Graham fighting to get back in booth. . . . Ice unveils plans for its temporary home. . . . Raiders can close out WHL final tonight

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D Martin Bodák (Kootenay, 2017-19) has signed a one-year contract with Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Kootenay, he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 58 games. . . .

D Brent Regner (Vancouver, 2005-09) has signed a one-year contract extension with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had 11 goals and 23 assists in 44 games.


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As he had for more than 650 Edmonton Oil Kings games, Corey Graham was calling the play on March 18, 2018. That was the Oil Kings’ final game of the 2017-18 season because they missed the playoffs. . . . That also was Graham’s last game to date. What happened? . . .

Jason Gregor has the story right here . . .

“I met Corey and his wife Nicole in their new home last month. Corey greeted me at the front door of their newly renovated bungalow. Freshly painted walls and three gorgeous white pillars showcased a welcoming open area for the kitchen and living room.

“Instead of calling Oil Kings games, Corey has been battling to stand up. Literally.

“He moved his wheelchair close to the couch and we talked about the events of the previous 10 months.”


While they were preparing to move from Cranbrook, B.C., to Winnipeg, the owners of the wpgiceteam that now is the Winnipeg Ice had said they would spend $400,000 on dressing up Wayne Fleming Arena, the 38-year-old arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba. On Thursday, Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, announced that figure will be closer to $1.2 million. . . . As Paul Friesen wrote in the Winnipeg Sun: “You can buy a lot of lipstick for $1.2 million.” . . . That will allow them, Cockell said, to increase the arena’s capacity by 200, to 1,600, and to add such things as a new clock with video boards, as well as new glass and netting. . . . The Ice has said it will spend two seasons playing in the Wayne Fleming Arena as it awaits construction of a new facility. That new arena is to be built in the Rural Municipality of Macdonald, but a shovel has yet to be put in the ground because some rezoning apparently has yet to be done. . . . Friesen’s complete piece is right here.


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The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies scored a pair of empty-net goals to finish off a 6-3 victory over the visiting Halifax Mooseheads in Game 5 of the QMJHL’s championship final on Thursday night. . . . The Huskies lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 in Halifax on Saturday. . . . Halifax is the host team for the Memorial Cup so both teams will be playing in the tournament regardless of who wins this series. . . .

The OHL championship series is scheduled to resume tonight in Ottawa with the 67’s and Guelph Storm tied, 2-2. Ottawa won the first two games; Guelph followed by holding serve on home ice. . . . Game 6 is to be played in Guelph on Sunday.



Ken Campbell of The Hockey News pretty much summed up the NHL playoffs with this:

“A blown major penalty that leads to four power-play goals in a crucial game can’t be reviewed, but a play where a guy’s DNA is on the wrong side of the blueline can.”

He’s right, and his entire piece is right here.


Men’s and women’s hockey teams from Trinity Western U in Langley, B.C., and MacEwan U in Edmonton will begin play in Canada West, one of U Sports’ top conferences, in 2020-21. . . . The applications were accepted on Thursday as Canada West’s annual general meeting wrapped up in Whistler, B.C. . . . The TWU Spartans men’s team is coming off back-to-back championship seasons in the B.C. International Hockey League. The women’s team plays in the South Coast Women’s Hockey League. . . . Both of MacEwan’s teams, the Griffins, play in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference where both teams have won three straight championships.


Brad Elliott Schlossman covers the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks and NCAA hockey for the Grand Forks Herald. He regularly writes a feature that he calls The Daily Skate, and it’s a really good read. . . . On Thursday, he wrote, among other things, about the number of standalone diving calls this season in NCAA Division I hockey. . . . He also had some info on college teams moving the starting times for Saturday games up to 6 p.m. Minnesota State U-Mankato is one of those teams. Here’s what Kevin Buisman, the athletic director, told Schlossman: “This is a strategy that has been effective in other markets and after consulting players, coaches, fans, event staff and other program supporters, we decided to move forward with immediate implementation. I think this change will be particularly appealing to families with younger children and this is a demographic we need to grow as they represent the future fan base of Maverick hockey.” . . . Schlossman’s complete piece is right here.


Rikard Grönborg is one of the hot names in the coaching community these days. Grönborg, the head coach of the Swedish national team, spent one season (2004-05) as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs. These days, it was thought that he was high on the Buffalo Sabres’ list of prospective head coaches. However, his day in the NHL is going to have to wait as he has signed a two-year deal with the ZSC Lions of the Swiss National League.


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NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup could conclude tonight as the Prince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Giants meet in Game 5 in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders, who have posted 4-0 and 1-0 shutouts in two of the past three games, hold a 3-1 lead. In between the shutouts, they beat the Giants, 8-2. . . . Should the Giants win tonight, Game 6 would be played in Prince Albert on Sunday. A seventh game, if needed, would be played on Monday.


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It’s a big day in Allan, Sask. . . . No playoffs for Wheaties. . . . Blazers, Rockets all even in third. . . . Giants clinch conference flag

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This is going to be a great day in Allan, Sask. That’s because the folks there are in the HumboldtBroncosmiddle of their winter festival, and they will be taking time to rename the local arena in honour of the late Logan Schatz, who was the captain of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. The Allan and District Communiplex is to be renamed the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena. . . . Allan is located about 60 km southeast of Saskatoon. . . . Schatz, a native of Allan, was finishing up his fourth season with the Broncos when he was killed in the April 6 bus crash. . . . The dedication ceremony also will involved the unveiling of signage inside and outside the arena. Angie Rolheiser of northeastnow.com writes that the “signs were made by Humboldt Collegiate Institute industrial arts teacher Brian Hinz, who also taught Logan while he attended HCI.” . . . It is only fitting that there will be a hockey game in the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena tonight, with the Allan Senior Flames meeting the Kinistino Tigers in Game 2 of a Wheatland Hockey League playoff series. . . . Rolheiser’s story is right here.


There is an interesting conundrum in Kamloops where the Blazers ran out of goaltenders and had one on their bench Friday night whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips.

This all started on March 6 when Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson, 20, was injured Kamloops1during a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants.

The Blazers immediately brought in Rayce Ramsay, who turned 18 on Jan. 3, from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to back up Dylan Garand. In Ferguson’s absence Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria, made his fifth straight start last night as the Blazers lost, 5-4 in OT, to the visiting Prince George Cougars.

Ramsay was on the bench for the first four of those starts, but he couldn’t make it five because he had to return to Humboldt as the Broncos started a playoff series in Estevan against the Bruins last night. Ramsay made 29 saves as the Broncos opened with a 4-1 victory.

In the end, the Blazers were able to add G Danton Belluk to their roster as an emergency backup, getting him, with the WHL’s approval, on loan from the Silvertips. Under emergency conditions, Belluk will only be able to play should Garand be injured.

Belluk, 17, is from Lorette, Man. A 10th-round pick of the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft, he spent this season with the midget AAA Eastman Selects. Last season, he got into two games with the Silvertips.


Two WHL veteran forwards signed three-year entry-level NHL contracts on Friday.

Trey Fix-Wolansky, the captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings, signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. Fix-Wolansky, 19, has 101 points, including 37 goals, in 63 games. He has single-season career highs in goals, assists and points. . . . From Edmonton, he has 244 points, including 151 assists, in 204 career regular-season WHL games over three seasons, all with the Oil Kings. . . . He wasn’t selected in the WHL bantam draft. . . .

Jake Elmer, an undrafted free agent, signed with the New York Rangers. He has 38 goals and 41 assists in 67 games. Elmer, who turned 20 on Dec. 31, is from Calgary. The Regina Pats selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . They dealt him to the Kootenay Ice and he later was moved to the Hurricanes. Last season, he finished with 18 goals and 19 assists in 70 games with Lethbridge. . . . In 203 career regular-season games, he has 63 goals and 69 assists.


If you have attended a WHL game or a show at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, you may have seen Freda and/or Howard Brown. Both of them have been heavily involved with the volunteers and security at the arena; Freda also looked after the media and scouts in the press box for a number of years. . . . Freda now is dealing with kidney disease — she started dialysis earlier this month — and is hoping that a transplant is in her future. Howard has proven to be a match, and he now is going through the testing process to see if he can be the donor. . . . With Thursday having been World Kidney Day, they told their story to CFJC-TV in Kamloops, and it’s all right here. There is a story here, as well as video.


The Trinity Western Spartans won their second straight BCIHL championship on Friday TWUnight, beating the Vancouver Island Mariners, 9-1, in Aldergrove, B.C., to sweep the best-of-three series. . . . The Spartans are the first team to successfully defend its BCIHL championship since the Castlegar, B.C.-based Selkirk College Saints won in 2014-15 and 2015-16. . . . TWU finished the regular season at 18-5-0, then went 4-0 in the playoffs. Over the past two seasons, the Spartans’ combined record is 47-8-1. . . . TWU has applied for admission to Canada West in time for the 2020-21 season. A decision is expected later this year.


Darren Granger started in the hockey business as the assistant equipment manager with the Brandon Wheat Kings. That was about 25 years ago. He now has been in the NHL since 1992, first with the Vancouver Canucks as their assistant equipment manager. Since 2006, he has been the head equipment manager for the Los Angeles Kings. . . . Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times has more on Granger right here.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings had their playoff hopes come to an end as they were beaten, Pats5-4, by the host Regina Pats. . . . Regina (19-45-3) had lost its previous seven games. . . . Brandon (30-29-8) has lost five in a row. The Wheat Kings are four points away from a playoff spot but have only one game remaining. . . . The same teams will play again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . Regina is 4-2-1 in the season series; Brandon is 3-4-0. . . . The Pats won this one with three goals in the span of 1:31 in the third period. . . . Regina D Liam Schioler (5) tied the score, 3-3, at 9:13 of the third period. . . . D Brett Clayton (5) broke the tie at 9:47. . . . F Sergei Alkhimov (13) upped Regina’s lead to 5-3 at 10:44. . . . F Luka Burzan (40) got the Wheaties to within a goal at 11:40 but they weren’t able to get even. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney shot wide on a penalty shot at 15:43 of the third period. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (22) and Burzan had given Brandon a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . F Cole Dubinsky (5), on a PP, and Alkhimov got Regina even in the second period, and Brandon D Braydyn Chizen (2) gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 1:12 of the third. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 34 shots for Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings got 39 stops from G Jiri Patera.


F Vladislav Mikhalchuk scored in OT to give the Prince George Cougars a 5-4 victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (19-40-8) has won two in a row. . . . Kamloops (27-32-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is tied with the Kelowna Rockets for third place in the B.C. Division. If they are tied after tonight’s games, they will meet in a sudden-death play-in game in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . They Blazers and Cougars will play again tonight, this time in Prince George. . . . Kamloops is 6-0-2 in the season series; Prince George is 2-5-1. . . . The Cougars erased a 2-1 deficit with three goals in the first half of the third period. Mikhalchuk tied the game at 1:11; F Josh Curtis (13) gave the Cougars the lead at 6:51; and F Mike MacLean came out of the penalty to score his fifth goal of the season on a breakaway at 9:50. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (13) got Kamloops to within a goal, on a PP, at 13:39, and F Connor Zary (23) tied it from a scramble at 19:04 with G Dylan Garand on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Blazers held possession for most of the OT, but got a bit too fancy in the offensive zone and gave up a 2-on-1 with Mikhalchuk and Curtis going the other way. Mikhalchuk ended it with his 24th goal of the season. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (5) scored Prince George’s first goal, with F Kobe Mohr (8) and F Ryley Appelt (5) giving Kamloops a 2-1 lead. . . . Mikhalchuk finished with two goals and two assists, while Curtis added two assists to his goal. . . . Zary also had three points, as he, too, had two helpers. . . . The Cougars got 26 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Garand stopped 24 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers scratched D Joonas Sillanpää, their Finnish freshman, for a third straight game.


F Max Gerlach broke a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 Saskatoonvictory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Saskatoon (45-14-8) has won eight in a row, and 14 of 15. It also has won nine in a row on home ice. The Blades will finish second in the East Division. They open a first-round series against the Moose Jaw Warriors on March 22 in Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert (53-10-4) had won its previous three games. The Raiders will finish atop the Eastern Conference and meet the Red Deer Rebels, the second wild-card team, in the first round. . . . Season series: Prince Albert, 5-2-0; Saskatoon, 2-4-1. . . . These two teams will play tonight in Prince Albert. . . . F Parker Kelly (35) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 1:21 of the first period. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on goals from D Brandon Schuldhaus (8), at 5:44, and F Ryan Hughes (30), on a PP, at 0:37 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (41) got the visitors into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 4:49 of the third period. . . . Gerlach won it with his 41st goal, on a PP, at 7:17. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 28 shots for the Blades. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott, who stopped 29 shots, went into the game riding three straight shutouts. His shutout streak ended at a franchise-record 185:44 when Schuldhaus scored. The Raiders’ previous record (128:32) had been set by G Craig Hordal in 1995-96. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . The Raiders’ scratches included F Dante Hannoun.


F Jake Leschyshyn scored three times to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-3 victory Lethbridgeover the host Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (39-18-10) has won seven in a row. It is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for top spot in the Central Division. The Oil Kings will go home-and-home with the Calgary Hitmen this afternoon and Sunday afternoon. The Hurricanes will meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . Red Deer (33-28-6) has lost three straight. Despite the loss, the Rebels clinched the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot when the Brandon Wheat Kings lost. Red Deer will meet the conference-champion Prince Albert Raiders in the first round. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 4-1-1; Red Deer was 2-3-1. . . . F Dylan Cozens (34) and Leschyshyn, on a PP, gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead with goals 30 seconds apart in the first period. . . . The Rebels tied it on two goals from F Reese Johnson, at 9:13 of the first period and 5:18 of the second. . . . Leschyshyn put the Hurricanes back out front at 12:58. . . . Johnson completed his third hat trick of the season by scoring his 27th goal at 13:41. . . . Leschyshyn’s 40th goal, at 4:15 of the third period, stood up as the winner. He’s got three career hat tricks; this was his first with Lethbridge, which acquired him from the Regina Pats this season. . . . G Carl Tetachuk earned the victory with 27 saves, two fewer than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders.


The Moose Jaw Warriors set a franchise record for most road victories in a season with a MooseJawWarriors6-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Currrent. . . . Moose Jaw (39-20-8) has won two in a row. It will finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round playoff series. . . . The Warriors won 24 road games this season, one more than last season’s team. . . . Swift Current (11-50-6) will travel to Moose Jaw tonight. . . . Season series: Moose Jaw, 4-0-1; Swift Current, 1-3-1. . . . The Warriors got two goals and two assists from F Justin Almeida, who now has 108 points, including 76 assists. Almeida, who has had 12 career games with at least four points, leads the WHL in assists and is third in points, four points behind Portland Winterhawks F Joachim Blichfeld and two behind teammate Tristin Langan, who had one assist. . . . The Warriors also got goals from F Carson Denomie (7), F Keenan Taphorn (15), F Daniil Stepanov (8) and D Josh Brook (16). . . . Almeida and Stepanov each scored while shorthanded. . . . F Brayden Tracey was among Moose Jaw’s scratches.


Shivers
After being open for 690 Kootenay Ice games, Shivers concession stand will end its run when the team leaves for Winnipeg after Sunday’s game. “Thank you Kootenay Ice and hockey fans,” reads the sign. “Shivers opened on Sept 12, 2001. Since opening we have served you for 690 Kootenay Ice hockey games.” It is signed: “Ramona and Staff.”

F Ryan Jevne scored once and added two assists to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-2 Tigers Logo Officialvictory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook. . . . Medicine Hat (35-26-6) has won three in a row. With the victory, it clinched the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. The Tigers will play the Central Division champion, either the Edmonton Oil Kings or Lethbridge Hurricanes, in the first round. . . . Kootenay (12-45-10) has lost six in a row. . . . The Tigers won the season series, 5-1-0; the Ice was 1-4-1. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (21), Jevne (31) and F Ryan Chyzowski (27), on a PP, gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first period. . . . D Linus Nassen (7) made it 4-0 at 12:58 of the second. . . . D Marco Creta (4) and F Holden Kodak (2) scored for the Ice in the third period, before F Brett Kemp (32) got an empty-netter for Medicine Hat. . . . Ice G Jesse Makaj stopped 51 shots, 22 more than the Tigers’ Mads Sogaard. . . . Kootenay F Austin Schellenberg left in the first period with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return. . . . The Ice brought in D Anson McMaster, 16, for the final two games of the season. A second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . The Ice has one home game remaining, Sunday afternoon against the Red Deer Rebels, and its stay in Cranbrook will be over. The franchise is relocating to Winnipeg.


The Victoria Royals got 35 saves from G Griffen Outhouse and two shootout goals to beat VictoriaRoyalsthe visiting Everett Silvertips, 3-2. . . . Victoria (34-29-4) had lost its previous four games. It will finish second in the B.C. Division and meet with the Kamloops Blazers or Kelowna Rockets in the first round. . . . Everett (46-16-5) has lost three in a row (0-4-1). It will finish atop the U.S. Division, and will see the Tri-City Americans in the first round. . . . Victoria is 2-1-0 in the season series; Everett is 1-1-1. . . . These two teams will meet again tonight in Everett. . . . Last night, F Connor Dewar (36) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the first period, only to have Victoria F Brandon Cutler tie it 17 seconds later. . . . Everett went ahead 2-1 as F Martin Fasko-Rudas (12) scored at 8:59 of the second period. . . . Cutler tied it with his 14th goal of the season, just 57 seconds later. . . . Victoria got shootout goals from D Ralph Jarratt and F Igor Martynov, with F Bryce Kindopp the only Everett shooter to score. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 28 shots for the Silvertips. . . . F Lucas Cullen, 19, who spent his season with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, made his Everett debut. . . . The Royals scratched D Mitchell Prowse, D Jameson Murray, D Matt Smith, F Tyus Gent, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver. . . . They had 16 skaters dressed, including two APs — D Kaden Reinders and D Noah Lamb.


F Jake McGrew enjoyed his third career hat trick to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane (39-21-7) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks. The Chiefs have one game remaining. The Winterhawks will play the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight and again Sunday. . . . Portland and Spokane will be first-round opponents. . . . Tri-City (34-27-6) has lost four straight (0-2-2). It will be the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will meet the Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . Season series: Tri-City, 6-4-1; Spokane, 5-5-1. . . . The Chiefs and Americans will play again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . McGrew, on a PP, and D Roman Kalinichenko (2) gave the Chiefs an early 2-0 lead. . . . F Parker AuCoin, who scored 21 goals last season, got his 42nd of this season for the Americans at 13:34 of the opening period. He also had two assists in this one. . . . McGrew added his second goal at 19:15. . . . Chiefs F Luke Toporowski gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 13:18 of the second period. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (21) tied it, on a PP, at 2:35 of the third. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral (10) broke the tie at 18:12, and McGrew completed his hat trick by scoring his 30th goal into an empty net at 19:03. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Reece Klassen, while Tri-City’s Talyn Boyko blocked 39 shots. . . . The Chiefs scratched F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, F Riley Woods, D Ty Smith and F Eli Zummack. F Bear Hughes, who played this season with the junior B Spokane Braves, made his WHL debut.


D Dylan Plouffe scored a late PP goal to give the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the VancouverKelowna Rockets in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (48-15-4) has won three in a row. With the victory, the Giants clinched first place in the Western Conference and will meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round. . . . Kelowna (27-32-8) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It is tied for third with the Kamloops Blazers in the B.C. Division. Each team has one game remaining — the Rockets will entertain the Giants tonight, while the Blazers are playing the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Should the Blazers and Rockets end up tied for third place, a sudden-death play-in game will be held in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . Vancouver is 7-0-1 in the season series with Kelowna, which is 1-7-0. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (5) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 3:36 of the second period. . . . Kelowna F Kyle Crosby (7) tied it at 11:01. . . . Plouffe won it with his eighth goal of the season, at 16:50 of the third period. . . . The Giants got 17 stops from G Trent Miner. . . . Kelowna G Roman Basran stopped 29 shots. . . . Vancouver was 1-1 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-1. . . . The Rockets continue to play without D Lassi Thomson (concussion).


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Some info on Kootenay’s lease . . . Dach, Haden, Gerlach burn Wheat Kings . . . Americans bury ‘Hawks in third

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If you’re wondering what’s in the lease between the City of Cranbrook and the WHL’s Kootenay Ice involving Western Financial Place, here’s a taste . . .

Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman obtained a copy of the lease, which Kootenaynewruns through 2023, through an FOI request.

“The Kootenay Ice must pay an occupancy fee for each year of the term equal to two per cent of gross game receipts for each hockey season, as well as an additional fee that scales based on attendance,” Crawley writes. “For example, the fee would be $20,000 if the average paid attendance exceeds 2,600. If that attendance were to increase to 2,800, the fee also increases to $25,000. Attendance exceeding 3,000 pushes the fee to $30,000, 3,200 to $80,000 and 3,500 to $120,000.”

Crawley also writes:

“According to the agreement, net advertising generated at hockey games within the premises is shared 80 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 20 per cent to the City of Cranbrook.

“All occupancy fees for luxury boxes, but not including ticket revenue, is split 70 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 30 per cent to the city.

Revenue collected from parking fees and concession sales are also 100 per cent allotted to the city, according to the agreement.”

On Monday, Crawley, who is listed on the Ice’s website as the team’s photographer, reported that “two groups have approached” the junior A BCHL “to look at getting a franchise in Cranbrook for the fall . . .”

That piece is right here.


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The 2020 World Women’s Curling Championship is scheduled to be held at the CN Centre PrinceGeorgein Prince George, from March 14-22. The facility is home to the Prince George Cougars, meaning that they will be on the road late in the 2019-20 regular season and perhaps into the first round of the playoffs, should they qualify. . . . This season, the WHL’s regular season concludes on March 17, with the playoffs to begin on March 22. . . .

The 2019 World Men’s event is to be held in Lethbridge’s ENMAX Centre, from March 30 through April 7, meaning the Hurricanes may be out of their facility for a playoff game or two. Peter Anholt, the Hurricanes’ general manager, already has stated that, if necessary, playoff games will be moved to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, which has about 1,000 seats and is home to the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s teams. . . .

In Prince George, the junior A Spruce Kings, who skate in the B.C. Hockey League, play their home games in the 1,800-seat Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, a facility that might be considered as a Plan B for the Cougars, depending on how things turn out. . . .

Interestingly, Cougars general manager Mark Lamb was the GM/head coach of the Swift Current Broncos in the spring of 2010 and again in 2016 when the World Women’s event was held in the Saskatchewan city.

In 2010, the Broncos played two first-round ‘home’ playoff games — Games 3 and 4 — in Regina’s Brandt Centre. They ended up being swept by the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Broncos didn’t make the playoffs in 2015-16, so their schedule wasn’t impacted.


The WHL has suspended D Montana Onyebuchi of the Kamloops Blazers and F Conner Bruggen-Cate of the Kelowna Rockets for two games each for their involvement in an whlincident during a Saturday night game.

Onyebuchi was suspended for being involved in what the WHL says was a “one-man fight” at 2:09 of the third period in a game won, 2-1 in OT, by the host Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate was suspended for what the WHL says were his “actions” that apparently precipitated Onyebuchi’s attempt to involve him in a fight.

At the time, Onyebuchi was given a fighting major and game misconduct, while Bruggen-Cate wasn’t penalized.

“There’s not really much to comment on,” Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ head coach, told CFJC-TV in Kamloops. “Happy that it was in the hands of the WHL office . . . the kind of research that they needed to do and came down with a ruling. We’re just happy that it was addressed.

“It was a situation where it really got to Montana. My approach was that we wanted to make sure that Montana was supported, wanted to make sure that he felt he was supported by his teammates, by the organization, by the league.

“That’s why it was important for the league to do the due diligence . . . for us to be there to support Montana regardless of what transpired.” 

Onyebuchi will sit out two home games — Friday night versus the Vancouver Giants and Saturday against the Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate also will miss two home games — tonight against the Spokane Chiefs and Friday against the Prince George Cougars — but will be eligible to play Saturday in Kamloops.


The Trinity Western U Spartans really, really want to be accepted into Canada West, the U Sports-governed conference that covers the four Western Canadian provinces.

“We treated it like an Olympic bid,” Spartans head coach Barret Kropf told Taking Note TWUin reference to the presentation that TWU made to Canada West in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday.

Kropf said that TWU had its president, vice-president, the Township of Langley’s general manager and a councillor, the athletic director, one of the players and himself all involved in the presentation.

“It went well,” said Kropf, whose club plays in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League and plays out of the Langley Events Centre, the same facility that is home to the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.

TWU and the Edmonton-based Grant MacEwan Griffins, who are to make their presentation this morning, are both hoping to be admitted to Canada West for the 2020-21 season.

TWU and Grant MacEwan already are members of U Sports, but their hockey teams have continued to play in the BCIHL and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, respectively. They now are hoping to make a switch.

The difference between recruiting for a Canada West team as opposed to a BCIHL club would be “like night and day,” Kropf said, adding that he already is hearing from WHL players who have expressed interest in 2020-21.

This season, the Spartans’ roster includes the likes of F Jarrett Fontaine, F Spencer Gerth, D Travis Verveda, F Brayden Brown and F Brandon Potomak, all of whom have WHL experience.

Asked how close the Spartans are right now to being competitive with Canada West teams, Kropf replied: “I think we’re right there . . . we’re in the mix.”

Canada West is expected to vote on whether to add TWU and Grant MacEwan when it holds its annual general meeting in Whistler, B.C., from May 5-8. Interestingly, it is TWU’s turn to play host to the AGM.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Kirby Dach scored three times and the Saskatoon Blades counted the game’s last four Saskatoongoals as they beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 7-3. . . . Saskatoon (31-13-8) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division, six points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who now hold four games in hand. The teams are to meet tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Brandon (22-21-7) has lost two in a row and is six points away from a wild-card playoff berth. . . . With Brandon’s loss, the Eastern Conference-leading Prince Albert Raiders (43-7-2) became the first WHL team to clinch a playoff spot this season. . . . F Max Gerlach gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 3:19 of the first period as he hit the 30-goal mark for a fourth straight season. He has 130 goals in 262 regular-season games. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (32), who also had two assists, pulled Brandon even, on a PP, at 3:24 of the second period. . . . Dach shot the Blades in front, 3-1, with goals at 7:45 and 8:04. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it on second-period PP goals from F Luka Burzan (30), at 11:05, and F Cole Reinhardt (16), just 51 seconds later. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 4-3 as F Eric Florchuk scored at 15:22. . . . Dach completed his second career hat trick, both this season, on a PP, at 5:02 of the third period. . . . Gerlach, who also had an assist, added his 31st goal, at 13:27, and Florchuk got his 17th, on a PP, at 15:54. . . . Saskatoon was 2-3 on the PP; Brandon was 3-6. . . . The Blades got four assists from F Gary Haden, who has 13 points, including nine goals, in a five-game point streak. . . . F Ryan Hughes added three assists for the Blades, with D Dawson Davidson picking up one to run his point streak to 10 games. He has 14 points, 13 of them assists, over that stretch. . . . Brandon D Braydyn Chizen sat this one out as he completed a four-game WHL suspension. . . . D Aiden De la Gorgendiere was among the Blades’ scratches after being injured on a hit by F Jake Neighbours of the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night. Neighbours drew a four-game suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct on the play.


G Max Paddock stopped 38 shots and two more in a shootout as the Regina Pats got past Patsthe Hurricanes, 2-1, in Lethbridge. . . . Regina (14-35-3) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Lethbridge (27-15-9) had won its past two games. It is second in the Central Division, three points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Hurricanes held an 11-5 edge in shots in the third period, and it was 5-1 in OT. . . . F Blake Allan, who was acquired from the Kootenay Ice, scored his first goal in 14 games with the Pats to give them a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes tied it when F Taylor Ross (24) scored at 13:57. . . . Regina got shootout goals from F Ty Kolle and F Sergei Alkhimov, with F Jordy Bellerive scoring for the home team. . . . C Carl Tetachuk stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge. . . . This was the first time that F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry of the Hurricanes had faced their former team. They were acquired from the Pats on Nov. 29 in a deal that had Kolle and F Jadon Joseph, along with as many as seven bantam draft picks, go the other way. . . . Regina had F Cale Sanders, 16, make his WHL debut. From Claresholm, Alta., he has 16 goals and 17 assists in 28 games with the Edge School prep team in Calgary. . . . F Cole Dubinsky of the Pats sat out Game 2 of a four-game suspension.


G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots and picked up an assist to lead the Vancouver Giants to a Vancouver4-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Vancouver (34-13-3) has won two in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by 18 points over the Victoria Royals and now is five points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips. . . . Prince George (16-30-5) has lost 10 straight (0-8-2) and is eight points away from a playoff spot. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Prince George. . . . Miner, a freshman from Brandon, turned 18 on Tuesday. He now is 18-4-1, 1.85, .931. . . . Miner picked up an assist as F Davis Koch (21) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 16:14 of the first period. . . . F Owen Hardy (9) made it 2-0 at 5:22 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal at 13:41 when F Josh Curtis (9) scored. . . . The Giants went ahead 4-1 on goals from F Justin Sourdif (14), at 14:38, and D Bowen Byram (20), at 15:14. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (19) got the Cougars’ second goal, on a PP, at 16:53 of the third period. . . . The Cougars had G Tyler Brennan, 15, on the bench in support of Taylor Gauthier, with Isaiah DiLaura out with an undisclosed injury. Brennan, from Winnipeg, plays for the prep team at the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy. He was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Gauthier finished with 27 stops.


The Tri-City Americans struck for five third-period goals as they beat the visiting tri-cityPortland Winterhawks, 5-3. . . . Tri-City (27-19-3) has won two straight. It is comfortably in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, but also is fourth in the U.S. Division, just one point behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (32-15-5) had won its previous two games. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Jaydon Dureau (11), at 6:42, and F Josh Paterson (19), at 11:19. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Americans opened the third with four straight goals — from F Parker AuCoin (27), at 0:37; F Samuel Huo (4), on a PP, at 8:06; F Nolan Yaremko (18), at 11:33; and F Connor Bouchard, on a PP, at 16:13. . . . D Jared Freadrich (9) kept Portland’s hopes alive at 17:12, but Bouchard iced it with his fourth goal, into an empty net, at 18:40. . . . Bouchard also had an assist, giving him his first three-point night in 109 career regular-season games, 49 of them this season. . . . Portland remains without F Cody Glass (knee), who is shown as day-to-day on the WHL’s weekly roster report.


G Roddy Ross turned aside 41 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 victory over Seattlethe host Victoria Royals. . . . Seattle (20-24-6) had lost its past two games. It is one point behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Victoria (25-21-3) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). It is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Thunderbirds and Royals will meet again tonight in Victoria. . . . The Royals outshot the visitors 12-6, 14-7 and 18-8 by period, but couldn’t put enough pucks behind Ross to win. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matthew Wedman, at 16:36, and D Jake Lee (3), on a PP, at 18:35. . . . F Kaid Oliver (20) got the Royals to within a goal, on a PP, at 4:44 of the second period. . . . D Owen Williams (3) got that one back for Seattle at 10:43. . . . The Royals got back to within a goal at 9:39 of the third period as F Kody McDonald (11) scored. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly replied at 11:27 with his first WHL goal in 47 games, 32 of them this season. . . . Again, Victoria got to within a goal, this time when D Scott Walford (8) scored at 13:37. . . . Wedman iced it with his 25th goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:36. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 16 shots for the Royals. . . . D Jarret Tyszka and F Nolan Volcan were among Seattle’s scratches, while the Royals were without veteran D Ralph Jarratt, who is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. Jarratt has battled injuries all season and has played in only 25 games.


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Report: WHL looking at Kamloops-Kelowna incident . . . Discipline handed out from Saturday games . . . Stankowski ready to play again


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CFJC-TV in Kamloops reported late Monday afternoon that the WHL “is looking into an incident in the third period of Saturday night’s game in Kelowna between the Rockets whland Kamloops Blazers.”

The Rockets won the game, 2-1 in OT.

At 2:09 of the third period, D Montana Onyebuchi was given a fighting major and game misconduct after he went after F Conner Bruggen-Cate of the Rockets, who wasn’t penalized.

According to CFJC-TV, the WHL “is trying to find out what set off Onyebuchi that led to the one-sided fight.”

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Onyebuchi, whose father is from Nigeria, is from Dugald, Man. The 18-year-old is in his third WHL season. The Blazers acquired him from the Everett Silvertips on Jan. 8, 2018. The Silvertips had selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Bruggen-Cate, 19, is from Langley, B.C. He is in his third full season with the Rockets after being a sixth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.


The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline had a busy Monday as three players were suspended and one coach was fined, all the result of incidents in games played on Saturday night.

F Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings will sit for four games after taking a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:33 of the third period of their 4-3 OT victory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Neighbours was playing his first game after having missed a dozen with an undisclosed injury.

F Justin Nachbaur of the Prince Albert Raiders drew a three-game suspension after he became embroiled in a fracas at the final buzzer of their 4-3 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. Nachbaur ended up with a fighting major and game misconduct after becoming involved with F Tristin Langan of the Warriors.

Langan was suspended for one game for his game misconduct. According to the online scoresheet, Langan was given a minor penalty for checking from behind at 18:53 of the third period. Shortly after, he was hit with a minor for leaving the penalty box, a fighting major and a game misconduct.

Neighbours and Nachbaur began serving their suspensions on Monday night as the Raiders played in Edmonton.

Meanwhile, even though there isn’t anything on the online scoresheet to indicate it, it seems that Matt O’Dette, the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, was given a game misconduct at the conclusion of their 7-2 loss to the host Everett Silvertips on Saturday night. He now has been fined $750 for that transgression.


The Calgary Hitmen have activated G Carl Stankowski, so have returned G Brayden CalgaryPeters to the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Stankowski is 6-6-2, 3.72, .879, but has been out since Nov. 23 with an ankle injury. He missed all of last season while with the Seattle Thunderbirds, due to injury and health issues. The Hitmen acquired him from Seattle on Aug. 7. . . . In 2016-17, Stankowski, then 16, stepped in as the playoffs began and backstopped the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . Peters got into one game during his stint with the Hitmen, going the distance in a 6-2 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current on Jan. 30. . . .

The Hitmen also have added D Tyson Galloway, 16, to their roster. From Kamloops, Galloway has 12 assists in 32 games with the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League’s Thompson Blazers. The Hitmen selected him in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

The Hitmen are next scheduled to play on Wednesday when they entertain the Regina Pats.


Representatives of the Grant MacEwan U Griffins and Trinity Western U Spartans men’s hockey teams will present their cases today in the hopes of being admitted to Canada West for the 2020-21 season.

Canada West is an eight-team conference that features eight teams from schools in Canada’s four western-most provinces.

Both schools are members of U Sports, the governing body for university athletics in Canada, but the men’s hockey teams have played in other leagues, the Spartans in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League and the Griffins in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

The Griffins, who are based in Edmonton, have won the ACAC’s last two playoff titles. The Spartans are the BCIHL’s defending champions.

Adding the two schools would bring Canada West men’s hockey to 10 teams, the others being the Alberta Golden Bears, Calgary Dinos, Lethbridge Pronghorns, Manitoba Bisons, Mount Royal Cougars, Regina Cougars, Saskatchewan Huskies and UBC Thunderbirds.


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MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Leason had a goal and two assists to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 5-1 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Prince Albert (43-7-2) has won two in a row. The PrinceAlbertRaiders lead the overall standings by 12 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Edmonton (29-16-8) had won its previous four games. It leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Oil Kings had beaten the Raiders, 6-3, in Prince Albert on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert won the season series, 3-1-0; Edmonton was 1-2-1. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (11) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:00 of the first period. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (23) tied it, on a PP, 37 seconds into the second period. . . . The Raiders responded with two goals in the second period and two in the third. . . . F Parker Kelly (24) broke the tie, on another PP, at 4:04 of the second, with Leason (33) making it 3-1 at 9:13. . . . F Jakob Brook (5) upped it to 4-1 at 5:33 of the third, and F Cole Fonstad (22) rounded out the scoring at 10:53. . . . Prince Albert was 2-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-3. . . . The Raiders got 25 saves from G Ian Scott, while Todd Scott turned aside 41 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert F Sean Montgomery, who had one assist, played in his 330th regular-season game, all with the Raiders. That ties the franchise record (F Brett Novak, 2000-06) for franchise’s career games played mark, at 330. . . . Montgomery has 133 points, including 64 goals, in those 330 games. . . . F Dante Hannoun, who was acquired by the Raiders from the Victoria Royals at the trade deadline, played in his 300th regular-season game and drew two assists. Hannoun has played 14 games with the Raiders after getting into 286 with the Royals. He has 262 points, including 103 goals, in his career.


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Scattershooting on a quiet Sunday . . . Snoop Dogg in the broadcast booth . . . Oil Kings back on top . . . Giants stretch lead

Scattershooting

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If your favourite hockey team holds a Country Night and you don’t hear even one Merle Haggard tune, well, it ain’t a real Country Night.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Seattle Pilots, an MLB team that didn’t have much of a history, at least not in Seattle. Now, in case you haven’t noticed, the Seattle Mariners have made a boat-load of offseason moves. As Darren Rawie, a Mariners fan, noted via Twitter: “And with all the offseason moves, the Mariners have blessed us with our third expansion team.”

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joggers

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“An Oklahoma woman is facing fines up to $2,400 after she bragged about killing a deer out of season on the dating app Bumble,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The potential suitor she was trying to impress turned out to be McIntosh County game warden Cannon Harrison.”

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If you were wondering, and even if you weren’t, the Kootenay Kountdown is into Day 26.

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Ever wonder what a fired football coach does with all of those clothes that feature his former team’s logo? According to Perry: “A bunch of Dirk Koetter’s Buccaneers apparel — complete with his name on the iron-on labels — was discovered at a Tampa Goodwill store less than a week after he was fired as the NFL team’s head coach.”

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billposters

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A trio of headlines after Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey’s double-double-doing allowed the Philadelphia Eagles to win that playoff game:

Philadelphia Inquirer — Still upright.

Chicago Tribune — Post mortem.

Philadelphia Daily News — Clanks for the memory!

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After North Carolina fired Larry Fedora, the football team’s head coach, and sent him on his way with a $12-million buyout, Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot noted: “What a deal. But colleges don’t have enough money to pay athletes.”

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If you haven’t seen/heard it yet, Snoop Dogg was in the house in Los Angeles on Saturday night as the Kings met the Pittsburgh Penguins. He took time to drop by the broadcast move and even engaged in a little play-by-play. As he said when his stint was over: ”I’m the host with the most.” . . . It’s all right here.

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pot

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ThisThat

According to a tweet from Mikaël Lalancette of TVA Sports, the QMJHL’s MonctonqmjhlWildcats are expected to introduce John Torchetti as their new general manager and head coach this week. . . . Torchetti will replace Darren Rumble, who was fired as head coach on Tuesday. . . . Torchetti has some history as Moncton’s head coach, having been there for the 2006-07 season. . . . Torchetti, 54, has extensive coaching experience, including stints with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings. . . . Rumble, once an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds, was in his sixth season as the Wildcats’ head coach. With him gone, assistant coach Josh Hepditch has been the interim head coach.

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G Lucas Mills of the Trinity Western Spartans set a B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League record for career shutouts on Saturday in a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Island Mariners at the Langley Events Centre. . . . Mills, from Abbotsford, B.C., is in his fourth season with the Spartans. . . . He had shared the shutout record with Andrew Parent of the Simon Fraser U Clan. . . . Mills, who has two shutouts this season, also is the BCIHL’s career leader in GAA (1.76) and save percentage (.936).

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Riley Lamb blocked 47 shots to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 4-2 victory over the SCBroncosvisiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Swift Current (9-30-3) had lost its previous two games. The Broncos remain in the WHL’s cellar but now are only two points shy of the Kootenay Ice. . . . Brandon (17-18-6) is six points away from a playoff spot. . . . It was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for Brandon, which went 1-2-0. . . . Lamb was making his first WHL appearance since March 16 when he was with the Red Deer Rebels. He spent most of this season with the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings, who traded him to the Yorkton Terriers on Jan. 2. The Broncos, having sent G Joel Hofer to the Portland Winterhawks, signed Lamb on Thursday. . . . Lamb, 20, is from Rivers, Man., which is about 30 km northwest of Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings held a 49-24 edge in shots, including 20-7 in the second period and 16-5 in the third. . . . F Ian Briscoe scored his first goal of the season at 8:10 of the first period to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead. This was his 24th game this season. Last season, he failed to score in 25 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds, and had two goals in 20 games with them in 2016-17. . . . D Zach Wytinck (3) pulled Brandon even at 12:37. . . . The Broncos went back in front when F Ethan O’Rourke (4) scored, on a PP, at 17:31. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it at 10:34 of the second period when F Luka Burzan (25) scored, on a PP. . . . Broncos D Alex Moar (2) broke the tie, on a PP, at 12:33. . . . F Tanner Nagel (7) added insurance at 8:45 of the third period. . . . Dutertre in the above tweet would be Scott Dutertre, one of the Broncos’ assistant coaches. Dean, of course, is Dean Brockman, the Broncos’ director of hockey operations and head coach.

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The Edmonton Oil Kings moved into first place in the Central Division with a 4-1 victory EdmontonOilKingsover the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmonton (24-14-7) has won three in a row. . . . Lethbridge (23-12-8) trails Edmonton by one point although the Hurricanes hold two games in hand. . . . Edmonton is 4-1-1 in the season series; Lethbridge is 2-4-0. . . . F Liam Keeler gave the Oil Kings a 2-0 lead as he had the first multi-goal game of his career. Keeler, who has eight goals, scored at 11:43 and 14:21 of the first period. . . . F Vince Lochiavo (21) made it 3-0 at 5:41 of the second, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (25) upped it to 4-0, on a PP, at 3:33 of the third. . . . Fix-Wolansky also had two assists. . . . F Jake Elmer (20) scored for Lethbridge, on a PP, at 8:02 of the third. . . . Fix-Wolansky leads the WHL in assists (38) and is second in points (75), behind F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks, who has 79. . . . Edmonton got 31 saves from G Todd Scott, while Liam Hughes stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge. . . . This was the third meeting in eight days between these teams. The Hurricanes won, 5-2, in Edmonton Jan. 6. The Oil Kings then went into Lethbridge and won, 5-1, on Friday. . . . Both teams were playing for a third time in fewer than 48 hours — Lethbridge went 1-2-0); Edmonton was 3-0-0. . . . The Oil Kings remain without F Quinn Benjafield and D Matt Robertson.

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F Davis Koch scored one goal and added two assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-2 Vancouvervictory over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . Vancouver (26-12-2) has won three in a row. . . . The Giants lead the B.C. Division by nine points over the Royals. . . . Victoria (22-17-1) has lost two straight. . . . Victoria went 1-2-0 in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Vancouver is 4-2-1 in the season series; Victoria is 3-3-1. . . . D Bowen Byram, coming off a five-point night in a 7-4 victory over visiting Kamloops on Saturday, gave the Giants a 1-0 lead with his 13th goal at 9:34 of the first period. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (6) made it 2-0 at 12:25 of the second. . . . D Jameson Murray (3) cut the lead in half at 14:12. . . . Koch (13) made it 3-1 at 13:12 of the third. . . . D Scott Walford (5) got Victoria back to within a goal, on a PP, at 16:59. . . . Koch has two goals and four assists in his past two games, and two goals and six assists over three games. . . . Nielsen also had two assists and has back-to-back three-point outings. . . . Byram now has 39 points, 26 of them assists, in 40 games.

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Report: Ice announcement coming Monday . . . Rockets, Hurricanes make deal . . . Søgaard, Alexeyev get WJC opportunities


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The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that the worst fears of Kootenay-based WHL fans will be made official on Monday.

In a story carrying the bylines of Jeff Hamilton and Mike Sawatzky, the newspaper is Kootenaynewreporting that “the owners of the Kootenay Ice are preparing to announce Monday they are moving their Western Hockey League franchise to Winnipeg in time for the 2019-20 season, league sources have told the Free Press.”

The WHL franchise will play out of the Wayne Fleming Arena on the U of Manitoba campus for likely two seasons while a new arena is being built in the Manitoba capital’s southwest corner.

The Free Press also reports that Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who is the president and general manager, “have not commented publicly on news reports and WHL commissioner Rob Robison has not made himself available for an interview on the subject.”

The Free Press story is right here.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Thursday’s action:

No. of trades: 1.

Players: 1.

Bantam draft picks: 1.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)

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The Kelowna Rockets have acquired the WHL rights to F Alex Swetlikoff from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a fourth-round selection in the 2022 bantam draft.

Swetlikoff, a 17-year-old from Kelowna, has committed to the U of Denver for the 2020-21 KelownaRocketsseason. He was a third-round pick by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the 2016 bantam draft. Seattle traded his rights to Lethbridge on May 3, getting back D Kirby Proctor, who is from Okotoks, Alta. He is with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, and has committed to attend the U of Nebraska-Omaha for 2020-21.

This season, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Swetlikoff is playing with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, with whom he has eight goals and 12 assists in 27 games. He will play for Canada West at the World Junior Challenge that opens this weekend in Bonnyville, Alta.

The Rockets will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup, so you can bet that will be a major selling point as the organization works to recruit Swetlikoff.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have dropped F Dawson Heathcote from their roster. He is expected to join the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . Heathcote, 18, is from Nanaimo. . . . Last season, as a freshman with the Tigers, he had six goals and three assists in 47 games. This season, he had two assists in 27 games. . . . Heathcote was a seventh-round pick by the Tigers in the 2015 WHL bantam draft.


Two more WHLers are on national junior team selection-camp rosters. . . . G Mads Søgaard of the Medicine Hat Tigers will attend Denmark’s selection camp, while D Alex Alexeyev will be in camp with the Russian national junior team. . . . Søgaard is to join the Danish team after the Tigers game against the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Dec. 15. Should he make the Danish team, he could miss as many as six of the Tigers’ games after the Christmas break. . . . The 2019 World Junior Championship is to open in Vancouver and Victoria on Dec. 26.


F Spencer Gerth of the Trinity Western Spartans is on the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League’s Young Stars’ roster that will play against Kazakhstan’s national junior team on Dec. 17. . . . Gerth, 20, played the previous three seasons in the WHL, with the Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals. . . . This season, he has two goals and five assists in 11 games. . . .  The Young Stars will be part of a College Hockey Showcase that also is to include U of Victoria, with the three games at the Langley Events Centre. . . . Kazakhstan is scheduled to meet the Victoria on Dec. 11 and Trinity Western on Dec. 13, then will play the Young Stars on Dec. 17. All three games are to start at 7 p.m., and will be streamed at hockeytv.com. . . . Kazakhstan opens the 2019 World Junior Championship against Finland in Victoria on Dec. 27.

As part of the Kazakhstan visit, organizers are holding Hockey Day in Langley on Dec. 10. From a news release: “The Kazakhstan . . . team will be partnering with BC Hockey to host a Hockey Day in Langley event that will allow local minor hockey teams and academies an opportunity to meet the Kazakhstan team and take part in a skills competition. Coaches will also have a chance to meet and learn from some international-level coaches.” . . . For more info, email Barret Kropf at barret.kropf@twu.ca.



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More on the Ice and Winnipeg . . . Raiders continue to roll, win 12th game . . . Rockets complete sweep of Royals

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The Kootenay Ice announced on March 28, 2017, that the Chynoweth family had “entered into an agreement to sell the WHL team to Winnipeg entrepreneur Greg Fettes and hockey executive Matt Cockell.”

On April 27, the WHL announced that its board of governors had “voted unanimously” to Kootenaynewapprove the transfer of ownership.

At the time, the new owners stated the franchise would be staying in Cranbrook, B.C., its home since the Chynoweths relocated the Edmonton Ice in time for the 1998-99 season.

Interestingly, it seems that Fettes, on April 20, 2017, registered the domain name ‘winnipegice.com‘ at godaddy.com. The registration is to expire on April 20, 2019.

The registration was made, according to a search, by Greg Fettes, with the address given as Second Floor, 240 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg. That is the business address for 24-7 Intouch, the business of which Fettes is founder and CEO. According to its website, 24-7 “has been providing contact center and BPO solutions for over 18 years, and is consistently recognized as an award-winning global outsourcer.”

We may never find out whether registering winnipegice.com was part of a long-range plan to move the franchise or simply an insurance policy in case things didn’t work out in Cranbrook.

On Friday night, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that, according to its sources, the Ice will move to Winnipeg in time for the 2019-20 WHL season, and will play out of a 1,400-seat arena at the U of Manitoba while awaiting the completion of a 5,000-seat arena that would be built in conjunction with the Rink Hockey Academy.

ICYMI, the Free Press story, written by Mike Sawatzky, is right here.

With Cockell entrenched in the Cranbrook community as president and general manager, the Ice has worked hard to connect with the area’s hockey fans while waiting for the team to become competitive on the ice. The Ice has missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons and is 3-4-3 early in this season.

Last season, according to figures compiled by the WHL, the Ice’s announced average attendance for 36 regular-season home games was 2,442, up from 1,754 in 2016-17.

The Ice ran a Drive for 25 campaign during the off-season, hoping to sell 2,500 season tickets. On Aug. 20, the team revealed that it had sold 1,598, a decrease of 319 from the previous season.

This season, after six home games, the announced average attendance is 2,351. Four of the six crowds have been smaller than that. On Oct. 14, the most-recent home game, the announced attendance was 2,117 as the Ice dropped a 2-1 OT decision to the Prince George Cougars.

The Ice also has closed off three sections in one end of 4,264-seat Western Financial Place in an attempt to make things a bit cozier.


F Connor Dewar of the Everett Silvertips drew a ‘TBD’ suspension on Saturday after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct during a 5-2 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Friday night. . . . Dewar, who has eight goals and seven assists in 10 games, scored Everett’s second goal in that game. . . . He won’t play today when the Silvertips play Game 2 of their East Division swing in Regina against the Pats.


F Eric Fawkes of the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers has committed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), starting with the 2020-21 season. . . . Fawkes had one goal and three assists in his first 11 games with Winkler this season. Last season, he finished with 37 goals and 37 assists in 47 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild. . . . From Winnipeg, Fawkes, 17, was a second-round selection by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He was dealt to the Kootenay Ice on Oct. 8. Kootenay dealt D Loeden Schaufler, 18, a ninth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and future considerations.


The BCIHL’s Trinity Western Spartans went 1-1-0 in a pair of exhibition games in TWUMinnesota on the weekend. . . . The Spartans lost 7-1 to the Minnesota Gophers, the sixth-ranked team in the NCAA Div. 1, on Saturday night. That came one night after they beat Hamline U, a Div. III team, 2-1 in OT in St. Paul. . . . Last night, the Spartans and Gophers played through a scoreless first period. The hosts took a 3-0 lead into the third. . . . D Travis Verveda, who played in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, scored a second-period PP goal for the Spartans. . . . TWU G Jacob Mills blocked 43 shots. The three Minnesota goaltenders combined for 20 saves. . . . On Friday night, F Brandon Potomak, who played in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors, scored at 2:38 of OT to give the Spartans the victory. . . . F Spencer Gerth, who played in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals, had TWU’s other goal. Verveda drew two assists. . . . Mills made 26 saves.


SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Mark Kastelic scored a PP goal just 45 seconds into OT to give the visiting Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Hitmen (4-6-2), who have won three straight, were 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . Brandon now is 6-2-2. . . . The Wheat Kings overcame a 3-1 deficit on third-period goals from F Baron Thompson (1), at 8:31, and F Chad Nychuk (1), at 12:03. . . . Kastelic won it with his second goal of the game, his 10th of the season.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last six goals, all of them in the third period, and beat the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 8-3. . . . The Tigers had opened the weekend set at home on Friday with a 4-3 victory in OT. . . . Lethbridge (5-4-3) has points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Tigers (6-6-1) had won their previous three games. . . . F Ty Kolle, recently acquired from the Portland Winterhawks, had a goal, his third, and two assists for Lethbridge. . . . The winners were 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . G Reece Klassen stopped 39 shots to earn the victory.


The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first five goals en route to an 8-2 victory PrinceAlbertover the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Prince Albert (12-1-0) has won five in a row and is atop the overall standings. . . . According to Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com, the Raiders, who have been in the WHL since 1982-83, have never won 12 of their first 13 games. . . . The Raiders also have scored eight goals in two straight games. . . .  Spokane (6-3-3) had points in its previous three games (2-0-1). It went 3-2-1 on its East Division trip. . . . The Raiders got a goal, his fifth, and two assists from F Sean Montgomery, who has goals in four straight games. . . . Prince Albert F Brett Leason ran his point streak to 13 games with an assist. . . . D Konrad Belcourt, playing in his first game since being brought back from the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons, scored the Raiders’ second goal. He was pointless in three earlier games with the Raiders. Belcourt was brought back to help out with D Max Martin having started a three-game suspension last night. . . . Spokane F Bobby Russell took a headshot major and game misconduct as the game ended.


D Alex Alexeyev scored in OT to give the host Red Deer Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Red DeerKootenay Ice. . . . The Rebels (7-3-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice (3-4-3) has lost five straight (0-2-3). . . . The Rebels scored the game’s first two goals, only to have the Ice tie it early in the second period with two PP goals. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev (5) put the Rebels out front at 17:39 of the third period, but F Jaeger White (6) pulled Kootenay even at 18:15 with his second goal of the game. . . . Alexeyev’s fourth goal won it at 1:15 of extra time. . . . Zaytsev, a freshman from Moscow, had an interesting night, with a goal and two assists. He drew an assist on F Brandon Hagel’s shorthanded goal, scored an even-strength goal and had the lone assist on Alexeyev’s winner. . . . Zaytsev has five goals and six assists in 11 games.


F Tristin Langan broke a 2-2 tie at 12:39 of the third period as the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Pats, 3-2, in Regina. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (5) gave the Pats a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 17:43 of the second period. . . . F Ryan Peckford (2) pulled the Warriors even, on a PP, at 4:05 of the third. . . . Langan won it with his eighth goal of the season. . . . According to the online scoresheet, the Pats won 45 of the game’s 63 faceoffs. . . . The Warriors (5-3-2) got 31 stops from G Adam Evanoff. . . . The Pats fell to 3-8-0.


F Sasha Mutala’s goal at 1:46 of OT gave the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Americans improved to 6-4-0, with the Thunderbirds now 6-2-2. . . . On Friday, the Americans beat the Thunderbirds, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Last night, the Thunderbirds erased a 2-0 deficit on goals from F Andrej Kukuca (4) and F Matthew Wedman (3), the latter at 16:06 of the third period. . . . Mutala, who also had an assist, won it with his second goal of the season. . . . This was Game 1 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans.


D Brendan De Jong lifted his own rebound into the net to give the Portland Winterhawks Portlanda 2-1 OT victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Winterhawks began the weekend doubleheader with a 5-3 victory over the Giants in Portland on Friday. . . . Last night, the Winterhawks (7-3-1) had a 33-19 edge in shots. . . . The Giants slipped to 9-3-1. . . . F Reece Newkirk (8) gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 13:08 of the first period. . . . Vancouver F Yannik Valenti (1), a German freshman, tied it at 7:11 of the second period. . . . De Jong won it with his third goal of the season, at 1:16 of OT. . . . Newkirk drew the only assist on the winner. . . . Shane Farkas, the only goaltender the Winterhawks have used this season, is 7-3-1, 2.72, .899. . . . Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw (ill) sat this one out. . . . The Giants lost F James Malm to an undisclosed injury in the second period. He leads the with nine goals, but likely won’t play against the visiting Kelowna Rockets today. It will be Vancouver’s third game in fewer than 48 hours.


The Kelowna Rockets broke a 1-1 tie with four unanswered goals as they beat the Royals, KelownaRockets5-1, in Victoria. . . . The Rockets (4-9-0) have won two in a row. They beat the host Royals, 8-2, on Friday night. . . . With the victory, Kelowna moved out of the Western Conference basement and now is one point ahead of the idle Kamloops Blazers (3-6-1), who have played three fewer games. . . . Victoria (8-3-0) now is 6-3-0 at home. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (3) gave the Rockets a 2-1 lead at 15:57 of the first period, just 53 seconds after F Kaid Oliver had scored for Victoria. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse, their 20-year-old workhorse, from a second straight game. . . . The Rockets scratched F Lane Zablocki one night after he made his Kelowna debut by playing in his first game this season. . . . The Rockets will play their third game in fewer than 48 hours when they meet the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., this afternoon.


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