Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching Brady cash in as he proves again that he’s the GOAT . . .

Scattershooting2

It was a tough weekend for Saskatchewan Roughriders’ supporters of a certain age as they learned of the deaths of Steve Molnar and Bruce Bennett. . . . Molnar, who was a terrific fullback in the Ron Lancaster/George Reed era, was 73 when he died on Saturday. Molnar backed up Reed, then took over as the team’s workhorse following Reed’s retirement and had a terrific 1976 season. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has more on Molnar right here. . . . Vanstone also remembers Bennett with a piece that is right here. Bennett, 77, died on Tuesday of complications from pneumonia and COVID-19. Bennett was Saskatchewan’s starting safety in 1966 as the Roughriders won the Grey Cup. Bennett went from there to a truly hall-of-fame career.


Mantle

Actor Rob Gough purchased a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card for US$5.2 million at auction in November. Had you strolled into your neighbourhood’s cornerstone in 1952, you could have purchased a pack of Topps baseball cards for a nickel. Gough’s card was graded Mint 9, meaning it was never bounced off a wall, stuck in the spokes of a bicycle, or atop a stack that had an elastic wrapped around it. . . . There are reportedly three Mint 10 Mantles in existence. . . . Prior to this purchase, a 2009 autographed Mike Trout card from Bowman that sold in August for $3.93 million had held the highest price of any sports card. Prior to that, the record ($3.7 million) belonged to a T206 Honus Wagner card that changed hands in 2016. . . . Records in other sports: A 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card, $1.29 million, sold in December; a 2003-04 Upper Deck LeBron James rookie card, $1.8 million, sold in July.


Cat


On Thursday, Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, weighed in on the NBA trade in which James Harden moved from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets:

Harden and (Kyrie) Irving both want/need the ball to be as effective as they can be. (Kevin) Durant does not need the ball as much as the other two, but he is more efficient offensively than the other two in the sense that he scores a lot of points with the ball in his hands for a relatively short time. There is an unalterable fact about NBA basketball that applies here.  There is only one ball in use on the court at any given time. We will soon find out if James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant learned their lessons about ‘sharing with others’ in kindergarten.”

——

Here is the curmudgeonly one on Urban Meyer’s move to the Jacksonville Jaguars as head coach: “In his seven years at Ohio State, Meyer’s teams lost a total of nine games. If his first year with the Jags results in the Jags losing fewer than nine games, he might be the Coach of the Year in the NFL.”



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, who tracks such things, provides us with a couple of headlines . . .

At Fark.com: “NHL announced that each division will have sponsor names this year. NFL expected to follow suit, starting with the Waste Management NFC East.”

At TheOnion.com: “Nervous Browns fan still worried team going to blow 48-37 lead over Steelers from days ago.”


A couple of notes from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:

As part of its pandemic vigilance, the NBA may eliminate shoot-arounds — a notion certain to be applauded by the players. Show up in the morning with a game that night? Total waste of time for everybody. . . .

“More good news: Players are banned from touching hands with teammates at the free-throw line. Not sure who started this, several years ago, but it’s very dumb. (Ball clanks off the front rim.) ‘Hey, great miss, man.’ And if it goes in, why would you want your routine interrupted?”


So . . . what happened to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who started 11-9 and finished 1-5. Head coach Mike Tomlin explained to reporters: “We were a group that died on the vine.”



Among other things, the late Tommy Lasorda was known for run-ins with mascots. If you haven’t seen Lasorda get Youppi, the Montreal Expos’ mascot, tossed from a game, click right here. . . . But Lasorda also got into it with the Phillie Phanatic and the San Diego Chicken. . . . As Michael Clair of MLB.com pointed out: “Probably for the best that Lasorda never appeared on Sesame Street.”


Doctors


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .


CBC News — Manitoba is reporting 189 new cases of COVID-19 and 8 additional deaths. Sunday’s total includes 95 new cases in the Northern health region and 65 new cases in the Winnipeg health region. The province’s 5-day test positivity rate is 10.4%.

CBC News — Saskatchewan is reporting 287 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 new deaths. There are 4,121 known active cases in the province.

CBC News — Alberta is reporting 750 new cases of COVID-19. The province is also reporting 19 new deaths, pushing Canada’s total COVID-19 death toll past 18,000.

Keith Baldrey, Global BC — Latest BCCDC data shows 5 kids (under 20 yrs) were in the ICU with COVID-19 over the holidays and that 3 more people in their thirties in BC died from the virus. This is not just an old person’s ailment folks.

CBC News — Ontario sees 3,422 new cases and 69 additional deaths linked to COVID-19. Toronto recorded more than 1,000 new infections.

CBC News — Quebec is reporting 1,744 new cases of COVID-19. Sunday’s case count was impacted by a delay in the transmission of laboratory data. The province is also reporting 50 new deaths, 8 of which occurred in the last 24 hours. . . . 1,460 people are in hospital, including 215 in intensive care.

CBC News — There are 36 new COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick on Sunday, a single-day record. 24 of those cases are in Zone 4, the Edmundston region. Public health recommended that Zone 4 move to the red level alert effective at midnight Sunday.

CBC News — Nova Scotia is reporting 4 new cases of COVID-19, all related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. There are 29 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital.

CBC News — 1 new case of COVID-19 has been identified in Newfoundland and Labrador. The new case is in the Eastern Health region and is travel-related. There are 6 known active cases in the province, including 1 hospitalized patient.

Public Health Agency of Canada, Sunday, 4 p.m. PT — Total cases: 708,619 . . . Active cases: 75,281 . . . Recovered: 615,324 . . . Deaths: 18,014.

CNN, Sunday, 5 p.m. PT — 23.9 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, Sunday, 4 p.m. PT — 397,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

——

The NBA postponed a scheduled Sunday night game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the host Oklahoma City Thunder when COVID-19 protocols prevented the 76ers from dressing the league-minimum eight players. . . . Philadelphia had only nine players available on Saturday when it lost, 106-104, to the Grizzlies in Memphis. . . . This was the 14th postponement of this NBA season, with the last 13 of those occurring within the past week. . . .

Things don’t seem to be going too well as tennis players and their entourages begin to arrive in Melbourne for the Australian Open that is scheduled to open on Feb. 8. In fact, there already are calls to cancel the event amid reports that at least 72 players are in quarantine. . . . There’s more right here. . . .

An AHL exhibition game between the San Diego Gulls and Ontario Reign scheduled for Saturday in Irvine, Calif., was cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols. The Gulls are playing out of Irvine for the next while. . . . The game would have featured the pro debuts of F Trevor Zegras and D Jamie Drysdale, both of whom played for the gold medal at the World Junior Championship. Zegras, the tournament MVP, and Team USA beat Drysdale and Team Canada, 2-0, in the final. . . .

Kim Mulkey, the head coach of the Baylor U women’s basketball team, contracted COVID-19 on Christmas Day. She was back on the sideline for the first time on Saturday. . . . Mechelle Voepel of ESPN.com wrote that Mulkey said she is feeling OK physically, but “when asked if she is concerned about the season being completed amid a pandemic, she didn’t mince words:

“The answer is this: The season will continue on. It’s called the almighty dollar. The NCAA has to have the almighty dollar from the men’s tournament. The almighty dollar is more important than the health and welfare of me, the players or anybody else.

“One conference does this, one conference does that. The CDC says this. Everybody is confused. I’m confused. I’m uncomfortable coaching. I understand, COVID is real. I’ve had it — come talk to me sometime. But I don’t know . . . all the calls and procedures, that’s gonna go on and make it unusual, uncomfortable for every program. We’re no different at Baylor.”


——

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.

——

Did you know there are more than 750 people in BC waiting for transplants? You can give someone hope by registering your decision today at taketwominutes.ca. One organ donor can save up to eight lives. #Register2Give #TakeTwoMinutes


JUST NOTES: If you weren’t aware, Tom Brady picked up a cool $500,000 in bonus money with Sunday’s victory by his Tampa Buccaneers over the host New Orleans Saints. So far this season, Brady has picked up $1.25 million in playoff bonus money. . . . Almost two weeks after domestic terrorists attacked the U.S. Capitol, their leader not only is still in the White House, but there are reports that he is selling pardons and commutations. Is this a great time to be alive, or what? . . . If you were wondering, there were about 16,000 fans in the stands for the Sunday NFL playoff game between the Cleveland Browns and the Chiefs in Kansas City. The Saints had about 3,500 fans at their game, with 500 of those being vaccinated healthcare workers who were admitted free of charge. . . . On Saturday, there were 6,700 fans in the stadium in Buffalo, all of whom had to test negative before being admitted. Each fan paid US$63 for the test, too. In Green Bay, the Packers played in front of about 6,000 fans.


Tip

Scattershooting on a Wednesday night while thinking about how much I don’t miss Prairie blizzards . . .

Scattershooting2


As you likely are aware, the City of Cranbrook has filed a lawsuit against the wpgiceWHL and the owners of the Winnipeg Ice, claiming that a lease was broken when the franchise, then the Kootenay Ice, picked up and moved to the Manitoba capital after the 2018-19 season. . . . A Winnipeg-based company, 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, which is headed up by chairman Greg Fettes, had purchased the franchise from the Chynoweth family in 2017. . . . It turns out that the lawsuit was filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Dec. 24. Merry Christmas! . . . “The lawsuit,” writes Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman, “. . . seeks a few different types of financial relief stemming from lost income due to the relocation of the Kootenay Ice from Cranbrook to Winnipeg, a move (that) broke a license of occupation agreement with Western Financial Place that had four additional years left in the terms of the contract.” . . . Crawley’s complete story is right here. . . .

Bradley Jones of myeastkootenaynow.com writes: “As per their claim, the City of Cranbrook is seeking general damages, damages for lost income for the remainder of the License Agreement to 2023, special damages of the $15,167 one-time expense, pre-judgment interest on damages, costs, and any other relief the court deems justifiable.” . . . His complete story is right here.


Sleep


Apologies to members of the Cam Moon Fan Club. I mentioned here the other day that he would be making his NHL play-calling debut on Wednesday when the Edmonton Oilers played host to the Vancouver Canucks. That actually was a national telecast for Sportsnet — Harnaryan Singh made his Hockey Night in Canada national debut — which meant that Jack Michaels was back doing the Oilers’ play-by-play on radio. . . . The Oilers’ game on Thursday will be a regional telecast, so Moon will be at the radio microphone as he calls an NHL game for the first time. Game time against those same Canucks on 630 CHED will be 7 p.m. MT.



The Medicine Hat Tigers have released F Cole Sillinger to play for the USHL’s ushlSioux Falls Stampede. Sillinger, the 17-year-old son of former WHL/NHL F Mike Sillinger, is a potential first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . Sillinger, who has dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship, will be joined in Sioux Falls by F Luke Toporowski, 19, who was released by the Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday and will be playing with the Stampede. Toporowski is a native of Bettendorf, Iowa. . . . On Tuesday, the Chiefs freed up F Bear Hughes to join the USHL’s Fargo Force. Hughes, 19, is from Post Falls, Idaho, . . . “Our league and USA Hockey reached a unique agreement regarding American players from (WHL) U.S. Division clubs,” Scott Carter, the Chiefs’ general manager, said in a news release. “Despite the WHL’s commitment to play this season, there are still uncertainties, and this opportunity will provide Luke and Bear the chance to play right away.” . . . WHL players who are moving to the USHL will stay with those teams until their seasons end, after which their playing rights will revert back to their WHL teams.


The NHL began is 2021 regular season with five games on Wednesday night. If all goes well, it was the first of 116 straight days when at least one NHL game will be played. . . . The tweet below is the first of a series in what is sure to garner nightly interest . . .


Eating


In the period from Jan. 6-12, the NBA ran 497 COVID-19 tests and had 16 players come up positive. . . . It postponed three games that had been scheduled for Wednesday — Utah Jazz at Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics, and Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns. . . . With the Suns and Washington Wizards having contact tracing issues, the NBA also has postponed a pair of games scheduled for Friday — Washington at the Detroit Pistons and the Golden State Warriors at Phoenix. . . . The NBA now has had to postpone nine games, eight of them since Jan. 10.

——

Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“At a time when a complete shutdown seemed appropriate, even for a month or less, the NBA has chosen the fast lane, the one labeled Take the Money, once again. Whether it’s stay-at-home orders, eliminating visitors to hotel rooms or the clampdown on simple things, like dropping into a bar, Tuesday’s mandate suggests a player nightmare over the next two weeks — and probably beyond.

“No, this cruel new world hardly resembles a military boot camp, but some serious change is at hand. The NBA now expects a complete halt on lengthy pregame meetings, postgame hugs with opposing players and the comically reckless usage of masks, among other highly detailed restrictions. (Somehow, coaches worldwide have come to believe that when you really need to shout at somebody — thus putting yourself at the highest pandemic risk — that’s when you take off the mask.)



Taxes


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.


Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if that really was an NFL game in Denver . . .

Scattershooting

EarlyMorning
Sunrise over the South Thompson River . . . Campbell Creek, B.C. . . . Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 . . . 7 a.m.

There was a wonderful outpouring of emotion the other day when Fred Sasakamoose was taken from us by COVID-19 at the age of 86. Mel Recchi of Kamloops felt the loss, too.

FredSasakamoose, who would have turned 86 on Christmas Eve, played four seasons (1956-60) with the Kamloops Chiefs of the long gone Okanagan Senior Hockey League. This came after his 11-game stint with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks (1953-54) and time with the New Westminster Royals, Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Calgary Stampeders.

During Sasakamoose’s stint with the Chiefs, Recchi sometimes would serve as a practice goaltender.

“He was a hell of a hockey player and also a pretty nice guy,” Recchi remembers. “He could shoot that puck. He really liked Kamloops . . . and they loved him here.”

Of course, goaltenders didn’t wear masks back in the day.

“I was a brash kid in those days . . . no mask and no fear,” recalls Recchi, who also got ice time with the Western league’s Vancouver Canucks when they would train in Kamloops. “I can’t believe it now.”

BTW, Sasakamoose played 94 games through three of those seasons with the Chiefs, scoring 43 goals and adding 57 assists. The stats for the 1958-59 season aren’t available.

Sasakamoose has family in Kamloops, including his younger brother, Pete, who didn’t make the Chiefs when Fred did, but ended up staying in the city and making it his home.

Solaine Sasakamoose, a great-grand niece, played for the Kamloops-based Thompson Rivers University women’s soccer team in 2019. She was born in Kamloops, but was living and playing soccer on the Lower Mainland when she was recruited by TRU coach Mark Pennington.

Patrick Johnston of Postmedia has more on Fred Sasakamoose and his Kamloops connections right here.


Papercut


Earl Seitz, the sports voice at CFJC-TV in Kamloops, has been an observer of the sporting universe for more than 50 years. Here’s a relevant thought that he posted on Facebook this weekend:

“Can’t understand the NFL and college basketball keep plowing ahead with growing number of COVID-19 cases. I make my living from sports, but if we want to keep living it’s time for sports, all sports, to take a complete break until there is a reliable vaccine for everyone.”

He’s right.


Columnist Ann Killion, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“At UCLA, registered nurses protested the fact that the athletic department conducted 1,248 tests in a single week but health-care workers at the university hospitals have been denied testing.

“National Nurses United, the nation’s largest RN union, released a survey of more than 15,000 members: two-thirds reported never having been tested. Yet the NFL administered more than 43,000 tests in a two-week period in November.

“Do you think our priorities might be just a little bit skewed?

“Sports is a nice distraction. But at what price?”


“Veteran NBA forward Trevor Ariza got traded from Portland to Houston to Detroit to Oklahoma City in three separate deals in barely two days after this year’s draft,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Thunder is listing Ariza as day-to-day with severe jet lag.”

——

Perry also served up what he calls a “Turkey quiz.” Here it is: “The worst dish served up each Thanksgiving Day is: a) Tofu; b) Plantains; c) the Detroit Lions.”

——

It would seem that Perry isn’t a Lions fan, because he also had this one: “Eastern Market Brewing Co. has stopped sales and production of ‘Same Old Lager’ after Lions legend Barry Sanders — pictured on the can in team colors without his consent — threatened to sue. Apparently it was a little too Lions: It went flat the minute you opened the can.”

——

Perry’s tweet of the week came from George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on TV’s original Star Trek: “Breaking: Professional sports fall into disarray as concerns mount over whether losing teams will concede to winning ones despite what the scoreboard says.”


Fixed


After Alabama football coach Nick Saban tested positive and another 19 NCAA football games were scratched, Janice Hough, who can be found at LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, wondered: “Wouldn’t it be simpler to write ‘COVID-19’ on the College Football 2020 Trophy and be done with it?”



Coming at some point over the next 10 days, the annual Taking  Note Bookshelf. Yes, it’s coming back by popular demand — two loyal readers have asked about it! . . . It looks like it’ll be in three parts, but be forewarned that I strayed from sports books over the past 12 months. Still, you may find a Christmas idea or two, especially if you’re shopping for yourself.


The story to which Jack McCallum refers in the above tweet is a wonderful piece of work by the great Steve Rushin. Take a few minutes and give it a read. You won’t be sorry.



Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Against titanic odds, the NBA and MLB managed to complete seasons with historical significance — wildly different to be sure, but nevertheless authentic in the end. That’s hardly the case with the Pac-12 football season, a terrible idea (especially after the initial plan to call it off) that has descended into farce. Retrospective views will offer nothing but disdain, dismissal and wonderment, as in, What were we doing? Now the plague of stupidity (with a special dose of greed) has infected college basketball, with alarming developments expected throughout the land. . . . That’s the key word, expected. Positive tests, outbreaks, shutdowns, fractured schedules — all of this was going to be part of the deal, and the power brokers just brushed it aside, like lint. ‘Surely,’ wrote Chuck Culpepper in the Washington Post, ‘there’s an admirable human trait tucked somewhere into the way everybody continues to act.’ ”


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Catherine Litt worked in the newsroom at the Kamloops Daily News while I was the sports editor. As she writes: “It happens to other families until it happens to yours.” . . . Wear a mask, keep your distance and be safe out there.

——

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 365 new COVID-19 cases, 11 additional deaths. Officials say the current 5-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 13.3% per cent provincially, 13.5% in Winnipeg.

Marc Smith, CTV Regina: Record highs for hospitalizations (115) and ICU patients (23). . . . There were a record high 120 positive cases in Regina in the past 24 hours. The high one month ago was 21. . . . Regina’s test positivity was 10.78%.

COVID-19 Tracker Canada: Both COVID-19 hospitalizations and patients in ICU in Saskatchewan are at all-time highs, with 115 in hospital (+9) and 23 in ICU (+5). . . . Today’s increase of +5 in ICU is the highest ever daily increase for COVID-19 ICU census data in Saskatchewan.

Robson Fletcher, CBC Calgary: The latest COVID-19 data for Alberta: 1,609 cases yesterday (1,608 net w/adjustments to past days); 15,692 active cases. A record; 435 in hospital / 95 in ICU. Both records; 9 more people have died. 533 total now.

rdnewsNOW: Red Deer up to 191 active COVID-19 cases.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Another COVID-19 death is being reported in the Hat today. Bringing the total to four. . . . There are 107 active cases and 152 recoveries. . . . 1,608 new cases were identified in the last 25 hours. Nine new deaths (including the one here) are being reported

CBC News: Ontario reported 1,708 new cases and 24 deaths today: The province’s health ministry says another 53,959 tests were completed in the last 24 hours. Labs are reporting a 3.7% positivity rate for Ontario.

CBC News: Quebec reported 1,395 new cases today: The province has added 12 deaths to its total, including 4 from the last 24 hours and 8 that happened earlier this week. 665 people are in hospital, including 92 in ICU.

CBC News: P.E.I. has no new confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are 4 active cases in the province. No one is in hospital.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 14 new cases of COVID-19. 4 of the cases are in the Moncton region, 9 are in the Saint John  region and 1 is in the Bathurst region. There are now 119 cases in the province, including 1 person who is in hospital.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19. 9 of the new cases are in the Central Zone and 1 is in the Western Zone. There are now 125 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador. All of the cases are in the Eastern Health region, but they are not connected to each other. There are 36 active cases in the province. No one is in hospital.

KOMO News: Washington State health officials report more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases.

Top U.S. & World News: The US has surpassed 100,000 new daily Covid cases for the 27th consecutive day as those who traveled for the holiday risk spreading the virus.

——

——

Things have gotten to a point in the NFL where it is shutting down almost all team-related activities for Monday and Tuesday. Yes, there are games scheduled for both nights, but other than that it will be mostly quiet as the league tries to get a handle on what has been happening. . . . Yeah, good luck with that. . . . WR Willie Snead of the Baltimore Ravens tested positive on Sunday. He is the seventh Baltimore starter to test positive. The Ravens, who are to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, have had at least one positive test each of the past eight days and have 20 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. They also have had 10 staff members test positive. . . .  That is the game that was to have been played on Thursday, then was bumped to Sunday and, finally, to Tuesday. . . . The Steelers will be without RB James Conner, a cancer survivor who has tested positive, and a couple of assistant coaches.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: If you’re a regular viewer of PTI you have to know that Michael Wilbon is going to be an angry man on Monday afternoon, what with Northwestern and his beloved Chicago Bears both laying eggs on the weekend. . . . If you are interested in WHL history and if you’re on Twitter, you need to be following Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner). He posts something every day slugged “On this date in @WHLPats history” and it’s great stuff. Yes, every once in a while my name shows up, but more often it’s someone like Fran Huck or Billy Hicke or Terry Harper or Gord Berenson. You may know Berenson as Red. Anyway, check it out.


Bills

WHL not playing games, but some players are . . . Two football bowl games gone . . . Hobbs decides to go back home

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, addressed some media folks in a virtual whlgathering on Oct. 15. When the topic of WHL players moving to junior A during the shutdown arose, Trevor Redden of panow.com reported via Twitter that Robison said that if they were affiliated last (season), they’re eligible to play now, and that general managers were to discuss the subject this week.

That meeting apparently took place at some point this week, because the WHL issued a statement late Friday afternoon, stating that it “has granted temporary transfers for WHL roster players to continue their development by playing competitive hockey at the junior A, junior B and under-18 levels . . . through mid-December.”

That something had happened became apparent on Thursday night when the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers announced that they had signed Everett D Gianni Fairbrother, 20.

Then, on Friday morning, the Estevan Bruins revealed there was an agreement between the SJHL and WHL that will allow major junior players to play in the junior A league until Dec. 20. The Bruins did that as they announced the signing of F Cole Fonstad of the Everett Silvertips. Fonstad, 20, is from Estevan.

Everett also has loaned D Dylan Anderson, 18, to the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals, F Jackson Berezowski, 18, to the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, and F Ethan Regnier, 20, to the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs.

A news release from the Silvertips indicated that players are allowed “full participation in . . . practices, workout activities and games, until a loan expiration of Dec. 20. . . .”

The WHL has said it will start its next regular season on Jan. 8, with players reporting to teams shortly after Christmas.

According to Ryan Flaherty of Global Saskatoon, Blades D Rhett Rhinehart, who turns 19 next month, is with the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers. Flaherty added that G Nolan Maier, 19, “will likely play for Yorkton, although that has not been confirmed yet.”

As well, Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reported F Evan Herman, 18, of the Winnipeg Ice has joined the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard, while Connor Roulette, 17, of the Seattle Thunderbirds is with the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers.

Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate tweeted that Rebels F Jaxsen Wiebe, 18, is to play for the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks.

The Tri-City Americans have loaned F Parker Bell to the junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Bell, 17, is from Campbell River.

Meanwhile, Regan Bartel, the long-time radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, tweeted that the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors have run out of goaltenders — three of them are injured — so have added veteran goaltenders Roman Basran and Cole Schwebius, both 19, from the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets at least for this weekend.

——

Questions . . . yes, there are questions about the WHL’s agreement with junior A and junior B leagues about the loaning of players.

For starters, what happens to the transferred players if a WHL regular season doesn’t get started?

Also, some of these leagues have moved to a pay-for-play model. So who is paying for the WHL players to play in these other leagues?

Braden Malsbury, the radio voice of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves via MBC Radio, also has some thoughts in the following tweets:



Grandma


Hartley Miller, the GOAT at 94.3 The GOAT and the analyst on broadcasts of Prince George Cougars home games, offered up this today:

“Leagues like the BCHL and WHL insist they will play a season even if fans are not allowed to their games.
“The financial commitment from those owners should be applauded, but the question remains how safe is it to play?

“There does not appear to be a clear answer but regardless of whether it is a top-notch junior player or one competing at the rec level, the athlete needs to fully understand there is a health risk, even though we remain in the dark how much risk that is.”

That is from his latest Hartley’s Hart Attack, headlined ‘The risk of competition.’ . . . It’s all right here. . . . And if you aren’t a daily reader, you should be.


Nessman


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Among the many thousands who just don’t get the mask thing, there appear to be three options: (1) Wear it under the nose. Perfected by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth on Sunday Night Football. Gives those droplets a fighting chance. (2) Down around the chin. Extremely fashionable. Shows you might have cared at daybreak. (3) None at all. Because, you know, what the hell, it’s a hassle.” . . .

The Founders League, which comprises 11 prep schools, announced Friday that it has cancelled all interscholastic competition for the 2020-21 season. It includes 10 Connecticut schools and one from eastern New York. . . .

The KHL has postponed Jokerit’s next two games, which were scheduled for Monday and Wednesday, after four positive tests within the organization. Jokerit underwent testing after returning from its latest road trip. . . . Jokerit also had games postponed early in September because of positive tests. . . .

Two of U.S. college football’s bowl games are gone, at least for 2020. The Holiday Bowl was to have been held in San Diego, while the Fenway Bowl, which was to have been played for the first time, was scheduled for, yes, Fenway Park in Boston. . . .

Scotty Walden, the interim head coach at Southern Miss, tested positive earlier this week. He has been the head coach since Jay Hopson left after the season’s first game. . . . The Golden Eagles, who haven’t played since Oct. 3, are scheduled to play Liberty today (Saturday). Their game on Oct. 17 against UTEP wasn’t played because they were going through an outbreak. . . .

The U of Toledo has put its men’s basketball team on hold for two weeks because six players and head coach Tod Kowalczyk tested positive. . . . Marquette’s men’s and women’s basketball teams also have been shut down for two weeks after each experienced one positive test.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.



JUST NOTES: Some European teams are using the four-team Karjala Cup as a tuneup for the 2021 World Junior Championship that opens in an Edmonton bubble on Dec. 25. Former NHLer Igor Larionov is coaching the Russian team, with Valeri Bragin, normally the team’s head coach, having recently recovered from COVID-19. Also in the Karjala Cup are teams from Czech Republic and Sweden. The tournament, in Helsinki, runs from Nov. 5-8. . . . Former WHL D Connor Hobbs (Medicine Hat, Regina, 2013-17) has retired from pro hockey after playing three seasons with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. Hobbs is back at home in Saskatoon and taking online courses as the U of Saskatchewan. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has that story right here.


Leg

WHL moves goal posts to Jan. 8 . . . QMJHL shuts down two divisions . . . NCHL (not CHL) cancels its season

On a day when the QMJHL shut down some teams until at least Oct. 28, the WHL announced that it has moved its proposed regular-season starting date from whlDec. 4 to Jan. 8. . . . The WHL, which normally begins its regular season in late September, first said it would open on Oct. 2. It later changed that to Dec. 4. . . . If it is able to open on Jan. 8, the league’s 22 teams will play entirely within their divisions, although the Swift Current Broncos will move from the Central Division to the East Division to play with the four other Saskatchewan teams and two from Manitoba. . . . Players will be expected to report to their teams after Christmas for brief training camps. . . . The WHL also has added Dr. Dhiren Naidu, the NHL-Edmonton Oilers’ head team physician, as chief medical advisor. An associate professor at the U of Alberta, Dr. Naidu worked with the NHL during its time in the Edmonton bubble. His role with the WHL will be “to assist with the implementation of comprehensive health and safety protocols.” . . .

The pandemic has been ongoing for more than seven months now, and it is apparent that it is far from being over. That being said, the WHL has a lot of work ahead of it between now and Jan. 8. Here are a few things that have yet to be addressed publicly:

1. The WHL’s news release didn’t mention length of schedule;

2. It didn’t touch on how it will get Canadian players to the five U.S. Division teams with the U.S.-Canada border closed and not likely to be open by then. Although, as I understand it, Canadians are allowed to fly into the U.S., while non-essential travel across the border via vehicle isn’t allowed;

3. The Saskatchewan government has told curlers that they aren’t allowed to leave the province for competitions, nor will out-of-province competitors be allowed in. Presumably the WHL will have to deal with that regulation in some way;

4. Steve Ewen, who covers the Vancouver Giants for Postmedia, pointed out via Twitter: “There are five B.C. teams and viaSport rules have stated that you can play in cohorts of four. Be interesting to see if the WHL gained an exemption regarding that or what their plan is. Cohorts can be changed with a two-week break.” . . . Ewen later tweeted that he asked the WHL how it will deal with B.C.’s cohort regulations, and received this response: “We are continuing to work on those details and remain in conversation with the B.C. government. At this time, it has not been determined what cohorts will look like for the WHL in B.C.”

5. The WHL’s news release didn’t mention anything about testing or contact tracing;

6. The WHL has been adamant for months now that it can’t play unless it has the OK for its team to open up their facilities to at least 50 per cent of capacity. The last sentence of Wednesday’s seven-paragraph news release might indicate that the WHL no longer is prepared to die on that hill: “A final determination has not yet been made as to whether spectators will be permitted to attend WHL games as this will be subject to the approval of the Health Authorities in each jurisdiction.” . . . Could it be that the WHL is prepared to play in empty buildings?

7. Is the WHL attempting to get financial aid from any levels of federal, provincial or state governments?

Questions, questions, questions . . . some of which may not have answers.

One thing is for certain, though: The WHL will play when ’Rona says it will play, which is what the QMJHL is learning these days.

——


Meanwhile, the QMJHL has shut down its two Quebec-based divisions until at qmjhlnewleast Oct. 28. The six-team Maritime Division will continue to play, but with five teams because the Moncton Wildcats, who are in a government-declared orange zone, are limited to practising. . . . Six of the 12 Quebec-based teams are in red zone and have been shut down by government restrictions until month’s end. Two of the Quebec teams — the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the Sherbrooke Phoenix — had a combined 26 positive tests. . . . The QMJHL, which has had its teams playing strictly within their divisions, said it will reassess its situation in two weeks. . . . Mikaël Lalancette of TVA Sports wrote: “Behind the scenes, I have already been told that it would be astonishing to see the circuit activities resume in 14 days.”


When last heard from, the OHL said it was planning on opening its regular ohlseason on Dec. 1. However, that announcement was made on Aug. 5. . . . Since then, of course, Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, has said that the OHL will have to get rid of body-checking and fighting if it is to return to play. She said: “It would be safe to say that body contact, unless it’s incremental, will not be permitted as a result of COVID-19. That would pose a challenge in terms of how they amend their play.” . . . I think it’s safe to say that negotiations are ongoing.


Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle touched on some truths about the virus in a Wednesday column, beginning with a reference to the NBA’s bubble success . . .

“As success stories go, this one was downright dangerous, offering hope in a pandemic when reality suggests nothing of the sort. It is now quite clear that nothing short of a carefully supervised bubble, free of positive tests for the coronavirus, is going to work in any sport in which athletes compete at close range.

“You’d think the football-crazed folks would get the picture, but instead we’re seeing all sorts of craziness in the NFL, the college game and surely throughout youth sports across the country. As they barge ahead through virus outbreaks, camp shutdowns, postponements and cancellations, they seem to treat positive tests as a minor inconvenience — a veritable sacrifice to the football gods. Fans are streaming back into many Power 5 conference stadiums, including the disturbing sight of some 24,000 people at Saturday’s Texas-Oklahoma game, sitting extremely close together and, in many cases, wearing masks only around their necks.”

That complete column is right here.


Mozart


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

BC Hockey has cancelled all of its provincial minor hockey championships for 2021. Under normal circumstances, BC Hockey would sanction 16 provincial championship tournaments in U-13, U-15, U-18 and U-21 age groups. . . . The pandemic also had resulted in the cancellation of 2020 championships last spring. . . . From a BC Hockey news release: “BC Hockey is making the proactive decision at this time to allow all Districts and leagues the flexibility needed to facilitate programming that best fits into the viaSport provincial guidelines regarding sport participation focusing on the safety and well-being of participants.” . . .

The North Central Hockey League has cancelled its 2020-21 season. The Senior AA league features teams in the Alberta communities of Blackfalds, Bonnyville, Daysland, Devon, Fort Saskatchewan, Lacombe, Morinville, Red Deer and Westlock. . . .

The NFL has cancelled the Pro Bowl that was to have been played in Las Vegas on Jan. 31. The league hopes to replace it with a virtual program, the details of which have yet to be detailed. . . . Cancelling the game also provides the NHL with a bit more scheduling space in case it needs to move regular-season games. . . .

Nick Saban, the head football coach at the U of Alabama, and Greg Byrne, the school’s athletic director, both have tested positive. . . . Upon getting his result, Saban, 68, said he “immediately left work and isolated at home.” . . . The No. 2 Crimson Tide is scheduled to play at home against the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. . . . Alabama played at Mississippi last Saturday. Lane Kiffin, the Runnin’ Rebels’ head coach, said Wednesday that his team has had some positive tests. . . .

Earlier in the week, the SEC postponed two games — LSU at No. 10 Florida and Vanderbilt at Missouri. . . . Florida has had 21 players and two assistant coaches test positive, and has suspended team activities. . . . Vanderbilt also has been hit by an outbreak and wouldn’t have enough scholarship athletes available to play. . . . There now have been 29 FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) games postponed. . . .

Members of Tornado Moscow Oblast, a Russian women’s hockey team, are in quarantine and six games have been postponed because of positive tests. . . .

Skate Canada International, part of figure skating’s Grand Prix circuit, has been cancelled. It had been scheduled for Oct. 30-31 in Ottawa and was to have taken place without fans. Organizers made the decision citing rising COVID-19 cases in Ontario. . . .

George Birger, a former athletic director at Brandon University, died on Saturday in Arizona. He was 91 and had tested positive. . . . The Brandon Sun has a thorough look back at Birger’s career 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.


Time

SJHL-Melfort player tests positive . . . PJHL looking to mid-October start . . . Winterhawks eliminate position

The coronavirus has found the SJHL. On Friday, a tweet from the league revealed that a player with the Melfort Mustangs “has tested positive for COVID-19.” . . . Rick Lang, Melfort’s mayor, told the Melfort Journal that to his knowledge “this is the first confirmed case in Melfort.” . . . According to the SJHL, “The player and the close contacts have been identified and contacted by the local public health office and have been advised to self-isolate. . . . There has been limited contact in the community.” . . . The last sentence in the statement read: “This is an advisory and there will be no further comments by any of the organizations at this time.” . . . The city shut down the Northern Lights Palace, the home of the Mustangs, for deep cleaning. It is to be reopened on Monday.


The 13-team junior B Pacific Junior Hockey League, which had said it hoped to begin regular-season play on Sept. 29, now says it is aiming for Oct. 15, although that could end up being moved to Nov. 1. . . . The PJHL’s teams, all of which are based on B.C.’s Lower Mainland, have completed training camps and named their rosters. However, Trevor Alto, the league’s commissioner, noted in a release that “not all of our facilities are prepared to host game play by . . . Sept. 29. We had identified this as a possibility and our schedule was prepared to make the adjustment.” . . . The league is planning on a 36-game regular season, with teams playing in four cohorts of three or four teams. After the first 18 games, the league will take a break in December “to quarantine for the second half where the cohorts will be adjusted for the remainder of the season and playoffs.” . . . Teams are permitted to begin exhibition games immediately. If facilities and cohorts are ready, regular-season play would begin Oct. 15. Failing that, the season will begin by Nov. 1.


Sting


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Brady McCollough, writing in the Los Angeles Times about college football being back on TV:“It sends a message that times have returned to normal. Fans in Big Ten country are going to gather in groups to watch, let their guards down by putting away their masks, scream and hug in indoor spaces when something good happens, and the virus will receive new life all over the region. All so Ohio State can get its crack at the College Football Playoff.” . . .

Bruce Jenkins, the San Francisco Chronicle: “That’s quite a season they’re having at the University of Houston, by the way. The team’s entire September schedule — Washington State, Rice, Memphis, Baylor and North Texas — has been wiped out by postponements or cancellations.” . . .

The Kamloops Curling Club has cancelled its 2020-21 season, citing the pandemic and an inability to play host to large bonspiels or banquets. The Kamloops Crown of Curling, held annually since 1974, won’t be held this year. . . . The B.C. men’s and women’s curling championships are scheduled to be decided in Kamloops, from Jan. 26 through Feb. 1. A decision on whether those events, which are to be played at the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre, has yet to be made.


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.


Adam Purner was the manager of group events and video co-ordinator for the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. He tweeted Friday afternoon that his position has been eliminated. . . . The Winterhawks have been in receivership since May 7, but have yet to be sold. Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, had said in June that he was optimistic there would be a new owner before the end of July. . . . “The receiver is now looking through and assessing the various inquiries that have been made. I can tell you that there has been very strong interest,” Robison said at the time. “The receivership is not a reflection of the state of the franchise. The franchise is in very, very good position. It’s one of our premier franchises in the Western Hockey League.”


The MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze has added Will Kinsman and Tyler Brown to its coaching staff. . . . Kinsman, who spent the previous six seasons as the head coach of the Vincent Massey Trojans of the Winnipeg High School League, will work as general manager/head coach Josh Green’s assistant. . . . Brown, who played four seasons in the WHL (Regina, Saskatoon, 2014-18), will be the expansion team’s goaltending coach.


Politics

Hockey world mourning death of Melfort defenceman . . . Rollins: From enforcer to entrepreneur and author . . . USHL loses two teams for season

DylanAshe
Dylan Ashe, 18, loved his 1984 Chevrolet truck. (Photo: Della Ashe/Facebook)

Dylan Ashe, a defenceman with the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs, was killed in a one-vehicle accident on Saturday night. Ashe, 18, died when his immaculately restored 1984 Chevrolet pickup left the road and rolled on Highway 37 near White Fox, Sask. . . . A native of Warman, Sask., he helped the midget AAA Tisdale Trojans to a bronze medal at the 2019 Telus Cup before joining the Mustangs as a 17-year-old. With Melfort, he had two goals and four assists in 46 games. . . . Ashe wasn’t selected in the WHL draft, but signed with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in April 2019 and was in their training camp prior to the 2019-20 season. . . . His mother, Della, wrote on Facebook: “This is the hardest and most heartbreaking post I have ever had to make. Dylan was driving back to the lake (Saturday) night and rolled the car. He didn’t make it out of the accident alive. I can honestly say I’m numb, and my heart literally feels broken. He was the most easy-going, fun-loving, and never in a rush for anything type of guy. He loved his family and truck. Oh that truck, boy did he work hard on it. My favourite thing was when he would come home and go directly to each of us and give us a big hug. He was making his last trip out to the lake and then heading home here for a couple days before taking off to Melfort for his second season with the Mustangs. He was looking forward to seeing all his hockey buddies. I am comforted knowing he was doing everything he loved to do, but unfortunately never fulfilled his dreams here, and now he will always be in my dreams. I can’t believe your life was so short. Please watch over us. I love you so, so, so much.” . . . Deanna Venn, an aunt of Dylan’s, has started a GoFundMe page that is right here.


If you’re an old-time hockey fan, you may remember Jerry Rollins as a tough guy who put up 338 penalty minutes with the WCHL’s Flin Flon Bombers in 1973-74 and another 473 in a 1974-75 season split between the Bombers (72) and Winnipeg Clubs (401). . . . These days, according to a news release that found its way into my inbox, Rollins is the “co-founder and chairman of the Sage Executive Group, a Southern California-based peer advisory group that helps CEOs, founders and executives achieve all-around success by positively impacting their business, families and communities.” On top of that, his new book — Enforcer to Entrepreneur: Achieving Hockey Stick Growth in Life, Business and Sports — is scheduled for an Oct. 1 publishing date.



Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “As Doris Burke moves to ESPN radio, she’ll become the first woman to call an entire conference finals and the NBA Finals for a national outlet. But she’ll be missed on television, especially in light of her superb work in Orlando. Gather up Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Reggie Miller, all the analysts working for ESPN and TNT; Burke is better than all of them.” . . . Jenkins isn’t wrong.


Just the other day the Atlanta Braves scored 29 runs in a game against the Miami Marlins. As Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune noted, the Braves “violated every one of baseball’s 1,212 unwritten rules.”


Gilligan


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Mike Norvell, the head football coach of the Florida State Seminoles, tested positive and has gone into quarantine. The school’s athletic department made the announcement on Saturday. FSU wasn’t scheduled to play this weekend. . . . He is expected to miss his team’s game at Miami on Saturday. . . .

Florida Atlantic U was to have played Georgia Southern in a televised football game on ESPN on Saturday. However, FAU experienced an outbreak of positive tests involving players and on- and off-field staff so wasn’t able to play. . . . Other games cancelled or postponed this weekend for virus-related reasons included Baylor-Houston, Charlotte-North Carolina, BYU-Army, Florida Atlantic-Georgia Southern, and Arkansas State-Central Arkansas. . . .

The Big Ten announced on Wednesday that it would have a football season, after all. One day later, it was revealed that the U of Wisconsin Badgers football team had more than 40 positive tests among players and staff to that point. . . . ABC News reported: “On Thursday, UW-Madison reported 190 new positive COVID-19 tests among students and employees from on- and off-campus testing. As of Thursday morning, 400 students were in on-campus isolation, it said. There have been nearly 2,400 confirmed cases among UW-Madison students and employees since July 28, according to Public Health Madison & Dane County.” . . .

Jokerit, the KHL team that plays out of Helsinki, Finland, will be back on the ice for practice on Monday after health officials ended the club’s 14-day quarantine. Jokerit is scheduled to return to game action on Friday against visiting Sibir. . . .

The 2021 North American Indigenous Games have been postponed, after the 2020 Games were postponed in March. The 2021 Games had been scheduled for Halifax in July. Organizers have yet to announce a future date, but said they will be held in Halifax.


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.


Explosive


The USHL lost two teams on Friday when the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and Madison Capitals suspended operations for 2020-21. . . . The RoughRiders opted out because of storm damage to their home arena, the ImOn Ice Arena, from an Aug. 10 storm. . . . The Capitols, according to a USHL news release, “face significant county restrictions related to COVID-19 that affect their ability to practice, play and host spectators.” . . . The USHL is left with 14 teams that plan to open their regular season on Nov. 6.


One group — 50 Below Sports + Entertainment — owns the Winnipeg Blues and the expansion Winnipeg Freeze in the 12-team MJHL. I don’t know what the rules dealing with player transactions will be but I am told that the Blues traded 10 players to the Freeze on Thursday. The deal included 16-year-old twin brothers Rylan and Ryder Ringor of Winnipeg, both of whom played at the Elite 15 team at Rink Hockey Academy last season. . . . There isn’t anything on either team’s website about the player moves.


The BCHL, which plans on opening its regular season on Dec. 1, has released an exhibition schedule that is to start on Sept. 25 and features more than 100 games. Teams will play within their four-team cohorts. Interestingly, the schedule doesn’t include the Wenatchee, Wash., Wild, although there has yet to be an announcement on the team’s immediate future.


JohnWayne

Positive tests anything but positive news . . . Seem to be everywhere . . . Tough weekend for sports execs

If you’re a sports executive trying to get our league up and running, you aren’t enjoying this weekend.

The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning shut down their training facility after three players and two staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.

Then the NHL announced that 11 of its players had tested positive after somewhere around 200 had been tested. The Toronto Sun reported that one those players was Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The NHL said in a statement released via Twitter that while it will be providing a weekly testing update, it won’t “be providing information on the identity of the players or their clubs.”

Meanwhile, in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies closed their training facility in Clearwater, Fla., after confirming that five players and three staff members tested positive. All eight had been working there. At the same time, the Phillies said eight staff members had tested negative, while 12 staff members and 20 players were awaiting results.

The Toronto Blue Jays followed by closing their Dunedin, Fla., facility, which is near Clearwater. One Toronto player, who apparently had been in contact with some of the Phillies, was showing symptoms.

The San Francisco Giants also got into the act, shutting down their Scottsdale, Ariz., training facility after someone who had visited the complex and a family member showed mild symptoms.

The Giants wouldn’t reveal if the person was a player, but said they are awaiting results of tests on about 20 people.

The Houston Astros revealed that they one player tested positive at their facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.

On Friday night, the NFL Network reported that a player from the San Francisco Giants had tested positive. The unnamed player had been working with teammates in Nashville. The other players have been tested and are awaiting results.

The PGA Tour got in on the act Friday when Nick Watney became the first player to test positive. He withdrew before the second round of the RBC Heritage Open at Hilton Head, S.C.

Watney, a five-time winner on the Tour, shot 74 in Thursday’s first round, showed some symptoms and was tested. He had been tested on site on Tuesday and that one came back negative.

And then there was Clemson U, where at least 28 athletes and staff, 23 of them believe to be football players, have tested positive. That was after 315 people were tested.

The U of Tennessee reported one male student-athlete, believed to be a basketball player, had tested positive, as well.

There are at least three positives in the MLS — two with Atlanta United and one with Inter Miami.

The LSU football team has at least 30 players in quarantine because they tested positive or have been in contact with those who did.


Mask

Meanwhile, in Yakima, Wash., the Herald reports right here that hospitals there “have exceeded staffing capacity, prompting Yakima Health District officials to urge residents to forgo gatherings during the Father’s Day weekend to minimize spread of COVID-19.” . . . Dr. Teresa Everson, health officer of the Yakima Health District, said in a statement: “This is the day we have been fighting to avoid for months, when our hospitals can no longer provide their highest level of care because they are overwhelmed caring for patients with severe COVID-19 infection.” . . . Oh boy, this is scary stuff.


Just don’t think there aren’t issues in B.C., too. . . .

After not having been in Kamloops’ largest mall, Aberdeen Mall, since sometime in February, Dorothy and I ventured there on Saturday afternoon. More than anything else, it was a fact-finding mission aimed at finding out how things are there. Perhaps we would be able to stroll some stores, too. You know, just for a change. . . . Wearing masks, we entered through a second-level door and were pleased to see arrows on the floor and other markings that indicated traffic was to move one way down the right side of the walkways and the other way on the left side. . . . It looked promising. Right? . . . Uhh, not for long. . . . As we moved into the mall, it became apparent that we had walked into a disaster. There were people of all ages walking every which way, with very few masks being worn. . . . Arrows? What arrows? Virus? What virus? . . . A few times, I pointed directly at someone walking the wrong way, and then said: “Arrows!” I got blank stares in return. . . . We didn’t go into even one store. We didn’t complete even one lap of the second level. . . . We got out of there in a hurry, and the mall has been taken off our “To Visit” list.


Here’s Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“As for MLB . . . it has to be troubling to watch huge sections of the country pretend the coronavirus doesn’t exist. Talk all you want about salaries, the number of games, the isolation from families, even commitment to Black Lives Matter: In all sports, most of them returning too soon, COVID-19 will be the ultimate decider.”

——

And then there was this from the Chronicle’s Scott Ostler:

“Florida.

“The NBA is about to bubble down in Florida.

“But why Florida? Apparently, there were no leper colonies available.”


A Friday note from Sean Shapiro, who covers the NHL’s Dallas Stars for The Athletic, involving an arena in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas:


Pothole


Ken Campbell of The Hockey News spoke with two former players from the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. Both players vouched for the things Daniel Carcillo claimed happened to him as a rookie, all of them in a lawsuit filed Friday against the CHL and its 60 teams. Former Sting G Ryan Munce said he experienced similar abuse and, at one point, realized that he was suicidal. . . . Munce told Campbell he definitely will be joining the lawsuit, which also includes former WHLer Garrett Taylor, who alleges that he was abused in various ways while with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Campbell’s piece is right here and, yes, it’s a tough but necessary read.

If you are interested, the Statement of Claim can be found right here. But be forewarned that there are a lot of disturbing details in it.


It’s fair to say that the sport of rodeo has been devastated by the pandemic. Check out this list right here of North American rodeos that have been cancelled.


The 17-member Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) announced Friday that it has cancelled its fall 2020 sport season. . . . It hopes to begin badminton, basketball, curling, futsal, men’s and women’s hockey, indoor track and volleyball in January. As well, the fall sports of cross-country, golf and soccer will be rescheduled for the spring. . . . There is a news release right here. . . .

On Saturday, the U of Alberta-Augustana, which plays in the ACAC out of Camrose, announced that it had withdrawn its men’s hockey, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s volleyball teams from competition for the 2020-21 season.

——

PACWEST followed suit on Friday by cancelling league competition in men’s and women’s basketball, soccer and volleyball, as well as golf, for the rest of 2020. PACWEST includes seven B.C.-based schools. . . . There is a news release right here.


“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said mask wearing ‘has to be voluntary because the Constitution is not suspended just because there is a virus,’ ” writes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe. “So why, for starters, doesn’t DeSantis also suspend the state’s seat-belt laws and speed limits?”


Check out Slava Malamud’s Twitter feed for, well, let him tell the story . . .


Call

Scattershooting on a Sunday while waiting for the warmth of summer to arrive . . .

The Canadian sporting world is going to take a huge hit on Monday when U Sports and three conferences — Canada West, Atlantic University Sport and Ontario University Athletics — are expected to announce first-term cancellations of most sports, including national championships, because of the pandemic caused by COVID-19.

Taking Note has been told that the announcement will mean the cancellation of sports at the U Sports level, including football, men’s and women’s hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s volleyball, at least through the end of 2020.

U Sports held its 43rd annual meeting — this one on a virtual basis — on Wednesday and Thursday.

On May 13, Canada West, with 17 members, had announced that it was preparing for an eventual return to play that would feature fewer games and less travel due to budgetary concerns. That return to play was based on health officials in the four western provinces providing the OK.

Obviously, U Sports and its conferences haven’t seen enough encouraging signs that would help them feel comfortable with running fall programs. They mustn’t feel that they will be able to provide their student-athletes with safe places in which to practise and play.

Yes, there are professional leagues that have returned to play and others that appear to be getting closer, but the financial resources available to those leagues, for things like regular testing, aren’t available for Canadian university athletic departments.

It will be interesting to see how various other organizations and leagues who are looking at trying to get seasons started in the fall will react to the U Sports news. Especially if U Sports cites the lack of a coronavirus vaccine as a reason for the decision made by it and its conferences.


On Thursday, Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical officer, said that he doesn’t expect his province to open up to large gatherings until June 2021.

Yes, a lot can change between now and then, but that’s a year from now and that’s a chilling thought. 

At the moment, indoor gatherings in Saskatchewan are limited to 10 people, although that is scheduled to increase to 15 on Monday — and to 30 outdoors.

Saskatchewan is home to five WHL franchises and 12 teams in the junior A SJHL.



BamaInsider reported Thursday that five members of the U of Alabama Crimson Tide football team have tested positive for coronavirus. Players returned to campus earlier in the week. . . . As many as 50 players practised on their own on Wednesday and may end up in quarantine. . . . Alabama reported 746 new cases on Thursday, it’s highest single-day number. . . . Football players are returning to campuses planning on resuming activities on Monday. . . . The Oklahoma State Cowboys have had three players test positive, so freshmen players were told not to report. Senior linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga tested positive after attending a protest rally in Tulsa last weekend. One of college football’s top linebackers, he was born in Nigeria, moved to Houston with his family in 2003 and then to Calgary in 2011. . . Iowa State reported that four student-athletes from different sports have been quarantined as they await test results.



I took a couple of days away, just to coast and do some reading. I returned to find that Agent Orange had said: “Hopefully George (Floyd) is looking down right now and saying this a great thing that’s happening for our country,” Trump said. “There’s a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody.” . . . Agent Orange was attempting to play up U.S. unemployment numbers that had shown some improvement — they later proved to be erroneous — but still were the worst since the end of the Second World War. . . . Unfortunately, George Floyd wasn’t available to comment.


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times found this note on the Facebook page of Everett’s KRKO Radio: “I miss baseball so much that I made hot dogs for my family today and charged them $10 per hot dog.”

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Perry, again: “Michael Jordan, after becoming president of the Wizards, traded Laron Profit in retaliation for Profit trash-talking Jordan in practice during their days as Washington teammates. In a related story, rumor has it that Jordan’s TV set still has rabbit ears.”



A couple of notes from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle relating to the NBA’s return:

Two weeks ago, Houston’s James Harden told CNBC he wanted to return “when the pandemic has calmed all the way to a minimum.” Good luck with that, as hot spots remain an issue and are completely unpredictable — in this country and around the world. In recent days, positive tests were revealed for three Oklahoma State football players, two Yomiuri Giants in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, and 16 players on a single Brazilian soccer team (Vasco da Gama, a storied franchise in Rio de Janeiro).

Jenkins also wrote this:

Why Orlando, and specifically Disney World? It offers a wide variety of hotels (just one will be selected), three arenas that reportedly can be configured into 20 basketball courts, and a convenient partnership; Disney owns ESPN, a crucial component of the NBA’s national-television package. There are many advantages, but consider that Florida hasn’t set the best example of how to manage a pandemic. On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health announced 1,317 new cases of the coronavirus, the state’s largest surge in six weeks.



JUST NOTES: If you’re wondering about that $20 bill, it’s still in my money clip. It now has been there for more than three months. . . . Saw the person in front of me in the DQ drive-thru paying with cash on Saturday and wondered what I was witnessing. . . . Just wondering, but did actor Lee Van Cleef ever get to play a good guy? . . . ICYMI, The Athletic laid off 46 people this week, including Ken Wiebe, a good guy who covered the Winnipeg Jets. . . . Boris Protsenko, who played three seasons (1995-98) with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, has spent 13 seasons as an amateur scout with the NHL’s Dallas Stars. His contract is about up and won’t be renewed due to the Stars’ financial concerns in these pandemic times. From Kiev, Ukraine, Protsenko has worked for the Stars out of Calgary.


Former NHLer Igor Larionov is the new head coach of Russia’s national junior hockey team. He takes over from Valeri Bragin, who has been promoted and now is the head coach of the men’s national team. . . . Bragin coached Russia’s national junior team for eight years. His teams won seven medals during that time, including gold in 2011. . . . With the men’s team, he replaces Alexei Kudashov, who lasted just one season. . . . Larionov, 59, won four world championships, two Olympic golds and three Stanley Cups as a player. He was an assistant to Bragin at the 2020 World Junior Championship. . . . The 2021 WJC is scheduled to be held in Edmonton and Red Deer, from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5.


With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for today. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . This is your last chance to join Dorothy’s team and put a smile on her face by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


Baseball’s 12-team West Coast League has cancelled its 2020 season with pandemic-related safety guidelines and travel restrictions still in place in Washington and Oregon. Earlier, five of the teams, including the Kelowna Falcons and Victoria HarbourCats, had cancelled their seasons. . . . Two of the teams, the Portland Pickles and Wenatchee AppleSox, are planning to play some games  this season as independents. . . . The WCL is a wood-bat collegiate league. It already has set the opening date for its 2021 season as June 4 and will be welcoming a new franchise in Nanaimo.


The NBA’s return-to-play plan, in brief: The season resumes on July 31. The last possible day of playoff action would be Oct. 21. Training camps for the 2020-21 season would open on Nov. 10. The new season would begin on Dec. 1.


NHL one step closer to return . . . Canada out of junior Summer Showcase . . . Fragle hoping to rock in Trail

There still are a number of hurdles to get over but the NHLPA has given the OK for its executive to keep on talking to the NHL about a return to play. So if things continue to progress, hockey fans may yet get to watch 24 teams take part in some kind of a Stanley Cup tournament with games played in a number of hub cities. . . . Keeping in mind that there still negotiations to be held, Carol Schram, a senior contributor for Forbes, has more right here.

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Here’s one more thing for NHL players to think about as they prepare for a potential return to the ice. . . . Dr. Andrew Morris, who specializes in infectious diseases at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, has told TSN’s Rick Westhead that players need to make sure their long-term health is looked after should they happen to end up becoming infected with the novel coronavirus during a return to play. . . . Dr. Morris said: “Young athletes do not think about this stuff because they think they are invincible, but every so often we see young, healthy people get very bad diseases, and this is no different. It would be unusual for a healthy young athlete to get really sick with COVID and wind up in the ICU, but, hey, somebody wins the lottery, right? . . . They should want their health care and income insured, seeing that they are taking an additional risk, especially if residing in the U.S.” . . . As the medical community learns more and more about the impact of this virus, it is finding survivors who have been left with heart, kidney, liver and lung damage. . . . Westhead’s story is right here.



And what of the NBA and its efforts to get its season back on track? It is look as though it will re-open with all of its teams playing out of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., without fans in attendance. . . . As Rohan Nadkarni of si.com points out in this piece right here, it really is all about the Benjamins.


Here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle on the NBA and a return to play:

“In the wonderful world of asterisks, we’re already talking Extra Large for whichever team wins the title. If you’re trying to play through a pandemic in neutral settings with nobody in the stands, you connect with nothing in Finals history. Don’t ruin this risky venture by welcoming the absurd.

“Those 16 teams worked hard to establish playoff position. Nobody else has the right to qualify after such a maddening layoff. The Warriors have long disappeared from view, but the same goes for Portland, New Orleans or any other team trying to sneak into this science-fiction film. They all had their chance.

“And for heaven’s sake, forget the idea (actually discussed) of a ‘play-in tournament’ to determine the final playoff slots in each conference. Could it be more boring, especially during times of urgency? ‘Hey, come see the teams that don’t deserve this.’ ”



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


BillPosters


USA Hockey is planning to play host to the World Junior Summer Showcase later this USAhockeysummer but Canada won’t be taking part. Teams from the U.S., Finland and Sweden will participate in the event that is to run from July 24 through Aug. 1 at Plymouth, Mich. . . . “We’ve heard from Canada and they will not be able to come, but we’re checking in every two weeks with Sweden and Finland,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, USA Hockey’s assistant executive director of hockey operations who also is the GM of the U.S. national junior team. “Obviously things are different in Sweden than they are in Finland. There’s also the whole restriction part on international travel which looks like it’s going to be lifted sometime in June, so we’re just staying on top of everything from what’s going on newsworthy to bringing it back internally. That’s how we’re going to go. We’re not going to change anything.”



Hockey Canada announced on March 13 that it had cancelled all sanctioned events until further notice. . . . Earlier this week, Hockey Canada issued “An Open Letter to Canadians” that was signed by Michael Brind’Amour, the chairman of the board of directors, CEO Tom Renney and Scott Smith, the president and COO. . . . Included in that letter was this paragraph:

“The health and safety of everyone involved in the game will determine when we return, not our desire to get back on the ice. When our country is ready, Hockey Canada will be ready. Until then, continue to follow the guidelines set by your provincial and territorial government to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Only by working together will we be able to make a difference and safely return.”

That letter is right here.



Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken, who died in 1956 put perhaps foresaw the future rather clearly: “When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost. . . . All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre.”


Granted, it’s not going to happen until 2021, but a new hockey league — 3ICE — is on the way. Headed up by CEO E.J. Johnston and Commissioner Craig Patrick, 3ICE will feature eight teams playing 3-on-3 hockey over nine weekends, each one in a different city, during the summer of 2021. . . . Each team’s roster will comprise six skaters and one goalie. . . . The team’s head coaches are Guy Carbonneau, Grant Fuhr, Ed Johnston, John LeClair, Joe Mullen, Larry Murphy, Angela Ruggiero and Bryan Trottier. . . . E.J. Johnston is the son of Ed Johnston, one of the head coaches who is a former NHL goaltender, head coach and GM. . . . There’s more right here.


After watching all 10 episodes of The Last Dance, Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “These questions will never be answered, but here goes: For Jordan, was there really a higher level of emotional fire that could be reached only by disrespect? Did that disrespect supercharge his physical skills, or was that higher level of fire a self-created myth to enhance his greatness?”


Tinfoil


Brian Wiebe, a veteran observer of the BCHL, has a solid piece right here on that league and how it and its teams are coping with the pandemic and all that has come with it.

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Tim Fragle is the new general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. TrailFrom Edmonton, Fragle has spent the past four seasons as the head coach of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Ooks of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. . . . While at NAIT, Fragle won three coach-of-the-year awards. . . . Fragile was the GM/head coach of the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders for seven seasons (2009-16). . . . He played three seasons (1997-2000) with the Smoke Eaters, finish the last of those seasons with the Merritt Centennials. . . . While playing in Trail, he was teammates with Craig Clare, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta., and is the Smokies’ director of hockey and business operations. . . . In Trail, Fragle takes over from Jeff Tambellini, who left in April to join the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning as a pro scout and NCAA free-agent recruiter.


David Legwand, a co-owner of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, is moving from associate coach to be the team’s president of hockey operations. Legwand and Derian Hatcher, another former NHL player, purchased the Sting in 2015. . . . Legwand has been the associate coach for three seasons, with Hatcher as the head coach. Hatcher remains in the role, with Dylan Seca the general manager.


Darren Rovell of actionnetwork.com reports that a Mike Trout signed rookie card has sold at auction for US$900,000. It was from the Bowman Draft Chrome Prospect set. . . . That “obliterated the record for the highest-priced modern-day baseball card and tied the record for the most expensive modern-day card ever — the LeBron James/Michael Jordan logoman card, sold in February 2020,” Rovell wrote. . . . Perhaps the most interesting part of Rovell’s story involved seven unopened boxes of 1986-87 Fleer NBA cards. These boxes weren’t at all popular when they debuted; in fact, boxes were returned by hobby stores for $6 refunds. At auction, Rovell wrote, they sold for “as much as $109,200 each.” . . . Rovell’s story is right here.


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