WHL final to feature Ice, T-Birds . . . Seattle ousts Kamloops in six . . . Former WHL coach dies at 93


The Winnipeg Ice will be playing their home games in the WHL’s championship final in the Canada Life Centre, the home of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets in downtown Winnipeg. . . . The announcement was made on Monday afternoon. . . . The Jets’ season ended on April 27. The Manitoba Moose, the Jets’ AHL affiliate that also plays out of that facility, was eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday night. . . . The Ice, which had the WHL’s best regular-season record, plays its home games at the Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba. . . . The Canada Life Centre has a capacity of 15,321 for hockey; the Wayne Fleming Arena has room for about 1,700 fans. . . . Through seven home playoff games, the Ice is averaging 1,658 fans. According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Ice averaged a league-low 1,650 fans for 34 regular-season games. . . . The WHL final, with the Ice facing the Seattle Thunderbirds, is to open in Winnipeg with games on Friday and Saturday nights. . . .

Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun began his story on the Ice’s change of scenery like this: “If the Winnipeg Ice are playing their final season in the Manitoba capital, they’re going out in style.” . . . The series will follow a 2-3-2 format, with Games 3, 4 and, if needed, Game 5 to be played in Kent, Wash., on May 16, 17 and 19. . . . Games 6 and 7, if needed, would be played in Winnipeg on May 21 and 22. . . . TSN will televise Games 3 and 4 and, if necessary, Games 5, 6 and 7. . . .

The QMJHL final, featuring the No. 1 Quebec Remparts and the No. 2 Halifax Mooseheads, is to open with games in the Videotron Centre in Quebec City on Friday and Saturday nights. The Remparts swept the Gatineau Olympiques in one semifinal, while the Mooseheads took six games to sideline the Sherbrooke Phoenix, finishing the series with a 1-0 road victory on Sunday. . . . TSN will televise Games 3 and 4 (May 16 and 17), if they’re played, Games 5, 6 and 7. . . .

In the OHL, the Peterborough Petes advanced to the championship final on Monday with a 3-2 Game 7 victory over the Battalion in North Bay. The Petes will face the London Knights in the championship series. It is to open in London on Thursday night.


The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . If you are interested in helping, like maybe pushing her past $4,000, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.



Seattle (1) at Kamloops (2) — The Seattle Thunderbirds erased a 1-0 deficit Seattlewith three straight goals en route to a 4-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Seattle won the series, 4-2. . . . The Thunderbirds have won four of the past six Western Conference titles. . . . A year ago, Seattle lost the WHL final in six games to the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Last night, F Dylan Sydor (4) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 15:57 of the first period. . . . F Jared Davidson (10) tied it at 4:46, and D Sawyer Mynio gave Seattle its first lead with his first playoff goal at 5:33 of the third period. Mynio, who turned 18 on April 30, is a sophomore from Kamloops. This was his first goal in 35 playoff games. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (4) upped Seattle’s lead to 3-1 at 10:00. . . . The Blazers got to within a goal when F Matthew Seminoff (10) scored at 18:17, on a PP and with G Dylan Ernst on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . F Reid Schaefer (6) ended it with the empty-netter at 19:21. . . . Kamloops was 1-for-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-1. . . . The Thunderbirds held a 43-30 edge in shots, including 13-5 in the first period. . . . G Thomas Milic stopped 28 shots for Seattle. In these playoffs, he is 12-2, 1.85, .934. . . . Ernst stopped 39 shots and finished his playoff run at 10-4, 2.57, .913. . . . The Thunderbirds again scratched F Jordan Gustafson, while the Blazers remain without D Ryan Michael. . . . The Blazers are the 13th straight Memorial Cup host not to win its league championship. Their next game is scheduled for May 26 against the QMJHL champion, either the Quebec Remparts or the Halifax Mooseheads.



Former WHL coach Vic Stasiuk, who starred in the NHL as a member of the Boston Bruins’ famed Uke Line, has died. He was 16 days from his 94th birthday. . . . Stasiuk, who won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings (1952, 1954, 1955), spent six seasons (1955-61) with the Bruins. He, Johnny Bucyk and Bronco Horvath, all of whom had Ukrainian heritage and played together with the WHL’s Edmonton Flyers, played on the Uke Line. In 1957-58, they were the first linemates in NHL history to each score 20 goals in the same season. . . . The Lethbridge native was a head coach in the NHL (Philadelphia Flyers, California Golden Seals, Vancouver Canucks) before working with the Medicine Hat Tigers (1977-79) and Lethbridge Broncos (1979-80). . . .

The junior B Port Alberni Bombrers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League have hired Brad Knight as their general manager and head coach. Knight, 51, was the head coach of the U18 AAA North Island Silvertips in 2022-23. . . . Knight takes over from Gaelan Patterson, who resigned on April 17. . . . The Bombers also announced that assistant coach Mike Doucette will be returning for a third season.


Janice Hough (@leftcoasbabe): I’m so old I remember when biggest worry when going to an outlet mall was parking. Not being shot.”


One more from Hough, while watching Sunday’s night’s MLB game: “ESPN actually asked Mookie Betts if the Los Angeles Dodgers-San Diego Padres rivalry was as big as the Red Sox-Yankees. And SF Giants fans just threw up.”

Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette: “Broadcast folk, could we just wrap the word ‘physicality’ in mothballs and be done with it? It’s a cliché and it sounds like you’re talking through a mouthful of soup.”

THINKING OUT LOUD — BTW, Mr. Todd is bang on with his observation about ‘physicality.’ . . . And perhaps, as I previously have suggested in this space, the analysts could stop talking while the puck is in play. . . . F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats sold a whole lot of tickets this WHL season, especially after he lit it up at the World Junior Championship. Then, on Monday night, the Chicago Blackhawks, having won the right to select him in the NHL’s 2023 draft, sold US$2.5 million worth of tickets in 90 minutes. . . . That will about cover Bedard’s first pro contract. . . . You do realize that the Blackhawks were rewarded for tanking better than anyone else, don’t you?

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



Or, for more information, visit right here.



Questions about older managers, coaches . . . MiLB cancels season for 160 teams . . . Pats’ pxp post open as Andrews leaves

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Monday that the Minnesota Twins have told coaches Bob McClure, 68, and Bill Evers, 66, that they won’t be taking part in the 2020 season whenever it gets started.

The Twins said last week that an undisclosed number of players and one staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Numerous reports have indicated that people over the age of 65 have a much greater whlchance of dying from the coronavirus. The Twins are believed to be the first North American professional team to excuse older coaches from working with their team.

The NHL, NBA, NFL and especially MLB have numerous managers and coaches who are 60 years of age and older. Chances are that in the coming days we will hear about more MLB teams doing precisely what the Twins have done with McClure and Evers.

But what about the WHL? Might this be just one more thing its teams are going to have to deal with should they get to open training camps in mid-September and begin the season on Oct. 2?

The WHL has two head coaches past the age of 60 — Willie Desjardins of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Mike Johnston of the Portland Winterhawks, both of whom also are general managers, are 63.

Their are 11 other head coaches over the age of 50.

The WHL also has at least eight general managers 60 or older, beginning with Garry Davidson of the Everett Silvertips, at 69, and John Paddock of the Regina Pats, at 66.

There also are a couple of assistant coaches who have had at least 65 birthdays — Jerome Engele of the Saskatoon Blades is 69 and Portland’s Don Hay is 66.

Just more food for thought in these uncertain times.

The NHL announced on Monday that it knows of 26 players who have tested positive for NHLCOVID-19. Fifteen of those players were in training at team facilities. The other 11 were working out away from those facilities. . . . All 26 players have been self-isolated. . . . The NHL says there were 1,450 tests on more than 250 players administered to players who were working out in training facilities. . . . Still to announce its hub cities, the NHL has said it will release testing figures on a weekly basis. . . .

The Detroit Red Wings have cancelled the 2020 version of the eight-team prospect tournament that was to have been played in Traverse City, Mich., in early September. . . . The Red Wings also have moved the site of their 2020-21 training camp, whenever that might be held, to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.


OF Ian Desmond said Monday that he won’t be joining the Colorado Rockies for the 2020 MLB season. He made the announcement in a nine-panel posting on Instagram. . . . There’s more right here. . . .

Infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross said Monday that they won’t be joining the Washington Nationals, the defending World Series champions, for the approaching season. Also opting out is pitcher Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks. . . . All three cited health and safety concerns related to the pandemic. . . .

The Arizona Diamondbacks revealed on Monday that three players on their 60-man roster have tested positive. Two of them were in Arizona, while wasn’t yet in Arizona. . . .

OF Hunter Bishop, the San Francisco Giants’ first-round draft pick in 2019, has tested positive in Arizona. He will miss at least the start of the Giants’ workouts that are to begin on Friday in San Francisco. . . .

They have been playing Minor League Baseball (MiLB) in the United States since 1901. Prior to Tuesday, a season never had been cancelled. That’s all changed now, as MiLB announced that there won’t be a 2020 season thanks to the pandemic. There are 160 minor league teams, including the Vancouver Canadians, under the MiLB umbrella.

The Denver Nuggets closed their training facility on Tuesday after the NBA team’s travelling party was found to include three positive tests. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that 35 people were preparing to head for Orlando, Fla., and the restart of the season when the trio tested positive. . . . It’s not known if the positives are players or staff. . . . C Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets tested positive in Serbia earlier in June, while head coach Michael Malone has said that he tested positive in March. . . .

The NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans have had three players test positive, but the team hasn’t identified them. All three were tested on June 23, along with all of their teammates. . . .

Two members of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets — G Spencer Dinwiddie and F DeAndre Jordan — have tested positive and won’t be joining the team in Orlando, Fla. . . . Dinwiddie told The Athletic that he has been experiencing symptoms — fever and chest tightness. . . . The Nets also will be without F Wilson Chandler, who has opted out.

Golf Canada has cancelled the CP Women’s Open that was to have been played at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, Sept. 3-6. The 2021 LPGA event will be played at Shaughnessy. . . .

Chad Campbell is the sixth player from the PGA Tour to test positive. He was tested as part of the screening prior to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which is to start Thursday in Detroit. . . . Meanwhile, three players — Jonathan Hodge, Taylor Montgomery and Brandon Wu — tested positive and had to withdraw from the Korn Ferry Tour event that starts today (Wednesday) in Colorado.

MLS announced that four players have tested positive on Monday and Tuesday. All told, 392 people were tested, all of whom are staying in the league’s bubble hotel in Orlando, Fla. . . . On the weekend, MLS announced that 18 players and six staff members had tested positive since early June. . . . The league’s MLS is Back tournament is scheduled to open on July 8. . . .

Officials cancelled the rest of the 2020 World Rugby Seven Series on Tuesday, meaning there won’t be stops in Langford, B.C., London, Paris, Singapore or Hong Kong. . . .

A statement on the University of Georgia website on Monday indicated that at least 143 members of the school’s community, including students and staff, have tested positive. . . .

Williams College, a NCAA Division 3 school in Williamstown, Mass., has cancelled all fall sports, but has yet to decide on winter and spring activities. . . . Two other New England-area schools, Bowdoin College and UMass-Boston, have said their teams won’t play in the fall, either. . . .

The Broadway League said Monday that theatres on Broadway in New York City are likely to remain closed at least through the end of 2020. Performances have been suspended since March 12. . . . Theatres are hoping to re-open early in January.

Phil Andrews, the radio voice of the Regina Pats for the past nine seasons, said on PatsMonday that he was leaving the post. He cited family reasons for his decision. . . . Andrews was the Pats’ director of media and communications, and handled the play-by-play duties. . . . His departure opens up one of the WHL’s plum play-by-play positions and you can bet that a lot of junior hockey radio types have been preparing resumes.


And a happy Bobby Bonilla Day to you, too. It’s July 1, which means that the New York Mets paid Bobby Bonilla US$1,193,248.20 as they have been doing since 2001. It’s all part of deferred payments that were part of his last contract. The payments began in 2011 and will run through 2035. Oh, and he hasn’t played since 2001.


The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League announced on Tuesday that Brad Knight “has stepped down” as general manager and head coach. . . . The Buccaneers had announced Knight’s signing early in May. He was returning to the team after being the head coach for its first two seasons (2012-14). . . . Last season, with then-owner Clayton Robinson as head coach, Nanaimo finished 14-23-11. . . . Robinson, who owned the franchise for about 18 months, sold the team to Carl Ollech, who owns some of Duncan Iron Works, in June. . . . Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo Bulletin has more on the sale right here.


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