Ferguson wins in return to Kamloops … That’s 30 for Steenbergen … Americans still unbeaten at home

The Kamloops Blazers had G Dylan Ferguson back with them on Friday night when they met the visiting Vancouver Giants.

Ferguson had been with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights since being called up under emergency recall rules on Oct. 30.

Ferguson, 19, was a seventh-round selection by the Dallas Stars in the NHL’s 2017 draft, but then was traded to the Golden Knights, along with a 2020 second-round draft pick, in a deal that had veteran D Marc Methot go the other way.

Ferguson attended the Golden Knights’ development, rookie and main camps, then signed a three-year entry-level deal before returning to the Blazers for the start of the WHL season.

He ended up leaving for Vegas on Oct. 30 after the Golden Knights had three goaltenders go down with injury. He returned to Kamloops on Friday afternoon as the Golden Knights took G Malcolm Subban off the injured list.

While with Vegas, Ferguson backed up Maxime Lagace for eight games, with seven of those on the road. Ferguson, who is from Lantzville, B.C., made his NHL debut on Tuesday in the third period of an 8-2 loss to the host Edmonton Oilers. He gave up one goal on two shots in 9:14 of play.

The Golden Knights were 3-4-1 in the eight games in which Ferguson was on their roster.

Last night, Ferguson stopped 23 shots as the Blazers beat the Giants, 6-2. Chances are good that he’ll get the start again tonight, this time against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.


So here’s what happened in regards to the delay-of-game situations that I wrote about here following a game between the visiting Prince George Cougars and the Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday night.

You may recall that Bryan Bourdon, one of the two referees, signalled a delay-of-game minor to Kamloops goaltender Dylan Garand at 8:55 of the third period with his club trailing 4-3.

But there was a meeting of the officiating minds at the penalty box and the call was rescinded.

Then, at 15:16, Nick Panter, the other referee, gave G Tavin Grant of the Cougars a minor for delay of game. This one wasn’t rescinded.

I have it on good authority from a WHL insider that this is what happened:

Panter had given Grant a verbal warning about freezing the puck in a non-pressure situation earlier in the third period. So when Bourdon hit Garand with the delay of game, Panter suggested that because he had given a warning at one end perhaps Garand should be given a warning. That is exactly what was done as the minor was rescinded.

Because Panter had issued a warning to Grant early in the period, the official felt obliged to issue a delay-of-game penalty later when he felt the occasion warranted it.


The Everett Silvertips are down to two goaltenders after releasing Dorrin Luding, 18, on Friday. Luding, who is from Prince George, was a third-round selection by the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. Everett acquired him from the Blades on Dec. 5, giving up a sixth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft in the exchange. . . . This season, Luding was 3-6-1, 3.64, .891 in 11 appearances with Everett. . . . The move leaves the Silvertips with veteran Carter Hart, 19, and freshman Dustin Wolf, 16, as their goaltenders.


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FRIDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Brayden Burke had three assists, including the 200th of his WHL career, as the Warriors dumped the Calgary Hitmen, 5-2. . . . Moose Jaw improved to 17-5-0. . . . The Hitmen (6-13-3) have lost five in a row (0-3-2). . . . Burke, who came over from the Lethbridge Hurricanes last season, has 62 goals and 200 assists in 199 regular-season games — three with the Red Deer Rebels, 128 with Lethbridge and 68 with Moose Jaw. . . . F Tate Popple of the Warriors opened the scoring at 7:56 of the first period. That was his first WHL goal and ties him with his father, Lavern, who scored once in 18 games over three seasons (1977-80) with the Wheat Kings. . . . F Luka Burzan (3) made it 2-0 on a PP, at 14:06. . . . The Hitmen pulled even on second-period goals by F Luke Coleman (6), on a PP, at 2:08, and F Mark Kastelic (4), at 4:52. . . . The Warriors took control with two PP goals before the period ended, F Noah Gregor (12) counting at 13:56 and F Tanner Jeannot (13) following up at 15:17. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs got Moose Jaw’s last goal, his 18th, in the third period. . . . D Chase Hartje had two assists for the winners, with Burzan getting one. . . . The Warriors were 3-5 on the PP; the Hitmen were 1-5. . . . G Adam Evanoff earned the victory with 38 saves, nine more than Calgary’s Nick Schneider. . . . F Daemon Hunt, 15, will remain with the Warriors despite having played five games, which is the limit for a 15-year-old player before his club team’s season has ended. The Warriors are banged up on the back end so are able to keep Hunt under emergency recall. . . . The Warriors had D Dmitri Zaitsev back after a six-game absence, but still are without D Josh Brook, D Matthew Benson, D Jett Wood and F Brett Howden. . . . Brook is back at practice but isn’t yet ready to play. He has missed the entire season after injuring a wrist in the Montreal Canadiens’ camp and later undergoing surgery. . . . F Matteo Gennaro was among Calgary’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,070.


At Saskatoon, G Logan Thompson stopped 42 shots to lead the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 4-1 victory over the Blades. . . . Brandon (13-6-1) has won four in a row. . . . The Blades now are 8-11-1. . . . The visitors scored the first three goals, all in the second period. . . . F Baron Thompson (5), at 10:03, F Cole Reinhardt (5), on a PP, at 17:44, and F Linden McCorrister (7), at 18:04, staked Brandon to a 3-0 lead. . . . F Cam Hebig (15) counted for the Blades, on a PP, at 7:58 of the third period. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (14) scored for Brandon, on a PP, at 12:55. . . . D Schael Higson had two assists for Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings were 2-7 on the PP; the Blades were 1-5. . . . G Nolan Maier, who was added to the Blades’ roster this week from the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, made his second career WHL start and his first in Saskatoon. He stopped 21 shots. . . . Blades G Ryan Kubic had started each of the team’s previous 14 games. . . . Saskatoon D Seth Bafaro sat out the third game of a four-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 6,242.


At Medicine Hat, G Logan Flodell stopped 39 shots and F Tyler Steenbergen reached the 30-goal mark with two snipes as the Swift Current Broncos beat the Tigers, 4-3. . . . The Broncos improved to 14-4-1. . . . The Tigers (13-7-0) had won their previous five games. . . . Steenbergen opened the scoring with No. 29, on a PP, at 13:24 of the first period. . . . Medicine Hat F Max Gerlach (7) tied it at 15:39. . . . Steenbergen became the WHL’s first 30-goal man this season at 19:47. . . . F Conner Chaulk (4) gave the Broncos a 3-1 lead eight seconds later. . . . The Tigers got to within a goal when F Mark Rassell (21) scored at 5:11 of the second period. . . . Broncos F Aleksi Heponiemi (16) got that one back, on a PP, at 2:53 of the third period. . . . The Tigers closed to within a goal, at 4-3, when F Gary Haden (5) scored at 3:36. . . . The Broncos got two assists from each of F Glenn Gawdin, Heponiemi and D Colby Sissons. . . . It was seven-point outing for Swift Current’s hot line. . . . Steenbergen leads the WHL in goals (30) and is tied with Heponiemi for the points lead, each with 51. Gawdin is third, with 42 points. . . . D Joel Craven had two assists for the Tigers, with Haden getting one. . . . The Broncos were 2-4 on the PP; the Tigers were 0-5. . . . Medicine Hat G Michael Bullion stopped 12 shots. . . . F James Hamblin (knee) was back in the Tigers’ lineup. . . . The Broncos were without Manny Viveiros, their director of player personnel and head coach. Where was he? In Kelowna, watching the Rockets and the Lethbridge Hurricanes. That means associate coach Ryan Smith posted his first WHL head-coaching victory. . . . Announced attendance: 3,414.


At Cranbrook, B.C., the Pouliot brothers each scored a goal, but it was Ryan who got bragging rights as his score gave the Kootenay Ice a 4-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Ice (9-12-1) had lost its previous four games. . . . The Rebels (9-13-1) have lost two in a row. . . . F Reese Johnson (7) put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 9:05 of the first period. . . . D Sam Pouliot, 17,  scored his first WHL goal for the Rebels, at 9:39. . . . The Ice tied it on goals from F Colton Veloso (6), on a PP, at 14:55, and F Brett Davis (7), at 1:10 of the second period. . . . F Kristian Reichel (10) put Red Deer back out front at 6:25. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (2) got the Ice into another tie, at 1:18 of the third. . . . D Ryan Pouliot, 18, broke the tie with his second goal of the season, on a PP, at 16:31. . . . The Ice got three assists from F Peyton Krebs. . . . F Mason McCarty had two assists for the Rebels. . . . Kootenay was 2-6 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-1. . . . G Bailey Brkin earned the victory with 38 stops, seven more than Riley Lamb of the Rebels. . . . Red Deer F Grayson Pawlenchuk wasn’t able to score on a first-period penalty shot with his guys leading, 2-0. . . .D Jonathan Smart made his debut with the Ice. Smart, 18, was acquired Monday from the Regina Pats, in a deal in which Ice captain Cale Fleury went the other way. Smart had missed Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . The Ice had F Colton Kroeker back, but F Jeff de Wit remains out with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Rebels completed a seven-game road trip at 1-6-0 while being outscored 27-19. . . . Red Deer will play nine of its next 12 games at home, including tonight against the Ice. . . . Announced attendance: 2,333.


At Prince George, F Brogan O’Brien had two goals as the Cougars skated to a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Cougars (8-9-4) have won two in a row. . . . The Oil Kings (5-14-2) have lost eight straight games. . . . D Dennis Cholowski (6) got the home boys started at 4:35 of the first period, and F Kody McDonald (12) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 15:23. . . . O’Brien, who has six goals, scored his first of the night at 15:55 of the second period and F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (5) made it 4-0 at 17:16. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (10) scored for the visitors, on a PP, 2:58 of the third period. . . . O’Brien added a shorthanded goal at 11:46. . . . McDonald and Cholowski each had an assist. . . . Prince George was 1-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-6. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 25 shots for the winners, while Edmonton’s Travis Child blocked 35. . . . The Oil Kings are 0-4-0 on a five-game trip into the B.C. Division that will end with another game in Prince George tonight. . . . Announced attendance: 2,922.


At Kamloops, the Blazers scored five times on the PP en route to a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (8-13-0) is 3-8-0 at home. . . . The Giants (9-9-4) had points in each of their previous five games (4-0-1). . . . F Brodi Stuart (4) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 1:25 of the first period. . . . Vancouver F Ty Ronning (21) tied it, on a PP, at 6:05 as he ran his scoring streak to nine games. His father, Cliff, owns the WHL record of 18 games, set with the New Westminster Bruins in 1984-85. . . . The Blazers started to take over with a PP goal from F Luc Smith (4) at 14:02. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen (10) ran his goal streak to six games, on a PP, at 12:51, and F Quinn Benjafield (6) made it 4-1, on a PP, at 14:22. . . . Loewen has 10 goals in 15 games this season. He went into the season with 14 in 170 games. . . . D Ondrej Vala (5) upped the lead to 5-1 at 14:43. . . . Ronning added his 22nd goal at 5:33 of the third period. . . . Kamloops D Joe Gatenby (7) closed it out with another PP goal, at 9:34. . . . Kamloops F Garrett Pilon had three assists, while Benjafield added two assists to his goal. Stuart, Smith, Loewen and Gatenby each had one assist. . . . Kamloops was 5-7 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-4. . . . G Dylan Ferguson started for the Blazers, having returned earlier in the day from the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. He finished with 23 saves, three fewer than Vancouver’s Todd Scott. . . . The Giants lost F Owen Hardy at 11:00 of the first period. He left the ice unable to put any weight on his left leg after becoming entangled with Kamloops F Scott Mahovlich near the Giants’ bench. . . . This was the second game in a seven-game homestand for the Blazers. . . . Announced attendance: 3,789.


At Kelowna, the Rockets scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 7-4. . . . Kelowna (12-6-3) has won four in a row. . . . Lethbridge (7-11-1), which opened a five-game road swing with this one, has lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . The home side went up 1-0 just 40 seconds into the game when F Liam Kindree scored his third goal. . . . F Leif Mattson (7) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 2:08. . . . The Hurricanes took a 3-2 lead on a goal from F Jake Elmer (3), at 19:05, and two from G Giorgio Estephan, at 5:48 and 9:12 of the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube tied it for Kelowna at 9:56 and F Kyle Topping (9) put the Rockets out front at 14:45. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (9) got the Hurricanes back into a tie, at 3:58 of the third period. . . . The Rockets took the game away in the third as Dube (12) got his second of the game at 8:52, D James Hilsendager (3) counted, on a PP, at 12:28, and F Conner Bruggen-Cate (3) hit the empty net at 17:04. . . . D Cal Foote drew four assists for the Rockets, with D Gordie Ballhorn and Topping each getting two, and Mattson adding one. . . . Estephan added an assist to his two goals. . . . Kelowna was 2-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-5. . . . The Rockets got 30 saves from G James Porter. . . . At the other end, Stuart Skinner stopped 27 shots. . . . F Kole Lind was among the Rockets’ scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 5,128.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Michael Rasmussen scored the game’s first two goals as the Tri-City Americans got past the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-1. . . . The Americans (13-5-2) are 8-1-2 in their past 11 games. They are 7-0-0 at home. . . . The Raiders (9-9-3) have lost two in a row. . . . The Raiders are 2-3-0 on a six-game road trip that wraps up tonight in Spokane. Prince Albert will return home for one game and then it’s on the road for five more outings. . . . Rasmussen, who has nine goals, scored at 5:06 and 8:24 of the second period. . . . D Juuso Valimaki (5), who also had an assist, made it 3-0 at 9:32. . . . F Parker Kelly (12) got the Raiders’ goal, on a PP, at 0:33 of the third period. . . . F Morgan Geekie (7) counted the home side’s final goal, at 2:03. . . . The Raiders were 1-4 on the PP; the Americans were 0-4. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 30 shots for the Americans. . . . G Ian Scott made 32 saves for the Raiders. . . . Announced attendance: 4,049.


At Spokane, G Griffen Outhouse stopped 19 shots to help the Victoria Royals to a 1-0 victory over the Chiefs. . . . The Royals (15-7-1) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Chiefs (10-8-3) had points in each of their previous three games (2-0-1). . . . Outhouse earned his first shutout of the season and the ninth of his career. He now holds the Royals’ career record with one more than Coleman Vollrath put up. The Victoria/Chilliwack franchise record belongs to Lucas Gore (10). . . . The game’s only goal came from D Jared Freadrich (4) at 18:54 of the third period. That is the third game-winner of his three-year career. . . . Spokane was 0-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-4. . . . G Dawson Weatherill of the Chiefs stopped 23 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 4,771.


At Everett, G Carter Hart stopped 31 shots to lead the Silvertips to a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (10-10-2) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . Seattle (9-9-2) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . F Nolan Volcan, who has eight goals, scored twice for Seattle, at 9:12 of the first period and 19:49 of the third. . . . In between, the Silvertips struck three times. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (11) scored a shorthanded goal at 13:01 of the second period. Bajkov added an assist to his goal and now has 218 career regular-season points in 292 games, good for second place on Everett’s all-time list. He now is two points ahead of F Josh Winquist. F Zach Hamill, who now plays in Norway, is No. 1, having put up 262 points in 250 games. . . . F Reece Vitelli (2) gave Everett a 2-1 lead at 15:10 of the third period, with F Sean Richards (9), who also had an assist, adding an empty-netter at 19:17. . . . Seattle was 0-2 on the PP; Everett was 0-3. . . . Hart, who would appear to have rounded into form after having missed time with mononucleosis, now is 5-2-2, 1.82, .941. . . . Seattle got 23 saves from G Liam Hughes. . . . Seattle F Tyler Carpendale was tossed with a spearing major in the first period. . . . The Silvertips were without D Montana Onyebuchi, who served a one-game WHL suspension after he took a charging major and game misconduct during a 2-0 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday. . . . Seattle is without F Sami Moilanen, who has an undisclosed injury. . . . These teams will meet again tonight, this time in Kent, Wash. . . . Announced attendance: 5,983.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Regina at Portland, 6 p.m.

Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Vancouver, 7 p.m.

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

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

Everett 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).


Scattershooting and channel surfing … MJHL coach puts up 500th win … Ferguson returning to Blazers … Broncos captain gets NHL deal

Ahh, this will be a glorious Thursday night. There are five TSN channels and Gary Bettman’s NHL has games on four of them.

Let’s watch the Arizona Coyotes against the Canadiens in Montreal. Maybe we’ll see how it is that the Coyotes have opened without a regulation victory in about 100 games. . . . Whoops! Blacked out.

Well, let’s move on to the next channel where the Winnipeg Jets are entertaining the Philadelphia Flyers. Let’s watch as F Nolan Patrick returns to the Flyers’ lineup after missing nine games with a concussion, and he does it in his hometown. . . . Whoops! Blacked out.

Oh well, there’s always the next channel where the New Jersey Devils are visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs. These aren’t your father’s Devils, you know. They don’t trap. Rather, they fly around the ice with the purpose of scoring goals. This one could be fun. . . . Whoops! Blacked out.

And it’s on to the fourth TSN channel, where the Pittsburgh Penguins are visiting the Ottawa Senators. Hey, it’s always fun to watch Sid Who Used To Be A Kid. . . . But not tonight. You guess it. Blacked out.

Thanks, Mr. Bettman.


What about that fifth TSN channel. Yes, it’s on to the NFL where the Tennessee Titans are visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers. . . . Thanks again, Mr. Bettman. You’re really doing a good job of selling the, uhh, NFL.


Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, remembers when his off-season training spot was a barn in which there was a heavy bag, a speed bag, some weights and a couple of bikes. Last summer, he did Pilates. Why? Because he wanted to experience what his players were doing. It’s all part of an attempt to cut down on injuries by improving flexibility and core strength.


When this WHL season began, Don Hay, now with the Kamloops Blazers, had 720 WHL head-coaching regular-season victories, meaning he needed 23 more to break Ken Hodge’s career record of 742. The Blazers have won seven of their first 20 games, meaning they are on pace for 25 victories this season.


Hey, there’s an NHL game on one of Sportsnet’s umpteen channels. It’s the St. Louis Blues in Edmonton against the Oilers. Always fun to watch McDavid and Draisaitl, even if we have to put up with Sportsnet’s computer-generated ads plastered all over the glass. . . . Oh wait. It’s blacked out.


After the Carolina Panthers dealt wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills, quarterback Cam Newton offered this analysis: “Yeah, we just lost a great player, but the Titanic still has to go.” . . . To which Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times responded: “Considering it’s Carolina’s less-than-stellar aerial game, shouldn’t it be the Hindenburg?”


“Twitter has increased the number of characters allowed per tweet from 140 to 280,” notes blogger Tony Chong of Richmond, B.C. “So isn’t that considered an email?” 


Hey, we found another NHL game on Sportsnet as the Vegas Golden Knights visit the Vancouver Canucks. Ahh, no blackout. Might check it out after the football game. Or earlier, if it’s a blowout.


By now you are aware that Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers has been the Golden Knights’ backup goaltender since Oct. 30. He has been responsible for more publicity for Kamloops and the Blazers over the past couple of weeks than was generated when J-Lo, Morgan Freeman and Robert Redford were in the area to film An Unfinished Life.


Don’t discount the Vancouver Giants in the WHL’s Western Conference this season. The key, of course, is that F Tyler Benson has to stay healthy, something that hasn’t happened in either of the past two seasons. With Benson, head coach Jason McKee’s guys have two terrific forward lines. If the goaltending holds up, the Giants could make some noise.



Congratulations to Ken Pearson, the head coach of the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers.

KEN PEARSON

When the Flyers beat the host Steinbach Pistons 3-2 in OT on Wednesday night, Pearson chalked up his 500th regular-season victory as an MJHL head coach.

Pearson has made more than a handful of stops during his coaching career, including stints with the Neepawa Natives, Prince Albert Raiders, Brooks Bandits, Winnipeg South Blues and Battlefords North Stars. He has scouted for the Tri-City Americans and NHL Central Scouting.

All told, Pearson is in his 12th season behind the Flyers’ bench.

Pearson’s 500 regular-season victories are third on the MJHL’s all-time list, behind Doug Stokes (670) and Don MacGillivray (669). In the MJHL, Stokes coached the Kildonan North Stars, Winnipeg South Blues, Dauphin Kings, Selkirk Steelers and Winnipeg Saints. MacGillivray, now an assistant coach with the Brandon Wheat Kings, coached with the St. James Canadians, Southeast Blades, Neepawa Natives, Portage Terriers, Winnipeg South Blues and Winnipeg Blues.

Pearson’s Flyers go into this weekend at 16-6-0, tied for second in the 11-team league with the OCN Blizzard (15-5-2). Both teams are one point behind Steinbach (16-4-1).


The Calgary Flames have signed F Glenn Gawdin, the captain of the Swift Current Broncos, to a three-year entry-level NHL contract. Gawdin, 20, was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the 2015 NHL draft, but wasn’t signed by them. He was eligible for the 2017 draft, but wasn’t selected. Gawdin, from Richmond, B.C., was in the Flames’ training camp prior to this season as a free agent. . . . This season, Gawdin has 40 points, including 14 goals, in 18 games and his third in the WHL scoring race, behind line mates Tyler Steenbergen, who has 49 points, and Aleksi Heponiemo (48). . . . Gawdin was the fifth overall selection in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. In 263 games with the Broncos, he has 228 points, including 84 goals.


Taylor Shire, who works in TV at Global Regina, tweeted on Thursday: “Tickets for the Regina Pats outdoor game at Mosaic Stadium will range from $149, $219 or $319 per seat. They also have standing room only for $75. Includes Sat and Sun games.”

Among the replies to that tweet:

“Wow, those are some big numbers. Out of my price range so I won’t be joining the regiment for this game.”

“Does this include a signed Jordan Eberle jersey, beer, hand warmers and a hot dog?”

“For a dub game give your head a shake Regina.”

Meanwhile, on Dec. 17, the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s are going to face the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques at The Stadium at TD Place, the home of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks.

A general admission ticket will set you back $15, with reserved seats going for $20 each. Those prices include all taxes and surcharges, along with transportation to the game.


F Josh Prokop revealed via Twitter on Thursday that he has made a commitment to attend Ohio State and play hockey for the Buckeyes. Prokop, 17, is from Edmonton. He was a fifth-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. This season, Prokop has 14 points, eight of them goals, in 25 games with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. . . . Last season, he put up a CSSHL-leading 57 points, including 29 goals, in 30 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme.


The Vegas Golden Knights flew out of Vancouver and headed home late Thursday night after posting a 5-2 victory over the Canucks.

Yes, G Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers wasn’t on the plane and is to return to Kamloops today (Friday).

Ferguson, 19, was on the bench for an eighth straight game in support of starter Maxime Lagace last night. Ferguson had made his NHL debut during Tuesday’s 8-2 loss to the Oilers in Edmonton. He played 9:14 and stopped one of the two shots he faced.

Ferguson is from Lantzville, which is on Vancouver Island, so you know he had some supporters in the crowd last night. But they had to be content with watching him in the pregame warmup.

The Golden Knights have three goaltenders out with injuries, although one of them, Malcom Subban, has returned to practice. Subban, who was in Vancouver yesterday and watched the game from the press box, seems  ready to return, at least in a backup role. Starter Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and Oscar Dansk, who was injured on Oct. 30 and whose injury resulted in the phone call to Ferguson, also are injured.

The Golden Knights are next scheduled to play on Sunday against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.

Ferguson will rejoin the Blazers in time for two weekend home games, with the Vancouver Giants in town tonight and the Lethbridge Hurricanes following on Saturday.

The Blazers were 3-2-0 while Ferguson was with Vegas. Max Palaga, 17, who has been backing up Ferguson, made three starts, while Dylan Garand, a 15-year-old from the Delta Hockey Academy, was 1-1-0 in his two starts.


The political scene the U.S. is in upheaval due to, among other things, an investigation into whether Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, had its hands in the 2016 election. A short time ago, F Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals’ starry Russian, waded into the mess by creating something that he, or somebody, has dubbed “Putin’s Team.” . . . So just what is that all about? And why would Ovechkin get involved in something like that at this particular point in time? . . . Matt Flegenheimer of The New York Times takes a look right here.


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 Montana Onyebuchi of the Everett Silvertips won’t play tonight against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds as he serves a one-game WHL suspension. That comes after he took a charging major and game misconduct during a 2-0 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday night.


Colin Birkas is out as head coach of the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks, and has been replaced, at least on an interim basis, by Darryl Olsen. . . . Birkas had been head coach since Aug. 11. He replaced James Poole, who resigned earlier in the summer after one season in the position. . . . Birkas had coached junior A in Ontario before signing with the Canucks. . . . A Calgarian, Olsen stepped up from assistant coach to take over as head coach of the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons late last season. . . . The Canucks are 10-12-1 and in fifth place in the eight-team Viterra AJHL South.


What does a fired coach do with his time when there isn’t hockey? Here’s Casey O’Brien, who was dismissed by the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers on Oct. 31 . . .


THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Red Deer vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Prince Albert vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Seattle at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


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


Ferguson still in NHL … Delay of game? What delay of game? … Hart ties franchise record

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The Vegas Golden Knights had three goaltenders on the ice when they practised at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Wednesday morning and, yes, one of them was Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers.

Ferguson, 19, has been with the Golden Knights since being recalled under emergency conditions on Oct. 30.

Ferguson, who is from Lantzville, which is on Vancouver Islander, made his NHL debut on Tuesday night during an 8-2 loss to the host Edmonton Oilers. He came on in relief of Maxime Lagace to stop one of two shots in 9:14 of playing time.

The Golden Knights are scheduled to play the host Canucks tonight, and chances are that Ferguson will be backing up Lagace for an eighth straight game.

There was speculation earlier Wednesday that Lagace had been injured in Edmonton, but that chatter seemed to fade away after he joined Ferguson on the ice yesterday morning.

G Malcolm Subban, one of the team’s three injured goaltenders, also was on the ice, his first appearance in almost a month. He has been out since Oct. 22 when he was injured while stretching to make a save. Also on the shelf are veteran starter Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion), who has resumed skating, and Oscar Dansk.

Gary Lawless of the Golden Knights has more on Ferguson right here.

Ed Willes of Postmedia wrote about Ferguson on Thursday, too. That piece is right here.

The Blazers are at home to the Vancouver Giants on Friday night and the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday. If Ferguson isn’t back, the Blazers will continue to go with two freshmen goaltenders — Max Palaga, 17,  and Dylan Garand, 15.


There was an interesting sequence of events during the Prince George Cougars’ 5-4 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday night.

The Cougars were clinging to a 4-3 lead at 8:55 of the third period when they cleared the puck into the Kamloops zone from the neutral zone. As G Dylan Garand of the Blazers gloved the puck on the fly, referee Bryan Bourdon, stationed to Garand’s right, yelled at the goaltender to move it.

With forecheckers closing in, Garand hung on to the puck. Bourdon whistled play dead, pointed at Garand and then pointed to the penalty box. It seemed that the referee had called Garand for delay of game.

However, something happened on the way to the penalty box and the call wasn’t made.

Asked later what happened, Richard Matvichuk, the Cougars’ head coach, shrugged and said: “I don’t know.”

Then, at 15:16, a near-identical play occurred, this time in the Prince George zone. The Blazers, still trailing 4-3, dumped the puck at Cougars G Tavin Grant from the neutral zone. He played the puck with his stick and pulled it into his glove.

Nick Panter, the other referee, immediately signalled a penalty and hit Grant for delay of game. This time, the call stuck.

While killing that penalty, the Cougars got a goal from F Kody McDonald at 16:38 and it stood up as the game-winner.

But how did one goaltender get penalized and not the other? What happened to the apparent delay-of-game call on Garand?

“I don’t know,” Matvichuk reiterated.

Matvichuk, who is in his second season with the Cougars, was of the opinion that neither goaltender should have been penalized.

“As much as we’re trying to speed the game up, these kids are under so much pressure,” he said. “It’s a hockey game. If a goalie freezes the puck, he freezes the puck. It is what it is.

“I understand there are times when we try to speed the game up, but we have to remember these guys are here to develop and try to get to the next level.

“What happens if one of those kids puts the puck down, on either side, and shoots it into somebody and they score? He gets into trouble, that’s what happens.”


The Portland Winterhawks went shopping on Tuesday night. Yes, they did.

It was their fifth annual ‘Shop With a Hawk’ event in which the players go Christmas shopping with children from the Boys and Girls Clubs, all thinks to the club’s booster club, Fred Meyer and the Sunshine Division.

Thanks to the Winterhawks Booster Club each child had $100 with which to shop, and they were shown around the Hollywood Fred Meyer store by the players.

It’s worth noting that over the five years the booster club has donated more than $15,000 and it has helped more than 125 children.


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


The Kootenay Ice has returned F Connor McClennon, 15, to the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team that plays in the CSSHL. McClennon, who is from Wainwright, Alta., was the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He was pointless in two games with the Ice. . . .

D Brendan O’Reilly, a veteran of 153 games over four seasons with the Tri-City Americans, has joined the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. O’Reilly, 20, is from Southlake, Texas. He lost his roster spot with the Americans when they had to get down to three 20-year-olds. He then joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, putting up a goal and three assists in 13 games.


The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers announced Wednesday that they have named Mat Hehr as their general manager and head coach. He had been serving as interim GM/head coach since the club fired Casey O’Brien on Oct. 31. . . . Hehr had been an assistant coach under O’Brien, who was in his second season as GM and head coach. O’Brien had been with the Terriers since 2011 . . . Hehr joined the Terriers in November 2016 after being on staff with the La Ronge Ice Wolves. . . . The Terriers were 3-12-0 when O’Brien was dismissed. They went into Wednesday at 3-16-2.


WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, F Nick Henry had a goal and an assist in his third game after off-season shoulder surgery, leading the Pats to a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Pats (12-8-2) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Hitmen (11-9-2) have lost three in a row. . . . F Emil Oksanen (11) gave Regina a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:52 of the first period. . . . Calgary tied it on a PP at 7:20 when F Matteo Bennaro got No. 13. . . . Regina went out front 3-1 on goals from F Sam Steel (6), at 11:18 of the first period, and F Matt Bradley (16), at 11:30 of the second. . . . Calgary got back to wishin one at 12:03 as F Tristen Nielsen (6) scored. . . . Henry (1) restored the two-goal lead 15 seconds into the third period. . . . F Luke Coleman (5) pulled Calgary back to within a goal, on a PP, at 10:42. . . . Steel also had an assist. . . . Calgary got two assists from each of D Jake Bean and D Vladislav Yeryomenko. . . . The Hitmen were 2-4 on the PP; the Pats were 1-4. . . . G Max Paddock earned the victory with 25 saves. . . . At the other end, Nick Schneider stopped 36 shots. . . . D Cale Fleury, who was acquired by Regina from the Kootenay Ice on Monday, made his Pats debut. He was plus-1 with three shots on goal. . . . Announced attendance: 5,754.


At Saskatoon, D Evan Fiala’s goal at 18:48 of the third period broke a 4-4 tie as the Blades beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4. . . . Saskatoon (8-10-1) had lost two straight. . . . The Warriors (16-5-0) had a six-game winning streak snapped. They continue to lead the overall standings by three points over the idle Victoria Royals. . . . The teams were tied 2-2 after the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (11), at 0:57, and F Justin Almeida (11), shorthanded at 15:44, counted for the visitors, with F Alec Zawatsky, with his first WHL goal, at 1:47, and F Caleb Fantillo (4), at 17:53, replying for the home boys. . . . Saskatoon went up 4-2 on second-period goals from F Braylon Shmyr (9), at 3:14, and F Gage Ramsay (2), at 7:45. . . . The Warriors came right back and tied it. F Tanner Jeannot (12) counted at 17:31 of the second, then F Daemon Hunt, a 15-year-old, scored his first WHL goal at 8:39 of the third period. . . . Fiala won it with his first goal of the season. . . . F Cam Hebig and D Libor Hajek each had two assists for the Blades. . . . The Warriors got two assists from F Jayden Halbgewachs and one from Gregor. . . . Saskatoon was 0-4 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . The Blades got 34 saves from G Ryan Kubic. . . . Moose Jaw G Brody Willms blocked 46 shots as the Blades unleashed a season-high 51 shots. . . . D Matt Sanders made his WHL debut with the Warriors. Sanders, 16, was a fifth-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. He is the younger brother of G Nick Sanders, who was released by the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 27 and now is with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Included in the Warriors scratches were D Josh Brook, D Jett Wood, D Matthew Benson, D Dmitri Zaitsev and F Brett Howden, all key contributors and all injured. . . . Announced attendance: 2,745.


At Langley, B.C., F Tyler Benson drew three assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Giants (9-8-4) have points in five straight games (4-0-1). . . . The Rebels (9-12-1) are 1-5-0 on a seven-game road trip that ends Friday in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . F James Malm gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 7:48 of the first period. . . . Red Deer took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Kristian Reichel (9), at 19:30 of the first, and F Brandon Cutler (1), at 6:17 of the second. . . . Vancouver F Brayden Watts (8) tied it at 12:53. . . . Malm, who has 10 goals, broke the deadlock at 12:04. He’s got six goals over his past three games. . . . F Ty Ronning scored his 20th goal of the season into an empty net at 19:29. He’s got 20 goals in 21 games. He also has scored in eight straight games. That’s 10 games shy of the WHL record that belongs to his father, Cliff, who did it with the 1984-85 New Westminster Bruins. . . . Benson has six assists over his past two games. In the eight games he has played this season, he has four goals and eight assists. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 31 shots for the winners, four more than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders. . . . Announced attendance: 2,277.


At Kamloops, the Prince George Cougars built up a 3-0 lead and hung on to beat the Blazers, 5-4. . . . The Cougars (7-9-4) moved four points ahead of the fifth-place Blazers in the B.C. Division. . . . The Blazers (7-13-0) had won their previous two games. . . . The visitors got first-period goals from F Ethan O’Rourke, at 4:18, D Cole Moberg, at 7:56, and O’Rourke again, at 15:19. . . . O’Rourke went into the game with two career goals in 39 games. . . . Moberg, who also had an assist, scored his first goal this season, in his 19th game. He scored once in four games last season. . . . D Chance Adrian earned assists on the last two of those goals, his first career points coming in his 13th game. . . . F Jermaine Loewen got the Blazers on the scoreboard at 6:13 of the second period. Loewen has scored in five straight games. He has nine goals in 14 games this season. In three previous seasons, he totalled 14 goals in 170 games. . . . F Brogan O’Brien, perhaps the best player on the ice in this one, scored his fourth goal at 12:24 of the second for a 4-1 lead. . . . Kamloops got to within a goal on scores from F Quinn Benjafield (5), at 18:32 of the second, and F Nick Chyzowski (6), on a PP, at 4:20 of the third. . . . F Kody McDonald (11) stretched the lead to two with a shorthanded goal at 16:38. . . . The Blazers got back to within a goal when F Garrett Pilon (8) scored with 46.9 seconds left. . . . The Blazers got two assists from Pilon and one each from Loewen and Chyzowski. . . . Kamloops was 1-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-5. . . . G Tavin Grant stopped 27 shots to earn the victory. . . . While Grant, 19, was in Kamloops with the Cougars, his junior A rights were changing teams with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings having acquired them from the CCHL’s Carleton Place Canadians. . . . The Blazers got 33 saves from G Dylan Garand, 15, who made his second career WHL start. . . . F Connor Zary and F Carson Denomie were among the Blazers’ scratches. Both players were injured in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Announced attendance: 3,405.


At Everett, G Carter Hart stopped 25 shuts and tied a franchise record with his 21st career shutout as the Silvertips beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-0. . . . The Silvertips (9-10-2) have points in three straight games (2-0-1). . . . The Raiders (9-8-3) are 2-2-0 on a six-game trip that continues in Kennewick, Wash., and Spokane on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . Hart, who tied the career record held by Leland Irving, has put up back-to-back shutouts. He has two shutouts this season. . . . F Sean Richards (8) scored the game’s first goal, at 6:08 of the second period. He’s got goals in four straight games. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (10) got the game’s other goal, at 14:27 of the third period. Bajkov now has 216 career points, tying him with F Joshua Winquist for second spot on the franchise list. F Zach Hamill is No. 1, at 262 points. . . . D Kevin Davis had two assists. . . . Prince Albert was 0-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-8. . . . The Raiders have been shorthanded 28 times over their past three games. In Portland on Sunday, the Winterhawks were 5-12 on the PP in a 6-1 victory over the Raiders. On Tuesday, the Raiders beat host Seattle 6-4 despite the Thunderbirds going 2-8 on the PP. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 40 shots for the Raiders. . . . The Silvertips lost D Montana Onyebuchi at 13:16 of the first period with a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on F Carson Miller. Onyebuchi then was was involved in a fight with D Cody Paivarinta. There was leakage. . . . Announced attendance: 2,864.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Red Deer vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Prince Albert vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Seattle at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


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


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.


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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.


TUESDAY:

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meachem’s story is right here.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.

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

Spokane at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

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

Red Deer at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Everett at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts includes this:

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

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

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

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


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


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


TUESDAY:

Russia 4, WHL 3, at Swift Current.


WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


MONDAY:

Team WHL 7, Russia 0, at Moose Jaw.


TUESDAY (all times local):

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


WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


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


Outdoor games at Safeco Field? … Living with tragedy in Renfrew, Ont. … Blazers goalie in NYC

If you’re watching the World Series, here’s hoping you have access to Fox-TV because analyst John Smoltz is good. Really good.


Larry Brooks of the New York Post related this anecdote in a Sunday column:

So Antti Raanta, the former Rangers netminder now with Arizona, was talking about adjusting to life in the desert.

“It takes a little time to get used to the weather and remind yourself that you’re not on vacation,” said Raanta. “But everything has been good.

“Except maybe for the scorpions my wife saw in our bedroom.”


I ran into the effervescent Guy Charron while doing some shopping the other day. He’s looking good. In fact, he hasn’t looked this good since before he dipped his toe in the WHL coaching pool with the Kamloops Blazers.


Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle with a first-person baseball tale:

That was cute when the Dodgers sent Vin Scully to the mound for the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series, and then Vinny summoned Fernando Valenzuela to do the job. Reminded me of the 2010 Series, Giants at Texas. In the press box there was a line for the men’s room. I completed my stand-up business, turned and saw that the on-deck man was Juan Marichal. I tapped my right arm with my left hand and said, “Juan, I’m bringing you in for relief.”

No, he didn’t laugh.


Here’s Ostler, again:

The NFL blew it.

The recent meeting between 11 team owners and 12 players at NFL headquarters in New York, called to discuss player protests during the national anthem, would have been more exciting had it been smartly marketed.

First of all, give it a name: “Sons of Bitches vs. Sons of Riches.”

Then, for god’s sake, televise it. From the ESPN account of the showdown, it was a lot more exciting than half the football games.


And one from Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News:

As Dave Roberts of the Dodgers, who at one point in this World Series used 17 pitchers in 20 innings, went through eight relief pitchers in Game 2, I kept hearing the voice of my Hall of Fame friend Bill Madden inside my head.

Mr. Madden, from the first time I sat down next to him in a press box, has always talked about “the endless search for the guy who doesn’t have it.”

That’s what we saw in Game 2, exactly.


Wonder Woman and I made another successful return trip over the Coquihalla last weekend — successful in that we survived it. On the return trip, I deliberately set the cruise control at 120 — if you’ve never been there, that is the speed limit — and there were times when I thought I was standing still. (To our American friends, that would kilometres per hour.) I also would swear that Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed us a time or two.


Headline at TheKicker.com: Adam Silver approves huge order for Warriors vs. Cavaliers 2018 NFL Finals shirts.


Dilly! Dilly!!


F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Freiburg (Germany, DEL2). He had one assist in 13 games.


The WHL has had teams involved in two outdoor games to date, with another one scheduled for this season.

Now a source has told Taking Note that the WHL is looking into the possibility of playing two games at Safeco Field in Seattle early in 2019.

The WHL’s first outdoor game took place at Avista Stadium in Spokane on Jan. 15, 2011, with the Chiefs beating the Kootenay Ice 11-2 before 7,075 fans.

On Feb. 21, 2011, there were 20,888 fans at McMahon Stadium in Calgary as the Hitmen dropped a 3-2 decision to the Regina Pats.

This season, the Regina Pats will entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors at 30,048-seat Mosaic Stadium on Feb. 18.

The source told Taking Note that outdoor games at Safeco Field would feature the Seattle Thunderbirds, who play out of Kent, Wash., and Everett Silvertips playing one game each.

Safeco Field, the home of the Seattle Mariners, seats 47,943 for baseball.

It could be that outdoor games in Seattle would be a big deal to hockey fans who follow teams in the WHL’s U.S. Division. There regularly is grumbling from many of those fans because their favourite teams have, for whatever reason, been left out in the cold when it comes to having their communities play host to such things as the Memorial Cup, Canada-Russia games or the Top Prospects Game.


The junior B Renfrew, Ont., Timberwolves and their fans are trying to heal as they deal with the aftermath of a weekend single-vehicle accident in which two players were killed and two others injured.

One of the players, Brandon Hanniman, 18, was pronounced dead at the scene early Saturday morning. A second player, Alex Paquette, 18, died in hospital Saturday afternoon.

Two other teammates, Jake McGrimmon and Ben Scheuneman, both 18, were injured in the accident and remain in hospital. Scheuneman is in critical condition.

The Timberwolves play in the Central Canada Hockey League Tier 2.

A report from cbc.ca says police believe alcohol played a role in the accident and that three of the players weren’t wearing seatbelts. That report is right here. . . .

There is more right here from the Ottawa Citizen.

Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen writes:

“It adds up to a hockey parent’s worst nightmare. Under-aged drinking. Teenaged drivers. An open road and a car’s willing throttle after midnight. Boys being boys and blowing off what should be a reflex habit: buckling up when getting into a car.

“Teenage independence can come at a horrible cost.”

Scanlan’s column is right here.


D Artyom Minulin of the Swift Current Broncos and D Alex Alexeyev of the Red Deer Rebels are on the roster of the Russian team that will play against Team WHL in the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series. Games are scheduled for Monday in Moose Jaw and Tuesday in Swift Current. . . . Minulin, in his third season with the Broncos, has 10 points, including three goals, in 13 games. In 155 career regular-season games, he has 16 goals and 77 assists. . . . Alexeyev has seven assists in six games with the Rebels this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had four goals and 17 assists in 21 games. His 2016-17 season was cut short by a knee injury. This season, he has recently returned from a shoulder injury.


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 Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers had a front-row seat Tuesday night as the visiting Vegas Golden Knights lost, 6-4, to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Ferguson, 19, was on the Golden Knights’ bench as their backup goaltender after being summoned under emergency recall follows. The Golden Knights have three injured goaltenders on their roster.

Ferguson backed up Maxime Lagace, who made his NHL debut on Monday night, entering what would be a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders after starter Oscar Dansk left with an injury.

Ferguson got the call on Monday, at about 6 p.m. He caught a flight to Vancouver, then took a redeye flight to Toronto where he made a connection to New York City. He arrived there at 11 a.m., and joined the Golden Knights at their hotel.

Vegas is scheduled to continue its road trip against the Boston Bruins on Thursday, the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday and the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

The Blazers, meanwhile, will go home-and-home with the Vancouver Giants this weekend, playing Friday in Langley, B.C., and in Kamloops on Saturday.

Max Palaga, a 17-year-old from Kamloops, is expected to start both games. He has made four appearances this season, going 0-2-0, 3.89, .853.

Dylan Garand, 15, is expected to be backing up Palaga. Garand, from Victoria, was a third-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. He is attending the Delta Hockey Academy and playing for the prep team in the CSSHL.


F Nick Henry of the Regina Pats is almost ready to return after having off-season shoulder surgery. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reports right here that Henry, who had 81 points, including 35 goals, in 72 games as a freshman last season, might play Friday agains the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . .

The Vancouver Giants have dropped D Austin King-Cunningham from their roster, and he has joined the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. King-Cunningham, 17, is from Pilot Butte, Sask. He was pointless in four games with the Giants. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported that King-Cunningham left the Giants “over a lack of playing time after the East Division road trip.” . . . Last season, he had three goals and eight assists in 33 games with the midget AAA Battlefords Stars, and one assist in three games with the Giants. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings have named F Colton Kehler as the 11th captain in the franchise’s modern history. Kehler is in his third season with the Oil Kings. Kehler, 20, has six goals and five assists in 15 games this season. He was a seventh-round selection by Edmonton in the 2012 bantam draft. . . .

Team USA will hold its pre-tournament training camp in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 15-19 as it prepares to defend its gold medal at the World Junior Hockey championship that is to open in Buffalo on Dec. 26. . . . Team USA will play two exhibition games — against Belarus, in Jamestown, N.Y., on Dec. 20, and against Sweden, in Erie, Penn., on Dec. 22.


The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers have fired general manager/head coach Casey O’Brien. . . . Assistant coach Mat Hehr was named interim GM/head coach. . . . O’Brien was in his second season as the Terriers’ GM/head coach, after spending five seasons as an assistant coach. . . . The Terriers were 3-12-2 and in fourth place in the Viterra Division — 11th overall — at the time of the firing. The Terriers also are the SJHL’s most-penalized team. . . . The move came two weeks after O’Brien’s wife, Laura, suffered two heart attacks while undergoing routine bloodwork. She is said to be recovering nicely. . . . Dave Baron, the team president, told Stefanie Davis of Yorkton This Week that “the timing was just so terrible, but we have to put the team first. We felt it had to be done.” . . . Davis’s story is right here.


Cliff Ronning, a former WHL star and the father of Vancouver Giants F Ty Ronning, has been added to the coaching staff of the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star.

Mike Keenan, the team’s GM and head coach, announced Tuesday that Ronning will be the team’s development coach.

Here’s Keenan:

“He takes on responsibilities of skill development throughout the organization at various levels. He’s got a great NHL background and experience as a player, also he did a superb job for us last summer in Vancouver where we had evaluation camps.

“He brings more experience to our staff dealing with the KHL, VHL and MHL teams as well as our academy in Toronto and I think that his skills and his ability to communicate with younger players will be invaluable to the organization.

“Another part of his responsibility will be scouting the Vancouver area. There are thousands of Chinese descendants playing in this area, it’s a very populated Chinese hockey program and he’s got a good handle on the players in that community.”


TUESDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Regina, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Portland, 7 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, 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).


Tweet of the day

Blazers lose goalie to NHL … Oil Kings, Blades do deal … Popugaev signs in Moscow

F Nikita Popugaev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) signed a two-year, three-way contract with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). This season, he had two goals and five assists in 13 games with the Prince George Cougars (WHL). The three-way part of the contract is with CSKA Moscow, its farm club Zvezda Chekhov (Russia, Vysshaya Lisa) and its junior club Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (Russia, MHL).


The Kamloops Blazers have lost G Dylan Ferguson to the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on emergency recall. Ferguson, 19, left Kamloops on Monday night and is to meet up with the Golden Knights in New York.

Ferguson was selected by the Dallas Stars in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He was then dealt to Vegas in a swap that had D Marc Methot go the other way. Ferguson attended the Golden Knights’ development, rookie and main camps, then signed a three-year entry-level contract.

This season, with the Blazers, Ferguson is 4-9-0, 4.05, .878. Last season, he finished 16-10-2, 2.74, .922.

The Golden Knights have lost three goaltenders to injury.

Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion on Oct. 13, with Malcolm Subban going down with a lower-body injury on Oct. 21. Last night, G Oscar Dansk was injured in the second period as Vegas dropped a 6-3 decision — it’s first regulation-time loss of its inaugural season — to the host New York Islanders on Monday night.

Maxime Lagace made his NHL debut after Dansk left.

Ferguson is the fifth goaltender under contract to Vegas, which is scheduled to play the Rangers tonight (Tuesday).

Losing Ferguson leaves the Blazers with freshman Max Palaga, a 17-year-old Kamloops native, who will start Friday in Vancouver against the Giants. The teams are to meet again on Saturday, this time in Kamloops.

Kamloops will bring in Dylan Garand, 15, to back up Palaga. Garand, from Victoria, was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He is playing for the Delta Hockey Academy prep team in the CSSHL.


F Kailer Yamamoto was back among Edmonton’s top six forwards as the Oilers practised on Monday. Yamamoto, who still could be returned to the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, was skating alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Milan Lucic, while also working on one PP unit. . . . Yamamoto has played in seven games and head coach Todd McLellan hasn’t committed to whether he wants to keep the 19-year-old through 10 games. . . . “There’s a chance that can happen,” McLellan said Monday, according to Paul Gazzola of EdmontonOilers.com. “Thresholds are much more of the business side of the game. The cap, the management, the contracts, the future. We have to coach the team and we’re going to try to put the guys on the ice that give us the best chance of winning.” . . . Yamamoto has been scratched from the Oilers’ past two games. The Oilers (3-6-1) are scheduled to entertain the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.


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


The Edmonton Oil Kings have acquired D Jantzen Leslie, 18, from the Saskatoon Blades for a conditional eighth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Oil Kings were looking to add a defenceman due to a sudden shortage. Jordan Dawson, 19, left the team on Sunday, according to the team, “to pursue other hockey opportunities.” Matthew Robertson, 16, is about to leave to play at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Wyatt McLeod, 17, is injured. . . . Without those three, Leslie’s arrival will give the Oil Kings six defencemen. . . . The Blades acquired Leslie, who is from Lloydminster, Alta., from the Everett Silvertips two years ago. The Silvertips had selected him in the first round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . . In 82 career regular-season games, he has five assists.


F Nikita Popugaev, who is to turn 19 on Nov. 20, has signed a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow of the KHL. . . . As you will have noted in The MacBeth Report, Popugaev signed a three-way deal and he could end up with CSKA Moscow’s junior affiliate. . . . Popugaev had been with the Prince George Cougars, who announced Thursday that he had returned to Moscow “for personal reasons.” . . . A fourth-round pick by the New Jersey Devils in the NHL’s 2017 draft, the 6-foot-6, 205-pound Popugaev was acquired by the Cougars from the Moose Jaw Warriors in January for two players and two bantam draft picks. . . . However, after putting up 22 goals and 29 assists in 40 games with the Warriors, he had only seven goals and 11 assists in 31 games with Prince George. This season, Popugaev had two goals and five assists in 13 games with the Cougars.


F Luke Ormsby has left the Seattle Thunderbirds and is expected to join the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild. “We are releasing him,” Seattle GM Russ Farwell said in a statement. “It was a mutual decision.” . . . Ormsby, 18, is from Monroe, Wash. He was a ninth-round pick by Seattle in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . This season, he was pointless in 11 games with the Thunderbirds. Last season, as a freshman, he six goals and five assists in 65 games. He added one assist in 13 playoff games as the Thunderbirds won the WHL championship.


A source with knowledge of the situation has told Taking Note that Radio NL in Kamloops has bought out sports director Rick (The Bear) Wile as it begins a move that will put less emphasis on its sports coverage. . . . Wile’s departure leaves Jon Keen as a one-man sports department. . . . “They are cutting sports time, too,” the source told Taking Note. “When Keen’s not there, a news guy will read (sports).” . . . Radio NL has long held the play-by-play rights for the Blazers. Keen is in his eighth season as the team’s radio voice, calling home and away regular-season and playoff games. . . . Wile had been at Radio NL for more than 38 years and had been involved in the station’s coverage of the WHL and the Blazers since the franchise landed in Kamloops in 1981 as the Junior Oilers. . . . He was inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame last spring.


Craig West, the veteran play-by-play voice of the Tri-City Americans, drives to most, if not all, of the team’s road games. That was the case last weekend when the Americans played in Kelowna on Friday night and in Kamloops on Saturday.

Whenever the Americans visit, West always parks himself next to me in the press box and we have an enjoyable pre-game chat. That was the case on Saturday, with Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV, another long-time WHL observer, stopping by, too.

On Monday, West posted this on his Facebook page:

“A bit of irony on Saturday night. Before the game in Kamloops, sat with Gregg Drinnan and Earl Seitz discussing driving to all the games. Never an issue . . . until midnight in Princeton, B.C., with the world’s best car . . . 2011 Toyota RAV 4. Final score: Westy 1, Bambi 0. Car at Sonshine Collision currently with Russell Wood and friends and in good hands. Car priest on call with the car in ICU. Ready for last rites. . . . But happy to say the car’s engine not harmed and made it home without issue.”

West posted again later, once he received a damage estimate: “Damage over $9,100.”

When West plays hockey, if you aren’t aware, he is a goaltender. So you are free to wonder how it was that Bambi didn’t go through his legs.

The Americans are next scheduled to play on the road on Saturday against the Spokane Chiefs. We await news of what West will be driving to that game.


The Saskatoon Blades are bringing in F Logan Doust, 16, as some insurance with F Kirby Each at the U17 World Hockey Challenge. Doust, a ninth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft, is from North Vancouver, B.C. He got into five exhibition games with the Blades and now is with the major midget Vancouver-Northwest Giants . . .

The Kootenay Ice has returned D Nolan Orzeck, 16, to the midget AAA Calgary Northstars. The Ice had some injury issues on the back end going into weekend games and brough Orzeck in as insurance. However, he didn’t get into any games. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft.


D Darian Skeoch of the Vancouver Giants has been suspended for four games by the WHL under supplemental discipline. Sketch missed a weekend doubleheader in Victoria against the Royals and will sit out a home-and-home series with the Kamloops Blazers on Friday and Saturday. They will play in Langley, B.C., on Friday and in Kamloops on Saturday. . . .  The WHL didn’t release any particulars involving the suspension, but it’s believed to have involved a hit on F Jackson Leppard of the Prince George Cougars early in the third period on Friday night in Langley. Leppard was scratched from Prince George’s game in Kelowna on Saturday night. . . . The Giants also will be without D Bowen Byram, 16, who is expected to miss at least five games will at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. He was the third-overall pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


MONDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Regina, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Portland, 7 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, 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).


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!


THURSDAY:

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