The WHL has two lobbyists from the Vancouver-based Bluestone Consulting Group working to lobby officials in the B.C. government as it hopes to make its way through the pandemic and get back on the ice in the fall.
The WHL suspended its 2019-20 regular season on March 12 and later cancelled the remainder of its season, including the playoffs.
Hoping to stick to a schedule that would have it start the 2020-21 season in late September, the WHL has contracted with lobbyists Mark Jiles, the principal owner of Bluestone, and Rob Nagai, its vice-president.
Jiles has more than 20 years worth of experience “in helping organizations achieve their strategic communications, government relations, goals and objectives.” Among other things, he spent four years (2002-06) on the board of directors of the bid and organizing committees for the 2006 World Junior Championship, the bulk of which was held in Vancouver.
Nagai has been with Bluestone since January 2018. Prior to that, he spent almost seven years working as a fundraiser with the B.C. New Democratic Party that now governs the province.
According to details filed with the B.C.’s Office of the Registrar and Lobbyists, the WHL wants to lobby Adrian Dix, B.C.s Minister of Health, and the Provincial Health Services Authority, which “oversees the co-ordination and delivery of provincial programs and highly specialized health-care services.”
The WHL is hoping to be “included (in the) B.C. government’s restart program.”
The WHL also “would like to discuss a Return to Play protocol” with the government. “This would detail what it would take to reopen the league and these regulations and guidelines would ultimately apply” to five B.C. teams in the WHL.”
Jiles and Nagai began working for the WHL on May 11, with a projected end date of July 31.
The arrangement with Bluestone doesn’t have anything to do with lobbying the B.C. government for financial aid.
The CHL, the umbrella under which the WHL operates, along with the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, has hired Bluesky Strategy of Ottawa to lobby Canada’s federal government in the hopes of garnering financial aid for its 52 Canadian teams.
I reported on that in a piece that was posted here late on Tuesday night.
The CFL is hoping to get its 2020 season underway at some point in September. And if it does end up playing a season of some sort, it won’t end with a Grey Cup game in Regina as had been planned.
Regarding the start of the season, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a news release: “Barring some huge development, like a vaccine for COVID-19, it now seems clear we can rule out playing games this summer.
“There are several reasons, including the continuing restrictions on assemblies, travel and border crossings. Notably, several provinces and municipalities have already decided to prohibit until Sept. 1 all sporting events featuring large gatherings.”
Ambrosie also admitted that “a cancelled season is also possible . . . it’s too soon make a sure call at this point.” As he put it: “We are not announcing or promising a return this fall.”
Meanwhile, the CFL also announced a change to its format for the Grey Cup game. Originally scheduled for Regina on Nov. 22, the championship game, if it is played, will take place in the home stadium of the finalist with the best regular-season record in 2020. Depending on when the season would start, the championship could be decided some time in December.
Hamilton will remain as the host city for the 2021 game, with Regina now to play host in 2022.
The CFL also cancelled its Touchdown Atlantic game that was to have been played in Halifax on July 25. The game was to have featured the Toronto Argonauts and Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Edmonton is hoping to be one of the so-called hub cities should the NHL get up and running again. If you are wondering whether NHL players crossing the U.S.-Canada border to get there would be exempt from the self-isolating rules in play right now, well, here is Alberta Premier Jason Kenney:
“Obviously the players and their support staff would need to comply not only with our own public health orders but also with the federal 14-day quarantine requirement for international travellers arriving from abroad.”
The NHL has said it would need a three-week training camp for its players before games could be played. So that period of self-isolation takes it up to five weeks.
With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team and also put a smile on her fact by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.
Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “The average man does not get pleasure out of an idea because he thinks it is true; he thinks it is true because he gets pleasure out of it.”
For the record, The Sports Curmudgeon, who is based in the Washington, D.C., area, is hoping that the CFL survives this pandemic. As he writes: “I enjoy CFL games; often the CFL Friday night game is more interesting than other Friday night sports offerings on my cable system and I tune in. For purely selfish reasons, I hope that Commissioner Ambrosie is successful in finding ways to keep the CFL afloat; it has been around for longer than the NFL and it provides an interesting alternative football experience.” . . . For more of the curmudgeonly one’s ruminations on this subject, click right here.