Oil Kings wrap up WHL title . . . Cossa pitches Game 6 shutout . . . Paddock: Pats plan to build around Bedard, not trade him

The Edmonton Oil Kings won their third WHL championship on Monday night, beating the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-0, to win the best-of-seven series EdCupfor the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 4-2.

The Oil Kings last won the title in 2014 when they needed seven games to get past the Portland Winterhawks in the final. They also took seven games to sideline Portland in the 2012 final. Those teams also met in the 2013 final, with Portland winning in six games.

The Oil Kings went on to win the Memorial Cup in 2014, the last time a WHL team has won the national title.

Edmonton, the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, skated through these playoffs in 19 games, going 16-3. The Oil Kings swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 4 Red Deer Rebels before taking out the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, 4-1.

The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, were the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed. They got past the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-1, then went seven games against both the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. In the process, Seattle became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s in the same playoff season on the road. The Thunderbirds trailed Portland, 3-1, in that series, then fell behind Kamloops, 3-2.

Last night, the Oil Kings came out determined to get more pucks and bodies to Edmontonthe Seattle net. . . . F Jakub Demek (5) opened the scoring, on a PP at 7:15 of the first period, corralling a loose puck in the Seattle crease off a shot by F Josh Williams and tucking it home. . . . Edmonton went ahead 2-0 at 3:44 of the second period as D Kaiden Guhle set a franchise record with his eighth goal of these playoffs. The previous Oil Kings record belonged to Martin Gernát, who scored seven times in 2012. One year later, he scored six more. . . . Guhle was named the playoff MVP. . . . Guhle also played for the Prince Albert Raiders, who won the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2019. That was the last time the WHL completed a playoff season as COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 postseason. . . . F Jake Neighbours drew two assists. . . . After getting ahead 2-0, the Oil Kings went into a 1-2-2 defence that oftentimes looked more like 1-4. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 27 shots. He finished the playoffs at 16-3, 1.93, .919, with five shutouts. . . . Seattle got 34 saves from G Thomas Milic, including 20 in the first period when his guys were outshot, 21-4. . . . Edmonton was 1-for-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-6. . . . Seattle was without D Tyrel Bauer, who served the second of a two-game suspension. . . . Edmonton played again without F Dylan Guenther. . . . The Oil Kings will join the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL and the QMJHL-champion Shawinigan Cataractes at the four-team Memorial Cup tournament that opens on June 20 in New Brunswick.


Meanwhile, the OHL championship for the J. Robertson Cup is going to a seventh game. The host Windsor Spitfires beat the Hamilton Bulldogs, 5-2, on Monday night to tie the series, 3-3. . . . They’ll decide the whole thing in Hamilton on Wednesday night. . . . F Daniel D’Amico led the Spitfires with two goals as they erased a 2-1 second-period deficit with the game’s last four goals. . . . F Logan Morrison had both Hamilton goals.

The Regina Pats held a spring camp on the weekend and Rob Vanstone of the ReginaRegina Leader-Post was there. No, he wasn’t competing for a spot on the Pats’ protected list; he was there in search of a story, and he found two. . . . For starters, John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, told Vanstone that the plan is to build around F Connor Bedard, meaning that the organization is more likely to acquire players than to trade away their star. . . . That story is right here.

Vanstone also chatted with Paddock about a health scare with which the latter dealt during this hockey season. Paddock left the coaching game in early February and didn’t return as he dealt with COVID-19 and lymphoma. Everything seems under control now, though, and Paddock is planning on being behind the Pats bench when a new season arrives. That story is right here.


Before arriving in Toronto for a four-game series with the Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles placed OF Anthony Santander, one of their best hitters, and COVIDsouthpaw reliever Keegan Akin on the restricted list. From Sportsnet: “The moves suggest Santander and Akin could not cross the border due to an insufficient COVID-19 vaccine status. Unvaccinated people cannot enter Canada or the United States without a quarantine period.” . . .

From the San Francisco Chronicle: The Golden State Warriors are going to their broadcaster bench for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night against the Boston Celtics. Tim Roye, the Warriors’ radio play-by-play announcer on radio station 95.7 The Game, tested positive for the coronavirus and was knocked out of action for the broadcast. Roye will also miss Game 6 Thursday in Boston. . . .

From The New York Times: The Rolling Stones postponed a stadium concert in Amsterdam on Monday, after Mick Jagger tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement came shortly before the show was to begin and after some fans had already entered the stadium, the AP reported. . . .

From Entertainment Weekly: One day after performing on the Tony Awards, Hugh Jackman has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time and will miss performances of ‘The Music Man.’ . . .

From ESPN News Services: NBA commissioner Adam Silver canceled plans to attend Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics on Monday night in San Francisco because of the league’s health and safety protocols. Silver typically attends all Finals games. The league did not say if Silver had tested positive for COVID-19 or been deemed a close contact of someone who had, nor did it release any details about his health.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s Neepawa Titans have added Zak Hicks and Landon Cameron as assistant coaches. Hicks played in the MJHL with the Winkler Flyers under then-head coach Ken Pearson, who now is the Titans’ head coach. Cameron is a familiar face in Neepawa, having been involved with various levels of hockey in the community.

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca


Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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



Or, for more information, visit right here.


T-Birds stare down elimination for a sixth time . . . Road warriors win in Edmonton . . . Game 6 set for Monday

And one more makes six . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds, facing elimination for the sixth time in these EdCupplayoffs, got past the host Edmonton Oil Kings, 3-2, on Saturday night. The Oil Kings lead the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 3-2.

The Thunderbirds will face elimination for a seventh time on Monday when the teams meet for Game 6 in Edmonton. The Thunderbirds will be designated as the home team, so will have the last change. Seattle’s home arena in Kent, Wash., has been unavailable because of graduation ceremonies, so the series is following a 2-2-3 format with the last three games to be played in Edmonton. A seventh game, if needed, would be played there on Tuesday night.

The series winner will advance to the four-team Memorial Cup tournament that is to be played in Saint John, N.B., June 20-29.

The Thunderbirds, the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed, overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks, then trailed the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, 3-2, before winning that series. In the process, Seattle became the only team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road in the same postseason.

In other words, these Thunderbirds are quite familiar with being in this position.

Last night, the Thunderbirds erased a 1-0 first-period deficit — F Josh Williams Seattle(4) scored for Edmonton at 6:25 — with the game’s next three goals.

F Conner Roulette (5) tied the score at 2:13 of the second period and F Matt Rempe (8) gave the Thunderbirds the lead, on a PP, at 8:51. F Lucas Ciona (9) upped the lead to 3-1 at 2:21 of the third period.

F Carson Golden (3) pulled the Oil Kings to within a goal at 9:14 of the third period, but that’s as close as the home team could get.

Both goaltenders were terrific, with Seattle’s Thomas Milic finishing with 28 saves, three fewer than Edmonton’s Sebastian Cossa.

Seattle was 1-for-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-for-6.

The Oil Kings scratched F Dylan Guenther, who last played in Game 3. He didn’t finish that one due to an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle D Tyrel Bauer, the team captain, sat out the first game of a two-game suspension. He was suspended for a first-period hit on F Brendan Kuny in Game 3. Kuny isn’t likely to play again in the series. . . . The Thunderbirds had F Henrik Rybinski back in their lineup. He hadn’t played since Game 1.


In the QMJHL, the Shawinigan Cataractes won their first Presidents Cup on Saturday, beating the host Charlottetown Islanders, 4-3 in OT. . . . Shawinigan won the best-of-seven final, 4-1. . . . The Islanders led 3-1 before the second period was six minutes old, but Shawinigan came back to score the game’s last three goals. . . . F Olivier Nadeau made it 3-2 on a PP at 12:50 of the second period. . . . F Pierrick Dubé scored the game’s last two goals, tying the score at 10:38 of the third period and winning it just 41 seconds into OT. . . . Dubé scored 12 goals in the playoffs. . . .

The OHL’s championship final will continue today (Sunday) with the host Hamilton Bulldogs entertaining the Windsor Spitfires. The series is tied, 2-2. Game 6 is to be played in Windsor on Monday.


THE COACHING GAME: Evan McFeeters has signed on as the new head coach of the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. He joins the Crusaders after two seasons as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits, who won the Centennial Cup as junior A champions last month in Estevan, Sask. Before joining the Bandits, McFeeters spent five seasons with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles as assistant general manager and assistant coach. In Sherwood Park, he replaces Jeff Woywitka, who was fired as head coach and assistant GM in April. Woywitka had taken over for the fired Adam Manah in November.

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca


Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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



Or, for more information, visit right here.


Seattle goalie stars in Game 1 win . . . Kelowna paper reports Rockets’ home needs more than $7 million in work . . . Ex-WHL assistant now head coach in AJHL

All three major junior hockey leagues are into their best-of-seven championship series. . . . The WHL final got started on Friday night with the WindsorSeattle Thunderbirds in Edmonton against the Oil Kings. . . . In the OHL, the Windsor Spitfires opened in Hamilton against the Bulldogs on Friday night. Windsor won, 4-3 in OT, getting the winner from former Bulldogs D Michael Renwick at 9:30 after Hamilton had been assessed a checking-from-behind major at 6:56. Hamilton went into the game with a 12-0 record in these playoffs and, including the regular season, had won 24 in a row at home. They’ll play Game 2 on Sunday afternoon in Hamilton. . . . In the QMJHL, the Shawinigan Cataractes will face the host Charlottetown Islanders in Game 1 tonight (Saturday). . . . The QMJHL’s opening playoff rounds all were best-of-five because the league got off to a later start than its two counterparts. But it now is caught up, so the final is best-of-seven. . . .

TSN will televise all three series, starting with the third game in each — Hamilton at Windsor on Monday, 4 p.m. PT; Edmonton vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., Tuesday, 7 p.m. PT; and Charlottetown at Shawinigan, Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT. . . . There is a complete telecast schedule right here. . . . TSN also will show all games in the Memorial Cup, which is to run in Saint John, N.B., from June 20 through June 29.



Championship Final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup

In Edmonton, the Seattle Thunderbirds, fresh off a Game 7 victory in Kamloops, opened the best-of-seven WHL final with a 2-1 triumph over the Oil Kings. . . . SeattleEdmonton went into the game with a 7-0 record at Rogers Place in these playoffs. . . . They are scheduled to play Game 2 in Edmonton on Sunday, before shifting to Kent, Wash., for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Remember that because of issues with building availability in Kent, Games 5, 6 and 7, as needed, would be played in Edmonton. . . . Last night, F Matt Rempe (6) got the scoring started for Seattle, backhanding home the rebound off a shot by F Reid Schaefer at 1:59 of the second period. . . . F Conner Roulette (4), who had an assist on Rempe’s goal, upped Seattle’s lead to 2-0 at 8:55 of the third period, tipping in a shot by D Tyrel Bauer. . . . Edmonton got on the board at 11:40, on a PP, as F Carter Souch (10) found the range with a redirect of a shot by D Luke Prokop. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-for-2 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-1. Referees Chris Crich and Fraser Lawrence handed out only three minor penalties. . . . Seattle G Thomas Milic, who was named the game’s first star, continued his strong playoff run with 43 saves. . . . Edmonton got 20 stops from G Sebastian Cossa.


According to a report prepared by consultants hired by the City of Kelowna, Prospera Place, the home of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, is in need of about Kelowna$7.7 million worth of upgrades. The report, acquired by the Kelowna Daily Courier through a Freedom of Information request, was prepared by Toronto-based Stadium Consultants International. . . . The arena, which opened on March 28, 1999, is owned by GSL Group, which also owns, among other things, the WHL’s Victoria Royals and that city’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. In Kelowna, an agreement between GSL Group and the city calls for ownership to be turned over to the city in 2029. . . . According to the SCI report, 6,500-seat Prospera Place should have its roof and outer walls replaced within seven years. There also should be improvements made to ventilation, vinyl and carpeted floors, among other things. . . . Ron Seymour of The Daily Courier wrote: “Issues are said to include some water leakage on the roof, outdated and undersized food and beverage facilities, small dressing rooms, and a cramped concourse. But other aspects of the building are said to be in surprisingly good condition given their age.” . . . The consultants suggest replacing the roof would have an estimated cost of $2.4 million, while upgraded lighting would come in at $1.5 million. . . .

The Rockets were to have been the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup; however, that event was cancelled because of the pandemic. Many observers expected Kelowna to be awarded the 2023 tournament, but the Kamloops Blazers were named the host team on May 27. As that announcement was being made in Kamloops, the Rockets issued an open letter stating that they weren’t able to bid on the 2023 Memorial Cup because of “significant deficiencies” in Prospera Place. . . . Seymour wrote that GSL Group issued a statement this week saying it “had complied with all the terms and conditions for building maintenance set out in the agreement with the city.” . . . From that statement: “Prospera Place and GSL Group have been and continue to be in compliance with our obligations and contractual agreements. That will not change, nor will our commitment to Kelowna.”

Seymour has stories right here and right here.

The Minnesota Twins opened a three-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays on Friday, and the visitors were missing four players. The U.S. and Canada both have pandemic-related restrictions that don’t allow unvaccinated people to cross their borders. Thus, the Twins placed four players on the restricted list before flying into Toronto after losing four of five games to the Tigers in Detroit. . . . OF Max Kepler and pitchers Trevor Megill, Emilio Pagán and Caleb Thielbar were left behind presumably because all four are unvaccinated. . . . The Twins also are without SS Carlos Correa, who tested positive for COVID-19 while in Detroit. . . . The Twins beat the Blue Jays, 9-3, on Friday night. . . .

Bob Weeks of TSN tweeted on Friday afternoon: “According to Golf Canada, Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar are not able to play the RBC Canadian Open ‘due to current Government of Canada travel restrictions . . .’ Both are RBC ambassadors.” . . . Neither the American nor Canadian governments allow unvaccinated travellers into their countries.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Brad Flynn has signed a three-year contract as the head coach of the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs. Flynn, 37, spent the 2021-22 season as an associate coach with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach with the Red Deer Rebels for three seasons (2018-21). . . . In Bonnyville, Flynn takes over from Rick Swan, the winningest coach in franchise history. Swan left the organization early in April in one of those mutually-agreed-upon parting of the ways. . . . There is a news release right here. . . .

The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s board of governors has cut the regular-season schedule from 52 games to 48. According to a news release from the 11-team league: “The decision to drop to 48 games will provide VIJHL players with a little more rest in-season and allow clubs to have more prime night home games.” . . . The league also is going to hire a “head of player and safety discipline.” Again, from a news release: “The paid position will be in charge of reviewing all major penalties and determining what supplemental discipline, if any is required.” . . . That news release, which covers the board’s annual meeting, is right here.

My wife, Dorothy, is taking part in her ninth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk, which will be held (virtually) on Sunday. As usual, she is fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. . . . If you would like to support her, you are able to do so right here.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca


Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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



Or, for more information, visit right here.


Blazers, Lajoie go their separate ways. . . . Broncos taking games to the Internet. . . . Giants sweep way into conference final


D Sena Acolatse (Seattle, Saskatoon, Prince George, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, he had 11 assists in 46 games. . . .

F Cody Almond (Kelowna, 2005-09) has signed a three-year contract with Lausanne (Switzerland, NL). This season, with Genève-Servette (Switzerland, NL), he had 12 goals and 17 assists in 40 games. Almond is a dual Swiss-Canadian citizen, and has played the past seven seasons in Geneva.


The Kamloops Blazers announced late Thursday afternoon that they and head coach Serge Lajoie “have mutually parted ways.” Lajoie had replaced Don Hay as the team’s head coach prior to this season.

The four-paragraph news release didn’t mention assistant coach Dan Kordic, who came Kamloops1to the Blazers from the U of Alberta Golden Bears with Lajoie. They had helped the Golden Bears win the U Sports national title for 2017-18.

Jon Keen, the Blazers’ broadcaster, later tweeted that Kordic “has been retained.”

Lajoie, a defenceman in his playing days, got into seven games with the Blazers in 1986-87. He went on to play five seasons (1988-93) with the Golden Bears, where he played under head coach Billy Moores for four of those seasons. Interestingly, Moores is a former WHL coach, having spent one season (1985-86) as the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats. Moores is the older brother of Don Moores, who has been the Blazers’ president and chief operating officer for almost three years.

Matt Bardsley, who just completed his first season as the Blazers’ general manager, explained things this way to Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week, who shared all of it on his Twitter account (@MarTheReporter):

“We had some reviews, discussing with Serge, talked about some things, both sides, and we came to the conclusion that I think a little bit was the fit. Might not have been the right fit for us and maybe for him.

“I think, even for Serge, being away from family played possibly a part of it. It’s tough for coaches, for anybody, when you’re away from family all year long.”

Lajoie’s family — wife Kelly and children Isabella and Marc — stayed in the Edmonton area. Isabella is finishing up Grade 12, while Marc, a first-round selection by the Tri-City Americans in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, spent this season playing for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team.

“I missed out on so much, in terms of my daughter’s accomplishments, my son’s accomplishments,” Lajoie told Hastings. “I would have loved to have been able to see his first WHL game. You sit down with your family and think — is this really worth it? It would not have been fair to the Blazers.”

In explaining his side of the decision, Lajoie said:

“I’m very comfortable with it. Both the Blazers and myself, totally on the same page. It was an evaluation that I made at the end of the year. I wanted to make sure I took some time at the end of the season to see if really this is something I could continue and commit the time and effort necessary to help continue to push the Blazers forward. Family was a big part in this decision. We came to an understanding, the Blazers and myself. Now is the right time to part ways and move on to the next opportunity.”

This season, the Blazers went 28-32-8, good enough for a third-place tie with the Kelowna Rockets in the B.C. Division. The Blazers then beat the visiting Rockets, 5-1, in a tiebreaker that propelled them into the first round of the playoffs, where they were beaten in six games by the Victoria Royals.

The writing may have been on the wall for the Blazers as early as Feb. 12 when they added co-owner Darryl Sydor as a full-time assistant coach. Sydor, who had moved back to Kamloops prior to this season, had been at most of the team’s home games, watching from the press box. After Feb. 12, he was behind the bench for all but a couple of games.

In a season-ending interview with Hastings, majority owner Tom Gaglardi said that Lajoie had a long-term contract. Asked if Lajoie would be back as head coach, Gaglardi told Hastings: “I suspect so. He’s got a long-term contract and we haven’t had any conversation about anything other than that.”

Gaglardi went on to praise Sydor’s contribution to the team and to the coaching staff. Asked if Sydor has “what it takes to be a head coach,” Gaglardi replied: “I’ve got to think so, if that’s what he wants to do.”

On Thursday, when Hastings asked Bardsley if Sydor would be the next head coach, the GM responded:

“We talked to Darryl and I think we’re comfortable Darryl is going to come back as a coach, At what capacity, we have to discuss that. Is it the head coach? We haven’t even discussed that. We’d like to have Darryl back as a coach.”

Despite the optics, Lajoie told Hastings that he didn’t see Sydor’s presence as any kind of threat. I recommend that you check out Hastings’ timeline on Twitter (@MarTheReporter) for more comments from Bardsley and Lajoie, along with a few quotes from Gaglardi.

The Blazers have completed 12 seasons under the ownership of Gaglardi, Sydor, Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Mark Recchi. The next hire will be the 11th full-time or interim head coach since they purchased the franchise.

In those 12 seasons, the Blazers have missed the playoffs four times, reached the Western Conference final once, gotten into the second round on one other occasion, and been bounced in the first round six times.


The above chart is from the Blazers’ website. One asterisk indicates that he was replaced in mid-season; two asterisks indicates an interim head coach.

There are some nasty allegations being made by followers of the Prince Albert Raiders who journeyed to Saskatoon on Wednesday for Game 4 between their favourite club and PrinceAlbertthe Blades. Fans are claiming they had beer and macaroni thrown at them in the SaskTel Centre. . . . “I could feel something on the back of my neck, something really hard,” Raiders fan Matt Herbert told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com. “We discovered it was macaroni later, but they were just pelting it down on us. Next thing you know, I could feel some beer coming down my back. The guy beside me was soaked.” . . . The macaroni had been given to fans as part of a promotion. . . . D’Andrea wrote: “The Blades did not wish to comment on the record. The SaskTel Centre did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The Raiders issued a response. . . . In it, they confirm that they’ve been told the occurrence is being examined by SaskTel Centre, and they hope nothing like this repeats itself for Game 5 Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.” . . . D’Andrea’s complete story is right here. . . . The Blades won Game 4, 4-1, to tie the series, 2-2. . . . Game 6 is scheduled for Saskatoon on Sunday.

The Swift Current Broncos are taking their game broadcasts to the Internet. After being SCBroncoson The Eagle 94.1 since the late 1980s, the Broncos announced on Thursday that they are beginning “a new era of audio content production and distribution.” . . . According to the news release, “This will include streaming game-day broadcasts, podcasts and interviews that will provide Broncos Nation with leading in-depth coverage and access that we believe our fans will truly appreciate. . . . Further details are set to be released at a future date that is considerate of the parties involved and after a proper process has been completed.”

The Red Deer Rebels have signed D Blake Gustafson to a WHL contract. Gustafson, who will turn 17 on May 21, played this season with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. He had four goals and one assists in 38 regular-season and playoff games. Gustafson was a 10th-round pick by the Rebels in the 2017 bantam draft.

There is an interesting story developing in the OHL where the Windsor Spitfires seem ohlabout to be sold, perhaps for as much as $12.8 million. According to reports, Dr. Azim Parekh is negotiating a deal that will end with him buying the Spitfires from a group that includes Warren Rychel and Bob Boughner. On Saturday, the Spitfires selected D Isa Parekh in the fifth round of the OHL draft. On Wednesday, the OHL held its U-18 draft, and the Spitfires, with the fifth overall pick, took D Aydin Parekh. . . . Yes, they both are sons of Dr. Parekh. . . . Dave Jewell of The Hockey Writers has a whole lot more on this story right here.

The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers have signed Mat Hehr, their general manager and head coach, to a two-year contract extension. Hehr, 30, joined the Terriers as an assistant coach for 2016-17, then took over as head coach on Nov. 15, 2017. So he just completed his first season as the full-time head coach.

The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs have promoted Brad Rihela to assistant general manager and associate coach. Rihela, 29, spent last season as their director of player personnel and assistant coach. . . . Before joining the Chiefs, Rihela spent three seasons at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., coach in the bantam prep program. . . . In Chilliwack, Rihela will be working with Brian Maloney, the general manager of hockey and building operations and head coach.


NOTES: The Vancouver Giants advanced to the Western Conference final by beating the host Victoria Royals, 6-1, in Thursday’s only WHL playoff game. The Giants, last in the conference final in 2010, swept the series, 4-0, and now await the winner of the series between the Everett Silvertips and Spokane Chiefs. . . . That series will open in Langley, B.C., with games on April 19 and 20. . . .

The Chiefs lead that series, 3-0, and have a chance to wrap it up at home tonight. . . .

The other series also resumes tonight, with the Saskatoon Blades in Prince Albert to meet the Raiders. The Blades won, 4-1, on Wednesday night in Saskatoon to tie that series, 2-2. . . . Game 6 will be played Sunday in Saskatoon and, as of late Thursday afternoon, the lower bowl in the SaskTel Centre, with 6,000 seats, was sold out. . . . The winner of that series will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference final. They completed a sweep of the Hitmen with a 6-0 victory in Calgary on Wednesday night.



The Vancouver Giants are into the Western Conference final after beating the Royals, 6-1, Vancouverin Victoria. . . . The Giants swept the series and will meet either the Everett Silvertips or Spokane Chiefs in the conference final. The Giants, who finished atop the conference standings, will have the home-ice advantage, so the series will begin with two games in Langley, B.C., on April 19 and 20. . . . Last night, the Giants took control with three first-period goals, from F Lukas Svejkovsky (3), at 10:04; D Bowen Byram (4), at 16:19; and D Dallas Hines (3), at 16:37. . . . F Owen Hardy (3) made it 4-0 at 9:39 of the second period, before F D-Jay Jerome (2) got Victoria’s lone goal at 11:58. . . . F Brayden Watts (3) and F Jared Dmytriw (4) had the Giants’ other goals, both in the third period. . . . Dmytriw, who played the first three seasons (2014-17) with the Royals, also had two assists. He also is Vancouver’s captain. . . . Vancouver was 1-1 on the PP; Victoria was 0-1. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 17 shots for Vancouver, while G Griffen Outhouse completed his WHL career with a 27-save effort. . . . The Giants held a 157-63 edge in shots in the series, but, because of Outhouse’s superb play, needed OT to win Games 3 and 4. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt, who missed Game 3, was back in the lineup. Royals F Phillip Schultz, who left Game 3 in OT with an apparent injury to his left arm, also was in the lineup. . . . F Kaid Oliver, the Royals’ leading scorer in the regular season, missed all of the playoffs with a shoulder injury. F Kody McDonald, who has used up his junior eligibility, completed a six-game suspension by sitting last night, while D Jake Kustra sat out the second of a two-game suspension. F Tanner Sidaway missed all of this series with a hand injury.


Dorothy, friends say thank you . . . Broncos trade with Chiefs, then shock Raiders . . . Another big OHL trade

Dorothy was among four transplant recipients and a kidney donor who stopped by the ICU at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops on Tuesday to say thanks. The organs on the black t-shirts indicate who got what. Included in the photo are Mike Grandbois, who was a single-lung recipient 21 years ago; Abby Farnsworth, 17, who received a heart when she was four; and Tony Maidment, who received a new liver last year. You all know Dorothy, who got a kidney on Sept. 23, 2013. Glenn Ferro, back row at far right, is a kidney donor.

Allow me to interrupt the hockey stuff to tell you how Dorothy and I spent part of our Tuesday afternoon.

BC Transplant, according to its website, “oversees all aspects of organ donation and transplant across BC and manages the BC Organ Donor Registry.”

It also helps folks who have been involved in transplants say thanks to a whole lot of

The Fab Five finished their Thank You Tour with a stop at the B.C. Ambulance Service depot in Kamloops.

people who are awfully important to us, and that’s what we did yesterday afternoon.

There were four transplant recipients (heart, kidney, liver and single lung) and a kidney donor in the group that said thank you to the good people of the ER, ICU and OR at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, and with the B.C. Ambulance Service.

BC Transplant calls it Operation Popcorn, as our Fab Five presented those good people with boxes full of bags of tasty popcorn, just in time for the Christmas season.

While we were at RIH, one of the department managers shared a letter from BC Transplant that had arrived earlier in the day. Things got a bit misty as he read the letter, informing us and staff that after a recent death at RIH, two patients had each received a kidney.

I can tell you that the many friends who have supported Dorothy when she takes part in the annual Kamloops Kidney Walk were in our thoughts today.

Thank you for being there. You, too, are a big part of our journey.



(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Tuesday’s action

No. of trades: 1.

Players: 5.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 1.


Totals since Nov. 26:

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

The Spokane Chiefs and Swift Current Broncos shuffled five players and a conditional bantam draft pick in Tuesday’s only trade.

The Chiefs acquired veteran D Noah King, 19, G Matthew Davis, 17, and a conditional SpokaneChiefsfifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft from the Broncos for F Carter Chorney, 17, F Kye Buchanan, 17, and D Devin Aubin, 15.

Neither Davis, Buchanan nor Aubin has signed a WHL contract.

King, a Winnipegger, was in his second season with the Broncos, who selected him in the 10th round of the 2014 bantam draft. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder played on three championship-winning teams in minor hockey in Winnipeg, then helped the Broncos to the WHL title last spring. This season, he has two goals and four assists in 25 games. Last year, he totalled five assists in 65 games, then added one goal in 26 playoff games.

The Chiefs are about to lose D Ty Smith (Canada) and D Filip Kral (Czech Republic), with both on selection camp rosters for national junior teams. King, who size and a heavy presence in their zone, and his experience will help the Chiefs get through this part of the schedule.

Davis, a list player from Calgary, is playing with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. In 17 appearances this season, he is 1.70 and .925.

Chorney, from Sherwood Park, Alta., waived his no-trade clause, which is how he could SCBroncosbe included in this deal. He was a second-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2016 bantam draft. He had eight goals and four assists in 27 games with the Chiefs this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had two goals in 41 games.

Buchanan, a list player from Lethbridge, has a late-2001 birth date. He has four goals and three assists in 12 games with the midget AAA St. Albert, Alta., Raiders, He also has played four games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats, earning one assist.

Aubin, 15, is from Falher, Alta. The Chiefs grabbed him in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, he has two goals and one assist with the midget AAA Grande Prairie Storm. Last season, he was named the Alberta Major Bantam League’s top defenceman when he had nine goals and two assists in 19 games with the bantam AAA Storm.

Let’s be honest. The WHL still has some catching up to do because when it comes to monster trades the OHL rules.

On Tuesday, the Windsor Spitfires and Ottawa 67’s got together and swapped what could ohlturn out to be 11 pieces, including Michael DiPietro, who is likely to be the starting goaltender for Canada’s national junior team at the 2019 World Junior Championship.

The 67’s have a 22-3-4 record, the best mark in the OHL. They lead the Eastern Conference by 12 points over the Sudbury Wolves. DiPietro, who is from Amherstburg, which is near Windsor, is 2.32, .920 this season, both career bests. He was a third-round pick by Vancouver in the NHL’s 2017 draft and has signed with Vancouver.

Here’s the deal in its entirety . . .

To Ottawa:

G Michael DiPietro.

Windsor’s fourth-round pick in 2020.

Kingston’s second-round pick in 2024.

To Windsor:

F Egor Afanasyev, a 17-year-old Russian who is eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft. He has 11 goals and 15 assists in 19 games with the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks and has committed to Michigan State for next season.

Ottawa’s second-round pick in 2019.

London’s second-round pick in 2021.

Ottawa’s second-round pick in 2022.

Ottawa’s second-round pick in 2023.

Ottawa’s second-round pick in 2021 (conditional).

Ottawa’s third-round pick in 2021 (conditional).

Ottawa’s third-round pick in 2022 (conditional).

The conditional picks all are tied into whether Afanasyev ever plays for the Spitfires.

It’s worth pointing out that F Jack Cowell, who was acquired by Kootenay from the KootenaynewKelowna Rockets on Friday, apparently has yet to join the Ice.

Cowell, 19, is from Winnipeg. The Ice gave up a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft in trading for him.

But while Cowell has been removed from the Rockets’ roster, his name is nowhere to be found on the Ice’s roster.

Cowell, a list player, was in his third season with the Rockets. This season, he had two goals and three assists in 26 games. In 182 career games, all with Kelowna, he had 18 goals and 38 assists.

Geoffrey Brandow, the man with all the numbers when it comes to major junior hockey, posted a tweet the other day that compared this season’s Prince Albert Raiders with the 2003-04 London Knights, each after 27 games.

The Raiders were 26-1-0; the Knights were 26-0-1 (the 1 was a tie).

The Raiders GF/GA: 134-48; the Knights, 124-51.

The Raiders’ top scorer was Brett Leason, 27-33—60; the Knights had Corey Perry, 20-38—58.

Brandow had the Raiders’ top defenceman as Sergie Sapego; the Knights’ as Danny Syvret.

Just for purposes of discussion, I took a look at the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings, who lost only five games during the 72-game regular season.

After 27 games, they were 23-0-4. I wasn’t able to find their GF/GA totals, but TBird Tidbits came through for us with this: “After 27 games, the 1978-79 Wheat Kings were 23-0-4 with a ridiculous 212 goals for to just 73 against.”

F Brian Propp was 42-48—90. The team’s best defenceman was Brad McCrimmon.

BTW, you are able to follow Brandow on Twitter: @GeoffreyBrandow.

The Kamloops Blazers have dropped D Devan Harrison, 18, from their roster and he is Kamloops1expected to join the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. Harrison, from Dysart, Sask., was selected by the Blazers in the second round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . In 62 career games, he has one goal and four assists. This season, he has one assist in eight games, and has been a healthy scratch on a regular basis of late. . . . This move leaves the Blazers with six defencemen on their roster. However, Jeff Faith, who was acquired last week from the Spokane Chiefs in a deal that had F Luc Smith go the other way, is a defenceman by trade who has been playing up front this season.

File this one under a picture being worth 1,000 words . . .

Further to the note that appeared here yesterday involving WHL players at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) that opens Sunday in Fussen, Germany . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have two forwards — Vladimir Alistrov and Andrei Pavlenko — on the selection-camp roster of the Belarussian national junior team. They weren’t included in the note here yesterday that also had F Aliaksei Protas of the Prince Albert Raiders and D Sergei Sapego of the Prince Albert Raiders on that same roster. Both players obviously are on the way to Germany as neither played for the Raiders last night in Swift Current. . . . Also missing from yesterday’s note was F Sebastian Streu of the Regina Pats. He is on Germany’s selection-camp roster. . . . The tournament runs from Sunday through Dec. 15. . . . F Kristian Roykas-Marthinsen of the Saskatoon Blades is on Norway’s roster. . . . The tournament features the national junior teams from Austria, Belarus, France, Germany, Latvia and Norway.

If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


G Jiri Patera turned aside 40 shots to lead the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 4-1 victory over BrandonWKregularthe visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Brandon (14-7-6) has won four in a row, outscoring the opposition 19-5 in the process. . . . Medicine Hat slipped to 13-14-3. . . . F Luka Burzan (17) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 18:47 of the first period. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (11) pulled the Tigers into a tie at 14:03 of the second. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos (23) broke the tie at 16:41. . . . The Wheat Kings put it away with third-period goals from F Linden McCorrister (9) and F Ben McCartney (6), the latter into an empty net. . . . The Tigers got 42 saves from G Mads Søgaard. . . . Brandon won 41 of the game’s 65 faceoffs.

In a game that proved why they play the game, the host Swift Current Broncos, with the SCBroncosWHL’s poorest record, scored a 3-2 shootout victory over the Prince Albert Raiders, who boast the best record. . . . The Broncos (5-22-2), had lost their previous three games. . . . The Raiders (26-1-1) had won 19 in a row. . . . The Broncos now are 2-1 in shootouts. This was only the second time this season the Raiders had gone to OT, and their first time in a shootout. . . . Swift Current, as you might expect, got a huge game from G Josh Hofer, who blocked 52 shots through OT and was perfect in the shootout. . . . The Raiders outshot the Broncos 12-10, 17-6, 21-6 and 4-1 by period. . . . F Tanner Nagel (4) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:01 of the first period. . . . F Brett Leason scored his WHL-leading 28th goal at 9:59 for a 1-1 tie. He ran his point streak to 28 games with the goal. . . . D Brayden Pachal (7) put the Raiders ahead, 201, at 11:05 of the third period. . . . Broncos F Ethan Regnier (5), who is from Prince Albert, forced OT with a goal at 18:16. . . . Regnier, the first shooter of the third round, scored the shootout’s only goal. . . . Regnier also had an assist on Leason’s goal. . . . Broncos D Matthew Stanley left and didn’t return following a first-period collision with Regnier. . . . The Raiders were without F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego, both of whom are on the selection-camp roster for the Belarusian national junior team that will play in the World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) that opens Sunday in Fussen, Germany.


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Seymour’s complete story is right here.

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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