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).


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


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


Now there are two.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dheensaw’s story is right here.


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

It turns out that was in error.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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!


SATURDAY:

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


SUNDAY (all times local):

Regina at Moose Jaw, 4 p.m.

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

Prince Albert at Portland, 5 p.m.


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


Flodell, Broncos blank Tigers … Rebels kings of OT … Blades are streaking … Blazers finally win at home


As you may have read here a few days ago, the Victoria Royals have partnered with The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund. As the Royals noted in a news release: “The Downie Wenjack Fund was established as part of Gord Downie’s legacy to bring awareness of the true history of Indigenous People and to generate discussion to forge new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.” . . . If you are interested, there is more on this story right here, from CTV News Vancouver Island. . . . Here’s hoping a whole bunch of other WHL teams follow the Royals into this relationship.


The WHL suspended D Darian Skeoch of the Vancouver Giants on Saturday for something he did in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars.

Skeoch was suspended under supplemental discipline. The length of the suspension has yet to be determined, but he didn’t play against the host Victoria Royals last night and chances are he won’t play in today’s rematch.

Here’s something that Steve Ewen of Postmedia wrote after Saturday’s game about what may or may not have been the hit in question:

“Vancouver defenceman Darian Skeoch laid a massive, open-ice hit on Prince George winger Jackson Leppard at the 3:40-mark of the third period. Leppard finished the shift and went to the bench, but left the game and went to the dressing room about four minutes later.

No word yet on Leppard’s status immediately moving forward.

There was no penalty. It was a clean hit. There was no fight afterwards, either, which was kind of refreshing frankly. Skeptics, of course, will say that Prince George didn’t have anyone who wanted to tangle with Skeoch, who is reputed to be one of the tougher customers in the WHL.”

Leppard was scratched from Prince George’s game against the Rockets in Kelowna last night.

Meanwhile, F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors has been suspended for one game after taking a boarding major and game misconduct in Medicine Hat on Friday night.


The Regina Pats released F Riley Krane from their roster a few days ago and he now has returned to the major midget Cariboo Cougars, who play out of Prince George. Krane, 17, is from Dawson Creek, B.C. He was an eighth-round selection by Regina in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . He had one goal in five games with Regina last season, but didn’t get into a game this season due to an undisclosed injury.


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SATURDAY:

At Calgary, D Austin Strand scored with 41.9 seconds left in the third period to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 4-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Strand, who is from Calgary, has seven goals this season, the first six of which came via the PP. . . . The Thunderbirds improved to 6-5-1. . . . The Hitmen (4-10-1) have lost three straight. . . . Seattle scored three times in the second period to take a 3-0 lead, then watched as Calgary tied it with three third-period goals. . . . F Blake Barger (2), at 6:25, D Reece Harsch (3), on a PP at 13:03, and F Donovan Neuls (2), on another PP at 18:33, scored for the Thunderbirds. . . . The Hitmen tied it on goals from D Jake Bean (1), at 7:13 of the third period, D Vladislav Yeryomenko (3), at 13:08, and F Mark Kastelic (3), on a PP, at 14:14. . . . Strand also had an assist for Seattle. . . . Bean and Yeryomenko each added an assist for Calgary. . . . Seattle was 2-4 on the PP; Calgary was 1-6. . . . G Liam Hughes recorded the victory with 25 saves, two fewer than Calgary’s Matthew Armitage. . . . The Hitmen were without F Andrew Fyten, who was suspended for one game after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in Lethbridge on Friday night. . . . D Jarret Tyszka and D Aaron Hyman returned to Seattle’s lineup after a one-game absence. Each picked up one assist. . . . Announced attendance: 5,705.


At Red Deer, F Lane Zablocki scored at 1:42 of OT to give the Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . The Rebels (8-6-0) have won two in a row, both in extra time. . . . The Pats (8-6-2) have lost two straight (0-1-1). . . . D Hunter Donohoe gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead with his first WHL goal at 3:23 of the first period. . . . F Jack Flaman stretched that lead to 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at 16:53. That was Flaman’s fifth goal of the the season, but his first with Red Deer. He was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Thursday. . . . The Pats scored the game’s next three goals. . . . D Dawson Davidson (3), who also had an assist, got the visitors started at 17:31 of the first period. . . . D Josh Mahura (5) tied the score, on a PP, at 5:03 of the second period, and F Robbie Holmes (3) gave the Pats a 3-2 lead at  9:11. . . . Red Deer tied it when F Grayson Pawlenchuk (8) scored, on a PP, at 2:52 of the third period. . . . Zablocki won it with his sixth goal of the season. Red Deer acquired Zablocki from Regina in a trade last season. . . . Red Deer was 1-2 on the PP; Regina was 1-6. . . . The Rebels got 28 stops from G Ethan Anders. . . . Regina G Tyler Brown stopped 16 shots. . . . F Brandon Hagel (ill) was among Red Deer’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 4,051.


At Swift Current, G Logan Flodell stopped 38 shots and the Broncos’ hot line picked up another seven points, including three goals, in a 4-0 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Broncos (10-2-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Tigers (8-6-0) have lost two in a row. . . . F Glenn Gawdin, one-third of the hot line, scored twice and added two assists. He got the game’s first goal, while shorthanded, at 5:44, then scored the last goal, again while shorthanded, at 19:40 of the second period. He’s got 11 goals. . . . D Artyom Minulin (3) and F Aleksi Heponiemi (10) had the other goals. . . . Heponiemi, who also had an assist, and F Tyler Steenbergen, who had one assist, are Gawdin’s linemates. . . . Steenbergen ran his point steak to 13 games. He leads the WHL in goals (21) and points (35). . . . D Colby Sissons had two assists. . . . The Tigers were 0-6 on the PP; the Broncos’ PP unit wasn’t given even one opportunity. . . . Flodell posted his second shutout this season and the eighth of his WHL career. . . . The Tigers got 33 saves from G Jordan Hollett. . . . Announced attendance: 2,380.


At Saskatoon, F Cam Hebig scored two goals to lead the Blades to a 4-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Blades (5-7-1) have won two in a row for the first time this season. . . . The Wheat Kings (9-5-1) have lost two straight. . . . The Blades scored the first four goals, striking twice in each of the first two periods. . . . Hebig got it started, on a PP, at 15:07 of the first period. . . . F Tyler Lees (2) scored his second goal in two games at 17:13. . . . F Chase Wouters (4) upped the lead to 3-0 at 10:13 of the second period and Hebig added his 12th at 18:47. . . . F Tanner Kaspick (6) had Brandon’s goal, on a PP, at 19:14 of the third period. . . . F Bradly Goethals helped the Blades with two assists. . . . Saskatoon was 1-2 on the PP; Brandon was 1-5. . . . The Blades got 32 stops from G Ryan Kubic. . . . Brandon G Logan Thompson made 19 saves. . . . Announced attendance: 3,058.


At Kamloops, D Joe Gatenby scored 40 seconds into OT to give the Blazers a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kamloops (4-11-0) won for the first time in seven tries at home this season. . . . Tri-City (9-4-2) has points in eight straight games (6-0-2). . . . The visitors took a 1-0 lead when F Riley Sawchuk (2) scored at 3:19 of the first period. . . . The Blazers moved out front 2-1 on goals from F Keltie Jeri-Leon (1), at 5:38 of the first period, and F Quinn Benjafield (2), on a 5-on-3 PP, at 5:58 of the third period. . . . Jeri-Leon was acquired from the Americans on Oct. 8. He went into the game with one assist in eight games. . . . F Nolan Yaremko pulled the Americans into a 2-2 tie with his fourth goal, at 13:16. . . . Gatenby, who also had an assist, won it with his fifth goal this season. . . . F Garrett Pilon had two assists for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers held the puck for all 40 seconds of OT, winning it when Pilon directed the puck to the Tri-City net from the right wing and having it bounce off a player or two, one of them being Gatenby, and trickling into the net. . . . The Blazers were 1-4 on the PP; the Americans were 0-2. . . . G Dylan Ferguson earned the victory with 22 saves, six fewer than Tri-City’s Patrick Dea. . . . With Tri-City G Beck Warm sidelined with an undisclosed injury, Xavier Cannon, 17, backed up Dea. Cannon, who is from Kamloops, was a ninth-round selection by the Americans in the 2016 bantam draft. Cannon now plays for the major midget Kootenay Ice. Craig West, the veteran radio voice of the Americans, picked up Cannon in Trail, B.C., and got him to Kelowna where he backed up on Friday night. After the game in Kamloops, West drove Cannon to Kelowna where the Ice is scheduled to play against the Okanagan Rockets this morning at 10. . . . F Michael Rasmussen was among Tri-City’s scratches for a second straight night. It’s believed that Rasmussen was injured in an 8-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday night. . . . Announced attendance: 3,319.


At Victoria, F Matthew Phillips scored the only goal of a three-round shootout as the Royals got past the Vancouver Giangts, 6-5. . . . The Royals improved to 11-4-1 and moved back atop the overall standings, one point ahead of the idle Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Giants (5-6-3) have lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . The Giants forced OT by overcoming a 5-2 deficit in the last 6:10 of the third period. . . . F Owen Hardy (5) made it 5-3 at 13:50, with F Tyler Popowich (2) getting his mates to within one at 15:56. F Cliff Running (11) tied it, on a PP, at 19:01. . . . D Matt Barberis (1) had given the Giants a 1-0 lead at 12:36 of the first period. . . . The Royals scored the next three goals. . . . F Ryan Peckford (8) counted at 12:45 of the first period. F Eric Florchuk (4), at 8:30 of the second period, and F Matthew Phillips (13), on a PP, at 11:45, stretched it to 3-0. . . . Vancouver F James Malm (4) got his club’s second goal, at 14:42. . . . The Royals opened the third period with two more goals, from F Regan Nagy (15), at 7:48, and F Jared Legien (7), at 8:04. . . . D Scott Walford had two assists for the Royals. . . . The Giants got two assists from D Dylan Plouffe, with Hardy and Barbers adding one each. . . . Phillips picked up the 100th assist and 200th point of his career on Peckford’s goal. With a goal and an assist, Phillips ran his point streak to 16 games. He has 32 points over that stretch. . . . Vancouver was 1-6 on the PP; Victoria was 1-9. . . . The Royals got 43 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . At the other end, David Tendeck stopped 37 shots. . . . This was the Royals’ first home game after a seven-game road trip. . . . F Tyler Benson was among Vancouver’s scratches. He played his first game since Jan. 2 on Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars. Benson had off-season sports hernia surgery and the Giants chose not to play him in back-to-back games. He is expected to be in the lineup in Victoria this afternoon. . . . Announced attendance: 4,491.


At Kelowna, the Rockets broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of second-period goals and went on to beat the Prince George Cougars, 4-2. . . . Kelowna (7-5-2) now has won three straight. . . . Prince George (5-6-4) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). . . . F Leif Mattson (3) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 12:13 of the first period. That was his third goal in four games. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (4) tied the score at 19:25. . . . Rockets F Kyle Topping (7) broke the tie at 9:04 of the second period and D Cal Foote (4) made it 3-1 at 18:58. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal as F Josh Maser (5) scored at 3:19 of the third. . . . The Rockets iced it when F Carsen Twarynski (9) got the empty-netter at 18:32. . . . F Brogan O’Brien had two assists for Prince George. . . . The Cougars were 1-3 on the PP; the Rockerts were 0-5. . . . G James Porter stopped 27 shots for the Rockets, one more than Prince George’s Taylor Gauthier. . . . Announced attendance: 4,708.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Regina at Edmonton, 4 p.m.

Red Deer vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 4 p.m.

Vancouver at Victoria, 3:05 p.m.

Seattle at Lethbridge, 6 p.m.

Everett at Portland, 5 p.m.


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


Scattershooting, on a slow day … Hurricanes deal for d-man … Broncos win in Regina

Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Sales are sluggish for tickets to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. Factors include high prices, a sagging world economy, and a reluctance to buy front-row seats for a nuclear holocaust.”


We are going to be hearing a lot over the next while about a Japanese baseball player named Shohei Otani. He is a pitcher who can hit — or a hitter who can pitch — and he’s likely headed this way. Something tells me there isn’t a team in the tradition-bound MLB that will allow him to do both.



Thompson Rivers U in Kamloops will play host to the U Sports men’s soccer nationals, Nov. 9-12. Might TRU athletic director Ken Olynyk ride off into the sunset after the tournament?


Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian Pilot was watching as Maria Sharapova returned to pro tennis from a drug-related suspension: “There’s no danger of me watching Sharapova’s scream queen matches, at least not with the sound on. The Shrieking Violet is as loud as ever. It recalls something the late actor Peter Ustinov said about Monica Seles at Wimbledon in the early ’90s: ‘I’d hate to be next door to her on her wedding night.’ ”


I pay little attention to the weekly CHL rankings and here’s why: The Regina Pats were ranked No. 1 when the first rankings came out a week ago. The Pats lost 8-1 to the host Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday. The Pats are No. 1 again in this week’s rankings. . . . Last night, the Pats dropped a 5-3 decision to the visiting and unranked Swift Current Broncos.


Headlines — At TheKicker.com: Eli tries to give pep talk after game, but he can’t find his receivers. . . . At SportsPickle.com: Breaking: Andrew Luck schedules season-ending shoulder surgery so he doesn’t have to play for the Cubs.


When it was reported that the new Apple iPhone X’s ability to track such things as jogging, stair climbing and mountain biking, comedian Argus Hamilton wondered: “But will it have any features for Americans?”


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, pointed out the other day that “Kids today probably would have a hard time believing the movie Major League was supposed to be about the woeful Cleveland Indians.”


A note from Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express hits the nail squarely on the head: “Trust me: the Calgary Flames won’t be moving to Seattle or anywhere else. NHL teams playing this silly little stadium game have grown tiresome.”


After ESPN, in a preseason U.S. college football poll, had the Michigan Wolverines projected for 8.4 victories, New York Post reader Scott Scovin wondered: “Was that determined by the guy who has 2.3 children?”


Regina police charged someone with impaired driving on Wednesday morning. The driver blew four times the legal limit. Cst. Warner of the Regina Police Service’s traffic unit tweeted: “This driver was trying to drive their kids to school.” . . . Seriously.


Have the Pittsburgh Penguins become Trump’s Political Pawns? Keith Olbermann thinks so, and a whole lot more . . .


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have acquired D Tate Olson, 20, from the Prince George Cougars for a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam drafft. . . . Olson, however, won’t be able to play for at least a month as he continues to recover from off-season shoulder surgery. . . . Olson was a second-round pick by the Cougars in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . In 252 regular-season games with the Cougars, he has 23 goals and 84 assists. Last season, he had seven goals and 19 assists in 67 games. . . . From Saskatoon, he was a seventh-round selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2015 draft, but they never signed him. . . . With Olson and D Brennan Riddle, 20, on the injured list, the Hurricanes will go with F Giorgio Estephan and F Jack Flaman, who was acquired on waivers from the Vancouver Giants this week, as their only 20-year-olds. Riddle, who underwent surgery on a wrist, is back skating but has yet to be cleared to return to full-contact practice.

The Cougars, meanwhile, are down to four 20-year-olds — F Jared Bethune, F Aaron Boyd, D Shane Collins and F Brogan O’Brien.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have released F Connor Lyons, 18, who is from Lethbridge. He was pointless in one game this season. Last season, he had one assist in 10 games with the Hurricanes. His father, Corey, played two seasons (1988-90) with the Hurricanes.


The Kamloops Blazers released veteran G Kyle Dumba, 19, on Wednesday, leaving them with Dylan Ferguson and Max Palaga as their goaltenders. . . . If Dumba clears WHL waivers, he is expected to join the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. . . . The Blazers had acquired Dumba from the Calgary Hitmen on Aug. 1 for a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. That pick now will be returned to the Hitmen. . . . Dumba, from Calgary, was selected by the Hitmen in the fourth round of the 2013 bantam draft. Last season, in 28 games with Calgary, he was 7-9-2, 4.00, .860. . . . He got into one game with Kamloops, coming on in relief of Ferguson to stop all 10 shots he faced in a 6-2 loss to the host Kelowna Rockets on Friday. . . . Dumba was up against it in Kamloops because of his age. The starter’s job was Ferguson’s to lose after he spent the previous two seasons backing up Connor Ingram, who now is in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization. . . . Palaga, 17, is from Kamloops.


The NHL’s Los Angeles Kings returned two players to WHL teams on Wednesday, with F Jaret Anderson-Dolan sent back to the Spokane Chiefs and D Kale Clague to the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Anderson-Dolan, 18, was a second-round pick by Los Angeles in the NHL’s 2017 draft. He had 39 goals and 37 assists in 72 games with the Chiefs last season. . . . Clague, 19, was a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft. He had five goals and 35 assists in 48 games with Brandon last season. . . . The Chiefs are in Cranbrook, B.C., to meet the Kootenay Ice on Friday, while the Wheat Kings entertain the Red Deer Rebels. . . .

With Anderson-Dolan and Clague back, there now are seven WHLers left in the WHL, not counting 20-year-olds: F Nolan Patrick, 18, of the Wheat Kings (Philadelphia Flyers); D Jake Bean, 19, of the Calgary Hitmen (Carolina Hurricanes); F Sam Steel, 18, of the Regina Pats (Anaheim Ducks); D Josh Mahura, 19, of the Pats (Anaheim); F Kailer Yamamoto of Spokane (Edmonton Oilers); F Michael Rasmussen of the Tri-City Americans (Detroit Red Wings); and F Tyler Benson of the Vancouver Giants (Edmonton).

Benson is recovering from off-season sports hernia surgery and hasn’t been involved in a contact practice yet with the Oilers. He is expected to rejoin the Giants in mid-October.

Yamamoto, who turns 19 on Saturday, was in the Oilers’ lineup as they beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-0, last night in Saskatoon. In fact, he was in Edmonton’s starting lineup, on a line with Connor McDavid.


I have to be honest here . . . although I don’t get to see him too often, Todd McLellan is one of my favourite hockey people. I remember bumping into him a few years ago during a Kamloops Blazers training camp. His son, Tyson, was skating with the Blazers and Todd was there as a parent. We had a genuine conversation just like two old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. . . . These days, of course, he’s with the Edmonton Oilers and it’s safe to say he is recognized as one of the NHL’s best head coaches. . . . The Oilers played in Saskatoon last night and Darren Zary of The StarPhoenix caught up with McLellan to talk about the coaching road he has followed. That story is right here.


The Victoria Royals remain hopeful that they will get back D Chaz Reddekopp, 20, at some point. On Wednesday, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings assigned him to their AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound native of West Kelowna, B.C., was a seventh-round pick by the Kings in the NHL’s 2015 draft and has signed with them.


Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet filed his latest 31 Thoughts and, as usual, it’s a must-read for any hockey fan. Yes, he offers up his thoughts on the Pittsburgh Penguins and the mess they found themselves in on Sunday. It’s all right here.


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Wednesday:

At Regina, F Glenn Gawdin figured in Swift Current’s first three goals — all via the PP — and the Broncos went on to a 5-3 victory over the Pats. . . . Gawdin gave the Broncos a 2-0 lead with PP goals at 8:00 of the first period and 3:41 of the second. He’s got four goals in two games. . . . Gawdin then drew the primary assist on F Tyler Steenbergen’s first goal of the season at 4:21. . . . F Matt Bradley got the Pats on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 6:49, but Swift Current F Colby Sissons (1) got that one back at 11:21. . . . The Pats got to within one goal on scores from Bradley (5), at 17:09 of the second, and F Bryce Platt (1), at 12:25 of the third period. . . . Steenbergen, who also had two assists, iced it with an empty-netter at 19:02. . . . The Broncos got four assists from sophomore F Aleksi Heponiemi. . . . Bradley added an assist to his two goals. . . . Swift Current (2-0-0) was 3-5 on the PP; Regina (1-2-0) was 1-5. . . . The Broncos got 34 saves from G Logan Flodell, who is from Regina. He was making his first start since being acquired last week from the Saskatoon Blades. . . . G Tyler Brown was scheduled to start for Regina; in fact, he was in the lineup posted by the Pats on Twitter. However, he was a late scratch with an undisclosed injury, with Max Paddock getting the start and Jacob Wassermann of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos on the bench in support. Paddock stopped 29 shots. . . . Regina was without Finnish freshman F Emil Oksanen because of what GM/head coach John Paddock said was a “personal” issue. . . . The Pats remain without F Jake Leschyshyn, 18, who is recovering from knee surgery that brought his 2016-17 season to a premature end. He spent more than two weeks in camp with the Vegas Golden Knights — they selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2017 draft — but wasn’t cleared for contact. . . . Announced attendance: 5,467. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has a game story right here.


Thursday:

No Games Scheduled.


Friday (all times local):

Red Deer at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Lethbridge at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Spokane at Kootenay, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Everett at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Prince George 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).


Reigning champs getting new owners … Winterhawks get back top guns … Lewis sparks Wheaties

The 2017 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for Sunday morning in McDonald Park. My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, will be walking for a fourth straight year. If you would like to support her cause, you may do so right here.


Dan and Lindsey Leckelt, who own controlling interest in the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints, have an agreement in principle to purchase the Seattle Thunderbirds, the WHL’s reigning champions.

The Thunderbirds’ ownership group comprises Russ Farwell, who is the governor and general manager; Colin Campbell, the vice-president and assistant general manager; local businessmen James and Davis Clapp; Gregory Gicewicz, from Microsoft; Craig Howland, the president of Syntek; James Prekeges, who has retired from Microsoft; Carol and Philip Paulsen, of Philip Paulsen D.D.S. Family Dentistry; and Pat Smith, a real estate agent/investor who played for the Thunderbirds (1980-83) and also served as an assistant coach (1988-91).

Farwell and Campbell will remain in their positions.

The Leckelt brothers are the co-CEOs of Silent-Aire, which, according to a news release, is “an engineering and data centre equipment manufacturing company with 900 employees and operations in Edmonton, Phoenix, Seattle, Virginia and Dublin.”

Besides the Saints, they also own the Stony Plain Eagles, a senior AAA team that plays in the Allan Cup Hockey West, which used to be the Chinook Hockey League. Both Leckelts played for the Eagles back in the day.

The sale of the Thunderbirds needs the approval of the WHL’s board of governors and the City of Kent before becoming official. The Thunderbirds are the anchor tenant at the ShoWare Center in Kent.

The WHL’s board of governors is scheduled to review the transfer of ownership at a meeting in Calgary on Oct. 4.

Assuming all is approved, the Thunderbirds will become the second WHL franchise to change hands in 2017. The WHL’s board of governors approved the transfer of the Kootenay Ice from the Chynoweth family to Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell on April 27.

While it isn’t common for owners to be involved at the junior A and WHL level at the same time, it has happened.

Mark Wagstaff, a Victoria businessman, owned the Tri-City Americans and the BCHL’s Victoria Salsa at the same time (2000-02) before selling the WHL franchise.

Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, owned a piece of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees before selling it 10 or 12 years ago.

Bill Yuill, who owns the Everett Silvertips, also has the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder in his stable. He also has owned NAHL and NA3HL franchises.


The NHL’s New York Islanders returned F Kieffer Bellows, 19, to the Portland Winterhawks on Friday, but not before signing him to a three-year entry-level contract. . . . Bellows, the son of former NHLer Brian Bellows, was a first-round pick by the Islanders in the 2016 NHL draft. . . . Portland selected Bellows in the seventh round of the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had seven goals and seven assists in 34 games as a freshman at Boston U. . . . Bellows, from Edina, Minn., also was a member of Team USA as it won gold at the 2017 World Junior Championship in Montreal/Toronto; in fact, he scored twice in the championship game.

The Winterhawks also learned Friday that the Vegas Golden Knights were returning F Cody Glass to Portland, while the Los Angeles Kings sent F Evan Weinger back. From El Segundo, Calif., Weinger, 20, was in the Kings’ camp as an undrafted free agent. Last season, he had 20 goals and 18 assists in 38 games with Portland. In three seasons, he has put up 37 goals and 52 assists in 89 games.

Weinger’s return leaves the Winterhawks with four 20-year-olds, including F Alex Overhardt, D Keoni Texeira and G Cole Kehler.

Glass, from Winnipeg, was the expansion Golden Knights’ inaugural first-round NHL draft pick. He was taken with the fifth overall selection and is expected to be one of the WHL’s top players this season.


The Moose Jaw Warriors waived veteran F Spencer Bast on Friday as he became a victim of the 20-year-old game. From Macklin, Sask., Bast originally was on the Kamloops Blazers’ protected list. He had three goals and three assists in 20 games with Moose Jaw last season. He started the season with Kamloops, putting up six goals and five assists in 40 games. In 113 career games, he has 13 goals and 16 assists. . . . His departure leaves the Warriors with three 20s — F Brayden Burke, F Jayden Halbgewachs and F Tanner Jeannot.

In Medicine Hat, D Brad Forrest also go caught up in the 20-year-old game. He was released by the Tigers and is expected to join the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs. . . . Forrest’s departure leaves the Tigers with four 20-year-olds — F Mark Rassell, F Zach Fischer, Latvian D Kristians Rubins and G Michael Bullion. Fischer (concussion) and Rubins (shoulder) are injured at the moment.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Seth Jarvis and F Cross Hanas, both of whom were selected in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . Jarvis, from Winnipeg, was taken in the first round. Last season, he had 76 goals and 44 assists for the Rink Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Winnipeg. He will spend the 2017-18 season with the school’s midget prep team. . . . Hanas, from Highland Village, Texas, was a fourth-round pick. Last season, with the Dallas Stars Elite U-14 side, he had 35 goals and 45 assists in 55 games. Cross is the son of former WHL F Trevor Hanas (Regina, Saskatoon, Lethbridge, 1991-96), who had 111 goals and 149 assists in 331 regular-season games. He now scouts for the Winterhawks.


What is going on with the Portland Winterhawks, where the coaching staff includes Danny Flynn? Just one year ago, Flynn was preparing to take the Saint John Sea Dogs into a QMJHL season that would end with them appearing in the Memorial cup. . . . So how is it that Flynn ended up in Portland, working as an assistant coach alongside Mike Johnston, the general manager and head coach? . . . Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune has more right here.


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Friday games:

At Brandon, F Ty Lewis enjoyed a five-point night to lead the Wheat Kings to an 8-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . F Stelio Mattheos scored two first-period PP goals as the home side got off to a 3-0 lead. His first goal, at 11:57 of the opening period, was the first goal scored in the WHL this regular season. . . . Regina got its lone goal from F Braydon Buziak, on the PP, at 19:30 of the first period. . . . Lewis iced it with the only goals of the second period, at 0:53 and 19:17. . . . Lewis, whose previous single-game high was four points from a game against the Calgary Hitmen last season, drew three assists in the first period and scored twice in the second. . . . The Wheat Kings got two goals from F Cole Reinhardt, and two assists from each of D Braden Schneider, D School Higson and F Tanner Kaspick. F Connor Gutenberg added a goal and an assist. . . . Brandon was 3-5 on the PP; Regina was 1-5. . . . G Logan Thompson earned the victory with 33 saves. . . . Regina starter Tyler Brown was beaten five times on 34 shots over two periods. Max Paddock played the third period in his hometown, stopping eight of 11 shots. . . . The Pats are without F Sam Steel, the reigning WHL scoring champion. He is in camp with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Also missing is F Nick Henry (shoulder). . . . The Wheat Kings are missing F Nolan Patrick (Philadelphia Flyers) and D Kale Clague (Los Angeles Kings). Also missing from Brandon’s lineup are D Daniel Bukac and D James Shearer, both out with undisclosed long-term injuries. . . . Announced attendance: 5,012.


At Cranbrook, B.C., the Fettes/Cockell era got off to a winning start as the Kootenay Ice scored a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell purchased the Ice from the Chynoweth family last spring. Jeff Chynoweth now is Calgary’s general manager. . . . Last night, James Patrick, Kootenay’s new head coach, earned his first victory in his first game. . . . The Ice got 35 saves from G Bailey Brkin, whom Cockell, the Ice’s GM, acquired from the Swift Current Broncos last week. . . . Calgary G Nick Schneider blocked 28 shots. . . . Swiss F Gilian Kohler scored the winner, breaking a 2-2 tie at 7:32 of the third period. . . . The Hitmen had tied it just 11 seconds earlier on a goal from D Vladislav Yeryomenko. . . . F Michael King gave the Ice a 2-0 lead with a pair of first-period goals. . . . F Jake Kryski got the Hitmen to within one at 17:53. . . . Calgary was 0-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-6. . . . Calgary D Jake Bean remains with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . Announced attendance: 3,392.


At Prince Albert, G Brody Willms posted his second career shutout, leading the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-0 lead over the Raiders. . . . Willms finished with 21 saves, including eight in the first period and nine in the third. . . . F Brayden Burke scored the game’s first goal at 6:36 of the second period. . . . F Justin Almeida added insurance at 0:56 of the third period, with D Jett Woo icing things at 3:52. . . . Prince Albert was 0-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . The Raiders got 26 saves on 28 shots from G Ian Scott, who left 1:12 into the third period after Warriors F Luka Burzan fell on him. Nic Sanders came on to stop 11 of 12 shots in 18:48. . . . Scott has “a lower-body injury,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com. “Those aren’t good on goaltenders. It’s the way it is and we’ll see how it goes. It’s next man up. We have two other goaltenders in camp, they’ll have to run with it for a little bit here. It gives them an opportunity. It’s just unfortunate because I thought Scottie played well tonight.” . . . D Josh Brook, who had surgery to repair a broken wrist in Montreal on Friday, was among Moose Jaw’s scratches, while F Brett Howden is with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . The Raiders are without F Parker Kelly, who is with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. . . . Raiders F Justin Nachbaur sat out Game 2 of a four-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 2,514.


At Lethbridge, F Jadon Joseph scored twice and added an assist as the Hurricanes beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-2. . . . F Gary Haden gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead at 3:23 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes scored the next four goals. . . . F Dylan Cozens tied it on a PP at 14:48 of the second. . . . Joseph broke the tie, on a PP, at 19:56 of the second and later got an empty-netter. . . . F Giorgio Estephan, in his first game as the Hurricanes’ captain, had a goal and an assist. . . . Lethbridge got 37 saves from G Stuart Skinner, while G Michael Bullion stopped 37 for the Tigers. Bullion stopped Joseph on a penalty shot at 13:02 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes were 3-5 on the PP; the Tigers were 0-3. . . . The Tigers are missing G Jordan Hollett (mononucleosis), Latvian D Kristians Rubins (shoulder) and F Zach Fischer (concussion). . . . Announced attendance: 5,244.


At Saskatoon, the Swift Current Broncos scored four third-period goals, the last two into an empty net, to beat the Blades, 5-2. . . . F Bradly Goethals gave the Blades a 2-1 lead at 11:37 of the second period. . . . F Riley Stotts pulled the Broncos even at 3:43 of the third period and F Conner Chaulk broke the tie, at 12:21. . . . F Glenn Gawdin, with his second goal of the game, got the first empty-netter, with D Artyom Minulin adding the second. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen had two assists for the winners. . . . Broncos G Joel Hofer stopped 23 shots to earn his first WHL victory in his first career start. . . . The Blades got 29 saves from G Ryan Kubic. . . . Swift Current was 0-1 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-2. . . . G Taz Burman has disappeared from the Broncos’ roster, leaving them with four 20-year-olds, one over the limit. F Arthur Miller sat out last night, with G Logan Flodell, who backed up, F Glenn Gawdin and F Conner Chaulk playing. . . . The Blades were without F Cam Hebig, who served the first of a two-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 7,460.


At Prince George, D Ty Smith scored once and added two assists to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-2 victory over the Cougars. . . . The visitors got out to a 3-0 lead, with Smith drawing assists on two of those goals, by 8:45 of the second period. . . . F Hudson Elynuik scored the third of those goals, on a PP, and had an assist on the second one, a shorthanded effort from F Riley Woods. . . . Woods also had an assist, while F Riley McKay had two of them. . . . Spokane was 1-3 on the PP; Prince George was 1-6. . . . G Dawson Weatherill earned the victory with 28 saves, one more than Tavin Grant of the Cougars. . . . The Chiefs were missing F Kailer Yamamoto (Edmonton Oilers) and F Jared Anderson-Dolan (Los Angeles Kings). . . . Prince George is without D Dennis Cholowski (Detroit Red Wings). . . . F Radovan Bondra, 20, won’t be returning to the Cougars after signing with the Rockford IceHogs, the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate. The Blackhawks selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2015 draft. . . . Prince George still is carrying five 20-year-olds, although D Tate Olson (shoulder) is on injured reserve. Last night, the Cougars dressed F Brogan O’Brien, F Aaron Boyd and D Shane Collins, while F Jared Bethune didn’t play. . . . Dan Lambert, the Chiefs’ first-year head coach, won his first game in his first start. Of course, he was 53-13-6 in his one season (2014-15) as head coach of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 3,833.


At Victoria, F Matthew Phillips scored three times and added an assist to lead the Royals to a 7-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Phillips, a 50-goal man last season, gave his guys a 3-0 lead with a shorthanded goal 12 seconds into the second period. He competed the hat trick with goals at 1:41 and 4:38 of the third period. . . . Phillips’ sixth career three-goal game came on Matthew Phillips Bobblehead Night. . . . F Ryan Peckford had two goals and an assist, while F Eric Florchuk, F Dante Hannoun, D Jared Freadrich and F Jared Legien each had two assists. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse stopped 31 of 32 shots in 52:25. He lost his shutout bid when F Ty Running scored at 19:52 of the second period. . . . G Dean McNabb finished up for the Royals, stopping four shots in 7:35. . . . Vancouver starter Todd Scott surrendered seven goals on 24 shots in 46:29. David Tendeck came on in relief and made four saves. . . . Victoria was 3-8 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-6. . . . The Giants were without F Tyler Popowich, who suffered an undisclosed injury in practice on Thursday. Also injured are D Bailey Dhaliwal and F Tyler Benson. Benson, who is recovering from off-season hernia surgery, is with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers but not yet partaking in on-ice drills. . . . The Royals are expecting to get F Tyler Soy, 20, back from the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, who haven’t signed him. But he didn’t return in time to play in this one. . . . Dan Price, in his first season as the Royals’ head coach, improved his record to 1-2-1. Price, an assistant coach with the Royals last season, went 0-2-1 when then-head coach Dave Lowry sat out during a mumps scare. . . . Announced attendance: 6,549.


At Kelowna, F Kyle Topping scored twice and added an assist as the Rockets beat the Kamloops Blazers, 6-2. . . . The Rockets beat the Blazers three times in the exhibition season — 6-4, 1-0 and 4-3 in a shootout. . . . Last night, the Rockets held period leads of 2-0 and 6-0. . . . Kelowna F Kole Lind, just back from the camp of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, had a goal and two assists, with F Jack Cowell, F Liam Kindree and F Tomas Soustal each adding a goal and an assist. D Cal Foote, in his first game as Kelowna’s captain, had three assists. F Nolan Foote, Cal’s younger brother, had two assists. . . . Soustal, a 20-year-old from Czech Republic, was in Kelowna’s lineup as a two-spotter. D James Hilsendager and D Gordie Ballhorn were the other 20s in the lineup. . . . Freshman D Libor Zabransky, also from Czech Republic, was the second import dressed by Kelowna. . . . Kelowna was 2-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-5. . . . The Rockets got 33 saves from G Brodan Salmond. He lost his shutout at 13:24 of the third period when Swiss F Justin Sigrist scored his first WHL goal. . . . Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson was beaten six times on 27 shots. Kyle Dumba came on for the third period and stopped all 10 shots he faced. . . . Announced attendance: 5,238.


Saturday games (all times local):

Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.

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

Spokane at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Vancouver 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Portland at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Sunday games (all times local):

Red Deer at Edmonton, 4 p.m.

Tri-City at Everett, 4:05 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).