Punch hits 90! Happy Birthday!! . . . Aldridge: We have lost the impact of shame in our society . . . Svatos’ brain showed CTE

David Aldridge of The Athletic wrote a superb column on the latest imbroglio involving Kyrie Irving and the New York Nets. Here is just one paragraph:

“We have lost the impact of shame in our society. The notion that certain things shouldn’t be done, and certain things shouldn’t be said, because they would bring shame to us and embarrassment to our families. You didn’t steal candy from the store not just because you feared getting caught and arrested; you didn’t steal because it was wrong, and because if you got caught, you would be ashamed of what you did. So this isn’t just about Kyrie Irving. It’s about a team that, in the pursuit of a championship, seems incapable of self-reflection, of someone saying ‘Whoa. Maybe we shouldn’t do this.’ ”

And then along came the Boston Bruins on Friday to announce the signing of F Mitchell Miller, a player who was a fourth-round selection by the Arizona Coyotes in the NHL’s 2020 draft.

The Coyotes later did some due diligence and discovered an extremely unsavoury situation in Miller’s past, so they renounced his rights. As Sportsnet reported: “Miller . . . had assaulted, bullied and abused a Black classmate with a learning disability.” The victim has said that this went on for years.

No matter. The Bruins, without speaking with the victim’s family, signed Miller to a three-year entry-level deal. He will report to the AHL’s Providence Bruins.

“Marek Svatos, who played parts of eight NHL seasons and skated for Slovakia in the 2006 Olympics in Torino, had the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his death in 2016,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN. “Svatos’ wife, Diana, confirmed his posthumous diagnosis in a series of recent interviews with TSN. Diana – who said the date of her husband’s death has been misreported on the Internet – wanted to speak publicly about Svatos’ life and death because she says it was more complicated than media reports have portrayed.

“Svatos died Nov. 4, 2016, at the age of 34 in his home in Lone Tree, Colo. A coroner reported Svatos had codeine, morphine and anti-anxiety medication in his system when he died, The Denver Post reported at the time. His official cause of death was an accidental overdose, Diana said.”

Svatos played two seasons (2000-02) with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

Westhead’s complete story — it’s a tough but important read — is right here.


“An upstart Okanagan hockey program is coming under fire by a parent who claims allegations of hazing and cyber bullying within the program are being dismissed,” Wayne Moore of castanet.net wrote earlier this week. “James Kellett levelled those accusations against Okanagan HC which operates three teams (U18, U15 and U14) within the new Junior Prospect Hockey League. The accusations are at this point unproven, but have triggered a public statement and investigation from the league.

“Accusations include hazing, what Kellett termed sexual misconduct involving cyber bullying and other off ice infractions involving the organization. Many came about during a road trip from Sept. 20 to 25 in Edmonton.”

Moore’s complete story is right here.

On Friday, Carli Berry of infotel.ca reported that the RCMP is investigating the situation after “receiving information about misconduct” within the Okanagan HC.

Berry wrote: “RCMP initiated the investigation after receiving information Nov. 3 about misconduct and it is being handled by the Kelowna Vulnerable Persons Section as it involves people under the age of 18, according to a RCMP media release.”

Friday in the WHL . . .

If you aren’t already following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) on Twitter for WHL stats and info, you should be.

The Red Deer Rebels ran their season-opening record to 14-0-0 with a 4-1 victory over the host Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 1967-68 Estevan Bruins RedDeerhold the WHL record for longest season-opening winning streak, at 22 games. . . . The Rebels tied a franchise record with 14 straight victories; the 2001-02 team also won 14 in a row. . . . The Broncos had won their previous four games. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored twice, giving him 13, and added an assist. . . . Uchacz now is tied for the WHL goal-scoring lead, along with F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats, F Austin Roest of the Everett Silvertips and F Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Rebels had a 41-20 edge in shots, including 20-8 in the third period. . . . Next up for the Rebels? Their nine-game road trip continues tonight with stop No. 3, a visit to the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

The Tri-City Americans overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the host Tri-CityBrandon Wheat Kings 4-3 on a goal by D Lukas Dragicevic at 3:11 of OT. . . . Dragicevic, 17, has three goals and nine assists in a nine-game point streak. On the season, he has five goals and 14 assists in 15 games. . . . Tri-City snapped a three-game losing skid; Brandon has lost five straight. . . . The Americans are 2-3-0 in a six-game swing into the East Division that will end with a game tonight against the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Americans trailed 3-1 early in the third period, then tied it on goals from F Jake Sloan, at 7:47, on a PP, and F Ethan Ernst, at 15:16. . . . F Nate Danielson scored one of Brandon’s goals while it was two-men short. . . . F Cash Koch, the 24th overall selection in the 2022 WHL draft, made his Tri-City debut. Koch, 15, is from Calgary. . . .

F Rhett Melnyk’s fourth goal of the season, at 3:57 of OT, gave the host Edmonton Oil Kings a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Carson Golder, a former Victoria player, gave Edmonton a 3-1 lead at 17:52 of the second period. . . . The Royals tied it on goals from F Alex Edwards, at 19:30, and F Anthony Wilson, at 3:56 of the third. . . . Victoria went 1-4-1 on its Central Division trip and now is 3-12-3. . . . The Oil Kings, who had lost nine in a row, are 2-12-1. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen ran their winning streak to five with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The game was played at the 2,000-seat Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina First Nation. Announced attendance was 1,096. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz had a goal and two assists for the Hitmen. . . . The Tigers have lost four straight (0-2-2). . . .

F Samuel Honzek and F Jaden Lipinski scored shootout goals to give the visiting VancouverVancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Honzek and Lipinski also had regulation-time goals for the Giants, who completed their Central Division trip with a 3-2-1 record. . . . F Ty Thorpe had a goal and two assists for the Giants. . . . F Cole Shepherd scored once and drew two assists for Lethbridge, which acquired Shepherd, 20, from the Giants prior the start of the season for a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. . . .

F Robbie Fromm-Delorme set up three goals, two of them on the PP, to lead the PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland scored the game’s first four goals. . . . Seattle F Kyle Crnkovic had his point streak end at 11 games. Acquired from the Saskatoon Blades as the season was getting started, he had at least one point in each of Seattle’s first 11 games. He has seven goals and 10 assists in 12 games. . . . F Jared Davidson, Seattle’s leading scorer, was scratched with an undisclosed injury, while F Mekai Sanders played his first game this season. Sanders last played a game on March 18; he missed all of Seattle’s run to the 2022 WHL final thanks to a knee injury. . . . These two teams will meet 12 times this season, with a second meeting tonight, this time in Kent, Wash. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s final two goals to beat the host Prince Albert Raiders, 3-2. . . . F Riley Ginnell tied it at 4:19 and F Jagger Firkus snapped the deadlock with a shorthanded goal at 5:25. . . . The Warriors are without head coach Mark O’Leary, who is one of the Canadian coaches at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge ongoing in Langley, B.C. . . .

D Ty Gibson scored twice to help the Everett Silvertips to a 5-3 victory over the EverettBlades in Saskatoon. . . . Gibson, a 19-year-old from Victoria, went into the night with three goals in 98 career regular-season games. This season, he has three goals and an assist in 15 games. . . . F Austin Roest scored his 13th goal of the season and added an assist for Everett. This was his fourth straight game with a goal and an assist. . . . The Silvertips are 3-2-0 on a six-game East Division trip that concludes tonight against the Prince Albert Raiders. . . .

The Prince George Cougars got two goals from F Chase Wheatcroft in a 7-2 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs have lost six in a row. . . . The Cougars got three assists from Slovakian D Viliam Kmec. It was the sophomore’s first three-point game; he had four two-pointers last season, the final one on Dec. 10. . . . He has six points, all assists, in 15 games this season.



F Ben Thornton doesn’t have a timeline for returning to play with the Brandon BrandonWheat Kings, but has been cleared to fly so will be rejoining his teammates on Monday. He has been doing what his father, Erin, told Taking Note is “very light exercise this week” and is waiting to see how he responds to that. . . . Thornton was injured on Oct. 14 during a game against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. He absorbed a nasty hit, was taken off the ice on a stretcher and then went via ambulance to Royal Columbia Hospital in New Westminster. He spent on night in hospital and since then has been at the family home in Chilliwack while dealing with concussion-related issues. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees are 15-0-0 after beating the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, 4-0, on Friday night. . . . The Vees are scheduled to entertain the Wenatchee Wild tonight. . . . The Wild improved to 3-9-1 with a 5-4 OT victory over the visiting Merritt Centennials last night. . . .

The Prince George Cougars acquired F Cole Dubinsky, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 4, from the Regina Pats on Friday, giving up F Zackary Shantz, 17, and third-round selection in the 2023 WHL draft in the exchange. . . . The Cougars now have the maximum three 2002-born players on their roster, the others being F Noah Boyko and F Chase Wheatcroft. . . . Dubinsky, from Ardrossan, Alta., was a fourth-round pick by Regina in the 2017 WHL draft. He put up 38 goals and 65 assists in 203 regular-season games with Regina. This season, he had two goals and five assists in 11 games. . . . Shantz, from Sucker Creek, Alta., was a third-round pick by the Cougars in the 2020 WHL draft. A WHL freshman, he is pointless in four games this season. . . . Regina now is carrying three 20-year-olds — F Jakob Brook, D Luke Bateman and D Tanner Brown. . . .

The Kam River Fighting Walleye of the Superior International Junior Hockey League fired head coach Matt Valley on Friday. The Walleye, which plays out of the municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, Ont., was 49-12-2-1 in Valley’s two and a half seasons behind the bench, and he was the SIJHL’s coach of the year for 2021-22. . . . “It was a tough decision for our organization,” general manager Kevin McCallum said, “but we believed we had to make a decision on bringing in a full-time coach.” . . . McCallum and Vern Ray, the hockey operations advisor, will handle the coaching duties while a search for a replacement continues.

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Or, for more information, visit right here.



Hurricanes bring back coaching staff . . . Wheat Kings sign import goalie . . . Porter moves to Oil Kings


F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) after a successful tryout. Last season, he had two goals and three assists in 40 games with Dinamo Riga and was pointless in three games with Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). He signed a tryout contract with Dinamo on July 3. . . . Dinamo has played six exhibition games so far and has four more scheduled before opening the regular season on Sept. 2. . . .

D Aaron Irving (Edmonton, Everett, 2012-17) signed a one-year contract with Storhamar (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, he had 15 goals and 33 assists in 60 games with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL), and was pointless in one game while on loan to the Utica Comets (AHL). . . . He was named to the ECHL’s all-rookie team. . . .

F Todd Fiddler (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Spokane, Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with Boro/Vetlanda Landsbro (Sweden, Division 2). Last season, he had 14 goals and 13 assists in 17 games with the Stony Plain Eagles (Allen Cup West). . . .

F Jan Bittner (Red Deer, 2012-13) signed a one-year contract with Osby (Sweden, Division 3). Last season, with Morzine-Avoriaz (France, Division 3), he had 11 goals and 38 assists in 15 games. He was second on his team in assists, and third in the league. . . .

G Kevin Nastiuk (Medicine Hat, 2001-05) was released by the Coventry Blaze (England, UK Elite) due to “an ongoing medical issue.” He had signed a one-year extension with Coventry in May. Last season, he was 3.12 and .900 in 56 games. Nastiuk was named Coventry’s Best Defensive Player, the Players’ Player of the Season, and the Coaches’ Player of the Season. . . .

D Paul Postma (Swift Current, Calgary, 2004-09) signed a one-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one assist in 14 games with the Boston Bruins (NHL), and one goal and eight assists in 13 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL). . . .

F Lance Bouma (Vancouver, 2005-10) signed a one-year plus option contract with Genève-Servette (Switzerland, NL A). Last season, he had three goals and six assists in 53 games with the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), and seven goals and seven assists in 20 games with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL). . . .

F Tyler Mosienko (Kelowna, 2000-05) signed a one-year contract with Saale Bulls Halle (Germany, Oberliga). Last season, with Épinal (France, Ligue Magnus), he had four goals and 17 assists in 36 games. He was the team captain. . . . Épinal’s Ligue Magnus team was liquidated in bankruptcy proceedings in April and lost its place in Ligue Magnus. A new senior club was formed as part of the minor hockey association in Épinal and will play in Division 3 this season.


Dorothy and I are just back after spending a couple of days in Jasper . . . that would be in Alberta, not Alabama.

No, we weren’t able to get away from the smoke.

This was Tuesday afternoon . . . somewhere behind the smoke sits Mount Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies.

Still, the smoky conditions didn’t seem to keep anyone away because the highways, streets, sidewalks, shops and restaurants all were packed.

A few years ago, we would do a two-hour hike in an area called The Valley of the Five Lakes just south of Jasper. Back then, there might have been three or four vehicles in the parking lot. When we drove past on Wednesday, there had to have been 100 vehicles there. It’s safe to say that Jasper no longer is a hidden gem.

While watching people from around the globe walking the streets, and listening to the various languages being spoken, I found myself wondering how much money a lot of these tourists had spent on what may well have been their Rocky Mountain adventure of a lifetime.

Except that the mountains were awfully hard to see through the smoke.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed head coach Brent Kisio and assistant coach Jeff Hansen to contract extensions, the lengths of which haven’t been disclosed. . . . Kisio, 35, Lethbridgeis about to begin his fourth season as the club’s head coach. He will miss part of this season while working as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria. . . . Hansen, 36, is returning for a second season after working for four years as the video coach with Kisio’s former team, the Calgary Hitmen. He will be the video coach with Canada at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in November. . . . The Hurricanes also announced that Josh McNiven will be back for a fourth season as an assistant coach, with Andrew Doty, the assistant to the general manager and video coach, returning for a fifth season. He worked with Team Canada as it won gold at the recently completed Hlinka Gretzky Cup event . . . . The Hurricanes also have hired Matt Anholt, 24, as skills and development coach. The son of Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt, Matt played four seasons with the U of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. He was the team captain the past two seasons. . . .

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have added Garry Carson to their scouting staff. A veteran scout, he most recently worked with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He also is the director of scouting and player development for the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers.

The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed Czech G Jiri Patera, who was selected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. Patera, 19, played last season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids BrandonWKregularRoughriders, going 3.24, .901 in 34 games. . . . He was a sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, is the Golden Knights’ assistant general manager. . . . The Wheat Kings finished last season with two goaltenders — Dylan Myskiw and Ethan Kruger — on their roster who are eligible to return. Myskiw, 19, is from Winnipeg, while Kruger, who turns 17 on Sept. 27, is from Sherwood Park. Myskiw was 11-5-2, 3.41, .887 in 22 appearances while backing up Logan Thompson, who played out his junior eligibility. Kruger played last season with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. . . . Patera is the first European goaltender to have been drafted by the Wheat Kings. . . . Brandon also holds the WHL rights to Swedish D Erik Brannstrom, who was taken by Vegas with the 15th overall selection in the NHL’s 2017 draft, and Czech F Martin Kaut, who was a first-round pick by the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL’s 2018 draft. The Wheat Kings selected Brannstrom in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. He will turn 19 on Sept. 2 and is eligible to play with the Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. . . . Brandon picked Kaut, who turns 19 on Oct. 2, in 2017. He played professionally at home last season, and is eligible to play this season in the AHL, where the Colorado Eagles are affiliated with the Avalanche.

The Wheat Kings have signed Roman (RJ) Kaszczij as their athletic therapist. He spent the past two seasons with the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, who won the league title in 2017-18. . . . With the Wheat Kings, he takes over from Chris Trivieri, who spent two seasons with Brandon. . . .

The Wheat Kings also announced that they have signed a three-year deal with Q Country 91.5FM that will run through the 2020-21 season. Brandon Crowe will be back for a third season as the team’s play-by-play voice. . . . The Wheat Kings also revealedthat they have sold 2,036 season tickets. Last season, according to a news release, they sold “close to 2,600 season tickets.”

The Edmonton Oil Kings have hired Jamie Porter as their new director of scouting. EdmontonOilKingsPorter, who is from Edmonton, had been with the Swift Current Broncos for 14 seasons, most recently as assistant general manager and director of player personnel. Porter also worked for the Broncos as an area scout, the head scout and the director of scouting and player personnel. . . . He left the organization after Dean Brockman was named director of hockey operations and head coach. . . . In Edmonton, Porter will be working with Kirt Hill, the Oil Kings’ first-year president of hockey operations and director of scouting.

If you’re a regular here, this is part of what you read on July 7:

“The buzz is that veteran scout Daryl Anning will be leaving the Broncos for the Vancouver Giants and what one source told me would be ‘an increased role.’ Anning is the father of David Anning, the head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings.”

On Tuesday, the Giants announced that they have hired Daryl Anning, who is from VancouverWinnipeg, as their scouting director. A retired police officer, Anning spent 20 seasons with the Swift Current Broncos before leaving, along with all of the other scouts, when the front office underwent a massive overhaul. As a travelling scout, you can bet Anning played a major role in the Bronco’s 2018 WHL championship.

The Giants also added Jason Smart of Kelowna, Dale Britton of Red Deer and John Verrall of Saskatoon to their scouting staff. . . . Smart is a former WHL player (Prince Albert, Saskatoon, 1986-90). An RCMP officer, his son Jonathan is a defenceman with the Kootenay Ice. Jason also has scouted for the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Britton, who will work the Central Alberta region, spent the previous seven seasons scouting for the Moose Jaw Warriors. He also worked for the Prince Albert Raiders for four seasons. . . . Verrall will work as a player development analyst. He is a retired physician with, according to a news release, “experience in video analytics and scouting at multiple levels, including the NHL, AHL and CHL.” His son, Ben, plays at York University.

The Kootenay Ice has acquired F Jaeger White, 20, from Medicine Hat for what a Tigers’ news release says is a “conditional draft pick.” . . . White also has played for the KootenaynewLethbridge Hurricanes, Everett Silvertips and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Last season, the Medicine Hat native had 10 goals and 24 assists in 68 games with the Tigers. In 152 regular-season WHL games, he has 15 goals and 39 assists. . . . He was a fourth-round selection by the Hurricanes in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . White is a stepson to Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach. . . .

The Ice now appears to have five 20-year-olds on its roster, including F Gunnar Wegleitner, who was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings on July 20, White, G Matt Berlin, D Martin Bodak and D Dallas Hines. As an import, Bodak would be a two-spotter, but I’m not sure that he has committed to return to the Ice. . . .

Having dealt White, the Tigers are left with six 20s on their roster, although two of those players — F Mason Shaw and D David Quenneville — have signed pro contracts. The other four 20s on the Tigers’ roster are D Dalton Gally, F Ryan Jevne, D Dylan MacPherson and D Linus Nassen, who would be a two-spotter should he return.

The Everett Silvertips have added James Jensen to their staff as goaltending coach. . . . Jensen takes over from Shane Clifford, who now is the goaltending coach with the OHL’s EverettErie Otters. . . . In Everett, Jensen will work with head coach Dennis Williams, who is into his second season, and first-year assistants Harry Mahood and Louis Mass. . . . According to a Silvertips news release, Jensen has more than “20 years as a professional goaltending coach” and has worked in private training with goaltenders “currently playing at the NHL, minor professional, WHL and youth levels.” . . . Jensen is on staff at NET360, an annual goaltending camp in West Kelowna, B.C.

Meanwhile, the Silvertips have signed D Ty Gibson to a WHL contract. Gibson, from Victoria, was a third-round selection by Everett in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He is the first pick from that class to have signed with the Silvertips. . . . Last season, he stayed at home and played for the Pacific Coast Academy’s bantam prep team, putting up eight goals and 16 assists in 30 games. He also had one assist in four games with the Elite 15 team.

TJ Millar, who spent one season (2015-16) as the Tri-City Americans’ video coach, has joined the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs as an assistant coach. Millar, a 24-year-old from Calgary, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, who won the league title last season. He has a Sports Management Degree from the Sports Institute of Finland.

The junior B Creston Valley ThunderCats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have added Carter Duffin as an assistant coach. . . . Duffin, from Red Deer, was an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins for the past two seasons. He also coached minor hockey in Red Deer for six seasons. . . . Duffin fills the spot created when assistant coach Jeff Wagner left to take over as general manager and head coach of the KIJHL’s Fernie Ghostriders.


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