Ferguson still in NHL … Delay of game? What delay of game? … Hart ties franchise record

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The Vegas Golden Knights had three goaltenders on the ice when they practised at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Wednesday morning and, yes, one of them was Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers.

Ferguson, 19, has been with the Golden Knights since being recalled under emergency conditions on Oct. 30.

Ferguson, who is from Lantzville, which is on Vancouver Islander, made his NHL debut on Tuesday night during an 8-2 loss to the host Edmonton Oilers. He came on in relief of Maxime Lagace to stop one of two shots in 9:14 of playing time.

The Golden Knights are scheduled to play the host Canucks tonight, and chances are that Ferguson will be backing up Lagace for an eighth straight game.

There was speculation earlier Wednesday that Lagace had been injured in Edmonton, but that chatter seemed to fade away after he joined Ferguson on the ice yesterday morning.

G Malcolm Subban, one of the team’s three injured goaltenders, also was on the ice, his first appearance in almost a month. He has been out since Oct. 22 when he was injured while stretching to make a save. Also on the shelf are veteran starter Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion), who has resumed skating, and Oscar Dansk.

Gary Lawless of the Golden Knights has more on Ferguson right here.

Ed Willes of Postmedia wrote about Ferguson on Thursday, too. That piece is right here.

The Blazers are at home to the Vancouver Giants on Friday night and the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday. If Ferguson isn’t back, the Blazers will continue to go with two freshmen goaltenders — Max Palaga, 17,  and Dylan Garand, 15.


There was an interesting sequence of events during the Prince George Cougars’ 5-4 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday night.

The Cougars were clinging to a 4-3 lead at 8:55 of the third period when they cleared the puck into the Kamloops zone from the neutral zone. As G Dylan Garand of the Blazers gloved the puck on the fly, referee Bryan Bourdon, stationed to Garand’s right, yelled at the goaltender to move it.

With forecheckers closing in, Garand hung on to the puck. Bourdon whistled play dead, pointed at Garand and then pointed to the penalty box. It seemed that the referee had called Garand for delay of game.

However, something happened on the way to the penalty box and the call wasn’t made.

Asked later what happened, Richard Matvichuk, the Cougars’ head coach, shrugged and said: “I don’t know.”

Then, at 15:16, a near-identical play occurred, this time in the Prince George zone. The Blazers, still trailing 4-3, dumped the puck at Cougars G Tavin Grant from the neutral zone. He played the puck with his stick and pulled it into his glove.

Nick Panter, the other referee, immediately signalled a penalty and hit Grant for delay of game. This time, the call stuck.

While killing that penalty, the Cougars got a goal from F Kody McDonald at 16:38 and it stood up as the game-winner.

But how did one goaltender get penalized and not the other? What happened to the apparent delay-of-game call on Garand?

“I don’t know,” Matvichuk reiterated.

Matvichuk, who is in his second season with the Cougars, was of the opinion that neither goaltender should have been penalized.

“As much as we’re trying to speed the game up, these kids are under so much pressure,” he said. “It’s a hockey game. If a goalie freezes the puck, he freezes the puck. It is what it is.

“I understand there are times when we try to speed the game up, but we have to remember these guys are here to develop and try to get to the next level.

“What happens if one of those kids puts the puck down, on either side, and shoots it into somebody and they score? He gets into trouble, that’s what happens.”


The Portland Winterhawks went shopping on Tuesday night. Yes, they did.

It was their fifth annual ‘Shop With a Hawk’ event in which the players go Christmas shopping with children from the Boys and Girls Clubs, all thinks to the club’s booster club, Fred Meyer and the Sunshine Division.

Thanks to the Winterhawks Booster Club each child had $100 with which to shop, and they were shown around the Hollywood Fred Meyer store by the players.

It’s worth noting that over the five years the booster club has donated more than $15,000 and it has helped more than 125 children.


If you like what you see here, you may want to consider donating to the cause. Should you choose to help out, simply click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner of this page and away you go. Thank you!


The Kootenay Ice has returned F Connor McClennon, 15, to the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team that plays in the CSSHL. McClennon, who is from Wainwright, Alta., was the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He was pointless in two games with the Ice. . . .

D Brendan O’Reilly, a veteran of 153 games over four seasons with the Tri-City Americans, has joined the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. O’Reilly, 20, is from Southlake, Texas. He lost his roster spot with the Americans when they had to get down to three 20-year-olds. He then joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, putting up a goal and three assists in 13 games.


The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers announced Wednesday that they have named Mat Hehr as their general manager and head coach. He had been serving as interim GM/head coach since the club fired Casey O’Brien on Oct. 31. . . . Hehr had been an assistant coach under O’Brien, who was in his second season as GM and head coach. O’Brien had been with the Terriers since 2011 . . . Hehr joined the Terriers in November 2016 after being on staff with the La Ronge Ice Wolves. . . . The Terriers were 3-12-0 when O’Brien was dismissed. They went into Wednesday at 3-16-2.


WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, F Nick Henry had a goal and an assist in his third game after off-season shoulder surgery, leading the Pats to a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Pats (12-8-2) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Hitmen (11-9-2) have lost three in a row. . . . F Emil Oksanen (11) gave Regina a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:52 of the first period. . . . Calgary tied it on a PP at 7:20 when F Matteo Bennaro got No. 13. . . . Regina went out front 3-1 on goals from F Sam Steel (6), at 11:18 of the first period, and F Matt Bradley (16), at 11:30 of the second. . . . Calgary got back to wishin one at 12:03 as F Tristen Nielsen (6) scored. . . . Henry (1) restored the two-goal lead 15 seconds into the third period. . . . F Luke Coleman (5) pulled Calgary back to within a goal, on a PP, at 10:42. . . . Steel also had an assist. . . . Calgary got two assists from each of D Jake Bean and D Vladislav Yeryomenko. . . . The Hitmen were 2-4 on the PP; the Pats were 1-4. . . . G Max Paddock earned the victory with 25 saves. . . . At the other end, Nick Schneider stopped 36 shots. . . . D Cale Fleury, who was acquired by Regina from the Kootenay Ice on Monday, made his Pats debut. He was plus-1 with three shots on goal. . . . Announced attendance: 5,754.


At Saskatoon, D Evan Fiala’s goal at 18:48 of the third period broke a 4-4 tie as the Blades beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4. . . . Saskatoon (8-10-1) had lost two straight. . . . The Warriors (16-5-0) had a six-game winning streak snapped. They continue to lead the overall standings by three points over the idle Victoria Royals. . . . The teams were tied 2-2 after the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (11), at 0:57, and F Justin Almeida (11), shorthanded at 15:44, counted for the visitors, with F Alec Zawatsky, with his first WHL goal, at 1:47, and F Caleb Fantillo (4), at 17:53, replying for the home boys. . . . Saskatoon went up 4-2 on second-period goals from F Braylon Shmyr (9), at 3:14, and F Gage Ramsay (2), at 7:45. . . . The Warriors came right back and tied it. F Tanner Jeannot (12) counted at 17:31 of the second, then F Daemon Hunt, a 15-year-old, scored his first WHL goal at 8:39 of the third period. . . . Fiala won it with his first goal of the season. . . . F Cam Hebig and D Libor Hajek each had two assists for the Blades. . . . The Warriors got two assists from F Jayden Halbgewachs and one from Gregor. . . . Saskatoon was 0-4 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . The Blades got 34 saves from G Ryan Kubic. . . . Moose Jaw G Brody Willms blocked 46 shots as the Blades unleashed a season-high 51 shots. . . . D Matt Sanders made his WHL debut with the Warriors. Sanders, 16, was a fifth-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. He is the younger brother of G Nick Sanders, who was released by the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 27 and now is with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Included in the Warriors scratches were D Josh Brook, D Jett Wood, D Matthew Benson, D Dmitri Zaitsev and F Brett Howden, all key contributors and all injured. . . . Announced attendance: 2,745.


At Langley, B.C., F Tyler Benson drew three assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Giants (9-8-4) have points in five straight games (4-0-1). . . . The Rebels (9-12-1) are 1-5-0 on a seven-game road trip that ends Friday in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . F James Malm gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 7:48 of the first period. . . . Red Deer took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Kristian Reichel (9), at 19:30 of the first, and F Brandon Cutler (1), at 6:17 of the second. . . . Vancouver F Brayden Watts (8) tied it at 12:53. . . . Malm, who has 10 goals, broke the deadlock at 12:04. He’s got six goals over his past three games. . . . F Ty Ronning scored his 20th goal of the season into an empty net at 19:29. He’s got 20 goals in 21 games. He also has scored in eight straight games. That’s 10 games shy of the WHL record that belongs to his father, Cliff, who did it with the 1984-85 New Westminster Bruins. . . . Benson has six assists over his past two games. In the eight games he has played this season, he has four goals and eight assists. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 31 shots for the winners, four more than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders. . . . Announced attendance: 2,277.


At Kamloops, the Prince George Cougars built up a 3-0 lead and hung on to beat the Blazers, 5-4. . . . The Cougars (7-9-4) moved four points ahead of the fifth-place Blazers in the B.C. Division. . . . The Blazers (7-13-0) had won their previous two games. . . . The visitors got first-period goals from F Ethan O’Rourke, at 4:18, D Cole Moberg, at 7:56, and O’Rourke again, at 15:19. . . . O’Rourke went into the game with two career goals in 39 games. . . . Moberg, who also had an assist, scored his first goal this season, in his 19th game. He scored once in four games last season. . . . D Chance Adrian earned assists on the last two of those goals, his first career points coming in his 13th game. . . . F Jermaine Loewen got the Blazers on the scoreboard at 6:13 of the second period. Loewen has scored in five straight games. He has nine goals in 14 games this season. In three previous seasons, he totalled 14 goals in 170 games. . . . F Brogan O’Brien, perhaps the best player on the ice in this one, scored his fourth goal at 12:24 of the second for a 4-1 lead. . . . Kamloops got to within a goal on scores from F Quinn Benjafield (5), at 18:32 of the second, and F Nick Chyzowski (6), on a PP, at 4:20 of the third. . . . F Kody McDonald (11) stretched the lead to two with a shorthanded goal at 16:38. . . . The Blazers got back to within a goal when F Garrett Pilon (8) scored with 46.9 seconds left. . . . The Blazers got two assists from Pilon and one each from Loewen and Chyzowski. . . . Kamloops was 1-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-5. . . . G Tavin Grant stopped 27 shots to earn the victory. . . . While Grant, 19, was in Kamloops with the Cougars, his junior A rights were changing teams with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings having acquired them from the CCHL’s Carleton Place Canadians. . . . The Blazers got 33 saves from G Dylan Garand, 15, who made his second career WHL start. . . . F Connor Zary and F Carson Denomie were among the Blazers’ scratches. Both players were injured in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Announced attendance: 3,405.


At Everett, G Carter Hart stopped 25 shuts and tied a franchise record with his 21st career shutout as the Silvertips beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-0. . . . The Silvertips (9-10-2) have points in three straight games (2-0-1). . . . The Raiders (9-8-3) are 2-2-0 on a six-game trip that continues in Kennewick, Wash., and Spokane on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . Hart, who tied the career record held by Leland Irving, has put up back-to-back shutouts. He has two shutouts this season. . . . F Sean Richards (8) scored the game’s first goal, at 6:08 of the second period. He’s got goals in four straight games. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (10) got the game’s other goal, at 14:27 of the third period. Bajkov now has 216 career points, tying him with F Joshua Winquist for second spot on the franchise list. F Zach Hamill is No. 1, at 262 points. . . . D Kevin Davis had two assists. . . . Prince Albert was 0-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-8. . . . The Raiders have been shorthanded 28 times over their past three games. In Portland on Sunday, the Winterhawks were 5-12 on the PP in a 6-1 victory over the Raiders. On Tuesday, the Raiders beat host Seattle 6-4 despite the Thunderbirds going 2-8 on the PP. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 40 shots for the Raiders. . . . The Silvertips lost D Montana Onyebuchi at 13:16 of the first period with a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on F Carson Miller. Onyebuchi then was was involved in a fight with D Cody Paivarinta. There was leakage. . . . Announced attendance: 2,864.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Red Deer vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Prince Albert vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Seattle at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Americans’ days numbered in Kennewick? … Ridley set for No. 3,800 … Henry ready to return


Neither the WHL nor the Tri-City Americans is threatening to leave Kennewick, Wash., but if improvements aren’t made to the Toyota Center, well . . .

Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald reported Thursday night that the Americans are “revisiting” their future.

This comes after voters in Kennewick voted against a two-tenths of a percent sales tax increase — two cents on a $10 purchase — that would have been used to, among other things, upgrade the Toyota Center.

This was the second time that voters have rejected such a proposal, but this time the defeat was far more resounding than it was a year ago.

The WHL has demanded that improvements to the arena, including new boards, be made by September 2019.

Culverwell wrote:

“WHL Commissioner Ron Robison said the league’s new requirements must be in place by the start of the 2019-20 season. He characterized the requirements as non negotiable.

“The league wants an action plan. Failing that, it will consider other options.”

Culverwell quoted Robison as saying: “Let’s hope we can find a solution. We certainly want to keep them there. That’s our objective.”

Bob Tory, who owns part of the franchise and is the general manager, told Culverwell:

“If you look around the WHL, our facility is not just the worst facility in the U.S. Division, but it’s probably at the very bottom of the league as far as the quality of the amenities.”

Culverwell’s story is right here.

In another story, Corey Pearson, the manager of the Three Rivers complex that includes the Toyota Center, told Culverwell that he fears the future of the WHL franchise in the city could be in jeopardy.

“We thought we had a project people wanted,” Pearson said. “Obviously, it’s something that people don’t want.”

As for the Americans’ future, Culverwell wrote:
“The Americans lease expires in 2020 but includes terms that let the team negotiate a lower payment or even early termination if the coliseum doesn’t meet league specifications before then.

“Pearson said the Toyota Center falls short on lighting, back of house amenities such as locker rooms, and it lacks an overhead screen for instant replays and league commercials.”

She quoted Pearson as saying: “I don’t want to push the alarm bell and say the team is going to leave. But teams do move. The good news is they have support here. They have a good base.”

The Americans have been in Kennewick since 1988, having relocated from New Westminster after the 1987-88 season. The franchise originated as the Calgary Buffaloes (1966-67), then became the Calgary Centennials (1967-77), Billings Bighorns (1977-82) and the Nanaimo Islanders (1982-83.) It was in New Westminster as the Bruins for five seasons (1983-88).

That earlier Culverwell story is right here.


The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s and the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques will meet in an outdoor game in Ottawa on Dec. 17. The game will be played at The Stadium at TD Place, which is the home of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks. . . . This game is made possible because the NHL will play an outdoor game there between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 16, meaning the boards, ice, etc., all will be made available for the junior game. . . . From a news release: “Tickets for the . . . outdoor game will be priced at $15 for general admission and $20 for reserved seating. Those prices include all taxes, surcharges and free transportation to the game on OC Transpo in Ottawa and STO in Gatineau.” . . . OHL teams have been involved in two other games, both at Comerica Park in Detroit on Dec. 29, 2013. The Windsor Spitfires met the Saginaw Spirit and the London Knights played the Plymouth Whalers as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival in Detroit. The first game drew 25,749 fans to set OHL and CHL single-game attendance records. The second game broke both records, at 26,384. . . . The Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors are scheduled to play outdoors at Regina’s 33,350-seat Mosaic Stadium on Feb. 18.


Here’s a note from Stanks’ Sermon, the blog that belongs to Darren Steinke:

“These days at age 73, Bob Ridley is still the only play-by-play voice in the history of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. He gave up driving the team bus about three years back, but he is still going as strong as ever calling games on the radio, as the Tigers play through their 48th season of existence.

“On Friday when the Tigers (10-6) travel to Calgary to take on the Hitmen (6-10-1) at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Ridley will call his 3,800th game as the Tigers’ play-by-play voice. His total of 3,799 games called to date includes 3,379 of the Tigers 3,380 regular season contests, one standings tiebreaker game, all 399 contests the Tigers have played in the WHL playoffs and all 20 contests the team has played in the Memorial Cup tournament.

“If someone called an average of 80 games between the regular season and playoffs each season for 47 seasons, that person would still fall short of the total number of games Ridley has called.

“It is extremely likely no one in the Canadian media industry will ever come close to Ridley’s still growing games called total as the play-by-play voice of one team.”

Stanks’ Sermon is right here.


F Nick Henry is expected to be back in the Regina Pats’ lineup tonight for the first time this season. The Pats are to entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The 18-year-old Henry, who had off-season shoulder surgery, has missed 19 games. Last season, as a freshman, Henry put up 35 goals and 46 assists in 72 games. He was selected by the Colorado Avalanche with the 94th pick of the NHL’s 2017 draft.

The Warriors may be without F Brett Howden, who suffered an undisclosed injury during Team WHL’s 7-0 victory over a touring Russian side in Moose Jaw on Monday. Howden didn’t practise with the Warriors on Thursday.

According to a tweet from Marc Smith (@MarcSmith18), Warriors head coach Tim Hunter said that Howden is “day-to-day” and will be re-evaluated before tonight’s game.”

Regina D Josh Mahura, who played for Team WHL on Monday but sat out Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Russians in Swift Current with an undisclosed injury, is expected to be in the Pats’ lineup tonight.


Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun reported via Twitter on Thursday that two of the Brandon Wheat Kings’ injured players appear close to returning to the lineup for the first time this season. . . . D Daniel Bukac skated Thursday “for the first time since having off-season surgery.” Last season, Bukac, who is from Czech Republic, had two goals and 15 assists in 72 games. After his freshman season, the Boston Bruins selected Bukac, 18, in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Meanwhile, D James Shearer, 20, “is no longer skating in a red non-contact jersey . . . suggesting his return is near.” Shearer had off-season surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. . . . Shearer’s return would leave the Wheat Kings with four 20-year-olds, the others being G Logan Thompson, D Kade Jensen and F Evan Weinger, who was acquired from the Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 10. Weinger has one goal and one assist in 10 games with Brandon. . . . After Shearer’s return to active duty, the Wheat Kings will have a week to get down the maximum of three 20s. . . . They are scheduled to play host to the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday night.


At Owen Sound, Ont., Russia scored five goals on 18 shots and beat Team OHL, 5-2, in Game 3 of the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series. . . . The Russians lost the opener, 7-0, to Team WHL on Monday in Moose Jaw, then beat the WHLers, 4-3, in Swift Current on Tuesday. . . . The series resumes in Sudbury on Monday. . . . Last night, the winners got 35 stops from G Alexey Melnichuk. . . . F Artyom Manukyan and F Alexey Polodyan each scored twice for Russian, with D Dmitri Samorukov adding a singleton. . . . Team OHL got its goals from F Taylor Raddysh, on a first-period penalty shot, and F Adam Mascherin, on a PP. . . . Russia held periods leads of 2-1 and 4-2. . . . Announced attendance: 3,116.


If you like what you see here, you may want to consider donating to the cause. Should you choose to help out, simply click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner of this page and away you go. Thank you!


Wes Mussio and his wife, Penny, have purchased the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Mussio, managing partner of the Vancouver law firm Mussio Goodman, had owned the junior B Delta Ice Hawks, but a Pacific Junior Hockey League rule forbidding ownership in a competing league meant he had to sell. Mussio has told Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo Bulletin that Darren Naylor, Delta’s GM and head coach, will become the Clippers’ director of hockey operations, with Mike Vandekamp staying on as GM/head coach. . . . Sakaki’s story is right here. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have acquired D Jordan Henderson, 20, from the Merritt Centennials for future considerations. Henderson has seven goals and 29 assists in 158 WHL games, split among the Spokane Chiefs, Saskatoon Blades and Medicine Hat Tigers. He started this season in camp with the Kootenay Ice but was released before the regular season started. . . .

F Jackson Keane, 20, has signed a letter of intent to attend the U of North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. The son of former NHL/WHL player Mike Keane, Jackson is in his first season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, after spending two seasons with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. . . . Keane was selected by the Swift Current Broncos in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft.

F Brendan Budy, 17, has signed a letter of intent to attend the U of Denver and play for the Pioneers, starting in 2019-20. He is in his second season with the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen and is the team captain. . . . From Langley, Body was a fourth-round selection by the Red Deer Rebels in the 2015 bantam draft. . . .


F Tanner Kaspick of the Brandon Wheat Kings won’t play Saturday against the visiting Saskatoon Blades after being suspended for one game by the WHL. Kaspick took a headshot major and game misconduct on Tuesday in Team WHL’s 4-3 loss to a touring Russian side during the CIBC Canada-Russia series in Swift Current. . . . Russian D Alex Alexeyev, who was hit by Kaspick, wasn’t injured. Alexeyev plays for the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels.


THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Spokane at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Red Deer at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Everett at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Rebels’ Lamb almost ready for return … Ferguson still with Vegas … A couple of bus tales


The Red Deer Rebels will board their bus today and head out on a five-game road trip that opens with a game against the Kamloops Blazers on Friday.

At some point during the trip, G Riley Lamb, 19, will make his first start of the season. Lamb, a sophomore, suffered a broken thumb late in training camp and hasn’t played since; in fact, he only returned to practice this week.

While Lamb was gone, the Rebels went with freshman Ethan Anders, 17, and veteran Lasse Petersen, 20, as their goaltenders, then released Petersen in juggling their 20-year-old situation, and brought in Byron Fancy, 16.

With Lamb returning to practice, Fancy has been returned to the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Meanwhile, Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com also reports that F Chase Lowry, 17, has gone home rather than report to the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys. The Rebels had released Lowry on Oct. 27 after finding a spot for him with Olds.

“I’ve always wondered that if kids don’t have the passion to play, why are they playing?” Brent Sutter, the Rebels, owner, general manager and head coach, told Meachem. “As you advance you just fall further and further down the ladder. He was at the bottom trying to climb up but he didn’t want to put the work and commitment into it that was necessary to be a player.

“He decided to go a different direction and we wish him all the best doing it.”

Lowry, a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft, is from the Edmonton area. Last season, he had 14 goals and 14 assists in 34 games with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings.

“It bothers you when players have the talent and skill set like he has,” Sutter added, “but (you) can’t get him to make that push to get better. Then when they decide they’re going to quit it just tells you why you couldn’t get it out of him.

“You live by your DNA a lot of the time and obviously he didn’t have that heart and character to push to be a player at this level.”

Meachem’s story is right here.


With G Dylan Ferguson still in the NHL with the Vegas Golden Knights, the Kamloops Blazers have added G Dylan Garand, 15, to their roster for a second time.

Garand, a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, is from Victoria and plays for the midget prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy.

The Golden Knights brought Ferguson in on Oct. 30 as an emergency recall as they have three goaltenders on the injury list. He backed up Maxime Lagace for the last five games of a six-game road swing. The Golden Knights flew home from Montreal on Tuesday night and Ferguson accompanied them.

The Golden Knights are scheduled to entertain the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night, then visit the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday and the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 16.

Vegas G Marc-Andre Fleury was back at practice on Wednesday for the first time since suffering a concussion on Oct. 13. Oscar Dansk, who was hurt on Oct. 30, remains out, as does Malcolm Subban, who was injured on Oct. 21.

G Max Palaga, a 17-year-old Kamloops native, has started both of the Blazers games in Ferguson’s absence. Garand relieved him during a 5-4 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Saturday and played well, stopping 12 of 13 shots in 34:08.


The Edmonton Oil Kings will be hoping the road trip that began Wednesday only gets better as it moves along. The Oil Kings headed west yesterday — they are scheduled to play the Victoria Royals on Friday — but had only been on the road a short time when there were issues with the bus. As you can see, Corey Graham, their play-by-play voice, was on the bus. About an hour later, he tweeted again, this time writing: “And we’re back!! #rolling.”

Meanwhile, there is another bus-related junior hockey story, but this one likely won’t have a happy ending, at least not for a bus. The photo in the tweet below shows the bus belonging to the BCHL’s Powell River Kings on a big hook, and that’s never a good thing.

If you check out that tweet, you will note that a GoFundMe page has been started in the hopes of raising enough money to help the Kings purchase a new bus.


The Kootenay Ice has added F Connor McLennon, 15, to its roster and he is expected to make his WHL debut on Friday against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . McLennon was the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . From Wainwright, Alta., he has 19 points in 12 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team in the CSSHL. . . . The Ice’s roster now is at 26 players, including eight defencemen and 15 forwards.


F Nic Holowko, 20, who started this season with the Kamloops Blazers, has been involved in a BCHL trade, his rights moving from the Prince George Spruce Kings to the Coquitlam Express. Holowko had three goals and an assist in seven games with the Blazers. He left the team early in October, with a news release stating that he had decided “to utilize his WHL scholarship and pursue his education at Simon Fraser University in his hometown of Burnaby, B.C.” . . . The Spruce Kings acquired F Blake Hayward, 19, in exchange for Holowko. . . . Meanwhile, the Spruce Kings have sent F Reid Perepeluk, 17, to the junior B Kamloops Storm. He started the season with the Prince George Cougars. Perepeluk was pointless in four games with the Cougars and also went without a point in three games with the Spruce Kings. Last season, he had nine goals and 27 assists in 34 games with the midget AAA Cariboo Cougars.


F Jeff Stewart, 19, has signed a letter of intent to attend Colgate U and play for the Raiders in Hamilton, N.Y., next season. Stewart was a sixth-round selection by the Kelowna Rockets in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . He is from Surrey, B.C., and is in his third season with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. This season, he has three goals and nine assists in 21 games. Last season, he finished with 16 goals and 20 assists in 48 games.


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Ryan Rechner is the new head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. He replaces Kyle Adams, who was fired on Sunday with the Thunder at 3-18-0. . . . Adams had been hired in June. . . . Rechner resigned as the associate coach with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints in order to make the move to the Thunder. . . . Assistant coach Derek Wiest had been named interim head coach on Sunday.


WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Spokane at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Red Deer at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Everett at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Rebels deal for some grit … Silvertips add local flavour … T-Birds hot on road

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has signed a two-game tryout contract with Beyreuth (Germany, DEL2). He was released by mutual agreement by Freiburg (Germany, DEL2) on Tuesday, after recording one assist in 13 games.


The Red Deer Rebels have acquired F Lukus MacKenzie, 18, from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft.

MacKenzie, who was a late scratch from the Blades’ 2-1 OT victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday night, has four assists in 13 games this season.

MacKenzie, from Calgary, was a third-round selection by the Blades in the 2014 bantam draft. In 121 regular-season games, he has eight goals and 16 assists.

At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, MacKenzie will bring some physical play and an edge to the Rebels’ forward ranks.

The deal was announced Thursday morning, less than 12 hours after the Rebels dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, a game that was followed by an epic rant from Brent Sutter, Red Deer’s general manager and head coach.

The Rebels gave up a 2-1 third-period lead, with the winning goal, by Seattle F Donovan Neuls, coming with the home team on its fifth straight PP.

Sutter didn’t hold back after the game. He told reporters that the difference was “bad coaching.“

He continued:

“Playing those guys in the third period, our so-called best players. . . . They were terrible tonight and I shouldn’t have had them on the ice in the third period. I shouldn’t have had them on the power play in the last four minutes. That’s my fault.

“It’s unacceptable. (Brandon) Hagel was terrible tonight, (Lane) Zablocki was awful.

“Our older players didn’t play like they need to play and when you have that, when your best players aren’t your best players and they’re your worst players, you struggle. And you put other players in situations that they probably struggle in, too.”

Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com has more right here.


Having dealt F Lukus MacKenzie to the Red Deer Rebels, the Saskatoon Blades added F Alec Zawatsky to their roster.

Zawatsky, 18, had two goals and two assists in five games with the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals, then was dealt to the SJHL’s Notre Dame Hounds. He had nine goals and 10 assists in 13 games with the Hounds.

Zawatsky, who is from Yorkton, Sask., practised with the Blades in Lethbridge on Thursday.

Zawatsky is expected to make his WHL debut tonight against the host Medicine Hat Tigers.

His father, Ed, played four seasons (1987-91) at Colorado College before going on to a pro career that included nine seasons in Germany. He also has coached the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers and now scouts for the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.


The Everett Silvertips have acquired F Luke Ormsby, 18, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a ninth-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft.

Ormsby was born in Port Angeles, Wash., and has lived in Everett and Bellingham. He also played in Everett’s minor hockey ranks.

“We’re excited to welcome an individual like Luke to the Silvertips family, who brings proven experience at this level and a is homegrown player as well,” Garry Davidson, Everett’s general manager, said in a news release.“His hard work, beginning in Everett Youth Hockey, gave him the necessary tools to improve each year and reach the WHL level. He gets around the ice very well, and shows up to play with emotion and intensity.”

This season, Ormsby was pointless in 11 games with Seattle. Last season, he had six goals and five assists in 11 regular-season games, then added one assist in 13 playoff games.

The Thunderbirds selected him in the ninth round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft.

Ormsby had left the Thunderbirds on Monday and was to have joined the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild.

At the time, Seattle general manager Russ Farwell said: “He is going to Wenatchee to play. We are releasing him. It was a mutual decision.”


F Kalen Szeto, who turned 15 on Oct. 12, has committed to attend Yale U and play for the Bulldogs, starting with the 2020-21 season. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . This season, Szeto, who is from Vancouver, has four goals and 10 assists in 10 games with the Burnaby Winter Club Prep team in the CSSHL. . . . Last season, he had 97 goals and 81 assists in 67 games with the BWC’s bantam A1-T1 side.


F Zach Michaelis of Elk River, Minn., has committed to attend the u of Nebraska-Omaha and play for the Mavericks starting with the 2021-22 season. He turned 15 on May 30. . . . Michaelis was a fourth-round selection by the Prince George Cougars in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Last season, Michaelis played for a bantam team at Shattuck St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. This season, he is playing at Elk River High School and with the U-15 Minnesota Blades.


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F Lucas Cullen has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Cullen, 18, is from Kelowna. He left the Calgary Hitmen on Oct. 24 to pursue other hockey opportunities. He had one assist in seven games this season. Last season, Cullen had four goals and four assists in 37 games. The Hitmen selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have dropped D Trevor Longo, 17, from their roster. Long, from North Vancouver, B.C., was pointless in four games. Last season, he had 11 goals and 26 assists in 40 games with the major midget Vancouver-Northwest Giants, and was pointless in two games with the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen. . . . The Tigers selected him in the sixth round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . .

With D Braden Schneider at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, the Brandon Wheat Kings have added D Neithan Salame to their roster. Salame, 16, is expected to make his WHL debut tonight against the visiting Kootenay Ice. From Edmonton, he was a seventh-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. This season, he has three goals and nine assists in 10 games with the midget AAA Edmonton-Knights of Columbus Pats.


THURSDAY:

At Edmonton, F Zack Andrusiak broke a 1-1 tie at 15:14 of the third period as the Seattle Thunderbirds skated to a 3-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . The Thunderbirds (9-5-1), who were playing their fifth game in seven nights, have won four in a  row. They are 5-1-0 on a seven-game road trip that wraps up Saturday night against the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Oil Kings (5-9-2) have lost three straight. . . . Seattle broke a scoreless tie at 11:26 of the second period when D Austin Strand scored on a PP. That was his ninth goal this season, eight of which have come via the PP. . . . D Jantzen Leslie, acquired earlier in the week from the Saskatoon Blades, was in the Oil Kings’ lineup and scored his first goal at 6:47 of the third period. He was playing in his 83rd career regular-season game — 10 with Everett, 72 with Saskatoon and one with Edmonton. . . . Andrusiak snapped the tie with his seventh goal of the season. . . . F Nolan Volcan (5), who is from Edmonton, iced it with an empty-netter at 19:38. . . . Seattle was 1-3 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-5. . . . Seattle G Matt Berlin, who is from Edmonton, stopped 30 shots. . . . Edmonton G Boston Bilous turned aside 16 shots. . . . With G Travis Child out with an undisclosed injury, Edmonton had G Josh Dechaine backing up Bilous. Dechaine, 19, got into 17 games with the Oil Kings last season and two this season. He now plays for the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. . . . Tyrel Bauer, a second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Thunderbirds. From Cochrane, Alta., he plays for the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons. . . . Announced attendance: 5,572.


At Moose Jaw, the Warriors erased a 2-1 deficit with four goals in the second half of the third period — the last three in 35 seconds — to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 5-2. . . . The Warriors (12-4-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Raiders (6-5-3) had points in each of their previous five games (3-0-2). . . . F Brett Leason (2) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 5:31 of the first period. That was his first goal in two games since being acquired from the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Luka Burzan (2) pulled the Warriors even, on a PP, at 19:43. . . . Prince Albert went back out front when F Devon Skoleski (6) scored at 8:32 of the second period. . . . F Brayden Burke (7) tied it, on a PP, at 11:14 and F Jayden Halbgewachs snapped the tie at 16:06. . . . F Tanner Jeannot (10) provided Moose Jaw with some insurance at 16:22 and Halbgewachs (10) finished the scoring at 16:41. . . . The Warriors got three assists from F Brett Howden and two each from D Chase Hartje and Burke. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-5 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-3. . . . G Brody Willms earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . At the other end, Curtis Meger stopped 37 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 3,209.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Kootenay at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Red Deer at Regina, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Kelowna at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Prince George at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Blazers lose goalie to NHL … Oil Kings, Blades do deal … Popugaev signs in Moscow

F Nikita Popugaev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) signed a two-year, three-way contract with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). This season, he had two goals and five assists in 13 games with the Prince George Cougars (WHL). The three-way part of the contract is with CSKA Moscow, its farm club Zvezda Chekhov (Russia, Vysshaya Lisa) and its junior club Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (Russia, MHL).


The Kamloops Blazers have lost G Dylan Ferguson to the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on emergency recall. Ferguson, 19, left Kamloops on Monday night and is to meet up with the Golden Knights in New York.

Ferguson was selected by the Dallas Stars in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He was then dealt to Vegas in a swap that had D Marc Methot go the other way. Ferguson attended the Golden Knights’ development, rookie and main camps, then signed a three-year entry-level contract.

This season, with the Blazers, Ferguson is 4-9-0, 4.05, .878. Last season, he finished 16-10-2, 2.74, .922.

The Golden Knights have lost three goaltenders to injury.

Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion on Oct. 13, with Malcolm Subban going down with a lower-body injury on Oct. 21. Last night, G Oscar Dansk was injured in the second period as Vegas dropped a 6-3 decision — it’s first regulation-time loss of its inaugural season — to the host New York Islanders on Monday night.

Maxime Lagace made his NHL debut after Dansk left.

Ferguson is the fifth goaltender under contract to Vegas, which is scheduled to play the Rangers tonight (Tuesday).

Losing Ferguson leaves the Blazers with freshman Max Palaga, a 17-year-old Kamloops native, who will start Friday in Vancouver against the Giants. The teams are to meet again on Saturday, this time in Kamloops.

Kamloops will bring in Dylan Garand, 15, to back up Palaga. Garand, from Victoria, was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He is playing for the Delta Hockey Academy prep team in the CSSHL.


F Kailer Yamamoto was back among Edmonton’s top six forwards as the Oilers practised on Monday. Yamamoto, who still could be returned to the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, was skating alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic, while also working on one PP unit. . . . Yamamoto has played in seven games and head coach Todd McLellan hasn’t committed to whether he wants to keep the 19-year-old through 10 games. . . . “There’s a chance that can happen,” McLellan said Monday, according to Paul Gazzola of EdmontonOilers.com. “Thresholds are much more of the business side of the game. The cap, the management, the contracts, the future. We have to coach the team and we’re going to try to put the guys on the ice that give us the best chance of winning.” . . . Yamamoto has been scratched from the Oilers’ past two games. The Oilers (3-6-1) are scheduled to entertain the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.


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The Edmonton Oil Kings have acquired D Jantzen Leslie, 18, from the Saskatoon Blades for a conditional eighth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Oil Kings were looking to add a defenceman due to a sudden shortage. Jordan Dawson, 19, left the team on Sunday, according to the team, “to pursue other hockey opportunities.” Matthew Robertson, 16, is about to leave to play at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Wyatt McLeod, 17, is injured. . . . Without those three, Leslie’s arrival will give the Oil Kings six defencemen. . . . The Blades acquired Leslie, who is from Lloydminster, Alta., from the Everett Silvertips two years ago. The Silvertips had selected him in the first round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . . In 82 career regular-season games, he has five assists.


F Nikita Popugaev, who is to turn 19 on Nov. 20, has signed a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow of the KHL. . . . As you will have noted in The MacBeth Report, Popugaev signed a three-way deal and he could end up with CSKA Moscow’s junior affiliate. . . . Popugaev had been with the Prince George Cougars, who announced Thursday that he had returned to Moscow “for personal reasons.” . . . A fourth-round pick by the New Jersey Devils in the NHL’s 2017 draft, the 6-foot-6, 205-pound Popugaev was acquired by the Cougars from the Moose Jaw Warriors in January for two players and two bantam draft picks. . . . However, after putting up 22 goals and 29 assists in 40 games with the Warriors, he had only seven goals and 11 assists in 31 games with Prince George. This season, Popugaev had two goals and five assists in 13 games with the Cougars.


F Luke Ormsby has left the Seattle Thunderbirds and is expected to join the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild. “We are releasing him,” Seattle GM Russ Farwell said in a statement. “It was a mutual decision.” . . . Ormsby, 18, is from Monroe, Wash. He was a ninth-round pick by Seattle in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . This season, he was pointless in 11 games with the Thunderbirds. Last season, as a freshman, he six goals and five assists in 65 games. He added one assist in 13 playoff games as the Thunderbirds won the WHL championship.


A source with knowledge of the situation has told Taking Note that Radio NL in Kamloops has bought out sports director Rick (The Bear) Wile as it begins a move that will put less emphasis on its sports coverage. . . . Wile’s departure leaves Jon Keen as a one-man sports department. . . . “They are cutting sports time, too,” the source told Taking Note. “When Keen’s not there, a news guy will read (sports).” . . . Radio NL has long held the play-by-play rights for the Blazers. Keen is in his eighth season as the team’s radio voice, calling home and away regular-season and playoff games. . . . Wile had been at Radio NL for more than 38 years and had been involved in the station’s coverage of the WHL and the Blazers since the franchise landed in Kamloops in 1981 as the Junior Oilers. . . . He was inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame last spring.


Craig West, the veteran play-by-play voice of the Tri-City Americans, drives to most, if not all, of the team’s road games. That was the case last weekend when the Americans played in Kelowna on Friday night and in Kamloops on Saturday.

Whenever the Americans visit, West always parks himself next to me in the press box and we have an enjoyable pre-game chat. That was the case on Saturday, with Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV, another long-time WHL observer, stopping by, too.

On Monday, West posted this on his Facebook page:

“A bit of irony on Saturday night. Before the game in Kamloops, sat with Gregg Drinnan and Earl Seitz discussing driving to all the games. Never an issue . . . until midnight in Princeton, B.C., with the world’s best car . . . 2011 Toyota RAV 4. Final score: Westy 1, Bambi 0. Car at Sonshine Collision currently with Russell Wood and friends and in good hands. Car priest on call with the car in ICU. Ready for last rites. . . . But happy to say the car’s engine not harmed and made it home without issue.”

West posted again later, once he received a damage estimate: “Damage over $9,100.”

When West plays hockey, if you aren’t aware, he is a goaltender. So you are free to wonder how it was that Bambi didn’t go through his legs.

The Americans are next scheduled to play on the road on Saturday against the Spokane Chiefs. We await news of what West will be driving to that game.


The Saskatoon Blades are bringing in F Logan Doust, 16, as some insurance with F Kirby Each at the U17 World Hockey Challenge. Doust, a ninth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft, is from North Vancouver, B.C. He got into five exhibition games with the Blades and now is with the major midget Vancouver-Northwest Giants . . .

The Kootenay Ice has returned D Nolan Orzeck, 16, to the midget AAA Calgary Northstars. The Ice had some injury issues on the back end going into weekend games and brough Orzeck in as insurance. However, he didn’t get into any games. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft.


D Darian Skeoch of the Vancouver Giants has been suspended for four games by the WHL under supplemental discipline. Sketch missed a weekend doubleheader in Victoria against the Royals and will sit out a home-and-home series with the Kamloops Blazers on Friday and Saturday. They will play in Langley, B.C., on Friday and in Kamloops on Saturday. . . .  The WHL didn’t release any particulars involving the suspension, but it’s believed to have involved a hit on F Jackson Leppard of the Prince George Cougars early in the third period on Friday night in Langley. Leppard was scratched from Prince George’s game in Kelowna on Saturday night. . . . The Giants also will be without D Bowen Byram, 16, who is expected to miss at least five games will at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. He was the third-overall pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


MONDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Regina, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Portland, 7 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Chynoweth rings at auction … Raiders slow down Royals … Red-hot Topping leads Americans


D Taylor Aronson (Portland, 2009-11) has signed a one-year extension with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). He has three goals and seven assists in 15 games. . . .

F Taylor Stefishen (Prince George, 2010-11) has been released by the Edinburgh Capitals (Scotland, UK Elite). He had one assist in four games.


Among the Ed Chynoweth rings up for auction is one similar to this — a 1987 Memorial Cup championship ring from the Medicine Hat Tigers.

If you are a collector of sports memorabilia, you may be interested in knowing that there are a few rings from the late Ed Chynoweth’s collection available right here through Classic Auctions. Included are 13 lots featuring Canada Cup, World Junior and Memorial Cup rings. According to the website, the Chynoweth family is selling off the rings.


The Prince George Cougars got their roster down to 26 players on Wednesday by dropping F Reid Perepeluk, 17. He will be joining the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . A sixth-round selection in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, Perepeluk was pointless in four games with the Cougars. . . . From Yorkton, Sask., Perepeluk had nine goals and 27 assists last season with the major midget Cariboo Cougars, who play out of Prince George. . . . The Cougars are carrying three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 15 forwards.


The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks have acquired G Kyle Dumba, 19, from the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders in exchange for future considerations. Dumba, a WHL veteran, started this season with the Kamloops Blazers. After being released, he was added by the Everett Silvertips, who later let him go. . . . Dumba is expected to debut with the Silverbacks this weekend as they play three games in fewer than 48 hours — in Surrey, Cowichan and Victoria.

Meanwhile, F Arthur Miller, who lost out in the 20-year-old game with the Swift Current Broncos, has had his rights dealt by the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons to the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. Miller, from Regina, had nine goals and 15 assists in 107 games with the Broncos.


F Chase Stevenson, 18, has committed to the U of New Hampshire where he will play for the Wildcats in 2019-20. Stevenson, from West Kelowna, B.C., was a 10th-round selection by the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had 10 goals and 10 assists in 33 games with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. This season, he has three goals and five assists in 16 games.


If you like what you see here, you may want to consider donating to the cause. Should you choose to help out, simply click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner of this page and away you go. Thank you!


WEDNESDAY:

At Medicine Hat, F Josh Williams scored twice to help the Tigers to a 7-4 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Tigers (8-4-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Chiefs (8-6-1) had points in each of their four previous games (3-0-1). . . . Interestingly, F Zach Fischer of the Chiefs and F Hayden Ostir of the Tigers, who were involved in the same trade last week, both scored in what was their first game against their former clubs. . . . Fischer (3) tied the score, 2-2, at 10:58 of the second period with his second goal for the Chiefs. . . . Ostir (4) broke the tie with a PP goal at 12:29. That was his first with the Tigers. . . . Williams had opened the scoring at 15:05 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Riley Woods (8) tied it at 3:43 of the second period. . . . Medicine Hat D David Quenneville gave his guys the lead again at 7:14. . . . Fischer and Ostir followed with their goals. . . . The Tigers gained a 4-2 lead as F Tyler Preziuso (4) scored at 13:24 of the second. . . . Spokane D Nolan Reid (6), on a PP, got the deficit to one at 15:13. Last season, Reid totalled one goal in 64 games split between the Saskatoon Blades (34) and Spokane. . . . However, the Tigers opened the third period with three goals — Williams (4), on a PP, at 4:49; F Ryan Chyzowski, at 7:41; and F James Hamblin (3), at 8:23. . . . The Chiefs got the game’s last goal, from F Hudson Elynuik (8), at 12:26. . . . Chyzowski also had two assists. He has 11 points, including six goals, in 12 games. Last season, as a freshman, he finished with five goals and seven assists in 52 games. . . . F Gary Haden and F Mark Rassell each had two assists for the Tigers, with Ostir and Hamblin getting one each. . . . Elynuik added two assists to his goal, with Reid and Woods adding one each. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-5 on the PP; Spokane was 1-4. . . . G Jordan Hollett recorded the victory with 36 saves. . . . Spokane starter Dawson Weatherill surrendered four goals on 17 shots in 33:24. Donovan Buskey finished up, stopping 14 of 17 shots in 26:35. . . . The Tigers continue to play without F Max Gerlach. He hasn’t seen game action since Oct. 7 when he took a stick to the face and suffered some serious dental damage. However, he is expected to practise today (Thursday) and may play Friday against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Announced attendance: 3,106.


At Prince Albert, D Max Martin broke a 3-3 tie at 10:43 of the third period as the Raiders beat the Victoria Royals, 4-3. . . . Prince Albert (5-4-3) has points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Royals are 10-4-1. . . . This was the fourth meeting between these teams since the Royals moved from Chilliwack to Victoria over the summer of 2011. This was the Raiders’ first victory in the series. . . . Martin’s third goal of the season came just 56 seconds after F Tyler Soy (7) had pulled the visitors into a 3-3 tie. . . . F Regan Nagy, who had scored three times in a 7-2 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon on Tuesday, gave Victoria a 1-0 lead at 3:04 of the second period. He’s got 14 goals in his past 11 games. . . . F Jordy Stallard (8) tied it at 3:54. . . . The Royals took a 2-1 lead when F Igor Martynov (5) scored at 11:47. . . . The Raiders erased the deficit on third-period goals from F Cole Fonstad (6), at 3:34, and F Devon Skoleski (4), shorthanded, at 7:07. . . . Martin, Stallard and Skoleski each had an assist for Prince Albert. . . . F Matthew Phillips drew an assist on the Royals’ third goal to run his point streak to a franchise-record 15 games. The previous record was set by F Mark Santorelli with the 2006-07 Chilliwack Bruins. Remember them? . . . Phillips has 12 goals and 18 assists over those 15 games. . . . Each team was 0-2 on the PP. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 20 shots to earn the victory over Dean McNabb, who made 33 saves. . . . The Royals concluded a seven-game road swing with this one. They finished 3-4-0 on the trip. From a Victoria news release: “The club has traveled 4,336 kilometres over two weeks, and now will make the 1,787-kilometre drive back to Victoria.” . . . Prince Albert D Brayden Pachal had one assist in his first game against his former team. The Royals dealt him to the Raiders on Jan. 9. . . . Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, spent three seasons (2009-12) as the GM/head coach of the Chilliwack/Victoria franchises. . . . Announced attendance: 1,842.


At Lethbridge, G Stuart Skinner stopped 36 shots to lead the Hurricanes to a 2-0 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Lethbridge (6-5-0) has won two in a row. . . . The Pats now are 8-6-1. . . . Skinner has one shutout this season and seven in his career. He has at least one shutout in four straight seasons. . . . F Dylan Cozens (7) scored the game’s first goal, at 16:34 of the second period. . . . F Ryan Vandervlis (2) ended the scoring at 12:13 of the third period. . . . F Jordy Bellerive assisted on both goals. . . . Each team was 0-1 on the PP. . . . Regina G Tyler Brown stopped 22 shots. . . . D Tate Olson, 20, made his debut with the Hurricanes. With Olson healthy, the Hurricanes have four 20s on their roster, the others being D Brennan Riddle, F Giorgio Estephan and F Jack Flaman. Flaman was scratched last night. . . . Olson was acquired from the Prince George Cougars on Sept. 27 for a third-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. He had off-season shoulder surgery and had to sit until last night. . . . Announced attendance: 3,043.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Jordan Topping scored two goals and added two assists, and D Dylan Coghlan drew four assists, leading the Tri-City Americans to an 8-4 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Americans (9-4-0) have won six straight games. . . . The Warriors (10-4-0) had won their previous three games. . . . Moose Jaw F Brett Howden (7) scored 54 seconds into the third period, leaving Tri-City with a 4-3 lead. . . . The Americans then scored four times in 5:45 to put it away. . . . F Isaac Johnson gave the Americans a 1-0 lead with the only goal of the first period, at 5:37. . . . D Oleg Sosunov, the Russian freshman, pulled the Warriors even with his fifth goal, at 5:44 of the second period. . . . Topping, at 8:41, and F Parker AuCoin (4), at 9:39, gave the home team a 3-1 lead. . . . F Justin Almeida (8) scored for Moose Jaw at 11:05, but F Riley Sawchuk (1) got it back for the Americans just 41 seconds later. . . . Howden’s goal came next. . . . TripCity put it away on goals from F Morgan Geekie (4), F Michael Rasmussen (6), Topping (11) and F Sasha Mutala (2). . . . D Jett Woo (6) scored Moose Jaw’s final goal. . . . The Americans got two assists from each of D Juuso Valimaki and Geekie, with Mutala getting one. . . . F Brayden Burke had two assists for the Warriors, while Woo had one. . . . Tri-City was 2-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-3. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 32 shots for the Americans, three more than Moose Jaw’s Brody Willms. . . . The Warriors were without F Noah Gregor (undisclosed injury) for a second straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 2,327.


THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Seattle vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Spokane at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Everett at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Prince George vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Teams clear up 20-year-old situations … Pats, Ice swing deal … Raiders add an import

Leland Mack, a familiar face in minor hockey circles on the Lower Mainland of B.C., also scouts for the Seattle Thunderbirds. As you can see from the above tweet, he has received his 2016-17 WHL championship ring from the Thunderbirds.

I posted a tweet here earlier showing the Pittsburgh Penguins’ scouting staff as they were presented with their 2016-17 Stanley Cup rings. Wayne Meier, who is one of Pittsburgh’s amateur scouts and who knows his way around arenas in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, is one of those scouts and has been with the Penguins for a few years. He was kind enough to send along a photo of his three Stanley Cup rings, which makes for a nice collection.


F Jaroslav Kristek (Tri-City, 1998-2000) has signed a one-year contract with Brest (France, Division 1). Last season, with Tychy (Poland, PHL), he had 14 goals and 15 assists in 35 games. . . .

F Tayler Thompson (Prince George, 2010-12) has been released by Brest (France, Division 1) at his request for personal reasons. He was pointless in three games. . . .

The KHL playing rights to F Vladimir Bobylyov (Vancouver, Victoria, 2014-17) have been traded by Spartak Moscow to Salavat Yulaev Ufa (both Russia) for Stepan Khripunov. Bobylyov was recalled by the Toronto Marlies (AHL) from the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) on Saturday. Last season, he had one goal and two assists in 20 games with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL); one goal and one assist in three games with Khimik Voskresensk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga); and nine goals and 27 assists in 38 games with the WHL’s Victoria Royals.


The Massey twins of Regina have their own YouTube channel and are soon to feature Les Lazaruk, the long-time radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades. In fact, the Blades are in Regina tonight (Wednesday) and at some point Lazaruk will be interviewed by the Massey brothers. . . . They are looking for audience participation and would like you to send questions for them to ask Lazaruk to questions@themasseys.ca. . . . Requests must be in by noon. . . . The YouTube channel is located right here.


The WHL’s 20-year-old deadline came and went on Tuesday afternoon, with a few teams making moves. For the uninitiated, WHL teams are permitted to keep a maximum of three 20-year-olds on their active roster.

The Portland Winterhawks got down to three 20s by trading F Evan Weinger to the Brandon Wheat Kings for a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

Weinger, from Los Angeles, is in his fourth WHL season. Last season, he had 20 goals and 18 assists in 62 games with Portland. In 187 career games, he has 89 points, including 37 goals. He was a 13th-round selection by the Winterhawks in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft.

The trade leaves Portland with G Cole Kehler, D Keoni Texeira and F Alex Overhardt as its 20s.

Weinger’s acquisition leaves the Wheat Kings with four 20s, the others being G Logan Thompson, D Kade Jensen and D James Shearer. However, Shearer is on Brandon’s injury list and isn’t expected to return until perhaps late November, so the Wheat Kings won’t have to worry about getting down to three until his return.

Weinger is expected to make his Brandon debut tonight against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings.

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers revealed that F Zach Fischer had left the club on Sunday and asked to be traded. That left them with G Michael Bullion, F Mark Rassell and Latvian D Kristians Rubins as their 20s.

Fischer, from Lloydminster, Alta., had 34 goals and 29 assists in 62 games with the Tigers last season. This season, he had one goal in three games. In 154 career games, all with Medicine Hat, he put up 47 goals and 40 assists.

“We spent a lot of time on Sunday talking with him, talking with his agent, trying to get to the bottom of it,” Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach, told reporters.“He didn’t give us any specifics, so if there’s any specifics, it’ll have to come from Zach.”

Fischer, who now is on the Tigers’ suspended list, was a fifth-round selection by the Calgary Flames in the NHL’s 2017 draft.

In Swift Current, the Broncos waived F Arthur Miller, choosing to keep G Logan Flodell, G Glenn Gawdin and F Conner Chaulk. Miller, from Regina, had two assists in two games this season. In 106 regular-season games, he had nine goals and 15 assists.

The Prince George Cougars also went into the day with four 20s. There wasn’t anything official announced, but D Shane Collins wasn’t in their lineup last night against the visiting Calgary Hitmen. So it would seem the Cougars chose to go with F Aaron Boyd, F Jared Bethune and F Brogan O’Brien.

As well, the Seattle Thunderbirds placed F Tyler Adams on their injured list. He is scheduled for hip surgery so won’t be back anytime soon. The Thunderbirds are left with F Donovan Neuls, D Turner Ottenbreit and D Austin Strand as their 20s.


The Kootenay Ice has acquired F Jeff de Wit, 19, from the Regina Pats in exchange for F Tanner Sidaway, 18, and a seventh-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Sidaway, a sophomore from Victoria, has two goals and six assists in 65 games with the Ice last season. This season, he has a goal and an assist in five games. . . . The Pats acquired de Wit, who is from Red Deer, from the Red Deer Rebels in January. He had five goals and six assists in 37 regular-season games with the Pats. De Wit, a first-round selection by Red Deer in the 2013 bantam draft, has 20 goals and 33 assists in 211 regular-season games.


The Prince Albert Raiders have claimed D Sergei Sapego, a freshman from Vitebsk, Belarus, off waivers from the Tri-City Americans. Sapego, 18, had two assists in three games with the Americans. He played for Belarus in the 2017 IIHF U-18 World Championship in April, recording a goal and an assist in seven games. He joins veteran D Vojtech Budik, who is from Czech Republic, as the Raiders’ import players.

Having acquired Sapego, the Raiders dropped D Tyler Lowe, 17, from their roster. Lowe, who got into one game with the Raiders, is expected to join the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. The Raiders selected Lowe, who is from Calgary, in the third round of the 2015 bantam draft.

The Americans found themselves with three import players, one over the limit, when D Juuso Valimaki returned from the camp of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, thus the decision to place Sapego on waivers. The other import is Russian D Roman Kalinichenko, who is in his first WHL season.


Almost three weeks ago, there was talk that the Vancouver Giants would have F Tyler Benson back with them in time for their East Division road swing this season. Well, the Giants open that trip against the Swift Current Broncos on Friday and it appears they will have to wait until they get home before seeing Benson again. Benson, who has been plagued by injuries for the previous two seasons, remains with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers where he is working with their medical staff in an attempt to return from off-season surgery for a sports hernia. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that once Benson does return to the Giants, he will practise for at least a week before getting into a game. . . . Benson, 19, has played in 63 games over the past two seasons. The Oilers selected him in the second round of the 2016 NHL draft and have signed him to a three-year entry-level contract. . . . Ewen’s complete story is right here.


Ryan Flaherty of Global TV reports that the Saskatoon Blades will be without F Logan Christensen for up to eight weeks. He suffered an undisclosed injury during a Monday practice. . . . Christensen, 18, is in his third season with the Blades. He is pointless in five games, after putting up 11 goals and 16 assists in 27 games last season.


F Elan Bar-Lev-Wise, a 16-year-old from Vancouver, B.C., has committed to play next season for the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. He was a sixth-round pick by the Victoria Royals in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had six goals and 10 assists in 19 games with Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team. He is captaining that team this season and has three goals and eight assists in seven games.


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The WHL handed out eight games in suspensions on Tuesday.

D Brendan de Jong of the Portland Winterhawks drew a three-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct he took on Sunday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs. He hit Chiefs D Jeff Faith, who missed some time before returning in the third period.

F Brayden Pachal of the Prince Albert Raiders was suspended for three games after taking a slashing major and game misconduct on Saturday in Medicine Hat. F Max Gerlach of the Tigers is expected to miss a game or two as he recovers from some facial damage.

D Liam Schioler of the Regina Pats will sit for two games after drawing a suspension under supplemental discipline. He delivered a hit from behind on Saskatoon F Kirby Dach in Regina at 10:46 of the first period on Saturday. Schioler was given a minor penalty at the time. Dach will miss at least three games as he won’t accompany the Blades on a three-game road trip that begins tonight in Regina.


TUESDAY:

At Red Deer, G Grayson Pawlenchuk broke a 1-1 tie at 9:21 of the second period and the Rebels went on to a 4-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . F Lane Zablocki (1) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:27 of the first period. . . . Everett tied it when F Orrin Centazzo (2) scored at 4:16 of the second period. . . . After Pawlenchuk scored, F Kristian Reichel (3) added insurance at 18:12. . . . Red Deer F Jared Dmytriw (2) completed the scoring at 18:28 of the third period. . . . Pawlenchuk, who has five goals, also had an assist, as did Reichel and Zablocki. . . . Red Deer (4-3-0) was 1-5 on the PP; Everett (3-5-0) was 0-6. . . . The Rebels got 28 saves from G Ethan Anders, who posted his first WHL victory. Anders, 17, is from Regina. . . . Everett’s Dorrin Luding blocked 32 shots. . . . The Rebels had lost their previous three games. . . . The Silvertips are six games into a nine-game road trip. They are 2-4-0. . . . D Kevin Davis (ill) was among Everett’s scratches. He played in all 72 games last season. . . . Announced attendance: 3,977.


At Swift Current, F Tyler Steenbergen scored two more goals as the Broncos ran their season-opening record to 7-0-0 with a 6-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Steenbergen, who now has 15 goals, opened the scoring on a PP at 15:06 of the first period. . . . Lethbridge took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Giorgio Estephan (3), on a PP, at 17:24 of the first, and D Calen Addison (2), on another PP, at 5:46 of the second period. . . . Addison was credited with 10 shots on goal. . . . The Broncos then scored five unanswered goals. . . . F Kaden Elder (3) tied it, shorthanded, at 14:02. . . . F Riley Stotts (2) broke the tie, on a PP, at 5:48 of the third. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi (4) added insurance at 7:38, and F Max Patterson (1) scored at 12:35. . . . Steenbergen scored an empty-netter at 19:42. . . . The Broncos got three assists from D Artyom Minulin and two from F Conner Chaulk, while Elder and Stotts each had one. . . . Swift Current was 2-9 on the PP; Lethbridge (3-3-0) was 2-7. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 45 saves. . . . Lethbridge’s Stuart Skinner stopped 28 shots. . . . The game experienced a brief delay at 1:43 of the third period due to an electrical problem in the arena. Both teams were sent to their dressing rooms at the time. . . . Announced attendance: 2,121.


At Prince George, F Kody McDonald scored three goals to help the Cougars to a 7-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . This was the second hat trick of McDonald’s WHL career. McDonald, who has six goals, also scored three times on Jan. 12, 2016, in a 6-2 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . After a scoreless opening period, the Cougars took a 3-0 lead on second-period goals from McDonald, at 1:08, F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (3), at 2:43, and F Jared Bethune, shorthanded, at 12:15. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (3) scored, on a PP, for Calgary at 14:37. . . . Prince George got that one back when F Josh Maser (3) scored at 19:54. . . . The home side put it away with two goals form McDonald and one from F Aaron Boyd (2) in the third period. . . . Boyd’s goal also was shorthanded. . . . Bethune added two assists to his goal and Boyd had one. . . . Prince George (3-3-2) was 1-5 on the PP; Calgary (1-5-1) was 1-4. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 16 shots to earn his first victory. Gauthier, 16, is from Calgary. He was a first-round pick by the Cougars in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Calgary starter Nick Schneider surrendered four goals on 18 shots through two periods. Matthew Armitage played the third period and stopped 13 of 16 shots. . . . There was a clash of brothers in this one as veteran F Jake Kryski, 19, of the Hitmen played against his younger brother Max, a 17-year-old freshman. Max recorded one assist, while Jake was blanked. . . . D Peter Kope was in the Cougars’ lineup after being brought in from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. The Cougars lost D Josh Anderson and D Jonas Harkins to undisclosed injuries in weekend games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,577.


At Portland, Cole Kehler, the reigning CHL goaltender of the week, stopped 43 shots as the Winterhawks beat the Spokane Chiefs, 3-0. . . . These teams met three times in five nights with the Winterhawks sweeping. They won the first two, 6-1 and 7-2. . . . F Kieffer Bellows (3) scored Portland’s first goal, at 6:40 of the first period. . . . F Alex Overhardt (3) scored while shorthanded at 11:10 of the second period. . . . F Brad Ginnell (2) closed out the scoring at 14:32 of the third period. . . . F Skyler McKenzie had two assists. . . . Portland (6-1-0) was 0-2 on the PP; Spokane (4-4-0) was 0-5. . . . Kehler has one shutout this season and three in his career. . . . The Chiefs got 37 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . Spokane lost F Rykr Cole at 7:08 of the first period when he took a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on Portland F Ryan Hughes. . . . Portland is four games into an eight-game stretch in which it played Spokane three times in five nights and Seattle once, and now will see the Kelowna Rockets four times in eight days. Yes, Portland’s next four games all are against Kelowna. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (concussion) and D Brendan De Jong (suspended) were among Portland’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 2,621.


At Victoria, F Matthew Phillips and F Regan Nagy each scored twice as the Royals skated to an 8-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Royals (7-0-0) and Americans (3-4-0) are scheduled to meet again Wednesday night in Victoria. . . . The Royals led this one 3-0 before the game was seven minutes old. . . . F Ryan Peckford (7) got it started just 10 seconds after the first puck was dropped. . . . Phillips, who has five goals, made it 2-0 at 2:43, and F Jared Legien (3) scored, on a PP, at 6:40. . . . The Americans got a PP goal from F Jordan Topping (4) at 14:06. . . . However, the Royals opened the second period with two goals — from F Dino Kambeitz (2), at 7:36, and Phillips shorthanded, at 9:34 — to take control. . . . D Dylan Coghlan (2) also scored for the Americans. . . . F Tyler Soy (2) and Nagy, with two, finished Victoria’s scoring. Nagy has five goals. . . . The Americans were 2-3 on the PP; the Royals were 2-7. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse stopped 18 of 20 shots in 50:51, before Dean McNabb came on for the final 9:09. He stopped all six shots he faced. . . . Tri-City starter Patrick Dea allowed seven goals on 25 shots over two periods. Beck Warm played the third, stopping 11 of 12 shots. . . . The Americans lost F Maxwell James to a headshot major and game misconduct at 10:51 of the third period. . . . Announced attendance: 4,103.


At Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored twice in a shootout to beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-2. . . . F Ty Ronning, the first shooter, gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead in the shootout. Seattle tied it when F Noah Philp, its third shooter, found the mark, and won it the next round when F Zack Andrusiak scored. . . . In regulation time, F Sami Moilanen (8) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 1:50 of the first period. . . . Vancouver tied it at 3:47 when F Brayden Watts (4) scored. . . . The Thunderbirds went ahead 2-1 as D Austin Strand (4) counted on the PP at 12:50 of the second period. . . . The Giants tied it again, at 19:22, as F Brad Morrison (2) scored. . . . Seattle (4-2-1) was 1-5 on the PP; Vancouver (2-3-1) was 0-4. . . . G Liam Hughes blocked 33 shots for Seattle, 10 more than Vancouver’s Todd Scott. . . . Announced attendance: 4,008.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Brandon, 7 p.m.

Everett at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Regina, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Four games cut from WHL sked … Blazers, Ferguson searching for answers … Outdoor game confirmed


The WHL’s board of governors caught observers by surprise on Thursday when it was announced that they voted Wednesday at a meeting in Calgary to knock four games off the regular-season schedule starting next season.

WHL teams have played a 72-game schedule since 1975-76.

The move will reduce each team’s schedule to 68 games, the same as in the OHL and QMJHL.

From a WHL news release: “Playing four less games during the regular season will serve to reduce travel and balance the schedule while providing more time for players to focus on training and skill development, as well as their academic studies.”

The WHL has yet to reveal how it plans on using this move to help it “balance the schedule.”

I would suggest that most, if not all, of the dropped games would have been scheduled during the week. Hopefully a 68-game schedule will mean fewer situations in which teams have to play four games in five nights or three in fewer than 48 hours on weekends.

Hopefully, too, this will mean the end of Ron Robison, the commissioner of the WHL, telling us that the sky is falling.

Ever since a class-action lawsuit was filed against the WHL asking that its Canadian teams be forced to pay minimum wage to its players, Robison has been telling people that as many as one-third of the 22 franchises will fold should the league lose in court.

Most recently, he delivered that message to people at the Moose Jaw Warriors’ annual general meeting in September.

In June, Robison issued a statement that read, in part: “If WHL clubs were required to provide minimum wage, in addition to the benefits the players currently receive, the majority of our teams would not be in a position to continue operating.”

The majority, of course, would be more than 11 teams, so at least he has backed off a bit of late.

However, Robison has yet to provide any evidence publicly that would back up his claim, and I would suggest there isn’t any evidence to suggest that teams would fold.

Until now, when discussion turned to a potential shortening of the regular season, the No. 1 reason provided for it not being viable was a reluctance by owners to give up gates; they simply couldn’t afford to lose the revenues from those two home games.

It would seem that is no longer the case.

Look, major junior hockey, especially in the WHL, is too big a business for owners to be walking away from it over something like having to pay minimum wage to its employees, er, student athletes.

If things were looking that gloomy, why would Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell purchase the Kootenay Ice from the Chynoweth family last spring for what is believed to be about Cdn$7 million?

If the sky really is falling, why would brothers Dan and Lindsey Lickelt agree to purchase the Seattle Thunderbirds, the reigning WHL champions? I have no idea what the purchase price might me, but someone familiar with things at the ownership level has suggested to me that it might be between US$11 million and $12 million. (At Thursday’s exchange rate, that would be between Cdn$13.8 million and $15 million.)

Meanwhile, there are four community-owned teams in the WHL, each of which holds an annual general meeting and makes its profit/loss statement public.

The Prince Albert Raiders, who didn’t make the playoffs last season, lost $250,849 in 2016-17, which is approximately what they made the previous season. They generated more than $122,181 in revenue by making the playoffs in 2015-16.

Last month, the Moose Jaw Warriors announced a loss of $463,566 for 2016-17, but that included the $200,000 they paid as part of a pledge they made that helped Mosaic Place get built. The Warriors also put $531,197 into Mosaic Place upgrades, mostly in the areas of sound and lighting. Shareholders were told that the franchise’s bank balance is $1,081,545.01.

Meanwhile, the Lethbridge Hurricanes turned a profit of $737,710 in 2016-17. After the 2014-15 season, the Hurricanes were more than $700,000 in debt, a figure that was reduced by about $300,000 going into last season. Now, as this season begins, they have more than $320,000 in the bank.

The Swift Current Broncos, the fourth community-owned team, reported a profit of $135,922 for the 2016-17 season. That was helped along by six home playoff games.

The Broncos showed a profit of $133,465 for 2014-15 and $140,000 for 2015-16.

Keep in mind, too, that WHL teams share in revenues from events like the World Junior Championship and the Memorial Cup, when the latter is held in a western city. In 2015-16, the Broncos turned a $90,000 deficit into a $140,000 profit due to revenues from the Memorial Cup and the women’s world curling championship, which was held in Swift Current.

Still, if it is possible for community-owned teams to do this kind of business, why would anyone bail, even if there comes a day when they have to pay minimum wage?

If it is possible for community-owned teams to do this kind of business, you have to wonder what’s going on with the privately owned teams.


The Kamloops Blazers appear to have been in violation of the WHL’s rule regarding the post-game availability of players to the media following a 6-2 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night.

After the game, goaltending coach Dan De Palma informed the media that G Dylan Ferguson, 19, wasn’t going to be made available. Ferguson, in his first season as the Blazers’ starter allowed six goals on 22 shots and was lifted at 8:26 of the second period.

According to the WHL’s media policy:

“All players requested for post-game interviews must be available . . . within 15 minutes following leaving the ice at the conclusion of the game. Should a player be injured or receiving medical treatment following the game, he will not be required to participate in the interview.”

Ferguson wasn’t injured during the game, other than his pride, that is.

Ferguson’s woes — he is 0-5-0, 6.54, .828 in 248 minutes — are representative of what the Blazers are experiencing early in this season. At 0-6-0, they have equalled the poorest start in franchise history, that from 2015-16.

You can bet that Ferguson is feeling a lot of internal pressure, especially after so many positive things happened in his life this summer.

After spending his first two WHL seasons as a backup, he was selected by the Dallas Stars in the NHL’s 2017 draft and almost immediately dealt to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. Ferguson attended their development camp, their rookie camp and their main camp. Before returning to Kamloops, he signed a three-year entry-level contract calling for base salaries of US$650,000, $650,000 and $700,000, a minor-league salary of $60,000, and three annual $50,000 signing bonuses.

But now things have gone south and you can bet his head is spinning. But he’s young and he’ll snap out of this slump. Of course, he’ll have help, too. De Palma, in his 10th season with the Blazers, is one of the game’s best-kept secrets when it comes to coaching goaltenders. As well, head coach Don Hay knows his way around the game.

But the slow start isn’t all Ferguson. His teammates weren’t good against the Cougars, who, despite having been on the road for a week, had more energy and won all the one-on-one battles when it mattered.

It isn’t going to get any easier for the Blazers, either, as the Victoria Royals are in Kamloops tonight. The Royals are 5-0-0 and coming off an eye-popping 8-3 victory over the host Kelowna Royals on Wednesday night.

Oh, and did we mention that the Royals are expected to welcome back two key veterans — F Tyler Soy and D Chaz Reddekopp — in time for tonight’s game.

The rich get richer and all that.


A news conference is to be held in Regina today at which details of an outdoor game — Moose Jaw Warriors vs. the Pats, Feb. 18, at 33,350-seat Mosaic Stadium — will be announced. . . . This confirms what Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet reported on Sept. 21, although the sentence that he wrote on the game later disappeared from his piece. . . . Greg Harder of The Leader-Post reported Thursday evening that “according to sources, the WHL contest will be just one element in a larger weekend extravaganza that also includes an NHL/WHL alumni game at the stadium.” . . . Harder also reported: “The Pats originally proposed an outdoor game as part of their Memorial Cup bid. Although the Canadian Hockey League declined to consider the game in its final selection process, the Pats moved forward with their plans for an outdoor game as part of the centennial celebration.” . . . The Pats will be the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup. . . . WHL teams have played in two outdoor games. The Pats beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 3-2, before 20,888 fans at McMahon Stadium on Feb. 21, 2011. That is the CHL’s single-game attendance record. . . . On Jan. 15, 2011, the host Spokane Chiefs beat the Kootenay Ice, 11-2, in front of 7,075 fans at Avista Stadium, the home of baseball’s Spokane Indians.


The BCHL’s Penticton Vees announced Thursday that they have received a commitment from F Cole Shepard for next season. Shepard, 15, is from West Vancouver and attends the Delta Hockey Academy. Last season, he had 19 goals and 28 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team. This season, he has 10 points, three of them goals, in seven games with the varsity squad. . . . He was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the second round of the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He is the younger brother of F Jackson Shepard, who plays for the Kamloops Blazers.


The Prince George Cougars have released D Peter Kope, 18, from their roster. A fifth-round selection in the 2014 WHL bantam draft, he didn’t get into any of their first five regular-season games. Hope is expected to join the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . The Cougars now are carrying 26 players, including three goaltenders and 15 forwards.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes juggled their goaltending in behind starter Stuart Skinner on Thursday, dropping Adam Swan, 17, from their roster and bringing in Reece Klassen, 18. Swan, from Ashern, Man., was an 11th-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. Swan, who didn’t get into a regular-season game, will join the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. . . . Klassen, who is from Cloverdale, B.C., was with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. In five games there, he was 2-2-0, 2.67, .920.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have added D Daemon Hunt, a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, to their roster for this weekend’s games.  Hunt, 15, has two assists in two games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. He is from Brandon. . . . The Warriors have three defencemen — Josh Brook, Chase Hartje and Colin Paradis — on the injured list. Only Hartje is day-to-day.


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THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Everett at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Regina at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Benson unlikely to play in Penticton … Rockets get past Blazers … A few more signings

FIRE REPORT:

Kevin Skrepnek is the B.C. Wildfire Service’s chief information officer. As such, he has had something of a busy five months as B.C. experiences its worst fire season on record.

Still, as you can see from the above tweets, he hasn’t lost his sense of humour.


On Tuesday afternoon, Skrepnek informed that there were 162 fires burning in B.C., with four of those having started on Monday. He also said that there have been 1,207 fires in B.C. since April 1 and that they have consumed 1,148, 928 hectares (2,839,063 acres).

The Elephant Hill fire, which started on July 7, now is at 193,000 hectares, or 476,913 acres.

Officials in the Cariboo Regional District, which is in the Williams Lake area, confirm that more than 200 buildings have been lost to fires there. Of those, 62 are said to be homes.

Further south, there are issues in the areas of Peachland and Summerland, where the Finlay Creek fire to the west has been proving to be handful.

According to Skrepnek’s latest report, the BCWS has costs of $464.6 million since April 1. Keep in mind that figure represents only what the BCWS has spent and doesn’t include the RCMP costs or damage figures or anything else.

The forecast is for more hot, dry weather through Thursday. In fact, it may reach 37 C here on Wednesday. Cooler temperatures and some rain hopefully will move in to the Southern Interior on Friday.

Meanwhile, all of Waterton Lakes National Park is under an evacuation alert because of the Kenow fire, so if you are planning on travelling in that direction, you best check out the situation with Parks Canada in advance.


F Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, 2002-06) has been traded by Traktor Chelyabinsk (Russia, KHL) to Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL) for Richard Gynge. Brulé was pointless in six games this season. . . .

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he had six goals and four assists in 10 games with Katowice (Poland, PHL), and one goal and one assist in eight games with the ]Quad City Mallards (ECHL). . . .

F Carter Proft (Brandon, Spokane, 2010-14) has been released by Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL) by mutual agreement. Last season, he had one goal in eight games with Mannheim, and four goals and seven assists in 42 games while on loan to the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2).



If you are planning on spending the weekend in Penticton at the Young Stars tournament, you likely won’t be seeing F Tyler Benson in the Edmonton Oilers’ lineup.

Bob Green, the Oilers’ director of player personnel, told Oilers Now on Tuesday: “I don’t think he will see on-ice action at this tournament. We want to get him ready for the season with Vancouver.”

Benson, 19, is from Edmonton and is preparing for his fourth season with the Vancouver Giants. However, he hasn’t been in Vancouver’s training camp as the Oilers keep an eye on him.

The Giants grabbed him with the first overall pick of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. He was a second-round selection by the Oilers in the NHL’s 2016 draft. They have signed him to a three-year entry-level contract.

However, injuries and health issues have limited him to 63 games over the past two seasons. He had nine goals and 19 assists in 30 games in 2015-16. Last season, he put up 11 goals and 31 assists in 33 games.

Benson skated at the Oilers’ development camp in Jasper, Alta., early in July.


In Kelowna, the Rockets broke a 1-1 tie with three second-period goals en route to a 6-4 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Blazers got to within one, at 4-3, on goals from F Jackson Shepherd and F Scott Mahovlich in the first 10 minutes of the third period. . . . However, the Rockets iced it when D James Hilsendager and F Dallon Wilton scored at 12:41 and 15:28. . . . F Ted Brennan had a goal and an assist for Kelowna, the only one of the Rockets with more than one point. . . . Shepherd scored twice for Kamloops, while F Nic Holowko had two assists. . . . . Kamloops was 1-3 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-5. . . . Rockets G Brodan Salmond gave up one goal on 18 shots in 30:26, with James Porter finishing up by stopping 19 of 22. . . . G Kyle Dumba stopped 19 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers will be short of goaltenders starting today, what with Max Palaga injured and Dylan Ferguson off to the camp of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . . The Blazers and Rockets will meet again Friday in Kelowna, before clashing on Saturday at the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre in Kamloops.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed undrafted F Nick McCarry to a WHL contract. From Calgary, the 16-year-old McCarry, who is 5-foot-7 and 135 pounds, had 26 goals and 30 assists in 37 games with the CNHA Canucks of the Alberta Major Midget Hockey League last season.


The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Ethan Brandwood and also made official the signing of F Riley Ginnell, a move you read about here last week. . . . Brandwood, from Victoria, was a seventh-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he played for the Saanich Braves, a bantam tier 1 team. He is expected to play this season with the major midget South Island Royals. . . . Ginnell, from Calgary, was selected in the seventh round as well, five picks after Brandwood. Ginnell had 12 goals and 15 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Royals last season. Ginnell’s grandfather, the late Pat Ginnell, was a WHL coaching legend. Riley’s brother, Brad, is heading into his second season with the Portland Winterhawks, while their father, Erin, also played in the WHL.


The Everett Silvertips have signed D Dylan Anderson to a WHL contract. From Langley, Anderson was a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, with the Yale Hockey Academy, he had two goals and 10 assists in 28 games. . . . Anderson is expected to play this season with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.


The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have acquired F Dakota Boutin, 20, from the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs in a deal that also involved the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. . . . The Mustangs got the rights to D James Miller, 19, in the deal, with D Garrett Ewert, 18, moving to the Warriors. . . . Boutin, from Moosomin, Sask., was a third-round selection by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. He has spent three seasons with the Mustangs and has committed to play next season for the Northern Michigan Wildcats.


When the 2018-19 season arrives, the AHL will be up to 31 franchises, with each affiliated with an NHL team. . . . This season, the AHL will have 30 teams, with the St. Louis Blues not having an affiliate after they sold the Chicago Wolves to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. . . . Prior to next season, the Colorado Avalanche will turn the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles, who play out of Loveland, into an AHL franchise. The San Antonio Rampage, the Avalanche’s current AHL affiliate, will be taken over by the Blues for 2018-19. . . . A tip of the hat to Dan Krieger’s weekly sports league and franchise report for the info.


If you like what you see here, you may want to consider donating to the cause. Should you choose to help out, simply click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner of this page and away you go. Thank you!


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Almost 600 players part of suit … Silvertips add some truculence … Royals sign Legien

F Levko Koper (Spokane, 2006-11) has signed a tryout contract with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL), he had seven goals and 11 assists in 56 games; he also had five goals and three assists in 13 games with the Florida Everglades (ECHL). Straubing’s news release on Koper’s signing notes he has played in the playoffs 12 straight seasons.


Almost 600 present and former CHL players have registered as part of a class action lawsuit that has been filed against the CHL and the three major junior leagues that operate under its umbrella — the OHL, QMJHL and WHL. . . . Rick Westhead of TSN reported those figures on Thursday, pointing out that the number was supplied by lawyers for the plaintiffs.

Westhead also reported:

“A lawyer for the Canadian Hockey League players suing for minimum wage says newly obtained evidence shows at least one of Canada’s three major junior leagues has considered players to be team employees, not amateur student athletes.

“Plaintiff lawyer Ted Charney said in an interview Wednesday that he has obtained through discovery a copy of a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League standard player contract from before the 2013 season.

“The undated contract was provided to the plaintiffs on Aug. 25 after a Montreal judge ordered the QMJHL to provide copies of all standard player contracts from 2008 to 2013. The contract states that players are employees of their team who receive salaries.”

Westhead’s story is right here.


The Everett Silvertips have acquired D Riley Bruce, 18, in exchange for an unannounced conditional 2018 WHL bantam draft pick. . . . Bruce, from Winnipeg, had a goal and two assists in 20 career regular-season games with the Pats, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. He played two games with Regina in 2015-16 and 18 last season. In those 18 games, he had a goal, two assists and 13 penalty minutes. . . . The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Bruce will bring some truculence to the Everett lineup. In 2015-16, he led the Manitoba midget league with 140 penalty minutes in 28 games while with the Winnipeg Thrashers. Last season, in 14 games with the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons, he rang up 102 penalty minutes.

Later in the day, the Silvertips announced they had signed F Jackson Berezowski to a WHL contract. Berezowski was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Last season, Berezowski had 87 points, including 41 goals, in 30 games with the bantam AA Yorkton Terriers. That was good enough to win the league scoring title. . . . Berezowski, who is from Yorkton, added 17 points, including three hat tricks, in five playoff games.


F Jeff de Wit scored three times to lead the host Regina Pats to a 5-3 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in an exhibition game on Thursday evening. De Wit’s third goal, at 9:37 of the third period, gave the Pats a 4-2 lead. . . . Regina was 1-8 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-4. . . . G Nolan Maier went the distance for Saskatoon, stopping 36 shots. . . . The Pats started Max Paddock (22 stops in 29:46) and finished with Kurtis Chapman (12 in 30:14). . . .

Earlier in the day, also in Regina, the Moose Jaw Warriors dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 5-2. . . . Two nights earlier, the Broncos had won, 4-0, in Moose Jaw. . . . F Justin Almeida and F Luka Burzan each had two goals for the Warriors yesterday. . . . The Warriors started G Jackson Berry, who stopped 13 shots in 30:24. Adam Evanoff came on to make 13 saves in 29:36. . . . Bailey Brkin went the distance for the Broncos, stopping 34 shots.


F Brandon Hagel left the Red Deer Rebels’ intrasquad game with a knee injury on Wednesday night. Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com reported that Hagel was injured in the third period “and struggled to get off the ice.” . . . Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ general manager and head coach, said Hagel won’t be gone long. “He’s fine,” Sutter said. “He’ll be fine.” . . . Hagel, 19, was a sixth-round selection by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2016 draft. Last season, he had 31 goals and 40 assists in 65 games. The previous season, as a freshman, he scored 13 goals and added 34 assists in 72 games.


The Prince Albert Raiders opened training camp without a pair of veterans, as G Nicholas Sanders and D Max Martin are recovering from injuries. Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com reported that Sanders, 19, is recovering from hip surgery. Martin, 18, is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . “We’ve got them competing on the side,” Raiders GM Curtis Hunt told D’Andrea. “They’re close, but at this point in time, it doesn’t make any sense (to play them). It gives us the opportunity to look at somebody else.” . . . Martin was acquired from the Prince George Cougars last season, while Sanders came over from the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Jordy Stallard, who turns 20 on Sept. 18,  and F Carson Miller, 17, both of whom had their 2016-17 seasons ended prematurely by shoulder injuries, have recovered from surgery and are on the ice. . . . D’Andrea’s story is right here.


D Jeremy Masella, who is preparing for his second WHL season, had five points Wednesday night as Team White scored an 8-5 victory over Team Blue in the Victoria Royals’ intrasquad game. . . . Masella, an 18-year-old from Phoenix, had two goals and three assists. Last season, he had one assist in 28 games. . . . F Jared Legien scored twice for the winners. He was selected by the Kootenay Ice with the ninth overall pick of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. Legien spent last season with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . F Eric Florchuk also scored twice for Team White. He had three goals and six assists in 51 games with the Royals as a freshman last season. . . . Team Blue got three goals from Belarusian F Igor Martynov, who is preparing for his first WHL season. . . . The Royals will open their exhibition season with two road games — against the Kamloops Blazers on Friday and the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday.

On Thursday morning, the Royals announced that they have signed the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Legien, 19. He was added to their protected list earlier this year, after he had been dropped by the Ice. . . . Legien scored four goals and added in five assists in 84 regular-season games with the Ice over two seasons (2014-16). . . . Last season, with the Terriers, he had 30 goals and 26 assists in 51 games.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes will take 32 players into the exhibition season, after announcing the release of 16 players on Friday. Included on that list was F Austin Wong, who was acquired from the Kootenay Ice on Aug. 21 for D Tyler Strath and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. Wong, 17, is the brother of F Tyler Wong, who captained the Hurricanes last season as he played out his junior eligibility. . . . “Austin has returned to the (AJHL’s) Okotoks Oilers to pursue an Ivy League education,” Peter Anholt, the Hurricanes’ general manager said in a news release. “This is not about hockey, it’s about education and we respect his decision.” . . . Included on the roster are two players who are recovering from surgery — D Brennan Riddle (wrist) and F Ryan Bowen (shoulder).


The Calgary Hitmen are down to 32 players as they prepare to begin the exhibition season. . . . That includes four 20-year-olds in F Matteo Gennaro, D Brady Reagan, G Nick Schneider and F Jakob Stukel. . . . Schneider, who was acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers, is under contract to the NHL’s Calgary Flames, who own the Hitmen. . . . The other two goaltenders in camp both are freshmen — Matthew Armitage of Calgary, who played last season with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers, and Connor Dochuk of Edmonton, who spent last season with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. . . . Armitage, who will be 18 on Oct. 30, was a fourth-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2014 bantam draft. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder was 2.53, .902 in 18 games with Okotoks last season. . . . The 6-foot-3, 170-pound Dochuk, 18, was 2.51, .899 in 11 games with Spruce Grove last season.


The Kootenay Ice has signed F Cody Shepheard and D Zachary Patrick, a pair of 16-year-olds, to WHL deals. . . . Shepheard, from Qualicum Beach, B.C., was an eighth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he had 17 goals and 17 assists in 28 games with the Shawnigan Lake School varsity team that played in the CSSVHL. . . . Patrick, who was placed on the Ice’s protected list last season, is from Winnipeg. He played last season with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild, putting up four goals and 25 assists in 39 games.


F Tanner Wishnowski, 20, has joined the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. From Cooks Creek, Man., Wishnowski played for three WHL teams last season, but was limited by injuries to 28 games (Kelowna Rockets, 10; Spokane Chiefs, 13; Prince George Cougars, 5). . . . He had three goals and 9 assists in those 28 games. . . . In 84 career regular-season games, Wishnowski has 11 goals and 15 assists.


The Vancouver Giants have signed D Jacob Gendron, who was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. They now have signed four of their 2017 draft picks. . . . Gendron, from Prince George, captained the bantam Tier 1 Prince George Cougars last season. He is expected to play with the major midget Cariboo Cougars this season. . . . Gendron is the son of Shawn Gendron, who played for the WHL’s Cougars from 1994-96.


If you like what you see here, you may want to consider donating to the cause. Should you choose to help out, simply click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner of this page and away you go. Thank you!


If you’re looking for information on WHL teams and their training camp rosters, visit Small Thoughts At Large, the blog maintained by Alan Caldwell. . . . You will find it all right here.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).