Banged-up Warriors drop host Broncos … Ferguson gets real taste of NHL … Rassell hat trick sparks Tigers

F Adam Řehák (Medicine Hat, 2011-12) has been released by Invicta Dynamos Gillingham (England, English National Division 1) by mutual agreement. He had six goals and two assists in eight games.

The Moose Jaw Warriors are a bit banged up — they scratched seven skaters from Tuesday night’s game against the host Swift Current Broncos.

That’s why the Warriors brought in D Daemon Hunt, 15, D Matthew Sanders, 16, and D Drae Gardiner, 16.

Hunt, from Brandon, was a first-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He had one assist in two earlier games with the Warriors. Hunt has 12 assists in 11 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings.

Sanders and Gardiner are from Calgary and play for the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. Sanders, a fifth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft, has one goal and eight assists in 14 games. Gardiner, an eighth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, has a goal and six assists in 13 games.

Hunt and Gardiner were in Moose Jaw’s lineup last night in Swift Current, while Sanders was a healthy scratch.

The Warriors are missing four defencemen. They have been playing without Josh Brook and Dmitri Zaitsev, then lost Jett Woo and Matthew Benson to undisclosed injuries during a 3-1 victory over the visiting Regina Pats on Sunday.

Brook and Woo are out week-to-week, with Zaitsev listed as day-to-day, and Benson as TBD.

With the three additions, the Warriors now have 11 defencemen on their roster.

With F Kirby Dach having returned from the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, the Saskatoon Blades have sent F Logan Doust, 16, back to the major midget Vancouver-Northwest Giants. . . . Doust, a ninth-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, was pointless in three games with the Blades.

Meanwhile, the Blades will be without D Seth Bafaro for their next three games as he completes a four-game WHL suspension. With him out of the lineup, they will keep D Randen Schmidt, 17, on their roster until Bafaro is eligible to return. Things will be re-evaluated at that point. Schmidt was brought in from the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians.

The Kamloops Blazers are likely to be without G Dylan Ferguson again tonight as they play host to the Prince George Cougars.

Ferguson became the fifth goaltender to play for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights this NHL season as he entered in the third period of an 8-2 loss to the host Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.

Ferguson left Kamloops on Oct. 30 to join the Golden Knights under the emergency recall rule. The Golden Knights have three goaltenders, including starter Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion), on the injured list.

When last night’s game started, Ferguson was on the bench backing up Maxime Lagace again. That marked Ferguson’s seventh game as the Golden Knights’ No. 2 goaltender.

Ferguson, 19, replaced Lagace with the Oilers holding a 7-2 lead in the third period. Ferguson stopped one of two shots in 9:14, giving up a PP goal to F Mark Letestu at 15:38.

Vegas next is scheduled to play on Thursday against the host Vancouver Canucks. Ferguson is from Lantzville, which is on Vancouver Island.

The Blazers start a stretch of three games in four nights tonight. They are scheduled to entertain the Vancouver Giants on Friday night and the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday.

With Ferguson gone, the Blazers have been using freshman Max Palaga, a 17-year-old native of Kamloops, and Dylan Garand, 15, who plays at the Delta Hockey Academy.

The Blazers (7-12-0) are 3-1-0 since Ferguson left to join the Golden Knights.

The junior B Surrey Knights of the Pacific Junior Hockey League haven’t won a game in two years. It all adds up to an 84-game losing streak. . . . David Ebner of The Globe and Mail takes a look right here at how things got to this state.

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!

D Trevor Longo, who was released by the Medicine Hat Tigers, has joined the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Longo, from North Vancouver, B.C., was a sixth-round pick by the Tigers in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. This season, he was pointless in four games with the Tigers. . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have dropped F Jayden Davis from their roster, and he has returned to the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. Davis, who turned 18 on Tuesday, is from Alameda, Sask. He had one goal in 11 games with the Hurricanes. Last season, he had five goals and 16 assists in 45 games with the Bruins.


At Brandon, F Ty Lewis scored 27 seconds into OT to give the Wheat Kings a 6-5 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Brandon (12-6-1) has won three in a row. . . . Calgary (6-11-3) has lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . This was the first of four games in five nights for the Hitmen. . . . The Wheat Kings scored the game’s last three goals as they never once held the lead before Lewis scored his 10th goal of the season. . . . Calgary held a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from F Jakob Stukel, at 4:54 of the first period, and D Jake Bean (3), at 6:25 of the second. . . . Brandon pulled even on second-period scores by F Baron Thompson (4), at 7:12, and F Stelio Mattheos, at 10:56. . . . The Hitmen went back out front by two as F Tristen Nielsen scored at 2:49 of the third period and Stukel (10) got his second, at 3:53. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (4) scored shorthanded, at 5:59, as the Wheat Kings crawled back to within a goal. . . . But the Hitmen went back out front by two as Nielsen (6) scored, at 8:01. . . . Mattheos (13) cut the deficit to one at 12:07, and F Linden McCorrister (6) forced OT with a PP goal, at 18:31. . . . D Kale Clague had four assists for Brandon; he was in on two of the last three goals. . . . McCorrister added two assists, with Lewis, Gutenberg and Thompson adding one each. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from D Vladislav Yeryomenko. . . . Brandon was 1-2 on the PP; Calgary was 0-4. . . . G Logan Thompson earned the victory with 32 stops, 15 more than Calgary’s Nick Schneider. . . . Announced attendance: 3,443.

At Swift Current, F Jayden Halbgewachs scored three times and added two assists to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 7-4 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Warriors (16-4-0) have won six in a row and nine of 10. They are riding high atop the WHL’s overall standings. They also lead the second-place Broncos by five points in the East Division. The Broncos hold two games in hand. . . . The Broncos (13-4-1) had won their previous three games. . . . Moose Jaw, which scratched seven skaters, was 4-6 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-2. . . . F Logan Foster (2) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the first period. . . . F Barrett Sheen (3), acquired Monday from the Kootenay Ice, pulled his new club even at 6:36. . . . The Warriors went ahead at 10:25 on a PP score by F Noah Gregor (10). . . . The Broncos tied it at 11:13 on a goal from F Tyler Steenbergen. . . . The Warriors took a two-goal lead on PP goals from Halbgewachs, at 17:50 of the first, and F Justin Almedia, at 0:12 of the second period. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi (15) got the Broncos to within a goal, on a PP, at 4:04, but Almeida (11) got that one back at 12:47. . . . Steenbergen got his WHL-leading 28th goal at 19:25. . . . The Warriors put it away on two third-period goals from Halbgewachs, the first on a PP at 8:33 and the second at 16:22. . . . Almeida also had two assists, as did F Tanner Jeannot. F Brayden Burke had four assists for Moose Jaw, and Gregor had one. . . . Almeida has 11 goals in 20 games this season. Last season, he totalled 11 goals in 70 games — he had four goals in 37 games with the Prince George Cougars, then added seven in 33 games after being dealt to Moose Jaw. . . . F Glenn Gawdin had two assists for the Broncos, with Steenbergen and Heponiemi each getting one. That meant that the Broncos’ hot line totalled seven points. . . . Steenbergen leads the WHL scoring race with 49 points, one more than Heponiemi and nine more than Gawdin. . . . The Warriors got 23 saves from G Brody Willms. At the other end, Logan Flodell stopped 34 shots. . . . D Artyom Minulin was among the Broncos’ scratches. . . . The Warriors scratched D Jett Woo, D Josh Brook, F Tyler Smithies, F Brecon Wood, F Brett Howden, who missed his third straight game, D Matthew Benson and D Dmitri Zaitsev. . . . Announced attendance: 2,129.

At Medicine Hat, F Mark Rassell scored three times to lead the Tigers to a 4-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Tigers (12-6-0) have won five in a row. . . . The Ice (8-12-1) has lost four straight. . . . The Ice was playing its first game since it traded away D Cale Fleury, the team captain, and veteran F Barrett Sheen on Monday. F Cole Muir, who was acquired from the Regina Pats in the Fleury deal, was in the Ice’s lineup, but D Jonathan Smart wasn’t. . . . Medicine Hat took a 3-0 lead on a first-period goal from F Ryan Jevne (5), at 11:20, and two from Rassell, at 13:52 and 16:54, the latter on a penalty shot. . . . F Sebastian Streu (2) scored the Ice’s goal at 19:57. . . . Rassell, who has 20 goals, completed his first hat trick of this season, and the second of his career, at 13:01 of the third period. He now has eight goals in his past four games. . . . The Tigers were 0-2 on the PP; the Ice was 0-1. . . . G Jordan Hollett earned the victory with 30 saves. . . . G Duncan McGovern, acquired by the Ice from the Tigers on Oct. 23, started for Kootenay and made 24 saves. . . . In each of its last three games, the Tigers have faced a goaltender who used to play for them. On the weekend, they twice beat G Nick Schneider and the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Tigers scratched F James Hamblin (knee) for a second straight game. . . . The Ice remains without veteran forwards Jeff de Wit and Colton Kroeker. . . . Announced attendance: 3,058.

At Kelowna, the Rockets scored twice in the game’s first five minutes en route to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Kelowna (11-6-3) has won three in a row and now trails the B.C. Division-leading Victoria Royals by four points. Kelowna has two games in hand. . . . The Oil Kings (5-13-2) have lost seven straight. . . . Edm is 0-3-0 on a swing through the B.C. Division that will wrap up with a doubleheader in Prince George on Friday and Saturday. When the trip ends, the Oil Kings will have played five games in four B.C. Division cities, missing only Kamloops. But they will have driven through Kamloops twice. . . . F Dillon Dube scored 25 seconds into the first period and F Kyle Topping (8) made it 2-0 at 4:22. . . . The Oil Kings got to within a goal at 10:49 when F Trey Fix-Wolansky (9) counted. . . . Dube (10) got that one back at 12:59. . . . F Davis Koch (8) scored for the visitors at 8:21 of the second period. . . . The Rockets put it away on two third-period goals from F Carsen Twarynski, at 0:18 and 19:18, the latter into an empty net. . . . The Rockets got two assists from F Liam Kindree, who has a goal and six assists over his past four games. Dube and Twarynski each added an assist. . . . Fix-Wolansky and Koch each had an assist for the visitors. . . . Kelowna was 0-2 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-5. . . . G James Porter stopped 21 shots for Kelowna. With G Brodan Salmond (knee) out for up to six weeks, the Rockets had Roman Basran backing up for this one. He plays for the major midget Okanagan Rockets, who play out of Kelowna. Basran, 16, was a third-round pick by Kelowna in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . G Travis Child stopped 24 shots for Edmonton. . . . The game marked a return to Kelowna for F Tomas Soustal, who was dealt to the Oil Kings on Oct. 3. He had one assist. . . . Announced attendance: 4,326.

At Kent, Wash., the Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 6-4. . . . The Raiders (9-7-3) are 2-1-0 on a six-game road trip. This was the start of a stretch of four games in five nights in four different cities. . . . The Thunderbirds (9-8-2) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The game featured five goals on special teams, three of them shorties, two of those by the Raiders. . . . F Spencer Moe (4) put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 5:11 of the first period. . . . D Austin Strand tied it, on a PP, at 8:27. He’s got 10 goals this season, nine of them on the PP. . . . The Raiders took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Brett Season (3), shorthanded, at 9:31, and F Parker Kelly (11), at 12:00. . . . Seattle scored the next three goals to take a 4-3 lead. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (8) scored, on a PP, at 14:53. D Turner Ottenbreit got his fourth goal while shorthanded, at 0:40 of the second period. . . . D Jarret Tyszka (1) broke the 3-3 tie at 14:14. . . . F Curtis Miske got Prince Albert back into a tie 16 seconds into the third period. . . . F Jordy Stallard (15) broke the tie at 14:48. . . . Miske (6) iced it with a shorthanded empty-netter at 19:25. . . . Stallard, who also had an assist, is riding a 12-game point streak. He’s got 22 points, including 12 goals, over that stretch. . . . Stallard has his 15 goals in 19 games. Last season, he totalled 14 goals in 40 games. He had eight goals in 32 games with the Calgary Hitmen, then added six goals in eight games after being dealt to the Raiders. A shoulder injury shortened his season. . . . Miske and Leason added an assist each. . . . F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan each had two assists for Seattle. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-8 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-4. . . . In their last two games, the Raiders have allowed seven PP goals on 20 opportunities. Six of those PP goals have come on 5-on-3s. . . . Each of the goaltenders — Prince Albert’s Ian Scott and Seattle’s Matt Berlin — stopped 26 shots. . . . Seattle F Donovan Neuls left in the second period after apparently suffering a cut to one hand when he was slashed. He returned in the third period but was having problems holding his stick. . . . F Sami Moilanen was among Seattle’s scratches. He didn’t finish Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Announced attendance: 4,526.

At Victoria, G Riley Lamb stopped 28 shots in his first start of the season and his Red Deer Rebels scored a 5-3 victory over the Royals. . . . Red Deer (9-11-1) had lost is previous six games (0-5-1). . . . Victoria (14-7-1) has lost two in a row and now is 8-2-1 at home. . . . Lamb suffered a broken thumb in training camp. He made his first appearance this season on Saturday when he came on in relief during a 5-2 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Last night, the Rebels got off to a 2-0 lead on second-period goals from F Austin Pratt (6), at 3:02, and F Kristian Reichel (8), at 4:38. . . . The Royals then took a 3-2 lead, getting goals from F Matthew Phillips (16), at 10:13 of the second, F Jared Legien (9), at 2:04 of the third period, and F Regan Nagy (17), on a PP, at 5:15. . . . Red Deer won it with three goals in 6:55. . . . F Mason McCarty (11) tied the score at 12:18, and F Reese Johnson (6) broke the tie, at 14:52. . . . F Lane Zablocki (7) got the empty-netter, at 19:13. . . . D Alex Alexeyev, McCarty and Pratt each had two assists for the winners. . . . Red Deer was 0-2 on the PP; Victoria was 1-5. . . . The Royals got 25 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . The Rebels are 1-4-0 on a seven-game trek that actually began in Regina and will continue in Vancouver on Wednesday and end in Cranbrook on Friday. . . . Announced attendance: 4,337.

WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Regina, 7 p.m.

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

Red Deer vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.

Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

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

Four games cut from WHL sked … Blazers, Ferguson searching for answers … Outdoor game confirmed

The WHL’s board of governors caught observers by surprise on Thursday when it was announced that they voted Wednesday at a meeting in Calgary to knock four games off the regular-season schedule starting next season.

WHL teams have played a 72-game schedule since 1975-76.

The move will reduce each team’s schedule to 68 games, the same as in the OHL and QMJHL.

From a WHL news release: “Playing four less games during the regular season will serve to reduce travel and balance the schedule while providing more time for players to focus on training and skill development, as well as their academic studies.”

The WHL has yet to reveal how it plans on using this move to help it “balance the schedule.”

I would suggest that most, if not all, of the dropped games would have been scheduled during the week. Hopefully a 68-game schedule will mean fewer situations in which teams have to play four games in five nights or three in fewer than 48 hours on weekends.

Hopefully, too, this will mean the end of Ron Robison, the commissioner of the WHL, telling us that the sky is falling.

Ever since a class-action lawsuit was filed against the WHL asking that its Canadian teams be forced to pay minimum wage to its players, Robison has been telling people that as many as one-third of the 22 franchises will fold should the league lose in court.

Most recently, he delivered that message to people at the Moose Jaw Warriors’ annual general meeting in September.

In June, Robison issued a statement that read, in part: “If WHL clubs were required to provide minimum wage, in addition to the benefits the players currently receive, the majority of our teams would not be in a position to continue operating.”

The majority, of course, would be more than 11 teams, so at least he has backed off a bit of late.

However, Robison has yet to provide any evidence publicly that would back up his claim, and I would suggest there isn’t any evidence to suggest that teams would fold.

Until now, when discussion turned to a potential shortening of the regular season, the No. 1 reason provided for it not being viable was a reluctance by owners to give up gates; they simply couldn’t afford to lose the revenues from those two home games.

It would seem that is no longer the case.

Look, major junior hockey, especially in the WHL, is too big a business for owners to be walking away from it over something like having to pay minimum wage to its employees, er, student athletes.

If things were looking that gloomy, why would Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell purchase the Kootenay Ice from the Chynoweth family last spring for what is believed to be about Cdn$7 million?

If the sky really is falling, why would brothers Dan and Lindsey Lickelt agree to purchase the Seattle Thunderbirds, the reigning WHL champions? I have no idea what the purchase price might me, but someone familiar with things at the ownership level has suggested to me that it might be between US$11 million and $12 million. (At Thursday’s exchange rate, that would be between Cdn$13.8 million and $15 million.)

Meanwhile, there are four community-owned teams in the WHL, each of which holds an annual general meeting and makes its profit/loss statement public.

The Prince Albert Raiders, who didn’t make the playoffs last season, lost $250,849 in 2016-17, which is approximately what they made the previous season. They generated more than $122,181 in revenue by making the playoffs in 2015-16.

Last month, the Moose Jaw Warriors announced a loss of $463,566 for 2016-17, but that included the $200,000 they paid as part of a pledge they made that helped Mosaic Place get built. The Warriors also put $531,197 into Mosaic Place upgrades, mostly in the areas of sound and lighting. Shareholders were told that the franchise’s bank balance is $1,081,545.01.

Meanwhile, the Lethbridge Hurricanes turned a profit of $737,710 in 2016-17. After the 2014-15 season, the Hurricanes were more than $700,000 in debt, a figure that was reduced by about $300,000 going into last season. Now, as this season begins, they have more than $320,000 in the bank.

The Swift Current Broncos, the fourth community-owned team, reported a profit of $135,922 for the 2016-17 season. That was helped along by six home playoff games.

The Broncos showed a profit of $133,465 for 2014-15 and $140,000 for 2015-16.

Keep in mind, too, that WHL teams share in revenues from events like the World Junior Championship and the Memorial Cup, when the latter is held in a western city. In 2015-16, the Broncos turned a $90,000 deficit into a $140,000 profit due to revenues from the Memorial Cup and the women’s world curling championship, which was held in Swift Current.

Still, if it is possible for community-owned teams to do this kind of business, why would anyone bail, even if there comes a day when they have to pay minimum wage?

If it is possible for community-owned teams to do this kind of business, you have to wonder what’s going on with the privately owned teams.

The Kamloops Blazers appear to have been in violation of the WHL’s rule regarding the post-game availability of players to the media following a 6-2 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night.

After the game, goaltending coach Dan De Palma informed the media that G Dylan Ferguson, 19, wasn’t going to be made available. Ferguson, in his first season as the Blazers’ starter allowed six goals on 22 shots and was lifted at 8:26 of the second period.

According to the WHL’s media policy:

“All players requested for post-game interviews must be available . . . within 15 minutes following leaving the ice at the conclusion of the game. Should a player be injured or receiving medical treatment following the game, he will not be required to participate in the interview.”

Ferguson wasn’t injured during the game, other than his pride, that is.

Ferguson’s woes — he is 0-5-0, 6.54, .828 in 248 minutes — are representative of what the Blazers are experiencing early in this season. At 0-6-0, they have equalled the poorest start in franchise history, that from 2015-16.

You can bet that Ferguson is feeling a lot of internal pressure, especially after so many positive things happened in his life this summer.

After spending his first two WHL seasons as a backup, he was selected by the Dallas Stars in the NHL’s 2017 draft and almost immediately dealt to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. Ferguson attended their development camp, their rookie camp and their main camp. Before returning to Kamloops, he signed a three-year entry-level contract calling for base salaries of US$650,000, $650,000 and $700,000, a minor-league salary of $60,000, and three annual $50,000 signing bonuses.

But now things have gone south and you can bet his head is spinning. But he’s young and he’ll snap out of this slump. Of course, he’ll have help, too. De Palma, in his 10th season with the Blazers, is one of the game’s best-kept secrets when it comes to coaching goaltenders. As well, head coach Don Hay knows his way around the game.

But the slow start isn’t all Ferguson. His teammates weren’t good against the Cougars, who, despite having been on the road for a week, had more energy and won all the one-on-one battles when it mattered.

It isn’t going to get any easier for the Blazers, either, as the Victoria Royals are in Kamloops tonight. The Royals are 5-0-0 and coming off an eye-popping 8-3 victory over the host Kelowna Royals on Wednesday night.

Oh, and did we mention that the Royals are expected to welcome back two key veterans — F Tyler Soy and D Chaz Reddekopp — in time for tonight’s game.

The rich get richer and all that.

A news conference is to be held in Regina today at which details of an outdoor game — Moose Jaw Warriors vs. the Pats, Feb. 18, at 33,350-seat Mosaic Stadium — will be announced. . . . This confirms what Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet reported on Sept. 21, although the sentence that he wrote on the game later disappeared from his piece. . . . Greg Harder of The Leader-Post reported Thursday evening that “according to sources, the WHL contest will be just one element in a larger weekend extravaganza that also includes an NHL/WHL alumni game at the stadium.” . . . Harder also reported: “The Pats originally proposed an outdoor game as part of their Memorial Cup bid. Although the Canadian Hockey League declined to consider the game in its final selection process, the Pats moved forward with their plans for an outdoor game as part of the centennial celebration.” . . . The Pats will be the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup. . . . WHL teams have played in two outdoor games. The Pats beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 3-2, before 20,888 fans at McMahon Stadium on Feb. 21, 2011. That is the CHL’s single-game attendance record. . . . On Jan. 15, 2011, the host Spokane Chiefs beat the Kootenay Ice, 11-2, in front of 7,075 fans at Avista Stadium, the home of baseball’s Spokane Indians.

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees announced Thursday that they have received a commitment from F Cole Shepard for next season. Shepard, 15, is from West Vancouver and attends the Delta Hockey Academy. Last season, he had 19 goals and 28 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team. This season, he has 10 points, three of them goals, in seven games with the varsity squad. . . . He was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the second round of the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He is the younger brother of F Jackson Shepard, who plays for the Kamloops Blazers.

The Prince George Cougars have released D Peter Kope, 18, from their roster. A fifth-round selection in the 2014 WHL bantam draft, he didn’t get into any of their first five regular-season games. Hope is expected to join the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . The Cougars now are carrying 26 players, including three goaltenders and 15 forwards.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes juggled their goaltending in behind starter Stuart Skinner on Thursday, dropping Adam Swan, 17, from their roster and bringing in Reece Klassen, 18. Swan, from Ashern, Man., was an 11th-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. Swan, who didn’t get into a regular-season game, will join the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. . . . Klassen, who is from Cloverdale, B.C., was with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. In five games there, he was 2-2-0, 2.67, .920.

The Moose Jaw Warriors have added D Daemon Hunt, a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, to their roster for this weekend’s games.  Hunt, 15, has two assists in two games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. He is from Brandon. . . . The Warriors have three defencemen — Josh Brook, Chase Hartje and Colin Paradis — on the injured list. Only Hartje is day-to-day.

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!


No Games Scheduled.

FRIDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Everett at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

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

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

Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

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

A twist to MacPherson mystery … Ice top pick day-to-day after hit … Veteran goalie with Rockets

F David Švagrovský (Seattle, 2002-04) has retired. Last season, he had seven goals and seven assists, with Litoměřice (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). He was the team captain. . . . Švagrovský will be a scout for player agent Martin Podlešák (Tri-City, Lethbridge, 2000-02). . . .

F Marek Kalus (Spokane, Brandon, 2010-13) has been assigned on loan to Havířov (Czech Republic, 1. Liga) by Vítkovice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had 12 goals and 13 assists in 41 games with Havířov. He signed with Vítkovice on May 3.

You may be familiar with the story of former Saskatoon Blades D Duncan MacPherson, who disappeared in the Austrian Alps in 1989. Perhaps you have read the book that was written by John Leake — Cold a Long Time: An Alpine Mystery.

On Monday, Leake took to Facebook:

“A few years ago I wrote a book about the mysterious death of Duncan MacPherson — a pro hockey player who vanished in the Austrian Alps in 1989 and whose body was found 14 years later. The German translation of my book was briefly a best-seller in Austria, but it didn’t prompt a reopening of the case, which involved extensive malfeasance on the part of Innsbruck authorities.

“A few weeks ago I was contacted by an independent investigator in Germany who offered an additional and profound insight into how exactly Duncan MacPherson died — an insight that confirmed my worst suspicions. The same investigator also pointed out that my initial conception of the crime — negligent homicide and concealment of the body in order to evade prosecution — may be inaccurate.

“The circumstances and cause of Duncan MacPherson’s death strongly suggest that he was deprived of emergency medical attention, which amounts to murder.

“I recently updated my website on the story in order to reflect these new insights. People interested in true mysteries and forensics may find it compelling though somewhat grisly. For an introduction to the story, be sure to watch the book trailer, narrated by the late Bill Paxton.”

Leake’s website is at

Later, in response to a query, Leake added:

“(The investigator) offered a more specific and accurate understanding of the cause of tool marks I had already observed in a photograph of the deceased. He was able to link conclusively these tool marks to a specific part of the machine that amputated Duncan MacPherson’s left leg above the knee.

“Innsbruck authorities have long maintained the fiction that Duncan died as a result of snowboarding out of bounds and falling into a glacier crevasse.

“The same authorities have chosen to ignore an abundance of evidence that Duncan died as a result of injuries he sustained from a snow grooming machine. The recent insight to which I referred in this post demonstrates a specific cause of Duncan’s limb amputations, which did not receive medical attention from the official rescue service.”

It could be that we have not yet heard the end of this story. Perhaps the end will come with the truth.

If you haven’t yet read the book, find a copy and dig in to it. On more than one occasion, it will cause you to give pause and shake your head.

F Connor McLennon was selected by the Kootenay Ice with the second overall pick of the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.

Brad McLeod of the Cranbrook Townsman later tweeted that “McClennon was on the receiving end of a large hit in the team’s first prospect vs. prospect intrasquad game at Kootenay Ice training camp.

“We’re keeping him out on (a) precautionary (basis),” head coach James Patrick told McLeod. “I know that he’s much improved but for a young player we’re certainly going to be a little cautious with him (and) make sure he’s 100 per cent before he comes back.”

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

G Cody Porter, a veteran of three WHL seasons, is in camp with the Kelowna Rockets. Porter, who is from North Vancouver, B.C., will turn 20 on Sept. 23. He played 40 games with the Vancouver Giants in 2014-15, then split 2015-16 between the Giants (two games) and Calgary Hitmen (41). Last season, he got into 34 games with the Hitmen, going 14-16-3, 3.46, .888. . . . In 117 regular-season games, he is 52-42-9, 3.30, .887. . . . In Calgary, the Hitmen are expected to go with Nick Schneider, 20, as their starter. . . . In Kelowna, the Rockets are looking to replace Michael Herringer, who played out his eligibility last season. Also in camp is Brodan Salmond, who went 12-7-2, 2.76, .891 as Herringer’s backup last season. Salmon will turn 19 on Oct. 8.

F Justin Sigrist scored three times on Monday to help Team Orange to a 5-2 victory over Team Grey in a scrimmage during the Kamloops Blazers’ training camp. . . . Sigrist, from Switzerland, was selected by the Blazers in the CHL’s 2017 import draft. They plan on having Czech D Ondrej Vala as their second import as he returns for a third season. Vala has signed a three-year free-agent deal with the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . The Blazers will play their annual intrasquad game on Tuesday night at the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre. . . . Kamloops trimmed its roster to 41 players after Monday’s scrimmages.

If you’re looking for information on WHL teams and their training camp rosters, visit Small Thoughts At Large, the blog maintained by Alan Caldwell. . . . You will find it all right here.

The Victoria Royals have signed F Igor Martynov, who is from Krasnoye, Belarus, and was selected in the CHL’s 2017 import draft. . . . Martynov, 18, split last season between Belarus’s U-18 and U-20 teams. He had four goals and seven assists in 20 games with the U-20 side, and three goals and three assists in six games with the U-18 team. . . . He led Belarus in scoring at the IIHF U-18 World Championship, putting up seven points, including three goals, in seven games. . . . Martynov also played for Belarus in the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I, Group A). He had two assists in five games as Belarus went 4-0-1 to earn promotion to the 2018 WJC in Buffalo.

The Royals also announced the signings of F Ty Yoder and D Noah Lamb, both of whom were selected in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Yoder, from Camrose, Alta., had 31 goals and 35 assists in 28 games with the bantam AAA Camrose Red Wings last season. . . . Lamb, who also is from Camrose and played for the bantam AAA Red Wings, had five goals and 27 assists in 31 games last season.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Drew Englot, who won’t turn 15 until Nov. 26, and F Jacob Boucher, 15, to WHL contracts. . . . Englot, from Candiac, Sask., was a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. He played last season with the bantam AAA Notre Dame Hounds, in Wilcox, Sask., recording four goals and 10 assists in 30 games. He was pointless in six games with the SJHL’s Hounds. Englot will play this season with the midget AAA Hounds. . . . Boucher, from St. Albert, Alta., was a ninth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he had 19 goals and 24 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. He added a goal and four assists in 14 playoff games as the Rangers won the Alberta Bantam Hockey League title.

The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Adam Beckman, who was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Beckman, 16, is from Saskatoon. He is in the Chiefs’ training camp this week. . . . Last season, he had 15 goals and 26 assists in 44 games with the midget AAA Battlefords Stars. In 2015-16, he put up 29 goals and 14 assists in 30 games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Frostbite.

The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed D Daemon Hunt, who was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Hunt, from Brandon, has played the past two seasons with the bantam AAA Wheat Kings. In 2015-16, he had five goals and 29 assists in 32 games. Last season, he finished with 22 goals and 38 assists in 36 games.

By my count, there are four first-round selections from the 2017 bantam draft who have yet to sign — F Ridly Greig, Brandon Wheat KIngs; D Joel Sexsmith, Swift Current Broncos; F Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks; and D Ronan Seeley, Everett Silvertips.

The Warriors also signed G Ethan Fitzgerald, who was a sixth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft, and G Jackson Berry, who was a sixth-round pick in 2017. . . . From Calgary, Fitzgerald, 16, played last season with the minor midget NWCAA Stampeders, going 8-8-2, 3.06, .921 in 18 regular-season games. . . . Berry, 15, is from Chestermere, Alta. Last season, he was 11-6-3, 2.07, .921 in 20 games with the bantam AAA Rocky Mountain Raiders.

The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks have juggled some responsibilities involving Troy Mick, who had been the president and general manager, and Scott Atkinson, the head coach. . . . These moves were made necessary by the growth of the Salmon Arm Sports Inc., which now owns the Silverbacks, the RMJHL’s Steamboat Wranglers, the Salmon Arm Elite Hockey and Power Skating School, and the Maximum Edge hockey shop. . . . Mick now is president and general manager business operations, and will oversee all four businesses. . . . Atkinson is the general manager, director of player personnel and head coach. He will be responsible for all hockey operations pertaining to players, scouts, transactions and camps.

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