Seattle dive-bar doesn’t want to be hockey bar . . . You get a shutout, and you get a shutout, and you get a shutout . . . Coach gone in Halifax

The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks have been hooked up with the AHL’s Utica AHLComets since 2013-14. Now there is ample speculation that the Canucks will be moving their AHL franchise, with the New Jersey Devils taking their AHL affiliate from Binghamton, N.Y., to Utica.

Granted, this is all speculation, but you know what they say about smoke. . . .

So, of course, people are wondering where the Canucks would place their AHL team should they decide to move it. One of the places high on anyone’s list is Abbotsford, where the Calgary Flames’ AHL team played for five seasons once upon a time.

So . . . I got to thinking about this and I actually had a thought: Why couldn’t the Canucks operate an AHL team out of Kamloops or Kelowna? Is either city large enough to be home to two teams — one in the AHL and the other in the WHL? . . . Likely not, mainly because there wouldn’t be enough sponsorship and fan dollars to keep both franchises happy. So forget it.

Besides, teams owned by Francesco Aquilini (Vancouver) and Tom Gaglardi (Kamloops Blazers) could never operate out of the same building, which would be the case in Kamloops. In case you have forgotten, they once were going to partner in buying the Canucks. How did that go? It ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada.

As for Kelowna, well, why not? Before COVID-19 became the decision-maker that it now is, there was all kinds of speculation in the hockey community that Rockets owner Bruce Hamilton was planning to sell the WHL franchise after playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup. Of course, that didn’t happen. Now what’s to stop him from selling the franchise to someone who would want to move it, and then partnering with the Canucks to bring the AHL to Kelowna?

Hey, I’m only thinking out loud . . . maybe it’s the isolation from the pandemic. Know what I mean?


So . . . you may be aware that Seattle as an NHL team — the Kraken. But did you Krakenknow that Seattle also is home to the Kraken Bar & Lounge and has been since 2011? . . . Now, Kraken, the bar, has served up a high, hard one to Kraken, the team. . . . As Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes: “A University District punk-rock bar is suing the Kraken for $3.5 million, alleging the NHL expansion team’s name choice and plans to open a Northgate Mall practice facility restaurant risks irreparably harming its brand.” . . . The lawsuit was filed on Thursday. . . . Baker added: ”The lawsuit claims the punk bar’s owners didn’t know what to do last summer when the better-resourced NHL team announced its name and new patrons began showing up wanting to turn their establishment into a hockey bar.” . . . From the lawsuit: “That The Kraken Bar would or should become a ‘hockey bar’ or a sports bar of any kind was anathema to The Kraken Bar and its regular patrons. The Kraken Bar’s regular patrons frequented the bar precisely because it was a dive-bar . . .” . . . Baker’s complete story is right here.


Phoenix


There were five games in the WHL on Thursday night and three of them ended in shutouts. One of the goaltenders with a clean sheet was Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. It was the 24th of his career, two off the WHL record. With time winding down on this developmental season, will Wolf be able to post two more? . . . Stay tuned. . . .

G Max Paddock stopped 20 shots to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-0 Raidersvictory over the Saskatoon Blades in the Regina hub. . . . Paddock has two shutouts this season and nine in his career. . . . This season, Paddock, 20, is 7-6-0, 2.65, .909. . . . The Raiders got first-period goals from F Ozzy Wiesblatt (5) and D Terrell Goldsmith (1), a second-period score from F Landon Kosior (3) and a third-period goal from F Justin Nachbaur (7). . . . Goldsmith, the 15th overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, got his first goal — and first point — in his 11th game. The native of Fort St. James, B.C., turns 16 on May 13. . . . The Raiders (8-10-3) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Blades (14-4-3) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . .

F Caleb Wyrostok broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Swift Current ScurrentBroncos skated to a 4-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Wyrostok’s winner, at 8:04, was his fifth goal of the season. . . . F Aiden Bulych (6) got the empty-netter, with his brother, Kaleb, getting the lone assist. . . . F Michael Farren gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 18:41 of the first period. . . . The Pats took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Logan Nijhoff (10) and F Carson Denomie (14), both via the PP. . . . Farren’s second goal of the game and ninth of the season, also on the PP, tied it at 18:18. . . . The Broncos got 31 saves from G Reid Dyck. . . . D Ryker Evans had one assist for the Pats as he ran his point streak to 11 games. . . . Swift Current (5-16-1) had lost its previous two games. . . . Regina (8-10-3) had won its previous two games. . . .

G Sebastian Cossa earned the shutout, F Jake Neighbours scored twice and F EdmontonJosh Williams had a goal and two assists as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-0. . . . Cossa turned aside 30 shots in recording his third shutout in 14 appearances this season and the seventh of his career. He is 13-0-1, 1.49, .944 and almost certainly will be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Oil Kings (15-1-1) have points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Tigers (12-4-1) had points in each of their previous nine games (8-0-1). . . . Edmonton held a 52-30 edge in shots. . . . The Tigers got 49 saves from G Garin Bjorklund. . . . Neighbours, who has eight goals, opened the scoring at 5:18 of the first period and Williams (10) made it 2-0 at 13:21. . . . Neighbours got his second goal at 1:46 of the third. . . . Williams, who turned 20 on March 8, has 21 points in 16 games. . . . Neighbours, who turned 19 on March 29, has 28 points in 16 games. . . .

G Dustin Wolf earned his fourth shutout of the season as the Everett Silvertips Everettdumped the host Spokane Chiefs, 5-0. . . . Wolf, who stopped 32 shots, has 24 shutouts in his career, two off the WHL record that is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 2013-18). . . . If nothing disrupts Everett’s schedule, it has eight games remaining. . . . In 14 games this season, Wolf is 11-2-0, 1.69, .944. . . . F Hunter Campbell, who has seven goals, gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 2:27 of the first period and made it 3-0, on a PP, at 14:11 of the second. . . . In between F Ryan Hofer scored his fourth goal. . . . F Jacob Wright (6) and F Ethan Regnier (7) also scored. . . . Spokane F Adam Beckman had his goal-scoring streak end at six games. He came close by hitting a post with Everett leading 2-0 in the second period. . . . The Silvertips (12-3-0) have won three straight. . . . The Chiefs (4-6-3) had won their previous two games. . . . Spokane hadn’t played in eight days after losing two games due to a positive test in the Tri-City Americans’ camp. . . . The same two teams will do it all over again tonight in Spokane. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers rode three third-period goals to a 4-1 victory over the KamloopsPrince George Cougars. . . . The Blazers (9-2-0) were the visiting team despite the game being played in Kamloops. . . . The Cougars (4-6-2) have lost three straight. . . . F Connor Bowie (5) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 19:30 of the first period. . . . D Inaki Baragano (4) got the Blazers into a tie at 19:19 of the second. . . . The Blazers got third-period goals from F Matthew Seminoff (5), F Reese Belton (2) and F Connor Zary (4). . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 43 shots for Kamloops, 16 more than Prince George’s Taylor Gauthier. . . . The two goaltenders were teammates on Team Canada at the 2021 World Junior Championship. . . . BTW, Kamloops F Connor Levis had his four-goal game on Tuesday night become a three-goal effort on Thursday. The goal that originally was Levis’s third of the game has been changed to F Caedan Bankier, with Levis getting the primary assist. According to Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, the puck “went off (Bankier’s) backside.” . . . It gave the Blazers a 5-1 lead over the Kelowna Rockets in what became a 6-2 victory. Bankier also had two assists.


The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads dumped head coach J.J. Daigneault on HalifaxThursday just days after he had completed his second season in the position. The Mooseheads were 15-19-9 this season, leaving Daigneault with a two-season record of 35-67-14. . . . In a news release, majority owner Bobby Smith said: “The past two years have been rebuilding seasons for our club after playing in the 2019 Memorial Cup final and this past season we had the youngest team in the QMJHL. Over the course of a trying 2020-21 season our young players developed tremendously and for this Coach Daigneault deserves much credit.” . . . That may be so, but it obviously wasn’t enough to save the man’s job. . . . Daigneault, 55, a longtime NHL defenceman in his playing days, spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens and one with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage before taking over as head coach in Halifax. . . . While searching for a new head coach, the Mooseheads also announced that assistant coaches Jon Greenwood and Sylvain Favreau, and goaltender coach Joey Perricone have been retained. Perricone is a former WHL goaltender (Moose Jaw Warriors, 2003-08).


Science


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Taxes

Thomas’s ‘pilot project’ sounds great from here . . . Hockey gang coming through again; Sopotyk fund tops 100 grand

It seems so simple in theory . . . make semi-truck driving a trade, just like plumbing and electrical work and heavy-duty mechanic. If someone wants to be a truck driver, they would have to attend a trade school, one like Saskatchewan Polytechnic, aka SIAST, or the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT). . . . Candidates would be eligible for student loans.

Why not? Are there any politicians out there who are paying attention?

As Scott Thomas puts it: “The trucking industry needs to have its drivers treated with more respect.”

You will recall that Thomas’s son, Evan, died in the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus almost three years ago. In the aftermath, Scott has been advocating for changes to driver training, including turning it into a trade, something that he refers to at the moment as a “pilot project.”

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who was driving the truck that pulled into the path of the Broncos’ bus at a highway intersection, is serving an eight-year sentence and is eligible to apply for parole in September. Thomas has been in email contact with Sidhu and his family, and, in fact, has written in support of Sidhu not being deported.

“Jaskirat Sidhu took his semi drivers job as a second job to put his wife through dental hygiene school,” Thomas says. “No one should have a second job as a semi-driver operating in a part of the world he has never been before. His second job should have been selling 50/50 tickets at a Flames game, not in charge of a lethal weapon rolling down a highway!”

As Thomas has pointed out time and again, the trucking industry “needs federal regulation just as our rail lines and skies are federally regulated . . . our highways should be as well for commercial trucking purposes.”

The point, of course, is to increase accountability in the trucking industry and to make our highways safer.

I happen to agree wholeheartedly with Thomas. I live on a plateau a couple of km north of the Trans-Canada Highway just east of Kamloops. I can see the highway from our back deck and the eye test tells me that truck traffic has really, really increased over the past few years.

So all Thomas needs now is for a courageous politician or two or three to throw their support behind this “pilot project” and get things rolling.

Surely there are some of those out there, aren’t there?


Sopotyk
Kyrell Sopotyk: Zamboni driver.

The GoFundMe page that was started on Sunday afternoon in support of Kyrell Sopotyk and his family has surpassed $100,000. Sopotyk, 19, played two seasons (2018-20) with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. From Aberdeen, Sask., he was left paralyzed following a snowboarding accident on Friday at Table Mountain, which is near North Battleford. . . . The GoFundMe page was started by Kathleen Zary, the mother of Blazers F Connor Zary, who has been friends with Sopotyk since they were youngsters. . . .

On Nov. 25, Jon Keen, the Blazers’ play-by-play voice, tweeted that he had asked Sopotyk what he was up to during the pandemic. The response: “I’m working at the rink in Aberdeen. You get ice whenever you want and I get to drive the Zamboni.” Sopotyk even supplied Keen with photographic evidence that he, indeed, got to drive the Zamboni. . . .

As of Monday, 10 p.m. PT, 1,268 people had donated $129,274. The GoFundMe page is right here.


Opinion


As the AHL gets ready to begin play next week, it has become obvious that the Calder Cup that goes to the winner of its playoff champion won’t be awarded for a second straight season. . . . Instead, the league reportedly will feature the top four teams in each division meeting in best-of-three series to decide division champions. Those ‘playoffs’ will last a week. . . . What this means, of course, is that the AHL season is being held for developmental reasons only. . . . That is exactly the purpose of the WHL’s decision to “commit” to a 24-game schedule. It isn’t at all concerned with declaring a champion; it is all about playing games for developmental purposes.


Judy Battista of nfl.com posted an interesting story on Monday. It starts with this . . .

“A paper published Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that during the season, the NFL found that transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 occurred in less than 15 minutes of cumulative contact between individuals — the timeframe the CDC initially used in its definition of close contact. That led the NFL to redefine what made a close contact high risk — factors like masking and ventilation — findings that the CDC and the NFL hope will be broadly applicable to the public to limit the spread of the virus, especially in schools, long-term care facilities and high-density essential workplaces, like manufacturing centers.” . . . The complete piece is right here.


Clint


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — Manitoba reports 113 new COVID-19 cases, 5 more deaths.

CBC News — Sask. reports 239 new COVID-19 cases and 1 more death. Province aims to vaccinate all nursing home workers and residents by end of March.

CBC News — 2,000 students from two Edmonton high schools are being sent home due to COVID-19. More than 700 students and staff already in quarantine.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — There are 1,344 new cases of COVID in BC over 3 days. That is from Fri to Sat 527 new cases, Sat to Sun 471 new cases, Sun to Mon 346 cases, There has been a total of 64,828 cases in BC. . . . There are 328 people in hospital with COVID, up 13. There 68 in ICU, down 6. . . . There have been 26 additional COVID deaths over the past 3 days. There have been 1,154 deaths in BC due to COVID-19.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — The sense I am getting from this briefing is there is nothing more many people can give in the fight against COVID. And that is what makes this so terrible. The majority of people in BC are fighting the battle for those unwilling (or unable) to change their behaviour.

CBC News — Ontario is reporting 1,958 new cases of COVID-19, including 727 cases in Toronto, 365 in Peel and 157 in York Region.

CBC News — Quebec is reporting 1,203 new cases of COVID-19. The province is also reporting 43 additional deaths, 12 of which occurred in the last 24 hours.

CBC News — N.B. reports 27 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death.

CBC News — No new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nova Scotia. The number of known active cases in the province is down to 15, the lowest number since early November. No one is in hospital because of the virus.

CBC News — N.L., with no new COVID-19 cases for 3rd straight day, eyes St-Pierre-Miquelon outbreak.

CBC News — Nunavut is reporting 2 new cases of COVID-19, both in Arviat, for a total of 17 known active cases in the territory. A news release from the Nunavut government says: ‘All individuals are asymptomatic, doing well and are isolating.’

Public Health Agency of Canada, Monday, 4 p.m. PT — Total cases: 753,011 . . . Active cases: 62,447 . . . Deaths: 19,338.

CNN, Monday, 2 p.m. PT — 25.2 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, Monday, 2 p.m. PT — 420,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

——

The U of Alabama-Huntsville hockey team has postponed games scheduled for Thursday and Friday at Minnesota State. AUH next is scheduled to play on Feb. 5 and 6. . . .

The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, with six players on the COVID-19 protocol list, now have had four games postponed. The latest game to be scrubbed was scheduled for tonight (Tuesday) against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . You will recall that the Dallas Stars, who played their first game on Friday, lost their first four games to postponements after having 17 players test positive during training camp. . . .

The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks have placed F Alex DeBrincat and D Adam Boqvist to the COVID-19 protocol list. . . .

The U of Michigan shut down all athletics programs for at least two weeks over the weekend. On Monday, the U of Maine announced that it was pausing all of its athletic teams at least through Feb. 4. . . .

The NBA postponed Monday’s game that was to have the San Antonio Spurs playing the Pelicans in New Orleans. Neither team would have had eight players available for the game. . . . The NBA now has had to postpone 22 games. . . . Kawhi Leonard and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers won’t play tonight (Tuesday) against the Atlanta Hawks due to protocols. ESPN reported that the two didn’t travel to Atlanta with the team on Monday. Interestingly, both played in a 108-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Heat on Sunday.

The Colorado College Tigers men’s hockey team has had a player test positive so its weekend series against the Denver Pioneers has been scratched. . . .

The Interlake Minor Hockey Association, which is based in the Interlake region of Manitoba, has cancelled its 2020-21 season. “Unfortunately,” the association said in making the announcement, “this is not at all what any of us were hoping for, but it is what it is and we can only move forward from here and start looking towards next season.”


——

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.


Snapchat

Ice’s Savoie joins USHL team; will Geekie follow his lead? . . . ‘Canes lose assistant to AHL . . . Flockhart, former WHLer, dies at 64


F Matt Savoie of the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice has joined the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. Savoie, 16, was denied exceptional status by Hockey Canada prior to the 2019-20 season, something that would have allowed him play full-time with the Ice. As it was, the Ice still got him into 22 games — he had seven assists. . . . The Ice selected him with the first overall pick of the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had three goals and three assists in four games with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. . . . From a Fighting Saints news release: “Savoie is expected to join the Saints shortly. The team is in action again on Friday and Saturday in Youngstown as they take on the Phantoms.” . . . Savoie will be eligible for the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . Prior to the 2019-20 season, Savoie, who is from St. Albert, Alta., was in training camp with Dubuque, as was his older brother, Carter, who now is a freshman at Denver U. In fact, Carter was named the NCHC’s rookie of the month for December after putting up 12 points, including seven goals, in 11 games. . . . Dubuque is 5-11-0 and in fifth place in the six-team Eastern Conference. . . .

Interestingly, F Cole Sillinger of the Medicine Hat Tigers had made plans to join the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede to at least start their season. However, it didn’t work out. Here’s what Sillinger told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post:

“I’m a dual citizen so that was a decision I had made to go down there in early October. Long story short, my transfer from Hockey Canada to USA Hockey wasn’t accepted. I couldn’t play any games so I had to come home. I was down there for about 2 ½ weeks just skating and practising, which was still very good. I was able to get into a routine and got to be a part of an actual team again.”

Sillinger, the son of former WHL/NHL F Mike Sillinger, had 53 points, including 22 goals, in 48 games with Medicine Hat last season. He is eligible for the NHL’s 2021 draft.

——

Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reported that F Conor Geekie of the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, the No. 2 pick in the 2019 bantam draft, “is considering offers from USHL and NAHL teams.” . . . Sawatzky quoted Craig Geekie, a former WHLer and Conor’s father: “I’m not going to say that missing a year is going to hurt him but it will, to me, just set him back in a minor way. (It will help) if he can just play, even if it’s for two or three months.”

——

The USHL’s Lincoln Stars have four players off the Portland Winterhawks’ roster on their list. However, Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ GM and head coach, has told Joshua Critzer that the WHL hasn’t released any of the four players and that won’t happen unless the WHL season is cancelled.

——

Meanwhile, according to a tweet from the Tri-City Americans, D Andrej Golian “has arrived after competing with Slovakia” at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton.

At the same time, Seattle-based hockey writer Andy Eide tweeted that F Simon Kubicek of the Seattle Thunderbirds, who played for Czech Republic at the WJC, has headed home “for the time being.” . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported that D Marko Stacha, who played for Slovakia at the WJC, “is in Vancouver and the Giants say the plan is for him to stay.” . . . And according to Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week, D Inaki Baragano, who played for Switzerland at the WJC, is in Kamloops in anticipation of playing for the Blazers.


Men


With the three major junior leagues not operating at the moment, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet had an interesting item in his first 31 Thoughts posting of 2021:

“The NHL’s biggest priority right now is starting the season, but, at some point, teams are wondering if there will be any changes to the draft. Selecting 18-year-olds is already a crapshoot. Now it’s going to be even harder with so few opportunities to scout them. Hopefully, the CHL finds a way (more for the kids’ sake than anything), but, if not, I wonder if regional combines featuring scrimmages are created a few months down the road to give everyone an opportunity to see and be seen.” . . . The entire column is right here.




Three of the AHL’s 31 teams have opted out of playing this season, which the league hopes to get started on Feb. 5. The Charlotte Checkers, who are affiliated with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators) and Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues) won’t participate in a new season. . . . John Greenberg, the Admirals’ president, said: “Right now, we’d be able to have 10 fans at the game watching our teams play, and that’s really no way to run a business.” . . . And here’s Michael Kahn, the Checkers’ owner: “There are several travel, safety and player supply challenges to consider. Those, coupled with the increasing number of new (COVID-19) cases in our area, make it very unlikely that we will be able to host fans at our games in the near future.” . . . As things now stand, the AHL will operate with five divisions of three, four, six, seven and eight teams. The Canadian Division will feature the Belleville Senators, Laval Rocket, Manitoba Moose and Toronto Marlies.


Andrew Doty, an assistant coach with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, has left to join the coaching staff of the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights. . . . Doty, 30, was the Hurricanes’ video coach and will fill that same role with the Silver Knights. He had been with the Hurricanes, in one role or another, since the start of the 2014-15 season. In Henderson, Doty will be working with two former WHL coaches — Manny Viveiros is the Silver Knights’ head coach, while Jamie Heward is an assistant coach.



Rob Flockhart, a former WHL player who went on to play 55 NHL games, died on Saturday of an apparent heart attack. He was 64. . . . A native of Sicamous, B.C., he spent three seasons (1973-76) with the Kamloops Chiefs. In his third season, he totalled 51 goals and 47 assists in 72 games. . . . He played 55 NHL games over five seasons, split between the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota North Stars. He retired after playing two games with the AHL’s New Haven Nighthawks and 14 with that league’s Springfield Indians in 1984-85. . . . The Canucks selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 1976 draft. He also was selected by the Cleveland Crusaders in the sixth round of the WHA’s 1976 draft. . . . Rob was the older brother, by four years, of former NHLer Ron Flockhart.


NotAboutYou

THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Quebec gov’t mulling harsher restrictions, including a curfew and extending school closures, amid soaring COVID-19 cases.

Public Health Agency of Canada, Tuesday, 4 p.m. PT: Canada has 78,849 active cases, with 523,564 recoveries. There have been 16,233 deaths.

CNN, Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. PT: 356,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Tuesday, 5:20 p.m. PT: 357,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

——

BC Hockey announced Tuesday that it has cancelled the 2021 Cyclone Taylor Cup and 2021 Coy Cup events. . . . The Cyclone Taylor Cup is the junior B provincial championship that features three league champions and a host team. . . . The Coy Cup is the province’s senior men’s AA championship. . . . There is a news release right here. . . .

The Cleveland Browns will be without three coaches, including head coach Kevin Stefanski, and at least two players when they face the host Pittsburgh Steelers in a playoff game on Sunday. . . . Pro Bowl G Joel Bitonio and WR KhaDarel Hodge tested positive, as did defensive backs coach Jeff Howard and tight ends coach Drew Petzing. . . . It meant that the Brown were forced to shut down their facility on Tuesday for the fifth time in 10 days. . . . Cleveland was without six starters and three coaches due to COVID-19 protocols when it beat the Steelers on Sunday.

There are reports that the Ohio State Buckeyes football team is dealing with COVID-19 issues but as of Tuesday evening it didn’t appear that the NCAA championship game was in jeopardy. The Buckeyes are to meet the Alabama Crimson Tide in Miami on Monday. . . .

The 2021 Canadian National Taekwon-Do championships have been cancelled. They were to have been held in Vernon, B.C., April 24 and 25. . . .

Bentley U, which is located in Waltham, Mass., has paused its hockey program because of positive tests within the program. All team activities have been halted until further notice. . . . Bentley plays in the Atlantic Hockey Association.


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: Of the sporting events I have watched on TV over the past few months, none missed fans as much as the IIHF’s World Junior Championship. Not having flag-waving, hyped-up fans in attendance really cooled off that event. . . . I didn’t watch a lot of the WJC, but Tuesday night’s championship game was a terrific advertisement for the best that hockey has to offer. . . . If you missed it, there are rumours that the NBA will offer up a couple of expansion franchises and use the fees to help overcome losses caused by the pandemic. The whispers have Louisville and Seattle in line, with the price tag somewhere around US$2.5 billion per franchise.


Blizzard

Questions about older managers, coaches . . . MiLB cancels season for 160 teams . . . Pats’ pxp post open as Andrews leaves

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Monday that the Minnesota Twins have told coaches Bob McClure, 68, and Bill Evers, 66, that they won’t be taking part in the 2020 season whenever it gets started.

The Twins said last week that an undisclosed number of players and one staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Numerous reports have indicated that people over the age of 65 have a much greater whlchance of dying from the coronavirus. The Twins are believed to be the first North American professional team to excuse older coaches from working with their team.

The NHL, NBA, NFL and especially MLB have numerous managers and coaches who are 60 years of age and older. Chances are that in the coming days we will hear about more MLB teams doing precisely what the Twins have done with McClure and Evers.

But what about the WHL? Might this be just one more thing its teams are going to have to deal with should they get to open training camps in mid-September and begin the season on Oct. 2?

The WHL has two head coaches past the age of 60 — Willie Desjardins of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Mike Johnston of the Portland Winterhawks, both of whom also are general managers, are 63.

Their are 11 other head coaches over the age of 50.

The WHL also has at least eight general managers 60 or older, beginning with Garry Davidson of the Everett Silvertips, at 69, and John Paddock of the Regina Pats, at 66.

There also are a couple of assistant coaches who have had at least 65 birthdays — Jerome Engele of the Saskatoon Blades is 69 and Portland’s Don Hay is 66.

Just more food for thought in these uncertain times.



The NHL announced on Monday that it knows of 26 players who have tested positive for NHLCOVID-19. Fifteen of those players were in training at team facilities. The other 11 were working out away from those facilities. . . . All 26 players have been self-isolated. . . . The NHL says there were 1,450 tests on more than 250 players administered to players who were working out in training facilities. . . . Still to announce its hub cities, the NHL has said it will release testing figures on a weekly basis. . . .

The Detroit Red Wings have cancelled the 2020 version of the eight-team prospect tournament that was to have been played in Traverse City, Mich., in early September. . . . The Red Wings also have moved the site of their 2020-21 training camp, whenever that might be held, to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.


Hockey


OF Ian Desmond said Monday that he won’t be joining the Colorado Rockies for the 2020 MLB season. He made the announcement in a nine-panel posting on Instagram. . . . There’s more right here. . . .

Infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross said Monday that they won’t be joining the Washington Nationals, the defending World Series champions, for the approaching season. Also opting out is pitcher Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks. . . . All three cited health and safety concerns related to the pandemic. . . .

The Arizona Diamondbacks revealed on Monday that three players on their 60-man roster have tested positive. Two of them were in Arizona, while wasn’t yet in Arizona. . . .

OF Hunter Bishop, the San Francisco Giants’ first-round draft pick in 2019, has tested positive in Arizona. He will miss at least the start of the Giants’ workouts that are to begin on Friday in San Francisco. . . .

They have been playing Minor League Baseball (MiLB) in the United States since 1901. Prior to Tuesday, a season never had been cancelled. That’s all changed now, as MiLB announced that there won’t be a 2020 season thanks to the pandemic. There are 160 minor league teams, including the Vancouver Canadians, under the MiLB umbrella.


The Denver Nuggets closed their training facility on Tuesday after the NBA team’s travelling party was found to include three positive tests. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that 35 people were preparing to head for Orlando, Fla., and the restart of the season when the trio tested positive. . . . It’s not known if the positives are players or staff. . . . C Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets tested positive in Serbia earlier in June, while head coach Michael Malone has said that he tested positive in March. . . .

The NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans have had three players test positive, but the team hasn’t identified them. All three were tested on June 23, along with all of their teammates. . . .

Two members of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets — G Spencer Dinwiddie and F DeAndre Jordan — have tested positive and won’t be joining the team in Orlando, Fla. . . . Dinwiddie told The Athletic that he has been experiencing symptoms — fever and chest tightness. . . . The Nets also will be without F Wilson Chandler, who has opted out.


Golf Canada has cancelled the CP Women’s Open that was to have been played at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, Sept. 3-6. The 2021 LPGA event will be played at Shaughnessy. . . .

Chad Campbell is the sixth player from the PGA Tour to test positive. He was tested as part of the screening prior to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which is to start Thursday in Detroit. . . . Meanwhile, three players — Jonathan Hodge, Taylor Montgomery and Brandon Wu — tested positive and had to withdraw from the Korn Ferry Tour event that starts today (Wednesday) in Colorado.


MLS announced that four players have tested positive on Monday and Tuesday. All told, 392 people were tested, all of whom are staying in the league’s bubble hotel in Orlando, Fla. . . . On the weekend, MLS announced that 18 players and six staff members had tested positive since early June. . . . The league’s MLS is Back tournament is scheduled to open on July 8. . . .

Officials cancelled the rest of the 2020 World Rugby Seven Series on Tuesday, meaning there won’t be stops in Langford, B.C., London, Paris, Singapore or Hong Kong. . . .

A statement on the University of Georgia website on Monday indicated that at least 143 members of the school’s community, including students and staff, have tested positive. . . .

Williams College, a NCAA Division 3 school in Williamstown, Mass., has cancelled all fall sports, but has yet to decide on winter and spring activities. . . . Two other New England-area schools, Bowdoin College and UMass-Boston, have said their teams won’t play in the fall, either. . . .

The Broadway League said Monday that theatres on Broadway in New York City are likely to remain closed at least through the end of 2020. Performances have been suspended since March 12. . . . Theatres are hoping to re-open early in January.



Phil Andrews, the radio voice of the Regina Pats for the past nine seasons, said on PatsMonday that he was leaving the post. He cited family reasons for his decision. . . . Andrews was the Pats’ director of media and communications, and handled the play-by-play duties. . . . His departure opens up one of the WHL’s plum play-by-play positions and you can bet that a lot of junior hockey radio types have been preparing resumes.


Teacher


And a happy Bobby Bonilla Day to you, too. It’s July 1, which means that the New York Mets paid Bobby Bonilla US$1,193,248.20 as they have been doing since 2001. It’s all part of deferred payments that were part of his last contract. The payments began in 2011 and will run through 2035. Oh, and he hasn’t played since 2001.


——


The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League announced on Tuesday that Brad Knight “has stepped down” as general manager and head coach. . . . The Buccaneers had announced Knight’s signing early in May. He was returning to the team after being the head coach for its first two seasons (2012-14). . . . Last season, with then-owner Clayton Robinson as head coach, Nanaimo finished 14-23-11. . . . Robinson, who owned the franchise for about 18 months, sold the team to Carl Ollech, who owns some of Duncan Iron Works, in June. . . . Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo Bulletin has more on the sale right here.


Puzzle

Toigo suggests Giants’ camp may be delayed . . . Also says second wave could be devastating, and WHL won’t play without fans

From Wednesday’s Regina Leader-Post . . .


If you hadn’t already guessed, the WHL’s 2020-21 regular season doesn’t seem likely to start on time, which under what used to be normal circumstances would be in late September.

Yes, that is more than four months away and, yes, there are whole lot of unknowns in these days of a pandemic. But the Vancouver Giants already are looking at pushing back Vancouverthe start of their training camp.

Ron Toigo, the Giants’ majority owner and president, said Wednesday that training camp may not start on Sept. 1, a date that already had been moved back a few days.

Appearing with James Cybulski and Perry Solkowski on Sportsnet 650, a Vancouver radio station, Toigo said: “It’s looking less likely that that will be your starting date.”

Earlier in his appearance, Toigo, who is on the WHL’s executive committee, said that for now they are watching to see what happens with Major League Baseball and the NFL.

“We talk probably weekly about different scenarios,” he said. “The position we’re taking . . . sit back and watch for a while. I think the NFL will dictate a lot of things that happen. They’ve got all the resources. They have all the influence. We’ll follow what happens there. Major League Baseball will certainly have a lot of influence on what happens . . . find a path to making this thing work somehow.

“At our level there really isn’t a lot we can do except sit back and watch and wait.”

Toigo was adamant that the WHL, unlike the big four pro leagues, won’t play without fans in attendance.

The WHL, he said, is “completely” a gate-driven league. “If we can’t get gate revenue then we can’t operate. If we carry on the way we’re going we’re losing significantly hundreds of thousands of dollars as time goes on. If we go the whole year, it’ll be into the millions. It’s not sustainable for a long period of time, that’s for sure.”

As for delaying the start of the regular season, Toigo said: “If we had to do something like that you can . . . probably start in the new year and get a relatively decent season in, and still be able to operate.”

In terms of B.C., Toigo pointed out that the province has done a good job, that “it looks like this wave is under control and could disappear over the summer.”

But, he added, “the second wave is what everybody’s fear is and what happens then. If you’ve got to retrench and shut things down again then I think we’re all in trouble for quite some time.”

At this point in time, Toigo doesn’t see any WHL teams in danger of folding.

“I don’t see it but who knows?” he said. Then, in reference to the Portland Winterhawks being in receivership, he added: “Who saw Portland coming with their scenario, but it had nothing to do with the hockey. It was more to do with the oil industry and (owner Bill Gallacher’s) challenges on that side of it. When oil goes from $100 to $10 if you’re in that business you’re going to feel it no matter how big your are.

“I don’t think anybody is safe if a second wave comes. I don’t care what league you’re talking about — NHL, CHL, CFL — I think they’re all going to be challenged and there will be some that don’t survive.”

In the end, as Toigo put it: “The best scenario is they come up with a vaccine or some way of dealing with this.”

The complete interview is right here.


Weather


Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, is bound and determined that his league is going to finish its 2019-20 season on the ice.

On Tuesday, during a virtual town hall played host to by the San Jose Sharks for the NHLbusiness community, Bettman said shutting things down is “not something I’m even contemplating.”

He added: “I believe that if the right time comes, and the right circumstances, based on all of the options that we’re considering and our ability to execute them, we’ll get this season done.

“I don’t want to sound Pollyanna, but canceling is too easy a solution. That means you stop working hard to do all of the things that we’re doing, and I ultimately believe that there will be an opportunity.”

The NHL shut things down on March 12 and since then there has been all kinds of speculation about how and when it will get up and running.

Meanwhile, B.C. Premier John Horgan suggested on Wednesday that his province could play host to all 31 NHL teams as they finished the regular season.

Horgan earlier had offered Vancouver as a hub for Pacific Division play, including the Canucks. On Tuesday, he spoke with Bettman and Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner.

“I believe we’re in a good place to host, that’s why I contacted the commissioner,” Horgan said. “The Canucks have been working very co-operatively with my minister. We’ve heard from others around the league that have other ideas about perhaps having all of the games played in British Columbia.

“We have WHL rinks in Victoria, in Kamloops, in Kelowna, in Prince George . . . Cranbrook has an outstanding facility as well. We have hotel space.”

Look, the NHL may somehow find a way to complete its season, although the odds are stacked against it. But all 31 teams in B.C.? Sorry, that isn’t going to happen.


When the AHL cancelled the remainder of its 2019-20 season on Monday, it had 31 teams. AHLDave Andrews, the soon-to-retire president, said Wednesday that if the league has to return without fans some teams may not answer the bell. . . . ”We have a very strong league in terms of our ownership,” Andrews told the ESPN On Ice podcast. “We have 19 NHL-owned teams and 12 independently-owned teams. And the independently owned teams are in very good financial condition, even after what happened in this 2019-20 season,” he said. “But if their businesses aren’t viable, if they have to play in front of an empty building for six months, some of those teams will likely choose not to play.” . . . Andrews also said that the AHL is preparing schedules that will begin in October, November, December and January. . . . More on the story right here.


BestMan


The junior A Manitoba Junior Hockey League cancelled the remainder of its season on March 13. On Wednesday, Kim Davis, the league’s outgoing commissioner, explained in a mjhlstatement what has been happening behind the scenes in terms of preparing for next season.

For starters, the MJHL has been working to access “any and all federal and provincial financial assistant programs that have been made available to small businesses.” According to Davis, the league office and member teams have applied for various programs and “some have accessed these funds already, which is reassuring.”

Davis also said that the 2020-21 regular-season schedule is a work in progress; in fact, it would be fair to say it is ‘works’ in progress because there is more than one scenario.

“These scenarios have been extensive and range from the development of a normal 60-game schedule starting in September down to a 30-game schedule starting in December and several options in between,” he said.

Davis added that the MJHL is developing what he called Return to Play Protocols, which “will be extensive and will range from how fans enter and exit the building and all interactions once they are within the facility to how the two competing teams will prepare for a complete on the ice and everything in between.”

As well, he said, “The MJHL has been informed by the Provincial Public Health Office that the Return to Play Protocols we design must be approved by the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer before league play can resume.”

Davis’s complete statement is right here and it’s quite possible that the insight it provides is applicable to all junior leagues at the moment.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one for A.J. Liebling: “News is like the tilefish which appears in great schools off the Atlantic Coast some years and then vanishes, no one knows whither or for how long. Newspapers might employ these periods searching for the breeding grounds of news, but they prefer to fill up with stories about Kurdled Kurds or Calvin Coolidge, until the banks close or a Hitler marches, when they are as surprised as their readers.”


With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


Ranger

Pickles’ owners, including Roughriders’ punter, are sweet on Winterhawks . . . AHL pulls plug on its season

A group that includes Saskatchewan Roughriders punter Jon Ryan has expressed interest in purchasing the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.

Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest in Portland reported Monday afternoon that the Picklesowners of baseball’s Portland Pickles are kicking the tires.

The Winterhawks have been owned by Calgary oil man Bill Gallacher since 2008, but now are in receivership after a number of his companies filed for bankruptcy last week.

“They have a broker in Toronto who is running the file on behalf of the finance company,” Alan Miller, one of the Pickles’ owners, told Jaynes. “And a representative of our company has had a conversation with them. I love hockey. Been to Winterhawks games. My partner, Jon Ryan, has had plenty of experience in hockey — he comes from Regina, Saskatchewan, and he tells the story that he was cut from five different teams in that league.”

The Pickles play in the West Coast League, a wood-bat summer league for college players.

Jaynes’ complete story is right here.

At the same time, Merritt Paulson, who owns soccer’s Portland Timbers and the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League, has told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he isn’t interested in purchasing the Winterhawks. . . . That story is right here.

Meanwhile, Scott Sepich, a Portland journalist who has covered the Winterhawks, posted a series of tweets on the current situation:

“According to documents I’ve read, Bill Gallacher anticipated defaulting on the loan and Portlandpledged to the lender in November that he would try to sell the Winterhawks by January. That obviously did not happen, nor was there any public statement that the team was for sale.

“Gallacher also seemed to have an agreement to sell a $5 million stake in the Lausanne Swiss hockey team but that seems to have fallen through. He also put a home up for sale in Scottsdale, AZ (that he bought for $11 million) for $26 million in 2018, but it never sold.

“Nearly half of the original $20 million loan in December 2018 was earmarked for arena improvements for the team in Lausanne. Other big chunks were for exercising stock options in two companies. It was a short-term loan, with repayment due in December 2019.

“The WHL had to sign off on the loan since the team was being used to secure the loan. The league approved, acknowledging that the ownership of the team would be at risk if there was a default on the loan.

“Financial statements for the Winterhawks are omitted from the public documents. However, a balance sheet for Audible Capital (the parent company) lists the Winterhawks as an asset of $2,587,166. Not sure where that number comes from (is that what he paid for the team?)

“A study of CHL team values conducted in 2016 (likely inflated as it was part of the labor lawsuit about player compensation) pegged the Hawks as worth more than $36 million. I can’t imagine that’s anywhere near accurate (especially now) but $2.5 million seems way low.”



With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . You also would light up her life. . . . Thank you.


The AHL cancelled the remainder of its regular season and its playoffs on Monday. . . . AHLThe AHL had suspended play on March 12. . . . According to the league, “The standings — sorted by points percentage — and statistics as of March 12 are considered final and official, and will serve as the basis for determining league awards for the 2019-20 season.” . . . When another season gets here, the AHL will have a new commissioner as this was Dave Andrews’ last go-round. A former head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Cougars (1982-84), Andrews has been the AHL’s president and CEO since 1994. . . . This season also marked the end of a franchise in San Antonio, with the Rampage relocating to Henderson, Nev., for 2020-21.


It never hurts to begin your Monday with Peter King’s Football Morning in America — even if I am in Canada. . . . This week, King started off by chatting with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has come to prominence during the pandemic. . . . If you are wondering what leagues are up against in trying to get back on the playing field — or the ice surface — you should give this piece a read. . . . King asked Dr. Fauci what would happen if four players from an NFL team’s 53-man roster tested positive on a Saturday night. The response: “You got a problem there. You know why? Because it is likely that if four of them are positive and they’ve been hanging around together, that the other ones that are negative are really positive. So I mean, if you have one outlier (only one player testing positive), I think you might get away. But once you wind up having a situation where it looks like it’s spread within a team, you got a real problem. You gotta shut it down.” . . . The complete piece is right here, and it is most enlightening. . . . Come for Dr. Fauci and stay for some great anecdotes involving Don Shula, the winningest head coach in NFL history who died on May 4.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”


“Veteran musher Lance Mackey’s 21st-place finish in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was vacated after the veteran musher’s drug test turned up positive for methamphetamine,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “So chalk up another triumph for the sport’s investigative initiative, Operation Yellow Snow.”


Solo