COVID-19 has landed in Eagles’ nest; AJHL team has 16 positives . . . Virus forces multitude of schedule changes

Hockey’s worst nightmare showed up in Canmore, Alta., the picturesque Alberta community that is home to the AJHL’s Eagles and is located just over an Canmorehour west of Calgary.

On Nov. 19, the AJHL reported “a member of the Canmore Eagles has tested positive for COVID-19.”

On Friday, reports indicated that at least 16 members of the Eagles have tested positive, along with an untold number of their contacts. For example, general manager/head coach Andrew Milne tested positive, as did his wife and one of their sons.

According to Milne, a former WHL player and coach, the first indication that something might be wrong came on Nov. 14 during a game in Drumheller against the Dragons. It was then that one player began to feel ill.

That player tested positive on Nov. 19 at which time all team members were isolated, including those living with billets.

“We tested everybody,” Milne told Calgary Eyeopener, “and that’s when obviously the number started climbing. And . . . it was evident that we had massive outbreak in our club.

“I think part of the reason for the large numbers was the fact that we were just on a bus and there was very limited ability for us to move about in some recycled air.”

One of the things that seems to have caught Milne by surprise was the quickness with which the virus chewed through his roster.

“It’s amazing how fast the web can unwind and get going,” he said. “You can see how fast it moves and how quickly it gets from one guy to the next.”

The AJHL has three other teams believed to be dealing with positives. The league announced on Nov. 20 that the Calgary Canucks had a positive test, then, the next day, said the Dragons also had one positive. Then, on Nov. 22, the league revealed a positive test with the Okotoks Oilers.

The AJHL season was paused on Tuesday as a result of restrictions implemented by the Alberta government. The league’s board of governors is to meet on Dec. 19 to study its options.

Jennifer Dorozio of CBC News has more right here.

Milne’s interview with Calgary Eyeopener is right here.

The No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes won’t be playing their football game at Illinois today (Saturday) after the game was cancelled because of positive tests. Those positives include Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, who also will miss a game next Saturday at Michigan State. Conference protocols call for coaches who test positive to sit out for 10 days. . . . Nick Saban, the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, also is sideline this weekend after testing positive. . . . And yet you watch NCAA college football, like the Thursday game that had Nebraska at Iowa, and you see head coaches with their facemasks constantly around their chins. You really would think that the pooh-bahs at these universities would have a word with these men about being better. Of course, the other side of the coin is that there are few people in the sporting world who are more oblivious to their surroundings than football coaches.


CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 344 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 additional deaths related to the virus. 178 of the new cases are in the Winnipeg region. The 5-day test positivity rate is 14.5%. A record 322 people are in hospital, including 45 in intensive care.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 4 more deaths and 329 new COVID-19 cases, an increase from the previous 7-day average of 244. Concern is also growing about the impact on hospitals, which are up 400% in the last 30 days and forecast to continue accelerating.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,227 new cases of COVID-19 and 9 new deaths. There are 14,217 active cases in the province. 405 people are in hospital, including 86 in intensive care.

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: 911 new cases, 11 deaths (395), 301 hospital (+7), 67 ICU (+3).

CBC News: Elementary school order to close after COVID-19 outbreak leads to 16 cases in Surrey, B.C.

iNFOnews Kamloops: Anti-masker throws hot coffee on Kelowna IGA employee.

CBC News: Ontario reports over 58,000 more COVID-19 tests completed. Data shows 541 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario, 151 are in ICU and 101 are on a ventilator.

CBC News: 38 additional deaths, 1,269 new COVID-19 cases reported in Quebec. That’s higher than the previous 7-day average of 1,208. Currently, 669 people are in hospital, and 90 of them are in intensive care.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 12 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 new recoveries. The province has seen a total of 477 cases and 356 recoveries since the pandemic began.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 9 new cases of COVID-19, all in the central zone. The provincial state of emergency has been renewed, and will now extend to noon on Dec. 13.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, bringing province’s total case number to 331. There are currently 31 active cases.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: Today is the 25th consecutive day that the United States has reported at least 100,000 new coronavirus cases, according to data from CNN and Johns Hopkins University.

CBC News: Los Angeles County announces a stay-home order as COVID-19 cases surge in the most populous county in the U.S. The order, which takes effect Monday, comes as the county confirms 24 new deaths and 4,544 new coronavirus cases.

The New York Times: Coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 13 million on Friday, even as many Americans ignored Thanksgiving travel warnings.


Oh my, but the NFL is a messy place these days. . . . With the Baltimore Ravens fighting an outbreak — QB Lamar Jackson is on the reserve/COVID-19 list — their game at the Pittsburgh Steelers that was to have been played Thursday night and then was moved to Sunday afternoon now is scheduled for Tuesday night on NBC. Got that? . . . On the original schedule, Baltimore was to have played at Dallas on Thursday (Dec. 3). That game now will be played on Monday, Dec. 7 (FOX). The regular Monday Night Football game (San Francisco at Buffalo, ESPN) will follow to give us a doubleheader. . . . On top of all that, the Steelers played three players on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos had a player and two staffers test positive so shut down their facility on Friday. This was the third time this season that the Broncos have had to cancel a practice. The New Orleans are scheduled to visit Denver on Sunday. . . . The Los Angeles Rams also shut things down, saying the move was made out of an “abundance of caution.” One player and a staff member tested positive, but later twice tested negative. . . . Assistant coaches Nick Eason and Steve Jackson of the Cincinnati Bengals will miss Sunday’s game against the New York Giants for what the team says is COVID-19 related reasons. . . . The Arizona Cardinals, who allowed 1,200 fans at each of their previous two games, won’t be allowing fans at their Dec. 6 game against the Rams as numbers rise in the state. . . . The Cardinals will be without veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald when they meet the New England Patriots on Sunday. He and WR Trent Sherfield are on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . .

UFC Fight Night on Saturday was to have been headlined by a heavyweight scrap featuring Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis. That won’t happen, however, because Blaydes has tested positive. . . .

Scratch the Pinstripe Bowl off your schedule of football bowl games. The game, which was to have featured teams from the Big Ten and ACC in Yankee Stadium, was dumped because of an increase in positive cases and travel restrictions that are in place in New York. . . . Eight bowl games now have been scratched. But you can relax because there still are 35 on the schedule. For now. . . .

The Gonzaga men’s basketball team, ranked No. 1 in the NCAA, played Friday morning in Fort Myers, Fla., despite learning that one of its players had tested positive. “We had people out for quarantine due to contact tracing, we had a positive test on an administrative staff, then we had a positive test on a player,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said after a 90-67 victory over Auburn. “It’s how the preseason has went. You just wait to get the news on testing, then you have to react, have to stay agile. We followed COVID protocols with the tournament, and the Florida health board down here have all been great. Our guys have been incredibly diligent about following all the rules.” . . .

Zach Braziller of the New York Post pointed out that some schools have paused their men’s basketball teams for less than what happened with Gonzaga.

“Meanwhile, several programs have shut down for less than what is happening with Gonzaga,” he wrote. “Those schools seem to understand what experts have said, that someone can test negative and not show symptoms, yet still be able to transmit the virus to others because the incubation period can last up to 14 days, according to the CDC.

“Not everyone seems to get that. Playing college basketball during a pandemic is a risk. It’s an even greater risk not to be extra safe.”

His complete column is right here.

You want more? Arizona’s men’s basketball game against visiting UTEP on Sunday won’t happen. UTEP has had a positive test. Arizona was to have opened Wednesday but there Northern Arizona had someone come up positive. . . . Middle Tennessee’s football game today against Florida Atlantic has been postponed. . . . In hockey, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) will begin its schedule in an Omaha bubble on Tuesday, but has had to move Colorado College’s first four games because of a positive test with the Tigers. . . . The Georgetown women’s basketball team experienced a positive test so their opener at Richmond on Sunday has been postponed. . . . Northern Kentucky’s men’s basketball program is on hold after a positive test. . . . The Temple Owls also have paused team activities after a positive test in their men’s basketball team. . . . The Western Collegiate Hockey Association is having to make scheduling adjustments after positive tests in the Ferris State, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan programs. . . . UMass Lowell was to have opened its men’s hockey season on Saturday but that won’t happen after a positive test was discovered in its program on Friday. The university has halted team activities while team members are tested. . . . The River Hawks game with Providence will be rescheduled.


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