WHL’s wait is almost over; two games set for tonight . . . Second team opts out of AJHL restart . . . Beast prexy with good dope on folderoo

It was March 11. The Victoria Royals and host Kelowna Rockets were tied, 2-2, in the third period of a WHL game.

F Brayden Tracey of the Royals broke the tie, banking a shot off G Roman Basran and into the Kelowna net. The goal would give the Royals a 3-2 victory and would be the last score of the WHL’s 2019-20 season.

The last goal of the CHL’s 2019-20 season was to have been scored in Kelowna, but it should have happened in the Memorial Cup in May. That tournament, like so many other things, was cancelled.

With the world in the early stages of what has turned into a full-blown pandemic, the WHL put things on hold after March 11, a pause that will end tonight (Friday) with two games featuring four Alberta teams.

In Red Deer, the Rebels will play the Medicine Hat Tigers, while the Lethbridge Hurricanes meet the Oil Kings in Edmonton. The same teams will play again Saturday, only they will switch venues. The Calgary Hitmen, the fifth of the league’s five Alberta teams, have the bye.

In Red Deer, Troy Gillard will make his debut as the interim play-by-play voice of the Rebels, replacing Cam Moon, now the radio voice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Down the way from Gillard, Bob Ridley will be calling his 3,999th game as the only voice the Tigers have known.

If the excitement of tonight’s game doesn’t get to him, Ridley will do No. 4,000 in Medicine Hat on Saturday night. If you haven’t heard, he has called every game in Tigers history — except for one. It’s an oft-told story, but back in the day — way, way back — his then-boss’s wife was playing in the Canadian women’s curling championship in Saskatoon and, well, Ridley missed a Tigers game while covering curling. Yes, that’s a true story!

Meanwhile, the Oil Kings game won’t be heard on an Edmonton radio station, but will be available, with Andrew Peard on the call, on the team’s website.

(I had written here that G Lukáš Pařík of the Spokane Chiefs had scored the last goal of the season. That was in error.)

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JUST NOTES: You may not have been aware of it, but the WHL’s trade deadline came and went on Thursday at 1 p.m. PT. For the first time in league history, there wasn’t even one trade. . . . The league released a U.S. Division schedule this week. The five American teams will open their season on March 18 with the Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans meeting in Kennewick, Wash. With the Winterhawks not having clearance to play in Oregon, they will play their two March home games at the accesso ShoWare Centre in Kent, Wash. (aka the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds). The Portland home games April 2 through May 7 have TBD as the home arena. . . .

A schedule hasn’t yet been announced, but the seven-team Regina hub is expected to begin play on March 12. The hub will feature the five Saskatchewan-based teams, along with the two from Manitoba. . . . The five B.C. Division teams have yet to receive clearance to return to play from government and health officials. . . . Earlier this week, on the subject of 15-year-olds, the afore-mentioned Gillard tweeted: “So I confirmed that Alberta players are good to go since the U18AAA season here is cancelled, but Sask players are limited to 5 WHL games for now as they’ve yet to officially cancel league play in that province.” . . .

The Oil Kings have added three people to their front office — Shaun Mahe as video coach and hockey operations co-ordinator, the afore-mentioned Andrew Peard to handle hockey broadcasting and media, and Erin Klatt in charge of game-day operations. Mahe has been with the Oilers Entertainment Group for eight years, most recently in statistical analysis with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Peard’s duties include play-by-play, taking over from Corey Graham who somehow lost his job during recent Bell Media cuts. Klatt has been with OEG for two years, working as a hockey engagement co-ordinator. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers have added Brodi Stuart, 20, to their coaching staff. Stuart, from Langley, B.C., played three seasons with the Blazers. His WHL career came to an end when he had knee surgery on Jan. 20. In 204 regular-season games, he had 115 points, including 45 goals. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders have added Ryan McDonald as an assistant coach. He will work with the team during its time in the Regina hub. A Prince Albert native, McDonald, 33, played four plus seasons in the WHL (Regina Pats, Raiders, 2004-09). He was the head coach for the U18 AAA Warman Wildcats in 2020-21. . . .

Josh Green, the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze, has moved to the Winnipeg Ice as an assistant coach. The Ice and Freeze are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment Inc. Green, who played five WHL seasons in the WHL (Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Portland, 1993-98), was an assistant coach with the Ice in 2019-20. . . . Ryan Guenter, who had been on the Ice’s scouting staff, also will be on the team’s coaching staff in the Regina hub. When that stint is over, he will step in as the Ice’s manager of scouting and hockey operations. . . . The Ice also has added Byron Spriggs as goaltending consultant. He has been the U of Manitoba Bisons’ goaltending coach for the past two seasons and is expected to work with both clubs. . . . Cole Hillier, a former head equipment manager with the ECHL’s Jacksonville IceMen, now is in that role with the Ice. Darcy Ewanchuk, who made the move to Winnipeg from Cranbrook with the franchise, now is on staff as a consultant.


Questions, there are questions . . .

We have been hearing for a while now that the WHL’s return to play is all about giving players development opportunities. If that’s the case, and considering the special circumstances, why not allow teams to carry five or six 20-year-olds, even if they only are allowed to dress three per game? Had the league done that, teams wouldn’t have had to cut 20-year-olds over the past few days. . . .

F Seth Jarvis of the Chicago Wolves is tied for the AHL lead in goals (6) and points (9). He has played seven games. Jarvis, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes with the 13th pick of the NHL’s 2020 draft. The rules call for him to be returned to the Portland Winterhawks, but if this odd-ball season, with no fans allowed, is all about development why not leave him in the AHL? . . .

If you are a hockey fan who lives in Canada, does your NHL include only your country’s seven teams? And would you be content with a seven-team NHL and having those teams play an 84-game regular season? . . .

If you get vaccinated in the next month or six are you going to want to go back into an arena next fall not knowing how many unvaccinated people are in the same facility? Is that same thing going to be an issue in some work places? . . .

If you are paying attention to the coronavirus-related numbers in B.C., with variants showing up in schools and teachers in at least one city having marched in protest, will you be surprised if the province’s five WHL teams have to wait a while longer before getting the OK to return to play? . . .

What’s wrong with this picture? . . . On March  21, B.C. announced 76 new positives, raising the number of confirmed cases to 424. There were 27 people in hospital and 12 in intensive care. There was one new death, for a total of 10. So health officials closed all personal service establishments — remember when you couldn’t get a haircut? — and ordered all restaurants to go to takeout and delivery only. . . . On Feb. 25, B.C. reported 395 new cases — down from 559 two days earlier — for a confirmed total of 78,673, with 4,489 of those active. Ten new deaths raised the grim total to 1,348. But, hey, you can get a haircut and eat in a restaurant.


On Feb. 12, Brendan Batchelor, the play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet 650, revealed via Twitter that he had been “exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19” and was going into self-isolation. . . . All is well and Batchelor, whose resume includes calling Vancouver Giants games, returned to action on Thursday night as the Canucks lost, 3-0, to the visiting Edmonton Oilers.


The Lloydminster Bobcats are the second team to opt out of the AJHL’s return Bobcatsto play. According to a news release from the team, it was “denied participation . . . due to public health restrictions of the Saskatchewan government.” . . . More from that news release: “The organization exhausted all efforts to resolve barriers to meet the requirements of the Saskatchewan government. So far the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has also been unable to meet requirements, while the Western Hockey League has been approved by forming a bubble in Regina, SK. Attempts were made to establish a bubble in Lloydminster, but the team was shut out by circumstance.” . . . While they play in the AJHL, the Bobcats’ home arena, the Centennial Civic Centre, is in Lloydminster, Sask. . . . Earlier, the Canmore Eagles announced that they were opting out of a return to play. 


For the last while we regularly have heard from junior hockey pooh-bahs about Beasthow some teams may not survive the pandemic. To date, they’re all still alive, but that’s more than can be said for the Brampton Beast, a seven-year-old ECHL franchise.

The Beast called it quits last week, another victim of COVID-19, but one that won’t show up in death totals.

Cary Kaplan, the Beast’s president, general manager and minority owner of Brampton Beast, said that the pandemic simply made the hurdles too huge to continue.

Here’s part of what he told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, and all of this will be applicable to junior hockey teams, as well . . .

“What we realized recently is that next season is compromised. Normally at this time of year, you sell a lot of season tickets, you renew your season tickets, you make group sales, you do a lot of sponsorship. There’s so much nervousness out there, we realized for the upcoming season . . . that revenues would be greatly depleted. You’re losing revenues in three distinct hockey seasons. As a business, it’s not sustainable. We came to that realization probably since Christmas, (and) for us that was just too much.”

And now we wait to see if more teams meet the same fate.

If you haven’t already seen it, Friedman’s weekly 31 Thoughts is right here.


Sauce


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The City of Toronto has cancelled outdoor events and parades through July 1. That includes Canada Day celebrations and its Pride Parade. . . .

The Prince Albert Minor Hockey Association has cancelled any games for the remainder of its 2020-21 season. The provincial government has extended restrictions until at least March 19, so the association decided it was time to move on from this season. Teams are still able to practice with eight mask-wearing, social-distancing players on the ice at a time. . . .

The San Jose Sharks had F Thomas Hertl enter COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday, so their Thursday game against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights has been postponed. The Sharks didn’t hold any practice or training sessions on Wednesday. . . . San Jose next is scheduled to play on Saturday against the visiting St. Louis Blues. . . . Also on Wednesday, the New York Rangers placed F K’Andre Miller on the COVID-19 protocol list, but they still played that night, losing 4-3 to the Flyers in Philly. . . .

Dan Ralph of The Canadian Press reports that the CFL, which didn’t play in 2020, is looking at holding training camps in May with the first exhibition game on May 23. He also writes that an 18-game regular season would open on June 10 without fans in the stands. . . . That story is right here. . . .

The 10-team Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League announced on Tuesday that it has cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season. “These are unprecedented times,” Kerry Lines, the league president, said in a news release, “and the events around COVID have impacted so many lives and families. Our priority as a league is to be compliant with the health orders and respect and support the decisions that are made to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk.” . . . The MMJHL last played on Oct. 29.


Warranty


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

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Kids

A fond farewell to the Swamp Dog . . . Sopotyk family says ‘Thank You’ . . . Canmore opts out of AJHL return to play

Let’s start with a couple of stories involving old friends.

Andy Murray and I go back a long way . . . when I was getting started at the Brandon Sun, he was the starting QB for the Brandon U Bobcats, a ragtag football team full of guys who sure had a lot of fun. He also was a star forward on the Bobcats hockey team.

AndyMurray
ANDY MURRAY

Murray, of course, went on to a lengthy coaching career and now is the head coach of the Western Michigan U Mustangs. On Monday, Bods (@Bods27) posted three tweets involving Murray, and the story is just too good not to share.

“Since it’s the anniversary of Miracle on Ice, I’ll share a story about it.

“We were on a road trip to Miami several years ago and watching Miracle on the way down. We get to Goggin (the arena in Oxford, Ohio) with about 20 minutes or so left in the movie.

“The guys on the bus want to finish it since we were just going to unload the bus, not practice or anything like that. Coach Murray stands up and abruptly shuts off the DVD player. The guys all boo him.

“Murray simply looks down the aisle of the bus and says ‘In Canada, we don’t need to make movies about things that happen every four years,’ and then walks off the bus.”

O Canada . . .

And that brings us to old friend Murray Rauw, who died in Calgary on Sunday night after a long illness. We were part of the fun bunch in the sports department at the Winnipeg Tribune in the mid-1970s. Swamp Dog, as we called him, was one of those special people with a big, big heart and a laugh I’ll never forget.

Here’s a story from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, who was then writing out of Edmonton while Murray was covering the Stampeders for the Calgary Herald. . . .

“One of my favourite sports writing stories involved Murray Rauw, and then Stampeders head coach Wally Buono.

“I was down in Calgary for a game, and walked into Buono’s office after practice for his daily gab with the media. Murray, the Herald beat guy, was ill, and on leave.

“When I arrived, all the seats were taken but for a chair right in front of Wally’s desk. I hesitated in the doorway, wondering why that prime seat would be open.

“Wally noticed, quietly put up his hand as a stop sign, and said: ‘We’re saving Murray’s seat for when he comes back.’

“No scribe sat in that chair for weeks.

“I’m not sure if that story says more about Wally or Rauwser, but I consider myself lucky to have known both.”

Condolences to Maureen and family. Be safe.


It almost has been a month since F Kyrell Sopotyk of the Kamloops Blazers suffered a devastating injury while snowboarding near North Battleford, Sask. He was left paralyzed below the waist and remains in a Saskatoon hospital. . . . A GoFundMe effort had raised $195,868 as of Monday evening, with the money ticketed to his family to use for expenses, including whatever home renovations may be required.

On Monday, Lori Sopotyk, Kyrell’s mother, posted this update:

“Our family would like to express the immense gratitude and thanks for the overwhelming support and kindness during this tough time. Kyrell is working towards months of recovery with his medical and rehab team at Saskatoon City Hospital.

“We ask that you please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers on his long journey ahead. The incredible support of family, friends and the community makes a huge difference in Kyrell’s road to recovery and maintaining a positive attitude.

“Thank you to everyone for your support and generosity whether it be through cards, calls, texts, donations, food or the purchase of decals.”

If you haven’t donated and would like to, the page is right here.



The 15-team AJHL announced on Friday that it has been given the OK to return Canmoreto play, although it didn’t reveal a schedule or a start date. On Sunday, the Canmore Eagles announced that they are opting out “due to challenges in meeting the requirements of the approved Return-to-Play Plan and of existing restrictions due to COVID-19.” . . . A news release on the AJHL website added: “We have worked tirelessly through several options not only within the town of Canmore, but also exploring possible solutions to work with other communities. Regrettably, we have not been able to arrive at a workable solution.” . . . The Eagles were hit with an outbreak of COVID-19 in late November, one that resulted in at least 16 positive tests within the organization and some community transmission. Andrew Milne, the Eagles’ general manager and head coach, did some resulting media interviews in which he candidly discussed what the team had gone through. The AJHL followed by hitting him with a 15-game suspension and a $1,000 fine for “bringing discredit to the league.”



Bigfoot


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The New York Times — President Biden honored the “truly grim, heartbreaking milestone” of 500,000 lives lost to the coronavirus at the White House on Monday. “The people we lost were extraordinary,” Biden said.

The New York Times — The United States reached a staggering milestone on Monday, surpassing 500,000 known coronavirus-related deaths in a pandemic that has lasted almost a year. The nation’s total virus toll is higher than in any other country in the world. It has far surpassed early predictions of loss by some federal experts. . . . The United States accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s known Covid deaths, but makes up just 4.25 percent of the global population.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Monday, 9:37 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,720 have died from coronavirus; 854,190 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Monday, 9:37 p.m. PT — United States: 500,236 people have died. . . . 28,188,311 have tested positive.

CBC News — Manitoba announced 97 new cases of COVID-19, up slightly from the province’s 7-day average of 92. The test positivity rate for the last week is 5.4%. The province has also had 2 additional deaths.

CBC News — B.C. has confirmed 1,428 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths from the disease over the last three days. There are 223 people in hospital with the disease, 63 of whom are in intensive care.

CBC News — Alberta reports 273 new COVID-19 cases, 16 more deaths from illness. Variant cases account for about 3.5% new infections in the province this month, Dr. Hinshaw says.

CBC News — Saskatchewan reports 177 new COVID-19 cases, up from the province’s 7-day average of 158. Announcement comes after province says it has reached agreement with pharmacists to help administer vaccines for the virus.

CBC News — Newfoundland and Labrador announces 14 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest total in 6 days and well below the 7-day average of 34. The number of recoveries is exceeding the number of new cases, a development the chief medical officer calls ‘encouraging.’

CBC News — Nunavut has 12 more confirmed cases of COVID-19, all in the small fly-in community of Arviat on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay. It’s the 1st time the territory has seen a double-digit daily increase since January 24.

CBC News — 805 new COVID-19 cases in Quebec as number stays below 1,000 for 9th straight day while 7-day average rises slightly to 773. Authorities are also attributing 11 additional deaths to the virus.

CBC News — Ontario reports 1,058 new COVID-19 cases, 5th day in a row number has exceeded 1,000. 7-day average up slightly to 1,045. Authorities also say there have been 11 more deaths. However, the number of hospitalizations and ICU patients continues to fall.

KTVZ NewsChannel 21 — Gov. Kate Brown today ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday in memory of the more than 500,000 Americans who have lost their lives due to COVID-19. This includes 2,155 Oregonians.

National Geographic — In 2020, the U.S. saw a more than 15 percent increase in deaths over the prior year, the highest year-on-year rise in deaths across the U.S. since 1918, which experienced both a global flu epidemic and the First World War

KOMO News — Washington State health officials reported almost 1,200 more COVID-19 cases, 77 hospitalizations and 35 deaths in the past two days as the United States reached a grim COVID-19 milestone. State officials have reported 334,962 cases, 19,110 hospitalizations and 4,857 deaths since the pandemic began.

The New York Times — More Americans have died from Covid-19 than did on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.

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Sooner or later, our lives are going to be able to return to some sense of normalcy, which will include being able to go back into arenas to enjoy hockey games, concerts and other shows. But what will the interior of those arenas look like? Well, the City of Kent is spending about $545,000 on the accesso ShoWare Centre to make it a “safer environment for fans,” as Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter writes right here. . . .

It was in November when Iona men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino pleaded with the NCAA to move the start of the season to March “and then have May Madness” because of the pandemic. The NCAA wasn’t listening. On Monday, Iona announced that the men’s team won’t be able to play its last five regular-season MAAC games because it doesn’t have enough healthy players. The Gaels (8-5) hope to play in the MAAC tournament that begins on March 8. . . . Earlier, Iona had a 51-day layoff, between Dec. 23 and Feb. 12, because of COVID-19.


Carpet


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

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The Moose Jaw Warriors are in the market for a general manager after Alan Millar announced that he is leaving to join Hockey Canada as director of player personnel. Millar joined the Warriors as director of hockey operations in 2010, then was named GM in 2012. Millar isn’t a stranger to Hockey Canada, having worked with the U-18 program for two years and then the U-20 team last year.


Ship

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering if that was the longest intermission in history . . .

Scattershooting2

While the sun was shining in Lake Tahoe and forcing the longest first intermission in NHL history on Saturday afternoon, the U of Saskatchewan’s athletic department was dropping a bombshell.

It wasn’t long after Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted that Mike Babcock’s hiring as the U of Saskatchewan’s men’s hockey coach would be announced “next week” when the school made it official.

Dave Hardy, the Huskies’ chief athletics officer, said in a news release that the 57-year-old Babock, who is from Saskatoon, “will lead the Huskies on a full-time volunteer basis for the next two seasons.”

Dreger later tweeted that Babcock “will coach one season, but is heavily involved in hiring an assistant coach to work with him next season before taking over the program the following year.”

Earlier in the week, Hardy told Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that he had heard from “less than 100 and more than 50” people interested in the vacancy. Hardy said that he hoped to hire someone before April 1.

“It’s a real challenge for our search committee to narrow that down but we’ll do that sort of collaboratively over the next three or four weeks,” Hardy told Zary. “We’ll have a very qualified coach by March 31.”

Babcock, who is to move into his new position in May, takes over from Dave Adolph, the team’s 27-year head coach who announced his retirement on Dec. 7 and will leave on May 1.

Babcock, a defenceman, played one season (1981-82) with the Huskies and one with the WHL’s Kelowna Wings before spending three seasons at McGill U in Montreal. He later coached at Red Deer College (1988-91) and with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns (1993-94), winning a national title there. He also coached in the WHL for eight seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors (1991-93) and Spokane Chiefs (1994-2000). . . . As an NHL coach, he won a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings (2007-08) and two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada (2010, 2014).

This season, he has been helping out as a volunteer senior advisor with the U of Vermont Catamounts, and he recently began working with NBC Sports as an NHL analyst.

Babcock was fired as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 20, 2019. He was in his fifth season there. When he was dumped, what was an eight-year, US$50-million contract had almost three years left on it. At the time, Pierre LeBrun of TSN reported that Babcock’s contract with Toronto “had a $3M signing bonus then $5.875M salary every year evenly through 2022-23.”

There since have been allegations that he verbally abused players, in particular Mitch Marner with the Maple Leafs and Johan Franzen in Detroit.



The 15-team AJHL, which hasn’t played since Nov. 21, announced Friday that it ajhlhas received government approval to resume its season. Specific dates apparently haven’t yet been set, but the league said training camps are to open “at the start of March” with games to begin at some point after that. If all goes well, games will be played on weekends through the end of May. . . . The news release didn’t mention a format but there have been reports that teams play be placed in three-game cohorts and play 24 games. . . . The league says that “players, coaches and support staff are currently self-isolating in preparation” for training camps. Players will be free to move on to camps after two negative tests. After that, a positive test will sideline a team for at least 14 days. . . . At this point, there won’t be any fans allowed to attend games. . . . The last line of the AJHL news release reads: “An update league schedule and a list of participating teams will be announced shortly.” By Saturday afternoon there was speculation that as many as three teams may opt out  of the resumption of play. . . . Before suspending play in November, the AJHL had experienced positive tests on at least five teams — the Canmore Eagles, Calgary Canucks, Drumheller Dragons, Olds Grizzlies and Whitecourt Wolverines.


The day before the AJHL announced that it was going to get in some games in PGKingsthe next while, the BCHL revealed that “multiple members” of the Prince George Spruce Kings have tested positive. . . . “At this point,” the BCHL news release reads, “the affected team members and all close contacts have been placed in a 14-day quarantine and anyone showing symptoms will be tested as soon as possible.” . . . The BCHL closed off with: “For the privacy of the people affected, we will have no further comment at this time.” . . . Brendan Pawliw of myprincegeorgenow.com reported that “several members” of the team had tested positive and that “all other billet families, team personnel and staff have been instructed to self-monitor for symptoms and to arrange for a test if symptoms arise.” . . . Pawliw also reported that “general manager Mike Hawes told MyPGNow.com he will not be commenting further on the issue.” . . . The Prince George Citizen reported that “general manager Mike Hawes has been told by the league not to reveal any other information.” . . . You may recall that Andrew Milne, the general manager and head coach of the Canmore Eagles, was hit with a 15-game suspension and fined $1,000 for talking to the media in December after his team was hit by an outbreak.



The Calgary Hitmen have cleared the first hurdle and now are OK to begin on-ice workouts. The Hitmen didn’t get back any positives from 59 tests from Feb. 13 through Friday as they set up shop at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina National near Calgary. . . .

Meanwhile, Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, reported that Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister, said Friday that the WHL’s 65-page return-to-play proposal “has been received and (is) being reviewed by the provincial health office. We are working on the plan and we will be responding the plan soon.” The plan apparently was received on Feb. 2, although Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said earlier in the week that officials ““haven’t received an updated proposal in the last few weeks.”


Drinks


Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle writes some truth:

“Women’s tennis reached its contemporary pinnacle when Serena Williams met Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open semifinals, and they played it like champions: quietly and with dignity, save those moments of exultation. Somehow, the WTA’s godawful noise machine grinds on with two of the top players, Simona Halep and Garbiñe Muguruza, right at the forefront. Every stroke brings a deafening shriek, as if there’s a gruesome crime in progress. As such, they leave no pleasant memories. They’re just passing through the sport.”


Frigate


The Port Moody Amateur Hockey Association has cancelled all team activities after learning of four positive tests among its membership. . . . According to a statement on the PMAHA website, it became aware of single positives on Feb. 4 and Feb. 9, and two on Feb. 10. . . . It acted on Feb. 10 to pause all activities. Before this, teams were allowed to practice under certain restrictions.



The eight-school Ivy League announced Friday that it won’t be holding any spring sports in 2021. The Ivy League Council of Presidents said the decision had been made “because of ongoing public health concerns related to COVID-19.”



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

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Mars

That night when NW Bruins wouldn’t wear helmets; they won but they lost . . . SHA focusing on September . . . ECHL’s Beast stops snarling

A new post appeared at cougarshockeyproject.ca on Thursday, this one a recap of the Victoria Cougars’ 1972-73 season. . . . A few paragraphs into the post, I came across a piece of WHL history — it was the WCHL in those days — about which I don’t ever recall hearing:

“One of the seasons’ strangest events occurred on Dec. 14. Victoria came away with the victory in a game it actually lost. New Westminster defeated Victoria, 5-4, but the Bruins refused to wear their helmets. After the game, the WCHL awarded Victoria the points, ruling that New Westminster must forfeit the victory because they blatantly violated the league’s helmet mandate.”

So . . . I scurried to newspapers.com and took a look at the Victoria Times Colonist of Dec. 15, 1972. Here’s what I found on the Dec. 14 game that was played in New Westminster:

“Victoria Cougars lost the battle but won the war here Thursday night.

“New Westminster Bruins, erupting for four goals in the second period, edged the Cougars 5-4 but lost two Western Canada Hockey League points because they refused to wear helmets.

“Executive-secretary Tom Fisher of New Westminster announced the forfeiture after officially receiving the game report from referee Al Paradise.

“In addition to losing the points that would have provided the Bruins with undisputed possession of first place in the Western Division, the New Westminster club was fined $320.

“ ‘Our league is bound by Canadian Amateur Hockey Association rules,’ said Fisher, ‘and these rules make it mandatory for players to wear helmets.’

“Fisher fined 16 New Westminster players $20 each. The only ones to avoid fines were New Westminster’s two goaltenders and Denis Anderson, the only Bruin who wore a helmet.

“The Cougars did not lodge a protest. Fisher, who attended the game, took the default action on his own initiative.”

One day later, I found more on this story, with Ernie McLean, the Bruins’ owner-coach, saying that he would appeal Fisher’s ruling.

According to McLean, Fisher “doesn’t have the authority” to take away the points and the Bruins would be taking their case before the league’s governors.

On Dec. 17, the Bruins all wore their helmets as they beat the visiting Centennials, 3-2.

The Bruins also wore their helmets on Dec. 19 as they beat the host Cougars, 6-1.

On Dec. 21, Del Wilson of Regina, the league’s president, said there was “little chance” of the Bruins getting back the two points.

“I’ve talked it over with Fisher,” Wilson said, “and there can be no appeal. New Westminster broke the rules, and the points will remain with Victoria.”

And that was the end of that story, although there doesn’t seem to be any record of whether those Bruins players paid their fines.

In the end, the two points didn’t figure in the final standings as the Bruins (31-22-15) finished fourth in the Western Division, four points behind the Centennials (35-22-11).


Parrot


Kelly McClintock, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association’s general manager, told CBC News on Thursday that “it’s pretty safe to say that we’re not going to be having any hockey games.” . . . That was in reaction to the province extending public health restrictions until at least March 19. Under those restrictions, hockey games aren’t permitted, while players 18 and younger are allowed to practise in groups of eight while physically distancing and wearing masks. . . . According to CBC News, “McClintock said the association is now focusing on becoming as prepared as possible to start in September, if all goes well.” . . . McClintock said: “I’m hoping by September . . . there’s a lot more people vaccinated, there’s a lot less fear. I think and hope that we’re at levels where we can start our September season.” . . . The CBC story is right here.



The NHL’s Dallas Stars, who had their first four games of this season postponed after nhl2having a number of players test positive, now have had four more games scrubbed, all because of the weather conditions and power outages in Texas. . . . The Stars were to have played the Nashville Predators on Monday and Tuesday, and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and Saturday. The latter two games would have been a rematch of last season’s bubbled Stanley Cup final, which the Lightning won in six games. . . . Two of the four early-season games that were postponed also were to have featured the Lightning and Stars. . . . Dallas is scheduled to play five games in eight days starting on Monday, with two of those games in Tampa.


The ECHL’s Brampton, Ont., Beast announced on Thursday that the franchise has folded. In an open letter, Cary Kaplan, the Beast’s president and general manager, said the franchise had “become the latest of many victims of COVID-19.” . . . The Beast played seven seasons in the ECHL. . . . Spiros Anastas, a former U of Lethbridge Pronghorns head coach, was the Beast’s head coach.


Watch


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Wednesday, 10:01 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,439 have died from coronavirus; 839,155 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Thursday, 9:48 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,509 have died from coronavirus; 842,590 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Wednesday, 10:01 p.m. PT — United States: 490,447 have died from coronavirus . . . 27,825,043 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Thursday, 9:48 p.m. PT — United States: 493,082 people have died. . . . 27,896,042 have tested positive.

——

CBC News — COVID-19 vaccine deliveries back on track following weeks of delay, says Public Health Agency.

CBC News — In the past week in Canada, there were 20,334 cases, a decrease of 13 per cent. . . . The number of active cases declined 14 per cent. . . . There were 410 deaths, or 1.1 per 100,000 people, a decrease of 29 per cent. . . . Hospitalizations declined five per cent and ICU beds filled declined seven per cent.

CBC News — B.C. records 617 new cases of COVID-19 and 4 more deaths, the highest number of new cases since Jan. 7. There are 224 people in hospital with the disease, 60 of whom are in intensive care.

CBC News — Number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario rises to 1,038, the 1st time in 5 days the number has exceeded 1,000. Of those, 376 are in Toronto, 142 are in Peel Region and 122 are in York Region. There have also been 44 additional deaths. . . . York Region’s top doctor calls for return to red level as Toronto, Peel seek lockdown extension. A decision on these 3 Ontario areas and North Bay, which also remain under a stay-home order, is expected Friday.

CTV News — Two passengers fined a combined $17,000 for allegedly faking negative COVID-19 tests.

The New York Times — Arkansas has lifted its curfew for bars and restaurants and loosened restrictions on large outdoor venues.

CBC News — Alberta reports 415 new COVID-19 cases, 7 more deaths. There are now more than 2,300 contact tracers in the province and 239 variants of concern have been identified to date.

CBC News — Saskatchewan reports 146 new COVID-19 cases. That’s the most in 5 days but still below the province’s 7-day average of 163.

CBC News — Manitoba announces 139 new cases of COVID-19, the 1st time the number has been over 100 since February 5 and well above the 7-day average of 91. There have also been 2 additional deaths.

——

I have a feeling that Ken Campbell of The Hockey News was watching the waning moments of the Minnesota Wild’s 3-1 victory over the host Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night when he posted this tweet . . .

The NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list was down to 13 players on Thursday, the lowest its been since Jan. 17 when it contained 12 players. . . . There were 59 players on the list on Feb. 12. . . . Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the Flyers have six players on the list, none of whom are expected to play in Sunday’s outdoor game at Lake Tahoe against the Boston Bruins. . . . The Flyers played Thursday night, their first game in 11 days, and lost, 3-2 in a shootout, to the visiting New York Rangers. . . . D Justin Braun, F Claude Giroux, F Travis Konecny, F Scott Laughton, F Oskar Lindblom and F Jake Voracek are the Philly players who didn’t play last night and aren’t likely to play Sunday.


Said


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

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Moon

It was big year for BC Transplant . . . One year after getting kidney, Gillis advocates for dialysis patients . . . Lots of numbers on organ donation

Yes, 2020 was a big year for organ transplants in B.C.

Figures compiled and released by BC Transplant show that there were a record 55 lung transplants. As well, 33 people, including three children, underwent heart transplants.

When it came to livers, a record set in 2017 was matched with 80 transplants — 78 singles and two in combination with kidneys.

When it came to kidneys, there were 280 transplants, with 81 of those involving living donors.

“The success of organ transplant is a transformative feat of expertise, coordination and caring through the province, in every health authority,” Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister, said in a statement.”A total of 451 people in BC received a life-saving transplant in 2020. Today, there are 5,491 British Columbians alive thanks to the incredible generosity of organ donors.”

From a BC Transplant news release: “In 2020, 110 people donated organs after death, with their families making a selfless decision in a moment of grief to gift life to others. 81 living donors donated a kidney in 2020.”

As a new year began, more than 1.5 million people had registered a decision with the province’s Organ Donor Registry. At the same time, there were 737 people awaiting organ transplants.

——

One of those who received a kidney from a living donor is Stephen Gillis of Vancouver. In fact, Thursday was the first anniversary of the transplant that also involved donor Michael Teigen. . . . On Thursday, Gillis and Teigen got together at a Vancouver track and ran five km to celebrate the good times. . . . These days, Gillis is asking the B.C. government to prioritize dialysis patients for vaccinations against COVID-19. Gillis points out that these people “are very, very vulnerable,” what with having compromised immune systems and having to visit hospitals three or four times a week to under dialysis. . . . There’s more on Gillis and Teigen right here. . . . I would suggest that the B.C. government also should be prioritizing transplant patients such as Gillis. These people all take anti-rejection drugs that suppress their immune systems so that the new organs won’t be rejected. It should be a matter of utmost importance that they, too, be among the earliest to be vaccinated.


In a story written for the National Post, Emma Jones details the story of Marit McKenzie of Calgary, who took an interest in organ donation and later got her mother to co-sign an organ donor card. In 2013, Marit died suddenly and heart was donated to Tanner Fitzpatrick, 12, of Newfoundland. . . . “Organ donation continues to be a difficult decision for Canadians,” Jones writes, “where 90 per cent of the population support organ donation, yet only 23 per cent register as donors, reports Canadian Blood Services. The low number of donors can translate into deadly consequences for the more than 4,500 people waiting for an organ donation — 260 of whom will die each year, according to The Organ Project, a not-for-profit founded by Eugene Melnyk, the owner and chairman of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club. That’s about five deaths each week, or one death every 30 hours.” . . . Of those waiting for an organ, 76 per cent need a kidney, with 10 per cent awaiting a liver, six per cent lungs and four per cent a heart. . . . According to The Organ Project, the average kidney patient will wait four years for a new organ. . . . “Marit’s heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys were successfully transplanted in four separate surgeries, according to the David Foster Foundation,” Jones writes. “Her donated corneas gave two more patients sight, while bone tissue and tendons were preserved for future reconstructive surgeries.” . . . More from Jones: “The work of researchers, doctors and volunteers, as well as the selfless acts of living and deceased donors, is making a difference. In 2019, more than 3,000 transplants were performed from 1,434 donors, an increase from approximately 2,500 transplants from 1,212 donors in 2015, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The waiting list also appears to be shrinking, down to 4,527 in 2019 from 4,712 in 2015.” . . . Her complete story is right here.






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

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Time is everything. This is why we promise registering as an organ donor should only #TakeTwoMinutes. That’s faster than microwave popcorn! #Register2Give

Pachal, Bruins’ captain, WCHL champion and kidney donor, dies at 64 . . . Nachbaur returns to WHL

CPachal
CLAYTON PACHAL

Clayton Pachal, who won two WHL championships with the New Westminster Bruins, has died following a brief illness. Pachal, who died on Feb. 7 in Saskatoon, was 64. . . . Comfortable at centre, left wing or on defence, he was the captain of Bruins teams that won the 1974-75 and 1975-76 WCHL championships and went on to play in the Memorial Cup. . . . Those were the first two of four straight league titles for the big, bad, burly Bruins of head coach Ernie (Punch) McLean. . . . They lost the Memorial Cup final in 1975 and 1976, then won the next two. . . . . . . He split the 1972-73 season between the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers — he was from Yorkton — and the Bruins, then spent the next three seasons with New Westminster. In all, he had 68 goals, 90 assists and 910 penalty minutes in 234 regular-season games. He aded 13 goals, 15 assists and 156 PiM in 48 playoff games. . . . He also played eight Memorial Cup games, scoring four times, adding one assist and serving 18 penalty minutes. . . . Clayton was a cousin to Kent Pachal, whose son Brayden, a defenceman, played four seasons in the WHL and captained the Prince Albert Raiders in 2018-19. He now is with the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights. . . .

The Boston Bruins used the 16th overall selection in the NHL’s 1976 draft to take Clayton Pachal. He went on to play 35 NHL games — 11 with the Bruins and 24 with the Colorado Rockies — recording two goals, three assists and 95 penalty minutes. . . . The Winnipeg Jets selected Pachal in the second round, 17th overall, of the WHL’s 1976 draft. . . . He retired from pro hockey after splitting the 1979-80 season between the Central League’s Cincinnati Stingers and the International League’s Grand Rapids Owls. . . . When he returned home, he kept playing, this time in the Wild Goose Hockey League with the Unity Miners and Wilkie Outlaws. . . .

Pachal’s greatest contribution wasn’t made in an arena or on a sheet of ice. In 1997, he was a living donor for his brother, Evan, who needed a kidney. . . . The brothers were an excellent match and Evan told Taking Note on Tuesday that “I’ve enjoyed good health ever since . . . I am so thankful for his gift.” . . .

The family asks that donations be made to the Kidney Foundation of Canada in lieu of flowers. . . . A complete obituary is right here.


Don Nachbaur is the Tri-City Americans’ new associate coach. Nachbaur will Americanswork alongside head coach Kelly Buchberger, who is into his third season with the club. . . . Nachbaur, the WHL’s third-winningest regular-season head coach, spent six seasons (2003-09) as the Americans’ head coach. He also spent six seasons as head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds and seven with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . With 692 victories, he is behind only Don Hay (750), who now is an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, and the retired Ken Hodge (742). . . . After leaving Spokane, Nachbaur, 62, joined the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach. He got caught up in a house-cleaning early in his second season (2018-19) in L.A. . . . Nachbaur spent the 2019-20 season as head coach of HKM Zvolen in the Slovakia Tipsport Liga. He started the 2020-21 season as head coach of SC Bern in the Swiss National League A, but left the team five games into the season with a 4-8-0 record.



Sleep


Starting pitcher Frankie Montas wasn’t there when the Oakland A’s reported to camp in Mesa, Ariz., on Wednesday. He has tested positive for COVID-19 and has symptoms. Under MLB’s protocols, players reporting to camp go through an intake process that includes a five-day home quarantine. A positive test also results in a player having to isolate for at least 10 days. He is allowed to rejoin the team only after undergoing cardiac evaluation and getting clearance from a team physician and from an MLB/MLBPA committee. . . . Pitchers and catchers were to report Wednesday. The mandatory reporting date for other players is Feb. 26. The first exhibition games are scheduled for Feb. 27. Opening day is set for April 1.


The NBA has scheduled its all-star game for March 7 in Atlanta — it was to have been held in Indianapolis but was moved for pandemic-related reasons. . . . Keisha Lance Bottoms is the major of Atlanta. How does she feel about having the game in her city? Here she is in a statement: “Under normal circumstances, we would be extremely grateful for the opportunity to host the NBA All-Star game, but this is not a typical year,” she said in a statement. “I have shared my concerns related to public health and safety with the NBA and Atlanta Hawks. We are in agreement that this is a made-for-TV event only, and people should not travel to Atlanta to party. There will be no NBA sanctioned events open to the public and we strongly encourage promoters, clubs, bars, etc. not to host events in the city related to this game.”


Line


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Tuesday, 9:48 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,395 have died from coronavirus; 836,594 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Wednesday, 10:01 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,439 have died from coronavirus; 839,155 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Tuesday, 9:48 p.m. PT — United States: 487,927 people have died. . . . 27,753,824 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Wednesday, 10:01 p.m. PT — United States: 490,447 have died from coronavirus . . . 27,825,043 have tested positive.

——

The Globe and Mail — Global COVID-19 cases have dropped by half, and experts are looking for explanations.

The Globe and Mail — Alberta pastor accused of breaking COVID-19 health rules held in custody.

The Tri-City News — COVID-19 outbreak at Burnaby’s biggest daycare sees 24 cases.

CBC News — B.C. records 427 new COVID-19 cases and 3 more deaths. There are 232 people in hospital with the disease, 63 of whom are in intensive care.

CBC News — Alberta is reporting 277 new COVID-19 cases, 7 more deaths. Province has a case positivity rate of 3.9%.

CBC News — Manitoba is reporting 76 new COVID-19 cases, below the province’s 7-day average of 84. Health authorities are also reporting 1 additional death.

CBC News — Saskatchewan is reporting 124 new COVID-19 cases, well below the province’s 7-day average of 159. Health authorities also say there have been 5 additional deaths.

CBC News — New Brunswick is reporting 3 new COVID-19 cases and 15 recoveries. Province has had 1,407 total cases, 1,264 recoveries and 24 deaths. . . . N.B.’s top doctor urges residents to stay in own zone over March Break.

CBC News — Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region call for 2-week lockdown extension due to COVID-19 variant spread. Toronto’s top doctor says there are 56 confirmed cases while 283 others have screened positive; foresees 3rd wave ‘as worse as anything we’ve seen.’

——

The NHL has had to postpone 35 games because of COVID-19, seven teams have had to pause activities and there have been 124 players on the protocol list. It all has left some people wondering if the coronavirus is being transmitted during games. . . . Chris Bumbaca of USA TODAY has a lot more on this story right here.

——

From the NBA on Wednesday: “Of the 454 players tested for COVID-19 since Feb. 10, five new players have returned confirmed positive tests. Anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test, or has been identified as having been in close contact to an infected person, is isolated or quarantined until they are cleared under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association in accordance with CDC guidance.”


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

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The junior B Langley Trappers have opted out of whatever might be left of the 12-team Pacific Junior Hockey League’s 2020-21 season. The league has been in a holding pattern since Nov. 7.


History

Dietrich leaves quite a legacy; ex-Wheat Kings captain dies at 59 . . . Byram fitting right in with Avalanche

Don Dietrich, a former defenceman with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings (1978-81) who went on to a pro career, died on Tuesday morning. From Deloraine, Man., and proud of it, he was 59.

He is survived by his wife Nadine and three sons — Tristan, Jake and Nick. The latter two, like their Dad, played in the WHL.

Tristan posted Tuesday morning on the Facebook tribute page that they recently started to honour their husband and father:

“We are sad to announce that Don, Dad, Dins, Beaker passed away this morning peacefully. He fought hard til the end. The ‘I Can’ in him stayed true right til the end.

“If ever having a hard day, remember it can always be worse. A bad day doing something you love is still better than a good day doing something you don’t. Keep your toes up ice! The golden rule must always be followed. Get the most out of life by finding out what you can do for others. Take a second to look at the man in the mirror. Be true to your self. Take ownership. Find a way to win.

“Don made sure he passed on lessons so he could live on in all of us. We love him. Will see him on the other side . . . just not yet . . . not yet.”

It has been almost five years since Randy Turner of the Winnipeg Free Press wrote a terrific piece about Don after a Molson Canadian promotion resulted in his being part of a group that got to play hockey on a frozen lake in the mountains near Invermere.

Dietrich, who was battling Parkinson’s disease and then was diagnosed with cancer, later told Turner: “I’ll put it to you this way. If there’s a heaven on Earth, I’ve been there.”

Turner’s story is right here.

If you paid any attention to the Don Dietrich tribute page over the past couple of weeks, it became readily apparent that Don had a positive impact on the lives of a whole lot of people.

There can be no doubt that he left this world a much better place today than it was when he first made his presence heard.

Sleep well, old friend. You were one of a kind. Finally, the pain is gone.


Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has taken a look at the WHL’s plans to get WHL2players back on the ice, with a particular focus on the five teams in the U.S. Division. . . . Those five teams are scheduled to begin games on March 19, with all games in Everett or Kent, and with the Portland Winterhawks practising in Vancouver, Wash. . . . At one point, Baker writes: “I’m told not all U.S. Division teams favored playing, which isn’t surprising given risks to players, aged 16-20, paid only nominal ‘stipends.’ There’s no TV revenue at stake and gate-driven WHL squads will lose a bundle by taking the ice.” . . . Officials with the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds told Baker that “their motivation is showcasing and developing players for NHL careers.” That, of course, is what everyone is saying. . . . According to Baker, the Silvertips will have their players in a bubble — “most likely in currently empty dormitories at Everett Community College.” The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, will have their players with billets. . . . As Baker writes, “We’ll see how effective one ‘bubble’ team is when playing others mingling daily with nonquarantined people.” . . . Baker’s complete story is right here.

——

Meanwhile, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, held an in-person briefing on Tuesday. Asked when the WHL’s B.C. Division will be able to get its five teams playing again, according to Liza Yuzda of News 1130, she said that health officials “haven’t received an updated proposal in the last few weeks,” adding that they would be “happy to look at it.” . . . She also said that if the province continues on its present trajectory, she would hope for games in March or April.


The NHL announced a number of schedule changes on Tuesday, but also had another postponement on its hands. For the second night in a row, it had to postpone a game between the Nashville Predators and host Dallas Stars because of power-related issues in Texas all due to the inclement weather. . . . Former Lethbridge Hurricanes D Calen Addison made his NHL debut on Tuesday night as the Minnesota Wild played its first game since Feb. 2 because of protocols. The Wild dropped a 4-0 decision to the Kings in Los Angeles. . . .

The NHL had 22 players on its COVID-19 protocol list on Tuesday, with seven of them from the Philadelphia Flyers, who last played on Feb. 7 and are scheduled to play the visiting New York Rangers on Thursday. The Flyers, with seven players on the protocol list, practised on Tuesday after being off for a week. However, they had only 14 skaters, four of them from the taxi squad, and two goaltenders available.


News


The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs have had four players test positive and now have had four games postponed, including Tuesday game against the host Detroit Pistons. . . . The Spurs remain in quarantine in Charlotte, N.C., since playing the Hornets there on Sunday. . . . The Spurs were to have played road games against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, the New York Knicks on Saturday and the Indiana Pacers on Monday. . . .

Due to contact tracing, the Hornets’ next two games have been scrubbed. They were to have played at home against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday and the Denver Nuggets on Friday. . . . The NBA now has postponed 29 games for virus-related issues.


I have received a query from a WHL fan who has in his possession a black New Westminster Bruins sweater (No.22) from 1977-78 or 1978-79. He doesn’t know who wore it, although he wonders if it may have been Don Werbeniuk. . . . If you are able to help with some ID, please email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Dear hockey gods: We really, really need a best-of-seven series — a best-of- nine would be better — between the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights. Their game in Vegas on Tuesday, especially the third period, was hockey as art, even without fans. . . . D Bowen Byram, 19, made the play that led to Colorado’s winning goal late in the third period of a 3-2 victory. The former Vancouver Giants star played 25:03 last night, after going 23:07 in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over the Golden Knights. The Avalanche is without three defencemen — Cale Makar, Erik Johnson and Samuel Girard — but hasn’t missed a beat with Byram back there.


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Monday, 10:44 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,298 have died from coronavirus; 832,375 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Tuesday, 9:48 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,395 have died from coronavirus; 836,594 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Monday, 10:44 p.m. PT — United States: 486,321 have died from coronavirus . . . 27,692,967 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Tuesday, 9:48 p.m. PT — United States: 487,927 people have died. . . . 27,753,824 have tested positive.

——

NBC Montana — State Medical Officer Dr. Greg Holzman announced his resignation from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Thursday in a letter to new Director Adam Meier. . . . The announcement came one day after Gov. Greg Gianforte announced plans to lift the state’s mask mandate, which went into effect Friday.


Panel


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

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Troy Gillard will be the interim play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels for the approaching 24-game developmental season. He takes over from Cam Moon, now the radio voice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Gillard, a familiar media face in Red Deer since 2006, has been the host of Rebels broadcasts since 2011. He will be joined on home games by veteran analyst Mike Moller. . . . You may recall reading there last week about the travels of former WHL star goaltender Taran Kozun. Well, add another chapter because he was released by the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears on Tuesday.


Diet

Maurice says juice missing without fans . . . NHL game scratched by power outages . . . Yes, Texas was colder than Kamloops

Prior to Monday night’s 6-5 victory over the host Edmonton Oilers, head coach Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets spent some time during a media availability nhl2talking about playing NHL games in empty arenas.

For starters, he feels the experience is good for the players’ long-term relationship with the fans.

“I think,” Maurice said, “that this is actually great for the players of the NHL to go through because they truly have an appreciation for how much the fans bring to the building. . . . We will be really, really happy when we get people back in the building, for sure.”

(Thanks to Carter Brooks of fullpresshockey.com for the quotes.)

And it’s something that is felt just as much on the road as it is on home. In fact, Maurice said, when you’re playing on the road, well . . .

“There is not that energy, that juice, that excitement (right now), and that’s true on the road, too,” he said. “Sometimes winning the game on the road is even more fun because you depress 20,000 people. That sounds terrible, but it’s true. You come in and you’re out-playing them, the fans are booing their own team. There is an energy that comes out of that.”

D Nathan Beaulieu, who is in his ninth season as a pro, admitted that it isn’t easy adjusting to playing before empty seats.

“I think having no fans is definitely wearing on guys . . . especially with games that are emotional and tight,” Beaulieu said. “If you need that extra boost, if you’re playing a back-to-back, I think we miss the fans more than we (let on). They’re such a big part of our game. That’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed . . .

“But playing the same teams over and over . . . you kind of know what to expect when you’re showing up at the rink, so there’s not a lot of surprises. But personally, the fans . . . you don’t really realize how much you miss them until they’re not there.”

——

As if the NHL doesn’t enough on its hands with the pandemic, it was forced to postpone a game on Monday night due to a lack of power. Yes, power as in electricity. . . . The Dallas Stars were to have played host to the Nashville Predators but was scrubbed because of, as the NHL put it, “extreme weather conditions that have caused significant power outages in the Dallas area.” . . .

At 10 p.m., The Weather Network reported that the temperature in Dallas was minus-14 C; it was minus-5 C in Kamloops. . . .

The St. Louis Blues and Arizona Coyotes wrapped up their seven-game set on Monday afternoon, the host Coyotes winning, 1-0. Arizona won four of the games. . . . While those teams were meeting seven times in 13 days, the Buffalo Sabres didn’t play even once thanks to COVID-19 protocols. The Sabres returned to action last night for the first time since Jan. 31, losing 3-1 to the visiting New York Islanders.



The San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons were to have played an NBA game in the Michigan city tonight. But the NBA announced Monday that the game had been postponed. The Spurs had a player test positive and contact tracing has left them without the required eight players necessary to play a game.


There was an accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on the eastern side of Kamloops on Monday morning. The east-bound lanes were shut down and traffic was rerouted onto Shuswap Road, which runs along the north shore of the South Thompson River for 17 km before providing a link to the highway. Dorothy and I often take Shuswap Road into the city and on a lot of trips might pass eight or 10 vehicles. On Monday, we had to go in to pick up groceries at 2 p.m. On our way in we must have passed between 200 and 300 vehicles. Somehow I don’t think the week-long pleas by B.C. politicians and health officials asking people not to travel on the long weekend had the desired effect.


Foil


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

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CBC News — Saskatchewan is reporting 143 new COVID-19 cases, which nudges the province’s 7-day average up to 160.

CBC News — Alberta is reporting 251 new COVID-19 cases, 2 more deaths.

CBC News — Red Deer slaughterhouse to close temporarily amid growing COVID-19 outbreak that has claimed one life. . . . As of Monday, 326 employees had tested positive, nearly double the count of 168 on Feb. 6. Of those, 192 remain active.

CBC News — Widespread testing of all residents at a condo building in Mississauga, Ont., starts today after 5 cases of the coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa were identified there, Peel Public Health says.

CTV Montreal — Eleven Ontario students fined at least $17,000 for cottage weekend in Quebec Laurentians.

CBC News — Quebec is reporting 728 new cases of COVID-19. The province is also reporting 16 additional deaths, 5 of which occurred in the last 24 hours. The province removed 1 previously reported death from its total. 804 people are in hospital, including 136 in ICU.

CBC News — 1 new COVID-19 case in New Brunswick, the lowest daily total since December 30. Health authorities also say there has been another death due to the virus.

CBC News — 7 new cases of COVID-19 are being reported in N.L., along with 21 presumptive positive cases identified through rapid testing. There are 298 known active cases in the province. 1 person is in hospital.

CBC News — Surge in cases in hamlet of Arviat, Nunavut continues to grow with 7 new COVID-19 cases reported Monday, marking Nunavut’s biggest daily increase of 2021. New cases bring the territorial count of active cases to 18, all of them in Arviat.

CBC News — Global cases of COVID-19 top 109M cases and over 2.40M deaths: Johns Hopkins University.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Monday, 10:44 p.m. PT — 21,298 people in Canada have died from coronavirus . . . 832,375 people have tested positive in Canada.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Monday, 10:44 p.m. PT — 486,321 people in the United States have died from coronavirus . . . 27,692,967 people have tested positive in the U.S.


Shopping


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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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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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Pigeons

Mondays With Murray: Quotes Recalled

JMurray

For 37 years, fans of Jim Murray made it a morning ritual to sit down at breakfast, newspaper in hand, and enjoy a bowlful of witticisms and insights spoon-fed by America’s favorite sports columnist. Murray’s nationally syndicated columns were the genuine article, offering a slice of sporting life. He took us from the pits at Indianapolis to Augusta National Golf Club to a front-row seat behind home plate at the World Series.

    Murray was the consummate sports scribe, as much a master of the English language as he was adept at dissecting the idiosyncratic world of athletes and the games they play. 

  Today we go back to the beginning of Jim’s career at the Los Angeles Times when he took to his column to provide a commentary on quotes from other people.

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2, 1961, SPORTS

Copyright 1961/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY

JIM MURRAY

Quotes Recalled

  The history of western civilization is alive with the deathless quotes of famous men. I can think offhand of Voltaire’s “I do not agree with a word that you say but will defend to the death your right to say it,” which has heartened generations of popoffs from Karl Marx to Tom Duggan and which I wish some baseball players would subscribe to.

  Then, there was Benjamin Franklin’s “We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately,” which has sustained other generations of his countrymen from the Minute Men to the James Boys and the Brink’s Robbers. It could have been used by the 1960 San Francisco Giants.

  Of late years, I am sorry to say that in many areas of the world the art of the rich, full quote has declined precipitately. But this is rather due to the fact that events no longer seem to offer the same inspiration. Winston Churchill has done his yeoman best but his inspiration, i.e., Hitler and Mussolini and, to a lesser extent, the Socialist government, are no longer abroad in a turmoiled world.

  Franklin Roosevelt told us we had nothing to fear but fear itself — but we found that out. In recent years, Harry Truman contributed some colorful language but it was largely inspired by music critics and Drew Pearson. And no one expects you can put those in copy books. Dwight Eisenhower’s remarks, while intelligible, were of chief interest to those who understand golf, and John F. Kennedy says, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” but this is not too much help as the answer is “nothing.”

  I am happy to say, though, that, while the statesmen and the politicians have been faltering, there is one area of civilization that is still productive of the pithy phrase. This is the world of sports. From it and its doughty band of popoffs have come ringing through the years enough quotes to take up the slack and rule out the possibility Bartlett’s Quotations will one day become a static work largely sustained by Abraham Lincoln and annual re-reading of “Alice in Wonderland.”

  No aphorism, for example, has more punch than fight manager Joe Gould’s terse “I should of stood in bed,” on the occasion of the 1935 World Series, which was played in weather so cold pitchers didn’t warm up, they thawed out.

  Joe Louis’ shrewd analysis of an opponent’s fight plan, “He can run but he can’t hide,” might very well have applied to general Rommel if Montgomery had thought of it first.

  Nowhere in the archives do you find a better example of applied irony than the chance remark of the manager of the New York Giants, Bill Terry, some years ago when he erected his own gibbet by inquiring innocently, “Are the Dodgers still in the league?” Khrushchev frequently wants to take the same dig at our space program but he lacks the flair for it. Besides, it reminds one of Napoleon’s contemptuous dismissal of the English as “A nation of shopkeepers,” the kind of quote that can come back to haunt you as Mr. Terry found out when the Dodgers, that very same year, rose up in the last two games of the season to clobber the Giants and thereby hand the pennant to the St. Louis Cardinals, a fiercely competitive (and closed-mouthed band of players).

  It was a lesson that was lost on some. Charlie Dreesen, for instance, casting a look at the self-same Giants some years later was moved to remark with characteristic inelegance, “The Jints is dead.” Correct grammar would have it, “The Giants are dead,” but, even to the casual student of the deathless quote, this would lack much of the breathless and authentic quality of Dreesen’s perversion. In my humble opinion, the Dreesen original may one day take full rank with “You may fire when ready, Gridley,” in the lore of our country. I am proud to be living in an age that produced it. The fact that the Giants were quite alive and proved it by running away with the pennant the next year has nothing to do with it.

  I am also proud to be living in the age that produces the published works of Paul H. Richards, who leaped into the public print before the season opened with the ringing assertion, “The Orioles will win the pennant.” Now, this is a case where it is not so much how he said it as what he said. As the Duchess told Alice in Wonderland, “Take care of the sense and sounds will take care of themselves.”

  Richards was making sense. The sound you heard was the rest of the league laughing. But they laughed when Farragut said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” too.

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Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation P.O. Box 661532, Arcadia, CA 91066

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info@jimmurrayfoundation.org|

www.jimmurrayfoundation.org

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering Frank Orr and a cold, cold night . . .

Scattershooting2

Back in his day, Frank Orr was as large in his field as Bobby Orr was in his. No, they weren’t related.

Frank Orr, who died Saturday at 84, was a hockey writer with the Toronto Star when I met him. It was at the 1991 IIHF World Junior Championship that was held in Saskatchewan. I was the Regina Leader-Post’s sports editor, and spent most of the tournament in Saskatoon.

By that time, Orr was a legendary hockey writer; I was a scribbler from Lynn Lake, Man., who was 20 years into his career. Within an hour of meeting Orr, it was like we were best buddies and had been for a long time.

That is how personable he was. He was a master of the one-liner and had travelled extensively — so what if most of it was on expense account — so had tasted the food in many tremendous eateries. Now here he was in Saskatoon, where the weather was miserably cold, and he was loving every minute of it. Well, almost every minute of it . . .

On Dec. 30, Orr and three others drove to Regina to watch Canada play Sweden, choosing to return to Saskatoon after the game. About 30 minutes outside Saskatoon, a red light lit up the dash of their rental car. They limped into the city, finding out later that the PCV valve had frozen open and the car’s oil had blown out all over the engine compartment.

Later, Orr admitted that he had broken out in a cold sweat at the thought of meeting his maker on the frozen prairie.

“I always thought it would end with someone’s husband chasing me down a street,” he said with a laugh.

Sleep well, old friend.

Mark Zwolinski of The Star has more on Frank Orr right here.


ICYMI, the Edmonton Football Team has a shortlist of seven possibles for its new nickname — Elk, Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, Elkhounds, Eagles and Elements all are in the chase. . . . We are left to wonder what happened to Editors, Elaters, Elephants, Ernies, Eroughriders, Eskers. . . . Having lived in the north where there are eskers, I would be inclined to lean that way. . . . Edmonton Eskers. Yes!


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “If the Lord’s Prayer can be inscribed on the head of a pin, engravers can certainly fit the full name of Tampa Bay Bucs run-stuffer Vita Vea — Tevita Tuli’aki’ono Tuipulotu Mosese Va’hae Fehoko Faletau Vea — onto a Super Bowl ring, right?”

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Perry, again: “Players for the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels will live at the team’s rink in Alberta this season to reduce the COVID-19 risk. ‘Fine with us,’ said every stay-at-home defenceman.”


Congrats to Gilles Courteau, the commissioner of the QMJHL, who celebrated his 35th anniversary in office on Saturday. Stephane Leroux of RDS points out that Courteau spent 15 years as president and now has been commissioner for 20 years. Leroux also points out that Courteau was hired on an interim basis in 1986.



Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The NFL patted itself on the back with a spot bragging that the league is donating $250 million ‘to combat systemic racism.’ And that doesn’t even count the millions it paid to Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid for keeping them unemployed.

“If you don’t think it’s racism that’s keeping Kaepernick out of The League, tell me what you think would have happened to (Tom) Brady had he taken a knee in protest.

“Kaepernick and Reid sat out this season, but Tyreek Hill and Antonio Brown suited up and were covered in glory in the National Football League of Second Chances.

“And the 49ers announced they have re-signed Josh Rosen, whose resume now includes this: 1,000th washed-up quarterback to sign an NFL contract since Kaepernick ‘retired’.”



Here’s Ostler, again: “It’s sad to see Pebble Beach get squeezed out of golf relevance by Saudi Arabia and Los Angeles. Pebble’s famed annual AT&T National Pro-Am got snubbed by the world’s top golfers, partly because they want a rest between last week’s big-payoff Saudi International and next week’s Genesis Invitational in L.A. The AT&T has become the great little family diner you speed past on your way from IHOP to McDonald’s.”

——

A digital subscription to the San Francisco Chronicle is well worth it to read the likes of Ostler, Ann Killion, Eric Branch, Bruce Jenkins et al. . . . And with pitchers and catchers about to report, you may want to subscribe to the Washington Post just for the musings of Thomas Boswell.


When Major League Baseball revealed the details of the shakeup heard ’round the minor leagues, the Pacific Coast League was nowhere to be found. The league that sent so many players to the big leagues — like Joe DiMaggio and Willie McCovey — now is Triple-A West. . . . The California League is gone, too. It’s Low-A West. . . . Here’s hoping saner heads will prevail and that when it does there aren’t corporate names involved. . . . With MLB’s reorganization now complete, there are 120 minor-league teams left. Forty others are nowhere to be seen.



With all that we’ve been through over the past year, who had ‘Earthquake strikes near Banff’ on their 2020-21 Bingo card?

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Someone figured out that starter Trevor Bauer’s deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers will pay him somewhere around $10,000 per pitch. Keep in mind, too, that he only performs every fifth day. Can you imagine being a carpenter and getting paid $10,000 for every nail you hammered or every screw you turned? No, neither can I.


It could be that the best feud in hockey features Brian Burke, the new president of hockey operations with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and columnist Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. . . . This goes back a few years and is far from being over. . . . In his book that came out last fall, Burke sniped at Simmons a time or three. . . . On Sunday, in his weekly notes column, Simmons wondered about Burke’s recent hockey accomplishments, or lack of same:

“Which makes the hiring of Burke in Pittsburgh as president of hockey operations more than a little surprising, although you won’t hear anything like that from all his media pals who laugh along with every word he speaks. It is the hiring of yesterday’s man, who won in Anaheim more than a decade ago, who made the Sedin deals (his signature NHL moves) 22 years ago. What has Burke done lately in hockey, except write a best-selling book and become valued entertainment in between periods? Truth is, it’s a lot of sound and fury, in reality, signifying nothing.”

The puck now is in Burke’s end of the ice.


JUST NOTES: You watch the Daytona 500 and you just know the last lap is going to turn into a demolition derby. . . . Had to chuckle at the WHL fan on social media last week who was debating with a guy named Brent Parker about the role of tutors with teams. Don’t think the fan realized that Parker is a former general manager of the Regina Pats. . . . If you’re wondering how we’re doing over here, well, there aren’t any bodies buried in the back yard so I guess that means we’re still getting along. . . . The St. Louis Blues and Arizona Coyotes will meet today for a seventh straight time. Tell me again how this NHL season won’t warrant an asterisk when it’s all over. . . . On the subject of this NHL season, if you watch enough games it really becomes apparent just how much emotion and passion fans bring to the games. Yes, the players are trying hard, but it just isn’t the same, is it?