Things are about to get ugly. Bare knuckle brew haw haw. pic.twitter.com/eCeDyH6ter— Regan Bartel (@Reganrant) October 6, 2016
Would like to thank the @NHLCanes organization and fans for an awesome experience, excited to get things started again with the @WHLHitmen !— Jake Bean (@JakeBean_2) October 7, 2016
The Calgary Hitmen are expected to have D Jake Bean in their lineup tonight (Friday) as they play host to the Kamloops Blazers. Bean, one of the WHL’s top defencemen, was returned Thursday by the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. Bean, 18, is a Calgary native going into his third season with the Hitmen. Carolina selected him with the 13th overall pick of the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . Last season, Bean had 64 points, 24 of them goals, in 68 games. He had 12 goals and 21 assists while on the PP last season, so his presence almost certainly will help a Calgary power-play unit that is 1-18 through three games. . . . The Hitmen (2-1-0) also have scored only five goals in their first three games. . . . The Blazers (2-4-0) are coming off a 5-4 loss to the host Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday. Kamloops led that one 3-0 in the first period.
The return of D Jake Bean to the Calgary Hitmen leaves three 19-year-old WHLers still with NHL teams.
D Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings is with the Philadelphia Flyers, D Brendan Guhle of the Prince Albert Raiders remains with the Buffalo Sabres, and F Mathew Barzal of the Seattle Thunderbirds is with the New York Islanders.
Provorov, the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft, has signed with the Flyers and is likely to open the regular season with them. He has been playing more than 20 minutes per gam in the exhibition season; last night, he played 21:51 and was plus-2 in a 4-2 victory over the host New York Rangers. Provorov, the CHL’s top defenceman last season, has played the last two seasons with the Wheat Kings.
The Sabres selected Guhle in the second round of the 2015 draft. He had a strong training camp a year ago and, as of Thursday night, was one of 10 defencemen remaining on Buffalo’s roster.
Barzal was the 16th overall selection in the 2015 draft. He, too, is likely to open the regular season in the NHL as the Islanders take a long look at him.
Provorov and Guhle have signed NHL deals.
The Kelowna Rockets have acquired the major junior rights to F Leif Mattson, 17, from the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Rockets gave up a conditional ninth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. Should Mattson play for the Rockets this season, it will become an eighth-round pick. . . . Last season, he had 25 points, including 12 goals, in 30 games with the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders. This season, he has two goals and an assist in five games with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. . . . As a 15-year-old, he was teammates with Kamloops Blazers F Jermaine Loewen on the bantam AAA Interlake Lightning in Manitoba. . . . A native of Thompson, Man., the Wheat Kings selected him in the eighth round of the 2014 bantam draft.
Colton Stephenson was 19 when he announced his retirement from hockey just as the 2011-12 WHL season was getting started.
Stephenson, from Saskatoon, had been selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the third round of the 2007 bantam draft. He played one game with the Oil Kings in 2007-08. Over the next three seasons, he played in 18, 1 and 50 games. He didn’t play any regular-season games in 2011-12.
His last appearance in the WHL, in an exhibition game, came on Sept. 16, 2011.
“We were playing Red Deer in Lacombe and I went to finish my check and he went to counter hit me and caught me right on the chin, knocking me unconscious for a second,” Stephenson told me on Oct. 17, 2011. “I skated off and could not remember the shift.”
Stephenson also told me: “My health is most important to me and I felt it was time to retire. I have had five concussions since I was 16, and I took a year and a half off from them.
“Walking away from the game I love has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It's gonna be extremely hard for a long time but I know in the long run my decision is for the best.”
More than a month ago, the U of Saskatchewan Huskies announced that Stephenson was part of their recruiting class for 2016-17.
The Huskies will open the season tonight (Friday) and Saturday against the visiting UBC Thunderbirds.
Stephenson, however, isn’t on the Huskies’ roster.
Jordan Hart was sentenced to one year of probation and 100 hours of community service in the Federal District Court for the Southern District in New York on Thursday. Hart, 33, had pleaded guilty to possession of oxycodone, which is a misdemeanor. He had been charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, which is a felony. The son of former NHLer Gerry Hart, who played junior with the Flin Flon Bombers, Jordan sold illegally obtained prescription painkillers to the late Derek Boogaard. . . . John Branch of The New York Times has more on the Hart case right here.
The Prince George Cougars have dropped D Peter Kope, 17, from their roster. The Edmonton native is expected to play for the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. The Cougars selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 bantam draft. Kope didn’t get into any of the Cougars’ first six games. . . . The Cougars’ roster now is at 26, including two goaltenders and eight defencemen. . . .
There is an interesting piece right here on F Gage Quinney, who is in camp with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins after a good stint with the parent Pittsburgh Penguins. Quinney, who finished up his WHL career with the Kamloops Blazers last season, doesn’t have a contract but it sounds as though he may be close. He was pointless last night as the AHL Penguins dropped a 4-1 decision to the visiting Albany Devils. . . .
The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks have acquired the junior A rights to F Haydn Hopkins, 19, from the Victoria Grizzlies for future considerations. Hopkins, from Victoria, was a 12th-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2012 WHL bantam draft. He has 10 points, three of them goals, in 53 regular-season WHL games split between the Blades, Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants. He finished last season with the OHL’s Erie Otters and played two games there this season before leaving the team, saying he wanted to play in Western Canada.
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The junior B Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League opened the season with eight straight losses and head coach Ty Davidson paid the price. The Eagles fired him earlier this week, replacing him with Matt Stang of Salmon Arm.
Glad to see my colleague Rob Brown honoured by the President today. #neverforget89Penstheonethatgotaway. pic.twitter.com/CSUTmAwibY— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) October 6, 2016
@gdrinnan @TheWHL legends and current @HuskieAthletics @WyattJohnson19 @connorgay & #BullsClub 🐂 @BladesHockey pic.twitter.com/Y212UUGa05— George (@Big_G_09) October 7, 2016
FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):
Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Kamloops at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Kelowna at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Tri-City at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
Portland at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Kootenay at Regina, 7 p.m.
Victoria vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.
Lethbridge at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
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