Bedard tour sure to sell out B.C. arenas . . . Wheat Kings make coaching change . . . Oil Kings still wheeling, dealing

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour will wrap up with Reginaa game against the Prince George Cougars on Friday night.

Taking Note was told that as of late Monday afternoon there were fewer than 100 tickets remaining for the game that will be played in the 5,971-seat CN Centre. Through 12 home games, the Cougars’ average announced attendance is 2,551.

A sellout in Prince George will mean that Bedard and his Regina Pats will have sold out all five games on their B.C. Division swing.

The trip opened Friday in Langley, B.C., with a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. The announced attendance was 5,276, the largest crowd for a Giants’ home game since they left the Pacific Coliseum for the Langley Events Centre prior to the 2016-17 season. Going into Friday night, the Giants’ average announced attendance through nine home games had been 3,017.

One night later, Bedard and his travelling show went into Victoria and dumped the Royals, 9-5, before an announced crowd of 7,006. That was the largest crowd in Victoria since Feb. 22, 2020, when 7,006 fans watched the Royals beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-3 in OT. . . . The Royals had been averaging an announced attendance of 2,956 through 11 home games prior to Saturday’s game.

The Pats are to meet the Rockets in Kelowna tonight in 6,886-seat Prospera Place. Through 11 home games, the Rockets’ average announced attendance has been 4,021.

On Wednesday, Bedard and his mates will face the Blazers in Kamloops’ 5,464-seat Sandman Centre. Through 10 home games, the Blazers, the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup, have average an announced attendance of 4,650 fans.

If the five B.C. Division teams aren’t prepared to offer up a cut of their gate receipts to Bedard, they should at least present him with keys to their arenas. Or coupons good for free meals whenever he should happen to visit their cities. He should never have to pay for a meal again in any of those communities.

That’s the least they could do to show their appreciation.

Right?

BTW, Bedard has three goals and two assists through the first two games of his trek through B.C. However, he has been overshadowed somewhat by F Tanner Howe, who turned 17 — yes, 17!!! — on Monday. Howe scored five times and added two assists in those two games, and was named the WHL’s player of the week on Monday.


The Brandon Wheat Kings became the first of the WHL’s 22 teams to make a coaching change this season when they fired head coach Don MacGillivray on BrandonMonday morning. . . . Marty Murray, who is in his first season as the team’s general manager, has taken over behind the bench. . . . This is the first firing in Brandon since Kelly McCrimmon announced on Sept. 8, 2020, that he had sold the franchise to the J&G Group of Companies, under Jared Jacobson. . . .

MacGillivray, 57, had been with the Wheat Kings since signing on as an assistant coach prior to the 2016-17 season. . . . He was working on a contract that is to run through 2023-24. . . . This season, the Wheat Kings are last in the six-team East Division, at 8-15-2, after being swept in a weekend doubleheader by the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes — 4-3 on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday. . . .

Since taking over as head coach on Nov. 24, 2020, prior to the pandemic-forced developmental season, MacGillivray had a 61-47-9 record. He replaced Dave Lowry, who left for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. . . . Before joining the Wheat Kings, MacGillivray spent five seasons as the GM/head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. . . . He also worked as the head coach of the MJHL’s St. James Canadians (1989-91), Southeast Blades (1992-93), and Neepawa Natives (1993-96); the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders (1996-98), the MJHL’s Portage Terriers (1998-2006) and the U of Manitoba Bisons (2006-09). . . .

Murray played four seasons (1991-95) with the Wheat Kings, putting up 392 points, including 260 assists, in 264 games. His time there included 114- and 128-point seasons. He has head-coaching experience from his time in the NAHL and USHL. He was the GM/head coach of the NAHL’s Minot Minotauros from 2011-20 and then spent two seasons with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. . . .

Mark Derlago and Del Pedrick, the Wheat Kings’ assistant coaches, remain on the coaching staff. . . .

The Wheat Kings, who have lost two in a row and are 2-7-1 in their past 10 outings, will be at home to the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday and the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday.


Umbrella


THE TRADING PLACE:

At 2:30 p.m. PT, Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) tweeted: “Will the last member of the 2021-22 Oil Kings to leave please turn out the lights? 18 players got a Edmontonpoint for the Oil Kings in the 2022 playoffs. Only 3 of them are still on the team today after the Golder trade. (Dowhaniuk, Wiebe, Seitz).”

At 3:10 p.m. PT, he followed up with: “This tweet was accurate for 37 minutes. Wiebe is gone now.”

Yes, the Edmonton Oil Kings, the WHL’s defending champions, made two more trades on Monday afternoon.

They started by sending F Carson Golder, a 20-year-old who also can play on Kelownathe back end, and a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft to the Kelowna Rockets for F Riley Kovacevic, 18.

It wasn’t long after that when Edmonton dealt F Jaxsen Wiebe, 20, and a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2026 WHL draft to the Prince George Cougars for F Noah Boyko, 20, a third-round pick in the 2023 draft and a conditional third-rounder in the 2026 draft.

This season, Golder, who is from Smithers, B.C., has eight goals and seven assists in 24 games. Last season, he scored three goals and added nine assists in 46 regular-season games, then scored three times and set up five others in 16 playoff games in helping the Oil Kings win the WHL championship. . . . Kovacevic, from Kelowna, has five goals and four assists in 20 games this season. Last season, he recorded three goals and four assists in 49 games. The Rockets selected him in the 10th round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. . . .

Meanwhile, the Cougars traded Boyko, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft on May 19. From Fort PrinceGeorgeSaskatchewan, Alta., Boyko had five goals and five assists in 23 games with the Cougars. He was a first-round selection by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2017 bantam draft. In 198 career regular-season games, he has 94 points, including 48 goals. . . . Wiebe, from Moose Jaw, has three goals and one assist in six games with Edmonton this season. He is six games into a seven-game suspension that was handed down after he, a repeat offender, took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in Saskatoon on Nov. 12. Earlier, he sat out four games after being suspended following a knee-on-knee hit on Saskatoon F Josh Pillar. . . . In 130 regular-season games, the first 73 with the Red Deer Rebels, Wiebe has 60 points, 22 of them goals. Last season, he finished with 10 goals and 26 assists in 41 games, then added two goals and six assists in 13 playoff games. He also had three goals and one assist in three games at the Memorial Cup. . . . Obviously, he brings more edge to the game than does Boyko, and that would seem to be what the Cougars want. . . .

After all this, the Oil Kings are left with two 20-year-olds — Boyko and D Logan Dowhaniuk. Their roster also includes only one 19-year-old — D Ethan Peters. . . . The Rockets now have three 20-year-olds on their roster, with Golder joining F Adam Kydd and G Talyn Boyko. . . . And the Cougars also have three — Wiebe, F Cole Dubinsky, who was acquired from the Regina Pats on Nov. 4, and F Chase Wheatcroft, who came over in a June 10 deal with the Winnipeg Ice.

——

On Monday night, the Victoria Royals announced that they had acquired G VictoriaRoyalsNicholas Cristiano, 18, from the Kelowna Rockets for a fifth-round selection in the 2023 WHL draft. . . . With veteran G Tyler Palmer, 19, not having played since Nov. 12, the Royals needed a goaltender to pair with Logan Cunningham, 17. . . . Cristiano, from Langley, B.C., started this season with the Rockets — he was 0-1-0, 2.61, .879 — before being released and joining the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. In three games with the Warriors, he was 1-2-0, 4.42, .867. . . . According to Dan Price, the Royals’ general manager and head coach, Palmer is “on personal leave and with his family.” . . . Palmer, who is 3-10-3, 4.22, .876 this season, is from Fernie, B.C. . . . The Royals (3-17-3) are scheduled to entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors (15-9-0) tonight.

——

Since Oct. 25, the WHL has featured 16 trades involving 27 players, 33 draft picks and six conditional picks.


Gate


With the Edmonton Oil Kings in rebuilding mode just months after winning the WHL championship, Guy Flaming (@TPS_Guy) tweeted the records last week of the four teams who appeared in the 2022 Memorial Cup tournament that was won by the host Saint John Sea Dogs. I have updated their records going into tonight’s games:

Edmonton, 4-20-1, last in six-team division.

Hamilton Bulldogs, 9-10-1, fourth in five-team division.

Shawinigan Cataractes, 11-12-2, last in four-team division.

Saint John Sea Dogs, 6-15-1, last in six-team division.


Ticket packages for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament that is scheduled to be held in Kamloops are to go on sale Thursday through Ticketmaster. . . . According to a news release, one tournament package covering eight games plus a possible tiebreaker will set you back “$600 plus GST and applicable fees.” . . . The tournament is to run from May 26 through June 4. . . . There is more info, along with a tournament schedule, right here.


I have referred to Andrei Lupandin and his family a couple of times over the past few days. You will recall that Lupandin, who spent four seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings, his wife and their two sons have left Ukraine and now are in Saskatoon hoping to get a fresh start. . . . Jim Matheson of Postmedia takes a really good look right here at Lupandin and the situation in which he and his family find themselves.


Pets


A couple of tweets about a former WHL player from The MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport):

“Antti Boman (Kamloops, 1991-1992) refereed his 800th Liiga (Finland) game on Friday evening. He is the third referee in Liiga history to reach the 800-game mark and is first among active referees. Timo Favorin is the leader with 1,000 games and Jari Levonen is second at 979.

Boman is in his 15th season as a referee in Liiga, Finland’s top pro league. He ended his playing career in 2004-05 with Frisk Asker (Norway, GET-Ligaen). He also played in Germany, France, Sweden, and Scotland, in addition to Finland and the WHL.”

Boman played one game with the Kamloops Blazers in 1991-92. He didn’t record a point.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Pizza

Might Russia-Ukraine situation impact international hockey? . . . Another milestone for Habscheid . . . Royals solve Giants again

In light of developments involving Russia and Ukraine, there is a move afoot, started by the British government, to move soccer’s Champions League final out of St. Petersburg. The game is scheduled to be played on May 28 at Gazprom Arena. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant, has sponsored the Champions League for 10 years.

UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, apparently is re-evaluating the situation.

You have to wonder, too, if the Russia-Ukraine situation might have repercussions in the world of hockey. Gord Miller of TSN, who is more than a little familiar with the world of international hockey, posted a series of tweets on this subject on Monday. Here’s a few of them . . .

“Start with the KHL, where the playoffs are set to start next Monday.  One of the top KHL teams is Jokerit, located in Helsinki, but the team and arena are Russian owned. Jokerit is scheduled to play Spartak Moscow, would the Finnish government bar travel to and from Russia?

(Note: It’s worth noting that Chelsea, one of the soccer teams still alive in the Champions League’s round of 16, is owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.)

“Then there’s the Men’s World Championship set for Finland in May. If the Russians invade Ukraine, would the IIHF bar them from competing? That seems unlikely, but it did strip Belarus of it’s co-hosting of the 2021 WC. And again, would the Finnish government step in?

“This summer, the U.S. will host the Women’s U18 tournament, Canada will host the Hlinka/Gretzky U18 tournament and the World Juniors in August. Since severe travel restrictions to and from Russia are among the sanctions being discussed, would their teams be allowed to play?

“Further out, Russia is scheduled to host the 2023 World Junior Championship in December and the Men’s Worlds in May of 2023. New arenas have been built in Novosibirsk and St. Petersburg to host the two events, which stand to be very lucrative and high-profile for Russia.

“Again, even if the IIHF doesn’t take steps in the event of a Russian invasion, would a boycott of those two events by the other competing nations be possible? It might not even be in the hands of the hockey federations, national governments could make that call.”

Who knows what the future holds, but all of this definitely is food for thought and it all will be worth watching as it plays out.


Cookies


When the Prince Albert Raiders skated out of Medicine Hat with a 4-1 victory PrinceAlbertover the Tigers on Monday afternoon, it marked another milestone for veteran head coach Marc Habscheid.

Unofficially, this was the 572nd regular-season victory of Habscheid’s WHL head-coaching career. (It’s all unofficially because the WHL hasn’t made available a Guide and Record Book since early in the 2019-20 season.)

By my count — and I’m the first to admit that I’ve been wrong before — Habscheid now is tied with Mike Williamson for fifth spot on the all-time list. Habscheid, who will turn 59 on March 1, worked as the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royals before taking over the Raiders during the 2015-16 season.

The Raiders are next scheduled to play tonight (Wednesday) against the host Calgary Hitmen. (Habscheid earned his 500th victory on Feb. 9, 2019, in Lethbridge, and celebrated on the way out of town by having the bus stop at a Dairy Queen. He had a large chocolate sundae and treated everyone else. “The boys got whatever they wanted,” he said at the time. “Best $180 I ever spent.” Might there be another DQ stop in the Raiders’ future?)

Williamson had stints as the head coach with the Winterhawks, Hitmen and Tri-City Americans. BTW, a hearty Happy Birthday to Williamson, who turned 50 on Tuesday (Feb. 22).

Here’s the WHL’s top 10 winningest regular-season coaches: Don Hay, 750; Ken Hodge, 742; Don Nachbaur, 692; Lorne Molleken, 626; Williamson and Habscheid, each 572; Ernie McLean, 548; Brent Sutter, 526; Pat Ginnell 518; and Shaun Clouston, 485.


Selfie


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The WHL has suspended F Matthew Rempe of the Seattle Thunderbirds for two games after he was hit with a kneeing major and game misconduct during a game against the host Portland Winterhawks on Saturday night. Rempe was tossed at 1:55 of the first period for a hit on Portland F Jack O’Brien. Although O’Brien looked to have suffered an injury to his left leg at the time, he was back in the lineup the next night and had two goals and an assist in a 9-1 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Although things have been quiet of late in terms of COVID-19, don’t think for a moment that it has gone away. The QMJHL has postponed two games involving the Cape Breton Eagles because of what are reported to be several positive tests among players. The games, both against the visiting Charlottetown Islanders, were to have been played on Feb. 25 and 26. The Eagles haven’t played at home since Dec. 15. . . . The WHL’s Victoria Royals (14-30-5), who recently snapped a 17-game losing streak, are tied for eighth in the Western Conference. They have 19 games remaining, with seven of those against the sixth-place Prince George Cougars (19-27-3). The Vancouver Giants (19-25-2) are between those two, one point behind the Cougars and seven ahead of the Royals and Tri-City Americans (14-29-5). . . . Meanwhile, the Kamloops Blazers (35-13-2) are second in the conference while leading the B.C. Division. The Kelowna Rockets (29-12-4) are fifth in the conference and second in the division, 10 points behind Kamloops. They will play in Kelowna on Friday and in Kamloops on Saturday. Later, from March 11-26, they will play each other six times. That’ll be six straight games for Kamloops, while Kelowna will squeeze in a doubleheader in Victoria during that stretch. . . . The Rockets will come out of the games with Kamloops to play four in a row against Prince George.

——

MONDAY IN THE WHL: F Reece Vitelli scored twice, giving him 18, as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-1. Raiders D Trevor Thurston likely should expect a call from the WHL office, if he hasn’t had one already, after picking up two major penalties on the same play with 30 seconds left in the third period. He took a charging major for a hit on F Brayden Boehm. Yes there was a scrum, during which Thurston picked up a cross-checking major. . . . F Karson King (4) and F Josh Davies (15) each scored twice as the Swift Current Broncos beat the Pats, 4-3, in Regina. Davies broke a 3-3 tie at 7:59 of the third period. F Connor Bedard (31) and F Tanner Howe (19) each had a goal and an assist for Regina. . . .

The host Edmonton Oil Kings erased a 2-0 deficit with five straight goals en route to a 6-3 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. F Justin Sourdif (15) and F Josh Williams (25) had two goals each for Edmonton. Sourdif’s second goal, which gave Edmonton a 5-2 lead, was the first shorthanded score surrendered by the Ice this season. F Jake Neighbours of the Oil Kings had an empty-net goal as he ran his point streak to 14 games, the WHL’s longest active streak. . . . G Tyler Palmer blocked 35 shots to lead the Victoria Royals to a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. An 18-year-old freshman from Fernie, B.C., Palmer, who is 5-0-0, 1.36, .961 against Vancouver, has two shutouts this season, both against the Giants. The Royals (14-30-5) have won eight of 10 meetings with the Giants (19-25-2) this season. They’ll go home-and-home this weekend to wrap up their season series. . . .

In Kelowna, F Turner McMillen scored twice, giving him nine goals as the Rockets dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-3. Tri-City G Tomas Suchanek turned aside 51 shots . . . F Logan Stankoven had his points streak stopped at 19 games but did score in the shootout as the Kamloops Blazers clinched a playoff spot by beating the visiting Everett Silvertips, 4-3. Stankoven had 39 points, including 17 goals, in the WHL’s longest points streak to date this season. Kamloops F Daylan Kuefler (25) forced OT at 19:17 of the third period with his second goal of the game. Stankoven and F Luke Toporowski scored for Kamloops in the shootout, while F Jackson Berezowski counted for Everett.


If you didn’t happen to watch the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks playing on Monday night, there was a bizarre few moments when six players scrapped for a puck that wasn’t in the corner where they thought it was. Take a look . . .


NFT


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


ChipsTV

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