F Geordie Wudrick (Swift Current, Kelowna, 2005-11) has signed a one-season contract with the Sydney Ice Dogs (Australia, AIHL). This season, he played for the Berlin Blues (Germany, Regionalliga Ost). In eight games, he had a team-high 12 goals, along with seven assists. The AIHL regular season starts on April 21. . . . Wudrick holds the single-season points record in AIHL with 91 and the single-season goal record (44) in 28 games. He set those in 2015 with the Newcastle North Stars. Wudrick played the last two AIHL seasons with CBR Brave Canberra.
A LITTLE OF THIS . . .
The Victoria Royals had their Organ Donor Awareness Night on Friday when they entertained the Prince George Cougars.
You can bet it was a special night for the Soy family.
Tyler, of course, is 20 and in his final season with the Royals. His mother, Sandy, had a kidney transplant in November 2010 after suffering complete kidney failure due to complications from lupus in 2004. She spent six years doing peritoneal dialysis, hooking up to a machine called a cycler every night and using it to do a fluid exchange to get the toxins out of her body.
When you do PD, you get a truckload of supplies every four weeks, all of which must be stored in your home.
Five years ago, Sandy’s husband, Michael, told me: “We became used to the routine . . . Tyler had to grow up very fast . . . as he carried boxes, re-filled supplies and watched every night as his mom connected to a machine that kept her alive . . .“
In the end, Sandy received a kidney through what was then the Living Donor Paired Exchange registry — it now is the Kidney Paired Donation program. In that process, Michael donated a kidney to an anonymous recipient, with Sandy getting a kidney from an anonymous donor.
“It showed me how strong they are,” Tyler told me of his parents after a game in Kamloops in January 2013. “For my dad to give up one of his kidneys so my mom could get one is really special.”
You likely are aware that my wife, Dorothy, underwent a kidney transplant, too. That was on Sept. 23, 2013. It came through the Living Donor Exchange registry, too, after she had spent four years on peritoneal dialysis.
In the middle of all this, we reached out to Sandy and she was a big help as we travelled down a similar road to the one with which she was so familiar.
Her day was made that much more special when Tyler scored the tying goal at 17:03 of the third period before the Royals won the game in overtime.
You can see more right here.
I hope that stories like this will help you understand why the involvement of the WHL and its 17 Canadian teams — along with RE/MAX — in this Organ Donor Awareness promotion is so important to so many people.
Look, I love to read. I always seem to have four or five books on the go, and often think there aren’t enough hours in the day to allow me to read as much as I would like to do. Yes, the need for sleep often gets in the way, too. . . . I’m also a baseball fan, and happen to think that Ichiro Suzuki is one of the most-intriguing personalities to have appeared in MLB over the past few years. . . . On Saturday, thanks to Twitter, I came upon a simply brilliant essay on Ichiro, who “is haunted by the life he can’t escape.” It was written by Wright Thompson and it’s right here. My, but this is so good!
Once you have read the piece on Ichiro, pour another cup of Sunday morning coffee and dig into this essay right here. Written by Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail, it is headlined ‘When NHL rinks outlast their usefulness’, and deals with the situations surrounding the NHL’s Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators and their home arenas.
Allistair Chapman, 25, is “a Calgary man accused of running a prolific multimillion-dollar, city-based international drug cartel — one investigators believe linked to both Mexican narcotics rings and a brazen 2017 double homicide,” reports Bryan Passifiume of Postmedia. . . . Chapman also is a former junior hockey player who was selected by the Swift Current Broncos in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2007 bantam draft. He never played in the WHL, topping out with a couple of stints in the AJHL. . . . Passifiume’s complete story is right here.
IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …
Prince Albert at Moose Jaw
Brandon at Medicine Hat
Regina at Swift Current
Red Deer at Lethbridge
Seattle at Everett
Tri-City at Kelowna
Spokane at Portland
Vancouver at Victoria
At Moose Jaw, F Branden Klatt scored twice to help the Warriors to a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw (50-15-3) leads the overall standings by three points over the Broncos. . . . Swift Current (47-16-6) has lost two in a row and has three games remaining. . . . The Warriors went 4-2-2 in the season series; the Broncos were 4-4-0. . . . The Warriors have won 50 games for the first time in franchise history. The previous record of 45 victories was set in 2011-12, when they finished atop the East Division and then bowed out in the conference final. . . . Klatt, who is from Moose Jaw, went into the game with 11 goals in 179 regular-season WHL games. This season, he now has five goals and eight assists in 65 games. . . . Klatt opened the scoring at 5:00 of the first period and F Jayden Halbgewachs made it 2-0, on a PP, at 16:20. He has a WHL-high 67 goals. . . . F Justin Almeida (41), who also had two assists, gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead at 7:36 of the second period. . . . F Kaden Elder (16) got Swift Current’s first goal at 2:02 of the third period. . . . Klatt got that one back at 11:03. . . . The Broncos’ second goal came from F Beck Malenstyn (16), on a PP, at 17:53. . . . F Tristin Langan had two assists for the Warriors. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi had two assists for the Broncos. . . . Swift Current was 1-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-8. . . . The Warriors got 21 saves from G Brody Willms. . . . G Stuart Skinner started for the Broncos and was beaten three times on 21 shots in 27:36. Joel Hofer finished up by stopping 17 of 18 shots in 31:00. . . . The Warriors took 57 of the game’s 107 penalty minutes. . . . Moose Jaw F Barrett Sheen was tossed with a charging major and game misconduct at 4:59 of the third period. . . . The Broncos lost F Giorgio Estephan for a few shifts after he was struck in the ice by an errant puck in the first period. . . . Also in that first period, the Warriors lost D Brandon Schuldaus and D Dmitri Zaitsev to undisclosed injuries. . . . The Warriors were without F Brayden Burke for a third straight game. . . . Swift Current F Glenn Gawdin, the WHL’s leading scorer, is ill and missed his second game in as many nights, as did freshman D Jacson Alexander. . . . Gawdin has 124 points, two more than Halbgewachs and seven more than Heponiemi. Burke is fourth, with 113. . . . Announced attendance: 4,765.
At Prince Albert, D Brayden Pachal scored in OT to give the Raiders their ninth straight victory, this one 4-3 over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Prince Albert (32-25-11) holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, seven points ahead of Saskatoon, which has four games remaining. . . . Calgary (21-36-11) is 1-0-1 in its past two games. It had won 5-4 in OT in Saskatoon on Friday night. . . . The Hitmen took a 1-0 lead at 13:46 of the first period as F Mark Kastelic scored. . . . The Raiders tied it at 1:27 of the second period as F Jordy Stallard scored No. 43. . . . F Carson Focht (13) gave the Hitmen a 2-1 lead at 16:13. . . . The Raiders went out front 3-2 on third-period goals from D Vojtech Budik (14), on a PP, at 5:51, and F Cutis Miske (26), at 6:38. Miske also had two assists. . . . Kastelic forced OT with his 20th goal, on a PP, at 9:02. . . . Pachal won it at 4:09 of OT when he scored his seventh goal of the season. . . . Stallard also had two assists, as he finished the night with 201 regular-season points in 234 games. This season, he has 43 goals and 46 assists in 68 games. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from F Tristen Nielsen. . . . Each team was 1-3 on the PP. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 20 saves. . . . Calgary G Matthew Armitage was busier, with 40 saves. The Raiders held a 26-2 edge in shots in the third period. . . . Prince Albert’s franchise record for longest winning streak is 15 games, from 1985-86. . . . Announced attendance: 2,326.
At Saskatoon, the Brandon Wheat Kings clinched a playoff spot with a 4-2 victory over the Blades. . . . Brandon (37-26-5) has won three in a row. It is fourth in the East Division, three points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings also hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . Brandon will play its first-round home games in Dauphin, Man., because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair will be in Westoba Place at the same time. . . . Saskatoon (32-32-4) is seven points from a playoff spot with four games to play. . . . Brandon leads the season series, 5-2-0; the Blades are 2-5-0. . . . Last night, the Wheat Kings got the game’s first two goals, from F Stelio Mattheos (41), at 19:13 of the first period and F Linden McCorrister (18), at 9:38 of the second. . . . F Michael Farren (10) got the Blades to within a goal at 12:58. . . . Brandon F Luka Burzan (13) restored the two-goal lead at 15:27. . . . F Josh Paterson’s 31st goal, on a PP, left Saskatoon trailing by one at 6:47 of the third period. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (18) got the empty-netter for Brandon at 19:42. . . . McCorrister and Reinhardt each had an assist. . . . Saskatoon was 1-5 on the PP; Brandon was 0-4. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 29 shots for the Wheat Kings. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 12 shots for the Blades in his ninth straight start. . . . G Logan Thompson was among Brandon’s scratches. He left Friday’s 6-3 victory over visiting Swift Current after two periods because of an apparent leg injury. . . . The Wheat Kings had Ethan Kruger, 16, backing up Myskiw. He was a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Kruger, from Sherwood Park, Alta., played this season with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. . . . Announced attendance: 5,826.
At Lethbridge, the Regina Pats opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-3 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Regina (38-25-6) has won five in a row. It is third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon. . . . Lethbridge (32-30-6) has lost five straight. It is second in the Central Division, eight points behind Medicine Hat and five ahead of Red Deer. . . . F Koby Morrisseau (6) opened the scoring at 3:29 of the first period, with F Jesse Gabrielle (13) making it 2-0, on a PP, at 8:48. . . . F Nick Henry (13) scored at 1:20 of the second, and F Robbie Holmes (16) made it 4-0 at 9:55. . . . The Hurricanes got to within a goal as F Brad Morrison scored at 14:35 of the second; D Calen Addison (10) counted two minutes later; and Morrison added another, his 27th, at 17:18 of the third. . . . Regina F Sam Steel (31) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:04. . . . Gabrielle added two assists to his goal. . . . D Igor Merezhko had two assists for Lethbridge. . . . Regina was 1-2 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . There weren’t any penalties issued after the first period. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 27 shots for Regina. . . . Lethbridge got 38 stops from G Reece Klassen. . . . Regina went 7-1-0 on an eight-game road trip. The Pats were away from home because the Tim Hortons Brier (the Canadian men’s curling championship) is being contested in the Brandt Centre. . . . Announced attendance: 4,234.
At Red Deer, F Brandon Hagel scored three times to lead the Rebels to a 5-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Red Deer (26-30-13) clinched a playoff spot in the Central Division, meaning the idle Kootenay Ice (25-38-5) was eliminated. . . . “You look back to Jan. 24, we were 12 points out of a playoff spot and to accomplish what we accomplished says a lot about the kids inside the room,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ general manager and head coach, told Greg Meachem of redddeerrebels.com. “It was about just staying with it and believing as a group that we can have some success if we play the game the right way.” . . . Medicine Hat (35-26-8) continues to lead the Central Division, by eight points over Lethbridge. . . . The Rebels, with three games left, are five points behind the Hurricanes. . . . Red Deer went 3-2-1 in the season series; Medicine Hat was 3-3-0. . . . D Kristians Rubins (7) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:37 of the first period. . . . Hagel tied it at 6:05. . . . The Tigers went ahead 2-1 at 3:42 of the second period on F Bryan Lockner’s 13th goal. . . . The Rebels scored the game’s last four goals, all in the third period. . . . F Kristian Reichel tied the score at 2:39, and Hagel gave his guys the lead, on a PP, at 15:50. . . . Reichel, who has 32 goals, scored on another PP, at 19:08, and Hagel who has 17 goals, completed his hat trick into an empty net, at 19:21. . . . F Mason McCarty had two assists for the Rebels, with Hagel adding one for a four-point night. . . . Red Deer was 2-3 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-4. . . . G Ethan Anders earned the victory with 34 saves, seven more than Medicine Hat’s Michael Bullion. . . . D Joel Craven, who returned to Medicine Hat’s lineup on Friday after being out since Jan. 27, was scratched from this one. . . . During the game the Rebels revealed that “we raised $22,000 in support of @kidneycanada organizations through tonight’s jersey auction.” . . . Announced attendance: 6,100. . . . Meachem’s story is right here.
At Portland, G Patrick Dea stopped 38 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 6-2 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Tri-City (34-24-9) has won two straight. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, six points behind Spokane. The Americans hold the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, three points ahead of Seattle with each team having five games remaining. . . . Portland (42-21-5) had points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, six points behind Everett. . . . Portland went 7-3-0 in the season series; Tri-City was 3-6-1. . . . Tri-City got out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Michael Rasmussen, on a PP, at 15:00, and D Juuso Valimaki (13), at 18:26. . . . Portland F Alex Overheard (15) but into the lead 27 seconds into the second period, but the Americans got the next three goals. . . . F Isaac Johnson got his 17th at 7:39. . . . Rasmussen (27) got another PP goal at 1:40 of the third period, and former Winterhawks F Brett Clayton (4) scored at 4:55. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (24) got Portland’s second goal at 10:27. . . . F Riley Sawchuk (13) scored Tri-City’s final goal at 17:17, into an empty net. . . . Tri-City got three assists from F Morgan Geekie and two each from F Sasha Mutala, for his first three-point game, and Valimaki. . . . Overhardt added an assist to his goal. . . . Tri-City was 2-3 on the PP; Portland was 0-2. . . . Dea got off to a great start with 18 saves in the first period. . . . Portland starter Shane Farkas surrendered five goals on 23 shots in 44:55. Cole Kehler came on to stop all five shots he faced in 14:35. . . . Prior to the game, the Winterhawks the 1998 Memorial Cup-winning team, and inducted D Andrew Ference, F Marian Hossa, F Brenden Morrow and F Todd Robinson into their Hall of Fame. . . . Announced attendance: 8,463.
At Kelowna, G James Porter stopped 18 shots to help the Rockets to a 4-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (40-22-7) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It leads the B.C. Division, by five points over Victoria. . . . Kamloops (29-35-5) has lost three in a row. It was eliminated from the playoff chase when it lost, 4-2, to the visiting Rockets on Friday. . . . The Rockets have won 40 games for a sixth straight season. . . . Kelowna went 8-0-0 in the season series; Kamloops was 0-7-1. . . . F Leif Mattson gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 13:28 of the first period. . . . D Gordie Ballhorn (5) upped that to 2-0 at 14:30. . . . Mattson’s 23rd goal, shorthanded, made it 3-0 at 9:46 of the third period, and F Dillon Dube (34) rounded out the scoring at 11:05. . . . Dube and Ballhorn also had an assist each. . . . Kelowna was 0-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-7. . . . Porter, a freshman from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, has three shutouts this season. . . . The Blazers got 27 saves from G Max Palaga. Kelowna F Liam Kindree wasn’t able to beat Palaga on a second-period penalty shot. . . . The Blazers scratched G Dylan Ferguson, who appeared to injury his right hip in a goal-mouth collision at 14:22 of the second period on Friday night. He stayed in and was able to finish the game, but there were times when he appeared to be favouring his right side. . . . Announced attendance: 5,607.
At Kent, Wash., F Bryce Kindopp scored twice to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (45-18-5) has won four in a row. It leads the Western Conference, by six points over Portland. . . . Seattle (32-26-10) had won its previous two games. It holds the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind Tri-City. . . . Everett went 6-2-2 in the season series; Seattle was 4-4-2. . . . Everett got first-period goals from F Matt Fonteyne (33), on a PP, at 3:41, and Kindopp, at 13:38, to go up 2-0. . . . F Nolan Volcan (31) scored for Seattle, on a PP, at 11:03 of the second period. . . . Kindopp (22) gave Everett a two-goal lead at 15:02 of the third period. . . . Seattle D Austin Strand (24) made it a one-goal game at 17:56. . . . F Donovan Neuls had two assists for Seattle. . . . Everett F Patrick Bajkov drew an assist on Fonteyne’s goal. Bajkov now has 93 points, tying him with F Zach Hamill (2006-07) and F Josh Winquist (2013-14) for the franchise’s single-season record. . . . Each team was 1-2 on the PP. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 33 shots for Everett. He is 28-4-4, 1.54, .950 this season. . . . Seattle G Liam Hughes turned aside 34 shots. . . . Everett D Ondrej Vala was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on Seattle F Zack Andrusiak at 19:29 of the second period. Andrusiak returned to the game in the third period. . . . Announced attendance: 6,039.
At Spokane, F Dawson Holt scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Vancouver Giants a 6-5 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Vancouver (35-24-9) is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . Spokane (39-23-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead at 11:43 of the first period on a goal by F Jake McGrew (17). . . . Vancouver F Aidan Barfoot (5) tied it at 12:16. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (37) put the Chiefs back in front, on a PP, at 16:28. . . . The Giants tied it when F Tyler Benson scored at 12:27 of the second period. . . . But the Chiefs went back out front at 15:14 when F Hudson Elynuik scored No. 30. . . . F Riley Woods gave Spokane a two-goal lead, on a PP, at 4:58 of the third period. . . . Holt (12) pulled the Giants back to within a goal, at 4-3, on a PP, at 11:31, only to have Woods (24) restore the two-goal margin at 12:43. . . . The Giants then got two PP goals to force OT. F Tyler Popowich (8) scored at 14:26, and Benson (26) followed at 17:39. . . . Holt won it with a second-round goal in the shootout. . . . Vancouver was 3-5 on the PP; Spokane was 2-6. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 29 shots for the Giants. . . . The Chiefs got 24 stops from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . Vancouver F Ty Ronning left the game with a clipping major and game misconduct for a hit on Spokane F Ethan McIndoe at 2:42 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs continue to play without injured F Zach Fischer. . . . The Giants scratched F Milos Roman, who had played Friday night in a 6-3 loss to the host Tri-City Americans for the first time since Jan. 9. He had been out with an ankle injury. . . . Announced attendance: 10,508.
SUNDAY (all times local):
Brandon at Moose Jaw, 4 p.m.
Prince George at Victoria, 2:05 p.m.
Kootenay at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
Everett at Portland, 5 p.m.
Vancouver vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m.
TWEET OF THE DAY