Bedard tour sure to sell out B.C. arenas . . . Wheat Kings make coaching change . . . Oil Kings still wheeling, dealing

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour will wrap up with Reginaa game against the Prince George Cougars on Friday night.

Taking Note was told that as of late Monday afternoon there were fewer than 100 tickets remaining for the game that will be played in the 5,971-seat CN Centre. Through 12 home games, the Cougars’ average announced attendance is 2,551.

A sellout in Prince George will mean that Bedard and his Regina Pats will have sold out all five games on their B.C. Division swing.

The trip opened Friday in Langley, B.C., with a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. The announced attendance was 5,276, the largest crowd for a Giants’ home game since they left the Pacific Coliseum for the Langley Events Centre prior to the 2016-17 season. Going into Friday night, the Giants’ average announced attendance through nine home games had been 3,017.

One night later, Bedard and his travelling show went into Victoria and dumped the Royals, 9-5, before an announced crowd of 7,006. That was the largest crowd in Victoria since Feb. 22, 2020, when 7,006 fans watched the Royals beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-3 in OT. . . . The Royals had been averaging an announced attendance of 2,956 through 11 home games prior to Saturday’s game.

The Pats are to meet the Rockets in Kelowna tonight in 6,886-seat Prospera Place. Through 11 home games, the Rockets’ average announced attendance has been 4,021.

On Wednesday, Bedard and his mates will face the Blazers in Kamloops’ 5,464-seat Sandman Centre. Through 10 home games, the Blazers, the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup, have average an announced attendance of 4,650 fans.

If the five B.C. Division teams aren’t prepared to offer up a cut of their gate receipts to Bedard, they should at least present him with keys to their arenas. Or coupons good for free meals whenever he should happen to visit their cities. He should never have to pay for a meal again in any of those communities.

That’s the least they could do to show their appreciation.

Right?

BTW, Bedard has three goals and two assists through the first two games of his trek through B.C. However, he has been overshadowed somewhat by F Tanner Howe, who turned 17 — yes, 17!!! — on Monday. Howe scored five times and added two assists in those two games, and was named the WHL’s player of the week on Monday.


The Brandon Wheat Kings became the first of the WHL’s 22 teams to make a coaching change this season when they fired head coach Don MacGillivray on BrandonMonday morning. . . . Marty Murray, who is in his first season as the team’s general manager, has taken over behind the bench. . . . This is the first firing in Brandon since Kelly McCrimmon announced on Sept. 8, 2020, that he had sold the franchise to the J&G Group of Companies, under Jared Jacobson. . . .

MacGillivray, 57, had been with the Wheat Kings since signing on as an assistant coach prior to the 2016-17 season. . . . He was working on a contract that is to run through 2023-24. . . . This season, the Wheat Kings are last in the six-team East Division, at 8-15-2, after being swept in a weekend doubleheader by the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes — 4-3 on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday. . . .

Since taking over as head coach on Nov. 24, 2020, prior to the pandemic-forced developmental season, MacGillivray had a 61-47-9 record. He replaced Dave Lowry, who left for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. . . . Before joining the Wheat Kings, MacGillivray spent five seasons as the GM/head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. . . . He also worked as the head coach of the MJHL’s St. James Canadians (1989-91), Southeast Blades (1992-93), and Neepawa Natives (1993-96); the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders (1996-98), the MJHL’s Portage Terriers (1998-2006) and the U of Manitoba Bisons (2006-09). . . .

Murray played four seasons (1991-95) with the Wheat Kings, putting up 392 points, including 260 assists, in 264 games. His time there included 114- and 128-point seasons. He has head-coaching experience from his time in the NAHL and USHL. He was the GM/head coach of the NAHL’s Minot Minotauros from 2011-20 and then spent two seasons with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. . . .

Mark Derlago and Del Pedrick, the Wheat Kings’ assistant coaches, remain on the coaching staff. . . .

The Wheat Kings, who have lost two in a row and are 2-7-1 in their past 10 outings, will be at home to the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday and the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday.


Umbrella


THE TRADING PLACE:

At 2:30 p.m. PT, Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) tweeted: “Will the last member of the 2021-22 Oil Kings to leave please turn out the lights? 18 players got a Edmontonpoint for the Oil Kings in the 2022 playoffs. Only 3 of them are still on the team today after the Golder trade. (Dowhaniuk, Wiebe, Seitz).”

At 3:10 p.m. PT, he followed up with: “This tweet was accurate for 37 minutes. Wiebe is gone now.”

Yes, the Edmonton Oil Kings, the WHL’s defending champions, made two more trades on Monday afternoon.

They started by sending F Carson Golder, a 20-year-old who also can play on Kelownathe back end, and a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft to the Kelowna Rockets for F Riley Kovacevic, 18.

It wasn’t long after that when Edmonton dealt F Jaxsen Wiebe, 20, and a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2026 WHL draft to the Prince George Cougars for F Noah Boyko, 20, a third-round pick in the 2023 draft and a conditional third-rounder in the 2026 draft.

This season, Golder, who is from Smithers, B.C., has eight goals and seven assists in 24 games. Last season, he scored three goals and added nine assists in 46 regular-season games, then scored three times and set up five others in 16 playoff games in helping the Oil Kings win the WHL championship. . . . Kovacevic, from Kelowna, has five goals and four assists in 20 games this season. Last season, he recorded three goals and four assists in 49 games. The Rockets selected him in the 10th round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. . . .

Meanwhile, the Cougars traded Boyko, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft on May 19. From Fort PrinceGeorgeSaskatchewan, Alta., Boyko had five goals and five assists in 23 games with the Cougars. He was a first-round selection by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2017 bantam draft. In 198 career regular-season games, he has 94 points, including 48 goals. . . . Wiebe, from Moose Jaw, has three goals and one assist in six games with Edmonton this season. He is six games into a seven-game suspension that was handed down after he, a repeat offender, took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in Saskatoon on Nov. 12. Earlier, he sat out four games after being suspended following a knee-on-knee hit on Saskatoon F Josh Pillar. . . . In 130 regular-season games, the first 73 with the Red Deer Rebels, Wiebe has 60 points, 22 of them goals. Last season, he finished with 10 goals and 26 assists in 41 games, then added two goals and six assists in 13 playoff games. He also had three goals and one assist in three games at the Memorial Cup. . . . Obviously, he brings more edge to the game than does Boyko, and that would seem to be what the Cougars want. . . .

After all this, the Oil Kings are left with two 20-year-olds — Boyko and D Logan Dowhaniuk. Their roster also includes only one 19-year-old — D Ethan Peters. . . . The Rockets now have three 20-year-olds on their roster, with Golder joining F Adam Kydd and G Talyn Boyko. . . . And the Cougars also have three — Wiebe, F Cole Dubinsky, who was acquired from the Regina Pats on Nov. 4, and F Chase Wheatcroft, who came over in a June 10 deal with the Winnipeg Ice.

——

On Monday night, the Victoria Royals announced that they had acquired G VictoriaRoyalsNicholas Cristiano, 18, from the Kelowna Rockets for a fifth-round selection in the 2023 WHL draft. . . . With veteran G Tyler Palmer, 19, not having played since Nov. 12, the Royals needed a goaltender to pair with Logan Cunningham, 17. . . . Cristiano, from Langley, B.C., started this season with the Rockets — he was 0-1-0, 2.61, .879 — before being released and joining the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. In three games with the Warriors, he was 1-2-0, 4.42, .867. . . . According to Dan Price, the Royals’ general manager and head coach, Palmer is “on personal leave and with his family.” . . . Palmer, who is 3-10-3, 4.22, .876 this season, is from Fernie, B.C. . . . The Royals (3-17-3) are scheduled to entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors (15-9-0) tonight.

——

Since Oct. 25, the WHL has featured 16 trades involving 27 players, 33 draft picks and six conditional picks.


Gate


With the Edmonton Oil Kings in rebuilding mode just months after winning the WHL championship, Guy Flaming (@TPS_Guy) tweeted the records last week of the four teams who appeared in the 2022 Memorial Cup tournament that was won by the host Saint John Sea Dogs. I have updated their records going into tonight’s games:

Edmonton, 4-20-1, last in six-team division.

Hamilton Bulldogs, 9-10-1, fourth in five-team division.

Shawinigan Cataractes, 11-12-2, last in four-team division.

Saint John Sea Dogs, 6-15-1, last in six-team division.


Ticket packages for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament that is scheduled to be held in Kamloops are to go on sale Thursday through Ticketmaster. . . . According to a news release, one tournament package covering eight games plus a possible tiebreaker will set you back “$600 plus GST and applicable fees.” . . . The tournament is to run from May 26 through June 4. . . . There is more info, along with a tournament schedule, right here.


I have referred to Andrei Lupandin and his family a couple of times over the past few days. You will recall that Lupandin, who spent four seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings, his wife and their two sons have left Ukraine and now are in Saskatoon hoping to get a fresh start. . . . Jim Matheson of Postmedia takes a really good look right here at Lupandin and the situation in which he and his family find themselves.


Pets


A couple of tweets about a former WHL player from The MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport):

“Antti Boman (Kamloops, 1991-1992) refereed his 800th Liiga (Finland) game on Friday evening. He is the third referee in Liiga history to reach the 800-game mark and is first among active referees. Timo Favorin is the leader with 1,000 games and Jari Levonen is second at 979.

Boman is in his 15th season as a referee in Liiga, Finland’s top pro league. He ended his playing career in 2004-05 with Frisk Asker (Norway, GET-Ligaen). He also played in Germany, France, Sweden, and Scotland, in addition to Finland and the WHL.”

Boman played one game with the Kamloops Blazers in 1991-92. He didn’t record a point.


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.


Pizza

Michigan-based OHL team wants to host Memorial Cup . . . Winterhawks equal franchise record . . . Bedard, Pats selling out B.C. tour


There was an interesting development out of the OHL on Wednesday when it OHLwas announced that the Kingston Frontenacs, Niagara IceDogs, Saginaw Spirit and Soo Greyhounds all have expressed the intent of bidding to play host to the 2024 Memorial Cup. . . . You will be aware that Saginaw is in Michigan; the Memorial Cup hasn’t been played in an American city since 1998 when the Spokane Chiefs were the host team. . . . Bids are to be submitted by Jan. 31 with the winning bid to be announced in March. . . . Kingston, Niagara Falls and Saginaw haven’t served as the host city for a Memorial Cup tournament; it was held in Sault Ste. Marie in 1993. . . . The OHL last played host to the tournament in 2017 when it was in Windsor. . . . The 2023 tournament is scheduled to be held in Kamloops.


You can bet that some WHL teams are paying close attention to the NHL’s RedWingsDetroit Red Wings and the organization’s goaltending situation these days. . . . That’s because the Red Wings claimed G Magnus Hellberg on waivers from the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday. . . . WHL teams are going to be watching to see how Hellberg slots into the goaltending depth chart and just how the dominoes will fall. That’s because the Red Wings already have Ville Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic on their NHL roster, with Victor Brattstrom and Jussi Olkinuora with the AHL-Grand Rapids Griffins. The guy some WHL teams are interested in, Sebastian Cossa, is one of three goaltenders with the ECHL’s Toldeo Walleye. Cossa, 20, was a first-round selection by the Red Wings in the NHL’s 2021 draft. He then backstopped the Edmonton Oil Kings to the 2021-22 WHL championship. . . . The Oil Kings are in a rebuilding mode and haven’t been shy about trading players off that team’s roster; F Jakub Demek, F Shea Van Olm, D Luke Prokop and F Jalen Luypen all have been dealt as Edmonton stockpiles draft picks and younger players. . . . So if the Detroit dominoes fall in such a way that the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Cossa is returned to Edmonton, you have to think his stay there won’t last long.


Run


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

The Portland Winterhawks remain the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams with one Portlandregulation-time loss after they skated out of Everett with a 5-2 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Portland (17-1-2) now has points in 12 straight (10-0-2). . . . Everett (12-8-1) had lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Portland erased a 1-0 first-period deficit with the next four goals. . . . F Dawson Pasternak (4) and F Josh Zakreski (4) each had a goal and an assist for Portland, which held a 45-26 edge in shots, including 18-4 in the second period. . . . The Winterhawks had F Cole Cairns, 15, and F Hudson Darby, 15, in their lineup for the first time, having lost F Kyle Chyzowski and F Diego Buttazzoni to injury. Cairns plays for the U18 team at the RINK Hockey Academy in Winnipeg, while Darby is with the U18 Swift Current Legionnaires. . . . Portland also scratched F Robbie Fromm-Delorme, its leading scorer, and F Jack O’Brien, neither of whom was shown in Tuesday’s roster report. . . . F Jackson Berezowski, who last played on Nov. 4, and D Aidan Sutter were among Everett’s seven scratches. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers got goals from six players as they skated to a 6-1 MedicineHatvictory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers (7-10-5) had lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . The Oil Kings (4-18-1) had won their previous two games. . . . F Mason Finley (5) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead in the first period. . . . The Tigers scored the last six goals, two of them via the PP. . . . F Brendan Lee had a goal (13) and an assist as he ran his goal streak to five games and a point streak to six games. He has 22 points in 22 games this season. Last season, he totalled 21 points in 52 games split between Medicine Hat and the Saskatoon Blades. . . . F Tyler MacKenzie and F Andrew Basha each had three assists. . . .

The Prince George Cougars ran their winning streak to four games with a 5-2 PrinceGeorgevictory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Cougars, who lead the B.C. Division, are 13-9-0. Prince George holds a five-point lead on Kamloops with the Blazers having five games in hand. . . . The Warriors (13-9-0) had won their previous two games. This was the start of their swing through the B.C. Division. . . . The Warriors led 2-0 late in the first period, but the Cougars tied it on two goals from F Caden Brown (6) before the period ended. Brown also had an assist for a three-point night. . . . F Chase Wheatcroft’s 17th goal, at 2:14 of the third period, broke a 2-2 tie and stood up as the winner. . . . The Cougars outshot the visitors 46-21, including 24-4 in the second period when they were unable to solve G Connor Ungar. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer of the Cougars had an assist to run his point streak to 14 games. . . . F Jagger Firkus of the Warriors also had an assist as he ran his point streak to 15 games. . . . The Warriors had F Riley Niven back in the lineup after he hadn’t played since Oct. 8. . . .

F Jared Davidson scored twice to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-2 victory Seattleover the Kelowna Rockets in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (14-3-1) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Rockets (8-9-1) had won their previous two games. . . . Davidson, who has 10 goals, gave his guys 1-0 and 2-1 leads. . . . Kelowna D Jackson DeSouza scored his third goal in two games to get Kelowna into a 2-1 tie. Before this mini-hot streak, he had one career goal in 84 regular-season games. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (9) scored at 11:12 of the second period and that one was the winner. . . . F Ty Hurley made his Seattle debut after being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos last week. . . . The Thunderbirds were without D Luke Prokop, who is listed on this week’s roster report as being out week-to-week. . . . Kelowna F Colton Dach sat out with a one-game suspension. . . .

F Zack Ostapchuk broke a 3-3 tie with his second goal of the game to help the VancouverVancouver Giants to a 6-4 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . The Giants (8-9-4) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Chiefs (4-14-1) have lost three in a row. . . . Ostapchuk, the Giants’ captain, gave his side a 4-3 lead at 17:15 of the second period with his ninth goal. . . . F Colton Langkow, who has four goals, scored two PP goals, one at 5:38 of the third period for a 5-3 lead and an empty-netter at 19:59. Langkow also had an assist. . . . The Giants got 34 stops from G Brett Mirwald, who was making just his second start — and third appearance — in November. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers have points in five straight games after beating the Tri-KamloopsCity Americans, 6-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Blazers (10-4-3) are 3-0-2 in their past five games. . . . The Americans (8-13-0) have lost two in a row. This was the first of seven straight home games for them. . . . F Caedan Bankier (13) scored twice for the Blazers, while F Logan Stankoven had a goal and two assists to run his scoring streak to 14 games. He has played in 14 games since being returned by the NHL’s Dallas Stars and has multiple-points in nine of them. . . . Tri-City D Lukas Dragicevic had a goal to run his point streak to 15 games. . . .

F Zach Benson figured in the game’s last two goals to help the host Winnipeg WinnipegIceIce to a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Ice improved to 21-2-0; the Hurricanes are 12-10-1. . . . The Hurricanes had beaten the host Ice 2-1 on Tuesday night, snapping Winnipeg’s 15-game winning streak. . . . Benson drew the primary assist as F Ty Nash (10) tied the score, 2-2, at 17:29 of the second period. Benson’s 14th goal, at 5:16 of the third, stood up as the winner. . . . Lethbridge is two games into a six-game road trip that continues with games in Brandon on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . Ice F Conor Geekie had his point streak snapped at 12 games. . . . G Dan Hauser started for the Ice after a two-game absence. He missed one game due to illness, than backed up Mason Beaupit on Tuesday. Hauser got the victory with 19 saves as he improved his record this season to 15-0-0. He is 56-3-2 in his career.


Snow


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

According to the WHL’s weekly roster report that was posted on Tuesday, the Regina Pats have deleted F Jakob Brook, 20, from their roster. Such a move would allow the Pats to get down to the maximum of three 20s, although Brook still was listed on their roster on Wednesday afternoon. . . . Dropping Brook leaves the Pats with D Luke Bateman, D Tanner Brown and F Erin Ginnell, who was acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors this week, as their 20-year-olds. . . .

BTW, according to figures compiled by the WHL, the Pats, whose roster includes F Connor Bedard, are ninth in announced attendance in the 22-team league, averaging 3,297 fans per home game. . . . Bedard, likely to be the first selection in the NHL’s 2023 draft, and his Pats are two games into a 10-game road trip that will take them through the B.C. Division. . . . The Kelowna Rockets announced Wednesday that their game against the Pats on Tuesday already is sold out. . . . The Vancouver Giants, who play out of the Langley Events Centre, have announced that their game with the Pats on Friday is sold out, and the Victoria Royals have said the same for the Pats’ visit on Saturday. . . . The Pats are in Kamloops on Wednesday and that game is down to scattered singles and some standing room being available. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired D Marek Schneider, 19, from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2026. . . . The 2023 selection originally belonged to Red Deer. . . . Schneider, from Prince Albert, was a second-round pick by the Blades in the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . In 78 games with Saskatoon, he has two goals and six assists. This season, he has one goal and one assist in 14 games. . . .

Two former WHLers are to head up the off-ice staff for Canada’s entry at the 2022 Spengler Cup. Shane Doan, who played for the Kamloops Blazers and now is one of the team’s five owners, will be Canada’s general manager, while Travis Green is to serve as the head coach. . . . Green played with the Spokane Chiefs and Medicine Hat Tigers, and later coached with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Spengler Cup is to run from Dec. 26 through Dec. 31 in Davos, Switzerland. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their season-opening winning streak to 21 games on Wednesday night with a 5-3 victory over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (11-8-1). . . . Salmon Arm led this one 2-0 after the first period. . . . Russian F Aydar Suniev, a sophomore from Moscow, figured in each of the Vees’ goals, with two goals and two assists. . . . The Vees are scheduled to visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (9-9-2) on Friday and the Powell River Kings (6-11-3) on Saturday.


Vaccine


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.


Ham

Thunderbirds pay steep price for defender . . . Give up three players, six picks . . . Lee helps Tigers past Wheat Kings

The Seattle Thunderbirds reached the WHL’s championship final last spring.

Even though they didn’t win, losing to the Edmonton Oil Kings in six games, it Seattlewould seem that the Thunderbirds liked it there . . . and that they badly want another taste.

If there was any doubt, they erased it on Wednesday by sending nine assets — yes, NINE! — to the Prince Albert Raiders in exchange for D Nolan Allan, a first-round NHL draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks, and F Reese Shaw, a 17-year-old who is playing in New Mexico.

The Thunderbirds gave up F Brayden Dube, 17, D Easton Kovacs, 18, and F Gabe Ludwig, 18, along with six WHL draft picks — a first-rounder in 2023 that originated with the Kelowna Rockets; first- and third-rounders in 2024, a sixth in 2025, a second in 2026 and a conditional sixth in 2026.

This trade came three weeks after Seattle acquired D Luke Prokop, 20, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for first- and third-round picks in the WHL’s 2025 draft and a third-round in 2023. He was a third-round pick by the Nashville Predators in the NHL’s 2020 draft.

Seattle’s defence also includes Kevin Korchinski, 18, of Saskatoon, who was selected by Chicago with the seventh overall pick of the NHL’s 2022 draft. He has three goals and 18 assists in 14 games this season, after putting up 65 points, including 61 assists, in 2021-22.

Allan, who also is from Saskatoon, was the Raiders’ captain. He has four goals and seven assists this season. In 2021-22, he finished with seven goals and 34 assists in 65 games. In 162 career games, he had 14 goals and 49 assists.

“He’s a tough, stay-at-home defenceman,” one WHL insider, who has seen Allan regularly over the last while, told Taking Note, “but it’s a giant price.”

Shaw, from Coon Rapids, Minn., is playing with the NAHL’s New Mexico Ice Wolves in Albuquerque. The Raiders selected him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2020 draft.

Dube, from Roblin, Man., has two goals and two assists in 14 games as a freshman. Last season, he had 24 goals and 22 assists in 49 regular-season games with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings.

The 6-foot-4 Kovacs is from Delta, B.C. He began his WHL career with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who dealt him to Seattle over the summer. He has one assist in 10 games this season.

Ludwig, from Eagle River, Alaska, has three goals and two assists in 15 games this season. In 93 games over three seasons, he has nine goals and 15 assists.

The Thunderbirds are 12-3-1, with points in three straight (2-0-1). They are five points behind the U.S. Division-leading Portland Winterhawks (14-1-2). The Everett Silvertips (12-6-0) are one point behind Seattle.

Portland has beaten Seattle in both meetings to date, winning 5-1 at home on Nov. 4 and 5-3 in Kent, Wash., one night later.

The Thunderbirds next are scheduled to play on Saturday against visiting Everett.

The Thunderbirds and Winterhawks next will meet on Nov. 25 in Kent and Nov. 30 in Portland.

The Raiders (7-12-2) have won two in a row. They are tied for ninth in the 12-team Eastern Conference.

——

——

THINKING OUT LOUD — So if Nolan Allan, a rock-solid defender, is worth three players and six draft picks, how much would it take to pry F Connor Bedard away from the Regina Pats. There apparently isn’t any truth to the rumour that the Kamloops Blazers are thinking about offering up a package that includes a couple of Sandman Hotel and Suites. . . . Remember when WHL insiders and followers would snicker and giggle when teams in the OHL or QMJHL made what seemed like bizarre deals loaded with draft picks. Well, there’ll be no more of that after Tuesday’s Seattle-Prince Albert deal. . . . There is often a price to be paid for pushing all of your chips into the middle of the table. . . . The Saskatoon Blades were the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup tournament. They spent some assets in an attempt to load up. They went 16-51-5 in 2013-14. . . . The Regina Pats, the host team in 2018, went 19-45-4 the following season. . . . The Swift Current Broncos, who won the WHL championship in 2018, were 11-51-6 the next season. . . . Of course, if you check the previous season’s standings, you will discover that the reloading often takes a lot longer than one season. . . . I will close out this day by watching a couple of episodes of Hogan’s Heroes, in memory of Robert Clary, who died Wednesday at 96. Thanks for the laughs, Louis LeBeau.


Sub


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

F Brendan Lee scored twice and set up another as the host Medicine Hat Tigers MedicineHatdumped the Brandon Wheat Kings, 6-1. . . . The Tigers (6-9-4) have points in three straight (2-0-1). They have won two straight for the first time this season. . . . The Wheat Kings (7-12-2) have lost three in a row and nine of 10. . . . Lee, who has 10 goals, gave his guys a 2-0 lead, on a PP, at 11:39 of the first period, and then made it 3-1 at 7:16 of the second. . . . F Oasiz Wiesblatt helped out with three assists. . . . The Tigers took a 3-1 lead into the third period and promptly scored three times in 75 seconds to take complete control. . . . Medicine Hat held a 37-19 shot advantage, including 15-2 in the second period.


If Saskatoon is to get a new arena, it will be built in the downtown area, just Saskatoonnorth of the Midtown shopping mall. Saskatoon City Council voted unanimously to approve that site on Tuesday. . . . Bryn Levy of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix wrote: “City director of technical services Dan Willems told council Wednesday’s decision ‘opens the door’ for more detailed funding and design proposals before a final council vote on whether to proceed with a project.” . . . The SaskTel Centre, the home of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, has been open since Feb. 9, 1988. . . . Levy’s story is right here.


Aussie


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.


Crash

Benson lifts Ice past Silvertips . . . Crnkovic, Schaefer rolling with Thunderbirds . . . Bucks, Donald agree to six-year deal

F Zach Benson’s eighth goal, at 13:31 of the third period, broke a 4-4 tie as the host Winnipeg Ice beat the Everett Silvertips, 5-4, on Tuesday night. . . . F WinnipegIceConnor McLennon had two goals — he’s got 10 — and two assists for Winnipeg. . . . F Austin Roest scored his 11th for the visitors. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 37 shots for the Ice as he posted his 11th straight victory. His career regular-season record now is 52-3-2. . . . Everett has two Winnipeggers on its roster — F Ryan Hofer and F Caden Zaplitny — and they each scored once. . . . The Ice (14-1-0) has won nine in a row, with its next eight games on home ice where it is 2-0. . . . F Connor Geekie and D Graham Sward, who was acquired on the weekend from the Spokane Chiefs, were among Winnipeg’s scratches. Geekie was serving a one-game suspension after being penalized for slew-footing in a game against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday. . . .

F Jaden Lipinski’s OT goal gave the Vancouver Giants a 3-2 victory over the VancouverTigers in Medicine Hat. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk, the Giants’ captain, pulled his guys into a 2-2 with 5.4 seconds left in the third period. . . . Lipinski won it at 3:28 of OT. . . . F Gavin McKenna, 14, the first pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, played his second game with the Tigers. He was in the lineup on Sept. 24 and had four assists in a 9-1 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. He was held off the scoresheet last night. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders coughed up a 4-0 lead before beating the Tri-City PrinceAlbertAmericans, 5-4. . . . F Landon Kosior broke a 4-4 tie on a PP at 1:09 of the third period. . . . Kosior finished with two goals and two assists. F Carson Latimer had three assists for the winners. . . . F Luke Moroz, a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft, made his debut with the Raiders. He was added to the roster after F Cole Peardon and F Ryder Ritchie headed to Langley, B.C., and the U-17 World Hockey Challenge that is to begin on Thursday. Moroz, 15, is playing with the Regina Pat Canadians of the SMAAAHL. . . . The Raiders began the game with nine forwards, then lost F Zach Wilson after a couple of scraps 12 minutes into the first period. . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds led 2-0 at 1:11 of the first period en Seattleroute to a 5-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Thunderbirds, now 10-1-0, got a goal and two assists from F Kyle Crnkovic, who has points in 11 straight games. Yes, he has a point in every game this season. . . . F Reid Schaefer had his second three-goal game this season for Seattle, giving him 13. He is tied for the WHL lead with F Connor Bedard of the idle Regina Pats. . . . F Kevin Korchinski added three assists for Seattle. . . . This completed a tripleheader between these teams. They split on Friday and Saturday in Prince George, with the Thunderbirds winning 5-4 and the Cougars winning 4-1. . . . Seattle F Jared Davidson had two assists but his five-game goal streak was halted. . . .

D Nolan Bentham scored two goals to help the host Lethbridge Hurricanes to a Lethbridge5-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Hurricanes scored the game’s last four goals. . . . F Deegan Kinniburgh, who is from Taber, Alta., made his WHL debut with the Royals. Kinniburgh, who plays for the U18AAA Hurricanes, was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft.


Myth


A long-time WHL fan from the Portland area has what he says is a “pet peeve” that he asked me to pass along . . .

“Dear WHL announcers based in Canada:

“Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash., are NOT part of Canada . . . they are NOT part of the nation of Canada.

“Yes, their WHL teams both are ranked in the Top 10 of the CHL poll . . . but that does NOT make them the ‘nation’s third-ranked’ team or ‘the nation’s seventh-ranked’ team, etc., etc.

“Thank you for your understanding.”


Space


Before Everett played the Pats in Regina on Sunday, Casey Bryant, the radio voice of the Silvertips, walked fans from the bottom level of the Brandt Centre to the press box. Yes, it’s quite a hike. It’s interesting that the Brandt Centre crew didn’t show him to the freight elevator, though.

BTW, just kidding about the freight elevator.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

D Corbin Vaughan of the Regina Pats has been suspended for four games after he was hit with a headshot major and game misconduct against the visiting Tri-City Americans on Sunday. He was playing his second game after having served a four-game suspension that was a issued under supplemental discipline after a game against the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 12. . . .

The BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks and Ryan Donald, their general manager and head coach, have agreed on a six-year contract extension. The Bucks are 39-41-7 since Donald was named head coach in March 2020. He is the only coach the team has known since it entered the BCHL. . . . The news release didn’t indicate when the extension would expire, but Donald signed a four-year contract on March 24, 2020. That deal started with the beginning of the 2020-21 season, so would have gone through 2023-24. Six seasons on top of that would take the Bucks and Donald through 2029-30. . . . If you were wondering, hockeydb.com shows the Bucks’ announced average attendance at 2,341, third-best in the BCHL. The Penticton Vees (2,710) and Chilliwack Chiefs (2,585) are ahead of them.


Cornea


THINKING OUT LOUD — The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets won a game on Monday, improving to 2-5, and head coach Steve Nash was gone the next morning. Gotta think Nash is relieved about no longer having to deal with Dr. Kyrie Irving on a daily basis. . . . The Nets dropped a 108-99 decision to the visiting Chicago Bulls last night. . . . The NFL’s trade deadline came and went on Monday. Perhaps the most interesting deal had the Atlanta Falcons trade WR Calvin Ridley to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Uhh, Ridley is serving an indefinite suspension — he can apply for reinstatement in February — for betting on games. At one point last season, he bet on the Falcons to beat the Jaguars. . . . Houston Astros 0 at Philadelphia Phillies 7. The Phillies lead 2-1 and are in a position to win the World Series at home. Five homers in each of the next two games will do it.



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.


Body

Broncos reveal six-figure loss for 2021-22 . . . Third straight season of red ink . . . Pats, Royals each add forward via swap shop

Neekas, Heiltsuk Territory, is located on B.C.’s central coast.


The Swift Current Broncos’ board of directors informed shareholders at the organization’s annual general meeting on Tuesday that the 2021-22 WHL SwiftCurrentseason resulted in a net loss of $349,000. . . . “The Broncos had expected to endure another challenging financial year because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Broncos said in a news release. “With restrictions limiting fan participation and revenue generation, the organization was required to navigate the difficult year as best as possible, and work towards positioning the club for the exciting years to come. While undesirable, the overall deficiency of revenue over expenses was better than expected, due to key support from the 2021-22 season-ticket holders, the dedicated fan base throughout the year, corporate stakeholders, government programs, and strategic cost management.” . . . The Broncos now have lost money for three straight seasons. They dropped $791,000 for 2019-20, a season that was prematurely ended by the pandemic, and $129,968 for 2020-21, a season that comprised 24 games, all played in Regina. That 2020-21 figure would have been much worse were it not for the $600,000 the Broncos got from the provincial government. . . . According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Broncos drew an average of 1,480 fans to 34 games last season, the lowest figure in the league. That was down from the 1,954 average for 32 games in 2019-20. . . . The Broncos won the WHL’s championship in 2018, but didn’t qualify for the playoffs in 2018-19 or 2021-22. There weren’t any playoffs in 2019-20 or 2020-21 because of the pandemic. . . . The Broncos play their home games in the 2,879-seat Innovation Credit Union iPlex. . . .

Four of the WHL’s 22 teams are community-owned and, as such, are required to present financial statements to shareholders at annual general meetings. The Broncos are the last of the four to hold their AGM. . . . Earlier, the Lethbridge Hurricanes announced a profit of $248,000, and the Prince Albert Raiders said they made $152,191. The Moose Jaw Warriors, meanwhile, reported a loss of $106,719.


Crypto


The Regina Pats paid a big price to bring F Sam Oremba home from the Seattle ReginaThunderbirds on Tuesday. Oremba, 17, who is eligible for the 2023 NHL draft, cost the Pats three WHL draft picks — a second-rounder in 2023, a first in 2024 and a third in 2025. . . . Regina obviously is hoping that playing in his hometown will spark Oremba’s offensive game. . . . Oremba was the seventh overall selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft after putting up 133 points, including 75 goals, in 31 games with the U15 AA Regina Monarchs. . . . Last season, in 56 games with the Thunderbirds, he had four goals and 10 assists. In two games this season, he recorded two assists. . . .


Meanwhile, the Victoria Royals have five 20-year-olds on their roster — two over the limit — after acquiring F Jake Poole from the Kelowna Rockets on VictoriaRoyalsTuesday. . . . The Royals surrendered an eighth-round selection in the 2024 WHL draft in the exchange. . . . Poole, from McAuley, Man., was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 draft. He has 59 points, including 21 goals, in 124 games with Kelowna, including a goal and an assist in three games this season. . . . The Royals, in a news release, admit — with tongue planted firmly in cheek — that they will benefit from the deal simply because they won’t have to face Poole again. Last season, he totalled 14 goals and 18 assists in 48 games, with eight of the goals and 12 of the assists coming against the Royals. . . . The Royals’ other 20-year-olds are G Campbell Arnold, F Riley Gannon, D Anson McMaster and F Caleb Willms, who is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Rockets show two 20-year-olds on their roster — G Talyn Boyko and F Adam Kydd. However, Boyko went to camp with the NHL’s New York Rangers and was assigned to their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, last week. He was a fourth-round pick by the Rangers in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . Each of the WHL’s 22 teams is allowed to carry three 20-year-old players, with the deadline to declare arriving on Oct. 12. . . . The Royals expect to have Poole in their lineup tonight (Wednesday) when they play in Kelowna.


Costco


Mention was made here yesterday about the rough start to the existence of the junior B Ponoka Stampeders, who were trying to make a go of it in Alberta’s Heritage Junior Hockey League. . . . Well, the Twitter account Inside The HJHL (@latesthjhl) was quick to inform us that the Stampeders “have completely folded.” . . . The note added that “all stats from Ponoka games are thrown out . . . it will be a 38-game schedule this season now instead of 40 . . . no changes to divisions; six teams each now . . . no change to playoff format.”


THINKING OUT LOUD — It would be nice to see an NHL club give F Matthew Phillips a real chance. Put him on the second PP unit. Let him play in the top nine forwards. He has scored at every level, but too many NHL people only see his size — somewhere around 5-foot-7 and 140 pounds. Phillips, who had a terrific WHL career with the Victoria Royals, had 31 goals and 37 assists in 65 games last season, his fourth with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. That franchise now is the Calgary Wranglers, the Flames’ AHL affiliate, and Phillips already has been assigned there. . . . When a WHL team lists a player as being out with an “illness” are we to assume it is/isn’t COVID/19? . . . If you haven’t listened to Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, you should. . . . Hockey Canada? The reign is over; the royal court just doesn’t seem to realize it yet.


ITguy


The OHL’s Guelph Storm has a new head coach in Chad Wiseman, who moved up from associate coach with Scott Walker having left due to health concerns. . . . “In a phone interview,” Tony Saxon of guelphtoday.com, writes, “Walker made it clear that the health concerns are serious, but not critical. He said they are an extension of the health concerns that started in Vancouver when he was an assistant coach with the Canucks but had to step away, namely vertigo linked to blood pressure issues.” . . . Walker also is one of the team’s owner and serves as its president.


Josh Ciocco, an assistant coach with Merrimack College, passed away suddenly on Monday. He was 38. The school announced his death on Tuesday. . . . Ciocco, from Atco, N.J., spent three seasons (2000-03) in the BCHL, playing with the Prince George Spruce Kings (57 games), Vernon Vipers (19) and Salmon Arm Silverbacks (57). . . . He went on to play four seasons at the U of New Hampshire, captaining the team for the last two of those. . . . He was in his fifth season on Merrimack’s coaching staff. Merrimack is located in North Andover, Mass.


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.


Knee

Where did we go so wrong? . . . Are you able to help Ernie (Punch) McLean? . . . Regina’s Paddock penning quite a story

While taking time away from here to do some recharging, reflecting and, well, just re-everything, it hit me that we the people are doing a horrific job . . . just absolutely horrific.

I had always believed that one of the things foremost in our minds as we COVIDstrolled through life had to be the importance of leaving the world a better place than we found it for our children and grandchildren. Did our parents not leave us with a world that was better than it was when they came into it?

That being the case, there seems no chance of us being able to do that, what with COVID-19 continuing to run rampant; climate change occurring with frightening speed while our leaders, in business, industry and politics, refuse to act with anything close to matching urgency; the political arena having turned into a battle of us vs. them with those of different political stripes seemingly incapable of working together — but, oh my, are they good at pointing fingers! — and we won’t even get into the opioid epidemic, homelessness, mental health, the price of groceries and gasoline, and on and on . . .

Over the past few days, while pondering a lot of what is going on in our world, I got to wondering where we went wrong. If the pandemic that soon will be into its fourth year — yes, fourth! — has shown us anything it is what a horribly selfish people we have become. I don’t know where it all started but the lack of caring and respect we now hold for our neighbours is disgusting. Somehow we have decided that we won’t wear masks indoors, not even when we know that they work to protect family, friends and others. Not only that, we have decided that the elderly, the disabled, the thousands of immunocompromised who walk among us . . . all of them are expendable. Come and take them, Dr. Death. Y’er welcome!

Ed Yong, a writer with The Atlantic who has won a Pulitzer Prize for his writing on the pandemic, writes:

“Recently, after a week in which 2,789 Americans died of COVID-19, President Joe Biden proclaimed that ‘the pandemic is over.’ Anthony Fauci described the controversy around the proclamation as a matter of ‘semantics,’ but the facts we are living with can speak for themselves. COVID still kills roughly as many Americans every week as died on 9/11. It is on track to kill at least 100,000 a year — triple the typical toll of the flu. Despite gross undercounting, more than 50,000 infections are being recorded every day. The CDC estimates that 19 million adults have long COVID. Things have undoubtedly improved since the peak of the crisis, but calling the pandemic ‘over’ is like calling a fight ‘finished’ because your opponent is punching you in the ribs instead of the face.”

——

As of Monday afternoon, the death toll from Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida on Wednesday, was at 101, a figure that is all over the news. Meanwhile, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University, there were 277 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Florida over the past week, bringing the state’s total to 81,416 since the virus arrived on our doorstep. Hey, just saying . . .

——

Here’s more from Yong:

“In the spring of 2020, I wrote that the pandemic would last for years, and that the U.S. would need long-term strategies to control it. But America’s leaders consistently acted as if they were fighting a skirmish rather than a siege, lifting protective measures too early, and then reenacting them too slowly. They have skirted the responsibility of articulating what it would actually look like for the pandemic to be over, which has meant that whenever citizens managed to flatten the curve, the time they bought was wasted. Endemicity was equated with inaction rather than active management. This attitude removed any incentive or will to make the sort of long-term changes that would curtail the current disaster and prevent future ones. And so America has little chance of effectively countering the inevitable pandemics of the future; it cannot even focus on the one that’s ongoing.”

Read that last sentence again. Please.

Yong’s complete piece is right here, and it’s well worth your time.


ICYMI, Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band were to have opened a five-city Western Canadian tour in Winnipeg tonight (Tuesday). That won’t happen, though, because the former Beatles drummer has tested positive for COVID-19. Starr, 82, also had to call off shows scheduled for Saskatoon, Lethbridge, Abbotsford and Penticton.


FranErnie
Fran and Ernie McLean were married for 69 years. (Photo: Harold Phillipoff/Facebook)

A message from Harold Phillipoff, who played two seasons (1974-76) with the New Westminster Bruins:

“It is with heavy heart than I pass along this sad news . . . after 69 years of marriage, Fran McLean has passed away. She was always there for Ernie and ‘his boys.’

“This leaves Ernie tragically in a financial mess as the pandemic has shut down his mining business, leaving him with just his old-age benefits to pay all the bills.

“Ernie’s sons have set up a PayPal account and E-transfer account for the ‘Help Ernie McLean’ fund. The username for both accounts is PunchMclean@gmail.com.

“I would consider it a personal favour if you could share this post to your friends on Facebook and any other social media. Ernie entertained many for decades and made a huge positive impact on many lives. Let’s show him we enjoyed it and still remember him!”


“Are you ready for some . . . pickleball?” wonders Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “America’s fast-growing pastime is growing up — as in Major League Pickleball — with the MLP finals slated for Oct. 14-16 in Columbus, Ohio, competing for a $319,000 prize pool. The 12-team league plans to expand to 16 next year, with the likes of LeBron James and Drew Brees buying in. Now it’s just a TV contract and a steroids scandal away from official major-league status.”

——

Perry, again: “Nets guard Kyrie Irving says he turned down a four-year, $100 million-plus extension a year ago because he wanted to remain unvaccinated. Apparently it was a one-shot deal.”


Mead1


The Ponoka Stampeders are a first-year junior B team trying to find their way in Alberta’s Heritage Junior Hockey League. So far they have lost by scores of 25-1, 20-0, 23-1, 30-0 and 27-1. Yes, they continue to look for players, so if you’re of junior age and looking for ice time, you may want to check them out. . . . NOTE: A late night advisory from the Twitter account Inside the HJHL (@latesthjhl) informs that the Stampeders have folded.


If this headline — COVID, cancer can’t conquer Pats’ Paddock — can’t entice you to read a story, I can’t imagine what might do the trick. Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post recently visited with John Paddock, 68. He is coming off a season in which he stepped in as the Pats’ head coach and beat back COVID-19, something he couldn’t avoid after treatment for lymphoma left him immunocompromised. “I got sick,” Paddock told Vanstone, “and then got really sick.” Of course, what COVID-19 and lymphoma didn’t take into account is that Paddock has coaching in his blood. So the Pats’ vice-president of hockey operations and general manager also is back as the team’s head coach. . . . Vanstone’s story is right here.


Dumb


It’s early in the WHL’s regular season and the weather has been anything but hockey-like. However, you are free to wonder whether the WHL has some cracks showing when it comes to attendance.

Unfortunately, the WHL continues to have teams play afternoon games after having played the previous night, which is what happened to the Regina Pats — and F Connor Bedard — on Sunday. They dropped a 4-2 decision to the Rebels before an announced crowd of 4,806 in Red Deer on Saturday night, then were beaten, 7-3, by the Hitmen on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Prince George Cougars have played four home games — two each against the Tri-City Americans and Kelowna Rockets — and have had announced crowds of 2,497, 2,018, 2,008 and 1,937, in that order.

Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, couldn’t take it anymore so he chewed a bit on the legs of the Prince George citizenry the other day. If you haven’t seen it, it’s right here.

——

BTW, if you haven’t seen the ceremonial faceoff prior to the game between Regina and Calgary on Sunday, it’s worth a head-shaking look . . .


Dogcat


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Stewart Kemp, the president of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, reports that it’s full-speed ahead for the trek east early in January. The deadline to register passed with 28 people having signed on for the 10-day jaunt that will include games in Brandon, Winnipeg, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina. The contingent is to include two ladies who are 96 (Ardyce) and 94 (Neree), and who have been making these trips since Kemp took over as president in 2010. “They,” Kemp reports, “are the most enthusiastic to go. They wouldn’t miss this for the world.” . . . Then, he adds, “Oh, this is going to be fun, but really cold!” . . . Manitoba and Saskatchewan cold during the first two weeks of January? Nah. . . .

Jeff Dubois, the commissioner of the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, signed a five-year contract extension the other day. It will take him through the 2027-28 season. Dubois has been the commissioner since March 2020. . . .

Bruce Luebke, who had been the radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings for more than 20 years, has been acclaimed for a second term as a member of Brandon City Council. Luebke called his first Wheat Kings game in 1993-94. He and radio station CKLQ parted company in July 2016. . . . Civic elections in Manitoba are scheduled for Oct. 26. . . .


THINKING OUT LOUD — As the host Green Bay Packers were locked in a battle with the New England Patriots on Sunday, the U of Wisconsin fired its head football coach, Paul Chryst. Now that’s a smooth PR move. . . . Took a drive to Vernon and back on Monday afternoon. I am here to report that the price of gas kissing $2 a litre in B.C.’s southern interior isn’t keeping people off the road. . . . The Los Angeles Dodgers went into Monday’s games with a run-differential of plus-333. They also have some pitchers. Let’s just give them the World Series title and get on with life.


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.


Kermy

A tip of the fedora to the Windsor Lancers . . . Blades, Thunderbirds swap high-end forwards . . . Rebels lose veteran goalie to ‘congenital defect’

On May 24, I posted this on Taking Note:

The U of Windsor Lancers men’s hockey team is going to spend some time in Merritt, B.C., in August. They will be involved in a hockey academy while there, and they also will play a couple of exhibition games. The big news — really big news — is that they are going to spend time working with First Nations communities who continue on the road to recovery from wildfires and floods that hit them hard in 2021. . . . The Lancers will be helping to erect five emergency homes, a project that should take five days if all goes according to plan. . . . “We’re always looking for opportunities for our student athletes to learn and grow at the rink and away from the rink,” head coach Kevin Hamlin said, “and this just seemed to be a great fit given all the craziness that’s happened and come to light out west.” . . . There’s more on this story from AM800 News right here.


The New Westminster Bruins raised single-game ticket prices prior to the 1985-86 season . . .


The Seattle Thunderbirds have acquired F Kyle Crnkovic, 20, the WHL’s fifth-Seattleleading scorer last season, from the Saskatoon Blades for F Conner Roulette, 19, and a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft. . . . Crnkovic, a first-round pick by the Blades in the WHL’s 2017 draft, had 94 points, including 39 goals, in 68 games last season. In 210 games over four-plus seasons with Saskatoon, he put up 81 goals and 140 assists. He is from Chestermere, Alta. . . . Seattle now has two 20-year-olds on its roster, the other being F Jared Davidson, who finished last season with 42 goals and 47 assists in 64 games. . . . Seattle selected Roulette, who is from Winnipeg, in the second Saskatoonround of the WHL’s 2018 draft. In 131 games with the Thunderbirds, he had 117 points, including 49 goals. Last season, he put up 24 goals and 42 assists in 65 games. He added 18 points, five of them goals, in 25 playoff games as Seattle reached the WHL final. . . . The Dallas Stars picked Roulette in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Blades, who open training camp on Thursday, have yet to post a training camp roster on their website. But I believe they now have two 20-year-olds with them — F Josh Pillar and D Aidan De La Gorgendiere. Moving Crnkovic, then, would perhaps indicate that another deal/acquisition is imminent.



G Chase Coward won’t be on the Red Deer Rebels’ roster when the new season gets rolling. Coward, 19, got into 35 games last season, but medical issues now RedDeerhave him on the sideline. . . . “Chase underwent testing this summer and discovered a congenital defect to his lower body,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner, president and general manager, said in a news release. “At this time, Chase has decided he will not attend training camp or be a part of the Rebels’ roster to start the season, and we support him as he navigates through the process.” . . . In 41 regular-season games, 35 of them last season, the Swift Current native was 24-11-3, 2.62, .904. . . . Last season, Coward was 22-10-2, 2.51, .906. . . . As WHL observer Alan Caldwell tweeted: “This leaves the Rebels with no experienced goaltenders since they traded Coward’s 21-22 batterymate Connor Ungar to Moose Jaw in the spring.” . . . Perhaps the Rebels would be interested in one of two veteran OHL goaltenders, both of them 20 years of age, who have been waived. Tucker Tynan was dropped by the Soo Grehyounds, while the Peterborough Petes have dropped Tye Austin. . . . G Kyle Kelsey, 18, who was acquired from the Warriors in the Ungar deal, may get a look. However, the Rebels, who open camp on Thursday, have yet to post a training camp roster.


The MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport) reports that two former WHLers — Brandon Davidson and Tyler Wong — signed contracts with Kunlun Red Star Beijing of the KHL this week. Davidson, who played last season with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, signed a two-year deal, while Wong signed a four-year extension after putting up 14 goals and 14 assists in 48 games last season. He has played the past three seasons with Kunlun Red Star. . . . Davidson, 31, played three seasons (2009-12) with the Regina Pats. Wong, 26, spent five seasons (2012-17) with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The interesting thing about these signings is that Kunlun Red Star will be playing out of Mytishchi, Russia, for a second straight season because of COVID-19 restrictions for foreigners entering China. According to The MacBeth Report, “Mytishchi is an outer northern suburb of Moscow.” . . . Am I the only one who finds it interesting that Canadian players are signing contracts to play in Russia while that country is making war on Ukraine?


Car


THE COACHING GAME:

The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder announced late Monday that Jeff Shantz, its general manager and head coach, was leaving to join the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes as a development coach. . . . From a news release: “Sean Brown has assumed all head coach and general manager duties for the Thunder, and has begun our search for Jeff’s replacement.” . . . Brown was named associate GM and associate coach on July 18. . . . Shantz was introduced as the GM/head coach on July 13 after a five-year run as a coach at the Edge School in Calgary. Shantz, 48, played three seasons (1990-93) with the Regina Pats before going on to play 642 regular-season NHL games. He finished his pro career by playing eight seasons in Europe. . . .

The BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters have signed Tim Fragle, their general manager and head coach, to a contract extension that runs through the 2024-25 season. . . . Fragile is preparing for his third season with the Smoke Eaters with whom he spent two seasons (1997-99) as a player. . . .

The AHL’s Calgary Wranglers have added former WHL players Mackenzie Skapski and Daniel Johnston to head coach Mitch Love’s staff. . . . Skapski, a former goaltender, will serve as development goaltending coach; Johnston will be the video coach and also work in team services. . . . They will work alongside assistant coaches Don Nachbaur and Joe Cirella. . . . Skapski, 28, played three seasons (2011-14) with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. In a five-season pro career, he got into two NHL games with the New York Rangers, going 2-0-0, 0.50, .978 with one shutout. . . . Johnston, 29, played four full seasons (2009-13) and parts of two others in the WHL, starting with the Portland Winterhawks and finishing with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He spent the past two seasons on the Brandon Wheat Kings’ coaching staff. . . .

Former NHL D Ladislav Smid will be a guest coach when the Edmonton Oil Kings, the WHL’s defending champions, open training camp this week. Smid, from Frydiant, Czech Republic, has retired after a 17-season pro career, the last five with Bili Tygri Liberec of the Czech Extraliga. He spent 11 seasons in the NHL, playing with the Edmonton Oilers, who own the Oil Kings, and the Calgary Flames. . . . The Oil Kings also revealed that Kirt Hill, who is preparing for his fifth season as president of hockey operations and general manager, has signed a multi-year contract extension, but the exact length wasn’t provided. . . . The Oil Kings also revealed that Luke Pierce, who moved from assistant coach to head coach after Brad Lauer left for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, also has signed a multi-year extension. Again, the exact length wasn’t provided. . . . There is more on the Oil Kings’ hockey operations staff right here.



THINKING OUT LOUD — A reminder to those folks who cover junior hockey: There isn’t any such thing as an overage player; he is a 20-year-old player. Were he overage, he wouldn’t be eligible to play. . . . And while we’re at it, there aren’t any assistant captains; there are alternate captains. . . . If you are a fan of the Oakland A’s or Washington Nationals, I feel for you. Consider that after Tuesday’s games, they had combined for 92 victories. The Los Angeles Dodgers, meanwhile, had won 90 games. . . . Hey, WHL, you’ve got teams opening training camps this week and there still are rosters that aren’t available. Believe it or not, there really are fans and other observers who are interested in these things. . . . Hey, WHL, perhaps you could create a full-time, high-salaried position for Alan Caldwell. You know, Minister of Statistics, Rosters, Draft Picks and Information, or something like that. If you’re interested, Caldwell is posting rosters right here as he is able to locate them. He also will be updating them as camps progress. I checked the spreadsheets there Tuesday night and got a message telling me that “some tools might be unavailable due to heavy traffic.” Yes, WHL, people really are interested in this stuff.


Chicken


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.


Library

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the Calgary Wranglers are coming back . . .

scattershooting

Camper2

Hello, friend. Yes, you . . . from the white one-ton truck that was pulled in off Wittner Road east of Kamloops on Saturday morning. You know, on the south side of the South Thompson River, just across from the Lafarge plant.

I was wondering if you lost your camper?

When I walked past your truck with the white camper on the back I didn’t see anyone, so I assumed you were fishing off the shore. I even wondered if you might be camping there for the weekend.

Then when I went for my Sunday morning stroll, I noticed your truck was gone but the camper was still there, albeit on its roof.

I can only assume that it slid off the back of your truck as you drove away and that you didn’t notice it. I mean, you wouldn’t be ignorant enough just to dump the old camper right there now, would you? Perhaps you were too busy trying to figure out how to use your turn signals to notice that the camper was gone. Hey, it happens to all of us.

Anyway . . . by now you likely have noticed that it’s missing and now you know where it is, so I’m sure you’ll drop by one day this week and pick it up.

Right?

Camper3



Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Jon Berti of the Miami Marlins leads all of baseball in steals, with 25,  at the season’s halfway point. Unless you count the former treasurer of the Oakville, Ont., Minor Baseball Association, who is accused of  embezzling $468,000 from the league.”

——

Perry, again: “Green Bay Packers QB  Aaron Rodgers has a new tattoo on his left arm — intricate astrological designs by Hungarian artist Balazs Bercsenyi. What were you expecting, a bull’s-eye with the words ‘insert vaccination here?’ ”


THINKING OUT LOUD: If you were on Twitter the afternoon of July 4, I think you’ll admit it was kind of surreal with tweets about the mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., and a hot dog-eating contest in Coney Island, N.Y., seemingly alternating in that particular social media universe. . . . During the NHL’s 2022-23 regular season, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames will meet three times — none once in the season’s second half. Seriously! In the CFL this season, the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos meet on four occasions. . . . Battle of Alberta? Not in the NHL, I guess. . . . In the WHL, the Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen will clash on eight occasions. . . . Still with the NHL’s 2022-23 schedule, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders will see each other only three times, all before Christmas. . . .

Hey, Blue Jays fans, how did you survive Friday night with your favourites and the host Seattle Mariners available only on Apple TV+? In its attempts to find new fans, MLB does that every once in a while just to remind some of us that at the end of the day it really does take those of us who are regular viewers for granted. . . . Don’t look now but here come the Baltimore Orioles. . . .

Yes, the Saskatchewan Roughriders should release DT Garrett Marino after that embarrassing performance on Friday night. Will they? Marino, in his second season with the Roughriders, has proven he can be a productive player, so I would be shocked if he is cut loose. . . . Until Sunday night, I haven’t been eagerly awaiting the arrival of robo umps in Major League Baseball. But after watching Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees take six pitches, all of which were balls, and be called out on strikes, well, I guess it’s time.



“Kevin Durant is turning into the Taylor Swift of baseball,” writes Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe. “But at least her breakups result in good songs.”



Lazuli
I had company for a brief time on my Sunday morning walk. Lazuli buntings are frequent visitors to our neighbourhood in Campbell Creek.

After I posted a story here the other day about the Kelowna Rockets switching radio stations — they left AM 1150 after more than 20 years and now are with 104.7 The Lizard — one reply to the tweet about the piece had me chuckling. . . .

BTW, some WHL fans really are waiting anxiously to find out if Regan Bartel, the long-time radio voice of the Rockets, will ever pitter-patter and get at ‘er again. . . . Hey, TSN, do you still need a play-by-play voice for your Winnipeg Jets telecasts?


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Brandon Wheat Kings have promoted Chris Moulton to director of hockey operations. He had been the director of player personnel since joining the organization on July 2, 2021. Before signing on with Brandon, Moulton spent 13 seasons with the Spokane Chiefs as director of scouting and director of player personnel. . . . Moulton’s promotion follows the May 6 announcement that general manager Doug Gasper had resigned for personal reasons. He had been with the Wheat Kings for three seasons, the first two as assistant general manager and the last one as GM. . . .

The OHL’s board of governors has approved the sale of the Niagara IceDogs to a group headed by majority owner Darren DeDobbelaer and including minority owner Wayne Gretzky. . . . DeDobbelaer and Gretzky both are from Brantford, Ont. . . . They purchased the IceDogs from Denise and Bill Burke, who had bought the franchise from the late Eugene Melnyk. . . . Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered has reported that the price the DeDobbelaer group paid is “believed to be $18 million, which is actually 10 percent less than the $20 million owners Bill and Denise Burke were seeking for the franchise.” . . . The IceDogs play out of St. Catharines, Ont. . . . This isn’t Gretzky’s first time being involved in the ownership of a major junior franchise. He was involved in the ownership of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls (1982-84) and  owned a piece of the QMJHL’s Hull Olympiques (1985-92).



DeerApple
We had a visitor to our Jon Gold apple tree at noon on Sunday. She helped herself — without asking, I might add — and then laid down under the tree and digested her meal.

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.


Posters

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.

——

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

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching Canucks ring the pipes in loss to Blackhawks . . .

Scattershooting2

You know what I wish? I wish people would quit talking about wanting things to get back to “normal.”

I mean, what is “normal?” If you are remembering how things were two years ago, forget about it. Well, maybe don’t forget about it, but file those days in your memory bank, preferably in a chamber way in the back.

You may remember the good old days when someone would dial 911 if you walked into a store wearing a mask. When you didn’t use hand sanitizer at least a dozen times a day. When you didn’t have to wear a mask to a hockey game and there weren’t capacity limits on any of the arenas. When vaccination status didn’t matter when you invited friends over for dinner. When some areas of our hospitals weren’t bursting at the seams and when our healthcare workers weren’t burning out quicker than cheap candles.

You may remember them, but those days are gone. They’re not coming back, either, no matter how much you want to see them again.

In a year or two, when enough people have been fully vaccinated, including booster shots, and COVID-19 has been beaten down, perhaps society will be able to develop a new “normal.”

But we are a long way from there these days.

For now, the only Normal in our world is a town in Illinois.

Here in B.C., we have no idea what our normal will look like. We’re almost two years into the pandemic. We’ve had wildfires and all the smoke that came with them. We’ve had the landslides and the flooding.

About all that’s left is the locusts and I hear they’re gathering over the Pacific with a spring invasion in mind.


HELPIN’ OUT THE PACK: I have a dear friend who is a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers. A news release arrived in my inbox on Friday, and I could hardly wait GreenBayto forward it to him. . . . “Green Bay Packers fans in Canada now have the opportunity to purchase shares in the iconic franchise, the organization announced today,” the release reads. “Approximately 174,000 shares remain available for purchase. The team has clarified Canadian regulatory requirements and now is able to proceed with sales in Canada. The offering will continue until Feb. 25, 2022, subject to extension, or until fully subscribed. . . . The cost of a share in Canada is US$300, with a handling fee for each transaction.” . . . You are limited to purchasing a maximum of 200 shares and remember that they don’t appreciate in value. . . . So, for a mere Cdn$379.25 — that was the exchange rate on Friday — you are able to help the Packers pay Aaron Rodgers’ salary. . . . My friend? I would expect him to give himself a Merry Christmas with a share or five.


Liquor


TWO NEW IMPORTS: A pair of WHL franchises added import players late in the week. . . . The Regina Pats claimed Slovakian F Alex Geci, 18, off waivers from the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, which had selected him in the 2020 CHL import draft. He had one goal and two assists in nine games with the Sting this season. . . . Meanwhile, Russian F Alexei Shanaurin, 17, has arrived in Swift Current and is skating with the Broncos. They selected him in the 2021 import draft. . . . Neither Geci nor Shanaurin played on Saturday night. . . . Alan Caldwell, who tracks these things, informs that 21 of the WHL’s 22 teams now have their limit of two imports. The exception? The Red Deer Rebels.



CHANGES, CHANGES: The CFL’s West Division semifinal will feature the Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina on Sunday. CFLThe West final is to be played in Winnipeg on Dec. 5. . . . Between those dates, pandemic-related rules regarding flying will change in Canada, with travellers needing to be fully vaccinated after Nov. 30; negative test results no longer will be enough. . . . Dave Dickenson, the Stampeders’ head coach, admitted on Saturday that should the Stampeders advance they will have a different look in Winnipeg than they will in Regina. In other words, there are a few unvaccinated players in the Calgary locker room. . . . Meanwhile, the Roughriders moved third-string QB Paxton Lynch to the practice squad late last week because he is unvaccinated so is unable to fly. According to Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post, Saskatchewan head coach Craig Dickenson said that Lynch is the lone unvaccinated player on the team’s roster. . . . “We’ve encouraged guys to get vaccinated and given them motives and incentives, which are mainly about the ability to play and travel,” Craig Dickenson said. “If they chose not to, that is their choice. We do the best we can. If someone doesn’t want to get vaccinated, we aren’t going to force them.” . . . With Lynch out of the picture, QB Mason Fine came off the Saskatchewan practice roster and is behind starter Cody Fajardo and Isaac Harker on the depth chart.


Early


PERRY’S CORNER: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke for 8½ hours into the early hours Friday morning in futile opposition to President Biden’s social spending bill,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Veteran observers say it was like watching a Yankees-Red Sox doubleheader.”

——

More from Perry: “Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Aminata Diallo has been arrested for allegedly setting up an attack on a soccer teammate. Jacques Gillooly immediately proclaimed his innocence.”

——

Perry also had this one: “According to NFL memes, NFL teams with cat names and those with bird names are tied at 209-209-10 all time. The Jaguars and Falcons will break the tie Nov. 28 — we hope.”


STORM WARNING: The junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League were back on home ice Sunday night, beating the North Okanagan Knights, 4-1. The Storm had one game postponed — it was to have entertained the Chase Heat on Nov. 17 — because its home arena is being used as an evacuation centre for Merritt residents who have had to flee a massive flood.


BIG GAME COUNTRY: It you’re a hockey fan, you might be eagerly awaiting WHLSaturday night. That’s when the Kamloops Blazers, now 14-2-0, are scheduled to visit the Everett Silvertips (14-0-1). . . . The Blazers beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, in Kent, Wash., on Saturday and will be back there on Wednesday. Kamloops then will meet the host Portland Winterhawks on Friday before moving on to Everett. . . . The Silvertips, who dropped the visiting Thunderbirds, 5-2, on Sunday, are at home to the Tri-City Americans on Wednesday and then will visit the Victoria Royals on Friday. . . . Kamloops holds an 11-point lead over the second-place Kelowna Rockets (8-4-1) in the B.C. Division. . . . The Silvertips are atop the U.S. Division, eight points ahead of Seattle (11-5-1). . . .

Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference-leading Winnipeg Ice (19-1-0) will play their next seven games at home, starting Wednesday against the Swift Current Broncos (6-9-3). Of note are a doubleheader with the Saskatoon Blades (11-7-1) on Dec. 3 and 4, with the Edmonton Oil Kings (14-3-3) there for two on Dec. 8 and 11. . . . When the Ice finishes the homestand it’ll be wrapping up a stretch in which it played 12 of 14 games on home ice.


Map


CHEF’S KISS: Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a cooking-related anecdote: “Antonio Brown’s former live-in chef outing Brown for allegedly obtaining a fake vax card is the best sports-chef story since 2004. That’s when Gary Sheffield accused Barry Bonds of luring away his live-in chef with a car, a home and repayment of student loans. It was history’s most celebrated case of chefjacking.”


JUST NOTES: After a day of NFL watching, I am left to wonder if the magic has left Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. You don’t hear Seahawks fans saying the team needs to “Let Russ Cook” these days. . . . Remember when the Pittsburgh Steelers ran the ball, ran the ball and ran the ball some more? . . . Some games you just aren’t destined to win. That’s what the Vancouver Canucks will be telling themselves today after hitting five posts in a 1-0 loss to G Marc-Andre Fleury and the visiting Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night. Of course, another loss won’t do anything to keep the vultures from circling Rogers Arena. . . . It won’t happen, but it wouldn’t hurt if MLB added player-of-the-year awards to its trophy case, because that’s what the MVP honours have become. Why not have MVP and POY awards? . . . We can only hope that Sunday’s CFL division semifinals are more entertaining than what we’ve seen down the stretch.


Mental


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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