Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Is there local offer for Ice? . . . Russians coming to Swift Current, Moose Jaw . . . Everett back on top


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As if there was any doubt, we now know — officially — with which side of the Nanaimo arena referendum the WHL is riding.
WHL commissioner Ron Robison was quoted in a statement that was issued Tuesday: “Should (Nanaimo) approve the construction of a new events centre facility (that) meets WHL standards, a WHL franchise will enter into a 20-year lease and begin operating out of the Frank Crane Arena next season.”
That promise is said to be included in a memorandum of understanding agreed to and signed by the City of Nanaimo and the WHL. The league has told the City that a Nanaimo franchise would include ownership “of the highest calibre” and that an ownership group would include a local flavour. However, no specifics were included in the statement.
On Wednesday, a source told Taking Note that “there is an offer, and has been for some time, to keep the Ice in Cranbrook.”
That source claims that a local group has “met the price set by the Chynoweth family, but now has been told by the Chynoweths and the league that the offer won’t be considered until after the results of the referendum are known.”
Jeff Chynoweth, the Ice’s governor, president and general manager, couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday night.
A referendum will be held in Nanaimo on Saturday, with voters being asked:
“Are you in favour of the City of Nanaimo Council adopting Loan Authorization Bylaw 2017 No. 7237 which will authorize Council to borrow a sum not exceeding $80,000,000, repayable over a period of no more than 20 years, for the development and construction of an event centre that will include an ice arena and other related entertainment, cultural and recreation facilities?”
Taking Note was told a while ago that the WHL is preparing two 2017-18 schedules, one that includes the Ice and one that has a Nanaimo franchise in place of Kootenay.
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The Brandon Wheat Kings were to have played the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Wednesday night, but the game was postponed in the aftermath of what may have been the worst blizzard in that area since 1959. . . . The game was rescheduled for March 15. . . . At the time of the announcement, the Trans-Canada Highway was open from Virden into Saskatchewan, but remained closed from Brandon to Virden. However, there still were an untold number of abandoned big rigs, trucks and cars along the highway, all of which could have interfered with traffic.
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The 2017 CIBC Canada-Russia Series will stop in Swift Current and Moose Jaw this time around. The six-game series is to run from Nov. 6 through Nov. 16, starting in Moose Jaw on Nov. 6 and Swift Current on Nov. 7. . . . The OHL’s games are scheduled for Owen Sound on Nov. 9 and Sudbury on Nov. 13. The QMJHL stops will be in Charlottetown on Nov. 14 and Moncton on Nov. 16. . . . This will be the 15th annual series, with CHL teams holding a 58-19-7 edge. The Russians have sent better teams as the series has gone on and have won three series since 2010. The CHL won the 2016 series, 13-5. . . . Of the players who played in 2016, 15 were with Team Canada at the 2017 World Junior Championship, while 14 were on the Russian team. Canada won silver, with Russia taking the bronze medal.
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The Prince Albert Raiders have added F Nikita Krivokrasov, 16, to their roster for the remainder of this season. Krivokrasov was in training camp with the Raiders prior to this season and signed with them at that time. He had 14 goals and 18 assists in 22 games with the U-16 Rocky Mountain Roughriders this season. He is the son of former NHLer Sergei Krivokrasov. Nikita was born in Moscow, Russia, but played some minor hockey in North America so isn’t classified as an import player.
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Hockey Canada broke with tradition on Wednesday and has returned the 2017 national junior team coaching staff for another go-round. Dominique Ducharme, the head coach of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, is the head coach, with  Tim Hunter of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors and Kris Knoblauch of the OHL’s Erie Otters back as assistant coaches. . . . The trio was behind Canada’s bench in January when it won a silver medal, losing the gold to Team USA. . . . “This is a unique opportunity to return an entire coaching staff that came within a shot of winning gold last year,” Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations and national teams, said in a news release. “The Program of Excellence Policy Committee unanimously agreed that it was in the best interest of the program to keep this coaching staff together and that their experience will provide us the best opportunity of winning gold in 2018.” . . . The 2018 tournament is scheduled to be held in Buffalo, N.Y.
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If the WHL playoffs began today . . . 
Eastern Conference
Regina vs. Saskatoon
Medicine Hat vs. Brandon
Moose Jaw vs. Swift Current
Lethbridge vs. Red Deer
Western Conference
Everett vs. Portland
Prince George vs. Victoria
Kelowna vs. Kamloops
Seattle vs. Tri-City
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:


At Calgary, the Saskatoon Blades took control of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, at least for now, with a convincing 6-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Blades (27-31-9) have points in four straight (3-0-1) and now lead the Hitmen (25-31-10) by three points as they scrap over the conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Saskatoon scored the game’s first six goals, two of them shorthanded, as they skated to victory. . . . F Kirby Dach (6) opened the scoring at 5:08 of the first period. . . . The Blades took control with three second-period goals, from F Gage Ramsay (8), F Mason McCarty (19) and F Josh Paterson (15), the latter shorthanded. . . . F Chase Wouters (6), shorthanded, and D Bryton Sayers (7) also scored for Saskatoon. . . . Calgary got late goals from F Mark Kastelic (11) and F Matteo Gennaro (40). . . . F Jesse Shynkaruk had two assists for Saskatoon, with Paterson adding one. . . . Kastelic also had an assist for Calgary. . . . It is interesting that the Blades got their goals from six players from six different age groups — Dach, born in 2001; Wouters, 2000; Paterson, 1999; Ramsay, 1998; McCarty, 1997; Sayers, 1996. . . . G Logan Flodell stopped 16 shots for Saskatoon. . . . Calgary starter Cody Porter allowed four goals on 13 shots in 32:27. Kyle Dumba finished up by stopping 11 of 13 shots in 27:33. . . . Calgary was 0-2 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-5. . . . Announced attendance: 7,607.
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At Kamloops, the Blazers snapped a 2-2 tie with three goals in the first half of the third period en route to a 5-2 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The victory lifted the Blazers (39-23-6), who are
JOE GATENBY
third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of the fourth-place Royals (37-25-5). Kamloops is three points behind the second-place Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Royals and Blazers will meet again Friday in Kamloops. . . . Victoria took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Matt Phillips, his 47th, at 1:37, and F Ethan Price (7), at 14:43. . . . Phillips now holds the Royals’ record for goals in a single season. He had shared the record with F Tyler Soy, who scored 46 times last season. The franchise record is held by Ryan Howse, who scored 51 times for the Chilliwack Bruins in 2010-11. . . . Kamloops scored the next five goals. . . . D Joe Gatenby halved the deficit with his seventh goal, at 14:59. . . . F Rudolfs Balcers tied it at 16:33 of the second period. . . . F Collin Shirley (27) broke the tie at 1:03 of the third period. . . . The Blazers then broke it open with two goals 22 seconds apart, from F Quinn Benjafield (14), on a PP, at 8:35, and Balcers, his 37th, at 8:57. . . . Gatenby, who also had an assist, was the best player on the ice. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram stopped 27 shots, while
MATT PHILLIPS
Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse, in his 60th appearance of the season, blocked 45. . . . Kamloops was 1-4 on the PP; Victoria was 0-2, including a five-minute PP early in the first period. . . . This one featured a fight six seconds into the game between F Jared Dmytriw of the Royals and Kamloops F Deven Sideroff. Both players received fighting majors and game misconducts. Flash back to Feb. 11. Dmytriw was given a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Sideroff. Sideroff missed one game; Dmytriw drew a three-game suspension. . . . Don Hay, the Blazers’ head coach, said that he “forgot about that situation” and that had he remembered he likely wouldn’t have had Sideroff in the starting lineup. . . . Just 1:28 later, Kamloops D Andrej Vala was handed a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on Victoria F Vladimir Bobylev, who needed help getting off the ice but returned to the game. . . . There’s history there, too, as Vala was given a two-game suspension, under supplemental discipline, for a hit on Victoria F Tyler Soy in that Feb. 11 game. Soy has yet to return to the Royals’ lineup. . . . Hay said he didn’t think Vala’s hit was worth a major, “especially with (Bobylev) coming back, but the ref has to make the call right then.” . . . Jon Keen, who calls the play-by-play of Blazers games on Radio NL, worked his 1,000th game — 499 with the Swift Current Broncos and 501 with Kamloops. . . . Announced attendance: 3,896.
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At Lethbridge, D Brady Poteau scored at 3:50 of OT to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 victory over the
BRADY POTEAU
Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Poteau’s first goal of the season came in his 45th game. He started the season with the Regina Pats, recording two assists in 18 games. He now has a goal and nine assists in 27 games with Lethbridge. . . . F Tyler Wong had given the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 49th goal at 18:33 of the second period. . . . Wong is riding an 11-game point streak. He has 10 goals and 16 assists over that stretch. . . . D Conner McDonald (8) pulled Edmonton even at 11:02 of the third period. . . . F Egor Babenko drew assists on both Lethbridge goals. . . . G Ryan Gilchrist turned aside 26 shots for the winners. . . . The Oil Kings got 27 stops from G Josh Dechaine. . . . Edmonton was 0-3 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-4. . . . F Brian Harris, 18, has joined the Oil Kings, although he didn’t play in this one. He had been with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. He had 15 goals and 11 assists in 60 games with the Stampeders. The Oil Kings selected Harris in the 11th round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft. . . . Lethbridge (43-17-7) has won seven in a row. . . . The Oil Kings (20-41-5) have lost nine straight (0-8-1). . . . Announced attendance: 3,471.
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At Portland, F Cody Glass scored twice and added two assists, leading the Winterhawks to a 5-4 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Glass, who will be a first-round pick in the NHL’s 2017
CODY GLASS
draft, has 89 points in 64 games. . . . With the victory, the Winterhawks clinched a playoff spot. They presently hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind the Victoria Royals. . . . The Winterhawks (36-26-4) have won four in a row and are three points ahead of the third-place Tri-City Americans in the U.S. Division. . . . The Cougars (42-21-5) had won their previous two games. They lead the B.C. Division by two points over the Kelowna Rockets, who hold a game in hand. . . . Glass, who has 29 goals, gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 5:36 of the first period, and F Skyler McKenzie (38) made it 2-0 at 8:53. . . . The Cougars stormed back to take a 3-2 lead, thanks to goals from F Aaron Boyd (9), on a PP, at 13:08, D Brendan Guhle (14), at 18:48, and F Jesse Gabrielle (31), on another PP, just 56 seconds into the second period. . . . Portland took control with the next three goals, from F Keegan Iverson (22), at 10:56 of the second period, Glass, at 3:43 of the third, and F Joachim Blichfeld (28), at 8:09. . . . F Colby McAuley got the Cougars back to within one, at 8:44. He’s got 26 goals. . . . Iverson added an assist to his goal, giving him four straight two-point games. . . . Portland got two assists from each of D Caleb Jones and D Henri Jokiharju. . . . F Radovan Bondra drew three assists for the visitors, with Gabrielle and Guhle each getting one. . . . Portland G Cole Kehler blocked 29 shots, four fewer than Ty Edmonds of the Cougars. . . . Prince George was 2-5 on the PP; Portland was 0-4. . . . Announced attendance: 7,024.
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At Spokane, G Carter Hart stopped 17 shots in recording his ninth shutout of the season as the Everett Silvertips beat the Chiefs, 4-0. . . . Hart now has 19 shutouts in his career. The WHL record for career
CARTER HART
shutouts (26) is held by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants, 2005-09). With 19, Hart is tied for sixth in WHL history. . . . F Cal Babych gave the Silvertips a 1-0 lead with his first goal of the season, at 5:48 of the first period. Babych, who turned 20 on Jan. 18, spent most of this season with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. He was playing in his fifth game with the Silvertips. . . . F Devon Skoleski (14) made it 2-0 at 8:16. . . . The Silvertips got their other goals from F Dominic Zwerger (25), at 4:53 of the second period, and D Aaron Irving (7), at 5:57. . . . F Sean Richards drew two assists. . . . The Chiefs got 32 saves from G Jayden Sittler. . . . Each team was 0-6 on the PP. . . . The Silvertips (40-14-11) moved back into first place in both the Western Conference and U.S. Division, one point ahead of the idle Seattle Thunderbirds. Everett still holds two games in hand. . . . The Chiefs (26-30-10) have lost four in a row (0-3-1) and now have been eliminated from the playoffs for the first time since the spring of 2006. . . . Announced attendance: 3,721.
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At Swift Current, F Riley Krane’s first WHL goal stood up as the winner as the Regina Pats beat the Broncos, 4-2. . . . Krane, who turned 17 on Jan. 24, is from Dawson Creek, B.C. An eighth-round
RILEY KRANE
pick in the 2015 bantam draft, he scored his first goal in his fourth game. He played this season with the major midget Cariboo Cougars, who play out of Prince George. . . . F Bryan Lockner gave the Pats a 1-0 lead at 1:38 of the first period. He’s got four goals. . . . The Broncos pulled even on F Lane Pederson’s 21st goal, at 14:51. . . . Regina went back out front on F Dawson Leedahl’s 33rd goal, at 4:49 of the second period. . . . Krane scored at 8:05. . . . Pederson added his second goal of the game, on a PP, at 16:06 of the third period. . . . Regina F Wyatt Sloboshan provided the insurance with an empty-netter at 19:29. He’s got 10 goals. . . . Regina got three assists from F Adam Brooks, with Sloboshan and Leedahl adding one apiece. . . . Regina G Tyler Brown stopped 31 shots. . . . The Broncos got 34 stops from G Taz Burman. . . . Swift Current was 1-5 on the PP; Regina was 0-2. . . . The Broncos lost F Owen Blocker to a kneeing major and game misconduct at 9:29 of the first period. . . . F Austin Wagner (ill) was among Regina’s scratches. . . . The Pats are 4-0-0 in Swift Current this season. . . . Regina (46-12-8) has won two in a row. . . . Swift Current (35-21-10) had a five-game winning streak snapped. . . . Announced attendance: 2,209.
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THURSDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.
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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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