First things first . . . Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation — you should know that Mel Recchi was first on the bus — you are able to do so right here.
You may not have noticed but I was away for a few days. No writing. Not a whole lot of Twitter surfing. Just kicking back, reading . . . oh, and driving.
We made a return trip over the Coquihalla — the first one since October — and I have to tell you that there are some engineering and reconstruction miracles taking place on the stretch of highway between Merritt and Hope. Yes, there still is a lot of work to do before the highway is back to its pre-flood state, but what we got to drive on is a whole lot better than what I had expected.
It’s also good to see that the Coquihalla continues to attract so many NASCAR drivers-in-training. Speed limit? What speed limit? It’s 120 km-h between Kamloops and Merritt. From Merritt to Hope, the signs tell you that it’s 110, 100, 90, 80 or 60, depending on what kind of construction area you find yourself driving through. In reality, though, the areas without traffic cones have only imaginary speed limits. And don’t get me started on the driver of the Toyota SUV with Alberta plates who was in the left lane all the way from Hope to Merritt . . . speeding up and slowing down as the mood struck him.
No matter. The overall condition of the Coq was the star of this trip.
While I was away, national teams from Belarus and Russia were banned from almost the entire surface of our planet because Dr. Evil has chosen to attempt a violent takeover of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the CHL, which governs the three major junior hockey leagues, announced it has cancelled what used to be an annual series of six games featuring OHL, QMJHL and WHL teams against a touring Russian side. The series, which has lost its lustre in recent years, should have been permanently discarded.
At the same time, the CHL announced that “the date and format for the 2022 CHL import draft has yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.”
That buys some time for the three leagues to see how things develop in Ukraine. If war continues to rage, those leagues will have to decide whether to keep the 2022 import draft open for eligible Russian and Belarusian players.
The CHL’s statement also pointed out that it “is committed to the safety and well-being of all of its current players and is supportive of their continued development regardless of their country of origin.”
Hopefully that means the CHL and its teams will continue to care for current Belarusian and Russian players even after this season ends, rather than casting them to the winds. Michael Traikos of Postmedia reports that “there are about 36 Russians and Belarusians currently playing in the CHL.”
You have to think there are some awfully confused young men among that group. Here they are in a foreign country while the leaders of their countries have drawn the wrath of the vast majority of the world by blasting away at Ukraine.
While these teenagers haven’t had anything to do with any of that, you have to wonder what they think when they venture into arenas and see fans waving yellow-and-blue flags to show their support for Ukraine.
Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, and the owners have cancelled the first two series of what was to have been the 2022 regular season. These are the first MLB games cancelled by a labour dispute since 1994 and 1995, and this time there isn’t any doubt about who’s at fault. The owners locked out the players in December and then didn’t even make a proposal for more than 40 days.
Here’s Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“There are a lot of questions. But ‘who is to blame?’ is not one of them. There are no ‘both sides’ in this fight. This is on the owners, who instituted a self-described ‘defensive lockout’ Dec. 2, then waited six weeks to present an offer. And still failed to address the real issue:
“They’re making more and more money while players are getting less.
“Listening to Commissioner Rob Manfred speak on the owners’ personal broadcast mouthpiece, MLB Network, would have been comical if it wasn’t sad. (Incidentally, please don’t think you’re going to get both sides of the argument by watching an outlet run by the owners, which let go well-respected reporter Ken Rosenthal because he wasn’t sucking up enough to Manfred.)”
The MJHL has suspended D Klim Georgiev, 20, of the Dauphin Kings for 18 games for a racist gesture during at game against the host Waywayseecappo Wolverines on Feb. 18. . . . Georgiev, who is from Toronto, was given a gross misconduct as the third period ended. . . . Nathan Liewicki of CBC News reported that Georgiev “raised his stick and made what seemed to be a bow-and-arrow gesture toward some of the Wawayseecappo players who were skating away from Dauphin’s end of the rink.” . . . Georgiev will miss the Kings’ final 11 regular-season games and seven playoff games. . . . Georgiev began the season with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals before being traded to Dauphin. . . . Liewicki’s story, written after the gesture but before the suspension was handed down, is right here.
Meanwhile, in B.C., Zaya Morro, a player with the U17 AAA North Island Silvertips, has alleged via an Instagram post that an opposing player uttered a racist slur in his direction in a game on Nov. 7.
“As a Black player in B.C. hockey I am continually made aware that I am different,” Morro wrote. “I have to play harder, play smarter, just because of the colour of my skin. I have to be more resilient because unfortunately there is still soooo much racism in hockey and in Canada. February (was) Black History Month and as I look back at how far we have come I am also reminded how much further we need to go.”
According to Morro, an opposing player “racially assaulted” him after Morro had won a puck battle. That player, Morro wrote, “felt the need to yell ‘nice hit you F**king N****r.’ I’ve experienced other racial slurs and have been able to shake them off but being called a N****r . . . I can’t explain the anger, sadness and complete disgust it made me feel. I have never been an angry kid but this brought out something in me I never knew was there. Thankfully, my team captain also heard what was said and we were able to tell the referee who immediately threw (the offending player) out of the game.”
According to Morro, the offending player eventually was suspended for six games.
With racism so often rearing its ugly head in the arenas and on the ice surfaces of our country, I really wonder what kind of conversations take place around the dinner tables in so many homes. I really do.
A letter dated March 1 and signed by Bruce Bidney, the principal of Spectrum Community School in Victoria, has informed parents that the school “will no longer be hosting the South Island Royals program following the completion of the 2021-22 school year.” . . . The letter continues: “This means that the hockey programming your child experienced this school year will no longer be embedded in the school day. Spectrum will remain an option for your child’s academic programming as will our hockey Skills Academy. . . . In recent conversations with BC Hockey, we have mutually agreed to no longer offer the in-school programming exclusive to our South Island Royal student-athletes. We will continue offering dryland training the school day to students registered in our Spectrum Skills Academy.”: . . . According to their website (southislandroyals.ca), the program features three male teams — U18AAA, U17AAA and U15AAA. . . . In his letter, Bidney doesn’t offer up any reasons for ending the South Island program.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Craig Carter, their assistant general manager and director of player personnel, to a two-year extension. He has been with the Spruce Kings since April 2020. . . . The WHL’s injury/roster report dated March 1 doesn’t show any players in COVID-19 protocol, the first time that has happened since teams returned from the Christmas break. . . . Just don’t think for a minute that means the pandemic is over. In the OHL, the Peterborough Petes had seven players test positive, resulting in the postponement of a game that had been scheduled for last Saturday. As Mike Davies of the Peterborough Examiner noted: “The postponement comes less than 24 hours after the OHL announced the lifting of proof of vaccination and capacity limits for spectators beginning on Tuesday.” The Petes are scheduled to play host to the Niagara IceDogs tonight (Thursday).
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.