Things are smokin’ in Kamloops … Hebig getting geared up … Ex-WHLer cookin’ in modelling world

How were things in Kamloops on Thursday?

Well, one of the air quality rating systems works on a 1-10 basis, with 10 being the poorest. At noon, the air quality in Kamloops was rated at 24. Seriously . . . 24!

Except that it went to 27 . . . then 47 . . . then 49!

Yes, it was bad.

In their daily briefing, at 1 p.m., the fire information people told us that there were 126 fires burning, with eight of them new ones. All told, there have been 861 fires and they have scorched 491,000 hectares — that’s 1,213,287 acres.

Still, we’ve got a ways to go before this is the worst fire season on record. In 1958, the scorched total was 855,968 hectares. Right now, though, we’re No. 2.

As for the cost, well, since April 1 the tab is at $204 million, which has to be right there with Norm’s bar tab at Cheers.



G Jackson Whistle (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2011-16) has signed a one-year extension with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). Last season, in 14 games, he was 2.59 and .903. Whistle doesn’t count as an import because he played minor hockey in the UK. His father David (Kamloops, Brandon, 1986-87) played and coached in the UK, including three seasons as head coach of Belfast (2000-03).


F Cameron Hebig of the Saskatoon Blades is eagerly preparing for his 20-year-old season, after sitting out all of last season with concussion-related problems. “I was seeing a neurologist, and you know the brain heals and the body heals,” Hebig told CTV’s Pat McKay. “I had worked hard at my physio, and I think that helped a lot, and I’m feeling 100 per cent now.” . . . Hebig arguably was the Blades’ top forward going into last season. He was coming off an 18-year-old season in which he put up 69 points, 26 of them goals, in 59 games. Those are impressive numbers, especially when you consider that he was playing on a poor team and frequently was up against the other team’s top centre. . . . Without Hebig last season, the Blades missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Of course, there isn’t a guarantee that he will be in the lineup when the 2017-18 season arrives because he is, at the moment, one of four 20-year-olds on the Saskatoon roster, along with D Evan Fiala, G Logan Flodell and F Braylon Shmyr. . . . McKay has more on Hebig right here.


The Everett Silvertips have signed G Blake Lyda to a WHL contract. Lyda, from Edmonton, was a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, in 24 games with the bantam AAA Canadian Athletic Club Canadians, he was 3.30 and .917 with one one shutout. . . . Lyda is a cousin to F Vern Fiddler, who has played 14 NHL seasons after playing four WHL seasons (Kelowna, Medicine Hat, 1997-2001).


Rob Sumner, a former head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, has been promoted to assistant director of amateur scouting by the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Sumner was the Thunderbirds’ head coach for seven seasons (2004-11) after spending seven seasons there as an assistant coach. He has been an amateur scout with the Flames since 2011. . . . The Flames named Sumner and Fred Parker as assistant directors of amateur scouting under Tod Button, their director of amateur scouting.


The ShoWare Center, which is home to the WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds, was expected to lose US$311,897 in the second quarter; instead, the loss was $120,683. That’s because the Thunderbirds were a big hit in the WHL playoffs and had eight home playoff games in that time. Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter writes that “ShoWare’s rental income came in $108,754 more than the budget. The hockey games also increased the food and beverage profits. The arena’s concessions brought in $236,817 for the second quarter, nearly $175,000 higher than budget.” . . . Playoffs aren’t a sure thing, so teams and facilities don’t budget for these numbers. Yes, making the playoffs is awfully important to WHL teams and the buildings in which they play. . . . Hunter’s complete story is right here.


JAKE DIETRICH

The next time you walk past a Gap store, make sure you check out the photos using male models. If one of them looks familiar, it just might be Jacob Dietrich, who spent four seasons (2004-08) in the WHL, splitting that time among the Moose Jaw Warriors, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Portland Winterhawks. . . . These days, he’s know as Jake and he is represented by Wilhelmina International Inc. . . . Dietrich, who is from Deloraine, Man., a farming community located south of Brandon, is from a hockey family. His father, Don, played for the Wheat Kings, while his brother, Nick, played with Lethbridge and Portland. . . . After his hockey career, Jake was going to enter the world of culinary arts. But he got sidetracked and now he’s busy working for the likes of Joseph Abboud, Michael Kors and, yes, The Gap. . . . Ian Froese of The Brandon Sun has a terrific story right here.


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