Two co-owners of WHL franchises were in the NHL news this week. . . . Dan Hamhuis, who owns a piece of the Prince George Cougars, announced his retirement, while Mark Recchi, one of the Kamloops Blazers’ owners, lost his job. . . . Hamhuis, 37, is from Smithers, B.C. He played four seasons (1998-2002) with the Cougars before going on to an 18-season pro career. He played 1,148 regular-season NHL games, split between the Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars. He played the past two seasons with Nashville, which had selected him 12th overall in the NHL’s 2001 draft. . . . Recchi, 52, is from Kamloops. The Pittsburgh Penguins fired him and two other assistant coaches — Sergei Gonchar and Jacques Martin — after losing a best-of-five NHL play-in series, 3-1, to the Montreal Canadiens in the Toronto bubble. (OK. They weren’t fired. Their contracts weren’t renewed.) . . . Recchi, a Hockey Hall of Famer, hired on as a development coach in July 2014, then moved up to assistant coach in July 2017. . . . Mike Sullivan, the Penguins’ head coach, signed a four-year extension on July 5, 2019.
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
Bianca Andreescu won’t play in the U.S. Open that is to run Aug. 31 through Sept. 13 in New York. Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., is the defending champion. She suffered a knee injury in October and hasn’t played a whole lot since then. Andreescu said in a statement: “The U.S. Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the COVID pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at the highest level.” . . . Rafael Nadal, the men’s defending champion, also has said he won’t play in the U.S. Open. . . .
The Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) has cancelled all “championships and festivals that were scheduled for October and November.” According to a statement from Nick Rowe, the OFSAA president: “The decision is in alignment with the province’s Stage 3 reopening regulations. Those regulations apply a number of restrictions to sports and recreation activities that ultimately prohibit the possibility of OFSAA events.” . . .
The St. Louis Cardinals have played five games this MLB season. They were laid low by COVID-19. Their organization has suffered at least 17 positive tests, 10 of them players. . . . They were to have returned to play on Friday against the host Chicago White Sox. But that game has been postponed and the teams now are scheduled to play a Saturday doubleheader. . . . St. Louis hasn’t played since July 29. . . . The Cardinals go into Saturday knowing they have to play 55 games in 44 days if they are to complete a 60-game schedule.
Three more U.S. athletic conferences have suspended fall sports with the hopes of picking it all up again in the spring. . . . The Big East, Western Athletic Conference and Southland Conference all cited the pandemic in making their decisions. . . .
In a letter to its member associations, the board of directors of the New York State Amateur Hockey Association (NYSAHA) writes that it has heard from “multiple sources” that a “number of East Section players have recently tested positive for COVID-19; that some are sicker than others, with some players very sick; and in some cases have passed the virus on to family members and/or friends.” . . . According to the NYSAHA, the players who tested positive were on teams that played in non-sanctioned tournaments in New Hampshire and Connecticut. . . . The letter points out that “NYSAHA and its Section Presidents have stated in numerous emails and notices posted to the NYSAHA website that hockey is indefinitely suspended from ALL ON-ICE, OFF-ICE and administrative activities in order to help prevent the spread of COVID.” . . .
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The BCHL is aiming for a Dec. 1 start to its regular season with teams opening training camps in mid-September. The five teams from Vancouver Island are hoping to hold a tournament in Colwood, near Victoria, starting on Oct. 2. Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times-Colonist reports that the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Cowichan Valley Capitals, Nanaimo Clippers, Powell River Kings and Victoria Grizzlies each would play 12 games in a round-robin format leading to semifinals and a final. . . . Dheensaw writes: “The tournament will adhere to current B.C. guidelines and a maximum of 50 people — including players, coaches and scorekeepers — will be in the rinks for the games.” . . . Craig Didmon, the Grizzlies’ general manager and head coach, told Dheensaw: “This is all dependent on the health authorities. If it can’t happen, then we will continue practising and training until the start of the regular season.”
Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from Will Rogers: “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” . . . And I say you should never miss a good chance to check out The Sports Curmudgeon right here.