Gustafson back with Winterhawks as associate coach . . . Remembering the night Ridley doubled as Kamloops radio voice . . . Sopotyk pushes to bronze medal

As expected, Kyle Gustafson is back with the Portland Winterhawks. The WHL team announced Wednesday that he has signed on as associate coach. . . . PortlandGustafson had been a member of the Portland coaching staff for 18 seasons when he left a year ago to join the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks as assistant coach/special assignment coach. At the time, Travis Green, also a former Winterhawks coach, was the Canucks’ head coach. He was fired during the 2021-22 season, however, and Gustafson was released after the season. . . . With the Winterhawks, he fills the spot created when Don Hay left after four seasons to return to the Kamloops Blazers, this time as associate coach. . . . Gustafson, 41, will work alongside Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ senior vice-president, general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Brian Pellerin. . . . Some observers also feel that Gustafson’s return sets in motion a succession plan whereby he will take over as head coach from the 65-year-old Johnston in a year or two.


Child


Bob Ridley, the long-time radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, announced his retirement on Tuesday, something that sparked a memory for Earl Seitz, a KamChiefsveteran of the airwaves in Kamloops who retired in December.

It seems that hockey fans in Kamloops were treated to Ridley’s play-by-play of a game between the visiting Chiefs and the Tigers on Feb. 26, 1977.

Seitz was in his fourth and final season of calling games for the Chiefs, who  were the Seattle Breakers when the 1977-78 season rolled around. (As Seitz put it, “They moved to Seattle after that fourth season and I stayed here.”

As Seitz remembers: “The Chiefs were playing in Medicine Hat. My sister was getting married that day in Calgary. I arranged with Bob to simulcast his broadcast on CFJC radio. Always grateful to Bob for helping me to be able to attend my sister’s wedding.”

Hmmm! Does Ridley get credit for calling two games that night because he was on the home and away radio stations?

Who won the game? The Tigers, 10-6.


Sopotyk
Kyrell Sopotyk, a former WHL player, has won a bronze medal for Saskatchewan in a 1,500-metre wheelchair race at the Canada Summer Games in St. Catharines, Sask. (Photo: Michael Scraper/Team Saskatchewan)

Former Kamloops Blazers F Kyrell Sopotyk of Aberdeen, Sask., won bronze in a 1,500-metre wheelchair race at the Canada Summer Games in St. Catharines, Ont., on Wednesday. Sopotyk was paralyzed from the waist down when he suffered a fractured vertebrae in a snowboarding mishap near North Battleford, Sask., on Jan. 21, 2021. . . . On Wednesday, he finished in four minutes 40.20 seconds, behind the winning time of 4:29.39 that belonged to Leo Sammarelli. . . . Sopotyk, 21, also will compete in 100- and 400-metre events at the Summer Games. . . . He is a member of the Cyclones Track and Field Club, a Saskatoon-based club for para-athletes.


Coke


THE BEST LAID PLANS: When the San Diego Padres’ marketing team scheduled its 2022 promotions, it put a Fernando Tatis Jr. bobblehead game on the calendar for Sept. 7. But then Tatis Jr. tested positive for a PED and drew an 80-game suspension. That took care of the bobblehead promotion. So now that Sept. 7 come-on will involve a Juan Soto City Connect shirt. And that’s what you call a great job of stick-handling around a sticky situation.


COVID-19 SAYS HELLO . . . AGAIN: Health Canada reports that 263 people died from COVID-19 from July 31 through Aug. 6. That brings Canada’s pandemic total to 43,178. . . . Rachel Gilmore of Global News has more right here. . . . And because you were wondering, Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center reports 1,037,935 deaths in the U.S. . . . So why not wear a mask when inside a public facility?


Char


THE COACHING GAME:

Kyle Turris has joined the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express as special advisor to the general manager and player development coach. Turris, 33, played two seasons with the Express (2005-07). From an Express news release: Turris “was drafted third overall by the Phoenix Coyotes (in the NHL’s 2007 draft) and spent 13 seasons in the NHL before retiring this offseason.” . . . Turris, who has been plagued with back issues, had one goal and three assists in 23 games with the Edmonton Oilers last season as he completed a two-year contract. There doesn’t seem to have been an official retirement announcement, at least not yet, and capfriendly.com shows him as an unrestricted free agent. . . .

The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs have added Mark Lee, 37, to their staff as an assistant coach. He had been coaching a U-18 team in Newfoundland before signing to work alongside head coach Travis Crickard with the defending Memorial Cup champions.


Tech


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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Doritos

 

Long-time Tigers’ mic man, bus driver brings down curtain . . . Two ex-WHLers in coaching news

Prior to the start of the 2021-22 season, Bob Ridley had, with one exception, called every single game the Medicine Hat Tigers had played since entering the WHL for the 1970-71 season.

Darren Steinke, a former Medicine Hat News sports writer, is the go-to guy when it comes to stats involving Ridley.

“Over the course of his career,” Steinke tweeted on Tuesday, “Bob Ridley has called 4,022 games as the play-by-play voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers — 3,590 regular-season games, one standings tiebreaker game, 411 games in the WHL playoffs and 20 contests in the Memorial Cup tournament.”

Ridley, 78, who has announced his retirement, missed almost all of last season as he underwent cancer treatment. But he was there in Co-op Place’s broadcast booth — yes, it’s named after him, as it should be — for the Tigers’ last game of a playoff-less season on April 15 and, as it turns out, that was to be Ridley’s final appearance as the club’s play-by-play voice.

Let’s not forget, too, that he also drove the bus during the vast majority of his seasons calling Tigers’ games. Oh, and he also did play-by-play for baseball’s Medicine Hat Blue Jays for about eight seasons when they were in the Pioneer League. And, yes, he drove their bus, too.

By now the fact that he missed one Tigers game has become the stuff of legend. It was in the spring of 1972 and Ridley’s boss sent him to Saskatoon to cover the Canadian women’s curling championship. It seems the boss’s wife was on the Alberta rink.

As the schedule would have it, the Tigers only played one game that week. (Trivia answer: Larry Plante, who was Ridley’s analyst for many seasons, called the play for that one game. Plante died on Aug. 20, 2019.)

But, sheesh, what if Ridley had fallen in love with curling and had abandoned hockey back in the day?

All the best in retirement, Bob. Here’s hoping it’s kind to you.

Hello, Hockey Hall of Fame . . .

ridley
Bob Ridley was back in the broadcast booth for the final game of the Medicine Hat Tigers’ 2021-22 season. It turns out that also was the final game of Ridley’s play-by-play career as he announced his retirement on Tuesday. (Photo: Scott Roblin/CHAT-TV)


Club


COVID-19 SAYS HELLO . . . AGAIN: With Seattle having dealt Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, the opportunity is there for someone to land the starting quarterback’s job with the Seahawks. Well, Drew Lock was to have started Thursday against the visiting Chicago Bears, but COVID-19 chose to have a say in things. Yes, Lock has tested positive so he won’t be playing. Instead, the start will go to Geno Smith. . . . Simon Fraser U, which is headquartered in Burnaby, B.C., but plays football in the NCAA Division II, has moved four of its home games to Blaine, Wash. It would seem that four of its American opponents can’t guarantee all in the travelling parties will be vaccinated, thus they won’t be allowed to cross the border. Of course, the same restriction holds true going into the U.S., so the SFU team must be totally vaccinated.



Ex


THE COACHING GAME:

Joel Martin, a former WHL goaltender, is the new head coach of the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. He also becomes the Wings’ director of hockey operations. Martin, 39, takes over from Nick Bootland, who now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. . . . Martin, the second Black head coach working in pro hockey today, spent the past three seasons as an assistant under Bootland with the Wings. The other Black head coach is Jason Payne of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. . . . Martin played 126 games over three seasons (2000-03) in the WHL, making stops with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Tri-City Americans, Vancouver Giants and Calgary Hitmen. . . .

Former WHL D Luca Sbisa has joined the NHL’s San Jose Sharks as a player development coach. After retiring in 2021, Sbisa, now 32, had been with the Anaheim Ducks as a development coach. . . . Sbisa, who was born in Italy, played 109 regular-season WHL games over three seasons (2007-10). He played 62 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2007-08 and 18 more in 2008-09. In 2009-10, he was with Lethbridge for 17 games and finished up by playing 12 games with the Portland Winterhawks. He totalled 14 goals and 52 assists. . . . Sbisa is fluent in English, French, German and Italian, something that no doubt will help him in his coaching role.


Ken Wright, who played 41 games in the WHL in 1971-72, died in Vancouver on Aug. 2. He was two weeks past his 70th birthday when cancer took him. Wright, who was from Vancouver, got into seven games with the Vancouver Nats in 1971-72 and 34 more with the Flin Flon Bombers. A defenceman, he had two assists with the Nats, then added five goals and 19 assists with the Bombers. Wright went on to play four seasons in the IHL before retiring. . . . There is a complete obituary right here.


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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


CBrown

Mondays With Murray: 24 years later, Jim Murray’s final column

Jim Murray passed away on Aug. 16, 1998 — 24 years ago. . . . There are hundreds of columns that we could share with you on this day of memorial. . . . There really isn’t one column that could sum up the life and career of Jim Murray.  The folks at Columbia University agreed when they honored Jim with a Pulitzer Prize for his “body of work.”

Today we celebrate his legacy with the last column he wrote for the L.A. Times on Aug. 16, 1998, the day he died.

His final line:

“Anyway, it’s nice to know getting older has its flip side.”

ENJOY!

——

SUNDAY, August 16, 1998, SPORTS

Copyright 1998/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY

JIM MURRAY

You Can Teach an Old Horse New Tricks

Del Mar — Well, it was a slam dunk for Free House, a “Where is everybody?” win.

The Bridesmaid finally caught the bouquet. The best friend got the girl in the Warner Bros. movie for a change. The sidekick saves the fort.

Free House just won’t fold the hand. Three times last year, in the most mondaysmurray2publicized races in the sport, he chased his competition across the finish line in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. In the money in all of them, in the photo in one of them, he was the hard-luck champion of horse racing.

He was expected to go quietly into the sunset. A game effort but no cigar.

He got a measure of revenge Saturday in the Pacific Classic here. He ran away from Touch Gold, who beat him in the Belmont. The horse who beat him in all three Triple Crown races, Silver Charm, didn’t make the dance or he might have gotten a different view of Free House, too.

The Pacific Classic is not your Run for the Roses. No bands play Stephen Foster as the horses come on the track. But it’s not your basic overnight allowance, either. It’s a $1-million race, major on the schedule. It’s a very big win for Free House. He’s not What’s-His-Name anymore. He’s Who’s Who.

You know, in most sports, the athlete gets a generation to prove himself. A Jack Nicklaus wins his first major at 22 and his last at 46. A George Foreman wins Olympic boxing gold in 1968, and 30 years later he’s still fighting. Babe Ruth hits his first home run in 1915 and his last in 1935.

But a racehorse has to act like he’s double-parked. He gets only months to prove he has been here.

And if his prime coincides with that of Man O’War, Citation, Secretariat or even Count Fleet, he might as well have been born a plow horse.

What did Free House do that turned him into a star? Well, he got older.

You know, it’s the public’s notion that the racing begins and ends with the Kentucky Derby and its Triple Crown satellites. Everything else is New Haven.

Trainers know better. Every real horseman knows a colt’s (or a filly’s) 3-year-old season is not indicative of real prowess. I mean, a Kentucky Derby is not only too early in the career, it’s too early in the year.

It has been won by a lot of horses who are just better than claiming horses. It has been lost by a lot of horses who were too good to have that fate. Native Dancer comes to mind. Gallant Man. Damascus. Bold Ruler.

Of course, a horse doesn’t know whether he won the Kentucky Derby or not. But his owner does. His rider does. History does.

But trainers as a class manage to hold back their enthusiasm. There’s even evidence a trainer resents a Triple Crown race.

That’s where a Pacific Classic comes in. It’s a trainer’s race. A real test of his skill in bringing a horse up to a race. The real business of racing.

A Kentucky Derby can be a crapshoot. Not a Pacific Classic. You win a Pacific Classic because you’re at the top of your game, not because eight other horses were still wet behind the ears. Many a Derby has been blown by an immature runner jumping shadows, spitting bits, lugging out, horsing around.

Not a Pacific Classic. Here, the horses are all grown up, professional. These are the true class of the sport, older horses. Dependable, crafty. Consistent. They don’t beat themselves.

There probably has never been a good older horse who couldn’t beat a good 3-year-old. It’s so taken for granted, they have to give the kids weight. Handicap horses used to be the glamour stars of the track anyway. They made a movie about Seabiscuit, who never ran in the Triple Crown and never got good till he got middle-aged. They wrote poems about John Henry, who never did either, even though he ran in 83 other races. They used to Equipoise “The Chocolate Soldier.” Exterminator, called “Old Bones,” ran 100 races.

They were the heart and soul of racing.

Free House bid fair to join them Saturday. He won so easily, jockey Chris McCarron should have brought a book. He rode him like the Wilshire bus. “You could have ridden him today!” he called out to Free House’s co-owner Trudy McCaffery.

McCarron rode such a confident race, he remembers thinking, “If I were a cocky individual, I would have turned to the other riders and said “Shame on you!”

Added McCarron, “This horse is so generous with his speed, I knew if he ran the way he trained, these guys were beat.”

He has one holdover from his misspent youth: He tends to kick out sideways and decelerate in the stretch, almost start to tap-dance. “He gets to wondering where everybody went and to want to slow down and wait for them,” McCarron explained. McCarron hustled him across the finish line four lengths ahead of second-place Gentlemen on Saturday and about 16 lengths ahead of Touch Gold.

Ironically, McCarron rode Touch Gold to victory in the Belmont.  

So, is he glad the order was reversed Saturday? Is yesterday’s jinx horse today’s king of the handicap division?

“Arguably,” said McCarron, “a case could be made.”

Anyway, it’s nice to know getting older has its flip side.

Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation P.O. Box 661532, Arcadia, CA 91066

——

The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s mission is to establish a permanent legacy to Jim Murray. The JMMF has joined forces with the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and MLB share significant and timeless overlapping history with Jim Murray. Jim Murray wrote more columns on baseball than he wrote on any other sport, bringing baseball’s history and legends to life through sports journalism.

The JMMF will continue its “Mondays with Murray” posts indefinitely with a link to the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame website supporting its new Jim Murray initiative. The JMMF will dissolve its 501(c)(3) status and distribute its remaining financial assets to the Hall of Fame.

Baseball Hall of Fame non-profit 501(c)(3) #15-0572877

Preserving History. Honoring Excellence. Connecting Generations.

info@jimmurrayfoundation.org|

www.jimmurrayfoundation.org

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while eagerly awaiting QB Rourke’s next start . . .

scattershooting

Hockey in Canada was big news with The New York Times on Sunday and for all the wrong reasons.

The story and photos, by Ian Austen, carried this headline on Twitter: Sexual Assault Revelations Turn Canada’s Game Into the Nation’s Shame.

The subhead: Once a jewel of Hockey Canada’s schedule, the world junior tournament is playing to a largely empty arena as turmoil forces Canadians to rethink what they believe about the sport.

In the actual newspaper, the story appeared in the A section, on Page 29, with this headline: Sexual Assault Revelations Dim the Shine of Canada’s National Game.

The hook for the story was the prevalence of empty seats at the 2022 World Junior Championship that is ongoing in Edmonton. But woven into the story is the embarrassingly sad saga of Hockey Canada and the mess it has become.

“All of Hockey Canada’s corporate sponsors, which include one of the country’s largest banks and the ubiquitous Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut chain, have abandoned it,” Austen wrote, “leaving the arena free of the usual advertising on the ice and rink boards. Edmonton’s tourism board is no longer promoting the tournament, and the federal government has also cut off its funding to Hockey Canada and ordered an audit to make sure that its funds were not used to silence victims while lawmakers in Ottawa hold hearings. Police have also resumed investigating the events of 2018. As the story began to dominate the news, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for a ‘real reckoning at Hockey Canada and condemned its leaders for their ‘willful blindness.’ ”

It’s a mess . . . a morass . . . it really is. And it’s a big enough mess that The New York Times felt the story was worthy of some major play.

If you’re able to access it, Austen’s story is right here. BTW, Austen is from Windsor and lives in Ottawa, so this isn’t an American writing about a scandalous time in Canadian hockey.


Coffee


Old friend Hartley Miller touches on a whole lot of pet peeves in his latest edition of Hartley’s Hart Attack. Somehow, though, he missed the fact that there isn’t any such thing as “first annual.” The first one is the inaugural; the second one is the second annual. . . . Miller’s list is a good one, though, and it’s all right here.


Boat


COVID-19 SAYS HELLO (AGAIN): The Minnesota Vikings didn’t have QB Kirk Cousins on hand Sunday when they opened their 2022 exhibition season with a 26-20 loss to the host Las Vegas Raiders. Cousins, who isn’t vaccinated, was sent home from training camp on Thursday and tested positive on Friday. He missed one regular-season game in 2021 after testing positive.

——

The New York Yankees will retire Paul O’Neill’s No. 21 on Sunday (Aug. 21). I know! I know! You’re wondering if the team that has retired the numbers of the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Mariano Rivera has lowered the bar. But O’Neill did hit .303 over nine seasons in the Bronx and was on four World Series winners. . . . However, it turns out that he is another of baseball’s anti-vaxxers, which is why he, as an analyst for Yankees games on the YES Network, works from his home in Cincinnati. . . . He is the lone YES broadcaster granted this privilege despite the network having imposed a vaccine mandate. On Sunday at Yankee Stadium, O’Neill won’t be allowed in the YES broadcast booth because he isn’t vaccinated. Also, because of MLB regulations, he won’t be permitted on the Yankees’ clubhouse or dugout. He will be allowed onto the field, but won’t be joined by any players. . . . It isn’t known whether Dr. Google will be joining him on the field.

——


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “What’s this world coming to when stealing classified nuclear documents is treated like some kind of crime?”

——

Lupica, again: “My friend Stanton is wondering how Aaron Rodgers worked it out that he’s afraid of vaccines, but not psychedelic drugs.”


Chapstick


THINKING OUT LOUD: If you missed it, QB Nathan Rourke of the B.C. Lions was lighting it up again on Saturday night in a stunning 41-40 victory over the host Calgary Stampeders. Despite a first quarter during which he actually looked mortal, Rourke finished with 488 passing yards in erasing a 20-3 deficit. Rourke, 24, is a CFL sophomore after three seasons with the Ohio U Bobcats. And he’s magic, he really is. Won’t be long and they’ll be comparing him to a young Dieter Brock — he was Ralph then — and Doug Flutie. Asked about Rourke after Saturday’s game, Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell offered: “Enjoy him while he’s here.” . . . Or, as Lions DB T.J. Lee put it: “Man, we call him Nate Brady for a reason.” . . . Next up for the Lions? They go home-and-home with the Saskatchewan Roughriders — Friday in Regina and Aug. 26 in Vancouver. . . . The Baltimore Orioles are in Toronto for a three-game series with the Blue Jays and all of the visiting players now are vaccinated. That wasn’t the case in June when LHP Keegan Akin and OF Anthony Santander weren’t vaccinated so couldn’t cross the border into Canada. . . . RHP Mike Soroka may yet get back into the Atlanta Braves’ lineup before this season is over. The Calgary native will make a rehab start in Rome, Ga., on Tuesday for the High-A Braves as he continues working his way back from a twice-ruptured right Achilles tendon. He hasn’t pitched for Atlanta since first injuring it in August 2020. . . . If you haven’t yet read Pleasant Good Evening, the memoir written by former Sportstalk host Dan Russell, you should. If you’re wondering what it’s all about, check out this story right here by John Ackerman of CityNews 1130 in Vancouver.


THE COACHING GAME:

Todd Nelson is the new head coach of the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Nelson, 53, was an assistant coach with the NHL’s Dallas Stars for the past four seasons. . . . Nelson takes over from Scott Allen, who now is an assistant coach with Washington. Allen spent one season as the Bears’ head coach after three as an assistant. . . . A native of Prince Albert, Nelson played four seasons (1986-90) with the WHL’s Raiders. . . . The Bears also signed Adam Purner, who spent time with the Portland Winterhawks, as their video co-ordinator and video coach. Purner, 46, was in the New Jersey Devils organization for the past two seasons with their AHL affiliate in Binghamton and then Utica. . . . He spent four seasons (2016-20) with the Winterhawks.


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): Food Network Goes Off Air After Every Iteration of Ingredient Combinations Completed.


Billy Napier, the head coach of the Florida Gators football team, has banned all but white socks at practice sessions. As Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel put it: “You know what the great Grantland Rice once wrote: ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you match your socks!’ ”


Ankle


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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Airbag

Scattershooting on a Thursday night while wondering if the Blue Bombers are shopping for a kicker . . .

scattershooting

Tyler Chandler, an infield prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, hit four home runs on Wednesday night. Not only that, he hit a solo shot, a two-run blast, a three-run dinger and a grand slam as his Double-A Springfield Cardinals whipped the host Amarillo Sod Poodles, 21-4. . . . Redmond also had a single as he drove in 11 runs. . . . The only other player in pro baseball history to accomplish this was Tyrone Horne, who also was a Cardinals’ farmhand. On July 27, 1998, he did it while with the AA Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League.



Thermos



COVID-19 SAYS HELLO: The MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps had six players test positive late last week. They hope to be cleared in time to practice and then play in Saturday night’s game against the host L.A. Galaxy. . . . The Houston Astros had manager Dusty Baker back in the dugout on Thursday as they beat the visiting Texas Rangers, 7-3. Baker, 73, is fully vaccinated. He had tested positive on Friday. “I’m very fortunate that I had both my shots and the two boosters,” he said. “So, I’m really hoping that everybody goes and gets the shots and boosters, because if you do get (COVID-19), hopefully it’s mild like mine was.”



Chips


THE COACHING GAME:

The WHL-champion Edmonton Oil Kings have added Serge Lajoie to their coaching staff as an assistant to head coach Luke Pierce. Lajoie, 53, also has been named manager of player development. . . . Lajoie had been the head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears men’s hockey team for three seasons when he signed on as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers. But that relationship lasted just one season (2018-19). For the past three seasons, he has been the head coach of OHA Edmonton’s U18 prep side. . . . Pierce, who had been an assistant coach, was named the Oil Kings’ head coach on July 25. He took over from Brad Lauer, who has joined the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets as an assistant coach. . . .

Jamie Kompon, who spent two seasons with the Portland Winterhawks, has joined the NHL’s Florida Panthers as an assistant coach. Kompon, 55, was the Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach for two seasons (2014-16). He spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets. . . . Kompon also has worked in the NHL as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks. . . .

The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan have signed Gordie Dwyer to a four-year contract as their general manager and head coach. Dwyer, 44, was the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs, who went 47-17-4 last season. However, he was fired after a first-round playoff loss. . . . The Sea Dogs, of course, went on to win the Memorial Cup as the host team. . . . With the Titan, he takes over from Jason Clarke, who left to join the AHL’s San Diego Gulls as an assistant coach. . . .

The junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have hired Brad Tobin, 33, as their general manager and head coach. The announcement came Thursday, one day after Brandon Switzer left to join the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints as an assistant coach. . . . Switzer, 27, was named Creston Valley’s general manager and head coach on April 6. He had been assistant general manager and associate coach. . . . Tobin has worked with Creston Valley before, starting out as an assistant coach and winding up as GM and head coach in 2017-18. He spent the past four seasons with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. . . .

Bob Beatty is back with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers for his first full season as associate coach. The veteran junior hockey coach stepped in late last season following the order from the BCHL that put Darren Naylor, the Clippers’ general manager and head coach, on administrative leave. Naylor no longer is with the organization. . . . Beatty, 67, will be working alongside Colin Birkas, the GM and head coach, and fellow associate coach Bob Foglietta. . . .

Andrew Shaw has left the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs to join the Prince George Spruce Kings. Shaw, 32, had been an assistant coach with Chilliwack for three seasons. He joins the Spruce Kings as the associate coach, replacing Lukas Limicky, who now is with the Vernon Vipers. . . .

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express has extended the contract of Jeff Wagner for three seasons. He is preparing for his second season as associate coach and director of scouting. . . . The extension runs through 2024-25. . . .

The BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals have added Jason Becker to their coaching staff. He will help them out as skills coach, working alongside Brian Passmore, the general manager and head coach. For the past two seasons, Becker, 48, has been the head coach of the U18 men’s team at the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy in Victoria. While working with the Capitals, he also will be the head coach of the PCHA’s new U17 prep team. . . . Becker also has coached with the Prince George Cougars, the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and St. George’s School in Vancouver. He has long been involved with Hockey Canada and BC Hockey coaching programs and, at present, is the lead evaluator for the U16 team that will represent the province at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. . . . You look at this guy’s resume and ask yourself: Why isn’t he the head coach of a major junior team?



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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


SnowWhite

Scattershooting on a Monday night after surviving another Coquihalla round trip . . .

scattershooting

So . . . we took a few days away to spend time with our son, Todd, and his family in Coquitlam. While there, I saw the above tweet and sent it along to him. . . . It just happens that Todd, a journeyman printer, works with a few Filiponos. . . . “I talked to the older Filipino guy I work with about the bat,” Todd messaged me during our drive home on Monday, “and he told me stories about hunting them with his dad and grandpa. Using slingshots. Though he said they weren’t usually that big.” . . . And then he added: “Good bbq apparently.”


As you may be aware, the junior B Spokane Braves won’t ice a team in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League in 2022-23. Why not? Well, the owner, Bob Tobiason, isn’t vaccinated, nor is the head coach. And they apparently couldn’t get enough players to get vaccinated so that they could put together a team that would be allowed into Canada. . . . And, yes, there are fingers pointed at the Canadian government; never mind that the U.S. government has the same restriction in place. . . . Of course, as one source told Taking Note last week, “the elephant in the room” is “team fees” of somewhere around US$10,000. . . . No matter. Late last week, Cathy Tobiason, Bob’s wife, issued this statement . . .

Braves


ICYMI, head coach Dave Dickenson was MIA on Friday night when his Calgary COVIDStampeders went into Ottawa and scored a 17-3 victory over the Redblacks. Dickenson was in COVID-19 protocol, so special teams coach Mark Kilam, who is in his 18th season with the Stampeders, was the acting head coach. . . . Dickenson, who was cleared to return to practice later in the weekend, was in his usual place on the sidelines when the Stampeders dropped a 35-28 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers on July 30 but missed practices during the following week. . . . And then came word that Dusty Baker, the manager of the Houston Astros, had tested positive prior to a Friday night game. Baker is 73 so you can bet the Astros’ medical staff is keeping a close eye on him.


TurnSignal


A note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “The American Massage Therapy Association’s national convention is scheduled for Aug. 25-27 in Cleveland. Alas, the keynote speaker is Michael Phelps, not Deshaun Watson.”

——

Perry, again: “Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday’s Mariners-Yankees game in Seattle. In keeping with the theme, the catcher will be wearing an extra mask.”


Blinker


While I was away . . .

When the 2022-23 major junior season opens, Travis Crickard will be the head coach of the defending Memorial Cup champions. Crickard, 35, was named head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday, taking over from Gardiner MacDougall, who ran the bench during the Memorial Cup tournament, which the Sea Dogs won as the host team. . . . MacDougall, the head coach of the U of New Brunswick Reds, took over the Sea Dogs after they fired head coach Gordie Dwyer following a first-round playoff loss. After winning the Memorial Cup, MacDougall returned to the Reds. . . . Crickard, a former assistant coach with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets (2014-19), joined the Sea Dogs as an assistant coach in November. He also has worked with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s so now has a CHL coaching hat trick to his credit. . . . Crickard and the Sea Dogs are scheduled to open training camp on Aug. 15 — yes, Aug. 15 — and their first exhibition game is scheduled for Aug. 18. . . . There is a complete news release right here. . . .

The OHL’s Oshawa Generals signed Derek Laxdal, a former WHL player and coach, as head coach. Laxdal, 56, had been an assistant coach with the NHL’s Dallas Stars since the middle of the 2019-20 season when he was added to head coach Rick Bowness’ staff. He was the head coach the Texas Stars, Dallas’s AHL affiliate for five-plus seasons. . . . Laxdal was the head coach of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings for four seasons (2010-14), winning the 2012 and 2014 championships. He guided the Oil Kings to a Memorial Cup title in 2014. He played in the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks, Brandon Wheat Kings and New Westminster Bruins (1982-86). . . . In Oshawa, Laxdal takes over from Todd Miller, who was fired on March 12, with assistants Kurtis Foster and Mike Hedden finishing the season as interim co-head coaches. . . .

Jason Clarke has stepped down as general manager and head coach of the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He left to join the AHL’s San Diego Gulls as an assistant coach. . . . He had been the Titan’s head coach since Nov. 29 and the GM since June 7. . . .

The MJHL’s OCN Blizzard has hired Doug Johnson as head coach and assistant general manager. Johnson, 46, spent more than 11 seasons with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks before he was fired as GM and head coach on Dec. 4. . . . With the Blizzard, Johnson replaces Billy Keane, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the 2021-22 season. . . . Interestingly, it was in June when the Blizzard named Darren Naylor as its general manager and head coach. Naylor started last season as the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers but was placed on a BCHL-directed administrative leave in February for what the league said was an alleged breach of its code of conduct. In March, the BCHL revealed that Naylor was to stay on administrative leave through May 31 while an independent investigation was completed. The BCHL has yet to comment on the investigation. . . . Meanwhile, Greg Hunter is shown on the Blizzard’s website as the general manager and associate coach. . . .

The AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers have signed general manager and head coach Tyler Deis to a contract extension that runs through the 2027-28 season with options that could take him through 2029-30. . . . Good on the Oilers for revealing the length of the deal. . . . Deis, 48, started with the Oilers as assistant coach in 2013-14. He has been the head coach since June 6, 2016, and has a gaudy 209-79-18 (.712) regular-season record. . . . The Oilers also announced “the return of his support staff, including assistant and goaltending coach Derek Purfield, assistant coach and equipment manager Brody Hailwood, and assistant coach Reid Hnatowich, who return for their 10th, third and fifth seasons on the staff, respectively.” . . . There is a news release right here. . . .

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express signed Patrick Sexton as its new head coach. He has been an assistant coach with the Penticton Vees for the past three seasons. Sexton, 28, won two BCHL titles with the Vees — one as a player (2014-15) and one as an assistant coach (2021-22). . . . With the Express, Sexton replaces Brandon Shaw, now an assistant coach with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs. . . .

The WHL’s Calgary Hitmen released their home schedule with venues and they will play 28 of the 34 games at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The other six games are scheduled to be played at the 2,000-seat Seven Chiefs Sportsplex, which is on Tsuut’ina Nation, just to the southwest of Calgary. . . . The Hitmen played in the Sportsplex during the 2021 development season and will hold their training camp there next month. . . . The Saddledome will be a busy place as it also is the home arena for the NHL’s Flames and AHL’s Wranglers, along with the NLL’s Roughnecks. . . .

Rob Klinkhammer, a former WHL player, has retired from playing and joined the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, as an assistant coach. . . . He will be working alongside head coach Anders Sorensen and with fellow assistants Peter Aubry, Adam Gill and Jared Nightingale. . . . Klinkhammer, 35, played in Rockford for four seasons (2008-12). . . . He spent four seasons in the WHL, playing for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Seattle Thunderbirds, Portland Winter Hawks and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . He played the past six seasons in the KHL, including last season with the Dynamo Moskva. . . .

Dave Lowry, who has coached in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen, Victoria Royals and Brandon Wheat Kings, now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Lowry, 57, started last season as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets; he finished as the club’s interim head coach after head coach Paul Maurice stepped aside. . . . He also has been an NHL assistant coach with the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings. . . . In the WHL, he spent four seasons (2005-09) on Calgary’s staff, the last one as head coach; five seasons (2012-17) as Victoria’s head coach; and one (2019-20) as Brandon’s head coach.


animal


THINKING OUT LOUD: Former RHP Dennis Eckersley has spent 20 seasons providing analysis of Boston Red Sox games on NESN. Unfortunately, there won’t be a 21st season because he’s bowing out after this one. That’s really too bad, too, because Eck provides an entertaining listening experience. Yes, he pulls for the Red Sox, but his enthusiasm for the game overcomes that if you’re not a Boston fan. . . . If anyone can explain why the price of a litre of regular gasoline is as much as seven cents cheaper in areas of the Lower Mainland than it is in Kamloops, please feel free to let me know. . . . I happened upon a news release today that began: “Paid parking is being introduced to the ENMAX Centre starting Sept. 1 for both facility events and overflow Lethbridge College parking.” There will be an exemption for Lethbridge Hurricanes’ season-ticket holders, but others will have to fork over $5 per vehicle.” I immediately had flashbacks to 1985 when Regina Pats fans learned that they were going to have to pay $1 to park at what was then the Agridome. The fans protested by not showing up. That led to the Pinder family selling the franchise to a Swift Current group. But the WHL’s board of governors chose not to approve the deal. Eventually, four local businessmen — Morley Gusway, Bill Hicke, Ted Knight and Jack Nicolle — purchased the team. They would later try to sell it to the Ochapowace First Nations for $1.7 million, but the WHL board rejected that deal. The league then bought the team and later solid it to Calgary businessman Russ Parker. Yes, it was all because of a $1 parking fee. . . . ICYMI, the Atlanta Braves released veteran 2B Robinson Cano the other day. He also has been dumped by the New York Mets and San Diego Padres this season. But shed no tears for him, because he is still owed US$33.7 million by various teams.



Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a suggestion for Sportsperson of the Year: “Tiger Woods, for rejecting an offer from the LIV golf tour for at least $700 million. Likely he could have negotiated that offer up to a cool billion. Phil Mickelson got $200 million to sign. Woods hasn’t fully explained why he spurned Saudi blood money, although he did criticize the LIV golfers for abandoning the PGA Tour that made them rich and famous. Whatever his reasoning, Woods was the guy the Saudis desperately needed to legitimize their greed-a-palooza clown show. Instead, Tiger took one for the team, the human race.”


Selfies


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Brandon Wheat Kings have acquired F Calder Anderson, 20, from the Moose Jaw Warriors for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft. Anderson played just 15 games last season, scoring four goals and adding two assists. In 108 regular-season and playoff games with Moose Jaw, he has 13 goals and 16 assists. . . . I would love to tell you which 20-year-olds are on the Brandon and Moose Jaw rosters, but those rosters aren’t yet available on team websites. With training camps less than a month away, the WHL and its teams should be embarrassed about the lack of information. . . . D David Jiricek tested positive for COVID-19 so wasn’t able to join his Czechia teammates when they left for Edmonton and the WJC last week. But he has been cleared to play and now is in Edmonton. His WHL rights belong to the Spokane Chiefs.


Peanuts


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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Beer

KIJHL loses its only international team . . . Spokane out because not enough vaccinated staff, players . . . League drops vaccine mandate


As expected, the junior B Spokane Braves won’t be participating in the 2022-23 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season. The Braves don’t have kijhlenough staff members and players fully vaccinated, so have had to give up any hope of playing, meaning the KIJHL is really the KJHL.

The league, which now features 19 B.C. teams, made the announcement on Wednesday.

The KIJHL had a vaccine mandate in place for the 2021-22 season, but Jeff Dubois, the league’s commissioner, told Taking Note on Wednesday that “our Vaccination Policy was a measure that was taken for the 2021-22 season only. We aren’t planning to renew it for 2022-23 at this time.” . . . Still, Canada and the United States both have border restrictions in place — foreigners crossing into Canada must be fully vaccinated, and the same holds true for foreigners going the other way. Any Braves staffers and players who aren’t vaccinated wouldn’t have been able to come north; any unvaccinated staff members or players on Canadian teams wouldn’t have been able to travel to Spokane.

The KIJHL released its 2022-23 regular-season schedule on July 18 and it included Spokane. At the same time, the league had given Spokane an Aug. 1 deadline by which time it had to declare its intentions. Well, the league revealed those intentions on Wednesday. The Braves, who last played in February 2020, won’t be playing their 50th anniversary season this winter.

“The Braves’ primary challenge has been recruiting players at a time when athletes and team staff must be fully vaccinated in order to enter into Canada,” Dubois said in a news release. “Despite their best efforts, the Braves look unlikely to be able to fill a roster of players who meet that requirement, and we reached a point where a decision needed to be made as to whether our season would proceed with or without Spokane. To be clear, we fully support those measures that have been taken to keep our communities safe from COVID, and we look forward to the Spokane Braves rejoining the KIJHL as soon as they are able to do so.”

As of mid-July, neither Spokane owner Bob Tobiason nor head coach Darin Schumacher was vaccinated. At that time, Taking Note was told that the Braves had only a handful of vaccinated players.

After the announcement, the Braves tweeted: “We draw players from Spokane and North Idaho. Spokane County is sitting around 65 per cent fully vaxxed. Kootenai County is 51 per cent . . . Those numbers are much lower when you drill down to junior-eligible ages.”

The KIJHL news release, which includes several schedule adjustments, is right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Saskatoon Blades have released F Josh Paulhus, 20. In 74 games with the Blades, the Saskatoon native had three goals and three assists in 57 games last season. The move leaves Saskatoon with three 2002-born players — F Kyle Crnkovic, F Josh Pillar and D Aidan De La Gorgendiere. . . . The Blades have added Spencer Stehouwer to their staff as equipment manager. He spent the past four seasons in that role with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. Stehouwer takes over from Riley Kosmolak, who has moved on to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose after three seasons with the Blades.



Sumo


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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Running

Mondays With Murray: Scully Handles a Mike Like Ruth Did a Bat

Vin
The late Jim Murray (left) and Vin Scully, who died Tuesday in Los Angeles at 94, were long-time friends. (Photo: Jim Murray Memorial Foundation)

FRIDAY, JULY 8, 1983, SPORTS

Copyright 1983/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY

JIM MURRAY

Scully Handles a Mike Like Ruth Did a Bat

It took baseball in its wisdom 10 years to turn Babe Ruth, the most perfect hitting machine of all time, from a pitcher into a slugger.

It took football seasons to figure out Marcus Allen wasn’t a blocking back and to hand him the football.

And it took network television forever to get the message that Vin Scully should do major league baseball and stop fooling around.

It wasn’t that Scully was inept at other sports. It was just that he was miscast. It mondaysmurray2was like Errol Flynn playing a faithful old sidekick. Scully could do golf and do it well. Rembrandt could probably paint soup cans or barn doors, if it came to that. Hemingway could probably write the weather. Horowitz could probably play the ocarina. But what a waste!

Nobody understands baseball the way Vin Scully does. He knows it for the laid-back, relatively relaxed sport it is. Scully is the world’s best at filling the dull times by spinning anecdotes of the 100-year lore of the game. He can make you forget you’re watching a 13-3 game, as we were Wednesday night at Chicago, and take you with him to a time and place where you are suddenly watching Babe Ruth steal home. He is like a marvellous raconteur who can make you forget you’re in a dungeon. He can make baseball seem like Camelot and not Jersey City.

He knows baseball fans are ancestor worshipers, like the British aristocracy, and he can invest a game with allusions to its gaudy past that give meaning to the present. We suddenly see knights in shining armor out there carrying on a glorious tradition instead of two rival factions of businessmen trying to land the order.

Football requires screaming. “They’re on the five and it’s second down and goal to go!” “They’re on the three and it’s third down and there’s 29 seconds left to play!” Baseball requires humor, deft drama, a sprinkling of candor, mix well and serve over steaming hot tradition.

Scully knows the sport as few do. He learned it at the knee of Branch Rickey at the time he was most impressionable, a young, ambitious, career-oriented student out of Fordham. Scully will tell you why a batter should try to hit to right with a man on first and none out. (“The first baseman has to stay on the bag to keep the runner close. The second baseman has to cheat a step toward second in the event of a steal or a double play. There’s a hole there you could dock ships.”)

But finally, the pairing of Scully with Joe Garagiola was an inspired piece of casting, not quite like Burns and Allen or the Sunshine Boys but a matchup quite as important to baseball as Ruth and Gehrig or Tinker and Evers and Chance.

I originally thought that was a lot of ego for one stage, or one microphone, but the two have locked into place like tongue in groove, or in this case, tongue in cheek.

Garagiola is the locker-room wit, the jokester from the team bus. Scully brings out the best in him, and he brings out the best in Scully. When the ballgame starts with the pitcher throwing two baseballs out of the infield and the third baseman following suit in the bottom half of the first, Garagiola pronounced it “a real Halloween inning” and later suggested that the ritual disclaimer, “This game is the property of major league baseball,” be waived since presumably nobody in the big leagues wanted to claim this game.

Later, when Scully noted that a certain pitcher had “retired 53 of 58 batters who faced him,” Garagiola wondered, “Why wouldn’t you try to sign those five guys?”

When a pitcher built along the general lines of King Kong took the mound, Garagiola observed, “He’s an 8 on a seismograph. His birthday is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.” Later, Joe said of a pitcher with a roundhouse, hanging curve, “He throws an American Legion curveball.”

Later, when Scully said that a bearded infielder “looks as if he fell off a box of cough drops,” Garagiola noted: “If he shaves, he only weighs 91 pounds.” When a pitcher wearing more gold chains than a wine clerk appeared, Scully noted that “he looks as if he just came from Westminster Abbey.”

It was all good clean fun. They brought out the best in each other. No one noticed the game was boring. Because it wasn’t in the broadcast booth. That’s one of the things that made this game great all along.

Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation P.O. Box 661532, Arcadia, CA 91066

——

The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s mission is to establish a permanent legacy to Jim Murray. The JMMF has joined forces with the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and MLB share significant and timeless overlapping history with Jim Murray. Jim Murray wrote more columns on baseball than he wrote on any other sport, bringing baseball’s history and legends to life through sports journalism.

The JMMF will continue its “Mondays with Murray” posts indefinitely with a link to the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame website supporting its new Jim Murray initiative. The JMMF will dissolve its 501(c)(3) status and distribute its remaining financial assets to the Hall of Fame.

Baseball Hall of Fame non-profit 501(c)(3) #15-0572877

Preserving History. Honoring Excellence. Connecting Generations.

info@jimmurrayfoundation.org|

www.jimmurrayfoundation.org

Baseball loses its voice as Scully dies at 94 . . . Hay back with Blazers for third time . . . Raiders add assistant coach

After calling the home run by Kirk Gibson, Vin Scully was silent for 75 seconds as he allowed the game to breathe and the viewing audience to take it all in. . . . Yes, there is a lesson there somewhere.


The Kamloops Blazers made it official on Tuesday morning — Don Hay is back in the organization as associate coach. Hay, 68, is the winningest head coach in KamloopsWHL history. He spent the past four seasons with the Portland Winterhawks, three as an assistant coach and last season as assistant coach. . . . Of course, if you’re a regular here, you weren’t surprised by the announcement. Because here’s what you read in this space on July 26:

“The Kamloops Blazers . . . have an opening after associate coach Mark Holick left the club on June 10, citing personal reasons. Now there are rumblings that Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history, is returning to the Blazers to work alongside Shaun Clouston, the general manager and head coach.”

What is interesting about Hay’s return is that he didn’t leave Kamloops on the best of terms with majority owner Tom Gaglardi. It was on May 10, 2018, when Gaglardi, at a news conference that didn’t include Hay, announced: “Don Hay is a legend and it is only fitting that he is able to retire with his hometown Kamloops Blazers as the winningest coach in WHL history.” . . . Except that Hay wasn’t retiring. As mentioned, he moved on to work with general manager/head coach Mike Johnston in Portland. . . . And, in fact, Hay told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week that he had agreed to return to Portland for another season. But that was before Clouston asked Johnston for the OK to talk with Hay about a return to Kamloops. . . .

Hay also told Hastings that he and Gaglardi patched things up before making this latest deal. “I talked to Tom through the process,” Hay told Hastings. “That was a concern for me, definitely, and we talked it over. We both talked our way through it and I understood the way he was thinking and he understood my side of it, as well. We both have the ability to move past it. That was a big step in making the decision. It’s funny how situations change.” . . .

When the new season gets here, Hay will be back behind the Blazers bench for a 14th season. A Kamloops native, he was an assistant coach for six seasons (1986-92) and head coach for seven (1992-95, 2014-18). He was a big part of the Blazers’ three Memorial Cup championships — 1992, 1994 and 1995. The Blazers, of course, will be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. . . . According to the WHL, Hay has 750 regular-season and 108 playoff victories to his credit, and is the all-time leader in both categories. . . . Clouston, with 498 regular-season victories, is the leader among head coaches still active in the WHL. He is on track to become the 10th head coach in league history to reach 500 regular-season victories. . . .

Also on Tuesday, the Blazers revealed that they and Clouston, 54, have agreed to a contract extension. No, they didn’t reveal the length of the extension. Clouston is preparing for his fourth season as the Blazers’ head coach; he has been the GM for a year. . . . Hastings also reported that former Blazers D Aaron Keller is expected back as an assistant coach, while long-time goaltending coach Dan DePalma also is expected to return. Also from Hastings: “Clouston . . . said the team is still working to hire Chris Murray as full-time assistant. Murray had shoulder replacement surgery last week.”


Deer
This mother and her two fawns stopped by the Drinnan residence above the South Thompson River on Tuesday evening and feasted on the fallen fruits of our Jon Gold apple tree. It’s interesting, at least to me, that they didn’t gorge themselves; they just ate their fill and then moved along.


As I also wrote in this space on July 26, Don Hay’s departure from Portland likely will allow Kyle Gustafson to return to the Winterhawks. Gustafson, who is from PortlandPortland, spent 18 seasons with them before signing on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks prior to the 2021-22 season. At the time, Travis Green, also a product of the Winterhawks, was in his fifth season as the Canucks’ head coach. Unfortunately, Green didn’t finish the season, and Gustafson lost his job in a post-season shakeup. . . . Gustafson, 41, started with the Winterhawks as an assistant coach; when he left, he was assistant general manager and associate coach. . . . His return as associate coach also would allow the Winterhawks to put into place a plan of succession that could have Gustafson take over the head-coaching reins from Mike Johnston in a season or two. Johnston, 65, also is the vice-president and general manager.


Horses


Keaton Ellerby, a former WHL defenceman, is getting into the coaching game. PrinceAlbertThe 33-year-old native of Strathmore, Alta., has signed on with the Prince Albert Raiders as an assistant coach. He fills the spot that opened up when Jeff Truitt was promoted to head coach following the departure of Marc Habscheid. . . . Ellerby played four seasons (2004-08) in the WHL, three-plus with the Kamloops Blazers and finishing up by playing 53 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . His pro career included 212 NHL games over six seasons, split among the Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets. He spent the past seven seasons in Europe, finishing up his playing career with the EIHL’s Sheffield Steelers in 2021-22.


The Calgary Wranglers are back, just not in the WHL. The NHL’s Calgary Flames Wranglersannounced on Tuesday that their AHL affiliate that will play out of the Saddledome will carry the nickname Wranglers. . . . That AHL franchise had been in Stockton, Calif., where it was the Heat, for seven seasons. . . . The junior Wranglers played in the WHL for 10 seasons, beginning in 1977. . . . The AHL Wranglers, under head coach Mitch Love, will be housed in the Saddledome, along with the Flames,  the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, and the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks. . . . I don’t know . . . can you have the Wranglers in Calgary without Doug Sauter being involved? Maybe he’ll drop the puck on opening night.


Homicide


THINKING OUT LOUD: It could be worse . . . you could be a fan of the Washington Nationals, who won the 2019 World Series but now haven’t anything left. Over the last while, the Nationals have gotten rid of starter Max Scherzer, SS Trea Turner, OF Bryce Harper, 3B Anthony Rendon and now OF Juan Soto. . . . The Nationals went 26-34 in the 2020 pandemic season, then 65-97 in 2021. Now they are the worst team in baseball and they just traded away the game’s brightest young star. Oh, and the franchise is for sale. . . . Here’s Joe Posnaski: “(Soto) dominates the strike zone in ways that boggle the mind; it’s no coincidence that people constantly compare him to Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.” . . . Posnaski, who writes at Joe Blogs, also wrote: “I guess for me, it comes down to this: Yesterday I could go to a Nationals game and watch one of the best hitters who ever lived. And today I can’t. And, to be honest, today I can’t think of a single other reason to watch the Nationals play.”


Wayne Kartusch, who spent 25 years as the president of the SJHL, died a week ago in Red Deer. He was 82. . . . A complete obituary is right here.


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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Dogs

Scattershooting on a Monday night while watching smoke roll in from the west . . .

scattershooting

You have to think that organizers of the 2022 World Junior Championship have their fingers and toes crossed. You will recall that the event actually got started COVIDin Edmonton in December, but the plug was pulled after a number of players and on-ice officials tested positive for COVID-19. The rescheduled event is to begin Aug. 9 in Edmonton and, well, there has been a player test positive. D David Jiricek wasn’t with Team Czechia when it left for Edmonton after he tested positive. He is in quarantine after which it is hoped that he will join the team. . . . Jiricek, who will turn 19 on Nov. 28, was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the sixth pick in the NHL’s 2022 draft. His WHL rights belong to the Spokane Chiefs, who selected him in the CHL’s 2020 import draft. . . . Jiricek has played the past three seasons with HC Škoda Plzeň of the Czech Extraliga.

——

Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals will be without QB Kyler Murray for at least five games as they go through training camp. He tested positive on Monday. . . . Oh, and the Seattle Seahawks are without head coach Pete Carroll after he, too, tested positive on Monday. He will continue to communicate with the team virtually.


Dinos


Wait! What’s that? Oh, Canada just scored another goal against Switzerland at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer.


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times is keeping an eye on NFL training camps for us. Here’s an early report: “Breaking news from Panthers camp: WR Robby Anderson wants to go by Robbie now. Three days in, and we’re already down to stuff like this?”



Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a few words on unvaccinated baseballers: “As they say in baseball, we’ll shoot any random stuff into our bodies, as long as it’s not something that will help stop a worldwide killer pandemic.”



Headline from The Beaverton: Pope Francis closes Commonwealth Stadium mass with 52-yard Hail Mary.

Headline from fark.com: Mike Trout diagnosed with rare spinal condition that’s been aggravated by carrying the Angels for the last 10 years.


Peanuts


A regular reader responds to something I mentioned here the other day:

“You have mentioned how irritating the (Sleeman) 2.0 ads are. I agree but I find the betting ads are bad enough with the amount of them. But when the sports shows give a segment away to talk about the odds is horrible.”

Hard to disagree with him. It also has made it hard, if not impossible, to watch intermission and halftime shows.


Wayne Kartusch, a longtime president of the SJHL, died in Red Deer on Thursday. He was 82. . . . Kartusch played two seasons (1958-60) with the SJHL’s Regina Pats, before going on to attend the U of Michigan. . . . He later was the SJHL president for 25 years. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has a whole lot more on Kartusch right here.


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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Taxes

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