Nasty day as COVID-19 numbers continue to grow . . . SJHL ready to open . . . OJHL targets mid-January; each team gets disinfectant fogger machine

The 12-team SJHL has five games scheduled for tonight (Friday) and six on Saturday as it opens its 2020-21 regular season. . . . While the Saskatchewan-based teams will be limited to having 150 fans in the pews, the Manitoba-based Flin Flon Bombers will be allowed to have Whitney Forum at 25 per cent, or about 400 fans. . . .

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 129 new cases of COVID-19, the highest climb in daily cases in the province since the beginning of the pandemic. 30 new cases are in the north central zone, 55 in Saskatoon area.

The 22-team junior A Ontario Junior Hockey League doesn’t have an exact starting date, but said Thursday that it has a targeted starting date in early January. . . . It hopes to play a 30- to 36-game schedule before going into a shorter than normal playoff season. . . . From a news release: “In preparation for today’s announcement, various OJHL teams have already started the cohort bubbling process — as permitted under applicable law in conjunction with their Regional Public Health Unit (PHU) regulations — with scrimmages and exhibition games. Further announcements will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead, with dates and coverage details of established cohort bubbles and their respective exhibition game play. . . . OJHL teams have been in a training phase for the last number of weeks with the plan on getting rosters down to 25 players. Once clubs are down to a maximum 25 players on their rosters, they are then eligible to start playing scrimmage or non-contact games that follow the league’s governing regulations and otherwise comply with applicable PHU regulations and guidelines.” . . . Something else of interest: “Most importantly, each team is also receiving a disinfectant fogger machine in partnership with CleanQuip Systems Inc., which will be used to disinfect and sanitize team dressing rooms and other team areas within each facility.” . . . Ontario reports 998 new COVID-19 cases, concerns over hospitalizations mount.

Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reported via Twitter that “three members of the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons are isolating and waiting for the results of their COVID-19 tests. All of the Pistons’ team activities have halted until further notice.” . . . Paul Dyck, the Pistons’ general manager and head coach, told Sawatzky: “We had three players (who) exhibited flu symptoms — one Monday and two Tuesday. So we’re just taking precautions. The players have been tested. We don’t have results back.” . . . Sawatzky pointed out: “On Wednesday night, the number of potential cases prompted the league to postpone Steinbach’s home-and-home series this weekend with the Winkler Flyers.” . . . The MJHL has postponed 16 games of late, but still has two on Friday night’s schedule — Waywayseecappo at Neepawa and Swan Valley at Virden. . . .

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 427 new COVID-19 cases, the province’s 2nd highest daily total since the pandemic began. The 7-day average is now 326, which is a Manitoba record. The province is also attributing 4 additional deaths to the virus.

The 14-team Heritage Junior B Hockey League postponed two games involving the Medicine Hat Cubs and Coaldale Copperheads. They were to have played in Medicine Hat on Friday and Coaldale on Saturday. . . . Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News tweeted: “Cubs president Troy Sandau added one member of the Cubs has been tested and results came back negative. Coaldale HC/GM Doug Paisley says three players have tested positive, though none played in either of the two games last weekend. . . . Copperheads now are isolating and will return to practice Nov. 12.” . . .

Tina Karst, CJOC/CKBD Lethbridge: Dr. Deena Hinshaw says she does not have exact numbers but says there have been about 800 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the past 24 hours. She says this is “extremely concerning.”  Nine hospitals now have outbreaks, including Lethbridge’s Chinook Regional Hospital.

The BCHL, which plans on opening its regular season on Dec. 1, has addressed the situation involving the Wenatchee Wild, the league’s only U.S.-based team. . . . The BCHL said that with the U.S.-Canada border closed to non-essential travel, the Wild isn’t on the regular-season schedule at this point in time. From a news release: The Wild’s “plan remains to continue training camp . . . and play intra-squad exhibition games until they are able to travel north to play against BCHL competition. If the border opens early in 2021, or before the regular season commences, the league has plans in place to add the Wild into the schedule . . .”

Chilliwack FC, which oversees minor soccer in the B.C. city, announced Thursday that is has shut everything down through Nov. 16 because of rising numbers in the area. An email from Chilliwack FC read: “While we continue to believe it is a parent’s choice as to whether their child participates in our programs, we feel it is in the best interest of our organization that we pause all activities effective immediately. These activities include all practices and games from the U4 level through to adult.” . . .

Janet Brown, CKNW Radio, Vancouver: Record number of new COVID-19 cases in BC 425, 97 in hospital (+5), 24 ICU (highest number of people in hospital since Apr27) 3389 active cases also highest on record, 7519 in self isolation, no new deaths.

CBC News: Canada surpasses 250,000 COVID-19 cases with the reporting of 1,138 new cases in Quebec. That’s the highest daily number in the province in almost 3 weeks. Quebec is also attributing 10 additional deaths to the virus.


Here was how Thursday began for the NFL. . . . The Houston Texans, who are to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, shut down their facility after being informed the previous night that an unidentified player tested positive. Later in the day, LB Jacob Martin went on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also reported that two other linebackers — Whitney Mercilus and Dylan Cole — were identified as close contacts and also went on the list. . . . The Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts each had a staff member test positive. . . . C Cody Whitehair of the Chicago Bears tested positive, so they paused in-person football activities and closed their facility. Earlier in the week, the Bears put OL Jason Spriggs and OL Germain Ifedi on the list. Spriggs tested positive, while Ifedi was declared a high-risk close contact. . . . The Bears are to play the Titans in Tennessee on Sunday. . . . The Philadelphia Eagles, who are on a bye week, had S Marcus Epps come up positive. . . . The Detroit Lions placed S Jalen Elliott on the list, but head coach Matt Patricia wouldn’t speak to the condition of QB Matthew Stafford, who went on the list earlier in the week. The Lions are at Minnesota on Sunday. . . .

Meanwhile, a number of U.S. college football games have been removed from Saturday’s schedule. . . . The Washington Huskies won’t be visiting the California Golden Bears, while Air Force at Army and Tulsa at Navy also are off. . . . Cal had one player test positive and contact tracing meant a number of other players had to go into isolation. It all left Cal without enough scholarship players for a game. . . . Air Force cited an increase in cases at the Academy and surrounding area. . . . Navy has had a number of positive tests and has halted football activities. . . . Other scheduled games that won’t be played this weekend: North Texas-Louisiana Tech, Wisconsin-Purdue, Louisville-Virginia and Florida International-UTEP. . . .

The USHL has shuffled a number of games. For starters, Omaha at Waterloo games scheduled this weekend were, according to the league, “declared a No Contest. Per league safety protocols, minimum standards were not met to play.” . . . Also postponed were two games in Des Moines, involving the Buccaneers, Sioux Falls Stampede and Tri-City Storm. . . . On Wednesday, the USHL had postponed a series between the Lincoln Stars and host Fargo Force for the same reason. . . .

UConn suspended men’s basketball activities after one player tested positive. The Huskies are scheduled to open their season on Dec. 2. . . .

Sporting Kansas City, which is to play its final MLS regular-season game on Sunday at Real Salt Lake City, had what it called a “first-team player” test positive on Thursday. . . .

CTV has reported that the Canadian national ski cross team has had several members contract the virus while in Switzerland training for the new season. Alpine Canada, which wouldn’t confirm reports of illness, is bringing at least some team members back to Canada. CTV also reported that cases of COVID-19 “have also been reported in members of the Russian and Norwegian alpine teams.”

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