It didn’t take the Brandon Wheat Kings long to find a replacement for Dave Lowry who has joined the Winnipeg Jets as an assistant coach.

Don MacGillivray has been named the 24th Head Coach in the history of the team.

MacGillivray has spent the past four seasons with the Wheat Kings. He has also served behind the bench in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with the Neepawa Natives, St. James Canadiens, Winnipeg Blues, and Portage Terriers.

The new head coach of the Wheat Kings has also spent time as head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders. In 2008, he was named the Canada West Coach of the Year as a member of the Manitoba Bisons.

During a very successful tenure in the MJHL, Don was named coach of the year on four occasions (1995, 2005, 2012, and 2013), he won a championship with the Terriers in 2005 and with the Blues in 2014 when he was the team’s head coach and general manager.

In a release on wheatkings.com, Don had this to say.

 
“I’m very excited about this opportunity. I’d like to thank the ownership and management of the Brandon Wheat Kings for entrusting me with this position,” said MacGillivray. “I’m honoured, and I’m also grateful for the opportunity that I had working with Dave Lowry last season and David Anning the seasons previous.”

Darren Ritchie had this to say.

“This is a great opportunity for Don. He deserves it as he will do a great job leading our players,” said Ritchie. “He has a wealth of experience in junior hockey. I look forward to working with him and our coaching staff moving forward”.

The new WHL season is set to begin on January 8 with inter-division play. Brandon will be paired with the Winnipeg ICE, Regina Pats, Saskatoon Blades, Prince Albert Raiders, Moose Jaw Warriors and the Swift Current Broncos.

Dave Lowry led the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 35 win season last year when the campaign was shut down because of the novel coronavirus. He was back in Brandon, putting together all the organization's plans ahead of Wheat Kings' training camp this year which is slated to begin after Christmas.

While Brandon will still hold training camp late next month, Dave won't be there after an important phone call. It was Paul Maurice -- head coach of the Winnipeg Jets -- who wanted to know if Dave wanted to join his coaching staff. This wasn't the first call between Paul and Dave.

Four years ago when the NHL Draft was being conducted in Buffalo, Paul had asked Dave if he wanted to join the coaching staff. Ultimately, it wasn't the right time as Dave's son, Adam was just breaking into the NHL.

Now a veteran of more than 400 NHL games, all with the Jets, Adam has become an everyday player with Winnipeg and one that can make an impact. So Paul called Dave and once again asked him if he wanted to join the team's coaching staff. 

"I know Paul had asked Adam if he was okay with it and he was," said Lowry. "I told Paul that I needed to talk to Adam because he might have told you one thing and me another. It's plain and simple, if we didn't have Adam's blessing, this wouldn't be an option."

After a chat with his son, Dave has officially been named an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets ahead of the new season which could begin on January 1.

"As a coach and as a player, you always want to continue to get better and I'm extremely excited for this opportunity," said Lowry. "I look at the staff in place with Paul and his staff, this gives me a chance to go and learn from some outstanding NHL coaches."

The new season will mark the start of Dave's third stint as a coach in the NHL. He was also an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames from 2009 to 2012 and most recently he was with the Los Angeles Kings from 2017 to 2019.

Lowry has always been regarded as a great players coach, one that demands respect from his players and in return, creates great bonds with every person in the dressing room. And now that he moves from the Western Hockey League to the National Hockey League, that will continue to be the case.

"It's all about building relationships with players for me. These players always have to understand that they're going to be coached with the goal of them improving," offered Lowry. "I want these players to know that I care about them."

After a playing career that included more than 1100 NHL games (including playoffs), Dave became an assistant coach with the Calgary Hitmen where he was ultimately promoted to head coach in the 2008-2009 season.

He's coached the WHL all-stars at the Junior Super Series, Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship and the Victoria Royals, all of which led to joining the Brandon Wheat Kings last season.

Time as a Wheat King:

Brandon had somewhat of a slow start to last season. Dave says their record wasn't indicative of how they were playing; however, they turned it around right around Christmas. As it has been well documented in the past, the team won 10 straight games from December 30 to January 24.

The team's point streak extended to 11 games when they lost in overtime the next night against Lethbridge.

The Wheat Kings went 6-3-1 in their final 10 games and they were just six points behind the Prince Albert Raiders for the top spot in the East Division. There may have been no team that was hotter during the second half of the season. In Brandon's final 26 games of the season, they went 18-5-3. 

It was, in the end, just a short stop for Lowry in Brandon. That doesn't mean; however, he won't remember his time in the Wheat City for the rest of his days.

From his great relationship with Darren Ritchie to every other relationship he built and all the success the team enjoyed, the new Winnipeg Jet will always have a spot for the Wheat Kings in his heart. 

"Our group collectively took great strides throughout the season," ended Lowry. "I had an incredible time with Brandon and I was extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity. The entire organization is first class. From our players to our coaching staff to our support staff to all of our incredible fans, we had it all."

$100,000 cash or credit towards a John Deere Tractor and many more amazing prizes will be won by some lucky people or groups on December 13.

That's when the draw date is for the Dauphin Kings Tractor Lotto as ticket sales continue to roll in. At this point, the 50/50 is more than $20,000.

"Ticket sales have been pretty brisk," said Christian Laughland, Director of Business Operations. "We're looking forward to these next two and a half weeks as we come down to the wire."

Under 'Code Red' restrictions, the organization isn't able to sell any tickets at businesses. With that said, the easiest and safest way to purchase your tickets has always been online or by phone. So whatever you may be doing right now, all you have to do is head to Tractor Lotto or call 1-877-585-4647.

On top of the grand prize, the following will also be up for grabs.

  • 10 prizes of $1,000;
  • Two prizes up for grabs of $2,500;
  • Two draws for $5,000;
  • One draw for $10,000; and
  • Three additional draws for a 2021 John Deere E110 Lawn Tractor.

Tickets are 1 for $100 or you can get a three-pack for $250. There are also supplementary tickets available. 

If you're asking yourself why should you purchase your tickets, the answer is simple. Not only are the odds to win great, but the Kings are a first-class organization that gives back whenever it can.

"This lottery is a significant one for the organization, it raises roughly $100,000 for the club," ended Laughland. "If we could sell out this year, that would be absolutely massive."

Dave Lowry is returning to the National Hockey League and he’s staying in Manitoba.

Lowry — who coached the Brandon Wheat Kings last season — has signed a contract to become an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Jets ahead of the new season.

Lowry led Brandon to a 35-22-4-2 record last season. The Wheat Kings were in third place in the East Division and they had already clinched a playoff berth when the season was paused and then ultimately canceled because of the novel coronavirus.

Over seven seasons in the WHL with the Wheat Kings, Victoria Royals, and Calgary Hitmen, Lowry has a record of 294 wins, 152 losses, and 23 overtime losses. He came to Brandon after he spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.

Lowry had this to say on a release that was featured on wheatkings.com.

“I’m grateful for my time in Brandon and I really believe I’m leaving a team that has a chance to win”, says Lowry. “I’m excited for the Wheat Kings franchise moving forward and I know with the players who are returning, they know how to win”.

The hiring of Dave means there will now be two Lowrys on the Jets. Adam Lowry is getting ready for his seventh season with Winnipeg. Over 439 NHL games (including playoffs), Lowry has 60 goals and 72 assists.

Stay tuned as Darnell Duff has reached out to Darren Ritchie, Head Coach, and General Manager of the Wheat Kings for comment.

Eight NCAA Division 1 hockey teams will enter a bubble beginning next weekend as the National Collegiate Hockey Conference begins its play for the 2020-2021 season.

2020 has been like no other year because of the novel coronavirus which means the first part of this season will also be different. Instead of playing in team arenas, all eight teams will instead play in one arena. 

Starting December 1, there will be 40 games in just 20 days at Baxter Arena in Omaha, Nebraska. The North Dakota Fighting Hawks will enter the pod as overwhelming favourites to win the conference. After winning the Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champions last season, North Dakota is once again atop top of the preseason media poll which was released on Monday

North Dakota received 27 of a possible 28 first-place votes, which totals 223 points to sit first in the pool. UND returns 19 players from last year's team that went 17-4-3-2 in conference play. North Dakota also added two NHL draft picks to its blue line and a young man from Gilbert Plains. 

Riese Gaber has been on the ice for months at his new home south of the border and as the team ramps up its preparation ahead of the new season.

"There's going to be a lot of eyes on us, I think everyone on this team knows that," said Gaber. "With that said we know what we're capable of and we know that we have a special group. We're just excited to get started and show how special we can be."

Gaber joins UND after an all-star season with the United States Hockey Leagues, Dubuque Fighting Saints. The former Dauphin King scored 34 goals last season, the most in the league while he was named the forward of the year and to the league's first all-star team.

Riese was also named player of the year and he became the first Fighting Saint to ever win the award and was just the third Fighting Saint to win the forward of the year award.

Gaber 11

As the Gilbert Plains native continues to work hard ahead of game number one, he is ready for any challenge that comes his way playing in one of the most competitive conferences in Division 1 hockey.

"Things have been going pretty well. I've adjusted quite well, I feel super comfortable here," said Gaber. "We have a lot of top-end players here and it's been great being able to watch them and learn from them."

UND has also welcomed back Hobey Hat Trick finalist and senior forward Jordan Kawaguchi and 2019-20 NCHC Rookie of the Year Shane Pinto. The team's conference includes Minnesota Duluth, Denver, St. Cloud State, Western Michigan, Colorado College, Omaha, and Miami.

The Fighting Hawks also enter the season as favourites to win the Frozen Four which is the national championship to be played in early April. Boston College is second-ranked followed by Minnesota Duluth, Michigan, and Denver to round out the top five.  

Riese's first game with his new team is set for next Wednesday against Miami. That's followed up with a game against Denver next Friday and Western Michigan next Sunday to wrap up the first week of play in the bubble. You can watch all of Riese's games at Fighting Hawks hockey. The team's final game in the bubble is on Sunday, December 20 against Miami. 

Known for his speed and slick hands, Gaber has proven that he can score in bunches, and he's looking forward to helping his new team win games anyway he can.

"I'm going to get an opportunity to play, and it's what I make of that," ended Gaber. "I need to make the most of it and we'll just go from there."

Are you looking for your hockey fix during a time where there is no hockey in Manitoba? Stay tuned as Darnell Duff breaks down all of Riese's action in the Omaha bubble with his new team. 

During the day, Kelsey Mahoney is a police officer in Winnipeg. Come night time, Mahoney is a high-level linesman who is getting set for his big break.

Before we get to that, we’ll take a look at Mahoney’s journey, one that has taken him all across Canada.

Growing up in Winnipeg, Mahoney has worked his way up the ranks. He began by being an official during minor hockey games which led to being an official at the AAA level and for the past 10 years, Kelsey has been a linesman in the Western Hockey League.

He’s made stops in Brandon, Regina, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Calgary, and Red Deer along the way, to line WHL games. He also has been an official for Winnipeg ICE games right in his hometown. The 10-year veteran estimates he’s been an official for roughly 130 Wheat Kings games in Brandon.

Mahoney was also recognized as one of the top officials in the league as he lined four straight league finals from 2015 to 2018.

“It’s been an awesome ride, that’s for sure,” said Mahoney. “It’s been a great experience and I’ve met and worked with a ton of incredible people over the years. I love what I’m doing.”

More than 58,000 people attended the 2016 Memorial Cup in Red Deer — a tournament that was won by the London Knights — as they beat the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the final. After working the final of the WHL that year, Mahoney packed his bags and headed to Red Deer. The Winnipeg native was one of the linesmen at the Canadian Hockey League national championships.

His first game was on day three of the event, Sunday, May 22 when Red Deer dispatched the Huskies, 5-2. Mahoney ended up lining two games at the national tournament.

“Getting that chance was a huge accomplishment for me. It was such a great week,” said Mahoney. “I got to be on the ice with some very high profile players that are now playing in the NHL and that means a lot to me. It was an experience that I will never forget.”

Mahoney will return as a linesman for his 11th season this year, which is expected to start on January 8.


Moving up:

Mahoney was five years into his days as an official in the Western Hockey League when he received another promotion. He was hired as an official in the American Hockey League — a league that features the Manitoba Moose.

The hiring came at the beginning of the 2015-2016 season. Since that, he has lined about 14 games per season.

Mahoney’s final game last season before the novel coronavirus shuttered the rest of the campaign came on Sunday, March 1. He got to witness firsthand his hometown American Hockey League team score just 92 seconds into overtime in a 4-3 thrilling win over Chicago and he got to do so while living out his dream of being a professional hockey official.

“Getting the chance to work with professional players is completely different compared to working with junior players,” said Mahoney. “It’s been a great past few years working in this top tier league.”

Mahoney will also return to line AHL games this upcoming season. The AHL has said they plan on beginning the season on February 5.

Milwaukee was the top team in the league last year when the season was shut down. They were 41-14-5-3 in 63 games.

Edmonton bound:

The IIHF has announced that all officials for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship to be played in Alberta will be from Canada. Usually, there are officials from across the globe, but the IIHF has decided only Canadian officials will work games this year because of COVID-19.

The tournament starts on Christmas Day with Slovakia playing Switzerland. Just over 24 hours later, Team Canada kicks off its tournament with a game against Germany. All games will be played at Rogers Place, including the gold medal game on January 5. Mahoney’s new goal is being an official for that game.

The Winnipeg-born linesman will be a linesman at the event that he grew up watching and he always wanted to work at.

Mahoney and the rest of the officials will arrive in Edmonton on December 13 where they will quarantine in their hotel rooms for a few days. The pre-tournament schedule is set to begin on Sunday, December 20. Canada plays two pre-tournament games against Sweden and Russia.

This will be Mahoney’s third IIHF event. He was a linesman at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U-18 World Championship and the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U-20 World Championships.

“I’m so excited about this. This does mean everything to me, I’ve wanted this for so long,” ended Mahoney. “I’m looking forward to getting to Edmonton and getting on the ice, it’s going to be a pretty surreal feeling.”

The 108th Grey Cup would have been played on Sunday. However, when the 2020 CFL season was cancelled because of the novel coronavirus, so was the league's championship game.

Instead, we wil look back at last year's championship which was won by the Bombers who won the title for the first time in 29 years. You can watch last year's game commented by members of the team right here.

Game recap:

Justin Medlock tied a Grey Cup record with six made field goals. 

Winnipeg's, Andrew Harris was nearly unstoppable on the ground. He rushed for 134 yards and he had one touchdown and he also had 35 yards through the air. Kenny Lawler led things through the air with 52 yards.

Zach Collaros was 17-of-23 and he threw for 170 yards. Chris Streveler, meanwhile, was a perfect 3-for-3 for 39 yards. Darvin Adams even got into the action with a 13 yard pass.

Matthew Savoie was the first overall selection at the 2019 Western Hockey League U-15 Draft. As he waits for training camp with the Winnipeg ICE, Savoie has joined the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

The Crusaders is the same team where his brother, Carter played with for the past two seasons. Carter scored 53 times last season — he had 99 points — and now he has moved up to play with the University of Denver Pioneers Division I team.

The Winnipeg ICE followed that selection up by taking Conor Geekie of Strathclair, Manitoba. The Prince George Cougars followed Winnipeg as they drafted Keaton Dowhaniuk and Koehn Ziemmer.

Wheat Kings on the clock:

Brandon had the fifth and sixth overall selections. With the fifth pick, they went to Red Deer as they drafted young superstar, Nate Danielson. Leading up to the draft, Danielson scored 26 times and had 59 points in 29 games with the Red Deer U-15 Rebels.

He then went on to torch opponents in the playoffs.  He had another 22 points — nine of which were goals — in just 12 games. Danielson also had four goals in two games with the Red Deer Northstar U-16 AAA Chiefs.

“It was really exciting for my family and me when Brandon drafted me,” said Danielson. “I’ve heard so many great things about the Wheat Kings franchise. It was an honour to see my name on the board.”

The Wheat Kings remained on the clock as they went just down the road to Russell, Manitoba, where they selected Tyson Zimmer.

Zimmer is playing with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League right now and he has eight points in 10 games. He was also recently named the Northwest Division Star of the Week.

Big year:

Nate had 60 points in just 27 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme Prep team last season as they play in the Canadian School Sport Hockey League. 27 of the points were goals as he continued his offensive domination. The 60 points were the 11th most in the league.

The fifth overall selection added five more points in two playoff games.

“I thought I had a solid year and we had a really strong team,” offered Danielson. “It was a great year that was full of development and great coaching.”

On top of his great play with Northern Alberta, Nate was provided with an opportunity to represent the country. He played on the U-16 Team Canada, a team that competed at the Youth Olympic Games.

It was Danielson’s first appearance on the international stage and he certainly made the most of it. In four games, he found the back of the net twice and he also chipped in with one assist. The team, well they won a bronze medal.

“That was an experience that I will never forget,” said Danielson. “It was such an incredible honour to be able to represent this great country. I loved every minute of it and we had a great group of guys. It was awesome that we were able to win a bronze medal.”

New year, same domination:

There’s no doubt that the 2019-2020 season was one that Nate will never forget. Between playing on Team Canada and tearing it up with Northern Alberta, it was a tremendous year for the young man.

This year, as he waits for Wheat Kings training camp, he’s playing with the Red Deer U-18 AAA Chiefs. In just five games to start the season, he’s already scored six goals. His 10 points are tied for the eighth-most in the Alberta Elite Hockey League.

“I’m off to a solid start in a weird year with everything that is going on,” said Danielson. “I’m just trying to make the most of any chances I get. It’s important that I continue to improve every time I hit the ice.”

What’s next?

If you were to ask Nate, the simple answer would be a regular season with the Brandon Wheat Kings as a 16-year-old.

After taking part in his first training camp with the organization last year, Danielson’s goal is to make the team this season. It won’t be an easy feat as the Wheat Kings will be an experienced top-end team but it’s a goal that Nate does believe he can achieve.

“My goal is to have a good year in Brandon,” ended Danielson. “I’m just preparing now so I give myself the best chance possible. I’m really looking forward to another main camp with them and we’ll see how it goes.”

Training camps across the WHL are expected to open after the Christmas break ahead of the season beginning on January 8.

The two easiest ways to buy your tickets for the Dauphin Kings Tractor Lotto is by phone or online. Not only is it the safest, but it means you don't even have to leave the house. 

You can visit Tractor Lotto or call 1-877-585-4647. The draw for all of the prizes up for grabs will be on December 13 and Christian Laughland says things are off to a great start.

"Ashley Shaw has been answering 15 calls a day lately, which is great," said Laughland. "People are really excited about this draw and it's moving along really well. Chad Facey and Doug Hedley are writing out tickets, so everyone is buying in."

When it comes to the 50/50, it's well over $13,000.

On top of the $100,000 prize up for grabs, there is also the following up for the grabs.

  • 10 prizes of $1,000;
  • Two prizes up for grabs of $2,500;
  • Two draws for $5,000;
  • One draw for $10,000;
  • Three additional draws for a 2021 John Deere E110 Lawn Tractor.
  • 50/50 draw which is capped this year at $87,000,00. 

Tickets are 1 for $100 or you can get a three-pack for $250. There are also supplementary tickets available. 

"It's pretty rare where you get an opportunity like this to win $100,000 with these types of odds," said Laughland. 

Known as one of the Kings' biggest fundraisers, this year is a great one to jump on the Tractor Lotto bandwagon.

"This organization is a significant hockey program for this community, and it's having a tough time right now with the season being on pause," ended Laughland. "This has been around for 22 years and it's always wonderful to be a part of on draw day."

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will play the Saskatchewan Roughriders twice in the preseason ahead of the 2021 regular season.

The Canadian Football League announced the upcoming season's schedule on Friday and two highlights will be the "Banjo Bowl" and the "Labour Day Classic".

Here is the complete schedule:

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The Parkland Vipers would begin their season in January in a normal year. While the hope is that the season can proceed as normal, there is lots of uncertainty at this point because of the novel coronavirus.

With a chance of there being no season because of restrictions, Ted Rea is still hoping to provide young players with an opportunity to play the game.

He has set up a net at Parkland Crossing and his goal is to be able to run a few sessions on Sundays if the club season is either delayed or isn't played. Ted will run sessions for the 15U team but he's looking for coaches to step up for other age groups. 

"It would be nice to be able to have at least one coach at the 12U, 13U, and 14U level age groups," said Rea. 

You can call Ted at 648-4433 to get more information.