Centre Gage Quinney won’t get the opportunity to play against his former club tonight when his Kamloops Blazers meet the visiting Kelowna Rockets.
Whether Quinney gets to play in the rematch in Kelowna on Saturday night remains to be seen.
Quinney, who was acquired by the Blazers from the Rockets on Oct. 24, was handed a boarding minor at 7:42 of the
second period during a 5-0 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday night.
On the play in question, Quinny hit Spokane defenceman Evan Fiala right at the player benches. It was an awkward-looking play and Fiala was slow getting up. He went to the bench, then shortly after left for the dressing room. Fiala didn’t return to the game.
On Thursday, the WHL revealed that Quinney has been suspended under its supplemental discipline rules, meaning that the Chiefs sent in video of the incident, along with a $500 deposit, and asked for further review. The length of the suspension has yet to be determined.
Quinney has 23 goals and 23 assists in 43 games with the Blazers. All told, he has 53 points, including 25 goals, in 48 games this season.
On the Blazers, only left-winger Collin Shirley, with 71, and centre Matt Needham, with 57, have more points than does Quinney.
The Blazers (30-25-9) go into tonight in possession of the 10-team Western Conference’s first of two wild-card spots. They are two points ahead of Spokane. In the B.C. Division, the Blazers are fourth, five points behind the Prince George Cougars. Kamloops, with eight games remaining, has a game in hand on the Cougars, who are at home to the Chiefs on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Rockets (44-16-3) are gunning for a fourth straight 50-victory season, needing six victories in their final nine games to get there. They are second in the overall standings and the B.C. Division, one point behind the Victoria Royals.
Kelowna holds a 5-0-0 edge — the Blazers are 0-4-1 — in the season series with Kamloops. Over the past two seasons, Kelowna has won nine of 10 meetings. After the two games this weekend, they will complete the season series in Kelowna on March 11.
The Rockets are without Jackson Whistle, their starting goaltender when this season began, and centre Nick Merkley, who was their leading scorer last season. Neither will play again this season, as Whistle has had the first of two hip surgeries, while Merkley has had knee surgery.
The Blazers will honour former players Scott Niedermayer and Peter Soberlak with WHL Alumni Achievement Awards prior to Friday’s game.
Niedermayer, who won’t be in attendance, played three seasons (1989-92) with the Blazers, helping them to the 1991-92 WHL championship and Memorial Cup title. A smooth-skating defenceman, he is the only player to have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, World Cup of Hockey championship, World championship and World Junior Championship.
Soberlak spent four seasons (1985-89) in the WHL, playing with the Blazers and Swift Current Broncos. He won the 1989 Memorial Cup while with the Broncos. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UBC, as well as a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology from Queen’s University. Soberlak is the chair of the physical education department at TRU, and also serves as the Blazers’ mental performance coach.
JUST NOTES: In a salute to the past and the days of Cooperalls, the Blazers will wear CCM Propac long pants tonight. The game will be televised by Rogers Sportsnet. . . . F Tyson Baillie leads the Rockets in the five games with Kamloops, having put up 11 points, including six assists. He and F Kole Lind have five goals each. . . . F Garrett Pilon is the Blazers’ top scorer in the series, with seven points, including four goals. . . . After playing the Rockets, the Blazers will have two home games remaining — March 12, against the Vancouver Giants, and March 18, against Prince George. . . . Next week, the Blazers will visit the Tri-City Americans and Spokane on Tuesday and Wednesday.