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

scattershooting

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


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

Braves


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


TurnSignal


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

——

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


Blinker


While I was away . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


animal


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



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


Selfies


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


Peanuts


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Beer

WHL releases regular-season sked . . . No Bedard for U.S. Division fans . . . Portland fans going to Regina to see him

The WHL released its 2022-23 regular-season schedule on Tuesday afternoon with each of the 22 teams to play 68 games — 34 home and 34 on the road.

And, yes, there will be some interlocking play between conferences, something WHLthat was missing in 2021-22.

So . . . all you Western Conference fans who are planning on watching your home club play the Regina Pats and superstar F Connor Bedard in your building please take two steps forward. . . .

Uhh, sorry, not so fast U.S. Division fans. You are going to get visits from the six Central Division teams, but not from East Division clubs. B.C Division cities will get to see the East Division teams once each, but not the Central Division teams.

Bedard, who will turn 17 on July 17, is the favourite to be the first-overall selection in the NHL’s 2023 draft. Despite his age, he is preparing for his third WHL season, that is if you include the development season that was played early in 2021 when the pandemic wiped out what would have been the 2020-21 regular season.

Prior to that season, Hockey Canada granted Bedard exceptional status, the first WHL player to be given the right to play an WHL entire season at 15. Playing in a Reginasemi-bubble situation in Regina, Bedard, who is from North Vancouver, B.C., had 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games before leaving to play for Team Canada at the 2021 IIHF U-18 World Championship in Frisco, Texas. He had seven goals and seven assists in seven games as Canada won gold.

Then, with each team playing a 68-game 2021-22 regular-season schedule, the WHL chose not to have its teams cross over and play in the other conference. Playing strictly within the Eastern Conference, then, Bedard put up 51 goals and 49 assists in 62 games. He also captained Canada’s U-18 team at the 2022 IIHF U-18 World Championship in Germany in April. He totalled six goals and an assist in four games, although Canada lost a quarterfinal game.

With a generational player like Bedard on one of its teams, and considering the pandemic-related circumstances that impacted the past two seasons, the WHL could have scored a public relations coup had it made sure that each of its teams played at least one game in every other arena in 2022-23. But it chose not to do that, so while the Pats are scheduled to visit each of the B.C. Division’s five teams, from Nov. 25 through Dec. 2, they won’t be venturing into the five-team U.S. Division.

That’s really too bad because assuming Bedard is the No. 1 selection in the 2023 NHL draft and depending on which team selects him, he may well be preparing for his final WHL season. That would mean the fans of U.S. Division teams could miss out entirely on seeing Bedard.

And that’s a cryin’ shame.

Unless you’re a member of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club and have booked a seat on their 2023 East Division tour. The Winterhawks are scheduled to play in Regina on Jan. 14 and Stewart Kemp, the Booster Club’s president, tells me that they have 25 of 50 slots already filled.


References


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The WHL’s 2022-23 regular-season schedule is to open on Sept. 23 and wrap up on March 26. . . . According to the WHL, 585 of the 748 scheduled games “will be played on weekends or holidays.” . . . The 2023 playoffs are to begin on March 31. . . . The 2023 Memorial Cup is scheduled for May 26 through June 5 in Kamloops. . . . The defending-champion Edmonton Oil Kings will open at home to the Red Deer Rebels on Sept. 23. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice is to open the new season with 13 straight road games. The Ice is to open on Sept. 24 in Brandon against the Wheat Kings and finish the trip back in Brandon on Oct. 28. That trek will include five games in the B.C. Division. Neither the WHL nor the Ice explained why the season-opening road trip in news releases. However, the U of Manitoba Bisons men’s team, which also plays in the Wayne Fleming Arena, has scheduled four early-season home games at the Rink Training Centre in Oakbank before getting into their regular home rink on Nov. 11. So perhaps the Wayne Fleming Arena is undergoing more renovations. . . .

There will be one game on Dec. 18 (Edmonton at Calgary) after which the WHL will pause until a seven-game slate on Dec. 27. . . .

At this point, the schedule has the Seattle Thunderbirds playing all of their home games at the accesso Showare Centre in Kent, Wash., with the Everett Silvertips having all their home games in the Angel of the Winds Arena. In 2021-22, the teams met in one game at Climate Pledge Arena, the home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Everett won the game, 4-0, before an announced crowd of 8,381. . . . The Calgary Hitmen, according to their schedule, will play all their home games at the Scotiabank Saddledome, which also is to be the home arena for the NHL’s Calgary Flames and their AHL affiliate, which has relocated from Stockton, Calif., as well as the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks. Hmm, that is going to be one busy facility. . . .

As you read in this space on Sunday night, Norm Daley has joined the Kamloops Blazers as their president. Daley, who also will be the alternate governor, was introduced at a Monday morning news conference. He replaces Don Moores, who died of a heart attack on June 30, 2021, at the age of 65.


The WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, who have a long relationship with the WarriorsNewMooseJawSnowbirds aeronautic team, have undergone a branding change that includes a complete overhaul of their logo. The logo that had been a red Indian chief sporting a headdress now is circular and includes one of the Snowbirds planes — a Canadair CT-114 Tudor. . . . Ben Lypka of the Abbotsford News tweeted on June 29 that the Warriors had “filed a trademark” for the new logo. . . . The Warriors had announced in October 2020 that they were reviewing their brand. “This is not a knee-jerk reaction to what other sports teams have done,” Alan Millar, then the Warriors’ general manager, told the Regina Leader-Post at the time.“This was something that we’ve been having internal discussions about for a couple of years. I think it got to a point where we felt this was the right time and the right thing to do.” . . . The Warriors officially made the move on Tuesday. From a news release: “After two years of consultation with local stakeholders, community leaders and the Indigenous community, the Warriors launched a new brand on Tuesday.” . . . The news release is right here.


Blood


Headline at TheOnion.com: Nation unable to enjoy baseball without dozens of pitchers hitting .124.


G Ivan Fedotov won the KHL championship with CSKA Moscow earlier this year and had planned to play for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers next season on a recently signed entry-level contract. Instead, his plans were interrupted by officials over the weekend and now, according to J.P. Barry,  his agent, he is ensconced at a remote military base. . . . The Associated Press has more on the Fedotov story right here.


Phillip Sitter of the Ames Tribune reported:

“The men’s hockey club at Iowa State University engaged in years of alcohol abuse, hazing and coercing money out of club members in exchange for status during ‘Rookie Parties,’ ‘Kangaroo Court’ and ‘Rookie Run’ events, according to university investigations’ findings.

“On (June 23), those findings led the club’s suspension to be extended to include all competition for the coming school year. All activities of the Cyclone Hockey Club were suspended in May after allegations about hazing and other concerns were brought to university administration in April.”

Interestingly, Sitter also wrote that “team and club community members, however, denied the university’s findings in a statement provided through an attorney on (June 23). The statement said the university mischaracterized the events and it accused Iowa State of using the allegations as a means to restructure management of the club.”

That complete story is right here.


Lie


On the subject of those golfers who have filled their bank accounts with Saudi Arabian money, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel asks: “Why do we expect American golfers to have more ethics and morals than American corporations, American sports leagues and the American government — all of which do business with nefarious nations?”


You may be aware that Phil Mickelson got US$200 million to join the LIV Tour, while Dustin Johnson got a cool $150 million. Charles Barkley piped up: “Hey, for $150 million I’d kill a relative, even one I liked.”


Bitcoin


THE COACHING GAME: The Coachella Valley Firebirds, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, have hired Jessica Campbell as an assistant coach. She is the first female assistant coach in the AHL’s history. Most recently, Campbell has been working with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. She also was an assistant coach with the German national men’s team at the IIHF World Championship. With the Firebirds, she will work alongside head coach Dan Bylsma. . . . The Firebirds will play their first season in 2022-23. . . .

The junior B Columbia Valley Rockies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Emery Olauson to a “long-term contract” as their general manager and head coach. The length of the contract wasn’t revealed. He joins the Rockies, who play out of Invermere, B.C., from the Edmundston Blizzard of the Maritime Junior Hockey League with whom he had been head coach and assistant GM. His resume also includes a stint as GM and head coach of the KIJHL’s Grand Forks Border Bruins. . . . With the Rockies, he replaces Briar McNaney, who has joined the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers as an assistant coach. . . .

Doug Houda, who played four WHL seasons (1982-86), has signed on with the NHL’s New York Islanders as an assistant coach. He has been an NHL assistant coach for the past 16 seasons — 10 with the Boston Bruins and the past six with the Detroit Red Wings. Houda, 56, played three-plus seasons with the Calgary Wrangers, then finished up his WHL career by playing 35 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . .

The MJHL’s Portage Terriers have added Robbie Moar to their coaching staff as an assistant to Blake Spiller, their long-time general manager and head coach. Moar played in the MJHL, mostly with the Neepawa Natives and he spent two seasons (2019-21) there as an assistant coach. In 2021-22, Moar, a 29-year-old native of Portage la Prairie, played with the South East Manitoba Hockey League’s Portage Islanders.


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.


FindWater

Oil Kings chasing WHL title tonight . . . Thunderbirds facing elimination for sixth time . . . Seattle captain draws two-game suspension

The Edmonton Oil Kings could become the WHL’s first playoff champion since EdCupthe spring of 2019 with a victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds tonight (Saturday).

The Oil Kings returned home Wednesday night after having won twice in Kent, Wash. — 4-0 on Tuesday and 3-2 earlier Wednesday. That put the Oil Kings in control of the series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with a 3-1 lead.

Keep in mind, however, that the Thunderbirds haven’t been an easy out in these playoffs. In fact, this game will mark the sixth time that Seattle will have faced elimination. Yes, the Thunderbirds are 5-0 in elimination games, having come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Portland Winterhawks and 3-2 against the Kamloops Blazers. In the process, the Thunderbirds became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road.

If they are to win this series, they’ll have to do it on the road, too. Because the arena in Kent is busy with high school graduation ceremonies, this series is running on a 2-2-3 format with as many of the last three games as needed to be played in Edmonton. Should a sixth game be necessary, it would be played on Monday with the Thunderbirds designated as the home team. If needed, Game 7 would be be played on Tuesday.

Seattle will be without D Tyrel Bauer, its captain and a dominating shutdown defender, tonight and again on Monday if there is a Game 6. Bauer, 20, who has signed with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, drew a two-game suspension for an early first-period hit on Edmonton F Brendan Kuny on Wednesday. Bauer was given an interference major and game misconduct on the play. Kuny received medical attention from personnel from both teams, was placed on a backboard, then removed from the ice surface on a stretcher and taken to an area hospital. He rejoined his teammates before the night was done and returned with them to Edmonton where he was examined by the team’s medical staff on Thursday. Kuny, a 20-year-old from Ardrossan, Alta., won’t play again in this series.

The Prince Albert Raiders hold the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions, having won it in 2019. The WHL was closing in on its 2019-20 playoff season when the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the remainder of the season late in March. There wasn’t a true regular season in 2020-21 — with teams playing an abbreviated development season — before things resumed in earnest last fall.

The Oil Kings are gunning for the organization’s first WHL title since 2014. They went on to win the Memorial Cup that spring, the last time a WHL team has won it.

The 2022 Memorial Cup is scheduled to run from June 20-29 in Saint John, N.B.

The only team assured a spot in the four-team tournament to date is the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. They were eliminated in the first round, then fired head coach Gordie Dwyer on May 26, replacing him with Gardiner MacDougall, the head coach of the U of New Brunswick Reds for 22 seasons. MacDougall is to return to the Reds when the tournament is over.

——

Meanwhile, the OHL playoffs continued on Friday night in Windsor where the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Spitfires, 3-2, in OT. . . . F Will Cuylle gave Windsor a 2-1 lead at 12:41 of the second period, and the Spitfires nursed that edge into the last two minutes of the third period. . . . D Nathan Staios then pulled Hamilton even at 18:03 with G Marco Costantini on the bench for an extra attacker. . . . D Gavin White won it with his second goal of the playoffs, at 7:31 of extra time. The goal came 10 seconds after the conclusion of a Hamilton PP opportunity. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Hamilton on Sunday, with Game 6 scheduled for Monday in Windsor. . . .

In the QMJHL, the visiting Charlottetown Islanders scored four times in the second period on Thursday night and went on to beat the Shawinigan Cataractes, 7-0. . . . G Francesco Lapenna earned the shutout with 16 saves. . . . Shawinigan still holds a 3-1 lead in the series with Game 5 scheduled for Charlottetown tonight. . . .

Remember that all of these playoff games are being televised by TSN.


Jury


THE COACHING GAME:

The Kamloops Blazers announced on Friday that Mark Holick is leaving the Kamloopsorganization for “personal reasons” after one season as associate coach. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “Originally, the plan was for Mark to move his family up here. There were some schooling- and work-related situations with his wife and the roads closed there for half the winter. That didn’t make it easier. And there is a situation right now they’re dealing with that was just going to make that move impossible. When you added everything up, it just wasn’t going to work out with him and his family moving forward.” . . . Clouston said that the Blazers, who will be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament, are likely to hire two full-time assistant coaches before the 2022-23 season gets here. . . . Hastings’ story is right here. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen have signed assistant coach Matt Stajan to a two-year extension. A veteran of 1,003 regular-season NHL games, Stajan just completed his first season on Calgary’s coaching staff. He works alongside head coach Steve Hamilton and fellow assistant Trent Cassan. . . .

The Regina Pats have signed five members of the their hockey operations staff Reginato what the team referred to as “multi-year contract extensions.” . . . Assistant coach Brad Herauf is preparing for his eighth season with the Pats. A Regina native, he stepped in as interim head coach early in February and remained in that position through season’s end as John Paddock, the general manager and head coach, was sidelined with health-related issues. . . . Ken Schneider, the club’s other assistant coach, just completed his first season on the coaching staff. He previously had scouted for the Pats for three seasons. . . . Rob Muntain, the goaltending coach, is returning for his 12th season with the club. . . . Greg Mayer, the athletic therapist, is preparing for his 19th season. He is the longest-serving member of the hockey operations department. . . . Gord Cochran, the Pats’ equipment manager, will be back for his ninth season in Regina.


Beer


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Prince George Cougars have acquired F Chase Wheatcroft, 20, from the Winnipeg Ice for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft. Wheatcroft, from Calgary, was acquired by the Ice from the Lethbridge Hurricanes during the 2021-22 season. In 55 games, he totalled 16 goals and 22 assists. He added a goal and five assists in 15 playoff games. . . . Wheatcroft is the second 20-year-old forward picked up by the Cougars of late. Last month, they added Nolan Boyko from the Saskatoon Blades. He and Wheatcroft were teammates in Lethbridge at one point. . . .

Cole Waldie will be the play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars when another season gets here. The former radio voice of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings has joined the Cougars as their director or broadcasting, communications and public relations. Waldie spent the past three seasons with the Spruce Kings. He replaces Fraser Rodgers, who left after five years with the Cougars to return to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees as their vice-president of business operations and director of broadcasting, communications and public relations. . . .

A couple of interesting notes from the annual meeting of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. For starters, accountant Jason Traska reported that despite attendance being limited to 500 fans per game for a lot of the season the organization was able to pay off a $40,000 COVID-19 loan and have money left over. As well, the blog Rider News reported: “Oddly enough, overall attendance was down but beer sales were up, and that’s great news for the Fernie Brewing Company and anyone who sells Tylenol.” . . . Oh, and did we mention that seven people — yes, SEVEN — attended the AGM.


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.


Genie

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

Scattershooting on a Sunday while hoping someone can help out a Gretzky fan . . .

scattershooting


A Facebook post from Aron Gratias, an avid hockey fan . . .

Family and friends, I need your help!!

Anyone who knows me has probably seen my passion for The Great One.

It pains me to have to write this, and very emotional to think about, a 40+ year passion, my Gretzky Collection, stolen and what’s even worse, is the majority of items were personally signed to me, for me, along with autographed pictures of my face and my families faces in them.

We had recently moved and were storing some of our household and garage items in storage containers near Shellbrook. Someone entered the yard and proceeded to cut the locks off ONE of TWO containers and selectively removed the Gretzky collection from the storage container, leaving some expensive household and garage items. Not to mention a whole other container was untouched. Very interesting!! Small group who knew!!!

19 Gretzky jerseys, autographed, every team since he was 12, large pictures, like 4’x4’, large painting, like 5’x5’, all autographed and serial numbered, autographed sticks, autographed pucks all in display cases, boxes of cards, close to 10,000, 2,200 of Gretzky alone, some autographed, and one framed Gretzky Rookie Card PSA 8, 1979 Mattel dolls still in boxes, figurines, signed family photos, plates, helmets, masks, skates, just to name a few.

Some autographed Crosby stuff, rookie card, jersey, Sakic and Thornton signed jerseys, pile of Team Canada autographed pictures, men’s and women’s, jerseys and cards. I am in some of the autographed frames pictures as well as my family so those will be hard to sell.

I have reported to the RCMP and they were out today to start the investigation. Someone will be trying to push a massive Gretzky collection so please notify the RCMP if you hear anything. If you notify me, I’m coming equipped with a lot of passion!!!

This collection was worth way more then just money to me, it was priceless and a true passion, it was never meant to be sold, it was meant to be passed down to generations and future generations and I feel bad for my children, it was theirs.

Please, please keep an eye out and pass pass this on!!

Thank you!


Onearm


By now, I’m sure you’re tired of reading and/or hearing about the Will Smith-Chris Rock confrontation during the Academy Awards show. But even if you’ve had your fill, if you haven’t read the piece written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, you might want to take a few minutes out of your day and give it a glance. It’s the best piece I’ve seen on the subject and it’s right here.


Headline at The Beaverton: NHL refs an inspiration to millions who would love to get paid for not doing their job.


It’s true. The Detroit Red Wings have fired Al Sobotka, their longtime Zamboni driver.

Sobotka, 68, had been part of the organization for 51 years, most recently as operations manager at Little Caesars Arena.

There long has been a tradition of fans tossing octopi onto the ice during playoff games — when the Red Wings are good enough to qualify, of course. Sobotka would venture onto the ice to clean them up and invariably would twirl one over his head and incite the crowd.

While a reason for the dismissal hasn’t been made public, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times writes: “We’re guessing thin ice.”


Kids


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, at his curmudgeonly best as he looks at March Madness:

“I have another observation about the TV coverage of the tournament this year. We are now ‘treated’ to two in-game interviews with the head coaches during scheduled timeouts. These seemingly have replaced the ceremoniously stupid in-game interviews in the stands with players’ parents and/or coaches’ wives and/or the next-door neighbor of the assistant coach’s tax accountant. For that reason, I guess I should be appreciative and thankful, but I have a serious reservation here. . . .

“There is one – and only one – appropriate question for the sideline reporter to ask the coach in these circumstances: ‘Coach, what is it you would be telling your team in the huddle if you were not contractually obligated to be here talking to me?’ . . . That is all viewers would want to know — and it would let people know the forced nature of the oral exchange they were about to watch.”

Don’t every change, Jack. Don’t ever change!

If you haven’t already made The Sports Curmudgeon part of your day, you are able to so right here.


THINKING OUT LOUD: I’m sorry, but I giggle whenever I see that Chevrolet Silverado commercial starring a cat named Walter. Those commercials were shot on a 100,000-acre ranch in Utah using nine look-a-like cats. And it’s reported that the cats were so easy to work with that little in the way of CGI was needed. . . . It’s Canada vs. Belgium on Nov. 23 in Qatar. Game time will be 11 a.m. PT. Plan accordingly. . . . And how huge will the TV audience be in the Excited States when their men meet England at 11 a.m. PT, on Black Friday? It’ll be a holiday down there so there could a whole lot of TV viewers. Of course, it’ll be football competing with football on the telly that day, won’t it? . . . I really need someone to explain how this NHL-on-TV thing works. Watching the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. Second intermission arrives. Check the on-screen guide. The Edmonton Oilers are visiting the Anaheim Ducks. Go to check the score. Whoops! Blacked out. But the Philadelphia Flyers are up against the Rangers in New York and I can watch them. All three games were on Sportsnet channels. What I don’t understand is why I can’t watch the Canadian team in my part of Canada.


Moms


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference:

The Kamloops Blazers erased a 3-1 first-period deficit and beat the Cougars, 4-Kamloops3 in OT, in Prince George. . . . D Daylan Kuefler scored the winner, his 38th goal of the season, on a PP at 0:56. . . . F Jonny Hooker (15) gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead on a PP at 17:08 of the first period. . . . Kamloops tied it on second-period goals from D Ethan Brandwood (6), at 2:39, and F Reese Belton (12), at 6:46. . . . F Logan Stankoven scored his 42nd goal and added an assist for Kamloops. With 96 points in 55 games, he continues to lead the WHL in points-per-game, at 1.75. . . . The Blazers have completed their road schedule, finishing 24-10-0. . . . Kamloops (46-16-2) is second, three points behind Everett and three in front of Portland. . . . Prince George (22-37-4) is ninth, one point behind Spokane and two in arrears of Vancouver and Victoria. . . .

F Nick McCarry scored twice to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 victory over the SpokaneVancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Chiefs had won 5-2 in Langley on Saturday night. . . . McCarry has 21 goals this season, including four in a three-game scoring streak as the Chiefs won once in Kamloops and twice in Langley. . . . G Mason Beaupit stopped 30 shots for Spokane. . . . Spokane (22-37-5) is in possession of the conference’s last playoff spot and is just one point behind Vancouver (23-35-4) and Victoria.

——

Eastern Conference:

In Edmonton, the Red Deer Rebels scored the game’s last two goals as they beat RedDeerthe Oil Kings, 5-4, in OT. . . . Edmonton F Jaxsen Wiebe’s PP goal at 18:04 of the third period put his guys ahead, 4-3. . . . F Arshdeep Bains pulled the Rebels even with 9.2 seconds left in the third period. It was his 38th goal and WHL-leading 101st point of the season. He finished with a goal and two assists. . . . F Jhett Larson’s 11th goal of the season won it at 2:10 of extra time. . . . Red Deer F Ben King picked up his WHL-leading 48th goal of the season. . . . It was a weekend sweep for the Rebels, who had beaten the visiting Oil Kings, 4-3, on Saturday night. . . . Edmonton has lost three straight game for the firs time since Nov. 11-17, 2019. . . . Red Deer (43-17-4) is third, six points behind Edmonton (46-14-4), which has four games remaining and is seven points behind Winnipeg. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen held a 48-31 edge in shots as they beat the visiting Swift CalgaryCurrent Broncos, 5-2. . . . Calgary jumped into a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by F Steel Quiring (12) and D Tyson Galloway (5), but F Josh Filmon (23) got the Broncos close at 14:49. . . . The Hitmen put it away on goals from F Zac Funk (19) at 8:58 of the second period and D Grayden Siepmann (9) at 5:30 of the third. . . . G Brayden Peters earned the victory with 29 saves, 14 fewer than Isaac Poulter of the Broncos. . . . Calgary (25-31-8) is ninth, one point behind Swift Current (26-33-7), which is three points behind Lethbridge. Prince Albert is one points behind Calgary.



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.


Towels

Dreger: NHL GMs want to talk about 19s in the AHL . . . Friedman: CHL to ban Belarusians, Russians from draft . . . Bananas skate to WHL victory

A couple of items that involve the WHL slipped through the cracks here this week, so allow me to touch on them now . . .

The NHL’s general managers met in Manalapan, Fla., early in the week.

Darren Dreger of TSN reported that there was some conversation about what CHLonce was known as the pro-junior agreement — the deal between the NHL and CHL that involves the 60 major junior teams. That contract expired a couple of years ago, and simply has been rolled over because of the pandemic. But it seems that the parties are getting closer to sitting down and hashing it out.

Dreger also reported: “The general managers coming out of Tuesday’s meetings want to talk more about 19-year-olds playing in the American Hockey League and it feels like every March, when we’re healthy enough to be in a face-to-face environment, that the topic comes up. I know Kelly McCrimmon of the Vegas Golden Knights gave a very passionate account — as the former owner of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings — to tell the general managers (there are 11 new guys in there) how devastating it would be to the CHL if they introduce 19-year-olds at the AHL level.”

The NHL and major junior operators love to talk about how the CHL teams are in the business of developing players. And that is true. But it is time for both parties to acknowledge that these teams, first and foremost, are in the entertainment business. If they don’t produce an entertaining product, they might not be in business.

There has long been chatter about the NHL teams wanting the OK to put 19-year-olds in the AHL. One school of thought has it that a 19-year-old who has been a first-round selection in the NHL draft should be able to be placed in the AHL.

As things stand now, an NHL team has two options with a 19-year-old whose rights it owns — keep him in the NHL or offer him to his major junior team.

These 19-year-olds are the best players in major junior hockey, the players people pay to watch. To take them away from CHL teams would be a real slap in the face to those teams and their fans.

——

Meanwhile, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet posted his weekly 32 Thoughts and it included this: “It’s not announced yet, but several CHL teams are indicating a ban will be enforced against selecting Russians and Belorusians in the upcoming import draft. Existing prospects will be grandfathered, allowed to return next (season).”

Here’s a look at Russian (3) and Belarusian (7) players on WHL rosters (age shown is as of start of this season):

Brandon — F Zakhar Polshakov, 18, Minsk, Belarus.

Calgary — F Anton Astashevich, 17, Minsk, Belarus; F Maxim Muranov, 17, Moscow, Russia.

Lethbridge — F Yegor Klavdiev, 18, Minsk, Belarus.

Medicine Hat — D Gleb Ivanov, 18, Moscow, Russia.

Prince Albert — G Tikhon Chaika, 18, Minsk, Belarus; F Vladislav Shilo, 18, Minsk, Belarus.

Saskatoon — F Egor Sidorov, 17, Vitebsk, Belarus.

Spokane — D Timafey Kovgoreniya, 18, Minsk, Belarus.

Swift Current — F Alexei Shanaurin, 17, Snezhinsk, Russia.


Sweater


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

F Matthew Savoie scored twice and added an assist, while G Daniel Hauser WinnipegIceearned the shutout as the visiting Winnipeg Ice dumped the Regina Pats, 7-0, for their 13th straight victory. . . . Savoie now has 32 goals and 52 assists in 60 games. . . . The Ice also got a goal, his 23rd, and three assists from F Zach Benson, with F Connor McClennon scoring his 40th goal of the season. . . . Hauser stopped 17 shots to put up his WHL-leading eight shutout of the season. He is 30-2-1, 1.97, .915 this season. . . . Winnipeg (49-9-5) is 15-0-2 in its last 17 games and leads the conference by eight points over the Edmonton Oil Kings, who have six games remaining. . . . Regina (24-32-5) is five points away from a playoff spot with seven games left. . . .

Bananas

In Saskatoon, F Egor Sidorov scored twice to lead the Blades to a 4-1 victory Saskatoonover the Moose Jaw Warriors in what may well have been a first-round playoff preview. . . . Sidorov, who has 21 goals, broke a 1-1 tie at 8:04 of the third period and added insurance at 14:36. . . . G Nolan Maier recorded the victory with 18 saves. That was the 119th victory of his career, one shy of the WHL record. . . . The Blades (35-24-4) are fifth, one point behind the Warriors (35-23-5). Each team has five games remaining. . . . The Blades rebranded themselves as the Saskatoon Bananas, complete with new sweaters, for this one. For more on that, check out the Blades’ website. . . . 

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored two empty-netters as they beat the Raiders, Brandon4-2, in Prince Albert. . . . F Nate Danielson got his 20th goal into an empty net and gave Brandon a 3-1 lead at 18:12 of the third period. . . . F Sloan Stanick scored his second of the game and 21st of the season at 19:03 to get the home team to within a goal. . . . Brandon F Chad Nychuk (19) iced it with another empty-net goal at 19:32. . . . F Nolan Ritchie scored his 30th goal of the season in the first period. . . . G Ethan Kruger stopped 35 shots for Brandon, which clinched a playoff spot. . . . The Wheat Kings (31-25-5) are sixth, seven points behind Saskatoon and eight ahead of Swift Current, which has only three games remaining. . . . Prince Albert (25-33-5) is three points from a playoff spot. . . .

In Swift Current, the Calgary Hitmen scored the game’s last three goals as they Calgarybeat the Broncos, 5-2. . . . F Sean Tschigerl (22) gave the Hitmen a 3-2 lead, at 15:38 of the second period, with his second of the game. He also had an assist. . . . F Cael Zimmerman, who has 14, scored Calgary’s last two goals. . . . The Hitmen (24-31-8) are ninth, three points behind the Broncos (26-32-7), who trail Lethbridge by a point. . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 2-0 deficit with five straight goals en route Lethbridgeto a 6-3 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Alex Thacker scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 12. He got the Hurricanes even at 9:08 of the second period and scored the eventual winner, on a PP, at 15:51. . . . Lethbridge got three assists from F Yegor Klavdiev. . . . The Hurricanes (28-30-4) are seventh, one point ahead of Swift Current. . . . The Tigers (11-47-4) have lost six in a row. . . .

Western Conference:

F Andrew Cristall, F Pavel Novak and F Scott Cousins each had three points as Kelownathe host Kelowna Rockets dumped the Prince George Cougars, 9-2. . . . The Cougars scored the game’s first goal — D Jonas Brøndberg got his first of the season at 1:31 of the first period — but the Rockets took a 4-1 lead into the second period. . . . Cristall had two goals, giving him 23, and an assist, with Novak scoring his 26th goal and adding two assist, and Cousins getting No. 3 and two assists. . . . Kelowna was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . The Rockets (36-19-6) appear headed to a fifth-place finish. . . . The Cougars (22-37-3) are eighth, two points ahead of Spokane and three behind Victoria. . . .

In Kamloops, the Spokane Chiefs took a 5-1 lead into the third period and hung Spokaneon for a 6-5 victory over the Blazers. . . . F Blake Swetlikoff (11) gave the visitors a 5-1 lead, on a PP, at 19:47 of the second period. . . . Kamloops outscored Spokane 4-1 in the third period, getting goals from D Logan Bairos (4), at 11:16, and F Daylan Kuefler (37), on a PP, at 13:10, to get within a goal. . . . F Nick McCarry, who started the season with Kamloops, had a goal, his 18th, and two assists for Spokane. He had 28 points in 34 games with the Blazers; he has 28 points in 30 games with Spokane. . . . Spokane was 3-for-5 on the PP. . . . The Blazers got a goal, his 41st, and two assists from F Logan Stankoven. . . . Kamloops, which is carrying three goaltenders, didn’t dress starter Dylan Garand. Dylan Ernst went the distance, with Jesse Sanche on the bench. . . . Mike Boyle, the radio voice of the Chiefs, called his 1,500th WHL game and you can bet it was one he’ll remember. . . . The Blazers (45-16-2) are second, three points behind Everett. . . . Spokane (20-37-5) is ninth, two points behind Prince George. . . .

F Cross Hanas ended a three-goal comeback in OT as the Portland Winterhawks Portlandbeat the Silvertips, 5-4, in Everett. . . . The Silvertips took a 4-2 lead on third-period goals from F Jackson Berezowski (44), at 12:58 and D Aidan Sutter (4), at 16:08. . . . F Marcus Nguyen (19) pulled Portland to within one at 16:29 and D Clay Hanus (18) tied it at 19:46. . . . Hanas, who also had two assists, won it with his 24th goal at 1:03 of extra time. . . . The announced attendance was 6,833, Everett’s third-largest crowd this season. . . . The Winterhawks (42-16-5), with five games left, are third, three points behind Kamloops and six in arrears of Everett (43-10-9). . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds opened up a 5-0 lead en route to a 6-4 Seattlevictory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Henrik Rybinski’s 19th goal gave Seattle a 5-0 lead just nine seconds into the second period. . . . The Americans scored the next four goals, getting started at 1:50 when F Jordan Gavin scored his first WHL goal in his sixth game. . . . Tri-City got to within a goal at 18:41 on D Marc Lajoie’s 11th goal, via the PP, but Seattle F Lukas Svejkovsky (32) put it away at 19:58 with his second of the game, this one into an empty net. . . . F Jared Davidson scored twice for the winners, giving him 35. . . . Seattle (40-17-6) is three points behind Portland. . . . Tri-City (18-40-5) is six points out of a playoff spot with five games remaining.


Mat


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Matthew Wood, a freshman with the Victoria Grizzlies, won the BCHL scoring title this season by putting up 85 points, including 45 goals, in 46 games. Wood, who turned 17 on Feb. 6, is from Lethbridge. He was selected by the Regina Pats in the second round of the WHL’s 2020 draft. However, he has committed to join the U of Connecticut Huskies in Hartford for 2023-24. . . . G Eve Gascon stopped 23 shots to earn the victory as the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques beat the visiting Drummondville Voltigeurs, 7-3, on Friday night. This was the first time a woman had posted a goaltending victory in the QMJHL since Charline Labonte did it with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 2000. . . . It seems there might be at least three bids being prepared with aspirations to play host to the 2023 World Junior Championship. The NHL’s Ottawa Senators are partnering with Quebecor, which owns the arena in Quebec City, and the Quebec government on one bid. Things are moving in Regina and Saskatoon with another bid being prepared from there; city councils in both cities already have approved some funding. Meanwhile, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that “the belief is the Halifax Mooseheads and the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are working on a bid with officials from their respective cities to host the tourney.”


Three former WHL players — F Jared Aulin, F Jayce Hawryluk and D Brennan Menell — have signed with 3ICE, a 3-on-3 pro hockey league that is scheduled to begin play in Las Vegas on June 18. . . . Each of the league’s six teams will comprise seven players, including one goaltender. All six teams will be in action on nights when the tour stops in Las Vegas, Denver, Grand Rapids, Mich., Hershey, London, Ont., Pittsburgh, Quebec City and Nashville. The 3ICE championship is to be decided in Las Vegas on Aug. 20. . . . Aulin, 40, played with the Kamloops Blazers (1998-2002), while Hawryluk, 26, was with the Brandon Wheat Kings (2012-16), and Menell, 24, skated with the Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes (2014-17). Hawryluk and Menell still are active; Aulin last played in 2019-20 with the Elite Ice Hockey League’s Manchester Storm and actually announced his retirement on July 26, 2021.


Ink


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.


Birthday

Season over for Blades’ captain . . . Regina, Saskatoon combine to bid on 2023 WJC . . . Blazers clinch B.C. flag

TurnSignals


The Saskatoon Blades announced on Wednesday that D Aidan De La SaskatoonGorgendiere, their 19-year-old captain, won’t play again this season. He will be undergoing surgery to repair an undisclosed injury. . . . “Aidan has been battling through an ailment for most of the season and, over the weekend, it finally reached a point where surgery was the only option for him,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, said in a statement. “We will miss his leadership and it certainly is difficult news given how much he means to our team on and off the ice.” . . . De La Gorgendiere is the Blades’ highest-scoring defenceman, with 45 points, including 41 assists, in 54 games. His 45 points are the fourth-highest on the team. . . . F Tristen Robins, 20, wore the captain’s ‘C’ for the first time on Wednesday night as the Blades dropped a 3-2 decision to the Pats in Regina.



Yes, it’s true. The virus reared its ugly head in the NHL again on Wednesday. The Winnipeg Jets were without F Kyle Connor and D Nate Schmidt when they met the Sabres in Buffalo last night after both players tested positive earlier in the day. . . . Connor hadn’t previously tested positive, while Schmidt missed time with COVID-19 last season while with the Vancouver Canucks. . . . Both players are expected to miss at least three games. Considering that Connor leads the Jets with a career-high 82 points, including 41 goals, this is a serious blow to a team that is chasing a playoff spot. . . . The Jets beat the Sabres, 3-2 in a shootout.


The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship was to have been held in IIHFNovosibirsk and Omsk, Russia, but those plans were scrubbed after the dictator chose to attack Ukraine. There have been reports that the IIHF has asked Canada to play host, even though the 2022 tournament is to be held in Edmonton in August. One option for Canada is for Ottawa and Quebec City to share hosting duties, while organizations in Regina and Saskatoon are preparing a joint bid. . . . From a press release issued by Tourism Regina and Tourism Saskatoon: “This is an exciting opportunity to host the IIHF World Junior Championships throughout Saskatchewan with potential games being played in municipalities like Humboldt, Swift Current, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.”


Doctor


Perry Bergson covers the Brandon Wheat Kings for the Brandon Sun . . .


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

In Regina, the Pats scored the game’s first three goals and held on for a 3-2 Reginavictory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . D Ryker Evans’ 14th goal, on a PP at 1:31 of the third period, stood up as the winner. . . . The Blades had stopped Regina F Connor Bedard’s 21-game streak on Friday in Saskatoon and held him to one assist last night. . . . The Blades won the season series, 5-1-0. . . . The Pats (24-31-5) are five points from the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. . . . The Blades (34-24-4) are fifth, three points behind the Moose Jaw Warriors, with each team having six games remaining. . . .

C Carson Latimer scored two first-period goals, the second via the PP, to lead PrinceAlbertthe Raiders to a 2-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in Prince Albert. . . . Latimer, who has 16 goals, struck at 14:27 and 16:33. . . . C Charlie Elick, the third overall selection in the WHL’s December draft, scored his first goal for Brandon. . . . The Raiders, who got 34 saves from G Chaika Tikhon, had lost their previous four games. . . . Prince Albert (25-32-5) now are within three points of eighth place but have only six games left. . . . The Wheat Kings (30-25-5) appear headed to a sixth-place finish in the conference. . . .

In Calgary, the Hitmen opened up a 2-0 first-period lead and went on to beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-2. . . . F Cael Zimmerman’s 12th goal, at 19:57 of the first period, gave the Hitmen a 3-1 lead. . . . Calgary (23-31-8) is 10th, four points from a playoff spot with six games left. . . . The Tigers (11-46-4) won’t be in the playoffs. . . .

F Raphael Pelletier broke a 4-4 tie at 5:34 of the third period and later added an SwiftCurrentempty-netter as the visiting Swift Current Broncos beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-4. . . . Pelletier, who also had an assist, now has 19 goals. He went into this season with six goals and nine assists in 69 career regular-season games. This season, he now has 46 points in 60 games. . . . The Broncos (26-31-7) are seventh, one point ahead of eighth-place Lethbridge (27-30-4), which is three points ahead of Prince Albert. . . .

The host Kamloops Blazers scored three goals early in the first period en route Kamloopsto a 8-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Blazers, who led 6-0 before the second period was four minutes old, clinched first place in the B.C. Division. . . . F Logan Stankoven led the Blazers with two goals, giving him 40, and two assists. . . . Stankoven, a Kamloopsian who turned 19 on Feb. 26, has 91 points in 53 games. He leads the WHL in points per game — 1.72. F Ridley Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings is second, at 1.62. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer scored his 30th goal of the season for the Cougars. He is the first Prince George freshman to get there since F Brett Connolly (2008-09). . . . Kamloops has had its two largest announced crowds of the season for its last two games — 4,969 for a 6-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets on Friday and 4,745 last night. . . . With two games left in the season series, the Blazers hold an 8-2-0 edge; the Cougars are 2-7-1. . . . Kamloops (45-15-2) is two points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips (43-10-8), who hold a game in hand.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Terry McFaul has been named the Kelowna Rockets’ director of player personnel. McFaul has been on the Rockets’ scouting staff for 31 years. He was named head scout on April 23, 2020. . . . If you like playoff OT, you should have been in Nelson, B.C., on Tuesday night for the Kootenay International Hockey League game. The Revelstoke Grizzlies and the Leafs got into the third OT period before the visitors got a goal from D Will McPhee at 15:04 for a 4-3 victory. Revelstoke G Brandon Weare stopped 49 shots, 12 more than Dylan Marshall of the Leafs. The Grizzlies lead the best-of-seven series, 3-1, with Game 5 in Revelstoke tonight.


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.


Amazon

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while contemplating Canada as a soccer nation . . .

scattershooting

Move over, Gary Bettman! Canada is soccer country!!

Yes, it was a day I never thought I would experience in my lifetime.

It was only on Aug. 6 when the Canadian women’s soccer team, led by the great CanadaSoccerChristine Sinclair, won gold at the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. The women had won bronze at London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016, so they had given us at least a taste of success. But the gold in August tasted even better.

And then came Sunday and the Canadian men’s team made it a day to remember with a 4-0 victory over Jamaica at BMO Field in Toronto. All that means is that, yes, we are going to Qatar and World Cup 2022.

And, hey, wasn’t that a party on Sunday afternoon!

The men’s team, which last appeared in a World Cup in 1986, now has eight victories and four draws in 13 games, and is atop the CONCACAF qualifier standings three points clear of the U.S. and Mexico. As well, Canada has scored more goals (23) and allowed fewer (6) than any of the other seven teams.

There were said to be 29,122 fans in attendance on Sunday, but this was one of those events that over time it will be said that there were more than 100,000 people on the grounds. In fact, a whole country was there.

If you’re Canadian and didn’t get a lump in your throat seeing all of those Canadian flags waving in the stands, well, get thee to a mirror and try breathing on it. (Not to get political here, but I would suggest that Sunday’s show helped restore our flag’s glory that had been absconded by the freedumb gang.)

Anyway . . . I, for one, will be a long time forgetting what I witnessed on the telly on Sunday afternoon. The flags, the post-game reaction, the joy . . .

Now . . . what’s next?

Well, Canada plays its final qualifying game on Wednesday against host Panama.

And then comes Friday and the World Cup draw. TSN will start four hours of coverage at 8 a.m. PT.

As for the World Cup in Qatar, it is scheduled for Nov. 21 through Dec. 18.

Merry Christmas!



A tip of the hat to old friend Todd McLellan, a former WHL player and coach, who will be in his usual place tonight as his Los Angeles Kings play host to the Seattle Kraken in an NHL game. This will be McLellan’s 1,000th game as an NHL head coach. . . . He played four seasons (1983-87) with the Saskatoon Blades and turned to coaching when injuries derailed his playing career. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the job he did with the Swift Current Broncos through the early days of the Graham James debacle. McLellan was the head coach and assistant GM for two seasons (1994-96) and the GM/head coach from 1996-2000. . . . He has been an NHL head coach since 2008, working with the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers and the Kings.


As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, prepared for last weekend’s March Madness he chose “to make two observations about the announcing on the games so far this year:

“Just when did the basketball become ‘the rock’ and/or ‘the orange’ and what might it take for the announcers to resume calling it ‘the ball?’

“Similarly, why has ‘an assist’ been renamed as ‘a dime?’ Why so cheap?  An assist guarantees at least two points; that ought to be worth at least ‘a buck and a quarter.’ ”


Crocs


Here’s how politics work in New York City. . . . You will be aware that Kyrie Irving of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets is unvaccinated and wasn’t able to play home games because of a local law that allowed only fully vaccinated people in city facilities. On March 13, Eric Adams, New York City’s mayor, was heckled on that very subject. His response: “Listen, you’re right. Kyrie can play tomorrow. Get vaccinated.” . . . Well, on March 23, Adams killed that particular law, allowing Irving as well as unvaccinated members of the New York Mets and Yankees to play in the city. . . . From The New York Times: “Steven A. Cohen, the hedge fund manager and Mets owner who last year gave $1.5 million to a super PAC supporting Mr. Adams’s mayoral campaign, has been paying $10,000 a month to a lobbying firm, Moonshot Strategies, to push state officials and City Hall on several issues, including Covid protocols. . . . Corey Johnson, the former speaker of the City Council who now runs his own lobbying firm, is receiving $18,000 a month from the Nets’s holding company, and lobbying records suggest that he recently contacted the mayor, his chief counsel and his chief of staff.” . . . All of which may have had something to do with the lifting of the mandate. Or maybe not. Wink! Wink! . . . The Times also reported that the decision was made with coronavirus cases having risen “31 percent over the past two weeks in New York City . . . though hospitalizations are down.”

——

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

“The arrogant fool, Kyrie Irving, was in the audience Thursday when New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced an exemption for professional athletes and performers from its private-sector vaccine mandate, meaning that Irving (barring an alarming pandemic surge) will be able to play home games for the Brooklyn Nets, starting Sunday night at Barclays Center. Good for Adams, looking down at Irving and telling him directly, ‘You should get the vaccine.’ It’s also the right move, considering that unvaccinated visiting players (as is the case at Chase Center), have been allowed to play in New York for months. But it’s sad that this represents a victory for the anti-vax crowd, so well represented by Irving’s smug expression. . . . Irving’s stance may yet backfire. If the Nets find themselves in a play-in game at Toronto (entirely possible), Canada’s strict vaccination policy will rule him out.”

——

Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“So Kyrie Irving abandons his team, putting the Nets’ title hopes in jeopardy, helps fuel the vaccine misinformation campaign that killed and sickened millions, and now is getting a free pass to join the fun? Superstardom has its perks!

“In granting special status to Irving and other athletes and entertainers, New York’s mayor, Eric Adams, may be heeding the scolding he got from Nets forward Kevin Durant, who recently said: ‘So hopefully, Eric, you’ve got to figure this out.’ Curious that Durant, with all his bold outspokenness, never said to his teammate, ‘So hopefully, Kyrie, you’ve got to figure this out.’ ”



For all those politicians and others who are convinced the pandemic is over, we have news from Banff, which is in Alberta. Team Logan, Canada’s entry in the women’s world deaf curling championship, had to withdraw from the gold medal game due to COVID. . . . The virus, it seems, missed the memo. . . . And now there’s news that Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Luke Richardson has tested positive and is in COVID-19 protocol. . . . Oh, and if you were looking for Lin-Manuel Miranda, he of Hamilton fame, at the Oscars, well, he wasn’t there. His wife has tested positive. . . . Wear a facemask. . . . Please!


Croc


WHL PLAYOFF PICTURE:

Each of the WHL’s 22 teams, with the exception of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Regina Pats, has played at least 60 games. The Wheaties and Pats are at 59. So it’s safe to say the stretch run is upon us. . . .

Only the Medicine Hat Tigers are into next season country, but the Pats, Calgary Hitmen and Tri-City Americans are on life support when it comes to playoff dreams.

In the Western Conference, the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Portland Winterhawks, Seattle Thunderbirds and Kelowna Rockets have clinched playoff spots. . . . The Silvertips lead the conference by four points over Kamloops, with each having seven games remaining. . . . Everett is headed for a first-place finish in the U.S. Division as it has a seven-point lead over Portland. . . . Kamloops will win the B.C. Division pennant. . . . Seattle is fourth, three points behind Portland, while Kelowna is headed for a fifth-place finish as it trails Seattle by eight points. . . . Further back, the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals are tied for sixth, but the Giants hold three games in hand. . . . The Prince George Cougars are clinging to the last playoff spot, three points behind Vancouver and Victoria and four ahead of the Spokane Chiefs, who have seven games remaining. . . . The Americans are six points out of a playoff spot with six games to play. . . .

If the playoffs started today: Everett vs. Prince George, Kamloops vs. Victoria, Portland vs. Vancouver, Seattle vs. Kelowna.

In the Eastern Conference, the Winnipeg Ice, Edmonton Oil Kings, Red Deer Rebels, Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatoon Blades have clinched playoff spots. . . . The Ice leads the conference, four points ahead of the Edmonton Oil Kings, and those two will finish atop the East and Central Divisions, respectively. . . . The Rebels are headed for a third-place finish in the conference. . . . The Warriors are fourth, three points ahead of Saskatoon with each team having seven games remaining. . . . Brandon is sixth, seven points behind Saskatoon and seven ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who are one point up on the eight-place Swift Current Broncos. . . . Prince Albert is four points behind Swift Current with the Raiders holding two games in hand. . . . Calgary is five points out of a playoff spot, while Regina trails Swift Current by six points. . . .

If the playoffs started today: Winnipeg vs. Swift Current, Edmonton vs. Lethbridge, Red Deer vs. Brandon, Moose Jaw vs. Saskatoon.

The playoffs are scheduled to open on April 22.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

In Calgary, G Isaac Poulter turned aside 37 shots to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 3-0 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . He’s got six career shutouts, five of them this season. . . . F Cole Nagy’s 12th goal at 13:57 of the first period stood up as the winner. . . . Announced attendance was 11,999. . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice opened up a 3-0 first-period lead en route to a 5-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . F Conor Geekie scored his 20th goal of the season for Winnipeg. The Ice now has seven players with at least 20 goals this season. The WHL record? The 1980-81 Portland Winterhawks and 1985-86 Medicine Hat Tigers each had 12. . . .

In Edmonton, the Lethbridge Hurricans struck for five second-period goals and went to a 5-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Lethbridge G Bryan Thomson stopped 38 shots as his teammates were outshot, 39-18. . . . Announced attendance was 12,855. . . . The Oil Kings had won, 5-2, in Lethbridge on Friday. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Prince George Cougars erased a 3-2 deficit with three third-period goals as they edged the Vancouver Giants, 5-4. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer (29) tied the score at 4:13 of the third period, F Ethan Samson (14) gave the visitors the lead at 9:20 and F Caden Brown (6) got the eventual winner at 13:49. . . . F Payton Mount scored three times for the Giants, giving him 12. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Jared Davidson and F Conner Roulette each scored twice as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-1. . . . Roulette, who also had an assist, has 22 goals; Davidson has 33.


Plant


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last five goals and beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 7-3. . . . Everett G Koen MacInnes stopped all 37 shots he faced after coming on in relief of Braden Holt at 12:04 of the first period with Portland leading, 3-1. . . . F Jackson Berezowski scored two of Everett’s first four goals, including the winner. He now has 43 goals. . . . Portland had won the previous four meetings with Everett. . . .

In Kelowna, F Colton Dach scored three times — he’s got 24 — and added an assist as the Rockets got past the Kamloops Blazers, 5-3. . . . The Blazers played six straight games against the Rockets and had won the first five. . . . Kelowna went 8-4-2 in the season series; Kamloops was 6-7-1. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds surrendered the first two goals, then scored six in a row en route to a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Kent, Wash. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky, who began his WHL career with the Giants, scored three times, the second one on a penalty shot. Svejkovsky, who also had two assists, has 30 goals this season. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., G Tomas Suchanek stopped 38 shots to record his first WHL shutout as the Tri-City Americans beat the Spokane Chiefs, 4-0. . . . F Samuel Huo, who has 28 goals, scored Tri-City’s first two goals, with F Sasha Mutala (18) getting the other two. . . . The announced attendance was 4,906, the Americans’ largest crowd of the season. . . .

G Tyler Brennan blocked 24 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 3-0 victory over the host Victoria Royals. . . . Brennan has four shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . The Royals had won five straight. . . . The Cougars had lost nine of 10 and three in a row. . . .

The host Moose Jaw Warriors scored five third-period goals en route to a 7-0 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . G Carl Tetachuk recorded the shutout with 31 saves. He’s got three shutouts this season, all with the Warriors who acquired him from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Tetachuk, 20, has eight shutouts in his career. . . . D Denton Mateychuk had a goal, his 10th, and three assists. He has 10 points in last two games. He now has 60 points in his 58 games. . . . The Warriors are fourth in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Blades. The teams will meet again Friday, this time in Saskatoon. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels opened up a 4-0 lead early in the second period and went on to beat the Swift Current Broncos, 6-2. . . . F Jayden Grubbe led the Rebels with two goals, giving him 12. . . . F Arshdeep Bains of the Rebels, who leads the WHL points derby, picked up his 36th goal. He now has 97 points, two more than linemate Ben King. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings erased a 1-0 deficit with five straight goals as they beat the host Regina Pats, 5-2. . . . The Wheat Kings took control with three goals in 1:11 late in the first period. . . . Brandon got two goals from F Rylen Roersma, who has 17. . . . F Connor Bedard got No. 44 for the Pats, who were playing in front of a season-high announced crowd of 6,241. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Jack Finley’s three goals led the Ice to a 6-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Ice held a 37-16 edge in shots, including 14-1 in the second period. . . . Finley has 24 goals, with 16 of them coming in the 31 games he has played with Winnipeg since coming over from the Spokane Chiefs. . . .

G Brayden Peters kicked out 13 shots to record the shutout as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Tigers, 2-0, in Medicine Hat. . . . Peters has four career shutouts, three of them this season. . . . Calgary outshot Medicine Hat, 39-13, including 14-2 in the opening period. . . . D Keagan Slaney’s third goal, at 15:48 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . .


Here’s Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, describing the biggest cheaters in the world of sports: “Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong, every NASCAR crew chief and those of you who fill out more than one NCAA tournament bracket.”


Therapist


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.


Unicorn

Blazers to bid on 2023 Memorial Cup; Gaglardi says process has changed . . . Bedard streak at 19 games . . . Blades halt Oil Kings’ 14-game tear

It used to be that WHL teams bidding to play host to a Memorial Cup tournament would make presentations before the board of governors in Kamloops1Calgary, a vote would be held and a winner would be declared.

But it seems that process has gone the way of the dodo bird.

The Kamloops Blazers plan on bidding on the 2023 tournament and Tom Gaglardi, the team’s majority owner, says things have been redone and a host team/city now will be decided in secrecy and that it won’t involve the WHL board holding a vote. Instead, Gaglardi told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week, that he believes a decision will be made at the CHL level.

“It’s better,” Gaglardi said. “It should be decided by people who are, you know . . . I just think it takes biases out and the real reasons a winning team should host have got a better chance of prevailing. I’m hopeful this is a good system and a better system, but that remains to be seen.”

The WHL was to have played host to the 2020 tournament and the Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes all wanted to be the host team. Presentations were made in October 2018 and . . . the Rockets won. Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ owner, is chairman of the WHL’s board of governors.

Of course, COVID-19 had other plans and the tournament was scrubbed, as was the 2021 event. This year’s tournament is scheduled for Saint John, N.B.

When Hastings called Hamilton to ask if the Rockets would bid on 2023, the response was: “Thanks for the interest. The CHL is who releases that info now.”

Hastings’ story is right here.


Eggs


I got quite a chuckle out of two tweets from The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman on Tuesday night. He covers the Edmonton Oilers, and they had just Edmontondumped the visiting Detroit Red Wings, 7-5. . . .

Part 1: Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft had lunch (Tuesday) with WHL Oil Kings bench boss Brad Lauer and his staff. Lauer said this: “The wins are pieces of art, but you don’t always hang every picture in the living room. Sometimes you hang them in the basement.”

Part 2: “I thought it was a really smart way of putting it,” Woodcroft said of Lauer’s analogy. “Brad’s a really funny guy. I’m going to steal that one. I think it adequately describes tonight’s game.”

I always enjoyed chatting with Lauer when he played for the Regina Pats and I was with the Regina Leader-Post. Later, after I had moved to Kamloops and he was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice (remember them?) for five seasons, we often told talked before and after games.

The WHL hasn’t made a Media Guide and Record Book available since before the 2019-20 season, so the numbers that follow are unofficial.

Including Wednesday’s games, Lauer and Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, are neck-and-neck as to who has the highest percentage of games won among those who have coached at least four seasons.

Williams, who is in his fifth season in Everett, has won 189 of 272 games, which works out to .695.

Lauer is into his fourth season as Edmonton’s head coach. He has been the head coach for 214 games and the Oil Kings have won 149 of those. That is a winning percentage of .692.

Lauer’s Oil Kings dropped a 5-3 decision to the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday. He went into the game trailing Williams by .00001 — .69485-.69484.

I know. I know. You’re asking: What about Ken Hitchcock, who had such a great run with the Kamloops Blazers. In six seasons, he won 291 of 431 games (.675).


Bury


WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 19 games as the Regina Pats took down the Hurricanes, 6-4, in Lethbridge. . . . Regina won on the strength of three third-period goals after F Justin Hall, who has 33, struck at 7:23 and 7:50 to give Lethbridge a 4-3 lead. . . . Bedard finished with two goals and an assist, giving him 79 points, including 40 goals, in 49 games. . . . His 19-game point streak ties him with F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers, who had a 19-gamer end on Feb. 19. Bedard has 41 points, 20 of them goals, on his streak; Stankoven finished with 17 goals and 22 assists. . . .

F Tristen Robins scored three times to lead the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 5-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. The loss snapped Edmonton’s 14-game winning streak. . . . Robins, who broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals, has 30 this season. He scored at 4:22 and 15:18 of the second period and 4:55 of the third. . . . The Blades got 43 saves from G Nolan Maier, who posted his 118th career victory, just two shy of the WHL record. Maier stopped F Dylan Guenther on a penalty shot at 3:14 of the third period with the Blades leading 3-1. Robins scored his third goal just 1:41 later. . . .

In Langley, B.C., Czech F Petr Moravec scored at 1:37 of OT to give the Tri-City Americans a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Moravec, who turned 19 on Feb. 24, has 14 goals. . . . G Tomas Suchanek, an 18-year-old Czech, stopped 35 shots to earn the victory. . . . F Samuel Huo (26) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead with his second shorthanded goal in as many games at 7:27 of the first period. . . . D Alex Cotton (14) pulled the Giants even on the PP at 9:26 of the first. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Swift Current Broncos erased a 2-1 first-period deficit with the next five goals en route to a 6-3 victory over the Raiders. . . . F Karson King scored his fifth and sixth goals 11 seconds apart early in the second period to break a 2-2 tie. The Broncos also got a big game from G Isaac Poulter, who stopped 39 shots. . . .

F Blake Stevenson scored twice, giving him 22, to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Calgary had lost seven in a row. . . . F Zac Funk added his 18th goal and two assists for Calgary, which broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals, one late in the second period and two in the third. . . . The Wheat Kings were without top-end forwards Nate Danielson, Ridly Greig and Marcus Kallionkieli, all injured, for a third straight game. . . .

G Daniel Hauser blocked 24 shots to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 4-0 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . One night earlier, G Dawson Cowan, in his first WHL appearance, stopped 23 shots as the host Ice blanked the Calgary Hitmen, 4-0. . . . Hauser has a WHL-leading six shutouts in 27 appearances this season. He now is 22-2-1, 2.12, .913 this season. . . . The Ice got goals from F Connor McClennon (38), F Matthew Savoie (28), F Mike Milne (30) and F Conor Geekie (18).


Thanks a bunch to those of you who have clicked on the link and given generously. Much appreciated. . . . My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Walmart


The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs and general manager/head coach Joe Martin have agreed on a five-year contract extension that will take him through the 2026-27 season. . . . Martin is completing his third season with the Bulldogs after spending eight seasons with the Merritt Centennials, the last four as GM/head coach. . . . This season, the Bulldogs, with two games remaining, are 34-14-4 and leading the nine-team Coastal Division by seven points over the Langley Rivermen.


The NAHL announced Wednesday that the Minnesota Magicians, who played out of Richfield, have been sold and are on the move to Eagle River, Wis. The Magicians had been in Richfield for nine seasons. . . . Wisconsin is home to two other NAHL franchises — the Chippewa Steel in Chippewa Falls and the Janesville Jets in Janesville.


ApplePie


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

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


GoFundMe

WHL now has paused 20 of 22 teams . . . Hitmen take two games to alternate arena . . . SJHL is having COVID-19 issues, too

The WHL announced on Wednesday that it had placed the Brandon Wheat Kings WHLand Kelowna Rockets on pause “as a result of multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive for COVID-19.” . . . This means that the league has had 20 of its 22 teams pause all activities at one time or another since Dec. 30. . . . I had written that the only team not to have had to pause was the Seattle Thunderbirds, but Nick Marek, Portland’s media relations and broadcast manager, points out that the Winterhawks haven’t been paused, either. . . . On the roster/injury report released Tuesday, the Thunderbirds showed 10 players in protocol and two others having been cleared to return. Portland had one player in protocol. . . . On that same report, Brandon listed one player in protocol, with the Rockets showing two. Obviously, more positive tests came in after the weekly report was filed. . . .

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With the WHL putting Brandon and Kelowna on pause, three games were postponed. One of them — Brandon at the Regina Pats on Friday — was to have been televised nationally by TSN. . . . Instead, viewers will be able to watch the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds against the host Guelph Storm. And, with the QMJHL on pause, TSN won’t have a Jan. 28 game between the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Drummondville Voltigeurs. Instead, TSN will show the Prince Albert Raiders and the host Pats. . . . The WHL also postponed Kelowna’s next two games — at the Everett Silvertips tonight (Friday) and at the Vancouver Giants on Saturday. The Everett game already has been rescheduled for Feb. 6. . . . The WHL continues to reschedule games, so make sure to check your favourite team’s website before making plans to attend a game.


The WHL’s Calgary Hitmen share their home arena — the Scotiabank CalgarySaddledome — with the NHL’s Flames and the NLL’s Roughnecks. So it’s not always easily to reschedule games. . . . That has resulted in the Hitmen moving two rescheduled games to the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina Nation. That is the same facility in which the Hitmen played during the 2021 development season. . . . The Hitmen will play the Moose Jaw Warriors there on Feb. 16 and the Winnipeg Ice on Feb. 18.



Eyes


We all love stories involving EBUGs, don’t we? Well, here’s one about a guy who answered the call after a 15-year absence . . .


The SJHL has put the Battlefords North Stars on pause for at least five days due sjhlto COVID-19 having found its way into the organization. They were headed into a stretch of schedule that called for them to play four games in five days, so those games, through Jan. 25, have been postponed. . . . Battlefords is at least the ninth of the SJHL’s 12 teams to have had to pause team activities since Jan. 4. As of Thursday night, the Notre Dame Hounds also were on pause. . . . The SJHL has a terrific chronology of pauses and postponed/rescheduled games right here.


Sandals


ICYMI, NBC, the host broadcaster for the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Games that are to begin in Beijing on Feb. 4, announced on Thursday that it won’t be sending any announcing teams to China. . . . Greg Hughes, NBC Sports’ senior vice president communications, told Christine Brennan of USA TODAY: “The announce teams for these Olympics, including figure skating, will be calling events from our Stamford (Conn.) facility due to COVID concerns. We’ll still have a large presence on the ground in Beijing and our coverage of everything will be first rate as usual, but our plans are evolving by the day as they are for most media companies covering the Olympics.” . . . Brennan also reported that two sources had told her “ESPN is not going to send anyone to cover” the Games in Beijing. “If true,” she tweeted, “this is another sign of the extraordinary concern media companies now have with COVID testing and quarantine in Beijing.” . . . ESPN had planned to send four reporters, but has dropped that plan.

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Meanwhile, CBC reporter Devin Heroux, who spent 50 days in Tokyo covering the Summer Games and the Paralympics last summer, revealed that he won’t be going to Beijing. He tested positive on Christmas Day and, while he’s over that part of it, he is unable to meet the Beijing Olympic Committee requirement of three negative tests within 30 days of departure. . . . CBC also has a policy of not sending anyone to Beijing who has tested positive within 30 days of leaving Canada.



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.


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