The City of Nanaimo reports that more than 4,000 voters cast referendum ballots in the advance polls held March 1 and March 8. . . . According to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, “. . . this compared to the 2008 general election which saw 1,390; 2011 which saw 1,663; and 2014 general election which attracted 2,262 advance voters.” . . . The City is holding a referendum on Saturday as it asks for the OK to borrow $80 million for the building of an events centre that would be home to a WHL franchise, presumably the Kootenay Ice. . . . Polls will be open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with results expected to be available around 9 p.m. . . . Sheila Gurrie, Nanaimo chief election officer, told the News Bulletin: “By using voting tabulator machines, combined with software developed by the City of Nanaimo, the referendum results are normally available within the hour after the closing of the polls.What used to take hours can now be completed in minutes. If all goes well, results should be posted prior to 9 p.m. on Saturday night.” . . . The News Bulletin added that “official results will be declared no later than March 15 at 4 p.m.”
Did Kamloops head coach Don Hay get his Blazers out of the doldrums by putting F Deven Sideroff in his starting lineup on Wednesday night?
You be the judge . . .
On Feb. 11, with the Blazers on their way to a 3-1 victory and a split of a doubleheader in Victoria, Royals F Jared Dmytriw was given a checking-to-the-head major and game misconduct for a hit on Sideroff.
Dmytriw ended up with a three-game suspension; Sideroff missed one game.
The teams met Wednesday in Kamloops for the first time since Feb. 11.
When Victoria head coach Dave Lowry filled out his lineup card, he had Dmytriw in the starting lineup, on the left wing alongside Dante Hannoun and Regan Nagy. Lowry made that move even though Dmytriw’s regular linemates have been Vladimir Bobylev and Matt Phillips.
When Hay completed his side, he countered with Sideroff on the right wing, with his regular linemates, Garrett Pilon and Rudolfs Balcers.
Might this have been two old-school head coaches making moves according to the ‘code’?
Perhaps predictably, Dmytriw and Sideroff fought off the opening faceoff, resulting in fighting majors and game misconducts. On Thursday, both players were suspended for one game, meaning they will miss tonight’s rematch in Kamloops.
Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week quoted Lowry as saying: “That’s hockey. The events of the last game carried over. Good on both guys. Deven took exception to it and (Dmytriw) was accountable for it. That should be over now.”
Hay, for his part, claimed that he had forgotten about the Feb. 11 incident.
“If I would have known that, I probably wouldn’t have started Sideroff,” Hay told reporters. “I forgot about that situation. Bad coaching, I guess.”
Hay has more playoff victories than any coach in WHL history and is No. 2 in regular-season victories. His Blazers were coming off 8-4 and 6-1 weekend losses to the Cougars in Prince George, games in which the Blazers were out-everythinged.
After Wednesday’s game, which Kamloops won, 5-2, Hay said his guys were “more engaged from the get-go” than they had been in the two weekend games.
“We were more physical (Wednesday),” Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen said. “Our backcheck was harder. We were more competitive.”
Now you don’t suppose that was all part of Hay’s plan, do you?
Or had he really forgotten about what happened on Feb. 11?
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The Blazers also will be without D Ondrej Vala on Friday against the Royals. He drew a one-game suspension after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct at 1:34 of the first period on Wednesday, for a hit on Victoria F Vladimir Bobylev. . . . Bobylev was helped to the bench, but didn’t miss a shift. . . . The Blazers and Royals were fined $500 apiece because players engaged in a fight to start a game.
Whatever happened to Jack Sangster, the WHL’s coach of the year for 1981-82? How about Doug Korman, who played for the Regina Pats (1977-78)? . . . They’re doing just fine, thank you. In fact, they are Wall of Famers in Thompson, Man. Ian Graham of the Thompson Citizen has more right here.
One of the WHL’s top rivalries is back on the ice this weekend as the Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors go home-and-home this weekend. They open tonight (Friday) in Regina and wrap up Saturday in Moose Jaw. . . . The Pats lead the East Division by 10 points over the Warriors, but Moose Jaw has won nine straight games. . . . “It’s bigger for them than for us but it’s big,” John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “For me, they’re the best team in the conference. The nut-heads that pick the (CHL) top 10 finally got them in the top 10 where they should be.” . . . The Pats go into the weekend having won their last two games — beating the Wheat Kings 4-2 in Brandon on Tuesday and dumping the Broncos 4-2 in Swift Current on Wednesday. . . . Regina D Sergey Zborovskiy is listed as questionable after taking a knee-on-knee hit from Swift Current F Owen Blocker on Wednesday. Blocker was hit with a TBD suspension on Thursday.
When this NHL season, there were 18 banners hanging in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, each honouring one of the greatest players in Toronto Maple Leafs history. On the night that this season opened, the Maple Leafs replaced those banners and the originals are being delivered to the hometowns of those former players. They will pay tribute to former G Johnny Bower tonight in Prince Albert as the Raiders play host to the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Ron Ellis, another former Toronto great, will take part in the delivery of the banner on Bower’s behalf.
The Moose Jaw Warriors have added F Brayden Tracey, a first-round pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, to their roster for the remainder of this season. Tracey, from Calgary, won’t turn 16 until May 28. He played this season with the midget AAA Calgary Northstars, putting up 19 points, including eight goals, in 28 games. He added a goal and two assists in five games.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet filed his weekly 30 Thoughts on Thursday. If you haven’t seen it, it’s right here, and it’s as readable as always.
If the WHL playoffs began today . . .
Regina vs. Saskatoon
Medicine Hat vs. Brandon
Moose Jaw vs. Swift Current
Lethbridge vs. Red Deer
Everett vs. Portland
Prince George vs. Victoria
Kelowna vs. Kamloops
Seattle vs. Tri-City
No Games Scheduled.
FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):
Lethbridge at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Red Deer vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.
Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Prince George vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
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