Firstly, a huge thank you to the WHL and its 17 Canadian teams for all they have done and are doing in helping to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.
If you’re a regular here, you know how much this means to me because of my wife, Dorothy, having received a kidney more than four years ago. She helped out with the selling of 200 mini-helmets on Friday when the Kamloops Blazers did their part and wore the Don Cherry-themed sweaters. It’s worth noting that while there Dorothy was approached by three different women who have been kidney donors. As Dorothy says, “Donors are the real heroes.”
On Thursday, she volunteered at a World Kidney Day function that was arranged by nursing students from Thompson Rivers University.
If you are interested in how she is doing, there’s more right here, including video that appeared on CFJC-TV today.
Don’t forget that four WHL teams — the Kelowna Rockets, Red Deer Rebels, Saskatoon Blades and Victoria Royals — will hold their Organ Donor Awareness Nights this weekend.
You are aware that the WHL season is into its final 11 days, but are you aware there hasn’t been an in-season coaching change for a second straight season? In fact, the last in-season coaching change occurred in 2015-16 when Lorne Molleken was dismissed as the head coach of the Vancouver Giants. Of course, that happened with just two games left in the season so likely shouldn’t count.
When you pay attention to a television event like the Super Bowl or the Oscars while also keeping an eye on a computer, you are left to wonder what all the closet comedians did before Twitter.
Hey, Ichiro is going to be back with the Seattle Mariners this season. What better place for him to finish up his hall-of-fame career.
Next season’s WHL schedule will have each team play 68 games, down four from recent seasons. That means each team will play two fewer home games. . . . There are 22 teams in the WHL. With season-ticket renewals on the way to fans, what is the over-under for the number of teams that will have lowered their prices?
Oh, here’s a note that just arrived from a fan who has received his renewal offer from his favourite team:
“ ‘More money for less product’ is not a good marketing tool. I’m not sure what they’re thinking, charging more money for fewer games when attendance is down in nearly all WHL markets this season. I still maintain it’s a great deal for the price you pay vs. the quality of the hockey, but I’m much more than a casual fan and they’re obviously having challenges getting people to games.”
If you are on Twitter and haven’t seen it, I would suggest you visit Slava Malamud’s account at @SlavaMalamud and read his 21-take analysis of the KHL and how this season’s championship has been pre-determined. The whole explanation is gold. . . . None of that will be news to The MacBeth Report, who has been keeping me filled in on Putin’s pals and their roles in the KHL for a while now.
Whenever I watch curling on TSN, I am left thinking that Russ Howard may be the best analyst on TV today. Any sport. Any channel. Any stream. The chemistry between Cheryl Bernard, Vic Rauter and Howard is rarely heard in a three-person broadcast team.
Watching Brendan Leipsic score in OT and draw two assists for Vancouver on Monday night had me wondering: How long before the Canucks acquire Ty Rattie from the Edmonton Oilers? Rattie was a pure sniper when he was with the Portland Winterhawks, but really hasn’t been able to find an NHL home. Vancouver head coach Travis Green had Rattie in Portland and knows what he can do, just like he knows all about Leipsic, another Portland product.
If the WHL playoffs started today, one first-round series would feature the Portland Winterhawks and Spokane Chiefs. On Thursday, Dylan Bumbarger (@dylandb) tweeted: “Series starts in Portland even if the Winterhawks don’t have home ice because Spokane is hosting NCAA regional women’s basketball.”
If you aren’t a fan of the Boston Bruins, don’t ever watch one of their games on NESN on a full stomach. Why not? Well, there are broadcasters who leave you wondering what game they’re watching, and then there is Jack Edwards, whose work is slanted beyond comprehension. How slanted? If he has a vote for the Lady Byng Trophy, you can bet he’s writing in Brad Marchand’s name.
The MJHL’s Waywayseecappo Wolverines have signed Taylor Harnett, their general manager and head coach, to what the club called a “multi-year contract extension.” . . . Harnett joined the team in November after first-year coach Arnie Caplan was dismissed following a 1-16-1 start. The Wolverines finished the season with an 8-48-4 record. They didn’t make the playoffs as they had the 11-team league’s poorest record.
The AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys have released Adam Redmond, their general manager and head coach, and Doug Hergenhein, who was the head scout and director of player personnel. . . . Redmond was an associate coach with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks before signing with Olds prior to this season. . . . The Grizzlys finished 18-37-5, placing eighth in the eight-team Viterra South Division. . . . Hergenhein was in his first season with Olds.
IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …
Prince Albert at Moose Jaw
Brandon at Medicine Hat
Regina at Swift Current
Red Deer at Lethbridge
Seattle at Everett
Tri-City at Kelowna
Spokane at Portland
Vancouver at Victoria
No Games Scheduled.
FRIDAY (all times local):
Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Calgary at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Regina vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Red Deer at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Vancouver vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Prince George at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Spokane vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.