The WHL’s 20-year-old deadline zipped past on Wednesday afternoon.
At the deadline, each team has to declare a maximum of three 20-year-olds, with excess players being placed on waivers.
On Wednesday, none of the players on waivers was claimed so any 20-year-olds not on rosters now are free agents.
The Swift Current Broncos got down to the maximum three 20-year-olds by placing F Andrew Johnson and D Stephen Shmoorkoff on waivers.
. . . That left the Broncos with F Carter Rigby, F Colby Cave and F Coda Gordon as their 1994-born players. . . . Johnson, from Saskatoon, got his walking papers on his 20th birthday. A second-round pick by Moose Jaw in the 2009 bantam draft, he also has played for the Warriors and Seattle Thunderbirds. In 262 regular-season games, he has 102 points, including 44 goals. . . . Shmoorkoff, from Edmonton, turned 20 on Sunday. He played the first 40 games of his WHL career with the Edmonton Oil Kings. In 95 career games, he had seven points, including one goal.
Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix tweeted Tuesday night that F Gage Ramsay had left the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers and was bound for the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. . . . On Wednesday morning, the Giants issued a news release stating that Ramsay “has been added to the club’s active roster.” . . . Ramsay, from Saskatoon, was a third-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He turned 16 on Wednesday. Last season, with the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos, Ramsay had 45 points, 20 of them goals, in 35 games. This season, he had three points in three games with the Blazers. According to Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province, Ramsay had left the Giants during their training camp in order to play midget hockey.
Earlier, it was mentioned here that the Saskatoon Blades had posted the 1,600th victory in franchise history and that it came in game No. 3,507. . . . Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ long-time (that just means he’s getting old!) radio voice, checks in with some clarifying numbers:
“It was the 1,600th win in WHL franchise history. But the 3,507 games includes 116 games in the SJHL from 1964-66. The Blades’ WHL record in 3,391 WHL games is 1,600-1,522-202-38-29. Throw in the two SJHL seasons and it’s 1,640-1,591-209-38-29.
“Also, the 18-game losing streak is a franchise record. The previous ‘high’ was 17 straight in the 2004 part of the seven-win 2003-04 season. Another franchise record was 13 consecutive home-ice losses snapped on Saturday. The previous home win was Jan. 25 vs. Swift Current . . . 3-2 on a MacKenzie Johnston overtime goal.”
It’s good to see that Mark Ferner, the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, is in mid-season form.
His club is 5-3-0-1 and preparing to meet the 8-1-0-0 Penticton Vees in Vernon on Friday and to visit the West Kelowna Warriors (5-4-0-0) on Saturday.
“We’ll be making sure our compete level is there for the weekend,” Ferner told Kevin Mitchell of the Vernon Morning Star. “There’s too much swinging away from the puck for my liking. Guys are sniffing offensively and they think if they get a point, it makes them a good hockey player. I told them . . . that winning is like deodorant; it just covers up the stink.”
Former WHL D Travis Hamonic (Moose Jaw, Brandon, 2006-10) is making his mark in the NHL with the New York Islanders. He also is making a lot of young friends along the way as he befriends grief-stricken children. Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post has more right here.
D Jason Fram, the captain of the Spokane Chiefs, addressed the crowd prior to a game against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday night. Fram, on behalf of his teammates, apologized for the inappropriate actions of a few teammates during the national anthem prior to Friday’s game against visiting Seattle. . . . In that incident, players who were scratched from the lineup apparently made some inappropriate comments during the anthem. . . . Spokane general manager Tim Speltz addressed the issue prior to the Chiefs’ 2-1 victory over the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. Speltz appeared on Spokane radio, explained what actions the team has taken and issued a broad apology.
Elliotte Friedman has filed his latest version of 30 Thoughts and, as usual, it’s a good read. Grab a cuppa and click right here. Fans of the Edmonton Oil Kings should be warned, though, that there is a mention here of F Curtis Lazar, who remains with the Ottawa Senators.
D Jared Hauf of the Seattle Thunderbirds was given a headshot major and game misconduct for a first-period hit on Spokane F Liam Stewart during a Tuesday night game against the visiting Chiefs. On Wednesday, the WHL rescinded that penalty, meaning there won’t be a suspension. . . . The Kootenay Ice are giving fans a chance to double up on their pleasure. Each of the Ice’s five Tuesday night home games will feature 2-for-1 walk-up tickets, hot dogs, small popcorn and fountain drinks. The promotion begins with an Oct. 28 game against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . .
Former Everett Silvertips assistant/associate coach Jay Varady has been named head coach of the U.S. Junior Selects who will take part in the 2014 Junior A Challenge in Kindersley, Sask., Dec. 14-20. Varady, the director of hockey operations and head coach of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, was the video coach with the U.S. team that won the 2010 World Junior Championship. He spent eight seasons (2003-11) with the Silvertips. . . .
Jim Benning, the general manager of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, told TSN 1040 on Wednesday that F Jake Virtanen, who had off-season shoulder surgery, might be cleared to play for the Calgary Hitmen in 10 days to two weeks. Virtanen, a first-round selection by the Canucks in the 2014 NHL draft, arrived in Vancouver yesterday and will be meeting with team doctors. . . . Virtanen had 71 points, including 45 goals, in 71 games with the Hitmen last season. He was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft. . . .
In Edmonton on Wednesday night, the Oil Kings scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 3-2 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Edgars Kulda’s second goal of the season, shorthanded at 3:30 of the second period, was the winner. F Brett Pollock scored Edmonton’s first two goals. . . . F Austin Carroll scored for the Royals, running his goal-scoring streak to eight games. He has one goal in each game. . . .
In Swift Current, the Saskatoon Blades beat the Broncos 4-3, thanks to an eight-round shootout. . . . Broncos F Tanner LeSann forced OT with his second goal of the season at 16:59 of the third. . . . Saskatoon F Austin Adamson won it in the shootout. . . . The Blades were 3-for-4 on the PP as they won for the second straight game after opening with six losses. . . . F Jake DeBrusk had two goals, giving him seven, and an assist for the Broncos. . . .
In Moose Jaw, the Warriors opened up a 5-1 lead and hung on for a 5-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders, who have lost four in a row. . . . F Jack Rodewald and F Brayden Point each had a goal and an assist for the winners, who are 5-0-1 in their last six. . . .
In Spokane, the Chiefs outshot Seattle 43-19 en route to a 4-1 victory over the Thunderbirds. . . . It was the third straight meeting between the teams. The Thunderbirds won the opener in OT, with the Chiefs taking the second one in a shootout. . . . F Liam Stewart scored twice for the Chiefs, giving him five goals this season. He also had an assist. . . .
In Kamloops, the Blazers gave the Kelowna Rockets all they could handle before falling 6-4, a decision that left the visitors with a 9-0-0 record as they head for Spokane and a Friday night date with the Chiefs. . . . F Nick Merkley drew three assists for the Rockets, giving him a WHL-leading 15. . . . His patience with the puck is something to watch. . . . The Blazers (6-4-1) got two goals from the always reliable Cole Ully. . . . Kelowna was 3-for-5 on the PP, and there’s a lesson there. The Rockets will grind you down 5-on-5 and beat you with the league’s best PP unit that now is 19-for-53, for 35.8 per cent. . . . I realize that plus-minus is a flawed statistic in a lot of ways, but it must mean something that Kelowna D Cole Martin is plus-119 in 151 regular-season games over the past two-plus seasons. . . . The three stars in the building were Merkley, Ully and Kelowna F Tyrell Goulborne, in that order. I went with Merkley, Ully and Kelowna F Austin Glover, a big body who grinds and had two goals.
Can we all just accept the fact that regardless of the outcome of tonight’s Rockets/Blazers game, all three stars will be from the Blazers?
— Regan Bartel (@Reganrant)