Who knew the WHL had different eras? Live-puck and dead-puck? . . . Tigers bring back 14-year-old for a look . . . Ex-WHLer getting a look in QMJHL

Darlene4
The fall colours are glorious along the South Thompson River, about 14 kilometres east of Kamloops.

The WHL’s latest available Official Guide includes a category — it’s on Page 273 — with the header: LONGEST WINNING STREAK.

It shows that the Victoria Cougars hold that record, having won 24 straight games from Feb. 6, 1981, through Oct. 9, 1981. That streak obviously overlapped two seasons.

It has the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins next, with 22 straight victories, from Oct. 6, 1967, through Dec. 12, 1967. That was a season-opening streak.

In third spot are the 2013-14 Portland Winterhawks, who won 21 in a row from Jan. 11, 2014, through Feb. 28, 2014.

There is nothing in this particular entry to indicate that Victoria and Portland were playing in “modern WHL history,” while Estevan was playing in some other era. In fact, there is nothing anywhere in the WHL records to indicate that the league differentiates between records set prior to 1978 and after.

In fact, prior to Sunday night I had never heard anyone involved with the WHL refer to “modern WHL history” or “modern WHL mark” or anything else of that ilk.

And yet there was the WHL on Sunday night, tweeting that the Red Deer Rebels “improved their season-opening win streak, becoming the first team in modern WHL history (1978-present) to start a season with 13 consecutive victories.”

No, the WHL didn’t use the word ‘record,’ as in “the Rebels have set a modern WHL (1978-present) record for the longest season-opening win streak.”

However, Chris Wahl the WHL’s senior manager, communications, wrote a piece that was posted on the league’s website on Sunday. It included:

“Over the past 44 years, no Western Hockey League team had ever started a season with 13 consecutive wins.

“Until Sunday.

“The Red Deer Rebels dispatched the Edmonton Oil Kings 7-2 at Rogers Place, earning their 13th win in as many tries, setting a new, modern WHL mark in the process. . . .

“The Rebels streak unseats the 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos 12-game run as the longest season-opening winning streak since the WHL adopted its current name in 1978. . . .

“The all-time League record for consecutive wins to begin a season is 22, set by the WCHL’s Estevan Bruins in 1967.”

(In its first season, it was the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League (CMJHL). Prior to its second season, 1967-68, it changed its name to Western Canada Junior Hockey League (WCJHL). Before a third season got started, there had been another name change, this time to the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL). That name lasted through the 1977-78 season, after which it was changed to Western Hockey League.)

It would seem, then, that the WHL has decided to split its record book into two sections — 1966-67 through 1977-78, and 1978-19 through the present.

If that’s the case, it really is too bad because this league has a whole lot of interesting history, some of it from before 1978. For example, the New Westminster Bruins won a record four straight WHL championships — 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978. Does that now become the olden day record? If that’s the case, it would leave the Kamloops Blazers (1994, 1995) and Medicine Hat Tigers (1987, 1988) to share the ‘modern’ WHL record of two straight.

Wouldn’t it have been easier just to point out that the Rebels have the second-longest season-opening winning streak (13 games) in league history, and that the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins hold the record (22)? This doesn’t diminish what the Rebels are doing this season. Not at all. And, who knows, maybe they’ll get to 22 before they’re done.

And wouldn’t it be a terrific move for the WHL to hire a historian, provide that person with a desk, a computer and a subscription to newspapers.com, and turn her/him loose?


Darlene1
The trumpeter swans are back on the South Thompson River, which means winter won’t be far behind. This was one of about 30 of the noisy birds that had gathered on the river’s south shore 20 kilometres east of Kamloops on Monday.

The Red Deer Rebels got to 13-0-0 with a 7-2 victory over the host Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday. . . . The Rebels, who scored the game’s last six goals, got a RedDeergoal and two assists from F Kai Uchacz, who has 11 goals and three assists in 13 games. . . . The defending-champion Oil Kings went 1-11 on the PP as their record slipped to 1-12-1. . . . Troy Gillard, the Rebels’ director of broadcasts and media, tweeted on Monday that the Rebels’ winning streak “is the second-longest in team history.” In 2001-02, the Rebels put together a 14-game streak. They got it started on Jan. 6 with a 4-2 victory over the host Saskatoon Blades. On Feb. 9, Red Deer won its 14th in a row, 6-2 over the visiting Portland Winterhawks. The streak ended on Feb. 13 when the Rebels, playing at home, lost, 5-4 in OT, to the Prince Albert Raiders. Interestingly, the Rebels went on to win their next three games. . . . The Rebels take their 13-0-0 mark into Swift Current on Friday, so could equal the franchise record for longest victory streak in any era while stretching their ‘modern’ era record for longest victory streak to open a season. . . .

In Regina, F Connor Bedard scored twice and added three assists on Sunday in leading the Pats to a 7-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans, who had won four Reginain a row. . . . The Pats had lost their previous four games. . . . Bedard, who is on a 14-game point streak, enjoyed the third five-point game of his career. . . . He leads the league in goals (13), assists (16) and points (29), all in 15 games. . . . Regina D Corbin Vaughan drew a major and game misconduct for a headshot at 12:23 of the first period. He was playing in his second game after serving a four-game suspension that was issued under supplemental discipline following a game against Prince Albert on Oct. 12. . . .

In Sunday’s other game, F Riley Fiddler-Schultz gave host Calgary a 3-1 lead Calgaryover the Vancouver Giants and the Hitmen held on for a 3-2 victory. . . . Fiddler-Schultz has seven goals this season, including a five-goal outing. . . . Calgary now has won three straight. . . . The Hitmen will play their next two homes games — Wednesday against the Victoria Royals and Friday against the Medicine Hat Tigers — at the 2,000-seat Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina Nation. The Hitmen bill the facility as “our home away from the Dome.”


Darlene2
This guy was in a field in front of hoodoos along Shuswap Road east of Kamloops on Monday afternoon. He was slowly walking east . . .

JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Gavin McKenna, a 14-year-old who earned four assists in the only WHL game he has played, will be in the Medicine Hat Tigers’ lineup tonight against the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . F Cayden Lindstrom has been added to the Team White roster for the U17 World Hockey Challenge that is to run in Langley, B.C., from Thursday through Nov. 12. . . . Lindstrom got the call after F Ollie Josephson of the Red Deer Rebels was ruled out because of an undisclosed injury. . . . McKenna, who will turn 15 on Dec. 20, was the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft. From Whitehorse, he made his WHL debut by setting up four goals in a 9-1 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Sept. 24. . . .

D Trevor Thurston, 20, has joined the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles. He has totalled 107 WHL regular-season games, spending time with the Kamloops Blazers, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders. He started this season with the Raiders, getting into three games before going on to the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. . . . A fourth-round pick by Kamloops in the 2017 WHL draft, he put up 13 goals and 14 assists in those 107 games. . . . Brent Thurston, Trevor’s father, played in the WHL with the Victoria Cougars and Spokane Chiefs. He was with the Chiefs when they won the 1991 Memorial Cup in Quebec City. . . . The Thurstons are from Delta, B.C. . . .

F Lucas Ciona of the Seattle Thunderbirds has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames, who selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2021 NHL draft. This season, he has seven goals and 10 assists through nine games for the Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle took him in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. In total, he has 92 points, including 38 goals, in 165 regular-season and playoff games with the Thunderbirds. . . . The 9-1-0 Thunderbirds, who play out of Kent, Wash., are at home to the Prince George Cougars tonight. . . .

The OHL’s Sudbury Wolves, who started 3-7-1, fired head coach Craig Duncanson on Monday, with assistant general manager Ken MacKenzie taking over on an interim basis. . . . Duncanson played three seasons (1983-86) with the Wolves. He had been the head coach since July 2021. . . . He is a former NHLer, having been a first-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1985 draft. . . . The Wolves open a seven-game homestead on Wednesday.


Darlene5
And here’s the fellow from the earlier photo, having quickly moved from a slow walk to a trot. Why? Because the ladies were a couple of hundred metres to the east. (BTW, a photographer I worked with in Regina told me that some blur in a photo denotes speed.)

THINKING OUT LOUD — If this World Series goes deep, Game 6 would be played on Thursday, which is Nov. 5. A seventh game would be played on Nov. 6. Until now, the latest ever date for a World Series game was in 2001 and 2009 when they played on Nov. 4. . . . Might be time to move the entire series to a neutral site with a dome. Just kidding. I think. . . . And let’s not forget that Thursday is going to feature the Houston Astros and the host Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 of the World Series, while Thursday Night Football will have the Houston Texans against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles. . . . The Estevan Bruins hold the WHL record for the longest winning streak to open a season, at 22. Case closed. Unless the league wants to split its history into four eras — CMJHL, WCJHL, WCHL, WHL — and declare record-holders for each, that is. . . . Sheesh! It wasn’t that long ago that the WHL was making a big deal, and rightfully so, about its 50th anniversary season. There wasn’t any talk then about live-puck and dead-puck eras.


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.


Darlene3
This lady stopped by one afternoon last week to dine on leaves from a peach tree from which I had trimmed a few branches. She and some friends cleaned up that pile of leaves in about two days.

Raiders make money in 2021-22 . . . Americans may not see Luypen until 2023 . . . Lazaruk back for 29th season in Saskatoon

The Prince Albert Raiders told shareholders at their annual general meeting on Wednesday night that they had a profit of $152,191 for their 2021-22 fiscal year.

That is a considerable increase from 2020-21, a season that was shortened PrinceAlbertconsiderably by the pandemic. That season, which for East Division clubs featured 24 games and was played entirely in Regina, the Raiders showed a profit of $25,891. However, that included $1,081,179 in government grants, $600,000 of that from the Saskatchewan government.

“From the start of the (2021-22) regular season,” the team said in a news release last night, “the Raiders saw a large number of ticket sales, with the primary reason being it was the first time that the team had played at the Art Hauser Centre since March 6, 2020. The organization also saw a large uptick in promotions, fundraising and advertising, thanks to the ability to host events inside the rink.”

The Raiders’ news release included only three paragraphs on the AGM.

In 2019-20, a season that was halted by the pandemic in March before the regular season was completed, the Raiders lost $331,895. That followed a 2018-19 season in which they won the WHL championship and showed a profit of $633,314.

Four of the WHL’s 22 teams are owned by local shareholders and as such are required to present profit-loss statements at annual general meetings.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have scheduled their AGM for Sept. 19, with the Moose Jaw Warriors going on Sept. 20 and the Swift Current Broncos on Oct. 4.

The WHL’s other 18 teams all are privately owned.



The Tri-City Americans, looking to add some experience and some offence to their lineup, acquired F Jalen Luypen, 20, from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Aug. Tri-City9. The Americans also got two conditional WHL draft picks — a fifth-rounder in 2024 and a second in 2026 — while giving up F Rhett Melnyk, 18, D Bryson Andregg, 19, and a conditional 2023 second-round selection. . . . Luypen had been picked by the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2021 draft and he signed a three-year entry-level deal earlier this summer. . . . But now comes the bad news. Luypen apparently suffered an injury to his left shoulder during last spring’s playoffs and tried to play through it as the Oil Kings made their run to the Memorial Cup. In the end, however, he needed more than offseason rehab, and he now has undergone rotator cuff surgery. The Blackhawks have said that he will be out for up to 18 weeks, which means he won’t be available to the Americans until after Christmas. . . . As a 20-year-old, Luypen is eligible to play in the AHL this season, but one would think the Blackhawks would much prefer him to play with the Americans once he has recovered from the surgery. . . .

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if the Americans and Oil Kings end up Edmontonrenegotiating any parts of what was an intricate deal. . . . As reported by Alan Caldwell shortly after the deal, here are the original conditions: Edmonton gets the 2023 second if Luypen comes back from the pros by Nov. 15. If he returns after Nov 15 but before Jan 10, it becomes a 2023 third-round pick instead. If he does not return to the WHL this year, Edmonton doesn’t get a 2023 pick at all, and Tri-City gets the Edmonton 2026 second-round pick. The 2024 pick is tied to the 2023 pick — if Edmonton gets Tri-City’s 2023 second, then Tri-City gets Edmonton’s 2024 fifth-round pick. If Edmonton gets the 2023 third-rounder instead, then Tri-City gets the 2024 sixth-rounder instead. . . .

Last season, Luypen put up 64 points, 29 of them goals, in 66 regular-season games. He added four goals and nine assist in nine playoff games as the Oil Kings won the WHL title. He followed that up with a goal and two assists in three Memorial Cup games.


Potholes


There was good — nay, great — news for fans of the WHL and, in particular, the SaskatoonSaskatoon Blades on Tuesday. That’s when Les Lazaruk revealed that he hasn’t retired, nor has he moved on to another job. Yes, he will be back for a 29th season of calling Blades’ games. . . . Lazaruk tweeted that he “did pursue a job opportunity,” but was told on Monday that he wasn’t going to be offered that position. . . . “I may be 63 years old,” he added, “but doing Blades hockey play-by-play makes me feel more like 36!” . . . You likely wouldn’t be wrong if you guessed that Lazaruk had interviewed for the play-by-play opening that TSN has on the TV crew that covers the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. There has yet to be an announcement on who will replace Dennis Beyak, who has retired from the spot he held since 2011.


The Regina Pats erased a 2-0 deficit and beat the Swift Broncos, 4-2, in an exhibition game played in Estevan, Sask., on Tuesday night. The Pats, who got two goals from F Connor Bedard, hung around after the game to sign some autographs and visit with the fans.



Fan


THE COACHING GAME:

The Portland Winterhawks have hired Brendan Burke, one of their former goaltenders, as assistant goaltending coach. Burke, 32, will work with goaltending coach Andy Moog “to assist in the development of Winterhawks goalies and prospects,” according to a news release. . . . Burke, who is from Scottsdale, lives in the Phoenix area and also works as the goaltending director with the Jr. Coyotes program. . . . Burke spent four seasons (2011-15) with the Winterhawks, then played his 20-year-old season with the OHL’s London Knights. And think about this — he won a WHL title with the Winterhawks (2013), an OHL title and a Memorial Cup championship with the Knights (2016), and three Canada West titles and a national championship with the U of Alberta Golden Bears. . . .

The NHL’s Calgary Flames have added Rebecca Johnston, a three-time Olympic gold medal-winner with the Canadian women’s team, as a full-time member of their organization. According to the Flames, Johnston, 32, “will work within the player development team, assisting in prospect evaluations and on-ice instruction and work with (the Flames Foundation) in grassroots, growing (hockey) in our community.” . . . You may have heard of her uncle — Mike Johnston is the vice-president, general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. . . .

The QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders have signed general manager and head coach Jim Hulton to a three-year contract. Hulton has been the QMJHL’s coach of the year each of the past two seasons; he was the CHL coach of the year last season. He is going into his eighth season as the Islanders’ head coach and his seventh as GM. . . . Guy Girouard, Charlottetown’s assistant GM and associate coach, signed a two-year deal, as did assistant coach Kevin Henderson, equipment manager Andrew (Spider) MacNeill and athletic therapist Devin Atkin. . . .

Former WHL F Dane Byers has joined the Prince Albert Mintos of the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League as an assistant coach. Byers, 36, is from Nipawin, Sask. He played four seasons (2002-06) with the Raiders before going on to a pro career that concluded after the 2018-19 season. He spent the last four seasons in Europe. . . . With the Mintos, he’ll be working alongside Tim Leonard, who is into his second season of his second stint as the Mintos’ head coach. another former WHLer, is the Mintos’ head coach. He was the head coach from 2002-12 before joining the Raiders for two seasons as an assistant coach. . . .

The junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Derek Stuart, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract extension that will take him through the 2026-27 season. . . . Stuart has been with the Dynamiters since May 9, 2016.


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.


Minivan

Hammond, former Flin Flon goalie, dies at 71 . . . Neighbours won’t play in WJC . . . Two WHL teams lose assistant coaches to AHL

Cal Hammond, who spent three seasons as a goaltender with the WCHL’s Flin Flon Bombers, died Saturday at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. He was 71. . . . Hammond, a Flin Flon native, played in 93 regular-season games with the Bombers from 1968-71. He retired after a couple of pro seasons. He also spent one seasons (2000-01) as an assistant coach with the Bombers, who by then were in the SJHL. . . . Hammond was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL’s 1970 draft; in 1972, he signed with the NHL’s Minnesota North Stars. . . . While he never got into an NHL game, he did spend four games on the North Stars’ bench backing up Cesare Maniago with Gump Worsley and Gilles Gilbert both injured. . . . Hammond’s son Evan is the play-by-play voice of the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs.



F Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings has told Hockey Canada that he won’t be playing in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship that is scheduled HockeyCanadato be played next month. This is the tournament that got underway in Red Deer and Edmonton in December before being cancelled following a number of positive COVID-19 tests. . . . Neighbours, 20, told Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic: “I’ve made the decision I’m not going to go. With how long my season went and how my body is feeling right now, I’ve made Hockey Canada aware of that. We had a good discussion about it.” . . . The Oil Kings won the WHL championship and went on to play in the Memorial Cup in Saint John, N.B. . . . The St. Louis Blues selected Neighbours in the first round, 26th overall, of the NHL’s 2020 draft. He opened the 2021-22 season with them, scoring one goal and adding two assists in nine games. Back with the Oil Kings, he totalled 17 goals and 28 assists in 30 games. . . . Neighbours has turned 20 but is eligible to play in the WJC because the IIHF has chosen to allow those who were on rosters in December to play in Edmonton next month. . . . The tournament is scheduled to run Aug. 9-20.


Temple


The Philadelphia Phillies, who lost 6-1 to the Cardinals in St. Louis on Monday night, are to open a two-game series against the host Toronto Blue Jays tonight COVID(Tuesday). Prior to the series opener, the Phillies will place four players on the restricted list because they aren’t vaccinated so won’t be allowed into Canada. . . . Catcher J.T. Realmuto, 3B Alec Bohm and starters Aaron Nolan and Kyle Gibson won’t be making the trip to Toronto. Bohm may not have played anyway, after suffering a hand injury on Monday while sliding into second base. Nolan started Monday and Gibson on Saturday, so they likely wouldn’t have pitched in Toronto had they been eligible. . . . The Athletic’s Matt Gelb tweeted: “J.T. Realmuto said he consulted with doctors he knew and decided he did not need a COVID vaccine. He will forfeit close to $260,000. ‘I’m not going to let Canada tell me what I do and don’t put in my body for a little bit of money,’ Realmuto said. ‘It’s just not worth it.’ ” . . . One would hope that someone explained to Realmuto that the U.S. has the same restriction as Canada — you have to be vaccinated to get into the country, which is why Novak Djokovic isn’t likely to play in tennis’s U.S. Open. He would have to get vaccinated to play and says that isn’t going to happen. . . . The Phillies apparently have more than four players who aren’t vaccinated, as Gelb also tweeted that “other potential absences were mitigated through demotions to minors/injuries.”


Remote


THE COACHING GAME:

Rebecca Johnston, who has earned three gold medals as a member of the Canadian women’s Olympic team, is in Calgary this week as a guest coach at the development camp being held by the NHL’s Flames. . . . According to Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun: “Johnston, who ranks in the top-10 in all-time scoring for Canada’s national women’s program, will be on the ice for practice and skills sessions, will participate in meetings and will be asked for her feedback on player evaluation.” . . . You are free to wonder if Johnston might surface as a WHL coach at some point down the road. Johnston, 32, already has a WHL connection. Her uncle, Mike, is the longtime general manager and head coach of the Portland Winterhawks. . . .

Josh Green and Keith McCambridge, both assistant coaches in the WHL last season, have moved on to the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Green, 44, spent five seasons (1993-98) in the WHL, playing with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Swift Current Broncos and Portland Winterhawks. He has spent the past two-plus seasons as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Ice. . . . McCambridge, 48, played four seasons (1991-95) in the WHL, starting with Swift Current and finished his career with the Kamloops Blazers, helping them win the 1995 Memorial Cup. He has been the Vancouver Giants’ associate coach for the past two seasons. . . .

The Ice filled the vacancy created by Green’s departure by moving Taras McEwen into that spot on the coaching staff. McEwen, 31, has been in the Ice organization for the past five seasons. He started out as the Ice’s manager of scouting in 2017, and also has been general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues for the past two seasons. The Blues, like the Ice, are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment Inc. . . . McEwen’s father, Brad, is a veteran WHL and NHL coach and scout. He now is on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . . In Winnipeg, Taras will work with Ice head coach James Patrick, who is preparing for his sixth season. Assistant coaches Byron Spriggs and Larry Woo also are returning. Spriggs is heading into a third season; Woo is back for a second season. . . . The Ice’s complete news release 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.


Math

Flames, Hitmen to get company from Heat . . . Sourdif, Oil Kings work OT for win . . . Blazers, Thunderbirds back at it tonight

It seems that hockey fans in Calgary are in for some interesting times with the news that the NHL’s Flames are moving their AHL affiliate, the Heat, from StocktonStockton, Calif., to Calgary. . . . The AHL announced on Monday that its board of governors has approved the relocation of the franchise in time for next season. . . . With the exception of the 2020-21 season that was impacted by the pandemic, the Heat had been in Stockton since 2015. . . . The Flames and Heat are owned by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp., which also owns the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and the National Lacrosse League’s Calgary Roughnecks. . . . All four teams play out of the Scotiabank Saddledome. . . . “At this point,” wrote Danny Austin of the Calgary Sun, “it remains unclear whether the Heat will play at the Scotiabank Saddledome. It’s already a busy rink, so one of the CSEC tenants may need to move.” . . . Former WHL player and coach Mitch Love is the Heat’s head coach and has them in the third round of the AHL playoffs. They opened a best-of-five Pacific Division final against the visiting Colorado Eagles on Monday night. The Heat won that game, 5-0, behind 23 saves from G Dustin Wolf and two goals from F Justin Kirkland.


WHLplayoffs2022After taking Sunday off, the WHL playoffs resumed on Monday night with the Winnipeg Ice meeting the Oil Kings in Edmonton in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. They will play Game 4 in Edmonton on Wednesday and Game 5 there on Friday. . . . The Western Conference final will be back on the ice tonight with the Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds tied, 1-1, in Kent, Wash.

——

MONDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Edmonton, F Justin Sourdif scored in the first OT period to give the No. 2 Oil Kings a 4-3 victory over the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Oil Kings, who held a Edmonton55-21 edge in shots, have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven conference final. . . . They’ll play Games 4 and 5 in Edmonton on Wednesday and Friday. Because of the distance between the cities, this series is following a 2-3-2 format. . . . This was the second game in the series to be decided in OT; the Oil Kings won Game 1, 5-4, in Winnipeg on Friday. F Tyler Horstmann scored the winner at 1:07 of the first OT period. . . . Last night, the teams were tied 1-1 after the first period for the third time in as many games. . . . The home side went ahead 1-0 when F Dylan Guenther (12) struck at 14:28, with F Jack Finley (7) pulling Winnipeg even, on a PP, at 18:02. . . . The Oil Kings went back in front at 2:12 of the second period when D Kaiden Guhle (4) scored. . . . The visitors scored a pair of third-period goals — by F Connor McLennon (7), at 9:00, and F Zach Benson (9), at 16:14 — to take a 3-2 lead. . . . But Edmonton F Jayden Luypen (4) tipped in a Guhle shot at 18:42 to force extra time. . . . Sourdif scored the winner off a rush through the neutral zone. He split two defencemen at the top of the circles in the Ice zone and sent in to beat G Gage Alexander at 8:04 of OT. . . . F Jake Neighbours, Edmonton’s captain, drew an assist on each of his club’s last two goals. . . . Alexander finished with 51 saves, 33 more than Edmonton’s Sebastian Cossa. . . . Winnipeg was 1-for-2 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-for-4. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Jaxsen Wiebe, who also will sit out Game 4. He was suspended for two games after being tossed from Game 2 for a headshot on Winnipeg D Max Streule, who wasn’t injured on the play. . . . Winnipeg had McClennon in the lineup, but F Matt Savoie was scratched with an undisclosed injury. Neither player finished Game 2. . . . The Ice had to scratch F Owen Pederson, who drew a one-game suspension under supplemental discipline for high-sticking D Luke Prokop. Pederson was given a double minor on the play at 17:25 of the first period.


Leaving


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.


Ken Campbell at Hockey Unfiltered wrote on Monday about the impending sale of the OHL’s Niagara Falls IceDogs to Darren DeDobbelaer and speculation that Wayne Gretzky is in for five per cent. Both men are from Brantford, Ont. . . . Campbell also had this:

“DeDobbelaer also declined to comment on the purchase price, which 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. And that makes sense, since the league had suspended GM Joey Burke and coach Billy Burke, the sons of the owners, until at least 2024 for violating the league’s harassment, abuse and diversity policy. And while the Burkes were not forced to sell, they were definitely a motivated seller, which served to bring the price down.

“(And, once again, the next time you hear these junior hockey owners complain that they have to pay their players poverty wages in order to keep the lights on — and the government of the day agrees with them by allowing them to skirt minimum-wage laws — remember that they do just fine. When their teams are competitive and enjoy long playoff runs, they make plenty of money. And as the Burkes did, they always, always cash out when they sell.)”

If you aren’t already, you should consider subscribing to Hockey Unfiltered.


Gas


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.


Zombie

Brockman resigns from Broncos, says it was his decision . . . Silvertips have new radio voice . . . Rockets drop a goaltender


The winds of change blew through Swift Current on Thursday afternoon as the Broncos announced the resignation of Dean Brockman, who was in his fourth Scurrentseason as the community-owned organization’s general manager and head coach.

Chad Leslie, the Broncos’ assistant general manager, now is the interim GM, with assistant coach Devan Praught stepping in as interim head coach.

Leslie, 44, was the Broncos’ director of scouting each of the past three seasons.

Praught, 34, is from Summerside, P.E.I. He is in his first season with the Broncos after spending eight seasons at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask. He was the head coach of the U-18 Hounds for the past five seasons.

Matt Keillor, also in his first season, now is the lone assistant on the Broncos’ staff.

The Broncos (2-3-0) have lost three straight games after opening the season with a pair of victories — 2-0 and 3-2 — over the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Swift Current is scheduled to play the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Saturday night and the Ice in Winnipeg on Sunday. The Broncos then will meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Tuesday, before returning home for a Friday night date with the Calgary Hitmen.

Brockman, 54, didn’t really explain why he was resigning, telling a news conference: “I want to reiterate this was my decision. It’s a personal decision on my behalf. It had nothing to do with the board of directors. In fact, the board of directors have supported me from Day 1. They took a chance and that chance was me.”

Before joining the Broncos, Brockman spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Saskatoon Blades, under Bob Woods, followed by two seasons as their head coach. The Blades fired him immediately after the conclusion of the 2017-18 regular season.

Brockman had spent 17 seasons with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, seven as GM/assistant coach and 10 as GM/head coach. Under Brockman, the Broncos won five league championships and two national titles. He was honoured as the SJHL’s coach of the year on four occasions.

Three months after being fired by the Blades, the Broncos hired him to replace Manny Viveiros, who had been named the WHL’s coach of the year after leading Swift Current to the WHL’s 2018 playoff championship. That was the Broncos’ first title since 1993. Viveiros joined the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers two days after the Broncos finished an 0-3 run at the Memorial Cup in Regina.

The Broncos paid a steep price for going all-in to win that championship, especially in trades with the Calgary Hitmen and Lethbridge Hurricanes. Swift Current sent five players — F Conner Chaulk, F Riley Stotts, D Dom Schmiemann, F Josh Prokop and G Ethan Hein — along with a second-round pick in the 2018 draft to the Hitmen, for F Matteo Gennaro, F Beck Malenstyn and a fifth-rounder in 2018.

Then, at the trade deadline, Swift Current dealt G Logan Flodell, F Logan Barlage, F Owen Blocker, D Matthew Stanley, first- and third-rounders in 2020 and a conditional second-rounder in 2021 to the Hurricanes for G Stuart Skinner, F Giorgio Estephan and F Tanner Nagel.

The rebuild hasn’t been especially rapid, with the Broncos going 11-51-6 and 10-48-5 in the two seasons after the championship. They were 6-16-2 in the 2021 development season.

At the moment, the Broncos hold the sixth and seventh selections in December’s WHL draft.

But just how tough has the rebuild been? The WHL’s final four in the spring of 2018 featured the Broncos, Hurricanes, Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans. Brad Brown (@saskawhat) pointed out via Twitter that Everett has won 114 regular-season games since then, with Lethbridge at 89; Tri-City, 60; and Swift Current, 29.

Financially, the team’s board of directors told shareholders that it had made a $561,500 profit in the 2017-18 championship season. However, a $38,196 profit for 2018-19 was followed by a loss of $791,000 for the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season.

Late last month, at the organization’s annual general meeting, shareholders were told there was a loss of $129,968 — including a $600,000 grant from the provincial government — for that 2021 development season in which the Broncos played 24 games in the Regina hub.



The Everett Silvertips have hired Casey Bryant as their broadcasting and media Everettrelations manager, replacing Mike Benton, who left to join Seattle radio station KJR where he plays host to Seattle Kraken pre-game, intermission and post-game shows. Benton had been with the Silvertips through six seasons. . . . From a Silvertips news release: “Bryant is an award-winning play-by-play broadcaster whose prior credits include the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks (NAHL), Sacred Heart University Pioneers (NCAA D1), Jersey Hitmen (NCDC) and New York Apple Core (EHL). A 2017 graduate of Marist College, Bryant also worked as a production assistant for MSG Networks for four years, editing on-air promotions for the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and other MSG flagship teams.” . . . The Silvertips are scheduled to visit Kent, Wash., for a game with the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.



Cremation


JUST NOTES: F Patrick Brown of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers wasn’t able to play last night after being placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. . . . The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals have had three positive tests within their organization this week. OLB Chandler Jones is on the COVID list, while two unidentified staff members also have tested positive. The Cardinals have had 18 players on that list since July 23, with three of them landing there twice each. . . . The Atlanta Braves aren’t planning to have OF Jorge Soler on their roster when they play host to Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday. Soler tested positive earlier this week and didn’t play in Game 4 of the NLDS as the Braves clinched the series with a 5-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. OF Christian Pache was added to the roster in Soler’s place.


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.


Pedlars


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The junior B Saanich Predators of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League named Cody Carlson, a former WHL player, as general manager and head coach on Thursday. He replaces Brent Polischuk, who was relieved of his duties “effective immediately.” Polischuk had been with Saanich since July 28, 2019. The Predators (5-9-1) are fourth in the five-team South Division. Carlson, 30, had joined the Kerry Park Islanders as assistant GM and associate coach prior in July. He split 305 regular-season WHL games between the Medicine Hat Tigers, Regina Pats and Prince George Cougars (2006-12). He played the past three seasons in Europe, mostly in Romania. . . . The NHL’s Calgary Flames have hired Connor Rankin, who played five seasons in the WHL, on a full-time basis as their video analyst. He had done part-time work for the Flames over the past five years. Rankin played 339 WHL regular-season games (2010-15), split between the Tri-City Americans and Calgary Hitmen. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have released G Cole Schwebius, 20. He has cleared waivers so now is a free agent. He went 17-23-2 in 48 regular-season games split between the Rockets and Seattle Thunderbirds over parts of four seasons. . . . D Jackson van de Leest, 20, has returned to the Calgary Hitmen from the camp of the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He is expected to be in Calgary’s lineup tonight against the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Ian Furness, who has done his share of play-by-play on Seattle Thunderbirds’ games during his career, was at the KJR radio microphone on Thursday night as the NHL’s Seattle Kraken played the Predators in Nashville. Furness was filling in for Everett Fitzhugh, who remains in Seattle after testing positive.


Day

Boulet asks unvaxxed to take one for the team: ‘We need you now’ . . . COVID-19 puts SJHL team’s season on hold . . . WHL adds first female on-ice official

TobyBoulet
The number 6 means a lot to Toby Boulet, a leading advocate for organ donation. (Photo: Toby Boulet/Facebook)

Toby Boulet, perhaps Canada’s best-known advocate for organ donation, is asking people who aren’t yet vaccinated to take one for the team.

Boulet’s son, Logan, was one of 16 people killed in the crash involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos on April 6, 2018. Logan, who was 20, had registered as an organ donor a short time before the accident and his organs ended up helping six different people.

Now, with transplantation surgery having been halted in Saskatchewan —only living-donor kidney transplants are performed there — Boulet told Global News that he really wants people to pull together to help us get through this.

“If you can think of what happened with the Humboldt Broncos tragedy and what you did and how you responded,” he said in an interview with Global News, “how your love went out to the families of the Broncos and the families and the community of Humboldt . . . we need you now to help other families, other people.”

Boulet, who lives in Lethbridge, also pointed out that “organ transplants are a critical service and the fact that they’re being shut down is devastating and there will be loss of life because of the decisions of some,”

At the same time, he didn’t pull any punches when looking at the overall situation.

“I firmly believe it’s the selfishness of people that don’t see the community as being first,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about the team. And the team needs you right now.”

The Global News story is right here.

Earlier in the day, in an interview with Saskatoon radio station CKOM, Boulet asked those who are waiting for transplants not to give up the fight.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) shut down transplantation surgery on Thursday, a move that Boulet told me made him “feel physically ill.”

Lori Garchinski, SHA’s executive director, said that with COVID-19 hospitalizations surging in her province, staff normally involved in transplants has had to be transferred to intensive care units.

Boulet told CKOM the shut down is “an absolute tragedy.”

Libby Giesbrecht of CKOM has more right here.



Dr. Hassan Masri of the U of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine was mentioned here yesterday because of his tweet about that province having to halt organ transplantation.

Later, he posted this on Facebook and his words say everything:

“Most patients that come to the ICU come in a very critical condition and without any immediate and aggressive intervention most would die in a few short minutes to hours.

“Luckily most patients do make it out of the ICU and go on to their homes eventually and it brings all of us in the ICU a lot of joy to see that recovery.

“A small number of patients unfortunately don’t survive their disease and illness and they pass away. Many of those who pass away go on to become organ donors and in turn they save the lives of other people.

“Organ donation is a critical part of my job and it’s a role that brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction. More importantly, organ donors saves people’s lives because of the generosity of those who have died and their families. Being a small part of this process and facilitating this process is mind-blowing and it’s a feeling that I can’t describe to you in words.

“Effective (Thursday), Saskatchewan’s organ donation programs are shut down until further notice because of the pressure that COVID-19 has put on our ICUs. This means that no one can donate their organs and that is a shame, but it also means that no one will receive any organs and that is an equally big shame.

“Reading the email (Thursday) morning about the donation program being shut down was extremely painful and sad to me as I am sure it is sad and devastating to so many other colleagues who fought hard to have this program and to the families of those who have been waiting for an organ.

“The medical community and the SHA will continue to do their best to care for our citizens but the delay in taking any actions for weeks has a very tragic price.

“The impact of the COVID-19 fourth wave will be painful and this is just the beginning.

“I have said this and I will say this again. Fighting COVID-19 effectively cannot happen by adding more beds. It can happen by having our Saskatchewan government mandating vaccines for all who are eligible to receive it and by enforcing masks on everyone.”


Meanwhile . . .

The SJHL’s regular season was to have opened on Friday night with six games. sjhlBut, said COVID-19, “not so fast, my friends.” . . . Even before the league got to opening night it had to shut down the Melville Millionaires until further notice due to a positive test somewhere within the organization. . . . “The decision for postponement did not come easy, but we all feel that this is the best decision to make at this time to mitigate the potential risks,” read an SJHL news release signed by Bill Chow, the commissioner. “The SJHL will work with the Melville Millionaires and teams affected by the postponement in rescheduling and will announce when that information is available. Any health matter is private in nature, the SJHL and the Melville Millionaires will have no further comments at this time.” . . . The Millionaires had played eight exhibition games in 14 days through Sept. 19. They were to have opened the regular season in Weyburn against the Red Wings on Friday night and then played in Weyburn on Saturday. . . . The SJHL’s original schedule had Melville playing three games through Sept. 29 and six more from Oct. 1 through Oct. 9. That included four games in five days from Oct. 1 through Oct. 5.


When the Regina Pats met the Warriors in Moose Jaw in an exhibition game on Friday night, Alex Clarke of Weyburn was to be one of the on-ice officials, becoming the first female to work the lines in a WHL game. This comes after Clarke, 28, worked the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Calgary in August. . . . From a WHL news release: “Clarke boasts extensive international experience, having been assigned to the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Championship, 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship (Division 1, Group B), 2018 4 Nations Cup, and 2018 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship (Division II, Group B).” She also has worked various leagues on the Prairies, including the SJHL and U Sports women’s games. . . . BTW, the WHL news release announcing that Clarke has joined the league’s officiating team referred to her as a linesperson. Does that move linesman/linesmen out of the vernacular? . . . The Pats won the game, 4-1. Unfortunately, the online scoresheet doesn’t list Clarke as one of the on-ice officials — there isn’t a Linesman 1 shown. Hopefully the league is able to get her name in there so that this moment in WHL history is right there on the website.


Wolf


JUST NOTES: The Vancouver Giants will wear a patch on their sweaters this season in memory of Elizabeth Toigo, the mother of majority owner Ron Toigo, after she died on Friday morning. . . . The Ontario government and health officials announced some adjustments to restrictions on Friday, so OHL games played in Ontario arenas now can be opened up to 50 per cent capacity. . . . The CHL has cancelled the Canada-Russia series because of the pandemic. The six-game series last was held in 2019. . . . F Connor Zary, who played 203 regular-season games over four seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, will be out for a while — the NHL’s Calgary Flames show him as week-to-week — with a fractured ankle. Fortunately, the injury won’t require surgery. Zary, who turns 20 today (Saturday), was injured when he blocked a shot in a rookie game against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. He has signed with the Flames and likely is ticketed for their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat.


Organizers of the 2022 Manitoba Games announced Friday that they won’t be held. The Games were scheduled for Niverville, from Feb. 27 through March 5, and would have involved around 1,500 participants and about 1,000 volunteers. . . . From a Sport Manitoba news release: “Over the last 18 months, inconsistencies in competition and training opportunities had an effect on athlete development. Without regular training, conditioning, and recovery routines in this crucial stage, the risk of injury, mental fatigue, and overtraining were also factors in making this decision. Along with continued uncertainty about the pandemic, and public health restrictions, it became clear it would not be possible to host an event of this magnitude and execute a safe and successful multi-sport Games experience.”


Work


Andrew Wiggins, who is from Thornhill, Ont., was the first overall selection in the NBA’s 2014 draft. However, he really hadn’t had much of a career until last season when he joined the Golden State Warriors. But now it turns out he’s an anti-vaxxer and, well, here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle . . .

“If Wiggins carries through with his rejection of the COVID-19 vaccine, leaving the Warriors with a part-time player who had been counted upon to start, his career is essentially over. Remember Draymond Green’s unbridled fury at Kevin Durant because he might not be fully committed to the franchise? Imagine how Green, and the rest of the Warriors, will react if Wiggins joins the list of selfish, isolated professional athletes who choose principle — even if it’s something they can’t adequately explain — over the team dynamic and the health of others.”

Jenkins also reported that Wiggins, if he isn’t vaccinated, won’t “be able to play in any home games at Chase Center, due to San Francisco’s updated policy for large indoor gatherings.”

On Friday, the NBA announced that it had denied Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Health’s order requiring vaccination for anyone 12 and older at large indoor events.

Wiggins is scheduled to make something like US$29.54 million for 2021-22.


The Chicago Blackhawks were missing two players from Friday’s on-ice sessions because of COVID-19 protocols. G Kevin Lankinen and F Mike Hardman. That doesn’t mean either player tested positive; perhaps they were in contact with someone who did. No further details were released. . . . The Blackhawks are 100 per cent vaccinated, according to GM Stan Bowman.


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.


Born

NHL executive: COVID defines everything we do . . . Doctors want Flames, Oilers to change direction . . . 2022 Memorial Cup has a home

Cats


If you haven’t seen it, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada posted his first 32 Thoughts of a new NHL season this week. He had been on a bit of an NHL media tour, so had gotten to speak to a number of people, including Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner.

And it was Daly who said something that really jumped off my computer screen. Here’s how Friedman wrote it:

“On the 32 Thoughts podcast, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said he was recently asked, “Putting COVID aside, what is your biggest challenge?”

“You can’t put COVID aside,” he responded. “COVID defines everything we do and everything we’re going to do, unfortunately.”

Words that all sporting leagues are having to live by. Unfortunately.

The first 32 Thoughts of the season is right here.


Some COVID-related NHL notes . . .

While about 78 per cent of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, the NHL is saying that it expects at least 98 per cent of its players will be there come nhl2opening night, which is scheduled for Oct. 12. . . . If you do the math, that would leave about 15 players on the 32 rosters who won’t be fully vaccinated when the regular season begins. . . . Of course, you know that we are going to be hearing about those 15. . . .

On Tuesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets revealed that F Zac Rinaldo, who isn’t vaccinated, won’t be in their training camp; instead, he will go to camp with the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters. . . .

At this point, F Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings is the only player on their roster not to have been vaccinated. That could result in him not playing in any of their nine games in Canada, something that would cost him about US$450,000. . . . “It’s his decision,” Detroit GM Steve Yzerman said, “and it’s the world we live in today. I’m not in a position to force anyone.” . . . You’re wondering if Yzerman is disappointed in Bertuzzi? “I personally am vaccinated,” he said. “My family is vaccinated. I will leave it at that.” . . .

G Tyler Parsons won’t be taking part in the Calgary Flames’ training camp. Brad Treliving, the Flames’ GM, said Parsons was “unable to satisfy quarantine rules” so he’s out. The Flames say that every player on the camp roster is fully vaccinated. . . .

General manager Tom Fitzgerald of the New Jersey Devils has said his club has one unvaccinated player whom “we are trying to help (get) through this.” . . .

The Edmonton Oilers aren’t expecting to have G Alex Stalock in uniform at any point this season. He ended up with COVID-19 last season and was found to have myocarditis, a swelling of the heart muscle that is associated with the virus. . . .

Edmonton general manager Ken Holland also said Wednesday that the Oilers have one player who isn’t vaccinated. Holland said that he and head coach Dave Tippett have met with the unidentified player and are trying to persuade him to get vaccinated. . . . Reports later Wednesday indicated that the player in question is F Josh Archibald.



Rocky


The Stettler Lightning of Alberta’s Heritage Junior B Hockey League announced Wednesday that they won’t play in 2021-22. “The new COVID restrictions put us in a very depleted player situation,” the team said via Twitter, “so the decision was made so players could join other teams for the remainder of this season.” The Lightning has been in the league since 1994.



Mike Benton, the Everett Silvertips’ director of broadcasting/public relations, is leaving the team. Benton was preparing for his seventh season as the Silvertips’ radio voice. . . . He is joining Seattle radio station 950 KJR where he will be the host of pregame, intermission and postgame shows on broadcasts involving the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.


Lifeboats


WR Antonio Brown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, Tampa Bay placed LB Kevin Minter, a special teams captain, on the list. Both players are fully vaccinated, so would need two negative tests at least 24 hours apart prior to Sunday in order to play against the host Los Angeles Rams. . . . LB Keanu Neal of the Dallas Cowboys is on the COVID list and his status for Monday’s game against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles is up in the air. . . . The Minnesota Vikings have placed CB Harrison Hand on the COVID list. They are at home to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.


The 2022 Memorial Cup has been awarded to Saint John, N.B., so the QMJHL’s CHLSea Dogs will be the host team. The CHL made the announcement on Wednesday, with the tournament to run from June 3-12. One other team — the Quebec Remparts — had been in the running. . . . The Sea Dogs are in their 16th season in the QMJHL; this is the first time they will play host to the tournament. . . . Because of the pandemic, the four-team tournament hasn’t been held since 2019. It was to have been held in Kelowna in 2020 and in an OHL city — either Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie — in 2021. Because of the uncertainty, the OHL never got around to selecting a host city for 2021.


MaskSign


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.


Takeout

Wickenheiser wonders if Olympics should go ahead . . . Did virus find Flames? It found P.K. Subban . . . Hitmen return with a bang


One of the things that really, really hurts — and also amazes and confuses me — is the lack of respect shown to healthcare workers during the pandemic.

The numbers go up and it doesn’t seem to mean anything to a whole lot of folks. A government institutes new restrictions and a whole lot of people immediately start looking for loopholes, or just flat-out refuse to follow the recommendations.

So here we are . . . more than 14 months into this mess. And through it all our healthcare workers just continue to do their jobs. Day after day. Night after night.

It’s been more than a year now and I can’t begin to imagine the angst, the emotions, that every single one of them has to be feeling. I can’t imagine the feeling in the pits of their stomachs as they prepare for another day of working in their chosen profession.

That brings us to Hayley Wickenheiser, who has gone from being one of the world’s greatest hockey players to medical school. These days, she works the front lines at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.

And she is wondering whether the Olympic Summer Games and Paralympics that are scheduled to be held in Tokyo this summer should go ahead.

“It’s very hard after what I’ve witnessed this past year and then think about the Games. I’ve seen such suffering,” the six-time Olympian and four-time gold medal-winner told Devin Heroux of CBC Sports.

Wickenheiser, who also is on the IOC’s Athletes Commission, asked the same questions in March 2020 that she’s asking now, and that’s when organizers chose to postpone the Olympics and Paralympics until July 2021.

And here we are again. But, as Heroux points out, Japan has vaccinated fewer than two per cent of its population and a majority of the citizens there don’t want the Games to go ahead.

“I think we maybe have another month before they have to make a decision,” Wickenheiser said. “If things change drastically in terms of vaccinations in the country of Japan. Cases there are spiking . . . This is someone’s country we’re going into. These are real people living in crisis. We have to be sensitive to the needs of a nation.”

And when it comes time to make a decision . . .

“This decision needs to be made by medical and health experts, not by corporate and big business,” Wickenheiser told Heroux. “A very clear and transparent explanation needs to be given if the Games are going to go ahead.”

Heroux’s complete story is right here.


Fire


Prior to Friday, the Calgary Flames had been the only NHL team not to have had nhl2to place a player on the COVID-19 protocol list. However, it seems the virus has found the Flames.

Calgary cancelled its Friday morning skate in advance of the evening’s game against the visiting Montreal Canadiens. According to the team, a player received a positive test on Thursday.

Later Friday, the Flames placed F Josh Leivo on the COVID-19 list. After beating the Canadiens, 4-2, Calgary head coach Darryl Sutter said that Leivo was asymptomatic.


D P.K. Subban of the New Jersey Devils said Friday that he has tested positive. In a video that he posted to Twitter, he said the virus “got right in my kitchen.” Subban, 31, was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Tuesday. . . . “The COVID thing hit me pretty hard,” he said, “but just battling through it, working through it. Just remember to take care of yourselves, stay healthy, I love you guys and I definitely will be back in the mix soon.”


The AJHL announced Friday afternoon that there has been a positive test “in ajhlthe Drumheller Dragons cohort,” so team activities have been suspended. . . . The Dragons were to have played the Okotoks Oilers on Saturday and Sunday, but those games have been “cancelled.” . . . Drumheller hasn’t played since April 3. . . . Okotoks last played on March 28. It was to have played the Calgary Canucks on April 2 and the Brooks Bandits on April 4 but both games were cancelled.


In the QMJHL, athletic therapist Joseph Ferrar and equipment manager Jean-qmjhlnewFrançois Larochelle of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies was evicted from the “protected environment” in Victoriaville for being in violation of COVID-19 protocol. The Huskies also were fined $5,000. . . . According to the league, “Support staff from within the protected environment have been found to replace them.” . . . The Huskies were in Victoriaville to open a first-round playoff series against the Tigres.


Canyon


Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times was back on the legal beat yesterday, reporting Krakenthat the city’s NHL team, the Kraken, “moved quickly Friday to head off a legal dispute with a University District punk-rock bar alleging trademark infringement and tortious interference in a $3.5 million lawsuit filed the previous day.” . . . The team said it won’t be naming the restaurant at its practice facility the Kraken Bar & Grill. . . . The owners of The Kraken Bar and Lounge, the dive bar that doesn’t want to be a hockey bar, filed suit Thursday, asking that the team not be allowed to use Kraken as a nickname or in any other marketing or projects. . . . Baker’s latest story is right here. . . . Spoiler: It doesn’t sound as though this move by the Kraken is going to appease the dive bar’s owners.


I mentioned here yesterday that there is ample speculation about the future of the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets. No, they aren’t going to end up in Kamloops or Kelowna. . . . But if the Canucks choose to make a move, where might the AHL team land? . . . Rob Williams, who always has a solid grasp of what’s happening in the AHL, takes a look at some of the options right here.


Prof


The Calgary Hitmen were hit by a positive test earlier this month and were shut WHL2down for more than two weeks. They returned to game action on Friday and opened with a four-goal first period en route to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Kelowna Rockets, on hold for more than two weeks after a handful of positive tests, returned on April 7 with four goals in the first 27 minutes of a 7-5 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops. . . . Hmmm. . . . The Tri-City Americans are scheduled to return from their virus-enforced layoff on Wednesday. . . . In the meantime, there were six WHL games played last night. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen, playing their first game since April 5 because of a positive Calgarytest, scored four times in a span of 3:11 in the first period and went to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Josh Prokop (7), F Cael Zimmerman (4) and two from F Adam Kydd gave Calgary a 4-0 lead before the game was 11 minutes old. . . . Kydd has six goals in 15 games; last season, he finished with six goals in 53 games. . . . The Hurricanes bounced back with three second-period goals. The first two came from D Alex Cotton (7) and F Dino Kambeitz (5) added a shorthanded score. . . . F Brandon Whynott (1) restored Calgary’s two-goal lead at 19:03 of the second period, and F Riley Stotts (4) got the empty-netter at 19:58 of the third. . . . Whynott, a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal in his 14th game. . . . The Hitmen (7-6-2) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Hurricanes (7-9-2) have lost two in a row. . . .

F Owen Pederson scored twice to lead the Winnipeg Ice to a 4-1 victory over the WinnipegSaskatoon Blades. . . . The Ice (16-5-1) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It moved into second in the Regina hub standings, two points ahead of Saskatoon and one behind the idle Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (14-5-3) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Wheat Kings have three games remaining, with the Ice and Blades each having two more. . . . The Ice scored the game’s first four goals. . . . Pederson got it started at 6:05 of the first period. . . . D Mike Ladyman (2) added another at 11:00, with F Connor McLennon (14) making it 3-0 at 14:32 of the second. . . . Pederson, who has 13 goals, got his second at 5:40 of the third. . . . F Alex Morozoff (2) scored for Saskatoon at 12:49. . . . Pederson has 30 points in 22 games. . . . McLennon also had two assists. He now has 33 points, including 19 assists, in 22 games. . . . Winnipeg F Peyton Krebs had two assists to run his point streak to 21 games. He now shares the Ice’s franchise record for longest such streak with F Mike Comrie, who did it in 2000-01 with the Kootenay Ice (hey, remember when Cranbrook had a WHL team?). . . . F Karter Prosofsky had an assist for the Ice. Les Lazaruk, the veteran radio voice of the Blades, reports that Karter is the “son of Tyler, former Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets forward, also nephew to F Garrett Prosofsky,” who played with the Blades, Prince Albert Raiders and Portland Winterhawks. . . .

The Regina Pats scored two second-period goals 13 seconds apart and went on Patsto a 4-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Cole Dubinsky gave the Pats (9-10-3) a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:02 of the first period. . . . They broke it open in the second when D Layton Feist (5) scored, on a PP, at 15:30, and F Drew Englot make it 3-0 at 15:43. . . . F Zack Smith (4) scored while shorthanded for a 4-0 lead at 3:15 of the third period. . . . The Warriors (8-12-2) got their goal from D Cory King (2) at 12:46 of the third. . . . Regina D Ryker Evans ran his point streak to 12 games with an assist. He has two goals and 14 assists over that stretch. . . . The Pats were designated as the visitors for this game in the Regina hub. They are 3-5-3 as the home team and 6-5-0 as the visitors. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers erased a 1-0 deficit with three third-period goals as they Kamloopsbeat the Victoria Royals, 3-2. . . . Kamloops (10-2-0) has won three straight. . . . Victoria (1-11-1) has lost eight in a row. . . . F Brayden Schuurman (4) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 12:50 of the second period. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (6) got the Blazers even 36 seconds into the third. . . . F Connor Zary (5), at 12:57, and F Fraser Minten (1), at 16:25, stretched the lead to 3-1. . . . Zary had served 16 minutes in penalties — three minors and a misconduct — earlier in the game. . . . F Brandon Cutler (5) got the Royals within a goal while on a PP at 18:20. . . . Minten’s first WHL goal came in his 10th game — he has six assists — and stood up as the winner. He was a fourth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . G Dylan Ernst, in his second start of the season, stopped 14 for the Blazers. . . . At the other end, Adam Evanoff blocked 31. . . .

F Jake Poole had a goal and two assists to lead the host Kelowna Rockets to a 5-1 Rocketsvictory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Rockets now are 4-2-0. . . . The Cougars (4-7-2) have lost four in a row. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (2) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 16:15 of the first period. . . . The Cougars tied it on F Jonny Hooker’s fifth goal, on a PP, at 15:49 of the second. . . . Kelowna D Tyson Feist (1) broke the tie at 18:55 and F Dylan Wightman (3) upped the lead to 3-1 at 19:38. . . . Kelowna F Alex Swetlikoff (3) added a PP goal at 1:34 of the third period, and Poole concluded the scoring with his first goal at 17:27. . . . Poole, a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, went into the game with three points, all assists, in his first five WHL games. . . .

G Dustin Wolf came within 1:58 of his 25th career shutout as the visiting Everett EverettSilvertips beat the Spokane Chiefs, 6-1. . . . Wolf, who recorded a 5-0 shutout over host Spokane on Thursday night, was beaten by F Cordel Larson at 18:02 of the third period. . . . Wolf earned his 100th career regular-season victory in his 142nd game. He is 1.83, .936 in those appearances. . . . D Zach Ashton, who went into the game with one goal in 89 career games, scored twice for Everett. . . . Ashton’s other goal came on Jan. 8, 2019, while he was with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . F Cole Fonstad (11) got Everett’s first goal, at 9:48 of the first period. . . . Everett also got goals from F Ryan Hofer (5), F Hunter Campbell (8) and F Austin Roest (2). . . . Roest, who also had an assist and was named the game’s first star, is the son of Stacy Roest, a former WHLer (Medicine Hat, 1990-95) who now is in his ninth season with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, now as assistant general manager and director of player development. . . . Wolf finished with 21 saves. . . . The Silvertips (13-3-0) have won four in a row. They lead the U.S. Division by 11 points over the idle Portland Winterhawks (6-5-3). . . . Spokane now is 4-7-3.


——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers have signed Mat Hehr, their general manager and head coach, to a contract extension that covers the next two seasons with an option for a third season. Hehr, 32, has been with the Terriers since 2016 when he signed on as an assistant coach. He stepped in as GM and head coach during the 2017-18 season.


Irony

Toigo: Pandemic fallout won’t be pretty picture . . . Hamilton: We are in full support of what’s going on . . . Robison: Bantam draft may be delayed

Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, said on Wednesday that the fallout in junior hockey from COVID-19 may take a year or two to be seen but that “it’s not going to be a pretty picture.”

Appearing on Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver, Toigo said:

“At some point, there’s going to have to be some government support for these Vancouverthings to survive, and without that I think you’re going to see failures across the country from (junior A) to major junior to junior B. It’s inevitable.

“From our perspective, we were already down half-a-million dollars when (last season) ended because we didn’t get the last home games in which is where you start to break even. All these things are more or less designed to break even if everything goes right, and then if you get a run in the playoffs you can recover some of the money.

“Most teams in general, not just the Western Hockey League, the BCHL, across the board, people don’t get into this to make a living. . . . These aren’t great models from an economic perspective. Now when you take all the revenue away but keep most of the expenses, it’s not a good scenario for any business.”

The end result, according to Toigo, could be disastrous.

“You might not see it this year,” he said. “It might take a year or two where a lot of these things will come to fruition. It’s not going to be a pretty picture.”

Toigo pointed out that he and the other WHL operators are hardly alone in having to face this pandemic.

“It is a scenario that virtually all walks of life are dealing with,” he said. “Every business is dealing with it. The catastrophic impact on small businesses across this province is something we are going to feel for many many years to come, and junior hockey is just one of those that are caught up in it.”

Toigo’s appearance is available right here.

——

Bruce Hamilton, the Kelowna Rockets’ president and general manager and the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, agrees with Toigo in terms of what’s ahead.

“We are going to have some teams that are going to really struggle,” Hamilton KelownaRocketstold Travis Lowe of Global News.“It’s up to the rest of us to help make sure that they make it through.”

But, at this point in time, Hamilton said, “We just don’t see there being any way that we can safely have our players back here.”

Hamilton also pointed out that the WHL and its teams aren’t about to question any of the public heath officials or the regulations that have been put in place in any of the six jurisdictions in which the league operates.

“We fully understand and fully, fully support what is going on,” Hamilton said.

There was a time when the WHL had hoped to open a regular season on Oct. 2. It later changed that date to Dec. 4 and then to Jan. 8. On Tuesday, the league announced that it has moved on from that date and that it now doesn’t have a starting date. Instead, its board of governors will meet in January and assess things at that point.

“I think we are being wise to not name a date,” Hamilton told Lowe. “To me, that becomes an issue for the players . . . they get their hopes up.”

Meanwhile, the OHL is hoping to open its regular season on Feb. 4.

The QMJHL tried to get its regular season started in October, and has gone in fits and starts. Like so many other leagues, it now is back on hold and is hoping to resume play in January. When it does get back on the ice, it could be in some sort of bubble format.

There are 12 Quebec-based teams in the league and seven of them want to play host to bubbles — the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, Chicoutimi Sagueneens, Drummonville Voltigeurs, Quebec Remparts, Rimouski Oceanic, Shawinigan Cataractes and Victoriaville Tigres.

These days, however, there’s more to life than playing hockey.

As Rockets head coach Kris Mallette told Lowe: “There’s a bigger issue at hand. This pandemic is not going away.”

Lowe’s story is right here.

——

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, said on Wednesday that the league’s is considering moving the bantam draft back on year because of what the pandemic has done to this season.

“Yes, absolutely,” Robison said on The Jason Gregor Show (TSN 1260, whlEdmonton). “It’s hard to evaluate players (and) it’s hard for players to develop under these circumstances. We are considering delaying the draft.

“We haven’t arrived at a decision on that but I think in fairness to the players and the system generally that is something we are seriously considering and we will hopefully make a decision real soon.”

Robison pointed out that scouting has “represented a challenge.” But, he said, the WHL wants to “do it right and give the players every opportunity.”

Under normal circumstances, the bantam draft is held on the first Thursday of May, although the 2020 draft was held virtually on April 23.

During his appearance, Robison also said that the WHL hasn’t had any conversations about scrapping the season, and added that there isn’t a drop-dead date by which time such a decision would have to be made.

“We’re just trying to find a window of time that’s going to make sense,” he said. “Our goal is to have all teams, all divisions playing. Our hope is to get everyone started. We may have to stagger our start. We’re not quite sure what that will look like. We’re prepared to do anything, quite frankly, to get the season in and find a way to make it a representative season for the players and our teams.”

In the end, Robison said, the league is well aware that a final decision will come down to the health authorities.

“We are in discussion with the health authorities in order to return to play,” he explained. “Our protocols are a little bit more extensive than the other levels of hockey, if you will. We have not received final approval from all jurisdictions in order to play. It’s a health-and-safety issue first and foremost for our players, and we want to make sure we do it right. We want to have a testing base and a protocol solution and we’re working through these with the various health authorities.”

The WHL announced on Tuesday that it wasn’t going to start its next season on Jan. 8 as it had hoped. Had it been able to go then, it likely would have had a 50-game regular season.

Now, with no start date even pencilled in, Robison said a determination hasn’t been made as to how many games is needed to have a season.

“We aren’t going to be in a position to deliver (50 games),” he said. “We’ve got to make a determination on whether we can play four full rounds of playoffs and a Memorial Cup. Once we have all that information we’ll set our schedule. But it’ll all depend on what our start date is . . . and what our end date will be.”

At the moment, restrictions in at least two provinces — Alberta and Saskatchewan — have been extended into mid-January. Whenever restrictions come off, Robison there will be about a three-week time frame before a regular season could start. That would include getting players into isolation, a testing procedure and holding some kind of training camp.

“There is a bit of a process we have to go through in preparation to start,” Robison said, adding that the WHL isn’t “in a position to project with restrictions into Jan. 15.”

Robison also touched on the financial picture involving the 22-team league.

“They’re all in a very difficult position,” he said. “This is something that is very challenging for a lot of organizations, a lot of teams at this stage. They’ve been holding on waiting to start play. They’ve got ongoing costs associated with that.

“Let’s not forget that we had to cancel the balance of our season, including the end of the regular season and playoffs and the Memorial Cup that we were scheduled to host (in Kelowna). A significant amount of losses has been accumulated by the teams to date.

“It’s a very difficult challenge for them to envision moving forward, especially when we’re a ticket-driven league and at this particular stage we are not envisioning spectators to be permitted. The whole financial equation is a very difficult one for our teams.”

The complete interview is available right here.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Earl Seitz, the long-time sports anchor at CFJC-TV in Kamloops, opened his Wednesday evening sportscast with this:

“We hear about the impact that no hockey, no sports, is having on the mental health of some.

“Can’t disagree with that.

“But to put it in perspective — think of the seniors, the elders, who are dying by the hundreds, the thousands, from Covid-19 — and because of restrictions are alone without the presence of loved ones there to comfort them in their final hours.

“Or those loved ones who will live with the anguish of not being able to be there with a mother, a father, a grandparent or wife or husband in their final hours.

“Hockey and sports will be back — those who are dying from Covid-19 won’t be.”

——

——

Skylar Peters, CJOB Winnipeg: 15 more Manitobans have lost their lives to COVID-19, and the province reported 292 cases Wednesday. . . . Total: 21,286. . . . Active: 5,797. . . . Deaths: 523. . . . Hospitalized: 328. . . . ICU: 46. . . . WPG test positivity rate: 13.7%. . . . Prov. test positivity rate: 13.6%.

CBC News: 169 new COVID-19 cases reported in Saskatchewan, the 2nd day in a row the number of cases has been below 200. That’s hasn’t happened since November 24-25.

CBC News: Alberta reports 1,270 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 more deaths. Dr. Hinshaw points out that more Albertans have died from COVID-19 in 10 months, than from influenza over the past 10 years combined.

Kamloops This Week: B.C. health authorities are reporting 640 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 further deaths due to the disease. . . . Those new cases include 91 in the Interior Health region, which now has 843 active cases, including 28 in hospital and seven of those patients in critical care units. . . . In total, there are 9,950 active cases in the province. Of those, 362 are in hospital, including 91 in critical care. The province has now had 44,103 confirmed cases. Of those, 32,375 have recovered and 692 have died.

CBC News: Ontario reported 2,139 new cases of COVID-19 and 43 more deaths from the illness on Wednesday as hospitalization figures reached second-wave highs.

CBC News: 1,897 new COVID-19 cases in Quebec, well above the 7-day average of 1,791. 43 additional deaths are also reported. The number of people in hospital rose by 16 to 975; 128 are in intensive care.

CBC News: New household gathering limits announced for all of Nova Scotia during Christmas period.

CNN: The United States reported at least 3,453 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, the highest number of new deaths in a single day since the pandemic began.

Jim Acosta, CNN: A devastating day in the pandemic for the US. So far today (Wednesday), Johns Hopkins has reported 242,490 new cases and 3,518 reported deaths (10:20pm eastern). This is the highest single day reporting of daily new deaths since the pandemic began.

——

The start of the Australian Open has been pushed back three weeks to Feb. 8. It was to have opened on Jan. 18 in Melbourne.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.



JUST NOTES: The NHL’s Calgary Flames have moved Jason LaBarbera from the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen to be their goaltending coach. LaBarbera spent four seasons as the goaltending coach with the Hitmen, who are owned by the Flames. LaBarbera, 40, also is Hockey Canada’s goaltending coach, so is in the Edmonton bubble with the national junior team. He played four seasons in the WHL (Tri-City, Portland, Spokane, 1996-2000). . . . The OHL’s Sudbury Wolves need a head coach after Cory Stillman left to join the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes as an assistant coach. He had been the Wolves’ head coach for three seasons. Prior to that, he spent five seasons as the Carolina Hurricanes’ director of player development.

CHL, Hockey Canada shut things down on day we will never forget . . .

NewYorkPost


The WHL, like so many other sporting organizations, put its season on hold Thursday afternoon as the world works to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Each of the WHL’s 22 teams plays 68 regular-season games. As of now, there are a total of 54 games remaining on the schedule, which was to have ended on Sunday, March 22. The first round of the playoffs, which would have started with 16 teams,  was to have started on Friday, March 27.

Now . . . who knows?

“Our goal,” a statement from the WHL read, “is to return to play when it is safe and reasonable to do so.”

Teams that were on the road were instructed to return to their home cities. All players were to return to their billets and remain there while awaiting word on what comes next.

The CHL, which encompasses the WHL, OHL and QMJHL, announced the shutting down of all three leagues on Thursday afternoon. That announcement came after the NHL announced that it was suspending play.

Later in the day, former NHL executive Brian Burke, now an analyst with Sportsnet, said that he would be surprised if the NHL was able to hand out the Stanley Cup this season.

Because of the way COVID-19 has spread and continues to do so, I am inclined to agree with Burke.

With the WHL, of course, it’s all about the Ed Chynoweth Cup, which goes to the playoff champion, and the Memorial Cup, which is to be played in Kelowna, from May 22 through May 31.

It is far too early to know what will happen next. Will those 54 regular-season games be played? What about the playoffs? Is there a Plan B . . . Plan C . . . Plan D?

What about the Memorial Cup, which is only a bit more than two months away? If you’re wondering what could happen between now and then, think about where we were two months ago — in mid-January — compared to now.

Regardless, Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, says it’s full speed ahead in Kelowna.

“We are still marching straight ahead,” Hamilton told Global News in Kelowna. “That’s been the marching orders from the CHL. That is still 10 weeks out. It’s a long ways away.”

If you are looking for a time element to all of this, Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner whose league suspended operation on Wednesday night, told Sports Illustrated on Thursday:

“This hiatus will most likely be at least 30 days. . . . Is there a protocol, with or without fans, in which we could resume play? It’s too early to tell.”

Anyway . . . could it be that the Victoria Royals’ 3-2 victory over the host Rockets on Wednesday night will have been the WHL’s last game of the 2019-20 season? If, indeed, that is the case, F Brayden Tracey of the Royals will have scored the season’s final goal, breaking a 2-2 tie at 11:22 of the third period.

And if you’re wondering, the Portland Winterhawks are atop the WHL’s overall standings at this point, which, I suppose, gives their fans bragging rights, at least for now.


Early Thursday evening, Hockey Canada announced that its board of directors had made the decision “to cancel all Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities, including our national championships, until further notice, effective Friday, March 13.”

I’m not sure if “cancel . . . until further notice” means postponed or cancelled. Either way, Canada’s arenas will be mostly dark for the foreseeable future.

BC Hockey issued a statement indicating that it supports “the leadership shown by Hockey Canada to suspend all hockey operations . . . and will be following the direction to suspend all BC Hockey games and events until further notice.”

In a later tweet, Hockey Alberta pointed out that Hockey Canada’s edict includes league games, playoffs, practices, camps and provincial, regional and national championships . . . at the minor, female, junior, senior and sledge levels.”

Hockey Canada’s decision brought an end to the U Cup, Canada’s university men’s and women’s championship, both of which had started in Halifax and Charlottetown, respectively, and were to have ended on Sunday.


Ken King, a longtime president and governor of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, died on Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was 68. He was the vice-chair and chief executive officer of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, which owns the NHL’s Flames, CFL’s Stampeders, NLL’s Roughnecks and the Hitmen. . . . There is more right here.

%d bloggers like this: