The 2017 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for Sunday morning in McDonald Park. My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, will be walking for a fourth straight year. If you would like to support her cause, you may do so right here.
Dan and Lindsey Leckelt, who own controlling interest in the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints, have an agreement in principle to purchase the Seattle Thunderbirds, the WHL’s reigning champions.
The Thunderbirds’ ownership group comprises Russ Farwell, who is the governor and general manager; Colin Campbell, the vice-president and assistant general manager; local businessmen James and Davis Clapp; Gregory Gicewicz, from Microsoft; Craig Howland, the president of Syntek; James Prekeges, who has retired from Microsoft; Carol and Philip Paulsen, of Philip Paulsen D.D.S. Family Dentistry; and Pat Smith, a real estate agent/investor who played for the Thunderbirds (1980-83) and also served as an assistant coach (1988-91).
Farwell and Campbell will remain in their positions.
The Leckelt brothers are the co-CEOs of Silent-Aire, which, according to a news release, is “an engineering and data centre equipment manufacturing company with 900 employees and operations in Edmonton, Phoenix, Seattle, Virginia and Dublin.”
Besides the Saints, they also own the Stony Plain Eagles, a senior AAA team that plays in the Allan Cup Hockey West, which used to be the Chinook Hockey League. Both Leckelts played for the Eagles back in the day.
The sale of the Thunderbirds needs the approval of the WHL’s board of governors and the City of Kent before becoming official. The Thunderbirds are the anchor tenant at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
The WHL’s board of governors is scheduled to review the transfer of ownership at a meeting in Calgary on Oct. 4.
Assuming all is approved, the Thunderbirds will become the second WHL franchise to change hands in 2017. The WHL’s board of governors approved the transfer of the Kootenay Ice from the Chynoweth family to Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell on April 27.
While it isn’t common for owners to be involved at the junior A and WHL level at the same time, it has happened.
Mark Wagstaff, a Victoria businessman, owned the Tri-City Americans and the BCHL’s Victoria Salsa at the same time (2000-02) before selling the WHL franchise.
Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, owned a piece of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees before selling it 10 or 12 years ago.
Bill Yuill, who owns the Everett Silvertips, also has the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder in his stable. He also has owned NAHL and NA3HL franchises.
— Brent Parker (@Patguy65) September 23, 2017
The NHL’s New York Islanders returned F Kieffer Bellows, 19, to the Portland Winterhawks on Friday, but not before signing him to a three-year entry-level contract. . . . Bellows, the son of former NHLer Brian Bellows, was a first-round pick by the Islanders in the 2016 NHL draft. . . . Portland selected Bellows in the seventh round of the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had seven goals and seven assists in 34 games as a freshman at Boston U. . . . Bellows, from Edina, Minn., also was a member of Team USA as it won gold at the 2017 World Junior Championship in Montreal/Toronto; in fact, he scored twice in the championship game.
The Winterhawks also learned Friday that the Vegas Golden Knights were returning F Cody Glass to Portland, while the Los Angeles Kings sent F Evan Weinger back. From El Segundo, Calif., Weinger, 20, was in the Kings’ camp as an undrafted free agent. Last season, he had 20 goals and 18 assists in 38 games with Portland. In three seasons, he has put up 37 goals and 52 assists in 89 games.
Weinger’s return leaves the Winterhawks with four 20-year-olds, including F Alex Overhardt, D Keoni Texeira and G Cole Kehler.
Glass, from Winnipeg, was the expansion Golden Knights’ inaugural first-round NHL draft pick. He was taken with the fifth overall selection and is expected to be one of the WHL’s top players this season.
The Moose Jaw Warriors waived veteran F Spencer Bast on Friday as he became a victim of the 20-year-old game. From Macklin, Sask., Bast originally was on the Kamloops Blazers’ protected list. He had three goals and three assists in 20 games with Moose Jaw last season. He started the season with Kamloops, putting up six goals and five assists in 40 games. In 113 career games, he has 13 goals and 16 assists. . . . His departure leaves the Warriors with three 20s — F Brayden Burke, F Jayden Halbgewachs and F Tanner Jeannot.
In Medicine Hat, D Brad Forrest also go caught up in the 20-year-old game. He was released by the Tigers and is expected to join the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs. . . . Forrest’s departure leaves the Tigers with four 20-year-olds — F Mark Rassell, F Zach Fischer, Latvian D Kristians Rubins and G Michael Bullion. Fischer (concussion) and Rubins (shoulder) are injured at the moment.
The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Seth Jarvis and F Cross Hanas, both of whom were selected in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . Jarvis, from Winnipeg, was taken in the first round. Last season, he had 76 goals and 44 assists for the Rink Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Winnipeg. He will spend the 2017-18 season with the school’s midget prep team. . . . Hanas, from Highland Village, Texas, was a fourth-round pick. Last season, with the Dallas Stars Elite U-14 side, he had 35 goals and 45 assists in 55 games. Cross is the son of former WHL F Trevor Hanas (Regina, Saskatoon, Lethbridge, 1991-96), who had 111 goals and 149 assists in 331 regular-season games. He now scouts for the Winterhawks.
What is going on with the Portland Winterhawks, where the coaching staff includes Danny Flynn? Just one year ago, Flynn was preparing to take the Saint John Sea Dogs into a QMJHL season that would end with them appearing in the Memorial cup. . . . So how is it that Flynn ended up in Portland, working as an assistant coach alongside Mike Johnston, the general manager and head coach? . . . Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune has more right here.
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At Brandon, F Ty Lewis enjoyed a five-point night to lead the Wheat Kings to an 8-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . F Stelio Mattheos scored two first-period PP goals as the home side got off to a 3-0 lead. His first goal, at 11:57 of the opening period, was the first goal scored in the WHL this regular season. . . . Regina got its lone goal from F Braydon Buziak, on the PP, at 19:30 of the first period. . . . Lewis iced it with the only goals of the second period, at 0:53 and 19:17. . . . Lewis, whose previous single-game high was four points from a game against the Calgary Hitmen last season, drew three assists in the first period and scored twice in the second. . . . The Wheat Kings got two goals from F Cole Reinhardt, and two assists from each of D Braden Schneider, D School Higson and F Tanner Kaspick. F Connor Gutenberg added a goal and an assist. . . . Brandon was 3-5 on the PP; Regina was 1-5. . . . G Logan Thompson earned the victory with 33 saves. . . . Regina starter Tyler Brown was beaten five times on 34 shots over two periods. Max Paddock played the third period in his hometown, stopping eight of 11 shots. . . . The Pats are without F Sam Steel, the reigning WHL scoring champion. He is in camp with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Also missing is F Nick Henry (shoulder). . . . The Wheat Kings are missing F Nolan Patrick (Philadelphia Flyers) and D Kale Clague (Los Angeles Kings). Also missing from Brandon’s lineup are D Daniel Bukac and D James Shearer, both out with undisclosed long-term injuries. . . . Announced attendance: 5,012.
— Trevor Crawley (@tcrawls) September 23, 2017
At Cranbrook, B.C., the Fettes/Cockell era got off to a winning start as the Kootenay Ice scored a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell purchased the Ice from the Chynoweth family last spring. Jeff Chynoweth now is Calgary’s general manager. . . . Last night, James Patrick, Kootenay’s new head coach, earned his first victory in his first game. . . . The Ice got 35 saves from G Bailey Brkin, whom Cockell, the Ice’s GM, acquired from the Swift Current Broncos last week. . . . Calgary G Nick Schneider blocked 28 shots. . . . Swiss F Gilian Kohler scored the winner, breaking a 2-2 tie at 7:32 of the third period. . . . The Hitmen had tied it just 11 seconds earlier on a goal from D Vladislav Yeryomenko. . . . F Michael King gave the Ice a 2-0 lead with a pair of first-period goals. . . . F Jake Kryski got the Hitmen to within one at 17:53. . . . Calgary was 0-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-6. . . . Calgary D Jake Bean remains with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . Announced attendance: 3,392.
At Prince Albert, G Brody Willms posted his second career shutout, leading the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-0 lead over the Raiders. . . . Willms finished with 21 saves, including eight in the first period and nine in the third. . . . F Brayden Burke scored the game’s first goal at 6:36 of the second period. . . . F Justin Almeida added insurance at 0:56 of the third period, with D Jett Woo icing things at 3:52. . . . Prince Albert was 0-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . The Raiders got 26 saves on 28 shots from G Ian Scott, who left 1:12 into the third period after Warriors F Luka Burzan fell on him. Nic Sanders came on to stop 11 of 12 shots in 18:48. . . . Scott has “a lower-body injury,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com. “Those aren’t good on goaltenders. It’s the way it is and we’ll see how it goes. It’s next man up. We have two other goaltenders in camp, they’ll have to run with it for a little bit here. It gives them an opportunity. It’s just unfortunate because I thought Scottie played well tonight.” . . . D Josh Brook, who had surgery to repair a broken wrist in Montreal on Friday, was among Moose Jaw’s scratches, while F Brett Howden is with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . The Raiders are without F Parker Kelly, who is with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. . . . Raiders F Justin Nachbaur sat out Game 2 of a four-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 2,514.
At Lethbridge, F Jadon Joseph scored twice and added an assist as the Hurricanes beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-2. . . . F Gary Haden gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead at 3:23 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes scored the next four goals. . . . F Dylan Cozens tied it on a PP at 14:48 of the second. . . . Joseph broke the tie, on a PP, at 19:56 of the second and later got an empty-netter. . . . F Giorgio Estephan, in his first game as the Hurricanes’ captain, had a goal and an assist. . . . Lethbridge got 37 saves from G Stuart Skinner, while G Michael Bullion stopped 37 for the Tigers. Bullion stopped Joseph on a penalty shot at 13:02 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes were 3-5 on the PP; the Tigers were 0-3. . . . The Tigers are missing G Jordan Hollett (mononucleosis), Latvian D Kristians Rubins (shoulder) and F Zach Fischer (concussion). . . . Announced attendance: 5,244.
— Darren Steinke (@StanksSports) September 23, 2017
At Saskatoon, the Swift Current Broncos scored four third-period goals, the last two into an empty net, to beat the Blades, 5-2. . . . F Bradly Goethals gave the Blades a 2-1 lead at 11:37 of the second period. . . . F Riley Stotts pulled the Broncos even at 3:43 of the third period and F Conner Chaulk broke the tie, at 12:21. . . . F Glenn Gawdin, with his second goal of the game, got the first empty-netter, with D Artyom Minulin adding the second. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen had two assists for the winners. . . . Broncos G Joel Hofer stopped 23 shots to earn his first WHL victory in his first career start. . . . The Blades got 29 saves from G Ryan Kubic. . . . Swift Current was 0-1 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-2. . . . G Taz Burman has disappeared from the Broncos’ roster, leaving them with four 20-year-olds, one over the limit. F Arthur Miller sat out last night, with G Logan Flodell, who backed up, F Glenn Gawdin and F Conner Chaulk playing. . . . The Blades were without F Cam Hebig, who served the first of a two-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 7,460.
— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) September 23, 2017
At Prince George, D Ty Smith scored once and added two assists to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-2 victory over the Cougars. . . . The visitors got out to a 3-0 lead, with Smith drawing assists on two of those goals, by 8:45 of the second period. . . . F Hudson Elynuik scored the third of those goals, on a PP, and had an assist on the second one, a shorthanded effort from F Riley Woods. . . . Woods also had an assist, while F Riley McKay had two of them. . . . Spokane was 1-3 on the PP; Prince George was 1-6. . . . G Dawson Weatherill earned the victory with 28 saves, one more than Tavin Grant of the Cougars. . . . The Chiefs were missing F Kailer Yamamoto (Edmonton Oilers) and F Jared Anderson-Dolan (Los Angeles Kings). . . . Prince George is without D Dennis Cholowski (Detroit Red Wings). . . . F Radovan Bondra, 20, won’t be returning to the Cougars after signing with the Rockford IceHogs, the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate. The Blackhawks selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2015 draft. . . . Prince George still is carrying five 20-year-olds, although D Tate Olson (shoulder) is on injured reserve. Last night, the Cougars dressed F Brogan O’Brien, F Aaron Boyd and D Shane Collins, while F Jared Bethune didn’t play. . . . Dan Lambert, the Chiefs’ first-year head coach, won his first game in his first start. Of course, he was 53-13-6 in his one season (2014-15) as head coach of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 3,833.
— Victoria Royals (@victoriaroyals) September 23, 2017
At Victoria, F Matthew Phillips scored three times and added an assist to lead the Royals to a 7-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Phillips, a 50-goal man last season, gave his guys a 3-0 lead with a shorthanded goal 12 seconds into the second period. He competed the hat trick with goals at 1:41 and 4:38 of the third period. . . . Phillips’ sixth career three-goal game came on Matthew Phillips Bobblehead Night. . . . F Ryan Peckford had two goals and an assist, while F Eric Florchuk, F Dante Hannoun, D Jared Freadrich and F Jared Legien each had two assists. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse stopped 31 of 32 shots in 52:25. He lost his shutout bid when F Ty Running scored at 19:52 of the second period. . . . G Dean McNabb finished up for the Royals, stopping four shots in 7:35. . . . Vancouver starter Todd Scott surrendered seven goals on 24 shots in 46:29. David Tendeck came on in relief and made four saves. . . . Victoria was 3-8 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-6. . . . The Giants were without F Tyler Popowich, who suffered an undisclosed injury in practice on Thursday. Also injured are D Bailey Dhaliwal and F Tyler Benson. Benson, who is recovering from off-season hernia surgery, is with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers but not yet partaking in on-ice drills. . . . The Royals are expecting to get F Tyler Soy, 20, back from the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, who haven’t signed him. But he didn’t return in time to play in this one. . . . Dan Price, in his first season as the Royals’ head coach, improved his record to 1-2-1. Price, an assistant coach with the Royals last season, went 0-2-1 when then-head coach Dave Lowry sat out during a mumps scare. . . . Announced attendance: 6,549.
At Kelowna, F Kyle Topping scored twice and added an assist as the Rockets beat the Kamloops Blazers, 6-2. . . . The Rockets beat the Blazers three times in the exhibition season — 6-4, 1-0 and 4-3 in a shootout. . . . Last night, the Rockets held period leads of 2-0 and 6-0. . . . Kelowna F Kole Lind, just back from the camp of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, had a goal and two assists, with F Jack Cowell, F Liam Kindree and F Tomas Soustal each adding a goal and an assist. D Cal Foote, in his first game as Kelowna’s captain, had three assists. F Nolan Foote, Cal’s younger brother, had two assists. . . . Soustal, a 20-year-old from Czech Republic, was in Kelowna’s lineup as a two-spotter. D James Hilsendager and D Gordie Ballhorn were the other 20s in the lineup. . . . Freshman D Libor Zabransky, also from Czech Republic, was the second import dressed by Kelowna. . . . Kelowna was 2-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-5. . . . The Rockets got 33 saves from G Brodan Salmond. He lost his shutout at 13:24 of the third period when Swiss F Justin Sigrist scored his first WHL goal. . . . Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson was beaten six times on 27 shots. Kyle Dumba came on for the third period and stopped all 10 shots he faced. . . . Announced attendance: 5,238.
Saturday games (all times local):
Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Lethbridge at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Spokane at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Vancouver 7 p.m.
Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Portland at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Sunday games (all times local):
Red Deer at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
Tri-City at Everett, 4:05 p.m.
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Very nice. We in Kelowna only celebrate if the ultimate prize is won.
— Regan Bartel (@Reganrant) September 22, 2017
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