It’s hard to say goodbye . . . Chase leaves Hitmen . . . Iron Commissioner drops hammer


Goaltender Austin Lotz of the Everett Silvertips played Wednesday’s

game with a heavy heart following the death of Cole Hamblin

earlier in the day. After the game, Lotz tweeted a picture of the game

puck along with: “If I had a good enough arm I’d toss this up to you.

That one was for you. Thanks to everyone for the love and support.

(Photo: Chris Mast /

G Daniel Spence (Calgary, 2004-09) has been released by Asplöven Haparanda (Sweden, Allsvenskan) by mutual agreement. In three games, he has a 3.39 GAA and .866 save percentage. . . .

F Jaroslav Svoboda (Kootenay, 1998-2000) has signed for the rest of this season with Martin (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had been on a one-month contract with Red Ice Martigny (Switzerland, NL B) that expired Oct. 3. In five games with Red Ice, he had a goal and two assists. . . .

F Jakub Šindel (Brandon, 2004-05) has been released by Kaltern/Caldaro (Italy, Serie A). He had eight points, including three goals, in 14 games.


A few short months ago, Cole Hamblin was preparing to begin a new chapter in his life.

After a junior career that included stints with the Spokane Chiefs and Regina Pats, he was going to attend the U of Guelph and play hockey for the Gryphons.

It didn’t happen.

Hamblin died Wednesday morning at the age of 21.

A native of Ste. Adolphe, Man., Hamblin began experiencing lower pack pain and weight loss during the summer. He was found to have mucoepidermoid carcinoma; it was in Stage 4 when it was discovered.

Hamblin had been in hospital since Sept. 22 when he died.

Shortly after his death, his family posted an update to the GoFundMe page:

“For those who have not yet heard Cole passed away this morning with his family by his side. He will be greatly missed by everyone who had the chance to know him! He touched so many lives and for that we are all greatful for. All remaining donations that have not been used will be generously donated to Cancer Care! The family is in awe with the support received from everyone and is truly grateful for everything. Our continuous thoughts are with Cole and The Hamblins. We love you all!”

I never had occasion to meet Hamblin, but I am wishing that I had. Judging from the number of people who posted messages of condolences on Twitter, this young man touched a lot of lives in a positive fashion.

Hopefully that will in time provide his family with some solace.

Heartbroken by the news of Cole Hamblin’s passing. One of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. RIP big fella. ❤️❤️

— Brendan Leipsic (@28LEIP)

Deepest condolences to the Hamblin family. Heaven gained a great guy. I was blessed with the opportunity to meet you. Rest in peace, Cole.

— Seth Swenson (@SethSwenson)

Thoughts and prayers are with the Hamblin family today. Cole was one of the biggest, nicest, funniest players I ever got to play wit#RipCH18

— Joel Edmundson (@JEdmundson3)

Prayers go out to the Hamblin family, friends, and teammates. Forever grateful for meeting you. RIP Cole.❤️

— Laury Jones (@lauryjones)

Heaven took you way too soon. You will forever be in my prayers. Love you Cole and may you rest in peace. ❤️

— Brady Brassart (@BradyBrassart)

F Greg Chase has joined the parade of players to have walked out on WHL teams this season.

Chase, 19, didn’t play in Tuesday’s 4-1 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon. He was a healthy scratch from that one. On Wednesday, the Hitmen said it was “related to on-ice discipline.”

Prior to Wednesday’s game in Prince Albert, the Hitmen revealed, via Twitter, that Chase “has since requested a trade and has returned home.”

This season, in 15 games, Chase had 15 points, including two goals. On the Hitmen, only F Chase Lang, with 17, and F Adam Tambellini, with 16, had more points than Chase.

Interestingly, Chase is one of the forwards on the roster of the WHL team that is to play in the Subway Super Series.

A native of Sherwood Park, Alta., Chase was a seventh-round selection by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL’s 2013 draft. That came after a season in which he had 49 points, including 17 goals, in 69 games. Last season, Chase scored 35 times and finished with 85 points, in 70 games.

From all reports, Chase had a tremendous training camp with the Oilers in September and they responded by signing him to a three-year entry-level contract.

In 219 regular-season WHL games, all with Calgary, he has 177 points, including 60 goals.

The Hitmen selected him with the 22nd overall in the 2010 bantam draft.

Meanwhile, a source familiar with the situation has confirmed to Taking Note that D Reid Zalitach, 18, has left the Moose Jaw Warriors. He becomes at least the fourth player to leave the Warriors since the season began.

Zalitach and D Taylor Green, 19, were roommates in Moose Jaw. Green left the Warriors on Oct. 29.

When Green departed, Moose Jaw general manager Alan Millar told the Moose Jaw Times-Herald that “it was a decision he felt was in his best interest to move on from the game at this time and pursue other options, in particular, his education.”

A source has told Taking Note that Green’s departure didn’t have anything to do with wanting to get on with his education and everything to do with not seeing eye-to-eye with head coach Tim Hunter.

You had to think that David Branch, the commissioner of the OHL, would get it right. On Wednesday, the Iron Commissioner suspended two players for 15 games each for “recent social networking activity.” . . . Chris Peters of has more right here.—

The Everett Silvertips are in Vancouver to play the Giants on Friday night. Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province writes right here about the relationship between the head coaches — Kevin Constantine of the Silvertips and Troy Ward of the Giants.

Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province also reports that F Luca Leone, 18, who was released this week by the Swift Current Broncos, is taking his career to Italy. Leone has an Italian passport so won’t be classified as an import when he joins the Milan-based Milano Rossoblu, a team that plays in Serie A. . . . Leone had six points, two of them goals, in 33 games with the Giants last season. This season, he was pointless in seven games with the Broncos.

Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports Canada does up a weekly set of CHL rankings that he has dubbed the Buzzing The Net Dynamic Dozen. If you aren’t aware of them, check out the latest rankings right here. Hint: Teams from the WHL occupy the top two slots and three of the top six. . . . It’s worth looking at the paragraph that follows the rankings to see just what goes into the compilation.

F Dryden Hunt of the Regina Pats missed most of 2012-13 thanks to a pair of concussions. So you know how badly he feels now that he’s sitting out a two-game suspension for having been involved in a hit that left Saskatoon Blades D Adam Henry with a concussion. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has that story right here.

Earlier in the week came word of a mother who had been ordered by a B.C. court not to contact various hockey coaches and officials on behalf of her sons. Today comes word of a minor hockey coach in North Delta, B.C., who was “fired for posting Nazi propaganda to his Facebook page,” according to this story right here by Tom Zytaruk of Surrey Now. . . . Obviously, there is a reason why it’s called the Left Coast.


In Prince Albert, F Connor Rankin had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Raiders, 4-2. . . . Rankin has two goals this season. . . . Calgary F Radel Fazleev snapped a 2-2 tie with his seventh goal at 13:07 of the third period. He also had an assist. . . . Calgary F Adam Tambellini added the insurance, with his 11th goal at 17:21. . . . F Craig Leverton scored twice for the Raiders (8-10-0), giving him 11. . . . F Jordy Stallard added his first WHL goal for the Hitmen. . . . The Raiders welcomed back F Reid Gardiner after a five-game absence with a broken nose and a bad facial cut. . . . Hitmen G Evan Johnson stopped 36 shots, five more than Nick McBride of the Raiders. . . . Calgary (9-8-1) has won two in a row. . . .

In Everett, F Nikita Scherbak struck for three goals to lead the Silvertips to a 6-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Scherbak gave Everett (11-1-3) a 4-2 lead with a PP goal at 8:25 of the second period. He completed his first WHL hat trick with the game’s last two goals, the final one into an empty net. . . . Scherbak has 10 goals and 10 assists in 12 games. . . . F Conner Bleackley had two goals for the Rebels. He’s got five. . . . F Tyler Sandhu, acquired by Red Deer from Everett early in the season, scored his fourth goal to get his side to within one, at 3-2, at 3:21 of the second. . . . If you’re keeping track, Everett took two minor penalties, one fewer than Red Deer (8-8-2). . . . The Rebels had been 5-0-1 in their past six games. . . . After the first period, Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald tweeted: “Last night Red Deer and Seattle combined for 52 penalty minutes in 1st period. Tonight Everett and Red Deer combined for ZERO.” . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., G Eric Comrie turned aside 25 shots as his Tri-City Americans beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 1-0. . . . Comrie has one shutout this season and 10 in his career. . . . F Beau McCue scored the game’s only goal, his sixth, on a PP at 6:40 of the third period. . . . Edmonton G Tristan Jarry stopped 20 shots. . . . F Richard Nejezchleb, acquired Tuesday from the Brandon Wheat Kings, drew the primary assist on McCue’s goal. . . . Edmonton (9-7-2) lost five times on its trip through the U.S. Division. . . . The Americans (10-9-0) have won their last two starts. . . .

In Kelowna, F Nick Merkley, the WHL’s scoring leader, had a goal and two assists to help the Rockets to a 5-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Merkley has 30 points, including a league-leading 24 assists, in 17 games. . . . F Rourke Chartier and D Madison Bowey also had a goal and two assists each for the Rockets (15-1-1). Chartier has a WHL-leading 15 goals, while Bowey has seven. Bowey leads all defencemen in points (25). . . . The Royals (9-8-2) took 65 of the game’s 128 penalty minutes, 68 of which came in the last two minutes of the third period.

The Swift Current Broncos will finish the 2015-16 regular season on the road and if they qualify for the playoffs they will open on the road. That’s because the 2016 Ford World women’s curling championship will be played in the Credit Union i-plex, March 19-27. . . . The Broncos have experience in this situation because the 2010 championship also was held in Swift Current. . . .

The Ottawa Senators revealed on Wednesday that F Curtis Lazar, 19, is staying with the NHL team. Lazar, who was the 17th overall selection in the 2013 NHL draft, has two assists in nine games. Ottawa’s only other option with Lazar is to return him to the Edmonton Oil Kings, with whom he has played the past three seasons. . . .

At least two WHL players will be on the Russian team’s roster when the Subway Super Series opens in Saskatoon on Monday. D Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Kootenay Ice D Rinat Valiev officially have been added to the Russian team. Game 2 of the six-game series will be played in Brandon on Nov. 11, before the Russian team heads east for two games with the OHL and two with a QMJHL select team. . . . On Wednesday evening, Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix tweeted: “Russian Super Series roster hasn’t been released, but I’ve been told former Saskatoon Blade Nikita Scherbak will be playing vs. the WHL.” . . .

Rogers Sportsnet begins its CHL telecast schedule on Monday with the Super Series game in Saskatoon. Once again, the broadcast team features RJ Broadhead calling the play, with analysis by Sam Cosentino. The host of the show will be Rob Faulds. . . . The complete telecast schedule was released on Wednesday and is right here.

Please tell me I’m not the first to notice this Joe Maddon and Harry Caray

— David Aardsma (@TheDA53)