BCHL bans broadcaster after racist comment . . . Hall fills hat as Giants shock Silvertips . . . AJHL team talking with ex-WHL coach


The BCHL didn’t waste any time in dealing with a radio analyst who made a racial slur during the broadacast of a Friday night playoff game. . . . The league bchlannounced Friday night that Bruce MacDonald, a veteran member of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ broadcast crew, has been banned permanently from any broadcast involving a BCHL team. . . . “We have a zero tolerance for this type of behaviour and Mr. MacDonald is banned from any future broadcast involving the Bulldogs or any other BCHL team,” the league said in a statement in which it also apologized to Owen Kim of the Langley Rivermen, the player targeted by MacDonald. . . . David Michaud, the Bulldogs’ president and governor, later tweeted: “Tonight our game was overshadowed by an inexcusable comment on our broadcast. With the support of the BCHL, we removed the commentator immediately. On behalf of the Bulldogs, I’d like to apologize to Owen and the Kim family. Racism has no place in hockey.” . . .

The incident took place during the second period of the game in Port Alberni. Evan Hammond, the long-time radio voice of the Bulldogs, can be heard admonishing MacDonald as soon as the racist comment was made, but by then it was too late. . . . Tali Campbell, the vice-president and general manager of the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, tweeted: “Kudos to (Evan Hammond) for saying something right away. Being a bystander is easier, but he didn’t and that deserves a thank you.” . . . The Bulldogs won the game, 2-1, but trail the best-of-seven series, 3-2, going into Langley tonight.


The WHL playoffs hit high gear on Friday night with seven games. . . . The WHLEdmonton Oil Kings, the Eastern Conference’s second seed, had opened post-season play on Thursday night with a 4-1 victory over the visiting No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Things held mostly true to form last night, with only the Vancouver Giants upsetting the apple cart. In fact, as Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun tweeted: “Before Vancouver shocked Everett in overtime, the top seeds had outscored the bottom seeds 37-5 with three shutouts in the other seven” opening games of the WHL playoffs. . . . In the Western Conference last night, three starting goaltenders were yanked as the top four seeds outscored the other teams, 17-3, through two periods in each game. . . . There are eight games on tap tonight as each series heads into Game 2 in the same venues as the openers. . . .

Here’s a brief look at what transpired on Friday. . . .

Eastern Conference:

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice skated to a 3-1 victory over the No. 8 Prince Albert WinnipegIceRaiders, but may have lost F Matt Savoie in the process. . . . Savoie, who had 35 goals and 55 assists in the regular season, left in the third period. Winnipeg journalist Ken Wiebe tweeted that Savoie had “what appeared to be an injury to his left knee/leg.” . . .  Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press tweeted that Ice head coach James Patrick said “Savoie’s injury is lower body, the result of being hit with a puck.” Savoie will see medical staff today, so his immediate status isn’t yet known. . . . The Ice was 2-for-4 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-for-5. . . . F Jakin Smallwood, at 12:03 of the first period, and F Owen Pederson, at 9:34 of the second, on a PP, gave the home team a 2-0 lead. . . . The Raiders got their goal from F Reece Vitelli at 1:45 of the third period. . . . However, Ice F Connor McClennon got that one back, on a PP, just 1:08 later. . . . G Daniel Hauser earned the victory with 19 saves, eight fewer than the Raiders’ Tikhon Chaika. . . .

In Red Deer, G Chase Coward earned a shutout with an 18-save performance as RedDeerthe No. 3 Rebels bounced the No. 6 Brandon Wheat Kings, 5-0. . . . Coward, who also recorded an assist, had two shutouts in 35 regular-season appearances. This was his first playoff start. . . . The Rebels led 1-0 and 4-0 at the intermissions. . . . F Jace Isley got them started with a shorthanded score at 9:34 of the first period. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, who won the regular-season points derby, had one goal. . . . F Ben King, who topped the WHL in goals, picked up one assist. . . .

In Moose Jaw, the No. 4 Warriors outshot Saskatoon, 36-19, as they skated to a MooseJaw5-1 victory over the No. 5 Blades. . . . Moose Jaw took a 3-1 lead into the third period where it scored two more goals and held a 15-5 edge in shots. . . . F Atley Calvert and F Jagger Firkus gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead in the first period and they went from there. . . . Moose Jaw got 18 saves from G Carl Tetachuk. . . . Saskatoon starter Nolan Maier left at 8:54 of the third period after allowing five goals on 26 shots.

——

Western Conference:

In Everett, F Adam Hall scored his third goal of the game in OT as the No. 8 VancouverVancouver Giants stunned the No. 1 Silvertips, 5-4. . . . Everett took a 2-0 lead into the second period, only to have Hall score on a PP at 3:18. . . . Everett F Jacob Wright got that one back at 19:02. . . . The Giants then scored four of the game’s last five goals. . . . After Vancouver F Colton Langkow and Everett F Niko Huuhtanen exchanged goals, Hall got the Giants to within one at 6:47. . . . D Alex Cotton, who had two assists, forced the extra time when he scored at 18:40. . . . Hall ended it at 9:47 of OT. . . . Vancouver F Fabian Lysell drew five assists. . . . Vancouver got three assists from F Zack Ostapchuk. . . . G Jesper Vikman stopped 34 shots for the Giants. He had been sidelined since March 4 with an undetermined injury. . . . The Silvertips had Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, back in the lineup after a two-game absence. However, 45-goal man Jackson Berezowski was scratched. . . .

In Kamloops, F Logan Stankoven scored three times and added two assists as Kamloopsthe No. 2 Blazers dropped the No. 7 Spokane Chiefs, 9-0. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 25 shots to record his first WHL playoff shutout in his fourth post-season appearance. He played 123 minutes in three appearances in 2019. . . . Stankoven scored 44 seconds into the first period, made it 4-0 just 52 seconds into the second period, and completed his hat trick at 12:17 of the third. . . . F Luke Toporowski, who came over the Chiefs in a mid-season deal, had two goals, one of the shorthanded, and an assist, with D Quinn Schmiemann adding three assists. . . . Spokane starter Mason Beaupit left early in the second period after being beaten five times on 17 shots. . . . F Grady Lane of the Chiefs was hit with a match penalty for attempt to injure at 7:08 of the third period. . . .

In Portland, the No. 3 Winterhawks scored two PP goals in the game’s first Portlandseven minutes en route to a 5-2 victory over the No. 6 Prince George Cougars. . . . F Aidan Like, at 1:55, and F James Stefan, at 6:02, gave Portland that early lead and F Cross Hanas made it 3-0 at 8:43. . . . The Cougars were chasing from the outset and couldn’t catch up. . . . G Taylor Gauthier, who was acquired by Portland from Prince George during the season, earned the victory with 32 saves. . . . The Cougars lifted starter Ty Young after he gave up three goals on 13 shots. . . . Cougars F Craig Armstrong was hit with a checking-to-the-head major at the end of the third period. . . . Portland D Clay Hanus didn’t finish the game. Mike Johnston, Portland’s GM and head coach, told Joshua Critzer of @pnwhockeytalk that Hanus “took a nasty hit in the first period and wasn’t feeling good in the third.” . . .

In Kent, Wash., G Thomas Milic blocked 21 shots to lead the No. 4 Seattle SeattleThunderbirds to a 6-0 victory over the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets. . . . Milic was making his first playoff appearance. . . . F Jared Davidson had two goals and an assist for Seattle, which held period leads of 3-0 and 5-0. . . . Seattle got three assists from D Kevin Korchinski. A Saskatoon native who will turn 18 on June 21, Korchinski is coming off a superb regular season in which he put up four goals and 61 assists in 67 games. . . . Kelowna starter Talyn Boyko left at 13:43 of the second period, having allowed five goals on 22 shots. . . . Seattle was 4-for-7 on the PP; the Rockets were 0-for-7.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: D Ryker Evans, who completed his junior eligibility this season with the Regina Pats, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. He was a second-round pick in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . There are numerous reports that former Spokane Chiefs head coach Bill Peters is close to signing on as the head coach of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. Team president Murray Toews told Global News that Peters “hasn’t been selected yet.” He added that the Storm’s hiring committee hopes to have a coach in place in the next few days because it has a spring camp starting on Friday. Emily Mertz of Global News has more right here.



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.


Lawn

Courneyea gives Opening Ceremony a WOW! . . . Raiders show small profit for 2020-21 thanks to gov’t money . . . Chiefs retire Johnson’s No. 9

Dan Courneyea, our man at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, is there to work as an off-ice official at the hockey venues. But he took time to attend the Opening Ceremony on Friday, writing that “all I can say is WOW! It was AWESOME!” . . . Courneyea, who heads up the Kamloops Blazers’ crew of off-ice officials, is part of the Olympic hockey crew for the third time, having also been at Vancouver in 2010 and PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018. . . . He got his Beijing Games started by working Canada’s 11-1 victory over Switzerland on Thursday, and was back at the NIS today as Canada skated past Finland, 11-1. . . . Before going to the hockey game, Dan sent along some photos from the Opening Ceremony. I am partial to the third one, which provides a proud moment for Canadians. . . . Enjoy!

Ceremony1

Ceremony2

Ceremony3


Despite not playing any home games in what would have been the 2020-21 WHL season, the community-owned Prince Albert Raiders announced a profit Raidersof $25,891 during their annual general meeting on Thursday night.

The pandemic resulted in the WHL’s Manitoba- and Saskatchewan-based teams playing a 24-game schedule a bubble in Regina in the spring of 2021.

At their previous AGM, the Raiders announced a loss of $331,895 for the 2019-20 season. That was when they had $1,074,857 in ticket sales. In 2020-21, the Raiders didn’t have any ticket sales, but did receive a $600,000 grant from the provincial government, as did each of the other four Saskatchewan-based WHL teams.

“That lost revenue was made up for by generosity,” reported Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW. “The Raiders received $1,081,179 in grants, including the $600,000 WHL Support Grant from the Government of Saskatchewan, and $416,111 from the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) along with others.”

His story is right here.

Kyle Kosowan of the Prince Albert Daily Herald reported that the Raiders’ revenue for 2020-21 totalled $515,917, down $1,776,412 from 2019-20.

“The expense total,” Kosowan wrote, ”was nearly $1 million less in 2020-21. Advertising was the largest factor of expenses. Spending just $39,690, that’s a difference of $204,770 from 2019-20. The difference in expenses was $917,347. While revenue generated wasn’t nearly as high, being able to cut down on expenses was a huge game-changer.”

Kosowan’s story is right here.

The WHL has four community-owned teams; all four now have held their AGMs.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who received $668,000 in government funding, showed a profit of $72,250.

The Swift Current Broncos declared a loss of $129,968 after factoring in the $600,000 in provincial government money.

The Moose Jaw Warriors didn’t post a news release on their website, but president Chad Taylor said at the time: “If it wasn’t for the provincial government our balance sheet . . . would look a lot different than it is today. We are still showing a loss. You can’t just recover . . . With no revenues it’s impossible to try and pull a profit out of an organization like this.”

The Warriors lost $391,299 for 2019-20, after losses of $165,145 for 2018-19 and $463,566 for 2016-17. In 2017-18, the Warriors declared a profit of $704,182.


These days, Rick Brodsky mostly hangs his hat in Kelowna, although in non-pandemic times he also spends time in Arizona. Of course, there are times, like now, when you might find him in northern Manitoba, helping nephews get heavy equipment over winter roads and into position to do a big-time construction job. . . . There was a time, though, when he was a prominent WHL owner, first with the Saskatoon Blades, and then the Victoria Cougars, a franchise he would move to Prince George. . . . Hartley Miller, the news supervisor and sports editor for VISTA Radio in Prince George, does a weekly podcast that most often is wrapped around the Cougars. On Thursday, he released Part 1 of a two-part interview with Brodsky, who also is a former chairman of the WHL’s board of governors. . . . It is right here.


Carey


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Spokane Chiefs retired No. 9 on Friday night in honour of  F Tyler Johnson, who put up 128 goals and 154 assists in 266 regular-season games over four seasons (2007-11). Johnson, who is from Spokane, helped the Chiefs win the 2008 Memorial Cup title. He is in his ninth NHL season, the first eight with the Tampa Bay Lightning and this one with the Chicago Blackhawks. However, injuries have limited him to eight games this season.  . . . F Bear Hughes, who had been wearing No. 9, gave his sweater to Johnson and now wears No. 8. . . . Among those in attendance in Spokane was former Chiefs GM Tim Speltz and former head coach Bill Peters, whose final season there was 2007-08. . . . F Ray Whitney is the only other Spokane player to have had his number (14) retired. . . .

The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder and Eric Thurston, the general manager and head coach, have agreed on a contract extension that runs through 2024-25. According to a news release, the contract makes “Eric one of the highest-paid coaches in the AJHL.” No figures were release. He has been with the Thunder since March 13, 2018.


Passwords


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.


Rodent

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while watching Dean and Frank do the Christmas thing . . .

Scattershooting2

I spent some time running errands on Sunday afternoon, which means I stayed in the Tucson while Dorothy went in and out of a few stores. Why did I stay in the Tucson? So that I could listen to the CFL’s West final. It was the last game of Hall of Famer Bob Irving’s superb play-by-play career and he went out — as one might expect — by having an excellent game. . . . While he now may be official retired, he does have to be on the air at some point during the Grey Cup game’s national broadcast, doesn’t he?


Elf


It was Sunday at 5:05 p.m. PT when Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted: Canucks“Hearing tonight that Bruce Boudreau will be the next coach of the Vancouver Canucks.” . . . And the social media feeding frenzy was on. It continued for the better part of five hours until the Vancouver Canucks issued a news release at 10:30, confirming what had already been leaked, that general manager Jim Benning, assistant GM John Weisbrod, head coach Travis Green and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner had been fired. . . . Stan Smyl now is the interim GM, with Ryan Johnson the interim assistant GM. Bruce Boudreau is the head coach, apparently signing on for the remainder of this season and 2022-23, with Scott Walker coming in as assistant coach. . . . If you think coaching is responsible for the Canucks’ woes, you really haven’t been paying attention. . . . BTW, Green is signed through next season. . . . Surely it is only a coincidence that the Canucks have been mostly dysfunctional since then-president Trevor Linden disappeared into the ether. . . . And here’s hoping the Canucks’ fans are prepared for another four- or five-year plan to be put into place because that’s where this is headed.


Denial


HEY, KID, SEAL THAT EDGE: Mike Vrabel, now the head coach of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, played for the New England Patriots and, according to former QB Matt Cassell, was on the phone while on the way home after a game in Kansas City. Cassell wrote at NBC.com that Vrabel was saying: “We’ve got to be better at the end of the line of scrimmage on the defensive side! . . . We’ve got to set the edge in the run game! The interior guys, look, we can set up some stunts!” . . . Cassell then pointed out that Vrabel “was talking to a fellow dad — about the Pee Wee team of 7- and 8-year-olds he was coaching.”


NYET, NYET: Bill Peters, once the head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, was fired on Tuesday by Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. He was in his second season with the KHL team. . . . Avtomobilist signed Peters in April 2020. He had been head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames until resigning on Nov. 29, 2019 after he was alleged to have used racial slurs and been physically abusive with players while in the Chicago Blackhawks’ organization. . . . Avtomobilist was 14-15-5 and holding down the Western Conference’s last playoff spot when Peters was replaced by Nikolai Zavarukhin. . . . Peters, now 56, spent three seasons (2005-08) as the Chiefs’ head coach.




VIEW FROM BEANTOWN: I was watching the Detroit Red Wings and the Bruins from Boston on Tuesday night and Jack Edwards, the TV voice of the Beantowners, kept referring to F Brad Marchand as having been suspended for an “alleged” slewfoot when he took down D Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Vancouver Canucks. And that’s when it dawned on me that Edwards really is “alleged” to be an NHL play-by-play guy. . . . Edwards wouldn’t even admit that there was a slew-foot after watching a replay, or maybe his Bruins toque had slid over his eyes.


Peanuts


HEADLINES: At AwfulAnnouncing.com — MLB insider Marcus Stroman breaks the news that he signed with the Cubs. . . . At fark.com: Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy tests positive for COVID-19, blames the officials.


PERRY TIME: “Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma to seek his fortune in California,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, who also supplied the above Headlines, “finding about $100 million when he got there. In other words, he fared a little better than Tom Joad.”

——

One more from Perry: “Topps, Donruss and Score are scrambling to produce the first fake Antonio Brown trading card. Or is it Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson?”


HEY, UNCLE, HOW’S THAT? D Graydon Gotaas, who scored the Edmonton Oil Kings’ Teddy Bear goal on Saturday night, is the nephew of Steve Gotaas, who put up 314 points in 266 regular-season games with the Prince Albert Raiders (1983-87). Graydon, 17, scored his first Edmonton goal in his first game with the Oil Kings, who acquired him from the Raiders in October. He had been playing for his hometown Camrose Kodiaks of the AJHL.


Empty


NOTHING WRONG HERE: Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey unfiltered after Hockey Canada issued invitations to its national junior team’s selection camp:

“Connor Bedard is not a lock to make Canada’s World Junior team, but it would be a shock if he were not on the final roster. All Canada’s coaching staff has to do is go back and look at the tapes of both Bedard and Shane Wright in last summer’s World Under-18 championship and see what those two young men did with the maple leaf on their chests. Granted, there is a big difference between being 15 and playing against 17-year-olds and being 16 and playing against 19-year-olds, but still. People keep looking at the scoring totals put up by Bedard and Wright this season and continue to ask what is wrong. Nothing is wrong. These two young men are going to be just fine.”

——

In the same piece, Campbell also dropped this gem: “Patrick Roy claims the Montreal Canadiens have nothing to lose by making him the GM. That’s some sound reasoning right there.”


WHEELING AND DEALING: If you ever wondered what the best junior hockey Raidersplayer in the world might bring in a trade, well, we found out on Wednesday. That’s when the Prince Albert Raiders dealt D Kaiden Guhle, 19, to the Edmonton Oil Kings for F Carson Latimer, 18, D Eric Johnston, 17, and as many as four draft picks — a 2021 first that originated with the Kelowna Rockets, a 2023 first, a 2022 sixth and a conditional 2025 third. . . . The deal came just four days after Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jason Kerr of the Prince Albert Daily Herald that Guhle “might be, for his age, the best player in the world. He’s a special player.” . . . Do you think Habscheid really meant it, or was he just trying to drive up the price?


Waldo


NOT A POSITIVE TIME: The OHL postponed a Saturday night game that was to have had the Mississauga Steelheads visit Peterborough after a Petes player came up positive. “Our actions were to hopefully alleviate concerns,” David Branch, the OHL commissioner, told the Peterborough Examiner. “There was a positive test, the numbers we’re not disclosing and the names we’re  not disclosing, and we took the action. The player are being tested once again and we’ll see how it evolves.” . . . Earlier in the week, the OHL had to shutdown the Sudbury Wolves after 12 positive tests.


ICYMI: G Nolan Maier made his 177th regular-season appearance for the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday night in a 6-2 victory over the Ice in Winnipeg. That equalled the franchise record that he now shares with Braden Holtby (2005-09). . . .

Some shutouts are more special than others. Right, Jackson Unger? Unger, a 16-year-old from Calgary, posted his first WHL victory and shutout — he stopped 30 shots — on Friday night when the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Rebels, 4-0, in Red Deer. This one was extra special, though, because Unger blanked the Rebels in their Teddy Bear Toss game. . . . As for the Teddy Bears, the fans tossed them late in the game after the Warriors had scored their final goal into an empty net.


NO LOVE HERE: Olen Zellweger put up six points — a goal and five assists — Everettas the Everett Silvertips beat the visiting Tri-City Americans, 8-2, on Friday night. That set a club record for most points by a defenceman in one game, breaking the mark that had been held by fan-favourite Mitch Love, who had a goal and four assists in a 5-2 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon on Nov. 6, 2004. Interestingly, Love scored his goal on the PP and added three PP assists and one on a shorthanded EN goal. That was Love’s first WHL season — he finished with nine goals and 20 assists in 59 games. . . . Zellweger, 18, came out of his six-pointer with seven goals and 19 assists in 19 games. He went into this season with 25 points, including 21 assists, in 70 career games over three seasons. . . . No, he isn’t related to Renée.


THE COACHING GAME: The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks fired Doug Johnson, their general manager and head coach, on Saturday. Johnson, 45, who played three seasons (1993-96) with the Hawks, had been with Nipawin since March 2010. He is a three-time SJHL coach of the year and the franchise’s winningest head coach. Assistant coach Tad Kozun, a 28-year-old Nipawin native, has been named interim head coach. At the time of the firing, the Hawks were 10-12-5, and tied for third in the four-team Sherwood Division, six points out of second.


Donuts


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.

Oh my, those are some horrid numbers . . . How do you hit a homer and not get credit for a run? . . . Some coaching news here, too

OK. I need someone to tell me that isn’t a nightmare. Surely this isn’t really happening . . . I must have fallen asleep while hunkered down in my recliner . . . Tell me that I did and that none of what follows really happened . . .

It was Wednesday evening when I saw a couple of tweets from Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) of CNN.

The first one showed reported U.S. coronavirus cases (I have added Thursday’s updated numbers):

Feb. 15: 15 cases.

March 15: 3,485 cases.

April 15: 638,111 cases.

April 16: 671,151 cases.

The second one showed reported U.S. coronavirus deaths:

Feb. 15: 0 deaths.

March 15: 65 deaths.

April 15: 30,844 deaths.

April 16: 33,268 deaths.

More than 2,000 people a day are dying from this virus and Agent Orange is nattering on ad nauseam about opening things up. On Thursday, he said: “Our experts say the curve has flattened and the peak in new cases is behind us.”

While still digesting those numbers, all of which are from Johns Hopkins University where they are tracking these things, there came news that Brian Allen, a centre with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, tested positive three weeks ago. Allen, who now is said to be symptom-free, is the first active NFLer to publicly acknowledge having tested positive. . . . On Thursday came word that Von Miller, a Pro Bowl linebacker with the Denver Broncos, became No. 2 when he tested positive.

And then, as if those figures aren’t bad enough, I awaken Thursday morning to the news that some quack doctor, who surely is in cahoots with Agent Orange, doesn’t think it would be a big deal if schools go back in and a bunch of children die. Obviously, he is perturbed by the fact that there wasn’t even one school shooting in the Excited States in March for the first time since something like 2002. And later in the day, it was Dr. Phil’s turn. (I don’t know if it means anything but the two quacks were given their TV starts by Oprah Winfrey, whose first names spelled backwards is . . . 

And let us not forget the goofy Nebraska state senators who, as Brad Dickson put it on Twitter, “want to basically end social distancing so everyone catches Covid & develops herd immunity. Ya know, it may be faster to just behead the elderly and the vulnerable. #WorstIdeaEver.”

Oh, and what about those covidiots in Michigan who protested at the state capitol in Lansing, demanding that the economy be reopened and damn the consequences. Hey, gang, yes, you have the right to protest but maybe you should first check with the doctors, nurses, first-responders, police and all of those people who are fighting the good fight on your behalf.

Somewhere in all of this I saw something about Agent Orange suggesting the U.S.-Canada border “will be one of the early borders to be released.” The man who speaks in word salad also said this: “Canada’s doing well, we’re doing well, so we’ll see.” Yes, so much winning in the Excited States!

It remained for Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario, to explain things: “I don’t want (Americans) in Ontario.”

In fact, let’s close that border permanently, or at least until Agent Orange and all of his old white pals sail off into the sunset, which might be the only thing that will bring an end to this nightmare.

Hey, maybe we could build a wall and have the Americans pay for it.


On a lighter note, the San Francisco Giants were playing the Los Angeles Dodgers in a game 12 years ago when a batter hit a single that was turned into a home run after video review, but that same batter didn’t score a run. . . . Seriously! . . . Jayson Stark of The Athletic has that great story right here. . . . Stories like these are why I subscribe to The Athletic, which will give you a 90-day free trial these days.


Cockroach


Webster Garrison, a former manager of baseball’s Vancouver Canadians, is breathing on his own and looks to be on the way to recovery after testing positive more than a month ago. . . . Garrison now is a minor-league coach with the Oakland A’s. . . . Garrison, 54, had been intubated for more than three weeks and remains in a Louisiana hospital.


The Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, which is based in Calgary, has shut down for the rest of 2020, cancelling its October induction gala in the process. Also cancelled is the Hall’s Sport + Spirit Charity Gala that was to have been held on May 27. . . .

The seven-team Canadian Elite Basketball Team (CEBL) has postponed the start of its regular season and now is hoping to get started at some point in June. It was to have begun its second season on May 7. . . .

The Tour de France now is scheduled to start on Aug. 29 and run through Sept. 20. Originally, it was to start on June 27. . . . As the race ends, tennis’s French Open will be be starting. . . .

In soccer, the Belarusian women’s Premier League, which was to have opened its season today, has postponed the start of its season indefinitely. . . .

The Mackenzie Tour — aka PGA Tour Canada — has postponed the first six events of its 2020 schedule. Those events had been scheduled for Vancouver (May 28-31), Victoria (June 4-7), Kelowna (June 11-14), Lethbridge (June 25-28), Cardigan, P.E.I. (July 2-5) and Toronto (July 9-12). . . . The MacKenzie Tour plans on issuing an update before the end of this month.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, has the Thought for the Day, this one from A.J. Liebling: “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” . . . OK, that actually was the Thought for Yesterday. Here’s the Thought for the Day, from Will Rogers: “Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.”


Bacon


Hank Steinbrenner, son of the late George Steinbrenner and a co-owner of the New York Yankees, died on Tuesday after a long battle with various health-related issues. . . . It was in 2008 when Hank endeared himself to Yankees fans with this:

“”Red Sox Nation? What a bunch of bullshit that is. That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans. Go anywhere in America and you won’t see Red Sox hats and jackets, you’ll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We’re going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”


Chris Hebb, the commissioner of the 18-team BCHL, spent some time chatting with Steve Ewen of Postmedia earlier this week. . . . The BCHL was founded in 1961. “We’ve never taken a dime of government support in the history of this league,” Hebb told Ewen. “Here we are, in 18 communities now. In many cases, we are the Vancouver Canucks of those communities, and we could lose teams out of this (COVID-19 crisis).” . . . Reading Hebb’s comments leaves one wondering how many other junior leagues are faced with this same predicament. . . . Ewen’s piece is right here.


Bill Peters is the new head coach of Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, a Russian team in the KHL. . . . Peters has been out of coaching since he resigned as the head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames on Nov. 29. That came after he was accused of using a racial slur and of kicking a player. . . . Peters signed a two-year contract with the KHL team. . . . Avtomobilist’s top players are former NHL star Pavel Datsyuk and Nigel Dawes, who was a terrific player with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice (2001-05). . . . Via a video hookup, Peters, a former Spokane Chiefs coach, told Russian reporters: “I think as time goes on we all grow and improve and become better versions of ourselves, and I’m no different than that. You learn from all the experiences that you’re in, and you become better.”


The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express has signed Dan Cioffi as its new head coach. . . . In 2019-20, he was the head coach of the B.C. Major Midget League’s Valley West Giants. . . . Cioffi has BCHL experience, having worked as an associate coach with the Express (2007-10) and also with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (associate coach) and Trail Smoke Eaters (director of player personnel). . . . In Coquitlam, Cioffi replaces Jason Fortier, the reigning BCHL coach of the year who left after being unable to come to terms on a contract. He has since signed on as the general manager and head coach of the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes.


Toast


The SJHL’s Estevan Bruins fired Chris Lewgood, their general manager and head coach, on Wednesday. . . . According to a news release, Cory Prokop, the Bruins’ president, announced “that the board made this very difficult decision after determining that the future success of the team, both on and off the ice, would be best served with new leadership at the GM/head coach position.” . . . Lewgood just completed his seventh season as the Bruins’ head coach and had never finished out of the playoffs. They lost the 2017-18 final in seven games to the Nipawin Hawks. . . . In 2019-20, the Bruins finished second in the Viterra Division, at 31-23-4. . . . Estevan is scheduled to be the host team for the 2022 Centennial Cup tournament.


Todd Woodcroft, who had been an assistant coach with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, has signed on as the head coach of the U of Vermont Catamounts. . . . Woodcroft takes over from the retiring Kevin Sneddon, the head coach for the past 17 seasons. . . . The Catamounts finished with a 5-23-6 record in 2019-20, their poorest showing since 2001-02.


Jeff Tambellini is leaving the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters after two seasons as general manager and head coach. Tambellini, 36, is joining the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning as an NCAA free-agent recruiter and pro scout. . . . In his two seasons in Trail, the Smokies were 70-46-15 with one tie. . . . Tambellini is to help in the search for his replacement in Trail, and he also will serve as a special advisor for 2020-21.


Typing

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