Ice takes out Warriors; Oil Kings next up . . . Ostapchuk key as Giants stay alive against Blazers. . . . Hanas fills hat for Winterhawks

And then there were six . . .

The Winnipeg Ice, the WHL’s best regular-season team, finished off the visiting WHLplayoffs2022Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday night, taking the Eastern Conference semifinal in five games. The No. 1 Ice will meet the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference final. That series, which will follow a 2-3-2 format for travel reasons, is scheduled to open in Winnipeg with games on May 20 and 21. . . .

Meanwhile, it’ll be a quiet Saturday night in the WHL — with the exception of Portland, of course. Six teams with championship dreams still are alive, but only the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds will be on the ice tonight. . . . They played Friday night in Kent, Wash., with the Winterhawks posting a 5-1 victory. That means they lead the Western Conference semifinal, 3-1, going into tonight’s game in Portland. . . .

The other Western Conference semifinal is to resume Sunday in Langley, B.C. The Vancouver Giants stayed alive last night with a 5-2 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops, which now leads that series, 3-2.

——

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice erased a 2-0 first-period deficit and went on to beat WinnipegIcethe No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-3. . . . The Ice won the conference semifinal, 4-1, and will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the final. The No. 2 Oil Kings are 8-0 in the playoffs, having made short work of the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Ice now is 8-2 and will play host to Edmonton for Games 1 and 2 on May 20 and 21. . . . Last night, the Warriors took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ryder Korczak (3), at 0:46, and F Thomas Tien (2), at 15:52, in the first period. . . . The Ice scored the next four goals. F Zachary Benson (8) cut the deficit to one at 17:04, before Winnipeg took control with three second-period goals — F Matt Savoie (5) tied it at 1:39; F Cole Muir (2) made it 3-2 at 11:12; and F Conor Geekie (3) upped it to 4-2 at 15:04. . . . F Atley Calvert (3) got the Warriors to within one, on a PP, at 17:04, but that was it for the visitors. . . . Savoie (6) added his second goal at 4:03 and F Mikey Milne (9), who also had two assists, scored a shorthanded empty-netter at 18:28. . . . The Ice got 23 saves from G Daniel Hauser, while G Carl Tetachuk stopped 22 shots for the Warriors. . . .The Warriors had D Daemon Hunt, their captain, back in the lineup. Hunt, who is to turn 20 on Sunday, last played on March 19. . . .

If you’re wondering, Winnipeg and Edmonton met four times during the regular season, with the Oil Kings winning three times. However, three of the games were played in 2021. Edmonton won at home, 3-1, on Oct. 29, and 3-2 in Winnipeg on Dec. 8. . . . The Ice won, 5-2, at home on Dec. 11 on a night when four of Edmonton’s top players — G Sebastian Cossa, F Dylan Guenther, D Kaiden Guhle and F Jake Neighbours, each of them an NHL first-round draft pick — were with Canada’s national junior team. . . . In the most-recent clash, the Oil Kings won, 6-3, on Feb. 21.

——

Western Conference

In Kamloops, the No. 8 Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last four goals, all Kamloopsin the third period, and beat the No. 2 Blazers, 5-2. . . . Kamloops leads the series, 3-2, with Game 5 scheduled for Sunday in Langley, B.C. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk, the WHL’s leading playoff scorer, had two goals and two assists for Vancouver. He has 23 points, two more than linemate Fabian Lysell. . . . The Blazers led this one 2-1 after two periods as F Luke Toporowski (7) and F Matthew Seminoff (3) sandwiched a Vancouver goal by F Adam Hall (9). . . . F Ty Thorpe (3) got the Giants into a 2-2 tie at 1:33 of the third period and Ostapchuk (6) put them out front at 2:32. . . . Hall (10), who also had an assist, and Ostapchuk (7) later added empty-netters. Hall leads the WHL playoffs in goals. . . . G Jesper Vikman had a big night for the Giants, stopping 35 shots, 14 more than G Dylan Garand of the Blazers. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Cross Hanas scored three times and added an assist to lead the PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland leads the series, 3-1. . . . They’ll meet again tonight, this time back in Portland. . . . The Winterhawks had lost Game 3, 5-0, at home on Wednesday night. . . . Portland’s PP went into the game with three goals in its past 23 opportunities. Last night, it was 3-for-4. . . . Hanas (2) got his guys started at 7:09 of the first period and F Tyson Kozak (2) made it 2-0 at 14:35. . . . Seattle F Lukas Svejkovsky (6) scored a PP goal at 4:56 of the second period. . . . Portland got second-period goals from Hanas (3), at 11:42, and F Jack O’Brien (2), at 17:44, both via the PP. . . . Hanas (4) finished the scoring with a shorthanded empty-netter at 19:41. . . . F Kyle Chyzowki had a big night with three assists. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 31 shots for Portland, including a late second-period penalty-shot attempt by F Reid Schaefer with Portland leading 4-1. . . . Seattle got 17 stops from G Thomas Milic. . . . According to Winterhawks historian Andy Kemper, Hanas’s hat trick was Portland’s first in the playoffs since F Nic Petan turned the trick in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on April 23, 2014.

——

We can’t leave the Kamloops-Vancouver series without a look back to the post-game scene after Game 4, which the visiting Blazers won, 4-2, after F Logan Stankoven broke a 2-2 tie with a late PP goal.

It was then when Michael Dyck, the Giants’ head coach, told us without telling us that he wasn’t impressed with the officiating.

“With the price of gas these days, I can’t waste money on fines,” he said when asked about the men in stripes, who were booed off the ice at game’s end.

“The fans have a pretty good idea what’s going on,” he said in complimenting the home crowd.

Shortly after Stankoven’s goal, the Giants were hit with a minor penalty for too many men on the ice.

“The too-many-men . . . you’d have to ask their bench,” Dyck said. “They called it. We didn’t.”

And what did Stankoven, who added an empty-netter on the late PP, think of the officiating?

“I think it was very fair,” he said.

(The quotes here were lifted from a story by Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. That story is right here.)


Organic


From The Canadian Press: A Canadian warship has been hit with an outbreak of COVIDCOVID-19 while preparing for an overseas deployment in the Pacific. HMCS Winnipeg is back home in Esquimalt, B.C., after seven sailors tested positive, only weeks before the ship is due to participate in a major training exercise and two overseas missions. . . .

The Vancouver Whitecaps will be without at least two players — Ryan Gauld and Tosaint Ricketts — when they meet the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS action today. Both are in health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. . . .

From The New York Times: New coronavirus cases surged in most counties in New York State this week, putting them on “high” alert under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and triggering recommendations for indoor masking, including inside schools. The state refrained from imposing an indoor mask mandate, but health officials on Friday afternoon did urge residents living in counties that have been placed on “medium” or “high” alert to wear masks in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. . . . As of Thursday, the average of new cases stood at more than 10,000 a day, according to a New York Times database. New cases have increased 47 percent over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations have increased 28 percent over that time period, to an average of more than 2,600 a day.

Also from The New York Times: Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand who led the island nation through the pandemic, has tested positive for the coronavirus, her office said.


Goals


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Tri-City Americans announced Friday that Bryan Collier won’t be back as the club’s equipment manager. Collier had joined the Americans on June 1, 2021, after working with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. Prior to that, he worked with the Seattle Thunderbirds where his father, Brent, has been the equipment manager since 1994. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, who trailed 2-0 in the best-of-five first-round series, beat the Halifax Mooseheads, 2-1, in Game 5 on Friday night. The game had been scheduled for Thursday night but was moved after the teams played into a third OT in Game 4 on Wednesday.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you feel so inclined you are able to sponsor her right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Horse

Ostapchuk sparks Giants in first-round WHL stunner . . . SJHL has new commissioner . . . Allan, Dach off to AHL

You are free to wonder about the chances of the Lucius brothers both playing in the WHL next season, Chad with the Portland Winterhawks and Cruz with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . After completing his freshman season at the U of Minnesota with nine goals and 10 assists in 24 games, Chad signed with the Winnipeg Jets on April 27. He was the 18th overall selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. That came three years after the Winterhawks selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Chad, who turned 19 on Monday, is eligible to play next season in the NHL, with the Jets’ AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, or in Portland. . . . Cruz, 18, had committed to playing at Minnesota starting in 2022-23; however, he de-committed on Monday and now is exploring his options. The Thunderbirds selected him in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. Cruz is coming off two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Chad spent two seasons there, too, before going to Minnesota.


Kyle McIntyre is the new commissioner of the 12-team SJHL. He takes over SJHLfrom Bill Chow, who resigned after spending 11 years in the position. . . . From an SJHL news release: “McIntyre, a Saskatoon product, played U18 hockey with his hometown Contacts and Blazers before playing four seasons in the SJHL with Swift Current and Yorkton. He also served recently on the board of directors for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos and Saskatchewan High School Athletics and was heavily involved in both minor hockey and minor baseball in Swift Current.

“McIntyre holds a Master of Educational Administration and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan and recently retired after a 30-year career in education including the past 20 years in a senior leadership position. McIntyre will assume the role fully on June 1.”


Dumbass


And then there were eight. . . . The first round of the WHL playoffs concluded on WHLplayoffs2022Monday night as the host Vancouver Giants eliminated the Everett Silvertips. . . . So now it’s on to the second round, which will open on Thursday with the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels visiting the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings. The other Eastern Conference series is to being on Friday with the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors in Winnipeg to meet the No. 1 Ice. . . . In the Western Conference, the No. 8 Giants will be in Kamloops to face the No. 2 Blazers on Friday, while the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds will open at home in Kent, Wash., to the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. Due to building availability in Portland — the arena is booked for high school graduation ceremonies — the Portland-Seattle series will have a 1-2-1-1-1-1-1 format. . . . Meanwhile, here’s a look at what happened last night in Langley, B.C. . . .

——

MONDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants scored three first-period goals, each one from a defenceman, as they completed one of the biggest playoff upsets in WHL Vancouverhistory with a 6-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The No. 8 Giants, who finished 47 points behind the No. 1 Silvertips, won the series, 4-2. . . . How large was this upset? Prior to the game, Steve Ewen of Postmedia wrote: “Since the junior league went to a 16-team post-season split between two conferences in 2002, a No. 8 seed has never beaten a No. 1 in the first round of the playoffs, according to the league office.” . . . D Connor Horning (2) gave the Giants 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 1:15, with D Alex Cotton (4) upping it to 2-0 at 3:15, and D Mazden Leslie (2) making it 3-0 at 11:43. . . . After Horning’s goal, the Giants’ PP was 13-31 (41.9) in the playoffs. In the regular season, it operated at 17.7, good for 18th in the 22-team league. . . . F Ben Hemmerling (1) got Everett to within two goals at 12:40 of the second, only to have F Zack Ostapchuk (3), who assisted on each of the first two goals, get that one back at 17:51. . . . F Ryan Hofer’s sixth goal of the series, on a PP, at 10:00 of the third period cut the Everett deficit to two. . . . Vancouver restored its three-goal lead when D Damian Palmieri (1) scored at 15:32. . . . F Adam Hall’s seventh goal in six games, at 16:52, upped the lead to 6-2. . . . Everett D Jonny Lambos (1) closed out the scoring at 18:35. . . . Ostapchuk finished with a goal and four assists, giving him a WHL-leading 16 points, including 13 assists, in the series. . . . F Fabian Lysell added four assists. He totalled 15 points in the series. . . . The Silvertips were without three of their five leading scorers. Already without 46-goal F Jackson Berezowski (season-ending surgery), they lost F Niko Huuhtanen to an apparent leg injury in Game 5 on Saturday. He didn’t play last night and neither did F Michal Gut. Those three combined for 101 goals and 126 assists in the regular season.


Marty Hastings covers the Kamloops Blazers for Kamloops This Week.


PhoneBooth


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: D Nolan Allan of the Prince Albert Raiders has joined the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. Allan, 19, has signed with the Blackhawks, who selected him 32nd overall in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . F Colton Dach of the Kelowna Rockets also has joined the IceHogs. Dach, 19, was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2021 draft and signed an NHL contract on Oct. 1. . . . Rockford opens a best-of-three first-round series against the visiting Texas Stars on Wednesday. . . .

Nick Oliver is the new head coach of the USHL’s Fargo Force. He had been an assistant coach with the St. Cloud State Huskies since 2018, after working as assistant coach/director of scouting with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede for three seasons (2015-18). He also spent two seasons (2009-11) playing with the Force. He replaces Scott Langer, who spent one season as head coach. The Force was 28-28-4 and lost out in the first round of the playoffs. Langer remains the winningest regular-season coach in NAHL history, thanks to a five-season run with the Aberdeen, S.D., Wings.


Oz


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Brunch

Ex-WHL goaltender making saves in Ukraine . . . Raiders’ reign gets chilled in Winnipeg . . . Wild and crazy night in Langley

Michael Garnett played two seasons in the WHL, starting with the Red Deer Rebels in 2000-01. He was traded to his hometown Saskatoon Blades during that season, then got into 67 games with the Blades in 2001-02. . . . His pro career included 24 games with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers before he went to the KHL and and ultimately finished up with two seasons with the Nottingham Panthers of the Elite Ice Hockey League. . . . So where is Garnett today? Well, the 39-year-old Saskatoon native and his wife, Rebecca, have spent the past month at the border between Poland and Ukraine working with refugees. . . . Check out their story in the tweet posted below.


Sleep


Allow me to take time to commend Dennis Williams and Michael Dyck, the head coaches of the Everett Silvertips and Vancouver Giants, respectively, for going WHLold school in a playoff game on Wednesday night. . . . It almost was like back in the day when coaches provided some entertainment value and gave folks something to talk about, and often resulted in this question: “Were they just trying to sell tickets?” Ahh, those were the days, when coaches would climb on partitions and try to get at each other, or they would meet under the stands and engage in, yes, fisticuffs. . . .

Williams and Dyck are embroiled in a best-of-seven first-round WHL playoff series that has, at times, gotten a bit heated, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. . . . As Steve Ewen of Postmedia wrote on Thursday, “The benches at the Langley Events Centre are side-by-side and Everett coach Dennis Williams came toward the partition that separates them and began yelling at the Vancouver group, and presumably counterpart Michael Dyck, during a stoppage in play with one minute left and the Silvertips leading 6-2 in Game 3 on Wednesday . . .” . . . Two Vancouver players — D Tom Cadieux and F Matthew Edwards — had been ejected and would miss Friday’s Game 4 with one-game suspensions. . . . When things quieted down and the teams lined up for a face-off with 60 seconds left, Williams chose to call a timeout. . . . Ewen reported that “prompted Dyck to start yelling at the Everett bench.” . . .

Ewen wrote: “Neither Dyck nor Williams was willing to get into particulars after Wednesday’s game about what was said. Dyck admitted he was upset by the timeout, saying it was something that he wouldn’t do at that stage of the game with the score 6-2. Williams admitted he ‘didn’t like’ the Edwards hit on (D Ty) Gibson.” . . . Williams also said that it all was “heat-of-the-moment” stuff. . . . The interesting thing here is that Dyck and Williams have coached together with the Canadian team that played in the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and again with Canada’s national junior team. They didn’t let that stand between them adding some colour to the proceedings. . . . And things didn’t cool off  a whole lot last night as the Giants skated to an 11-6 victory in a wild and crazy Game 4.


Waffles


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Only two teams in WHL history have been the defending champions for three PrinceAlbertseasons or more in a row. The New Westminster Bruins actually ruled for four straight seasons (1974-78), something that involved four consecutive championships. The Raiders’ reign was a bit quirkier; they won the Ed Chynoweth Cup on May 13, 2019, then COVID got in the way so there weren’t any playoffs in 2020 or 2021. That, of course, meant that the WHL hasn’t had another champion since 2019, so the Raiders were the defending champions when this playoff run began. . . . Unfortunately for them, their three-year reign ended on Friday night in Winnipeg as they lost, 8-2, to the Ice, which won the series, 4-1. . . . Here’s a brief look at last night’s goings-on . . .

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., the No. 8 Vancouver Giants got two goals and four assists from VancouverF Zack Ostapchuk, their captain, as they skated to a wild 11-6 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 scheduled for tonight in Everett. They’ll be back in Langley for Game 6 on Monday. . . . Vancouver took a 6-4 lead into the third period, only to have Everett tie it on goals from F Jacob Wright (5), his third of the game, at 0:12, and D Olen Zellweger (2), at 2:49. . . . The Giants responded with the game’s last five goals — Ostapchuk (2), at 5:55, F Colton Langkow (2), at 5:40, F Fabian Lysell (3), at 9:27, D Evan Toth (1), at 14:14, and F Kyle Bochek (1), at 19:46. . . . Everett held a 3-1 lead at 11:16 of the first period, but the Giants scored the next three goals, taking a 4-3 lead when D Alex Cotton scored at 5:00 of the second. . . . F Hunter Campbell (3) tied it at 9:48, with the Giants taking a 6-4 lead on Cotton’s second goal of the game, at 13:32, and Lysell, at 15:47. . . . Cotton also had two assists, for a four-point outing. . . . D Connor Horning had three assists for the winners. . . . Wright also had an assist, giving him four points. . . . Each team had 30 shots. . . . Vancouver was 4-for-7 on the PP; Everett was 2-for-6. . . . Everett F Jackson Berezowski, a 46-goal man, was scratched again. An undisclosed injury has kept him out of the first five games of this series. . . .

In Spokane, F Logan Stankoven scored three times to lead the No. 2 Kamloops KamloopsBlazers to a 3-0 victory over the No. 7 Chiefs. . . . The Blazers swept the series, outscoring the Chiefs, 23-3, in the process. . . . G Dylan Garand blocked 20 shots as he put up his second clean sheet of the series. . . . Kamloops outshot Spokane, 45-20. . . . Stankoven scored at 3:12 of the first period, 18:17 of the second and 5:59 of the third. . . . He finished the four games with 13 points, including seven goals. . . . F Luke Toporowski, acquired by the Blazers from the Chiefs during the season, had two assists.  He put up five goals and five assists in the series. . . . The series opened with three games in Kamloops because the Chiefs’ facility wasn’t available thanks to a concert by Sir Paul McCartney on Thursday night. Had the series continued, Games 5 and 6 also would have been played in Spokane . . . The Chiefs scratched G Mason Beaupit with an undisclosed injury. They got 42 stops from G Cooper Michaluk. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Matt Rempe, who was scratched from Game 4, scored twice, Seattleincluding the OT winner, as the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds beat the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-3. . . . The Thunderbirds won the series, 4-1. . . . The WHL’s online scoresheet has Kelowna F Nolan Flamand scoring the game’s first goal, at 5:09 of the second period. But Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ longtime play-by-play voice, says it was F Max Graham. So who are you going to believe — the scoresheet or the voice? I’m going with Bartel. . . . Seattle took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Jared Davidson (3), at 9:47 of the second period, Rempe, at 7:24 of the third, and F Jordan Gustafson (2), at 10:19. . . . The Rockets tied it on goals 10 seconds apart from D Jake Lee (1), at 12:24, and F Gabriel Szturc (2), at 12:34. . . . Rempe won it with his third goal of the series at 1:20 of OT. . . . The Thunderbirds held a 44-21 edge in shots.

——

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice scored four times in the first period en route to an 8-2 WinnipegIcevictory over the No. 8 Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Ice, which outscored the Raiders, 27-9, won the series, 4-1, and will open the second round at home on Friday against either the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors or No. 6 Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Winnipeg held a 13-1 edge in shots in the first period, and 35-13 through 60 minutes. . . . F Zach Benson (5), who also had an assist, and F Connor McClennon (4) each scored twice for the Ice, with F Mikey Milne (5) also scoring once. . . . F Jack Finley (1) had a goal and two assists. . . . The Ice had F Matt Savoie back in the lineup, and he scored once and added an assist. He missed three games with an apparent leg injury after being hurt in Game 1. . . .

In Red Deer, F Kai Uchacz scored twice as the No. 3 Rebels beat the No. 6 RedDeerBrandon Wheat Kings, 3-1. . . . The Rebels hold a 3-2 lead in the series, with Game 6 scheduled for Sunday in Brandon. . . . Uchacz gave his guys a 1-0 lead, on a PP, just 47 seconds into the game. . . . F Jhett Larson (1) made it 2-0 at 12:32 of the first period. . . . Brandon got to within a goal at 6:28 of the third when D Vincent Iorio (1) scored. . . . Uchacz provided insurance with his second goal of the game and series at 13:03. . . . G Chase Coward earned the victory with 27 saves. . . . This now is the lone Eastern Conference series remaining alive, as the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings and No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors all have advanced to the second round. . . . Should Red Deer win this series, the second round will have Winnipeg meet Moose Jaw and Edmonton play Red Deer. A Brandon victory in seven games would mean Winnipeg gets the Wheat Kings with Edmonton drawing Moose Jaw. . . .

In Moose Jaw, the No. 4 Warriors got out to an early 2-0 lead and were never MooseJaw2headed as they doubled the No. 5 Saskatoon Blades, 6-3. . . . The Warriors swept the series. . . . F Jagger Firkus (3) scored twice and added an assist for the Warriors, giving them a 1-0 lead at 5:55 of the first period and making it 3-1 at 8:52 of the second. . . . F Josh Pillar (3) kept the Blades close with two goals, getting his side to within one twice, at 2-1 and 3-2. . . . F Thomas Tien (1) restored Moose Jaw’s two-goal lead at 5:26 of the third period, only to have F Trevor Wong (1) pull Saskatoon close again, at 12:47. . . . The Warriors iced it when F Atley Calvert (2) scored at 16:22, then F Robert Baco (1) got the empty-netter at 18:09. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (1) had a goal and two assists for the Warriors.


Apple


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: G Garin Bjorklund of the Medicine Hat Tigers has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals. Bjorklund, 19, was selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft. He has been with the Hershey Bears, the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, since signing an amateur tryout agreement with them on April 20. . . .

The QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders and the host Moncton Wildcats were tied 2-2 when the Friday night game went to a shootout. It took 19 rounds before the Islanders won, 3-2. The 38 shooters combined to score five goals. F Xavier Simoneau, the second shooter in the 19th round, won it.


You may think it’s over but it isn’t. Far from it. . . . Valour FC was to have played its Canadiap Premier League home-opener in Winnipeg on Sunday, but that won’t happen. The match has been postponed, according to a news release, “due to league COVID protocols, based on advice from medical experts.” . . . Valour has had at least three players and two coaches test positive. . . . The scheduled opponent, the Hamilton-based Forge FC, was to have flown into Winnipeg today.


Dog


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Monopoly

WHL exempt from Alberta gov’t restrictions . . . AJHL has another team on virus leave . . . Rebels’ Sexsmith opens up about the season


If you’re paying attention, you already know that COVID-19 had another good day on Thursday.

In fact, you have to wonder if behind closed doors junior hockey operators are WHL2starting to wonder if the 2021-22 season is going to start anywhere close to on time, at least in Western Canada. Because — and let’s be honest here — we aren’t anywhere close to seeing the end of this.

When Alberta released its Thursday numbers, they were the worst the province has seen since the pandemic began in the early days of 2020.

So, from the Department of Better Late Than Never, the Alberta government responded with restrictions that cover various cities with particularly horrendous numbers, like Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Red Deer, each of them home to a WHL franchise.

Part of those restrictions included this:

“All indoor fitness activities are prohibited. This includes: all group physical activities, such as team sports, fitness classes and training sessions; all one-on-one lessons and training activities; all practices, training and games.”

But never fear WHL fans because it seems your favourite teams are exempt from these restrictions. With Red Deer playing on Thursday night, Rebels interim radio voice Troy Gillard tweeted that a “team official tells me the WHL does indeed remain exempt and games will continue as scheduled.”

Other areas under the restrictions are Airdrie, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Strathcona County, which includes Sherwood Park.

It would appear that the AJHL, like the WHL, is exempt from the restrictions because the Grande Prairie Storm is at home to the Sherwood Park Crusaders tonight (Friday) and Saturday, with the teams to play next weekend in Sherwood Park.


Plague


The AJHL has suspended the team activities of another team — the Calgary Canucks — after a positive COVID-19 test result was identified within the ajhlteam’s cohort. As per the league’s return-to-play protocols, the Canucks are on hold for at least 14 days. They were scheduled to play the Drayton Valley Thunder in Calgary tonight (Friday), on the road Sunday and May 7, and May 9 in Calgary, but those games all have been cancelled. . . .

On Tuesday, the AJHL halted team activities for the Whitecourt Wolverines and Bonnyville Pontiacs for 14 days because of a positive test in the Wolverines’ group. Those two teams had played each other on Saturday and Sunday. . . .

On Sunday, the Okotoks Oilers were put on hold for 14 days because of a positive test in their cohort. . . .

On April 23, the Drumheller Dragons experienced a positive test and they, too, were shut down for 14 days. . . .

On Wednesday, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons announced that they were ending their season out of an abundance of concern for the safety of players, billets and their community, which is under a local state of emergency. . . .

The league has seven teams up and running — Drayton Valley, Grande Prairie Storm, Sherwood Park Crusaders and Spruce Grove Saints in the North Division, and Brooks Bandits, Camrose Kodiaks and Olds Grizzlys in the South Division.

With seven teams and three two-team cohorts, the Spruce Grove Saints were left without a partner. That problem went away with the news regarding the Canucks. So the Saints are to play the Thunder tonight (Friday) in Spruce Grove and Saturday in Drayton Valley.

The AJHL schedule is to conclude on May 8.


File this under The Best Laid Plans: The Los Angeles Rams rented and outfitted a 9,000-square-foot beach house in Malibu from which their personnel was to set up shop and conduct the NFL draft. . . . On Thursday, general manager Les Snead announced that he has tested positive so will isolate at home and conduct the draft from there.


Retire


Mark Brennan, the Portland Winterhawks’ equipment manager, announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of this season. He has been the club’s equipment manager since 2012, after also working with, among others, the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers. When Portland’s season ends on May 11, Brennan will have worked 2,251 games. The Winterhawks’ news release is right here.

Brennan wasn’t behind a bench on Thursday night — he’ll be there tonight with Portland playing host to the Everett Silvertips — but there were three other WHL games . . .

In Lethbridge, the Medicine Hat Tigers broke a 1-1 tie with two shorthanded Tigersgoals and went on to beat the Hurricanes, 6-2. . . . Medicine Hat (13-6-1) had lost its previous three games. . . . Lethbridge is 8-11-2. . . . F Brett Kemp gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 6:44 of the first period, with F Jett Jones (5) getting the Hurricanes even at 12:07. . . . D Cole Clayton (9) sent the Tigers out front with the first shorthanded goal, at 3:51 of the second period, with F Nick McCarry (7) adding the second one at 10:48. . . . Medicine Hat put it away with the next three goals, too — Kemp’s second and 12th of the season, and two from F Lukas Svejkovsky, who also has 12. . . . F Ty Nash (2) got Lethbridge’s second goal on a late PP. . . .

F Cael Zimmerman’s OT goal gave the visiting Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 victory Calgaryover the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Hitmen improved to 9-7-2. . . . The Rebels (2-15-3) have lost 13 in a row (0-12-1). . . . F Josh Prokop (9) put Calgary out front, while shorthanded, at 2:39 of the first period and the teams exchanged goals through game’s end. . . . F Carter Anderson (2) got Red Deer even at 13:19, with D Jackson van de Least (3) replying for Calgary at 17:40. . . . Red Deer tied it on D Jace Weir’s second goal at 19:52. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (5) put the Hitmen back out front, 3-2, at 10:18 of the second period. . . . F Chris Douglas (6) forced OT with a Red Deer score at 12:48 of the third. . . . Zimmerman won it with his sixth goal of the season, at 4:19 of extra time. . . . Calgary F Sean Tschigel had two assists, giving him 18 points, including 10 goals, in 18 games. He went into this season with five goals and nine assists in 64 games. . . .

BTW, if you are interested in a good story about what life’s been like with the RedDeerstruggling Rebels who have been living in the arena since this season began, here’s a taste from D Joel Sexsmith:

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t really tough,” the 19-year-old told Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate. “It hasn’t been easy here. It certainly hasn’t been easy when you’re losing, too. I think the dynamic would shift if we’d been winning all the time and we haven’t been, that’s just the reality.

“We live here, we look at the rink every day and it kind of serves as a reminder that we are where we are in the standings. I think that’s really tough mentally. I would say I’m really grateful that I’m able to go through this with this group of guys. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I love this group of guys on this team.” . . . Hackett’s complete piece is right here and it’s well worth a read. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff broke a 3-3 tie at 18:27 of the third period as the Kelowna RocketsRockets beat the visiting Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . The Rockets (7-2-0) have won four in a row. . . . The Giants (9-7-0) have lost four straight. . . . Swetlikoff’s fourth goal of the season stood up as the winner. . . . Kelowna D Jake Lee (2) had tied the game at 14:29 of the third. . . . Vancouver led this one 2-0 on two first-period goals from F Zack Ostapchuk, at 9:03 and 9:40. . . . Ostapchuk, who has six goals in 16 games this  season, finished last season with five in 44 games as a freshman. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (4) got Kelowna’s first goal, on a PP, at 13:21. . . . The Rockets tied it on F Turner McMillen’s first WHL goal, shorthanded, at 4:19 of the second. That was Kelowna’s fifth shorthanded score in nine games. . . . McMillen was a ninth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He played two games last season and this was No. 9 this season. . . . Vancouver went back out front when F Bryce Bader (4) scored at 7:40. . . . Watching the replay of the winning goal, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s changed to F Mark Liwiski, who appeared to score off a Swetlikoff rebound.


Belarus (2-1-0) secured a quarter-final berth in the IIHF U18 World U18Championship in Texas on Thursday, with a 6-2 victory over Latvia (0-3-0) in Group A. . . . Sweden (2-1-0) beat Switzerland (1-2-0), 3-1, in the other Group A game. . . . In Group B, G Kaidan Mbereko stopped five shooters in the shootout as Team USA beat Czech Republic, 2-1. . . . In the other Group B game, Russia (2-0-1) skated past Germany (0-3-0), 6-1. . . . There are two games scheduled for today — Canada (2-0-0) meets Switzerland in Group A, while Finland (2-0-0) plays Germany in Group B.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Monkees

Blades have their new coach . . . Capitals have WHL flavour, too . . . Giants sign first-round pick

MacBeth

F Taylor Vause (Swift Current, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had 13 goals and 25 assists in 53 games. . . .

F Kevin King (Kootenay, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite), he had 28 goals and 34 assists in 55 games. The team captain, he led the Lightning in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Tyler Redenbach (Prince George, Swift Current, Lethbridge, 2001-05) signed a one-year extension with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He started this season with Tappara Tampere (Finland, Liiga), scoring once in 10 games. He signed with Liberec on Oct. 13 and finished with 12 goals and nine assists in 42 games.


ThisThat

The Saskatoon Blades are expected to introduce Mitch Love as their new head coach at a news conference this afternoon (Wednesday).

Love, who had been assistant to the general manager/assistant coach with the Everett SaskatoonSilvertips, replaced Dean Brockman in Saskatoon. Brockman had spent four seasons with Saskatoon, two as an assistant coach and the last two as head coach.

Love, 33, is from Quesnel, B.C. A hard-nosed defenceman, he played with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos and the Silvertips (2000-05). He was the Everett captain in his last of two seasons there and is one of the most popular players in that franchise’s history.

He went on to a six-season pro career, playing in the AHL, ECHL and CHL, before starting his coaching career in Everett. Love just completed his seventh season as an assistant with the Silvertips. He twice has coached Canadian teams at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.

The Blades interviewed Love during the WHL playoffs with the Silvertips involved in a second-round series with the Portland Winterhawks. Following the second game of that series there was a two-day break. A source has told Taking Note that Love met with Blades’ management at Vancouver International Airport.

The Blades have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons. In fact, the last time they advanced past the second round was in 1994-95. They have missed the playoffs 11 times since that season.

Harley Love, Mitch’s father, is one of the Blades’ B.C. scouts.

The Edmonton Oil Kings, Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos now are the only WHL teams looking to hire head coaches.

The Oil Kings fired Steve Hamilton, their head coach for the past four seasons, on Monday.

The Blazers are looking for a replacement for Don Hay, the winningest coach in WHL regular-season and playoff history, who moved into an advisory role after four seasons as head coach.

Manny Viveiros, who guided Swift Current to the WHL championship earlier in the month, left the Broncos on Friday and now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.


Might the Regina Pats make a coaching change before the 2018-19 season gets here? Greg PatsHarder of the Regina Leader-Post reports that John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, is expected to step aside as head coach at some point this summer. Paddock, 63, would then focus on his duties as general manager, allowing Dave Struch, the assistant GM/assistant coach, to take over as head coach. . . . Paddock and Struch, a former head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, have worked together through four seasons with the Pats. . . . Harder’s story is right here.


A few days ago, I wrote about the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and the number of men with NHL ties, not including players, who are involved with the team.

I was remiss in not doing the same thing with the Washington Capitals, who  have some Capitalsserious WHL connections as they meet the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup final.

At a glance, here are the men with WHL ties who are involved off the the ice with the Capitals:

Ross Mahoney, assistant general manager — Mahoney, 61, spent two seasons (1993-95) as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats. He then spent three seasons as an amateur scout with the Buffalo Sabres, before moving on to the Capitals. Mahoney is in his 18th season with Washington — 14 as director of amateur scouting and the last four as AGM. . . . Did you know: Mahoney was the leading hitter — he hit .636 — and all-star right field in helping the Melville, Sask., Elks win the 1973 Canadian midget baseball championship.

——

Barry Trotz, head coach — Trotz, 55, was a defenceman for three seasons (1979-82) with the Regina Pats. He played in the 1980 Memorial Cup with the WHL-champion Pats. Trotz is in his fourth season as Washington’s head coach, after spending 15 seasons as head coach of the Nashville Predators. . . . Did you know: Trotz played his 20-year-old season in his hometown of Dauphin, Man., with the Kings of the MJHL. They won the MJHL title and the ANAVET Cup that season.

——

Lane Lambert, assistant coach — Lambert, 53, is from Melfort, Sask. He played in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos (1980-81) and Saskatoon Blades (1981-83). He put up 233 points, including 104 goals, in 136 regular-season games. . . . He went on to a pro career that included 283 regular-season NHL games. . . . Lambert started his coaching career as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors in 2002-03. He took over as head coach of the Prince George Cougars during the 2003-04 season, and also spent 2004-05 there. . . . He was an assistant coach under Barry Krotz in Nashville (2011-14) and is in his fourth season with Washington. . . . Did you know: As a player, Lambert won playoff championships in the IHL (Houston Aeros), AHL (Adirondack Red Wings) and the NLB in Switzerland (HC Ajoie).

——

Olie Kolzig, professional development coach — Kolzig, 48, played goal in the WHL with the New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans (1987-90). . . . He scored a goal for the Americans on Nov. 29, 1989, the first WHL goaltender to manage that feat. . . . Kolzig’s pro career included 10-plus seasons with the Capitals, with whom he won the Vezina Trophy and was named to the first all-star team for the 1999-2000 season. . . . Kolzig has owned a piece of the Tri-City franchise since 2004-05. . . . Did you know: Kolzig’s number (33) has been retired by the Americans.

——

Jason Fitzsimmons, pro scout/minor league operations — Fitzsimmons, 46, is from Regina. A goaltender, he played three seasons (1989-92) with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . He played professionally for six seasons, in the AHL and ECHL, finishing up with the South Carolina Stingrays in 1997-98. . . . He transitioned to coaching with the Stingrays and spent nine more seasons there, the last five as head coach. . . . He joined the Capitals as a pro scout in 2007-08, then added the director of minor league operations to his duties prior to 2016-17. . . . Did you know: Fitzsimmons stepped down as the Stingrays’ head coach after the 2006-07 season and was succeeded by Jared Bednar, who now is head coach of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

——

Brian Sutherby, scout — Sutherby, 36, is from Edmonton. He played four seasons (1998-2002) with the Moose Jaw Warriors, and was a first-round selection by Washington in the NHL’s 2000 draft. He went on to play 460 regular-season NHL games, splitting them between the Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars. He is in his third season on the Washington scouting staff. . . . Did you know: Sutherby retired after playing 25 games with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters. He finished as the team captain, taking over after Bryan Lerg suffered a season-ending knee injury.

——

Alan May, TV analyst — May, now 53, played one season (1985-86) in the WHL — six games with the Medicine Hat Tigers and 32 with the New Westminster Bruins. . . . In a 393-game NHL career, May compiled 1,348 penalty minutes. . . . He now works as an analyst for NBC Sports Washington, where he has been since 2009. . . . Did you know: In 1984-85, May played in 64 games with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. In 64 games, he had 51 goals, 47 assists and, yes, 409 penalty minutes.


The Vancouver Giants have signed F Zack Ostapchuk, their first-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Ostapchuk, who turned 15 on Tuesday, is from St. Albert, Alta. He was the 12th overall pick in the draft. . . . This season, he had 24 goals and 21 assists in 30 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team.

——

WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

——

The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Tri-City Americans have signed F Booker Daniel to a WHL contract. He will turn 17 on Aug. 13. From Vanderhoof, B.C., Daniel spent this season with the major midget Kootenay Ice. He had 16 goals and 15 assists in 26 games with the Ice.


Chris Johnston is the new head coach of the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant to head coach Tyson Ramsey. . . . Johnston, 43, played five seasons (1990-95) in the WHL, splitting time with his hometown Wheat Kings, the Red Deer Rebels and Regina Pats.


Mike Hastings, the head coach at Minnesota State-Mankato, has been named the head coach of USA Hockey’s national junior team. He takes over from David Quinn, who left Boston U earlier this month and now is head coach of the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . Quinn had been named the national junior team’s head coach on April 20. Hastings had been selected as an assistant coach. . . . Scott Sandelin, the head coach at Minnesota-Duluth, has been added to Team USA as an assistant coach, joining David Lassonde, the associate head coach at Dartmouth, and Steve Miller, the associate head coach at Ohio State. . . . The 2019 World Junior Championship is scheduled for Vancouver and Victoria, running from Dec. 26, 2018, through Jan. 5, 2019.


“A medical consultant to the National Hockey League Players’ Association has testified under oath that a top NHL lawyer watered down a warning to players about the long-term dangers of repeated head trauma on a poster displayed in every NHL team dressing room,” writes Rick Westhead, TSN’s senior correspondent, in the second of a five-part series that has been headlined NHL Under Oath. . . . The complete story is right here. . . . Meanwhile, the Toronto Star offered up this editorial right here.


Tweetoftheday

%d bloggers like this: