Strandberg updates his condition … Wheaties storm past Broncos … Pats get win in Everett

Leonard Strandberg has been a familiar face in hockey circles, especially in Western Canada, for a long time.

Unfortunately, he was involved in a motorcycle accident while in Arizona last week and now is in hospital where he continues to undergo treatment that to date has included the removal of one leg below the knee.

On Sunday, he sent out the statement that follows . . .

No one has any idea how long he will be in hospital, but the family is going to need help. With that in mind, there is a GoFundMe site right here.


If you had hoped to land one of the late Ed Chynoweth’s rings that was available at Classic Auctions, sorry, but you’re too late.

There were 13 rings, all of them hockey-related, in the lot. They brought in a total of $9,737. Of course, not all of that goes to the Chynoweth family as the auction house takes a chunk off the top in handling fees, etc.

The 1989 Swift Current Broncos Memorial Cup ring went for $1,685, the most of any of them. It also had 12 bids, which was tops.

The rings that were available and what they brought:

1989 Swift Current Broncos Memorial Cup, $1,685;

2002 Kootenay Ice Memorial Cup, $977.

1983 Portland Winterhawks Memorial Cup, $783;

1987 Medicine Hat Tigers Memorial Cup, $783;

1994 and 1996 World Junior Championship, $783 each;

1981 Canada Cup, $666;

1994 Kamloops Blazers Memorial Cup, $646;

1991 Spokane Chiefs Memorial Cup, $587;

1995 Kamloops Blazers Memorial Cup $587;

1985 World Junior Championship, $533;

1986 CHL Presidents ring, $484; and

1985 Prince Albert Raiders Memorial Cup, $440;

Before he died, Chynoweth, who meant so much to major junior hockey not just in the west but all of Canada, had told his family not to hang on to memorabilia for his sake. Without any collectors in the family, the decision was reached to sell off a lot of the things that had been in their husband/father’s possession.

I have been told that there are more lots to come, including sweaters and photographs.


Kelly Remple has been in the Moose Jaw/Regina area for more than a few years. He posted the above tweet on Saturday. It’s interesting to visit it and check out the responses. It’s also interesting that not one person has indicated they either have purchased a ticket (or tickets) or that they intend to be at the game, at least not as of the last time I checked.


So . . . were you surprised last week when you heard that Gary Bettman, the commissioner of hockey, was talking with money in Houston, perhaps about putting an NHL franchise in the fourth-largest sporting market in the U.S.? . . . Larry Brooks of the New York Post explains right here exactly what is happening with all of that.


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Taylor Harnett, 42, has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Waywayseecappo Wolverines, replacing Arnie Caplan, who was in his first season when he was dismissed earlier this month. . . . Harnett, from Edmonton, has coached bantam and midget teams at Edmonton’s South Side Athletic Club in recent seasons. One of his players in bantam was Vancouver Giants captain Tyler Benson. Last season, Harnett was with the midget AAA Leduc Chrysler Oil Kings. . . . Paul MacLean, who had been named interim GM and head coach, will be the associate coach, with Dustin Korlak now the director of player operations. . . . The Wolverines were 1-16-1 when Caplan was fired and after beating the visiting Selkirk Steelers 7-4 on Sunday now are 2-22-1.


SUNDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings erased a 3-2 deficit with five goals as they beat the Swift Current Broncos, 7-3. . . . The Wheat Kings (14-6-1) have won five in a row. . . . The Broncos (15-5-1) had won their previous two games. The Broncos were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours in three different cities. They beat the host Medicine Hat Tigers 4-3 on Friday, then edged the visiting Calgary Hitmen 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday. . . . On Sunday, the Wheat Kings took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ty Lewis (11), at 4:20 of the first period, and F Connor Gutenberg (5), on a PP, at 8:01. . . . F Glenn Gawdin (15) got the Broncos to within one, on a PP, at 9:44. . . . The Broncos got a scare at 12:45 when F Tyler Steenbergen, the WHL’s leading goal scorer, left the game after taking a headshot from Brandon F Tanner Kaspick, who was given a major and game misconduct. Steenbergen, whose head hit the glass, went to the dressing room, but was back for the second period. . . . F Conner Chaulk (5) tied the game, on a PP, just 2:02 after Steenbergen left. . . . Steenbergen (31) then gave the Broncos a 3-2 lead at 5:29 of the second period. . . . The Wheat Kings got back into a tie at 8:16 as F Zach Wytinck (1) scored on a PP, and F Stelio Mattheos scored while shorthanded at 14:39 for a 4-3 lead. . . . F Evan Weinger (3) added insurance at 17:00, and the home side put it away on third-period goals from F Cole Reinhardt (6) and Mattheos (16), the latter via the PP. . . . Brandon got two assists from each of D Schael Higson, D Kale Clague, F Gunnar Wegleitner and Reinhardt, with Mattheos, Lewis, Gutenberg and Wytinck adding one apiece. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi had two assists for the Broncos, with Steenbergen adding one to his goal. . . . Heponiemi leads the WHL scoring race with 54 points, one more than Steenbergen. . . . Brandon was 3-5 on the PP; Swift Current was 2-6. . . . G Logan Thompson earned the victory with 38 stops. . . . G Logan Flodell started for the Broncos. He allowed two goals on three shots in the first 8:01 when Joel Hofer was sent into the fray. He didn’t face a shot in 19 seconds, before Flodell returned. Flodell finished up with 29 saves. . . . The Broncos played a third straight game without Manny Viveiros, their director of hockey operations and head coach, who is scouting in the Western Conference. In his absence, associate coach Ryan Smith went 2-1-0. . . . During a pre-game ceremony, former Wheat Kings star Bill Derlago, who played with the Toronto Maple Leafs, presented Mayor Rick Chrest of Brandon with a Turk Broda banner that had been hanging in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The old banners have been removed and will be replaced in the ACC with new ones as part of the NHL team’s 100th season celebrations. The old banners now are being given to the hometowns of the former players. Broda, a legendary goaltender, is from Brandon. . . . Announced attendance: 3,241.


At Everett, the Regina Pats scored the game’s first two goals and held on for a 2-1 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Regina (13-9-2) now is 1-1-0 on a six-game road trip. . . . Everett (10-12-2) has lost two in a row. . . . The Silvertips went 1-2-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. They split a Friday-Saturday doubleheader with the Seattle Thunderbirds, winning 3-2 at home and then losing 2-0 in Kent, Wash. . . . F Robbie Holmes (5) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 11:47 of the first period, and F Jake Leschyshyn (5) made it 2-0 at 2:19 of the third period. D Josh Mahura drew an assist on each goal. . . . The Silvertips cut the deficit in half on F Patrick Bajkov’s 12th goal, on a PP, at 12:10 of the third period. . . . Everett was 1-6 on the PP; Regina was 0-7. . . . The Pats got 38 saves from G Tyler Brown, while Everett’s Carter Hart stopped 48 shots. . . . Everett was without F Luke Ormsby, who drew a TBD suspension after taking a match penalty on Saturday. They also scratched F Connor Dewar, who was injured in that game. Dewar, in his third season, had missed only one previous game in his WHL career. . . . Everett lost F Sean Richards at 14:33 of the first period with a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Regina D Marco Creta, who wasn’t injured. . . . Announced attendance: 4,227.


MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

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

Medicine Hat at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge 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).


Some Pats fans react to ticket prices … Wheaties complete Alberta sweep … Broncos win battle of unbeaten

Congrats to Wayne Meier, a Pittsburgh Penguins scout who has spent a lot of years in and around WHL arenas. That’s him to the right of the Stanley Cup. Congrats, too, to Colin Alexander, who spent a few years with the Seattle Thunderbirds. He is sixth from the left edge, right behind GM Jim Rutherford.


The Kamloops Blazers lost a forward and added one on Sunday morning. . . . Nic Holowko, 20, has left the Blazers in order to pursue his education at Simon Fraser U, which is located in his hometown of Burnaby, B.C. . . . Holowko had three goals and an assist in seven games this season. In 208 regular-season games, split between the Seattle Thunderbirds, Prince Albert Raiders and Kamloops, he put up 21 goals and 32 assists. . . . The Blazers acquired Holowko from the Raiders last season, for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Holowko’s departure leaves the Blazers with three 20-year-olds. They added D Brady Reagan on Saturday after he was waived by the Calgary Hitmen. He joined D Joe Gatenby and F Nick Chyzowski as the 20s.

Meanwhile, the Blazers acquired F Keltie Jeri-Leon, 17, from the Tri-City Americans for a seventh-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. Last season, the West Kelowna, B.C., native had two goals and an assist in 45 games as a 16-year-old with the Americans. This season, he is pointless in two games. The Americans selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 bantam draft.

The Blazers now are carrying 25 players, including eight defencemen and 15 forwards.


With the WHL’s 20-year-old deadline arriving on Tuesday, here are the teams who were carrying four as of Sunday night:

Medicine Hat Tigers — G Michael Bullion, F Zach Fischer, F Mark Rassell. D Kristians Rubins (Latvia) two-spotter.

Portland Winterhawks — G Cole Kehler, F Alex Overhardt, D Keoni Texeira, F Evan Weinger. (Weinger was scratched last night against visiting Spokane.)

Prince George Cougars — F Aaron Boyd, F Jared Bethune, D Shane Collins, F Brogan O’Brien.

Swift Current Broncos — F Conner Chaulk, G Logan Flodell, F Glenn Gawdin, F Arthur Miller. (Miller was scratched last night in Moose Jaw.)


Some notes courtesy Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) following Saturday games:

Brandon D Kade Jensen had three assists in the Wheat Kings’ 5-2 victory over the host Red Deer Rebels. Last season, he totalled four assists in 32 games with the Wheat Kings, with just one coming after Feb. 1. . . .

F Aleksi Heponiemi had a goal and three assists to help the Swift Current Broncos to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Saturday. It was his fourth straight four-point outing. A sophomore, he d 30 goals and 73 assists in 77 regular-season games after Saturday. . . . Brandow points out that after Saturday games “there have been 542 players participate in a WHL game this season. Of those,408 (75.3 per cent) had yet to record four points.” . . .

Prince Albert F Jordy Stallard had six points, including five assists, in the Raiders’ 6-1 victory over the host Medicine Hat Tigers. The last Prince Albert skater with five assists in a game? F Justin Maylan on Jan. 25, 2012, in a 6-5 loss in Medicine Hat. . . .

Portland beat the host Seattle Thunderbirds, 10-5, marking the first time the Winterhawks had scored in double digits since 2013-14 when they did it three times (10-4 against visiting Seattle on Sept. 28; 10-2 against visiting Seattle on Nov. 12; and 10-3 against the host Tri-City Americans on Feb. 7).


Fans in Regina are learning just what it’s going to cost if they want to attend the outdoor games at Mosaic Stadium on Feb. 17 and 18, and the Memorial Cup in May.

Regarding the outdoor package, which includes a WHL/NHL alumni game and a WHL game between the Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors, there were a few posts on social media like this one from a fan who has two season-tickets:

“From what I can see they’re making you buy both outdoor games . . . for $116.88 each. My 2 tickets would end up being $467.50 for the 2 games.”

Someone else wrote:

“They remember this is junior hockey? I just bought tickets to see the Oliers for less then that on the lower level. That is just crazy!!”

One more:

“Are you kidding me??????? I’m not paying over $400 to go to the game with my 2 season tickets. I’m not paying anywhere near $100 / a ticket to see either of those games. If they were looking for $20 fee for the Pats game for season ticket holders I’d be fine with it.”

There also was this:

“The way I see it, if you don’t like the price then don’t go. Pats fans should be more concerned about the product on the ice than a price of a ticket because right now this team is nowheres near a Memorial Cup contender.”

Meanwhile, a reader of this blog who is from Regina has told me that information he received indicates that the organizing committee behind the Memorial Cup will charge “$1,000 as the approximate” ticket price to take part in all events, meaning all games and the events surrounding the games.

At the same time, a ticket package just for the games will set you back $834.75 if purchased through “the Hockey Junkies offer from the CHL.”

Communication received by the source from the organizing committee reads: “We are wholly aware that the pricing outlined is higher than previous events — however, this pricing is what has been proposed and approved at the CHL level and will be the price point for the event.”

As the source put it:

“I guess the CHL never got the message from Windsor with all the empty seats and figured the way to fix the problem is to raise the prices.”

You may recall that empty seats at the 2017 Memorial Cup tournament in Windsor became something of a story and resulted in writing like this right here, which is from pensionplanpuppets.com:

“I did some math here, and the cheapest adult season-ticket package with the (Windsor) Spitfires costs $425. That’s 34 games, so it breaks down to $12.50 per ticket, great price for anyone who can afford seasons seats.

“The cheapest walk up for the playoffs was $20. That’s average for the OHL, and 20 bucks is what most people would expect for a regular-season game, some of the bigger arenas or popular teams can reach $30, but that’s where most places top out.

“There are limited $50-tickets available, but you need a special promo code to get that discount, so it’s not available to everyone.

So, the cheapest season-tickets are $425. The cheapest full tournament package, for nine games, is $672.35 after tax, or $74.71 per ticket versus $12.50. A jump of 600% for the same seat.”

Do the math, Windsor vs. Regina, and you will find that a Regina package ($834.75) will cost at least $160 more than a Windsor package.

It will be interesting to see if Regina has enough deep-pocketed hockey fans to support these events.


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SUNDAY:

At Calgary, F Baron Thompson scored twice to help the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 5-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Wheat Kings swept three games in Alberta, having won Friday in Edmonton (7-3) and Saturday in Red Deer (5-2). . . . Thompson enjoyed the first two-goal game of his career as he scored his first goals this season. Last season, he had three goals in 47 games. . . . The Wheat Kings scored the game’s first four goals. . . . G Gunnar Wegleitner (3) scored for a third straight game, at 4:31 of the first period. . . . D Kade Jensen (1) made it 2-0 at 10:03, with F Ty Lewis (4) upping it to 3-0 at 11:30. . . . Thompson got his first goal at 2:48 of the second period. . . . F Jakob Stukel (3) got Calgary to within three goals at 6:17 of the third period, but Thompson got that one back just 1:25 later. . . . Calgary F Matteo Gennaro, who has five goals, completed the scoring with a pair, at 18:28 and 19:10, both on the PP. . . . Lewis and D Kale Clague each had two assists for Brandon, with Wegleitner getting one. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from D Jake Bean. . . . Brandon (4-2-1) was 0-3 on the PP; Calgary (1-4-1) was 2-7. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 38 shots for Brandon, including all 20 he faced in the second period. . . . The Hitmen got 20 stops from G Nick Schneider. . . . Announced attendance: Not available.


At Edmonton, F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored twice and added an assist, while newly acquired F Tomas Soustal had three assists as the Oil Kings beat the Everett Silvertips, 5-1. . . . The Oil Kings opened up a 4-0 lead, scoring three times in the first period and once in the third. . . . F Davis Koch (3), Fix-Wolansky and D Conner McDonald (1) provided the home team with a 3-0 lead. . . . Fix-Wolansky (6) upped that to 4-0 at 4:19 of the third period. . . . D Kevin Davis (2) scored for Everett at 8:53, giving him goals in two straight games. . . . F Brett Kemp (2) had Edmonton’s other goal, at 18:32. . . . Soustal, a 20-year-old Czech, was acquired last week from the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Edmonton (3-4-0) was 1-7 on the PP; Everett (3-4-0) was 0-4. . . . G Josh Dechaine earned the victory with 22 stops, seven more than Everett’s Dorrin Luding. . . . The Silvertips are five games into a nine-game road trip that includes six games in the Central Division. They are (2-3-0) on the swing, including (1-1-0) in Alberta. . . . Announced attendance: 5,098.


At Moose Jaw, the Swift Current Broncos won the battle of the Eastern Division unbeaten teams, getting past the Warriors, 4-3. . . . The Broncos broke a 1-1 first-period tie with the only two goals of the second period and took it from there. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi (3) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 4:42 of the first period. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs (5) got Moose Jaw even at 15:22. . . . The Warriors took a 3-1 lead on second-period scores from F Tyler Steenbergen (13), at 2:05, and D Sahvan Khaira (1), at 12:26. . . . F Noah Gregor (3) scored to get Moose Jaw to within one at 3:49, but the Broncos got that one back from F Conner Chaulk (2), at 11:13. . . . The Warriors halved the deficit at 16:18 when D Jett Woo (3) scored. . . . The Broncos got five points from their hot line, as Glenn Gawdin had two assists and Heponiemi added an assist to his goal. Steenbergen had the one goal. . . . The Broncos (6-0-0) were 0-4 on the PP; the Warriors (5-1-0) were 0-5. . . . Swift Current got 31 stops from G Logan Flodell, while Moose Jaw’s Brody Willms turned aside 25 shots. . . . The Warriors lost F Noah Gregor at 12:57 of the third period when he was given a misconduct for a mouthguard violation. . . . Announced attendance: 3,103.


At Kamloops, the Seattle Thunderbirds scored four goals on 15 shots to beat the Blazers, 4-3, handing the home team its eighth straight loss to open the season. . . . The Blazers’ franchise record for most losses to start a season had been six, from 2015-16. Kamloops next plays on Wednesday when it’s at home to the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Seattle (3-2-1) had lost 10-5 to the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Saturday, then rode the bus to Kamloops for this one. It showed in the latter part of the third period as the Thunderbirds’ legs disappeared. . . . When F Jackson Shepard (2) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 5:35 of the first period, it marked the first time this season that Kamloops enjoyed a lead. That lasted 6:07 until Seattle F Noah Philp (2) tied it. . . . The Thunderbirds took at the lead when D Austin Strand (3) scored, on a PP, at 1:52 of the second period. . . . Kamloops F Brodi Stuart (2) tied it at 7:02, only to have Seattle D Reece Harsch (2) scored 52 seconds later. . . . The Blazers tied it again, just 30 seconds later, as F Nick Chyzowski (2) counted. . . . The Thunderbirds got the game’s final goal, and the winner, at 11:32 of the second from F Sami Moilanen (7), on a PP. . . . The visitors got two assists from D Jarret Tyszka, with Strand and Philp adding one each. . . . Seattle was 2-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-5. . . . Seattle G Matt Berlin stopped 32 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Blazers got 11 saves from Max Balaga, a Kamloops native who was making his second start. . . . Palaga is believed to be the first Kamloops native to tend goal for the franchise since Grey Hollomay played five games with the Jr. Oilers in 1981-82. (A tip of the hat to Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV and hockey fan Mitch Williams on that one). . . . Announced attendance: 3,293.


At Portland, F Ryan Hughes and F Skyler McKenzie each scored twice as the Winterhawks skated to a 7-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Winterhawks, who beat the host Seattle Thunderbirds 10-5 on Saturday, have outscored the opposition 36-17 in six games. They now are 5-1-0. . . . Spokane now is 4-3-0. . . . McKenzie, who has seven goals, opened the scoring at 5:09 of the first period and D Keoni Texeira (4) made it 2-0 just 55 seconds later. . . . Spokane F Riley Woods (4) pulled his guys to within one with a goal at 10:50. . . . Portland scored the next five goals, the first four in the second period as it took control. . . . D Conor MacEachern (2) had a goal and two assists for the Winterhawks. Last season, he finished with six points, including one goal, in 52 games. In 2015-16, his freshman season, he had two goals in 46 games. . . . The Winterhawks also got a goal from D Henri Jokiharju (3). . . . F Ty Kolle and F Cody Glass had two assists each for the winners. . . . F Eli Zummack (2) had Spokane’s other goal. . . . Portland was 1-3 on the PP; Spokane was 0-3. . . . G Cole Kehler earned the victory with 22 saves. . . . Spokane starter Donovan Buskey surrendered five goals on 22 shots in 28:56. Dawson Weatherill finished up, stopping 19 of 21 shots in 31:04. . . . Portland lost D Brandon De Jong to a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on Chiefs D Jeff Faith at 9:51 of the second period. Faith eventually returned to finish the game. . . . Announced attendance: 4,495.


MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Everett at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 7 p.m.

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

Vancouver 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).


Ex-WHL scoring champ retires … Winterhawks add to scouting staff … Silvertips sign imports

F Erik Christensen (Kamloops, Brandon, 1999-2004) announced his retirement in an interview with Jesper Lehto of Jönköpings-Posten. Last season, he had 15 goals and six assists in 45 games with HV-71 Jönköping (Sweden, SHL), the SHL champions.


F Erik Christensen, who won the WHL’s 2002-03 scoring title while with the Kamloops Blazers, has retired.

Christensen made it official in an interview with Jesper Lehto, a writer with Jönköpings-Posten.

Christensen, who is from Edmonton, played the past four seasons with HV-71 Jönköping of the SHL. He helped HV-71 to the league championship last season, but wasn’t offered another contract.

Christensen said he didn’t expect a new contract after the season, adding “that’s when I started thinking about retiring.”

“I did not want to start over again,” Christensen told Lehto. “It had meant a lot of stress and pressure, especially for my wife. I have played in five different NHL teams, in Prague and Sweden. Now I’m 33 years old and do not want to move around anymore.”

He also told Lehto that his agent told him there was interest “from Russia,” but “I have no interest in changing countries again, especially not to Russia.”

Christensen played four-plus seasons with the Blazers, before being traded to the Brandon Wheat Kings during the 2003-04 season. In 338 WHL regular-season games, he put up 133 goals and 153 assists.

He was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third round of the NHL’s 2002 draft. He went on to play 387 NHL games, scoring 68 goals and adding 95 assists. He developed quite a reputation as a shootout specialist while in the NHL with the Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild.

Christensen played the past five seasons in Europe, the last three-plus with HV-71. In 171 games in the SHL, he had 50 goals and 66 assists.


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The Portland Winterhawks have added two scouts — one a veteran and the other a newcomer — to their staff. . . . Ray Payne, from North Vancouver, B.C., is a long-time scout who most recently was with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. . . . Randy Heath, from Vancouver, B.C., is a former Portland player, who is second on the franchise’s all-time goals list and eighth in points. . . . Payne worked for the Hitmen for the past six seasons. Prior to that, he scouted in the NHL for the Minnesota North Stars, San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks. For nine seasons, (1996-2006), he was the Sharks’ director of amateur scouting. He also spent one season (1995-96) as Hockey Canada’s director of scouting. . . . Heath, who is from Vancouver, played three seasons (1981-84) with the Winterhawks, totalling 341 points, including 179 goals, in 199 games.


The Everett Silvertips have signed F Martin Fasko-Rudas and F Pavel Azhgirei, their two selections in the CHL’s 2017 import draft. . . . Fasko-Rudas, 17, is from Slovakia. Last season, with the Slovakian U-18 team, which plays in a U-20 league, he had eight goals and seven assists in 31 games. He also had a goal and three assists in two games with HK Dukla Trencin’s U-20 teams. Fasko-Rudas was pointless in four games with Slovakia at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup earlier this month. . . . Azhgirei, also 17, is from Belarus. Last season, he had five goals and five assists in 34 games with the country’s U-17 team and three assists in 13 games with the U-20 side. He helped the U-17 team win the midget AAA Mac’s tournament in Calgary, putting up four goals and six assists in seven games. He scored twice in a 6-1 victory over the Saskatoon Contacts in the championship final.


Three WHL players are on the roster of Finland’s U-20 national team that is scheduled to play in a Four Nations tournament in Lahti, Finland, next week. . . . Juuso Valimaki of the Tri-City Americans is one of seven defencemen on the team, while Sami Moilanen (Seattle Thunderbirds) and Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current Broncos) are among the 13 forwards listed on the roster. . . . Teams from Czech Republic, Russia and Sweden also will take part in the three-day (Aug. 24-26) event.


G Rylan Parenteau, who played out his junior eligibility last season with the Tri-City Americans, has decided to attend the U of New Brunswick and play for the Varsity Reds. Parenteau, who is from Saskatoon, also played with the Prince Albert Raiders, who selected him in the third round of the 2011 bantam draft. He played two full seasons (2014-16) with the Raiders, then was dealt to the Americans early last season. In 145 regular-season appearances, he was 69-52-10, 3.10, .904.


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).


If you’re looking for a wonderfully interesting book, you can’t go wrong with The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, and the Making of a Classic.

Author Richard Sandomir, who writes for The New York Times, chronicles the last days of Gehrig’s career with the Yankees and all that went into making the movie that followed his death.

Gehrig had played in 2,130 consecutive games when he took himself out of the Yankees’ lineup on May 2, 1939. Two months later, on July 4, he made his famous speech about being the “luckiest man on the face of the earth.” He died on June 2, 1941, a victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that came be known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The Pride of the Yankees had its big screen debut on March 5, 1943.

Sandomir details the search for actors to play Gehrig and his wife, Eleanor, as well as a whole lot of interesting anecdotes from goings-on behind the scene.

Interestingly, Samuel Goldwyn, who headed up the Samuel Goldwyn Company, wasn’t a baseballer; he wanted a love story. Gary Cooper, who plays Gehrig, wasn’t a baseballer, either; in fact, he hadn’t even played as a child. On top of that, Cooper was right-handed, while Gehrig was a southpaw.

In preparation for filming, Cooper took a lot of instruction from former major leaguer Lefty O’Doul in learning to hit left-handed. At the time, O’Doul was managing the Pacific Coast League’s San Francisco Seals.

If you have seen the movie, you will know that there aren’t many baseball-playing scenes in the movie. Now you know why.

It is interesting to read about the dramatic changes made by Goldwyn, director Sam Wood and the various writers who worked on the script.

For example, on July 4, 1939, the famous line — “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” — was the second sentence in Gehrig’s short speech as he addressed fans at Yankee Stadium. In the movie, though, that line is moved to the end of the speech, purely for dramatic effect.

The movie’s makers also took it upon themselves to shorten Gehrig’s career from 17 seasons to 16.

And while her name doesn’t appear in the book’s title, Gehrig’s widow, Eleanor, played an enormous role in getting the movie made. Played by Teresa Wright in the movie — Wright would garner an Academy Award nomination — Eleanor fought hard in order that her husband’s story be told in a fair and proper fashion. This book also is her story.

Today, more than 70 years after its release, the movie is considered a classic, and Sandomir does a fine job in telling the story of how it came to be.