Happy retirement to Ferguson and Marshall. . . . Nickolet leaves Blades for NHL. . . . Leason gets pro deal. . . . Chiefs sign Czech goaltender

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F Alexander Delnov (Seattle, 2012-14) has signed a tryout contract with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL). Last season, with Molot-Prikamie Perm (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had 14 goals and 12 assists in 52 games. He led the team in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Andrei Pavlenko (Edmonton, 2017-19) has signed a tryout contract with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, in 58 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL), he had nine goals and 17 assists.


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The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes have lost two veterans of their scouting staff to retirement, both of them with ties to the WHL. . . . Sheldon Ferguson, who had been Carolina’s head North American scout, and Bert Marshall, a long-time amateur scout, both have headed off into retirement. . . .

Going back to 1977-78, Ferguson owned the WHL’s Billing Bighorns (actually, it was the WCHL then) and the AJHL’s Red Deer Rustlers. He spent part of 1978-79 as the head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, before scouting with the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques for six seasons. From 1985-88, he was the Seattle Thunderbirds’ GM and head coach. He also worked for two seasons as the Swift Current Broncos’ assistant GM. For 18 of the past 20 seasons, Ferguson has been on Carolina’s scouting staff. . . .

Marshall has been an NHL scout since 1983-84. He spent 13 seasons with the New York Islanders and one with the Hartford Whalers. He has been with the Hurricanes since 1997-98. As a player, he came off two seasons (1962-64) with the Edmonton Oil Kings to play 868 regular-season and 72 playoff games, split between the Detroit Red Wings, California/Oakland Seals, New York Rangers, and the Islanders. . . . Think about this for a minute: Marshall has been a part of the NHL for 54 years — since 1965-66 when he played 61 games with the Red Wings. . . . A defenceman in his playing days, Marshall scouted the way he played — quietly efficient. . . .

At the same time, the Hurricanes have added Cody Nickolet and Eric Fink to their scouting staff. . . . Nickolet has been a scout with the Saskatoon Blades, and also was their director of analytics for four seasons. . . . Fink spent the past six seasons scouting for the Portland Winterhawks.


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F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Leason was selected in the second round of the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . He is eligible to return to the Raiders for his 20-year-old season but, if he doesn’t crack the Capitals’ roster, is more likely to open with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. . . . From Calgary, he opened last season with a 30-game point streak, putting up 28 goals and 36 assists. He finished the regular season with 36 goals and 53 assists in 55 games. Leason added 10 goals and 15 assists in 22 playoff games in helping the Raiders to the WHL championship. . . . Leason may have been the best individual story of the 2018-19 regular season, considering that he went in with 24 goals and 27 assists in 135 games. He played his first 81 games with the Tri-City Americans before being dealt to the Raiders early in 2017-18.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed Czech G Lukas Parik to a WHL contract. Parik, 18, was selected by the Chiefs in the CHL’s 2019 import draft. . . . The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Parik was a third-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . The Chiefs haven’t posted their pre-season roster on the WHL website, but barring any unreported moves they have four goaltenders on their depth chart. Parik joins veterans Bailey Brkin and Reece Klassen, both 20, and Campbell Arnold, 17, who was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


Whoops! Chad Harden was hit with 30 seconds in penalties on Day 7 of the Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede. Harden finished second in the heat, but the penalties dropped him to fourth. . . . By night’s end, Harden, who scouts for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen when he’s not racing chuckwagons, had fallen from third to 33rd in the aggregate standings. . . . Harden was penalized, fined $10,000 and given a two-performance suspension after it was ruled that he cut off Evan Salmond, whose chuckwagon went into the inside rail. . . . Harden has won $22,300.


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All quiet on the Kootenay front . . . Raiders roll to another victory . . . ‘Tips win battle of U.S. Division leaders


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D Jonathon Blum (Vancouver, 2005-09) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, as an alternate captain with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), he had one goal and 10 assists in 43 games. He also had three assists in 10 games with Sochi (Russia, KHL). . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) has been released by mutual agreement by Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). He had two goals and two assists in 25 games. . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). He had been released by Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL) after the end of a tryout contract on Nov. 11. He had three goals and three assists in six games. . . . Tvrdoň started the season with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga), scoring once in four games.


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As readers stopped by here late Tuesday night and on through Wednesday, they learned that the Green Bay Committee had shut it down in Cranbrook, B.C., having started to whlbelieve that the Kootenay Ice, the WHL franchise its members had been working to save, is in its final season there.

The committee had been selling tickets and raising money through sponsorships for the Ice in the hopes of keeping the team in the 4,264-seat Western Financial Place.

With all signs pointing to a departure at season’s end, readers started to suggest possible landing spots, other than Winnipeg. Among those mentioned, in no particular order, were New Westminster, Billings, Chilliwack, Anchorage, Wenatchee, Penticton and Vernon.

None of those will be a destination, of course, as it seems the Ice is destined to end up in Winnipeg playing out of the East Division, while the Swift Current Broncos would slide back into the Central Division.

When that happens, Cranbrook will be home to an arena that meets WHL standards — including new lighting, boards and glass, and with plans for a new scoreboard with video boards to be installed in time for 2019-20.

Perhaps the one thing missing would be a team.

But there already are people in Cranbrook who are wondering if there might be another WHL team interested in relocating.

For starters, you can forget about the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos. These are the four remaining community-owned franchises and they aren’t going anywhere.

But . . .

New owners took over the Prince George Cougars in time for the 2014-15 season and admit that they have been bleeding money. This season, the announced average attendance in Prince George is 2,521 through 11 games. Last season, the final figure was 3,024.

Might the Cougars’ ownership be interested in at least kicking some tires?

Meanwhile, the Tri-City Americans averaged 3,053 fans for seven playoff games last spring after a regular season in which that figure was 3,649. But the Toyota Center, which opened in 1988, needs help

A year ago, the Tri-City Herald published a story that centred on the needed improvements and included this:

“Neither (WHL commissioner Ron) Robison nor (Americans general manager Bob) Tory suggested the Americans might leave Kennewick. But they didn’t deny the possibility either.

“Tory said team expenses have doubled under current ownership while revenue has been flat.

“ ‘There comes a time when that doesn’t make sense any more,’ Tory said.”

Voters in Kennewick, Wash., have twice rejected a sales tax that would have had money directed to Toyota Center improvements.

A year ago, there really wasn’t another option for teams like the Cougars or Americans. That changes if/when the Ice heads for the Manitoba capital.

Interestingly, Tory is quite familiar with Cranbrook, having worked as Kootenay’s general manager for two seasons (1998-2000).


All was quiet on the Kootenay Ice front on Wednesday, the day after a local committee that was working towards ensuring that the WHL franchise stays in Cranbrook, B.C., chose to cease operations.

In a letter to Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, as well as one of its Kootenaynewtwo owners, the Green Bay Committee cited a lack of support from the Ice’s owners, Greg Fettes and Cockell, in its decision.

Fettes and Cockell, both with ties to Winnipeg, purchased the franchise prior to last season. This season has been loaded with speculation that the franchise will be relocated to Winnipeg before another season arrives.

Of late, however, there has only been silence from the Ice.

“The silence is deafening,” John Hudak, the committee’s marketing director, told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. “I can’t speak for the owners of the team, I’m not a mind-reader and I don’t know what they are planning on doing, but it’s just highly unusual that people who have been in town for a very short period of time are not making that comment. If they have attendance problems (and) then they aren’t making any comments here to us and (aren’t) willing to engage with us . . . It’s disturbing.”

Hudak’s committee had invited Cockell to attend meetings. Hudak told Taking Note on Wednesday that Cockell’s refusal to attend “surprised” the committee.

Hudak said there was a “representative of the Ice, but not a decision-maker” at the committee’s first meeting on Oct. 25.

Hudak told Global News-Winnipeg on Wednesday that the Ice’s lack of engagement is “probably the single biggest thing that has impacted our ability to lock up some ticket sales.

“Why should we support this if these people aren’t going to remain in the community.

“(We) haven’t heard from the Ice ownership if it will remain . . . their silence on the subject has become deafening.”

Global News reported that “Fettes has also partnered with Brad Rice, who opened Winnipeg’s The Rink Training Facility in 2009, and is building a new facility south of the city. Sources have told Global News a new 5,000-seat arena is planned to be developed on the site to accommodate the WHL team.”

In September, Fettes told Global: “As a fan, parent, and owner, I am passionate about hockey development in Winnipeg and across Canada. Because of this passion, I am involved with The Rink Player Development and their new facility at McGillivray and Loudon, including their expansion and development in the surrounding area.”

Kootenay’s next home game is scheduled for Friday night when the Calgary Hitmen are in town. Jeff Chynoweth is Calgary’s general manager. Fettes and Cockell purchased the Ice from Chynoweth, his brother, Dean, and their mother, Linda.


The B.C. Sports Hall of Fame revealed Wednesday that Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, will received the 2019 W.A.C. Bennett Award for contribution to sport in the province. . . . The award will be presented during the Hall of Fame’s induction gala on May 23 in Vancouver. . . . Toigo has owned the Giants since purchasing an expansion franchise that began play in the 2000-01 season. He has been instrumental in having the 2006 and 2019 World Junior Championships played in Vancouver, as well as the 2007 Memorial Cup. . . . Toigo already is in the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame and the Delta, B.C., Sports Hall of Fame.


G Gavin McHale, who made 45 WHL appearances over two seasons (2004-06), got to watch an NHL game while wearing the uniform of the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. With starter Braden Holtby a late scratch due to an undisclosed injury that is believed to be minor, the Capitals started Pheonix Copley against the host Winnipeg Jets and brought in McHale, a 31-year-old from Winnipeg, as the emergency backup. . . . The Jets won the game, 3-1. . . . McHale, who made 33 appearances with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 12 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, is the goaltender coach for the women’s hockey team at the U of Manitoba. . . . The 6-foot-7 McHale had been in the backup role once before. In February, he spent the third period on the Colorado Avalanche’s bench in support of Semyon Varlamov, who went in to replace the injured Jonathan Bernier.


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Alex Evin, their director of player personnel and associate coach, to a two-year extension that runs through the 2020-21 season. . . . Evin is in his second season with the Spruce Kings. . . . Adam Maglio, the Spruce Kings’ head coach, also is signed through 2020-21, as is general manager Mike Hawes.


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WEDNESDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott blocked 43 shots to lead the host Prince Albert Raiders to their 11th straight PrinceAlbertvictory, this time beating the Medicine Hat Tigers, 2-0. . . . The Raiders (18-1-0) now lead the overall standings by six points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Tigers (9-10-3) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Scott even took a shot at an empty-net goal, only to have the scoreboard in the Art Hauser Centre get in the way. “He thought he was Marty Brodeur at the end there with the shot,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com. “I thought it had a pretty good chance. He got some good weight on it and she was going. But then the clock obviously got in the way. That was the end of that.” . . . F Brett Leason (18) scored the game’s first goal, while shorthanded, at 8:58 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (9) added insurance at 11:16 of the third. . . . Leason has at least one point in all 19 Prince Albert games this season. He and F Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings are tied for the WHL lead in goals. . . . Scott has three shutouts this season and six in his career. On the season, he is 15-1-0, 1.50, .946. . . . BTW, the Raiders now have scored 11 times while shorthanded; their WHL-leading penalty-killers have surrendered only seven goals. . . . D’Andrea’s story is right here.

G Beck Warm turned aside 24 shots to help the Tri-City Americans to a 3-0 victory over tri-citythe Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Americans now are 12-6-0. This was Game 9 of an 11-game road trip on which they are 7-2-0, including 2-2-0 in the East Division. . . . The Broncos (4-16-2) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Warm had one shutout this season and two in his career. . . . F Kyle Olson (4) opened the scoring at 4:20 of the first period, with F Krystof Hrabik (5) made it 2-0 at 19:15. . . . F Isaac Johnson scored his seventh goal into an empty net at 19:56 of the third period. . . . The Broncos remain without D Matthew Stanley, while F Eric Houk now has missed two games since being injured in a fight with F Carter Massier during a 2-0 loss to the Pats in Regina on Saturday.


F Josh Maser scored the winner in OT and also had two assists to lead the Prince George PrinceGeorgeCougars to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (9-8-3) has won two in a row. . . . Kelowna (8-12-1) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . F Matej Toman (3) gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 10:05 of the second period. . . . Kelowna took a 3-2 lead on third-period goals from F Lane Zablocki (2), at 0:55, and F Kyle Topping (9), shorthanded, at 12:07. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (4) pulled the Cougars even at 19:43. . . . Maser won it with his sixth goal of the season with six seconds left in extra time.


F Riley Sutter’s shootout goal gave the host Everett Silvertips a 3-2 victory over the EverettPortland Winterhawks. . . . The Silvertips (15-6-0) have won five straight. . . . The Winterhawks (12-6-2) had their five-game winning streak snapped. . . . Everett leads the U.S. Division, by four points over Portland, which holds a game in hand. . . . The Silvertips led this one 2-0 in the first period on PP goals from F Connor Dewar (16), at 2:27, and F Bryce Kindopp (8), at 12:25. . . . The Winterhawks got third-period goals from F Reece Newkirk (13), at 3:14, and F Ryan Hughes (7), at 3:55. . . . Dewar and Portland F Joachim Blichfeld each scored in the first round of the shootout. Sutter, the first shooter in the third round, got the winner. . . . The Silvertips got 39 saves from G Dustin Wolf, while Portland’s Shane Farkas blocked 41.


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Rockets deal for 20-year-old from Royals . . . Oil Kings win again . . . Brandon’s Burzan fills the net


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The Kelowna Rockets have acquired F Lane Zablocki, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 27, from the Victoria Royals. In exchange, the Royals got a conditional seventh-round selection in KelownaRocketsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. . . . The Royals’ news release indicated that both draft picks were conditional; the Rockets’ news release didn’t use the word ‘conditional.’ . . . The Royals got Zablocki from the Lethbridge Hurricanes at last season’s trade deadline, giving up a second-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, a conditional third-rounder in 2019 and a sixth-rounder in 2018. . . . He recorded one goal and five assists in 25 regular-season games with the Royals, then added two goals and an assist in 10 playoff games. . . . Zablocki also has played with the Regina Pats and Red Deer Rebels. In 201 regular-season games, he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Zablocki, from Wetaskiwin, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the 2013 bantam draft. The Detroit Red Wings selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . .

The Rockets were down to one 20-year-old for two weekend games in Prince George. They have been carrying two, but F Ryan Bowen was ill and didn’t play on the weekend. That left D Braydyn Chizen as the team’s lone 20-year-old. . . .

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, said that Zablocki isn’t expected to play “for another two weeks” as he recovers from an undisclosed injury. “He is just arriving back home to Regina from Detroit’s training camp where he was all summer,” Hamilton added, “and he will report to us on Monday.”

The Royals, meanwhile, have settled on F Dante Hannoun, D Ralph Jarratt and G Griffen Outhouse as their three 20s.

The Rockets snapped their season-opening four-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George on Saturday night. Kelowna went into this game having lost 12 straight — four playoff games, four exhibition games and the first four games of this regular season.


Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Friday night that D Bailey Dhaliwal had one arm in a sling after injuring a shoulder during a 3-1 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. Dhaliwal, 19, left the game in the first period. . . . He has a history of shoulder woes. He was limited to six games last season because of surgery. In 2016-17, he was able to play in only 29 games. . . . “We’re going to see where he’s at . . . but obviously I’m concerned,” Michael Dyck, the Giants’ head coach, told Ewen. “Anytime that shoulder is injured there’s a concern.” . . . Ewen has more on the Giants’ situation right here.


G Carl Stankowski is back in action after sitting out all of last season. You’ll recall that Stankowski, as a 16-year-old, was the story of the 2016-17 playoffs as he backstopped the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Ed Chynoweth Cup. But he didn’t play at all last season due to injury and illness. Now he’s back and playing with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Todd Saelhof of Postmedia has more right here.


SATURDAY NIGHT STUFF:

The Washington Capitals have signed F Riley Sutter of the Everett Silvertips to a three-year entry-level NHL deal. He is to turn 19 on Oct. 25. Sutter, who is back with the Silvertips, was a third-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2018 draft. His father, Ron, played 19 seasons in the NHL. . . . Last night, Sutter scored twice and added an assist to lead the visiting Silvertips to a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Each team scored twice via the PP. . . .

D Igor Merezhko of the Lethbridge Hurricanes was given a two-game suspension after he got tossed from Friday’s 8-4 victory over the Pats in Regina. Merezhko didn’t play in Lethbridge’s 8-4 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon and won’t play Friday against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Wheat Kings got four goals and an assist from F Luka Burzan as they built up a 7-0 second-period lead; he later added an empty-netter for a five-goal night, the first in the WHL this season. . . .

F Riley McKay scored in the 10th round of a shootout to give the host Saskatoon Blades a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Blades are 3-0-0 for the first time since 2011-12. Danish G Mads Søgaard, who stands 6-foot-7, made his first WHL start for the Tigers by stopping 39 shots. . . . The Blades had F Josh Paterson back in the lineup after he missed two games last weekend after taking a high hit from D Parker Gavlas of the visiting Regina Pats in an exhibition game on Sept. 13. When Paterson sat out the first game, it ended a streak of 145 straight regular-season games played. Gavlas was hit with a six-game suspension for the hit. . . . Paterson had two assists and was chosen the game’s first star. . . .

D Jared Freadrich, playing in his 200th regular-season game, had a goal and three assists as the Portland Winterhawks scored three PP goals and won their home-opener, 4-2, over the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Winterhawks got three assists from F Cody Glass, with linemate  Joachim Blichfeld getting a goal and two assists. . . . The Winterhawks next play on Wednesday (and Friday) when they visit the Blazers in Kamloops. This will be the return of Portland assistant coach Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history who spent the previous four seasons with the Blazers. . . .

F Parker Kelly scored the game’s last two goals as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders erased a 5-2 deficit late in the third period and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-5. Moose Jaw D Brandon Schuldaus completed a three-game suspension left over from last season. He was suspended after taking a match penalty in a playoff game against Swift Current on April 16. . . . F Brayden Tracey, the 21st overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft, scored his first two WHL goals for the Warriors. Tracey, 17, is from Calgary. He had two assists in five games last season. This season, he had been pointless in two games. . . .

The host Victoria Royals erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits, the latter in the second period, en route to a 6-3 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. The Royals had beaten the Blazers, 3-2, on Friday night. Victoria G Griffen Outhouse stopped 71 of 76 shots (.934) in the two victories. . . . Kamloops scratched sophomore F Connor Zary (ill) last night. . . . The Royals went 4-0-0 on a season-opening four-game homestand. . . .

The Swift Current Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, avoided a third straight shutout as they slipped to 0-4-0 by losing 5-2 to the Rebels in Red Deer. The Broncos have been outscored, 20-3. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs won their home-opener, getting two goals and an assist from Riley Woods in a 6-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. One night earlier, the Chiefs came out of Cranbrook with a 7-4 victory over the Ice. . . . D Ty Smith had one assist and was plus-3 in his first game with the Chiefs since returning from the camp of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils with a three-year entry-level deal in his hip pocket. . . .

The visiting Edmonton Oil Kings skated to a 6-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen, improving to 5-0-0 in the process. This is the first time in the franchise’s modern history, starting in 2007-08, that the Oil Kings have opened with five straight victories. . . . The Hitmen, who were 6-0-0 in the exhibition season, are 0-3-0. . . . This was the first meeting between these teams this season. During the offseason, the Oil Kings fired head coach Steve Hamilton and the Hitmen hired him.


If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players.


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Bronco$ cash in on championship season . . . Winter Hawks get back star player . . . Pats add goalie from Royals


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The Swift Current Broncos, the reigning WHL champions, informed their annual general meeting on Tuesday that they had made a profit of $561,500 for the 2017-18 season.

According to a news release, it was the “largest (profit) in franchise history.”

(Andrew McCormack of swiftcurrentonline.com reports that the 1992-93 Broncos, who also won the WHL title, reported a profit of $567,000.)

“It was a tremendous season,” Trent McCleary, a former Broncos player who now is chairman of the board of directors, told the AGM. “We did a great job in all areas.

“Some of the highlights from last season were truly memorable and something that can never be taken away from this franchise.”

The Broncos’ average attendance in the 2017-18 regular season was 2,550, an increase of 544 from the previous season. They sold out 11 regular-season games and all 13 home playoff games.

The Broncos are one of four community-owned WHL teams and the last one to hold its annual general meeting.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who lost the Eastern Conference final to the Broncos, reported a profit of $422,443 after paying $167,000 to the City of Lethbridge to help cover the cost of arena improvements.

The Moose Jaw Warriors made $704,182 and have $1,157,466 in the bank, after putting $233,648 towards new boards and glass at Mosaic Place.

The Prince Albert Raiders, who lost a first-round series to the Warriors, reported a loss of $163,430 for 2017-18.


When Tuesday ended, the Swift Current Broncos had six 20-year-olds on their roster, that after adding D Matthew Stanley. The Broncos had included Stanley in last season’s monster deadline deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge placed Stanley on 20-year-old waivers and the Broncos claimed him. . . . In Swift Current, Stanley joins F Kaden Elder, F Tanner Nagel, F Andrew Fyten, D Artyom Minulin and D Ryan Pouliot as the 20s who are scrapping for one of three spots. . . . Minulin, a Russian veteran, is injured so could go on the injured list, a move that would buy the Broncos some time on him. They still would have to cut two of the other five over the next two weeks. . . . The Broncos have two other import players, both freshman forwards from Finland, on their roster — Roope Pynnonen, 17, and Joona Kiviniemi, who will turn 17 on Dec. 17. . . .

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have three 20s left on their roster — D Igor Merezhko, F Jake Elmer and F Taylor Ross. However, Merezhko is an import, so should they keep him they will have to release one of their two freshman imports, either Swiss G Akira Schmid, 18, who had been in camp with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, or D Danila Palivko, who is from Belarus. Pavilko is to turn 17 on Nov. 30. . . .

Schmid, a fifth-round pick by the Devils in the NHL’s 2018 draft, joins Reece Klassen, 19, and freshman Carl Tetachuk, 17, as the goaltenders on Lethbridge’s roster.



The Portland Winterhawks added a major cog to their offence on Tuesday when the PortlandNHL’s Vegas Golden Knights returned F Cody Glass, 19, to the WHL team. . . . Glass, from Winnipeg, put up 102 points, including 37 goals, in 64 games last season. In three seasons with the Winterhawks, he has 223 points, 79 of them goals, in 201 games. . . . Glass will provide a huge boost to a Portland offence that is without F Ryan Hughes. He will sit for at least a month with a leg injury; at present, he is getting around with the help of a walking boot. Hughes had 17 goals and 24 assists in 46 games last season, his third in Portland, during which he missed time with a broken leg that required surgery. . . . The Golden Knights selected Glass with the sixth overall pick in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . .

Meanwhile, the Winterhawks have solved their import and 20-year-old situations by releasing freshman F Dean Schwenninger, who is from Switzerland, and F Conor MacEachern. . . . Both moves became necessary after the NHL’s San Jose Sharks returned Danish F Joachim Blichfeld, 20, to Portland. . . . The Winterhawks’ second import is freshman F Michal Kvasnica, 18, who is from Ostrava, Czech Republic. . . . The remaining 20s are Blichfeld, D Brendan De Jong and F Jared Freadrich. . . .

The Winterhawks also released D Ryan Miley, 18, who played one game with them last season. He is expected to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have decided to go with veteran Jordan Hollett and freshman import Mads Sogaard as their two goaltenders. . . . . On Tuesday, the Tigers released G Garin Bjorklund, 16, who is expected to join the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. Bjorklund was a first-round pick by the Tigers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . Hollett, 19, was a sixth-round selection by the Ottawa Senators in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Sogaard, who turns 18 on Dec. 13, is from Aalborg, Denmark.


The Regina Pats have acquired G Dean McNabb, 18, from the Victoria Royals for a Patsconditional fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . The Royals also got a ninth-round pick in the 2019 draft in the deal. . . . McNabb, from Davidson, Sask., has been in one game this season, stopping the three shots he faced in relief. Last season, as a freshman, he was 4-10-0, 4.52, .870. . . . McNabb, the younger brother of D Brayden McNabb of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, was a third round pick by Victoria in the 2015 bantam draft after playing two seasons with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. . . . In Regina, McNabb presumably will back up starter Max Paddock, an 18-year-old sophomore from Brandon. However, Matthew Pesenti, 17, also is on the Pats’ roster. Pesenti backed up Paddock as the Pats dropped two games to the Prince Albert Raiders on the weekend. . . . Kyle Dumba, 20, had been on the Pats’ roster but his name disappeared sometime on Tuesday. . . .

In Victoria, McNabb’s departure leaves the Royals with veteran Griffen Outhouse, 20, and freshman Brock Gould, a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder from Colorado Springs who was an eighth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. Gould will turn 17 on Dec. 11.


F Gunnar Wegleitner, who has played 112 regular-season WHL games, has joined the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers after they acquired his junior A rights from the NOJHL’s Kirkland Lake Gold Miners. . . . Wegleitner, 20, is from Vancouver. He had 10 goals and nine assists in 57 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings last season. In 2016-17, he played with the Victoria Royals and Kirkland Lake. . . . He also has played with the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Wheat Kings dealt him to the Kootenay Ice over the summer. The Ice released him during training camp.


The Kamloops Blazers got down to two goaltenders on Monday by releasing Max Palaga, 18, and Rayce Ramsay, 17. Palaga, who backed up with the Blazers last season, is from Kamloops and is expected to join the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. Ramsay, from Saskatoon, will join the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . The moves leave the Blazers with veteran Dylan Ferguson, 20, and freshman Dylan Garand, 16, who is from Victoria and was a third-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . The highly touted Garand got into three games as a 16-year-old last season, going 1-2-0, 3.14, .905.


The Seattle Thunderbirds got down to two goaltenders by releasing Eric Ward, a 17-year-old from Edmonton. He played last season with the midget AAA CAC Edmonton Canadians. . . . The move left the Thunderbirds with veteran Liam Hughes, 19, as their starter, and freshman Cole Schwebius, 17, as the backup. Schwebius, from Kelowna, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft.


D Alex Alexeyev of the Red Deer Rebels has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Washington Capitals, who selected him in the first round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder from St. Petersburg, Russia, is to turn 19 on Nov. 15. . . . Alexeyev is back for a third season with the Rebels and, in fact, scored a goal in each of Red Deer’s first two games.


The Tri-City Americans have four 20-year-olds on their roster after releasing D Dan Gatenby. The Americans had acquired him from the Kamloops Blazers for a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . He is the younger brother of D Joe Gatenby, who played for the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops, and now is at the U of New Brunswick. . . . The Americans will have to move out one of F Parker AuCoin, D Anthony Bishop, F Brett Clayton or F Nolan Yaremko to get down to the maximum of three 20s.


It seems that the Edmonton Oil Kings didn’t have any choice but to acquire another EdmontonOilKingsgoaltender, thus the deal with the Brandon Wheat Kings for Dylan Myskiw, 19. . . . Myskiw and Boston Bilous, 17, are the Oil Kings’ two active goaltenders at the moment. . . . They also have veteran Todd Scott, 18, on the roster, but he is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. . . . Edmonton also had Sebastian Cossa, who turns 16 on Nov. 21, in camp and he remains on their roster, but he, too, is injured and out for up to six weeks. . . . Myskiw got off to a good start with Edmonton, stopping 28 shots as the Oil Kings beat the host Red Deer Rebels on Saturday. The Oil Kings are back in action tonight against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Derek Van Diest of Postmedia has more on Edmonton’s goaltenders right here.


The WHL’s latest roster report is right here.



Dave Matsos, the head coach of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, collapsed at his team’s bench with 19.8 seconds left in the third period of game in Barrie against the Colts on Saturday night. Matsos, 44, is in his first season as the Bulldog’s head coach; Hamilton won the game, 4-2, to present him with his first head-coaching victory with the team. . . . He was taken to hospital for tests, then was released on Monday. . . . Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator has more right here. . . . The Bulldogs are off until Saturday when they are to meet the Petes in Peterborough.


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings and head coach Adam Maglio have signed a contract extension that runs through the 2020-21 season. He is in his fourth season with the team, his second as head coach. Last season, the Spruce Kings reached the BCHL final where they lost in five games to the Wenatchee Wild. . . . Maglio, 32, is from Nelson, B.C.


The SJHL is encouraging its players to wear seatbelts if they are available on any bus on which they are riding. This comes, of course, after the April 6 crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus in which 16 people died. . . . However, it seems that this will be a tough sell, especially for trips of any duration. . . . Jennifer Quesnel of CBC News has more on the story right here.


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Blades have their new coach . . . Capitals have WHL flavour, too . . . Giants sign first-round pick

MacBeth

F Taylor Vause (Swift Current, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had 13 goals and 25 assists in 53 games. . . .

F Kevin King (Kootenay, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite), he had 28 goals and 34 assists in 55 games. The team captain, he led the Lightning in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Tyler Redenbach (Prince George, Swift Current, Lethbridge, 2001-05) signed a one-year extension with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He started this season with Tappara Tampere (Finland, Liiga), scoring once in 10 games. He signed with Liberec on Oct. 13 and finished with 12 goals and nine assists in 42 games.


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The Saskatoon Blades are expected to introduce Mitch Love as their new head coach at a news conference this afternoon (Wednesday).

Love, who had been assistant to the general manager/assistant coach with the Everett SaskatoonSilvertips, replaced Dean Brockman in Saskatoon. Brockman had spent four seasons with Saskatoon, two as an assistant coach and the last two as head coach.

Love, 33, is from Quesnel, B.C. A hard-nosed defenceman, he played with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos and the Silvertips (2000-05). He was the Everett captain in his last of two seasons there and is one of the most popular players in that franchise’s history.

He went on to a six-season pro career, playing in the AHL, ECHL and CHL, before starting his coaching career in Everett. Love just completed his seventh season as an assistant with the Silvertips. He twice has coached Canadian teams at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.

The Blades interviewed Love during the WHL playoffs with the Silvertips involved in a second-round series with the Portland Winterhawks. Following the second game of that series there was a two-day break. A source has told Taking Note that Love met with Blades’ management at Vancouver International Airport.

The Blades have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons. In fact, the last time they advanced past the second round was in 1994-95. They have missed the playoffs 11 times since that season.

Harley Love, Mitch’s father, is one of the Blades’ B.C. scouts.

The Edmonton Oil Kings, Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos now are the only WHL teams looking to hire head coaches.

The Oil Kings fired Steve Hamilton, their head coach for the past four seasons, on Monday.

The Blazers are looking for a replacement for Don Hay, the winningest coach in WHL regular-season and playoff history, who moved into an advisory role after four seasons as head coach.

Manny Viveiros, who guided Swift Current to the WHL championship earlier in the month, left the Broncos on Friday and now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.


Might the Regina Pats make a coaching change before the 2018-19 season gets here? Greg PatsHarder of the Regina Leader-Post reports that John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, is expected to step aside as head coach at some point this summer. Paddock, 63, would then focus on his duties as general manager, allowing Dave Struch, the assistant GM/assistant coach, to take over as head coach. . . . Paddock and Struch, a former head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, have worked together through four seasons with the Pats. . . . Harder’s story is right here.


A few days ago, I wrote about the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and the number of men with NHL ties, not including players, who are involved with the team.

I was remiss in not doing the same thing with the Washington Capitals, who  have some Capitalsserious WHL connections as they meet the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup final.

At a glance, here are the men with WHL ties who are involved off the the ice with the Capitals:

Ross Mahoney, assistant general manager — Mahoney, 61, spent two seasons (1993-95) as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats. He then spent three seasons as an amateur scout with the Buffalo Sabres, before moving on to the Capitals. Mahoney is in his 18th season with Washington — 14 as director of amateur scouting and the last four as AGM. . . . Did you know: Mahoney was the leading hitter — he hit .636 — and all-star right field in helping the Melville, Sask., Elks win the 1973 Canadian midget baseball championship.

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Barry Trotz, head coach — Trotz, 55, was a defenceman for three seasons (1979-82) with the Regina Pats. He played in the 1980 Memorial Cup with the WHL-champion Pats. Trotz is in his fourth season as Washington’s head coach, after spending 15 seasons as head coach of the Nashville Predators. . . . Did you know: Trotz played his 20-year-old season in his hometown of Dauphin, Man., with the Kings of the MJHL. They won the MJHL title and the ANAVET Cup that season.

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Lane Lambert, assistant coach — Lambert, 53, is from Melfort, Sask. He played in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos (1980-81) and Saskatoon Blades (1981-83). He put up 233 points, including 104 goals, in 136 regular-season games. . . . He went on to a pro career that included 283 regular-season NHL games. . . . Lambert started his coaching career as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors in 2002-03. He took over as head coach of the Prince George Cougars during the 2003-04 season, and also spent 2004-05 there. . . . He was an assistant coach under Barry Krotz in Nashville (2011-14) and is in his fourth season with Washington. . . . Did you know: As a player, Lambert won playoff championships in the IHL (Houston Aeros), AHL (Adirondack Red Wings) and the NLB in Switzerland (HC Ajoie).

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Olie Kolzig, professional development coach — Kolzig, 48, played goal in the WHL with the New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans (1987-90). . . . He scored a goal for the Americans on Nov. 29, 1989, the first WHL goaltender to manage that feat. . . . Kolzig’s pro career included 10-plus seasons with the Capitals, with whom he won the Vezina Trophy and was named to the first all-star team for the 1999-2000 season. . . . Kolzig has owned a piece of the Tri-City franchise since 2004-05. . . . Did you know: Kolzig’s number (33) has been retired by the Americans.

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Jason Fitzsimmons, pro scout/minor league operations — Fitzsimmons, 46, is from Regina. A goaltender, he played three seasons (1989-92) with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . He played professionally for six seasons, in the AHL and ECHL, finishing up with the South Carolina Stingrays in 1997-98. . . . He transitioned to coaching with the Stingrays and spent nine more seasons there, the last five as head coach. . . . He joined the Capitals as a pro scout in 2007-08, then added the director of minor league operations to his duties prior to 2016-17. . . . Did you know: Fitzsimmons stepped down as the Stingrays’ head coach after the 2006-07 season and was succeeded by Jared Bednar, who now is head coach of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

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Brian Sutherby, scout — Sutherby, 36, is from Edmonton. He played four seasons (1998-2002) with the Moose Jaw Warriors, and was a first-round selection by Washington in the NHL’s 2000 draft. He went on to play 460 regular-season NHL games, splitting them between the Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars. He is in his third season on the Washington scouting staff. . . . Did you know: Sutherby retired after playing 25 games with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters. He finished as the team captain, taking over after Bryan Lerg suffered a season-ending knee injury.

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Alan May, TV analyst — May, now 53, played one season (1985-86) in the WHL — six games with the Medicine Hat Tigers and 32 with the New Westminster Bruins. . . . In a 393-game NHL career, May compiled 1,348 penalty minutes. . . . He now works as an analyst for NBC Sports Washington, where he has been since 2009. . . . Did you know: In 1984-85, May played in 64 games with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. In 64 games, he had 51 goals, 47 assists and, yes, 409 penalty minutes.


The Vancouver Giants have signed F Zack Ostapchuk, their first-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Ostapchuk, who turned 15 on Tuesday, is from St. Albert, Alta. He was the 12th overall pick in the draft. . . . This season, he had 24 goals and 21 assists in 30 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team.

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WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

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The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Tri-City Americans have signed F Booker Daniel to a WHL contract. He will turn 17 on Aug. 13. From Vanderhoof, B.C., Daniel spent this season with the major midget Kootenay Ice. He had 16 goals and 15 assists in 26 games with the Ice.


Chris Johnston is the new head coach of the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant to head coach Tyson Ramsey. . . . Johnston, 43, played five seasons (1990-95) in the WHL, splitting time with his hometown Wheat Kings, the Red Deer Rebels and Regina Pats.


Mike Hastings, the head coach at Minnesota State-Mankato, has been named the head coach of USA Hockey’s national junior team. He takes over from David Quinn, who left Boston U earlier this month and now is head coach of the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . Quinn had been named the national junior team’s head coach on April 20. Hastings had been selected as an assistant coach. . . . Scott Sandelin, the head coach at Minnesota-Duluth, has been added to Team USA as an assistant coach, joining David Lassonde, the associate head coach at Dartmouth, and Steve Miller, the associate head coach at Ohio State. . . . The 2019 World Junior Championship is scheduled for Vancouver and Victoria, running from Dec. 26, 2018, through Jan. 5, 2019.


“A medical consultant to the National Hockey League Players’ Association has testified under oath that a top NHL lawyer watered down a warning to players about the long-term dangers of repeated head trauma on a poster displayed in every NHL team dressing room,” writes Rick Westhead, TSN’s senior correspondent, in the second of a five-part series that has been headlined NHL Under Oath. . . . The complete story is right here. . . . Meanwhile, the Toronto Star offered up this editorial right here.


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