Things are messy in Portland . . . BCHL aiming for Dec. 1 start after long training camps . . . Stampede Corral soon to fall


We are halfway through July and the Portland Winterhawks haven’t yet changed hands.

Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune reported on June 18 that the WHL “is optimistic that the Winterhawks will have a new owner by the end of July.”

In that story, Danzer quoted Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, as having told whlreporters: “We’re hopeful that we will be in a position later this month and into July to select a candidate to become the new owner of the Portland Winterhawks. It’s important to have that resolved as quickly as possible. Our target is to have that resolved by sometime in July.”

If you aren’t aware, the Portland franchise has been in receivership since May 7 after owner Bill Gallacher ran into some financial difficulties. The Winterhawks had been used as part of the collateral for a Cdn $20-million loan for which a repayment deadline was missed.

However, things have changed in Portland.

Of course, there is the pandemic. Also, the city has been through seven weeks of protests and demonstrations against the treatment of Black Americans by police. There’s a lot more right here on what transpired in Portland on Thursday night.

On Friday, Oregon Public Broadcasting, in a piece that is right here, reported:

“Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off.”

A WHL fan who lives in Portland emailed me . . .

“The Oregon Health Authority reported a record-high 437 new coronavirus cases and two deaths on Thursday. It’s the third consecutive week that state officials reported a record-breaking daily total, according to Oregon Live. . . .

“A headline from oregonlive.com: Federal officers respond to Portland protests with gas, munitions Thursday amid growing attention from Trump administration . . .”

Then he added: “Gregg, it is an absolute mess and disaster in Portland . . . and in Oregon. . . . Oregon — record number of COVID cases . . . hospitalizations are on their way up — it’s very sad.

“I have just gotten numb to the protests . . . downtown businesses are being crippled. No sane person wants to go down to the city after about 5 p.m.

“NOBODY would want to go near the Rose Quarter for a game these days.”

The Winterhawks play out of Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the Moda Center, both of which are in the Rose Quarter.

Perhaps there might be better times to try to sell a WHL franchise in the Rose City.


Clone


The BCHL began its 2019-20 season on Sept. 6. On Friday, it announced that it “is BCHLplanning to start the 2020-21 regular season on Dec. 1, pending approval from the Provincial Health Office (PHO).” . . . Here’s Chris Hebb, the BCHL commissioner, from a news release: “We’ve been having discussions with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture since March around a safe return to play. The PHO has indicated to us that waiting until December gives us the best chance at ensuring we have an uninterrupted season, while also maximizing the amount of regular-season games we’ll be able to play.” . . . Teams will be allowed to open on-ice sessions on Sept. 8 — yes, almost three months before they hope to open the season. . . . The BCHL news release is right here. . . . The Nanaimo Clippers announced that “all players will be reporting” as of Sept. 8 and that teams in the Island Division will hold a tournament in October. . . .

Brian Wiebe, who covers the BCHL like fog atop the Coquihalla, posted a Q&A with Hebb.

Asked if he is “convinced that B.C. and Canada will be healthy enough for the BCHL to return to play in December,” Hebb told Wiebe: “We’re going to give the health authorities a chance to ascertain that. The problem that all of us have is that we’re not medical doctors. One of the things we’ve done a good job with at the BCHL is listening. Starting December 1 gives you a much better chance of not getting shut down because if the health authorities allow you to play in December, it’s probably a pretty good sign that they think things are under control.”

Hebb also explains how the BCHL arrived at the Dec. 1 date, how many games each team may play in the regular season, if the season could start earlier than Dec. 1, how many fans might be allowed in arenas, what teams might do with training camps that could run to three months, the possibility of the Wenatchee Wild operating out of Canada, and a whole lot more.

It’s all-encompassing and it’s right here.


The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders reported a loss of $80,906 at their annual general meeting on Thursday night. “The Stampeders reported a substantial loss this year, mainly due to a decrease in ticket sales, the inability to hold a spring camp, loss of playoff revenue, and fundraising falling short thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a news release on the team’s website. . . . There is more right here. . . . Earlier this month, Danielle Gordon-Broome of the Swan Valley Star and Times reported that the Stampeders “went into last season carrying nearly $200,000 in debt.”



Coupon


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NFL Players Association revealed on Thursday that 72 players had tested positive as of July 10. . . . Some teams will be having rookies report to training camp this weekend. . . . Nate Davis wrote in Thursday’s USA TODAY: “The league and players union still have widespread issues to resolve, including opt-out scenarios for players and numerous workplace protocols as well as COVID-19 testing procedures and even the actual number of preseason games, before football resumes in any form or fashion.” . . .

Dan Graziano of ESPN tweeted a number of the NFL’s travel rules that will be in place for this season, including no use of public or private transportation to or in other cities; no leaving hotel to go to restaurants open to public; no room visits by anyone outside the traveling party; no use of shared hotel facilities (pool, gym, etc.); masks required while traveling; buses at no more than 50 percent capacity; and at least one open seat between passengers on the plane. . . .

——

NCAA president Mark Emmert had this to say on Thursday: “Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.” . . .

Here’s Pat Forde of si.com:

“There will be no college football crowds of the usual size. There might not be college football, period. Pessimism percolates as the time for solutions dwindles. We are speeding in the wrong direction as a nation in terms of combating the coronavirus pandemic, and one of the cultural casualties of American casualness is an endeavor millions of us want and every college athletic department needs.

“If the season dies, we know who had the biggest hand in killing any chance of it happening: Donald Trump.” . . . The complete column is right here. . . .

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference has suspended all intercollegiate athletics through Nov. 30, a move that affects 17 sports. A decision on the status of competition after Nov. 30 is expected to be made by Oct. 15. Simon Fraser U of Burnaby, B.C., is a member of the GNAC. . . .

The U of New Hampshire has cancelled all fall sports for its athletics teams in football, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and women’s volleyball. . . . A decision on winter sports, including hockey and basketball, is to be made at some point “in early fall,” according to the school. . . .

The West Coast Conference has shut down most of its sports until at least Sept. 24. Sports impacted are men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. Not impacted, at least not yet, are men’s and women’s basketball and football. . . .

The Oregon-based four-team Wild West League, a wood-bat college-level baseball circuit in its infancy, is on hiatus for at least seven days after two players tested positive. The WWL made the announcement on Wednesday, just four days after beginning its first season. The Gresham Grey Wolves, Portland Gherkins, Portland Pickles ad West Linn Knights are the four teams in the league. . . .

The Canada West conference announced on Wednesday that it will hold championships in golf and swimming, but the cross-country championship won’t go ahead. . . . The golf championship tournament is scheduled for the Okanagan Golf Club in Kelowna, Oct. 2-4, with the swimming championship to be held at the U of Calgary sometime early in 2021 rather than in November. . . .

——

MLB announced nine players and one staff member tested positive in the week that ended on Thursday. MLB now has had 93 positive tests — 80 players and 13 staff members since late last month. . . . OF Austin Meadows, an all-star with the Tampa Bay Rays, is one of the players to have tested positive. . . . OF Yasiel Puig, a free agent, revealed on Friday that he has tested positive. He reportedly was on the verge of signing with the Atlanta Braves, but the positive test short-circuited that deal. . . . Twenty-eight of MLB’s 30 teams have had at least one positive test in their organization. . . .

——

D Caleb Jones of the Edmonton Oilers skated with the team’s first group on Friday, then told reporters that he had tested positive, which is why had missed the first few days of training camp. He doesn’t know how or where he contracted the virus, but tested positive after arriving in Edmonton from Dallas and being tested two weeks ago. . . . Jones is one of only three NHLers whose positive tests have been made public, the others being F Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and F Jayce Hawryluk of the Ottawa Senators. . . .

——

The KHL team Kunlun Red Star will play its entire 2020-21 season out of Russia. It is moving its operation to Mytishchi, about 20 km northeast of Moscow. . . . Mattias Forsblom of svenski.yle.fi reported that Kunlun and Dinamo Riga, from Latvia, were told by the KHL that they had to move to Russia because borders are closed and there aren’t any plans to open them. . . . Dinamo Minsk (Belarus), Jokerit (Finland) and Barys Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) also operate from outside of Russia, but there haven’t yet been announcements concerning their relocation. . . . The KHL plans on starting its regular season on Sept. 2. . . .

——

The Central Okanagan Minor Baseball Association suspended play on Friday because “a player within the organization has come in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.” There aren’t any confirmed cases with players or coaches, but the association has suspended activities as a precaution. . . . The association, which is based in Kelowna, covers girls’ and boys’ teams from ages five to 18.


Headline at The Onion: Jerry Jones Changes Team’s Name To Redskins Now That It’s Available.


Billy Keane is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . He spent three seasons as the head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues before being replaced by Gord Burnett prior to last season. Burnett signed on as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors earlier this month. . . . Keane is a brother to former WHL/NHL F Mike Keane.


Water

Huskies dump Raiders at Memorial Cup. . . . WHL champs have lost 12 straight. . . . Must-win situation on Tuesday


ThisThat

F Killian Hutt (Portland, Regina, Swift Current, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Herford (Germany, Regionalliga). This season, in 32 games, he put up 49 goals and 83 assists. He led the league in assists and points. . . .

D Dan Gibb (Prince George, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he had two goals and 12 assists in 43 games. . . .

D Ryan Button (Prince Albert, Seattle, 2007-11) has signed a two-year contract with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with Red Bull Munich (Germany, DEL), he had three goals and 14 assists in 48 games. He is a dual German-Canadian citizen.


ThisThat

F Tyler Hinam’s second goal of the game, at 15:28 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie and sent the QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on their way to a 6-3 victory over the 2019MCWHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders at the Memorial Cup tournament in Halifax. . . . The Raiders (0-2) are to play the OHL-champion Guelph Storm (1-1) tonight. A loss would eliminate the WHL champs. . . . The Raiders haven’t lost three straight games this season. . . . The host Mooseheads (2-0) and the Huskies (1-1) conclude the round-robin portion of the tournament on Wednesday. . . . With the score 3-3, Huskies D Noah Dobson seized a neutral zone turnover and took the puck down the right side and go it to the net, from where Hinam, who is from Cole Harbour, N.S., beat G Ian Scott. . . . F Peter Abbandonato added insurance at 16:53, and Dobson got the empty-netter at 18:19. . . . F Noah Gregor, perhaps the best player on the ice, had a goal and two assists for the Raiders. . . . F Cole Fonstad and D Brayden Pachal added a goal each for the Raiders. . . . The Huskies were 1-3 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-3. . . . Each team hit three or four posts in a game that featured a lot of scoring chances. . . . Huskies G Sam Harvey blocked 30 shots, three more than Scott.

——

Here’s how Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com explained the situation in Halifax: “If the Raiders beat the Storm on Tuesday and the Huskies (1-1) defeat the Halifax Mooseheads (2-0) on Wednesday, then the Raiders and Storm would play a tiebreaker on Thursday. But if the Raiders defeat the Storm and the Mooseheads beat the Huskies, then there would be a three-way tiebreaking scenario between the Storm, Raiders and Huskies who would all have records of 1-2. A Raiders loss would be the end to their tournament.”

D’Andrea’s complete story is right here.

——

JUST NOTES: When the CHL regular-season ended, Rouyn-Noranda was 59-8-1 and ranked No. 1, with the Raiders at 54-10-4 and in the No. 2 slot. . . . WHL champions now have lost 12 straight games at the Memorial Cup. It all started when the Kelowna Rockets were beaten, 2-1 in OT, by the Oshawa Generals in the 2015 final. . . . In 2016, the Brandon Wheat Kings went 0-3, while the host Red Deer Rebels were going 2-2. In 2017, the Seattle Thunderbirds went 0-3 in Windsor, Ont. In 2018, the Swift Current Broncos went 0-3 in Regina, while the host Pats were 3-2.  The Raiders now are 0-2. . . . Add up the records of the WHL champions and you get 0-12. . . . The WHL champs have been outscored 58-22 in those losses. . . . OHL teams have won five of the past 10 tournaments, with QMJHL teams winning four times and the WHL once (Edmonton Oil Kings, 2014). . . . The Raiders are 0-7 on the PP through two games. . . . Mario Poulliot, Rouyn-Noranda’s general manager and head coach, was with the Memorial Cup-winning Acadie-Bathurst Titan in Regina a year ago. Huskies D Noah Dobson also was with the Titan. The Huskies acquired Dobson early this season.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Thank you very much.


The MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues are looking for a head coach after announcing on Monday that they and head coach Billy Keane “have agreed to part ways.” . . . Keane had been an assistant coach with the Blues for six seasons (2010-16) when he took over as head coach prior to the 2016-17 season. He was the general manager and head coach each of the past two seasons. . . . Keane, who is from Winnipeg, is a brother to former WHL/NHL F Mike Keane. . . . The Blues were purchased in April by 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, the owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. On May 14, Taras McEwen, the Ice’s manager of scouting and hockey operations, was named the Blues’ GM. . . . At that time, Keane told Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press that “I’m definitely interested” in staying on as head coach.


Todd Watson, a former OHL coach, is the new head coach of the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes. . . . Watson, 52, was an assistant GM/assistant coach with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers for two seasons (2005-07) and the head coach of the Saginaw Spirit for three-plus seasons (2007-11). He was the Spirit’s general manager for the last two-plus seasons of his stint there.


Tweetoftheday