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

scattershooting

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



Thermos



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



Chips


THE COACHING GAME:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


SnowWhite

Oil Kings have edge after road win . . . Kubicek and Cossa shine in 4-0 triumph . . . Game 4 scheduled for tonight

It you are a junior hockey fan, TSN is the place to be this week. All three major TSNjunior leagues are into their best-of-seven final series and all games now are being televised by TSN. . . . On Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oil Kings skated past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-0, in Kent, Wash. Edmonton leads that series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Kent tonight (Wednesday) and, yes, it’ll be on TSN with Victor Findlay calling the play and Kevin Sawyer providing analysis. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Charlottetown Islanders and Shawinigan Cataractes are scheduled to resume hostilities tonight (Wednesday). Shawinigan won twice in Charlottetown — 5-1 and 4-3 in OT — so takes a 2-0 lead into Game 3 on home ice and on TSN. . . . This will be the first game in a doubleheader on TSN tonight — the QMJHL game starts at 7 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET), with the WHL game to follow. . . . Game 4 in the QMJHL final is to be played in Shawinigan on Thursday night. . . . Adam Dunfee is doing the play-by-play and Marc Methot is the analyst. . . .

In the OHL, the host Windsor Spitfires dumped the Hamilton Bulldogs, 6-3, on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in that championship series. F Alex Christopoulos and F Wyatt Johnston had two goals each for the winners. With the arena in Windsor tied up with graduations, they won’t get to Game 4 until Friday night. . . . Jon Abbott is calling the play for TSN in this series, with Craig Button beside him.


Jerks


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

Championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup

In Kent, Wash., D Simon Kubicek, who began his WHL career with Seattle, had a EdCupgoal and an assist and G Sebastian Cossa stopped 21 shots as the Edmonton Oil Kings skated to a 4-0 victory over the Thunderbirds. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Kent tonight. The teams then will return to Edmonton for the remainder of the series, starting with Game 5 on Saturday. . . . In these playoffs, Cossa now is 14-2, 1.98, .911 with four shutouts. He wasn’t challenged a whole lot in this one as the Oil Kings played a near-perfect defensive game, rarely allowing the Thunderbirds free travel through the neutral zone. . . . After the third goal-less first period in as many games, the Oil Kings had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring while shorthanded in the second period when F Jake Neighbours and F Jalen Luypen broke in alone on Seattle G Thomas Milic. The two skaters played give-and-go and it ended with Milic making a tremendous pad save on Neighbours at 15:28. . . . F Jakub Demek (4) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 17:02 of the second period, just 12 seconds after Edmonton had killed off a penalty. Demek, starting in his zone, broke down the right wing and got around a Seattle defender to beat Milic with a backhand-to-forehand. . . .

Kubicek (3) gave his guys a 2-0 lead when he scored at 4:10 the third period, Edmontonjust seven seconds into a PP from a play that developed after Edmonton won a faceoff in Seattle’s zone. . . . Kubicek, 20, is from Czech Republic. He played in 113 regular-season games with Seattle before being dealt to Edmonton for Belarusian F Vladimir Alistrov on Jan. 25, 2021. Kubicek didn’t play for Edmonton in the 2021 development season, while Alistrov, then 19, never did play for the Thunderbirds. . . . This season, Kubicek had 41 points, 14 of them goals, in 68 regular-season games with Edmonton. He also led the WHL in penalty minutes, with 133, but keep in mind the WHL doesn’t include misconducts, game misconducts, etc., in individual penalty totals. . . . The Oil Kings went ahead 3-0 when D Kaiden Guhle (7) scored from the high slot at 11:47 of the third period. . . . F Carter Souch (12) provided the empty-netter for Edmonton at 19:19. He’s got goals in five straight games now. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-for-4 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 0-for-3. . . . Milic finished with 33 saves. . . .

Edmonton F Dylan Guenther, who had 91 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games, didn’t finish the game. He has 21 points, 13 of them goals, in 16 playoff games. . . . The Thunderbirds scratched F Henrik Rybinski for a second straight game after he absorbed a check from Guhle in Game 1. He missed three of the seven games against the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Conference final and sat out Game 2 against Edmonton on Sunday. Rybinski has 18 points, 14 of them assists, in 17 playoff games after putting up 65 points, including 44 assists, in 47 regular-season games.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Jason Clarke, already the head coach, has added the general manager’s duties to his role with the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He signed a two-year deal. Before jumped into the QMJHL after being the owner, general manager and head coach of the junior A Carleton Place Canadiens of the Central Canada Hockey League. He was an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes when the 2021-22 season began, but signed on as head coach of the Titan in late November. . . . With the Titan, he replaces Sylvain Couturier, who resigned on May 27. . . .

Who says you can’t go home again? Former NHLer Eric Fehr has signed on with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers, his hometown team, as director of player development. In a 17-year pro career, Fehr, a former Brandon Wheat Kings star (2001-05), was on teams that won the Calder Cup, Spengler Cup and Stanley Cup. . . . In 2021-22, Fehr, 36, played five regular-season and two playoff games with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL.


Robbery


Before you start complaining about the many viewings we are being treated to of Justin Bieber in that Tim Hortons commercial . . . just be thankful that he isn’t offering gambling advice.



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.


Nap

Kamloops gets 2023 Memorial Cup . . . Building “deficiencies” prevent Kelowna bid . . . Oil Kings take out Ice; Blazers beat T-Birds in OT

The Canadian Hockey League and the Kamloops Blazers announced Friday CHLevening that they will be the host team for the four-team 2023 Memorial Cup tournament.

The big reveal was done prior to Game 5 of the Blazers’ WHL Western Conference final series with the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds.

Dates for the 2023 event weren’t announced.

This will be the second time that a Memorial Cup champion will be decided in Kamloops. Playing at home in 1995, the Blazers, who were the host team but also had won the WHL championship, beat the OHL-champion Detroit Jr. Red Wings, 8-2, in the championship game on May 21.

That tournament also featured the QMJHL-champion Hull Olympiques and the Brandon Wheat Kings, who were in as the other WHL finalist.

That was the Blazers’ second straight Memorial Cup title and third in four seasons.

You may recall that the Blazers fired general manager Bob Brown just 15 days after having won that Memorial Cup on home ice, with then-president Colin Day saying it was time for the franchise to go in a different direction.

The 2023 tournament will be the first time the Memorial Cup will be presented in a WHL city since the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the QMJHL champions, beat the host Regina Pats, 3-0, on May 27, 2018.

The 2020 tournament was to have been held in Kelowna with the WHL’s Rockets as the host team. Preparations were well underway before everything was scrubbed because of the pandemic.

The 2021 tournament also was cancelled. The 2022 Memorial Cup is to be played in Saint John, N.B., June 20-29.

In recent years, teams interested in playing host to the tournament would make bid presentations in front of a league’s board of governors. A vote would be held and a winner declared. Such was the case prior to Kelowna being awarded the 2020 event over bids from Kamloops and the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Now, however, the CHL has taken control of the process and it’s all done behind closed doors, so we don’t know what other WHL teams made bid presentations.

In July 2020, Doug Nicholas, the City of Kelowna’s sport and events services manager, told councillors that “decisions are already underway regarding the possibility of Kelowna getting their opportunity to host the Memorial Cup (in 2023),” Castanet reported. “Preliminary discussions have been positive to date with the WHL and the CHL.”

According to Castanet, Nicholas told councillors that the Rockets, who had made a handful of trades to add to the team they had thought would play in the 2020 event, would have time to “rebuild a strong cup-winning team” for 2023. He also pointed out, Wayne Moore of Castanet wrote, that “club owner and president Bruce Hamilton has committed to a 10th two-year term as chairman of the board of directors of the WHL.”

——

Rockets

While the Kamloops Blazers were informing their fans of their good news, the Kelowna Rockets were issuing an open letter addressed to “Season Ticket Holders, Sponsors and Rocket Fans” in which they attempted to explain why the 2023 Memorial Cup won’t be held in their city.

In the letter, the Rockets pointed the finger squarely at the GSL Group, which “owns, operates and manages” their home arena, Prospera Place. The GSL Group also owns, among other things, the WHL’s Victoria Royals and their home arena, Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

According to the Rockets, they submitted their intent to bid after which an audit of Prospera Place “found that there were significant deficiencies that needed to be upgraded for the facility to meet the CHL standards for hosting the Memorial Cup.”

The open letter continues: “Ultimately, an agreement with the Rockets, City of Kelowna and the GSL Group could not be reached to make the necessary capital improvements to the building. As a result, the building did not meet the minimum standards required to host the event by the CHL and, consequently, the Rockets could not proceed with our bid to host the 2023 Memorial Cup.”

The Rockets didn’t explain exactly what those “significant deficiencies” are, nor did they explain how the building became so deficient in only three years. After all, it must have met the CHL standards to have been declared the home arena for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

“Our hope,” the letter concludes, “as we look toward the future is that the GSL Group will work to complete the necessary improvements the audit identified so that we can once again bring a Memorial Cup back to Kelowna.”

The letter was signed “Your Kelowna Rockets.”


Peanuts


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Edmonton, the No. 2 Oil Kings dismantled the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, 7-1, to Edmontonadvance to the WHL final for the first time since 2014. . . . The Oil Kings won the best-of-seven conference final, 4-1, and now are 12-1 in the playoffs. . . . The series, which opened in Winnipeg, followed a 2-3-2 format because of the travel distance between the cities. The Oil Kings got a split in Winnipeg and then swept their home games. Edmonton outscored Winnipeg, 15-6, in those three games and 21-15 in the series. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings struck for four first-period goals and added three more in the second as they built a 7-0 lead. . . . They got two goals and two assists from F Carter Souch (9), with F Dylan Guenther drawing four assists. D Kaiden Guhle (6) had two goals and an assist, F Jakub Demek (3) added a goal and two assists, and F Jake Neighbours (3) scored twice. . . . Neighbours counted at 4:52 and 5:00 of the first period to give his guys a 3-0 lead. . . . Those two goals eight seconds apart were one second off the WHL playoff record that is shared by Bill Derlago (Brandon Wheat Kings, April 9, 1978, 1:02 and 1:09 of third period in 9-6 victory over the visiting Flin Flon Bombers); F Ron Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos, 19:21 and 19:28 of second period in 7-4 victory over the host Portland Winterhawks); and F Joachim Blichfeld (Portland, March 29, 2018, 13:38 and 13:45 of third period in 4-3 victory over the host Spokane Chiefs). . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 19 shots, losing his shutout bid at 17:20 of the third period when F Connor McClennon (8) scored. . . . Ice G Gage Alexander gave up four goals on nine shots. Daniel Hauser came on in relief at 910:18 of the first period and was beaten three times on 28 shots. . . . Edmonton F Jaxsen Wiebe, returning from a two-game suspension, finished with zero points but did earn 29 penalty minutes — two misconducts, one major and two minors. . . . The Ice was again without F Matt Savoie, who was injured in Game 2. . . . The Oil Kings won the WHL title in 2014, the last time they were in the final. They went on to win the Memorial Cup, the last WHL team to do so.

——

Western Conference

In Kamloops, F Daylan Kuefler scored in OT to give the No. 2 Blazers a 4-3 Kamloopsvictory over the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 5 of the conference final. . . . The Blazers hold a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series with Game 6 scheduled for Kent, Wash., on Sunday. . . . A seventh game, if necessary, would be played in Kamloops on Tuesday. . . . Last night, the teams went to OT for the second straight game, the Thunderbirds having won, 2-1, at home on Wednesday. . . . F Conner Roulette (3) put Seattle out front at 1:51 of the first period, only to have F Matthew Seminoff (6) tie it at 6:44. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky (8), back after missing a game with an undisclosed injury, gave Seattle a 2-1 lead at 2:32 of the second period. . . . The Blazers tied it at 8:24 when F Daylan Kuefler (8) scored. . . . Kamloops went ahead 3-2 at 4:58 of the third period after F Connor Levis (3) knocked in a puck out of mid-air. The call on the ice was “no goal,” but that was overturned after about a six-minute video review. . . . Seattle got that one back less than six minutes later when D Kevin Korchinski (6) corned at 10:27. . . . Kuefler, a 38-goal man in the regular season, won it with his ninth goal at 5:39 of extra time. . . . Kuefler also had an assist, for a three-point outing. He’s got 15 points in 15 playoff games. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 34 shots for Kamloops, six more than Seattle’s Thomas Milic. . . . Each team was 0-for-2 on the PP. . . . F Henrik Rybinski also returned to Seattle’s lineup. He hadn’t played since Game 1 because of an undisclosed injury. . . . Earlier in the day, the Thunderbirds were fined $750 for “warmup violations” prior to Game 4 in Kent on Wednesday.


Cars


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Sylvain Couturier has resigned as the general manager of the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan after 20 seasons with the organization. He chose not to expound on the reasons for his resignation, but did suggest that there may be litigation down the road. . . . 

The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs won the Eastern Conference playoff title on Friday night, beating the host North Bay Battalion, 6-0, to sweep the best-of-seven final. The Bulldogs, who will meet either the Flint Firebirds or Windsor Spitfires in the final, are 12-0 in the playoffs. The Firebirds and Windsor are 2-2 after the Spitfires won, 4-2, in Flint on Friday. . . .

Ryan Tobler has signed on with the AJHL’s Blackfalds Bulldogs as their associate coach. Tobler, 46, played three seasons in the WHL (Saskatoon Blades, Calgary Hitmen, Swift Current Broncos, Moose Jaw Warriors, 1994-97). He was the head coach of the Chinook Hockey League’s Bentley Generals for four seasons (2012-16), then spent four-plus seasons on the coaching staff of the Colorado Eagles, the first two in the ECHL and the rest in the AHL. . . . In Blackfalds, he’ll work alongside Doug Quinn, the owner, president and head coach.


Woods


My wife, Dorothy, a kidney transplant recipient in 2013, will take part in the 2022 #kamloops Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year on June 5. Yes, it’s virtual again. But she will be there, and you are able to sponsor her right here.



If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Phones

Blazers and Ice one victory from conference finals . . . Stankoven powers Kamloops past Giants . . . Memorial Cup host team ousted


The WHL’s best regular-season team in 2021-22 looks to move on to the WHLplayoffs2022Eastern Conference final when it plays host to a Friday night playoff game. Yes, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice take a 3-1 series lead into Game 5 against the visiting No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Warriors will be without F Robert Baco, whose suspension for a charging major in Game 3 had been set at two games. . . . A Winnipeg victory would send the Ice into a series against the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings, who are 8-0 in these playoffs, having swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . .

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the Kamloops Blazers hold a 3-1 lead over the Vancouver Giants and they’ll play Game 5 in Kamloops tonight. . . . At the same time, the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks have a 2-1 edge on the Seattle Thunderbirds as they meet in Kent, Wash. The Thunderbirds are coming off a 5-0 victory in Game 3 in Portland on Wednesday night.

——

THURSDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., F Logan Stankoven broke a 2-2 tie on a late third-period PP as Kamloopsthe No. 2 Kamloops Blazers skated to a 4-2 victory over the No. 8 Vancouver Giants. . . . The Blazers hold a 3-1 lead in the series, and they’re right back at it tonight as they meet in Game 5, this time in Kamloops. . . . The teams exchanged goals in this one, with F Luke Toporowski (6) giving Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 13:54 of the third period. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (4) got the Giants even at 17:42. . . . The Blazers went back in front at 12:59 of the second period on a goal by F Caedan Bankier (4). . . . Ostapchuk (5) tied it again, this time at 6:21 of the third. . . . Stankoven’s eighth goal, at 17:23, was the game-winner. . . . The Giants were hit with a minor for too many men just 46 seconds after Stankoven’s goal. . . . Stankoven followed that with his ninth goal in eight games into an empty net with 7.9 seconds remaining. . . . Ostapchuk and linemate Fabian Lysell, who had two assists, lead the WHL playoff scoring race, each with 19 points, one more than Stankoven. . . . Kamloops was 2-for-3 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-for-1. . . . The Blazers got 18 stops from G Dylan Garand, while G Jesper Vikman blocked 34 for the Giants. . . . F Cole Shephard, who last played on March 16, was back in Vancouver’s lineup.


In all my years of covering junior hockey, I don’t know that I encountered a player with a bigger personality than Brandon Underwood. . . . He played five seasons (Kamloops Blazers, Regina Pats, Red Deer Rebels, 2008-13) in the WHL before going on to spend four seasons with the UBC Thunderbirds. . . . He now is a Vancouver firefighter. . . . On Thursday night, after former Moose Jaw Warriors F Brayden Point scored in OT to give the host Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Underwood won Twitter . . . 


Music


We had a goalie goal on Thursday night. . . . Former WHLer Joel Hofer, now with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, lit the lamp in a 6-2 victory over the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. . . . In his Calder Cup playoffs debut, he made 34 stops as the Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Atlantic Division semifinal. . . . Hofer, 21, is from Winnipeg. He played three seasons (2017-20) in the WHL, making stops with the Swift Current Broncos and Portland Winterhawks.


Julie Stewart-Binks had to cancel out of being part of ESPN’s coverage of Game COVID6 of the NHL playoffs series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the host Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night because she tested positive for COVID-19. “Thankfully through contract tracing everyone else is negative,” she wrote on Twitter. “I have been extremely diligent with safety protocols the entire pandemic. I am devastated not to work this game.” . . .

The Cleveland Guardians have at least seven members of their coaching staff in COVID-19 protocol after they tested positive — manager Terry Francona, bench coach DeMarlo Hale, hitting coach Chris Valaika, assistant pitching coach Joe Torres, first-base coach Sandy Alomar, third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh and hitting analyst Justin Toole.


Eye


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Saint John Sea Dogs, the host team for the 2022 Memorial Cup tournament, were eliminated from the QMJHL playoffs on Thursday night when they lost, 4-3 in OT, to the visiting Rimouski Oceanic. F Alexander Gaudio scored 30 seconds into extra time to give the Oceanic the series victory. The QMJHL is playing best-of-fives this time around and this was Game 5. . . . The Sea Dogs are next scheduled to play on June 20 when they get the Memorial Cup started with a game against the OHL champions. . . .

Three of the last four Memorial Cup host teams have lost out in the first round of playoffs — in 2017, the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires lost in seven games to the London Knights; in 2018, the Regina Pats were ousted by the Swift Current Broncos in seven games; and now the Sea Dogs are gone. . . . Windsor went on to win the Memorial Cup at home, while Regina lost out in the tournament final. . . . The Halifax Mooseheads were the host team in 2019; they reached the QMJHL final where they were swept by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. . . .

The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Halifax Mooseheads were to have played the fifth game in their best-of-five series on Thursday night. But, with Wednesday’s fourth game having gone into the third OT period, the league chose to move Game 5 to Friday night. Because of the length of Game 4 in Halifax and the fact the teams would have had to travel about five hours to Bathurst, N.B., for Game 5 “the league judged it prudent for the well-being and security of the players to postpone the game to Friday.” A tip of the fedora to the QMJHL for making such a decision. . . .

The AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks have signed Nick Prkusic as the organization’s first full-time assistant coach. He will be working alongside head coach Clayton Jardine. . . . Prkusic, who played in the AJHL with the Brooks Bandits, has been working as the head coach of the Caronport, Sask.-based Prairie Academy’s U-17 team.


Wallet


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, after the Golden State Warriors were whipped, 134-95, by the host Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA playoff game: “If Wednesday’s Game 5 box score was a report card, the Warriors would be grounded for a year. If the Warriors don’t respond in Game 6 Friday, that box score will become an autopsy report.”


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Shoe

Ice in command going home . . . Oil Kings eliminate host Rebels . . . Milic, Svejkovsky lead Thunderbirds in road victory

And then there were seven. . . . Yes, what once was a field of 16 WHL playoff teams is down to seven following the departure of the Red Deer Rebels on WHLplayoffs2022Wednesday night. The Edmonton Oil Kings now are 8-0 in these playoffs after completing a sweep of the Rebels with a 4-2 victory in Red Deer last night. . . . The Oil Kings await the winner of the other Eastern Conference semifinal in which the Winnipeg Ice holds a 3-1 lead over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

In the Western Conference, the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds scored a 5-0 victory over the No. 3 Winterhawks in Portland. The Winterhawks hold a 2-1 lead in the semifinal with the next game in Kent, Wash., on Friday. . . .

There is one game scheduled for tonight and it features the other Western Conference semifinal with the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, holding a 2-1 edge, facing the No. 8 Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. The host Giants won, 3-2, on Tuesday night.

——

WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

WinnipegIceIn Moose Jaw, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice rode three second-period goals to a 5-3 victory over the No. 4 Warriors. . . . The Ice holds a 3-1 edge in the conference semifinal. They’ll play Game 5 in Winnipeg on Friday night. . . . F Mikey Milne (8) got Winnipeg started at 16:28 of the first period, only to have F Jagger Firkus (5) tie it at 18:57. . . . The Ice took a 3-1 lead on two quick goals early in the second period, as F Jack Finley (6), at 6:45, and F Owen Pederson (5), on a PP, at 7:20, found the range. . . .Firkus (6), who also had an assist, cut into that lead, on a PP, at 13:09, but F Matt Savoie (4) got that one back just 29 seconds later. . . . F Cole Muir (1) stretched Winnipeg’s lead to 5-2 at 3:55 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw D Majid Kaddoura (2) rounded out the scoring at 11:22. . . . Finley has goals in five straight games during which time he has totalled six goals and four assists. . . . F Ryder Korczak had three assists for Moose Jaw. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 30 shots for the Ice, four more than Moose Jaw’s Jackson Unger. . . . The Warriors were without F Robert Baco, who was hit with a TBD suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct in Game 3. . . .

EdmontonIn Red Deer, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings unleashed a 51-shot attack as they beat the No. 3 Rebels to complete a sweep of their conference semifinal. . . . The Oil Kings, who led 1-0 after the first period, took control with two goals 31 seconds apart in the first minute of the second. . . . F Jalen Luypen (3) had scored at 15:51 of the first period. Then F Dylan Guenther (8), scored eight seconds into the second and F Carter Souch (5) made it 3-0 at 0:39. . . . F Jhett Larson (3) pulled the Rebels to within two at 8:20, but Guenther (9) stretched the lead to three at 18:34. . . . D Blake Gustafson (2) got a shorthanded score for the Rebels at 13:47 of the third period. . . . Guenther also had an assist for a three-point outing. He’s got 12 points in eight playoff games. . . . The Oil Kings held a 42-10 edge in shots through two periods. . . . G Sebastian Cossa turned aside 14 shots for Edmonton. In these playoffs, he is 8-0, 1.48, .932. . . . The Rebels got 47 stops from G Connor Ungar.

——

Western Conference

SeattleIn Portland, F Lukas Svejkovsky scored once and added three assists, and G Thomas Milic turned aside 28 shots, leading the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-0 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . This was the Winterhawks’ first loss in seven playoff games this spring. . . . Portland holds a 2-1 lead in the conference semifinal. This series is following a 1-2-1-1-1-1 format. They return to Kent, Wash., for Game 4 on Friday. . . . F Jared Davidson (5) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 6:14 of the first period, the third time in three games that the Thunderbirds opened the scoring. . . . Svejkovsky (5) scored at 5:29 of the second period, and F Conner Roulette (1), on a PP, made it 3-0 at 7:29 of the third. . . . Seattle added two empty-netters, from Davidson (6), who also had an assist, and F Lucas Ciona (5). . . . Milic, who had three shutouts in the regular-season, posted his second of these playoffs. He is 5-3, 1.82, .929. . . . Seattle was 1-for-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-for-3. . . .

As an interesting aside to this series, it seems that Dan Leckelt, one of the Thunderbirds’ owners, wasn’t enthralled with the officiating in Game 1, a 4-2 victory by visiting Portland, on Friday night.

He retweeted a tweet by a fan that read: “The reffing in this game has been disgusting. Our boys have been absolutely molested with no calls, yet they (bleeping) call a soft penalty on us in a tied game with 4 (bleeping) minutes left. #whlrefssuck”

Portland D Clay Hanus broke a 2-2 tie on a PP at 16:21 of the third period.

Leckelt later tweeted: “Development leagues need to develop more than players.” He may or may not have been referring to the WHL. What do you think?


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Riley Kidney scored at 16:14 of the third OT period to give the Acadie-Bathurst Titan a 4-3 victory over the host Halifax Mooseheads on Wednesday night. It was the third-longest game in QMJHL history. . . . The Titan held a 72-46 edge in shots. . . . Halifax won the first two games of the best-of-five series on the road, but now has lost twice at home. The deciding game is scheduled for tonight in Bathurst, N.B. . . .

Tim Speltz, the former long-time general manager and governor of the Spokane Chiefs, is the latest recipient of the WHL’s Governors Award. According to the WHL, this is the “highest honour” that it “bestows on an individual who has been associated with the league.” . . . Speltz was the Chiefs’ GM for 26 years before leaving the join the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs as director of western area scouting in 2016. He was promoted to head of amateur scouting in 2018 and filled the role for three years. He now is the general manager of the Henderson Silver Knights, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . .

Brett Smith announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he has left the Prince Albert Raiders. The team’s manager of communications and community relations, Smith had been with the Raiders for six years. . . .

The Dauphin Kings won the Turnbull Cup as champions of the MJHL on Wednesday night, scoring a 2-1 victory over the host Steinbach Pistons in Game 7 of the final series. F Brayden Dube broke a 1-1 tie at 11:33 of the third period. . . . Dube, 16, is from Roblin, Man. He was a second-round selection by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL’s 2020 draft and has signed with them. . . . The Kings, who last won the MJHL title in 2010, will represent the league at the Centennial Cup tournament that opens next week in Estevan, Sask. . . .

Rylan Ferster is the new general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. The team announced on Twitter earlier this week that Craig Didmon wouldn’t be back after 12 years with the organization. His contract expired and wasn’t renewed. . . . Ferster, who has spent the past two seasons working with the Philadelphia Hockey Club, previously has coached in Victoria. He spent two seasons (2004-06) as head coach of the BCHL’s Salsa and, after a regime change, spent 2006-07 as the Grizzlies’ head coach.


Stupid


From The New York Times: Bill Gates, who has donated millions to pandemic relief efforts, tested positive for the coronavirus, he said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in the world of MLB, the Cleveland Guardians were to have played against the host Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. But the virus had other ideas. From MLB: “Following multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the Guardians organization, their game vs. the White Sox has been postponed to allow for continued testing and contact tracing.”


Virus



My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Stove

Milestone victory for Hamilton . . . Habscheid helps out WHL’s Christmas fund . . . Celebration of Swaby’s life on Friday

THE COACHING GAME:

Steve Hamilton, the head coach of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, joined the 200 WHLClub on Sunday when his side dumped the visiting Regina Pats, 10-3. He put up 108 coaching victories in four seasons as head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings; Sunday’s victory was No. 92 with the Hitmen. . . .

Meanwhile, Marc Habscheid of the Prince Albert Raiders won his 561st regular-season game as a head coach when his guys beat the host Winnipeg Ice, 4-3 in OT, on Sunday. Habscheid is the winningest active head coach in the WHL today. He is sixth on the all-time list and could move up a notch before season’s end; Mike Williamson is next on the list at 572. . . . The Raiders enjoyed quite a trek into Manitoba, as they beat the Wheat Kings, 2-1, on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert is 8-12-1; Winnipeg is 21-1-1, with Brandon at 9-11-0. . . .

Attention WHL coaches . . . you have been forewarned. The head office has opened its Christmas party fund. Habscheid was the first to contribute after being fined $750 on Monday. That’s the price he pays after being ejected from a Nov. 24 game against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. He got the ol’ heave-ho from referees Adam Bloski and Troy Murray prior to the start of the third period of a game the Raiders would lose, 4-1. . . . Habscheid later told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW that “. . . I just wished them a Merry Christmas, and that was that.” . . . It could be then that Habscheid was tossed for not waiting until December to start spreading Christmas joy. . . .


In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan signed Jason Clarke as its new head coach, replacing Mario Durocher, who was fired last week. Clarke was working as an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. He is a former owner, general manager and head coach of the junior A Carleton Place Canadiens of the Central Canada Hockey League.


Pancakes


The Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats weren’t done any favours by the schedulemaker last weekend and they came out of it, perhaps predictably, with one victory to show for five games . . .

The Blades won once during their three-game trek into Alberta. They went into the weekend with five healthy defencemen, then lost one of those guys on Sunday. Still, you have to think they were quite pleased with their trip. . . . They opened in Red Deer by beating the Rebels, 3-1, on Friday night. The Blades played again Saturday, this time at 1:30 p.m., and got dumped, 7-0, by the Hitmen, who hadn’t played on Friday. On Sunday, Saskatoon ventured into Edmonton for a 4 p.m. start, scored the game’s first two goals, then gave up five in a row and dropped a 5-2 decision to the Oil Kings, who had been off on Saturday. . . .

Meanwhile, the Pats were in Alberta for two games. They played Saturday night in Red Deer, losing 4-2, and then had to be back on the ice Sunday in Calgary for an 11 a.m. — yes, a.m. — start. They were drubbed, 10-3, by the Hitmen, who got four goals and two assists from F Riley Fiddler-Schultz.

Yes, there oughta be a rule about morning or afternoon starts after a team has played the previous night. And it should never, ever happen when the home team was off the previous night.


A celebration of Matt Swaby’s life is scheduled for Friday, 1 p.m., at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre. Swaby, who played in the WHL for four seasons, was killed in a farm accident near Prince Albert on Friday. He was 34 and is survived by his wife, Carla, and three sons — Thomas, 6; Blake, 4; and Kody, 2. . . . The celebration of life is to be videotaped and live-streamed at grays.ca/memorial-videos/ . . . A GoFundMe page to benefit the family had raised $178,106 as of Monday evening. That page is right here.



The Dallas Cowboys will be without head coach Mike McCarthy on Thursday when they meet the host New Orleans Saints. He has tested positive, and there are reports that the Cowboys have as many as eight positives in their organization. That includes WR Amari Cooper, who is unvaccinated and has missed two games after a positive test. . . .

NFL teams placed at least seven players on the COVID-19 list on Monday — S Kevin Byard of the Tennessee Titans, OT Kyle Murphy of the New York Giants, CB Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, DB Kevin Seymour of the Baltimore Ravens, long-snapper Trent Sieg of the Las Vegas Raiders, RB J.J. Taylor of the New England Patriots and LB T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Off the Mark
Off the Mark

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS . . .

The CBA that governs Major League Baseball expires on Wednesday night at 11:59 ET. At that time, it is expected that MLB will lock out the players; it also is anticipated that this lockout could last and last and last and . . .

And won’t it be fun if any of the owners plead poverty.

After all, the New York Mets have signed RHP Max Scherzer, 37, to a three-year deal worth $130 million. As Darren Rovell, a sports business reporter, pointed out, Scherzer will make $3.95 million more this year than the Mets paid Dwight Gooden for his entire time in New York, factoring for inflation.” Scherzer has averaged 28 starts and 182 innings pitched in his career. Based on that, he will be paid $1.5 million per start, or $238,000 per inning. . . . Remember when people got excited when the New York Yankees signed RHP Gerritt Cole to a deal that pays him $36 million per season? That was in 2019. Scherzer will make $43.3 million a season.

The Mets aren’t the only team throwing money around.

LHP Robbie Ray won the American League’s Cy Young Award in his only season with the Toronto Blue Jays and now is headed to the Seattle Mariners for $115 million over five years.

The Blue Jays turned around and signed RHP Kevin Gausman for $110 million over five years.

Toronto also lost 2B Marcus Semien, who hit 45 home runs in 2021. He is joining the Texas Rangers for $175 million over seven years. The Rangers also have signed SS Corey Seager for $325 million over 10 years. He had been with the Los Angeles Dodgers with whom he was the 2020 World Series MVP.


Meanwhile, in the world of U.S. college football, Lincoln Riley, 38, is leaving Oklahoma after five seasons to become the head coach of the USC Trojans. Why is he moving? Well, his new contract apparently is worth $110 million. As well, USC will purchase the two homes he owns in Norman, Okla., for $500,000 over the asking price; USC is to buy him a $6 million home in Los Angeles; and he will have unlimited use of a private jet for his family. . . .

At the same time, head coach Brian Kelly, 60, is leaving the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for LSU, and it’s expected that he’ll be paid $15 million per season. . . . Kelly’s Notre Dame players found out via social media; he then sent a text to them, telling them that he will inform them officially when they meet at, uhh, 7 a,m.

What do you think? Is it time to pay the players?


YogiBear


The Winter Universiade, featuring university athletes from more than 50 countries, was to have opened in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Dec. 11, with 102 Canadian student athletes in attendance. However, the games were cancelled on Monday as part of the world’s reaction to Omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant. Including coaches and support staff, Canada would have had 144 people in Lucerne. . . . The next Winter Universiade is scheduled for Lake Placid, N.Y., in January 2023.


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.


Raise

Clouston headed for WHL’s Top 10 . . . Carrier lit it up, but nothing near record . . . Coaching change in Russia


MOVIN’ ON UP: Shaun Clouston, the Kamloops Blazers’ general manager and head coach, moved into a tie for 12th on the WHL’s all-time victory list as his club beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, in Kent, Wash., on Wednesday night. . . . That was Clouston’s 465th victory — he also has been the head coach of the Tri-City Americans (16) and Medicine Hat Tigers (375). Clouston, 53, now is tied with Dean Clark and Kelly McCrimmon. . . . The Blazers are scheduled to meet the Winterhawks in Portland tonight. A Kamloops victory would lift Clouston into a tie with Jack Shupe and Peter Anholt for 10th on the list. . . . Kamloops (15-2-0) is to play the Silvertips (16-0-1) in Everett on Saturday.


SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE: It turns out that the Tri-City Americans and Kelowna Rockets are sharing not one, but two goaltending coaches. . . . The Rockets acquired G Talyn Boyko from the Americans on Nov. 7. Eight days later, the Rockets announced that Eli Wilson, the Americans’ goaltending coach, would be their goaltending coach, too. It turns out that Kelowna general manager Bruce Hamilton had asked Tri-City GM Bob Tory about sharing Wilson. Tory agreed, as long as Wilson, who lives in Kelowna, would continue to spent one week a month with the Americans. . . . What the Rockets’ news release didn’t mention is that Liam McOnie has joined them as a goaltending consultant. McOnie, who has worked with Wilson for five years, also is a goaltending consultant with the Americans. McOnie also is the general manager and head coach of the junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, who play out of Armstrong, B.C.


Herman


A tip of the Taking Note fedora to F Cole Carrier of the Regina Pats. . . . Carrier, 19, was pointless with the Pats leading the host Medicine Hat Tigers 3-2 and Patsfewer than five minutes remaining in the third period on Tuesday night. . . . He then scored three straight goals — at 15:05, 16:23 and 18:45 — in a span of 3:40 to finish off Regina’s 6-2 victory. . . . As quick as that was, Carrier was 3:16 shy of the WHL record that is held by F Jim Harrison. On Dec. 5, 1966, Harrison scored at 19:31, 19:44 and 19:55 of the third period to give the Estevan Bruins a 6-5 victory over the Pats. According to the Regina Leader-Post of Dec. 5, 1966, Harrison, who also had two assists, “scored the winner . . . after the Bruins had pulled goalie Gordon Kopp for an extra attacker.” The story didn’t indicate why the Bruins had pulled their goaltender in a tie game, but perhaps there was a faceoff in Regina’s zone and Estevan coach Ernie (Punch) McLean chose to play a hunch. . . . Harrison did it in the first season of what was then known as the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League. . . . At that point, Harrison had 40 points, including 18 goals, in Estevan’s first 20 games. . . . That season also was the first for McLean as the Bruins’ head coach. He and Bill Shinske had been among 35 shareholders who had purchased the team from Scotty Munro during the 1965-66 season. . . . Carrier, from Strathcona, Alta., came out of Tuesday’s game, his 19th this season with eight goals. He went into the season with four goals in 44 games.


Prince Albert head coach Marc Habscheid would have been better off to spend his money on postage stamps and send Christmas cards to referees Adam Bloski and Troy Murray, who handled the Raiders’ 5-1 loss to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday night. . . . As Jeff D’Andrea noted in the above tweet, Habscheid came out of the dressing room with his team to start the third period, offered up Christmas greetings and then wasn’t around when the puck was dropped. . . . There wasn’t anything on the WHL’s website late Thursday night, but surely the league will dip into the wallet of the WHL’s winningest active coach (560 victories).


THE TWOS HAVE IT: The Portland Winterhawks were beaten, 3-2 in OT, by the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday night. Later, Andy Kemper, the Winterhawks’ historian, informed us via Twitter that this “was the 86th time in Winterhawks history that a game ended in a 2-2 score after regulation.” Furthermore, he pointed out that in those games, Portland had 22 victories, opponents had 22, and 22 ended in ties. In games that needed a shootout, Portland has 10 victories and opponents have 10 victories.


IN THE Q: The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan fired head coach Mario Durocher on Thursday, with assistant coach Greg Leland moving up at least on an interim basis. The Titan are 9-9-2. . . . Leland signed with the Titan on July 3, 2020. . . . Durocher, 58, is a veteran coach who first coached in the league in 1992 when he was an assistant coach with the Sherbrooke Faucons. He had been behind the Titan’s bench since November 2018. . . . In Victoriaville, the Tigres signed general manager Kevin Cloutier to an extension that runs through the 2026-27 season.


Villain


JUST NOTES: I was doing some searching through Regina Leader-Post archives the other night and discovered that the sports section featured a regular column — Curling with Hack Waight. Yes, those were the days. . . . When the CHL’s weekly rankings showed up on Wednesday, the top four slots were occupied by WHL teams — in order, the Winnipeg Ice, Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers and Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . All four teams won that night. That improved Winnipeg’s record to 20-1-0, with Everett at 16-0-1, Kamloops at 15-2-0, and Edmonton at 15-3-3. . . . There will be a party in Whistler, B.C., to celebrate the World Hockey Association’s 50th anniversary. You do remember the WHA, don’t you? The party will run from Oct. 6 through Oct. 9 of 2022. Harrison Brooks of Pique Newsmagazine has more right here.


COACHING CHANGE WITH RUSSIAN JUNIORS: Sergei Zubov, a former NHL defenceman who has two Stanley Cup rings, will be the head coach of the Russian entry at the World Junior Championship that is to open in Edmonton and Red Deer on Dec. 26. Oleg Bratash was to have been the head coach, but he now is an assistant coach, along with Alexander Titov and Vladimir Filatov. It appears that the change was made because of Zubov’s better understanding of the English language. . . . As Bratash explained to Martin Mark of iihf.com: “At the tournament we will speak a lot with the organizers, there will be a strict COVID-19 protocol, and Sergei speaks English as a result of his experience of living in North America. Furthermore, he has coached in the KHL. These aren’t major changes.” . . . Zubov won WJC gold with the Soviet Union team in 1989. He won Stanley Cups with the New York Rangers (1994) and Dallas Stars (1999). . . . The Russian junior team will open camp with medicals at Novogorsk on Dec. 1 and will wrap it up on Dec. 14. . . . You are going to want to watch Russia, assuming F Matvei Michkov makes the roster. Michkov, who turns 17 on Dec. 9, has two goals and three assists in 11 games with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. He also totalled 28 points, including 17 goals, in 11 games with two MJL teams.


Christmas


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.


Deergut

Thunderbirds sign two imports . . . Broncos acquire defenceman . . . Wheat Kings lose assistant to OHL



If you were watching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final on Monday night, you may have seen intermission host Ron MacLean’s interview with Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner. And you may be aware that MacLean didn’t ask Bettman about the sexual assault investigation in which the Chicago Blackhawks have found themselves. . . . MacLean took a fair amount of heat, albeit on social media, for not asking. On Tuesday, Ken Campbell got MacLean’s side of the story and wrote about it right here. This, folks, is why I am a subscriber to Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell. Check it out.


Aliens


The WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Alessandro Segafredo and D SeattleLeon Okonkwo Prada, their two selections in the CHL’s 2021 import draft on June 30. . . . From Italy, Segafredo, who won’t turn 17 until Sept. 15, played in Switzerland last season. He had a team-high 52 points, including 25 goals, in 26 games with the ZSC Lions U17 team in 2020-21. He also had a goal and an assist in one game with ZSC’s U20 team, and 10 goals and an assist with the GCK Lions U20 side. . . . Okonkwo Prada, who turns 18 today (Wednesday), was born in Colchester, Great Britain. He played in Sweden in 2020-21, putting up a goal and six assists in eight games with Rögle BK’s U18 team. . . . Each WHL team is allowed to use two import players. Seattle also holds the rights to F Vladimir Alistrov, a 20-year-old from Belarus, having acquired them from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Jan. 25 for D Simon Kubicek, who is from Czech Republic. . . . Alistrov, who had 19 goals and 16 assists in 57 games with the Oil Kings in 2019-20, spent this season in the KHL with Dinamo Minsk. He had a goal and three assists in 38 games, then signed a one-year contract extension on April 30. . . . The Oil Kings announced last week that Kubicek, who will turn 20 on Dec. 19, is committed to play for them in 2021-22.


The 2022 Memorial Cup championship will be decided in Quebec City or Saint CHLJohn, N.B. The QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts and Saint John Sea Dogs both are putting together bids in the hopes of earning hosting rights. Bids are to be in to the CHL by Aug. 23, with a winner to be announced the week of Sept. 6. . . . The Remparts have played host to the four-team tournament in 2003 and 2015; Saint John never has been the host city. . . . The 2022 tournament is scheduled for June 3-12. . . . Due to the pandemic, the Memorial Cup tournament hasn’t been held since 2019. The 2020 tournament was to have been held in Kelowna, with the 2021 tournament in Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie. Both events were cancelled due to the pandemic.


Icecream


MLB and team owners must be wallowing in poverty, because now they’re altering some of the most glorious uniforms in all of sports in what is an obvious attempt to sell, sell, sell. . . . That includes the uniforms of the San Francisco Giants, which look the way the best ones are supposed to look — neat and clean. . . . Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a column that was sharply critical of MLB. He ended that column like this:

“I hope one of our sharp Chronicle editors kills this column before it goes into print, realizing that the unveiling of those new Giants’ uniforms was a fake news flash from the Onion, or a late April Fool’s joke.

“But if it is for real, the Giants will wear those uniforms all weekend, and every Tuesday home game the rest of the season. Willie Mays must be spinning in his hammock.”


This reminds me of a story involving Dunc McCallum, then the coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Jake Milford, who was then the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, and centre Bill Derlago. . . . The Canucks had selected Derlago, who had piled up 437 points in 209 regular-season games with the Wheat Kings, with the fourth pick of the NHL’s 1978 draft. . . . When the Canucks arrived for training camp, players had to do some running, after which Milford, a one-time Wheat Kings’ GM/head coach, called McCallum to express his disappointment in Derlago, who, he said, had huge calves and couldn’t run at all well. . . . To which McCallum replied: “Jake, are you putting together a hockey team or a track team?”


Bike


The Swift Current Broncos acquired D Rylan Thiessen, 20, from the Brandon ScurrentWheat Kings on Monday, giving up a conditional ninth-round pick in the WHL draft. Thiessen, who is from Brandon, had three goals in 25 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who had signed him as an undrafted free agent. He later was dealt to the Wheat Kings, for whom he had one goal and nine assists in 31 games over two seasons. . . . Other 2001-born players on the Broncos’ roster that finished the 2020-21 season: D Cayde Augustine, F Aiden Bulych, F Eric Houk, D Alex Moar, F Cole Nagy and G Isaac Poulter. . . . The Wheat Kings still have four 2001-born defencemen on the roster that completed the 2020-21 season: Braden Schneider, who has signed with the New York Rangers, Jonny Lambos, Chad Nychuk and Neithan Salame, as well as forwards Marcus Kallionkieli, who is from Finland, and Ben McCartney.



Another reminder that the pandemic continues to live with us. . . . The Australian Grand Prix, that had been scheduled for Nov. 18-21 near Melbourne, has been cancelled. According to a news release from the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, it was cancelled “due to restrictions and logistical challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”


The NBA final began on Tuesday night with the host Phoenix Suns beating the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-105. . . . Perhaps the most interesting part of this final will involved the TV ratings. As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon points out: “The big TV markets are on the sidelines. Phoenix is the 11th largest TV market per Nielsen and Milwaukee is the 35th largest. . . . The number of ‘TV homes’ in these two markets combined is about half the number in Los Angeles (No. 2 in market size) and about 40 per cent of the number in New York (No. 1 on the list).” . . . Game 2 is to be played on Thursday.


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JUST NOTES: The QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have signed head coach Bruce Richardson to a three-year extension. Richardson, 44, is preparing for his fourth season as the team’s head coach. . . . The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan have signed head coach Mario Durocher, 58, to a one-year contract. He also is readying for his fourth season as that team’s head coach. . . .

The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs have lost Paul McFarland, their general manager and head coach, to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. McFarland, 35, had been in Kingston for one season. He has signed on with the Kraken as an assistant coach. The Kraken also signed Jay Leach, 41, as an assistant under head coach Dave Hakstol. Leach had been the head coach of the AHL’s Providence Bruins for four seasons. . . . If you were wondering, the NHL expansion draft is scheduled for July 21. . . . The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs have signed Jay McKee, 43, as their head coach. McKee, a former NHL player, was the head coach of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers for two-plus seasons (2016-19). He was fired on Nov. 25, 2019. Hamilton also signed Andreas Karlsson, 45, and Andrew Campbell, 33, as assistant coaches. Karlsson, from Sweden, is a former NHL player, who spent three seasons (2017-18) as an assistant coach in Kitchener. Campbell, another former NHLer, played with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2018-19. . . .

The OHL’s Oshawa Generals have signed Todd Miller as their head coach. Miller spent 2020-21 as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. Miller, 43, was an assistant coach with the OHL’s Barrie Colts for 10 seasons before his one season with Brandon. The Generals had announced on June 17 that they were “parting ways” with head coach Greg Walters, who said the parties weren’t able to come to terms on a contract. He had been there for three years. The Generals also announced on Tuesday the signings of associate coaches Kurtis Foster and Dave Matsos, and assistant coach Mike Hedden. Foster, 39, was the Kingston Frontenacs’ head coach for two seasons (2018-20). Matsos, 47, has been an OHL coach since 2010, most recently having spent three seasons (2017-20) with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Hedden, 36, has ended his playing career after spending 2020-21 with the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush.


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Savoie says he’s going to Denver; top bantam prospect tweets about his decision. . . . Calgary captain leaves finale early


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F Matt Savoie, the No. 1 prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, announced via Twitter on Monday evening that he plans on attending the U of Denver and playing for whlthe Pioneers, starting with the 2021-22 season.

Savoie and his family applied to Hockey Canada for exceptional status, a move that if granted would have allowed him to play full-time in the WHL as a 15-year-old in 2019-20. Under WHL rules, a 15-year-old is permitted to play only five games before his club team has its season come to an end.

Hockey Canada has yet to announce its decision, although Savoie’s decision might indicate a ruling is imminent.

Earlier this month, dubnetwork.ca, citing what it called “multiple WHL sources,” reported that Savoie had been denied exceptional status. However, dubnetwork.ca has yet to confirm that report with Hockey Canada or the Savoie family, and hasn’t followed up on its story.

Savoie turned 15 on Jan. 1. Had he been born one day earlier, he would have been selected in the 2018 bantam and would be eligible to play full-time in the WHL next season.

From St. Albert, Alta., he played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, totalling 31 goals and 40 assists in 31 games, and was named the CSSHL’s most valuable player.

Savoie’s brother, Carter, 17, also has committed to Denver. Carter played this season with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. It could be that the plan is for Matt to play in the AJHL, too, until he joins the Pioneers.

Of course, there is a lot of hockey to be played between then and now, and a whole lot can happen, including the changing of minds.

The WHL will hold its annual draft lottery on Wednesday to determine the order of selection for the draft that is scheduled for Red Deer on May 2. The six non-playoff teams will be in the lottery, with teams allowed to move up only two spots. Thus, the three teams with the poorest regular-season records are in the running for the first pick.

The Swift Current Broncos finished with the poorest record, following by the Winnipeg Ice and Regina Pats. However, the Prince George Cougars hold Swift Current’s pick from an earlier trade, and the Saskatoon Blades own Regina’s selection.

It’s worth noting, too, that two other top prospects announced NCAA commitments earlier this season.

D Mats Lindgren, son of the former NHLer of the same name, won’t turn 15 until Aug. 26 but already has said he will attend the U of Michigan and play for the Wolverines, starting in 2022-23. Lindgren is from North Vancouver, B.C., and had four goals and 22 assists in 27 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep A team.

F Connor Levis, who will turn 15 on Oct 5, also has committed to Michigan for 2022-23. Levis is from Vancouver. This season, he had 24 goals and 38 assists in 26 games with  the St. George’s School bantam prep team.


There were, of course, four teams in the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament that took place in Regina. Of those four teams, only one will appear in this season’s playoffs. . . . The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan won the 2018 Memorial Cup, beating the WHL’s Regina Pats, in the tournament as the host team, in the final. Also there were the WHL-champion Swift Current Broncos and the OHL-champion Hamilton Bulldogs. . . . The Titan concluded its regular season on Saturday, finishing with an 8-54-6 record, including a 1-29-4 mark on home ice. . . . Regina wound up 19-45-4, while Swift Current, at 11-51-6, finished with the WHL’s poorest record. . . . Hamilton, at 29-34-5, finished eighth in the 10-team Eastern Conference and will meet the first-place Ottawa 67’s (49-12-5) in the first round of the OHL’s playoffs. . . . Obviously, the cost of winning a championship in major junior hockey can be a steep price to pay. So can being the host team for the Memorial Cup tournament.


With the playoffs about to start, it will be worth watching the status of F Mark Kastelic, Calgarythe captain of the Calgary Hitmen.

Here’s Zach Laing of Postmedia, after the Hitmen lost, 3-1, to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday:

“With just under four minutes (left in the third period), Kastelic was tracking a loose puck near the Oil Kings bench when Edmonton left-winger Jake Neighbours finished a body-check resulting in Kastelic being slammed face first into the hard plexiglass stanchion.

“Wobbling to the bench, Kastelic had to be initially held up by teammates as he went directly to the locker room with Neighbours heading to the penalty box.”

Kastelic didn’t return to the game, but Laing reported seeing him walking around after the game “looking no worse for wear.”

Kastelic led the Hitmen in goals (47) and was tied with F James Malm for the lead in points, each with 77.

The Hitmen open the first round on Friday against the host Lethbridge Hurricanes.


F Trey Fechko of Eden Prairie, Minn., has committed to Arizona State U and says he will join the Sun Devils for the 2022-23 season. Fechko, who will turn 16 on Oct. 16, played this season for Holy Family Catholic High School, totalling 37 points, including 15 goals, in 24 games. . . . He was selected by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


Trevor Weisgerber, a former assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, is the new head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . Weisgerber takes over from Ray Wareham, who has left the post after 17 seasons. . . . Weisgerber was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Warriors for two seasons (2010-12). . . . Marc Smith of discovermoosejaw.com has more right here.


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Pats, Chiefs sign import skaters . . . Moose Jaw d-man has KHL tryout . . . Americans add former Calgary forward


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D Dmitri Zaitsev (Moose Jaw, 2016-18) signed a tryout contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had six goals and 22 assists in 62 games with Moose Jaw. . . . Zaitsev’s contract lasts through the end of the exhibition season, after which the two sides will decide on extending the contract. Metallurg plays its first exhibition game on Aug. 4 and its last on Aug. 26. The KHL regular season begins on Sept. 1. . . .

D Andrej Meszároš (Vancouver, 2004-05) signed a one-year contract extension with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). The team captain, he had six goals and 11 assists in 51 games last season. . . .

D David Turoň (Portland, 2002-03) signed a one-year extension with Polonia Bytom (Poland, PHL). Last season, he had eight goals and 15 assists in 38 games.


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The Regina Pats have signed both of their selections from the CHL’s 2018 import draft — PatsRussian F Sergei Alkhimov and Russian D Nikita Sedov, both of whom played last season with the Colorado Evolution, a U-16 midget team that plays out of the Evolution Elite Hockey Academy in Denver. . . . Alkhimov, 17, recorded eight goals and 15 assists in 13 games, while Sedov, also 17, had three goals and eight assists in 11 games. . . . According to the Pats, both players are “in training camp with Team Russia, competing for spots at the 2018 Gretzky Hlinka Cup.” . . . Sergei Bautin, a Russian defenceman who played with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets (1992-94), is the head coach of the Evolution Elite midget team. John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager, was the Jets’ head coach when Bautin played in Winnipeg.


D Dmitri Zaitsev, 20, who played the past two seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors, has MooseJawWarriorssigned a tryout deal with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, a Russian team in the KHL. The MacBeth Report spells out the details of the agreement above. . . . Zaitsev is from Togliatti, Russia, and played for Metallurg’s youth teams, before coming over to the NAHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights for the 2015-16 season. . . . He had two goals and 18 assists in 70 games with Moose Jaw in 2016-17, then had six goals and 22 assists in 61 games last season. . . . The Warriors also had Russian D Oleg Sosunov on their roster last season. Sosunov, 20, is expected to play in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization in 2018-19. . . . The Warriors made two selections in the CHL’s 2018 import draft, taking F Daniil Stepanov, 17, from Belarus, and F Yegor Buyalsky, 17, who also is from Belarus.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed Russian D Yegor Arbuzov, 17, after selecting him in the SpokaneChiefsCHL’s 2018 import draft. He played last season for CSKA Moskva’s U-17 club, scoring eight goals and adding five assists in 22 games. . . . Arbuzov owns sophomore D Filip Kral as the Chiefs’ two import players. Kral, from Czech Republic, was the club’s rookie of the year last season, after putting up nine goals and 26 assists in 54 games. The Toronto Maple Leafs selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2018 draft.


The Portland Winterhawks have added assistant general manager to Kyle Gustafson’s portfolio. Gustafson, who is preparing for his 15th season with the organization, also is Portlandthe associate head coach. . . . According to the Winterhawks, Gustafson “will take on an increased role in player recruitment and scouting. Travis Green, now the head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, was the last person to hold the combined position with the Winterhawks.”

As well, Matt Coflin, Portland’s head scout in B.C. since 2012, now is the assistant to the general manager, director of scouting and player development. He will “oversee the Winterhawks’ scouting department, as well as the development of Portland’s list players.” Coflin has been with the Winterhawks for six seasons.

Lisa Hollenbeck, who had been director of hockey administration, now is senior director, hockey operations. She has been with Portland since 2011. According to the news release, “She will handle all hockey operations’ communications, fillings, reporting with WHL, while maintaining a working understanding of rules and regulations, and organizing training camp.”

Again, from the news release: “These moves come in response to former assistant general manager Matt Bardsley accepting the position of general manager with the Kamloops Blazers in May.”


The Tri-City Americans have signed F Matt Dorsey, 19, after he played last season with tri-citythe BCHL-champion Wenatchee Wild. Dorsey is from Wenatchee. . . . He had four goals and seven assists in 18 games with the Wild, then added two goals and an assist in 14 BCHL playoff games. . . . The Calgary Hitmen selected Dorsey in the third round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft after he had 32 goals and 20 assists in 30 games with the U-14 Arizona Bobcats. . . . The Americans selected him in the 11th round of the 2018 bantam draft. . . . In 2016-17, he had three goals and three assists in 34 games with the Hitmen. . . . He missed most of two seasons (2014-16) with knee problems.

The Americans also have signed F Tyson Greenway, who was a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Greenway had 21 goals and 26 assists in 34 games with the bantam AAA St. Albert Sabres last season. This season, he is expected to play with the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders.



The Swift Current Broncos have acquired F Colum McGauley, 18, from the Kelowna SCBroncosRockets for an eighth-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft. . . . McGauley had two goals in 47 games as a freshman with the Rockets last season. . . . From Nelson, B.C., he was a fourth-round pick by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . Kelowna acquired him from Spokane for F Tanner Wishnowski on Oct. 17, 2016.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have added Nathan MacDonald to their front office as director of business operations. With his Chartered Accountant designation since 2011, he has been working with Crowe MacKay LLP in his hometown of Calgary for seven years. He takes over from Dianne Sletten, who left the organization on May 25. She had been with the Broncos through six seasons.


The AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs have “released” Larry Draper, their assistant general manager and associate coach, “due to budget constraints and position reformation,” according to a post on the team’s website. . . . Draper had been with the Pontiacs for five seasons. . . . Rick Swan has been the Pontiacs’ GM and head coach since 2013.


Brian Lizotte has signed a three-year deal as head coach of the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the defending Memorial Cup champions. . . . Lizotte takes over from Mario Pouliot, who left to join the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies as general manager and head coach. . . . Lizotte worked the past two seasons as associate coach alongside Pouliot.


Johnathan Aitken, a former NHL first-round draft pick off the roster of the Medicine Hat Tigers, is the first general manager and head coach of the Cold Lake, Alta., Wings, a franchise in the Western Provinces Hockey Association, which is part of the Western States Hockey League, a pay-to-play circuit that has branded itself as junior A. . . . Aitken, from Edmonton, has been coaching minor hockey in Edmonton. . . . Aitken, 40, played four seasons (1994-98) in the WHL, the first two with Medicine Hat and the last two with the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Boston Bruins selected him eighth overall in the NHL’s 1996 draft. He went on to play 44 NHL games — three with the Bruins and 41 with the Chicago Blackhawks.


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