Hamilton: No plans “right now” to sell Rockets. . . . Hitmen take out Hurricanes. . . . Calgary, Edmonton to open on Saturday


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F Peter Lorentzen (Tri-City, 2001-03) has retired. This season, with the Stavanger Oilers (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had two goals and seven assists in 31 games. He announced on Feb. 27 that he would retire at the end of this season. . . . Stavanger lost Game 6 of a best-of-seven semifinal to Storhamar, 3-1, on Monday night. . . .

F Jaroslav Vlach (Prince George, 2009-11) has signed a three-year plus option year extension with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec, he had seven goals and seven assists in 43 games. He also had four goals and five assists in six games while on loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga).


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The rumours have been strong enough that Bruce Hamilton felt a need to issue a public denial.

Hamilton is the majority owner, president and general manager of the WHL’s Kelowna KelownaRocketsRockets, the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

For the last while there have been rumours circulating throughout the hockey community that the Rockets either are for sale, or that Hamilton will guide the organization through the 2020 Memorial Cup and then sell the franchise.

On Tuesday, he told Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice, that the Rockets aren’t for sale.

“To purchase this thing (franchise) won’t be a small operation, put it that way. It will have to be something big,” Hamilton said. “Someday it will happen, but I have no plans right now to do that. I am enjoying what I am doing. . . .

“It would be news to me if it was sold. I have the most shares, so I don’t think it is going to be sold under my watch right now anyway. I think it is too bad that there is a group of people, I will call ‘agents,’ that phone around and ask questions and then spread rumours which is unfortunate.”

Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, made the point that he still is enjoying his hockey life.

“If my passion wasn’t here, we wouldn’t have bid for the Memorial Cup,” Hamilton said.


If you were following along on Monday night, you will be aware that the WHL playoff game between the visiting Victoria Royals and the Kamloops Blazers was delayed twice Kamloops1due to broken panes of glass.

That glass was due to be replaced anyway, and it all will be gone before another season gets here.

A couple of years ago, the WHL established new standards for boards and glass, and Kamloops’ city council has agreed to fund the necessary changes. Hockey Canada also has been pushing for improvements.

Following Monday’s game, Jeff Putnam, Kamloops’ parks and civic facilities manager, tweeted: “And before next season there will be a brand new board and glass system that is equivalent to NHL standards as well as other facility improvements. The new glass will be ‘acrylic’ which is almost impossible to shatter and much easier to handle for our crew.”

It is believed that the replacement cost will be around $1 million.


The Tri-City Americans have signed G Mason Dunsford to a WHL contract. Dunsford, a 15-year-old from New Westminster, B.C., was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . He played this season with the Elite 15 team at the Burnaby Winter Club, and helped his club with the CSSHL championship. . . . He was 2.60, .911 in 23 regular-season games, then went 2.25, .931 in four playoff appearances.


The ECHL’s Fort Wayne Comets have added G Jiri Patera of the Brandon Wheat Kings and D Dalton Hamaliuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors to their roster. . . . Patera, who turned 20 on Feb. 24, was a sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft. This season, Patera, who is from Praha, Czech Republic, was 22-20-2, 3.31, .906 with the Wheat Kings. . . . Hamaliuk played out his junior eligibility with Moose Jaw, putting of four goals and 19 assists in 66 games this season.


F Noah Philp of the Seattle Thunderbirds has joined the AHL’s Stockton Heat on an ATO. Philp, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 26 goals and 49 assists in 56 games with Seattle this season.


D Dylan MacPherson of the Medicine Hat Tigers has signed an ATO with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds. MacPherson, who played out his junior eligibility this season, spent three seasons with the Tigers. This season, he had two goals and 10 assists in 62 games.


In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup qmjhltournament, beat the visiting Quebec Remparts, 3-1, on Tuesday night in Game 7 of a first-round series. . . . The Remparts went into Game 6 in Halifax on Monday with a 3-2 lead in the series. The Mooseheads tied the series with a 6-1 victory. . . . The Mooseheads (49-15-4) had finished first in the Eastern Conference; the Remparts (27-28-13) were eighth. . . . Next up for the Mooseheads will be the Moncton Wildcats, who beat the Baie-Comeau Drakkars, 3-2, in Game 7 last night.


A former WHL linesman worked his final NHL game on Tuesday night . . .


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NOTES: The only first-round WHL playoff series to go to Game 7 was decided Tuesday night in Lethbridge’s Nicholas Sheran Arena as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . The Hitmen will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. That series will open with games in Edmonton on Saturday and Sunday. . . . The Oil Kings (42-18-8) finished atop the Central Division; the Hitmen (36-26-6) were third. . . . Edmonton was 7-0-1 in the season series; Calgary was 1-6-1. . . . They have met four times since the trade deadline, with Edmonton winning all four — 3-2, 5-1, 6-1 and 3-1. . . . Among the story lines: Steve Hamilton, in his first season as Calgary’s head coach, spent the previous eight seasons with the Oil Kings, the last four as head coach. . . .

There aren’t any WHL playoff games scheduled until Friday night when two series are to open. . . . The Saskatoon Blades will face the Raiders in Prince Albert, while the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants will open in Langley, B.C. . . . The other second-round series will open Saturday night with the Spokane Chiefs visiting the Everett Silvertips. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia — that’s him hard at work in the above tweet — filed a neat story about the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday. It involves head coach Michael Dyck and associate coach Jamie Heward and how they helped unload the team bus in Kent, Wash., the other night, a move that allowed their players to get a bit more rest. . . . That story is right here. . . . Ewen also reported that Giants F Justin Sourdif was in a regular sweater for Tuesday’s practice. Sourdif missed the last five games of the Giants’ six-game first-round victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Vancouver will open the second round in Langley, B.C., against the Victoria Royals on Friday night. . . .

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The visiting Calgary Hitmen scored three first-period goals, two of them by F Carson CalgaryFocht, en route to a 4-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Calgary won the series, 4-3. It was the only one of the eight first-round series to go the distance. . . . The Hitmen will move on to play the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. That series is to open in Edmonton on Saturday. . . . Focht (3) got the Hitmen on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 3:30. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (1) made it 2-0 at 15:23. . . . Focht (4) upped it to 3-0 at 16:19. . . . The Hurricanes cut into the deficit at 2:49 of the second period as F Zachary Cox (2) scored, then got to within a goal at 12:52 on a goal from D Alex Cotton (1). . . . Calgary wasn’t able to put it away until F Mark Kastelic (5) scored an empty-netter at 19:41 of the third period. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots for the Hitmen, two more than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . Lethbridge F Logan Barlage was given a slashing major and game misconduct after he hacked Focht off a game-ending faceoff. Should Barlage be suspended, he will serve it at the beginning of the 2019-20 regular season. . . .

The Hurricanes won the first two games of the series — 3-2 and 4-1 (OT) — in the Enmax Centre, before announced crowds of 3,566 and 3,788. . . . With the world men’s curling championship then taking over that arena, the Hurricanes were forced to move to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorn women’s and men’s hockey teams. The Hitmen won Game 5 there, 6-5, before 1,200 fans, and clinched the series last night in front of 1,151 fans.


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Branch prepping to lobby Ontario gov’t . . . Reid, Brkin spark Chiefs . . . Franklin, Zary lead Blazers’ comeback


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F Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, 2002-06) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one assist in six games with Traktor Chelyabinsk (Russia, KHL) 6 GP, 0+1, and 17 goals and 19 assists in 47 games with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). He led Kunlun Red Star in goals and points. . . .

F/D Curt Gogol (Kelowna, Saskatoon, Chilliwack, 2007-11) has been released by mutual agreement by Manglerud (Norway, GET-Ligaen). He had one goal in six games. Earlier this season, he had one assist in four games with Kalmar (Sweden, Division 1).


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Rick Westhead of TSN reported Friday that David Branch, the OHL commissioner, “has registered as a provincial government lobbyist, a move signalling the league is renewing ohlefforts to argue its players should not be paid at least minimum wage.” . . . Branch doubles as the president of the CHL, the umbrella under which the OHL, WHL and QMJHL operate. . . . Westhead also reported that, according to Ontario’s lobbyist registry, Branch and Toronto-based lawyer Robert Bayne, who also registered as a lobbyist, “plan to meet with Ministry of Labour officials and other members of Queen’s Park to discuss the player wage issue.” . . . To date, seven provinces — B.C., Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan — have passed legislation that exempts major junior hockey teams from minimum wage legislation. Michigan and Washington State also have done so. . . . All of this is ongoing while a class-action lawsuit continues, asking that OHL and WHL players be paid a minimum wage. . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here.

The move by Branch to register as a lobbyist recalls a story written two years ago by Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun. It carried this headline: WHL being back-checked for whlpossibly violating lobby law. . . . Mulgrew wrote: “The Western Hockey League did not register as a lobbyist before leaning on B.C.’s cabinet to exempt major junior players form the minimum wage, the provincial watchdog says.” . . . Records showed that Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, began working the back-channels of the then-Liberal government in March 2015. “The direct lobbying effort worked — cabinet quietly passed an order-in-council on Feb. 15, 2016 granting the league the exemption,” Mulgrew wrote. . . . Erin Beatty, the communications director for the B.C. Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists, told Mulgrew at the time that the regulator now is “acting on the potential incident of non-compliance in this case.” . . . Robison told Mulgrew that the WHL didn’t spent a whole lot of time lobbying “and it was certainly not 100 hours. We were not required to register as a lobbyist.” . . . It’s not known what the outcome of the regulator’s investigation was, and it very well may have quietly disappeared when B.C. elected an NDP government. . . . Mulgrew’s piece from two years ago is right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders have returned D Nolan Allan, 15, to the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. From Davidson, Sask., he was the third-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was pointless in two games with the Raiders.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Wyatt Wylie scord 21 seconds into OT to give the Everett Silvertips a 2-1 victory over Everettthe Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Everett (9-5-0) is 3-2-0 on its East Division trek. . . . The Warriors (5-3-3) have lost two in a row. . . . F Tristin Langan (10) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 15:33 of the first period. . . . D Sahvan Khaira (3) pulled Everett even at 16:47 of the second period. . . . Wylie won it with his third goal of the season. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots for the winners. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. He’s eligible to return tonight as the Silvertips wrap up their eastern swing in Swift Current.


The Medicine Hat Tigers scored four times in the span of 5:59 of the second period en Tigers Logo Officialroute to a 8-5 victory over the host Regina Pats. . . . The Tigers (8-6-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Pats (3-10-0) have lost four straight. They now are 0-8-0 on home ice. . . . The Tigers got two goals and an assist from each of F James Hamblin, who has nine goals, and F Ryan Chyzowski, who has five. . . . F Duncan Pierce (3) gave Regina a 3-2 lead at 8:56 of the second period. . . . The Tigers scored the game’s next five goals, including one from F Logan Christensen (2), who was acquired Wednesday from the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Medicine Hat was 4-for-6 on the PP. . . . According to the online scoresheet, the Pats won 54 of the game’s 75 faceoffs. . . . F Cole Sillinger made his WHL debut for the Tigers. From Regina, he is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. Cole was the 11th-overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Regina Pats Canadians.


F Alex Morozoff scored in OT to give the host Red Deer Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Red DeerSaskatoon Blades. . . . The Rebels improved to 9-4-1. . . . The Blades (8-4-2) have lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . Morozoff won it with his second goal of the season, at 1:21 of extra time. . . . F Jeff de Wit (8) gave Red Deer a 3-1 lead at 11:01 of the second period. . . . The Blades tied it on third-period goals from D Brandon Schuldaus (2) and F Kirby Dach (8), the latter at 17:55. Schuldaus also had two assists. . . . F Brandon Hagel (12) had two goals for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels had a 48-26 edge in shots. . . . F Gary Haden, acquired Thursday by the Blades from the Medicine Hat Tigers, was pointless in his Saskatoon debut. . . . This was the third game between these teams this month, which each holding serve on home ice. They’ll complete the season series in Saskatoon on March 3. . . . Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ GM/head coach, was back behind the bench after missing two games while spending time with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks  on a road trip that included fathers. Sutter’s son, Brandon, plays for the Canucks.


F Zachary Cox broke a 6-6 tie at 13:26 of the third period as the visiting Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes beat the Calgary Hitmen, 7-6. . . . Lethbridge (7-4-3) has points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . Calgary (4-8-2) has lost two in a row. . . . The Hurricanes snapped a 2-2 tie with three goals in a span of 4:10 early in the second period. . . . The Hitmen tied it, 5-5, on F Mark Kastelic’s second goal of the game and 12th of the season at 6:29 of the third. . . . F Jadon Joseph (6) gave Lethbridge a 6-5 lead at 7:31, only to have Calgary F Kaden Elder (6) tie it at 10:29. . . . Cox won it with his third goal of the season. . . . D Igor Merezhko had three assists for the winners, with F Logan Barlage adding a goal, his seventh, and two assists. . . . Kastelic also had two assists for a four-point night, and Elder finished with two goals and an assist. . . . The Hitmen lost F Josh Prokop to a spearing major and game misconduct at 14:18 of the third period. . . .


The Edmonton Oil Kings built a 7-0 second-period lead and went on to a 7-2 victory over EdmontonOilKingsthe Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Oil Kings (7-7-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice slipped to 4-6-3. . . . Edmonton had beaten visiting Kootenay 6-3 on Sunday. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings took control on first-period goals from D Conner McDonald (4), F Scott Atkinson (4) and F Liam Keeler (2). . . . The visitors added four more in the second period and coasted from there. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 39 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . G Sebastian Cossa, who has yet to play this season due to an undisclosed injury, was on the bench backing up Myskiw. . . . The Ice had G Jesse Makaj back in the lineup after he was scratched for one game. He came on in relief of starter Duncan McGovern and stopped six of seven shots in 27:06.


D Nolan Reid had a goal and two assists to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 victory SpokaneChiefsover the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs (7-3-3) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Winterhawks (7-4-1) had won their previous two games. . . . Spokane G Bailey Brkin stopped 36 shots. . . . The Chiefs got out to a 3-0 lead, getting first-period goals from F Carter Chorney (4) and F Eli Zummack (6), shorthanded, and a second-period tally from F Adam Beckman (7), on a PP. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (9) got Portland’s goal 42 seconds into the third period. . . . Reid (2) iced it at 14:29. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan was pointless in his first game after being returned by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. . . . G Dante Giannuzzi made his first WHL start for Portland by stopping 18 shots.


F Zane Franklin scored three times as the Kamloops Blazers erased an early 2-0 deficit Kamloops1and went on to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-2, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Blazers (4-6-1) have won two in a row after a seven-game losing skid (0-6-1). . . . Kamloops hadn’t scored seven or more goals in a game since Feb. 21, 2017 when they beat the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-0. They last scored seven or more goals on the road on Dec. 17, 2016, in an 8-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Thunderbirds (6-3-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Seattle got off to a 2-0 lead on PP goals 50 seconds apart in the first period. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who scored his first two goals of the season, got Kamloops on the board at 11:47 of the first period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (3), playing his first game after serving a four-game suspension, tied it at 7:25 of the second. . . . Franklin then scored twice to give the Blazers a 4-2 lead heading to the third. He completed his second career hat trick with his 10th goal at 6:04 of the third. . . . Kamloops F Connor Zary had two goals, giving him four, and two assists, for his first career four-pointer. A sophomore, Zary went into the game with a goal and three assists in eight games. . . . The Blazers now head for Portland and a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader with the Winterhawks. Portland swept two games in Kamloops — 7-3 and 5-3 — on Oct. 3 and 5.


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