F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Katowice (Poland, PHL). He had five goals and four assists in eight games. . . .
F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) has signed a one-year contract with Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had nine goals and 16 assists in 56 games with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) 56 GP, and three goals and two assists with the Bakersfield Condors (AHL).
“The B.C. government has exempted the province’s six major junior hockey teams from having to pay their players minimum wage,” writes Rob Shaw of the Vancouver Sun, “after threats from the Western Hockey League that teams might not survive a class-action lawsuit on the issue unless the government quickly changed the law in their favour.” . . . The exemption came on Feb. 16 and was made while a class-action lawsuit by former CHL players is making its way through the legal system. That lawsuit was filed in Toronto and Calgary but hasn’t yet been certified. . . . Shaw’s story is right here.
Meanwhile, both of the Vancouver Sun’s political columnists — Ian Mulgrew and Vaughn Palmer — chose to hold the B.C. government’s feet to the fire over this move. . . . Mulgrew has some questions in a piece headlined: Forecheck, back check — how about a junior hockey paycheque? . . . Mulgrew writes: “The sad legacy of how National Hockey League owners exploited players for much of the 20th century apparently lives on in major junior hockey. Astoundingly, owners of B.C.’s six profit-driven teams seem to have persuaded the provincial Liberal cabinet to bring back indentured labour.” . . . Mulgrew’s column is right here. . . . Palmer’s piece carries the headline: Liberals ‘save’ hockey in B.C., but do so on the sly. . . . “The Liberals made the change after extensive lobbying from the league,” Palmer writes, “which was facing a court challenge on the failure to pay minimum wage and concerned about economic pressures on its teams were they obliged to pay up. The Liberals bought the argument but did so in the quietest fashion. The waiver was approved by cabinet order on Feb. 15, with no followup press release nor much else to draw attention to what they’d done.” . . . Why so quiet? Why the secrecy? . . . Palmer’s column is right here. . . . The really interesting thing about all of this: The six B.C. teams seem to have said they would be in danger of financial collapse if they had to pay minimum wage, but they weren’t required to turn over any financials to prove such claims.
When Diane and Russ Parker owned the Regina Pats, and their son, Brent, was the general manager, it seemed that there would be a nasty battle every time the lease with what now is the Regina Exhibition Association Ltd., came up for renewal. Now the Pats have relatively new owners — the Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group — and guess what? Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reports that “an impasse in negotiations for a new lease at the Brandt Centre threatens to derail the Regina Pats’ bid for the 2018 Memorial Cup.” . . . Anthony Marquart, the president of QCSEG, told Harder: “We’re very concerned. We’re at the point now where we’re being put at risk and the community is being put at risk. We won’t be in a position to host a Memorial Cup unless this lease is finalized.” . . . Harder’s story is right here.
The Seattle Thunderbirds got down to three 20-year-olds on Thursday by sending F Cavin Leth to the Prince Albert Raiders for F Zack Andrusiak, 18, and a third-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . The move left the Thunderbirds with F Scott Eansor, F Ryan Gropp and G Rylan Toth as their 20s. . . . The Raiders now have Leth, F Austin Glover and F Tim Vanstone as their 20s. . . . Andrusiak, from Yorkton, Sask., had a goal and an assist in eight games with the Raiders. . . . Leth had three assists in five games with Seattle. He was acquired from the Swift Current Broncos on Jan. 4 for D Sahvan Khaira. Last season, in 36 games with the Thunderbirds, he had six goals and seven assists. . . . In 199 career regular-season games, Leth has 21 goals and 22 assists.
The Moose Jaw Warriors and the Wheat Kings will convene earlier than usual in Brandon on Feb. 8 in order to complete a game that got fogged out on Sept. 24. You may recall that player safety became a concern due to fog and the game was halted with the Warriors leading 2-1 at 14:23 of the second period. . . . The teams will complete that game on Feb. 8, starting at 6 p.m. The regularly scheduled game will follow at 7:30 p.m. . . . Check out the Wheat Kings’ website for details on tickets.
The Victoria Royals have dropped F Keith Anderson from their roster. He is expected to join the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. Anderson, 19, is from Hermiston, Ore. He was a sixth-round pick by the Royals in the 2012 bantam draft. Last season, he had a goal and five assists in 33 games with Victoria. This season, he was pointless in three games. . . .
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The @EdmOilKings go deep to the bench to recruit a young @hamilton_steve to tend net at morning skate. #mixinasave pic.twitter.com/6ghPKyJPcL— Corey Graham (@CoreyGraham) October 21, 2016
@bdnwheatkings #BullsClub 🐂 with the top #NHLDraft prospect @nolan_patrick19 tonight! 👍 #WHL pic.twitter.com/g503NCdQ0C— George (@Big_G_09) October 22, 2016
At Brandon, D Kale Clague, in his first game of the season, had a goal and two assists to help the Wheat Kings to a 6-1 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Clague was injured while in camp
with the Los Angeles Kings on Sept. 21. . . . F Tanner Kaspick also had a goal and two assists for Brandon, with F Reid Duke and D James Shearer each getting a goal and an assist. . . . Shearer was back in Brandon’s lineup for the first time this month. The Wheat Kings also have F Barron Thompson back in camp after having dropped him from their roster for what Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun has referred to as “an off-ice issue.” However, Thompson didn’t play last night . . . Wheat Kings F Nolan Patrick also was scratched again. . . . G Jordan Papirny stopped 32 shots for Brandon, with Stuart Skinner blocking 32 for the visitors. . . . Brandon was 1-3 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-5. . . . The Wheat Kings (4-3-2) are 2-0-1 in their last three outings. . . . The Hurricanes (5-6-2), who continue to be without F Egor Babenko, have lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . The Wheat Kings lost F Tyler Coulter at 12:35 of the first period with a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on F Giorgio Estephan. That will take Coulter out of Saturday’s game against the visiting Spokane Chiefs, for starters. . . . Announced attendance: 3,707.
At Edmonton, F Trey Fix-Wolansky broke a 1-1 tie at 7:09 of the second period and the Oil Kings
went on to a 3-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Fix-Wolansky, who was acquired from Prince Albert for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft on Sept. 7, has four goals in his freshman season. He also drew two assists in this one. . . . The Raiders got the game’s first goal, from F Parker Kelly, at 2:40 of the first period. . . . Edmonton D Will Warm’s first goal tied it, at 14:17. Fix-Wolansky drew an assist on the play. . . . Edmonton D Aaron Irving got the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 17:28 of the third period. . . . Edmonton G Patrick Dea stopped 32 shots. . . . G Ian Scott of the Raiders turned aside 35. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-2 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-3. . . . Edmonton (4-5-2) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Raiders are 3-6-1. . . . F Cavin Leth, acquired Thursday from the Seattle Thunderbirds, was in Prince Albert’s lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 6,798.
At Kamloops, F Rudolfs Balcers had two goals and an assist in the first period as the Blazers got
started towards what would be a ?? victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Balcers, a smooth-skating Latvian, has five goals this season. . . . The Blazers took a 1-0 lead on F Deven Sideroff’s fifth goal, at 1:14 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Mason McCarthy tied it with his eighth goal at 7:42. . . . It was all Blazers after that, with Balcers scoring at 11:49 and 17:32. . . . Sideroff added two assists to his goal, while D Shaun Dosanjh also had two helpers. D Ondrej Vala had a goal and an assist, as did F Spencer Bast. . . . The Blades had problems handling the Kamloops speed on the forecheck and constantly turned the puck over at the Saskatoon blue line. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram was sharp with 28 saves. Fred Brathwaite, Hockey Canada’s goaltending consultant, was in the house as Ingram is a candidate for Canada’s national junior team. . . . The Blades got 24 saves from G Logan Flodell. . . . Each team was 0-6 on the PP. . . . The Blazers (6-6-0) have won two in a row and are 4-0-0 at home. . . . The Blades (6-4-1) are 2-2-0 in B.C. Their trip concludes Saturday night in Prince George. . . . Announced attendance: 3,382.
At Kelowna, the Rockets scored twice in the first 45 seconds of the opening period — they led 4-0 at
4:48 — and went on to beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-2. . . . F Jake Kryski’s third goal got things started at 0:23 and F Riley Stadel made it 2-0 just 22 seconds later. . . . D Nolan Foote upped it to 3-0 at 4:10 and F Calvin Thukauf made it 4-0 at 4:48. . . . The Americans got two first-period goals, from D Brendan O’Reilly at 9:12 and F Max James at 15:40. . . . Kryski also had an assist. . . . D Dylan Coghlan drew two assists for Tri-City, with James getting one. . . . Kelowna G Michael Herringer won it with 18 saves. . . . Tri-City starter Rylan Parenteau was beaten four times on seven shots. Reliever Beck Warm came on to stop 34 shots in 38:37. . . . Each team was 0-5 on the PP. . . . The Rockets (5-7-0) have won two straight. . . . The Americans are 6-5-0. . . . Announced attendance: 4,766.
At Cranbrook, B.C., the Medicine Hat Tigers took a 2-0 first-period lead and went on to beat the
Kootenay Ice, 4-1. . . . The Tigers had beaten the visiting Ice 10-3 on Wednesday night. . . . Last night, F John Dahlstrom got his fifth goal at 13:50 and F Steve Owre, with his first, made it 2-0 at 19:01. . . . F Matt Alfaro’s fourth goal, at 9:00 of the second period, got the Ice on the board. . . . F Mark Rassell’s seventh goal gave the Tigers some insurance at 11:50 of the second. . . . F Matt Bradley added insurance with his sixth goal, an empty-netter, at 18:57 of the third period. . . . Tigers F Mason Shaw had three assists, while Owre and Dahlstrom each had one. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 25 shots for the winners. . . . The Ice got 33 stops from G Jakob Walter. . . . The Tigers were 1-5 on the PP; the Ice was 0-2. . . . The Tigers (8-3-1) are 3-0-1 in their last four games. . . . The Ice (1-7-4) has lost six in a row (0-4-2). . . . The Tigers were without F Chad Butcher (suspension) and F Zach Fischer (flu). . . . Announced attendance: 1,806.
At Red Deer, the Rebels scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . Red
Deer (6-3-2) has won four straight. . . . The Hitmen (3-4-1) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . F Jakob Stukel gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 1:18 of the first period. . . . D Alexander Alexeyev scored his first WHL goal for the Rebels at 4:43 and he drew the only assist on F Michael Spacek’s goal at 10:04. . . . Spacek has six goals. . . . D Colton Bobyk’s fourth goal provided insurance, via the PP, at 15:03 of the second period. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel got the empty-netter at 17:21 of the third. . . . Rebels F Evan Polei had two assists, with Spacek adding one to his goal. . . . The Rebels got 31 stops out of G Riley Lamb. . . . G Cody Porter blocked 37 shots for the Hitmen. . . . Red Deer was 1-5 on the PP; Calgary was 0-6. . . . Announced attendance: 4,809.
At Regina, the Pats scored three goals in the second period — each of them while shorthanded — en
route to a 4-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Regina now has a WHL-leading nine shorthanded goals in only 11 games. . . . The Pats (8-0-3) remain the only one of the CHL’s 60 teams not to have lost in regulation time. . . . The Chiefs are 3-5-2. . . . F Luc Smith gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 6:31 of the first period, with Spokane F Curtis Miske equalizing, on a PP, at 14:59. . . . The shorthanded flurry began with F Austin Wagner scoring at 3:41. He added another one at 10:52. F Jake Leschyshyn scored the third shorthanded snipe at 12:14. . . . Wagner has five goals; Leschyshyn has six. . . . Chiefs F Ethan McIndoe’s first goal, on a PP at 5:21 of the third period, rounded out the scoring. . . . G Jordan Hollett stopped 28 shots for Regina, one more than Spokane’s Jayden Sittler. . . . Spokane was 2-6 on the PP; Regina was 0-4. . . . Announced attendance: 5,259.
At Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead and went on to a 3-1
victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Nolan Volcan, at 16:06, and D Ethan Bear, at 18:34, got Seattle started. . . . F Skyler McKenzie’s eighth goal, at 3:45 of the second period, got Portland to within one. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman iced it with an empty-netter at 19:00 of the third period. . . . The Thunderbirds got 32 stops from G Rylan Toth. . . . Portland G Cole Kehler made 25 saves. . . . Seattle was 1-2 on the PP; Portland was 1-3. . . . The Thunderbirds (3-4-1) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Winterhawks (8-5-0) have lost two in a row. . . . F Ryan Gropp was among Seattle’s scratches. He is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Mathew Barzal, who is eligible to return to Settle, was scratched again by the New York Islanders. He has played in only one game this season. . . . Announced attendance: 3,634.
At Victoria, the Royals tied the franchise record for most goals in one game for the second game in a
row as they bounced the Swift Current Broncos, 9-2. . . . On Tuesday, the Royals beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades, 9-3. . . . The original record was set on Feb. 2, 2010, when the Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?) beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 9-2. . . . F Dante Hannoun had two goals and an assists for the Royals. F Ryan Peckford, who had a goal and five assists on Tuesday, had a goal and two assists in this one, as did F Matt Phillips and F Regan Nagy. D Ryan Gagnon and D Chaz Redekopp each drew two assists. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi had a goal and an assist for the Broncos. . . . Victoria was 4-8 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-7. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 25 shots for Victoria. . . . The Broncos got 14 saves from starter Taz Burman, who gave up five goals. Travis Child came on in relief to turn aside 24 of 28 shots in 43:37. . . . The Royals (7-5-0) have won three straight. . . . The Broncos are 8-4-1. They are 2-2-0 on their B.C. trip. . . . Announced attendance: 4,962.
SATURDAY’S GAMES (all times local):
Spokane at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Tri-City at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Regina at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Saskatoon at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Kelowna vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Swift Current vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.
Everett at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
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