Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching the Daytona 500 (aka Daytona Demolition Derby) . . .

Scattershooting2

There was a time when I would have told you that the best rivalry in the WHL featured the Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina Pats. Brent Parker, then the Pats’ general manager, was never shy about firing verbal darts. You had head coaches battling at the player benches. You had a helmet ending up in the other team’s dressing room and coming out in unwearable condition. There was the play-by-play guy who showed up one night dressed as Donald Duck.

I mean, stuff happened. And I can only imagine what stuff might have happened had there been social media back in the day.

These days I would suggest that torch has been passed to the Portland PortlandWinterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds. Because when these two teams meet now . . . stuff happens. And there often seems to be an aftermath, too.

Take Saturday night in Portland. . . .

The first period wasn’t even two minutes old when Winterhawks’ F Jack O’Brien left with what appeared to be a bad leg injury.

That came after he was hit along the boards by Seattle F Matthew Rempe. SeattleRempe, who is listed at 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, was given a kneeing major and game misconduct.

After the game, Joshua Critzer, who covers the Winterhawks for @pnwhockeytalk, asked the two head coaches about the incident.

Mike Johnston of the Winterhawks responded: “I thought it was a cheap hit. I know Rempe has had quite a few of those. He’s been suspended a few times this year even. He’s a big guy who has to get control when he’s hitting people. I don’t know what he was thinking. I just know it was knee-on-knee. You have to be careful when you go in with your knee, especially when you are a big guy like that.”

(NOTE: Rempe has served two suspensions this season. The first was for two games under supplemental discipline for something that happened in game with the host Tri-City Americans on Nov. 5. The second, for one game, was assessed after he was given a charging major and game misconduct during a game against the Silvertips in Everett on Nov. 21. Last season, Rempe was suspended once for one game, that after he took a kneeing major and game misconduct in a game at Portland on Dec. 31.)

When Critzer asked Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette about Saturday’s hit, the response was:

“I thought their player was coming down the boards and our guy tried to finish his check. It was along the boards, wasn’t in open space where it was knee-on-knee in my opinion. I thought their guy lunged out of the way and (Rempe) kind of hit his leg that was dragging behind.

“(Rempe) is a big guy and, when he’s on his path, he’s come a long way to be a clean hitter. He’s a big guy and sometimes he’s just bigger than the other guy, which is why he gets penalties. I thought everything was compact — arms down, legs in — on that hit. Sometimes unfortunate plays can happen not intentionally.”

So . . . that was that. Right? Well, not quite. On Sunday, just as the Daytona 500 was heating up, there were sparks flying between Portland and Seattle.

It started when Thom Beuning, the long-time play-by-play voice of the Thunderbirds, tweeted: “So just saw that video of the Rempe major for kneeing. My reaction? ‘Where’s the penalty?’ I don’t see a minor, let alone a major. No initial call on the ice, so what changed?”

Beuning also tweeted: “Incidental contact happens all the time in hockey, including knee-to-knee. Doesn’t mean it is a penalty, doesn’t mean it’s a major, doesn’t mean it is a suspension. Example A, Ty Bauer injury.”

(Bauer, a forward with the Thunderbirds, suffered a knee injury during a game against the Blazers in Kamloops on Dec. 10 and hasn’t played since that night. There wasn’t a penalty on the play.)

After Beuning fired things up, Andy Kemper, a former Portland radio analyst who now is the Winterhawks’ historian, tweeted: “Rempe led into the check with his leg not his upper body. O’Brien was moving to the corner and Rempe put his leg out to stop him and it went knee on knee. That is not incidental. No intent, but it was a kneeing penalty.”

Beuning: “Wrong.”

Kemper: “Yeah, I figured that would be your response. Have a nice day.”

That is when Nick Marek, the Winterhawks’ broadcaster and media relations manager, chimed in with: “Andy said it very well. Everyone knew there was no intent to injure (also why no match penalty assessed) and ‘he didn’t mean to do it.’ Still looks like everything was followed correctly according to the WHL Rule Book.”

Beuning: “Rempe compacts his body to deliver the hit, to avoid a check to the head. O’Brien moves down along the boards to avoid the hit, thus exposing his trailing leg to the contact. Incidental. Same reason there was no penalty when Bauer was injured. Or are you saying the league was wrong?”

Kemper: “The rulebook doesn’t account for incidental or not. The first four words in the rule book are clear: ‘All knee on knee.’ Since it resulted in an injury, the major penalty was assessed. I didn’t see the Bauer hit. Are you saying the league is wrong?”

Beuning: “By not calling a penalty on the Bauer hit, the league has determined there is knee-on-knee contact that doesn’t warrant a penalty.  Plenty of time to review and bring forth supplemental discipline. They didn’t.”

Kemper: “OK. But there is a difference between assessing a penalty and assessing a suspension. Doesn’t mean that a penalty should not have been assessed at the time on the Bauer play. The league may decide to not suspend Rempe for the infraction.”

Beuning: “Have you not been around the WHL for a while now? I might very, very reluctantly concede the minor. But players often put themselves in vulnerable positions. Some of the onus is on that player.”

Marek: “Thom, this take is ridiculous. Essentially saying ‘he shouldn’t have been standing there.’ If that’s your belief, then I suppose you should say the same onus is on Bauer for his major injury he suffered. Can’t believe you just said that honestly.”

Beuning: “What’s the old expression? Keep your head up? It happens all the time. Players duck to avoid a hit and put their heads in the path of an opposing players shoulders. Or they turn at the last second and put their backs to the hit in the corner, exposing their numbers.”

Kemper: “I have been around a long time and every time something like this happens, the bias of the individual looking at the play comes out in how they see it called. I’m not going to change your opinion, nor you mine. By the rule book, it was a major penalty. I’m done.”

——

Here’s a tweet that includes the video of the play in question, so you can be the judge . . .

And here’s another angle . . .

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The Winterhawks played host to the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday night and O’Brien was in the lineup; in fact, he scored twice and added an assist in a 9-1 victory.

It could be that, as the old all-star centre Billy Shakespeare of the Stratford-upon-Avon Rivermen once wrote, it all was “much ado about nothing.”

The Winterhawks and Thunderbirds are scheduled to meet four more times this season — March 11 and 19 in Kent, Wash., and March 20 and April 2 in Portland.

So there’s still time for even more fun.

——

BTW, the Thunderbirds won Saturday’s game, 5-1. Portland leads the season series, with a 5-4-0 record. Or maybe the series is tied, because Seattle is 4-3-2. Yes, thanks to loser points each team has 10 points from the series.


Bruce Vance is one of the good guys. He really is. At one time he worked in the Prince Albert Raiders’ front office, and now he is the the city’s marketing and sponsorship co-ordinator. He and his wife, Liane, also have been through more in the past few years than anyone should have to face in three lifetimes, but they have kept on smiling. Both have battled cancer and Bruce now is having another go-round with the Big C. . . . My wife, Dorothy, is a wonderfully positive person and she will tell you how important that frame of mind was as she went through a kidney transplant. . . . Well, Liane and Bruce are writing about their adventures on a blog — it’s right here — and through all the ups and downs positivity is a huge part of their approach. . . . Teena Monteleone of paNOW wrote about Liane and Bruce right here.


RuinDay


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “A cargo ship packed with luxury cars caught fire and is aimlessly adrift in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Sort of the nautical equivalent of the L.A. Lakers.”

——

Perry, again: “The team that won the opening coin toss now has now lost the past eight Super Bowls. Where’s the public outcry over the unfairness of that?”



SATURDAY IN THE WHL: The Everett Silvertips, with points in 12 straight (10-0-2), clinched a playoff spot on Saturday night, beating the visiting Victoria Royals, 3-1. This is the Silvertips’ 18th season in the WHL and they have been in the playoffs in every one of them. . . . F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers ran his point streak to 19 games on Saturday in a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants. Stankoven, who had a goal and an assist, has 17 goals and 22 assists on his tear. Vancouver, now 1-19-0 when trailing after two periods, won it on F Fabian Lysell’s second goal of the game, and 17th of the season, at 4:33 of extra time. Kamloops is 28-1-2 when trailing after two. . . .

F Ben King’s second goal of the game, his WHL-leading 37th, gave host Red Deer a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Ice as the Rebels overcame a 2-0 third-period deficit. F Arshdeep Bains had two assists for Red Deer; after Saturday’s games, he led the WHL in assists (46) and points (71). . . . F Connor Bouchard’s ninth goal of the season at 2:01 of OT gave the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Jagger Firkus scored his 29th goal and added two assists as the Moose Jaw Warriors doubled the Raiders, 4-2. The Warriors have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . F Dylan Guenther scored four times, giving him 32, as the host Edmonton Oil Kings spanked the Saskatoon Blades, 9-1. G Sebastian Cossa is 24-6-3, 2.30, .915 for the Oil Kings, who have won five in a row. . . .

F Ridly Greig had a goal and an assist to lead the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings to a 2-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. He’s got 50 points, including 23 goals, in 32 games. The Wheat Kings went into the Central Division and won four games in six nights. The Wheat Kings ended up spending the night in Swift Current because of the horrid weather conditions that swept across the Prairies. . . . F Reid Schaefer scored twice, giving him 23, as the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-1, for their seventh straight victory. . . .

In Prince George, the Kelowna Rockets got past the Cougars, 3-2, giving them a sweep of the weekend doubleheader. On Friday, the Rockets also had won, 3-2. . . . The Lethbridge Hurricanes rode two first-period goals to a 2-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers, who have lost six in a row.

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SUNDAY IN THE WHL: F Kyle Crnkovic reclaimed the WHL scoring lead with two goals — giving him 32 — and an assist as the visiting Saskatoon Blades beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-1. That boosted Crnkovic’s points total to 73, two more than F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Clay Hanus had a goal — his 13th — and two assists as the host Portland Winterhawks dropped the Spokane Chiefs, 9-1. The teams combined for 118 minutes in penalties, with 69 of those going to the visitors. It was the sixth game between these teams since Feb. 5; the Winterhawks won five of them, outscoring the Chiefs, 39-10, in the process. Portland won the season series, 10-2-0, while the Chiefs went 2-9-1.


Headline at fark.com: NBC wants you to know their Super Bowl ratings KILLED IT. Oh, and their Olympics . . . look, a bunny.


“A new study shows the horse medicine, ivermectin, is useless in combating COVID,” tweets comedy write Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg). “This is hard to believe based on the tireless research of that great medical mind Aaron Rodgers.”


Minecraft


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Dr. Oz vs. Dr. Phil in an old-time steel cage match — no way to root, right?”

——

Lupica, again: “Novak Djokovic says he’s not anti-vaccine, but he’s still not going to get jabbed. What an amazing tennis hill on which to die. Taking this kind of stance against something that has saved lives all over the world.”



Dick Butkus — yes, that Dick Butkus — is enjoying Twitter, witness this: “The USFL is back. Herschel Walker is all over the news. Did I have a stroke, or is it still 1985?”


You may have heard that NBA analyst Charles Barkley is talking about retiring in a couple of years once his contract with TNT expires. As he explained: “I don’t want to die on TV. I want to die on the golf course or somewhere fishing. I don’t want to be sitting inside over (by) fat-ass Shaq (waiting) to drop dead.”


Arthur Blank, who owns the Atlanta Falcons, apparently referred to the NFL teams and their seeming inability to hire minority head coaches as “just not acceptable.” It was then that Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune pointed out: “It’s apparently acceptable in Atlanta, where his Falcons are one of 13 franchises never to have had a Black head coach.”


THINKING OUT LOUD:

As a hockey fan, are you old enough to remember when the boards were the boards and not the wall? . . . Are you old enough to remember when the goaltender’s crease was the crease and not the blue paint? . . .

The best entertainment-related news I’ve heard in a long while: Randy Bachman has cut a deal with Corus Entertainment under which some of its radio stations will carry a two-hour Vinyl Tap once a week. It all starts on March 6. . . . CBC Radio dumped Vinyl Tap in July after a 16-year run. . . .

Here’s to a happy retirement to Vicci Weller after 22 years as the Thompson Nicola-Regional District film commissioner. It was because of her that Clint Black was once in the area filming a movie and made acquaintance with my wife, Dorothy, who was working at the time at a Shoppers Drug Mart outlet. Yes, it gave her quite a thrill when he struck up a conversation and then showed her family pictures.


ChocBars


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.


Math

WHL’s B.C. teams back to 100 per cent capacity . . . Blazers will welcome back Sopotyk . . . Tetachuk takes rare shutout loss

Shirley


B.C.’s provincial government announced on Tuesday that it was adjusting some pandemic-related restrictions, one of which will allow the province’s five WHL teams to open up their facilities to 100 per cent capacity. . . . The teams had been restricted to 50 per cent. . . . Starting with Thursday games, there won’t be any attendance restrictions. . . . However, the province’s NDP majority government left in place its mask mandate for indoor public places and its vaccine card requirements.

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The Kamloops Blazers are scheduled to entertain the Everett Silvertips on KamloopsFriday night. The home team also will be entertaining Kyrell Sopotyk, a teammate who was paralyzed from the waist down after a snowboarding accident on Jan. 21, 2021, near North Battleford, Sask. . . . This will be Sopotyk’s first time back in the Blazers’ home arena since before he was injured. Now in a wheelchair, Sopotyk, a 20-year-old from Aberdeen, Sask., will take part in a ceremonial opening faceoff. . . . Everett (33-7-6) leads the Western Conference by five points over Kamloops (33-12-1). The Silvertips have points in 10 straight (8-0-2); Kamloops has won two in a row and nine of 10. The Blazers are at home tonight to the Victoria Royals (12-28-5), who have one point in their last 16 outings (0-15-1).

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JUNIOR JOTTINGS: G Carl Tetachuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors earned a 33-save shutout but took the loss as the host Lethbridge Hurricanes put up a 1-0 shootout victory on Tuesday night. The Hurricanes got 30 saves from G Bryan Thomson, who has two career shutouts. F Yegor Klavdiev won it with the night’s only goal in the fourth round of the shootout. . . . F Ridly Greig’s 22nd goal of the season, 45 seconds into OT, gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 3-2 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . One game after having an 11-game point streak snapped, D Clay Hanus had a goal, his 12th, and an assist to help the visiting Portland Winterhawks to a 4-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. Hanus has 47 points in 47 games this season. This was the fifth straight game between these teams; Portland won four of them. G Taylor Gauthier got the victory; he’s 11-0-0, 1.36, .953 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. . . . In Kent, Wash., F Henrik Rybinski had a goal and two assists to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. Rybinski has 51 points, including 18 goals, in 35 games.


Pizza


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with some notes while watching the Super Bowl . . .

Don’t mess with karma: In a city where there are enough homeless folks to fill SoFi, Odell Beckham Jr. takes the field wearing $200,000 diamond-studded cleats. . . .

Beckham blows out a knee on a non-contact play. All those beautiful TV aerial shots of Los Angeles, and do you know what that glorious sunshine is good for? Growing grass. Beckham is another victim of fake grass, aka: green concrete. If only Stan Kroenke and the NFL had enough money to afford real grass! . . .

Several NFL team owners say, “If that fake grass is good enough for my head, it’s good enough for our fields.”



Mario DiBella, the head coach of the junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, says he’s done whenever this season ends. DiBella, 65, has guided the Leafs to a 29-10-1 record this season as the playoffs approach. . . . DiBella has been the head coach since December 2015. His son, Adam, is the team’s assistant general manager and assistant coach. . . . Tyler Harper of the Nelson Star has more right here.


THINKING OUT LOUD:

My wife, who isn’t anything close to a follower of the sporting world, offered this gem late Tuesday afternoon: “Is it just me or does Sportsnet show the Boston Bruins all the time?” . . . She’s right. So the channel was changed to TSN and women’s curling from Beijing. . . .

If you are surprised that there is a Russian athlete caught up in a doping scandal at the Olympic Winter Games, you haven’t been paying attention. . . .

Pitchers and catchers were to have reported to spring training this week. That didn’t happen and it’s looking more and more as though Opening Day is in danger of not happening on schedule as the billionaires and millionaires continue to do battle. . . .

Took a drive to Vernon and back on Tuesday afternoon. Just want to thank all those truckers we saw on the highway for doing their part in keeping the shelves stocked and the economy moving. And maybe someone can explain to me why a litre of regular gasoline is six cents cheaper in Vernon than in Kamloops.


Smoking


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.


Stacked

Scattershooting on a Monday morning while listening to the snow melt . . .

Scattershooting2

ChinaClock
The scoreclock tells the tale after the Chinese women’s hockey team beat Japan at the Olympic Winter Games. (Photo: Dan Courneyea)
ChinaWin
The Chinese women’s hockey team celebrates its 2-1 shootout victory over Japan at the Olympic Winter Games. (Photo: Dan Courneyea)

There was some excitement at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing on Sunday with the Chinese women’s hockey team earning a 2-1 victory over Japan. The game went to a shootout and the Chinese scored the lone goal, that coming in the fourth round. . . . “China is not as good as Japan,” reports Dan Courneyea, our man at the hockey competition. “They just brought a better game. . . . China’s goalie kept them in the game.” . . . Interestingly, the winning goal came from Hannah Miller, who is from North Vancouver. On the Chinese roster, she is Le Mi. . . . According to Reuters, Miller joined a Chinese team — KRS Vanke Rays — in 2018 in order to be eligible for these Games. She played NCAA hockey at St. Lawrence U, and also was member of Canada’s U-18 women’s team. . . .

On Monday, Canada ran its record to 3-0 by beating the ROC — shhh! don’t say Russia — 6-1 in a game that was delayed when, according to reports, the latter’s COVID-19 test results weren’t made available. The game eventually started with both teams wearing N95 masks. . . . But, wait, there’s more. The ROC players left their masks in the dressing room for the third period, while the Canadians continued to wear theirs. It turns out, too, that F Emily Clark of Canada was removed during the pregame warmup because of what reports say was an inconclusive test. . . . Canada, with Emerance Maschmeyer making her Olympic debut in goal, had a 49-12 edge in shots. She is the sister of former WHL D Bronson Maschmeyer (Vancouver, Kamloops, 2008-12). . . . Canada has outscored its opposition 29-3 in six games, with the U.S. up next. They are scheduled to be on your TV tonight (Monday) at 8:10 p.m. PT.


Yes, it’s true. COVID-19 bit the WHL again on Sunday, with an undisclosed Vancouvernumber of Vancouver Giants players apparently having tested positive and forcing the postponement of at least one game. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds were scheduled to play the Giants in Langley, B.C., on Sunday, but that game will be rescheduled. . . . This was the WHL’s first postponement since a Jan. 29 game that was to have had the Brandon Wheat Kings in Prince Albert was scuttled because the Raiders weren’t able to dress 14 healthy players. . . . The Giants had dropped a 3-2 decision to the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Friday and then were beaten 7-2 by the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. . . . Vancouver is scheduled to visit the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday and then meet the Cougars in Prince George on Friday and Saturday nights.


The Regina Pats lost a hockey game on Sunday, falling 5-4 in OT to the host Calgary Hitmen, but the hockey world was left abuzz over a goal by F Connor Bedard, who won’t turn 17 until July 17. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post writes about the goal right there.


Cash


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Bucs QB Tom Brady, to no one’s surprise, announced his retirement last week. That takes the undecided list down to Brett Favre (yes/no/yes/no/maybe) and Aaron Rodgers (still doing his own research).”


After Brady made it official, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg) tweeted: “But wait, don’t you have to rip off your shirt and dance in the end zone in front of the crowd to retire from the Bucs?”


And then there was this from Football Hall of Fame Dick Butkus, who recently joined Twitter (@thedickbutkus): “I think it’s great Giselle let Tom Brady retire. Hopefully she’ll let him keep Rob Gronkowski in the yard.”


With the Olympic Winter Games ongoing and the pandemic raging, the KHL has chosen to end its regular season with its playoffs scheduled to begin on March 1. . . . According to the KHL, there are 120 players from 22 of its teams on national teams in Beijing. By ending the regular season and starting playoffs on March 1, all players will have the opportunity to quarantine before play begins.


Dinner


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Giants, after the NFL’s Washington Football Team revealed that its new nickname will be Commanders: “A Commander? To some old-timers, reader Kevin Love reminds us, a Commander is a Philip Morris cigarette back in the 1960s. The TV commercial jingle was, ‘Have a Commander, welcome aboard!’ Selling point: A special vacuum ‘gently cleans every bit of tobacco.’ You still got lung cancer, but it was a tidy lung cancer. And when you checked into the hospital, they welcomed you aboard.”

——

Ostler, again: “Speaking of the military, credit is due to the sports-star anti-vaxxers like Aaron Rodgers, Kyrie Irving and Novak Djokovic for keeping our military busy. My mom was in a hospital in Eugene, Ore., for a heart procedure. Her meals were served by National Guard soldiers, helping fill manpower shortages caused by sick non-vaxxers clogging hospitals. Hey, Aaron and friends: Have a Commander, welcome aboard.”


Some people are raising a fuss over the Arizona Coyotes’ plan to play three NHL seasons in a new arena at Arizona State U, one that will have somewhere around 5,000 seats. The critics seem to think it’s beneath the NHL to have a team playing in such a small facility. Hey, the Winnipeg Ice is in its third season in a 1,600-seat barn, doesn’t seem to have put a shovel in the ground on a new facility yet, and the WHL is still alive and kicking.


If you are on Twitter, you will want to take a few minutes and read the threat that resulted from the question — New Yorkers: What’s the most New York thing that’s ever happened to you? . . . I mean, there’s an eel on the subway, bad manners from Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, and a whole lot more. Enjoy!


Poop


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.


Escape

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after a Grey Cup game to remember . . .

Scattershooting2

Merry Christmas . . .


The Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the CFL title on Sunday, beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who were playing at home, 33-25 in OT to successfully defend their Grey Cup championship. The Bombers also won in 2019; the CFL didn’t play in 2020 because of the pandemic. . . . This was a terrific football game, with a strong wind making the decision-making process that much more important and the passing and punting games difficult. . . . If you’re not aware, the CFL OT format opens with mini-games as each team scrimmages from the 35-yard line. Score a TD and you have to go for two. The Bombers went ahead 31-25 on a Zach Collaros to Darvin Adams TD pass, with Collaros then hitting Rasheed Bailey for the deuce. . . . Moments later, the Bombers sealed the victory with an interception by LB Kyrie Wilson. . . . This was the 108th playing of the Grey Cup game and only the fourth time OT was needed. . . .

The Bombers were trailing 22-10 in the fourth quarter. They got to within 22-13 with a 20-yard field goal, and 22-20 with a 29-yard pass to Nic Demski and the convert. . . . A rouge on the kickoff got the Bombers to within one, at 22-21. . . . The Bombers took their first lead of the game, 24-22, with 1:52 left in the fourth quarter when K Sergio Castillo booted a 45-yard field goal. . . . Another rouge on the kickoff stretched that lead to 25-22. . . . The Tiger-Cats pulled even when Michael Domagala hit on a 13-yard FG with six seconds left. . . .

Richie Hall, Winnipeg’s defensive co-ordinator, is one of the game’s really good guys. He now has won five Grey Cups — two with the Blue Bombers and three with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. . . . The 2009 and 2010 Montreal Alouettes were the last team to win back-to-back championships. . . . Winnipeg head coach Mike O’Shea is 6-0 in Grey Cup games — the two with the Bombers, one as an assistant coach with the Toronto Argonauts and three as a smash-mouth linebacker with the Argos. . . .

The Blue Bombers went through an early-season stretch where they struggled in the kicking game. That’s when they signed Castillo, who was with the NFL’s New York Jets last season. On Sunday, he kicked five field goals. . . . Winnipeg beat Hamilton 33-12 in the 2019 Grey Cup game in Calgary. . . . The Tiger-Cats last won the Grey Cup in 1999. They are 0-4 in finals since then. . . . In the next while, you are going to hear noise about Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer perhaps going to the U of Washington as defensive co-ordinator and the Edmonton Elks wanting O’Shea as GM/head coach. . . . You also are going to hear rumblings about the CFL pooh-bahs studying all aspects of the game, including three-down football versus the four-down variety. Of course, a change to four-down would turn the CFL into a mini-NFL and that wouldn’t fly with Canadian fans, would it? . . . One of those Canadian things is the rouge, something that may seem minor but played a major role in Winnipeg’s victory on Sunday. The CFL doesn’t need to tinker; it needs to develop players — especially Canadians — so that it can provide its fans with more games like the one that ended the 2021 season.


So . . . the owner of the Vancouver Canucks fired six men last week, moves that will have impacted the lives of a number of people. And he takes to Twitter on Saturday evening in search of a few pats on the back! It’s all about priorities, in case you were wondering why this franchise wanders around the NHL wilderness like a dying man in search of water. . . . Yes, the Canucks now have won four straight since the regime change was undertaken. But a grain of salt, please — while all four victories were home games, three of them came against teams that had played the previous night while the Canucks were off. . . . Besides, four victories don’t erase the mess that Aquilini has been paddling through for the past few seasons. . . . The Columbus Blue Jackets are to visit Vancouver on Tuesday night. Vancouver then plays the host San Jose Sharks on Thursday before returning home to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday.


BlackFriday


Recent headlines, courtesy of Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. . . . At @NOTSportsCenter: “Report Chase Claypool is still at US Bank Stadium celebrating his 4th-down catch, and is wondering where everyone went.” . . . At TheOnion.com: “Hiker trapped for days under fallen boulder survives by cutting off own ponytail.”

——

“A fan in Las Vegas took off her prosthetic leg and beat another fan with it during the Golden Knights’ 3-2 loss to Edmonton the other night,” reports Perry. “Lucky she wasn’t whistled for a gam misconduct.”

——

Perry, again: “Seattle just experienced its wettest fall in history, with 19 inches of rain between September and November. It got so bad, the Seahawks practiced swimming for a first down.”


Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, on Chase Claypool’s strutting at a rather inopportune time on Monday Night Football: “It was the stupidest thing done in the NFL, besides saying, ‘Trade me to the Jets.’ ”


“Starting January 15, unvaccinated NBA players will no longer be able to play in Canada,” writes Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe. “Suddenly find myself hoping the Toronto Raptors end up in the playoffs.”


PANDEMIC NOTEBOOK: Ngozi and Kibo, residents of the Denver Zoo, are the first hyenas in the world to have tested positive. . . . The Chicago Zoo has had positive tests in a bearcat, a fishing cat and a coati. There also were two hippos who tested positive in Belgium. From a story by the National Geographic’s Natasha Daly: “They’re now part of a group of 315 animals from 15 species in the United States confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The list also includes cats, dogs, tigers, lions, snow leopards, gorillas, otters, a cougar, a ferret, white-tailed deer. (Infected mink, nearly all on fur farms, are not included in the total).” . . .

The Chicago Bulls are supposed to play the visiting Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. However, the Bulls, who are to play the host Toronto Raptors on Thursday, had nine players in COVID-19 protocol as of Sunday evening. They are down to nine healthy players, with eight needed to play a game. . . . The Raptors have their own COVID-19 issues, having put F Precious Achiuwa into protocol on Sunday as a close contact of someone who tested positive. As well, Masai Ujiri, their president and vice-chairman, tested positive late in the week. They are to entertain the Sacramento Kings tonight. . . .

The OHL’s Sudbury Wolves, who had 12 players come up positive, will return to action on Thursday when they visit the Barrie Colts. The Wolves, who last played on Nov. 27, had five games postponed while they dealt with the outbreak.


Wisdom


You may have seen video of Fox-TV’s 50-foot artificial Christmas tree in midtown Manhattan going up in flames on Wednesday. It was Stephen Colbert who pointed out: “Of course, it would never have happened if the tree had a gun.” . . . Vanity Fair, in the prelude to a story by Caleb Ecarma, noted: “Even though police haven’t ascribed a motive to the suspected arsonist, (Fox-TV) hosts and guests framed the incident as a ‘hate crime,’ part of a ‘war on religion,’ and emblematic of out-of-control crime. ‘No city is safe,’ said Brian Kilmeade.”


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Nothing has changed on the subject of vaccinations: The idea that this has become a polarizing political issue and not a medical one is as dumb a moment as we’ve ever had in America.”

——

Lupica, again: “You can talk about the great Vince Lombardi and Chuck Noll and Bill Walsh, and Bear Bryant from college football. But in the history of coaches, there is Nick Saban and there is Bill Belichick and then there is everybody else.”


Scuba


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Medicine Hat Tigers beat the host Red Deer Rebels, 4-3, in a shootout on Saturday night. That halted the Tigers’ 16-game losing skid. It also was the 393rd regular-season victory of head coach Willie Desjardins’ WHL career. Seven more victories and he becomes the 19th member of the WHL’s 400 Club. . . . There won’t be a 20th member of that club for a while, as the next active head coach on the list is Mark Lamb of the Prince George Cougars, and he’s at 264. After him, it’s Michael Dyck of the Vancouver Giants (237) and Steve Konowalchuk of the Red Deer Rebels (236). . . .


Back in the day, when Kevin Gallant was the vociferous play-by-play voice of the Regina Pats, you know that the Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatoon Blades were Public Enemies Nos. 1A and 1B. Now Gallant’s oldest son, Matthew, is a freshman defenceman with the Warriors. His other son, Michael, was selected by the Blades in Thursday’s WHL draft. . . . Just in case you didn’t know that the hockey gods have a sense of humour. . . .

F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats has made the roster of Canada’s national junior team as a 16-year-old. Mark Masters of TSN has Bedard as the seventh player to make the team at 16, the others being Connor McDavid, Jay Bouwmeester, Sidney Crosby, Jason Spezza, Eric Lindros and Wayne Gretzky. . . . The 25-player roster features 12 players from the WHL, including goaltenders Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton Oil Kings) and Dylan Garand (Kamloops Blazers), five from the OHL, four from the QMJHL, and two each from the AHL and the NCAA. . . . A complete roster is right here. . . .

Team Canada’s roster includes three returnees from the team that won silver at the 2021 tournament — Garand, D Kaiden Guhle (Edmonton) and F Cole Perfetti (AHL-Manitoba Moose). . . . Three WHLers — F Jack Finley (Winnipeg Ice), D Vincent Iorio (Brandon Wheat Kings) and D Daemon Hunt (Moose Jaw Warriors — were among the final cuts on Sunday. Hunt was released after he was injured while blocking a shot during a Sunday game against university players. . . . Team Canada will train in Banff through Dec. 18. It will play two exhibition games in Red Deer (Switzerland, Dec. 19; Sweden, Dec. 20). . . . The tournament, which is to be played in Red Deer and Edmonton, runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . .

Apropos of nothing, I’ll just leave this here. . . . F Ivan Ivan, a 19-year-old Czech, has 30 points, including 18 goals, in 29 games with the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles. . . . F Marcel Marcel, an 18-year-old Czech, has six goals and 18 assists in 22 games with his country’s under-20 side.


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.


Clowns

How will B.C. weather impact schedules? KIJHL first with a postponement . . . Chiefs cleared to play after positives

The nasty weather situation in B.C. is likely to play havoc with hockey schedules over the next few days.

As I write this on Monday evening, the Lower Mainland is completely cut off from the rest of the province due to numerous landslides/mudslides and sections of highways having been washed away.

The first postponement was announced late Monday afternoon when the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League said the Kelowna Chiefs won’t be visiting the Posse in Princeton on Tuesday. Princeton is one of the areas that has been hit hard by flooding.

We will have to wait and see what the BCHL does with the Merritt Centennials after that entire city of more than 7,000 people was hit with an evacuation order on Monday afternoon after its wastewater treatment plant was compromised when the Coldwater River overflowed its banks.

The Centennials are scheduled to play the Vees in Penticton on Wednesday and to entertain the Vernon Vipers on Friday and the Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday. At first blush, you would have to think that all three of those games are in jeopardy.

The WHL, meanwhile, has time on its side because it doesn’t have any B.C. teams scheduled to play until Friday when the Victoria Royals are to visit the Kamloops Blazers, the Kelowna Rockets are to be in Portland to face the Winterhawks, the Tri-City Americans are to meet the Cougars in Prince George and the Everett Silvertips play the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C.

In fact, the WHL has only one midweek game scheduled — the Everett Silvertips are to meet the Winterhawks in Portland tonight (Tuesday) — before Friday.

You can bet that a lot of folks around the WHL have their fingers crossed in the hopes that things improve before Thursday when some of the road teams will plan on hitting the highway.

And let’s not forget about Saskatchewan . . .

RCMP Saskatchewan tweeted Monday afternoon: “A winter storm is expected to roll through parts of Sask. tonight and will continue over the next few days. Freezing rain + heavy snow + reduced visibility + strong winds will likely make travel difficult. Please refrain from traveling if possible.”

Meanwhile, in Alberta . . .

——

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, who beat the Spruce Kings 3-1 in Prince George on Saturday, weren’t able to make it home. So the team is hanging out in Kamloops. The Express is next scheduled to play on Friday and Saturday, against the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters and Cowichan Valley Capitals.


While some areas of Western Canada battle the weather, let’s not forget about the pandemic.

On Monday, the Spokane Chiefs received the OK to resume normal activities Spokaneafter all players and staff members returned negative tests. The organization had been on pause since Nov. 10 when two players tested positive. That resulted in the postponement of three games.

The Chiefs are scheduled to return to action on Friday when they play host to the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The last paragraph of the WHL news release on the Chiefs reads:

“The health and safety of all WHL participants is the top priority for the WHL. In order to reduce the risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19, the WHL requires all WHL roster players, hockey operations staff, and other team and League office personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a Health Canada approved vaccine.”

It’s worth noting that the WHL decided not to mandate that all eligible people in billet homes be vaccinated, choosing instead to “strongly recommend to each of its member Clubs that players reside in billet households in which all eligible individuals are fully vaccinated.”

——

The Tri-City Americans announced Monday that “in compliance with an updated mandate from Washington state, all fans age 12 and over attending Americans’ games will be required to provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test, taken in the 72 hours before the game.

“The state mandate (took effect on Monday) for all indoor events with crowds of 1,000 people or larger.”

The WHL has four franchises in Washington state, with the Everett Silvertips, Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs also on board.

If you are planning on attending any sporting event in these COVID-19 times, you really should check out the hosting team’s website to check on possible restrictions.

In the case of the Americans, you will find more info right here.



Rick Westhead of TSN reported on Monday that three former WHL players — James McEwan, Myles Stoesz and Rhett Trombley — are among “four former Canadian Hockey League players who have provided sworn affidavits in connection with a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in 2019 against the WHL, the Canadian Hockey League and Hockey Canada.” . . . Stoesz, who played four seasons (2003-07, Spokane Chiefs, Regina Pats, Chilliwack Bruins) in the WHL, is alleging that coaches in Spokane told him he would have to fight if he wanted playing time. “I was moulded into this rage-filled fighter,” he wrote in an affidavit that has been filed with the Supreme Court of B.C. . . . Stoesz also wrote: “I think the CHL needs to be held accountable to the current and former players for these injuries. I want the CHL to acknowledge that what we had to do to play in the CHL as teenagers was not acceptable. Looking back at my career in the CHL, I feel like I lost part of my youth. My time in Spokane was a daze of fights. I’m scared about my future because I took repeated blows to my head. I’m in my early 30s and I suffer from headaches and migraines and my right hand is disfigured with a mallet finger from punching.” . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here.

This is one of three class-action lawsuits that have are facing the CHL, including the WHL. One of the others involves alleged abuse faced by players in the form of hazing, while the other concerns whether major junior leagues should have to pay at least minimum wage to the players. The CHL and former players actually agreed on a settlement for that one, only to have two judges, one in Alberta and the other in Ontario, refuse to approve it.

As well, the City of Cranbrook sued the owners of the Winnipeg Ice and the WHL in January, claiming the team broke its lease when it left for the Manitoba capital in the spring of 2019.



The Ottawa Senators, with 10 players and one coach in COVID-19 protocol, have had their games postponed, at least through Nov. 20. For now, that includes a road game that was to have been played tonight (Tuesday) against the New Jersey Devils and home games versus the Nashville Predators on Thursday and New York Rangers on Saturday. . . . The Senators also closed all team facilities on Monday.


The Kelowna Rockets have played 12 games this regular season and have Rocketsalready used four goaltenders. That might help explain the announcement on Monday that they have hired Eli Wilson as goaltender coach. . . . It should be noted that Wilson, a veteran goaltender coach, also fills that position with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. In the past, he has worked with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators and AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, along with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers and Vancouver Giants. . . . He apparently is replacing Adam Brown, who had been with the team since 2016. Brown’s name doesn’t appear in the news release announcing Wilson’s signing, and he no longer is listed on the team’s website. . . . The Rockets went into the season with four options in goal — veterans Roman Basran and Cole Schwebius, a pair of 20-year-olds, freshman Nicholas Cristiano, 17, and Cole Tisdale, 19, who made 12 appearances over three seasons. Basran and Schwebius were released, Cristian was returned to the U18 Fraser Valley Thunderbirds, and Tisdale went to the Americans in the deal for Boyko. . . . The Rockets also acquired Colby Knight, 18, from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Oct. 12. . . . So now the Rockets will ride the 6-foot-7.5 Boyko, who was selected by the New York Rangers in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft, and Knight, with Wilson charged with getting them on the right track and keeping them there.


Masks


BACK TO WORK: Ian Henry is the new communications co-ordinator for the Mercer Island School Division. He went to work there for the first time on Monday. “I am managing all District communications platforms to tell stories about the hard-working students, dedicated staff and great schools in the District,” he tweeted. Henry had been with the Seattle Thunderbirds, most recently as media relations, communications and digital media director, director, since July 2002 before being let go because of pandemic-related cutbacks.


Tupperware


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.


Phone

Scattershooting on a Saturday night after enjoying a mostly smoke-free evening . . .

Scattershooting2

It appears that the OHL is in the process of preparing a policy that will deal with mandatory vaccination prior the start of training camps for the 2021-22 season.

Mark Scheig, who among other things covers the OHL and specifically the Erie Otters for thehockeywriters.com tweeted on Saturday afternoon:

OHL“I am hearing that the OHL . . . will be implementing a policy that will require all players, staff, officials, volunteers and, I believe, billet families to be fully vaccinated within two weeks of the start of training camp.

“My understanding is that there will be accommodations to some degree. But the significance of this is non-vaxxed players/staff could be removed from the roster or placed on leave for the duration of the pandemic.”

Players in the OHL are scheduled to report to training camp on Sept. 4 with the regular season to open on Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, there isn’t any word on whether mandatory vaccination is something that might be implemented as a CHL-wide measure, meaning the QMJHL and WHL also would be involved.

As regards the WHL, you have to think it has at least been discussed by the board of governors.

The move towards mandatory vaccination in some areas is getting noisier and noisier, and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I also wonder how WHL teams will deal with seating in their home arenas when it comes to opening the doors to those who are fully vaccinated and those who aren’t vaccinated at all.

But when it comes to mandating that players must be vaccinated, can a sports league really tell a group of players ages 16 to 20 that they have to fall in line? Then again there isn’t a players’ union involved, so . . .


F Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t play in Game 5 of the NBA final on Saturday night after having to enter health and safety protocols. . . . The 28-year-old has averaged 0.7 points and 3.5 minutes per game in these playoffs. . . . The visiting Bucks, who were down 16 points in the early going, won Saturday’s game, 123-119, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. They get their first chance to wrap it up at home on Tuesday. . . . Milwaukee last won an NBA title in 1971.


ICYMI, the New York Islanders traded F Andrew Ladd and three draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon. That’s it. That’s the trade. The Islanders didn’t get anything in return. Don’t you just love today’s NHL where teams are able to do that just to dump some salary? . . . BTW, those draft picks are a second-rounder in 2021, a conditional second-rounder in 2022 and a conditional third-rounder in 2023. . . . Ladd, 35, has played 950 regular-season NHL games, the last four of them in 2019-20. Last season, he played one game — with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game:

“It was a happenstance instead of a happening.  A quick summary here:

  1. The AL won the game.
  2. The teams wore uniforms made specifically for the All-Star Game.
  3. The uniforms were genuinely ugly.”

——

Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle didn’t like those uniforms, either: “After bombing horribly with those generic All-Star uniforms — yo, Rob Manfred, nobody loved them — we’ll get more of the same next year at Dodger Stadium. It’s all about sponsorship bucks, and Nike really blew it with this year’s designs, especially the all-blue disasters with unreadable names. We’re thinking they really get creative next year with special team pajamas. Maybe those really silly ones with the squirrels chasing hippos.”

——

While those All-Star Game uniforms were butt ugly, there was some good news as Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, said before the game that there likely will be a couple of changes prior to the 2022 season. That free runner on second base in extra innings? Gone. Seven-inning doubleheaders? Gone. . . . Manfred said those two situations “were adopted based on medical advice to deal with COVID” and that “they are less likely to become part of our permanent landscape than some of the other rules.” . . . Don’t forget that the CBA between MLB owners and the players runs out on Dec. 1, and these parties have a history that isn’t good when it comes to these kinds of negotiations.


Mars


A note to CBC Radio: So you really did dump Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap after 16 wonderful seasons. Well, then, I’m just going to have to give you your walking papers, too. I mean, I quite enjoy listening to Kathleen Edwards, but one of her 2012 shows in place of Vinyl Tap just doesn’t cut it. So you are free to count me as a former listener of all things CBC Radio. For whatever that might be worth. . . . Hey, Randy, please let me know where Vinyl Tap ends up after you’ve taken care of business. Oh, and thanks so much for 16 years of great listening.



Headline at The Onion: Conor McGregor Undergoes 3 Hours Of Surgery To Repair Fractured Ego


A midweek tweet from comedy writer Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg): “Just learned on ‘Jeopardy’ a coyote can run 40 MPH, twice as fast as a roadrunner. Next thing you know they’ll try to tell us a coyote can’t paint a train tunnel on a canyon wall and then get run over by the train that comes out of it.”


Delta

Three athletes, two of them residents of the Olympic Village, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo. . . . These are the first two athletes who are staying in the Village to have tested positive. Another athlete who is not staying there also has tested positive. There are a number of athletes staying in hotels. . . . The IOC has said that the Olympic Village will be the “safest place” in Tokyo when it comes to avoiding the coronavirus. . . . Organizers haven’t identified the athletes or their countries of residence. . . . Since July 1, there have been 55 positive tests involving people linked to these Games.

——

The Colorado Rockies are without manager Bud Black, first-base coach Ron Gideon and four players as they play a weekend series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. All are involved with MLB’s contact-tracing protocols. . . . Three RHP — Yency Almonte, Jhoulys Chacin and Antonio Senzatela — and OF Yonathan Daza were placed on the injured list. . . . The team wouldn’t say whether anyone was experiencing symptoms or had tested positive. . . . It is known that the Rockies were one of the first teams to reach the 85 per cent vaccination rate.

——

Virus

——

Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News, after six players with the New York Yankees went on the MLB COVID-19 list:

“They can say whatever they want to, but one of the reasons it happens this way, absolutely, is because there are members of this baseball team — and others for sure — who are too stupid or selfish or stubborn or all of the above to get vaccinated, one summer after one of the darkest our country has ever known.

“And that is on these ballplayers who don’t just endanger themselves, but endanger people around them. This isn’t about religious liberty or politics or anything else at this point with the anti-vaxxers. It is about living in a new kind of bubble, the one in Stupidville. You feel sorry for these guys. There’s a reason why doctors are now talking about a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated.’ ”

That complete column is right here.


Lupica, again: “Tom Brady is telling us now that he played last season with a torn MCL . . . why? Was Brady this chatty in Foxboro, I can’t recall.”


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“If I was Joe Biden, I would send a heath expert to the WNBA with instructions to find out how that league became a sports-world leader in COVID vaccinations. While men’s leagues struggle to reach minimum levels of vax, the WNBA steps up and takes it like a woman. It’s almost as if WNBA players value team over personal politics and misinformation.”


Bigfoot


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 USHL’s Fargo Force needs a head coach following the departure of Pierre-Paul Lamoureux. He had been the head coach for two seasons after earlier working as associate head coach, director of scouting and assistant coach at various times. Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald tweeted: “Pierre-Paul Lamoureux stepping down after leading Fargo to the Clark Cup Finals. Lamoureux says he will invest more time in his family. Not sure if it played a role, but it was fairly widely known in USHL circles that he wasn’t exactly compensated like other league head coaches.”


CIA

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if we need more bananas . . .

Scattershooting

Let me tell you a little about where we’re at in our household right now, and I have a feeling there are others in the same boat.

If you’re not aware, Dorothy and I are both considered at risk these days; she has a compromised immune system from a kidney transplant; I have heart disease.

So we are trying hard to limit exposure to other people, which is why we ordered groceries online for the first time a few days ago. She had the list; I was at the keyboard. Bananas were on her list.

I found them on the store menu. Hmm, how many did we want? The first option was 1. Well, I thought, when you’re in the store you see some singles, some pairs, three together, even four in a bunch. Yeah, four bananas will do for a while, I thought. So I clicked on 4.

When we got home after picking up the groceries a few days later, we discovered that 4 meant 4 bunches with about 10 bananas in each bunch.

So . . . Dorothy quickly drove over to a friend’s home and left half of the bananas outside her door. (Yes, she phoned first.)

I got up the next morning and looked out a window that overlooks our driveway. Hmm, I didn’t park our Tucson that way. I had backed in; now it was parked looking at me. What happened? I had a brief thought that someone had stolen it and brought it back. Hey, c’mon, these are bizarre times.

Finally, it struck me that Dorothy had driven it after I did. And heaven forbid that she would park the same way that I did. Right?

A couple of days later I was lolling in my recliner late in the afternoon when Dorothy asked: “Are you going to shower today after you didn’t yesterday?”

Upon further reflection, I couldn’t remember whether I had showered the previous day. Eventually, I gave up trying to remember. But I can say that I absolutely cannot remember the last time I went one day without showering.

And then when I awoke Saturday morning, I thought it was Friday. But not knowing what day it is . . . well, that is happening with more and more regularity.

Hey, welcome to our new normal and I don’t mean Normal, Ill.


Clown


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “The Tokyo Olympics have been rescheduled for 2021 but will still be known as the 2020 Games, organizers say. ‘We couldn’t agree more,’ said 12 of the Big Ten’s 14 athletic directors.”

——

Perry, again: “Triple-double … Double-double … Solo-double? Former standout soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo announced she is pregnant with twins.”


ICYMI, Agent Orange met with sports leaders on Saturday and told them that he would like to see games being played in August and September. (Agent Orange? Saw that in a column by Ed Willes of Postmedia on Saturday.)

The conference call included folks from the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS, WNBA, LPGA, PGA, IndyCar, Breeders’ Cup and yes, WWE and UFC. For whatever reason, there was no one included from, among others, the NCAA, NASCAR or the WHL.

It wasn’t long after word got out about the orange one wanting games in August and September that Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, said: “I’m not anticipating that happening in this state.”

And that should take care of that.

Thank you, Governor.

——

There has been talk about the NBA perhaps taking teams into Las Vegas and playing some kind of neutral-site games.

Yeah, I’m sure NBA players are going to want to leave their families to go into self-isolation in Las Vegas and be tested and tested and tested just to play a few games. What if one of them tested positive? What then? And how on earth would the NBA be able to keep players in self-isolation without even one of them going rogue?

So let’s scratch that idea.

——

BTW, the logistics of pulling off even one NFL game under the circumstances in which we now live — and in which we still could be living in August and September — are mind-boggling.

It’s a big enough production under normal circumstances. Now throw in all that goes into testing more than 50,000 people, in one way or another, and it becomes all but impossible.

And what of the support staff? To give you some idea of how many people work a pro game, there are more than 1,300 workers at a New York Mets’ home game just to deal with food service.

And it only would take one person in the facility to test positive and, well, it would be: HERE WE GO AGAIN!

So let’s scratch that idea, too.


Crayons


No one knows when this is going to end, or what it’s going to look like at the other end.

But I would be curious to know how many schedules the WHL is going to prepare.

Under normal circumstances, the WHL’s 2020-21 regular season, with each team scheduled to play 68 games, would begin on or around Sept. 25. But if teams aren’t able to open training camps in late August, a bit more than four months away, and they start pushing things back, does the WHL also prepare a schedule that would open in late October and would have teams playing, say, 54 or 56 games? And on and on it would go . . . Keep in mind that the WHL has teams in two states and four provinces, each of which operates independently in these bizarre times.



Headline at TheOnion.com: Kawhi Leonard misses second consecutive family game night, citing load management.


Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “MLB has canceled its scheduled games in Mexico City, Puerto Rico and London, but hopes remain for the Aug. 13 game between the Yankees and White Sox in Dyersville, Iowa, where ‘Field of Dreams’ was filmed. The site adjoins a cornfield and has long been a tourist attraction; an 8,000-seat stadium was built for this and future MLB visits.”



The 12-team Western Canada Baseball League announced Sunday that it has “established a timeline that will guide our decisions this spring.” . . . For starters, the league will decide by May 2 if it will be able to get in a complete 2020 season. . . . “There are also provisions for shortened seasons that would start either on or about Father’s Day or on or about Canada Day,” a news release stated. “Similar dates exist for three or four weeks prior for these shortened seasons for logistics to be put in place.” . . . The league also announced that “governors have agreed that if by early June 2020 health and travel restrictions are still such that the league cannon confirm a start date that the season would be cancelled.” . . . The WCBL has teams in Brooks, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Melville, Moose Jaw, Okotoks, Regina, Swift Current, Weyburn and Yorkton. . . .

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The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the PGA Championship will be held at that city’s Harding Park course from Aug. 6-9. It had been scheduled to run from May 14-17 at Harding Park. . . . Of course, keep in mind that California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday that he doesn’t anticipate seeing pro football in his state in August or September. . . .

Former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey died late Saturday in a New Orleans care home. His daughter, Ashley, said he had tested positive for the coronavirus a week previous. . . . He was 73. Dempsey was born without toes on his kicking foot and held the NFL record for longest field goal (63 yards) for 43 years. . . . He had been in assisted living for a number of years as he dealt with dementia. . . .

Aleksandar Prijovic, a Serbian soccer player, was given three months of home detention for violating a curfew that is in place because of COVID-19. He an 19 others were arrested in a hotel lobby bar in Belgrade on Friday. . . . Meanwhile, Kyle Walker, a defender with Manchester City, is in trouble after breaking lockdown conditions in England. He has apologized after holding a party involving two sex workers at this home.


Dinosaur


Here’s the Thought for the Day, from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, via Will Rogers: “If stupidity got us in this mess, how come it can’t get us out?”


A few thoughts from Patti Dawn Swansson: “Most of us follow our personal doctors’ advice. I mean, if told to take two aspirin and call ol’ sawbones in the morning, I take two aspirin and make that call. Yet when the finest medical minds in our country advise us what to do (stay the frig home) during the COVID-19 crisis, they are ignored by many among the rabble. I find that to be a most curious bit of business. Even more curious: Why would it take a celebrity athlete, singer or movie star doing a PSA to convince some that the safest place to be right now is behind our own closed doors? Seriously, you’ll listen to, say, Connor McDavid instead of Dr. Theresa Tam? The mind boggles.”

For more, click right here.


Scattershooting on a Saturday night while watching Clooney, Pitt and Co. stealing money . . .

Scattershooting


The XFL kicked off its first season on Saturday and you need to know that sportsbettingdime.com has the Dallas Renegades as 3-1 favourites to win the inaugural championship. The New York Guardians are next at 4-1, with the Los Angeles Wildcats and Tampa Bay Vipers at 5-1. . . . You’re wondering about the Seattle Dragons? They’re eighth in the eight-team league, at 10-1. . . . I’m betting on the St. Louis Battlehawks (also 10-1), if only because Missouri seems to be home to titles these days.

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Former WHL coach Rob Daum received a phone call on Tuesday, and he left Wednesday for Europe and his latest head-coaching assignment, this one with EC Panaceo VSV of the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. His latest club plays out of Villach, Austria. . . . Daum, 62, agreed to a deal that runs through the end of this season. . . . He replaces Jyrki Aho of Finland, who was fired by the team’s board of directors on Monday. He had been hired in July. . . . VSV is sixth in the 11-team league, at 17-15-8. . . . Daum is quite familiar with the league, having spent six seasons (2011-17) as the head coach of the Black Wings Linz. In fact, he has 237 EBHL victories to his credit, and no one has more. . . . He also spent two seasons (2017-19) with the DEL’s Iserlohn Roosters. . . . In the WHL, Daum has coached with the Prince Albert Raiders, Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes (1989-95).


Scarecrow


The WHL playoffs must be getting close. How do I know that? Because, judging from the clip in the tweet below, cross-checking has been removed from the rule book as often seems to happen as spring nears. . . .


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, after the Super Bowl: “The halftime show seems to be trying too hard. I remember the good old simple days when it was just Michael Jackson moonwalking and groping for his car keys.”

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Ostler, looking back at a few days in Miami: “Miami is not a foreign country, it’s a different planet. Back yards are fenced in to keep out mosquitoes the size of bald eagles. Here’s an actual billboard I saw: ‘Got iguanas?’ It was an ad for an iguana-control company. And I thought squirrels in the crawl space were annoying.”


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Twenty-four hours before the Super Bowl, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg had tweeted this gem:


BigBird



Golf


Joe Judge, the new head coach of the NFL’s New York Giants, has filled out his coaching staff. OK, are you ready for this? How many assistant coaches do you think are on the staff? . . . Would you believe 15? No. How about 19? . . . Yes, there are 19 assistants. . . . There are three co-ordinators (offence, defence, special teams). . . . There are nine offensive assistants — quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, assistant offensive line, senior offensive assistant, offensive assistant, offensive quality control. . . . There are seven defensive assistants — defensive line, inside linebackers, outside linebackers/senior assistant, defensive backs, assistant defensive backs, defensive assistant, defensive quality control. . . . Seriously!



Former WHL star F Emerson Etem is getting into the coaching game in a bigger way. He has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the Missoula, Mont., Jr. Bruins, who play in the NA3HL. . . . Etem, from Long Beach, Calif., will take over from Cliff Cook to begin next season. Cook is moving on to an as-yet-unnamed collegiate team. . . . The NHL’s Anaheim Ducks selected Etem with the 29th pick of the 2010 draft. He spent three seasons (2009-12) with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. He spent eight seasons playing professionally before a knee injury took him into retirement. Of late, he has been coaching at the South Alberta Hockey Academy, where he helps out Tigers GM/head coach Willie Desjardins.



Bob Molinaro, in the Hampton Roads Virginia-Pilot: “I guess something’s wrong with me. Otherwise, I’d have a stronger reaction to the Super Bowl halftime show put on by two middle-aged women. But I don’t. For me, it was neither great nor controversial, perhaps because I was barely paying attention. But so many things media and people find spectacular or objectionable just aren’t. It’s tiresome.”


Bored

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?

Scattershooting on a Saturday while pulling for Cypress Roed and her new kidney . . .

A couple of weeks ago, I spent some time in this space writing about Cypress Roed, an eight-year-old from Harrison Hot Springs, B.C., who, at that time, was preparing for a kidney transplant.

Cypress had the transplant on schedule, on Oct. 24, and now is recovering at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Her mother, Chantelle Deley, told me on Saturday that Cypress “is doing well.”

There have been a couple of early issues but nothing that the medical people haven’t been able to handle.

If you missed the earlier story on Cypress, it’s right here.


The Portland Winterhawks and their fans celebrated the career and retirement of Dean (Scooter) Vrooman as they beat the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1, on Saturday night. . . . He was the voice, and the face, of the Winterhawks for a whole lot of years. . . . Allow me to offer my congratulations to an old friend, and here’s hoping retirement is as kind to you as it has been to me. . . . Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune has more right here, including the hilarious story on how Vrooman got his nickname.


“’Tis obviously better to be a tortoise than a hare,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Washington Nationals started the season 19-31 and wound up winning the World Series. The St. Louis Blues sat in last place on Dec. 31 and wound up winning the Stanley Cup. In short, the Seattle Mariners — who opened 13-2 and wound up 68-94 — are going about this thing totally backward.”

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One more from Perry: “Somebody just carried out the best fake play of the football season. A red-faced ESPN Events ‘terminated’ its three-week-old agreement with DreamHouse to be the New Mexico Bowl’s presenting sponsor after realizing the purported film-production company doesn’t even exist.”


The other night, I spent 90 minutes watching the documentary Searching for Sugar Man. I have seen it numerous times but it continues to amaze me. If you aren’t familiar with the story of Detroit musician Sixto Rodriguez and his influence on the people of South African, check it out. You can thank me later.


Sheesh, TSN, all I want as a viewer is some respect. With the Washington Nationals on a magical run, you let us watch PTI until the day after the World Series ended. Then you cheated us out of watching Tony Kornheiser celebrate. How could you? . . . You bumped PTI for ATP Tennis, but couldn’t find room for it on one of your other four channels. Please, just a little respect and some continuity in your programming. Is that too much to ask? . . . On second thought, don’t worry about it. I have discovered PTI on YouTube, so I won’t need to check your multi-channel setup anymore.


ICYMI, the BCFC’s Langley Rams will be the host team when they meet the PFC’s Saskatoon’s Hilltops for the Canadian junior football title on Nov. 16. The Rams took out the Westshore Rebels, 35-12, in one national semifinal on Saturday. Later in the day, the Hilltops dumped the host London Beefeaters, 51-1. . . . The Hilltops will be looking for their sixth straight national championship. Yes, they qualify as a dynasty. . . . One year ago, in Saskatoon, the Hilltops whipped the Rams, 58-21, in the final. The Hilltops also beat the Rams in the 2012 and 2014 finals.


Popcorn


“The Christmas turkey will be served early this year,” writes Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, noting that the Miami Dolphins (0-7) and Cincinnati Bengals (0-8) are to play on Dec. 22.


The Winnipeg Jets recalled F C.J. Suess from the AHL’s Manitoba Moose on Friday. His nickname had better be Cat or Horton or even Doctor. But, this being hockey, I am betting it’s something like Suessy. . . . Actually, his surname is pronounced CEASE. . . . Interestingly, he was C.J. Franklin — yes, teammates called him Frank — when he began his college career with the Minnesota State Mavericks. He has since changed it to Suess, his mother’s maiden name. . . . In a story posted in January, Jamie Thomas of WinnipegJets.com reported that new nicknames in circulation were Seeser, C-Joe and Sweets.



So . . . it was Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Oilers are said to have won, 2-1 in OT. . . . If you’re a hockey fan, you know that is as good a matchup as you will see all season long — or until these teams meet again. . . . So, NHL, why would you schedule this game for a Saturday afternoon? That is a prime-time game if ever there was one. . . . BTW, the next time these teams are to meet will be on Dec. 20 in Edmonton. Yes, it will be a night game.


Hey, Andy Murray and Glen Williamson . . . your buddy has come a long, long way from Souris and the Chocolate Shop. . . . Don’t believe me? Check out the link in the tweet. . . . Yes, the big, big pizza chains will be calling soon.



A tip to junior hockey players being interviewed before or after games — if you must wear a cap, wear it with the bill to the front. Not only does it look more professional, but it also shows off your team’s logo.



JUST NOTES: Had a friend who had just seen some video from a Winnipeg Ice home game in which fans seemed to be in scarce supply suggest that the WHL should move the team to Chilliwack. . . . Another WHL fan emailed me this: “I just watched the highlights of the Lethbridge-Winnipeg game on the WHL site. Couldn’t see too much of the seats with the camera angles they had, but I bet MJHL teams get better crowds than that. Instead of putting a team in a city that already has NHL, AHL, and MJHL plus Junior B teams, the WHL should have put the team in a place where it was the biggest attraction in town.  A place like . . . Cranbrook!” . . . On the subject of the Ice, does anyone know how the new arena in which the team will play is coming along? . . . Hey, Sportsnet, those virtual ads that you put on the glass during hockey games are absolutely awful. You’re welcome. . . . The New York Yankees chose not to re-sign Edwin Encarnacion and his parrot, so do the Toronto Blue Jays bring him back? . . . Do you ever wonder what Brian Burke’s hair looks like when he first wakes up in the morning?


Spider

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