Canucks make their Abbotsford intentions official . . . OT the rage in WHL’s Tuesday games . . . Does CFL draft make Bob Lowes a Blue Bombers’ fan?


The Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate won’t be setting up shop in Kamloops or CanucksKelowna. But it appears that it will be operating out of B.C. next season. . . . Although negotiations with the City of Abbotsford aren’t yet complete, the Canucks said Tuesday that they intend to move the Utica Comets to the Abbotsford Centre for the 2021-22 season. . . . Here’s Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini from a statement: “With momentum starting to build, we are pleased to confirm our goal to bring our AHL franchise and Canucks prospects home to the City of Abbotsford. The move would bring significant opportunities for both our team and the community and it would begin a new chapter, bringing Canucks hockey to even more fans throughout the Lower Mainland.” . . . The Canucks’ AHL team has been in Utica since the 2013-14 season. The New Jersey Devils are expected to move their AHL franchise, the Binghamton Devils, to Utica in time for next season. . . . The Calgary Flames had their AHL affiliate, the Heat, play out of Abbotsford for five seasons (2009-14), before relocating it to Stockton, Calif.

——

Only time will tell what kind of impact, if any, having the Vancouver Canucks’ Vancouvertop affiliate in Abbotsford might have on the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. . . . The Giants play out of the Langley Events Centre, which is located 34 km west of the Abbotsford Centre. Both facilities are just off the Trans-Canada Highway. . . . The Giants have played four seasons out of Langley after relocating from Pacific Coliseum after the 2015-16 season. . . . In their last season in the Coliseum, announced attendance averaged 5,169. . . . In their four seasons in Langley, starting in 2016-17, the announced average has been 3,848, 3,383, 3,826 and 3,920. That last figure was from the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season in which the Giants ended up playing 30 home games. . . . The Lower Mainland also is home to four BCHL franchises — the Chilliwack Chiefs, Coquitlam Express, Langley Rivermen and Surrey Eagles. . . . You would think that the presence of one more hockey team — this one featuring prospects who belong to the area’s NHL team — will have an impact of some kind somewhere along the line. . . . Also, having a new team on the block certainly won’t help the junior teams as they try to find their ways back into the hearts of their fans after having been away from live crowds for what will have been about 18 months . . . assuming, that is, that the 2021-22 season gets started in the fall and that teams will be allowed to have fans in attendance.



Three more WHL teams, all from Alberta, played their final games of this developmental season on Tuesday night. The other two will wrap up their seasons on Thursday night. . . . That will leave 10 WHL teams left with games on the schedule, all of them in B.C. or the U.S. . . . All told, there were four games played last night with three of them needing OT to decide a winner. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen tied the game late in the third period and then scored late Calgaryin OT to beat the host Red Deer Rebels, 4-3. . . . Calgary (10-8-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Red Deer (4-15-4) finished with points in each of its last four games (2-0-2). . . . Both teams were playing their final games of this season. . . . D Mason Ward (2) put the Rebels out front at 16:43 of the first period. . . . The Hitmen went ahead on second-period PP goals from F Sean Tschigerl (13), at 16:40, and F Riley Stotts (6), at 18:13. . . . Stotts also had two assists. . . . Red Deer took a 3-2 lead when F Ben King scored two third-period goals — at 9:14, on a PP, and 16:45. . . . Calgary got it to OT as F Josh Prokop (10) scored at 19:13. . . . F Adam Kydd (9) won it at 4:21 of extra time. . . . King also drew one assist. The 13th overall pick in the 2017 bantam draft finished with 28 points, including 12 goals, in 21 games. He totalled four goals and four assists over his final three games. . . . Tschigerl, the fourth overall selection in the 2018 draft, finished on a 12-game point streak, putting up 11 goals and seven assists over that stretch. . . . The Hitmen got 32 saves from G Brayden Peters. . . . Red Deer G Chase Coward turned aside 42 shots. Coward appears to suffer a cut to one wrist during a scramble in his crease at 13:55 of the third period. He was replaced by Byron Fancy, who stopped four of five shots in finishing the period. Coward was back for OT. . . .

In Edmonton, F Josh Williams scored 21 seconds into OT to give the Oil Kings a Edmonton3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings (19-2-1) will finish with the best record among the five Alberta teams. . . . The Hurricanes (9-12-3) lost their last two games (0-1-1). . . . Lethbridge played its final game of this season; Edmonton and the Tigers will conclude their seasons in Medicine Hat on Thursday. . . . Williams gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 10:12 of the first period. . . . Lethbridge took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Chase Wheatcroft (8), at 15:11 of the first, and F Ty Nash (4), at 14:52 of the second. . . . F Jalen Luypen (16) pulled Edmonton even at 17:32 of the second. . . . Williams won it with his 17th goal of the season. . . . Nash was unable to score on a penalty shot at 1:09 of the third period. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 27 shots, nine fewer than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . .

F Samuel Huo scored the game’s final two goals, the last one in OT, to give the Americansvisiting Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Americans (7-8-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Chiefs (6-7-5) have points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . Tri-City took a 1-0 lead at 5:46 of the first period when F Tyson Greenway (3) scored. . . . The Chiefs got two goals before the period ended, from F Adam Beckman (16), on a PP, and D Graham Sward (1). . . . F Connor Bouchard (4) got Tri-City back into a tie, on a PP, at 14:18. . . . F Luke Toporowski (1) gave Spokane the lead at 9:41 of the third period in his second game since returning from the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. . . . Huo, who also had an assist, tied the score at 12:47 and won it with his ninth goal, just 23 seconds into OT. . . .

The Prince George Cougars have points in five straight games after beating the PGhost Kelowna Rockets, 2-1. . . . The Cougars (8-7-3) are 4-0-1 in their five-game streak. . . . The Rockets (8-3-1) had at least a point in each of their previous six games (5-0-1). . . . F Koehn Ziemmer (7) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 7:08 of the first period. . . . F Connor Bowie (7) upped that to 2-0 with a shorthanded goal, the seventh the Rockets have surrendered this season, at 5:23 of the second. . . . Kelowna didn’t cut the deficit in half until F Mark Liwiski (9) scored at 15:38 of the third period. . . . The Rockets had a 30-18 edge in shots, including 12-4 in the third period. . . . G Taylor Gauthier earned the victory with 29 saves.


Artisans


The CFL held its annual draft on Thursday, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers used a fourth-round pick, 34th overall, to take LB Robbie Lowes of the Regina Rams. . . . He’s 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, and may well end up in the Bombers’ defensive backfield. He also is the son of Bob Lowes, the former WHL player and coach who now is the director of amateur scouting for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . . Robbie lost the 2020 season, which would have been his fifth in USports, to the pandemic. But USports is allowing those players to return to play a fifth season so that option still will be open to him.


Don’t forget that my wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: F Tristen Robins of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades is joining the San Jose Barracuda, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. Robins, 19, had 10 goals and 13 assists in 16 games in the WHL’s Regina hub. The Sharks selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2020 draft.


Radio

WHL exempt from Alberta gov’t restrictions . . . AJHL has another team on virus leave . . . Rebels’ Sexsmith opens up about the season


If you’re paying attention, you already know that COVID-19 had another good day on Thursday.

In fact, you have to wonder if behind closed doors junior hockey operators are WHL2starting to wonder if the 2021-22 season is going to start anywhere close to on time, at least in Western Canada. Because — and let’s be honest here — we aren’t anywhere close to seeing the end of this.

When Alberta released its Thursday numbers, they were the worst the province has seen since the pandemic began in the early days of 2020.

So, from the Department of Better Late Than Never, the Alberta government responded with restrictions that cover various cities with particularly horrendous numbers, like Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Red Deer, each of them home to a WHL franchise.

Part of those restrictions included this:

“All indoor fitness activities are prohibited. This includes: all group physical activities, such as team sports, fitness classes and training sessions; all one-on-one lessons and training activities; all practices, training and games.”

But never fear WHL fans because it seems your favourite teams are exempt from these restrictions. With Red Deer playing on Thursday night, Rebels interim radio voice Troy Gillard tweeted that a “team official tells me the WHL does indeed remain exempt and games will continue as scheduled.”

Other areas under the restrictions are Airdrie, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Strathcona County, which includes Sherwood Park.

It would appear that the AJHL, like the WHL, is exempt from the restrictions because the Grande Prairie Storm is at home to the Sherwood Park Crusaders tonight (Friday) and Saturday, with the teams to play next weekend in Sherwood Park.


Plague


The AJHL has suspended the team activities of another team — the Calgary Canucks — after a positive COVID-19 test result was identified within the ajhlteam’s cohort. As per the league’s return-to-play protocols, the Canucks are on hold for at least 14 days. They were scheduled to play the Drayton Valley Thunder in Calgary tonight (Friday), on the road Sunday and May 7, and May 9 in Calgary, but those games all have been cancelled. . . .

On Tuesday, the AJHL halted team activities for the Whitecourt Wolverines and Bonnyville Pontiacs for 14 days because of a positive test in the Wolverines’ group. Those two teams had played each other on Saturday and Sunday. . . .

On Sunday, the Okotoks Oilers were put on hold for 14 days because of a positive test in their cohort. . . .

On April 23, the Drumheller Dragons experienced a positive test and they, too, were shut down for 14 days. . . .

On Wednesday, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons announced that they were ending their season out of an abundance of concern for the safety of players, billets and their community, which is under a local state of emergency. . . .

The league has seven teams up and running — Drayton Valley, Grande Prairie Storm, Sherwood Park Crusaders and Spruce Grove Saints in the North Division, and Brooks Bandits, Camrose Kodiaks and Olds Grizzlys in the South Division.

With seven teams and three two-team cohorts, the Spruce Grove Saints were left without a partner. That problem went away with the news regarding the Canucks. So the Saints are to play the Thunder tonight (Friday) in Spruce Grove and Saturday in Drayton Valley.

The AJHL schedule is to conclude on May 8.


File this under The Best Laid Plans: The Los Angeles Rams rented and outfitted a 9,000-square-foot beach house in Malibu from which their personnel was to set up shop and conduct the NFL draft. . . . On Thursday, general manager Les Snead announced that he has tested positive so will isolate at home and conduct the draft from there.


Retire


Mark Brennan, the Portland Winterhawks’ equipment manager, announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of this season. He has been the club’s equipment manager since 2012, after also working with, among others, the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers. When Portland’s season ends on May 11, Brennan will have worked 2,251 games. The Winterhawks’ news release is right here.

Brennan wasn’t behind a bench on Thursday night — he’ll be there tonight with Portland playing host to the Everett Silvertips — but there were three other WHL games . . .

In Lethbridge, the Medicine Hat Tigers broke a 1-1 tie with two shorthanded Tigersgoals and went on to beat the Hurricanes, 6-2. . . . Medicine Hat (13-6-1) had lost its previous three games. . . . Lethbridge is 8-11-2. . . . F Brett Kemp gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 6:44 of the first period, with F Jett Jones (5) getting the Hurricanes even at 12:07. . . . D Cole Clayton (9) sent the Tigers out front with the first shorthanded goal, at 3:51 of the second period, with F Nick McCarry (7) adding the second one at 10:48. . . . Medicine Hat put it away with the next three goals, too — Kemp’s second and 12th of the season, and two from F Lukas Svejkovsky, who also has 12. . . . F Ty Nash (2) got Lethbridge’s second goal on a late PP. . . .

F Cael Zimmerman’s OT goal gave the visiting Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 victory Calgaryover the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Hitmen improved to 9-7-2. . . . The Rebels (2-15-3) have lost 13 in a row (0-12-1). . . . F Josh Prokop (9) put Calgary out front, while shorthanded, at 2:39 of the first period and the teams exchanged goals through game’s end. . . . F Carter Anderson (2) got Red Deer even at 13:19, with D Jackson van de Least (3) replying for Calgary at 17:40. . . . Red Deer tied it on D Jace Weir’s second goal at 19:52. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (5) put the Hitmen back out front, 3-2, at 10:18 of the second period. . . . F Chris Douglas (6) forced OT with a Red Deer score at 12:48 of the third. . . . Zimmerman won it with his sixth goal of the season, at 4:19 of extra time. . . . Calgary F Sean Tschigel had two assists, giving him 18 points, including 10 goals, in 18 games. He went into this season with five goals and nine assists in 64 games. . . .

BTW, if you are interested in a good story about what life’s been like with the RedDeerstruggling Rebels who have been living in the arena since this season began, here’s a taste from D Joel Sexsmith:

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t really tough,” the 19-year-old told Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate. “It hasn’t been easy here. It certainly hasn’t been easy when you’re losing, too. I think the dynamic would shift if we’d been winning all the time and we haven’t been, that’s just the reality.

“We live here, we look at the rink every day and it kind of serves as a reminder that we are where we are in the standings. I think that’s really tough mentally. I would say I’m really grateful that I’m able to go through this with this group of guys. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I love this group of guys on this team.” . . . Hackett’s complete piece is right here and it’s well worth a read. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff broke a 3-3 tie at 18:27 of the third period as the Kelowna RocketsRockets beat the visiting Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . The Rockets (7-2-0) have won four in a row. . . . The Giants (9-7-0) have lost four straight. . . . Swetlikoff’s fourth goal of the season stood up as the winner. . . . Kelowna D Jake Lee (2) had tied the game at 14:29 of the third. . . . Vancouver led this one 2-0 on two first-period goals from F Zack Ostapchuk, at 9:03 and 9:40. . . . Ostapchuk, who has six goals in 16 games this  season, finished last season with five in 44 games as a freshman. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (4) got Kelowna’s first goal, on a PP, at 13:21. . . . The Rockets tied it on F Turner McMillen’s first WHL goal, shorthanded, at 4:19 of the second. That was Kelowna’s fifth shorthanded score in nine games. . . . McMillen was a ninth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He played two games last season and this was No. 9 this season. . . . Vancouver went back out front when F Bryce Bader (4) scored at 7:40. . . . Watching the replay of the winning goal, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s changed to F Mark Liwiski, who appeared to score off a Swetlikoff rebound.


Belarus (2-1-0) secured a quarter-final berth in the IIHF U18 World U18Championship in Texas on Thursday, with a 6-2 victory over Latvia (0-3-0) in Group A. . . . Sweden (2-1-0) beat Switzerland (1-2-0), 3-1, in the other Group A game. . . . In Group B, G Kaidan Mbereko stopped five shooters in the shootout as Team USA beat Czech Republic, 2-1. . . . In the other Group B game, Russia (2-0-1) skated past Germany (0-3-0), 6-1. . . . There are two games scheduled for today — Canada (2-0-0) meets Switzerland in Group A, while Finland (2-0-0) plays Germany in Group B.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

——

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.


Monkees

Jarvis, Tschigerl fill their hats . . . ‘Sudden-Death’ Schneider strikes again . . . Neighbours keeps streak intact

Mud2
It was a muddy Saturday on the north shore of the South Thompson River just east of Kamloops. Yes, that’s a tow vehicle visible through the trees. The backhoe was extricated about 1 p.m.; I didn’t hang around to see the fate of the truck.


Alex Kopacz, 31, is an Olympic gold medallist, having won the two-man bobsleigh competition as pilot Justin Kripps’ brakeman in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Today, he’s in hospital in London, Ont., just happy to be alive. . . . “I’ve never felt so close to my own death before,” he told Donna Spencer of The Canadian Press. “It’s been horrible.” . . . Yes, he has COVID-19, and he is on oxygen to help him breathe. But he is showing improvement and hopes to be out of the hospital in a few days, although he doesn’t know what the future holds. . . . In the meantime, he wants everyone to know that “it’s not a joke. The only thing that’s a joke is people who don’t believe in scientists. The anti-maskers are a joke. An absolute hazard to society.” . . . Spencer’s complete story is right here.


The Western Canadian Baseball League lost another team on Saturday when the Medicine Hat Mavericks announced they have chosen to opt out of the 2021 season. . . . The league announced late last month that its Alberta teams were going to go ahead with a season using only Canadian players. At this point, the Edmonton Prospects, Lethbridge Bulls, Sylvan Lake Gulls and two teams of Okotoks Dawgs seem poised to play.


The Canadian College Baseball Conference announced Saturday that it has cancelled its 2021 spring season “due to public health restrictions.” . . . From a statement: “The CCBC board of governors was optimistic in the early spring that a return to play would happen and worked diligently to pursue every avenue to make the conference season happen. With provincial authorities extending current restrictions it has made for challenges that can’t be overcome.” . . . The CCBC comprises eight teams in Alberta and B.C.



KidneyWalk

Hey, want to be part of a team? Dorothy, my wife of almost 49 years, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and now is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. It happens virtually on June 6. You are able to join her team with a donation right here.


Athletics Canada has decided not to send a team to the two-day World Athletics Relays that are scheduled for Chorzow, Poland, May 1 and 2. Australia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the U.S. have also said they won’t be there. . . . Simon Nathan, Athletics Canada’s high performance director, in a statement: “The safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority. Though showing signs of improvement, Poland is reporting a very high level of COVID-19 and travellers are strongly encouraged to avoid all non-essential travel in and out of Poland, even those who are fully vaccinated.” . . . The Canadian team, which has been training in Baton Route, La., was to have comprised 24 athletes.


The WHL’s Regina hub season will end with two games on Wednesday. The five WHL2Saskatchewan and two Manitoba teams have been there since early March, staying in dormitories at the U of Regina and Luther College. . . . The WHL said on Saturday that the seven teams have gotten through their final COVID-19 testing period without any positive tests. Teams are tested once a week. In the period from April 18-24, those seven teams experienced 213 tests without a positive. . . . In total, there were 1,020 tests administered to WHL teams in that time period, with one positive test for a player with the Tri-City Americans. According to the WHL, that player “was deemed to have been a close contact resulting from the previous one case of COVID-19, as announced April 17. The player remains in isolation at this time.” . . . The Americans, then, have had two players test positive. . . . According to the WHL, it has administered 8,220 tests from Feb. 12 through April 24 with 14 of those coming up positive.

Meanwhile, there were five games on Saturday . . .

F Seth Jarvis scored Portland’s last three goals as the host Winterhawks skated PortlandAlternateto a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland improved to 7-5-3, while Seattle, which has lost three straight, slipped to 7-8-0. . . . The Thunderbirds fell behind 2-0 before this one was two minutes old and weren’t ever able to catch up despite getting to within a goal on three occasions — 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3. . . . F Simon Knak (9) and D Ryan McCleary (3) scored on Portland’s first two shots. . . . F Gabe Ludwig scored for Seattle at 10:49 of the first period, but Portland F Mason Mannek (6) got that one back at 13:55. . . . Seattle F Sam Oremba scored his first WHL goal at 14:12 — he was the seventh overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft — and Jarvis replied 54 seconds into the second period. . . . D Tyrel Bauer (2) pulled Seattle back to within a goal at 4:22. . . . Jarvis completed his third career hat trick with goals at 11:13 of the second and 11:09 of the third, both via the PP. He’s got 10 goals. . . . Portland was 3-for-7 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-3. . . . These teams will play again tonight in Portland. . . .

D Braden Schneider scored in OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 5-4 victory Brandonover the Prince Albert Raiders in the Regina hub. . . . Schneider, a native of Prince Albert, struck for his fifth goal at 2:30 of OT. . . . He also had the OT winner on April 18 in a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney (13) had tied the score at 14:39 of the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings (17-3-2) have won six in a row. . . . The Raiders (8-10-4) have points in two straight (1-0-1). . . . Prince Albert erased 2-1 and 3-1 deficits to lead 4-3 in the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings led 2-0 after one period on goals by F Brett Hyland (4) and F Lynden McCallum, on a PP. . . . F Dallyn Peekeekoot (4) got the Raiders on the board at 7:23 of the second period, with McCallum, who has 15 goals, restoring the two-goal lead at 7:23. . . . The Raiders then scored three straight goals — from D Landon Kosior (4) at 9:09 of the second, F Evan Herman (8), on a PP, 23 seconds into the third and F Matthew Culling (3) at 8:55 — for a 4-3 lead. . . . F Nate Danielson drew three assists for Brandon. The fifth overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft, he has three goals and 12 assists in 22 games. . . . The Wheat Kings get their first opportunity to clinch the Regina hub’s best record when they play the Regina Pats today. Brandon holds a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Ice. . . .

Linemates Jake Neighbours and Kaid Oliver each had a goal and two assists to Edmontonlead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 4-1 victory over the host Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Oil Kings (16-1-1) have points in eight straight (7-0-1). They had beaten the visiting Tigers, 3-0, on Friday. . . . Medicine Hat now is 12-5-1. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Edmonton. . . . Oliver (10) and Neighbours (9) gave Edmonton a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . D Cole Clayton’s eight goal got Medicine Hat on the board at 8:22 of the second. . . . F Josh Williams (11), the third member of Edmonton’s big line, and D Matthew Robertson (4) scored PP goals in the third period to put it away. . . . Neighbours has played in 17 games this season and has at least a point in each one. He has 10 multi-point games. All told, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 bantam draft has nine goals and 22 assists. . . . According to Andrew Peard of the Oil Kings, this was head coach Brad Lauer’s 100th regular-season victory. He is 100-31-19. Peard reports that Lauer “becomes the fastest coach in Oil Kings history to the century mark, doing it in 150 games. Derek Laxdal had done it in 175 games. . . .

F Sean Tschigerl’s three goals led the Calgary Hitmen to a 7-2 victory over the CalgaryHurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . The Hitmen (8-5-2) have points on four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Hurricanes (7-10-2) have lost three in a row. . . . The Hitmen, in their first game since April 5, had beaten the visiting Hurricanes, 6-3, on Friday. . . . They’re back at it again tonight in Calgary. . . . Lethbridge F Chase Wheatcroft (5) tied the game 2-2 at 10:41 of the second period. . . . The Hitmen followed that with three goals in 4:20 to take a 5-2 lead into the third period. . . . Calgary wrapped it up with two shorthanded goals, 25 seconds apart, in the third, with F Josh Prokop getting his eighth and Tschigerl completing his first WHL hat trick with his ninth. . . . Prokop also had two assists. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets snapped a 2-2 tie with two third-period goals as they Rocketsbeat the Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . Kelowna (5-2-0) has won two straight. . . . Vancouver (9-4-0) had won its previous four games. . . . D Jake Lee’s first goal of the season got the Rockets into a 3-3 tie two minutes into the third period. . . . F Mark Liwiski (5) broke the tie at 5:15. . . . The Giants had opened the scoring at 9:11 of the first period on a goal by D Alex Kannok Leipert (5). . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (3) pulled Kelowna even at 18:35, on a PP. . . . F Justin Sourdif put the Giants back out front with a shorthanded score at 12:47 of the second period, only to have D Kaedan Korczak (2) tie it at 15:02. . . . Sourdif, who has seven goals, gave the Giants their third lead at 17:54. . . . Kelowna was 1-for-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-for-1.


Collies


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.


Toaster

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heroux’s complete story is right here.


Fire


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

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

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


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


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


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


Canyon


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


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


Prof


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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


Irony

Nova Scotia, with virus numbers rising, pulls plug on Women’s Worlds . . . WHL adjusts schedule; some teams won’t get in 24 games . . . CFL provides an update

It sure looked as though the IIHF Women’s World Championship was going to start in Halifax and Truro on May 6. But that’s before COVID-19 reared its ugly head and said: “Not so fast.”

On Wednesday, with Team Canada already training in Halifax and one day WomenHockeybefore nine other teams were to begin arriving for their quarantine sessions, the Nova Scotian government chose to inform the IIHF and Hockey Canada that the tournament was off.

In a statement, Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney and Scott Smith, the president and COO, said: “While we are disappointed with the cancellation, we understand the decision was made with the health and safety of all participants and the community at large as the top priority.”

René Fasel, the IIHF president, said: “This is very disappointing news to receive with just a few weeks until the tournament was to begin. We strongly believe that we had the adequate safety measures in place to protect players, officials, spectators and all residents in Halifax and Truro, based on the IIHF and Hockey Canada’s experiences from hosting the IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton. In the end, we must accept the decision of the government.”

On Wednesday, Nova Scotia reported 25 new COVID-19 cases, which, according to CBC News, is “the highest daily total since November 24 when 37 cases were diagnosed. It pushes the province’s seven-day average to 10, which is the first time it has been in double digits since early December.”

On April 15, Nova Scotia had 42 active cases; on Wednesday, it announced that it now had 79.

In a news release, Premier Iain Rankin admitted to being “very concerned” about the rising number.

“We are seeing early signs of community spread and we must strictly follow all public health protocols to get back on track, especially in the greater Halifax region,” Rankin said.

CBC News reported that “19 of the new cases are in the central health zone, which includes the Halifax area. Four cases are related to travel outside the region.”

Canada’s Atlantic provinces have done better than the rest of the country — the far north excluded — at keeping COVID-19 at bay and one of the major weapons has been travel restrictions. So with the numbers threatening to keep going up, the province chose the health of its citizens over playing host to an international tournament.

Really, it’s hard to argue with the decision.

The IIHF and Hockey Canada are still hopeful of holding the tournament at some point during the summer. There also were reports later Wednesday that the Dallas Stars and USA Hockey are exploring the possibility of playing it in Texas, perhaps in Frisco and Plano, where the U18 IIHF World championship is to open on Monday.

But, at least for now, the Women’s world championship has been scrubbed for a second straight year. The tournament also was to have been held in Halifax and Truro a year ago.


Hotel


The WHL announced a number of schedule changes on Wednesday, all of them WHL2necessitated by teams having missed games because of positive tests. . . . The end result is that without any more postponements a number of teams won’t play 24 games in this developmental season as was originally hoped. . . . Two of the teams that have experienced positive tests, the Calgary Hitmen and Kelowna Rockets, will play 21 and 16 games respectively. . . . The Hitmen, by the way, have completed their 14-day isolation period and have been cleared to resume team activities. They now are scheduled to return to game action on Friday afternoon against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The WHL’s news release on the schedule changes is right here. . . .

——

Meanwhile, there were three WHL games played on Wednesday and PP goals were the hot item. All told, the six teams involved struck for 26 goals, with 13 of them coming with the man advantage. . . .

F Nolan Ritchie scored twice to help the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 6-2 victory Brandonover the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Wheat Kings (16-3-2), who have won five straight, now hold a three-point lead over the idle Saskatoon Blades (14-3-3) and the Winnipeg Ice (15-5-1), which beat the Moose Jaw Warriors last night, atop the Regina hub standings. . . . The Broncos (4-16-1) have lost two in a row. . . . F Lynden McCallum (13) gave Brandon a 1-0 first-period lead, with Ritchie, who has 10 goals, making it 2-0 at 14:49 of the second. . . . D Mat Ward (5) scored for the Broncos, on a PP, at 16:39. . . . Ritchie got that one back at 17:33 and D Rylan Thiessen (1) added another at 19:04. . . . F Brett Hyland (3) and D Vince Iorio (5) added PP goals for Brandon in the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings were 3-for-6 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-for-6. . . . Brandon held a 33-18 edge in shots. . . .

F Jakin Smallwood opened and closed the scoring as the Winnipeg Ice got past Winnipegthe Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-5 in OT, in the Regina hub. . . . The Ice (15-5-1) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Warriors are 8-11-2. . . . F Cade Hayes (4) gave the Warriors a 5-4 lead with a PP goal at 14:38 of the third period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (13), who now has points in 20 straight games, tied the game at 18:48 with G Carl Stankowski on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Smallwood, who had opened the scoring at 1:08 of the first period, won it with his 13th goal at 1:46 of OT. . . . The Ice erased deficits of 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 to win this one. . . . Winnipeg was 2-for-4 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 2-for-3. . . . Krebs finished with two goals. After being blanked in his first game, he’s got 13 goals and 26 assists in his 20-game streak. Last season, he scored 12 times in 38 games. . . . The Ice also got two goals from F Skyler Bruce. He has three on the season. . . . Hayes finished with two goals and an assist. . . .

F Justin Sourdif and D Alex Kannok Leipert each scored once and added two Vancouverassists to help the Vancouver Giants to a 5-3 lead over the Victoria Royals in Kelowna. . . . The Giants (9-3-0) have won four in a row. . . . The Royals (1-10-1) have lost seven straight. . . . The game’s first five goals came via the PP. . . . F Brayden Tracey (8) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 3:25 of the first period. . . . Kannok Leipert (4) tied it at 15:32. . . . Victoria went back out front on a goal by F Tarun Fizer (3) at 2:58 of the second period. . . . The Giants took control with the next three goals — from F Eric Florchuk (4), at 14:58, Sourdif (5), at 16:21, and F Zack Ostapchuk (4), at 3:18 of the third. . . . F Ty Yoder (3) got Victoria to within a goal at 4:57, but F Justin Lies (2) restored Vancouver’s two-goal lead at 13:47. . . . The Giants finished 3-for-9 on the PP; the Royals were 2-for-5. . . . Vancouver had a 38-20 edge in shots, including 11-5 in the first period and 12-5 in the second.


Masks


The CFL said Wednesday that it hopes to open its 2021 season on Aug. 5, which CFLwould be almost two months later than the June 10 opening date at which it once was aiming. . . . The plan is to open training camps in late June, have each team play 14 games, down from the normal 18, and hold the Grey Cup game in Hamilton on Dec. 12 instead of Nov. 21. . . . Here’s Randy Ambrosie, the CFL commissioner: “We will play CFL football in 2021.” . . . He then admitted that it all hinges on getting approval from public health officials in various jurisdictions and getting the OK from government and health officials to have “a significant number of fans in the stands, in a significant number of venues at the start of the season, and in the rest of our venues soon after that, so a 2021 season is financially tenable for our clubs.” . . . In the end, like so many other things, the CFL will go ahead if the virus allows it. . . . In the meantime, get vaccinated so that we can get all sports back and with fans in the stands. . . .

In Regina, Jeremy O’Day, the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ general manager, informed players that the reporting date is July 2, followed by a seven-day quarantine period. Training camp is set to open on July 10. . . . O’Day also had this message for players: “We know these have been challenging times. One major way to help us with our return to play and getting fans in the stands is by getting vaccinated. Our medical professionals are strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe, effective and are critical to getting our team back on the field. If you would like to speak to one of the Roughrider doctors about the vaccine, please let me know and we will arrange that.” . . . Justin Dunk of 3Down Nation has more right here.


The seven-team Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) was to have opened its 2021 season on June 5. It announced on Wednesday that it has moved opening day of its 14-game season to June 24. Under normal circumstances, teams each would play 20 games. . . . The CEBL spent its 2020 season in a bubble in St. Catharines, Ont., but says it won’t be playing in that environment this season.


——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The Regina Pats unveiled their player card sets on Wednesday morning and sold out the first printing — 500 sets — in fewer than three hours. It wasn’t long before there was a Connor Bedard card available on eBay for $100, and a complete set — including “Connor Bedard Official WHL Rookie Card” — for $149.95 or best offer. . . . The AJHL’s Blackfalds Bulldogs, who are to being their first season in the fall, have added Brady Bakke to their coaching staff. He spent two seasons (2017-18) as an assistant coach with the U18 AAA St. Albert Raiders, and then two seasons as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. Bakke, 27, is from Red Deer.


Earth

Another big day for COVID-19 . . . WHL doing the virus shuffle as more teams hit . . . Bedard leaves Regina with game to remember


The virus had one of its best days yet. Holy smokes! . . . Positive tests on three teams in the WHL, which was forced to shut down two of the teams. . . . The World men’s curling championship shut down after positive tests in the Calgary bubble. Yes, in the bubble! . . . Warnings from the Vancouver Canucks’ team physician. . . . The virus bit the Colorado Avalanche, one NHL broadcasting team, the Toronto Blue Jays . . . On top of all that, Canada had its worst day since the start of the pandemic — yes, since the start! — with 9,255 new positives. Hey, we’re a mess up here but we’ll be fine because our government and health officials are monitoring things.


The WHL has shut down two more teams, with the Calgary Hitmen and Medicine Hat Tigers having joined the Kelowna Rockets with all team activities suspended.

Calgary’s team activities have been suspended because a player has tested WHL2positive. The Hitmen have been hanging their hats on the Tsuut’ina Nation just southwest of the city, practising and playing games at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex and living at the Grey Eagle Resort.

The Tigers, who are living with billets, played the Hitmen on Monday and “have been deemed a close contact,” the league said, so their team activities also have been suspended.

The league has suspended six regular-season games that were scheduled for Friday through Monday — Medicine Hat at Lethbridge and Calgary at Red Deer, from Friday; Lethbridge at Medicine Hat, on Saturday; Red Deer at Calgary, on Sunday; and Medicine Hat at Lethbridge and Calgary at Red Deer on Monday.

With Lethbridge and Red Deer having had those games scrubbed, the Hurricanes and Rebels instead will play each other three times this weekend. They played last night in Red Deer and are to meet tonight in Lethbridge and again Monday in Lethbridge.

Meanwhile, there also have been positive tests with the Rockets and Vancouver Giants but they won’t impact either team’s schedule.

The Rockets have been shut down since seven positives — four players, three staff members — were revealed on March 31. The new positive test is a player who was deemed a close contact from those seven positives and he is in isolation.

According to the WHL, all other Kelowna players and staff tested negative this week. They all have been in isolation so the latest positive doesn’t impact their scheduled return to team activities. If all goes well, that should happen on April 15.

The Vancouver player who tested positive was soon to be added to the roster. He was in quarantine before joining the team in Kamloops and, according to the WHL, “has not had contact with any members of the team cohort.”

Everyone else with the Giants tested negative this week, so team activities won’t be impacted.


The Vancouver Canucks still had 19 players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list Canuckswhen it was released on Friday afternoon. Three players off their taxi squad, three coaches and one other staff member also tested positive.

Before the list came out on Friday, Vancouver general manager Jim Benning and Dr. Jim Bovard, the team’s physician, met virtually with media members.

Here’s some of what was said . . . 

Jim Benning:

“I think we’ll have the majority of our (injured) guys back when we start playing, outside of two or three guys.

“My conversations with the league are that we’re going to continue with our schedule at some point, and that we’re going to play all 56 games.

Dr. Bovard:

“We know the individual had gone to a place within the guidelines. That place was subsequently found to have cases of COVID . . . we’ve made it clear within our group there’s no culprit here aside form the (virus) itself.”

“We’ve had a whole range of what I’ve seen in COVID throughout my practice in the last year. Nothing unusual. Nothing different. There’s been nobody who’s needed to be hospitalized.”

“What we do know is that it is a variant. The process for determining what kind of variant is much more complex.”

“We’re moving out of the infection phase and into the dealing with symptoms and recovery phase. . . . For the most part, players are on the other side of this COVID-19. None were hospitalized, but family members are getting sick now.”

“The virus is tricky. It’s changing, and we need to change with it. If we could anticipate what it’s going to do next, our jobs would be much easier.”

“I can speak absolutely, emphatically to everybody out there . . . you do not want to get this virus, so do everything you can to not get this virus, not just for your sake, so that you’re not potentially passing it on to others.”

“If you’re sick, stay home. Isolate. It doesn’t matter what you’re sick with. Stay home and isolate.”


The NHL’s COVID-19 problems aren’t only in Vancouver. . . . The Colorado nhl2Avalanche cancelled its morning skate on Friday after learning Thursday that one of its players had tested positive. . . . D Bowen Byram was on the NHL’s protocol list when it was released on Friday. . . . The Avalanche went ahead with Friday’s game and beat the host Anaheim Ducks, 2-0. . . .

Meanwhile, F William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs will sit for at least a week after going on the protocol list on Wednesday after being yanked from a game against the Montreal Canadiens. That occurred after he was identified as a close contact with a potential positive case who isn’t involved with the team. . . .

The Pittsburgh Penguins visited the New Jersey Devils on Friday night in a game televised by the MSG Network. However, the network had to cancel its pregame show after hosts Erika Wachter and Bryce Salvador went into COVID-19 protocol.


The Toronto Blue Jays placed OF Teoscar Hernandez on the injured list Friday after he was deemed to be a close contact to someone who tested positive outside of the team. . . . They also put LHP Ryan Borucki on the injured list due to side-effects to his COVID-19 vaccination. Then, during a 7-1 loss to the Anaheim Angels in Dunedin, Fla., Toronto pulled LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. after two innings because he also was experiencing side-effects from his vaccination.


The biggest story in the WHL this season to date is being written by F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats. The 15-year-old Bedard, the first overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, scored twice in a 2-1 OT victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday, just three days after his grandfather, Garth, died in a two-vehicle crash on the Trans-Canada Highway near Sicamous, B.C. . . . “It’s not easy for me, obviously, and my family,” Bedard told reporters via Zoom, while fighting to hold back tears. “He is definitely who I play for now and will for the rest of my life. It’s a really special game and I know he’s watching me.” . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post was at the game and his story is right here.

——

The game signalled the end of Bedard’s first WHL season, as he now will return Patshome to North Vancouver and spend some time with his family before joining Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, April 26 through May 6. . . . Last night, he gave the Pats (6-6-3) a 1-0 lead 22 seconds into the second period and won it 49 seconds into OT on a PP. . . . Bedard finished with 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games. . . . He leads the seven-team Regina hub in points and is tied for the lead in goals. . . . F Jake Chiasson (8) had tied it for Brandon (11-2-2) at 1:20 of the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings had an eight-game winning streak snapped. . . . Brandon has points in nine straight now and has outscored its opponents 42-16 over that stretch. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 33 shots for Regina.

F Gage Goncalves broke a 3-3 tie at 18:24 of the third period as the Everett Silvertips beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-3, in Kent, Wash. . . . He’s got seven goals. . . . F Cole Fonstad (6) gave Everett a 3-1 lead at 7:16 of the second period. . . . Seattle tied it on third-period goals by F Conner Roulette (6), at 11:46, and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (8), with his second of the game, at 14:42. . . . Everett (9-1-0) has won four straight. . . . Seattle is 5-5-0. . . .

G Mason Beaupit turned aside 35 shots to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 3-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Beaupit, 17, picked up his first victory of this season and the second of his career. . . . This season, he is 1-2-1, 2.48, .919. . . . F Mason Mannek (5) gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 6:31 of the first period. . . . D Bobby Russell (2) pulled Spokane into a tie 39 seconds into the second period and F Adam Beckman (5) gave the Chiefs the lead at 3:14 on a PP. . . . F Cordel Larson (2), who had two assists, got the empty-netter. . . . The Chiefs (2-4-3) have points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Winterhawks (4-4-2) have lost three in a row. . . .

F Ryder Korczak scored twice and added an assist to help the Moose Jaw MooseJawWarriors to a 6-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . Korczak has three goals this season. . . . The Warriors (7-7-1) got a goal and two assists from each of D Daemon Hunt (6) and F Riley Krane (2). . . . Krane broke a 1-1 tie at 8:37 of the second period with the first of five straight Moose Jaw goals. . . . The Broncos (3-11-1) have lost four in a row. . . . This game marked Jason Ripplinger’s first as Moose Jaw’s general manager. He was promoted from AGM on Thursday, replacing Alan Millar, who now is with Hockey Canada. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Victoria KamloopsRoyals, 6-3. . . . Kamloops led 2-0 after one period but couldn’t hold it. F Brayden Tracey (5) gave the Royals (1-5-1) a 3-2 lead 48 seconds into the third period. . . . D Quinn Schmiemann (2) pulled Kamloops (5-1-0) even at 2:00 and F Reese Belton (1) broke the tie at 3:44. . . . F Orin Centazzo (3) had two goals and an assist for the Blazers, with F Connor Zary adding his third goal and two assists. . . . G Dylan Ernst stopped 15 shots to earn his first WHL victory in his first start. Ernst, who turned 17 on Feb. 6, is from Weyburn, Sask. He was a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Victoria G Connor Martin blocked 47 shots. . . .

F Dino Kambeitz had four points to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory over the Rebels in Red Deer. . . . Kambeitz scored his third goal and added three assists in enjoying his first career four-point game. It was his 201st regular-season game. . . . The Hurricanes (4-6-2) had lost their previous five games (0-3-2). . . . The Rebels, who have lost seven in a row, are 2-10-2. . . . Lethbridge was 3-for-6 on the PP. . . . D Alex Cotton scored twice — he’s got four goals — and added an assist for the Hurricanes, who led 6-1 in the third period.


Aunts


The World Curling Federation and Curling Canada announced late Friday that they “are aware of positive COVID-19 tests within the Calgary bubble” at the World men’s championship. . . . While the positives tests didn’t involve teams that qualified for the playoffs, the schedule has been placed on hold “until there is more clarity.” . . . That includes a playoff game between the U.S. and Switzerland that was to have been played Saturday morning at 9 MT. . . . The playoff qualifiers are to undergo testing Saturday morning and “until the results are clear and it’s known that the players and event staff are safe, no further games will be played.” . . . Those who tested positive and close contacts are in quarantine, while contact tracing continues. . . . Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun tweeted that the “positives came from ‘exit’ testing, conducted so that players could fly home to their countries.”


Dennis (Red) Gendron, the head coach of the U of Maine Black Bears hockey team, died on Friday afternoon while playing golf. Gendron, the head coach there since 2013, was 63. . . . He was an assistant coach with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils when the won the 1995 Stanley Cup and also coach in their organization. . . . Gendron also coached the U.S. national junior team on three occasions.


Society


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.


Blood

Canucks lose one more player to COVID-19 list . . . AJHL shuts down two more teams . . . Miner posts third straight shutout


It was one week ago today (Tuesday) when F Adam Gaudette was removed from the ice during a Vancouver Canucks’ practice because of a positive test.

On Monday, Vancouver F Nils Hoglander was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, the 17th player Canucksoff the roster to land there. Keep in mind that being on the list doesn’t mean a player has tested positive; he might have been deemed a close contact of someone who is positive.

There also are three coaches who have tested positive, while two players off the taxi squad are believed to have tested positive or been deemed as close contacts.

So far, D Jordie Benn, F Brock Boeser, F Tyler Graovac, F J.T. Miller, D Nate Schmidt, F Jimmy Vesey and F Jake Virtanen haven’t gone into protocol, although all are self-isolating.

The Canucks, who haven’t said a word about any of this since the original confirmation of Gaudette’s status, are believed to have been hit by the P.1 variant from Brazil.

The Canucks have had four games postponed by the NHL. Two others, scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, haven’t officially been scrubbed but are showing on the NHL schedule as having been postponed.

Still, Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told The Canadian Press via email on Monday that he expects the Canucks to complete their 56-game schedule.

While admitting that the numbers are “concerning from a health and safety standpoint,” Daly wrote that they aren’t necessarily concerning “from a scheduling standpoint.”

Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, has spoken with his son Brandon, a veteran forward with the Canucks.

“We FaceTimed (Sunday) night,” Brent told Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, “and he was pretty down and out, feeling pretty sick. Brandon has tested positive and he’s got symptoms — body aches, headaches, chills — just like you have the flu. I guess each guy is different in terms of how it affects you, especially with this Brazilian variant. For younger people to get this sick, it’s scary.”

Brandon has moved to the basement of the family’s home, away from his pregnant wife and two young children, ages two and three.

“They were just told to get into quarantine and have the wife and kids go down to the rink to get tested every day,” Brent said. “There’s a lot to this, what the families have to do now. We’re keeping fingers crossed.”

As for a return to play, well, that’s got Brent wondering. As he told Francis: “”It’s not like you’re talking two or three guys. If all these guys have been sick and they have to be cap compliant, could the Canucks come back and play? I don’t know how they can do it.”

Francis’s piece is right here.


The AJHL has suspended the team activities of two more teams on Monday. That means the AJHL now has ajhlsix of its 13 teams unable to partake in hockey activities. . . . The Camrose Kodiaks and Drumheller Dragons were in one cohort and the league says that “as the result of a positive COVID-19 test in the Camrose Kodiaks cohort . . .” both teams are suspended for 14 days, as per the league’s return-to-play protocol. . . . Earlier, the league did the same with the Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm, Okotoks Oilers and Whitecourt Wolverines. . . . In normal times, the AJHL features 15 teams; however, the Canmore Eagles and Lloydminster Bobcats opted out of the return to play.



Meanwhile, there were five games in the WHL on Monday. Some highlights . . .

F Dylan Guenther scored twice and added an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings dumped the host Red Deer EdmontonRebels, 6-1. . . . He’s got 12 goals and 11 assists in 12 games. . . . The Oil Kings (12-1-0) swept the three-game weekend series, outscoring the Rebels (2-9-2), 20-4, in the process. . . . F Kaid Oliver (8) and F Jaden Luypen, Guenther’s linemates, each added a pair of goals. . . . Luypen has 10 goals in 13 games. He finished last season with nine in 64 games. . . . This was that line’s last game together as Guenther is preparing to go into isolation before joining Canada’s U18 team for the IIHF World championship in Texas. . . . Edmonton has won each of its last 17 regular-season meetings with Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings scored three first-period goals while enjoying a 20-1 edge in shots. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 15 shots in recording his 11th straight victory. Andrew Peard, the play-by-play voice of the Oil Kings, says that ties the franchise record set by Tristan Jarry (Nov. 14-Dec. 15, 2013). . . . F Dawson Seitz, the 20th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with Edmonton. . . . F Jake Neighbours of the Oil Kings is on a 12-game point streak, with five goals and 17 assists over that stretch. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen scored twice in the shootout to earn a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . CalgaryEach team scored once in each of the first two periods and twice in the third. . . . F Josh Prokop and F Riley Stotts scored in the circus for the Hitmen (6-6-2), with F Brett Kemp counting for the Tigers (9-3-1). . . . F Sean Tschigerl (6) had two goals for Calgary, which got three assists from F Riley Fiddler-Schultz, who enjoyed his first career three-point outing in his 111th game. . . . Tschigerl went into this season with five goals in 64 games over two seasons. He has six goals in 14 games this season. . . . F Oren Shtrom (3) scored twice for Medicine Hat. . . .

F Jagger Firkus scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-3 victory over MooseJawthe Pats in Regina. . . . F Ryker Evans (2) had given Regina (4-6-3) a 3-0 lead at 5:01 of the third period. . . . The Warriors (6-6-1) tied it on goals from F Kade Runke (1), F Josh Hoekstra (1) and F Eric Alarie (8), the latter scoring at 19:43. . . . Regina F Connor Berard had his career-opening point streak stopped at 12 games. He was credited with nine shots on goal. . . . Bedard scored in the second round of the shootout, only to have F Brayden Yager tie it. . . . Bedard will play two more games with the Pats before going into isolation prior to joining Canada’s U18 team. . . . All three games between these teams have needed extra time. The Warriors won the first one, 5-4 in OT, with the Pats taking the second, 3-2 in OT. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to seven games with a 3-2 victory over the Prince BrandonAlbert Raiders in Regina. . . . F Ridly Greig (5)  broke a 2-2 tie with a shorthanded goal at 9:27 of the third period. . . . Greig scored after blocking a pair of shots on the same kill. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (6) had pulled the Wheat Kings (10-2-1) into a tie, on a PP, at 14:12 of the second. . . . F Justin Nachbaur (4) scored both goals for Prince Albert (4-7-2). . . . D Braden Schneider had the primary assist on each of Brandon’s first two goals. . . .

G Trent Miner recorded his third straight shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Blazers, 4-0, in VancouverKamloops. . . . Miner finished with 30 saves, meaning he has stopped all 64 shots he has faced while in the Kamloops hub. . . . Miner is the second WHL goaltender to put up three straight shutouts this season, after Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. . . . Vancouver and Kamloops each is 4-1-0. . . . The WHL record for consecutive shutouts is four and is held by Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers (Dec. 29, 1967 through Jan. 13, 1968). . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (2) scored the game’s first goal at 10:14 of the first period. F Justin Sourdif (1) and F Justin Lies (1) added second-period goals, with F Adam Hall (4) counting in the third. . . . Lies was ejected with a checking-from-behind major at 2:18 of the third.


Trout


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.


Poor

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while eagerly awaiting Opening Day (it arrives on Thursday) . . .

Scattershooting2

Let’s start with a gem from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A Dodgers fan group is rubbing it in against the Red Sox by paying for a ‘Thank you for Mookie Betts’ billboard next to Fenway Park. ‘Now why didn’t we ever think of that?’ moaned the chairman of the Babe Ruth Preservation Society.”

——

Perry, again: “Ohio State safety Marcus Hooker was arrested on DUI charges after he passed out behind the wheel while waiting in a McDonald’s drive-thru line. Defense lawyers can’t decide whether to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or ‘I deserve a break today.’ ”


The visiting Calgary Hitmen got 41 stops from G Brayden Peters as they handed CalgaryEdmonton its first loss of the WHL’s developmental season, beating the Oil Kings, 2-1, on Sunday. While Calgary improved to 5-5-1, Edmonton now is 9-1-0. . . . The Oil Kings had beaten the Hitmen twice on the weekend — 4-3 in Edmonton on Friday and 5-2 in Calgary on Saturday. . . . F Sean Tschigerl (4) and F Riley Stotts (3) had Calgary ahead 2-0 before F Josh Williams (7) scored for Edmonton at 8:30 of the third period. . . . Calgary remains without D Tyson Galloway, who was injured on Friday, and D Luke Prokop, who was hurt on Saturday.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco, in a column dedicated to pet peeves:

“The I’m-so-cool NBA arena walk-in, every player wearing headphones. Do you guys ever, like, talk among yourselves, like teammates? . . .

“At college football games in the South, how the head coach always has to have a mean-looking cop in a Mountie hat escort him on and off the field, like he’s the pope or something. Let the cops go do cop stuff. . . .

“TV college game announcers who remind us every four minutes what a ‘well-coached team’ this is. Announcers, many of them former coaches, are insufferable coach suck-ups. Please throw in an occasional ‘crappily coached team.’ ”


The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to three games with a 5-2 Brandonvictory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings now are 6-2-1. . . . The Broncos (2-6-1) opened the schedule with five straight losses, running their two-season skid to 23, then went 2-0-1 before this loss. . . . Swift Current led 2-0 with 13 minutes left in the second period, only to give up the game’s last five goals. . . . D Braden Schneider was back in Brandon’s lineup after sitting out two with an injury.



F Gage Concalves enjoyed his first career three-goal game and also added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-1. . . . The Silvertips, who are 5-0-0 for the first time in franchise history, led 3-0 before the game was 14 minutes old and never looked back. . . . Goncalves has five goals. . . . D Ronan Seeley had a goal and three assists for Everett F Samuel Huo scored his fourth goal for the Americans (2-3-0). . . . G Braden Holt stopped 20 shots for the Silvertips, who have allowed two goals in their five games.



The visiting Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and six of the last seven as they beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-4. . . . F Simon Knak (4) tied the game 4-4 tie at 13:50 of the second period and F Seth Jarvis (2) scored while shorthanded at 4:49 of the third to give Portland its first lead. . . . Jarvis finished plus-5. . . . The Winterhawks (3-1-2) have four shorthanded goals in their six games. . . . Seattle (3-2-0) got the game’s opening goal from F Connor Roulette (3) scored on a first-period penalty shot. . . . D Nick Cicek had three assists for Portland.


The QMJHL scrubbed a Sunday game between the Cape Breton Eagles and qmjhlnewCharlottetown Islanders because of COVID-19 protocol. According to the QMJHL, on Sunday morning “a few players from the Eagles experienced flu-liked symptoms and as a precaution, the QMJHL has cancelled the game. In the current context and as per QMJHL protocols, all Eagles’ players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 and put in preventive isolation prior to returning to regular team activities.”


F Oren Shtrom’s first WHL goal, at 4:11 of OT, gave the host Medicine Hat Tigers Tigersa 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers (7-3-0) had beaten the Hurricanes 3-0 at home on Friday and 6-3 in Lethbridge on Saturday. . . . Shtrom, a 16-year-old from Gilbert, Ariz., was a third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. He has a goal and four assists in nine games. . . . He is believed to be the first Oren to score for the Tigers since Oren Koules struck six times in 33 games in 1979-80. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (5) had two goals and an assist for the Tigers, while D Cole Clayton had three assists. . . . F Justin Hall scored his eighth goal in 11 games for Lethbridge (3-6-2). He went into the season with 16 goals in 102 games.



F Tristen Nielsen scored three times and added two assists to spark the VancouverVancouver Giants’ 6-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in Kamloops. . . . The Giants were the home team, so this was their home-opener. . . . Nielsen scored once on the PP, once shorthanded and once at even strength, all in the first period. . . . F Justin Sourdif drew four assists. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots for his fifth career shutout. . . . D Mazden Leslie, the 10th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, scored twice in his first WHL game. . . . Nielsen turned 21 on Feb. 23; Leslie won’t turn 16 until April 15. . . . The Giants now are 1-1-0, as are the Rockets. Kelowna had blanked the visiting Victoria Royals, 6-0, on Saturday.


Time


F Peyton Krebs had a goal, his sixth, and two assists as the Winnipeg Ice got Winnipegpast the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-1, in Regina. . . . No less an authority than Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post says that Krebs has been the “best player in the East Division hub.” . . . Krebs has 11 points over his past four games so Vanstone may be correct. . . . Vanstone also pointed out that while there have been 10 shutouts in the WHL this season, none of them have been in the Regina hub. . . . Krebs has six goals and 11 assists as the Ice, which had lost its previous two games, has opened 6-3-0. . . . The Warriors (4-5-0), who have lost four in a row, were without D Daemon Hunt (suspension) and F Ryder Korczak (undisclosed injury). . . . The game was played in 2 hours 3 minutes, the fastest game to date this season.


Tuna



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.


Dogs

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering if that was the longest intermission in history . . .

Scattershooting2

While the sun was shining in Lake Tahoe and forcing the longest first intermission in NHL history on Saturday afternoon, the U of Saskatchewan’s athletic department was dropping a bombshell.

It wasn’t long after Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted that Mike Babcock’s hiring as the U of Saskatchewan’s men’s hockey coach would be announced “next week” when the school made it official.

Dave Hardy, the Huskies’ chief athletics officer, said in a news release that the 57-year-old Babock, who is from Saskatoon, “will lead the Huskies on a full-time volunteer basis for the next two seasons.”

Dreger later tweeted that Babcock “will coach one season, but is heavily involved in hiring an assistant coach to work with him next season before taking over the program the following year.”

Earlier in the week, Hardy told Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that he had heard from “less than 100 and more than 50” people interested in the vacancy. Hardy said that he hoped to hire someone before April 1.

“It’s a real challenge for our search committee to narrow that down but we’ll do that sort of collaboratively over the next three or four weeks,” Hardy told Zary. “We’ll have a very qualified coach by March 31.”

Babcock, who is to move into his new position in May, takes over from Dave Adolph, the team’s 27-year head coach who announced his retirement on Dec. 7 and will leave on May 1.

Babcock, a defenceman, played one season (1981-82) with the Huskies and one with the WHL’s Kelowna Wings before spending three seasons at McGill U in Montreal. He later coached at Red Deer College (1988-91) and with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns (1993-94), winning a national title there. He also coached in the WHL for eight seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors (1991-93) and Spokane Chiefs (1994-2000). . . . As an NHL coach, he won a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings (2007-08) and two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada (2010, 2014).

This season, he has been helping out as a volunteer senior advisor with the U of Vermont Catamounts, and he recently began working with NBC Sports as an NHL analyst.

Babcock was fired as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 20, 2019. He was in his fifth season there. When he was dumped, what was an eight-year, US$50-million contract had almost three years left on it. At the time, Pierre LeBrun of TSN reported that Babcock’s contract with Toronto “had a $3M signing bonus then $5.875M salary every year evenly through 2022-23.”

There since have been allegations that he verbally abused players, in particular Mitch Marner with the Maple Leafs and Johan Franzen in Detroit.



The 15-team AJHL, which hasn’t played since Nov. 21, announced Friday that it ajhlhas received government approval to resume its season. Specific dates apparently haven’t yet been set, but the league said training camps are to open “at the start of March” with games to begin at some point after that. If all goes well, games will be played on weekends through the end of May. . . . The news release didn’t mention a format but there have been reports that teams play be placed in three-game cohorts and play 24 games. . . . The league says that “players, coaches and support staff are currently self-isolating in preparation” for training camps. Players will be free to move on to camps after two negative tests. After that, a positive test will sideline a team for at least 14 days. . . . At this point, there won’t be any fans allowed to attend games. . . . The last line of the AJHL news release reads: “An update league schedule and a list of participating teams will be announced shortly.” By Saturday afternoon there was speculation that as many as three teams may opt out  of the resumption of play. . . . Before suspending play in November, the AJHL had experienced positive tests on at least five teams — the Canmore Eagles, Calgary Canucks, Drumheller Dragons, Olds Grizzlies and Whitecourt Wolverines.


The day before the AJHL announced that it was going to get in some games in PGKingsthe next while, the BCHL revealed that “multiple members” of the Prince George Spruce Kings have tested positive. . . . “At this point,” the BCHL news release reads, “the affected team members and all close contacts have been placed in a 14-day quarantine and anyone showing symptoms will be tested as soon as possible.” . . . The BCHL closed off with: “For the privacy of the people affected, we will have no further comment at this time.” . . . Brendan Pawliw of myprincegeorgenow.com reported that “several members” of the team had tested positive and that “all other billet families, team personnel and staff have been instructed to self-monitor for symptoms and to arrange for a test if symptoms arise.” . . . Pawliw also reported that “general manager Mike Hawes told MyPGNow.com he will not be commenting further on the issue.” . . . The Prince George Citizen reported that “general manager Mike Hawes has been told by the league not to reveal any other information.” . . . You may recall that Andrew Milne, the general manager and head coach of the Canmore Eagles, was hit with a 15-game suspension and fined $1,000 for talking to the media in December after his team was hit by an outbreak.



The Calgary Hitmen have cleared the first hurdle and now are OK to begin on-ice workouts. The Hitmen didn’t get back any positives from 59 tests from Feb. 13 through Friday as they set up shop at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina National near Calgary. . . .

Meanwhile, Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, reported that Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister, said Friday that the WHL’s 65-page return-to-play proposal “has been received and (is) being reviewed by the provincial health office. We are working on the plan and we will be responding the plan soon.” The plan apparently was received on Feb. 2, although Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said earlier in the week that officials ““haven’t received an updated proposal in the last few weeks.”


Drinks


Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle writes some truth:

“Women’s tennis reached its contemporary pinnacle when Serena Williams met Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open semifinals, and they played it like champions: quietly and with dignity, save those moments of exultation. Somehow, the WTA’s godawful noise machine grinds on with two of the top players, Simona Halep and Garbiñe Muguruza, right at the forefront. Every stroke brings a deafening shriek, as if there’s a gruesome crime in progress. As such, they leave no pleasant memories. They’re just passing through the sport.”


Frigate


The Port Moody Amateur Hockey Association has cancelled all team activities after learning of four positive tests among its membership. . . . According to a statement on the PMAHA website, it became aware of single positives on Feb. 4 and Feb. 9, and two on Feb. 10. . . . It acted on Feb. 10 to pause all activities. Before this, teams were allowed to practice under certain restrictions.



The eight-school Ivy League announced Friday that it won’t be holding any spring sports in 2021. The Ivy League Council of Presidents said the decision had been made “because of ongoing public health concerns related to COVID-19.”



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.


Mars

Tough COVID-19 day for NHL . . . WHL close to Saskatchewan return? . . . NLL gives up on having spring season

The NHL had a rough day on Wednesday as COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc with American teams.

The latest team to feel its bite is the Minnesota Wild, which has had its games NHLpostponed at least through Tuesday after adding five players to the COVID protocol list. Those five players — F Nick Bjugstad, F Nick Bonino, F Joel Eriksson Ek, F Marcus Johansson and D Jared Spurgeon — all played in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. . . . The Wild had put F Marcus Foligno on the list prior to Tuesday’s game. . . . The teams were scheduled to meet again on Thursday, but it will be the 18th game postponed this season which is barely three weeks old. . . . The Avalanche put F Tyson Jost on the COVID list on Wednesday. So a lot of eyes are watching the Avalanche as things move forward. . . .

As of Wednesday evening, the COVID protocol list included 40 players, 17 of them from the New Jersey Devils. They added three more players to the list yesterday. . . .

The Vegas Golden Knights returned to the practice ice on Wednesday morning, but head coach Pete DeBoer and assistants Ryan Craig and Ryan McGill weren’t there. Neither was D Alex Pietrangelo, who is on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. . . . The Knights, who haven’t played since Jan. 26, are scheduled to return Friday against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.


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The QMJHL’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Victoriaville Tigres have been put qmjhlnewinto 14-day quarantines, thus bringing to an end the four-team “protected environment” games that were being played in Chicoutimi. . . . The Tigres have experienced four positive tests so all players and staff are in quarantine. The Sagueneens had to follow suit having last played the Tigres. . . . The other two teams in the bubble — the Val-d’Or Foreurs and Gatineau Olympiques — met last night, instead of on Feb. 7 as had been scheduled, and the other games were postponed.


Conspiracy


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — As of 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 786,419 cases of COVID-19, with 49,562 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 20,215.

Public Health Agency of Canada, Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT —789,651 cases; 48,221 active; 20,355 deaths. 

CNN, Tuesday, 1:59 p.m. PT — 446,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Wednesday, 6:14 p.m. PT 450,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

The National Lacrosse League announced Wednesday that it has given on plans to hold a shortened season this spring “due to uncertainties arising from the ongoing pandemic.” The league said it now will “move to start a traditional season in the fall of this year.” . . . In a news release, Nick Sakiewicz, the NLL commissioner, said: “We have gone through many scenarios, including playing a bubble season in Canada in April, but the logistical challenges, including the recently announced tighter travel and quarantine restrictions across the Canadian border have required us to pivot. We have decided to focus on playing a full season in our markets, starting in the fall of this year.” . . .

Hockey Calgary has cancelled the remainder of what it called its “traditional hockey season,” effective Feb. 3. It says it will focus on providing development. . . .

The American Collegiate Hockey Association has cancelled its 2021 national championship events for men’s Division 3 and women’s Division 2 due to the pandemic. . . . Craig Barnett, the ACHA’s executive director, said in a news release: “While we had hoped to have Nationals for both the M3 and W2 divisions this season, there simply are not enough teams playing at each level in the midst of the pandemic to warrant having a Nationals event.” . . . Brandon’s Assiniboine Community College Cougars play in the ACHA. . . .

From CBC Sports’ The Buzzer, by Jesse Campigotto: “All of (Thursday’s) Australian Open tuneup matches were cancelled. A worker at a hotel in Melbourne where some 600 players and support staff are quarantining tested positive for the coronavirus. So play was suspended for at least a day at the six warmup events currently taking place ahead of the Feb. 8-21 Grand Slam. Everyone is being tested before organizers decide what to do next.” . . .

B.C. School Sports has cancelled its 2021 winter season tournaments. The move was made official in a memo that went out to schools earlier this week. That means no provincial basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre this spring.


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