Alex Kopacz, 31, is an Olympic gold medallist, having won the two-man bobsleigh competition as pilot Justin Kripps’ brakeman in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Today, he’s in hospital in London, Ont., just happy to be alive. . . . “I’ve never felt so close to my own death before,” he told Donna Spencer of The Canadian Press. “It’s been horrible.” . . . Yes, he has COVID-19, and he is on oxygen to help him breathe. But he is showing improvement and hopes to be out of the hospital in a few days, although he doesn’t know what the future holds. . . . In the meantime, he wants everyone to know that “it’s not a joke. The only thing that’s a joke is people who don’t believe in scientists. The anti-maskers are a joke. An absolute hazard to society.” . . . Spencer’s complete story is right here.
The Western Canadian Baseball League lost another team on Saturday when the Medicine Hat Mavericks announced they have chosen to opt out of the 2021 season. . . . The league announced late last month that its Alberta teams were going to go ahead with a season using only Canadian players. At this point, the Edmonton Prospects, Lethbridge Bulls, Sylvan Lake Gulls and two teams of Okotoks Dawgs seem poised to play.
The Canadian College Baseball Conference announced Saturday that it has cancelled its 2021 spring season “due to public health restrictions.” . . . From a statement: “The CCBC board of governors was optimistic in the early spring that a return to play would happen and worked diligently to pursue every avenue to make the conference season happen. With provincial authorities extending current restrictions it has made for challenges that can’t be overcome.” . . . The CCBC comprises eight teams in Alberta and B.C.
Hey, want to be part of a team? Dorothy, my wife of almost 49 years, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and now is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. It happens virtually on June 6. You are able to join her team with a donation right here.
Athletics Canada has decided not to send a team to the two-day World Athletics Relays that are scheduled for Chorzow, Poland, May 1 and 2. Australia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the U.S. have also said they won’t be there. . . . Simon Nathan, Athletics Canada’s high performance director, in a statement: “The safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority. Though showing signs of improvement, Poland is reporting a very high level of COVID-19 and travellers are strongly encouraged to avoid all non-essential travel in and out of Poland, even those who are fully vaccinated.” . . . The Canadian team, which has been training in Baton Route, La., was to have comprised 24 athletes.
The WHL’s Regina hub season will end with two games on Wednesday. The five Saskatchewan and two Manitoba teams have been there since early March, staying in dormitories at the U of Regina and Luther College. . . . The WHL said on Saturday that the seven teams have gotten through their final COVID-19 testing period without any positive tests. Teams are tested once a week. In the period from April 18-24, those seven teams experienced 213 tests without a positive. . . . In total, there were 1,020 tests administered to WHL teams in that time period, with one positive test for a player with the Tri-City Americans. According to the WHL, that player “was deemed to have been a close contact resulting from the previous one case of COVID-19, as announced April 17. The player remains in isolation at this time.” . . . The Americans, then, have had two players test positive. . . . According to the WHL, it has administered 8,220 tests from Feb. 12 through April 24 with 14 of those coming up positive.
Meanwhile, there were five games on Saturday . . .
F Seth Jarvis scored Portland’s last three goals as the host Winterhawks skated to a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland improved to 7-5-3, while Seattle, which has lost three straight, slipped to 7-8-0. . . . The Thunderbirds fell behind 2-0 before this one was two minutes old and weren’t ever able to catch up despite getting to within a goal on three occasions — 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3. . . . F Simon Knak (9) and D Ryan McCleary (3) scored on Portland’s first two shots. . . . F Gabe Ludwig scored for Seattle at 10:49 of the first period, but Portland F Mason Mannek (6) got that one back at 13:55. . . . Seattle F Sam Oremba scored his first WHL goal at 14:12 — he was the seventh overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft — and Jarvis replied 54 seconds into the second period. . . . D Tyrel Bauer (2) pulled Seattle back to within a goal at 4:22. . . . Jarvis completed his third career hat trick with goals at 11:13 of the second and 11:09 of the third, both via the PP. He’s got 10 goals. . . . Portland was 3-for-7 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-3. . . . These teams will play again tonight in Portland. . . .
D Braden Schneider scored in OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 5-4 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in the Regina hub. . . . Schneider, a native of Prince Albert, struck for his fifth goal at 2:30 of OT. . . . He also had the OT winner on April 18 in a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney (13) had tied the score at 14:39 of the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings (17-3-2) have won six in a row. . . . The Raiders (8-10-4) have points in two straight (1-0-1). . . . Prince Albert erased 2-1 and 3-1 deficits to lead 4-3 in the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings led 2-0 after one period on goals by F Brett Hyland (4) and F Lynden McCallum, on a PP. . . . F Dallyn Peekeekoot (4) got the Raiders on the board at 7:23 of the second period, with McCallum, who has 15 goals, restoring the two-goal lead at 7:23. . . . The Raiders then scored three straight goals — from D Landon Kosior (4) at 9:09 of the second, F Evan Herman (8), on a PP, 23 seconds into the third and F Matthew Culling (3) at 8:55 — for a 4-3 lead. . . . F Nate Danielson drew three assists for Brandon. The fifth overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft, he has three goals and 12 assists in 22 games. . . . The Wheat Kings get their first opportunity to clinch the Regina hub’s best record when they play the Regina Pats today. Brandon holds a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Ice. . . .
Linemates Jake Neighbours and Kaid Oliver each had a goal and two assists to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 4-1 victory over the host Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Oil Kings (16-1-1) have points in eight straight (7-0-1). They had beaten the visiting Tigers, 3-0, on Friday. . . . Medicine Hat now is 12-5-1. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Edmonton. . . . Oliver (10) and Neighbours (9) gave Edmonton a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . D Cole Clayton’s eight goal got Medicine Hat on the board at 8:22 of the second. . . . F Josh Williams (11), the third member of Edmonton’s big line, and D Matthew Robertson (4) scored PP goals in the third period to put it away. . . . Neighbours has played in 17 games this season and has at least a point in each one. He has 10 multi-point games. All told, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 bantam draft has nine goals and 22 assists. . . . According to Andrew Peard of the Oil Kings, this was head coach Brad Lauer’s 100th regular-season victory. He is 100-31-19. Peard reports that Lauer “becomes the fastest coach in Oil Kings history to the century mark, doing it in 150 games. Derek Laxdal had done it in 175 games. . . .
F Sean Tschigerl’s three goals led the Calgary Hitmen to a 7-2 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . The Hitmen (8-5-2) have points on four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Hurricanes (7-10-2) have lost three in a row. . . . The Hitmen, in their first game since April 5, had beaten the visiting Hurricanes, 6-3, on Friday. . . . They’re back at it again tonight in Calgary. . . . Lethbridge F Chase Wheatcroft (5) tied the game 2-2 at 10:41 of the second period. . . . The Hitmen followed that with three goals in 4:20 to take a 5-2 lead into the third period. . . . Calgary wrapped it up with two shorthanded goals, 25 seconds apart, in the third, with F Josh Prokop getting his eighth and Tschigerl completing his first WHL hat trick with his ninth. . . . Prokop also had two assists. . . .
In Kelowna, the Rockets snapped a 2-2 tie with two third-period goals as they beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . Kelowna (5-2-0) has won two straight. . . . Vancouver (9-4-0) had won its previous four games. . . . D Jake Lee’s first goal of the season got the Rockets into a 3-3 tie two minutes into the third period. . . . F Mark Liwiski (5) broke the tie at 5:15. . . . The Giants had opened the scoring at 9:11 of the first period on a goal by D Alex Kannok Leipert (5). . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (3) pulled Kelowna even at 18:35, on a PP. . . . F Justin Sourdif put the Giants back out front with a shorthanded score at 12:47 of the second period, only to have D Kaedan Korczak (2) tie it at 15:02. . . . Sourdif, who has seven goals, gave the Giants their third lead at 17:54. . . . Kelowna was 1-for-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-for-1.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.