Peeters has a real fish story to tell now . . . Speltz signs on as GM in AHL . . . Blazers, Blades in mourning

TWEET OF THE DAY:


Former NHL/WHL G Pete Peeters now lives in Sturgeon County, just north of Edmonton. So it was only fitting that Peeters was involved in the catching of a fish on the Fraser River that Patrick Johnston of Postmedia writes was “a sturgeon bigger than anything that’s been measured in modern history.” . . . Johnston writes: “The fish’s fork-length was a B.C. record: 352 cm (or 11 feet, six inches). Its girth was 141 cm (55 inches) and was estimated to weigh 890 pounds.” . . . Johnston’s story, along with a couple of photos, is right here.


Speltz

The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights have hired former Spokane Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz as the general manager of their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights. . . . Speltz, who is a long-time friend of Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon, has spent the past five seasons on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the last three as their head amateur scout. He joined the Leafs after being the Chiefs’ general manager for 26 seasons (1990-2016). He also was the Medicine Hat Tigers’ GM for two seasons (1988-90). . . . Prior to signing Speltz, McCrimmon also was responsible for the Silver Knights, who are preparing for their second AHL season.



And wouldn’t you know it . . . I just pre-ordered another book, after discovering that Bearcat Murray: From Ol’ Potlicker to Calgary Flames Legend is scheduled to be released on Nov. 2. . . . You should know that this one is written by George Johnson, who once upon a time was part of the gang at the late, great Winnipeg Tribune. Say what you want about George, just don’t question his love for Ol’ Blue Eyes and classic movies, or his ability to write. He’s one of our best, so Bearcat’s story will be a winner. . . . And, yes, he did wind up plus-1 during an NHL game. You know that story will be included.


Finally . . . we have a cancellation that hasn’t anything to do with the pandemic. The Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds were to have played an exhibition game in Kennewick, Wash., on Sept. 19. However, the teams have decided to stroke that game off the schedule, apparently because of the number of players they expect to have in NHL camps at that time. . . . The game would have been part of the Tri-City Americans’ tournament.



ICYMI, the CFL’s Edmonton Elks released Canadian OL Jacob Ruby after he Covidbreached COVID-19 protocols. This had to have been serious because CFL teams value offensive linemen the way politicians love votes. Dave Naylor of TSN later reported that Ruby “did repeatedly misrepresent to (the) team (that) he was vaccinated.” . . . Ruby had been in the CFL since 2015 when he was with the Montreal Alouettes. . . . The Elks, of course, have had 13 players test positive over the last while, and that led to the postponement of a game in Toronto against the Argonauts that was to have been played on Aug. 26. . . . As of Tuesday, the Elks had gone five days without a positive test; they are expected to return to team activities today. . . .

Meanwhile, the NFL’s New England Patriots surprised the football world on Tuesday by releasing veteran QB Cam Newton, who had started all three of their exhibition games. We may never find out if his apparently being unvaccinated had anything to do with the move by head coach Bill Belichick, who will open the season with Alabama product Mac Jones, a rookie, as the starter. . . .

In Indianapolis, the Colts placed QB Carson Wentz, C Ryan Kelly, who is a Pro Bowler, and WR Zach Pascal on the COVID-19 list as close contacts of a staff member who tested positive. . . . If the three test negative and are asymptomatic they will be able to return in five days. . . . “The fact that the three players were placed on the list as close contacts is an indication they are not vaccinated for the coronavirus as, per NFL protocols, vaccinated players would only be placed on the list for a positive test result,” writes Mike Wells of ESPN. . . . The Colts now have had at least nine players on the COVID-19 list since training camp started. They also have had two coaches test positive, including head coach Frank Reich. . . . 

And from the world of baseball and television . . . the New York Post reported Tuesday that former MLB pitchers Al Leiter and John Smoltz have refused to be vaccinated so “will no long appear in-studio for MLB Network.” . . . MLB has a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees and it goes into effect today (Wednesday). . . .

On Tuesday night, the Boston Red Sox took SS Xavier Bogaerts out of their game in the second inning after a positive test came back. The Red Sox lost the game, 8-5, to the host Tampa Bay Rays. . . . Boston has had six players test positive since Friday, the others being OF Kiké Hernández, INF Christian Arroyo, P Matt Barnes and P Martín Pérez. P Josh Taylor went on the list as a close contact.


Chapter 9,876 in the book How Did We Get Here From There — In chatting the other night with the husband and wife who own a couple of Dairy Queen franchises, I was told about a male and female who recently were refused service because she wasn’t wearing a mask. Yes, masks are mandatory indoors in B.C. . . . Anyway, the couple started beefing and the owners realized it was a waste of time and energy debating the issue so they walked away and the two disgruntled folks departed the premises. . . . That brings us to Port Alberni, B.C., where an idiot who was refused service because he wasn’t wearing a mask chose to leave the store, before returning to urinate on the counter. . . . Sheesh! What is happening to us? Just wear a mask. It’s not like you’re being asked to fight a grizzly bear with a plastic knife.


Plague


KING-TV in Seattle reports that if you’re planning on attending the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, you will have to wear a mask at all times — indoors or out — regardless of your vaccination status. . . . Why? Because Pierce County is experiencing unprecedented levels of COVID-19. . . . The State Fair runs from Sept. 3-26. . . . According to yaktrinew.com, “The masking requirement came one day after two hospital leaders said during a Washington State Hospital Association briefing that the Washington State Fair should be canceled due to the stress it would inevitably put on hospitals.”



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: Matt Calvert, who recently retired after an 11-year NHL career, has joined the Brandon Wheat Kings as their development coach. From a news release: “Along with assisting the coaching staff with day-to-day operations, Calvert will focus primarily on the career development of current players and prospects, emphasizing skill development, fitness, nutrition, mental health, and education.” Calvert, who is from Brandon, played three seasons (2007-10) with the Wheat Kings. . . . The ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones have promoted Jason Payne from assistant to head coach, replacing Matt Thomas, who now is with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Payne, who is from Toronto, is the lone Black head coach in pro hockey at the moment. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan has more on Payne right here. . . .

Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) reported Tuesday morning that former WHL F Yogi Svejkovsky is going to work with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks as a skills coach, who also will work with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks. He had been coaching at the Delta Hockey Academy. He spent 12 seasons (2006-18) as the Vancouver Giants’ skills coach. Svejkovsky, 44, had 101 points, including 58 goals, in his one WHL season (1995-96) with the Tri-City Americans. His son, Lukas, who turns 20 on Nov. 23, has split the past three seasons between the Giants and the Medicine Hat Tigers.


DrSues

Chico to be the (equipment) man in Abbotsford . . . Oil Kings lose Porter to Avs . . . Fond farewell to Cookie Gilchrist

Some WHL-related moves over the past couple of days . . .

The Prince George Cougars are losing one of the most-popular figures in their organization. Ramandeep (Chico) Dhanjal, their equipment manager, has accepted an offer from the Abbotsford Canucks, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . He will be Abbotsford’s head equipment manager after working with the Cougars for 13 years. . . . Shingo Sasaki, who had been with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants for eight seasons as their equipment manager, will be the assistant equipment manager in Abbotsford. . . .

The WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings have lost Jamie Porter, their director of scouting for the past three seasons. He has joined the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche as an amateur scout. Before joining the Oil Kings, Porter spent 15 seasons with the Swift Current Broncos. He started with them as a scout and finished up as director of hockey operations and director of scouting. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have promoted Louis Mass to associate coach. He has been an assistant coach in Everett through three seasons. The Silvertips also said they have signed him to a multi-year contract extension but didn’t provide any details.


Kent (Cookie) Gilchrist, a former sports editor, columnist and writer with the Vancouver Province, died on Wednesday night. He was 72. . . . Gilchrist, a man with a laugh to be remembered, was one of the good ones. I got to know him years ago while on the CFL beat. We both got our start at the Brandon Sun so always had that in common. . . . And we had some fun on the old WFC Skywriters’ Tours, didn’t we, Cookie? . . . RIP. . . . Patrick Johnston of the Province has a whole lot on Cookie right here.


Pestilence


The Olympic Summer Games are scheduled to open on July 23 and some people already are referencing them as the Pandemic Games. (Actually, the opening ceremonies are on July 23; competition actually begins Tuesday evening Canadian time.)

On Friday, Liam Morgan of insidethegames.biz reported that “an official connected to the delayed Olympic Games has become the first resident of the Olympic Village to test positive for COVID-19.” . . . It was confirmed to Morgan that there “had been 14 more confirmed new infections in Japan linked to the Games since July 1. It brings the total number in that period to 44 . . .”

Morgan reported that four of other 13 cases were from Games connected personnel. There also were seven positive tests among contractors, and two from foreign media.

Morgan added that on Friday,“Tokyo recorded 1,271 new COVID-19 cases, marking the 27th day in a row where the tally is higher than a week prior. It was also the third straight day where the total number of infections topped 1,000.”

Meanwhile, there are experts in the field who believe that these Games are going to serve as a world-wide superspreader.

“I think that bringing people from all around the world together and then dispersing them back around the globe is one of the worst things you can do in the midst of a pandemic,” Dr. John Swartzberg, a UC Berkeley infectious disease expert, told Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Killion wrote:

“The International Olympic Committee has already proclaimed that these ‘will be the Games that conquered COVID.’ That is one more bit of spin from the delusional IOC, the only entity that can cancel the Games and which has steadfastly refused to despite the ravages around the world.”

So . . . let the Games begin!


Team USA and Australia were to have played a pre-Olympic men’s basketball game in Las Vegas on Friday night. But it was cancelled after two of the American players — Bradley Beal and Jerami Grant — were involved in health and safety protocols. Beal apparently tested positive, so won’t be on the American team when it heads for Tokyo.


MLB had planned to come out of its all-star break with one game on Thursday, a nationally televised contest between the Boston Red Sox and the host New York Yankees. But it was postponed when the Yankees had another run in with COVID-19. You will recall that the Yankees had an episode in May that involved 11 members of their travelling party, but only one player — SS Gleyber Torres. . . . This time the Yankees had six players test positive on Thursday, including OF Aaron Judge, who had just returned from the All-Star Game in Denver. That meant that other MLB players involved in the All-Star Game had to undergo testing. Other Yankees reported to have tested positive were 3B Gio Urshela, C Kyla Higashioka and relievers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Wandy Peralta. . . . Loaisiga actually went on the COVID list on Saturday. . . . The Yankees were among the first MLB teams to reach the 85 per cent vaccination threshold, which meant they were able to reduce restrictions involving such things as mask wearing. As of June 25, the last time MLB updated its list publicly, the Red Sox hadn’t reached that threshold.

On Friday night, in New York, the Red Sox blanked the Yankees, 4-0. This season, these teams have met seven times and the Red Sox have won them all. . . . The headline on the back page of the New York Daily News today: NEW YORK BLANKEES.


Burro


The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed F Zakhar Polshakov of Belarus to a WHL Brandoncontract. They selected Polshakov, who will turn 18 on Sept. 18, in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . He had nine goals and 17 assists in 38 games with his club team in 2020-21 and also captained his country’s team at the IIHF U-18 World championship in Texas, where he had one assist in three games. . . . His father, Alexander, and grandfather, Valeri, both have been prominent in Belarus’s hockey community. . . . The Wheat Kings hold the WHL rights to two other imports — F Marcus Kallionkieli of Finland and D Yaroslav Busygin of Russia — but both have signed pro contracts. Kallionkieli, 20, has signed with the Vegas Golden Knights, who selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2019 draft. The Wheat Kings picked Busygin, 18, in the CHL’s 2020 import draft and actually signed him, but he played at home in 2020-21 because of the pandemic and is expected to play there again in 2021-22.


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.


Docs

Winterhawks unveil their new look . . . Everett gets d-man from Brandon . . . Spokane, Lethbridge sign imports

Portland

The Portland Winterhawks, preparing for their first WHL season under new ownership, unveiled their new look on Wednesday, as they dumped the Indian chief logo they had worn since debuting in Portland in 1976.

Originally, the Winterhawks had been the Edmonton Oil Kings. The franchise made the move south in time for the 1976-77 season. Ownership at that time had ties to the Chicago Blackhawks and accepted the NHL team’s offer of a set of used jerseys, which is how that logo made its way to Portland.

“We are so proud to finally have our own identity,” Michael Kramer of Winterhawks Sports Group, a co-owner and managing partner, said in a news release after the unveiling. “We feel our new look is fresh and unique, one that we are excited about and believe our community will be as well.”

More from the news release:

“The club’s new primary logo, a right-facing hawk featured with a predominantly white head, also carries the tradition of former colors black and red. The new scheme adds ‘celly gold’ and also squall gray, a color distinct to the new Winterhawks brand. . . .

“Also featured on the bird head are two feathers, carrying the legacy of the franchise’s roots and serving as a subtle nod to the feathers in the previous logo. The bottom of the hawk’s head includes Mount Hood in the aforementioned new squall gray, an iconic mountain from the Cascade Range synonymous with the Portland area. Located within the Mount Hood figure are also the letters ‘W’ and ‘H,’ for further characterization of Winterhawks.”

The Winterhawks also unveiled a new secondary logo.

Again, from the news release:

“The refreshed color scheme can also be seen in the club’s new secondary logo, which features a revitalized edition of the ‘Portland P’ that the team has utilized in the past. The logo will be worn on the team’s jerseys as a shoulder patch, with the P being in gold font at the forefront of two hockey sticks in squall gray. ‘Est. 1976’ — a nod to the 45-year success of the franchise in The Rose City, one of the longest tenured in the WHL — is also included on the patch. ‘Winterhawks’ can be seen hung in a banner atop the logo.”

The complete news release is right here.




The Everett Silvertips have acquired D Jonny Lambos, 20, from the Brandon EverettWheat Kings for a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. . . . Lambos, from Winnipeg, has five goals and 14 assists in 126 regular-season games, all with Brandon. He had two assists in 21 games in the Regina hub earlier this year. . . . He was selected by the Victoria Royals in the third round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Brandon picked him up in a January 2018 trade. . . . His 18-year-old brother, Carson, is a defenceman with the Winnipeg Ice and is likely to be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft on July 23. . . . The Silvertips ended the 2021 developmental season with five 2001-born players on their roster — D Zach Ashton, F Hunter Campbell, F Gage Concalves, F Jalen Price and G Dustin Wolf. . . . Brandon still has six such players on the roster with which it finished the season — Finnish F Marcus Kallionkieli, G Ethan Kruger, F Ben McCartney, D Chad Nychuk, D Neithan Salame and D Braden Schneider. Last week, the Wheat Kings dealt D Rylan Thiessen, 20, to the Swift Current Broncos for a conditional ninth-round pick in the 2021 draft.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed D Tsimafei Kauharenia, 18, of Belarus to a WHL Spokanecontract. . . . An interesting note from the Chiefs’ news  release: “Kauharenia (previously listed as ‘Tomofei Kovgorenya’) was the Chiefs’ first-round pick in the 2021 CHL import draft.” . . . In 2020-21, Kauharenia had seven goals and nine assists in 26 games with the Minsk Bison of Vysshaya Liga. He also got into 17 games — he was pointless — with Dinoma Molodechno of Belarus’s top pro league. . . . The Chiefs now hold the rights to four import players, the other three being Czech G Lukas Parik, Czech D David Jiricek, who turns 18 on Nov. 28, and German F Yannick Proske, 18. . . . Parik has signed with the Ontario Reign, the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliated. . . . Jiricek and Proske haven’t signed with the Chiefs.

——

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Yegor Klavdiev of Belarus to a WHL Lethcontract. They selected him in the first round of the 2021 CHL import draft. . . . From Minsk, the 18-year-old had six goals and five assists in 24 regular-season games with his country’s U-18 team. He also played in the IIHF U-18 World Championship in Texas, putting up a goal and two assists in five games. . . . He also had two goals and two assists in 13 games with Dinamo Molodechno of the country’s top pro league, and one goal in two games with Minskie Zubry of Vysshaya. . . . The Hurricanes didn’t have any imports on the roster with which they concluded the 2021 developmental season. They did have one on their 2019-20 roster — D Danila Palivko of Belarus. He turns 20 on Nov. 30 and signed with Admiral Vladivostok of the KHL earlier this month.


Ram


So . . . when the Olympic Summer Games open on July 23 is the story going to be the competitions involving the athletes or the competition between the human race and COVID-19?

“Tokyo reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost six months on Wednesday, with the Olympics due to open in the capital in just nine days,” reads a report from Thomson Reuters.

“The city government said there were 1,149 new cases, the highest daily tally since Jan. 22, adding to evidence that a new fifth wave of infections is under way, driven by more infectious virus variants and a low vaccination rate. . . .

“Just 31 per cent of people in Japan have received at least one COVID-19 inoculation dose, among the lowest rate among wealthy countries, according to a Reuters tracker. The vaccination push finally gained steam last month, but has recently ebbed among supply and logistical snags.

“The Delta variant now accounts for more than 30 per cent of cases in Tokyo, and the rate is climbing.”

One of these days, if it hasn’t already been done, an editorial cartoonist is going to redesign the Olympic logo using colourized versions of the graphic that represents the virus.

——

An Olympics-related note from Jesse Campigotto of CBC:

“In a pandemic-induced change to the traditional practice of an official placing the hardware around athletes’ necks on the medal stand, medals ‘will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself,’ IOC president Thomas Bach said. Medallists and officials will also be required to wear masks, and no fans are allowed at any Olympic venues, so these ceremonies will look a lot different in Tokyo.”


The CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers have gotten the all-clear from government and health officials to open up every CFLseat in the house for their home-opener at IG Field on Aug. 5. But you will have to be fully vaccinated — meaning you will have to have had your second shot by July 21 — and have a Manitoba immunization card in order to attend. Also, children under 12 will be allowed in, but only if accompanied by at least one fully vaccinated parent. . . . The wearing of facemasks will be optional for fans. . . . The Blue Bombers, who haven’t played since winning the 2019 Grey Cup with a 33-12 victory over Hamilton on Nov. 24 in Calgary, are to entertain the Tiger-Cats in their opener. The stadium in Winnipeg has a capacity of 33,500. . . . Interestingly, provincial governments and health officials in Saskatchewan and Alberta have said the Roughriders, Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks are free to open to full capacity and that fans don’t have to be fully vaccinated.


Wile


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 WHL’s Everett Silvertips have lost veteran equipment manager James Stucky to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Stucky had been with the Silvertips since the franchise entered the WHL in 2003. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed Josh Mallory as their video coach and hockey operations co-ordinator. Mallory, 24, spent the previous three seasons working with the Brock U Badgers women’s team. . . .

The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs have promoted Luca Caputi to head coach. As the club’s associate coach, he was on the bench for two seasons (2018-20) before the OHL lost its 2020-21 season to the pandemic. He replaces Paul McFarland, who was hired on May 8, 2020, and left to join the NHL’s Seattle Kraken as an assistant coach earlier this month. . . . Ryan Hawes, who played 20 games over two seasons (1993-95) with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, has joined the expansion Okanagan Lakers of the BCIHL as an assistant coach. A veteran coach, he has been coaching at various levels in the Okanagan since 2016. . . .

Ty Valin has signed on as general manager and head coach of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He had been an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines. In Fernie, Valin replaces Jeff Wagner, who now is associate coach and director of scouting with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. . . . Brodie St. Jacques has left the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks to join the WHL’s Vancouver Giants as their equipment manager. He had been the Silverbacks’ trainer and equipment manager for two seasons. In Vancouver, he takes over from Shingo Sasaki, who has joined the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. . . .

The QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats announced Wednesday that head coach Daniel Lacroix will be back for a second full season, while assistant coach Josh Hepditch is returning for a fifth season. Moncton also has signed Antoine Samuel as its goaltending coach. Darryl Boyce and Ryan Salvis won’t be returning as assistant coaches, while Marc Theriault won’t be back as the goaltending coach.


Pacemaker