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 myprincegeorgenow.com.

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.”


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SUNDAY:

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 greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

Royals prepping bid for 2020 Memorial Cup … Broncos’ line tearing it up … Elynuik sparks Chiefs


F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Mulhouse (France, Ligue Magnus) after being released from a tryout contract with Bayreuth (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had one assist in 13 games with Freiburg (Germany, DEL2).


Now there are two.

The Victoria Royals have confirmed that they are interested in playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup.

On Thursday, after the Kamloops Blazers announced their intention of making a bid, Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, told Taking Note that his club “absolutely” was interested.

Hope since has told the Victoria Times Colonist that “we intend to bid for the 2020 Memorial Cup.”

Victoria will be involved in the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship as a co-host with Vancouver and the Giants.

On Friday, Hope told The Times Colonist’s Cleve Dheensaw: “We see a lot of natural crossover between the two events, for sure. Our ticket sales for the world junior championship have been brisk. Our building will be full.”

Hope added “that will be meaningful” when the WHL selects the host city for the 2020 Memorial Cup, something that is expected to happen in October 2018.

The Royals are expected to have more to say about their bid early in 2018.

“Victoria offers the entire package the hockey world is looking for in a Memorial Cup,” Hope told Dheensaw. “It has a deep and rich hockey history, an international airport, knowledge of hosting major sporting events, and is one of the leading tourist destinations in Canada.”

Dheensaw’s story is right here.


It was written in this space yesterday that Dylan Garand was the first goaltender to play for the Kamloops Blazers in his 15-year-old season since Devon Dubnyk in 2001-02.

It turns out that was in error.

Jon Keen, the Blazers’ radio voice, points out that Garand is the first since James Priestner on Feb. 23, 2007. On that night, Priestner went the distance in Kamloops as the Blazers, who had built up a 4-0 lead, lost 6-5 in OT to the Chilliwack Bruins. (Hey, remember them?)

F Dillon Johnstone forced OT in that one, scoring his seventh goal of the season, on a PP, at 19:30 of the third period. F Josh Aspenlind won the game 46 seconds into OT, scoring his third goal of the game and 20th of the season.

That was Priestner’s only appearance of the season with Kamloops.

Little did we know that Priestner was writing music during his WHL goaltending days. He now is the found and lead singer for The Lunas.

Give their first single — Until I’m Dead — a listen right here.


If you are a follower of the WHL you know that there frequently are scoring changes made following games, often, in fact, the next day. Such was the case after the Swift Current Broncos beat the host Saskatoon Blades, 6-4, on Friday night. . . . The original on-line scoresheet showed F Aleksi Heponiemi and F Tyler Steenbergen of the Broncos each with a goal and two assists. . . . However, there later were changes made. In the end, then, Heponiemi ended up with a goal and four — yes, four — assists, while Steenbergen would up with a goal and three assists. . . . When you went to bed on Friday night, Steenbergen led the WHL scoring race with 41 points, one more than Heponiemi. . . . When you woke up Saturday, they were tied at 42. . . . Now you know how that happened.

On Saturday night, Heponiemi, Steenbergen and Glenn Gawdin, the third member of that line, combined for 11 points in a 6-0 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . When you went to bed, Heponiemi and Steenbergen remained tied for the scoring lead, each with 46 points. . . . But who knows whether it’ll be that way when you arise.

BTW, Gawdin is third in the scoring race, with 38 points. At least, he was last night.


According to a Saturday night tweet from Western Elite Hockey Prospects (@WEHPscout), F Trevor Wong, who was projected as an early pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, “has committed to the University of Denver.” . . . As WEHP put it: “Big blow to the WHL and the draft in general.” . . . Wong, from Vancouver, won’t turn 15 until May 4. He is playing for the bantam varsity team at St. George’s School, and has 61 points, including 26 goals, in 10 games.


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SATURDAY:

At Swift Current, the Broncos’ hot line struck three times in the first period and that set the tone for what turned into a 6-0 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Broncos (13-3-1), who have won two in a row, got 36 saves — 20 of them in the third period — from G Logan Flodell, who posted his third shutout this season and the ninth of his career. He has three shutouts in each of three straight seasons. . . . The Hurricanes (7-10-1) have dropped six in a row (0-5-1). . . . F Tyler Steenbergen, F Aleksi Heponiemi and F Glenn Gawdin, who form the WHL’s highest-scoring forward unit, combined for 11 points. Steenbergen had two goals and two assists, Heponiemi had a goal and three assists, and Gawdin scored twice and added an assist. . . . Heponiemi got it all started with his 14th goal, just 12 seconds into the game. . . . Steenbergen, who leads the WHL with 26 goals, made it 2-0, on a PP, at 15:01, and Gawdin upped it to 3-0, on another PP, just 22 seconds later. . . . Gawdin (14) added another PP goal in the second period, with F Kaden Elder (5) and Steenbergen scoring in the third. . . . D Colby Sissons helped out with two assists. . . . Heponiemi has played in 17 games and has at least four points in seven of them. He is on a nine-game goal and point streak, having scored 10 goals and totalled 26 points in that time. He has nine points in his past two games. . . . Steenbergen has six games in which he has had at least four points. . . . Gawdin has at least one point in nine straight games, totalling 22 points over that stretch. . . . The Hurricanes got 18 saves from G Reece Klassen. . . . The Broncos were 3-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 0-3. . . . Announced attendance: 2,480.


At Brandon, G Logan Thompson blocked 36 shots to lead the Wheat Kings to a 3-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brandon (11-6-1) has won two in a row. . . . Saskatoon (7-10-1) has lost two straight. . . . The Wheat Kings got a goal and an assist from F Baron Thompson. He opened the scoring with his third goal, on a PP, at 15:24 of the second period. . . . F Stelio Matheos (11) gave the home boys a 2-0 lead at 13:45 of the third period. . . . D Jake Kustra (1) got the Blades to within a goal at 18:45, only to have F Evan Weinger (2) put it away with an empty-netter at 19:59. . . . Brandon was 1-5 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-3. . . . G Ryan Kubic stopped 21 shots for the Blades. . . . Sophomore D Garrett Sambrook was back in Brandon’s lineup for the first time since Oct. 15. . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Tanner Kaspick, who served a one-game suspension left over from the Team WHL-Russia game on Tuesday night in Swift Current. He was ejected from that game for a headshot on Russia D Alex Alexeyev. . . . The Blades were without F Seth Bafaro, who drew a TBD suspension for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct on Friday night against the visiting Swift Current Broncos. He hit F Kaden Elder, who was back in the Broncos’ lineup Saturday night. . . . D Randen Schmidt made his WHL debut for the Blades. Schmidt, 17, plays for the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, points out that Schmidt is the 996th player — and 878th skater — to suit up for the Blades. . . . Announced attendance: 4,804.


At Cranbrook, B.C., the Spokane Chiefs eased a 2-0 deficit two shorthanded goals on the same penalty and went on to score a 5-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Chiefs (10-7-3) have points in three straight games (2-0-1). . . . The Ice (8-11-1) has lost three in a row. . . . Despite being outshot 22-5 in the first period, the Ice emerged with a 1-0 goal as F Cameron Hausinger scored at 18:58. He made it 2-0 with his fourth goal of the season, at 4:05 of the second period. . . . With F Carter Chorney serving a checking-from-behind minor, the Chiefs tied it on shorthanded goals from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (8), at 4:51, and F Hudson Elynuik (11), at 5:59. . . . F Zach Fischer (5) gave the visitors their first lead at 11:44. . . . The Ice moved into a tie at 15:42 when D Ryan Pouliot (1) scored at 15:42. . . . Spokane D Nolan Reid, who has nine goals, scored the next two goals — at 0:42 and 11:21 of the third period — as his guys took a 5-3 lead. . . . Ice F Alec Baer (7) cut the deficit to one at 18:19. . . . Elynuik had four assists for a huge five-point night, while Anderson-Dolan andD Ty Smith each had two helpers. . . . Spokane was 1-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-4. . . . G Dawson Weatherill earned the victory with 23 stops, 11 fewer than Kootenay’s Kurtis Chapman. . . . The Ice is without veteran forwards Colton Kroeker, Vince Loschiavo and Jeff de Wit, all out with undisclosed injuries. . . . Announced attendance: 2,428.


At Medicine Hat, F Max Gerlach scored his second goal of the game with 6.5 seconds left in OT to give the Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Medicine Hat (12-6-0), which won 4-2 in Calgary on Friday night, has won three in a row. . . . Calgary (6-11-2) has lost two straight. . . . Gerlach, who now has six goals, hadn’t scored since Sept. 30. He suffered a severe facial injury on Oct. 7 and didn’t play again until Oct. 27. This was his sixth game back in the lineup. . . . The Hitmen took a 1-0 lead when F Jake Kryski (2) scored at 1:19 of the first period. . . . The Tigers went ahead 2-1 as F Jaeger White (2) scored his second goal in two games, at 5:43, and Gerlach counted at 16:42. . . . D Jake Bean (2) pulled Calgary even, on a PP, at 19:19. . . . The Tigers went back out front at 5:04 of the second on a PP goal from F Mark Rassell (17), who also had an assist. . . . Calgary F Jakob Stukel forced OT with his eighth goal just 32 seconds into the third period. . . . Calgary got two assists from each of F Mark Kastelic and F Matteo Gennaro. . . . The Tigers were 1-2 on the PP; the Hitmen were 1-4. . . . Medicine Hat G Michael Bullion stopped 36 shots, four more than Calgary’s Nick Schneider. . . . Veteran F James Hamblin was among the Tigers’ scratches after injuring a knee on Friday night. . . . Announced attendance: 3,970.


At Portland, F Joachim Blichfeld scored twice and added an assist to help the Winterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Winterhawks (13-4-0) have won four in a row. . . . The Americans (12-5-2) had points in each of their previous 11 games (9-0-2). . . . The Winterhawks took a 2-0 lead on goals from Blichfeld, at 4:01 of the second period, and F Skyler McKenzie (14), at 12:49. . . . F Maxwell James (2) scored for Tri-City, on a PP, at 14:32, but Portland got that one back 22 seconds into the third period when Blichfeld (5) scored, on a PP. . . . F Morgan Geekie (6) pulled the Americans to within a goal at 9:14. . . . The Winterhawks iced it with two empty-netters, from D Keoni Texeira (5) and F Kieffer Bellows (14). . . . Bellows and F Cody Glass each had two assists for Portland. . . . The Winterhawks got 39 saves from G Cole Kehler, while Patrick Dea stopped 44 shots at the other end. . . . Sophomore F Brad Ginnell returned to Portland’s lineup for the first time since Oct. 20. . . . Announced attendance: 9,479.


At Prince George, G Carter Hart stopped 28 shots to earn his first shutout of the season as the Everett Silvertips beat the Cougars, 4-0. . . . Everett (8-10-2) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Prince George (6-9-4) had beaten the Silvertips 4-3 in a shootout on Friday night. . . . Hart, who has played in 155 games, now has 20 career regular-season WHL shutouts. He is tied for third on the WHL career list, with Justin Pogge (Calgary, Prince George, 2003-06, 151 games) and Dustin Slade (Kamloops, Brandon, Regina, Vancouver, 2002-07, 132 games). That is one behind Bryan Bridges (Seattle, Kootenay, 2001-06, 213 games) and Leland Irving (Everett, 2003-08, 195 games). The record (26) belongs to Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2005-09, 179 games). . . F Matt Fonteyne )10) scored the game’s first goal, at 15:44 of the first period. He drew an assist on the second goal, a PP score, from D Kevin Davis (3), at 0:22 of the second period. Before that goal, Everett’s PP had been 0-21, while the Cougars’ penalty killers were 39-39 since Oct. 13. . . . F Riley Sutter (8), who also had an assist, and F Sean Richards (7) added second-period goals. . . . Everett was 1-2 on the PP; Prince George was 0-2. . . . G Tavin Grant allowed four goals on 31 shots through two periods for the Cougars, with Isaiah DiLaura stopping all five shots he faced in the third period. . . . Announced attendance: 3,389.


At Kelowna, the Rockets scored two PP goals in the game’s first five minutes and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Kelowna (10-6-3) has won five straight home games. . . . Red Deer (8-11-1) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . F Dillon Dude (8), at 1:54, and F Liam Kindree (2), at 4:56, staked Kelowna to that 2-0 lead. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (6) got the Rebels to within a goal at 6:58, but the Rockets pulled away with three second-period goals. . . . D James Hilsendager (2) scored on a PP, at 8:41, with D Braydyn Chizen (1) scoring at 9:07, and F Kole Lind (11) counting at 6:39. . . . The game’s last goal came from Red Deer D Carson Sass (1), at 6:39 of the third period. . . . F Leif Mattson, who went into the game with goals in six of his previous seven games, had two assists. Kindree, Chizen, Lind and Hilsendager had one assist each. . . . Kelowna was 3-6 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-5. . . . G James Porter stopped 27 shots for the Rockets. . . . The Rockets scratched G Brodan Salmond and Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier reports that the sophomore will be out up to six weeks with a knee injury. They had Ethan Hunt backing up for the second time in two nights. Hunt, 18, is playing with the junior B Kelowna Chiefs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . Red Deer starter Ethan Anders was beaten three times on 13 shots in 28:41. Riley Lamb, who suffered a broken thumb in training camp, made his first appearance of the regular season, stopping 17 of 19 shots in 31:19. . . . Announced attendance: 5,008.


At Langley, B.C., F Ty Ronning scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Giants (7-8-4) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Royals (14-5-1) had won their previous two games. . . . This was the fifth of 10 meetings between these teams this season, with the Royals having won each of the first four. . . . Ronning, who has 18 goals, opened the scoring at 13:03 of the first period. . . . F Igor Martynov (6) tied it at 15:08. . . . F James Malm (5) broke the tie at 8:13 of the second period. . . . The Giants put it away with third-period goals from F Brad Morrison, on a PP, at 4:36, and Ronning, into an empty net, at 19:50. . . . D Dylan Plouffe had three assists for Vancouver, with Morrison adding one. . . . Vancouver was 1-5 on the PP; Victoria was 0-4. . . . The Giants got 37 saves from G David Tendeck. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 23 shots for the Royals. . . . Announced attendance: 3,474.


At Kent, Wash., F Garrett Pilon drew three assists as the Kamloops Blazers scored a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Blazers (7-12-0) have won two in a row and are 7-3-0 since starting 0-9-0. The victory allowed the Blazers to move out of the 22-team league’s basement for the first time this season. They now are tied with the Calgary Hitmen, two points ahead of the idle Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Thunderbirds (9-7-2) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Blazers scored twice in the game’s first five minutes, with F Nick Chyzowski (5) scoring on a PP at 1:30 and D Ondrej Vala (4) counting at 4:58. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it on second-period goals from F Blake Bargar (4), at 3:42, and F Nolan Volcan (6), on a PP, at 5:19. . . . Kamloops F Quinn Benjafield (4) broke the tie at 15:31 of the second period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (8) ran his goal streak to four games with an empty-netter at 19:31. . . . Vala also had an assist. . . . Kamloops was 1-3 on the PP; Seattle was 1-4. . . . G Max Palaga stopped 24 shots to get the victory over Liam Hughes, who made 28 saves. . . . Seattle F Sami Moilanen left early in the first period with an undisclosed injury. He leads the Thunderbirds with 11 goals. . . . Announced attendance: 5,052.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Regina at Moose Jaw, 4 p.m.

Edmonton vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 4 p.m.

Prince Albert at Portland, 5 p.m.


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


Yamamoto back with four points … Halbgewachs’ late goal beats Pats … Warm heats up for Americans

D Bretton Stamler (Seattle, Edmonton, Swift Current, 2003-08) has signed a 10-day contract with Ritten (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, he had three goals and nine assists in 43 games with Frederikshavn (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He also was the team captain. . . .

F Peter Quenneville (Brandon, 2013-15) has signed a tryout contract through Dec. 19 with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two goals and an assist in 12 games. . . .

F Matt MacKay (Moose Jaw, Medicine Hat, Vancouver, Brandon, 2008-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL). This season, he had three goals and eight assists in 14 games with Heilbronn (Germany, DEL2).


Guy Flaming, the host of The Pipeline Show, asked this question via Twitter on Thursday: “Do you care about the CHL Canada-Russia series?”

That prompted this response from Les Lazaruk, the long-time play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades:

“As far as I’m concerned, the annual series has run its course. I’d rather see a real WHL All-Star Game format return . . . and make it available to be hosted by all (WHL) teams and cities . . . yes, even the U.S. Division ones. Make sure the best three 20-year-olds from each conference, the best five 19-year-olds, 18s and 17s are selected, along with the top two 16-year-olds from each conference.

“Quit trying to sell these games as last chance for Hockey Canada to evaluate possible players for the Canadian team going to the World Juniors when we all now know that Hockey Canada already has their roster pretty much decided on! Enough is enough!!”

That pretty much says it all.

For what it’s worth, I agree wholeheartedly.

So does Steve Ewen, who covers the Vancouver Giants for Postmedia. Ewen tweeted: “Agreed. Too many games in junior already. Too much pressure on players. Risk isn’t worth the reward.”


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!


FRIDAY:

At Calgary, the Medicine Hat Tigers scored the game’s last three goals, two of them from F Mark Rassell, as they beat the Hitmen, 4-2. . . . The Central Division-leading Tigers (11-6-0) have won three in a row. . . . The Hitmen (6-11-1) had won their previous two games. . . . Calgary took a 1-0 lead when F Jakob Stukel (7) scored, on a PP, at 13:43 of the first period. . . . F Jaeger White (1) pulled Medicine Hat into a tie at 19:01. That was White’s first WHL goal since Sept. 25, 2015, when he was with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He had one goal in 39 games that season, then didn’t play in the WHL last season. This season, he has a goal and five assists in 13 games with the Tigers. . . . F Luke Coleman (4) gave Calgary a 2-1 lead at 4:35 of the second period. . . . Rassell, who has 16 goals, tied it at 17:17. . . . The Tigers took the lead at 2:30 of the third period as D Kristians Rubins (2) scored, then Rassell added insurance at 19:05. . . . Rassell and White each had an assist, too. . . . Calgary was 1-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-1. . . . The Tigers got 23 saves from G Jordan Hollett, three fewer than Calgary’s Nick Schneider. . . . This was Schneider’s first meeting with his former team. The Hitmen acquired the 20-year-old goaltender from Medicine Hat in May. . . . They’ll meet again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . Announced attendance: 7,255.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Justin Nachbaur scored twice in a four-goal first period and the Prince Albert Raiders went on to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Raiders improved to 8-6-3, while the Ice, which has lost two straight, now is 8-10-1. . . The visitors opened with four goals in a span of 7:39, all started when F Justin Nachbaur scored at 8:21. . . . Goals from F Sean Montgomery (6), at 9:52, Nachbaur (3), at 13:12, and F Cole Fonstand, on a PP, at 16:00, made it 4-0. . . . D Dallas Hines (1), on a PP, at 9:42 of the second period, and F Alec Baer (6), at 11:44, brought the Ice to within two. . . . F Spencer Moe (3) restored Prince Albert’s three-goal lead at 13:05. . . . The Ice got back to within two at 8:25 of the third period when F Colton Veloso (5) scored. . . . F Jordy Stallard and F Austin Crossley each had two assists for the winners, with Nachbaur adding one. . . . Baer added an assist to his goal. . . . The Raiders were 1-4 on the PP; the Ice was 1-5. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 36 shots for the visitors. . . . Kootenay starter Bailey Brkin gave up four goals on six shots in the first period. Duncan McGovern came on to stop 22 of 23 shots in 37:41. . . . This was Game 1 of a road trip during which the Raiders will play six games in nine nights. They will return home to play one game — Nov. 24 against the Swift Current Broncos — and then will go on the road for five more. . . . Despite the WHL’s regular-season schedule taking six months to complete, the Raiders will have played 30.6 per cent of its road games in the span of 25 days. . . . Announced attendance: 2,264.


At Lethbridge, F Kailer Yamamoto had a goal and two assists in the first period of his first WHL game of the season, leading the Spokane Chiefs to a 6-3 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . The Chiefs (9-7-3) had lost their previous four games (0-2-2). . . . The Hurricanes (7-9-1) have lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Yamamoto, who finished with a goal and three helpers, was returned to the Chiefs earlier in the week after recording three assists in nine games with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . F Jake Elmer (2) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 6:45 of the first period, but the Chiefs scored the next four goals. . . . D Tyson Helgeson (2) got it started at 7:29, with F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (7) giving his guys a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 14:52. Yamamoto scored shorthanded, at 17:20, with F Ethan McIndoe (4) making it 4-1 at 10:47 of the second period. . . . Lethbridge got to within two as F Giorgio Estephan (7) got a PP goal at 14:04. . . . Spokane got that one back as D Ty Smith (3) counted at 19:27. . . . F Ryan Vandervlis (6) scored for Lethbridge at 4:17 of the third, with F Zach Fischer (4) getting Spokane’s last goal at 18:22. . . . Smith, D Nolan Reid and F Eli Zummack each had two assists for the Chiefs. . . . Estephan added an assist to his goal. . . . Spokane was 1-3 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-8. . . . G Dawson Weatherill stopped 33 shots for Spokane, while Stuart Skinner turned aside 27 at the other end. . . . Elmer wasn’t able to beat Weatherill on a third-period penalty shot. . . .  Announced attendance: 4,258.


At Regina, F Jayden Halbgewachs broke a 2-2 tie with 53 seconds left in the third period as the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Pats, 3-2. . . . The Warriors (14-4-0) have won four in a row. They lead the East Division by three points over Swift Current and four over Regina. . . . The Pats (11-7-2) had points in each of their previous four games (3-0-1). . . . These teams will play again Sunday in Moose Jaw. . . . Last night, the Warriors took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Tristyn DeRoose (1), at 8:07 of the first period, and Halbgewachs, just 47 seconds into the second, on a PP. . . . The Pats tied it on second-period goals from F Matt Bradley (15), at 1:15, and F Sam Steel (5), on a PP, at 4:13. . . . Halbgewachs won it with his 13th goal of the season. . . . F Noah Gregor had two assists for the winners. . . . Moose Jaw was 1-3 on the PP; Regina was 1-5. . . . G Brody Willms earned the victory with 31 stops, four more than Regina’s Tyler Brown. . . . The Warriors were without F Brett Howden, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Monday while playing for Team WHL against a Russian side. . . . Regina F Nick Henry played his first game of the season after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Saskatoon, the Swift Current Broncos’ hot line accounted for eight points, including three goals, as they led their side to a 6-4 victory over the Blades. . . . The Broncos (12-3-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Blades now are 7-9-1. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen and F Aleksi Heponiemi each had a goal and two assists for the Broncos, with F Glenn Gawdin adding a goal and an assist. . . . F Chase Wouters (6) gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead 24 seconds into the game. . . . The Broncos responded with the next three goals — Steenbergen (24) struck at 4:08 of the first period, with D Colby Sissons (5) scoring, on a PP, just 36 seconds later. Gawdin added his 12th goal at 14:12. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (8) got the Blades back to within a goal at 17:47. . . . Swift Current then took a 5-2 lead as Heponiemi (13) counted, on a PP, at 18:38, and F Logan Foster got his first goal at 14:18 of the second period. . . . The Blades made its interesting with two late third-period goals — D Libor Hajek (5) scored at 13:16 and F Michael Farren (1) added another at 14:30. . . . F Conner Chaulk (3) iced it for the visitors with an empty-netter at 19:53. . . . Steenbergen leads the WHL in goals (24) and points (41), all in 16 games. . . . Sissons added an assist to his goal. . . . The Blades got three assists from D Jackson Caller, with Wouters adding two to his goal. F Cam Hebig had two assists and Shmyr got one. . . . The Broncos were 2-4 on the PP; the Blades were 1-5. . . . G Logan Flodell blocked 29 shots for the Broncos. . . . Saskatoon got 10 stops from G Ryan Kubic through two periods, with Joel Grzybowski stopping all six shots in faced in the third period. . . . The Blades lost F Seth Bafaro to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 15:51 of the first period. . . . Blogger Darren Steinke was there and his report is right here. . . . Announced attendance: 3,664.


At Kamloops, F Jermaine Loewen ran his goal-scoring streak to three games as the Blazers beat the Red Deer Rebels, 3-2. . . . Kamloops (6-12-0) is 6-3-0 since opening 0-9-0. . . . The Rebels (8-10-1) have lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Loewen, coming off back-to-back two-goal games, opened the scoring at 17:59 of the first period. Loewen has seven goals in 12 games. His career high is eight, in 67 games, in 2015-16. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (5) pulled Red Deer even at 3:58 of the second period. . . . Kamloops D Joe Gatenby (6) broke the tie, on a PP, at 11:02. . . . The Blazers went ahead 3-1 as F Nick Chyzowski (4) scored at 4:43. . . . The Rebels got back to within a goal when F Kristian Reichel (7) scored with 15.6 seconds left in the third period. . . . F Quinn Benjafield had two assists for Kamloops. . . . Kamloops was 1-6 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-5. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand, who turned 15 on June 7, stopped 31 shots and was named the game’s first star. He earned his first WHL victory in his first start and second appearance. He is on the roster because G Dylan Ferguson has been on emergency recall with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights since Oct. 30. Garand is the first goaltender to appear for the Blazers in his 15-year-old season since James Priestner on Feb. 23, 2007. Priestner went the distance in a 6-5 OT loss to the visiting Chilliwack Bruins that night. . . . Red Deer was to have given G Riley Lamb his first start since he suffered a broken thumb in training camp. However, the Rebels changed things up after the warmup and G Ethan Anders got the start. He finished with 29 stops. . . . The Rebels left after the game for a Saturday date in Kelowna, while the Blazers were off to Kent, Wash., where they are to meet the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight. . . . Announced attendance: 3,515.


At Prince George, F Jared Bethune scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Cougars a 4-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Cougars (6-8-4) had lost their previous three games. . . . The Silvertips (7-10-2) have lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . Everett took a 2-0 lead into the second period on goals from D Gianni Fairbrother (1), at 8:23, and F Sean Richards, at 14:36. . . . F Kody McDonald (10) got the home side to within a goal 32 seconds into the second period, on a PP. . . . Richards (5) restored Everett’s two-goal lead at 16:43. . . . The Cougars tied it on goals from F Jackson Leppard (6), at 17:27 of the second period and D Jack Sander at 15:20 of the third. Sander, with his parents in the crowd, scored his first WHL goal. A freshman from Beaumont, Alta., Sander was playing in his 17th game. . . . Bethune was the first shooter in the third round and his goal won it. . . . F Josh Maser had two assists for Prince George, with Leppard and Bethune each adding one. . . . The Cougars were 1-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . G Tavin Grant stopped 22 shots through OT for the Cougars. . . . Everett got 20 saves from G Carter Hart. . . . Dave Sheldon, a broadcaster who is based in the Lower Mainland of B.C., filled in for Mike Benton, the usual play-by-play voice of the Silvertips. Benton remained at home with his wife, Amy, who is due to give birth to their second child. . . . Back in the day, Sheldon was the analyst on Silvertips’ broadcasts for three seasons, before doing play-by-play of Chilliwack Bruins’ games for two seasons. . . . Announced attendance: 2,961.


At Victoria, the Royals erased a 2-0 second-period deficit en route to a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Royals (14-5-1) have won two in a row. They lead the overall standings, by one point over Moose Jaw. . . . The Oil Kings (5-11-2) have lost five in a row. . . . The visitors took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Brett Kemp (5), at 9:47 of the first period, and F Kobe Mohr (5), on a PP, at 1:28 of the second. . . . F Eric Florchuk (5), on a PP, got Victoria on the scoreboard at 12:31, and F Ryan Peckford (12) tied it at 1:33 of the third period. . . . F Tyler Soy (8) snapped the 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 10:41. . . . D Scott Walford and F Matthew Phillips each had two assists for the winners. . . . Victoria was 2-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-4. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 32 shots for the home team. At the other end, Travis Child made 19 saves. . . . Announced attendance: 5,717.


At Kelowna, F Carsen Twarynski scored at 1:28 of OT to give the Rockets a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kelowna (9-6-3) had lost its previous game. . . . The Giants (6-8-4) has won their last game. . . . Kelowna took a 1-0 lead when D Gordie Ballhorn (2) scored, on a PP, at 13:53 of the first period. . . . Vancouver took a 2-1 lead on PP goals from F Ty Ronning (16), at 16:46, and F Tyler Benson, at 19:08. . . . F Leif Mattson (6) tied it for the Rockets at 17:35 of the second period. . . . The Cougars took a 3-2 lead at 4:45 of the third period on F Brad Morrison’s fifth goal. . . . Kelowna F Kole Lind (10) tied it again with a shorthanded goal, at 7:29 of the third period. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (2) put the home side out front, on a PP, at 11:46. . . . The Giants forced OT when Benson scored his fourth goal of the season, on a PP, at 14:36. . . . Twarynski, who also had an assist, won it with his 10th goal. . . . D Cal Foote and F Liam Kindree had two assists for Kelowna. . . . The Cougars got three assists from F Milos Roman, with Morrison getting two and Ronning one. . . . Vancouver was 3-5 on the PP; Kelowna was 2-5. . . . The game featured a pair of American-born goaltenders — James Porter of the Rockets and Todd Scott of the Giants. Porter finished with 24 saves, six fewer than Scott. . . . D Tanner Brown, 15, made his WHL debut with the Giants and he did it in his hometown. He was a second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. He has a goal and five assists in eight games with the major midget Okanagan Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 5,037.


At Kent, Wash., G Beck Warm stopped 43 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Americans (12-4-2) have points in 11 straight games (9-0-2). . . . The Thunderbirds (9-6-2) had points in each of their five previous games (4-0-1). . . . Warm, a sophomore from Whistler, B.C., recorded his first WHL shutout. Last season, he was 3-5-0, 3.40, .902. This season, he is 6-2-0, 3.12, .909. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (5) got the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 12:56 of the first period. . . . F Carson Focht (2) added another goal, at 3:49 of the second period. . . . D Dylan Coghlan had Tri-City’s other two goals, giving him six this season, and added an assist. He scored at 5:01 and 6:59 of the second period. . . . F Michael Rasmussen had two assists, with Focht adding one. . . . Tri-City was 1-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-6. . . . G Matt Berlin stopped 22 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . Announced attendance: 4,143.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Lethbridge at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

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

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

Tri-City at Portland, 6 p.m.

Everett at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Victoria vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Culverwell wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

Culverwell’s story is right here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That earlier Culverwell story is right here.


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


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

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

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

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

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

Stanks’ Sermon is right here.


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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


THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.

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

Spokane at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

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

Red Deer at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Everett at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

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


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


The story of Hick Abbott, a real Canadian hero

Every year, in advance of Remembrance Day, I post the story of Edward Lyman (Hick) Abbott. Here it is once again . . .


Edward Lyman Abbott was, they all agreed, one of a kind.

He was a superb athlete and, just as important, he was a true sportsman. Everyone in southern Saskatchewan knew Abbott as Hick, which was shortened from Hickory, and he was loved by young and old alike.

HICK ABBOTT

In the early part of the 20th century, Hick Abbott was the best athlete in Regina and maybe all of Western Canada. To this day, it may be Abbott who is the best athlete Regina has seen.

According to the Regina Leader:

“Previous to going to the war Abbott was one of the greatest hockey players that this Dominion every saw. He also was a stellar lacrosse, rugby and soccer player. He piloted Regina to a western championship in rugby in 1915 and what he did to bring the Allan Cup to Regina any of the old-time fans know.”

As we pause at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, his story is but one of many worth remembering. This, then, is that story. Or, at least part of it.

—————

The gentlemen of Regina’s sporting scene would gather at Joe Potts’ Rose Athletic Parlours on the east side of the 1700 block Rose Street. They would go there for a shave, maybe a trim and, most definitely, to talk about how their sporting world turned.

JOE POTTS

The Rose Athletic Parlours — the name was in honour of a Potts penpal, Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack — was a seven-chair operation, with each barber having his own washbasin and mirror. There were two other huge mirrors — floor to ceiling — and a circular leather seat that surrounded a pole on which was beautiful leather backing. A long glass counter was home to a gold-coloured cash register and boxes of chocolate bars. Mahogany-veered cabinets behind the counter were full of tobacco products.

And there were photographs — they didn’t call them pictures then — everywhere. Photographs of prominent athletes. Many of them autographed.

The billiard room was separate and featured Boston tables, although there was one billiard table. Each table had its own mahogany cabinet in which players hung their hats and coats.

This is where doctors, dentists, lawyers and businessmen came. This is where they talked about the exploits of their favourite son.

Hick Abbott was of fair complexion. He had grey eyes that, in a blink, would steal a young girl’s heart. And that hair. Oh, that light brown hair that always had that naturally tousled look. Born in Orillia, Ont., in the Hovering parish, on May 1, 1891, Abbott, who was of the Methodist faith, moved to Regina for some reason long since lost. His father, James Henry Abbott, lived his last days in Toronto. In a file folder full of documents, notes, papers and photographs, there isn’t a mention of a mother. Perhaps Hick Abbott’s mother died and he moved to Regina to live with his sister, Robena Myrtle, who was a provincial government employee. A brother, Samuel Percival Abbott, lived near White Bear, Sask.

Hick Abbott played football (rugby football, it was frequently called then), hockey, baseball, lacrosse, soccer and basketball. He excelled at them all. He played in high school. He played for club teams. He played on playgrounds or in a gymnasium. It didn’t matter. He just wanted to play. He had to play.

But hockey was his game. He was a right winger who played for as many teams as he could.

He played for the Regina Bees Capital Hockey Club, which won the Valkenburg Cup as the province’s 1911-12 amateur champions.

But how was he to know that the highlight of his athletic career would come in the spring of 1914 when he helped the Regina Victorias to the 1914 Allan Cup title? The team photo refers to the Vics as World’s Amateur Champions 1914. There’s Abbott — bottom row, third from the right, next to Joe Potts, the Vics’ manager. The newspaper refers to Abbott as “the speedy and consistent right wing who is the sharpshooter of the team.”

But there was trouble in Europe where, before long, the First World War would be raging. Soon, newspapers were full of casualty reports. Regina’s sons were dying over there.

Naturally, Abbott heard the call, as did many of his teammates from that 1913-14 team, including goaltender Fred McCulloch, defencemen Charlie Otton and Austin Creswell, who was the team captain, and rover Freddy Wilson.

Abbott took officer training in Winnipeg, qualifying for the rank of lieutenant. He returned to Regina and enlisted with the 68th Battalion.

On the day Abbott enlisted — Sept. 23, 1915 — he was a 24-year-old student at law who lived in Regina at 2254 Rose St.

Seven months later, on April 28, he was on the S.S. Olympic as it sailed from Halifax. Abbott headed overseas as a platoon commander and officer in charge of records.

Abbott was a true warrior. Whether it was on the field of play or on the field of war, there wasn’t any quit in this man.

Upon his arrival in England, he quickly transferred to the 52nd Canadian Infantry Battalion, a trench unit. In the ensuing 26 months, shrapnel was the only thing that kept him from the front.

He was first injured on Oct. 7, 1916, while in action near Courcelette, about 30 miles northeast of Amiens, in what came to be known as the Battles of the Somme.

Four days later, Abbott was admitted to No. 14 General Hospital at Boulogne with a wound to his left shoulder. Two days later, he was in England, safely ensconced in a war hospital in Reading, a few miles west of London.

A doctor noted a “shrapnel bullet localized near wound.” That shrapnel was removed on Oct. 24; he was discharged from hospital on Nov. 13.

Hick Abbott’s medals (courtesy Dave Thomson)

Abbott rushed back to the front and stayed until June 3, 1917, when he was granted 10 days leave, which he spent in Paris.

On July 26, 1917, following the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Abbott was awarded the Military Cross “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He handled his men in the most able manner, and successfully led them through an intense hostile barrage. He set a fine example of courage and initiative.”

Three months later, on Oct. 27, he was awarded a Bar to his Military Cross.

The Bar, according to a letter Potts received from Abbott in early November, was “just for a little trench raiding affair.”

Abbott also mentioned that he now was wearing “a pair of plate glass spectacles on account of recent injuries to my eyes.”

The glasses were the result of his being wounded for a second time. He took a bullet — or a piece of shrapnel — in the right temple on Sept. 4, 1917, while raiding enemy trenches near Leuze, just over the border from France in the southwest part of Belgium.

A medical report indicates this was a “Severe G.S.W. (gunshot wound) near right eye.” Before he reached the hospital in Boulogne, the shrapnel//bullet was “removed with giant and small magnet.”

The Sept. 11 edition of The Leader reported, under the headline Popular Regina Young Man Is Among Wounded:

“As the casualty lists come in, more and more Regina soldiers are listed either as killed, wounded or gassed. In the list of yesterday appears the name of one of the best known and popular young men of the city, Lieut. Edward Lyman Abbott, as being wounded. This is the second time within 10 months that ‘Hick’ . . . has suffered injuries on the battlefield.”

The story continued:

“. . . he has written to friends in the city and appeared to be carrying on without much worry. Abbott was one of the finest athletes and best sportsmen in the city, standing at the head in every branch of sport he entered. He was particularly noted for his prowess at hockey, and football, two games in which he had no superior in the west.”

By Sept. 15, he had been “invalided, wounded and detached” to the Manitoba Regimental Depot and was being cared for in the 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth.

A doctor’s report noted: “Recommended for convalescence . . . to report back in three weeks.” Abbott was discharged on Sept. 24, 1917, and spent the next month at St. Mark’s College, leaving there on Oct. 25, 1917.

The next entry in his medical record is dated Sept. 14, 1918. It is short and to the point: K. in A.

Killed in Action.

It was, in the words of General Erich Ludendorff, the “black day of the German army.”

It was Aug. 8, 1918. It was the day on which the Battle of Amiens began. It was the battle in which Hick Abbott died.

After recovering from his head wound, Abbott returned to France on Dec. 24, 1917. A week later, he was back with his unit.

With Capt. G.M. Thomson heading for England, application was made for Abbott to be an acting captain with the 52nd Battalion. That was approved on March 16, 1918.

Abbott, then, was a captain when the Battle of Amiens, one of the war’s most decisive battles, began. The German’s spring offensive had been stopped only eight miles from Amiens. Now it was time to push them back. Later, after the Armistice had been signed on Nov. 11, 1918, it was generally acknowledged that this was where the tide had turned. In two weeks, 46 German divisions were defeated — 34,250 prisoners and 270 heavy guns were captured.

“It was,” said Ludenhoff, “the black day of the German army in the war . . . To continue would be a gamble. The war would have to be ended.”

On Aug. 14, with the battle almost won, Abbott — always the leader — was first out of a trench as he led a charge towards the enemy.

According to Earl Longworthy, an acquaintance of Abbott’s, he was killed by a sniper’s bullet to the head.

Longworthy was with Abbott’s battalion the day after his death and reported the platoon “worshipped the ground Abbott walked on and were in sorrowful spirits because of his death.”

A testimonial, author unknown, reads in part:

“Abbott was the type of Canadian, and the type of Britisher, that the Germans cannot understand; the type that fights with a silent fury and yet that does not hate; too much of a sportsman to fight unfairly, but more dangerous in attack than their finest products of hate-inspiration because of utter recklessness combined with a deadly skill and total inability to recognize defeat.”

By the time of his death on Aug. 14, 1918, Abbott’s father also was dead. Hick’s medals went to his sister, Robena, who was living in Regina at 2072 Angus St. A plaque and scroll went to his brother, Samuel, at White Bear.

Abbott’s will, dated July 1, 1916, indicated that there may have been another woman — besides his sister — in his life.

His will appointed his sister and R.D. MacMurchy, a Regina barrister, as executors. It read in part:

“I give and bequeath unto my sister Robena Myrtle Abbott all property, real and personal in my possession or due me at the time of my decease and in the advent of her prior decease all said property, real and personal to Miss Edith May Longworthy, 2035 Hamilton St., Regina, Canada.”

Word of Abbott’s death was reported in The Leader of Aug. 22, 1918:

“The death of the popular young Regina officer came as a great shock to his many friends in the city and to the hundreds who knew him through the province particularly as one of the finest athletes who ever appeared before the public in the province.”

Joe Potts was devastated by the news and wrote an appreciation that appeared in The Leader:

“The world of sport of Regina, and for that matter the entire province of Saskatchewan, is the poorer today by the loss of Hick Abbott.

ABBOTT CUP

“As long as Regina is, the name of Abbott will live. To the present generation his name stands supreme as a monument to the best that was in sport. To the future generation he has left an ideal for them to attain.

“The citizens of Saskatchewan have lost one of nature’s gentlemen, one who held dear the traditions of his land and one who ever had at heart one thing — the interest of his fellows.

“A hero among his fellows he was equally loved by the boys. No business was ever too pressing to prevent him claiming their comradeship. To the younger lads of Regina his life and glorious death will be an inspiration.

“In expressing these thoughts I am but giving voice to those of everyone in the city who knew him. As one who knew him intimately from the time he grew out of boyhood the loss is personally great.”

Potts, who had named his first-born son after Abbott — J. Lyman Potts, born on Nov. 11, 1916, is retired and living in Burlington, Ont. — would make certain that Hick wouldn’t be forgotten.

Late in 1918, Joe Potts started a fund-raising drive, the result of which would be the Abbott Memorial Cup, which for years would go annually to the champion of western Canadian junior hockey.

When the subscription drive started, the first name on the list was Lyman Potts ($10). The second name was that of Lieut. Austin Creswell, the captain of the 1914 Victorias.

E.A. Jolly, a prominent Regina druggist, sent in $5, along with a note:

“Captain Abbott was one of the highest types of Canadian citizens and his record on the ice and subsequently on the battlefield proved him a man of whom all of us should be proud. I remember the great games with Melville when Abbott worked so valiantly and well for victory, and I also remember what a great power Abbott was to the Victoria team when they won the Allan Cup on that great night in Winnipeg nearly five years ago.”

Dick Irvin, who would later prove to be one of the NHL’s great coaches, wrote from Belgium where he was a private “doing despatch work on a motorcycle . . . and seeing the sights of France and Belgium over the handle bars.”

Irvin was a 21-year-old centre on the Winnipeg Monarchs team that lost the 1914 Allan Cup final to the Vics.

“I am interested in what you say about the proposed Abbott Cup and you can put (me) down for a five-spot,” Irvin wrote. “I think the idea splendid for junior hockey in the west and, as far as the memorial is concerned, you couldn’t have picked on a better name as Abbott was a . . . man all through.”

Hector Lang, the principal of Regina’s Central Collegiate during Abbott’s high school years who later moved to Medicine Hat and would be the Alberta trustee for the Abbott Cup, wrote that Abbott “at his studies, in his games, and on the field of battle, displayed always in the highest degree the character of the true sportsman. I remember, too, the other boys who studied and played with him — all good boys and true sports, and all of them better because of the influence of the big-hearted and fair-minded Hick Abbott.”

Sid Smith wrote from Gull Lake, Sask., expressing the hope that “this trophy will not be handled in such a way that it will fall into disregard, be forgotten as is often the case with such.”

Almost 80 years later, the Abbott Memorial Cup no longer could be considered a prominent trophy. Where it once went to the winner of a best-of-seven series, in its last years it was presented to the winner of one round-robin game between two western representatives during the Royal Bank Cup.

“I know absolutely nothing about the Abbott Cup,” admitted one member of the Melfort Mustangs, Abbott Cup winners for 1996.

“It’s just an appetizer (for the Royal Bank Cup),” added another player.

It seems, alas, that Sid Smith’s worst fears were recognized.

J. Lyman Potts, Joe’s eldest son, realized in the mid-1990s that the Abbott Cup no longer was being given the respect it deserved. He wrote to old friend Tom Melville, a former Regina Leader-Post sports editor, and the two of them mounted a lengthy campaign that resulted in the Abbott Cup being retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

——

Hick Abbott, who left Regina to fight for his country’s freedom, never returned to his adopted home town.

He is buried in Roye New British Cemetery, a few miles north of Paris.

Plot 1, Row B, Grave 13.

—————

Hick Abbott was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in Regina in June 2014.

Blazers to bid on 2020 Memorial Cup … Royals are “absolutely” interested, too

The Kamloops Blazers announced on Thursday morning that they plan to enter a bid to play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup. The announcement was made at a news conference during which Ken Christian, the city’s mayor, pledge complete support from the city for the bid.

The 2020 tournament will be the 25th anniversary of the last time Kamloops played host and the last time the Blazers on the Memorial Cup. That championship capped a string of three such victories in a four-year span (1992, 1994, 1995).

Norm Daley, the chairman of the Blazers’ advisory committee, is expected to be heavily involved in the Memorial Cup organizing committee, although that group hasn’t yet been put together. Daley has helped bring numerous international and national events to the city, including the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship, the Canada Cup of Curling, and the Tim Hortons Brier.

The Blazers’ home arena, the Sandman Centre, is undergoing improvements, which will include the installation of LED lighting, along with new boards and glass, along with some loge seating.

The last four times the WHL has had a host team for the Memorial Cup tournament, it has been held in the east — Regina, 2018; Red Deer, 2016; Saskatoon, 2013; Brandon, 2010. It hasn’t been played in B.C. since 2007 when the Vancouver Giants were the host team.

At least two other Western Conference teams — the Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals — have expressed an interest in bidding on the 2020 tournament, while there have been whispers that the Kelowna Rockets and Vancouver may also be interested.

Vancouver and Victoria will be the co-hosts for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Asked yesterday if Victoria is interested in playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup, Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, provided Taking Note with a one-word answer: “Absolutely.”

The WHL is open to expressions of interest into March. The bidding process will take place after that, with a host city expected to be announced in October.

The 2018 tournament, which will mark the 100th anniversary of the Memorial Cup, is to be held in Regina. The 2019 tournament will be held in a QMJHL centre.

Under normal circumstances, the CHL awards hosting rights on a three-year rotation, with it also going to the OHL. But because of the 2018 tournament being extra-special, it was opened to bids from all three leagues. When it was awarded Regina, it interrupted the regular rotation, something that will resume in 2019.

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has more on the story right here.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meachem’s story is right here.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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!


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


WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.

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

Spokane at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

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

Red Deer at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Everett at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

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


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


Russians storm back, earn split with WHL … Blazers waiting on Vegas … Cougars trim d-man

At Swift Current, Team Russia scored the game’s last four goals and beat Team WHL, 4-3, in the second game of the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series. . . . Team WHL had posted a 7-0 victory in Moose Jaw on Monday night. . . . Last night, Team WHL opened up a 3-0 lead on three PP goals — one from F Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets), at 1:27 of the first period, and two from D David Quenneville (Medicine Hat Tigers), at 6:17 and 8:33 of the second period. . . . As the second period passed the 16-minute mark, Team WHL had outscored the visitors, 10-0, in the series. . . . F Mikhail Maltsev scored Russia’s first goal at 16:22 of the second. He later snapped a 3-3 tie, shorthanded, at 12:06 of the third period. . . . In between those goals, D Artyom Maltsev and F Andrey Altybarmakyan scored, at 10:07 and 12:06. . . . Dube also had two assists, while F Sam Steel (Regina Pats) had three helpers. . . . Team WHL was 3-6 on the PP; Russia was 0-2. . . . The Russians got 29 saves from G Mikhail Berdin, including a penalty shot by F Kole Lind (Kelowna). That came in the second period with Team WHL ahead, 3-0. . . . Stuart Skinner (Lethbridghe Hurricanes) stopped 29 shots at the other end, 17 of those coming in the first period. . . . F Tanner Kaspick of the Brandon Wheat Kings was ejected with a headshot major for a first-period headshot on D Alex Alexeyev, who plays for the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels. Alexeyev wasn’t injured on the play. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890. . . .

Team WHL added two players to its roster earlier Tuesday — F Jake Leschyshyn of the Regina Pats and D Colby Sissons of the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Leschyshyn replaced F Brett Howden of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who left Monday’s game in the third period with an undisclosed injury. Leschyshyn, a second-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft, has four goals and five assists in 14 games this season. His 2016-17 season was cut short by a knee injury that also cost him the start of this season. . . . Sissons took the spot vacated by D Josh Mahura of the Pats, who finished Monday’s game but suffered an undisclosed injury so wasn’t able to answer the bell for Game 2. Sissons, who has signed with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, has four goals and 14 assists in 15 games this season. . . .

The Canada-Russia series will continue with Games 3 and 4 in the OHL cities of Owen Sound and Sudbury on Thursday and Monday, respectively. It will conclude in the QMJHL with games in Charlottetown (Nov. 14) and Moncton (Nov. 16).


G Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers spent his fifth game on the bench with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night, this time in Montreal. The Golden Knights completed a six-game road trip with a 3-2 loss to the Canadiens.

Ferguson has been with the Golden Knights under emergency recall rules, backing up Maxime Lagace, with three other goaltenders injured.

The Golden Knights flew home to Las Vegas following last night’s game and it’s believed that Ferguson was on the flight.

The Golden Knights are next scheduled to play on Friday when they entertain the Winnipeg Jets.

The Blazers also are scheduled to play Friday, with the visiting Red Deer Rebels to provide the opposition. Kamloops then will travel to Kent, Wash., for a Saturday date with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

If Ferguson isn’t returned to Kamloops before Friday, the Blazers likely would start Max Palaga. But they would have to bring in a second goaltender; Dylan Garand, 15, who was in Kamloops last weekend, has returned to the midget prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy.

Meanwhile, the Blazers will hold a news conference on Thursday morning for what is being termed an “organizational announcement.” According to the team, majority owner Tom Gaglardi will be present. Also expected to be in attendance are Don Moores, the Blazers’ chief operating officer; Norm Daley, the chairman of the team’s advisory board; and Ken Christian, the newly elected mayor of Kamloops.


The Prince George Cougars have dropped D Peter Kope, 18, from their roster and he is expected to return to the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. A fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft, Kope had one assist in five games with the Cougars. . . . The Cougars now are carrying 25 players, including seven defencemen and 15 forwards. . . . They will be at home to the Everett Silvertips this weekend for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader.


Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet posted his weekly 31 Thoughts on Tuesday morning, and it’s loaded with great insight into the three-team NHL deal that involved the Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators. . . . That piece is right here.


Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts includes this:

“Regular readers of this blog know I keep a Nov. 1 stat. Since 2005-06, six of 48 teams that were at least four points out after games played on that date came back to make the playoffs (This excludes lockout-shortened 2012-13). There were no contenders last season, as the late start from the World Cup put nobody in that position. This year, six will try and beat the odds: Arizona, Buffalo, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota and Montreal.”

While it’s comparing apples to oranges, there are three WHL teams who are at least four points out a playoff spot right now.

In the Eastern Conference, the Calgary Hitmen (6-10-1) are four points from the second wild-card spot, with the Edmonton Oil Kings (5-10-2) five points back. Calgary and Edmonton also are four and five points, respectively, from third place in the conference.

In the Western Conference, the Kamloops Blazers (5-12-0) are five points from third place in the B.C. Division and also five points away from the conference’s second wild-card spot.


The last item in Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts deals with the death this week of Sarah Stevenson. She died on Tuesday, a day after being diagnosed with Neisseria Meningitidis. That is the same disease that hit F Tim Bozon, then with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, early in 2014. He spent a month in a Saskatoon hospital, part of it in a medically induced coma. Bozon, now 23 years of age, now played for EHC Kloten in Switzerland’s NL A.


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!


TUESDAY:

Russia 4, WHL 3, at Swift Current.


WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


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).


Yamamoto back with Chiefs … Team WHL whips Russia … Silvertips suspend pair


F Kailer Yamamoto is back with the Spokane Chiefs. The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers returned Yamamoto, 19, who is from Spokane, to the Chiefs on Monday morning.

Yamamoto, the 22nd overall selection in the NHL’s 2017 draft, got into nine games with the Oilers, recording three assists, and was a healthy scratch from three others.

Had Yamamoto played a 10th NHL game, the first year of his three-year entry-level contract would have kicked in.

Yamamoto is a huge addition to the Chiefs, as he put up 101 points, including 42 goals, in 65 games last season.

While Yamamoto was in Edmonton, the Chiefs acquired F Zach Fischer, 20, from the Medicine Hat Tigers. Both are right wingers, as a rule, so the Chiefs now have some firepower from that some.

Combine those two with F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, F Hudson Elynuik and D Ty Smith, who is a potential first-round selection in the 2018 NHL draft, and the Chiefs are almost certain to cause some excitement in the U.S. Division.

The Chiefs are next scheduled to play on Friday when they visit the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Having Yamamoto back in the WHL also is big for USA Hockey’s national junior team, especially with the 2018 World Junior Championship to be decided in Buffalo.

At last year’s tournament, in Montreal and Toronto, Yamamoto put up 14 points, seven of them goals, in nine games. It could be that the Team USA coaching staff puts Yamamoto back on a line with Logan Brown of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires and Casey Mittelstadt, who plays at the U of Minnesota.

The Buffalo Sabres selected Mittelstadt with the eighth overall pick in the NHL’s 2017 draft, while the Ottawa Senators took Brown with the 11th pick.


Team WHL opened the CIBC Canada-Russia series in Moose Jaw on Monday night by whipping the touring Russian side, 7-0. . . . They’ll play again tonight (Tuesday) in Swift Current. . . . F Kole Lind of the Kelowna Rockets, the only player on Team WHL who is from Saskatchewan, led the way with a pair of goals and an assist. . . . Lind is from Shaunavon. . . . Team WHL, which held period leads of 1-0 and 5-0, got its other goals from F Brett Howden (Moose Jaw), F Matthew Phillips (Victoria), F Tyler Steenbergen (Swift Current), F Cody Glass (Portland) and F Dillon Dube (Kelowna). . . . G Carter Hart (Everett) blocked 20 shots to record the shutout. He was sharp, especially in the first period when he made three or four Grade A saves. Hart played two games with Everett and then was out for more than a month after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. He has played two games with the Silvertips since being cleared to return. Hart is the favourite to be Team Canada’s starting goaltender in Buffalo and he didn’t do anything to change that last night. . . . The Calgary Hitmen got a scare at 11:41 of the second period when D Jake Bean left after blocking a shot. He took the shot off his left ankle and it appeared to cross over and ding his right ankle, as well. As he left the ice, with the assistant of athletic therapist Greg Mayer (Regina), Bean wasn’t able to put any weight on his left foot. However, Bean was back on the ice for the third period. . . . In the third period, Howden took a hard hit and left for the dressing room. He didn’t return. Marc Smith (@MarcSmith18) tweeted later: “There was no update on Howden post-game. He wasn’t available to the media.” . . . F Michael Rasmussen (Tri-City) and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan are without their equipment, which hadn’t made it to Moose Jaw by game time. So they played in new skates and different equipment, something that isn’t an easy thing to do. . . . An attendance figure wasn’t provided on the on-line scoresheet, but there were a lot of empty red seats visible during Sportsnet’s telecast..


You’re a junior hockey fan and you’re starting to get excited about the approaching 2018 World Junior Championship. Bob McKenzie of TSN was in Moose Jaw on Monday for the opening of the CIBC Canada-Russia series, and he spent part of his day writing about the selection process for the team that will represent Canada starting Dec. 26 in Buffalo. That piece is right here.


G Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers was still in the NHL on Monday night, serving as the backup for the Vegas Golden Knights during a 4-3 shootout loss to the host Toronto Maple Leafs. . . . Ferguson has been with the Knights on emergency recall for a week, and also backed up G Maxime Lagace for road games against the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators. The Golden Knights wrap up this road trip tonight (Tuesday) in Montreal against the Canadiens. . . . The Blazers no doubt are hoping that Ferguson will be returned after that game. Kamloops next plays Friday against the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Blazers brought G Dylan Garand, 15, in late last week to back up Max Palaga. Garand, from Victoria, has returned to the Delta Hockey Academy’s midget prep team. He got into one game and acquitted himself well, coming on in relied and stopping 12 of 13 shots in 34:08 in a 5-4 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Saturday night.


The Calgary Hitmen have dropped F Matt Dorsey, 18 from their roster, and he is expected to join the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild. Dorsey, who is from Wenatchee, was a third-round selection by Calgary in the 2014 bantam draft. However, his progress has been hampered by knee problems. . . . Dorsey had three goals and three assists in 34 games last season, but had yet to get into a game this season. . . . The Hitmen now are carrying 23 players, including 14 forwards and seven defencemen.


The Everett Silvertips’ roster is down to 22 after two forwards — Ethan Browne and Mark Liwiski — were placed on the team’s suspended list. . . . Garry Davidson, the Silvertips’ general manager, explained in a news release that “Liwiski has been found to be in clear violation of team policy. As a result, he has been placed on team suspension, and has returned home indefinitely. We make it very clear that actions he decided upon will not be tolerated and the resulting consequences serve as firm boundary to maintain the culture we have established, and take seriously.” . . . Liwiski, 16, is from Dauphin, Man. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He was pointless in 10 games with Everett after putting up 25 goals and 29 assists in 37 games with the midget AAA Parkland Rangers last season. . . . Meanwhile, Davidson said that Browne “has been placed on suspension as he has clarified his wishes to return home to the Edmonton area.” . . . Browne, 16, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He was a first-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. He had one assist in eight games with Everett this season. Last season, he had nine goals and 20 assists in 27 games with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings.


Stan Wilson, who spent eight seasons (1982-90) as the Prince Albert Raiders’ equipment manager, worked his 2,000th NHL game on Monday night. Wilson, who is from Melfort, Sask., is the Arizona Coyotes’ head equipment manager. . . . He was part of the Raiders’ Memorial Cup-championship team in 1984-85. Wilson left the Raiders after the 1989-90 season to join the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets as their equipment manager. Of course, the Jets moved to Phoenix after the 1995-96 season, meaning Wilson has been with the same organization since 1990-91. . . . He also has been part of two IIHF World Championship-winning Canadian teams — in 2003 and 2007.


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


The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder fired head coach Kyle Adams on Sunday, with assistant coach Derek Wiest moving up to interim head coach. . . . The Thunder, at 3-18-0, is last in the eight team Viterra North. That also is the AJHL’s poorest record. . . . It has been outscored 106-42. . . . Last season, the Thunder was 17-39-4. Adams was hired in June after spending three seasons on staff with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . In Drayton Valley, he took over from Jesse Dorrans, who resigned in May while citing personal reasons. . . . Joey Bouchard remains the Thunder’s general manager.


MONDAY:

Team WHL 7, Russia 0, at Moose Jaw.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Russia vs. Team WHL, Swift Current, 7 p.m.


WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


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).


Monday’s with Murray: Plenty of Bread in NBA’s Circus

MONDAYS WITH MURRAY

The NBA

July 28 1996, Sports

Copyright 1996/The Times Mirror Company

Jim Murray

Plenty of Bread in NBA’s Circus

    You know, it was not too long ago — I’m old enough to remember — when, if you were 7 feet tall, the best you could do with your life was join the circus. Or get a fur hat and open cab doors for rich folk outside a New York hotel. Now you get $17 million a year and all the Rolls-Royces you need. People open cab doors for you.

   And you get it while you’re young and can enjoy it. It’s not as though you have to work your way up the business ladder or plug away at Wall Street as J.P. Morgan had to do. You don’t have to invent the elevator or electric light. All you have to do is post up, whatever that means.

   I can remember when if you were 7 feet, you couldn’t play basketball. For one thing, you had to bounce the ball on the floor if you went to the basket, and 7-footers were too slow and too clumsy to do that. Today, you can go to the basket like a guy running for a bus and everybody scatters out of your way. Also, 7-footers aren’t pituitary freaks anymore. They’re perfectly proportioned.

   Dr. James Naismith invented basketball precisely so you couldn’t carry the ball like a fullback. He wanted a sport in which brute strength didn’t count so much as finesse and grace.

   You think Naismith ever envisaged the dunk shot? You think he ever envisaged anyone signing a $120-milliion contract to play his game?

   Of course, it’s the oldest con in the world, as old as the Roman Empire. Juvenal first called attention to it in the 1st century A.D. when he wrote, “Two things only the people require — bread and circuses.” The Roman emperors gave it to them. Chariot races, Christians vs. lions. Only, the best the Christians could get was their freedom; the best the lions could get was a Christian for lunch.

   Nothing changes. To keep the citizenry from becoming mutinous, you give them the circus — something that lets them paint their faces blue or red and jab their forefingers in the air and scream “We’re No. 1!” on television. Nero would have understood.

   You think basketball fans aren’t high-fiving each other over the capture of Shaquille O’Neal by the Lakers? Get real.

   You think the public cares what Shaq cost? They think it’s somebody else’s money. Television’s, maybe.

   It isn’t. It’s their money. Even if they don’t pay the $600 per game for the courtside seats, they pay for the dunk shots, the sky-hooks, the fast breaks. “Free TV” is an oxymoron. Every time you buy a Ford or Toyota or can of Pepsi or pair of Nikes, you’re paying for what they sponsor. The cost of the ad is factored in the cost of the car. You’re paying for your circuses.

   Sometimes it’s difficult for us old-timers to comprehend what’s happening in the counting houses of sports these days.

   I’m also old enough to remember when Bob Short first brought the Lakers to Los Angeles. They were going broke in Minneapolis, where the games were played in relative privacy.

   They didn’t exactly have SRO, either. Basketball was far from a sports-page staple. Baseball was America’s sport of choice. Football. Boxing. The highest salary in the NBA those days was $19,000 a year. Plumbers did better.

   I went to a playoff game once — a playoff game! — at which there were 2,800 paying customers.

   All that changed. I helped. I had the sport almost to myself. And what a sport! Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain. The Big O. I was like a kid in a candy store. I traveled with the Lakers. What a cast of characters! They almost wrote themselves.

   But modesty dictates I must confess it was Chick Hearn who did the most to make the Lakers household names in L.A. First on radio, then on TV. Television was slow to pick up on the sport, but basketball, like football, was uniquely suited to the TV screen, a rectangular sport with a large ball.

   The pro game didn’t even have a radio contract at first. Teams played league games in places like Sheboygan, Morgantown, Peoria. A league game was a prologue to a Harlem Globetrotter exhibition. The Globies drew the people, not the Knicks or Lakers.

   The graph grew. Smart entrepreneurial owners such as Jack Kent Cooke moved in. Jack knew what sold tickets — stars. The Lakers had an Academy Award lineup. What they didn’t have was the clincher — the big man in the pivot. Jack twisted arms till he wound up with Wilt Chamberlain. When Wilt left, Cooke angled to get Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Jack didn’t want playmakers, point guards, sixth men. Jack wanted the marquee players, guys nicknamed “Magic.”

   Now, Jerry Buss has joined the owners’ wing of the Hall of Fame. He has done what Cooke did, brought the Big Man to town, put the team on Page 1 again.

   The circus is in place; the bread is somebody else’s problem.

   Will O’Neal be a tumble-down Shaq? Or are Michael, Olajuwon, the Admiral Robinson, Patrick Ewing ready to yield their positions?

   Is even a championship circus worth that kind of bread? Do you know how much $120,000,000 comes out to? Well, if you spent $1,000 a day for the next 300 years you’d still have almost $11 million left.

   But there’s only one Shaq. And Buzzie Bavasi, the baseball man, said it best. “You don’t mind giving all those millions to a Babe Ruth. But where does it say you have to give $34 million to a second baseman hitting .230?”

   Exactly. It’s the other guys on the coattails who boggle the mind. Chris Childs is getting $24 million for six years? Who, pray tell, is Chris Childs? Antonio Davis is getting $38.5 million for seven years? I wouldn’t know Antonio Davis from Bette. Dale Davis is getting $42 million for seven years.  Allan Houston is getting $56 million for seven years. He played for Detroit last season, in case you didn’t know.

   Don MacLean is getting $12 million for four years and you almost feel like taking up a collection for him. Alonzo Mourning is to get $112 million for seven years. Gary Payton gets $85 million and nobody ever called him “Mr. Clutch” or “The Big G.”

   I’m always happy to see a kid move up in the world. But I can’t help but feel sorry for all those earlier-day giants who had to bend crowbars or tear telephone books or sit in the sideshow with the bearded lady or the tattooed man to earn a living. One sure thing: Dennis Rodman could handle it either way. And bite the heads off chickens if you wanted.

Reprinted with permission by the Los Angeles Times.

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 60753, Pasadena, CA 91116

—————

What is the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation? 

  The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1999 to perpetuate the Jim Murray legacy, and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. Since 1999, JMMF has granted 104 $5,000 scholarships to outstanding journalism students. Success of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s efforts depends heavily on the contributions from generous individuals, organizations, corporations, and volunteers who align themselves with the mission and values of the JMMF.

Like us on Facebook, and visit the JMMF website, www.jimmurrayfoundation.org