Let me have a go at the headline: “League sanctioned bare-knuckle fight results in man cracking unprotected skull on ice and suffering brain injury”. And I know many will see me as weak, or worse, for saying this: Stop it. Stop it now. Get it out of the game tomorrow morning #NHL
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. . . .
#WHL EDM/LET: @EdmOilKings take the 1-goal win thanks to a shorthanded 2nd period buzzer beater by Jalen Luypen followed by Logan Dowhaniuk recording first ever game winning goal in 125th career match. Sebastian Cossa picks up career win #40 in 55th appearance (72.7%).
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.
#WHL REG/WPG: @WHLWpgICE extend winning streak by more than doubling Regina in shots and goals. In 25th career game, Matthew Savoie finally finds the back of the net for the first time while Zachary Benson pots a pair for second time in career; points in 17 of 27 all-time games
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.
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:
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.
A tip of the Taking Note fedora to the Swift Current Broncos. They opened their WHL 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 Vancouver 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 theGiants 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.
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.
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.)
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE, PART III:
COVID-19 in Sask.: New records set for highest daily cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions https://t.co/6zKnlOo35k
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 . . .
The #Vikings radio call of Greg Joseph's missed FG is something else. The range of emotions if you were listening to this live … man.
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.
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!
Hockey insiders have long considered Wayne Gretzky, Sammy Davis Jr., and Gordie Howe the ultimate dream line. pic.twitter.com/fOW8f8IVwV
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.
Postmedia has destroyed that landscape. Every one of their papers that I looked at this morning featured essayists telling me that Trudeau the Younger is a complete train wreck (the worst) as PM and Erin O'Toole is as pure as a saint's soul.
It's an insulting, condescending piece of pap, and I suppose Kinsella will next inform women that they make too much noise about abortion. At any rate, give me the old days, when newspapers hither and yon didn't serve a master in the Republic of Tranna.
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.”
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.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Started about 45 minutes ago. 42 km mark, West Pavillion. Shot is from in town. #Lillooet – it’s 45 degrees (113f) and things are unbelievably dry. This is terrifying. We’ve been on evacuation alert a few times, evacuated once, and seeing this is devastating. #forestfirepic.twitter.com/mW4RJC5zc8
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.”
On 9/2/20, Brent wrote, "I've never taken a flu shot and I'll never take a COVID shot."
On 5/3/21: "Zinc & vitamin D regiment > Moderna and Pfizer"
On 6/23/21: "This is Brent's daughter… dad died of COVID…PLEASE save your families this heartache. Go get your shot."
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.”
Dizzy Trout born OTD in 1915. First time he faced Ted Williams he struck Ted out & went into @RedSox clubhouse & asked Ted to autograph the ball! Next time Williams belted a long HR & yelled, " Get that ball & I'll autograph it too! @sigg20@AndyFurmanFSR
The SJHL’s board of governors and Bill Chow, the league’s commissioner, have agreed 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.
The AJHL held its AGM on Saturday and decided on a 60-game regular season that 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.
The Edmonton Oil Kings announced Tuesday that Czech D Simon Kubicek has committed 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).
As a 20 year old with the Moncton Wildcats @dscdejong3 set a high standard for community involvement using his platform to raise awareness and save lives. Tristan constantly took action by donating blood, joining the stem cell registry..(cont’d) pic.twitter.com/sJT6hUTgSC
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.
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, was 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.
First it was Dominique Ducharme, the Montreal Canadiens’ interim head coach, testing 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 inter-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.”
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:
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 starting 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.
The AJHL has suspended the team activities of another team — the Calgary Canucks — after a positive COVID-19 test result was identified within the team’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.
30+ Seasons. 2,251 Games. One heck of a career.
Winterhawks Head Equipment Manager Mark "Peaches" Brennan announced today that he'll be retiring at the end of this season.
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 goals 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 over 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 struggling 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 Rockets 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 thisseason, 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 Championship 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:
The Minnesota Wild selected Austrian F Marco Rossi with the ninth overall selection 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 resounding 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.
Congratulations to HC & GM Mark Lamb for recording his 250th @TheWHL victory last night as a Head Coach!
The WHL’s Tri-City Americans were back on the ice on Monday and have been cleared 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 victory 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 victory 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 Kamloops 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 to 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.”
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:
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.
Prior to Friday, the Calgary Flames had been the only NHL team not to have had to 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 the 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-François 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.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times was back on the legal beat yesterday, reporting that 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.
The Calgary Hitmen were hit by a positive test earlier this month and were shut down 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 test, 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 Saskatoon 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 to 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 beat 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 victory 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 Silvertips 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.
Canada’s Kidney Paired Donation program offers patients with chronic kidney disease and their incompatible friend or family member wishing to donate a kidney the possibility of exchanging donors with other pairs in the same situation. For more info.: https://t.co/KbiHeIcaMfpic.twitter.com/EoAjRT0As1
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.
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.
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 . . .?
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.
Just a reminder that if the COVID pandemic was the Second World War, Pearl Harbour would be a year away. If it was the Great Depression, it would be Christmas 1930.
Let’s get it together, stop losing our minds, and get through this.
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. That 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 experienced a positive COVID-19 test. The team had been shut down sinceMonday 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.
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 Moose 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 victory 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, 6-4, 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.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
It was one week ago today (Tuesday) when F Adam Gaudette was removed from the ice during a Vancouver Canucks’ practice because of a positive test.
On Monday, Vancouver F Nils Hoglander was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, the 17th player off the roster to land there. Keep in mind that being on the list doesn’t mean a player has tested positive; he might have been deemed a close contact of someone who is positive.
There also are three coaches who have tested positive, while two players off the taxi squad are believed to have tested positive or been deemed as close contacts.
So far, D Jordie Benn, F Brock Boeser, F Tyler Graovac, F J.T. Miller, D Nate Schmidt, F Jimmy Vesey and F Jake Virtanen haven’t gone into protocol, although all are self-isolating.
The Canucks, who haven’t said a word about any of this since the original confirmation of Gaudette’s status, are believed to have been hit by the P.1 variant from Brazil.
The Canucks have had four games postponed by the NHL. Two others, scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, haven’t officially been scrubbed but are showing on the NHL schedule as having been postponed.
Still, Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told The Canadian Press via email on Monday that he expects the Canucks to complete their 56-game schedule.
While admitting that the numbers are “concerning from a health and safety standpoint,” Daly wrote that they aren’t necessarily concerning “from a scheduling standpoint.”
Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, has spoken with his son Brandon, a veteran forward with the Canucks.
“We FaceTimed (Sunday) night,” Brent told Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, “and he was pretty down and out, feeling pretty sick. Brandon has tested positive and he’s got symptoms — body aches, headaches, chills — just like you have the flu. I guess each guy is different in terms of how it affects you, especially with this Brazilian variant. For younger people to get this sick, it’s scary.”
Brandon has moved to the basement of the family’s home, away from his pregnant wife and two young children, ages two and three.
“They were just told to get into quarantine and have the wife and kids go down to the rink to get tested every day,” Brent said. “There’s a lot to this, what the families have to do now. We’re keeping fingers crossed.”
As for a return to play, well, that’s got Brent wondering. As he told Francis: “”It’s not like you’re talking two or three guys. If all these guys have been sick and they have to be cap compliant, could the Canucks come back and play? I don’t know how they can do it.”
The AJHL has suspended the team activities of two more teams on Monday. That means the AJHL now has six of its 13 teams unable to partake in hockey activities. . . . The Camrose Kodiaks and Drumheller Dragons were in one cohort and the league says that “as the result of a positive COVID-19 test in the Camrose Kodiaks cohort . . .” both teams are suspended for 14 days, as per the league’s return-to-play protocol. . . . Earlier, the league did the same with the Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm, Okotoks Oilers and Whitecourt Wolverines. . . . In normal times, the AJHL features 15 teams; however, the Canmore Eagles and Lloydminster Bobcats opted out of the return to play.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 marks the 3rd Anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. Please join us on the COH Facebook page on April 6th at 4:30 pm for a virtual tribute service as we honor and pay tribute to the 2017-18 Humboldt Broncos.
Meanwhile, there were five games in the WHL on Monday. Some highlights . . .
F Dylan Guenther scored twice and added an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings dumped the host Red Deer Rebels, 6-1. . . . He’s got 12 goals and 11 assists in 12 games. . . . The Oil Kings (12-1-0) swept the three-game weekend series, outscoring the Rebels (2-9-2), 20-4, in the process. . . . F Kaid Oliver (8) and F Jaden Luypen, Guenther’s linemates, each added a pair of goals. . . . Luypen has 10 goals in 13 games. He finished last season with nine in 64 games. . . . This was that line’s last game together as Guenther is preparing to go into isolation before joining Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship in Texas. . . . Edmonton has won each of its last 17 regular-season meetings with Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings scored three first-period goals while enjoying a 20-1 edge in shots. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 15 shots in recording his 11th straight victory. Andrew Peard, the play-by-play voice of the Oil Kings, says that ties the franchise record set by Tristan Jarry (Nov. 14-Dec. 15, 2013). . . . F Dawson Seitz, the 20th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with Edmonton. . . . F Jake Neighbours of the Oil Kings is on a 12-game point streak, with five goals and 17 assists over that stretch. . . .
The Calgary Hitmen scored twice in the shootout to earn a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Each team scored once in each of the first two periods and twice in the third. . . . F Josh Prokop and F Riley Stotts scored in the circus for the Hitmen (6-6-2), with F Brett Kemp counting for the Tigers (9-3-1). . . . F Sean Tschigerl (6) had two goals for Calgary, which got three assists from F Riley Fiddler-Schultz, who enjoyed his first career three-point outing in his 111th game. . . . Tschigerl went into this season with five goals in 64 games over two seasons. He has six goals in 14 games this season. . . . F Oren Shtrom (3) scored twice for Medicine Hat. . . .
F Jagger Firkus scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-3 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . F Ryker Evans (2) had given Regina (4-6-3) a 3-0 lead at 5:01 of the third period. . . . The Warriors (6-6-1) tied it on goals from F Kade Runke (1), F Josh Hoekstra (1) and F Eric Alarie (8), the latter scoring at 19:43. . . . Regina F Connor Berard had his career-opening point streak stopped at 12 games. He was credited with nine shots on goal. . . . Bedard scored in the second round of the shootout, only to have F Brayden Yager tie it. . . . Bedard will play two more games with the Pats before going into isolation prior to joining Canada’s U18 team. . . . All three games between these teams have needed extra time. The Warriors won the first one, 5-4 in OT, with the Pats taking the second, 3-2 in OT. . . .
The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to seven games with a 3-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Regina. . . . F Ridly Greig (5)broke a 2-2 tie with a shorthanded goal at 9:27 of the third period. . . . Greig scored after blocking a pair of shots on the same kill. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (6) had pulled the Wheat Kings (10-2-1) into a tie, on a PP, at 14:12 of the second. . . . F Justin Nachbaur (4) scored both goals for Prince Albert (4-7-2). . . . D Braden Schneider had the primary assist on each of Brandon’s first two goals. . . .
G Trent Miner recorded his third straight shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Blazers, 4-0, in Kamloops. . . . Miner finished with 30 saves, meaning he has stopped all 64 shots he has faced while in the Kamloops hub. . . . Miner is the second WHL goaltender to put up three straight shutouts this season, after Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. . . . Vancouver and Kamloops each is 4-1-0. . . . The WHL record for consecutive shutouts is four and is held by Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers (Dec. 29, 1967 through Jan. 13, 1968). . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (2) scored the game’s first goal at 10:14 of the first period. F Justin Sourdif (1) and F Justin Lies (1) added second-period goals, with F Adam Hall (4) counting in the third. . . . Lies was ejected with a checking-from-behind major at 2:18 of the third.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The Vancouver Canucks have 22 players on their active roster. As of Sunday afternoon, 16 of them were on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. . . . When we went to bed on Saturday, that number was 14. On Sunday, D Jalen Chatfield and F Marc Michaelis were added to the list. . . .
To date, four Vancouver games have been postponed. The Canucks are scheduled to play the Flames in Calgary on Thursday and Saturday nights, but you have to think it’s a reach to expect that game to take place. . . .
Later Sunday night, Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted: “One more Canucks player tested positive today.” . . . That would take the number on the protocol list to 17.
Source close to the Canucks situation – “This is the first wave of it where I’ve heard guys really question whether it’s worth playing or not.”
“One Canucks player told ESPN he hadn’t heard from a team representative about any players going to the hospital, but he had heard of teammates receiving IV treatments for severe dehydration, presumably at their homes. A source told ESPN that at least three Canucks coaches have tested positive for the virus as well. In addition, many family members of players have tested positive and are experiencing symptoms, according to sources.”
She quoted an agent of a Canucks player as saying: “Fatigue, dehydration, the symptoms are intense. It’s knocked a lot of guys out. Some can’t even get out of bed.”
Hockey leagues and teams hate transparency the way a snowman despises warm weather. Throw in privacy issues related to healthcare and you can bet that information on what is going on with the Canucks’ coaches, players and families will be hard to come by.
That’s how we came to have Darren Dreger of TSN and Postmedia’s Ben Kuzma entertaining the Twitterverse with a brief exchange on Sunday.
Dreger had tweeted this at 9:19 a.m. PT: “Number of positive cases climbing within the Vancouver Canucks. More than 20 players/coaches combined have tested positive. Variant symptoms include vomiting, cramping and dehydration. Family members are getting it. Scary situation. Next 5-7 days will determine scheduling.”
Kuzma came back with this at 10:16 a.m.: “Been told reported number of positive COVID-19 cases with Canucks isn’t entirely accurate. The number is under 20. There haven’t been severe symptoms. Most experiencing mild headaches, fever, fatigue and lethargy. No reports of vomiting, few with worse symptoms better.”
Dreger responded at 10:50 a.m.: “18 players and 3 coaches is what a source said this morning.As for the symptoms . . . provided by the same source and confirmed by an NHL source.”
Rick Bowness, the head coach of the Dallas Stars, left their Sunday night game after the second period and didn’t return. You guessed it . . . COVID-19 protocols. Bowness has been fully vaccinated, however, and the team is convinced that it’s a false positive. . . . The Stars, you may recall, had a nightmarish run-in with the virus just before this season got started. Here’s hoping they aren’t in for a repeat.
“So who ratted them out? An opposing line coach? Some largemouth?” wondered Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Auburn University’s bass-fishing team — originally suspended for the rest of the year for repeatedly violating school COVID-19 travel policies — has been reinstated upon appeal and can resume angling on April 22. Great — just in time for preseason two-a-days.”
The AJHL, with four teams already shut down for 14 days due to positive tests, announced Sunday that it had postponed that night’s game between the Camrose Kodiak and Olds Grizzlys “to allow for the analysis of a COVID-19 test as per the AJHL return-to-play protocols.” . . . The Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm, Okotoks Oilers and Whitecourt Wolverines were put on hold during the week.
This is what loser points have done to statistics. . . . The Dallas Stars have played 36 games; they have 36 points. So the Stars are playing .500 hockey, or so some people claim. Not so fast, grasshopper. The Stars have won only 13 of those games. Yes, they actually have 23 losses, 10 of them in OT. . . . So please allow me ask: If you win 13 of 36 games are you really at .500?
The Washington Nationals, who are having issues with the virus, had their opening home series with the New York Mets scrubbed. And now their Monday game against the visiting Atlanta Braves has been dumped. . . . Later Sunday, MLB announced that the Nationals have been cleared to open in Atlanta on Tuesday. . . . As of Sunday, the Nationals had had four players test positive, and seven other players and two coaches who were deemed close contacts. All told, 13 people were in quarantine.
In the WHL on Sunday . . .
The Brandon Wheat Kings scored the last three goals to run their winning streak to six games with a 3-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in Regina. . . . F Caiden Daley (5) gave the Blades (9-2-1) a 1-0 lead at 8:20 of the first period. . . . F Lynden McCallum (10) tied it for the Wheat Kings (9-2-1) at 9:08 of the second. . . . F Ben McCartney (7) broke the tie at 3:20 of the third and F Reid Perepeluk (3) got the empty-netter. . . . Saskatoon has lost two straight after going 10 games without a regulation loss. . . .
F Conner Roulette’s fifth goal, at 4:47 of OT, gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 5-4 victory over the host Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Chiefs (0-4-3) took a 3-2 lead into the third period. . . . Seattle (5-3-0) moved out front on goals by D Tyrel Bauer (1) and F Jared Davidson (2). . . . F Adam Beckman (3) pulled the Chiefs even, on a PP, at 10:40. . . . F Henri Rybinski had three assists and was plus-4 for the winners. . . . F Erik Atchison (2) had a goal and two assists for Spokane, which was 3-for-5 on the PP. . . . The Chiefs and Victoria Royals (0-3-1) are the only WHL teams without at least one regulation victory. . . . The Chiefs are without D Mac Gross and D Graham Sward, both week-to-week with undisclosed injuries. . . . Seattle F Matt Rempe left in the first period with an undisclosed injury. He didn’t return. . . .
F Tristen Nielsen scored the game’s only goal, in the shootout, as the Vancouver Giants beat the Prince George Cougars, 1-0, in Kamloops. . . . G Trent Miner of the Giants (3-1-0) stopped 14 shots to record his second straight shutout. Miner, who has six career shutouts, had beaten the Kelowna Rockets, 6-0, a week earlier. . . . The Cougars (1-2-1), who were outshot 43-14, got 43 saves from Tyler Brennan, who recorded his first career shutout.
Tonight's game between the @WHLGiants & @PGCougars represents the ninth time a WHL game has ended 1-0 in a shootout.
The shootout was introduced for the 2005-06 season.
When I played for @BladesHockey 30 yrs ago, I billeted with the Anderson's, a family with 4 boys, in Saskatoon. Today, on Easter Sunday, I was Baptized by Pastor Lindsay Anderson, the oldest of the family. "Be Strong and courageous for I am with you." Joshua 1:9 pic.twitter.com/HWHtZpA6Hz
In the top of the first inning of a Sunday night game, Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels’ starting pitcher, threw one pitch at 101 mph. In the bottom half of the inning, hitting second, he hammered a fastball 451 feet into the right-field bleachers. . . . He is the first starting pitcher to homer in an American League game since the DH came into play in 1973. He also became the first pitcher since 1903 to hit in the No. 2 spot. . . . Before the game, Greg Beacham of The Associated Press reported: “Ohtani is just the third pitcher over the last 45 seasons to hit for himself in a game with the designated hitter available. He’s also the first pitcher to bat second for a team since Jack Dunleavy did it for the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 7, 1903.” . . . One more for you: The last AL pitcher to homer from one of the top seven spots in the batting order was Babe Ruth in a 1933 game from the three hole.
Yermin Mercedes of the Chicago White Sox had five hits in the first start of his MLB career on Friday. No big deal, right? Until I heard Tim Kurkjian of ESPN say that neither Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott nor Edgar Martinez — each of them a pretty good hitter — ever had a five-hit game. . . . Ahh, you have to love baseball.