Departures in Prince George . . . Rockets sign first-round pick . . . Koep, Matsuba won’t be back


The Prince George Cougars have yet to announce it but sources have told Taking Note that assistant coaches Michael Hengen and Brent Arsenault have left the organization. . . . The names of both men have been removed from the Cougars’ website. . . . Hengen had been with the Cougars since July 3, 2014, when he signed on as assistant coach and strength-and-conditioning coach. A native of Surrey, B.C., he had been with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees for four seasons prior to joining the Cougars. He is a former WHL player who split 226 regular-season games between the Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Oil Kings, Moose Jaw Warriors, Calgary Hitmen and Saskatoon Blades. . . . Arsenault had been with the Cougars since 2005. He signed on as an assistant coach and in 2007 also became the team’s education advisor. . . . The Cougars’ coaching staff now comprises head coach Richard Matvichuk, who is prepping for his first season on a three-year contract after replacing Mark Holick, and associate coach Steve O’Rourke, who also is about to begin his first season in Prince George. He had been on staff with the Red Deer Rebels before leaving after last season.——Assuming that the Cougars will hire an assistant coach, by my count there are three WHL teams on the hunt. . . . The Victoria Royals are looking to fill the spot created when veteran assistant Enio Sacilotto was moved up to director of prospect development and scout. That came about after Grant Armstrong, the Royals’ assistant general manager, player personnel signed with the Brandon Wheat Kings as their general manager. . . . The Calgary Hitmen, meanwhile, have yet to replace Trent Whitfield, a one-season assistant coach who now is an assistant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins.——D Kaedan Korczak has signed with the Kelowna Rockets. Korczak, the 10th overall pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, announced the signing on Twitter. . . . The Rockets traded up at the draft in order to pick the native of Yorkton, Sask. . . . The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder had 15 points, two of them goals, with the midget AAA Yorkton Maulers last season. He will be returning to the Maulers for a second season.——F Andrew Koep has decided not to return to the Edmonton Oil Kings for a third season. The 19-year-old from Lloydminster, Alta., has chosen instead to attend the U of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. . . . Koep was a second-round pick by the Oil Kings in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had 22 points, 11 of them goals, in 71 games. In 130 career regular-season games, Koep put up 63 points, including 26 goals.——D Mark Matsuba won’t be back with the Brandon Wheat Kings for his 19-year-old season. From St. Albert, Alta., Matsuba has chosen to retire. He was fourth-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had a goal and five assists in 50 regular-season games. In two seasons, he put up 10 points, two of them goals, in 86 games. . . . He played in only two playoff games during the Wheat Kings’ championship run last spring. . . . If you missed it, Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun also reported Saturday that D Jordan Thomson, 20, has retired so won’t be returning to the Wheat Kings.———Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to email me at———

For those of you asking. Can't have been me, 5 hole is not big enough…. #alibi— Strombone (@strombone1) August 27, 2016

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