.@Kelowna_Rockets having Christmas dinner on the road. Left to right: Kyle Topping, Brodan Salmond and Connor Bruggen-Cate. #xmassweaters pic.twitter.com/bNZ9MAJInD— Regan Bartel (@Reganrant) December 15, 2016


Today we have a true WHL flavour to our musical opening. It’s Michael Bublé, who owns a chunk of the Vancouver Giants, and Mariah Carey, with All I Want For Christmas Is You, and it's right here.——It’s your lucky day, because right here is another Christmas video. If you haven’t heard this song, give it a listen. It’s a catchy one from Chris Rea, who is . . . Driving Home for Christmas.——The Edmonton Oil Kings always have a grand time with their Christmas video. Their latest one is no exception, and it’s right here.———

F J.T. Barnett (Vancouver, Everett, Kelowna, 2008-13) has been traded by CSKA Moscow to Amur Khabarovsk (both Russia, KHL) for "monetary considerations.” Barnett was pointless in one game with CSKA and had seven goals and three assists in 24 games with Zvezda Chekhov (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). . . .D Filip Novák (Regina, 1999-2002) has been released by Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). He had three assists in 11 games. Earlier this season, he had a goal and two assists in nine games with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga).-———

The Saskatoon Blades have acquired F Markson Bechtold, 20, D Evan Fiala, 19, and a conditional sixth-round WHL bantam draft selection in an undisclosed year from the Spokane Chiefs in exchange for F and Wyatt Sloboshan, 19, D Nolan Reid, 18, and a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. (At a guess, the conditional pick will be in 2018 and it will hinge on whether Fiala plays as a 20-year-old in 2017-18.)
The trade was announced after the Blades were beaten, 3-2 in OT, by the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday night.The acquisition of Bechtold left the Blades with four 20-year-olds, one over the maximum, so they have placed F Kolten Olynek on waivers. The Blades had acquired Olynek on waivers from the Prince Albert Raiders earlier in the season.The Blades now have Bechtold, F Jesse Shynkaruk and D Bryton Sayers as their 20-year-olds.It would appear that the Blades (13-18-3) were wanting to shake things up in their dressing room. That doesn’t mean anything untoward has been happening, just that management is looking for a different mix.The Blades have picked it up a bit of late — they are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games — as they go into two important weekend games. They are one point out of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot that is held by the defending-champion Brandon Wheat Kings (13-14-4). The teams meet Friday in Brandon and Saturday in Saskatoon.Bechtold, from Strathmore, Alta., has five goals and three assists in 13 games this season. He has three goals and an assist in five games since returning from an undisclosed injury. A third-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2011 bantam draft, Bechtold has 93 points, 35 of them goals, in 211 regular-season games.Fiala, from Clavet, Sask., has two goals and seven assists in 32 games this season. The Chiefs selected him in the first round of the 2012 bantam draft. In 157 regular-season games, he has eight goals and 32 assists.Bechtold and Fiala are expected to join the Blades on Friday in time for the game in Brandon.Sloboshan, the Blades’ captain, is from Vanscoy, Sask. He was a third-round pick by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2012 bantam draft. This season, he has four goals and 12 assists in 30 games. In 145 career games, all with Saskatoon, he has 91 points, including 33 goals.Reid, from Deer Valley, Sask., was a second-round selection by the Blades in the 2013 bantam draft. Last season, he had four goals and 22 assists in 72 games. This season, he has 11 assists in 34 games. In 161 career games, all with the Blades, he has 48 points, seven of them goals.Sloboshan, who hasn't played since Dec. 6 because of an undisclosed injury, and Reid are expected in Spokane before the Chiefs meet the visiting Prince George Cougars on Saturday.Like the Blades, the Chiefs are chasing a playoff spot. At 14-12-6, they are one point out of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot and five points short of third place in the U.S. Division.Getting the 2017 third-round draft pick was important for the Chiefs as they traded a conditional third-rounder to the Red Deer Rebels, along with G Tyson Verhelst, who has since retired, for G Dawson Weatherill and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2018.——

After beating Czech Republic 8-0 in an exhibition game on Wednesday night in Boisbriand, Que., the Canadian national junior team made its last cuts.Released were G Michael McNiven of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack, F Sam Steel of the Regina Pats, F Zach Senyshyn of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, D Guillaume Brisebois of the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders and D Samuel Girard of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes.McNiven’s release means that Team Canada will go with two WHL goaltenders — Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips is expected to go into the pre-World Junior Championship games as the starter, with Connor Ingram of the Kamloops Blazers backing him up.Last night, Ingram stopped six shots and McNiven 11 in the victory over Czech Republic.Other WHLers on the 22-player roster are F Mathew Barzal (Seattle Thunderbirds), F Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets), D Jake Bean (Calgary Hitmen), D Kale Clague (Brandon Wheat Kings) and D Noah Juulsen (Everett).The roster features seven players from each of the WHL and QMJHL, with six from the OHL and two from the NCAA. The two NCAA skaters are D Dante Fabbro (Boston U), whose WHL rights belong to the Seattle Thunderbirds) and F Tyson Jost (North Dakota), whose WHL rights were acquired by Regina from Everett earlier this season.Team Canada will move today from Boisbriand to Mont-Tremblant, Que., where it will prepare for exhibition games against Finland (Montreal, Dec. 19), Czech Republic (Ottawa, Dec. 21) and Switzerland (Toronto, Dec. 23).The 2017 World Junior Championship opens Dec. 26 in Toronto and Montreal.There is more on the Canadian roster right here.——if you just want to say hello, feel free to contact me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.If you would like to donate to the cause — and many thanks to those who have — please visit the bottom of this post and go right ahead.———


F Dylan Holloway, who was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft, has committed to the U of Wisconsin where he will play for the Badgers. Holloway, 15, is from Bragg Creek, Alta., and plays for the midget AAA Calgary Flames. ———

Biggest shocker during my yearly visit to Medicine Hat was learning @tigershockey PR man Dave Andjelic left team after 24 years. #classact— Regan Bartel (@Reganrant) December 14, 2016



At Kootenay, F Tyler Steenbergen broke a 2-2 tie at 13:17 of the second period and the Swift Current


Broncos went on to a 5-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Steenbergen has 22 goals. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (11), who also had an assist, got the Ice on the scoreboard first, just 35 seconds into the game. . . . The Broncos took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Conner Chaulk (3), at 13:29, and F Ryan Graham (10), at 16:49. . . . F Matt Alfaro’s 10th goal pulled the Ice into a tie at 18:43. . . . Steenbergen broke the tie and F Cole Johnson (4), who also had an assist, added insurance at 15:59. Johnson was playing his first game since Dec. 2. . . . Broncos F Aleksi Heponiemi added his eighth goal at 13:15. . . . The Broncos got 21 stops from G Travis Child. . . . G Payton Lee stopped 38 shots for the Ice. . . . Swift Current (16-10-7) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Ice (6-20-8) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Broncos welcomed back F Glenn Gawdin, their captain, who last played on Oct. 28. He missed 19 games. . . . Announced attendance: 1,506.——At Lethbridge, F Deven Sideroff scored in OT to give the Kamloops Blazers a 3-2 victory over the


Hurricanes. . . . Sideroff also scored in OT on Tuesday night as the Blazers won, 4-3, over the Rebels in Red Deer. . . . The Blazers now are 3-0-1 on a six-game jaunt through the Central Division. They are 2-0-1 in their last three games, each of which has been decided in OT. . . . Sideroff, who scored twice in Lethbridge, now has 21 goals. He leads the WHL with seven game-winners, four of them in his last seven games. Four of his winners have come in extra time. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Brett Davis (2), at 5:42 of the first period, and F Egor Babenko (10), on a PP, at 19:22 of the second period. . . . The Blazers tied it on third-period goals from F Travis Walton (2), at 7:48, and Sideroff, at 15:08. . . . Babenko also had an assist. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 25 shots for the winners. With starter Connor Ingram with Canada’s national junior team, Ferguson has made four straight starts. In those games, he is 3-0-1, 2.15, .932. . . . The Hurricanes got 26 stops from Stuart Skinner. . . . Lethbridge was 1-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-4. . . . Kamloops (20-12-2), which was playing its fourth game in five nights, has points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . Lethbridge (18-11-5) has points in 13 in a row (11-0-2). . . . The Hurricanes had won their previous five games, and had won six in a row on home ice. . . . Announced attendance: 2,871.——At Moose Jaw, F Jayden Halbgewachs continued to torch opposing teams, this time scoring a goal and


adding two assists as the Warriors beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-1. . . . Halbgewachs, 19, leads the WHL with 28 goals and is tied for the scoring lead, with 50 points, in 31 games. He has scored at least once in each of his past 10 games. The WHL record for longest goal-scoring streak is 18 games and is held by F Cliff Ronning, who did it with the New Westminster Bruins in 1984-85. Halbgewachs went into this season with single-season career highs of 15 goals and 41 points, both set in 69 games last season. . . . Last night, Halbgewachs scored the game’s first goal, at 16:01 of the second period. He drew an assist on F Noah Gregor’s 17th goal, on a PP, at 19:12. . . . Raiders D Loch Morrison was serving a slashing minor when Gregor scored. “I thought it was a weak call,” Prince Albert associate coach Dave Manson told Jeff D’Andrea of paNow.com. “It was something that was going on all night and they let it go for the first period and a half and they for some reason, they decided to call it there. It was a terrible call but those things happen. We have to kill that penalty in order to stay in it. They got one off of it and that put the nail in the coffin for us.” . . . F Tanner Jeannot (10) made it 3-0 at 1:28 of the third period and D Josh Brook added his fourth at 17:01, with Halbgewachs drawing his second assist. . . . Brook and Gregor also had an assist apiece, while F Nikita Popugaev had two of them. . . . Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke had an assist to run his point streak to 10 games. . . . Warriors G Zach Sawchenko stopped 29 shots, losing his shutout bid when F Austin Glover (11) scored at 17:37 of the third period. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 42 shots for Prince Albert. . . . Moose Jaw was 1-4 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-6. . . . The Warriors were without D Matt Sozanski for a sixth straight game, while F Tristin Langan missed his third in a row. . . . Warriors F Brett Howden, released Tuesday by the Canadian national junior team, was back in the lineup and had an assist. . . . Prince Albert was without D Vojtech Budik and F Simon Stransky, both of whom played for the Czech Republic’s national junior team in an 8-0 loss to Canada in an exhibition game in Boisbriand, Que., on Wednesday. . . . Moose Jaw improved to 19-7-5. . . . The Raiders (7-24-2) are 1-1-1 in their last three games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,726.——At Prince George, D Brendan Guhle snapped a 3-3 tie at 16:31 of the second period and the Cougars


went on to beat the Tri-City Americans, 5-3. . . . One night earlier, the Cougars had beaten the Americans, 4-1. . . . The doubleheader sweep allowed the Cougars (24-8-2), who have won three in a row, to move back into first place in the overall standings. They are one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips (22-4-5), who hold three games in hand, and two ahead of the Regina pats (21-2-6), who have played five fewer games. . . . Last night, the Cougars jumped out front 2-0 when F Brad Morrison (14) and F Jared Bethune (11) scored 39 seconds apart midway through the first period. . . . The visitors tied it on goals from F Morgan Geekie (18), at 17:57, and F Michael Rasmussen (23), at 0:19 of the second period. . . . F Brogan O’Brien’s fifth goal, at 2:00 of the second, put the Cougars back into the lead, but Tri-City F Jordan Topping tied it with his third goal, at 13:26. . . . Guhle broke that deadlock, and F Kody McDonald added insurance with his eighth goal, on a PP, at 5:08 of the third period. . . . The Cougars got two assists from F Colby McAuley, while O’Brien, Guhle, McDonald and Bethune added one each. . . . Geekie and Topping had an assist each for Tri-City. . . . G Ty Edmonds stopped 22 shots for the Cougars, as he won for the 19th time this season. . . . The Americans got 32 saves from G Rylan Parenteau. . . . The Cougars were 1-7 on the PP; the Americans were 0-4. . . . The Americans (19-13-3) have lost two in a row. . . . Announced attendance: 2,855.——At Saskatoon, F Davis Koch scored his second goal of the game 11 seconds into OT to give the


Edmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Blades. . . . The Oil Kings overcame a 2-0 first-period deficit before winning it on Koch’s ninth goal of the season. . . . The Blades got a pair of first-period PP goals, with F Josh Patterson (7) scoring at 9:34 and F Chase Wouters (4) at 10:34. . . . D Anatolii Elizarov’s third goal, at 19:14 of the first, got the Oil Kings to within one. . . . Koch, who finished last season with nine goals, tied the score at 5:32 of the third period. . . . F Tyson Gruninger had two assists for Edmonton. . . . Koch, 18, now has 36 points in 33 games, after totalling 23 in 58 games last season and 25 in 52 in 2014-15. . . . The Oil Kings had a 46-17 edge in shots. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 15 shots to earn the victory over Logan Flodell, who turned aside 43. . . . Saskatoon was 2-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-4. . . . The Oil Kings went 4-0-0 against the Blades, who would up 0-3-1 against the Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton (15-15-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Saskatoon (13-18-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Announced attendance: 3,056.——At Victoria, F Ilijah Colina scored his first WHL goal at 8:33 of the third period, breaking a 3-3 tie and


giving the Portland Winterhawks a 4-3 victory over the Royals. . . . Colina, 16, is from North Delta, B.C. He has a goal and three assists in 14 games. Portland selected him in the eighth round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Winterhawks, who had lost 5-1 in Victoria one night earlier, took a 2-0 lead on goals from D Connor MacEachern, his first, at 4:32 of the first period and F Skyler McKenzie, his 21st, at 8:28. . . . F Ryan Peckford’s 12th goal, at 10:21, got the Royals to within one, but Portland F Cody Glass scored his 17th at 18:41 for a 3-1 lead. . . . The Royals tied it on second-period PP goals from F Matt Phillips (23), at 9:09, and F Dante Hannoun (14), at 13:35. . . . Glass also had two assists, giving him 48 points in 34 games. Last season, as a freshman, he finished with 27 points, including 10 goals, in 65 games. . . . F Evan Weinger also had two assists for Portland. . . . The Royals got three helpers from F Jack Walker and two from D Chaz Reddekopp, with Phillips adding one to his goal. . . . The Winterhawks got 32 saves from G Michael Bullion, while Griffen Outhouse stopped 23 for Victoria. . . . Victoria was 3-8 on the PP; Portland was 1-6. . . . The Winterhawks are 19-14-1; the Royals are 17-15-3. . . . Victoria D Ryan Gagnon returned after serving a four-game suspension. He played in his 283rd regular-season game, all with the Royals. That is tied for second, with F Logan Fisher, for second on the franchise’s all-time list. F Brandon Magee (318) holds the franchise record after playing with the Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria. If Gagnon plays the remainder of the Royals’ games, he will finish at 320. . . . Announced attendance: 3,568.——

THURSDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.——

FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.Lethbridge at Edmonton, 7 p.m.Tri-City at Everett, 7:35 p.m.Kamloops at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.Kelowna at Red Deer, 7 p.m.Prince George at Seattle, 7:35 p.m.Prince Albert at Swift Current, 7 p.m.Portland vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.——


Friday, Dec. 16: Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.Friday, Dec. 16: Portland vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.Saturday, Dec. 17: Brandon at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.Saturday, Dec. 17: Portland at Everett, 7:05 p.m.Saturday, Dec. 17: Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.Saturday, Jan. 21: Vancouver vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.Nov. 26: D Micheal Zipp, 19:47 1st period, Lethbridge 4 at Calgary 2.Dec. 2: D Artyom Minulin, 13:24 1st period, Calgary 1 at Swift Current 5.Dec. 2: F Jordy Bellerive, 14:00 1st period, Red Deer 3 at Lethbridge 5.Dec. 3: F Adam Musil, 14:27 1st period, Lethbridge 2 at Red Deer 3 (OT).Dec. 3: D Ondrej Vala, 10:38 1st period, Vancouver 2 at Kamloops 5.Dec. 3: F Nick Merkley, 6:54 2nd period, Brandon 1 at Kelowna 3.Dec. 9: F Austin Glover, 0:32 2nd period, Moose Jaw 7 at Prince Albert 3. Dec. 9: F Riley Woods, 11:45 1st period, Swift Current 1 at Regina 8.Dec. 9: F Keanu Yamamoto, 4:01 1st period, Kootenay 3 at Spokane 4.Dec. 10: D Josh Thrower, 12:13 1st period, Prince Albert 4 at Moose Jaw 5 (SO).Dec. 10: F Nick Bowman, 13:38 2nd period, Kamloops 3 at Edmonton 2.Dec. 10: D Troy Murray, 1:51 2nd, Kelowna 7 at Kootenay 3.Dec. 10: F Max Gerlach, 5:26 1st period, Calgary 4 at Medicine Hat 7.Dec. 10: F Skyler McKenzie 2:21 1st, Everett 2 at Portland 5.Dec. 10: F Josh Curtis, 6:02 2nd period, Seattle 4 at Prince George 6.Dec. 10: F Tyler Sandhu, 0:36 1st period, Victoria 3 at Tri-City 4.
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