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).