Pats add veteran d-man from Ice … Saskatoon, Kootenay move goalies … Warriors add some size, grit

F Rihards Burkarts (Brandon, Portland, 2013-16) has been released by mutual agreement by Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had two goals and two assists in 17 games. . . .

F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Selb (Germany, Oberliga) after his release by mutual agreement by Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL) on Sunday. He had nine goals and 10 assists in 15 games with Gherdëina this season. 

When you are the host team for the next Memorial Cup, tradition dictates that your roster is in a constant state of flux prior to the Jan. 10 trade deadline.

The Regina Pats, the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, continued down that road on Monday when they sent a potential five assets to the Kootenay Ice, getting back veteran D Cale Fleury, who is to turn 19 on Sunday, in the exchange.

Going to the Ice: D Jonathan Smart, 18; F Cole Muir, 16; and two or three bantam draft picks — a second-rounder in 2018, a sixth in 2018 and an undisclosed conditional pick in 2019 or 2020. The latter likely is conditional on Fleury playing in the WHL as a 20-year-old.

Originally, the second-round pick belonged to the Medicine Hat Tigers. It moved to Regina in a deal that had G Jordan Hollett move to the Tigers on May 23. In exchange for Hollett, 18, the Pats got F Matt Bradley, 20, the second-round pick and a fifth-rounder in 2019.

The sixth-round pick actually goes back to the Ice after having been sent to Regina for G Kurtis Chapman, who was released by Kootenay on Monday.

Fleury, the Ice’s captain since January, is from Carlyle, Sask. The Ice selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 bantam draft. The Montreal Canadiens picked him in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. His older brother, Haydn, played in the WHL with the Red Deer Rebels and now is a defenceman with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

Cale is in his fourth WHL season, all of them with Kootenay. In 218 regular-season games, he put up 86 points, including 26 goals. Last season, he had 11 goals and 27 assists in 70 games.

Smart, from Kelowna, was a first-round selection by the Kelowna Rockets in the 2014 bantam draft. He is the son of former WHLer Jason Smart, and his grandfather, Russ, is a long-time WHL scout.

This season, Jonathan has 12 points, including two goals, in 21 games. In 132 regular-season games, he has 47 points, seven of them goals.

The Pats acquired Smart from Kelowna last season, sending D James Hilsendager and F Erik Gardiner to the Rockets.

Muir, from Vista, Man., is in his first WHL season and has one assist in 12 games. The Pats selected him in the second round of the 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he had 16 goals and 16 assists in 40 games with the midget AAA Yellowhead Chiefs in Manitoba.

John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, pulled the trigger on the trade with Kootenay after the Pats were swept by the rival Moose Jaw Warriors in a Friday-Sunday doubleheader.

The Warriors won 3-2 in Regina on Friday, then returned home and won 3-1, on Sunday. When the games were done, the Pats were six points behind the Eastern Conference-leading Warriors, who also are atop the WHL’s overall standings.

After Sunday’s game, Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post wrote:

“There were rumblings on the weekend that the Pats — and perhaps the Warriors as well — were close to making a significant trade. Paddock wouldn’t tip his hand, but he did say there won’t be a knee-jerk reaction based solely on two lacklustre games.”

Paddock also told Harder:

“That’s the last thing on my mind. With the (trade) deadline (on Jan. 10), different guys have different ideas of when they want to do things. We have different things that we’re working on all the time to tweak some things.”

Obviously, Paddock is wanting to tweak his defence, and you have to wonder if he won’t make another deal down the road to bring in a high-end defenceman. As Jan. 10 nears and the non-contenders start auctioning off assets, there could be an all-star defenceman or two come available. Paddock, you can bet, will be first in line with his shopping cart.

The Moose Jaw Warriors got bigger and stronger up front on Monday when they acquired F Barrett Sheen, 19, from the Kootenay Ice for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Sheen, from Airdrie, Alta., has two goals, five assists and 51 penalty minutes in 18 games this season. Last season, he totalled eight goals, 10 assists and 159 penalty minutes in 55 games with the Ice. (The WHL credits Sheen with 129 penalty minutes; the league doesn’t include misconducts or game misconducts in its individual penalty totals.)

In 2015-16, Sheen had four goals and eight assists in 46 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Saskatoon Blades have made a switch with their goaltenders, dropping Joel Grzybowski, 18, and adding Nolan Maier, 16. . . . Grzbowski, from Hafford, Sask., was an 11th-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. This season, in five appearances, he was 0-1-0, 4.20, .843. He is expected to join the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars. . . . Maier, from Yorkton, Sask., was a second-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. He has been playing with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, where he is 1-5-1, 5.15, .897. . . . The plan now is for Maier to spend the remainder of the season in Saskatoon backing up Ryan Kubic, 19.

The Kootenay Ice dropped G Kurtis Chapman, 19, from its roster on Monday. He is expected to join the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs. Chapman, who was acquired from the Regina Pats on Sept. 13, was 4-5-0, 3.91, .880 with the Ice this season. . . . The Ice now is carrying two goaltenders — Bailey Brkin, 18, who came over from the Swift Current Broncos, and Duncan McGovern, 17, who was acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Everett Silvertips, who it seems once looked at playing a game on the deck of an aircraft carrier, would be interested in playing an outdoor game at Seattle’s Safeco Field. However, Zoran Rajcic, the COO of CSH International, Inc., which owns the Silvertips, has told Jesse Geleynse of the Everett Herald that nothing is in the works at this moment. . . . “Is there an interest level? Absolutely,” Rajcic said. “I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to that. But we haven’t done anything (about it).” . . . Craig Herkimer, the president of KevaWorks, an event-management and promotions company based in California, has expressed an interest in being involved. He told Geleynse, via email: “Nothing has been confirmed, but many people in the sports community are interested in bringing this kind of event to the area.” . . . Geleynse’s piece is right here.

The KHL is on a scheduled break these days, allowing players to leave their teams to take part in various international competitions. Patrick Conway has taken advantage of the situation to write about the KHL’s teams and attendance. It’s interesting stuff and it’s all right here. . . . You are free to read it and then wonder how these teams are able to pay the salaries they do when attendance numbers don’t seem to be awfully healthy.

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F Seth Bafaro of the Saskatoon Blades has been suspended for four games after he took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct during a 6-4 loss to the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Friday. Bafaro has already missed one game, the Blades’ 3-1 loss to the host Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday.


No Games Scheduled.

TUESDAY (All times local):

Calgary at Brandon, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Prince Albert vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Red Deer 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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

Warriors sweep two from Pats … Giants escape with win over Oil Kings … Winterhawks power past Raiders

F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has been released by Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL) by mutual agreement. He had nine goals and 10 assists in 15 games. . . .

F Colin Long (Kelowna, 2005-09) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, he had 10 goals and a team-high 32 assists in 29 games with Asiago (Italy, Alps HL). He was third in the league in assists.

Richard Matvichuk, the head coach of the Prince George Cougars, watched his guys drop a 4-0 decision to the visiting Everett Silvertips on Saturday night.

After the game came the explosion.

“It wasn’t good,” Matvichuk said. “It was frustrating. Our 20-year-olds and our 19-year-olds did not want to play the game and they tried to take shortcuts and that’s why we weren’t successful.”

That is one of the quotes from Hartley Miller’s blog site at

The Cougars’ games are heard on 94.3 The Goat — Miller is the analyst — and Matvichuk told the post-game show that had he been a fan he would have headed home with the locals down 4-0 after 40 minutes.

“It was awful,” Matvichuk continued. “We didn’t have any work ethic. They wanted it more, they played harder, they finished more checks, and they put pucks in the right area. We were soft; we wouldn’t finish checks. We swung away. We didn’t want to get traffic in front of their net. They didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves.”

The Cougars had beaten the visiting Silvertips 4-3 in OT on Friday night.

Prince George next plays on Wednesday when it travels to Kamloops to meet the Blazers, who are 7-12-0, but have won seven of their past 10 games after an 0-9-0 start.

The Cougars (6-9-4) are fourth in the B.C. Division, two points ahead of the Blazers. Prince George is two points out of the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff spot.

James McEwan spent four seasons (2004-08) in the WHL, two with the Seattle Thunderbirds and two with the Kelowna Rockets.

It’s fair to say that the Kelowna native was one of the last hired guns.

In two seasons with the Thunderbirds, he had two goals, three assists and 245 penalty minutes.

In two seasons with the Rockets, he recorded five goals, seven assists and 295 penalty minutes in 105 games.

These days, he is back in Kelowna, his hockey-playing days behind him, and he says it’s time for fighting to be eliminated from hockey.

He told Jeremy Allingham of CBC News that he has gone through the drugs and the alcohol, the depression and the suicidal thoughts.

“Fighting is linked with CTE and it’s caused suicides, it’s causing mental illness,” McEwan told Allingham. “It was a direct link to, I believe, my own trauma and challenges which put me to the edge, very close to taking my own life multiple times.

“Knowing what we know now, when you’re cheering and supporting these fights, you’re also cheering and supporting the things that have helped cause suicides of guys like Rick Rypien, Wade Belak, Steve Montador and many others.”

Allingham’s complete piece is right here.

If you are wondering where the KHL is headed, well, this piece right here is for you. Patrick Conway, who runs Conway’s Russian Hockey Blog, turned over his space to Tomáš Vorčák, who use the opportunity to write in length on the “KHL’s new development plan for the next few seasons . . . which represents a significant change of philosophy from the way the league used to operate.”

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!


At Moose Jaw, the Warriors completed a weekend sweep of the Regina Pats with a 3-1 victory. . . . The Warriors (15-4-0) have won five in a row and have moved into first place atop the overall standings, a point ahead of the idle Victoria Royals (14-6-1). . . . The Pats (11-8-2) have lost two in a row. They went into Friday just two points behind the Warriors, but now trail by six with the Warriors holding two games in hand. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs (14) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 3:46 of the first period. Halbgewachs is from White City, which is located just east of Regina. He had a goal and an assist on Sunday, after scoring twice in Friday’s 3-2 victory in Regina. . . . F Bryan Lockner (3) pulled the Pats even at 13:44 of the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (9) broke the tie at 13:07 of the second period and F Tanner Jeannot (11) added the insurance at 18:47 of the third. . . . Moose Jaw was 0-4 on the PP; Regina was 0-2. . . . G Brody Willms stopped 23 shots for the Warriors, while Regina’s Tyler Brown blocked 43. . . . The Warriors went into the game without two front-end defencemen in Josh Brook and Dmitri Zaitsev. Then they watched as Jett Woo and Matthew Benson failed to finish the game due to injury, something that left them with only four defencemen. . . . The Warriors also were without F Brett Howden for a second straight game. He suffered an undisclosed injury while playing for Team WHL against the Russians in Swift Current on Tuesday. . . . Announced attendance: 4,005.

At Langley, B.C., the Edmonton Oil Kings scored the only six goals of the third period, but it wasn’t enough — SERIOUSLY! — as they dropped an 8-7 decision to the Vancouver Giants. . . . You are free to wonder which team’s coaching staff slept better after this one. . . . The Giants (8-8-4), who were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours (2-0-1), have points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Oil Kings (5-12-2) have lost six in a row. . . . The Giants got three goals and a pair of assists from F James Malm, who now has eight goals. Last season, Malm finished with 20 goals and 31 assists in 69 games. He had four points, including two goals, in a 5-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals on March 14. That was one of his five two-goal games last season. . . . Malm got the scoring started at 2:15 of the first period, with F Brendan Semchuk (6), on a PP, scoring at 7:18 and F Ty Ronning (19) finding the range on another PP, at 13:08. . . . F Ty Gerla scored Edmonton’s first goal, at 18:40. . . . The Giants broke it open — or thought they did — with five second-period goals, from F Milos Roman (6), D Matt Barberis (3), Malm F Tyler Popowich (3) and Malm, again. . . . In the third period, the Giants scored six times in a span of 8:47, starting with F Davis Koch goal at 11:07. . . . F Tomas Soustal (5), F David Kope (2), Koch (7), F Trey Fix-Wolansky (8) and F Colton Kehler (7) also scored to get the Giants to within a goal at the end. Kehler’s goal came at 19:54. . . . The Giants got three assists from F Tyler Benson, two from F Tyler Ho, and one each from Popowich and Roman. . . . Benson, who has four goals and five assists in seven games, played in all three weekend games. . . . Soustal added four assists to his goal, while D Conner McDonald had three and Koch two. Fix-Wolansky added one assist to his goal. . . . Ronning has goals in seven straight games. His father, Cliff, holds the WHL record for longest such streak. He totalled 27 goals in an 18-game streak for the New Westminster Bruins in 1984-85, from Nov. 6 through Dec. 15. . . . Vancouver was 4-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 2-5. . . . Vancouver G Todd Scott blocked 29 shots. . . . Edmonton starter Boston Bilous, who is from Langley, was beaten three times on 11 shots in 13:08. Travis Child came on to stop 20 of 25 shots in 45:54. . . . Announced attendance: 3,689.

At Portland, the Portland Winterhawks scored five PP goals, four of them on 5-on-3s, en route to a 6-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Winterhawks (14-4-0) have won five in a row and lead the U.S. Division by two points over the Tri-City Americans (12-5-2). . . . The Raiders are 8-7-3. . . . F Jordy Stallard (14) of the Raiders scored the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 3:42 of the opening period. Stallard is riding an 11-game point streak, with 20 points, including 11 goals, over that time. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (6) got Portland even, on a PP, at 5:32 of the second period, with F Brad Ginnell breaking the tie at 14:32. . . . The Winterhawks added four third-period goals, three of them coming via the PP. . . . F Cody Glass scored twice, giving him 10, with F Skyler McKenzie (15) and Ginnell (5) adding the others. . . . Jokiharju and F Joachim Blichfeld each had two assists for Portland. . . . The Winterhawks were 5-12 on the PP; the Raiders were 1-5. . . . The Raiders took the game’s last 11 penalties — 10 minors and a misconduct — all coming between 5:58 and 17:50. . . . G Cole Kehler stopped 28 shots for Portland. . . . The Raiders got 28 saves from G Curtis Meger. . . . Announced attendance: 5,536.

MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.

TUESDAY (All times local):

Calgary at Brandon, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Prince Albert vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Red Deer 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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

Outdoor games at Safeco Field? … Living with tragedy in Renfrew, Ont. … Blazers goalie in NYC

If you’re watching the World Series, here’s hoping you have access to Fox-TV because analyst John Smoltz is good. Really good.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post related this anecdote in a Sunday column:

So Antti Raanta, the former Rangers netminder now with Arizona, was talking about adjusting to life in the desert.

“It takes a little time to get used to the weather and remind yourself that you’re not on vacation,” said Raanta. “But everything has been good.

“Except maybe for the scorpions my wife saw in our bedroom.”

I ran into the effervescent Guy Charron while doing some shopping the other day. He’s looking good. In fact, he hasn’t looked this good since before he dipped his toe in the WHL coaching pool with the Kamloops Blazers.

Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle with a first-person baseball tale:

That was cute when the Dodgers sent Vin Scully to the mound for the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series, and then Vinny summoned Fernando Valenzuela to do the job. Reminded me of the 2010 Series, Giants at Texas. In the press box there was a line for the men’s room. I completed my stand-up business, turned and saw that the on-deck man was Juan Marichal. I tapped my right arm with my left hand and said, “Juan, I’m bringing you in for relief.”

No, he didn’t laugh.

Here’s Ostler, again:

The NFL blew it.

The recent meeting between 11 team owners and 12 players at NFL headquarters in New York, called to discuss player protests during the national anthem, would have been more exciting had it been smartly marketed.

First of all, give it a name: “Sons of Bitches vs. Sons of Riches.”

Then, for god’s sake, televise it. From the ESPN account of the showdown, it was a lot more exciting than half the football games.

And one from Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News:

As Dave Roberts of the Dodgers, who at one point in this World Series used 17 pitchers in 20 innings, went through eight relief pitchers in Game 2, I kept hearing the voice of my Hall of Fame friend Bill Madden inside my head.

Mr. Madden, from the first time I sat down next to him in a press box, has always talked about “the endless search for the guy who doesn’t have it.”

That’s what we saw in Game 2, exactly.

Wonder Woman and I made another successful return trip over the Coquihalla last weekend — successful in that we survived it. On the return trip, I deliberately set the cruise control at 120 — if you’ve never been there, that is the speed limit — and there were times when I thought I was standing still. (To our American friends, that would kilometres per hour.) I also would swear that Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed us a time or two.

Headline at Adam Silver approves huge order for Warriors vs. Cavaliers 2018 NFL Finals shirts.

Dilly! Dilly!!

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Freiburg (Germany, DEL2). He had one assist in 13 games.

The WHL has had teams involved in two outdoor games to date, with another one scheduled for this season.

Now a source has told Taking Note that the WHL is looking into the possibility of playing two games at Safeco Field in Seattle early in 2019.

The WHL’s first outdoor game took place at Avista Stadium in Spokane on Jan. 15, 2011, with the Chiefs beating the Kootenay Ice 11-2 before 7,075 fans.

On Feb. 21, 2011, there were 20,888 fans at McMahon Stadium in Calgary as the Hitmen dropped a 3-2 decision to the Regina Pats.

This season, the Regina Pats will entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors at 30,048-seat Mosaic Stadium on Feb. 18.

The source told Taking Note that outdoor games at Safeco Field would feature the Seattle Thunderbirds, who play out of Kent, Wash., and Everett Silvertips playing one game each.

Safeco Field, the home of the Seattle Mariners, seats 47,943 for baseball.

It could be that outdoor games in Seattle would be a big deal to hockey fans who follow teams in the WHL’s U.S. Division. There regularly is grumbling from many of those fans because their favourite teams have, for whatever reason, been left out in the cold when it comes to having their communities play host to such things as the Memorial Cup, Canada-Russia games or the Top Prospects Game.

The junior B Renfrew, Ont., Timberwolves and their fans are trying to heal as they deal with the aftermath of a weekend single-vehicle accident in which two players were killed and two others injured.

One of the players, Brandon Hanniman, 18, was pronounced dead at the scene early Saturday morning. A second player, Alex Paquette, 18, died in hospital Saturday afternoon.

Two other teammates, Jake McGrimmon and Ben Scheuneman, both 18, were injured in the accident and remain in hospital. Scheuneman is in critical condition.

The Timberwolves play in the Central Canada Hockey League Tier 2.

A report from says police believe alcohol played a role in the accident and that three of the players weren’t wearing seatbelts. That report is right here. . . .

There is more right here from the Ottawa Citizen.

Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen writes:

“It adds up to a hockey parent’s worst nightmare. Under-aged drinking. Teenaged drivers. An open road and a car’s willing throttle after midnight. Boys being boys and blowing off what should be a reflex habit: buckling up when getting into a car.

“Teenage independence can come at a horrible cost.”

Scanlan’s column is right here.

D Artyom Minulin of the Swift Current Broncos and D Alex Alexeyev of the Red Deer Rebels are on the roster of the Russian team that will play against Team WHL in the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series. Games are scheduled for Monday in Moose Jaw and Tuesday in Swift Current. . . . Minulin, in his third season with the Broncos, has 10 points, including three goals, in 13 games. In 155 career regular-season games, he has 16 goals and 77 assists. . . . Alexeyev has seven assists in six games with the Rebels this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had four goals and 17 assists in 21 games. His 2016-17 season was cut short by a knee injury. This season, he has recently returned from a shoulder injury.

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!

G Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers had a front-row seat Tuesday night as the visiting Vegas Golden Knights lost, 6-4, to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Ferguson, 19, was on the Golden Knights’ bench as their backup goaltender after being summoned under emergency recall follows. The Golden Knights have three injured goaltenders on their roster.

Ferguson backed up Maxime Lagace, who made his NHL debut on Monday night, entering what would be a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders after starter Oscar Dansk left with an injury.

Ferguson got the call on Monday, at about 6 p.m. He caught a flight to Vancouver, then took a redeye flight to Toronto where he made a connection to New York City. He arrived there at 11 a.m., and joined the Golden Knights at their hotel.

Vegas is scheduled to continue its road trip against the Boston Bruins on Thursday, the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday and the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

The Blazers, meanwhile, will go home-and-home with the Vancouver Giants this weekend, playing Friday in Langley, B.C., and in Kamloops on Saturday.

Max Palaga, a 17-year-old from Kamloops, is expected to start both games. He has made four appearances this season, going 0-2-0, 3.89, .853.

Dylan Garand, 15, is expected to be backing up Palaga. Garand, from Victoria, was a third-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. He is attending the Delta Hockey Academy and playing for the prep team in the CSSHL.

F Nick Henry of the Regina Pats is almost ready to return after having off-season shoulder surgery. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reports right here that Henry, who had 81 points, including 35 goals, in 72 games as a freshman last season, might play Friday agains the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . .

The Vancouver Giants have dropped D Austin King-Cunningham from their roster, and he has joined the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. King-Cunningham, 17, is from Pilot Butte, Sask. He was pointless in four games with the Giants. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported that King-Cunningham left the Giants “over a lack of playing time after the East Division road trip.” . . . Last season, he had three goals and eight assists in 33 games with the midget AAA Battlefords Stars, and one assist in three games with the Giants. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings have named F Colton Kehler as the 11th captain in the franchise’s modern history. Kehler is in his third season with the Oil Kings. Kehler, 20, has six goals and five assists in 15 games this season. He was a seventh-round selection by Edmonton in the 2012 bantam draft. . . .

Team USA will hold its pre-tournament training camp in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 15-19 as it prepares to defend its gold medal at the World Junior Hockey championship that is to open in Buffalo on Dec. 26. . . . Team USA will play two exhibition games — against Belarus, in Jamestown, N.Y., on Dec. 20, and against Sweden, in Erie, Penn., on Dec. 22.

The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers have fired general manager/head coach Casey O’Brien. . . . Assistant coach Mat Hehr was named interim GM/head coach. . . . O’Brien was in his second season as the Terriers’ GM/head coach, after spending five seasons as an assistant coach. . . . The Terriers were 3-12-2 and in fourth place in the Viterra Division — 11th overall — at the time of the firing. The Terriers also are the SJHL’s most-penalized team. . . . The move came two weeks after O’Brien’s wife, Laura, suffered two heart attacks while undergoing routine bloodwork. She is said to be recovering nicely. . . . Dave Baron, the team president, told Stefanie Davis of Yorkton This Week that “the timing was just so terrible, but we have to put the team first. We felt it had to be done.” . . . Davis’s story is right here.

Cliff Ronning, a former WHL star and the father of Vancouver Giants F Ty Ronning, has been added to the coaching staff of the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star.

Mike Keenan, the team’s GM and head coach, announced Tuesday that Ronning will be the team’s development coach.

Here’s Keenan:

“He takes on responsibilities of skill development throughout the organization at various levels. He’s got a great NHL background and experience as a player, also he did a superb job for us last summer in Vancouver where we had evaluation camps.

“He brings more experience to our staff dealing with the KHL, VHL and MHL teams as well as our academy in Toronto and I think that his skills and his ability to communicate with younger players will be invaluable to the organization.

“Another part of his responsibility will be scouting the Vancouver area. There are thousands of Chinese descendants playing in this area, it’s a very populated Chinese hockey program and he’s got a good handle on the players in that community.”


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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

Tweet of the day

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 “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.


No Games Scheduled.


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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

Americans lose forward to KHL, add d-man … Warriors iced … Holt on! Giants win in OT

D Linden Springer (Prince George, Portland, 2010-13) has signed a two-year extension with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). This season, he has one goal and two assists in 10 games.

Casey O’Brien is the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. On Tuesday morning, he posted a tweet involving his wife, Laura, who experienced a medical emergency while having routine blood work done on Monday. . . . O’Brien is in his second season as the Terriers’ GM and head coach, after spending five seasons as an assistant coach. . . . I pass along his tweet and ask the hockey community to keep Laura in its thoughts and prayers.

If you would like to read more about O’Brien, who is deaf, take a couple of minutes and check out this piece right here that TSN’s Darren Dreger wrote in December. It is headlined: The relentless drive of Casey O’Brien. . . . It carries that headline for good reason.

The Tri-City Americans solved their 20-year-old and import situations on Tuesday when Russian F Vladislav Lukin signed with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL. Lukin, who is from Ufa, played the previous three seasons with the Americans. Last season, he had 26 goals and 32 assists in 63 games. . . . Lukin started this season in camp with the Americans, then moved on to the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. They assigned him to the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles, who released him last week. Lukin then returned to the Americans. . . . His return left Tri-City with three import players, one over the limit, and four 20-year-olds, also one over the limit. Lukin’s departure leaves the Americans with Finnish D Juuso Valimaki and D Roman Kalinichenko, a freshman from Russia, as the imports, and G Patrick Dea, F Maxwell James and F Jordan Topping as the 20s.

Meanwhile, the Americans have acquired D Anthony Bishop, 19, from the Victoria Royals for an eighth-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. Bishop wasn’t in the Americans’ lineup last night as they beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 2-1. . . . Bishop, from Kelowna, played last season with the WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds, recording two goals and five assists in seven games. . . . In 2015-16, as a freshman with the Saskatoon Blades, he had two assists in 40 games. . . . This season, he had one assist in four games with Victoria. . . . The Royals acquired him from Seattle on Aug. 2, giving up F Blake Bargar, 19, in the exchange. . . . With Bishop, the Americans have nine defencemen on their roster. But two of them, Liam Belcourt and Dan Gatenby, are out with long-term injuries.

The WHL has named the roster for Team WHL, which will meet a touring Russian side in Moose Jaw (Nov. 6) and Swift Current (Nov. 7) in the western end of the annual CIBC Canada-Russia Series. . . . Games 3 and 4 will be played in the OHL cities of Owen Sound (Nov. 9) and Sudbury (Nov. 13), with Games 5 and 6 in the QMJHL centres of Charlottetown (Nov. 14) and Moncton (Nov. 16). . . . Team WHL’s roster, as it now stands, features 20 players, including eight defencemen and 12 forwards. . . . The rosters includes F Tyler Benson of the Vancouver Giants, who has yet to play a game this season. He is recovering from off-season surgery for a sports hernia and remains with the Edmonton Oilers, who selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . The roster also includes G Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips for a third straight season. However, he has played in only two games this season. He was returned to Everett by the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, played on Sept. 29 and 30, and shortly afterwards was diagnosed with mononucleosis.

The WHL’s news release and the roster are right here.

There are 15 WHL players on the 66-man roster released by Hockey Canada on Tuesday for the U-17 World Hockey Challenge that is to be played in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C., Nov. 5-11. . . . The players will be split into three teams — Black, Red and White — for the tournament that also includes teams from Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the U.S.. . . . From a news release: “In July, 111 players were invited to the week-long national under-17 development camp, marking the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. The players chosen to compete at the (WHC) were selected by Brad McEwen, Hockey Canada’s head scout, in consultation with U17 POE management group lead Steve Staios, along with regional scouts Carl Bouchard (Quebec), Barclay Branch (Ontario), Barclay Parneta (West), Kevin Mitchell (Atlantic), and Darrell Woodley (Ontario).” . . . There is one WHL goaltender on the roster, along with seven defencemen and seven forwards. The complete roster is right here.

The Tri-City Americans have two forwards — Connor Bouchard and Sasha Mutala — on the roster. Expecting that to happen, Tri-City general manager Bob Tory added F Brett Clayton to the roster on Monday. Clayton, who is to turn 19 on Nov. 22, was released by the Portland Winterhawks in September and subsequently dropped from their list.

D Charlie Roy of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes has drawn a 15-game suspension after a nasty incident that occurred in a game against the host Victoriaville Tigres on Saturday. . . . Unlike the WHL, which chooses not to use modern technology to provide insight when such decisions are reached, the QMJHL posted video of the incident and the rationale behind the suspension on its website. You are able to view it all right here. . . . In short, Roy twice punched a fallen and defenceless opponent, F Maxime Comtois, the first knocking off the helmet and the second causing the head to strike the ice surface with force. . . . Also taken into consideration: Roy wasn’t a first-time offender and the opponent was injured on the play in question. . . . The incident occurred at 19:42 of the second period in a game won by Shawinigan, 4-2. . . . Comtois was a second-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL’s 2017 draft.

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At Cranbrook, B.C., F Brett Davis broke a 1-1 tie at 17:45 of the second period as the Kootenay Ice beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 2-1. . . . The Ice (4-5-1) has won two in a row for the first time this season. Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) notes that the Ice won back-to-back games only twice last season and five times over the past three seasons. . . . The Warriors (7-2-0) had won their previous two games. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (4) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 5:54 of the first period. . . . The Warriors tied it at 12:55 on a goal from F Tanner Jeannot (3). . . . Davis won it with the game’s only PP goal. . . . The Ice was 1-3 on the PP; the Warriors were 0-2. . . . G Bailey Brkin earned the victory with 28 saves, three fewer than Moose Jaw’s Brody Willms. . . . D Chase Hartje, who turns 18 on Dec. 17, made his debut with the Warriors. From Bemidji, Minn., he had been out with an undisclosed injury. Last season, he had four goals and 21 assists in 25 games with Bemidji High. He also played nine games with the NAHL’s Bismarck, N.D., Bobcats, putting up two goals and four assists. . . . After playing seven straight home games, the Warriors opened a seven-game road swing with this one. From Cranbrook, they’ll go through the U.S. Division and then finish up in Medicine Hat on Oct. 27. . . . Announced attendance: 2,110.

At Prince Albert, F Dawson Holt scored his first goal of the season, at 2:35 of OT, to give the Vancouver Giants a 5-4 victory over the Raiders. . . .Holt won it with a shot from the high slot that went off a post, hit G Nicholas Sanders in the back and went into the Prince Albert net. . . . The Giants (3-4-2) had lost four in a row (0-2-2). . . . The Raiders (3-4-3) went into OT for the third time in four games. They now have lost four in a row (0-1-3). . . . The teams combined for five goals in the game’s first 5:21 and seven in the first period, with the Raiders taking a 4-3 edge into the second. . . . The Giants took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Brayden Watts (7), at 1:33, and F Ty Ronning, at 2:21. . . . The Raiders roared back and tied it as F Jordy Stallard (6) scored, at 3:45, and D Sergei Sapego followed at 4:50. . . . Ronning’s sixth goal gave the Giants a 3-2 edge at 5:21. . . . The home side went out front on goals from D Parker Kelly (6), at 18:27, and F Sean Montgomery (4), at 19:58. . . . After the wild first period, there was only one more goal through the end of regulation time, that coming from Vancouver F Alex Kannok Leipert (1), at 8:25 of the second period. . . . F Cole Fonstad had two assists for the Raiders, with Sapego and Stallard each getting one. . . . Each team was 0-2 on the PP. . . . The Giants got 33 saves from G David Tendeck. . . . G Curtis Meger made his eighth straight start for the Raiders, but lasted just 5:22 after allowing three goals on four shots. Sanders, who hadn’t played since Sept. 23 due to an undisclosed injury, came off the bench to stop 33 of 35 shots in 57:13. . . . Vancouver lost D Darian Skeoch to a charging major and game misconduct at 1:24 of the second period. . . . The Giants are four games into a seven-game road trip — they are 1-1-2 — that will end in Regina on Saturday. . . . D Brayden Pachal returned to the Raiders’ lineup after serving a three-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 1,727.

At Kennewick, Wash., G Beck Warm stopped 33 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Americans (6-4-0) have won three in a row. . . . The Rockets (4-4-2) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . F Nolan Yaremko scored both Tri-City goals, his first of the season, at 10:24 of the first period and 12:24 of the third. . . . F Jordan Topping of the Americans took a boarding major and game misconduct, for a hit on Kelowna F Jack Cowell, at 17:22 of the third period. . . . Cowell wasn’t injured on the play and, in fact, picked up an assist on the PP goal that followed, from F Dillon Dube (4). . . . The Rockets got 22 stops from G James Porter. . . . Kelowna was 1-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-3. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki returned after missing three games due to illness. F Brett Clayton, who was added to the Americans’ roster on Monday, was scratched. . . . F Maxwell James of the Americans served the final game of a three-game suspension. . . . With assistant coach Brian Pellerin away at the WHL Cup, the Americans had former G Olaf Kolzig working as an assistant coach. Kolzig also is one of the club’s owners. . . . Not to be forgotten in this one was the meeting of the Topping brothers — Jordan, 20, and his younger brother Kyle, a sophomore forward with Kelowna who will turn 18 on Nov. 18. The Toppings are from Salt Spring Island, B.C., which also is home to Valdy, a popular Canadian singer-song writer. . . . Announced attendance: 2,783.

WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Victoria at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City at Everett, 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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

Wife of ex-WHL d-man among Vegas victims … Bean back to Calgary … Everett’s Hart sidelined

Tara Roe, the 34-year-old wife of former WHL D Zach Roe, was among those killed in the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night. reported that “the mother of two young children, who was originally from Brandon, became separated from her husband and friends when a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel across the street from the country music show.”

The Roes live in Okotoks, Alta. Tara worked as an educational assistant with the Foothills School Division in High River, Alta. She also was a model with Sophia Models out of Calgary.

Zach, a Regina native, was a seventh-round selection by the Pats in the 1998 bantam draft. He played two games with Regina in each of three seasons (1998-2001), then had four assists in 63 games in 2001-02.

As you can see from the above tweet, a GoFundMe page has been started in support of the Roe family.

The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes returned D Jake Bean, 19, to the Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday. Bean, from Calgary, is entering his fourth season with the Hitmen. Last season, he had eight goals and 37 assists in 43 games. A hand injury cost him 20 games. . . . In 162 career regular-season games with the Hitmen, he has 37 goals and 111 assists. . . . The Hurricanes selected Bean with the 13th overall pick in the NHL’s 2016 draft.

Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips, the WHL’s goaltender of the year each of the past two seasons, has been diagnosed with mononucleosis and will be out week-to-week. He is shown on the WHL’s weekly injury report as being out with an “upper body” injury.

Hart sat out the first two games of the regular season, then returned to practice. He went the distance in a 4-3 shootout victory over the host Kelowna Rockets on Friday. He didn’t start Saturday against the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., because he wasn’t feeling well. However, he entered the game in the second period when starter Dorrin Luding was forced out with an undisclosed injury.

G Dustin Wolf, a 16-year-old freshman from Tustin, Calif., is on the Everett roster but is out for up to six weeks with an undisclosed injury.

Luding, 18, has recovered and will have to carry the mail with Hart out. Luding, from Prince George, was a third-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2014 bantam draft. Luding has played in five regular-season games, three of them this season where he is 1-0-0, 3.62, .903 in 116 minutes played.

The Silvertips will visit the Spokane Chiefs tonight and then head into the Central Division for six games in nine days, starting against the Calgary Hitmen on Friday.

D Alex Alexeyev of the Red Deer Rebels underwent an MRI on his injured shoulder on Tuesday and now is listed as week-to-week. Alexeyev was injured on Friday in Brandon. . . . “It’s the best-case scenario,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ general manager and head coach, told Greg Meachem of “We can’t put a timetable on his return. It will depend on his rehab.” . . . Alexeyev missed the last couple of months last season with a knee injury that required surgery.

The Brandon Wheat Kings have released D Aiden Mucenski, who will turn 18 on Nov. 15, from their roster. He is expected to join the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys. From Calgary, Mucenski played the past two seasons with the midget AAA Calgary Flames. This season, he was pointless in one game with the Wheat Kings. He got into four games with them last season and also was pointless.

The Saskatoon Blades got their roster down to 25 on Tuesday by releasing D Payton McIsaac, who will turn 17 on Dec. 26, and F Logan Doust, 16. . . . McIsaac is headed to the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders, with Doust off to the Vancouver-Northwest Giants of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . McIsaac, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., was a second-round selection by the Blades in the 2015 WHL bantam draft. He had one assist in 10 games with the Blades in 2015-16 and was pointless in one game last season. He played most of last season with the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers, recording seven goals and 16 assists in 34 games. . . . Doust, from North Vancouver, B.C., was a ninth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he had 13 goals and 13 assists in 26 games with the Giants.

Meanwhile, Ryan Flaherty of Global TV tweeted that neither F Lukus MacKenzie nor G Ryan Kubic practised with the Blades on Tuesday. Head coach Dean Brockman told Flaherty that both are day-to-day. The Blades don’t play until Friday when they entertain the Swift Current Broncos, will reassess things on Thursday to see whether they need to bring in a goaltender in support of Joel Grzybowski, the second goaltender on their roster.

Jack Todd, who follows the Montreal Canadiens and writes in the pages of the Montreal Gazette, had an interesting column on Sunday about what he refers to, correctly, as the “Hate Fan.” . . . He writes that instead of intelligent discourse, “We get the Hate Fan, riled up and furious, venting his or her spleen at everything connected with the team, the fan who seems to revel in every loss. The rise of the Hate Fan is, I think, rather recent, a phenomenon created in part by social media and in part by the rise of all these fly-by-night websites that pretend to cover the team, usually with a team of illiterate, unpaid writers.” . . . Todd’s column is right here.

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The OHL’s Kitchener Rangers have “parted ways” with assistant coach Matthew Barnaby, according to a two-paragraph statement posted on the team’s website. Barnaby, 44, is a former NHL player who was in his second season on the Rangers’ coaching staff. . . . Barnaby was one of two assistants on head coach Jay McKee’s staff, the other being Andreas Karlsson. . . . The Rangers are 2-3-1 in the early going.

D Turner Ottenbreit of the Seattle Thunderbirds has been suspended for six games by the WHL office after he took a headshot major and game misconduct against the Winterhawks in Portland on Saturday night. Ottenbreit got what is considered by some observers to be a harsh suspension because he is a repeat offender and the victim, Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, was injured. Blichfeld was diagnosed with a concussion and is out week-to-week. . . . Ottenbreit served his first game of that suspension on Tuesday night when the Thunderbirds visited the Tri-City Americans.

Meanwhile, D Cale Fleury of the Kootenay Ice was suspended for three games after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday. F Davis Murray, who absorbed the hit, is listed as being out TBD with an upper-body injury.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Morgan Geekie scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Geekie was Tri-City’s first shooter. . . . F Michael Rasmussen, in his first game since being returned to the Americans by the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:23 of the first period. . . . The Thunderbirds went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Nolan Volcan (1), at 10:51 of the second period, and F Noah Philp (1), at 4:03 of the third. . . . Tri-City F Carson Focht (1) forced OT when he scored at 16:14. . . . G Patrick Dea earned the victory with 23 saves through OT and three more in the shootout. . . . The Thunderbirds got 27 stops from Matt Berlin. . . .  Tri-City (2-2-0) was 1-3 on the PP; Seattle (2-1-1) was 0-3. . . . The Thunderbirds were without their captain, D Turner Ottenbreit, 20, who began serving a six-game suspension. . . . With Ottenbreit suspended, the Thunderbirds could only dress two 20-year-olds. They scratched F Tyler Adams, while playing F Donovan Neuls and D Austin Strand. . . . Announced attendance: 2,475.

WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Everett at Spokane, 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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

Three teams do goaltender shuffle … Rebels lose Lamb to injury … Warriors reveal some numbers

F Bruno Mráz (Brandon, 2011-12) has signed a one-year contract with Olomouc (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had 17 goals and 19 assists in 44 games with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . .

F Peter Mueller (Everett, 2005-07) has signed a one-year contract with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had 13 goals and 12 assists in 56 games last season with the Providence Bruins (AHL). . . .

F Tomáš Mojžíš (Moose Jaw, Seattle, 2000-03) has been loaned to Pardubice by Liberec (both Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. This season, he had been pointless in five games with Liberec. . . .

F Denis Tolpeko (Seattle, Regina, 2003-06) has been released by Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL). He had one assist in four games.

With opening night slightly more than 48 hours away, three WHL teams undertook major makeovers in their goaltending departments on Wednesday.

The Saskatoon Blades moved out G Logan Flodell, 20, sending him to the Swift Current Broncos, while at the same time acquiring G Ryan Kubic, 19, from the Vancouver Giants.

The Blades gave Vancouver a second-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft for Kubic, who had been the Giants’ No. 1 goalie for two seasons.

Saskatoon sent Flodell to the Swift Current Broncos for a fifth-round pick in 2019 and a second-rounder in 2020.

The Blades are left with Kubic and Joel Grzybowski, an 18-year-old freshman from Hafford, Sask., as their goaltenders. Kubic, from St. Andrews, Man., played the previous two seasons with the Giants, who selected him in the second round of the 2013 bantam draft.

Kubic got into 50 games as a freshman (17-24-6, 3.31, .898) and 56 last season (15-32-6, 3.67, .895).

Moving Flodell also allowed the Blades to get down to three 20-year-olds — D Evan Fiala, who is the team captain, F Cam Hebig and F Braylon Shmyr.

“It was a very difficult and complicated process to go through for us,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said in a news release. “All four guys are special and in any scenario we were going to lose a star player. We know how good Logan is and what an incredible season he had with us last year, and losing him is difficult. However, we simply felt the combination of Hebig and Shmyr playing together as 20s would give us a first line on par with any other in the league and would insulate our young star players from having to play against top lines and top d-men every night.

“We now have a five-year plan in net moving forward and this fills the gap that would have been created with Logan graduating next year.”

The Giants are poised to open with veteran G David Tendeck, who turns 18 on Nov. 25, and freshman G Todd Scott, a 17-year-old from Albertville, Minn. Tendeck, from North Vancouver, B.C., was 5-14-0, 4.78, .856 in 22 games as a freshman last season.

The Broncos, meanwhile, won’t be through making moves.

Flodell’s acquisition left them with two 20-year-old goaltenders, the other being veteran Taz Burman. The Broncos also have three other 20-year-olds on their roster, in forwards Conner Chaulk, Glenn Gawdin and Arthur Miller.

Flodell, from Regina, was 22-20-4, 2.81, .912 in 48 games with the Blades last season. In 2015-16, he was 22-13-4, 2.68, .904 in 42 appearances with the Seattle Thunderbirds, who selected him in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft.

The Broncos also have G Joel Hofer on their roster. The 6-foot-3 Hofer, 17, is from Winnipeg. He played the previous two seasons at the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna.

Interestingly, the Broncos and Blades are scheduled to open the regular season in Saskatoon on Friday.

On the subject of goaltending, the Red Deer Rebels have lost starter Riley Lamb, 19, for at least six weeks with a broken thumb. That means veteran Lasse Petersen, 20, steps into the starting role, with freshman Ethan Anders, who turns 17 on Tuesday, backing him up. . . . Greg Meachem of reports that Lamb was injured during a practice session this week. . . . The Rebels open the season at home to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night. . . . Red Deer is carrying three 20-year-olds in Petersen, F Mason McCarty and F Grayson Pawlenchuk. . . . Meachem’s story is right here.

The Moose Jaw Warriors reported a loss of $463,566 for the year ending May 31, but that was after putting more than $700,000 back into the multi-purpose Mosaic Place in which they play.

Shareholders were told at Wednesday’s annual meeting that team operations netted $267,631 for the year, including $138,296.13 in playoff revenue. The Warriors lost a first-round series in seven games to the Swift Current Broncos, with four of the games played in Moose Jaw.

The Warriors again honoured a 10-year pledge commitment to Mosaic Place with a payment of $200,000. That means they have paid $1.7 million towards the facility with four years remaining in the pledge.

The Warriors also paid $124,088.75 in rent and $531,197 in upgrades to Mosaic Place, mostly in the areas of sound and lighting.

It all added up to a loss of $463,566, which left the Warriors with a bank balance of $1,081,545.01. There also is $112,106.30 in a legacy fund, and $282,033.78 in their education fund.

It also is more than worth noting that the team’s booster club raised $257,487. Now that’s a booster club!

F Ty Ronning and F Brad Morrison have returned to Vancouver from NHL camps, leaving the Giants with four 20-year-olds on their roster. Ronning had been with the New York Rangers, while Morrison skated with the Calgary Flames. . . . Some observers thought Ronning might get a chance with the Hartford Wolfpack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. He had two goals and three assists in 12 games in Hartford late last season. . . . The Giants acquired Morrison from the Prince George Cougars in June. He had 85 goals and 103 assists in 260 games with the Cougars. . . . Vancouver’s roster also includes two other 20s — F Jack Flaman and D Darian Skeoch. It is expected that they will waive Flaman, if they haven’t already. . . . Teams have until Oct. 10 to get down to the maximum three 20s. . . . The Giants open the regular season in Victoria against the Royals on Friday.

The Moose Jaw Warriors released F Jaeger White, 19, from their roster on Wednesday. White, from Medicine Hat, was a fourth-round selection by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. He has played with the Hurricanes, Everett Silvertips and Brandon Wheat Kings, recording five goals and 15 assists in 84 games. White has battled shoulder injuries for much of his career. He missed all of last season, playing only two games with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. . . . The Warriors also released F Brayden Tracey, who is expected to play a second season with the midget AAA Calgary Northstars. Tracey, 16, was a first-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he had eight goals and 11 assists in 28 games with the Northstars.

D Dylan Coghlan of the Tri-City Americans has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights after being in their training camp. Coghlan, a 19-year-old from Duncan, B.C., was in camp as an undrafted free agent. . . . Last season, he had 15 goals and 38 assists in 71 games with the Americans, who selected him in the third round of the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . In 196 career regular-season games, he has 21 goals and 61 assists. . . . Coghlan is the third undrafted free agent out of the WHL to get an NHL contract this week. Earlier, F Jordy Bellerive of the Lethbridge Hurricanes signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins and F Parker Kelly of the Prince Albert Raiders signed with the Ottawa Senators.

The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Cordel Larson, 16, who was a ninth-round pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. From Weyburn, Sask., the 5-foot-8, 160-pounder Larson had five goals and 13 assists with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds of Wilcox, Sask., last season.

G Cody Porter, who has played in 117 regular-season WHL games, has signed with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. Porter, who turns 20 on Saturday, is from North Vancouver, B.C. . . . Last season, he was 14-16-3, 3.46, .888 in 34 games with the Calgary Hitmen. He also has played with the Vancouver Giants. . . . Porter is available to play for the Sea Dogs tonight (Thursday) when they open the regular season against the visiting Halifax Mooseheads.

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Friday games (start of regular season; all times local):

Regina at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

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

Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

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

Spokane at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops at Kelowna 7:05 p.m.

Saturday games (all times local):

Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.

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

Spokane at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Vancouver 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Portland at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Sunday games (all times local):

Red Deer at Edmonton, 4 p.m.

Tri-City at Everett, 4:05 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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

Royals, Wheaties swap goaltenders … Schultz not expected back with Tigers … Winterhawks No. 1 in WHL?


If the weather co-operates, the Kamloops Blazers may be back in their home arena — the Sandman Centre — at some point in the next 10 days.

The downtown arena is being used as a wildfire evacuation centre, forcing the Blazers to move their training camp and three exhibition games to the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre on the city’s North Shore.

However, the Thompson Nicola Regional District, which operates the evacuation centre, is hoping to be able to move out by Sunday.

“A little bit will depend on the weather,” Debbie Sell, a TNRD emergency operations centre spokesperson, told Radio NL in Kamloops on Thursday. “Of course, we would like to get people back into their homes as quickly as we can. If that looks like it is going to be possible then . . . we are going to be able to ramp those services down. We are also very conscious of making sure we are not leaving anyone without service. We are just balancing that off right now.”

On Thursday, more heavy smoke descended on Kamloops, so the wait will continue.

In the meantime, the Blazers will visit the Kelowna Rockets tonight (Friday), with a rematch at McArthur Island on Saturday night.

There were 158 wildfires burning in B.C., as of Thursday morning. With little in the way of rain in the forecast, most of the province remains tinder dry so the forest fire season isn’t anywhere near its end.

F Rob Klinkhammer (Lethbridge, Seattle, Portland, Brandon, 2003-07) has been traded by Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL) to Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) for the KHL rights to Stefan Elliott (Saskatoon, 2006-11) and cash compensation. This season, Klinkhammer, an alternate captain, had a goal and an assist in seven games. Elliott is unsigned. Last season, he had four goals and seven assists in 31 games with Ak Bars.

In Kennewick, Wash., the Portland Winterhawks scored twice with their goaltender on the bench for an extra attacker and then scored in a shootout to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 6-5. . . . F Ilijah Colina scored the only goal of the shootout, while G Shane Farkas stopped all three Spokane shooters. . . . The Winterhawks, who took a 3-0 lead into the second period, had to erase a 5-3 deficit late in the third. . . . F Ty Kolle got the Winterhawks to within a goal at 17:20. F Brad Ginnell tied it at 18:16. . . . Portland got a goal and two assists from F Jake Gricius. . . . D Luke Gallagher had a goal and two assists for the Chiefs. . . . Spokane (2-1-1) was 3-9 on the PP; Portland (2-2-0) was 0-7. . . . D Henri Jokiharju, who suffered a knee injury while playing for Finland at the Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich., in July, was in Portland’s lineup for the first time this season. He will leave shortly for the camp of the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the first round of the NHL’s 2011 entry draft. He is one of 11 Winterhawks who will attend NHL camps. . . . G Ethan Middendorf has been released by the Winterhawks, who now are down to three goaltenders — veteran starter Cole Kehler, 20; Farkas, who will turn 18 on Dec. 1; and Evan Fradette, 16. Kehler, who will be in Penticton, B.C., this weekend with the Winnipeg Jets team in the Young Stars tournament, played in 56 games last season, with Farkas getting into 10. Farkas, from Penticton, was a fourth-round pick by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2014 bantam draft. Fradette, from St. Albert, Alta., was taken by Portland in the fifth round of the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Middendorf, a nephew of former NHLer Max Middendorf, was selected by Portland in the sixth round of the 2014 bantam draft. He is from Scottsdale, Ariz. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Maxwell James dropped the, uhh, silverhammer on the Kootenay Ice, his four goals leading the Tri-City Americans to a 7-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . This was the first exhibition game of this season for the Ice, so it was its first game under the new ownership of Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell. . . . James, who also had an assist, finished last season with eight goals and nine assists in 39 games. In his sophomore season, 2015-16, he had three goals in 64 games. . . . F Nolan Yaremko had two goals and two assists for the Americans, with D Sergei Sapego recording three assists. . . . The Americans (3-0-1) were 2-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-4. . . . Beck Warm, who started, and Patrick Dea shared the shutout. Warm stopped 13 shots in 29:35; Dean finished up with 17 stops. . . . Ice G Mario Petit turned aside 25 shots.

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The Brandon Wheat Kings and Victoria Royals swapped 18-year-old goaltenders on Thursday, with Dylan Myskiw headed to the Wheat City in exchange for Hunter Arps.

The Royals also got a fifth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft and an undisclosed conditional pick in 2020, with Brandon getting a conditional seventh-round selection in 2018.

Arps, from Pleasantdale, Sask., played last season with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. In 25 games, he was 18-6-0, 2.23 and .913. In five playoff games, he was 1.14 and .960. The Wheat Kings selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

Myskiw, from Winnipeg, was a sixth-round pick by Victoria in the 2014 bantam draft. He got into 17 games with the Royals last season, going 3-5-2, 3.26, .886. Myskiw was an all-star when he played for the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers.

Grant Armstrong, the Wheat Kings’ general manager, was the Royals’ director of player personnel when they drafted Myskiw.

The Wheat Kings have four goaltenders on their roster, with Myskiw, because of his WHL experience, perhaps slotting in at No. 2 on the depth chart, behind starter Logan Thompson, 20, and ahead of newcomers Ethan Kruger, who will turn 16 on Sept. 27, and Zach Bennett, who will be 17 on Oct. 1. Kruger, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, while Bennett, from Winnipeg, was a seventh-round selection by the Everett Silvertips in the 2015 bantam draft.

In Victoria, veteran Griffen Outhouse, 19, is the starter, with Brock Gould, who turns 16 on Dec. 11, and Dean McNabb, 17, also in camp. Gould, from Colorado Springs, Colo., was an eighth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. McNabb, from Davidson, Sask., was a third-round pick in 2015.

According to Cam Hope, the Royals’ general manager, this was a case of wanting to give Myskiw a chance to play.

“Griffen Outhouse has been a terrific goaltender for us and has taken the starting role, maybe to the detriment of the guys who are behind him, including Dylan Myskiw,” Hope told Marlon Martens, the Royals’ radio voice.

Hope added that he believes Myskiw is capable of being a starter but might well be blocked by Outhouse for another season or two.

Hope said he feels an “obligation to do the right thing by all the players” and explained that he had been talking with Myskiw, his family and agent “for the last several months” about getting Myskiw into a situation where he’s not “getting 10 games a season.”

Arps, meanwhile, is “a bit of an unknown entity,” Hope said, adding that the goaltender is “late developing” and “raw.”

“I don’t think he has had an opportunity to show anybody exactly what he can do . . . I think he needs some coaching and he needs to play at a higher level,” Hope said. “We’ll have a good look at him before we make our decision.”

D Ty Schultz, unable to overcome a couple of injuries last season, won’t be back with the Medicine Hat Tigers, according to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News. “It kind of took us by shock because it was supposed to get a little better,” Tigers assistant coach Joe Frazer told McCracken, “but things just weren’t progressing so he doesn’t think he can play this (season).” . . . Schultz, 20, suffered a broken bone in one leg while blocking a shot during a game in January. Frazer also admitted that Schultz had a groin injury that nagged him for the second half of last season. . . . If Schultz doesn’t return, he ends his WHL career with eight goals and 42 assists in 186 games, all with the Tigers who selected him in the first round of the 2012 bantam draft. . . . This doesn’t mean that Schultz is done with hockey. He is in China at the moment, taking treatment and talking with the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star. . . . Schultz’s departure leaves the Tigers with five 20-year-olds on their roster — G Michael Bullion, D Brad Forrest, Latvian D Kristians Rubins, F Zach Fischer and F Mark Rassell. . . . McCracken’s story is right here.

Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post: “The Regina Pats should hold a ceremony during the 2017-18 season to honour Russ Parker, who owned the WHL team from 1995 to 2014. Parker’s impassioned speech to the league’s board of governors was a key reason why the 2001 Memorial Cup tournament was awarded to Regina. That event was such a sensational success that it made Regina’s bid proposal for the 2018 CHL championship tournament, also earmarked for the Brandt Centre, much easier to sell. Under Parker and his son Brent, the profile of the team — from a hockey standpoint and in the community — increased exponentially. In 2005, the league presented Calgary-based Russ Parker with the Governors’ Award to honour his contributions. The current ownership group should follow that lead.”

The Spokane Chiefs have signed G Campbell Arnold, 15, to a WHL contract. Arnold, from Nanaimo, B.C., was a second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he was 6.20 and .890 in 16 games with the Shawnigan Lake School’s bantam prep team and 0.29, .987 in four appearances with the school’s varsity team.

The Kootenay Ice has signed F Evan Thomas, 18, to a WHL contract. From Saskatoon, he had 11 goals and 10 assists in 22 games last season with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. He was selected by the Ice in the 10th round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft.

Victor Findlay (@Finder_24), who keeps close tabs on the U Sports scene, tweeted on Thursday that “Shaun Dosanjh has shown up to UBC T-Birds camp. Originally committed to York, then Calgary, now UBC.” . . . Findlay also reported that Dosanjh has a broken toe, so will be sidelined for up to four weeks. . . . Dosanjh, who is from Richmond, B.C., played out his junior eligibility last season when he saw action with four WHL teams — the Prince George Cougars (four games), Kamloops Blazers (14), Lethbridge Hurricanes (12) and Portland Winterhawks (19). During his WHL career, he also played 85 games over three seasons with the Vancouver Giants, who had selected him in the third round of the 2011 WHL bantam draft.

Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News spent some time over the previous week working to find out which is the junior hockey’s best organization. . . . Kennedy writes that he “surveyed a meaty cross-section of player agents, advisors, NHL scouts and execs. . . . The criterion was pretty open-ended, but my ultimate question was this: given the choice, which organization would you want your son/nephew to play for?” . . . The OHL’s London Knights came out on top. . . . As for WHL franchises, the league may not be thrilled to learn that the Portland Winterhawks are No. 1. Interestingly, Kennedy writes, “Tri-City also got some love, thanks to GM Bob Tory.” . . . Kennedy’s piece is right here.

All lists are subjective and open for debate, of course, so you may want to take a look at this list of “The 64 Best Sports Books of All Time” from Michael Schaub and Timothy Bracy of Men’s Journal. If nothing else, you may find one or two that you might like to read.

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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

TVA Sports reported on Thursday that the Saint John Sea Dogs, the QMJHL’s reigning champions, have hired Josh Dixon as their new head coach. He will take over from Danny Flynn, who resigned in July, saying he wanted to check out other opportunities. Flynn later signed on as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Flynn and Mike Johnston, Portland’s general manager and head coach, both are from Dartmouth, N.S., and are long-time friends. . . . Dixon has been working with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in the area of sports psychology. . . . Dixon has worked in the WHL as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats (2011-14) and Swift Current Broncos (2014-15).

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


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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

A look into the Silvertips … Raiders don’t expect to land Bokk … Ice adds scouting manager

The Everett Silvertips get their 15th WHL season rolling later this week and they do it with a new head coach, Dennis Williams having taken over from Kevin Constantine, whose contract wasn’t renewed. . . . Jesse Geleynse of the Everett Herald takes a look right here at the Silvertips and the organization’s relationship with Constantine, which obviously wasn’t a typical ownership/coach thing. As Geleynse reports, ownership helped Constantine build “a summer getaway, on Center Island,” an “exclusive private community” accessible by boat or plane.

It doesn’t appear likely that the Prince Albert Raiders will have German F Dominik Bokk with them this season. Bokk was the Raiders’ lone selection in the CHL’s 2017 import draft and it was hoped he would replaced Czech F Simon Stransky, their leading scorer last season, on the roster. Stransky, who won’t return for his 20-year-old season, had 22 goals and 26 assists in 57 games last season. He has signed to play professionally with HC Vitkovice in the Czech Republic. . . . General manager Curtis Hunt told Trevor Redden of paNOW that the Raiders haven’t been able to get Bokk’s release. Bokk wrote that Hunt “spoke very candidly, saying it doesn’t look promising.” . . . Czech D Vojtech Budik, who had one goal and 25 assists in 56 games last season, will return for a third season in Prince Albert.

The Kootenay Ice, in the middle of reformatting its scouting department, has hired Taras McEwen as its manager of scouting. McEwen spent last season as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Notre Dame Hounds and the hockey operations assistant in the hockey office at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask. Before joining the Hounds, he was the general manager and head coach of the junior B Fort Knox franchise of the Prairie Junior Hockey League. . . . McEwen is the son of Brad McEwen, who recently left the NHL’s Calgary Flames’ scouting staff to become Hockey Canada’s head scout. . . . The Ice also is showing Zenon Herasymiuk as a regional scout, the only scout listed on their website, other than Garnet Kazuik, their veteran director of scouting.

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have acquired F Shane Allan, who turns 20 on Dec. 19, from the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers for future considerations. Allan, from Calgary, was a seventh-round selection by the Kootenay Ice in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. He had three goals and three assists in 66 games with the Ice in 2015-16. Injuries limited him to 10 games — and one goal and one assist — with the Oilers last season.. . . The Vees open training camp today (Monday).

The KHL’s regular season opens today (Monday). The MacBeth Report, who knows something about hockey over there, filed some notes pertaining to the Finnish entry, Jokerit. . . .

Each team plays 56 games this season. Jokerit starts with a three-week, eight-game road trip, almost one-third of its road schedule. Wow!

Aug. 23— at Minsk

Aug. 25 — at St. Petersburg

Aug. 27 — at Yaroslavl

Aug. 29 — at Dynamo Moscow

This part of the trip is pretty compact. About 1.30 between all cities flying time. Now the fun begins . . .

Sept. 6 — at Spartak Moscow

Sept. 9 — at Shanghai (6,825 km, 8.32 flying time, five-hour time difference from Moscow)

Sept. 11 — at Khabarovsk (2,256 km, 3.09 flight, two-hour difference from Shanghai)

Sept. 13 — at Vladivostok (618 km, 1.14 flight, no time difference)

Flight home to Helsinki from Vladivostok is 6,748 km, 8.26 flight, seven-hour time difference. It would be take only 45 minutes longer to fly from Vladivostok to Vancouver. Vancouver to Miami is only 4,508 km, 5.48 flight.

Sept. 16 — Home-opener at Helsinki against Dinamo Riga. the first of a five-game home stand though Oct. 3. Hope they find their legs and figure out what time it is in the three days between games.

If you’re wondering, Portland and Brandon are separated by 2,146 km.

Patrick Conway sets the scene for the KHL season right here, at Conway’s Russian Hockey Blog. It could be that the most interesting part of the season will involve the bottom of the standings. That’s because the KHL has said it will contract by three teams after this season and that the bottom three teams will be gone. Now that’s pressure!

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