If you are the least bit squeamish, you may not want to click on the link in the tweet below. There are some horrific revelations in the story by Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . Please pay attention to the WARNING that accompanies it. . . .
The WHL’s plan to open its next regular season on Jan. 8 took another hit on Tuesday when the Alberta government announced mandatory restrictions that include the shuttering of all indoor rinks and arenas. The closures take effect on Sunday at midnight and are to run for at least four weeks. . . . Also on Tuesday, Manitoba announced that its restrictions, which have shut down junior hockey in the province, were being extended into January. . . . In Saskatchewan, public health orders are in place through Dec. 17. . . . The WHL has yet to have players report to their teams. It had hoped to have players travel on Dec. 26, then open mini-training camps on Dec. 27, all with the aim of opening a regular season of up to 50 games on Jan. 8. Teams would play strictly within their own divisions during the regular season. . . . In Washington state, which is home to four WHL teams, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday that restrictions that now are in place will run at least through Jan. 4. . . . In Oregon, home to the Portland Winterhawks, indoor recreation spaces will remain closed at least through Dec. 17. . . . The OHL, which also has yet to bring in its players, has said it wants to open a regular season on Feb. 4. Perhaps the WHL will announce in a day or two that it is aiming for early February, too.
With the rosters of the American, Canadian and Swedish national junior hockey teams having already been impacted by COVID-19, Hockey Canada officials now are being asked about minimums involving the 10-team World Junior Championship that is to open in an Edmonton bubble on Dec. 25.
As in: What is the minimum number of teams needed for the tournament to be played? The answer seems to be eight.
As in: What is the minimum number of players needed for a team to be eligible to play a game? The answer seems to be 17 — 15 skaters and two goaltenders.
Team Canada is out of its two-week quarantine, forced on it when two players tested positive. But before returning to the ice on Tuesday, five players were sent home, all of them for health reasons — F Ridly Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings, D Daemon Hunt (Moose Jaw Warriors), D Mason Millman (Saginaw Spirit), D Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings) and F Xavier Simoneau (Drummondville Voltigeurs).
Those decisions left the camp roster at 41; it will be down to 25 in a few days.
Meanwhile, the Swedish team, which went into Tuesday having had four players already test positive, found out that three coaches have tested positive, including head coach Tomas Montén. Assistant coach Anders Lundberg and video coach Adam Almqvist also have tested positive. . . . F Albin Grewe, a third-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2019 draft, is the fourth player to have tested positive, after F William Eklund, D William Wallinder and F Karl Henriksson.
The Swedish Ice Hockey Association now is working with the IIHF to determine the alternatives. . . . What is known for sure, is that the four players and three coaches won’t be taking part in the WJC. . . . Johan Stark, the Swedish federation’s secretary general, said: “If we see that the trend is going in the wrong direction, we must consider whether participation is possible or not.” . . .
Germany also has had issues with COVID-19 and has lost three players to positive tests — G Tobias Ancicki, F Nino Kinder and F Lukas Reichel. The Chicago Blackhawks selected Reichel with the 17th overall pick of the NHL’s 2020 draft.
The Austrians haven’t escaped unscathed, either, with D Thimo Nickl, a fourth-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks in 2020, having tested positive.
And don’t forget that Team USA also lost three players to COVID-19 protocol. G Drew Commesso, F Robert Mastrosimone and D Alex Vlasic all are from Boston University, which had to pause it’s men’s hockey program.
Rene Fasel, the longtime president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, has tested positive, as has general secretary Horst Lichtner, the IIHF’s second most-powerful man. The two had to postpone a trip to Belarus where they were to have met with Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s embattled president. . . . The 2021 men’s world championship is to be split between Latvia and Belarus, but the IIHF is under pressure to drop Belarus. The International Olympic Committee has suspended Lukashenko and wants the IIHF to honour that suspension.
The BCHL’s Langley Rivermen announced on Tuesday that they “have decided to pause the season effective immediately.” With things on hold until at least Jan. 8, the Rivermen statement read: “We feel it is in the best interest of the Langley community, the players, the staff and billets to pause until January, pending further news” from the B.C. government. . . . Under the restrictions implemented by the B.C. government and health officials, players 19 and older are prohibited from practising, while those 18 and younger are able to skate with restrictions. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a further look right here at the situation in which the BCHL finds itself.
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
CBC News: Global cases of COVID-19 top 68M: Johns Hopkins University.
CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 13 more COVID-19 deaths and 245 new cases. That’s the lowest daily case total in 17 days and drops the 7-day average to 324.
CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 6 more COVID-19 deaths and 183 new cases. That brings the 7-day average down to 264, but the number of hospitalizations hits a record high of 144, with 27 people in intensive care – also a record high.
CBC News: Alberta reports 1,727 new COVID-19 infections, setting another record with 20,388 active cases. Across the province, 654 people are being treated in hospitals for COVID-19, including 112 in ICU. Another nine deaths were added to the toll, bringing the total to 640 since March.
rdnewsNOW: Red Deer with 373 active COVID-19 cases.
Don Martin, CTV: Sad but necessary. A desperate Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has waved the white flag and imposed Canada’s most restrictive regime of shutdowns to fight a horrific COVID surge hitting its hospitals.
Richard Zussman, Global BC: There are 566 news cases of COVID-19 in the province. There have been 38,718 cases of the virus in BC. . . . There have been an additional 16 deaths due to COVID-19. There have been a total of 543 deaths in BC due to the virus. . . . There have been 265 deaths in the province from COVID in the last month. That is nearly half of all of the deaths due to the virus. . . . There are 352 people in hospital with COVID-19 in BC. There are 74 in ICU.
CBC News: Ontario has 1,676 new COVID-19 cases, lowest daily total since November 26. It sends the province’s 7-day average down slightly, from 1,820 to 1,816. Toronto has 588 cases, while Peel Region has 349 and York Region has 141. There are 10 additional deaths. . . . There are 794 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario; 219 in ICU and 132 on a ventilator. 39,200 more tests were completed in the province with a 5% positivity rate.
CBC News: 36 additional deaths and 1,564 new COVID-19 cases reported in Quebec. That sends the 7-day case average to 1,598 from 1,544.
KGW: 36 COVID-19 deaths in Oregon, most reported in a single day. . . The Oregon Health Authority also announced 1,341 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.
KOMO News: The Washington State Department of Health reported 2,923 new COVID-19 cases, 145 additional hospitalizations and 26 more deaths in the past 24 hours.
The New York Times: North Carolina’s governor imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on Tuesday in the hope of slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the state has nearly doubled in the past month.
CNN: America surpasses 15 million confirmed Covid-19 cases. At least 284,887 in US have died from the virus since the pandemic began.
The NFL revealed on Tuesday that it had 18 players and 27 other personnel test positive during the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5. Since Aug. 1, it has had 173 players and 297 other personnel confirmed positive. . . .
WR Dez Bryant, now with the Baltimore Ravens, tested positive while taking warmups shortly before Tuesday’s game against his own club, the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to the game, Bryant was seen on the field hugging some of the Cowboys. . . . The game went on as scheduled, but without Bryant. . . .
The Green Bay Packers said Tuesday that only employees and players’ household families will be allowed to attend games at Lambeau Field for the remainder of this NFL season. . . .
The football game scheduled for Saturday between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines won’t happen for the first time since 1917. The Wolverines have had an outbreak of COVID-19. . . . The Cincinnati Bearcats won’t be visiting the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday. The Bearcats have been hit by the virus. The two teams will meet Dec. 19 in the AAC championship game, but only if the virus allows it, of course. . . . No. 8 Indiana and Purdue are supposed to meet on Saturday. However, Indiana cancelled practice on Tuesday and has paused all football-related activities because of positive tests. Purdue also cancelled Tuesday’s practice to “evaluate the results of recent COVID-19 testing.” . . .
The ECHL will open its 33rd regular season with five games on Friday and five more on Saturday. Eleven of the league’s 26 teams have opted out, at least for this season. . . . The Fort Wayne Komets and Toledo Walleye had said they would start in mid-January, but now say it will be in mid-February. . . .
Jairo Castillo, a scout with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has died of complications from COVID-19. He died Sunday in the Dominican Republic at the age of 31. . . . Castillo once scouted for the Toronto Blue Jays.
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Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
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