Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if there is giant upset in WHL’s future . . .

scattershooting



A report from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “University of Miami basketball star Isaiah Wong will enter the transfer portal if his Name, Image and Likeness compensation isn’t increased, his NIL agent said. It wasn’t that long ago — OK, 2011 — when Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor traded signed memorabilia for tattoos at a local tattoo parlor, earning him a five-game NCAA suspension.”


Hey, Sportsnet, there is nothing better, when done correctly, than baseball on radio. Having one person call an entire game by himself — unless that person is named Vin Scully — isn’t doing it correctly. For goodness sake . . . don’t be so cheap. Get the play-by-play guy — who is pretty good — a story-telling partner, at least for home games. Or is this all a harbinger of more cuts to come as soon as the hockey season ends?


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Florida introduces ‘Don’t Say Science’ Bill.


Tree


The Everett Silvertips revealed on Sunday that F Jackson Berezowski has Everettundergone surgery to repair an undisclosed injury, so won’t play again this season. Berezowski, a 46-goal scorer, was injured during a 5-1 loss to the host Portland Winterhawks on April 15. That was Everett’s second-last regular-season game and Berezowski, who left the game while favouring a shoulder, hasn’t played since then. . . . Berezowski, who turned 20 on Feb. 12, is from Yorkton, Sask. In 211 regular-season games with the Silvertips, he has 151 points, including 82 goals. . . .

The Silvertips, the Western Conference’s top seed, will be in Langley, B.C., WHLplayoffs2022tonight (Monday) for Game 6 of their first-round series with the No. 8 Vancouver Giants. Vancouver has won the last two games — 11-6 in Langley on Friday and 3-0 in Everett on Saturday — and holds a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series. . . . Should Vancouver win tonight, the Giants would move on to the second round against the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. That would leave the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds to meet in the other series. . . . Should the Silvertips win tonight, the series will return to Everett for Game 7 on Wednesday night. If Everett wins this series, the Silvertips would meet Seattle in the second round, with Kamloops playing against Portland.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Brandon, F Jayden Grubbe’s goal at 7:41 of the third OT gave the No. 3 Red RedDeerDeer Rebels a 5-4 victory over the No. 6 Wheat Kings. . . . The Rebels won the series, 4-2, and will meet the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. . . . Red Deer F Ben King, the WHL’s leading regular-season goal scorer, counted twice before the game was three minutes old. . . . The Wheat Kings pulled even on goals from F Ridley Greig, at 8:41 of the first period, and F Rylen Roersma (1) at 2:16 of the second. . . . King (4) completed his hat trick at 10:07, only to have Greig (2) score, on a PP, at 15:11. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, who also had three assists, put Red Deer back out front with his third goal of the series, at 15:58. . . . Brandon F Marcus Kallionkieli (3) tied it at 2:38 and that goal took the teams into OT. . . . Grubbe won it with his second goal of the series. . . . Red Deer held a 55-50 edge in shots, including 21-18 in OT. . . . The Rebels got 46 stops from G Chase Coward, while Brandon’s Ethan Kruger turned aside 50 shots. . . .

The Rebels and Oil Kings will open with games in Edmonton on Thursday and Saturday. . . . The other conference semifinal will feature the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice versus the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors. That series is scheduled to open with games in Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday.



Sad



ICYMI, five New York Mets pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. The five threw a total of 159 pitches — the most pitches ever thrown in a nine-inning no-hitter dating back to 1988, which is as far back as pitch totals go. That’s a lot of pitches for a team to look at without getting even one hit. . . . Tyler Kepner of The New York Times pointed out that it was Father’s Day of 1964 when pitcher Jim Bunning of the Phillies needed only 90 pitches when he threw a perfect game at the host Mets. . . . Tylor Megill, who started for the Mets on Friday, was lifted after throwing 88 pitches. . . . “If Bunning’s game was a masterpiece for a museum,” Kepner wrote, “Friday’s was something more suited for the refrigerator door. Both are works of art. One is just a little less perfect.”


EV Zug won the Swiss National League championship on Sunday, beating the ZSC Lions, 3-1, in Game 7 of the championship series. Zug is the first team in league history to overcome a 0-3 deficit to win the final series. . . . Josh Holden, a star with the WHL’s Regina for four seasons (1994-98), is an assistant coach with Zug. He spent 10 seasons playing for Zug, which also won the championship last season. . . . Earlier in the playoffs, Zug had swept HC Lugano and HC Davos before losing the first three games to the Lions.


Have you ever wondered how much Shaquille O’Neal weighs. As Charles Barkley said on The Dan Patrick Show: “If he gets on the scale, it’s gonna be saving, ‘One person at a time, please.’ ”


Lottery


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Clocks

Ice responds to City of Cranbrook lawsuit . . . Portland’s McCleary had interesting night . . . Four WHL teams facing elimination tonight

The City of Cranbook filed a lawsuit claiming breach of contract in December 2020 after a WHL franchise that had been located there left for Winnipeg. Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has discovered that the owners of the Winnipeg Ice filed a response to that lawsuit last month. . . . Of course, that response presents a different version of the facts than does Cranbrook’s lawsuit. . . . Crawley’s story is right here.



The IIHF’s 2023 World men’s hockey championship was to have been decided in St. Petersburg, Russia, from May 5-21. That won’t happen now that the IIHF announced that “out of concern for the safety and well-being of participating players, officials, media and fans, the IIHF council has decided to withdraw the hosting rights . . . from Russia . . .” . . . The decision was made during an IIHF council meeting in Zurich on Tuesday. The IIHF said it will confirm “an alternative host” during its 2022 Congress in Tampere, Finland, during the final week of the 2022 World men’s tournament. . . . From a news release: “The decision to relocate the event was taken primarily out of concern for the safety and well-being of all participating players, officials, media, and fans. As was the case with Council’s earlier decision to withdraw the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship that was to be held in Omsk and Novosibirsk, Russia, the Council expressed significant concerns over the safe freedom of movement of players and officials to, from, and within Russia.”


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

There were six playoff games on the ice and there weren’t any surprises as the higher seed won each of the games. . . . There are six more games on tap tonight with four teams already facing elimination. The Prince Albert Raiders, Saskatoon Blades, Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars trail their best-of-seven series, 3-0, as they play on home ice again tonight. . . . Here’s how things went last night. . . .

Western Conference:

In Prince George, G Taylor Gauthier stopped 28 shots in leading the No. 3 PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 2-0 victory over the No. 6 Cougars. . . . Portland has won the first three games of the series and can end it tonight in Prince George. . . . The Winterhawks acquired Gauthier, 20, from the Cougars during the season. His first playoff shutout came in his third appearance, all of them this season with Portland. . . . F Gabe Klassen scored both of Portland’s goals — at 2:46 and 13:36 of the second period. . . . F Riley Heidt of the Cougars took a kneeing major and game misconduct for a second-period hit on D Luca Cagnoni, who wasn’t injured on the play. . . . There was something of an oddity on the play as Portland D Ryan McCleary was shown on the online game sheet as having received a game misconduct, along with an instigating minor and a major for a fight with Heidt. McCleary apparently returned to the dressing room, took off his hockey gear, put on his suit and headed up into the stands. He later was told that he hadn’t been ejected, so went back to the dressing room, put his hockey gear back on and returned to the action. The game misconduct later disappeared from the game sheet, to be replaced by misconduct. . . . D Clay Hanus and F Aidan Litke were out of Portland’s lineup, presumably with undisclosed injuries, and didn’t even make the trek north. . . .

In Kelowna, the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds struck for three third-period goals Seattlein the span of 1:32 and went on to beat the No. 5 Rockets, 5-1. . . . The Thunderbirds hold a 3-0 series lead going into tonight’s Game 4 in Kelowna. . . . F Jake Poole of the Rockets opened the scoring when he counted on a penalty shot at 18:22 of the first period. . . . F Reid Schaefer pulled Seattle even, on a PP, at 5:07 of the second. . . . Seattle’s offensive explosion began at 5:57 of the third period when D Kevin Korchinski scored for a 2-1 lead. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky notched his fourth goal of the series, on a PP, at 7:12, and Korchinski added his second goal of the game — and third of the series — at 7:29. That goal also came on a PP; it was Seattle’s 10th goal with the man advantage in the three games. The Thunderbirds are 10-for-19 on the PP in the three games. . . . The two PP goals came after Kelowna F Mark Liwiski was hit with a checking-to-the-head major at 4:00 of the third period. . . . Korchinski has three goals and six assists in the series. F Jared Davidson, who had three assists, has two goals and eight assists.

——

Eastern Conference:

In Prince Albert, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice scored four first-period goals and added WinnipegIcefive more in the second en route to a 10-1 victory over the No. 8 Raiders. . . . Winnipeg leads the series 3-0 and gets its first opportunity to wrap it up tonight. . . . The Ice led 2-0 at the 7:03 mark of the first period, having scored two PP goals. . . . F Mikey Milne scored three times for the Ice, completing his hat trick with a shorthanded score at 19:15 of the second period. He also had an assist. . . . F Connor McClennon had a goal and three assists. . . . Winnipeg had a 36-19 edge in shots. . . . The Ice was 3-for-5 on the PP, and now is 7-for-12 in the three games. . . . The Raiders had Ozzy Wiesblatt back in their lineup. Wiesblatt, who had 41 points in 43 regular-season games, hadn’t played since March 12. . . . Winnipeg F Matt Savoie, who was injured in Game 1 and missed Game 2, was on the ice for the pregame warmup. Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com tweeted that Savoie “is visibly favouring his left leg.” Savoie ended up being a scratch. . . .

In Lethbridge, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first three goals Edmontonand went on to a 4-1 victory over the No. 7 Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings now hold a 3-0 edge and can sweep the series Thursday night in Lethbridge. . . . F Jalen Luypen had a goal and two assists for Edmonton, opening the scoring at 2:21 of the first period. . . . D Kaiden Guhle upped the lead to 2-0 at 1:56 of the second period. . . . F Carter Souch made it 3-0, on a PP, at 11:03. . . . The Hurricanes counted at 3:18 of the third period when F Yegor Klavdiev scored on a PP, but F Dylan Guenther got that one back — it was his third of the series — at 6:13. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 25 shots to record the victory over Bryan Thomson, who blocked 34 shots. . . .

In Brandon, the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels got third-period goals from F Arshdeep RedDeerBains and F Ben King as they beat the No. 6 Wheat Kings, 3-1. . . . Red Deer holds a 2-1 lead now with Game 4 in Brandon tonight. They’ll be back in Red Deer for Game 5 on Friday. . . . Bains, who won the WHL scoring race, broke a 1-1 tie, on a PP, at 6:35, with King, who led the WHL in goals, adding insurance at 15:26. . . . Bains also had two assists. . . . Red Deer was 2-for-7 on the PP; Brandon was 0-for-6. . . .

In Saskatoon, F Cordel Larson scored in OT to give the No. 4 Moose Jaw MooseJawWarriors a 3-2 victory over the No. 5 Blades. . . . The Warriors lead the series 3-0 with Game 4 in Saskatoon tonight. . . . Saskatoon took a 1-0 lead at 3:20 of the first period when F Jayden Wiens scored. . . . The Warriors grabbed a 2-1 lead on goals from F Eric Alarie, at 18:15 of the first, and F Martin Rysavy, at 4:43 of the second. . . . The Blades forced OT at 19:15 of the third period when F Brandon Lisowsky scored with G Nolan Maier on the bench in favour of the extra skater. . . . Larson won it at 9:40 of extra time with his second goal of the series. (NOTE: The online game sheet credits F Atley Calvert with the winner, but it would seem a change is in the works.) . . . The Warriors got 27 saves from G Carl Tetachuk, while Maier blocked 34 for Saskatoon. . . . F Tristen Robins, Saskatoon’s captain, returned to the lineup after missing six games with an undisclosed injury.


Clown


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The City of Revelstoke and the junior B Grizzlies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League will play host to the 2023 Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament. The four-team event, featuring a host team and champions from the KIJHL, Pacific Junior Hockey League and Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, is scheduled for April 13-16. This will be first time the tournament will have been played in Revelstoke. . . . Mike Leone is the new general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. He spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. Leone takes over from Pat Mikesch, who spent eight seasons with the Gamblers. He and the organization parted company after the Gamblers missed the playoffs for the fourth time in eight seasons.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.


Lasagna


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.


Zombie

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if spring finally has arrived (sorry, Brandon and area) . . .

scattershooting

F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats will be on the roster when Hockey Canada announces the roster of the team that will play in the IIHF U-18 world HockeyCanadachampionship in Germany later this month. . . . That means he will be reunited with David Struch, who was fired as the Pats’ head coach on Nov. 18 and will be an assistant coach with Team Canada. . . . Bedard and his Pats closed out their WHL regular season on Sunday with a 7-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. Bedard put up five points — two goals and three assists — to finish the season with 100 points, including 51 goals, in 62 games. . . . Bedard, who will turn 17 on July 17, is the third 16-year-old in WHL history to score 50 times in one season. F Glen Goodall of the Seattle Thunderbirds scored 63 times in 1986-87, which was his third season in the WHL, while F Dan Lucas of the Victoria Cougars struck 57 times in 1974-75. . . . The U-18 tournament is to run from April 23 through May 1 in Landshut and Kaufbeuren, Germany. . . . I believe that Bedard also is eligible to play in the 2022 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup early in August in Red Deer and the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is scheduled for Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton. . . . As for his future in the WHL, well, there already are rumblings in the hockey world that he could end up with the Blazers if Kamloops wins the right to play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup. Now that would be a trade for the ages!


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

In Regina, F Connor Bedard ended his season with a flourish, putting up five points as the Pats beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 7-4. . . . Included in Bedard’s effort were his 50th goal and 100th point of the season. He finished with 51 goals. . . . F Tanner Howe (27) snapped a 4-4 tie, on a PP, at 7:15 of the third period. Bedard followed with No. 50, on another PP, at 13:50, then got No. 51 into an empty net at 19:36. . . . Howe’s season shouldn’t be overlooked in all the Bedard hype. Howe, who turned 16 on Nov. 28, finished with 69 points, including 42 assists, in 64 games. . . . F Cole Dubinsky (20) added two goals and an assist for the winners. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (13) score twice for Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors will meet the Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the playoffs; the Pats didn’t qualify. . . . Regina ended up tied for ninth with the Swift Current Broncos and Calgary Hitmen, each with 59 points, two shy of a playoff spot. . . .

In Calgary, F Alex Thacker’s OT goal gave the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Thacker’s 14th goal came just 19 seconds into extra time. . . . The Hurricanes led this one 2-0 before the first period was 12 minutes old. . . . Calgary F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (28) tied it, on a PP, at 18:27 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and will meet the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the opening round. . . . The Hitmen didn’t qualify.


Osprey
The osprey have arrived back on the South Thompson River east of Kamloops. This happy couple have started rebuilding their nest, while also looking for food. The latter won’t be an issue with lots of fish in the river.

SOME NUMBERS: F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels won the Bob Clarke Trophy as the WHL scoring king with 112 points. He was one of four players with at least 100 points, the others being linemate Ben King (105), F Logan Stankoven (104) of the Kamloops Blazers and F Connor Bedard (100) of the Regina Pats. . . . King led in goals (52), one more than Bedard. . . . Bains was tops in assists (69), five more than D Olen Zellweger of the Everett Silvertips. . . . King finished with 15 game-winning goals, one off the WHL record that was set by F Brian Propp of the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1978-79. . . . G Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice had the best GAA, at 2.00, while G Taylor Gauthier, who was acquired by the Portland Winterhawks from the Prince George Cougars during the season, was tops in save percentage (.928). . . . Hauser and Dylan Garand of Kamloops led in victories, each with 34. . . . Hauser had a WHL-high eight shutouts. . . .

According to numbers compiled by the WHL, the average attendance for 748 games was 3,203. That’s down from 4,154 for 694 games in 2019-20 and from 4,361 for 748 games in 2018-19. Of course, this season’s numbers are skewed because of pandemic-related restrictions in the early going.


THINKING OUT LOUD: Nothing sums up the end of the race for playoff spots in the WHL’s Western Conference like the Prince George Cougars starting Saturday in seventh place, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Rockets in Kelowna that night, and, despite the loss, moving up to sixth place in the final standings. . . . The Winnipeg Ice won the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s top regular-season team. If the Ice goes on a deep playoff run, will it play all of its home game in what is the smallest arena in the 60-team CHL? The most frequently announced attendance in the Wayne Fleming Arena is 1,621. . . . The playoffs open on Thursday with the Lethbridge Hurricanes visiting the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Because of a Paul McCartney concert in Spokane on April 28, the Chiefs and Kamloops Blazers will open with three games in Kamloops, and then have a break between Game 3 (April 25) and Game 4 (April 29). This is the first stop on the tour, so they will start setting up and staging on April 24. Perhaps the Chiefs can get Sir Paul to hang around and do the anthems before Game 4. Hey, why not? After April 28, he’s off until May 2 in Seattle.


Insomnia


If you’re a baseball fan, you no doubt were disappointed on Wednesday when Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts yanked left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who was throwing a perfect game through seven innings. Kershaw had thrown 80 pitches and the Dodgers held a 7-0 lead over the host Minnesota Twins at the time.

There was a whole lot of indignation on social media, with Roberts getting mostly roasted.

But the best take I saw came from Joe Posnanski, who wrote in part:

“There was no chance in the world that Clayton Kershaw was pitching nine innings on Wednesday in Minnesota. We all knew it. We might not have liked it, might have wished for something else, but I mean, when that game started, if someone had asked you, “What are the chances that Clayton Kershaw throws a nine-inning complete game today?” you would have said: Zero percent.

“Not 1%. Not 0.5%. No: 0.000000000000000%.”

Posnanski went on to point out that Kershaw “finished last season with his elbow barely intact . . . he only began throwing again in January . . . in a shortened spring training, he threw a grand total of 101 pitches . . .” Posnanski also mentioned that Kershaw hadn’t thrown a complete game in almost five years and it was “like 30 degrees with a howling wind at Target Field.”

Posnanski’s complete take is right here.


Google is your friend if you aren’t aware of Tom House and his accomplishments in the world of baseball.


Bacon


Joe Maddon, the manager of the Los Angeles Angeles, ordered up a bases-loaded walk in a Friday game.

How did that work out?

Here’s Joe Posnanski: “Here’s something funny about managing a baseball game: You could do the absolute right thing from a percentage and logic standpoint and have it blow up in your face. And you could do the dumbest thing imaginable for the dumbest reason imaginable and have it work out perfectly.”

His complete take on Maddon’s move is right here, and it’s a great read.



From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Kiara Thomas was arrested and charged with assault in Laurel, Mississippi, for punching an umpire at a 12-year-old girls softball game, WLBT-TV reported. The capper? In her mugshot, Thomas rocks a ‘Mother of the Year’ t-shirt.”

——

Perry, again: “LSU outfielder Gavin Dugas was hit by a pitch 13 times in his first 103 plate appearances this season. Twins scouts love him, saying he’d be a perfect for Target Field.”


Dennys


The Athletic’s Chris Branch reports: “MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gifted every major leaguer a shiny new pair of Bose headphones on Opening Day as a way of saying, ‘I’m sorry for trying to withhold as much money from you as possible’ after a lockout that got particularly nasty at points. At least those pregame playlists will sound crisp now.”

——

One more note from Branch: “Jrue Holiday started Milwaukee’s 133-115 loss to Cleveland on (April 10), his 67th game this season, but didn’t stick around for long. Seconds after the opening tip, Holiday intentionally fouled Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, exited the game and never came back. Why? Holiday’s game total triggered a $306,000 bonus in his contract. That’s $38,250 per second of play. Not bad.”

The aforementioned Dwight Perry chimed in with: “Which pencils out to a tidy $136.8 million an hour.”


Headline at The Beaverton — Canada to distribute remaining vaccines through “Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest.

One more from The Beaverton — Study finds cycling healthiest way to get hit by a car.


Headline at TheOnion.com — Climate report finds Antarctica could support multiple golf courses by 2050.


It was just a week ago when I mentioned in this space that OF Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins was capable of having an MVP-type season if only he could stay healthy. . . . Well, he went down in the Twins’ 8-4 victory over the Red Sox in Boston on Friday afternoon. He left the game in the first inning with soreness in his right knee, and now is likely to miss at least a week.


Manure


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to be on her team by sponsoring her, you are able to do that right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Feta

Will WHL decision be gift horse for Pats? Or is Winnipeg simply too good? . . . Bains stretches points lead . . . Milic, Davidson spark Seattle


When the Regina Pats rolled out of bed on Wednesday morning, they were two points away from a WHL playoff berth with three games remaining, only one of them at home.

By the time they had poured the milk on their cereal, they still were two points Reginaaway from the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot with three games remaining — but now all three of those games will be played on home ice.

Oh, they won’t be the home team for two of those games, but they’ll be playing in their home facility, meaning they won’t have to ride the bus along the wind- and snow-swept Trans-Canada Highway and they’ll spend Easter weekend sleeping in their own beds.

So . . . what happened?

Well, the Pats were to have visited the Winnipeg Ice, the WHL’s best team this regular season, for games tonight and Friday. But a blizzard has engulfed much oWinnipegIcef southern Manitoba so the WHL has moved both games to Regina’s Brandt Centre on Friday and Saturday nights.

As the Pats put it in a news release, they “stepped up to assist the Ice . . .” Some assist! They get an unexpected share of two home games, no bus rides, no hotels, no road food.

Then, on Sunday, the Moose Jaw Warriors are scheduled to visit Regina.

This all comes with the Pats (26-34-5) riding along in a 10th-place tie with the Prince Albert Raiders (26-35-5), one point behind the Calgary Hitmen (25-33-8) and two in arrears of the pace-setting Swift Current Broncos (26-34-7).

For the games against Winnipeg, the Pats will be housed in their own dressing room and use their own bench, but the Ice will have last change. The teams also have come to some kind of gate-sharing arrangement, something that the Winnipeggers likely salivated at because chances are good that each of the games in Regina will draw more fans than the often announced attendance of 1,621 at the Wayne Fleming Arena on the U of Manitoba campus.

It is unfortunate that fans in Winnipeg won’t get to see Regina’s Connor Bedard and Winnipeg’s Matt Savoie, two of the WHL’s brightest lights, go head-to-head in back-to-back games. But, if you’re a follower of the WHL, you know that disappointment is no stranger to Ice fans.

If you’re wondering what kind of chance the Pats have against the Ice in these two games, well, you should know that Winnipeg (51-10-5) leads the season series, 5-0-0, and has outscored Regina, 26-9 in the process. These teams last met on April 2 with the Ice winning, 7-0, in Regina.

In fact, Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post tells us that “the Ice has won all 14 of its games against Regina since the franchise moved to Winnipeg from Cranbrook, B.C., after the 2018-19 season.”

History suggests, then, that the Pats are beaten before they even show up. On the other hand, the Ice has nothing at stake, other than to keep its players healthy, having clinched the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as regular-season champions. The Pats’ coaching staff, meanwhile, will be imploring the players not to kick this gift horse in the teeth.

Still, despite the long odds faced by the Pats, you have to think the Broncos, Hitmen and Raiders can’t be too thrilled with this development. Really, could they be at all faulted if they were furious at the way this has unfolded?

There is a lot at stake here as teams, coming of a couple of seasons of COVID-related losses and no playoff games, really want those playoff gates. Only one those four teams is going to get in and the reward will be a first-round matchup with the Ice. Still, it means at least two gates, and that can’t hurt the bottom line.

Look, the Pats are likely to get their lunch handed to them as they are clearly outmatched here. But what if the Ice chooses to rest two or three of its seven 20-plus goal scorers in each game, purely in the interests of good health, you understand? How much would that shift the odds? And, of course, as football coach/philosopher Herm Edwards once explained: “You play to win the game.”

None of this has stopped the Pats’ marketing department from declaring Friday’s game to be Guaranteed Win Night. If the Pats lose, each fan in attendance will be given a voucher for a free ticket, not for Saturday’s game but for any regular-season game next season.


Idea


The WHL’s 22 teams are into the final four days of their 68-game regular seasons. Here’s a look at where things are in terms of playoff opponents (GR — games remaining) . . .

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Everett Silvertips — Hold three-point lead over Kamloops, each with two games to play. Will meet Vancouver, Spokane, Prince George or Victoria in first round. . . . Will be without Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, until at least the start of the playoffs. . . . GR (2): at Portland on Friday, at Tri-City on Saturday.
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Three points behind Everett and tied with Portland. . . . GR (2): at home to Prince George on Friday and Vancouver on Saturday.
  3. Portland Winterhawks — Will finish second or third. Beat host Tri-City in OT on Tuesday night to move into tie with Kamloops. . . . GR (1): at home to Everett on Friday.
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . GR (1): at Tri-City on Friday.
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Will finish fifth and meet Seattle in first round. . . . GR (2): at Vancouver on Friday, at home to Prince George on Saturday.
  6. Vancouver Giants — Have two games remaining, after dropping a 6-0 decision to visiting Seattle last night. . . . One point ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . GR (2): at home to Kelowna on Friday, at Kamloops on Saturday.
  7. Prince George Cougars — Tied with Spokane for seventh with same records (23-28-5), one point behind Vancouver and one ahead of Victoria. . . . GR (2): at Kamloops on Friday, at Kelowna on Saturday.
  8. Spokane Chiefs — Tied with Prince George. . . . GR (2): at Victoria on Friday and Saturday.
  9. Victoria Royals — One point behind Prince George and Spokane. . . . GR (2): at home to Spokane on Friday and Saturday.
  10. Tri-City Americans — Not this season.

——

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Winnipeg Ice — Will finish atop the overall standings so is assured of home ice through the playoffs. First-round opponent will be Swift Current, Calgary, Regina or Prince Albert. . . . Two home games versus Regina now will be played in Regina on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . GR (2): Ice will be designated as home team for games in Regina on Friday and Saturday.
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Will finish second and open against Lethbridge. . . . GR (2): at Medicine Hat on Friday, at Red Deer on Saturday.
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Will finish third and meet Saskatoon or Brandon in the first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Edmonton on Saturday.
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Won 5-2 in Brandon on Tuesday to move two points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . GR (2): at Lethbridge on Friday, at Regina on Sunday.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Two points behind Moose Jaw and each team has 37 victories. . . . Three points ahead of Brandon. . . . GR (1): at home to Brandon on Friday.
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Three points behind Saskatoon. . . . GR (2): at Saskatoon on Friday, at Prince Albert on Saturday. . . . Depending on road conditions, Wheat Kings may not leave for Saskatoon until Friday.
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (2): at home to Moose Jaw on Friday, at Calgary on Sunday.
  8. Swift Current Broncos — Hold down conference’s last playoff spot but have only one game remaining. . . . One point ahead of Calgary, two ahead of Regina and Prince Albert. . . . GR (1): at home to Prince Albert on Friday.
  9. Calgary Hitmen — One point behind Swift Current, one in front of Regina and Prince Albert. . . . GR (1): at home to Lethbridge on Sunday.
  10. Regina Pats — Tied with Prince Albert, two points behind Swift Current and one behind Calgary. . . . Three games remaining, all at home after two games scheduled for Winnipeg were moved to Regina. . . . GR (3): at home to Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday, at home to Moose Jaw on Sunday.
  11. Prince Albert — Tied with Regina, two points behind Swift Current and one behind Calgary. . . . GR (2): at Swift Current on Friday, at home to Brandon on Saturday.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.

Internet


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

In Calgary, F Arshdeep Bains, the WHL’s leading scorer, had two goals and two assists to lead the Red Deer Rebels to an 8-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . He now leads the league with 110 points, seven more than linemate Ben King, who had two goals, and eight up on F Logan Stankoven of the idle Kamloops Blazers. . . . Bains also leads the WHL in assists, with 68. . . . King now has 52 goals, three more than F Connor Bedard of the idle Regina Pats. . . . This was the first time the Rebels and Hitmen have played each other since Dec. 19. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Seattle Thunderbirds struck for five goals in the first period en route to a 6-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . G Tomas Milic earned the shutout with 25 saves. It was his third this season and the fourth of his WHL career. . . . F Jared Davidson led the offence with three goals, giving him 39.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The USHL’s Chicago Steel has landed one of hockey best young prospects in F Macklin Celebrini, 15, who will be eligible for the 2024 NHL draft. He was born in Vancouver, but moved to California after his father joined the NBA’s Golden State Warriors as their director of sports medicine and performance. Macklin played one season of minor hockey in San Jose and has spent the past two seasons at Shattuck St. Mary’s. The Seattle Thunderbirds selected Macklin with the first-overall pick in the WHL’s U.S. draft on Dec. 8. . . . The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have named Dana Dirks as their assistant general manager. He spent this season as an assistant coach with Tad Kozun, the general manager and head coach.



If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation in these parts. That’s because my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Floppy

What if Derlago and Leach hadn’t been injured? . . . WHL has first matchup: Edmonton vs. Lethbridge . . . In Kamloops, No. 22 gets 22nd goal at 2:22 of OT

Potholes


As the WHL’s 2021-22 regular season winds down, let’s take a look back and wonder what one player’s final season might have been. It’s a season that shouldn’t be forgotten.

It was 1977-78. Bill Derlago of the Brandon Wheat Kings had turned 19 about a month before the season began. This would be his third full season with the Wheat Kings. In 1976-77, he had totalled 96 goals, which was a WHL record at the time, and 82 assists — 178 points — in 72 games.

Fans could only imagine what was to come.

Well, the native of Birtle, Man., didn’t disappoint, putting up 152 points, including 89 goals, in 52 games. That’s 1.17 goals and 2.92 points per game. Those are great numbers. Right?

But they could have been even better.

Derlago
The Brandon Wheat Kings had a line for their opponents — Ray Allison (left), Bill Derlago and Brian Propp. (Photo: wheatkings.com)

In early December, Derlago, playing between Brian Propp and Ray Allison, had 80 points, including 48 goals, in 26 games when he suited up with a WCHL all-star team in Regina against a touring side from what was then the Soviet Union. (The team, travelling as the Moscow Selects, won the game, 6-5. The WCHL team featured players from Brandon, the Regina Pats, Flin Flon Bombers and Medicine Hat Tigers.)

Over a 72-game season, Derlago was on pace for 218 points, including 133 goals. Rob Brown of the 1986-87 Kamloops Blazers holds the WHL record for most points in one season. He put up 212 in 63 games that season, an average of 3.37 points per game.

Had Derlago stayed healthy and maintained his pace, he would have averaged 1.85 goals and 3.03 points per game.

But it wasn’t to be.

On his second shift of that game in Regina, Derlago “lined up Boris Verigin . . . and took a run at him,” wrote Dave Senick of the Regina Leader-Post. “The Soviet went down and slipped past Derlago’s check.

“The Wheat King flew over Verigin and couldn’t get up after hitting the ice. The reason was a good one. He was taken to hospital and was diagnosed (with) possible torn knee ligaments.”

As it turned out, he had torn ligaments in his left knee.

“Sure, I’m disappointed and the records mean something to me,” Derlago told Senick. “But I’m not going to get worried. I just want to get back and play. It’s the first time I’ve had a serious injury in three years. I had my adrenaline flowing for this season.”

He did return and was able to finish up that 152-point season, but we were left to wonder what might have been.

BTW, Derlago’s 96 goals from 1976-77 stood up as the WHL single-season record until 1983-84 when Ray Ferraro, who had been acquired by the Wheat Kings from the Portland Winterhawks in the offseason, scored 108 times. That remains the WHL’s single-season record to this date.

The Vancouver Canucks selected Derlago with the fourth overall pick of the NHL’s 1978 draft. He went on to play 555 regular-season NHL games, most of them with the Toronto Maple Leafs for whom he enjoyed 35-, 34-, 40- and 31-goal seasons.

Jake Milford was the Canucks’ general manager at that time. He had been in the Wheat Kings’ front office, either as GM, head coach or both, from 1958-59 through 1963-64. McCallum had played two seasons (1958-60) with the Canucks.

And so it was that the Canucks, under Milford’s guidance, were putting the Canucks through their paces during Derlago’s first NHL training camp. That included running some sprints, something at which Derlago, who had large calves, wasn’t proficient.

When Milford called McCallum to update him on Derlago’s progress, the Canucks’ GM complained about Derlago’s poor performance on the track.

To which McCallum replied: “Jake, are you putting together a track team or a hockey team?”

——

It should be pointed out that Bill Derlago wasn’t the first WCHL superstar to FFBomberslose a possible monstrous statistical season to injury. In 1968-69, Reggie Leach, the Riverton Rifle, finished with 46 points, including 36 goals, in 22 games with the Flin Flon Bombers, losing most of the season to a shoulder injury.

Over a 60-game schedule, which is what they played back in the day, that works out to 125 points, including 98 goals. Had Leach scored 98 goals, he would be two ahead of the 96 Derlago scored in 1976-77.

But let’s also think about Flin Flon captain Bobby Clarke, who won the scoring title that season with 137 points in 58 games. The Bombers’ second-leading scorer was Brian Marchinko, with 86 points.

Had Leach been riding shotgun with Clarke for the entire season, who knows how many points the league’s top player might have put up? One season earlier, Clarke won the scoring title with 168 points; Leach was second with 131.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know what might have been for Leach in 1968-69.


Not to overload you with Flin Flon-related chatter, but . . .

If you are having a discussion about the most intimidating hockey arena anywhere you have to have Flin Flon’s Whitney Forum at or near the top of the list. I haven’t been there in years, but I did take in the odd Bombers game back in the days of Gerry Hart, Bobby Clarke, Reggie Leach, Steve Andrascik, Wayne Hawrysh et al. Yes, it was a noisy, scary place. . . . Now there is talk that Hudbay — today, it’s Hudbay Minerals Inc.; in my time it was Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting — “is slated to shut down much of its operations nearby later this year,” Eric Westhaver wrote in the Flin Flon Reminder the other day. . . . What will that mean to the folks of Flin Flon and the Fabulous Forum? Westhaver takes a look right here at the past, the present and the future of a Canadian landmark.



Screw


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

F Justin Sourdif and F Dylan Guenther each had two goals and two assists as the Edmontonhost Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Red Deer Rebels, 6-4. . . . The Oil Kings clinched their fourth straight Central Division pennant and will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs. They will open in Edmonton on April 21. Edmonton won the season series, 6-2-0; Lethbridge was 2-5-1. . . . Edmonton snapped a 2-2 tie and took control with three goals in a span of 4:11 early in the second period, the last two coming via the PP after Red Deer F Frantisek Formanek was hit with a kneeing major and game misconduct. . . . Guenther now has 44 goals; Sourdif has 25. . . . Sourdif, who turned 20 on March 24, went into the game with 199 points in 195 career regular-season games. His first goal, at 8:50 of the first period, was his 200th career point. The Oil Kings acquired him from the Vancouver Giants earlier in the season. He has 37 points, including 16 goals, in 25 games with Edmonton. . . . Red Deer got a goal and two assists from each of D Christoffer Sedoff (8), F Ben King and F Arshdeep Bains. King and Bains each went into the game with 199 career regular-season points. . . . King, who leads the WHL with 50 goals in his 19-year-old season, now has 202 points in 204 career games. Bains, who leads the WHL with 105 points in his 20-year-old season, has 202 points in 255 career games. . . . King is the first Red Deer player to get to 50 since F Kyle Wanvig scored 55 in 2000-01. The franchise record (58) belongs to F B.J. Young (1996-97). . . . F Jake Neighbours, the Oil Kings’ captain, had two assists in his return to the lineup. He had last played on Feb. 21. . . . Edmonton (47-14-4) will finish second in the conference, while Red Deer (44-18-4) will be third. The Rebels, though, will have to wait to find out their first-round opponent — either the Saskatoon Blades, Moose Jaw Warriors or Brandon Wheat Kings. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Chase Wheatcroft scored twice and added an assist as the Ice WinnipegIcebeat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-1. . . . He’s got 16 goals. . . . F Cole Muir (11) scored twice and F Jakin Smallwood (24) had a goal and two assists. . . . Winnipeg held a 44-17 edge in shots, including 22-4 in the third period. . . . G Daniel Hauser earned the victory with 16 saves. This season, he is 31-3-1, 1.97, .914. . . . Winnipeg (50-10-5) will finish atop the conference and will face the eight-place team in the first round. Four teams — the Swift Current Broncos, Calgary Hitmen, Regina Pats and Prince Albert Raiders — are within two points of each other in the scrap for the last spot. . . . The Tigers (11-51-4) have lost 10 in a row. . . .

F Nate Danielson scored the only goal of a shootout as the Brandon Wheat Kings Brandongot past the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors, 3-2. . . . Moose Jaw led this one 2-0 early in the second period on goals from F Eric Alarie (22) and F Ryder Korczak (23). . . . F Nolan Ritchie (32) got Brandon to within one at 7:22 of the second period and D Vincent Iorio (11) tied it just 2:28 later. . . . Danielson was the fifth shooter in the circus. The Wheat Kings put it away when Korczak couldn’t beat G Ethan Kruger. . . . Brandon (35-25-5) is sixth, three points behind Moose Jaw (36-23-6) and the idle Saskatoon Blades (37-26-4). . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes ensured themselves of a seventh-place finish with a Lethbridge5-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . F Jett Jones, who scored twice, broke a 1-1 tie with his first goal at 1:21 of the second period. He added his 20th of the season, shorthanded, at 19:22 of the third. . . . That seventh-place finish means the Hurricanes (31-30-5) will face the Edmonton Oil Kings in the first-round of the playoffs. These two teams have never played each other in the playoffs. . . . The Hitmen (25-32-8) are tied for eighth with Swift Current, one point ahead of Regina and Prince Albert. . . . Calgary and Regina each have three games remaining, Prince Albert has two and Swift Current one. . . .

F Connor Bedard scored twice and added an assist as the host Regina Pats beat Reginathe Prince Albert Raiders, 5-3. . . . Bedard gave his guys a 2-1 lead at 6:19 of the second period, then put them ahead 4-2, on the PP, at 6:46 of the third. . . . Bedard now has 92 points, including 49 goals, in 58 games. . . . The Pats also got a shorthanded goal and two assists from F Tanner Howe, who was playing against his hometown team. Howe, who won’t turn 17 until Nov. 28, has 66 points, 26 of them goals, in 61 games. . . . F Evan Herman scored twice for the Raiders, giving him 25. . . . Regina (26-34-5) and Prince Albert (26-25-5) are tied for 10th, two points from a playoff spot.

——

Western Conference:

D Ethan Samson’s third-period PP goal broke a 1-1 tie as the host Prince George PrinceGeorgeCougars scored a 2-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Marcus Almquist (5) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 1:27 of the first period. . . . F Jonny Hooker (16) tied it 10:06 later. . . . Samson, who has 15 goals, snapped the tie at 13:29 of the third period. He also drew an assist on Hooker’s goal. . . . G Ty Young stopped 29 shots for the Cougars, including 10 in the third period. . . . Prince George (23-38-5) is tied for sixth with the Spokane Chiefs. The Cougars have two games remaining — in Kamloops on Friday and in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . Victoria (22-38-6) is tied with the Vancouver Giants for eighth. The Royals have two games remaining with Spokane to visit on Friday and Saturday. . . .

In Kamloops, F Jaydon Dureau’s OT goal gave the Portland Winterhawks a 5-4 Portlandvictory over the Blazers. . . . Andy Kemper, the Winterhawks’ historian, points out that the winning goal “was the 22nd of the season for No. 22 Dureau at 2:22 of OT.” . . . D Marek Alscher (7) had pulled Portland even, at 4-4, at 8:01 of the third period. . . . F Logan Stankoven had two goals, giving him 44, and an assist for Kamloops. His first goal, 57 seconds into the game, was his 100th point of the season. . . . Stankoven’s 102 points has him tied with F Ben King of the Red Deer Rebels for second in the WHL scoring race. They are three points behind Red Deer F Arshdeep Bains. . . . Stankoven leads the WHL in points per game, at 1.79. . . . The Blazers got three assists from F Daylan Kuefler. . . . Kamloops (47-16-3) is second in the conference. With two games to play, it is three points behind the idle Everett Silvertips (45-10-10) and two ahead of Portland (45-16-5), which also has two games remaining. . . .

F Andrew Cristall and F Colton Dach each had five points in leading the Kelowna KelownaRockets to an 8-4 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Cristall had two goals and three assists, with Dach scoring once and adding four helpers. . . . Cristall has 26 goals, which breaks the franchise record for goals by a 16-year-old. F Shane McColgan (2009-10) and F Nick Merkley (2013-14) had shared the record prior to the game. . . . The Rockets also got two goals and two assists from F Mark Liwiski, who has 23 goals, and two goals and an assist from F Adam Kydd. He’s got 17 goals. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk scored three times for Vancouver. His first career hat trick gave him 23 goals this season. . . . D Alex Cotton added his 15th goal and two assists for the visitors. . . . These teams will play again today in Kelowna and then will clash on Friday in Langley, B.C. . . . The Rockets (40-19-6) are fourth, two points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds and the two teams are headed for a first-round playoff clash. Each team has three games remaining, and all that remains to be decided is who will have home-ice advantage. . . . Vancouver (23-27-4) is tied with Victoria for the conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

At Kent, Wash., F Jared Davidson had a goal and three assists to lead the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds past the Spokane Chiefs, 6-2. . . . The start of the game, scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT, was delayed about two hours because weather conditions through the Snoqualmie Pass slowed the Chiefs’ trek. . . . Spokane, trailing 3-0 late in the second period, got to within a goal at 3-2 before third period was two minutes old but wasn’t able to equalize. . . . Davidson has 82 points, including 36 goals, in 61 games. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky added two goals for Seattle, giving him 34, with D Kevin Korchinski drawing three assists. . . . Seattle (41-18-6) is fourth, two points ahead of Kelowna. . . . Spokane (23-38-5) is tied for sixth with Prince George, one point ahead of Vancouver and Victoria.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: There is speculation that the QMJHL is seriously considering exempting 20-year-old goaltenders from the CHL rule that limits teams to three such players. That makes sense to me. I also would do away with the two-spot rule — teams are allowed three 20-year-olds and two imports — that has a 20-year-old import taking up a spot in each category. I have long thought that with teams having invested so much energy, money and time in import players they should have to declare a 20-year-old import as one or the other. . . . The BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks had their first season come to an end on Saturday when they lost, 3-2 in OT, to the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, who won the best-of-seven series, 4-2. The announced attendance was 3,002.


Bananas


Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . You are able to support her by making a donation right here.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


YMCA

Remembering when Ginnell left the Bombers . . . Blades’ Maier king of WHL goaltenders . . . Bedard sets two Pats’ records

These days I am spending time going through more than 40 years worth of files. As pages and pages of clippings, news releases and more, most of them related to the WHL and various teams, go into the recycling bin there are memories, lots of memories involving personalities.

Like Patty Ginnell, or Paddy Ginnell, who was Pat Ginnell when he took over as head coach of the Flin Flon Bombers on June 1, 1966. Quick now . . . who did he succeed? That would be Tom Baird, who stayed on as the general manager.

The Bombers were in the SJHL at the time, but that changed when they moved FFBombersto what was then the Western Canada Junior Hockey League for its second season (1967-68). It had been the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League for its inaugural season (1966-67).

Anyway, Ginnell was 29 when he took over the Bombers. He had spent the previous three seasons playing for the IHL’s Des Moines Oak Leafs. You know that putting Ginnell behind the bench was a popular choice in Flin Flon because he had played for the Bombers when they won the 1958 Memorial Cup.

Ginnell coached the Bombers through Dec. 9, 1973, his final game a 6-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats.

Why was that his final game?

He had purchased 40 per cent of the Victoria Cougars and was about to step in as general manager and head coach.

PatGinnell
PAT GINNELL

Ginnell told Mal Isaac of the Regina Leader-Post that he had been trying to purchase a piece of the Bombers but hadn’t met with any success.

“I’ve been manager-coach in Flin Flon for nine years,” he told Isaac, “and I don’t have a thing to show for it. I don’t even own a stick.” (If you did the math, you know that he actually was in his eighth season with the Bombers, but, hey, facts didn’t get in the way of a lot of stories back in the day.)

“It’s always been my desire to own and operate my own club and that was something I was unable to do in Flin Flon,” Ginnell continued. “Now I’ll have my own team.”

Interestingly, Ginnell’s impending move leaked with the Bombers on the road and before he was able to inform the team’s board of directors.

With the Cougars, Ginnell bought out Eric Bishop, who said he was quitting as the team’s general manager. The Cougars, who started that season with Ollie Dorohoy as their head coach, were in their third WCHL season, hadn’t made the playoffs in their first two and were struggling again.

Victoria finished that season at 22-40-6, which left it fifth in the six-team Western Division.

At some point before Ginnell bought a piece of the Cougars, he had been asked how long it would take him to turn the team into a contender. “One year minimum,” he replied.

Well, the Cougars, led by Mel Bridgman, finished the 1974-75 season atop the West Division with a 47-18-5 record but dropped a best-of-seven semifinal series to the New Westminster Bruins, 4-2.

The Bombers’ board of directors, meanwhile, accepted Ginnell’s recommendation that Mel Pearson, a teammate on the 1958 Memorial Cup-winning team, be the next GM/head coach. Pearson had spent the 1972-73 season with the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints.

Pearson didn’t get to Flin Flon in time for the Bombers next game, on Dec. 13 against, yes, the Cougars. So trainer Nick Oklobdzija — he was known as Nick Alphabet — served as the interim head coach and posted one of his dozen or so career coaching victories, this one by a 10-2 score. Ginnell watched from the Whitney Forum stands as Dorohoy continued for the moment as the Cougars’ coach.

(Bruce Penton, writing in the Brandon Sun of March 7, 1974, noted that Oklobdzija “is undefeated in 12 tests as coach of the WCHL Bombers.”

“That goes back about eight or nine years,” Oklobdzija told Penton. “I’ve filled in here and there when (Ginnell) was away or suspended, or something. And we’ve never lost while I’ve coached.” The WHL’s coaching records show Oklobdzija with a 2-0-0 coaching mark.)

Pearson made his Flin Flon coaching debut on Dec. 18 with a 7-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. (One of Brandon’s goals came from John Paddock, now the Pats’ vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach.)

Pearson, who had signed a contract taking him through 1974-75, was gone early in the 1975-76 season, fired on Oct. 29. At the time, the Bombers had two victories in 12 games.

The Bombers then hired Mickey Keating to replace Pearson, thus ending Ginnell’s connection to the Flin Flon franchise.

As an aside, my favourite Keating quote emerged late in the 1976-77 season. At one point, I wrote a few stories detailing the history of the WHL and it included this:

A nine-hour meeting in Calgary resulted in a new playoff format. Under the original format, the Flin Flon Bombers, third in the East, were 20 points ahead of Regina and all but had a playoff spot locked up. Suddenly, there was a new format and the Bombers were fighting for a spot. Oh yes, they were also on a 15-game West Coast road trip.

“In this league, you need two pieces of equipment,” said Flin Flon boss Mickey Keating. “You need a face-guard when you play some of the teams on the ice and a back protector for the committee room. I had inklings that there may be changes in the playoffs but I had confidence there were intelligent hockey men in this league. I was shown different.”

Ahh, yes, those were the days.


Cats


If you have time on your hands, you could track down the Twitter account belonging to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs (@OHLIceDogs) and check out the ‘apology’ from the Burke brothers — Billy and Joey. And then see if you can find the screen shot of the WhatsApp chat that got them into trouble with David Branch, the OHL commissioner. . . . And after you have done all that, you are free to wonder why the Burke boys weren’t suspended for life.

Meanwhile, there is ample speculation that the IceDogs are soon to be sold to, as Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered reported, “a group headed by Darren DeDobberlaer, an insurance magnate from nearby Brantford, who owns both the Brantford 99ers Jr. A team and the Brantford Bandits Jr. B team.”

Campbell also wrote: “Oh, yes, and the selling price is rumoured to be in the range of $20 million, which should disavow anyone of the notion that major junior hockey operators in Canada are mom and pop operations that require millions of dollars in tax money to meet their scholarship commitments and provincial government laws to help them skirt minimum wage requirements. Teams make money when they are strong and struggle financially when they aren’t. If the operators know what they’re doing, they can make it work. And as we’re seeing with the IceDogs, they can cash out when they sell the team.”

Campbell’s piece is right here and it’s because of reports like this that I subscribe to his site.



“The Greater Toronto Hockey League has hired a private investigator to scrutinize allegations that Jewish players with the U-13 Avenue Road Ducks and their family members were targeted with anti-Semitic slurs during games this season,” reports Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . That story is right here.

——

Meanwhile, CBC Ottawa reports that “after some Black minor hockey players in western Quebec alleged they were racially abused, a Gatineau, Que., team has suspended six of its players and the provincial governing body cancelled weekend games.” . . . That story is right here.

——

And, from Oakland, Mich., comes this from clickondetroit.com: “A 15-year-old boy is suing three players on an under 16 youth hockey team, their parents and the coach after he said he endured antisemitic bullying until he quit the team.” . . . That story is right here.


Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . You are able to support her by making a donation right here.


Spider


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

G Nolan Maier became the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL Saskatoonhistory as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-0. . . . Maier stopped 20 shots in posting his 121st career regular-season victory, breaking a record he had shared with Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . . Hirsch tweeted: “Congrats Nolan! Your perseverance, resilience and dedication is nothing short of inspirational. Enjoy the moment; you’ve earned it!” . . . The Blades won it with two third-period goals, from F Egor Sidorov (23), at 12:17, and F Trevor Wong (16), at 18:01. . . . Maier has three shutouts his season; he holds the franchise career record, with 11. . . . Saskatoon (37-26-4) moved into fourth place, one point ahead of the idle Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Raiders (26-34-5) are 10th, two points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Jake Chiasson had two goals and two assists as the Brandon Wheat Kings Brandondoubled the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Chiasson, who has six goals, struck twice in the second period as Brandon took a 5-1 lead. Chiasson missed a huge chunk of the season with an injury and only began play on March 4. He now has 15 points in 16 games. . . . D Mason Ward added two goals, giving him six, and an assist for Brandon, with D Chad Nychuk getting a goal, his 21st, and two assists. Nychuk has 68 points in 60 games. . . . Brandon (34-25-5), which has won four in a row, is sixth, four points behind Moose Jaw. Each team has four games remaining. . . . Medicine Hat (11-50-4) has lost nine straight games. . . .

In Red Deer, F Ben King, who leads the WHL in goals, scored in OT to give the RedDeerRebels a 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . King, who also had two assists, scored his 49th goal of the season at 2:56 of OT. . . . King has a WHL-leading 15 game-winning goals this season. F Brian Propp of the 1978-19 Brandon Wheat Kings holds the WHL record of 16. . . . F Logan Wormald scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 14. His second goal, at 8:33 of the third period, gave his side a 4-3 lead. . . . D Christoffer Sedoff (7) forced OT with a goal at 12:04. . . . Red Deer (44-17-4) is third, four points behind the idle Edmonton Oil Kings, who have a game in hand. . . . Lethbridge (30-30-5) is headed for a seventh-place finish. . . .

F Connor Bedard set two franchise records as his Regina Pats beat the Broncos, Regina4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Bedard scored twice to give him 47 this season. His 46th goal, a shorthanded effort, set the Pats’ record for most goals by a player in his 16-year-old season. F Jeff Friesen scored 45 times in 1992-93. . . . Bedard now has 89 point in 58 games, and that also is a Pats’ franchise record for a player in his 16-year-old WHL season. F Doug Wickenheiser finished the 1977-78 season with 88 points. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Kelton Pyne. . . . Regina (25-34-5) is 11th and, with four games remaining, trails the eighth-place Broncos (26-34-7) by four points.

——

Western Conference:

F Matthew Seminoff scored with four seconds remaining in the third period to Kamloopsgive the Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kamloops. . . . The goal came one second after the end of a Victoria PP opportunity. . . . F Logan Stankoven had three assists for the Blazers, including the only one on the winner. . . . Seminoff has 25 goals. . . . F Bailey Peach (36) scored twice and added an assist for Victoria, which came back to tie the score three times but wasn’t able to grab the lead. . . . Stankoven now has 99 points, leaving him three behind F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels, who leads the points race. . . . Stankoven, who has played 56 games, leads the WHL in points-per-game (1.77). . . .  Kamloops (47-16-2) is second, four points behind the Everett Silvertips. Each team has three games remaining. . . . Victoria (22-37-6) is tied for seventh with the Vancouver Giants, one point behind the idle Spokane Chiefs. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff scored three times and added an assist as the host Everett EverettSilvertips dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . The Silvertips, who clinched the U.S. Division regular-season pennant, scored the game’s last four goals, the first two from Swetlikoff, who has 33 goals. . . . Everett was 3-for-9 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-for-2. . . . Everett had a 50-13 edge in shots. According to the online game sheet, shots were 10-0 in the third period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski had an empty-net goal and two assists for Everett. He’s got 46 goals. . . . Everett (45-10-10) leads the conference by four points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (18-42-7) has been eliminated from playoff contention. . . .

F Jack O’Brien had two goals to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 7-2 victory Portlandover the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . O’Brien has 13 goals. . . . F Cross Hanas scored his 25th goal and added two assists for the winners. . . . There was something of a brouhaha at 19:17 of the third period that resulted in 97 penalty minutes being handed out. . . . Portland (44-16-5) is third, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (23-36-4) is tied for seventh with Victoria, one point behind Spokane and one ahead of the idle Prince George Cougars.


JUST NOTES: F Logan Nijhoff, the Regina Pats’ captain, has signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. Nijhoff, 20, had 20 goals and 23 assists in 52 games when the signing was announced on Thursday. He is completing his fifth season with Regina. Nijhoff attended the Ducks’ rookie camp in September. . . . The EIHL’s Cardiff Devils have fired head coach Jarrod Skalde, who was in his first season there. Assistant coaches Brodie Dupont and Neil Francis will run things through the end of the season. With four games left in the regular season, the Devils are third at 27-15-3.


War


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Dog

Portland booster club heading east in — yes! — January . . . New junior league coming to U.S. west . . . Debut to remember for Cowan


Some members of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club flew to Prince George Portlandto take in a Feb. 25-26 doubleheader between their favourite team and the Cougars.

They had such a grand time and so enjoyed the north’s fresh air that they have decided to make a 10-night East Division swing next season in January. IN JANUARY!

Stuart Kemp, the booster club’s long-time president, assures me that he has warned folks that “it’s going to be cold. I told them prepare for minus-30!”

I only hope that he also told them about the wind!

The booster club has made road trips in the past — yes, I can remember seeing members having a grand time at games in Kamloops — but, as Kemp said, an eastern swing “has never been done in its current configuration and never as one group traveling together.”

He continued: “The group will fly into Regina and use the same bus company as the Pats to tour Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It appears the dates will run from Thursday, Jan. 6 — when we fly in — with the first game on the 7th, to Sunday, Jan. 15, when the group flies out.”

There is room for 50 fans and, as of now, 23 have signed up — that means they have handed in their $800 deposits — and that includes Ardyce Moore, who will be 96 when the plane leaves Portland, and Neree Lowenstein, who will be 95. Yes, they both made the trip to Prince George.

Kemp says that if/when they reach the maximum of 50, well, they will find room for more. Of course, they will.


Spelling


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


It would appear that the WHL is soon to have more competition for players who are from the western part of the U.S. . . . West Coast Hockey Sports and Entertainment has announced that it is putting together a junior league with as many as 12 franchises to be included. If all goes according to plan, at least six teams will begin play in the fall of 2023. . . . The proposed league already has the support of four NHL teams — the Anaheim Ducks, Vegas Golden Knights, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. . . . Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News actually had the story on Monday and his piece is right here.


Idiot


I loved this Twitter post from the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday because it shows Abbott starting at right wing for the Regina Capitals in an Allan Cup challenge game against the Winnipeg Victorias. . . . That would be Lyman (Hick) Abbott, who was one of Western Canada’s best all-around athletes before he was killed in action in the First World War. The Abbott Cup, which once was presented to the junior hockey champion of Western Canada, was named after him. . . . If you are interested in reading more about Abbott, you are able to do so right here.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Justin Lies of the Vancouver Giants has been hit with a five-game suspension for something he did at the end of a Saturday game in Portland. . . . F Matthew Rempe of the Seattle Thunderbirds drew a three-game suspension for the boarding major and game misconduct he was hit with on Saturday night in Everett. He has been suspended four times for eight games this season. . . . Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week tweeted Tuesday that Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, said that F Luke Toporowski “is out week-to-week, lower-body injury, and expected back before the end of the regular season.” Toporowski suffered an apparent left leg injury during the Blazers’ 4-2 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Friday night.


Frosty


TUESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

G Dawson Cowan stopped 23 shots as the Winnipeg Ice dumped the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 4-0. . . . Cowan is an undrafted 16-year-old from Warren, Man., who was making his first WHL appearance. He was 6-5-0, 3.40, .890 in 14 games with the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues this season. . . . F Matthew Savoie scored his 27th goal. He’s got 74 points in 53 games. . . . F Mike Milne got No. 29. He has 62 points in 54 games after coming into this season with 52 points, including 22 goals, in 107 games. . . .

The WHL’s top two scorers combined for seven points as the host Red Deer Rebels dropped the Saskatoon Blades, 5-2. . . . F Ashdeep Bains, who leads the WHL with 91 points, had a goal and two assists, with linemate Ben King, who is second with 90, adding a goal and three helpers. . . . King leads the WHL in goals (46) and Bains leads in assists (58). . . .

In Brandon, the Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last six goals and beat the Wheat Kings, 7-1. . . . F Ryder Korczak scored his 20th goal and added three assists for the Warriors, who got two goals from each of F Brayden Yager and Eric Alerie (18). . . . Yager’s first goal, his 30th, set a franchise record for single-season goals by player in his 16-year-old season. Yager, who turned 17 on Jan. 3, had shared the record with Theo Fleury (1984-85). . . . Fleury tweeted: “Way to go man. Records are made to be broken. Congrats!!!!” . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Reid Schaefer scored twice and added an assist as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Tri-City Americans, 5-1. . . . Schaefer went into this season with three assists in 25 games. This season, he has 29 goals and 19 assists in 54 games. . . . Longtime broadcaster Craig West called the play of a WHL game for the 2,500th time in this one. Now working with the Americans, he also has called WHL games for the Spokane Chiefs. . . .

In Spokane, G Braden Holt blocked 20 shots to help the Everett Silvertips to a 3-0 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Holt has four shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . F Austin Roest scored his 11th goal and added an assist, with F Hunter Campbella nd D Aidan Sutter each getting two assists. . . . Everett is 10-0-0 in games with Spokane this season. And they will meet three more times before the regular season ends. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers erased a 4-2 third-period deficit and went on to beat the visiting Regina Pats, 5-4, in a shootout. . . . F Brendan Lee’s second goal of the game — he’s got 10 — pulled the Tigers into a 4-4 tie at 19:56 of the third period. . . . F Andrew Basha and F Logan Barlage scored in the shootout for the home side. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard had a goal and two assists to run his point streak to 18 games. He’s got 18 goals and 20 assists through those 18 games. Bedard has 76 points, including 38 goals, in 48 games this season.



Cheese


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.


Trip

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching a terrific Brier final . . .


It’s not too late for you to tell me why you no longer go to WHL games, or why you cut back on the number you attend. Or if you’re one who attends regularly, let me know why you think other folks should be going. . . . Thanks to those who already have contacted me. I hope to put something together at some point in the next week or 10 days. . . . If you want to, you are able to DM me via Twitter or email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Who was the last goaltender in professional hockey to play without a mask? Was it Andy Brown of the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers or Gaye Cooley of the NAHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms? What about Joe Daley of the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets? . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post decided to try and find out, and settle the age-old argument in the process. Was he successful? You are able to find out right here in the best thing you will read today. . . . You should know, too, that Vanstone is writing a book about goaltenders and their love/hate relationship with facial protection. Can’t wait to read that one.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Stuart Kemp has led quite a life, going from professional wrestling announcer to being an active wrestler — yes, he has taken a chair or two to the noggin — to the president of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, one of the most successful organizations of its kind in junior hockey. . . . He also has experienced some serious health problems over the past few years but really is persevering as he continues to put one foot in front of the other. . . . Kemp was the latest guest on Hartley Miller’s Cat Scan podcast out of Prince George. Give it a listen right here. You won’t be sorry that you did.


Bacon


“Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for the 2022 season for betting on NFL games,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Evidently he didn’t get the express written consent of the NFL’s official betting partners, Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel.”

——

More from Perry:

“Last week wasn’t a good week for truth-telling, as a lot of pants spontaneously caught fire:

  • MLB: We are canceling the first two weeks of the season.
  • Seahawks: There are no plans to trade Russell Wilson.
  • Wilson: My aim is to play my whole career in Seattle.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: We didn’t attack Ukraine.

Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, tweeted Saturday that he saw F Luke Toporowski of the Kamloops Blazers “with crutches, sporting a knee brace on left knee” on Friday night. Toporowski had left the Blazers’ 4-2 victory over the visiting Rockets in the first period following a collision with Kelowna D Tyson Feist as both players were leaving the penalty box. . . . Toporowski has 35 goals this season, including 20 in 22 games with the Blazers since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Toporowski and Feist were teammates with the Spokane Chiefs for a few games in 2017-18 and 2018-19 before the latter was dealt to the Regina Pats. . . . The Blazers likely will learn more about Toporowski’s injury when their medical staff sees him today.


You may recall that offensive lineman Alex Karras of the Detroit Lions once was suspended for a year because of gambling. Legend has it that upon his return to game action, he was asked to call the pre-game coin flip, at which point he told the referee: “I’m sorry, sir, I’m not permitted to gamble.”



Shopping


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

F Bear Hughes struck for three goals and added two assists to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 6-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Hughes, the Chiefs’ captain, has 21 goals. . . . The Chiefs also got a goal, his 10th, and three assists from F Carter Streek. . . .

F Dylan Guenther scored twice — he’s got 38 — and added an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Broncos, 5-1, in Swift Current. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 20 shots in posting his WHL-leading 30th victory of the season. He lost the shutout when Russian F Alexei Shanaurin scored his second goal in 21 games with 0.1 left in the third period. . . . Cossa is 30-6-3, 2.22, .915 this season. Over his three-season career, the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder is 68-13-7, 2.09, .923. . . .

F Connor Bedard scored twice to help the host Regina Pats to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Bedard is riding a 17-game point streak during which he has 17 goals and 18 assists. . . . Bedard, 16, has 73 points, including 37 goals, in 47 games this season. Add in the 15 games he played in the 2021 development season and he has 101 points, 49 of them goals, in 62 games. . . . The Pats also got two assists from F Tanner Howe, who turned 16 on Nov. 28. He’s got 54 points, including 31 assists, in 49 games. . . . Brad Herauf, in his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Pats, has been running the bench along with assistant Ken Schneider since Feb. 11 as John Paddock, the club’s GM and head coach, deals with an undisclosed illness. . . .

In Portland, the Vancouver Giants opened up a 6-0 lead and then hung on to beat the Winterhawks, 6-5. . . . F Adam Hall scored twice for the Giants, giving him 14. He scored his second at 8:11 of the second period to give the visitors that 6-0 lead. . . . The Winterhawks got back in it with three second-period goals, two from F Marcus Nguyen, who has 17, and two in the third. . . . D Clay Hanus had four assists for Portland. He leads WHL defencemen with 62 points — 15 goals and 47 assists — in 58 games. . . .

F Drew Englot scored in the 12th round of a shootout to give the Kamloops Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Each team scored twice in the circus — in the fifth and seventh rounds — before Englot won it. . . . F Daylan Kuefler, who has 32 goals, scored all three of the Blazers’ goals, each one on a PP. . . . Kamloops was 3-for-8 on the PP; the Rockets were 2-for-7. . . . Kelowna erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits on goals from F Colton Dach (19) at 13:22 of the third period and F Adam Kidd (13) at 14:16. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 35 shots for Kamloops; G Talyn Boyko had 30 saves for the Rockets. Both are draft picks of the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals to beat the host Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-2. . . . The Hurricanes went 3-3-1 in a seven-game road trip with the Canadian men’s curling championship in their home arena. . . . Belarusian F Yegor Klavdiev’s 12th goal, at 3:25 of the second period, broke a 2-2 tie. . . . F Brayden Yager tied the Warriors’ franchise record for goals in one season by a 16-year-old when he scored No. 29 at 1:02 of the second period. He now shares the record with Theo Fleury (1984-85). Fleury did it in 71 games; Yager has played 53 games this season. He also played 24 games in the 2021 development season but the WHL has decreed that skaters are rookies if they haven’t appeared in more than 25 games prior to this season. The rule for goaltenders is 25 times on the scoresheet or more than 420 minutes played. . . . Fleury tweeted: “Congrats young man honoured to share the record with you tonight. Here’s hoping you break it!!!” . . .

G Daniel Hauser stopped 25 shots and D Nolan Orzeck had a goal, his fifth, and two assists to lead the Winnipeg Ice to a 5-0 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Hauser has five career shutouts, all of them this season. He is 21-2-1, 2.20, .909 this season. Include his eight appearances from last season and he is 28-2-2, 2.42, .906 in his career. . . .

The Everett Silvertips scored two goals in each of the first two periods en route to a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . F Ben Hemmerling (8) broke a 2-2 tie at 7:14 of the second period and F Jackson Berezowski (38) made it 4-2 at 15:00. . . . Seattle F Matthew Rempe was tossed after taking a boarding major at 9:30 of the first period. He already has been suspended three times for a total of five games this season. . . .

F Ben King’s WHL-leading 45th goal was the winner as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Tigers, 6-2, in Medicine Hat. . . . King has 14 game-winners this season, two shy of the WHL single-season record. F Brian Propp scored 16 winners for the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Arshdeep Bains drew three assists for Red Deer. He leads the WHL in assists (45) and points (88). . . .

D Nolan Allan scored the goal and Tikhon Chaika suppled the goaltending as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders beat the Saskatoon Blades, 1-0. . . . Allan scored his fourth goal in 52 games this season at 12:12 of the third period; it was his third game-winner. He went into the season with three career goals in 81 games. . . . Chaika blocked 31 shots in recording the third shutout of his freshman season. The 18-year-old is from Minsk, Belarus. He is 17-15-3, 2.84, .905. . . . G Nolan Maier turned aside 28 shots for the Blades on Nolan Maier Bobblehead Night. . . . Chaika was selected as the game’s first star. On Friday night in Prince Albert, Maier wasn’t named a star despite turning aside 49 shots in the Blades’ 3-2 OT victory. . . .

In Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s last nine goals as they rallied to a 9-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer scored four times, giving him 27, and F Craig Armstrong got his 11th goal and added three assists. . . . Ziemmer single-handedly erased Victoria’s 1-0 lead with goals at 9:04, 9:25 and 13:33 of the first period. He got his fourth goal at 1:24 of the third period. . . . The Cougars were without Mark Lamb, their general manager and head coach, for a second straight game due to illness. In his absence, associate coach Josh Dixon and Steve O’Rourke, their development coach, ran the bench.


Has anyone had a better description of Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers than Charles Barkley? He told ESPN Radio: “I think he’s the pretty girl that you gotta tell her she’s pretty every day.”


Bikers


The OHL’s Oshawa Generals fired head coach Todd Miller on Saturday. OshawaAssistant coaches Kurtis Foster and Mike Hedden will run things for the remainder of this season. . . . “We feel our team is underperforming right now,” Roger Hunt, the Generals’ general manager, said in a news release. “We all think the group can benefit from a different voice down in the room.” . . . Miller was in his first season as Oshawa’s head coach. He spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Barrie Colts before working as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings last season. . . . The Generals, who dropped a 7-2 decision to the Frontenacs in Kingston on Friday, were 24-24-5 and tied for sixth place with the Ottawa 67’s (23-25-7) in the 10-team Eastern Conference going into Saturday’s games. . . . The Generals beat the visiting Peterborough Petes, 5-4 in OT, on Sunday. Oshawa is to meet the host Hamilton Bulldogs in the OHL’s Outdoor Showcase today.


Veteran junior coach Mike Vandekamp is a free agent again after he and the GrandePrairieAJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm parted company on Saturday. According to a news release from the team, the parties “mutually agreed to part ways effective immediately.” Vandekamp was the Storm’s general manager and head coach for two seasons. . . . This season, the Storm finished 22-30-8 and didn’t qualify for the playoffs. . . . Until a replacement is hired, the Storm said that business manager Ryan Carter and assistant coach Chris Schmidt will run things.


Children


With MLB’s labour difficulties over, at least for now, Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News writes that it’s a big deal for his city: “We need baseball in New York right now, unless you think that the Knicks can write some kind of miracle on their side of the East River or think the Nets can make a run in the playoffs with Dr. Kyrie Irving of the Center for Sports Disease Control, as a part-time, un-vaxxed star. We need baseball more than ever after another lost pro football season, as the Giants and Jets continue to be teams from Loserville over there in Jersey.”

——

More from Lupica: “Novak Djokovic, another graduate of the Center for Sports Disease Control along with Dr. Irving, says he hasn’t yet gotten vaccinated because he doesn’t trust the science behind the vaccine. Right. Got it. Six million people, worldwide, have now died because of this pandemic. What does Dr. Djokovic think that number would be if there had been a vaccine he doesn’t trust from the beginning? If he is allowed to play in the French Open, I hope he gets his Asics hat handed to him by Rafael Nadal.”



Mom


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.


Mom2

Hurricanes delete one from staff . . . Blades’ Maier closing in on career mark . . . Oil Kings’ streak now at 13

Earlier this week, I posted a piece here that led with some comments on announced attendance totals at WHL games this season.

Yes, some teams really are struggling at the gate, but there are a number of possible reasons, some of them pandemic related.

Anyway . . . that piece created a lot of interest and a few comments.

So now I’m asking readers to drop me a line and explain why they no longer go to games or why they don’t go to as many games as they once did. Also feel free to comment on what you think the WHL and its teams might do to increase attendance at their games.

You are able to contact me by DM at Twitter (@gdrinnan) or via email at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

Responses will be used for a posting here at some point in the not-too-distant future.


The OHL announced on Thursday that it has “expelled” Terry Christensen, the OHLFlint Firebirds’ president of hockey operations, for conduct that is “prejudicial to the welfare” of the league. An investigation, sparked by an allegation that was made via the OHL’s player communications system, revealed that Christensen had make remarks that violated the league’s Harassment and Abuse/Diversity Policy. . . . “His conduct violated the league’s expectation of the appropriate conduct of a representative of an OHL Team and he has lost the privilege to participate in the League,” the league said in a statement. . . . Christensen had been with the Firebirds since May.

Meanwhile, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted Thursday morning that “the OHL is launching an independent investigation into the Niagara IceDogs over alleged offensive comments made by people in senior positions on a team group chat.”

Greg Cowan is a sports reporter with the Owen Sound Sun Times:

https://twitter.com/GregCowanST/status/1501969145952407553?s=20&t=mGTe9yMl1lERdkg59YQaXw


The Lethbridge Hurricanes fired assistant coach Jeff Hansen on Friday. Hansen, Lethbridgefrom Calgary, was in his fifth season after spending four seasons as the video coach with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt, in a news release: “Jeff is a good man and a hard worker, and this wasn’t an easy decision, but we felt it was time to make a change. We weren’t happy with the development of our defence and the accountability of our blueline.” . . . The Hurricanes’ coaching staff now comprises head coach Brent Kisio, Matt Anholt, the assistant GM/assistant coach, and video coach Ryan Aasman. According to the news release, those three will run things “for the remainder of the season.”


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

In Brandon, the Winnipeg Ice scored three third-period goals and beat the WinnipegIceWheat Kings, 6-3. F Mikey Milne’s 28th goal of the season, at 2:37 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie. . . . Through a promotion involving Heritage Co-op, fans 18 and older who purchased an adult ticket received a $10 gas card. Announced attendance was 2,880. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Winnipeg. . . . The Ice (38-9-5) leads the East Division by 12 points over the Moose Jaw Warriors. Winnipeg, with five games in hand, trails the Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings by eight points. . . . The Wheat Kings (28-19-5) are a comfortable sixth in the Eastern Conference. . . .

F Braxton Whitehead broke a 3-3 tie at 15:30 of the third period as the host ReginaRegina Pats beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Whitehead has seven goals. . . . Regina F Connor Berard had a goal, his 35th, and an assist as he ran his point streak to 16 games. He has 33 points, including 16 goals, in what is the WHL’s longest active such streak. . . . Lethbridge is 2-3-1 on a seven-game road trip while the Canadian men’s curling championship is in their home arena. The Brier ends on Sunday. . . . Regina (21-27-4) is 11th in the Eastern Conference, but just two points shy of eighth. . . . Lethbridge (23-27-4) is seventh, two points ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Calgary Hitmen, who are tied for eighth. . . . From Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “Factoring in last season, when Bedard debuted as a 15-year-old, he has 99 points (including 47 goals) in 61 games as a WHLer. Bedard is on the verge of tying the Pats’ record for most WHL goals by a player who has yet to turn 17. Jeff Friesen had 48 goals over his first 74 games. He scored three goals in four games as a 15-year-old call-up with the 1991-92 Pats. The following season, he had 45 goals in 70 games en route to being named the CHL’s rookie of the year.” . . .

F Egor Sidorov’s 16th goal, at 2:40 of OT, give the visiting Saskatoon Blades a 3-Blades2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders before a sellout crowd of 2,600. . . . G Nolan Maier turned aside 49 shots for the Blades, but wasn’t selected as one of the three stars. Gee, do you think the Blades are that unpopular in P.A.? Maier now has 117 regular-season victories, three shy of the WHL career record that, according to quanthockey.com, is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . Maier now is tied for fourth with Mac Carruth (Portland, 2009-13), two behind Jordan Papirny (Brandon, Swift Current, 2012-17). . . . F Hayden Pakkala scored twice for the Raiders, giving him nine this season. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Saskatoon, on Nolan Maier Bobblehead Night. . . . The Blades (32-18-4) are fifth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Raiders (22-28-4) are tied for eighth. . . .

In Swift Current, F Jalen Luypen scored twice, the second into an empty net, as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Broncos, 3-1. He’s got 25 goals. . . . The Oil Kings have won 13 in a row. They’ll go for 14 tonight back in Swift Current. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 25 shots in posting his WHL-leading 29th victory. . . . The Oil Kings (43-11-3) lead the Eastern Conference by eight points over Winnipeg, which has five games in hand. . . . Swift Current (20-29-7) is 10th, one point out of eighth. . . .

F Jagger Firkus broke a 2-2 tie with his 31st goal, at 5:12 of the third period, and the host Moose Jaw Warriors went on to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Warriors (32-19-5) are fourth in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind the Red Deer Rebels and one ahead of Saskatoon. . . . The Hitmen (20-27-8) are tied for eighth with Prince Albert, two points behind Lethbridge and one ahead of Swift Current. . . .

F Ben King had a goal, his 44th, and four assists as the Red Deer Rebels clinched a playoff spot with a 6-3 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . King leads the WHL in goals and points (85). He has one more point than linemate Arshdeep Bains, who signed with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks earlier in the day. Bains had a goal and two assists in this one. He leads the WHL with 53 assists. . . . The Rebels were 4-for-5 on the PP; King leads the WHL with 21 PP goals. . . . Red Deer (37-16-3) is third in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Winnipeg, which has four games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (10-40-4) is in next-season country. . . .

F Tarun Fizer scored his 13th goal and added an assist to help the Victoria VictoriaRoyalsRoyals to a 5-3 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. Fizer, who has three goals and five assists in his past three games, iced this one with an empty-netter. . . . The Cougars, who have lost seven in a row, had been 7-0-0 against the Royals this season. . . . Prince George led 2-0 before the game was seven minutes old, but surrendered the next four goals. . . . Victoria (17-33-6) closed to within one point of Prince George (19-32-3) and the Spokane Chiefs, who are tied for seventh in the Western Conference. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers got two goals from F Logan Stankoven — he’s got 33 — Kamloopsas they beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-2. . . . Stankoven broke a 1-1 tie at 14:27 of the first period and then added insurance at 1:53 of the third. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots in his first appearance since suffering a leg injury on Feb. 16. . . . F Luke Toporowski of the Blazers, a 35-goal man, didn’t return after a collision with Kelowna D Tyson Feist in the first period. . . . The same teams are to meet tonight in Kelowna. In fact, they also will play home-and-home each of the next two weekends. . . . The Blazers (40-14-2) lead the B.C. Division by 10 points over the Rockets (34-15-4). . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored two late third-period goals, Portlandboth with their goaltender on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, but ended up dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . D Luca Cagnoni, the 14th shooter, won it with the only goal of the circus. . . . Portland nursed a 2-0 lead from the 11:18-mark of the second period. . . . Seattle F Reid Schaefer (27) scored at 17:58 of the third period and F Jared Davidson (28) tied it at 19:28. . . . Portland got 51 saves through OT from G Taylor Gauthier . . . The Thunderbirds saluted head athletic trainer Phil Varney, one of hockey’s good guys, as he worked his 1,000th game. He is in his 15th season with Seattle. . . . Seattle F Henrik Rybinski missed his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle F Lucas Ciona, who has 32 points, including 17 goals, didn’t finish with apparent arm injury. . . . Portland (38-14-5) is third in the Western Conference, one point out of first. . . . Seattle (34-14-6) trails Portland by seven points. . . .

F Fabian Lysell’s 19th goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie at 18:08 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Jaden Lipinski, who has five goals, scored twice for the Giants, his second forging a 2-2 tie at 17:04 of the second period. . . . F Samuel Huo, who has 24 goals, scored twice for the Americans. . . . Vancouver (21-29-3) is sixth in the Western Conference, 27 points behind Kelowna and four ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . Tri-City (15-34-5) is last in the conference, six points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen scored twice, giving him 30, and added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips dumped the Spokane Chiefs, 6-3. . . . Everett erased a 2-1 deficit with four straight goals. . . . Everett (37-9-8) is tied with Kamloops atop the Western Conference, but the Silvertips hold two games in hand. . . . Spokane (18-32-5) is tied for seventh with Prince George, four points behind Vancouver and one ahead of Victoria.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Vancouver Canucks signed F Arshdeep Bains, 21, to a three-year free-agent deal on Friday. CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) reported that the entry-level contract calls for an NHL salary of US$750,000 for 2022-23 and $775,000 each of the next two seasons. There also is a $50,000 signing bonus payable each season. His minor-league salary would be $70,000. Bains is from Surrey, B.C.; the Canucks’ AHL affiliate is just down the road in Abbotsford. . . .

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques added G Ève Gascon to their roster on Thursday. She had been 9-5-0 with the CÉGEP St-Laurent Patriotes in the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League (Division 1). . . . Gascon is to join the Olympiques this morning (Saturday) and could get the start against the visiting Val D’Or Foreurs later in the day. . . . The last woman to play in the QMJHL? G Charline Labonté got into 26 games (4-9-2, 5.22, .841) with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 1999-2000 and two in 2000-01.


Shawn Mezei, a former WHL player, died in Lethbridge on Wednesday. He was 36. Funeral arrangements hadn’t yet been arranged as of Friday night. Mezei was a native of Taber, Alta. A defenceman, he played 116 games over five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, totalling two goals, 12 assists and 165 penalty minutes.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Colonel


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.


Pearls Before Swine
Pearls Before Swine

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 . . .

——

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.

——

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

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