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign. . . . Hiller, 53, has been an assistant coach with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and, for the past three seasons, the New York Islanders. . . . He has coached in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?). . . . Hiller, a defenceman, was selected by the Kings in the 10th round of the NHL’s 1989 draft and went on to play 40 games with them in 1992-93. . . . He played three games with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders in 1986-87 before going on to Northern Michigan U. . . .
The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks have added Josh Dubinsky to their staff as an assistant coach. He had been an assistant coach with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers after also working with the NAHL’s Kenai River Brown Bears.
The Tri-City Americans have hired Aaron Hoffmeyer as their equipment manager. He has experience with the U.S. National Team Development Program and most recently was head equipment manager with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals for two seasons.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
— Victoria Cougars Hockey Project (@victoriacougars) July 1, 2022
Archie Henderson, a legendary figure from the WHL’s past, will retire from his role as the Edmonton Oilers’ director of pro scouting after the NHL draft that is to be held in Montreal on Thursday and Friday. Henderson, 65, has been with the Oilers through three seasons. He had been with Detroit but moved to Edmonton when Ken Holland left the Red Wings to join the Oilers as their general manager. . . . The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Henderson played 23 NHL games after being a 10th-round selection by the Washington Capitals in the 1977 draft. . . . A native of Calgary, he played three seasons (1974-77) in the WHL — 86 games with the Lethbridge Broncos and 78 with the Victoria Cougars. In those 164 games, he totalled 26 goals, 29 assists and 700 — yes, 700! — penalty minutes. . . .
On Nov. 19, 1974, Henderson was involved in one of the most memorable scraps in WHL history. The Broncos were in Regina to play the Pats, who had a guy named Bob Poley in their lineup. At the time, the 6-foot-4, 244-pound Poley was a defensive end with the junior Regina Rams, but was still four years from starting his CFL career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. On this day, he was four days past his 19th birthday, while Henderson was two years younger. . . . Regina was leading 5-2 at 14:20 of the second period when Henderson and Poley came together. . . . Gyle Konotopetz, then of the Regina Leader-Post, wrote that Henderson “picked a fight” with Poley, who had never fought while wearing skates. “When Henderson dropped his gloves, Poley was caught off-guard,” Konotopetz wrote. “But, after taking a couple of punches, Poley tackled Henderson as if he were playing defensive end for the Rams and returned a few of his own punches.” . . . Later, Henderson said: “The second time I hit him I thought I knocked him out, but then he just nailed me. Where’d they get him anyway? Boy, is he strong.” . . . Yes, the fans booed Henderson, who said: “I think the fans are a little unreal here. He can’t even skate. At least I can play hockey.” . . . Earl Ingarfield, then the Broncos’ head coach, said Regina coach Bob Turner had put Foley on the ice “for a reason. That took the sting out of us. . . . It’s a good thing (Henderson) fell. (Poley) would have beaten the (bleep) out of Archie.” . . . Turner felt Poley, who hadn’t gotten even one shift as the Pats had lost their previous three games, had given his club “the shot in the arm we needed.” . . . The Pats went on to win the game, 9-3, to move within one point of the second-place Broncos in the Eastern Division. The starting goaltenders were a couple of guys who would go on to become rather well-known— Ed Staniowski of the Pats and Lorne Molleken of the Broncos.
By now, perhaps you’re wondering how it was that Bob Poley ended up wearing a Regina Pats’ uniform.
Well, in 1974-75, the legendary Norm Fong, who would go on to a lengthy career as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ equipment manager, was the Pats’ trainer/equipment manager; one person did both jobs back in the day. Fong also played some Friday night hockey, as did Poley and Roger Aldag, another aspiring football player.
Bob Turner, the Pats’ coach, was in the market for some size and toughness. One night he asked Fong if any of “those Rams kids . . . do any of them skate?”
So . . . Fong spoke with both of them.
“Roger didn’t want to have anything to do with it,” Fong recalled, “but Poley jumped at the chance.”
Poley dressed for his first game on Nov. 15, 1974 — a 6-6 tie with the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings — but didn’t see even one shift.
That led to the encounter with Lethbridge’s Archie Henderson on Nov. 19. Then, on March 11, the New Westminster Bruins went into Regina and came out with a 5-5 tie. The Bruins wound up in a post-game altercation with a Regina broadcaster after that one and coach Ernie (Punch) McLean ended up with a five-game suspension.
“It almost has reached the point where you have to go out and recruit some big stupid guy who can beat up everybody else,” Turner said after that one.
Ten days later, the Pats were in New Westminster. The Bruins won, 6-1, on March 21. The Pats beat the Cougars, 4-2, in Victoria the next night, then returned to New Westminster for a rematch on March 23 in McLean’s first game back from his suspension.
“We were playing in New West and Kerry Fraser was the ref,” Fong recalled. “They always pulled that crap where they’d have one of their guys shoot a puck in your end and then they’d come get the puck and challenge everybody. Poley shot a puck into the New West end and went and got it . . . and nobody touched him.”
Poley didn’t get a lot of ice time; in fact, his first shift came late in the game.
“With just over four minutes remaining in the game,” wrote Lyndon Little of the Vancouver Sun, “Turner sent 6-foot-5, 235-pound Bob Poley lurching off the bench to line up against Harold Phillipoff, one of the biggest of the Bruins. A former member of the Regina Rams . . . Poley — known affectionately as the Hulk from Hudson’s Bay — was along on the road trip, Turner candidly admits, to straighten out the Bruins.”
Turner told Little: ““I sent him out there to kick the bleep out of Phillipoff. I didn’t like the way he was picking on Mike McCann.”
“But,” Little wrote, “with the fans pleading for what they felt would be a classic matchup, McLean prudently replaced Phillipoff. And so the jockeying continued for the remainder of the game. Whenever Poley came on, Phillipoff would withdraw, despite the fact the Regina player was pointedly challenging the New Westminster bench.”
McLean explained his thought process: “I’m not going to risk having one of my best players break his hand on that guy’s skull. If I tried a crazy stunt like that I’d be suspended for life.”
At the time, Philipoff had 26 goals and 31 assists. Poley played 25 games with zero points and five penalty minutes to show for it. Then, in 11 playoff games, he had 10 PiMs.
But wait . . . there’s more . . .
“At the end of the game, they were lipping off and Poley went over to their bench,” Fong said. “All our guys are crapping themselves on their way to the dressing room and Poley’s out there . . . the whole New West team is in their bench and he’s chasing them into their locker room. Kerry Fraser comes over and says, ‘Bob (Turner), you’ve got to come out here and get this . . . monster off the ice. He’s chasing those guys into their dressing room.’ But nobody would fight him.”
Ahh, yes, those were the days, weren’t they?
On the day the CHL held its 2023 import draft, there were reports in the Russian media that G Ivan Fedotov of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers had been detained in Russia.
According to Joshua Manning of euroweeklynews.com, Fedotov “has been detained over suspicions of ‘dodging the Russian Army.’ ” He apparently was taken to a military registration and enlistment office.
Fedotov, 25, played this season in the KHL with CSKA Moscow. The team won the Gagarin Cup as KHL champions.
In April, Fedotov said he would be playing with the Flyers next season.
Of course, news like this makes one wonder if there might be more Russian players in this same situation. That also likely is why some players, like Flyers D Ivan Provorov, who played with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, chose not to return to Russia this offseason.
Two Russian players and one from Belarus were among 64 selected by teams in the CHL’s 2022 import draft on Friday.
Wait a minute, you’re saying. Didn’t the CHL announce in April that Russians and Belarusians were ineligible for the draft, thanks to the invasion of Ukraine?
Well, as the CHL news release wrapping up the draft pointed out: “All non-(20-year-old), import players that were previously drafted in the CHL import draft but were deleted by a CHL team before the 2022 cut-down date were eligible to be re-drafted by another CHL club in the 2022 import draft.”
The Brandon Wheat Kings used their first-round selection on Russian D Andrei Malyavin, 18, who played last season with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. He had two goals and 11 assists in 44 games.
JUST NOTES: Nine of the CHL’s 60 teams didn’t participate in the 31st import draft. All told, six goaltenders, 18 defencemen and 40 forwards were selected. . . . Of the 64 players taken, 23 were from Czech Republic. . . . Of the WHL’s 22 teams, only the Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Winnipeg Ice sat out. . . . The WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers held the first overall selection and took Slovakian F Adam Sýkora, who will turn 18 on Sept. 7. He had 10 goals and seven assists in 46 games with HK Nitra of the Slovakian League last season. He also had two goals and an assist in six games with the Slovakian national team at the IIHF World Championship. Sýkora’s father, Roman, had one assist in eight games with the Tri-City Americans in 1997-98 before going on to play two seasons with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . F Nikita Zozulia, 17, was the lone Ukrainian player to be selected, going to the OHL’s Flint Firebirds in the first round. He played last season with the U-16 Anaheim Jr. Ice Dogs. . . . BTW, 47 of the CHL’s 60 teams didn’t take part in the draft’s second round. Of the WHL teams, only the Vancouver Giants, Regina Pats, Kamloops Blazers and Everett made second-round selections.
The WHL rights to F Brad Lambert, a high-profile Finnish player who might be a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft, have been traded by the Saskatoon Blades to the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . In return, the Blades received fourth- and sixth-round selections in the WHL’s 2023 draft, a conditional first-round selection in 2023 and a conditional second-rounder in 2024. The 2023 fourth-rounder originated with the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Saskatoon had selected Lambert, whose father, Ross, is a former Blades player, in the 2020 CHL import draft. Brad also is a nephew to former WHL player/coach Lane Lambert, now the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders. . . . With the 2022 CHL import draft having been held Friday, days before the NHL draft, the Blades had to make a decision on whether to keep Lambert’s rights or give them up in order to make a selection. With that pick they took Czech D Tomas Ziska, 17, who had one goal and 13 assists in 31 games with a junior team this season. . . . Their other import slot belongs to sophomore Belarusian F Egor Sidorov, 18. . . . NHL Central Scouting had Lambert rated No. 10 among European skaters going into the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . “This was definitely a unique situation all-around,” said Saskatoon general manager Colin Priestner in a statement, “given he’s a high-profile player with family connections to Saskatoon, but we’ve had his rights for over two full years and we felt the odds of him ever playing junior hockey in Canada were quite low and this way we get three good assets guaranteed up front plus two more really high picks if he ever plays in Seattle. We felt after two years of communications we’d exhausted all our options in recruiting him since he’s been playing pro hockey in Finland since he was 16-years-old.” . . . According to the Blades, they will get the conditional draft picks should Lambert sign with Seattle. . . . That likely will be a tall task for the Thunderbirds, who are looking to fill vacancies created by two of their leading scorers — Henrik Rybinski and Lukas Svejkovsky. Because Lambert, who will turn 19 on Dec. 19, will be drafted off a European roster, he will be eligible to play in the NHL, AHL or with Seattle next season.
Meanwhile, three teams from the WHL’s U.S. Divisions selected players in Friday’s import draft after losing 19-year-olds to pro contracts back home. . . . The Everett Silvertips took Czech F Dominik Rymon, 18, and Swiss G Tim Metzger, 17, after F Niko Huuhtanen signed with Jukurit of Liiga. He put up 37 goals and 40 assists in 65 games as a freshman with Everett last season after being the second-overall selection in the 2021 import draft. . . . The Silvertips still have Czech F Michal Gut on their roster, but, as a 20-year-old, he would be a two-spotter should he return. Still, he put up 18 goals and 53 assists in 53 games last season. . . .
As mentioned here the other day, Czech F Petr Moravec has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract at home with Mountfield. He had 16 goals and 19 assists in 68 games as a freshman in Tri-City last season. . . . The Americans had the fourth-overall pick and took Czech F Adam Mechura, 19. . . . Czech G Tomas Suchanek, who is heading into his second season, is the Americans’ other import. . . .
The Spokane Chiefs dropped F Yannick Proske and D Timafey Kovgoreniya prior to the draft, while retaining the rights to Czech D David Jiricek, who is the fourth-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting going into the NHL draft that is scheduled for July 7 and 8. The Chiefs selected Jiricek, now 18, in the 2020 import draft, but he has stayed at home to play for HC Plzen and the Czechia national team. . . . Proske, 19, had 12 goals and 18 assists in 58 games with the Chiefs last season and is returning to the German DEL’s Iserlohn Roosters, who chose not let him return to Spokane. . . . On Friday, the Chiefs took Italian F Tommaso De Luca, who will turn 18 on Dec. 19, then passed in the second round.
A former WHLer who knows his way around the movie/television scene and who once owned a chunk of an NHL team checks in. . . . What? You don’t know the name? You never SAW him play? Google is your friend. . . .
It’s officially the first day of Summer!! Also, to my friends and relatives up north, Happy Canada day… pic.twitter.com/19TWiUDMKV
Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Anti-vaxxer demands you produce a single study showing mRNA vaccines are safe — no not that one.
THE COACHING GAME: The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have signed Levi Stuart as an assistant coach. Stuart, 26, spent the previous three seasons with his hometown team — the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. In Nipawin, he’ll work alongside general manager and head coach Tad Kozun, who signed a two-year deal on March 29. Before joining Merritt, Stuart worked with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants as a video coach. . . .
The junior B Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Connor McLuckie as an assistant coach. From Cranbrook, he played in the KIJHL with the Fernie Ghostriders and Golden Rockets in 2011-12, then had his playing career ended by injuries in 2012. He spent the past three seasons on the coaching staff of the East Kootenay Tier 1 Avalanche, last season as head coach. . . .
The QMJHL’s Val-d’Or Foreurs have signed head coach Maxime Desruisseaux to a contract extension, the length of which wasn’t revealed. Desruisseaux is preparing for his second season as the club’s head coach. . . .
Jeremy Colliton is the new head coach of the Abbotsford Canucks, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. He takes over from Trent Cull, who now is an assistant coach with the parent club. . . . Colliton spent most of the past four seasons as the head coach of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He was fired last season. . . . Colliton, 37, played four seasons (2001-05) with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
A lot of junior hockey teams have signed assistant coaches during my 50-plus years around the game. But I can’t recall an announcement like the one the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades made on Monday.
The Blades welcomed back Wacey Rabbit, this time as an assistant coach, but they also brought his wife, Ashley Callingbull, into their organization as an ambassador.
From a Blades’ news release: “Ashley is a Cree First Nations woman from the Enoch Cree Nation on Treaty Six territory in Alberta. Ashley has many passions that include dance, and she is professionally trained in jazz, ballet, pointe and tap. She also has developed a career in acting, starring in many commercials and television shows.”
These days, she also can be found in Edmonton where she is the in-game host at Commonwealth Stadium for games involving the CFL’s Elks.
But she is making her biggest mark working with First Nations people and in these days of reconciliation the Sask Entertainment Group, which owns the Blades and lacrosse’s Saskatchewan Rush, has done well be bringing her aboard.
“I work with a lot of women and children around the communities and within Saskatoon so I am here quite often and now it will be easier for me to be more accessible to these communities,” she said in that news release.
Her position with the Blades and Rush will allow her a large platform to continue her work in the Saskatoon area and in Saskatchewan.
“I’m hoping to create more programs for not only the youth but indigenous peoples,” she said. “I can’t wait so I will be at every game.”
Sorry, Wacey, but I think your wife’s inclusion in this deal has overshadowed your return.
With the Blades, Wacey Rabbit, 35, fills the vacancy created when associate coach Ryan Marsh left after four seasons to join the DEL’s Schwenninger Wild Wings in Germany as an assistant coach. . . . Rabbit, who is from the Kainai First Nation in Alberta, played four seasons (2002-06) with the Blades and 30 games with the Vancouver Giants in 2006-07. He ended his pro career by playing three seasons (2018-21) with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen, while also playing in Czechi and Romania. . . . In 2021-22, he was an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . . From a Blades’ news release: Rabbit “will join head coach Brennan Sonne, assistant coach Dan DaSilva, goaltending coach Jeff Harvey, video coach Karter Parisloff and assistant Jerome Engele on the staff.”
Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Has the reputation of one organization taken a beating in recent days and weeks as much as Hockey Canada’s has? (It) should never get another cent of government money, which won’t begin to undo anything close to all that’s gone wrong here.”
He’s not wrong.
I always said I’d retire if I got one of these, the town of imperial called my bluff. Thanks to everyone that made it happen! pic.twitter.com/u9vwBinikh
The good folks of Imperial, Sask., got it right. Well done, folks!
THINKING OUT LOUD: I learned a few days ago that Johnny Rivers isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. . . . It’s also wrong, wrong, wrong that Leo Cahill isn’t in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. . . . And while we’re on the subject, it’s embarrassing that Paul Henderson isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame. . . . Is there a better race track in B.C. than the highway between Vernon and Kelowna? If you haven’t been on it, it’s one of those tracks where the speed limit seems to be whatever you want it to be. . . . Look, 3-on-3 overtime is fine for a hockey league’s regular-season games. But in the Memorial Cup? How embarrassing to see the CHL decide meaningful games in this fashion. . . . There was news the other day of thieves breaking into the Atlanta home of former NBA star Vince Carter and making off with about $100,000 in cash. So I asked my wife: “How much cash do we have in our home?” We stopped counting at $70. . . . Hope you feel at home here despite the absence of gambling ads.
.@BCLions owner Amar Doman on $5 beer & food prices:
"If I have to subsidize a bit, I will. There's enough inflation in the world. Let's try and help ppl out. I want our fans to feel not stressed about their bill at the concession stands." #CFL#BCLions via @sekeresandprice
With all that is going on in our world these days, you may have missed this story, from The Associated Press:
“ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Happy the elephant may be intelligent and deserving of compassion, but she cannot be considered a person being illegally confined to the Bronx Zoo, New York’s top court ruled Tuesday.
“The 5-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals comes in a closely watched case that tested the boundaries of applying human rights to animals.”
As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, put it: “I guess I should be happy in these days of hyper-political correctness that the NY State Court of Appeals ruled that an elephant is not a person and that an elephant in the Bronx Zoo cannot be released under habeus corpus. . . . However, before I get too carried away in my euphoria, let me point out that the vote of the judges was only 5-2. Two judges wanted the elephant released via habeus corpus.”
The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held its annual general meeting recently, the details of which are included in the link in the above tweet. I’m disappointed that the news release didn’t include anything about the part of the gathering in which the commissioner was kind enough to give me some free publicity. . . . BTW, the Canadian government has extended pandemic-related border restrictions at least through Sept. 19. I’m told, Mr. Commissioner, that this means the Spokane Braves will be sitting out another KIJHL season. They last played in 2019-20.
“We need an exciting new attraction.”
“I think I’ve got it. Let’s put small children in their own little cars.”
I’ve been coasting for the last couple of weeks, recharging the batteries, making certain that the mask supply is up to date, and watching to see if the quicksand completely envelops Hockey Canada before the Hlinka Gretzky Cup opens in Red Deer on July 31. So a lot of what follows is a bit dated . . .
The Spokane Chiefs have removed the ‘interim’ from Ryan Smith’s title and signed him to “a multi-year contract” as head coach. The precise length of the deal wasn’t revealed. . . . Smith was in his second season as the WHL team’s associate coach when head coach Adam Maglio was fired on Feb. 10. Smith was named interim head coach and guided the Chiefs into the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Before joining the Chiefs, Smith spent two seasons on the Medicine Hat Tigers’ coaching staff and was with the Swift Current Broncos for three seasons. . . . The Chiefs also signed Dustin Donaghy as an assistant coach for 2022-23. A part-time assistant when last season began, he assumed a full-time role when Maglio was fired. As a player, Donaghy, now 33, helped the Chiefs to the 2008 Memorial Cup title. . . . Of course, the Chiefs’ decision to stay with Smith throws a wet blanket on the speculation that the job would be going to Kyle Gustafson, who spent 18 years with the Portland Winterhawks but now is a free agent after being released by the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . .
The MJHL’s Portage Terriers have signed Blake Spiller, their general manager and head coach, to another contract. The Terriers, who do things right, revealed that it is a three-year deal. . . . Spiller has been with the Terriers since 2001 and has been head coach since 2006. . . . The Terriers will be the host team for the 2023 Centennial Cup tournament. . . . From a news release: “Spiller won the CJHL coach-of-the-year award in 2015, 2016 and 2019. He holds the MJHL record for league championships (8) and ANAVET Cups (2). He also won the RBC Cup in 2015. Spiller holds all Terriers coaching records, and has 604 career wins. He is 67 regular-season victories away from breaking Doug Stokes’ all-time MJHL record.” . . .
Scott Burt, a former WHL player and coach, now is the general manager and head coach of the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. He signed on as the Rush’s head coach and director of hockey operations in July 2021, then got the club into the second round of the playoffs. Burt was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs for six seasons (2013-19). As a player, he split four seasons (1994-98) between the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels. . . .
The BCHL has announced the sale of the Nanaimo Clippers to Northern Lights Hockey Canada, “an investment group headed by Brad Kwong, a Western Canadian-born investment professional with a long history in the sport of hockey as a player, executive and team owner,” according to a news release. . . . That news release is right here. Interestingly, it doesn’t mention from whom Kwong and Co. purchased the franchise. . . .
Darren Naylor is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . You may recall that Naylor, then the general manager and head coach of the Nanaimo Clippers, was placed on administrative leave by the BCHL in February due to what the league said was “allegations of code of conduct breaches.” At the time, the BCHL said that Naylor would remain on administrative leave until at least May 31. At the time, Naylor was under contract to the Clippers through the 2022-23 season. . . . The BCHL said at the time that it had appointed an independent investigator to look into the allegations, but it has never updated Naylor’s status. . . . Colin Birkas, the Clippers’ associate coach at the time, also was placed on administrative leave when Naylor was, but shortly after was reinstated. On May 24, Birkas was named the Clippers’ general manager and head coach. . . . With the Blizzard, Naylor replaces Billy Keane, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the 2021-22 season. . . .
Barret Kropf has chosen to leave the Trinity Western Spartans of the BCIHL. He had been the head coach since 2013, but is moving on to the Moose Jaw-based Prairie Hockey Academy as general manager and U15 prep head coach. Kropf is from Estevan. A three-time coach of the year, he led the Spartans to BCIHL titles in 2018 and 2019, then led them into Canada West in 2020. . . .
Eric Thurston has signed on as head coach of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. He spent the past four seasons as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. There had been speculation a few weeks ago that Bill Peters, a former NHL, KHL and WHL coach, was going to sign with the Storm.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Petr Moravec, 19, has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract with his hometown team, Hradec Králove of the Czechia, Extraliga, as reported by the MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport). Moravec put up 16 goals and 19 assists 68 games in 2021-22, his only WHL season. Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told me that he wasn’t surprised that Moravec wouldn’t be back. “He’s a good kid,” Tory said. “This is a good opportunity for him.” Tory was pleased to have a decision before the CHL’s 2022 import draft that is scheduled for Friday. . . . The Americans expect to make one pick, what with Czech G Tomas Suchanek, 19, back for a second season. As a freshman, he was 12-24-4, 3.87, .901 in 42 games for a non-playoff team. . . . Don’t forget that the CHL won’t permit the selection of Russian or Belarusian players in this year’s import draft. . . .
The Everett Silvertips have promoted Mike Fraser to assistant general manager — he had been director of player personnel — and signed him to a multi-year contract extension. The exact length of the extension wasn’t revealed. Fraser has been with Everett through four seasons — three as head scout and one as director of player personnel. He is a veteran WHL scout, having also worked with the Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Silvertips also have added veteran scout Brian Leavold to their staff as a senior scout. He has worked for the Broncos (1999-2018) and Saskatoon Blades (2018-22). . . .
Dan O’Connor announced via Twitter recently that he is moving on from the Vancouver Giants. O’Connor will be joining the U of British Columbia as a sports information co-ordinator. O’Connor spent the past 11 seasons doing WHL play-by-play — six with the Prince George Cougars and five with the Giants.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Edmonton: 2 (Won tournament in 2014, lost tiebreaker in 2012) Hamilton: 1 (Lost semifinal in 2018) Saint John: 3 (Won tournament in 2011, lost semifinals in 2012 and 2017) Shawinigan: 2 (Won tournament in 2012, lost final in 1985)
OK. The field is set, and next week the eyes of junior hockey followers will be on Saint John, N.B., site of the 2022 Memorial Cup tournament. Thanks to COVID-19, this will be the first time the four-team championship has been held since 2019.
(NOTE: If you’re travelling that way, remember that Saint John is in New Brunswick, while St. John’s is in Newfoundland.)
The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs became the last team to qualify when they beat the visiting Windsor Spitfires, 6-1, on Wednesday night, to win the best-of-seven championship series and the J. Ross Robertson Cup, 4-3. The Bulldogs, who scored the game’s first four goals, got three scores from F Avery Hayes.
Mason McTavish pots the other two, back-to-back home games where he records a pair of goals. Recorded a point in all but two games at FirstOntario Centre after being acquired racking up 17 goals, 18 assists along the way. Finished with exactly 100 shots at home and on road. https://t.co/PxsIJkQuxU
The game drew an announced attendance of 11,779. In their seven seasons in Hamilton, the Bulldogs now have won two titles.
This was the first time the OHL had gotten through its playoffs since 2019 when the Guelph Storm won the championship.
The Bulldogs join the host Saint John Sea Dogs, who play in the QMJHL, the QMJHL-champion Shawinigan Cataractes, and the Edmonton Oil Kings, who won the WHL title on Monday by taking out the Seattle Thunderbirds in six games.
The Oil Kings last played in the Memorial Cup in 2014 when they beat the OHL’s Guelph Storm, 6-3, in the tournament final in London, Ont. That was the first time a WHL team had won the trophy since 2008 when the Spokane Chiefs beat the host Kitchener Rangers, 4-1, in the final.
Since 2014, the WHL has been represented by the Kelowna Rockets (Quebec City, 2015), Brandon Wheat Kings and Red Deer Rebels (host team, 2016), Seattle (Windsor, 2017), Swift Current Broncos and Regina (host team, 2018), and Prince Albert Raiders (Halifax, 2019).
How did those WHL teams do? Well, the Rockets lost in the 2015 final, 2-1 in OT to the Oshawa Generals. The Rebels went 2-1 in 2016 before losing a semifinal, 3-1 to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, while the Wheat Kings went 0-3. In 2017, the Thunderbirds were 0-3. In 2018, Regina went 2-1, then beat Hamilton, 4-2, in a semifinal, before losing 3-0 in the final to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. The Broncos, meanwhile, went 0-3.
In 2019, the last time the tournament was held, the Raiders finished 0-3.
What all of this shows us is that the WHL champs haven’t fared well of late; in fact, they have combined to lose their last 13 games. The last time the WHL champion won a Memorial Cup game was on May 29, 2015, when Kelowna beat the Quebec Remparts, 9-3, in a semifinal game.
And every time the WHL champion strikes out the question — Why don’t WHL champions do better at the Memorial Cup? — gets slapped around social media like a Wiffle ball.
Bob Green, a longtime WHL executive who now is the Edmonton Oilers’ chief scout, tried to explain it to columnist Terry Jones:
“The Memorial Cup is a bit of a mystery to everybody. It’s a hard tournament to figure out. I don’t know if you ever do figure it out. You just go there and try to play and see what happens. It’s completely different than the rest of the playoffs. But I believe this Oil Kings team has the best chance of all the clubs of this Edmonton era to do it.”
One other thing about competing in the Memorial Cup — if you get off to a poor start, your tournament is over almost before you know what hit you.
The 2022 Memorial Cup opens Monday in Saint John with Hamilton meeting the host Sea Dogs. On Tuesday, it’ll be Shawinigan facing Edmonton.
Terry Jones wasn’t expecting the phone call that he received on Wednesday. A sports columnist with Edmonton newspapers since 1967, he tweeted: “My last scoop. At 1 p.m. today, after beginning my career at The Edmonton Journal in 1967 I received a phone call from Toronto informing me my position had been eliminated by Post Media. Thank you all so much for reading. Hardly the way I hoped it would end.”
Later, he tweeted that he was “just gutted.”
What turns out to possibly be the last column of his newspaper career dealt with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings and their upcoming appearance at the Memorial Cup. That piece is right here.
Then-owner Ron Dixon moved the WHL’s New Westminster Bruins to Kennewick, Wash., in 1988, and the Tri-City Americans have made the Toyota Center their home. All that time, the team’s fans have spent their game-watching evenings in orange seats. But those days are over. The removal of the old seats began this week and now people are wondering what colour the new seats will be.
Here’s what radio station KFLD discovered: “Apparently, it’s a surprise. We searched, looked, and even asked officials. Several told us we will find out soon enough . . . the suspense builds!”
The Richmond Jets are excited to announce Matt Leduc as the U11A2 Head Coach for the 2022/23 season. Matt played his minor hockey in Richmond before moving on to play 5 yrs in the WHL for the Spokane Chiefs. Matt is studying at UBC with a focus on high-performance coaching. pic.twitter.com/i8NgnrJws8
There was a CHL doubleheader on TSN on Wednesday night and when it was over two teams were each one victory away from advancing to the Memorial Cup. . . . The QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes beat the visiting Charlottetown Islanders, 5-4 in OT, to take a 3-0 lead in the series. F Charles Beaudoin was credited with the winning goal 46 seconds into OT, but it actually was an own goal scored by D Noah Laaouan as he attempted to clear a loose puck from his crease. . . . They’ll play Game 4 tonight (Thursday) in Shawinigan and it’ll be on TSN, too, with Adam Dunfee calling the play and Marc Methot providing the analysis. . . .
In Wednesday night’s other game, the Edmonton Oil Kings got a buzzer-beater to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2, in Kent, Wash. The Oil Kings hold a 3-1 series lead and they’re going home with Game 5 set for Edmonton on Saturday night. Victor Findlay is calling the play of the WHL games, with Kevin Sawyer in the booth alongside him. . . .
As for the OHL, the arena in Windsor is tied up with graduation ceremonies, so the Spitfires and Hamilton Bulldogs won’t get to Game 4 until Friday night. The Spitfires will take a 2-1 series lead into that game, with Jon Abbott doing the play-by-play for TSN and Craig Button providing the colour. . . .
BTW, the Memorial Cup is scheduled to be held in Saint John, N.B., June 20-29.
WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:
Championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup
Latest regulation GWGs in #WHLChampionship series in Internet Era 59:56 – Logan Dowhaniuk, EDM at SEA, 6/8/22 59:04 – Mark Pysyk, EDM vs. POR, 5/10/12 57:21 – Oliver Gabriel, POR vs. EDM, 5/12/12 57:20 – Joel Stepp, RD vs. KEL, 5/6/03 57:15 – Curtis Rich, CGY at KAM, 5/4/99 https://t.co/xZmbdHEuOz
In Kent, Wash., D Logan Dowhaniuk scored with 3.5 seconds left in the third period as the Edmonton Oil Kings snuck past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2. . . . Edmonton leads the best-of-seven championship final, 3-1, with Game 5 scheduled for the Alberta capital on Saturday. . . . The early minutes of the game were interrupted by a scary incident when Edmonton F Brendan Kuny went down at 5:05 of the first period following a collision with Seattle D Tyrel Bauer at the left faceoff dot in the Thunderbirds’ zone. Kuny was down for a few minutes as he received medical attention from the staff of both teams — including Jim McKnight, the Oil Kings’ head athletic therapist, and Phil Varney, Seattle’s therapist — before being placed on a back board and then onto a stretcher. He was taken to an area hospital as a precaution. Shortly after the game, the Oil Kings tweeted that Kuny had been “released from the hospital and will be travelling back to Edmonton with the team to be further evaluated.” . . . Bauer, Seattle’s captain and No. 1 shutdown defenceman, was hit with an interference major and game misconduct. That left the home team to play with five defencemen. . . . The Oil Kings, perhaps rattled by watching Kuny leave the game, weren’t able to mount any offence on that PP. . . . The visitors received another PP just before the major expired but they weren’t able to get anything going on that one either. . . .
F Lucas Ciona (8), who is from Edmonton, gave Seattle a 1-0 lead on its first PP, cashing in a rebound at 16:03. . . . That was the first time in the series that a team had scored in the opening period. . . . F Justin Williams (2) pulled Edmonton even at 3:37 of the second period, corralling a loose puck in front of the Seattle crease and backhanding it under G Thomas Milic. . . . Just 2:13 later, Williams (3) shot his guys into the lead, circling in the Seattle zone before beating Milic with a wrist shot from the left circle. . . . The Thunderbirds got back on equal ground with a second PP goal at 12:53, winning a faceoff in Edmonton’s zone and scoring when F Jared Davidson (13) beat G Sebastian Cossa from the left dot. . . . The play that led to the winning goal started with Williams attempting to slap the puck towards the Seattle goal. The puck bounced off a defender to Dowhaniuk on the right side of the high slot and he snapped it home. It was his third goal of the playoffs. . . . Williams, who had 84 points, including 34 goals, in the regular season, went into the game with one goal in these playoffs. He scored twice and added an assist, giving him three goals and 11 assists in 17 games. . . . Seattle was 2-for-5 on the PP, but came up empty on its last opportunity with 2:40 remaining in the third period. . . . Edmonton was 0-for-2 with the man advantage. . . . Seattle held a 34-23 edge in shots. . . . Cossa finished with 32 stops, 12 more than Milic. . . .
Each team was without one of its leading scorers. Edmonton F Dylan Guenther, a 45-goal, 91-point man in the regular season, wasn’t able to finish Game 3 and was scratched last night. The Thunderbirds were without F Henrik Rybinski for a third straight game. He had 65 points, including 44 assists, in 47 regular-season games. . . . Edmonton also is without F Jaxsen Wiebe, who hasn’t played since Game 1 because of an undisclosed injury.
Patrick Roy unsure whether he will continue coaching the Remparts.
He does put some humour in the situation, says he thinks about where he should be in life when he's all the way in Cape Breton coaching while his friends are in Florida golfing. 😅😅 https://t.co/AeL5TVrEd2
You have to wonder if Patrick Roy is familiar with what former WHL president Ed Chynoweth once said while admitting that his mind would sometimes wander into the area of possible retirement. It was in the mid-1970s and as Chynoweth said at the time: “It is starting to bother me that all my friends in Saskatoon are going to the airport to take flights out for winter holidays. I go to the airport and fly to Flin Flon.”
From The New York Times: “The Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 now represent 13% of new coronavirus cases in the U.S., up from 7.5% a week ago and 1% in early May, CDC data show. They seem to spread more easily, but there’s not yet evidence that they cause more severe disease.”
why is the media more concerned with 3 hour waits in airports than 12+hour waits in ERs, cancelled surgeries, closed ICUs. Pls realize that #covidisnotover and people are off sick with covid EVERYWHERE.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Victoria Royals have added 2003-born F Teague Patton to their roster, sending a conditional 2005 fourth-round WHL draft pick to the Medicine Hat Tigers in return. Patton, from Kelowna, had 10 goals and 11 assists in 59 games with the Tigers this season. . . .
The Lethbridge Hurricanes acquired 2002-born F Cole Carrier from the Regina Pats for a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft. This season, Carrier, from Strathcona, Alta., had 15 goals and 12 assists in 65 games. The Pats had picked him up from the Kelowna Rockets on Jan. 10, 2020. . . .
The Tri-City Americans have traded for 2002-born F Reese Belton, getting him from the Kamloops Blazers for a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. That pick originated with the Edmonton Oil Kings. In 115 games with the Blazers, Belton, a Winnipegger, had 45 points, including 20 goals. This season, he put up 14 goals and 20 assists in 64 games. . . .
Fraser Rodgers, the radio voice of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars for the past five seasons, has rejoined the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, this time as vice-president of business operations and director of broadcasting, communications and public relations. Rodgers is a former play-by-play voice of the Vees (2011-17), who also was the Cougars’ manager of broadcasting, communications and public relations. . . .
The Finnish Ice Hockey Association has signed Tomi Lamsa to a two-year deal as head coach of its U20 national team. He spent the past two seasons as head coach of Salavat Yulayev Ufa of the KHL. Lamsa replaces Kari Jalonen with the U20 program. Jalonen was to have coached the U20s next season, but left to become head coach of the Czechia national men’s team. . . . In a bit of a twist, Antti Pennanen will be the head coach of Finland’s national junior team at the 2022 WJC in Edmonton in August. You will recall that the tournament actually being in Red Deer and Edmonton in December before being postponed because of the pandemic. . . .
Prospects from four NHL teams — the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets — will take part in the Young Stars Classic tournament in Penticton, B.C., Sept. 14-18. What once was an annual event was last held in 2018. . . .
The U18 AAA Southwest Cougars, who play out of Souris, Man., announced on Wednesday that head coach Troy Leslie has resigned “to pursue other opportunities.” He had been the Cougars’ head coach through three seasons.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The WHL’s championship final, featuring the Edmonton Oil Kings and Seattle Thunderbirds, will open in the Alberta capital with games on Friday and Sunday.
The series will follow a 2-2-3 format — yes, you read that correctly. Due to building availability issues — the arena is booked for graduation ceremonies from June 9-15 — in Kent, Wash., the Thunderbirds will get only two home games, although they will be designated as the home team for one of the possible five games in Edmonton.
They will play Games 3 and 4 in Kent on Tuesday and Wednesday (June 8), before returning to Edmonton, if necessary, to finish up. Those games would be played on June 11, 13 and 14, with the Thunderbirds the ‘home’ team for Game 6. TSN will televise the series, beginning with Game 3.
The Oil Kings, the Eastern Conference’s second seed, advanced to the final by taking out the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice in five games. Edmonton has been sitting and waiting for an opponent since eliminating the Ice on Friday.
The Thunderbirds, the Western Conference’s fourth seed, ousted the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, winning Game 7, 3-2, on the road on Tuesday night.
The Oil Kings last reached the WHL final in 2014 when they beat the Portland Winterhawks in seven games en route to winning the Memorial Cup. That was the third of three straight WHL finals to feature Edmonton and Portland — the Oil Kings won in 2012 and 2014.
Edmonton is 12-1 in these playoffs, having swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels before taking out the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice in five games.
Seattle last appeared in the WHL final in 2017 when it won the championship by taking out the Regina Pats in six games. One year earlier, the Thunderbirds lost the final, 4-1, to the Brandon Wheat Kings.
In these playoffs, Seattle now is 12-7, having eliminated the Kelowna Rockets, 4-1, and then gone seven games with both Portland and Kamloops.
Interestingly, the Thunderbirds won Game 6 in both those series by a 2-1 count at home, then went on the road to win Game 7. In the process, they became the first team in WHL history — which begins in 1966-67 — to win two Game 7s on the road in the same playoff season.
TUESDAY IN THE WHL:
Jared Davidson (2G) and Lukas Svejkovsky (3A) also help in inflicting the damage. Third multigoal game for Davidson in postseason, once in every series while Svejkovsky runs point streak to 11, longest in postseason by a T-Bird since Mathew Barzal (15, 7-18–25) in 2017. https://t.co/bscxxpZy3E
In Kamloops, F Jared Davidson scored twice and linemate Lukas Svejkovsky drew three assists as the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Blazers, 3-2, in Game 7 of the conference final. . . . It was the fifth time the Thunderbirds faced elimination in these playoffs and they now are 5-0 in such games. . . . The Blazers opened the scoring for the sixth time in the series when F Fraser Minten (6) struck at 8:34 of the opening period. . . . Seattle F Lucas Ciona drilled the left post behind G Dylan Garand a few minutes later. . . . The Thunderbirds pulled even at 15:47 when Davidson (10) snapped one home from the right face-off dot just seven seconds into the game’s first PP opportunity. That would be the only PP by either team on this night. . . . Davidson (11) shot Seattle into the lead at 2:27 of the second period following another face-off win in the Kamloops zone. . . . The Thunderbirds went ahead 3-1 at 14:56 as F Henrik Rybinski (4) beat Garand by tipping in a shot by D Jeremy Hanzel. . . . Seattle G Thomas Milic preserved the two-goal lead with a big stop off Kamloops F Logan Stankoven through traffic to start the third period. . . . The Blazers finally gotto within a goal, but there were only 7.4 seconds left to play when F Daylan Kuefler (10) scored. . . . Milic finished with 33 saves, four fewer than Garand. . . . What was the key to Seattle’s series victory? Over the last four games of the series, the Thunderbirds held Stankoven, who leads the playoffs with 30 points, to three assists, while shutting out linemate Luke Toporowski, who finished with 23 points. Stankoven had scored hat tricks in Games 1 and 3, with Toporowski recording six helpers. . . . Meanwhile, Svejkovsky put up two goals and eight assists in six games, while Davidson had five goals and three assists in seven games, and Rybinsky, the third member of that line, played in only four games but had a goal and four assists.
The Minnesota Twins will be in Toronto for a weekend series with the Blue Jays, but shortstop Carlos Correa, a two-time all-star with the Houston Astros, won’t be with them. He was placed on the COVID-19 restricted list on Tuesday after exhibiting symptoms on Sunday and getting worse on Monday. Also on that list are Joe Ryan, a right-handed started, and backup OF Gilberto Celestino. . . . According to Sportsnet, the Twins, who began the week in Detroit against the Tigers, “have already said they’ll have ‘a few’ players on the restricted list not travelling to Toronto. This generally means players unvaccinated against COVID-19.”
My wife, Dorothy, a kidney transplant recipient in 2013, will take part in the 2022 #kamloops Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year on Sunday. Yes, it’s virtual again. You are able to sponsor her right here.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Beau McCue won’t be back as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, but he will be remaining with the organization. According to a news release, McCue, who played four seasons (2012-16) with the Americans, “will remain with the club in a supportive role within hockey operations.” . . . BTW, I asked American’s general manager Bob Tory, who is one of four co-owners, a while back if Stu Barnes would be back as head coach. The one-word response was: “Absolutely.” . . . Barnes, who also owns a piece of the Americans, now is preparing for his second season as the club’s head coach. . . .
The BCHL’s Surrey Eagles have added Matt Dawson as an assistant coach. A former Eagles defenceman, he played five seasons (2015-20) at the U of New Hampshire. In 2022-23, he was an assistant coach with the junior B Delta Ice Hawks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. . . .
The junior B Westshore Wolves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League have signed general manager and head coach Derek Sweet-Coulter to a three-year contract extension. He is preparing for his second season with the club. . . .
The junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s defending champions, have promoted Jiri Novak to assistant general manager and associate head coach. He is going into is fourth season on the coaching staff. . . .
Alex Mandolidis has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. He is coming off three seasons as an assistant coach with the Calgary-based Mount Royal U Cougars men’s hockey team. Before that, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs for one season. . . . With the Blues, he takes over from Taras McEwen, who now is the director of hockey operations. . . . The Blues are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, which also owns, among other things, the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here: