Lamb, Matvichuk talk about Cougars . . . Montgomery sets Raiders’ record . . . Søgaard, Tigers shock Silvertips

MacBeth

F Nikita A. Popugayev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) has been released by mutual agreement by Amur Khabarovsk (Russia, KHL). He had one goal in 37 games. He also had four goals and four assists in nine games with Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk (Russia, MHL, the top junior league). . . . Popugayev started the season with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) and was assigned to their junior team, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (Russia, MHL), where he had two goals and an assist in three games. CSKA traded Popugayev to Amur on Sept. 9.


ThisThat

Mark Lamb, in his first season as general manager of the Prince George Cougars, worked his first game as head coach on Friday night in a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna.

That loss left the Cougars riding a 12-game losing skid (0-9-3) was they head for Langley, PrinceGeorgeB.C., and a Sunday afternoon appointment with the B.C. Division-leading Vancouver Giants.

The Giants won twice in Prince George this week — 4-2 on Tuesday and 4-3 in OT on Wednesday.

The Cougars fired head coach Richard Matvichuk, who was in the last season of a three-year contract, after Wednesday’s game.

Lamb and Matvichuk talked about the move with Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen.

Here’s Lamb: “This has been ongoing for a while — I think it was inevitable that something was going to happen (Wednesday) night, win or lose. At the start of the (season) we talked about a lot of development and getting better all the time and we seemed to be stagnant and just kind of not getting better.

“It’s a lengthy streak and it’s hard on everybody — the coaches, the owners, office staff, everybody. It’s not a fun time and you just can’t keep it going. You have to do something to make it change.

“Whether he had one year or two years left was irrelevant on how we were thinking.”

Here’s Matvichuk: “When you go all-in, like we did two years ago, and you take a look at how many players were drafted in the last five years who aren’t even playing in the WHL, regardless of whether it’s a first-rounder or a seventh-rounder, the development curve wasn’t there.

“We knew as an organization last (season) when we decided to go into our rebuild it was going to be a struggle, and it was a struggle. We’re not far off where me and the coaching staff thought we’d be, right around 20 or 25 (wins) and fighting for that last playoff spot this year and that’s exactly where we’re at. Going through the season our goal was to get better every day, the playoffs was never an issue, it was about developing these kids to get ready for the next three years. It wasn’t about winning and losing, it was about making these players better every day and I truly believe that’s what we did.”

Clarke’s complete and thorough story is right here.


The AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines and Gord Thibodeau, their vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, have parted company. . . . Assistant coach Shawn Martin has taken over as interim GM/head coach. . . . “After 25 years of coaching, I have reached the inevitable point of hockey burnout,” Thibodeau said in a news release. “Moving forward I will take some time to rest, recharge and re-evaluate my future within the game of hockey.” . . . Thibodeau is the winningest head coach in WHL history, having put up 889 regular-season victories. . . . The Wolverines went into Friday at 19-30-2, good for seventh in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North. . . . Thibodeau, 55, has been coaching in the AJHL since 1994 spending time with the Fort Saskatchewan Traders, Lloydminster Blazers, St. Albert Saints, Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Lloydminster Bobcats and the Wolverines. . . . He also has battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on four different occasions since 1989, most recently in 2016.


D Kyle Chernenkoff had his BCHL playing career come to an end in January when Trailanother brain injury forced him to retire from the Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . An alternate captain, Chernenkoff, 20, now is a member of the Trail coaching staff. . . . “It wasn’t really a hard decision to make,” Chernenkoff told Jim Bailey of the Trail Times. “It was a decision made for me by the doctors. It was a hard pill to swallow so I took a couple days to come to terms with it myself, and then transitioning into the coaching and being with the team made it easier for me to make that transition.” . . . Bailey’s story is right here.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ben McCartney scored the only goal of a shootout as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the BrandonWKregularvisiting Swift Current Broncos, 3-2. . . . Brandon (23-21-7) had lost its previous two games. It now is six points from a playoff spot. . . . Swift Current (10-37-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Wheat Kings, who were 0-6 on the PP, fired 55 shots at Broncos G Riley Lamb, who is from Rivers, which is 30 km northwest of Brandon. . . . F Baron Thompson (6) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 17:49 of the first period, and D Braden Schneider (8) made it 2-0 at 13:48 of the second. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (13) got Swift Current’s first goal, at 18:48. . . . F Ethan O’Rourke (10) got the Broncos to OT with a goal at 18:40 of the third period. Yes, Lamb was on the bench for the extra attacker at the time. . . . McCartney, the second shooter in the first round, got the winner. . . . Brandon had a 21-6 edge in first-period shots, and it was 19-6 in the second period. . . . Brandon remains without G Jiri Patera (leg), but did get back D Braydyn Chizen from suspension and F Linden McCorrister from an undisclosed injury.


F Noah Gregor scored three times and added an assist as the Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertskated to an 8-2 victory over the Calgary Wranglers (aka Calgary Hitmen). . . Prince Albert (44-7-2) has won three in a row and leads the East Division by 18 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Calgary (27-20-5) had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). It is fifth in the Central Division, one point behind the Red Deer Rebels. The Hitmen also hold down the Eastern Conference’s second-wild card spot. . . . This was the third game of the three-game Corral Series in which the Hitmen saluted the three teams that have called the Corral home — the Centennials, Cowboys and Wranglers. . . . The Raiders swept the four-game season series, the first time in franchise history that they have done that with Calgary. . . . The Raiders took control of this one by scoring the game’s first four goals. . . . F Dante Hannoun (25) got it started, on a PP, at 7:33 of the first period, with F Cole Fonstad making it 2-0 at 8:37. . . . Gregor upped that to 3-0 at 3:12 of the second period, and D Sergei Sapego (8) made it 4-0 at 3:33. . . . F Riley Stotts (16) scored for Calgary at 16:20, but the Raiders opened the third period with four straight goals to take an 8-1 lead. . . . Fonstad, who has 24 goals, finished with two goals and three assists, giving him his first career five-point game. . . . Gregor completed his second career hat trick with his side’s last two goals. He has 33 goals. . . . F James Malm (22) scored Calgary’s second goal on a penalty shot at 17:03 of the third. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton left in the first period after being involved in a collision with Raiders F Brett Leason. McNaughton had skated out to the hash marks in pursuit of a puck that Leason was chasing. That meant that Carl Stankowski came off the bench to see his first playing time since Nov. 23 when he suffered an ankle injury. . . . McNaughton stopped five of seven shots in 8:58, with Stankowski giving up six goals on 38 shots in 51:02. . . . Prince Albert got 21 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . F Sean Montgomery of the Raiders, who is from Calgary, played in his 331st regular-season game to set a franchise record. F Brett Novak (2000-06) had held the previous record. . . . Montgomery, 20, was a sixth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He has played 65, 72, 69, 72 and now 53 games in each of his regular-seasons. . . . Montgomery had one assist last night, and now has 134 points, including 64 goals, in 331 games. This season, he has career highs in goals (21), assists (28) and points (49). . . . F Justin Nachbaur of the Raiders sat out Game 2 of a three-game suspension. . . . The Hitmen are without D Dakota Krebs, D Egor Zamula, F Jake Kryski and F Hunter Campbell.


D Josh Brook scored 35 seconds into OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-3 victory over MooseJawWarriorsthe Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Moose Jaw (29-13-8) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the East Division, six points behind the Saskatoon Blades with three games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (27-15-10) has points in four straight (2-0-2). It is tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Warriors, who got 47 saves from G Adam Evanoff, were 3-3 on the PP. . . . F Jake Elmer (21) put the Hurricanes ahead at 5:20 of the first period, only to have Brook tie it at 8:23. . . . Lethbridge went ahead 3-1 on goals from D Calen Addison (9), at 8:54, and F Taylor Ross (25), on a PP, at 0:19 of the second period. . . . F Justin Almeida, who also had two assists, got Moose Jaw into a tie with two second-period PP goals, at 6:53 and 15:54. He’s got 23 goals. . . . Brook, who also had two assists, won it with his 12th goal of the season. . . . The Warriors got three assists from F Brayden Tracey. . . . Elmer added two assists to his goal for Lethbridge. . . . The Hurricanes were 1-5 on the PP. . . . Moose Jaw had F Tristin Langan back after he served a one-game suspension, but now is without D Jett Woo, who will sit for two games after taking a charging major and game misconduct in a 6-1 loss to the Blades in Saskatoon on Wednesday. Woo also will miss tonight’s game in Red Deer against the Rebels.


D Ryker Evans scored at 2:37 of OT to give the Regina Pats a 3-2 victory over the Rebels in PatsRed Deer. . . Regina (15-36-3) is 26 points from a playoff spot with 14 games remaining. . . . Red Deer (28-18-4) has lost four straight (0-3-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, four points out of third and one up on the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Red Deer went up 1-0 when F Cam Hausinger (17) scored at 1:35 of the second period. . . . Regina tied it on F Ty Kolle’s 12th goal, on a PP, at 2:39. . . . F Brett Davis (16) put Red Deer back in front, on a PP, at 10:14. . . . Regina tied it when F Logan Nijhoff (4) scored at 15:24. . . . Evans won it when he scored his first WHL goal on a PP. A 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, Evans scored in his 31st games. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel drew an assist on his club’s second goal to tie the franchise’s career record of 161. He now shares it with F Arron Asham (1994-98). . . . Regina had D Tyson Feist back after a four-game absence, while F Brandon Dubinsky completed a four-game suspension by missing this game. . . . The Rebels had D Alex Alexeyev back in their lineup. He missed six games since last playing on Jan. 19.


Freshman F Lukas Svejkovsky had a goal and two assists, and veteran F Tristen Nielsen Vancouverhad two goals and an assist, to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-1 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (36-13-3) has won four in a row, including the last three on the road. . . . The Giants now are 20-3-2 against the other B.C. Division teams. They lead the division by 20 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Kamloops (20-26-5) had points in each of its previous three games (1-0-2). It is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Kelowna Rockets, who are to visit Kamloops tonight. The Blazers also are one point behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Svejkovsky, who opened the scoring on Jan. 30 when the Giants won, 3-2 in OT, in Kamloops, did it again, this time at 16:07 of the first period. It was his sixth goal of the season. . . . F Connor Zary (13) pulled Kamloops even, on a PP, at 12:33 of the second period. . . . The Giants won it on two goals from Nielsen in the third period. He got his eighth goal at 12:44, then added insurance, on a PP, at 14:42. Both goals came off slick passes from F Jadon Joseph, with Svejkovsky getting the secondary assist each time. . . . Nielsen also had an assist on Svejkovsky’s goal. . . . Vancouver G Trent Miner, who finished with 26 saves, appeared to be shaken up halfway through the third period when he stumbled and went down on his own behind the Giants’ net. Mike Burnstein, the athletic therapist, went out to chat with Miner as he was stretching his irons, but the goaltender stayed in and finished up. . . . The Blazers got 31 stops from G Dylan Ferguson. . . . Each team was 1-6 on the PP as both goaltenders stood tall. . . . With F Ryley Appelt still out with a finger injury incurred in a fight, the Blazers had F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, in the lineup for his sixth game of the season. Stankoven plays for the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He leads the league in goals (40), assists (36) and points (76), all in 31 games. . . . Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi missed this one as he began serving a three-game suspension. . . . D Dallas Hines was one of Vancouver’s scratches. . . . Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw played in his 300th regular-season game. The team captain, he has played 95 games with Vancouver, after starting his career by playing 179 with the Victoria Royals, then 26 with the Red Deer Rebels.


F Mark Liwiski broke a 3-3 tie in the third period as the Kelowna Rockets scoured the KelownaRocketsgame’s last three goals to get past the visiting Prince George Cougars, 4-3. . . . Kelowna (22-26-5) is third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Prince George (16-31-6) has lost 12 in a row (0-9-3) and is eight points from a playoff spot. . . . The Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from D Cole Moberg (11), on a PP, at 13:13, and F Josh Curtis, at 16:13. . . . F Nolan Foote halved Kelowna’s deficit while shorthanded, at 18:14. . . . Curtis stretched the lead to 3-1 with his 11th goal, on a PP, at 19:07. . . . D Cayde Augustine pulled the Rockets to within a goal with his his first goal of the season, on a PP, at 9:20 of the second period. . . . That also was Augustine’s first WHL point and came in his 28th game. He’s a 17-year-old from Airdrie, Alta. . . . Foote’s 28th goal, at 8:05 of the third period, tied it, and Liwiski won it with his sixth goal, at 12:10. . . . G Roman Basran came on in relief for the Rockets and stopped all 15 shots he faced through two periods to earn the victory. . . . G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George’s starter, left the game at 9:05 of the third period with an injury. There wasn’t a penalty on the play. He had stopped 17 of 20 shots. Tyler Brennan, 15, came on to make his WHL debut, and stopped four of five shots. . . . Brennan, from Winnipeg, was the 21st-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. He is on the roster with Isaiah DiLaura out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Kelowna F Conner Bruggen-Cate completed a two-game suspension by sitting out.


The Portland Winterhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the PortlandSeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Portland (33-15-5) is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Seattle (20-26-6) has lost two in a row. It is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 44th goal at 2:07 of the first period. . . . D John Ludvig (4) made it 2-0 at 10:41. . . . F Lane Gilliss (13) upped the lead to 3-0 at 11:18 of the second period. . . . Seattle cut into the deficit at 16:13 of the third period as F Matthew Wedman (26) scored, on a PP. . . . F Josh Paterson’s 20th goal, into an empty net, wrapped it up for the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle was 1-6 on the PP; Portland was 0-2. . . . G Shane Farkas earned the victory with 25 saves, one more than Seattle’s Cole Schwebius. . . . Farkas now is 9-1-0 in his career against Seattle. . . . Portland continues to play without F Cody Glass (knee). . . . Seattle D Simon Kubicek left in the first period and didn’t return. He is expected to miss some time with an undisclosed injury. . . . D Jarret Tyszka was back in Seattle’s lineup after missing a couple of games, but F Nolan Volcan remains out. . . . Attendance on a stormy night was announced as 2,688.


F Ethan McIndoe scored two goals and added two assists, and D Nolan Reid had a goal SpokaneChiefsand three helpers, as the Spokane Chiefs dumped the visiting Victoria Royals, 8-3. . . . Spokane (28-17-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Victoria (26-22-3) is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Victoria actually held a 3-2 lead late in the first period, but then surrendered the game’s last six goals. . . . The Chiefs held a 49-31 edge in shots, including 20-14 in the first period and 21-8 in the third. They were 4-8 on the PP and won 46 of 74 faceoffs. . . . Spokane F Luc Smith (23) tied the game 3-3 at 17:45 of the first period. . . . McIndoe, who has 12 goals, broke the tie at 8:55, and Spokane later added four third-period goals. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored his seventh goal of the season for Spokane, and it was the 100th of his career. . . . Spokane F Connor Gabruch, who didn’t score for the first 34 games of his freshman season, scored his second goal in two games. . . . F Jake McGrew (23) and F Luke Toporowski (16) added goals for the winners, who in the third period scored three times on the PP and once while shorthanded. . . . Reid, who has two four-point games during his 315-game career, now has 12 goals this season. . . . D Mitchell Prowse (3), F Kaid Oliver (22) and F Kody McDonald, on a PP, scored for the Royals, who began a five-game road swing with this one.


F Parker AuCoin scored three times and added two assists to lead the Tri-City Americans tri-cityto a 7-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (28-19-3) has won three straight games. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind the Spokane Chiefs. The Americans hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, 13 points ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kootenay (11-34-8) has lost two in a row. . . . F Peyton Krebs (18) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 6:22 of the first period, with AuCoin tying it, on a PP, at 11:49. . . . The Ice then took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Cole Muir (11), at 15:37, and F Holden Kodak (1), at 16:33. Holden, a 17-year-old from Cloverdale, B.C., got his first WHL goal in his 40th game, 38 of them this season. . . . The Americans scored the games next five goals to take control. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (19) made it a one-goal game at 17:05. . . . F Krystof Hrabik scored while shorthanded at 13:38 of the second period to tie the score, and AuCoin’s 29th goal gave Tri-City the lead at 14:53. . . . F Paycen Bjorklund (4) and AuCoin, with his 30th goal, added insurance before the period ended. . . . In the third period, Hrabik got his 13th goal for the winners, with F Jakin Smallwood (10) counting for the ice. . . . AuCoin enjoyed his first career hat trick and his first five-point game.


G Mads Søgaard stopped 41 shots to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 1-0 victory over the Tigers Logo Officialhost Everett Silvertips. . . . Medicine Hat (30-18-4) has won three in a row. The Tigers are tied for second with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Everett (37-13-2) had won its past four games. It leads the U.S. Division by five points over the Portland Winterhawks, with the Silvertips holding a game in hand. . . . Søgaard, a 6-foot-7 freshman from Denmark, was hot right from the start, as he stopped 17 shots in the first period. . . . F James Hamblin scored the game’s only goal, his 29th, on a PP at 16:40 of the second period. . . . Everett got 28 saves from G Dustin Wolf. . . . This was a battle of two of the league’s best goaltenders. . . . Søgaard now is 14-4-4, 2.24, .933. . . . Wolf is 33-12-1, 1.81, .931.


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Report: Ice to be part of ‘ambitious development’ plan in Winnipeg . . . Giants stun Chiefs with comeback . . . Porter, Rockets win in Everett


MacBeth

Curt Fraser (Victoria Cougars, 1974-78) has been named the new head coach of Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL) after the club fired head coach Jussi Tapola. Fraser was an assistant coach with the Dallas Stars (NHL) for the past six seasons. . . .

F Blair Jones (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2002-06) has been released by Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after an unsuccessful tryout. He had one goal in six games. He had signed with Sparta on Dec. 27 for the rest of this season with a one-month tryout clause. . . .

F Björn Svensson (Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, 2003-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with IK Pantern Malmö (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He was released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga) on Jan. 14, after putting up five goals and 15 assists in 35 games. . . .

G Ty Rimmer (Brandon, Prince George, Tri-City, Lethbridge, 2009-13) has been released by Kitzbühel (Austria, Alps HL) for personal reasons. In 29 games, he was 3.39, .920, with three shutouts. . . .

F Garrett Festerling (Portland, Regina, 2003-07) has signed a two-year contract beginning next season with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL), he had 10 goals and 13 assists in 39 games. . . .

D Neil Manning (Vancouver, 2006-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL) after obtaining his release from the Rockford IceHogs (AHL). He was pointless in three games with Rockford, and had two goals and 15 assists in 30 games with the Indy Fuel (ECHL).


ThisThat

KOOTENAY KOUNTDOWN

There has been ample speculation over the last while that the Kootenay Ice will be 31relocating to Winnipeg upon the conclusion of this WHL season.

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, appeared on TSN Radio 1260 in Edmonton with host Dean Millard. At that time, Millard asked Robison about the Ice’s future.

Robison responded in part that “we’ll be very soon making an announcement as to what the future of that franchise is.”

That was 31 days ago. WHL fans have yet to hear from the Ice or the league office.

——

The relocation of the Kootenay Ice “is expected to trigger an ambitious development plan with the operation of the major junior hockey team as its centrepiece,” the Winnipeg KootenaynewFree Press reports.

According to the newspaper, the Ice’s owners — Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell — and other investors “are in the midst of implementing a strategy that will see Winnipeg receive among the largest-ever private investments for the game’s development in Canada. The project is also said to include at least 20 acres of sports, recreational and commercial expansion.”

The newspaper also reports that the group has plans to buy the Winnipeg Blues, the last remaining MJHL franchise in the Manitoba capital, and to have them play out of the new facility.

The story also includes this: “The WHL did not respond when asked for comment.”

The Free Press story, reported by Jeff Hamilton and Mike Sawatzky, is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen have added G Brayden Peters, 16, to their roster. Peters, from Taber, had been playing with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by Calgary in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . With G Carl Stankowski still out with an ankle injury, Peters will back up Jack McNaughton. . . . Peters will fill the roster spot created when Ethan Hein, 16, was returned to the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires after spending some time backing up McNaughton.


F Jackson Niedermayer, the 17-year-old son of former WHL/NHL D Scott Niedermayer, has committed to the Arizona State U Sun Devils for the 2021-22 season. . . . Jackson was born in Newport Beach, Calif. He is in his first season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, and has two goals and four assists in 36 games. . . . Niedermayer was selected by the Calgary Hitmen in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . Scott played three seasons (1989-92) with the Kamloops Blazers and also owned a chunk of the Kootenay Ice.


G Matt Davis of the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for the 2021-22 season. . . . Davis, 17, is from Calgary. . . . With the Saints, he is 16-5, with one tie, 1.95, .917. . . . The Spokane Chiefs acquired D Noah King, Davis and a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2021 WHL bantam draft from the Swift Current Broncos for F Carter Chorney, D Devin Aubin and F Kye Buchanan.


G Mikey DiPietro of the Ottawa 67’s set the OHL career shutout record on Friday night as he stopped 15 shots in a 4-0 victory over the visiting Peterborough Petes. . . . DiPietro, whose NHL rights belong to the Vancouver Canucks, now has 17 career shutouts, one more than Tom McCollum, who played for the Guelph Storm and Brampton Battalion (2006-09). . . . Ottawa acquired DiPietro, 19, from the Windsor Spitfires on Dec. 4.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ridly Greig scored in OT to give the host Brandon Wheat Kings a 5-4 victory over the BrandonWKregularKootenay Ice. . . . Brandon (18-18-6) is four points from a wild-card playoff spot. . . . Kootenay (10-29-8) had won its previous two games, both of them on the road. . . . D Braden Schneider (6) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 10:56 of the first period. . . . The Ice took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Brad Ginnell (10), at 1:13, and D Chase Hartje (5), on a PP, at 6:18. Hartje, 19, played his first game against Brandon since the Wheat Kings dealt him to the Ice at the trade deadline. . . . The Wheat Kings went ahead 3-2 on goals from F Cole Reinhardt, at 6:44, and F Luka Burzan (26), at 12:09. . . . Kootenay got the next two goals to take a 4-3 lead. F Jaeger White (18) counted, on a PP, at 13:03, and F Davis Murray (8) scored at 3:20 of the third. . . . Reinhardt’s 11th goal, via a PP, tied it 10:54, and Greig won it with his ninth goal, at 1:56 of OT. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 37 shots for Brandon, five more than Kootenay’s Jesse Makaj. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos had four points — all assists — for the sixth time in his WHL career. It was his first four-assist game. . . . The Wheat Kings promoted this game as Winnipeg Blue Bomber Night and QB Matt Nichols was on hand to greet fans and sign autographs. The Ice, of course, is expected to relocate to Winnipeg upon the conclusion of this season. . . . The teams will meet again tonight in Brandon. . . . The Ice was without F Connor McClennon, 16, who left Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over the Pats in Regina about eight minutes into the third period after absorbing a big hit in the neutral zone. The second-overall pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft has five goals and 10 assists in 26 games. . . . McClennon missed 12 games earlier with an undisclosed injury and had only returned to action on Jan. 4. . . . The Ice brought in D Carson Lambos, who turned 16 on Jan. 14, for the weekend. This was his fourth game of this season with the Ice. Lambos, the second-overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, is from Winnipeg.


The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s first three goals and the last three en route to a Saskatoon6-2 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Saskatoon (27-13-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). The Blades are second in the East Division, five points ahead of Moose Jaw. . . . Regina (12-32-2) has lost nine straight (0-8-1). . . . These two teams will meet again tonight, this time in Regina. . . . F Max Gerlach (27) gave the Blades a 1-0 lead at 9:29 of the first period, and F Ryan Hughes (19) upped it to 2-0 just 20 seconds later. . . . F Kirby Dach (18) made it 3-0 at 4:29 of the second period. . . . The Pats got to within a goal on second-period scores by F Cole Dubinsky (2), at 14:08, and F Austin Pratt (17), at 17:56. . . . The Blades put it away with third-period goals from F Riley McKay (8), on a PP, at 1:16; F Chase Wouters (9), at 7:41; and F Cyle McNabb (2), at 19:08. . . . Saskatoon outshot the visitors, 34-17. . . . The Blades got three assists from D Dawson Davidson, who now has 46 points, including 38 assists, in 46 games. He finished last season with 43 points in 69 games — 43 with Regina and 26 with Saskatoon. . . . Regina G Max Paddock (ill) remains out, although he did skate on Friday morning. As a result, Matthew Pesenti remains with the team, backing up Dean McNabb. . . . The temperature in Saskatoon as game time approached was minus-23 C, so the Blades’ merchandise store offered 23 per cent off all toques and mitts.


F James Hamblin and F Corson Hopwo each scored once and added an assist to lead the Tigers Logo OfficialMedicine Hat Tigers to a 3-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Medicine Hat (25-16-4) has points in four straight (3-0-1) and is tied with Lethbridge for third in the Central Division, just two points from top spot. . . . Swift Current (9-32-3) has lost two in a row. . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers scored the game’s first three goals. . . . Hamblin (21) stuck while shorthanded at 6:35 of the second period, and F Corson Hopwo (3) made it 2-0 at 10:15. . . . D Trevor Longo (4) made it 3-0 at 9:26 of the third period. . . . F Ethan O’Rourke (5) got the Broncos’ goal at 10:29. . . . The Tigers held a 46-24 edge in shots and won 36 of the game’s 60 faceoffs. . . . Each team took one minor penalty. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 43 shots for the Broncos, 20 more than the Tigers’ Jordan Hollett. . . . With G Mads Sogaard sideline with a hip problem, the Tigers had Garin Bjorklund backing up starter Jordan Hollett. Sogaard was injured in Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. Bjorklund, 16, is from Calgary where he plays for midget AAA Buffaloes. He was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, and made two earlier appearances with the Tigers this season. . . . F Tyler Lees made his debut with the Broncos. He came over in a trade with the Victoria Royals on Jan. 7.


G Ethan Anders stopped 35 shots to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 3-1 victory over the Red DeerHurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Red Deer (26-13-3) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind Edmonton and one ahead of Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. . . . Lethbridge (23-13-8) has lost two in a row. . . . They will do it all over again tonight, this time in Red Deer. . . . Red Deer took a 1-0 lead on F Jeff de Wit’s 23rd goal, at 19:27 of the first period. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (23), in his 250th regular-season game, tied it, at 13:18 of the second period. . . . Red Deer F Chris Douglas (12) broke the tie, on a PP, at 17:29. . . . F Cam Hausinger (15) added insurance with the empty-empty-netter at 19:33 of the third period. . . . F Jett Jones made his WHL debut with the Hurricanes. Jones, 16, is from Olds, Alta., and plays for the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons for whom he has nine goals and 17 assists in 29 games.


The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals and went on to a 4-1 victory PrinceAlbertover the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince Albert (39-5-1) has won four in a row, including two straight on this tour of the B.C. Division. . . . Last season, the Raiders finished with 38 victories and 77 points, so have already surpassed both of those totals. . . . The Raiders are 19-2-1 on the road. They lead the East Division by 19 points over Saskatoon. . . . Kamloops (15-24-3) has lost six in a row and is two points away from a wild-card playoff berth. . . . F Brett Leason (31) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead just 28 seconds into the game. . . . Kamloops D Jackson Caller (3) tied it at 5:53. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (10) broke the tie at 14:53. . . . The Raiders put it away with two third-period goals — F Dante Hannoun (21) scored at 1:00 and F Justin Nachbaur got his 12th at 15:40. . . . G Boston Bilous, who was acquired by Prince Albert from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Jan. 10, stopped 29 shots in his debut with the Raiders. In fact, he hadn’t played since Nov. 24 when he was with the Oil Kings. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand made 22 saves in a stellar effort. . . . Kamloops F/D Jeff Faith served Game 4 of a five-game WHL suspension. . . . Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid played for the Kamloops Jr. Oilers — he had seven goals and 16 assists in six games in 1982-83 — and went 85-43-16 in two seasons (1997-99) as the Blazers’ head coach. . . . The Blazers left for Prince George immediately after the game. They’ll play the Cougars there tonight and again Sunday afternoon. Yes, that’s another case of a team playing three games in fewer than 48 hours.


The Vancouver Giants overcame an early 3-0 deficit and beat the host Spokane Chiefs, 6-Vancouver4. . . . Vancouver (28-12-2) has won five in a row and leads the B.C. Division by 13 points over Victoria. . . . Spokane (24-14-4) had won its previous four games. It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . Spokane got three PP goals in the first half of the first period, the first two from F Luc Smith, who has 20 goals, and the other from D Nolan Reid (8). . . . F Tristen Nielsen (7) started Vancouver’s comeback at 18:33 of the first. . . . The Giants took a 4-3 lead on second-period goals from F Jared Dmytriw, at 1:52; D Seth Bafaro (5), at 6:11; and Dmytriw (10), at 8:40. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral (5) tied it at 4:12 of the third period. . . . Vancouver F Davis Koch (15) snapped the tie at 11:11, and F Justin Soudif (11) added the empty-netter at 19:21. . . . Nielsen also had an assist, and now has three goals and seven assists over his past four games. . . . Koch, who has goals in four straight games, added an assist too, and now has 12 points over his past five games. . . . The Giants got three assists from F Dawson Holt.


The Tri-City Americans got the only two goals of the shootout to beat the Seattle tri-cityThunderbirds, 3-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (22-16-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is fourth in the U.S. Division, five points behind Spokane. . . . Seattle (15-21-5) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . F Riley Sawchuk (14) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 3:06 of the second period. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Payton Mount (4), on a PP, at 13:22, and F Noah Philp (16), at 17:41. . . . F Parker AuCoin (24) pulled the Americans even at 8:41 of the third period. . . . F Nolan Yaremko and AuCoin scored in the shootout. . . . The Americans got 39 saves from G Beck Warm.


F Tristin Langan scored three times and G Adam Evanoff stopped 28 shots to lead the MooseJawWarriorsvisiting Moose Jaw Warriors to a 4-0 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Moose Jaw (24-11-7) has won three in a row, all in the B.C. Division. It is third in the East Division, five points behind Saskatoon but with four games in hand on the Blades. . . . Victoria (22-18-1) has lost three straight. It is second in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of Kelowna and with three games in hand on the Rockets. . . . While Evanoff was earning his first WHL shutout, Langan was recording his fifth WHL hat trick. . . . Evanoff stopped 13 shots in the first period, while his mates were mustering only four shots at the other end. . . . Langan got all of his goals in the second period, scoring at 9:27, 13:54 and 17:57, with the latter coming on a PP. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (11) had the game’s last goal, at 3:08 of the third period. . . . Langan, who finished last season with 42 points, including 16 goals, in 70 games, now has 74 points, including 36 goals, in 42 games. . . . F Justin Almeida drew an assist on each of Langan’s goals. . . . Each team took two minor penalties. . . . The Royals welcomed back two players who had been injured. F Sean Gulka last played on Dec. 15; F Logan Doust hadn’t played since Jan. 4.


G James Porter blocked 40 shots to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-0 victory over the KelownaRocketsSilvertips in Everett. . . . Kelowna (18-22-4) had lost its previous six games (0-5-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Victoria. . . . Everett (33-10-2) leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland, which has two games in hand. . . . Porter’s night work included 19 saves in the second period and 13 in the third. . . . He has one shutout this season and four in his career. . . . The last time the Rockets recorded a shutout in Everett? On Nov. 28, 2003, G Kelly Guard stopped 13 shots in a 1-0 victory. . . . F Michael Farren (2) scored the game’s first goal, at 3:07 of the second period, and F Mark Liwiski (3) made it 2-0 at 10:56. . . . Farren, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades earlier in the season, scored his first goal with the Rockets in his 26th game. . . . Liwiski, who played 10 games with Everett last season, has three goals and four assists in 40 games with the Rockets this season. . . . D Matt Barberis, 20, made his debut with the Rockets. Acquired on waivers from the Vancouver Giants on Jan. 10, Barberis has had injury woes and hadn’t played since Nov. 18. In fact, this was only his 10th game of this season. . . . D Gianni Fairbrother (ill) was among Everett’s scratches.


Tweetoftheday

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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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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Tweetoftheday

Silvertips add to defence corps . . . Giants and Hitmen swap veteran forwards . . . Ice trims two from roster


ThisThat

The Everett Silvertips, it’s safe to say, are all in this season. Any doubt one may have had about that was erased on Wednesday when the Silvertips acquired Russian D Artyom EverettMinulin, 20, from the Swift Current Broncos.

The Silvertips gave up D Alex Moar, 17, in the exchange, while also getting back an eight-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft.

The Silvertips had room on their roster for a 20-year-old and an import, so Minulin fills both of those spots. The import spot was available because F Peter Melcher, a freshman from Slovakian, is, as general manager Garry Davidson put it, “currently unavailable to play.” Melcher was listed on this week’s WHL roster report as being out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

Minulin has yet to play this season after having had off-season shoulder surgery. The Broncos’ roster report listed him as day-to-day.

In 206 career regular-season games, all with the Broncos, Minulin put up 126 points. Last season, he had 13 goals and 30 assists in 64 regular-season games, then added a goal and seven assists in 20 playoff games as the Broncos won the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

“Artyom Minulin is a special talent who elevates the play of his teammates,” Davidson said in a news release. “The role he’s excelled in as a high-impact defenceman played a big piece in helping Swift Current win the WHL championship last season . . .

“He carries a tremendous reputation as a defenceman with an extremely hard shot, deft touch with the puck, and acumen to excel in all three zones.”

F Sean Richards and D Sahvan Khaira, a teammate of Minulin’s for the previous two seasons with the Broncos, are Everett’s other 20s. The other import on Everett’s roster is sophomore F Martin Fasko-Rudas, a Slovakian.

Moar was pointless in four games with the Silvertips. From Prince Albert, he was a fifth-round selection by the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft.

Last season, with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, Moar had six goals and 23 assists.

The defending-champion Broncos, who have the 22-team WHL’s poorest record (1-14-1), SCBroncosstill are carrying nine defencemen. They are next scheduled to play Friday against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Silvertips (10-5-0) lead the U.S. Division, by one point over the Spokane Chiefs (8-4-3) and two on the Tri-City Americans (9-4-0). Everett entertains Tri-City on Friday, but Minulin isn’t expect to play until sometime next week, once immigration issues get sorted out.

Meanwhile, G Max Palaga, 18, who was acquired by the Silvertips from the Kamloops Blazers earlier in the week, has arrived in Everett and practised with his new team on Wednesday. He joins Dustin Wolf as healthy goaltenders on the Silvertips’ roster.


The Calgary Hitmen and Vancouver Giants got together on Wednesday and swapped a Calgarypair of disgruntled forwards.

The Hitmen acquired F James Malm, 19, and an undisclosed conditional selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft in exchange for F Tristen Nielsen, 18.

Malm, from Langley, B.C., led the Giants in goals (9) and points (15) in 13 games. He hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury in a game against the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 20. The Giants’ weekly roster report lists Malm as being out day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

On Sunday, however, Malm asked Vancouver general manager Barclay Parneta to trade him.

A fourth-round selection by the Giants in the 2014 bantam draft, he has 134 points, including 48 goals, in 179 career regular-season games.

Malm could make his Calgary debut on Friday against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

Nielsen, from Fort St. John, B.C., was selected by Calgary in the first round of the 2015 Vancouverbantam draft. He was in third season with the Hitmen when he chose to leave the team and ask for a trade.

This season, he was pointless in five games; he didn’t play in seven games after asking to be moved. Last season, he put up 19 goals and 16 assists in 49 games in a season that was partially derailed by a wrist injury. In 2016-17, as a freshman, he had three goals and four assists in seven games.

Nielsen arrived in Ladner, B.C., on Wednesday afternoon and is to practise with his new team today.

Nielsen is expected to be in Vancouver’s lineup on Saturday when they meet the Kamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has speculated that the Giants, under new head coach Michael Dyck, are playing a more structured game, one that Malm felt didn’t suit his game. . . . Ewen has more right here on this trade.


The Kootenay Ice apparently has released two veteran players. According to the WHL’s Kootenaynewweekly roster report, D Sam Huston and F Brendan Semchuk no longer are with the team, and both have been dropped from the team’s official roster. . . . Huston, 19, is from Brandon. He was in his third season with the Ice, and had scored once in 12 games. In two previous seasons, he totalled three goals and 13 assists in 107 games. The Ice selected him in the ninth round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft. . . . Semchuk, from Kamloops, was the 10th overall selection by the Vancouver Giants in the 2014 bantam draft. They later dealt him to Edmonton and the Ice acquired him from the Oil Kings on Sept 27, giving up a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Semchuk, 19, had two goals and three assists in 14 games with the Ice. In 159 career regular-regular-season games, he has 23 goals and 30 assists. . . . Huston last played on Friday, while Semchuk is shown on the scoresheet as having played Tuesday night against the Broncos in Swift Current. Interstingly, that game will have been played well after the weekly roster report was posted on the WHL’s website.


Patti Dawn Swanson covered WHL teams in Winnipeg for the Tribune back in the day, and now blogs at pattitherivercityrenegade.wordpress.com.

On Thursday, she offered up these thoughts on a possible move by the Kootenay Ice to Winnipeg . . .

I have fond memories of riding the iron lung with Gerry Brisson, Muzz MacPherson and the Winnipeg Clubs/Monarchs in the 1970s, so the prospect of the Western Hockey League returning to Good Ol’ Hometown is intriguing.

I’m skeptical about it working, though.

If you missed it, Mike Sawatzky reported in the Winnipeg Free Press that the Kootenay Ice are having a rough go of it in Cranbrook, B.C. Average attendance is 2,307, lowest in the WHL, and the town’s mayor, Lee Pratt, told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman this: “With the fan support they are getting right now it’s not a viable operation.”

The Green Bay Committee held a town hall meeting in support of the Ice (on Oct. 24), and they’ll gather again tomorrow night (Thursday) in the hope they can corral 500-600 new season-ticket subscribers to save the franchise. Failing that, team owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell might be inclined to pull up stakes and head east.

That begs questions, though. To wit:

Would they be better off in River City?
Would a WHL franchise operating out of the University of Manitoba attract 2,000 or more customers?
If an average head count of 2,307 can’t work in Cranbrook, how can it possibly work in Winnipeg?
Would the arrival of a WHL outfit strike the death knell for Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League?

Remove the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and I’d say Fettes and Cockell might have a chance in Good Ol’ Hometown. As it is, I don’t see it happening. But I hope I’m wrong.


David Michaud, who has been a familiar face in B.C. arenas for a number of years, has been named president of Keycorp Sports and Entertainment Ltd., the owners of lacrosse’s legendary Victoria Shamrocks. . . . According to a news release, Michaud will be “responsible for growing the division of the Keycorp group of companies by working with new and existing sports teams, entertainment venues, concert promoters, and more to bring professional-level promotion, ticketing, and event-day production to Victoria, and across British Columbia. He also will be working with the Victoria Shamrocks to continue the excellence in promotion and entertainment that the club has provided in the Greater Victoria area for the last 70 years.” . . . Prior to this move, Michaud spent three years with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees as director of corporate partnerships. He also was the team’s alternate governor. He also has worked with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and with the major midget Okanagan Rockets. . . . Michaud won’t be too far removed from the BCHL in his new position. The Shamrocks play out of the Q Centre in Colwood, which has a capacity of 2,780 and also is home to the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies.


The Fort Sask Chiefs, a senior AAA men’s hockey team that played out of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., has folded, at least for the remainder of this season. . . . According to a team-issued news release: “Various factors led to the tough decision that it would no longer be sustainable for our organization to continue to operate this year. With that being said, we are hopeful our hockey club be back playing senior again in the coming years.” . . . The Chiefs were 0-6-1 and in last place in the five-team Allan Cup Hockey West. Their demise leaves the league with teams in Rosetown, Sask., and the Alberta communities of Stony Plain, Lacombe and Innisfail.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


Stephen Peat was as tough as they come during a four-season career in the WHL (Red Deer, Tri-City Calgary, 1996-2000), and he maintained that reputation in a pro career that included 130 NHL games. Now he’s living in his truck or couch surfing with friends on the Lower Mainland of B.C. Jeremy Allingham of CBC News has more right here.


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Blazers’ top pick to get a look . . . Veteran Hitmen forward wants out . . . Leason, Raiders continue hot start


MacBeth

D Giffen Nyren (Moose Jaw, Kamloops, Calgary, 2006-10) has been released by Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus) by mutual agreement. He was pointless in seven games.


ThisThat

The Kamloops Blazers, beset by suspensions, injuries and a seven-game losing skid, will have F Logan Stankoven in their lineup on Friday night against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

The 5-foot-7, 160-pound Stankoven, 15, is from Kamloops. He was the Blazers’ first-round Kamloops1pick, fifth overall, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

Last season, with the bantam prep team at Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., Stankoven finished with 57 goals and 33 assists in 30 games. This season, with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops, he has 10 goals and six assists in eight games.

After making his WHL debut on Friday night, Stankoven will rejoin his major midget teammates on Saturday for a 12:15 p.m. date with the visiting Cariboo Cougars.

F Jermaine Loewen, the Blazers’ captain, will complete a four-game suspension on Friday, while F Ryley Appelt begins a two-game sentence. At the same time, F Kyrell Sopotyk and F Travis Walton are out with undisclosed injuries. Walton, in fact, has yet to play this season, although he may be ready on Friday.

The Blazers will be celebrating Mark Recchi Hall of Fame Night on Friday as Stankoven makes his debut. Recchi, a Kamloops native with three Stanley Cup rings in his possession, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame a year ago. Recchi, one of the Blazers’ five owners, now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Blazers opened this season by sweeping a home-and-home set from the Kelowna Rockets. Since then, the Blazers have gone 0-6-1, including 0-3-0 at home.

Last season, the Blazers began the season with a nine-game losing streak and never did recover as they missed the playoffs.


For the second time in less than a week, a veteran forward has asked a WHL team for a Calgarytrade. . . . The Calgary Hitmen opened a five-game road swing in Prince Albert on Tuesday night, but F Tristen Nielsen, 18, wasn’t with them. Prior to the game, the Hitmen revealed via Twitter that Nielsen, who is from Fort St. John, B.C., has requested a trade. . . . Nielsen was a first-round selection by Calgary in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . In 106 career regular-season games, he has 23 goals and 20 assists. This season, he is pointless in five games. Last season, he finished with 19 goals and 16 assists in 49 games. . . .

Late last week, veteran F Gary Haden, 19, asked the Medicine Hat Tigers for a trade. He is at home in Airdrie, Alta., as he awaits a move. . . . Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News has the latest the Haden situation right here.

On Oct. 8, F Michael Farren, 18, asked the Saskatoon Blades for a trade. On Oct. 11, the Blades dealt him to the Kelowna Rockets.


G Blake Lyda won’t be on the bus as the Everett Silvertips head out on their tour of the EverettEast Division. Josh Horton of the Everett Herald reported that Lyda, 16, who has yet to get into a game this season, suffered an undisclosed injury during a pregame skate on Friday and is listed as being out three-to-six weeks. . . . G Danton Belluk, who plays for the midget AAA Eastman Selects, is expected to join the Silvertips on Thursday and stay with them through the six-game trip.  . . . Belluk, 17, is from Lorette, Man. Everett picked him in the 10th round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. With the Silvertips, he’ll be backing up Dustin Wolf. . . . The Silvertips also head east without F Bronson Sharp, who is week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Silvertips open the trip against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday.


The Medicine Hat Tigers are carrying 22 players after they dropped D Ryan Watson, 16, from their roster. Watson, from Delta., B.C., was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. This season, he was pointless in four games. He played last season for the Delta Hockey Academy prep team, recording four goals and 15 assists in 32 games. . . . The Tigers are carrying two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards, not including veteran F Gary Haden, who is at home in Airdrie, Alta., after asking to be traded.


Tim Hunter of the Moose Jaw Warriors will be the head coach of Team WHL when it whlopens the CIBC Canada-Russia series in Kamloops (Nov. 5) and Vancouver (Nov. 6). . . . Hunter, in his fifth season as the Warriors’ head coach, also is the head coach of Canada’s national junior team. . . . In the Canada-Russia series, he will be assisted by Brent Kisio, the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and Jason Smith, the head coach of the Kelowna Rockets. Kisio also is an assistant coach with Canada’s national junior team. . . . Athletic trainer Mike Burnstein of the Vancouver Giants will work both games, with help from Colin Robinson of the Kamloops Blazers on Nov. 5 and Khore Elliott of the Victoria Royals on Nov. 6. . . . Shingo Sasaki, the Giants’ equipment manager, also will work the game in Vancouver.


A home in Scottsdale, Ariz., that is owned by Bill Gallacher, the owner of the Portland PortlandWinterhawks, can be had for US$26 million. . . . According to Brinkwire, it is the “priciest home for sale in Arizona.” . . . More from Brinkwire: “The 14,350-square-foot house on four acres in the Silverleaf neighborhood of DC Ranch comes with an elevator, two guest houses,10-foot solid slab fireplaces, swimming pools on both sides of the property, a 1,000-bottle wine room and five laundry rooms. . . . The Mediterranean, contemporary-style mansion also has nine bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, 10-foot-tall automated doors leading to numerous marble terraces, a commercial walk-in freezer and a master bathroom done entirely in Statuario marble with grey and gold veining.” . . . Gallacher and Joanne Stansfield bought the joint for US$11.1 million in cash in 2016. . . . There’s more right here.


Garry VanHereweghe has resigned as general manager and associate coach of the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys. He will work through Friday and then take his leave. . . . The Grizzlys have started the season at 0-12-1.


TUESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Vancouver Giants unleashed a 71-shot attack as they beat the Swift Current Broncos, Vancouver6-2, in Langley, B.C. The game was the first in the Broncos’ five-game B.C. Division tour. . . . By period, the Giants outshot the visitors 26-4, 20-7 and 25-4. . . . The Broncos, who beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2 in a shootout, on Saturday, now are 1-8-0. . . . The Giants (9-1-1) are off to their best start since 2008-09 when they opened 7-0-3. . . . Vancouver has points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Giants scored twice in the first period as they outshot the Broncos, 26-4. . . . G Joel Hofer blocked 65 shots for Swift Current. . . . D Bowen Byram (4) scored twice and added an assist for Vancouver, with F James Malm drawing three assists. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Broncos D Matthew Stanley took a fighting major and game misconduct at 11:13 of the third period. Perhaps it was one of those one-man fights? . . . Broncos F Alec Zawatsky was hit with a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 11:54 of the third period. . . . G Trent Miner, who missed three weekend games after returning home to Brandon following the deaths of two grandfathers, was back with the Giants. On this night, he backed up David Tendeck.


F Jack Finley scored two goals to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 6-4 victory over the host SpokaneChiefsBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . The loss was the first of the season in regulation time for Brandon (5-1-2). The Wheat Kings were the last of the WHL’s 22 teams to suffer such a loss. . . . The Chiefs (5-2-2) are 2-1-0 on their East Division swing. . . . Finley, 16, has three goals this season. From Kelowna, he was the sixth overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. He is the son of former NHL D Jeff Finley, who now is the Detroit Red Wings’ chief amateur scout. . . . The Wheat Kings surrendered 2-0 and 4-3 leads as the Chiefs scored the game’s last three goals. . . . F Eli Zummack (5) pulled Spokane even, 4-4, with his second goal of the game, at 11:34 of the third period. . . . Finley’s second of the night broke the tie at 17:23. . . . Brandon G Jiri Patera, a freshman from Czech Republic, picked up his third assist of the young season.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 1-0 deficit with four straight goals en route to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . The Hurricanes (4-4-2) had points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Ice (3-4-2) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). . . . Letthbridge’s four-goal outburst included two from F Jordy Bellerive (6) and one from F Jake Elmer (8), who played with the Ice in 2016-17. . . . The Ice lost D Dallas Hines to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 16:21 of the third period.


F Brett Leason continued his red-hot start, scoring two goals and adding two assists as his PrinceAlbertPrince Albert Raiders dumped the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 8-4. . . . The Raiders improved to 11-1-0 with their fourth straight victory. . . . The Hitmen, who had points in their previous two games (1-0-1), fell to 1-6-2. . . . Leason, 19, leads the WHL in goals (11) and points (26) and is tied for the lead in assists (15). . . . He finished last season with career highs in goals (16), assists (17) and points (32), in 66 games. He had one goal in 12 games with Tri-City when the Americans traded him to Prince Albert. . . . F Sean Montgomery (4) added a goal and two assists for the Raiders. . . . The Raiders had F Cohner Saleski, 16, in their lineup for the first time this season, and he assisted on Leason’s first goal for his first WHL point. Saleski, a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, plays for the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. He was pointless in one game with the Raiders last season.


The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Tri-City SeattleAmericans, 5-4, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (6-1-1) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Americans are 4-4-0. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (8) scored back-to-back second-period goals, the second one at 15:30, to give the Americans a 4-3 lead. . . . Seattle tied it when D Reece Harsch (1) scored, on a PP, at 18:36 of the second. . . . F Nolan Volcan (4) broke the tie at 1:29 of the third period and that one stood up as the winner. . . . Volcan finished with two goals and two assists. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (3) had a goal and two assists for Seattle.


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Who’s favoured as 2020 Memorial Cup host? . . . Tigers add d-men . . . Giants get Ettinger from Wheat Kings


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The WHL’s board of governors will gather in Calgary on Wednesday and one of the things on the agenda will be to hear bids from three teams/cities wanting to play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup.

The Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes will make their presentations in that order.

Each team will be allotted 15 minutes — five to show a video and 10 for a presentation — after which governors will have 15 minutes to ask questions.

Some thoughts as Taking Note sees it . . .

KELOWNA — The Rockets last played host to the four-team tournament in 2004 and they KelownaRocketsput on a tremendous show, icing the cake by winning the whole thing. . . . Who wouldn’t want to spend 10 days in May in Kelowna? . . . Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors. He is the most-powerful person in the WHL and don’t discount that as a factor. . . . Including standing room, Prospera Place, which opened in 1999, has room for 6,286 fans. . . . The Rockets are off to a slow start (1-4-0) but history shows that they are more likely to be a contender than a pretender come next season. . . . Odds: 1-1.

——

LETHBRIDGE — Lethbridge has never been home to the Memorial Cup tournament. . . . LethbridgeThe Hurricanes, under general manager Peter Anholt and Terry Huisman, the general manager of business operations, have made a remarkable turnaround. After the 2014-15 season, the Hurricanes had missed the playoffs for six straight seasons and lost more than $1.25 million. Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was urging shareholders to sell the franchise to private interests. Today, the Hurricanes have reached two straight Eastern Conference finals and shown more than $1 million in profits over those two seasons. . . . On the ice, the future looks bright, led by forwards Dylan Cozens and Logan Barlage, two of the WHL’s best young players. . . . The ENMAX Centre, which opened in 1974 but has undergone recent upgrades, has a capacity of 5,479. . . . Odds: 2-1.

——

KAMLOOPS — The Blazers played host to the 1995 tournament, which they won, giving Kamloops1them three Memorial Cup titles in four years. The 2020 tournament will be the 25th anniversary of the third one. . . . Tom Gaglardi and Co. are into their 11th season as the franchise’s owners and have yet to show they can build a winner. That won’t help their cause with the BoG. Neither will the ham-handed fashion in which the retirement/dismissal of Don Hay was handled in May. . . . The Blazers’ new braintrust — headed up by GM Matt Bardsley and head coach Serge Lajoie — hasn’t had time to prove itself. . . . Kamloops, the Tournament Capital of Canada, has a wonderful history of playing host to events like the Brier, the Canada Games and the IIHF World Women’s Championship, something that should hold the bid in good stead. . . . The Sandman Centre had 5,464 seats before some were removed in order to put loge seating in the upper deck on one side. That new seating, in itself, will be an attraction. Unfortunately, the Sandman Centre doesn’t include an on-site restaurant like Prospera Place and the ENMAX Centre. . . . Odds: 5-1.

——

THE INTANGIBLE — At the end of the day, money talks . . . and that could be the case MemCup2020again on Wednesday in Calgary. When the WHL’s board of governors votes on a host team/city for the 2020 Memorial Cup, it could easily decide to go with the bid that includes the highest guaranteed profit — teams all get a cut of the profit. If it comes to that, Kamloops may have an edge because the Gaglardi family has more chips than the Kelowna or Lethbridge owners. . . . Earlier this year, Canadian Business estimated the net worth of the Gaglardi family, through Northland Properties, at $3.92 billion, up 10.4 per cent from 2017. . . . Tom Gaglardi owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars and is the majority owner of the Blazers. Might he be interested in attempting to buy the hosting rights for the 2020 Memorial Cup?


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added two 20-year-olds to their roster after learning Tigers Logo OfficialMonday that they will be getting back defencemen Dylan MacPherson and Linus Nassen. Both players had been in camp with the NHL’s Florida Panthers before being assigned to the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds. . . . MacPherson, from Redcliff, Alta., has played two seasons with the Tigers, putting up four goals and 18 assists in 124 regular-season games. . . . Nassen, from Sweden, was a third-round pick by the Panthers in the NHL’s 2016 draft. Last season, his first in the WHL, had had one goal and 25 assists in 44 games. . . . With those two in town, the Tigers have four 20-year-olds on their roster, the other two being F Ryan Jevne and D Dalton Gally. . . . As an import, Nassen would be a two-spotter should the Tigers keep him. His arrival won’t affect the Tigers’ import situation as freshmen G Mads Sogaard is their only other European player.


The Vancouver Giants, having lost D Bailey Dhaliwal to a shoulder injury and D Matt VancouverBarberis and D Joel Sexsmith to undisclosed injuries, have acquired D Ty Ettinger from the Brandon Wheat Kings for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that Dhaliwal, 19, who has a history of shoulder problems, could be out for six weeks. . . . Ettinger, 18, is from Ardrossan, Alta. He was dropped from Brandon’s roster late last week. The Wheat Kings selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . Last season, as a freshman, he had two goals and five assists in 45 games with Brandon. This season, he was pointless in one game. . . . As Ewen tweeted: “You’d think the Giants would have good intel on Ettinger, since scouting director Daryl Anning is the father of Wheat Kings head coach David Anning.” . . . Ettinger skated with the Giants on Monday afternoon and could make his debut with Vancouver on Wednesday against the Rockets in Kelowna.


With F Brad Goethals, 20, having left the Saskatoon Blades of his own accord, the club has room for a 20-year-old to join F Max Gerlach and D Dawson Davidson. . . . Goethals’ departure also leaves the Blades with 13 forwards, when they might prefer to carry 14. . . . Goethals was a prolific scorer during two seasons with the midget AAA Eastman Selects (129 points, including 73 goals, in 83 games), but wasn’t able to replicate that in the WHL. He had three goals and three assists in 23 games with the Everett Silvertips in 2016-17, and followed that up with 15 goals and 17 assists in 69 games with the Blades last season. . . . This season, he had one goal in three games with Saskatoon.


Stan Butler wasn’t behind the bench when the North Bay Battalion dropped a 7-5 OHL ohldecision to the host Oshawa Generals on Sunday night. According to the North Bay Nugget, Butler, the Battalion’s director of hockey operations and head coach since 1998-99, said before the game that he plans to take time “to try to get some things sorted out.” Butler, 62, apparently met with Oshawa’s club doctor before deciding not to go behind the bench on Sunday. . . . Butler was behind the bench on Saturday night for a 6-1 loss to the Niagara IceDogs in St. Catharines. . . . In Butler’s absence, assistant coaches Scott Wray and Adam Dennis ran the bench. . . . Butler is the fourth-winningest head coaching OHL history, his 703 victories trailing Brian Kilrea (1,194), Bert Templeton (907) and Dale Hunter (728). . . . Butler spent one season (1996-97) in the WHL, as the head coach of the Prince George Cougars.



MONDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders have dropped F Nikita Krivokrasov, who will turn 18 on Dec. 23, from their roster. From Westminster, Colo., he is the son of former NHLer Sergei Krivokrasov. . . . Nikita was pointless in two games with the Raiders in 2016-17, and had three goals in 34 games last season. . . . He didn’t dress for any of the Raiders’ first five games the season.

——

The Regina Pats are down to two goaltenders after dropping Matthew Pesenti, 17, from their roster. He is expected to return for a third season with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Pats now are left with two 18-year-old goaltenders — returnee Max Paddock and Dean McNabb, who was acquired from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 24. . . . Paddock has started all four games as the Pats have started 0-4-0. McNabb has gotten into one game since joining Regina.

——

A pair of WHLers drew three-game suspensions on Monday. . . . F Tristen Nielsen of the Calgary Hitmen was suspended after taking a boarding major and game misconduct during a game against the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Sunday. . . . F Cade McNelly was disciplined after becoming involved in what the WHL refers to as a “one-man fight” during a Saturday night game against the Winterhawks in Portland.

——

Hey, Lane Lambert and Ross Mahoney . . . I can see you smiling all the way from Kamloops. Congratulations!

——

The Calgary Flames revealed Monday that D Juusu Valimaki, 19, will open the NHL season on their roster. Valimaki, from Finland, will turn 20 on Oct. 6. The Flames selected him in the first round, 16th overall, of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Valimaki played the past three seasons with the Tri-City Americans. Last season, he had 14 goals and 31 assists in 43 games. In 159 career regular-season games, he recorded 40 goals and 98 assists. . . . The Flames also have F Dillon Dube, 20, on their roster. Dube, from Golden, B.C., was a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft. He spent the past four seasons with the Kelowna Rockets, putting up 232 points, including 101 goals, in 203 regular-season games. Last season, he finished with 38 goals and 46 assists in 43 games. . . .

George Johnson of calgaryflames.com has more right here.


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and add to the Taking Note coffee fund.


If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players, such as this one from Sunday night:


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Giants sign import draft pick . . . Everett forward gets NHL deal . . . Seattle in, Kamloops out of playoff picture

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Vancouver Giants have signed F Yannik Valenti, who is from Bad Tolz, Germany, to a VancouverWHL contact. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Valenti, who won’t turn 18 until Sept. 24, was selected by the Giants in the 2017 CHL import draft. Vancouver played with one import all season, rather than the maximum of two, and thus was able to maintain Valenti’s WHL rights. . . . This season, Valenti played for Jungadler Mannheim’s U-19 team, putting up 34 goals and 18 assists in 36 games. Last season, he had 20 goals and 23 assists in 40 games with that team. This season, he also played four games with Adler Mannheim in the DEL and two with the EC Kassel Huskies of DEL-2.


F Patrick Bajkov of the Everett Silvertips has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Bajkov, 20, is from Nanaimo, B.C. He was a sixth-round selection by Everett in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft, but never was drafted by an NHL team. . . . He went into this weekend with 30 goals and 61 assists in 67 games. . . . In 337 regular-season games, he has 109 goals and 170 assists with the Silvertips. He is the franchise’s career leader in goals and points, and is second in assists and games played.


Nolan Graham, an assistant coach at RPI, is in intensive care in an Albany, N.Y., hospital after being struck by a vehicle on Tuesday. . . . The 38-year-old is believed to have suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries. . . . Graham, from Nanaimo, B.C., played two seasons (1997-99) with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, before going on to spend four seasons at RPI. After a brief pro career, he turned to coaching and was in the BCHL for four seasons — three as an assistant coach with the Nanaimo Clippers and one (2009-10) as GM/head coach of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . . There is more on Graham, including the link to a GoFundMe page, right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Prince Albert, the Raiders ran their winning streak to eight games by dumping the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-4. . . . Prince Albert (31-25-11) is in possession of the Eastern PrinceAlbertConference’s second wild-card spot, four points behind Brandon and five ahead of Saskatoon. . . . Moose Jaw (49-15-3) had won its previous two games. It leads the overall standings, by one point over Swift Current. . . . The Warriors lead the season series, 4-2-1; the Raiders are 3-4-0. . . . F Cole Fonstad (21) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 11:37 of the first period, and F Kody McDonald made it 2-0 at 4:17 of the second. . . . F Brendan Klatt (3) got the Warriors on the scoreboard at 8:13. . . . McDonald’s 34th goal, at 10:28, restored the Raiders’ two-goal lead, and F Jordy Stallard (42) stretched it to three, on a PP, at 13:29. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs got the Warriors to within two at 15:55, but the home team got that one back at 18:15 as F Curtis Miske scored. . . . Miske made it 6-2 with his 25th goal, while shorthanded, at 1:48 of the third period. . . . The Warriors closed to within two as F Justin Almeida got his 40th at 6:41, and Halbgewachs (66) counted, on a PP, at 13:23. . . . Fonstad also had two assists for the Raiders. Last season, as a freshman, Fonstad had 11 goals and 15 assists in 26 games. This season, he has 72 points, including 51 assists, in 67 games. . . . F Parker Kelly also had two assists for the winners, and Stallard added one. . . . Halbgewachs and Almeida each had an assist for Moose Jaw. . . . Halbgewachs now has 135 regular-season goals with the Warriors, moving past F Brayden Point into second on the franchise’s career list. F Theo Fleury is No. 1, at 201. . . . Prince Albert was 1-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-3. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 21 saves, four more than Moose Jaw’s Adam Evanoff. . . . Prince Albert F Regan Nagy was unsuccessful on a third-period penalty shot. . . . The Warriors were without F Brayden Burke for a second straight game, while the Raiders scratched F Brett Leason, who didn’t finish a 4-2 victory over visiting Edmonton on Wednesday. . . . . Announced attendance: 2,324.


At Brandon, F Evan Weinger scored three times to lead the Wheat Kings to a 6-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Brandon (36-26-5) has won two in a row. It is fourth BrandonWKregularin the East Division, three points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Swift Current (47-15-6) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). It is second in the overall standings, one point behind Moose Jaw. . . . The Broncos won the season series with Brandon, 4-2-2; the Wheat Kings were (4-4-0). . . . The Broncos went up 2-0 on first-period goals from F Kaden Elder (15), at 2:47, and F Beck Malnestyn (15), shorthanded, at 8:48. . . . Brandon tied it in the second period when F Cole Reinhardt (17) and Weinger scored, at 12:29 and 13:36. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen’s 46th goal and 100th point gave the visitors a 3-2 edge at 17:06. . . . Weinger tied it at 19:00. . . . F Ty Lewis (42) shot Brandon into a 4-3 lead, on a PP, at 12:09 of the third period. . . . F Linden McCorrister (17) provided insurance at 12:35, and Weinger completed the hat trick — he’s got 29 goals — into an empty net at 18:00. . . . D Braden Schneider andF Stelio Mattheos had two assists each for Brandon, with Lewis getting one. . . . The Broncos now have three 100-point men — F Glenn Gawdin and F Aleksi Heponiemi are the others. The last team to have three such players was the Portland Winterhawks in 2012-13 — F Brendan Leipsic and F Nic Petan, each 120, andF Ty Rattie, 110. . . . Swift Current was 1-2 on the PP; Brandon was 1-5. . . . G Logan Thompson started for Brandon and stopped 21 of 24 shots. He left with an apparent leg injury after the second period. Dylan Myskiw came on to stop all five shots he faced in the third period. . . . The Broncos got 27 stops from G Stuart Skinner. . . . Gawdin (ill), the WHL scoring leader, was among Swift Current’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 4,240.


At Saskatoon, F Tristen Nielsen scored his third goal of the game in OT to give the Calgary Hitmen a 5-4 victory over the Blades. . . . Calgary (21-36-10) finished 2-2-0 in the season Calgaryseries. . . . Saskatoon (32-31-4) is five points from a playoff spot with five games remaining. . . . The Blades went 2-1-1 in the season series. . . . F Gage Ramsay (6) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:48 of the first period. . . . Nielsen, who has 18 goals, tied it at 2:38. . . . The Blades went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Josh Paterson (30), who was playing in his 200th game, at 11:39, and D Mark Rubinchik (3), at 13:57. . . . Calgary tied it on two shorthanded goals on the same Sasktoon power-play, with F Mark Kastelic (18) scoring at 15:26, and Nielsen at 16:37. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (36) gave the Blades a 4-3 lead 41 seconds into the third period. . . . Calgary tied it at 8:35 on a goal from F Carson Focht (12). . . . Nielsen, who also had an assist, won it at 1:58 of overtime as he completed his first career WHL hat trick. . . . Calgary got three assists from D Egor Zamula and two from Focht. . . . F Chase Wouters and F Max Gerlach each had two helpers for the Blades, with Patterson, Shmyr and Ramsay adding one apiece. . . . Saskatoon was 0-1 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . Calgary got 20 saves from G Nick Schneider. . . . G Nolan Maier, in his eighth straight start for Saskatoon, stopped 30 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 3,579. . . . Darren Steinke was in the building and blogged about it right there.


At Cranbrook, F Sam Steel scored his second goal of the game in OT to give the Regina Pats a 2-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Regina (37-25-6) has won four in a row. It is ReginaPats100third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon. . . . Kootenay (25-38-5) has lost nine in a row (0-7-2). It is fourth in the Central Division, eight points behind Red Deer with only four games remaining. . . . Regina finished the season series, 3-1-0; Kootenay was 1-2-1. . . . Steel gave the Pats a 1-0 lead at 17:25 of the second period. . . . The Ice tied it at 11:09 of the third period as F Cameron Hausinger got his 19th goal. . . . Steel won it with his 30th goal of the season, just 31 seconds into extra time. . . . Regina was 0-2 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-4. . . . The Pats got 19 saves from G Max Paddock. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 32 shots for the home team. . . . The Pats are 6-1-0 in a stretch of eight straight road games that concludes tonight in Lethbridge. The Pats have been out of the Brandt Centre while the Tim Hortons Brier (the Canadian men’s curling championship) is held. It is to conclude on Sunday. . . . Announced attendance: 2,642.


At Lethbridge, the Red Deer Rebels scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Hurricanes, 4-1. . . . Red Deer (25-30-13) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the Red DeerCentral Division, seven points behind Lethbridge and eight in front of Kootenay. . . . Lethbridge (32-29-6) has lost four straight. It is second in the division, eight points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Hurricanes are 4-1-0 in the season series; the Rebels are 1-2-2. . . . D Calen Addison’s ninth goal, at 13:38 of the first period, gave the home side a 1-0 edge. . . . F Kristian Reichel (30) tied it at 17:01. . . . F Brandon Hagel (14) scored a shorthanded goal at 3:42 of the second period to give Red Deer its first lead. . . . Red Deer F Mason McCarty put it away with two third-period goals, at 13:28, on a PP, and at 18:32, into an empty net. He’s got 37 goals. . . . Hagel also had two assists, with McCarty adding one. . . . Red Deer was 1-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-4. . . . The Rebels got 26 saves from G Riley Lamb. At the other end, Logan Flodell blocked 22. . . . Announced attendance: 4,933.


At Medicine Hat, D David Quenneville drew four assists to help the Tigers to a 6-4 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (35-25-8) leads the Central Division, by Tigers Logo Officialeight points over Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton (19-41-8) has lost four in a row. . . . The The Tigers won the season series, 6-0-0; the Oil Kings were 0-4-2). . . . Tigers F Mark Rassell became the WHL’s fourth 50-goal man this season when he opened the scoring at 2:46 of the first period. . . . The Oil Kings tied it at 7:45 on F David Kope’s 13th goal. . . . Medicine Hat went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Ryan Chyzowski (20), on a PP, at 8:39 and F Elijah Brown (8), at 16:36. . . . D Ethan Cap (5) pulled the visitors to within a goal at 9:08 of the second period, but F Jaeger White (10) got that one back at 11:41. . . . The Oil Kings tied it on goals from F Colton Kehler (30), at 15:53 of the second, and D Conner McDonald (8), at 10:41 of the third. . . . Medicine Hat F Josh Williams (10) gave his side a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 13:33, and F James Hamblin (21) added a PP goal at 15:09. . . . Brown and D Linus Nassen had two assists each for the winners, with Chyzowski getting one. . . . Hope had one assist for Edmonton. . . . The Tigers were 3-6 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 0-1. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 27 shots for Medicine Hat. . . . Edmonton G Todd Scott, who last played on Feb. 19, turned aside 24 shots. . . . D Joel Craven was in Medicine Hat’s lineup for the first time since Jan. 27. . . . Announced attendance: 3,311.


At Kamloops, the Kelowna Rockets skated to a workmanlike 4-2 victory over the Blazers to snap a five-game losing skid. . . . Kelowna (39-22-7) had been 0-4-1 in its previous five KelownaRocketsgames. It leads the B.C. Division, by three points over Victoria. . . . Kamloops (29-34-5) has lost two straight and has been eliminated from the playoff picture. It is 11 points out of a playoff berth with only four games remaining. . . . The Rockets are 7-0-0 in the season series; the Blazers are 0-6-1. They’ll finish the series tonight in Kelowna. . . . The Blazers got off to a tough start when they turned the puck over high in the Kelowna zone while on the PP. Rockets F Marek Skvrne grabbed the puck and went in alone to scored his third goal of the season, at 5:59 of the first period. . . . F Carsen Twarynski made it 2-0 with his 43rd goal — he has goals in four straight games — at 6:59 of the second period. . . . F Orrin Centazzo gave Blazers fans some hope when he scored his 11th goal on a penalty shot at 9:12. . . . The Rockets restored their two-goal lead at 12:18 as F Dillon Dube (33) sniped on a PP. . . . Kelowna F Kole Lind added his 38th goal at 17:30 of the third period. . . . Kamloops got a PP goal from D Nolan Kneen (7) at 19:53. . . . F Kyle Topping had two assists for Kelowna, and Dube, who was playing in his 200th game, had one. . . . Kelowna was 1-7 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-4. . . . The Rockets got 36 saves from G Brodan Salmond, while Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers blocked 34 shots. . . . The Blazers scratched D Luke Zazula, whose season appears to be over, and D Montana Onyebuchi. . . . Announced attendance: 3,652.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans erased a 1-0 lead with five straight goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Tri-City (33-24-9) had lost its TriCity30previous four games (0-3-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of Seattle. . . . Vancouver (34-24-9) is third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Victoria. . . . The Giants will play in Spokane tonight, then travel back to Kennewick for a Sunday rematch with the Americans. . . . Last night, Vancouver went ahead 1-0 when F Ty Ronning scored his 57th goal at 2:12 of the first period. . . . The Americans responded with three goals in the last four minutes of the period — from F Morgan Geekie (27), on a PP, at 16:05; F Jordan Topping (37), at 17:52; and F Sasha Mutala, at 18:18. . . . Tri-City F Nolan Yaremko’s 20th goal, at 18:10 of the second period, made it 4-1, and Mutala’s 11th goal stretched the lead to 5-1 at 6:59 of the third period. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (9) got Vancouver’s second goal, on a PP, at 11:48. . . . D Juuso Valimaki (12) scored Tri-City’s final goal, at 17:45. . . . Geekie and F Michael Rasmussen each had two assists for the winners, with Mutala, Topping and Valimaki adding one each. . . . Vancouver was 2-3 on the PP; Tri-City was 1-5. . . . G Patrick Dea earned the victory with 27 saves. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 34 shots for Vancouver. . . . F Milos Roman (ankle) returned to the Giants’ lineup for the first time since Jan. 9. He had eight goals and 21 assists in 34 games when he went out with the injury. . . . Announced attendance: 3,613.


At Victoria, F Tanner Kaspick’s second goal, this one in OT, gave the Royals a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Victoria (38-25-6) is second in the B.C. Division, three VictoriaRoyalspoints behind Kelowna. . . . Prince George (23-36-9) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Royals lead the season series, 4-2-1; the Cougars are 3-2-2. . . . They’ll play again Sunday afternoon in Victoria. . . . The Royals took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Dante Hannoun (24), at 10:55 of the first period, and Kaspick, at 4:55 of the second. . . . The Cougars scored the next three goals. . . . F Reid Perepeluk scored his first WHL goal, at 19:30 of the second period, to get it started. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (2) tied the score at 3:58 of the third period, and F Josh Maser’s 28th goal, at 7:19, gave the visitors a 3-2 lead. . . . Victoria F Tyler Soy (36) forced OT at 17:03 of the third period. . . . Kaspick’s 25th goal of the season won it at 2:39 of OT. . . . Kaspick has nine game-winners this season — six in 22 games with Victoria and three in 35 games with Brandon. . . . F Matthew Phillips and Hannoun each drew two assists for Victoria, with Soy getting one. . . . F Aaron Boyd had two assists for the Cougars. . . . Prince George was 0-1 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3. . . . G Dean McNabb started for Victoria and stopped 30 of 33 shots in 47:19. Griffen Outhouse finished up, stopping all five shots he faced in 15:20. . . . The Cougars got 39 stops from G Tavin Grant. . . . Announced attendance: 6,629.


At Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds erased a 2-1 deficit to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 4-2. . . . Seattle (32-25-10), the WHL’s defending champion, has clinched a playoff spot. It Seattleholds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Spokane (39-23-5) is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind Portland. . . . Seattle leads the season series, 4-2-1; Spokane is 3-4-0. . . . D Filip Kral (8) put the Chiefs out front 1-0 at 2:14 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it at 17:04 on a PP goal from F Zack Andrusiak. . . . The visitors went ahead 2-1 when F Riley Woods (22) scored, on a PP, at 2:28 of the second period. . . . Andrusiak (33) tied it at 8:49. . . . D Austin Strand scored Seattle’s last two goals, giving it a 3-2 lead at 6:16 of the third period, then adding insurance, on a PP, at 15:05. He has 23 goals. . . . Seattle got three assists from F Nolan Volcan and two from F Donovan Neuls. . . . Woods had one assists for the Chiefs. . . . Seattle was 2-2 on the PP; Spokane was 1-3. . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 25 shots for Seattle. . . . Spokane G Donovan Buskey stopped 18 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 5,317.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Swift Current at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Regina at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Portland, 6 p.m.

Kamloops at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.


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