Gaglardi ‘suspects’ Lajoie will be back. . . . Habscheid, Love in war of the words. . . . Ice, assistant coach go separate ways


MacBeth

F Aaron Gagnon (Seattle, 2001-07) has signed a one-year contract extension with Langnau (Switzerland, NL). This season, he had 14 goals and 14 assists in 39 games.


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It seems that a lot of folks who follow the WHL are wondering about the coaching situation with the Kamloops Blazers. Specifically, they want to know if Serge Lajoie will be back for a second season as the head coach.

You will be aware that the Blazers went 28-32-8 this season, then beat the Kelowna Kamloops1Rockets in a tiebreaker to get into the playoffs, where they were beaten in six games by the Victoria Royals in a spirited first-round series.

Let’s break down the Blazers’ season a little bit.

Darryl Sydor, one of the franchise’s five owners, was named a full-time assistant coach on Feb. 12. A former Blazers defenceman who went on to play and coach in the NHL, Sydor is a two-time Stanley Cup winner and also won a Memorial Cup.

When the Blazers made that announcement, they were 20-27-5. With Sydor officially on board, they finished the regular-season 8-5-3, won that tiebreaker, then went 2-4 in the playoffs.

So, all told, they were 11-9-3 after the Sydor announcement.

Which brings us to an interview that Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week did with Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner. Here are three questions and answers:

Hastings: Will Serge be the head coach to start next season?

Gaglardi: I suspect so. He’s got a long-term contract and we haven’t had any conversation about anything other than that. We’re very happy with where we are. We had a great finish to the year and we’re excited about next season, but this week is just a week to lick our wounds. This is a series (vs. Victoria) we truly thought we could win.

Hastings: What do you think assistant coach Darryl Sydor brought to the team?

Gaglardi: Darryl really understands what it takes to win and what a successful bench feels like. He’s been a long-time player and had success at the junior level, had success at the NHL level, won a couple of Stanley Cups. He knows what benches need. I think he was really instrumental in figuring out what his role could be to help. Sometimes you’ve got a coach that’s a hard coach and the kids need to be brought up and built back, and Darryl really understands the ying and yang, the methods, and figured out a role that he could help in. He really worked hard to make sure the kids believed they could actually get the job done. He perhaps brought something to the staff that was missing. Darryl is a tremendous guy and I was thrilled when he agreed to join full-time and come on board and he made a difference.

Hastings: Does Darryl have what it takes to be a head coach here or somewhere else?

Gaglardi: I’ve got to think so, if that’s what he wants to do. He’s come home and I think he’d like to be involved in some way. We’ve had lots of talks around this for a long time. What this blossoms into, I’m not sure. He’s a tremendous guy and we’d love to have him involved. He’s got kids playing competitive hockey. I’m not sure where he’s going to be, in terms of level of commitment next year, whether he’s ready to step in and take on some sort of full-time role again with the club. I’m not sure. He did make a big difference to us down the stretch.

That complete interview is right here.

I don’t have any idea what the future holds here. I do know that in the 12 seasons under the ownership of Gaglardi, Sydor, Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Mark Recchi, the Blazers have gotten out of the first round twice, been a first-round casualty six times, and have missed the playoffs on four occasions.

Lajoie is the 10th head coach or interim head coach, including Guy Charron on two occasions, this franchise has employed over those 12 seasons.


It’s ‘Game On’ in the Eastern Conference seminal between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades.

The series resumes tonight in Saskatoon, with the Raiders holding a 2-0 lead. Game 3 will be televised by Sportsnet.

Other than the quotes in the above tweets, Ryan Flaherty of Global TV in Saskatoon also Saskatoontweeted this quote from Blades head coach Mitch Love:

“There was four head-whipping incidents (Sunday) night, three of which led to penalties on our side, by their players. So is that embellishment? I don’t know. Is it? I hope they’re getting their necks fixed over there today.”

You’ll recall that prior to the series Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, offered up PrinceAlbertthese thoughts to Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix:

“They embellish. That’s what they do. They led the league in drawing minors. It’s known around (the league) that they do that. Hopefully, that stops because it’s not a good thing. You look at a guy like Kirby Dach. He’s a good player. I met the young man at the Prospects game. A great kid, awesome kid and really great player. He doesn’t need to embellish. He’s better than that. He’s a good enough player. He doesn’t need to that.”

As Zary reports in a story posted on Monday evening, Love went so far as to suggest that the WHL office needs to be paying more attention to player safety.

“I really chose not to say too much about it up until this point,” Zary quotes Love as having said, “but after watching two games in which I felt there were several incidents — especially (Sunday night’s) hockey game where there was a lot of contact towards players’ heads — I know our league stresses player safety, so I think the real story here is how people have turned a blind eye to that kind of thing, based on comments that were made previously, prior to the start of the series.”

Zary’s story is right here.

And, in case you missed it, here’s some video of Habscheid off the Sportsnet telecast early in Game 2 on Saturday night. . . .


The Winnipeg Ice revealed via Twitter on Monday that the organization and assistant coach Gord Burnett “have agreed to part ways.” Burnett, a native of Regina, just completed his fourth season on the Ice’s coaching staff. . . . According to the Ice’s website, its coaching staff now comprises head coach James Patrick and associate coach Jon Klemm. . . . Patrick, from Winnipeg, and Klemm, who is from Cranbrook, have been with the Ice through two seasons.


F Kyle Olson of the Tri-City Americans has joined the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, on an ATO. From Calgary, Olson was selected by the Ducks in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He hasn’t signed an NHL contract. . . . This season, Olson, who turned 20 on March 22, had 21 goals and 49 assists in 62 games with the Americans.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed D Matt Smith to a WHL contract. An Edmonton native, Smith was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . He played this season with the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Rangers, recording two goals and 10 assists in 41 regular-season and playoff games.


Rick Westhead of TSN filed another story regarding the minimum-wage lawsuit on Monday, and this one really involves the WHL.

“A fight is unfolding in the Western Hockey League minimum-wage class-action lawsuit over the privacy of current and former players who pursue a claim against the league for minimum wage, back pay and overtime,” Westhead writes.

“A year and a half after an Alberta judge certified a minimum-wage lawsuit against the WHL, lawyers for the plaintiffs and the league are now battling over how to notify those players about their right to proceed with a case or, if they choose, withdraw from the litigation.

“The two sides will appear at a hearing in Calgary on Monday to make arguments about the notice the players will be given regarding the lawsuit.”

The complete story is right here.

Westhead also mentioned that “the CHL and its three leagues have been battling minimum-wage lawsuits for the past five years.”

It is hard to fathom that it already has been that long. Wouldn’t you like to know how much money the WHL has spent on legal fees over that time?


F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks will play for Denmark’s national men’s team in a pair of exhibition games against visiting Finland this week. The games are scheduled for Thursday in Aalborg and Saturday in Vojens. . . . The Danish team, under head coach Heinz Ehlers, dropped eight players from its training camp after weekend workouts. . . . Blichfeld, who won the WHL scoring championship with 114 points in 68 games this season, is hoping to earn a spot on the national men’s A team that will play in the IIHF World Championship in the Slovakian cities of Bratislava and Košice, from May 10 through May 26.


Kevin Kaminski is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice larongeWolves. Kaminski, who is from Churchbridge, Sask., signed a three-year contract. . . . Kaminski, 50, spent three seasons (1986-89) with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades before going on to a pro career that included 139 games in the NHL. . . . For the past three seasons, he has been the head coach of the Western States Hockey League’s Fresno Monsters. . . . The Ice Wolves also announced that Gaelan Patterson, another former Blades skater, will be turning, but as associate GM and associate coach. Patterson finished the season as the team’s interim head coach after the firing of Evan Vossen. . . . The team also said that Travis Hegland will be returning as athletic therapist and trainer.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: D Jake Kustra of the Victoria Royals has been suspended for two games after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jared Dmytriw of the DisciplineVancouver Giants at 2:54 of the second period on Saturday. That was in Game 2 of the series. The Giants won, 2-1 in OT, and hold a 2-0 leading going into Game 3 tonight in Victoria. . . .

Meanwhile, the Giants have been fined $750 for, according to the WHL website, “actions of player at end of game” on Saturday night. There was a bit of a brouhaha after Vancouver F Tristen Nielsen scored the game-winner at 3:29 of OT. G Griffen Outhouse of Victoria came out of it with a roughing minor, while Giants D Alex Kannok Leipert was hit with a roughing minor and a game misconduct. I would think it’s safe to assume that he is the “player” in question. . . .

In these playoffs, the WHL’s Dept. of Discipline now has issued 13 suspensions totalling 30 games, and handed out six fines worth a total of $4,250. . . . In all of last season’s playoffs, there were six players suspended for a total of 12 games, and two fines meted out worth $1,250. . . .

——

After a quiet Monday night, there are three second-round games on the schedule tonight. . . .

As mentioned, the Vancouver Giants hold a 2-0 lead as they play Game 3 against the Royals in Victoria. The Royals obviously will be without D Jake Kustra, while F Kody McDonald serves the fifth of a six-game suspension. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt left late in Game 3 with an apparent injury to his left shoulder or arm and didn’t return. . . . The Giants are expected to again be without F Aidan Barfoot, who was injured in the first round. . . .

——

In Calgary, the Edmonton Oil Kings, with a 2-0 lead, will meet the Hitmen as the Battle of Alberta resumes. . . . Here’s a note from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun involving the first two games:

“Two games and two won face-offs have ended up the back of the Hitmen net so far in the series.

“The Oil Kings won 3-2 in overtime Saturday after (Mark) Kastelic won a clean draw in his own zone and pulled it back through the legs of an unsuspecting (goaltender Jack) McNaughton and off the goal post. Jake Neighbours was then first to the rebound and knocked it into the net for the game-winner.

“On Sunday, Carson Focht pulled one back from the same face-off circle past McNaughton and into the net to give the Oil Kings a 2-1 lead in the second period.”

As Calgary head coach Steve Hamilton told Van Diest: “It’s not everyday you win two faceoffs and shoot two pucks into your own net in two games. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that. That was a bid odd, but it was probably par for the course, too.”

——

The Prince Albert Raiders, with a 2-0 lead, venture into Saskatoon to meet the Blades in a game that will be televised by Sportsnet, which also showed the first two games of the series. . . . With the two head coaches firmly involved in a war of the words, it will be interesting to see the attendance in the SaskTel Centre tonight.

——

The other second-round series, between the Everett Silvertips and Spokane Chiefs, is to resume on Wednesday. The Chiefs went into Everett and won twice, so they take a 2-0 lead on to home ice. The next three games, if necessary, are scheduled for Spokane because the Cirque du Soleil is in the Angels of the Wind Arena in Everett through Sunday.


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2020 WJC gold-medal game for less than $27? . . . Nine WHLers to U17 camp. . . . Raiders, Giants draw first blood


MacBeth

F Andrej Kudrna (Vancouver, Red Deer, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 52 games.


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Tickets for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship are scheduled to go on sale on 2020WJCApril 24. The tournament is to be held in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, opening on Dec. 26 and concluding on Jan. 5. . . . Ticket prices for the gold-medal game will start at €17.50 — on Friday, Cdn$1 equalled 0.66 Euro; it also equalled 17.07 Czech Koruna. . . . Games will be played in the Ostravar Arena, which has a capacity of 7,800, and the Week Arena in Trinec, with a capacity of 4,200. . . . Ticket prices are the same in both facilities. . . .

From a news release:

“Thanks to the unobstructed sightlines from all seats at both arenas, all tickets are available at a single price level for each game. Tickets for group-stage games are in three price categories — 290 CZK (€11.30), 240 CZK (€9.30) and 140 CZK (€5.40).

“For the same price of 290 CZK (€11.30), tickets to all four quarter-final games will be available in both cities: two in Ostrava and two in Trinec. The last two days of the tournament will take place in Ostrava — the semi-finals and medal games will be played in Ostravar Arena.

“Tickets for both semi-finals will be available for 290 CZK (€11.30), and then fans can watch the bronze-medal game for 350 CZK (€13.60) and the championship final for 450 CZK (€17.50). Tickets for games of the best-of-three relegation series that will also take place at Ostravar Arena will be sold for 90 CZK (€3.50).” . . . About 25 per cent of tickets have been blocked off for the IIHF, teams and media, and for technical purposes. . . .

Tickets will be available online at 2020.worldjuniors.hockey.

In Canadian dollars, a ticket to the gold-medal game will set you back about $26.

The 2019 tournament was held in Victoria and Vancouver. A ticket package for games in Victoria (14 games) started at $399 ($28.50 a game), with a Vancouver package (19 games) starting at $650 ($34.21 a game).

Ticket prices for the 2019 tournament were markedly lower than the 2018 tournament, which was held in Buffalo, and the 2017 event (Montreal/Toronto). Swaths of empty seats at those tournaments resulted in organizers rethinking ticket prices before the 2019 WJC.

(A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Matt Smith — “a long-time reader from Portland who has been living in Prague, Czech Republic, for the past five years” — for steering me to this information. Yes, he will be in attendance at the 2019 WJC “for its entirety.”)


There are nine WHLers among the 23 players invited by Hockey Canada to attend a Canadaselection camp next week prior to the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. . . . That tournament will be held in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden, from April 18 through April 28. . . . The 23 Canadian players will gather in Kisakallio, Finland, next week for a training camp prior to two pre-tournament games. The camp will run from Monday through Friday, with exhibition games set for April 14 (Belarus, in Umeå) and April 15 (Russia, in Örnsköldsvik). . . .

The camp roster features three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards. . . . The WHLers invited to camp are G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George Cougars; G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers; D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Kaedan Korczak, Kelowna Rockets; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; F Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw; F Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes; F Connor Zary, Kamloops; and F Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg Ice. . . . Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, is an assistant coach with the U18 team. . . . Canada hasn’t won this tournament since 2013.

The training camp roster is right here.


The Spokane Chiefs have extended the contracts of three members of their hockey staff through the 2020-21 season. . . . Joseph Hurley, the team’s athletic trainer and conditioning coach, is finishing up his second season with the Chiefs. He also has worked with the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and USA Ball Hockey. . . .  Chris Baird, the assistant director of hockey operations, began with the Chiefs as a video co-ordinator in 2006-07. He has been in his present full-time position since August 2017. . . . Sports psychologist Jon Hammermeister has been an Eastern Washington U professor since 1999.


D Jared Freadrich of the Portland Winterhawks has signed on with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. Freadrich, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 15 goals and 33 assists 67 games with Portland this season. . . . He also played with the Regina Pats, Red Deer Rebels and Victoria Royals during a WHL career in which he totalled 38 goals and 93 assists in 263 regular-season games.


D Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will spend the remainder of this season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Addison, who will turn 19 on Thursday, was a second-round pick by Pittsburgh in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign with them. . . . This season, his third with Lethbridge, he had 11 goals and 54 assists in 67 games. He added two goals and seven assists in seven playoff games.


D Aaron Hyman, who completed his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans this season, has signed with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. Hyman, who also played with the Calgary Hitmen, Seattle Thunderbirds and Regina Pats, had 16 goals and 66 assists in 232 career regular-season games. . . . This season, he had 10 goals and 40 assists in 68 games as he started with the Pats and finished with the Americans. . . . Hyman played in back-to-back Memorial Cup tournaments — with Seattle and then Regina.


G Joel Hofer of the Portland Winterhawks will finish his season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Hofer, 18, was a fourth-round pick by the Blues in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He started this season with the Swift Current Broncos, before being dealt to Portland. All told, he was 15-29-3, 3.72, .906.


Chris Murray, a former NHL/WHL player, is the new head coach of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Murray, 44, played three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, helping the team to Memorial Cup titles in 1991 and 1994. He went on to a pro career that included stints with the Montreal Canadiens, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. . . . A city firefighter in Kamloops these days, Murray just completed his fifth season as a part-time assistant coach with the WHL Blazers. He also was the head coach of the minor midget Blazers. That position will be filled by Crosby Dorais of Kamloops.


USA Hockey named 23 players — two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 13 forwards — USAhockeyto its U-17 team on Friday. These players, all born in 2003, are expected to join USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and compete as the national U-17 team. The NTDP is a two-year residency program based in Plymouth, Mich. . . . The roster includes two players whose WHL rights belong to the Portland Winterhawks, and one who was drafted by the Prince George Cougars. . . . D Ty Murchison of Corona, Calif., played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings U-16 team. The Winterhawks selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with them, nor has he made an NCAA commitment. F Chaz Lucius of Grant, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2021-22. The Winterhawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, Lucius had 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy in St. Paul, Minn. . . . Prince George selected D Aidan Hreschuk of Long Beach, Calif., in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. He also played for the U16 Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Hreschuk has committed to Boston College for 2021-22. . . .

There are a couple of other players on USA Hockey’s U-17 team with WHL connections. . . .  F Tyler Boucher of Scottsdale, Ariz., is the son of former Tri-City Americans G Brian Boucher (1994-97). . . . F Colby Saganiuk of Valencia, Pa., is the grandson of Rocky Saganiuk, who played with the Kamloops Chiefs and Lethbridge Broncos (1975-77) and was the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 1995-96.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: Two second-round series began on Friday night. . . . In Prince Albert, the Raiders got three goals from F Sean Montgomery and a goal and three helpers from F Brett Leason in beating the Saskatoon Blades, 6-1. They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday. The first three games of this series are being televised by Sportsnet. . . . In Langley, B.C., G Trent Miner recorded the shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Royals, 3-0. They’ll play again tonight in Langley. . . .

The other two series get going tonight, with the Edmonton Oil Kings — the Edmonton Oilers’ logo at centre ice in Rogers Place is gone — playing host to the Calgary Hitmen, and the Spokane Chiefs meeting the Silvertips in Everett.

——

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert duo of F Brett Leason and F Sean Montgomery proved too much in the PrinceAlbertearly going as the Raiders beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades in Game 1 of their second-round series. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday, then head to Saskatoon for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Montgomery and Leason were in on the Raiders’ first three goals. Montgomery scoring twice, with Leason getting a goal and two helpers. Montgomery later completed his first career WHL hat trick. . . . Montgomery (2) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 3:47 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Chase Wouters (2) tied it at 5:24. . . . Leason (3) broke the tie at 12:07, and Montgomery (3) upped the lead to 3-1 at 11:39 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 4-1 when F Parker Kelly (2) scored at 17:42. . . . Montgomery (4) completed his hat trick at 5:51 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Montgomery’s first hat trick came in his 362nd career game — 345 in the regular season and 17 playoff games. . . . It also was Prince Albert’s first three-goal playoff game since F Milan Kraft did it on March 30, 2000. On that night, Kraft scored the game’s last three goals, two of them via the PP, as the Raiders won, 3-2, in Swift Current. F Layne Ulmer had both Swift Current goals. That was Game 1 in a first-round series that the Broncos won, 4-2. . . . Kelly (3) gave the Raiders a 6-1 lead on a PP at 13:40, with Leason earning his third assist, and fourth point, of the night. . . . The Raiders were 2-6 on the PP; the Blades were 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 23 shots for Prince Albert. He is 5-0, 1.60, .925 in these playoffs. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier was beaten five times on 36 shots in 47:04. Koen MacInnes came on in relief to make his WHL debut with the Blades trailing, 5-1. He gave up one goal on three shots. . . . G Dorrin Luding (undisclosed) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. MacInnes, 17, was dressed as Maier’s backup. MacInnes, from Burnaby, B.C., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He played this season for the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.


G Trent Miner turned aside 15 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 3-0 victory over Vancouverthe Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight in Langley. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Victoria on Tuesday and Thursday. . . . F Davis Koch (2) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 13:44 of the first period, on a PP. . . . Koch, who had a goal and nine assists in the first round, now leads the WHL’s playoff points race, with 11. . . . The Giants went ahead 2-0 at 5:50 of the third period as F Jared Dmytriw (2) scored. . . . F Dawson Holt (2) made it 3-0 with an empty-netter at 18:12. . . . Dmytriw also had an assist, while D Bowen Byram had two. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3. . . . Miner, who turned 18 on Feb. 5, was 24-5-2, 1.98, .924, with three shutouts, in the regular season. In the playoffs, he is 3-1, 1.51, .938 as he shares time with David Tendeck. . . . The Royals got 25 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Vancouver F Justin Sourdif played for the first time since he was injured late in Game 1 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . As expected, the Giants scratched F Aidan Barfoot. He was injured in Game 4 against Seattle. . . . F Kody McDonald (suspended) and F Kade Oliver (shoulder) were among Victoria’s scratches. Oliver’s season is over.


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Ice acquires Savoie, the elder. . . . WHL firms up a pair of indefinite suspensions. . . . Minor illness keeps Byram off ice


MacBeth

F Travis Ewanyk (Edmonton, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL). This season, he had two goals and five assists in 40 games. . . .

G Ville Kolppanen (Lethbridge, 2009-10) has signed a one-year-plus-option year contract with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Rögle Ängelholm (Sweden, SEL), he was 6-10-1, 2.30, .916 in 18 games as the backup to Just Pogge (Prince George, Calgary, 2003-06). . . .

F Richard Mueller (Brandon, Saskatoon, Calgary, 1998-2003) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). An alternate captain this season he had 26 goals and 25 assists in 52 games. He led the Huskies in goals, assists and points. Next season will be his 16th in Germany. . . .

D Jonathan Harty (Everett, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had five goals and 13 assists in 52 games.


The Winnipeg Ice has acquired the WHL rights to F Carter Savoie, who turned 17 on Jan. 23, from the Regina Pats in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and wpgiceconditional second- and third-round picks — the year or years undisclosed.

Those conditional picks will depend on if/when Savoie should sign with the Ice.

This has led to speculation that the Ice will select F Matt Savoie, Carter’s younger brother, with the first pick of the 2019 draft when it is held in Red Deer on May 2. The Ice also holds the ninth selection in the first round.

The Savoie brothers are from St. Albert, Alta., and both have committed to the U of Denver, Carter for the 2020-21 season and Matt, who turned 15 on Jan. 1, for 2021-22.

The Pats selected Carter in the ninth round of the 2017 bantam draft. He is playing with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders, having put up 31 goals and 42 assists in 58 regular-season games. The Crusaders are alive in the playoffs, and he has two goals and eight assists in 10 games.

Matt played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, scoring 31 goals and adding 40 assists in 31 games. In five playoff games, he had three goals and nine assists.

The Savoie family applied to Hockey Canada during the season in the hopes of gaining exceptional status for Matt, something that would allow him to spend 2019-20 on a WHL roster. Under present rules, a 15-year-old player is limited to five games — except under emergency conditions — while his club team’s season is alive. Although there has yet to be an official announcement from Hockey Canada, there have been reports that the family’s request has been denied.


Matt Cockell, the president and general manager of the Winnipeg Ice — formerly the KootenaynewKootenay Ice — did a question-and-answer session with the Winnipeg Sun’s Ted Wyman the other day. . . . Patti Dawn Swansson, who blogs as The River City Renegade, spent a goodly number of years covering junior and pro hockey in Winnipeg so is quite familiar with the puck scene in the Manitoba capital. She responded to one of Cockell’s answers at her blog.

At one point, Cockell told Wyman: “At the end of the day, the passion for hockey is really what’s exciting about Winnipeg. When you look across Canada, there really isn’t another city that embraces hockey the way Winnipeg does. We really believe it’s the hockey capital of Canada.”

To which, Swansson wrote: “Whoa boy. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Good Ol’ Hometown has already let one NHL franchise get away (no, it wasn’t Gary Bettman’s fault) and two Western Hockey League outfits. Pegtown is the ‘hockey capital of Canada’ like Pierre’s boy Justin is a man of all the people. And that’s coming from someone born and raised in River City, someone who recalls seeing a lot of empty seats in the old barn on Maroons Road. Yes, I realize that Cockell is going to say all the right things in order to sell his freshly minted WHL franchise to the rabble, but I’m not sure that faux flattery is the way to go about it. Peggers are hockey wise, they aren’t rubes.”

Wyman’s complete 21 questions with Cockell is right here.

If you are/were an Ice fan, who lives in the Cranbrook area, you shouldn’t read this. It might be bad for your health, especially the part where Cockell responds to a question about “what do you say to the hockey fans of Cranbrook?”

Cockell’s response: “We’ve had a lot of dialogue with them. I lived there right through to our last game. What our message has been in dialogue is that everybody did everything they possibly could, including the business community in Cranbrook, the fans in that community and our ownership group. We did everything we could to see if there was a sustainable opportunity there. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to get there, but at the end of the day we made a decision and we tried to be as honest as we could. It’s hard and yet, we need to focus now on what we’re doing moving forward and that’s really exciting.”

Some of that will be news to the Green Bay Committee, won’t it?


Chances are that F Logan Barlage of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will miss a game or two when the 2019-20 season opens, thanks to the slashing major and game misconduct that he was hit with as Tuesday’s game with the visiting Calgary Hitmen came to a close. . . . Barlage slashed Calgary F Carson Focht, who scored twice in Calgary’s 4-2 victory in Game 7 of the first-round series. . . . If you watch the video in the tweet below, you also will see the Lethbridge right winger break the stick of the Calgary left winger with a slash.


F Parker AuCoin, who played out his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans this season, has signed on with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. This season, he had 42 goals and 42 assists in 68 games with the Americans. . . . In 262 regular-season WHL games over four seasons, he has 88 goals and 92 assists. . . . From St. Albert, Alta., he was the 15th-overall pick in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft.


Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, will be an assistant coach with the Canadian team that will compete in the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden, April 18 through 28. . . . Brett Gibson, the head coach at Queen’s U for 13 seasons, will be the U18 team’s head coach. . . . The other assistant coach will be Serge Aubin, who most recently was the head coach of the ZSC Lions in Switzerland’s NL A. . . . Adam Brown of the Kelowna Rockets will be the U18 team’s goaltending consultant.


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NOTES: The Victoria Royals will be without F Kody McDonald for the first four games of their second-round series with the Vancouver Giants. McDonald had been under an indefinite suspension after being hit with a match penalty for a stick-swinging incident during Game 4 of their first-round series against the Blazers in Kamloops on March 27. The WHL announced Wednesday that the suspension has been set at six games. He has four games remaining on it. . . .

The WHL also announced that the indefinite suspension to F Sean Richards of the Seattle Thunderbirds has been set at eight games. He took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver F Aidan Barfoot in Game 4 of their first-round series on March 27. Richards, 20, missed the last two games of the series, so has six games remaining. He doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining. According to the WHL, Richards “will be required to serve the remaining six games of his suspension during the 2019-20 season should he continue his playing career.” . . .

Barfoot hasn’t played since being hit by Richards and isn’t expected back for the early part of the Giants’ second-round series. They open against the Victoria Royals with games in Langley, B.C., on Friday and Saturday. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Wednesday that Vancouver D Bowen Byram didn’t skate for a second straight day. “GM Barclay Parneta says it is minor illness” and that Byram is expected to practice today and play Friday. . . . Giants F Yannik Valenti also didn’t skate Wednesday. . . .

Sportsnet will televise the first three games of the second-round series between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades. . . . Games 1 and 2 are set for Friday (7 p.m. CST) and Sunday in Prince Albert (6 p.m. CST), with Game 3 in Saskatoon on Tuesday (7 p.m. CST). . . .

The Spokane Chiefs have added D Luke Gallagher, 18, to their roster as an AP. Gallagher, 18, had two assists in 22 games with the Chiefs earlier in the season. From Mead, Wash., he joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters in January, and recorded seven assists in 15 regular-season games and one in 12 playoff games.

Blades win first playoff game since 2011. . . . Addison gets OT goal for Lethbridge. . . . Record night for Outhouse in Victoria

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While 16 teams were preparing to being the WHL playoffs this weekend, the Kootenay Ice were on the move.

Yes, the movers were at Western Financial Place on Friday morning, cleaning out the team’s office and its retail space. The franchise has left Cranbrook, B.C., and now is the Winnipeg Ice.

Meanwhile, the WHL office hit Ice F Peyton Krebs with a one-game suspension after he was hit with a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in Sunday’s 5-4 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels.

Because that was the Ice’s final game of this season, Krebs will serve that suspension next season, meaning he will miss the team’s first regular-season game as the Winnipeg Ice.


It turns out that Todd Harkins is not going to the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.

As my once reliable source texted on Friday: “I guess my source was wrong about Harkins.”

Yeah, I guess he was. I apologize to anyone who may have been impacted by what was written here earlier in the week. Seriously. Something like this is my worst nightmare.

St. George’s School, which is based in Vancouver, announced Friday that Harkins has been named its Head of Hockey as of April 1.

From the news release:

“Todd has an extensive background as a player, coach and general manager. He brings a wealth of both on- and off-ice experiences as well as a passion for working with student-athletes. Todd played professionally from 1990–2001 and represented the USA at the World Championships in 1992, 1995 and 1998. He has coached multiple minor hockey teams including — most recently — the bantam varsity team at the West Van Hockey Academy. Todd also was the general manager (four years) and head scout/director of player personnel (one year)” with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

NOTES: Seven of the WHL’s first-round series began on Friday, with only the Medicine Hat Tigers and Edmonton Oil Kings not playing. They will get started tonight in Edmonton. . . . The other seven series all will resume tonight. . . . Last night, the Saskatoon Blades won a playoff game for the first time since April 3, 2011, when they beat the Raiders, 2-1 in OT, in Prince Albert. F Matej Stransky scored the winner, at 4:24 of OT. . . . Two players — D Jake Lee of the Seattle Thunderbirds and D John Ludvig of the Portland Winterhawks — took majors and game misconducts last night, so may find themselves suspended before tonight’s schedule gets started. . . . G Griffen Outhouse of the Victoria Royals set one franchise record and tied another in a 4-0 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers, who were without F Connor Zary. . . . Read on. . . .

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G Ian Scott turned aside 21 shots to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 3-0 victory over PrinceAlbertthe visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for tonight in Prince Albert. . . . Scott has put up four shutouts over his last six starts. He finished the regular season with eight shutouts; this was his first of the playoffs. . . . F Dante Hannoun (1) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 19:28 of the first period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (1) upped it to 2-0 at 8:49 of the second period, and F Sean Montgomery (1) made it 3-0 at 16:53. . . . G Ethan Anders stopped 25 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels are without D Alex Alexeyev (knee), who won’t play in this series.


F Chase Wouters scored the first OT goal of these playoffs, giving the Saskatoon Blades a Saskatoon3-2 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . They’ll play the second game tonight in Saskatoon. . . . This was the first playoff game in Saskatoon since the spring of 2013, and the announced attendance was 5,193. . . . The Warriors led this one 2-0 on goals by F Kaeden Taphorn (1), at 3:03 of the second period, and F Eric Alarie (1), at 4:34. . . . Alarie, in the Moose Jaw lineup because F Brayden Tracey was scratched, scored his first WHL goal. Alarie, who turned 16 on Jan. 27, is from Winnipeg. A first-round pick, 22nd overall, in the 2018 bantam draft, he was pointless in two regular-season games with the Warriors. He played with the prep team at the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg, putting up 17 goals and 29 assists in 27 games. . . . F Max Gerlach (1) got the Blades to within a goal, on a PP, at 7:21 of the second period, and F Riley McKay (1) tied it at 11:48 of the third. . . . Wouters (1) won it at 3:23 of OT. . . . Saskatoon held a 38-23 edge in shots, including 14-6 in the second period, 10-2 in the third, and 3-1 in OT. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 21 shots for Saskatoon, 14 fewer than Moose Jaw’s Brodan Salmond. . . . Tracey, the WHL’s highest-scoring freshman, was among Moose Jaw’s scratches. Tracey, who finished with 81 points, including 36 goals, in 66 games, sat out Moose Jaw’s last two regular-season games. . . . The WHL didn’t issue any suspensions from a game-ending brouhaha involving the Swift Current Broncos and host Warriors on Saturday, so Moose Jaw had F Tristin Langan and D Josh Brook in the lineup.


D Calen Addison’s OT goal gave the host Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the LethbridgeCalgary Hitmen. . . . Game 2 is to be played tonight in Lethbridge. . . . F Mark Kastelic, who had left Calgary’s final regular-season game on Sunday after taking a hard hit into a stanchion, gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 14:36 of the first period. . . . F Nick Henry (1) tied it for Lethbridge at 1:35 of the second period. . . . D Devan Klassen (1) put Calgary back out front at 3:33. . . . Lethbridge tied it when F Dylan Cozens (1) scored at 11:24 of the second period. . . . The teams played through a scoreless third period. . . . The Hurricanes got 31 saves from G Carl Tetachuk. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton blocked 30 shots.


The Vancouver Giants opened the second period with two goals 23 seconds apart, then Vancouverscored twice more before the period ended, as they skated to a 7-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Langley, B.C. . . . Game 2 is set for tonight in Langley. . . . D Dylan Plouffe led the Giants with two goals and an assist. . . . F Milos Roman (1), on a PP, at 1:20 of the second, and F Lukas Svejkovsky (1), at 1:43, got the Giants started. . . . F Jadon Joseph (1), shorthanded, made it 3-0 at 6:47, and Plouffe got the 4-0 goal at 16:57. . . . Seattle got its goal from F Andrej Kukuca (1), at 19:57. . . . The Giants added third-period goals from F Dawson Holt (1), Plouffe, on a PP, and D Bowen Byram (1). . . . Vancouver was 2-7 on the PP; Seattle was 0-7. . . . The Giants got 27 saves from G Trent Miner. . . . Seattle starter Roddy Ross surrendered six goals on 31 shots. Cole Schwebius came on in relief to stop eight on nine shots in 15:27. . . . Seattle D Jake Lee was hit with a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 19:54 of the third period.


G Griffen Outhouse set one franchise record and tied another as he lead the Victoria VictoriaRoyalsRoyals to a 4-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . They’ll go again tonight in Victoria in Game 2. . . . Outhouse, who stopped 28 shots in earning his first playoff shutout, tied the record for most career playoff victories that had been held by Coleman Vollrath (2012-16). It was Outhouse’s 21st playoff appearance, breaking Vollrath’s record of 20. . . . This was Victoria’s first shutout this season. . . . F Sean Gulka (1) opened the scoring at 6:23 of the first period, and F Carson Miller (1) made it 2-0 at 9:51 of the second period. . . . F Dino Kambeitz scored Victoria’s last two goals, at 13:17 of the second, and an empty-netter at 16:23 of the third. . . . Kamloops got 33 saves from G Dylan Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson, who was injured during a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on March 6, backed up Garand. Ferguson hadn’t dressed for the Blazers’ past seven games. . . . The Blazers had been 5-0-1 in their previous six games, including Tuesday’s 5-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets in a tiebreaker game that qualified them for the playoffs. . . . The Blazers scratched F Connor Zary (undisclosed). He was the team’s second-leading scorer with 67 points, including a team-leading 43 assists, in 63 games. He finished the regular season with nine points, including five goals, in his last four games, then added a goal and an assist in Tuesday’s tiebreaker victory. . . . The Royals had F Kody McDonald back in the lineup, but D Matt Smith, D Jameson Murray and D Jake Kustra were missing. F Kade Oliver (shoulder) won’t play again this season.


The host Spokane Chiefs scored three PP goals in the second period en route to a 5-2 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for tonight in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs erased a 1-0 first-period deficit by scoring the game’s next five goals. . . . Spokane went 3-5 on the PP; Portland was 2-8. . . . F Jake Gricius (1) gave Portland a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 11:20 of the first period. . . . Spokane took a 3-1 lead on three second-period PP goals, from F Adam Beckman (1), at 3:08; F Riley Woods (1), at 12:02; and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (1), at 17:56. . . . F Kaden Hanas, who had three assists in 21 regular-season games, gave the Chiefs a 4-1 lead with his first WHL goal at 3:34 of the third period. . . . F Ethan McIndoe (1) upped it to 5-1 at 4:23. . . . Portland’s last goal, at 19:03, came from F Joachim Blichfeld (1). . . . The Chiefs got a solid game from G Bailey Brkin, who stopped 34 shots, 17 more than Portland’s Joel Hofer. . . . The Winterhawks lost D John Ludvig to a headshot major and game misconduct with 17.6 seconds left in the first period. F Ethan McIndoe of the Chiefs left the game after the hit, but returned early in the second period. . . . The Chiefs also lost D Nolan Reid after he was struck in the face by a stick during the first period. . . . Portland F Cody Glass (knee) didn’t make trip to Spokane. He hasn’t played since Feb. 23. . . . F Jake McGrew was among Spokane’s scratches. He had 54 points, 31 of them goals, in 61 regular-season games. McGrew had a goal and an assist in Spokane’s 10-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Saturday. . . .


F Martin Fasko-Rudas and F Max Patterson each had a goal and two assists to lead the Everetthost Everett Silvertips to a 6-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for tonight in Everett. . . . The Silvertips held a 33-9 edge in shots after two periods but only were leading 1-0 on the first of F Connor Dewar’s two goals, at 17:44 of the first period. . . . Dewar made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 6:54 of the third period, and Patterson increased that to 3-0 at 12:34. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (1) scored for Tri-City at 13:30. . . . Everett put it away with goals from F Zack Andrusiak (1), into an empty net, at 17:40; F Lucas Cullen (1), at 18:39; and Fasko-Rudas (1), on a PP, at 19:49. . . . Everett got three assists from D Jake Christiansen. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots for Everett, while Tri-City’s Beck Warm blocked 42. . . . Don Nachbaur, the third-winningest coach in WHL regular-season history, has joined Americans’ play-by-play voice Craig West to provide analysis during this series. Nachbaur put up 692 regular-season victories in stints with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Tri-City and the Spokane Chiefs.


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Kootenay Ice (1998-2019), R.I.P.: ‘Most people never moved from the stands as if they couldn’t bring themselves to believe it was all over.’

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Long after Sunday’s game had ended, players from the Kootenay Ice mingled with fans, signing autographs, posing for pictures and bidding farewell to Cranbrook.

They showed up for a funeral at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook on Sunday afternoon. But, in the end, it was a celebration of life and of what used to be, of three WHL championships and the Memorial Cup title that put the city in hockey’s spotlight in 2002.

The Kootenay Ice played its final game in Cranbrook on Sunday, beating the Red Deer Rebels, 5-4, and there were more than 2,600 fans in the pews to witness it.

The franchise had been in Cranbrook for 21 seasons, most of them full of smiles, chuckles and success.

This season, however, has been more heartbreak than anything else. It began with rumours and speculation, with fans in a state of denial. That all ended in January when Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, and Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who is the president and general manager, admitted that, yes, the Ice would be moving to Winnipeg upon the conclusion of this season.
That day came on Sunday.

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Ice players salute the fans following the end of Sunday’s game. That’s Ice captain Peyton Krebs, who was ejected in the first period, in the suit at left.

Here are some notes from a few fans who were in the arena, not only for the final game, but for a lot of games over the team’s time in the city:

From one fan . . .

“What a game and what a finish for the Kootenay Ice . . . An emotional game in many respects — 2,654 in attendance — for one of the largest walk-up attended games. Fans were lined up at the ticket window until halfway through the first period. . . .These fans came to watch the last game and were supportive of  the Ice the whole game. The Rebels, with four of their key players left at home, capitalized on Ice penalties — including the captain, Peyton Krebs, taking a major for boarding early in the first and being ejected from the game (deservedly so, I must add) — and then other penalties to the Ice giving the Rebels many chances.

“It was a hard-fought game, back and forth, with the Ice scoring late in the third, breaking a tie and winning, 5-4.

“Fans cheered throughout, and all were on their feet for the last three minutes of the game, the Rebels having pulled their goalie . . . the Ice being called for a penalty with 10 seconds left . . . the referees adding 4.5 seconds to the clock and then the clock goes for an additional 27 seconds instead of just 14.5 seconds until a scrum at the end resulted in the whistle finally being blown and the referees called the game as ended and giving the Ice the win. . . .

“The crowd stayed around and watched a long stick salute by the Ice players, who came up from the dressing room to sign autographs and talk to fans, to talk about how they are going to miss Cranbrook, their billet families, the weather and the fans.

“The crowd remained to meet with the players . . . probably close to 50 per cent stayed. There were many fans in tears uttering less flattering comments about the owners and noting they should have been upfront with us when they arrived.”

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There were some fans in attendance on Sunday who showed their unhappiness over losing the hockey team that they had watched play for 21 seasons.

Here’s how another fan viewed it all . . .

“There was one group of season-ticket holders, who sit below the CIBC signs. They watched kids juggle signs reading ‘GO ICE GO.’ After the kids were done, the adults stood up with individual signs that read ‘GONE ICE GONE.’ . . .

“Cam Hausinger, who was traded to Red Deer along with Brett Davis earlier in the season, came upstairs after the game and before our players got there to say hi to everyone and sign autographs. He said he misses everyone in Cranbrook. . . .

“There were tears among the fans and the hosts, and talk of getting the same seats when we hopefully get another hockey team in the arena. . . . We had four young hockey players from the university team in Castlegar (the BCIHL’s Selkirk Saints) sitting beside us who there specifically checking everything out. . . .

“As the game ended most people never moved from the stands as if they couldn’t bring themselves to believe it was all over. . . .

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Ice players, including captain Peyton Krebs, stayed well after the game was over to chat with fans, say ‘Thank You,’ and sign autographs.

“As I was getting autographs I couldn’t help but admire these young men who took the time to sign everything from hockey pucks, to hats, to shirts to programs. Peyton Krebs, who didn’t play the whole game, stood there having his picture taken, talking to even the smallest little one and thanking all the people for supporting the team. . . .

“It was a very class act by the whole team with the exception of Matt Cockell, who never left the box. Some of the stuff that happened over the last couple of games . . . with the awards ceremony, most seasons they set up a table on ice and did the presentations there. This time, they didn’t do that . . . just had people who were doing the presentations standing in the alleyway by the bench. . . .

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Prior to the game’s start, the Ice thanked the volunteers who gave so much to the organization over the franchise’s 21 years in Cranbrook.

“On Sunday, they had teachers and other people, who have contributed to helping the players, on the ice for a round of applause before the game. Also we had two players who were finishing as 20-year-olds, and the coach, James Patrick, gave them their gifts, not the GM or Mr. Fettes. Not that Mr. Fettes has put in an appearance in Cranbrook since the media circus began.”

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From another fan:

“The second and third stars were the two 20-year-olds. As a final slap in the face, the first star was the Kootenay Ice fans, which brought about an audible groan from the crowd. Nuff said!”

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Farewell, Cranbrook. It’s been great. . . . Ice wins its final game before move to Winnipeg. . . . Late assist gives Blichfeld scoring title

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The WHL’s 21-year history in Cranbrook, B.C., ended on Sunday as the Kootenay Ice skated to a 5-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels.

If you’re late to this situation, the Ice is relocating to Winnipeg and will spend at least the wpgicenext two seasons playing out of the 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba while it awaits construction of a new facility. . . .

The Ice, which ended a six-game losing skid with Sunday’s victory, finished 13-45-10. Kootenay has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. . . .

Before the game, a fan emailed this: “At 4 pm the ticket lineup for the final game is the full length of the building.” . . . The announced attendance at the last WHL game in 4-264-seat Western Financial Place was 2,684.

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“The fans continued to turn out to support the PLAYERS who were caught in a terrible situation through no fault of their own,” John Hudak, the marketing director of the now-defunct Green Bay Committee, told Taking Note via email. “Make no mistake, there were very few fans that were supporting this ownership and to the credit of the fans they turned out to support the players and the good name of the City of Cranbrook and its hockey history.  It could have been ugly but the people of Cranbrook took the high road.”

The Green Bay Committee was formed early in the season to help owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell sell tickets and sponsorships. After selling what it said was $50,000 worth, the committee disbanded in mid-November because of what it said was a lack of co-operation and support from the owners.

Prior to that point, there had been ample speculation that the owners, who are from Winnipeg, planned to move the franchise to the Manitoba capital. When the Green Bay Committee went public about the lack of support it had received, the pieces started to fall into place.

“The vibe in the arena today was a testament to the people of Cranbrook,” continued Hudak, who is running for a spot on city council in a May 11 by-election. “They were respectful of the ownership. They got behind the players and the players reciprocated by not rolling over.”

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The game ended with the clock showing 27.7 seconds still to play. But that was only because the timekeeper inadvertently hit the wrong button, something that caused the clock to count up rather than down.

“It was almost as if he didn’t want to see the game end,” Hudak noted. “In all seriousness, he has run the clock for more than 20 years . . . he won’t live this one down for the rest of his days!”

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This isn’t the first time in recent history that a WHL team has relocated. After the 2010-11 season, the Chilliwack Bruins, who had been sold, left the Lower Mainland city after five seasons and opened up shop in Victoria as the Royals. . . .

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Ice F Peyton Krebs, a sure-fire first-round selection in June’s NHL draft, didn’t finish the first period. He was ejected at 11:57 with a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jacob Herauf, who later returned to the game. Should Krebs be suspended, he will serve his suspension to open the 2019-20 regular season . . . unless he cracks the roster of the NHL team that selects him, that is.


SOME NUMBERS:

F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks earned an assist with 1.1 seconds left in whlthe third period of a 6-5 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday, and that was enough to give him the WHL scoring title. . . . He finished with 114 points, one more than F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Blichfeld had 53 goals and 61 assists in 68 games; Langan was at 53 and 60 in 67 games. . . . Had they ended up tied, they would have shared the title. . . . In 1987-88, Theo Fleury of the Warriors and Joe Sakic of the Swift Current Broncos tied at the top, each with 160 points. Sakic was named the scoring champion on the basis of more goals, 78-68. . . .

Blichfeld and Langan led the league in goals, with six more than F Mark Kastelic of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Moose Jaw F Justin Almeida was tops in assists (78), well ahead of F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings and F Nick Henry of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who tied at 65. . . . Kastelic had a WHL-leading 24 PP goals. . . . Moose Jaw D Jett Woo was No. 1 in PP assists, with 33. . . . Lethbridge F Jake Elmer led in shorthanded goals, with seven. . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo and two Warriors — F Brayden Tracey and Langan — tied for the lead in game-winning goals, each with 11. . . .

Tracey was the WHL’s top-scoring freshman, leading in goals (36), assists (45) and points (81). . . .

Among goaltenders, Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips was tops in GAA (1.69), save percentage (.936) and victories (41). . . . Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders was second in all three categories — 1.83, .932 and 38. . . . Scott was No. 1 in shutouts (8), one more than Wolf. . . .

Josh Brook of the Warriors and Dawson Davidson of the Saskatoon Blades led all defenceman in points, each with 75, four more than Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants. . . . Byram led in goals (26), while Davison and Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs were tops in assists (62).


The U of New Brunswick Varsity Reds won the Canadian university (U Sports) UNBchampionship on Sunday, beating the Alberta Golden Bears, 4-2, in Lethbridge. . . . The Golden Bears went into the tournament as the top-ranked of the eight teams; UNB was ranked No. 2. . . . In the final, UNB got goals from Samuel Dove-McFalls, Oliver Cooper, Kris Bennett and Mark Rassell, the latter a former Medicine Hat Tigers sniper. . . . Steve Owre and Brandon Magee, both ex-WHLers, replied for the Golden Bears. Owre also played in Medicine Hat; Magee played for the Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royas. . . . G Alex Dubeau stopped 32 shots for the winners. . . . Alberta got 27 saves from Zach Sawchenko, who played in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Golden Bears lost F Luke Philp, the Canadian university player of the year, to an undisclosed injury in the first period. . . . UNB now has won eight national titles. . . . Each of the past seven titles has been won by UNB (2017, 2016 and 2013) or Alberta (2018, 2015 and 2014).


SUNDAY  HIGHLIGHTS:

F Vince Loschiavo scored twice to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsHitmen in Calgary. . . . Edmonton (42-18-8) closed out the regular-season on an 11-game winning streak that tied a franchise record. It had been done on three previous occasions, most recently in 2013-14. . . . Calgary (36-26-6) has lost four in a row. . . . The Oil Kings finished atop the Central Division and will open the playoffs against the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The third-place Hitmen will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who wound up second, in the first round. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 7-0-1; Calgary was 1-6-1. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (4) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 10:07 of the first period. . . . Loschiavo tied it at 7:14 of the second period, then gave his guys the lead at 10:47 with his 37th goal of the season, on a PP. That also turned into his 11th game-winner this season, a franchise record. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours (11) wrapped up the scoring with an empty-netter, at 19:35 of the third period. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 25 shots for Edmonton. . . . Calgary got 33 saves from G Carl Stankowski.


F Michael Milne broke a 4-4 tie in the third period as the Kootenay Ice closed out its Everetthistory in Cranbrook, B.C., with a 5-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Ice (13-45-10), which is relocating to Winnipeg, snapped a six-game losing streak. Kootenay has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. . . . Red Deer (33-29-6) has lost four in a row. The Rebels, who finished in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, will meet the Prince Albert Raiders, the WHL’s top regular-season team, in the first round. . . . F Jaeger White (28) put the Ice in front 1-0 at 6:48 of the first period. . . . The Rebels responded with three straight goals — from F Cam Hausinger, on a PP, at 12:20; F Brett Davis (20), on a PP, at 14:46; and Hausinger (21), on yet another PP, at 0:19 of the second period. . . . The Rebels acquired Hausinger and Davis, who also had two assists, from the Ice earlier this season. . . . The Ice came back with the next three goals, in the span of 1:45 early in the second. . . . F Nolan Orzeck (4) got it started at 3:01. F Holden Kodak (3) tied the score at 3:56. F Connor McClennon (14) gave the Ice a 4-3 lead at 4:46. . . . The Rebels tied it at 17:40 when F Jordan Borysiuk, an AP, scored his first goal. He was playing in his seventh WHL game, but his first this season. . . . Milne, a 16-year-old freshman from Abbotsford, B.C., broke the tie with his third goal at 14:16 of the third period. . . . Red Deer was 3-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-3. . . . G Curtis Meger earned the victory with 25 saves, one fewer than Red Deer’s Byron Fancy. . . . The Ice lost F Peyton Krebs to a boarding major and game misconduct at 11:57 of the first period. . . . The Rebels scratched G Ethan Anders, D Dawson Barteaux, F Jeff de Wit, F Reese Johnson, F Josh Tarzwell and F Brandon Hagel. . . . They also dressed four APs — G Eric Ward, F Jordan Borysiuk, F Ethan Rowland and F Jace Isley. . . . F Austin Schellenberg, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday, was among the Ice’s scratches.


The Seattle Thunderbirds erased a 4-3 deficit with three straight goals and beat the SeattleWinterhawks, 6-5, in Portland to bring down the curtain on the WHL’s 2018-19 regular season. . . . Seattle (31-29-8) has won three in a row. As the Western Conference’s second wild-card entry, it will go up against the conference-champion Vancouver Giants in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Portland (40-22-6) has lost two in a row. It finished third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Spokane Chiefs, who won 10 of their final 12 games. Those two teams will meet in the first round with Spokane having home-ice advantage. . . . Portland went 8-4-0 in the season series; Seattle was 4-6-2. . . . Last night, Portland took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Reece Newkirk (23), on a PP, at 1:47, and F Jake Gricius (27), at 5:35. . . . Seattle scored the next three goals. . . . F Jared Davidson (2) scored at 19:32, with F Kai Uchacz getting his first WHL goal at 13:03. D Simon Kubicek (9) gave Seattle a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 15:14. . . . Uchacz, 15, was the 10th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Winterhawks tied it 42 seconds later as D Clay Hanus (8) scored. . . . Again, Seattle scored three in a row, this time to take a 6-4 lead. . . . F Brecon Wood (4) tied it at 4:27 of the second. . . . F Sean Richards (16) gave the Thunderbirds a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 4:30 of the third, and D Jarret Tyszka (8) made it 6-4 at 8:00. . . . D Jared Freadrich (15) of Portland got the game’s final goal, on a PP, with 1.1 seconds left in the third period. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld drew an assist on Freadrich’s goal for his only point of the game. That gave him 114 points on the season, enough to win the WHL scoring title by one point over F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Andrej Kukuca had three assists for Seattle. . . . Freadrich added two assists to his goal, for his fifth career three-point outing. . . . Seattle got 40 saves from G Cole Schwebius, while Portland’s Joel Hofer stopped 27 shots. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Cody Glass (knee) for an eighth straight game. They say the plan is for him to be back in time for Friday’s playoff opener, but, hey, it’s that time of year when you can’t believe anything you might hear about injuries. . . . F Matthew Wedman, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan, Seattle’s top three scorers, all were scratched.


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Craven, Moar done for this season. . . . Silvertips stretch Cougars’ skid to 17. . . . Oliver leads Royals to victory


MacBeth

F Jordan Hickmott (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Edmonton, 2005-11)  signed a contract for the rest of this season on Friday with Tölzer Löwen Bad Tölz (Germany DEL2) after obtaining his release from the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He was pointless in 10 games with the Black Wings. . . . Hickmott hasn’t played a game since Oct. 14 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. He returned to practice the “past few weeks” with Linz. The club told Hickman last week there was no place in the lineup for him and that he was free to move to another club if he wanted. . . . Last Friday (Feb. 15) was the signing/transfer deadline for all European leagues except the KHL, whose trade deadline this season was Dec. 27.


ThisThat

A few notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen continue to list F Jake Kryski as indefinite. Kryski, 20, was having the whlbest of his five WHL seasons, with 46 points, including 19 goals, in 41 games when he was injured. . . .

The Everett Silvertips list F Dawson Butt and F Riley Sutter as week-to-week. Besides being a point-a-game player (41 in 38), Sutter is one of the league’s top face-off men, at 54.0 per cent. . . . Butt has seven goals and seven assists in 14 games, but it’s his grinding style of play that the Silvertips miss. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets list D Matt Barberis, 20, as being out for six to eight weeks. He has one assist in 11 games since being picked up from the Vancouver Giants, but  his experience is missing from Kelowna’s back end. Of course, with less than four weeks left in the regular season, his season — and his WHL career — might be over. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have shut down D Joel Craven for the season with an undisclosed injury. Craven, 18, finishes his sophomore season with three goals and an assist in 32 games. He missed half of October and all of November with concussion-like symptoms. . . . Meanwhile, the Tigers are showing one of their top forwards, Ryan Jevne, as being out week-to-week. Jevne is their second-leading scorer, with 55 points, including 26 goals, in 57 games. . . .

D Matt Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks is shown as being out week-to-week, while it would appear that D Alex Moar of the Swift Current Broncos had his season come to an end on Monday afternoon in Brandon when he left a 3-2 OT loss to the Wheat Kings clutching a wrist. . . .

The Vancouver Giants list two key forwards — Dawson Holt and Brayden Watts — as being out week-to-week. Watts, who had one arm in a sling on Monday, has 33 points, including 12 goals, in 52 games, while Hardy has nine goals and 12 assists in 56 games.


The soon-to-be Winnipeg Ice has signed F Chase Bertholet to a WHL contract. Bertholet, from Thompson, Man., was a fifth-round pick by the Red Deer Rebels in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Ice acquired him from the Rebels on Nov. 30 in a deal that had F Brett Davis and F Cam Hausinger go to Red Deer for four players, four bantam draft picks and one conditional selection. . . . Bertholet, 15, has 13 goals and 29 assists in 42 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.


The Calgary Hitmen have released D Andrew Viggars from their roster and he is returning to the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Viggars, who turned 19 on Jan. 3, was pointless in two games with the Hitmen. . . . Last season, he had five assists in 39 games with Calgary. . . . This season, he has a goal and nine assists in 41 games with the Warriors. . . . The Hitmen selected him in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.


“Fighting isn’t what it used to be in the WHL,” writes Dan Thompson in a story that has appeared in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. He’s got some quotes and anecdotes here from the likes of Dustin Donaghy and Kerry Toporowski, the latter once having skated his way to 505 minutes in penalties. . . . It’s all right here and it’s a good read.


The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers announced Monday that they have “mutually parted ways” Winklerwith general manager Ken Pearson. . . . He had been the Flyers’ general manager and head coach for seven seasons (2011-18), before stepping aside as head coach prior to this season. . . . Jeff Jeanson has been named the interim general manager. . . . Steve Mullin took over as the Flyers’ head coach after working as Pearson’s assistant coach. . . . When Pearson stepped aside as the Flyers’ head coach, he had more regular-season victories (519) than any coach in MJHL history. Blake Spiller of the Portage Terriers passed Pearson earlier this season. . . . Winkler (22-29-5) is ninth in the 11-team league, four points out of a playoff spot with four games remaining.


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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the Cougars, 4-1, in EverettPrince George. . . . The Silvertips had beaten the host Cougars by that same score on Monday. . . . Everett (41-14-3) has won two straight. It leads the Western Conference by four points over the Vancouver Giants, who hold two games in hand, and leads the West Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Prince George (16-35-7) now has lost 17 in a row (0-13-4). . . . F Ethan Browne (9) gave the Cougars the lead at 5:56 of the first period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (36) pulled Everett even at 17:29 of the second period, and F Bryce Kindopp (34) broke the tie at 3:46 of the third. . . . The Silvertips put it away on two goals from Reece Vitelli, at 17:36 and 18:28 of the third. Vitelli, who has nine goals, put the second one into an empty net. . . . The Cougars were 1-3 on the PP; the Silvertips never had even one opportunity. . . . Everett held a 37-17 edge in shots, including 14-5 and 16-5 in the first and second periods, respectively. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the decision over G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Everett was without F Connor Dewar (ill) for a second straight game. . . . D Sahvan Khaira was back in Everett’s lineup after serving a one-game suspension. He played in his 302nd career regular-season game.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 3-1 deficit with five third-period goals en route to a 6-3 tri-cityvictory over the Red Deer Rebels in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (32-21-3) move into third place in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Red Deer (29-22-5) has lost three in a row. It holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Americans hustled home for this one after losing 3-1 in Kamloops on Monday afternoon. The Rebels hadn’t played since Saturday, so were well-rested. . . . The Rebels finished their U.S. Division swing at 1-3-1. . . . F Brandon Hagel (33) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the first period. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin tied it, on a PP, at 5:18. . . . The Rebels went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Chris Douglas (13), at 13:43 of the first period, and F Brett Davis (18), on a PP, at 1:12 of the third period. . . . The Americans pulled even on goals from F Riley Sawchuk (17), at 4:17, and F Sasha Mutala (16), at 5:17. . . . AuCoin (35) scored on a PP at 6:43 for a 4-3 lead. . . . F Kyle Olson (21), at 16:42, and F Krystof Hrabik (15), into an empty net, at 18:20 put it away. . . . Olson also had two assists. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 36 shots to earn the victory.


F Kaid Oliver scored twice and added two assists to help the host Victoria Royals to a 6-2 VictoriaRoyalsvictory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kelowna won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . Victoria (30-24-3) is second in the B.C. Division, 10 points ahead of Kelowna. . . . The Rockets (24-29-5) are third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Blazers and Rockets have three games remaining in their season series. Kamloops is 4-2-1; Kelowna is 3-3-1. . . . On Monday, the Rockets opened the doubleheader on Vancouver Island by dumping the Royals, 5-2. . . . Last night, Victoria took control with three goals, two of them from Oliver, before the game was eight minutes old. . . . F Logan Doust (5) got the Royals started 44 seconds into the game. . . . Oliver made it 2-0 at 4:31 and 3-0, on a PP, at 7:52. . . . Two early second-period goals put the home boys ahead 5-0. F Phillip Schultz (14) scored, on a PP, 23 seconds in, and F Tarun Fizer (12) scored at 5:21. . . . Oliver assisted on both second-period goals, giving him his second career four-point game. . . . F Leif Mattson (20), at 11:22, and F Nolan Foote (29), on a PP, at 16:41, counted for the Rockets. . . . Victoria’s final goal came from F Kody McDonald (17) at 11:39 of the third period. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 34 shots for the Royals as he earned his 111th career regular-season victory. . . . The WHL record for most career regular-season victories by a goaltender is 120, and is shared by Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92) and Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09). The Royals have only 11 games remaining, so Outhouse, 20, is running out of time if he hopes to get to 120 victories. . . . The Rockets welcomed back F Liam Kindree (broken nose) after a nine-game absence, but they remain without F Ted Brennan and D Matt Barberis. . . . The Royals were without D Jake Kustra, who sat out a one-game suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct in Monday’s game.


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