Cranbrook says ‘no’ to KIJHL team. . . . It’s official! Willie’s back in The Hat. . . . Scooter scoots into retirement. . . . Ice, Wheaties sign first-round picks


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D Linden Springer (Prince George, Portland, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Glasgow Clan (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite), he had four goals and nine assists in 51 games. . . .

D Jason Fram (Spokane, 2011-16) has signed a two-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, in 28 games with the U of Alberta (USports, Canada West), he had nine goals and 21 assists. . . .

F Justin Maylan (Moose Jaw, Prince George, Prince Albert, 2007-12) has  signed a one-year contract with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had two goals and three assists in seven games. He didn’t sign with Villach until Feb. 9. . . .

F Carter Ashton (Lethbridge, Regina, Tri-City, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). This season, with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL), he had nine goals and five assists in 36 games.


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A hearty welcome to all the new readers who have found us here over the past day or two. . . . Hope you enjoy what you find here and that you will spread the word. . . . Enjoy!


It would seem that the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League won’t be setting up kijhlshop in Cranbrook, at least not in time for the 2019-20 season. . . . Taking Note was told on Thursday that a group of 10 investors had reached a deal in principle to purchase the junior B Kelowna Chiefs and move the franchise to Cranbrook. . . . The team would have played out of Western Financial Place, which had been home to the WHL’s Kootenay Ice until that franchise moved to Winnipeg after its 2018-19 season ended. . . . The Ice’s lease with the City of Cranbrook runs through the 2022-23 season and a settlement hasn’t yet been negotiated. So the group had cut a deal with the Ice to sublease and, according to a source, the deal “guaranteed the city WHL rent for the next four years.” . . . However, the city rejected the sublease proposal late Thursday night, meaning the arena is one step close to not having a primary tenant for the 2019-20 season. . . .

“Our deadline for any relocation is May 31,” KIJHL president Larry Martel told Jeff Johnson of The Drive FM in Cranbrook. “Because of the medical situation in Kelowna, we’re still looking at a possibility, but we need to get our scheduling done so the league is moving on as of (Friday).”

Grant Sheridan, the Chiefs’ president and general manager, was admitted to hospital late in March after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

As for a KIJHL team moving into Cranbrook, Martel said that isn’t likely to happen in the near future.

“There’s an existing rink deal with the former team, the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice,” he said. “So until that’s been negotiated and cleared up, no other junior team will be moving into Cranbrook as far as I’ve been told. But I have not been involved with any talk with the City of Cranbrook or anybody involved with that.”

Johnson’s story, along with a statement from The Chiefs, is all right here.


As expected, the Medicine Hat Tigers introduced Willie Desjardins as their new general manager and head coach on Friday morning, less than 24 hours after announcing that Tigers Logo Officialthey had parted company with Shaun Clouston. . . . Clouston, 51, had been with the Tigers since 2003-04, working as an assistant coach and associate coach before succeeding Desjardins as head coach prior to the 2010-11 season. Clouston had been GM and head coach since 2012-13. . . . Desjardins’ contract terms weren’t revealed but you get the feeling that he has the job for as long as he wants. . . .

Desjardins, 62, spent three seasons (2002-05) as the Tigers’ head coach and five (2005-10) as GM/head coach. With Desjardins running things, the Tigers won WHL championships in 2004 and 2007. They also won four straight Central Division titles, two Eastern Conference championships and one Scotty Munro Trophy as the top regular-season team. . . . After leaving the Tigers, Desjardins spent two seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Dallas Stars, two as head coach of the AHL’s Texas Stars, three as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, and one with Team Canada. This season, he took over as the interim head coach of the Los Angeles Kings in November, but was released at season’s end. . . .

One of Desjardins’ responsibilities may be to stop the bleeding at the gate. When the Tigers played in The Arena, regular-season games were sold out (4,006) for a number of seasons. The Tigers moved into the 7,100-seat Canalta Centre in time for the 2015-16 season. They average 4,248 fans for that season, but in subsequent seasons the attendance declined to 3,586, 3,295 and 3,121.

This season, the Tigers had announced attendances of fewer than 3,000 for 16 of their 34 homes games.

The Tigers finished 35-27-6 in what turned out to be Clouston’s final season as head coach. They made the playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card team and lost a first-round series, 4-2, to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

In the previous three seasons in the Canalta Centre, the Tigers went 30-37-5, 51-20-1 and 36-28-8. They missed the playoffs in 2015-16, lost in the second round in 2016-17, and were ousted in the first round in 2017-18.


Dean (Scooter) Vrooman ended his 32-year career with the Portland Winterhawks on Friday by strolling off into retirement. . . . Vrooman joined the team in 1982 as its play-Portlandby-play voice and primary sponsorship salesperson, roles he held for 25 years. He left the organization briefly in 2007 to work in the banking industry. He returned to the Winterhawks in 2012 as the director of corporate sponsorships. . . . As the voice of the Winterhawks, Vrooman handled more than 2,000 games, including the 1982-83 and 1997-98 Memorial Cup championship seasons. . . . Of course, retirement doesn’t mean Vrooman won’t be somewhere near the Winterhawks at times. As he put it in a news release: “Overall, I have been a part of the organization for 32 years and I am going to be 66 years old in December so I thought this was the right time to move out of the realm of working full time in corporate sponsorships. I absolutely love the team and the WHL and will still be coming to a lot of games, perhaps helping out with some broadcasting occasionally, and working with the Winterhawks alumni and other isolated projects as they arise. I am so fortunate to have worked with so many great people, players, sponsors and fans for so many years.  It has been a lot of work, but it has also been a lot of fun.”


The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers released two assistant coaches on Friday, both of them former WHL players and coaches. . . . Manny Viveiros spent one season with the Oilers Oilersafter working for two seasons as the Swift Current Broncos director of player personnel and head coach. He helped lead the Broncos the WHL championship a year ago. Viveiros played four seasons (1982-86) with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Trent Yawney, a veteran coach, also spent just one season with the Oilers, after working as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks for four seasons. There is speculation that he could be joining the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach. Todd McLellan, who was fired by the Oilers early this season, is the Kings’ new head coach. . . . Yawney played three seasons (1982-85) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Glen Gulutzan will be staying with the Oilers as an assistant under new head coach Dave Tippett. Gulutzan has completed one season with the Oilers and working as the Calgary Flames’ head coach for two seasons. As a player, he skated for two seasons (1989-91) with the Brandon Wheat Kings and one (1991-92) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . There is speculation that Jim Playfair will be joining the Oilers’ staff as an assistant coach. Playfair worked with Tippett for six seasons (2011-17) when the latter was the head coach of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes.


The Regina Pats have signed Dale McMullin, their director of scouting, to an extension. The length of the contract wasn’t revealed, other than to report that it is a “multi-year extension.” . . . McMullin has been the Pats’ director of scouting for eight seasons. . . . Before joining the Pats, McMullin was part of the Red Deer Rebels’ scouting staff for nine seasons. . . . McMullin is a former WHL player, having put up 418 points, including 168 goals, in 309 games (1971-76) with the Brandon Wheat Kings.


The Winnipeg Ice has signed F Conor Geekie to a WHL contract. Geekie, from Strathclair, Man., was the second-overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had 49 goals and 37 assists in 31 regular-season games with the bantam AAA Yellowhead Chiefs. . . . His older brother Morgan played three seasons (2015-18) with the Tri-City Americans and now is in the AHL’s Calder Cup final with the Charlotte Checkers. Their father, Craig, played two seasons (1991-93) with the Brandon Wheat Kings and one (1993-94) with the Spokane Chiefs.

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The Brandon Wheat Kings owned three first-round selections in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft that was held in Red Deer on May 2. On Friday, the Wheat Kings announced the signings of all three players — F Nate Danielson, who was the fifth-overall pick, F Tyson Zimmer, who went sixth, and F Rylen Roersma, who was No. 16. . . . Danielson, from Red Deer, had 26 goals and 33 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels and was named the Alberta league’s top forward and MVP. . . . Zimmer, from Russell, Man., played for the OHA bantam prep team in Penticton, putting up 22 goals and 30 assists in 26 games. . . . Roersma, from Raymond, Alta., had 23 goals and 21 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Lethbridge Golden Hawks.

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With the signings announced Friday by the Winnipeg Ice and Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL teams have signed 12 of the 22 first-round selections from the 2019 bantam draft. Here’s a look at who has signed and who hasn’t . . .

UNSIGNED:

1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie

3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk

4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer

7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren

11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk

14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward

15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton

19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka

20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis

21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth

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SIGNED:

2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie

5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson

6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer

8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson

9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky

10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski

12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt

13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann

16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma

17. Regina — D Layton Feist

18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer

22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker


The Kelowna Rockets have signed D Elias Carmichael to a WHL contract. From Langley, B.C., Carmichael was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had three goals and 11 assists in 27 regular-season games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.


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Tigers are moving on from Clouston after 16 seasons in organization. . . . Desjardins on way back to Medicine Hat bench

Shaun Clouston had been with the Medicine Hat Tigers for 16 seasons and was the winningest head coach in franchise history.

It all ended Thursday with a terse three-paragraph news release, saying only that the two Tigers Logo Officialparties had “parted ways.”

Shortly after the announcement was made, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to Taking Note that Willie Desjardins would be returning to the Tigers, who have a news conference scheduled for this (Friday) morning.

Desjardins, 62, spent eight seasons (2002-10) with the Tigers, the first three as head coach and the last five as general manager and head coach, before leaving to join the NHL’s Dallas Stars as an assistant coach.

He spent two seasons with Dallas, then worked for two seasons as the head coach of the Stars’ AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars.

The Vancouver Canucks hired him as head coach prior to the 2014-15 season and he spent three seasons with them. In 2017-18, he worked as the head coach of Canada’s national team, including at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Desjardins finished this season as the interim head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, having been hired on Nov. 4 following the firing of head coach John Stevens just 13 games into the season. The Kings went 27-34-8 under Desjardins and missed the playoffs.

Desjardins also is involved with the South Alberta Hockey Academy that has partnered with the Prairie Rose School Division in Dunmore, just east of Medicine Hat.

When Desjardins left the Tigers, he was the franchise’s all-time winningest coach, with 323 regular-season victories. He also won 10 games as the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades in 1997-98, so his career regular-season total is at 333.

Clouston took over from Desjardins as head coach for 2010-11, then posted his 324th regular-season victory on Dec. 30, 2017. When this season ended, Clouston had 391 victories.

On Thursday, according to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, Tigers media services manager Adam Jones told a news conference: “I think it really is a case of going a different direction. We’ve been doing the same thing for a lot of years and it’s time to try something new. As far as I know, everything was very mutual both ways.”

Clouston, now 51, played three seasons (1986-89) with the Portland Winterhawks, and was the team captain for the last two of those seasons. He returned to the Winterhawks as an assistant coach for 2001-02, then took over as the Tri-City Americans’ head coach for 2002-03, only to be replaced by general manager Bob Tory in midseason.

Clouston spent the next two seasons as an assistant coach under Desjardins with the Tigers, then was promoted to associate coach. When Desjardins left for Dallas, Clouston took over as head coach. He had been the general manager and head coach since 2012-13.

With Clouston in charge, the Tigers qualified for the playoffs in eight of nine seasons, twice reaching the Eastern Conference final. The one time they missed the postseason (2015-16), they lost a tiebreaker to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

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Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (following 2018-19):

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 509

9. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 500

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 391

19. Mike Johnston (Portland) 355

20. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

21. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

22. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


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Surgery likely for Anderson-Dolan . . . Hurricanes’ prospect going NCAA route . . . WHL opens series with victory


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F Jaret Anderson-Dolan of the Spokane Chiefs wasn’t listed on the most-recent WHL roster report, which was released on Oct. 30.

After the host Chiefs beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-1, later that night, Kevin Dudley of SpokaneChiefsthe Spokane Spokesman-Review reported that the Chiefs “were without Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who missed the game for undisclosed reasons.”

When Anderson-Dolan didn’t play in a 6-2 loss to the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Saturday, it was reported that he was out with an upper-body injury.

It all became clear on Monday afternoon when TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the king of hockey insiders, reported via Twitter that Anderson-Dolan has a broken bone in one wrist and is in Los Angeles where it is anticipated that he will undergo surgery.

Anderson-Dolan, 19, was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He started this season with the Kings and have one assist in five games when he was returned to the Chiefs on Oct. 22.

He got into two games with the Chiefs and scored twice.

Assuming Anderson-Dolan undergoes surgery, he would be out up to two months, Canada’s national junior team is scheduled to open its selection camp in Victoria on Dec. 10. The 2019 World Junior Championships is scheduled to being in Vancouver and Victoria on Dec. 26.


F Carson Dyck of Lethbridge has committed to Penn State where he will play for the Nittany Lions starting in the 2020-21 season. Dyck, 17, is playing with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . He was a second-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . On Jan. 9, the Broncos dealt his rights and a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Ryley Lindgren, then 20, and a sixth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Carson is the son of Michael Dyck, the first-year head coach of the Vancouver Giants.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Ian Briscoe, 19, and added him to their roster. Briscoe, from Winnipeg, had three assists in 25 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds last season. He also played with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings, putting up six goals and nine assists in 17 games. . . . The Thunderbirds selected Briscoe in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . In 2016-17, he had two goals in 20 games with Seattle. . . . Briscoe could make his debut with the Broncos against the host Prince Albert Raiders on Friday.


F Connor Gutenberg of the Brandon Wheat Kings has been suspended for one game after he was hit with a charging major and game misconduct during a 4-3 loss to the host Kelowna Rockets on Saturday. . . . Gutenberg was tossed after a hit on Kelowna F Leif Mattson in the neutral zone. . . . The teams were 3-3 when Gutenberg was penalized at 15:57 of the third period. Kelowna F Kyle Topping snapped the tie at 18:50, with the Rockets on the PP.


Willie Desjardins spent his first full day as head coach of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings on Monday. If you are wondering how it went, Jon Rosen of lakingsinsider.com has a comprehensive look right here. This is good stuff!


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F Jordy Bellerive of the Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the winning goal as Team WHL opened the CIBC Canada Russia Series with a 2-1 victory in Kamloops. . . . Game 2 will be canadarussia2017played tonight in Langley, B.C., before the spotlight shifts to the OHL. . . . F Dylan Cozens, who also plays for the Hurricanes, gave the WHL a 1-0 lead at 14:00 of the first period. Cozens is expected to be an early selection in the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . The Russians tied it just 26 seconds later when F Pavel Shen scored. Shen, whose NHL rights belong to the Boston Bruins, was named the Russian’s player of the game. . . . Bellerive’s goal, at 10:31 of the third period, broke the 1-1 tie. Bellerive has signed with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . G Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders stopped 27 shots for the WHL. His NHL rights belong to the Toronto Maple Leafs. . . . Russian G Daniil Tarasov, whose NHL rights belong to the Columbus Blue Jackets, wasn’t as busy as Scott, with 21 saves, but he made several top-notch stops. . . . F Justin Almeida of the Moose Jaw Warriors left the game early in the first period — he took a bit of a cross-check to the back from Russian D Alexander Lyakhov — and didn’t return. . . . F Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks, who was selected as the WHL’s player of game, grabbed for his right knee after going awkwardly into the end boards late in the third period. He finished the shift, but looked to be in some discomfort at the bench as time wound down.


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Scattershooting on the eighth Sunday before Christmas . . . Desjardins goes to Hollywood . . . Tigers, ‘Hawks both get victories

Scattershooting

A note from Jack Finarelli, the Sports Curmudgeon: “Memo to Commissioner Manfred — I know you cannot predict which games will take forever and which ones will be over in short order. Nonetheless, please use your ‘Commish authority’ to require one game in the World Series to be played with an afternoon start. In fact, let me be more specific — make it the Saturday World Series game. You may get lucky and have a great game on TV at a time when a lot more people can be awake to see it happen.”


Headline at TheOnion.com: Golden State raises 2018, 2019, 2020 championship banners.



So . . . the NHL sends the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets to Finland and games on Thursday and Friday, both of which began at 11 a.m. PT, were regional telecasts via one TSN channel in Canada. Meanwhile, games between the Chicago Blackhawks and host Vancouver Canucks, and the Colorado Avalanche and host Calgary Flames, which had been played the previous nights, were being replayed Thursday and Friday mornings on four Sportsnet channels. . . . Is this what the NHL calls growing the game?

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Thankfully, ICYMI, the Christmas movie season is upon us. Yes, at least one channel on my satellite package is showing Christmas movies for something like 20 hours a day. Yes, every day. You’re welcome. Hey, that’s really growing the game.


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“A man using a blowtorch to kill spiders burned down his mother’s house in Fresno, Calif.,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “He reportedly got the idea watching Jon Gruden tinker with the Raiders’ roster.”

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One more from Perry: “We can just picture Dodgers shortstop Manny (Don’t Call Me Charlie Hustle) Machado drowning his sorrows after the World Series . . . ‘Bartender, make it a single.’ ”



On my way home from a Friday night hockey game, I drove past a home that featured a Christmas tree all lit up and standing in a corner of the living room. Umm, Friday was Nov. 2. . . . Just for those folks, right here is Darlene Love with All Alone for Christmas.


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, has a question: “How long until Vegas looks at the purchase of the Oakland Raiders under California’s Lemon Law?”


“Four kids came to our door dressed as Jacksonville Jaguars,” relates comedy writer Alex Kaseberg of Halloween, “handed us a $64,170 bar tab and then ran away.”



A note to Toronto sports writers from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Auston Matthews is a good hockey player, but he’s not a god or a saint. So stop writing columns like hte Gospel According to Matthews.”

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“Retired Olympic gold-medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton just got divorced after 27 years,” reports Currie. “I’m not saying she’s ready to start dating, although she may give you a tumble.”


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F Tyler Coulter (Brandon, 2012-17) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Vimmerby (Sweden, Division 1). Last season, he had one goal and three assists in 14 games with the Jacksonville IceMen (ECHL), and two goals and one assist in 11 games with the University of Calgary (Canada West, USports).


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ICYMI, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings fired head coach John Stevens on Sunday morning in a move that had a number of WHL ties. . . . Willie Desjardins, 61, was named the interim head coach, which should take him through the remainder of this season. . . . Desjardins spent 2002-10 with the Medicine Hat Tigers, the first three seasons as head coach and the last five as general manager and head coach. . . . Desjardins also was the head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks for three seasons (2014-17). The Kings are scheduled to visit Vancouver on Nov. 27. . . . Desjardins spent last season as the head coach of Canada’s national men’s team. . . . Assistant coach Don Nachbaur, the third-winningest head coach in WHL history, also was fired by the Kings. Nachbaur, who was in his second season on the Kings’ staff, has coached in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs. His 692 regular-season victories trail only Don Hay (750) and Ken Hodge (742). . . . Dave Lowry, a former WHL coach, remains on the Kings’ coaching staff, as does goaltending coach Bill Ranford. Lowry coached with the Calgary Hitmen (2005-09) and Victoria Royals (2012-17). He is in his second season with the Kings. . . . Ranford played three seasons (1983-86) with the New Westminster Bruins and has been with the Kings since 2006-07.

There is more right here from Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times.


Chances are that most hockey fans had never heard Elgar Petersen’s name before the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crashed on April 6. After that accident, though, his name was heard rather frequently because the arena in Humboldt, which is home to the SJHL’s Broncos, is named after him. Petersen died on Saturday evening at the age of 82. Phil Tank of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more on Petersen right here.


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SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Linus Nassen scored two goals and added an assist to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a Tigers Logo Official5-4 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Tigers (9-7-2) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Hitmen (5-11-2) have lost two in a row. . . . Calgary was playing its third game in as many nights. It beat the visiting Tigers 7-5 on Friday, then dropped a 1-0 home-ice decision to the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday. . . . F Kaden Elder got the Hitmen to within a goal, at 3-2, at 6:16 of the second period. . . . Nassen, who has four goals, then stretch the lead to 5-2 with goals at 14:43 and 18:01, the latter on a PP. . . . The Hitmen got close on goals from F Luke Coleman (4), at 18:33 of the second, and Elder (8), at 17:55 of the third. . . . Nassen, a 20-year-old Swedish sophomore, has three three-point outings this season after enjoying two of them last season. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-4 on the PP. . . . Calgary held a 44-33 edge in shots, including 16-1 in the third period. . . . The Tigers got 40 saves from G Jordan Hollett.


The Portland Winterhawks struck for four PP goals en route to an 8-6 victory over the PortlandChiefs in Spokane. . . . The Winterhawks (10-6-1) won three games in as many nights this weekend. They swept a Friday-Saturday doubleheader from the visiting Victoria Royals, 7-3 and 2-1. . . . The Chiefs (8-6-3) have lost two in a row. . . . Spokane actually led this one, 5-3, with five minutes left in the second period. . . . F Jake Gricius (9) pulled Portland to within one, on a PP, at 15:22 of the second. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, who finished with two goals and three assists, tied it at 4:04 of the third. . . . D Nolan Reid (3) gave the Chiefs the lead, again, at 5:41. . . . Portland put it away with the last three goals — from F Ryan Hughes (6), on a PP, at 6:18; F Reece Newkirk (10), on a PP, at 17:00; and Blichfeld (14), into an empty net, at 19:27. . . . Portland G Dante Giannuzzi came on in relief to stop four of the five shots he faced in 27:18 and earn his first WHL victory. . . . Blichfeld now has 35 points, including 21 assists, in 17 games. This was his second five-point game of his career, both of which have come this season. . . . Portland got four assists from D Jared Freadrich, who enjoyed the first four-point night of a career that is into its fourth season. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and two assists from F Riley Woods, who has 12 goals, with F Ethan McIndoe (4) scoring once and adding two assists, and F Jake McGrew drawing three assists. . . . Portland F Jaydon Dureau scored his second goal of the season on a penalty shot at 18:09 of the first period, tying the score 3-3 in the process. . . . The Winterhawks outshot the Chiefs, 53-23, including 23-10 in the first period. . . . Portland F Ryan Hughes, who left Saturday’s game in the first period after absorbing a hard hit, was back in the lineup last night and had a goal, his sixth, and an assist. . . . The Winterhawks were without F Cody Glass, while the Chiefs scratched D Ty Smith and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan. Glass and Smith are expected to play for Team WHL against a touring Russian side tonight in Kamloops as the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series gets started. Anderson-Dolan would play if healthy, but now has missed three games with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Seth Jarvis (Portland) and F Jack Finley (Spokane) are at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.


Note that after Sunday’s games, the WHL is off until Friday.


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

MacBeth

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

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


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

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

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


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


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



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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


Tweetoftheday

Scattershooting: The SJHL “will play hockey” . . . Big day for Beaudry . . . Willie helps out

Scattershooting

The SJHL’s board of governors voted unanimously on Wednesday afternoon to have the league’s playoffs played to a conclusion. The best-of-seven final will open Saturday with SJHLthe Estevan Bruins visiting the Hawks in Nipawin.

The league has been in a holding pattern since Friday when the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos to Nipawin for a game that night was involved in a crash in which 16 people died. The Hawks led that series, 3-1, at the time.

“We had a gruelling decision to make with respects on how we can pay tribute and honour the Humboldt Broncos,” SJHL president Bill Chow said in a statement. “On behalf of the board of governors, this intensive decision has been made and that decision is to carry through and finish off the 2017-18 season.

“The league will play hockey.”

The winner of the final will win the Canalta Cup and go on to play the Manitoba Junior Hockey League champion for the ANAVET Cup.

If you’re wonder, the Broncos’ organization is onside with the decision to play the final series.

“In my opinion, I think that hockey is important in our world, and it’s part of the healing process,” Broncos president Kevin Garinger told The Canadian Press. “I think it’s important to recognize that it is part of the healing process for everyone involved in this tragedy.”

Garinger also repeated that the Broncos expect to be one of the SJHL’s 12 teams when the 2018-19 season arrives.

“We know that hockey is critical for our Humboldt Broncos family,” he said. “We know that moving forward it will take time but we fully expect that the Humboldt Broncos organization will be part of the 2018-19 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League schedule. We will look toward that when the time is right to consider it.”

——

SJHL final (best-of-seven):

Saturday: at Nipawin

Sunday: at Nipawin

Tuesday: at Estevan

Wednesday: at Estevan

If necessary:

Friday, April 20: at Nipawin

Sunday, April 22: at Estevan

Tuesday, April 24: at Nipawin


The Nipawin Hawks began preparations for the SJHL final at practice Wednesday afternoon, and they had a new assistant coach on the ice with them. Humboldt assistant coach Chris Beaudry, who wasn’t on the Broncos’ bus on Friday because he was driving himself to the game, had on his coaching gear and was helping the Hawks.

Later in the day, Beaudry hit send on the following tweet:


If you follow the WHL, you know that the Saskatoon Blades didn’t qualify for the playoffs and, subsequently, head coach Dean Brockman was fired.

If you are one of those people who believes that things happen for a reason, well, before joining the Blades as an assistant coach, Brockman spent 17 seasons with the Broncos, the last 10 as general manager and head coach.

With that in mind, might Brockman end up back there, charged with putting the franchise back together?

Only time will tell. In the meantime, Brockman’s thoughts on the tragedy and what has transpired are right here in a piece from CBC.


On Tuesday afternoon, I posted a piece here — The boys grab some sticks and win a game — and the response has blown me away. On Wednesday morning, Cam Hutchinson, the editor of the Saskatoon Express, asked for permission to print the story in the next issue of that newspaper. Of course, I told him to go ahead. So, if you’re in the Saskatoon area, you can watch for it in print on Monday and online on Tuesday. . . . On Wednesday afternoon, following the death of Broncos athletic therapist Dayna Brons, I updated the story to include her.



There are stories everywhere involving victims of Friday’s bus accident. Here’s one that I absolutely love. . . . Graysen Cameron is one of the Humboldt players who was hospitalized after the accident. His brother, Bretton, is the captain of the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits. He played three seasons (2007-10) with the Medicine Hat Tigers, while Willie Desjardins was the general manager and head coach. . . . Bretton badly wanted to get to Saskatoon in order to be with Graysen, but was having visa problems. It just happened that Desjardins called on Saturday to ask about Graysen. During the conversation, Bretton mentioned the visa issues. Well, it seems that Desjardins knows a lawyer through his NHL connections and, well, Bretton was on a plane to Saskatoon on Sunday. . . . These are the kinds of relationships that are forged while buses carry teams across this land.