Michigan-based OHL team wants to host Memorial Cup . . . Winterhawks equal franchise record . . . Bedard, Pats selling out B.C. tour


There was an interesting development out of the OHL on Wednesday when it OHLwas announced that the Kingston Frontenacs, Niagara IceDogs, Saginaw Spirit and Soo Greyhounds all have expressed the intent of bidding to play host to the 2024 Memorial Cup. . . . You will be aware that Saginaw is in Michigan; the Memorial Cup hasn’t been played in an American city since 1998 when the Spokane Chiefs were the host team. . . . Bids are to be submitted by Jan. 31 with the winning bid to be announced in March. . . . Kingston, Niagara Falls and Saginaw haven’t served as the host city for a Memorial Cup tournament; it was held in Sault Ste. Marie in 1993. . . . The OHL last played host to the tournament in 2017 when it was in Windsor. . . . The 2023 tournament is scheduled to be held in Kamloops.


You can bet that some WHL teams are paying close attention to the NHL’s RedWingsDetroit Red Wings and the organization’s goaltending situation these days. . . . That’s because the Red Wings claimed G Magnus Hellberg on waivers from the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday. . . . WHL teams are going to be watching to see how Hellberg slots into the goaltending depth chart and just how the dominoes will fall. That’s because the Red Wings already have Ville Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic on their NHL roster, with Victor Brattstrom and Jussi Olkinuora with the AHL-Grand Rapids Griffins. The guy some WHL teams are interested in, Sebastian Cossa, is one of three goaltenders with the ECHL’s Toldeo Walleye. Cossa, 20, was a first-round selection by the Red Wings in the NHL’s 2021 draft. He then backstopped the Edmonton Oil Kings to the 2021-22 WHL championship. . . . The Oil Kings are in a rebuilding mode and haven’t been shy about trading players off that team’s roster; F Jakub Demek, F Shea Van Olm, D Luke Prokop and F Jalen Luypen all have been dealt as Edmonton stockpiles draft picks and younger players. . . . So if the Detroit dominoes fall in such a way that the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Cossa is returned to Edmonton, you have to think his stay there won’t last long.


Run


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

The Portland Winterhawks remain the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams with one Portlandregulation-time loss after they skated out of Everett with a 5-2 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Portland (17-1-2) now has points in 12 straight (10-0-2). . . . Everett (12-8-1) had lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Portland erased a 1-0 first-period deficit with the next four goals. . . . F Dawson Pasternak (4) and F Josh Zakreski (4) each had a goal and an assist for Portland, which held a 45-26 edge in shots, including 18-4 in the second period. . . . The Winterhawks had F Cole Cairns, 15, and F Hudson Darby, 15, in their lineup for the first time, having lost F Kyle Chyzowski and F Diego Buttazzoni to injury. Cairns plays for the U18 team at the RINK Hockey Academy in Winnipeg, while Darby is with the U18 Swift Current Legionnaires. . . . Portland also scratched F Robbie Fromm-Delorme, its leading scorer, and F Jack O’Brien, neither of whom was shown in Tuesday’s roster report. . . . F Jackson Berezowski, who last played on Nov. 4, and D Aidan Sutter were among Everett’s seven scratches. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers got goals from six players as they skated to a 6-1 MedicineHatvictory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers (7-10-5) had lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . The Oil Kings (4-18-1) had won their previous two games. . . . F Mason Finley (5) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead in the first period. . . . The Tigers scored the last six goals, two of them via the PP. . . . F Brendan Lee had a goal (13) and an assist as he ran his goal streak to five games and a point streak to six games. He has 22 points in 22 games this season. Last season, he totalled 21 points in 52 games split between Medicine Hat and the Saskatoon Blades. . . . F Tyler MacKenzie and F Andrew Basha each had three assists. . . .

The Prince George Cougars ran their winning streak to four games with a 5-2 PrinceGeorgevictory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Cougars, who lead the B.C. Division, are 13-9-0. Prince George holds a five-point lead on Kamloops with the Blazers having five games in hand. . . . The Warriors (13-9-0) had won their previous two games. This was the start of their swing through the B.C. Division. . . . The Warriors led 2-0 late in the first period, but the Cougars tied it on two goals from F Caden Brown (6) before the period ended. Brown also had an assist for a three-point night. . . . F Chase Wheatcroft’s 17th goal, at 2:14 of the third period, broke a 2-2 tie and stood up as the winner. . . . The Cougars outshot the visitors 46-21, including 24-4 in the second period when they were unable to solve G Connor Ungar. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer of the Cougars had an assist to run his point streak to 14 games. . . . F Jagger Firkus of the Warriors also had an assist as he ran his point streak to 15 games. . . . The Warriors had F Riley Niven back in the lineup after he hadn’t played since Oct. 8. . . .

F Jared Davidson scored twice to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-2 victory Seattleover the Kelowna Rockets in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (14-3-1) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Rockets (8-9-1) had won their previous two games. . . . Davidson, who has 10 goals, gave his guys 1-0 and 2-1 leads. . . . Kelowna D Jackson DeSouza scored his third goal in two games to get Kelowna into a 2-1 tie. Before this mini-hot streak, he had one career goal in 84 regular-season games. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (9) scored at 11:12 of the second period and that one was the winner. . . . F Ty Hurley made his Seattle debut after being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos last week. . . . The Thunderbirds were without D Luke Prokop, who is listed on this week’s roster report as being out week-to-week. . . . Kelowna F Colton Dach sat out with a one-game suspension. . . .

F Zack Ostapchuk broke a 3-3 tie with his second goal of the game to help the VancouverVancouver Giants to a 6-4 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . The Giants (8-9-4) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Chiefs (4-14-1) have lost three in a row. . . . Ostapchuk, the Giants’ captain, gave his side a 4-3 lead at 17:15 of the second period with his ninth goal. . . . F Colton Langkow, who has four goals, scored two PP goals, one at 5:38 of the third period for a 5-3 lead and an empty-netter at 19:59. Langkow also had an assist. . . . The Giants got 34 stops from G Brett Mirwald, who was making just his second start — and third appearance — in November. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers have points in five straight games after beating the Tri-KamloopsCity Americans, 6-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Blazers (10-4-3) are 3-0-2 in their past five games. . . . The Americans (8-13-0) have lost two in a row. This was the first of seven straight home games for them. . . . F Caedan Bankier (13) scored twice for the Blazers, while F Logan Stankoven had a goal and two assists to run his scoring streak to 14 games. He has played in 14 games since being returned by the NHL’s Dallas Stars and has multiple-points in nine of them. . . . Tri-City D Lukas Dragicevic had a goal to run his point streak to 15 games. . . .

F Zach Benson figured in the game’s last two goals to help the host Winnipeg WinnipegIceIce to a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Ice improved to 21-2-0; the Hurricanes are 12-10-1. . . . The Hurricanes had beaten the host Ice 2-1 on Tuesday night, snapping Winnipeg’s 15-game winning streak. . . . Benson drew the primary assist as F Ty Nash (10) tied the score, 2-2, at 17:29 of the second period. Benson’s 14th goal, at 5:16 of the third, stood up as the winner. . . . Lethbridge is two games into a six-game road trip that continues with games in Brandon on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . Ice F Conor Geekie had his point streak snapped at 12 games. . . . G Dan Hauser started for the Ice after a two-game absence. He missed one game due to illness, than backed up Mason Beaupit on Tuesday. Hauser got the victory with 19 saves as he improved his record this season to 15-0-0. He is 56-3-2 in his career.


Snow


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

According to the WHL’s weekly roster report that was posted on Tuesday, the Regina Pats have deleted F Jakob Brook, 20, from their roster. Such a move would allow the Pats to get down to the maximum of three 20s, although Brook still was listed on their roster on Wednesday afternoon. . . . Dropping Brook leaves the Pats with D Luke Bateman, D Tanner Brown and F Erin Ginnell, who was acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors this week, as their 20-year-olds. . . .

BTW, according to figures compiled by the WHL, the Pats, whose roster includes F Connor Bedard, are ninth in announced attendance in the 22-team league, averaging 3,297 fans per home game. . . . Bedard, likely to be the first selection in the NHL’s 2023 draft, and his Pats are two games into a 10-game road trip that will take them through the B.C. Division. . . . The Kelowna Rockets announced Wednesday that their game against the Pats on Tuesday already is sold out. . . . The Vancouver Giants, who play out of the Langley Events Centre, have announced that their game with the Pats on Friday is sold out, and the Victoria Royals have said the same for the Pats’ visit on Saturday. . . . The Pats are in Kamloops on Wednesday and that game is down to scattered singles and some standing room being available. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired D Marek Schneider, 19, from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2026. . . . The 2023 selection originally belonged to Red Deer. . . . Schneider, from Prince Albert, was a second-round pick by the Blades in the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . In 78 games with Saskatoon, he has two goals and six assists. This season, he has one goal and one assist in 14 games. . . .

Two former WHLers are to head up the off-ice staff for Canada’s entry at the 2022 Spengler Cup. Shane Doan, who played for the Kamloops Blazers and now is one of the team’s five owners, will be Canada’s general manager, while Travis Green is to serve as the head coach. . . . Green played with the Spokane Chiefs and Medicine Hat Tigers, and later coached with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Spengler Cup is to run from Dec. 26 through Dec. 31 in Davos, Switzerland. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their season-opening winning streak to 21 games on Wednesday night with a 5-3 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (11-8-1). . . . Salmon Arm led this one 2-0 after the first period. . . . Russian F Aydar Suniev, a sophomore from Moscow, figured in each of the Vees’ goals, with two goals and two assists. . . . The Vees are scheduled to visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (9-9-2) on Friday and the Powell River Kings (6-11-3) on Saturday.


Vaccine


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.


Ham

KIJHL teams experience ammonia scare; will finish game today . . . Ice winning streak at 13 . . . Big night for Giants’ captain


The Kamloops Storm and Columbia Valley Rockies were nearing the end of the kijhlthird period in a Kootenay International Junior Hockey League game in the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena in Invermere, B.C., on Friday night when an ammonia alarm sounded. The junior B game was halted — it was 1-1 with about one minute remaining in the third period — and the arena evacuated. The Kamloops players ended up back on their bus, only this time wearing their equipment. They ended up spending the night, before journeying on to Creston for a Saturday game in which they beat the Thunder Cats, 5-4 in OT.

And now they will have to head back to Invermere to complete the suspended game today. It is to resume at 1:40 p.m. Pacific time.

Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL’s commissioner, confirmed to Taking Note last night that the league will pay the Storm’s expenses incurred as they spend an extra night on the road.

As for the ammonia alarm, according to e-know.ca, “It was determined there was a small leak contained within the heat floor component inside the refrigeration plant.”

Repairs were made on Saturday in time for the Rockies to entertain the Kimberley Dynamiters last night. The Dynamiters won, 4-1.


Sandals


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

The Medicine Hat Tigers snapped a seven-game winless drought by going into MedicineHatMoose Jaw and beating the Warriors, 5-1. . . . The Tigers (5-9-4) had been 0-4-3 in their previous seven games. . . . The Warriors (11-7-0) had won their previous two games. . . . F Brayden Yager (9) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead at 2:56 of the first period; the Tigers scored the next five goals, getting two each from F Brendan Lee (8) and F Brayden Boehm (6). . . . F Gavin McKenna, the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft, had an assist for the Tigers. McKenna, who will turn 15 on Dec. 20, now has six assists in seven games. . . . Warriors F Jagger Firkus drew an assist and now is on an 11-game points streak. . . . Yager’s goal pushed his point streak to 10 games. . . . The Warriors had beaten the Tigers, 5-4 in OT, in Medicine Hat on Friday. . . .

In Regina, the Pats broke a 1-1 tie with five straight goals en route to a 6-2 Reginavictory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Regina (9-8-2) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Rebels have followed up that 15-game season-opening win streak with four straight losses (0-3-1). . . . Red Deer was playing its fourth game in five nights, while Regina was in its third outing in four nights. And the Pats will play again this afternoon, this time in Saskatoon. . . . The Pats got two goals and two assists from F Tanner Howe (9), while F Borya Valis scored his ninth goal — he has six goals over his past six games — and added two assists. . . . As for Pats F Connor Bedard, well, he had a goal and an assist to run his point streak to 18 games. He leads the WHL in goals (17), assists (24) and points (41). . . . Regina was 3-3 on the PP. . . Red Deer held a 38-20 edge in shots, but Pats G Matthew Kieper was the game’s first star. . . . The Pats will play their next 10 games on the road. . . .

G Ethan Chadwick stopped 21 shots to record his first WHL shutout and lead the Saskatoonhost Saskatoon Blades to a 5-0 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Blades (13-4-0) have won two straight; the Oil Kings (2-16-1) have lost four in a row. . . . Chadwick, an 18-year-old from Saskatoon, is in his second season with the Blades. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 draft. This season, he is 6-3-0, 1.90, .926. . . . The shutout came in Chadwick’s 21st appearance, nine of which have come this season. . . . Saskatoon F Egor Sidorov scored his eighth goal and added three assists. . . . The Oil Kings were 0-3 on the PP, meaning the Blades now have killed off 21 straight penalties. . . . The Blades without F Conner Roulette and F Josh Pillar. . . . Edmonton F Jaxsen Wiebe got tossed 33 seconds into the second period after taking a checking-from-behind major. He already has served a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline for a knee-on-knee hit that took out Pillar on Oct. 23. . . . The Blades are expecting their largest crowd of this season today as F Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats come calling at 4 p.m. . . . Saskatoon’s largest crowd this season is 6,302 on opening night. . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last two goals to beat the visiting LethbridgeSwift Current Broncos, 2-1. . . . Lethbridge (10-8-1) has points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . Swift Current (8-9-0) had won its previous two games. . . . F Logan Wormald (6) got Lethbridge into a tie at 17:37 of the second period, on a PP. . . . D Nolan Bentham (4) broke the tie at 12:32 of the third. . . . The announced attendance of 3,435 was Lethbridge’s second-largest this season, behind only the 4,193 on opening night. . . .

The Vancouver Giants got a goal and four assists from F Zack Ostapchuk, their Vancouvercaptain, as they beat the Cougars, 5-4, in Prince George. . . . The Giants (7-7-4) have points in four straight (3-0-1), all on the road. . . . The Cougars (9-9-0) have lost two in a row. . . . The game drew an announced crowd of 4,463, the first time this season (nine games) that it topped 3,000 in Prince George. . . . They’ll play again in Prince George this afternoon. Yes, a day game after a night game. . . . F Ty Thorpe (9) broke the tie at 18:55 of the second period and F Jaden Lipinski (7) got what turned out to be the winner, on a PP, at 1:42 of the third. . . . Vancouver scored three PP goals. . . . F Samuel Honzek (11) had two goals and two assists for the Giants. . . . Ostapchuk has six goals and 12 assists in 12 games this season. He has nine points over his past four games. . . . D Hudson Thornton had two assists for the Cougars to run his point streak to 10 games. Thornton has two assists in each his last five games. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer had a goal and an assist, and also is on a 10-game streak for the Cougars. He has five goals and three assists over his past four games. . . .


The Calgary Hitmen opened a U.S. Division trip with a 2-1 OT victory over the CalgarySeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . F Oliver Tulk (8) ended it at 1:57 of extra time. . . . Calgary (9-4-2) has won six in a row. . . . Seattle (12-3-1) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . F Luke Prokop (1) had Seattle’s goal, his first with the Thunderbirds. He began his WHL career with the Hitmen, who dealt him to the Edmonton Oil Kings early last season. The Thunderbirds acquired him from the Oil Kings last month, and the NHL’s Nashville Predators assigned him to Seattle last week. . . . F Jared Davidson earned an assist for Seattle to run his point streak to 10 games. . . . Calgary’s penalty-killers were 8-8, including 2-2 in the last four minutes of the third period and early in OT. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks have points in eight straight games after dumping Portlandthe host Victoria Royals, 7-4. . . . The Winterhawks (13-1-2) are 6-0-2 in their past eight games. . . . The Royals (3-14-3) have lost five straight (0-4-1). . . .  The Winterhawks had won, 4-1, in Victoria on Friday. . . . F Aidan Litke had a goal (4) and three assists for Portland, with F Robbie Fromm-Delorme adding a goal (10) and two assists. . . . Portland F Gabe Klassen scored his 14th goal in his 12th game. . . . The Royals got two goals from F Riley Gannon (5). . . . The announced attendance was 3,462, the second-largest crowd in Victoria’s nine home games this season, behind only the 3,837 from opening night. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice ran its winning streak to 13 with an 8-3 victory over the WinnipegIcevisiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Ice now is 18-1-0, with that one loss having been by a 4-1 count to the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Oct. 8. . . . Brandon now is 7-10-2. . . . Last night, the Ice broke a 2-2 tie with the only three goals of the second period, then added three more early in the third. . . . F Zach Benson (10) had two of Winnipeg’s goals, the first coming while shorthanded, and an assist. . . . Ice F Matthew Savoie added a goal (7) and two assists. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 32 shots to earn the victory. This season, he is 14-0-0, 2.42, .915. In his 62-game career, he is 55-3-2, 2.24, .912. . . . G Mason Beaupit, acquired by Winnipeg from the Spokane Chiefs earlier this week, was on the bench. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers struck four times in the first period en route to a 6-1 Kamloopsvictory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kamloops (8-4-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Kelowna (6-8-1) had won its past two outings. . . . Kamloops held a 15-3 edge in shots in that first period. . . . Blazers F Logan Stankoven had a goal (11) and an assist as he ran his point streak to 11 games. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ernst stopped 19 shots. He is 7-4-2, 2.60, .913 this season. . . . F Shea Van Olm, acquired this week from the Edmonton Oil Kings, had one assist in his Kamloops debut. . . . The announced attendance was 5,361, the Blazers’ largest crowd this season. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs ended a nine-game losing skid with a 7-3 victory over the Spokanevisiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (4-11-1) was 0-8-1 in its past nine games. . . . Tri-City (7-11-0) has lost three in a row. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and two assists from F Cade Hayes (5), while F Chase Bertholet (7) added a goal and two assists. . . . Americans D Lukas Dragicevic (6) ran his point streak to 12 games with a first-period goal and an assist. He has two points in each of his past four games. . . . The announced attendance was 6,115, the third-largest crowd through Spokane’s first 10 home games.

——

For even more WHL info and numbers, go to Twitter and follow Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). You won’t be disappointed.


HouseHunters


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Bruce Luebke, a former longtime radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings, will be appointed acting deputy mayor when Brandon city council meets on Monday. It will be the new council’s first regular meeting since last month’s civic election, and councillors will receive various appointments and committee positions. Luebke, who is beginning his second term on council, was acclaimed this time. . . . Luebke had been the play-by-play voice of the Wheat Kings since 1993 when he left before the 2016-17 season. . . .

Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator reported Saturday that the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs are going to have to find a new home for most of two seasons (2023-25) as their home arena undergoes renovations. . . . “Right now I’m so pissed off,” Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer told Radley. “We won a championship for the city and I’ve just been kicked out by the city.” . . . Radley’s complete story is right here. . . .

In a Saturday night OHL trade, the Peterborough Petes acquired F Brennan Othmann from the Flint Firebirds for D Artem Guryev and three draft picks — a second-rounder in 2024 that originated with the Hamilton Bulldogs, a third-rounder in 2023 and a third-rounder in 2026. The latter two both belonged to the Petes. . . . Othmann, 19, was the New York Rangers’ first-round selection in the NHL’s 2022 draft. He is second in the OHL points derby, with 24, including 11 goals, in 16 games. . . . Guryev, 19, is a Russian who was a fifth-round pick by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

The Penticton Vees ran their season-opening winning streak to 18 games on Saturday, beating the Smoke Eaters (7-8-2), 2-1 in a shootout, in Trail . . . The Vees next are scheduled to play on Friday and Saturday when they entertain the West Kelowna Warriors and Prince George Spruce Kings (10-5-2). . . . The Warriors also are off to a terrific start (12-3-2), but still trail the Vees by 10 points in the Interior Division.



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.


Tree

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering a dear, dear friend . . .

Scattershooting2

Norm, this one’s for you . . .

Norm Weseen, a dear, dear friend who was a huge fan of the Vancouver Giants, died Saturday night on the Lower Mainland.

Norm, who was in his 80s, lived a lot and saw a lot. He was a sportscaster on the Prairies in an earlier life, then moved to B.C., where he worked in various communities and covered enough curling that the B.C. Interior Curling Association honoured him as a life member in 1989. He also was a big, big hockey guy and, before his health began to catch up to him, he was a Giants’ season-ticket holder; in fact, I believe he held two of them. He loved nothing more than to attend a Giants’ practice and bump into the late Pat Quinn.

I came to know Norm about 20 years ago when he phoned out of the clear blue just wanting to talk hockey. It wasn’t long before we were having regular conversations during which we would solve a whole lot of problems. He knew his way around arenas in Estevan and Weyburn. He had worked in Smithers, B.C., and loved the Watson brothers.

With the Giants, he especially liked the lunch-bucket guys like Milan Lucic and Garet Hunt. And, of course, there was no one better in Norm’s mind than Brendan Gallagher.

Norm also introduced me to Dickson Liong, a courageous young man with cerebral palsy who has written for the Giants, as well as the Vancouver Canucks and their AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. (There’s more on Dickson right here.)

One other thing . . . my wife, Dorothy, fell in love with Norm. She underwent a kidney transplant more than nine years ago, and whenever we talked he always started the conversation with: “How is Wonder Woman doing?” Of course, whenever he called and she answered the phone, I would have to wait 10 or 15 minutes for my turn. And it never was too early in a new year for him to start asking when he would be able to make a donation in support of Dorothy and her annual Kidney Walk fund-raiser.

Yes, Norm was a dear, dear friend. It is true, however, that time waits for no one and it caught up with Norm on Saturday.

RIP, old friend. Dorothy and I’ll be missing you.


After the excruciating way in which the Victoria Royals lost at home on Saturday night, one has to think they will be excited about hitting the road for their next six games.

The Royals dropped a 6-5 OT decision to the visiting Vancouver Giants on VictoriaRoyalsSaturday in a game that, if you’re a Victoria fan, ended in bizarre fashion. If you are a Giants’ supporter, well, you must have loved it.

Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist called it a “near-epic collapse.”

The Royals, who got three goals from F Jake Poole, held a 5-3 lead with 107 seconds left to play in the third period.

F Ty Thorpe got Vancouver to within a goal at 18:12.

Vancouver F Samuel Honzek tied it with 1.4 seconds remaining in the period.

F Zack Ostapchuk, the Giants’ captain, won it at 1:09 of extra time. (The Royals, in their recap, gave the game-winner to F Ty Halaburda, which, if a change is made, would really rub in some salt because he is from Victoria.)

Meanwhile, I am left to wonder what would constitute an epic collapse.

It all allowed the Giants to improve to 2-5-3 with the Royals falling to 2-8-2.

The Royals, who open a swing through the six-team Central Division on Wednesday against the Red Deer Rebels, will be hoping a change of scenery proves to be the cure for what ails them.

“It was a really tough loss and (the road swing) will be a good way to turn the page,” Dan Price, the Royals’ general manager and head coach, told Dheensaw. “Our players are disappointed but are very mature, confident and resilient.”

Of course, it should be mentioned that the Rebels have opened the season with a franchise-record 10-game winning streak.


The Vancouver Giants returned home — they play out of the Langley Events VancouverCentre — on Sunday and won their second game in a row for the first time this season, beating the Kamloops Blazers, 6-3. . . . Each team was playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours; the Giants were playing their fourth game in fewer than 96 hours. . . . Vancouver (3-5-3) also is taking its show on the road. The Giants will play six games in the Central Division, starting Thursday night against the Edmonton Oil Kings — and two against the Prince George Cougars before next playing at home against Kamloops on Nov. 18.


Mistakes


My upcoming reading list includes three new releases, including the book referred to in the above tweet — Rising from the Deep: The Seattle Kraken, a Tenacious Push for Expansion, and the Emerald City’s Sports Revival. It is the work of Geoff Baker, a former Toronto Star and Montreal Gazette sports writer who now is on the Kraken beat at the Seattle Times. . . . Also on my list are The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson, written by the prolific Jeff Pearlman. His books always are great reads, but he asks that you not buy the one about Brett Favre. Seriously! . . . And, finally, I am looking forward to getting my hands on The Book of Joe: Trying Not to Suck at Baseball and Life, by former MLB manager Joe Maddon and Tom Verducci, a sports writer of note.


Lottery


The Prince Albert Raiders, playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, weren’t any kind of match for F Riley Fiddler-Schultz and the host Calgary CalgaryHitmen on Sunday. Fiddler-Schultz, the team captain, struck for five goals, four of them in the first period, in leading the Hitmen to a 6-1 victory. . . . Fiddler-Schultz tied F Pavel Brendl’s franchise record for most goals in one game. Brendl scored five in an 8-2 victory over the visiting Raiders on Nov. 11, 2000. . . . Fiddler-Schultz’s four first-period goals tied Brendl and F Owen Fussey for most goals in a period. Brendl scored four third-period goals in a 5-2 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Oct. 18, 2000; Fussey had four in the third period of a 7-3 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Feb. 6, 2002. . . . Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) also tweeted that Fiddler-Schultz, who had gone six games without a goal, now has had one three-goal game, a four-game and this five-goal effort during his career. Brandow also noted that Fiddler-Schultz set a franchise record for fastest three goals (2:43) — F Michael Bubnick held the previous record (6:48) from a 5-3 less to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Jan. 13, 2002. . . .

According to the WHL, “The last five goal performance in the WHL was recorded by former Lethbridge F Justin Hall on Feb. 26, 2022. The last six goal performance was recorded on Feb. 27, 2009 by Tyler Ennis of the Medicine Hat Tigers.”


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Don’t sleep on the Saskatoon Blades. They are 9-2-0 after winning their sixth straight game, 5-1 over the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Sunday. The Blades got two goals and an assist from F Trevor Wong in that one. . . . Freshman F Samuel Honzek put up six points — three goals, three assists — in the Vancouver Giants’ back-to-back victories. Honzek, who is to turn 18 on Nov. 12, is from Trencin, Slovakia. He has six goals and seven assists in his first 11 games. . . . It was a rather nice late autumn Sunday in Kamloops; it was anything but on the flatlands. In fact, things were so nasty that the WHL had to postpone a game that was to have had the Moose Jaw Warriors facing the Pats in Regina. That game now will be played on Wednesday night.


Juryduty


THINKING OUT LOUD — To the boss at the Vancouver Province: If you notice that your Sunday newsstand sales have shrunk by one, it’ll be because I bailed. You’ve gone from five crossword puzzles to one on Sundays? Thanks for the entertainment value over the past few years, but I’m out. . . . NFL observer Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) points out that the New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos all are 5-2. The Saints’ first-round draft pick, he adds, belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Browns’ first pick belongs to the Houston Texans. The Broncos’ first pick belongs to the Seattle Seahawks. . . . How would the Seahawks’ brass respond if the Broncos were to offer QB Russell Wilson to them for QB Geno Smith? Yeah, that’s what I thought? . . . There are 15 teams in baseball’s National League. The Philadelphia Phillies went 87-75 (.537) in the regular season. That was the NL’s sixth-best record, something that wouldn’t have got them into the playoffs in any other season but this one. Now they’re going to the World Series. Make of that what you will.


The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks played their home-opener on Saturday night and lost their sixth straight game, this one 5-1 to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Canucks’ fans aren’t taking it well.

After Saturday’s debacle, Thomas Drance of The Athletic wrote that the Canucks “finVancouverCanucksally . . . returned to the supposedly friendly confines of Rogers Arena. And this one had it all. It had the road team opening the scoring with a fluky power-play goal. A gentleman wearing a retro Canucks jersey and a paper bag on his head, posing for photos with other fans in his section. The fans booed during play as the game twisted away from Vancouver. They booed as the Sabres top line cycled the puck endlessly in the Vancouver end. They booed the Canucks on the power play. They even booed ‘Sweet Caroline.’ ”

If you subscribe to The Athletic, Drance’s piece is right here. If you don’t subscribe, you should give it some thought.


Newlyweds


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.


Fantasy

Giants without captain for a while . . . Oil Kings add a 20-year-old off waivers . . . One WHL coach gets three-year extension

F Zack Ostapchuk, the Vancouver Giants’ captain, apparently suffered an undisclosed injury while in camp with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. He definitely Vancouverwon’t play tonight (Friday) against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that Ostapchuk “reportedly will be sidelined two to three weeks” and that GM Barclay Parnetta said he “wasn’t expecting to see Ostapchuk . . . back for as many as four weeks.” . . . Ostapchuk was a second-round selection by the Senators in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . On Wednesday, the Giants dealt F Cole Shepard, 20, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a third-round pick in the 2023 WHL draft. Shepard, who has struggled with injuries for the past few seasons, had seven goals and 13 assists in 28 games last season with Vancouver. Shepard is in camp with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.


Silence


The Edmonton Oil Kings have placed three players on what the team said in a Edmontonnews release is “Long-Term Injury Reserve.” F Jakub Demek, 19, D Graydon Gotaas, 18, and F Tyler Horstmann, 20, all went on LTIR as they continue to recover from offseason surgery to repair undisclosed injuries. . . . With Horstmann on the shelf, the Oil Kings claimed F Reid Jacobson, 20, off waivers from the Spokane Chiefs. Jacobson put up 35 points, including 12 goals, in 114 games over three seasons with the Chiefs. . . . The Oil Kings now have four 20-year-olds on their roster, with Jacobson joining D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golder and F Jaxsen Wiebe.


Hartley Miller, among other things the colour analyst on broadcasts of Prince George Cougars’ home games, is back with his Cat Scan podcast. And this week he discovered that Mark Lamb, the club’s general manager and head coach, has a new three-year contract extension. Lamb is entering his fourth season with the Cougars.



ONE MORE SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE —The fact that this was news on Wednesday: “Bengals QB Joe Burrow has decided to remove Twitter and Instagram from his phone.”



THINKING OUT LOUD — Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that it is impossible to avoid gravel trucks on our streets and highways these days? . . . If you scurry over to Entertainment Weekly’s website, you will be able to find a story on all the new Hallmark Christmas movies that are on the way. . . . If you’re hoping to watch Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees hit No. 61 tonight (Friday) against the visiting Boston Red Sox, you’ll have to do it via Apple TV.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS — The 2023 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is to be played at the Langley Events Centre — that is the home arena of the Vancouver Giants — on Jan. 25. From a news release: The game “showcases top NHL Draft eligible talent from across the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance.” . . . Yes, hundreds! . . . The game also was held in the Lower Mainland of B.C. in 2005 and 2016. . . . Don’t forget that the 2022 World U-17 Challenge is scheduled for the Langley Events Centre and the Sungod Arena in North Delta, from Nov. 5-12. . . . The Prince George Coliseum, the home of the BCHL’s Spruce Kings, is to be called the Kopar Memorial Arena under the terms of a four-year naming deal. Kopar Administration Ltd. is to pay $15,000 per year for the naming rights. Kopar also will be on the hook for new signage. . . .

Two junior B leagues — the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and the Pacific Junior Hockey League — have formed a partnership that they are calling the British Columbia Hockey Conference. According to a news release that is right here, the BCHC’s “inaugural season includes two major projects: the creation of a Department of Player Safety that will oversee enhanced supplementary disciplinary procedures for its members, as well as a Prospects Game that will highlight its top young players.” The KIJHL has 19 active franchises in the province’s Interior, while the PJHL has 13 teams centred on the Lower Mainland.


Turnsignal


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.


Hours

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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