Scattershooting on a Monday night while trying to figure out what it was that the Denver Broncos just did . . .

Scattershooting2


The Prince Albert Raiders won a WHL exhibition game on Saturday night, beating the Pats, 3-2, in Regina on a goal at 18:23 of the third period by 15-PrinceAlbertyear-old F Dayce Derkatch. “It’s what you always dream of,” Derkatch told Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post. “It’s so special. I’m so honoured and so proud.” . . . He was a third-round selection by the Pats in the 2022 WHL draft. . . . His father, Dale, is in the books as one of the best and most-exciting players in WHL history. Playing with the Pats, he put up 491 points, including 222 goals, in 204 regular-season games. In 54 playoff games, he scored 30 goals and added 73 assists. Add it up — 252 goals, 342 assists, 594 points, all accomplished in 258 games. . . . Vanstone wrote: “Dayce’s ground-breaking goal was scored nearly 41 years after his father registered his first pre-season tally. In his exhibition debut with Regina, Dale had a goal — and two fights — in a 9-4 loss to the host Saskatoon Blades on Sept. 15, 1981. He went on to enjoy a 62-goal, 142-point rookie season.” . . . Dayce signed with the Raiders on Monday and is expected to spend this season with his hometown Regina Pat Canadians of the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League. . . . Vanstone’s story is right here.


Sale


If it hadn’t before now, I would suggest that baseball statistics have jumped the shark. Officially. . . . I saw this on Twitter on Saturday morning: “Bo Bichette’s HR last night came on a pitch 16″ off the ground. It was the second-lowest pitch hit for a HR in Bichette’s career & the lowest by a #BlueJays hitter this season.” . . . Seriously! . . . Perhaps the MLB player who homers off the closest pitch to the ground each season gets a lifetime supply of tees?


If you hang out regularly in these parts, you may remember the five-part WHL history that I posted here a while back. Well, a short time ago, I received an email asking where it could be found. . . . If you’re new here and you haven’t seen them, you may enjoy these pieces . . .

Part 1: https://greggdrinnan.com/2020/11/18/the-whl-in-the-beginning/

Part 2: https://greggdrinnan.com/2020/11/20/the-whl-part-2-changes-of-scenery-battles-on-and-off-the-ice-and-uhh-a-toupee/

Part 3: https://greggdrinnan.com/2020/11/23/the-whl-part-3-bruins-dynasty-ends-franchises-on-the-move-and-more-mayhem/

Part 4: https://greggdrinnan.com/2020/11/26/the-whl-part-4-winds-of-change-ferraro-lights-it-up-and-yes-a-player-for-a-bus/

Part 5: https://greggdrinnan.com/2020/11/28/the-whl-part-5-there-was-tragedy-lots-of-movement-and-marshmallow-punches/


Texas


Here’s Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times with a look ahead to a major sporting event that is quickly approaching: “Another prestigious sporting event will return to the global stage after being mothballed two years by COVID: the 37th World Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Ireland, on Sept. 21-22. The winner — the Marquis de Sod? — will undoubtedly be decided by the turnover advantage.”



Island


IT’S ONLY MONEY, PART I — Under the subhead ‘Pot, meet Kettle,’ Perry writes: “Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney — the same guy who once said, ‘As far as paying players, professionalizing college athletics, that’s where you lose me . . . there’s enough entitlement in this world as there is’ — has just agreed to a record 10-year, $115-million contract.”

BTW, a national championship would be worth an extra $1 million to Swinney. His average annual salary — $11.5 million — is behind only Nick Saban at Alabama, who is at $11.7 million. No. 3 on the list is Kirby Smart of Georgia, at $11.25 million. . . . The Athletic’s Grace Raynor notes that only one coach (Saban) made at least $9.5 million in 2021. Now there are at least six of them, the other three being Mel Tucker of Michigan State, Ryan Day of Ohio State and Bryan Kelly of LSU. . . . For coaching football. College football.

——

IT’S ONLY MONEY, PART II — The Nebraska Cornhuskers lost, 45-42, to visiting Georgia Southern on Saturday and promptly fired head coach Scott Frost, never mind that the season is only three games old. Nebraska will pay him US$15 million not to coach, a figure that would have been $7.5 million had it waited until Oct. 1 to make the move. Frost, in his fifth season with Nebraska, watched his guys lose 10-straight one-score decisions. . . . You may recall that Frost was the biggest thing in college football since Knute Rockne when he led Central Florida to a 13-0 record in 2018. Well, he left Nebraska with a 16-31 mark, including 10-16 in the Big Ten. Oh yes, he left with a whack of cash, too. . . . From Shehan Jeyarajah of CBS Sports: “It’s hard to contextualize how badly Nebraska wanted this hire to work. Frost was a beloved son and the apparent chosen one for this program. Unfortunately, his winning percentage goes down as the worst by any full-time Nebraska coach since the Eisenhower administration.”

——

IT’S ONLY MONEY, PART III — The Tampa Bay Rays are again in Toronto with without reliever Brooks Raley, who isn’t vaccinated and will miss the five-game set with the Blue Jays. The Rays put him on the restricted list, meaning it will cost him US$93,407 in salary. . . . He wasn’t allowed into Canada earlier in the season and that also cost him four days’ pay. . . . What it means is that his decision not to get vaccinated has cost him $186,814. No biggie, though, because the Rays are paying him $4.25 million this season. . . . BTW, when the Rays were in Toronto earlier, reliever Ryan Thompson also wasn’t on the trip because he isn’t vaccinated. But he’s on the injured list this time. . . . The Blue Jays opened with a 3-2 victory on Monday night. They’ll play two today.


Beers


It is hard to mis-state the size of the mess in which MLB finds itself these days. It’s hard to argue against outlawing the shift and the pitch clock and the larger bases, but, sheesh, when you are bringing in rule changes that legislate against strategy you really have some issues. Especially when there is — or at least used to be — so much strategy involved in baseball. . . . But, hey, if you really want to improve the offensive side of the game, why not limit pitchers to throwing no harder than 90 mph? Just make any pitch faster than 90 a ball. . . . Hello, Bud Segal, are you interested in being commissioner, again? Please.

——

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle has a couple of rule changes that he would like to see MLB implement:

“No more check swings. A check swing, no matter how far the bat goes around, is no swing. These are garbage strikeouts, pure umpire guesswork and satisfying to nobody. Result: Fewer strikeouts, more action.

“If there are five or more people in line at a beer stand, everyone in line gets free beer. Hire more damn vendors. If we want to stand in line, we’ll go to Disneyland or the DMV.”


Witches


THE COACHING GAME:

Carter Rigby has joined the Prince George Cougars as an assistant coach. He had been the head coach of the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Hockey League, who actually announced the signing on Thursday night. The Cougars made their own announcement on Saturday. . . . Rigby played in the WHL, spending time with three teams — the Cougars, Kelowna Rockets and Swift Current Broncos — through 2015. He had been with the Coyotes for the past three seasons. . . . Ken Law has been named the Coyotes’ new head coach. . . .

Eric Williams, a former WHL goaltender, has joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs as their goaltending coach. He also works with the BCEHL’s West Valley Giants and the CSSHL’s West Vancouver Academy. . . . Williams, 29, played four seasons (2010-14) in the WHL, spending time with the Prince Albert Raiders and Spokane Chiefs. . . . In Chilliwack, he takes over from Mackenzie Skapski, another former WHL goaltender, who now is the development goaltending coach for the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Chase Johnston is the new radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings. He joins them after calling games for the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors for the past four seasons. In Brandon, he takes over from Brandon Crowe, who left the position late last season to join Hockey Canada. . . . The Wheat Kings also announced that their broadcasts are returning to 91.5 FM (Q Country) and 880 AM, both of which recently were purchased by the Jim Pattison Group. . . . It was only a year ago that the Wheat Kings had announced an agreement with Bell Media that put games on Bounce 96.1. Prior to that, the games had been heard on CKLQ from 1992-2021.


Chummy


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.


Costume

Wheat Kings have their GM . . . Blazers deal top-end defenceman after he asks out . . . Ex-WHL goalie moves west to play volleyball

Marty Murray is the new general manager of the Brandon Wheat Kings. Murray, 47, takes over from Doug Gasper, who resigned on May 6, citing personal reasons in leaving after one season as GM. Gasper spent the two seasons before that as the club’s assistant general manager. . . . Kelly McCrimmon had been the Wheat Kings’ general manager for 27 seasons (1989-2016) before joining the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. McCrimmon sold the franchise to the J&G Group of Companies, headed up by president and CEO Jared Jacobson, on Sept. 8, 2020. Murray is the Wheat Kings’ third general manager since then, following Darren Ritchie (2019-21) and Gasper. . . .

Murray was the general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede for the past two seasons. Prior to that, he spent nine seasons with the NAHL’s Minot Minotaurus, the first five as head coach and the last four as GM and head coach. . . . From Lyleton, Man., Murray is a former Wheat Kings star, having totalled 132 goals and 260 assists in 264 regular-season games over four seasons (1991-95). He twice played for Canada at the World Junior Championship, winning gold twice and leading the 1995 tournament in scoring. . . . There is a complete news release right here.


Facebook


The Kamloops Blazers have traded D Mats Lindgren, 18, to the Red Deer Rebels RedDeerfor D Kyle Masters, 19, and a lottery-protected first-round selection in the 2025 WHL draft. . . . Lindgren, the son of former NHL F Mats Lindgren, had asked for a trade after being a fourth-round pick by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . The Blazers, the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament, had selected Lindgren, a North Vancouver native, with the seventh pick of the first round in the WHL’s 2019 draft. He had five goals and 39 assists in 68 regular-season games in 2021-22, then added seven assists in 17 playoff games. . . .

The Minnesota Wild selected Masters, who is from Edmonton, in the fourth round of the 2021 NHL draft. Last season, he had three goals and 11 assists in 65 regular-season games with the Rebels. In 109 games over three seasons, he has five goals and 22 assists. Red Deer selected him 16th overall in the 2018 WHL draft. . . .

Under the conditions of the trade, the first-round pick acquired by Kamloops will move to 2026 if the Rebels are part of the draft lottery prior to the 2025 draft. The draft lottery includes the six non-playoff teams. . . . The Blazers now hold two first-rounders in each of the 2023 and 2025 drafts. . . . During the WHL’s 2021 draft — it had been moved from May to Dec. 9 because of the COVID-19 situation — the Blazers dealt their 2021 first-round selection to Regina for the Pats’ first-rounder in 2023. Regina used the pick to take F Jaxsin Vaughan, who has played the past two seasons at the Rink Hockey Academy in Kelowna. Vaughan 16, was pointless in six games with the Pats last season. . . .

The trade on Monday leaves the Blazers without a defenceman who likely would Kamloopshave led them in minutes played and played on the first PP unit. It gives the Blazers one more chip to be used in what undoubtedly will be more than one or two future moves. . . . I would suggest that the Blazers are going to have to ascertain the status of F Logan Stankoven, 19, before deciding where to go from here. From all reports, he was really good at the just-completed World Junior Championship in Edmonton. So what are his chances of playing his way onto the roster of the Dallas Stars, who selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft? All is well if he comes back. If he doesn’t return, Kamloops will need to go shopping for a high-end forward. . . . Also, is G Dylan Ernst, 18, capable of leading a team on a march to the Memorial Cup after getting into 24 games last season? Or do the Blazers need to go out and acquire some experience at that position? . . . No matter how you look at it Blazers’ fans are in for some interesting times.


Straws


In 1991, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card — his rookie card — sold for US$50,000. That same card sold for a record $12.6 million on Sunday. The previous record was $7.25 million, paid earlier this month for an American Tobacco Co. T206 Honus Wagner card that was produced somewhere around 1910. . . . BTW, you can’t make this part up: Bobby Caina Calvan of The Associated Press reported that “the auction netted a handsome profit for Anthony Giardino, a New Jersey waste management entrepreneur who bought it . . . at a New York City show in 1991.” . . . A different 1952 Mantle sold for $5.2 million in 2021. That was the record for a Mantle card prior to Sunday. . . . Sunday’s sale also set a record for any single item of sports memorabilia, surpassing the $9.3 million paid earlier this year for the uniform top worn by soccer’s Diego Maradona when he scored the “Hand of God” goal at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico City. . . . With that kind of memorabilia in mind, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times informs us that “Ty Cobb’s dentures are up for auction for the first time in 23 years.” The last time they were on the block, in 1999, they sold for $7,475.


Yardsale


THE COACHING GAME:

The Edmonton Oil Kings have yet to make an announcement but veteran hockey writer Jim Matheson tweeted on Monday that former NHL D Ladislav Smid “is going to be working” with them “in a coaching capacity.”. . . He will be working with head coach Luke Pierce and Serge Lajoie, who recently signed on as assistant coach and director of player development. . . . Smid, 36, is from the Czech Republic. He played seven-plus seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and then spent three seasons in the Calgary Flames organization. . . . He has played the past five seasons in his home country. . . .

Charlie Mattersdorfer has been named the Lethbridge Hurricanes as the skills and development coach. Mattersdorfer, 41, has spent the past two seasons as the club’s power skating coach. He played one season (1997-98) with the Hurricanes. . . .

The OHL has its first female assistant coach with the Hamilton Bulldogs having hired Laura Fortino as an assistant coach and the director of player development. Fortino, 31, is from Hamilton. She played university hockey at Cornell, is heavily involved with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association and has won Olympic gold and silver medals with Canada’s national team. . . . In the WHL, Olivia Howe has been a “coaching assistant” with the Moose Jaw Warriors since Oct. 11, 2019.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

G Max Paddock, who played four seasons in the WHL, is leaving hockey to play volleyball. Paddock, 22, played nine games in goal for the Acadia Axemen last season (2-6-0, 3.17, .898), but now has chosen to transfer across the country to the U of Fraser Valley where he will play on the Cascades men’s volleyball team. . . . He was a volleyball star with the Neelin Spartans while in high school in Brandon. . . . His father, Russ, was an international-calibre volleyball player, who is the athletic director at Brandon University. . . . Max is a nephew to John Paddock, the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats.


Coyote


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.


Econ

Silvertips add Struch to staff . . . Cote replaces Babcock with Huskies . . . Shockey back in coaching game

David Struch has joined the WHL’s Everett Silvertips as an associate coach. Struch, 51, has been involved in the WHL coaching ranks for 16 seasons, most recently as head coach of the Regina Pats. . . . He joined the Pats as an assistant coach for 2014-15 and took over as head coach for 2018-19. He was fired early last season. . . . Struch also was assistant GM for five of his seasons in Regina. . . . He also spent eight seasons with the Saskatoon Blades, working as assistant coach, associate coach and, finally, as head coach. . . . As a player, Struch played four seasons with the Blades and then 14 seasons as a professional before retiring after 2004-05. . . . With Everett, he fills a spot created when Louis Mass joined the San Jose Barracuda, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, as an assistant coach. . . . Struch will be working with Dennis Williams, the GM and head coach, assistant coach Dean DeSilva and goaltending coach James Jensen.


The Mike Babcock era at the U of Saskatchewan is over, having lasted one season. Brandin Cote was promoted from associate head coach to interim head Huskiescoach on Thursday, taking over from Babcock, who has moved into a mentorship role with the Huskies. . . . According to Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Babcock will “serve as a mentor and will also work on program recruiting and fundraising.” . . . Babcock worked as a volunteer head coach last season and was expected to coach one more season before stepping aside. . . . The NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs still owe him for one more season after having fired him on Nov. 20, 2019, with three-plus years remaining on an eight-year, $50-million deal. . . . Babcock’s son, Mike Jr., will remain on the Huskies’ staff as an assistant coach. . . . Cote, 41, a former WHL player from Swift Current, has been on the coaching staffs of the Prince Albert Raiders (2016-17) and Swift Current Broncos (2018-21). . . . Cote played five season (1997-2002) with the Spokane Chiefs and was the team captain for the last two of those seasons while Babcock was the head coach there. . . . The Huskies were 13-7 under Babcock last season, then lost a best-of-three first-round series, 2-1, to the Calgary Dinos.


Biscuits


QB Nathan Rourke of the B.C. Lions says he hopes to return before the end of this CFLlogoCFL season, but he knows that might be asking too much. He is to have surgery to repair the Lisfranc injury he suffered to his right foot in a 28-10 victory over the host Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 19. . . . Interestingly, QB Matt Corral of the Carolina Panthers suffered the same injury on the same night and the NFL team has said he won’t play this season. . . . And then Chet Holmgren, a 7-footer who was the No. 2 selection in the NBA’s 2022 draft, suffered a Lisfranc injury to his right foot on Saturday in Seattle and the Oklahoma City Thunder has said he will miss the 2022-23 season. . . . Hands up if you had heard of Lisfranc injuries before Aug. 19.


Birdseed


THINKING OUT LOUD — Tennis star Novak Djokovic said on Thursday that he won’t be playing in the U.S. Open. Why not? He isn’t vaccinated so isn’t allowed into the U.S. So maybe all those people who are critical of the Canadian government for its restrictions that won’t allow unvaccinated MLB players into the country finally will realize that it’s the same for unvaccinated foreigners wanting to enter the U.S. . . . And the next MLB team scheduled to visit Toronto will be the Chicago Cubs. They’ll be there — minus three or four unvaccinated players — for a three-game series next week, Monday through Wednesday. We will learn the names of those players at some point during the weekend with the Cubs in Milwaukee. . . . ICYMI, Pete Carroll, the head coach of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, said his club “may have” two No. 1 quarterbacks, in Geno Smith and Drew Lock. And when is the last time that having two No. 1s worked, be it with quarterbacks or goaltenders? For what it’s worth, Smith is to start Seattle’s final exhibition game, tonight (Friday) against the host Dallas Cowboys, with Lock coming off the bench. . . . Did you know: The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, who will play three seasons in the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena on the Arizona State U campus in Tempe, have entered into an affiliation with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators. Uhh, the Gladiators play in the 13,000-seat Gas South Arena.


Colonel


THE COACHING GAME:

The Brandon Wheat Kings have added Del Pedrick to their organization as an assistant coach. He replaces Dan Johnston, who now is with the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers. . . . Pedrick, who is from Melita, Man., was the head coach of the Notre Dame Hounds U18AAA men’s team for the past two seasons. He also has been the head coach of the MJHL’s Waywayseecappo Wolverines (2000-02) and Swan Valley Stampeders (2002-06). . . . From a news release: “Over his career, Pedrick was an MJHL coach-of-the-year finalist three times, coached in the Under-16 Challenge Cup in 2012 and 2013, and coached in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in 2004 and 2006. More recently, he led his Notre Dame Hounds in 2021-22 to a SMAAAHL U-18 league championship.” . . . In Brandon, Pedrick will work with head coach Don MacGillivray, assistant coach Mark Derlago and goaltending coach Tyler Plante. . . . The Wheat Kings open camp on Wednesday. . . .

The BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild has signed Chris Clark, its assistant general manager and head coach, to a two-year contract extension that will run through the 2023-24 season. Clark, 40, has been with the Wild since joining the organization as its goaltender coach in 2008-09, the franchise’s inaugural season. He has been the head coach since the middle of the 2019-20 season. . . .

Jake Toporowski has signed with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers as assistant coach and director of hockey operations. . . . Toporowski, 24, was an assistant coach with the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Quad City Storm for 2019-20 and 2021-22. . . . Toporowski, his brother, Luke, and their father, Kerry, all played for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.


Yearbook


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.


Healthy

Winterhawks get whole new look; remembering how they came to land in Portland . . . Pair of ex-WHLers retiring? . . . Thunderbirds’ camp closed to fans

With the Portland Winterhawks having unveiled their new look — a new logo came prior to the 2021-22 season and now there is a whole new uniform — it’s worth taking a look back at how the WHL ended up in the Oregon city.

Dean (Scooter) Vrooman, the longtime radio voice of the Winterhawks, wrote the story that first appeared here on March 30, 2008. Remember, too, that they originally were Winter Hawks; Winterhawks came later.

Enjoy!

——

It was the summer of 1975 and Brian Shaw, Ken Hodge and Innes Mackie were unemployed. With nothing but time on their hands, they decided to go duck hunting in Stettler, Alta.

Shaw and Hodge had been fired by ‘Wild’ Bill Hunter, who owned the World Hockey Association’s Edmonton Oilers and the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. Mackie had just returned from Kimberley, B.C., where he had turned down a job offer at a mine. The offer Mackie had received included a chance to play a little hockey on the side.

Shaw was in the process of putting together a group of investors to buy the Oil Kings from Hunter. Shaw would run the show. Hodge would coach. Mackie would be the trainer. They didn’t know it at the time but they were embarking on a 20-year relationship — relationships of hockey, business and friendship.

The Three Amigos became inseparable until Shaw passed away in the summer of 1994.

On this day in Stettler, the three men, who would become the three original members of the Winter Hawks’ front office, were solidifying the mutual respect and trust needed. The ducks weren’t flying that day, at least not in the Stettler area, so the three erstwhile hunters headed for a local bar to shoot a little pool. Everyone was having fun, too, until a cowboy in a black hat came over and started yipping at Hodge for monopolizing the pool table. After an unflattering comment from Hodge regarding the cowboy’s hat, feathers started to fly — and it had nothing to do with ducks.

“He started to take his jean jacket off and when it got about half way down each arm, I smoked him,” Hodge remembers. “It’s Saturday night and the place is full. There were five of us — and two of them bailed out. Brian, who was always quick with the wit, was not ready to handle this type of negotiation. So that left Innes and I — and, needless to say, we had our hands full. There were probably eight of them involved by now. The pool cues are getting broken, I’m getting thumped in the back of the head and Innes got jumped. Finally, we hear sirens and red lights. The three of us were never so happy to see the RCMP.”

That incident was neither the first nor the last for friendships that would last more than 20 years.

When he was 16 years of age, Hodge earned a job as a defenceman with the Jasper Place Mohawks — a high-profile team in Edmonton. Coincidentally, the general manager and head coach was Shaw, who was working in the first of what would be many dual roles. It didn’t take Shaw long to earn his reputation as a slick team manager.

“The team was the talk of the town,” Hodge says. “People in Edmonton were very envious. Brian started out with just one bantam team and ended up with the first true feeder system in the Edmonton area when he expanded to midgets and junior. The Jasper Place Mohawks were first class all the way. They paid all their bills, wore flashy uniforms and won lots of hockey games.”

Hodge was one of four players from Jasper Place chosen by Shaw to play the next season with the Moose Jaw Canucks of the newly formed Western Canada Hockey League. Shaw was the general manager and head coach and Hodge was a key defenceman.

Other than the Canucks, the WCHL featured the Oil Kings, Estevan Bruins, Regina Pats, Saskatoon Blades, Weyburn Red Wings and Calgary Buffaloes. Moose Jaw finished fourth in a 56-game regular season, 16 points behind the first-place Oil Kings, but went on to win league’s first championship trophy by beating the Oil Kings — the Canucks won that series 3-2 with four games tied — and then Regina, winning the best-of-seven final, 4-1.

It was the pivotal season of Hodge’s career. In a regular-season game against Regina, Hodge was struck in an eye by a high stick. In the playoffs, he again was hit in the same eye. After a series of operations during the summer, doctors told him that they would know by early 1968 if his eye would ever recover.

On Nov. 15, 1967, Hodge received a call from Gordon Fashaway inviting him to Portland to play for the Buckaroos of the professional Western Hockey League. Hodge was excited about the offer and pushed the doctors for an answer. Unfortunately, the answer he received wasn’t the one he had hoped to hear. Hodge’s playing career was over.

The next season, Shaw moved on to the St. Catharines Black Hawks of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. While Hodge was helping with training camp, he accepted an offer to coach the Sorel Eparviers of the Quebec Junior A Hockey League.

Hodge, at 21 likely the youngest head coach in the history of Canadian junior hockey, had quite a debut season. Sorel put up a 33-16-1 regular-season record and went all the way to the Eastern Canadian best-of-five final where it lost 3-1 to the Montreal Jr. Canadiens, who would go on to win the Memorial Cup. It’s worth noting that the Jr. Canadiens played in the OJHL, where they ousted Shaw’s Black Hawks from the best-of-seven championship final in five games.

Hodge’s impressive season in Sorel opened up an opportunity for him to coach in the International Hockey League, with a team in Flint, Mich. He would spend four seasons in Flint.

Meanwhile, Shaw returned to Edmonton where he coached the Oil Kings, winning the WCHL’s 1971-72 title in his first season. That put the Oil Kings into what was the first Memorial Cup to be decided in a tournament format — this one also featured the Peterborough Petes and Cornwall Royals, but no host team — in Ottawa. The Oil Kings were eliminated with a 5-0 loss to Cornwall during which Edmonton defenceman Keith Mackie, Innes’s brother, was struck in an eye by a deflected puck and suffered a torn iris. For the record, Cornwall edged Peterborough 2-1 in the final.

The next season, Hunter, the Oilers’ general manager who was most impressed with Shaw’s championship season with the Oil Kings, offered him the head-coaching job with the WHA team. When Shaw accepted, Hunter hired Hodge to coach the Oil Kings.

“I jumped at the opportunity because the Oil Kings were a very prestigious team,” Hodge remembers. “I wanted to get on with my career in hockey and I saw too many people stagnating in Flint.”

As it turned out, Hodge made the wrong move at the wrong time. He got caught in a rebuilding program with the Oil Kings. Much of the talent from the previous season graduated and Hunter gave Hodge a little over a year to win. He didn’t, so Hunter fired him.

Meanwhile, Shaw’s Oilers got off to an amazing start — winning 18 straight games. Unfortunately for Shaw, the team was playing over its head and it didn’t take long for reality to set in. Hunter enjoyed the winning streak and wanted it to continue. When the wins stopped coming, Hunter, never know for his patience or for a willingness to avoid headlines, fired Shaw.

Two months later brought Shaw, Hodge and Mackie to a pool room in Stettler.

Eventually, Shaw’s group bought the Oil Kings from Hunter and 16 games into the 1975-76 WCHL season the three amigos became the WCHL club’s new management team. Shaw was the general manager, Hodge the head coach and Mackie the trainer.

However, things weren’t all coming up roses. Shaw’s one year at the helm of the Oil Kings was less than successful. Edmonton hockey fans weren’t in any hurry to go to the old Memorial Gardens to watch the Oil Kings when they could watch the WHA’s Oilers in the brand new Northlands Coliseum.

“Brian and I felt we knew more about the game than anyone else,” Hodge says. “We thought we would be able to turn the Edmonton Oil Kings into the premier franchise in the Western Hockey League and a very profitable venture. We found out very quickly that we weren’t as smart as we thought we were. We thought we could compete with a major league team on a minor league budget, but we lost more money than any of us could afford to lose.”

Mackie had played on Shaw’s and Hodge’s Oil Kings and, contrary to what you might have guessed, the relationship didn’t begin on the best of terms. When Mackie was an 18-year-old defenceman playing for Shaw in Edmonton, he had been asked to go to Crosstown Motors, an Oil Kings sponsor, and pick up a new car for Shaw.

“Innes and Brian probably came to an understanding after Innes smacked up two of Brian’s brand new cars,” Hodge says with a laugh. “One of the accidents was just one of those things, but the other was pretty funny. Innes went to Crosstown Motors, picked up Brian’s big Dodge, and only had to cross one busy two-way street. Smack! He couldn’t have been more than 40 feet out of the parking lot when he’s done and it’s tow truck city.”

As a player, Mackie quit the Oil Kings early in the 1973-74 season after being taken out of a game by Hodge.

“It’s all water under the bridge now,” Mackie says. “When I was 18, I played for Brian as a fifth or sixth defenceman. At that time they only used four defencemen and sometimes three. I wasn’t getting very much ice time and I wasn’t going to go through the same thing when I was 19. So, Hodgie sat me out one game and that was it. Goodbye.“

“Innes and I didn’t see eye to eye as coach and player,” Hodge agrees. “But I always enjoyed Innes as a person. His brother Keith and I were golfing buddies and Innes was the little brother who always tagged along.”

Even through their trials and tribulations, Hodge had enough respect for Mackie to make him the Oil Kings trainer.

Since then, Mackie has always been more than just a trainer. He looks for statistics, quotes and any other information he can find out about every player in the league. One of his attributes is a near photographic memory, and Hodge and Shaw came to depend on that over the years. If there is ever a question about a player, Mackie is the first person asked.

“Innes sometimes confirmed my feelings about hockey players,” Hodge says. “He has always been a very knowledgeable hockey person. Innes helped Brian and I on some of our decisions on who we would keep and who we would release or trade. He also had input on people from other teams that might help our franchise if we traded for them. The early years of the Winter Hawks was basically built through trades. Most of our trades were very positive for us and Innes had a role in many of them.”

Mackie also scours the rule book on the long bus rides. He knows the rules inside and out — and has a knack for memorizing them, no matter how obscure.

Mackie earned the nickname ‘Eagle Eye’ for his ability to spot illegal curves in the blades of opponents’ hockey sticks. Players with illegal sticks were sent to the penalty box with minor penalties and several Portland victories were earned as the result of subsequent power plays. In 18 seasons, he was wrong about one stick — and he still claims that the referee didn’t measure that one properly.

“When the game is on, I watch things differently,” Mackie, who now is with the Tri-City Americans, points out. “I watch what’s happening behind the play, on the other team’s bench, and away from the puck. If I see something the coaches don’t, I can help out once in awhile. Sometimes, I can relay information to the coaches if an opposing player misses a shift, or a guy is hurt.”

All three of the amigos were involved in the move from Edmonton to Portland.

Originally, Shaw went to Vancouver to meet with Nat Bailey, who owned the Mounties of baseball’s Pacific Coast League. Bailey wanted to get involved in hockey and was going to underwrite all the costs of moving the Oil Kings to Vancouver. Bailey also was prepared to give Shaw plenty of working capital to get started. This dream move never happened, however, because the New Westminster Bruins, a nearby WCHL franchise, blocked the move.

At the time, Hodge wanted to move to Spokane. Shaw, though, wanted to check out Portland and arranged a meeting with Dick Reynolds, the general manager of Memorial Coliseum.

“I didn’t have any idea where Portland was,” Mackie says. “I had to get a map. All I knew was that the Edmonton Oil Kings were in the Western Canadian Hockey League — and Portland wasn’t in Canada.”

Shaw’s meeting with Reynolds and the Coliseum staff was very positive and soon the Oil Kings were to become the Portland Winter Hawks.

“It was one of the best decisions that Brian made,” Hodge recalls. “At that time, we both had an equal vote. So, it was one vote for Spokane and one vote for Portland. Brian decided his vote was bigger than mine and he won.


Bear


THE COACHING GAME:

Brock Sheahan is the new head coach of the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Caroline Hurricanes. Sheahan, 38, had been the head coach of the USHL’s Chicago Steel since being promoted from assistant coach on Dec. 1, 2019. The Steel was the USHL’s regular-season champion in 2019-20 and 2020-21 and won the playoff title in the spring of 2021. . . . With the Wolves, the AHL’s reigning champions, the Lethbridge native replaces Ryan Warsofsky, who left to join the NHL’s San Jose Sharks as an assistant coach. . . . The Steel, meanwhile, promptly named general manager Mike Garman as its new head coach. He will carry both titles for 2022-23.


Your


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

An interesting tweet from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday revealed that “training camp is closed to the public” except for the annual Blue vs. White game on Sept. 4. . . . An explanation wasn’t provided. . . .

Ryan Campbell is the Seattle Thunderbirds’ new equipment manager. He spent 2021-22 as an assistant equipment manager with the AHL’s Stockton Heat, a franchise that has since relocated to Calgary as the Wranglers. . . . In Seattle, Campbell replaces Justin Sturtz, now the head equipment manager with the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks.


The above tweet from the Brandon Wheat Kings appeared here last week. Stacey Preston now has started a GoFundMe for her nieces and nephews, who “have lost their best friend, their Dad. . . . Unfortunately, the kids do not have the financial resources to lay him to rest. If anyone would like to help they would be grateful, and so would I.” . . . Al Gibbs left behind four children, including 18-year-old twins. . . . A friend of his told me: “In 2015 he had a chronic infection in a shoulder and hip that resulted in his kidneys failing, exacerbating his diabetes and setting off a litany of other health challenges. There were a couple of periods of time over the past seven years when Al was told he qualified for a kidney transplant and a niece was found to be a match. The catch was always that Al needed to be healthy enough for the surgery. . . . This never quite happened.”

If you would like to help, the GoFundMe page is 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.


Optimist

Hi ho, let’s go: SMG, Lazaruk on board for three more years . . . Pats sign intriguing import . . . Blazers promote Sandland

Les Lazaruk will be back for his 29th season of calling the play-by-play of Saskatoon Blades’ games. Oh, and he’ll be there for seasons 30 and 31, too, Saskatoonassuming all goes well and the creek don’t rise. . . . That’s because the Saskatoon Media Group (SMG) and the Blades have agreed to terms on a new three-year agreement that will run through the 2024-25 season. . . . This new agreement has the Blades’ games on CJWW, an AM station, for a second straight season. Being on the AM dial, Tyler Wawryk, the team’s director of business operations, said in a news release, creates “some consistency.” Prior to last season, the Blades had bounced among a handful of FM stations. . . . “We’ve appreciated being on some of the different stations at Saskatoon Media Group,” Wawryk added, “but moving back over to 600, which was the original home of Blades hockey on the radio, just has a wider range to cover.” . . . Lazaruk, who at one time was a pretty fair Strat-O-Matic baseball player, said: “Doing Blades’ radio broadcasts is what makes me want to wake up and greet each day, especially when one considers all we have gone through in the last 30 months! However, as the late, great broadcast legend Vince Scully used to say, ‘I need you more than you need me.’ I look forward to bringing you Saskatoon Blades’ action with all the professionalism and excitement I can muster.” . . . There is a complete news release right here.



Math


The Regina Pats have signed Russian F Alexander Suzdalev, 18, whose NHL rights belong to the Washington Capitals. The Pats selected him in the 2021 CHL Reginaimport draft; Washington took him 70th overall in the NHL’s 2022 draft after he put up 51 points, including 15 goals, in 45 games with the HV71 junior club in Sweden. He signed a three-year deal with the Capitals in July. . . . From a Pats news release: “Born in Khabarovsk, Russia, Suzdalev moved to Sweden when he was seven years old after his father Anatoly Suzdalev had signed a bandy contract with Swedish bandy club, Vetlanda Bandyklubb. He holds dual citizenship, but has represented Sweden at the international level, winning a gold medal with Sweden at the 2022 IIHF World U18 Championships, skating in six games.” . . . Suzdalev also is quite familiar with Pats star Connor Bedard, who played in Sweden during a time when the pandemic had shut down the WHL. “When Connor Bedard played in Sweden, he played for my team (HV71 J18 and J20),” Suzdalev said, “so we know each other pretty well, so that’s where it all started. So when the opportunity came, I thought it was a great one.” . . .

It would seem that the Pats now hold the rights to four imports, the other three being Czech F Stanislav Svozil, who had 10 goals and 31 assists in 59 games with them last season; Austrian F Luca Auer, who was selected in the 2022 import draft, and Czech G Michael Hrabal, who also was selected in the 2022 import draft. . . . Svozil, 19, put up a goal and two assists in three games with Czechia at the 2022 WJC in Edmonton. A third-round pick by Columbus in the 2021 NHL draft, he has signed with the Blue Jackets and could play with their AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters. . . . Auer, 18, was pointless in four games with Austria at the 2022 WJC. He is expected to play at home this season. . . . Hrabal, 17, is expected to play with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers this season. He has committed to the U of Massachusetts for 2025-26.


ANOTHER SIGN THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US — From The New York Times on Thursday: An infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba most likely killed a child who swam in a Nebraska river over the weekend, health officials said Thursday. It would be the first such death in the state’s history and the second in the Midwest this summer.


Proposal


THIS IS WHY WE LOVE BASEBALL — After the host Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Boston Red Sox, 8-2, on Thursday, ESPN Stats & Info tweeted this: “This is just the third time the Pirates have scored at least 7 runs on the Red Sox. The others were a 9-1 win on Sept. 17, 2014 and a 7-3 win in Game 1 of the 1903 World Series, when the Red Sox were the Boston Americans. . . . Cy Young pitched for Boston that day.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Kamloops Blazers have promoted Robbie Sandland to assistant general manager. He had been the director of player personnel. Sandland has been with the club since 2018, first as the head scout in B.C. He was named director of player personnel in 2019. . . . He will continue to work alongside Shaun Clouston, the team’s general manager and head coach, and Tim O’Donovan, the organization’s other assistant GM. . . .

The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks have an opening after assistant coach Carter Cochrane left the team, having, according to a news release, “accepted a new opportunity.” Cochrane had been with the Silverbacks for three seasons. . . .

Alec Dillon has joined the junior B Victoria Cougars of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League as goaltending coach. The 6-foot-5 Dillon, 26, played seven games with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 2015-16 (2-2-1, 3.81, .871) after having been a fifth-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL’s 2014 draft. But he was plagued by injuries — he underwent at least four hip surgeries — and retired after playing two seasons at the U of Victoria.


THINKING OUT LOUD — OK. You didn’t watch much, if any, of the 2022 World Junior Championship that is soon to wrap up in Edmonton. It’s August. You’re fed up with Hockey Canada. Whatever. Will you be back on the bandwagon when the 2023 tournament opens in Halifax and Moncton on Dec. 26? . . . Is it just me or are there far more gravel trucks on our streets and highways than there used to be? . . . QB Nathan Rourke of the B.C. Lions was lighting it up again on Friday, this time in Regina, before he left in the fourth quarter with an injury to his right foot. The Lions were up 28-10 at the time, and they won by that same score. Lions fans now will hold their breath and hope that Rourke can answer the bell for B.C.’s next game — at home to the Roughriders on Friday. BTW, there isn’t a QB controversy in Regina. Cody Fajardo is the starter . . . unless that sore knee doesn’t allow him to play, which may have contributed to his exit late in the first half of this one.


Nudist


RORY WITH AN ACE — Rory McIlroy has been outspoken against those golfers who turned their backs on the PGA Tour for the Saudi Arabian cash of the LIV circuit. To which Patrick Reed, who isn’t the most-liked golfer in the world, said: “He’ll never win a Masters to complete a career Grand Slam.” . . . That is said to have brought this response from McIlroy: “The only chance Reed has of getting a Grand Slam is at Denny’s.”



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.


Drunk

Scattershooting on a Thursday night while wondering if the Blue Bombers are shopping for a kicker . . .

scattershooting

Tyler Chandler, an infield prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, hit four home runs on Wednesday night. Not only that, he hit a solo shot, a two-run blast, a three-run dinger and a grand slam as his Double-A Springfield Cardinals whipped the host Amarillo Sod Poodles, 21-4. . . . Redmond also had a single as he drove in 11 runs. . . . The only other player in pro baseball history to accomplish this was Tyrone Horne, who also was a Cardinals’ farmhand. On July 27, 1998, he did it while with the AA Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League.



Thermos



COVID-19 SAYS HELLO: The MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps had six players test positive late last week. They hope to be cleared in time to practice and then play in Saturday night’s game against the host L.A. Galaxy. . . . The Houston Astros had manager Dusty Baker back in the dugout on Thursday as they beat the visiting Texas Rangers, 7-3. Baker, 73, is fully vaccinated. He had tested positive on Friday. “I’m very fortunate that I had both my shots and the two boosters,” he said. “So, I’m really hoping that everybody goes and gets the shots and boosters, because if you do get (COVID-19), hopefully it’s mild like mine was.”



Chips


THE COACHING GAME:

The WHL-champion Edmonton Oil Kings have added Serge Lajoie to their coaching staff as an assistant to head coach Luke Pierce. Lajoie, 53, also has been named manager of player development. . . . Lajoie had been the head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears men’s hockey team for three seasons when he signed on as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers. But that relationship lasted just one season (2018-19). For the past three seasons, he has been the head coach of OHA Edmonton’s U18 prep side. . . . Pierce, who had been an assistant coach, was named the Oil Kings’ head coach on July 25. He took over from Brad Lauer, who has joined the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets as an assistant coach. . . .

Jamie Kompon, who spent two seasons with the Portland Winterhawks, has joined the NHL’s Florida Panthers as an assistant coach. Kompon, 55, was the Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach for two seasons (2014-16). He spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets. . . . Kompon also has worked in the NHL as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks. . . .

The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan have signed Gordie Dwyer to a four-year contract as their general manager and head coach. Dwyer, 44, was the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs, who went 47-17-4 last season. However, he was fired after a first-round playoff loss. . . . The Sea Dogs, of course, went on to win the Memorial Cup as the host team. . . . With the Titan, he takes over from Jason Clarke, who left to join the AHL’s San Diego Gulls as an assistant coach. . . .

The junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have hired Brad Tobin, 33, as their general manager and head coach. The announcement came Thursday, one day after Brandon Switzer left to join the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints as an assistant coach. . . . Switzer, 27, was named Creston Valley’s general manager and head coach on April 6. He had been assistant general manager and associate coach. . . . Tobin has worked with Creston Valley before, starting out as an assistant coach and winding up as GM and head coach in 2017-18. He spent the past four seasons with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. . . .

Bob Beatty is back with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers for his first full season as associate coach. The veteran junior hockey coach stepped in late last season following the order from the BCHL that put Darren Naylor, the Clippers’ general manager and head coach, on administrative leave. Naylor no longer is with the organization. . . . Beatty, 67, will be working alongside Colin Birkas, the GM and head coach, and fellow associate coach Bob Foglietta. . . .

Andrew Shaw has left the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs to join the Prince George Spruce Kings. Shaw, 32, had been an assistant coach with Chilliwack for three seasons. He joins the Spruce Kings as the associate coach, replacing Lukas Limicky, who now is with the Vernon Vipers. . . .

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express has extended the contract of Jeff Wagner for three seasons. He is preparing for his second season as associate coach and director of scouting. . . . The extension runs through 2024-25. . . .

The BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals have added Jason Becker to their coaching staff. He will help them out as skills coach, working alongside Brian Passmore, the general manager and head coach. For the past two seasons, Becker, 48, has been the head coach of the U18 men’s team at the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy in Victoria. While working with the Capitals, he also will be the head coach of the PCHA’s new U17 prep team. . . . Becker also has coached with the Prince George Cougars, the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and St. George’s School in Vancouver. He has long been involved with Hockey Canada and BC Hockey coaching programs and, at present, is the lead evaluator for the U16 team that will represent the province at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. . . . You look at this guy’s resume and ask yourself: Why isn’t he the head coach of a major junior team?



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.


SnowWhite

Scattershooting on a Monday night after surviving another Coquihalla round trip . . .

scattershooting

So . . . we took a few days away to spend time with our son, Todd, and his family in Coquitlam. While there, I saw the above tweet and sent it along to him. . . . It just happens that Todd, a journeyman printer, works with a few Filiponos. . . . “I talked to the older Filipino guy I work with about the bat,” Todd messaged me during our drive home on Monday, “and he told me stories about hunting them with his dad and grandpa. Using slingshots. Though he said they weren’t usually that big.” . . . And then he added: “Good bbq apparently.”


As you may be aware, the junior B Spokane Braves won’t ice a team in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League in 2022-23. Why not? Well, the owner, Bob Tobiason, isn’t vaccinated, nor is the head coach. And they apparently couldn’t get enough players to get vaccinated so that they could put together a team that would be allowed into Canada. . . . And, yes, there are fingers pointed at the Canadian government; never mind that the U.S. government has the same restriction in place. . . . Of course, as one source told Taking Note last week, “the elephant in the room” is “team fees” of somewhere around US$10,000. . . . No matter. Late last week, Cathy Tobiason, Bob’s wife, issued this statement . . .

Braves


ICYMI, head coach Dave Dickenson was MIA on Friday night when his Calgary COVIDStampeders went into Ottawa and scored a 17-3 victory over the Redblacks. Dickenson was in COVID-19 protocol, so special teams coach Mark Kilam, who is in his 18th season with the Stampeders, was the acting head coach. . . . Dickenson, who was cleared to return to practice later in the weekend, was in his usual place on the sidelines when the Stampeders dropped a 35-28 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers on July 30 but missed practices during the following week. . . . And then came word that Dusty Baker, the manager of the Houston Astros, had tested positive prior to a Friday night game. Baker is 73 so you can bet the Astros’ medical staff is keeping a close eye on him.


TurnSignal


A note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “The American Massage Therapy Association’s national convention is scheduled for Aug. 25-27 in Cleveland. Alas, the keynote speaker is Michael Phelps, not Deshaun Watson.”

——

Perry, again: “Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday’s Mariners-Yankees game in Seattle. In keeping with the theme, the catcher will be wearing an extra mask.”


Blinker


While I was away . . .

When the 2022-23 major junior season opens, Travis Crickard will be the head coach of the defending Memorial Cup champions. Crickard, 35, was named head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday, taking over from Gardiner MacDougall, who ran the bench during the Memorial Cup tournament, which the Sea Dogs won as the host team. . . . MacDougall, the head coach of the U of New Brunswick Reds, took over the Sea Dogs after they fired head coach Gordie Dwyer following a first-round playoff loss. After winning the Memorial Cup, MacDougall returned to the Reds. . . . Crickard, a former assistant coach with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets (2014-19), joined the Sea Dogs as an assistant coach in November. He also has worked with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s so now has a CHL coaching hat trick to his credit. . . . Crickard and the Sea Dogs are scheduled to open training camp on Aug. 15 — yes, Aug. 15 — and their first exhibition game is scheduled for Aug. 18. . . . There is a complete news release right here. . . .

The OHL’s Oshawa Generals signed Derek Laxdal, a former WHL player and coach, as head coach. Laxdal, 56, had been an assistant coach with the NHL’s Dallas Stars since the middle of the 2019-20 season when he was added to head coach Rick Bowness’ staff. He was the head coach the Texas Stars, Dallas’s AHL affiliate for five-plus seasons. . . . Laxdal was the head coach of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings for four seasons (2010-14), winning the 2012 and 2014 championships. He guided the Oil Kings to a Memorial Cup title in 2014. He played in the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks, Brandon Wheat Kings and New Westminster Bruins (1982-86). . . . In Oshawa, Laxdal takes over from Todd Miller, who was fired on March 12, with assistants Kurtis Foster and Mike Hedden finishing the season as interim co-head coaches. . . .

Jason Clarke has stepped down as general manager and head coach of the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He left to join the AHL’s San Diego Gulls as an assistant coach. . . . He had been the Titan’s head coach since Nov. 29 and the GM since June 7. . . .

The MJHL’s OCN Blizzard has hired Doug Johnson as head coach and assistant general manager. Johnson, 46, spent more than 11 seasons with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks before he was fired as GM and head coach on Dec. 4. . . . With the Blizzard, Johnson replaces Billy Keane, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the 2021-22 season. . . . Interestingly, it was in June when the Blizzard named Darren Naylor as its general manager and head coach. Naylor started last season as the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers but was placed on a BCHL-directed administrative leave in February for what the league said was an alleged breach of its code of conduct. In March, the BCHL revealed that Naylor was to stay on administrative leave through May 31 while an independent investigation was completed. The BCHL has yet to comment on the investigation. . . . Meanwhile, Greg Hunter is shown on the Blizzard’s website as the general manager and associate coach. . . .

The AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers have signed general manager and head coach Tyler Deis to a contract extension that runs through the 2027-28 season with options that could take him through 2029-30. . . . Good on the Oilers for revealing the length of the deal. . . . Deis, 48, started with the Oilers as assistant coach in 2013-14. He has been the head coach since June 6, 2016, and has a gaudy 209-79-18 (.712) regular-season record. . . . The Oilers also announced “the return of his support staff, including assistant and goaltending coach Derek Purfield, assistant coach and equipment manager Brody Hailwood, and assistant coach Reid Hnatowich, who return for their 10th, third and fifth seasons on the staff, respectively.” . . . There is a news release right here. . . .

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express signed Patrick Sexton as its new head coach. He has been an assistant coach with the Penticton Vees for the past three seasons. Sexton, 28, won two BCHL titles with the Vees — one as a player (2014-15) and one as an assistant coach (2021-22). . . . With the Express, Sexton replaces Brandon Shaw, now an assistant coach with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs. . . .

The WHL’s Calgary Hitmen released their home schedule with venues and they will play 28 of the 34 games at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The other six games are scheduled to be played at the 2,000-seat Seven Chiefs Sportsplex, which is on Tsuut’ina Nation, just to the southwest of Calgary. . . . The Hitmen played in the Sportsplex during the 2021 development season and will hold their training camp there next month. . . . The Saddledome will be a busy place as it also is the home arena for the NHL’s Flames and AHL’s Wranglers, along with the NLL’s Roughnecks. . . .

Rob Klinkhammer, a former WHL player, has retired from playing and joined the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, as an assistant coach. . . . He will be working alongside head coach Anders Sorensen and with fellow assistants Peter Aubry, Adam Gill and Jared Nightingale. . . . Klinkhammer, 35, played in Rockford for four seasons (2008-12). . . . He spent four seasons in the WHL, playing for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Seattle Thunderbirds, Portland Winter Hawks and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . He played the past six seasons in the KHL, including last season with the Dynamo Moskva. . . .

Dave Lowry, who has coached in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen, Victoria Royals and Brandon Wheat Kings, now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Lowry, 57, started last season as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets; he finished as the club’s interim head coach after head coach Paul Maurice stepped aside. . . . He also has been an NHL assistant coach with the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings. . . . In the WHL, he spent four seasons (2005-09) on Calgary’s staff, the last one as head coach; five seasons (2012-17) as Victoria’s head coach; and one (2019-20) as Brandon’s head coach.


animal


THINKING OUT LOUD: Former RHP Dennis Eckersley has spent 20 seasons providing analysis of Boston Red Sox games on NESN. Unfortunately, there won’t be a 21st season because he’s bowing out after this one. That’s really too bad, too, because Eck provides an entertaining listening experience. Yes, he pulls for the Red Sox, but his enthusiasm for the game overcomes that if you’re not a Boston fan. . . . If anyone can explain why the price of a litre of regular gasoline is as much as seven cents cheaper in areas of the Lower Mainland than it is in Kamloops, please feel free to let me know. . . . I happened upon a news release today that began: “Paid parking is being introduced to the ENMAX Centre starting Sept. 1 for both facility events and overflow Lethbridge College parking.” There will be an exemption for Lethbridge Hurricanes’ season-ticket holders, but others will have to fork over $5 per vehicle.” I immediately had flashbacks to 1985 when Regina Pats fans learned that they were going to have to pay $1 to park at what was then the Agridome. The fans protested by not showing up. That led to the Pinder family selling the franchise to a Swift Current group. But the WHL’s board of governors chose not to approve the deal. Eventually, four local businessmen — Morley Gusway, Bill Hicke, Ted Knight and Jack Nicolle — purchased the team. They would later try to sell it to the Ochapowace First Nations for $1.7 million, but the WHL board rejected that deal. The league then bought the team and later solid it to Calgary businessman Russ Parker. Yes, it was all because of a $1 parking fee. . . . ICYMI, the Atlanta Braves released veteran 2B Robinson Cano the other day. He also has been dumped by the New York Mets and San Diego Padres this season. But shed no tears for him, because he is still owed US$33.7 million by various teams.



Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a suggestion for Sportsperson of the Year: “Tiger Woods, for rejecting an offer from the LIV golf tour for at least $700 million. Likely he could have negotiated that offer up to a cool billion. Phil Mickelson got $200 million to sign. Woods hasn’t fully explained why he spurned Saudi blood money, although he did criticize the LIV golfers for abandoning the PGA Tour that made them rich and famous. Whatever his reasoning, Woods was the guy the Saudis desperately needed to legitimize their greed-a-palooza clown show. Instead, Tiger took one for the team, the human race.”


Selfies


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Brandon Wheat Kings have acquired F Calder Anderson, 20, from the Moose Jaw Warriors for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft. Anderson played just 15 games last season, scoring four goals and adding two assists. In 108 regular-season and playoff games with Moose Jaw, he has 13 goals and 16 assists. . . . I would love to tell you which 20-year-olds are on the Brandon and Moose Jaw rosters, but those rosters aren’t yet available on team websites. With training camps less than a month away, the WHL and its teams should be embarrassed about the lack of information. . . . D David Jiricek tested positive for COVID-19 so wasn’t able to join his Czechia teammates when they left for Edmonton and the WJC last week. But he has been cleared to play and now is in Edmonton. His WHL rights belong to the Spokane Chiefs.


Peanuts


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.


Beer

KIJHL loses its only international team . . . Spokane out because not enough vaccinated staff, players . . . League drops vaccine mandate


As expected, the junior B Spokane Braves won’t be participating in the 2022-23 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season. The Braves don’t have kijhlenough staff members and players fully vaccinated, so have had to give up any hope of playing, meaning the KIJHL is really the KJHL.

The league, which now features 19 B.C. teams, made the announcement on Wednesday.

The KIJHL had a vaccine mandate in place for the 2021-22 season, but Jeff Dubois, the league’s commissioner, told Taking Note on Wednesday that “our Vaccination Policy was a measure that was taken for the 2021-22 season only. We aren’t planning to renew it for 2022-23 at this time.” . . . Still, Canada and the United States both have border restrictions in place — foreigners crossing into Canada must be fully vaccinated, and the same holds true for foreigners going the other way. Any Braves staffers and players who aren’t vaccinated wouldn’t have been able to come north; any unvaccinated staff members or players on Canadian teams wouldn’t have been able to travel to Spokane.

The KIJHL released its 2022-23 regular-season schedule on July 18 and it included Spokane. At the same time, the league had given Spokane an Aug. 1 deadline by which time it had to declare its intentions. Well, the league revealed those intentions on Wednesday. The Braves, who last played in February 2020, won’t be playing their 50th anniversary season this winter.

“The Braves’ primary challenge has been recruiting players at a time when athletes and team staff must be fully vaccinated in order to enter into Canada,” Dubois said in a news release. “Despite their best efforts, the Braves look unlikely to be able to fill a roster of players who meet that requirement, and we reached a point where a decision needed to be made as to whether our season would proceed with or without Spokane. To be clear, we fully support those measures that have been taken to keep our communities safe from COVID, and we look forward to the Spokane Braves rejoining the KIJHL as soon as they are able to do so.”

As of mid-July, neither Spokane owner Bob Tobiason nor head coach Darin Schumacher was vaccinated. At that time, Taking Note was told that the Braves had only a handful of vaccinated players.

After the announcement, the Braves tweeted: “We draw players from Spokane and North Idaho. Spokane County is sitting around 65 per cent fully vaxxed. Kootenai County is 51 per cent . . . Those numbers are much lower when you drill down to junior-eligible ages.”

The KIJHL news release, which includes several schedule adjustments, is right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Saskatoon Blades have released F Josh Paulhus, 20. In 74 games with the Blades, the Saskatoon native had three goals and three assists in 57 games last season. The move leaves Saskatoon with three 2002-born players — F Kyle Crnkovic, F Josh Pillar and D Aidan De La Gorgendiere. . . . The Blades have added Spencer Stehouwer to their staff as equipment manager. He spent the past four seasons in that role with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. Stehouwer takes over from Riley Kosmolak, who has moved on to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose after three seasons with the Blades.



Sumo


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.


Running

Broncos strengthen goaltending department . . . Lions’ Rourke a treat to watch . . . Chiefs, Giants add to coaching staffs


There was an interesting trade in the WHL on Friday as the Swift Current SwiftCurrentBroncos acquired G Gage Alexander, 20, from the Winnipeg Ice for a third-round pick in the 2025 draft. . . . The 6-foot-6 Alexander, who is from Okotoks, Alta., was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . Last season, he went 18-7-4, .911, 2.40 in 29 games with the Ice. . . . This trade gives the Broncos a 1-2 goaltending punch of Alexander and Reid Dyck, an 18-year-old who was selected by the Boston Bruins in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2022 draft. From Winkler, Man., the 6-foot-3 Dyck was 6-12-1, 4.26, .884 with the Broncos last season. . . . The Broncos, who didn’t make the playoffs in 2021-22, are going to want to get off to a good start in the fall. “Adding Gage gives us some depth at the position and an opportunity for us to start the season strong,” Chad Leslie, the Broncos’ general manager, said in a news release. “We feel that we are taking a step forward as a group and this addition helps us in that regard.”


Fine


Let’s check in on a couple of Dr. Google’s students . . .

It is the Detroit Tigers turn to spend time in Toronto as they play a four-game series with the Blue Jays. The Tigers arrived in Toronto minus only one COVIDunvaccinated player — left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin. . . . According to Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press, Chafin explained that “me and my wife talked about getting it or not getting it, and we decided it was best for our family if we didn’t. For me, family life and personal life comes before anything. We decided as a family it was best to go this route, and we’re willing to deal with the consequences.” . . . Chafin is having a decent season for a team that won’t be in the playoffs. He’s a southpaw, which means he’ll be in demand at Tuesday’s trade deadline. So . . . will he get vaccinated if he is traded? “We’ll see what happens,” he said. “If the situation calls for it, maybe.” . . .

Still with followers of Dr. Google, OF Andrew Benintendi, who couldn’t join his Kansas City Royals in Toronto for a recent series with the Blue Jays, apparently is thinking about getting vaccinated. All it took was a trade to the New York Yankees. The Royals won’t be in the playoffs; the Yankees will be. . . . As Larry Brooks wrote in the New York Post prior to the Royals and Yankees meeting Thursday night: “He delivered rehearsed and meaningless word salad when asked about the matter during his introductory press conference at the Stadium a couple of hours before (the game).” According to Brooks, Benintendi said: “Right now I’m still positioned in the same spot. I’m open-minded about it. I’m not against it. But time will tell as we get closer (to the Toronto series). For now I’m focused on getting comfortable here and with the guys.” . . . Of course, he now will get vaccinated. . . . The Yankees have one series left in Toronto (Sept. 26-28) and could face the Blue Jays at some point on the playoff trail.


Facebook


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Federal, provincial and municipal leaders strike landmark deal to blame each other for housing prices.


THINKING OUT LOUD: Hey, Sleeman, you can kill that 2.0 commercial, like, yesterday. I think everyone has seen it a mind-numbing number of times by now. . . . WHL training camps are about a month away. So is it safe to assume that the 22 teams are about to start posting their 2022-23 rosters on the WHL website? . . . ICYMI, the Seattle Mariners made a statement on Friday night by acquiring RHP Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds. He may have been the best starter available and you can bet Mariners’ fans will be excited now. . . . If you’re a football fan, you have to enjoy watching QB Nathan Rourke of the CFL’s B.C. Lions. He was nothing short of terrific on Friday night — 27-for-33, 336 yards, two TDs — in a 32-17 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina. The Roughriders led this one, 17-4, before Rourke took over. . . . BTW, the Lions are 5-1 for the first time since 2007.


Hooters


THE COACHING GAME:

The Spokane Chiefs have rounded out their coaching staff by hiring Stefan Legein as associate coach. Legein, 33, had been an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, who won the 2022 Memorial Cup as the host team. He had been with Saint John since 2018. . . . In Spokane, Legein will work with head coach Ryan Smith and assistant Dustin Donaghy. . . . This completes something of a hat-trick for Legein, as he also has coached in the OHL, spending one season as the video coach for the Mississauga Steelheads. . . . The Chiefs’ news release is right here. . . .

Adam Maglio has joined the Vancouver Giants as their associate coach. He will work with Michael Dyck, who is heading into his fifth season as the club’s head coach. . . . Maglio, 36, is preparing for his fourth WHL season as a coach, the previous three having been spent with the Spokane Chiefs. He was in his second season as the Chiefs’ head coach when he was fired during the 2021-22 season. . . . With Vancouver, he is filling a vacancy created when Keith McCambridge signed on as an assistant coach with the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . The Giants’ news release is right here. . . .

Sean Robertson has joined the junior B Saanich Predators of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League as assistant general manager and associate coach. . . . Robertson, from Cobble Hill, B.C., spent last season as an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals. . . . With Saanich, he’ll be working alongside Cody Carlson, the general manager and head coach. . . .

Ryan McGill, a former WHL defenceman and coach, has signed with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils as an assistant coach under head coach Lindy Ruff. McGill, 53, was on the coaching staff of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights for the past five seasons. . . . He played in the WHL with the Lethbridge Broncos, Swift Current Broncos and Medicine Hat Tigers (1985-89). He was on the Edmonton Ice/Kootenay Ice coaching staff (1996-2002), the last four-plus as head coach. . . . After coaching in the AHL and spending two seasons (2009-11) as an assistant with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, he returned to Cranbrook for three more seasons (2012-15) as head coach of the Kootenay Ice (remember them?) . . .

Former WHL player and coach Rocky Thompson has joined the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers as an assistant coach. His primary responsibility under head coach John Tortorella apparently will be the PP, which was the NHL’s poorest last season. . . . Thompson, 45, was with the San Jose Sharks in 2020-21 but left them prior to last season. At the time, he issued this statement: ”Due to a medical exemption that prevents me from taking the COVID-19 vaccine, under the new league protocols, I am not permitted to fulfill my duties on the Sharks coaching staff at this time. I will have no further comment on this matter.” . . . Most recently, he was with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs as an advisor as they won the 2022 Memorial Cup as the host team. . . . He played four seasons in the WHL, starting with the Medicine Hat Tigers and finishing up with 22 games with the Swift Current Broncos. Later, he was an assistant coach for three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . .

Ben Walter is the new head coach of the men’s hockey team at Trinity Western University of Langley, B.C., as the Spartans prepare for their second season in Canada West. Walter is a Langley native whose pro playing career featured more than 900 games, including 607 in the AHL and stints in Austria, Finland, Japan and Sweden. . . . Last season, he worked as the skills coach with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers and also worked with the Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association. . . . With TWU, Walter takes over from Barret Kropf, now the general at the Prairie Hockey Academy in Caronport, Sask., where he also coaches the U-15 prep team.


Bard


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.


Green

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the Calgary Wranglers are coming back . . .

scattershooting

Camper2

Hello, friend. Yes, you . . . from the white one-ton truck that was pulled in off Wittner Road east of Kamloops on Saturday morning. You know, on the south side of the South Thompson River, just across from the Lafarge plant.

I was wondering if you lost your camper?

When I walked past your truck with the white camper on the back I didn’t see anyone, so I assumed you were fishing off the shore. I even wondered if you might be camping there for the weekend.

Then when I went for my Sunday morning stroll, I noticed your truck was gone but the camper was still there, albeit on its roof.

I can only assume that it slid off the back of your truck as you drove away and that you didn’t notice it. I mean, you wouldn’t be ignorant enough just to dump the old camper right there now, would you? Perhaps you were too busy trying to figure out how to use your turn signals to notice that the camper was gone. Hey, it happens to all of us.

Anyway . . . by now you likely have noticed that it’s missing and now you know where it is, so I’m sure you’ll drop by one day this week and pick it up.

Right?

Camper3



Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Jon Berti of the Miami Marlins leads all of baseball in steals, with 25,  at the season’s halfway point. Unless you count the former treasurer of the Oakville, Ont., Minor Baseball Association, who is accused of  embezzling $468,000 from the league.”

——

Perry, again: “Green Bay Packers QB  Aaron Rodgers has a new tattoo on his left arm — intricate astrological designs by Hungarian artist Balazs Bercsenyi. What were you expecting, a bull’s-eye with the words ‘insert vaccination here?’ ”


THINKING OUT LOUD: If you were on Twitter the afternoon of July 4, I think you’ll admit it was kind of surreal with tweets about the mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., and a hot dog-eating contest in Coney Island, N.Y., seemingly alternating in that particular social media universe. . . . During the NHL’s 2022-23 regular season, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames will meet three times — none once in the season’s second half. Seriously! In the CFL this season, the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos meet on four occasions. . . . Battle of Alberta? Not in the NHL, I guess. . . . In the WHL, the Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen will clash on eight occasions. . . . Still with the NHL’s 2022-23 schedule, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders will see each other only three times, all before Christmas. . . .

Hey, Blue Jays fans, how did you survive Friday night with your favourites and the host Seattle Mariners available only on Apple TV+? In its attempts to find new fans, MLB does that every once in a while just to remind some of us that at the end of the day it really does take those of us who are regular viewers for granted. . . . Don’t look now but here come the Baltimore Orioles. . . .

Yes, the Saskatchewan Roughriders should release DT Garrett Marino after that embarrassing performance on Friday night. Will they? Marino, in his second season with the Roughriders, has proven he can be a productive player, so I would be shocked if he is cut loose. . . . Until Sunday night, I haven’t been eagerly awaiting the arrival of robo umps in Major League Baseball. But after watching Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees take six pitches, all of which were balls, and be called out on strikes, well, I guess it’s time.



“Kevin Durant is turning into the Taylor Swift of baseball,” writes Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe. “But at least her breakups result in good songs.”



Lazuli
I had company for a brief time on my Sunday morning walk. Lazuli buntings are frequent visitors to our neighbourhood in Campbell Creek.

After I posted a story here the other day about the Kelowna Rockets switching radio stations — they left AM 1150 after more than 20 years and now are with 104.7 The Lizard — one reply to the tweet about the piece had me chuckling. . . .

BTW, some WHL fans really are waiting anxiously to find out if Regan Bartel, the long-time radio voice of the Rockets, will ever pitter-patter and get at ‘er again. . . . Hey, TSN, do you still need a play-by-play voice for your Winnipeg Jets telecasts?


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Brandon Wheat Kings have promoted Chris Moulton to director of hockey operations. He had been the director of player personnel since joining the organization on July 2, 2021. Before signing on with Brandon, Moulton spent 13 seasons with the Spokane Chiefs as director of scouting and director of player personnel. . . . Moulton’s promotion follows the May 6 announcement that general manager Doug Gasper had resigned for personal reasons. He had been with the Wheat Kings for three seasons, the first two as assistant general manager and the last one as GM. . . .

The OHL’s board of governors has approved the sale of the Niagara IceDogs to a group headed by majority owner Darren DeDobbelaer and including minority owner Wayne Gretzky. . . . DeDobbelaer and Gretzky both are from Brantford, Ont. . . . They purchased the IceDogs from Denise and Bill Burke, who had bought the franchise from the late Eugene Melnyk. . . . Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered has reported that the price the DeDobbelaer group paid is “believed to be $18 million, which is actually 10 percent less than the $20 million owners Bill and Denise Burke were seeking for the franchise.” . . . The IceDogs play out of St. Catharines, Ont. . . . This isn’t Gretzky’s first time being involved in the ownership of a major junior franchise. He was involved in the ownership of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls (1982-84) and  owned a piece of the QMJHL’s Hull Olympiques (1985-92).



DeerApple
We had a visitor to our Jon Gold apple tree at noon on Sunday. She helped herself — without asking, I might add — and then laid down under the tree and digested her meal.

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.


Posters

%d bloggers like this: