Broncos’ goaltender detailing U-18 team’s adventures . . . Zellweger, Toporowski expected back on Friday . . . Hlinka Gretzky Cup, WJC have their dates

The WHL’s Swift Current Broncos will have seven players off their roster playing in the IIHF’s U-18 World championship when it opens in Germany on HockeyCanadaSaturday. . . . Six of those players will skate with Team Canada, the first time one team has had that many players on the roster. G Reid Dyck, D Owen Pickering, F Josh Davies, F Josh Filmon, F Connor Hvidston and F Mathew Ward all are part of Canada’s 25-man roster. . . . D Rayan Bettahar of the Broncos is on the host team’s roster. . . . Other WHLers on Team Canada’s roster are G Ethan Buenaventura, Calgary Hitmen; D Lukas Dragicevic, Tri-City Americans; D Kalem Parker, Victoria Royals; D Grayden Siepmann, Calgary; F Connor Bedard, Regina Pats; F Tanner Howe, Regina; and F Brayden Schuurman, Victoria. . . . I will be curious to see how F Matthew Wood of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies stacks up here. Wood, who turned 17 on Feb. 6, is from Lethbridge He led the WHL in goals (45) and points (85) in 46 games. He has committed to attend the U of Connecticut for 2023-24. The Regina Pats selected Wood in the second round of the WHL’s 2020 draft.. . . Canada will open Saturday against Team USA. . . . The tournament will be played in Kaufbeuren and Landshut, and is to run through May 1. . . . Team Canada’s roster is right here.

——

Team Canada already is in Germany, and G Reid Dyck of the Swift Current Broncos is blogging for the WHL team’s website, and his first posting is most entertaining and includes photos. He reports that Monday began with a 2:45 a.m. wakeup call in Regina. . . . You can read all about his day right here, a long travel day that ended when luggage belonging to Dyck and two teammates didn’t make it.



An email from a WHL fan who is a regular visitor to Taking Note:

“Your pet peeve loser points . . . Everett gets rewarded getting 10 loser points. Kamloops gets punished for having more regulation-time victories. . . . The WHL should do one or the other — copy the IIHF by giving the winner in regulation-time three points or go back and only give points to the winner.”

Or dump overtime and that silliness that is the shootout and bring tie games back into existence.

You ask, what’s this all about? It’s all about rewarding teams for losing — aka the loser point.

The Everett Silvertips finished atop the Western Conference with a record of 45-13-10. The two teams that finished one point behind them — the Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks — each had more victories (48 and 47) but far fewer loser points. While Everett cashed in 10 of those, Kamloops had three and Portland five.

Of course, Everett finished with fewer regulation-time losses (13) than Kamloops (17) and Portland (16).



F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats finished the WHL’s regular season with 51 goals. He was born on July 17, 2005, so hasn’t yet turned 17. As a result, he is the youngest player in WHL history to reach the 50-goal mark. . . . F Glen Goodall scored 63 goals with the 1986-87 Seattle Thunderbirds. He was born on Jan. 22, 1970, so had turned 17 before season’s end. BTW, he was a regular with Seattle at the age of 14, so already was in his third season when he hit for 63. . . . F Dan Lucas of the Victoria Cougars scored 57 goals in 1974-75. He was born on Feb. 28, 1958, so also had turned 17 before season’s end. That was his second season with the Cougars; he had played 29 games in 1973-74. . . . Bedard, of course, played with the Pats in the 2021 development season, scoring 12 goals in 15 games before heading off to play for Team Canada at the 2021 IIHF World U-18 championship in Texas. Canada won that tournament, beating Russia 5-3 in the final. Bedard had seven goals and seven assists in seven games.



Fred


The Everett Silvertips expect to have Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-Everettscoring defenceman, back in the lineup on Friday when they open the playoffs against the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . “Olen will be set to play,” Dennis Williams, Everett’s general manager and head coach, told Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald. . . . Zellweger led defencemen in assists (64) and points (78), all in 55 games. . . . He hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury on April 10. He sat out Everett’s last two games, both road losses — 5-1 to the Portland Winterhawks and 4-1 to the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Silvertips go into the playoffs having lost three in a row while being outscored 13-3. In fact, they are just 2-3-2 in their last seven outings.


The Kamloops Blazers expect to have F Luke Toporowski, 20, back in their Kamloopslineup when they open against the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Friday. Toporowski, who was acquired from the Chiefs on Jan. 17, has been out with a leg injury since March 11. In 22 games with Kamloops, he had 34 points, including 20 goals. . . . F Nick McCarry, who was part of the package that went to Spokane in that deal, put up 16 goals and 19 assists in 36 games with the Chiefs. . . . Interestingly, Ryan Smith, the Chiefs’ interim head coach, spent one season on the coaching staff of the Medicine Hat Tigers working alongside Shaun Clouston. At that time, Clouston was the Tigers’ general manager and head coach; today, he wears both hats for the Blazers. . . . Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has a chat with Smith right here.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.


Waldo


JUST NOTES: There now are official dates for the eight-team 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the 10-team 2022 World Junior Championship. The former, for U-18 teams, is scheduled for Red Deer, July 31 through Aug. 6. Canada will be in Group A, along with Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. Group B is to comprise Czechia, Finland, Germany and the U.S. The WJC is scheduled for Rogers Place in Edmonton, Aug. 9-20. You will recall that the WJC actually got started in December before a number of positive tests among players and on-ice officials resulted in its being cancelled. From a news release: “The results from games played in December will not be carried over to this summer’s World Juniors, and players born in 2002 or later will remain eligible to represent their respective countries.” Canada is to play in Group B with Czechia, Finland, Latvia and Slovakia. Group A is to feature Austria, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. . . .

Manny Viveiros, a former WHL player and coach, is on leave from his position as head coach of the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights as he progresses into “the next steps of his recovery,” according to a news release. Viveiros is fighting prostate cancer. . . . In his absence, assistant coach Jamie Heward takes over as interim head coach. . . . Viveiros was the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos, with Heward as assistant coach, when they won the WHL’s 2017-18 championship. . . .

D Gannon Laroque of the Victoria Royals will finish this season with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. He could be in their lineup tonight against the host Bakersfield Condors. Laroque, from Edmonton, was a fourth-round selection by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . F Tarun Fizer, the Royals’ 20-year-old captain, will finish up with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies. . . . Adam Nugent-Hopkins has joined the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., as the head coach of the the U-18 prep team. He spent the 2021-22 season as head coach of the U-18 AAA Greater Vancouver Canadians. He is the older brother of Edmonton Oilers F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.


Policy


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Eating

Canada’s U-18 staff has WHL flavour . . . Blades salute former GM/head coach . . . WHL playoff spots undecided with nine games remaining

Nolan Baumgartner, a former WHL player and most recently an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, and David Struch, also a former WHL HockeyCanadaplayer who started the season as the Regina Pats’ head coach, have been named to the coaching staff of the Canadian team that will play in the IIHF U-18 world championship. . . . That tournament is to be held in Landshut and Kaufbeuren, Germany, from April 23 through May 1. . . . Team Canada’s coaching staff also includes Kori Cheverie, who will be the first female to coach one of the country’s national men’s teams. She spent five seasons (2016-21) as an assistant with Ryerson U’s men’s team and this season worked with the Canadian women’s Olympic team. . . . Baumgartner was a defenceman with the Kamloops Blazers when they won the 1994 and 1995 Memorial Cup titles. He had been part of the Vancouver Canucks organization since 2012 until he was let go in a regime change this season. He was with the Canadian men’s Olympic team at the Winter Games in Beijing earlier this year. . . . Struch spent nine seasons with the Regina Pats before being fired as head coach earlier this season. He played four seasons (1988-92) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The U-18 team’s coach staff also includes assistant coach Todd Miller, who is a former head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals and was an assistant coach with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2020-21, and goaltending consultant Brad Kirkwood, who works with the Calgary Hitmen and the U of Calgary women’s and men’s teams. . . . The complete news release is right here.


Courage


The WHL’s 22 teams are into the final two days of their 68-game regular seasons. There are nine games remaining, with seven of them scheduled for tonight. . . . Here’s a look at where things are in terms of playoff opponents (GR — games remaining) . . .

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Everett Silvertips — Will finish atop the U.S. Division and the conference. One point ahead of Portland, which is out of games. . . . Will be without Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, until at least the start of the playoffs. . . . GR (1): at Tri-City tonight.
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Actually third in the conference, two points behind Portland, but are second seed as B.C. Division winners. . . . GR (1): at home to Vancouver tonight.
  3. Portland Winterhawks — One point behind Everett, two ahead of Kamloops. . . . GR (0).
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . GR (0).
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Will finish fifth and meet Seattle in first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Prince George tonight.
  6. Vancouver Giants — Tied with Prince George for sixth, one point ahead of Victoria and two up on Spokane. Each of the four has one game remaining. . . . GR (1): at Kamloops tonight.
  7. Prince George Cougars — Tied with Vancouver for sixth, one point ahead of Victoria and two ahead of Spokane. . . . GR (1): at Kelowna tonight.
  8. Victoria Royals — Two points behind Vancouver and Prince George, one ahead of Spokane. Beat visiting Spokane last night. . . . GR (1): at home to Spokane tonight.
  9. Spokane Chiefs — Slipped to ninth spot as they lost while Victoria and Prince George won on Friday night. . . . One point out of a playoff spot. . . . GR (1): at Victoria tonight.
  10. Tri-City Americans — Not this season.

——

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Winnipeg Ice — Will finish atop the overall standings so is assured of home ice through the playoffs. First-round opponent has yet to be decided. . . . GR (1): Ice will be designated as home team in Regina tonight.
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Will finish second and open against Lethbridge. . . . GR (1): at Red Deer tonight.
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Will finish third and meet Brandon in the first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Edmonton tonight.
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage in first-round series with Saskatoon. . . . GR (1): at Regina on Sunday.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Will finish fifth and meet Moose Jaw in first round. . . . GR (0).
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Will finish sixth and meet Red Deer in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Prince Albert tonight.
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Calgary on Sunday.
  8. Prince Albert — Moved from 11th place into eighth with a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current last night. . . . GR (1): at home to Brandon tonight.
  9. Swift Current Broncos — Actually tied for eighth with Prince Albert but have run out of games. . . . One point ahead of Calgary, two ahead of Regina. . . . GR (0).
  10. Calgary Hitmen — One point behind Prince Albert and Swift Current, one in front of Regina. . . . GR (1): at home to Lethbridge on Sunday.
  11. Regina Pats — In 11th place, two points behind Prince Albert and Swift Current, one behind Calgary. . . . GR (2): at home to Winnipeg tonight in what is an Ice home game, at home to Moose Jaw on Sunday.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

F Kyle Crnkovic broke a 1-1 tie at 11:56 of the second period as the host Saskatoon Blades edged the Brandon Wheat Kings, 2-1. . . . That was his 39th goal this season. . . . Nolan Maier, the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL history, stopped 35 shots for the Blades. He earned his 122nd career victory in his eighth straight start and his 60th appearance of the season. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Broncos, 4-1, in Swift Current. . . . F Carson Latimer (17), who also had two assists, snapped a 1-1 tie at 4:27 of the second period, with F Vladislav Shiloh (9) adding insurance, on a PP, at 13:16. . . . The winners got 32 saves from G Tikhon Chaika. . . .

In a game that was moved from Winnipeg to Regina due to inclement weather and poor driving conditions in the Manitoba capital, the Ice scored five times in the first period and beat the Pats, 6-1. . . . Pregame chatter about the Pats, fighting for their playoff lives, maybe taking advantage of home cooking turned out to be much ado about nothing. . . . In fact, the Ice, the WHL’s best team in this regular season, led this one 5-0 at the 11:09 mark of the first period. . . . The Ice had 14 players get at least one point, but only two — F Jakin Smallwood (25) and F Conor Geekie (25) — had two. Each had a goal and an assist. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 21 shots to record the victory. This season, he is 33-3-1, 1.94, .916. . . . The announced attendance, for what was a Winnipeg home game, was 2,799. . . . Oh, yes. The Pats had advertised this as Guaranteed Win Night. The meant each fan in attendance received a coupon good for a regular-season game in 2022-23. . . .

F Yegor Klavdiev scored his second goal of the game in OT to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Klavdiev, who also had one assist, notched his 21st goal at 1:00 of extra time. . . . F Brayden Edwards (9) also scored twice for Lethbridge. . . . D Cole Jordan (3) had given the Warriors a 4-3 lead at 16:20 of the third period, only to have F Alex Thacker (13) pull the Hurricanes even at 19:05. . . .

Ridley
Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, was back where he belongs on Friday night. (Photo: Scott Roblin/CHAT-TV)

G Sebastian Cossa stopped 21 shots to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-0 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Cossa put up his sixth shutout of this season and the 14th of his career. This season, he is 33-9-3, 2.28, .913. . . . The Oil Kings scored once in each period, with all three goals coming from freshmen — F Cole Miller (9), F Dawson Seitz (7) and F Shea Van Olm (8), who also had two assists. . . . The Oil Kings were 7-0-1 in the season series. . . . Bob Ridley, the only radio voice the Tigers had known prior to the start of this season, returned to the microphone for their final game of this season. Health issues had kept him on the sidelines to this point. . . .

——

Western Conference:

The host Victoria Royals struck four times in the first period and went on to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 7-3. . . . The Royals jumped into a 4-0 lead at 10:31 of the opening period. . . . F Marcus Almquist scored two of those early goals, giving him seven. Almquist, from Denmark, enjoyed his first career two-goal lead. He has scored six of his even goals in his past eight games. . . . F Tarun Fizer, the Royals’ captain, had a goal, his 16th, and two assists. . . . F Chase Bertholet had a goal, his 24th, and two assists for Spokane. . . .

F Jonny Hooker snapped a 2-2 tie at 7:57 of the third period as the Prince George Cougars went into Kamloops and beat the Blazers, 4-2. . . . The Cougars led 2-0 early in the second period, only to have the Blazers tie it early in the third. F Reese Belton (14) pulled the home side even at 4:42, with Hooker’s 17th goal putting the visitors back in front just 3:15 later. . . . The winners got 43 stops from G Ty Young. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds got three goals from F Jared Davidson as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-4, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Davidson, who has 42 goals, has put up hat tricks in two straight games. He went into this season with 39 points, including 19 goals, in 130 games. This season, he has 89 points in 64 games. . . . Seattle got three assists from D Jeremy Hanzel. . . . F Jake Sloan scored twice, giving him 17, and added an assist for the Americans, with F Parker Bell (18) adding a goal and two helpers. . . .  F Samuel Huo got No. 30 for Tri-City. . . . Seattle’s three 20-year-olds — F Henrik Rybinski, F Lukas Svejkovsky and D Ryan Gottfried — were given the night off. . . .

F Colton Dach’s OT goal gave the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Dach scored his 29th goal at 1:12 of extra time. . . . F Adam Kidd (18) pulled Kelowna into a 2-2 with a PP goal at 12:27 of the third period. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (25) had given the Giants a 2-1 lead, on a PP, just 39 seconds into the third. . . .

F Jaydon Dureau scored twice to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips. . . . F Michal Gut (17) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 3:45 of the second period. . . . The Winterhawks then rolled their way to five straight goals. . . . Portland was 3-for-5 on the PP, with Dureau’s second goal, and 24th of the season, coming after Everett F Jonny Lambos was tossed with a kneeing major. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 24 shots for Portland. He is 24-4-0, 2.16, .931 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Silvertips got 44 saves from G Koen MacInnes.


Lettuce


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders fired Jeff Woywitka, their head coach and assistant general manager, on Friday. Woywitka started as associate coach in 2006-07 and was named head coach in November, after the firing of Adam Manah. The Crusaders were 16-16-3 under Woywitka, and grabbed the Viterra North Division’s last playoff spot. The Fort McMurray Oil Barons beat the Crusaders, 4-1, in a first-round best-of-seven playoff series. . . .

The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced on Thursday that head coach Carter Rigby will be back for a second season. “Rigby . . . took the Coyotes from dead last in the 2019-20 pre-COVID season (21 points) to top of the KIJHL (72 points) in his first full season as head coach, earning him the top coach award in the Bill Ohlhausen Division,” reads the team’s news release. Rigby, 28, played five seasons in the WHL (Kelowna, Swift Current, 2011-15). . . .

F Michael Misa of the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s Mississauga Senators U16 AAA team has been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada and is expected to be the first overall selection in the OHL’s draft, which is scheduled for April 29. Misa is the sixth player to have been granted exceptional status in order to play in the OHL as a 15-year-old, the others being F Shane Wright, D Sean Day, F Connor McDavid, D Aaron Ekblad and F John Tavares. . . .

The junior B Aldergrove Kodiaks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League have hired Ron Johnson as their head coach. He replaces Chris Price, who had been head coach for two-plus seasons. Price has joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs as assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach. . . .

D Keith McInnis has signed a tender with the USHL’s Waterloo BlackHawks. McInnis, who turned 16 on Jan. 8, is from Red Deer and was selected by the Rebels in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2021 draft. He played this season at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C.


Sucks


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation here, primarily because my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here. . . . You should know that Dorothy was all smiles on Friday morning when an NHL team’s head coach joined her team with a donation. Talk about an ear-to-ear smile!


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Comcast

Government hits WHL’s Sask. teams with PST . . . Big crowd watches Blades dump Pats . . . Garand blanks Rockets again

By now you will be aware that the cost of most everything is rising, rising, rising . . . with no end in sight. Well, six WHL teams learned earlier this week that their ticket prices will be going up, too, and there isn’t anything they can do about it.

That’s because this increase is thanks to the Saskatchewan government having slapped a six per cent PST on various entertainment events, all of which had been exempt. That announcement was part of the government’s latest budget that was announced on Wednesday.

“I’m just not sure about pairing an additional tax with the recovery of the live entertainment industry,” Tim Reid, the president and CEO of Regina Exhibition Association Limited, the Regina Pats’ landlord, told Regina radio station 980 CJME. “After everything we’ve been through, I just feel like the timing and the consultation has been not in the right place. . . .

“I think it probably gives us an opportunity to understand the co-dependencies between what we do to drive the visitor economy that they depend on and some of the decisions that they make fiscally.

“This is not an insignificant item for a business like ours, and it does change the affordability of our events.”


Safe


The IIHF recently created an Ethics Board and, according to a news release, its purpose “is to determine if the actions of an IIHF Member National Association IIHFor an individual associated with the IIHF or its members could constitute an ethical conduct violation.” . . . That Ethics Board now has two cases on its table. . . . From that same news release: “The IIHF Council has referred the Russian Ice Hockey Federation to the Ethics Board for review, due to reports that the RIHF allegedly sent instructions to Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) teams to take demonstrative actions in support of the Russia-Ukraine war. As such an action would constitute a violation of the IIHF Ethics Code, the Ethics Board will investigate further and determine whether this case will be referred to the IIHF Disciplinary Board. . . . The IIHF Council also decided to refer IIHF Life President René Fasel to the Ethics Board for review, following reports of his involvement with Russia and the KHL as well as public statements made about the war.” . . . Fasel has long been a supporter of Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator who chose to launch attacks on Ukraine. . . . The Ethics Board will ponder things and then decide whether to refer either case, or both of them, to the Disciplinary Board. . . . Fasel, 72, now works as an advisor to the KHL. He has been critical of the IIHF’s decision to ban Russian and Belarus from future competitions.


Yes, those were the days. . . . Back in the days when newspapers were seriously into newspapering, we at the Regina Leader-Post tried to cover the local scene like a blanket. That included a nightly SJHL roundup that sometimes gave a headline to Cam Moon. Yes, that Cam Moon, who now is a radio voice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers after all those years with the Red Deer Rebels. . . . BTW, on nights when Ian Hamilton was at his desk at The Leader-Post, we often had SJHL roundups that included quotes. . . . Yes, those really were the days! . . . BTW, Part 2: Lucas Punkari, who covered the Prince Albert Raiders for the Daily Herald not that long ago, now is at the Brandon Sun. Just in case you were wondering. These days he is busy churning out MJHL playoff previews.



The World Figure Skating Championships are taking place this week in Montpellier, France, and somehow things are just fine even though the Russians aren’t there, having been punted by the International Skating Union. . . . And just how have things been without the Russians? . . . Jon Wertheim of sicom wrote: “One official, who preferred to remain anonymous, remarked that, if anything, the event would be more legitimate, not less, since without Russians competing, there would be considerably less skepticism and speculation ‘over who was and was not doping.’ ” . . . Wertheim’s piece on whether various sports are missing the Russians is excellent and it’s right here.


Fashion


FRIDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

Habscheid
Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, asks the on-ice officials why the fire alarm hasn’t sounded during Friday night’s game in Brandon. (Photo: wheatkings.com)

F Nolan Ritchie scored twice and added two assists as his Brandon Wheat Kings Brandongot past the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 5-3. . . . The Wheat Kings also got a goal and two assists from F Riley Ginnell. . . . Ritchie, who scored on the PP and while shorthanded, has 29 goals, while Ginnell has 14. . . . Brandon G Ethan Kruger blocked 34 shots as the Raiders held a 37-19 edge in shots. . . . The Raiders’ loss allowed the idle Moose Jaw Warriors to clinch a playoff spot. . . . The Wheat Kings (29-24-5) appear headed for the sixth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. They are nine points behind Saskatoon and seven ahead of Lethbridge. . . . The Raiders (24-30-5) are ninth, two points out of the last playoff spot that is held by Swift Current. The Raiders hold two games in hand. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Carter Souch put up four points to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings Edmontonto a 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Souch had three assists as the Oil Kings took a 4-0 lead through two periods, then added his 20th goal into an empty net at 19:42 of the third. . . . Souch now has 68 points in 61 games. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 24 shots in running his numbers to 31-7-3, 2.26, .914 this season. . . . Freshman F Brayden Edwards scored both goals for Lethbridge, giving him four in 39 games. . . . Edmonton (46-12-3) is tied with the idle Winnipeg Ice for top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Ice has two games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (26-29-4) is seventh, seven points behind Brandon and one ahead of Swift Current. . . .

G Chase Coward stopped 13 shots to help the Red Deer Rebels to a 3-0 victory RedDeerover the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Coward has two career shutouts, both of them this season. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, the WHL’s leading point getter, scored his 35th goal and added an assist. His goal, at 14:05 of the second period, was the winner. . . . Red Deer F Ben King had an assist and now has at least a point in 14 straight games. He has 31 points, including 13 goals, during that stretch. . . . Bains now has 96 points, two more than King. . . . The Rebels (40-17-4) are sixth in the Eastern Conference and appear headed to a first-round series with Brandon. . . . The Tigers (11-44-4) have lost three in a row. . . .

D Marek Schneider’s first WHL goal proved the winner as the host Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades beat the Regina Pats, 3-1. . . . The Blades (34-22-4) now have clinched a playoff spot. They are fifth in the conference, one point behind Moose Jaw and nine ahead of Brandon. . . . Schneider, who turned 19 on Feb. 5, scored his first goal in his 56th game, 36 of them this season. He broke a 1-1 tie at 16:14 of the second period. . . . The announced attendance was 7,523 as the Blades ran a Kids Takeover promotion and also welcomed Regina F Connor Bedard for perhaps the last time this season. . . . Bedard had his point streak end at 21 games, the longest in the WHL this season. He put up 23 goals and 22 assists in those 21 games. . . . Regina (23-30-5) has lost three straight. It is 10th in the conference, four points behind eight-place Swift Current but with three games in hand. . . .

G Dylan Garand turned aside 41 shots in winning for the 30th time this season Kamloopsas the host Kamloops Blazers blanked the Kelowna Rockets, 6-0. . . . The Blazers have won nine in a row and six of those victories are over Kelowna. These two teams played home-and-home each of the previous two weekends and are doing it again this weekend. Yes, they’ll play in Kelowna tonight. . . . Garand, who blanked the Rockets, 4-0, in Kamloops last Saturday, has four shutouts this season 12 in 129 career appearances. This season, he is 30-7-0, 1.98, .929. . . . The Blazers got two goals and an assist from F Logan Stankoven, who now has 85 points, including 37 goals, in 51 games.. . . . F Reese Belton helped out with three assists. . . . Kelowna has lost seven in a row (0-5-2). . . . When the same two teams hit the ice in Kelowna tonight, it will be the 14th meeting between them this season. Kelowna is 7-4-2; Kamloops is 6-6-1. . . . Kamloops (44-14-2) will clinch the B.C. Division pennant with a victory tonight. The Blazers are second in the Western Conference, two points behind Everett. . . . The Rockets (34-19-6) are fifth, six points in arrears of Seattle, their likely first-round opponent. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen struck for three goals and an assist as the Everett Silvertips Everettskated to a 7-2 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Huuhtanen, an 18-year-old freshman from Finland, has 35 goals and 37 assists in 57 games. Interestingly, he scored just one goal in his first 15 games. . . . This was his first hat trick. . . . F Michal Gut picked up his 14th goal and two assists, with F Jackson Berezowski getting three assists. . . . Everett F Alex Swetlikoff had his 29th goal and an assist to run his point streak to 15 games. He’s got eight goals and 14 assists in those games. . . . Everett had a 48-15 edge in shots, including 20-2 in the third period. . . . This was the 12th meeting of the season between the Chiefs and Silvertips, each of whom now has played 60 games. So they have played 20 per cent of their games against each other. . . . BTW, the Silvertips won all 12 games; the Chiefs are 0-10-2. . . . Everett (42-10-8) leads the Western Conference by two points over Kamloops. . . . The Chiefs (19-36-5), who have lost four in a row, are tied with Prince George for the conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

F Marcus Almquist scored in a third straight game as his Victoria Royals VictoriaRoyalsdoubled up on the visiting Prince George Cougars, 4-2. . . . Almquist, an 18-year-old from Denmark, has four goals in 36 games with three of them coming in his last three games. . . . F Riley Gannon’s 21st goal, at 2:19 of the third period, gave the Royals a 3-1 lead. . . . Victoria now has won five in a row. . . . The Royals (22-34-6) are tied for sixth with Vancouver in the conference, with the Giants holding four games in hand. . . . The Cougars (20-35-3), who have lost three in a row, are tied with Spokane for the conference’s last playoff spot. . . . Prince George has two games in hand over Spokane. . . .

The host Portland Winterhawks got two goals and two assists from F Gabe PortlandKlassen en route to a 7-1victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The home side led this one 6-0 early in the second period. . . . Klassen’s second goal was his 30th of the season. . . . F James Stefan scored his 33rd goal and added two assists, with F Jaydon Dureau and F Cross Hanas each earning three assists. . . . The Winterhawks (41-15-5) are third in the conference, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (17-38-5) is four points out of the last playoff spot. . . .

F Lukas Svejkovsky scored twice as his Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Vancouver SeattleGiants, 5-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . Sjejkovsky played 85 games over two seasons (2018-20) with the Giants, who dealt him to the Medicine Hat Tigers. Seattle acquired him from the Tigers this season. He has 27 goals this season, 14 of them in 27 games with the Thunderbirds. . . . F Reid Schaefer and F Jared Davidson, who combined to score nine goals in the 2021 development season, each scored his 30th goal for Seattle. Davidson also had two assists. . . . Seattle (37-17-6) is a comfortable fourth in the Western Conference, seven points behind Portland and six ahead of Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (23-31-4) is tied for sixth with Victoria, 24 points behind Kelowna and seven ahead of Prince George.



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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Chute

Royals complete sweep of Rockets . . . Ice alone atop WHL standings . . . Coaching vacancy in MJHL

In a piece posted here late Tuesday, I questioned why some hockey leagues are so quick to get through their playoffs after playing through a lengthy and kijhlgrinding regular season. . . . As an example, I used the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . Well, the Nelson Leafs and Revelstoke Grizzlies will play in the KIJHL’s best-of-seven championship final, and the schedule was released on Wednesday. . . . If the series goes seven games, the teams will play seven games in nine days. Seriously! . . . The series is scheduled to open Friday in Revelstoke, with Game 2 there on Saturday. The scene shifts to Nelson for games on Monday and Tuesday. If necessary, they then will play three games in as many nights — March 31 in Revelstoke, April 1 in Nelson, April 2 in Revelstoke. . . . Just thinking out loud here but maybe it is time junior hockey players had some kind of players’ association to stand up on their behalf when things like this happen.


A tip of the hat to the BCHL for taking advantage of more playoff time to spread bchlthings out. You may recall that the BCHL no longer is part of the Canadian Junior Hockey League, so won’t take part in the Centennial Cup tournament.

From Steve Ewen of Postmedia:

“The BCHL champion won’t be in the running for the Centennial Cup national title, since the league pulled out of the Canadian Junior Hockey League last spring and lost its spot in that tournament. The BCHL had sent a letter to the CJHL regarding multiple concerns. They wanted player transfers to be less restricted, for instance. The CJHL never responded to BCHL’s concerns, and the BCHL opted to leave.

“It did give the BCHL an opportunity to start its season later, which allowed it to spread out games. The league wasn’t concerned about having its schedule completed to link up with the other leagues for playoffs.

“I think this will make winning our league mean even more,” said (Penticton Vees GM/head coach Fred) Harbinson.

Ewen’s story is right here.


Stress


The Team 980, a radio station in Washington, D.C., had been the voice of the city’s NFL franchise since 2008. It ended its relationship with the team, known the Commanders, on Wednesday morning. Why? Kevin Sheehan, the station’s morning host, made the announcement. He explained: “The team and our company disagreed on the value of the broadcast. It’s also very important for us as a sports talk station, even as a long-time flagship station for the team, it was important for us to continue to be able to provide honest, objective information and analysis about the team on our talk shows.” . . . As Brandon Contes of Awful Announcing wrote: “Sheehan’s statement implies the Commanders have or would attempt to censor the content and topics that were discussed about the team on-air. The ability to speak objectively and honestly about NFL teams should be a requirement for sports radio stations, especially as it pertains to the Washington Commanders.” . . . Hmm, shouldn’t that be a requirement for any broadcast outlet?



WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

In Victoria, F Marcus Almquist had a goal and two assists to lead the Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Almquist, an 18-year-old from Denmark, went into the game with two goals and four assists in 34 games. . . . He also has goals in two straight games, having scored the game’s first goal on Tuesday when the Royals beat the Rockets, 4-2. . . . Last night, the Rockets got four assists from F Tanner Scott and two goals — he’s got 28 — and an assist from F Brayden Schuuman. . . . Almquist’s second goal, at 4:00 of the third period, gave the Royals a 4-2 lead. . . . The game featured two minor penalties — one to each team — and each team was 1-for-1 on the PP. . . . G Campbell Arnold stopped 36 shots to earn the victory. . . . Victoria (21-34-6), with four straight victories, is seventh in the Western Conference, two points behind the Vancouver Giants and five ahead of the Prince George Cougars and Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kelowna (34-18-6) is fifth, four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at this game and his post is right here. . . .

G Daniel Hauser ran his winning streak to 10 games as the visiting Winnipeg Ice beat the Saskatoon Blades, 4-2. . . . Hauser, who was called on to make only 16 stops, now is 26-2-1, 2.06, .913 this season. His career numbers are 33-2-1, 2.28, .909. . . . F Chase Wheatcroft’s 13th goal, at 2:06 of the third period, gave Winnipeg a 3-1 lead and stood up as the winner. . . . The Ice was without top-end forwards Matthew Savoie and F Conor Geekie, both of whom were in Kitchener, Ont., at the Top Prospects Game. . . . Winnipeg (45-9-5) leads the overall standings and the Eastern Conference by two points over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Saskatoon (33-22-4) is fifth in the conference, three points behind the Moose Jaw Warriors and nine ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s OCN Blizzard won’t be re-signing Billy Keane, who had been the general manager and head coach since July 16, 2020. The Blizzard (18-29-7) finished last in the six-team West Division and didn’t qualify for the playoffs.


——


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Tequila

Why do some leagues rush through their playoffs? . . . Broncos dump Pats . . . Ice gets past Raiders in OT . . . Royals beat Rockets

I have long wondered why some hockey leagues play a long, grinding regular season only to get to the playoffs and seemingly rush to get them over with as kijhlquickly as possible. I mean, shouldn’t the playoffs be the highlight of your season? Shouldn’t it all be about crowning the league’s best team? If it is, why not slow things down and let the players enjoy it?

Well, it turns out I’m not alone.

“ . . . I think in terms of injuries it’s having an effect on every team,” Derek Stuart, the general manager and head coach of the junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, told the Kimberley Bulletin’s Paul Rodgers the other day.  said. “We play a ridiculous amount of games in a short time and guys are getting hurt. It’s something that I’ve said before has got to change, but they have injuries as well, it’s not just us.”

At the time, the Dynamiters and Nelson Leafs were tied 2-2 in a best-of-seven semifinal series. The Leafs went into Kimberley and won, 4-3 in OT, on Monday night and — you guessed it! — they played again the very next night, this time in Nelson. This one needed extra time, too, before Nelson won, 2-1, in the second OT period. Game 7, had it been needed, was to have been played tonight in Kimberley. Three games in as many nights at this stage of a season simply is silliness.

Look, I’m not picking on the KIJHL here because other leagues seem to get in a hurry like this, too. But . . . why do leagues get to this time of their seasons and force teams to play three games in three nights or even four in five?

In some instances, I’m sure the primary reason is that everything is based on the championship at the end of the season — be it provincial or national. Leagues have to be finished their playoffs in time for their champion to get to that competition.

That being the case, why can’t the leagues start their seasons earlier, or hack some games from the regular-season schedule?

They owe it to the players.

“It’s crazy,” Stuart said. “It’s absolutely insane what we’re making these young kids do, playing this many games in such a short period of time. It’s insane . . . I can’t believe that it’s actually happening.”

By that point, Rodgers reported that Kimberley had played 17 games in 30 days, with Nelson having played 20 games in 30 days.

The Dynamiters were without F Carter Spring (broken leg), F Ty Smith (broken ankle) and F Conner Furukawa (knee).


Month


Gregg Popovich, the head coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, has a degree in Soviet studies from the Air Force Academy. Here he is in conversation with Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

““Here, any sane individual is traumatized at what they’re seeing. And it’s still impossible for us, as I’m sure you agree, we can’t feel what it would be like to drive you wife and your daughter and son to the border, and say goodbye and know you’re going to go back and die, because the Russians are going to pull this bulls—t that a lot of people fall for, including some of the people in our government.

“Those are the people that really make me sick. For political and personal reasons, they’re willing to jump on a (Vladimir) Putin bandwagon. Guys like (Sen. Ted) Cruz … you could just go down the list. They’re just despicable people for even thinking about saying the things they’ve said. You’ve got the people on Fox News I won’t even name, they know what they’re saying, they’re highly intelligent people, but they’re still willing to do it. Just lickspittles of the highest order.”


World


Nine of Canada’s junior A leagues will have representatives in Estevan, Sask., in May to play for the Centennial Cup. Including the host Bruins, there will be 10 teams competing, from May 19-29. . . . “In lieu of today’s announcement,” read a news release, “it was also determined that, since each of the nine member-league champions will advance directly to compete in the Centennial Cup, the four CJHL regional championship events (Fred Page Cup, Dudley-Hewitt Cup, ANAVET Cup, Doyle Cup) won’t be held this season.” . . . Keep in mind that the BCHL pulled out of the CJHL before this season got started, so its champion won’t be in the Centennial Cup competition.


Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reports that the Silvertips will be without D EverettRonan Seeley on a week-to-week basis. Seeley, a 19-year-old in his fourth WHL season, suffered an apparent shoulder injury on Friday during a 5-3 loss to the host Vancouver Giants. F Adam Hall of the Giants was given a minor for boarding on the play and then was suspended for three games under supplemental discipline. . . . “The good news for Seeley and Everett,” Patterson wrote, “is that (GM/head coach Dennis) Williams said he’s fully confident Seeley will be back in time for the playoffs to start, which being around April 22.” . . . Seeley, with 41 points in 48 games, and Olen Zellweger, with 67 points, including 55 assists, in 48 games, gave the Silvertips two minute-eating veteran defencemen, who are a big reason why Everett sits atop the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers and five up on the Portland Winterhawks.


SmackTV


Some news on the Kootenay Ice, just in case there are WHL fans out there who remember them . . .


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

F Raphael Pelletier scored twice to help the host Swift Current Broncos to a 5-3 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Pelletier, who has 17 goals, broke a 3-3 tie at 17:02 of the third period. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 21 games as he scored twice to give him 43. His second goal, coming on the first penalty shot of his WHL career, tied the score 3-3 at 6:44 of the third. He also has goals in seven straight games. . . . Bedard, who also had an assist, now has 83 points in 51 games. . . . Swift Current was without G Reid Dyck, F Josh Filmon and D Owen Pickering, all of whom are in Kitchener for tonight’s Top Prospects Game. . . . With Dyck away, the Broncos had Joey Rocha, who is from Nanaimo, backing up Isaac Poulter. Rocha, who turned 17 on Jan. 22, has yet to play a WHL game. He spent this season with the U18 Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. . . . The Broncos (24-30-7) hold down the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, one point behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and two ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders. The Pats (23-29-5) are 10th, four points behind the Broncos. . . .

F Jack Finley scored his 20th goal of the season with 15.3 seconds left in OT to give the Winnipeg Ice a 3-2 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . F Vladislav Shilo (6) had pulled the Raiders even at 7:22 of the third period. . . . The Raiders got 39 saves from G Tikhon Chaika. . . . Ice G Daniel Hauser stopped 25 shots in improving his numbers to 25-2-1, 2.06, .914. . . . Winnipeg (44-9-5) is tied with the idle Edmonton Oil Kings (45-12-3) atop the Eastern Conference. The Ice holds two games in hand. . . . The Raiders (24-29-5) are ninth, two points behind Swift Current. . . .

In Victoria, F Bailey Peach’s 34th goal, at 13:43 of the third period, broke a 2-2 tie and the Royals went on to beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-2. . . . F Riley Gannon helped the winners with his 20th goal and an assist. . . . The Royals also got a goal, his 15th, and an assist from F Tarun Fizer. . . . The Royals (20-34-6) are seventh in the Western Conference, four points behind the Vancouver Giants and three ahead of the Prince George Cougars and Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Rockets (34-17-6) are fifth, four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Royals and Rockets will play again tonight in Victoria.


Safety


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Syrup

Let’s get Chipperfield on the 40 at 16 list . . . WJC in Edmonton has its dates . . . Mateychuk sets up six for Warriors

Hey, WHL, gotta add another name to the list of 16-year-olds in your 40-Goal Club.

That’s right. And, no, I didn’t figure it out by myself. I received an email on WHLSaturday pointing out that F Ron Chipperfield of the Brandon Wheat Kings struck 40 times in 64 games in 1970-71.

He was born in Brandon — his home actually was in Minnedosa, just up No. 10 highway — on March 28, 1954, so, yes, he was 16 for the 1970-71 season.

Could Chipper score? Hey, does a bear, well, you know . . .

He went on to play three more seasons with the Wheat Kings, scoring 59, 72 and 90 goals.

Chipperfield finished with 470 points, including 261 goals, in 252 games. Yes, he averaged more than one goal per game over a four-season career. In his final season, 1973-74, he counted for 90 of Brandon’s 305 goals. Add his 72 assists and he was in on 162 goals, or 53 per cent of them.

Amazing!

When you consider that the Wheat Kings were anything but a powerhouse in those days — they won 20, 35, 29 and 27 games during Chipperfield’s four seasons with them — his accomplishments are all the more amazing.

So let’s add Chipperfield to the list that also features Glen Goodall, Jeff Friesen, Mark Pederson, Dave Pasin and Bedard.

The WHL had Kimbi Daniels on the list when it was posted, but it turns out that he was 17 years of age when he hit the 40-goal mark. As a 16-year-old, he scored 30 goals for the 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos.


Diner


So . . . the Minnesota State Mavericks thought they had won the CCHA championship on Saturday night in Mankato, Minn. In fact, they were in their locker room celebrating what they thought was a 2-1 OT victory over the Bemidji State Beavers. However, well after the game, officials reviewed the winning goal and decided that it shouldn’t have counted. The CCHA said in a statement that “additional TV production camera angles made available to the officials provided conclusive evidence that the goal net was elevated and the puck entered underneath the frame.” . . . After the game, Don Lucia, the CCHA commissioner, told reporters: “I don’t want to end someone’s career on a goal that is not a goal.” . . . The game was restarted from 3:02 of OT, more than an hour after it had ended. The ice was resurfaced, teams had a five-minute warmup and then away they went. . . . After all that, the Mavericks got a goal from Jack McNeely at 5:11 to end it for a second time.


G Ève Gascon became the third woman to play in a QMJHL game on Saturday when her Gatineau Olympiques dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the visiting Rimouski Oceanic. . . . Gascon, 18, stopped 18 shots. . . . F Xavier Cormier scored the winner, his 20th goal of the season, at 1:10 of OT. . . . Gascon’s presence helped the Olympiques set a single-game attendance record (4,700) in their new facility — the Slush Puppie Centre. . . . Two other female goaltenders — Manon Rheaume and Charline Labonté — have played in the QMJHL, while Shannon Szabados, also a goaltender, had a taste of WHL action with the Tri-City Americans in September 2002. . . . Wayne Scanlan has more on Gascon’s day right here.


Spelling


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


We have dates! The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship now is scheduled for Aug. 9-20 with it all to be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton. You will recall WJC2022that the tournament actually got started in Red Deer/Edmonton on Dec. 26 but was cancelled four days later because of positive tests among players and on-ice officials. . . . All players who were eligible to play in December will be eligible for August. . . . Latvia has been added to the 10-team field, replacing the Russians, who were turfed after their dictator attacked Ukraine. . . . Group A will comprise Austria, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. Canada is in Group B, with Czechia, Finland, Latvia and Slovakia. . . . The tournament will start from scratch on Aug. 9, meaning results from December won’t count for anything. . . .

The IIHF also revealed on Saturday that the U18 Women’s World Championship is to be played in June in the U.S. It was to have been played in January in Sweden — Linkoping and Mjolby — but was scrubbed because of the pandemic. Dates and locations for June have yet to be announced. . . .

The men’s U18 Worlds will be held in Germany — Landshut and Kaufbeuren — from April 23 through May 1. Canada, Czechia, Germany and the U.S. will be Group A, with Group B comprising Finland, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland. . . .

Martin Merk has more on the IIHF and various tournaments and schedule changes right here.


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

The Moose Jaw Warriors got six assists from D Denton Mateychuk as they dropped the visiting Regina Pats, 10-4. . . . Regina had a 45-33 edge in shots. . . . The Warriors got singletons from 10 players. . . . Mateychuk has 56 points, including 47 assists, in 57 games. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard scored his 41st goal as he ran his point streak to 20 games, the longest in the WHL this season. . . .

F Briley Wood scored in the 11th round of a shootout to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Rebels in Red Deer. . . . The Rebels forced OT when F Arshdeep Bains scored his 34th goal at 16:09 of the third period, via the PP. . . .

F Reece Vitelli scored twice and added an assist to lead the host Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Vitelli has 22 goals this season. . . .

G Daniel Hauser stopped 19 shots to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 5-0 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Hauser has a WHL-leading seven shutouts. His other numbers this season: 24-2-1, 2.07, .913. . . . F Skyler Bruce had two goals, giving him 16, and an assist. . . . Winnipeg, which has clinched the East Division pennant, won the season series, 8-1-1. Brandon was 2-7-1.

G Isaac Poulter turned aside 19 shots as the Swift Current Broncos beat the Tigers, 2-0, in Medicine Hat. . . . F Josh Filmon’s 22nd goal, at 3:50 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . . Poulter has four shutouts this season and five in his career. . . .

F Bailey Peach scored all three goals as the host Victoria Royals beat the Prince George Cougars, 3-0. . . . Peach, who has 33 goals, counted once in each period, the final one into an empty net. . . . The Royals got 35 saves from freshman G Tyler Palmer, who earned his third shutout of this season. . . .

F Sasha Mutala and F Parker Bell each scored twice and added an assist as the Tri-City Americans got past the Chiefs, 6-3, in Spokane. . . . Mutula  and Bell each has 16 goals. . . . Tri-City scored four of the game’s final five goals. . . . F Yannick scored two goals — he’s got 11 — and added an assist for Spokane. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen had two goals and two assists to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Huuhtanen, who has 32 goals, gave the Silvertips a 2-0 lead by scoring at 2:22 and 16:39 of the first period. . . . Everett also got three assists from D Olen Zellweger. . . . The Giants were without F Adam Hall, who was hit with a three-game suspension for a hit on Everett D Ronan Seeley at 2:17 of the second period of Friday’s game. Hall was given a minor for boarding on the play in which Seeley suffered an apparent shoulder injury. He left the game and didn’t return. Hall later scored the Giants’ second and fourth goals in the Giants’ 5-3 victory. . . . Seeley didn’t play in this one. . . .

F Logan Stankoven scored twice and Dylan Garand recorded the shutout as the Kamloops Blazers beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-0. . . . Kamloops has won eight in a row, with five of those victories over Kelowna. . . . Stankoven, who has 35 goals, opened the scoring at 2:41 of the first period and that was all the offence Garand would need. . . . He finished with 33 saves as he posted his third shutout this season and the 11th of his career. This season, Garand is 29-7-0, 2.04, .926. . . . F Fraser Minten added his 18th goal and two assists. . . . After the game, Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice, tweeted: “When you play each other four straight games, tempers flare. Coaches doing some shouting at one another late in the third.” . . . They’ll go home-and-home again next weekend, too. . . .

F Jaydon Dureau scored Portland’s first three goals as the Winterhawks skated to a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Blades in Kent, Wash. . . . Dureau, who has 17 goals, scored three times on the PP — 22 seconds into the first period for a 1-0 lead, 59 seconds into the third for a 2-0 lead and at 3:27 for a 3-1 edge. . . . Portland was 3-for-5 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-4. . . . Seattle was able to dress only 16 skaters, two under the maximum allowed.


Scraps


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Couples

As we enjoy Bedard’s season, let’s not forget about Goodall . . . NHL’s Oilers to honour Prokop today . . . 2022 WJC to be played in Edmonton in August

There was lots of chatter after Regina Pats F Connor Bedard scored his 40th goal of the season on Wednesday night.

“Bedard became just the second 16-year-old in the past 30 years, and sixth in WHLWHL history, to reach the 40-goal mark during a regular season,” reads a piece posted on the league’s website.

“As far as the elite company is concerned, Bedard joins longtime NHLer Jeff Friesen (himself a former Pat) as 16-year-olds to score 40 or more goals in the past three decades. Friesen put up 45 markers with Regina during the 1992-93 season,” the story continues. “Bedard is the sixth 16-year-old to do it in league history, joining the likes of Glen Goodall, who fired in 63 goals in his 16-year-old season with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 1986-87, and a trio of Memorial Cup champions in Kimbi Daniels (43 goal with Swift Current in 1989-90), Mark Pederson (42 goals with Medicine Hat in 1984-85) and Dave Pasin (40 goals with Prince Albert in 1982-83).”

Yes, Glen Goodall, who had one of the most remarkable stints in WHL history, struck for 63 goals as a 16-year-old. He really did. Think about that for a few moments . . . that’s a whole lot of goals at any age. But to do it at 16. Yikes!

Of course, Goodall had scored 13 goals in 65 games as a 15-year-old. Oh, and he had five goals in 59 games as a 14-year-old. Yes, the pride of Thompson, Man., got into 59 games at 14. He had been on Seattle’s protected listed since he was 12.

Before he was done, Goodall had played six full seasons in the WHL, totalling 399 regular-season games. Now that’s one WHL career record that won’t ever be broken.

For the record, Goodall finished with 573 points, including 262 goals, in those 399 games. He holds the WHL regular-season career records for games played and goals. He is fifth in assists (311) and second in points (573).

The Detroit Red Wings selected Goodall in the 10th round of the 1988 NHL draft, but he never did get to play in the big league. He went on to a pro career that included a 100-point season with the ECHL’s Erie Panthers and five 100-point seasons in Europe. But the NHL never did beckon, likely because he went about 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds.

Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has a piece right here from June 2020 about the connection between Goodall and Bedard.

Andy Eide had another good piece on Goodall on the nhltoseattle.com site and that story is right here.


G Ève Gascon, 18, is scheduled to make her first start for the QMJHL’s  Gatineau Olympqiques today(Saturday) against the visiting Rimouski Oceanic. Gascon qmjhlnewwas been 9-5-0 with the CÉGEP St-Laurent Patriotes in the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League (Division 1). . . . She will become the third woman to play in the QMJHL, after Manon Rheaume and Charline Labonté, who got into 26 games with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 1999-2000 and two in 2000-01. Rheaume played one game with the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs on 1991-92. . . . G Shannon Szabados got into four exhibition games with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans prior to the 2002-03 season. In her debut, on Sept. 4, 2002, she stopped 24 shots in a 6-4 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in a game that was played in Ladner, B.C. On Sept. 22, in a regular-season game at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum, she played 50 seconds early in the third period but wasn’t tested — presumably starter Tyler Weiman had an equipment issue — as the Americans dropped a 5-3 decision to the Giants. The game included 192 penalty minutes.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


My, how time does fly! . . . On May 13, 2019, F Noah Gregor scored two goals and added an assist on the winner as the host Prince Albert Raiders beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-2 in OT, in Game 7 of the WHL’s championship final. . . . Because of the pandemic that is the last WHL playoff game to have been played. Yes, the Raiders have been the defending champions for almost three years now. . . . As for Gregor, well, he played in his 100th NHL game on Thursday night as his San Jose Sharks dropped a 3-0 decision to the Los Angeles Kings. Gregor, 23, has 22 points, including 11 goals, in his first 100 games.


FRIDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

F Dylan Guenther scored twice, giving him 40 goals this season, to lead the EdmontonEdmonton Oil Kings to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Guenther scored his first goal on a penalty shot at 18:05 of the third period, then added an empty-netter at 19:28. . . . The Oil Kings (45-12-3) lead the Eastern Conference by four points over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Hitmen (21-30-8) are 10th, but just one point out of the last playoff spot. . . . Edmonton D Luke Prokop scored his 11th goal at 11:53 of the second and it stood up as the winner against his former club. Prokop will be back in the arena this afternoon (Saturday) as the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers honour him as part of their Pride Night as they entertain the New Jersey Devils. Prokop, who has signed with the Nashville Predators, came out as gay in July. He is the first active player under NHL contract to have done so. . . .

The host Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s first three goals, all in the Lethbridgefirst period, en route to a 5-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Chase Pauls scored twice for the winners, giving him four this season. It was his first two-goal game in 83 regular-season games. He now has 18 points, including five goals, in those 83 games. . . . F Ben King, the WHL’s leading goal scorer, got No. 47 for Red Deer. . . . These teams will meet again tonight, this time in Red Deer. . . . The Hurricanes (25-28-4) are seventh in the Eastern Conference, just three points ahead of the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Rebels (39-17-3) are a comfortable third in the conference. . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice opened up a 4-1 second-period lead and hung on for a 4-3 WinnipegIcevictory over the Brandon Wheat Kings, who have lost five straight. . . . F Conor Geekie’s 19th goal, at 19:34 of the second period, stood up as the winner. He needs one more goal to become the Ice’s sixth 20-goal man. As well, F Jack Finley has 18. . . . G Daniel Hauser earned the victory with 19 saves. This season, he is 23-2-1, 2.15, .911. . . . The Ice was coming off four straight home-ice shutouts. It ended up going 325 minutes 17 seconds without giving up a goal at home before F Tyson Zimmer scored his first of two goals for Brandon. . . . F Hayden Chaloner had two assists in his first career game with the Wheat Kings. Chaloner, who will turn 17 on Monday, was a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft. . . . The Ice leads the season series 7-1-1 with the final game tonight in Brandon. . . . Winnipeg (42-9-5) is second in the Eastern Conference and is 8-0-2 in its last 10 games. It is four points behind Edmonton and holds four games in hand. . . . Brandon (28-23-5) is sixth, nine points behind the fifth-place Saskatoon Blades and seven ahead of Lethbridge. . . .

D Sam McGinley scored twice and added an assist to lead the Swift Current SwiftCurrentBroncos to a 5-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . McGinley has six goals this season. . . . He gave the Broncos a 3-0 lead at 6:03 of the second period and made it 4-1 at 18:08. . . . They’re back it tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . The Broncos (22-30-7) are tied with the Regina Pats, who hold four games in hand, for eighth in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of Calgary. . . . The Tigers (11-42-4) won’t be in the playoffs this time around. . . .

F Lukas Svejkovsky broke a 1-1 tie with his 25th goal as the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Svejkovsky, a midseason acquisition from the Medicine Hat Tigers, struck at 14:44 of the second period. . . . F Tanner Gould had pulled the Americans even with his first WHL goal at 10:02. . . . F Conner Roulette notched his 20th goal of the season and now has scored in four straight road games. . . . Seattle (36-15-6) is fourth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Americans (16-37-5) are 10th, six points out of the last playoff spot. . . .

D Devin Aubin scored his first two goals of the season, doubling his career VictoriaRoyalsoutput in the process, and added an assist as the host Victoria Royals beat the Prince George Cougars, 6-2. . . . Aubin, who turned 19 on Thursday, went into the game with one goal in 46 games over two seasons. He now has five points in 26 games this season, one more than he scored in 21 games with the Swift Current Broncos in the 2021 development season. . . .  F Tanner Scott had a goal, his 13th, and two assists for Victoria, which was outshot 42-24, including 14-2 in the third period. . . . G Tyler Palmer got the victory with 40 saves. . . . The teams will complete the doubleheader tonight in Victoria. . . . The Royals (18-34-6) are ninth in the Western Conference, one point behind the Spokane Chiefs and the Cougars (20-33-3), who are tied for seventh. . . .

F Adam Hall scored twice to help the Vancouver Giants to a 5-3 victory over the VancouverEverett Silvertips in Langley, B.C. . . . Hall has 16 goals. He scored twice in a four-goal outburst as the Giants erased a 1-0 deficit. . . . F Jackson Berezowski scored twice for Everett, giving him 40 this season. . . . Vancouver D Nicco Camazzola scored his third goal this season on his 19th birthday. He’s got three goals in 71 career games. . . . The same teams will hit the highway and play tonight in Everett. . . . Vancouver (23-29-4) holds down sixth place in the Western Conference, seven points ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . The Silvertips (39-10-8) are tied with the Kamloops Blazers atop the conference. . . .

F Matthew Seminoff scored the only goal of the shootout to give the visiting KamloopsKamloops Blazers a 3-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Seminoff led off the third round of the circus with its lone goal. . . . The Blazers have won seven in a row, four of them over the Rockets, who still lead the season series, 7-2-2. Kamloops is 4-6-1. . . . The same teams will play in Kamloops tonight. . . . F Connor Levis had pulled Kamloops into a 2-2 tie with his 14th goal at 13:38 of the second period. . . . F Colton Dach, who has 21 goals, scored both of Kelowna’s goals. He has three two-goal games this season, all against the Blazers. . . . F Andrew Cristall had two assists for Kelowna. Cristall, who turned 17 on Feb. 4, has 54 points, including 33 assists, in 49 games. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand had 37 saves, one more than Kelowna’s Talyn Boyko. Both are draft picks of the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . The Blazers (42-14-2) are tied with Everett atop the Western Conference, with Kamloops holding one game in hand. . . . The Rockets (34-15-6) are fifth, four points behind Seattle.


Pizza


JUST NOTES: TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted that the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship will be played in its entirety in Edmonton this summer. The IIHF said Friday that the tournament will be played in August. You will recall that the tournament got started in Red Deer and Edmonton in late December before being brought down by positive tests to players and on-ice officials. . . . The IIHF also announced on Friday that Latvia will be the 10th team in the tournament, replacing Russia. . . . With the IIHF having barred Belarus and Russia from various competitions, it has made adjustments to some tournaments. For example, Austria and France have replaced those two in the 2022 men’s world championship. There’s more on that and other changes right here.


Eating


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


iPad

Hurricanes delete one from staff . . . Blades’ Maier closing in on career mark . . . Oil Kings’ streak now at 13

Earlier this week, I posted a piece here that led with some comments on announced attendance totals at WHL games this season.

Yes, some teams really are struggling at the gate, but there are a number of possible reasons, some of them pandemic related.

Anyway . . . that piece created a lot of interest and a few comments.

So now I’m asking readers to drop me a line and explain why they no longer go to games or why they don’t go to as many games as they once did. Also feel free to comment on what you think the WHL and its teams might do to increase attendance at their games.

You are able to contact me by DM at Twitter (@gdrinnan) or via email at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

Responses will be used for a posting here at some point in the not-too-distant future.


The OHL announced on Thursday that it has “expelled” Terry Christensen, the OHLFlint Firebirds’ president of hockey operations, for conduct that is “prejudicial to the welfare” of the league. An investigation, sparked by an allegation that was made via the OHL’s player communications system, revealed that Christensen had make remarks that violated the league’s Harassment and Abuse/Diversity Policy. . . . “His conduct violated the league’s expectation of the appropriate conduct of a representative of an OHL Team and he has lost the privilege to participate in the League,” the league said in a statement. . . . Christensen had been with the Firebirds since May.

Meanwhile, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted Thursday morning that “the OHL is launching an independent investigation into the Niagara IceDogs over alleged offensive comments made by people in senior positions on a team group chat.”

Greg Cowan is a sports reporter with the Owen Sound Sun Times:

https://twitter.com/GregCowanST/status/1501969145952407553?s=20&t=mGTe9yMl1lERdkg59YQaXw


The Lethbridge Hurricanes fired assistant coach Jeff Hansen on Friday. Hansen, Lethbridgefrom Calgary, was in his fifth season after spending four seasons as the video coach with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt, in a news release: “Jeff is a good man and a hard worker, and this wasn’t an easy decision, but we felt it was time to make a change. We weren’t happy with the development of our defence and the accountability of our blueline.” . . . The Hurricanes’ coaching staff now comprises head coach Brent Kisio, Matt Anholt, the assistant GM/assistant coach, and video coach Ryan Aasman. According to the news release, those three will run things “for the remainder of the season.”


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

In Brandon, the Winnipeg Ice scored three third-period goals and beat the WinnipegIceWheat Kings, 6-3. F Mikey Milne’s 28th goal of the season, at 2:37 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie. . . . Through a promotion involving Heritage Co-op, fans 18 and older who purchased an adult ticket received a $10 gas card. Announced attendance was 2,880. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Winnipeg. . . . The Ice (38-9-5) leads the East Division by 12 points over the Moose Jaw Warriors. Winnipeg, with five games in hand, trails the Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings by eight points. . . . The Wheat Kings (28-19-5) are a comfortable sixth in the Eastern Conference. . . .

F Braxton Whitehead broke a 3-3 tie at 15:30 of the third period as the host ReginaRegina Pats beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Whitehead has seven goals. . . . Regina F Connor Berard had a goal, his 35th, and an assist as he ran his point streak to 16 games. He has 33 points, including 16 goals, in what is the WHL’s longest active such streak. . . . Lethbridge is 2-3-1 on a seven-game road trip while the Canadian men’s curling championship is in their home arena. The Brier ends on Sunday. . . . Regina (21-27-4) is 11th in the Eastern Conference, but just two points shy of eighth. . . . Lethbridge (23-27-4) is seventh, two points ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Calgary Hitmen, who are tied for eighth. . . . From Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “Factoring in last season, when Bedard debuted as a 15-year-old, he has 99 points (including 47 goals) in 61 games as a WHLer. Bedard is on the verge of tying the Pats’ record for most WHL goals by a player who has yet to turn 17. Jeff Friesen had 48 goals over his first 74 games. He scored three goals in four games as a 15-year-old call-up with the 1991-92 Pats. The following season, he had 45 goals in 70 games en route to being named the CHL’s rookie of the year.” . . .

F Egor Sidorov’s 16th goal, at 2:40 of OT, give the visiting Saskatoon Blades a 3-Blades2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders before a sellout crowd of 2,600. . . . G Nolan Maier turned aside 49 shots for the Blades, but wasn’t selected as one of the three stars. Gee, do you think the Blades are that unpopular in P.A.? Maier now has 117 regular-season victories, three shy of the WHL career record that, according to quanthockey.com, is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . Maier now is tied for fourth with Mac Carruth (Portland, 2009-13), two behind Jordan Papirny (Brandon, Swift Current, 2012-17). . . . F Hayden Pakkala scored twice for the Raiders, giving him nine this season. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Saskatoon, on Nolan Maier Bobblehead Night. . . . The Blades (32-18-4) are fifth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Raiders (22-28-4) are tied for eighth. . . .

In Swift Current, F Jalen Luypen scored twice, the second into an empty net, as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Broncos, 3-1. He’s got 25 goals. . . . The Oil Kings have won 13 in a row. They’ll go for 14 tonight back in Swift Current. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 25 shots in posting his WHL-leading 29th victory. . . . The Oil Kings (43-11-3) lead the Eastern Conference by eight points over Winnipeg, which has five games in hand. . . . Swift Current (20-29-7) is 10th, one point out of eighth. . . .

F Jagger Firkus broke a 2-2 tie with his 31st goal, at 5:12 of the third period, and the host Moose Jaw Warriors went on to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Warriors (32-19-5) are fourth in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind the Red Deer Rebels and one ahead of Saskatoon. . . . The Hitmen (20-27-8) are tied for eighth with Prince Albert, two points behind Lethbridge and one ahead of Swift Current. . . .

F Ben King had a goal, his 44th, and four assists as the Red Deer Rebels clinched a playoff spot with a 6-3 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . King leads the WHL in goals and points (85). He has one more point than linemate Arshdeep Bains, who signed with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks earlier in the day. Bains had a goal and two assists in this one. He leads the WHL with 53 assists. . . . The Rebels were 4-for-5 on the PP; King leads the WHL with 21 PP goals. . . . Red Deer (37-16-3) is third in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Winnipeg, which has four games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (10-40-4) is in next-season country. . . .

F Tarun Fizer scored his 13th goal and added an assist to help the Victoria VictoriaRoyalsRoyals to a 5-3 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. Fizer, who has three goals and five assists in his past three games, iced this one with an empty-netter. . . . The Cougars, who have lost seven in a row, had been 7-0-0 against the Royals this season. . . . Prince George led 2-0 before the game was seven minutes old, but surrendered the next four goals. . . . Victoria (17-33-6) closed to within one point of Prince George (19-32-3) and the Spokane Chiefs, who are tied for seventh in the Western Conference. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers got two goals from F Logan Stankoven — he’s got 33 — Kamloopsas they beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-2. . . . Stankoven broke a 1-1 tie at 14:27 of the first period and then added insurance at 1:53 of the third. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots in his first appearance since suffering a leg injury on Feb. 16. . . . F Luke Toporowski of the Blazers, a 35-goal man, didn’t return after a collision with Kelowna D Tyson Feist in the first period. . . . The same teams are to meet tonight in Kelowna. In fact, they also will play home-and-home each of the next two weekends. . . . The Blazers (40-14-2) lead the B.C. Division by 10 points over the Rockets (34-15-4). . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored two late third-period goals, Portlandboth with their goaltender on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, but ended up dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . D Luca Cagnoni, the 14th shooter, won it with the only goal of the circus. . . . Portland nursed a 2-0 lead from the 11:18-mark of the second period. . . . Seattle F Reid Schaefer (27) scored at 17:58 of the third period and F Jared Davidson (28) tied it at 19:28. . . . Portland got 51 saves through OT from G Taylor Gauthier . . . The Thunderbirds saluted head athletic trainer Phil Varney, one of hockey’s good guys, as he worked his 1,000th game. He is in his 15th season with Seattle. . . . Seattle F Henrik Rybinski missed his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle F Lucas Ciona, who has 32 points, including 17 goals, didn’t finish with apparent arm injury. . . . Portland (38-14-5) is third in the Western Conference, one point out of first. . . . Seattle (34-14-6) trails Portland by seven points. . . .

F Fabian Lysell’s 19th goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie at 18:08 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Jaden Lipinski, who has five goals, scored twice for the Giants, his second forging a 2-2 tie at 17:04 of the second period. . . . F Samuel Huo, who has 24 goals, scored twice for the Americans. . . . Vancouver (21-29-3) is sixth in the Western Conference, 27 points behind Kelowna and four ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . Tri-City (15-34-5) is last in the conference, six points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen scored twice, giving him 30, and added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips dumped the Spokane Chiefs, 6-3. . . . Everett erased a 2-1 deficit with four straight goals. . . . Everett (37-9-8) is tied with Kamloops atop the Western Conference, but the Silvertips hold two games in hand. . . . Spokane (18-32-5) is tied for seventh with Prince George, four points behind Vancouver and one ahead of Victoria.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Vancouver Canucks signed F Arshdeep Bains, 21, to a three-year free-agent deal on Friday. CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) reported that the entry-level contract calls for an NHL salary of US$750,000 for 2022-23 and $775,000 each of the next two seasons. There also is a $50,000 signing bonus payable each season. His minor-league salary would be $70,000. Bains is from Surrey, B.C.; the Canucks’ AHL affiliate is just down the road in Abbotsford. . . .

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques added G Ève Gascon to their roster on Thursday. She had been 9-5-0 with the CÉGEP St-Laurent Patriotes in the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League (Division 1). . . . Gascon is to join the Olympiques this morning (Saturday) and could get the start against the visiting Val D’Or Foreurs later in the day. . . . The last woman to play in the QMJHL? G Charline Labonté got into 26 games (4-9-2, 5.22, .841) with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 1999-2000 and two in 2000-01.


Shawn Mezei, a former WHL player, died in Lethbridge on Wednesday. He was 36. Funeral arrangements hadn’t yet been arranged as of Friday night. Mezei was a native of Taber, Alta. A defenceman, he played 116 games over five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, totalling two goals, 12 assists and 165 penalty minutes.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Colonel


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Pearls Before Swine
Pearls Before Swine

With pandemic ongoing, the WHL’s attendance not pretty picture . . . Oil Kings win 12th straight game . . . BCHL reinstates one Nanaimo coach


Just about the time the Portland Winterhawks and the Royals were facing off in Victoria on Tuesday night, a photo showing part of the crowd was posted on Twitter.

Shortly after it surfaced, a friend sent me a message: “Is Victoria only allowed 15 per cent capacity?”

After the game, with the Royals having announced attendance as 2,070, the WHLfriend sent another note: “Oh my goodness! Is the league as we know it dying in front of us?”

That likely is a bit of an overstatement, but there has to be more than a little concern in WHL circles, especially when the Winnipeg Ice, which plays in a city of more than 800,000 people, announces a crowd of 1,030 as it did on Tuesday night.

No, there aren’t any attendance restrictions in Manitoba sporting facilities these days. The Ice plays in the Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba. The arena’s capacity once was said to be 1,400, but the Ice said in a Feb. 2 news release that the U of M “has confirmed the capacity . . . is 2,000 persons.”

The Ice, of course, played out of Cranbrook through the 2018-19 season, after which owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell packed up and moved to the Manitoba capital.

You may recall Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, visiting Cranbrook in January 2019 and telling people: “The WHL appreciates the support we have received from the City of Cranbrook, the corporate community, and, in particular, hockey fans in the East Kootenay region. However, after many years of monitoring the operations of the Kootenay Ice, it is evident this franchise is not viable in the market moving forward. It is a difficult decision, but given low attendance trends and the support required to operate a WHL Club, it is necessary to move the franchise to a market where it can be sustainable on a long-term basis.”

In 2018-19, its last season in Cranbrook, the Ice’s average announced attendance was 2,214. (BTW, the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks, in their first season after moving into the Ice’s former home, are drawing 2,199 fans per game, according to hockeydb.)

Announced attendances at Wednesday night’s five WHL games: 2,426 . . . 1,837 . . . 2,035 . . . 2,824 . . . 2,056.

Granted, this has been a tough season thanks to the pandemic and various mandates and restrictions, but according to figures compiled by the WHL the Ice is averaging 1,500 fans through 23 home games. Only the Swift Current Broncos, playing in a city of about 17,000 people, are playing in front of fewer fans — 1,392 through 27 games.

Those same WHL figures show that the 22 teams have an average announced attendance of 3,047 through 586 games. In 2019-20, the season that the pandemic brought to a premature end in March, the average was 4,154 for 694 games. In 2018-19, the last complete season, teams average 4,361 fans for 748 games.

This season, the WHL has three teams averaging more than 4,000 fans per game. There are 13 teams under 3,000.

With attendance numbers where they are and with so many costs on the rise — both for the teams and for the ticket-buying public — one has to think there will be some head-scratching and soul-searching going on in the WHL’s Calgary office and a whole lot of team offices once this season is over . . . if there isn’t already.


Plastic


WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL: F Josh Williams, who reached the 100-goal career mark, and F Justin Sourdif each scored twice as the Edmonton Oil Kings ran their winning streak to 12 games by beating the Tigers, 7-3, in Medicine Hat. Williams has 32 goals; Sourdif has 18. F Hayden Wheddon, playing his first WHL game, scored for Edmonton in the second period. Wheddon, from Stonewall, Man., was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft. . . . Williams has scored 79 goals with the Oil Kings, after starting his career with 21 for the Tigers. . . .

In Saskatoon, F Brandon Lisowsky scored twice, including his 30th goal of the season at 4:30 of OT, as the Blades beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. F Trae Wilke, who is from Saskatoon, scored his first WHL goal in his first game with the Hurricanes. He was a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft. Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was there and his report is right here. . . . Saskatoon has points in seven straight (5-0-2). . . . The Hurricanes are 2-3-0 while on a seven-game road swing with the Canadian men’s curling championship in their home building. . . .

F Nolan Ritchie scored at 1:11 of OT to give the host Brandon Wheat Kings a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. Ritchie, who is from Brandon, has 26 goals. . . . The Wheat Kings are sixth in the Eastern Conference, 11 points ahead of Lethbridge and 13 up on Calgary. . . . The Hitmen hold down the last playoff spot, one point ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos. . . .

F Blake Swetlikoff scored his ninth goal and added two assists to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Matthew Hutchison became the fourth 15-year-old goaltender in Giants’ franchise history to start a game — after Ryan Kubic (2013), Payton Lee (2012) and Tyson Sexsmith (2005). Hutchison, from Nanaimo, stopped 28 shots. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft. . . . G Jesper Vikman, the Giants’ starter, is on the sidelines with an undisclosed injury. . . . Spokane moved into a tie with the idle Prince George Cougars for seventh in the Western Conference, two points behind the Giants. . . .

In Victoria, F Cross Hanas had two goals, giving him 22, and two assists to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Royals. Victoria had beaten the Winterhawks, 5-3, on Tuesday night. Last night, the Royals’ second goal came from Danish F Marcus Almquist, who got his first WHL goal in his 29th game. . . . The Winterhawks are third in the Western Conference, one point behind the Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips. . . . The Royals are ninth, three points out of a playoff spot.



The BCHL has reinstated Colin Birkas, the Nanaimo Clippers’ associate  general Nanaimomanager/associate coach, who was suspended early in February while the league had an unidentified independent investigator review what it said were “allegations of Code of Conduct breaches.” . . . On Wednesday, the league said that while it is reinstating Birkas, “the investigation has been partly completed but is still ongoing.” . . . At the same time, the BCHL said that Darren Naylor, the Clippers’ vice-president, general manager, head coach and director of hockey operations, “will continue on administrative leave until May 31, 2022.” . . . While Naylor and Birkas were sidelined, the Clippers brought in long-time junior coach Bob Beatty to work with assistant coach Ken McPhalen. . . . At the time of the suspensions, Clippers Hockey Limited Partnership, Naylor and Birkas filed a civil claim, arguing, according to CHEK News, “that the league acted ‘erroneously and in a high-handed manner’ in issuing the suspensions when no allegations have been proven, irreparably damaging the coaches’ reputations and putting the team’s season in jeopardy because there are no alternate coaches to take over.” . . . A B.C. Supreme Court judge issued a temporary injunction that would have allowed Naylor and Birkas to continue coaching; however, the team ended up putting the two on administrative leave just prior to what would have been their first game after the league had taken action. . . . With seven games remaining in their regular-season schedule, the Clippers are 29-16-2 and in third place in the nine-team Coastal Conference.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The QMJHL has unveiled its playoff format, with games to begin on May 5 with the final running from June 4 through June 15, depending how many games are needed. The first three rounds will feature best-of-five series with the championship final a best-of-seven series. There is a news release right here.


Today is World Kidney Day. . . . My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is preparing to take part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Bedtime


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Driving

Winnipeg ices playoff spot . . . Raiders, Chaika blank Hurricanes . . . Royals put hurt on Winterhawks


You have to wonder if we will be seeing any new Russian or Belarusian players headed this way for the next season — or longer — because of the decision by Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator, to invade Ukraine.

On Monday, the NHL revealed that it has suspended a Memorandum of KHLUnderstanding that it had with the KHL, the Russia-based professional league that involves a number of Putin friends and Russian oligarchs.

As Aaron Vickers of the Daily Hive reported, the move effectively ends communication between the KHL and NHL.

Frank Seravalli of Daily Face-off obtained a memo that went from the NHL to its teams, in which teams were told to “immediately cease all dealings (direct or indirect) with the KHL and KHL clubs (and all representatives of both), as well as with player agents who are based in and continue to do business in Russia.”

Meanwhile, the CHL, which oversees the 60 major junior teams in the OHL, QMJHL and WHL, met last week and one of the items on the agenda was the 2022 import draft. There was speculation that the CHL would ban Russian and Belarusian players from the draft. However, after the meeting, the CHL announced that “the date and format for the 2022 CHL import draft have yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.”

The CHL and its leagues often operate in lockstep in a lot of ways, so it will be interesting to see the end result of the major junior deliberations, especially in light of the NHL’s decision to at least temporarily sever relationships with the KHL.

It also will be interesting to see how NHL teams deal with Russian and Belarusian players who are eligible for the 2022 draft. Considering the uncertainty surrounding those two countries at the moment, how many NHL teams will even consider drafting Russians or Belarusians? And should the CHL choose to include those players in the annual import draft, will major junior teams shy away from selecting them?

If you are wondering, there presently are six Belarussians and three Russians listed on WHL team rosters.



TUESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL: G Daniel Hauser stopped 14 shots to earn the shutout as the host Winnipeg Ice beat the Calgary Hitmen, 2-0. Hauser has four career shutouts, all of them this season. In 32 appearances over two seasons, he is 26-2-2, 2.48, .904. . . . The Ice became the seventh WHL team to clinch a playoff spot. . . . F Evan Herman scored twice, giving him 21 goals, and G Tikhon Chaika stopped 23 shots as the Prince Albert Raiders beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-0, for their third straight victory. Chaika, an 18-year-old freshman from Belarus, has two shutouts this season. He is 16-15-2, 2.92, .902. . . . The Raiders (22-28-3), Calgary (20-26-7) and Swift Current Broncos (20-28-78) are tied for the Eastern Conference’s eight and final playoff spot. . . . F Bailey Peach scored his 30th goal of the season on a penalty shot and added two assists as the host Victoria Royals dumped the Portland Winterhawks, 5-3. Victoria closed to within one point of the Spokane Chiefs, who hold down the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot. The Winterhawks had won five in a row. They remain three points behind the conference-leading Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips, each with 80 points.


The Swift Current Broncos have made Devan Praught the ninth head coach in the franchise’s history. Praught, a native of Summerside, P.E.I., had been the interim head coach since Oct. 14 when Dean Brockman resigned as general manager and head coach. The Broncos are 18-25-7 under Praught. . . . There is a news release right here. . . . The Broncos named Chad Leslie as their general manager on Jan. 31 when they removed the interim from his title.



The QMJHL has suspended F Lou-Félix Denis of the Shawinigan Cataractes for qmjhlnewfive games for remarks he made in the direction of Russian D Evgenii Kashnikov of the Gatineau Olympiques during a game on Sunday. The incident occurred late in the first period, referee Pascal Saint-Jacques heard the comments, and Denis was handed a game misconduct for, according to the online game sheet, “discriminatory taunts, gestures and slurs.” Denis also will have to take part in a workshop about the QMJHL’s anti-discrimination policy. . . . Denis is the third QMJHL player to have been suspended under that policy this season.

Meanwhile, the OHL investigated allegations of inappropriate comments OHLhaving been made by a member of the Sudbury Wolves towards a player with the North Bay Battalion on March 3. On Tuesday, the OHL issued a statement that read, in part: “The league has done a thorough investigation of the allegation, including speaking to players and team officials of both teams in addition to the on-ice officials, and the allegation cannot be substantiated.”

The OHL also said it “will treat any discrimination against Russian and Belarusian players as we would with all allegations in accordance with our Harassment & Abuse/Diversity Policy. Further, last week we advised all of our on-ice officials to be aware of any inappropriate conduct among players including any anti-Russian/Belarusian discrimination and are working with the Canadian Mental Health Association through our Talk Today program to ensure supports are in place for our Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian players.”


Steve Hogle isn’t going to settle the dispute between MLB and the MLBPA, but he is getting into baseball. The West Coast League’s Edmonton Riverhawks have announced that they have hired Hogle, a former president of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, as their first general manager. Prior to working with the Blades, he was vice-president communications and broadcast with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Since returning to Edmonton from Saskatoon, Hogle had been working with Hockey Edmonton.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.



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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Peanuts

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