Warriors overcome turbulence for OT victory . . .Grandpa Delorme will be all smiles . . . Glen brothers buy BCHL franchise


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You can bet there was happy chatter as the West Kelowna Warriors boarded their bus for the trip back home from Trail on Friday night.

After a week that included a firing, a reinstatement and players choosing not to practice, WestKelownathe Warriors opened the BCHL regular season with a 4-3 OT victory over the Smoke Eaters before an announced crowd of 2,195 in Cominco Arena.

The Warriors scored the game’s last three goals, giving GM/head coach Geoff Grimwood his first victory when D Wyatt Head, a sophomore from Kelowna, scored at 2:29 of extra time.

Grimwood, then the interim GM and head coach, had been dismissed by majority owner Kim Dobranski on Monday night. However, the players rebelled, BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb intervened, and Grimwood was reinstated, without the interim part of his title, on Thursday morning.

The teams will meet again tonight (Saturday) at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna.


I am humbled by the outpouring of support that followed The Happening — this one didn’t feature Mark Wahlberg — in this neighbourhood on Thursday night.

Here is a small sampling . . .

You know, I really am trying to cut back. I have a stack of books here that I want to read, and I have in my mind at least one more book that I want to get written.

But stuff like this keeps getting in the way, and when I see the response to something like this, well, it’s hard to walk away completely. However, as time goes on, you may notice that I take some days off — like Saturdays — from posting here.

In the meantime, keep on coming back and happy reading.



The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Haydn Delorme, 18, to a WHL contract. From Port Moody, B.C., he was a training camp invitee after playing last season with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. He had six goals and 10 assists in 53 games. . . . He is a grandson to former WHLer Ron Delorme, the NHL-Vancouver Canucks’ chief amateur scout who has been with that organization for more than 20 years. He also was inducted in the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this summer.


The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, a franchise that had been owned and operated for 26 years by VernonDr. Duncan Wray and family, have been sold. Dr. Wray died on Jan. 11; his widow, Libby, made the decision to sell the franchise. . . . The new owners are brothers John and Tom Glen. John, from Edmonton, used to scout for the WHL’s Vancouver Giants; Tom lives in Regina. They own car dealerships in Calgary and Vancouver. . . . “This club was something my husband was very passionate about and we wanted to make the right decision going forward,” Mrs. Wray said in a news release. “The Glens will be excellent owners and very committed to the City of Vernon and the legacy which Duncan created. I truly believe the club is in great hands.” . . . Kevin Mitchell of the Vernon Morning Star has more right here.


The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders announced Thursday that general manager and SwanValleyhead coach Taurean White had “resigned from his position . . . effective immediately.” . . . No reason was provided for his departure. . . . Darren Webster was named interim GM/head coach. Webster, who is from Swan River, had been the club’s assistant coach and head scout. . . . White, who was preparing for his second season with the Stampeders, is from Nepean, Ont. Before joining the Stampeders, he had been the director of hockey operations and head coach with the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Kingston Voyageurs. . . . Last season, the Stampeders finished 28-25-7, good for the MJHL’s eighth and final playoff spot. They were swept in the first round by the eventual-champion Steinbach Pistons.


Have you ever watched a trophy presentation and wondered what happens to the carpet on which the participants are standing?

What about the carpet on which NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin were standing during the Stanley Cup presentation last spring?

Well, Dickson Liong, a long-time friend of Taking Note, has the answer to the latter question. He owns it. Oh, and he also owns the sweaty t-shirt that Ovechkin wore during that night’s game. Yes, he does!

That story is right here.


Here by request is something that I posted on Taking Note some time in the past; apologies for not thinking of it sooner but better late than never, one supposes. It deals with NCAA eligibility and comes from collegehockeyinc.com.

“NCAA student-athletes are amateurs and cannot have played for a professional sports team prior to enrolment. In hockey, specifically, this means that anyone who signs a contract with or plays for a team in the Canadian Hockey League (OHL, QMJHL or WHL) forfeits their NCAA eligibility.

“The NCAA Eligibility Center will certify each prospective student-athlete’s amateur status prior to clearing them for competition at the Division I level.

“What You Need to Do:

“Do not accept payment or gifts based upon your ability as a hockey player.

“Do not sign a contract or play a game (even an exhibition game) for a professional team, including those in the CHL.

“You may attend a camp with a professional team for up to 48 hours if they are covering expenses or longer if you cover all expenses.

“Junior, prep or high school teams may cover some or all of your costs to play for them, as long as they are actual and necessary expenses.”

There is more on all of this right here.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she has had to adjust her goal because she has gone over the original one, thanks to many of you — you are able to do so right here.


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BCHL extinguishes fire in West Kelowna . . . Grimwood back as GM/head coach . . . Americans run afoul of WHL sheriff

MacBeth

D Martin Gernát (Edmonton, 2011-13) signed a contract through the end of November with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had two assists in three games with Prešov (Slovakia, 1. Liga), was pointless in two games with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga), and had two goals and two assists in 11 games with Lausanne (Switzerland, NL A).


ThisThat

Here’s hoping that the circus pulled out of West Kelowna on Thursday morning and that the Warriors now are able to get on with their BCHL regular season that is scheduled to open against the Smoke Eaters in Trail tonight (Friday).

Kim Dobranski, the Warriors’ beleaguered majority owner, appeared before the media WestKelownaon Thursday morning, read from a prepared statement and chose not to answer questions.

In brief, Rylan Ferster, who had been the general manager and head coach for six seasons, left the organization on Aug. 21. He had led the Warriors to the national junior A championship in 2016.

In a news release announcing Ferster’s departure, the Warriors revealed that Geoff Grimwood, who had been assistant GM and associate coach, had been named interim GM/head coach.

That lasted until Monday night when Dobranski fired Grimwood. On Tuesday, it became known that Jason Beckett, who had been coaching at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, would be the next head coach.

Except that this is where the players got involved.

First, they skated off the ice during a Tuesday practice and didn’t return.

On Wednesday, they decided not to practise, choosing instead to go on a players-only hike.

By Wednesday night, the BCHL — commissioner Chris Hebb and the board of governors — was involved. A source familiar with the situation told Taking Note on Wednesday that the league had taken over the franchise, at least for now, and that a contract was being drawn up with Grimwood’s name on it.

By Thursday morning, Dobranski said he had seen the light.

In addressing the assembled media, Dobranski read:

“Mr. Grimwood in his short time here had a profound impact on these players. In my search to fill the big shoes of Mr. Ferster, I neglected to realize that Mr. Ferster, in his final act before leaving, not only did he assemble an incredible group of young men, he placed the best person for this job right in front of me.”

That person of course is Grimwood, who will be behind the bench tonight (Friday) in Trail and for the rematch in West Kelowna on Saturday.

Dobranski continued: “I failed both as a partner in this league and as a leader of this organization to consider the emotional turmoil this could cause for these young men. However, the positive in all this is that I discovered that we have something incredibly special here. We have a group of young men that are incredibly tight, bonded like I have never seen before, and have stood together willing to face whatever consequences that this may have caused. They did this for the sole purpose of supporting each other. This was a courageous and a selfless act and I feel we have an incredible group of players here with a foundation for success.”

Dobranski and a silent partner purchased the Warriors from Mark Cheyne in August.

Grimwood also was in attendance on Thursday and, after stating how excited he was to be the general manager and head coach, he offered:

“I think what we’ve done here, with Kim, myself and the B.C. Hockey League, we just made sure everyone’s on the same page going forward. What I want for the team and the players is the same thing that Mr. Dobranski wants. We’re going to work really hard to support those 23 players.”

Hebb, who is in his first year as the BCHL’s commissioner, apparently arrived in West Kelowna sometime on Wednesday.

Doyle Potenteau of Global News reported that the BCHL later issued a statement, “saying it will work alongside Dobranski and his management staff, directing them in the near term, and that the league will remain in a supporting role as the season progresses.”

Global’s coverage is right here.

There is a story right here from castanet.net.

The Kelowna Daily Courier has a story right here.


I wish I could say that the whole mess ended with that news conference. But I’m not able to do that.

Because on Thursday afternoon, I received a tweet from an account that carried the name WarriorsBoss and the address @BossWarriors. However, the account disappeared sometime Thursday evening.

I will leave it to your imagination as to the person behind the short-lived Twitter account. It was set up in “September 2018” — maybe even on Thursday. LOL! When that message arrived, WarriorsBoss (@BossWarriors) was following one account and this was its first tweet.

While I didn’t write down the message, nor did I do a screen capture, the gist of it was that my Wednesday night post on the situation in West Kelowna, in particular the part about the BCHL having “taken over operation” of the franchise, was inaccurate. A source familiar with the situation had informed me of that earlier on Wednesday.

Anyway, I replied to WarriorsBoss:

I usually don’t respond to anonymous messages, but seeing as I am the only account you follow, you should know that someone inside the Warriors organization told me (Wednesday) night that the post was “very accurate.”

A few hours laters, WarriorsBoss fired back, calling me “a liar.”

Again, I didn’t write down the tweet, nor did I do a screen capture. I would assume that was the last tweet to be sent from that account before it disappeared. I actually laughed out loud when that message arrived. In more than 40 years of writing, I can’t recall being called a liar. Lots of other things, for sure. But never a liar.

Anyway . . . sorry to deflate your balloon, WarriorsBoss. But after reading what I posted here on Wednesday night, someone inside the Warriors organization told me, and these are the exact words: “That’s a very accurate article.”

I may be a lot of things, WarriorsBoss, but I am not a liar.

Nor am I anonymous.

Oh, and my Twitter account is very much alive.


Might this be bad news for fans of the Moose Jaw Warriors . . .


Congratulations if you had head coach Kelly Buchberger and the Tri-City Americans in the pool — they were first to run afoul of the WHL’s Department of Discipline this season.

Buchberger, in his first season as head coach, was suspended for one game after a tri-city“multiple fight situation” in a game with the Vancouver Giants on Sunday at an exhibition tournament in Everett.

The Americans also were fined $500, while Tri-City D Mitchell Brown drew a one-game sentence for “fourth fight of game.”

According to the WHL website, no one on the Giants was fined or suspended.

The game featured 142 penalty minutes, including eight fighting majors and eight game misconducts. Of course, a fight carries with it an automatic game misconduct in the exhibition season.

While Brown and seven other players received game misconducts, those penalties don’t show up in their individual statistics. For example, while Brown took 15 penalty minutes in that game — a major (5) and a game misconduct (10) — his individual stats page credits him with only five penalty minutes from that game.

What that means is that the WHL is again refusing to include all penalties in individual totals and that’s a real shame because it bastardizes the penalty statistics.


Of course, this means that Trevor’s twin brother, Darren, who now scouts for the Calgary Flames, also turned 50. Happy birthday to a pair of Memorial Cup champions!


If you’re a regular here, you will know that we’ve been following the progress being made by Stuart Kemp, the president of the Portland Winterhawks’ Booster Club as he Portlandrehabs from three strokes.

Here is his latest update, posted on Wednesday evening . . .

“So people hope I succeed! OK then. I went to a gym first time in ages, and with strokes I can tell you, muscles disappear fast. I was embarrassed at limited stuff before I tired out.

“However, I did 20 mins treadmill 1.5 MPH (Sounds bad but it was moving fast)
“I did 20 mins on cycle level 4
“3 reps of 12 on chest press 20 pounds
“3 reps on Tricep 50 pounds
“3 reps on Tri Extension 50 pounds
“In addition to at home curl @ 20 lbs 3 reps 12 each

“Hope I sleep tonight. But I feel good, working hard so keep positive vibes coming. Let’s get me swallowing again!

“Saw my COBRA for medical today and it’s expensive, lot more than I originally thought by almost $300 a month.

“I know you all saw GoFundMe and FB pleas for help, it’s in Portland Tribune and August Winterhawks Insider, Hoping to prove all wrong and get back to work soon.

“Please help if you can (and) invite those who may be unaware.”

He has speech therapy appointments scheduled for Sept. 7 and 11, and other appointments on Sept. 18, Sept. 19, Sept. 25, Oct. 3 and Oct. 8.

If you are able to help, the GoFundMe page is right here.


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Source: BCHL takes over Warriors; Grimwood back as head coach . . . Chiefs trim two veterans from roster


MacBeth

D Nick Walters (Everett, Brandon, Lethbridge, 2010-15) had his tryout contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2) converted to a one-year contract after being granted German citizenship this week. Walters signed the tryout contract with conversion clause in July. . . . Last season, he had five goals and 14 assists in 50 games with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). . . .

F Robin Soudek (Edmonton, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). Last season, he had 17 goals and 17 assists in 42 games with Épinal (France, Ligue Magnus), and was pointless in one game with Eispiraten Crimmitschau (Germany, DEL2). . . .

D Cody Franson (Vancouver, 2003-07) signed a two-year contract with Avangard Omsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one goal and six assists in 23 games with the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), and nine goals and 19 assist in 37 games with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL).


ThisThat

With the regular season set to open with seven games on Friday night, the BCHL has taken over operation of the West Kelowna Warriors, a source familiar with the situation told Taking Note on Wednesday night.

At this point, it isn’t known how long this will be in place, but Warriors majority owner WestKelownaKim Dobranski isn’t pulling the strings, at least for now,

As well, Geoff Grimwood, who was dismissed as the general manager and head coach on Monday night, will be behind the bench when the Warriors open against the Smoke Eaters in Trail on Friday. Taking Note was told that a new contract for Grimwood was being drawn up on Wednesday.

This is the first real test for Chris Hebb, who is in his first season as the BCHL commissioner after taking over from the retiring John Grisdale. Hebb’s past includes a stint (2006-13) as the senior vice-president of content and communications with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Vancouver Canucks. He was heavily involved in media in both stops, so will have known the importance of acting quickly in this situation.

You can bet that that he and the board of governors also were aware that player agents already were calling other BCHL teams as they prepared to start requesting trades for clients on the Warriors’ roster.

It would appear that the BCHL also imposed a gag rule on the Warriors’ players. One player contacted on Wednesday told Taking Note: “I cannot comment on this matter at this time. . . . Thank you.”

All of this may explain why Dobranski didn’t introduce Jason Beckett as his new head coach on Wednesday.

Grimwood was named the interim general manager and head coach in a news release from the team on Aug. 21, which is when Rylan Ferster, the GM/head coach for the previous six seasons, left the organization. Under Ferster’s guidance, the Warriors won the national junior A championship in 2016.

It became known on Tuesday that Beckett, who had been coaching at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, was to take over as head coach. However, an announcement never was made.

On the ice, the Warriors players left the ice during Tuesday’s practice and didn’t return in protesting Grimwood’s dismissal. The players didn’t skate on Wednesday, instead going on a hike, which is where the photo that appears in the above tweet was taken. Cavin Tilsley, who tweeted that photo, is a 20-year-old forward from Delta, B.C., who was an alternate captain with the team last season.

Dobranski also dropped a Facebook post sometime on Wednesday in which he was critical of Wayne Moore, a former public address announcer with the Warriors who works for castanet.net. Moore wrote a story about the situation on Tuesday in which he revealed that Beckett was to be the new head coach. (As of Wednesday evening, Moore’s story had received more than 12,900 views, by far the most of any recent sports story on the site.)

The Facebook post disappeared sometime on Wednesday, but, as often happens, it lives somewhere on social media.


The Spokane Chiefs moved two veterans off their roster on Wednesday, as they placed F SpokaneChiefsCedric Chenier, 18, on their suspended list and released D Dalton Hamaliuk, 20. . . . Chenier, who had two goals and four assists in 37 games as a freshman last season, has left the team and returned home. “We are disappointed in his decision but wish him the best moving forward,” said Chiefs’ general manager Scott Carter in a news release. Chenier, from Winnipeg, was a ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . Hamaliuk, from Leduc, Alta., played 213 regular-season games over three seasons with the Chiefs. He had six goals and 31 assists in 37 points. He was a second-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Without Hamaliuk, the Chiefs are down to three 20-year-olds — F Jeff Faith, D Nolan Reid and F Riley Woods.


The Howard Johnson Harbourside Hotel in Nanaimo will close its doors for the last time on Oct. 31. The hotel is located in the downtown area and the property on which it sits once was suggested as a possible site for a 5,000-seat arena that would be home to a WHL franchise. . . . As Dominic Abassi of nanaimonewsnow.com writes: “In 2015, the hotel’s owner went public with intentions to build a new hotel and 5,000-seat arena on the land at the corner of Comox Rd. and Terminal Ave. But after an initial splash in local media, the plan was never seriously mentioned again.” . . . Abassi’s complete story is right here.


The American Hockey League released the prices for its AHL-TV package on Wednesday. A full-season all-access pass will set you back US$79.99, with monthly all-access going for $19.99, a daily all-access at $6.99. . . . A full season single team pass is going for $59.99, with home or away at $39.99.

As you can see from the above tweet, the AHL has cut its price by about 66 per cent over last season.

I couldn’t find WHL prices for its 2018-19 packages, but I believe last season’s all-access price was Cdn$319.95 for 792 regular-season games. This season, with teams’ schedules having been reduced from 72 to 68 games, that total would be 748 games.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


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Royals and Rebels make deal . . . Broncos now have brother act . . . Turbulent times for BCHL’s Warriors


MacBeth

F Dalibor Bortňák (Kamloops, 2008-11) signed a one-year contract with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, he had seven goals and seven assists in 31 games with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). He was an alternate captain. . . .

F Jozef Balej (Portland, 1999-2002) signed a one-year contract with Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga), he had nine goals and eight assists in 30 games.


ThisThat

The Victoria Royals have acquired F Brandon Cutler, 18, and a second-round selection in VictoriaRoyalsthe WHL’s 2019 bantam draft from the Red Deer Rebels for F Dallon Melin, 16, and a fifth-rounder in 2019. . . . Cutler, from Spruce Grove, Alta., was a ninth-round pick by the Rebels in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he had six goals and five assists in 68 games with the Rebels. As a freshman, in 2016-17, he had a goal and two assists in 38 games. . . . Melin, from Camrose, Alta., has yet to sign a WHL contract. . . . He had six goals and 14 assists in 27 games with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings last season. He also had one assists in three games with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Victoria selected Melin in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Swift Current Broncos have acquired D Sam Pouliot, 18, from the Red Deer Rebels SCBroncosfor a conditional 10th-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Pouliot had one goal in 16 games with the Rebels last season. He also got into 16 games with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings, drawing three assists. In 2016-17, he had a goal and 12 assists in 36 games with the major midget Vancouver Northwest Giants. . . . Pouliot joins his brother, Ryan, 20, on the Broncos’ roster. Ryan, a 20-year-old defenceman, played the previous two-plus seasons with the Kootenay Ice. The Broncos claimed him on waivers during the summer.



Steve Konowalchuk, who coached the Seattle Thunderbirds to the WHL’s 2017 championship, has joined the NHL’s New York Rangers as an amateur scout. . . . Konowalchuk 45, was the Thunderbirds’ head coach for six seasons. After winning the 2017 Ed Chynoweth Cup, he left for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks where he spent last season as an assistant coach. . . . With the Rangers, according to a news release, Konowalchuk “will be primarily responsible for scouting amateur players in the Western Hockey League.” . . . That news release is right here.


The BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors have undergone another coaching change, with Jason Beckett coming on board as the team’s third head coach since Aug. 21. . . . Rylan WestKelownaFerster, who had been the general manager and head coach for seven seasons, left the organization on Aug. 21. He had helped the Warriors win a national championship in 2016. . . . Geoff Grimwood, the assistant GM and associate head coach, was named the interim head coach on Aug. 21. However, Grimwood was dismissed on Monday night. . . . Assistant coach Matt Miller also is gone, having left on Monday, while athletic therapist Mike Bois, who had been there through four seasons, chose leave, as well. . . . Asked if he was surprised at being fired, Grimwood told Wayne Moore of castanet.net: “No, because I know the situation right now seems unstable. But I was surprised in the sense that I didn’t think they would pull the rug out on you going into the first week of the season. I thought I would have a chance to get out of the gate and see how we did. I respect that’s the owner’s choice and he has to make decisions he thinks are right. I happen to disagree with that because I think the players needed stability, and right now, it’s just not being provided.” . . . As for the players, Taking Note received an anonymous text early Tuesday afternoon, stating that they left the ice during practice and didn’t return. That later was confirmed by Moore. . . . The Warriors are scheduled to open the regular season against the Smoke Eaters in Trail on Friday night. Trail is scheduled to visit West Kelowna on Saturday night. . . . The Warriors are owned by KD Sports Ltd., which purchased the franchise in August. Kim Dobranski is the majority owner and president.

If you check out the above tweet from Bois, the Warriors’ ex-athletic therapist, you will see that a number of West Kelowna players have retweeted it and/or liked it. . . . Hmmm!


The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express have acquired the junior A playing rights to F Ethan O’Rourke, 19, who is on the roster of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos at the moment. . . . The Broncos acquired O’Rourke and a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL bantam draft from the Everett Silvertips for D Sahvan Khaira, 20, on July 30. . . . Last season, O’Rourke had five goals and nine assists in 37 games with the Prince George Cougars, then recorded a goal and three assists in 29 games with Everett. . . . The Express got O’Rourke and future considerations from the Prince George Spruce Kings for F Sam Kozlowski, 20. Kozlowski had eight goals and 22 assists in 55 games with the Express last season.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


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Broncos, Oil Kings swap players, picks . . . A ticket-price increase, or not? . . . Ferster leaves West Kelowna

MacBeth

F Andrej Šťastný (Vancouver, 2010-11) signed a one-year contract with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, he had three goals and one assist with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL).


ThisThat

The Edmonton Oil Kings and Swift Current Broncos got together on Tuesday and pulled off a deal that includes four players and three bantam draft picks.

Edmonton gets: D Jacson Alexander, 17, D Chad Smithson, 17, and a sixth-round pick in EdmontonOilKingsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft.

Swift Current gets: F Matthew Culling, 17, D Chase Lacombe, 16, a second-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft and a fourth-rounder in 2019.

The trade seems to have been precipitated when Alexander, a first-round pick by the Broncos in the 2016 bantam draft, requested a trade. Alexander, who is from Victoria, began last season with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies, putting up three goals and six assists in 29 games. While in the BCHL, he had committed to going the NCAA route and playing SCBroncosfor the U of Denver Pioneers. After joining the Broncos, he had a goal and four assists in 32 regular-season games. He had one assist in 26 playoff games.

Smithson, from Winnipeg, had six goals and seven assists in 41 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers last season. The Broncos selected him in the seventh round of the 2016 bantam draft.

Culling is from Regina and had 25 goals and 37 assists in 43 games with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians last season. The Oil Kings picked him in the 10th round of the 2016 bantam draft.

Lacombe is from Moose Jaw. Last season, he had one goal and one assists in 42 games with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. He was a fifth-round pick by Edmonton in the 2017 bantam draft.

The WHL has yet to reveal the particulars of new regulations involving who can and can’t be traded — assuming, that is, that the grand pooh-bahs have intentions of at some point letting fans in on what’s going on — but it seems that neither Smithson nor Lacombe has signed, while Culling is signed.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Jamie Porter, who used to be the Broncos’ director of hockey operations and head scout, now is the Oil Kings’ director of scouting. He will have played a role in Swift Current’s decision to select Alexander in the first round of the 2016 draft.


The Kootenay Ice held a news conference on Monday, after which they issued an all-encompassing news release.

Included in that news release was the pronouncement that “individual game pricing will Kootenaynewnot increase this season, however applicable taxes will no longer be included in the price.”

As one observer wrote in an email: “In other words, ‘we are increasing our ticket prices.’ ”

That emailer went on to do the math . . .

“Last season — $27.00 including taxes (highest single-game ticket price). This meant that the ticket price last season was actually $25.71 plus $1.29 taxes.

“This season — $27.00 plus $1.35 taxes = $28.35.

“Total Increase $1.35 = 5 per cent increase over last season. Actual Ice revenue per ticket went up $1.24 or 5 per cent.”



G Brodan Salmond, who got into 26 games with the Kelowna Rockets last season, is on MooseJawWarriorsthe training camp roster of the Moose Jaw Warriors. Salmond, from Calgary, will turn 20 on Oct. 8. . . . Last season, Salmond was 13-10-1, 3.67, .880 with the Rockets. In 56 career regular-season games over three seasons, he is 28-19-3, 3.26, .885. . . . The Warriors revealed on Monday that veteran Brody Willms, 20, won’t play this season do to hip problems. Their training camp roster also includes sophomore Adam Evanoff (15-4-1, 2.65, .906), who backed up Willms last season, and bantam draft picks Jackson Berry and Ethan Fitzgerald, both of who have signed WHL contracts. Berry, who turns 16 on Dec. 6, was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 draft; Fitzgerald, 17, was taken in the sixth round in 2016.



I don’t know how much you’ve got planned this week, but Stuart Kemp is a busy guy.

He’s the president of the Portland Winterhawks’ Booster Club, and he is leading the way Portlandas they get ready for the Toyota Hockey Family Fest on Sunday at the Winterhawks Skating Center in Beaverton on Sunday, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Before that, there’s a barbecue on Saturday in Clackamas.

He also had been getting ready for training camp, which started Tuesday and runs through Friday. And, yes, he hopes to see you there.

Oh, and it should be mentioned that he is working hard to recover from two strokes he had earlier in the year. That means he was to see a doctor on Tuesday, has speech therapy on Thursday and again on Saturday.

As he posted Monday night, “See you at upcoming events.”

Hey, Stuart, say hi to Don Hay for me on Sunday!

He added: “I do appreciate your help and will keep you posted on results at Doc and other events. I want to quickly thank all those who’ve read posts and sent messages, some I didn’t talk to in ages. Thanks much!”

Don’t forget that there’s a GoFundMe page for Kemp and his wife, Cathy, and it’s right here.



Rylan Ferster has resigned as general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s West WestKelownaKelowna Warriors. The announcement was made on Tuesday afternoon. . . . Geoff Grimwood, the assistant GM and associate head coach, has been named interim GM and head coach. Assistant coach Matt Miller and goaltending coach Chad Carder remain on staff. . . . Ferster, from Prince Albert, has spent seven seasons with the Warriors, helping them to the RBC Cup in 2016. . . . The Warriors had a regular-season record of 210-150-35 with Ferster in charge. . . . Ferster told Ron Seymour of the Kelowna Daily Courier that “it’s just the right time for me to leave.” Ferster didn’t add anything to that, other than “it’s was definitely an amicable parting. I’m leaving on good terms with the team, which in this business so many times is not the case.” . . . Seymour’s story is right here. . . . Grimwood, 37, is from Victoria. He signed on with the Warriors in July after spending three seasons as the head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers.


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


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Hunter takes over Team Canada . . . Ex-Hitmen coach lands in Denver . . . Everett adds Backus, Fraser to front office


MacBeth

F Kaspars Saulietis (Kelowna, Regina, 2006-08) signed a tryout contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he had eight goals and seven assists in 25 games with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . .

F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) signed a tryout contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he had two goals and three assists in 40 games with Dinamo Riga, and was pointless in three games while on loan to Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). . . .

F Curtis Valk (Medicine Hat, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL). Last season, he was pointless in one game with the Florida Panthers (NHL), and had 20 goals and 42 assists in 73 games with the Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL). He led the Thunderbirds in assists and points.


ThisThat

Tim Hunter, the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, has taken over as head coach of Canada’s national junior team. Hunter, 57, was an assistant with Canada each of the past Canadatwo seasons. . . . Hunter, who is preparing for his fifth season in Moose Jaw, replaces Dominique Ducharme, Canada’s head coach for each of the last two seasons. Ducharme has signed as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. . . . With Hunter moving up from assistant coach, Brent Kisio, the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, has been added to Canada’s staff. The other assistant coaches are Marc-Andre Dumont of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Jim Hulton of the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders. . . .

Mike Burnstein of the Vancouver Giants and Khore Elliott of the Victoria Royals have been named Team Canada’s athletic therapists. . . . Canada won the gold medal at the 2018 tournament in Buffalo, and will attempt to defend the title at the 2019 tournament that is scheduled to open in Vancouver and Victoria on Dec. 26. . . . While Canada will play its round-robin games in Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, it will hold its selection camp in Victoria. . . .

Group A comprises Canada, Czech Repulic, Denmark, Russia and
Switzerland, with Finland, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Sweden and Team USA in Group B, which will play out of Victoria’s Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.


Dallas Ferguson, who left the Calgary Hitmen last month, is joining the U of Denver Pioneers as an assistant coach. He will work under first-year head coach Matt Carle, 28. . . . Carle has taken over from Jim Montgomery, who now is the head coach of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . Ferguson, 45, left the U of Alaska-Fairbanks to join the Hitmen as head coach prior to last season. He had been on the Nanook’ coaching staff for 13 seasons, the last nine as head coach. . . . In announcing Ferguson’s resignation on June 26, Hitmen general manager Jeff Chynoweth explained in a news release: ““Dallas approached me last week, stating his wife is unable to continue to work her current job in Alaska while moving to Calgary as originally planned. As a father to two young girls he does not want to live apart from his family again this year.”


The Everett Silvertips firmed up the top end of their scouting department on Tuesday as Everettthey named Alvin Backus their director of player personnel and Mike Fraser as their head scout. . . . Backus spent the past seven seasons as an amateur scout with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. His contract with Montreal expired on Saturday and wasn’t renewed. . . . Backus lives in Salmon Arm, B.C. Garry Davidson, who is heading into his seventh season as the Silvertips’ general manager, was the owner, general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks for seven seasons (2001-08). . . . Fraser, a WHL scout since 2005, lives in Edmonton. . . . He started scouting with the Swift Current Broncos in 2005 and spent seven seasons with them. Fraser has been working with the Brandon Wheat Kings since 2012-13. . . . The Silvertips lost Bil La Forge, their director of player personnel for four seasons, to the Seattle Thunderbirds, who named him general manager on June 6.


Bob Jones has signed on as an assistant coach with the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Jones had been the head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals for three seasons, although he missed the 2017-18 season due to a serious health problem. Jones, 48, and the Generals then went their separate ways in April. . . . Derek Laxdal, a former head coach of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, is the head coach with Texas.


Nathan Oystrick, a native of Regina, has been named the general manager and head HumboldtBroncoscoach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Oystick, 35, replaces Darcy Haugan, who was killed in the April 6 bus crash that also claimed 15 other lives. . . . Oystrick spent last season coaching a high school team in Colorado. In 2016-17, he was an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators. . . . A defenceman, he played two seasons (2000-02) with the BCHL’s South Surrey Eagles before going on to four seasons at Northern Michigan U. His pro career included stints with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues. . . . Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.


Brayden Pettinger was a 20-year-old defenceman with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers when he suffered a devastating back injury during a game against the host Winnipeg Blues on Nov. 12, 2015. Pettinger, who is from Elgin, Man., now is in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. . . . These days, he and his father, Rick, are in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is undergoing a medical procedure. Brayden’s uncle, Larry, updated things with steinbachonline.com, and that piece is right here.


Geoff Grimwood has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors as assistant general manager and associate coach. Grimwood, 37, spent the past three seasons as the GM and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. . . . In the past, he has worked with the WHL’s Victoria Royals and the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. . . . With the Warriors, he’ll work alongside GM/head coach Rylan Ferster.


Jesse Dorrans is back as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He replaces Bill Rotheisler, who was dismissed after two seasons on the job. . . . Rotheisler was hired prior to the 2016-17 season, taking over from Dorrans, who left to become GM and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. He resigned after one season due to what the team said ws “personal reasons.”


F Skyler McKenzie of the Portland Winterhawks has signed a three-year entry-level deal Portlandwith the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. He was a seventh-round selection by the Jets in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Last season, McKenzie, 20, had 47 goals and 40 assists in 72 games. In 282 regular-season games with Portland, the Sherwood Park, Alta., native has 101 goals and 111 assist. He was an eighth-round pick by Portland in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . He is eligible to return to the WHL for one more season, but likely will start the season with the Manitoba Moose, the Jets’ AHL affiliate.


Two WHLers have been selected to the roster of USA Hockey’s representative for the U-18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is scheduled to be played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. It will feature teams from Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. . . . F Luke Toporowski of the Spokane Chiefs and G Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips were named to the roster. Toporowski is from Bettendorf, Iowa, while Wolf is from Tustin, Calif. . . . The complete Team USA roster is right here.


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Four in chase for 2020 Memorial Cup . . . Blazers sign first-round pick . . . Manson leaves Raiders for AHL gig

MacBeth

D Vladimír Mihálik (Red Deer, Prince George, 2005-07) signed a one-year contract extension with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had four goals and nine assists in 47 games.


ThisThat

The 2020 Memorial Cup is scheduled to be played in the home arena of a WHL team, and organizations had until May 31 to express official interest in bidding to be the host club.

In the end, four teams filed letters of intent — the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Victoria Royals.

The WHL has yet to make this official. In fact, a WHL spokesperson told Taking Note on memcupMonday that the league “will be issuing a release on this matter at the appropriate time.”

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager and the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, told Kelowna radio station AM 1150 that four teams had filed letters of interest.

The Blazers and Rockets had held news conferences to announce their intentions. Cam Hope, the Royals’ general manager, had been adamant for months now that his organization would be preparing a bid.

The wild-card is the Hurricanes, who play in the 4,093-seat ENMAX Centre, which has room for 800 standees. (All capacity figures from the WHL’s 2017-18 Guide.)

Prior to the filing deadline, there was nary a hint that the Hurricanes might be interested in getting involved in the bidding.

The Memorial Cup has never been played in Lethbridge. The Hurricanes last appeared in the Memorial Cup in 1997 when they dropped a 5-1 decision to the host Hull Olympiques in the championship game.

The Lethbridge Broncos played in the 1983 tournament in Portland, but didn’t reach the title game.

The Hurricanes are community-owned; the other three franchises are privately owned.

Of course, it was only three years ago that the Lethbridge franchise was in such dire straits that Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was urging shareholders to sell it to private interests.

In the end, that didn’t happen. Instead, general manager Peter Anholt took control and the rest, as they say, is history.

After six straight seasons out of the playoffs, the Hurricanes have been there each of the past three springs. They followed up a first-round elimination in 2016 by making two straight trips to the Eastern Conference final. One of the results of that is that the franchise has turned the corner and now is a money-maker.

The future is bright on the ice, too, as Lethbridge has some solid young talent, including forwards Dylan Cozens and Logan Barlage, who are coming off terrific 16-year-old seasons.

Hamilton told AM 1150’s Regan Bartel, who is the play-by-play voice of the Rockets, that Lethbridge “will have a good opportunity. They will have a real good hockey team.”

At the same time Hamilton is hoping the fact that the tournament hasn’t been in B.C. since 2007 will mean something to the governors.

“The event has been in Regina, Brandon, Saskatoon and Red Deer since it was last in British Columbia,” Hamilton said. “I am hoping regionally it works and one of us in British Columbia gets it.”  

Meanwhile, Kamloops last appeared in the Memorial Cup in 1995 when it won the championship on home ice, capping a run of three titles in four seasons. The Blazers play out of the Sandman Centre, which has a capacity of 5,464.

The 2004 Memorial Cup was played in Kelowna, with the Rockets winning it as the host team. Since then, the Rockets, who play out of 6,007-seat Prospera Place, which has standing room for 500, have appeared in the 2005, 2009 and 2015 Memorial Cup tournaments, but without winning.

A Victoria team hasn’t reached the Memorial Cup final since 1981, when the Cougars went 1-3 during a three-team tournament in Windsor.

The Royals’ home arena, the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, has a capacity of 7,006.

The host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup is scheduled to be announced following a WHL board of governors’ meeting in Calgary on Oct. 3. Teams will make their presentations during the meeting, after which the governors will vote and a host team will be revealed.

The 2019 Memorial Cup will be decided in Halifax, the home of the QMJHL’s Mooseheads.


The Kamloops Blazers have signed F Logan Stankoven, their first-round selection in the Kamloops1WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Stankoven, from Kamloops, was take with the fifth-overall pick. . . . This season, Stankoven had 57 goals and 33 assists in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy bantam prep team that plays out of Abbotsford, B.C. . . . In 2018-19, Stankoven will play for the major midget Thompson Blazers, who are based in Kamloops.

——

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.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

——

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

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

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 Saskatoon Blades have signed D Charlie Wright, who was selected in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was the Blades’ third pick in the draft. . . . Wright, who will turn 15 on Oct. 22, is from Olds, Alta. This season, he had two goals and 17 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels.


TheCoachingGame

Dave Manson has left the Prince Albert Raiders’ coaching staff to join the Bakersfield PrinceAlbertCondors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Manson had been on the Raiders’ coaching staff for 14 of the last 16 seasons, the past six as associate coach. . . . Manson, 51, is a native of Prince Albert. A rugged defenceman, he played three seasons (1983-86) with the Raiders and was part of their 1985 Memorial Cup-winning team. . . . He went on to a pro career that included 1,103 regular-season NHL games, split between the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs. . . . The Raiders have retired two numbers in their history — Manson’s No. 4 and F Mike Modano’s No. 9.


The BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors have a vacancy after Shae Naka, their assistant general manager/associate coach, left to join the staff at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna. Naka had been with the Warriors for six seasons.