A nice weekend reprieve from the smoke buts its back, can barely make out Mt. Paul and Peter once again. #Kamloops pic.twitter.com/wAICANgnN3

— Doug Herbert (@DHerbertCBC) August 14, 2017

We awoke Sunday to sunshine and blue, smokeless skies. By 7 p.m., however, a west wind had started to bring back the smoke that had been so prevalent for much of the previous two weeks.

By Monday morning, we were back into heavy smoke with the air quality index providing a reading north of 10 on the 1-10 scale.

Despite Sunday’s reprieve, it is important that we not get complacent. Officials continue to remind us that this state of emergency is far from over.

In fact, there were 15 new fires spotted on Sunday alone, with most of those caused by lightning. Not only were there 15 new fires, but Kevin Skrepnek, the B.C. Wildlife Service’s chief information officer, said Monday that there was “significant growth” on some of the already major fires over the weekend. For example, the five-week-old Elephant Hill fire, which has been running wild north of Ashcroft, exploded by 48,000 hectares and now is estimated to cover 168,000 hectares.

The total area of burned land is closing in on 730,000 hectares, which means we are close to this being the worst wildfire season in B.C.’s recorded history (in 1958, fires destroyed 855,000 hectares).

Yes, we received some rain during the weekend, but not nearly enough to make even a small dent, and now there isn’t any rain in the forecast.

This summer of smoke and fire, then, isn’t anywhere near its end.

Pittsburgh #Penguins have begun advertising in local media. Ticket prices range from $2.50 to $5 pic.twitter.com/4CAxvTByJ2

— 1967 Hockey Tweets (@1967NHLtweets) August 14, 2017

D Kirill Vorobyov (Portland, 2012-13) has been traded by CSKA Moscow to Sibir Novosibirsk (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. Last season, he was pointless in one game with Zvezda Chekhov (Russia, Vysshaya Liga); had three goals and four assists in 35 games with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL); and had one goal in 16 games with Sibir Novosibirsk. . . . Vorobyov was traded to CSKA Moscow by Sibir for monetary compensation on May 1. . . .

F Dwight King (Lethbridge, 2004-09) has signed a two-year contract with Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had eight goals and seven assists in 63 games with the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), and one goal in 17 games with the Montreal Canadiens (NHL). . . .

D Jyri Niemi (Saskatoon, 2007-10) has signed a contract through Nov. 4 with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga). Last season, he had three assists in 12 games with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga).Sibir Novosibirsk 16 GP, 1+0. Vorobyov was traded to CSKA Moscow by Sibir for monetary compensation May 1st.

D Troy Murray’s name is conspicuous by its absence from the training camp roster that was posted Monday by the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

Murray has played four seasons with the Ice. He was a first-round selection, 10th overall, by the Ice in the 2012 bantam draft.

Murray, who will turn 20 on Sept. 12, is from White City, Sask. He has seven goals and 53 assists in 266 regular-season games, to go with three assists in 20 playoff games. Last season, he put up four goals and 14 assists in 67 games.

Murray is the younger brother of former Everett Silvertips D Ryan Murray, who is preparing for his fifth season with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Ice’s roster shows three 20-year-olds — F Colton Kroeker, D Jordan Henderson and G Mario Petit.

Petit, who was acquired from the Everett Silvertips over the summer, is one of six goaltenders listed, but two of them — Gage Alexander of Okotoks, Alta., and Will Gurski of Duncan, B.C. — are 15 years of age so ineligible for full-time duty.

It would appear that Petit and Jakob Walter, 18, who was with the Ice last season, will vie for the starting spot. Also on the roster are a pair of 16-year-olds — Jesse Makaj of North Vancouver and Carter Woodside of Asquith, Sask.

The Ice has signed both of its 2017 CHL import draft selections — Swiss F Gilian Kohler, 17, and Slovakian D Martin Bodak, who turns 19 on Nov. 28 — and they are on the camp roster. A concussion prevented Kohler from playing in last week’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, so you can bet the Ice will be keeping a close eye on him in the early going.

One other interesting name on the Ice roster is F Sebastian Streu, a native of Neuwied, Germany, whose father, Craig, is from Biggar, Sask. Craig has played and coached in Europe since 1992, after he played three seasons at the U of Manitoba. He is preparing for his second season as the team manager and assistant coach with the UPC Vienna Capitals of the Erste Bank Hockey League.

With Craig being a Canadian citizen, Sebastian has dual German-Canadian citizenship, so wouldn’t count as an import should he earn a spot on the Ice’s roster.

Streu played last season with EC Red Bull Salzburg’s U-18 side in Austria, putting up three goals and 12 assists in 26 games. He won’t turn 18 until Nov. 22.

The Ice opens camp on Aug. 25 with prospects on the ice at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook. Main camp begins Aug. 27.

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The Calgary Hitmen are expected to announce today (Tuesday) that Gary Michalick has signed on as their travelling scout. . . . Michalick, who is from Winnipeg, has been a WHL scout since 1987 when he signed on with the Seattle Thunderbirds. He has been with the Brandon Wheat Kings since September 1992, most recently as senior scout. . . . The Hitmen have been doing some restructuring with their front office. Jeff Chynoweth took over as general manager on July 11, the same day that Dallas Thompson was named the director of player personnel. Thompson replaced Dan Bonar, who had been with the team for 14 years.

D Dennis Cholowski, a first-round selection, 20th overall, by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2016 draft, has signed with the Prince George Cougars. Cholowski, from Langley, B.C., was picked by the Cougars in the 10th round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . Cholowski signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Red Wings in April, which ended his NCAA eligibility. . . . Last season, he had a goal and 11 assists in 36 games as a freshman with St. Cloud State. He spent the previous two seasons with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. In his draft season, he had 12 goals and 28 assists in 51 games, and was named to the second all-star team. . . . Because he was drafted off an NCAA roster, Cholowski, 19, is eligible to play in the AHL this season, which, in this case, would mean Detroit’s affiliate, the defending-champion Grand Rapids Griffins.

Dan O’Connor is the Vancouver Giants’ new director of media relations and play-by-play voice. O’Connor, who had been with the Prince George Cougars, replaces Brendan Batchelor, now the voice of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet 650, a new radio station that is to launch on Sept. 4. . . . O’Connor, who is from Tsawwassen, B.C., spent six seasons as the Cougars’ play-by-play voice. . . . Batchelor, who is from Coquitlam, B.C., was the Giants’ radio voice for four seasons. . . . Sportsnet 650 also announced that Corey Hirsch, a former Kamloops Blazers goaltender (1988-92), will provide the analysis on Canucks broadcasts. . . . Who were the odd men out when the music stopped? Jon Abbott had been the radio voice of the Canucks for three seasons, while Dave Tomlinson had been an analyst through seven seasons.

On average: King played, practiced, & trained while balancing 45 HOURS of schoolwork. Per week. Anything's possible, folks.

— Mike Benton (@Benton_Mike) August 14, 2017

F Brian King has retired from hockey, choosing instead to attend the U of Alabama and take a double major in mechanical engineering and German.

Brian King is leaving the Everett Silvertips and hockey. He’ll attend the U of Alabama. (Photo: everettsilvertips.com)

King, 18, played two seasons with the Everett Silvertips. A native of Exeter, N.H., who lived in Golden, Colo., the Silvertips selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft after he had played two seasons with the Rocky Mountain Roughriders U-16 team. The Roughriders play out of Superior, Colo.

Last season, King had four goals and 17 assists in 62 games with Everett, up from four and six in 60 games as a freshman.

He was named the WHL’s scholastic player of the year for 2017-18 and was the valedictorian at Everett High School, the second WHL player to receive such an honour, after D Brayden Coburn of the Portland Winterhawks.

Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald wrote about King, a true student/athlete, in June and that piece is right here.

The Regina Pats were out in full force at the Wickenheiser Classic, the WHL team’s annual golf tournament, on Monday. . . . “Not only is Regina hosting the 2018 CHL championship, the Pats will celebrate their 100th anniversary in conjunction with the Memorial Cup’s centennial,” writes Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “The team unveiled its 100th anniversary logos on Monday, designed by Tim and Chris Kroeker from the Brandt Group of Companies. The Pats also announced that they’ve sold 5,000 season tickets for the first time in franchise history. Season tickets will be capped at 5,000 to ensure the availability of other packages and single-game tickets at the 6,500-seat Brandt Centre.” . . . The Pats set a franchise record last season when their average attendance for 36 home games was 5,456. They also sold out all 12 of their home playoff games. . . . Harder’s complete story is right here, along with a photo that shows the logos.

Making sure the Brandon AAA's look fresh in their whites! Thanks @WarriorHockey #alumni pic.twitter.com/FELM08q2dc

— Joel Edmundson (@JEdmundson3) August 14, 2017

Before he spent three seasons in the WHL (Moose Jaw Warriors, Kamloops Blazers, 2010-13), D Joel Edmundson, a Brandon native, played two seasons with the midget AAA Wheat Kings.

Edmundson now is a regular with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, who picked him in the second round of the NHL’s 2011 draft.

On the weekend, Edmundson presented the Wheaties with a new set of helmets.

Preparing to attend your first WHL training camp, but not sure whether it will impact your NCAA eligibility? If you click right here, you will find a piece from College Hockey Inc., that runs through a lot of scenarios.

With Postmedia having all but completely gutted the sports departments at the major Canadian newspapers that it owns, there are few sports columnists left who have bite left in their keyboards. In fact, Jack Todd, whose prose originates in the pages of the Montreal Gazette, may be the last of that breed. . . . Here’s Todd, on soon-to-be ex-Miami Marlins owner Jeff Loria, who was the last owner of the Montreal Expos: “I would be tempted to compare Loria to a snake as he slithers away from the game, supposedly in October — but snakes occasionally do useful things, like getting rid of rats, and it is entirely possible to like a snake.” . . . Todd’s piece is right here.

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The Kootenay Ice has added Laurie Dickson to its staff as the health and wellness coach. Dickson operates Aspire2bFit in Kamloops. . . . From an Ice news release: Dickson “is a two-time world champion professional fitness model, physique judge, Team Isagenix athlete, champion motocross racer and coach, provincial mountain bike racer and is currently competing in road racing.” . . . Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and GM, said: ““Laurie will motivate and educate our players on daily health and wellness habits (choices) that are required for consistent performance. Adding experienced professionals in areas such as health and wellness, sports science, strength and conditioning and mental skills will provide our players with the best opportunity for development working closely with our coaching staff.” . . . In the last while, the Ice also has hired coaches in the areas of strength and conditioning (Neil Ross), and mental skills (Doug Swanson), along with a sports performance consultant (Adam Douglas).

Patty McStack tried out for the Blades back in the 80's. He gave up 10 goals in a scrimmage and was never heard from again… until now 🤔 pic.twitter.com/yhi9EClkyd

— Saskatoon Blades (@BladesHockey) August 14, 2017

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