Raiders put Giants behind 8-ball. . . . P.A. scores seven in first period. . . . Winds of change blowing in Brandon

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F Yegor Babenko (Lethbridge, 2015-17) has been traded by Severstal Cherepovets to Traktor Chelyabinsk (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. This season, with Rubin Tyumen (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had seven goals and 11 assists in 25 games. He also was pointless in three games with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL), and had two goals three assists in 15 games with Severstal Cherepovets. . . .

F Liam Stewart (Spokane, 2011-15) has signed a one-season contract with the Southern Stampede Queenstown (New Zealand, NZIHL). Last season,  with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite), he had 12 goals and 11 assists in 35 games. He didn’t play this season after suffering a concussion. . . . Stewart holds dual UK/New Zealand citizenship and is considered a local player in New Zealand. However, in the UK, he is considered an import because he played his minor hockey in the U.S.


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The Brandon Wheat Kings revealed on Tuesday that they won’t be renewing the contract BrandonWKregularof Grant Armstrong, who had been their general manager through three seasons. . . . Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, said in a news release that Armstrong “was responsible for many of the moves that will serve us well in the future. At the same time, I also felt a change was necessary as we look to return to a higher level as an organization.” . . . McCrimmon is the assistant GM with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. He will be taking over as the Golden Knights’ GM on Sept 1. . . . Armstrong signed as Brandon’s general manager to take over from McCrimmon when he signed with Vegas. . . . The Wheat Kings were 102-87-23 with Armstrong as the general manager. This season, they finished 31-29-8, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013. . . . Before joining Brandon, Armstrong was with the Victoria Royals for four seasons as director of player personnel and assistant GM. Prior to that, he worked with the Portland Winterhawks for five seasons, the last four as head scout. . . . The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here. . . .

With a new general manager to be hired at some point, you are free to wonder about the future of head coach David Anning and assistant coach Don MacGillivray. After three seasons, their contracts are up, too. . . . The news release on Armstrong’s departure doesn’t mention the coaching staff.


The Tri-City Americans announced Tuesday that they have renewed the contracts of goaltending coaches Eli Wilson and Liam McOnie “through the 2021 season.” . . . Wilson and McOnie have worked with the Americans since the 2017-18 season. They also run goaltending camps through Eli Wilson Goaltending.


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The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers have hired Jason McKee as general manager and head coach, Vernonreplacing Mark Ferner, who got the team into the BCHL final this season, his fifth season in his second stint with the organization. . . . Ferner, 53, was the Vipers’ head coach for four seasons (2007-11), getting them into three national finals and winning two of them, before spending time on the coaching staffs of the Everett Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers. This time, he had been the Vipers’ director of hockey operations and head coach since early in the 2014-15 season. . . . This season, the Vipers went 26-21-11 to finish fourth in the seven-team Interior Division. They reach the championship final where they were swept by the Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . McKee, 40, was the head coach of the Vancouver Giants for two seasons (2016-18). Prior to that, he was with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints for 10 seasons, the last six as general manager and head coach. . . . Brothers John and Tom Glen purchased the Vipers in September from Libby Wray, whose husband, Dr. Duncan Wray, had owned the franchise from 1992 through his death on Jan. 11, 2018. . . . John Glen was quite involved with the Saints, although not at the ownership level. He also is a former scout with the Giants.


If you’re a junior hockey fan you should be following Victor Findlay (@Finder_24) on Twitter. He always has up-to-date information on players moving from the WHL to the Canadian university scene, including F Kody McDonald, who played out his eligibility with the Victoria Royals this season and will be playing for the Carleton Ravens of Ottawa next season. Findlay also reports that Josh Curtis, who was a 20-year-old with the Prince George Cougars, will be joining the Queen’s U Gaels, who play out of Kingston, Ont. Findlay also has F Ryan Jevne (Medicine Hat Tigers) going to the U of Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton, F Nolan Yaremko (Tri-City Americans) off to the Calgary-based Mount Royal Cougars, and F Ryan Vandervlis (Lethbridge Hurricanes), F Mike MacLean (Prince George) and F Jeff de Wit (Red Deer Rebels) all joining the Montreal-based Concordia Stingers.


The Halifax Mooseheads broke a 1-1 tie with two second-period goals and then added two more in the third, en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL’s championship final on Tuesday night. . . . The series now is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Rouyn-Noranda on Thursday night, and Game 6 back in Halifax on Saturday afternoon. A seventh game would be played in Rouyn-Noranda on Monday. . . . Both teams already know they will play in the Memorial Cup because Halifax is the host team. . . .

In the OHL, the Ottawa 67’s will meet the Storm in Guelph in Game 4 tonight (Wednesday). The 67’s hold a 2-1 lead after dropping a 7-2 decision to the host Storm on Monday night. That was the first loss of these playoffs for the 67’s, who now are 14-1.


Rich Pilon, who was named the head coach of the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings on April 29, now is the team’s general manager, as well. The Red Wings announced Tuesday that Pilon will add the GM’s duties, taking over from Tanner McCall, who had been the GM and head scout. . . . McCall, who also scouts for the Moose Jaw Warriors, had been with the Red Wings for five seasons, the last three as general manager and head scout.


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NOTES: Well, who saw that one coming? The Prince Albert Raiders went into Langley, B.C., and humbled the Vancouver Giants, handing them an 8-2 loss in Game 3 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Langley tonight. Game 5 is set for Friday night in Langley. . . . Last night’s decision means that if the Giants are to win the series, they will have to do it in Prince Albert. Games 6 and 7, if one or both are needed, would be played there on Sunday and Monday. . . .

In Game 3, the Raiders took control with seven goals in the first period. . . . The WHL record for most goals in one period of a playoff game is nine and belongs to the Saskatoon Blades (March 30, 1986, second period of a 12-5 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors). . . .

Oh the games people play now/Every night and every day now. . . . According to the lineup sheet circulated prior to the game, Raiders D Max Martin would play, with D Loeden Schaufler and F Jakob Brook listed with question marks beside their names. That would seem to have indicated that one of those two would play and the other would sit. . . . Martin didn’t finish Game 2 after suffering an apparent shoulder injury when he went awkwardly into the boards in the second period. Last night, he took the pregame warmup and then was scratched. Schaufler and Brook both were dressed and on the Prince Albert bench. . . .

F Dante Hannoun of the Raiders had a goal and two assists in Game 3. He leads the WHL playoffs with 12 goals. His 23 points have him tied with Vancouver D Bowen Byram for the scoring lead. Byram had one assist in Game 3. . . .

According to tweets from Steve Ewen, there were a number of NHL luminaries in the crowd, among them Scotty Bowman (Chicago Blackhawks), and Rob Blake and Todd McLellan (Los Angeles Kings).

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored 41 seconds into the first period and made it 2-0 at 2:27 PrinceAlbertas they went on to an 8-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 2-1, with Game 4 in Langley tonight. . . . Prince Albert had won Game 2, 4-0, so has outscored Vancouver, 12-2, over the last two games. . . . The visitors led 4-0 at 6:33 of the first period, 6-0 at 16:30 and 7-0 going into the second period. . . . The Giants took the game’s first four minor penalties, all of them in the opening 6:33. The Raiders responded with three PP goals. . . . F Parker Kelly (5,6) and F Brett Leason (8,9) each scored twice and added an assist for the victors, with F Dante Hannoun (12) scoring once and adding two assists. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (5), F Cole Fonstad (2) and F Noah Gregor (10) added a goal each. . . . D Sergei Sapego, F Aliaksei Protas and F Sean Montgomery added two assists each for the Raiders. . . . F Brayden Watts (6) and F Yannik Valenti (3) scored PP goals for the Giants after they had fallen behind 8-0. . . . Prince Albert was 4-8 on the PP; Vancouver was 2-8. . . . G Ian Scott blocked 27 shots for the Raiders. . . . Vancouver starter David Tendeck gave up three goals on 13 shots. He allowed two goals on four shots in 2:27, then was relieved by Trent Miner for the remainder of the first period. Miner allowed five goals on 14 shots. Tendeck returned for the final two periods and stopped eight of nine shots. . . . The referees were Mike Campbell and Chris Crich, with Ron Dietterle and Michael Roberts the linesmen.


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Matt Savoie headed to Crusaders? . . . Tracey, Gauthier lead Canada past Finland. . . . WHL playoffs set to resume


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F Chris Langkow (Spokane, Saskatoon, Everett, 2005-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with MAC Újbuda Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, he had 17 goals and 22 assists in 55 games. . . .

F Brayden Low (Portland, Everett, 2010-15) has signed a one-season contract with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). This season, with the Reading Royals (ECHL), he had 15 goals and 18 assists in 63 games. . . .

F Dylan Yeo (Prince George, Calgary, 2003-07) has signed a two-year contract with the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL), he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 52 games. . . .

F Jordan Draper (Red Deer, 2007-08) has signed a one-season contract with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). This season, with Mulhouse (France, Ligue Magnus), he had 12 goals and nine assists in 42 games. . . .

F Jaedon Descheneau (Kootenay, 2011-16) has signed a two-year contract with Brynäs Gävle (Sweden, SHL). This season, with Düsseldorf (Germany, DEL), he had 19 goals and 32 assists in 52 games. He led the team in assists and was second in points.


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It appears that the Savoie brothers, Carter and Matt, don’t have any plans of playing in the WHL. . . . Carter, 17, just finished his first season with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park SherwoodParkCrusaders and plans on returning for 2019-20. He has committed to attending the U of Denver and playing for the Pioneers in 2020-21.

On Thursday, Tyler Yaremchuk (@tyleryaremchuk) tweeted: “Despite having his rights traded to Winnipeg, Carter Savoie WILL NOT be going to the WHL. He will stay with the Crusaders next season.” . . . A ninth-round selection by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, his major junior were traded to the Winnipeg Ice on April 3 for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and two conditional selections. . . . At this point, the Ice holds the first and ninth picks in the 2019 draft.

Yaremchuk posted that tweet after having Kyle Chase, the Crusaders’ president of hockey operations and general manager, on his podcast — Inside The Cru.

Matt Savoie, who turned 15 on Jan. 1, is ranked by most, if not all, observers as the No. 1 prospect among players eligible for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft that is scheduled for Red Deer on May 2. . . . He has committed to the U of Denver for 2021-22. . . . He played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, and is expected to return there for 2019-20.

Savoie attended the Crusaders’ recent spring camp, which prompted Yaremchuk to ask Chase: “Is he that good?”

Chase’s response: “Yeah. Yeah, he is.”

Chase’s son, Greg, who played in the WHL and has played professionally for the past four seasons, watched Savoie for a bit before saying: “He’ll be in the NHL in four years.”

According to Kyle Chase, his son then asked “what a lot of us ask: How did he get that good so fast?”

Chase went on to describe Savoie: “He shoots bullets. He’s physical. He’s an elite skater. He’s tenacious. He’s on the puck. When you talk about those elite players . . . those guys are high-end and high-octane and high-energy. Matt’s got a little bit of Wendel Clark in him; when you take the puck from him he’s going to blow you up and take it back. He’s not just interested in lifting your stick. . . . He’s got a ton of courage and he’s got a ton of skill. . . . He’s head’s up . . . he’s unselfish.”

As for Sherwood Park’s plans, Chase said that “our intention is to affiliate him. We spoke to the family and to Matt. We want him affiliated . . . and play a minimum of 10 games as an affiliate with us next (season). The family has been very receptive . . . and Matt’s on board. We’re excited to have him around the organization.”

The complete podcast, which runs about 20 minutes, is right here.


F Brayden Tracey of the Moose Jaw Warriors scored twice as Team Canada erased a 3-0 Canadasecond-period deficit and went on a 5-3 victory over Finland in its opening game at the IIHF U-18 World Championship in Umea, Sweden. . . . Tracey tied the score at 3:57 of the third period, on a PP, as he finished off a 2-on-1 with F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice). . . . Tracey scored what stood as the winner at 14:31, with F Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers) getting the lone assist. . . . Krebs iced it with an empty-netter. . . . G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) stopped 39 shots. He was terrific in the first period in holding the Finns to two goals on 20 shots. . . . Canada is scheduled to play Switzerland today. . . . The tournament runs through April 28. . . . Team Canada added G Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) to its roster earlier in the week. However, F Kirby Dach of the Blades had to turn down an invitation due to an undisclosed injury suffered in Game 5 of a second-round series with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . In other opening-day games, Russia beat Slovakia, 6-3; Team USA dropped Sweden, 6-1; and Belarus beat Czech Republic, 4-3.


The WHL’s two games in the 2019 CIBC Canada-Russia Series will be played in Saskatoon and Prince Albert. . . . The six-game series that also features two games against the OHL and QMJHL, is to be played Nov. 4-14. . . . For the first time since 2013, the series will begin in the QMJHL (Saint John, Nov. 4; Moncton, Nov. 5), then move to the OHL (Kitchener, Nov. 7; London, Nov. 11). . . . The series-ending games will be played in Saskatoon on Nov. 13 and Prince Albert on Nov. 14. . . . There is a news release on the series right here.


The Prince George Spruce Kings won the franchise’s first BCHL championship — the Fred SpruceKingsPage Cup — on Wednesday night, beating the Vipers 3-1 in Vernon to sweep the championship series in four games. . . . That ended a remarkable playoff run for the Spruce Kings, who went 16-1, the best post-season record in BCHL history. . . . F Ben Poisson, the Spruce Kings’ captain, gave the visitors a 2-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:14 of the second period. That goal, his 13th of the playoffs, stood up as his second game-winner in as many nights. Poisson had scored the OT winner in a 4-3 victory in Vernon on Tuesday night. . . . With the victory, the Spruce Kings, who entered the BCHL for the 1996-97 season, also clinched a berth in the National Junior A Championship, which is to be played in Brooks, Alta. Before that, the Spruce Kings will meet the AJHL-champion Brooks Bandits for the Doyle Cup. . . . That series is to open in Brooks on April 26.

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In the MJHL, the Portage Terriers beat the host Swan Valley Stampeders, 5-2, on Thursday night, tying the championship final, 3-3. . . . They’ll play Game 7 in Portage la Prairie on Monday. . . . Last night, the Terriers held a 50-26 edge in shots. . . . F Jay Buchholz, an 18-year-old from Fargo, N.D., had two goals for the winners, who trailed 2-1 with fewer than eight minutes to play in the third period. . . .

In the SJHL, the championship final between the Battlefords North Stars and Melfort Mustangs is to resume tonight. The North Stars, with a 3-1 lead, will play host to Game 5. . . . A sixth game, if needed would be played Sunday in Melfort.


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NOTES: The WHL playoffs resume tonight as the conference finals get rolling with games in Prince Albert and Langley, B.C. . . . Each of the four teams still alive is 8-2 in these playoffs. . . . WHL fans have to be thinking it would be nice to see a couple of long series. The first round, with a maximum of 56 games, played out in 43, with three of the eight series going six games and one going the distance. . . . The second round, however, was finished in 19 games as the winners went 16-3. . . . F Dante Hannoun of the Prince Albert Raiders and F Davis Koch of the Vancouver Giants lead the scoring race, each with 14 points, one more than Vancouver D Bowen Byram. . . . Hannoun is tops in goals (9) and Koch leads in assists (12). . . . G Ian Scott of the Raiders and G Bailey Brkin of the Spokane Chiefs each has eight victories. Scott has the best GAA, at 1.81, while Brkin is tops in save percentage (.931). . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders, who finished atop the overall standings (54-10-4), will entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton topped the Central Division (42-18-8). . . . In the regular season, the Raiders won the season series, 3-1-0; the Oil Kings were 1-2-1. . . . They have met twice since the trade deadline, with the Oil Kings winning, 6-3, in Prince Albert on Feb. 1, and the Raiders winning, 5-1, in Edmonton three days later. . . . In the four games, Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky had five goals and two assists, while D Conner McDonald had three goals and three assists. . . . G Todd Scott of Edmonton went the distance in three of the games, going 1-1-1, 4.62, .883. G Dylan Myskiw, who has had the hot hand in the playoffs, was 0-1-0, 5.04, .853. . . . F Noah Gregor led the Raiders, with two goals and six assists in the four games. F Cole Fonstad, who missed the last two games of the Raiders’ second-round series, had four goals and three assists, while F Brett Leason had a goal and six assists in three games. . . . G Ian Scott of the Raiders was 2-1-0, 3.27, .897. . . . The Raiders will be without F Justin Nachbaur tonight as he completes a two-game suspension.

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In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants will be trying to prove that they are the WHL’s “top team” as they play host to the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Giants finished atop the Western Conference, at 48-15-5. . . . The Chiefs were second in the U.S. Division, at 40-21-7. . . . According to Steve Ewen of Postmedia, the Giants have seized on a couple of quotes from a Kevin Dudley story in the Spokane Spokesman-Review and are using them as a rallying point. . . . After the Chiefs had eliminated the Everett Silvertips, who had finished on top of the U.S. Division, at 47-16-5, head coach Dan Lambert made reference to having ousted “the top team in the league.” . . . At the same time, Spokane G Bailey Brkin told Dudley: “We just took down the top team in the league, without even a Game 6 or 7.” . . . Yes, the Giants took note. “It bothers you to a certain extent,” D Dylan Plouffe told Ewen. “We’re just going to use it for motivation. That’s really all.” . . .

The Giants went 3-1-0 in the season series; the Chiefs were 1-2-1. . . . They have played each other three times since the trade deadline. The Giants won 6-4 in Spokane on Jan. 18 and 5-4 at home on Feb. 15. The Chiefs won 4-1 in Spokane on March 8. . . . Chiefs F Riley Woods had a goal and five assists in six games, while F Luc Smith, in three games, had four goals. . . . Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw led his side with three goals and two assists in four games. F Davis Koch and F Milos Roman each had a goal and three assists. D Bowen Byram had a goal and two assists in the four games. . . . Brkin, who might be the playoff MVP to this point, was 1-1-0, 3.03, .915 against the Giants. . . . The Giants used both goaltenders — David Tendeck was 2-0-0, 3.88, .843; Trent Miner was 1-1-0, 4.13, .833.


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Wrapping up Deadline Day . . . Teams close with 11 deals involving 16 players . . . Raiders involved in three trades

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THE DEADLINE IS GONE

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

Thursday’s action:

No. of trades: 11.

Players: 16.

Bantam draft picks: 10.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 44.

Players: 77.

Bantam draft picks: 63.

Conditional draft picks: 15.

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

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The Prince Albert Raiders did some last-minute shopping on Thursday as the WHL’s annual trade deadline passed us by.

The Raiders completed three deals, all before noon their time, after which management PrinceAlbertpresumable went snow golfing.

In all, the Raiders added three depth players — a goaltender, a defenceman and a forward.

The Raiders added G Boston Bilous, 17, from the Edmonton Oil Kings, giving up a conditional sixth-round selection in the 2022 WHL bantam draft.

Bilous, from Langley, B.C., was a fourth-round pick by the Oil Kings in the 2016 bantam draft. At the time, he had committed to the U of Denver Pioneers, but later changed his mind and signed with the Oil Kings.

The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder appeared in 10 games for Edmonton this season, going 3-4-1, 3.56, .859. Last season, he was 0-10-1, 4.72, .838.

Bilous has been hampered by injuries, missing two weeks in early November. He returned to play two games, but now hasn’t been in a game since Nov. 24.

Last season, he also missed couple of weeks in November, returned for three games and then was out until late February.

Bilous is eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft and, in fact, is on NHL Central Scouting’s watch list where he is projected as a potential late-round selection.

After making the deal, the Raiders had three goaltenders on their roster — Bilous, starter Ian Scott and Donovan Buskey, who was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs on Aug. 31 for a sixth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.

Later in the day, Prince Albert dropped Buskey from its roster. He is expected to join the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters.

Scott, 20, is 24-4-1, 1.73, .939. Buskey, who is to turn 19 on Jan. 29, had gotten into 11 games, going 9-1-0, 3.15, .870.

While the Raiders may be looking for some competition at the backup position, they also are looking to next season when Scott no longer will be part of their organization. It could be that a change in scenery will help Bilous kick the injury thing and get things back on track. After all, in his bantam draft season he was the CSSHL’s top goaltender while player at the Delta Hockey Academy.

Bilous’s departure leaves the Oil Kings with veterans Dylan Myskiw, 19, and Todd Scott, 18, as their goaltenders.

Earlier in the day, the Raiders acquired D Loeden Schaufler, 18, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for an eighth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

From De Winton, Alta., Schaufler was a third-round selection by the Kootenay Ice in the 2015 bantam draft.

The Ice dealt him to Seattle on Oct. 9, along with a conditional ninth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, for F Eric Fawkes, 17, a Winnipegger who is with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers and has committed to RPI (Rensselaer Polytech Institute) for 2020-21.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Schaufler has eight assists in 57 regular-season games, 37 of them with the Ice, including 32 last season. This season, he had two assists in 20 games with Seattle.

Schaufler only recently returned to action after being injured on Dec. 8 when he was on the receiving end of a hit by F Sean Richards, then of the Everett Silvertips. Richard drew a boarding major and game misconduct on the play and subsequently was suspended for eight games. While serving that suspension, he found himself traded to Seattle in a deal that had F Zack Andrusiak go to Everett. Schaufler returned to the lineup on Jan. 4 against the Wheat Kings in Brandon.

Later in the day, the Raiders dropped D Lane Kirk, 18, from their roster. Kirk, from Swan River, Man., was a fifth-round pick by the Raiders in the 2015 bantam draft. However, he has been injured and has yet to play this season. He now is expected to join the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders, who play out of Swan River.

The Raiders began the day by sending F Quinn Olson, 17, to the Calgary Hitmen for F Bryce Bader, 17. The teams also swapped conditional sixth-round bantam draft picks — the year wasn’t revealed — in the deal.

From Sherwood Park, Alta., Bader, 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, has played 14 games with Calgarythe Hitmen over three seasons. This season, he has four goals in 10 games, with three of them coming over his past three games. Bader was injured in Calgary’s final exhibition game  and didn’t get back into game action until Nov. 9. He played the previous two seasons with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings, putting up 21 goals 23 assists in 58 games.

The Hitmen selected him in the second round of the 2016 bantam draft.

The Raiders selected Olson, who is from Calgary, in the sixth round of that same draft. The 5-foot-10, 155-pounder has committed to the U of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs for 2020-21, and has played the past two seasons with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. This season, he has 17 goals and 25 assists in 35 games; last season, he put up 14 goals and 39 assists in 53 games.

The Raiders are back on home ice, where they have lost three of their last four games, against the Portland Winterhawks tonight.

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The Tri-City Americans acquired F Samuel Huo, 17, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a conditional fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

A 6-foot-4, 185-pounder from Richmond, B.C., was added to Seattle’s protected list in 2017.

This season, Huo has three goals and six assists in 34 games. Last season, as a freshman, he had three goals and three assists in 67 games.

“Samuel is a young, experienced forward with good upside,” Tri-City general manager Bob Tory said in a news release. “After the departure of Isaac Johnson and recent injuries we felt it was necessary to add another forward to our roster.”

Tory told Taking Note on Wednesday night that Johnson, who had been a point-a-game player this season, has retired for personal reasons.

Huo is expected to be in the Americans’ lineup on Friday night when they visit the Everett Silvertips.

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The Saskatoon Blades acquired F Ryan Hughes, 19, from the Saskatoon Blades for F Josh SaskatoonPaterson, 19, and two bantam draft picks — a second-rounder in 2020 and a fourth-rounder in 2021. . . . The second-round pick originally belonged to the Swift Current Broncos. They sent it and a fifth-rounder in 2019 to the Blades for G Logan Flodell on Sept. 20, 2017.

The 5-foot-8, 155-pound Hughes, who is from Edmonton and was listed by Portland, has played 223 regular-season games with the Winterhawks, putting up 64 goals and 87 assists. This season, Hughes has 17 goals and 23 assists in 36 games.

The Blades selected the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Paterson, who also is from Edmonton, in the second round of the 2014 bantam draft. He has played 246 regular-season games with Saskatoon, totalling 74 goals and 64 assists. This season, Paterson, an alternate captain, has 14 goals and 18 assists in 41 games.

The Winterhawks and Blades are in second place in their respective divisions, Portland Portlandtrailing the Everett Silvertips by 11 points in the U.S. Division and Saskatoon 14 points in arrears of the Prince Albert Raiders in the East Division.

The Winterhawks obviously feel they need more size in order to get to Everett’s level, while Blades’ management is of the opinion that they must have more speed and offence in order to compete with Prince Albert.

Portland also is able to add a couple of bantam draft picks in this deal, one day after sending six selections to the Broncos for G Joel Hofer.

The Blades are to entertain the Calgary Hitmen on Friday night. On Saturday night, the Winterhawks, who play in Prince Albert on Friday, will visit Saskatoon.

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The Moose Jaw Warriors have acquired F Carson Denomie, 18, from the Kamloops MooseJawWarriorsBlazers for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-0, 195-pound Denomie is from Regina. The Blazers selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 bantam draft.

This season, he has one goal and three assists in 36 games. Last season, he recorded six goals and 13 assists in 66 games.

In 2016-17, Denomie helped the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians to a league championship, putting up 16 goals and 30 assists in 44 regular-season games.

The trade was made while the Blazers were in Victoria, where they are to meet the Royals on Friday night after dropping a 5-3 decision on Wednesday.

Interestingly, the Warriors will be in Kamloops to meet the Blazers on Tuesday.

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Moose Jaw and Swift Current got together on a buzzer-beater, with the Warriors landing F Alec Zawatsky, 19, in exchange for F Tyler Smithies, 18, and two bantam draft picks — a fourth-rounder in 2020 and a fifth in 2021.

Zawatsky, from Yorkton, led the Broncos in goals (13) and points (26), in 39 games. Last season, he had three goals and five assists in 43 games with the Saskatoon Blades, under head coach Dean Brockman. After the Blades fired Brockman, he ended up joining the Broncos and he found a spot for Zawatsky on the roster.

Smithies, from Beaumont, Alta., has two goals and an assist in 19 games with the Warriors this season. Last season, he had a goal and four assists in 36 games.

The Warriors are at home to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night, while the Broncos will entertain the Thunderbirds on Saturday.

——

The Kootenay Ice have acquired D Chase Hartje, 19, from the Brandon Wheat Kings for a Kootenaynewthird-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft. The pick originally belonged to the Red Deer Rebels.

Hartje, from Bemidji, Minn. has four goals and eight assists in 35 games with Brandon this season. Last season, he had 17 assists in 31 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors, then added three goals and five assists in 27 games with the Wheat Kings.

This was the second deadline day in a row on which Hartje changed teams. A year ago, Moose Jaw dealt him to Brandon as part of the trade in which the Warriors landed D Kale Clague and the Wheat Kings got F Luka Burzan.

The Ice next plays Saturday when it visits the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

——


The Vancouver Giants added D Nic Draffin, 17, from the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for a seventh-round selection in the 2021 WHL bantam draft.

Michael Dyck, the Giants’ first-year head coach, is most familiar with Draffin, having Vancouvercoached him bantam AAA and midget AAA in Lethbridge. While there, Draffin also was teammates with D Bowen Byram, who now stars for Vancouver.

This season, Draffin has one goal and four assists in 35 games with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs.

The Rebels selected Draffin in the third-round of the 2016 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Draffin, who is from Lethbridge, is expected to join the Giants in time for home games against the Kamloops Blazers on Saturday and Victoria Royals on Sunday.

After Alan Caldwell posted the above tweet, the Kelowna Rockets claimed D Matt Barberis, 20, on waivers from the Giants, then released F Lane Zablocki, 20, who has joined the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers.

Barberis, from Surrey, B.C., has played only nine games this season due to injury. This KelownaRocketswould have been his fourth full season with the Giants; in the previous three, he played 49, 48 and 56 games. In 168 regular-season games, he has 21 goals and 64 assists. The Giants selected him with the 20th overall pick of the 2013 bantam draft.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Barberis joins D Dalton Gally and D Schael Higson as 20-year-olds on Kelowna’s roster.

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ general manager, said in a news release that Barberis has medical clearance to play, but “he probably won’t play until next weekend.”

Zablocki had four goals and eight assists in 22 games with the Rockets, who acquired him from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 28, giving up a seventh-round bantam draft pick in 2019 and a fourth-rounder in 2021. He has 62 goals and 72 assists in 223 career regular-season WHL games.

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In a one-for-one exchange that was made right before the trading deadline, the Medicine Tigers Logo OfficialHat Tigers sent F Josh Williams, 17, to the Edmonton Oil Kings for F Brett Kemp, 18.

Williams, who has been selected to play in the Top Prospects Game in Red Deer on Jan. 23, has nine goals and

Williams, from Langley, B.C., was selected by the Tigers with the fifth-overall pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder has nine goals and 12 assists in 41 games this season, after putting up 11 goals and nine assists in 47 games last season. He had five goals and an EdmontonOilKingsassist in five games with Canada’s U-18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer and Edmonton in August.

Kemp, from Yorkton, Sask., was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft. The Oil Kings acquired Kemp and F Graham Millar, along with a 2018 first-round bantam draft pick from Everett on Jan. 4, 2017, for D Aaron Irving and a seventh-rounder in the 2017 draft.

The 6-foot-1, 160-pound Kemp has 43 goals and 46 assists in 146 regular-season games, all but 17 of them with Edmonton. This season, he has 22 goals and 17 assists in 40 games. He had been the Oil Kings’ second-leading point producer.

Kemp is expected to be in the Tigers’ lineup on Friday against the visiting Regina Pats, while Williams should be Edmonton’s lineup when it visits the Lethbridge Hurricanes. On Saturday, the Tigers are at home to the Oil Kings, meaning Kemp and Williams will be going up against their former teammates.

——

The Everett Silvertips added size to their roster, and they hope they got some offence, Everetttoo, with the acquisition of F Robbie Holmes, 19, from the Regina Pats.

In exchange for the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Holmes, from Sherwood Park, Alta., the Pats get F Sloan Stanick, 15, who hasn’t signed a WHL contract, and two WHL bantam draft picks — a second-rounder in 2020 and a sixth in 2022.

An 11th-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, Holmes has 29 goals and 27 assists in 148 regular-season games with Regina. This season, he has nine goals and seven assists in 24 games.

Stanick, from Rapid City, Man., was selected by Everett in the seventh round of the 2018 bantam draft.

This season, he has 12 goals and 12 assists in 31 games with the Yellowhead Chiefs of the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League. Last season, with the bantam AAA Chiefs, he finished with 28 goals and 31 assists in 36 games.

Stanick’s twin brother, Slade, also plays for the midget AAA Chiefs. Slade is on Everett’s protected list.

The Silvertips are at home to the Tri-City Americans on Friday night.

Jokiharju to WJC, not to Portland; Chicago assigns defenceman to Finnish team . . . Swetlikoff leaves Vipers for Rockets


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On the seventh day of our annual Christmas countdown, with a special Christmas wish to friend Stu Walters, here are The Tenors, with Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. . . . It’s right here.


The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks revealed on Tuesday that they have assigned D Henri Jokiharju to the Finnish national junior team, so he will play for his home country in the 2019wjcWorld Junior Championship that opens Monday in Vancouver and Victoria. . . . Jokiharju, 19, has 11 assists in 32 games with the Blackhawks while averaging 20 minutes of playing time. . . . He played the past two seasons with the Portland Winterhawks and is eligible to be assigned there by Chicago after the WJC. . . . However, it sounds as though Portland fans shouldn’t get too excited. Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach, told Taking Note on Tuesday that “from what I understand there is no chance that would happen.” . . . Last season, Jokiharju had 12 goals and 59 assists in 71 regular-season games with Portland. In 2016-17, he had nine goals and 39 assists in 71 games. . . . He also played for Finland at the WJC a year ago, putting up two goals and two assists in five games.


If you feel so inclined, please click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.


And now for something completely different, it’s the Dropkick Murphys with The Season’s Upon Us, and it’s all right here. Yes, this one is a lot of fun.


The Kelowna Rockets have signed F Alex Swetlikoff, 17, to a WHL contract. The 6-foot-3 KelownaRocketsSwetlikoff, who is from Keolwna, had been playing with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, where he had eight goals and 12 assists in 27 games. . . . Swetlikoff was a third-round pick by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. The Thunderbirds sent Swetlikoff to the Hurricanes on May 3 for D Kirby Proctor, 17, who is with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers and has committed to the U of Nebraska-Omaha for 2020-21. . . . The Rockets acquired Swetlikoff from Seattle on Dec. 6 for a fourth-round pick in the 2022 bantam draft. . . . Earlier Tuesday, the Canadian Junior Hockey League announced the rosters for its Top Prospects Game and Swetlikoff was on the list. That, of course, won’t happen now. . . . Swetlikoff, who had committed to the U of Denver for 2020-21, should make his WHL debut on Dec. 28 in Kamloops against the Blazers. . . . He is the second highly touted prospect to have left the Vipers after the start of this season. F Josh Prokop, who had a goal and four assists in six games, left to join the Calgary Hitmen on Sept. 26. . . . Since the start of this season, the Vipers also have lost G Max Palaga to the Everett Silvertips, F Kjell Kjemhus to the Moose Jaw Warriors and F Sebastian Streu to the Regina Pats.


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They’ll talk Ice in Cranbrook . . . Foote’s in the door in Kelowna . . . Raiders just keep on winning


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F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) has been recalled by ZSC Zurich (Switzerland, NL A) from GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B). This is Sigrist’s second call up by ZSC this season. He was called up on Sept. 21 for three games, in which he went pointless. This season, he has two goals and two assists with GC Küsnacht Lions, and three goals and one assist in one game with GCK Lions U20 (Switzerland, Junior Elite A).


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They’ll be holding one of those ‘town hall’ meetings in Cranbrook on Thursday evening and the only topic on the agenda is the future of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

There has been ample speculation over the past couple of years that the Ice, who are Kootenaynewowned by Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, both of Winnipeg, will be relocating to the Manitoba capital at some point in time. Things heated up again last week with a story in the Winnipeg Free Press on that topic.

According to a story on the Summit 107FM website, the meeting also will “launch a new season-ticket campaign.”

A Cranbrook group known as the Green Bay Committee will play host to the meeting. It said in a news release that it “will be discussing the Winnipeg article, including how it affects our campaign and how our community leaders should respond to it. . . .

“We all understand the economic, social and entertainment value that the Ice brings to Cranbrook and the Kootenays. Like the Ice, we are concerned that the current season-ticket total is about 1,700, which is about 200 less than last (season).”

Another Summit 107 story, this one by Bradley Jones, indicates that the radio station “reached out to the WHL” and the Ice in an attempt to get reaction to the relocation speculation.

“The WHL is looking forward to the Kootenay Ice continuing to operate this season in Cranbrook,” Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, said in a statement given to Summit 107. Robison apparently chose not to address the future beyond the end of this season.

As for the Ice, Jones reported that Summit 107 was told “no comment will be given.”

If you are in the Cranbrook area, the meeting is scheduled for the Heritage Inn at 6 p.m.


After firing head coach Jason Smith on Monday, Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, told a media scrum that there were “a couple KelownaRocketsof guys that I’ve zeroed in on and I’ll probably have a good idea by (Tuesday). I’m dealing with a couple people and hopefully by (Tuesday) we’ll have somebody in place. Whether they’ll be here or not by then, time will tell.”

Late Monday night, Sportsnet’s John Shannon, one of Hamilton’s good friends, tweeted that former NHL D Adam Foote would be introduced as the Rockets’ head coach on Tuesday morning.

And, lo and behold, Foote was on the ice with the Rockets for a Tuesday morning practice. He made his game debut later Tuesday against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

According to Alistair Waters of the Kelowna Capital News, Hamilton said Tuesday that Foote “was his only call when he went looking for a new head coach.”

Foote, 47, becomes the Rockets’ fifth head coach over the past six years.

He was a rugged defenceman in an NHL career that included three teams, and 1,154 regular-season and 170 playoff games.

“Our hope is that Adam can come in and take over a team that is in transition,” Hamilton said in a news release. “Because we host the 2020 Memorial Cup, we know a number of personnel moves will have to be made. We are confident Adam will be able to help us move forward, not just this year but next season also.”

On July 7, 2016, Hamilton had introduced Smith as the Rockets’ head coach, replacing Brad Ralph, who was one-and-done despite getting the team into the Western Conference final in the spring of 2016.

“I’m really excited that we have found a new head coach and I think that he will fit in really well with the team we have and the existing coaching staff,” Hamilton said at the time. “I  think our players will be really excited to have a coach of this calibre, with this kind of experience as a player and as a coach.”

Smith also had been a rugged NHL defenceman in a career that encompassed five teams, and 1,008 regular-season and 68 playoff games.

After retiring, Smith spent four seasons with the Ottawa Senators, the last team for which he had played, two as a scouting and development consultant and two (2014-16) as an assistant coach.

Those two seasons accounted for Smith’s only coaching experience. But that’s two more seasons than Foote, who hadn’t coached at all before Tuesday morning.

The Rockets, who were 4-10-0 when Smith was fired, will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. Smith was in the final year of a three-year contract and Hamilton’s decision made it clear that he wasn’t comfortable having Smith take the team into next season and, ultimately, the Memorial Cup.

Foote, who has a deal covering the remainder of this season and next season, will handle that, barring the unexpected.

Before Hamilton brought in Ralph as head coach, the Rockets had become known for having success by promoting from within. Foote is the third straight head-coaching hire from outside the organization.

Foote’s hiring also delivers a message to assistant coaches Travis Crickard and Travis Mallette, both of whom are in their fifth seasons with the Rockets and are signed only through this season.

Both were passed over when Hamilton hired Smith before the 2016-17 season, and now it has happened again, and they know that, all things being equal, the head-coaching post is filled until at least May of 2020.

Hamilton said on Monday that the future of the assistant coaches will be left up to the new head coach.


D Tylor Ludwar, who was released by the Kamloops Blazers on Oct. 12, has been traded by the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers to the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. Ludwar, 19, is from Regina. The Vipers got F Ben Sanderson and future considerations in the deal. . . . Ludwar was pointless in two games with the Vipers, after getting into only one game with the Blazers. . . . Sanderson, 18, is the son of former WHL/NHL F Geoff Sanderson. Ben has committed to Colorado College for 2019-20.


The Medicine Hat Tigers are likely to have D Damon Agyeman, 16, in their lineup tonight (Wednesday) against the visiting Red Deer Rebels. With D Joel Craven and D Trevor Longo sideline by injuries, the Tigers have brought Agyeman, a list player, in from the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons. Agyeman, from Cochrane, Alta., has one assist in eight games with the Bisons.


TUESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Brett Leason scored twice and G Ian Scott record the shutout as the host Prince Albert Raiders blanked the Everett Silvertips, 3-0. . . . Leason scored the game’s first two goals, at PrinceAlbert13:17 of the second period and 17:20 of the third. He leads the WHL in goals (13), assists (17) and points (30), and has at least one point in each of the team’s 14 games this season. . . .  Scott stopped 24 shots in earning his second shutout of the season and the fifth of his career. This season, he’s 11-1-0, 1.50, .947. . . . The Raiders now are 13-1-0 and have won six in a row. They are 7-0-0 at home. . . . Everett (7-5-0) is 1-2-0 on its East Division tour. . . . The Silvertips were without F Connor Dewar, their captain, as he served the second of a four-game suspension. . . . With D Sergei Sapego (ill) out and D Max Martin suspended, the Raiders had D Nolan Allan, the third-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, make his WHL debut. . . . Everett F Alex Moar played his third game of the season; he spent the previous two seasons with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.


G Carl Tetachuk stopped 34 shots to earn his first WHL victory in his first start as the LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes beat the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, 2-1. . . . Tetachuk, who is from Lethbridge, is a list player who spent last season with the midget AAA Hurricanes. He was especially sharp in the third period as his guys were outshot, 16-3. . . . Lethbridge (6-4-3) has points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . The Wheat Kings (6-2-3) are 1-1-1 in their past three. This was Game 1 of a seven-game swing that will take them through the B.C. Division. They next will play at home on Nov. 9. . . . All the goals were scored via the PP. . . . F Jadon Joseph (5) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 17:19 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos (12) tied it at 19:00. . . . F Taylor Ross (9) of the Hurricanes broke the tie at 18:05 of the second period.


D Alex Alexeyev scored the game’s first two goals and the Red Deer Rebels went on to a 3-Red Deer1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels (8-3-1) have won three in a row. . . . The Hitmen (4-7-2) had won their previous three games. . . . Alexeyev, who has six goals, scored at 2:14 and 14:14 of the first period. . . . The Rebels got 30 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 27 shots for Calgary. His night’s work included stopping Red Deer F Josh Tarzwell on a penalty shot at 19:14 of the third period with the Rebels leading 3-1.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last four goals to beat the Cougars, 5-1, in Prince George. . . . The Americans (7-4-0) have won three in a row. They are 2-0-0 on an 11-game road trip. . . . The Cougars (5-6-1) had won their previous three games. . . . There’ll be a rematch tonight. . . . The Americans got the game’s first goal from F Wil Kushniryk (1), who was acquired Monday from the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Tri-City F Brett Clayton (1) broke a 1-1 tie at 3:52 of the second period. . . . The Americans got 35 stops from G Beck Warm. . . . As for the above tweet, Americans F Nolan Yaremko had two assists and was named the game’s second star.


F Jack Cowell got the game-winner as the host Kelowna Rockets got past the Swift Current Broncos, 3-2. . . . Kelowna won in Adam Foote’s first game as head coach. He replaced Jason Smith, who was fired on Monday with the Rockets at 10-4. . . . Kelowna had lost six in a row at home. . . . The Broncos (1-12-0) have lost five in a row. They went 0-5 on their B.C. Division trip. . . . Cowell broke a 2-2 tie with his second goal of the season at 10:12 of the second period. . . . Kelowna got the game’s first goal from F Lane Zablocki, 20, who played his first game with the Rockets on Friday, then was scratched from the next two because of an undisclosed injury. . . . The Rockets had a 33-25 edge in shots, but it was 21-5 in the first period. . . . G James Porter stopped 23 shots for Kelowna in his first start since Oct. 5. . . . With his father making his head-coaching debut, Kelowna F Nolan Foote was scratched with an undisclosed injury.


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Broncos add d-man, release forward . . . Giants win 13-round shootout . . . Lambert a winner in return to Swift Current


MacBeth

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Klagenfurt II (Switzerland, Alps HL). This season, he had one goal in four games with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russian Vysshaya Liga). The contract with Klagrenfurt II has a one-month “probationary” period. . . .

G Barry Brust (Spokane, Calgary, 2000-04) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). Last season, with Fribourg-Gottéron (Switzerland, NL A), he was 2.29, .926 in 38 games. . . . Side note on Kunlun Red Star: The KHL schedule states that Kunlun has played or will play all of its home games in Shanghai until Christmas Day, when they will move their home games to Beijing. . . .

D Brett Carson (Moose Jaw, Calgary, 2001-06) has signed a contract with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga). The contract is for the rest of this season, but there is an unspecified “probationary” period. Last season, he had two goals and five assists in 56 games with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga). He was an alternate captain. . . .

F/D Curt Gogol (Kelowna, Saskatoon, Chilliwack, 2007-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Manglerud (Norway, GET-Ligaen). This season, with Kalmar (Sweden, Division 1), he had one assist in four games.


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The Swift Current Broncos have acquired D Garrett Sambrook from the Brandon Wheat SCBroncosKings for a conditional ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . From Medora, Man., Sambrook, 18, was a sixth-round pick by Brandon in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Wheat Kings released him earlier this season and he has been playing with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals, recording three assists in seven games. . . . In 70 games with the Wheat Kings over three seasons, he put up one goal and nine assists. . . . Sambrook didn’t play in the Broncos’ 4-1 loss to the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Friday night.

Later Friday, the Broncos announced that they had released F Colum McGauley. The 18-year-old, from Wilcox, Sask., was pointless in two games with the Broncos this season. . . . Last season, he had two goals in 47 games with the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Spokane Chiefs selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 WHL bantam draft. . . . The Rockets dealt F Tanner Wishnowski to Spokane for McGauley, on Oct. 27, 2016. On July 10, Kelowna dealt him to the Broncos for an eighth-round selection in the 2021 bantam draft.


Please feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a donation to the Taking Note cause. . . . One regular reader who did just that wrote: “Definitely the best source of info for junior hockey, and really enjoy the writing. It’s one of my first visits every morning.”


The Kamloops Blazers have released D Tylor Ludwar, 19, and he is expected to join the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. Ludwar, from Regina, had gotten into only one game with the Blazers this season. . . . Ludwar had one goal and two assists in 53 games last season, after recording two assists in 19 games in 2016-17.


Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette has more on Lyle Odelein and what he has been through right here. Odelein, 50, is from Quill Lake, Sask. He played three seasons (1985-88) with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Odelein was tough, but he also put up 163 points in 189 regular-season games.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed F Josh Hoekstra to a WHL contract. From Edmonton, he was a fourth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, he is played with OHA-Edmonton’s Elite 15s. In five games, he has three assists. Last season, he had eight goals and 18 assists in 30 games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team.


Ryan Oulahen has stepped aside from his position as head coach of the OHL’s Flint ohlFirebirds. A post on the team’s website reads that Oulahen has left “due to personal and family reasons. He will be leaving the position effective immediately.” . . . Greg Stefan, the team’s goaltending coach, worked as the head coach on Friday night, with associate coach Darcy Findlay and assistant coach Garrett Rutledge staying in their roles. . . . The Firebirds were 0-7-0 going into Friday’s games, leaving them last in the 10-team Western Conference. Last night, they fell to 0-8-0 with a 5-3 loss to the visiting North Bay Battalion. . . . Oulahen, 33, was in his third season as Flint’s head coach. . . . Brendan Savage of mlive.com has more right here.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Kaleb Bulych scored in the 13th round of a shootout as the Vancouver Giants beat the VancouverKamloops Blazers, 4-3, in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants ran their winning streak to five games. . . . The Blazers have lost six in a row (5-0-1). . . . F Luc Smith’s second goal of the game, at 15:33 of the third period, gave Kamloops a 3-1 lead. . . . F Davis Koch got the Giants to within one at 17:33 and F Milos Roman tied it with 10.7 seconds left in the period. . . . The Giants won the shootout, 2-1, getting their other goal from D Bowen Byram in the third round, after F Connor Zary had scored for Kamloops to end the second round. . . . A pregame note from Steve Ewen of Postmedia: “Also of note with Friday’s game is the coaching matchup. Michael Dyck signed on as bench boss with the Giants in June, but not before talking to the Blazers about their open post, if you believe the rumour mill. The Blazers announced Serge Lajoie as their new coach three days ahead of the Dyck addition in Vancouver, but Lajoie had spoken to the Giants, according to scuttlebutt.”


F Max Gerlach scored three times, including the OT winner, as the Saskatoon Blades beat the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 3-2. . . . Gerlach, who has seven goals, tied the game, 2-2, at 19:44 of the third period and won it at 3:44 of OT. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier stopped 23 shots. F Alex Morozoff of the Rebels came up short on a penalty shot at 16:41 of the third period with his guys ahead 2-1. . . . The Blades have won four in a row; the Rebels are 4-0-1 in their past five. . . . D Jackson Caller was back in Saskatoon’s lineup after missing four games with an undisclosed injury.


F Bryce Kindopp broke a 3-3 tie with 2:57 left in the third period as the host Everett Silvertips got past the Edmonton Oil Kings, 5-3. . . . Kindopp’s third goal of the season came via the PP. . . . F Connor Dewar had two goals — giving him six — and two assists for Everett, for his second career four-point game. . . . The Oil Kings have lost six in a row (0-5-1); they are 0-4-0 in the U.S. Division. They wrap up this six-game road trip tonight in Kent, Wash., against the Seattle Thunderbirds.


G Bailey Brkin stopped 28 shots to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, now are 0-7 to open the season. . . . Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) notes that this is the Broncos’ first seven-game losing streak “since an 11-game winless stretch in November and December of 2015.” Brandow adds that the Broncos are the “first defending title holder in Internet Era to lose first six the following season.” . . . The Chiefs have points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . This game marked the return of Dan Lambert to Swift Current for the first time as head coach of the Chiefs. Lambert was an all-star defenceman with the Broncos and helped them win the 1989 Memorial Cup. He is in his second season as the Chiefs’ head coach; they didn’t play in Swift Current last season.


D Linus Nassen had a goal and two assists, his first goal of the season coming 28 seconds into the game, to help the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Tigers improved to 4-5-1. . . . Prince George (2-5-1) has lost four in a row. . . . After the game, Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat Tigers tweeted: “Tigers not commenting on the status of Gary Haden, who was scratched from tonight’s game.” . . . McCracken also tweeted that Tigers skaters “Joel Craven and Trevor Longo both left tonight’s game and are questionable” for Saturday’s game.


D Schael Higson had five points, including two goals, as the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings scored a 5-4 OT victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (3) won it 25 seconds into extra time. . . . Higson, 20, has three goals and eight assists in six games. Last season, he had career highs of five goals and 23 assists in 71 games. . . . The Warriors got four assists from F Justin Almeida, with F Tristin Langan adding two goals and an assist. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-0-1) have yet to lose in regulation time. . . . The Warriors are 3-0-2 in their last five. . . . This was the fourth meeting in three weeks between these teams — Brandon is 3-0-1; Moose Jaw is 1-2-1.


In Cranbrook, B.C., the Regina Pats built up a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Pats (2-6-0) had lost their previous two games; the Ice had won its previous two games. . . . Freshman F Sergei Alkhimov gave the visitors a 2-0 lead when he scored his second goal of the season on a penalty shot at 7:46 of the second period. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Regina was 46-for-65 on faceoffs. That’s 71 per cent.


The Kelowna Rockets snapped a four-game losing skid with a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. The Rockets improved to 2-8-0. . . . F Kyle Topping (3) gave the Rockets a 3-1 lead at 5:30 of the third period. . . . F Michael Farren, acquired Thursday from the Saskatoon Blades, wasn’t in Kelowna’s lineup. The Rockets also scratched two 20-year-olds — F Lane Zablocki, who has yet to play, and F Ryan Bowen. . . . The two head coaches — Jason Smith of Kelowna and Tri-City’s Kelly Buchberger — both are former captains of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . The Rockets and Americans will play again tonight, this time in Kelowna.


The Calgary Hitmen won for the first time in seven games, beating the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-5. . . . Calgary (1-5-1) built up a 6-2 lead, then allowed three goals, two of them by F Logan Barlage (4), in the game’s last 6:05. . . . The Hitmen got two goals and an assist from F Mark Kastelic (5), a goal and two helpers from F Jake Kryski (5), and three assists from D Vladislav Yeryomenko. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 34 shots to earn his first WHL victory.


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Food news: Blades’ Beuf is back! . . . Lethbridge adds forward in deal . . . Hitmen trim two from roster . . . Ice drops an import


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F Masi Marjamäki (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2002-05) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had two goals and two assists in 24 games with Jokerit Helsinki (Finland, KHL), and four goals and two assists in 14 games with Almtuna Uppsala (Sweden, Allsvenskan).


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The biggest news in the WHL on Thursday, an off-day on the schedule, came from the Saskatoon Blades, and it is explained in the following tweets . . . If you don’t know the origin of Jerome Engele’s nickname, you should know that he is a former Saskatoon police officer and you need to watch Smokey and the Bandit. . . .


When a WHL team puts together a bid package in the hopes of bringing the Memorial Cup tournament to its city, one of the things that must be included is a guaranteed profit.

For example, in winning the right to play host to the 2013 tournament, the Saskatoon KelownaRocketsBlades guaranteed a profit of $3.5 million. When all was said and done, the event fell a bit short of that, so the Saskatchewan government, which had agreed to underwrite the guarantee, shelled out $668,000 to the CHL. The 2013 tournament drew 82,503 fans to nine games, at the time the fourth-highest attendance in the event’s history.

So what kind of profit did the Kelowna Rockets guarantee as part of their successful bid for the 2020 Memorial Cup?

We may never find out, but Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, told Ron Seymour of the Kelowna Daily Courier that it was a “heck of a lot less” than the Blades’ guarantee.

Seymour also reported that the City of Kelowna is to hear a funding request in December and that the organizing committee is expected to apply to the provincial government for grants to help with tournament costs.

Seymour’s complete story is right here.

The WHL announced Wednesday, following a board of governors’ meeting in Calgary, that the Rockets would be the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup. That night, the Rockets dropped a 5-0 decision to the visiting Vancouver Giants before, according to Wayne Moore of castanet.net, “just 4,008 fans, the smallest announced crowd at Prospera Place since October of 2002.”



The Lethbridge Hurricanes have acquired F Ty Kolle, 18, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes Lethbridgefor a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Kolle, from Kamloops, was scratched on Wednesday night when the Winterhawks went on to score a 7-3 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Kolle was picked by Portland in the fourth round of the 2015 bantam draft. In 77 regular-season games with the Winterhawks, he has seven goals and 11 assists. Last season, he put up seven goals and seven assists in 60 games. . . . Kolle could make his Lethbridge debut tonight (Friday) against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.



The Calgary Hitmen have released F Orca Wiesblatt, 18, and G Matthew Armitage, 19, from their roster. . . . Wiesblatt had five goals and eight assists in 49 games as a freshman Calgarywith the Hitmen last season. This season, he was pointless in two games. He joined the Hitmen in late October from the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. Prior to then, he had been committed to attend the U of Vermont and play for the Catamounts. . . . Armitage will turn 19 on Oct. 30. He got into 19 games with the Hitmen last season (4-7-1, 3.55, .890) as a freshman, and had played in one game this season (0-1-0, 5.05, .839). The Spokane Chiefs selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . Armitage’s departure leaves the Hitmen with two goaltenders — Carl Stankowski, 18, and freshman Jack McNaughton, who turns 17 on Oct. 30. The move also would appear to signal that the Hitmen are feeling good about Stankowski’s health. Then with the Seattle Thunderbirds, he sat out all of last season due to injury and health issues.


The Kootenay Ice has released F Gilian Kohler, who was the third-overall selection in the KootenaynewCHL’s 2017 import draft. The move allows the Ice to keep Slovakian D Martin Bodak, 20, and Finnish D Valterri Kakkonen, who is in his first WHL season. . . . Kohler, 18, is from Biel, Switzerland. He had eight goals and 11 assists in 55 games as a freshman last season. He had one assist in one game this season. . . . Kohler has cleared the 48-hour import waivers and is expected to return to Switzerland and play for Biel-Bienne in the Elite Jr. A League. He had eight goals and 42 assists in 43 games there in 2016-17.


THURSDAY NIGHT NOTES:

If you are a follower of the Prince George Cougars, or a WHL fan in general, you should know that Hartley Miller is two episodes into a new podcast called Hartley’s Cat Scan. . . . The second episode finds Miller, the analyst on Cougars’ home broadcasts and the sports director at 94.3 The Goat, involved in an entertaining conversation with G Taylor Gauthier. It’s all right here.

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The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers have acquired the rights to F Sebastian Streu from the Cowichan Capitals for future considerations. Streu, who is to turn 19 on Nov. 22, was released by the Kootenay Ice last month. Last season, as a freshman, he had nine goals and three assists in 54 games with the Ice. . . . Streu is from Germany, but his father, Craig, has Canadian roots, so Sebastian, who has dual citizenship, wasn’t considered an import by the WHL.

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In another BCHL deal, the Surrey Eagles have added G Kyle Dumba, 20, and F Brady Lynn, 19, from the Nanaimo Clippers for future considerations. . . . Dumba, from Calgary, has played in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats. He started this season in camp with the Pats but was released. . . .

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In the OHL, G Michael DiPietro tied the league record for most career shutouts as the Windsor Spitfires beat the visiting London Knights, 2-0. DiPietro, in his fourth season with Windsor, stopped 32 shots in recording his 16th shutout, tying the record set by Tom McCollum, who played two-plus seasons with the Guelph Storm and half a season with the Brampton Battalion (2006-09). . . . DiPietro was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . McCollum now is with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. . . . The WHL career record of 26 is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 2013-18).


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and add to the Taking Note book fund. Just finished Hockey Fight in Canada, by David Shoalts. Next up is Jeff Pearlman’s Football for a Buck, about the rise and fall of the USFL.


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