Scattershooting on a Sunday with thoughts of Lennon and Breslin . . . Maier, Blades stop Leason and Raiders . . . Wolf howls against Chiefs

Scattershooting

The Edmonton Oilers’ roster may include the player some observers consider to be the best in the world, Connor McDavid, but they still are offensively challenged. When the visiting Calgary Flames beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 9-6, on Tuesday, they scored as many goals in one game as the Oilers had scored in their previous five outings. . . . Of course, the Oilers beat the visiting Flames, 1-0, on Sunday night. If you don’t give up any goals, chances are you’ll win every time.



While it’s great to see Seattle be awarded an NHL franchise — yes, for US $650 million — you really have to wonder why the NHL won’t go into Quebec City, don’t you?


John Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980. If you haven’t read the column written by the late Jimmy Breslin, you have cheated yourself. It’s a classic and it’s right here.


F Tyler Steenbergen scored the Teddy Bear goal for the Swift Current Broncos last season, then later scored the goal that won gold for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championship. This season, he’s with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. He scored their Teddy Bear goal on Saturday night.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Should the NFL prohibit players from appearing in hotel security footage?



“The U.S. Postal Service, in honor of former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, suspended regular mail deliveries Wednesday,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Pistons apparently forgot and mailed it in anyway, getting outscored in every quarter in a 115-92 loss to the Bucks.”


A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Head coach Jay Gruden said exiled QB Colin Kaepernick wasn’t a good option for Washington. I’ll say! The poster boy for minority injustice in America playing for a team called the Redskins?”


Here’s a groaner from Currie: “Barbara Streisand’s two Coton de Tulear pooches are both clones of her previous pet, Samantha. If Elvis were alive, he’d say “You ain’t nothing but a cloned dog.”


ThisThat.

Maybe F Brett Leason and the Prince Albert Raiders are human after all.

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots on Sunday to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 1-0 victory PrinceAlbertover the visiting Raiders, handing Prince Albert, the CHL’s top-ranked team, its first regulation-time loss of this season.

The Raiders (28-2-1) went into the game with one other regulation loss; they were beaten 4-3 by the Rebels in Red Deer on Oct. 6. They also suffered a 3-2 shootout setback at the hands of the Broncos in Swift Current on Dec. 4.

When Sunday’s game ended, the Raiders still led the East Division by 16 points over the Blades. Still, the Saskatoon players had reason to like their performance.

 “This is huge,” Maier told blogger Darren Steinke. “We were talking about it before in the room saying that this was a statement game to be heard around the whole league.

The 17-year-old goaltender also helped bring an end to Leason’s 30-game point streak. Yes, Leason had recorded at least one point in each of his club’s first 30 games. He put up 28 goals — he leads the league in goals — and 36 assists during that stretch, and his 64 points have him atop the WHL scoring race, by two points over F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Leason’s lead isn’t likely to last, though, as he now is on his way to Victoria and the selection camp for Canada’s national junior team. Should he earn a spot on that team, he would miss at least nine of the Raiders’ games.


You can’t accuse the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club of not thinking big.

The club already is planning for the 2020-21 season when all signs point towards it Portlandmaking the East Division swing with its favourite team.

How avid are club members? Even with barely any planning done, the bus was already two-thirds full.

No, fans aren’t going to ride a bus all the way to the Prairies. Rather, they will fly to Regina, stay in the Saskatchewan capital and take a bus from there to games in other cities.

“The cost is estimated to be $2,400 to $3,500, including flight, bus, game ticket(s) and hotel,” Stuart Kemp, the club’s president, told Taking Note in an email. “There is no other WHL booster club that can do this . . .

“So far, enough have committed to go on the swing based on current costs, that the planning for the trip is in full-swing mode. Currently, we are close to having a waiting list as the trip is nearly sold out!”


“It was a sham all along,” writes Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun. “That’s the bitter conclusion supporters of the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice have come to as the Kootenaynewjunior franchise is poised to move to Winnipeg.

“At first, John Hudak wanted to believe in Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the Ice a year and a half ago.

“But Hudak, a retired RCMP officer who spearheaded a local drive to save the team, says it turns out he was banging his head against the wall.”

Friesen’s complete column — it carries the headline: WHL move to Winnipeg ‘a done deal’ — is right here.

——

Meanwhile, Ian Cobb, the owner/editor of e-KNOW.ca, has provided an overview of things from the perspective of a hockey fan in the Kootenays. He suggests that it’s time for the fans in the area to start attending games in large numbers. . . . Cobb’s piece is right here.


Let’s be honest. The WHL’s playoff format stinks to high heaven. So, too, does the NHL’s, which is identical.

Here’s Larry Brooks of the New York Post:

“Imagine Wimbledon every year matching up the top two seeds in each half of the draw in the second round. Imagine the World Cup placing the four most powerful squads in the same group. Imagine March Madness placing the top four seeds in the country in the same region.

While you’re at it, you may as well imagine there’s no heaven, because it’s easy if you try to imagine the NHL cutting off its own knees by matching up its best teams in the first or second round of the playoffs in a made-for-marketing scheme, because that is exactly what Sixth Avenue and its band of clueless co-conspirators on the Board do year after year after year.”

As you read this, just substitute NHL with WHL and go from there.

The complete column is right here.


G Kyle Dumba got his first taste of junior hockey in 2013-14 when he played one game with each of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers.

Since then he has had stints with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs, the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats, and the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Surrey Eagles and Victoria Grizzlies.

The 20-year-old Calgarian made his 106th junior appearance on Saturday night and recorded his first shutout. He’s with the Grizzlies now, sparked by his 43 saves, they beat one of his former teams, Salmon Arm, 2-0.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Sunday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

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


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots and F Tristen Robins scored the game’s only goal as the Saskatoonhost Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 1-0. . . . The Blades (19-10-3) have won two straight. . . . The Raiders (28-2-1) had been 21-0-1 in their previous 22 games. This was their first regulation loss this season. . . . This was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both of these teams and each went 2-1-0. . . . The Raiders had won the first two meetings with the Blades — 4-1 in Prince Albert and 6-2 in Saskatoon on Sept. 30 and Oct. 14, respectively. . . . Maier posted his second shutout of the season and the fourth of his career. This season, he is 15-8-2, 2.70, .912. . . . Robins’ goal, his fifth of the season, came at 5:14 of the second period and also was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason had his 30-game point streak come to an end, despite having five shots on goal. . . . Leason and G Ian Scott, who stopped 26 shots, will be on the ice in Victoria on Tuesday as the selection camp opens for Canada’s national junior team. . . . When the Raiders next play, on Wednesday against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, they will be missing Scott, Leason, F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego. The latter two are with the Belarus national junior team at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at home Sunday for his third game in fewer than 48 hours, too, and his post is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen broke a 2-2 second-period tie with four goals in a span of 4:02 en Calgaryroute to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Calgary (14-14-3) has won four straight. . . . The Blazers (12-12-3) had points in each of their previous four games (3-0-1). . . . Kamloops now is 0-1-1 on a six-game Central Division trek. . . . Calgary went ahead 1-0 at 4:18 of the first period when F Kaden Elder (12) scored the Teddy Bear goal. . . . F Martin Lang (6), who also had two assists, pulled Kamloops even at 1:42 of the second period, but F Jake Kryski (14) got that one back, on a PP, at 4:11. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (4) got the Blazers back into a tie, on a PP, at 10:31. . . . It was all Calgary after that, with F James Malm (15) counting at 10:47, F Tye Carriere (3) at 11:13, and D Egor Zamula scoring twice, at 12:34 and 13:49. . . . Zamula, who has seven goals, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his WHL career. . . . Kamloops F Zane Franklin (17) closed out the scoring at 13:55 of the third period. . . . Zamula, who also had an assist, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his career. . . . Calgary F Riley Stotts had three assists. He’s got a goal and seven assists over his past three games. . . . The Blazers were without F Jermaine Loewen and F Kobe Mohr, both of whom were suspended by the WHL earlier in the day. Loewen drew a TBD suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a 3-2 OT loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Saturday, while Mohr got one game under supplemental discipline from the same game.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots to help the host Everett Silvertips to a 2-0 victory over the EverettSpokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (25-7-1) now has points in 11 straight (10-0-1). . . . Spokane (16-11-4) had won its previous two games. . . . Everett leads the Western Conference by seven points over the idle Vancouver Giants (21-6-2), who have four games in hand. . . . Everett is atop the U.S. Division by 13 points over the Portland Winterhawks (18-10-2), who hold three games in hand. . . . This season, Wolf, a 17-year-old sophomore, is 23-7-1, 1.84, .928. He has three shutouts this season and seven in his career. . . . The shutout yesterday lowered his career GAA to 1.99 in 51 appearances, 31 of them this season. . . . F Bryce Kindopp scored both goals, at 14:34 and 19:48 of the third period. The second one was into an empty net. He’s got 13 goals. . . . Spokane got 38 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . The Chiefs were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They went 2-1-0. They also were in their fourth game in five nights. They were 2-2-0 in those four games, with the other loss also at the hands of the Silvertips, 4-2 in Everett on Wednesday. . . . The Silvertips were without F Sean Richards, who drew a TBA suspension after he took a boarding major and game misconduct on Saturday night against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Richards hit D Loeden Schaufler at 10:10 of the second period; Schaufler left the game and didn’t return. . . . The Silvertips also were without F Martin Fasko-Rudas, who has missed two straight games.

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Vipers’ owner dies at 68 … WHL hits two GMs with fines … Raiders guarantee win over Broncos

MacBeth

F Brady Ramsay (Lethbridge, 2010-14) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). He started the season with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite), scoring one goal and adding four assists in 13 games. He was released by the Steelers on Dec. 5.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The hockey community is in mourning today following the death of Duncan Wray, the longtime owner of the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. Wray, who had owned the franchise since 1992, died suddenly Thursday morning, which happened to be his 68th birthday. . . . Besides owning the Vipers, Wray also was the chairman of the BCHL’s board of governors. . . . It was just on Saturday when the Vipers and Prince George Spruce Kings played the final game in the history of Vernon’s Civic Arena. Prior to the game, Wray had, according to Roger Knox of the Vernon Morning Star, “received a loud ovation” when he was introduced to the crowd. . . . Former Vipers head coach Troy Mick too Knox: “This is the saddest day of my life. Part of my heart feels ripped out. I haven’t stopped crying since this morning.” . . . Knox’s story is right here.


The WHL’s disciplinary office added to its coffers on Thursday, having fined a couple of its general managers.

Peter Anholt of the Lethbridge Hurricanes got touched for $750 “for actions following” a whlJan. 5 game against the visiting Vancouver Giants, who won that contest, 5-2.

Stu MacGregor of the Kamloops Blazers will be $500 lighter after being fined “for actions following” a game against the visiting the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday night. The Blazers won that game, 2-1.

Meanwhile, two players have drawn three-game suspensions.

D Matthew Benson of the Moose Jaw Warriors will sit out after taking a headshot major and game misconduct in a game against the host Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday.

F Max James of the Tri-City Americans got hit with three games after he took a charging major and game misconduct for a hit during a game against the host Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night.


The Swift Current Broncos, having gone all-in at the WHL trade deadline, are hoping their fans will follow suit at the box office. The team announced Thursday that it is selling SCBroncospro-rated season tickets — prices are based on the number of regular-season home games remaining — through Jan. 31.

Season-ticket holders, of course, also have the first option on their seats for the 2018 playoffs. As well, should the Broncos have 2,100 season tickets sold by Jan. 31 — they went over 2,000 on Thursday — they will be giving away one free 2017-18 season ticket during each of the last 10 home regular-season games.

According to Dianne Sletten, the team’s director of business operations, “We’ve sold (more than) 250 season tickets this week and are thrilled to see an electric atmosphere as we push forward.”

The Broncos are at home Saturday when they entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings. Three of the Broncos — D Tyler Steenbergen, Canada’s golden boy, D Artyom Minulin (Russia) and F Aleksi Heponiemi (Finland) — will be saluted for having played in the WJC in Buffalo.


The Swift Current Broncos are scheduled to play their first game since the trade deadline tonight against the host Prince Albert Raiders.

What makes this game noteworthy is that the Raiders, who are 19th in the 22-team PrinceAlbertWHL’s overall standings, have guaranteed a victory over the No. 2 Broncos.

Yes, they have!

“Here’s how it works,” reads a Raiders’ news release. “After we beat Swift Current, we’ll all be happy. To be honest, we don’t think we’re going to lose.

“In the small chance that the Broncos pull off a miracle, here’s what we’ll do. We’ll hand out ticket vouchers to all fans in attendance on the way out. Each fan can bring that voucher, as well as the used game ticket from Friday night, to the Raiders box office on Saturday, Jan. 13, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and redeem it for a free ticket to Saturday night’s game against the Moose Jaw Warriors.”

After the Raiders post the victory, they will trail the Broncos by 21 points.


On the subject of players having returned from the WJC, the Kelowna Rockets honoured D Cal Foote and F Dillon Dube prior to a 7-4 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday night. Both played for Canada in Buffalo, with Dube serving as team captain. . . . Unfortunately, Dube wasn’t in attendance on Wednesday, as a flu bug kept him out of action.

Meanwhile, the Portland Winterhawks welcomed back F Kieffer Bellows (U.S.) and D Henri Jokiharju (Finland) on Thursday. Both players are expected to play tonight (Friday) in Kennewick, Wash., against the Tri-City Americans. The Americans should have D Jake Bean, who also played for Canada, in their lineup tonight, too. Bean was acquired by the Americans from the Calgary Hitmen earlier in the week. He arrived in Kennewick on Thursday.


The Tri-City Americans have signed F Blake Stevenson, 16, to a WHL contract. Stevenson has five goals and three assists in 27 games with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks and will remain there for the remainder of this season. Last season, he had 23 goals and 32 assists for the minor midget AAA CNHA Canucks. . . . The Americans selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


The Saskatoon Blades have released F Dryden Michaud, 19, and he has joined the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. From Maple Ridge, B.C., Michaud had two goals and two assists in 29 games this season. Last season, he had one goal in 29 games with the Blades.


The Saskatoon Blades have added F Tristen Robins and F Kyle Crnkovic to their roster for a three-game road trip that features stops in Red Deer on Saturday, Cranbrook, B.C., on SaskatoonSunday, and Calgary on Tuesday. . . . Robins, who turned 16 on Nov. 15, is from Brandon and plays at the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg. He is the son of former Blades G Trevor Robins. Tristen was acquired from the Regina Pats earlier in the week. They had selected him in the fourth round of the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Crnkovic, the Blades’ first-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, played two WHL games earlier this season. He is playing for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team in the CSSHL. . . . The Blades won’t have F Kirby Dach on this trip. Dach, who is to turn 17 on Jan. 21, has four goals and 19 assists in 23 games. However, he hasn’t played since Dec. 27 and is sidelined on a weekly basis with an undisclosed injury.


F Ian Briscoe, 18, who was released by the Seattle Thunderbirds, has signed with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. Briscoe, from Winnipeg, had three assists in 24 games this season. Last season, he had two goals in 20 games. He also played 22 games with Dauphin last season, recording six goals and 10 assists. . . . Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 bantam draft.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have dropped D Brenden Kwiatkowski, 17, from their roster. He is expected to join the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. Kwiatkowski, who is from Grande Prairie, had one assist in 22 games with the Warriors.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


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Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Regina, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Lethbridge at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Monday’s WHL deals: Pats, Blades make big trade . . . Ice adds, subtracts goaltender . . . Portland acquires some muscle . . . Kelowna rolls dice

WHEELING AND DEALING …

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 37

PLAYERS: 67

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 45

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 5

THE DEADLINE: Wednesday, Jan. 10 (2 p.m. PT, 3 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. CT)


THE DEAL: The Regina Pats acquire D Libor Hajek, 19, from the Saskatoon Blades for D Dawson Davidson, 19, F Tristen Robins, 16, and a first-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Interestingly, the Blades and Pats are tied for the Eastern Conference’s ReginaPats100two wild-card spots. They are 10 points behind third-place Brandon in the East Division and seven points ahead of Prince Albert in the wild-card chase. . . . The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Hajek has eight goals and 17 assists in 33 games with the Blades this season. In 167 games, all with the Blades, he has 15 goals and 62 assists. . . . Davidson, 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, has nine goals and 28 assists in 83 games with Regina after being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers. In 207 career WHL games, he has 100 points, including 21 goals. This season, he has seven goals and 20 assists in 43 games. . . . Robins plays at the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg, where he has 10 goals and 12 assists in 17 games for the midget prep team in the CSSHL.

THE INFO: The Pats and Blades next play each other on Jan. 20 in Saskatoon. . . . Hajek, an alternate captain with the Blades, played well for his native Czech Republic in the SaskatoonWorld Junior Championship in Buffalo. He had a goal and seven assists in seven games as the Czechs placed fourth. He was a second-round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL’s 2016 draft and has signed an NHL contract. . . . The Pats acquired Davidson, who is from Moosomin, Sask., from the Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 27, 2016. Kamloops had picked him in the third round of the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Robins is the son of former WHL G Trevor Robins, who played three seasons (1989-92) with the Blades and one (1992-93) with Brandon. Tristen was a fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . The acquisition of Hajek left Regina with three imports, one over the limit, so it placed Russian D Egor Zamula, 17, on waivers. He has seven assists in 38 games as a freshman. . . . Finnish F Emil Oksanen, 19, is Regina’s other import.

WHY: The Pats are of the opinion that they needed another top-end defenceman, even after acquiring Cale Fleury from the Kootenay Ice on Nov. 13. They are hoping Hajek fills that role. . . . The Blades add a solid defenceman who may return as a 20-year-old and a prospect who scored 51 goals in bantam AAA last season in Winnipeg. Saskatoon also gets a first-round draft pick in 2019, the draft that follows the Pats’ Memorial Cup-hosting season. As Blades GM Colin Priestner put it in a news release: “If history is an indicator, Regina’s first-round pick next year has a serious chance of being a lottery pick as Memorial Cup host teams often go through a tough phase. So to have that first pick next year . . . we feel that gives us a good chance at selecting a star player.”


THE DEAL: The Kootenay Ice acquired G Matt Berlin, 19, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Berlin made 24 appearances with the Thunderbirds this season, going Kootenaynew12-7-3, 3.40, .893, with one shutout. . . . Last season, Berlin was 7-2-2, 2.82, .902 in helping the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . In 44 career appearances, seven with Spokane and 37 with Seattle, Berlin is 20-10-7, 3.33, .891.

THE INFO: Berlin joins Duncan McGovern, 17, as the Ice’s goaltenders. . . . Berlin was a seventh-round pick by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Seattle is left with three goaltenders on its roster, in Liam Hughes, 18, who has made four straight starts, Dorrin Luding, 18, and Carl Stankowski, 17. However, Stankowski has yet to play this season due to hip problems. . . . The Thunderbirds had been without a fifth-round pick, having dealt their 2018 and 2019 fifth-rounders to the Ice for F Noah Philp on Sept. 11.

WHY: Seattle is able to get a draft pick for a player who likely wouldn’t be on its roster next season. . . . The Ice, meanwhile, continues its search for a goaltender. Since May 24, Ice general manager Matt Cockell has traded for five goaltenders — Mario Petit (Everett), Bailey Brkin (Swift Current), Kurtis Chapman (Regina), McGovern (Medicine Hat) and Berlin.


THE DEAL: The Spokane Chiefs acquired G Bailey Brkin, 18, from the Kootenay Ice for an eight-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: In 23 appearances with the Ice, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Brkin, a SpokaneChiefsfreshman, was 7-12-2, 4.51, .874.

THE INFO: The native of Sherwood Park, Alta., played last season with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs (45 games, 5.19, .890). . . . He won’t be joining the Chiefs, at least not right away; instead, he will play for the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. . . . Brkin was a list player with the Swift Current Broncos, who dealt him to Kootenay earlier this season.

WHY: With Brkin having some WHL experience, the Chiefs added some depth to the organization’s goaltending. They also have Dawson Weatherill (12-9-3, 3.23, .888) and Donovan Buskey (8-6-0, 3.51, .874) on their roster. On Monday, they brought back Arnold Campbell, 15, and he is expected to be in Kamloops on Tuesday when the Chiefs meet the Blazers. Arnold was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Arnold, from Nanaimo, B.C., plays at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . You are free to specualte if Weatherill or Buskey is injured, or if another move is in the works.


THE DEAL: The Portland Winterhawks acquired F Lukus MacKenzie, 18, from the Red Deer Rebels for a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: This season, in 30 games — 13 with the Saskatoon Blades and 17 with PortlandRed Deer — the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has eight assists. In 138 career games, he has eight goals and 20 assists.

THE INFO: The Rebels dropped the Calgarian from their roster on Thursday and he joined the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. He was pointless in one game with the Oilers. . . . Saskatoon selected him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.

WHY: The Winterhawks obviously wanted to add some toughness to their lineup because MacKenzie was one of the Eastern Conference’s toughest players when he was on a roster. . . . He has 163 penalty minutes in his WHL career, but don’t forget that the WHL chooses not to include some penalties, such as misconducts and game misconducts, in its penalty totals.


THE DEAL: The Vancouver Giants acquired D Brennan Riddle, 20, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Brad Morrison, who turned 21 on Jan. 4.

THE NUMBERS: Riddle has a goal and five assists in 37 games this season. In 216 career Lethbridgegames, he has five goals and 29 assists. . . . This season, Morrison has 11 goals and 24 assists in 42 games with the Giants. In 302 career regular-season games, split between Vancouver and the Prince George Cougars, he has 96 goals and 127 assists.

THE INFO: Lethbridge acquired Riddle, who is from Balgonie, Sask., from the Prince Albert Raiders early last season. This season, Riddle was an alternate captain in Lethbridge. The Calgary Hitmen selected him in the first round of the 2012 bantam draft. VancouverHe never played for the Hitmen, who dealt him to Lethbridge on Jan. 7, 2014. . . . Morrison was selected by the Prince George Cougars with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 bantam draft. He is from Prince George. The Giants acquired him from the Cougars on June 2. The New York Rangers selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2015 draft, but he was never signed. Prior to this NHL season, he was in the Calgary Flames’ rookie camp.

WHY: It isn’t often that WHL teams are involved in a straight-up swap of two 20-year-olds, but that’s the case here. After three seasons out of the playoffs, Vancouver finds itself in contention for top spot in the Western Conference and wants to tighten up defensively. . . . The Hurricanes want more offence and should get that from Morrison and linemates. Morrison is a tremendous playmaker.


THE DEAL: The Calgary Hitmen acquired G Nick Sanders, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: The 6-foot-2 Sanders was 8-13-5, 3.91, .888 in 38 appearances over two Calgaryseasons with the Raiders. He got into four games with the Raiders this season (0-1-1, 4.89, .854) before being dropped from their roster. He has been with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats (6-5-2, 2.95, .915). . . . In 67 career games, split between the Raiders and Tri-City Americans, he is 19-22-6, 3.61, .890.

THE INFO: The Raiders acquired Sanders, who is from Calgary, from Tri-City on Oct. 13, 2016. . . . Bothered by hip issues, Sanders had offseason surgery and was late starting training camp with the Raiders. . . . He was selected by the Americans in the sixth round of the 2013 bantam draft.

WHY: The Hitmen have started a major rebuilding program, so are looking for competition at all positions. They are hoping Sanders can provide that among the goaltenders this season, and then compete for a 20-year-old spot prior to next season. . . . Also on the Calgary roster are Nick Schneider, 20, and Matthew Armitage, 18. Schneider is the starter, at 13-16-6, 3.51, .888. Armitage, a freshman, is 0-6-0, 3.70, .878.


THE DEAL: The Kelowna Rockets acquired F Ryan Bowen, 19, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for an eight-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: This season, Bowen had one goal and five assists in 13 games with the KelownaRocketsHurricanes. In 143 career games, between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge, he has 21 goals and 36 assists.

THE INFO: Bowen was on Lethbridge’s suspended list after refusing an earlier trade to an unnamed team. From Chilliwack, he now is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, although he has yet to play a game with them. . . . Bowen was a fifth-round pick by Moose Jaw in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . His younger brother, Ethan, a forward, was a second-round pick by Kelowna in the 2017 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with the Rockets, choosing instead to commit to the U of North Dakota for 2020-21.

WHY: The Rockets rolled the dice, giving up a late draft pick in the hopes that they will be able to convince Ryan to join them. Of course, should that happen, it might allow them to get a foot in the door in terms of trying to get Ethan signed. . . . “We’re working to see if we can get (Ryan) here, but it looks like he may play junior A this (season),” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and GM, said in a news release. “But he’s a prospect that we will certainly have as an affiliate player and we’ll try to get him in eventually.”