THE CHILLIWACK/VICTORIA BRUINS:
WHL officials have long said they wouldn’t go back to Vancouver Island unless there were two teams there. That, of course, means Victoria and Nanaimo.
Numerous reports have indicated that the Victoria deal is done — the Chilliwack Bruins have been sold and will be relocated. (With the Bruins having been eliminated from the playoffs Saturday night, there aren’t any tickets to be sold in Chilliwack, so perhaps news will be forthcoming.)
But what of Nanaimo?
"The biggest stumbling block that Nanaimo has is the city doesn't have an adequate facility," Ken Wagner, who owns a piece of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, told Walter Cordery of the Nanaimo Daily News. "It's great news for hockey fans but I don't think it will affect us here in Nanaimo much at all. We haven't had any contact with the WHL but we know they have always said they would prefer to establish a second Island franchise if they were going to return to Victoria."
So what of a new facility for Nanaimo?
John Ruttan, the mayor of Nanaimo, told Cordery that he would love to have the WHL in his city but “not if they expect city taxpayers to underwrite the cost of a new arena."
Cordery’s story is right here.
Glen Sonmor is one of the grand guys of hockey, and you can bet he has done and seen it all. Sonmor is 81 now and they’ll gather at Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub in St. Paul, Minn., on Monday evening to honour Sonmor and maybe tell a tale or two. Maybe Sonmor will flash back to his days with the Brandon Wheat Kings when the fans would gather at the train station and serenade the team with When Irish Eyes are Smiling.
Anyway . . . Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has today’s good read, a feature look at Sonmor, and it’s a good one. It’s right here.
From Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal:
DJ Bowen in Jasper has been working overtime to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Jasper Arena and he has the Oil Kings playing Prince George in an exhibition game there on Sept. 9. In 1961, the Oil Kings played the Edmonton Flyers to open the building. Glen Sather played for the Oil Kings that game and Doug Messier for the Flyers, and they’ll be hanging their jerseys in the arena to salute that long-ago game. Sather and Messier might not be there, but hopefully they can send video messages. They’re bringing in some of the players from those teams — Gregg Pilling and Vince Downey have committed as ex Oil Kings and they might get Roger Dejordy who played for the Flyers that day. They’re having a banquet on Sept. 8 with the NHL’s icemaker Dan Craig as guest speaker.
The Kelowna Rockets and Portland Winterhawks will meet in the second round of the playoffs. That series will open games Thursday and April 10 in Portland’s Rose Garden. . . . The Rockets will welcome back F Evan Bloodoff, who missed the four-game sweep of the Prince George Cougars as he served a four-game suspension. . . . The other Western Conference semifinal will feature the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans. It will begin with games Saturday and April 10 in Spokane. . . . F Landon Ferraro of the Everett Silvertips took a cross-checking major at the end of their last playoff game against the Portland Winterhawks. He drew a one-game suspension, so will sit out the first game of next season should he be back in the WHL as a 20-year-old. . . . F Justin Dowling, who played this season with the Swift Current Broncos, scored his first pro goal Saturday night, giving the host Abbotsford Heat a 1-0 AHL victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins. Dowling’s third-period PP goal stood up as former Everett Silvertips G Leland Irving record his sixth shutout of the season.
Some notes from the Chiefs on their upcoming series with the Tri-City Americans:
The Chiefs won the 12-game season series against the Americans, 7-5-0. At one point, Spokane had won five in a row in the series. Tri-City earned a victory in the last game of the season by a 6-4 score on Saturday, March 19.
The match-up will be the fifth time the two franchises have met in the post-season and the first time since a seven-game Western Conference Championship series in 2008. That series featured five overtime games, including three that went into double overtime. Spokane won Game 7 in Kennewick and advanced to win the WHL final and Memorial Cup.
The Chiefs have won the last three playoff series between the two after the Americans earned a seven-game victory in 1995. The Chiefs won in four games and in five games in the first round in 2000 and 2002, respectively.
SPOKANE AND TRI-CITY PLAYOFF HISTORY
1995: Tri-City wins second-round series 4-3
2000: Spokane wins first-round series 4-0
2002: Spokane wins first-round series 4-1
2008: Spokane wins Western Conference final 4-3
SATURDAY’S PLAYOFF GAMES:
In Saskatoon, D Duncan Siemens, who was a game-time decision, had a goal and three assists as the Blades skated to an 8-0 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Blades hold a 3-2 edge in the series going into Game 6 tonight in Prince Albert. . . . Siemens left Game 4 with a lower-body injury and it wasn’t know whether he would play in Game 5 until he took the pregame skate. . . . Saskatoon G Steven Stanford stopped 30 shots. . . . Saskatoon scored six second-period goals, four of them on the PP, after a scoreless first period. . . . The Blades outshot the Raiders, 54-30. . . . The Blades’ big line piled up 10 points, with Brayden Schenn getting a goal and three assists, Curtis Hamilton going two and one, and Jake Trask getting a goal and two helpers. . . . Saskatoon was 5-for-8 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-for-7. . . . Attendance was 10,034, the largest crowd in Saskatoon this season. . . . The Raiders took 63 of 104 penalty minutes. . . .
In Medicine Hat, the Tigers got goals from eight different players as they dropped the Brandon Wheat Kings, 9-5. . . . The Tigers hold a 3-2 edge in the series with Game 6 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Monday. . . . With the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair in their home arena, the Wheat Kings are playing their first-round home games in Winnipeg. . . . F Matt MacKay gave Brandon a 2-1 lead at 6:08 of the second period, but the Tigers then scored four straight goals. . . . F Emerson Etem had two goals and an assist for the Tigers, with F Linden Vey and F Wacey Hamilton each adding a goal and two assists. . . . F Mark Stone had three assists for Brandon, which went the distance with G Corbin Boes, who stopped 30 shots. . . . Brandon G Liam Liston and Medicine Hat starter Tyler Bunz both are out with concussions. . . . G Michael Tadjdeh is serving as Boes’ backup. . . . Medicine Hat G Deven Dubyk stopped 29 shots. . . . Attendance was 4,006. . . .
In Spokane, F Blake Gal scored three times to lead the Chiefs to a 6-4 victory over the Chilliwack Bruins. . . . The Chiefs won the series, 4-1, and now will meet the Tri-City Americans. That series opens Saturday in Spokane. . . . Gal’s third goal, at 13:05 of the third period, broke a 4-4 tie. . . . The Bruins trailed 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3, but came back to tie the game each time. . . . F Mitch Holmberg had two goals for the Chiefs, with F Levko Koper helping out with a goal and two assists. . . . F Kevin Sundher had a goal and two assists for Chilliwack, while F Dylen McKinlay scored twice. . . . Sundher was unable to beat Spokane G James Reid on a second-period penalty shot with the Chiefs holding a 3-2 lead. . . . Reid made 21 saves, 16 fewer than Chilliwack’s Lucas Gore. . . . The Chiefs were without F Tyler Johnson for the second straight game. The WHL’s second-leading scorer in the regular season, Johnson hasn’t played since taking an elbow from Chilliwack D Tyler Stahl, who ended up with a major penalty and then was suspended for two games. . . . Attendance was 5,352.
SATURDAY’S CFB COUNT:
Medicine Hat F Kale Kessy
Chilliwack D Emerson Hrynyk
Taking Note on Twitter