Seattle goalie stars in Game 1 win . . . Kelowna paper reports Rockets’ home needs more than $7 million in work . . . Ex-WHL assistant now head coach in AJHL

All three major junior hockey leagues are into their best-of-seven championship series. . . . The WHL final got started on Friday night with the WindsorSeattle Thunderbirds in Edmonton against the Oil Kings. . . . In the OHL, the Windsor Spitfires opened in Hamilton against the Bulldogs on Friday night. Windsor won, 4-3 in OT, getting the winner from former Bulldogs D Michael Renwick at 9:30 after Hamilton had been assessed a checking-from-behind major at 6:56. Hamilton went into the game with a 12-0 record in these playoffs and, including the regular season, had won 24 in a row at home. They’ll play Game 2 on Sunday afternoon in Hamilton. . . . In the QMJHL, the Shawinigan Cataractes will face the host Charlottetown Islanders in Game 1 tonight (Saturday). . . . The QMJHL’s opening playoff rounds all were best-of-five because the league got off to a later start than its two counterparts. But it now is caught up, so the final is best-of-seven. . . .

TSN will televise all three series, starting with the third game in each — Hamilton at Windsor on Monday, 4 p.m. PT; Edmonton vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., Tuesday, 7 p.m. PT; and Charlottetown at Shawinigan, Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT. . . . There is a complete telecast schedule right here. . . . TSN also will show all games in the Memorial Cup, which is to run in Saint John, N.B., from June 20 through June 29.

——

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Championship Final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup

In Edmonton, the Seattle Thunderbirds, fresh off a Game 7 victory in Kamloops, opened the best-of-seven WHL final with a 2-1 triumph over the Oil Kings. . . . SeattleEdmonton went into the game with a 7-0 record at Rogers Place in these playoffs. . . . They are scheduled to play Game 2 in Edmonton on Sunday, before shifting to Kent, Wash., for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Remember that because of issues with building availability in Kent, Games 5, 6 and 7, as needed, would be played in Edmonton. . . . Last night, F Matt Rempe (6) got the scoring started for Seattle, backhanding home the rebound off a shot by F Reid Schaefer at 1:59 of the second period. . . . F Conner Roulette (4), who had an assist on Rempe’s goal, upped Seattle’s lead to 2-0 at 8:55 of the third period, tipping in a shot by D Tyrel Bauer. . . . Edmonton got on the board at 11:40, on a PP, as F Carter Souch (10) found the range with a redirect of a shot by D Luke Prokop. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-for-2 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-1. Referees Chris Crich and Fraser Lawrence handed out only three minor penalties. . . . Seattle G Thomas Milic, who was named the game’s first star, continued his strong playoff run with 43 saves. . . . Edmonton got 20 stops from G Sebastian Cossa.


Music


According to a report prepared by consultants hired by the City of Kelowna, Prospera Place, the home of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, is in need of about Kelowna$7.7 million worth of upgrades. The report, acquired by the Kelowna Daily Courier through a Freedom of Information request, was prepared by Toronto-based Stadium Consultants International. . . . The arena, which opened on March 28, 1999, is owned by GSL Group, which also owns, among other things, the WHL’s Victoria Royals and that city’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. In Kelowna, an agreement between GSL Group and the city calls for ownership to be turned over to the city in 2029. . . . According to the SCI report, 6,500-seat Prospera Place should have its roof and outer walls replaced within seven years. There also should be improvements made to ventilation, vinyl and carpeted floors, among other things. . . . Ron Seymour of The Daily Courier wrote: “Issues are said to include some water leakage on the roof, outdated and undersized food and beverage facilities, small dressing rooms, and a cramped concourse. But other aspects of the building are said to be in surprisingly good condition given their age.” . . . The consultants suggest replacing the roof would have an estimated cost of $2.4 million, while upgraded lighting would come in at $1.5 million. . . .

The Rockets were to have been the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup; however, that event was cancelled because of the pandemic. Many observers expected Kelowna to be awarded the 2023 tournament, but the Kamloops Blazers were named the host team on May 27. As that announcement was being made in Kamloops, the Rockets issued an open letter stating that they weren’t able to bid on the 2023 Memorial Cup because of “significant deficiencies” in Prospera Place. . . . Seymour wrote that GSL Group issued a statement this week saying it “had complied with all the terms and conditions for building maintenance set out in the agreement with the city.” . . . From that statement: “Prospera Place and GSL Group have been and continue to be in compliance with our obligations and contractual agreements. That will not change, nor will our commitment to Kelowna.”

Seymour has stories right here and right here.


The Minnesota Twins opened a three-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays on Friday, and the visitors were missing four players. The U.S. and Canada both have pandemic-related restrictions that don’t allow unvaccinated people to cross their borders. Thus, the Twins placed four players on the restricted list before flying into Toronto after losing four of five games to the Tigers in Detroit. . . . OF Max Kepler and pitchers Trevor Megill, Emilio Pagán and Caleb Thielbar were left behind presumably because all four are unvaccinated. . . . The Twins also are without SS Carlos Correa, who tested positive for COVID-19 while in Detroit. . . . The Twins beat the Blue Jays, 9-3, on Friday night. . . .

Bob Weeks of TSN tweeted on Friday afternoon: “According to Golf Canada, Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar are not able to play the RBC Canadian Open ‘due to current Government of Canada travel restrictions . . .’ Both are RBC ambassadors.” . . . Neither the American nor Canadian governments allow unvaccinated travellers into their countries.


Banjo


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Brad Flynn has signed a three-year contract as the head coach of the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs. Flynn, 37, spent the 2021-22 season as an associate coach with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach with the Red Deer Rebels for three seasons (2018-21). . . . In Bonnyville, Flynn takes over from Rick Swan, the winningest coach in franchise history. Swan left the organization early in April in one of those mutually-agreed-upon parting of the ways. . . . There is a news release right here. . . .

The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s board of governors has cut the regular-season schedule from 52 games to 48. According to a news release from the 11-team league: “The decision to drop to 48 games will provide VIJHL players with a little more rest in-season and allow clubs to have more prime night home games.” . . . The league also is going to hire a “head of player and safety discipline.” Again, from a news release: “The paid position will be in charge of reviewing all major penalties and determining what supplemental discipline, if any is required.” . . . That news release, which covers the board’s annual meeting, is right here.


My wife, Dorothy, is taking part in her ninth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk, which will be held (virtually) on Sunday. As usual, she is fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. . . . If you would like to support her, you are able to do so right here.


Marley


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.


Bishop

It’s Green Shirt Day as we promote organ donation and remember the Humboldt Broncos . . .


The boys played a hockey game last night. Yes, they shook off the rust and away they went.

They did pretty well, too, getting 37 saves from goaltender Parker Tobin in posting an 8-0 victory before a world-wide audience.

Tobin was making his first appearance with his new team, having been acquired from the junior A Humboldt Broncos in exchange for defenceman Xavier Labelle earlier in the day.

“We were fortunate we got a great performance from Tobin and our top scorers scored,” said general manager/head coach Darcy Haugan.

The boys were led by the line of Jaxon Joseph, Logan Schatz and Evan Thomas, who combined for 12 points, including six goals.

There was a scary moment early in the second period when Schatz appeared to catch an edge as he cut behind Tobin’s net. Schatz crumpled to the ice and for a moment it looked as though he had suffered a knee injury. Athletic therapist Dayna Brons, the only girl on the boys team, was quick to the scene. She helped Schatz to the dressing room and was able to get him back to the bench before too much time had elapsed.

“She’s got magic fingers and she’s great with tape,” said Schatz, who also is the team captain. “If there’s an MVP on this team, she’s it. I don’t know where we’d be without her.”

Haugan was thrilled when Schatz returned to the bench and Brons signalled that the captain was OK to go.

“That allowed us to keep our lines intact and to execute our game plan to a T,” Haugan said. “We wanted our power play to obviously be big. We didn’t expect it to be that big so we’re very fortunate. You need your top guys to be your best guys and they were.”

The boys counted five times on eight power-play opportunities and that really was huge.

Joseph finished with three goals and an assist, with Schatz chipping in two of each, and Thomas putting up a goal and three helpers.

Defenceman Adam Herold, the youngest player on the team, and forward Conner Lukan also scored. Lukan was skating alongside Jacob Leicht and Logan Hunter, and that threesome easily could have had four or five more goals. Hunter recorded two assists, with Leicht getting one. Defenceman Stephen Wack also had one assist.

As for the opposition, Haugan said, they “stepped up all night, they were relentless. Obviously our guys did a good job of keeping everything to the outside and didn’t allow them to penetrate to the middle of the ice. We did get a couple of breaks so we did get lucky but all-in-all to escape with a 1-0 lead after one, we’ll gladly take it.”

Defenceman Logan Boulet showed a lot of heart and leadership in earning six assists for the boys.

“I felt great out there,” Boulet said. “I was using a Brad McCrimmon model stick and, man, I really was able to throw some great saucer passes out there. And I don’t know that the stick had anything to do with it, but I never wanted to leave the ice.”

Haugan added: “(Boulet) was a beast out there.”

Ahh, yes, the sticks.

Haugan said one of the toughest tasks he and assistant coach Mark Cross faced was getting the players to pick out the sticks they wanted to use.

“I have never seen or heard of a team having such a wide selection to choose from,” Haugan said. “There were sticks everywhere. We may have to build some kind of stick warehouse to house them all.”

After the game, the boys admitted to being quite excited about having been able to replace one of their travelling staples.

“One of the boys picked up a copy of Slap Shot,” Haugan said. “He got it from somewhere in Portland, I think. You can’t be on the road without Reggie Dunlop and Slap Shot, but our original DVD got broken somehow and, let me tell you, there were some broken hearts when that happened.

“But all’s well that ends well.”

It’s worth pointing out that the boys led 1-0 after the first period, which was played in Chicago Stadium. They were up 4-0 after the second, which was played in Maple Leaf Gardens. The teams played the final period in the Montreal Forum. The travel arrangements were all under the control of Glen Doerksen, the team’s travelling secretary.

So . . . what’s next for the boys?

Well, Haugan said, the coaches are well aware that focusing on one sport isn’t the way to go.

“The guys are talking about wanting to play some baseball,” Haugan said. “Apparently, some guy in Iowa built a ball diamond in a cornfield. So I think we’re wanting to give that a try.

“But we’ll have to scrounge some bats, balls and gloves first.”

JUST NOTES: There was a third man behind the bench with Haugan and Cross, and Haugan later revealed that he has added Brock Hirsche to his coaching staff. Hirsche played in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars, then returned to his hometown to play with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . .

Also joining the boys is Jonathan Pitre, who is incredibly popular with the media and will handle public and media relations. . . .

Tyler Bieber, an up-and-coming play-by-play voice, called last night’s game on 107.5 FM (aka The Prayer), with sports fanatic Brody Hinz handling the analysis and statistics, including zone entries and Corsi. . . .

(Christopher Lee of the Humboldt Journal may recognize some of the quotes here. Thanks for loaning them to me.)


The OHL dropped the hammer on the Niagara IceDogs on Wednesday, a month after some members of the organization were alleged to have used improper OHLlanguage in a group chat on WhatsApp, a transcript of which was given to the league. Joey Burke, one of the team’s minority owner and the governor, and Billy Burke, the head coach and a minority owner, have been suspended indefinitely. The IceDogs also have been fined $150,000. . . . From an OHL news release: “Based on the results of the league investigation, it is the position of the league that their conduct is prejudicial to the welfare of the OHL as it violates the league’s Harassment & Abuse/Diversity Policy and also runs counter to the OHL’s Onside program, which emphasizes the importance of demonstrating respect for women through actions and words.” . . . According to terms of the disciplinary action, both are able to apply for reinstatement on June 1, 2024. “At that time,” reads the news release, “the Commissioner will assess whether they have successfully completed counselling and education to ensure that there will be no additional violations of League rules, policies, or expected conduct.” . . . Rick Westhead of TSN later tweeted: “IceDogs co-owner Bill Burke, Joey and Billy’s father, told The Welland Tribune that ‘today a very sad day for the Burke family. We will have more to say in the coming days. We would . . . like to thank everyone that has reached out today with their overwhelming love and support.”


Meanwhile, the AHL has suspended F Ben Holmstrom of the Rochester Americans for eight games for using “homophobic language” during a game against the visiting Utica Comets on March 30. He was ejected at the end of the first period. . . . “As part of the suspension,” the AHL said in a statement, “Holmstrom will be participating in diversity and inclusion education.”


Now let’s hop on over to Quebec for this from Guy Quenneville of CBC News . . .

“More Black minor hockey players in western Quebec are coming forward with allegations of racial slurs less than a week after another Black player spoke out.

“On Monday, Hockey Outaouais and the team L’Intrépide de Gatineau confirmed in a statement they have launched an investigation after two of the team’s players said they were subjected to racist remarks. 

“One of those players, Anthony Allain-Samaké, told Radio-Canada the bullying led him to quit the team.”

His mother, Julie Allain, speaking French, told Quenneville: “Being called the N-word was still quite common for several players. I told him it is totally unacceptable.”

Quenneville’s story is right here.


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference:

In Spokane, F Nick McCarry struck 10 seconds into OT was the Chiefs beat the SpokaneEverett Silvertips, 3-2. . . . McCarry, who has 22 goals, has seven points, five of them goals, over his past four games. . . . Olen Zellweger, the  WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, scored his 14th goal and added an assist. He has 76 points in 53 games. . . . G Mason Beaupit stopped 32 shots, 18 of them in the second period, for Spokane. . . . Announced attendance was 7,252, an awfully impressive number for a midweek game. . . . The Chiefs’ victory eliminated the idle Tri-City Americans from the chase for a playoff spot. . . . Spokane (23-37-5), with three games remaining, is sixth, one point ahead of the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals, and two up on the Prince George Cougars. . . . Everett (44-10-10) leads the conference by four points over the Kamloops Blazers. Each team has four games remaining. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets scored the game’s last three goals as they beat the KelownaCougars, 4-1, in Prince George. . . . The Rockets, who won 1-0 in OT there on Tuesday, have won six straight in Prince George. . . . F Colton Dach scored once, his 26th, and added two assists. . . . F Pavel Novak (28) broke a 1-1 tie at 18:52 of the first period and the visitors put it away with two third-period goals. . . . Kelowna (39-19-6) now is two points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds with each team having four games to play. . . . The Cougars are ninth, one point from a playoff spot.

Eastern Conference:

The host Lethbridge Hurricanes struck for six goals in the third period as they Lethbridgedropped the Saskatoon Blades, 6-1. . . . The game’s seven goals all came in the third period. . . . D Joe Arntsen scored twice, giving him seven, and added an assist, with F Justin Hall and F Alex Thacker each adding three assists. . . . F Jordan Keller scored his first WHL goal in his eighth game for the Blades. Keller, who turned 17 on March 8, is the son of Aaron Keller, who played four seasons (1992-96) with the Kamloops Blazers before going on to play 17 seasons in Japan. Aaron now helps out the Blazers as a development coach. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier stopped 31 shots in his first opportunity to break the WHL career record for victories. . . . Lethbridge (30-30-4) is seventh, seven points behind the Brandon Wheat Kings and five ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Saskatoon (36-26-4) remains fifth, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors and five ahead of Brandon.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs and Rick Swan, their general manager and head coach, “have mutually agreed to part ways effective immediately,” the team announced Wednesday. Swan had been with the organization for 10 years, the last nine as GM and head coach. This season, the Pontiacs went 36-16-8, good for third in the North Division, then lost a six-game first-round series to the Whitecourt Wolverines.



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.


Rossi: “Every day I woke up . . . I was so glad I woke up” . . . Canada has Wright stuff in routing Sweden . . . WHL’s Americans cleared to return


The Minnesota Wild selected Austrian F Marco Rossi with the ninth overall Wildselection of the NHL’s 2020 draft. He began the 2020-21 season with the Swiss League’s ZSC Lions, which is where he was when he contracted COVID-19 in November. . . . He later was cleared to play for Austria in the World Junior Championship in Edmonton, where he got into four games. . . . “The doctors told me if I played one more game in the World Junior Championship, this could have ended completely different,” Rossi told Michael Russo of The Athletic. “I’m thankful to God that he supported me. . . . I’m just happy that I’m still alive.” . . . After the WJC, Rossi had planned to take part in Minnesota’s training camp, but he didn’t get through the cardiac screening part of his medical — he was found to have myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that can come from COVID-19. So he was sent home to Austria. . . . “Every time before I went to sleep, I was so scared that I won’t wake up anymore,” Rossi told Russo. “Every night, before sleep, I was really sad and always crying because I was scared of that. I told my parents, ‘Could you sleep right next to my bed and be here ’til I fall asleep?’ And every day I woke up in the morning, I was so glad that I woke up. It was really hard.” . . . Rossi, who is 19 years of age, is believed to be on the road to recovery, but he still hasn’t been given clearance to resume training. . . . If you have a subscription to The Athletic, you are able to find Russo’s story there.


Canada opened the IIHF U18 World Championship in Plano, Texas, with a U18resounding 12-1 victory over Sweden in Group A on Tuesday night. Andrew Podnieks of iihf.com reports that “it was the most lopsided loss at the U18 in Sweden’s history. Canada had beaten Sweden, 8-1, in 2003.” . . . Canada took control with four first-period goals, then added four more in the second. . . . Canada, which got three goals from F Shane Wright, its captain, plays again Wednesday, this time against Latvia (TSN, 6 p.m. PT). . . . In other Tuesday games, Finland beat Russia, 4-3, and Team USA beat Germany, 5-3, in Group B. In Group A, Belarus dumped Switzerland, 7-1. . . . In Wednesday’s only other game, Czech Republic and Finland will meet in a Group B assignment.


Phone



The WHL’s Tri-City Americans were back on the ice on Monday and have been Americanscleared to return to game action after experience two positive tests in their group. The first positive test was discovered on April 16, with another one popping up while everyone was in isolation. . . . All individuals tested negative in the last go-round so the team was cleared to get back into game action. Their first game back is scheduled for Wednesday against the host Spokane Chiefs. . . . The WHL won’t be rescheduling the five Americans games that were impacted. That means that if there aren’t any further disruptions, the Portland Winterhawks are the only U.S. Division team that will play 24 games. the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds will each get in 23; the Chiefs 21; and the Americans 19.

Meanwhile, there were four games played last night, with two teams completing their developmental seasons in the Regina hub . . .

The Winnipeg Ice scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 6-4 Winnipegvictory over the Regina Pats in the Regina hub. . . . The Ice (18-5-1) finished its season with points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Pats (9-12-3) lost their last two games. . . . Winnipeg got started with first-period goals from F James Form (3) and D Mike Ladyman (3), with F Conor Geekie (9) making it 3-0 at 2:50 of the second period. . . . F Zack Smith scored while shorthanded for Regina at 15:55, but the Ice iced it with the game’s next two goals — from F Michael Milne, on a PP, at 17:28 of the second and F Zach Benson (10), at 1:22 of the third. . . . F Carter Messier (5) scored for Regina at 6:12, with Milne (6), who also had an assist, getting his second goal at 9:47 for a 6-2 lead. . . . Smith completed his first career three-goal game with two PP goals, at 17:11 and 17:32. Smith, who also had one assist, finished with seven goals. . . . G Carl Stankowski of the Ice, who backstopped the Seattle Thunderbirds to a WHL title at 16, stopped 24 shots in his final WHL game. He turned 21 on March 9. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs had one assist to run his franchise-record point streak to 23 games. He finished with 43 points and leads the Regina hub by six points over F Ben McCartney of the Brandon Wheat Kings, who has one game remaining. . . .

G Dustin Wolf stopped 37 shots to lead the visiting Everett Silvertips to a 3-2 Everettvictory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett (14-3-0) has won five in a row and leads the U.S. Division by nine points over Portland (8-6-3). . . . F Jacob Wright (7) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 2:43 of the second period, with Portland F Tyson Kozak (2) equalizing on a PP at 8:51. . . . Everett got the next two goals, with F Gage Goncalves (11) notching its first shorthanded goal this season 39 seconds into the third period and F Cole Fonstad (12) stretching the lead at 5:40. . . . F Jaydon Dureau (4) pulled Portland to within a goal at 14:40. . . . This season, Wolf is 13-2-0, 1.67, .945. . . . Associate coach Kyle Gustafson ran Portland’s bench with Mike Johnston, the general manager and head coach, in Texas watching the IIHF U18 World championship. . . .

F Josh Pillar scored twice and G Dylan Garand stopped 38 shots to lead the KamloopsKamloops Blazers to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (12-2-0) has won five straight. . . . Vancouver (9-6-0) has lost three in a row. . . . D Tanner Brown (1) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 13:25 of the second period. . . . Pillar tied the score at 14:36, then snapped the tie with his seventh goal, on a PP, at 7:38 of the third. . . . Kamloops was 1-for-3 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-for-6. . . . The Giants held 11-2 and 14-9 shot advantages in the first two periods respectively, but could only get one behind Garand, who now is 10-2-0, 2.16, .918. . . . Vancouver got 21 stops from G Trent Miner, who is 6-5-0, 1.61, .935. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets scored three times in the second period as they skated Rocketsto a 4-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Rockets, designated as the visitors for this one, are 6-2-0 and have won three straight. . . . The Royals (1-13-1) have lost 10 in a row. . . . Kelowna opened a 3-0 lead on a goal by F David Kope (3) just 26 seconds in and second-period scores by F Mark Liwiski (6), on a PP, and F Scott Cousins (1). . . . Cousins, an undrafted skater who turned 17 on Jan. 6, scored his first WHL goal in his sixth game. . . . D Matthew Smith (1) got Victoria on the board, on a PP, at 14:09 of the second period, but F Trevor Wong (6) got that one back, on a PP, at 15:36. . . . Kelowna D Tyson Feist (2) got the empty-netter. . . . Kope added two assists for a three-point outing. . . . The Rockets gave G Nicholas Cristiano, 16, his first WHL start, while the Royals did the same with Keegan Maddocks, 18. Both are from Langley, B.C. . . . Cristiano finished with 31 saves, one more than Maddocks. . . . Kelowna was 2-for-5 on the PP; Victoria was 1-for-9.


The AJHL announced its latest set of games on Tuesday, shortly after revealing that it had shut down the Whitecourt Wolverines and Bonnyville Pontiacs for 14 days. That move came after there was a positive test in the Wolverines’ cohort. They had played Saturday and Sunday in Bonnyville. . . . On Sunday, the AJHL suspended all Okotoks Oilers team activities for 14 days because of a positive test, and that came two days after the same thing occurred with the Drumheller Dragons. . . .

Meanwhile, the BCHL announced that its season will conclude without playoffs. It is playing in cohorts in five pods and the schedule is to wrap up on May 11. From a news release: “Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in the province and the challenges that changing cohorts would have presented, the league determined it was not feasible to conduct a postseason.”


Suez


Please don’t forget that my wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. Go ahead, make her day!

——

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.


Texting

I want Edmonton Rough Riders . . . Good news from NBA bubble . . . But not from the KHL


Town council in Bonnyville, Alta., has upped its sponsorship of the AJHL Pontiacs from $5,000 to $15,000, a move that will allow the team to drop some ticket prices. . . . The AJHL is hoping to open its season on Sept. 18. . . . Chris Lapointe of lakelandconnect.net has more right here.

——

Just wondering . . . who’s next?


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The University Interscholastic League, the governing body for high school football in Texas, has delayed football season for its schools with the largest enrolments. Instead of starting to practice on Aug. 3, they will begin on Sept. 7, with games to start on Sept. 24. This also means they’ll be playing high school football in Texas into January. . . . The smaller schools will be able to start on time. . . .

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has moved its athletic season, including football, from the fall. The CIF oversees all high school sports in California. There are more than 800,000 high school athletes in the state. . . . CIF now hopes to start its athletic season in December or January. . . . Georgia, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia have delayed fall high school sports; New Mexico, Virginia and the District of Columbia won’t play football in the fall. . . . And then there’s Florida . . .

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) has voted to begin the football and girls’ volleyball seasons on time. In doing this, the FHSAA is ignoring the recommendation of its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee: “It is our stance that return to competition for the high-risk sports of football and volleyball is not medically safe.” . . . All of this left Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, wondering right here: “Why does the FHSAA bother to have a Sports Medicine Advisory Council?” . . .

There was good news out of the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, when the league reported that it had tested 346 players in the previous week and didn’t get even one positive. . . . Before teams arrived in Orlando, 25 of 351 players and 10 of 884 staff members had tested positive. . . .

But then there is Avangard Omsk. The KHL team has withdrawn from an exhibition tournament in Sochi, Aug. 4-9, after having 20 people in its organization test positive. There isn’t a player/staff breakdown available, but all were tested during training camp. . . . As well, CSKA Moscow has had seven players test positive. . . .

Former MLBer Jeff Francoeur, now an analyst on the Atlanta Braves’ broadcast crew, has tested positive. He is asymptomatic and in self-quarantine. . . . Todd Kalas, the play-by-play voice on the Houston Astros’ TV team, also tested positive. He, too, is asymptomatic and in self-quarantine. . . .

The Toronto Wolfpack informed the Super League Europe and the Rugby Football League that it won’t be restarting it season so won’t participate if things resume on Aug. 2. . . .

Because of the disruption to the soccer season across the world, the Ballon d’Or, which goes to the world’s best player, won’t be awarded this year. It was first handed out in 1956. . . .

The men’s pro tennis season had hoped to get started with the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 13. That won’t happen, though, as the tournament has been cancelled. . . . The women’s tour is hoping to open in Palermo, Italy, on Aug. 3.

The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) has cancelled all fall sports for 2020. Yes, that includes football. . . . For now, the conference is hoping football teams will be able to open eight-week training camps in January, leading to some kind of a spring season. . . . The conference features Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Alcorn State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Grambling State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, Prairie View A&M, Southern and Texas Southern.


Briar McNaney is the new head coach of the junior B Columbia Valley Rockies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He takes over from Wade Dubielewicz, who now is the club’s general manager. . . . Dubielewicz spent eight seasons as the head coach, the last three with McNaney as his full-time assistant.


Hurricanes bring back coaching staff . . . Wheat Kings sign import goalie . . . Porter moves to Oil Kings


MacBeth

F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) after a successful tryout. Last season, he had two goals and three assists in 40 games with Dinamo Riga and was pointless in three games with Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). He signed a tryout contract with Dinamo on July 3. . . . Dinamo has played six exhibition games so far and has four more scheduled before opening the regular season on Sept. 2. . . .

D Aaron Irving (Edmonton, Everett, 2012-17) signed a one-year contract with Storhamar (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, he had 15 goals and 33 assists in 60 games with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL), and was pointless in one game while on loan to the Utica Comets (AHL). . . . He was named to the ECHL’s all-rookie team. . . .

F Todd Fiddler (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Spokane, Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with Boro/Vetlanda Landsbro (Sweden, Division 2). Last season, he had 14 goals and 13 assists in 17 games with the Stony Plain Eagles (Allen Cup West). . . .

F Jan Bittner (Red Deer, 2012-13) signed a one-year contract with Osby (Sweden, Division 3). Last season, with Morzine-Avoriaz (France, Division 3), he had 11 goals and 38 assists in 15 games. He was second on his team in assists, and third in the league. . . .

G Kevin Nastiuk (Medicine Hat, 2001-05) was released by the Coventry Blaze (England, UK Elite) due to “an ongoing medical issue.” He had signed a one-year extension with Coventry in May. Last season, he was 3.12 and .900 in 56 games. Nastiuk was named Coventry’s Best Defensive Player, the Players’ Player of the Season, and the Coaches’ Player of the Season. . . .

D Paul Postma (Swift Current, Calgary, 2004-09) signed a one-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one assist in 14 games with the Boston Bruins (NHL), and one goal and eight assists in 13 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL). . . .

F Lance Bouma (Vancouver, 2005-10) signed a one-year plus option contract with Genève-Servette (Switzerland, NL A). Last season, he had three goals and six assists in 53 games with the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), and seven goals and seven assists in 20 games with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL). . . .

F Tyler Mosienko (Kelowna, 2000-05) signed a one-year contract with Saale Bulls Halle (Germany, Oberliga). Last season, with Épinal (France, Ligue Magnus), he had four goals and 17 assists in 36 games. He was the team captain. . . . Épinal’s Ligue Magnus team was liquidated in bankruptcy proceedings in April and lost its place in Ligue Magnus. A new senior club was formed as part of the minor hockey association in Épinal and will play in Division 3 this season.


ThisThat

Dorothy and I are just back after spending a couple of days in Jasper . . . that would be in Alberta, not Alabama.

No, we weren’t able to get away from the smoke.

Robson
This was Tuesday afternoon . . . somewhere behind the smoke sits Mount Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies.

Still, the smoky conditions didn’t seem to keep anyone away because the highways, streets, sidewalks, shops and restaurants all were packed.

A few years ago, we would do a two-hour hike in an area called The Valley of the Five Lakes just south of Jasper. Back then, there might have been three or four vehicles in the parking lot. When we drove past on Wednesday, there had to have been 100 vehicles there. It’s safe to say that Jasper no longer is a hidden gem.

While watching people from around the globe walking the streets, and listening to the various languages being spoken, I found myself wondering how much money a lot of these tourists had spent on what may well have been their Rocky Mountain adventure of a lifetime.

Except that the mountains were awfully hard to see through the smoke.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed head coach Brent Kisio and assistant coach Jeff Hansen to contract extensions, the lengths of which haven’t been disclosed. . . . Kisio, 35, Lethbridgeis about to begin his fourth season as the club’s head coach. He will miss part of this season while working as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria. . . . Hansen, 36, is returning for a second season after working for four years as the video coach with Kisio’s former team, the Calgary Hitmen. He will be the video coach with Canada at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in November. . . . The Hurricanes also announced that Josh McNiven will be back for a fourth season as an assistant coach, with Andrew Doty, the assistant to the general manager and video coach, returning for a fifth season. He worked with Team Canada as it won gold at the recently completed Hlinka Gretzky Cup event . . . . The Hurricanes also have hired Matt Anholt, 24, as skills and development coach. The son of Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt, Matt played four seasons with the U of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. He was the team captain the past two seasons. . . .

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have added Garry Carson to their scouting staff. A veteran scout, he most recently worked with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He also is the director of scouting and player development for the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers.



The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed Czech G Jiri Patera, who was selected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. Patera, 19, played last season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids BrandonWKregularRoughriders, going 3.24, .901 in 34 games. . . . He was a sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, is the Golden Knights’ assistant general manager. . . . The Wheat Kings finished last season with two goaltenders — Dylan Myskiw and Ethan Kruger — on their roster who are eligible to return. Myskiw, 19, is from Winnipeg, while Kruger, who turns 17 on Sept. 27, is from Sherwood Park. Myskiw was 11-5-2, 3.41, .887 in 22 appearances while backing up Logan Thompson, who played out his junior eligibility. Kruger played last season with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. . . . Patera is the first European goaltender to have been drafted by the Wheat Kings. . . . Brandon also holds the WHL rights to Swedish D Erik Brannstrom, who was taken by Vegas with the 15th overall selection in the NHL’s 2017 draft, and Czech F Martin Kaut, who was a first-round pick by the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL’s 2018 draft. The Wheat Kings selected Brannstrom in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. He will turn 19 on Sept. 2 and is eligible to play with the Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. . . . Brandon picked Kaut, who turns 19 on Oct. 2, in 2017. He played professionally at home last season, and is eligible to play this season in the AHL, where the Colorado Eagles are affiliated with the Avalanche.

The Wheat Kings have signed Roman (RJ) Kaszczij as their athletic therapist. He spent the past two seasons with the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, who won the league title in 2017-18. . . . With the Wheat Kings, he takes over from Chris Trivieri, who spent two seasons with Brandon. . . .

The Wheat Kings also announced that they have signed a three-year deal with Q Country 91.5FM that will run through the 2020-21 season. Brandon Crowe will be back for a third season as the team’s play-by-play voice. . . . The Wheat Kings also revealedthat they have sold 2,036 season tickets. Last season, according to a news release, they sold “close to 2,600 season tickets.”


The Edmonton Oil Kings have hired Jamie Porter as their new director of scouting. EdmontonOilKingsPorter, who is from Edmonton, had been with the Swift Current Broncos for 14 seasons, most recently as assistant general manager and director of player personnel. Porter also worked for the Broncos as an area scout, the head scout and the director of scouting and player personnel. . . . He left the organization after Dean Brockman was named director of hockey operations and head coach. . . . In Edmonton, Porter will be working with Kirt Hill, the Oil Kings’ first-year president of hockey operations and director of scouting.


If you’re a regular here, this is part of what you read on July 7:

“The buzz is that veteran scout Daryl Anning will be leaving the Broncos for the Vancouver Giants and what one source told me would be ‘an increased role.’ Anning is the father of David Anning, the head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings.”

On Tuesday, the Giants announced that they have hired Daryl Anning, who is from VancouverWinnipeg, as their scouting director. A retired police officer, Anning spent 20 seasons with the Swift Current Broncos before leaving, along with all of the other scouts, when the front office underwent a massive overhaul. As a travelling scout, you can bet Anning played a major role in the Bronco’s 2018 WHL championship.

The Giants also added Jason Smart of Kelowna, Dale Britton of Red Deer and John Verrall of Saskatoon to their scouting staff. . . . Smart is a former WHL player (Prince Albert, Saskatoon, 1986-90). An RCMP officer, his son Jonathan is a defenceman with the Kootenay Ice. Jason also has scouted for the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Britton, who will work the Central Alberta region, spent the previous seven seasons scouting for the Moose Jaw Warriors. He also worked for the Prince Albert Raiders for four seasons. . . . Verrall will work as a player development analyst. He is a retired physician with, according to a news release, “experience in video analytics and scouting at multiple levels, including the NHL, AHL and CHL.” His son, Ben, plays at York University.


The Kootenay Ice has acquired F Jaeger White, 20, from Medicine Hat for what a Tigers’ news release says is a “conditional draft pick.” . . . White also has played for the KootenaynewLethbridge Hurricanes, Everett Silvertips and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Last season, the Medicine Hat native had 10 goals and 24 assists in 68 games with the Tigers. In 152 regular-season WHL games, he has 15 goals and 39 assists. . . . He was a fourth-round selection by the Hurricanes in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . White is a stepson to Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach. . . .

The Ice now appears to have five 20-year-olds on its roster, including F Gunnar Wegleitner, who was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings on July 20, White, G Matt Berlin, D Martin Bodak and D Dallas Hines. As an import, Bodak would be a two-spotter, but I’m not sure that he has committed to return to the Ice. . . .

Having dealt White, the Tigers are left with six 20s on their roster, although two of those players — F Mason Shaw and D David Quenneville — have signed pro contracts. The other four 20s on the Tigers’ roster are D Dalton Gally, F Ryan Jevne, D Dylan MacPherson and D Linus Nassen, who would be a two-spotter should he return.


The Everett Silvertips have added James Jensen to their staff as goaltending coach. . . . Jensen takes over from Shane Clifford, who now is the goaltending coach with the OHL’s EverettErie Otters. . . . In Everett, Jensen will work with head coach Dennis Williams, who is into his second season, and first-year assistants Harry Mahood and Louis Mass. . . . According to a Silvertips news release, Jensen has more than “20 years as a professional goaltending coach” and has worked in private training with goaltenders “currently playing at the NHL, minor professional, WHL and youth levels.” . . . Jensen is on staff at NET360, an annual goaltending camp in West Kelowna, B.C.

Meanwhile, the Silvertips have signed D Ty Gibson to a WHL contract. Gibson, from Victoria, was a third-round selection by Everett in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He is the first pick from that class to have signed with the Silvertips. . . . Last season, he stayed at home and played for the Pacific Coast Academy’s bantam prep team, putting up eight goals and 16 assists in 30 games. He also had one assist in four games with the Elite 15 team.


TJ Millar, who spent one season (2015-16) as the Tri-City Americans’ video coach, has joined the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs as an assistant coach. Millar, a 24-year-old from Calgary, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, who won the league title last season. He has a Sports Management Degree from the Sports Institute of Finland.


The junior B Creston Valley ThunderCats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have added Carter Duffin as an assistant coach. . . . Duffin, from Red Deer, was an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins for the past two seasons. He also coached minor hockey in Red Deer for six seasons. . . . Duffin fills the spot created when assistant coach Jeff Wagner left to take over as general manager and head coach of the KIJHL’s Fernie Ghostriders.


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