Ice, Oil Kings continue to dominate in WHL’s east with shutouts . . . Blazers get past Giants . . . Winterhawks open with victory

There was a full slate of WHL playoff games on Saturday night, meaning all WHLplayoffs2022eight surviving teams were in on the action. When the smoke cleared, three teams, all playing at home, held 2-0 leads in the best-of-seven conference semifinal series. . . . In the other series, the Portland Winterhawks opened with a 4-2 victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. They will resume that series today in Portland. This series has a 1-2-1-1-1-1 format. It wasn’t able to open with two in Portland because the Winterhawks’ home arena was busy with grad ceremonies. . . .

At this point, it would seem that if you are looking for close games, you best pay attention to the Western Conference. In the Eastern Conference, through four games, the winners hold a 22-1 edge in goals scored, including 12-0 last night.

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THE WHL ON SATURDAY:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, F Jack Finley scored the game’s first two goals and G Daniel WinnipegIceHauser recorded the shutout as the No. 1 Ice steamrolled the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, 7-0, in Game 2 of their semifinal. . . . The Ice had won the opener, 6-1, on Friday night. . . . The teams now head for Moose Jaw and Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Finley, who has four goals in these playoffs, struck at 2:49 and 3:35 of the first period. . . . F Connor McClennon (5) made it 3-0, on a PP, at 9:01 and the Ice was off to the races. . . . F Matt Savoie (3), F Mikey Milne (7), F Zach Benson (6) and F Chase Wheatcroft (1) also scored. . . . Savoie and Benson, who also had three assists, scored while shorthanded; Milne struck on a PP.  . . . The Ice was 2-for-5 on the PP; the Warriors were 0-for-3. . . . Hauser finished with 27 saves in earning his first playoff shutout after putting up eight in the regular season. In seven playoff games, he is 6-1, 1.29, .936. . . . The Warriors are playing without D Daemon Hunt, their captain, who is out with an undisclosed injury. He hasn’t played since being injured on March 19, missing the Warriors’ final eight regular-season games and their seven playoff games to date. . . .

In Edmonton, F Jaxsen Wiebe scored his first two playoff goals as the No. 2 Oil EdmontonKings held serve on home ice with a 5-0 victory over the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The series will resume in Red Deer with games on Monday and Wednesday, and with the Rebels still looking for their first goal. They were beaten 4-0 in Thursday’s opener. . . . Wiebe, who played the previous two seasons with Red Deer, opened the scoring with his first playoff goal at 11:45 of the second period. . . . F Dylan Guenther (6) upped the lead to 2-0 at 17:02. . . . F Justin Sourdif (1) counted Edmonton’s third goal on a penalty shot at 2:56 of the third period. . . . F Jakub Demek (2), on a PP, at 7:10, and Wiebe, while shorthanded, at 9:22, completed the scoring. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 26 shots in posting his second straight shutout. In these playoffs, he is 6-0, 1.00, .957, with three shutouts.

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Western Conference

In Kamloops, the No. 2 Blazers got past the No. 8 Vancouver Giants, 4-3, to take Kamloopsa 2-0 lead in their semifinal. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Langley, B.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . F Drew Englot (2) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 11:04 of the first period, but the Giants took a 2-1 lead into the second on goals from D Alex Cotton (5), at 12:49, and D Evan Toth (2), while shorthanded at 19:53. . . . Kamloops responded with three straight second-period goals, from F Connor Levis (2), at 1:21, F Caedan Bankier (3), at 6:41, and F Daylan Kuefler (3), on a PP, at 14:21. . . . Kuefler’s goal turned into the winner after F Ethan Semeniuk (2) pulled the Giants to within one at 15:53. . . . Bankier’s goal ran his point streak to 16 games — 10 to close out the regular season and six playoff games. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 23 shots for Kamloops, 12 fewer than Vancouver’s Jesper Vikman. . . . Kamloops was 1-for-9 on the PP, with five of those coming in the third period. . . . Vancouver was 0-for-5 after going 0-for-3 in Game 1. When they eliminated the No. 1 Everett Silvertips in six games, Vancouver was 12-for-32 on the PP. . . . The Blazers were missing F Luke Toporowski, who left in the first period of Game 1 with an apparent shoulder injury. . . . The Giants lost D Mazden Leslie and F Colton Langkow to undisclosed injuries in Game 1. Vancouver already was without forwards Payton Mount, Cole Shepard and Jacob Boucher, none of whom travelled to Kamloops. . . .

In Kent, Wash., D Clay Hanus struck for a PP goal late in the third period, Portlandbreaking a 2-2 tie and sending the Portland Winterhawks on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for today in Portland, with a third game to be played there on Wednesday. . . . F Jared Davidson (4) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 9:28 of the first period. . . . Portland took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Marcus Nguyen (1), at 8:44 of the second period, and F James Stefan (3), at 14:44. . . . F Matthew Rempe (4) pulled Seattle even at 19:00. . . . OT was on the horizon when Hanus scored his first goal of these playoffs, at 16:21 of the third period, on Portland’s fourth PP opportunity. The Winterhawks finished 1-for-4; Seattle was 0-for-1. . . . Portland F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (1) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 23 shots for Portland, three more than Seattle’s Thomas Milic.


Informer


JUST NOTES: F Niko Huuhtanen of the Everett Silvertips has joined the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch for the remainder of the season. Huuhtanen, who will turn 19 on June 26, was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. From Finland, he had 37 goals and 40 assists in 65 regular-season games with the Silvertips. He added 10 points, including five goals, in five playoff games. . . .

F Jake Chiasson of the Brandon Wheat Kings now is with the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Chiasson, who will turn 19 on May 25, was a fourth-round pick by the Oilers in the 2021 NHL draft. He was limited to 20 games this season by shoulder surgery, and finished with six goals and 12 assists. . . .

The Brooks Bandits won the AJHL championship on Saturday night, beating the visiting Spruce Grove Saints, 2-0, to win the best-of-seven final, 4-1. . . . G Ethan Barwick recorded a 21-save shutout. . . . The Bandits now move on to the Centennial Cup tournament in Estevan, Sask., that is to run from May 18-29. . . .

The Niverville Nighthawks, an MJHL expansion team, have signed Ethan Maertens-Poole as an assistant coach to work alongside head coach Kelvin Cech. Maertens-Poole spent the 2021-22 season as an associate coach with the junior B Golden Rockets of the KIJHL.


Cereal


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.

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Bengay

NHL’s Jets circling Saskatoon . . . WHL’s weekend schedule takes pounding . . . Maritime junior league shortens sked, pauses until February

Santa


The WHL’s Saskatoon Blades and NLL’s Saskatchewan Rush may be about to get some company in their home arena, SaskTel Centre. Elliott Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada tweeted on Thursday night:

“Earlier tonight, the Winnipeg Jets sent out a survey asking season-seat holders their opinion on the possibility of home games in another jurisdiction. It is believed the Jets are exploring playing some games at Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre while there are attendance restrictions in Manitoba. That arena seats 15,000. At this point, Saskatchewan does not have restrictions. Obviously, there is work that needs to be done, and approvals to be secured. But the Jets are doing their legwork.”


The Portland Winterhawks boarded their bus on Thursday and headed for B.C., Portlandand what they thought would be a three-game weekend. They would meet the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday night, play the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday and finish up in Langley against the Vancouver Giants on Sunday.

But . . .

The Winterhawks were about halfway to Kamloops when they found out that Friday’s game had been postponed due to an unknown number of positive tests in the Blazers organization.

So instead of having a morning skate in Kamloops today, the Winterhawks will have a full-blown practice.

As of Thursday night, Portland’s games in Kelowna and Vancouver remained on the schedule.

The Winterhawks listed six players in COVID-19 protocol when the WHL released its roster/injury report on Wednesday. They left four players in Portland and will add three new faces to their roster for the games in Kelowna and Langley.

G Taylor Gauthier, who was acquired from the Prince George Cougars on Dec. 27, likely will start one of the two games if they, indeed, get played. Gauthier, a 20-year-old veteran, has had three practices with his new club. He was in protocol, but is out, on the trip and ready to go.

The Blazers, meanwhile, are waiting for results of more tests before being able Kamloops1to decide what’s next for them. The schedule has them heading into the U.S. Division next week for games against the Winterhawks on Wednesday, the Tri-City Americans on Friday and the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday. Of course, a bunch of positive tests could put that trek in jeopardy.

The Rockets reported that their Friday game against visiting Vancouver had been postponed “as a result of multiple Giants players and staff being added” to the protocol list. The Giants listed four players in COVID-19 protocol in the WHL’s roster/injury report that was released on Wednesday. The Rockets said they don’t have any players in protocol.

Between COVID-19 and inclement weather, the WHL’s schedule has taken quite a beating.

Before Thursday was done, all 10 games scheduled for Friday night had been postponed, while eight of 10 games on Saturday’s schedule had met the same fate, as had two of three Sunday games. Yes, the WHL ended up postponing 20 of the 23 games that had been on the schedule.

The changes actually started rolling on Wednesday when the league postponed a doubleheader that would have had the Victoria Royals in Prince George. It also scrapped a home-and-home doubleheader between the Regina Pats and Saskatoon Blades.

Most of the postponements were for positive tests among players and staff with various teams. Some, however, were scrubbed due to miserable weather in the Pacific Northwest.

The Everett Silvertips were to have visited Spokane on Friday, Tri-City on Saturday, and then entertained the Americans on Sunday. But all three games have been postponed because of road closures, potential traffic delays and safety concerns. Also scrubbed is a Friday game that was to have had Seattle visit the Americans.

Games in Brandon and Winnipeg have been postponed because of provincial government-issued restrictions limiting attendance in facilities there. The hope is that the government eventually will lift those restrictions and the games can be rescheduled.

Meanwhile, the WHL issued its roster/injury report on Wednesday. WHLInterestingly, the WHL, before Wednesday, frequently stated in virus-related news releases that “in accordance with WHL policy” the teams involved and the WHL “will not be providing comment or identifying the individuals concerned.”

However, in its first roster/injury report since Dec. 14, the WHL identified the players who were in protocol and those who have come out of it with the 14 teams who filed the information with the league office.

Regina had one player in protocol, as did Saskatoon. The Saskatoon player is F Noah Boyko, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who had 14 players/staffers go into protocol. At the same time, the Blades listed three players as having returned from protocol. The Prince Albert Raiders also showed one player in protocol — D Trevor Thurston, who was acquired from Lethbridge.

Prince George didn’t list any players in protocol, while Victoria showed seven. (On Thursday, the Royals announced they were shutting down their Team Store “until Jan. 11 or until further notice to help curb the spread of COVID-19 at” Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.)

All told, the report — it is available right here — showed 42 players in protocol with another six having come out of protocol. Seattle and Swift Current each listed eight players in protocol.

However, Brandon, the Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat Tigers, Moose Jaw Warriors, Red Deer Rebels and Winnipeg Ice, all with no games on tap, didn’t report.

According to the report, the 14 teams that did report also had a total of four players out with undisclosed illnesses, with another seven having returned from being out with undisclosed illnesses.

What all of this means is that you should check your favourite team’s website to make sure a game still is on the schedule before you leave home and head for the arena.


Change


A chronology of the WHL’s battle with COVID-19 since the Christmas break ended:

Jan. 6 — The WHL announced the postponement of two games involving the CovidPrince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos “due to multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list. . . . The league also announced the postponement of seven games, all of them involving Western Conference teams, “as a result of travel delays due to weather in the Pacific Northwest or multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list.

Jan. 5 — The WHL announced the postponement of four games involving the Regina Pats, Saskatoon Blades, Victoria Royals and Prince George Cougars “as a result of multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list.

Jan. 4 — The WHL announced that the Edmonton Oil Kings, Moose Jaw Warriors and Red Deer Rebels have paused all team-related activities “as a result of multiple players and staff” having been added the COVID-19 protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive.” The Rebels say that they had eight players and/or staffers test positive as of Monday.

Jan. 1 — The WHL announced that it had shut down the Lethbridge Hurricanes “as a result of 14 players being” on the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive.”

Dec. 30 — The WHL announced that it had shut down the Swift Current Broncos “as a result of four players” being on the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive. . . . It is believed the exposure . . . occurred outside the team environment.”

Dec. 29 — The WHL announced the postponement of a game scheduled for that night that was to have had the Portland Winterhawks meet the host Tri-City Americans. The move was made “due to goaltenders on both clubs entering COVID-19 protocols and/or sustaining injuries.”

Dec. 27 — The WHL announced that “a total of 36 players or hockey operations staff” were added to the protocol list “as a result of displaying symptoms for COVID-19 or returning a positive test result.” The league reported that Spokane and Victoria each had four people in protocol, with Portland, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Winnipeg each at three; Brandon, Everett, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Regina each at two; and Kelowna, Moose Jaw, Red Deer, Seattle, Swift Current and Tri-City each at one. Calgary, Edmonton and Prince Albert didn’t have anyone in protocols, while Kamloops and Prince George had yet to report.


Noah


The OHL’s board of governors held a Wednesday meeting and later released a OHLstatement saying “the league has reaffirmed its commitment to continue the 2021-22 season.” . . . The OHL has 17 teams in Ontario and three in the U.S. At present, the OHL teams aren’t allowed to have fans attend their games, something that will continue for at least the next three weeks. . . . Later in the day, the OHL announced the postponement of seven more games due to COVID-19 protocol. At that point, the OHL had postponed 49 games, with 20 of those already having been rescheduled. . . . As of Thursday night, the OHL had postponed eight of the 24 games it has scheduled for this weekend.

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The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Thursday that it had postponed weekend games involving the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, Castlegar Rebels, Fernie Ghostriders and Kelowna Chiefs “due to a number of positive COVID-19” tests. . . .

The BCHL announced on Thursday that the Powell River Kings and Wenatchee Wild “have paused all team activities for the next five days per COVID-19 protocol and provincial health regulations.” . . . On Wednesday, the Victoria Grizzlies were shut down. . . . Earlier, the BCHL put four other teams on pause — the Cowichan Valley Capitals, Langley Rivermen, Penticton Vees and Trail Smoke Eaters. . . .

The Maritime Junior Hockey League has cut its regular season from 52 games to 42, and is paused until at least Feb. 2. . . . According to the league: “This decision is due to the amount of time remaining to play the season and playoffs, as well as the dates for both the Fred Page Cup in Summerside and the National Championship. This will remove one home game and one away game for every team against each of their divisional opponents.” . . .

The AJHL announced Thursday that five games involving the Lloydminster Bobcats have been postponed “due to COVID-related issues.” . . .


Meanwhile, even with all the uncertainty, teams in the OHL and QMJHL continue to shuffle the deck chairs. . . . In the QMJHL, there were 13 deals made on Thursday. The Saint John Sea Dogs, who will be the host team for the 2022 Memorial Cup, assuming COVID-19 gives its approval, were especially busy.




JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Kamloops Blazers will be out of their home arena, the Sandman Centre, for a couple of weeks in February 2023. That’s because the building will be home to the 2023 Canadian women’s curling championship, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, from Feb. 17-26. . . . The Blazers also are expected to bid on the 2023 Memorial Cup, which is scheduled to be held in the home of a WHL franchise. . . .

Slovakian F Peter Repcik, who started this season with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, has signed on with the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles. Repcik, who will turn 18 on Jan. 9, had two assists in 25 games with Lethbridge. The Hurricanes grabbed him in the 2021 CHL import draft. Repcik helped Slovakia to a silver medal at the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup with eight pints in five games. . . . Repcik lost his spot in Lethbridge when the Hurricanes claimed Swiss F Liekit Reichie, 18, off waivers from the Prince George Cougars.


Plunger


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.


Commit

WHL rests before busy weekend . . . B.C. sports hall honours Ewen . . . Avalanche coach tests positive


There weren’t any WHL games on Thursday’s schedule as it prepares for a 19-game weekend, although there aren’t any games on Monday, which is the Canadian Thanksgiving. . . . However, there were two WHL games on Wednesday night . . .

In Lethbridge, F Logan Dowhaniuk scored at 17:42 of the third period to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Edmonton got its other goal from F Jalen Luypen, shorthanded, with 1.1 seconds left in the second period. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Zach Benson, the 14th pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft, scored twice to help the Ice to a 5-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Ice F Mikey Milne had two assists, giving him seven points in three games.


Machete


The QMJHL has suspended Nicolas Daigle and Massimo Siciliano of the Victoriaville Tigres at least until the court has dealt with charges against them. They were charged with sexual assault on Tuesday. They also were charged with recording the incident and Daigle is facing a charge of having shared images of the alleged victim. . . . The charges arose after an incident that is alleged to have occurred in a hotel in Lac-Beauport on June 6 after the Tigres’ won the QMJHL championship in June. . . . The QMJHL’s news release is right here.


Jared Bednar, a former WHLer who is the head coach of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, will miss a pair of exhibition games after testing positive for COVID-19. . . . The Avalanche is to play the Stars in Dallas on Thursday, with the two teams meeting in Denver on Saturday. . . . In Bednar’s absence, assistant coaches Ray Bennett and Nolan Pratt, both of whom are former WHLers, will run the Colorado bench. . . . Bednar played in the WHL (Saskatoon Blades, Spokane Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers, Prince Albert Raiders, 1990-93). He is in his sixth season as Colorado’s head coach. . . . Bennett spent one season (1992-93) as the Moose Jaw Warriors’ assistant general manager. He also scouted for the Spokane Chiefs (1994-95). . . . Pratt spent three-plus seasons (1991-95) as a defenceman wit the Portland Winter Hawks.



Steve Ewen of Postmedia has been named as a recipient of an Eric Whitehead Inspired Service Award as presented by the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. Among other things, Ewen covers junior hockey for the Vancouver Province and Vancouver Sun. “In 2010, Ewen was diagnosed with a solitary plasmacytoma, a type of blood cancer, needing two rods and 15 screws to be inserted into his back and neck,” wrote Postmedia’s J.J. Adams. “In a six-month hospital stay, he had eight back surgeries, leaving his spine fused from his neck to the middle of his back. The cancer returned in 2017, when he had a stem cell transplant.” . . . Whitehead, a former Province sports editor, was heavily involved in the founding of the Hall of Fame. . . . Adams’s story is right here.


Diaper


David Branch, the OHL commissioner, told reporters on Wednesday that all of his league’s players are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. He also said that the OHL had one player opt out of playing rather than get vaccinated. . . .

The OHL’s Sarnia Sting opened its regular season on Thursday night with a 6-3 victory over the Spitfires in Windsor. But associate coach Brad Staubitz wasn’t there. The team announced earlier in the day that Staubitz has taken a leave of absence for non-COVID-related personal reasons. He has been on the Sting’s coaching staff since 2016. . . . On Wednesday, the Sting announced that assistant coach Mark Mancari would be away “for the foreseeable future to deal with a personal health issue.” He had been with the Sting since June 2020. . . . Alan Letang, the head coach, and goaltending coach Franky Palazzese are the only other coaches listed on the Sting’s website.


The Brooklyn Nets are scheduled to play an exhibition game at home against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night and guard Kyrie Irving is listed on their roster as out/ineligible. . . . Irving has refused to get vaccinated and under New York City requirements only those who are fully vaccinated are allowed in city facilities.


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: Maggie Sinclair was elected to the Moose Jaw Warriors’ board of directors at the organization’s AGM on Sept. 30. She is the first female member of the board; the Warriors have been around since 1984. From a Warriors’ news release: “Sinclair currently works as a the Chief Risk and Compliance Officer with Conexus and has decades of experience in banking.” . . . Krista Funke made her debut as an AJHL referee on Wednesday night in Lloydminster where the Bobcats beat the Sherwood Park Crusaders, 8-2. She and fellow referee Daniel Gadowski handed out 10 minor penalties, five to each team. Funke, from Regina, is quite story. She was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2012 while at the U of Toronto. Jennifer Ackerman of the Regina Leader-Post detailed Funke’s story on Jan. 31, 2019. That story is right here.


Penguin

Scattershooting on Sunday night while wondering if summer has left us for another year . . .

Scattershooting2


A tip of the Taking Note fedora to the Swift Current Broncos. They opened their ScurrentWHL exhibition schedule on Friday night and admittance was $5 “or free with food donation.” The Broncos also had a vaccine clinic on site. Anyone getting a vaccination was given free entry to the game. Well done!


It would seem that the Boston Bruins have all but decided to send Swedish F Fabian Lysell, 18, their first selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft, to the WHL’s VancouverVancouver Giants. Don Sweeney, the Bruins’ general manager, told reporters at a prospects tournament in Buffalo on Sunday that “in all likelihood” Lysell will play in Vancouver.

What kind of player is Lysell?

“He’s got some areas, in traffic, and some things that he’s going to have to be aware of, and defensively,” Sweeney added. “All are things we believe we can teach those young players as long as they are willing and receptive to learn. But he’s got the skill set that’s pretty unique for us to be adding to our group and to be excited about.

“It will be important for him to play against kids in his peer group. We’re excited that he’s going to play over here. We do believe the transition to the smaller ice surface, especially with young guys, they have to play in the hard areas of the ice in order to be successful. He’s more than willing to do that but he’s got to find his space.’’

For more, check out Rinkside Rhode Island with Mark Divver, who pays particular attention to the AHL’s Providence Bruins. His latest file is right here.

Via Twitter, Steve Ewen of Postmedia explained the Giants’ import situation:

“Assuming Swedish goalie Jesper Vikman is re-assigned to the Giants,  Vancouver would have three Euros (Vikman, Lysell and Slovak D Marko Stacha). They can only keep two. They’d have two weeks from the start of the WHL regular season to pick.

“Stacha and Lysell are both trade eligible, since Stacha played with the  Giants last season and Lysell was on their roster all season. Vikman, who was Vancouver’s import pick this off-season, is not trade eligible.”

Vikman, 19, was a fifth-round pick by Vegas in 2020, but has yet to sign with the Golden Knights.



SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART I:

After the NFL’s Buffalo Bills announced that you will need to be fully vaccinated in order to attend home games, some fans said they’ll start going on the road. After all, at this point in time the Bills, Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks are the only NFL teams that are implementing such a restriction. . . . So now the likes of receiver Cole Beasley, the Bills’ vocal anti-vaxxer, and centre Reid Ferguson are offering to buy tickets for those fans to some road games. . . . One of those fans, who won’t get vaccinated, told Jason Wolf of the Buffalo News: “I’ve had Covid, so in my opinion, I’ve already got the antibodies. I think they’re just as good as the vaccine. The vaccine came out pretty rushed. I don’t really know all the information. In my opinion, there’s so little information out there and it all seems to be one-sided. And then, personally, my religious beliefs. I think God created me for a purpose. He has a plan for my life. And whether I have the vaccine or not, I’m taken care of.” . . . That particular fan is 39 years of age and has five children.

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SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART II:

The Blackfalds Bulldogs made their AJHL debut on the road on Friday night. The Brooks Bandits welcomed them to the league by dropping them, 17-0. Yes, 17-0. . . . (On Saturday, the Bulldogs went into Olds and beat the Grizzlys, 5-4.)

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SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART III:

Sask


So . . . the Minnesota Vikings had the opportunity to beat the host Arizona Cardinals with a last-play field goal on Sunday. The kick was wide right, but Paul Allen, the radio voice of the Vikings, thought, well, give it a listen . . .



OF Eddie Rosario of the Atlanta Braves hit for the cycle Sunday afternoon in a 3-0 victory over the host San Francisco Giants. Yes, hitting for the cycle is a big deal in baseball. But think about this for a moment — in those four at-bats, Rosario saw a total of five pitches.


Dodgeball


A note from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: “Jim Hughson, one of Canada’s premier sports broadcasters, is telling people that he has retired. Most recently, Hughson was the No. 1 play-by-play voice at Hockey Night In Canada, and long before that was the voice of the Blue Jays on TSN. He won’t be easily replaced. Rogers Sportsnet, as is their custom, has made no official announcement on his future of the Hall of Fame broadcaster.” . . .  Retirement? Already? Sheesh, it’s only been 43 years since we both were on the Brandon Wheat Kings’ beat, Jim with CKLQ radio and me with the Brandon Sun!



The OHL’s board of governors has approved the sale of the Guelph Storm. The franchise now is owned by Joel Feldberg and Jeffrey Bly, a pair of Toronto businessmen, who purchased it from Rick Gaetz, John Heeley, Rick Hoyle and Scott Walker. . . . Feldberg is the president/CEO of The Global Furniture Group of companies; Bly is the senior vice-president.


JunkDrawer


The best part of waking up today (Monday) will be knowing that it’s election day in Canada, which means all those attack ads on TV will be a thing of the past, at least until next time. And all those signs that are such a horrible blight around our intersections and on our hillsides will be gone.


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “SF Giants starter Alex Wood, out nearly 3 weeks with COVID-19,“politely declined again to disclose his vaccination status.” Translation: He hasn’t been vaccinated. Sigh.”


Velcros


JUST NOTES: I spent part of Saturday night watching the CFL game in which the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat Edmonton, 37-22, and when it was over I was left thinking that the Elks just may be on to something with quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who made his first appearance. He’s a 6-foot-5 product of Oklahoma State and he can fling it. . . . Trevor Harris (neck), the Elks’ starting QB, is on the six-game injured list. . . . The Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the visiting Toronto Argos, 30-16, on Friday night before an announced crowd of 25,883. Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post pointed out that it was the Roughriders’ “lowest crowd since July 8, 2007 (25,862); ’Riders beat Calgary 49-8. . . . When we last heard from Andrew Milne, the general manager and head coach of the Canmore Eagles, the AJHL had fined him $1,000 and hit him with a 15-game suspension for the dastardly sin of discussing with the media a COVID-19 outbreak that had hit his team and community. He has served two games of that sentence and the Eagles won both games. With Milne in AJHL jail, the Eagles’ bench will be run by a three-headed monster featuring assistant coach Bryan Arneson; Mike Glawson, an Eagles’ scout who is the head coach of the U-18 AAA Calgary Flames; and Kyle McLaughlin, who was on the Eagles’ staff last season.


PineCone


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.


Voodoo

The summer of ’01: Where are the locusts? . . . SJHL keeping Chow in commish’s office . . . AJHL will look at 1-on-1 in exhibition OT

At 7:30 p.m., it was 43C in Kamloops. By 8:35, the temperature had retreated to 39C. We had hit our high at 5 p.m. — 46.4C. Hey, Jack, that’s 115.5F.

Environment Canada is calling for a high of 43C on Wednesday.

The overnight low was 24.6C at 5 a.m. You can’t even open windows and catch a fresh breeze. Our skylights are covered. The wall-to-wall windows on the east side of our kitchen are covered by vertical blinds with sheets over top of them. And still the A/C can’t keep up.

I should mention, too, that the South Thompson region, which includes Kamloops, is under a severe thunderstorm warning with the “potential for severe thunderstorms with very strong wind gusts, intense lightning and brief bursts of heavy rain.”

Did I mention there could be intense lightning?

Because the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has issued a bulletin calling for smoky skies in the South Thompson region.

“The region is being impacted or is likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24-48 hours,” reads a statement that was issued Tuesday at 2:49 p.m.

Yes, wildfire season also is upon us with a vengeance. As of Tuesday evening, there are two huge blazes, one of them more than 3,700 hectares, located to the west of us. 

The last thing we need at this point in time is lightning.

In what used to be normal times, we might see 40C for a day or two in July, and the fire season didn’t really get roaring until August. Now we’ve got everything at once.

And if you haven’t heard there have been have been dozens of heat-related deaths in the Lower Mainland, and you can bet that the number will rise province-wide over the next few days.

The intense heat has sped up the snowmelt in some areas so there are flood concerns.

It seems that the only thing missing right now are the locusts. But, then, the murder hornets are said to be on their way.


As a reminder that the pandemic isn’t completely behind us, Baseball Manitoba announced Tuesday that it has cancelled all of its 2021 provincial championships. . . . From a news release: “The decision was made with the safety and development of our members as the top priority. Provincial championships create environments with large gatherings with people from across the province. Also, by cancelling provincial championships, we believe that there is more opportunity for a longer season for more players, as they compete late into summer within their regions.”


Newsflash



If anyone wants it, the title of the hardest-working person in the WHL is up for grabs for the first time in years. That’s because Rick Dillabough no longer is employed by the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun has more on Dillabough and his decision to walk away right here, and it’s great to see former owner Kelly McCrimmon singing the praises of his long-time employee and friend.


ICYMI, Bruce Springsteen was back on Broadway on Saturday night, and Peter Marks, the Washington Post’s theatre critic, was there for the district’s first full-length performance in 15 months. He wasn’t alone.

As Marks wrote, “His curation includes one of the key requirements for admission: a vaccination card. ‘It’s great,’ he remarks. ‘Unmasked, sitting next to each other.’ Bizarrely, theatergoers were greeted outside the St. James by a cadre of screaming, placard-waving anti-vaccination protesters, who feel aggrieved by the fact that the government wants to save their lives. Their rage is a bewildering counterpoint to the joy inside the theater at the freedoms the vaccines have given back to us. The demonstration is as out-of-touch as ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ feels in-touch.”



The SJHL’s board of governors and Bill Chow, the league’s commissioner, have sjhlagreed on a contract extension that will run through the 2022-23 season. Chow is preparing for his 11th season as commissioner. . . . Chow, who spent 10 seasons scouting for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, was announced as SJHL president in May 2011. That was after he had retired from the Prince Albert Police Service, where he had spent almost 30 years. . . . With the SJHL, Chow took over from Laury Ryan, who had been in place for eight years.


Meat


The AJHL held its AGM on Saturday and decided on a 60-game regular season ajhlthat will have each of the 16 teams playing 16 interlocking games. The addition of the expansion Blackfalds Bulldogs brings the roster to 16 teams. . . . Interestingly, the AJHL will experiment in its exhibition season with an overtime format that will end with teams playing 1-on-1. After each exhibition game, teams will play a six-minute OT period, starting with 3-on-3. At the first whistle after the four-minute mark, it will shift to 2-on-2. And it’ll be 1-on-1 at the first whistle after the two-minute mark. If there aren’t any goals, a “best-of-three” shootout will be held. . . . The AJHL’s complete news release is right here.


Peter Anholt, the general manager of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, has been named to Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence management group. Anholt will oversee the U-18 program. . . . Philippe Boucher, the general manager of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, will guide the U-17 program, with James Boyd, the general manager of the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s, doing the same for the U-20s. . . . There is a complete news release right here.


USA Hockey has invited 44 players to the 2021 World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich., July 24-31. None of the 44 players were on a WHL team roster in 2020-21. . . . The Showcase will feature three teams this time around, with Finland and Sweden also to appear. The event is used to evaluate players who are eligible for the 2022 IIHF World junior championship that is scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer, from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . . USA Hockey’s camp roster is right here.


Ding


The Edmonton Oil Kings announced Tuesday that Czech D Simon Kubicek has Edmontoncommitted to play for them in 2021-22. Kubicek, who will turn 20 on Dec. 19, has played 113 regular-season WHL games, all with the Seattle Thunderbirds, putting up 16 goals and 39 assists. . . . On Jan. 25, the Oil Kings acquired Kubicek from Seattle for F Vladimir Alistrov, 20, of Belarus. The teams also swapped undisclosed conditional picks in the WHL’s 2023 prospects draft. . . . Alistrov spent 2020-21 with Dinamo Minsk of the KHL. . . . Kubicek played at home in 2020-21, with Motor Ceske Budejovice of the Czech ELH. He also had a goal and an assist in four games at the IIHF World Junior Championship. . . . Kubicek is the lone import on the Oil Kings’ roster, with the CHL import draft scheduled for today (Wednesday).


——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves have hired Kyle Schneider, 22, as their new assistant coach. Schneider, who played for the Ice Wolves as recently as 2019-20, takes over from Gaelan Patterson, now the head coach of the junior B Port Alberni Bombers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . The USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints have signed Greg Brown as their head coach. He takes over from Oliver David, who now is an assistant coach with EHC Biel of the Swiss National League. Brown, 53, spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . The BCHL’s Salmon Arm SilverBacks have signed Tyler Shattock, their assistant GM and head coach, to a two-year extension. Shattock, 31, took over as head coach in the middle of the 2019-20 season. From Salmon Arm, he has been with the team since signing on as an assistant coach in October 2018. . . . Simon Ferguson now is the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. He has signed a three-year deal that runs through June 2024. Ferguson took over as interim head coach in January 2020, not long after the franchise changed hands. The interim part of his title was dropped in March 2020. His staff includes assistant coach Ayrton Nikkel, Josh Gorges, assistant coach and player development director, goaltending coach Chad Carter and athletic therapist Michael Bois.


Open

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering about the (mis-)state of NHL officiating . . .

Scattershooting2


Had you suggested to me in January that I would have two shots of Pfizer in me by now, I would have told you that you were nuts. But that’s the case. I got Pfizer’d for a second time on Saturday, 10 days after Dorothy got her second dose. . . . We got all four of our shots at the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops and, let me tell you, the operation there was running like a a well-oiled machine. On Saturday afternoon, I had a 2:15 appointment. I walked in the door at 2 o’clock. Got my shot at 2:06. Was on my way out the door at 2:21.

——

On the way home, I made one stop, ducking into a small grocery store to get some plastic utensils. You know . . . just in case.


Here are a few notes of interest from Tyler Kepner of The New York Times, from a piece on the website on Tuesday: “In the 2016 season, there were 3,294 more hits than strikeouts in the majors. By 2018, strikeouts had narrowly overtaken hits. And if the 2021 numbers continue at the current rates, there will be about 5,200 more strikeouts than hits this season.” . . . Yes, MLB has a problem.


It was with some interest that I noticed Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, WHL2was given a three-year contract extension by the board of governors the other day, and that the pooh-bahs had voted unanimously in favour of it. He has been in his office for 21 years, which is as long as Ed Chynoweth ruled the league, albeit in two separate stints. Interestingly, I don’t ever recall Chynoweth having unanimous support when it came time for a new deal. . . . In fact, I can remember one time, in March of 1976, when Chynoweth actually offered up his resignation. “It isn’t a play for money,” he said. “It is simply that there is too much hassle. It is starting to bother me that all my friends in Saskatoon are going to the airport to take flights out for winter holidays. I go to the airport and fly to Flin Flon.” . . . No, his offer wasn’t accepted.


Time out. My ears are ringing. I just gotta answer this one. It might be an incoming call from Bill Gates. Be right back . . . Ahh, it was only another coal train — or maybe it was an oil train — on the CP mainline across the river.


Wed


First it was Dominique Ducharme, the Montreal Canadiens’ interim head coach, nhl2testing positive for COVID-19, while every other team member has come up negative. . . . And then word came on Sunday that Kelly McCrimmon, the general manager of the Vegas Golden Knights, also has tested positive and is in self-isolation in Montreal. Apparently, no other team member has tested positive. . . . How does it happen that only one person in a team situation like this tests positive? Or is this all of this just an example of COVID-19’s quirky sense of humour? . . . BTW, that fourth Wheat Kings goaltender in the tweet at the top of this post is actually D Ryan Pulock, now of the New York Islanders. He made a game-saving stop on Saturday as the Islanders beat the Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . When McCrimmon was running the Wheat Kings, he drafted Pulock and helped turn him into the player he is today. McCrimmon, of course, also has had a thing or two to do with putting together the Golden Knights. What this means is that McCrimmon could end up having something to do with two teams reaching the NHL final.


A lot will be said and written about Kevin Durant’s airball at the conclusion of Saturday night’s Milwaukee Bucks’ OT victory over the New Jersey Nets. But not enough will be said and written about the defence provided by Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday on the play. He was on Durant like you’re supposed to be and he did it within the rules. . . . BTW, Durant played all 53 minutes. He was 0-for-6 from the field in the OT period. Might his legs have left him?

——

It was Herb Brooks who told his 1980 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team that “the legs feed the wolf.” That might well have been proven on Saturday night when the Nets didn’t eat.


In mentioning here last week that the WHL’s board of governors had scrubbed Vancouverinter-conference play at least for 2021-22, I suggested that it likely was done in an effort to cut costs because teams haven’t had any revenue coming since mid-March of 2019. . . . Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, doesn’t see it that way. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia wrote: “Toigo balked at the idea that cost-cutting was the main factor in the league’s decision to do away with these road trips for a season. He says that it’s more about extended travel coming out of these COVID-19 times.” . . . Ewen then quoted Toigo as saying: “I think you want to do what you know you can count on being able to do. I think it’s logistical more than anything. We’re going to do more games with the U.S. teams. There’s good teams in the U.S. The more you see them, the more intense the games get, and the better the rivalries get.”


A NBA-related note from Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe: “A Twitter pal said ‘John Stockton’s stupidity has jinxed the Jazz.’ Hey, as good an explanation as any how a No. 1 seed with a 22-point lead against the Kawhi-less Clippers could not only blow a lead but lose by 12.” . . . She added: “For those who missed it, Stockton appeared in an anti-vaccine video.”


Sharks


Things I wonder about at 3 in the morning . . . How is the WHL going to deal with league and team officials, on-ice officials and players in regards to vaccinations in the lead-up to and during the 2021-22 season? . . . What if the Toronto Blue Jays had a bullpen? . . . How is construction on that new arena that is to house the Winnipeg Ice coming along? Will it be done in time for the 2021-22 season? . . . What’s happening with the lease-related lawsuit the City of Cranbrook filed against the WHL and the Ice’s owners in January? . . . Is it time for the NHL to go back to having one referee on the ice? Or maybe games  should play without any as they seemed to be doing for much of Sunday’s game between Vegas and host Montreal. Either way, the two-man system just doesn’t seem to be doing the job, does it? . . . More than two months have passed us by since the BCHL confirmed that it was leaving the umbrella of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. When will it let the world in on its plans for the immediate future?


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Man gets away with murder after eyewitness turns out to be NHL referee.


On Thursday, Brazil’s health ministry said there had been 66 positive tests among people involved with the Copa America soccer tournament. By Friday, that number had grown to 82. . . . Gee, maybe it wasn’t a good idea to move the tournament into one of the world’s hotspots? . . . Don’t forget that tournament organizers had said that it would be “the safest sporting event in the world.”

——

Soccer’s World Cup is to be decided in Qatar in 2022 and the country’s government has announced that spectators will have to have been vaccinated in order to be admitted to venues. . . . To date, Qatar has experienced 220,800 positive tests and 585 deaths. . . . The World Cup is scheduled to open on Nov. 21, 2022.


Look, everyone knows that baseball is full of enough numbers to choke a calculator. But this from Dan Shulman, the sometimes voice of the Toronto Blue Jays, about blew me away: “On the heels of (Saturday’s) nine-pitch AB, how about this — Bo Bichette has fouled off 278 pitches this season, more than anyone in baseball . . .” So that got me to wondering if there’s a post-season award for that?


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.


Confucius

WHL exempt from Alberta gov’t restrictions . . . AJHL has another team on virus leave . . . Rebels’ Sexsmith opens up about the season


If you’re paying attention, you already know that COVID-19 had another good day on Thursday.

In fact, you have to wonder if behind closed doors junior hockey operators are WHL2starting to wonder if the 2021-22 season is going to start anywhere close to on time, at least in Western Canada. Because — and let’s be honest here — we aren’t anywhere close to seeing the end of this.

When Alberta released its Thursday numbers, they were the worst the province has seen since the pandemic began in the early days of 2020.

So, from the Department of Better Late Than Never, the Alberta government responded with restrictions that cover various cities with particularly horrendous numbers, like Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Red Deer, each of them home to a WHL franchise.

Part of those restrictions included this:

“All indoor fitness activities are prohibited. This includes: all group physical activities, such as team sports, fitness classes and training sessions; all one-on-one lessons and training activities; all practices, training and games.”

But never fear WHL fans because it seems your favourite teams are exempt from these restrictions. With Red Deer playing on Thursday night, Rebels interim radio voice Troy Gillard tweeted that a “team official tells me the WHL does indeed remain exempt and games will continue as scheduled.”

Other areas under the restrictions are Airdrie, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Strathcona County, which includes Sherwood Park.

It would appear that the AJHL, like the WHL, is exempt from the restrictions because the Grande Prairie Storm is at home to the Sherwood Park Crusaders tonight (Friday) and Saturday, with the teams to play next weekend in Sherwood Park.


Plague


The AJHL has suspended the team activities of another team — the Calgary Canucks — after a positive COVID-19 test result was identified within the ajhlteam’s cohort. As per the league’s return-to-play protocols, the Canucks are on hold for at least 14 days. They were scheduled to play the Drayton Valley Thunder in Calgary tonight (Friday), on the road Sunday and May 7, and May 9 in Calgary, but those games all have been cancelled. . . .

On Tuesday, the AJHL halted team activities for the Whitecourt Wolverines and Bonnyville Pontiacs for 14 days because of a positive test in the Wolverines’ group. Those two teams had played each other on Saturday and Sunday. . . .

On Sunday, the Okotoks Oilers were put on hold for 14 days because of a positive test in their cohort. . . .

On April 23, the Drumheller Dragons experienced a positive test and they, too, were shut down for 14 days. . . .

On Wednesday, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons announced that they were ending their season out of an abundance of concern for the safety of players, billets and their community, which is under a local state of emergency. . . .

The league has seven teams up and running — Drayton Valley, Grande Prairie Storm, Sherwood Park Crusaders and Spruce Grove Saints in the North Division, and Brooks Bandits, Camrose Kodiaks and Olds Grizzlys in the South Division.

With seven teams and three two-team cohorts, the Spruce Grove Saints were left without a partner. That problem went away with the news regarding the Canucks. So the Saints are to play the Thunder tonight (Friday) in Spruce Grove and Saturday in Drayton Valley.

The AJHL schedule is to conclude on May 8.


File this under The Best Laid Plans: The Los Angeles Rams rented and outfitted a 9,000-square-foot beach house in Malibu from which their personnel was to set up shop and conduct the NFL draft. . . . On Thursday, general manager Les Snead announced that he has tested positive so will isolate at home and conduct the draft from there.


Retire


Mark Brennan, the Portland Winterhawks’ equipment manager, announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of this season. He has been the club’s equipment manager since 2012, after also working with, among others, the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers. When Portland’s season ends on May 11, Brennan will have worked 2,251 games. The Winterhawks’ news release is right here.

Brennan wasn’t behind a bench on Thursday night — he’ll be there tonight with Portland playing host to the Everett Silvertips — but there were three other WHL games . . .

In Lethbridge, the Medicine Hat Tigers broke a 1-1 tie with two shorthanded Tigersgoals and went on to beat the Hurricanes, 6-2. . . . Medicine Hat (13-6-1) had lost its previous three games. . . . Lethbridge is 8-11-2. . . . F Brett Kemp gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 6:44 of the first period, with F Jett Jones (5) getting the Hurricanes even at 12:07. . . . D Cole Clayton (9) sent the Tigers out front with the first shorthanded goal, at 3:51 of the second period, with F Nick McCarry (7) adding the second one at 10:48. . . . Medicine Hat put it away with the next three goals, too — Kemp’s second and 12th of the season, and two from F Lukas Svejkovsky, who also has 12. . . . F Ty Nash (2) got Lethbridge’s second goal on a late PP. . . .

F Cael Zimmerman’s OT goal gave the visiting Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 victory Calgaryover the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Hitmen improved to 9-7-2. . . . The Rebels (2-15-3) have lost 13 in a row (0-12-1). . . . F Josh Prokop (9) put Calgary out front, while shorthanded, at 2:39 of the first period and the teams exchanged goals through game’s end. . . . F Carter Anderson (2) got Red Deer even at 13:19, with D Jackson van de Least (3) replying for Calgary at 17:40. . . . Red Deer tied it on D Jace Weir’s second goal at 19:52. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (5) put the Hitmen back out front, 3-2, at 10:18 of the second period. . . . F Chris Douglas (6) forced OT with a Red Deer score at 12:48 of the third. . . . Zimmerman won it with his sixth goal of the season, at 4:19 of extra time. . . . Calgary F Sean Tschigel had two assists, giving him 18 points, including 10 goals, in 18 games. He went into this season with five goals and nine assists in 64 games. . . .

BTW, if you are interested in a good story about what life’s been like with the RedDeerstruggling Rebels who have been living in the arena since this season began, here’s a taste from D Joel Sexsmith:

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t really tough,” the 19-year-old told Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate. “It hasn’t been easy here. It certainly hasn’t been easy when you’re losing, too. I think the dynamic would shift if we’d been winning all the time and we haven’t been, that’s just the reality.

“We live here, we look at the rink every day and it kind of serves as a reminder that we are where we are in the standings. I think that’s really tough mentally. I would say I’m really grateful that I’m able to go through this with this group of guys. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I love this group of guys on this team.” . . . Hackett’s complete piece is right here and it’s well worth a read. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff broke a 3-3 tie at 18:27 of the third period as the Kelowna RocketsRockets beat the visiting Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . The Rockets (7-2-0) have won four in a row. . . . The Giants (9-7-0) have lost four straight. . . . Swetlikoff’s fourth goal of the season stood up as the winner. . . . Kelowna D Jake Lee (2) had tied the game at 14:29 of the third. . . . Vancouver led this one 2-0 on two first-period goals from F Zack Ostapchuk, at 9:03 and 9:40. . . . Ostapchuk, who has six goals in 16 games this  season, finished last season with five in 44 games as a freshman. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (4) got Kelowna’s first goal, on a PP, at 13:21. . . . The Rockets tied it on F Turner McMillen’s first WHL goal, shorthanded, at 4:19 of the second. That was Kelowna’s fifth shorthanded score in nine games. . . . McMillen was a ninth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He played two games last season and this was No. 9 this season. . . . Vancouver went back out front when F Bryce Bader (4) scored at 7:40. . . . Watching the replay of the winning goal, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s changed to F Mark Liwiski, who appeared to score off a Swetlikoff rebound.


Belarus (2-1-0) secured a quarter-final berth in the IIHF U18 World U18Championship in Texas on Thursday, with a 6-2 victory over Latvia (0-3-0) in Group A. . . . Sweden (2-1-0) beat Switzerland (1-2-0), 3-1, in the other Group A game. . . . In Group B, G Kaidan Mbereko stopped five shooters in the shootout as Team USA beat Czech Republic, 2-1. . . . In the other Group B game, Russia (2-0-1) skated past Germany (0-3-0), 6-1. . . . There are two games scheduled for today — Canada (2-0-0) meets Switzerland in Group A, while Finland (2-0-0) plays Germany in Group B.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation 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.


Monkees

Rossi: “Every day I woke up . . . I was so glad I woke up” . . . Canada has Wright stuff in routing Sweden . . . WHL’s Americans cleared to return


The Minnesota Wild selected Austrian F Marco Rossi with the ninth overall Wildselection of the NHL’s 2020 draft. He began the 2020-21 season with the Swiss League’s ZSC Lions, which is where he was when he contracted COVID-19 in November. . . . He later was cleared to play for Austria in the World Junior Championship in Edmonton, where he got into four games. . . . “The doctors told me if I played one more game in the World Junior Championship, this could have ended completely different,” Rossi told Michael Russo of The Athletic. “I’m thankful to God that he supported me. . . . I’m just happy that I’m still alive.” . . . After the WJC, Rossi had planned to take part in Minnesota’s training camp, but he didn’t get through the cardiac screening part of his medical — he was found to have myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that can come from COVID-19. So he was sent home to Austria. . . . “Every time before I went to sleep, I was so scared that I won’t wake up anymore,” Rossi told Russo. “Every night, before sleep, I was really sad and always crying because I was scared of that. I told my parents, ‘Could you sleep right next to my bed and be here ’til I fall asleep?’ And every day I woke up in the morning, I was so glad that I woke up. It was really hard.” . . . Rossi, who is 19 years of age, is believed to be on the road to recovery, but he still hasn’t been given clearance to resume training. . . . If you have a subscription to The Athletic, you are able to find Russo’s story there.


Canada opened the IIHF U18 World Championship in Plano, Texas, with a U18resounding 12-1 victory over Sweden in Group A on Tuesday night. Andrew Podnieks of iihf.com reports that “it was the most lopsided loss at the U18 in Sweden’s history. Canada had beaten Sweden, 8-1, in 2003.” . . . Canada took control with four first-period goals, then added four more in the second. . . . Canada, which got three goals from F Shane Wright, its captain, plays again Wednesday, this time against Latvia (TSN, 6 p.m. PT). . . . In other Tuesday games, Finland beat Russia, 4-3, and Team USA beat Germany, 5-3, in Group B. In Group A, Belarus dumped Switzerland, 7-1. . . . In Wednesday’s only other game, Czech Republic and Finland will meet in a Group B assignment.


Phone



The WHL’s Tri-City Americans were back on the ice on Monday and have been Americanscleared to return to game action after experience two positive tests in their group. The first positive test was discovered on April 16, with another one popping up while everyone was in isolation. . . . All individuals tested negative in the last go-round so the team was cleared to get back into game action. Their first game back is scheduled for Wednesday against the host Spokane Chiefs. . . . The WHL won’t be rescheduling the five Americans games that were impacted. That means that if there aren’t any further disruptions, the Portland Winterhawks are the only U.S. Division team that will play 24 games. the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds will each get in 23; the Chiefs 21; and the Americans 19.

Meanwhile, there were four games played last night, with two teams completing their developmental seasons in the Regina hub . . .

The Winnipeg Ice scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 6-4 Winnipegvictory over the Regina Pats in the Regina hub. . . . The Ice (18-5-1) finished its season with points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Pats (9-12-3) lost their last two games. . . . Winnipeg got started with first-period goals from F James Form (3) and D Mike Ladyman (3), with F Conor Geekie (9) making it 3-0 at 2:50 of the second period. . . . F Zack Smith scored while shorthanded for Regina at 15:55, but the Ice iced it with the game’s next two goals — from F Michael Milne, on a PP, at 17:28 of the second and F Zach Benson (10), at 1:22 of the third. . . . F Carter Messier (5) scored for Regina at 6:12, with Milne (6), who also had an assist, getting his second goal at 9:47 for a 6-2 lead. . . . Smith completed his first career three-goal game with two PP goals, at 17:11 and 17:32. Smith, who also had one assist, finished with seven goals. . . . G Carl Stankowski of the Ice, who backstopped the Seattle Thunderbirds to a WHL title at 16, stopped 24 shots in his final WHL game. He turned 21 on March 9. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs had one assist to run his franchise-record point streak to 23 games. He finished with 43 points and leads the Regina hub by six points over F Ben McCartney of the Brandon Wheat Kings, who has one game remaining. . . .

G Dustin Wolf stopped 37 shots to lead the visiting Everett Silvertips to a 3-2 Everettvictory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett (14-3-0) has won five in a row and leads the U.S. Division by nine points over Portland (8-6-3). . . . F Jacob Wright (7) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 2:43 of the second period, with Portland F Tyson Kozak (2) equalizing on a PP at 8:51. . . . Everett got the next two goals, with F Gage Goncalves (11) notching its first shorthanded goal this season 39 seconds into the third period and F Cole Fonstad (12) stretching the lead at 5:40. . . . F Jaydon Dureau (4) pulled Portland to within a goal at 14:40. . . . This season, Wolf is 13-2-0, 1.67, .945. . . . Associate coach Kyle Gustafson ran Portland’s bench with Mike Johnston, the general manager and head coach, in Texas watching the IIHF U18 World championship. . . .

F Josh Pillar scored twice and G Dylan Garand stopped 38 shots to lead the KamloopsKamloops Blazers to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (12-2-0) has won five straight. . . . Vancouver (9-6-0) has lost three in a row. . . . D Tanner Brown (1) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 13:25 of the second period. . . . Pillar tied the score at 14:36, then snapped the tie with his seventh goal, on a PP, at 7:38 of the third. . . . Kamloops was 1-for-3 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-for-6. . . . The Giants held 11-2 and 14-9 shot advantages in the first two periods respectively, but could only get one behind Garand, who now is 10-2-0, 2.16, .918. . . . Vancouver got 21 stops from G Trent Miner, who is 6-5-0, 1.61, .935. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets scored three times in the second period as they skated Rocketsto a 4-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Rockets, designated as the visitors for this one, are 6-2-0 and have won three straight. . . . The Royals (1-13-1) have lost 10 in a row. . . . Kelowna opened a 3-0 lead on a goal by F David Kope (3) just 26 seconds in and second-period scores by F Mark Liwiski (6), on a PP, and F Scott Cousins (1). . . . Cousins, an undrafted skater who turned 17 on Jan. 6, scored his first WHL goal in his sixth game. . . . D Matthew Smith (1) got Victoria on the board, on a PP, at 14:09 of the second period, but F Trevor Wong (6) got that one back, on a PP, at 15:36. . . . Kelowna D Tyson Feist (2) got the empty-netter. . . . Kope added two assists for a three-point outing. . . . The Rockets gave G Nicholas Cristiano, 16, his first WHL start, while the Royals did the same with Keegan Maddocks, 18. Both are from Langley, B.C. . . . Cristiano finished with 31 saves, one more than Maddocks. . . . Kelowna was 2-for-5 on the PP; Victoria was 1-for-9.


The AJHL announced its latest set of games on Tuesday, shortly after revealing that it had shut down the Whitecourt Wolverines and Bonnyville Pontiacs for 14 days. That move came after there was a positive test in the Wolverines’ cohort. They had played Saturday and Sunday in Bonnyville. . . . On Sunday, the AJHL suspended all Okotoks Oilers team activities for 14 days because of a positive test, and that came two days after the same thing occurred with the Drumheller Dragons. . . .

Meanwhile, the BCHL announced that its season will conclude without playoffs. It is playing in cohorts in five pods and the schedule is to wrap up on May 11. From a news release: “Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in the province and the challenges that changing cohorts would have presented, the league determined it was not feasible to conduct a postseason.”


Suez


Please don’t forget that my wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. Go ahead, make her day!

——

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.


Texting

Wickenheiser wonders if Olympics should go ahead . . . Did virus find Flames? It found P.K. Subban . . . Hitmen return with a bang


One of the things that really, really hurts — and also amazes and confuses me — is the lack of respect shown to healthcare workers during the pandemic.

The numbers go up and it doesn’t seem to mean anything to a whole lot of folks. A government institutes new restrictions and a whole lot of people immediately start looking for loopholes, or just flat-out refuse to follow the recommendations.

So here we are . . . more than 14 months into this mess. And through it all our healthcare workers just continue to do their jobs. Day after day. Night after night.

It’s been more than a year now and I can’t begin to imagine the angst, the emotions, that every single one of them has to be feeling. I can’t imagine the feeling in the pits of their stomachs as they prepare for another day of working in their chosen profession.

That brings us to Hayley Wickenheiser, who has gone from being one of the world’s greatest hockey players to medical school. These days, she works the front lines at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.

And she is wondering whether the Olympic Summer Games and Paralympics that are scheduled to be held in Tokyo this summer should go ahead.

“It’s very hard after what I’ve witnessed this past year and then think about the Games. I’ve seen such suffering,” the six-time Olympian and four-time gold medal-winner told Devin Heroux of CBC Sports.

Wickenheiser, who also is on the IOC’s Athletes Commission, asked the same questions in March 2020 that she’s asking now, and that’s when organizers chose to postpone the Olympics and Paralympics until July 2021.

And here we are again. But, as Heroux points out, Japan has vaccinated fewer than two per cent of its population and a majority of the citizens there don’t want the Games to go ahead.

“I think we maybe have another month before they have to make a decision,” Wickenheiser said. “If things change drastically in terms of vaccinations in the country of Japan. Cases there are spiking . . . This is someone’s country we’re going into. These are real people living in crisis. We have to be sensitive to the needs of a nation.”

And when it comes time to make a decision . . .

“This decision needs to be made by medical and health experts, not by corporate and big business,” Wickenheiser told Heroux. “A very clear and transparent explanation needs to be given if the Games are going to go ahead.”

Heroux’s complete story is right here.


Fire


Prior to Friday, the Calgary Flames had been the only NHL team not to have had nhl2to place a player on the COVID-19 protocol list. However, it seems the virus has found the Flames.

Calgary cancelled its Friday morning skate in advance of the evening’s game against the visiting Montreal Canadiens. According to the team, a player received a positive test on Thursday.

Later Friday, the Flames placed F Josh Leivo on the COVID-19 list. After beating the Canadiens, 4-2, Calgary head coach Darryl Sutter said that Leivo was asymptomatic.


D P.K. Subban of the New Jersey Devils said Friday that he has tested positive. In a video that he posted to Twitter, he said the virus “got right in my kitchen.” Subban, 31, was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Tuesday. . . . “The COVID thing hit me pretty hard,” he said, “but just battling through it, working through it. Just remember to take care of yourselves, stay healthy, I love you guys and I definitely will be back in the mix soon.”


The AJHL announced Friday afternoon that there has been a positive test “in ajhlthe Drumheller Dragons cohort,” so team activities have been suspended. . . . The Dragons were to have played the Okotoks Oilers on Saturday and Sunday, but those games have been “cancelled.” . . . Drumheller hasn’t played since April 3. . . . Okotoks last played on March 28. It was to have played the Calgary Canucks on April 2 and the Brooks Bandits on April 4 but both games were cancelled.


In the QMJHL, athletic therapist Joseph Ferrar and equipment manager Jean-qmjhlnewFrançois Larochelle of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies was evicted from the “protected environment” in Victoriaville for being in violation of COVID-19 protocol. The Huskies also were fined $5,000. . . . According to the league, “Support staff from within the protected environment have been found to replace them.” . . . The Huskies were in Victoriaville to open a first-round playoff series against the Tigres.


Canyon


Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times was back on the legal beat yesterday, reporting Krakenthat the city’s NHL team, the Kraken, “moved quickly Friday to head off a legal dispute with a University District punk-rock bar alleging trademark infringement and tortious interference in a $3.5 million lawsuit filed the previous day.” . . . The team said it won’t be naming the restaurant at its practice facility the Kraken Bar & Grill. . . . The owners of The Kraken Bar and Lounge, the dive bar that doesn’t want to be a hockey bar, filed suit Thursday, asking that the team not be allowed to use Kraken as a nickname or in any other marketing or projects. . . . Baker’s latest story is right here. . . . Spoiler: It doesn’t sound as though this move by the Kraken is going to appease the dive bar’s owners.


I mentioned here yesterday that there is ample speculation about the future of the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets. No, they aren’t going to end up in Kamloops or Kelowna. . . . But if the Canucks choose to make a move, where might the AHL team land? . . . Rob Williams, who always has a solid grasp of what’s happening in the AHL, takes a look at some of the options right here.


Prof


The Calgary Hitmen were hit by a positive test earlier this month and were shut WHL2down for more than two weeks. They returned to game action on Friday and opened with a four-goal first period en route to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Kelowna Rockets, on hold for more than two weeks after a handful of positive tests, returned on April 7 with four goals in the first 27 minutes of a 7-5 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops. . . . Hmmm. . . . The Tri-City Americans are scheduled to return from their virus-enforced layoff on Wednesday. . . . In the meantime, there were six WHL games played last night. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen, playing their first game since April 5 because of a positive Calgarytest, scored four times in a span of 3:11 in the first period and went to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Josh Prokop (7), F Cael Zimmerman (4) and two from F Adam Kydd gave Calgary a 4-0 lead before the game was 11 minutes old. . . . Kydd has six goals in 15 games; last season, he finished with six goals in 53 games. . . . The Hurricanes bounced back with three second-period goals. The first two came from D Alex Cotton (7) and F Dino Kambeitz (5) added a shorthanded score. . . . F Brandon Whynott (1) restored Calgary’s two-goal lead at 19:03 of the second period, and F Riley Stotts (4) got the empty-netter at 19:58 of the third. . . . Whynott, a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal in his 14th game. . . . The Hitmen (7-6-2) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Hurricanes (7-9-2) have lost two in a row. . . .

F Owen Pederson scored twice to lead the Winnipeg Ice to a 4-1 victory over the WinnipegSaskatoon Blades. . . . The Ice (16-5-1) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It moved into second in the Regina hub standings, two points ahead of Saskatoon and one behind the idle Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (14-5-3) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Wheat Kings have three games remaining, with the Ice and Blades each having two more. . . . The Ice scored the game’s first four goals. . . . Pederson got it started at 6:05 of the first period. . . . D Mike Ladyman (2) added another at 11:00, with F Connor McLennon (14) making it 3-0 at 14:32 of the second. . . . Pederson, who has 13 goals, got his second at 5:40 of the third. . . . F Alex Morozoff (2) scored for Saskatoon at 12:49. . . . Pederson has 30 points in 22 games. . . . McLennon also had two assists. He now has 33 points, including 19 assists, in 22 games. . . . Winnipeg F Peyton Krebs had two assists to run his point streak to 21 games. He now shares the Ice’s franchise record for longest such streak with F Mike Comrie, who did it in 2000-01 with the Kootenay Ice (hey, remember when Cranbrook had a WHL team?). . . . F Karter Prosofsky had an assist for the Ice. Les Lazaruk, the veteran radio voice of the Blades, reports that Karter is the “son of Tyler, former Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets forward, also nephew to F Garrett Prosofsky,” who played with the Blades, Prince Albert Raiders and Portland Winterhawks. . . .

The Regina Pats scored two second-period goals 13 seconds apart and went on Patsto a 4-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Cole Dubinsky gave the Pats (9-10-3) a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:02 of the first period. . . . They broke it open in the second when D Layton Feist (5) scored, on a PP, at 15:30, and F Drew Englot make it 3-0 at 15:43. . . . F Zack Smith (4) scored while shorthanded for a 4-0 lead at 3:15 of the third period. . . . The Warriors (8-12-2) got their goal from D Cory King (2) at 12:46 of the third. . . . Regina D Ryker Evans ran his point streak to 12 games with an assist. He has two goals and 14 assists over that stretch. . . . The Pats were designated as the visitors for this game in the Regina hub. They are 3-5-3 as the home team and 6-5-0 as the visitors. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers erased a 1-0 deficit with three third-period goals as they Kamloopsbeat the Victoria Royals, 3-2. . . . Kamloops (10-2-0) has won three straight. . . . Victoria (1-11-1) has lost eight in a row. . . . F Brayden Schuurman (4) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 12:50 of the second period. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (6) got the Blazers even 36 seconds into the third. . . . F Connor Zary (5), at 12:57, and F Fraser Minten (1), at 16:25, stretched the lead to 3-1. . . . Zary had served 16 minutes in penalties — three minors and a misconduct — earlier in the game. . . . F Brandon Cutler (5) got the Royals within a goal while on a PP at 18:20. . . . Minten’s first WHL goal came in his 10th game — he has six assists — and stood up as the winner. He was a fourth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . G Dylan Ernst, in his second start of the season, stopped 14 for the Blazers. . . . At the other end, Adam Evanoff blocked 31. . . .

F Jake Poole had a goal and two assists to lead the host Kelowna Rockets to a 5-1 Rocketsvictory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Rockets now are 4-2-0. . . . The Cougars (4-7-2) have lost four in a row. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (2) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 16:15 of the first period. . . . The Cougars tied it on F Jonny Hooker’s fifth goal, on a PP, at 15:49 of the second. . . . Kelowna D Tyson Feist (1) broke the tie at 18:55 and F Dylan Wightman (3) upped the lead to 3-1 at 19:38. . . . Kelowna F Alex Swetlikoff (3) added a PP goal at 1:34 of the third period, and Poole concluded the scoring with his first goal at 17:27. . . . Poole, a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, went into the game with three points, all assists, in his first five WHL games. . . .

G Dustin Wolf came within 1:58 of his 25th career shutout as the visiting Everett EverettSilvertips beat the Spokane Chiefs, 6-1. . . . Wolf, who recorded a 5-0 shutout over host Spokane on Thursday night, was beaten by F Cordel Larson at 18:02 of the third period. . . . Wolf earned his 100th career regular-season victory in his 142nd game. He is 1.83, .936 in those appearances. . . . D Zach Ashton, who went into the game with one goal in 89 career games, scored twice for Everett. . . . Ashton’s other goal came on Jan. 8, 2019, while he was with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . F Cole Fonstad (11) got Everett’s first goal, at 9:48 of the first period. . . . Everett also got goals from F Ryan Hofer (5), F Hunter Campbell (8) and F Austin Roest (2). . . . Roest, who also had an assist and was named the game’s first star, is the son of Stacy Roest, a former WHLer (Medicine Hat, 1990-95) who now is in his ninth season with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, now as assistant general manager and director of player development. . . . Wolf finished with 21 saves. . . . The Silvertips (13-3-0) have won four in a row. They lead the U.S. Division by 11 points over the idle Portland Winterhawks (6-5-3). . . . Spokane now is 4-7-3.


——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers have signed Mat Hehr, their general manager and head coach, to a contract extension that covers the next two seasons with an option for a third season. Hehr, 32, has been with the Terriers since 2016 when he signed on as an assistant coach. He stepped in as GM and head coach during the 2017-18 season.


Irony

Why can’t we have Green Shirt Day every month? . . . Tragedy strikes Bedard family . . . Canucks confirm variant involved in positive tests

It really was awe-inspiring to cruise social media on Wednesday — Green Shirt Day — and bathe in the impact that the Logan Boulet Effect has had in so many different places and in so many different corners.

Employees from a million business have bought in, as have so many cities and towns and villages, and schools and leagues and teams.

Dorothy
Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant in 2013, is a big fan of Green Shirt Day and the Logan Boulet Effect.

As I sit here in my recliner, my laptop in front of me — that’s why it’s called a laptop — I can only marvel at how much has transpired involving organ donor registration since Logan Boulet’s death three years ago.

Logan was killed in the accident that involved the bus that was carrying the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. As it turned out, Logan had signed an organ donor card on his 21st birthday just five weeks prior to the accident, and he had informed his family. As a result, his organs — including heart and kidneys — and his corneas were taken for transplant.

As Logan’s father, Toby, told Karen Pauls of CBC News: “Logan was able to make six people’s lives better. He basically saved six lives.”

Since then, Logan has helped save an untold number of lives and make so many lives a whole lot better. Since the Logan Boulet Effect began to take off, it is estimated that 300,000 Canadians have registered as organ donors.

Figures compiled by the Canadian Transplant Association show that 90 per cent of Canadians support organ donation. However, only 23 per cent of that group actually have registered as donors.

Furthermore, CTA figures reveal that about 4,500 Canadians are waiting for organs.

As someone who has benefitted firsthand from organ donation — if you’re not aware, my wife, Dorothy, is a kidney transplant recipient, having gotten one through the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver — I can tell you that there aren’t words to express exactly what the Logan Boulet Effect means to us.

And a mere “Thank you” to Logan’s parents, Bernadine and Toby, really doesn’t seem enough considering all that they do, especially the countless interviews, to keep this movement in the spotlight.

So while April 7 has come to be recognized as Green Shirt Day, let’s not limit organ donor registration to one day a year. What’s wrong with reminding folks of the Logan Boulet Effect on the seventh day of every month?

Did you wear green for Green Shirt Day on Wednesday? Why not wear green on May 7 and June 7 and July 7 and . . .?

Why not?


If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, in the 2021 Kamloops Kidney Walk, you may do so right here. She launched her eighth straight fund-raising campaign on Wednesday — Green Shirt Day!


F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats has started his WHL career like a house on fire, despite being only 15 years of age. But, unfortunately, the hurt that sometimes accompanies life touched him and his family on Tuesday when his grandfather, Garth Bedard, 73, was killed in a car accident near his home in Sicamous, B.C.

According to RCMP, a westbound pickup truck and an eastbound sedan, driven by a 46-year-old woman from Salmon Arm, collided head-on on the Trans-Canada Highway, seven kilometres east of Sicamous after 1 p.m.

Garth Bedard was the owner of Bedard logging in Sicamous.

Kevin Gallant, a former radio voice of the Pats, posted on social media:

“This is absolutely devastating. I watched so many games with Garth and his wife Lynn. My deepest sympathies to the entire Bedard family, and this is an extremely close family. Thoughts and prayers for Lynn. Also to Tom, Melanie, Maddie and Connor. I can’t imagine what the Bedard family is going through, but my heart aches.”

“We know how close Connor was with his grandfather, who was one of Connor’s biggest fans,” the Pats said in a statement. “Garth was incredibly proud of Connor and took great joy in his grandson’s passion for hockey and even more so in the person he has become.”

According to the Pats, Bedard will play against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday and then return to the family home in North Vancouver on Saturday. Soon after that, he is scheduled to join Canada’s U18 team to play in the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, from April 26 through May 6.

Bedard, the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft, has 10 goals and 16 assists in 14 games. He had two goals and two assists on Tuesday night as the Pats beat the Swift Current Broncos, 6-1.



Help


The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks issued a statement on Wednesday, revealing that they have had 25 people, including 21 players, test positive for COVID-19. CanucksThat includes four staff members, three of them believed to be coaches, and three players off the taxi squad.

The Canucks hadn’t spoken publicly about the situation in more than a week, since F Adam Gaudette was removed from a March 30 practice due to having tested positive.

The statement that was issued on Wednesday came from Dr. Jim Bovard, the team’s physician, and Dr. Josh Douglas, an infectious disease physician.

The 18 players off the Canucks’ roster who are on the COVID-19 protocol list all tested positive; none of them are on the list because of being deemed a close contact.

What isn’t know is how many family members have tested positive.

The Canucks statement also confirmed that a variant of COVID-19 is involved in the outbreak, although it didn’t state which one. There have been reports that the P.1 variant that originated in Brazil is part of the outbreak.

According to the statement, “Full genome sequencing by BCCDC will be required to determine which specific type.”

The statement also cleared up the origin of the outbreak:

“An ongoing investigation by Vancouver Coastal Health and club contact tracing staff attributes the source infection to a single individual obtained in a community setting, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location. Rapid spread of infection throughout the team indicates a link between contacts and the primary case.”

So the virus was picked up by one person in the community and it spread like wildfire through the organization. Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet reported that “the community setting is believed to have been a Vancouver restaurant.”

MacIntyre’s thorough Wednesday report is right here.

After the press release was issued, D Nate Schmidt was added to the protocol list, showing that this situation is far from being over. If you’re wondering, D Jordie Benn, F Brock Boeser, F J.T. Miller and F Jimmy Vesey are the only players on the Canucks’ roster who haven’t been on the list.

Officially, the NHL has postponed four Vancouver games. However, the Canucks won’t be playing the Oilers in Edmonton on Monday and Wednesday. After that, the Canucks aren’t scheduled to play until April 17 and 19 when they are to play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted on Wednesday that “the NHL is targeting the end of next week for the Vancouver Canucks to return to game action. Still a fluid situation.”

The Canucks, who have 19 games remaining on their 56-game regular-season schedule, last played on March 24.


The AJHL announced Wednesday night that the Drumheller Dragons have ajhlexperienced a positive COVID-19 test. The team had been shut down since  Monday because of a positive test on the Camrose Kodiaks, who had been playing in the same cohort. So the league said Wednesday that Drumheller “will continue its isolation period.” . . . Besides Camrose and Drumheller, the Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm, Okotoks Oilers and Whitecourt Wolverines have all paused their activities.


Dick


There were four games in the WHL on Wednesday night. Some highlights and tidbits . . .

F Peyton Krebs had a goal and three assists as the Winnipeg Ice doubled the WinnipegMoose Jaw Warriors, 6-3, in Regina. . . . Krebs (8) scored the game’s first goal, at 9:01 of the first period, and the Ice (10-4-0) added three more over the next 4:10. . . . Krebs, who has points in 13 straight games, now has eight goals and 19 assists after being blanked in his first outing. His 27 points now leads the Regina hub. F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats has 26. . . . The Ice has won four in a row. . . . The Warriors (6-7-1) got to within a goal, at 4-3, when F Atley Calvert (2) scored at 18:18 of the second period. . . . But Winnipeg F Jakin Smallwood (10) scored on a PP at 15:59 of the third, and F Connor McClennon (8) added the empty-netter. . . . McClennon finished with two goals and an assist. . . . The Ice was 3-for-3 on the PP. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to eight games with a 4-1 Brandonvictory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . While the Wheat Kings improved to 11-2-1, the Broncos’ third straight loss dropped them to 3-10-1. . . . Brandon enjoyed a 37-21 edge in shots, including 15-4 in the third period. . . . F Nate Danielson (3) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 14:55 of the first period with his third PP goal of the season, and F Jake Chiasson (7) upped it to 2-0 at 9:40 of the second. . . . The Broncos got close at 16:39 when F Aiden Bulych (5) scored. . . . F Tyson Zimmer (2) restored Brandon’s two-goal lead at 16:39, and D Chad Nychuk (2) got the empty-netter. . . . The game was played in 2:04, the quickest one in the WHL this season. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs rode three second-period goals to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane head coach Adam Maglio recorded his first victory as a WHL head coach. . . . The Chiefs (1-4-3) had been the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams without a victory. . . . D Luke Zazula (3) scored twice for the Americans (4-5-0), the first one giving them the lead in the first period. . . . D Bobby Russell (1) tied it at 3:40 of the second and F Reed Jacobson gave the Chiefs the lead at 3:40. Jacobson, who has four goals in eight games, scored twice and added an assist. It was his first career four-point game. Last season, Jacobson finished with four goals in 50 games. . . . Zazula’s second goal, at 16:15 of the second, got Tri-City to within a goal, but Jacobson restored the two-goal margin at 15:18 of the third. . . . D Lukas Dragicevic, the fourth-overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Americans. His father, Milan, is a former WHL player (Regina, New Westminster, Tri-City, Spokane, Victoria Cougars, 1986-90) and coach with Tri-City and the Vancouver Giants. He was the Giants’ first head coach (2000-02). He now is the U18 prep coach at Delta Academy. . . .

The Vancouver Giants scored the last four goals and beat the Victoria Royals, 6-Vancouver4, in Kelowna. . . . The Royals (1-4-1) erased a 2-1 deficit on three early second-period goals in 3:25 — from F Brandon Cutler (3), F Brayden Schuurman (3) and F Alex Bolshakov (1). . . . After Bolshakov’s goal at 4:30, the Giants made a goaltending change — Drew Sim out, Trent Miner in. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (6) scored for Vancouver 37 seconds later and F Justin Sourdif tied it at 7:47. . . . F Bryce Bader (3) broke the tie at 18:45 of the second and Sourdif (3) added insurance at 10:42 of the third. . . . The Giants (5-1-0) have won five in a row. . . . Miner was perfect over 35:30, stopping all nine shots he faced. Miner went into the game having put up three straight shutouts; he came out with the franchise record for consecutive shutout minutes (225:48) going back to last season, breaking the record of 207 minutes that had belonged to Ryan Kubic from the 2015-16 season. Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers holds the WHL record (265:13) from the 1967-68 season. . . . Miner also has the longest shutout streak in the WHL this season (215:30), having surpassed the run of 213:16 put up by Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. . . . This season, Miner has a 0.00 GAA, having stopped all 73 shots he has faced.


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