The accolades were flying late Friday, and well they should have, after the Kamloops Blazers had posted a 3-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets.
Don Hay, the Blazers’ head coach, was shaking hands and accepting congratulations on what was
thought to be his 700th WHL regular-season coaching victory.
|Don Hay now has 702 WHL head-coaching victories.(Photo: Christopher Mast / mastimages.com)|
But, as it turns out, it actually was No. 702.
Here’s the story behind the story . . .
Asked about his first WHL coaching victory, Hay said it came in Tacoma when the Blazers beat the Rockets early in the 1992-93 season. That would have been on Sept. 26, 1992, when the Blazers won, 8-7 in OT.
Hay remembered the Blazers trailing after two periods when they heard the public address announcer say: “Can you believe they are the Memorial Cup’s defending champions?”
“I think Hnat Domenichelli ended up scoring three goals in that one,” Hay said with a chuckle, “and we won it.”
As it turns out, however, that wasn’t No. 1.
Earl Seitz, the veteran sports director at CFJC-TV in Kamloops, had checked with the WHL office and was told that No. 1 came on Dec. 13, 1991, when the Blazers beat the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 7-4.
Yes, Hay, who was an assistant coach under head coach Tom Renney at the time, remembered that one, too. Renney had left to work as the head coach of Canada’s national team at the World Junior Championship.
But . . . guess what? Upon further review, it seems that wasn’t No. 1 either.
Hay then pointed out that he also had taken over as head coach in December 1987 while Kamloops head coach Ken Hitchcock was with the Canadian junior team as an assistant under Dave Chambers.
When I got home, I dug into my records and discovered that Hay’s first victory as a WHL head coach actually came on Dec. 18, 1987, when the Blazers beat the host Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-2.
Kamloops went 2-4-1 with Hay filling in for Hitchcock, the other victory coming on Dec. 20, another 5-2 victory over Seattle, this one in Kamloops.
What all of this means is that Hay actually got his 700th regular-season coaching victory on Dec. 30 when the Blazers beat the host Vancouver Giants, 4-2. Of course, Hay spent 10 seasons as the Giants’ head coach before returning to the Blazers in the summer of 2014.
It also means that Hay, with 702 victories, now is 40 behind Ken Hodge, the only other man to have won 700 games as a WHL head coach. Hodge retired at 742, having coached the original Edmonton Oil Kings and Portland Winterhawks. The Oil Kings moved to Portland in time for the 1976-77 season.
Here’s a look at WHL head coaches who have more than 500 regular-season victories to their credit:
1. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742
2. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 702
3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 682
4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626
5. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548
6. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518
7. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 516
WHL trades since Dec. 27:
Bantam draft picks: 20.
Conditional bantam draft picks: 5.
(WHL trade deadline is Jan. 10).
The Lethbridge Hurricanes have acquired D Kyle Yewchuk, 18, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft.
The trade was announced shortly after the Hurricanes had beaten the visiting Oil Kings, 7-4, on Friday night. Yewchuk didn’t play for the Oil Kings.
That fifth-round pick moved on to the Kelowna Rockets as payment for F Riley Stadel, 20, who was dealt to the Oil Kings earlier Friday.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Yewchuk was a third-round pick by Edmonton in the 2013 bantam draft. He has a goal and four assists in 27 games this season. In 75 career games, he has a goal and nine assists.
Earlier in the week, the Hurricanes acquired D Brady Pouteau, a 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, from the Regina Pats.
Trying to wrap my head around how the WHL can make Kamloops play in Kelowna Saturday night and then in Portland at 5:00 Sunday.— Scott Sepich (@SSepich) January 7, 2017
Hats off to one of the premier coaches I've had the pleasure to coach against. Congrats on career win #700 @blazerhockey Don Hay. #class— Don Nachbaur (@HCChiefs42) January 7, 2017
At Kamloops, the Blazers skated to a 3-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets, giving head coach Don Hay
what was believed to be his 700th regular-season coaching victory, but actually was No. 702. . . . G Dylan Ferguson continued his superb play for the Blazers, as he stopped 30 shots. With starter Connor Ingram away, Ferguson, 18, started 12 straight games and went 8-3-1. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (6) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 19:35 of the first period. . . . F Rudolfs Balcers made it 2-0 with his 21st goal, at 12:29 of the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube (2) got the Rockets to within a goal when he scored on a PP, at 15:33 of the second period. . . . The Blazers got insurance at 7:45 of the third period as F Luc Smith scored his seventh goal — his first in five games with the Blazers since being acquired from the Regina Pats. . . . Smith also had an assist. . . . Kelowna G Michael Herringer stopped 33 shots. . . . The Rockets were 1-2 on the PP; the Blazers were 0-6. . . . The Rockets had Dube (Canada), F Tomas Soustal (Czech Republic) and F Calvin Thurkauf (Switzerland) back from the World Junior Championship, while the Blazers had Balcers (Latvia) and D Ondrej Vala (Czech Republic) in their lineup. Ingram didn’t dress but is expected to start either tonight in Kelowna or Sunday in Portland. . . . The Blazers are 4-2-0 against Kelowna this season; the Rockets are 24-7-1 in the last 32 meetings. . . . Kamloops (25-15-2) has won two in a row and is second in the B.C. Division, now three points ahead of Kelowna. The Blazers also have closed to within four points of the division-leading Prince George Cougars, who hold two games in hand. . . . The Rockets (23-15-3) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Blazers are without F Garrett Pilon, their No. 1 centre, who has a concussion. . . . Announced attendance: 3,732.
At Cranbrook, B.C., F Kailer Yamamoto and F Hudson Elynuik each scored twice to lead the Spokane
Chiefs to a 4-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The teams will meet again Saturday night, this time in Spokane. . . . The Ice took a 1-0 lead on F Zak Zborosky’s 28th goal, at 9:58 of the first period. . . . Yamamoto tied it at 7:55 of the second period and Elynuik’s shorthanded goal, at 4:07 of the third, put the Chiefs out front. . . . Yamamoto added insurance with his 25th goal, at 9:24, and Elynuik, who has 16 goals, iced it with an empty-netter at 17:20. . . .Elynuik also had two assists, while Yamamoto had one. . . . Spokane G Jayden Sittler earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . Ice G Payton Lee turned aside 46 shots. . . . Each team was 0-4 on the PP. . . . The Chiefs (17-16-6) have won two in a row and are three points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Ice slipped to 8-24-8. . . . Announced attendance: 1,845.
At Lethbridge, F Egor Babenko scored two goals and added three assists to help the Hurricanes to a 7-4 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Oil Kings actually held a 4-2 lead in this one halfway
through the second period. . . . G Graham Millar (10), in his first game with Edmonton since coming over from the Everett Silvertips, tied it 2-2 at 3:06 of the second period. . . . D Anatolii Elizarov (6) and F Tyler Robertson (11) scored at 6:49 and 10:22 to give Edmonton a 4-2 lead. . . . F Jordy Bellerive’s shorthanded goal, at 12:11 of the second, got the Lethbridge comeback started. He’s got 16 goals. . . . Babenko added his second of the game, and 13th of the season, at 12:50 and F Tyler Wong’s 26th goal gave his guys the lead, 5-4, at 17:51. . . . F Ryley Lindgren (14) added insurance, on a PP, at 2:24 of the third period and F Ryan Bowen (9) added another PP goal, at 14:34. . . . Lethbridge F Giorgio Estephan and Bellerive each had two assists, while Wong and Bowen had one apiece. . . . The Oil Kings got two assists from Robertson and one from Millar. . . . All four goaltenders got into this one. . . . Lethbridge starter Ryan Gilchrist allowed three goals on 13 shots in 29:38, with Stuart Skinner coming on to stop 14 of 15 shots in 30:22 to earn the victory. . . . Edmonton went two periods with Patrick Dea, who was beaten five times on 17 shots. Josh Dechaine played the third, allowing two goals on 12 shots. . . . Lethbridge was 3-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-3. . . . The Hurricanes (21-15-5) had lost their previous two games. They are second in the Central Division, five points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Oil Kings (18-19-4) have lost two in a row but still hold down a wild-card spot. . . . Announced attendance: 3,553.
Next @BladesHockey will be the 1,700th regular season W in franchise history. That includes 40 wins in 2 seasons in the SJHL in 1964-66.— Les Lazaruk (@Bladesvoice) January 7, 2017
At Moose Jaw, G Brody Willms stopped 23 shots to earn his first WHL shutout as the Warriors beat the
Saskatoon Blades, 4-0. . . . Willms stopped eight shots in the first period and 12 in the second. . . . F Brayden Burke scored the game’s first two goals, both via the PP, at 17:20 of the first period and 2:21 of the second. Burke, who has 12 goals, later added an assist on F Brett Howden’s 19th goal, at 8:10 of the third period. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs also scored, getting his WHL-leading 35th goal while shorthanded, at 10:20 of the second period. . . . Halbgewachs also had two assists. . . . Saskatoon G Brock Hamm stopped 27 shots. . . . The Warriors were 2-3 on the PP; the Blades were 0-5. . . . The Warriors had head coach Tim Hunter back behind the bench. He spent the past month as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. With Mark O’Leary running the bench in Hunter’s absence, the Warriors went 7-3-2. . . . Moose Jaw (24-9-7) has points in six straight games (4-0-2) and is second in the East Division, four points ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Saskatoon (15-21-6) is 2-1-2 in its past five games. The Blades, who are four points out of a playoff spot, will play 12 of their next 13 games at home. . . . Announced attendance: 3,683.
— Tri-City Americans (@TCAmericans) January 7, 2017
At Prince Albert, F Jordan Topping scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 7-1 victory over the Raiders. . . . It was Tri-City’s first game on a six-game East Division swing. . . .
The Americans scored five times in the third period, including F Riley Sawchuk’s first WHL goal. Sawchuk, from Prince Albert, was a sixth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. The goal came in his 30th game. . . . Topping, who has six goals, opened the scoring at 18:10 of the first period. . . . D Dylan Coghlan made it 2-0 with No. 7, at 11:10 of the second period. . . . The Americans got third-period goals from F Max James (7), Sawchuk, F Michael Rasmussen (29), Topping and F Kyle Olson (10). . . . F Cole Fonstad (7) had Prince Albert’s goal, at 18:20 of the third period. . . . F Tyler Sandhu had two assists for the Americans, with Olson, James and Coghlan getting one each. . . . Tri-City G Rylan Parenteau, who was acquired from the Raiders earlier this season, stopped 40 shots. . . . Prince Albert starter Ian Scott allowed five goals on 22 shots in 44:17. Nic Sanders came on in relief to stop nine of 11 shots in 15:43. . . . The Raiders were 1-6 on the PP; the Americans were 0-1. . . . The Americans had D Juuso Valimaki (Finland) back after he played at the World Junior Championship. . . . Raiders F Sean Montgomery sat this one out with an undisclosed injury after playing in 113 straight games. . . . The Americans (23-17-3) are second in the U.S. Division, five points ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Raiders (8-30-3) have lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Announced attendance: 2,321.
At Prince George, the Victoria Royals took a 2-0 lead and hung on to beat the Cougars, 2-1. . . . F
Vladimir Bobylev, who returned to the Royals from Russia prior to Christmas, scored his second goal, on a PP, at 7:32 of the first period. . . . F Regan Nagy, who also had an assist, made it 2-0 with his 12th goal, at 12:48 of the second period. . . . F Kody McDonald (9) got the Cougars to within one just 58 seconds into the third period. . . . F Nikita Popugaev, acquired Thursday from the Moose Jaw Warriors, had an assist for the Cougars. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse turned aside 25 shots, while Prince George’s Ty Edmonds stopped 36. . . . The Royals were 1-3 on the PP; the Cougars were 0-2. . . . The Royals are without D Chaz Reddekopp for the doubleheader in Prince George as he serves a two-game suspension for an unpenalized hit that left Kamloops F Garrett Pilon with a concussion on Dec. 31. . . . Victoria (22-15-4) has points in six straight games (5-0-1) and has closed to within a point of the third-place Kelowna Rockets in the B.C. Division. . . . Prince George is 27-11-2 and third in the overall standings. . . . Announced attendance: 3,319.
At Red Deer, D Alexander Alexeyev broke a 2-2 tie at 2:24 of the third period as the Rebels beat the
Vancouver Giants, 3-2. . . . Alexeyev, who also had two assists, has three goals. . . . F Austin Glover scored his 13th goal and added two assists for Red Deer as he ran his point streak to 11 games. . . . Glover gave Red Deer at 1-0 lead at 3:25 of the first period. . . . D Matt Barberis (8) tied it, on a PP, at 2:32 of the second period. . . . F Adam Musil put the home team back out front with his 14th goal, at 3:57. . . . The Giants tied it when F Radovan Bondra got No. 19, at 11:20 of the second. . . . Red Deer G Lasse Petersen, fresh off playing for Denmark at the World Junior Championship, stopped 24 shots, as did Vancouver’s Ryan Kubic. . . . Each team was 1-3 on the PP. . . . F Michael Spacek and Musil both were in Red Deer’s lineup after playing for Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship, while Bondra (Slovakia) was back with the Giants. . . . Rebels D Colton Bobyk played in his 200th regular-season game. . . . Giants F Tyler Benson missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Rebels (18-16-6), third in the Central Division, had lost their previous two games. . . . The Giants (16-21-3), who are eight points out of a playoff spot, had won their last two games, both in Alberta. . . . Announced attendance: 5,108.
Blue Jays jersey night tonight. @MStrooo6 what do you think? @BlueJays @WHLPats pic.twitter.com/VFPgO7ZxwJ— Chase Harrison (@ChaseHarrison_2) January 6, 2017
At Regina, the Pats scored three times before the game was nine minutes old and went on to beat the Calgary Hitmen, 6-2. . . . F Sam Steel, who leads the WHL points race, scored the game’s first two goals,
at 1:20 and 4:59. . . . F Adam Brooks got his 22nd goal, at 8:17. . . . Calgary F Jordy Stallard (18) got his guys to within two at 11:52 of the second period, but Regina F Nick Henry got that one back, on a PP, at 8:13 of the third. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (15) scored Calgary’s second goal, at 10:59. . . . Steel completed his hat trick with No. 30, at 11:54, and Henry added his 20th goal, at 15:30. . . . Steel also had an assist, leaving him with 69 points, two more than Brooks, who also had an assist. . . . Henry added an assist to his goal, while D Connor Hobbs had three helpers and F Dawson Leedahl and D Dawson Davidson each had two. . . . G Tyler Brown stopped 25 shots for Regina in earning his 19th victory. . . . Calgary G Cody Porter allowed three goals on 17 shots in 28:36, with Kyle Dumba coming on to play the last 31:24. He was beaten three times on 18 shots. . . . Regina was 1-3 on the PP; Calgary was 0-1. . . . The Pats (27-3-7) are 6-0-1 in their last seven games. They lead the overall standings by four points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Hitmen (14-18-5) had points in their previous three games (1-0-20). They are seven points off the playoff pace. . . . Regina head coach John Paddock earned his 100th regular-season victory. . . . D Jake Bean was back in Calgary’s lineup after being at the World Junior Championship. . . . The Pats didn’t have D Sergey Zborovskiy (Russia) in their lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484, the Pats’ fifth straight sellout.
@SeattleTbirds game tonight is the first of 7 straight vs.either Everett or Spokane.— Thom Beuning (@ThomBeuning) January 7, 2017
At Kent, Wash., F Keegan Kolesar scored the only goal of a shootout — it was awarded via video review — to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 4-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kolesar was the
shootout’s second shooter. . . . Seattle scored the game’s first three goals; Everett came back with the next three. . . . The Thunderbirds took that 3-0 lead on goals from F Luke Ormsby (3), at 12:31 of the first period; F Zack Andrusiak (5), at 18:03; and F Donovan Neuls (9), at 1:03 of the second. . . . Neuls’ goal came when he entered play from the bench as the extra attacker with a delayed penalty coming against Everett. . . . Neuls also had an assist. . . . The Silvertips were 3-4 on the PP. . . . F Dominic Zwerger’s 18th goal, at 10:11 of the second period, got the comeback started. . . . F Riley Sutter (12) scored at 2:03 of the third period and F Matt Fonteyne tied it with his 11th goal, at 3:15. . . . Everett got two assists from D Kevin Davis and one each from Zwerger and Sutter. . . . G Rylan Toth earned the victory with 38 saves, 12 more than Everett’s Mario Petit. . . . Seattle was 0-2 on the PP. . . . The Thunderbirds had F Alexander True (Denmark) back from the World Junior Championship, but didn’t dress F Mathew Barzal (Canada). . . . F Scott Eansor also was among Seattle’s scratches. . . . G Carter Hart and D Noah Juulsen, both of whom played for Canada at the WJC, were scratched by Everett. . . . The Thunderbirds (20-14-4) have won two straight. They are third in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Silvertips (25-5-7) have lost two in a row (0-1-1). They lead the U.S. Division by eight points over Tri-City. . . . Announced attendance: 4,418.
Fun Fact: All five goals tonight were scored by Brandonites! @ty_lewis16 (2) @TKaspick16 (2) and @tcoulter23. #Hometownproud #bdnmb 👊— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) January 7, 2017
At Swift Current, the Brandon Wheat Kings erased a 3-1 first-period deficit with four straight goals as they
beat the Broncos, 5-4. . . . F Ty Lewis gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 8:13 of the opening period. . . . The Broncos responded with three straight goals. F Tyler Steenbergen (28) scored at 11:50. F Glenn Gawdin got No. 13 at 12:35. F Lane Pederson scored his 17th at 14:15. . . . The Wheat Kings got to within one when Lewis scored his 20th goal, at 15:12 of the second period, on a PP. . . . F Tanner Kaspick who has 13 goals, then scored twice for Brandon, at 4:18 and 11:18 of the third period, the second one coming while shorthanded. . . . The Wheat Kings went ahead 5-3 with another shorthanded goal, this one from F Tyler Coulter, at 14:42. He’s got 16 goals. . . . Steenbergen’s 29th goal, at 18:37, got the Broncos to within one. . . . Brandon D Daniel Bukac had three assists, while Kaspick added one. . . . Pederson had two assists for the Broncos, while Gawdin had one. . . . The Wheat Kings got 30 stops from G Logan Thompson. . . . Travis Child stopped 28 shots for Swift Current. . . . The Broncos were 1-5 on the PP; the Wheat Kings were 1-7. . . . D Kale Clague (Canada) wasn’t in Brandon’s lineup. . . . The Wheat Kings (19-16-4) hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . The Broncos (22-12-7) had won their previous three games. They are third in the East Division, four points behind Moose Jaw and nine ahead of Brandon. . . . Announced attendance: 1,764.
SATURDAY’S GAMES (all times local):
Calgary at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Kamloops at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Red Deer at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Everett at Portland, 6 p.m.
Victoria at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.
Tri-City at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Kootenay at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Prince Albert at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Just click HERE. . . and thank you very much.