Beyak chooses to end things on his terms . . . Revisiting two epic WHL comebacks . . . Oil Kings end Hurricanes’ season

Rich Franklin spent time in the front office of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks and now is an executive with the Coachella Valley Firebirds, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. . . . The above tweet is from the Kraken’s home game on Wednesday night and I have to tell you that it warms my heart.


DennisBeyak
DENNIS BEYAK

Dennis Beyak, one of hockey’s best play-by-play voices, has decided to partially retire when this season is over, something that will happen for him on Sunday. Beyak has been the voice of the Winnipeg Jets on TSN since 2011. Unfortunately, because of blackout regulations, a lot of hockey fans likely have never heard him call an NHL game. . . . Beyak, who turned 70 on Nov. 23, will call his final Jets’ game on Sunday afternoon when they meet the visiting Seattle Kraken. . . . Thankfully, we will be able to hear him on occasion as TSN plans on giving him some international assignments. His work on many World Junior Championship games that don’t involve Team Canada has been terrific. . . . Here’s hoping he’s on the call for some games from the WJC in Edmonton in August. . . .

If you aren’t aware, Beyak is a former WHL play-by-play man and also a former WHL executive. . . . He began his play-by-play career at CFAR in Flin Flon in 1970 as the voice of the Bombers at a salary of $57.50 per week. He would go on to call the play for the Saskatoon Blades, Victoria Cougars and Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . He had stints in management, too, as the Blades’ assistant general manager and as GM of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Tri-City Americans. . . . He also has been the play-by-play voice of the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs. . . .

Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun wrote that Beyak explained his decision this way: “When I turned 70, I started to think about this, about how much longer I wanted to do this. I always wanted to kind of go out while I was still able to do it. I didn’t want to get to the point where I was questioning myself — should I have done it earlier?” . . .

Oh, and did I mention that he is an excellent emcee, who could have been a standup comedian?


Weight


Only two teams in WHL history have fallen behind 0-3 and gone on to win a best-of-seven series — the 1995-96 Spokane Chiefs and the 2012-13 Kelowna Rockets.

Let’s take a brief look back, shall we . . .

The Chiefs completed the 1995-96 regular season with a 50-18-4 record — that Spokanefour denotes ties (remember them?). They wound up atop the seven-team West Division. The Portland Winterhawks, meanwhile, finished in sixth place, at 30-39-3.

The series opened in Spokane with games on March 22 and 23, and the Winterhawks skated to 3-2 (OT) and 7-4 victories. They won the opener on F Brad Isbister’s goal at 6:23 of OT, then got three goals and two assists from F Richard Zednik in Game 2.

Playing at home on March 26, Portland got two goals and two assists from Todd Robinson, with Zednik chipping in two goals and an assist, in a 6-4 victory. And just like that the Winterhawks led the series, 3-0.

But one night later the Chiefs got out to a 4-1 lead before the first period was 13 minutes old and went on to a 5-3 victory. F Darren Sinclair and F Jason Podollan each scored twice for the visitors.

Back in Spokane on March 29, G David Lemanowicz turned aside 34 shots as the Chiefs won, 5-0. Podollan had three goals and an assist, giving him six scores in the five games.

The series headed back to Portland for Game 6 and the Chiefs won, 4-3, to get back on equal footing. After Spokane F Joe Cardarelli tied it on a PP with his second goal of the game, and fourth of the series, at 19:29 of the third period, the teams went into double OT before deciding it. It ended when F Randy Favaro struck for his first goal at 3:50.

On April 3, the Chiefs, playing at home, wrapped up the series with a 4-3 victory. Again, the teams went to OT, with Sinclair winning it 58 seconds into extra time.

The Chiefs went on to eliminate the Kamloops Blazers in six games, then would lose the WHL championship final to the Brandon Wheat Kings in five games. Only one of Spokane’s last 11 playoff games needed OT.

——

In 2012-13, the Rockets finished with a 52-16-4 record, good for second place Kelownain the Western Conference, while the Seattle Thunderbirds wound up 24-38-10 and in seventh place.

Their seven-game series would feature five games that needed extra time to decide a winner.

The first two games were played in Kelowna with the Thunderbirds winning twice in OT — 5-4 on a goal by F Luke Lockhart at 19:09 and 2-1 when F Alex Delnov scored at 2:41.

The series then headed for Kent, Wash., where Seattle won Game 3, 3-2, scoring the game’s last three goals and winning when D Evan Wardley counted at 4:55 of OT. That left the Thunderbirds with what appeared to be a commanding 3-0 lead.

The Rockets started the long road back on March 27, winning 4-0 in Kent, behind two goals and an assist from F Tyson Baillie, a goal and two assists from F Zach Franko, and 25 saves from G Jordan Cooke.

They played Game 5 three nights later in Kelowna, with the Rockets building a 4-1 lead and hanging on to win, 4-3, as Seattle counted twice in the game’s last minute.

Then it was back to Kent for an April 2 game that the Rockets won, 4-3 in OT, to tie the series, 3-3. Game 6 was bizarre in that the first six goals all were scored in the first period. Lockhart’s third goal of the series gave Seattle a 3-1 lead at 9:23. Kelowna tied it on goals from F Tyrell Goulbourne (14:56) and F Cody Fowlie (16:20). The Rockets, who held a 59-43 edge in shots, won it when D Myles Bell got his fourth goal of the series at 10:39 of OT.

The very next night the series ended in Kelowna as the Rockets completed their remarkable comeback with a 3-2 victory and, yes, it took overtime.

Wardley gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 9:04 of the second period. The Rockets grabbed a 2-1 lead on two goals from Baillie — his fifth and sixth of the series — at 9:17 of the second period and 13:09 of the third. Lockhart’s fourth goal in seven games tied it at 19:53. That left it for Baillie to complete his hat trick at 5:10 of OT. Baillie finished the series with seven goals and five assists.

The Rockets moved onto the second round where they were swept by the Kamloops Blazers. The last two games of that series needed OT, meaning Kelowna went into extra time in seven of its 11 playoff games that spring.



THURSDAY IN THE WHL:

There was one playoff game last night, and there are six on tap tonight. While the Edmonton Oil Kings completed a sweep of the host Lethbridge Hurricanes last night, four more teams — the Kelowna Rockets, Prince Albert Raiders, Saskatoon Blades and Spokane Chiefs — will face elimination on tonight’s six-game schedule. . . . Here’s a brief look at last night’s game . . .

Eastern Conference

In Lethbridge, F Josh Williams broke a 4-4 tie late in the third period and the EdmontonEdmonton Oil Kings went on to  a 6-4 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings won the series, 4-0, and now await a second-round opponent. . . . F Justin Hall (1) pulled the Hurricanes into a 4-4 tie at 15:17 of the third period. Williams scored his first goal of the series just 40 seconds later. . . . F Jakub Demek (1) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . Edmonton held a 47-17 edge in shots. . . . F Dylan Guenther scored Edmonton’s first goal, giving him one in each of the four games. . . . The Hurricanes took all four of the game’s minor penalties and surrendered two PP goals. . . . The Hurricanes join Prince George on the outside looking in after the Cougars were swept by the Portland Winterhawks on Wednesday night.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Vancouver Giants will be without D Tom Cadieux and F Matthew Edwards when they entertain the Everett Silvertips in Game 4 of their first-round series tonight in Langley, B.C. Each player drew a one-game suspension for indiscretions in Game 3. The Silvertips hold a 2-1 edge in the series. Game 5 is scheduled for Everett on Saturday. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has an advancer for tonight’s game right here, including a few words about how things are heating up between the two head coaches. . . .

The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder has named Sean Brown the interim general manager and head coach. He has been operating his hockey development business, Breakout Hockey, but joined the Thunder earlier as assistant GM/assistant coach. The Thunder announced Wednesday that Eric Thurston was out as GM/head coach after four seasons. . . .

Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald tweets that “Scott Langer is out after one season” as head coach of the USHL’s Fargo Force. According to Schlossman, “The top candidate to replace him will be SCSU assistant Nick Oliver, a highly regarded young coach who played for the Force.”


Cops


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.


Dad

Jets’ first-rounder could end up in Portland . . . Three WHL teams live to play another game . . . Winterhawks finish off Cougars


In a move that could have implications in the WHL, the Winnipeg Jets have signed F Chaz Lucius to a three-year entry-level contract that is to begin next WHLseason. . . . Lucius, who turns 19 on May 2, is from Lawrence, Kan. This season, as a freshman, he had nine goals and 10 assists in 24 games with the NCAA’s Minnesota Golden Gophers. Before that, he played two seasons in the U.S. National Team Development Program. . . . The Jets selected him with the 18th overall pick of the NHL’s 2021 draft. The Portland Winterhawks grabbed his major junior rights in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Next season, assuming he doesn’t crack the Jets’ roster, Lucius will be eligible to play in the AHL, with the Manitoba Moose, or the Winterhawks. . . . Eric Vegoe, a freelance writer who follows the Gophers, tweeted: “I’d be absolutely shocked if Lucius went to the AHL. He’d be a phenomenal fit in Portland and be one of the league’s top scorers for a franchise that knows what (it’s) doing with prospects.” . . . Lucius’s brother, Cruz, 18, has committed to playing at Minnesota next season after spending the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. He was selected by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. With his brother no longer at Minnesota, you wonder if the younger Lucius might be rethinking his immediate future, too?



WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

There were six playoff games with four of the teams staring elimination squarely in the face. Three of those teams lived to fight another day, with only the Prince George Cougars having their season come to an end. . . . You should know, too, that only two teams in WHL history have come back from trailing 3-0 to win a series. . . . In 1996, the Spokane Chiefs beat the Portland Winterhawks in Game 7 at home. . . . In 2013, the Kelowna Rockets did the same thing against the Seattle Thunderbirds, winning Game 7 at home. . . . In tonight’s only game, the Edmonton Oil Kings take a 3-0 lead into Lethbridge against the Hurricanes. . . . Here’s a brief look at what happened last night. . . .

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., the Everett Silvertips took a 2-1 series lead over the Vancouver EverettGiants with a 6-2 victory. . . . They’ll play again Friday in Langley, then head for Everett and Game 5 on Saturday. . . . Everett, which got two goals from each of Ryan Hofer (3), Niko Huuhtanen (5) and Matthew Ng (2), held period leads of 3-0 and 5-2. . . . Huuhtanen has nine points in the three games. . . . G Braden Holt stopped 32 shots to earn the win. . . . Vancouver G Jesper Vikman returned after missing Game 2 and blocked 18 shots. . . . Everett was without F Alex Swetlikoff, who was suspended for two games after taking a checking-from-behind major in Game 2 on Saturday. . . . Swetlikoff and F Jackson Berezowski, who is out with an undisclosed injury, were the Silvertips’ top two scorers in the regular season. . . . Vancouver F Tom Cadieux was tossed with an interference major at 12:50 of the third period. Then, at 19:00, F Matthew Edwards of the Giants left after taking a headshot major. . . . The Silvertips had Vancouver’s own Dave Sheldon handle the play-by-play “with Casey Bryant unavailable to travel.” Sheldon was part of the Everett broadcast crew back in the day (2003-06). These days, Sheldon is the team operations manager for the NLL’s Vancouver Warriors. . . .

In Prince George, the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks scored two first-period goals Portlandand hung on for a 2-1 victory over the No. 6 Cougars. . . . The Winterhawks swept the series, 4-0, and now go home to await and as-yet undecided second-round opponent. . . . F James Stefan (2) put the visitors out front at 8:22 of the first period and F Luke Schelter (1) made it 2-0 at 11:51. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal when F Jonny Hooker (1) scored at 6:55 of the third period. . . . Portland’s took the game’s only three minor penalties, the last one to D Cross Hanas for delay of game at 18:59 of the third period. With G Tyler Brennan on the bench, the Cougars held a 6-on-4 advantage but weren’t able to equalize. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 29 shots for Portland, including 12 in the third period. He finished the series 4-0, 1.00, .965. . . . Brennan turned aside 40 shots. He got into all four games, going 0-2, 1.86, .954. . . . The Cougars had to scratch F Riley Heidt as he served a one-game suspension for the kneeing major and game misconduct he took in Game 3 on Tuesday. . . .

In Kelowna, F Adam Kydd scored in OT to give the Rockets a 3-2 victory over the KelownaSeattle Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle holds a 3-1 lead as the series returns to Kent, Wash., for Game 5 on Friday night. . . . The Rockets erased a 2-0 second-period deficit to get the game into extra time. . . . F Lucas Ciona (3) scored both Seattle goals, at 19:41 of the first period and 3:16 of the second. . . . G Gabriel Szturc (1) got the Rockets to within a goal, on a PP, at 6:28 of the second and D Noah Dorey (1) tied it at 12:45 as he ended a 43-game goal drought. . . . Kydd won it with his second goal of the series, on a PP, at 15:55 of OT. . . . F Andrew Cristall drew the primary assist on each of Kelowna’s last two goals. . . . The Rockets got 36 saves from G Talyn Boyko, who had watched Game 3 from the bench. . . . Kelowna was 2-for-5 on the PP; Seattle, which went into the game 10-for-19, was 0-for-3. . . . The Rockets were without F Mark Liwiski, who was suspended for two games after taking a headshot major and game misconduct in Game 3 on Tuesday. . . . F Matthew Rempe (undisclosed) was among Seattle’s scratches. . . .

——

Eastern Conference

In Prince Albert, G Tikhon Chaika stopped 25 shots to help the No. 8 Raiders to a PrinceAlbert3-1 victory over the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Ice now holds a 3-1 edge in the series, with Game 5 in Winnipeg on Friday night. . . . D Remy Aquilon (1), on a PP, at 1:53 of the second period, and D Eric Johnston (1), at 1:06 of the third, gave the home team a 2-0 lead. . . . Ice F Mikey Milne got his fourth of the series, on a PP, at 18:51, but F Sloan Stanick (1) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . Winnipeg was 1-for-3 on the PP and now is 9-for-18 in the series. The Raiders are 2-for-19. . . .

In Brandon, the No. 6 Wheat Kings scored the game’s last three goals to earn a Brandon3-1 victory over the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Red Deer on Friday. Then they’ll return to Brandon for Game 6 on Sunday. . . . F Jace Isley (2) gave the Rebels the lead at 7:44 of the first period. . . . F Trae Johnson (1) tied it at 13:01. . . . The Wheat Kings won it on two PP goals from F Marcus Kallionkieli, at 18:24 of the second period and 19:22 of the third. The second one was an empty-netter. . . . Kallionkieli, a Finn who turned 21 on March 20, also drew an assist on Johnson’s goal.

In Saskatoon, F Kyle Crnkovic scored twice to lead the No. 5 Blades to a 5-3 Saskatoonvictory over the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw leads the series 3-1 and can win it at home on Friday night. . . . The Blades actually coughed up 2-0 and 3-1 leads with Warriors F Ryder Korczak (2) getting his guys even, at 3-3, at 2:54 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon D Rhett Rhinehart (1) broke the tie at 8:37 and Crnkovic’s second goal of the game and series, an empty-netter, iced it at 19:31. . . . D Maximus Wanner (3) scored twice for Moose Jaw. . . . The Blades got 32 saves from G Nolan Maier.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Tri-City Americans have named D Marc Lajoie as the 33rd captain in franchise history. The Americans went without a captain this season as they didn’t qualify for the playoffs. Lajoie, the 14th pick in the 2018 WHL draft, has played three seasons with the Americans. . . .

Neil Pilon, who played 263 games over five seasons in the WHL, was named head coach of the Kamloops-based U-18 AAA Thompson Blazers on Wednesday. Pilon played with the Kamloops Junior Oilers, Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors and Seattle Thunderbirds (1983-88). . . . Pilon also is the greens superintendent at the Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Club, which is located near Merritt, B.C. . . .

Eric Thurston, the general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder, is leaving after four seasons with the organization. In a news release, the Thunder said it “regrets to announce” that Thurston is leaving. . . . The news release didn’t indicate any reason for Thurston’s departure. . . . This season, the Thunder was 33-17-10, good for fourth in the North Division, before being swept from a first-round series by the Spruce Grove Saints. . . .

Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald tweeted Wednesday afternoon that “Brad Patterson is out as head coach of the (USHL’s) Youngstown Phantoms.” . . . Their season ended with first-round playoff loss on Tuesday night. . . . Patterson had been on the Phantoms’ coaching staff since 2009-10, and was the head coach since 2016-17. . . .

The OHL’s Peterborough Petes and general manager Michael Oke have agreed on a two-year contract that will take them through the 2023-24 season. Oke has been the Petes’ GM since Feb. 14, 2013. He joined the organization as the director of player personnel in July 2010.


Child


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.


A note involving Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, from Elliotte Friedman’s weekly 32 Thoughts:

“During the second week of April, five Canadians lived atop five 40-foot flagpoles for 100 hours. The significance of that length is 100 years ago, Sir Frederick Banting and Charles H. Best discovered insulin to help manage diabetes. One of those five was Wilson Gaglardi, the 16-year-old son of Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi. To donate toward a cure, please go to canadacuresdiabetes.ca.


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.


Restaurant

Struch pays price in Regina; Paddock back behind Pats’ bench . . . Bedard due to break out? . . . USHL’s Lancers in disarray


Dave Struch became the second head-coaching casualty of this WHL season when the Regina Pats fired him on Thursday morning.

John Paddock, a veteran of the coaching game and twice the winner of the Dunc PatsMcCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s coach of the year, has taken over and now is the organization’s vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach. Paddock ran the Pats’ practice in Regina on Thursday.

According to Pats’ owner/governor Shaun Semple, Paddock “will assume the role of head coach for the remainder of this season and next.”

Struch, 50, was in the final year of his contract. He had been with the Pats since 2014-15. He started as an assistant coach working alongside Paddock, then took over as head coach after the Pats were the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup.

Prior to joining the Pats, Struch spent eight seasons on the Saskatoon Blades’ coaching staff, the last one (2013-14) as head coach.

“Not much to say, as this is what I signed up for as a coach,” Struch told the Regina Leader-Post via text on Thursday afternoon. “I’m sad for my family. Disappointed that I couldn’t help the team get more wins. Expectations are high for this group of young men to be at the top of the conference and I couldn’t make that happen.”

Struch exits with the Pats at 6-10-0, their most-recent appearance a 6-1 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes that left them with three straight losses. The Pats’ season has been streaky — two victories, seven losses, four victories, three losses.

Assistant coaches Brad Herauf, who is in his seventh season, and Ken Schneider, in his first, were retained.

“I’m positive that with John, Brad and Ken, they will get (the Pats) back to the top where they should be this season,” Struch told The Leader-Post. “I am grateful to the organization for everything they have done for my family and I over the last seven years.”

Paddock, 67, makes his first appearance back behind the bench on Saturday as the Pats begin a six-game road trip against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

He has extensive head-coaching experience that includes stints in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators. He was the WHL’s coach of the year following the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons.

Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has his thoughts on the Pats’ situation right here.

The other coach to depart since this season got started? Dean Brockman left the Swift  Current Broncos on Oct. 14.

——

With the Regina Pats having stumbled through the first part of the WHL’s regular season, there are those who are wondering about the first 16 games of F Connor Bedard’s season.

Bedard, the first player to have been granted exceptional status allowing him to play in the WHL as a 15-year-old, put up 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games in the developmental season that was played in the Regina hub last spring.

This season, Bedard, now 16, has eight goals and four assists in 16 games.

However, as Ken Campbell wrote Thursday at Hockey Unfiltered, better numbers are likely to be in Bedard’s immediate future.

“The temptation might be to wonder what is going on with Connor Bedard these days,” Campbell wrote. “There also might be a temptation to think that the WHL’s first exceptional player and top prospect for the 2023 NHL draft is lagging behind his competition, namely Adam Fantilli and Matvei Michkov.

“Yes, Bedard has only eight goals and 12 points in 16 games for the Regina Pats after scoring 28 points in just 15 games last season and leading Canada to a gold medal at the World Under-18 Championship. And he has yet to score a single goal on the power play. But there are a couple of mitigating circumstances at play. First, Bedard leads the Western Hockey League in shots with 85, which means he’s been the victim of some terribly bad luck. People in analytics tell us all the time that, particularly with elite players who generate a lot of chances, that luck is bound to change and his shooting percentage will get way above 9.4 percent. Last season, it was 17.4 percent.”

Campbell’s complete piece, which includes notes on a lot more than just Bedard, is right here.


If you are one of those people who puts stock in power polls or rankings or whatever they might be called, consider this from Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press . . .

“ESPN calls itself the worldwide leader in sports, but it’s more like the worldwide leader in hot takes (and arguably clickbait) following Wednesday’s release of their weekly NHL ‘power rankings.’

“In case you missed it, the new U.S. rightsholder for league telecasts has seen fit to demote the Winnipeg Jets down to 20th, a drop of eight spots from the No. 12 position they occupied last Wednesday.

“This, despite the fact the Jets just went a perfect 3-0-0 over the past seven days, including a dominating 5-2 win over Edmonton on Tuesday night. That would be the same Oilers team ESPN has ranked No. 1. Seriously. “You couldn’t make this up.

“Winnipeg has just one regulation loss in the last dozen games (9-1-2), and if it keeps up this impressive pace I suspect the Jets are going to drop all the way to dead-last in the rankings rather quickly.”

BTW, the Jets dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the host Oilers on Thursday night. Yes, Edmonton F Connor McDavid scored another one of “THOSE” goals.


Monopoly


The schedule has been released for the 2022 Memorial Cup and it comes with a real change. The tournament, which is to be held in Saint John, N.B., from June 4 through June 13, will begin on a Saturday night, rather than Friday, and the championship final is scheduled for Monday night, rather than Sunday. . . . All games will begin at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) with one exception — the game on June 5 between the QMJHL and WHL champions is to start at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET). . . . There is a news release right here, and it includes ticket-buying information.


Some crazy stuff has been going down with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Let’s Lancersstart with some Thursday tweets from Brad Elliott Schlossman, the Grand Forks Herald’s superb hockey writer . . .

On Wednesday, he had tweeted:

“Four months after Omaha (USHL) hired Chadd Cassidy as head coach and GM, and after an 8-4-2 start to this season, the Lancers have pushed him out, per multiple sources.”

These followed on Thursday (all times Pacific):

10:53 a.m.: Situation in Omaha escalating: Lancers have been cutting budgets, everything from video software to some postgame player meals; after ousting Cassidy, Omaha asked him to coach last weekend’s games (per @THNRyanKennedy); Omaha discussed having an injured player be asst coach.”

10:57 a.m.: “Remaining Omaha Lancers staff members are currently resigning. I’m not sure if there will be anyone left when this is done. Players are threatening to boycott upcoming games.”

11:11 a.m.: “Assistant general manager Jeff Cox, acting head coach Sean Walsh, assistant coach Tate Maris and trainer Nick Hart have all resigned from the Omaha Lancers.”

11:49 a.m.: “The remaining Lancers staff was willing to stay for the sake of the players. Then, this morning, team president David DeLuca lost his temper with acting HC Sean Walsh. Assistant coach Tate Maris resigned. Players opted to walk out. Remaining staff backed players and resigned.”

12:30 p.m.: “The Lancers say Chadd Cassidy ‘stepped down as head coach to pursue other opportunities.’ . . . Yeah, and I bench pressed 500 pounds this morning.”

Schlossman later filed this story right here.

And right here is a story from Chris Peters of dailyfaceoff.com who also has been all over this story.


On the subject of crazy stuff, it’s hard to believe that it has been 27 years since one of the highlights of my time around the WHL. Yessss, those were the days! . . . Regina versus Moose Jaw was so much fun. Play-by-play guys in Donald Duck outfits. Coaches battling. . . . Kevin Shaw, the Regina Pats’ unofficial historian, reminds us of what happened 27 years ago with this tweet . . .



Bigfoot


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.


Toad

How a coach wound up with two WHL teams at same time . . . Friedman puts focus on Ingram . . . B.C. mess has schedule implications

Bob Tory, the general manager of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, heard from a Americansfew potential goaltending coaches on Wednesday.

There was one problem . . . the Americans have a goaltending coach in Eli Wilson.

If you tuned in late, Wilson also is Kelowna’s goaltending coach, something that Rockets president/GM Bruce Hamilton announced on Monday.

A goaltending coach working with two teams in the same league? Only in the WHL, you say.

Well, here’s how it went down . . .

On Nov. 7, the Rockets acquired G Talyn Boyko, all 6-foot-7.5 of him, from the Americans for G Cole Tisdale, 19, and a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2024 draft.

Boyko, 19, a fourth-round pick by the New York Rangers in the NHL’s 2021 Rocketsdraft, has been a long-time student of Wilson’s, having attended his goaltending camps as well as working with him with the Americans.

After the trade, when Hamilton asked Tory if Wilson could work with Kelowna’s goaltenders, Tory said he didn’t have a problem with it, as long as it didn’t interfere with the one week a month that Wilson, who lives in Kelowna, is to spend with the Americans.

So that’s how Wilson came to be on the ice with the Rockets in Kelowna on Wednesday while the Americans were riding the bus to Kamloops where they spent the night. Tri-City is to practise in Kamloops this morning and then head to Prince George for a Friday-Saturday series with the Cougars.

With the Rockets, Wilson replaces Adam Brown, who no longer is with the organization. Brown, 30, spent four seasons (2008-12) tending goal for the Rockets and five (2016-21) on their coaching staff.


It was an exciting evening in this household on Oct. 24 when G Connor Ingram made 33 saves in his NHL debut and helped the visiting Nashville Predators to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

Ingram, 24, is a favourite in these parts for a couple of reasons. First, we had many conversations as he put up 81 victories during his three seasons (2014-17) with the Kamloops Blazers. Second, his folks, Joni and Brent, have long supported Dorothy in her annual Kidney Walk fund-raising efforts.

In January, Connor left the Predators and voluntarily entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, going on to spend 40 days at a facility in Malibu, Calif.

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has lots on Ingram and the subsequent diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in his latest 32 Thoughts.

“This is the kind of OCD you do not hear about,” Ingram told Friedman. “You hear about repeatedly washing hands or being incredibly organized. My apartment is a disaster, I’m not one of those people.”

It’s worth reading to understand what Ingram has been through.

But it was something that Brian Poile, Nashville’s assistant GM and director of hockey operations, told Friedman that really struck me. When Ingram decided that he needed help, the Predators were in Dallas and it was Poile who stayed with him in a hotel as things were put in motion to get help.

“In professional sports,” Poile told Friedman, “we sometimes forget these are young men, some of them not fully developed physically or mentally. In many cases, they leave their homes and families in their prime development years to chase their NHL dreams. These young men devote the majority of their days and years to hockey, and in some cases at a significant compromise to the other areas of their life, to become exceptional at the game they love.”

If you are a follower of junior hockey take a few moments to think about that because Poile hit the nail squarely on the head.

Friedman’s complete 32 Thoughts is right here. Items 23 through 27 deal with Ingram.


The events of the last few days in the area to the west of my world are almost beyond comprehension. After getting through a horrendous summer that included devastating wildfires — one wiped the community of Lytton right off the map — and a heat bubble that took temperatures into the high 40s and resulted in hundreds of deaths, areas of B.C. are faced with surveying untold damage, mopping up and eventually rebuilding after a weekend of torrential rain.

Blake Shaffer, an assistant professor in the economics department of the U of Calgary, tweeted on Wednesday that this will be the “costliest natural disaster in Canadian history . . . won’t even be close.”

The resulting landslides, mudslides and flooding has left the highways into the Lower Mainland — generally recognized as the area west of Hope — all shut down. (Highway 7 opened to westbound passenger vehicles from Hope on Wednesday at 5 p.m., allowing more than 1,000 people who had been stranded there to head for home, and then was closed two hours later. . . . There are reports that Highway No. 3 could be open to some traffic at some point over the approaching weekend.)

People being people, of course, grocery stores throughout B.C. — from Prince George to Vancouver — found themselves hit by hoarders on Tuesday and many quickly ran out of a whole lot of stuff, from toilet paper to produce to milk products and meat, bringing back memories of the same thing happening in the early days of the pandemic. For people in places like Kamloops, Kelowna and Prince George, it didn’t seem to matter that highways to the east remain open to trucks bearing supplies. Hoard on, Garth!

Anyway . . . the transportation issues have resulted in a number of hockey leagues having to keep a close eye on their schedules.

For starters, the WHL has postponed a game that was to have had the Victoria Royals play the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday. It has been rescheduled for Feb. 16. The Royals, however, will travel to Langley, B.C., to play the Vancouver Giants on Saturday night. . . . The Blazers are to play the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Saturday night. Teams going south are able to bypass the Lower Mainland by travelling through Osoyoos, B.C., and entering the U.S. at the Oroville crossing. . . .

In the BCHL, a Wednesday night game between the visiting Merritt Centennials bchland the Penticton Vees was postponed with a rescheduled date yet to be announced. Merritt, with a population around 7,500, remains under an evacuation order after its wastewater treatment plant was compromised by flood water from the Coldwater River. . . . That evacuation order is expected to be in place for at least another week. . . .

The BCHL also postponed a pair of Merritt home games — Friday against the Vernon Vipers and Saturday versus the Prince George Spruce Kings.

All told, the BCHL has postponed eight weekend games and added a pair. There’s a news release detailing it all right here. . . .

Two BCHL teams were forced into extended road stays after being unable to get home after weekend games. The Victoria Grizzlies flew home from Penticton on Wednesday, one day after most of the Coquitlam Express drove from Kamloops to Kelowna and then boarded a plane for home. . . .

The junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey kijhlLeague was to have entertained the Chase Heat on Wednesday night. However, the Storm’s home arena at McArthur Island is being used to house evacuees from Merritt so the game was postponed. The Storm’s next home game is scheduled for Sunday against the North Okanagan Knights. . . .

The KIJHL had postponed a Tuesday game in Princeton that was to have had the Posse meeting the Kelowna Chiefs. Princeton was hit with an evacuation order for 295 homes after the Tumaleen and Similkameen rivers overflowed. The Posse next is to play on Friday in Summerland against the Steam, before returning home to face Chase on Saturday. . . .

In the junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, a game scheduled for Friday that was to have had the host Lake Cowichan Kraken meet the Victoria Cougars has been postponed with a new date yet to be determined. . . . Also postponed is a Friday game between the visiting Kerry Park Islanders and Saanich Predators and two Sunday assignments — the Campbell River Storm at Saanich and the Islanders at the Westshore Wolves. . . .

The Pacific Junior Hockey League postponed a Wednesday night game that was to have had the Aldergrove Kodiak visit the Richmond Sockeyes. . . .

The AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks were to have played host to the Bakersfield Condors on Friday and Sunday. Those games have been moved to Jan. 5 and Jan. 10. . . . Abbotsford’s next home game is scheduled for Nov. 30 against the Ontario Reign. . . .

The message here is that if you are planning on attending a sporting event in these times, you need to check a schedule to see if the game is still on, all the while being sure to see what pandemic-related restrictions are in place.


Using a whole lot of numbers, Rhianna Schmunk of CBC News put together a comprehensive look at the situation in B.C., and it’s all right here. It’s a scary read, especially when you realize that this is happening right down the road.



The NHL’s Ottawa Senators, who have had as many as 10 players and one coach nhl2on the COVID-19 protocol list, are scheduled to play the Colorado Avalance in Denver on Monday. By that point, eight of those players could be back, depending on how the testing process goes. . . . The Senators have had three games postponed. . . . Ottawa F Michael Del Zotto explained the situation to Toronto radio station TSN 1050 on Wednesday: ““Some guys have had some loss of taste and smell, and I think that’s about as serious as it’s gotten, at least to my knowledge. Everyone is vaccinated so that certainly helps, but it’s scary how quickly it can spread and how quickly it went through the team. This is 20 months now still talking about (COVID-19) and it would be nice for us to get past this.” . . .

The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights have put three players — F Michael Amadio, F William Carrier and F Johnathan Marchessault on the NHL’s COVID-19 list since the start of the week. The Golden Knights are to entertain the Detroit Red Wings tonight.


Meetings


The Los Angeles Chargers have some COVID-19 issues as they prepare to meet the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers in a Sunday night NFL game. Defensive linemen Joey Bosa, Christian Covington and Jerry Tillery are on the COVID-19 list, as is LB Drue Tranquill. The unvaccinated Bosa was deemed a close contact to Tillery, but has tested negative and could return to workouts on Saturday.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The 2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is scheduled to be played in Kingston, Ont., on Feb. 2. . . . You will recall that the Spokane Chiefs were to have spent last weekend in Victoria playing a doubleheader against the Royals. That, of course, didn’t happen after two Spokane players tested positive. Those two games now have been rescheduled for Jan. 11 and 12. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that F Cole Shepard is back skating with the Vancouver Giants. He hasn’t played since March 2020 and has since undergone hip surgery. Shepard, 19, may be cleared to play at some point next week. . . . G Jack McNaughton, 20, who made 87 appearances over three-plus seasons (2018-22) with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, has signed with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers.


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.


Number

Raiders to hit road early for TV appearance . . . Bedard opens with a pair . . . Three hat-tricks, one shutout on WHL’s opening night

The CHL is back on TV this (Saturday) afternoon as the Regina Pats play host to CHLthe Prince Albert Raiders in a game that is to be shown on CBC. . . . If you tune in, you’re going to get Victor Findlay doing the play-by-play with analysis by Sam Cosentino, who is hardly a stranger to major junior hockey. . . . Findlay has a whole lot of play-by-play experience, having called a lot of Canadian university games, as well as a couple of Champions Hockey League finals, some Ottawa Senators games and an IIHF U-18 World championship. . . . It’ll be a quick turnaround for the teams after Regina won, 3-1, in Prince Albert on Friday night. The Raiders’ bus is to hit the road at 6:15 a.m. . . . You may recall that CHL climbed into bed with Sportsnet in 1998 and then the two parties signed a 12-year “partnership extension” on Feb. 18, 2014, that was to run through the 2025-26 season. . . . Their relationship ended this summer, with Sportsnet bailing and the CHL signing on with TSN, RDS and CBC on what the hockey people called “multi-platform, multi-year broadcast partnerships.” . . . It all starts today at 1 p.m. Regina time — that’s noon PT — and you can bet the spotlight will be on Regina F Connor Bedard, who, at 16, comes with all the adjectives you might imagine. He scored the game’s first and last goals on Friday in Prince Albert and, yes, he was named first star. . . . Blogger Darren Steinke was in Prince Albert on Friday night and his report is right here.

——

Elsewhere in the WHL on Friday night . . .

G Isaac Poulter stopped 20 shots to record the first shutout of the season as the host Swift Current Broncos got past the Medicine Hat Tigers, 2-0. That was Poulter’s second career shutout. His first came on March 13, 2019, when he stopped 33 shots as the Broncos beat the host Regina Pats, 2-0. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Brayden Yager, 16, who is from Saskatoon, struck for three goals as the Warriors beat the Blades, 7-1. Alex Clarke of Weyburn, Sask., became the first woman to work as an on-ice official in a WHL regular-season game when she partnered with Ryan Lundquist on the lines. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings got three goals from F Josh Williams and three assists from F Jakub Demek as they defeated the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 4-1. Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate points out that the Oil Kings have won 18 of their last 19 meetings with the Rebels. Yes, that’s domination. . . .

F Noah Boyko scored three times and F Justin Hall had a goal and four assists as the host Lethbridge Hurricanes dropped the Calgary Hitmen, 9-2. . . .

In Brandon, the Winnipeg Ice thrashed the Wheat Kings, 10-2. Winnipeg got two goals from each of F Skyler Bruce and F Mikey Milne. Ice G Daniel Hauser stopped 20 shots, including a pair of penalty shots. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans scored twice in a five-round shootout to beat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-4. Dwayne Jean Jr., a 17-year-old freshman from Edmonton, got the shootout winner.



Hygiene



In case you missed it, this from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle: “The Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a ball completely out of Dodger Stadium on Thursday night, a shot that landed on top of the left-field pavilion and disappeared into the night. According to the Dodgers’ website, only five other players have done that since the park opened in 1962: Willie Stargell (1969 Pirates), Stargell again (1973 Pirates), Mike Piazza (1997 Dodgers), McGwire (1999 Cardinals) and Giancarlo Stanton (2015 Marlins).”



F Zac Rinaldo refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19 so it would seem the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets are through with him. Earlier, the team told Rinaldo to stay away from their training camp. On Friday, Rinaldo, 31, cleared NHL waivers and the Blue Jackets told him not to bother reporting to camp with the Cleveland Monsters, their AHL affiliate, when it opens on Tuesday. . . . Rinaldo signed a one-year, two-way contract in August. He won’t be getting his NHL salary (US$750,000), but will draw his AHL salary ($300,000) while he doesn’t play. . . . The Blue Jackets have told Rinaldo that he is free to look for other opportunities.


AuntEdna


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.


Fur

Scattershooting on a Saturday night after enjoying a mostly smoke-free evening . . .

Scattershooting2

It appears that the OHL is in the process of preparing a policy that will deal with mandatory vaccination prior the start of training camps for the 2021-22 season.

Mark Scheig, who among other things covers the OHL and specifically the Erie Otters for thehockeywriters.com tweeted on Saturday afternoon:

OHL“I am hearing that the OHL . . . will be implementing a policy that will require all players, staff, officials, volunteers and, I believe, billet families to be fully vaccinated within two weeks of the start of training camp.

“My understanding is that there will be accommodations to some degree. But the significance of this is non-vaxxed players/staff could be removed from the roster or placed on leave for the duration of the pandemic.”

Players in the OHL are scheduled to report to training camp on Sept. 4 with the regular season to open on Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, there isn’t any word on whether mandatory vaccination is something that might be implemented as a CHL-wide measure, meaning the QMJHL and WHL also would be involved.

As regards the WHL, you have to think it has at least been discussed by the board of governors.

The move towards mandatory vaccination in some areas is getting noisier and noisier, and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I also wonder how WHL teams will deal with seating in their home arenas when it comes to opening the doors to those who are fully vaccinated and those who aren’t vaccinated at all.

But when it comes to mandating that players must be vaccinated, can a sports league really tell a group of players ages 16 to 20 that they have to fall in line? Then again there isn’t a players’ union involved, so . . .


F Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t play in Game 5 of the NBA final on Saturday night after having to enter health and safety protocols. . . . The 28-year-old has averaged 0.7 points and 3.5 minutes per game in these playoffs. . . . The visiting Bucks, who were down 16 points in the early going, won Saturday’s game, 123-119, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. They get their first chance to wrap it up at home on Tuesday. . . . Milwaukee last won an NBA title in 1971.


ICYMI, the New York Islanders traded F Andrew Ladd and three draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon. That’s it. That’s the trade. The Islanders didn’t get anything in return. Don’t you just love today’s NHL where teams are able to do that just to dump some salary? . . . BTW, those draft picks are a second-rounder in 2021, a conditional second-rounder in 2022 and a conditional third-rounder in 2023. . . . Ladd, 35, has played 950 regular-season NHL games, the last four of them in 2019-20. Last season, he played one game — with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game:

“It was a happenstance instead of a happening.  A quick summary here:

  1. The AL won the game.
  2. The teams wore uniforms made specifically for the All-Star Game.
  3. The uniforms were genuinely ugly.”

——

Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle didn’t like those uniforms, either: “After bombing horribly with those generic All-Star uniforms — yo, Rob Manfred, nobody loved them — we’ll get more of the same next year at Dodger Stadium. It’s all about sponsorship bucks, and Nike really blew it with this year’s designs, especially the all-blue disasters with unreadable names. We’re thinking they really get creative next year with special team pajamas. Maybe those really silly ones with the squirrels chasing hippos.”

——

While those All-Star Game uniforms were butt ugly, there was some good news as Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, said before the game that there likely will be a couple of changes prior to the 2022 season. That free runner on second base in extra innings? Gone. Seven-inning doubleheaders? Gone. . . . Manfred said those two situations “were adopted based on medical advice to deal with COVID” and that “they are less likely to become part of our permanent landscape than some of the other rules.” . . . Don’t forget that the CBA between MLB owners and the players runs out on Dec. 1, and these parties have a history that isn’t good when it comes to these kinds of negotiations.


Mars


A note to CBC Radio: So you really did dump Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap after 16 wonderful seasons. Well, then, I’m just going to have to give you your walking papers, too. I mean, I quite enjoy listening to Kathleen Edwards, but one of her 2012 shows in place of Vinyl Tap just doesn’t cut it. So you are free to count me as a former listener of all things CBC Radio. For whatever that might be worth. . . . Hey, Randy, please let me know where Vinyl Tap ends up after you’ve taken care of business. Oh, and thanks so much for 16 years of great listening.



Headline at The Onion: Conor McGregor Undergoes 3 Hours Of Surgery To Repair Fractured Ego


A midweek tweet from comedy writer Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg): “Just learned on ‘Jeopardy’ a coyote can run 40 MPH, twice as fast as a roadrunner. Next thing you know they’ll try to tell us a coyote can’t paint a train tunnel on a canyon wall and then get run over by the train that comes out of it.”


Delta

Three athletes, two of them residents of the Olympic Village, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo. . . . These are the first two athletes who are staying in the Village to have tested positive. Another athlete who is not staying there also has tested positive. There are a number of athletes staying in hotels. . . . The IOC has said that the Olympic Village will be the “safest place” in Tokyo when it comes to avoiding the coronavirus. . . . Organizers haven’t identified the athletes or their countries of residence. . . . Since July 1, there have been 55 positive tests involving people linked to these Games.

——

The Colorado Rockies are without manager Bud Black, first-base coach Ron Gideon and four players as they play a weekend series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. All are involved with MLB’s contact-tracing protocols. . . . Three RHP — Yency Almonte, Jhoulys Chacin and Antonio Senzatela — and OF Yonathan Daza were placed on the injured list. . . . The team wouldn’t say whether anyone was experiencing symptoms or had tested positive. . . . It is known that the Rockies were one of the first teams to reach the 85 per cent vaccination rate.

——

Virus

——

Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News, after six players with the New York Yankees went on the MLB COVID-19 list:

“They can say whatever they want to, but one of the reasons it happens this way, absolutely, is because there are members of this baseball team — and others for sure — who are too stupid or selfish or stubborn or all of the above to get vaccinated, one summer after one of the darkest our country has ever known.

“And that is on these ballplayers who don’t just endanger themselves, but endanger people around them. This isn’t about religious liberty or politics or anything else at this point with the anti-vaxxers. It is about living in a new kind of bubble, the one in Stupidville. You feel sorry for these guys. There’s a reason why doctors are now talking about a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated.’ ”

That complete column is right here.


Lupica, again: “Tom Brady is telling us now that he played last season with a torn MCL . . . why? Was Brady this chatty in Foxboro, I can’t recall.”


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“If I was Joe Biden, I would send a heath expert to the WNBA with instructions to find out how that league became a sports-world leader in COVID vaccinations. While men’s leagues struggle to reach minimum levels of vax, the WNBA steps up and takes it like a woman. It’s almost as if WNBA players value team over personal politics and misinformation.”


Bigfoot


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: The USHL’s Fargo Force needs a head coach following the departure of Pierre-Paul Lamoureux. He had been the head coach for two seasons after earlier working as associate head coach, director of scouting and assistant coach at various times. Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald tweeted: “Pierre-Paul Lamoureux stepping down after leading Fargo to the Clark Cup Finals. Lamoureux says he will invest more time in his family. Not sure if it played a role, but it was fairly widely known in USHL circles that he wasn’t exactly compensated like other league head coaches.”


CIA

Hey, coach, you should wear that mask properly because world is watching . . . Words of emotional advice from Emily Cave . . . Blues, Freeze say they’re sorry, but . . .

A friendly reminder to hockey coaches everywhere. . . . If you are required to wear a facemask while behind your team’s bench or anywhere else in the arena, make sure you wear it properly — covering your mouth and your nose. . . . Someone emailed me a nice big photo of a coach that got prominent play in his local newspaper — unfortunately, he was using his mask as a chin diaper, and that’s just not a good look. . . . So make sure to wear it properly because in this day and age there are cameras everywhere, and part of your job is to set a good example. . . . Thank you!


Colby Cave, a former WHLer (Swift Current, 2011-15), died on April 11, a few days after suffering a brain bleed. He and Emily had been married for nine months when he died in Toronto. Due to hospital restrictions brought on by the pandemic, Emily wasn’t with her husband at the end.

On Thursday, she took to her Instagram account to express some feelings, words that have echoed around the globe and been picked up by all kinds of media outlets.

Here are Emily’s words:

“I have kept my opinions regarding COVID to myself or people in my close circle but today I hit my breaking point with Alberta making new restrictions. I personally see & hear so many people complaining. I understand a lot of people feel that they won’t get it & if they did they would survive it.

“However, what would happen if your loved one became sick very fast with something else, was in a car accident, or was dying . . . & then because of the COVID restrictions you weren’t allowed to be with them?!?!

“My 25-year-old husband died alone. . . . I have no clue what his last breath was like. . . . I have yet to be able to have a funeral. . . . because of this global pandemic.

“So for goodness sake wear a mask, wash your freaking hands & it’s not the end of your world if you can’t go to house parties or do things that are essentially a ‘luxury’ in your blessed world because let me tell you . . . it’s not a luxury having your husband die alone. It’s not a luxury getting a phone call saying he’s dead compared to being there holding his hand. It’s not a luxury losing a loved one during a freaking global pandemic.

“If this insults any of my followers, unfollow me or grow up because until you’re in my shoes . . . which I pray to God you never have to be . . . your opinion can eat sh*t.”

Wear a mast. Social distance. Wash your hands. Please.


The MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze, both of whom are under fire for holding unsanctioned practices in Warren, Man., last week, issued a lengthy apology on Friday. . . . Both teams are owned by 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, which also owns, among other properties, the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. . . . Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, is the president and governor of both the Blues and Freeze. . . . The apology, which doesn’t include any names and isn’t signed, runs to 1,511 words. . . . It goes to great lengths to rationalize what occurred. If you are one of us who takes this pandemic seriously, you might see all of this as a weak explanation about looking for loopholes. . . . Carter Brooks of gameonhockey.ca has more right here, including the entire, uhh, apology.

Columnist Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun read the, uhh, apology and wrote: “Two Manitoba Junior Hockey League teams who flouted public health guidelines by staging practices just outside the city early this week have both apologized for and justified their actions.” . . . Perhaps the headline on Friesen’s column — “MJHL teams offer apology, but remain in hiding” — says more than anything. . . . His column is right here.


The Vancouver Giants have signed Keith McCambridge as their new associate Vancouvercoach, replacing Jamie Heward, who left “to pursue a different hockey opportunity.” . . . Heward, who spent two seasons with the Giants, is expected to join the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights as an assistant coach under Manny Viveiros. . . . McCambridge, a native of Thompson, Man., the hometown of former WHL coach of the year Jack Sangster, played four seasons in the WHL (Swift Current, Kamloops, 1991-95). He was a defenceman on the Blazers team that won the 1994 Memorial Cup. . . . The 46-year-old McCambridge coached in the AHL for 10 seasons, most recently as the head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack (2016-19). The Wolf Pack is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers, who chose to let McCambridge go after the 2018-19 season. . . . In Vancouver, McCambridge will work with head coach Michael Dyck, who leaves this weekend for Red Deer to join Canada’s national junior team for its selection camp. He is an assistant coach so will be gone until the World Junior Championship ends on Jan. 5. . . . WHL teams plan on bringing players in for brief training camps right after Christmas, and then hope to open their season on Jan. 8. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on the Giants’ story right here.


Bob


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Karel Houde-Hébert of Radio-Canada in Regina reports that the SJHL “would FlinFlonlike” the Flin Flon Bombers to play out of Creighton, Sask., which is located two km west of the Manitoba city. . . . The Bombers have put their season on hold because of Manitoba being on a province-wide lockdown. The Bombers were to have played a weekend doubleheader against the visiting Kindersley Klippers. When the restrictions came in this week, the Bombers announced that they would play the two games in Kindersley. However, they announced Thursday that the games would be postponed. . . . Travis Rideout, the Bombers’ president, says the organization is “still looking at all the possibilities to continue our season.” . . . Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health, doesn’t like the Creighton option at all. “Sanitation measures were put in place for a reason. They save lives,” he said. “I encourage all Manitobans to play by the rules and not try to bend them.” . . . Houde-Hébert’s story is right here.

CBC Saskatchewan: The province is rolling out more COVID-19 rules including mandatory masking in 59 communities, limits on when alcohol can be served and the reduction of fitness-class sizes. The restrictions come into effect on Nov. 16.

CBC Saskatchewan: COVID-19 in Sask.: 81 new cases, 53 people in hospital on Friday. There are now 1,427 active cases, out of a total of 4,513 reported since the start of the pandemic.

——

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 907 new cases of COVID-19 and 5 additional deaths related to the virus. 240 people are in hospital, including 54 in ICU. The province has 8,593 known active cases.

Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW: Friday’s numbers are in and Red Deer is back to 94 active cases of COVID-19.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat now has 34 active cases of COVID-19, meaning we have been added to the watch list.

——

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: Latest covid19: 617 new cases, 2 deaths for total 290, 167 people hospitalized, 50 ICU, just about 6000 active cases and nearly 12000 in self isolation.

James Peters, CFJC-TV, Kamloops: B.C. records daily record 617 new cases of COVID-19 (Friday), including 42 in Interior Health. Hospitalizations up to 167 with 50 in ICU.

——

CBC News: Number of daily coronavirus cases in Ontario drops to 1,396, down from Thursday’s all-time high of 1,575. But the number still exceeds the province’s average from the previous 7-days of 1,299.

——

CBC News: 30 additional deaths due to the coronavirus are being reported by health authorities in Quebec. The province also has 1,301 new cases, the lowest in 3 days but still above the average of the previous 7-days of 1,263.

——

CBC News: Nunavut confirms a new case of COVID-19; the territory reported its 1st case on November 6; there are now 4. The latest one is in Arviat, a community of about 2,600 people on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay just north of the Manitoba border.

——

CBS2 News: The Washington State Department of Health reported 2,142 new COVID-19 cases, 88 additional hospitalizations and 12 more deaths due to the virus.

oregonlive.com: Oregon governor orders 2-week coronavirus freeze, restricting bards and restaurants to takeout, closing some businesses.

——

North Dakota has shut down all winter high school sports until at least Dec. 14. Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald writes that “the shutdown includes all extracurricular K-12 school activities and applies to all association, community and club sports for youth and adults.” The fall sports that now are wrapping up will be allowed to complete their championships. . . .

Jeremy Turley, inforum.com: North Dakota has enacted a statewide mask mandate and occupancy limits on restaurants, bars and event venues as the state’s worst-in-the-nation COVID-19 outbreak keeps spiraling out of control. Violators of the mask order could be charged with infractions.

680 CJOB Winnipeg: North Dakota is now allowing health-care workers who are COVID-19 positive, but asymptomatic, to continue working in corona virus units.

——

I think it’s fair to say that’s quite a circus going on south of the 49th. Consider the case of the Cal Golden Bears football team. Cal was to have opened its season last weekend against the visiting Washington Huskies. But a positive test led to Cal coaches and players going into quarantine as close contacts and the game was cancelled. This weekend, Cal was scheduled to visit Arizona State, but that game was cancelled on Friday because of positive tests, including head coach Herm Edwards, among the Sun Devils. Instead, Cal will meet the UCLA Bruins on Sunday at the Rose Bowl. . . . The Bruins were to have played host to Utah but the Utes pulled out because of — you guessed it — positive tests. . . . As of Friday, Cal still had its entire defensive line, some coaches and other players in quarantine. The Golden Bears practised this week with one defensive lineman. . . . Rusty Simmons, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “As California eclipsed 1 million coronavirus cases this week and counties throughout the state rescind plans to reopen businesses and still can’t operate in-person schools, it’s difficult to find a reason to play a football game.” . . .

The U of Alaska-Anchorage cancelled its indoor winter sports season on Friday, meaning the Seawolves hockey team won’t be playing this winter. Also shut down are men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track, and women’s gymnastics. . . . Volleyball and cross-country teams found out in July that their fall seasons wouldn’t be happening. . . . This decision could signal the end of the Seawolves’ hockey program as the school said in mid-August that the 2020-21 season would be its final one. . . .

The NCAA hockey season that is to start this weekend lost one game on Friday when Long Island U’s first-ever game was postponed. It was to have played Army at West Point. However, the game was postponed due to an outbreak on the Army team. . . . Army also postponed its Nov. 20 game against visiting Holy Cross. . . . 

Golden Gate Fields, a thoroughbred race track in the San Francisco Bay area, has suspended live racing until at least Nov. 20. That’s because it has experienced 24 positive tests since Oct. 30.


Job


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.


Roger Bader, the head coach of Austria’s national men’s hockey team, has stepped in as head coach of the country’s national junior team. He takes over from Marco Pewal, who is an assistant coach with VSV Villach of the Erste Bank Hockey League. His club team could play as many as 15 games while Pewal would have been away, so it chose not to release him to the national junior team. Last season, with Pewal as head coach, Austria earned promotion. . . . Martin Merk has more right here. . . . The World Junior Championship is scheduled to open Dec. 25 in an Edmonton bubble.


Dogs

Hey, 50 Below, what’s up with this? . . . Michigan’s Power won’t be in Canada’s camp . . . More nasty COVID-19 news and numbers

Well . . . isn’t this interesting.

With southern Manitoba pretty much locked down since Nov. 2 — and headed mjhlto a province-wide lockdown that could last four weeks starting on Thursday — Carter Brooks, the associate editor of the Winnipeg-based Game On Magazine, writes: “50 Below Sports + Entertainment has some serious explaining to do.”

That’s the parent company of, among other things, the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and two MJHL franchises — the Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze. Yes, two franchises in a 12-team league are owned by the same outfit.

Some background: Health officials in Manitoba went to Code Red in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region on Nov. 2, then extended it to the Southern Health-Santé Sud Region a week later. On Tuesday, it was announced that the entire province will be under Code Red for four weeks starting on Thursday.

Code Red means no hockey. Period. “Playing team sports . . . will also be out of the question,” reads a CBC News story from Tuesday.

But it seems that the Blues and Freeze chose to book practice ice in Warren, Man., despite the fact that they operate out of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region. That resulted in, as Brooks wrote, “an anonymous email to MJHL President Kevin Saurette (BCC’d to members of the local Manitoba sports media) of images” that appear to show players from the Blues and Freeze on the ice.

This comes after Hockey Manitoba specifically told teams on Nov. 2 that “for the safety of all members, both hockey teams and individuals (players, officials, and team staff) residing in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region are ineligible to participate in hockey programming beginning November 2, 2020 . . . (that) will be revisited on November 15, 2020.”

The Blues and Freeze, it seems, practised at Warren’s Sunova Arena on Monday. According to Brooks, they also had practices booked for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in Warren, which is located 45 km northwest of Winnipeg.

Rhys van Kemenade, the president of the Sunova Centre, 50 Below Sports + Entertainment’s director of teams and tournaments.

As well, Brooks reported, “Not only did the two teams . . . illegally book the ice and use it for practices against direct orders from both the Province of Manitoba and the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, they did so in a manner that attempted to falsify what they were doing. Originally booking their ice under their two team names, the Blues and Freeze since changed their bookings to ‘Laker Academy.’

As evidence, Brooks’ story includes screen grabs from the Warren arena’s date book, information that has since disappeared from the arena’s website.

As Brooks concludes his story: “This program is certainly in line for massive repercussions following such a selfish act of blatant disobedience amid a global pandemic.”

Ya think?

Brooks’ story is right here.

Taylor Allen of the Winnipeg Free Press also did a story that is right here.

His story included this paragraph:

“The Free Press has requested comment from MJHL commissioner Kevin Saurette, Blues and Freeze president Matt Cockell, Blues head coach and GM Taras McEwen, Freeze head coach and GM Josh Green and Laker Hockey Academy instructor Larry Woo to comment on the situation but there has been no response, thus far.”

There’s also a piece in the Winnipeg Sun, written by Paul Friesen and Scott Billeck. That one is right here.

That’s a lot of publicity for all the wrong reasons, isn’t it?

——

680 CJOB: Manitoba health officials reported 384 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths Tuesday.

CBC News: Manitoba goes ‘red’ as of Thursday to prevent COVID-19 spread. Household-only social contacts, no gatherings. Closures include restaurants (take-out only), personal services (hair salons etc.), gyms, sports, religious centres, museums, libraries, theatres.

——

The MJHL didn’t mention the Winnipeg Blues or Winnipeg Freeze in a Tuesday news release that referenced the Nov. 2 directive from Hockey Manitoba.

“Any hockey activity that takes place outside the . . . Hockey Manitoba restrictions for regions identified as Critical (Red) is not permitted and is not sanctioned by Hockey Manitoba, the governing body of the MJHL,” the statement from the MJHL reads. “Any teams or individuals who participate(d) in hockey activities outside of the above restrictions would be choosing to do so in an un-sanctioned environment outside of Hockey Manitoba and MJHL jurisdiction.

“The MJHL will provide no further public statement regarding the restrictions outlined above.”

With all of Manitoba locking down starting Thursday for what could be as long as four weeks, the MJHL board of governors is to meet today (Wednesday). You have to think that the league will shut down indefinitely as it awaits for direction from health officials.



Hockey Canada announced Tuesday that D Owen Power of the U of Michigan Canadawon’t be attending the national junior team’s selection camp in Red Deer. . . . Players are scheduled to arrive in Red Deer on Monday with the camp running from Nov. 17 to Dec. 13. The World Junior Championship, to be played in an Edmonton bubble, will open Dec. 25 and close on Jan. 5. . . . According to a statement by Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s senior vice-president of national teams, “Power will not be released to participate” in the camp. . . . Mel Pearson, the U of Michigan’s head coach, had said Monday that he would release Power for the camp; he just didn’t know when that might happen. . . . With two of the three major junior leagues not yet playing games due to the pandemic, the selection camp will run for almost four weeks, resulting in a conflict with NCAA schedules. Some NCAA teams are about to start and Power, with no guarantee of making Canada’s team, could miss as many as 10 Michigan games.


Peaches


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League has put some of its schedule on hold for a week after COVID-19 exposures at two Nanaimo high schools that are attended by several players. . . . The four North Division teams — the Nanaimo Buccaneers, Campbell River Storm, Comox Valley Glacier Kings and Oceanside Generals — will sit for a week. . . . Simon Morgan, the VIJHL president, said in a statement that the four North Division governors “are taking this measure out of an abundance of caution and to do everything that they can to help slow the spread of COVID-19.” He added that “no VIJHL player has tested positive . . . this is a precautionary measure that will allow the VIJHL to monitor the situation and evaluate re-start activities when appropriate.”

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: Latest covid19 numbers:  525 new cases, 3 deaths, 142 hospital (+9), 46 ICU (+3), 9781 self isolation, 5133 active cases, hospitalizations highest since Apr 5

Castanet Kamloops: BC announces 525 new coronavirus cases, 27 in IH region.

Shelby Thom, Global Okanagan: Interior Health warning Metro Vancouver-style restrictions could be coming to the Southern Interior if the region doesn’t get a handle on a surge in COVID-19 cases. Health authority urges against ANY non-essential travel.

——

CBC News: Saskatchewan reports 127 new COVID-19 cases. That’s the lowest total in 3 days, but still above the province’s previous 7-day average of 114. Health authorities say no new deaths have occurred.

——

CBC News: Alberta reports 713 new coronavirus cases and 7 more deaths. Province sets new COVID-19 records with 207 people hospitalized with the illness. Province also breaks record with 8,090 active cases. . . . Doctors and other health-care workers are warning that the province’s hospitals may not be able to handle the rising number of cases.

——

The junior B St. Catharines Falcons of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that they have “experienced a number of COVID-19 positive cases.” According to the team, “The initial cases were from contact outside of our team bubble through asymptomatic transmission. Unfortunately, subsequent to this we had further transmission within the team and . . . the entire team now is under a 14-day quarantine process.” . . .

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,328 new COVID-19 cases, marking new record for 2nd straight day.

CBC News: Toronto won’t follow province when some COVID-19 restrictions lift Saturday. Ban on indoor dining remains, event spaces, casinos, gyms, fitness centres to stay closed for another 28 days. Chief medical officer also recommends limiting social gatherings to household members only.

——

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 38 additional deaths due to COVID-19. Health officials are also reporting 1,162 new coronavirus cases. That pushes the province’s 7-day average to 1,180 from 1,139.

——

oregonlive.com: Coronavirus in Oregon: 3 deaths, 771 new cases as officials sound alarm on hospitalizations.

WA Dept. of Health: Increase in COVID-19 activity statewide extremely concerning as holiday season nears; Health officials call for renewed efforts now.

Seattle Times: Washington state health officials have warned that “any in-person gathering is risky” as daily COVID-19 cases are at record-high numbers. Another stay-at-home order is still possible if counts don’t improve, officials said.

The New York Times: The number of Covid-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. hit an all-time high, as the pandemic continued shattering records and straining medical facilities.

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed four players, including QB Ben Roethlisberger, on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday morning. OL Jerald Hawkins, RB Jaylen Samuels and LB Vince Williams also went on the list. . . . TE Vance McDonald went on the list on Monday. . . . The players have to isolate for five days while undergoing testing. Negative results would get them off the list in time to play against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. . . . At 8-0, the Steelers are the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team. . . . The Philadelphia Eagles revealed Tuesday that a staff member has tested positive and is self-isolating.

The NCAA has dropped three football games from Saturday schedule — Alabama at LSU and Texas A&M at Tennessee were postponed Tuesday, after Auburn at Mississippi State went by the wayside on Monday. . . . LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn all are dealing with positive tests. Auburn paused practices Tuesday after getting 12 positives. . . . The Cal Golden Bears had their season-opener cancelled last weekend because of positives and haven’t yet gotten the OK to return to practice. That included having the entire defensive line quarantined for two weeks. Cal is supposed to play at Arizona State on Saturday. . . .

The Minneapolis StarTribune reports that “multiple members of the Gophers men’s and women’s basketball teams have tested positive . . .” The men’s team has paused activities indefinitely; the women’s team paused last week and then started practising again on Friday. The women’s team now is hoping to start up again before this week is out. . . . Duke announced Tuesday that it won’t allow fans at its men’s and women’s basketball games at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. The school isn’t allowing fans at football games either. . . .

The Rochester Institute of Technology is a member of the Liberty League (NCAA Div. III), which cancelled its winter sports season on Monday. It turns out that the cancellation includes RIT’s hockey programs, which are the school’s only Div. 1 teams. The players are protesting the decision, but if it holds the Tigers will be the first Div. I teams to have their seasons cancelled. The RIT men play in Atlantic Hockey, while the women are in College Hockey America. Both conferences are planning on playing. . . .

The New York Knicks closed their practice facility on Tuesday after three employees tested positive. The NBA allowed teams to open up facilities on Oct. 30. Players won’t report for training camps for a while yet with the season to open on Dec. 22.


Elevator


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.


Pilates

CHL hires lobbyists in hopes of landing federal aid . . . Some NCAA teams adjusting schedules. . . . Saskatchewan hockey league done

The Canadian Hockey League, which last week announced it had agreed to pay $30 million to settle a minimum wage-related class-action lawsuit, is lobbying Canada’s CHLfederal government for financial aid to help it and its 52 Canadian teams through these trying pandemic times.

Marco Vigliotti of ipolitics.ca reports that “Susan Smith, Raphael Brass and Tim Barber of Bluesky Strategy registered” as lobbyists on behalf of the CHL.

According to its website, the Ottawa-based Bluesky Strategy Group delivers “public affairs, strategic communications, government relations, and media relations advice and execution.”

Smith and Barber are co-founders of Bluesky; Brass is a senior consultant.

On Friday, the CHL brought an end to a lawsuit that had been filed against it in 2014 by agreeing to pay $30 million. In that lawsuit, former players were asking for major junior hockey players to be declared employees, rather than student-athletes, and as such fall under various employment standard regulations including minimum wage and overtime pay.

In its statement on Friday, the CHL stated: “This settlement does not mean that we agree with the plaintiffs. It means that we wanted to end the lawsuits so we could continue to focus on being the best development league in hockey.”

From the other side, Ted Charney of Toronto-based Charney Lawyers PC, told Ken Campbell of The Hockey News: “This has been a very long, hard-fought battle, effectively gloves-off litigation for several years. We had to fight the (political) lobbying, which we lost miserably on, but we won in all the court rooms.”

The CHL and the three leagues that operate under its umbrella — the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League — aren’t strangers to lobbying governments.

In the early years of the lawsuit, they all worked to get provincial and state governments to provide exemptions from minimum-wage legislation.

Exemptions were provided by the governments of Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Washington state, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Michigan. Oregon legislators refused to provide an exemption.

David Branch, the OHL commissioner and at the time the CHL’s president, registered as a lobbyist with the Ontario government on Sept. 11, 2018. Two months later, the government announced that it was excluding OHL players from employment standards legislation.

That came two years after B.C’s cabinet, then under Liberal control, had done the same thing for the WHL.

Vaughn Palmer, a political columnist with the Vancouver Sun, wrote on Oct. 22, 2016:

“The Liberals made the change after extensive lobbying from the league, which was facing a court challenge on the failure to pay minimum wage and concerned about economic pressures on its teams were they obliged to pay up.

“The Liberals bought the argument but did so in the quietest fashion. The waiver was approved by cabinet order on Feb. 15, with no followup press release nor much else to draw attention to what they’d done.”

Five days after Palmer’s column appeared, The Sun’s Ian Mulgrew reported that the WHL “did not register as a lobbyist before leaning on B.C.’s cabinet to exempt major junior players from the minimum wager law . . .”

According to Mulgrew, Erin Beatty, communications director for the B.C. Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists, said the regulator was “acting on the potential incident of non-compliance in this case.”

It would seem that whatever investigation was held didn’t go anywhere, and The Sun never followed up.

The $30-million settlement revealed on Friday won’t become official until it is approved by the court, which should happen later this summer. It’s believed that $15 million of that sum will be covered by insurance, leaving the CHL’s 52 Canadian teams each to pay about $288,000.

On April 17, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault announced that the government was committing $500 million to arts, culture and sports sectors.

The CHL joins other sports groups including the CFL, soccer’s Canadian Premier League, the Canadian Elite Basketball League and various hockey leagues in working to get financial aid from government.


Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, announced Tuesday that the U.S.-Canada border will remain closed to non-essential travel for another month, taking it to around June 21. In April, the closure had been extended to May 21. . . . The border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 18. . . . Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister, said later in the day that he believes the closure will be needed long past June 21. . . . “I’m not convinced there is much chance that it will clear sufficiently in the next month to change at least my mind about whether we should open the border,” Dix said. “I think it’s going to be significantly longer than that for visitors.”


Some NCAA hockey teams are beginning to make adjustments to their schedules brought on by budget cuts implemented because of the pandemic. . . . Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reports that “college hockey teams are already starting to call of non-conference road trips that require airplane flights because of anticipated budget crunches due to the coronavirus pandemic.” . . . His complete story is right here.


Ironing


With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


The Triangle Hockey League, long a fixture on the Saskatchewan winter sports scene, is no more. According to the league, the decision was made at a meeting on Saturday. . . . The league had five teams last season — the Bredenbury Cougars, Esterhazy Flyers, Hudson Bay Hunters, Ochapowace Thunder and Theodore Buffalos. The Rocanville Tigers were a league member although they sat out last season. . . . The THL had been without an executive board since February; it also looked like there may be issues getting on-ice officials for a 2020-21 season.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.”


Horse


Soccer’s English Premier League, idle since March, is slowly resuming training in the hopes of resuming its season. On Tuesday, the results were announced from the 748 people who were tested for the coronavirus on Monday and Tuesday. Six people were found to be positive and will be self-isolated for a week. More test results are expected to be announced on Tuesday. . . .

The Belmont Stakes, normally the third event in thoroughbred horse racing’s Triple Crown, now will be the first leg. It is scheduled for June 20 and will be run without spectators. . . . The Kentucky Derby, usually the first leg, was postponed to Sept. 5 and the Preakness, normally No. 2, is scheduled for Oct. 3. . . .

The Western Lacrosse Association and the Major Series Lacrosse have both cancelled their 2020 seasons. The WLA is based in B.C.; MSL is an Ontario-based league. . . . That means that the Mann Cup, which goes annually to Canada’s top senior men’s lacrosse team, won’t be contested. . . .

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame has cancelled its 2020 induction dinner and ceremony that had been scheduled for Sept. 26. According to a news release, “The 2020 induction class will be carried forward as the Class of 2021.” It will take place at some point in September 2021.


Hey, WHL, fans are waiting on 18 rosters. . . . Nine WHLers on Team Canada. . . . Hitmen sign two import forwards

MacBeth

F Tyler Redenbach (Prince George, Swift Current, Lethbridge, 2001-05) signed a one-year contract with the Oji Eagles Tomakomai (Japan, Asia HL). Last season, with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had nine goals and nine assists in 50 games. . . .

F Chase Clayton (Calgary, Saskatoon, 2010-15) signed a one-year contract with Blue Devils Weiden (Germany, Oberliga Süd). Last season, in 27 games with U of British Columbia (USports, Canada West), he had eight goals and four assists.


ThisThat

Guy Flaming, the host of The Pipeline Show, chatted with Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, on July 4. Part of that conversation — a partial transcript of which is right here — included this:

Flaming: One of the questions that came in from a listener was about the updated roster pages on the WHL website. It’s something I’ve mentioned over the last couple of years as well. Right now, if I go to the QMJHL website, I can pull up a roster for a respective team, Halifax, whatever, and see every player that that team holds the rights to. If I go to the WHL website and I look at the Calgary Hitmen, Jett Woo isn’t even listed on their roster and, in fact, the roster page is blank for the 2019 pre-season. Why is that and how can we fix that moving forward because, I think you’d agree, that it would be advantageous for the fans at least to generate interest by seeing all the players that a team holds the rights to?

Robison: Well, I think that that is a very good question and I’m glad you brought it to my attention. I’ll certainly look into that. I think it’s important that we keep current rosters. Not quite sure why that would be the case but I will certainly look into it and would suggest to you that as long as there’s the ability to do that, that we would certainly have that information posted.

——

Well . . . July is about to end, meaning it has been almost four weeks since Flaming and Robison had that conversation.

I checked for pre-season rosters on the WHL website on Monday evening and here is what I found — the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Regina Pats and Victoria Royals have rosters available.

As for the other 18 teams . . . crickets!

So the next time you hear the commissioner of all things WHL talking about how important fans are, well . . .

I mean, sheesh, we’re talking about pre-season rosters here. Not the contract terms of all 22 head coaches, or how much players are being paid, or how much the WHL is paying in legal fees these days.

——

BTW, Robison’s response to Flaming’s first question — he asked for two or three highlights from the past 12 months — had me spitting out my coffee. I’m thinking the good folks of Prince Albert would have done the same. . . . One of Robison’s highlights was the Raiders having won the 2018-19 WHL championship:

“What a good news story that is,” Robison said, “and it really helped solidify that franchise moving forward, because as you’re well aware, in the smaller markets, there’s challenges and certainly in Prince Albert we need a new facility and the timing couldn’t have been better for their run in the WHL playoffs and winning the championship.”

Hey, Prince Albert, you have been forewarned. Time to start saving your pennies for a new arena.

Quit snickering, Swift Current, because you’ll be up next.


There are nine WHLers on the 22-man roster for the Canadian team that will play in the CanadaHlinka Gretzky Cup that runs from Aug. 5-10 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia. . . . The roster was revealed Tuesday after a five-day selection camp in Calgary. . . . Here are the WHL players named to the team: F Ozzy Wiesblatt, Prince Albert Raiders; F Justin Sourdif, Vancouver Giants; F Ridly Greig, Brandon Wheat Kings; F Connor McClennon, Winnipeg Ice; F Jake Neighbours, Edmonton Oil Kings; F Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; D Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert; and G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers. . . . WHLers who were in camp but weren’t selected: F Jakob Brook, Prince Albert; F Kyle Crnkovic, Saskatoon Blades; F Jack Finley, Spokane Chiefs; F Ryder Korczak, Moose Jaw; D Tyrel Bauer, Seattle Thunderbirds; D Luke Prokop, Calgary Hitmen; and D Ronan Seeley, Everett Silvertips. . . . Canada will open against Finland on Monday in Breclav. . . . Michael Dyck, Vancouver’s head coach, is the head coach of Canada’s team, with Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, one of the assistant coaches.


The Calgary Hitmen have signed Czech F Jonas Peterek, 18, and Slovakian F Samuel Krajc, Calgary17, both of whom were picked in the CHL’s 2019 import draft. . . . Peterek had two goals and seven assists in nine games with HC Ocelari Trinec’s U-19 team last season, then added two goals and nine assists in 41 games on loan to HC Frydek-Mistek (Czech2). He also had five goals and eight assists in 29 games with his country’s U-18 side. . . . Krajc had eight goals and six assists in 14 games with HK Dukla Trencin’s U-18 team, and also had 11 goals and eight assists in 27 games with the U-20 side. In seven games with Slovakia’s U-18 team, he had two goals and an assist.


Leland Mack has joined the Prince George Cougars has their head scout in the Pacific PrinceGeorgeRegion. He is the head coach of the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. Mack had been scouting for the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Cougars also have added Tim Mills, David Reekie, Rob Rogers and Trevor Sprague to their scouting staff. . . . Mills moves over from the Swift Current Broncos and will be the Cougars’ Okanagan scout. . . . Reekie, a goaltender in his playing days who suited up with the Regina Pats and Everett Silvertips (2004-07), will work Regina and southern Saskatchewan for the Cougars. . . . Rogers, who had been working with the Spokane Chiefs, will focus on B.C. . . . Sprague, the general manager of the major midget Cariboo Cougars, will keep an eye on the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and northern B.C.


Taking Note has been told that F Patrick D’Amico, who played three seasons (2012-15) with the Regina Pats, won’t be playing in 2019-20 because of concussion issues. A Winnipegger, he has played four seasons in the ECHL, with the Colorado Eagles, Atlanta Gladiators, Indy Fuel and Norfolk Admirals. Last season, he had seven goals and 10 assists in 28 games. . . . In 2017-18, he had 10 goals and 23 assists in 55 games with Norfolk.


Greg Wyshynski of ESPN has taken an in-depth look at the NHL and its fighting numbers. NHL. . . “In 1,271 regular-season games in 2018-19,” he writes, “there were 224 fights in which at least one player received a fighting major. That’s down from 280 fights in 2017-18.” . . . Also: ”The rate for 2018-19 was 0.18 fights per game, which marks the first time that the average fights per game has dropped below 0.20.” . . . And: “In 2018-19, 15.3% of regular-season games had a fight. In 2008-09, that number was 41.4%.” . . . Let’s compare a couple of those numbers to the WHL’s 2018-19 season, using numbers available at hockeyfights.com. In 748 regular-season WHL games, there were 272 fights in which at least one player received a fighting major. (That number was 345 in 2017-18, when each team played 72 games; last season, each team played 68 games.) The rate for 2018-19 was 0.36 fights per game, down from 0.44 in 2017-18. . . . Yes, there are more fights in the WHL than in the NHL these days. . . . Wyshynski’s complete story is right here.


JUST NOTES:

Dan MacKenzie has signed on as the first full-time president of the Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella under which the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League operate. . . . MacKenzie, who spent the past eight years as the managing director of NBA Canada, will report to the CHL executive council which comprises the three commissioners of the aforementioned leagues — David Branch (OHL), Gilles Courteau (QMJHL) and Ron Robison (WHL). As well as being the OHL commissioner, Branch had been the CHL president since 1996. . . . There is a complete news release right here. . . .

F Sebastian Streu, who will turn 20 on Nov. 22, has signed a tryout agreement with Eisbären  Berlin (Germany, DEL), meaning that he won’t be returning to the Regina Pats. Streu, who has German/Canadian citizenship, had seven goals and 15 assists in 36 games with Regina last season. . . . Streu’s father, Craig, is preparing for his first season as an assistant coach with Eisbären  Berlin. . . . The Pats are left with three 20s on their roster — F Robbie Holmes, F Dawson Holt and F Austin Pratt.


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