Reports have major junior leagues now aiming for Dec. 1 . . . Former Blades captain dies . . . Morden team changing nickname, logo

If you own a junior hockey franchise, you have to be watching the goings-on in MLB and wondering.

While the NBA and NHL have their teams all bubbled up and, at least to date, avoiding the coronavirus, you know that you don’t have the resources to attempt anything like that.

But then you look at MLB, which is attempting to do what you are hoping to do at some point this year — bring your team together and then travel in order to play games in various venues.

It isn’t going all that well for MLB, which is forging ahead despite having had two teams — the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals — decimated by the virus and another (Philadelphia Phillies) also been hit.

Through Tuesday, 23 MLB games involving nine teams had been postponed. The season is 13 days old.

At this point, then, you likely are holding your breath and hoping.

Earlier, the QMJHL and WHL had announced proposed starting dates of Oct. 1 and Oct. 2, respectively, for their 2020-21 regular seasons. The OHL hadn’t gone public with any such date.

Now there are reports that the three major junior leagues will announce perhaps as soon as today (Wednesday) that they hope to start their 2020-21 regular seasons on Dec. 1.

Postponing the start by two more months buys them some more time. The leagues will be able to sit back and watch developments, including the possible opening of schools.

The OHL and WHL also have teams located in the U.S., where, you may have noticed, things aren’t going so well. Two more months gives the leagues time to watch for improvements in that area, although under present leadership that doesn’t seem likely to happen.

And, of course, there’s the little matter of the U.S.-Canada border being closed. Do you think it’ll be open again in 2020?

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COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

On Sunday, the Cincinnati Reds placed 1B Joey Votto, a native of Toronto, on the injury list after he self-reported symptoms of the virus. On Monday, he hit a two-run, go-ahead homer to help the Reds beat the Cleveland Indians, 3-2. . . . It turns out that he tested negative and was reinstated. . . .

The much-ballyhooed Field of Dreams game, which was to have featured the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox on Aug. 13, has been postponed to August 2021. A date has yet to be announced. . . .

The Cardinals’ season is on hold after seven players and six staff members tested positive. . . . Six of the players are SS Paul DeJong, RHP Junior Fernández, C Yadier Molina, 1B Rangel Ravelo, SS Edmundo Sosa and RHP Kodi Whitley, each of whom gave the team the OK to release their names. The identity of a seventh player wasn’t released. . . . DeJong and Molina are all-star calibre players. . . . In a statement, Molina said he was “saddened to have tested positive for COVID-19, even after adhering to safety guidelines that were put in place.” . . .

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, had some thoughts on the mess in which MLB finds itself. He concluded with this: “Baseball in 2020 reminds me of a guy at a poker table who is losing his shirt but keeps dipping into his bank account for another stake because he is ‘due for some good cards.’ It seems to me that MLB thinks it is due for some good news and just keeps on keeping on. . . . Albert Einstein reminded us that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different outcomes.” . . . You should read the entirety of the curmudgeonly one’s latest post right here.

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The NFL’s Detroit Lions moved QB Matthew Stafford from the Reserve/COVID-19 list and placed him on the regular roster, saying that what was reported as a positive test actually was a false-positive. . . . The Jacksonville Jaguars did the same with QB Gardner Minshew after it was determined that he had tested negative. Minshew joked that the virus “took one look at me and ran the other way.” . . .

At least 48 players have opted out of playing in the NFL’s 2020 season. The league has a deadline of Thursday afternoon for players to make that decision. . . . Barry Wilner of The Associated Press has more right here.

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Rafael Nadal, the No. 2-ranked men’s tennis player, won’t play in this month’s U.S. Open, which is to start on Aug. 31. He said that he doesn’t want to travel during the pandemic. . . . The last time a tennis major didn’t feature either Roger Federer, who is out after having knee surgery, and Nadal? That was the 1999 U.S. Open. . . .

Meanwhile, Bianca Andreescu, who won the women’s U.S. Open title last year, said that she will be in New York to defend her title. . . . Andreescu, 20, from Mississauga, Ont., is the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title. . . .

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The 104th running of the Indy 500 will take place without fans. Roger Penske, who owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said earlier in the year that the race, which was postponed from Memorial Day weekend to Aug. 23, would allow some fans to attend. . . . But with numbers rising in Marion County, Indiana, home of the Speedway, Penske has decided not to allow fans. . . .

The AHL has cancelled its 2020-21 All-Star Classic that was to have been played host to by the Laval Rocket on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Instead, Laval will be the site of the 2021-22 Classic on a date yet to be determined. . . . The AHL is hoping to being its 2020-21 regular season on Dec. 4. . . .

Tennis lost the Madrid Open as the 2020 event, which features men’s and women’s draws, was cancelled. Originally scheduled in May, it had been postponed to September. But an increase in COVID-19 cases resulted in the event being cancelled.

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You will recall that the Houston Astros have been branded as cheaters after getting caught up in a sign-stealing scandal that has some baseball folks claiming the team actually stole a World Series title. . . . The other day, with the host Astros playing the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are particularly bitter, Houston’s Jose Altuve, who is really struggling at the plate, happened to strike out. Joe Davis, doing the play-by-play for the Dodgers, said Altuve was “perhaps guessing something else.” . . . Former Dodgers P Orel Hershiser, the analyst on the broadcast crew, disagreed. Said Hershiser: “Guessing’s harder than knowing.”



The QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes announced Tuesday that head coach Gordie Dwyer has left the organization in the hopes of landing a spot with a pro team. . . . Dwyer took over as head coach on Feb. 9, then went 6-6-0 before the league shut down because of the pandemic. . . . At the time, Dwyer took over from the fired Daniel Renaud, who had been the head coach since 2017. He was 23-28-0 last season. . . . The Cataractes will unveil their new coaching staff on Friday.


The Morden Redskins, a men’s team that plays in the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League, has said that it will be changing its nickname and logo, which was fashioned after that belonging to the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. . . . Last month, Brandon Burley, the mayor of Morden, asked the team to make a change.


JUST NOTES: I haven’t watched a whole lot of the NHL since it resumed playing, but I’ve seen enough to realize that, despite what you might read in the rules book, cross-checking continues to be legal. . . . I need to find someone in Alberta to cut me in on the Edmonton Oilers’ 50-50 draw. If you aren’t aware, the winner of Monday’s draw put $1,629,722.50 into his/her bank account. On Saturday night, Danielle McGale won $381,275. Yes, she has a whole lot of new friends. . . . I was watching the MLB game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and host Minnesota Twins on Tuesday afternoon and there was a drone delay. Seriously.


Scattershooting on a Sunday night while hoping NBA and NHL bubbles don’t burst . . .

Scattershooting

Things are getting interesting in the world of U.S. college football. As Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote on Sunday: “A group of Pac-12 football players under the banner #WeAreUnited has issued a list of demands as a condition of the players’ participation in the 2020 season. These are not SEC players, not Big Ten players, not Ivy League players. They are Pac-12 players.” . . . In a piece posted at The Players Tribune, the players, among other things, demanded that they be allowed the option “not to play during the pandemic without losing eligibility or spot on our team’s roster” and the liability waivers be prohibited or voided. . . . There’s a whole lot more right here. . . . There also are reports that at least one school, Washington State, has dropped players from the football team’s roster because of their involvement with the #WeAreUnited movement.

Earlier, the Pac-12 announced that its football teams will play a 10-game, conference-only schedule if there is to be a 2020 season. The first games now are scheduled for Sept. 26. . . . Training camps are allowed to open on Aug. 17, but for at least four teams, those based in California, tackling won’t be allowed based on pandemic-related regulations. . . . Meanwhile, Cal has cancelled its 2020 season tickets. There is a public health order in place that restricts large gatherings, to the school is uncertain how many fans will be allowed to attend games once the schedule starts. It all means single-game tickets will be sold.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Doug Pederson, the head coach of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, has tested positive. Pederson, 52, is asymptomatic after receiving two positive tests. He is in self-quarantine. . . . Pederson is the second NFL head coach to test positive after it happened to Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints in March.

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1B Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds was placed on the injured list on Sunday. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Votto self-reported COVID-19 symptoms on Sunday morning despite not having tested positive. . . . Votto, 36 is from Toronto. . .

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The St. Louis Cardinals had three weekend games postponed — they were to have played the host Milwaukee Brewers — and now there are reports that they are expecting more positive tests. Apparently, they had six positives, including three from players, on the weekend, with more expected from Sunday tests. The Cardinals are scheduled to play four games in Detroit from Tuesday through Thursday, but those would seem to be in jeopardy.

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OF Yoenis Cespedes didn’t show up for the New York Mets’ game with the host Atlanta Braves on Sunday. He wasn’t in his hotel room, which had been emptied of luggage. Later, he confirmed that he has opted out of the remainder of the MLB season. . . .

Two MLB players chose to opt out of the season on Saturday. The Milwaukee Brewers lost OF Lorenzo Cain, while 2B Isan Diaz left the Miami Marlins. . . .

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Australian Nick Krygios said Sunday that he won’t play in the U.S. Open later this month. He cited health and safety concerns in making his announcement via Instagram. . . . Earlier, Ash Barty, the world’s No. 1 women’s player, also opted out. She, too, is from Australia. . . . The tournament is scheduled for Aug. 31 through Sept. 13. . . .

The German Football League has cancelled its 2020 season. In July, the league lost 10 of its 16 teams. The six remaining teams — the Berlin Rebels, Dresden Monarchs, Marburg Mercenaries, Munich Cowboys, Potsdam Royals and Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns — had suggested playing a shortened season, but five of those teams have since decided not to play. . . . A story at americanfootballinternational.com referred to the GFL as “arguably the best American football league outside of North America, Japan and Mexico.” . . .

TE Matt LaCosse of the New England Patriots has opted out of the 2020 NFL season. He is the eighth New England player to choose that route. . . . The NFL now has had at least 40 players opt out. There is a list right here. . . .

The Jacksonville Jaguars have placed five players, including QB Gardner Minshew, on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Detroit Lions have done the same with QB Matthew Stafford. . . . From cbssports.com: “The league’s recently-implemented reserve/COVID-19 list includes players who either tested positive for the virus or who have been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons. If a player falls into either category, their team is required to immediately place the player on the list. Teams are not permitted, per the agreed-upon NFL-NFLPA policy, to comment on player’s medical status other than referring to roster cuts. Furthermore, teams may not disclose whether a player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19.”


“Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and pop-star wife Ciara named their new baby boy Win,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Somewhere, Al Davis is smiling.”

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Perry also is wondering: “If the Blue Jays win the World Series, will they be treated to a championship parade through the vacated streets of Buffalo?”


Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot: “Sarcasm ahead — I don’t know how baseball people were able to judge the greatness of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays without knowing the launch angle and exit velocity of their home runs.”


Fireworks

Team takes leave with border closed . . . KHL has 38 positive tests, no schedule . . . Will MLB season end Sunday?

The Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Buffalo Jr Sabres have decided not to play in 2020-21 JrSabresdue to “issues related to border travel with COVID-19,” according to a news release. From an OJHL release: “The team and the league have been in communication for a number of weeks as the situation of travel between Canada and the United States continues to be monitored.  With so much uncertainty as to when the border will be open to allow for OJHL teams to travel inter-country between the US and Canada, the collective decision has been made to have the Jr Sabres take a leave of absence for the 2020-2021 season.” . . . Larry Playfair, who played two seasons 1976-78) with the Portland Winterhawks, is Buffalo’s governor. . . .

The Jr Sabres are believed to be the first team to withdraw from play because the U.S.-Canada border is closed and appears likely to remain that way indefinitely. . . . A number of Canadian-based leagues, including the OHL, WHL, BCHL and KIJHL, include teams that play in U.S. cities.


Scott Moe, the premier of Saskatchewan, has expressed his disappointment in the five minor hockey teams from that province who travelled to Winnipeg for tournament play, July 16-19. . . . “I’m just disappointed that a few teams would put the entire safe restart of the province at risk,” he said. “Here is a prime example of a group of people putting their own self-interests ahead of the greater public health and safety of their neighbours, of their family and of their community.” . . . Bryan Eneas of CBC News has more right here.

Stupid

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, gave some space in a post this week to the Saskatchewan stupidity. And he hit the nail on the head with this:

“What is the lesson for those kids (ages 7-12) to learn here? If there is a rule or regulation that gets in your way, then what you should do is to figure out a way to circumvent that rule/regulation in such a way that you are not likely to get caught?”


Alexei Morozov, who played seven NHL seasons (1997-2004) with the Pittsburgh Penguins, now is the president of the Russia-based KHL. The league plans on opening on KHLSept. 2, although it has yet to release its regular-season schedule. Morozov, 43, said that will happen early this month. . . . However, it seems the KHL is having pandemic-related issues. . . . “Currently to the date we have 38 players that have tested positive,” Morozov told RSport on Wednesday. “We also have team staff members have tested positive. Some cases have been very severe and people have been hospitalized. There are people that feel very ill but they are all getting better and there are no worries about players not being able to continue their careers or having any threat to their life.” . . . There are reports that Avangard Omsk has had 20 positive tests, with Spartak Moscow at 15. . . . The KHL also has teams in Belarus, China, Finland, Kazakhstan and Latvia, something that will cause problems because various borders remain closed. The Chinese team Kunlun Red Star already has moved from Beijing to Mytischich, which is on the outskirts of Moscow.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

MLB’s pandemic-related woes continued Friday with the postponement of a game between the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, who came up with two positive tests, and Milwaukee Brewers. The teams are hoping to make up the game with a Sunday doubleheader. Both games would be seven innings in duration. . . . That is barring more positives, of course. . . . The Cardinals were self-isolating in their Milwaukee hotel rooms on Friday. They played the host Minnesota Twins on Tuesday and Wednesday, then had an off-day in Milwaukee on Thursday. . . .

Friday’s MLB news means that six teams — the Miami Marlins, Milwaukee, the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis, the Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals all are sidelined, at least for now, due to COVID-19. . . . The Phillies now have had to postpone six games — that’s 10 per cent of their schedule — because of COVID-19. . . . By now MLB has to be asking itself: How much is too much? . . .

The Texas Rangers lost two broadcasters on Friday as Matt Hicks tested positive and Eric Nadel chose to opt out of games, at least through the weekend. . . . Nadel has been the play-by-play voice, with Hicks as an analyst. . . . A radio technician on the Rangers’ crew also tested positive. . . .

The NFL’s Buffalo Bills had five players test positive, so they sent all their rookies home on Thursday. Earlier in the week, the NFL said that there were 21 positives in testing done as players reported to training camps. . . . At the same time, at least 32 players have opted out of playing in the 2020 season. There’s a list right here. . . .

Gaby Lopez, 26, withdrew from the Drive On Championship in Toledo, Ohio, after becoming the first LPGA player to test positive. She was tested on Monday and now is in self-isolation for at least 10 days. . . .

Sergio Perez, who drives on the Formula 1 circuit for Racing Point, will sit out this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silvertsone after testing positive. He believes he contracted the virus after returning to his home in Mexico on a private plane to see his mother. She recently had been released from hospital after being in an accident. . . . Perez also will miss next weekend’s 70th anniversary Grand Prix that also is to be held at Silverstone.


Social


Derek Cornet of larongenow.com reports that “La Ronge councillors have decided to forgive debt owed by the La Ronge Ice Wolves, as well as pause ice fees for the team and other organizations.” . . . The Ice Wolves apparently owed about $20,000. That has been waived, and now the SJHL team won’t have to pay for ice in 2020-21. . . . Cornet’s story is right here.


Zach facing one more speed bump . . . Mom: What we really need is a matching kidney

Zach16

So . . . you’ve got kidney disease . . . you go on dialysis . . . you get a new kidney.

Easy peasy! Right?

Oh, if only it was that easy. If only the process wasn’t so damn heart-breaking in some instances.

Zach Tremblay, a 17-year-old from Robson, B.C., needs a kidney. He has been on dialysis, peritoneal or hemo, since 2014. He had a live donor transplant in 2017 but there were complications and it didn’t work out.

He was doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) at home, but it began to lose its effectiveness as 2019 wound down, and he and his mother, Jana, ended up at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver where he was transitioned to hemodialysis.

That transition included the removal of a catheter that was used for PD and the insertion of a fistula to make hemo a bit easier by allowing an increase in blood flow.

So much for that.

On Thursday, Jana posted on Facebook:

“I guess to be blunt is best. The fistula surgery failed. We found out on Monday that the fistula has clotted off and did not grow. Fistula surgeries have a 25% failure rate, and he fell into that 25%. We are heartbroken and sad and angry and all the things. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t change that the surgery was a failure. It is unusable as an access for dialysis.

“We aren’t sure when, but another fistula surgery will be scheduled. Please keep sharing his story when you see it.

“A fistula is great, but what we really need is a matching kidney.”

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If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Shortly after Jana’s post hit Facebook, Joan Alexander replied with an emotional plea of her own:

“This is hard to read and even harder to live! Zach’s mom . . . has shared the most recent update on his journey with kidney disease. Zach is the reason I became a living kidney donor.

“I wonder sometimes if people get tired of reading my posts about organ donation. Well, I will not stop until Zach receives his gift! Please take a moment and read more about his journey on Jana’s page or on the public page: Zach Needs a Kidney . . . Like Yesterday!

“Getting tested to become a donor is so easy.”

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Meanwhile, there was more news from Vancouver where Ferris Backmeyer continues her battle.

Her mother, Lindsey, reported via Facebook that Ferris celebrated something of a birthday . . .

“Well happy half birthday little miss! 3.5 years old . . . oh my!” Lindsey wrote. “Celebrated with a night-time discharge from the hospital and (Thursday) is a day completely free of appointments and dialysis!! She had HD (Wednesday) followed by 3 flushes of her PD cath and a sample was taken late (Wednesday) afternoon. The results came back at 8pm and cell counts continue to improve. Original samples haven’t grown anything so we’ve stopped the IV and oral antifungals. Which meant we could pull the IV and sleep in ‘our own’ beds!!

“Ferris is so happy to have her ‘colouring hand’ back! I’m hoping she will start to feel better as it’s become quite obvious with the IV med anyways that it really makes her feel like crap. Blood pressure has been pretty high lately and I’m fairly certain she’s lost some real weight and is ‘wet’ at 11.3kg. Feeling such a strong need to get back on PD so we can get more calories into her. The fluid restriction on HD makes it so ridiculously tough to grow her. She’s also pretty anemic so hoping once that improves we will see better energy. She seems to be recovering well from surgery and hasn’t had any Tylenol for over 24hrs.

“Plan is to be admitted Tuesday to start using the PD cath. It’ll be a hybrid of HD and PD for a little bit until we can hopefully switch over fully, pull the HD line and come home. Middle of August maybe? That’s the most current plan anyway.”

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If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca


Mike




kidney2

Ferris and Lindsey Backmeyer: A mother’s love is everything when her child continues to fight . . .

If you’re a regular here, you will know that we have been paying particular attention to Ferris Backmeyer and her family, who are from Kamloops.

That’s because her mother, Lindsey, has been keeping friends and family (and us) updated on Ferris via Facebook.

Lindsey has poured out a mother’s heart in her posts, refusing to hold anything back. She has written with angst and anger and pain and, yes, even some humour as Ferris, at just three years of age, continues to travel a road that hopefully will end with a kidney transplant.

The outpouring of emotions is understandable as Lindsey helps guide husband Pat and Ferris’s two sisters — Tavia and Ksenia — through all of this.

The older girls — the “bigs” as Lindsey refers to them — were in Vancouver for three weeks before returning home with Lindsey’s mother after the weekend.

Lindsey and Pat now are completely focused on getting Ferris through this rough patch, helping her get well enough to go back on the transplant list, and back home. But the last bit hasn’t been an easy stretch.

For example, here’s a bit from a Facebook post by Lindsey on July 20 after doctors implanted a central dialysis line:

“Ferris had complications intraoperatively. The line was technically difficult because of her anatomy and while they were placing it they irritated her heart. Her higher potassium levels lower her threshold for things like that and she went into a PEA arrest. She had roughly 3 minutes of CPR and 1 dose of epinephrine when they got her pulse back. She was hypoxemic and difficult to ventilate for a bit afterwards. They were confident that it was noticed very quickly and that she responded fairly quickly. Thankfully they were able to extubate her and pull her art line before going to the dialysis unit.”

One day later, Lindsey wrote:

IV
Despite all that she has been through, Ferris Backmeyer, 3, can still find a smile for the camera. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

“As for today . . . she’s super low key but perked up by evening and wanted to go to the beach and build sand castles . . . so that’s what we did:) she spent about 5 minutes total on her feet today but that’s okay!! Lots of couch time. She’s sore and much happier with Tylenol on board. I’d be lying if I am not super anxious/protective over her right now. She has little pen crosses on her pulses and blood in her hair that I rinsed off into a paper towel. A bath was not a today thing. She has no idea what a big day yesterday was, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.”

Last Thursday, Ferris had more surgery as a peritoneal dialysis (PD) catheter was implanted. She had been doing PD at home when fungal peritonitis brought it all crashing down. That resulted in this most-recent trek to B.C. Children’s Hospital and all that has followed.

After Thursday was over, Lindsey, her emotions on her sleeve by now, wrote: “It was a super hard, inpatient kinda day.”

A day later, there were more complications, this time with cell counts.

“The question of when she could get listed again (for a transplant) comes up and at this point we just don’t know,” Lindsey wrote. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shattered by today’s news.

“My heart is breaking for Ferris. She normally takes all the medical stuff in stride and right now she’s really struggling. I call it a trauma cry because it’s one I have hardly ever seen before and she looks like she’s being tortured. With things she used to handle like a champ. As she gets older navigating her mental health is so much more challenging and so ridiculously important!”

The next day, doctors had to put in an IV line, which brought this response from Lindsey:

“Oh man . . . after posting how she’s not doing so well coping . . first time ever IV placement without tears! This is her 5th IV this go-round and she’s not left with a lot of sites. She was so ridiculously cute and compliant for the nurse and she was friggin amazing with Ferris! Decent end to a not so awesome day!!”

And now the Backmeyers are playing something of a waiting game. As Lindsey wrote on Monday:

Couch
Ferris likes the couch a whole lot more than a hospital bed. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

“So far the cultures haven’t grown anything! They have stopped the antibiotics. Gonna repeat a sample on Wednesday and if cell counts have trended down will likely drop the antifungals (she’s been on fluconazole since we got down here a month ago). Then it will be a bit of a wait-and-see. I think they will go ahead and start using the catheter as planned. Best case scenario . . . home in a couple of weeks!! Trying so desperately to remain optimistic!!

“Ferris wants nothing to do with a hospital bed after she gets out of it in the morning. All bad things start with that bed . . . I can’t really blame her! She’s passed out on the couch the last 3 nights. Hoping for a super uneventful week!!”

BTW, Lindsey and Pat celebrated their 16th anniversary last week.

“Happy Anniversary to the most incredible momma bear,” Pat wrote, above a photo of a snarling grizzly bear. On the photo, it read: “Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ And the mama bear whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’ ”

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If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca


Here’s the deal on the above tweet. . . . It’s the story of Carrie, who has had a heart transplant and now has met the family of her donor. . . . From the Provincial Health Services Authority: “Filmed in February 2020, Carrie finally got to hug the family of Darcy, her organ donor. After 17 years of writing letters to each other, she was met with open arms by his mother Marie and brother Daryl in a first ever face-to-face meeting.” . . . The video is right here.





Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone we played in Winnipeg tournament . . . Hey, parents, no social media. OK? . . . PCHA fills out coaching staff


You know what makes me sick? Considering the times in which we now live and the sacrifices that a lot of us are making, a story like this makes me want to puke. It really does. Why are some people so selfish? Why do some people have such a lack of respect for others?

Fiona Odlum and Bonnie Allen of CBC News report:

“Several Saskatchewan hockey teams took extraordinary measures to hide their participation in a Winnipeg hockey tournament in July, including changing their team names, withholding player names on game rosters and forbidding parents from posting on social media.

“Despite the secrecy, the teams maintain they did not violate any rules.”

The North American Hockey Classic featured about 60 minor hockey teams  with players ages seven to 12. The NAHC is owned by 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, which owns the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues.

It’s interesting that while five Saskatchewan teams — players ages seven to 12 — travelled to Winnipeg to compete July 16-19, the Regina Junior Pats chose not to take part.

Stacey Cattell, the CEO of the Pats organization, told CBC:

“Our Junior Pats program was notified that interprovincial travel for the purposes of tournaments was prohibited. That was brought to our attention, and we said, ‘No problem, our kids will stay home and practise, and follow the rules.

“We’re not going to do anything to jeopardize the COVID-19 response and the reopening of our province.”

And then there’s Chris Light, who coaches one of the Wheatland teams that took part. According to the CBC story, he “told CBC News he didn’t attend the tournament and was on a fishing trip. A team photo from Winnipeg shows Light at the tournament.”

There are a whole lot of minor hockey parents who should be absolutely furious about this situation. As one Regina minor hockey parent told Taking Note: “They give every hockey parent who has been following the rules and abiding with what is out there a black eye.”

The complete CBC story is right here.

I have one more question: Where was common sense?


City council in Prince George, struggling to figure out a way to minimize the city’s deficit position in these pandemic times, voted on Monday to keep the CN Centre, home to the WHL’s Cougars, closed though the end of 2020.

Council also voted not to open the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena in which the BCHL’s Spruce Kings play.

At the same time, three smaller arenas will open on Aug. 17, one of which is home to the U18 Cariboo Cougars.

On Tuesday, the WHL-Cougars and the Spruce Kings both said they have been told by city officials that their arenas will be available should their seasons get started. The WHL is aiming for an Oct. 2 start to its regular season, with the BCHL planning on Dec. 1.



To recap, MLB had to cancel or postpone — I don’t think it has figured that part out yet — two games on Monday. Miami’s home-opener went by the wayside after the Marlins had a bunch of folks test positive — at last count, there are believed to be 15 players and two coaches.

The Baltimore Orioles, who were to have provided the opposition in Miami, flew home, meaning they wouldn’t be there for a Tuesday game.

Meanwhile, the New York Yankees were to have met the host Philadelphia Phillies on Monday. But the Yankees would have had to use the facilities in which the Marlins had spent the weekend, so Monday’s game in Philly didn’t happen, either.

On Tuesday, MLB announced that the Marlins are done until at least Monday, while the Phillies are on hold until Friday when the Toronto Blue Jays come calling. The Yankees and the Orioles will play each other a time or two this week, then resume their original schedules on the weekend.

Dr. Arthur Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto, told Rob Gillies of The Associated Press that “anyone who knows anything about this problem and infectious disease epidemiology could have anticipated this. This plan was designed to fail and they went through with it anyways.”


And then there’s LHP Eduardo Rodriguez of the Boston Red Sox, who has said that he now has a heart condition — myocarditis — with which he was diagnosed after a bout with COVID-19.

Rodriguez, 27, was shut down from baseball activities on Thursday, and later confirmed the myocarditis diagnosis.

“The pitcher added that he feels normal health-wise after developing myocarditis, a condition that inflames the heart muscle and can cause abnormal rhythms,” wrote Bryan Mcwilliam of thescore.com. “Rodriguez said he was told that about 10-20% of people with COVID-19 develop the condition.”

OK. So MLB has a team riddled with the virus and a pitcher who contracted it and was left with a heart condition.

Oh . . . let’s not forget Davey Martinez, the Washington Nationals’ manager. Martinez, 55, has a heart condition and actually underwent a procedure for it in September.

On Monday, in talking about the Marlins’ debacle, Martinez told reporters: “I’m going to be honest with you, I’m scared. I really am.”

And still the show goes on . . .


Here’s Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, writing about the situation in baseball after Monday’s news:

“The fire consuming baseball will likely spread to the NFL, which is scheduled to open training camps this week. Like baseball, football will try to play a sport in the real world, without forcing players into a bubble. Like baseball, the league will test players constantly. And though teams will be using their own designated lab, like baseball, they still are using up supplies like swabs and testing equipment when there are shortages of such things in the real world.

“Unlike baseball, the NFL involves about four to five times the number of humans, greatly multiplying the likelihood of an outbreak. On Monday, the Minnesota Vikings’ infection control officer tested positive for the virus. I’m not making this up.”

Her complete column, which is one in a long line of terrific pieces she has written, is right here.


Jason


The NFL has an opt-out deadline of Aug. 3 and the New England Patriots already have had six players go that route — LB Dont’a Hightower, whose fiancée had a baby on July 16; RT Marcus Cannon, a cancer survivor; S Patrick Chung, RB Brandon Bolden, FB Danny Vitale and OL Najee Toran. . . . Also opting out so far are WR Marquise Goodwin, Philadelphia Eagles; WR Stephen Guidry, Dallas Cowboys; DT Star Lotulelei, Buffalo Bills; DT Kyle Peko, Denver Broncos; OT Andre Smith, Baltimore Ravens; KR De’Anthony Thomas, Baltimore; and DT Eddie Vanderdoes, Houston Texans. . . . There is a list of opt-outs right here.

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Here’s Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, with NFL players about to start reporting to camps:
”This virus is undefeated at totally reshaping the way every other sport has been forced to operate, and had a massive impact on both the volume and location of games. Expecting the NFL to be different, somehow exceptional to COVID-19, never made much sense, and once the training facilities finally start filling up this week that stands to be more obvious than ever.”


Jason Becker, a former WHL player and coach, has taken over as the U18 prep head coach at the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy in Victoria. Last season, Becker was the head coach of the U18 prep team at St. George’s in Vancouver. He also spent time at the Okanagan Hockey Academy and was an assistant for three seasons with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. . . . After playing in the WHL (Saskatoon Blades, Red Deer Rebels, Kamloops Blazers, Swift Current Broncos, 1990-95), Becker, now 46, spent five seasons with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. After playing in Europe, he got into coaching by working for five seasons as an assistant coach with the Prince George Cougars. . . . At PCHA, he takes over from Kelly Shields, who stepped aside after seven seasons. Shields remains on staff as associate head coach. . . . Meanwhile, Greg Smith will be back for a fourth season at PCHA. This will be his third as head coach of the U16s. Dan Bell’s third season as head coach of the U15s will be his fifth at PCHA. . . . Mark Kosick is back as the head of player development and skills coach, and Rod Holt has come aboard as recruiting and scouting co-ordinator. For the past five season, Holt has been a B.C. regional scout for the Victoria Royals.



The junior B Pacific Junior Hockey League plans to open its regular season on Sept. 29. Each of its 13 teams will play 44 regular-season games. . . . The schedule includes the expansion Chilliwack Jets under general manager/head coach Clayton Robinson.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from Will Rogers: “Lord, the money we do spent on government. And it’s not a bit better than that government we got for one-third the money 20 years ago.”


Beer


The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) has postponed competition in cross-country, football, soccer and volleyball for the fall season. It now is working on spring schedules for those sports, each of which has been designated medium- or high-risk by the NCAA. Golf and tennis, which are low-risk, will play this fall in accordance with health directives. . . .

The Summit League, which includes the U of North Dakota, North Dakota State, South Dakota and South Dakota State, has postponed the start of its sports seasons until Sept. 23. That includes men’s and women’s cross-country, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. . . . It doesn’t include football. For example, the UND Fighting Hawks play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. . . . UND also announced that it has had 20 student-athletes test positive. . . . Tom Miller of the Grand Forks Herald has more right here. . . .

The Michigan Daily reported Tuesday that the U of Michigan has halted voluntary workouts for ice hockey, volleyball, swimming and diving, and field hockey because of positive tests and contact tracing. The ice hockey team may return to workouts later this week. The university said it has had 12 student-athletes and one staff member test positive. . . . The Daily’s story is right here.


Date

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering what MLB will do about the Marlins . . .

Scattershooting

Go back in time to March 27. The pandemic in which we now find ourselves firmly ensconced was just getting started, at least it was in North America. . . . Now think about April 27 . . . and May 27 . . . and June 27. . . . Today is July 27. . . . Now look around and ask yourself this: What has changed since March 27? . . .

NHL teams, each with as many as 52 people on hand, moved into their ‘bubbles’ on Sunday. Dr. Willem Meeuwisse, the NHL’s chief medical officer, said on Friday: “We don’t expect (the bubble) to be perfect. We expect with the number of people that we’re going to have some positive tests, and we have a method and a process designed in advance to deal with that.” . . .

So the NHL has gone into this part of its bizarre season with eyes wide open, knowing full well that there are going to be positive tests. . . .

Now put yourselves in the shoes of someone who operates a junior hockey team. Do you plan on bringing players, all of them teenagers, most of them away from home, in to training camp in less than two months knowing that there will be positive tests? Do you have a “method and process” in place to handle that situation when it arises? How many positive tests will it take to shut things down?

As Shane Lyons, the athletics director at West Virginia, said last week: “The virus isn’t going away and the virus is going to dictate what we do . . .”


Shoe


If you haven’t heard about what the Miami Marlins are going through, you need to check it out. Since Friday, they have had their starting right-fielder, DH/first-baseman and catcher and one of their pitchers test positive. . . . They went ahead and beat the host Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, but then delayed their flight home, apparently because they are expecting more test results back today (Monday). . . . If you have access to The Athletic, you will want to read the piece written by Ken Rosenthal that is right here. . . . “I think that by any definition, this is an outbreak on their team,” Dr. John Swartzburg, a clinical professor emeritus at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, Division of Infectious Disease, told Rosenthal. “And an outbreak on a team means that the team needs to close down.”


The NCAA’s Sports Science Institute released a report last week that concluded with this:

“At the time of this writing, the rate of spread of COVID-19 has been increasing in many regions of the country. Because of this increase, it is possible that sports, especially high contact risk sports, may not be practiced safely in some areas. In conjunction with public health officials, schools should consider pausing or discontinuing athletics activities when local circumstances warrant such consideration.”

Yes, we all are aware that the numbers in the United States, whose citizens have been left to drown by their federal government, have been haywire for weeks now and don’t seem to be improving.

One of the results is that most Canadians want the border with the U.S. to remain closed at least through the end of 2020.

At the same time, Canada’s numbers, while nowhere near those of our southern neighbours, have been trending the wrong way, too, including in the four western provinces that are home to a whole lot of junior hockey teams.


Backer


Here’s Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, with a note that will resonate with old-time NFL fans: “The Pentagon team tasked with studying UFOs — the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force — plans to publicly release information on its findings. So maybe we’ll finally get our answer: Did Otis Sistrunk really graduate from the University of Mars?”

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Not that old? Google is your friend, and make sure you find a photo of Sistrunk with the Oakland Raiders.

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Perry, again: “The NFL says it won’t conduct its own investigation into sexual-harassment allegations by Washington front-office types but will instead use the findings of an ‘independent’ probe paid for by team owner Daniel Snyder. ‘Now why didn’t we think of that?’ groaned the Houston Astros.


On the subject of “independent” reviews/inquiries, the CHL announced a few days ago that it has put together “an independent panel that will review the league’s policies and practices in relation to various forms of player abuse.” . . . With all due respect to the three people on the panel, including old friend Sheldon Kennedy, is it really independent when it was put together by the CHL, whose practices over the years are what is being reviewed?


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The president has indicated he won’t watch any sport in which the athletes protest during the anthem. So he won’t be watching baseball, football, basketball or soccer. That will leave him more time to do what we elected him to do — play golf.”

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Once upon a time, actor Tom Hanks hawked stuff in the stands for the Oakland A’s. As he once told Jimmy Kimmel: “I went down to sell peanuts and soda, and thinking it would be like in a TV show where you saw the young kid trying to make a thing. Well, first of all, I got robbed twice. Note to self: Hide those wads of cash. Don’t be walking with a wad of cash in your pocket. Then, I came across professional vendors, who did not like the fact kids were there.” . . . Now the A’s are going to use his voice over the public address system to sell hot dogs, peanuts, programs, etc., never mind that there won’t be any fans in the pews.

Here’s Ostler, again:

“Sad baseball stat: Number of hot dogs sold at the Oakland Coliseum this season by ace vendor Tom Hanks: Zero.

“Maybe that’s because fans know Tom had the ’Rona.”


Having watched a bit of MLB since play began on Thursday . . . The fake crowd noise and the cardboard cutouts in the stands are laughable. . . . Starting the 10th inning with a runner on second base is horrible. Why not just have a home run-hitting contest? . . . The Seattle Mariners won’t be in the playoffs.



I don’t know if you saw Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top doc, throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ opener on Thursday night, but it was just a little bit outside. However, as Alex Brewsaugh noted on Facebook, “Angel Hernandez had it as a strike!”


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from Mark Twain: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”


Just the other day, Ed Orgeron, LSU’s head football coach, claimed that America needs football because “football is the lifeblood of our country.” To which Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune responded: “No, Ed, you need football. It is the lifeblood of Ed Orgeron.”


Rutgers became the second U.S. college to put its entire football program into quarantine on Saturday after it announced that six players had tested positive. . . . Michigan State did the same thing late last week after one player and one staff member tested positive.

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On July 1, Milo Eifler, a linebacker with Illinois, tweeted: “I understand that people want to see us play this season but in reality how can a team full of 100+ student athletes fully function during a pandemic. Trust, my teammates and I want to play. But schools around the country are showing blatant disregard for student athletes.” . . . The school responded by postponing his media availability.

Later, when he was allowed to speak, he offered this: “Yeah, we want to come back and want to play, but we just want to make sure our health and our safety is the priority. . . . It’s hard when you’re taking this process day by day. We got through today, but are we going to get through tomorrow? Sure, I want to go back to workouts, but am I going to be good Friday?”

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On Friday, Michigan State OT Jason Reid tweeted: “Guys are testing positive across the country left and right . . . why is there still discussion on a season? Why is it taking so long to make a logical decision? Hmm let me guess REVENUE #NCAA #BIG10”

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Clemson has had more than 30 players test positive, while West Virginia is at 28.

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Meanwhile, the Kansas Jayhawks have announced that they will play host to the Southern Illinois Salukis on Aug. 29. The Jayhawks were to have played the New Hampshire Wildcats, whose season has been cancelled, while the Salukis were to have met Wisconsin until the Big Ten pulled the plug on out-of-conference games. . . . Also on Aug. 29, the Missouri State Bears will visit the Oklahoma Sooners, which is a week earlier than originally scheduled.


JUST NOTES: Taking Note has been told that the Portland Winterhawks will play all of their 2020-21 home games in Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum. In recent seasons, they have split time between there and the Moda Center, which also is home to the NBA’s Trail Blazers. . . . Brock Beck, the 20-year-old son of former New Westminster Bruins D Barry Beck, was Hamilton’s 10th homicide victim of 2020 when he was stabbed to death during what police say was a “street disturbance” on Saturday night. Jeff Mahoney of the Hamilton Spectator has more right here. Barry Beck revealed via Twitter that Brock was his son.


This was a tough weekend as we said farewell to Olivia de Havilland, 104; Regis Philbin, 88; Eddie Shack, 83; John Saxon, 83; and Peter Green, 73. We also learned that former NHL star Dale Hawerchuk, 57, is again in the fight of his life with a reoccurrence of stomach cancer. His son Eric revealed “the resurgence of this terrible disease” via Twitter on Sunday. “We are praying for him and he will continue to fight hard #HawerchukStrong,” Eric tweeted.

Duvernay-Tardif a real Canadian hero . . . CHL looking for money from feds . . . Zary: ‘It’s just a waiting game . . .’

Just a few months ago, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a native of the Montreal suburb of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, was on the offensive line as the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. He played every offensive snap in finishing his fifth season as the team’s starting right guard. . . . On Friday, he became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season, choosing to work on the front lines of the battle against the pandemic over football. . . . His contract with the Chiefs called for him to be paid US$2.75 million this season; instead, he will receive US$150,000 from the NFL’s opt-out deal with the NFLPA. . . . Duvernay-Tardif, 29, has his medical doctorate from McGill U in Montreal, but his football career has kept him from a full-time residency. He worked as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Montreal through June and now is waiting for another role. . . . In making his announcement, he wrote: ”Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system,” he wrote. “I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.”


Rick Westhead of TSN reported on Friday that “The Canadian Hockey League has hired lobbyists in Ottawa to discuss financial aid” as we continue to steer our way through this pandemic. . . . Those lobbyists have met with government officials going back to late June. . . . As Westhead wrote: “It’s unclear whether the CHL will be able to hold a 2020-21 season, given restrictions on large public gatherings and how crucial ticket revenue is to the CHL’s business model.” . . . Westhead’s story is right here.


F Connor Zary of the Kamloops Blazers is training as though the WHL season is going to Kamloops1start on Oct. 2, but he is a realist and senses that isn’t likely to happen. . . . “I’m training as if I was starting in August,” he told Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV on Kamloops on Friday. “Obviously, we’re not. Honest opinion is we won’t be able to start in October, but I’ve still got to train and still got to have the train of thought that I’m training as hard as I can, and that’s what I can do to be ready no matter when it does start.” . . . The WHL has said that it is aiming for an Oct. 2 start, but it hasn’t yet released a schedule. . . . However, Zary is expecting a later start, but, like everyone else, hasn’t any idea when that might be. “Just the way everyone’s talking and you hear things,” he told Klassen. “Obviously no one can give you a final answer that ‘yeah, it’s happening.’ It’s up in the air with every single thing that’s going on this year. It’s just a waiting game to see what happens.” . . . Zary, who is preparing for his fourth season with the Blazers, will be an early first-round selection in the NHL’s 2020 draft, which now is scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10. He had 86 points, including 38 goals, in 57 games when last season was halted in March.


Former Kamloops Blazers general manager Stu MacGregor will be back for a second season as a co-GM of the Thompson zone U18, U16 and U15 minor hockey teams for 2020-21. MacGregor will be teaming up with Jan Antons to run the Kamloops-based teams. . . . MacGregor also is a senior regional scout (west) for the WHL’s Victoria Royals.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Michigan State said Friday that its entire football team was being quarantined for 14 days after one student-athlete and one staff member tested positive. The school had halted workouts on Wednesday after a different staff member tested positive. . . . David Cobb of CBS Sports wrote that “the full-team quarantine is in accordance with athletic department policy. The policy also mirrors guidelines released by the NCAA last week that mandate 14-day quarantines for student-athletes who are found to have been in ‘high-risk’ contact with others who have tested positive. That means other schools are likely to be faced with similar situations.” . . .

The 2020 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix officially was cancelled on Friday. It originally was to have run June 12-14, but had been postponed to Oct. 9-11. . . . The U.S., Mexico and Brazil Formula 1 races also have been cancelled. . . .

Before playing the visiting New York Mets on Friday afternoon, the Atlanta Braves scratched their top two catchers. Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers tested negative but were exhibiting symptoms so were left in Atlanta. It had been hoped that one or both would be feeling better by Friday morning and would then fly to New York. But it wasn’t to be. . . .

D Brett Kulak of the Montreal Canadiens told reporters on Friday that he tested positive after arriving in Montreal for Phase 3 of the NHL’s return-to-play protocol. He was back on the ice with the team on Thursday. Kulak said he tested negative, but then had two positives. He’s feeling fine now, but said he experienced headaches, respiratory issues and a lack of energy. . . .

The Falkland, B.C., Stampede has been cancelled, meaning it won’t be held for the first time since the inaugural event in 1919. Normally held on the May long weekend, it was postponed to Aug. 28-30 before being cancelled.


Seattle NHL team has nickname; Washington NFL team doesn’t . . . Neepawa MJHL team does but it’s changing it

So . . . on a day when Seattle’s expansion NHL franchise dug into the depths for its nickname — Kraken — the NFL’s Washington franchise announced that it will spend the approaching season as the Washington Football Team. . . . The New York Yankees and host Washington Nationals opened the delayed MLB season with a game that was played in front of empty seats and was shortened by inclement weather, while the visiting San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers played before cardboard cutouts. . . . What a time to be alive, eh?


The MJHL’s Neepawa Natives have begun the process of changing their nickname. . . . Ken Pearson, the club’s general manager and head coach, told CBC News: “We’re just trying to get ahead of the curve here and . . . be ahead of the game.” . . . Neepawa has had a team with that nickname, either in intermediate or junior hockey, since the early 1960s. . . . A decision on a new nickname for the MJHL team is expected before the 2021-22 season.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

OF Juan Soto wasn’t in the Washington Nationals’ opening night lineup Thursday after testing positive. He was placed on the injured list about five hours before game time. . . . Soto, 21, is reportedly asymptomatic and will need two negative tests before he is allowed to return. . . .

OF Hunter Dozier of the Kansas City Royals has tested positive. He said he has a “couple of symptoms” so won’t be available when the team opens the season in Cleveland on Friday. . . . He is the ninth Kansas City player to have tested positive. . . .

Veteran MLB scout Johan Maya died of COVID-19 on Thursday. Maya, 40, had been working for the Arizona Diamondbacks and was in the Dominican Republic at the time of his death. . . .

Former MLBer Mike Napoli, now a quality assurance coach with the Chicago Cubs, has tested positive so has been away from the team. . . .

Two more NHL players have revealed that they tested positive and have recovered. . . . D Anthony Bitetto, who was back on the ice for the first time with the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, said he tested positive about a month ago and self-quarantined for 29 days. . . . D Xavier Ouellet of the Montreal Canadiens actually tested negative before coming up positive and never did have any symptoms. He returned to the ice on Wednesday. . . .

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has announced a tentative plan under which some fall sports, including football, soccer and volleyball, will start on March 1. . . . Under the plan, basketball would get going on Jan. 4, with track and field starting on April 26. . . . Other sports like cross-country, slo-pitch, golf and tennis are to begin on Sept. 7. . . . Mick Hoffman, the WIAA executive director, said everything remains fluid. “When you look at dates,” he said, “those are definitely written in pencil.” . . .

Earlier in the week, the Florida High School Athletic Association went against the recommendation of its medical people and said football season would begin with practices starting on Monday. After a whole lot of backlash, the FHSAA reversed its field on Thursday and pushed things back until at least Aug. 24. But like so many other things these days all of that seems to be fluid. . . .

The KHL has made it official. With the Russia-China border closed to people — it’s open to the transportation of goods — a decision was made that Kunlun Red Star Beijing will play its home games for 2020-21 in Mytishchi, which is on the northern outskirts of Moscow. . . . The KHL, unsure of how many teams will play this season, has yet to release a schedule but has said that should happen by month’s end.


Social


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from former MLB owner Bill Veeck: “Baseball is almost the only orderly thing left in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can’t get you off.”


The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs are looking for a general manager, having revealed on Thursday that they won’t be renewing Darren Kelly’s contract when it expires on Aug. 12. . . . The Frontenacs added a new head coach this summer, with Paul McFarland returning after three seasons as an NHL assistant coach. . . . Kelly had been with the Frontenacs since 2008, including the past three seasons as general manager.


Alexander Gusev, a defenceman on the Soviet Union team that played Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, died on Wednesday, according to his former club, CSKA Moscow. Gusev was 73. . . . He was a contributing factor on the Soviet national teams of the 1970s. . . . Andy Potts of iihf.com has more right here.


Pam

I want Edmonton Rough Riders . . . Good news from NBA bubble . . . But not from the KHL


Town council in Bonnyville, Alta., has upped its sponsorship of the AJHL Pontiacs from $5,000 to $15,000, a move that will allow the team to drop some ticket prices. . . . The AJHL is hoping to open its season on Sept. 18. . . . Chris Lapointe of lakelandconnect.net has more right here.

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Just wondering . . . who’s next?


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The University Interscholastic League, the governing body for high school football in Texas, has delayed football season for its schools with the largest enrolments. Instead of starting to practice on Aug. 3, they will begin on Sept. 7, with games to start on Sept. 24. This also means they’ll be playing high school football in Texas into January. . . . The smaller schools will be able to start on time. . . .

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has moved its athletic season, including football, from the fall. The CIF oversees all high school sports in California. There are more than 800,000 high school athletes in the state. . . . CIF now hopes to start its athletic season in December or January. . . . Georgia, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia have delayed fall high school sports; New Mexico, Virginia and the District of Columbia won’t play football in the fall. . . . And then there’s Florida . . .

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) has voted to begin the football and girls’ volleyball seasons on time. In doing this, the FHSAA is ignoring the recommendation of its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee: “It is our stance that return to competition for the high-risk sports of football and volleyball is not medically safe.” . . . All of this left Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, wondering right here: “Why does the FHSAA bother to have a Sports Medicine Advisory Council?” . . .

There was good news out of the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, when the league reported that it had tested 346 players in the previous week and didn’t get even one positive. . . . Before teams arrived in Orlando, 25 of 351 players and 10 of 884 staff members had tested positive. . . .

But then there is Avangard Omsk. The KHL team has withdrawn from an exhibition tournament in Sochi, Aug. 4-9, after having 20 people in its organization test positive. There isn’t a player/staff breakdown available, but all were tested during training camp. . . . As well, CSKA Moscow has had seven players test positive. . . .

Former MLBer Jeff Francoeur, now an analyst on the Atlanta Braves’ broadcast crew, has tested positive. He is asymptomatic and in self-quarantine. . . . Todd Kalas, the play-by-play voice on the Houston Astros’ TV team, also tested positive. He, too, is asymptomatic and in self-quarantine. . . .

The Toronto Wolfpack informed the Super League Europe and the Rugby Football League that it won’t be restarting it season so won’t participate if things resume on Aug. 2. . . .

Because of the disruption to the soccer season across the world, the Ballon d’Or, which goes to the world’s best player, won’t be awarded this year. It was first handed out in 1956. . . .

The men’s pro tennis season had hoped to get started with the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 13. That won’t happen, though, as the tournament has been cancelled. . . . The women’s tour is hoping to open in Palermo, Italy, on Aug. 3.

The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) has cancelled all fall sports for 2020. Yes, that includes football. . . . For now, the conference is hoping football teams will be able to open eight-week training camps in January, leading to some kind of a spring season. . . . The conference features Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Alcorn State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Grambling State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, Prairie View A&M, Southern and Texas Southern.


Briar McNaney is the new head coach of the junior B Columbia Valley Rockies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He takes over from Wade Dubielewicz, who now is the club’s general manager. . . . Dubielewicz spent eight seasons as the head coach, the last three with McNaney as his full-time assistant.