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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

But there was a meeting of the officiating minds at the penalty box and the call was rescinded.

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 This one wasn’t rescinded.

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

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

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


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


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FRIDAY:

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


SATURDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Regina at Portland, 6 p.m.

Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Vancouver, 7 p.m.

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks, Mr. Bettman.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

KEN PEARSON

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Among the replies to that tweet:

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

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

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

Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

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

Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Seattle at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meachem’s story is right here.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.

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

Spokane at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

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

Red Deer at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Everett at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts includes this:

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

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

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

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


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


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


TUESDAY:

Russia 4, WHL 3, at Swift Current.


WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


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


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

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


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

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

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

The Golden Knights have lost three goaltenders to injury.

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

Maxime Lagace made his NHL debut after Dansk left.

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

On Monday, West posted this on his Facebook page:

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


MONDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Regina, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Portland, 7 p.m.

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


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


Three teams do goaltender shuffle … Rebels lose Lamb to injury … Warriors reveal some numbers

F Bruno Mráz (Brandon, 2011-12) has signed a one-year contract with Olomouc (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had 17 goals and 19 assists in 44 games with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . .

F Peter Mueller (Everett, 2005-07) has signed a one-year contract with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had 13 goals and 12 assists in 56 games last season with the Providence Bruins (AHL). . . .

F Tomáš Mojžíš (Moose Jaw, Seattle, 2000-03) has been loaned to Pardubice by Liberec (both Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. This season, he had been pointless in five games with Liberec. . . .

F Denis Tolpeko (Seattle, Regina, 2003-06) has been released by Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL). He had one assist in four games.


With opening night slightly more than 48 hours away, three WHL teams undertook major makeovers in their goaltending departments on Wednesday.

The Saskatoon Blades moved out G Logan Flodell, 20, sending him to the Swift Current Broncos, while at the same time acquiring G Ryan Kubic, 19, from the Vancouver Giants.

The Blades gave Vancouver a second-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft for Kubic, who had been the Giants’ No. 1 goalie for two seasons.

Saskatoon sent Flodell to the Swift Current Broncos for a fifth-round pick in 2019 and a second-rounder in 2020.

The Blades are left with Kubic and Joel Grzybowski, an 18-year-old freshman from Hafford, Sask., as their goaltenders. Kubic, from St. Andrews, Man., played the previous two seasons with the Giants, who selected him in the second round of the 2013 bantam draft.

Kubic got into 50 games as a freshman (17-24-6, 3.31, .898) and 56 last season (15-32-6, 3.67, .895).

Moving Flodell also allowed the Blades to get down to three 20-year-olds — D Evan Fiala, who is the team captain, F Cam Hebig and F Braylon Shmyr.

“It was a very difficult and complicated process to go through for us,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said in a news release. “All four guys are special and in any scenario we were going to lose a star player. We know how good Logan is and what an incredible season he had with us last year, and losing him is difficult. However, we simply felt the combination of Hebig and Shmyr playing together as 20s would give us a first line on par with any other in the league and would insulate our young star players from having to play against top lines and top d-men every night.

“We now have a five-year plan in net moving forward and this fills the gap that would have been created with Logan graduating next year.”

The Giants are poised to open with veteran G David Tendeck, who turns 18 on Nov. 25, and freshman G Todd Scott, a 17-year-old from Albertville, Minn. Tendeck, from North Vancouver, B.C., was 5-14-0, 4.78, .856 in 22 games as a freshman last season.

The Broncos, meanwhile, won’t be through making moves.

Flodell’s acquisition left them with two 20-year-old goaltenders, the other being veteran Taz Burman. The Broncos also have three other 20-year-olds on their roster, in forwards Conner Chaulk, Glenn Gawdin and Arthur Miller.

Flodell, from Regina, was 22-20-4, 2.81, .912 in 48 games with the Blades last season. In 2015-16, he was 22-13-4, 2.68, .904 in 42 appearances with the Seattle Thunderbirds, who selected him in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft.

The Broncos also have G Joel Hofer on their roster. The 6-foot-3 Hofer, 17, is from Winnipeg. He played the previous two seasons at the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna.

Interestingly, the Broncos and Blades are scheduled to open the regular season in Saskatoon on Friday.


On the subject of goaltending, the Red Deer Rebels have lost starter Riley Lamb, 19, for at least six weeks with a broken thumb. That means veteran Lasse Petersen, 20, steps into the starting role, with freshman Ethan Anders, who turns 17 on Tuesday, backing him up. . . . Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com reports that Lamb was injured during a practice session this week. . . . The Rebels open the season at home to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night. . . . Red Deer is carrying three 20-year-olds in Petersen, F Mason McCarty and F Grayson Pawlenchuk. . . . Meachem’s story is right here.


The Moose Jaw Warriors reported a loss of $463,566 for the year ending May 31, but that was after putting more than $700,000 back into the multi-purpose Mosaic Place in which they play.

Shareholders were told at Wednesday’s annual meeting that team operations netted $267,631 for the year, including $138,296.13 in playoff revenue. The Warriors lost a first-round series in seven games to the Swift Current Broncos, with four of the games played in Moose Jaw.

The Warriors again honoured a 10-year pledge commitment to Mosaic Place with a payment of $200,000. That means they have paid $1.7 million towards the facility with four years remaining in the pledge.

The Warriors also paid $124,088.75 in rent and $531,197 in upgrades to Mosaic Place, mostly in the areas of sound and lighting.

It all added up to a loss of $463,566, which left the Warriors with a bank balance of $1,081,545.01. There also is $112,106.30 in a legacy fund, and $282,033.78 in their education fund.

It also is more than worth noting that the team’s booster club raised $257,487. Now that’s a booster club!


F Ty Ronning and F Brad Morrison have returned to Vancouver from NHL camps, leaving the Giants with four 20-year-olds on their roster. Ronning had been with the New York Rangers, while Morrison skated with the Calgary Flames. . . . Some observers thought Ronning might get a chance with the Hartford Wolfpack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. He had two goals and three assists in 12 games in Hartford late last season. . . . The Giants acquired Morrison from the Prince George Cougars in June. He had 85 goals and 103 assists in 260 games with the Cougars. . . . Vancouver’s roster also includes two other 20s — F Jack Flaman and D Darian Skeoch. It is expected that they will waive Flaman, if they haven’t already. . . . Teams have until Oct. 10 to get down to the maximum three 20s. . . . The Giants open the regular season in Victoria against the Royals on Friday.


The Moose Jaw Warriors released F Jaeger White, 19, from their roster on Wednesday. White, from Medicine Hat, was a fourth-round selection by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. He has played with the Hurricanes, Everett Silvertips and Brandon Wheat Kings, recording five goals and 15 assists in 84 games. White has battled shoulder injuries for much of his career. He missed all of last season, playing only two games with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. . . . The Warriors also released F Brayden Tracey, who is expected to play a second season with the midget AAA Calgary Northstars. Tracey, 16, was a first-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he had eight goals and 11 assists in 28 games with the Northstars.


D Dylan Coghlan of the Tri-City Americans has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights after being in their training camp. Coghlan, a 19-year-old from Duncan, B.C., was in camp as an undrafted free agent. . . . Last season, he had 15 goals and 38 assists in 71 games with the Americans, who selected him in the third round of the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . In 196 career regular-season games, he has 21 goals and 61 assists. . . . Coghlan is the third undrafted free agent out of the WHL to get an NHL contract this week. Earlier, F Jordy Bellerive of the Lethbridge Hurricanes signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins and F Parker Kelly of the Prince Albert Raiders signed with the Ottawa Senators.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Cordel Larson, 16, who was a ninth-round pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. From Weyburn, Sask., the 5-foot-8, 160-pounder Larson had five goals and 13 assists with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds of Wilcox, Sask., last season.


G Cody Porter, who has played in 117 regular-season WHL games, has signed with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. Porter, who turns 20 on Saturday, is from North Vancouver, B.C. . . . Last season, he was 14-16-3, 3.46, .888 in 34 games with the Calgary Hitmen. He also has played with the Vancouver Giants. . . . Porter is available to play for the Sea Dogs tonight (Thursday) when they open the regular season against the visiting Halifax Mooseheads.


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