Popowich, Esposito leave WHL for school . . . Blades sign an import . . . Healing continues in Humboldt

MacBeth

D Alexei Platonov (Medicine Hat, 2015-16) signed a one-year contract with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga) after a successful tryout. Last season, he had one goal and three assists in 24 games with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga).


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Two more players with WHL eligibility remaining have chosen to leave the WHL and head to school.

F Tyler Popowich, 18, has decided to walk away from the Vancouver Giants, after scoring whleight goals and adding six assists in 64 games last season.
From Surrey, B.C., he was a first-round pick, third overall, by the Giants in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.

He was pointless in six games with Vancouver in 2015-16, then had seven goals and two assists in 53 games in 2016-17.

Popowich is the second first-round bantam draft pick to leave the WHL in two days. On Thursday, it was revealed that D Jantzen Leslie, 19, had left the Edmonton Oil Kings for Red Deer College. Leslie, from Lloydminster, Alta., was a first-round pick, 15th overall, by the Everett Silvertips in the 2014 bantam draft.

As well, D Drea Esposito, an 18-year-old from Winnipeg, has chosen to leave the Calgary Hitmen in order to attend the U of Manitoba. He was a fifth-round selection by the Hitmen in the 2015 bantam draft. Esposito played two seasons with the Hitmen, recording two assists in 35 games as a freshman, then adding a goal and seven assists in 47 games last season.

Earlier, the Giants lost D Marcus Kichton, 19, when he chose to leave to go to school.

The Saskatoon Blades had two players leave their organization prior to what would have been their 20-year-old seasons.

F Gage Ramsay will attend Saskatchewan Polytechnic next month and then move on to the U of Saskatchewan rather than try for a 20-year-old spot with the Blades.

F Caleb Fantillo chose to leave, according to the Blades, in order “to get a jump start on a future career in the health and fitness industry.”


F Matthew Hodson of Saskatoon has signed a WHL contract with the Victoria Royals, who selected him in the third round of the 2018 bantam draft. He played last season with the bantam AA Saskatoon Outlaws, putting up 44 goals and 31 assists in 31 games. He was second in the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League in goals and points. He added four goals and seven assist in seven playoff games.


The Saskatoon Blades have signed F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, whose rights were Saskatoonselected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. From Norway, Roykas Marthinsen will turn 19 on Tuesday. He was selected by the Washington Capitals in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL draft. He has yet to sign with them, but has twice skated at their development camp. . . . Last season, he had 23 goals and eight assists in 23 games with Almtuna IS J20 in Norway’s elite junior league. . . . Saskatoon has yet to sign D Emil Malysjev, its other selection in the CHL import draft. Malysjev, 17, has dual Sweden-Russian citizenship. He spent the past two seasons in HV71’s organization, and may play with its elite 18 team this season.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Lucas Ciona to a WHL contract. From Edmonton, he was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. Last season, Ciona had 13 goals and 35 assists in 30 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team. He is presently in camp with the Thunderbirds.


The healing continued in Humboldt on Friday as Washington Capitals F Chandler Stephenson, who is from Saskatoon, and his close personal friend Stanley Cup dropped in for a vist. . . . It also was Day 1 of training camp for the SJHL’s Broncos, although the prospective players weren’t made available to the visiting media. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was on hand and filed this column right here.

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When Kevin Garinger stepped up as president of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, there wasn’t any way that he could have known what was ahead. Now, after one year in the position and having shepherded the organization through the tragedy of a bus accident that took 16 lives, he has stepped aside. . . . Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has more right here.

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Jamie Brockman is the new president of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Well, actually, he is the new ‘old’ president. Brockman was president from 2012-17, before he stepped aside and Kevin Garinger took over for a year. . . . Alex MacPherson of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more on Brockman right here.


The Canadian junior A rights to G Dylan Myskiw, 19, of the Brandon Wheat Kings have been dealt to the Portage Terriers, along with F Ben Coppinger, 18, and future considerations. In return, the Selkirk Steelers received F Ryan Sokoloski, 20, D Ryden Fedyck, 17, and future considerations.

From Winnipeg, Myskiw was a sixth-round pick by the Victoria Royals in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. He played with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers in 2015-16, then got into 17 games with the Royals in 2016-17. Last season, he played in 22 games with the Wheat Kings.

Coppinger had four assists in 18 games with the Prince George Cougars last season, while also playing with the Steelers and the Manitoba Major Junior League’s St. Vital Victorias. He was a 10th-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2015 WHL bantam draft.

Sokoloski, from Winnipeg, was pointless in nine games with the Swift Current Broncos in 2015-16. They had selected him in the 11th round of the 2013 bantam draft. He played three seasons with the Terriers.

Fedyck, from Winnipeg, was selected by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the third round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He played last season with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers.


Thank you to those who have donated to Dorothy’s cause as she prepares to take part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23. That will be the fifth anniversary of her transplant and, yes, she is excited. She also is one of the walk’s organizers. Of course, she is. . . . If you would like to donate, you are able to do so right here. . . . If you are interested, money raised in the Kamloops Kidney Walk, which is our only fundraiser, will be used to help those who get called to Vancouver (VGH or St. Paul’s) for transplants. Those people have to stay in Vancouver for two months or longer.


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Hey, WHL, how about filling us in on trade rules? . . . Kichton, Leslie head for school . . . Royals sign Danish skater


MacBeth

F Oscar Möller (Chilliwack, 2006-08) signed a four-year contract extension with Skellefteå (Sweden, SHL). Möller has one year left on his current contract; the extension begins next season and runs through the 2022-23 season. Last season, he had 18 goals and 24 assists in 49 games.


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Here’s part of what I wrote here on July 24:

“Taking Note has been told that the WHL has acted in an attempt to put a halt to the number of young players who get traded within the league.

“The move is a reaction to the number of deals that were made in the period leading up to last season’s Jan. 10 trade deadline. . . .

“Taking Note has been told that the league has decided that its teams won’t be allowed to trade any 15- or 16-year-old players who have signed WHL contracts. On top of that, the only time the trading of a 17-year-old player will be allowed is if that player has requested a trade.

“The 17-year-old player will have had to approach the team’s general manager to ask for a trade; a team won’t be able to make the first move, asking said player to waive his no-trade clause. Taking Note was told that the WHL will approach a 17-year-old player’s parents to make sure the procedure was followed.”

That entire piece is right here.

It is most unfortunate that the WHL has such an uncomfortable relationship with transparency. It really would be nice if the league would let parents, players, fans, observers and anyone else who might be interested in on the particulars.

You will recall that the Edmonton Oil Kings and Swift Current Broncos made a deal this week that involved four players and three draft picks. After the deal was announced, there was speculation on social media as to which players had signed and which players hadn’t, and also wondering about the presence of no-trade clauses.

As one observer wrote in an email after that deal was made: “So the rules appear to be in effect. Nice of the league to publicize everything so we all know how things work.”

It also would be nice if the league and its teams worked a bit harder to keep the fans informed on the movement of players in the offseason.

What would be so wrong with someone revealing at some point that G Brodan Salmond, 20, no longer was with the Kelowna Rockets? Why should fans have to wait until training camp rosters start to appear before finding out these things?

Another note from an email to Taking Note:

“Brodan Salmond shows up on Moose Jaw’s camp roster and that’s the first anyone is aware that Kelowna released him. You waive your No. 1 goalie from the previous season over the summer and that’s not worthy of a press release? Or even a TWEET? Your fans get to find out he’s gone when another team shows him on their roster?

“What a (poor) PR job this league (and some of its teams in particular) does. Why do they continue to believe fans don’t care about anything other than the games themselves?”

That’s a good question.



It would seem that D Marcus Kichton, 19, won’t be back with the Vancouver Giants.

When his name didn’t appear on the Giants’ training camp roster, a fan asked Steve VancouverEwen of Postmedia via Twitter: “Do you know if he’s been released?”

Minutes later, Ewen responded: “Being told Marcus Kichton is going to school.”

Kichton, from Spruce Grove, Alta., was a second-round selection by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. The Giants acquired him, D Tyler Brown and a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft from the Warriors on Jan. 8, 2016, for D Josh Thrower and a fifth-rounder in 2017.

Kichton played two seasons with the Giants — 47 games in 2016-17 and 34 last season. He totalled one goal and three assists in 81 games.


D Jantzen Leslie is heading to school, rather than return to the WHL for his 19-year-old season. Leslie, who has played with the Everett Silvertips, Saskatoon Blades and Edmonton Oil Kings, will attend Red Deer College and play for the Kings. . . . A native of Lloydminster, Alta., he was a first-round selection by the Everett Silvertips in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . In 102 regular-season WHL games, he had one goal and five assists.


The Victoria Royals have signed F Phillip Schultz, 18, who was a selection in the 2018 VictoriaRoyalsCHL import draft. Schultz, from Rodovre, Denmark, played last season with the Rodovre Mighty Bulls of Denmark’s top pro league. He had five goals and seven assists in 40 games. He added nine goals and eight assists in 10 games with Rodovre SIK, which plays in the second tier. . . . The Royals finished last season with F Igor Martynov of Belarus and and Russian F Andrei Grishakov as their imports. Both are eligible to play this season as 19-year-olds; however, the Royals chose to bring back only Martynov, who had 18 goals and 25 assists in 63 games as a freshman last season.


If you haven’t heard, the Portland Winterhawks have a new assistant coach. Yes, it’s true. PortlandDon Hay, who was rather unceremoniously squeezed out by the Kamloops Blazers’ ownership group in May, already was in Portland on Monday when the team announced that he was joining the staff of Mike Johnston, who is vice-president, general manager and head coach. . . . Hay, of course, has more regular-season and playoff victories than any head coach in WHL history. He also has been part of four Memorial Cup championships — three as a head coach and one as an assistant. . . . “I was pretty excited when I got the phone call to see if I was interested,” Hay told Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune. “I’m really excited about (coaching) with Mike.” . . . Danzer’s story is right here.


F Ryan Bowen, 20, is in camp with the Kelowna Rockets, but his brother, Ethan, 16, isn’t. . KelownaRockets. . The Rockets acquired Ryan from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in January, but he chose to finish the season with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, who won the RBC Cup in May as the host team for the national junior A championship tournament. He and D Braydyn Chizen, who is preparing for his fourth season in Kelowna, are the only two 20s on the Rockets’ camp roster. . . . Ethan, who was a second-round selection by the Rockets in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, won’t be joining the Rockets, at least not right now. He will play for Chilliwack and protect his NCAA eligibility. . . . Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier has that story right here.



If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23, you are able to do so right here.


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


MacBeth

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.


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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.

Robson
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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WHL’s winds of change: Coaches and scouts on the move . . . and more news, too

MacBeth

F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) signed a one-year contract with the GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B). Last season, he had three goals and seven assists in 50 games with Kamloops (WHL). . . .

F James Wright (Vancouver, 2005-09) signed a one-year plus option contract with Linköping (Sweden, SHL). Last season, he had two goals and six assists in 26 games with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), and three goals and two assists in 15 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL).


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Luke Pierce has signed on as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Pierce, 34, spent last season as an assistant coach with the Canadian men’s Paralympic sledge hockey team after working for two seasons as head coach of the Kootenay Ice. . . . He lost his job with the Ice when he got caught up in an ownership change. . . . Prior to that, he was the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials for five-plus seasons. . . .

In Edmonton, Pierce will work alongside head coach Brad Lauer, who is preparing for his first season in that role. Pierce replaces Ryan Marsh, who was fired on May 29, along with head coach Steve Hamilton, and has since joined the Saskatoon Blades as an assistant coach. Hamilton now is the head coach of the Calgary Hitmen.

Meanwhile, the Oil Kings also announced that Jamie Novakoski, their director of scouting, won’t be back. He had been with the Oil Kings since 2007, working as director of scouting for the past five seasons. . . . According to the Oil Kings, he “will assist with the transition to a new director of scouting before leaving to pursue an opportunity outside of hockey.”


The Prince Albert Raiders announced Monday that they have added Jeff Truitt, Dan Gendur and Mike Brodeur to their coaching staff. . . . Truitt, 53, fills the vacancy created when associate coach Dave Manson left to join the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Truitt and Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid know each other well, having worked together with the Kelowna Rockets from 2000-04. When Kelowna won the 2004 Memorial Cup, Habscheid was the Rockets’ head coach and Truitt was associate coach. Truitt spent the past six seasons as the associate coach with the Red Deer Rebels. He also has AHL coaching experience, having worked with the San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars. . . . Last season, Gendur, 31, was the head coach of the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. He joined the Raiders late in the WHL season and worked with them through the playoffs. He is a former WHL player, having played with the Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips (2004-08). . . . Brodeur, 35, is the Raiders’ new goaltending coach. He spent one season  (2003-04) playing with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. Last season, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. With the Raiders, Brodeur takes over from Kelly Guard, now an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats.


Veteran coach Willie Desjardins has signed on to work with the Prairie Rose School Division in establishing a new hockey academy that will involve three schools in the Medicine Hat Area. The 61-year-old Desjardins, who was the head coach of Canada’s national men’s team last season, continues to live in Medicine Hat, where he coached the Tigers for eight seasons (2002-10). . . . Collin Gallant of the Medicine Hat News has more right here.



The Seattle Thunderbirds have added Craig Goebel and Jared Crooks to their scouting staff. . . . Goebel spent the past 10 seasons scouting for the Regina Pats. His main assignment will be pre-scouting Seattle’s opponents. . . . Crooks, who played four seasons at MacEwan U in Edmonton, is the head instructor at the Mount Carmel Hockey Academy in Edmonton. He will scout for the Thunderbirds in northern Alberta.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have added Mark Sauer and Brennen York to their scouting staff. . . . Earlier this summer, the Wheat Kings lost veteran scout Mike Fraser when he left to sign on as the Everett Silvertips’ head scout. . . . Sauer, from Calgary, had been on the scouting staff at ISS for three years. . . . York is from Edmonton where he founded DraftGeek.


It’s official. The Vancouver Giants have added Jamie Heward to their coaching staff. The team announced Monday morning that Heward has been signed as the associate coach. . Vancouver. . He replaces Dean Chynoweth, who left after one season and has signed as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . As a player, Heward spent parts of nine seasons in the NHL, after playing four seasons (1987-91) with his hometown Regina Pats. . . . Heward, 47, spent the past six seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, as an assistant coach and the director of player development. . . . This means that the Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, have lost three coaches since the season ended. Head coach Manny Viveiros now is an assistant with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, while assistant coach Ryan Smith has joined the Medicine Hat Tigers.

During his playing days in Regina, Heward was a member of what was known as the PUP Line. Its other members also were Regina natives — Frank Kovacs and Mike Sillinger. All three played as 16-year-olds, thus the PUP moniker.

On Monday, while Heward was busy with the Giants, Kovacs was busy, too, as you can see from this tweet . . .


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Robbie Fromm-Delorme, who was a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Richmond, B.C., Fromm-Delorme played last season in Byfield, Mass., at The Governor’s Academy in the USHS-Prep league. He had seven goals and 10 assists in 27 games. . . . He attended the Winterhawks’ training camp prior to the 2017-18 season.


Bill Reddick will chair the committee that will prepare the bid by the Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes and the City of Lethbridge for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . Terry Huisman, the Hurricanes’ general manager of business operations, will be the co-chair. . . . Reddick is a partner with Mercer Wilde Group Chartered Accountants in Lethbridge and has long been involved with minor hockey in that city. . . . Huisman has been the general manager of business operations since 2012 and has played an integral role in leading the franchise out of the financial mess it was in not that long ago. . . . The Hurricanes, Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals all are preparing bids for the 2020 Memorial Cup. They are scheduled to present those bids at a meeting of the WHL’s board of governors in Calgary on Oct. 3. A host city is expected to be named at the conclusion of that meeting.


The AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs have added Alex Mandolidis, Josh Watson and Richie Hubbell to a coaching staff this is headed up by GM/head coach Tyler Drader. . . . Mandolidis has spent the past five seasons with either the midget AAA Calgary Flames or midget AAA Calgary Northstars, while Watson has worked with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . Hubbell has been the goaltending coach with the women’s team at Olds College.


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Giants soon to add assistant coach? . . . Blades’ announcement today . . . Hockey world mourns death of long-time scout


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Steve Ewen of Postmedia is reporting that that much-speculated about signing of Jamie Heward is soon to happen. . . . “The Vancouver Giants,” Ewen writes,“will announce the hiring of former NHL defenceman Jamie Heward as their assistant coach in the coming days, according to sources.” . . . Heward, a former WHL and NHL defenceman, is a native of Regina. He has been the director of player development and an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos for six seasons. . . . Ewen’s story is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades are expected to announce today (Monday) that they have added Brian Leavold to their scouting staff. Leavold, who lives in Port Coquitlam, B.C., had been a B.C. scout with the Swift Current Broncos. With the Broncos going through numerous front-office changes, Leavold and other scouts chose to leave the organization. . . . In Saskatoon, Leavold will be working with Dan Tencer, the Blades’ director of scouting.



The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder is looking for an assistant coach following the resignation of Derek Wiest. Instead of working on the coaching staff, Wiest will be the Thunder’s head scout for southern Alberta. The switch is effective Aug. 1. . . . In making the change, Wiest cited family and work considerations. He and his wife are expecting their third child, and he recently landed a full-time job close to home. . . . Eric Thurston is the Thunder’s general manager and head coach, and said the search for a replacement has started.


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Giants add Brown to front office . . . Humboldt crash victim prepping for sledge career . . . Ice, Wheat Kings swing deal


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F Konstantin Pushkaryov (Calgary, 2004-05) signed a two-year contract with Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga). Last season, with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL), he had seven goals and nine assists in 47 games. He also had seven goals and two assists in 12 games with Nomad Astana (Kazakhstan, Kazakh Vysshaya Liga). . . .

D Alex Roach (Calgary, 2010-14) signed a one-year contract with Deggendorf (Germany, DEL2). Last season, he had three assists in 25 games with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL); two assists in eight games with Eispiraten Crimmitschau (Germany, DEL2); and one goal in two games with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2).


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Bob Brown, the architect of three Memorial Cup championship teams, is back in the WHL, this time with the Vancouver Giants with whom he served as a vice-president in Vancouver2001-02, their first season in the WHL. . . . The Giants announced on Friday morning that Brown has been hired to fill the new position of senior advisor. . . . Brown has spent the past 16 seasons as a scout with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Before that, he was the general manager of the Kamloops Blazers for 10 seasons (1986-95) and is generally recognized as the man who built the Kamloops teams that won the Memorial Cup three times in four years (1992, 1994, 1995). He was unceremoniously fired two weeks after the Blazers won the third of those championships. . . . In his time in Kamloops, the Blazers won 435 games, seven division titles and five WHL championships. . . . Brown then went on to work for five seasons (1995-2000) as the vice-president and general manager of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Brown was inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame in Penticton as a builder in 2009. In 2013, Brown also was part of the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame proceedings as the 1993-94 and 1994-95 Blazers were inducted. . . . Barclay Parneta, the Giants’ recently hired GM, worked as a scout under Brown with the Americans, who were owned at the time by Ron Toigo, who is the Giants’ majority owner.



The Kootenay Ice has acquired F Gunnar Wegleitner, 20, from the Brandon Wheat Kings Kootenaynewfor a conditional sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . Wegleitner, from Vancouver, B.C., had 10 goals and nine assists in 57 regular-season games last season. In 2014-15, he had one goal in 43 games with the Everett Silvertips. In 2016-17, he was pointless in 12 games with the Victoria Royals. . . . The Ice now has five 1998-born players on its roster, as Wegleitner joins Slovakian D Martin Bodak, who would be a two-spotter, D Dallas Hines, a veteran of three seasons in Cranbrook, D Ryan Pouliot, who has played two-plus seasons with Kootenay, and G Matt Berlin, who was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Jan. 8. . . . Taking Note has been told that Bodak, who will turn 20 on Nov. 28, hasn’t yet made a decision as to whether to return for a second season with the Ice. It could be that he and his agent are hoping to land a contract with a team in Europe. . . . The trade leaves Brandon with three 20-year-olds on its roster — D School Higson, F Linden McCorrister, and F Ty Lewis, who has signed with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and may open the season with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles.


The Port Moody Panthers of the junior B Pacific Junior Hockey League have signed PortMoodyPanthersJennifer Gilligan as their goaltending coach. Gilligan has worked with Next Level Goaltending in Abbotsford, B.C., and The Advantage Hockey Development in Vancouver for eight years. According to the Panthers’ website, she also “is the manager and senior instructor at Pro Formance Goalie School and the female varsity assistant coach at the Delta Hockey Academy.” . . . Gilligan also has worked as an assistant coach with Team BC at the National Aboriginal championship and is an apprentice coach with the U-18 Team BC that will play in the 2019 Canada Winter Games.


By now there is ample evidence that having children limit their experience to one sport isn’t a good thing. There is more of that right here in a story by Anna Wassermann of CBC News that carries the subhead ‘Medical evidence shows kids who play one sport year-round are at greater risk of injury.’


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Blades forward retires . . . Royals deal for Lees . . . Giants make move on radio dial, sign draft pick


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D Brent Regner (Vancouver, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with the Texas Stars (AHL), he had 10 goals and 21 assists in 66 games. He was an alternate captain. . . .

D Nick Walters (Everett, Brandon, Lethbridge, 2010-15) signed a tryout contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had five goals and 14 assists in 50 games. . . . Walters has applied for German citizenship and his application is under consideration by the authorities. The contract converts to a one-year contract when/if his application is approved. . . .

D Jaynen Rissling (Calgary, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). Last season, he had one goal and two assists in five games with the Allen Americans (ECHL); three goals and 10 assists in 36 games with the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL); and three goals and 11 assists in 21 games with the Indy Fuel (ECHL).


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F Caleb Fantillo of the Saskatoon Blades announced via Twitter on Wednesday evening that he is retiring. Fantillo, 20, is from Coquitlam, B.C. Last season, he had seven goals and three assists in 38 games with the Blades. He missed time with rib and knee injuries. . . . In 88 regular-season games with the Blades, he put up 12 goals and seven assists. Before being dealt to the Blades, he had six goals and nine assists in 70 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Saskatoon acquired Fantillo on Oct. 13, 2016, giving up a sixth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft in the exchange. . . . He had been a sixth-round pick by the Tigers in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . According to a news release from the Blades, Fantillo “plans to get a jump start on a future career in the health and fitness industry.”


The Victoria Royals have acquired F Tyler Lees, 18, from the Saskatoon Blades for a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Lees, from Regina, had two goals and an assist in 20 games with the Blades last season. . . . Saskatoon selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 bantam draft.


The Vancouver Giants announced Thursday morning that their games will be heard on Sportsnet 650 in 2018-19. . . . According to a news release, “Sportsnet’s Vancouver-based Vancouverall-sports radio station . . . will broadcast all Vancouver Giants games live . . .” The length of the agreement wasn’t revealed. . . . Sportsnet 650 also holds the radio broadcast rights to the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . Dan O’Connor will return for a second season as the radio voice of the Giants. Before joining the Giants, he was the voice of the Prince George Cougars. . . . Last season, the Giants’ rights belonged to TSN 1040. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a look right here at the arrangement between the Giants and Sportsnet 650.

Later in the day, the Giants announced the signing of F Lukas Svejkovsky, who is from Point Roberts, Wash. Svejkovsky, who will turn 17 on Nov. 23, was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he had five goals and six assists in 16 regular-season games with the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild. He missed a good chunk of the season with due to injury. . . . His father, Jaroslav (Yogi), played one season (1995-96) with the Tri-City Americans, putting up 58 goals and 43 assists in 70 games. He has been the Giants’ skills coach since 2006.


Two WHL players — F Jordy Bellerive of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and D Josh Brook of Canadathe Moose Jaw Warriors — have been scratched from Canada’s roster for the World Junior Showcase that is scheduled to open in Kamloops on June 28. . . . Bellerive, 19, was injured in an accident involving a bonfire last month near Calgary, while Brook, 19, may be nursing a wrist injury. He suffered a wrist injury in a rookie camp with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens prior to last season and later underwent surgery. This summer, he missed the Canadiens’ development camp with what has been reported as another wrist injury. . . . Hockey Canada also announced that F Robert Thomas, 19, of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs has been scratched. . . . The three injured players still are expected to be at the camp. . . . Added to the Canadian roster were F Liam Foudy, 18, of the OHL’s London Knights, D Markus Phillips, 19, of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack, and F Akil Thomas, 18, of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs.


Tanner Cochrane of Kamloops has joined the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks as an assistant coach. Cochrane, 25, spent the previous two seasons with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who are based in Kamloops. . . . In Salmon Arm, he joins Scotty Atkinson, the general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Brett Knowles.


The MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons have added Calvin Bugyik to their front office as an assistant coach. For the past two seasons, he has been an assistant coach with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild, who have won two straight league titles. . . . In Steinbach, he will work alongside GM/head coach Paul Dyck. . . . Bugyik replaces Joey Moggach, who had been with the Pistons for two seasons. He left the club after last seasons in order to spend more time at his full-time job and with family.