If the weather co-operates, the Kamloops Blazers may be back in their home arena — the Sandman Centre — at some point in the next 10 days.
The downtown arena is being used as a wildfire evacuation centre, forcing the Blazers to move their training camp and three exhibition games to the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre on the city’s North Shore.
However, the Thompson Nicola Regional District, which operates the evacuation centre, is hoping to be able to move out by Sunday.
“A little bit will depend on the weather,” Debbie Sell, a TNRD emergency operations centre spokesperson, told Radio NL in Kamloops on Thursday. “Of course, we would like to get people back into their homes as quickly as we can. If that looks like it is going to be possible then . . . we are going to be able to ramp those services down. We are also very conscious of making sure we are not leaving anyone without service. We are just balancing that off right now.”
On Thursday, more heavy smoke descended on Kamloops, so the wait will continue.
In the meantime, the Blazers will visit the Kelowna Rockets tonight (Friday), with a rematch at McArthur Island on Saturday night.
There were 158 wildfires burning in B.C., as of Thursday morning. With little in the way of rain in the forecast, most of the province remains tinder dry so the forest fire season isn’t anywhere near its end.
F Rob Klinkhammer (Lethbridge, Seattle, Portland, Brandon, 2003-07) has been traded by Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL) to Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) for the KHL rights to Stefan Elliott (Saskatoon, 2006-11) and cash compensation. This season, Klinkhammer, an alternate captain, had a goal and an assist in seven games. Elliott is unsigned. Last season, he had four goals and seven assists in 31 games with Ak Bars.
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) September 7, 2017
In Kennewick, Wash., the Portland Winterhawks scored twice with their goaltender on the bench for an extra attacker and then scored in a shootout to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 6-5. . . . F Ilijah Colina scored the only goal of the shootout, while G Shane Farkas stopped all three Spokane shooters. . . . The Winterhawks, who took a 3-0 lead into the second period, had to erase a 5-3 deficit late in the third. . . . F Ty Kolle got the Winterhawks to within a goal at 17:20. F Brad Ginnell tied it at 18:16. . . . Portland got a goal and two assists from F Jake Gricius. . . . D Luke Gallagher had a goal and two assists for the Chiefs. . . . Spokane (2-1-1) was 3-9 on the PP; Portland (2-2-0) was 0-7. . . . D Henri Jokiharju, who suffered a knee injury while playing for Finland at the Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich., in July, was in Portland’s lineup for the first time this season. He will leave shortly for the camp of the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the first round of the NHL’s 2011 entry draft. He is one of 11 Winterhawks who will attend NHL camps. . . . G Ethan Middendorf has been released by the Winterhawks, who now are down to three goaltenders — veteran starter Cole Kehler, 20; Farkas, who will turn 18 on Dec. 1; and Evan Fradette, 16. Kehler, who will be in Penticton, B.C., this weekend with the Winnipeg Jets team in the Young Stars tournament, played in 56 games last season, with Farkas getting into 10. Farkas, from Penticton, was a fourth-round pick by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2014 bantam draft. Fradette, from St. Albert, Alta., was taken by Portland in the fifth round of the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Middendorf, a nephew of former NHLer Max Middendorf, was selected by Portland in the sixth round of the 2014 bantam draft. He is from Scottsdale, Ariz. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., F Maxwell James dropped the, uhh, silverhammer on the Kootenay Ice, his four goals leading the Tri-City Americans to a 7-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . This was the first exhibition game of this season for the Ice, so it was its first game under the new ownership of Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell. . . . James, who also had an assist, finished last season with eight goals and nine assists in 39 games. In his sophomore season, 2015-16, he had three goals in 64 games. . . . F Nolan Yaremko had two goals and two assists for the Americans, with D Sergei Sapego recording three assists. . . . The Americans (3-0-1) were 2-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-4. . . . Beck Warm, who started, and Patrick Dea shared the shutout. Warm stopped 13 shots in 29:35; Dean finished up with 17 stops. . . . Ice G Mario Petit turned aside 25 shots.
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The Brandon Wheat Kings and Victoria Royals swapped 18-year-old goaltenders on Thursday, with Dylan Myskiw headed to the Wheat City in exchange for Hunter Arps.
The Royals also got a fifth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft and an undisclosed conditional pick in 2020, with Brandon getting a conditional seventh-round selection in 2018.
Arps, from Pleasantdale, Sask., played last season with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. In 25 games, he was 18-6-0, 2.23 and .913. In five playoff games, he was 1.14 and .960. The Wheat Kings selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.
Myskiw, from Winnipeg, was a sixth-round pick by Victoria in the 2014 bantam draft. He got into 17 games with the Royals last season, going 3-5-2, 3.26, .886. Myskiw was an all-star when he played for the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers.
Grant Armstrong, the Wheat Kings’ general manager, was the Royals’ director of player personnel when they drafted Myskiw.
The Wheat Kings have four goaltenders on their roster, with Myskiw, because of his WHL experience, perhaps slotting in at No. 2 on the depth chart, behind starter Logan Thompson, 20, and ahead of newcomers Ethan Kruger, who will turn 16 on Sept. 27, and Zach Bennett, who will be 17 on Oct. 1. Kruger, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, while Bennett, from Winnipeg, was a seventh-round selection by the Everett Silvertips in the 2015 bantam draft.
In Victoria, veteran Griffen Outhouse, 19, is the starter, with Brock Gould, who turns 16 on Dec. 11, and Dean McNabb, 17, also in camp. Gould, from Colorado Springs, Colo., was an eighth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. McNabb, from Davidson, Sask., was a third-round pick in 2015.
According to Cam Hope, the Royals’ general manager, this was a case of wanting to give Myskiw a chance to play.
“Griffen Outhouse has been a terrific goaltender for us and has taken the starting role, maybe to the detriment of the guys who are behind him, including Dylan Myskiw,” Hope told Marlon Martens, the Royals’ radio voice.
Hope added that he believes Myskiw is capable of being a starter but might well be blocked by Outhouse for another season or two.
Hope said he feels an “obligation to do the right thing by all the players” and explained that he had been talking with Myskiw, his family and agent “for the last several months” about getting Myskiw into a situation where he’s not “getting 10 games a season.”
Arps, meanwhile, is “a bit of an unknown entity,” Hope said, adding that the goaltender is “late developing” and “raw.”
“I don’t think he has had an opportunity to show anybody exactly what he can do . . . I think he needs some coaching and he needs to play at a higher level,” Hope said. “We’ll have a good look at him before we make our decision.”
D Ty Schultz, unable to overcome a couple of injuries last season, won’t be back with the Medicine Hat Tigers, according to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News. “It kind of took us by shock because it was supposed to get a little better,” Tigers assistant coach Joe Frazer told McCracken, “but things just weren’t progressing so he doesn’t think he can play this (season).” . . . Schultz, 20, suffered a broken bone in one leg while blocking a shot during a game in January. Frazer also admitted that Schultz had a groin injury that nagged him for the second half of last season. . . . If Schultz doesn’t return, he ends his WHL career with eight goals and 42 assists in 186 games, all with the Tigers who selected him in the first round of the 2012 bantam draft. . . . This doesn’t mean that Schultz is done with hockey. He is in China at the moment, taking treatment and talking with the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star. . . . Schultz’s departure leaves the Tigers with five 20-year-olds on their roster — G Michael Bullion, D Brad Forrest, Latvian D Kristians Rubins, F Zach Fischer and F Mark Rassell. . . . McCracken’s story is right here.
Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post: “The Regina Pats should hold a ceremony during the 2017-18 season to honour Russ Parker, who owned the WHL team from 1995 to 2014. Parker’s impassioned speech to the league’s board of governors was a key reason why the 2001 Memorial Cup tournament was awarded to Regina. That event was such a sensational success that it made Regina’s bid proposal for the 2018 CHL championship tournament, also earmarked for the Brandt Centre, much easier to sell. Under Parker and his son Brent, the profile of the team — from a hockey standpoint and in the community — increased exponentially. In 2005, the league presented Calgary-based Russ Parker with the Governors’ Award to honour his contributions. The current ownership group should follow that lead.”
The Spokane Chiefs have signed G Campbell Arnold, 15, to a WHL contract. Arnold, from Nanaimo, B.C., was a second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he was 6.20 and .890 in 16 games with the Shawnigan Lake School’s bantam prep team and 0.29, .987 in four appearances with the school’s varsity team.
The Kootenay Ice has signed F Evan Thomas, 18, to a WHL contract. From Saskatoon, he had 11 goals and 10 assists in 22 games last season with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. He was selected by the Ice in the 10th round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft.
Victor Findlay (@Finder_24), who keeps close tabs on the U Sports scene, tweeted on Thursday that “Shaun Dosanjh has shown up to UBC T-Birds camp. Originally committed to York, then Calgary, now UBC.” . . . Findlay also reported that Dosanjh has a broken toe, so will be sidelined for up to four weeks. . . . Dosanjh, who is from Richmond, B.C., played out his junior eligibility last season when he saw action with four WHL teams — the Prince George Cougars (four games), Kamloops Blazers (14), Lethbridge Hurricanes (12) and Portland Winterhawks (19). During his WHL career, he also played 85 games over three seasons with the Vancouver Giants, who had selected him in the third round of the 2011 WHL bantam draft.
Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News spent some time over the previous week working to find out which is the junior hockey’s best organization. . . . Kennedy writes that he “surveyed a meaty cross-section of player agents, advisors, NHL scouts and execs. . . . The criterion was pretty open-ended, but my ultimate question was this: given the choice, which organization would you want your son/nephew to play for?” . . . The OHL’s London Knights came out on top. . . . As for WHL franchises, the league may not be thrilled to learn that the Portland Winterhawks are No. 1. Interestingly, Kennedy writes, “Tri-City also got some love, thanks to GM Bob Tory.” . . . Kennedy’s piece is right here.
All lists are subjective and open for debate, of course, so you may want to take a look at this list of “The 64 Best Sports Books of All Time” from Michael Schaub and Timothy Bracy of Men’s Journal. If nothing else, you may find one or two that you might like to read.
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TVA Sports reported on Thursday that the Saint John Sea Dogs, the QMJHL’s reigning champions, have hired Josh Dixon as their new head coach. He will take over from Danny Flynn, who resigned in July, saying he wanted to check out other opportunities. Flynn later signed on as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Flynn and Mike Johnston, Portland’s general manager and head coach, both are from Dartmouth, N.S., and are long-time friends. . . . Dixon has been working with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in the area of sports psychology. . . . Dixon has worked in the WHL as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats (2011-14) and Swift Current Broncos (2014-15).
— Brock Boot (@Dasboot34) September 7, 2017
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