Just over a year ago, Julie Dodds of Kamloops turned to Facebook in an attempt to find a living kidney donor. She has Medullary Kidney Disease Type 1, a genetic condition, and had reached Stage 4. . . . The next step is kidney failure and dialysis, and she almost is there these days. . . . This week, Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV in Kamloops updated Julie’s story and, fingers crossed, the married mother of three boys may be getting close to a transplant. . . . It’s also the story of friends, and friends of friends, responding to a call for help. . . . That story is right here.
Meanwhile, the search for a kidney donor for Ferris Backmeyer, a three-year-old from Kamloops, will continue after Kim DeRose, who spent six months in the testing process, was ruled out. . . . According to her friend Melissa Robinson, who wrote with DeRose’s approval, she was found to have a high level of calcium in a kidney and that was enough for doctors to rule her out. . . . DeRose had read about Ferris’s story, and according to Lindsey Backmeyer, “was inspired to get tested. . . . See if she would be able to give Ferris a better life.” . . .
Robinson wrote on Facebook: “I would like to send a huge shout out to my friend Kimmy. . . . I would like to express how grateful this universe is for people like her.”
Robinson pointed out that DeRose didn’t have any connection to the Backmeyers and is “just a kind heart doing something extremely positive.”
She added: “Positive tests made Kim hopeful that this sweet little girl would get a chance to live her well-deserved life off dialysis; unfortunately, she got the phone call that . . . it is unsafe for her to donate.
“Feeling discouraged and broken, I wanted to express to my friend how brave and kind-hearted she is for doing something so scary!”
As Lindsey wrote on her Facebook page: “This world needs more Kims! There are at least a dozen kids in the province who need kidneys . . . hundreds of adults. Some of whom are parents of young children and all are deserving of a better life.”
A huge thank you to Kim DeRose from my little corner of the Kamloops kidney community. Thank you for being so unselfish. And, yes, the world, as Lindsey wrote, needs more people like you.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
IN THE NEWS! 📣Charlottetown mom remains positive as she awaits 2nd kidney transplant. To her four-year-old daughter Jessa, Sarah Newman's kidney disease is apparent every night when she hooks herself up to a dialysis machine in their Charlottetown home.https://t.co/lFs34pCLvw
“I want more than anything else for others to make this gift for their fellow human beings. It takes just one kidney to give someone back their life.” shared Dr. Doti, marathon runner and living donor. #BigAskBigGivehttps://t.co/NM14Z85PF4
The World Junior travel plan will see 3 charters deliver countries from Europe into Edmonton beginning the 2nd week of December. Intensive testing before those flights will be mandatory followed by strict protocol and daily testing upon arrival in the Hub.
The IIHF revealed Thursday that the 2021 World Junior Championship will be played in Edmonton using a bubble system. The plan was submitted to the IIHF by Hockey Canada, as prepared by the local organizing committee, and approved by its Council. . . . Originally, the WJC was to have been played in Red Deer and Edmonton, running from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . . The IIHF hasn’t yet announced a revamped schedule. . . . At the same time, the IIHF said the 2022 tournament will be shared by Red Deer and Edmonton. Gothenburg, Sweden, which was to have played host to the 2022 event, now will have it in 2024. The 2023 tournament is scheduled for Novosibirsk, Russia. . . .
At the same time, the IIHF cancelled all lower division U-20 men’s tournament that had been scheduled for Horsholm, Denmark (Division I Group A); Tallinn, Estonia (Division I Group B); Brasov, Romania (Division II Group A); Belgrade, Serbia (Division II Group B); and Mexico City (Division III). . . . The 2021 U-18 women’s world championship that was to have been held in Linkoping and Mjolby, Sweden, also was cancelled, along with other women’s U-18 events that had been set for Gyor, Hungary (Division 1 Group A); Radenthein, Austria (Division I Group B); Dumfries, Great Britain (Division II Group A); Kocaeli, Turkey (Division II Group B). . . . The IIHF also postponed Round 1 of the women’s Olympic pre-qualification event that was to have been held in Reykjavik, Iceland, Dec. 17-19.
The OHL announced Thursday that its teams will open training camps on Nov. 15, with the regular season, as previously announced, to run from Dec. 1 through April 29. . . . Its playoffs are to begin on May 2 and conclude by June 14, with the Memorial Cup scheduled for Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie, June 17-27. . . . At the same time, the OHL said that it “continues to work with government and health agencies to plan the safe return of OHL action while also finalizing outstanding issues such as safe attendance at venues and cross-border travel for teams.” . . .
There are two other major junior leagues in Canada. The QMJHL’s 18 teams are holding training camps right now and is planning on opening its regular season on Oct. 1. . . . The WHL is aiming to begin its regular season on Dec. 4.
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
Texas Hockey Coach, 29, Dies from Coronavirus Complications Just Days After First Feeling Unwell https://t.co/Vs8jnfyXRE
Tyler Amburgey, a youth hockey coach who had a brief pro career, died at his home in Lavon, Texas, just northeast of Dallas, on Aug. 29. His wife, Aimee, told The New York Times that the cause of death was Covid-19. . . . Amburgey, a Dallas native, was 29. . . . He had concussion issues during his pro career and recently had experienced memory issues. His brain has been donated to the CTE Center at Boston U. . . . From 2012-16, he played for six teams in three leagues — the CHL, SPHL and ECHL. . . .
Note the date: 9/16/20, the day the vaunted Big Ten became the SEC. It choked. It got scared. It sold its soul for football. My @usatodaysports column on the darkest day in Big Ten history: https://t.co/uaWfgpgSqO
Billy Witz, in The New York Times, after the Big Ten announced its football season would start on Oct. 8 after earlier cancelling it:
“Members of several fraternities and sororities at Michigan State University have been ordered to isolate for two weeks after a coronavirus outbreak on campus. Wisconsin’s chancellor urged students to “severely limit” their movements after more than 20 percent of its tests on students over Labor Day weekend came back positive. At Iowa, where the fall semester is less than a month old, more than 1,800 students have tested positive, and there are a whopping 221 cases in the athletic department alone. . . .
“The way the decision was met with hallelujahs in locker rooms, coaches’ offices, the warrens of social media occupied by die-hard fans and even at the White H0use — to say nothing of congratulations offered up by several reporters on a conference call with Big Ten leaders — it might have seemed as if Jonas Salk had risen and delivered a new vaccine.” . . .
The NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues have suspended operations for 2020-21 due to the pandemic. They hope to return for the 2021-22 season. The NAHL hopes to open its regular season on Oct. 8 and, at this point, Illinois is not allowing indoor gatherings of more than 50 people. . . . TheBlues were the longest-tenured franchise in the league, having first played in 1993. . . . Earlier, the Corpus Christi IceRays and Kansas City Scouts, formerly the Topeka Pilots, also chose to opt out of the 2020-21 season. . . .
The 2021 Canada Games have been postponed by the Canada Games Council, which hopes to hold them in the summer of 2022. The 2021 Games were to have taken place in the Niagara Region of Ontario in August. . . .
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that an unidentified MLB umpire has tested positive, resulting in the shuffling of a few game assignments. The umpire and four others who had been in contact with him have since tested negative. . . .
When the Kansas City Chiefs opened their NFL season at home on Sept. 10, there were 6,000 fans allowed into Arrowhead Stadium. The Kansas City Health Department revealed Thursday that one of those fans has tested positive. Ten people who came into contact with fan have been asked to quarantine. . . .
Meanwhile, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported via Twitter that the Houston Texas “are working towards having up to 15,000 fans Week 4.” . . . The Indianapolis Colts “are increasing from 2,500 fans in Week 2 to 7,500 in Week 3.” . . . The Tennessee Titans “will have fans starting at 10% capacity and scaling up beginning in Week 4.”
Many people have chronic kidney disease, however, most don’t know it. If you have reduced kidney function and are in the early stages of CKD, this webinar should be helpful.
JUST NOTES: The NHL’s Stanley Cup final, featuring the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning, is to begin on Saturday. This means that the final won’t run into October as Game 7, if needed, will be played on Sept. 30. . . . The ECHL has awarded an expansion franchise to Coralville, Iowa, that will play in the new Xtream Arena beginning in 2021-22. The arena will seat 5,100 for hockey. The franchise is owned by Deacon Sports and Entertainment, a Canadian firm that also owns the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers. . . .
Nick Redding, who was preparing for his third season as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, has had to step down. The team revealed via Twitter that Redding, who is from Spokane, made the decision “due to Covid and Canadian/US restrictions on crossing the border.” The Thunder Cats had signed him to a three-year contract in March. . . . There now are at least two teams in the KIJHL that say their seasons are in jeopardy because of a shortage of billets. The Kimberley Dynamiters made the statement earlier this month. On Wednesday evening, the Revelstoke Grizzlies tweeted: “Our club is in urgent need of billet families. The season is in jeopardy of being cancelled if enough billets are not found.”
Sheesh, it really can’t be much fun being the owner of a WHL team these days. For starters, you don’t know whether to be selling sponsorships, advertising and season tickets because you aren’t able to guarantee a starting date for a new season. You are hoping to begin regular-season play on Dec. 4, but there aren’t any guarantees.
On top of that, you likely still are counting up the losses from not having been able to finish the 2019-20 season, thanks to the pandemic that doesn’t appear anywhere close to going way.
And now the WHL finds itself involved in yet another proposed class-action lawsuit, this one apparently having been filed this week.
Kobe Mohr, a former WHL player, is among those fronting this one that names the NHL, AHL, ECHL, OHL, QMJHL and WHL. Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star reports: “A proposed $825-million class-action claim alleges a conspiracy among the world’s top professional and amateur hockey leagues to exploit dream-chasing teenage players with one-sided contracts containing abusive restrictions on their young careers.”
Mohr, now 21, played with the Edmonton Oil Kings, Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Moose Jaw Warriors (2014-20). He totalled 35 goals and 66 assists in 265 regular-season games, after being selected by Edmonton with the 20th pick in the 2014 bantam draft.
The WHL now finds itself entangled to one degree or another in four separate class-action lawsuits in various stages of progression through the legal system. Two others — one involving concussions and the other regarding alleged hazing and other physical and mental abuses — are early in the process. . . .
The other, which involved a claim for past and present-day players to be paid minimum wage and other perks, was settled by the CHL for $30 million earlier this year, but the settlement still needs judicial approval. Rick Westhead of TSN reported Tuesday that an Ontario judge spent part of yesterday hearing arguments “about whether to approve” the settlement. According to Westhead, Justice Paul Perell said there are “objectors” to the settlement and that “a trade association called the World Association of Ice Hockey Players Unions has filed ‘an aggressive intervenor’ application with the courts to overturn” the settlement.
Ted Charney, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, asked the courts to approve the settlement, saying, according to Westhead, that “a settlement wouldn’t bar new federal court case because the new case alleges a conspiracy to breach the Competition Act, not employment standards laws.”
When Tuesday’s hearing concluded, judgment was reserved.
F Connor Bedard, who was selected first overall by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft, will be travelling to Sweden so that he can skate with HV71’s junior team in Jönköping. Bedard, from North Vancouver, is the first player in history to have been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada in order to allow him to play regularly in the WHL as a 15-year-old. . . . Because he won’t be playing in games in Sweden, the Pats didn’t have to issue a release. The WHL hopes to start its regular season on Dec. 4, by which time Bedard will have returned to Canada.
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
Hearing Springfield (Ill.) to go dark for '20-21 NAHL season, joining Corpus Christi & Kansas City
The United Kingdom’s 10-team Elite Hockey League announced Tuesday that it has suspended play because of the pandemic. The season was scheduled to begin on Dec. 5. . . . “We’ve been very open that we need to have fans back in our arenas for us to begin playing again,” Tony Smith, the league’s chairman, said. “We operate around 75 to 100 per cent capacity at our venues and this is the level of crowds we would need in order to go ahead at any point, which isn’t a realistic option right now.” . . . The average attendance at league game last season was 3,043. . . .
The World Series will be played in one venue for the first time since 1944. The American and National League winners will play a best-of-seven championship series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, with Game 1 scheduled for Oct. 20. . . . In 1944, the World Series was played in St. Louis, with both teams from that city. The Cardinals beat the Browns, 4-2. . . . Leading to the World Series, the American League Championship Series will be played at Petco Park in San Diego, with the NLCS at Arlington. . . . Prior to that, the AL Divison Series is to be played in San Diego and Los Angeles, with the NLDS in Arlington and Houston. . . .
The Texas Tech Red Raiders had five positives last week, bringing the team total to 75 since mid-June when testing began as football players returned to campus. The team is carrying more than 120 players. . . . The school has had 116 positives among its student-athletes. . . .
Ed Orgeron, the head football coach at LSU, told reporters on Tuesday that most of his time has had the virus. “Not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it,” he said. “I think that hopefully they won’t catch it again, and hopefully they’re not our for games.” . . . Alex Scarborough of ESPN pointed out: “LSU, like many programs in the SEC and nationally, has not provided regular reports on the number of players who have contracted the novel coronavirus.” . . .
The Quebec Student Sports Federation (QSSF) cancelled university sports for the fall semester on Monday. This means none of Canada’s four university conferences will play football this fall. The Quebec conference has five teams. . . . U Sports, the governing body for university sports in Canada, had cancelled its national semifinals and final in June. . . .
Organizers of the 2021 Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament have cancelled it. The tournament was to have run from Dec. 30 through Jan. 3. . . . Tournament chairman Jan Antons told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “We still don’t know what games are going to look like, when games are potentially going to start and, overall, the main concern was still the health and safety of our players, bringing players in from other provinces and dealing with the 50-person gathering-size limit. It would make it very difficulty to run a tournament at the level we’re used to. We want to make sure KIBIHT remains one of the top-notch tournaments in Canada. . . . there is just too much unknown right now. It’s still a very hard decision.”
As part of our partnership with @BCRenal , we have limited-edition, one-of-a-kind kidney masks for sale, with all proceeds going to the @KidneyBCY COVID-19 Response Fund.
JUST NOTES: The WHL’s four community-owned teams each holds an annual general meeting that is open to shareholders. The Moose Jaw Warriors announced Tuesday that they will hold their AGM on Sept. 29. The Swift Current Broncos said earlier that their meeting also will be held on Sept. 29, with the Prince Albert Raiders having said they will hold their AGM on Oct. 7. . . . The Lethbridge Hurricanes have said their AGM will be held in November, but they have yet to announce an exact date. . . . I don’t know what it is — maybe NHL teams have come down with the ‘Bubble Blues’ — but the games are getting less and less watchable. Too many bodies in the area in front of both nets, not enough shots getting through, not enough offence, not enough goals. Whatever it is, it isn’t good for the NHL game. . . . Did you get your fill of football on Monday night? ESPN’s MNF team of Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick — they did the second game — were OK, but the Game 1 pairing of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit was outstanding. Fowler and Herbstreit have worked together as ESPN’s No. 1 college football pairing. They are comfortable with each other and it showed.
Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, has said the WHL won’t have a 2020-21 season unless its teams are allowed to operate in arenas with at least 50 per cent capacity.
After Robison held a Zoom gathering with reports on June 18, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week reported: “Robison said a minimum of 50 per cent capacity in all arenas will be required for play to begin. No scenario is expected to be considered in which a team begins the campaign with a maximum capacity of less than 50 per cent.”
Early in August, Robison told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post that 50 per cent still was the mark.
“It’s all part of the outcome on where we arrive at with respect to capacity,” Robison said. “We’re having ongoing discussions with the provincial/state governments on trying to obtain the capacity that we need. If that is not successful, we will be considering some form of financial support to help us get started. But right now we’re focused on trying to get to a capacity that will work for our teams.”
Now, as we near the middle of September, with the league planning on a Dec. 4 opening, could it be that the wind is starting to change?
Here’s Todd Lumbard, the president of the Regina Pats, in conversation with Harder:
““I don’t think it’s 50 per cent or nothing, at least from our point of view. There are lots of discussions going on with different ways we might set up the season if it had to be less than 50 per cent. I know there are a lot of conversations going on with different levels of government and how we might work together with them to potentially help us out through a difficult time until we can get to a level where there is enough people in the crowd to make the Western Hockey League viable again.
“There is some hope out there that there might be some ways to do it.”
By now, you may have heard that the BCHL issued a return-to-play news release on Thursday that explained “a COVID-19 alternative plan to fulfill the 2020-21 season,” as approved by its board of governors. . . . The release included this paragraph: “In the case that the original request for 25 per cent capacity in arenas by the scheduled Dec. 1 start date is not approved by the PHO (Provincial Health Office), the league will move forward with a model of reduced games without fans and will rely on player fees along with sponsorship and government support to fund the season.” . . . When you want to know what’s happening in the BCHL, you turn to Brian Wiebe. He interviewed Chris Hebb, the BCHL commissioner, and got a whole lot of answers, including how the amount of individual player fees will be set. That’s all right here.
Hey, what do you do if you are operating a team in the SJHL, but you’re based out of Manitoba? General manager and head coach Mike Reagan and the Flin Flon Bombers have their hands full as they work to navigate the pandemic while dealing with health officials from two provinces. . . . Eric Westhaver of the Flin Flon Reminder has more right here.
The ultimate definition of “priceless” would have been the look on Danny Gallivan’s face if they told him to identify power plays as brought to you by “Kit Kat Chunky, now 20 % chunkier”.
Bob Molinaro, in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot: “In Orlando, NBA coaches are neatly dressed in sneakers, slacks and polo shirts. Let’s have them lose the suits for good. What’s the point of basketball coaches dressing as if they’re applying for a bank loan?”
There was a time when Dorothy and I spent a few weeks every year in Jasper and area. At the time, there was a Recall drug store there, and high up on one of its walls were a number of black-and-white photos of Marilyn Monroe. The photos had been taken in the area while she was there filming a movie — River of No Return — with Robert Mitchum. . . . Yes, I have watched the movie; no, I wouldn’t watch it more than once. But, really, the scenery is nice. . . . Anyway, Ian Wilson of albertadugoutstories.com has more right here on Marilyn Monroe in Jasper, including a visit by the then-retired Joe DiMaggio. Great stuff!
Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Who needs the moon in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars? The sporting world lined up quite an impressive first of its own on Thursday — with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and WNBA all playing on the same day.” . . . There also was NCAA football, U.S. Open tennis and pro golf. And somewhere there had to be poker and darts, too. Right?
Perry, again: “Mike Trout, with his 300th round-tripper, just passed Tim Salmon as the Angels’ all-time home-run leader. So how’d this team ever miss out on drafting Mike Carp and Kevin Bass?”
The first thing I thought of when I flipped to Thursday’s NFL game and saw that facemask being worn by Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was car windows at drive-in movies on steamy summer nights a long, long time ago.
“On the news tonight,” wrote comedy writer Brad Dickson in reference to life in 2020, “all they talked about were boycotts, protests, riots, violence, dissension, disease, lawsuits and court cases. And that was just the sportscast.”
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
Keep thinking about Pete Carroll roaring throughout #Seahawks win, excited talking about it after—but mentioning they won’t truly know how this all went until after the COVID-19 test results come in this coming week. Slap of reality.
OF Alex Dickerson of the San Francisco Giants was told Friday night that he had tested positive. That resulted in Friday and Saturday games with the host San Diego Padres being postponed. When it turned out to be a false positive, the teams played a Sunday doubleheader. . . . MLB now has postponed 45 games during the pandemic. . . .
The KHL has postponed five games involving the Finnish team Jokerit after all personnel was forced into quarantine. Jokerit played against Neftekhimik on Wednesday after which the latter had seven positive tests turn up. Jokerit was to have played Ak Bars Kazan on Friday, but that one never happened. Jokerit also had games postponed from Sept. 15, 17, 19 and 21. . . .
Scottie Scheffler has had to pull out of golf’s U.S. Open after he tested positive. He is reported to be asymptomatic and at home in Dallas. . . . Braden Grace drew into the tournament as the first alternate. He withdrew from the PGA Championship in August after testing positive. . . . The U.S. Open begins Thursday at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.
Here’s a tweet from Nick Petaros of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that gave me flashbacks: “I wasn’t able to work a Kentucky Derby photo onto our Sunday sports cover. I hope the horse’s parents don’t complain.”
“Steve Simmons, Postmedia Tranna, on Sept. 6: ‘Two words that never, ever, should be attached to Steve Nash: White privilege.’
“Steve Nash, head coach, Brooklyn Nets, on Sept. 9: ‘I have benefited from white privilege.’
JUST NOTES: I tried. I really tried. I was going to watch Game 7 of the Toronto Raptors-Boston Celtics series from start to finish, with the sound up. But I couldn’t do it. Oh, I finished watching the game, but the sound was off early. The play-by-play voice using so many Raptors’ first names — Fred and Norm and OG and all their friends — and the cheerleading analyst were just too much. . . . If you’re wondering how much the WHL will miss former Brandon Wheat Kings owner Kelly McCrimmon, consider that he finished fifth in the voting for the NHL’s GM-of-the-year award. And he is in only his first season as an NHL GM. . . . Aren’t you glad that you aren’t a fan of the Cleveland Browns or Detroit Lions? Oh, you are. Sorry about that. . . . The junior B Kimberley Dynamiters tweeted Sunday evening that “we are in dire need of billet homes for this season. . . . We need 9 beds in order for this season to proceed. . . . Without billet homes the season cannot proceed.” I wonder how many junior teams are in a similar predicament?
“It is too early to know whether survivors of serious COVID-19 will have long-lasting kidney damage, but doctors are worried,” writes Stacey Burling of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Girish Nadkarni, a nephrologist and researcher at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, told Burling: “People are just waking up to the fact that the kidney is an unappreciated manifestation (of COVID-19) but one that is pretty important. There might be an epidemic of post-coronavirus kidney disease coming.”
There was big news out of Saskatchewan earlier this month as the provincial government launched an online organ and tissue donor registry. Health Minister Jim Reiter told a news conference that the government’s decision was due in no small part to Logan Boulet, one of the players who was killed in the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus. He had registered as an organ donor. . . . “I want to acknowledge those young but very mature, selfless people like Logan,” Reiter said. “Logan made a critical decision prior to his death to register as a donor.” . . . Alec Salloum of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.
My dad died because we couldn’t remember his blood type. As he was dying he kept insisting for us to “be positive,“ but it’s going to be hard without him.
Being a regular on social media, I was aware that Medicine Hat had been rocked by the sudden deaths of a few young men. However, I had no idea of the depth of the problem until reading this story right here that was written by the CBC’s Robson Fletcher. . . . It is most unfortunate that this story had to be written, but this is outstanding journalism. Please give it a read because this is important in today’s world.
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
Dinamo Rīga – Neftehimik Nizhnekamsk game that was supposed to be played on Friday has been postponed as upon arrival seven Neftehimik players have tested positive for COVID-19.
“The Dinamo Riga vs Neftekhimik game, which was scheduled to take place on Friday, Sep. 11, is postponed. On arrival in Riga on Thursday, the Neftekhimik players underwent the obligatory express tests for SARS-CoV-2. Seven players showed positive results.
“The Neftekhimik players and staff are flying to St. Petersburg, where the entire team will prompting undergo additional testing using a combination of PCR and IgG tests. More extensive testing will provide more detailed results and help to determine what happens with the rest of Neftekhimik’s current road games.
“Further details about the rearranged date for the game between Dinamo and Neftekhimik will be announced in due course.” . . .
Jukurit, a U-20 team in Finland, has had 22 positives tests since last weekend, so all players, managers, coaches and staff are quarantining for 14 days. . . . The Jukurit team that plays in Liiga has one positive. Liiga is to open its regular season on Oct. 1. In the meantime, a number of exhibition games have been cancelled. . . . Meanwhile, HPK’s junior team also is in quarantine after three positive tests. . . .
The NCAA’s 11 hockey conferences, men’s and women’s, announced Thursday that their seasons won’t begin in October as originally was scheduled. . . . The earliest possible start date now appears to be Nov. 20. . . . Chris Dilks of sbncollegehockey.com has more right here. . . .
The Winnipeg High School Football League has postponed its 2021 fall season. It hopes to be able to have a spring season. . . . The three Brandon teams that play in the league had said earlier that they wouldn’t take part in a fall season. . . . The last time the WHSFL season was interrupted was in 1953 when a polio epidemic was on a rampage. . . .
Curling Canada has cancelled six more 2021 championships. From a news release: “The Continental Cup in Oakville, Ont., the Canadian Under-18 Championships in Timmins, Ont.; the New Holland Canadian Junior (Under-21) championships in Fort McMurray, Alta.; the Canadian Wheelchair Championship in Moose Jaw, Sask.; the inaugural Canadian Under 15 RockFest, and the U SPORTS/Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled for later in the season.” . . . Meanwhile, the 2021 Canadian senior championships still are on the schedule, with dates and host city yet to be announced. . . .
The U of Minnesota is cutting men’s gymnastics, men’s tennis, and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field from its athletic programs. The cuts will take place upon the conclusion of the 2020-21 school year. . . . School officials are projecting a loss of revenue of around US$75 million this fiscal year because of the pandemic and the Big Ten’s postponement of fall sports. . . .
The 2022 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games that were to have been held in Medicine Hat have been cancelled. . . . From a news release: “Due to COVID-19, there will be no regional competitions in 2020 and the majority of Chapters are not planning to host Provincial/Territorial Games in 2021. As a result, our ‘typical’ pathway for athletes to qualify for National Games is not possible.” . . . Brian Varga, a former WHL sniper who now is a city councillor in Medicine Hat, told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News: “We planted a seed that maybe somewhere down the road, when things get back to normal a little bit, that we might have a chance to do it again. But it’s a long ways off. Next one would be 2026, so that’s six years away, but we’re optimistic. We would be ready for it, that’s for sure. Who knows, by that time, what kind of new things and little added features that we might have in the city that would make them think about coming back here again.”
The WHL and RE/MAX of Western Canada announced Thursday that they now have raised more than $585,000 for local chapters of the Kidney Foundation of Canada through three seasons of the RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up to Promote Organ Donation program. . . . The program features the auctioning of special jerseys, something that the Calgary Hitmen, Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals weren’t able to do after the 2019-20 season was cut short by the pandemic. Those teams’ sweaters will be available for bids at a later date. . . . In 2017-18, the first season of the promotion, kidney foundations benefited by approximately $265,500. That figure was about $196,600 for 2018-19. For the 2019-20 season, with three teams still to auction sweaters, the promotion brought in about $122,900.
Josh Green, a former WHL player, was introduced Thursday as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze, a new team that is owned by 50 Below Sports & Entertainment. The company also owns the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues and the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. . . . Green, 42, played five seasons (1993-98) in the WHL, playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers, Swift Current Broncos and Portland Winterhawks. He was an assistant coach with the Blues in 2018-19 and filled that same role last season with the Ice. . . . The Freeze website shows Jake Heisinger as the vice-president of hockey operations. He also is the Blues’ v-p of hockey ops and alternate governor, and the Ice’s v-p of hockey operations and assistant GM. . . . Ice head coach James Patrick is shown as a consultant, while Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president, GM and alternate governor, is the Freeze’s president. Cockell also is the Blues’ governor and president. . . . Raylin Kirsch, Cockell’s wife, is the Freeze’s vice-president. She is also the v-p with the Blues and the Ice. . . . The Freeze website also shows Leah Watkins as the director of business operations, Mack Heisinger as manager of communications and digital media, Rylee Andersen as the manager of ticketing and office administration and Blake Eden as the co-ordinator of marketing and content. Those four hold the same positions with the Blues and with the WHL franchise. . . . The Freeze is to begin play with the 2020-21 season, which the MJHL hopes will begin on Oct. 9. The plan is for each team to play 40 games almost exclusively on 22 weekends with the regular season ending on March 13. . . . There is a news release right here.
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News posted an interesting piece on Tuesday involving F Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In it, Campbell explained how the Lightning came to draft Point and how Al Murray, the organization’s director of amateur scouting, led the charge. It’s great to see a veteran scout like Murray, who is from Regina, get some acknowledgement. . . . Campbell’s piece is right here.
On Wednesday, Campbell wrote about the Vegas Golden Knights and how George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon were able to shape an expansion into a Stanley Cup contender is such a short period of time. . . . They certainly have done that, and it should be said that they got a considerable amount of help from Vaughn Karpan, their director of player personnel. . . . Karpan, a native of The Pas, Man., and Murray have one thing in common — they both are quiet men who love to work in the shadows. Oh, and one other thing — they may be the best in their field. . . . Campbell’s piece on Vegas is right here.
The good people of Chicoutimi and Baie-Comeau should be thrilled about paying this drop in the bucket. A one-time $267,000 charge in exchange for years of ripping teenagers off? Great deal! If their teams were forced to pay players a living wage, their taxes would be far higher. https://t.co/VcTgxFrxEn
Loosely translating the above tweet: Each of the Canadian major junior teams must pay $266,667 as its share of the settlement of the class-action lawsuit that the CHL decided to settle for $30 million earlier in the summer. The QMJHL’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar are owned by their respective cities, so the citizens will pay the bill via their municipal taxes.
Blaine Peterson, a former WHL goaltender who played with the Brandon Wheat Kings and New Westminster Bruins, died suddenly on Sept. 3. He was 64 and living in Stonewall, Man. Peterson’s death came less than a month after he was profiled by Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun as part of his excellent series on former Wheat Kings. . . . Peterson is survived by his partner Paulette and two adult children — Teague and Kael. . . . Peterson was with the Bruins for two Memorial Cup tournaments, losing in the 1976 final and winning it all in 1977. . . . He was a real contributor to minor hockey, coaching in Stonewall and doing a stint as president of the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba. . . . There won’t be a formal funeral service, but a celebration of life is to be held at a later date. . . . There is an obituary available right here.
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
You will recall that Canadian OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Kansas City Chiefs opted out of the NFL’s 2020 season a while back. During the pandemic, the graduate of McGill U’s medical school has been working as an orderly at a long-term care facility near Montreal. From Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., he is planning to take online classes from Harvard U’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. . . . Julian MacKenzie of The Canadian Press has more right here. . . .
Louisiana Tech and Baylor had to postpone their football game that was set for Saturday. Why? Because Louisiana Tech had 38 players test positive in the days following Hurricane Laura. . . . The game was to have been Fox-TV’s first Big Noon game of the season, but now has been replaced by Arkansas State-Kansas State. . . .
Australian tennis star Ash Barty, ranked No. 1 in the world, has opted out of the French Open, which is scheduled to open on Sept. 27. She is the tournament’s defending champion. She also chose not to play in the U.S. Open because of concerns about COVID-19. . . .
The U of Lethbridge has suspended its women’s soccer program after it was found to be violating some pandemic-related restrictions. With Canada West having cancelled the fall season, teams still are being allowed to practice, but they are to do it in cohorts. The women’s team was allowing players who were from outside to take part in practice sessions. . . . Justin Goulet of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here. . . .
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association, which covers more than 500 high schools, has postponed football, volleyball and cheer seasons until March.
JUST NOTES: Mark Recchi, one of five owners of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, is back in the NHL after a rather brief absence. Dumped as an assistant coach by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Aug. 12, he has joined the New Jersey Devils in the same role. The Devils gave Recchi a three-year contract. He had been with the Penguins for six seasons — three as development coach and the past three as assistant coach. . . . The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials have signed F Dylan Sydor, 17, whose father Darryl is a former WHL/NHL defenceman who also is a co-owner with the Blazers. Last season, Dylan had 17 goals and 20 assists in 40 games with the U-18 Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops. . . . The Red Deer Rebels’ 15-year lease with Westerner Park, which operates the Centrium, was to have expired this year. Before it got to that, the two parties agreed on a seven-year lease. . . . Baseball’s West Coast League unveiled its newest franchise on Wednesday. The Kamloops NorthPaws will begin play in 2021 — Opening Day is set for June 4 — and it’ll be a 54-game regular season. The WBL is a short-season collegiate league. The NorthPaws are one of four Canadian teams, joining the Kelowna Falcons, Nanaimo NightOwls and Victoria HarbourCats. The NightOwls are another expansion team; they are owned by the group that operates the HarbourCats. The NorthPaws are owned by Norm Daley of the Kamloops accounting firm Daley & Company; Jon Pankuch, who owns a few Tim Hortons franchises; and Neal Perry of Westway Plumbing and Heating.
How will the Western Hockey League look without Kelly McCrimmon as a franchise owner?
That is the question today after McCrimmon sold the Brandon Wheat Kings to the J&G Group of Companies, a Brandon firm that is led by Jared Jacobson, who is the president and CEO. He will take over as the Wheat Kings’ governor, with McCrimmon staying involved as alternate governor.
The WHL’s board of governors has approved the sale, which is to close on Sept. 15.
“We believe this is the right decision,” McCrimmon said in a news release. “The game has been so good to my family, I am fortunate now to be part of a great organization in Las Vegas with the Knights, and it became apparent a succession plan was needed. I feel good for people in Brandon and western Manitoba that the Wheat Kings will be in great hands with Jared and will always be a big part of the City of Brandon.”
Jared Jacobson (quote continued) "We have great hockey ops staff in Darren Ritchie and Dave Lowry and all the coaches and scouting staff.” 2/2
Jacobson was born and raised in Brandon and, according to the news release, “has been actively involved in the Jacobson & Greiner third generation family business from an early age. Through Jared’s leadership, determination and vision, the organization has seen spectacular growth, expanding to 32 companies, encompassing all areas of construction.”
McCrimmon, from Plenty, Sask., played two seasons (1978-80) with the Wheat Kings. He returned to the organization in 1988, bought one-third of the franchise from Bob Cornell in 1992, and has been the sole owner since 2000.
However, McCrimmon, now 59, signed with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights as assistant general manager on Aug. 2, 2016. Then, on May 2, 2019, he was named general manager.
After dealing with the media and talking about the sale of the Wheat Kings earlier Tuesday, he spent the evening in the NHL’s Edmonton bubble watching the Golden Knights beat the Dallas Stars, 3-0, to even their Western Conference final, 1-1.
Gary Lawless, a former Winnipeg Free Press sports writer who now is the Golden Knights’ Insider, has more on the sale of the Wheat Kings right here.
If you haven’t seen this already, here’s a piece I wrote on McCrimmon for The Coaches Site five years ago . . .
Kelly McCrimmon is the owner of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings.
He also is the team’s governor, general manager and head coach.
He also is the head coach of the Canadian U-18 team that will play in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in August.
Did we mention that McCrimmon is the chairman of the WHL’s competition committee?
Yes, the 54-year-old, who originally is from Plenty, Sask., wears a lot of hats, none of which has kept him from being successful.
He has been the Wheat Kings’ general manager since 1989 and now is acknowledged as perhaps the best GM in the WHL. With him at the helm, the Wheat Kings have become one of the WHL’s top franchises and best teams.
At the league level, McCrimmon has been a player for more than 20 years, serving on one committee or another, and always having a voice.
And let’s not forget that he is a married man with a family.
Whew! By now you are wondering where he finds the time. . . .
Well, the more you talk to McCrimmon, the more you realize that his working life is governed by all those clichés that you hear so much about . . . work ethic . . . surround yourself with good people and let them do their jobs . . . be true to yourself and always do what is best for the organization . . .
Perhaps the most interesting thing about McCrimmon is that it wasn’t supposed to be like this.
The original plan was for him to be a farmer.
“My plans,” he says, “were to get my degree and farm.”
After playing two seasons (1978-80) with the Wheat Kings, McCrimmon headed for Ann Arbor, Mich., where he played four seasons with the Wolverines while he earned a business degree.
(Yes, McCrimmon played NCAA hockey after spending two seasons in the WHL, but that’s another story for another time.)
McCrimmon and his brother, Brad, had been raised on the family farm that is operated by their parents, Faye and Byron, near Plenty. The brothers, who were teammates on the 1978-79 Wheat Kings, even bought some land that was an extension of the family farm.
“I graduated in 1983,” Kelly says. “I was married after my sophomore year, and by the time I graduated we were expecting our first child. I went back to the farm, as planned.”
McCrimmon, who has two grown children with wife Terry, spent two years there, during which time he also dipped his toes into the coaching pool for the first time, playing and coaching with the Kerrobert Tigers of the Wild Goose Hockey League. He could do that during the winter months and go back to farming in the spring.
He found that he quite enjoyed the coaching side of things and it wasn’t long before he was coaching the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars. Still, he says, “I was fully committed to farming.”
What once had been a mixed farm (grain and cattle) now was grain only, which made it easier to spend winters with a hockey team. So spending two winters coaching in North Battleford, and another as head coach of the SJHL’s Lloydminster Lancers, didn’t compromise the farming side of things.
Then would come the offer that set him on the road that he still is on today.
The Wheat Kings were a franchise in transition, not finding much success on the ice or off. At this stage, they were being operated by the Keystone Centre. McCrimmon came on board and would spend half his time working on Keystone Centre affairs and the other half with the Wheat Kings.
“One year of doing that,” McCrimmon says, “and they approached me to be the general manager.”
McCrimmon pauses, then adds: “I was fully intending at that time to go back to farming and yet this meant moving away . . . and a deviation from the plans.”
Amazingly, he still considered himself a farmer, not a hockey man.
By now, Bob Cornell owned the Wheat Kings. Halfway through McCrimmon’s first season (1989-90) as general manager, head coach Doug Sauter fell ill with Guillain–Barré syndrome. You guessed it . . . McCrimmon stepped in as head coach.
In hindsight, McCrimmon admits that this was his awakening as a WHL general manager. The Wheat Kings of that era would get caught up every season in the race just to make the playoffs; if they got there, they would more often than not lose out in the first round. In one 10-season stretch, they didn’t qualify on eight occasions. Rinse, repeat. . . .
With McCrimmon coaching, the Wheat Kings finished tied for the last playoff spot with the Swift Current Broncos, who won the play-in game, 5-4.
“Our team was primarily 19-year-old players and three 20-year-olds,” McCrimmon says. “Swift Current had six 16-year-olds.” In 1993, the Broncos would win the WHL title and play in the Memorial Cup.
After that experience, McCrimmon came to the realization that what the Wheat Kings were doing “was wrong.” So he began working towards changing the franchise’s thought process.
The next season, the Wheat Kings won 19 games. Then they put up 11 victories. The howling in Brandon wasn’t all coming from the Prairie wind.
Despite what was happening on the ice, Cornell recognized that McCrimmon was moving things in the right direction. So Cornell offered McCrimmon one-third ownership in the franchise, a move that meant a whole lot to the young GM.
“That was as much belief as he could possibly show in me after winning 19 and 11 games . . . he felt comfortable enough with me running his hockey club to want to make me a partner,” McCrimmon says. By 2000, McCrimmon would be the sole owner.
McCrimmon becoming a partner meant one other thing.
“Me being a farmer wasn’t going to happen,” he says.
That summer (1992), Bob Lowes signed on as head coach. He would stay for nine years, nine years in which McCrimmon says he never once thought of going back behind the bench.
In Lowes’ first season, the Wheat Kings won 43 games, lending credence to McCrimmon’s building plans. That season, Brandon set a CHL record for the largest improvement from one season to the next.
By the spring of 1995, the Wheat Kings were in the Memorial Cup, having lost to the host team, the Kamloops Blazers, in the WHL’s championship final. The Wheaties were there again a year later, this time as WHL champions. And they were in the WHL final again in 1998.
One thing would lead to another and Lowes would leave. Dean Clark would coach the team to two final fours. Mike Kelly would replace Clark, with McCrimmon taking over from Kelly in March of 2004. McCrimmon had made some moves to strengthen the lineup, such as acquiring Erik Christensen, the reigning WHL scoring champion. McCrimmon didn’t like the way things were going, so he stepped in. Brandon was ousted in the second round, but was in the WHL final the following season.
Since then, McCrimmon has been the head coach for nine of 11 years, the two-year gap coming when former player and assistant coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk was in charge.
The Wheat Kings have missed the playoffs twice in the 23 seasons since that 11-victory winter. Yes, they’ve come a long way since missing the post-season eight times in 10 years.
During his voyage, McCrimmon learned the importance of having good people behind the scenes. Not only is it important to have them there, it’s important to keep them.
“I am pretty hands on with some things,” McCrimmon says, and some people will say that is something of an understatement. But, he adds, “the people in key positions have complete autonomy to run the business.”
That was never more evident than more than 10 years ago when McCrimmon decided it was important that he get his Master of Business Administration (MBA).
In the two years that took, the team was in good hands on the ice with Clark in charge. The other key people were Al Macpherson, Rick Dillabough and Lyn Shannon.
Macpherson joined the Wheat Kings as a scout in 1986 and was promoted to director of player personnel in 1998, a position he filled until his retirement in the summer of 2013. He remains associated with the team as its senior advisor, while veteran WHL scout Wade Klippenstein is the director of scouting.
Dillabough now is the director of business operations and sponsorship. He has been with the franchise since 1990.
Shannon, an employee since 1991, handles the accounting side of things.
When McCrimmon was working toward his MBA through Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., Macpherson ran the scouting, and Dillabough and Shannon handled the business/financial side. During that time, McCrimmon was confident things were in good hands.
It is important, McCrimmon says, “to keep people in place.”
Darren Ritchie, who played four seasons with the Wheat Kings (1991-95), has been an assistant coach for eight seasons. The other assistant, David Anning, a former MJHL player and coach, has been there for three seasons.
Because of the number of hats McCrimmon wears, he says his assistants have “more responsibility . . . a great deal of responsibility.”
With everything else on his plate, McCrimmon decided this spring that there was room for one more thing. So he now is head coach of Canada’s summer U-18 team. This will be his first time with a Canadian national team.
“I have always had a relationship with people at Hockey Canada,” says McCrimmon, adding that he has long scouted Hockey Canada camps, especially those of the U-17 variety. Another thing that pushed him in Hockey Canada’s direction is the presence of Spokane Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz, a long-time friend, as part of HC’s management group.
Also, don’t ever underestimate McCrimmon’s desire — it’s almost a need with him — to better himself. Working with the U-18 team gives him the opportunity to coach alongside Sheldon Keefe, the OHL’s coach of the year with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and Darren Rumble, a former Seattle Thunderbirds assistant coach who now is head coach of the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats.
“It’s a good chance to work with good coaches,” McCrimmon says, pointing out that all three worked the benches of teams that got into the final four in each of their leagues. He talks of it being a “good challenge” in terms of “personal growth.”
As he puts it: “Responsibility is good for you in terms of growing. It was a good opportunity to pursue, and I know that age group well.”
The man, it’s fair to say, has never run from a challenge. As he says, “Coaching is a challenge . . . hosting the Memorial Cup is a challenge.”
Yes, McCrimmon was mostly responsible for the 2010 Memorial Cup having been played in Brandon, where it was a resounding success. In March 2011, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce honoured him with its President’s Award as the business person of the year.
“I enjoy everything I’ve done in hockey,” McCrimmon says. “I love scouting, building, developing.
“I work hard. I always have . . . and I manage my time well.”
A reporter’s mind flashes back to a bitterly cold winter’s night in Regina, more than 20 years ago. It was a Sunday, about 1 a.m. A Tim Hortons outlet on the east side was empty except for a couple having coffee, decaf you should know.
The front door opened and an icy blast blew in, bringing with it a man who was rubbing his hands together as he tried to shake off the cold.
Yes, it was McCrimmon. He had been scouting somewhere in the hinterlands of south-western Saskatchewan. He wanted a cup of coffee to get him started on the last leg of the trek.
As he got back in his vehicle, he was almost as close to Plenty as he was to the Wheat Kings’ office.
McCrimmon left the parking lot that morning and headed east towards Brandon. He was a hockey man, not a farmer.
The MacBeth Report continues to keep both eyes on happenings in Europe and beyond.
Some KHL-related notes from a Friday filing . . .
“Ak Bars Kazan opened the season in Riga against Dinamo Riga. However, one of the referees tested positive for COVID-19, so the start of the game was delayed until a new officiating crew could be found. Per Aivis Kalnins, an all-Latvian crew worked the game.
“Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk head coach Vyacheslav Butsayev told TASS Thursday that they intended to play with a short lineup Friday night at home against SKA St. Petersburg (2-1 loss) but did not say why. Neftekhimik dressed 20+2, the full lineup, but only the two goalies, three defencemen, and five forwards are officially on the Neftekhimik roster. They dressed four defencemen and two forwards from their farm club and one defenceman and five forwards from their junior club. Butsayev himself didn’t coach. It was announced before the game that Butsayev and two assistant coaches would not be coaching tonight ‘in connection to recover from a previous illness.’ The coach was head coach of their junior team, Vyacheslav Kasatkin.
“Amur Khabarovsk also has been hit with an outbreak. Head coach Pavel Torgajev on Wednesday: ‘We have already reported that a number of players have passed the initial positive tests for COVID-19. Over the past few days, there are more of them, some results have been confirmed. Players with positive test results are isolated, under medical supervision. There are players who have already recovered, which is confirmed by the tests done the day before, but in accordance with the league protocols, they need to wait for the second negative test. Only then will they be able to join the team. Therefore, at the start of the season, we will not be able to play with the optimal lineup. We have attracted the players of the youth team, this is a great chance for them. Everyone who goes on the ice will fight, everyone missed hockey, and for the ‘youth’ this is a great opportunity to try themselves at the adult level.’
“Amur dressed a full 20+2 line-up Thursday at Cherepovets (6-4 loss to Severstal) but five skaters and the back-up goalie were from their junior team and four skaters and their starting goalie were from their farm club.
“Per Amur’s website, the club’s charter flight left Khabarovsk 8 PM local time Wednesday for Cherepovets. 5,292 miles, about 8 hours flying time. There is a seven-hour time difference between the two cities, so when they arrived in Cherepovets, it was around 9 PM Wednesday there, 4 AM Khabarovsk time. Game time in Cherepovets was 7 PM Thursday, which was 2 AM Friday Khabarovsk time.”
The KHL team Avangard Omsk unveiled its new uniforms the other day. If you haven’t seen it already, you don’t want to miss head coach Bob Hartley — yes, the former NHL coach — as he does the introduction. When he’s done as a coach, he may have a career as a pitchman. . . . It’s all right here.
Manager Gabe Kapler and his San Francisco Giants were leading the Colorado Rockies, 18-2, in the seventh inning the other night when he chose to challenge a play at first base. That got Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times to wonder: “So why isn’t there an unwritten rule about that?”
One more from Perry: “The entire Alaska-Fairbanks hockey team was placed in quarantine after six partying players tested positive.In other words, COVID-19 just went on the power play.”
Only saying this because I loved my experience in the MJHL and I care about the league…. pretty hard to see how adding another team that will charge 15k+ per player is in anyway good for the the league or the game of hockey. I thought the goal was to make hockey more inclusive? https://t.co/T2HNcLO6ec
The MJHL has sold an expansion franchise to Winnipeg-based 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, which also owns the league’s Winnipeg Blues. This means that the 12-team MJHL has two franchises in the Manitoba capital both of them owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, which also owns the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. . . . Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press has reported that the team is to be called the Freeze. Josh Green, an assistant coach with the Blues two seasons ago and with the Ice in 2019-20, is expected to be the head coach, with former WHL G Sonny Mignacca as his assistant. . . . According to Sawatzky, Jake Heisinger, the Ice’s assistant GM and vice-president of hockey operations, is expected to be the Freeze’s GM. . . . The MJHL is aiming to start a 40-game regular season on Oct. 9. Training camps can begin on Sept. 18, with rosters limited to 34 players. . . . The Freeze had a protected list of 33 players prior to the MJHL announcing its presence. As well, the Freeze is opening a three-day prospects’ camp today.
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
The NHL said Monday that is has gotten through six weeks of bubble play without a positive test. There were 2,534 tests conducted for the period Aug. 30 through Sept. 5. . . .
The UFC was forced into holding a short card on Saturday night in Las Vegas after two bouts, and perhaps a third, were cancelled because of positive tests. In the end, it was able to hold on seven bouts on the card. . . . There is more right here.
If you are a junior hockey fan, you may be interested in reading what teams in the KHL will have to go through in order to play in Helsinki, Finland, and what that city’s team, Jokerit, will have to do to play in Russia, all of this thanks to The MacBeth Report . . .
Arrangements have been finalized that will allow Jokerit to play its 2020-21 home games at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki. For a while, it appeared that Jokerit would play its home games somewhere in Russia.
However, according to Jokerit’s website, the team and the KHL have
put together a model that enables foreign teams to travel safely to Finland.
On Sept. 1, the KHL began coronavirus tests for all team members as well as club staff. These are conducted every five days.
Here’s a look at steps that are being taken in order to play these games . . .
Visiting teams arrive in Helsinki on their own charter flights. They are transported from the airport by private bus to the hotel, where they are provided with their own secluded facilities to stay and dine. During their 1-2 day visits to Helsinki, team representatives will not leave the hotel premises, outside the restricted area of Hartwall Arena, or the airport.
The teams move from the hotel by their own bus to the arena, where a so-called clean area is used on ice level. This area can only be accessed by persons subject to KHL corona testing and their identities, as well as a valid negative corona test result is confirmed by displaying a QR code. Without a negative test result, one cannot enter the clean area. After the games, the teams will take their own bus to the airport and leave the country.
Jokerit has the same practices on their own away game trips in both the arenas and the hotels. In the hotels, a separate floor is reserved for the team and meals are also held separately from other hotel guests. Team representatives will not leave the hotel other than by public transportation to the arena or airport. When traveling, protective masks are used both
on the plane and on the fields. When arriving at the arena, a mask must also be worn both in Finland and abroad.
The safety of the public is guaranteed in home matches in accordance with safety regulations.
Jokerit is top play its first home game on Wednesday against against Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk.
Here is what goes into ensuring the safety of spectators . . .
The hall has a total of nine auditorium blocks upstairs and downstairs, each with its own entrance and its own toilet facilities.
A maximum of 500 spectators, up to a maximum of 50 per cent of full capacity, may be accommodated in a single auditorium block.
You cannot move between the auditorium blocks.
There are no numbered seats on the entrance tickets so that safety distances can be observed in the auditorium. Jokerit will notify each of its season-ticket holders individually how they can redeem their tickets and how they can get a seat as close as possible to the place they purchased.
Hand sanitizer is available at the entrances to Hartwall Arena and in all of the arena’s restaurants.
Cleaning during the event will be intensified and safety-related issues will be announced on screens and in announcements.
The use of a face mask during the event is recommended. Jokerit fabric face masks can be purchased at the Jokerit fan store.
In Finland, there are restrictions on indoor public events, and within these, a maximum of 4,500 spectators can currently attend Jokerit home matches at Hartwall Arena. In addition, spectators can be taken to the suites.
Headline at fark.com: Washington releasing running back Adrian Peterson for fear his off-field reputation might taint an otherwise stellar organization.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers on the empty press conference room that featured himself, a Clippers spokesperson, a few NBA staffers, myself, a photographer and empty chairs: “It looks like a Trump rally in here.” I disagree. We were all wearing masks and being socially distant.
Tom Seaver passed away on Aug. 31. He was 75. The cause of death was complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Here are two Jim Murray columns on the pitcher known as Tom Terrific.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 1973, SPORTS
Copyright 1973/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY
Seaver Deserves Better
NEW YORK — Usually when a pitcher is a veteran who has a series of 20-win seasons and has pitched his team into two World Series in four years, he is a grizzled old party who spits tobacco and you could scratch matches on his beard. He talks in four-letter words and comes from coon-hunting country and never reads anything that doesn’t have pictures in it and his favorite actor is John Wayne.
But George Thomas Seaver looks as if he just stepped out of the pages of a Ralph Henry Barbour novel or is one of the Merriwell brothers.
He looks as if he might go around helping old ladies across the street or rescuing babies from drowning. As if he had just two more knots to tie or fires to start rubbing sticks together to get his Eagle Scout badge. He is Mr. Cleancut; as wholesome as a Saturday Evening Post cover, or a Disney movie, the kind of guy who would put splints on broken cats, the sort of fellow who would help his mother with the dishes and bring home all A’s on his report card.
You’d want your daughter to marry someone like Tom Seaver. You’d want your son to grow up like that. They call him “Tom Terrific.” He looks as if his name should be “Roger Trueheart” or “Peter Pluck.” He’s the kind of guy who might spend more time in museums than bar rooms. He’s concerned, was one of the few baseball uniforms to take a stand on the Vietnam war.
His fastball makes baseball men drool and hitters slobber with rage. He could throw the proverbial strawberry through a battleship. His control is uncanny. Tommy Strikethree has as much control of his pitches as he has of himself.
Without him, the Mets are a .380 club. He pitches nearly 300 flawless innings a year. He’s such a competitor, he would bite a lion or pull a bear out of a tree.
You would think, if God were paying attention, Tommy Strikethree, by now, would be working on his fifth or sixth World Series win. I mean, guys who would be lifted by the fifth inning pitching against him have won that many.
But George Thomas Seaver’s record in World Series is about what you would expect from a crooked-armed junk thrower with a hitch in his delivery and a bad habit of tipping his pitches.
The Mets get him runs in clumps of one. They send about 28 men to bat the night he pitches.
Take Tuesday night. In a gelid Shea Stadium amid an Arctic front moving through Queens, Seaver, sporting a 19-win year and an earned-run average you would need Palomar to read, struck out the side twice. He had the feared Reggie Jackson, a 117-runs-batted-in MVP candidate looking like a revolving door. He struck out 12, walked none and was — well — Terrific.
His team gave him a one-inning attack. They didn’t really need bats for the other eight. Seaver was in there.
Over on the other mound, Catfish Hunter who is not “Mr. Terrific” or Walter Wonderful and is more of a pitcher who nibbles around the outside and wears out the corners of the plate, had given up a homer, a double, assorted singles, a wild pitch, several walks and even threw in an error for good measure and wasn’t around for the seventh inning. But he got exactly what Tommy Strikethree got — a standoff. His World Series record is still 1.000. Seaver’s is still .500.
I’m glad to see God has better things to do than see justice served in baseball games but, the point is, Tom Seaver joins some distinguished company. Walter Johnson was .500 for his six Series decisions.
Tom Seaver is nine decisions behind Whitey Ford who won 10 World Series games but look at some of the company he’s chasing besides Ford. Shucks, Orval Overall won three and only lost one. Bill Hallahan (surely you remember Bill Hallahan? “Wild” Bill Hallahan?) won three. Ernest G. Shore was 3-1. Guys like Harry Brecheen and Lew Burdette and Mickey Lolich won three in ONE Series.
Great pitchers like Christy Mathewson were .500 for World Series. But they did get five victories.
Lefty Gomez never lost a World Series game. He was in some real cliff-hangers. He won one 18-4 in 1936. That’s more runs than the Mets get Tom Seaver a season.
For Seaver, it’s like someone painting a masterpiece and having somebody use it for a doorstop or to hang in the garage at work. He’s their bad luck charm.
It was a foregone conclusion the Mets would lose for Seaver. On a passed ball, at that. They’re not much of a ball team when you move off the mound. They have to hoard runs. Never have so many done so little for so few. The pitching staff consists of five guys with their fingers in the dike.
But I have a feeling somewhere there’s a ghostly crew looking on and nodding safely — Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson and a lot of other guys who pitched 300 innings or 400 victories and then got in World Series only to see journeymen win the car or the plaudits.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 31, 1975, SPORTS
Copyright 1975/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY
The Other Seaver
If they were caught in a hotel fire, lots of people would try to throw their jewels or stocks or money out the burning window. Tom Seaver would want to throw his right arm.
As ex-teammate Tug McGraw once said, “Seaver is exploring the possibility of keeping his right arm at Ft. Knox over the winter.”
He won’t sleep on it, open car doors with it, cut meat with it, drink beer with it. He won’t hang it out the car window, let it get sunburned. He treats his arm as if it had a life of its own. He won’t pat dogs with it, play tennis with it, cut wood with it or comb his hair with it.
He treats it the way a captain treats a ship, a gunman his gun, or a cowboy his horse. He pampers it, worries about it. He trots it out only every fifth day.
Most pitchers pitch every fourth day, but Seaver’s arm lets him know it needed an extra day’s rest, and Seaver never contradicts his arm.
No Hope diamond, no Rembrandt, no British Guiana stamp ever recorded the tender loving care of Seaver’s right arm. He does everything but keep it under glass. He takes better care of it than a bank takes care of money — and for the same reason. It is probably the most expensive parcel of fleshy real estate in the game — $250,000 a front foot.
It is a one-purpose appendage. It throws strikes. It has no other function. That is all Seaver asks of it.
Any manager in the big leagues can tell you it is valuable only because it comes with Seaver attached. But Seaver is not persuaded. He lets the rest of Tom Seaver shift for itself. He will even open beer cans with his left arm, slice bread, let it hang out the window, comb hair, shave whiskers, and do all the things God intended an arm to do. It is an orphan. Cinderella. Tom makes it do all the work he wouldn’t dream of asking its brother to do.
Tom sat in the dugout at the ballpark the other night and watched, fascinated, as two Dodgers pitchers, Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith, practised double plays around first and second base. “Isn’t that swell?!” he said, not unsarcastically. “They’ve got the double play down pat. Shouldn’t they be working on getting guys to hit into them?” The lesson was clear: Seaver would never ask his arm to complete a double play. Start one, perhaps, but there were other arms to take it from there: arms that couldn’t sneak a fastball part Henry Aaron.
“You can transplant organs — kidneys, hearts, livers,” Tom said, “but you can’t transplant shoulders and elbows. Or arms. You get one to a customer.” Even in casual conversation, Seaver tends to forget his poor, sit-by-the-fire left arm.
There have probably been purer arms in the major leagues — although I don’t make that even money, by any means. But there’s never been one more consistent. Seaver can trust his arm. And vice versa. Every year, it delivers 200 strikeouts, some 280 innings pitched, 18 to 20 complete games and the occasional pennant. The pennant borders on a miracle. Because the New York Mets are a one-armed team.
The Arm delivers a rising fastball, a sinking curveball, a slider so deceptive it looks like both of them at once. It puts the ball where Seaver wants it to — usually where the hitter least expects it.
With It in there, the Mets are armed and dangerous. Without It, they’re just a good Triple A club. And maybe not so good, at that.
It is never erratic, rebellious, temperamental. It doesn’t win one game, 1-0, and lose the next, 10-2. It has allowed 652 runs in 312 games in nine years, which comes out to two runs per game. If the Mets score three, they win.
Seaver knows every muscle, tendon, bone or capillary in it. But to the Mets, it is not full of trapeziuses, triceps, adductors or whatever else comes in ordinary arms, it is full of dollar bills.
Some men send their gloves to the Hall of Fame when they get elected. Others send bats, shoes, mitts, masks or caps. Seaver may just cut off his arm and send it on. After all, Roy Rogers stuffed his horse. And, by that time, Tom won’t need it anymore. Tom’s other arm will have long since learned how to take care of him now that It is no longer needed to keep that funny little team from falling through the bottom of the league anymore.
Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times
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