As you can see by the above tweet, Ferris Backmeyer, a six-year-old sweetheart from Kamloops, has a new best friend in the person of Regina Pats star Connor Bedard. . . . Ferris is in need of a kidney transplant and there are hopes that will happen in the next few weeks, perhaps in late June, at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She was to have had the transplant via a live donor this week but something happened to disrupt the chain a few weeks ago and surgery was postponed. Of late, Ferris has had to deal with a few medical issues that also may have slowed things. . . . Ferris, who has been on peritoneal or hemo dialysis almost all of her young life, actually underwent a kidney transplant two years ago, but there was an issue and the ‘new’ kidney had to be removed. . . . What all of this means is that there are a lot of crossed fingers and toes and a lot of prayers up for Ferris in Kamloops.
WHL PLAYOFF NOTES:
The Winnipeg Ice will make its second straight appearance in the Eastern Conference final having ousted the Moose Jaw Warriors on Monday night. The Ice put up an 8-2 victory in Moose Jaw to win that semifinal, 4-2. . . . Winnipeg now awaits the winner of Game 7 between the Red Deer Rebels and Saskatoon Blades. That game is scheduled for Saskatoon tonight. According to Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, 6,600 seats were sold in the first 38 minutes of sales. Have to think there will be more than 8,000 fans in the house tonight. . . .
One year ago, the Ice lost the Eastern Conference final in five games to the Edmonton Oil Kings, who won the last three games en route to winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions. . . .
The Blades, meanwhile, will be trying to get a piece of WHL history. As I wrote here on Sunday night, the Blades will be attempting to become the third team in WHL history to win a series after losing the first three games. . . . Interestingly, the only two teams to have managed this feat needed OT in Game 7. . . . In 1996, the Spokane Chiefs beat the Portland Winterhawks in Game 7, winning 4-3 when F Darren Sinclair scored 58 seconds into OT. . . . In 2013, the Kelowna Rockets beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2 in OT, in Game 7, winning on a goal at 5:10 by F Tyson Baillie. . . . Saskatoon had an opportunity to do it in a 1990 Eastern Conference semifinal but lost Game 7, 4-3 in OT, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on a goal by F Neil Hawryluk at 2:31 of extra time. . . .
Keep in mind that the Rebels won the first three games of this series and held a 2-0 first-period lead in Game 4 at home before the Blades roared back. . . .
The Rebels will be without F Jhett Larson tonight as he serves a one-game suspension after picking up an instigator penalty in the last five minutes of Game 6 on Sunday. The Rebels also were fined $500 for having a player instigate in the final five minutes of a game. . . . At the same time, F Frantisek Formanek will return to Red Deer’s lineup after having served a one-game suspension that was assessed under supplemental discipline. He took a boarding minor for a hit on Saskatoon D Blake Gustafson, who didn’t play in Game 6. . . . The Blades will be without F Justin Lies, as he completes a three-game suspension for a headshot on Rebels F Karan Lind in Game 4. Lind has yet to return to Red Deer’s lineup.
The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . Things are rolling right along, too, as she surpassed $3,000 on Saturday. . . . If you are interested in helping, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.
MONDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:
Winnipeg (1) at Moose Jaw (4) — The Winnipeg Ice built up a 6-0 lead before the second period was eight minutes old en route to an 8-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . That allowed the Ice, who finished atop the WHL’s regular-season standings, to win the Eastern Conference semifinal, 4-2. They will open at home against the winner of tonight’s Game 7 between the Red Deer Rebels and host Saskatoon Blades. . . . Last night, the Ice scored two first-period goals 51 seconds apart and took it from there. F Zack Ostapchuk (7) scored at 10:49 and F Vladislav Shilo (3) counted at 11:40. . . . Winnipeg really took control on four straight second-period goals — from F Connor McClennon (7, 8), D Graham Sward (2) and F Conor Geekie (5). . . . Geekie (6) and F Evan Friesen (3) had the Ice’s other goals. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (3) and F Jagger Firkus (10) had PP goals for the Warriors. . . . Firkus is tied for the playoff lead in goals and points (21). . . . Shilo and Sward each had two assists and Geekie had one for three-point nights. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-for-2 on the PP; Winnipeg was 0-for-1. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 25 shots in earning the victory.
F Lukas Sawchyn, selected sixth overall overall by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL’s 2022 U.S. prospect draft, has opted for the USHL’s Chicago Steel. Sawchyn, 16, put up 78 points, including 28 goals, in 57 games with the 16U AAA team at Shattuck St. Mary’s this season. His 18-year-old old brother, Gracyn, is in his first season with the Thunderbirds. He was selected No. 1 overall by the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL’s 2020 U.S. prospect draft and later was traded to Seattle. . . .
Might the Salmon Arm Silverbacks be able to throw a scare into the Penticton Vees in the BCHL’s Interior Conference final? The Vees, who have won 24 straight playoff games going back to last season, are 8-0 as they play host to Game 1 on Friday. The Silverbacks are 8-1, that lone loss coming in OT. . . . The Vernon Vipers opened a second-round series with a 4-3 OT victory over Salmon Arm, only to have the Silverbacks win the next four games. . . . The BCHL’s other semifinal will feature the Chilliwack Chiefs against either the Alberni Valley Bulldogs or Surrey Eagles. They’ll play Game 7 tonight in Surrey. . . .
The Ottawa 67’s, the OHL’s top team in the 2022-23 regular season, were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday as they lost, 5-4, to the host Peterborough Petes, who won the series in six games. Ottawa had finished 33 points ahead of the Petes. . . . The Petes will face either the North Bay Battalion or Barrie Colts in one semifinal. Barrie, playing at home, won 4-2 on Monday to tie the series, 3-3. They will play Game 7 in North Bay tonight. . . . On the other side of the draw, the London Knights and Sarnia Sting will meet. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday in London. . . .
The OHL’s Guelph Storm has signed general manager George Burnett to a contract extension that will run through the 2025-26 season. Burnett started his second stint with the Storm, this time as GM/head coach, prior to the 2017-18 season. He stepped aside as head coach in order to focus on the GM’s role before this season got started. . . . At the time, co-owner Scott Walker, a former NHLer, took over as head coach. However, he had to leave the position for health reasons in October, so associate coach Chad Wiseman now is the head coach. . . .
The QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic fired general manager/head coach Serge Beausoleil on Monday. He had been with one team longer than any other head coach in the league, having been there since 2011-12. . . . Danny Dupont now is the interim general manager while ownership decides on the franchise’s direction. . . . In 12 seasons in Rimouski, Beausoleil won 487 regular-season games. This season, the Oceanic finished 33-26-9, good for ninth place in the 18-team league. Rimouski won a first-round series, 4-1, over the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, then was swept by the Quebec Remparts. . . .
The QMJHL playoffs are down to the Final Four, with the Quebec Remparts meeting the Gatineau Olympiques, and the Halifax Mooseheads facing the Sherbrooke Phoenix. These were the league’s top four regular-season teams — Quebec and Halifax were first and second in the Eastern Conference, finishing just two points apart, while Sherbrooke and Gatineau tied atop the Western Conference.
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.