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.

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!

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).

Americans end Royals’ run … Wheat Kings win fourth straight … Blazers’ losing skid hits nine

The Swift Current Broncos now are the WHL’s only unbeaten team. The Broncos have won their seven games of this regular season and will go after victory No. 8 when they entertain the Vancouver Giants on Friday night.

The Victoria Royals were running neck-and-neck with the Broncos until Wednesday night when they dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the visiting Tri-City Americans. One night earlier, the Royals had thumped the Americans, 8-2.

The Royals are scheduled to visit the Spokane Chiefs on Friday night and the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday night.

When the CHL rankings were released this week, the Royals were on the top rung, with the Broncos at No. 2.

F Zach Fischer remained on the Medicine Hat Tigers’ suspended list on Wednesday after leaving the team on Sunday.

Fischer, 20, had 34 goals and 29 assists in 62 games last season, then was selected by the Calgary Flames in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft.

On Tuesday, Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach, told reporters: “We spent a lot of time on Sunday talking with him, talking with his agent, trying to get to the bottom of it. He didn’t give us any specifics, so if there’s any specifics, it’ll have to come from Zach.”

On Wednesday, Fischer tweeted a brief statement that really didn’t shed any light on why he chose to leave Medicine Hat.

“Over the past 48 hours,” Fischer wrote, “there have been many different opinions on why I left. I want to make it clear this was a personal decision and not a reflection on the Tigers, or the coaching staff. There is no one to blame. I have my reasons for change. Medicine Hat and the fans will forever have a special place in my heart. I wish Shaun and the staff well and look forward to moving on.”

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!! Yes, winter must be almost upon us because it’s almost time for the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series.

The touring Russian side and Team WHL will play in Moose Jaw on Nov. 6 and in Swift Current on Nov. 7. These will be the first two games in the series that also will have games played in Owen Sound (Nov. 9), Sudbury (Nov. 13), Charlottetown (Nov. 14) and Moncton (Nov. 16).

The WHL has announced the bench staffs for Team WHL and it’s no surprise that Tim Hunter of the Moose Jaw Warriors will be the head coach because he also is an assistant coach with Canada’s national junior team.

Hunter will be assisted by John Paddock, the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats, along with Manny Viveiros, who is the director of player personnel and head coach with the Swift Current Broncos.

Swift Current’s Jamie LeBlanc will work as the head athletic therapist, with Greg Mayer of the Pats helping him. Tanner Arnold, the Warriors’ equipment manager, will fill that role with Team WHL.

The WHL news release is right here.

The 2018 U-17 World Hockey Challenge will be played in New Brunswick — in Saint John and Quispamsis — from Nov. 3-10, 2018. The tournament features three Canadian teams and five international entries. . . . The 2017 tournament is to be held in the B.C. communities of Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, Nov. 5-11.

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

The WHL suspended two players for a total of seven games on Wednesday, running the October total to seven players and 19 games.

The latest players to be suspended are F Maxwell James of the Tri-City Americans and F Rykr Cole of the Spokane Chiefs.

James drew a four-game sentence after taking a headshot major and game misconduct against the host Victoria Royals on Tuesday night. James hit Victoria F Tarun Fizer, who didn’t return to the game and wasn’t in the lineup for last night’s rematch in Victoria. James began serving the suspension last night.

Cole was suspended after taking a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on F Ryan Hughes of the Winterhawks in Portland on Tuesday night. Hughes didn’t return to the game.


At Brandon, the Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to four games with a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-2-1), who had beaten the host Oil Kings 7-3 on Friday night, opened up a 3-0 first-period lead en route to victory. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (2) got it started at 8:26 of the first period, with F Caiden Daley (1) upping the lead at 11:55. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (8), on a PP, made it 3-0 at 14:57. . . . The Oil Kings made things interesting with goals from D Ethan Cap (1), on a PP, at 16:32 of the first period and D Matthew Robertson (3) at 2:17 of the second. . . . Brandon D Kale Clague (6) restored the two-goal lead, on a PP, at 9:06. . . . F Gunnar Wegleitner (4) iced it by running his goal-scoring streak to four games at 11:17 of the third period. . . . Wegleitner went into this season with one goal in 55 games — 43 with the Everett Silvertips and 12 with the Victoria Royals. . . . Brandon got three assists from F Ty Lewis, with Clague and Mattheos each earning one. . . . Brandon was 2-7 on the PP; Edmonton (3-5-0) was 0-5. . . . G Logan Thompson earned the victory with 19 saves. At the other end, Josh Dechaine stopped 29 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 2,940.

At Medicine Hat, F Mark Rassell scored two goals to help the Tigers to a 5-4 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Tigers opened up a 2-0 lead early in the first period, then exchanged goals until time ran out. . . . D David Quenneville (1), at 1:33, and F Dawson Heathcote (1), at 2:02, staked the home side to that 2-0 edge. . . . F Matt Fonteyne (6) got the Silvertips to within one at 19:47, only to have F Tyler Preziuso (2) restore the two-goal lead just 12 seconds later. . . . Everett made it 3-2 when F Patrick Bajkov (3) scored, on a PP, at 9:58 of the second period. . . . Rassell, who has eight goals, stretched the lead again, at 12:27. . . . F Brandson Hein (1) scored for Everett at 13:50. . . . Rassell gave the Tigers a 5-3 lead, on a PP, at 4:56 of the third period. . . . D Montana Onyebuchi (1) pulled the visitors back to within a goal at 14:26. . . . The Tigers got two assists from each of F Henry Rybinski, F Ryan Chyzowski and F Gary Haden, while Quenneville had one. . . . Bajkov and Fonteyne had an assist each for the Silvertips. . . . Medicine Hat (4-3-0) was 1-3 on the PP; Everett (3-6-0) was 1-4. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 30 shots for the winners. . . . G Kyle Dumba made his first start with Everett, but was gone after allowing two goals on three shots in 2:02. Dorring Luding finished up by stopping 28 of 31 shots in 56:45. . . . Everett has two games left in a nine-game road trip that concludes with games in Lethbridge on Friday and Cranbrook on Saturday. . . . The Silvertips are 2-5-0 on the trip. . . . The Tigers were without F Max Gerlach, who has facial injuries after being hit with a stick, and F Jaeger White (undisclosed injury). . . . D Kyle Walker, a 17-year-old from Leduc, Alta., made his Everett debut after suffering a broken collarbone during training camp. . . . Announced attendance: 3,247.

At Regina, linemates Cam Hebig and Braylon Shmyr each had four points to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 6-4 victory over the Pats. . . . Four nights earlier, the Pats had beaten the visiting Blades, 7-3. . . . Hebig finished with two goals and two assists, while Shmyr had a goal and three assists. F Bradly Goethals, the third member of the Blades’ top line, added a goal and an assist. . . . The Blades escaped from the first period with a 4-3 lead, on goals from D Libor Hajek (1), Hebig, D Seth Bafaro (1) and Shmyr (6). . . . F Sam Steel (3), D Josh Mahura (2) and F Matt Bradley (8), who also had an assist, replied for Regina. . . . Goethals (3) gave the Blades a 5-3 at 5:03 of the second period. . . . Regina F George King (3) pulled his guys to within a goal at 17:17. . . . Saskatoon got insurance when Hebig (4) scored an empty-netter at 19:40. . . . Saskatoon (2-4-0) was 1-3 on the PP; Regina (3-4-1) was 0-2. . . . G Ryan Kubic stopped 27 shots for the Blades in his return from an undisclosed injury. With Kubic back, the Blades returned G Nolan Maier to the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . Regina starter Max Paddock allowed five goals on 14 shots in 25:03. Tyler Brown came on in relief to stop all 12 shots he faced in 33:59. . . . Announced attendance: 5,273.

At Kamloops, the Calgary Hitmen unleashed a 56-shot attack in skating to a 4-2 victory over the Blazers. . . . The Hitmen (2-5-1) ended a five-game losing skid. . . . The Blazers (0-9-0) remain the only club in the 60-team CHL without at least one point. They will visit the Prince George Cougars for games on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . F Andrew Fyten (2) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 3:09 of the opening period. . . . Kamloops F Luc Smith (1) tied it at 7:28 of the second period. . . . Calgary, which had lost 7-1 to the host Prince George Cougars on Tuesday night, scored the next three goals. . . . F Luke Coleman (2) counted at 7:51 of the second, with F Jakob Stukel (4) scoring at 8:59. F Hunter Campbell (1) made it 4-1 at 10:22 of the third period. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (1) scored at 14:55 to get Kamloops to within two goals. . . . F Matteo Gennaro had two assists for Calgary, with Stukel and Hunter adding one each. . . . Each team was 0-5 on the PP. . . . G Nick Schneider earned the victory with 30 saves. . . . The Blazers got 52 saves from G Dylan Ferguson. . . . The Hitmen have won eight of their last nine games against Kamloops. . . . Announced attendance: 3,123.

At Victoria, D Dylan Coghlan scored at 1:12 of OT to give the Tri-CityAmericans a 5-4 victory over the Royals in a game that featured six third-period goals. . . . Tri-City F Michael Rasmussen (3) tied the game, on a PP, at 18:57 of the third period. . . . Coghlan won it on another PP when he scored his fourth goal of the season. . . . Coghlan and F Jordan Topping had the assists on Rasmussen’s goals; Rasmussen and Topping had assists on the winner. . . . The Americans, who had lost 8-2 in Victoria one night earlier, improved to 4-4-0. . . . The Royals now are 7-0-1. . . . Coghlan had opened the scoring at 6:18 of the first period. . . . The Royals took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Matthew Phillips (6), on a PP, at 12:04 of the second period and F Regan Nagy, shorthanded, at 3:31 of the third. . . . Topping (5) tied it, on a PP, at 4:53. . . . Nagy (7), on a PP, restored Victoria’s lead at 6:54. . . . The Americans tied it when F Connor Bouchard (1) scored at 11:23, only to have Victoria go back out front at 12:26 when F Igor Martynov (4) scored. . . . F Morgan Geekie had two assists for the winners. . . . The Royals got two assists from each of F Dante Hannoun and F Tyler Soy. . . . Tri-City was 3-7 on the PP; Victoria was 2-5. . . . The Americans got 23 saves from G Beck Warm. . . . Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse stopped 41 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 4,811.

THURSDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Red Deer vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 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).

Which franchises wouldn’t make it? … Outdoor game in Regina? … Everett gets back its Hart

The WHL’s travelling medicine show stopped in Moose Jaw this week, where Ron Robison, the commish, took part in a chat during the Warriors’ annual general meeting. According to Marc Smith of “One of the big topics that Robison discussed was the lawsuit that the WHL is facing in regards to players’ status as employees. Robison said it’s something that could cost the league a third of its teams if it were to be successful.” . . . Discuss among yourselves which seven or eight franchises would be most in danger of going the way of the dodo bird.

Here is one person’s list of the eight franchises that might top a goodbye list, in no particular order: Brandon Wheat Kings; Kootenay Ice; Lethbridge Hurricanes; Medicine Hat Tigers; Moose Jaw Warriors; Prince Albert Raiders; Prince George Cougars; Swift Current Broncos.

According to Smith, Robison also told the audience that the WHL soon will be exempted from minimum wage legislation in even more jurisdictions. “Having been registered in the Canadian amateur hockey system since Day 1, over 50 years ago, we’ve always been (of the) view that we’re amateur hockey players, so it’s really a government matter,” Robison said, according to Smith. “The Saskatchewan government was the first province in the country to recognize our players as amateur athletes as employees. Saskatchewan has led the way and we’ve now had success in B.C. and Washington state, and we’re soon to have success in Manitoba and Oregon, but we’re having a little trouble in Alberta. They’re not supporting (our) position.”

The WHL’s travelling show journeyed on to Regina for a Thursday production, the highlight of which may have been supplied by John Paddock, the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats. According to a tweet from Taylor Shire of Global Regina, Paddock “calls Moose Jaw the best team in the Eastern Conference. Hopes the Pats can provide a challenge for them.”

Apparently, there wasn’t anything said in Moose Jaw or Regina about the Warriors and Pats playing an outdoor game at Mosaic Stadium, the home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. . . . So we are left to wonder if Sportsnet really did have the scoop with the above tweet on Wednesday. The WHL schedule calls for the Warriors to play in Regina on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. . . . The scoop in the above tweet came from a piece written by Sam Cosentino, the well-connected analyst on Sportsnet’s major junior telecasts. However, that last sentence was removed at some point after the story was posted. . . . Still, I’m betting on Sam having the dope on this.

Isn’t it exciting to have NHL games back on TV? Isn’t it fun to flip through the channels and see which games are blacked out in your market? Hello, NFL. Hello, MLB.

What does it mean that 14 goaltenders have been involved in WHL trades since May 22? Yes, 14 goaltenders — Jordan Hollett, Nick Schneider, Mario Petit, Travis Child, Declan Hobbs, Kyle Dumba, Dylan Myskiw, Hunter Arps, Bailey Brkin, Kurtis Chapman, Jacob Wassermann, Liam Hughes, Ryan Kubic and Logan Flodell — have been dealt as general managers strive to improve the game’s most important position.

Yes, it’s time for the CHL to bury the rule that prohibits import goaltenders from playing over here.

Did anyone have a better Wednesday than Colin Priestner, the general manager of the Saskatoon Blades? He started the day with four quality 20-year-olds. By the time the day was done, he had made two trades, moving out G Logan Flodell, 20, and bringing in G Ryan Kubic, 19. That allowed Priestner to keep forwards Cam Hebig and Braylon Shmyr, both 20 and both of whom can score.

The Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks played an exhibition game in China on Thursday. . . . Headline at China Games big first step for NHL (subhead: Kings’ historic win against Canucks thrills fans new to hockey). . . . Headline at ‘The NHL blew it’: League’s first preseason game in China draws few fans, leaves supporters disappointed.

Carter Hart, the WHL’s top goaltender each of the past two seasons, is on his way back to the Everett Silvertips for a fourth season. Hart, 19, was returned to Everett by the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. The Flyers selected him in the second round of the 2016 NHL draft and he has signed a three-year entry-level contract. . . . Hart has been the WHL’s goaltender of the year and on the Western Conference’s first all-star team for two years running. He was the CHL’s top goaltender for 2015-16. . . . Hart is 85-40-18, 2.13, .921 in 149 career regular-season appearances with the Silvertips. Last season, he was 32-11-8, 1.99, .927; in 2015-16, he was 35-23-4, 2.14, .918. . . . The Silvertips have three other goaltenders on their roster, but two of them — Dustin Wolf of Tustin, Calif., and Danton Belluk of Lorette, Man., are 16 years of age. Chances are that Everett will keep Dorrin Luding, 18, to caddy for Hart. Luding, from Prince George, was a third-round selection by the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed Swedish D Linus Nassen, 19, to a WHL contract. Nassen was selected by the Tigers in the CHL’s 2017 import draft. . . . In the CHL’s 2016 import draft, he was taken by the Brandon Wheat Kings but he never joined them. However, he arrived in Medicine Hat on Wednesday. . . . Last season, he had three goals and 13 assists in 25 games with Lulea HF’s U-20 team, and added a goal and an assist in 21 games with Lulea’s SHL team. He was pointless in four games on loan to AIK of the Allsvenskan. Nassen also had two assists in four games with Sweden’s U-19 team and one assist in three games with the U-20 team. . . . Nassen was selected by the Florida Panthers in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . The Tigers have two other imports on their roster. Freshman F Mick Kohler, from Germany, also was taken in the CHL’s 2017 import draft. Latvian D Kristians Rubins, who turns 20 on Dec. 11, is recovering from shoulder surgery. Rubins will start the season on the Tigers’ injured list. Once he recovers and is ready to play, the Tigers will have seven days to get down to two imports. . . . Of course, Rubins is a two-spotter, as a 20-year-old and an import.

Meanwhile, the Tigers also will be without F Zach Fischer, another 20-year-old, as he recovers from a concussion suffered while in camp with the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . G Jordan Hollett (mononucleosis) also is out, meaning G Michael Bullion, 20, will start on Friday against the Hurricanes in Lethbridge.

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

The Spokane Chiefs are in Prince George where they will open the regular season by playing a Friday-Saturday doubleheader against the Cougars. The Chiefs, who didn’t make the playoffs last season, still have four 16-year-olds on their roster, three of them selections in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft — F Luke Toporowski of Bettendorf, Iowa, who was taken in the first round; F Carter Chorney of Sherwood Park, Alta., picked in the second round; F Adam Beckman of Saskatoon, who was taken in the fifth round; and D Tyson Feist of Dawson Creek, B.C. . . . The Chiefs will open the season with their two top forwards, as Kailer Yamamoto remains in camp with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and Jaret Anderson-Dolan still is with the Los Angeles Kings.

The Moose Jaw Warriors don’t have any 16-year-olds left after releasing D Austin Herron from their roster on Thursday. The 6-foot-3 Herron, who is from Abbotsford, B.C., was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He has played the past two seasons at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford.

Meanwhile, the Kamloops Blazers are poised to open the season with two 16-year-olds on their roster, both of them good Saskatchewan boys — F Connor Zary of Saskatoon and D Quinn Schmiemann of Wilcox. . . . Zary, who actually will turn 16 on Monday, was a scorer in bantam AAA (81 points, including 44 goals, in 30 games) and midget AAA (45 points, including 27 goals, in 36 games last season). A second-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, he should get a look among the Blazers’ top six forwards. . . . Schmiemann, a third-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, is one of eight defencemen on the roster. He and Sean Strange, a 17-year-old from Saanich, B.C., are the only freshmen. Strange was a 10th-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft.

D Noah Juulsen is expected to miss up to six weeks with a fractured foot suffered on Monday while playing with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens during an exhibition game in Quebec City. Juulsen, 20, spent the previous four seasons with the Everett Silvertips and is eligible to return for one more season. The Canadiens selected him in the first round of the NHL’s 2015 draft. Juulsen, who is from Surrey, B.C., was thought to have an outside shot at landing a spot on the Canadiens’ roster this season. When he returns from injury he is likely to be assigned to the AHL’s Laval Rocket.

D Anthony Kehrer, a second-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, announced on Twitter that he has committed to attending the U of Wisconsin and playing for the Badgers. Kehrer, from Winnipeg, turned 15 on March 4. . . . Last season, he had four goals and 23 assists in 29 games with the Rink Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team.

F Vladislav Lukin, who played the past three seasons with the Tri-City Americans, has signed a tryout deal with the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles. Lukin, from Ufa, Russia, had 26 goals and 32 assists in 63 games with the Americans last season. . . . In 183 career regular-season WHL games, he put up 54 goals and 64 assists. . . . He was in camp with the Americans but left this week in search of a pro deal. Lukin, 20, is eligible to play one more season in the WHL.

Earlier this week, there was news that nine games between the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds would be televised in the Seattle area by JOEtv. The Winterhawks announced Thursday that the games will be televised in their area by Portland’s CW. Here’s the TV schedule:

Sept. 30, at Portland, 6 p.m.

Oct. 7, at Seattle, 6:05 p.m.

Dec. 30, at Seattle, 6:05 p.m.

Dec. 31, at Portland, 7 p.m.

Jan. 13, at Portland, 6 p.m.

Feb. 10, at Seattle, 6:05 p.m.

Feb. 11, at Portland, 5 p.m.

March 4, at Seattle, 5:05 p.m.

March 17, at Seattle, 6:05 p.m.

In Regina, Access Communications will carry 20 games involving the Regina Pats, with 15 of those games featuring other East Division teams. . . . The telecast schedule is right here.

Friday games (opening of regular season; all times local):

Regina at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

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

Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

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

Spokane at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops at Kelowna 7:05 p.m.

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 I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

Hockey world loses great friend as Graham Tuer dies at 87

Brian Sparrow (left) presents Graham Tuer with his Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame induction sweater on July 22 in his hometown of North Battleford. (Photo: Nathan Kanter/battlefordsNOW)

Graham Tuer, one of the most popular hockey people in Western Canada, died in a Regina hospital on Tuesday morning. He was 87.

Tuer battled health issues for the past couple of months. He entered hospital late last week after suffering two heart attacks.

Tuer was a man of smiles, one-liners and stories. Behind the sense of humour was a man who cared.

Jeff DeDekker (left) posted this photo with Graham Tuer on Facebook on Tuesday, with these words: “I took (this) photo last season and when I told him I was going to share it on social media to prove that I hung out with celebrities, he laughed and told me that I was the celebrity. He certainly knew how to make people smile.”

“I got to spend a lot of time with him in the rinks over the past few years and feel very fortunate that I got to know him,” Jeff DeDekker, the Regina Leader-Post’s entertainment co-ordinator, told Taking Note. DeDekker is a former Leader-Post sports writer who also is a minor hockey official and supervisor. “I’d be sitting up in the corner of a rink supervising officials and he’d wander up and sit down to chat. Made me laugh every time.”

I spent 17 years at the Regina Leader-Post so often had occasion to chat with him. I left Regina in the spring of 2000 and hadn’t seen him in a number of years when I was back there three years ago. My wife, Dorothy, was one year past a kidney transplant, and when I bumped into Tuer at a local arena, the first words out his mouth were: “How’s your wife?”

She was more than just my wife to him, too. He had gotten to know here in our early years in Regina when she worked at Walmart and he would bump into her. Yes, he was friends with her, too.

But that was Graham Tuer . . . a friend to the world.

“I had the pleasure of a two-hour coffee session with him last week and as usual he was full of life and infinite wisdom,” Brent Parker, the Pats’ general manager during Tuer’s first stint with the Pat, posted on Facebook. “He was truly one of a kind and as good a human being as I will ever meet. The world is a lesser place today and words can’t express how heartbroken I felt upon receiving the news of his passing!

“He used to bring a box of Ritz crackers and cheese on the bus and we would snack and talk and oh the stories he would tell!!”

Tuer was born and raised in North Battleford, living there for 21 years. He spent more than 50 years in and around Western Canadian arenas in various roles and with various teams, leagues and organizations.

Most recently, he worked for NHL Central Scouting and the Regina Pats. He returned to the Pats in 2015 as a scout and also as their liaison to Hockey Regina, the governing body for minor hockey in the provincial capital. Tuer had been the Pats’ assistant general manager and director of player personnel in the early 1990s.

He also scouted for the Kelowna Rockets from October 1998 through the 2014-15 season.

“We were very saddened this morning by the news of the passing of Graham,” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, said in a news release. “He was a great friend of the Rockets organization, wonderful person, and a very valued scout. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Tuer family.”

Tuer was involved with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians for a number of years and was their manager when they won a national title in 1988. He also had been on the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s board of directors since 1983.

Hockey Regina honoured Tuer by naming an annual bantam tournament after him in 2007.

The WHL presented him with a Distinguished Service Award in 2010. In the spring of 2015, Hockey Canada presented him an Order of Merit (West).

Tuer was inducted into the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder on July 22 in North Battleford.

“For that to happen in the last month here,” Tuer’s son, Greg, told the Regina Leader-Post, “and for it to happen in his hometown where he grew up, it was a very special night and for all of us who were able to be there.

“He’s won all kinds of awards and hockey has really been his lover forever and he’s poured a lot into it — but he’s got way more back from it than he ever gave.”

Graham also is a member of the Regina Sports Hall of Fame.

“It’s a difficult day for all of us,” John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, told The Leader-Post. “I didn’t know him the length of time most people did that I’m associated with now. But to me, three years knowing him, he has touched everybody that he ever met in a positive way.

“There’s a lot of men everywhere who know Graham that wish they could have lived their lives like he did. I can’t imagine that he ever said a bad word about anybody. That speaks volumes about him as a person. That’s more important than the contributions he made in hockey, which were many.”

Tuer was predeceased by his wife Verna. He is survived by four children — Donna, Kathy, Al and Greg — along with eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial service are being finalized.

Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post remembers Graham Tuer right here.