Here’s a tremendous hockey story from small-town Canada for you . . .
When Dr. Mark Szynkaruk moved to Grand Forks, B.C., in 2017, the thought of owning a hockey team had to have been the furthest thing from his mind. . . . But, hey, here he is, the new owner of the junior B Grand Forks Border Bruins of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . Dr. Szynkaruk, a family practitioner and a married man with two young sons, purchased the franchise from the Grand Forks Border Bruins Association, the community group that owned the team. The Border Bruins have played in the KIJHL since 1969. . . . “The first thing,” he said in explaining what owning the Border Bruins means to him, “is that the Border Bruins is a legacy team. It comes with an immense amount of pride to be involved with something that has been run successfully for that long. The team means a great deal for the community, so as somebody who’s immersed in the well-being of folks in town I think this investment to make the on-ice product the best possible in Junior B is wonderful to be part of.” . . . There is more on this terrific story right here.
Some things to think about if you are hoping for a WHL season to open in October with bums in the seats . . .
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said Friday that the country needs 75 per cent of all adults to have at least one shot and 20 per cent to be fully vaccinated before public health restrictions should start to be lifted. Statistics released Friday showed 50 per cent of Canadian adults with one shot.
From CBC News: “The U.S. is much further along in fully vaccinating its adult population; about 45 per cent of American adults have had two doses, compared to fewer than 4 per cent of all Canadians. Canada has delayed second doses by up to 16 weeks to give more people at least some level of antibody protection against COVID-19.”
Patty Hajdu, Canada’s health minister, said on Friday that restrictions on indoor sports can start to be lifted in the fall if 75 per cent of the country’s adults have had two shots.
She said: ”We should be able to do more activities indoors with people outside our household. More people need to be vaccinated so we can ease restrictions.”
Tam also said on Friday that Canadians should plan on social distancing and wearing masks for the foreseeable future.
Tam said: “I think masks might be the last layer of that multi-layer protection that we will advise people to remove.”
Meanwhile, the closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential travel is expected to be extended on May 21 when it is next scheduled to expire. But preliminary talks aimed at re-opening it have begun but there apparently is a lot of work left to do, so that won’t be happening soon.
And, in Washington state, the goal is to reopen by June 30. Gov. Jay Inslee said that may happen earlier if 70 per cent of people over 16 have received at least one shot.
He said: ”Trends suggest it won’t be until late June when we reach our desired vaccination rate, which is why we’ve set June 30 for reopening, but I hope people will see this as an opportunity to reopen even sooner if we can stay motivated, stay informed and get more people vaccinated faster.”
According to the state’s Department of Health, 57 per cent of those 16 and over have received at least one shot, with 43.7 per cent fully vaccinated.
Washington State reported 2,375 new positives on Friday. . . . B.C. announced 494 new cases, with Alberta at 1,433, Saskatchewan 227 and Manitoba 491.
As you may be aware, eight members of the New York Yankees — one player, three coaches and four support staff — have tested positive for COVID-19. All eight had been vaccinated, each one receiving the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccination. . . . But what does this mean? How can someone who is fully vaccinated test positive? . . . The best piece I’ve read about the situation involving the Yankees is right here. It includes a lot of questions and answers, and is well worth a read.
Soccer’s Canadian Professional League said Thursday that it continues “to move forward with our plans for a full 2021 season” and that “our target date to start the season is mid-June to early July.” . . . The plan is to bring all eight teams into one city and begin the season without fans. By season’s end, it is hoped that each team will have played 28 games.
The WNBA began its 25th season on Friday, but it did it without guard Asia Durr of the New York Liberty, who has been ill for more than a year now. . . . “I haven’t been able to (practice),” she told HBO’s Real Sports. “It’s really challenging for me. But I’ve talked to doctors and they’ve told me I’m not cleared yet. I’m not cleared to be able to do anything physically, which could cause flare-ups . . . and that’s what’s really hard for me because in life whenever something was hard I would go and play. I can’t even do that now. I can’t even shoot a free throw.” . . . Durr was the No. 2 pick in the league’s 2019 draft, but opted out of last season because of complications from COVID-19. She apparently has lost 30 pounds and remains symptomatic. . . . Asia Durr is 24 years of age.
Michael Dyck, the head coach of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, has been added to the coaching staff of the team that will represent Canada at the IIHF World Championship that opens in Riga, Latvia, on May 21. . . . Dyck will work alongside head coach Gerard Gallant and assistants Mike Kelly and Andre Tourigny. . . . Earlier this year, Dyck was an assistant coach with the Canadian team at the World Junior Championship. . . . Team Canada’s roster for Riga also includes D Braden Schneider, who played this season with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The Canada Cup International, a women’s softball championship tournament, has been cancelled for a second straight year. It was to have run July 2-11 with most of the games at Softball City in Surrey, B.C. Greg Timm, the tournament’s chair, told Nick Greenizan of the Surrey Now-Leader: “The decision to cancel this year’s event is terribly disappointing, but there are simply too many health-related concerns and logistical issues to allow the event to take place. “The health and safety of players, their families, our volunteer base and the fans needs to come first and foremost.” . . . The NTT Indycar Series has pulled the Honda Indy Toronto out of the Ontario city because of ongoing restrictions in that province. It was to have held July 9-11.
Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.
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
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
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.
JUST NOTES: Dave Whistle is the new general manager and head coach of the Leeds franchise in Great Britain’s NIHL. He is no stranger to hockey in that part of the world, having previously coached the Belfast Giants, Bracknell Bees, Cardiff Devils and Sheffield Steelers. Whistle, 55, has been coaching at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C. . . . Rob Holoien is the new head coach of the junior B Carrot River Outback Thunder of the Prairie Junior Hockey League. Holoien, who is from Melfort, Sask., had been an assistant coach with the team for two seasons (2016-18). Most recently, he was an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars. Holoien, 34, played four games with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans in 2004-05.