More than a year has gone by since Dave Hunchak left the Kamloops Blazers. They were in Spokane for a Jan. 10 game with the Chiefs when Hunchak, the Blazers’ head coach, left the team and returned home. The team announced that he was on a leave of absence; he never returned. Hunchak has told Allan Maki of The Globe and Mail that his nightmare began with an anxiety attack that ultimately was followed by depression.
. . . “The best way I can describe it is: I was in the darkest place I’d ever been in,” Hunchak told Maki. “I was thinking it was possible I could do something I would regret.” . . . Maki’s complete story is right here, and it deals with a lot more than Hunchak, who, by the way, is back to where he was and wanting to get back to coaching. In the meantime, he is working in Kamloops as an electrician.
“A Canadian lawyer has told Washington state legislators he opposes a bill that might allow Western Hockey League teams to circumvent laws on child labour and minimum wage, a change WHL team executives say is critical for them to stay in business,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN. “In a Feb. 17 letter that was sent to seven Washington state senators and obtained by TSN, Toronto lawyer Ted Charney wrote that he opposes Bill 1930 on behalf of his clients, Lukas Walter and Sam Berg, former major junior hockey players who are now suing the Ontario Hockey League, the Western Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Charney hopes to have a lawsuit certified as a class action case.” . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here.
WHL commissioner Ron Robison and the general managers of the four Washington-based teams appeared at a Senate hearing in the state capital of Olympia on Wednesday. Scott Sepich, a Portland-based freelancer, has that story right here.
The sporting community in Kamloops is coming together to help Peter Friedel, who has done a lot of volunteer work with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, the junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior league and the Kamloops Venom junior lacrosse team. . . . The Storm will donate a portion of the gate receipts from its Saturday playoff game to Friedel, and a dinner and dance to benefit him is scheduled for March 7. . . . Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has more right here.
F Trevor Cox of the Medicine Hat Tigers has had his suspension set at three games. He was suspended under supplemental discipline for a hit on Calgary F Kenton Helgesen during a game on Saturday. Cox, who already has missed two games, will complete the suspension on Sunday when the Tigers play in Edmonton. . . . Helgesen didn’t play in Calgary’s 2-1 victory over the visiting Tigers on Tuesday.
F Logan Aasman of the Everett Silvertips doesn’t even know when he first was concussed. He just knows that recovering at home in Medicine Hat wasn’t a whole lot of fun. Aasman, who last played on Nov. 30, finally has been cleared to return and Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has the story right here.
B.C. DIVISION: Kelowna won at home and now leads the overall standings by two points over idle Brandon. Each teams has 14 games remaining. . . . Vancouver won at home and remains third in the B.C. Division, but now is three points ahead of Kamloops, which lost on the road, and idle Prince George.
U.S. DIVISION: All five teams enjoyed the day off. You have to think players from the four Washington-based teams were watching goings-on in Olympia.
EAST DIVISION: Moose Jaw lost in OT on the road and the loser point lifted it to within seven points of a playoff spot.
CENTRAL DIVISION: Red Deer won on the road. It remains third in the division, four points behind second-place Calgary and nine points ahead of Kootenay, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot.
In Vancouver, D Mason Geertsen’s second goal of the game, at 4:11 of OT, gave the Giants a 3-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Geertsen, who has 11 goals, had given the Giants a 2-1 lead at 19:28 of the second period. He also drew an assist on his side’s first goal. . . . D Spenser Jensen forced OT with his third goal at 6:06 of the third period. . . . F Jack Rodewald gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead with his 27th goal 59 secondsd into the second period. . . . F Thomas Foster scored his 10th at 14:22 of the second, on a PP, to pull the Giants even. . . . F Tyler Benson had three assists for Vancouver. . . . Vancouver was 1-for-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-for-3. . . . Moose Jaw G Brody Willms stopped 29 shots, six more than Vancouver’s Payton Lee. . . . It was a Hockey Hooky game, meaning a noon start. Moose Jaw had played in a Hockey Hooky game in Victoria the previous day and had come away with a 4-3 victory. . . . F Ty Ronning and D Arvin Atwal were among the Giants’ scratches. News1130 Sports (@News1130Sports) tweeted that “Atwal hasn’t played since off-ice incident last week.” . . . The Giants (25-30-3) have won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (23-30-5) are 2-2-1 on a seven-game road swing that continues Friday in Kamloops. . . . Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald has a game story right here. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province has a game story right here. . . .
In Saskatoon, the Red Deer Rebels scored two third-period goals and beat the Blades, 4-3. . . . D Amil Krupic’s fifth goal of the season, at 13:41 of the second, had given the Blades a 3-2 lead. . . . D Josh Mahura scored his first WHL goal at 13:56 of the third to tie it and F Preston Kopeck got the winner, his 17th goal of the season, at 15:21. . . . Kopeck, F Riley Sheen and F Wyatt Johnson each had a goal and an assist for Red Deer. Sheen has 17 goals; Johnson has 22. . . . F Wyatt Sloboshan had two assists for the Blades, whose captain, F Brett Stovin, scored his 24th goal. . . . Red Deer G Trevor Martin, who was acquired from the Blades, stopped 30 shots in his first start since being added from the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. He now will return to Melville. . . . Saskatoon G Nik Amundrud turned aside 35 shots. . . . Saskatoon D Brycen Martin had his point streak snapped at 11 games. . . . The Rebels (30-18-9) are 2-0-1 in their last three. . . . The Blades now are 17-37-3. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a game story right here. . . .
In Kelowna, every skater on the roster but one picked up at least one point as the Rockets whipped the Kamloops Blazers, 11-4. . . . Only D Madison Bowey failed to get at least one point. . . . F Tomas Soustal led the way with two goals, giving him eight, and two assists, with F Rourke Chartier adding two goals and one assist. . . . Chartier now leads the WHL with 46 goals, one more than F Cole Sanford of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . D Josh Morrissey also scored twice for the Rockets, giving him 12. They got three assists from F Leon Draisaitl and two from each of F Nick Merkley, F Tate Coughlin and F Cole Linaker. . . . F Collin Shirley scored twice for Kamloops, giving him 20, and added an assist. F Matt Needham also scored his 20th goal this season. . . . Kamloops F Cole Ully had two assists. . . . According to a tweet from Kelowna play-by-play voice Regan Bartel: “Last time the @Kelowna_Rockets put up 11 goals on home ice prior to tonight was in an 11-2 win vs. Giants Jan 5/2002.” . . . The Rockets now have beaten the Blazers in 18 straight regular-season meetings. The Blazers last posted a regular-season victory over the Rockets on March 3, 2013, when G Cole Cheveldave stopped 25 shots in a 3-0 shutout in Kamloops. F JC Lipon scored all three Kamloops goals. F Cole Ully and D Ryan Rehill are the only two players off today’s Kamloops roster who played in that game. . . . The Rockets won the last two regular-season meetings that season, all eight last season and another eight this season. The teams will meet twice more this season. . . . The Rockets (45-9-4) have won three in a row. . . . The Blazers (22-31-6) have lost two straight.
(all times local)
No Games Scheduled
(all times local)
Red Deer at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Edmonton vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.
Calgary at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Kelowna at Victoria, 7:30 p.m.
Tri-City at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
Lethbridge vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.
GM, Head Coach, & Bus Driver. guiding us the way for the 1st leg of our trip! pic.twitter.com/7gT2xhKXeW
— LethbridgeHurricanes (@WHLHurricanes)