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Locally: Spokane Chiefs defenseman Graham Sward starts cancer awareness campaign

Dec. 14, 2021 Updated Tue., Dec. 14, 2021 at 7:35 p.m.

Spokane Chiefs forward Graham Sward (7) competes for control of the puck with Vancouver Giants forward Michal Kvasnica (38) and Vancouver Giants forward Cole Shepard (16) during the first period of a WHL hockey game, Fri., Jan. 10, 2020, in the Spokane Arena.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Spokane Chiefs forward Graham Sward (7) competes for control of the puck with Vancouver Giants forward Michal Kvasnica (38) and Vancouver Giants forward Cole Shepard (16) during the first period of a WHL hockey game, Fri., Jan. 10, 2020, in the Spokane Arena. (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

From staff and news services

On the ice, Spokane Chiefs’ defenseman Graham Sward is considered an NHL draft prospect; “a player to watch.”

Off the ice, the 18-year-old from Abbotsford, British Columbia, has already made an impact.

As tribute to his grandfather, who lost his life to cancer earlier this season, Sward was inspired to get involved in some way.

“Just about everyone I know has been affected by cancer in some way,” Sward is quoted in a Chiefs’ news release.

He created a Movember campaign, growing a mustache in symbolic support of men’s health screenings and cancer research, and establishing a fundraiser.

On his Movember campaign page, his stated goal was to “help raise money for all the grandpas, dads, brothers, sons, coaches and teammates affected by men’s cancers.”

His initial goal was $700.

He was able to raise it. And raise it, and … well, ultimately reaching $3,121 in donations.

“I just want to say thank you to all of my friends and family for supporting my campaign,” he is quoted in a Chiefs’ release.

“I also want to send a huge thanks to the people I don’t know personally for showing your support and donating. This whole thing went crazy and I’m just really thankful and happy with how it turned out. I like to think someone up above the clouds is smiling down on us.”

The Chiefs’ release notes Sward is one of more than 350,000 people worldwide who participated in Movember, raising more than $71 million for men’s health projects.

Timafey Kovgoreniya, a Chiefs’ defenseman from Belarus, is playing for his country this week in the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A underway in Denmark.

The 18-year-old rookie has suited up for 17 games for the Chiefs this season, collecting two assists, with 18 shots on goal and 13 penalty minutes.

Last year’s IIHF U20 World Championship Division 1 was canceled. Belarus finished third in the 2020 tournament and second in 2019. It is Kovgoreniya’s first time in the tournament.

• The Chiefs traded 18-year-old defenseman Chase Friedt-Mohr to the Edmonton Oil Kings last week for a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft.

Friedt-Mohr, the Chiefs’ fifth-round pick in the 2018 WHL Prospects Draft from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, appeared in 15 WHL games, scoring one goal with an assist. He played one game for the Chiefs this season before being reassigned in October to a Junior A team in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.

• Spokane selected forward Berkly Catton from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with the first overall pick in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft last week and announced they had signed him to a WHL Standard Player Agreement.

Chiefs assistant general manager Jim Hammett said Catton “is a dynamic, skilled forward who can play all over the ice in all situations. He has produced offensively at every level he has played, scoring and setting up his teammates well. He also plays a responsible, 200-foot game in all three zones, can kill penalties and play in traffic.”

The 5-foot-11, 150-pound left-hand shot posted 108 points (58G-50A) in just 30 games in U15 AA in 2019-20. He played up with a U18 team during the COVID-affected 2020-21 season before joining a 16U AAA team to start the 2021-22 season, recording 11 goals and 12 assists in 15 games before returning home to complete this season.

Catton is just the third player the Chiefs have selected first overall in the WHL draft, following defensemen Jared Cowen (2006) and Ty Smith (2015). Both went on to become first-round NHL picks, team captains and World Junior Championship players.

Catton is eligible to join the Chiefs as an affiliated player immediately, playing a maximum of five games until his club season has concluded. He can join the Chiefs as a full-time player starting with the 2022-23 season.

The Chiefs’ other 10 picks in the prospects draft who are first eligible to join the team as full-time players during the 2022-23 season but can be called up as affiliate players for limited games this season:

William McIsaac, D, 6-3, 170, Vancouver, British Columbia (2nd round, 28th overall); Luka Shcherbyna, F, 5-10, 171, Vancouver (2nd, 41st); Nathan Mayes, D, 6-3, 171, Salmon Arm, B.C. (3rd); Cole Wadsworth, F, 5-8, 130, Penticton, B.C, (4th); Cameron Parr, F, 5-8, 174, La Salle, Manitoba (5th); Will Jamieson, F, 5-8, 155, Delburne, Alberta (5th); Cohen “Coco” Armstrong, F, 5-11, 185, West Vancouver, B.C. (7th); Ryan Tamelin, G, 6-6, 172, Invermere, B.C., (9th); Tyler Bernier, F, 5-11, 150, Winnipeg, MB, (10th); Conwith Simmers, F, 5-8, 150, Sun Valley, Idaho (11th).

• Additionally, the Chiefs selected forwards Trevor Connelly from Tustin, California, with the 16th pick in the first round of the 2021 WHL U.S. Priority Draft and Brendan McMorrow from Lakeville, Minnesota, with the seventh pick in the second round.

• Twenty-nine former Chiefs are among the 365 Western Hockey League graduate players taking advantage of the WHL Scholarship program to pursue a college education during the 2021-22 academic year. Twenty of them are playing hockey at the collegiate level.

Since the program was initiated in 1993-94, the WHL and its member teams have invested more than $30 million with more than 7,000 former players participating.

Former Chiefs receiving scholarships in 2021-22 (*-indicates playing hockey):

*Matthew Berlin, *Curtis Miske, *Luc Smith, all University of Alberta; *Logan Foster, *Matt Leduc, Tanner Wishnowski, all University of British Columbia; *Brad Ginnell, *Noah King, both University of Calgary; *James Porter, MacEwan University; *Michael King, *Hayden Ostir, Lasse Petersen, all University of Manitoba; *Tyson Helgesen, Mount Royal University; *Donovan Buskey, University of Regina.

*Jeff Faith, *Evan Fiala, Connor Gabruch, *Declan Hobbs, Nolan Reid, Wyatt Sloboshan, all University of Saskatchewan; *Rykr Cole, Carleton University; *Markson Bechtold, University of Waterloo; *Kolten Olynek, King’s University College; Alex Mowbray, York University; *Dalton Hamaliuk, *Ethan McIndoe, both Northern Alberta Institute of Technology; Reece Klassen, Okanagan College; Baron Thompson, Academy College; Luke Gallagher, Grand Canyon University.

Letters of intent

Washington State women’s swimming: Clara Anderson, Moscow, Idaho, freestyle and butterfly; two wins, four top-three places at 2021 Inland Empire Junior Olympics.

Running

Spokane native Nick Hauger had a successful marathon debut, finishing third in the California International Marathon on Dec. 5 in Sacramento, California, in his first race at that distance. The former Shadle Park High School and University of Portland standout clocked 2 hours, 12 minutes, 59 seconds, about a minute and a half behind winner Brendan Gregg from Davis, Calif.

Soccer

Washington State has capitalized on the transfer portal for a second time in two years, signing forward Brianna McReynolds from Oregon State after grabbing her former Beavers teammate, midfielder Sydney Studer, the previous season.

Although a junior academically, McReynolds has two seasons of eligibility after getting back the COVID-19 year of the 2021 spring season. In 47 matches at Oregon State, with 37 starts, she had 13 goals and 11 assists. She made the Pac-12 All-Freshman team and rarely left the pitch as a sophomore before battling injuries while playing in 13 matches with four goals last season.

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