Lazaruk’s WHL tour makes 40th stop . . . Lies and Bell both out of hospital . . . Ice, Winterhawks win first-place battles


The Saskatoon Blades visited the Calgary Hitmen for a Saturday matinee that was played in the Tsuu’tina Seven Chiefs Sportsplex. . . . I would hope the in-house DJ, if there was one, played some I’ve Been Everywhere, perhaps by Johnny Cash, in honour of Les Lazaruk, the long-time radio voice of the Blades. . . . Before the game, he tweeted: “By my foggy memory count, (it’s) the 40th building I’ve called WHL regular-season and/or playoff games from.” . . . When I asked him which building was first, he said: “Agridome in Regina.” The date! Sept. 23, 1994. . . . He has provided a list that shows Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre and the 39 others, from east to west:

Three in Winnipeg

Brandon

Regina

Two in Moose Jaw

Prince Albert

Swift Current

Medicine Hat

Lethbridge

Two in Calgary

Red Deer

Three in Edmonton

Two in Cranbrook

Two in Prince George

Kamloops

Two in Kelowna

Chilliwack

Two in Vancouver

Victoria

Two in Spokane

Tri-City

Everett

Three in Seattle

Tacoma

Two in Portland

And how many other people can say that they have been in each of those hockey facilities?

The time has come for the WHL to present Lazaruk with the Bob Ridley Award and for the folks in Saskatoon to name the SaskTel Centre’s broadcast booth in his honour.


So . . . you want to be a hockey player, do you? Well, you best buy some good luggage. . . . Let’s take a look at the career of F Lane Pederson, a Saskatoon native who spent three seasons (2014-17) in the WHL. . . . The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks recalled Pederson a few weeks ago from their AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. They placed him on waivers on Friday, and he played in Vancouver’s 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets later that evening. On Saturday, those same Blue Jackets claimed him off waivers. . . . Despite being only 25 years of age, Columbus will be Pederson’s 11th team since he first played in the WHL. He played with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Red Deer Rebels and Swift Current Broncos in the WHL, then made AHL stops with the Tucson Roadrunners, San Jose Barracuda, Chicago Wolves and Abbotsford. In the NHL, he now has belonged to the Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver and Columbus. . . . This season alone, he has been with the Wolves, Abbotsford, Vancouver and now Columbus. And there still is lots of season to be played.



F Justin Lies of the Saskatoon Blades, who left a Friday game against the host WHLRed Deer Rebels on a stretcher, was released from hospital early Saturday and rejoined his teammates in Calgary where they were playing the Hitmen. He was on the bus for the trip home after the game and is expected to be out a couple of weeks. . . Lies, 19, was injured at 5:29 of the second period. Red Deer F Carson Birnie was given an interference major and game misconduct on the play. . . . Birnie wasn’t suspended on Saturday and was in the lineup as the Rebels dropped a 5-1 decision to the visiting Winnipeg Ice. . . .

F Parker Bell of the Tri-City Americans also was released from hospital after being injured during a Friday night game with the visiting Everett Silvertips. Bell, 19, took a hit from Everett F Andrew Petruk, who was given a charging major and game misconduct. . . . On Saturday, the Americans tweeted that Bell “was taken to the hospital last night and released after undergoing testing. He is at home resting.” . . . Petruk has been suspended for three games. He began serving that suspension as the Americans played host to the Spokane Chiefs last night.


G Cody Creasy of the junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International KamStormnewJunior Hockey League saw a goaltender’s dream come to fruition on Friday night. Yes, he scored a goal. . . . Creasy, a 19-year-old from Brandon, hit the empty neat with two seconds left in the third period, icing a 5-2 victory over the visiting Summerland Steam. . . . Check out the second tweet below because there can’t be anything better than a goaltender’s Mom tweeting about her son having scored a goal. . . . One other note about Creasy’s night in the crease. Larry Read, a well-known Kamloopsian, is the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association’s communications manager by day and usually handles the Storm play-by-play for home games. But he wasn’t able to attend Friday’s game. As he told Taking Note: “I miss one game and the goalie scores. Just my luck! Haha. . . .” In Read’s absence, Kris Armstrong, who usually is the colour guy, handled the play-by-play and he flew solo. You can bet that he won’t forget this one. . . . BTW, this is the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Creasy’s second season with the Storm. Last season, he was 9-3-0, 1.45, .938 in 15 appearances. This season, in 20 games, he is 10-6-0, 2.16, .915.


Debt


SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The top two teams in the Eastern Conference met in Red Deer and the Winnipeg Ice dropped the Rebels, 5-1. . . . The victory allowed the Ice (34-6-1) to move back into first place, one point ahead of the Rebels (32-10-4). Winnipeg still holds five games in hand. . . . D Carson Lambos drew four assists for the winners, who opened up a 4-0 lead in the second period. . . . D Karter Prosofsky’s first goal of the season and his fourth in 112 career games stood up as the winner. . . .

The Western Conference’s top two teams met in Kent, Wash., where the Portland Winterhawks dumped the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-2. . . . The Winterhawks (33-8-3) now lead the conference by one point over the Thunderbirds (33-8-2). Seattle has one game in hand. . . . F Chaz Lucius had a goal and two assists for Portland, picking up three points for a third straight game. He has played five games with the Winterhawks since being assigned to them by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets — he had been with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose — and has at least two points in each outing. All told, he now has four goals and nine assists. . . . D Luca Cagnoni (12) scored twice for Portland. . . . Each team took two minor penalties and went 0-for-2 on the PP. . . . The Winterhawks got 36 saves from D Dante Giannuzzi, who now is 20-5-2, 2.97, .904. . . .

F Egor Sidorov’s OT goal gave the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the host Calgary Hitmen. . . . Sidorov scored his 27th goal at 2:30 of extra time. . . . F Carter Yakemchuk (6) had pulled the Hitmen into a tie at 18:52 of the third period with his second goal of the game. . . . The Blades held a 45-26 edge in shots, including 7-1 in OT. . . . Saskatoon (29-11-4) is fourth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

F Jagger Firkus scored 40 seconds into OT to give the host Moose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Firkus, whose winner came via the PP, has 24 goals this season. . . . The Warriors were 2-for-3 on the PP. The Tigers were 0-for-6. . . . Moose Jaw F Martin Rysavy (4) tied the score 2-2 at 15:45 of the third period. . . . G Connor Ungar of the Warriors ran his record to 25-6-3, 2.61, .924 with 34 saves. . . . The Warriors (30-15-3) are third in the Eastern Conference, six points out of first place. . . .

F Ben Hemmerling scored his third OT winner of the month as the host Everett Silvertips got past the Swift Current Broncos, 4-3. . . . Hemmerling, who has 16 goals, also had two assists. . . . His winner came at 1:10 of OT. . . . F Austin Roest (16) also had a goal and two helpers for the winners. . . . F Jackson Berezowski, Everett’s 20-year-old captain, scored his 29th goal of this season in his 250th career regular-season game. He has 205 points, including 111 goals. . . . The Broncos are 0-1-1 in their five-game tour of the U.S. Division. . . . The Silvertips (23-21-1) are fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Broncos (22-19-3) are seventh in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the idle Regina Pats, who are at home to Medicine Hat today. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders opened a trek through the B.C. Division with a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Raiders scored the game’s last four goals, the final two from F Evan Herman (9). . . . G Max Hildebrand blocked 28 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Cougars (19-21-4) are tied with the Vancouver Giants for sixth place in the Western Conference. . . .

G Braden Holt turned aside 35 shots to lead the Victoria Royals to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The visitors had posted a 7-4 victory on Friday night. . . . Holt is 7-2-2, 2.89, .913 since the Royals acquired him from the Everett Silvertips. . . . He had 13 victories with Everett, so this one was No. 20 on the season. . . . F Jake Poole (26) gave the Royals a 3-1 lead at 7:03 of the third period. He also had an assist. . . . Victoria F Teydon Trembecky (6) ran his goal streak to four games. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven had one assist, running his point streak to 29 games. Yes, he has at least a point in every game in which he has played this season. He has 65 points, including 25 goals, in that stretch. . . .  Kamloops (27-10-6) is third in the Western Conference, but leads the B.C. Division by 18 points so is all but certain to be the conference’s No. 2 seed when the playoffs start. . . . Victoria (14-28-5) is tied with the Kelowna Rockets for the conference’s eight and final playoff spot. One of those two teams is going to be left on the outside of the postseason tournament. . . .

The Tri-City Americans took a 5-0 lead into the second period and went to post a 6-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City was 3-for-4 on the PP and also had a shorthanded goal. . . . Lukas Dragicevic of the Americans, who leads all WHL defencemen in goals and points (55), had two goals (13) and an assist. Dragicevic and Denton Mateychuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors lead all defencemen in assists (42). . . . Tri-City (22-16-5) is fourth in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Everett. . . .

F Gabriel Szturc, Kelowna’s new captain, had a goal and two assists to lead the host Rockets to a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . One night earlier, in Langley, B.C., the Giants had beaten the Rockets, 3-1. . . . Szturc’s 12th goal, at 8:21 of the second period, broke a 1-1 tie. . . . F Carson Golder (19) finished Kelowna’s scoring with three third-period goals. He also had one assist. . . . Kelowna (15-26-3) is tied with Victoria for eighth in the Western Conference. They are nine points behind Vancouver and Prince George.


Taxes


JUST NOTES:

G Matt Berlin, who played in the WHL (2015-18) with the Spokane Chiefs, Seattle Thunderbirds and Kootenay Ice, made his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. Berlin was backing up starter Jack Campbell and head coach Jay Woodcroft, in a wonderful moment, sent him in for the final 2:26 of a 7-3 victory over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. . . . The Oilers had signed Berlin to an amateur tryout because Stuart Skinner was ailing and unable to play. Berlin, 25, now is with the U of Alberta Golden Bears. He is 4-0-1, 2.57, .892. . . . BTW, Berlin stopped the only shot he faced. . . .

Carl Stankowski, another former WHL goaltender, stopped 25 shots on Saturday as the U of Calgary Dinos beat the Mount Royal Cougars, 4-0. . . . The Dinos ran their Canada West-record winning streak to 19 games. They had set the record on Friday night.


StarWars


Dave Albright, a key member of the 1989 Grey Cup-winning Saskatchewan Roughriders, died Thursday in Redondo Beach, Calif., one day after his 63rd birthday. . . . The Roughriders were 9-9 in the CFL’s 1989 regular season and, after beating the Calgary Stampeders, advanced to meet the Edmonton Eskimos in the West Division final. Early in the second quarter, Albright returned a fumble 62 yards for a touchdown, a play that sparked the Roughriders to a 32-21 victory over the 16-2 Eskimos. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has more on Albright right here.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Moon

The long farewell drags to an end in Vancouver . . . Hitmen finally solve Rebels. . . . Royals romp in Kelowna

THINKING OUT LOUD:

Considering the way outgoing head coach Bruce Boudreau was hung out to dry by the Vancouver Canucks’ ownership/management over the past while was there anything more tone-deaf than the above tweet posted anywhere on social media over the weekend? I mean, is that embarrassing, or what? . . .

Of course, it could be that the Canucks simply are so far past being embarrassed that they no longer can see it when it slaps them right in the face. . . .

Wouldn’t you like to know what NHL boss Gary Bettman thinks of the way the Canucks’ ownership/management handled Boudreau’s firing? . . .

Did Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin really open Sunday’s news conference by saying: “As of this morning, I decided to do a coaching change here with the Vancouver Canucks.”????? . . .

Do Canucks’ fans realize that this retooling is going to go on and on and on and on . . . kind of like Days of Our Lives? . . .

If all those Canucks’ season-ticket holders who have said over the past while that they won’t be renewing their tickets stick to their guns, how many empty seats will there be next season? . . .

Rick Tocchet? Really? . . . His contract takes him through the 2023-24 season and, according to Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) pays him in the “$2.75 million per year range.” . . . Really? . . . The Canucks are believed to be paying Travis Green something like $2,750,000 not to coach this season, and now they also are paying Boudreau to do the same. . . . That’s a lot of coin tied up in head coaches. . . . Boudreau was being paid $2.5 million for this season. . . .

Why not let Boudreau finish out this season and then dip into the AHL and hire Mitch Love, now the head coach of the Calgary Wranglers? Ahh, I forgot. Jim Rutherford, who runs the Canucks, would rather dip into the old boys’ club. . . .

Please give me one good reason why a quality free-agent player would want to sign with the Canucks knowing how this situation was allowed to drag on and on. . . . And let’s not forget that we now will move on to the Bo Horvat saga. . . .

Adam Foote, one of the Canucks’ new assistant coaches, was the head coach of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets in 2019-20, a season that was to have ended with them playing host to the Memorial Cup. Of course, the tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic. Before that happened, though, Foote had been fired. The Rockets were 24-26-4 when owner/general manager Bruce Hamilton fired Foote whose son, Nolan, was the team captain at the time. . . .

J.D. Burke, the editor in chief at eprinkside.com, sums up the whole sad Canucks’ story right here. It’s a good read and touches on a whole lot.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Spokane Chiefs announced an attendance of 8,649 for their Saturday night game, a 6-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. That’s the largest crowd at a game in Spokane since Feb. 29, 2020 when 10,259 were in the house to watch the Chiefs beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3, in a shootout. . . . Less than two weeks later, the remainder of the season was postponed because of the pandemic. . . . 

Interestingly, two teams that likely won’t make the playoffs are leading the WHL in attendance. According to figures based on announced attendance and compiled by the WHL, the defending-champion Edmonton Oil Kings’ average crowd is 5,531, with the Spokane Chiefs second at 5,281. . . . The Oil Kings are 31 points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot; the Chiefs are 10 points off the pace in the Western Conference. . . .

There will be one WHL game tonight, with Spokane visiting the Portland Winterhawks, and then nothing until Friday night. That’s because the Top Prospects Game is scheduled to be played at the Langley Events Centre, the home of the Vancouver Giants, on Wednesday night.


SUNDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Swift Current Broncos erased a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-3, in OT. . . . F Josh Davies (13) won it at 1:29 of extra time. He also drew an assist on F Connor Hvidston’s 10th goal that tied it at 17:36 of the third. . . . The Broncos are tied for seventh with the Regina Pats in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Medicine Hat. . . .

In Calgary, the Hitmen scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Red Deer Rebels, 4-2. . . . The Hitmen had lost four in a row, while the Rebels had won five straight. Calgary also had been 0-3-2 against the Rebels this season. . . . F Sean Tschigerl’s 13th goal, at 18:11 of the second period, on a PP, broke a 2-2 tie. . . . The Hitmen are sixth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes with two games in hand. . . . The Rebels lead the Central Division by 13 points over the Hurricanes. . . .

G Carson Bjarnson stopped 19 shots for his third shutout this season as the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 2-0. . . . Bjarnson, a 17-year-old sophomore from Carberry, Man., which is located just east of Brandon, is 17-13-2, 2.84, .913 this season. . . . F Nate Danielson had a goal (23) and an assist. He’s now got 56 points in 44 games. Last season, he finished with 57 points, 23 of them goals, in 53 games. . . . Brandon is three points out of a playoff spot. . . .

The Victoria Royals, playing their third game in as many cities in fewer than 48 hours, went into Kelowna and beat the Rockets, 5-1. . . . The Royals dropped a 7-6 decision in OT to the Portland Winterhawks on Friday and then were beaten, 6-3, by the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday. . . . Last night, Victoria held a 31-14 edge in shots. . . . F Jake Poole, a 20-year-old who was acquired from the Rockets on Oct. 4 for an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2024 draft, scored his 25th goal for Victoria. He now has 14 points, four of them goals, in a seven-game point streak. . . . The Royals pulled into a tie with the Rockets for the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. Kelowna holds three games in hand. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice scored two PP goals and two others while shorthanded en route to a 6-0 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Ice swept the two-game series, having won 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night. . . . F Ty Nash (16) and F Connor McClennon (22) had the PP goals, with F Matt Savoie (18) and F Owen Pederson (19) scoring while shorthanded. . . . G Mason Beaupit blocked 20 shots for his first shutout this season and second of his career. . . . The Ice moved back atop the Eastern Conference standings, one point ahead of Red Deer. Winnipeg holds five games in hand. . . . The Warriors are fourth, one point behind the Saskatoon Blades, who have four games in hand.


IFFYLUBE


Brad Brown, who a few years back covered the Swift Current Broncos for the ReginaPrairie Post, now is the publisher of the award-winning Quad Town Forum, a weekly newspaper in an area a few slapshots outside Regina. He was part of a sold-out crowd that watched the host Pats beat the Broncos, 5-2, on Saturday night and offered these thoughts on his Twitter account (@saskawhat):

  1. Swift did a good job defending (Connor Bedard) in the 1st but Bedard (first time seeing him play) more than lived up to the hype (2G, 1A + many A+ looks) by game’s end. Looked like a man among boys & didn’t shy away physically either.
  2. Capitals prospect Suzdalev was next best player on the ice. Rocket of a shot.
  3. No points for the local (Candiac) fella but Drew Englot was engaged physically all night.
  4. Game could have easily gone the other way if not for netminding wizardry from Pats goalie Drew Sim.
  5. I know attendance was strong the last four games but if Regina Pats lose $ this year they have no one to blame but themselves. Over $130 for 2 marginal seats + mediocre supper & popcorn for dad + kiddo. Coulda drove almost halfway to Disneyland for less. Lesson learned.

School


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


TP

The night Ed Chynoweth coached Wranglers to victory . . . Would you pay 13 grand for Bedard sweater? . . . Stankoven, Zellweger spark Blazers

The WHL’s latest available Guide and Record Book, one that was made available last season, shows Dean Chynoweth, now an assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, with 272 regular-season head-coaching victories from stints with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Swift Current Broncos.

EdChynoweth3
ED CHYNOWETH

What the WHL’s record book doesn’t show is that his late father, Ed, the godfather of major junior hockey, is 271 victories behind his son.

That’s because, for some reason, the record book doesn’t list Ed in its coaching statistics.

But he should be there. With one victory.

There was a time when Ed, the WHL’s long-time president, left the WHL’s Calgary office for a spot with the Calgary Wranglers as minority owner and general manager.

That brings us to Dec. 5, 1979, with the Wranglers in Medicine Hat to play the Tigers.

The score was 1-1 in the third period when F Brad Kempthorne scored for the Tigers. The Wranglers, however, were of the opinion that referee Ken Wheler shouldn’t have allowed the goal to stand.

Calgary goaltender Warren Skorodenski claimed that Kempthorne knocked the puck into the net with an arm. Doug Sauter, the Calgary head coach, agreed with his goaltender.

By the time the debate was over, Skorodenski had been given a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, Calgary had been hit with a bench minor and Sauter had been ejected.

“Warren said the puck went in off the guy’s arms and it did,” Sauter said. “There were two guys in the crease as well.”

With Sauter gone, Chynoweth moved from the press box to the Calgary bench for what would be the only coaching appearance of his many years in the WHL.

With Chynoweth calling the shots, the Wranglers killed both minor penalties and then got a PP goal from D Jim Crosson at 9:50 for a 2-2 tie. It should be noted that the Wranglers were skating with a two-man advantage when Crosson scored.

And the Wranglers won it in OT on a PP goal from F Dan Bourbonnais, who beat G Kelly Hrudey at 5:37, after the Tigers had been called for too many men.

It may not mean anything, but the Tigers were given the only four minor penalties handed out after Chynoweth moved behind the bench.

The announced attendance was 1,948 and they watched the Wranglers win their sixth in a row and run their record to 20-5, the best in the league at the time.

The WHL book shows Sauter with 417 regular-season victories. Perhaps that figure should be 416, with Chynoweth being given credit for one.


Living


THE BEDARD REPORT: F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 32 games with a pair of goals as his Regina Pats dumped the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 5-2,

BEDARD
CONNOR BEDARD

on Saturday night. . . . The announced attendance was 6,499, the Pats’ first sellout in the Brandt Centre this season, as Bedard Fever seems finally to have taken over Regina and area. . . . The Pats now have played 21 home games; their past four games have drawn their four largest crowds of the season. . . . Bedard was kept off the scoresheet in his first game this season — a 5-4 loss to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Sept. 23 — but since has been on a tear. . . . He leads the WHL in goals (39), assists (42) and points (81), all in 33 games. . . . In five games since returning from the World Junior Championship, he has 12 goals and five assists. . . . Bedard also has scored in eight straight games, seven off the franchise record set by Dale Derkatch to open the 1982-83 season. Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post also reminds us that the Pats’ record for longest point streak is 47 games and is shared by Jock Callander and Wally Schreiber from 1981-82. . . . The Pats wore SpongeBob SquarePants-themed sweaters for this one, and they were made available via auction. Bedard’s went for $13,025. (Proceeds from the auction are going to Children’s Miracle Network.) . . . The Pats now are off for a week. They next are scheduled to play on Jan. 29 against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Vanstone’s story from Saturday’s game is right here.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Regina Pats (aka the Travelling Bedards) are scheduled to play in Calgary on Feb. 1. Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) advises that “the Hitmen have opened the upper bowl. . . . The lower bowl is sold out and looks like about the first 15 rows of the upper bowl as well. Looking at 14,000-15,000 fans at this point I think. Could be a sellout by game time???” . . .

With the Travelling Bedards scheduled to meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Feb. 5, James Tubb (@ReporterTubb) of the Medicine Hat News advises: “. . . if you haven’t gotten a ticket . . . you should act fast.” . . . According to WHL figures, the Tigers average announced attendance is 2,211 through 21 games. Co-op Place has a listed capacity of 7,100.


Truckfire


SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period, as they beat the Saskatoon Blades, 3-1. . . . On Friday night in Saskatoon, the Blades, playing as the Saskatoon Bananas as part of an annual promotion, had beaten the Raiders, 6-1. . . . Last night, the Raiders were 2-for-2 on the PP with D Landon Kosior drawing the primary assist on each of them. . . .

F Alexander Suzdalev had a goal and two assists to help the host Regina Pats to a 5-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Pats also got three assists from D Stanislav Svozil. . . . Suzdalev, a Russian freshman, has 24 goals and 33 assists in 42 games. . . . Svozil, a sophomore from Czechia, has five goals and 41 assists in 32 games. Last season, he finished with 41 points in 59 games. . . .

F Chase Wheatcroft scored in OT as the visiting Prince George Cougars got past the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-3. . . . Wheatcroft won it with his 28th goal just 46 seconds into extra time. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer scored twice for the Cougars, giving him 26 goals on the season, including six in his past three games. . . . F Jaxsen Wiebe, who was acquired from Edmonton, drew the primary assist on the winner. . . . F Noah Boyko, who was dealt to Edmonton in the same deal, had a goal (11) and an assist. . . . The Cougars went 2-3-1 in their swing into the Central Division. . . .

F Kalan Lind’s OT goal gave the host Red Deer Rebels a 2-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Lind won it with his 14th goal at 0:39 of OT. . . . He has a goal in five straight games. . . . F Jayden Grubbe (12) pulled Red Deer into a 1-1 tie with a PP goal at 17:51 of the third period. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers got two goals from F Shane Smith as they ran their winning streak to three games with a 7-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Smith, who turned 18 on Jan. 14, has 16 goals in his freshman season. . . . The Tigers had two players — D Kurtis Smith and D Josh Van Mulligen — score their first goals of the season in the final minute of the third period. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers erased a late 5-3 deficit and beat the visiting Tri-City Americans, 6-5, in OT. . . . F Logan Stankoven scored three times for Kamloops, including the winner at 2:47 of OT. Stankoven, who has 23 goals, forced OT with a goal at 16:47 of the third period. . . . Stankoven also had two assists, for the second five-point game in his past five games. He has four such outings in his career. . . . He also is riding a 27-game point streak. He has at least a point in every game he has played this season, totalling 23 goals and 38 assists. He and F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats are the only two players averaging more than two points per game; Bedard is at 2.45 with Stankoven at 2.26. . . . D Olen Zellweger scored his 14th goal and added four assists for Kamloops. It was the second five-point game of his WHL career; he had one last season while with the Everett Silvertips. . . . F Ethan Ernst’s second goal of the game and 23rd of the season had given the Americans a 5-3 lead at 14:05 of the third period. . . . The Americans had won, 8-2, in Kamloops on Friday night. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s first six goals, the first three in the first period, en route to a 6-2 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . D Jeremy Hanzel had three assists for the winners, with F Kyle Crnkovic scoring twice (22). . . . The Thunderbirds held a 48-15 edge in shots. . . . Seattle F Brad Lambert missed his second straight home game as he works to get a visa situation straightened out. . . . Seattle is 6-0-0 against Everett this season, with a 31-10 edge in goals. . . .

F Matt Savoie scored the only goal of a shootout as the host Winnipeg Ice beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 3-2. . . . They’ll play again today in Winnipeg. . . . F Zach Benson (25) had one of Winnipeg’s goals as he ran his point streak to 13 games. He has 11 goals and 17 assists over that stretch. . . . Moose Jaw F Atley Calvert went into this season with 18 goals in 102 career regular-season games; he scored his 26th of this season last night. . . . Ice G Daniel Hauser recorded the victory. He is 23-2-1 this season and 64-5-3 in his career. . . .

F Robbie Fromm-Delorme had two goals and an assist to help the Winterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Portland. . . . Fromm-Delorme, 20, had 15 goals and 19 assists in 38 games last season; this season, he’s got 25 goals and 29 assists in 40 outings. . . . F Gabe Klassen helped out with his 25th goal and an assist. . . . F Chaz Lucius, playing his second game with Portland, scored his first goal and added an assist. He’s got a goal and three assists in those two games. . . . The Hurricanes went 0-1-2 on a quick trip into the U.S. Division. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs scored three third-period goals and beat the visiting Victoria Royals, 6-3. . . . D Mac Gross (6) broke a 3-3 tie at 1:41 of the third period and F Cade Hayes added insurance with his eighth and ninth goals at 9:36 and 16:18. . . . F Jake Poole had a goal (24) and an assist for Victoria. He has put together a run of six straight multi-point games — one three-pointer and five deuces. . . . The Royals went 0-2-1 in a U.S. Division trip. . . .

The Vancouver Giants erased a 1-0 deficit with three goals and hung on to beat the Rockets, 4-3, in Kelowna. . . . G Brett Mirwald stopped 25 shots for the Giants, who scored two PP goals. . . . F Adam Kidd (13) scored twice for the Rockets, the second one getting them to within one at 13:20 of the third period.



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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Donate

A look back at Sobchuk’s 10-point night . . . Broncos put up sold-out sign for Bedard visit . . . Lucius set for Portland debut


Here are the first two paragraphs of something I wrote more than 36 years ago . . .

“It was Friday, Jan. 19, 1973. Across the pond in jolly old England, Prince Charles narrowly escaped a head-on crash while driving his Aston Martin through the fog-enshrouded countryside southwest of London.

“Meanwhile, at Regina’s Exhibition Stadium, a nautical mile or two from the old country, a prince of a hockey player was having a jolly good night.”

Thanks to a tweet from Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner), the go-to guy for all things Regina Pats, the memories came flashing back on Thursday night.

DennisSobchukYes, it was 50 years ago — Jan. 19, 1973 — when F Dennis Sobchuk had one of the greatest offensive nights in WHL history. That night, Sobchuk struck for 10 points, six of them goals, in an 11-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings before 2,284 fans at Regina’s Exhibition Stadium.

It’s worth noting that the Wheat Kings were without F Ron Chipperfield (throat infection), who was leading the league with 53 goals.

Sobchuk’s line finished with 20 points — Mike Wanchuk had a goal and five assists; Clarke Gillies had a goal and three assists. Gillies also spent some time in the penalty box, thanks to a pair of fights with Brandon D Rick Piche.

The 18-year-old Sobchuk was in his second season with the Pats. That night, his fourth goal was his 100th regular-season score. Yes, he had 100 goals in fewer than two full seasons.

“Some nights they go in easy. Other nights they don’t go in at all. Tonight, well, it was one of those real good nights,” Sobchuk told Mal Isaac of the Regina Leader-Post. “And I should have had a couple of more, especially in the third period. But I guess a guy can’t be greedy.”

The outburst came just two days after head coach Bob Turner had talked with his three top forwards, telling them “to shoot more, that’s all. Each of them has a great shot but they just don’t shoot enough. Tonight, they were really rifling them and look what happened.”

The six goals allowed Sobchuk to tie the WCHL record — the WHL then was the Western Canada Hockey League — for goals in a game that had been set two seasons previous by F Danny Spring of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Sobchuk’s 10-point night also got him a piece of the single-game record for points, one that had been established by F Gerry Pinder of the Saskatoon Blades on March 12, 1967, and tied by F Tom Lysiak of the Medicine Hat Tigers on Dec. 30, 1971. While Pinder also had six goals and four assists in his big game, Lysiak did it with four goals and six helpers.

Sobchuk also tied the WCHL record for goals in one period — he scored five times in the second period.

Sobchuk’s night also pushed him into the WCHL scoring lead with 92 points, including 46 goals. At that point, he had two more points than Lysiak, who would go on to win his second straight scoring title, with 154 points, seven more than Sobchuk.

In his freshman season (1971-72), Sobchuk totalled 123 points, including 56 goals, in 68 games, and was named the WCHL’s rookie of the year.

He would play one more season with the Pats (1973-74), putting up 146 points, including 68 goals, in 66 game and helping Regina to a Memorial Cup title.

In three seasons with the Pats, he finished with 416 points, 191 of them goals, in 190 regular-season games. He placed fifth, second and second in the scoring race.

Sobchuk had won the Saskatchewan Amateur Junior Hockey League’s scoring title in 1970-71 when he finished with 96 points, including 56 goals, in 36 games with the Weyburn Red Wings. At that time, his WCHL rights belonged to the Estevan Bruins, who were about to move to New Westminster.

On July 7, 1971, Del Wilson, the Pats’ president and general manager, acquired Sobchuk from New Westminster, sending F Emile DeMoissac, F Wayne Dye, D Bob Hess, F Doug Lindskog and F Vic Mercredi the other way.

DeMoissac, Hess and Mercredi would be key performers for the Bruins, although all had moved on before their four-season run (1974-78) as WHL champions.

By November 1986, Sobchuk was the Pats’ assistant GM and assistant coach. One night, he and I chatted about his 10-point outing.

“Funny thing,” he recalled. “I didn’t realize it but they had a guy shadowing me that night. When the people clapped for me at the end of the game, Brandon — I talked to a few of the players in later years — they were going to push the guy who was supposed to be the shadow out there to take a bow with me.

“But it was just one of those nights. Whenever you shot the puck it went in. It was a crazy night.”

I asked Sobchuk just how big a thrill it was.

“I still have the stick,” he replied.

Two nights later, the Pats and Wheat Kings met in Brandon, with Regina skating away with a 5-4 victory. F Rick Uhrich had three goals. Sobchuk had one assist.


Number


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Swift Current Broncos announced on Thursday that tonight’s game against the visiting Regina Pats, aka the Travelling Bedards, is sold out. . . .

F Chaz Lucius, 19, has joined the Portland Winterhawks and is expected to make his WHL debut tonight against the visiting Victoria Royals. Lucius, who starred with Team USA at the recent World Junior Championship, had been with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets assigned him to Portland after the WJC. . . .

F Gabriel Szturc, a 19-year-old from Cesky Tesin, Czechia, was named the 28th captain of the Kelowna Rockets on Thursday, replacing Colton Dach, who was traded to the Seattle Thunderbirds earlier this month. Szturc is the first European-born captain in the Rockets’ franchise history. Four of Szturc’s first five games as captain will be against the Vancouver Giants, starting tonight in Langley, B.C., and Saturday in Kelowna. . . .

F Ben King of the Red Deer Rebels, who led the WHL with 52 goals last season, has 10 points, five of them goals, in five games this season. But he hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury on Oct. 22. It seems that he may return tonight against the visiting Prince George Cougars or Saturday with the Brandon Wheat Kings in town.



WEDNESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

D Max Wanner’s eighth goal at 0:45 of OT gave the Moose Jaw Warriors a 5-4 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon and a sweep of their home-and-home series. The Warriors had won, 3-1, at home on Tuesday. . . . The victory allowed the Warriors (28-14-2) to move into a third-place tie with the Blades (27-9-4) in the Eastern Conference. The Blades hold four games in hand. . . . F Atley Calvert led the Warriors with two goals and two assists. He has 25 goals and 25 assists in 44 games after finishing last season with 15 and 25 in 65. He went into last night’s game with 98 career points and came out with 102, all in 146 games. . . . Last night, the Blades outshot the visitors, 43-17, including 16-2 in the third period. . . . The Warriors trail Eastern Conference-leading Winnipeg (31-5-1) by five points and visit the Ice tonight and Saturday. However, the Ice holds seven — count ’em, SEVEN — games in hand. . . .

F Connor McClennon and F Zach Benson each had a goal and three assists as the Winnipeg Ice lit up the Raiders, 8-1, in Prince Albert. . . . Benson has 24 goals; McClennon has 21. . . . Ice F Connor Geekie scored his 20th goal of the season. . . . The Ice held a 39-16 edge in shots. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers scored three times in a six-round shootout and beat the Broncos, 5-4, in Swift Current. . . . Three second-period goals had given the Tigers a 4-2 lead, but the Broncos pulled even on third-period scores from F Josh Filmon (28) and F Connor Hvidston (9). . . . Hvidston also had two assists, and Filmon finished with two goals and a helper. . . . Latvian D Bogdans Hodass scored twice for the Tigers, giving him seven this season. . . . The Tigers (17-21-6) closed to within two points of the Broncos (20-17-2), who hold down the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. Those two teams are to play in Medicine Hat on Sunday. That will be the Broncos’ third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . .

The Prince George Cougars came from behind four times before finally beating the host Calgary Hitmen, 6-5. . . . With the NHL’s Flames playing host to the Colorado Avalanche in the Saddledome, the WHL game was played at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex. . . . Prince George scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period. F Jaxsen Wiebe (7) got the winner at 14:42, his second of the game. F Koehn Ziemmer (22) also scored twice for the winners. . . . The Cougars, who fired 21 shots in each of the last two periods, outshot the Hitmen, 51-35. . . .

F Ben Hemmerling scored twice, including in OT, and added two assists as the host Everett Silvertips beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Hemmerling’s 14th goal came at 3:36 of extra time. . . . Hemmerling, who now has had two four-point games in his WHL career, has three goals and six assists in his past four games. . . . The Tri-City Americans erased a 4-0 first-period deficit and beat the Victoria Royals, 5-4, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Ethan Ernst (21) scored twice for the Americans, his second goal, at 13:54 of the third period, breaking a 4-4 tie. . . . F Matthew Hodson (13) scored twice for Victoria. . . . The Americans (19-16-4) are fifth in the Western Conference, one point behind the Everett Silverips (21-19-1).


Electrician


THINKING OUT LOUD: I yearn for the days when I could look at NHL highlights and recognize teams by their uniforms. . . . David Adelman is the acting head coach of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets these days. That’s because head coach Michael Malone is away because of health and safety protocols. Yes, COVID-19 has reared its ugly head, again. Three Denver players — Bones Hyland, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray — have spent time in protocol this season, too. And you thought the pandemic was over, didn’t you? Mask up!


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Test

Bedard, Pats keep on rolling . . . Rockets face interesting schedule . . . Look back at WHL’s weekend


BEDARD
CONNOR BEDARD

THE LEGEND CONTINUES TO GROW: F Connor Bedard scored Regina’s last two goals as the Pats beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-3, on Saturday night. . . . Bedard has 36 goals this season and is on a 30-game point streak. . . . The Pats have won three in a row since Bedard returned from his dominating performance with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. In those three victories, Bedard has nine goals and four assists — a six-point game, a five-pointer and Saturday’s deuce. . . . Despite missing 11 games while at the WJC, Bedard leads the WHL in goals (36), assists (41) and points (77). He holds a 15-point lead over F Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets in the points derby. Cristall has missed Kelowna’s last three games with an undisclosed injury. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post tells us that Bedard’s 30-game point streak is “17 short of the team record, set by Jock Callander and Wally Schreiber during the 1981-82 season.” . . . Vanstone also informs us that Bedard “is on pace to become the first Pat to score 50 goals in 50 or fewer games since Dale Derkatch in 1983-84.” Derkatch scored Nos. 50 and 51 in his 49th game that season. . . . The Pats are off until the weekend when they go home-and-home with the Swift Current Broncos, playing Friday on the road and Saturday in Regina. . . . The Broncos (20-17-1) are eighth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Regina. The Broncos hold four games in hand.


From the Department of Read It and Weep, a piece that hits the nail squarely on the head . . .


The Kelowna Rockets, who are fighting for their playoff lives, are two games into an eight-game stretch during which they will play only two teams — the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants.

Going into this week, it really is looking as though one of the Rockets or Royals Kelownawill finish eighth in the Western Conference, with the other team left out of the playoffs. The Rockets (13-23-3) are eighth now, one point ahead of the Royals (12-25-4). The Prince George Cougars (17-18-4) and the Giants (16-19-6) are tied for sixth, nine points ahead of the Rockets.

Five of the Rockets’ next eight games are against the Giants, so one would have to think Kelowna needs to beat Vancouver at least four times to have a chance at moving up in the standings.

As for the Royals, well, they are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games after sweeping a weekend series from the visiting Rockets, winning 4-0 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday.

Next up for the Rockets is a home-and-home with the Giants, playing Friday in Langley, B.C., and Saturday in Kelowna. The Royals, who are to play the Winterhawks in Portland on Friday and the Chiefs in Spokane on Saturday, will be in Kelowna on Sunday as each team plays its third game in fewer than 48 hours.

The Rockets and Giants then will play three in a row — Jan. 27 in Langley, and Jan. 28 and Feb. 3 in Kelowna.

One positive for the Rockets is that they won’t play any mid-week games during that stretch, so head coach Kris Mallette and his staff will have lots of practice time, something coaches really treasure.


THEDAD


Jack Todd in the Montreal Gazette, with a few words on the Montreal Canadiens’ baby blues:

“Supposedly a nod to the late, great Montreal Expos, the reverse-retro jerseys are a bland, boring, soulless cash grab, a blue-on-blue nightmare that is more reminiscent of the Toronto Argonauts than Nos Amours. Canadiens fans agree on something once a century, and this is it: everyone hates those kiddie pyjamas.”

Todd also points out that the Canadiens have worn the baby blues four times and are 0-4, so perhaps they won’t last long. They are next scheduled to be worn on Thursday for a visit by the Florida Panthers.

——

Here’s Todd, again, with something that I can get behind: “We’re 100 per cent behind Connor McDavid. The shootout is a farce, while 3-on-3 overtime is the most exciting thing since skate sharpeners. Ten minutes of 3-on-3, then in the unlikely event no one has scored, it’s a tie.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Jack Bakker, whose WHL rights moved from Kamloops to the Everett Silvertips in the Jan. 8 deal in which D Olen Zellweger and F Ryan Hofer went to the Blazers, has committed to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees for 2023-24. Bakker, 15, is from White Rock, B.C., and plays on the U18 prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy. Kamloops selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . .

F Ozzy Wiesblatt, 20, played for the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda on Saturday night, meaning he won’t be joining the Portland Winterhawks, who had acquired his rights from the Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday. Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, explained to Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) that Wiesblatt could only end up in Portland if he didn’t play another AHL game after Jan. 10. . . . Wiesblatt was a first-round selection by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . . Had Wiesblatt ended up in Portland, the Raiders would have receive three draft picks from the Winterhawks — a first in 2025 and two seconds in 2026. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their home record to 16-0-0 on Saturday with a 5-3 victory over the Cowichan Valley Capitals before an announced crowd of 3,628. . . . Also on Saturday, the Wenatchee Wild drew an announced crowd of 3,521 as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Prince George Spruce Kings. . . .

The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars suffered their first regulation-time loss of the season on Saturday night as they were beaten, 5-0, by the Bruins in Estevan. That left the North Stars’ record at 33-1-3. . . . G Jackson Miller stopped 30 shots to earn the shutout, while F Keagon Little scored twice.


Callback


SUNDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

F Cole Shepard scored two goals 70 seconds apart in the first period to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Lethbridge was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours; it picked up five points by going 2-0-1 in those games. . . . Shepard, who sat out Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels with a one-game suspension, has 15 goals. . . . G Bryan Thomson blocked 38 shots to earn the victory. Thomson, who made 50 appearances last season, was playing in his fifth game this season. The start of his season was delayed by surgery to repair an undisclosed injury. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first seven goals, five of them in the second period, en route to a 7-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . F Jalen Luypen had a goal (4) and two assists for the Americans. . . . G Tomas Suchanek stopped 18 shots in his first appearance with the Americans since returning from the World Junior Championship where he backstopped Czechia to a silver medal.

——

SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored four second-period goals and got 39 saves from G Connor Ungar as they beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-3. Ungar is 21-5-2, 2.64, .924 this season. . . . In Edmonton, D Terrell Goldsmith’s third goal of the season, at 2:16 of OT, gave the Prince Albert Raiders a 4-3 victory over the Oil Kings. The offensively challenged Oil Kings were held to three, six, five and two shots, by period. . . .

F Jackson Berezowski had two goals and an assist as the hometown Everett Silvertips got past the Tri-City Americans, 3-2, in OT. . . . F Austin Roest’s 25th goal, at 1:39 of extra time won it. . . . Roest has three goals and seven assists over his past three games. . . . Berezowski, the team captain, has 28 goals. In his past three games, he has put up eight goals and four assists, surpassing the 200-point career mark in the process. He now has 204 points, 110 of them goals, in 245 regular-season games. . . . D Hunter Mayo (14) scored at 4:55 of OT to give the Red Deer Rebels a 2-1 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .

F Alexander Suzdalev scored once (23) and added an assist as the Regina Pats beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-3. . . . Portland finished its East Division swing at 2-4-0. . . . Suzdalev has 53 points in 40 games. . . . Could it be that Regina and area has caught Bedard Fever? The Pats have drawn their three largest crowds of the season to their past three games — 4,761, 5,651 and 5,403. In 20 home games, only one other crowd has been more than 4,000, and that was 4,336 on opening night. . . . The Winterhawks thought they had tied the game late in the third period, but the goal was disallowed by the on-ice officials. Portland fans were upset that the play didn’t go to video review, but goaltender interference isn’t something that can go upstairs for review in the WHL. . . . From Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “With (G Dante) Giannuzzi pulled for an extra attacker, Portland appeared to score the game-tying goal with 17 seconds left. But, after lengthy deliberations, the goal was disallowed when the ruling was made that Portland’s Kyle Chyzowski interfered with Pats netminder Drew Sim. Chyzowski received at least a nudge from Pats defenceman Luke Bateman before colliding with Sim, but the goal was waved off.”

F Egor Sidorov scored three times and linemate Trevor Wong had a goal and two assists as the Saskatoon Blades beat the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-2. Sidorov, a sophomore from Belarus, has four career hat-tricks, three of them this season. He has 22 goals; Wong has 15. . . . Seattle went 3-3-0 on its East Division swing. . . . G Reid Dyck stopped 29 shots, including a third-period penalty shot, to help the Broncos to a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Swift Current. . . .

F Matthew Hodson scored twice and added an assist as the host Victoria Royals doubled the Kelowna Rockets, 6-3, to sweep their weekend series. The Royals had won, 4-0, on Friday. The Rockets have lost six in a row on the road. Hodson, who scored three goals in 39 games last season, has 11 in 38 outings this season. . . . The Royals scratched D Gannon Laroque, who played Friday, and F Brayden Schuurman, who left Friday’s game after the first period. F Alex Thacker, who last played on Dec. 17, took the warmup but didn’t dress. . . . The sweep allowed the ninth-place Royals (12-25-4) to close to within one point of the Rockets (13-23-3), who hold down the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Connor McClennon scored three times, giving him 19, to lead the Ice to an 8-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. The visitors led 2-0 before the game was five minutes old. . . . F Ryan Hofer scored twice (26) and F Logan Stankoven drew three assists as the Kamloops Blazers beat the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 5-2. Hofer has three goals in two games with the Blazers since being acquired from Everett. G Matthew Kieper stopped 22 shots in his first appearance for Kamloops since being acquired from Regina on Jan. 3.



THINKING OUT LOUD: Just a reminder that Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) is a must follow on Twitter for major junior hockey fans. . . . You watch QB Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers and you realize how important it can be to be in the right place at the right time to find success. . . . It wasn’t long after the Los Angeles Chargers had coughed up a 27-0 lead and lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday that their fans had Sean Payton replacing Brandon Staley as head coach. And how many jobs will Payton be rumoured for before he finally picks one? . . . There is a lot of chatter that has the Vancouver Canucks on the verge of firing head coach Bruce Boudreau and replacing him with Rick Tocchet. Just a thought, but maybe the Canucks should try doing things right for a change — let Boudreau finish out the season and then see who’s available. And maybe, just maybe, think about handing a blank cheque to Barry Krotz. Or maybe call Sean Payton. . . . ICYMI, QB Nathan Rourke, who lit up the CFL with the B.C. Lions before suffering a foot injury last season, says he is going to sign with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. What an exciting time this must be for him as he gets the opportunity to live out his dream . . . You don’t like Tom Brady and you despise the Dallas Cowboys. So what are you going to do tonight?


COVID


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Missing

Blazers rock WHL world in landing Zellweger . . . Giants’ captain off to Ice for eight assets . . . Bedard back lighting it up with Pats

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 31.

No. of players traded — 59.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 62.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 12.

Teams involved in trades — 8: Edmonton; 6: Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Kamloops, Seattle; 4: Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina; 3: Everett, Kelowna, Spokane; 2: Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; 1: Brandon, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Tri-City, Vancouver; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.


January 8, 2023.

It will be remembered as the day when discretion being the better part of valour no longer was entrenched in the WHL’s trade deadline-related thinking of those making the deals.

It was the day the Kamloops Blazers, the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup, and the Winnipeg Ice, the Eastern Conference’s top team to date, combined to give up eight players, 13 WHL draft picks, including seven first-round selections, and a conditional pick for three players.

First things first . . .

Observers have been waiting for weeks to see what kind of impact the Blazers would have as Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches. Well, they found out on Sunday.

Kamloops acquired D Olen Zellweger, 19, and F Ryan Hofer, 20, from the Everett KamloopsSilvertips but the cost was off the charts.

All told, Kamloops coughed up two roster players (F Drew Englot, 20, and D Kaden Hammell, 17) and two prospects (D Rylan Pearce, 17, and F Jack Bakker, 15), along with nine draft picks and a conditional pick. Kamloops surrendered four first-rounders (2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026), one second (2023), one third (2025), one fourth (2023), one fifth (2024) and one sixth (2026). The Blazers also threw in a conditional second-rounder in 2026.

No, Kamloops didn’t get any picks back.

Zellweger, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., is fresh off a run as perhaps Team Canada’s best defenceman in a gold medal-winning performance at the World Junior Championship that ended Thursday in Halifax. In Kamloops, he will be Everettreunited with Team Canada teammates Caedan Bankier and Logan Stankoven,

A second-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL’s 2021 draft, Zellweger has 28 points, including 10 goals, in 23 games with Everett this season. He has signed a three-year entry-level contract with Anaheim so is unlikely to return to the WHL for a 20-year-old season.

Last season, Zellweger led WHL defencemen with 78 points in 55 games and was named the league’s top defenceman.

Hofer, a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder from Winnipeg, is one of the WHL’s premier power forwards. This season, his third, he has 23 goals and 13 assists in 36 games. The Washington Capitals selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2022 draft.

Englot, from Candiac, Sask., is in his fourth WHL season. The Blazers acquired him from the Regina Pats midway through the 2021-22 season. This season, he has three goals and 11 assists in 34 games.

Hammell, from Langley, B.C., was a first-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2020 draft. Last season, he put up 14 points, 11 of them assists, in 57 games. This season, he has six goals and four assists in 36 games.

Pearce, from Martensville, Sask., was a fourth-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2020 draft. He got into two games with Kamloops this season and earned two assists. Pearce now is with the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers.

Bakker, from White Rock, B.C., is playing for the U18 side at the Delta, B.C., Hockey Academy. He was a third-round selection by the Blazers in the 2022 WHL draft.

The Blazers (22-8-6) are third in the Western Conference, eight points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds (28-5-2) and five behind the Portland Winterhawks (26-6-3). The Silvertips (18-18-1) are tied for fifth with the Tri-City Americans (17-16-3), one point behind the Vancouver Giants (16-16-6).

Kamloops, which beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, on Saturday night, is next scheduled to play Wednesday against visiting Vancouver. Hofer will sit out that one with a one-game suspension.

You can bet he’ll be in the lineup on Friday, though, when the Blazers are to play in Everett. The Silvertips are scheduled to visit the Blazers on March 10.

——

Meanwhile, shortly after Winnipeg beat visiting Portland, 6-3, on Sunday night, the Ice announced it had acquired F Zack Ostapchuk, the Giants’ 19-WinnipegIceyear-old captain and another member of Canada’s national junior team.

In exchange, the Ice surrendered two roster players (F Skyler Bruce, 19, and F Connor Dale, 17), two prospects (D Owen Brees, 15, and F Hudson Landmark, 15), and four WHL draft picks — firsts in 2024, 2025 and 2026, and a fifth in 2024.

Ostapchuk, from St. Albert, Alta., had 10 goals and 19 assists in 21 games with the Giants this season. In 153 career regular-season games, he put up 96 points, 48 of them goals. Vancouver selected him 12th overall in the WHL’s 2018 draft, Vancouverand the Ottawa Senators grabbed him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft.

Ostapchuk has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Senators so is unlikely to be back in the WHL for his 20-year-old season in 2023-24.

Bruce, from Winnipeg, had 22 points, seven of them goals, in 33 games with the Ice this season. He has 70 points, including 26 goals, in 136 regular-season games. The Kootenay Ice picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 draft.

Dale, a freshman who also is from St. Albert, has three goals and five assists in 24 games. He was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft.

Brees, from Lethbridge, was picked by the Ice in the fifth round of the 2022 draft. He is playing with the U15 Northern Alberta Xtreme.

Landmark, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was an eighth-round pick in that same draft. He is playing with the U15 AAA Sherwood Park United Cycle Flyers.

The Ice (29-5-0) leads the Eastern Conference by two points over the Red Deer Rebels (26-8-4), with Winnipeg holding four games in hand.

The Giants (16-16-6) are fourth in the Western Conference, 12 points behind third-place Kamloops.

The Ice and Giants aren’t scheduled to meet again during this regular season. In their only clash, the Ice posted a 4-3 victory at the Langley Events Centre on Oct. 19.

Vancouver next will play Wednesday when it is to visit Kamloops.

Winnipeg’s next game is scheduled for Wednesday when it is to play host to the Seattle Thunderbirds, another organization that has gone big in this season’s arm race.

Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) pointed out that the Thunderbirds have acquired F Colton Dach (Kelowna Rockets), D Nolan Allan (Prince Albert Raiders) and D Luke Prokop (Edmonton Oil Kings) for a total of four first-round picks, two seconds, three thirds, a fourth, two sixths, and five players.

——


It was 11 years ago today (Monday) when the Swift Current Broncos and WHLKootenay Ice rocked the WHL’s world with what was then seen as a huge deal.

Mark Lamb, the Broncos’ general manager and head coach, and Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth got together and cooked up a deal that included six players and three WHL draft picks.

The Broncos dealt F Cody Eakin, 19, to the Ice for roster F Christian Magnus, four list players (F Ryan Bloom, F Colby Cave, G Steven Myland and F Jarett Zentner) and three picks — a first and a second in 2011 and a third in 2012.

The Ice went on to win the WHL championship that spring, ousting the Portland Winterhawks from a five-game final series. Eakin, who put up 44 points in 26 regular-season games with the Ice, scored 11 goals and added 16 assists in 19 playoff games. Eakin, F Matt Fraser and F Max Reinhardt each finished with 27 playoff points.

The Ice went 2-3 at the Memorial Cup, losing 3-1 to the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the semifinal. Eakin totalled six points, three of them goals, in the five games.

I’ll let you decide who won the exchange between the Broncos and Ice.


The World Junior Championship ended in Halifax on Thursday. Since then, Seattlethere has been speculation that Finnish F Brad Lambert will be joining the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. That speculation heated up Sunday when his name was dropped from the roster of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Lambert, who had two goals and one assist in 14 AHL games, is listed as inactive on the Moose’s stats page. He had one goal in five games with Finland at the WJC.

Lambert, who turned 19 on Dec. 19, was born in Lahti, Finland. The Winnipeg Jets, the Moose’s parent club, selected him 30th overall in the NHL’s 2022 draft.

Lambert’s father, Ross, spent one season 1982-83) with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, putting up 106 points. Brad’s uncle, Lane, is the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders.


Meanwhile, F Connor Bedard, fresh off lighting up the WJC on behalf of Team ReginaCanada, returned to the Regina Pats’ lineup on Sunday. All he did was score four goals and add two assist as the Pats beat the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 6-2. . . . The announced attendance was 4,761, the Pats’ largest home crowd this season. . . . Bedard’s first career six-point outing included a pair of shorthanded goals. . . . Despite missing 11 games while with Team Canada, Bedard’s 70 points, in 29 games, has him leading the points race by eight points over F Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets. With 31 goals, Bedard is two behind F Kai Uchacz of the Red Deer Rebels, and Bedard’s 39 assists are two more than D Lukas Dragicevic of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was in attendance; his story is right here. . . .

Now take a minute or two, think about the packages that Kamloops and Winnipeg traded away today, then try to figure out what it would cost an organization to get Bedard from the Pats. . . . were he available, that is.


T-Birds trade for Rockets’ captain . . . Leafs’ coach resigns after being hit with suspension . . . How about those North Stars?

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 29.

No. of players traded — 48.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 49.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 11.

Teams involved in trades — 8: Edmonton; 6: Victoria; 5: Winnipeg, Seattle; 4: Kamloops, Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina; 3: Kelowna, Spokane; 2: Everett, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; 1: Brandon, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Tri-City; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland, Vancouver.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.

——

Less than 48 hours after celebrating Team Canada’s gold medal-winning effort at the World Junior Championship in Halifax, F Colton Dach, the captain of the SeattleKelowna Rockets, was traded to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday morning. . . . Dach, who suffered an injury to his right shoulder in a game against Sweden on Dec. 31, won’t play for Seattle for perhaps eight weeks. The good news is that it doesn’t appear that he will need surgery to repair the damage. . . . The Rockets also gave up a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2024 draft, while getting back F Ty Hurley, D Ethan Mittelsteadt, a first-rounder in 2024 — it originated with the Regina Pats — two conditional picks, a second-rounder in 2025 and a fourth-rounder in 2023. The latter originally belonged to the Everett Silvertips. . . .

Dach, who turned 20 on Wednesday, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. The KelownaSaskatoon Blades selected him in the first round, sixth overall, of the WHL’s 2018 draft. He had 22 goals and 27 assists in 82 games over two seasons with the Blades. . . . The Rockets acquired him from the Blades on Sept. 28, 2021, in exchange for F Trevor Wong. Last season, Dach put up 29 goals and 50 assists in 61 games with Kelowna. This season, he had nine goals and eight assists in 14 games. . . . He missed time early in the season because of two concussions, one incurred in training camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago picked him in the second round of the 2021 NHL draft. These days, the Blackhawks’ medical staff will be keeping close tabs on Dach and his shoulder. . . .

Hurley, an 18-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., now has been traded twice this season. The Thunderbirds had acquired him from the Swift Current Broncos, who picked him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. He had one assist in 16 games with the Broncos, and recorded one assist in 15 games with Seattle. . . . Last season, he had a goal and two assists in 31 games with Swift Current. . . .

Mittelsteadt, who turned 17 on Dec. 18, is from Victoria. Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2020 draft. He had two goals in 16 games with the Thunderbirds last season; this season, he had a goal and an assist in 24 games. . . .

Hurley and Mittelsteadt both played for Kelowna on Saturday night as the Rockets dropped a 5-1 decision to the host Kamloops Blazers, who had Team Canada forwards Caedan Bankier and Logan Stankoven back in their lineup. . . .

When Dach finally gets into the Thunderbirds’ lineup, he will join four teammates from Team Canada — D Nolan Allan, D Kevin Korchinski, Thomas Milic and F Reid Schaefer. (By coincidence, the Blackhawks also hold the NHL rights to Allan and Korchinski.) Earlier in the season, the Thunderbirds acquired Allan from the Prince Albert Raiders. They also added Luke Prokop, a high-end defenceman, in a deal with the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . .

Since Oct. 25, the Thunderbirds have made five trades, acquiring five players and four WHL draft picks, while giving up six players, eight draft picks and six conditional picks. . . .

The Thunderbirds (28-5-2) lead the U.S Division, the Western Conference and the overall standings. They presently are on a six-game East Division trip that opened with a 6-0 victory over the Regina Pats on Friday and continued Saturday with a 6-2 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Thunderbirds will face the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday and then be in Winnipeg on Wednesday to meet the Ice (28-5-0) in a game that some observers see as a likely preview of the WHL’s championship final.

——

In another Saturday swap, the Winnipeg Ice acquired F Easton Armstrong, who is to turn 20 on Jan. 24, from the Regina Pats for D Omen Harmacy, 17. . . . Armstrong, 19, has 13 goals and nine assists in 39 games this season, his third with the Pats. From Los Angeles, he was a 10th-round pick by the Pats in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He has 20 goals and 14 assists in 121 regular-season WHL games. . . . Harmacy, from Winnipeg, was an eighth-round pick by the Ice in the 2020 draft. A sophomore, he has three assists in 30 games after recording six assists in 32 games last season.


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced on Friday that Adam DiBella, the head coach of the Nelson Leafs, has been kijhlsuspended for the remainder of the 2022-23 regular season and the playoffs. . . . The suspension amounts to the regular-season’s final 15 games and whatever playoff games the Leafs end up playing. . . . The move followed a New Year’s Eve line brawl between the host Leafs and Beaver Valley Nitehawks. . . . Earlier in the week, the KIJHL issued 35 games in suspension to Nelson players and eight to the Nitehawks. . . . Later Friday, the Leafs, who won’t appeal any of the disciplinary decisions, announced that they had accepted DiBella’s resignation. . . . “Our investigation determined that the incident in Saturday’s game was instigated by the Leafs at Mr. DiBella’s direction,” Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL commissioner, said in a news release. “The KIJHL has zero tolerance for these types of actions by any team staff member, and the severity of Mr. DiBella’s suspension reflects the seriousness that we place on leadership and player safety.” . . . Should DiBella want to coach in the KIJHL in the future, he will have to apply to the Nelsoncommissioner for reinstatement. . . . The KIJHL also ruled that DiBella won’t be allowed in “any KIJHL facility for a period beginning one hour before and ending one hour after any Nelson Leafs game. He may not travel on the team bus and he may not be present on the ice, players’ bench, dressing room or office immediately before, during or after team practices. He is not to conduct any official business as a representative of the Nelson Leafs, such as player meetings, trade negotiations and athlete recruitment.” . . . As well, the Leafs were fined $5,000 “and instructed to take proactive steps to ensure all team staff are sufficiently trained and educated in the standards of conduct required under KIJHL regulations. A written report outlining steps taken by the organization in these areas must be submitted to the Commissioner no later than June 1, 2023.” . . .

In announcing DiBella’s resignation, the Leafs also issued an apology to the “Beaver Valley Nitehawks, all Nelson Leafs fans, hockey fans in general and all member clubs of the KIJHL. . . . As a proud member of the KIJHL, the Nelson Leafs failed to abide by league principles to encourage participation in hockey in a manner so as to foster clean play and good sportsmanship. As an organization the Nelson Leafs intend to ensure that our club is seen as a healthy, competitive and respectable recreational activity for our players and fans and as a club that promotes hockey, education and life skills.” . . .

The Leafs (17-9-5) opened a three-game road swing Friday night in Chase with a 4-3 victory over the Heat, then were beaten, 3-2, by the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Saturday night. The Leafs will finish the trip against the Kamloops Storm on Sunday. General manager Lance Morey and assistant coach Tyson Soobotin are running things while the board of directors makes “a decision concerning the head-coaching position in the days to come.”

The KIJHL’s news release is right here.

The Leafs’ news release is right here.


Swing


Here is Ken Campbell at Hockey Unfiltered on Friday:

“The Regina Pats have been very clear to this point that they have no intention of trading World Junior hero and future NHL superstar Connor Bedard, despite the fact that they currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference of the Western Hockey League and are likely first-round fodder. In fact, they’re not even a lock at this point to make the playoffs.

“This comes despite the fact that the Seattle Thunderbirds . . . are apparently prepared to offer an enormous package of players and picks to the Pats in exchange for Bedard. ‘I don’t know how you don’t do it,’ one scout said. ‘Regina could get 10 assets for this guy. And if Seattle were to get Bedard, you might as well just give them the Memorial Cup right now.’ ”

——

Meanwhile, there have been reports that the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets will assign F Brad Lambert, who turned 19 on Dec. 19, to Seattle. Lambert is fresh off playing for Finland at the World Junior Championship; he had one goal in five games. . . . The 30th overall selection in the NHL’s 2022 draft, Lambert has two goals and one assist in 14 games with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. The Thunderbirds acquired his WHL rights from the Saskatoon Blades on June 30, giving up two conditional draft picks — fourth- and sixth-rounders in 2023 — in the exchange.


F Ben King, who led the WHL with 52 goals during the 2021-22 regular season, RedDeerhasn’t played for the Red Deer Rebels since Oct. 22 due to an undisclosed injury. Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner and general manager, told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com this week that King might return in two weeks. “We’re getting a hell of a player back in a couple of weeks who’s been out of our lineup for a long time,” Sutter said. “We’re looking forward to that.” . . . Sutter admitted that knowing King is close to returning will impact his thinking at Tuesday’s trade deadline. “If something comes up we’ll look at it, but we like our team the way it is,” Sutter said. . . . King, who started this season in camp with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, had five goals and five assists in five games when he was injured.


Bags


THINKING OUT LOUD: It always amazes me that major junior teams are in such a rush to get their World Junior Championship players back into the lineup. Why not send them home for a few days, if possible, allowing them to get some rest — mentally and physically — and getting them as far away from the coaches as possible? . . . Just because I know you’re wondering, it looks like pitchers and catchers will report on Feb. 14 and spring training games are to start on Feb. 24. . . . The U of Calgary Dinos men’s hockey team ran its winning streak to 15 on Saturday with a 4-1 victory over the host MacEwan Griffins. The Dinos, who put it away with two empty-net goals, now are 17-3-0. . . . Nothing ruins a day like having the power go out just as the lasagna is going in the oven. So guess what’s on the menu for Sunday evening? . . . QB Nathan Rourke of the CFL’s B.C. Lions is able to sign an NFL deal starting Monday, but he still has more team visits on his schedule. Unfortunately for CFL fans, I have to think NFL money will be awfully hard for him to leave on the table.


Becky Sullivan of npr.org reports that the faculty of Lake Superior State University has issued its “annual list of words that is says deserve to be ‘banished’ from our vocabularies over ‘misuse, overuse, and uselessness.’ ” . . . And it’s hard to argue with any of them, from GOAT to ‘it is what it is.’ ” . . . Irregardless of all that, and moving forward, Sullivan’s story is absolutely right here.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Single-use plastic bags to be replaced by reusable bags you will use a single time.

——

Headline at The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) — Pigeon with meth backpack caught in B.C. prison yard, says officers’ union president.


Mummy


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars won their 31st game of the season on Saturday, beating the host Kindersley Klippers, 5-1. Why is that worth noting? Because the North Stars have yet to lose in regulation time this season. They now are 31-0-3. . . . Battlefords had beaten visiting Kindersley, 5-1, on Friday. . . . The North Stars next are scheduled to play on Thursday against the Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. . . .

The Chilliwack Chiefs announced that they set a BCHL attendance record on Saturday night when their announced attendance was 5,008 for a 4-3 victory over the Cranbrook Bucks. . . . The Chilliwack Coliseum, which once was home to a WHL franchise, lists its capacity as 5,000 for hockey. . . . Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything about the previous BCHL single-game attendance record. . . .

ColoradoGritThe NAHL has approved a franchise for Greeley, Colo. The Colorado Grit will begin play in the Greeley Ice Haus in time for the 2023-24 season. The Grit will play out of the South Division. One of the team’s three owners is former NHLer David Clarkson. . . . There’s more right here.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Muppet

WHL and Ice: Is there fire where there’s smoke? . . . KIJHL suspends coach indefinitely after line brawl . . . Blazers get goaltender from Pats

It was on Jan. 29, 2019, when some members of the Winnipeg media gathered in Oak Bluff, Man., for a news conference involving the WHL and the Winnipeg Ice. WHLThis followed the decision by the WHL’s board of governors to approve the sale of the Kootenay Ice and the subsequent move to the Manitoba capital.

Officials at the news conference included Ron Robison, the WHL’s commissioner, and Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell.

“A new 4,500-seat rink will be built, likely near Oak Bluff,” reported Sean Kavanagh of CBC News. “The team will for its first two years, play out of the University of Manitoba’s 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena as the new arena is built outside Winnipeg.”

And now, here we are, almost four years later and halfway through the 2022-23 WinnipegIceWHL season, with the Ice still playing out of the Wayne Fleming Arena.

On Dec. 14, the Winnipeg Free Press, in a story by Mike Sawatzky, reported that the WHL had fined the Ice $500,000 because it won’t have a new arena ready for the 2023-24 season.

On Dec. 17, the WHL and the Ice issued statements contradicting that story. Those statements are right here on the Ice’s website.

The WHL’s statement reads, in part: “Reports of the Western Hockey League issuing a fine against the Winnipeg ICE and its ownership group are false and inaccurate. The Winnipeg ICE (has) assembled a highly-competitive team this season and the WHL continues to work with the ICE regarding a solution to the Club’s long-term plans for a suitable facility in Winnipeg. Further information will be available in the new year.”

The Ice statement reads, in part: “The Winnipeg ICE were not and have never been fined by the Western Hockey League.”

It’s interesting that it took the WHL and the Ice three days to respond to a story of this magnitude. I mean, a $500,000 fine is nothing at which to sneeze.

It’s also interesting that the news release is on the Ice website but doesn’t appear anywhere on the WHL’s site.

And it’s interesting that the Free Press, in reporting that the WHL and Ice were denying that a fine had been issued, didn’t indicate that it was (or wasn’t) standing by its story.

(UPDATE: On Dec. 19, the Free Press printed a correction on Page A2: “The Western Hockey League did not fine the Winnipeg Ice for delays related to the construction of a new arena, as the Free Press reported last week. . . . The Free Press regrets the error.”)

Anyway . . . I don’t know what happened in that instance, but it seems that there is something going on involving the WHL and the Ice, and I’m guessing it has something to with the lack of a new home for the Ice in the Winnipeg area.

WHL insiders have clammed right up on this one. In fact, about all I have been able to determine is that midnight on Dec. 31 had some kind of relevance — a deadline of some kind? — in whatever is happening.

As someone said, “I’m sure the coming days will be interesting.”


Adulthood


Old friend Dwight Perry has retired from the Seattle Times, meaning his column, Sideline Chatter, no longer appears in the newspaper’s pages. In honour of his departure, here are a couple of items from his final column . . .

——

Canada won its first Davis Cup title in the event’s 109-year history, beating Australia 2-0 in Malaga, Spain.

The euphoria quickly died, however, when the U.S. refused to trade the Stanley Cup for it.

——

Seattle has been declared the No. 1 city for singles, according to a study released by the personal-finance website WalletHub.com.

Heck, Ichiro could have told you that two decades ago.

——

And here is how Perry signed off . . .

With the world safely back on its axis — the Mariners finally back in the playoffs and the Huskies reclaiming the Apple Cup — I guess I can safely retire now.

Thanks for going along on this 23-year Sideline Chatter ride in The Seattle Times. Adios.



Columnist Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette, after the host Washington Capitals dumped the Montreal Canadiens, 9-2, on New Year’s Eve:

“The hat trick Alexander Ovechkin scored on the hapless Canadiens propelled him closer to Wayne Gretzky’s career goal-scoring record, even as Ovechkin’s pal Vladimir Putin rains missiles on civilians and infrastructure in Ukraine and blocks humanitarian grain shipments from leaving Russian ports.

“Why is Ovechkin still playing in the NHL? Why has he not been suspended and deported in view of his vocal, active support for a murderous dictator? That question promises to be a continuing theme in 2023.”


History


Adam DiBella, the head coach of the junior B Nelson Leafs, has been suspended kijhlindefinitely by the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League  “pending completion of an investigation . . . into his actions” in a New Year’s Eve game that featured a line brawl. The Leafs and the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks became involved in a brawl as the second period started. . . . On Tuesday, the league hit Nelson players with 35 games in suspensions, including eight-games each to four different players, while Beaver Valley players got eight games. . . . The KIJHL’s news release is right here.

Jim Bailey, the Black Press sports editor, described the incident like this: “After a physical but scoreless first period, as the puck dropped to open the second, each of the Nelson players attacked their Beaver Valley counterpart in an effort to start a brawl. Even the two Nelson defencemen skated to the opposite blueline to engage the Nitehawks’ defencemen.

“The intent from the Leafs’ bench was obvious, as Nelson coach Adam DiBella sent out his fourth line, prolific in penalty minutes but slight in points, to take some of the Nitehawks top skaters out of the game.”

BTW, the Leafs won the game, 3-1.

And if you’re interested in some social media reaction to all of this, check out KIJHLSniper (@KijhlS) on Twitter.


Road


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Andy Kemper, the Portland Winterhawks’ historian, points out that G Dante Giannuzzi picked up his 10th career assist the other night, and that set a franchise record. That record had been shared by Byron Dafoe (109 games, 1986-91) and Clint Malarchuk (77games, 1978-81). Giannuzzi, a 20-year-old from Winnipeg, has played in 89 games over five seasons. . . . Unfortunately, I don’t believe the WHL record book includes an entry for most career assists by a goaltender. . . . However, quanthockey.com has Randy Petruk and Dean Cook sharing the career record, each with 20. Petruk played 196 games over four seasons (1994-98) with the Kamloops Blazers. Cook got into three games with the Victoria Cougars (1985-86) and 147 with the Blazers (1986-89). . . . 

Hey, wouldn’t it be great if the WHL and its other 21 teams followed the Winterhawks’ example by adding historians to their organizations? . . .

The Winterhawks are scheduled to open an East Division swing against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night. And the six East Division teams better be ready because the Winterhawks Booster Club also is on the road. . . . Planning for the trek began four years ago. Stuart Kemp, the booster club’s president, reports that the travelling party of 30 will fly into Regina on Thursday, get settled there, and ride the bus to Brandon for Friday’s game. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings revealed on Tuesday that D Graydon Gotaas “has taken a leave of absence . . . due to personal reasons.” Gotaas, an 18-year-old from Camrose, Alta., had two assists in 15 games this season. He was acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 17, 2021, along with a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft, for D Ross Stanley. In 43 career games, 23 with Edmonton, Gotaas has two goals and five assists. . . . The Oil Kings also announced that D Rhys Pederson, 16, will finish the season on their roster. A fifth-round pick in the 2021 WHL draft, he had been a regular with the NAX U18 prep team. He has been in seven games with the Oil Kings, but has yet to register a point. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have signed Czech D Marek Rocak, 17, and he may be in their lineup as soon as Friday against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. Those same teams play again Saturday in Kamloops. . . . Rocak, a selection in the CHL’s 2022 import draft, has been playing with HC Frýdek-Místek in the Czechia2 league. He played for Czechia in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer in August, recording one assist in five games. . . . Kelowna’s other import player is F Gabriel Szturc, 19, who has been playing for Czechia at the World Junior Championship. . . .

Bruce Hamilton, the owner, president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, has said that F Colton Dach, the team’s captain, “is likely out eight weeks for sure” with a shoulder injury suffered at the World Junior Championship. Hamilton told Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice, that Dach “will likely move right into the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks’ medical team and they will make a decision (on) how long he is going to be out.” . . . Dach remains with Team Canada in Halifax, where he was spotted at Tuesday’s practice with his right arm in a sling. . . . Bartel’s chat with Hamilton is right here. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers have acquired G Matthew Kieper, 18, from the Regina Pats for a pair of WHL draft picks — a fourth-rounder in 2023 that originated with the Edmonton Oil Kings and a sixth-rounder in 2025. . . . Kieper, from Winnipeg, will partner with starter Ethan Ernst as the Blazers prepare to play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. Ernst has been more than a pleasant surprise for Kamloops, having gone 20-5-2, 2.36, .919 in 28 games. . . . In 55 career games with the Pats, Kieper is 23-22-3, 3.88, .873. This season, in 12 games, he is 4-5-1, 4.39, .865. . . . Freshman Czechia G Michael Schnattinger, 18, would appear to be the odd man out in Kamloops. He is 1-2-3, 3.74, .880 in nine appearances. . . . The Blazers also have two other imports on their roster — Finnish D Aapo Sarell, 19, and Slovakian F Jakub Demek, 19. Demek was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Nov. 14, but has yet to play this season after having had offseason shoulder surgery. He is expected to return later this month. . . .

The junior B Castlegar Rebels have removed the interim from head coach Nick Headrick. The team’s board of directors has decided that Headrick will finish this season as head coach. He was an assistant under Arnie Caplan, who was fired in mid-November. . . . When that move was made, the Rebels were 5-12-1. They are 2-9-2 under Headrick. . . . Caplan also was the general manager. The Rebels now have hired Jesse Dorrans to fill that role. Dorrans is a former Castlegar GM and head coach. In fact, this will be his third go-round with the Rebels.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Truck

Taking Note’s pick as sportsmen of the year . . . Come on, folks, mask up . . . Rockets, Giants stung by WJC injuries

As another old year gives way to a new one, numerous organizations hand out end-of-year awards. That doesn’t happen at Taking Note, but if it did I would Brandonbe quick to salute Calder Anderson, Jake Chiasson, Nolan Ritchie and Ben Thornton of the Brandon Wheat Kings as this site’s sportsmen of the year. . . . In case you missed it, in the words of the Brandon Sun’s Perry Bergson, they “successfully interceded to help a distressed man who was contemplating suicide on the First Street Bridge” on the evening of Nov. 29. . . . “We’re very happy that we were able to save him and get him some help,” Thornton told Bergson, who added: “They also learned another lesson when 30 or 40 vehicles drove by without stopping in the short span they were trying to help the man. Yet they never considered leaving until the man was safe.” . . . Gentlemen, I salute you. . . . Bergson’s complete story is right here.


Let’s be honest. We are part of a society that is putting together an absolutely Covidabysmal record unless being selfish and uncaring is the objective. Really, had you told me four years ago that the time was coming when our children would by dying, when our children would be unable to get much-needed surgical procedures, when our hospital’s emergency rooms would be over-run and that society would refuse to help by doing something as simple as masking up, well, I would have told you that you were crazy. . . . But, well, here we are.

——

After avoiding COVID-19 for almost three years, it caught up with me almost five weeks ago. Ironically, I tested positive on a day when I was to have visited a pharmacy for my fifth shot. Thankfully, the boosters did what they were supposed to, leaving me with a bit of a cough and some fatigue. The strangest thing is that there have been good days followed by bad. Just when you think you’re over the rough road, it reappears. Kind of like city streets, if you know what I mean. . . . As for that fifth shot, well, it’ll have to wait until May. . . . In the meantime, I will be here as fatigue’s curtain allows.

——

André Picard wrote this in The Globe and Mail last week:

“In some ways, these more recent viral challenges have distracted us from the main event: COVID-19. While we largely returned to ‘pre-pandemic’ normalcy this year, this has actually been the deadliest year yet for COVID-19; in 2022, Canada will surpass 17,000 deaths, more than the 14,642 deaths we recorded in 2020 or the 16,489 in 2021. A fifth wave of Omicron is just beginning.

“We still don’t know if SARS-CoV-2 will mutate further. We do not know if it will become seasonal, like most respiratory viruses. And we definitely do not yet have a handle on what it will mean if we suffer repeated COVID-19 infections — but it certainly won’t be good news.

“Viruses are ubiquitous, and will continue to pose new threats. We can’t live a virus-free existence, nor can we place our children and seniors in a protective bubble.

“But we also cannot hang them out to dry on a viral firing range, without any protection. We need to use the mitigation tools (vaccinations and masks) we have while we develop new ones. That’s what ‘living with COVID’ really needs to mean, moving ahead into a new year.”

——

The Angus Reid Institute released results of an online survey early in December that showed of 5,013 participants 54 per cent would be prepared to mask up if it was made mandatory if COVID-19 levels increase. But only 31 per cent are wearing masks more than half the time when they are in indoor public places. Sheesh, people, that just doesn’t make any sense.

Get vaccinated and wear a mask when appropriate, like when shopping or anywhere in a crowded area. . . . Just because the politicians and health officers won’t do their part by mandating masks doesn’t mean you can’t do the right thing and be part of the solution.



Look, F Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is not the greatest goal scorer nhl2in NHL history. So stop trying to tell me that he is. He’s still 88 behind Wayne Gretzky. Have people already forgotten just how great Gretzky was? . . . Allow me to point out that Gretzky also scored 92 goals in the WHA, which was a better league than many of those same people seem to recall. As for Gordie Howe, well he scored 801 NHL goals and another 174 in the WHA. . . . But when Ovechkin puts in No. 895, then you can call him the greatest goal scorer in NHL history. OK?

——

While some hockey fans celebrate Ovechkin’s scoring accomplishments, there are those who don’t and never will go that way. Why? Because of Ovechkin’s long-time support of Russian ruler Vladimir Putin, who, of course, is responsible for the ongoing war on Ukraine. Luke Fox of Sportsnet took a look at the Ovechkin-Putin situation the other day and it really is an interesting read. That piece is right here.

——

BTW, did Gretzky really have to throw mud on his legacy by jumping on the gambling gravy train?


It is every general manager’s worst nightmare . . . a top player leaves for an international assignment and then suffers a serious injury. . . . That is what has happened with the Kelowna Rockets and Vancouver Giants, each team having had a player seriously injured at the 2023 World Junior Championship. Those injuries may well have an impact on the WHL’s Western Conference playoff race from which eight teams will qualify. . . .

F Colton Dach, the Rockets’ captain, initiated a hit during a Saturday game — KelownaCanada beat Sweden, 5-1 — and left the game in obvious discomfort thanks to an injury to his right shoulder area. Dach, who turns 20 on Wednesday, has 17 points, nine of them goals, in 14 games with the Rockets this season. Earlier, he missed some time with a concussion. . . . The Rockets (12-18-3), who have lost five in a row, are eighth in the conference, seven points ahead of the Victoria Royals (8-24-4). . . .

Meanwhile, freshman F Samuel Honzek, the Vancouver Giants’ leading scorer, Vancouversuffered a skate cut to the back of his left leg on Wednesday as his Slovakian side beat the U.S., 6-3. The 18-year-old Honzek, who is expected to be out as long as six weeks, leads the Giants in assists (26) and points (43) in 31 games. . . . Vancouver (14-16-6) is tied for fourth in the conference with the Tri-City Americans, who hold two games in hand. They are one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips. . . .

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Jan. 10.


The Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals swapped 19-year-old goaltenders on Dec. 28. Tyler Palmer, who had left the Royals for what the team said was WHLpersonal reasons, was dealt to Everett in exchange for Braden Holt. . . . Palmer, from Fernie, B.C., was in his second season with Victoria. He left the Royals sometime after a 7-4 loss to the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Nov. 12. . . . Holt, from Bozeman, Mont., was in his fourth season with Everett. In his first start with Victoria, he stopped 35 shots in a 3-0 victory over the host Vancouver Giants. . . . Having acquired Holt, the Royals then traded G Logan Cunningham, a 17-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., to the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fifth-round pick in the 2025 WHL draft. . . . After adding Cunningham to their roster, the Oil Kings dropped G Ronin Geraghty, 18. From Burnaby, B.C., he was 0-5-0, 6.48, .819 in seven games with Edmonton. . . .

Still with goaltending, the Swift Current Broncos lost starter Gage Alexander on Dec. 30 when the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks signed him to an entry-level deal and assigned him to the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. Alexander, 20, had played in 15 games for the Broncos this season, two more than Reid Dyck. Alexander was 8-5-1, 3.47, .898. . . . The Ducks had selected Alexander in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Broncos had acquired him from the Winnipeg Ice on July 28, giving up a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft in the exchange. . . . The move left the Broncos with Dyck, an 18-year-old from Winkler, Man., and Joey Rocha, 17, from Nanaimo, B.C., as their goaltenders. . . . Dyck, in his third season, was 4-10-0, 4.07, .880 at the time of the deal; Rocha, a freshman, had been in four games. . . .

And while we’re on the subject of goaltending, how about the run Scott Ratzlaff is on with the Seattle Thunderbirds while starter Thomas Milic is with Team Canada at the WJC? Thom Beuning, the veteran radio voice of the Thunderbirds, points out that Ratzlaff’s December looked like this: 8-0-1, 1.65, .941, with two shutouts. . . . Ratzlaff, 17, is from Irma, Alta. He was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 draft. This season, the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder is 14-2-1, 2.04, .925. In 42 career appearances, he is 32-4-2, 2.31, .912. . . .

And let’s not forget about Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice. An 18-year-old from Chestermere, Alta., Hauser recorded his 20th victory of the season the other night. This season, in 22 games, he is 20-2-0, 2.36, .912. He has made 70 regular-season appearances over three seasons, going 61-5-2, 2.24, .911. Not at all shabby, eh?


The junior B Nelson Leafs and the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the kijhlKootenay International Junior Hockey League took time out from chasing a puck to exchange Happy New Year greetings as they began the second period on Saturday evening. . . . The Leafs are the team in white in the above video, and the video evidence would seem to indicate that they were first off the mark. . . . The puck now has been passed to Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL commissioner. . . . Happy New Year, Mr. Dubois.


MyWay


THINKING OUT LOUD — The best part of the World Junior Championship? That’s easy. Having the opportunity to listen to Dennis Beyak do play-by-play again. It says here that he is the best in his field even if he is semi-retired. . . . The other day, the choice was Beyak calling Slovakia and Switzerland from the WJC on TSN or Jack Edwards handling the Buffalo Sabres against his beloved Boston Bruins on Sportsnet. Sorry, Sportsnet. . . . The most annoying commercial on TV these days (pick one) — Clay Matthews for Tide, Rogers’ Wrapped in Red spots, the Subway ads featuring the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes, or the Sobeys’ family of four. . . . If you enjoy your time on this site, and even if you don’t, you may want to consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right side. Thanks in advance. . . . Dan Russell, the now-retired host of the long-running Vancouver-based radio show Sportstalk, release his memoir — Pleasant Good Evening: A Memoir — My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportsnet — in 2022 and now is thinking of spinning off a podcast. “My plans,” he writes on his blog, “now are to add more content to this site, especially in the audio vault. And I will update this blog from time to time. I’m also considering a podcast as my 2023 project. One that will combine what is happening today with the large archive of Sportstalk audio I have saved over the years.” If you haven’t seen his blog, it’s right here.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after the final game in soccer’s World Cup: “If you watched this game and came away from it with the idea that it was not a good expenditure of your time, then you simply do not like soccer and should make a note to yourself not to waste any more time trying to appreciate the sport.” . . . Hey, he is correct!


How many WHLers do you know of, past or present, who have put together and released an album? Yes, an album of their own music. . . . F London Hoilett of the Calgary Hitmen is quite a story, having made the team prior to this season despite never having been drafted. He also is something of a musician and has his first album — Can’t Sit Still — ready for release on Jan. 10. . . . Cami Kepke of Global Calgary has more right here.


Mitts


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

A few things of note that popped up while I was away from here . . .

D Ethan Samson, the captain of the Prince George Cougars, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, who selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. Samson, 19, is from Delta, B.C. He had two goals and an assist as the Cougars beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 10-6, on Saturday night. This season, Samson has 11 goals and 16 assists in 28 games. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have added former player Curtis Hamilton, 31, to their front office as assistant general manager. Yes, his father, Bruce, is the Rockets’ owner, president and general manager. There is a news release right here. . . .

Gilles Courteau, who took over as the QMJHL’s president during the 1985-86 season, will retire at the end of this season. A replacement is expected to be named in May, with Courteau staying on into 2024 to help with the transition. . . . The league has changed the name of its championship trophy from the President’s Cup to the Gilles Courteau Trophy. . . . Courteau first worked in the QMJHL office in 1977 as a statistician. . . .

The junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced that they will ice a team for the 2023-24 season. The Braves have sat out the past two KIJHL seasons for reasons related to the pandemic. . . .

Another high-end WHL forward changed teams on Dec. 31 when the Winnipeg Ice acquired Carson Latimer, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for F Aiden Quiring, 17, and third-round selections in the 2024 and 2025 WHL drafts. . . . Latimer, a fourth-round selection by the Ottawa Senators in the NHL’s 2021 draft, had 22 goals and 38 assists in 75 regular-season games with the Raiders. This season, he had 10 goals and 18 assists in 31 games when he was dealt. . . . Quiring, a freshman who was a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL draft, had five goals and three assists in 26 games at the time of the trade. . . .

The Tri-City Americans revealed on Dec. 30 that D Ben Feenan “has left the team for personal reasons and will join the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.” . . . Feenan, 18, is from Surrey, B.C. He had three assists in 22 games this season, after recording six helpers in 48 games in 2021-22. . . . The Americans selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. . . .

The Americans got past the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 7-6 in OT, on New Year’s Eve. And wouldn’t you know it . . . Americans D Lukas Dragicevic didn’t pick up so much as one point, thus ending his 27-game point streak. He put up seven goals and 30 assists during that stretch.


Grinch


Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press recently wrote a piece in a newsletter about things he would change if he ruled the hockey world for a day. Here’s one item with which I completely agree:

“Severely limit betting/gambling advertisements. Heck, I might just consider an outright ban. I could tolerate them when they first began, in small doses. But it’s to the point now of being completely obnoxious. Seemingly every second commercial is for some website, and now even hosts such as Ron MacLean are routinely shilling for these services. To be clear, I’ve got absolutely nothing against gambling. If you have the means and can do it responsibly, knock your socks off. It’s the idea of having it shoved down my throat everywhere I turn that I find so offensive.”


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Dinner

Sim overshadows Bedard in Pats’ victory . . . Warriors hang on to win in Kamloops . . . Thunderbirds slow down Portland express

A reminder that former WHLer Andrei Lupandin and his family have left their native Ukraine and are in Saskatoon hoping to start a new life after losing their home in the ongoing Russian onslaught.

Lupandin, 44, and his wife and two sons arrived in Saskatoon “with little more than a hockey bag and one suitcase for the family of four,” according to a GoFundMe page that is up and running.

“They have no work and need to start over. We are raising funds to help them with buying essentials, saving money to live and for future accommodations and household items.”

That GoFundMe page is right here.



FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour got started in Langley, B.C., as his Regina Pats beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-0, before an Reginaannounced crowd of 5,276. . . . That is the largest crowd for a Giants’ home game in the Langley Events Centre since they moved there to start the 2016-17 season. . . . The Pats (10-11-2) had lost their previous three games. . . . The Giants now are 8-10-4. . . . G Drew Sim was huge for the Pats, kicking out 47 shots to record his second shutout this season and the third of his career. Sim, 19, was a third-round pick by the Giants in the WHL’s 2018 draft. His first 11 WHL appearances were with the Giants. . . . Vancouver dealt him to Regina on Oct. 21, 13, 2021, for a conditional fourth-rounder in 2024. . . . Bedard, who takes his tour on to Victoria to meet the Royals tonight, was playing in his 100th regular-season game. He had one assist as his point streak reached 22 games. He was blanked in the season’s first game and hasn’t been shut out since then. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (19), assists (30) and points (49). . . . Bedard is from North Vancouver, and this was his first WHL game on the Lower Mainland of B.C. . . . F Borya Valis (10), who had missed the last two games, got Regina’s first goal, on a PP, at 12:47 of the first period. . . . F Riley Ginnell, 20, made his Regina debut after being acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors earlier in the week. . . .

The visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes scored three PP goals en route to a 4-3 Lethbridgevictory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Lethbridge improved to 13-10-1. It is 1-2 on a six-game road trip. . . . The Wheat Kings are 8-14-2. . . . These teams will play in Brandon again tonight. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but the Hurricanes scored the next three goals. . . . F Tyson Laventure (5) had two goals and an assist for the winners, with D Logan McCutcheon (1) chipping in a goal and two assists. . . . Lethbridge was 3-4 on the PP; Brandon was 2-5. . . . The Hurricanes got 37 stops from G Harrison Meneghin. . . .

In Calgary, F Sloan Stanick and F Keaton Sorensen each had four points to help PrinceAlbertthe Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Raiders (9-12-2) have won four in a row. . . . The Hitmen (11-6-3) had points in each of their previous two games (1-0-1). . . . After F Zac Funk (6) gave Calgary a 2-1 lead 48 seconds into the second period, the Raiders scored the game’s last four goals. . . . Sorensen (11) had two goals and two assists, with Stanick drawing four assists. . . . Raiders F Evan Herman, the team’s captain, scored his fifth goal this season — it was the 50th of his career — and added two assists. . . . The Raiders got 32 stops from G Tikhon Chaika. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets struck three times in the second period and went on to Kelownabeat the Silvertips, 4-2, in Everett. . . . Kelowna improved to 9-9-1; the Silvertips, who had been 0-3-1 in their previous four games, now are 12-9-1. . . . F Colton Dach (6), Kelowna’s captain, broke a 2-2 tie at 17:24 of the second period. He also had an assist. . . . F Max Graham (2) iced it with an empty-netter. . . . Kelowna D Jackson DeSouza had two assists and now is on a four-game point streak, with seven points over that stretch. He went into this season with one goal and 10 assists in 70 games. This season, he has three goals and five assists in 17 games, with all eight points having come over the past five games. . . . Everett F Jackson Berezowski, who hadn’t played since Nov. 4 as he missed six games, scored his 13th goal. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s first three goals, two via the PP, and WarriorsNewhung on to beat the Blazers, 3-2, in Kamloops. . . . The Warriors (14-9-0) are 1-1-0 on this seven-game road swing. . . . The Blazers (10-5-4) had points in each of their previous five games (3-0-2). . . . F Brayden Yager (11) had a goal and an assist for the Warriors, the goal giving them a 3-0 lead at 13:52 of the second period. . . . F Jagger Firkus of the Warriors ran his point streak to 16 games with an assist. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven (14) scored 45 seconds into the third period and later added an assist to extend his point streak to 15 games; he has hit the scoresheet in each game in which he has played this season. . . . The Warriors got a big game from G Connor Ungar, who made 36 stops. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers scored three times in the shootout to beat the Rebels, MedicineHat3-2, in Red Deer. . . . The Tigers (8-10-5) have won two straight. . . . The Rebels (16-4-3) have lost three in a row (16-4-3). . . . F Kai Uchacz (17) scored while shorthanded to give Red Deer a 2-1 lead at 2:26 of the second period. . . . F Brendan Lee got the Tigers even with his 14th goal at 15:39 of the third. . . . Lee, who also had an assist, has goals in six straight games, putting in eight over that stretch. He also scored Medicine Hat’s first goal in the shootout. . . . The Tigers had a 42-31 edge in shots. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Winnipeg Ice broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals en route Saskatoonto a 5-3 victory over the Blades. . . . The Ice (22-2-0) has won two in a row. . . . The Blades (15-5-0) had a four-game winning streak snapped. . . . The will have a rematch tonight, also in Saskatoon. . . . F Ty Nash (11) gave the Ice a 4-1 lead at 4:16 of the third period. He has goals in five straight games. . . . The Blades got PP goals from F Josh Pillar (4) and F Justin Lies (4) to get within a goal, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . The Ice got a goal and two assists from D Ben Zloty (6), while F Connor McClennon had three assists. . . . Zloty, 20, has 28 points in 24 games this season. . . . G Daniel Hauser made 30 saves to earn the victory. This season, he is 16-0-0, 2.43, .914. In his career, he is a remarkable 57-3-2. . . . F Zach Benson was one of the Ice’s scratches. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds have points in six straight games after beating the SeattlePortland Winterhawks, 6-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (15-3-1) are 5-0-1 in their past six games. . . . The Winterhawks (17-3-1) had points in each of their previous 12 games (10-0-2) and had won nine in a row. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (10) led Seattle with a shorthanded goal and two assists. . . . The only goal of the first period came from Seattle D Nolan Allan. He has five on the season, but this was his first with Seattle since being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 16. . . . Seattle outshot Portland, 35-21, including 24-7 through two periods. . . . The Winterhawks had F Jack O’Brien and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme back after one-game absences. Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) tweeted that “both are wearing full shields/fish bowls due to coming off illness.” . . . The Thunderbirds remain without injured D Luke Prokop. . . .

F Josh Davies scored the game’s first three goals to lead the host Swift Current SwiftCurrentBroncos to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Broncos (10-11-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Oil Kings (4-19-1) have lost two in a row. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, also in Swift Current. . . . Davies, who has eight goals, scored twice while shorthanded — at 14:02 of the first period and 9:39 of the second — to complete his first WHL hat trick in his 106th game.


Looters


THE TRADING PLACE:

The Regina Pats skated at the Langley Events Centre on Thursday in advance of their Friday night game against the Vancouver Giants. Afterwards, John Paddock, the Pats’ senior vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, met with the media. Of course, he was asked about the possibility of trading highly touted F Connor Bedard. Paddock’s response: “That’s a stupid question. That’s my response. There’s only one place where that’s come out of all year and that’s in B.C.” . . . You will note that he didn’t say “NO!” Could it be that the Pats are keeping open all of their options? . . . Hey, John, any chance of your trading Tanner Howe? . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings have acquired F Anthony Wilson, 17, and D Luke Shipley, 18, from the Victoria Royals for F Teydon Trembecky, 17, and three WHL draft picks — a third-rounder in 2023 that originally belonged to the Red Deer Rebels, a fifth in 2024 and a fourth in 2026. . . . Wilson, a third-rounder selection in the 2020 WHL draft, had nine goals and nine assists in 81 games with the Royals. He is from Swift Current. . . . Shipley was a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft. From Powell River, B.C., he had four goals and 18 assists in 105 games with Victoria. . . . Trembecky, a third-round pick by Brandon in the 2020 draft, is from Strathcona, Alta. He had two assists in 24 games with the Wheat Kings. . . . 

Since Oct. 25, WHL teams have combined on 13 trades involving 22 players, 30 draft picks and four conditional picks. . . . Only the Calgary Hitmen, Everett Silvertips, Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Portland Winterhawks and  Vancouver Giants haven’t made at least one deal in the past month.


Spotted


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Regina Pats got down to three 20-year-olds by releasing F Jakob Brook. He is expected to join the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. . . . The Pats had indicated in Tuesday’s WHL roster report that they had dropped Brook. But there wasn’t an announcement until Thursday. . . . A second-round pick by the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL’s 2017 draft, Brook had three assists in seven games this season. In 164 career regular-season games, split between the Pats and Raiders, he put up 14 goals and 23 assists. . . . Brook’s brother, Aidan, 19, also is on Dauphin’s roster. Aidan has WHL experience with the Medicine Hat Tigers (24 games) and Prince George Cougars (11). . . .

F Max Streule, a sophomore from Zurich, Switzerland, has cleared WHL waivers and has left the Winnipeg Ice for the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Streule, 19, had two goals and nine assists in 52 games last season; this season, he was pointless in six games. . . . Streule’s departure leaves F Vladislav Shilo, who is from Minsk, Belarus, as the Ice’s lone import. . . .

G Ève Gascon, who made history last season as the third female to play in a QMJHL regular-season game, with the Gatineau Olympiques, has committed to play NCAA hockey for the U of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their season-opening winning streak to 22 games on Friday, as they dumped the host Alberni Valley Bulldogs, 7-1. . . . The Vees are to travel to Powell River to meet the Kings tonight. . . .

Meanwhile, we shouldn’t be ignoring the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars, who have opened the season by playing 23 games without a regulation-time loss. . . . They will take a 20-0-3 record into their next game, against the visiting Notre Dame Hounds on Dec. 2.


Freedom


THINKING OUT LOUD — Just how big is the NFL in the world of TV and sports. Well, you may have noticed that the NHL didn’t have even one game scheduled for Thursday, which was American Thanksgiving and featured three NFL games. One of those games — New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys — averaged 42 million viewers on FOX-TV. It now is the most-watched NFL regular-season game in history. . . . I never cease to be amazed by the number of people on the sidelines of a football game in the U.S., be it NFL or NCAA. Does each one of those people have a particular responsibility, or are they just there? . . . Mask up whenever the situation calls for it. Those people with suppressed immune systems will thank you for it.


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

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Breakfast

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