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

Fourth annual Green Shirt Day is almost here . . . Boulets continue to work tirelessly for organ donation

It is almost four years since the lives of Bernadine and Toby Boulet were changed forever.

Their son, Logan, was one of the 16 victims of the bus accident that involved the Humboldt Broncos, a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team that was on its way to Nipawin on April 6, 2018, for a playoff engagement with the Hawks.

Following Logan’s death, his organs were donated to six recipients. Since then, Bernadine and Toby have become tireless advocates for organ donation.

They were in Winnipeg last week where Mayor Brian Bowman presented them with a key to the city.

“It is profoundly moving and compassionate for a person to let the end of their life be a catalyst for the continuation of other lives,” Bowman said at a news conference as he described Bernadine and Toby as “incredible and selfless.”

They are that and then some.

In fact, if there were such a thing as a key to Canada, I would suggest that it be awarded to them. Yes, these are special people.

The work they have done, and continue to do, on behalf of organ donation and the Logan Boulet Effect is mind-boggling.

Their focus these days is on April 7, which will be the fourth annual Green Shirt Day. An untold number of Canadian structures will be lit up in green in honour of the occasion. As well, a number of Canadian jurisdictions have issued proclamations declaring April 7 as Green Shirt Day.

So consider yourself warned . . . get your green shirt ready. It’s just over a week away.

If you’re interested, there is more on Green Shirt Day right here.

Kayla Rosen of CTV News in Winnipeg has more right here on the Boulets receiving a key to the Manitoba capital.









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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Time is everything. This is why we promise registering as an organ donor should only #TakeTwoMinutes. That’s faster than microwave popcorn! #Register2Give

Immunocompromised people left disappointed, frustrated and alone . . . again!

It was two years ago when we started down this road. At the time, we didn’t have any idea how bumpy the road ahead was going to be. It was early on in this Covidmess when a friend who had donated a kidney suggested that whatever was to come we were best to remember that some folks were pretty much in this alone.

She was meaning that people who are immunocompromised were going to have to put themselves first and foremost because no one else was going to do it.

And, well, here we are.

On Wednesday, B.C. reported 14 more deaths related to COVID-19, and there were four more revealed on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, the province’s minister of health, announced an end to the mask mandate in most indoor public places, while leaving the vaccination passport system in place until April 8.

It didn’t matter that Thursday was World Kidney Day, something that didn’t even get a mention during the Dr. Henry/Dix news conference. It was just time to loosen the reins.

So, well, here we are.

On Friday, the first day when masks no longer were mandated in many B.C. locations, John Horgan, B.C.’s NDP premier, held a news conference in Victoria. The announcement of that gathering included this: “Media attending must wear a mask and practice physical distancing.”

Hey, good for Horgan to be looking after himself — he completed a series of cancer treatments in January so is immunocompromised.

However, there are a whole lot of such people who aren’t in a position to get on a transit bus and announce that everyone there must wear a mask. Or to walk into a grocery store and make the same statement.

There are a whole lot of immunocompromised people, including parents of immunocompromised children, out there who are feeling confused and disappointed and frustrated.

Look, I know that the indicators, including hospitalizations and deaths, are looking more positive. But, gee, check out what’s going on in Changchun, a city of nine million in China that has been locked down. Do some reading on what happened in Denmark after restrictions were lifted. It’s quite apparent that this pandemic isn’t anywhere close to being over.

How did we get to this place where part of society sees so many people’s lives as being as disposable as a bunch of Bic lighters? How did we get to this place where wearing a mask in certain situations is just too much of a sacrifice for some people to make, even if it means protecting others with whom they may come in contact?

In B.C., John Horgan, the premier, says he will continue to wear a mask. So, too, does Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer. If that’s the case, why did those two choose to dump the mask mandate at this particular point in time?

——

One other thing . . .

Numerous experts have recommended a fourth vaccination for those who are immunocompromised. In fact, Alberta has been providing a fourth shot for well over a month now. In B.C., there hasn’t been even a mention of it.

Does anyone know why not?










Amanda Selvaratnam, the head of corporate training at the U of York in the UK, has given a kidney to her son, Phillip. She also has worked with Kidney Research UK to provide a video diary of their experience. . . . Here are Parts 1 and 2:


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.


Do good, feel good! Register to be an organ donor and get that warm fuzzy feeling. 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives. Taketwominutes.ca #TakeTwoMinutes

Why can’t we have Green Shirt Day every month? . . . Tragedy strikes Bedard family . . . Canucks confirm variant involved in positive tests

It really was awe-inspiring to cruise social media on Wednesday — Green Shirt Day — and bathe in the impact that the Logan Boulet Effect has had in so many different places and in so many different corners.

Employees from a million business have bought in, as have so many cities and towns and villages, and schools and leagues and teams.

Dorothy
Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant in 2013, is a big fan of Green Shirt Day and the Logan Boulet Effect.

As I sit here in my recliner, my laptop in front of me — that’s why it’s called a laptop — I can only marvel at how much has transpired involving organ donor registration since Logan Boulet’s death three years ago.

Logan was killed in the accident that involved the bus that was carrying the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. As it turned out, Logan had signed an organ donor card on his 21st birthday just five weeks prior to the accident, and he had informed his family. As a result, his organs — including heart and kidneys — and his corneas were taken for transplant.

As Logan’s father, Toby, told Karen Pauls of CBC News: “Logan was able to make six people’s lives better. He basically saved six lives.”

Since then, Logan has helped save an untold number of lives and make so many lives a whole lot better. Since the Logan Boulet Effect began to take off, it is estimated that 300,000 Canadians have registered as organ donors.

Figures compiled by the Canadian Transplant Association show that 90 per cent of Canadians support organ donation. However, only 23 per cent of that group actually have registered as donors.

Furthermore, CTA figures reveal that about 4,500 Canadians are waiting for organs.

As someone who has benefitted firsthand from organ donation — if you’re not aware, my wife, Dorothy, is a kidney transplant recipient, having gotten one through the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver — I can tell you that there aren’t words to express exactly what the Logan Boulet Effect means to us.

And a mere “Thank you” to Logan’s parents, Bernadine and Toby, really doesn’t seem enough considering all that they do, especially the countless interviews, to keep this movement in the spotlight.

So while April 7 has come to be recognized as Green Shirt Day, let’s not limit organ donor registration to one day a year. What’s wrong with reminding folks of the Logan Boulet Effect on the seventh day of every month?

Did you wear green for Green Shirt Day on Wednesday? Why not wear green on May 7 and June 7 and July 7 and . . .?

Why not?


If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, in the 2021 Kamloops Kidney Walk, you may do so right here. She launched her eighth straight fund-raising campaign on Wednesday — Green Shirt Day!


F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats has started his WHL career like a house on fire, despite being only 15 years of age. But, unfortunately, the hurt that sometimes accompanies life touched him and his family on Tuesday when his grandfather, Garth Bedard, 73, was killed in a car accident near his home in Sicamous, B.C.

According to RCMP, a westbound pickup truck and an eastbound sedan, driven by a 46-year-old woman from Salmon Arm, collided head-on on the Trans-Canada Highway, seven kilometres east of Sicamous after 1 p.m.

Garth Bedard was the owner of Bedard logging in Sicamous.

Kevin Gallant, a former radio voice of the Pats, posted on social media:

“This is absolutely devastating. I watched so many games with Garth and his wife Lynn. My deepest sympathies to the entire Bedard family, and this is an extremely close family. Thoughts and prayers for Lynn. Also to Tom, Melanie, Maddie and Connor. I can’t imagine what the Bedard family is going through, but my heart aches.”

“We know how close Connor was with his grandfather, who was one of Connor’s biggest fans,” the Pats said in a statement. “Garth was incredibly proud of Connor and took great joy in his grandson’s passion for hockey and even more so in the person he has become.”

According to the Pats, Bedard will play against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday and then return to the family home in North Vancouver on Saturday. Soon after that, he is scheduled to join Canada’s U18 team to play in the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, from April 26 through May 6.

Bedard, the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft, has 10 goals and 16 assists in 14 games. He had two goals and two assists on Tuesday night as the Pats beat the Swift Current Broncos, 6-1.



Help


The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks issued a statement on Wednesday, revealing that they have had 25 people, including 21 players, test positive for COVID-19. CanucksThat includes four staff members, three of them believed to be coaches, and three players off the taxi squad.

The Canucks hadn’t spoken publicly about the situation in more than a week, since F Adam Gaudette was removed from a March 30 practice due to having tested positive.

The statement that was issued on Wednesday came from Dr. Jim Bovard, the team’s physician, and Dr. Josh Douglas, an infectious disease physician.

The 18 players off the Canucks’ roster who are on the COVID-19 protocol list all tested positive; none of them are on the list because of being deemed a close contact.

What isn’t know is how many family members have tested positive.

The Canucks statement also confirmed that a variant of COVID-19 is involved in the outbreak, although it didn’t state which one. There have been reports that the P.1 variant that originated in Brazil is part of the outbreak.

According to the statement, “Full genome sequencing by BCCDC will be required to determine which specific type.”

The statement also cleared up the origin of the outbreak:

“An ongoing investigation by Vancouver Coastal Health and club contact tracing staff attributes the source infection to a single individual obtained in a community setting, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location. Rapid spread of infection throughout the team indicates a link between contacts and the primary case.”

So the virus was picked up by one person in the community and it spread like wildfire through the organization. Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet reported that “the community setting is believed to have been a Vancouver restaurant.”

MacIntyre’s thorough Wednesday report is right here.

After the press release was issued, D Nate Schmidt was added to the protocol list, showing that this situation is far from being over. If you’re wondering, D Jordie Benn, F Brock Boeser, F J.T. Miller and F Jimmy Vesey are the only players on the Canucks’ roster who haven’t been on the list.

Officially, the NHL has postponed four Vancouver games. However, the Canucks won’t be playing the Oilers in Edmonton on Monday and Wednesday. After that, the Canucks aren’t scheduled to play until April 17 and 19 when they are to play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted on Wednesday that “the NHL is targeting the end of next week for the Vancouver Canucks to return to game action. Still a fluid situation.”

The Canucks, who have 19 games remaining on their 56-game regular-season schedule, last played on March 24.


The AJHL announced Wednesday night that the Drumheller Dragons have ajhlexperienced a positive COVID-19 test. The team had been shut down since  Monday because of a positive test on the Camrose Kodiaks, who had been playing in the same cohort. So the league said Wednesday that Drumheller “will continue its isolation period.” . . . Besides Camrose and Drumheller, the Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm, Okotoks Oilers and Whitecourt Wolverines have all paused their activities.


Dick


There were four games in the WHL on Wednesday night. Some highlights and tidbits . . .

F Peyton Krebs had a goal and three assists as the Winnipeg Ice doubled the WinnipegMoose Jaw Warriors, 6-3, in Regina. . . . Krebs (8) scored the game’s first goal, at 9:01 of the first period, and the Ice (10-4-0) added three more over the next 4:10. . . . Krebs, who has points in 13 straight games, now has eight goals and 19 assists after being blanked in his first outing. His 27 points now leads the Regina hub. F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats has 26. . . . The Ice has won four in a row. . . . The Warriors (6-7-1) got to within a goal, at 4-3, when F Atley Calvert (2) scored at 18:18 of the second period. . . . But Winnipeg F Jakin Smallwood (10) scored on a PP at 15:59 of the third, and F Connor McClennon (8) added the empty-netter. . . . McClennon finished with two goals and an assist. . . . The Ice was 3-for-3 on the PP. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to eight games with a 4-1 Brandonvictory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . While the Wheat Kings improved to 11-2-1, the Broncos’ third straight loss dropped them to 3-10-1. . . . Brandon enjoyed a 37-21 edge in shots, including 15-4 in the third period. . . . F Nate Danielson (3) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 14:55 of the first period with his third PP goal of the season, and F Jake Chiasson (7) upped it to 2-0 at 9:40 of the second. . . . The Broncos got close at 16:39 when F Aiden Bulych (5) scored. . . . F Tyson Zimmer (2) restored Brandon’s two-goal lead at 16:39, and D Chad Nychuk (2) got the empty-netter. . . . The game was played in 2:04, the quickest one in the WHL this season. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs rode three second-period goals to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane head coach Adam Maglio recorded his first victory as a WHL head coach. . . . The Chiefs (1-4-3) had been the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams without a victory. . . . D Luke Zazula (3) scored twice for the Americans (4-5-0), the first one giving them the lead in the first period. . . . D Bobby Russell (1) tied it at 3:40 of the second and F Reed Jacobson gave the Chiefs the lead at 3:40. Jacobson, who has four goals in eight games, scored twice and added an assist. It was his first career four-point game. Last season, Jacobson finished with four goals in 50 games. . . . Zazula’s second goal, at 16:15 of the second, got Tri-City to within a goal, but Jacobson restored the two-goal margin at 15:18 of the third. . . . D Lukas Dragicevic, the fourth-overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Americans. His father, Milan, is a former WHL player (Regina, New Westminster, Tri-City, Spokane, Victoria Cougars, 1986-90) and coach with Tri-City and the Vancouver Giants. He was the Giants’ first head coach (2000-02). He now is the U18 prep coach at Delta Academy. . . .

The Vancouver Giants scored the last four goals and beat the Victoria Royals, 6-Vancouver4, in Kelowna. . . . The Royals (1-4-1) erased a 2-1 deficit on three early second-period goals in 3:25 — from F Brandon Cutler (3), F Brayden Schuurman (3) and F Alex Bolshakov (1). . . . After Bolshakov’s goal at 4:30, the Giants made a goaltending change — Drew Sim out, Trent Miner in. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (6) scored for Vancouver 37 seconds later and F Justin Sourdif tied it at 7:47. . . . F Bryce Bader (3) broke the tie at 18:45 of the second and Sourdif (3) added insurance at 10:42 of the third. . . . The Giants (5-1-0) have won five in a row. . . . Miner was perfect over 35:30, stopping all nine shots he faced. Miner went into the game having put up three straight shutouts; he came out with the franchise record for consecutive shutout minutes (225:48) going back to last season, breaking the record of 207 minutes that had belonged to Ryan Kubic from the 2015-16 season. Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers holds the WHL record (265:13) from the 1967-68 season. . . . Miner also has the longest shutout streak in the WHL this season (215:30), having surpassed the run of 213:16 put up by Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. . . . This season, Miner has a 0.00 GAA, having stopped all 73 shots he has faced.


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.


Eggs

Thunderbirds drop two after racist incident . . . COVID-19 takes chunks out of Fighting Irish, two baseball leagues, NHL


Earlier this week, Geoff Baker, a reporter with the Seattle Times, was writing about Brendan Lee, a forward with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips who was born Everettin Seattle and is of Chinese heritage.

Baker wrote about how Lee was “jolted” by last week’s mass shooting in Atlanta in which six women of Asian descent were killed, something that brought stories of anti-Asian harassment to the forefront.

Baker wrote: “Lee said neither he nor his immediate family have felt targeted, though he’s aware of fears within the broader Asian community. He hopes there’s some role he can play, through hockey, in projecting a positive image of Asian Americans — within that diverse community and beyond.”

Lee told Baker: “It’s horrible what happened. And with the platform I have, I think I can be an influencer. Maybe have somebody look up to me that’s a kid, who can see an American Asian playing hockey — and that it’s a kid from Seattle.”

Let’s move ahead to Thursday now, when Baker was writing this:

“Two teenage forwards with the Seattle Thunderbirds major junior hockey Seattleteam have been released for the remainder of the season for a racial-taunting incident in which the squad’s lone Black player alleged he was called a racial slur and had a banana waved in front of him.

“The players, age 17 and 18, had been suspended the Thunderbirds’ first two Western Hockey League games last weekend after team officials investigated a complaint of racial harassment against a 17-year-old teammate.

“On Thursday the team informed the suspended players they were no longer on the team and would be flown back home to Canada shortly, and removed their names from the roster.”

Baker reported that the Thunderbirds have said neither player will be back next season, although the team will maintain their rights and could trade them.

“Both are awaiting further instructions on when they can return to Canada due to tightened border restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he wrote. “The 17-year-old is from Alberta, the 18-year-old from British Columbia.”

The victim texted Baker: “I am very disappointed with what happened, but I appreciate and respect the way my organization has handled this situation. That’s all I am going to say, and now I just want to focus on our season at hand.”

Baker’s wonderful story on Lee is right here.

Baker’s story involving the Thunderbirds is right here.


Oh boy, is the general manager of the Ottawa Senators going to be sorry about losing his cool in this age of social media, or what? This was Pierre Dorion after his club lost in OT to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night . . .


The Regina Pats broke a 1-1 tie with four straight goals en route to a 5-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in the Regina hub on Thursday. . . . F Carson WHL2Denomie, who went into this developmental season with 35 goals in 198 regular-season games, scored his seventh goal in as many games for the Pats (2-3-2). He also had an assist. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard had two assists, giving the 15-year-old 12 points as he has started his WHL career on a seven-game point streak. . . . F Cole Carrier also had a goal and an assist for Regina, with D Ryker Evans adding two assists. . . . The Raiders (2-3-2) are winless in four games (0-3-1) after opening this developmental season by earning five points in their first three games. . . . Regina lost its captain, F Logan Nijhoff, to a kneeing major at 5:24 of the third period. . . . Prince Albert was without its captain, D Kaiden Guhle, for a fifth straight game due to a hand injury. . . . The Raiders dressed only one goaltender, Carter Serhyenko, because Cam Paddock is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. . . . Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW that “we had a goalie from another team (WInnipeg Ice) in the stands, so if something (had) happened to Carter, he would have dressed. It’s part of the bubble. It’s the way it is.” . . .

In the night’s other game, F Ridly Greig’s first goal of the season, shorthanded at 4:11 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . F Connor Geekie gave the Ice a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Brandon scored three times — F Nate Danielson, F Rylen Roersma and F Jake Chiasson — in a span of 2:17 before the period ended. . . . F Peyton Krebs and F Owen Pederson pulled the Ice (5-2-0) even, the latter scoring on a PP at 2:09 of the third. . . . Winnipeg had won five straight since opening with a 3-2 loss to Brandon on March 13. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-2-1) were without D Braden Schneider for a second straight game. He is listed as day-to-day with what is believed to be an injury to his right knee.


Scarecrow


It was a big day for COVID-19 on the sporting front Thursday. First, it took the Notre Dame Fighting Irish right out of the chase for the NCAA men’s hockey title. And then it took big chunks out of two summer baseball leagues that used to feature lots of U.S. college players. Oh, and it got into the coach staff of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres for the second time this season . . .

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The Fighting Irish were to have taken part in the NCAA Northeast Regional hockey tournament in Albany, N.Y., this weekend. But they have had to withdraw due to COVID-19 protocols. . . . According to head coach Jeff Jackson, “With multiple positives and contact tracing it became clear that for the safety of our team and others in the tournament we could not proceed.” . . . Notre Dame was to have played the Boston College Eagles on Saturday. That game has been declared no-contest and the Eagles moved directly into Sunday’s regional final against either St. Cloud State or Boston U. . . . Interestingly, Notre Dame was in the tournament as a late invitee after St. Lawrence U had to withdraw because of COVID-19 protocols. Notre Dame couldn’t be replaced because the NCAA had set a Monday night deadline for replacements to be made.

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The pandemic has forced quite a shuffling of the deck with the Western Canadian Baseball League. . . . The Edmonton Prospects, Lethbridge Bulls, Okotoks Dawgs (two teams) and Sylvan Lake Gulls have said that they will play the 2021 season using only Canadian players. . . . According to the league, the Fort McMurray Giants and Medicine Hat Mavericks continue to discuss their options. . . . At the same time, “due to the COVID-19 restrictions, border issues and the uncertainty of any changes,” five other teams — the Brooks Bombers, Moose Jaw Miller Express, Regina Red Sox, Swift Current 57’s and Weyburn Beavers — have decided to sit out the 2021 season. . . . At the same time, Taylor Shire of Global Regina tweeted that the “Yorkton Carinals and Melville Millionaires have left the WCBL and, according to WCBL president Kevin Kvame they both ceased operations.” . . .

From a news release issued by the Red Sox:

“Player and staff testing protocols will need to be in place at an estimated cost of $40,000 per team, as well as quarantine costs amounting to $2,000 per player. Interprovincial travel continues to be restricted, and the US/Canada border remains closed at this time. The WCBL is exploring options for an ‘All Canadian League’ in Alberta, which would also be subject to quarantine, testing, and border restrictions, presenting a challenge for the league. The Saskatchewan franchises have made the decision to defer the resumption of operations until 2022.”

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Marker

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The West Coast League, a wood-bat summer baseball league, has revised its 2021 schedule in order to remove international travel from its regular season, but it is leaving open the possibility of a playoff format involving teams from both Canada and the U.S. . . . The WCL, which features 15 teams, didn’t play in 2020. . . . In Canada, the Kelowna Falcons have opted out of the 2021 season, leaving the Victoria HarbourCats to play against three first-year teams — the Edmonton Riverhawks, Kamloops NorthPaws and Nanaimo NightOwls. . . . American teams in the league are the Bend Elks, Corvallis Knights, Cowlitz Black Bears, Portland Pickles, Ridgefield Raptors, Walla Walla Sweets, Bellingham Bells, Port Angeles Lefties, Wenatchee Apple Sox and Yakima Valley Pippins.

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Kevyn Adams, the Buffalo Sabres’ general manager, served as head coach on Thursday night as the team lost 4-0 to the Penguins in Pittsburgh. That’s nhl2because Don Granato, who was named interim head coach last week after Ralph Krueger was fired, and interim assistant coach Matt Ellis were in self-isolation. . . . This is the second time this season that the Sabres’ coaching staff was impacted by the virus. Earlier, Krueger tested positive and missed some time. . . . The Sabres have six victories this season; they have been shut out seven times. . . .

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers had assistants Jacques Martin and Greg Brown back behind the bench for last night’s 8-3 victory over the host Philadelphia Flyers. But head coach David Quinn has yet to be cleared to return from COVID-19 protocol, so former WHL player/coach Kris Knoblauch continues to work as head coach. Under normal conditions, Knoblauch is the head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. . . . Knoblauch will stay with the Rangers at least through Saturday’s game in Philly. . . .

Marc Bergevin, the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, expects his club to return to the ice next week. He said Thursday that one player had tested positive — forwards Joel Armia and Jesperi Kotkaniemi — and that it was a variant. . . . So far, the Canadiens have had four games postponed — three against the Edmonton Oilers and one with the Ottawa Senators. . . . If all goes well, the Canadiens will return to practice on Monday and play in Ottawa on Tuesday. . . . The NHL now has postponed 41 games because of COVID-19.


And how are things going out west? Hey, thanks for asking . . .

Justin McElroy, CBC Vancouver — 800 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., the highest number since the very height of the second wave, as the province’s trendline is going up VERY sharply now. . . . Active cases jump by almost 300, now the highest since January 8. . . . Five new deaths and hospitalizations up.

Oh, hey, things are going great in Alberta, too . . .

CBC News — Alberta reports 764 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 more deaths. The province confirms 191 variants of concern cases. 294 people are in hospital, 55 in ICU. . . . Variant cases now make up more than 20 per cent of the total.

Party on, Garth!


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The Spokane Chiefs have promoted Chris Baird to director of hockey operations. He had been assistant director of hockey operations since 2017. He first was hired by the Chiefs in 2006-07 as a part-time video co-ordinator. . . . The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders have named Adam Manah as general manager — he will continue as head coach — and Jeff Woywitka as assistant GM. Manah has been with the Crusaders since 2015 when he was associate coach. He took over as assistant GM and head coach in 2016. Woywitka has been associate coach since 2016. The moves were necessitated by the firing of general manager Kyle Chase on March 19. Chase, who had been part of the organization since 2004, had been GM since 2016. Shane Jones of the Sherwood Park News has more on Chase’s dismissal right here.


Anger

Hay “surprised” by Kamloops move . . . TWU goalie writing neat story . . . Sydor gets back into coaching game

ThisThat

In case there is any lingering doubt, Don Hay has told veteran Portland sports journalist Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest that he got caught up in a changing of the guard in Kamloops.

Hay, who has more regular-season and playoff victories than any WHL coach in history, Portlandjoined the Portland Winterhawks as an assistant coach on Monday, having spent the previous four seasons as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers.

“That’s our business. Things happen,” Hay told Jaynes of his ouster in Kamloops. “They wanted to make some changes, and that’s their right. It surprised me. You just have to make the best of it.”

Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner, announced on May 10 that Hay had retired. A news release issued by the team read that “Hay has announced his retired from coaching the Blazers and will remain with the hockey club in an advisory role.”

At the same news conference, which Hay didn’t attend, Gaglardi revealed that general manager Stu MacGregor had been reassigned to the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, a team also owned by Gaglardi, and that the contracts of assistant coach Mike Needham and director of player personnel Matt Recchi wouldn’t be renewed.

Hay won three Memorial Cups with the Blazers — he as an assistant coach in 1992, and was the head coach in 1994 and 1995. He returned to the Blazers during the summer of 2014 after working for 10 seasons as the head coach of the Vancouver Giants. He helped them to the 2007 Memorial Cup championship.

As for landing in Portland, Hay told Jaynes that “it just came out of the blue.”

Hay said he was “contemplating retiring” when he got a phone call from Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach. “Mike and I go back a long ways. We’ve both gone different ways but we’ve always kept in touch.”

Hay added that he is looking forward to working with Johnston and the Winterhawks, who will be a younger team this season.

“I love learning and trying to get better and working with kids,” Hay said. “I think this is a great situation to go to. . . . Their organization has done a great job here over the years . . . one of the elite franchises of the Western Hockey League.”

That complete interview is right here.


Here’s a neat hockey story . . .

Silas Matthys is a 26-year-old goaltender from Wollerau, Switzerland, who, for the past four years has been one of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League’s best players while TWUattending Trinity Western U in Langley, B.C.

Matthys played for HC Sierre in the NL B, Switzerland’s second tier pro league, in 2012-13. Unfortunately, the team folded late in the summer of 2013, leaving Matthys without anywhere to play.

Classes at TWU were 10 days from starting. His father, Christian, a goalie coach, had worked with the Hockey Ministries International camps in Winnipeg. Christian got in touch with an HMI staff member, who steered him to Barret Kropf, who had taken over the Spartans and needed a goaltender.

Matthys “knew no English and was bad his first three starts,” Kropf told Taking Note. “Then got hot in the second half and never looked back.”

In five seasons, starting in 2013-14, Matthys went 4.05, .893; 2.50, .930; 2.58, .925; 2.08, .930; and 2.26, .923.

In 2013-14, he was named a playoff all-star and the BCIHL’s playoff MVP. The next season, he had the league’s best save percentage (.930), was named to the first all-star team, was honoured as top goaltender and the league’s MVP. In 2015-16, he had the BCIHL’s top save percentage (.925) and was a second-team all-star. In 2016-17, he was a second-team all-star and a playoff all-star.

Then came last season when the 5-foot-11, 165-pounder had the best save percentage (.923) for a third time, was a first-team all-star and a playoff all-star, and was named the BCIHL’s top goaltender. He also helped the Spartans to the league title by going 1.50, .949 in four playoff games.

“He graduated with honours, too,” Kropf said. “He’s an incredible leader.”

Earlier this summer, Matthys got his reward — a contract with Ambri-Piotta of NL A, Switzerland’s top pro league. With G Connor Hughes out with a knee injury, Matthys signed a deal that runs through mid-September.

Matthys then was loaned to the Ticino Rockets of the NL B to allow him to get some playing time.


Bernadine and Toby Boulet were in Humboldt on Thursday where they accepted the HumboldtBroncosAngel’s Legacy Humanitarian Award, from the Angel’s Legacy Project, “on behalf of their son, 21-year-old Logan, who was among the 16 people who died when the Humboldt Broncos team bus collided with a semi trailer on April 6,” writes Andrea Hill of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. . . . The proceedings included an amazing flyover by the Snowbirds. . . . By now, you’re aware that Logan Boulet is a Canadian hero. Right? . . . Hill’s story is right here.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation, you are able to do so right here.


The Kamloops-based minor midget Thompson Blazers have added a pair of former WHL players as assistant coaches. Neil Pilon and Darryl Sydor will be thompsonblazershelping out Chris Murray, the head coach of the first-year team. . . . Pilon, 51, is from Ashcroft, B.C. He played four-plus seasons (1983-88) in the WHL — nine games with the Kamloops Jr. Oilers, 52 with the Kamloops Blazers, 131 with the Moose Jaw Warriors and 71 with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Sydor played four seasons (1988-92) with the Kamloops Blazers and now is a co-owner of the franchise. He went on to play 1,291 regular-season and 155 playoff games in the NHL, while playing on two Stanley Cup-winners. He also served as an NHL assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild and was with the St. Louis Blues last season. . . . “It was just time to take a step back,” Sydor told Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV in Kamloops earlier this month. “I’ve been (coaching) for only eight years, but playing the game of hockey a lot longer. It’s time to give back to the family, give back to myself, and just take a step back.”

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