The WHL isn’t in lockdown mode, but it is into prevention in a big way as it hopes to avoid a full-blown outbreak of mumps.
The league issued a news release on Friday evening that began:
“The Western Hockey League was informed of confirmed cases of mumps within one of our member clubs in early February. Since that time, the WHL has been working closely with its team services committee, all 22 WHL member clubs and their training staff members as well as the applicable health authorities to ensure proper steps are being taken to minimize the spread of the virus.”
To date, it has been confirmed that players and staff with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Medicine Hat Tigers have been diagnosed with mumps over the past couple of weeks. As well, Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, indicated on Thursday while discussing the mumps outbreak with rdnewsNOW that “they had a situation occur in Swift Current” with the Broncos.
You can bet that all WHL teams are working on prevention.
“All WHL clubs were also asked to review vaccination histories of players and team staff and strongly recommend vaccination if necessary,” the WHL news release continued. “The medical and training staff members of each WHL club and the WHL office are on alert for anyone displaying mumps symptoms, including officials, and isolating individuals as required.”
In Kamloops, Blazers athletic trainer Colin (Toledo) Robinson, who worked his 1,500th game on Friday night, said he and his staff have been doing a lot of cleaning with bleach and are using their electrolysed washing system a lot more than they normally do. They also are making sure that water bottles are cleaned every day.
The WHL has asked teams to limit contact between players and fans, so teams are suspending minor hockey promotions and other appearances that might put players in close proximity to fans.
On Friday, for example, the Blazers, who were at home to the Kelowna Rockets, cancelled the pregame Timbits promotion that normally has a minor hockey player on the ice with them for the anthem. Security staff at the Sandman Centre also acted to limit post-game contact between players and fans in the arena’s lower reaches.
In Red Deer, the Rebels cancelled a post-game autograph session that would have have involved players and fans interacting.
The Rebels notified their fans via tweet: “There is currently a mumps outbreak and for player safety we cannot hold post-game autographs tonight.”
The Calgary Hitmen also cancelled a post-game autograph session last night.
This isn’t a problem affecting only the WHL. On Friday afternoon, the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks revealed that one player, D Troy Stecher, has been diagnosed with mumps and at least four others are showing symptoms.
Andy Eide of ESPN 710 Seattle posted a Seattle Thunderbirds notebook prior to Friday’s games that included some interesting info. . . . D Ethan Bear now holds the Thunderbirds record for career goals by a defenceman, but he isn’t likely to reach the points record that is held by Shea Theodore. . . . Meanwhile, head coach Steve Konowalchuk needs three victories to tie Don Nachbaur for second place on the franchise’s career list. Nachbaur, now the head coach of the Spokane Chiefs, ran the Seattle bench from 1994-2000. . . . Eide’s complete notebook is right here.
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The #WHLHitmen set a franchise single-season record last game playing in their 21st OT! So far this year they've played 1:03:20 in extra⌚️— Calgary Hitmen (@WHLHitmen) February 24, 2017
HEEEEEE'S BAAAAAACK! @Dquenneville19 is looking good back tonight against @WHLHitmen pic.twitter.com/Wn55LBc3V5— Medicine Hat Tigers (@tigershockey) February 25, 2017
At Calgary, F Steve Owre scored twice and added an assist to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-4 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Tigers took a 3-1 lead into the second period. . . . Calgary F Jakob
Stukel gave his guys a 1-0 lead, on the PP, at 5:59 of the first period. . . . Owre tied it at 9:28 and D Brad Forrest’s second goal of the season gave the visitors the lead at 13:02. Owre, who assisted on Forrest’s goal, got No. 22 at 18:45 for a 3-1 lead. . . . Stukel’s 20th goal got the Hitmen to within a goal at 4:19 of the second period, but F Tyler Preziuso (4) got that one back at 4:51. . . . The Hitmen got back to within one when F Andrei Grishakov counted at 11:46. . . . The Tigers went ahead 5-3 as F Mason Shaw got his 24th at 17:02. . . . Grishakov closed the scoring with his ninth goal at 19:37 of the third period. . . . The Tigers got two assists from each of F Zach Fischer and F Chad Butcher. . . . Fischer wore No. 9 for the final time as the Tigers will retire it tonight in honour of the late Tom Lysiak. . . . Grishakov also had an assist, while F Matteo Gennaro had two of them. . . . Calgary D Jake Bean earned one assist, giving him 100 for his career. . . . The Tigers got 33 saves from G Nick Schneider, who earned his 31st victory. He has won his last nine starts against Calgary, six of them this season. . . . Calgary G Kyle Dumba stopped 25 shots. . . . Calgary was 1-3 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-2. . . . David Quenneville, one of the WHL’s highest-scoring defencemen, was back in the Tigers’ lineup. He had been out since Jan. 3 with a broken leg suffered while blocking a shot. When he was injured, he had 48 points, 20 of them goals, in 38 games. He was pointless and plus-2 last night. . . . The Tigers also had D Kristians Rubins and F Ryan Chyzowski back after their brushes with mumps, but F James Hamblin and D Jordan Henderson remained out. . . . Medicine Hat (43-18-1) is 6-0-0 against Calgary this season. The Tigers lead the Central Division by six points over Lethbridge. . . . The Hitmen (23-27-10) had points in their previous five games (4-0-1). They are tied with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Announced attendance: 6,031.
Sweater / suit combo: Tips 6-0. 👍 pic.twitter.com/gIV9au7ZkN— Mike Benton (@Benton_Mike) February 25, 2017
At Everett, F Dominic Zwerger scored a goal and added three assists to lead the Silvertips to a 4-1
victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (24) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 1:17 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks tied it when F Joachim Blichfeld got No. 26, on a PP, at 15:08. . . . Zwerger broke the tie with his 24th goal, on a PP, at 17:50. . . . The Silvertips got insurance from D Jake Christiansen (5) at 14:20 of the second period. . . . D Noah Juulsen sealed the victory with his 12th goal at 11:59 of the third period. . . . F Matt Fonteyne had two assists for Everett, as did Bajkov. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 42 shots for Everett in posting his 79th career victory, 26 of them this season. He leads the WHL with a 1.93 GAA. . . . At the other end, Cole Kehler stopped 28 shots. . . . Everett was 1-4 on the PP; Portland was 1-6. . . . F Matt Revel (collarbone), who last played on Dec. 10, was in Portland’s lineup. The Winterhawks acquired him off waivers from Kamloops in January as the Blazers got down to three 20-year-olds. . . . The Silvertips (37-12-10) have won six in a row. They lead the U.S. Division by three points over Seattle and hold two games in hand. . . . Portland (32-26-4) has lost four straight (0-3-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Announced attendance: 5,513.
#Canucks Henrik was jokingly asked if he'd provided a trade list of teams: 'yeah, Kelowna Rockets.'— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) February 25, 2017
At Kamloops, F Cole Lind scored once and added three assists as the Kelowna Rockets dropped the Blazers, 8-2. . . . The Rockets had dropped seven straight games in Kamloops. . . . F Garrett Pilon gave
the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 1:28 of the first period, but the Rockets scored the next eight goals, the first three of those coming in the first period. . . . F Rod Southam’s 14th goal got Kelowna even at 4:31 of the first and F Tomas Soustal (18) gave the visitors the lead at 13:48. . . . F Nick Merkley’s 21st goal made it 3-1 at 18:19. . . . Kelowna added two more goals in the second period — D Lucas Johansen got No. 6, Lind scored his 28th, on a PP, and F Dillon Dube notched No. 10. . . . In the third period, F Reid Gardiner added his eighth goal, shorthanded, and F Carsen Twarynski got his 13th. . . . F Luc Smith (10) had the Blazers’ second goal. . . . The Rockets got two assists from each of F Calvin Thurkauf and Twarynski, and one each from Merkley, Southam and Dube. . . . G Michael Herringer stopped 23 shots to earn the victory. . . . Kamloops starter Connor Ingram allowed six goals on 26 shots in 28:30, with Dylan Ferguson finishing up, stopped 13 of 15 shots in 31:29. . . . Ingram went in riding back-to-back shutouts and a shutout streak of 178:07. That ended at 182:38. . . . The longest shutout streak in the WHL this season (193:48) belongs to Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kelowna was 1-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . It was the first time the Blazers had given up at least eight goals since Jan. 22, 2016, when they lost 9-4 to the Cougars in Prince George. The last time Kamloops gave up eight goals at home? On Oct. 24, 2014, the Brandon Wheat Kings won 8-5 in Kamloops. . . . This was the final game of a season series that the Blazers won, 6-3-1. The Rockets finished 4-6-0. . . . Kamloops trainer Colin (Toledo) Robinson worked his 1,500th WHL game. Robinson is in his 11th season with the Blazers. He also spent five seasons with each of the Swift Current Broncos and Vancouver Giants. . . . The Rockets (36-20-5) have points in seven straight (6-0-1) to get to within three points of the second-place Blazers in the B.C. Division. Kelowna has two games in hand. . . . The Blazers (37-20-6) had won their previous three games. They trail B.C. Division-leading Prince George by three points. . . . Kamloops climbed on to its bus after the game and headed for Everett and date tonight with the Silvertips. The Rockets, meanwhile, went south for games with the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight and Spokane Chiefs on Sunday. Yes, three games in three different cities in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Announced attendance: 4,661.
At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes built up a 4-1 lead en route to a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings.
. . . F Giorgio Estephan (27) got Lethbridge started at 1:16 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Nolan Patrick tied it with his 16th goal, on a PP, at 5:37. . . . The Hurricanes scored the next three goals. . . . F Zak Zborosky (39) broke the tie at 7:13 of the first, with F Matt Alfaro making it 3-1 at 17:10. . . . Alfaro added his 20th goal of the season at 10:14 of the third period for a 4-1 edge. . . . The Wheat Kings made it interesting with third-period PP goals from F Ty Lewis (28), at 14:17, and F Tyler Coulter (25), at 17:28. . . . F Tyler Wong and D Brennan Menell had two assists each for the winners, while Zborosky added one. . . . Brandon got two assists from each of D Kale Clague and Lewis, with Patrick getting one. . . . G Stuart Skinner blocked 25 shots to earn the victory over Logan Thompson, who made 32 saves. . . . Brandon was 3-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-3. . . . Lethbridge (37-17-7) is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat with a game in hand. . . . The Wheat Kings (28-24-9) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). They are fourth in the East Division, five points behind Swift Current. Brandon is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, nine points ahead of Calgary. . . . Announced attendance: 4,090.
At Prince George, G Ty Edmonds set a franchise record for career victories as the Cougars beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-1. . . . Edmonds stopped 19 shots in earning his 27th victory of this season and No. 96 in his career with the Cougars. He had shared the record with Scott Myers (1996-2000). . . . F Jansen Harkins opened the scoring, giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead with his 19th goal at 3:38 of the first period. . . . F Nikita Popugaev made it 2-0 with No. 26 at 7:07. . . . The Cougars took a 3-0 lead at 12:44 of the second period as F Jesse Gabrielle scored his 27th goal, shorthanded. . . . The Oil Kings got their goal from F Trey Fix-Wolansky (21), on a PP, at 7:14 of the third period. He broke the Oil Kings’ record for goals by a freshman that had been held by F Curtis Lazar (2011-12). . . . D Josh Anderson (2) scored the Cougars’ final goal, at 7:35. . . . Harkins and Gabrielle added an assist each. . . . Edmonton G Josh Dechaine stopped 38 shots. . . . Edmonton was 1-3 on the PP; Prince George was 0-5. . . . The Cougars lost F Colby McAuley to a headshot major and game misconduct at 9:56 of the second period after a hit on Edmonton F Ty Gerla, who left and didn’t return. . . . Prince George D Brendan Guhle (ankle) remains week-to-week, while F Tanner Wishnowski, who was acquired from Spokane in January, is back skating. He has been out with a concussion since Nov. 19. . . . Prince George (39-19-5) had lost seven of nine and was 0-2-1 in its previous three games. It leads the B.C. Division by three points over Kamloops. . . . Edmonton (20-37-5) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . These teams will meet again tonight in Prince George. . . . Announced attendance: 4,040.
At Red Deer, the Rebels got off to a 3-0 lead and went on to beat the Kootenay Ice, 6-4. . . . Red Deer
grabbed that lead with three goals in a span of 3:38 in the first period. . . . F Austin Pratt started it with No. 13 at 9:49. . . . F Cameron Hausinger added his seventh goal at 11:35. . . . F Austin Glover made it 3-0, shorthanded, at 13:27. . . . Ice D Cale Fleury’s ninth goal, on a PP, got his guys on the scoreboard at 13:53. . . . Red Deer F Evan Polei got that one back with his 27th, on a PP, 48 seconds into the second period. . . . The Ice got to within a goal when D Kurtis Rutledge (3) scored at 18:55 of the second and F Fedor Rudakov got No. 5 at 8:46 of the third period. . . . The Rebels put it away with two quick goals, F Michael Spacek getting his 26th, on a PP, at 12:23 and Glover adding his 19th at 13:06. . . . F Colton Kroeker scored the Ice’s last goal, his 14th at 19:24. . . . Polei and F Akash Bains had two assists each for Red Deer, while Glover and Spacek had one apiece. . . . The Ice got two assists from each of F Vince Loschiavo and F Michael King. . . . G Lasse Petersen stopped 25 shots for the Rebels. . . . The Ice got 33 stops from G Jakob Walter. . . . Red Deer was 2-7 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-7. . . . The Rebels (25-27-10) have points in three straight games (2-0-1). They are third in the Central Division, four points ahead of Calgary. . . . The Ice (13-37-10) has lost two in a row. . . . Announced attendance: 4,477.
At Regina, F Sam Steel erupted for four goals and also had an assist to lead the Pats to a 7-0 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Steel, who leads the WHL scoring race, had gone eight games
without a goal. He now has 111 points, 10 more than teammate Adam Brooks, who won the scoring title last season. . . . Regina G Tyler Brown stopped 15 shots in earning his fourth shutout of the season and the sixth of his career. . . . Steel scored the game’s first three goals, the first two coming via the PP, at 2:39 and 10:14 of the second period. He completed the hat trick at 18:12. His fourth goal, No. 43 on the season, made it 6-0 at 8:38 of the third period. . . . Regina also got goals from F Jeff de Wit (8), F Nick Henry (30) and D Connor Hobbs (27). . . . Henry, who also had three assists, is the Pats’ fourth 30-goal man, while Hobbs leads all WHL defencemen in goals. . . . F Dawson Leedahl and Brooks each had two assists. . . . The shots were 51-15 and that’s a palindrome. . . . The Broncos started G Jordan Papirny, who surrendered five goals on 37 shots in 42:55. Taz Burman finished up, allowing two goals on 14 shots in 17:04. . . . Regina was 2-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-2. . . . Regina is 5-0-0 in the season series. . . . The Pats dressed 17 skaters, one under the maximum. They scratched F Jake Leschyshyn, who is done for the season with a knee injury, D Jonathan Smart and F Filip Ahl. . . . The Broncos had F Lane Pederson back in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 8, but he left at 2:01 of the second period with a charging major and game misconduct. Regina F Robbie Holmes, who took the hit, left with an apparent shoulder injury and didn't return. . . . The Pats also lost F Braydon Buziak to an undisclosed injury during the game. . . . Regina (44-9-7) has won three in a row and leads the overall standings by eight points over Medicine Hat with two games in hand. . . . Swift Current (30-19-10) had points in its previous two games (1-0-1). The Broncos are third in the East Division, 10 points behind Moose Jaw and five ahead of Brandon. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.
At Saskatoon, the Blades snapped a five-game losing skid with a 3-1 victory over the Prince Albert
Raiders. . . . F Josh Paterson gave the Blades a 1-0 lead with his 14th goal, at 12:41 of the second period. . . . F Curtis Miske (16) pulled the Raiders even at 14:26. . . . Saskatoon broke the tie when F Braylon Shmyr got his 28th goal, on a PP, at 15:03. . . . D Libor Hajek added insurance with his fourth goal at 15:19 of the third period. . . . The Blades got two assists from F Jesse Shynkaruk, while Shmyr added one. . . . Saskatoon G Logan Flodell stopped 29 shots, while the Raiders’ Ian Scott turned aside 20. . . . Saskatoon was 1-6 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-6. . . . The Blades have won four of the first five meetings between these teams this season. They will meet again tonight in Prince Albert. . . . Saskatoon (24-29-8) had been 0-3-2 in its previous five games. It is tied with Calgary for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Raiders (16-40-6) had points in each of their past two games (1-0-1). . . . Announced attendance: 3,541.
The last time the @TCAmericans scored 7 in a regular season game vs Seattle was 1/6/12, a 7-3 Ams win in Kennewick.— TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits) February 25, 2017
At Kennewick, Wash., F Austyn Playfair scored two goals and added two assists as the Tri-City Americans dumped the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-3. . . . Playfair had one goal and one assist over his
previous 19 games. He now has seven points, three of them goals, in 27 games. . . . The Americans took a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals from F Kyle Olson, who has 17, at 0:53 and 3:43 of the first period. . . . D Jarret Tyszka (6) scored for Seattle at 8:51, but the Americans took control with the next four goals. . . . Playfair got it started 27 seconds into the second period. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (8) gave the home side a 4-1 lead at 3:09 and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (2) upped it to 5-1 at 4:47. . . . F Brett Leason added another Tri-City goal, his seventh, at 8:06. . . . F Keegan Kolesar (20) and D Austin Strand (7) also scored for Seattle. . . . Playfair added his third goal of the season at 19:28 of the second period. . . . Yaremko, D Parker Wotherspoon and F Max James had two assists apiece for the Americans. . . . Tri-City G Rylan Parenteau stopped 36 shots. . . . G Carl Stankowski made his fourth appearance of the season with Seattle, but only his first since Oct. 14. He is one of three goaltenders on the team’s roster. . . . Stankowski left after giving up two goals on five shots in 3:43. Rylan Toth came on and was beaten four times on eight shots in 24:22. Stankowski went back in and finished up, stopping 15 of 16 shots in 31:53. . . . Seattle was 2-7 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-4. . . . The Americans again were without F Michael Rasmussen, who hasn’t played since Feb. 1. As well, F Vladislav Lukin is expected to be out for two weeks with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Thunderbirds welcomed back F Nolan Volcan and F Keegan Kolesar back in the lineup. Volcan last played on Feb. 24, while Kolesar had missed one game. . . . The Americans (37-23-3) won their sixth straight game. They are third in the U.S. Division, four points behind Seattle and nine ahead of Portland. . . . The Thunderbirds (38-18-5) had won their previous two games. They are second in the U.S. Division, three points behind Everett. . . . Announced attendance: 5,318.
ROYALS WIN! @ScottWalford7 ties franchise record for most pts by a d-man in single game with 4 (1g-3a) as Victoria tops Vancouver 6-4! pic.twitter.com/UQ9tIi93uT— Victoria Royals (@victoriaroyals) February 25, 2017
At Langley, B.C., D Scott Walford tied a franchise record in leading the Victoria Royals to a 6-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Walford had a goal and three assists, his four points equaling the Royals
SATURDAY’S GAMES (all times local):
Kamloops at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Lethbridge vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Brandon at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Swift Current at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Calgary at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Kelowna vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
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