Pats add veteran d-man from Ice … Saskatoon, Kootenay move goalies … Warriors add some size, grit

F Rihards Burkarts (Brandon, Portland, 2013-16) has been released by mutual agreement by Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had two goals and two assists in 17 games. . . .

F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Selb (Germany, Oberliga) after his release by mutual agreement by Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL) on Sunday. He had nine goals and 10 assists in 15 games with Gherdëina this season. 

When you are the host team for the next Memorial Cup, tradition dictates that your roster is in a constant state of flux prior to the Jan. 10 trade deadline.

The Regina Pats, the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, continued down that road on Monday when they sent a potential five assets to the Kootenay Ice, getting back veteran D Cale Fleury, who is to turn 19 on Sunday, in the exchange.

Going to the Ice: D Jonathan Smart, 18; F Cole Muir, 16; and two or three bantam draft picks — a second-rounder in 2018, a sixth in 2018 and an undisclosed conditional pick in 2019 or 2020. The latter likely is conditional on Fleury playing in the WHL as a 20-year-old.

Originally, the second-round pick belonged to the Medicine Hat Tigers. It moved to Regina in a deal that had G Jordan Hollett move to the Tigers on May 23. In exchange for Hollett, 18, the Pats got F Matt Bradley, 20, the second-round pick and a fifth-rounder in 2019.

The sixth-round pick actually goes back to the Ice after having been sent to Regina for G Kurtis Chapman, who was released by Kootenay on Monday.

Fleury, the Ice’s captain since January, is from Carlyle, Sask. The Ice selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 bantam draft. The Montreal Canadiens picked him in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. His older brother, Haydn, played in the WHL with the Red Deer Rebels and now is a defenceman with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

Cale is in his fourth WHL season, all of them with Kootenay. In 218 regular-season games, he put up 86 points, including 26 goals. Last season, he had 11 goals and 27 assists in 70 games.

Smart, from Kelowna, was a first-round selection by the Kelowna Rockets in the 2014 bantam draft. He is the son of former WHLer Jason Smart, and his grandfather, Russ, is a long-time WHL scout.

This season, Jonathan has 12 points, including two goals, in 21 games. In 132 regular-season games, he has 47 points, seven of them goals.

The Pats acquired Smart from Kelowna last season, sending D James Hilsendager and F Erik Gardiner to the Rockets.

Muir, from Vista, Man., is in his first WHL season and has one assist in 12 games. The Pats selected him in the second round of the 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he had 16 goals and 16 assists in 40 games with the midget AAA Yellowhead Chiefs in Manitoba.

John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, pulled the trigger on the trade with Kootenay after the Pats were swept by the rival Moose Jaw Warriors in a Friday-Sunday doubleheader.

The Warriors won 3-2 in Regina on Friday, then returned home and won 3-1, on Sunday. When the games were done, the Pats were six points behind the Eastern Conference-leading Warriors, who also are atop the WHL’s overall standings.

After Sunday’s game, Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post wrote:

“There were rumblings on the weekend that the Pats — and perhaps the Warriors as well — were close to making a significant trade. Paddock wouldn’t tip his hand, but he did say there won’t be a knee-jerk reaction based solely on two lacklustre games.”

Paddock also told Harder:

“That’s the last thing on my mind. With the (trade) deadline (on Jan. 10), different guys have different ideas of when they want to do things. We have different things that we’re working on all the time to tweak some things.”

Obviously, Paddock is wanting to tweak his defence, and you have to wonder if he won’t make another deal down the road to bring in a high-end defenceman. As Jan. 10 nears and the non-contenders start auctioning off assets, there could be an all-star defenceman or two come available. Paddock, you can bet, will be first in line with his shopping cart.

The Moose Jaw Warriors got bigger and stronger up front on Monday when they acquired F Barrett Sheen, 19, from the Kootenay Ice for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Sheen, from Airdrie, Alta., has two goals, five assists and 51 penalty minutes in 18 games this season. Last season, he totalled eight goals, 10 assists and 159 penalty minutes in 55 games with the Ice. (The WHL credits Sheen with 129 penalty minutes; the league doesn’t include misconducts or game misconducts in its individual penalty totals.)

In 2015-16, Sheen had four goals and eight assists in 46 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Saskatoon Blades have made a switch with their goaltenders, dropping Joel Grzybowski, 18, and adding Nolan Maier, 16. . . . Grzbowski, from Hafford, Sask., was an 11th-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. This season, in five appearances, he was 0-1-0, 4.20, .843. He is expected to join the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars. . . . Maier, from Yorkton, Sask., was a second-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. He has been playing with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, where he is 1-5-1, 5.15, .897. . . . The plan now is for Maier to spend the remainder of the season in Saskatoon backing up Ryan Kubic, 19.

The Kootenay Ice dropped G Kurtis Chapman, 19, from its roster on Monday. He is expected to join the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs. Chapman, who was acquired from the Regina Pats on Sept. 13, was 4-5-0, 3.91, .880 with the Ice this season. . . . The Ice now is carrying two goaltenders — Bailey Brkin, 18, who came over from the Swift Current Broncos, and Duncan McGovern, 17, who was acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Everett Silvertips, who it seems once looked at playing a game on the deck of an aircraft carrier, would be interested in playing an outdoor game at Seattle’s Safeco Field. However, Zoran Rajcic, the COO of CSH International, Inc., which owns the Silvertips, has told Jesse Geleynse of the Everett Herald that nothing is in the works at this moment. . . . “Is there an interest level? Absolutely,” Rajcic said. “I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to that. But we haven’t done anything (about it).” . . . Craig Herkimer, the president of KevaWorks, an event-management and promotions company based in California, has expressed an interest in being involved. He told Geleynse, via email: “Nothing has been confirmed, but many people in the sports community are interested in bringing this kind of event to the area.” . . . Geleynse’s piece is right here.

The KHL is on a scheduled break these days, allowing players to leave their teams to take part in various international competitions. Patrick Conway has taken advantage of the situation to write about the KHL’s teams and attendance. It’s interesting stuff and it’s all right here. . . . You are free to read it and then wonder how these teams are able to pay the salaries they do when attendance numbers don’t seem to be awfully healthy.

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F Seth Bafaro of the Saskatoon Blades has been suspended for four games after he took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct during a 6-4 loss to the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Friday. Bafaro has already missed one game, the Blades’ 3-1 loss to the host Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday.


No Games Scheduled.

TUESDAY (All times local):

Calgary at Brandon, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Prince Albert vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Red Deer at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to 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 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 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.”


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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

Tweet of the day

Spokane adds import d-man … T-Birds release 20-year-old … Tigers bring in Sears

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) has signed a one-year contract with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). Last season, he had seven goals and nine assists in 35 games with Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL).

The Spokane Chiefs have added Czech D Filip Kral to their roster. They announced his signing on Friday, adding that he is expected to arrive in Spokane on Wednesday. . . . Kral will turn 18 on Oct. 20. . . . The Chiefs selected the 6-foot-0, 175-pounder in the CHL’s 2017 import draft. He is from Blansko. . . . Last season, he had four goals and six assists in 13 games with HC Kometa Brno in a U-20 league. He also had two assists in 23 games with the Kometa Brno side in the Czech Extraliga, and a goal and an assist in 12 games with SK Horacka Slavia Trebic in the country’s second-tier pro league. . . . In 22 games with the Czech Republic’s U-18 team, he had a goal and seven assists. . . . This season, he had played four games in the Extraliga and three with SK Horacka Slavia Trebic in country’s second tier pro league but had yet to earn a point. . . . Spokane’s other import is Slovakian F Milos Fafrak, who also was selected in the 2017 import draft. He went into the weekend with two assists in five games.

The Seattle Thunderbirds are down to the maximum of three 20-year-old players after releasing F Tyler Adams. From Regina, Adams was acquired last season from the Swift Current Broncos. He had three goals and five assists in 41 games with the Thunderbirds, after scoring once and adding six assists in 25 games with the Broncos. . . . In 2015-16, as a freshman, he had six goals and seven assists in 72 games with Swift Current. . . . Adams hadn’t gotten into a game with Seattle this season. . . . The Thunderbirds are left with F Donovan Neuls, D Turner Ottenbreit and D Austin Strand as their 20s.

All WHL teams have until Tuesday to declare a maximum of three 20-year-olds. As of Friday night, there still were four teams each carrying four 20s:

Medicine Hat Tigers — G Michael Bullion, F Zach Fischer, F Mark Rassell. D Kristians Rubins (Latvia) two-spotter. (Bullion was scratched last night against Regina.)

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

Prince George Cougars — F Aaron Boyd, F Jared Bethune, D Shane Collins, F Brogan O’Brien. (Collins was scratched last night against Kelowna.)

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

F Kolby Johnson, who was released by the Prince Albert Raiders, has joined the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix. Johnson, 19, is from Rosetown, Sask. After the Raiders released him, he appeared ticketed for the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves. . . . Last season, he had two assists in 34 games after being acquired from Prince George as part of a deal in which D Brendan Guhle moved to the Cougars. In 83 career WHL games, Johnson has one goal and five assists. He was pointless in two games with the Raiders this season.

The Medicine Hat Tigers have hired long-time scout Carter Sears as their director of player personnel. He takes over from Darren Kruger, who left to join the scouting staff of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Sears has spent five seasons scouting for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. . . . Sears was a key figure on the scouting staff of the Red Deer Rebels when they won the 2001 Memorial Cup in Regina. He also worked for the Kootenay Ice.

The Regina Pats unveiled details of their 100th anniversary celebrations, a party that will signal 100 days until the opening of the 2018 Memorial Cup. . . . Yes, it will include an outdoor game between the Moose Jaw Warriors and the Pats. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post was at the news conference and filed this story.

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At Edmonton, D Kale Clague scored three times, his first goals this seaaon, as his Brandon Wheat Kings skated to a 7-3 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Clague, a 19-year-old from Lloydminster, Alta., is in his fourth season with Brandon; this was his first career hat trick. He went into the game with 15 goals in 143 regular-season games. . . . The Wheat Kings opened up a 4-0 lead by the middle of the second period. . . . F Ty Lewis (3), F Linden McCorrister (2) and Clague scored first-period goals, with the latter sniping at 19:57. F Gunnar Wegleitner (1) made it 4-0 at 10:11 of the second period. . . . Edmonton climbed to within two goals on second-period goals from F Brett Kemp (1), at 13:15, and D Matthew Robertson (2), at 14:24. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (6), who also had two assists, got that one back at 1:11 of the third period. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (4), who also had an assist, scored for Edmonton, on a PP, at 9:26, before Brandon put it away on goals from Clague, at 14:46 and 19:27. . . . Brandon got three assists from F Tanner Kaspick, and two from F Connor Gutenberg, with Lewis, McCorrister and Wegleitner each adding one. . . . Brandon (2-2-1) was 1-4 on the PP; Edmonton (2-4-0) was 2-6. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 31 shots for the Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton starter Travis Child allowed three goals on nine shots in the first period. Boston Bilous finished up by stopping nine of 11 shots in 38:38. . . . Announced attendance: 6,224.

At Calgary, G Dorrin Luding stopped 29 shots to help the Everett Silvertips to a 1-0 victory over the Hitmen. . . . It was the first career shutout for Luding, an 18-year-old freshman from Prince George. It came in his fifth appearance of the season. . . . Everett is without G Carter Hart (mononucleosis), so Kyle Dumba has been added to the roster and was on the bench last night in his hometown. . . . D Kevin Davis (1) scored the game’s only goal, at 3:03 of the third period. . . . Everett (3-3-0) was 0-5 on the PP; Calgary (1-3-1) was 0-2. . . . The Hitmen got 32 stops from G Nick Schneider. . . . The Silvertips are 2-2-0 on a nine-game road trip that includes six games in nine nights in the Central Division. This was Game 1 of that six-pack. . . . The Hitmen had D Jake Bean back for the first time this season. He missed four games while with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . Earlier in the day, the Hitmen released G Connor Dochuk, 18. The SJHL’s Melville Millionaires hold his junior A rights. . . . That left the Hitmen with Matthew Armitage, who turns 17 on Oct. 30, to back up Schneider, 20. Armitage, from Calgary, was a fourth-round pick by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . Calgary is without F Beck Malenstyn, who is listed as indefinite after suffering a wrist injury during a 5-4 loss to the host Saskatoon Blades on Sept. 30. . . . Announced attendance: 4,982.

At Lethbridge, G Stuart Skinner turned aside 35 shots to lead the Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Skinner stopped 15, 10 and 11 shots by period as the Hurricanes improved to 3-2-0. . . . The Raiders (2-3-0) got 25 saves from G Curtis Meger. With veteran goaltenders Nicholas Sanders (day-to-day) and Ian Scott (indefinitely) hurt, Meger, a freshman, made his second straight start. Brett Balas, a 16-year-old from Calgary, was the backup. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Raiders aren’t talking publicly about Sanders’ injury, but the 19-year-old Calgarian underwent surgery on both hips following last season and missed most of training camp. . . . D Calen Addison (1) put Lethbridge in front, on a PP, at 5:02 of the first period, with F Tanner Nagel  (1) making it 2-0 at 3:02 of the second. . . . The Raiders got to within one when F Sean Montgomery (1) counted at 7:59. . . . Lethbridge put it away with third-period goals from F Jayden Davis (1), at 13:44, and F Giorgio Estephan (2), in an empty net at 18:27. . . . Estephan also had one assist. . . . Lethbridge was 1-4 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-3. . . . Announced attendance: 3,577.

At Moose Jaw, the Warriors erased a 1-0 first-period deficit with five straight goals as they beat the Kootenay Ice, 5-2. . . . F Barrett Sheen put Kootenay ahead 1-0 at 12:37 of the first period. . . . The Warriors took the lead on goals from D Oleg Sosunov (3), at 15:29, and F Jayden Halbgewachs (4) just 17 seconds later. . . . F Brett Howden (2) upped it to 3-1 with a shorthanded goal at 14:42 of the second, with F Noah Gregor (2) scoring on the PP at 16:49. . . . Warriors F Justin Almeida (4) made it 5-1 at 16:49. . . . The Ice got the game’s final goal from F Colton Kroeker (2) at 18:43 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw got three assists from F Brayden Burke, while Howden and Gregor added one each. . . . The Warriors (5-0-0) were 1-4 on the PP; The Ice (2-3-1) was 0-5. . . . G Brody Willms earned the victory with 22 saves, while the Ice’s Kurtis Chapman blocked 31. . . . D Cale Fleury, the Ice’s captain, sat this one out as he began a three-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 3,229.

At Saskatoon, F Tyler Steenbergen enjoyed his second straight four-goal outing, leading the Swift Current Broncos to a 6-2 victory over the Blades. . . . Steenbergen scored four times and added an assist as the Broncos beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 7-2, on Sept. 30. . . . Last night, he stretched a 2-0 lead to 5-0 with three straight second-period goals, completing the hat trick at 17:19. His fourth goal, at 13:48 of the third, gave the visitors a 6-1 edge. . . . Steenbergen, who also had an assist last night, has 10 goals in four games this season. . . . He has 16 points, while his linemates aren’t doing too badly, either — Glenn Gawdin has five goals and seven assists, with Aleksi Heponiemi having one goal and 11 helpers. . . . Last night, Gawdin had a goal and two assists, with Heponiemi picking up three helpers. . . . The Broncos are 4-0-0, with all of those coming on the road. They will play their home-opener tonight against the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Broncos were 1-5 on the PP; the Blades (1-3-0) were 0-2. . . . Swift Current G Logan Flodell, who was acquired from the Blades just prior to the start of the season, stopped 19 shots. . . . With starter Ryan Kubic unable to go, G Joel Grzybowski made his first career start for the Blades. He finished with 18 saves. . . . Announced attendance: 3,536.

At Medicine Hat, G Jordan Hollett, in his first appearance against his former team, stopped 19 shots to lead the Tigers to a 4-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Hollett, 18, was acquired over the summer, but hadn’t played until last night due to mononucleosis. . . . Medicine Hat sophomore F Ryan Chyzowski (2) broke a 2-2 tie at 9:16 of the third period. . . . The Tigers got insurance when F Zach Fischer (1) scored at 11:13. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (1), who also had an assist, had given the home side a 1-0 lead at 12:45 of the first period, only to have F Wyatt Sloboshan (2) pull Regina even, on a PP, at 13:55. . . . The Tigers regained the lead at 14:46 on F Mark Rassell’s fifth goal. . . . F George King (2) pulled the Pats even at 4:02 of the second period. . . . D David Quenneville had three assists for Medicine Hat. . . . The Pats got two assists from F Emil Oksanen. . . . Medicine Hat (3-2-0) was 0-3 on the PP; Regina (2-3-1) was 1-4. . . . Regina G Tyler Brown stopped 27 shots. . . . Latvian D Kristians Rubins, 20, was back in Medicine Hat’s lineup after recovering from shoulder surgery. . . . Announced attendance: 3,524.

At Prince George, F Kole Lind scored the game’s last two goals to give the Kelowna Rockets a 7-6 OT victory over the Cougars. . . . F Josh Maser (2) gave the Cougars a 6-5 lead at 9:36 of the third period. . . . Lind tied the game at 16:27 of the third period and won it with his sixth goal of the season, at 2:38 of extra time. . . . D Nolan Foote (1) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:20 of the first period. . . . The Cougars took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Jared Bethune (2), at 12:27 of the first, D Dennis Cholowski (2), just 1:01 later, and F Kody McDonald (4), at 2:39 of the second. . . . F Erik Gardiner, shorthanded, got the Rockets to within a goal at 3:28, but F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (2), on a PP, restored the Cougars’ two-goal lead at 9:49. . . . The Rockets cut into the lead again when F Colum McGauley (1) scored at 13:52, but the hosts went back up by two at 14:32 on a goal from F Jackson Leppard (2). . . . Kelowna tied it in the third period as Gardiner (2) and F Dillon Dube (2) counted at 0:45 and 3:17. . . . Dube and F Carsen Twarynski each had two assists, with Gardiner, Foote and Lind getting one each. . . . D Joel Lakusta, F Nikita Popugaev, McDonald and Bethune had two assists each for the Cougars, with Leppard getting one. . . . The Rockets improved to 3-1-1, while the Cougars are 2-3-1. They’ll play again tonight in Prince George. . . . G Brodan Salmond earned the victory with 30 saves, four more than Prince George’s Tavin Grant. . . . The Rockets lost D James Hilsendager to a charging major and game misconduct at 15:01 of the second period. . . . Announced attendance: 2,892.

At Kamloops, two teams continued season-opening franchise record-setting streaks as the Victoria Royals beat the Blazers, 4-1. . . . The Royals now are 6-0-0, two games better than the previous record (4-0-0) from 2015-16. . . . The Blazers are 0-7-0, the poorest start in franchise history. The previous record (0-6-0) came from 2015-16. . . . The Blazers have yet to lead at any point this season, and that continued last night as the Royals jumped out to a 3-0 lead. . . . F Igor Martynov (3) gave Victoria a 1-0 lead with a breakaway goal at 10:26 of the first period, and D Chaz Reddekopp (1), in his first game since returning from the AHL’s Ontario Reign, made it 2-0 at 17:02. . . . The lead became 3-0 when F Tyler Soy, in his first game after returning from the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, scored, on a PP, at 12:13 of the second period. . . . Kamloops got its lone goal from F Nick Chyzowski (1), on a PP, at 17:15 of the second. . . . Victoria F Dante Hannoun (8) iced it at 9:15 of the third period. . . . F Ryan Peckford drew two assists, while Hannoun had one. . . . Royals F Matthew Phillips had one assist — the 183rd point of his career — as he played in his 150th regular-season game. . . . Victoria was 1-7 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-5. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 32 shots in a stellar effort for the Royals. . . . Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers turned aside 18 shots. . . . Cam Hope, the Royals’ general manager, and his wife, Sara, celebrated their 27th anniversary by taking in the game. Such is the life of a hockey executive. . . . Announced attendance: 3,312.

At Spokane, the Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last six goals and beat the Chiefs, 6-1. . . . Portland F Bronson Sharp (1) broke a 1-1 tie at 2:43 of the second period, F Skyler McKenzie (3) made it 3-1, on a PP, at 15:14 and D Keoni Texeira (2) added a fourth goal just 53 seconds later. . . . F Ryan Hughes (1) and F Cody Glass (3) each had a goal and an assist for Portland. . . . F Jake McGrew gave Spokane a 1-0 lead at 1:17 of the first period. He was in Spokane’s lineup after not playing for more than a year thanks to a knee injury. Despite the injury, the San Jose Sharks selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Portland (3-1-0) was 2-5 on the PP; Spokane (4-2-0) was 0-7. . . . Portland G Cole Kehler stopped 30 shots in running his record to 3-0-0. . . . The Chiefs got 28 stops from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . The Winterhawks remain without F Joachim Blichfeld, who is sidelined with a concussion. . . . The Winterhawks will visit the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight, then return home to face the Chiefs on Sunday and Tuesday. . . . Announced attendance: 4,059.

At Langley, B.C., F James Malm earned four assists as the Vancouver Giants erased a 2-0 deficit and beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-3. . . . F Isaac Johnson (2) and F Maxwell James (2) put the visitors ahead 2-0 with goals at 1:24 and 13:06 of the opening period. . . . The Giants took a 3-2 lead on goals from F Brayden Watts, at 15:19 of the first period, and F Tyler Ho (1) and Watts (3), at 5:54 and 16:07 of the second. . . . Johnson (3) tied it at 4:53 of the third period. . . . The Giants won it with three quick goals, as F Ty Ronning (4) scored at 11:08 and F Owen Hardy, who has three goals, scored twice, at 12:09 and 14:29. . . . Ronning also had an assist. . . . Vancouver (2-2-0) was 0-3 on the PP; Tri-City (2-3-0) was 1-4. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 26 shots for the victors. . . . Tri-City got 33 stops from G Beck Warm. . . . The Americans will stay in Langley to play again tonight, before journeying to Victoria for games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . Announced attendance: 2,886.

SATURDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Regina, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.

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

Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

SUNDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Calgary, 4 p.m.

Everett at Edmonton, 4 p.m.

Swift Current at Moose Jaw, 4 p.m.

Seattle at Kamloops, 5 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.

MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.

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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.

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No Games Scheduled.

FRIDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Everett at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

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

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

Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

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

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

Veteran d-man not on Ice roster … Hitmen adding new scout … Cougars ink Detroit first-rounder

We awoke Sunday to sunshine and blue, smokeless skies. By 7 p.m., however, a west wind had started to bring back the smoke that had been so prevalent for much of the previous two weeks.

By Monday morning, we were back into heavy smoke with the air quality index providing a reading north of 10 on the 1-10 scale.

Despite Sunday’s reprieve, it is important that we not get complacent. Officials continue to remind us that this state of emergency is far from over.

In fact, there were 15 new fires spotted on Sunday alone, with most of those caused by lightning. Not only were there 15 new fires, but Kevin Skrepnek, the B.C. Wildlife Service’s chief information officer, said Monday that there was “significant growth” on some of the already major fires over the weekend. For example, the five-week-old Elephant Hill fire, which has been running wild north of Ashcroft, exploded by 48,000 hectares and now is estimated to cover 168,000 hectares.

The total area of burned land is closing in on 730,000 hectares, which means we are close to this being the worst wildfire season in B.C.’s recorded history (in 1958, fires destroyed 855,000 hectares).

Yes, we received some rain during the weekend, but not nearly enough to make even a small dent, and now there isn’t any rain in the forecast.

This summer of smoke and fire, then, isn’t anywhere near its end.

D Kirill Vorobyov (Portland, 2012-13) has been traded by CSKA Moscow to Sibir Novosibirsk (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. Last season, he was pointless in one game with Zvezda Chekhov (Russia, Vysshaya Liga); had three goals and four assists in 35 games with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL); and had one goal in 16 games with Sibir Novosibirsk. . . . Vorobyov was traded to CSKA Moscow by Sibir for monetary compensation on May 1. . . .

F Dwight King (Lethbridge, 2004-09) has signed a two-year contract with Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had eight goals and seven assists in 63 games with the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), and one goal in 17 games with the Montreal Canadiens (NHL). . . .

D Jyri Niemi (Saskatoon, 2007-10) has signed a contract through Nov. 4 with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga). Last season, he had three assists in 12 games with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga).Sibir Novosibirsk 16 GP, 1+0. Vorobyov was traded to CSKA Moscow by Sibir for monetary compensation May 1st.

D Troy Murray’s name is conspicuous by its absence from the training camp roster that was posted Monday by the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

Murray has played four seasons with the Ice. He was a first-round selection, 10th overall, by the Ice in the 2012 bantam draft.

Murray, who will turn 20 on Sept. 12, is from White City, Sask. He has seven goals and 53 assists in 266 regular-season games, to go with three assists in 20 playoff games. Last season, he put up four goals and 14 assists in 67 games.

Murray is the younger brother of former Everett Silvertips D Ryan Murray, who is preparing for his fifth season with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Ice’s roster shows three 20-year-olds — F Colton Kroeker, D Jordan Henderson and G Mario Petit.

Petit, who was acquired from the Everett Silvertips over the summer, is one of six goaltenders listed, but two of them — Gage Alexander of Okotoks, Alta., and Will Gurski of Duncan, B.C. — are 15 years of age so ineligible for full-time duty.

It would appear that Petit and Jakob Walter, 18, who was with the Ice last season, will vie for the starting spot. Also on the roster are a pair of 16-year-olds — Jesse Makaj of North Vancouver and Carter Woodside of Asquith, Sask.

The Ice has signed both of its 2017 CHL import draft selections — Swiss F Gilian Kohler, 17, and Slovakian D Martin Bodak, who turns 19 on Nov. 28 — and they are on the camp roster. A concussion prevented Kohler from playing in last week’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, so you can bet the Ice will be keeping a close eye on him in the early going.

One other interesting name on the Ice roster is F Sebastian Streu, a native of Neuwied, Germany, whose father, Craig, is from Biggar, Sask. Craig has played and coached in Europe since 1992, after he played three seasons at the U of Manitoba. He is preparing for his second season as the team manager and assistant coach with the UPC Vienna Capitals of the Erste Bank Hockey League.

With Craig being a Canadian citizen, Sebastian has dual German-Canadian citizenship, so wouldn’t count as an import should he earn a spot on the Ice’s roster.

Streu played last season with EC Red Bull Salzburg’s U-18 side in Austria, putting up three goals and 12 assists in 26 games. He won’t turn 18 until Nov. 22.

The Ice opens camp on Aug. 25 with prospects on the ice at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook. Main camp begins Aug. 27.

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The Calgary Hitmen are expected to announce today (Tuesday) that Gary Michalick has signed on as their travelling scout. . . . Michalick, who is from Winnipeg, has been a WHL scout since 1987 when he signed on with the Seattle Thunderbirds. He has been with the Brandon Wheat Kings since September 1992, most recently as senior scout. . . . The Hitmen have been doing some restructuring with their front office. Jeff Chynoweth took over as general manager on July 11, the same day that Dallas Thompson was named the director of player personnel. Thompson replaced Dan Bonar, who had been with the team for 14 years.

D Dennis Cholowski, a first-round selection, 20th overall, by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2016 draft, has signed with the Prince George Cougars. Cholowski, from Langley, B.C., was picked by the Cougars in the 10th round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . Cholowski signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Red Wings in April, which ended his NCAA eligibility. . . . Last season, he had a goal and 11 assists in 36 games as a freshman with St. Cloud State. He spent the previous two seasons with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. In his draft season, he had 12 goals and 28 assists in 51 games, and was named to the second all-star team. . . . Because he was drafted off an NCAA roster, Cholowski, 19, is eligible to play in the AHL this season, which, in this case, would mean Detroit’s affiliate, the defending-champion Grand Rapids Griffins.

Dan O’Connor is the Vancouver Giants’ new director of media relations and play-by-play voice. O’Connor, who had been with the Prince George Cougars, replaces Brendan Batchelor, now the voice of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet 650, a new radio station that is to launch on Sept. 4. . . . O’Connor, who is from Tsawwassen, B.C., spent six seasons as the Cougars’ play-by-play voice. . . . Batchelor, who is from Coquitlam, B.C., was the Giants’ radio voice for four seasons. . . . Sportsnet 650 also announced that Corey Hirsch, a former Kamloops Blazers goaltender (1988-92), will provide the analysis on Canucks broadcasts. . . . Who were the odd men out when the music stopped? Jon Abbott had been the radio voice of the Canucks for three seasons, while Dave Tomlinson had been an analyst through seven seasons.

F Brian King has retired from hockey, choosing instead to attend the U of Alabama and take a double major in mechanical engineering and German.

Brian King is leaving the Everett Silvertips and hockey. He’ll attend the U of Alabama. (Photo:

King, 18, played two seasons with the Everett Silvertips. A native of Exeter, N.H., who lived in Golden, Colo., the Silvertips selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft after he had played two seasons with the Rocky Mountain Roughriders U-16 team. The Roughriders play out of Superior, Colo.

Last season, King had four goals and 17 assists in 62 games with Everett, up from four and six in 60 games as a freshman.

He was named the WHL’s scholastic player of the year for 2017-18 and was the valedictorian at Everett High School, the second WHL player to receive such an honour, after D Brayden Coburn of the Portland Winterhawks.

Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald wrote about King, a true student/athlete, in June and that piece is right here.

The Regina Pats were out in full force at the Wickenheiser Classic, the WHL team’s annual golf tournament, on Monday. . . . “Not only is Regina hosting the 2018 CHL championship, the Pats will celebrate their 100th anniversary in conjunction with the Memorial Cup’s centennial,” writes Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “The team unveiled its 100th anniversary logos on Monday, designed by Tim and Chris Kroeker from the Brandt Group of Companies. The Pats also announced that they’ve sold 5,000 season tickets for the first time in franchise history. Season tickets will be capped at 5,000 to ensure the availability of other packages and single-game tickets at the 6,500-seat Brandt Centre.” . . . The Pats set a franchise record last season when their average attendance for 36 home games was 5,456. They also sold out all 12 of their home playoff games. . . . Harder’s complete story is right here, along with a photo that shows the logos.

Before he spent three seasons in the WHL (Moose Jaw Warriors, Kamloops Blazers, 2010-13), D Joel Edmundson, a Brandon native, played two seasons with the midget AAA Wheat Kings.

Edmundson now is a regular with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, who picked him in the second round of the NHL’s 2011 draft.

On the weekend, Edmundson presented the Wheaties with a new set of helmets.

Preparing to attend your first WHL training camp, but not sure whether it will impact your NCAA eligibility? If you click right here, you will find a piece from College Hockey Inc., that runs through a lot of scenarios.

With Postmedia having all but completely gutted the sports departments at the major Canadian newspapers that it owns, there are few sports columnists left who have bite left in their keyboards. In fact, Jack Todd, whose prose originates in the pages of the Montreal Gazette, may be the last of that breed. . . . Here’s Todd, on soon-to-be ex-Miami Marlins owner Jeff Loria, who was the last owner of the Montreal Expos: “I would be tempted to compare Loria to a snake as he slithers away from the game, supposedly in October — but snakes occasionally do useful things, like getting rid of rats, and it is entirely possible to like a snake.” . . . Todd’s piece is right here.

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The Kootenay Ice has added Laurie Dickson to its staff as the health and wellness coach. Dickson operates Aspire2bFit in Kamloops. . . . From an Ice news release: Dickson “is a two-time world champion professional fitness model, physique judge, Team Isagenix athlete, champion motocross racer and coach, provincial mountain bike racer and is currently competing in road racing.” . . . Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and GM, said: ““Laurie will motivate and educate our players on daily health and wellness habits (choices) that are required for consistent performance. Adding experienced professionals in areas such as health and wellness, sports science, strength and conditioning and mental skills will provide our players with the best opportunity for development working closely with our coaching staff.” . . . In the last while, the Ice also has hired coaches in the areas of strength and conditioning (Neil Ross), and mental skills (Doug Swanson), along with a sports performance consultant (Adam Douglas).