QMJHL team hit with 24 positive tests; playoffs still set to open April 23 . . . Hall sparks Hurricanes . . . Armstrong roars for Cougars

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques, perhaps not wanting to be outdone by the qmjhlnewNHL’s Vancouver Canucks, had at least 24 people in their organization test positive. . . . The results are from the latest round of testing on April 8. . . . On April 3, the QMJHL announced that Gatineau had one positive test, so team activities were being placed on hold. . . . It would seem that one positive has transmitted into a whole lot more. . . .

Jean-Francois Plante of leDroit wrote: “Head coach Louis Robitaille has not escaped the spread of the virus. Since the first case was reported on April 3, almost the entire team has been afflicted by the variant, which is believed to be of South African origin. Other club staff were also inconvenienced.” . . . Plante wrote that some players had “minor symptoms, but others would struggle with much more serious side effects. Usually, we talk about fever, headache, vomiting, shortness of breath, chest pain and a marked drop in energy.” . . . The Olympiques are carrying 25 players, some of whom have escaped unscathed to this point. . . .

The Olympiques entire organization now is in quarantine, but there could be some players back on the ice later this week. The QMJHL maintains that it will begin its playoffs on April 23. . . .

The Olympiques aren’t the only QMJHL team with COVID-19 issues at the moment. The Quebec Remparts have three new positives, giving them a total of seven, while the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have at least two. . . . The QMJHL has has a number of teams hit with positive tests this season. In the early days, the Armada was hit with 20 positives, while the Sherbrooke Phoenix had eight. The Drummondville Voltigeurs and Victoriaville Tigers also have experienced outbreaks.



The WHL has three teams on hold at the moment, two of them — the Kelowna Rockets and Calgary Hitmen — because of positive tests, and the Medicine Hat Tigers, who were deemed close contacts after playing the Hitmen on April 5. . . . As a result, three games originally scheduled for Monday were postponed, but there still were three played. . . .

F Connor McClennon scored twice as the Winnipeg Ice skated to a 3-1 victory Winnipegover the Regina Pats in the Regina hub. . . . The Ice (12-4-0) have won six in a row. . . . Regina now is 6-7-3. . . . McClennon, who has 10 goals, broke a 1-1 tie at 17:27 of the first period, then added his second goal at 6:09 of the second. . . . F Conor Geekie (6) gave Winnipeg a 1-0 lead at 5:09 of the first period. . . . Regina F Logan Nijhoff (7) tied it at 16:08. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs drew the primary assist on McClennon’s second goal, running his point streak to 15 games. Since being blanked in his first game, he has put up nine goals and 20 assists. He leads the Regina hub in assists and points (29). . . . G Carl Stankowski earned the victory with 22 saves, eight more than Regina’s Roddy Ross. . . .

F Justin Hall scored twice and added three assists to lead the host Lethbridge LethHurricanes to an 8-5 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Yes, it was the first five-point game of Hall’s career. He has eight points over his last two games. . . . Hall broke a 4-4 tie with his second goal of the game and 11th of this season at 3:43 of the third period. . . . F Jett Jones (4) gave Lethbridge a two-goal lead at 9:29, before F Ben King (5) got the Rebels to within one at 14:46. King finished with two goals and two assists. . . . D Trevor Thurston (3), at 16:34, and F Ty Nash (1), with the empty-netter, put away the victory. Thurston had two goals. . . . Hall has 21 points, including 10 assists, in 14 games. He went into this season with 16 goals in 102 career regular-season games. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from each of F Liam Kindree and F Alex Thacker. . . . The Rebels got a goal, his fifth, and three assists from F Arshdeep Bains. . . . The Hurricanes (6-6-2) have points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Rebels (2-12-2) have lost nine in a row. . . . The Hurricanes swept the three-game weekend set, having won 6-3 in Red Deer on Friday and 5-2 at home on Saturday. . . . Lethbridge is (5-1-0) against Red Deer this season; they will meet three more times this weekend. . . .

F Craig Armstrong, who had two goals in his first 72 WHL regular-season games, scored four times in No. 73 as the Prince George Cougars dumped the Vancouver Giants in Kamloops. . . . Armstrong scored the game’s first three goals — at 13:00 of the first period, and 5:26 and 9:48 of the second. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (7) got Vancouver’s goal at 3:24 of the third. . . . Armstrong finished it off with an empty-netter. . . . Armstrong, a 17-year-old from Airdrie, Alta., has five goals and two assists in seven games. . . . Last season, he finished with one goal and seven assists in 62 games. . . . The Cougars got 37 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . The Cougars (3-2-2) have points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Giants are 5-3-0.


With D Carson Lambos of the Winnipeg Ice unable to play for Canada’s U18 Canadateam because of an undisclosed injury, Hockey Canada has added D Denton Mateychuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors to the roster. . . . The team’s players now are in isolation as they prepare for the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, from April 26 through May 6. . . . Mateychuk, 16, was the 11th overall selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. He has two goals and seven assists in 16 games in the Regina hub this season.


Ankle


The Chicago Cubs have had two coaches test positive — bullpen coach Chris Young and first-base coach Craig Driver. . . . Because Young is positive, three relievers were deemed to be close contacts so are in isolation. Jason Adam, Dan Winkler and Brandon Workman, all right-handers, are on the COVID-19 protocol list. . . . The Cubs were the only MLB team not have even one positive test last season. . . . The Cubs opened a three-game series with a 6-3 loss to the host Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.


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My wife, 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 be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Peppers

Royals get goalie from Portland. . . . More bantam draft odds and ends. . . . McCrimmon an NHL GM and a Hall of Famer


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Part II: More trades and odds and ends from the WHL’s bantam draft. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks appeared to clear up a logjam at the goaltender position, Portlandwhile the Victoria Royals have begun life after Griffen Outhouse. . . . The Winterhawks dealt G Shane Farkas, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 1, and a 2019 fifth-round bantam draft pick to the Royals for a fourth-round pick in 2019 and a conditional selection that could end up being in the fourth round in 2020. . . . The 2019 fourth-rounder that the Winterhawks acquired actually originated with them; it went to Victoria in a deal for D Jared Freadrich last summer. . . . The deal leaves Portland with five 20-year-olds on its roster, with F Lane Gilliss, F Jake Gricius, F Josh Paterson and D Matthew Quigley the others. . . .

Farkas, from Penticton, B.C., appeared in 84 games over three seasons with Portland. VictoriaRoyalsThis season, he finished 30-12-6, 2.71, .906 in 50 regular-season appearances. . . . His departure leaves the Winterhawks’ depth chart with Joel Hofer, who will be 19 on July 30, and Dante Giannuzzi, who is to turn 17 on Sept. 3, at the top of the goaltending section. . . .

Outhouse, who was so outstanding in goal for the Royals, has completed his junior eligibility. Farkas and sophomore Brock Gould, 18, are one-two on the Royals’ depth chart, at least for now. . . . The Royals now have six 20-year-olds on their roster — Farkas, F D-Jay Jerome, Belarusian F Igor Martynov, F Tanner Sidaway, D Jameson Murray and D Jake Kustra.


The Swift Current Broncos have acquired D Wyatt Wilson from the Lethbridge SCBroncosHurricanes for F Alex Thacker. . . . Wilson, from Swift Current, will turn 16 on Oct. 11. He was a sixth-round pick by Lethbridge in the 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had six goals and 17 assists in 36 games with the elite 15s at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . Thacker, 17, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. This season, he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 34 games as he captained the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. He also had one assist in four games with the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines, and was pointless in two games with Swift Current. The Broncos had selected him in the sixth round of the 2017 bantam draft.


Lethbridge also made a deal with the Prince George Cougars, landing D Tyson Phare in LethbridgePrinceGeorgeexchange for F Fischer O’Brien. . . . Phare, 17, was the 18th-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft. From Maple Ridge, B.C., he was pointless in 14 games with the Cougars this season. He also had a goal and nine assists in eight games with the prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy, and was pointless in two games with the junior B Ridge Meadow Flames. . . . O’Brien, 16, is from Prince George. Lethbridge picked him in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. Fischer had two goals and five assists in 40 games with the Cariboo Cougars, who won the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League title. His brother, Brogan, played three seasons (2015-18) with the WHL’s Cougars and now is at Carleton U in Ottawa.


JUST NOTES: The Portland Winterhawks selected F Marek Hejduk in the ninth round. He played this season with the bantam AAA Colorado Thunderbirds, scoring seven goals and adding nine assists in 13 games. . . . Six picks later, the Everett Silvertips grabbed D David Hejduk, Marek’s twin brother. David had one goal and one assists in 13 games with the Thunderbirds. . . . They are the sons of former NHL F Milan Hejduk. . . .

In the 10th round, the Edmonton Oil Kings landed F Cade Littler of East Wenatchee, Wash. He played this season with the bantam AAA San Jose Jr. Sharks. His father, Bliss, is a long-time junior coach. He has been with the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild for seven seasons, the last six as general manager and head coach. . . .

In the fourth round, the Seattle Thunderbirds took F Connor Gourley of Calgary. He had 36 goals and 39 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. His brother Jarrod, who will turn 20 on June 29, was a third-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2014 bantam draft. A defenceman, he chose to go to Arizona State U where he just completed his first season with the Sun Devils. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers, picking 12th overall, took F Oasis Wiesblatt of Calgary. He had 19 goals and 36 assists in 28 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . His brother Orca, who will turn 19 on June 2, got into 12 games with the Calgary Hitmen this season, after playing 49 with them last season. He now is with the MJHL-champion Portage Terriers. . . . Another brother, 20-year-old Ocean, also is with the Terriers, while Ozzy, 17, is in his first season with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Google is your friend, so search out a story on the boys and their mother, who is deaf and a really wonderful story. . . .

The Hitmen selected F Mason Finley of Kelowna in the fifth round. His brother, Jack, just finished his freshman season with the Spokane Chiefs. Their father, Jeff, played three seasons (1984-87) with the Portland Winterhawks and now is in his 10th season as a scout with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, the last six as the team’s chief amateur scout. . . .

The Victoria Royals landed twin brothers who just happen to be from, yes, Victoria. . . . They took D Jason Spizawka with the 19th-overall selection then added his twin, Ryan, in the seventh round. . . . Both boys played at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., this season. . . .

The Regina Pats picked D Layton Feist with the draft’s 17th-overall selection. From Dawson Creek, B.C., he is the younger brother of Pats D Tyson Feist. . . .

In the second round, the Prince Albert Raiders took D Graydon Gotaas, who is from Camrose, Alta., and played this season with the bantam AAA Sherwood Park, Alta., Flyers. . . . His uncle, Steve Gotaas, played four seasons (1983-87) with the Raiders. . . .

If you know of any other hockey bloodlines from the draft or have any tidbits you would like to share, email Taking Note at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


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Kelly McCrimmon, who owns the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, will take over as general manager of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on Sept. 1. That means that McCrimmon, who has been the Golden Knights’ assistant GM, won’t be going to Edmonton, where the Oilers had an interest in him, or to the expansion franchise in Seattle, which also is believed to have bene interested in his services.

Meanwhile, McCrimmon also found out on Thursday that he will be part of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2019. . . . McCrimmon has served the Wheat Kings as a player, coach, general manager, owner and governor. . . . Going into the hall this year as players will be Bob Fitchner, Trevor Kidd, Marty Murray and Terry Yake, all of whom played for the Wheat Kings, along with Larry Bolonchuk and Susanna Yuen. . . . Builders to be inducted are McCrimmon and Barry Shenkarow. . . . Rob Haithwaite will go into the officials section, while the media wing will welcome Bob Holliday. . . . The 1957-58 St. Boniface Canadians, 1965-66 Flin Flon Warriors and 1972-73 St. Boniface Mohawks will be inducted in the team category. . . . Going into the veterans’ category will be Johnny Sheppard as a player and the 1929 Elmwood Millionaires. . . . The inductions will take place at Canad Inns Polo Park in Winnipeg on Oct. 5. . . . Bios of the inductees are available right here.


The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials made it official Thursday — they have signed Barry Wolff as their new general manager and head coach. Wolff, who spent this season as GM/head coach with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders, will replace Joe Martin, who now is the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . . With Wolff behind the bench, the Stampeders lost the MJHL final to the Portage Terriers, dropping Game 7 in OT.


Eric Ditto has been the head coach of the junior B Delisle Chiefs of the Prairie Junior Hockey League for four seasons. Now he also is the general manager. The Chiefs won 38 games this season as they set a PJHL single-season record with 77 points in a 40-game schedule. Ditto takes over as GM from Ryan Marushak, who had been in that position for four seasons.


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