Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering about winter tires . . .

Scattershooting2


On Feb. 26, 1986, as the Regina Pats were beating the Warriors, 4-2, at the Crushed Can in Moose Jaw, no one was thinking about that day more than 30 years down the road when Kevin Gallant’s oldest son would score two goals and set up another in one game . . . for the Warriors.

In 1986, Kevin was the radio voice of the Pats. After a Jan. 11 game, in which the Warriors beat the Pats, 4-2, there were whispers that during the post-game show Gallant might have referred to the Moose Jaw organization as — gasp! — Mickey Mouse.

On Feb. 26, then, it was Mickey Mouse Night in Moose Jaw and Gallant did his part by showing up to another game in what then was the league’s hottest rivalry in a Donald Duck outfit.

Yes, stuff like that used to happen in the WHL. It really did.

Fast forward to 2021 and we find Matthew Gallant, 17, in the Warriors’ training camp, hoping to earn a spot on their roster as a defenceman. He had been listed by the Warriors a while back and, lo and behold, he had a terrific camp and the Warriors signed him to a WHL contract.

On Saturday night, he had three points — the goals came 16 seconds apart and gave his guys a 4-1 lead — as the Warriors won, 5-2, in Regina.

And don’t you know that young Matthew was named the game’s first star.

Yes, it was only an exhibition game, but still . . . the Brandt Centre in Regina once was the Agridome and it was then when the echo of Matthew’s father’s voice owned the rafters of that building.

Kevin now lives on the Lower Mainland of B.C., with his wife, Eva, and their other son, Michael, who also is a defenceman.

“Well,” Kevin told me, “I must tell you the irony of my son playing at the Agridome or Brandt Centre and scoring two goals and getting one assist for Moose Jaw over the Pats and then being named first star is quite a moment and one that I will never forget. Sitting in my living room and watching on WHL Live was surreal and quite a proud Dad moment.”

The Warriors’ regular-season home-opener is scheduled for Friday against the Saskatoon Blades. Eva and Kevin plan to be there. I don’t think he’ll be hauling the Donald Duck suit out of the closet for this one.

But maybe the Warriors will ask Kevin to drop the ceremonial first puck. Just for old time’s sake, you know.


Antimaskers


In his weekly Last Call column, Charles P. Pierce of Esquire began:

“We have become numb to the numbers. The pandemic continues to sicken people, and to make them die, and gradually, we’ve worked this situation into the habits of our daily being. The butcher’s bill is now as regular a part of the evening news as cold fronts and box scores. The stories even sort themselves now into iron categories: the Exhausted Nurses story, the No Beds Available story, and, most maddening of all, the Radio Talk Show Host Who Railed Against Vaccines and Masks and Died of COVID story.”


Dr. Ilan Schwartz is an infectious disease specialist at the U of Alberta in Edmonton. He told Dean Bennett of The Canadian Press that more restrictions and a vaccine card were needed in Alberta at least a month ago. Dr. Schwartz also noted:

“It’s absurd that we have (hospital) morgues that are full, we are cancelling cancer surgeries, we’re calling for the military, we’re talking about transporting patients 3,000 kilometres in order for them to find an ICU bed and we still have society going on as if nothing is the matter.”


Judging by a couple of tweets from Postmedia’s Steve Ewen, the Vancouver VancouverGiants won’t have their head coach at their bench when the WHL season opens:

“The WHL discipline page shows Giants coach Michael Dyck and Fs Kyle Bochek and Colton Langkow will miss the season opener Saturday on the road vs. Victoria Royals with one-game suspensions from the line brawl vs. the Prince George Cougars in preseason action on Friday in Maple Ridge.

“There were eight fighting majors, nine game misconducts and a cross-checking major assessed to Bochek at 19:03 mark of the third in Vancouver’s 3-1 win over PG. Giants have also been given a $1,000 fine. There’s no list of supplementary discipline for the Cougars.”

Keith McCambridge is the Giants’ associate coach. The team doesn’t list another assistant coach on its website.

If you’re wondering when the last time a WHL coach drew a suspension, well, according to the WHL website you have to go back more than three years. Kelly Buchberger, then the head coach of the Tri-City Americans, was suspended for one game after his team got involved in a “multiple-fight situation” with the Giants. That was on Sept. 2, 2018.



David Beard, the starting centre for the CFL’s Edmonton Elks, didn’t practise on Sunday because he was put into COVID-19 protocol. He is the 17th Edmonton player to be in protocol since this season began. The list is for those who have either tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who did. . . . Beard isn’t likely to play Tuesday against the host Ottawa Redblacks.


Job


Here’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to Rolling Stone:

“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team. There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”


The really good news is that Dwight Perry, he of Sideline Chatter fame at the Seattle Times, is back in the saddle, and he didn’t lose it while he was away. “Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins is reportedly unvaccinated, putting his availability for some games into question,” Perry notes. “Making him the first NBA player this season to be criticized for his shot selection.”

——

After that dustup between the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay, Perry wrote: “Toronto plunked the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier with a pitch, two days after he swiped Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk’s data card. Flummoxed scorekeepers couldn’t decide how to score it — hit by pitch or caught stealing?”


Rootbeer


The Prairie Junior Hockey League, a 12-team junior B league based in Saskatchewan, revealed on Saturday that “team governors have voted to implement a mandatory vaccination policy. The players will be informed of the details and timeline by their individual teams.” . . . When the Heritage Junior B Hockey League in Alberta made the same decision it lost two of its 15 teams.



This one had me laughing . . .


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.


Shakespeare

Americans ready to introduce coaching staff . . . NBA’s Raptors have how many assistants? . . . Winterhawks lose Knak to HC Davos

Mud


The WHL’s Tri-City Americans are poised to introduce their coaching staff on AmericansSaturday at 1 p.m. PT at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans are in need of a new head coach after not re-signing Kelly Buchberger, who had been in the position for the previous three seasons. He has since signed a three-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens as an assistant coach for their AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket. . . . On Monday, the Americans’ website still listed Buchberger as head coach. It also shows Don Nachbaur as associate coach and Eli Wilson as goaltending coach. . . . Nachbaur joined the Americans on Feb. 18, but contract terms weren’t announced. Earlier, Nachbar spent six seasons (2003-09) as the Americans’ head coach. He also has worked as a WHL head coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs. . . . With 692 regular-season WHL coaching victories, Nachbaur is the winningest active coach in the league. That total also leaves him third on the all-time list, behind Don Hay (750), now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, and the retired Ken Hodge (742). . . . Hay spent two seasons (1998-2000) as the Americans’ head coach.


Here is part of what Bob Tory, the Tri-City Americans’ co-owner, governor and general manager, posted on Facebook:

“Mom enjoyed a long and prestigious career at the University of Alberta in the Registrars Office. She was a second mom to so many of my friends and my parents’ home was always open to all, even when I wasn’t there. An avid supporter of hockey, especially the Edmonton and Kootenay Ice and, of course, the Tri-City Americans. Mom will be laid to rest at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Edmonton, next to dad and my gramma Carrie Rose Tory. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The University of Alberta, Faculty of Education, Teachers of Tomorrow Fund.


I’m thinking that B.C. politicians past — well, of the past 30 years — and present should be embarrassed — really, really embarrassed — that Manitoba celebrates Terry Fox Day on the first Monday of August and ‘Beautiful BC’ doesn’t. I mean, c’mon, what’s that all about? It’s been more than 40 years since he died at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, so there has been more than enough time for something to get done. . . . And well you’re at it, how about naming Vancouver International Airport after him?


Washer


ICYMI, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors named their 2021-22 coaching staff on Monday. It seems that head coach Nick Nurse now has seven assistant coaches and a player development consultant on staff with him. . . . With each NBA team allowed to carry 15 players and to dress 13 per game, sheesh, that’s a whole lot of coaches, isn’t it?


F Simon Knak, who played the past two seasons with the Portland PortlandWinterhawks, has signed a two-year contract with HC Davos of Switzerland’s National League. Knak, 19, is from Zurich. He was selected by the Nashville Predators in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. He is expected to attend Nashville’s development camp Aug. 15-20 and then return to Davos. . . . Knak had three goals and five assists in 25 games with Davos in 2020-21, then rejoined the Winterhawks and put up 16 goals and 13 assists in 24 games in the WHL’s development season. In 2019-20, he had nine goals and 25 assists in 49 games with Portland. . . . Knak also is the captain of Switzerland’s national junior team. . . . When it comes to other import players, the Winterhawks hold the CHL rights to Swedish G Jesper Wallstedt, whom they acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors, and Czech D Marek Alscher, who was selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. Neither Wallstedt nor Alscher has signed a WHL contract. . . . Danish D Jonas Brondberg was on Portland’s roster when the 2021 development season ended — he had six assists in 20 games — but he’s 20 so would be a two-spotter if he was to return.


Here’s the great Charles P. Pierce in Esquire:

“This pandemic turns what has been the historical reaction of the country to epidemic disease squarely on its head. Previously, through the years, the panic has been driven by a fear of getting the disease. In 1873, during a massive yellow fever outbreak in Memphis, roadblocks were set up around the city to keep the residents in. Five years later, during another outbreak, the disease got loose from New Orleans and cut a huge swath through Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. In the town of Grenada, Mississippi, the mayor refused to engage a quarantine and the disease completely decapitated the city’s government, killing the sheriff, all the aldermen, and, yes, the mayor himself.

“Now, though, we have a national panic over the cure, not the disease. And, yes, a lot of it has been energized for political reasons, especially in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the Republican caucus seems to be acting out a summer-stock production of The Masque of the Red Death. But it runs deeper than that. In those previous epidemics, there were quack cures and a distrust of conventional medicine, but it was nothing like this, if only because it’s not 18-goddamn-78 any more. We have more than a century of experience to draw on regarding the efficacy of vaccines. We have been a resolutely vaccinated population for decades. It has been part of our lives almost from birth. But there is in the country some sort of strange concept of individuality that has come to the surface to cripple not only our response to this pandemic, but also our collective common sense.”

Read his complete piece right here.


Parking


Baseball’s Winnipeg Goldeyes are scheduled to entertain the Sioux City SiouxCitybblExplorers for three American Association games this week — today, Wednesday and Thursday. The Goldeyes didn’t play at all in 2020; until now, they have been playing their 2021 ‘home’ games in Jackson, Tenn. . . . Now they have permission from health officials to return home. . . . However, it seems the Explorers have some, uhh, issues. . . . Tim Hynds of the Sioux City Journal reports that “the majority of Explorers players have decided not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. . . . Due to vaccine and testing requirements for entry into Canada, and a low team vaccination rate, the majority of the Sioux City roster will not be making the trip.” . . . That includes manager Steve Montgomery. . . . “We’re not all going,” Montgomery told Hynds. “There are not many of us going, I can tell you that. It’s definitely going to be a home field advantage. I can’t really comment too much further on it, but I can say that myself and my pitching coach won’t be going, and a lot of the players in that locker room are not going to be going as well.” . . . Wait! There’s more!! . . . Hynds also wrote: “Due to fears of a possible positive test, which would require a 10-day quarantine, most of the current Sioux City roster has decided to not go, including many of the players who are vaccinated.” . . . Bruce Fischback, the team’s trainer who is fully vaccinated, told Hynds: “There are so many misconceptions about the vaccine that are floating around, that that scared a lot of people. You try to present them with the evidence, but there is nothing more powerful than Facebook University. It’s hard to fight that public perception.” . . . Hynds’ complete story on this gong show is right here.



Mike Mayock, the general manager of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, has tested positive. On Monday, he was working from home. According to a tweet from Adam Schefter of ESPN, Mayock, 62, “said that, at his age, he is grateful he was vaccinated, knowing this could have been worse, Fortunately, he said he now feels ‘very good.’ ”


Wine


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.


Facebook

WJC exhibition games start today . . . WHL moves draft to December . . . Former Pats owner has died



After having eight German players and two Swedish team managers test 2021WJCpositive last week at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton, the IIHF announced Monday that it has had only one positive test since then. One German staff member has tested positive and will remain in quarantine until Dec. 30. . . . The two Swedes who tested positive will remain quarantined until Sunday, with all players now having been cleared to return to the ice. . . . The WJC’s exhibition schedule begins today (Tuesday) with two games — Switzerland-Austria, 3 p.m. PT, and Finland-U.S., 6:30 p.m. PT . . . The exhibition schedule wraps up Wednesday with two more games — Canada-Russia, 3 p.m. PT, and Slovakia-Czech Republic, 6:30 p.m. PT. . . .  The tournament opens with three games on Friday — Slovakia-Switzerland, 11 a.m. PT; Finland-Germany, 3 p.m. PT; and U.S.-Russia, 6:30 p.m. PT. Canada plays its first game on Saturday when it meets Germany at 3 p.m. PT.


Fir


There had been a school of thought that the WHL might change the age of players eligible for its annual bantam draft, taking it from a player’s 15-year-old season to 16. But that isn’t going to happen. . . . While the WHL has changed the event’s name — the WHL bantam draft now is the WHL draft — it has only moved it from its normal date in May to an undisclosed date in December 2021. . . . “Moving the 2021 WHL draft from May to December allows additional time for players in the 2006 age group to be evaluated following a challenging season due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, said in a news release. “We anticipate minor hockey leagues and tournaments will be fully operational in the fall, which will allow players to compete at a high level once again.”



The QMJHL’s 12 Quebec-based team are planning to resume play on Jan. 22 in Chicoutimi, Drummondville, Rimouski and Shawinigan. They won’t be in bubbles; rather, the QMJHL is referring to them as protected environment events. Each host team will be joined by two other teams Jan. 22-24. . . . Chicoutimi, Drummondville and Rimouski also will play host to similar events, from Jan. 29-Feb. 6, with four teams in each venue.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Headline from The Onion — Arizona: Tumbleweeds must quarantine for 14 days after rolling in from out of state.

CBC News: As of 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, there were 515,314 cases of COVID-19 recorded in Canada, with 423,621 of those considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 14,332.

Brittany Greenslade, Global News: It’s been weeks but Manitoba’s numbers are way down Monday. 167 new COVID cases today and 4 deaths. 5,736 active cases. 16,717 recovered. 572 total deaths. 310 hospitalized, 42 in ICU. Test positivity rate 11.5%. Test positivity rate 10.5% in Winnipeg.

Bob Holliday, Winnipeg: “WOW!!! For those who refuse to believe that social distancing and masks don’t prevent the spread of COVID-19, check out the latests stats from Manitoba Health. On Dec. 6, 380 new cases were reported n the province, with 272 in Winnipeg. Well, folks, on Dec. 21 the provincial new cases dropped to 166, while Winnipeg’s dropped to 83. Both are the lowest since Nov. 25 when there were 349 new cases provincially and 213 in the city. Keep wearing the masks and stay two metres apart in crowds, and we’ll all have a Happy New Year.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 206 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the province’s 7-day average down to 217. The province is also reporting 4 additional deaths.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,240 new COVID-19 cases, 9 more deaths. The province has a test positivity rate of 6.8%.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat sits at 78 active COVID-19 cases. There are six new cases and seven new recoveries. . . . Other numbers: Cypress County, 10 active; Forty Mile, one; Lethbridge, 155; Taber, 19; Brooks, 42; Calgary, 5,836; Edmonton, 7,367.

rednewsNOW: Red Deer with 415 active COVID-19 cases as of Monday.

Richard Zussman, Global BC: There are 1667 new cases of COVID-19 in BC. There were 652 cases from Fri to Sat, 486 cases from Sat to Sun and 529 cases from Sun to Mon. There have been 47,067 total cases. . . . There are 341 people in hospital, this is down 15. There are 80 in ICU, down 12. So far 35,455 people have recovered. There are 9,718 active cases of the virus. . . . There have been 41 COVID deaths over the last  3 days in BC.

CBC News: 2,123 new COVID-19 cases in Ontario, 7th straight day above 2,000. There are 17 additional deaths. 915 people are in hospital, with 265 in ICU and 152 on ventilators. 54,505 people tested; positivity rate 4.7%. Comes ahead of lockdown announcement.

CBC News: All of Ontario will move into a lockdown on Boxing Day in a bid to curb climbing COVID-19 case numbers and spare hospitals and their intensive care units from being inundated in January, Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday. The lockdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 26 and remain in place until at least Jan. 23, 2021, in the 27 public health units that comprise southern Ontario. In the seven public health units in Ontario’s north, where daily case numbers have been significantly lower, the lockdown is set to expire on Jan. 9.

CBC News: Quebec reports 2,108 new COVID-19 cases. The province’s 7-day average now tops 1,935 cases. There are 30 additional deaths attributed to the virus. Quebec has 1,852 new recoveries and 1,048 COVID-19 patients in hospital.

——

The 2021 Saskatchewan Summer Games that were to have been held in Lloydminster have been cancelled. Originally, the 2020 Games were to have been held July 26 through Aug. 1, but they were postponed to 2021. A decision also was made to return the Summer Games to a quadrennial cycle, meaning the next ones will be held in 2024. Lloydminster has been given the first right of refusal to act as host city. . . .

If you’re into football bowl games, you should know that the Independence Bowl was cancelled on Sunday. It was to have featured Army (9-2) but an opponent couldn’t be found. Seriously. . . . Later Monday, Army accepted an invitation to the Liberty Bowl where it will face West Virginia (5-4). That game is set for Dec. 31 in Philadelphia. . . . Army got in only because Tennessee (3-6) pulled out because of COVID-19 issues. ESPN reports that head coach Jeremy Pruitt, some assistants and a bunch of players all tested positive. . . . So far, 16 bowl games have been cancelled and at least 22 teams have opted out. . . . The Independence Bowl was to have been played Saturday at Shreveport, La. . . . Also cancelled on the weekend: The Guaranteed Rate Bowl that was to have been played Saturday in Phoenix and the Birmingham Bowl that would have gone on New Year’s Day. . . . Also on Sunday, Boise State joined the list of teams opting out of playing in bowl games.

The Baltimore Ravens once had 23 — yes, 23! — players on their reserve/COVID-19 list. On Monday, they activated DB Geno Stone on the list, leaving that list empty. Finally. . . .

Manitoba and Ontario curling officials announced Monday that they have cancelled their women’s, men’s and mixed doubles curling championships for 2021. . . . The Northern Ontario Curling Association made the same decision earlier this month. . . . B.C. officials have said they will announce a decision on Jan. 8.


Dogs


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering if the Canucks would consider Flin Flon . . .

Scattershooting

——

With the German and Swedish teams looking at extra time in quarantine 2021WJCbecause of positive tests, the World Junior Championship exhibition schedule in Edmonton has been slashed to four games from 10. And the first games will be on Tuesday, instead of today (Sunday) and Monday.

Here is the new schedule:

Tuesday, Dec. 22: Switzerland-Austria, 3 p.m. PT; Finland-USA, 6:30 p.m. PT

Wednesday, Dec. 23: Canada-Russia, 3 p.m. PT; Slovakia-Czech Republic, 6:30 p.m. PT.

This means that only the eight teams who don’t have anyone in quarantine at the moment each will get to play one exhibition game. Germany and Sweden are out of luck.

The tournament schedule hasn’t been touched, at least not yet, so it all begins on Christmas Day with Slovakia-Switzerland, 11 a.m. PT; Finland-Germany, 3 p.m. PT; and U.S.-Russia, 6:30 p.m. PT. Canada plays its first game on Saturday when it meets Germany at 3 p.m. PT.


Sorry, but I can’t get all worked up about whatever it is that’s going on between B.C. and the NHL over whether a team will be allowed to play out of Vancouver if a new season gets started next month. Fans won’t be allowed to attend so does it really matter where the games are played? If the Canucks really want home-ice advantage maybe they should play out of the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon. . . . Hey, as Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said on Friday, “There are people dying from this, people that are losing livelihoods, that are struggling to get by.” . . . Can we wait to see the mid-January numbers before we start ranting and raving?


Sissies


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, calls them “rants” and he had an especially good one earlier this week. Here is part of what he wrote:

“The NBA has problems. Those problems are significant but not fatal — unless the NBA decides to make them fatal. The core of the set of problems facing the NBA is demonstrated by diminishing interest in the NBA product. The playoffs in the ‘Orlando Bubble’ were a huge success from the point of view of epidemiology; the playoffs in the ‘Orlando Bubble’ were a disaster in terms of television ratings. Let’s get one thing clear:

“Epidemiology is important to the CDC and medical practitioners; those folks do not care about TV ratings . . . Television ratings are important to the NBA; the basketball mavens have only a passing concern about matters epidemiological.”

The entire piece is right here and I highly recommend it.



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times writes: “Raiders coach Jon Gruden wore an ‘Oakland Raiders’ cap during the first half of Thursday’s game against the Chargers, then switched to ‘Las Vegas Raiders’ for the second half. Apparently his ‘L.A. Raiders’ cap was still in the wash.”


Here’s Janice Hough, who is at leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “Minnesota Vikings placekicker Dan Bailey missed all three field goals and an extra point against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Uh, if Vanderbilt classes are over for the year is Sarah Fuller available?”


Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks signed a new contract worth US$228 million over five years. If you’re wondering what that is in Canadian money, the answer is $291,576,620 based on a 78-cent dollar, or enough to buy all of Alberta.


Someone with the Prince George Cougars was having some fun. . . . See if you can figure out what they’re up to here. . . .



Henry Schulman won’t be covering the San Francisco Giants for that city’s chronicle after Jan. 4, having decided to retire from the beat. Here he is the other day with the true meaning of the news release in which the Cleveland baseball club announced it will be changing its nickname, but not until at least 2022: “We are going to keep our racist logo for another year and sell souvenirs featuring this highly offensive stereotype because we have a lot of this crap sitting in storage, but to make ourselves feel better we’re going to give the money to the people we are insulting.”


Army beat Navy, 15-0, in last weekend’s annual football game. Here’s blogger Chad Picasner summing things up: “Army lived up to its training as ground forces, running the ball 53 times and passing only once. . . . Navy was severely handicapped because there was no water on the field, and their battleship wouldn’t fit through the gate.”


Bob


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Canada surpasses 500,240 cases after Saskatchewan adds 252 new infections to national caseload of COVID-19. . . . Latest tally of 500,242 cases includes 14,128 deaths; currently 76,391 active cases across Canada with 409,723 others having recovered.

CBC News: 9 more deaths, 238 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Manitoba Saturday.

CBC News: Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says 1,352 new provincial cases and 26 more deaths from COVID-19. . . . 19,260 active cases.

CBC News: Ontario reports 2,357 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 new deaths on Saturday. Ontario is reporting 27 new deaths related to COVID-19. There are currently 895 COVID-19 patients in the province’s hospitals, including 256 in intensive care. 146 of the patients are on ventilators.

580 CFRA: Ottawa Public Health says there are currently no patients in Ottawa ICUs with COVID-19 complications.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 2,038 new cases of COVID-19 and 44 additional deaths related to the illness. 2 of the deaths occurred within the last 24 hours. . . . There are 1,005 COVID-19 patients in the province’s hospitals, including 142 in intensive care.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 5 new cases of COVID-19. There are 49 known active cases in the province. 3 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, including 1 in intensive care.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 2 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 46 known active cases. 1 of the new cases is in the Western Zone and the other is in the Eastern Zone. Both cases are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

CBC News: P.E.I. confirms 1 new case of COVID-19 related to travel; woman in 50s self-isolating after arriving in Charlottetown on Dec. 17 from Montreal on Air Canada flight 8302

CBC News: 8 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Newfoundland and Labrador. All of the new cases are in the Eastern Health Region. There are 31 known active cases in the province, including 1 patient who is in hospital. 

CBC News, 7 a.m. PT: U.S. sets new record of 249,709 coronavirus cases in one day; 2,814 more people have died across U.S., pushing its death toll to more than 314,300: JHU.

——

The New York Giants, already without offensive co-ordinator Jason Garrett because of a positive test, found out Saturday that offensive assistant Stephen Brown also has the virus. On Thursday, the Giants placed starting CB James Bradberry on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Bradberry tested positive, too, but his case isn’t believed related to either of the other two. . . .

The Ohio State Buckeyes played in the Big Ten championship football game on Saturday without 22 players, who were missing for reasons related to COVID-19. Yes, the game went on. . . . The Cal Golden Bears, meanwhile, experienced three positive tests during their season and ended up with four cancelled games. As John Branch of The New York Times tweeted: “I’ll let others decide if playing college football was worth it, but little debate that it was not equal.”


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Scattershooting on a Sunday night while hoping NBA and NHL bubbles don’t burst . . .

Scattershooting

Things are getting interesting in the world of U.S. college football. As Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote on Sunday: “A group of Pac-12 football players under the banner #WeAreUnited has issued a list of demands as a condition of the players’ participation in the 2020 season. These are not SEC players, not Big Ten players, not Ivy League players. They are Pac-12 players.” . . . In a piece posted at The Players Tribune, the players, among other things, demanded that they be allowed the option “not to play during the pandemic without losing eligibility or spot on our team’s roster” and the liability waivers be prohibited or voided. . . . There’s a whole lot more right here. . . . There also are reports that at least one school, Washington State, has dropped players from the football team’s roster because of their involvement with the #WeAreUnited movement.

Earlier, the Pac-12 announced that its football teams will play a 10-game, conference-only schedule if there is to be a 2020 season. The first games now are scheduled for Sept. 26. . . . Training camps are allowed to open on Aug. 17, but for at least four teams, those based in California, tackling won’t be allowed based on pandemic-related regulations. . . . Meanwhile, Cal has cancelled its 2020 season tickets. There is a public health order in place that restricts large gatherings, to the school is uncertain how many fans will be allowed to attend games once the schedule starts. It all means single-game tickets will be sold.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Doug Pederson, the head coach of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, has tested positive. Pederson, 52, is asymptomatic after receiving two positive tests. He is in self-quarantine. . . . Pederson is the second NFL head coach to test positive after it happened to Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints in March.

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1B Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds was placed on the injured list on Sunday. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Votto self-reported COVID-19 symptoms on Sunday morning despite not having tested positive. . . . Votto, 36 is from Toronto. . .

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The St. Louis Cardinals had three weekend games postponed — they were to have played the host Milwaukee Brewers — and now there are reports that they are expecting more positive tests. Apparently, they had six positives, including three from players, on the weekend, with more expected from Sunday tests. The Cardinals are scheduled to play four games in Detroit from Tuesday through Thursday, but those would seem to be in jeopardy.

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OF Yoenis Cespedes didn’t show up for the New York Mets’ game with the host Atlanta Braves on Sunday. He wasn’t in his hotel room, which had been emptied of luggage. Later, he confirmed that he has opted out of the remainder of the MLB season. . . .

Two MLB players chose to opt out of the season on Saturday. The Milwaukee Brewers lost OF Lorenzo Cain, while 2B Isan Diaz left the Miami Marlins. . . .

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Australian Nick Krygios said Sunday that he won’t play in the U.S. Open later this month. He cited health and safety concerns in making his announcement via Instagram. . . . Earlier, Ash Barty, the world’s No. 1 women’s player, also opted out. She, too, is from Australia. . . . The tournament is scheduled for Aug. 31 through Sept. 13. . . .

The German Football League has cancelled its 2020 season. In July, the league lost 10 of its 16 teams. The six remaining teams — the Berlin Rebels, Dresden Monarchs, Marburg Mercenaries, Munich Cowboys, Potsdam Royals and Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns — had suggested playing a shortened season, but five of those teams have since decided not to play. . . . A story at americanfootballinternational.com referred to the GFL as “arguably the best American football league outside of North America, Japan and Mexico.” . . .

TE Matt LaCosse of the New England Patriots has opted out of the 2020 NFL season. He is the eighth New England player to choose that route. . . . The NFL now has had at least 40 players opt out. There is a list right here. . . .

The Jacksonville Jaguars have placed five players, including QB Gardner Minshew, on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Detroit Lions have done the same with QB Matthew Stafford. . . . From cbssports.com: “The league’s recently-implemented reserve/COVID-19 list includes players who either tested positive for the virus or who have been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons. If a player falls into either category, their team is required to immediately place the player on the list. Teams are not permitted, per the agreed-upon NFL-NFLPA policy, to comment on player’s medical status other than referring to roster cuts. Furthermore, teams may not disclose whether a player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19.”


“Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and pop-star wife Ciara named their new baby boy Win,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Somewhere, Al Davis is smiling.”

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Perry also is wondering: “If the Blue Jays win the World Series, will they be treated to a championship parade through the vacated streets of Buffalo?”


Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot: “Sarcasm ahead — I don’t know how baseball people were able to judge the greatness of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays without knowing the launch angle and exit velocity of their home runs.”


Fireworks

Scattershooting . . . Drawing goes viral . . . Big League for Broncos . . . Vandekamp back in coaching game

Scattershooting

A drawing showing players from the Humboldt Broncos asking Jonathan Pitre to join them in a game of shinny has exploded on social media. If you haven’t seen it, it’s in the tweet below. . . . It is the work of Kerry MacGregor, whose father, Roy, writes for The Globe and Mail and whose essay on the Broncos’ tragedy was linked to here on Monday. . . . The father and daughter have been in the news this year because of the release of their children’s book The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink.


Logan Boulet, a defenceman who didn’t survive the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus on Friday, registered as an organ donor as he turned 21 on March 2. That story became most popular on social media when the information was made public by his family. But who was Logan Boulet? Dylan Purcell has the answer right here as he visits with folks who knew Boulet in his hometown of Lethbridge.



There are wordsmiths and there are wordsmiths . . . and then there is Charles P. Pierce. On Tuesday, SI.com posted a Pierce essay that is well worth your time. Yes, it’s about hockey and Humboldt and billet families and a whole lot more, and it’s all right here.


On that subject, here is Doug Johnson, the general manager and head coach of the Nipawin Hawks, talking to Postmedia’s Nick Faris:

“The people (who) are no longer with us were on that bus to play. They were on that bus to chase a dream and make it to the Canalta Cup final. If we don’t play, we do them a huge disservice. To me, the only way to truly honour Humboldt is to play.

“I think it’ll help our players with the grieving process. Will it be tough? Absolutely. Will sometimes it not make sense? Absolutely. But talking with people (who) have been through tragedies, to a person, they just say, ‘Get back and honour them through play. That’s what they would want.”

That conference call is scheduled for today (Wednesday).



Tom Cochrane, who really should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, paid a visit to TSN on Tuesday evening. Cochrane, the pride of Lynn Lake, Man., took the time to treat viewers to a special version of his hit song Big League.


Thank you so much to all who commented on the story I posted here earlier on Tuesday. I am thrilled that so many people read it, and were able to get something positive out of it.

I awoke Tuesday at 3 a.m., after having been asleep for about two hours. I was wide awake, but couldn’t figure out why. As I poked and prodded the depths of my mind, it came to me. Anyone who has written will understand when I suggest that I didn’t get much sleep for the rest of the night.

Again, thank you so much for the reaction. I would respond individually but this, I think, is better than cluttering up timelines.


And now for a couple of BCHL-related items . . .

Mike Vandekamp is back in the coaching game as the general manager and head coach Cowichanof the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals.

Vandekamp was in his seventh season as the Nanaimo Clippers’ GM/head coach when he was fired by new owner Wes Mussio on Dec. 22. Mussio cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the move.

With the Capitals, Vandekamp takes over from Brian Passmore, who will stay on in the area of hockey development, working, according to a news release, with the team’s U-16 program and other youth hockey initiatives.

This season, the Capitals finished 10-41-5, with two ties, and didn’t make the playoffs.

Meanwhile, in Trail, the Smoke Eaters, who are owned by Minnesota businessman Rich Murphy, have fired Cam Keith, their general manager and head coach, after a season in Trailwhich they went 32-21-4, with one tie, and reached the league’s final four for the first time since 2003.

In the second round of the playoffs, the Smokies won a seven-game series from the Penticton Vees, who had finished 17 points ahead of them in the Interior Division. Trail then lost the conference final in five games to the Wenatchee Wild.

Keith’s departure was announced via a one-paragraph, two-sentence, 46-word news release.

Jim Bailey of the Trail Times reported that Keith, who is from Nelson, “was conspicuously absent at the City of Trail ceremony that honoured the team Monday afternoon, and it was revealed later in a press release that Keith had been relieved of his duties that morning.”

Keith completed two seasons in Trail. In 2016-17, they finished 26-26-5, with one tie, good for third in the division.