Blazers, Oil Kings swing deal . . . WHL issues lengthy suspension . . . Ex-NHL coach helping Cougars

Fans of the Kamloops Blazers have been waiting for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament’s host team to make an impact on the trade front. Well, the Blazers Kamloopsdid that on Monday, but those fans are going to have to wait until mid- to late-January to see F Jakub Demek in action. . . . Demek, 19, was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a possible four WHL draft picks. However, he underwent shoulder surgery after the 2022 World Junior Championshp, has only just returned to skating, and isn’t expect to play in a game for at least two more months. . . .

The Blazers handed over a 2023 first-round pick that originated with the Regina Pats, and a fourth-rounder in 2026. Also going to Edmonton were two conditional selections — a second in 2024 and a third in 2026. . . . The second is conditional on Demek playing an undisclosed number of games with the Blazers. . . . The third is conditional on his returning to the WHL as a 20-year-old. . . .

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Demek, a Slovak, had 20 goals and 34 assists in 55 regular-season games with Edmonton last season. In 19 playoff games, he added five goals and 12 assists. . . . The Vegas Golden Knights hold his NHL rights, having taken him in the fourth-round of the 2021 draft. . . . Demek played for Slovakia in the 2022 WJC in Edmonton in August, earning one assist in four games. . . .

The Blazers now hold the CHL rights to three imports — Demek, Czech G Michael Schnattinger and Finnish D Aapo Sarell, the latter two in their first WHL seasons. Each CHL team is allowed to have two imports on its roster. With the WHL trade deadline set for Jan. 10, the Blazers — if they are to activate Demek — would have to get down to two on Jan. 8. . . .

——

Andrew Peard, the radio voice of the Edmonton Oil Kings, points out that the EdmontonWHL’s defending champions, clearly in rebuilding mode, have added a possible eight draft picks in the past week (the asterisks denote conditional picks) . . .

2 — 1st round picks (2023, 2025)

1 — 2nd round pick (2024*)

3 — 3rd round picks (2023, 2025, 2026*)

1 — 4th round pick (2026)

1 — 7th round pick (2024*)

The other big deal, of course, had the Seattle Thunderbirds coughing up three draft picks for D Luke Prokop. Seattle gave up a first-rounder in 2025, a third in 2023 and a third in 2025.

Edmonton also sent F Shea Van Olm to Kamloops for a conditional seventh-rounder in 2024.

It’s worth remembering, too, that Edmonton’s selling off of players from the championship roster actually began on Aug. 9 when F Jalen Luypen, 20, was traded to the Tri-City Americans. The Americans also got two conditional draft picks in the exchange — a fifth in 2024 and a second in 2026. In return, the Oil Kings picked up F Rhett Melnyk, 18, D Bryson Andregg, 19, and a conditional second-rounder in the 2023 draft. (More on Luypen further down.)

Don’t forget, too, that Edmonton doesn’t have its own first- or second-round picks in the 2023 draft, having dealt those away while loading up for its 2021-22 championship run.

And don’t forget, too, that two other players who part of Edmonton’s championship run last season still could end up back in the WHL. Should G Sebastian Cossa, 20, and/or F Dylan Guenther, 19, end up back in Edmonton, the Oil Kings would be able to add even more draft picks to their collection. . . . Cossa, a first-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2021 draft, has seen playing time with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to this point in the season. . . . Guenther, a first-round pick by the Arizona Coyotes in 2021, has three goals and four assists in 14 NHL games this season.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — ‘See No Covid, Hear No Covid’ strategy working about as well as expected.


Fingers


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first two goals and went on to beat PrinceAlbertthe host Moose Jaw Warriors, 2-1. . . . Prince Albert (7-12-2) has won two in a row. . . . Moose Jaw (11-8-0) has lost two straight. . . . F Carson Latimer (7) gave the Raiders a 2-0 lead at 5:14 of the second period. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (4) got the Warriors to within a goal, on a PP, at 17:33. . . . G Max Hildebrand earned the victory with 17 saves. . . . F Ryder Korczak, who was returned to the Warriors by the NHL’s New York Rangers on Monday, didn’t play. . . .

The host Swift Current Broncos erased a 1-0 deficit with three second-period SwiftCurrentgoals as they beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-2. . . . The Broncos improved to 9-9-0, while Brandon (7-11-2) lost its second straight game. . . . F Josh Davies (5) pulled the Broncos into a 1-1 tie at 1:07 of the second period as he scored while shorthanded. . . . Brandon has allowed a WHL-leading eight shorties this season. . . . D Connor Hvidston (6), who also had two assists, and F Mathew Ward (8), with his 100th career point, also scored for the Broncos in the second period. . . . Ward has 36 goals and 64 assists in 106 regular-season games. . . . The Broncos got 37 stops from G Gage Alexander. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels got back on the winning track with a 4-1 victory over the RedDeerOil Kings in Edmonton. . . . The Rebels (16-3-1) had lost four in a row (0-3-1) after opening the season with a 15-game winning streak. . . . The Oil Kings (2-17-1) have lost five in a row. . . . The Rebels scored three PP goals, two of them from F Kalan Lind (4). . . . F Jayden Grubbe added a goal (5) and two assist, with D Christoffer Sedoff, who reached 100 career points, drawing three assists. . . . Red Deer was 3-7 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-11. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Jaxsen Wiebe, who started serving a seven-game suspension. He was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a game at Saskatoon on Saturday. He also is a repeat offender, having been given a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline following a game in Saskatoon on Oct. 23. . . . That is the longest suspension handed out by the WHL since Feb. 15, 2020, when F Ryley Appelt of the Kamloops Blazers got eight games after taking a checking-from-behind major against the Victoria Royals.

In Portland, the Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the PortlandCalgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . Portland (14-1-2) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . Calgary (10-5-2) had won its previous seven games. . . . The Hitmen now are 2-1-0 on their U.S. Division trip. . . . F Kyle Chyzowski (7) scored twice for Portland. . . . G Dante Giannuzzi stopped 33 shots in earning the victory over Brayden Peters, who had 36 saves.



Earhart


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Jim Playfair, a former NHL player and coach, has been spending time on the ice with the Prince George Cougars of late. He also has helped out as an eye in the sky at some games. “He comes in for practice and helps out with our team play,” Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager and head coach, tells Hartley Miller on his podcast — Hartley’s Cat Scan — that will be released today. “It’s been a real joy having him around, all that experience with our younger coaches, with Carter Rigby and Josh Dixon, and picking his brain. I think he’s really helped our organization.” . . . Playfair, 58, is from Fort St. James, B.C. . . .

The NHL’s New York Rangers have returned F Ryder Korczak, 20, to the Moose Jaw Warriors. Korczak, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round of the NHL’s 2021 draft, was pointless in in five games with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. . . . Last season, he had 79 points, including 25 goals, in 68 games with the Warriors. . . . The Warriors now are carrying four 20-year-olds and have two weeks to get down to three. The other 20s are F Riley Ginnell, D Cole Jordan and G Connor Ungar. . . . Korczak wasn’t in uniform Tuesday night as the Warriors dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . .

The Tri-City Americans lost a defenceman on Tuesday when Ian Ferguson, a 20-year-old from Missouri City, Texas, announced his retirement from hockey. . . . He was in his fourth season with the Americans. . . . Ferguson had two goals and three assists in 16 games this season. In 127 regular season games, he had four goals and 11 assists. . . . The move leaves the Americans with F Reese Belton and F Ethan Ernst as their 20s. . . . The move also creates room for the Americans to add F Jalen Luypen, 20, to their roster from the long-term injury list. . . . The Americans acquired Luypen from Edmonton on Aug. 9, after he had spent four seasons with the Oil Kings. However, he underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season and has yet to return to game action. . . . Luypen, a seventh-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 2021 draft, had 64 points, including 29 goals, last season. In 200 regular-season games with the Oil Kings, he put up 61 goals and 63 assists. . . . At present, Luypen is in Chicago where the Blackhawks’ medical staff is looking things over. . . .

The Victoria Royals have received a commitment from Czech F Robin Sapousek, although they don’t know when he will make his debut. The Royals grabbed his rights in the CHL’s 2022 import draft. Sapousek, 18, has been playing with HC Karlovy Vary’s U20 side, putting up nine goals and nine assists in 11 games. He also is pointless in seven games with HC Energy Karlovy Vary in the Czech Extraliga. . . . From a news release: “The precise date of Sapousek’s arrival in Victoria and his first game in a Royals uniform this season will be announced in the near future.” . . .

The OHL’s Niagara IceDogs fired head coach Daniel Fitzgerald on Monday. They brought in Jeff Angelidis as interim head coach. He has been coaching with the OJHL’s Brantford 99ers. . . . The IceDogs came out of the weekend with a 4-10-3 record, leaving them 19th in the 20-team league. . . . Fitzgerald was named the IceDogs’ head coach on July 8. He had spent the previous four seasons as the head coach of the 99ers, who are owned by Darren DeDobbelaer, who purchased the IceDogs in July. . . .

The Kam River Fighting Walleye of the Superior International Junior Hockey League have signed Geoff Walker as their new head coach. Walker signed a contract that runs through the 2023-24 season. . . . Kam River had fired head coach Matt Valley late last month, despite the team being in first place. At the time, management said it was in need of a full-time coach. . . . Walker spent the previous four seasons as the head coach of the SIJHL’s Red Lake Miners, then left to coach in Sweden after 2021-22. That apparently didn’t work out.


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.


Thieves

Hockey Canada delays election, heads to court to keep gov’t from seeing some numbers . . . Sponsors running for the hills . . . Blazers’ Clouston gets to 500 victories


So . . . it was late on the Friday afternoon of a long weekend and I really was expecting one of those late news dumps from Hockey Canada. I know! I know! I should have known better.

Those people aren’t leaving of their own volition, are they?

Instead, as CBC News reported, “The next election for members of (Hockey HockeyCanadaCanada’s) board of directors is being delayed by a month.” That election had been scheduled for next month, but now is to be held on Dec. 17.

CBC News also got a look at minutes from an August board meeting, and reported this gem: “Hockey Canada is frustrated with the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the facts occurring in the public. Efforts need to be focused on our members and key stakeholders to provide them with accurate information.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that the people at the top of Hockey Canada are “deluded.”

“If these individuals continue to be deluded enough to think there is a pathway forward for them to continue to run Hockey Canada,” he said on Friday, “then Canadians will have no choice but look for another structure to run our national winter sport.”

That came one day after he offered this:

“There needs to be wholesale change. They need to do it. They need to realize that if we have to create an organization, get rid of Hockey Canada, and create an organization called ‘Canada Hockey’ instead, people will look at doing that. There is a lack of understanding that they’ve lost the confidence of Canadians. And the sooner they get to that, the better it will be for everyone.”

On top of all that, Alexander Pratt of the Montreal-based newspaper La Presse reported on Friday: “Hockey Canada has gone to court to stop the federal government from releasing sensitive financial information to the organization. The publication of this data ‘would cause serious difficulties,’ argued Hockey Canada, in documents filed in the Federal Court that La Presse consulted.

Anthony Housefather, Liberal MP for Mount Royal on the island of Montreal, tweeted on Friday that “Hockey Canada is taking the Government of Canada to court now to stop disclosure of financial information. Perhaps Hockey Canada prefers our Heritage Committee to summon the documents and have us ask them questions at a public hearing.”

Uhh, Mr. Housefather, yes, please. And on live TV, too.

While all of this has been going on, sponsors have been scurrying to distance themselves from Hockey Canada, either terminating agreements completely or limiting sponsorship to women’s program and/or minor hockey. Those include Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Nike, Telus, Sobeys, which is the parent company of Safeway and Thriftys, Skip the Dishes, Scotiabank, Esso, Chevrolet Canada, BDO, BFL Canada, and Recipe Unlimited, the parent company of The Keg and Swiss Chalet.

Also cutting ties — CBC reported that it was done “quietly” in June — was Predator Ridge, a golf resort near Vernon. B.C., that has advertised itself as “The Official Summer Home of Hockey Canada.”

Brad Pelletier, senior vice-president of Wesbild Okanagan, told castanet.net that Predator Ridge did “suspend all activities back in June” and now has “taken the next step this week to terminate our relationship.”

Castanet’s Jon Manchester wrote: “Predator Ridge became an ‘exclusive partner’ with Hockey Canada in 2012, naming itself Hockey Canada’s ‘summer home.” Several hockey events were held at the resort, including visits from the national men’s and women’s teams. Those events included player and sponsor meetings and charitable events.”

——

Let’s be honest. There is something rotten — really, really rotten — in the state of Canadian sports.

Here’s a chunk of what Myles Dichter wrote in The Buzzer for CBC on Wednesday:

“Hockey Canada isn’t alone. More than 90 current and former sliding athletes have called for the resignation of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton CEO Sarah Storey and high-performance director Chris Le Bihan over an alleged toxic culture. Over the weekend, Storey abruptly adjourned the organizations annual general meeting in Calgary at which a leadership vote had been set to occur. BCS later said the meeting was halted over irregularities in voter verification. An independent report released (Tuesday) detailed similar athlete mistreatment at Rowing Canada. Gymnastics Canada is facing a class-action lawsuit over claims of physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Boxing Canada’s leadership was also called on to resign over allegations of widespread abuse.”

——

Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Experts debate who is faster: Connor McDavid or The Sponsors fleeing Hockey Canada.


Target



You are Tom Gaglardi. You own the NHL’s Dallas Stars and you are the majority Kamloopsowner of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. F Logan Stankoven of the Blazers was the CHL player of the year last season. He was a second-round selection by the Stars in the NHL’s 2021 draft and has signed with them. These days, Stankoven, 19, is in camp with the Stars. . . . If Stankoven continues to show well, does Gaglardi keep him with the Stars or does he return him to the Blazers, who will play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup?

Here’s Matthew DeFranks, who covers the Stars for the Dallas Morning News: “If the Stars carry 13 forwards, and they are choosing from the 14 forwards remaining in camp . . . one of the teenagers have made the NHL roster. Wyatt Johnston and Logan Stankoven remain entering the final preseason game Saturday in Minnesota.”


Acne


This ad appeared in the Regina Leader-Post just as the 1973-74 season was about to start. The Pats, under head coach Bob Turner and with Ed Staniowski starring in goal, would go on to win the Memorial Cup that season.

An adult season-ticket was $60. I have a feeling that it might cost about that much for an adult to attend one game this season, including parking and a trip or two to a concession stand.



Hartley Miller’s weekly Cat Scan podcast features Bob Simmonds who, besides being a fan of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, is the Prince George Cougars’ director of scouting. It’s an entertaining listen and it’s right here.


Parents


Czech F Pavel Novak, 20, played two seasons (2019-20, 2021-22) with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. He was a fifth-round pick by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL’s 2020 draft. On Wednesday, he posted a rather poignant message on Twitter on Wednesday:

On Friday, the Rockets posted the following video:


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Shaun Clouston of the Kamloops Blazers recorded his 500th regular-season victory as a WHL head coach on Friday night as his guys dumped the visiting Victoria Royals, 5-2. Clouston, who also is Kamloops’ general manager, is the 10th member of the WHL’s 500 Club, which is led by Don Hay (750), who now is the associate coach with the Blazers. . . . Pat Ginnell is No. 9 on the list, at 518. . . .

Willie Desjardins, the general manager and head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, grabbed his 401st regular-season victory in a 6-3 defeat of the host Everett Silvertips on Friday night. . . . Desjardins has 391 victories with the Tigers and 10 from a stint as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades in 1997-98. . . .

Andrew Peard, the radio voice of the Edmonton Oil Kings, called the team’s game against the host Spokane Chiefs on Friday. That game, Peard noted on Twitter (@AndrewPeard), was the Oil Kings’ first visit to Spokane since Oct. 4, 2018, or 1,462 days ago. . . . The Oil Kings posted a 3-1 victory on Friday, giving Luke Pierce his first victory as their head coach. He had 26 victories to his credit from a two-season stint as head coach of the Kootenay Ice (remember them?). . . .

Curling Canada has announced that the 2023 Canadian mixed championship will be held in Swift Current, from Nov. 5-11. That means the Broncos will spend at least the first two weeks of November 2023 on the road. . . .

Steve Staios has left the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs to join the Edmonton Oilers as special advisor to hockey operations. He had been the Bulldogs’ president and general manager. Matt Turek, the Bulldogs’ assistant GM, has taken over as interim GM. . . . Staios had been president since 2015 and had held both titles since prior to the 2016-17 season. With Staios in charge, the Bulldogs won OHL titles in 2018 and 2022. . . . He played 573 games over eight seasons with the Oilers.


Milk


THINKING OUT LOUD — First, they gave us the Indy Colts and Denver Broncos on Thursday night. Then it was the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats stumbling around on Friday night. The football gods will start smiling on us today. Won’t they? . . . Is it just me or are a number of NHL teams playing a whole lot of exhibition games this time around? . . . The most amazing part of Friday was watching the St. Louis Cardinals fall apart in the ninth inning as they saw a 2-1 lead turn into a 6-3 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.



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.


Lottery

WHL’s wait is almost over; two games set for tonight . . . Second team opts out of AJHL restart . . . Beast prexy with good dope on folderoo

It was March 11. The Victoria Royals and host Kelowna Rockets were tied, 2-2, in the third period of a WHL game.

F Brayden Tracey of the Royals broke the tie, banking a shot off G Roman Basran and into the Kelowna net. The goal would give the Royals a 3-2 victory and would be the last score of the WHL’s 2019-20 season.

The last goal of the CHL’s 2019-20 season was to have been scored in Kelowna, but it should have happened in the Memorial Cup in May. That tournament, like so many other things, was cancelled.

With the world in the early stages of what has turned into a full-blown pandemic, the WHL put things on hold after March 11, a pause that will end tonight (Friday) with two games featuring four Alberta teams.

In Red Deer, the Rebels will play the Medicine Hat Tigers, while the Lethbridge Hurricanes meet the Oil Kings in Edmonton. The same teams will play again Saturday, only they will switch venues. The Calgary Hitmen, the fifth of the league’s five Alberta teams, have the bye.

In Red Deer, Troy Gillard will make his debut as the interim play-by-play voice of the Rebels, replacing Cam Moon, now the radio voice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Down the way from Gillard, Bob Ridley will be calling his 3,999th game as the only voice the Tigers have known.

If the excitement of tonight’s game doesn’t get to him, Ridley will do No. 4,000 in Medicine Hat on Saturday night. If you haven’t heard, he has called every game in Tigers history — except for one. It’s an oft-told story, but back in the day — way, way back — his then-boss’s wife was playing in the Canadian women’s curling championship in Saskatoon and, well, Ridley missed a Tigers game while covering curling. Yes, that’s a true story!

Meanwhile, the Oil Kings game won’t be heard on an Edmonton radio station, but will be available, with Andrew Peard on the call, on the team’s website.

(I had written here that G Lukáš Pařík of the Spokane Chiefs had scored the last goal of the season. That was in error.)

——

JUST NOTES: You may not have been aware of it, but the WHL’s trade deadline came and went on Thursday at 1 p.m. PT. For the first time in league history, there wasn’t even one trade. . . . The league released a U.S. Division schedule this week. The five American teams will open their season on March 18 with the Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans meeting in Kennewick, Wash. With the Winterhawks not having clearance to play in Oregon, they will play their two March home games at the accesso ShoWare Centre in Kent, Wash. (aka the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds). The Portland home games April 2 through May 7 have TBD as the home arena. . . .

A schedule hasn’t yet been announced, but the seven-team Regina hub is expected to begin play on March 12. The hub will feature the five Saskatchewan-based teams, along with the two from Manitoba. . . . The five B.C. Division teams have yet to receive clearance to return to play from government and health officials. . . . Earlier this week, on the subject of 15-year-olds, the afore-mentioned Gillard tweeted: “So I confirmed that Alberta players are good to go since the U18AAA season here is cancelled, but Sask players are limited to 5 WHL games for now as they’ve yet to officially cancel league play in that province.” . . .

The Oil Kings have added three people to their front office — Shaun Mahe as video coach and hockey operations co-ordinator, the afore-mentioned Andrew Peard to handle hockey broadcasting and media, and Erin Klatt in charge of game-day operations. Mahe has been with the Oilers Entertainment Group for eight years, most recently in statistical analysis with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Peard’s duties include play-by-play, taking over from Corey Graham who somehow lost his job during recent Bell Media cuts. Klatt has been with OEG for two years, working as a hockey engagement co-ordinator. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers have added Brodi Stuart, 20, to their coaching staff. Stuart, from Langley, B.C., played three seasons with the Blazers. His WHL career came to an end when he had knee surgery on Jan. 20. In 204 regular-season games, he had 115 points, including 45 goals. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders have added Ryan McDonald as an assistant coach. He will work with the team during its time in the Regina hub. A Prince Albert native, McDonald, 33, played four plus seasons in the WHL (Regina Pats, Raiders, 2004-09). He was the head coach for the U18 AAA Warman Wildcats in 2020-21. . . .

Josh Green, the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze, has moved to the Winnipeg Ice as an assistant coach. The Ice and Freeze are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment Inc. Green, who played five WHL seasons in the WHL (Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Portland, 1993-98), was an assistant coach with the Ice in 2019-20. . . . Ryan Guenter, who had been on the Ice’s scouting staff, also will be on the team’s coaching staff in the Regina hub. When that stint is over, he will step in as the Ice’s manager of scouting and hockey operations. . . . The Ice also has added Byron Spriggs as goaltending consultant. He has been the U of Manitoba Bisons’ goaltending coach for the past two seasons and is expected to work with both clubs. . . . Cole Hillier, a former head equipment manager with the ECHL’s Jacksonville IceMen, now is in that role with the Ice. Darcy Ewanchuk, who made the move to Winnipeg from Cranbrook with the franchise, now is on staff as a consultant.


Questions, there are questions . . .

We have been hearing for a while now that the WHL’s return to play is all about giving players development opportunities. If that’s the case, and considering the special circumstances, why not allow teams to carry five or six 20-year-olds, even if they only are allowed to dress three per game? Had the league done that, teams wouldn’t have had to cut 20-year-olds over the past few days. . . .

F Seth Jarvis of the Chicago Wolves is tied for the AHL lead in goals (6) and points (9). He has played seven games. Jarvis, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes with the 13th pick of the NHL’s 2020 draft. The rules call for him to be returned to the Portland Winterhawks, but if this odd-ball season, with no fans allowed, is all about development why not leave him in the AHL? . . .

If you are a hockey fan who lives in Canada, does your NHL include only your country’s seven teams? And would you be content with a seven-team NHL and having those teams play an 84-game regular season? . . .

If you get vaccinated in the next month or six are you going to want to go back into an arena next fall not knowing how many unvaccinated people are in the same facility? Is that same thing going to be an issue in some work places? . . .

If you are paying attention to the coronavirus-related numbers in B.C., with variants showing up in schools and teachers in at least one city having marched in protest, will you be surprised if the province’s five WHL teams have to wait a while longer before getting the OK to return to play? . . .

What’s wrong with this picture? . . . On March  21, B.C. announced 76 new positives, raising the number of confirmed cases to 424. There were 27 people in hospital and 12 in intensive care. There was one new death, for a total of 10. So health officials closed all personal service establishments — remember when you couldn’t get a haircut? — and ordered all restaurants to go to takeout and delivery only. . . . On Feb. 25, B.C. reported 395 new cases — down from 559 two days earlier — for a confirmed total of 78,673, with 4,489 of those active. Ten new deaths raised the grim total to 1,348. But, hey, you can get a haircut and eat in a restaurant.


On Feb. 12, Brendan Batchelor, the play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet 650, revealed via Twitter that he had been “exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19” and was going into self-isolation. . . . All is well and Batchelor, whose resume includes calling Vancouver Giants games, returned to action on Thursday night as the Canucks lost, 3-0, to the visiting Edmonton Oilers.


The Lloydminster Bobcats are the second team to opt out of the AJHL’s return Bobcatsto play. According to a news release from the team, it was “denied participation . . . due to public health restrictions of the Saskatchewan government.” . . . More from that news release: “The organization exhausted all efforts to resolve barriers to meet the requirements of the Saskatchewan government. So far the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has also been unable to meet requirements, while the Western Hockey League has been approved by forming a bubble in Regina, SK. Attempts were made to establish a bubble in Lloydminster, but the team was shut out by circumstance.” . . . While they play in the AJHL, the Bobcats’ home arena, the Centennial Civic Centre, is in Lloydminster, Sask. . . . Earlier, the Canmore Eagles announced that they were opting out of a return to play. 


For the last while we regularly have heard from junior hockey pooh-bahs about Beasthow some teams may not survive the pandemic. To date, they’re all still alive, but that’s more than can be said for the Brampton Beast, a seven-year-old ECHL franchise.

The Beast called it quits last week, another victim of COVID-19, but one that won’t show up in death totals.

Cary Kaplan, the Beast’s president, general manager and minority owner of Brampton Beast, said that the pandemic simply made the hurdles too huge to continue.

Here’s part of what he told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, and all of this will be applicable to junior hockey teams, as well . . .

“What we realized recently is that next season is compromised. Normally at this time of year, you sell a lot of season tickets, you renew your season tickets, you make group sales, you do a lot of sponsorship. There’s so much nervousness out there, we realized for the upcoming season . . . that revenues would be greatly depleted. You’re losing revenues in three distinct hockey seasons. As a business, it’s not sustainable. We came to that realization probably since Christmas, (and) for us that was just too much.”

And now we wait to see if more teams meet the same fate.

If you haven’t already seen it, Friedman’s weekly 31 Thoughts is right here.


Sauce


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The City of Toronto has cancelled outdoor events and parades through July 1. That includes Canada Day celebrations and its Pride Parade. . . .

The Prince Albert Minor Hockey Association has cancelled any games for the remainder of its 2020-21 season. The provincial government has extended restrictions until at least March 19, so the association decided it was time to move on from this season. Teams are still able to practice with eight mask-wearing, social-distancing players on the ice at a time. . . .

The San Jose Sharks had F Thomas Hertl enter COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday, so their Thursday game against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights has been postponed. The Sharks didn’t hold any practice or training sessions on Wednesday. . . . San Jose next is scheduled to play on Saturday against the visiting St. Louis Blues. . . . Also on Wednesday, the New York Rangers placed F K’Andre Miller on the COVID-19 protocol list, but they still played that night, losing 4-3 to the Flyers in Philly. . . .

Dan Ralph of The Canadian Press reports that the CFL, which didn’t play in 2020, is looking at holding training camps in May with the first exhibition game on May 23. He also writes that an 18-game regular season would open on June 10 without fans in the stands. . . . That story is right here. . . .

The 10-team Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League announced on Tuesday that it has cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season. “These are unprecedented times,” Kerry Lines, the league president, said in a news release, “and the events around COVID have impacted so many lives and families. Our priority as a league is to be compliant with the health orders and respect and support the decisions that are made to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk.” . . . The MMJHL last played on Oct. 29.


Warranty


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.


Kids

%d bloggers like this: