Hurricanes delete one from staff . . . Blades’ Maier closing in on career mark . . . Oil Kings’ streak now at 13

Earlier this week, I posted a piece here that led with some comments on announced attendance totals at WHL games this season.

Yes, some teams really are struggling at the gate, but there are a number of possible reasons, some of them pandemic related.

Anyway . . . that piece created a lot of interest and a few comments.

So now I’m asking readers to drop me a line and explain why they no longer go to games or why they don’t go to as many games as they once did. Also feel free to comment on what you think the WHL and its teams might do to increase attendance at their games.

You are able to contact me by DM at Twitter (@gdrinnan) or via email at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

Responses will be used for a posting here at some point in the not-too-distant future.


The OHL announced on Thursday that it has “expelled” Terry Christensen, the OHLFlint Firebirds’ president of hockey operations, for conduct that is “prejudicial to the welfare” of the league. An investigation, sparked by an allegation that was made via the OHL’s player communications system, revealed that Christensen had make remarks that violated the league’s Harassment and Abuse/Diversity Policy. . . . “His conduct violated the league’s expectation of the appropriate conduct of a representative of an OHL Team and he has lost the privilege to participate in the League,” the league said in a statement. . . . Christensen had been with the Firebirds since May.

Meanwhile, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted Thursday morning that “the OHL is launching an independent investigation into the Niagara IceDogs over alleged offensive comments made by people in senior positions on a team group chat.”

Greg Cowan is a sports reporter with the Owen Sound Sun Times:

https://twitter.com/GregCowanST/status/1501969145952407553?s=20&t=mGTe9yMl1lERdkg59YQaXw


The Lethbridge Hurricanes fired assistant coach Jeff Hansen on Friday. Hansen, Lethbridgefrom Calgary, was in his fifth season after spending four seasons as the video coach with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt, in a news release: “Jeff is a good man and a hard worker, and this wasn’t an easy decision, but we felt it was time to make a change. We weren’t happy with the development of our defence and the accountability of our blueline.” . . . The Hurricanes’ coaching staff now comprises head coach Brent Kisio, Matt Anholt, the assistant GM/assistant coach, and video coach Ryan Aasman. According to the news release, those three will run things “for the remainder of the season.”


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

In Brandon, the Winnipeg Ice scored three third-period goals and beat the WinnipegIceWheat Kings, 6-3. F Mikey Milne’s 28th goal of the season, at 2:37 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie. . . . Through a promotion involving Heritage Co-op, fans 18 and older who purchased an adult ticket received a $10 gas card. Announced attendance was 2,880. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Winnipeg. . . . The Ice (38-9-5) leads the East Division by 12 points over the Moose Jaw Warriors. Winnipeg, with five games in hand, trails the Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings by eight points. . . . The Wheat Kings (28-19-5) are a comfortable sixth in the Eastern Conference. . . .

F Braxton Whitehead broke a 3-3 tie at 15:30 of the third period as the host ReginaRegina Pats beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Whitehead has seven goals. . . . Regina F Connor Berard had a goal, his 35th, and an assist as he ran his point streak to 16 games. He has 33 points, including 16 goals, in what is the WHL’s longest active such streak. . . . Lethbridge is 2-3-1 on a seven-game road trip while the Canadian men’s curling championship is in their home arena. The Brier ends on Sunday. . . . Regina (21-27-4) is 11th in the Eastern Conference, but just two points shy of eighth. . . . Lethbridge (23-27-4) is seventh, two points ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Calgary Hitmen, who are tied for eighth. . . . From Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “Factoring in last season, when Bedard debuted as a 15-year-old, he has 99 points (including 47 goals) in 61 games as a WHLer. Bedard is on the verge of tying the Pats’ record for most WHL goals by a player who has yet to turn 17. Jeff Friesen had 48 goals over his first 74 games. He scored three goals in four games as a 15-year-old call-up with the 1991-92 Pats. The following season, he had 45 goals in 70 games en route to being named the CHL’s rookie of the year.” . . .

F Egor Sidorov’s 16th goal, at 2:40 of OT, give the visiting Saskatoon Blades a 3-Blades2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders before a sellout crowd of 2,600. . . . G Nolan Maier turned aside 49 shots for the Blades, but wasn’t selected as one of the three stars. Gee, do you think the Blades are that unpopular in P.A.? Maier now has 117 regular-season victories, three shy of the WHL career record that, according to quanthockey.com, is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . Maier now is tied for fourth with Mac Carruth (Portland, 2009-13), two behind Jordan Papirny (Brandon, Swift Current, 2012-17). . . . F Hayden Pakkala scored twice for the Raiders, giving him nine this season. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Saskatoon, on Nolan Maier Bobblehead Night. . . . The Blades (32-18-4) are fifth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Raiders (22-28-4) are tied for eighth. . . .

In Swift Current, F Jalen Luypen scored twice, the second into an empty net, as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Broncos, 3-1. He’s got 25 goals. . . . The Oil Kings have won 13 in a row. They’ll go for 14 tonight back in Swift Current. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 25 shots in posting his WHL-leading 29th victory. . . . The Oil Kings (43-11-3) lead the Eastern Conference by eight points over Winnipeg, which has five games in hand. . . . Swift Current (20-29-7) is 10th, one point out of eighth. . . .

F Jagger Firkus broke a 2-2 tie with his 31st goal, at 5:12 of the third period, and the host Moose Jaw Warriors went on to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Warriors (32-19-5) are fourth in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind the Red Deer Rebels and one ahead of Saskatoon. . . . The Hitmen (20-27-8) are tied for eighth with Prince Albert, two points behind Lethbridge and one ahead of Swift Current. . . .

F Ben King had a goal, his 44th, and four assists as the Red Deer Rebels clinched a playoff spot with a 6-3 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . King leads the WHL in goals and points (85). He has one more point than linemate Arshdeep Bains, who signed with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks earlier in the day. Bains had a goal and two assists in this one. He leads the WHL with 53 assists. . . . The Rebels were 4-for-5 on the PP; King leads the WHL with 21 PP goals. . . . Red Deer (37-16-3) is third in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Winnipeg, which has four games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (10-40-4) is in next-season country. . . .

F Tarun Fizer scored his 13th goal and added an assist to help the Victoria VictoriaRoyalsRoyals to a 5-3 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. Fizer, who has three goals and five assists in his past three games, iced this one with an empty-netter. . . . The Cougars, who have lost seven in a row, had been 7-0-0 against the Royals this season. . . . Prince George led 2-0 before the game was seven minutes old, but surrendered the next four goals. . . . Victoria (17-33-6) closed to within one point of Prince George (19-32-3) and the Spokane Chiefs, who are tied for seventh in the Western Conference. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers got two goals from F Logan Stankoven — he’s got 33 — Kamloopsas they beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-2. . . . Stankoven broke a 1-1 tie at 14:27 of the first period and then added insurance at 1:53 of the third. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots in his first appearance since suffering a leg injury on Feb. 16. . . . F Luke Toporowski of the Blazers, a 35-goal man, didn’t return after a collision with Kelowna D Tyson Feist in the first period. . . . The same teams are to meet tonight in Kelowna. In fact, they also will play home-and-home each of the next two weekends. . . . The Blazers (40-14-2) lead the B.C. Division by 10 points over the Rockets (34-15-4). . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored two late third-period goals, Portlandboth with their goaltender on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, but ended up dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . D Luca Cagnoni, the 14th shooter, won it with the only goal of the circus. . . . Portland nursed a 2-0 lead from the 11:18-mark of the second period. . . . Seattle F Reid Schaefer (27) scored at 17:58 of the third period and F Jared Davidson (28) tied it at 19:28. . . . Portland got 51 saves through OT from G Taylor Gauthier . . . The Thunderbirds saluted head athletic trainer Phil Varney, one of hockey’s good guys, as he worked his 1,000th game. He is in his 15th season with Seattle. . . . Seattle F Henrik Rybinski missed his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle F Lucas Ciona, who has 32 points, including 17 goals, didn’t finish with apparent arm injury. . . . Portland (38-14-5) is third in the Western Conference, one point out of first. . . . Seattle (34-14-6) trails Portland by seven points. . . .

F Fabian Lysell’s 19th goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie at 18:08 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Jaden Lipinski, who has five goals, scored twice for the Giants, his second forging a 2-2 tie at 17:04 of the second period. . . . F Samuel Huo, who has 24 goals, scored twice for the Americans. . . . Vancouver (21-29-3) is sixth in the Western Conference, 27 points behind Kelowna and four ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . Tri-City (15-34-5) is last in the conference, six points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen scored twice, giving him 30, and added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips dumped the Spokane Chiefs, 6-3. . . . Everett erased a 2-1 deficit with four straight goals. . . . Everett (37-9-8) is tied with Kamloops atop the Western Conference, but the Silvertips hold two games in hand. . . . Spokane (18-32-5) is tied for seventh with Prince George, four points behind Vancouver and one ahead of Victoria.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Vancouver Canucks signed F Arshdeep Bains, 21, to a three-year free-agent deal on Friday. CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) reported that the entry-level contract calls for an NHL salary of US$750,000 for 2022-23 and $775,000 each of the next two seasons. There also is a $50,000 signing bonus payable each season. His minor-league salary would be $70,000. Bains is from Surrey, B.C.; the Canucks’ AHL affiliate is just down the road in Abbotsford. . . .

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques added G Ève Gascon to their roster on Thursday. She had been 9-5-0 with the CÉGEP St-Laurent Patriotes in the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League (Division 1). . . . Gascon is to join the Olympiques this morning (Saturday) and could get the start against the visiting Val D’Or Foreurs later in the day. . . . The last woman to play in the QMJHL? G Charline Labonté got into 26 games (4-9-2, 5.22, .841) with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 1999-2000 and two in 2000-01.


Shawn Mezei, a former WHL player, died in Lethbridge on Wednesday. He was 36. Funeral arrangements hadn’t yet been arranged as of Friday night. Mezei was a native of Taber, Alta. A defenceman, he played 116 games over five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, totalling two goals, 12 assists and 165 penalty minutes.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Colonel


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.


Pearls Before Swine
Pearls Before Swine

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

Thunderbirds drop two after racist incident . . . COVID-19 takes chunks out of Fighting Irish, two baseball leagues, NHL


Earlier this week, Geoff Baker, a reporter with the Seattle Times, was writing about Brendan Lee, a forward with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips who was born Everettin Seattle and is of Chinese heritage.

Baker wrote about how Lee was “jolted” by last week’s mass shooting in Atlanta in which six women of Asian descent were killed, something that brought stories of anti-Asian harassment to the forefront.

Baker wrote: “Lee said neither he nor his immediate family have felt targeted, though he’s aware of fears within the broader Asian community. He hopes there’s some role he can play, through hockey, in projecting a positive image of Asian Americans — within that diverse community and beyond.”

Lee told Baker: “It’s horrible what happened. And with the platform I have, I think I can be an influencer. Maybe have somebody look up to me that’s a kid, who can see an American Asian playing hockey — and that it’s a kid from Seattle.”

Let’s move ahead to Thursday now, when Baker was writing this:

“Two teenage forwards with the Seattle Thunderbirds major junior hockey Seattleteam have been released for the remainder of the season for a racial-taunting incident in which the squad’s lone Black player alleged he was called a racial slur and had a banana waved in front of him.

“The players, age 17 and 18, had been suspended the Thunderbirds’ first two Western Hockey League games last weekend after team officials investigated a complaint of racial harassment against a 17-year-old teammate.

“On Thursday the team informed the suspended players they were no longer on the team and would be flown back home to Canada shortly, and removed their names from the roster.”

Baker reported that the Thunderbirds have said neither player will be back next season, although the team will maintain their rights and could trade them.

“Both are awaiting further instructions on when they can return to Canada due to tightened border restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he wrote. “The 17-year-old is from Alberta, the 18-year-old from British Columbia.”

The victim texted Baker: “I am very disappointed with what happened, but I appreciate and respect the way my organization has handled this situation. That’s all I am going to say, and now I just want to focus on our season at hand.”

Baker’s wonderful story on Lee is right here.

Baker’s story involving the Thunderbirds is right here.


Oh boy, is the general manager of the Ottawa Senators going to be sorry about losing his cool in this age of social media, or what? This was Pierre Dorion after his club lost in OT to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night . . .


The Regina Pats broke a 1-1 tie with four straight goals en route to a 5-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in the Regina hub on Thursday. . . . F Carson WHL2Denomie, who went into this developmental season with 35 goals in 198 regular-season games, scored his seventh goal in as many games for the Pats (2-3-2). He also had an assist. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard had two assists, giving the 15-year-old 12 points as he has started his WHL career on a seven-game point streak. . . . F Cole Carrier also had a goal and an assist for Regina, with D Ryker Evans adding two assists. . . . The Raiders (2-3-2) are winless in four games (0-3-1) after opening this developmental season by earning five points in their first three games. . . . Regina lost its captain, F Logan Nijhoff, to a kneeing major at 5:24 of the third period. . . . Prince Albert was without its captain, D Kaiden Guhle, for a fifth straight game due to a hand injury. . . . The Raiders dressed only one goaltender, Carter Serhyenko, because Cam Paddock is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. . . . Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW that “we had a goalie from another team (WInnipeg Ice) in the stands, so if something (had) happened to Carter, he would have dressed. It’s part of the bubble. It’s the way it is.” . . .

In the night’s other game, F Ridly Greig’s first goal of the season, shorthanded at 4:11 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . F Connor Geekie gave the Ice a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Brandon scored three times — F Nate Danielson, F Rylen Roersma and F Jake Chiasson — in a span of 2:17 before the period ended. . . . F Peyton Krebs and F Owen Pederson pulled the Ice (5-2-0) even, the latter scoring on a PP at 2:09 of the third. . . . Winnipeg had won five straight since opening with a 3-2 loss to Brandon on March 13. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-2-1) were without D Braden Schneider for a second straight game. He is listed as day-to-day with what is believed to be an injury to his right knee.


Scarecrow


It was a big day for COVID-19 on the sporting front Thursday. First, it took the Notre Dame Fighting Irish right out of the chase for the NCAA men’s hockey title. And then it took big chunks out of two summer baseball leagues that used to feature lots of U.S. college players. Oh, and it got into the coach staff of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres for the second time this season . . .

——

The Fighting Irish were to have taken part in the NCAA Northeast Regional hockey tournament in Albany, N.Y., this weekend. But they have had to withdraw due to COVID-19 protocols. . . . According to head coach Jeff Jackson, “With multiple positives and contact tracing it became clear that for the safety of our team and others in the tournament we could not proceed.” . . . Notre Dame was to have played the Boston College Eagles on Saturday. That game has been declared no-contest and the Eagles moved directly into Sunday’s regional final against either St. Cloud State or Boston U. . . . Interestingly, Notre Dame was in the tournament as a late invitee after St. Lawrence U had to withdraw because of COVID-19 protocols. Notre Dame couldn’t be replaced because the NCAA had set a Monday night deadline for replacements to be made.

——

The pandemic has forced quite a shuffling of the deck with the Western Canadian Baseball League. . . . The Edmonton Prospects, Lethbridge Bulls, Okotoks Dawgs (two teams) and Sylvan Lake Gulls have said that they will play the 2021 season using only Canadian players. . . . According to the league, the Fort McMurray Giants and Medicine Hat Mavericks continue to discuss their options. . . . At the same time, “due to the COVID-19 restrictions, border issues and the uncertainty of any changes,” five other teams — the Brooks Bombers, Moose Jaw Miller Express, Regina Red Sox, Swift Current 57’s and Weyburn Beavers — have decided to sit out the 2021 season. . . . At the same time, Taylor Shire of Global Regina tweeted that the “Yorkton Carinals and Melville Millionaires have left the WCBL and, according to WCBL president Kevin Kvame they both ceased operations.” . . .

From a news release issued by the Red Sox:

“Player and staff testing protocols will need to be in place at an estimated cost of $40,000 per team, as well as quarantine costs amounting to $2,000 per player. Interprovincial travel continues to be restricted, and the US/Canada border remains closed at this time. The WCBL is exploring options for an ‘All Canadian League’ in Alberta, which would also be subject to quarantine, testing, and border restrictions, presenting a challenge for the league. The Saskatchewan franchises have made the decision to defer the resumption of operations until 2022.”

——

Marker

——

The West Coast League, a wood-bat summer baseball league, has revised its 2021 schedule in order to remove international travel from its regular season, but it is leaving open the possibility of a playoff format involving teams from both Canada and the U.S. . . . The WCL, which features 15 teams, didn’t play in 2020. . . . In Canada, the Kelowna Falcons have opted out of the 2021 season, leaving the Victoria HarbourCats to play against three first-year teams — the Edmonton Riverhawks, Kamloops NorthPaws and Nanaimo NightOwls. . . . American teams in the league are the Bend Elks, Corvallis Knights, Cowlitz Black Bears, Portland Pickles, Ridgefield Raptors, Walla Walla Sweets, Bellingham Bells, Port Angeles Lefties, Wenatchee Apple Sox and Yakima Valley Pippins.

——

Kevyn Adams, the Buffalo Sabres’ general manager, served as head coach on Thursday night as the team lost 4-0 to the Penguins in Pittsburgh. That’s nhl2because Don Granato, who was named interim head coach last week after Ralph Krueger was fired, and interim assistant coach Matt Ellis were in self-isolation. . . . This is the second time this season that the Sabres’ coaching staff was impacted by the virus. Earlier, Krueger tested positive and missed some time. . . . The Sabres have six victories this season; they have been shut out seven times. . . .

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers had assistants Jacques Martin and Greg Brown back behind the bench for last night’s 8-3 victory over the host Philadelphia Flyers. But head coach David Quinn has yet to be cleared to return from COVID-19 protocol, so former WHL player/coach Kris Knoblauch continues to work as head coach. Under normal conditions, Knoblauch is the head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. . . . Knoblauch will stay with the Rangers at least through Saturday’s game in Philly. . . .

Marc Bergevin, the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, expects his club to return to the ice next week. He said Thursday that one player had tested positive — forwards Joel Armia and Jesperi Kotkaniemi — and that it was a variant. . . . So far, the Canadiens have had four games postponed — three against the Edmonton Oilers and one with the Ottawa Senators. . . . If all goes well, the Canadiens will return to practice on Monday and play in Ottawa on Tuesday. . . . The NHL now has postponed 41 games because of COVID-19.


And how are things going out west? Hey, thanks for asking . . .

Justin McElroy, CBC Vancouver — 800 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., the highest number since the very height of the second wave, as the province’s trendline is going up VERY sharply now. . . . Active cases jump by almost 300, now the highest since January 8. . . . Five new deaths and hospitalizations up.

Oh, hey, things are going great in Alberta, too . . .

CBC News — Alberta reports 764 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 more deaths. The province confirms 191 variants of concern cases. 294 people are in hospital, 55 in ICU. . . . Variant cases now make up more than 20 per cent of the total.

Party on, Garth!


——

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 Spokane Chiefs have promoted Chris Baird to director of hockey operations. He had been assistant director of hockey operations since 2017. He first was hired by the Chiefs in 2006-07 as a part-time video co-ordinator. . . . The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders have named Adam Manah as general manager — he will continue as head coach — and Jeff Woywitka as assistant GM. Manah has been with the Crusaders since 2015 when he was associate coach. He took over as assistant GM and head coach in 2016. Woywitka has been associate coach since 2016. The moves were necessitated by the firing of general manager Kyle Chase on March 19. Chase, who had been part of the organization since 2004, had been GM since 2016. Shane Jones of the Sherwood Park News has more on Chase’s dismissal right here.


Anger

%d bloggers like this: