Agent disappointed with WHL reaction to “racially motivated situation” after offender traded . . . Gut returning to Everett . . . Cougars release two forwards

Kai Uchacz, one of the players involved in some nasty stuff with the Seattle WHL2Thunderbirds, has been traded to the Red Deer Rebels for a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft.

From a WHL news release:

“Uchacz was removed from the roster of the Seattle Thunderbirds on March 25, 2021 following a thorough review by Thunderbirds staff after it was discovered he had directed racist comments and actions towards another player on the team.”

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reported in March that the Thunderbirds had released two forwards because of “a racist taunting incident in which the squad’s lone Black player alleged he was called a racial slur and a banana was waved in front of him.”

The target of the slur was F Mekai Sanders. His agent, Scott Norton, the president of Norton Sports Management, didn’t react to the trade in a favourable fashion on Friday.

Norton tweeted: “Enough is enough. Time for things to change in hockey and society!”

That was on top of this statement from Norton:

“On behalf of my client Mekai Sanders and myself, we are very disappointed that the Western Hockey League has not issued a statement or any disciplinary actions following the racially motivated situation that occurred on the Seattle Thunderbirds during the 2020-21 season. We appreciated the actions of general manager Bil La Forge and the Thunderbirds management during the season, but a league that claims ‘zero tolerance’ should have stepped up and dealt with the individuals as well. In light of today’s trade involving one of the offenders, we are calling upon the WHL Commissioner Rob (sic) Robison and the league to take action immediately.”

Norton also tweeted: “What is the point of having a zero tolerance policy if you do not hold your players to that standard? This was not a 1-time isolated, incident! How many chances does the victim get to live his life and chase his dreams?”

According to the WHL, Uchacz has undergone training and education in the areas of “anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion. . . . As a result of demonstrating significant progress with his ongoing education and genuine remorse for his prior behaviour, Uchacz’s return to the WHL has been fully endorsed by the diversity consulting agencies that conducted the training and education program.

“In addition, once he joins the Rebels, Uchacz will be required to continue his diversity and respect training in Red Deer. All WHL players are required to complete the Respect in Hockey educational program, which includes Respect in Sport certification, each season.”

Uchacz, 18, is from Calgary. The Thunderbirds selected him with the 10th overall pick of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . He had one goal and one assist in five games in 2018-19, then added two goals and six assists in 52 games in 2019-20. In 2020-21, he played three games with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints, picking up one assist. . . . According to Alan Caldwell, who keeps track of such things, the Rebels held two second-round picks in the 2021 draft — their own (No. 24) and the Winnipeg Ice’s (40). It’s not clear which pick was sent to Seattle.


The Everett Silvertips confirmed Friday that Czech F Michal Gut will be in their Everettlineup for 2021-22. He was the team’s rookie of the year for 2019-20 after putting up 13 goals and 23 assists in 51 games. . . . Gut, who will turn 19 on Aug. 16, stayed home for 2020-21 and played with HC Banik Sokolov in the Czech2. He finished with 10 goals and 11 assists in 20 games. . . . The Silvertips now have their two imports in Gut and Finnish F Niko Huuhtanen, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in last weekend’s NHL draft.


Golf


American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, the world champion, won’t compete at Covidthe Tokyo Olympics after testing positive. Kendricks, 28, had won a bronze medal at the 2016 Games. . . . Another pole vaulter, German Chiaraviglio of Argentina, also has tested positive and has been ruled out of the Games. . . . Organizers revealed 24 new positives on Thursday among Olympic personnel, with three of those being athletes. At that point, six American athletes had tested positive. . . . There’s more on the Kendricks story right here.


CTV Calgary — “Canada’s top doctors say Alberta’s decision to end isolation requirements for those who test positive for COVID-19, or who have been in close contact with someone who has, could have ripple effects across the country.”



Entertainment Weekly: “Netflix is not taking the fourth wave lightly. It has become the first major Hollywood studio to require vaccinations on productions.”

Entertainment Weekly: “Broadways sets rule for audiences to be vaccinated and wear masks for performances through October. . . . Performers, backstage crew and theatre staff are also required to be vaccinated.”



CBC News: “The Australian city of Sydney experienced a rise in local COVID-19 cases and warned the outbreak would get worse. Australian authorities have sought help from the military to enforce a city-wide lockdown.”


Masks


It’s believed that more than 90 per cent of the players with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers are vaccinated. DE Nick Bosa, a Pro Bowler, isn’t one of them. “I’m just evaluating everything right now,” he told reporters on Thursday. “I haven’t made a decision quite yet.” . . . Meanwhile, the team’s entire coaching staff has been vaccinated.


Matthew Dolan, Detroit Free Press: “University of Michigan to require COVID-19 vaccination on all campuses. All students, faculty and staff on all three campuses of the University of Michigan are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, submit their vaccination information before the start of the fall.”


The 2022 World Women’s Curling Championship is scheduled to be played in PGPrince George, from March 19-27. The event was to have been held there in 2020 but was cancelled as the pandemic was just getting started. . . . The 2021 championship was decided in a bubble in Calgary. . . . The 2022 event will be held at the CN Centre, the home of the WHL’s Cougars. This means that the Cougars will finish the 2021-22 WHL regular season by playing seven of their last eight games on the road. . . . After entertaining the Victoria Royals on March 11 and 12, the Cougars will hit the road for four games — yes, four in a row — in Victoria on March 18, 19, 25 and 26, and singles against  the Vancouver Giants, Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets. The Cougars will return home to conclude their regular season on April 3 against the visiting Blazers. . . . The big question is: How will they spend their time between doubleheaders in Victoria? Do they stay on Vancouver Island or return home, then travel back to Victoria? Does it influence the decision if there is a playoff spot on the line?


Divorce


F Ethan Browne and F Dave Griffin have cleared WHL waivers and been released by the Prince George Cougars. . . . Browne, 20, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. The Everett Silvertips selected him 14th overall in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He got into nine games with Everett before landing in Prince George and playing four seasons there. In 149 regular-season games, he scored 19 goals and added 53 assists. . . . Griffin, 19, had one assist in three games with the Cougars in 2019-20 and one assist in 15 games during the 2021 development season. . . . The Cougars had six other 2001-born players on the roster that finished the 2021 season — F Connor Bowie, F Brendan Boyle, G Taylor Gauthier, F Jonny Hooker, D Majid Kaddoura and F Tyson Upper.


The New York Times — Starting Friday, Disney World in Florida will require guests older than 2 to wear masks in indoor spaces, reversing its policy that allowed fully vaccinated guests to go without them.



G Roman Basran, 20, has cleared WHL waivers after having released by the RocketsKelowna Rockets, so now is a free agent. He got into eight games in the 2021 development season, going 4-2-1, 3.86, .876. . . . Basran, from Vancouver, played 120 games over four seasons with the Rockets, finishing 52-41-11, 2.90, .905. He also put up five shutouts. . . . The Rockets finished that 2021 season with seven other 2001-born players on their roster — D Tyson Feist, D Jake Lee, D Kaedan Korczak, F Mark Liwiski, G Cole Schwebius, F Alex Swetlikoff and F Dallon Wilton. . . . That same roster also included two other goaltenders — Nicholas Cristiano, who will be 17 on Sept. 3, and Cole Tisdale, 19.


F Kishaun Gervais would appear to be finished with the Portland Winterhawks. PortlandGervais, who will turn 20 on Nov. 4, wrote on his Instagram account on Wednesday: “Thank you for making my dreams of playing in the WHL come true. #RoseCityForever.” . . . From Kamsack, Sask., he was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . He had eight goals and nine assists in 31 games in 2019-20, then added a goal and an assist in 19 games in the 2021 development season. . . . The roster with which Portland finished the season contained six more 2001-born players — Danish D Jonas Brondberg, F Jaydon Dureau, G Brock Gould, D Clay Hanus, F Reece Newkirk and D Kade Nolan. . . .

Off the ice, Gervais founded a clothing company — Teddy Wear Clothing — over a year ago and also has been involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. . . . For more on Gervais, take a look at this story right here by Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.

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Brian Pellerin has joined the Portland Winterhawks as an assistant coach. He’ll work alongside Mike Johnston, the organization’s vice-president, general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Don Hay. . . . Earlier in his career, Pellerin spent four seasons (2004-08) with the Winterhawks as an assistant coach. He also worked as associate coach with the Tri-City Americans (2014-20). . . . Pellerin is a former WHL player, having spent four seasons (1987-91) with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . BTW, Pellerin is from Hinton, Alta., which is just a couple of slapshots west of Old Drinnan Town, the entrance to which is pictured at the top of this site.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The Swift Current Broncos have signed Devan Praught as an assistant coach. From Summerside, P.E.I., he has been in Wilcox, Sask., at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame for the past eight seasons. Praught, 33, has been the head coach of the U-18 AAA Hounds for five seasons. . . . Former WHLer Jason Christie has joined the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres as an assistant coach. Christie, 52, spent the previous four seasons as the head coach and vice-president of hockey operations with the ECHL’s Jacksonville IceMen. From Gibbons, Alta., he played four seasons (1986-90) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . .

Former WHL G Ty Rimmer has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters as their goaltending coach. From Edmonton, Rimmer split 159 regular-season WHL games over four seasons (2009-13) between the Brandon Wheat Kings, Prince George Cougars, Tri-City Americans and Lethbridge Hurricanes. In Trail, he replaces Cam Basarab, who now is with the Rink Academy in Kelowna. . . . Kory Achtymichuk is the Prince George Cougars’ new equipment manager. From Wadena, Sask., he has spent the past four seasons as the Regina Pats’ assistant equipment manager. In Prince George, he takes over from Ramandeep (Chico) Dhanjal, who left to become the equipment manager with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks.


LSD

CHL takes its show to TSN . . . Cameron steps in with Canada’s juniors . . . Blades get their man

On Feb. 18, 2014, Sportsnet “announced it has reached a 12-year partnership extension with the Canadian Hockey League through the 2025-26 season, continuing its tradition as the exclusive broadcaster of the CHL and Memorial Cup in Canada.

“The new agreement, which begins with the 2014-15 season, features a comprehensive suite of multimedia rights including television, online and mobile, delivering more than 50 CHL games each year, including CHL playoff games and the Memorial Cup.”

Somewhere along the line things went sour and it would seem that the CHL and Sportsnet went through a divorce at some point this summer.

On Wednesday, the CHL and TSN announced a “new multi-platform, multi-year broadcast rights partnerships that will make TSN, RDS, and CBC the home of the CHL.

“Beginning with the 2021-22 season, the new partnerships include approximately 30 regular-season games each year delivered by TSN, in addition to select playoff coverage and the comprehensive suite of CHL national events.”

It only makes sense that TSN be the CHL broadcaster, if only because TSN is the carrier for so much Hockey Canada content, including the IIHF World Junior Championship.

There is more from TSN on the deal right here. Sportsnet didn’t post a story about the move on its website.


Biker


Dave Cameron, who has returned to the OHL as the head coach of the Ottawa Canada67’s, has been named the head coach of Canada’s national junior men’s team. Cameron, 62, replaces Andre Tourigny in both positions. Tourigny now is the head coach of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. . . . Cameron also was the Canadian team’s head coach in 2011 when it finished second at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo. . . . Cameron has OHL head-coaching experience with the Son Greyhounds (1997-99), Toronto St. Michael’s Majors (2000-04) and Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors (2007-11). He has been coaching in Europe with the Vienna Capitals for the past three seasons. . . .

Cameron’s assistant coaches, barring any future moves to the pro ranks, are Michael Dyck, the head coach of the Vancouver Giants; Dennis Williams, the general manager/head coach of the Everett Silvertips; and Louis Robitaille, the GM/head coach of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques. . . .

At the same time, Hockey Canada invited 51 players, 19 from the WHL, to its national junior team summer development camp that is to run from July 28 through Aug. 4 in the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex at Tsuut’ina Nation near Calgary. . . . F Jack Finley of the Spokane Chiefs was invited to the camp but he is rehabbing a shoulder injury so won’t be attending. The shoulder injury prevent him from playing in the 2021 development season. . . . F Ozzie Wiesblatt of the Prince Albert Raiders also was invited but won’t be attending, presumably because he is rehabbing some kind of injury. . . . There is more on the camp invites right here.



The Prince George Cougars have signed Swiss F Liekit Reichle to a WHL PGcontract. From Zurich, he was selected by the Cougars in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. Reichle, 18, had 20 goals and 55 assists in 43 games with the GCK Lions in Switzerland’s U-20 league. He led the league in assists and was third in the points race. . . . Reichle had one goal in five games for Switzerland at the 2021 IIHF U-18 World championship in Texas. . . . The Cougars didn’t have any imports on the roster that played in the 2021 developmental season.

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The Tri-City Americans have signed G Tomas Suchanek and F Petr Moravec, Americanstwo CHL import draft selections, to WHL contracts. . . . Both players are 18 years of age and from Czech Republic. . . . NHL Central Scoutings ranks the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Suchanek, who was taken in the 2020 import draft, sixth among international goaltenders eligible for the 2021 draft that is scheduled for Friday and Saturday. He was 3.12, .908 with HC Frydek-Mistek of Czech2, the country’s No. 2 league, in 2020-21. . . . Moravec, 6-foot-0 and 180 pounds, was selected in the 2021 import draft. He had a goal and three assists in 10 games with HC Stadion Litomerice in Czech2. He also had a goal and three assists in four games with a junior team, HK Hradek Kralove. . . . Both players have represented their country in international competitions, including the U-17 World Hockey Challenge and IIHF U-18 World championship.



Moon


When you consider all the billions spent on facilities for the Tokyo Olympics, you might think that the IOC could have made sure that a decent diamond was constructed for the women’s softball competition. If you tuned in Tuesday night, as I did, to watch Canada and Mexico you can’t be faulted if you wondered if you were watching two local teams on a slo-pitch diamond or a school field. . . . They have tried to place a softball playing field on a full-sized baseball diamond. It’s ugly and the women deserve a whole lot better.

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Taylor Crabb, a player with the U.S.’s men’s beach volleyball team has tested positive while in Tokyo so his Olympic Games are over before they started. . . . Pavel Sirucek, a Czech table tennis player, also has tested positive, as have Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs and an unnamed female taekwondo competitor from Chile. . . . There is more on positive tests right here. . . .

Meanwhile, as if Tokyo 2020 didn’t have enough on its plate, the show director for Friday’s Opening Ceremony has been fired. Liam Morgan of insidethegames.biz reports that Kentaro Kobayashi, a Japanese comedian, “has been sacked by organizers on the eve of the event following criticism of ‘anti-Semitic’ jokes he made in a stand-up comedy routine in 1998.

Morgan added: “Kobayashi’s sacking follows the resignation earlier this week of Keigo Oyamada, the composer of the music for the Opening Ceremony, after he admitted abusing and bullying disabled children during his school days.”


Lucy


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The Red Deer Rebels have hired former WHL G Ian Gordon as their director of goaltending/goalie coach. Gordon, 46, spent the past eight seasons as the Seattle Thunderbirds’ goaltending coach. For four of those seasons, Gordon worked with then-Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk, who is heading into his first season as Red Deer’s head coach. As a player, Gordon split three seasons (1992-95) between the Swift Current Broncos and Saskatoon Blades. He won a WHL title with the Broncos in 1992-93. In Red Deer, he replaces Kraymer Barnstable, whose contract wasn’t renewed. . . . The Montreal Canadiens have added Trevor Letowski to their staff as an assistant coach. Letowski, 44, spent the previous five seasons with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, the past three as head coach. . . .

Travis Clayton has joined the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines as associate coach where he will work with GM/head coach Shawn Martin. Clayton, 45, had been with the Sherwood Park Kings Athletics Club since 2019, where he also was the head coach of the U-18 AAA team. . . . Geoff Grimwood is the new head coach of the junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. The former coach, Steve Gainey, now is the Storm’s director of hockey operations. In recent seasons, Grimwood has been the GM/head coach with the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers for three seasons (2015-18), the GM/head coach with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors for part of 2018-19, the GM/head coach with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders for the start of 2019-20 and an assistant coach with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers for the last part of the season. He signed on with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals prior to the 2020-21 season, but resigned on Oct. 1 citing “ethical and philosophical differences with ownership.” Before joining Kindersley, he spent three seasons as an assistant coach under Dave Lowry with the WHL’s Victoria Royals.


JobInt

Spokane wins WHL lottery, gets first draft pick . . . Wheat Kings to select twice in top four . . . World women’s tourney to Calgary

The Spokane Chiefs own the first selection in the WHL’s 2021 prospects draft — formerly the bantam draft — that is scheduled to be held on Dec. 9. The draft usually is held in the spring — the last draft was held on April 22, 2020 — but the pandemic forced a move.

In announcing that the draft would be held in December, Ron Robison, the WHL WHL2commissioner, said that making the move would allow “additional time for players in the 2006 age group to be evaluated following a challenging season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate minor hockey leagues and tournaments will be fully operational in the fall . . .”

Because of the unique development season that the WHL completed last month, it came up with a four-phase process to determine the order of selection for the 2021 draft.

When all was said and done, the Chiefs had the first pick, something they last held in 2015 when they took D Ty Smith. The only other time Spokane has selected first overall was in 2006, when it took D Jared Cowen. Both players went on to captain the Chiefs, twice play for Team Canada at the IIHF World junior championship and become NHL first-round draft selections.

The Tri-City Americans hold the second overall pick on Dec. 9, a slot they have never before occupied.

The Brandon Wheat Kings hold the next two selections after trades with the Victoria Royals and Moose Jaw Warriors. Brandon also owns its first-round pick at No. 22.

On Jan. 10, 2018, the Wheat Kings got 2019 and 2021 first-round selections, along with D Jonathon Lambos and F Ty Thorpe, from the Royals for F Tanner Kaspick and F Cameron MacDonald.

Also at the 2018 trade deadline, the Wheat Kings dealt D Kale Clague to the Warriors for first-rounders in 2019 and 2021, a second-round pick in 2018, F Luka Burzan and D Chase Hartje.

Meanwhile, the Swift Current Broncos have the Nos. 6 and 7 picks. The first of those is their own selection, while they acquired the seventh pick from the Portland Winterhawks for G Joel Hofer. In the Jan. 9, 2019, swap, the Broncos also got a 2019 first-round pick, a second, fourth and fifth in 2020, and a third in 2019.

The Edmonton Oil Kings also hold a pair of first-round selections — one they acquired from the Kelowna Rockets at No. 13 and their own at 19th. On Dec. 14, 2019, the Oil Kings sent D Conner McDonald to the Rockets for that first-round pick and a third-rounder in 2023.

Moose Jaw, which dealt its pick to Brandon, has the 16th pick, having acquired it from the Saskatoon Blades. The Warriors actually acquired that pick from Victoria on Jan. 2020, in a deal that had F Brayden Tracey join the Royals.

As things stand at the moment, Saskatoon, Kelowna, Victoria and Portland are without first-round selections.

According to Ryan Kennedy, a senior writer with The Hockey News, F Berkly Catton of Saskatoon is the 2021 draft’s “top prize.” In 2019-20, Catton had 108 points, including 58 goals, in 30 games with the U15 Saskatoon Bandits. In the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, he had one goal and one assists in five games with the U18 AAA Saskatoon Contacts.

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The order of selection for the second and all subsequent rounds of the WHL draft were set by using the inverse order of the 2020-21 standings. Here is that order, excluding any trades that may already have been made:

1. Victoria Royals; 2. Red Deer Rebels; 3. Swift Current Broncos; 4. Tri-City Americans; 5. Moose Jaw Warriors; 6. Spokane Chiefs; 7. Lethbridge Hurricanes;

8. Regina Pats; 9. Seattle Thunderbirds; 10. Prince Albert Raiders; 11. Prince George Cougars; 12. Vancouver Giants; 13. Calgary Hitmen; 14. Portland Winterhawks;

15. Medicine Hat Tigers; 16. Kelowna Rockets; 17. Saskatoon Blades; 18. Winnipeg Ice; 19. Brandon Wheat Kings; 20. Kamloops Blazers; 21. Everett Silvertips; 22. Edmonton Oil Kings.


The IIHF’s 2021 World women’s hockey championship will be played in Calgary, Aug. 20-31. . . . The 31-game, 10-team tournament is scheduled for WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park. . . . It was to have been held in April in Halifax and Truro, N.S., but was cancelled due to pandemic-related concerns. . . . As of now, teams are scheduled to arrive in Calgary on Aug. 10 and enter quarantine before being allowed to begin practising. . . . A tournament schedule has yet to be released. . . . Team USA has won the past five tournaments.



Just to remind us that the pandemic isn’t yet in the rearview mirror, it now has laid claim to the 2021 CP Women’s Open that was to have been played at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver. The only Canadian stop on the LPGA tour was to have been played Aug. 23-29. . . . The 2020 tournament also was cancelled. . . . The 2022 tournament is to be played at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, then it is scheduled for Shaughnessy in 2023. . . . Earlier in the year, the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open was cancelled. It had been scheduled for St. George’s Golf & Country Club in Etobicoke, Ont., June 7-13.


Cats


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on Sunday. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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.


Dog

Only the vaccinated will be allowed at Bills, Sabres games . . . Memorial Cup tournament cancelled . . . Rockets, Tigers cleared to return

On March 30, Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, said that he expects the stadiums in which his league’s teams play to be open to full capacity when the next season begins.

On Tuesday, it was announced at a news conference in Buffalo that fans will have to have been vaccinated in order to attend games involving the NFL’s Bills and the NHL’s Sabres next season.

Mark Poloncarz, an Erie County executive, said: “You want to go to a Bills game later this year? Get vaccinated with your first dose of the Moderna vaccine today. You get your second dose of the Moderna vaccine in four weeks. Two weeks later, you’ll be able to fill out the pass, and in the fall, you’ll be cheering on Josh Allen at the stadium.

Poloncarz also said that religious and medical exemptions won’t be taken into consideration.

“Some people are like, ‘Well that’s unfair,’ but there’s no God-given right to attend a football game,” he said. 

In this instance, Erie County is able to set the rules for games in the home facilities for the Bills and Sabres because it owns both of them. According to Poloncarz, the country doesn’t need state approval either.

Needless to say, there was a lot of reaction on social media to the announcement, but Erie County officials don’t seem likely to budge on this.

“You have no guaranteed rights in the Constitution to inflict illness on other people, just like you have no guaranteed right in the Constitution to attend a Buffalo Bills football game,” Poloncarz said. “You can be removed at anytime. Our goal is to ensure that everyone in there is safe.”

Sandra Tan of the Buffalo News has more right here.

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Meanwhile, there are people doing the research to try and find out whether having fans attend sporting events in these pandemic times results in increased rates of infection in the areas in which the games were played. . . . One study, which hasn’t yet been peer reviewed, found definitive increases. . . . There’s more on that right here.


It was hardly a surprise when the CHL announced on Tuesday that it has cancelled the 2021 Memorial Cup because of the pandemic.

While a host city/team for 2021 hadn’t been announced, the tournament was to have been played in Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie. The 2020 tournament that was to have been held in Kelowna also was cancelled.

The Memorial Cup first was presented in 1919. It had been awarded every year since then . . . until 2020.

“Regrettably, we do not see a path in which we will be able to produce champions in our three member leagues due to border restrictions and quarantining requirements,” the CHL said in a statement. “The Memorial Cup is steeped in tradition and is one of the most difficult trophies to win in all of sport. The CHL looks forward to presenting it next season to the championship club that has earned the right to hoist it.”

While the QMJHL continues to plan on starting its playoffs on April 23 — it has at least three Quebec-based teams with positive tests, one of them with 24 — one has to think that the OHL will get around to announcing one of these days that its season has been cancelled without getting started.

The WHL has all of its 22 teams playing games within their geographic areas, but hasn’t yet announced a plan for playoffs of any sort. Of course, there really is no need for any sort of playoffs without the Memorial Cup at the end of the rainbow.

The last team to win the Memorial Cup? That would be the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, who beat the host Halifax Mooseheads, 4-2, in the final of the 2019 tournament. The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders and the OHL-champion Guelph Storm also took part.

The CHL said in its statement that “further decisions” regarding a 2022 host team/city and schedule would be announced at a later date.



DannyBoy


The Oil Kings don’t play until the weekend, but there were four games played in the WHL on Tuesday night . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored four times in the first period, the first two by BrandonF Ty Thorpe, en route to an 8-3 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina. . . . The Warriors (7-9-1) got to within a pair, at 5-3, late in the second period but the Wheat Kings (12-3-2) scored the last three goals. . . . Thorpe has three goals this season. . . . The Wheat Kings got a goal, his seventh, and two assists from F Nolan Ritchie and three assists from D Braden Schneider. . . . F Lynden McCallum added his 11th goal for Brandon. . . . F Brayden Yager, the third overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, scored his fifth and sixth goals and added an assist for the Warriors. He has 13 points in 17 games. . . . Yager came up short on a first-period penalty shot, with G Connor Ungar making the save. He finished with 37 stops. . . .

In the nightcap in Regina, the Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first four Raidersgoals and went on to beat the Pats, 4-2. . . . The Raiders (6-8-3) struck four times in a span of 6:36 in the second period. . . . F Tyson Laventure (2), F Justin Nachbaur (6), F Evan Herman (6) and F Logan Linklater (1) had the goals. Herman has goals in three straight games. . . . The Raiders have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Pats (6-8-3) got back in it on late third-period goals from F Logan Nijhoff (8) and F Ryker Evans (3). . . . For what it’s worth, the Pats are 2-3-3 as the home team and 4-5-0 as the visitor. They were the home team for this one. . . . F Tanner Howe, 15, made his WHL debut with the Pats. Howe, who is from Prince Albert, won’t turn 16 until Nov. 28. He was a fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2020 bantam draft. . . .

F Nico Myatovic scored his first two WHL goals in his first game to help the host SeattleSeattle Thunderbirds to a 4-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Myatovic, a 16-year-old from Prince George, was a sixth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. He gave Seattle a 1-0 lead on his first shift, at 2:25 of the first period, then made it 2-1 at 4:56 of the second period. He actually scored his first two goals on his first two shots. . . . F Jake Sloan (3) got the Americans to within one, at 3-2, at 17:42 of the third period, but Seattle F Henry Rybinski (3) got the empty-netter at 18:48. . . . Seattle improved to 7-5-0, while Tri-City slid to 5-7-0. . . . There was concern for Seattle F Payton Mount at game’s end. The 18-year-old from Victoria, who is in his third season with Seattle, was wearing a neck brace when he was placed on a backboard and then taken away from the bench area on a stretcher following the final buzzer. . . . Andy Eide of 710 ESPN tweeted afterwards that Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette said “Mount was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure. He was talking and alert. Puck skidded off the wall of the bench and hit him in base of the skull.” . . .

The Spokane Chiefs scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Silvertips, Spokane4-3, in Everett. . . . F Eli Zummack had a goal, his third, and three assists for the Chiefs. His second shorthanded goal in as many games broke a 3-3 tie at 7:31 of the third period. . . . Spokane F Adam Beckman’s second goal of the game, and eighth of the season, had tied the game at 2:51. . . . F Brendan Lee (2) and F Cole Fonstad (8) put Everett out front 2-0 in the first period. . . . Beckman got Spokane’s first goal 31 seconds into the second. He has goals in five straight games. . . . F Austin Roest’s first WHL goal restored Everett’s two-goal lead just 34 seconds later. . . . F Copeland Ricker got Spokane’s comeback started with his first goal at 4:41 of the second. . . . Spokane now is 3-5-3, while Everett slipped to 9-3-0.



The WHL announced Tuesday night that the Kelowna Rockets will resume team activities today (Wednesday) after everyone in their cohort tested negative. The Rockets had been on hold for 14 days after experiencing seven positive tests. They are scheduled to face the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops on Saturday night. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have been cleared to return to play after having been shut down after having been deemed close contacts of the Calgary Hitmen, who had one positive test. The Hitmen remain on hold, but the Tigers will return with three weekend games against the Red Deer Rebels. They’ll play Friday in Medicine Hat, Saturday in Red Deer and Monday in Medicine Hat. On the original schedule, Red Deer was to have played a tripleheader with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The WHL news release on schedule adjustments impacting the five Alberta teams is right here.


FlinFlonThe SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers owe the City some money. But the City isn’t in a hurry to collect the $27,500. In fact, council has put the debt into abeyance, at least for now. . . . Should the Bombers show a profit of $100,000 in one season, they will pay the debt. Should someone purchase the team, the debut will have to be paid out of the proceeds. Councillor Tim Babcock explained things this way to Eric Westhaver of the Flin Flon Reminder: “The way it works is that they owe us money from two seasons ago now, because their playoffs were cut short and they didn’t get the money they were counting on from a deep playoff run. Then, they weren’t able to have a season this year, so they’re a little bit behind in their bills.” . . . Westhaver has more right here.


The 22-team Ontario Junior Hockey League has cancelled its 2020-21 season. “With the Province of Ontario currently under a 28-day Stay-at-Home order, and the official 2020-21 Hockey Canada season ending on May 31, the league has declared an end to its season.” . . . In the 2020-21 season, six OJHL teams were able to play a total of 56 exhibition games.


Wake


Please don’t forget that Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to help her out, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . And a huge thank you to those who have already responded to this. Love seeing her smile every time she gets a notification of a new donor.

——

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.


Scholl

OHL now looking at Feb. 4 start to 40-game season . . . Still lots of unanswered questions . . . World Series aftermath mostly about Turner


OK . . . let’s recap the major junior hockey season to this point:

The QMJHL began its regular season on Oct. 1, but, frankly, things have been a bit messy. As of right now, its 12 Quebec-based teams are in a holding pattern, although four of them are expected to return to play this weekend. . . . Three teams have experienced positive tests. . . . It has three teams with eight games played and three that have played two apiece. . . . The Shawinigan Cataractes have moved their players into a dormitory. . . .

Meanwhile, the WHL has targeted Jan. 8 as the opening date for its next regular season. It has said that players will report to their teams after Christmas for short training camps. . . . Last week, the WHL decided to allow its players to transfer to junior A, junior B and U-18 teams. A number of WHL players have taken advantage of that, especially in joining junior A teams. . . . But there remain about a zillion unanswered questions and Jan. 8 is just over two months away. . . .

On Wednesday, the OHL announced that it will open training camps on Jan. 23 with its regular season — each team is to play 40 games — to begin on Feb. 4 and end on May 16. . . . Earlier, the OHL had said it was aiming to begin play on Dec. 1. . . . The OHL said its teams will bring in American and European players starting Jan. 8 and that they will quarantine. . . . Eight teams, four from each of its two conferences, will qualify for the playoffs. . . . The OHL has three American teams, but nothing has been decided on their immediate futures. . . . Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted that the OHL has had “NO discussion about the contact issue. Teams assume that’s not going to happen.” He also tweeted that there wasn’t any “discussion about fans . . . but that’s not a surprise at this point.” . . . If all goes according to plan, the Memorial Cup will open on June 17 and run through June 27. . . . Again, there are a zillion questions that will have to be answered, in whole or in part, between now and February. Yes, February.


charliebrown


With the World Series having ended on Tuesday night, we should be absorbing all that came before the last out of Game 6. We should be saluting the Los WorldSeriesAngeles Dodgers as a truly great team, one that had a dominating 60-game regular season and was on pace to win 116 games had they played a ‘normal’ 162-game season. We should be celebrating a Dodgers team that won seven of its last nine playoff games to win that World Series. Instead, well, it’s not about that at all.

Having been notified that Dodgers 3B Justin Turner had tested positive, MLB was able to get him out of the lineup during Game 6. But it somehow wasn’t able to him off the field during post-game celebrations.

On Wednesday, MLB announced it has launched an investigation into Turner’s post-game behaviour.

MLB ordered the Dodgers to remove Turner from the game, and he didn’t take the field for the top of the eighth inning. According to MLB, Turner “was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him.

“However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others. While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”

——

Meanwhile, here’s a handful of takes from a few writers of note . . .

Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated: “In a season nearly derailed by risky behavior, this was the most irresponsible moment yet. The league has protocols restricting behavior by people who have contracted the virus. ‘Any Covered Individual who tests positive for COVID-19 must immediately wear a face covering (and) isolate from all people,’ the operations manual states. But on Tuesday, the scientists in baseball pants were allowed to make public-health policy based on what seemed most fun.” . . . Her piece is right here.

——

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic: “Maybe little will come of Turner’s post-game behavior. Maybe he will recover from COVID-19 with minimal difficulty, like most people in his age group, and the vast majority of the Dodgers’ bubble contingent, if not all of it, will avoid infection. Still, some with the Dodgers are higher risk. (Manager Dave) Roberts is a cancer survivor. (Pitcher Kenley) Jansen, who had a three-week bout with the virus in July, has a heart condition. At least one of the players’ wives is pregnant.

“If other team or family members test positive, the images from Tuesday night will become that much more indelible, that much more regrettable. No one stopped Turner from returning to the field. He also did not stop himself.”

That piece is right here.

——

Nancy Armour of USA TODAY: “Justin Turner finally got his World Series title and Major League Baseball got its postseason TV riches, so to hell with everybody else.

“That’s how we’re doing it, right? Personal satisfaction and happiness over the collective good, science and common sense be damned.

The appalling flouting of COVID-19 protocols at the World Series on Tuesday night might as well be a microcosm of the United States, bringing into sharp focus why this country has lost almost 230,000 of its mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents and friends in the past seven months.”

That piece is right here.

——

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “When you were a teenager, did you ever throw a party when your parents were away?

“That’s what the Dodgers and Major League Baseball did Tuesday night.

“With no parents at home, no adult supervision, the Dodgers partied like it was 2019.

“As with your teenage party, it might take a while before we get a complete assessment of the damage, like when your dad found the broken wine bottle in the hot tub a week later.”

That complete piece is right here.

——

Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post: “The coronavirus had to make a cameo in this series, didn’t it? What would 2020 be without the virus proving it could sneak in anywhere, even an MLB bubble? But Dodgers star Justin Turner, removed in the middle of Game 6 when one of his test results came back positive, did not have to turn himself into a poster boy for pandemic irresponsibility.Turner will and should never live down returning to the field — knowing that he had the virus — to yell with teammates, pose massless in team photos and hug whomever he please.

“Turner symbolizes far too much of America now: I will take a world health crisis, which looks like it might kill more Americans than died in battle in World War II (291,000), sort of seriously — unless I’m having a real good time.”

Boswell’s complete take is right here. Our best baseball essayist also writes about how great this Dodgers team was and how that shouldn’t get lost in Turner’s faux pas.


Poison


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The AHL now has targeted Feb. 5 as the starting date for its next season. It had been looking to start on Dec. 4. . . . From a news release: “The AHL continues to work with its member clubs to monitor developments and local guidelines in all 31 league cities. Further details regarding the 2020-21 American Hockey League season are still to be determined.” . . .

The Wisconsin Badgers have had 12 positives — six players and six staff — so their game at Nebraska on Saturday has been cancelled. The positive include the first two quarterbacks on their depth chart and head coach Paul Chryst. . . . The Big Ten scheduled doesn’t include room for rescheduling so the game was cancelled. . . . Wisconsin will pause all football-related activities for seven days, while players who test positive, including starting QB Graham Mertz, must sit out for at least 21 days according to Big Ten protocol. . . .

Chilliwack FC, which oversees minor soccer in the B.C. city, has had to hire security in order to make sure that COVID-19 protocols are being followed, in particular by parents. . . . Andrea Laycock, Chilliwack FC’s chairperson, emailed parents on Tuesday, telling them that volunteers, staff and contact tracers have been facing abuse while trying to make sure protocols are being followed. . . . Laycock wrote: “Because the interactions at the contact tracing table and inside the facilities has at times been so horrific and borderline violent, Chilliwack FC has engaged Allegiance 1 Security to do periodic sweeps of all of our venues to ensure everyone is behaving and adhering to our policy. Should any issues be reported, the Chilliwack FC Disciplinary Committee will become involved and the offender(s) risk being banned from attending games to being expelled from Chilliwack FC. Enough is enough!” . . . Tyler Olsen of the Abbotsford News has more right here. . . .

The National Lacrosse League pulled the plug on its 2019-20 season in March and later cancelled it. On Wednesday, the NLL said that it hopes to get its next season started on the weekend of April 9-11. . . . Under what used to be normal circumstances, the NLL season would start in December or January. . . . The league has 13 teams, including five in Canada, so there still are lots of decision to be made before another season can get started. . . .

The 2021 Boston Marathon was scheduled for April 19, but now has moved to an unspecified date in the fall. The 2020 Marathon was cancelled earlier this year. . . .

The NFL’s Houston Texans, who are on a bye week, closed their facility on Wednesday after an unidentified player tested positive. The Texans are next scheduled to play on Nov. 8 against the host Jacksonville Jaguars. . . .

The MLS’s Minnesota United had a player come up positive before playing visiting Colorado on Wednesday night, but the game went ahead as scheduled as all others tested were negative. . . . Also on Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Union, despite having one positive test, went ahead with a home game against the Chicago Fire.



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.


Train

WHL moves goal posts to Jan. 8 . . . QMJHL shuts down two divisions . . . NCHL (not CHL) cancels its season

On a day when the QMJHL shut down some teams until at least Oct. 28, the WHL announced that it has moved its proposed regular-season starting date from whlDec. 4 to Jan. 8. . . . The WHL, which normally begins its regular season in late September, first said it would open on Oct. 2. It later changed that to Dec. 4. . . . If it is able to open on Jan. 8, the league’s 22 teams will play entirely within their divisions, although the Swift Current Broncos will move from the Central Division to the East Division to play with the four other Saskatchewan teams and two from Manitoba. . . . Players will be expected to report to their teams after Christmas for brief training camps. . . . The WHL also has added Dr. Dhiren Naidu, the NHL-Edmonton Oilers’ head team physician, as chief medical advisor. An associate professor at the U of Alberta, Dr. Naidu worked with the NHL during its time in the Edmonton bubble. His role with the WHL will be “to assist with the implementation of comprehensive health and safety protocols.” . . .

The pandemic has been ongoing for more than seven months now, and it is apparent that it is far from being over. That being said, the WHL has a lot of work ahead of it between now and Jan. 8. Here are a few things that have yet to be addressed publicly:

1. The WHL’s news release didn’t mention length of schedule;

2. It didn’t touch on how it will get Canadian players to the five U.S. Division teams with the U.S.-Canada border closed and not likely to be open by then. Although, as I understand it, Canadians are allowed to fly into the U.S., while non-essential travel across the border via vehicle isn’t allowed;

3. The Saskatchewan government has told curlers that they aren’t allowed to leave the province for competitions, nor will out-of-province competitors be allowed in. Presumably the WHL will have to deal with that regulation in some way;

4. Steve Ewen, who covers the Vancouver Giants for Postmedia, pointed out via Twitter: “There are five B.C. teams and viaSport rules have stated that you can play in cohorts of four. Be interesting to see if the WHL gained an exemption regarding that or what their plan is. Cohorts can be changed with a two-week break.” . . . Ewen later tweeted that he asked the WHL how it will deal with B.C.’s cohort regulations, and received this response: “We are continuing to work on those details and remain in conversation with the B.C. government. At this time, it has not been determined what cohorts will look like for the WHL in B.C.”

5. The WHL’s news release didn’t mention anything about testing or contact tracing;

6. The WHL has been adamant for months now that it can’t play unless it has the OK for its team to open up their facilities to at least 50 per cent of capacity. The last sentence of Wednesday’s seven-paragraph news release might indicate that the WHL no longer is prepared to die on that hill: “A final determination has not yet been made as to whether spectators will be permitted to attend WHL games as this will be subject to the approval of the Health Authorities in each jurisdiction.” . . . Could it be that the WHL is prepared to play in empty buildings?

7. Is the WHL attempting to get financial aid from any levels of federal, provincial or state governments?

Questions, questions, questions . . . some of which may not have answers.

One thing is for certain, though: The WHL will play when ’Rona says it will play, which is what the QMJHL is learning these days.

——


Meanwhile, the QMJHL has shut down its two Quebec-based divisions until at qmjhlnewleast Oct. 28. The six-team Maritime Division will continue to play, but with five teams because the Moncton Wildcats, who are in a government-declared orange zone, are limited to practising. . . . Six of the 12 Quebec-based teams are in red zone and have been shut down by government restrictions until month’s end. Two of the Quebec teams — the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the Sherbrooke Phoenix — had a combined 26 positive tests. . . . The QMJHL, which has had its teams playing strictly within their divisions, said it will reassess its situation in two weeks. . . . Mikaël Lalancette of TVA Sports wrote: “Behind the scenes, I have already been told that it would be astonishing to see the circuit activities resume in 14 days.”


When last heard from, the OHL said it was planning on opening its regular ohlseason on Dec. 1. However, that announcement was made on Aug. 5. . . . Since then, of course, Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, has said that the OHL will have to get rid of body-checking and fighting if it is to return to play. She said: “It would be safe to say that body contact, unless it’s incremental, will not be permitted as a result of COVID-19. That would pose a challenge in terms of how they amend their play.” . . . I think it’s safe to say that negotiations are ongoing.


Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle touched on some truths about the virus in a Wednesday column, beginning with a reference to the NBA’s bubble success . . .

“As success stories go, this one was downright dangerous, offering hope in a pandemic when reality suggests nothing of the sort. It is now quite clear that nothing short of a carefully supervised bubble, free of positive tests for the coronavirus, is going to work in any sport in which athletes compete at close range.

“You’d think the football-crazed folks would get the picture, but instead we’re seeing all sorts of craziness in the NFL, the college game and surely throughout youth sports across the country. As they barge ahead through virus outbreaks, camp shutdowns, postponements and cancellations, they seem to treat positive tests as a minor inconvenience — a veritable sacrifice to the football gods. Fans are streaming back into many Power 5 conference stadiums, including the disturbing sight of some 24,000 people at Saturday’s Texas-Oklahoma game, sitting extremely close together and, in many cases, wearing masks only around their necks.”

That complete column is right here.


Mozart


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

BC Hockey has cancelled all of its provincial minor hockey championships for 2021. Under normal circumstances, BC Hockey would sanction 16 provincial championship tournaments in U-13, U-15, U-18 and U-21 age groups. . . . The pandemic also had resulted in the cancellation of 2020 championships last spring. . . . From a BC Hockey news release: “BC Hockey is making the proactive decision at this time to allow all Districts and leagues the flexibility needed to facilitate programming that best fits into the viaSport provincial guidelines regarding sport participation focusing on the safety and well-being of participants.” . . .

The North Central Hockey League has cancelled its 2020-21 season. The Senior AA league features teams in the Alberta communities of Blackfalds, Bonnyville, Daysland, Devon, Fort Saskatchewan, Lacombe, Morinville, Red Deer and Westlock. . . .

The NFL has cancelled the Pro Bowl that was to have been played in Las Vegas on Jan. 31. The league hopes to replace it with a virtual program, the details of which have yet to be detailed. . . . Cancelling the game also provides the NHL with a bit more scheduling space in case it needs to move regular-season games. . . .

Nick Saban, the head football coach at the U of Alabama, and Greg Byrne, the school’s athletic director, both have tested positive. . . . Upon getting his result, Saban, 68, said he “immediately left work and isolated at home.” . . . The No. 2 Crimson Tide is scheduled to play at home against the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. . . . Alabama played at Mississippi last Saturday. Lane Kiffin, the Runnin’ Rebels’ head coach, said Wednesday that his team has had some positive tests. . . .

Earlier in the week, the SEC postponed two games — LSU at No. 10 Florida and Vanderbilt at Missouri. . . . Florida has had 21 players and two assistant coaches test positive, and has suspended team activities. . . . Vanderbilt also has been hit by an outbreak and wouldn’t have enough scholarship athletes available to play. . . . There now have been 29 FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) games postponed. . . .

Members of Tornado Moscow Oblast, a Russian women’s hockey team, are in quarantine and six games have been postponed because of positive tests. . . .

Skate Canada International, part of figure skating’s Grand Prix circuit, has been cancelled. It had been scheduled for Oct. 30-31 in Ottawa and was to have taken place without fans. Organizers made the decision citing rising COVID-19 cases in Ontario. . . .

George Birger, a former athletic director at Brandon University, died on Saturday in Arizona. He was 91 and had tested positive. . . . The Brandon Sun has a thorough look back at Birger’s career right here.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Time

Things are messy in Portland . . . BCHL aiming for Dec. 1 start after long training camps . . . Stampede Corral soon to fall


We are halfway through July and the Portland Winterhawks haven’t yet changed hands.

Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune reported on June 18 that the WHL “is optimistic that the Winterhawks will have a new owner by the end of July.”

In that story, Danzer quoted Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, as having told whlreporters: “We’re hopeful that we will be in a position later this month and into July to select a candidate to become the new owner of the Portland Winterhawks. It’s important to have that resolved as quickly as possible. Our target is to have that resolved by sometime in July.”

If you aren’t aware, the Portland franchise has been in receivership since May 7 after owner Bill Gallacher ran into some financial difficulties. The Winterhawks had been used as part of the collateral for a Cdn $20-million loan for which a repayment deadline was missed.

However, things have changed in Portland.

Of course, there is the pandemic. Also, the city has been through seven weeks of protests and demonstrations against the treatment of Black Americans by police. There’s a lot more right here on what transpired in Portland on Thursday night.

On Friday, Oregon Public Broadcasting, in a piece that is right here, reported:

“Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off.”

A WHL fan who lives in Portland emailed me . . .

“The Oregon Health Authority reported a record-high 437 new coronavirus cases and two deaths on Thursday. It’s the third consecutive week that state officials reported a record-breaking daily total, according to Oregon Live. . . .

“A headline from oregonlive.com: Federal officers respond to Portland protests with gas, munitions Thursday amid growing attention from Trump administration . . .”

Then he added: “Gregg, it is an absolute mess and disaster in Portland . . . and in Oregon. . . . Oregon — record number of COVID cases . . . hospitalizations are on their way up — it’s very sad.

“I have just gotten numb to the protests . . . downtown businesses are being crippled. No sane person wants to go down to the city after about 5 p.m.

“NOBODY would want to go near the Rose Quarter for a game these days.”

The Winterhawks play out of Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the Moda Center, both of which are in the Rose Quarter.

Perhaps there might be better times to try to sell a WHL franchise in the Rose City.


Clone


The BCHL began its 2019-20 season on Sept. 6. On Friday, it announced that it “is BCHLplanning to start the 2020-21 regular season on Dec. 1, pending approval from the Provincial Health Office (PHO).” . . . Here’s Chris Hebb, the BCHL commissioner, from a news release: “We’ve been having discussions with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture since March around a safe return to play. The PHO has indicated to us that waiting until December gives us the best chance at ensuring we have an uninterrupted season, while also maximizing the amount of regular-season games we’ll be able to play.” . . . Teams will be allowed to open on-ice sessions on Sept. 8 — yes, almost three months before they hope to open the season. . . . The BCHL news release is right here. . . . The Nanaimo Clippers announced that “all players will be reporting” as of Sept. 8 and that teams in the Island Division will hold a tournament in October. . . .

Brian Wiebe, who covers the BCHL like fog atop the Coquihalla, posted a Q&A with Hebb.

Asked if he is “convinced that B.C. and Canada will be healthy enough for the BCHL to return to play in December,” Hebb told Wiebe: “We’re going to give the health authorities a chance to ascertain that. The problem that all of us have is that we’re not medical doctors. One of the things we’ve done a good job with at the BCHL is listening. Starting December 1 gives you a much better chance of not getting shut down because if the health authorities allow you to play in December, it’s probably a pretty good sign that they think things are under control.”

Hebb also explains how the BCHL arrived at the Dec. 1 date, how many games each team may play in the regular season, if the season could start earlier than Dec. 1, how many fans might be allowed in arenas, what teams might do with training camps that could run to three months, the possibility of the Wenatchee Wild operating out of Canada, and a whole lot more.

It’s all-encompassing and it’s right here.


The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders reported a loss of $80,906 at their annual general meeting on Thursday night. “The Stampeders reported a substantial loss this year, mainly due to a decrease in ticket sales, the inability to hold a spring camp, loss of playoff revenue, and fundraising falling short thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a news release on the team’s website. . . . There is more right here. . . . Earlier this month, Danielle Gordon-Broome of the Swan Valley Star and Times reported that the Stampeders “went into last season carrying nearly $200,000 in debt.”



Coupon


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NFL Players Association revealed on Thursday that 72 players had tested positive as of July 10. . . . Some teams will be having rookies report to training camp this weekend. . . . Nate Davis wrote in Thursday’s USA TODAY: “The league and players union still have widespread issues to resolve, including opt-out scenarios for players and numerous workplace protocols as well as COVID-19 testing procedures and even the actual number of preseason games, before football resumes in any form or fashion.” . . .

Dan Graziano of ESPN tweeted a number of the NFL’s travel rules that will be in place for this season, including no use of public or private transportation to or in other cities; no leaving hotel to go to restaurants open to public; no room visits by anyone outside the traveling party; no use of shared hotel facilities (pool, gym, etc.); masks required while traveling; buses at no more than 50 percent capacity; and at least one open seat between passengers on the plane. . . .

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NCAA president Mark Emmert had this to say on Thursday: “Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.” . . .

Here’s Pat Forde of si.com:

“There will be no college football crowds of the usual size. There might not be college football, period. Pessimism percolates as the time for solutions dwindles. We are speeding in the wrong direction as a nation in terms of combating the coronavirus pandemic, and one of the cultural casualties of American casualness is an endeavor millions of us want and every college athletic department needs.

“If the season dies, we know who had the biggest hand in killing any chance of it happening: Donald Trump.” . . . The complete column is right here. . . .

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference has suspended all intercollegiate athletics through Nov. 30, a move that affects 17 sports. A decision on the status of competition after Nov. 30 is expected to be made by Oct. 15. Simon Fraser U of Burnaby, B.C., is a member of the GNAC. . . .

The U of New Hampshire has cancelled all fall sports for its athletics teams in football, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and women’s volleyball. . . . A decision on winter sports, including hockey and basketball, is to be made at some point “in early fall,” according to the school. . . .

The West Coast Conference has shut down most of its sports until at least Sept. 24. Sports impacted are men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. Not impacted, at least not yet, are men’s and women’s basketball and football. . . .

The Oregon-based four-team Wild West League, a wood-bat college-level baseball circuit in its infancy, is on hiatus for at least seven days after two players tested positive. The WWL made the announcement on Wednesday, just four days after beginning its first season. The Gresham Grey Wolves, Portland Gherkins, Portland Pickles ad West Linn Knights are the four teams in the league. . . .

The Canada West conference announced on Wednesday that it will hold championships in golf and swimming, but the cross-country championship won’t go ahead. . . . The golf championship tournament is scheduled for the Okanagan Golf Club in Kelowna, Oct. 2-4, with the swimming championship to be held at the U of Calgary sometime early in 2021 rather than in November. . . .

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MLB announced nine players and one staff member tested positive in the week that ended on Thursday. MLB now has had 93 positive tests — 80 players and 13 staff members since late last month. . . . OF Austin Meadows, an all-star with the Tampa Bay Rays, is one of the players to have tested positive. . . . OF Yasiel Puig, a free agent, revealed on Friday that he has tested positive. He reportedly was on the verge of signing with the Atlanta Braves, but the positive test short-circuited that deal. . . . Twenty-eight of MLB’s 30 teams have had at least one positive test in their organization. . . .

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D Caleb Jones of the Edmonton Oilers skated with the team’s first group on Friday, then told reporters that he had tested positive, which is why had missed the first few days of training camp. He doesn’t know how or where he contracted the virus, but tested positive after arriving in Edmonton from Dallas and being tested two weeks ago. . . . Jones is one of only three NHLers whose positive tests have been made public, the others being F Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and F Jayce Hawryluk of the Ottawa Senators. . . .

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The KHL team Kunlun Red Star will play its entire 2020-21 season out of Russia. It is moving its operation to Mytishchi, about 20 km northeast of Moscow. . . . Mattias Forsblom of svenski.yle.fi reported that Kunlun and Dinamo Riga, from Latvia, were told by the KHL that they had to move to Russia because borders are closed and there aren’t any plans to open them. . . . Dinamo Minsk (Belarus), Jokerit (Finland) and Barys Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) also operate from outside of Russia, but there haven’t yet been announcements concerning their relocation. . . . The KHL plans on starting its regular season on Sept. 2. . . .

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The Central Okanagan Minor Baseball Association suspended play on Friday because “a player within the organization has come in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.” There aren’t any confirmed cases with players or coaches, but the association has suspended activities as a precaution. . . . The association, which is based in Kelowna, covers girls’ and boys’ teams from ages five to 18.


Headline at The Onion: Jerry Jones Changes Team’s Name To Redskins Now That It’s Available.


Billy Keane is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . He spent three seasons as the head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues before being replaced by Gord Burnett prior to last season. Burnett signed on as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors earlier this month. . . . Keane is a brother to former WHL/NHL F Mike Keane.


Water

B.C. moves to protect amateur sports organizations . . . Cranbrook arena getting spruced up for Bucks . . . Bedard tops in clicks

Here is two minutes 20 seconds of hockey heaven. Watch it before putting your head on the pillow because you will have great dreams . . .


John Horgan, the premier of B.C., announced on Wednesday that “the government has passed an order protecting” amateur sports organizations and their volunteers “from any litigation as a result of COVID-19.” . . . As Patrick Johnston and Harrison Mooney of Postmedia reports, the move comes “after many insurance companies refused to cover leagues for coronavirus liability.” . . . The order, they added, “means sports organizations and organizers cannot be sued if someone contracts or transmits COVID-19 as a result of their participation in organized amateur sport, as long as those sports are following provincial pandemic guidelines.” . . . Jake Cabott, a Vancouver lawyer, said that people involved in amateur sports are going to need to “stay current on public health guidance and follow it. Don’t follow it as closely as your sport will allow. Follow it 100 per cent and modify your sport activities accordingly.” . . . The complete story is right here.


Of all the comments I have seen about the decision by U Sports and three of its conferences to cancel some national championships and suspend some seasons until at least January, I thought Blake Nill, the head coach of football’s UBC Thunderbirds, said it best when he told J.J. Adams of Postmedia that it was the correct decision.

“Ultimately,” Nill said, “universities have to provide leadership. They have to set an example. And this is absolutely about that. This is about universities being responsible given the health crisis. . . . It’s about safety of our athletes, it’s about health, and I’m a big believer that we have to be a flagship. We have to be up there at the front in doing that.

“We just have to get through it. Athletes are built to overcome any challenges and, this is a challenge that we need that kind of mindset for.”

Adams’ complete story is right here.



Whenever the BCHL is able to start a new season, the expansion Cranbrook Bucks are going to play in a spruced up Western Financial Place. It is getting a new watertight roof that is in the process of being installed. Work began on May 5. . . . Bradley Jones of myeastkootenaynow.com reports that the work on the roof isn’t expected to have an impact on the start of a new season. . . . According to Jones, several other upgrades are being made to the arena, which used to be home to the WHL’s Kootenay Ice before the team moved to Winnipeg after the 2018-19 season. When the Bucks begin play, there will be new boards and glass, a new chiller and heat exchanger on the ice plant, and a new video scoreboard. . . . Just wondering, but does anyone know if the Ice’s owners have settled their last lease agreement with Cranbrook city council? That lease was to run through 2022-23.



A gem from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, in reference to the problems MLB and the MLBPA are having in trying to get a season started: “If Rob Manfred called Tony Clark and suggested they have dinner together tonight, I would not be surprised if both men brought food tasters with them. That kind of distrust must stop sometime or MLB as we have come to know it is not going to exist.”



penguin


MLS is planning a 26-team tournament without fans to run from July 8 through Aug. 11 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. . . . The NBA is planning to bring 22 teams into the same complex to begin play with the resumption of its season on July 31. . . . MLS is hoping that it will be able to move back to its regular markets once the tournament is completed. . . .

Manchester United was to have played a friendly with visiting Stoke City on Tuesday, but the game was cancelled after Stoke manager Michael O’Neill tested positive for COVID-19. . . . He had come up negative in five previous tests, but was positive in a test conducted on Monday. . . .

The LPGA has cancelled the Evian Championship that was to have been held in Evian-les-Bains, France, Aug. 6-9. This is the first major tournament cancelled by the LPGA. . . . The LPGA is planning on returning to play with the Marathon Classic in Ohio, July 23-26. . . .

Three of the world’s top soccer leagues are to resume their schedules in the next few days, all of them without fans. The Spanish league is to re-open today (Thursday), with Italy re-starting on Friday as Juventus and AC Milan clash in a semifinal. On June 17, the English Premier League will be back with two games. . . .

The PGA Tour returns today (Thursday) from the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. All players and caddies tested negative for the COVID-19 virus as of Wednesday night. Some players will wear microphones, while CBS-TV’s Jim Nantz will be alone in the broadcast booth. Ian Baker-Finch, Nick Faldo and Frank Nobilo will provide commentary from a studio in Orlando. . . .

The Prince George Cougars have had to cancel their ninth annual Alumni Hospital charity golf tournament that benefits the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation. It had been scheduled for July 10 and 11. The event has raised $558,000 in total, including $75,000 last summer. . . .

The European Badminton Championships have been cancelled. They had been scheduled for Kiev, Ukraine, April 21-26, but were postponed. Unable to find suitable dates, the Badminton World Federation pulled the plug.



The NHL’s Los Angeles Kings revealed Wednesday that Jon Rosen “is no longer a member of our organization,” a victim of cutbacks brought on by the pandemic. Rosen, once the radio voice of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, spent eight seasons working with the NHL team as the LA Kings Insider. He did a superb job over those eight seasons; in fact, there were none better in his field. . . . What kind of person is Rosen? The Kings’ news release is right here; make sure you go to the end of it and read Rosen’s statement.


Food


Mike McKenzie now is the general manager and head coach of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. He had stepped in as interim head coach on Nov. 26, replacing the fired Jay McKee when the team was 7-10-4. With him running the bench, they went 33-6-3. . . . “Right now,” McKenzie said in a news release, “this decision makes the most sense for our organization.”



If you are a major junior hockey fan, this story may sound a wee bit familiar. . . . Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Tuesday that “Major League Baseball and the 22 teams named as defendants in a landmark lawsuit over minor-league salaries have taken their argument to the U.S. Supreme Court in a final effort to prevent a trial.” . . . Earlier, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the suit could move forward as a class action covering, according to Schulman, “any minor-league who has played in Arizona or Florida — essentlally all who went to spring training.” . . . Schulman added: “The suit, filed in 2004 by Missouri attorney and former Giants pitching prospect Garrrett Broshuis, hopes to compel teams to pay minor-league players at least the state minimum wage during the season and in spring training, when they are not paid aside from meal money.”

Schulman’s story is right here.


Book

Pandemic responsible for rash of WHL signings? . . . Co-owner: Cougars 1,500 fans a game from breaking even . . . Hanlon’s latest gig in German DEL

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


After the Red Deer Rebels announced the signing of Arjun Bawa, a second-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft, on Thursday, Alan Caldwell, who keeps track of these things, tweeted:

“Bawa makes 15 of 22 second-rounds picks signed now. Add to 19 of the 22 first-rounders and that’s 34 of the first 44 picks from 2020.

“Five 3rd-rounders, one 4th and one 5th make 41 players signed from the 2020 draft already.”

And, as Caldwell also noted, the numbers “may actually be higher as some teams don’t announce signings.” (Note: There were more signings on Friday, too, with 21 of 22 first-round picks from 2020 now having signed.)

Whatever the numbers, I can’t ever recall a time when the WHL’s 22 teams signed so many players in such a short period of time. After all, the draft was held on April 22.

So . . . why the rush?

I had wondered if perhaps the WHL’s 22 teams were feeling more pressure than usual from leagues like the BCHL and USHL. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Two people with an understanding of the situation have told me that you likely can chalk it up to the pandemic. Unable to take vacations and with not a whole lot of other things on their plate at the moment, team executives simply have sped up the signing process.

And, no, neither Bill Gates nor 5G have had anything to do with it.



Wondering how much money the Prince George Cougars lost last season? Hartley Miller PrinceGeorgeof 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97 takes a look in his weekly Hart Attack column and it’s all right here. . . . On Tuesday, John Pateman, one of the team’s owners and the franchise’s president, took part in a virtual town hall with fans. At one point, he offered: “It’s been a struggle financially for the ownership group over the last several years. We’ve obviously lost a lot of money. I would suggest, last season, we were probably 1,500 fans short of paying all our bills per game, that’s without making the playoffs.” . . . Do the math, as Miller does in his column, and this looks a lot like about a $1-million loss. Yikes!


Married


Glen Hanlon is the new head coach of the Krefeld Pinguine of the German DEL. He finished last season as the head coach of DVTK Jegesmedvek in Slovakia. . . . Hanlon, 63, spent two seasons (2016-18) as the general manager of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants before going back to Europe where he gained considerable experience after spending the better part of four seasons on staff with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.


Paul McFarland has left his position as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs to take over as head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. . . . McFarland spent three previous seasons (2014-17) as the Frontenacs’ head coach before joining the Florida Panthers for two seasons as an assistant coach. He then spent one season with the Maple Leafs. . . . In Kingston, he replaces Kurtis Foster, who was fired on April 29 after two seasons in the position.


Mike Rooney is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. Rooney, from Yellow Grass, Sask., spent last season working as a skating/skills coach with the Notre Dames Hound program in Wilcox, Sask. . . . Rooney replaces Kyle Adams, who was dismissed on Feb. 26. . . . Rooney is a familiar face in Saskatchewan hockey circles, but hasn’t done a whole lot of coaching. He was the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers for two seasons (1995-97) and the GM/director of player personnel for the SJHL’s Hounds (1997-2000). . . . He also has considerable experience as an NHL and WHL scout.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon with his Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “If x is the population of the United States and y is the degree of imbecility of the average American, then democracy is the theory that x × y is less than y.”


Banjo


Oliver David of the Dubuque Fighting Saints has been named the USHL’s coach of the year for 2019-20. The Fighting Saints had the USHL’s best defensive record en route to finishing second in the overall standings. . . . Oliver spent one season (2016-17) as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, where he worked alongside general manager and head coach Mike Johnston. . . . You have to admit that Johnston’s managerial coaching tree is looking rather impressive. It includes Garry Davidson, the general manager of the Everett Silvertips; Matt Bardsley, the GM of the Kamloops Blazers and the Western Conference’s executive of the year; Grant Armstrong and Josh Dye, who both have gone on to scout with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning; Karl Taylor, the head coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals; and Travis Green, the head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . It is somewhat interesting that Johnston, despite Portland being one of the WHL’s premier franchises, has never been saluted as executive or coach of the year. The Winterhawks are the reigning Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy holders as regular-season champions.



The B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame has cancelled its 2020 induction dinner that was to have been held in Penticton on July 24. It is expected that the 2020 inductees will be installed in the Hall of Fame at a celebration in the summer of 2021. The class features players Eric Brewer and Mattias Ohlund, official Jay Sharrers, builder Ray Stonehouse, and two teams — the 2002 Kootenay Ice and 2012 Penticton Vees.


The West Coast League says it still hopes to play baseball this season, despite the fact that five of its 12 teams have said they aren’t able to play because of restrictions having been placed on facilities by health officials and the fact that the U.S.-Canada border remains closed. That includes the Kelowna Falcons and Victoria HarbourCats, the league’s two Canadian franchises. Also out are the Bellingham Bells, Bend Elks and Corvallis Knights. . . . The WCL’s regular season was to have started on June 5. In a news release, the league said it now is “targeting early July for the return of baseball to our member cities.” . . . The WCL’s other franchises are located in Portland the Washington communities of Longview (Cowlitz Black Bears), Port Angeles, Ridgefield, Walla Walla and Yakima. . . .

Baseball Alberta announced on Friday that it has cancelled all sanctioned events and activities through Aug. 31. . . . The senior Red Deer Riggers immediately tweeted that their season was over, but they are looking forward to 2021 when they are to be the host team for nationals.


Grandma

Scattershooting on a Wednesday night while wondering if Babcock’s next stop will be Seattle . . .

Scattershooting


When Roy MacGregor writes, I read. Such was the case with the superb essayist’s piece on the Don Cherry situation. As we have come to expect from MacGregor, it is terrific. . . . At one point, he writes that Cherry was fired “for a last straw no one could fit into the overstuffed barn that holds all the previous last straws.” . . . It doesn’t get any better, and it’s right here.


ICYMI, here’s how the annual junior hugfest between CHL teams and a touring Russian side ended last Thursday in Prince Albert. The Russians won the game, but had to go to a shootout to get it done. That outcome left the series — the Russians play two games against teams from the QMJHL, OHL and WHL — all even. . . . Guess what? . . . Yes, they went to another shootout. The WHL won that one on a goal by F Nolan Foote of the Kelowna Rockets to win the series. . . . Seriously!

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BTW, the CHL’s broadcast partner, Rogers Sportsnet, put that final game on one of its channels, something called 360. When that game began, Sportsnet was showing an NHL game — New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning — on four other channels. ICYMI, the Lightning opened up a 4-0 first-period lead en route to a 9-3 victory.

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Tyler Yaremchuk was part of the TSN1260 broadcast crew in Edmonton on Friday when the Alberta Golden Bears skated to a 4-2 victory over the visiting Regina Cougars. . . . After the game, he tweeted: “50 straight wins for the Bears over Regina.” . . . Think about that for a moment or two . . . 50 in a row! Yikes!!! Now that’s a streak. . . . Dustin Nielson, the play-by-play voice on that broadcast team, tells me that the Golden Bears last lost to the Cougars in 2009. “Also haven’t lost at home to them since 1996,” he added. . . . Connor Hood, writing on the U of A’s website, pointed out that the streak “dates back to March 13, 2009, and includes 43 conference games, two playoff games and five non-conference games.” . . . On Saturday night, the Golden Bears ran that streak to 51 games with a 9-0 victory.



Running back Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants had one yard rushing on 13 carries in a recent loss to the New York Jets. . . . Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times broke that down a bit more: “To put that in perspective, that’s 2.9 per attempt — inches, not yards. Or . . . at that rate, just 117 more carries and he’d have a first down!”



By now, you may have seen video of Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers working the referees in the hopes they would give his father, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, a technical foul on Nov. 13. Officials did just that, and then they ejected him. . . . Later, on Twitter, Austin wrote: “Welp . . . Thanksgiving is going to be weird . . .”


Hey, Kamloops, I got gas in Burnaby on Saturday night for $1.24.9. That’s only five cents more than I paid in our town on Friday night.

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On the way to the Lower Mainland on Saturday morning, I collapsed a hundred times, if not more. Actually, we ran into snow, sleet, ice pellets and rain, lots of rain. . . . So what’s with all the drivers who can’t be bothered to turn on their headlights to that their taillights are on?



Mike Babcock now has been fired by two hockey teams — the Toronto Maple Leafs and the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. The big difference is that the Warriors didn’t owe him about $23 million when they did the deed. . . .

Jack Todd has been writing about Don Cherry for a long time. So you knew that something was coming after Rogers Sportsnet fired Cherry. Todd’s column is right here.


Bucks
Cranbrook’s Western Financial Place now is the official home of the Cranbrook Bucks, a BCHL team that will begin play next season. Their sign was installed just the other day. The Bucks put their sign directly into the frame that once held a sign indicating the facility was home to the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, a franchise that now calls Winnipeg home. (Photo: Darren Cottingham)


Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade, hits the nail on the head right here: “Really annoying people: The 7-Eleven Guy and Matthew McConaughey. I think a perfect commercial would be the 7-Eleven Guy spilling a strawberry Slurpee on the posh seats of McConaughey’s fancy-schmancy Lincoln.” . . . There’s more right here.



JUST NOTES: Would someone at ESPN please tell Randy Moss that he is speaking into a microphone so he doesn’t need to yell at us. Thank you. . . . Gotta think the World Curling Federation will be making a rule change in the not-too-distant future after a ruling caused Norway’s men to forfeit a game to England during the European championships in Helsingborg, Sweden on Sunday. It seems Norway subbed in a curler who didn’t use the broom of the player he was replacing. Yes, that’s against the rules. There’s more right here. . . .

Going by the part of the WHL website that lists disciplinary actions, Adam Foote, the Kelowna Rockets’ head coach, hasn’t yet been fined for not doing a post-game media interview after a 5-2 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops on Nov. 11. The WHL has a rule that states a coach must be available to media 15 minutes after a game. Conspiracy theorists, have at it. . . . The NHL announced on Tuesday that the season-ending award it gives to its top GM will be named after the late Jim Gregory. There isn’t an award named for Sam Pollock, Glen Sather or Bill Torrey, each of whom put together dominant teams. Of course, the NHL doesn’t have any individual awards named in honour of Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux, either. . . . Hey, TSN, I realize that Toronto is the centre of your universe. I get that. So when the Maple Leafs fire Mike Babcock, your world stops. Yes, I get that, too. But you’ve got five channels so why cut off PTI before the episode is over just to show what’s available elsewhere? Why not show the viewer — me — some respect?