Hamilton gets last slot in 2022 Memorial Cup . . . Fun begins Monday in Saint John . . . Long-time Edmonton columnist writes Oil Kings for last time

OK. The field is set, and next week the eyes of junior hockey followers will be on MemCup2022Saint 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.

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!”




Trailer


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Day

Oil Kings one win from WHL title after Dowhaniuk’s buzzer-beater . . . Kuny released from hospital, will be evaluated in Edmonton . . . Williams has monster game for winners

There was a CHL doubleheader on TSN on Wednesday night and when it was CHLover 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

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. . . . EdCupEdmonton 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, Edmontoncashing 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.


Yogi


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.”

——


Fishing


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:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Kitchen

Seattle stares down elimination for fifth time . . . First team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on road . . . Championship series opens in Edmonton on Friday

The WHL’s championship final, featuring the Edmonton Oil Kings and Seattle WHLplayoffs2022Thunderbirds, 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:

Western Conference

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 SeattleGame 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 got  to 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.


Cyclops


The Minnesota Twins will be in Toronto for a weekend series with the Blue Jays, COVIDbut 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.


Bank


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:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Sense

Ice takes out Warriors; Oil Kings next up . . . Ostapchuk key as Giants stay alive against Blazers. . . . Hanas fills hat for Winterhawks

And then there were six . . .

The Winnipeg Ice, the WHL’s best regular-season team, finished off the visiting WHLplayoffs2022Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday night, taking the Eastern Conference semifinal in five games. The No. 1 Ice will meet the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference final. That series, which will follow a 2-3-2 format for travel reasons, is scheduled to open in Winnipeg with games on May 20 and 21. . . .

Meanwhile, it’ll be a quiet Saturday night in the WHL — with the exception of Portland, of course. Six teams with championship dreams still are alive, but only the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds will be on the ice tonight. . . . They played Friday night in Kent, Wash., with the Winterhawks posting a 5-1 victory. That means they lead the Western Conference semifinal, 3-1, going into tonight’s game in Portland. . . .

The other Western Conference semifinal is to resume Sunday in Langley, B.C. The Vancouver Giants stayed alive last night with a 5-2 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops, which now leads that series, 3-2.

——

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice erased a 2-0 first-period deficit and went on to beat WinnipegIcethe No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-3. . . . The Ice won the conference semifinal, 4-1, and will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the final. The No. 2 Oil Kings are 8-0 in the playoffs, having made short work of the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Ice now is 8-2 and will play host to Edmonton for Games 1 and 2 on May 20 and 21. . . . Last night, the Warriors took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ryder Korczak (3), at 0:46, and F Thomas Tien (2), at 15:52, in the first period. . . . The Ice scored the next four goals. F Zachary Benson (8) cut the deficit to one at 17:04, before Winnipeg took control with three second-period goals — F Matt Savoie (5) tied it at 1:39; F Cole Muir (2) made it 3-2 at 11:12; and F Conor Geekie (3) upped it to 4-2 at 15:04. . . . F Atley Calvert (3) got the Warriors to within one, on a PP, at 17:04, but that was it for the visitors. . . . Savoie (6) added his second goal at 4:03 and F Mikey Milne (9), who also had two assists, scored a shorthanded empty-netter at 18:28. . . . The Ice got 23 saves from G Daniel Hauser, while G Carl Tetachuk stopped 22 shots for the Warriors. . . .The Warriors had D Daemon Hunt, their captain, back in the lineup. Hunt, who is to turn 20 on Sunday, last played on March 19. . . .

If you’re wondering, Winnipeg and Edmonton met four times during the regular season, with the Oil Kings winning three times. However, three of the games were played in 2021. Edmonton won at home, 3-1, on Oct. 29, and 3-2 in Winnipeg on Dec. 8. . . . The Ice won, 5-2, at home on Dec. 11 on a night when four of Edmonton’s top players — G Sebastian Cossa, F Dylan Guenther, D Kaiden Guhle and F Jake Neighbours, each of them an NHL first-round draft pick — were with Canada’s national junior team. . . . In the most-recent clash, the Oil Kings won, 6-3, on Feb. 21.

——

Western Conference

In Kamloops, the No. 8 Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last four goals, all Kamloopsin the third period, and beat the No. 2 Blazers, 5-2. . . . Kamloops leads the series, 3-2, with Game 5 scheduled for Sunday in Langley, B.C. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk, the WHL’s leading playoff scorer, had two goals and two assists for Vancouver. He has 23 points, two more than linemate Fabian Lysell. . . . The Blazers led this one 2-1 after two periods as F Luke Toporowski (7) and F Matthew Seminoff (3) sandwiched a Vancouver goal by F Adam Hall (9). . . . F Ty Thorpe (3) got the Giants into a 2-2 tie at 1:33 of the third period and Ostapchuk (6) put them out front at 2:32. . . . Hall (10), who also had an assist, and Ostapchuk (7) later added empty-netters. Hall leads the WHL playoffs in goals. . . . G Jesper Vikman had a big night for the Giants, stopping 35 shots, 14 more than G Dylan Garand of the Blazers. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Cross Hanas scored three times and added an assist to lead the PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland leads the series, 3-1. . . . They’ll meet again tonight, this time back in Portland. . . . The Winterhawks had lost Game 3, 5-0, at home on Wednesday night. . . . Portland’s PP went into the game with three goals in its past 23 opportunities. Last night, it was 3-for-4. . . . Hanas (2) got his guys started at 7:09 of the first period and F Tyson Kozak (2) made it 2-0 at 14:35. . . . Seattle F Lukas Svejkovsky (6) scored a PP goal at 4:56 of the second period. . . . Portland got second-period goals from Hanas (3), at 11:42, and F Jack O’Brien (2), at 17:44, both via the PP. . . . Hanas (4) finished the scoring with a shorthanded empty-netter at 19:41. . . . F Kyle Chyzowki had a big night with three assists. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 31 shots for Portland, including a late second-period penalty-shot attempt by F Reid Schaefer with Portland leading 4-1. . . . Seattle got 17 stops from G Thomas Milic. . . . According to Winterhawks historian Andy Kemper, Hanas’s hat trick was Portland’s first in the playoffs since F Nic Petan turned the trick in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on April 23, 2014.

——

We can’t leave the Kamloops-Vancouver series without a look back to the post-game scene after Game 4, which the visiting Blazers won, 4-2, after F Logan Stankoven broke a 2-2 tie with a late PP goal.

It was then when Michael Dyck, the Giants’ head coach, told us without telling us that he wasn’t impressed with the officiating.

“With the price of gas these days, I can’t waste money on fines,” he said when asked about the men in stripes, who were booed off the ice at game’s end.

“The fans have a pretty good idea what’s going on,” he said in complimenting the home crowd.

Shortly after Stankoven’s goal, the Giants were hit with a minor penalty for too many men on the ice.

“The too-many-men . . . you’d have to ask their bench,” Dyck said. “They called it. We didn’t.”

And what did Stankoven, who added an empty-netter on the late PP, think of the officiating?

“I think it was very fair,” he said.

(The quotes here were lifted from a story by Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. That story is right here.)


Organic


From The Canadian Press: A Canadian warship has been hit with an outbreak of COVIDCOVID-19 while preparing for an overseas deployment in the Pacific. HMCS Winnipeg is back home in Esquimalt, B.C., after seven sailors tested positive, only weeks before the ship is due to participate in a major training exercise and two overseas missions. . . .

The Vancouver Whitecaps will be without at least two players — Ryan Gauld and Tosaint Ricketts — when they meet the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS action today. Both are in health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. . . .

From The New York Times: New coronavirus cases surged in most counties in New York State this week, putting them on “high” alert under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and triggering recommendations for indoor masking, including inside schools. The state refrained from imposing an indoor mask mandate, but health officials on Friday afternoon did urge residents living in counties that have been placed on “medium” or “high” alert to wear masks in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. . . . As of Thursday, the average of new cases stood at more than 10,000 a day, according to a New York Times database. New cases have increased 47 percent over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations have increased 28 percent over that time period, to an average of more than 2,600 a day.

Also from The New York Times: Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand who led the island nation through the pandemic, has tested positive for the coronavirus, her office said.


Goals


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Tri-City Americans announced Friday that Bryan Collier won’t be back as the club’s equipment manager. Collier had joined the Americans on June 1, 2021, after working with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. Prior to that, he worked with the Seattle Thunderbirds where his father, Brent, has been the equipment manager since 1994. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, who trailed 2-0 in the best-of-five first-round series, beat the Halifax Mooseheads, 2-1, in Game 5 on Friday night. The game had been scheduled for Thursday night but was moved after the teams played into a third OT in Game 4 on Wednesday.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you feel so inclined you are able to sponsor her right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Horse

Jets’ first-rounder could end up in Portland . . . Three WHL teams live to play another game . . . Winterhawks finish off Cougars


In a move that could have implications in the WHL, the Winnipeg Jets have signed F Chaz Lucius to a three-year entry-level contract that is to begin next WHLseason. . . . Lucius, who turns 19 on May 2, is from Lawrence, Kan. This season, as a freshman, he had nine goals and 10 assists in 24 games with the NCAA’s Minnesota Golden Gophers. Before that, he played two seasons in the U.S. National Team Development Program. . . . The Jets selected him with the 18th overall pick of the NHL’s 2021 draft. The Portland Winterhawks grabbed his major junior rights in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Next season, assuming he doesn’t crack the Jets’ roster, Lucius will be eligible to play in the AHL, with the Manitoba Moose, or the Winterhawks. . . . Eric Vegoe, a freelance writer who follows the Gophers, tweeted: “I’d be absolutely shocked if Lucius went to the AHL. He’d be a phenomenal fit in Portland and be one of the league’s top scorers for a franchise that knows what (it’s) doing with prospects.” . . . Lucius’s brother, Cruz, 18, has committed to playing at Minnesota next season after spending the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. He was selected by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. With his brother no longer at Minnesota, you wonder if the younger Lucius might be rethinking his immediate future, too?



WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

There were six playoff games with four of the teams staring elimination squarely in the face. Three of those teams lived to fight another day, with only the Prince George Cougars having their season come to an end. . . . You should know, too, that only two teams in WHL history have come back from trailing 3-0 to win a series. . . . In 1996, the Spokane Chiefs beat the Portland Winterhawks in Game 7 at home. . . . In 2013, the Kelowna Rockets did the same thing against the Seattle Thunderbirds, winning Game 7 at home. . . . In tonight’s only game, the Edmonton Oil Kings take a 3-0 lead into Lethbridge against the Hurricanes. . . . Here’s a brief look at what happened last night. . . .

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., the Everett Silvertips took a 2-1 series lead over the Vancouver EverettGiants with a 6-2 victory. . . . They’ll play again Friday in Langley, then head for Everett and Game 5 on Saturday. . . . Everett, which got two goals from each of Ryan Hofer (3), Niko Huuhtanen (5) and Matthew Ng (2), held period leads of 3-0 and 5-2. . . . Huuhtanen has nine points in the three games. . . . G Braden Holt stopped 32 shots to earn the win. . . . Vancouver G Jesper Vikman returned after missing Game 2 and blocked 18 shots. . . . Everett was without F Alex Swetlikoff, who was suspended for two games after taking a checking-from-behind major in Game 2 on Saturday. . . . Swetlikoff and F Jackson Berezowski, who is out with an undisclosed injury, were the Silvertips’ top two scorers in the regular season. . . . Vancouver F Tom Cadieux was tossed with an interference major at 12:50 of the third period. Then, at 19:00, F Matthew Edwards of the Giants left after taking a headshot major. . . . The Silvertips had Vancouver’s own Dave Sheldon handle the play-by-play “with Casey Bryant unavailable to travel.” Sheldon was part of the Everett broadcast crew back in the day (2003-06). These days, Sheldon is the team operations manager for the NLL’s Vancouver Warriors. . . .

In Prince George, the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks scored two first-period goals Portlandand hung on for a 2-1 victory over the No. 6 Cougars. . . . The Winterhawks swept the series, 4-0, and now go home to await and as-yet undecided second-round opponent. . . . F James Stefan (2) put the visitors out front at 8:22 of the first period and F Luke Schelter (1) made it 2-0 at 11:51. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal when F Jonny Hooker (1) scored at 6:55 of the third period. . . . Portland’s took the game’s only three minor penalties, the last one to D Cross Hanas for delay of game at 18:59 of the third period. With G Tyler Brennan on the bench, the Cougars held a 6-on-4 advantage but weren’t able to equalize. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 29 shots for Portland, including 12 in the third period. He finished the series 4-0, 1.00, .965. . . . Brennan turned aside 40 shots. He got into all four games, going 0-2, 1.86, .954. . . . The Cougars had to scratch F Riley Heidt as he served a one-game suspension for the kneeing major and game misconduct he took in Game 3 on Tuesday. . . .

In Kelowna, F Adam Kydd scored in OT to give the Rockets a 3-2 victory over the KelownaSeattle Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle holds a 3-1 lead as the series returns to Kent, Wash., for Game 5 on Friday night. . . . The Rockets erased a 2-0 second-period deficit to get the game into extra time. . . . F Lucas Ciona (3) scored both Seattle goals, at 19:41 of the first period and 3:16 of the second. . . . G Gabriel Szturc (1) got the Rockets to within a goal, on a PP, at 6:28 of the second and D Noah Dorey (1) tied it at 12:45 as he ended a 43-game goal drought. . . . Kydd won it with his second goal of the series, on a PP, at 15:55 of OT. . . . F Andrew Cristall drew the primary assist on each of Kelowna’s last two goals. . . . The Rockets got 36 saves from G Talyn Boyko, who had watched Game 3 from the bench. . . . Kelowna was 2-for-5 on the PP; Seattle, which went into the game 10-for-19, was 0-for-3. . . . The Rockets were without F Mark Liwiski, who was suspended for two games after taking a headshot major and game misconduct in Game 3 on Tuesday. . . . F Matthew Rempe (undisclosed) was among Seattle’s scratches. . . .

——

Eastern Conference

In Prince Albert, G Tikhon Chaika stopped 25 shots to help the No. 8 Raiders to a PrinceAlbert3-1 victory over the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Ice now holds a 3-1 edge in the series, with Game 5 in Winnipeg on Friday night. . . . D Remy Aquilon (1), on a PP, at 1:53 of the second period, and D Eric Johnston (1), at 1:06 of the third, gave the home team a 2-0 lead. . . . Ice F Mikey Milne got his fourth of the series, on a PP, at 18:51, but F Sloan Stanick (1) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . Winnipeg was 1-for-3 on the PP and now is 9-for-18 in the series. The Raiders are 2-for-19. . . .

In Brandon, the No. 6 Wheat Kings scored the game’s last three goals to earn a Brandon3-1 victory over the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Red Deer on Friday. Then they’ll return to Brandon for Game 6 on Sunday. . . . F Jace Isley (2) gave the Rebels the lead at 7:44 of the first period. . . . F Trae Johnson (1) tied it at 13:01. . . . The Wheat Kings won it on two PP goals from F Marcus Kallionkieli, at 18:24 of the second period and 19:22 of the third. The second one was an empty-netter. . . . Kallionkieli, a Finn who turned 21 on March 20, also drew an assist on Johnson’s goal.

In Saskatoon, F Kyle Crnkovic scored twice to lead the No. 5 Blades to a 5-3 Saskatoonvictory over the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw leads the series 3-1 and can win it at home on Friday night. . . . The Blades actually coughed up 2-0 and 3-1 leads with Warriors F Ryder Korczak (2) getting his guys even, at 3-3, at 2:54 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon D Rhett Rhinehart (1) broke the tie at 8:37 and Crnkovic’s second goal of the game and series, an empty-netter, iced it at 19:31. . . . D Maximus Wanner (3) scored twice for Moose Jaw. . . . The Blades got 32 saves from G Nolan Maier.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Tri-City Americans have named D Marc Lajoie as the 33rd captain in franchise history. The Americans went without a captain this season as they didn’t qualify for the playoffs. Lajoie, the 14th pick in the 2018 WHL draft, has played three seasons with the Americans. . . .

Neil Pilon, who played 263 games over five seasons in the WHL, was named head coach of the Kamloops-based U-18 AAA Thompson Blazers on Wednesday. Pilon played with the Kamloops Junior Oilers, Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors and Seattle Thunderbirds (1983-88). . . . Pilon also is the greens superintendent at the Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Club, which is located near Merritt, B.C. . . .

Eric Thurston, the general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder, is leaving after four seasons with the organization. In a news release, the Thunder said it “regrets to announce” that Thurston is leaving. . . . The news release didn’t indicate any reason for Thurston’s departure. . . . This season, the Thunder was 33-17-10, good for fourth in the North Division, before being swept from a first-round series by the Spruce Grove Saints. . . .

Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald tweeted Wednesday afternoon that “Brad Patterson is out as head coach of the (USHL’s) Youngstown Phantoms.” . . . Their season ended with first-round playoff loss on Tuesday night. . . . Patterson had been on the Phantoms’ coaching staff since 2009-10, and was the head coach since 2016-17. . . .

The OHL’s Peterborough Petes and general manager Michael Oke have agreed on a two-year contract that will take them through the 2023-24 season. Oke has been the Petes’ GM since Feb. 14, 2013. He joined the organization as the director of player personnel in July 2010.


Child


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.


A note involving Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, from Elliotte Friedman’s weekly 32 Thoughts:

“During the second week of April, five Canadians lived atop five 40-foot flagpoles for 100 hours. The significance of that length is 100 years ago, Sir Frederick Banting and Charles H. Best discovered insulin to help manage diabetes. One of those five was Wilson Gaglardi, the 16-year-old son of Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi. To donate toward a cure, please go to canadacuresdiabetes.ca.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Restaurant

Sorting through WHL tiebreaking procedure to set up playoff matchups . . . Chiefs, Cougars, Giants, Raiders get in . . . Voice of Wheat Kings calls last game

So . . . right here, from the WHL’s own website, is an explanation of how it is to deal with a three-team tie in its final standings . . .

“In the event three (3) or more clubs finish tied in total points in WHL WHLstandings, the edge goes to the club with the most victories. Should the clubs have won the same number of games, then the higher position shall be awarded to the club having the greatest ratio when taking goals for and subtracting goals against in regular schedule play.”

What the WHL forgot to tell us is that there is another step in the procedure, as you shall see if you read on . . .

After Saturday’s games, the Prince George Cougars, Spokane Chiefs and Vancouver Giants all had 24 victories and 53 points. They were tied for sixth place in the Western Conference.

So under the above tiebreaking procedure, I had thought you would take the goals-for and goals-against for each team, subtract, and go from there. That would have put the Cougars (-63) in sixth, the Giants (-69) in seventh, and the Chiefs (-101) eighth.

But it seems that there is a step missing, one that would have provided some clarity, from that tiebreaking procedure as it is spelled out on the WHL website.

You see, in this instance, you only use that tiebreaking procedure to decide the sixth-place team. In this case, that would be the Cougars.

With the Cougars out of the way, the WHL went to a two-team tiebreaker to decide between the Giants and Chiefs. And goals-for and goals-against isn’t used for that one. Instead, because the teams finished with the same number of victories, the edge goes “to the club with the most points in games between the two during the regular season.” The Chiefs won the season series, 3-1-0, so they get seventh place.

That leaves the Giants in eighth.

(Confusing? As I write this, the standings on the WHL website have the Chiefs in sixth, followed by the Giants and then the Cougars.)

What we do know for sure is that the Royals, with 52 points, fell one point shy of that logjam. We also know that each of the first-round series will feature a U.S. team against one from B.C.

In the Eastern Conference, the Prince Albert Raiders wrapped up eighth place, and the last playoff spot, while the Swift Current Broncos, Calgary Hitmen and Regina Pats were eliminated.


Happy


There are two games remaining in the WHL’s regular season but neither one will have any bearing on playoff positions. . . . Today, the Lethbridge Hurricanes are to visit the Calgary Hitmen, with the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina to play the Pats. . . . Here’s how things wound down last night (GR — games remaining). . . .

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Everett Silvertips — Will finish atop the U.S. Division and the conference. One point ahead of Kamloops and Portland. . . . Everett will play Vancouver in the first round. Each team was 2-2-0 in the season series. . . . GR (0).
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Won B.C. Division. . . . Also finished with one more victory than Portland, 48-47. . . . Will meet Spokane in first round. Series will have a 3-3-1 format with the first three games in Kamloops and next three in Spokane. . . . Kamloops won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . GR (0).
  3. Portland Winterhawks — One point behind Everett, tied with Kamloops. As third seed draws Prince George in first round. Portland swept the season series, 4-0-0. . . . GR (0).
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Finished fourth so have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . Seattle finished 3-1-0 in the season series; Kelowna was 1-2-1. . . . GR (0).
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Finish fifth and draw Seattle in first round. . . . GR (0).
  6. Prince George Cougars — Placed sixth through tiebreaking process. . . . Will be riding the bus to Portland to open there on Friday. . . . GR (0).
  7. Spokane Chiefs — Slipped into seventh by sweeping weekend series in Victoria. . . . Gets Kamloops in the first round. . . . GR (0).
  8. Vancouver Giants — Wound up eighth through the tiebreaking procedure. . . . Will open against Everett. . . . GR (0).
  9. Victoria Royals — Not this season.
  10. Tri-City Americans — Not this season either.

——

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Winnipeg Ice — Wins the East Division, Eastern Conference and WHL regular-season pennants. . . . Will meet Prince Albert in first round. Winnipeg was 5-1-2 in the season series; Prince Albert was 3-4-1. . . . GR (0).
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Finished second and open against Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 6-2-0; Lethbridge was 2-5-1. . . . GR (0).
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Wound up third and meet Brandon in the first round. . . . Each team was 2-2-0 in the season series. . . . GR (0).
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Ended up fourth and have home-ice advantage in first-round series with Saskatoon. . . . GR (1): at Regina today.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Will finish fifth and meet Moose Jaw in first round. . . . Saskatoon won the season series, 6-2-0; Moose Jaw was 2-5-1. . . . GR (0).
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Will finish sixth and meet Red Deer in the first round. . . . GR (0).
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Calgary today.
  8. Prince Albert — Woke up in 11th spot on Friday and clinched the conference’s eighth and final playoff spot with a victory in Swift Current on Friday and another over visiting Brandon last night. Will meet the Winnipeg Ice in the first round. . . . GR (0).
  9. Swift Current Broncos — Will finish ninth and out of the playoffs. . . . GR (0).
  10. Calgary Hitmen — No playoffs here either. . . . GR (1): at home to Lethbridge today.
  11. Regina Pats — In 11th spot after losing 6-4 to the Winnipeg Ice last night. The Ice were the home team for Friday and Saturday games in Regina and swept the Pats. . . . GR (1): at home to Moose Jaw today.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.

Stars


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

F Keaton Sorensen and F Evan Herman each scored twice to help the host Prince Albert Raiders to a 5-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The victory allowed the Raiders to grab the conference’s last playoff spot. They’ll be in Winnipeg to play the Ice in a first-round opener on Friday. . . . The Raiders go into the playoffs as defending champions. They won it all in 2018-19; the pandemic took care of playoffs the past two seasons. . . . Herman, who has 28 goals, scored the game’s first two goals. . . . Sorensen has 12 goals. . . .

In Regina, the Pats’ playoff hopes ended with a 6-4 loss to the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Ice played in Regina as the home team on Friday and Saturday nights in games moved from Winnipeg because of a Prairie blizzard that had hit the area. The Ice, with the WHL’s best record this regular season, won both games. . . . The Pats never led in this one, but got to within one, at 5-4, when F Easton Armstrong (6) scored at 8:22 of the third period. . . . Ice F Matt Savoie (35) got the empty-netter at 19:22. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 25 shots to earn the victory. He finished this season 34-3-1, 2.00, .914. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard had two assists. He has 95 points, including 49 goals, in 62 games. . . . Announced attendance was 1,481. . . .

In Red Deer, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 3-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . F Jake Neighbours (17) gave the visitors a 3-0 lead at 7:53 of the second period. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, who will win the WHL scoring title, got the Rebels to within a goal at 3-2 at 11:56 of the third period. But they weren’t able to equalize. . . . Bains, who also had an assist, unofficially leads the WHL in assists (69) and points (112). . . . The teams combined to take 22 minor penalties. Edmonton was 1-for-9 on the PP; Red Deer was 1-for-8. . . . Rogan Dean, the Oil Kings’ equipment manager, worked his 1,000th game with them.

——

Western Conference:

G Mason Beaupit stopped 35 shots to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-2 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . The outcome clinched a playoff spot for the Chiefs and eliminated the Royals. . . . Tied 1-1, the Chiefs scored two goals in the second half of the first period to take control. . . . The winners got a goal and an assist from each of F Ty Cheveldayoff (10) and F Cade Hayes (9). . . .

The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first three goals and went on to beat the Everett Silvertips, 4-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Sasha Mutala, who played 266 games over five-plus seasons with the Americans, scored the game’s last goal and also had two assists. He finished with 19 goals. . . . Everett wins the U.S. Division and Western Conference pennants, with 100 points, but have fewer victories than the Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks, both of whom finished with 99 points. While Everett won 45 games, Kamloops got to 48 and Portland 47. However, Everett ended up with 10 loser points; Portland got five and Kamloops three. . . .

F Andrew Cristall scored twice and added an assist to lead the host Kelowna Rockets to a 3-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Cristall’s second goal, his 28th of the season, gave the Rockets a 3-0 lead at 14:19 of the third period. . . . F Colton Dach drew three assists. . . . Cristall, who turned 17 on Feb. 5, finished with 69 points in 61 games. He tied the franchise record for most points by a player in his 16-year-old season. F Shane McColgan put up 69 points in 2009-10. . . .

F Logan Stankoven scored his 45th goal and added an assist to help the host Kamloops Blazers to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Stankoven finished with 104 points in 59 games as he led the league in points-per-game, at 1.76.


The Saskatoon Blades honoured former general manager/head coach Lorne Molleken prior to and during their 2-1 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night. . . . I only hope the music man played ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man at least once in Lorne’s honour.

Darren Steinke, the travelling blogger, was on hand and he posted this piece right here.


Brad Meier, a former WHL referee, worked his final game as an NHL referee on Saturday night. . . . Cory Wolfe is a former sports writer at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, which is in Meier’s hometown. . . .


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Branden Crowe, the radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings for six seasons, called his final game last night. He is moving on to work for Hockey Canada. He also has been the Wheat Kings’ director of strategic marketing and social sales. According to a news release: “An interim play-by-play voice for the upcoming playoffs will be named in the coming days Long-time colour commentator Pete Gerlinger will remain on the broadcast team.” The Wheat Kings are scheduled to open a first-round playoff series against the Rebels in Red Deer on Friday.


Begun


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation here, primarily because my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Locks

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while contemplating Canada as a soccer nation . . .

scattershooting

Move over, Gary Bettman! Canada is soccer country!!

Yes, it was a day I never thought I would experience in my lifetime.

It was only on Aug. 6 when the Canadian women’s soccer team, led by the great CanadaSoccerChristine Sinclair, won gold at the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. The women had won bronze at London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016, so they had given us at least a taste of success. But the gold in August tasted even better.

And then came Sunday and the Canadian men’s team made it a day to remember with a 4-0 victory over Jamaica at BMO Field in Toronto. All that means is that, yes, we are going to Qatar and World Cup 2022.

And, hey, wasn’t that a party on Sunday afternoon!

The men’s team, which last appeared in a World Cup in 1986, now has eight victories and four draws in 13 games, and is atop the CONCACAF qualifier standings three points clear of the U.S. and Mexico. As well, Canada has scored more goals (23) and allowed fewer (6) than any of the other seven teams.

There were said to be 29,122 fans in attendance on Sunday, but this was one of those events that over time it will be said that there were more than 100,000 people on the grounds. In fact, a whole country was there.

If you’re Canadian and didn’t get a lump in your throat seeing all of those Canadian flags waving in the stands, well, get thee to a mirror and try breathing on it. (Not to get political here, but I would suggest that Sunday’s show helped restore our flag’s glory that had been absconded by the freedumb gang.)

Anyway . . . I, for one, will be a long time forgetting what I witnessed on the telly on Sunday afternoon. The flags, the post-game reaction, the joy . . .

Now . . . what’s next?

Well, Canada plays its final qualifying game on Wednesday against host Panama.

And then comes Friday and the World Cup draw. TSN will start four hours of coverage at 8 a.m. PT.

As for the World Cup in Qatar, it is scheduled for Nov. 21 through Dec. 18.

Merry Christmas!



A tip of the hat to old friend Todd McLellan, a former WHL player and coach, who will be in his usual place tonight as his Los Angeles Kings play host to the Seattle Kraken in an NHL game. This will be McLellan’s 1,000th game as an NHL head coach. . . . He played four seasons (1983-87) with the Saskatoon Blades and turned to coaching when injuries derailed his playing career. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the job he did with the Swift Current Broncos through the early days of the Graham James debacle. McLellan was the head coach and assistant GM for two seasons (1994-96) and the GM/head coach from 1996-2000. . . . He has been an NHL head coach since 2008, working with the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers and the Kings.


As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, prepared for last weekend’s March Madness he chose “to make two observations about the announcing on the games so far this year:

“Just when did the basketball become ‘the rock’ and/or ‘the orange’ and what might it take for the announcers to resume calling it ‘the ball?’

“Similarly, why has ‘an assist’ been renamed as ‘a dime?’ Why so cheap?  An assist guarantees at least two points; that ought to be worth at least ‘a buck and a quarter.’ ”


Crocs


Here’s how politics work in New York City. . . . You will be aware that Kyrie Irving of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets is unvaccinated and wasn’t able to play home games because of a local law that allowed only fully vaccinated people in city facilities. On March 13, Eric Adams, New York City’s mayor, was heckled on that very subject. His response: “Listen, you’re right. Kyrie can play tomorrow. Get vaccinated.” . . . Well, on March 23, Adams killed that particular law, allowing Irving as well as unvaccinated members of the New York Mets and Yankees to play in the city. . . . From The New York Times: “Steven A. Cohen, the hedge fund manager and Mets owner who last year gave $1.5 million to a super PAC supporting Mr. Adams’s mayoral campaign, has been paying $10,000 a month to a lobbying firm, Moonshot Strategies, to push state officials and City Hall on several issues, including Covid protocols. . . . Corey Johnson, the former speaker of the City Council who now runs his own lobbying firm, is receiving $18,000 a month from the Nets’s holding company, and lobbying records suggest that he recently contacted the mayor, his chief counsel and his chief of staff.” . . . All of which may have had something to do with the lifting of the mandate. Or maybe not. Wink! Wink! . . . The Times also reported that the decision was made with coronavirus cases having risen “31 percent over the past two weeks in New York City . . . though hospitalizations are down.”

——

Here’s Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The arrogant fool, Kyrie Irving, was in the audience Thursday when New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced an exemption for professional athletes and performers from its private-sector vaccine mandate, meaning that Irving (barring an alarming pandemic surge) will be able to play home games for the Brooklyn Nets, starting Sunday night at Barclays Center. Good for Adams, looking down at Irving and telling him directly, ‘You should get the vaccine.’ It’s also the right move, considering that unvaccinated visiting players (as is the case at Chase Center), have been allowed to play in New York for months. But it’s sad that this represents a victory for the anti-vax crowd, so well represented by Irving’s smug expression. . . . Irving’s stance may yet backfire. If the Nets find themselves in a play-in game at Toronto (entirely possible), Canada’s strict vaccination policy will rule him out.”

——

Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“So Kyrie Irving abandons his team, putting the Nets’ title hopes in jeopardy, helps fuel the vaccine misinformation campaign that killed and sickened millions, and now is getting a free pass to join the fun? Superstardom has its perks!

“In granting special status to Irving and other athletes and entertainers, New York’s mayor, Eric Adams, may be heeding the scolding he got from Nets forward Kevin Durant, who recently said: ‘So hopefully, Eric, you’ve got to figure this out.’ Curious that Durant, with all his bold outspokenness, never said to his teammate, ‘So hopefully, Kyrie, you’ve got to figure this out.’ ”



For all those politicians and others who are convinced the pandemic is over, we have news from Banff, which is in Alberta. Team Logan, Canada’s entry in the women’s world deaf curling championship, had to withdraw from the gold medal game due to COVID. . . . The virus, it seems, missed the memo. . . . And now there’s news that Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Luke Richardson has tested positive and is in COVID-19 protocol. . . . Oh, and if you were looking for Lin-Manuel Miranda, he of Hamilton fame, at the Oscars, well, he wasn’t there. His wife has tested positive. . . . Wear a facemask. . . . Please!


Croc


WHL PLAYOFF PICTURE:

Each of the WHL’s 22 teams, with the exception of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Regina Pats, has played at least 60 games. The Wheaties and Pats are at 59. So it’s safe to say the stretch run is upon us. . . .

Only the Medicine Hat Tigers are into next season country, but the Pats, Calgary Hitmen and Tri-City Americans are on life support when it comes to playoff dreams.

In the Western Conference, the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Portland Winterhawks, Seattle Thunderbirds and Kelowna Rockets have clinched playoff spots. . . . The Silvertips lead the conference by four points over Kamloops, with each having seven games remaining. . . . Everett is headed for a first-place finish in the U.S. Division as it has a seven-point lead over Portland. . . . Kamloops will win the B.C. Division pennant. . . . Seattle is fourth, three points behind Portland, while Kelowna is headed for a fifth-place finish as it trails Seattle by eight points. . . . Further back, the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals are tied for sixth, but the Giants hold three games in hand. . . . The Prince George Cougars are clinging to the last playoff spot, three points behind Vancouver and Victoria and four ahead of the Spokane Chiefs, who have seven games remaining. . . . The Americans are six points out of a playoff spot with six games to play. . . .

If the playoffs started today: Everett vs. Prince George, Kamloops vs. Victoria, Portland vs. Vancouver, Seattle vs. Kelowna.

In the Eastern Conference, the Winnipeg Ice, Edmonton Oil Kings, Red Deer Rebels, Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatoon Blades have clinched playoff spots. . . . The Ice leads the conference, four points ahead of the Edmonton Oil Kings, and those two will finish atop the East and Central Divisions, respectively. . . . The Rebels are headed for a third-place finish in the conference. . . . The Warriors are fourth, three points ahead of Saskatoon with each team having seven games remaining. . . . Brandon is sixth, seven points behind Saskatoon and seven ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who are one point up on the eight-place Swift Current Broncos. . . . Prince Albert is four points behind Swift Current with the Raiders holding two games in hand. . . . Calgary is five points out of a playoff spot, while Regina trails Swift Current by six points. . . .

If the playoffs started today: Winnipeg vs. Swift Current, Edmonton vs. Lethbridge, Red Deer vs. Brandon, Moose Jaw vs. Saskatoon.

The playoffs are scheduled to open on April 22.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

In Calgary, G Isaac Poulter turned aside 37 shots to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 3-0 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . He’s got six career shutouts, five of them this season. . . . F Cole Nagy’s 12th goal at 13:57 of the first period stood up as the winner. . . . Announced attendance was 11,999. . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice opened up a 3-0 first-period lead en route to a 5-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . F Conor Geekie scored his 20th goal of the season for Winnipeg. The Ice now has seven players with at least 20 goals this season. The WHL record? The 1980-81 Portland Winterhawks and 1985-86 Medicine Hat Tigers each had 12. . . .

In Edmonton, the Lethbridge Hurricans struck for five second-period goals and went to a 5-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Lethbridge G Bryan Thomson stopped 38 shots as his teammates were outshot, 39-18. . . . Announced attendance was 12,855. . . . The Oil Kings had won, 5-2, in Lethbridge on Friday. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Prince George Cougars erased a 3-2 deficit with three third-period goals as they edged the Vancouver Giants, 5-4. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer (29) tied the score at 4:13 of the third period, F Ethan Samson (14) gave the visitors the lead at 9:20 and F Caden Brown (6) got the eventual winner at 13:49. . . . F Payton Mount scored three times for the Giants, giving him 12. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Jared Davidson and F Conner Roulette each scored twice as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-1. . . . Roulette, who also had an assist, has 22 goals; Davidson has 33.


Plant


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last five goals and beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 7-3. . . . Everett G Koen MacInnes stopped all 37 shots he faced after coming on in relief of Braden Holt at 12:04 of the first period with Portland leading, 3-1. . . . F Jackson Berezowski scored two of Everett’s first four goals, including the winner. He now has 43 goals. . . . Portland had won the previous four meetings with Everett. . . .

In Kelowna, F Colton Dach scored three times — he’s got 24 — and added an assist as the Rockets got past the Kamloops Blazers, 5-3. . . . The Blazers played six straight games against the Rockets and had won the first five. . . . Kelowna went 8-4-2 in the season series; Kamloops was 6-7-1. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds surrendered the first two goals, then scored six in a row en route to a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Kent, Wash. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky, who began his WHL career with the Giants, scored three times, the second one on a penalty shot. Svejkovsky, who also had two assists, has 30 goals this season. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., G Tomas Suchanek stopped 38 shots to record his first WHL shutout as the Tri-City Americans beat the Spokane Chiefs, 4-0. . . . F Samuel Huo, who has 28 goals, scored Tri-City’s first two goals, with F Sasha Mutala (18) getting the other two. . . . The announced attendance was 4,906, the Americans’ largest crowd of the season. . . .

G Tyler Brennan blocked 24 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 3-0 victory over the host Victoria Royals. . . . Brennan has four shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . The Royals had won five straight. . . . The Cougars had lost nine of 10 and three in a row. . . .

The host Moose Jaw Warriors scored five third-period goals en route to a 7-0 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . G Carl Tetachuk recorded the shutout with 31 saves. He’s got three shutouts this season, all with the Warriors who acquired him from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Tetachuk, 20, has eight shutouts in his career. . . . D Denton Mateychuk had a goal, his 10th, and three assists. He has 10 points in last two games. He now has 60 points in his 58 games. . . . The Warriors are fourth in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Blades. The teams will meet again Friday, this time in Saskatoon. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels opened up a 4-0 lead early in the second period and went on to beat the Swift Current Broncos, 6-2. . . . F Jayden Grubbe led the Rebels with two goals, giving him 12. . . . F Arshdeep Bains of the Rebels, who leads the WHL points derby, picked up his 36th goal. He now has 97 points, two more than linemate Ben King. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings erased a 1-0 deficit with five straight goals as they beat the host Regina Pats, 5-2. . . . The Wheat Kings took control with three goals in 1:11 late in the first period. . . . Brandon got two goals from F Rylen Roersma, who has 17. . . . F Connor Bedard got No. 44 for the Pats, who were playing in front of a season-high announced crowd of 6,241. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Jack Finley’s three goals led the Ice to a 6-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Ice held a 37-16 edge in shots, including 14-1 in the second period. . . . Finley has 24 goals, with 16 of them coming in the 31 games he has played with Winnipeg since coming over from the Spokane Chiefs. . . .

G Brayden Peters kicked out 13 shots to record the shutout as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Tigers, 2-0, in Medicine Hat. . . . Peters has four career shutouts, three of them this season. . . . Calgary outshot Medicine Hat, 39-13, including 14-2 in the opening period. . . . D Keagan Slaney’s third goal, at 15:48 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . .


Here’s Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, describing the biggest cheaters in the world of sports: “Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong, every NASCAR crew chief and those of you who fill out more than one NCAA tournament bracket.”


Therapist


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Unicorn

How to get fans back into WHL arenas? The Insider offers up some suggestions . . .

The good news for the WHL is that there have been some great crowds of late. The Spokane Chiefs had their largest crowd (7,918) since before the pandemic on Saturday night for a visit by the Tri-City Americans. The Moose Jaw Warriors drew a season-high 4,895 that same night with the Regina Pats in town.

But there is a long way to go before things get back to where they once were.

Granted, we are in the middle of a pandemic and teams have had to deal with WHLmandates and restrictions. But this season, using figures compiled by the WHL, its 22 teams have combined to play 642 games through Sunday with an announced average attendance of 3,080 — that’s actually up 34 fans per game in nine days. Hey, baby steps . . .

In 2018-19, the last time the WHL was able to play a complete season, teams played 748 games with the announced average at 4,361.

But the warning signs were there before this season.

In 2019-20, teams got in 694 games before the pandemic brought the season to a close. The announced average for those games was 4,154, which was down 207 from the previous season. Eighteen teams  experienced a decrease in attendance from 2018-19, with only the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Prince Albert Raiders showing an increase.

Last season, a number of teams received government funding due to the pandemic, with six teams in Saskatchewan counting $600,000 apiece among their revenues. The Prince Albert Raiders, for example, received $1,081,179 in government grants and were able to announce a profit of $25,891.

Richard Doerken, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, told Hartley Miller on his Cat Scan podcast earlier this year that none of the teams has received any government money this season.

We can only imagine how much some of the other teams bled last season and how large the puddle on the floor is this season.

Recently, I asked fans why they no longer attend WHL games, or perhaps are going to fewer games than they once did. A number of Portland fans referenced the hassle of getting into Winterhawks games. The above video, which was posted on Twitter on Sunday evening by Chad Balcom, a regular at Portland games, is an example of to what they were referring.

And it is that kind of thing that WHL teams have to deal with as they work to get fans to return to their games.

They also have to deal with the lifting of so many things pandemic-related that now some of those fans who choose to continue to wear masks are concerned about being around the unmasked and even anti-vaxxers. Back in the day one of the biggest beefs likely had to do with the in-game music. Too loud? Not loud enough?

But as things continue to inch towards some semblance of whatever normal is going to be, we wonder what WHL teams should be looking at in their attempts to get fans back into their buildings.

One person who has been on the front lines in the WHL and maintains a love for the league contacted me and offered up some suggestions. The Insider has been deep inside a team’s front office — on the business and marketing side — so has a feel for what is happening there. As well, The Insider remains in the game; he now is in the front office of a pro team.

In writing to me, the approach was: “I thought I would focus on the ‘what to do about it.’ ”

With that, The Insider approached the situation from three angles — teams needing to show patience, teams needing to take a long, hard look at the fan experience, and teams needing to look at the overall cost of attending games.

“First,” The Insider wrote, “it is going to take time for fans, particularly casual fans, to get back into their pre-pandemic habits, so understand that the further the pandemic and mandates recede into memory (let’s hope there’s not another variant around the corner) the more likely fans are to return . . . Teams should understand that it isn’t going to correct itself overnight so set some realistic timeframes for attendance growth.”

When you think about it, as we go through life a lot of what we do is dictated by habits. There is a reason why your favourite TV show is on at the same time every week. Marketers want to create a habit. Once they are able to do that, they know that should you ever break that habit you may never come back. That is what WHL teams are up against now.

“Second,” The Insider wrote, “teams need to raise their game when it comes to the fan experience, not only in-venue but also with their streaming video production . . . Give kids in particular plenty to do on the concourse, offer fun experiences like Fanboni rides and puck shoots, let them meet the players after games, etc. . . . As for the video production, bad lighting, poor camera work, lousy graphics and unstable streaming platforms aren’t going to help any team/league monetize their video content, and in-home viewing continues to grow and grow.”

One season-ticket holder who emailed me on Sunday seemed to echo The Insider, writing about his favourite team: “It’s also the same thing every season. Same promotions. Same giveaways (first 500 or 1,000 people). Same first- and second-period intermissions. They really need to jazz it up and make changes.”

“And third,” The Insider wrote, “teams and the league need to re-examine their pricing structure/value proposition to bring in new fans to the sport, particularly younger families . . . As gas prices and other ‘basics’ increase in price, junior hockey needs to price the game-night experience (tickets, parking, food, etc.) so that a family can attend a game at a reasonable investment. Otherwise they’ll stay at home and stream Disney+ for the evening . . . cheaper and less hassle.”

From where I sit, WHL teams have to learn to put a whole lot of attention on game operations and presentation. They need to get to a place where even if the home team gets blown out the fans go home feeling that they still received good entertainment value and that not only would they return, but that they would spread the word.

“I don’t know that enough WHL teams are thinking that way,” The Insider wrote. “And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it.”

In closing, The Insider added:

“It takes creativity. Thinking outside the box. Looking at other sports like minor league baseball and events like music festivals. The sport itself is a great product, but these days fans want more if they are going to pay the prices and fight the traffic and deal with the hassles at the doors. Otherwise you’re right . . . fans will watch from home whether it’s WHL or NHL or Schitt’s Creek or whatever.”

And if the fans are going to stay home, some teams are going to be up the creek without the proverbial paddle. If they aren’t already, that is.

Let’s get Chipperfield on the 40 at 16 list . . . WJC in Edmonton has its dates . . . Mateychuk sets up six for Warriors

Hey, WHL, gotta add another name to the list of 16-year-olds in your 40-Goal Club.

That’s right. And, no, I didn’t figure it out by myself. I received an email on WHLSaturday pointing out that F Ron Chipperfield of the Brandon Wheat Kings struck 40 times in 64 games in 1970-71.

He was born in Brandon — his home actually was in Minnedosa, just up No. 10 highway — on March 28, 1954, so, yes, he was 16 for the 1970-71 season.

Could Chipper score? Hey, does a bear, well, you know . . .

He went on to play three more seasons with the Wheat Kings, scoring 59, 72 and 90 goals.

Chipperfield finished with 470 points, including 261 goals, in 252 games. Yes, he averaged more than one goal per game over a four-season career. In his final season, 1973-74, he counted for 90 of Brandon’s 305 goals. Add his 72 assists and he was in on 162 goals, or 53 per cent of them.

Amazing!

When you consider that the Wheat Kings were anything but a powerhouse in those days — they won 20, 35, 29 and 27 games during Chipperfield’s four seasons with them — his accomplishments are all the more amazing.

So let’s add Chipperfield to the list that also features Glen Goodall, Jeff Friesen, Mark Pederson, Dave Pasin and Bedard.

The WHL had Kimbi Daniels on the list when it was posted, but it turns out that he was 17 years of age when he hit the 40-goal mark. As a 16-year-old, he scored 30 goals for the 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos.


Diner


So . . . the Minnesota State Mavericks thought they had won the CCHA championship on Saturday night in Mankato, Minn. In fact, they were in their locker room celebrating what they thought was a 2-1 OT victory over the Bemidji State Beavers. However, well after the game, officials reviewed the winning goal and decided that it shouldn’t have counted. The CCHA said in a statement that “additional TV production camera angles made available to the officials provided conclusive evidence that the goal net was elevated and the puck entered underneath the frame.” . . . After the game, Don Lucia, the CCHA commissioner, told reporters: “I don’t want to end someone’s career on a goal that is not a goal.” . . . The game was restarted from 3:02 of OT, more than an hour after it had ended. The ice was resurfaced, teams had a five-minute warmup and then away they went. . . . After all that, the Mavericks got a goal from Jack McNeely at 5:11 to end it for a second time.


G Ève Gascon became the third woman to play in a QMJHL game on Saturday when her Gatineau Olympiques dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the visiting Rimouski Oceanic. . . . Gascon, 18, stopped 18 shots. . . . F Xavier Cormier scored the winner, his 20th goal of the season, at 1:10 of OT. . . . Gascon’s presence helped the Olympiques set a single-game attendance record (4,700) in their new facility — the Slush Puppie Centre. . . . Two other female goaltenders — Manon Rheaume and Charline Labonté — have played in the QMJHL, while Shannon Szabados, also a goaltender, had a taste of WHL action with the Tri-City Americans in September 2002. . . . Wayne Scanlan has more on Gascon’s day right here.


Spelling


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


We have dates! The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship now is scheduled for Aug. 9-20 with it all to be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton. You will recall WJC2022that the tournament actually got started in Red Deer/Edmonton on Dec. 26 but was cancelled four days later because of positive tests among players and on-ice officials. . . . All players who were eligible to play in December will be eligible for August. . . . Latvia has been added to the 10-team field, replacing the Russians, who were turfed after their dictator attacked Ukraine. . . . Group A will comprise Austria, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. Canada is in Group B, with Czechia, Finland, Latvia and Slovakia. . . . The tournament will start from scratch on Aug. 9, meaning results from December won’t count for anything. . . .

The IIHF also revealed on Saturday that the U18 Women’s World Championship is to be played in June in the U.S. It was to have been played in January in Sweden — Linkoping and Mjolby — but was scrubbed because of the pandemic. Dates and locations for June have yet to be announced. . . .

The men’s U18 Worlds will be held in Germany — Landshut and Kaufbeuren — from April 23 through May 1. Canada, Czechia, Germany and the U.S. will be Group A, with Group B comprising Finland, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland. . . .

Martin Merk has more on the IIHF and various tournaments and schedule changes right here.


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

The Moose Jaw Warriors got six assists from D Denton Mateychuk as they dropped the visiting Regina Pats, 10-4. . . . Regina had a 45-33 edge in shots. . . . The Warriors got singletons from 10 players. . . . Mateychuk has 56 points, including 47 assists, in 57 games. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard scored his 41st goal as he ran his point streak to 20 games, the longest in the WHL this season. . . .

F Briley Wood scored in the 11th round of a shootout to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Rebels in Red Deer. . . . The Rebels forced OT when F Arshdeep Bains scored his 34th goal at 16:09 of the third period, via the PP. . . .

F Reece Vitelli scored twice and added an assist to lead the host Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Vitelli has 22 goals this season. . . .

G Daniel Hauser stopped 19 shots to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 5-0 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Hauser has a WHL-leading seven shutouts. His other numbers this season: 24-2-1, 2.07, .913. . . . F Skyler Bruce had two goals, giving him 16, and an assist. . . . Winnipeg, which has clinched the East Division pennant, won the season series, 8-1-1. Brandon was 2-7-1.

G Isaac Poulter turned aside 19 shots as the Swift Current Broncos beat the Tigers, 2-0, in Medicine Hat. . . . F Josh Filmon’s 22nd goal, at 3:50 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . . Poulter has four shutouts this season and five in his career. . . .

F Bailey Peach scored all three goals as the host Victoria Royals beat the Prince George Cougars, 3-0. . . . Peach, who has 33 goals, counted once in each period, the final one into an empty net. . . . The Royals got 35 saves from freshman G Tyler Palmer, who earned his third shutout of this season. . . .

F Sasha Mutala and F Parker Bell each scored twice and added an assist as the Tri-City Americans got past the Chiefs, 6-3, in Spokane. . . . Mutula  and Bell each has 16 goals. . . . Tri-City scored four of the game’s final five goals. . . . F Yannick scored two goals — he’s got 11 — and added an assist for Spokane. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen had two goals and two assists to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Huuhtanen, who has 32 goals, gave the Silvertips a 2-0 lead by scoring at 2:22 and 16:39 of the first period. . . . Everett also got three assists from D Olen Zellweger. . . . The Giants were without F Adam Hall, who was hit with a three-game suspension for a hit on Everett D Ronan Seeley at 2:17 of the second period of Friday’s game. Hall was given a minor for boarding on the play in which Seeley suffered an apparent shoulder injury. He left the game and didn’t return. Hall later scored the Giants’ second and fourth goals in the Giants’ 5-3 victory. . . . Seeley didn’t play in this one. . . .

F Logan Stankoven scored twice and Dylan Garand recorded the shutout as the Kamloops Blazers beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-0. . . . Kamloops has won eight in a row, with five of those victories over Kelowna. . . . Stankoven, who has 35 goals, opened the scoring at 2:41 of the first period and that was all the offence Garand would need. . . . He finished with 33 saves as he posted his third shutout this season and the 11th of his career. This season, Garand is 29-7-0, 2.04, .926. . . . F Fraser Minten added his 18th goal and two assists. . . . After the game, Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice, tweeted: “When you play each other four straight games, tempers flare. Coaches doing some shouting at one another late in the third.” . . . They’ll go home-and-home again next weekend, too. . . .

F Jaydon Dureau scored Portland’s first three goals as the Winterhawks skated to a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Blades in Kent, Wash. . . . Dureau, who has 17 goals, scored three times on the PP — 22 seconds into the first period for a 1-0 lead, 59 seconds into the third for a 2-0 lead and at 3:27 for a 3-1 edge. . . . Portland was 3-for-5 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-4. . . . Seattle was able to dress only 16 skaters, two under the maximum allowed.


Scraps


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Couples

Blazers to bid on 2023 Memorial Cup; Gaglardi says process has changed . . . Bedard streak at 19 games . . . Blades halt Oil Kings’ 14-game tear

It used to be that WHL teams bidding to play host to a Memorial Cup tournament would make presentations before the board of governors in Kamloops1Calgary, a vote would be held and a winner would be declared.

But it seems that process has gone the way of the dodo bird.

The Kamloops Blazers plan on bidding on the 2023 tournament and Tom Gaglardi, the team’s majority owner, says things have been redone and a host team/city now will be decided in secrecy and that it won’t involve the WHL board holding a vote. Instead, Gaglardi told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week, that he believes a decision will be made at the CHL level.

“It’s better,” Gaglardi said. “It should be decided by people who are, you know . . . I just think it takes biases out and the real reasons a winning team should host have got a better chance of prevailing. I’m hopeful this is a good system and a better system, but that remains to be seen.”

The WHL was to have played host to the 2020 tournament and the Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes all wanted to be the host team. Presentations were made in October 2018 and . . . the Rockets won. Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ owner, is chairman of the WHL’s board of governors.

Of course, COVID-19 had other plans and the tournament was scrubbed, as was the 2021 event. This year’s tournament is scheduled for Saint John, N.B.

When Hastings called Hamilton to ask if the Rockets would bid on 2023, the response was: “Thanks for the interest. The CHL is who releases that info now.”

Hastings’ story is right here.


Eggs


I got quite a chuckle out of two tweets from The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman on Tuesday night. He covers the Edmonton Oilers, and they had just Edmontondumped the visiting Detroit Red Wings, 7-5. . . .

Part 1: Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft had lunch (Tuesday) with WHL Oil Kings bench boss Brad Lauer and his staff. Lauer said this: “The wins are pieces of art, but you don’t always hang every picture in the living room. Sometimes you hang them in the basement.”

Part 2: “I thought it was a really smart way of putting it,” Woodcroft said of Lauer’s analogy. “Brad’s a really funny guy. I’m going to steal that one. I think it adequately describes tonight’s game.”

I always enjoyed chatting with Lauer when he played for the Regina Pats and I was with the Regina Leader-Post. Later, after I had moved to Kamloops and he was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice (remember them?) for five seasons, we often told talked before and after games.

The WHL hasn’t made a Media Guide and Record Book available since before the 2019-20 season, so the numbers that follow are unofficial.

Including Wednesday’s games, Lauer and Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, are neck-and-neck as to who has the highest percentage of games won among those who have coached at least four seasons.

Williams, who is in his fifth season in Everett, has won 189 of 272 games, which works out to .695.

Lauer is into his fourth season as Edmonton’s head coach. He has been the head coach for 214 games and the Oil Kings have won 149 of those. That is a winning percentage of .692.

Lauer’s Oil Kings dropped a 5-3 decision to the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday. He went into the game trailing Williams by .00001 — .69485-.69484.

I know. I know. You’re asking: What about Ken Hitchcock, who had such a great run with the Kamloops Blazers. In six seasons, he won 291 of 431 games (.675).


Bury


WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 19 games as the Regina Pats took down the Hurricanes, 6-4, in Lethbridge. . . . Regina won on the strength of three third-period goals after F Justin Hall, who has 33, struck at 7:23 and 7:50 to give Lethbridge a 4-3 lead. . . . Bedard finished with two goals and an assist, giving him 79 points, including 40 goals, in 49 games. . . . His 19-game point streak ties him with F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers, who had a 19-gamer end on Feb. 19. Bedard has 41 points, 20 of them goals, on his streak; Stankoven finished with 17 goals and 22 assists. . . .

F Tristen Robins scored three times to lead the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 5-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. The loss snapped Edmonton’s 14-game winning streak. . . . Robins, who broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals, has 30 this season. He scored at 4:22 and 15:18 of the second period and 4:55 of the third. . . . The Blades got 43 saves from G Nolan Maier, who posted his 118th career victory, just two shy of the WHL record. Maier stopped F Dylan Guenther on a penalty shot at 3:14 of the third period with the Blades leading 3-1. Robins scored his third goal just 1:41 later. . . .

In Langley, B.C., Czech F Petr Moravec scored at 1:37 of OT to give the Tri-City Americans a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Moravec, who turned 19 on Feb. 24, has 14 goals. . . . G Tomas Suchanek, an 18-year-old Czech, stopped 35 shots to earn the victory. . . . F Samuel Huo (26) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead with his second shorthanded goal in as many games at 7:27 of the first period. . . . D Alex Cotton (14) pulled the Giants even on the PP at 9:26 of the first. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Swift Current Broncos erased a 2-1 first-period deficit with the next five goals en route to a 6-3 victory over the Raiders. . . . F Karson King scored his fifth and sixth goals 11 seconds apart early in the second period to break a 2-2 tie. The Broncos also got a big game from G Isaac Poulter, who stopped 39 shots. . . .

F Blake Stevenson scored twice, giving him 22, to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Calgary had lost seven in a row. . . . F Zac Funk added his 18th goal and two assists for Calgary, which broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals, one late in the second period and two in the third. . . . The Wheat Kings were without top-end forwards Nate Danielson, Ridly Greig and Marcus Kallionkieli, all injured, for a third straight game. . . .

G Daniel Hauser blocked 24 shots to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 4-0 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . One night earlier, G Dawson Cowan, in his first WHL appearance, stopped 23 shots as the host Ice blanked the Calgary Hitmen, 4-0. . . . Hauser has a WHL-leading six shutouts in 27 appearances this season. He now is 22-2-1, 2.12, .913 this season. . . . The Ice got goals from F Connor McClennon (38), F Matthew Savoie (28), F Mike Milne (30) and F Conor Geekie (18).


Thanks a bunch to those of you who have clicked on the link and given generously. Much appreciated. . . . My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


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The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs and general manager/head coach Joe Martin have agreed on a five-year contract extension that will take him through the 2026-27 season. . . . Martin is completing his third season with the Bulldogs after spending eight seasons with the Merritt Centennials, the last four as GM/head coach. . . . This season, the Bulldogs, with two games remaining, are 34-14-4 and leading the nine-team Coastal Division by seven points over the Langley Rivermen.


The NAHL announced Wednesday that the Minnesota Magicians, who played out of Richfield, have been sold and are on the move to Eagle River, Wis. The Magicians had been in Richfield for nine seasons. . . . Wisconsin is home to two other NAHL franchises — the Chippewa Steel in Chippewa Falls and the Janesville Jets in Janesville.


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If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


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