Now we’re spitting on each other! How ever did we get to this point in fight against COVID-19?

The weather in Campbell Creek, B.C., was decent on Wednesday, especially for the last week in November. Campbell Creek? That’s where we live, about 20 km east of Kamloops on the north side of the South Thompson River.

I sometimes walk on Wittner Road, which is on the other side of the river within a few feet of the Trans-Canada Highway.

While I was strolling along on Wednesday afternoon I found myself wondering: How did we ever get to where we are today?

Sheesh, stop and think about it . . . how did we ever arrive here?

There are people who hardly have left their homes since March. There are senior citizens in long-term care homes who aren’t permitted to have in-person visits from family members. Our seniors should be treated as national treasures, not as disposable tissues.

I mean, people are dying — by the thousands south of the border and the dozens up here. But that doesn’t seem to matter to some people who absolutely refuse to wear masks . . . masks that only serve to protect family, friends and neighbours, not to mention anyone else with whom a wearer might come in contact.

Not only that, but those same unbelievably selfish people will enter a place of business, in the process walking right past signs indicating that the wearing of masks is mandatory, and spit at employees who attempt to get them to maskup. Goodness grief! How did we ever get here?

And what of those in the medical community — the doctors and nurses and caregivers and janitorial staff, the EMTs, police officers, teachers, everyone — who have spent hours working in the most precarious of situations? What about showing them a whole lot more respect by curtailing some of those non-essential activities?

Seriously . . . how did we ever get to this stage of uncaring and incivility?

I’m only referring to Canada here because I have no interest in getting into what is — or isn’t — going on south of the 49th parallel, other than to say the numbers down there two weeks after their Thanksgiving weekend are going to be like nothing we could have imagined.

Meanwhile, I have questions . . .

Why can’t politicians and/or health officials from the various provinces communicate on a regular basis and plan the response to COVID-19 together?

In Western Canada for example, why do we have one province handing down restrictions one day, another one doing it the next day and yet one more taking action a couple of days later? I realize that we are talking politics and ideology, etc., when it comes to getting provinces to work together, but — GEEZ! — people are dying here.

In Manitoba, the chief health officer is upset because shoppers apparently are travelling to places like Yorkton, Sask., and Kenora, Ont., in order to purchase items that aren’t available at this time in Manitoba, which is allowing the sales of essential items only. What if the provinces got together, came up with a common plan of attack and then they all unleashed it at the same time?

Why is there so much confusion whenever politicians/health officials announce a new round of restrictions? They seem to announce them one day and then spend at least two days explaining and clarifying them. Maybe when this is all over some of these people could attend a seminar on how not to deliver mixed messages.

At the same time, though, why are so many people looking for loopholes in the restrictions? As a society, are we not intelligent enough to understand what is best for us and for our friends and neighbours? Do we not understand what are the right things to do without raising a fuss and looking for excuses not to do them?

When did so many people lose sight of the fact that the scientists and medical people with the letters after their names know a whole lot more about this stuff than the ‘doctors’ and ‘scientists’ who hang out on social media? Please stop trying to tell me that wearing a mask cuts my oxygen intake by 20 per cent, or even one per cent. And don’t even mention Bill Gates, vaccines and computer chips. If you have a cel phone, Bill Gates already knows where you are every minute of every day of every week of every month of every year. OK?

Would it hurt for sporting organizations that have had to pause their seasons to have a spokesperson step forward and say that, yes, we’re disappointed but we respect our health officials and we are committed to do whatever is requested of us if it means keeping our community safe? Hey, we are really in need of some leaders setting good examples out there.

And, finally, when did we begin devaluing human life to the degree that is happening these days? Let’s not forget that the dead, among other things, don’t contribute to the economy.

And let’s not forget that, as Joe Biden says, “We are at war with the virus, not one another.”

Please!


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Skylar Peters, CJOB Winnipeg: There are 349 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba today, and 8 more people have lost their lives. . . . Deaths: 256. . . . Hospitalizations: 303 (pandemic-high). . . . ICU: 50. . . . TP: 14% (down .2% from Tues.) . . . Active: 8,758. . . . Recovered: 5,893. . . . Total: 14,907.

Brandon Sun: From Nov. 16-22, Manitobans were delivered 79 warnings and 95 tickets worth a total of $126,082 for breaking public health orders.

Marc Smith, CTV Regina: Saskatchewan announces 164 new cases today, including 69 in Regina. The Queen City is up to 693 active cases. Hospitalizations reach a record high at 111, including 19 people in ICU.

CBC News: Saskatchewan’s new COVID-19 restrictions suspend sports, extend mandatory masking to schools. Changes also include new limits for restaurants, weddings, funerals and recreational venues like casinos.

Toronto Star: Alberta Chief Medical officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the province has reached a grim milestone of 500 deaths, with another 1,265 COVID-19 cases diagnosed overnight.

CBC News: Calgary announces local state of emergency due to pandemic. Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the move allows the city to move quickly in order to respond to COVID-19.

CBC News: B.C. reports 738 new COVID-19 cases and 13 additional deaths, marking the highest one-day total for deaths in the province since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations hit another record high at 294 patients, with 61 in critical care.

CBC News: Ontario reports 36,100 more tests were completed. Data shows 523 people with COVID-19 are hospitalized in the province, 159 are in the ICU and 106 are on a ventilator.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 45 additional deaths and 1,100 new COVID-19 cases. That’s the lowest daily case total in 8 days; Quebec’s previous 7-day average was 1,182.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 102. New restrictions for restaurants, gyms, long-term care facilities begin Thursday.CTV News: New Brunswick is reporting three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the province’s active total to 94.

CBC News: Nunavut has 11 new cases of COVID-19, raising the total to 155; 153 are active. 8 of the new cases are in Arviat, a fly-in community on Hudson Bay’s west coast. There are 115 cases in Arviat, for a test positivity rate of 23%. 3 others are in Whale Cove, 150 km north of Arviat.

CBC News: U.S. hospitalizations for COVID-19 surpassed 87,000 on Tuesday, an all-time high. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has recommended against Americans travelling for Thanksgiving in order to curb the spread of the virus.

The New York Times: America’s frontline medical workers caring for Covid-19 patients are reaching a breaking point, suffering from deepening stress, fatigue and anxiety.

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Hockey Canada’s national junior team selection camp in Red Deer has all but shut down after three positive tests. A staff member tested positive on Saturday and two players came up positive on Tuesday. As a result, all players and coaches have been ruled to be close contacts and put into quarantine for 14 days. That means, among other things, that two exhibition games against the U of Alberta Golden Bears scheduled for this weekend have been cancelled. . . .

The Saskatchewan government and health officials have put restrictions in place that have resulted in the SJHL shutting down until after Christmas. The league has five games on Friday’s schedule after which it will shut down. . . . The Flin Flon Bombers already had announced they were done after being unable to get clearance to move their base of operations to Creighton, Sask., and play all their games on the road. . . . The Melfort Mustangs, meanwhile, have been dealing with a positive test. . . .

The AJHL announced Wednesday night that it is “on pause until existing limitations are lifted and we are permitted to safely return.” . . . The AJHL’s board of governors is to meet on Dec. 19 to discuss the situation. . . . The AJHL has four teams — the Canmore Eagles, Calgary Canucks, Drumheller Dragons and Okotoks Oilers — dealing with positive tests. . . .

Atlantic University Sport announced Wednesday that it won’t be playing any sports in the 2021 winter season. That impacts hockey, basketball, swimming, volleyball and curling. . . . AUS covers 11 universities in Atlantic Canada. . . .

The NFL won’t have a Thursday night game this week. The Baltimore Ravens were to have played at the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, that game has been moved to Sunday afternoon because the Ravens have had a few positive tests. . . . The Cleveland Browns shut down their facility on Wednesday after a second positive test in as many days. . . . The Indianapolis Colts put DT DeForest Buckner on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He won’t play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. . . . The Jacksonville Jaguars will be without three assistants coaches when they play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Nick Saban, the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, has tested positive and won’t be on the sideline Saturday when his club faces Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl. Saban is said to be in quarantine with mild symptoms. . . . There were reports a couple of months ago that he had tested positive, but that turned out to be a false positive.


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.



Thanks1

So . . . we were really looking forward to watching the Baltimore Ravens play the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Thursday night. Weren’t we? But now that’s gone. . . . Here’s Bob Molinaro of the of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot to describe the Thanksgiving Day football tradition:

“Grandma’s sweet potato casserole and collard greens haven’t given Thanksgiving Day revelers as much gas over the years as the Detroit Lions. Why must the NFL subject football-loving Americans to a Lions game — this year against the anemic Texans — each and every turkey day? Tradition? The only tradition worth recognizing here is the one that outlaws cruel and unusual punishment.”


Thanks2

COVID-19 steals Sasakamoose as family, hockey world mourn . . . Canada’s national junior team has positive players . . . BCHL’s Wild shuts down for now

Dorothy and I were in Penticton, B.C., on the evening of July 24, 2015, for the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame induction dinner.

Here is part of what I wrote afterwards:

The legendary Fred Sasakamoose was on hand to receive the Okanagan Hockey School’s Pioneer Award.

What a wonderful moment it was as a tremendously touching video chronicling Sasakamoose’s life was played and an emotional Sasakamoose made his way to the stage.

If you aren’t aware of Sasakamoose and all that he has done, get thee to Google and prepare to spend an hour or two.

At one point, Sasakamoose spoke to what was a thoroughly captivated audience about how lonely it was being an aboriginal — he is from the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation — on the way to the NHL.

On this night, Sasakamoose was anything but lonely. He was on the receiving end of two emotionally charged standing ovations as he made a roomful of new friends and admirers.

That is the kind of night it was, and I will long remember being a small part of it.


Hockey Canada, we’ve got a problem!

Hockey Canada announced Tuesday morning that two players who are part of Canadaits national junior team selection camp in Red Deer have tested positive for COVID-19. Both players are in quarantine at the team hotel.

As a result, Tuesday afternoon’s Red-White game was postponed and all other activities were cancelled for the day. Ryan Rishaug of TSN reported later Tuesday that “as of now nothing is scheduled for training camp activity (Wednesday).”

Head coach Andre Tourigny had said the coaching staff wanted to trim the roster by a dozen or more players after Tuesday’s game. That obviously didn’t happen. Chances are that some players will be sent home before a scheduled exhibition game against the U of Alberta Golden Bears on Saturday.

This is Team Canada’s second brush with the virus. On Saturday, a person described as a “non-core” member of the support staff tested positive. That resulted in an undisclosed number of people going into a 14-day quarantine, including assistant coaches Michael Dyck and Jason Labarbera.

On Tuesday, after news of the two players having tested positive, Rishaug tweeted:

“A key question is, how many players will be identified as close contacts? We don’t know if the infected players were playing in the games Saturday and Sunday. All close contacts must isolate for 14 days.

“Covid has wreaked havoc on Canada’s camp to this point. 14 players were late arriving for various Covid testing related issues, including Ridly Greig testing positive before camp. He has since joined the team after his quarantine ended.

“All of this happening with the back drop of rapidly rising cases in Alberta, and news coming later today from the Premier that could involve further restrictive measures being put in place. The next few days will determine a lot on what Canada’s camp looks like moving forward.

“Players and staff were tested before arrival in Red Deer, then tested again upon arrival. A 2x per week protocol then kicked in once camp was up and running. The first positive test of a staff member came as a result of the 3rd test they had taken.”

Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News has his take on Team Canada’s situation right here.


The NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets said Tuesday they have “had several players NHLrecently test positive for the COVID-19 virus.” . . . Frank Seravalli of TSN reported that a “significant” number of Blue Jackets “have tested positive . . . over the last 7-to-10 days.” . . . The players went into quarantine and the organization’s off-ice facilities at Nationwide Arena were closed “beginning the week of Nov. 16.” . . . The NHL apparently continues to have its sights set on a Jan. 1 opening. But now there are outbreaks with the Blue Jackets and Vegas Golden Knights. . . . Seravalli also reported that “sources say multiple family members of VGK players have also tested positive.” . . . Robin Brownlee of oilersnation.com wonders right here just how realistic a Jan. 1 starting date might be.


Blaming restrictions implemented by the state of Washington and the closure Wenatcheeof the U.S.-Canada border, the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild announced Tuesday that it is “taking a hiatus for the 2020-21 season.” . . . All Wild players now are free agents. . . . “The latest setback is not being able to train our players here in the state of Washington,” a Wild news release reads. “We are not opting out of the season we are being forced out because the United States and Canadian border are closed and (because of) the restrictions on gyms and ice arenas in the state of Washington.” . . . Kudos to Wild owner David White as Taking Note has been told that he is keeping the staff on the payroll. . . . There is a news release right here.


LightUp


In the QMJHL, the Charlottetown Islanders have had to pause their schedule for qmjhlnewat least two weeks. That’s because the Prince Edward Island government has withdrawn from the Maritime travel bubble. . . . With COVID-19 numbers rising in the Maritime provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island announced Monday that they were withdrawing from the bubble for at least two weeks. That bubble had been in place since July 3. It allowed people to travel rather freely across the Maritimes provinces without quarantining. . . . P.E.I. implemented new travel restrictions on Monday at midnight; N.L. puts its restrictions in place on Wednesday. . . . On Tuesday, the Nova Scotia government also announced travel restrictions, so the QMJHL postponed seven games scheduled for this week in the Maritime Division.


“A shortened season, no playoffs and a $265,000 payment for litigation fees involved in a minimum-wage lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League pushed the Kitchener Rangers into the red for the 2020 fiscal year,” writes Josh Brown of the Waterloo Region Record. “The Rangers announced a net deficit of $83,736 at Monday night’s virtual annual general meeting, making it the first time in the past 25 years the Ontario Hockey League club failed to record a profit.

“Last year, the team made $335,233.”

It is interesting that the Rangers apparently have written off $265,000 for the settlement of that lawsuit. In the WHL, the Moose Jaw Warriors told shareholders that they are on the hook for $180,846 as their part of the settlement, while the Prince Albert Raiders said their share was to be $166,667.

The Swift Current Broncos don’t seem to have stated a figure, while the Lethbridge Hurricanes have yet to hold their annual general meeting.

Lethbridge, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert and Swift Current are the 22-team WHL’s four community-owned teams. As such, they are obligated to hold annual general meetings open to shareholders.

BTW, the afore-mentioned lawsuit was thought to have been settled for $30 million, but courts in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec have rejected that settlement. So negotiations no doubt are continuing.


Bar


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

CBC News: Manitoba announces 476 new cases of COVID-19, its 4th-highest daily total since the pandemic began. It follows yesterday’s record high of 543. The province is also attributing 12 more deaths to the virus.

CTV News: Manitoba issued $126,082 in tickets last week for those not following health orders.

CBC News: Saskatchewan adds 175 new coronavirus cases — 70 of them in Regina and 28 in Saskatoon zones. That’s the province’s lowest new daily case total in 4 days and is below the province’s previous 7-day average of 218.

Regina Leader-Post: After reporting 175 new cases and 112 recoveries Tuesday, Sask. government cancels afternoon press conference.

CBC News: Alberta reports 1,115 new COVID-19 cases, 16 more deaths, for a provincial case load of 13,349 active infections.

CBC News: Premier Jason Kenney declares a state of public emergency in Alberta. Imposing new restrictions on social gatherings, religious services. No indoor social gatherings permitted in any settings for a minimum of 3 weeks. Will be evaluated in mid-Dec.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat is up to 103 active cases of COVID-19. There are 123 recoveries listed in MH. . . . There are 39 active cases in Cypress County. There are 40 active cases of Forty Mile. . . . There are 171 active cases in Lethbridge. Brooks is at 46 active cases of the virus.

Richard Zussman, Global BC: British Columbia has shattered the one day COVID-19 record with 941 new cases over the past 24 hours. There have been 28,348 total cases of the virus in BC. . . . There are 284 people in BC in hospital with COVID. With 61 people in ICU. The hospital number is a record. . . . Another double digit day for COVID deaths. There have been 10 deaths due to the virus over the last 24 hours. There have been 358 deaths in the province from COVID. . . . The latest positivity rate on the BC CDC website is 6.6%. On October 6th it was 1.2%.

Keith Baldrey, Global BC: BC Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth on Global BC tonight with a message for anti-maskers: “Grow up, shut up and mask up.” I’d say that’s fairly clear.

CBC News: B.C. health-care workers plead for public to follow COVID-19 orders.

Global News: B.C. grocery story (in Nelson) hires security guard as anti-mask hostility grows.

CBC News: Ontario’s reporting error means (Tuesday’s) total case count is artificially low. Additional data: 14 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Ontario, 534 ppl are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province, 159 of them in ICU, 91 on ventilators.

CBC News: Quebec reports 45 additional deaths due to the coronavirus, also diagnoses 1,124 new cases. That’s virtually unchanged from the province’s previous 7-day average of 1,162.

CBC News: Nova Scotia reports 37 new COVID-19 cases, highest since April 23. Province announces wave of restrictions for greater Halifax area, including gathering size limits, 25% capacity cap on the number of shoppers in a store, while restaurants and bars are restricted to takeout only.

CBC News: Nunavut has 10 new cases of COVID-19. Nine are in Arviat, on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay, where there’s now a total of 107 cases. There have been 375 negative tests in Arviat, which has a population of about 2,600. The other new case is in Rankin Inlet.

——

Keith Baldrey, Global BC: Brutal Washington state COVID-19 numbers today: 3,482 new cases, a record. 35 deaths. In the past week alone 119 people have died there and almost 600 people have entered hospital.

Oregon ArtsWatch: COVID-19 has claimed a record 21 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 847. The total number of Oregonians hospitalized and in intensive care with COVID-19 also increased. There were 1,011 new confirmed and presumptive cases, down from recent days.

FacesOfCOVID: 2,028 people died of COVID today in the United States, the first time since May that the daily death count has exceeded 2,000.

The New York Times: California reported 17,694 new cases on Monday, well more than it or any other state had ever done before, according to a New York Times database. Over the past week, it has averaged 12,712 new cases a day — more than Maine’s total for the whole pandemic.

——

——

The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens have had at least 10 positive tests among players and staff since Sunday night. They are scheduled to play the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Thursday. . . . Baltimore RBs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins won’t play, nor will DT Brandon Williams. . . .

To say that NCAA men’s basketball is a mess would be something of an understatement. . . . No. 1 Baylor has pulled out of a tournament in Connecticut that is to start today. Head coach Scott Drew tested positive. . . . Florida has pulled out of two games. . . . East Carolina, Indiana State and Akron pulled out of a tournament in Florida. . . . The start of Wichita State’s season has been delayed. The Shockers actually flew into Sioux Falls, S.D., for a tournament only to have seven team members test positive. . . . Rick Barnes, the head coach at Tennessee, has tested positive and team activities are on hold. The school reported multiple positives among “Tier 1 personnel, which consists of coaches, student-athletes, team managers and support staff.” . . . Gardner-Webb experienced at least one positive so pulled out of what was to have been Duke’s season-opener. . . . Ole Miss had some positives, including head coach Kermit Davis, so cancelled a three-game tournament it was to hold and team activities are on hold until Dec. 7. . . . The Florida A&M women’s team has opted out of the 2020-21 season. . . .

The 24-team Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, which had been hoping to open its season on Dec. 2, now is aiming for Jan. 15. The league’s return-to-play protocol includes games being played without deliberate bodychecking/intentional physical contact and no post-whistle scrums. . . .

Northeastern has shut down winter sports until Dec. 18 because of what the schools says is a “small cluster of recent COVID-19 cases that led to quarantining athletes on five varsity teams.” The men’s hockey team has cancelled or postponed six games. . . . The women’s basketball and women’s hockey team both experienced positive tests, as did the men’s women’s track and field teams. . . .

The U of Maine in Orono has shut down winter athletics through at least Dec. 8 “due to positive test results on campus, including individuals involved with the varsity athletic programs.” . . . All games for the men’s and women’s basketball teams and men’s and women’s hockey teams between Nov. 25 and Dec. 8 have been cancelled. . . .

The Minnesota at No. 18 Wisconsin football game scheduled for Saturday won’t happen. Minnesota has paused team-related activities due to positives tests within its program. . . .

Martin Pakula, the sports minister for the Australian state of Victoria, says the start of the 2021 Australian Open tennis tournament “most likely” will be delayed. The tournament, which is held in Melbourne, is scheduled to begin on Jan. 18. However, Pakula said it is likely to be delayed a week or two. At the same time, he didn’t rule out a longer delay.


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.


The Brandon Wheat Kings announced Tuesday that they have promoted Don BrandonWKregularMacGillivray to head coach, replacing Dave Lowry who joined the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets as an assistant coach on Monday. . . . Lowry spent one season in Brandon. . . . MacGillivray has been on the Wheat Kings’ coaching staff for four seasons. . . . He has extensive coaching experience in junior hockey, including most of two seasons (1996-98) as head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders. He also is a four-time winner of the MJHL’s coach-of-the-year award. . . . The Wheat Kings’ coaching staff also includes assistant Mark Derlago and goaltending coach Tyler Plante. . . . The team apparently is in the process of hiring another assistant coach.


Decision

BCHL now hoping to open Dec. 8 . . . SJHL’s Bombers done until 2021 . . . Wheat Kings lose Lowry to Jets

The BCHL had been hoping to open its regular season on Dec. 2. But those plans BCHLhave changed and now the junior A league is aiming for Dec. 8. The change, according to a news release, “is to accommodate the new orders against team travel” as ordered by the Province Health Office (PHO). . . . The BCHL also has cancelled the remainder of its exhibition season. . . . The league also is looking at perhaps having to wait until the new year to get started. ““If the PHO extends their current restrictions beyond Dec. 7, we have the option of moving the start date to after the holidays, but it is our intention to begin play once the current order expires,” Chris Hebb, the BCHL’s commissioner, said. . . . According to Steven Cocker, the BCHL’s executive director, “Should the season start be delayed past Dec. 8, the players (who) choose to go home for the holidays will be required to adhere to travel guidelines, including going into isolation for 14 days prior to joining their team.”


The SJHL has postponed weekend games in which the Melfort Mustangs and SJHLBattlefords North Stars were to have played a home-and-home series. The decision was made due to a “COVID-19 exposure,” according to a Mustangs’ news release. “The player in question has been isolated and the organization is following all direct protocols from the health authorities.” . . . They were to have played in Melfort on Friday and North Battleford on Saturday. . . . The Mustangs, who also had a player test positive late in September, should be able to resume activities on Nov. 29. . . . Earlier, the SJHL had postponed a game that was to have been played on Saturday (Nov. 21) between the visiting La Ronge Ice Wolves and Melfort. The teams had played Friday in La Ronge. . . .

At the same time, the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers have put their season on hold FlinFlonuntil the new year. The Bombers play out of Manitoba but the province is in a lockdown. The Bombers, who last played on Nov. 10, had been negotiating with health officials in two provinces and with the Manitoba government in the hopes of being allowed to practice in Creighton, Sask., and play all of their games on the road. The team announced Monday that it was unable to reach an agreement so has decided to put things on hold. . . . The Bombers are 0-2-0 and will have had 14 games postponed by the end of Decemberr. They are next scheduled to play on Jan. 1 against the visiting La Ronge Ice Wolves. . . . Carter Brooks of gameonhockey.ca has more on the Bombers right here.


As you may be aware, the QMJHL has seven teams playing in a bubble in Quebec City and, to date, there haven’t been any positive tests. But what has it cost to find out whether people in the bubble are positive or negative? . . . Well, Stéphane Turcot of TVA tweeted on Monday that “in total more than a thousand tests were carried out for a sum of more than $200,000.” . . . Yes, that’s more than $200 per test.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

CBC News: Manitoba announces a record 543 new cases of COVID-19, the first time the number has exceeded 500. That compares to the province’s previous 7-day average of 371. Manitoba also reports 7 more deaths.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 4 additional deaths and 235 new COVID-19 cases. That’s virtually the same number of cases as yesterday (236) but above the province’s 7-day average of 210.

CBC News: Sask. Premier Scott Moe self-isolating after potential COVID-19 exposure. Potential exposure happened at Original Joe’s restaurant in Prince Albert, says government release.

CBC News: 5 more deaths and 1,549 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, down slightly from yesterday’s all-time high of 1,584 cases. It’s the 5th day in a row the province has seen at least 1,000 cases; Alberta’s average for the previous 7-day is 963.

Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW: Alberta added 1,549 COVID-19 cases on Nov. 22, just shy of the previous day’s record total of 1,584. . . . RedDeer now with 141 active cases, an increase of 15.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat is up to 101 active cases of COVID-19. There are 116 recoveries in the Hat. . . . There are 39 active cases in Cypress County. There are 23 active cases of COVID-19 in Forty Mile. . . . There are 176 active cases in Lethbridge. Taber is up to 106 active cases.

Richard Zussman, Global BC: Over the last three days there have been 1,933 new cases of COVID-19. This includes 713 cases from Fri to Sat, 626 new cases from Sat to Sun and 594 new cases from Sun to Mon. There have been 27,407 total cases of COVID-19 in BC. . . . Hospitalizations are surging. There are 277 (up 50) people in hospital with COVID. 58 people in ICU and 17 people have died from the virus. There have been 348 deaths in BC from the virus. . . . Right now there are 7,360 active cases of the virus (nearly 1,000 of these cases are linked to LTC), 19,069 people have recovered and 10,200 people are in self-isolation.

CBC News: Ontario sets new high for coronavirus cases with 1,589 in the past 24 hours as Toronto and Peel move into a second lockdown. It’s the 18th straight day with more than 1,000 cases; the 7-day average is now 1,401, up from 1,385. 19 more deaths are also being attributed to the virus. . . . Ontario data shows 37,500 more tests completed. 507 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in the province, with 156 in ICU. Toronto and Peel Region entered the most restrictive tier of Ontario’s pandemic protection plan today.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 1,164 new COVID-19 cases, virtually unchanged from the province’s 7-day average of 1,163. Quebec health authorities are also attributing 13 additional deaths to the virus.

CBC News: 15 new COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick, just the 2nd time the number has been in double digits since October 10; the other time was 2 days ago with 23 cases. The province also says there has been 1 more death due to the virus.

CBC News: Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. are exiting the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region. The Atlantic bubble was lauded as a success throughout the summer and fall when virus  case numbers were low. . . . Effective Wednesday, anyone entering N.L. from the Maritimes will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Pulling out of Atlantic bubble for 2 weeks.

CBC News: P.E.I. is putting travel restrictions in place for 2 weeks. Premier Dennis King says the Island is temporarily suspending all unnecessary travel to and from P.E.I. a minimum of two weeks starting at midnight.

CBC News: Nunavurt reports 4 more COVID-19 cases. That brings the territory’s total to 132; the 1st case was diagnosed November 6. 3 of the new cases are in Rankin Inlet, bringing its total to 18. 1 is in Whale Cove, bringing its total to 16. 

CBC News: Global COVID-19 cases top 59M, with over 1.39M deaths; Johns Hopkins University.

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Radio station CKOM Saskatoon reported on Monday that the Balcarres Broncs, a senior hockey team, has had “at least two cases of COVID-19, following the protocols of Saskatchewan Health.” . . . CKOM also reported that “outbreaks were declared in Prince Albert in the U-19 P.A. Bruins hockey team and the Global Sport Academy.” . . . That story is right here. . . . The Broncs play in the Qu’Appelle Valley Hockey League. . . . Another QVHL game — the Balgonie Bisons at the Odessa/Vibank Bruins— wasn’t played on Saturday. Taking Note was told that players weren’t sure what had happened, but “rumour had it the exposure pertained to a Balcarres player from the weekend before.” . . . The Milestone Flyers were to have visited Balcarres on Saturday, but that game also wasn’t played. . . .

The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights issued a news release on Monday evening stating that four of their players “recently tested positive. . . . Those individual players have been self-isolating and are all recovering well.” The team has shut down all off-ice player areas through the Thanksgiving weekend. . . .

The 10-team New England Hockey Conference (NEHC), which is NCAA Div. III, cancelled its 2020-21 season and championship tournament on Monday. It had announced a delay to the start of the season in July. . . . From a statement: “The NEHC had remained optimistic that a season could safely take place this winter. However, with a surge in cases both nationally and regionally, state-to-state travel amongst the membership has proved insurmountable. The NEHC membership hails from six different states that each have a variety of travel restrictions in place as it pertains to crossing state lines during the pandemic.” . . .

A Monday afternoon hockey game between the visiting Minnesota State Mavericks and Bemidji State Beavers was postponed “due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Minnesota State program,” according to a news release from the WCHA. . . . The teams played Sunday night — Minnesota State won, 5-0 — with no positive tests reported prior to that game. . . . The Mavericks’ season is on hold “pending outcomes related to full contact tracing yet to be completed.” . . . The Beavers are scheduled to visit the Maverics on Friday and Saturday nights. . . .

Northern Michigan’s men’s hockey team has experienced some positive tests so has postponed or cancelled its first six games. The Wildcats’ first games now are scheduled for Dec. 11-12 against Minnesota State in Mankato. Of course, the Mavericks are on hold right now because of positive tests in their program. NMU is located in Marquette. . . . St. Lawrence U has shut down its hockey program at least through Dec. 19 because of an outbreak on campus in Canton, N.Y. The Saints, who play in the ECAC, now don’t have any games scheduled until January. . . .

The Seattle Sounders had a player test positive on Monday, but he “was not a close contact of other members of the roster or technical staff,” according to the team . . . The Sounders are scheduled to play host LAFC on Tuesday in a Round 1 playoff match. A victory would put the Sounders through to the Western Conference semfinal against FC Dallas. . . .

The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens shut down their facility on Monday after experiencing multiple positive tests. The Ravens, who lost 30-24 to the host Tennessee Titans on Sunday, are scheduled to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday. . . . The Minnesota Vikings placed WR Adam Thielen on the reserve/COVID-19 list after he tested positive. He will have to test negative during the week if he is to play against the visiting Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Thielen leads the NFL with 11 receiving touchdowns. He caught 11 passes for 123 yards and two TDs in Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the visiting Dallas Cowboys. . . . LT Trent Williams of the San Francisco 49ers tested positive last week and may miss another game this weekend. He is a cancer survivor and is considered high risk.



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.


Dave Lowry has left the Brandon Wheat Kings after one season as head coach to join the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets as an assistant coach. The Wheat Kings went 35-22-6 under Lowry in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season. . . . Lowry, 55, also has been a WHL head coach with the Victoria Royals and Calgary Hitmen. . . . He joined the Wheat Kings after two seasons as an assistant with the Los Angeles Kings. . . . With the Jets, he fills the spot created when Todd Woodcroft left in April to become the head coach at the U of Vermont. . . . Lowry’s son, Adam, 27, who played with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos (2009-13), is preparing for his seventh season with the Jets. . . .

Meanwhile, the Henderson Silver Knights, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, made official one of hockey’s worst kept secrets on Monday — they have hired Jamie Heward, 49, as an assistant coach. Heward spent the past two seasons as the Vancouver Giants’ associate coach. The Giants have signed signed Keith McCambridge as associate coach. . . . Heward and Manny Viveiros, the AHL expansion team’s head coach, worked together with the Swift Current Broncos, winning the WHL’s 2017-18 championship. . . . The Silver Knights also have signed Joel Ward, 39, as an assistant coach. A veteran of 726 regular-season NHL games, Ward announced his retirement in April.


The NHL’s Florida Panthers have named former WHLer Shane Churla, 55, their director of amateur scouting. He spent the previous seven seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, the last four as director of amateur scouting. Churla, who also has scouted for the Dallas Stars and Arizona/Phoenix Coyotes, played for the Medicine Hat Tigers (1983-85).

Welcome home, Julie! . . . The Backmeyers still playing waiting game . . . Rockets auctioning sweaters

Julie Dodds arrived back at the family’s Kamloops home on Sunday afternoon, less than four weeks after undergoing a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Julie, a mother of three boys, had the transplant on Oct. 28, with her younger brother, Jason Brauer of Port McNeill, B.C., as the living donor.

Julie was welcomed home by friends and neighbours who staged what has become known as a COVID parade. Well done, folks!

Julie’s transplant team will continue to monitor her progress through regular bloodwork. She also will go back to St. Paul’s early in December for an in-person checkup. And, of course, she will be in regular contact with the nephrologists and staff in the renal clinic at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

——

Meanwhile, the Backmeyer family of Kamloops continues to wait and hope for a kidney for Ferris, who will be turning four early in 2021.

Just because things have been fairly quiet on the home front, especially after a sometimes hectic summer, doesn’t mean that nothing has been happening.

“Somehow we’ve managed to stay home the past couple weeks even though there’s some big stuff going on with Miss Ferris,” Lindsey, Ferris’s mother, wrote on Facebook late last week.

FerrisSisters
Ferris Backmeyer and her big sisters, Ksenia (left) and Tavia, enjoy an autumn walk. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

A week earlier, Ferris had “developed a leak internally and she had about four nights where dialysis didn’t go well.”

In peritoneal dialysis, fluid goes into the body and fluid drains from the body, removing toxins in the process, a job that is done by the kidneys of a healthy person.

Ferris wasn’t draining properly, primarily from her day dwell, and Lindsey said she had gained close to a kilogram that would be fluid weight.

“Her tummy got real big,” Lindsey wrote, adding that Ferris didn’t appear at all bothered as she “was acting her normal self.”

They decided to stop her day dwell “because she wasn’t draining it and was absorbing/pocketing the fluid.”

There were a number of chats with staff from B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

And, as Lindsey pointed out, “It’s a lot of ‘extra’ on top of all the regular things that keep a family busy.”

But being able to communicate with BCCH meant they were able to stay at home “so I’ll take it!”

At the same time, Ferris was doing well with her PD at night “when we hit her with high-concentration fluids and we now have her weight back down.”

One other thing . . . it doesn’t matter your age, dialysis is a draining experience. With Ferris, Lindsey says, “Dialysis literally sucks the life right out of her. She laid around for a few days” but then one night had a great drain and the next day “she was amazing again!”

However, there will be a trip to Vancouver in the near future.

“They are concerned about increased risk of peritonitis if there’s fluid just sitting in there so are having us come down for an MRI and urology consult,” Lindsey explained. “I’m trying to stay optimistic that they will recommend leaving it alone as long as dialysis is working.”

BackmeyerGirls
Ferris is flanked by the bigs — Tavia (left) and Ksenia. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

Ferris is flanked by the bigs — Tavia (left) and Ksenia. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

And through it all there are two older sisters — Ksenia and Tavia — who also need care and attention.

“My bigs needed some fun with Mom and I really wanted to try get some pics of the three of them,” Lindsey wrote, then added: “It’s hard to believe, Ferris has been on dialysis for 2.5 years. Over half her life. She’s so full of personality and is a really funny kid. She might actually be the most annoying little sister ever but they love her so much. It’s time for something better for her.

“A successful kidney transplant is her best bet and we feel desperate for it sometimes. Well, most of the time really.

“I’ve learned time and time again that it all changes in an instant. It’s a lesson I’d prefer not to have thrown in my face on the regular but I feel like I’m coping a bit better each time . . . so there’s that!

“Last Wednesday it was like ‘yup we are going’ . . . did laundry, folded socks, had a packing list in my head and was ready to do the things. PD not working any more means hemo but I really don’t like not having a back up for our back-up plan. It’s a sick feeling.

“Come on kidney!!”

——

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.



Vic2


The WHL, Part 3: Bruins’ dynasty ends, franchises on the move and more mayhem . . .

At some point in the late 1990s, while I was the sports editor at the Regina Leader-Post, I put together a brief history of the Western Hockey League. I had pretty much forgotten about it until recently when I was asked if I might post it again. So I am doing just that. . . . As you read each piece, please remember that I wrote them more than 20 years ago and they cover only the league’s first 25 years. It isn’t an all-encompassing history, but hits on some of the highlights and a few lowlights. . . . The stories are pretty much as originally written. . . . Here is Part 3. . . .

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The mid-1970s belonged to the Ernie McLean-coached New Westminster Bruins. They were the Western Canada Hockey League’s most-dominant team.

If you didn’t believe that, well, they would convince you of it. And they’d do that any way they felt like it.

ErnieMcLean
The legendary Ernie McLean. (Photo: The Coaches Site)

The Bruins ran their string of WCHL titles to four, and won the Memorial Cup the last two seasons, in 1976-77 and 1977-78. But by the time the 1980-81 season ended, the bloom was off the rose in New Westminster. Little did anyone know that it never would return.

Prior to the start of the 1976-77 season, the WCHL instituted a rule calling for an automatic game misconduct to any player who initiated a fight. Ironically, the first player stung was Brandon Wheat Kings starry centre Bill Derlago. He got the heave-ho after starting a scrap with Brian Schnitzler of the Saskatoon Blades in a season-opening 3-0 Brandon victory.

Two coaches felt WCHL president Ed Chynoweth’s wrath on Nov. 2. Ivan Prediger of the Kamloops Chiefs was suspended for 20 games, while Ken Hodge of the Portland Winter Hawks got 10 games. Prediger apparently struck Hodge during an altercation between the benches on Oct. 24.

LorneDavis

There was joy in Regina on Jan. 27 when the Pats scored a 3-2 victory over visiting Portland. It ended a 36- game Regina winless streak that covered 96 days. “I hope the players don’t become satisfied with the win,” said Lorne Davis, who had taken over as GM/head coach from Del Wilson and Bob Turner with the Pats at 2-32-5.

A nine-hour meeting in Calgary resulted in a new playoff format. Under the original format, the Flin Flon Bombers, third in the East, were 20 points ahead of Regina and all but had a playoff spot locked up. Suddenly, there was a new format and the Bombers were fighting for a spot. Oh yes, they were also on a 15-game West Coast road trip.

“In this league, you need two pieces of equipment,” said Flin Flon boss Mickey Keating. “You need a face-guard when you play some of the teams on the ice and a back protector for the committee room. I had inklings that there may be changes in the playoffs but I had confidence there were intelligent hockey men in this league. I was shown different.”

In Portland, the Winter Hawks were beginning to carve out a niche, which resulted in this March 1 comment from GM Brian Shaw: “We’re selling the all-American boy image. Our players are all properly dressed in public. They all have respectable hair lengths. We feel image is important. Our players have become our outstanding selling point, and they have actually played much better because of the great acceptance which now is blossoming in Portland.”

In mid-April, Kamloops majority owner Ephram Steinke admitted the franchise would likely move to Spokane over the summer. The reasons? Steinke blamed almost $500,000 in losses over four years, and the city’s refusal to construct a new arena.

BobStrumm
The often-emotional Bob Strumm. (Photo: Regina Leader-Post)

On May 12, the Calgary Centennials signed Bob Strumm as general manager. One of Strumm’s first moves was to confirm that a move to Billings was being contemplated.

Strumm, who had been Chynoweth’s executive assistant, was, at 29, the WCHL’s youngest GM. He would be one of the league’s most-prominent figures through the mid-1980s.

The Calgary move became official on May 19. Eleven days later, Kamloops moved to Seattle and became the Breakers under new owner John Hamilton.

On July 19, at the annual meeting in Calgary, the transfer of the Winnipeg Monarchs to Calgary was approved. Del Wilson, president and governor of the Pats, was named chairman of the board, replacing Bill Burton.

When Winnipeg moved to Calgary and became the Wranglers, owner Gerry Brisson named Doug Barkley as GM. The coach? It was Brisson. Would the GM be able to fire the owner/coach.

Stay tuned.

The 1977-78 regular season hadn’t even started when McLean was in trouble. It stemmed from an exhibition game against the host Victoria Cougars when midway in the second period he ventured into the stands to tangle with a fan who was taunting him. For his troubles, McLean got a gash on his forehead and, later, a $250 fine. This would serve as an omen.

A fierce rivalry was building between Regina and the Brandon Wheat Kings. After one early-season game, Davis had this to say: “If (Dave) Semenko would have been close enough to the box I would have swung at him . . . he came over by our bench trying to intimidate us.” To which Brandon coach Dunc McCallum responded: “How can a 220-pound man be held back by a stick boy?”

A few days later, Semenko joined the WHA’s Edmonton Oilers. A couple of years later, Davis joined the Oilers as a scout.

BillDerlago
BILL DERLAGO

Derlago, perhaps the best pure offensive talent this league has seen, had a 40-game point streak end on Nov. 9 when he left a game with a thigh injury during his first shift. One month later, he blew out a knee in an exhibition game against the Moscow Selects. Had Derlago not been hurt, who knows what kind of numbers he would have put up? When he was injured, he had 48 goals and 80 points in 26 games. He was on pace for 133 goals, three more than the then-CMJHL record of 130 held by Guy Lafleur.

On Feb. 3, Jack McLeod resigned as coach of the Saskatoon Blades. He stayed on as GM, but put Garry Peters behind the bench. In Calgary, Barkley, the GM, took over as coach from Brisson, the owner.

More bad ink, and lots of it, in early February when McLean was slapped with a 25-game suspension for allegedly hitting an official. He returned for the playoffs.

“Our league has long been accused of protecting either our coaches or, more particularly, owner/coaches, but there is no way one coach or one franchise is bigger than the league,” Chynoweth said. “I can live with the so-called violence on ice, as projected by the media, but when it comes to our officials, qualified or unqualified, I look at things much differently.”

More bad ink in the first round of the playoffs. Yes, it emerged from a round-robin series. This one featured Brandon, Flin Flon and Regina in a double home-and-home series. When it got to the final game, Flin Flon at Regina, the Pats had to beat the Bombers by at least six goals to eliminate Brandon and set up a Regina-Flin Flon division final. Regina won 10-4 and the high-powered Wheat Kings, led by the likes of Derlago, Brian Propp, Laurie Boschman and Ray Allison, were done like so much burnt toast.

“For us to say anything is stupid. You saw what happened,” Flin Flon defenceman Ray Markham said after the game.

Ultimately, Flin Flon, New Westminster and Billings advanced to the WCHL’s round-robin semi-final to eliminate one team and put the other two in the championship final. Out went Flin Flon. New Westminster then swept Billings in the final. It was the Bruins’ fourth straight WCHL title and they would win their second consecutive Memorial Cup.

The Bruins, a power for oh, so long, would rarely be heard from in a positive light again.

On May 22, Flin Flon governor Gord Mitchell revealed that the community-owned team would cease operations. “I hate to see it go,” Mitchell said. “It’s certainly not the fault of the league. The league’s not kicking us out. But there comes a time when something like this seems to be the most reasonable thing to do. We’re a small centre and it got to the point where the league had outgrown us.”

A week later, Chynoweth, who had threatened to resign, announced he would remain as president, thanks to a promise from the governors that an executive assistant would be provided to help with such things as discipline. Wilson, the part-owner of the Pats, filled the bill as vice-president and referee-in-chief. Shaw replaced Wilson as chairman of the board.

On June 1, Gregg Pilling was named GM/coach in Regina, replacing Davis who, in a surprise move, was fired. Davis professed sadness, saying he had worked awfully hard and that all of that work would bear fruit in two years. Which is exactly what happened — two years later the Pats were in the Memorial Cup. But Pilling was gone by that point.

EdChynoweth2

It was during the summer of 1978 when Chynoweth began talking of an education program. On July 4, he announced a program whereby teams would provide a year’s tuition and books at a recognized post-secondary institution for every season a player was in the league.

On Aug. 16, Chynoweth announced an Edmonton group headed by Bill Hunter had purchased the Flin Flon franchise from the league. Hunter would be president and governor, Vic Mah would be first vice-president.

The 1978-79 season began with news of a name change and ended with a new champion for the first time since the spring of ’74.

With three of 12 teams situated in the U.S., the WCHL was no more. Now it was the Western Hockey League.

GreggPilling
GREGG PILLING

The goofiness started on Oct. 22 when Pilling went into the penalty box at the start of the third period of a game in Calgary. He said he would serve a bench minor handed him for delay of game at the end of the second period in what would be an 8-1 loss. Pilling also alternated goaltenders Jeff Lastiwka and Gregg Dumba every shift change after a brawl at 2:52 of the second. Changing goalies ended 30 seconds into the third period when, with the faceoff outside Regina’s blueline, Dumba lined up behind his net. He was given a gross misconduct.

Chynoweth, who fined Pilling $1,000, said: “I thought it was a circus. I wouldn’t blame anybody if they didn’t go back.”

WheatKings7879

This was to be the season of McCallum’s Wheat Kings. That much was evident when Brandon ran its two-season unbeaten streak to a WHL-record 49 games and its single-season streak to 29 games. Brandon finally lost, going down 9-4 in Edmonton on Dec. 13 with the Oil Kings scoring all nine goals with the man advantage.

There was more news from Brandon on Jan. 11 when GM Jack Brockest, one of the WHL’s most likeable people, bought the team.

If any team could match Brandon it was Portland. The Winter Hawks had a 19-game unbeaten streak ended when visiting Brandon won 7-4 to go to 42-3-7.

In mid-March, rumours had the Edmonton franchise, which was averaging about 500 fans a game, moving to Great Falls, Montana, or Red Deer.

Things got ugly on March 22 in New Westminster when an incident involving the Bruins and Portland resulted in McLean’s being suspended indefinitely and seven of his players being charged by police. A game-ending brawl broke out, but this one was different because, while the Bruins left their bench, Hodge managed to keep his players under control.

On March 27, Wilson said McLean would not be allowed to coach during the playoffs, nor would he be allowed to communicate with the bench from the press box as he had done during previous suspensions.

McLean apologized for the brawl at a Vancouver press conference: “I have to take the full load, the full responsibility for what happened . . . when I look at it, maybe the game has gone by me. Maybe my coaching style isn’t what’s needed anymore. I’m an old horse that’s been at it for 25 years and it’s tough to change your thinking. The game is changing — maybe I haven’t changed with it.”

On April 4, GM Bill Shinske and McLean announced the Bruins were for sale, for $350,000.

The Winter Hawks got a small measure of revenge, beating the visiting Bruins 5-3 on April 8 to eliminate them from post-season play.

But this sad episode would drag on through the summer.

Meanwhile, Brandon was finishing with a 58-5-9 record, setting or tying 19 records.

The Oil Kings were sold on April 10, with ownership handed over to a Portland group headed by Bob Cooper and Tom Gauthier, who said they would move the franchise to Great Falls. “I guess sports is not my bowl of rice,” said Mah, an Edmonton restauranteur. It was Mah’s second go-round as an owner in Edmonton, and he wouldn’t give up. He would try and try again and again to get another franchise for the Alberta capital.

On April 20, charges of common assault were filed against seven Bruins — J.P. Kelly, Terry Kirkham, Bruce Howes, Rick Amann, Boris Fistric, Rob Roflik and Bill Hobbins. In August, the seven pleaded guilty. Judge James Shaw — no relation to the Portland general manager — granted conditional discharges to all seven, then banned them from league games at any level until Dec. 1. McLean said Shaw was “trying to be the judge who is going to clean up hockey. I’m worried about the affect on the game because the judge’s ruling makes a hip-check a criminal offence.”

Portland and Brandon ended up in the final, with Brandon winning in six games.

And, on May 28, Chynoweth resigned, effective June 30. This time he would leave, becoming part-owner of the Wranglers. “It’s more than 25 per cent and less than 50,” said majority-owner Jim Morley.

In late May, Pat Ginnell, who had been with the Lethbridge Broncos, moved north to take over the Medicine Hat Tigers. Mike Sauter would replace him in Lethbridge. Dave King left as coach in Billings to become head coach at the University of Saskatchewan.

The Pats were sold on June 8, with Wilson, Bill Patton, Gord Wicijowski, D.K. MacPherson, Wilf Degelman and Bob Babchuk selling to the Pinders — father Dick and sons Herb, Gerry and Tom. The price was believed to be near $300,000. Strumm was named GM, governor and part-owner.

Strumm later signed Bryan Murray as head coach and one of the great turnarounds in WHL history was under way.

But before that got started, Dave Descent was chosen to run the WHL. In his third season with the Canadian Amateur Wrestling Association at the time, Descent had lots of hockey experience at various levels in the OHA. “This job is an opportunity to get back into hockey, which is my chosen sport, and advance my sporting career,” he said.

Regina, which finished 18-47-7 (last in the East, second-worst in the league) in 1978-79, would go 47-24-1 in 1979-80 to win the division.

It was obvious early that the Bruins were going to pay a steep price for the brawl against Portland. They got their first point, after 13 losses, with a 5-5 tie in Great Falls on Oct. 31.

And on Nov. 16 McLean was at it again. And again it involved Portland.

McLean got tangled up with a fan at a game in Portland and was charged with fourth-degree assault. In one of the most ironical situations in WHL history, McLean was in jail until Brian Shaw posted his bail of $525. Charges were later reduced to harassment and it was all cleared up when a civil compromise was signed, ending the criminal case.

In mid-December, Descent’s title was changed from executive director to president. And concern was being shown about Great Falls, which was 2-22-1 and hurtin’ at the gate. The Americans folded on Dec. 13.

On March 2, McLean threw a 30-gallon garbage can onto the ice to protest the work of referee Ken Wheler during a game against visiting Portland.

The next day, Descent announced his resignation. Said Descent: “Speaking honestly, I’ve enjoyed my stay and feel it was a positive experience. But for personal reasons I’ve decided to take a different career path which is something I’m not at liberty to discuss now.”

Shaw said a five-man board would run the league, and that McLean would be suspended for three games for throwing the can. Oh yes, McLean was later named acting chairman of the management committee.

On March 24, McLean said he was leaving the Bruins. “I’ve made up my mind,” he said. “I’ve worn out my welcome. I will not be in New Westminster next year. We built a dynasty here but it’s time to move on.” All this after the Bruins set a WHL record with 61 losses. It was the first time in 18 seasons that McLean had missed playoffs.

On April 17, Vancouver businessman Nelson Skalbania bought out McLean and Shinske for slightly more than $300,000.

A week later, the WHL announced that Winnipeg would have an expansion team for 1980-81 and that the owners were former Pats star Fran Huck, his law partner Gerald Gunn and Winnipeg businessmen Harry Buekert, Arnold DeFehr and Marsdon Fenwick. Buekert would be GM, with Huck as coach.

On April 27, Regina beat visiting Victoria, 5-4, to win the WHL final, 4-1. The 1980 Memorial Cup, which would be won by the Cornwall Royals, opened in Brandon and closed in Regina.

During the Memorial Cup it became apparent the major juniors were terribly concerned with NHL’s practice of drafting 18-year-olds.

Chynoweth said: “I understand the legal problems the NHL has, although I don’t sympathize with it . . . at this rate, the pros will be scouting midgets soon.”

McLeod remembered the 1979 draft: “Back in June one NHL general manager said there was nothing to worry about, that only seven or eight under-ages would be taken. When they took 58, we were a little disturbed. Once they got into it, they just kept going.”

Junior teams were to be paid $50,000 to $65,000 for under-age players who stuck in the NHL.

Some NHL people said they weren’t in favour of the 18-year-old draft, either.

“The general managers unanimously fought to the 11th hour to avoid drafting under-ages,” said Washington GM Max McNab. “We were going to get caught in a lawsuit. But the NHL is like the government in the eyes of the public here. We’re going to get shot at in any decision.”

On May 15, the WHL announced that the dormant Great Falls franchise would relocate to Spokane with Cooper remaining as majority owner.

NelsonSkalbania
NELSON SKALBANIA

On June 26, Skalbania, already the owner of New Westminster and the NHL’s Calgary Flames, bought 50 per cent of the Wranglers. Skalbania explained: “It’s a sympathetic thing. I said when we bought the Flames that we’d support junior hockey in Calgary and I can’t think of a way we’d be supporting it any more than owning the team. I just hope we don’t lose that much money with them.”

Pat Shimbashi, a minority owner in Lethbridge, bought the other 50 per cent of the Wranglers from Jim Morley and Chynoweth, which meant that the latter would return as WHL president.

RozandaSkalbania
ROZANDA SKALBANIA (Photo: archives.newwestcity.ca)

On June 27, Skalbania completed his purchase of the Bruins, buying 100 per cent for $325,000. McLean stayed as GM, while Skalbania’s 20-year-old daughter, Rozanda, was named president.

McLean resigned a couple of weeks later and Tracy Pratt was named GM. “I’d like to forget about the big bad Bruins of the past,” Pratt said, “and I’d like to think of them as the scrappy Bruins in the future. My concern is putting families back in the building. There was a shade too much violence in past years and many people became very bitter about what happened at Queen’s Park Arena.”

The league lost its referee-in-chief on Aug. 8 when Wilson announced he would scout for the Montreal Canadiens, a team with which he had long been associated.

DarylLubiniecki

The 1980-81 season opened quietly enough, but the silence was shattered on Dec. 1 with a shakeup in Saskatoon. McLeod and coach Lorne Frey ended their association with the Blades. Majority owner Nate Brodsky bought McLeod’s share (20 per cent) and named Daryl Lubiniecki GM and coach.

Lubiniecki began shaking things up when, on Jan. 15, he traded one player — centre Rocky Trottier — to Billings for six players — Pat Rabbitt, Dave Brown, Brad Duggan, Dave Chartier, Lyndon Byers and Al Acton.

Fighting was still a concern and on Dec. 17 Chynoweth announced that teams would be fined $2,500 if their players fought before games or between periods. Players who started the fights or were main combatants would get a minimum of five games.

A black cloud continued to follow the Bruins. A labour dispute forced them to play their last 29 games on the road. Their last 13 home games were played in such places as Bellingham, Wash., Kamloops, Trail, Duncan, B.C., and Coleman, Alta. The Bruins set a WHL record by losing 25 in a row and had to give season-ticket holders a refund for the 13 home games that were moved.

There were rumblings out of Swift Current that the locals were interested in a WHL franchise. John Rittinger, president of the SJHL team there, was trying to raise money for the venture. “I can’t give you a figure at this time,” he said on April 1, “but, personally, I feel there has been insufficient support.”

The juniors were beginning to realize they were going to have to live with the 18-year-old draft. Said Chynoweth: “The under-age situation is a problem but also a fact of life. The law of the land says at 18 you can fight for your country, drink and get married. Consequently, they’re also eligible to be drafted and play for NHL teams.”

The WHL had a new referee-in-chief — Richard Doerksen — and he was in the news in the playoffs after Strumm grabbed him in the press box during a game. Strumm was slapped with a two-game suspension and a $1,000 fine.

Victoria, under coach Jack Shupe, would win the WHL championship in 1980-81. Trailing Calgary 3-1, the Cougars bounced back and wrapped it up on May 1, beating the visiting Wranglers, 4-2, in Game 7.

Singing a song that would become popular in NHL circles in years to come, Calgary coach Doug Sauter explained: “(Goaltender Grant) Fuhr was the difference.”

NEXT: Part 4 of 5.

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching Mahomes weave his magic . . .


Hey, junior hockey fans, especially those of you in the west, how’s it going these days? Well, let’s take a look . . .

Let’s start in Manitoba. Oh, wait, there isn’t any hockey being played in Manitoba these days where they are on lockdown. The MJHL, for one, won’t be back until the new year. I have a feeling the junior B and U-18 leagues on hold also will be quiet until 2021.

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 243 new cases of COVID-19, including 135 in the Winnipeg region. There have been 12 new deaths related to the virus. Manitoba’s 5-day positivity rate is 13.7%. A record 288 people are in hospital, including 52 in ICU.

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Moving further west to Saskatchewan, the SJHL continues to play but it postponed a game between the La Ronge Ice Wolves and the Mustangs in Melfort on Saturday night without providing a reason. The Mustangs have experience with COVID-19, having had a player test positive late in September.

Games involving the Flin Flon Bombers also are on hold. With the team based in Manitoba and that province on lockdown, the Bombers are trying to get the OK from health officials to practice in Creighton, Sask., and play all their games on the road.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 236 new cases of COVID-19 and 90 new recoveries. There are now 2,683 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Hospitalizations are at a record high with 99 people receiving care, including 19 in ICUs. The 7-day average daily case count has risen to 211.

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That brings us to Alberta where it seems the virus is enjoying a veritable buffet.

The AJHL has had four teams — the Canmore Eagles, Calgary Canucks, Drumheller Dragons and Okotoks Oilers — hit with positive tests in recent days. Drumheller and Okotoks are done through Dec. 3, as are the Olds Grizzlys, who have postponed their games“as a precautionary measure.” . . . As of Sunday night, the AJHL schedule showed 12 games having been “cancelled” from Nov. 20 through Nov. 28.

Despite all the precautions taken by Hockey Canada, the virus found the national junior team’s selection camp and now a number of people, including assistant coaches Michael Dyck and Jason Labarbera, have been isolated. But the camp goes on — Team White beat Team Red, 6-3, in a game on Sunday night.

The 14-team Heritage Junior B Hockey League shut down on Nov. 13 and will remain on pause until at least Nov. 27.

Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW: Alberta recorded more new cases (Sunday) than both Quebec (1,154) and Ontario (1,534).

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As for B.C., well, we don’t have any fresh numbers — almost everyone in the province but retail workers and the virus takes Saturday and Sunday off — but you can bet there will be some big ones announced Monday afternoon.

Junior hockey? There isn’t any at the moment. It’s all shut down until at least Dec. 7. Just a hunch but perhaps there won’t be any until 2021.

Aside to B.C. politicians and health officials: Why do you continually choose to muddy the waters with your announcements regarding restrictions? It would be a lot easier for everyone if you just said: No games. Period. . . . Or if you said: All games are good to go. . . . But let’s stop with the ‘no travel between communities but you can travel in your region’ and all that junk. . . . It’s all about sending mixed messages. Surely some of you have heard about mixed messages. Surely?

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CBC News: Quebec is reporting 1,154 new cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths. 642 people are in hospital, including 103 in intensive care.

CBC News: Ontario reporting 1,534 more COVID-19 cases and 14 new deaths.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19. New restrictions come into effect for much of the Halifax region Monday, including tighter limits on social gatherings. All 11 new cases in Nova Scotia today are in the Central Zone. 6 are linked to previously reported cases; the remaining 5 are under investigation. There are now 44 active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital. . . . Today marks the province’s highest single-day rise in cases since early May.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 6 new cases of COVID-19. 5 are in the Saint John region; 1 is in the Fredericton region. All of the new cases are self-isolating and under investigation. The province has 77 known active cases, including 1 person in hospital.

CBC News: 3 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador. 2 of the cases are close contacts of previously identified cases; 1 is travel related. There are 21 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital.

CBC News: 21 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nunavut. 18 are in Arviat, 1 is in Whale Cove, and 2 are in Rankin Inlet. A news release from the Nunavut government says: ‘There remains no evidence of community transmission in Rankin Inlet or Whale Cove.’

New York Daily News: More than 1M people traveled on planes in U.S. on a single day ahead of Thanksgiving amid the coronavirus pandemic.

BNO Newsroom: Los Angeles County bans all in-person dining at restaurants due to surge in COVID cases.



Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on the NBA draft: “How about this: Have the draftee put on an appropriate hat. You get drafted by the Celtics, you put on a green leprechaun derby. Kings, a crown. Warriors, a combat helmet. Spurs, a sombrero or cowboy hat. Bucks, an antler hat. Orlando, a magician’s top hat with a rabbit popping out the top. Charlotte, a hornet’s nest. And so on.”

Ostler, again: “Rae’s Creek? Henceforth it will be known as Tiger’s Creek. Whatever you call that creek, Woods was up it, without a paddle. Does Nike make a paddle?”


TryingOn


Joe Murphy was the first overall selection in the NHL’s 1986 draft. He won a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1980. Rick Westhead of TSN found him living in the bush near Kenora, Ont., in 2018. Murphy was last seen on the streets of Regina. . . . Westhead has written a book — Finding Murph — about the former NHLer’s slide and a whole lot more. Westhead appeared on CBC’s The Current during the week. There’s a story and link to that show right here. Give it a read and a listen — it’s worth about 30 minutes of your time.



“Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kevin Porter Jr. was arrested on a gun charge in Ohio after he crashed his car and investigating officers discovered a loaded firearm inside,” Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times reports. “Apparently he was on his way to the morning shoot-around.”

Perry also took the time to update some sporting cliches, just for 2020:

• “Playing .500 ball”: Completing as many games as you’ve had canceled by COVID.

• “Grabbing the facemask”: What you’d better do if you want to get into Costco.

• “We sent a message today”: Practice was once again replaced by a Zoom call.

• “Defense wins championships”: Costco rules apply to athletes, too.



Headline at TheOnion.com: Man Hasn’t Heard Or Read Single True Thing In 6 Years.



Parking


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The annual Apple Cup football game between the Washington State Cougars and Washington Huskies won’t happen this year. It was scheduled for Friday at Washington State. According to a statement from the Pac-12: The decision was made due to “Washington State not having the minimum number of scholarship players available for the game” as a result of positive tests and contact tracing. . . .

The Quinnipiac men’s hockey team has postponed its season-opener against visiting AIC from Tuesday to Dec. 26, and has cancelled games scheduled for Nov. 27 and Nov. 29. The moves were made after two positive tests. . . .

Brazilian soccer star Marta has tested positive and won’t play in friendlies against Ecuador on Nov. 27 and Dec. 1. Marta, 34, plays for Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League. She is a six-time world player of the year.


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.


LeAnne Jakubeit of Penticton lost her battle with cancer on Saturday. She was married to Andrew Jakubeit, who spent seven years as an on-ice official in the WHL and 10 in the BCHL. He also is a former mayor of Penticton. . . . LeAnne and Andrew owned and operated The Grooveyard, a music store that has been a Penticton mainstay for more than 30 years.




JUST NOTES: F Ridly Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings was on the ice at the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp in Red Deer on Sunday. He had tested positive for COVID-19, but now is out of quarantine and has been cleared to practice. . . . Hey, TSN, how about giving us some MAC football action? In these pandemic nights, we really need a bridge to get us from Monday Night Football to Thursday Night Football. . . . Do you want to be the person to show Ken Norton Jr., the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive co-ordinator, how to properly wear a facemask? . . . Can anyone provide the name of just one singer or group that hasn’t cut a Christmas album? . . . If you’re wondering, Part 3 of my look back at the WHL’s early years will show up here at some point on Monday. Thanks for the great response to it.


Turkey

Two coaches in isolation after COVID-19 finds Team Canada . . . QMJHL’s Mooseheads hit pause button . . . Hockey Alberta honours Bartlett

Michael Dyck and Jason Labarbera, two of Team Canada’s assistant coaches, Canadahave been put into isolation for 14 days at the national junior team’s selection camp in Red Deer after being in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19. . . . Dyck is the head coach of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, while Labarbera is the goaltending coach for the Calgary Hitmen. . . . According to a statement from Hockey Canada, a “non-core member” of the team’s staff tested positive on Saturday morning. “The staff member who tested positive, as well as a number of colleagues who have been in close contact with that person, were placed in quarantine at the team hotel in Red Deer,” the statement read. . . . The scheduled Red vs. White game went ahead as scheduled, with Team White putting up a 4-2 victory. . . . The camp opened in Red Deer on Monday and will run through Dec. 13 when the team will move into a bubble in Edmonton.


The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads revealed Saturday that they had “recorded a qmjhlnewpositive COVID-19 test among the staff and are suspending in-person activities.” . . . According to the team, “the infected person didn’t have any contact with players or hockey staff.” However, players and staff have been “preventively isolated” and anyone in the organization who may have had contact with the infected person will be tested. . . . The Mooseheads were to have played host to the Charlottetown Islanders on Saturday night, but the game was postponed. . . . The Mooseheads’ Wednesday game against the visiting Cape Breton Eagles also has been postponed.


The SJHL posted a one-sentence news release on its website Saturday morning. This is it: “The La Ronge Ice Wolves at Melfort Mustangs game scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21 has been postponed.” . . . The teams played Friday night in La Ronge with the Ice Wolves winning, 3-1. . . . If the Mustangs have been hit with a positive test, or tests, it will mark the second time in two months. They had a player test positive late in September.


Coffee


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Ken Squier, 85, is best known for his work as an announcer on NASCAR coverage with CBS (1979-97) and TBS (1983-99). If you watched NASCAR in those days, you appreciated Squier.

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CBC News: 387 new COVID-19 cases, 10 more deaths announced in Manitoba Saturday.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 439 new cases of COVID-19 for a new daily case record. The province says today’s numbers reflect the single-day high of 4,580 tests that were processed Friday. The province has 2,537 active cases, including 93 people in hospital.

CBC News: (Saturday) marks the 4th time Alberta has reported more than 1,000 cases in a single day. 320 people are currently in hospital and 56 are in intensive care. A woman in her 20s was among the 9 deaths reported today. . . . Alberta is reporting a record 1,336 new cases of COVID-19, as well as 9 new deaths related to the virus. This is the 3rd day in a row that the province has seen a record number of new cases.

CTV News Edmonton: Arrest at Edmonton Costco after man refuses to wear mask.

In B.C., government and health officials, unlike in other jurisdictions in Canada, don’t supply updates on Saturdays or Sunday. Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t take the weekend off, so we’ll get some huge and ugly numbers on Monday afternoon.

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,588 COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths, breaking previous record for daily case count. . . . Ontario’s daily case counts on Saturday are the highest seen in the pandemic so far.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 1,189 new cases of COVID-19. The province has added 32 deaths to its total, 5 of which occurred in the past 24 hours. . . . 646 people are in hospital, including 99 in intensive care. The latest major outbreak in the province is at a Quebec City convent, where 39 nuns and 43 workers have tested positive.

CBC News: 23 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in New Brunswick. It’s the province’s largest single-day case count since the start of the pandemic. 16 of the new cases are in the Saint John region. There are now 71 active cases in the province, including 1 person in hospital.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 8 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 33 known active cases. All 8 new cases are in the Central Zone. 2 are linked to previously reported cases; the other 6 cases are being investigated. No one is currently in hospital.

CBC News: 5 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Newfoundland and Labrador. All 5 are linked to previously reported cases. There are now 18 known active cases in the province, including 1 person in hospital. 58,601 people have been tested in N.L. to date.

CBC News: 25 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nunavut. 22 of the cases are in Arviat and 3 are in Whale Cove. There are now 107 known active cases in the territory.

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So in this year of pandemic, it has come to this. . . . Florida State and visiting Clemson were to have played a football game on Saturday but, according to the ACC, it was postponed because the teams’ medical personnel couldn’t mutually agree on moving forward. . . . Andrea Adelson of ESPN reported: “Multiple sources told ESPN that a Clemson player tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday after practising with the Tigers during the week. That player was symptomatic but had tested negative twice during the week, according to sources. That led Florida State to say it was not comfortable playing Saturday’s game, the source said.” . . . The postponement came after the Tigers had flown into Tallahassee on Friday.

The season-opening series between the men’s hockey teams from Boston College and New Hampshire was postponed. The teams were to have played Friday and Saturday at BC. The decision was reached after a UNH player tested positive. . . . 

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that “more than 200 people” who live or work at Golden Gate Fields, a horse racing facility in the Bay Area, have become infected with COVID-19. The track was closed on Nov. 13 after 24 positive tests on track workers.


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.


JUST NOTES: The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League is on hold until further notice. The nine-team league had shut down its North Division on Nov. 10 after a positive test at Dover Bay Secondary School in Nanaimo, which is attended by some players. Then B.C. health officials implemented further restrictions on Nov. 19 that are to last until at least Dec. 7. . . . Bob Bartlett, a former WHL executive, has been honoured with a life membership from Hockey Alberta. Bartlett, now 79, was the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ general manager for five seasons (1990-95). He later spent five seasons working with the Moose Jaw Warriors before returning to the Hurricanes with whom he now is senior scout.


Redbull

WHLer says he was subjected to racial slurs in SJHL game . . . AJHL has positive test in Calgary . . . Sasakamoose in ICU battling COVID-19


F Kishaun Gervais of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, who is on loan to the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, has said he was the subject of racial slurs during a SJHLgame against the Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask., on Monday night. . . . “This definitely hurt,” Gervais, a 19-year-old from Kamsack, Sask., wrote in a Facebook post. “I’ve put up with a lot of racism in my life and I’ve tried to be a positive influence to bring change to it so this obviously set me off. I will never be ashamed of my Jamaican and Native descent, l am proud of who l am and l will continue to try be a positive voice for racial equality.” . . . Rob Palmarin, the school’s president, told CTV News Regina that the incident was a “one-off,” adding that “if it happened, there’s definitely no place for this type of unacceptable behaviour, period. If it happened, we’re still investigating the person or persons responsible for the action, they will be held accountable.” . . . Bill Chow, the SJHL’s president, said he spoke with Gervais’ family and “they just want to move on from here and that’s their wishes, so that’s what we’ll do.” . . . The Terriers won the game 5-4 in a shootout with Gervais scoring the only goal of the circus. He was given a misconduct immediately after scoring because, according to assistant coach Scott Musqua, he made a “shushing gesture” to the students who had been riding him. . . . Michaela Solomon and Claire Hanna of CTV Regina News have more on this story right here.


The AJHL announced Friday that it has had a player with a second team test ajhlpositive. . . . This time it was a player with the Calgary Canucks. On Thursday, the league announced that a player with the Canmore Eagles had tested positive. . . . The Canucks were to have visited the Brooks Bandits on Friday night with the Bandits in Calgary on Saturday. Both games, according to the online schedule, have been “cancelled.” . . . The Canucks last played on Monday against the visiting Okotoks Oilers, whose Sunday game at home to the Camrose Kodiaks has been “postponed.” . . . Brooks’ home-and-home series with Canmore scheduled for Nov. 27 and 28 also won’t happen. . . . Also off the schedule: A home-and-home between the Olds Grizzlys and Drumheller Dragons on Friday and Saturday. The Dragons had played visiting Canmore on Nov. 14. . . . Calgary’s home-and-home series with Olds scheduled for Nov. 27 and 28 remains on the schedule.



After receiving further clarifications regarding province-wide restrictions kijhlbeing implemented by the B.C. government and health officials, the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has chosen to suspend play through Dec. 7. . . . Clarification came in the form of a release from viaSport that included this: “Games, competitions, training and practice, such as those outlined in the viaSport Phase 3 Guidelines, can continue without spectators and restricted to your local community. Until the written order and public health guidance are released we recommend that you err on the side of caution and stay close to home for now.” . . . Six games were played on Friday night, while one other — Revelstoke Grizzlies at Golden Rockets — was postponed as Golden town officials awaited further clarification. . . . The league has 17 teams taking part this season. Those teams all will be allowed to practice in their home communities during the pause in the schedule. . . .

Meanwhile, the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials announced via Twitter on Friday night that their Saturday game against the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings has been cancelled “due to the province’s most-recent health order.” . . . According to the BCHL online schedule, the Trail Smoke Eaters’ game at the Cranbrook Bucks also won’t be played. . . . On Nov. 8, the league cancelled games involving the Chilliwack Chiefs, Coquitlam Express, Langley Rivermen, Powell River Kings and Surrey Eagles for two weeks. Those teams are located in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions and all were placed under restrictions from health officials.

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“Whenever an organization is the victim of theft, the impact can be deep and long lasting,” writes Jamie Strashin of CBC News. “When money is stolen by an employee or volunteer, it can take years to rebuild trust with the community.

“That’s certainly the case for youth sports organizations, which every year provide countless programs and opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Canadian families.

“An investigation by CBC Sports reveals that in the past decade nearly $8 million has been stolen from dozens of sports leagues and associations across Canada, almost all of it by someone inside the organization, leaving it and the families who participate devastated.”

Strashin has put together quite a story, all of which is right here. It includes interactive maps showing details on various incidents in which money went missing.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Fred Sasakamoose, a beloved former NHL player, is in ICU with COVID-19, Sasakamooseaccording to Jordan Wheeler, a writer from the George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan. . . . Sasakamoose, who is to turn 87 on Christmas Day, was the first Canadian indigenous player to reach the NHL. After playing junior for three seasons with the Moose Jaw Canucks, he went on to play 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54. . . . According to a Facebook post, Sasakamoose “had symptoms for a couple of days, was admitted (Friday) to a local hospital and confirmed that his test was positive.” . . . The post continued: “We are asking people, the hockey community and fans to think about Fred at this time. Chief Thunderstick needs your prayers at this moment for a full recovery!” . . . Sasakamoose’s biography, which is titled Call Me Indian: From the trauma of Residential School to becoming the NHL’s first Treaty Indigenous Player, is expected to be published on April 6.

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Daily Hive Vancouver: ”A normal Christmas is, quite frankly, right out of the question” — Trudeau.

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With the New Brunswick government having declared the Moncton health region an orange zone because of rising case numbers, the QMJHL’s Wildcats have had to postpone weekend games. They were to have played host to the Cape Breton Eagles on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . Under present restrictions, the Wildcats are allowed to practice but can’t play games. . . . Hockey New Brunswick confirmed that a  coach with a U-13 team in Greater Moncton has tested positive. The team has been shut down for two weeks while coaches and players self-isolate. . . .

Meanwhile, Saint John also had been declared an orange zone, so the QMJHL’s Sea Dogs won’t be able to resume play until there is a change in that status. . . . The Sea Dogs, of course, have paused activities due to a positive test for a staff member who, according to the team, “is sick and in isolation.” The team also reported that this case “is not travel-related. The staff member has not been outside the Atlantic bubble since prior to training camp”. . . .

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 9 more COVID-19 cases, one of the highest daily totals since the pandemic began; there have been eight days when the daily cases totalled 10 or more.

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CJOB Winnipeg: A man in his 20s from Winnipeg has become Manitoba’s youngest victim of COVID. His death is one of nine reported Friday as health officials say 438 new cases have been identified.

CBC News: Manitoba announces 438 new cases of COVID-19, a jump from the previous 7-day average of 368. The province is also reporting 9 more deaths.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 153 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 new death related to the illness. The province has now seen a total of 5,804 cases, including 33 deaths and 3,626 recoveries.

Marc Smith, CTV Regina: After dropping for the first time in five days yesterday, active cases reach a new high of 2,145. . . . Hospitalizations are up to 85 in Saskatchewan, which is also a new record. Some good news is ICU patients is down two after two days of new record highs.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting a record number of new COVID-19 cases. The province has confirmed 1,155 new cases and 11 additional deaths. There are 10,655 active cases in the province. 310 people are in hospital, including 58 in intensive care.

CTV News: Alberta is the sole province without a mask mandate.

Provincial Health Services Authority of B.C.: 516 new cases for a total of 25,474 cases. There are 227 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 57 of whom are in intensive care. There has been 10 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 331 deaths in British Columbia.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 1,418 new cases of COVID-19. That surpasses the average of the previous 7 days, which was 1,370. 400 of the new cases are in Peel Region, 393 are in Toronto and 168 are in York Region. . . . Ontario reports 8 new COVID-19 deaths and 1,415 cases resolved — 48,173 tests completed. 518 people with COVID-19 in hospital, including 142 in ICU.

CBC News: 32 additional deaths in Quebec are being attributed to COVID-19. The province is also reporting 1,259 new cases, up from the previous 7-day average of 1,221.

CBC News: Nunavut reports 10 new cases of COVID-19. All are in small fly-in communities on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay. 6 are in Rankin Inlet, 3 are in Whale Cove, and 1 is in Arviat. Nunavut is now up to 84 cases, just 2 weeks after it confirmed its 1st case.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 5 new cases of COVID-19, all in the Central Zone. 2 are connected to previously reported cases; the other 3 are still being investigated. The province now has a total of 28 active cases.

CBC News: Nova Scotia announces new gathering limits for the greater Halifax area. Starting Monday, social circles will be limited to 5 people and informal events will be limited to 25 people. The measures are set to continue until Dec. 21.

CBC News: 3 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador. 1 is a close contact of a previously announced case, 1 is travel-related and the remaining case is under investigation. All 3 are self-isolating. N.L. has 13 known active cases.

oregonlive.com, from Thursday: 20 die in record one-day coronavirus death toll for Oregon; news cases come in at highest ever: 1,225.

KATU-TV: Providence to stage temporary morgues, surge tents as Oregon sees COVID-19 spike.

KOMO News: For the third time this week Washington state added over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day, continuing an alarming trend before the holiday season.

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The junior B Keystone Junior Hockey League, a five-team circuit in Manitoba, has decided it won’t try to start its season until hopefully Jan. 1. . . . Carter Brooks of gameonhockey.ca has more right here.

The Miami Dolphins are scheduled to play the Broncos in Denver on Sunday. On Friday, the Broncos announced that it will the last home game this season at which fans will be permitted to attend. There will be fewer than 6,000 fans at Sunday’s game. . . .

The Minnesota Golden Gophers had 20 players out with injuries or COVID-19 as they beat the visiting Purdue Boilermakers, 34-31, on Friday night. Brian Callahan, the offensive co-ordinator, and two other staff members also sat this one out after testing positive. . . . Minnesota wouldn’t specify how many of those 20 players had tested positive. . . .

The Washington State Cougars won’t be playing at the Stanford Cardinal today (Saturday). The game was cancelled on Friday after the Cougars said they would be able to have the minimum number of scholarship players available due to positive tests and contact tracing. Four of those positive tests came Friday morning, and one was starting QB Jayden de Laura. . . . The Cougars are scheduled to play the Washington Huskies in the annual Apple Cup game on Nov. 27.


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.



 

The WHL, Part 2: Changes of scenery, battles on and off the ice and, uhh, a toupee . . .

At some point in the late 1990s, while I was the sports editor at the Regina Leader-Post, I put together a brief history of the Western Hockey League. I had pretty much forgotten about it until recently when I was asked if I might post it again. So I am in the process of doing just that. . . . As you read each piece, please remember that I wrote them more than 20 years ago and they cover only the league’s first 25 years. It isn’t an all-encompassing history, but hits on some of the highlights and a few lowlights. . . . The stories that are posted here are pretty much as originally written. . . . Here is Part 2. . . .

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When the 1970-71 season ended, the Western Canada Hockey League was still very much a prairie circuit, what with 10 teams spread over Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

But that wasn’t the case when the 1971-72 season rolled around.

VcrNats

By then, there were three teams in British Columbia — Ernie McLean and Bill Shinske had packed up their Estevan Bruins, moved west and taken up residence in New Westminster, and two expansion franchises, the Vancouver Nats and Victoria Cougars, had set up shop. (Interestingly, the Nats’ logo used an apostrophe — Nat’s — but in print the nickname always seemed to be Nats.)

The WCHL had, indeed, become a western league.

And there would be just two franchise shifts (Vancouver to Kamloops, Swift Current to Lethbridge) by the time the league completed its 10th season in the spring of 1976.

But it was an announcement out of New York that made the biggest news in the summer of ’71. Bill Hunter, one of the WCHL’s founding fathers, was involved, as was Ben Hatskin (Winnipeg). It would change the face of hockey forever.

“We announced we’d start the World Hockey Association with 12 franchises and we would have parity,” Hunter said.

In an interview in 1988, Hunter maintained he wanted nothing to do with drafting under-age juniors.

“Ben (Hatskin) and I made an agreement with the CAHA (Canadian Amateur Hockey Association) that we would not sign under-age juniors,” Hunter recalled. “The NHL made the same agreement. We had two separate meetings. The very next day: Baby Bulls.”

The WHA’s Birmingham Bulls signed half-a-dozen under-age juniors, including Rob Ramage and Ken Linesman.

“We couldn’t control the owners within our league,” Hunter said.

Prior to the birth of the WHA, the WCHL was the only game in town everywhere but Vancouver. In the next few years, pro hockey would come to Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg and junior hockey would lose out in the process.

Everyone was fighting with someone in those days, on and off the ice. The juniors in the west, in Ontario and in Quebec were fighting with the NHL, with the WHA, with the CAHA, with themselves.

The WHA continued to romance under-age juniors. Dennis Sobchuk, a flashy centre with the Regina Pats, was courted by the Los Angeles Sharks after his second WCHL season.

The House of Commons in Ottawa threatened to get involved. WCHL president Ed Chynoweth said his league was thinking about obtaining an injunction against players who sign pro contracts while still holding junior eligibility.

The action off the ice was hot and heavy. It’s a wonder they could find time to play the games.

TomLysiak

The Edmonton Oil Kings had won the 1971-72 championship, their second straight and the last junior title that city would win. But it was the Medicine Hat Tigers, in only their second season, who had everyone talking.

The Tigers, with Tom Lysiak winning the scoring title and Stan Weir and Lanny McDonald finishing second and eighth respectively, were fourth in the West Division, five games over .500.

That was a harbinger because the Tigers, coached by Jack Shupe, won it all the next season, in only their third season of operation. Lysiak won his second straight scoring title, with McDonald finishing third.

It was at meetings in Medicine Hat in February of 1973 that the WCHL took a giant step forward, announcing plans to establish an office, with a full-time administrative staff, in Saskatoon. Chynoweth would replace Thomas K. Fisher of New Westminster as executive secretary.

And there was more talk of shifting franchises. Lethbridge was on the verge of getting a $2-million sports centre for the 1975 Canada Winter Games.

The first mention of Lethbridge actually getting a franchise came on Feb. 15, 1973, when Chynoweth, in discussing possible franchise moves, said: “Swift Current is another possibility, even though (owner) Bill Burton would like to keep the club in that city. Economically, it might not be possible.”

Meanwhile, Regina Pats owner Del Wilson said he was tired of “scrimping and saving, trying to operate in a building like (Exhibition) Stadium. It’s like beating your head against a brick wall.”

Regina met the Flin Flon Bombers in the first round of playoffs in ’73. The series opened in Flin Flon with the Bombers winning, 3-1 and 5-3. There was no Agridome in Regina then and Exhibition Stadium was booked by the annual Regina Horse Show. So, the Pats played their home games in Moose Jaw, and lost, 5-1 and 4-3.

BobTurner

A glorious season awaited the Pats, though, as they would win the Memorial Cup in the spring of 1974. Under coach Bob Turner, the former Montreal Canadiens defenceman and five-time Stanley Cup champion, the Pats became the first WCHL team to win the Canadian championship.

Edmonton had won it in 1966, the year before the major junior league was formed. Between ’66 and ’74 the WCHL wasn’t always eligible for the Memorial Cup, what with the CAHA outlawing it at various times.

By the time that 1973-74 season arrived, the Vancouver Nats were gone, purchased by Kamloops interests and reborn as the Chiefs.

There was concern, too, over the Winnipeg Junior Jets, who were struggling because of the presence of the WHA. Ben Hatskin soothed the troubled waters, saying he didn’t “plan to sell the franchise, or move it out of Winnipeg.” Shortly after, Hatskin sold it and the team was renamed the Clubs.

EdChynoweth1
ED CHYNOWETH

At the 1973 annual meeting in Saskatoon, Chynoweth, who had joined the league in December of 1972 as assistant executive secretary and was named executive secretary in February of 1973, was named president.

On July 16, it was revealed that the WCHL, Ontario Hockey Association Junior A Series and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League had united under the umbrella of the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League.

It was during the 1973-74 season where things started to get out hand on the ice.

On Oct. 12, 1973, a brawl between Swift Current and Regina spread to the stands. Three days later, the WCHL had a board meeting in Regina and put the onus for increased security on its teams and arena operators.

Unfortunately, people in Regina were slow to react to this directive and the Broncos were in the stands during a playoff game on April 20. Three days later, two Broncos — Dave Williams and Terry Ruskowski — were charged by police.

On Aug. 23, Ruskowski and Williams were fined a total of $450, both pleading guilty to charges of common assault.

The two “disgraced themselves,” said Judge Howard Boyce. “Hockey is considered tops with many among body contact sports. It contains controlled violence. When control and direction are lost, it deteriorates into a criminal spectacle and that’s what happened.”

It would happen again and again through the 1970s.

On March 27, 1974, Chynoweth took what was then believed to be a drastic step. He announced that an undercover agent (an official from a neutral team) would attend each playoff game. It is a policy the league follows to this day.

RonChipperfield
RON CHIPPERFIELD

There were good things happening on the ice, too. After centre Ron Chipperfield scored three goals in a 3- 1 victory in Regina, Brandon Wheat Kings GM/head coach Rudy Pilous said: “Ron Chipperfield is the greatest box-office attraction this league has ever had or ever will have.” Chipperfield would score 261 goals in 252 games, a career record that stood until 1989-90 when Glen Goodall (Seattle Thunderbirds) finished with 262 goals (in 399 games).

By late in the 1973-74 season, the Pats were talking about moving. “We certainly don’t want to leave Regina but we may be forced to,” Wilson said, admitting that he had talked with operators of the Spokane Coliseum. “Like I said before, we don’t want to leave Regina. But unless there is a firm commitment on a new building forthcoming, we have no other choice but to look elsewhere.”

And by now Burton was admitting that he was thinking of moving: “I will be in Lethbridge to discuss the move with a committee they have formed to study the possibility of joining the league.”

The Broncos changed cities on May 6.

DennisSobchuk

On April 30, 1974, things heated up as Sobchuk signed a 10-year, $1.7-million contract with the WHA’s Cincinnati Stingers. Charles Hillinger of The Los Angeles Times wrote: “The kid earns only $300 a month. Come fall his paycheque soars to $472 a day, $14,166 a month, $170,000 a year.”

Sobchuk was thrilled: “I’ve been skating since I learned to walk, but I sure never expected anything like this. It all happened so sudden. My name on a piece of paper and I’ve gone from farmhouse to penthouse.”

Two weeks later, Chynoweth revealed the three major junior leagues were looking at using a limited number of 20-year-old players to compensate for losing under-age players to the pros.

The 1974-75 season signalled the beginning of the New Westminster dynasty. Shinske, McLean and the Bruins would win four straight league titles.

But before that happened, there were some interesting developments.

On Oct. 17, 1974, Chynoweth, Wilson and Scotty Munro were given the OK by the board to visit Spokane.

“Regina has the right of first refusal on the Spokane question,” Chynoweth said, “but we are just testing the waters.”

They were also to visit Portland, the first time the Oregon city had been mentioned publicly as a possible franchise site.

On Jan. 14, 1975, the stuff hit the fan as the WCHL announced it had decided to withdraw from the CAHA. The WCHL said it would increase its age limit from 19 to 20 and would seek separate agreements with NHL and WHA.

“We now will control our own destiny and we’re through dealing through a third party (CAHA) comprised of people who have no direct investment in the sport,” Chynoweth said. “We operate a $1-million business and some guy who doesn’t own one puck comes along and tells us what to do. It’s time we started looking after ourselves.”

At the time, the WCHL claimed the NHL and WHA owed it $640,000 for players drafted in 1974.

“Eight NHL clubs and six from the WHA have yet to pay for players they’ve been using since October,” said Chynoweth. “We have an obligation to support minor hockey leagues, our source of supply, and we’ll live up to any agreements we make. All we ask is that the pro leagues do the same.”

Chynoweth was quickly becoming one of the most popular hockey people in the country. Accessible and blessed with a dry wit, the media was going to him with more and more frequency.

In the press box at the Calgary Corral one night, Chynoweth was clowning with the press. Chatting about some of the owners who were losing money, he said: “You know something. When it comes to it, we’ve got some guys in this league who wouldn’t get to first base in a women’s prison with a handful of pardons.”

Chynoweth continued to have his hands full with the likes of Pat Ginnell, who by now was in Victoria as head coach of the Cougars, and McLean. At one point, Chynoweth fined and suspended Ginnell, who in turn threatened to hit Chynoweth with an injunction.

Then, on March 11, 1975, McLean became physically involved with Regina sportscaster Mal Isaac and police were called. McLean was hit with a five-game suspension and had to post a $1,000 bond.

The Pats announced on April 30 that they would stay in Regina and that a new building should be completed by Christmas of 1976.

The Bruins, down 3-2 in the best-of-seven final to Saskatoon, won 4-1 and 7-2 to claim the title. They became only the second B.C. team, after the Trail Smoke Eaters in 1944, to advance to the Memorial Cup final.

“We moved the franchise here from Estevan four years ago,” McLean said, “and it’s taken us that long to get the farm system where we want it. We’ve got a solid system now with plenty of good, young talent on the way and we’re going to be OK for a long time.”

He was right.

But before the Bruins could continue to build their dynasty, the WCHL turned down expansion bids from Portland and Vancouver. Brian Shaw, coach of the WHA’s Edmonton Oilers, Nat Bailey and Oil Kings coach Ken Hodge wanted to move the Oil Kings to Vancouver. Of course, Shaw and Hodge would later move the team to Portland.

PatGinnell
PAT GINNELL

The 1975-76 season would be perhaps the ugliest in WCHL history.

It began with Victoria mayor Peter Pollen leaving his seat to have a heated discussion with Ginnell in the middle of a game against Calgary. Pollen, angry after a 20-minute second-period brawl, left his seat behind the penalty bench, circled the rink, climbed on the Cougars’ bench and gave Ginnell a tongue-lashing.

“I asked him if he was going to get his animals under control,” Pollen explained. “Is this the example we set for our young people? This is a complete disgrace. If I have my way, they won’t play here anymore. This isn’t sport — it’s barbarism.”

On Nov. 4, Ginnell said he had proposed two rule changes that were designed to reduce fighting and that both would soon come into effect. One forced players not involved in a fight to go immediately to the player benches or be given game misconducts. The other called for a match penalty and a suspension for anyone charging a goaltender in his crease.

Twelve days later, Ginnell was hit with a game misconduct after he jumped on the ice to protest a game misconduct that had been given to one of his players.

It was on Feb. 20 when the situation bottomed out.

In Saskatoon, Blades defenceman Bryan Baron was struck in one eye by a high stick belonging to Victoria’s Tim Williams. That touched off a brawl involving all players, and it took 50 minutes before play was resumed.

BruceHamilton
BRUCE HAMILTON

Moments before the brawl, Saskatoon’s Bruce Hamilton, who would go on to own the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets, was taken to hospital with a concussion. He later was joined by Glen Leggott, who got a concussion in the brawl. And teammate Fred Williams needed 14 stitches to close a cut.

Before this one blew over, politicians at the city and provincial levels were involved, as were police. On Feb. 22, Saskatoon council, fearing another outbreak of violence, voted unanimously to shut down the Arena for the evening, forcing postponement of the rematch.

On Feb. 24, Ginnell resigned as coach of the Cougars during a 4-1/2 hour governors’ meeting in Saskatoon. He returned for the playoffs and apparently never was fined or suspended for the brawl. Ginnell said he wasn’t pressured into resigning, but “if I am responsible for violence in hockey, I don’t want to be in it.”

With the Bruins in Saskatoon on Feb. 24, Blades coach Jack McLeod and McLean signed an agreement in which they pledged to do everything in their power to see that the game was played within all rules and regulations for proper conduct. New Westminster took five of eight minors and won the game, 5-2.

On March 16, three players — Victoria’s Greg Tebbutt and Williams and Saskatoon’s Peter Goertz — were charged with assault causing bodily harm. The charges later were dismissed.

Amidst everything, Chynoweth offered his resignation. “It isn’t a play for more money; it is simply that there is too much hassle,” he reasoned. “It is starting to bother me that all my friends in Saskatoon are going to the airport to take flights out for winter holidays. I go to the airport and fly to Flin Flon.”

Some of the hassle was relieved when it was announced the league office would move from Saskatoon to Calgary at season’s end.

Meanwhile, Shaw and Hodge put together a group that bought the Oil Kings from World Hockey Enterprises, owners of the WHA’s Oilers, for more than $150,000.

And Chynoweth revealed in January that the WCHL was increasing its playoff teams from eight to 10. “We added the two teams simply for financial reasons,” Chynoweth said.

Still, the goofiness wouldn’t go away.

Lethbridge coach Mike Sauter and defenceman Darcy Regier, who wasn’t dressed for the game, spent almost two hours in a Medicine Hat jail after a bench-clearing incident.

GerryBrisson
GERRY BRISSON

Winnipeg owner/GM/coach Gerry Brisson pulled his team from the ice in New Westminster. The game, won by the Bruins 17-0, was delayed 30 minutes after Winnipeg’s best player, defenceman Kevin McCarthy, had his nose broken in the first minute of play. “I think (McLean) recruits his players in a lumber camp,” Brisson said. “Playing in New Westminster is like sending a pig to slaughter, and hoping he comes out alive.”

McLean responded: “Whatever happens in our building we get blamed for it. The other teams know they can start anything and we’ll end up getting blamed for it.”

Through it all, the Bruins rolled to title No. 2. But the march to the title was marred by an incident involving McLean and linesman Harvey Hildebrandt.

On April 30, McLean was fined for criticizing the officiating in a 10-3 loss to the host Saskatoon Blades in the championship series. That night, during a game his team would lose 9-3 in Saskatoon to even the eight-point series at 4-4, McLean reached over the boards and yanked the toupee off Hildebrandt’s head. It was in the third period and the Blades had just scored their eighth goal.

“Losing causes some coaches to grasp at straws,” wrote Lyndon Little of the Vancouver Sun. “Ernie McLean grabs toupees.”

McLean had to post a $5,000 personal performance bond before the next game.

On June 11, the WCHL headed south of the 49th as Shaw announced the Oil Kings would move to Portland.

“The attitude of the people in Portland is fantastic,” Shaw said. “I really don’t think we could have picked a much better location. The first year I was involved with the (Oil Kings) was 1971. We drew something like 150,000 fans. The following year, when the Oilers moved in, we attracted 90,000, and the next year only 68,000. There is the charisma of a professional team that we can’t compete against. We had to make the move.”

Not everyone was thrilled. Alberta NDP leader Grant Notley spoke up when the WCHL declared Edmonton a protected area for the Portland Winter Hawks.

Notley said the arrangement “makes hockey players look like pigs and swine being sold at an auction.”

Leo LeClerc, a founder of the Oil Kings, added: “It’s change enough for a youngster to move from Stettler in central Alberta to Edmonton. Imagine moving to a foreign country. I’m frankly appalled that the ruling class in hockey — the board of governors of the WCHL — would even consider moving Canadian youngsters into a foreign country. The next thing you know they’ll be sending them to East Germany.”

There was a change in Saskatoon in June when Jim Piggott, who had been involved in ownership of a junior team in Saskatoon for almost 20 years, sold to McLeod, Nathan Brodsky and Joe Reich. Brodsky became the majority shareholder.

NEXT: Part 3 of 5.

AJHL, QMJHL, PJHL teams have positives . . . B.C. leagues awaiting clarification on travel restrictions . . . USHL moves more games

Coming Friday: Part 2 of a look back at the history of the WHL.


The AJHL revealed Thursday that “a member of the Canmore Eagles has tested ajhlpositive for COVID-19.” . . . According to a four-sentence news release, the team has activated the required protocols, schedule adjustments will be made, and “for privacy reasons, no further comments will be provided.” . . . Four minutes after the AJHL released the news, the Olds Grizzlys tweeted that “our games this weekend vs the Drumheller Dragons now are cancelled.” They were to have played in Drumheller on Friday and in Olds on Saturday. . . . In their last game, the Eagles beat the Dragons, 6-3, in Drumheller on Saturday night. . . . According to the AJHL schedule, Canmore’s games scheduled for Nov. 27 (vs. Brooks Bandits) and Nov. 28 (at Brooks) have been “cancelled.”


The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs have had a staff member come up positive so qmjhlnewhave suspended “team in-person activities.” . . . According to the team, “players and staff now will be isolated” and “members of the organization who have been in contact with the infected person will be tested.” . . . The Cape Breton Eagles, who played the visiting Sea Dogs on Wednesday night, won’t play again until public health officials have completed their investigation. According to the Sea Dogs, the infected person didn’t travel with the team to Wednedsay’s game. . . . All told, the QMJHL has had to postpone five games through Nov. 25. . . . There is a news release right here.


Protip


The Fort Knox junior B team that plays in the Prairie Junior Hockey League announced Thursday that “an individual within” its organization has tested positive. As it awaits directions from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the team has postponed its Friday-Saturday home-and-home series with the Regina Capitals. . . . Fort Knox plays out of Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.


With the B.C. government and health officials having announced increased BCHLtravel restrictions on Friday, the BCHL has decided to cancel its weekend exhibition games as it awaits what it calls “further clarification.” . . . The one game scheduled for Friday — the Merritt Centennials were in Cranbrook to play the Bucks — was played. . . . The league has three Saturday games on its schedule, along with one on Sunday. . . . The BCHL has been aiming for a Dec. 1 start to its new season. However, the new travel restrictions are to run through at least Dec. 7. . . . Late Thursday, it seemed that the junior B leagues in the province also were awaiting further clarification on the impact these restrictions will have. It could be that one part of Thursday’s edict — “no spectators and no travel outside your community for sports games” — may not have meant what the words would seem to mean. Yes, we’re talking about mixed messages.


Thanksgiving


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

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CBC News: Manitoba reports 8 more coronavirus deaths and 475 new cases. That’s the province’s 3rd-highest daily total during the pandemic, and raises the 7-day average to 386. Manitoba also has a 14% test positivity rate, the highest in the country.

680 CJOB Winnipeg: The Manitoba government is adding teeth to province-wide COVID-19 restrictions, banning gatherings at private residences and limiting retail sales to essential items only.

CBC News: Saskatchewan reports 98 new COVID-19 cases, lowest in 6 days and significantly below the province’s previous 7-day average of 175.

CBC News: With 1,105 new COVID-19 cases, Alberta sets another single-day record. Eight more people died from the disease, four in Edmonton and four in Calgary.

Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW: Alberta sets another daily record with 1,105 new COVID-19 cases. . . . Active cases in Red Deer sit at 110 (up one).

CBC News: B.C. reports 538 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 more death.

BC Government News: Mandatory mask mandate for workers & customers in indoor public & retail spaces – & in workplace common areas; no events or social gatherings with anyone outside your household or core bubble (if you live alone); COVID-19 travel advisory in BC: essential travel only; spin classes, hot yoga, and high-intensity interval training are suspended; no spectators — and no travel outside your community — for sports games.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 28 additional deaths due to COVID-19 and 1,210 new cases. That’s lower than the previous 7-day average, which drops to 1,365 from 1,418. 361 of the new cases are in Peel Region, 346 in Toronto and 143 in York Region.

CBC News: 34 additional COVID-19 deaths are being reported in Quebec along with 1,207 new cases. That drops the province’s 7-day average for new cases to 1,221 from 1,243.

CBC News: New COVID-19 case confirmed in Whitehorse as Yukon imposes travel restrictions; everyone except critical services workers now required to self-isolate for 14 days when entering territory.

CBC News: 4 new COVID-19 cases detected in Nunavut. 3 are in Arviat, an isolated fly-in community on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay; that brings the number there to 57. Across the territory, which is now in a 2-week lockdown, there are 74 cases.

The New York Times: Our survey of more than 1,900 U.S. colleges and universities has revealed more than 321,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with most of them announced since students returned to campus for the fall term.

The New York Times: New coronavirus infections in Europe appear to be slowing for the first time in months, the WHO said on Thursday. Restrictions re-imposed late last month on businesses and public gatherings appear to be working, and schools have generally remained open.

CBC News: Sweden’s health agency says a number of people who work in the mink industry tested positive for COVID-19. Authorities are analyzing the virus from the infected people and from infected minks to see if there is a link between the strains.

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The USHL continues to have problems trying to play its schedule. A news release from the league on Thursday revealed that Waterloo Black Hawks games against the Lincoln Stars (Nov. 20 and 25), Des Moines Buccaneers (Nov. 21), Dubuque Fighting Saints (Nov. 26) and Green Bay Gamblers (Nov. 28) “have been declared No Contests.” . . . Lincoln’s Nov. 18 game against the Tri-City Storm also “has been declared a No Contest.” . . . From the release: “Per league safety protocols, minimum standards were not met to play these upcoming games.” . . .

WR J.J. Arecega-Whiteside of the Philadelphia Eagles tested positive and is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, along with close contacts WR John Hightower and WR Deontary Burnett. The Eagles are to play the host Cleveland Browns on Sunday. . . .

The San Francisco 49ers placed OL Hroniss Grasu and LB Joe Walker on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. They join DL Arik Armstead, who tested positive, and DT Javon Kinlaw who were added earlier in the week. . . . The 49ers have a bye this week. . . .

Yahoo!Sports reports: “As of Thursday afternoon, 15 games scheduled for Week 12 of the college football season have been canceled or postponed because of coronavirus cases. There have been 40 games either canceled or postponed over the past three weeks of the season as virus cases have surged across the country.” . . . That includes a scheduled game between Maryland and Michigan State. Maryland wasn’t able to play last weekend against No. 3 Ohio State because of eight positive tests. On Thursday, Maryland said that number over the past week is up to 15. . . . On top of that, there are seven Maryland staff members, including head coach Mike Locksley, who have tested positive. . . . Also cancelled on Thursday was a Mountain West game between the Fresno State Bulldogs, who have had at least one positive test, and the visiting San Jose State Spartans. . . .

Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, 83, has tested positive. He also is a former ESPN football analyst. . . . You may recall that it was Holtz in August who, in explaining why he thought college football should get on with playing, said: “When they stormed Normandy, they knew that there were going to be casualties, there was gonna be risk. Two percent of the people that go to the emergency room go for COVID-19. But young people . . . they think it’s like cancer. They think they’re gonna die.” . . .

The DePaul men’s basketball team is pausing all team activities, according to the Chicago-based school, “following positive COVID-19 test results among its Tier 1 group.” The team’s first three games of a new season — scheduled for Nov. 25, 28 and Dec. 1 — have been cancelled. . . .

Juan Domingo Roldan, who three times challenged for the world middleweight boxing title, died on Wednesday of COVID-19. He was 63 when he died in his hometown of San Francisco, Argentina. In the 1980s, he lost title bouts to Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Michael Nunn.



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.