THURSDAY’S GAME:No Game Scheduled.
They will drop the puck to start the WHL championship final tonight in Brandon with the Wheat Kings meeting the Kelowna Rockets.
The winner of the best-of-seven series gets the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
Each of the teams is 12-3 in these playoffs.
The Wheat Kings got past the defending-champion Edmonton Oil Kings, Regina Pats and Calgary Hitmen, each in five games.
The Rockets opened with a sweep of the Tri-City Americans, then took out the Victoria Royals in five games and the Portland Winterhawks in six.
The Wheat Kings will open with Jordan Papirny in goal, while the Rockets are expected to start Jackson Whistle.
It will be interesting to see the scratches.
F Rourke Chartier, with 48 regular-season goals and nine more in the playoffs, missed the Rockets’ last three games, but he practised on Thursday.
Meanwhile, D Kale Clague, F Reid Duke and F Tanner Kaspick, all of whom are regulars with the Wheat Kings, have practised all week after sitting out with undisclosed injuries. Clague and Kaspick missed the last four games of the Eastern Conference final; Duke missed the entire series.
down in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.
The series is to be played in a 2-3-2 format. Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday in Brandon.
Some odds and ends, most of which deal with bloodlines, from the WHL’s bantam draft that was held Thursday in Calgary . . .
During the draft, the Everett Silvertips traded F Ivan Nikolishin, 19, to the Red Deer Rebels for a third-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2017. . . . Nikolishin, from Moscow, had 62 points, including 16 goals, in 72 games for Everett this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had 59 points, 18 of them goals, in 72 games. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reported that Nikolishin asked for a change of scenery. . . . “He’s very excited about (the) trade and he’s looking forward to playing here,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner/GM/head coach told Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate. . . . The Rebels are the host team for the 2016 Memorial Cup. . . . Nikolishin’s father, Andrei, is a former NHL defenceman who was with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2002-03 when Sutter’s brother Brian was the head coach. Andrei Nikolishin now is the head coach of the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk. . . . The Rebels’ roster now includes two imports, the other being Slovakian D/F Mario Grman, 18, who had three assists in 35 games this season. Grman would appear to be in tough, however, as Brent Sutter has told Meachem that he plans on using his first-round selection in the CHL import draft.
The Rebels also dealt F Connor Gay, 20, to the Saskatoon Blades for a third-round pick in yesterday’s draft. The Rebels had acquired Gay from the Regina Pats in January. Gay, who is from Saskatoon, had 17 points, including 14 assists, in 32 games with the Rebels. With the Pats, he had put up 44 points, including 20 goals, in 39 games. . . . Red Deer’s roster now includes four 20-year-olds — D Kyle Doetzel, F Scott Feser, F Wyatt Johnson and F Presten Kopeck. . . . The Blades also have four 20s on their roster — Gay, D Kolton Dixon, D Isaac Schacher and F Nick Zajac.
The Calgary Hitmen dealt a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft to the Everett Silvertips for the rights to F Andrew Fyten. He was a fifth-round selection by Everett in the 2013 bantam draft. Fyten, from Didsbury, Alta., had 44 points, 22 of them goals, with the midget prep team at Edge school in Calgary. . . . If Fyten reports to Everett, Calgary gets the sixth-round pick. Should he play 12 games, it becomes a fifth-rounder.
In the third round, the Swift Current Broncos took D Ethan Martini of Trail, who played at Edge school in Calgary. He is the son of Darcy, a defence man who was an eighth-round pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1989 NHL draft. He played two games with the Oilers in 1993-94. . . .
In the third round, the Victoria Royals took G Dean McNabb, whose brother, Brayden, played with the Kootenay Ice and now is with the Los Angeles Kings. The McNabb boys are from Davidson, Sask. . . .
The Prince George Cougars used a second-round selection to take D Jonas Harkins from the North Shore Winter Club. His father, Todd, is the Cougars’ general manager, while brother Jansen is one of the club’s top forwards. . . .
The Medicine Hat Tigers took F Ryan Chyzowski of Kamloops in the first round. Chyzowski, who missed most of this season with a knee injury, is the younger brother of Nick Chyzowski, who has played two seasons with the Kamloops Blazers. There father, Dave, also played for the Blazers and was the second overall selection — behind F Mats Sundin — in the NHL’s 1989 draft. Dave is the Blazers’ director of sales and marketing. . . .
The Kootenay Ice selected F Keenan Taphorn of Yorkton, Sask., in the second round, 34th overall. . . . His twin brother, Kaeden, went to the Vancouver Giants in the third round, 47th overall. . . . They were born on Jan. 3, 2000. . . . In the sixth round, the Ice took F Benjamin Sanderson of Calgary. His father, Geoff, is a former WHL and NHL forward. . . . In the 11th round, the Ice selected F Austin Wong of Cochrane, Alta.. He is the younger brother of F Yler Wong of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .
F Noah Geekie of Strathclair, Man., was selected by the Calgary Hitmen in the second round. He is the son of D Craig Geekie (Brandon, Spokane, 1990-94). . . . In the ninth round, the Hitmen took F Hunter Lamb of Swift Current. His father, Mark, is the Swift Current Broncos’ GM and head coach. . . .
The Kelowna Rockets took F Nolan Foote of Englewood, Colo, in the second round, 43rd overall. Two years ago, they picked D Callan Foote with the 43rd pick. . . . Their father, Adam, is a former NHL defenceman. . . . Callan played this season with the U-16 Colorado Thunderbirds. He also played two games with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. . . .
In the fourth round, the Spokane Chiefs picked F Colum McGauley of Wilcox, Sask. His older brother, Tim, is one of the Brandon Wheat Kings’ top players. . . .
The Everett Silvertips used a fourth-round pick to take F Ryan Savage of Scottsdale, Ariz. His father, Brian, is a former NHLer. . . . Everett took F Dawson Butt of Buckley, Wash., in the sixth round. His father, Jamie, is a former WHLer (Tacoma, Kelowna, 1992-96). . . .
In the fourth round, 71st overall, the Tri-City Americans selected D Liam Belcourt. With the next pick, the Kelowna Rockets took D Konrad Belcourt. The cousins are from Sherwood Park, Alta. . . . The Americans selected F Jack Barnes in the fifth round. His father, Stu, is a former NHLer and WHLer who is part of the Americans’ ownership group. . . . Also in the fifth round, the Americans took F Ryan O’Reilly of Southlake, Texas. His brother, Brendan, is a defence man with the Americans. . . . In the third round, the Americans picked D Seth Bafaro of Revelstoke, B.C. His father, Mike, was a forward with the New Westminster Bruins for parts of three WHL seasons (1984-87). . . .
The Moose Jaw Warriors took D Jett Woo of Winnipeg with the fourth pick of the first round. His father, Larry, is a former WHL defence man (Victoria Cougars, Swift Current, 1989-91). . . . The Warriors selected F Kale Clouston of Rockyview, Alta. He is a nephew of Shaun Clouston, the Medicine Hat Tigers’ GM and head coach, and former WHL coach Cory Clouston. Kale’s cousin, Connor, is a Warriors defence man. . . . Later in the day, the Warriors acquired F Rylee Zimmer, 18, from the Regina Pats for a conditional 10th-round pick in the 2016 draft. Zimmer was pointless in 44 games with the Pats in 2013-14. This season, he had one goal in five games with Regina, but spent most of the season with the MJHL’s Waywayseecappo Wolverines, earning 36 points, 10 of them goals, in 34 games. . . .
F Lukas Sillinger was selected by the Regina Pats in the sixth round. Sillinger is from Regina and is the son of ex-NHLer Mike Sillinger, who was one of the Pats’ best-ever forwards. . . . Mike is working for the Pats as a consultant. . . . In the 10th round, the Pats took G Max Paddock of Brandon. The 5-foot-9, 113-pounder is a nephew of Pats head coach John Paddock. Max’s father, Russ, is 6-foot-7 and played for the Canadian men’s volleyball team. . . . Earlier, in the seventh round, Regina selected D Jack Lenchyshyn of Steinbach, Man. No, he isn’t related to Regina F Jake Leschyshyn. . . .
The Seattle Thunderbirds used an eighth-round pick to take F Chase Sakic of Eaglewood, Colo. His father, Joe, is a former WHL who went on to a Hall-of-Fame NHL career.
By the time the WHL’s 22 teams were done, they had combined to select 231 players — 19 goaltenders, 85 defencemen and 127 forwards. All told, 72 players were taken from Alberta, 60 from B.C., 36 from Manitoba, 33 from Saskatoon and 30 from the U.S.
For an in-depth look at the draft, including more numbers than you will be able to digest, get on over to Small Thoughts at Large. He goes round-by-round with stats on the draft picks. . . . The WHL needs to make it worth Alan Caldwell’s while to take a vacation day from work and handle statistics on draft day. What a treat it would be to have names and numbers appear on a pick-by-pick basis as part of the draft coverage.
On Wednesday, Kelly McCrimmon, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, was honoured for the third time as the WHL’s executive of the year. He is the only three-time winner of the award. . . . If you haven’t already seen it, I profiled McCrimmon for The Coaches Site and that story is right here.
In the AHL, the visiting Oklahoma City Barons and Utica Comets opened a second-round series last night by playing into the fourth OT period. . . . F Curtis Hamilton, the son of Kelowna Rockets’ owner/GM Bruce Hamilton, gave the Barons a 2-1 victory with his first goal of the playoffs at 0:16 of the fourth extra period. . . . The online scoresheet is right here. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight in Utica.
THE COACHING GAME:Former NHLer Trent Klatt is the new head coach at Grand Rapids, Minn., High School. Before turning pro, Klatt played four seasons at the U of Minnesota. He retired as a player after the 2003-04 season. . . . Klatt has coached minor hockey in Grand Rapids in recent years. . . . With the Thunderhawks, he replaces John Rothstein, who resigned after two seasons. . . . Klatt has been scouting for the NHL's New York Islanders, but he will leave that position effective July 1.
To all the kids who didn't get drafted in the WHL: I didn't get drafted and look where i ended up. Construction worker and Jr B lifer #goals— Cooper Holick (@Coop_Holick) May 7, 2015
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