B.C.’s WHL, BCHL teams are looking for $9.5 million from gov’t . . . We remember Mickey Mouse Night at the Crushed Can . . . Hey, whatever happened to Doyle Potenteau?

——

Walter Gretzky would have loved this little guy’s approach to the game . . .


As the sun set on Thursday, there didn’t seem to be anything new to report on bchlthe BCHL, its 17 teams and a potential return to play. . . . During Question Period on Wednesday in Victoria, Shirley Bond, the interim leader of the B.C. Liberals and the MLA for Prince George-Valemount, asked: “Simple question, hopefully a very simple answer: Will the premier provide B.C.’s local hockey teams with the $9.5 million in funding they need to survive the hockey season? They are asking for $9.5 million so that WHL teams and B.C. Hockey League teams, like the premier’s own Victoria Grizzlies and my Prince George Spruce Kings, can survive.” . . . Premier John Horgan, the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island, replied: “There’s going to be more news about both hockey leagues. They provide an economic benefit. Certainly the WHL restart will be a bonus for Kamloops and Kelowna. But it will also be a difficult time for those teams, because outside of those two cities, they will not be having revenue coming in. We understand the issue. We’ve been working on it for a number of months. I regrettably have to say, ‘Stay tuned’ at this point.” . . . Bob Mackin of theBreaker.news obtained a letter written last week by Chris Hebb, the BCHL’s commissioner, to government and health officials. In his report, Mackin wrote: “If (the) BCHL does not get the go-ahead by March 3 for the its return-to-play plan, Hebb wrote that a motion will be prepared for team owners to vote March 4 to cancel the season.” . . . Apparently, that didn’t happen on Thursday. . . .  Jay Janower of Global tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that “it’s my understanding that as of right now, league will continue to hold its vote on cancelling the season on Friday.” . . . That, of course, would be today. The waiting game continues.


Trees


It was on Feb. 25 when I wrote this:

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

It turns out I wasn’t alone with that thought.

Steve Ewen, who covers junior hockey, the Vancouver Giants in particular, for Postmedia, wrote this on Wednesday:

“The WHL fanned on a glorious opportunity to show they believe intentions outweigh outcomes. . . .

“No one official has ruled it out, but playoffs aren’t likely. This is going to be an exhibition season. At its very best, it’s giving players something to grasp onto in the midst of this pandemic chaos. For some, it’s also a chance to show their wares for NHL teams or minor-pro clubs, or even Canadian universities moving forward.

“So why did the WHL stick to the traditional roster construction and only allow three 20-year-olds per team? Why not give teams a fourth or even a fifth 20-year-old so they can bolster the resume of some older players who have been loyal to the league in this very tricky time?”

Ewen’s complete piece is right here.



What ever happened to . . . Doyle Potenteau?

Potenteau spent a lot of years at the Kelowna Daily Courier and was a regular on the WHL beat as he wrote and wrote and wrote, mostly about the Kelowna Rockets.

At one point, he started up an on-line publication — DubNation — that was all WHL all the time, and really was ahead of its time.

He left print journalism a while back — he had left sports and was the Daily Courier’s managing editor — and now is in TV with Global Okanagan out of Kelowna. That’s him in the above photo — top row, second from right.


The 2022 Arctic Winter Games have been postponed. They were to have been held in Wood Buffalo, Alta., from March 6-12, 2022. The Games that attract about 2,000 international participants normally are held every two years. The 2020 Games were to have been held in Whitehorse but were cancelled a week before opening. Organizers didn’t want a repeat of that so made the decision well in advance.



It is readily apparent that the medical profession continues to learn new things about COVID-19 as we move through this pandemic. On Thursday, there were reports about a peer-reviewed study of pro athletes returning to play after dealing with the coronavirus that found few cases of myocarditis or pericarditis. . . . Thomas Ketko of Sportsnet reported that “several professional North American sports leagues collaborated on the effort, including the NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, WNBA and MLS. A total of 789 athletes who had COVID-19 participated in the study, which took place between May and October 2020 and sought to gauge how often the leagues’ return-to-play cardiac screening techniques found instances of inflammatory heart disease.” . . . Only five of those athletes were found to have inflammation of the heart. . . . Ketko also reported that “prior studies on the risk COVID-19 poses to the heart drew more uncertain conclusions, too.” For example, one earlier study found that 60 of 100 people who had tested positive had at least some signs of myocarditis. . . . Yes, the learning continues. . . . Ketko’s complete story is right here.


Bernie Lynch, a former WHL coach (Regina Pats, 1988-89), has been suspended by the junior A Fort Frances Lakers of the Superior International Junior Hockey League. According to a report from CBC News, Lynch was suspended on Jan. 2 via a letter that referenced “inappropriate” emails and conduct. He also was ordered to have no further contact with the players. . . . The CBC report also notes that “more than two months later, neither the team nor the league has publicly disclosed this.” . . . According to the CBC story, “Hockey Canada says it has launched an investigation, under the guidance of Glen McCurdie, its vice-president of insurance and risk management. Yet neither the player nor his parents have been contacted. Nor, apparently, has Lynch.” . . . The entire CBC story is right here.


Hello there, ESPN. It’s been a long winter so I really have been looking forward to watching some baseball. But I have tried to watch two of your telecasts in the last few days — Cubs and Mariners, then Nationals and Mets — but have bailed on both of them. I want to watch baseball with the accompanying play-by-play and commentary, and not be subjected to a bunch of interviews over top of the play. Please stop trying to re-invent the wheel. . . . Thank you for listening!


Bacon


The IIHF’s nine-team 2021 women’s world championship that is scheduled to be held in Halifax and Truro, N.S., has been moved to May 6-16. It had been scheduled for April 7-17 in those communities. . . . The 2020 tournament was to have been held there but was cancelled. . . . The IIHF is hoping that a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend games.


Some NCAA hockey teams are dealing with virus-related issues. . . . Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonCHN) reported via Twitter on Thursday: “Merrimack won’t be able to continue with its season. Games vs. UVM (the U of Vermont) this weekend are canceled and per a source, Merrimack won’t compete in the HEA playoffs, which is scheduled to begin with the first round on Wednesday.” . . . St. Lawrence U cancelled its last four regular-season games, all of which were to have been against Clarkson. . . . Earlier, Colorado College had cancelled its final two games, both against Denver, that had been scheduled for last night (Thursday) and Saturday. . . . College Hockey News has more right here.


Restrictions are being loosened in Nova Scotia, meaning the province’s three QMJHL teams will be allowed to play home games again. The Halifax Mooseheads are scheduled to play at home three times in the next 10 days, while the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have one home game scheduled.



DrGoogle


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.


JUST NOTES: Phil Andrews is returning as the radio voice of the Regina Pats on 620 CKRM. He had been the play-by-play voice since 2011, and took over as director of media and communications in 2016. He left that post in July and the position was filled by the hiring of Evan Daum, who will serve as the analyst on Pats’ broadcasts. CKRM will carry 19 of the club’s 24 games in the upcoming developmental season, with five weekdays games available on the station’s website. . . . The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers have signed Justin Falk as assistant general manager/assistant coach. A 32-year-old native of Snowflake, Man., Falk will work alongside GM Jeff Jeanson and head coach Kelvin Cech. Falk played in the WHL (2005-08) with the Calgary Hitmen and Spokane Chiefs before going on to a pro career that included stints with five NHL teams. He last played in 2018-19, when he spent time with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles and Belleville Senators and the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. . . . The Flyers also announced that Mike McAulay has added the director of player personnel duties to his previous job as head scout.


Pizza

Ridley rocks broadcast No. 4,000; WHL’s first Ridley Award goes to broadcast legend . . . BCHL to gov’t: Let us play or we’re done

There isn’t any doubt but that the highlight of the opening weekend of WHL play occurred in Medicine Hat on Saturday night when Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Tigers on CHAT, called his 4,000th game. . . . The hometown Tigers beat the Red Deer Rebels, 7-2, giving Ridley lots of goals to call. . . . Congratulations, Bob. The only thing missing was the fans, but had the house been packed the standing ovation would have delayed the start of the game by, oh, about an hour. . . . Ridley, 76, is the only play-by-play man the Tigers and their fans have known since they entered the league in time for the 1970-71 season. . . . Prior to Saturday’s game, the WHL introduced the Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence and named Ridley as its first recipient. There is a news release right here. . . . I would suggest that Ridley should have been named the only recipient. I mean, how high is the bar? Don’t forget that Ridley also drove the team bus for 45 seasons. Who else has done that? . . . It’s only surprising that Ridley isn’t in the Coffee Drinkers Hall of Fame, assuming there is such an honour. . . . I used to wonder why there wasn’t a country tune about a bus-driving play-by-play man. . . . Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News has more on Ridley right here.


For quite a while during this pandemic, I would post a lot of virus-related statistics. But I stopped in recent times because it is apparent that the numbers don’t mean anything to so many people. . . . I came to the realization a few weeks ago that people had become numb or desensitized to them. Does it matter to anyone that as of Saturday at 4 p.m. PT, Canada had 30,864 active cases and had experienced 21,960 deaths? Or that, as of 9 p.m. PT, there had been 2,524,413 deaths worldwide, with the United States’ total at 524,669? . . . Perhaps you have to have a personal connection to COVID-19 before the scope of all the numbers really hits you. Maybe you have to have lost a friend to it, or maybe you need to known a kidney transplant recipient whose donor died of COVID-19. Maybe you need to have a granddaughter whose daycare was impacted by community transmission that began at a trivia night in a big city bar before you realize — really realize — what’s going on here. . . . BTW, that trivia night has been linked to at least 300 cases.

“On March 17, 2020, Ontario and Alberta declared states of emergency,” writes Brooke Taylor of CTVNews.ca. “By March 20, when B.C., Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba also declared states of emergency, Canada had a total of 215 new cases of COVID-19, with a seven-day average of 127 cases. Eleven months later, on Feb. 25, 2021, Canada added 3,094 cases with a seven-day average of 2,961.”

Taylor’s story on how Canadians have become desensitized to the numbers is right here and it’s well worth a read.


NBC News — New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, goes into lockdown after 1 new COVID-19 case found. . . . The lockdown will allow people to leave home only for essential shopping and essential work. . . . New Zealand, one of the most successful developed nations in controlling the spread of the pandemic, has seen just over 2,000 cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.



Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The (Los Angeles) Dodgers did well to re-sign 36-year-old third baseman Justin Turner, described as ‘the heart and soul of this team’ by catcher Austin Barnes and many teammates. Turner wasn’t punished for his reckless display in the World Series — yanked from Game 6 after testing positive for the coronavirus, he showed up without a mask for much of the on-field celebration — but what’s the point? That is today’s America, jam-packed with folks who ridicule the pandemic and feel they’re quite above it all.”

——

One more note from Jenkins: “Heed these words from old friend Dusty Baker, who got his second vaccination shot Feb. 5: ‘I’m still pretending like I didn’t get my shots. You just can’t let your guard down, because there’s still so much about it that we don’t know.’ ”


Brush


Government and medical officials in Nova Scotia have shut down sports games in the province for four weeks. The order went into effect on Saturday. At the same time, practices are allowed for groups up to 25. The move follows the announcement of eight new cases on Thursday and 10 on Friday. . . . The 12-team Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, which played four games on Friday night, cancelled its season as of Saturday, 8 a.m., “due to the uncertainty of the future decisions of the N.S. government.”


Meanwhile, the QMJHL’s three New Brunswick-based teams — the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Moncton Wildcats and Saint John Sea Dogs — have received clearance from health officials to return to play on March 8. According to a QMJHL news release, the three teams “will only play against each other in March with fans in the buildings.” . . . Those teams last played in late November. Moncton has played 13 games, with the other two each having played 15.


Bob Mackin of theBreaker.news reported Saturday that the 17-team BCHL “is on the cusp of cancelling its season” if provincial officials “do not approve an amended season proposal by March 3.” . . . That, of course, would be Wednesday. . . . In a Feb. 26 letter to officials, which was obtained by theBreaker.news, Chris Hebb, the league’s commissioner, wrote: “We are simply out of time and can’t make our players and their parents wait any longer. The clock has run out.” . . . Mackin reported: “If the BCHL does not get the go-ahead by March 3 for its return-to-play plan, Hebb wrote that a motion will be prepared for team owners to vote March 4 to cancel the season.” . . . The BCHL’s return-to-play plan includes having teams play in five hub communities. . . . Mackin’s story is right here.


Danton Danielson no longer is the head coach of the U18 AAA Prince Albert Mintos. He been in the position for two seasons. In making the announcement via Twitter, Danielson said that his decision was “based on family considerations. My wife and I will be moving our family back to Saskatoon so that she can return to her job . . . and so that we can be close to our family support system.”


ICYMI, Taran Kozun, a former WHL goaltender, has joined his sixth team of this season, the ECHL’s Allen Americans. . . . Before heading to Allen, Kozun, the WHL’s top goaltender in 2014-15 with the Seattle Thunderbirds, had gotten into one game with each of the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks, Indy Fuel, Rapid City Rush and Orlando Solar Bears, and the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers. . . . He already has played in four games with the Americans. . . . Kozun, 26, was the goaltender of the year in Canadian university hockey in each of the previous two seasons while with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies.


Stars


——

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.


Kid

Welcome back, Jack! . . . Are you ready for Riders Trivia? . . . Fortier finds work in Texas


Good news is great for the soul.

Right?

OK, here’s some good news.

Jack Redlick, the Alberta Midget Hockey League’s coach of the year for 2018-19, has returned to the St. Albert Raiders as their head coach.

Redlick, a former WHLer (Kamloops, Vancouver, Regina, 2000-03), sat out the 2019-20 season after being seriously injured in an accident on June 29. Redlick, 36, was riding his motorcycle near Idaho Falls, Idaho, when another motorcycle driver crossed the centre line and struck him head-on.

In March, Redlick posted this on Facebook:

Redlick
Jack Redlick is fit and ready to get back into the coaching game. (Photo: Jack Redlick/Facebook)

“On my birthday eight months ago I got a birthday gift that forever changed my life. When a man crossed the centre line and hit me head on. After almost three months in the hospital, eight surgeries, an amputation and 55 pounds later, today I took my first running steps. I’ve figured out how to skate again and although neither running nor skating is pretty. I’m back, and it will only get better.

“I’ve had so many people say they are sorry this happened to me. My response is always the same: ‘Don’t be, you should be happy for me, I shouldn’t be here.’

“As coaches we always teach our players that in both hockey and life there are only two things you can truly control — your work ethic and your attitude. Might as well make what you can control positive in nature. Things happen for a reason. No sense bitching about it. Just OORAH up, and accept the challenge no matter the obstacles. Don’t waste your time with the negativity. Focus on the process and not the result. Live in those 10-second evolutions. Lol.

“All those hockey cliches that I preached to my players over the years, I’ve had to live by for the last eight months. Sport truly does reflect life.”

With all that Redlick has been through since the end of March, it’s great to see him back and eager to get started. So here’s hoping that the next hockey season gets started on time.



Here is some more good news; well, it is if you’re a fan of the Saskatchewan Roughriders or even just looking for something to do on a nightly basis. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post holds a Riders Trivia gathering every night at 9 o’clock CT. . . . You will find him on Twitter at @robvanstone and that will get you started.


Northland Properties, which is huge in the hospitality industry, has laid off thousands of workers, according to Bob Mackin of thebreaker.news. . . . Tom Gaglardi, who owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars and is the majority owner of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, is Northland’s president. His father, Bob, is the organization’s founder. . . . The company, which is based in Vancouver, had about 12,000 employees before all of this hit. Taj Kassam, the senior vice-president of corporate affairs, wouldn’t tell Mackin how many had been laid off. . . . Mackin’s story is right here.



The government of the province of Quebec wants sporting events cancelled through Aug. 31. The ban also will apply to cultural events and festivals. . . . However, the Montreal Impact of the MLS has said that it was told none of this will apply to professional sports teams. . . .

The Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament, which had been scheduled for Montreal from Aug. 7-16, has been postponed to Aug. 6-15, 2021. . . . Chances are that the men’s tournament, set for Toronto at the same time, also will be postponed. . . .

The XFL appears to have left us, without being able to complete its first season. The spring football league suspended its inaugural season on March 12. It now has laid off all employees and is refunding money to those who purchased 2021 season tickets. . . . Kevin Seifert and Field Yates of ESPN reported that the XFL “currently has no plans to return in 2021.” . . . Headline at fark.com: EXFL. . . .

Earlier this week, the 13-team National Lacrosse League cancelled the remainder of its regular season. It had suspended play on March 12. In a statement, the league said “officials are looking at any number of scenarios to return to play when all stakeholders and health officials deem that possible. There is no timeline on when decisions will be made.” . . . The NLL includes franchises in Calgary, Halifax, Saskatchewan, Toronto and Vancouver. . . .

With Japan now struggling to contain COVID-19, Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympic Summer Games, has cast some doubt on whether they will be held in 2021. “I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not,” he said on Friday. “We certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer.” . . . The Games were to have been held in July. They have been postponed to July 23, 2021, with the Paralympics to start on Aug. 24. . . .

Los Angeles County has extended what it calls its “safer-at-home” order through May 15. It was first set in place at midnight on March 20. . . .

The 2020 Cloverdale, B.C., Rodeo and Country Fair has been cancelled. It had been scheduled to run from May 15-18. . . . The Falkland, B.C., Stampede that is a May long weekend tradition has been postponed until Aug. 28-30. The Stampede was first held in 1919.


The Thought for the Day from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, this one from Will Rogers: “There are men running governments who shouldn’t be allowed to play with matches.”


Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated has taken a look at some of the ideas that have been floated regarding the potential return of pro sports to our entertainment landscape. . . . Word of warning: There isn’t any false hope in her story. All you will find here is reality. . . . Like this from Zach Binney, who has a PhD in epidemiology and teaches at Emory U in Atlanta:

“If people just decide to let it burn in most areas and we do lose a couple million people it’d probably be over by the fall. You’d have football. You’d also have two million dead people. And let’s talk about that number. We’re really bad at dealing with big numbers. That is a Super Bowl blown up by terrorists, killing every single person in the building, 24 times in six months. It’s 9/11 every day for 18 months. What freedoms have we given up, what wars have we fought, what blood have we shed, what money have we spent in the interest of stopping one more 9/11? This is 9/11 every day for 18 months.”

Think about that for a bit as we await decisions by the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL and so many others.


Conspiracy


Jason Fortier is the new head coach of the Odessa Jackalopes of the junior North American Hockey League. They play out of Odessa, Texas. . . . Fortier signed on as general manager of hockey operations and head coach. . . . Fortier is the BCHL’s reigning coach of the year after guiding the Coquitlam Express to the league’s best regular-season record. . . . Fortier left the Express late in March. Long-time BCHL observer Brian Wiebe reported at the time that Fortier wasn’t able to reach agreement on a contract with Express owner Fayaz Manji.


Tom Webster, a former NHL coach who played in the NHL and WHA, died on Friday morning. He was 71. . . . Webster was a brother to Barry Webster, a long-time member of the Moose Jaw Warriors’ board of directors. . . . Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times has more on Tom Webster right here.


Condolences to old friend Daryl Lubiniecki on the death of Lolamae, his wife of 53 years. She left us on Thursday after battling cancer. . . . There is a complete obituary right here. . . . Daryl served the Saskatoon Blades as general manager, head coach and advisor and also worked with the Prince George Cougars over a long career in the WHL. He also supplied us with more laughs than should have been legally allowed.


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