Familiar name joins Giants’ staff … T-Birds add a coach … Pats ink two imports

There now are 108 firefighters from Mexico’s national wildfire service helping the B.C. Wildfire Service in this summer of fire. We don’t have a wall, so they were able to arrive in Kamloops on Friday morning.

Their presence will be welcomed, you can bet on that.

While the smoke cleared over at least some of the Kamloops area on Friday, leaving behind a light haze, the threat is far from over.

During the afternoon, a fire broke out above the community of Peachland, south of Kelowna, but firefighters quickly got a handle on it and prevented what could have been a disaster.

Also on Friday afternoon, the City of Kamloops shut down 18 parks and walking areas due to the wildfire risk. These parks had been closed a couple of weeks ago and recently reopened. As well, off-road vehicles now are banned from all back-country areas.

Meanwhile, west of Kamloops, an evacuation order was issued for the Skeetchestn Indian Band, thanks to the Elephant Hill fire. This is the fire that by Friday afternoon had grown to more than 93,000 hectares — that’s more than 229,800 acres.

Oh, and the tab for fighting all of these fires has reached $211.7 million.

In Campbell Creek, where we live east of Kamloops, it was easy breathing for the first time since Sunday. So, yes, the threw potatoes, corn and sausages on the barbecue.

And now we wait to see what Saturday brings.


F Igor Valeyev (Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Swift Current, 1998-2000) has signed a one-year contract with the Edinburgh Capitals (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, with Chelmet Chelyabinsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had two goals and five assists in 11 games. . . .

F Joe Antilla (Kootenay, 2007-12) has signed a one-year contract with Fehérvári Titánok Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Liga). Last season, with U of British Columbia (Canada West), he had seven goals and 11 assists in 28 games. (NOTE: Erste Liga was formerly known as MOL Liga. It is a different league than Erste Bank Liga.) . . .

Per @A_Kalnins, F Denis Zairpov (Swift Current, 1998-99) has formally appealed his two-year suspension. He was suspended by the IIHF for using a banned substance. Zairpov states that he was never involved in any doping affair.


DEAN CHYNOWETH
(Photo: milehighhockey.com)

The Vancouver Giants have added Dean Chynoweth to their staff as associate coach. Chynoweth, 48, didn’t coach last season after being fired as head coach of the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. . . . Chynoweth, a defenceman in his playing days, captained the Medicine Hat Tigers and was part of two Memorial Cup championship teams (1987, 1988). . . . He was selected in the first round of the 1987 NHL draft by the New York Islanders but injuries limited him to 241 NHL games over nine seasons with them and the Boston Bruins. . . . Chynoweth, the son of longtime WHL president Ed Chynoweth, has ample WHL experience. He was the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds for four seasons (2000-04) and the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos for five seasons (2004-09). . . . He also was an assistant coach with the Islanders for three seasons. . . . With the Giants, he will work alongside Jason McKee, who is preparing for his second season as head coach. Chynoweth fills the void created when assistant coach Tyler Kuntz wasn’t brought back for a third season.


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CASTAN SOMMER
(Photo: seattlethunderbirds.com)

The Seattle Thunderbirds, the reigning WHL champions, rounded out their coaching staff on Friday with the signing of Castan Sommer as an assistant coach. “We were looking for a young guy to really concentrate on the development of our incoming group of players and especially our forwards,” Seattle general manager Russ Farwell said in a news release. “Castan has done both skating and skill development with young professionals and we felt he would be the ideal addition to our staff.” . . . Sommer, 25, played four seasons at Holy Cross before spending last season with Kallinge/Ronneby, a Division 1 team in Sweden. A year ago, he also worked as a skating coach at the development camp of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Sommer is the son of Roy Sommer, who has been the head coach of the Sharks’ AHL affiliate, presently the San Jose Barracuda, since 1998. He is the winningest head coach in AHL history. . . . In Seattle, Castan will work alongside head coach Matt O’Dette, who was promoted from assistant coach to replace Steve Konowalchuk, now an assistant coach with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, and fellow assistant Kyle Hagel, who was signed last month after choosing to end his playing career.


The Regina Pats have signed their two 2017 CHL import draft selections — Russian D Egor Zamula and Swedish F Emil Oksanen. . . . The 17-year-old Zamula, from Chelyabinsk, had three goals and 23 assists in 36 games with Megallurg Magnitogorsk’s U-17 club. . . . Oksanen, 19, played professionally with Espoo United (Mestis League) last season, putting up 13 goals and six assists in 48 games. . . . Both of the Pats’ imports from last season — Swedish F Filip Ahl and Russian D Sergey Zborovskiy — are eligible to return for their 20-year-old seasons. However, Ahl has signed to play professionally in his native Sweden, and Zborovskiy is under contract with the NHL’s New York Rangers and is expected to play in their organization.


F Lukas Svejkovsky is moving on after three seasons at the Delta, B.C., Hockey Academy, where his father, Yogi, has helped coach him. Last season, with the Elite 15s, he had 17 goals and 27 assists in 22 games. . . . The Vancouver Giants selected the 5-foot-8, 145-pounder in the second round of the 2016 WHL bantam draft. . . . Yogi played one season (1995-96) with the Tri-City Americans before going on to a pro career that included 113 NHL games. For the past 11 seasons, he also has worked with the Giants as a skills and development coach.


D Jeff Rayman, who is from Cranbrook, will attend the U of Lethbridge and play for the Pronghorns. Rayman played out his WHL eligibility last season, which was split between the Tri-City Americans and Vancouver Giants. . . . He also played with the Spokane Chiefs during a four-season career. In 205 regular-season games, he had seven goals and 10 assists. . . . If you’re interested in Canadian university hockey news, be sure to follow Victor Findlay (@Finder_24) on Twitter.


The ECHL’s Allen Americans, who had a run of four straight championships end last season, signed three former WHL players this week. . . . On Friday, they announced the signings of brothers Dalton and Josh Thrower, both of whom are defencemen. Dalton, 23, played five seasons (2009-14) in the WHL, spending four seasons with the Saskatoon Blades and one with the Vancouver Giants. As a pro, he has played 81 games over three seasons with the ECHL’s Brampton Beast. . . . Josh, 21, also spent five seasons (2012-17) in the WHL, playing with the Calgary Hitmen, Tri-City Americans, Vancouver and the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Americans also have signed F Casey Pierro-Zabotel, who won the WHL’s 2008-09 scoring title while with Vancouver. He was part of Allen’s ECHL’s 2015-16 championship club, before leaving to play for the Colorado Eagles last season.


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).


Here are a couple of stories that showed up on Twitter late in the week, just to get your weekend rolling. Note that the one about the armadillo actually is a couple of years old, but the reaction it got with a second life is interesting.