Taking Note’s pick as sportsmen of the year . . . Come on, folks, mask up . . . Rockets, Giants stung by WJC injuries

As another old year gives way to a new one, numerous organizations hand out end-of-year awards. That doesn’t happen at Taking Note, but if it did I would Brandonbe quick to salute Calder Anderson, Jake Chiasson, Nolan Ritchie and Ben Thornton of the Brandon Wheat Kings as this site’s sportsmen of the year. . . . In case you missed it, in the words of the Brandon Sun’s Perry Bergson, they “successfully interceded to help a distressed man who was contemplating suicide on the First Street Bridge” on the evening of Nov. 29. . . . “We’re very happy that we were able to save him and get him some help,” Thornton told Bergson, who added: “They also learned another lesson when 30 or 40 vehicles drove by without stopping in the short span they were trying to help the man. Yet they never considered leaving until the man was safe.” . . . Gentlemen, I salute you. . . . Bergson’s complete story is right here.


Let’s be honest. We are part of a society that is putting together an absolutely Covidabysmal record unless being selfish and uncaring is the objective. Really, had you told me four years ago that the time was coming when our children would by dying, when our children would be unable to get much-needed surgical procedures, when our hospital’s emergency rooms would be over-run and that society would refuse to help by doing something as simple as masking up, well, I would have told you that you were crazy. . . . But, well, here we are.

——

After avoiding COVID-19 for almost three years, it caught up with me almost five weeks ago. Ironically, I tested positive on a day when I was to have visited a pharmacy for my fifth shot. Thankfully, the boosters did what they were supposed to, leaving me with a bit of a cough and some fatigue. The strangest thing is that there have been good days followed by bad. Just when you think you’re over the rough road, it reappears. Kind of like city streets, if you know what I mean. . . . As for that fifth shot, well, it’ll have to wait until May. . . . In the meantime, I will be here as fatigue’s curtain allows.

——

André Picard wrote this in The Globe and Mail last week:

“In some ways, these more recent viral challenges have distracted us from the main event: COVID-19. While we largely returned to ‘pre-pandemic’ normalcy this year, this has actually been the deadliest year yet for COVID-19; in 2022, Canada will surpass 17,000 deaths, more than the 14,642 deaths we recorded in 2020 or the 16,489 in 2021. A fifth wave of Omicron is just beginning.

“We still don’t know if SARS-CoV-2 will mutate further. We do not know if it will become seasonal, like most respiratory viruses. And we definitely do not yet have a handle on what it will mean if we suffer repeated COVID-19 infections — but it certainly won’t be good news.

“Viruses are ubiquitous, and will continue to pose new threats. We can’t live a virus-free existence, nor can we place our children and seniors in a protective bubble.

“But we also cannot hang them out to dry on a viral firing range, without any protection. We need to use the mitigation tools (vaccinations and masks) we have while we develop new ones. That’s what ‘living with COVID’ really needs to mean, moving ahead into a new year.”

——

The Angus Reid Institute released results of an online survey early in December that showed of 5,013 participants 54 per cent would be prepared to mask up if it was made mandatory if COVID-19 levels increase. But only 31 per cent are wearing masks more than half the time when they are in indoor public places. Sheesh, people, that just doesn’t make any sense.

Get vaccinated and wear a mask when appropriate, like when shopping or anywhere in a crowded area. . . . Just because the politicians and health officers won’t do their part by mandating masks doesn’t mean you can’t do the right thing and be part of the solution.



Look, F Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is not the greatest goal scorer nhl2in NHL history. So stop trying to tell me that he is. He’s still 88 behind Wayne Gretzky. Have people already forgotten just how great Gretzky was? . . . Allow me to point out that Gretzky also scored 92 goals in the WHA, which was a better league than many of those same people seem to recall. As for Gordie Howe, well he scored 801 NHL goals and another 174 in the WHA. . . . But when Ovechkin puts in No. 895, then you can call him the greatest goal scorer in NHL history. OK?

——

While some hockey fans celebrate Ovechkin’s scoring accomplishments, there are those who don’t and never will go that way. Why? Because of Ovechkin’s long-time support of Russian ruler Vladimir Putin, who, of course, is responsible for the ongoing war on Ukraine. Luke Fox of Sportsnet took a look at the Ovechkin-Putin situation the other day and it really is an interesting read. That piece is right here.

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BTW, did Gretzky really have to throw mud on his legacy by jumping on the gambling gravy train?


It is every general manager’s worst nightmare . . . a top player leaves for an international assignment and then suffers a serious injury. . . . That is what has happened with the Kelowna Rockets and Vancouver Giants, each team having had a player seriously injured at the 2023 World Junior Championship. Those injuries may well have an impact on the WHL’s Western Conference playoff race from which eight teams will qualify. . . .

F Colton Dach, the Rockets’ captain, initiated a hit during a Saturday game — KelownaCanada beat Sweden, 5-1 — and left the game in obvious discomfort thanks to an injury to his right shoulder area. Dach, who turns 20 on Wednesday, has 17 points, nine of them goals, in 14 games with the Rockets this season. Earlier, he missed some time with a concussion. . . . The Rockets (12-18-3), who have lost five in a row, are eighth in the conference, seven points ahead of the Victoria Royals (8-24-4). . . .

Meanwhile, freshman F Samuel Honzek, the Vancouver Giants’ leading scorer, Vancouversuffered a skate cut to the back of his left leg on Wednesday as his Slovakian side beat the U.S., 6-3. The 18-year-old Honzek, who is expected to be out as long as six weeks, leads the Giants in assists (26) and points (43) in 31 games. . . . Vancouver (14-16-6) is tied for fourth in the conference with the Tri-City Americans, who hold two games in hand. They are one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips. . . .

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Jan. 10.


The Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals swapped 19-year-old goaltenders on Dec. 28. Tyler Palmer, who had left the Royals for what the team said was WHLpersonal reasons, was dealt to Everett in exchange for Braden Holt. . . . Palmer, from Fernie, B.C., was in his second season with Victoria. He left the Royals sometime after a 7-4 loss to the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Nov. 12. . . . Holt, from Bozeman, Mont., was in his fourth season with Everett. In his first start with Victoria, he stopped 35 shots in a 3-0 victory over the host Vancouver Giants. . . . Having acquired Holt, the Royals then traded G Logan Cunningham, a 17-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., to the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fifth-round pick in the 2025 WHL draft. . . . After adding Cunningham to their roster, the Oil Kings dropped G Ronin Geraghty, 18. From Burnaby, B.C., he was 0-5-0, 6.48, .819 in seven games with Edmonton. . . .

Still with goaltending, the Swift Current Broncos lost starter Gage Alexander on Dec. 30 when the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks signed him to an entry-level deal and assigned him to the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. Alexander, 20, had played in 15 games for the Broncos this season, two more than Reid Dyck. Alexander was 8-5-1, 3.47, .898. . . . The Ducks had selected Alexander in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Broncos had acquired him from the Winnipeg Ice on July 28, giving up a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft in the exchange. . . . The move left the Broncos with Dyck, an 18-year-old from Winkler, Man., and Joey Rocha, 17, from Nanaimo, B.C., as their goaltenders. . . . Dyck, in his third season, was 4-10-0, 4.07, .880 at the time of the deal; Rocha, a freshman, had been in four games. . . .

And while we’re on the subject of goaltending, how about the run Scott Ratzlaff is on with the Seattle Thunderbirds while starter Thomas Milic is with Team Canada at the WJC? Thom Beuning, the veteran radio voice of the Thunderbirds, points out that Ratzlaff’s December looked like this: 8-0-1, 1.65, .941, with two shutouts. . . . Ratzlaff, 17, is from Irma, Alta. He was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 draft. This season, the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder is 14-2-1, 2.04, .925. In 42 career appearances, he is 32-4-2, 2.31, .912. . . .

And let’s not forget about Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice. An 18-year-old from Chestermere, Alta., Hauser recorded his 20th victory of the season the other night. This season, in 22 games, he is 20-2-0, 2.36, .912. He has made 70 regular-season appearances over three seasons, going 61-5-2, 2.24, .911. Not at all shabby, eh?


The junior B Nelson Leafs and the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the kijhlKootenay International Junior Hockey League took time out from chasing a puck to exchange Happy New Year greetings as they began the second period on Saturday evening. . . . The Leafs are the team in white in the above video, and the video evidence would seem to indicate that they were first off the mark. . . . The puck now has been passed to Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL commissioner. . . . Happy New Year, Mr. Dubois.


MyWay


THINKING OUT LOUD — The best part of the World Junior Championship? That’s easy. Having the opportunity to listen to Dennis Beyak do play-by-play again. It says here that he is the best in his field even if he is semi-retired. . . . The other day, the choice was Beyak calling Slovakia and Switzerland from the WJC on TSN or Jack Edwards handling the Buffalo Sabres against his beloved Boston Bruins on Sportsnet. Sorry, Sportsnet. . . . The most annoying commercial on TV these days (pick one) — Clay Matthews for Tide, Rogers’ Wrapped in Red spots, the Subway ads featuring the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes, or the Sobeys’ family of four. . . . If you enjoy your time on this site, and even if you don’t, you may want to consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right side. Thanks in advance. . . . Dan Russell, the now-retired host of the long-running Vancouver-based radio show Sportstalk, release his memoir — Pleasant Good Evening: A Memoir — My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportsnet — in 2022 and now is thinking of spinning off a podcast. “My plans,” he writes on his blog, “now are to add more content to this site, especially in the audio vault. And I will update this blog from time to time. I’m also considering a podcast as my 2023 project. One that will combine what is happening today with the large archive of Sportstalk audio I have saved over the years.” If you haven’t seen his blog, it’s right here.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after the final game in soccer’s World Cup: “If you watched this game and came away from it with the idea that it was not a good expenditure of your time, then you simply do not like soccer and should make a note to yourself not to waste any more time trying to appreciate the sport.” . . . Hey, he is correct!


How many WHLers do you know of, past or present, who have put together and released an album? Yes, an album of their own music. . . . F London Hoilett of the Calgary Hitmen is quite a story, having made the team prior to this season despite never having been drafted. He also is something of a musician and has his first album — Can’t Sit Still — ready for release on Jan. 10. . . . Cami Kepke of Global Calgary has more right here.


Mitts


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

A few things of note that popped up while I was away from here . . .

D Ethan Samson, the captain of the Prince George Cougars, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, who selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. Samson, 19, is from Delta, B.C. He had two goals and an assist as the Cougars beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 10-6, on Saturday night. This season, Samson has 11 goals and 16 assists in 28 games. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have added former player Curtis Hamilton, 31, to their front office as assistant general manager. Yes, his father, Bruce, is the Rockets’ owner, president and general manager. There is a news release right here. . . .

Gilles Courteau, who took over as the QMJHL’s president during the 1985-86 season, will retire at the end of this season. A replacement is expected to be named in May, with Courteau staying on into 2024 to help with the transition. . . . The league has changed the name of its championship trophy from the President’s Cup to the Gilles Courteau Trophy. . . . Courteau first worked in the QMJHL office in 1977 as a statistician. . . .

The junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced that they will ice a team for the 2023-24 season. The Braves have sat out the past two KIJHL seasons for reasons related to the pandemic. . . .

Another high-end WHL forward changed teams on Dec. 31 when the Winnipeg Ice acquired Carson Latimer, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for F Aiden Quiring, 17, and third-round selections in the 2024 and 2025 WHL drafts. . . . Latimer, a fourth-round selection by the Ottawa Senators in the NHL’s 2021 draft, had 22 goals and 38 assists in 75 regular-season games with the Raiders. This season, he had 10 goals and 18 assists in 31 games when he was dealt. . . . Quiring, a freshman who was a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL draft, had five goals and three assists in 26 games at the time of the trade. . . .

The Tri-City Americans revealed on Dec. 30 that D Ben Feenan “has left the team for personal reasons and will join the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.” . . . Feenan, 18, is from Surrey, B.C. He had three assists in 22 games this season, after recording six helpers in 48 games in 2021-22. . . . The Americans selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. . . .

The Americans got past the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 7-6 in OT, on New Year’s Eve. And wouldn’t you know it . . . Americans D Lukas Dragicevic didn’t pick up so much as one point, thus ending his 27-game point streak. He put up seven goals and 30 assists during that stretch.


Grinch


Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press recently wrote a piece in a newsletter about things he would change if he ruled the hockey world for a day. Here’s one item with which I completely agree:

“Severely limit betting/gambling advertisements. Heck, I might just consider an outright ban. I could tolerate them when they first began, in small doses. But it’s to the point now of being completely obnoxious. Seemingly every second commercial is for some website, and now even hosts such as Ron MacLean are routinely shilling for these services. To be clear, I’ve got absolutely nothing against gambling. If you have the means and can do it responsibly, knock your socks off. It’s the idea of having it shoved down my throat everywhere I turn that I find so offensive.”


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Dinner

The Bookshelf: Part 3 of 3

Bookshelf

Here is the third and final part of my annual Bookshelf piece, a thumbnail look at some of the books I have read in the past year. Perhaps you will find something you want to read or to purchase as a gift. . . .

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Razor Girl — Author Carl Hiaasen has produced another hilarious novel. If you are familiar with his work, you won’t be disappointed with this one. If you haven’t yet read anything by Hiaasen, you should know that Razor Girl is centred in the Florida Keys and, yes, it’s outrageous, loaded with, yes, razor wit, entertaining characters — think more than one Florida Man — and loaded dialogue.

Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original — Author Howard Bryant was handed a tough task when he set out to write an authorized biography of Rickey Henderson. And he certainly was up to the task. If you are familiar with Bryant and his work, this definitely is up to his standards as he tells the life story of a man with many sides. But more than a book strictly about Henderson, Bryant tells the story of the Black migration to Oakland and what resulted from that, especially in sports. It also is an in-depth look at racism in baseball. And, yes, it also is the story of Henderson, one of baseball’s all-time greats.

Kraken

Rising From the Deep: The Seattle Kraken, a Tenacious Push for Expansion, and the Emerald City’s Sports Revival — If you’re looking for a book about why the Kraken hired Dave Hakstol as head coach or why it selected this player or that in the NHL expansion draft, this book isn’t for you. If you want to know all that went on behind the scenes financially and politically to get the team on the ice in time for the 2020-21 season, it’s all right here. Remember that before the Kraken came to life, there was a big push being made to land an NBA expansion franchise for Seattle, something that still hasn’t happened. Geoff Baker, who covers the Kraken for the Seattle Times, gets in deep and it makes for a fascinating read.

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks — The author, Patrick Radden Keefe, has put together a collection of his essays that have appeared in The New Yorker. The interesting thing is that the people portrayed in these essays all are different, but they provide an interesting look into the kind of folks who walk this earth with us. As Rachel Newcomb wrote in the Washington Post: “Taken together, the essays reflect the collective preoccupations of the unsettling era in which we now live: mass shootings and terrorism, unaddressed mental health issues, and the many flavors of financial corruption.”

The Ruin — The opening chapter of this work by Dervla McTiernan is enough to keep you reading. Cormac Reilly, a fresh-faced Irish policeman, is sent to a house that is collapsing into itself and discovers a woman dead in her bed, with two children — Maude, 15, and Jack, 5 — appearing ready for whatever may come. The rest of the book doesn’t quite live up to the opening chapter, but that would be awfully tough to do. Still, Reilly is a likeable character, something that is important to any book, and there are enough twists to keep things interesting. . . . Oh, and make sure you read the author’s note where she admits to doing a bit of, uhh, cheating. LOL!

The Scholar — This is the second of author Dervla McTiernan’s books that follow Cormac Reilly, a veteran Irish policeman. And like The Ruin, which is mentioned above, The Scholar is good stuff. It has an interesting plot and even though the twists are fairly easy to figure out, McTiernan’s way with words is more than enough to keep the reader involved.

The Series — This is a wonderful, albeit short, book about the 1972 hockey series between Canada and the Soviet Union. Written by Ken Dryden, who was one of three goaltenders on Team Canada and played the deciding eighth game, this is a 200-page gem. It isn’t full of anecdotes or play-by-play; rather, it’s just Dryden writing about some of his recollections — and sometimes he admits that he doesn’t remember much about a particular game or games — of the eight-game series, as well as what came before and after. A gem . . . a real gem!

Shōgun — I have no idea why it took me this long to dig into author James Clavell’s masterpiece about Japan in 1600. And that really is what this is — a masterpiece. For the most part, the story is told through the eyes of John Blackthorne, the first Englishman to reach the shores of Japan. It is awfully easy to get lost in all that there is to this book. BTW, it’s rather lengthy, coming in at about 428,000 words.

Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty — It turns out that the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as the stars, really did win three championships in spite of themselves. Jeff Pearlman, who has written a number of terrific sports-related book, spells out the winning mess these teams were in all the gory details. It turns out that the young Kobe was a belligerent and rude human being, and he and Shaq couldn’t stand each other. Oh boy, there’s a lot of dirt in this one, including details on the rape charge Kobe faced in Colorado.

Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game is Really Played — Jason Kendall was a catcher who had a 15-year career in the major leagues. You can bet he saw a lot during that time. But this isn’t that kind of book. Instead, Kendall provides a whole lot of insight into what goes into the game, providing all kinds of tips involving catching, hitting, pitching, signs, managing and a whole lot more. If you’re even slightly interested in the big leagues, you’ll enjoy this one.

24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid — Willie Mays is considered by many to be the greatest MLB player of them all. It’s hard to argue with that after reading this gem from author John Shea. With lots of commentary from the Say Hey Kid, this is a terrific look at Mays’ life and career . . . a wonderful book about a wonderful human being.

Visionary: The Ernie Gare Story — Author John Korobanik, a former sports editor of the Nelson Daily News who went on to spend 20 years writing for The Canadian Press, tells the story of the late Ernie Gare, and it’s quite a story. Gare was heavily involved in the founding of the Canadian national ski teams in Nelson. He was the athletic director at Notre Dame University in Nelson — it was shuttered in 1977 — and was a big push behind the school being the first in Canada to offer athletic scholarships. He also was ahead of his time when it came to training, both in- and off-season. And, yes, he was the father of former Buffalo Sabres captain Danny Gare. Unfortunately, Ernie died a young man, taken by ALS in 1981 at the age of 52.

We Begin at the End — This thriller/mystery novel will stay with you for a while if only because author Chris Whitaker has created a memorable character in the outlaw Duchess Day Radley, who is all of 13 years of age and struggling with the unfair hand she has been dealt by life. In fact, more than anything, this is about folks who live in Cape Haven, a small coastal California community, and how each of them is fighting to get through life. But it’s Duchess, the outlaw, who will live in your memory bank.

Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc., America’s Premier Racing Dynasty — There was a time in the not-too-distant past when Calumet Farms was THE name in thoroughbred horse racing. In this book, author Ann Hagedorn Auerbach details its rise — it was founded in 1924 — and all that led it into bankruptcy, including the death of Alydar, perhaps the most-productive sire in thoroughbred history, but a horse that may have been worth more dead than alive. This is an impeccably researched book and the numbers, many of which had to do with bank loans, will make your head spin.

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As for the 10 most-enjoyable books that I read this year, here they are, in alphabetical order (OK, I included 12, so sue me) . . .

The Baseball 100, by Joe Posnanski

Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom, by Carl Bernstein

The Dark Hours, by Michael Connelly

Ice War Diplomat: Hockey Meets Cold War Politics at the 1972 Summit Series, by Gary J. Smith

The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson, by Jeff Pearlman

The Late Show: Letterman, Leno, & the Network Battle for the Night, by Bill Carter

Pleasant Good Evening — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk, by Dan Russell

Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original, by Howard Bryant

Rising From the Deep: The Seattle Kraken, a Tenacious Push for Expansion, and the Emerald City’s Sports Revival, by Geoff Baker

The Series, by Ken Dryden

24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid, by Willie Mays and John Shea

Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc., America’s Premier Racing Dynasty, by Ann Hagedorn Auerbach

Part 3 of 3

The Bookshelf: Part 2 of 3

Bookshelf

For each of the past few years, I have compiled a list of books I have read over the previous 12 months, and posted thumbnails here. With any luck, you may find an idea or two to help you get through your Christmas shopping. . . . Part 1 appeared here yesterday, and here is Part 2 of 3 . . .

Kill Me, Darling — Every once in a while it doesn’t hurt to check out some really legitimate pulp fiction. That’s what we have here in this book by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane. The former has been completing unfinished works left by Spillane, who died in 2006. This one is based mostly in Miami, circa 1954, and it’s good Mike Hammer stuff with all the dialogue, the grit, the colour and the bodies.

The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson — It is entirely up to the reader to decide what kind of a hero Bo Jackson was, because there certainly are some scarecrows in his closet. And, yes, author Jeff Pearlman touches on a whole lot of them here. This is a truly in-depth look at Jackson’s rise from ill-tempered high schooler to two-sport star, Nike poster boy and beyond. And every turn of a page seems to provide the reader with even more interesting information. Bo, by the way, was not especially popular in his own locker rooms, and Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis really didn’t have much use for him. Seriously!

The Late Show: Letterman, Leno, & the Network Battle for the Night — This book, written by Bill Carter, then a media reporter for The New York Times, was published in 1995. I have no idea why it took me so long to get to it. What a book! It tells in detail the story of perhaps the biggest gaffe in TV talk-show history — how NBC-TV lost David Letterman to CBS. I never will get the image out of my head of Jay Leno in what was basically a closet at NBC headquarters listening via phone to a meeting of the braintrust at which his future was being decided. Just a great, great read, even all these years later.

Like a Rolling Stone: A Memoir — Jann Wenner, co-founder of the magazine Rolling Stone, lets it all hang out in a memoir that has to have set a record for name-dropping. After all, Wenner, often with family members, hung out with Mick and the Stones, Bono, John and Yoko, Paul McCartney, Michael Douglas, Bob Dylan and on and on, and he isn’t shy about it. While all of the hanging out and, yes, the drugs were happening, Rolling Stone grew from a rock-and-roll magazine into one that wasn’t afraid to tackle all kinds of issues, from AIDS to climate change to politics. Wenner writes in a rat-a-tat style, jumping from topic to topic in a matter of 300 or 400 words. That makes this an easy read, but there are times when that topic cries out for more words. Still, the man has led an interesting life, especially when you consider that he left Jane, his wife of almost 30 years, because he is gay.

The Marching Season — The assassin known as October almost got Michael Osbourne the first time around and now he’s back for more. But who hired October and turned him loose? Daniel Silva, the author of the more than 20 books featuring Gabriel Allon, has another readable spy novel right here.

1972: The Series That Changed Hockey Forever — Call it what you want, but the hockey series between Canada and Russia that occurred in September 1972 won’t ever be replicated. Veteran hockey writer Scott Morrison take us through the whole thing, from training camp to the homecoming following Game 8 in Moscow and an exhibition game in Prague. With full co-operation from many of the participants, there is lots here to digest. The one thing that stands out, though, is how much everyone involved with the Canadian team thought this series was going to be a walk in the park.

Not Dark Yet — Another in author Peter Robinson’s books that follow the career of Inspector Alan Banks, this one involves murders and a woman — suspect or not? — who was kidnapped by sex-trafficers as she, then 17, was leaving an orphanage to start her new life. Lots of twists and turns in this one. Not Dark Yet was published in 2021 and was the latest entry in the 28-book series.

Off The Record — Peter Mansbridge was in your living room for years as the anchor on CBC-TV’s The National. This is his story and it’s produced like a newscast in that it’s one story after another, some of them 10 or 12 paragraphs in length, others three or four pages. It all is quite entertaining, at least in part because Mansbridge was witness to so much recent history and the people who made it.

The Order — The Pope is dead. Was it a heart attack? Was it murder? Daniel Silva does it again with another enthralling novel featuring Israeli super agent Gabriel Allon. This is No. 20 in the series that follows Allon’s adventures. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them.

Over My Dead Body — This is the fourth book by author Jeffrey Archer that follows the life and career of Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick, who continues to try and bring down Miles Faulkner, a millionaire art collector who may or may not still be alive. Archer spun off these books from his seven-book series The Clifton Chronicles. They’re all quick reads and good fun.

Pack Saddles to Tete Jaune Cache — Published in 1962, James G. MacGregor’s book is a real gem. It was written after numerous conversations with James Shand-Harvey, who arrived in Edmonton from Scotland in August 1905 and went on to explore all parts of Alberta from there to Grande Prairie and Jasper. He was there when the surveyors were doing the ground work for the railroads. An absolutely amazing man who was known throughout the area as Shand, he was hunting and trapping and leading tourists onto Mount Robson and a whole lot more. If you have driven or been in the area from Edmonton to Jasper and can find a copy of this book, don’t miss it.

Pleasant Good Evening — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk — For the better part of 30 years, Dan Russell ruled the late night airwaves in B.C. While doing so, he kept a diary, program logs and audio tapes. He puts all of that and more to great use in this book, which chronicles his life and career on and off the airwaves. Yes, there is plenty in here on Brian Burke and the Vancouver Canucks, too. No, Russell doesn’t pull any punches. (Disclaimer: I was involved in the editing process with this book.)

Portrait of an Unknown Woman — This is No. 22 in author Daniel Silva’s series documenting the life and times of Gabriel Allon. Once a master Israeli spy, Allon now is retired and trying to focus on his other love — restoring classic paintings. All of that leads him into the world of art forgeries and the result is another masterful work by Silva. This is just an awesome read. Loved it.

The Queen’s Gambit — This book by Walter Tevis was published in 1983. It got new life in 2020 when Netflix used it as the basis for a seven-part miniseries of the same name that was most watchable. The book follows the life of Beth Harmon, who grew up in an orphanage. It is there in the basement that she discovered a janitor playing chess and a prodigy was born. Her road to the top wasn’t at all smooth, though, thanks to tranquilizers, booze and Russian chess players.

Part 2 of 3

All Ice’s Hauser does is win games . . . Thunderbirds, Oil Kings make deal involving Prokop . . . Hall doors swing open for Russell

G Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice posted his 50th regular-season WHL victory on Saturday night, stopping 33 shots as the Ice beat the host Kelowna Rockets, 5-4.

The Ice, which has yet to play a home game, has a WHL-leading record of 11-1.

Hauser, an 18-year-old from Chestermere, Alta., is 9-0-0, 2.09, .927 this season.

The red-hot start to his season follows an off-season incident that resulted in a broken ankle.

“I was running and I just stumbled on it and rolled it up pretty bad but I didn’t think much of it,” Hauser told Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press during training camp.“And so a few days afterwards, it started swelling pretty badly and started hurting quite a bit and I got it looked at, got some X-rays and (they) found a break.”

He underwent surgery and spent some time in an air boot before getting back to walWinnipegIceking and skating.

Hauser now has played in 57 regular-season games over three seasons with the Ice, going 50-3-2, 2.17, .914.

That’s right . . . he is 50-3-2. He actually won his first 19 decisions and was 20-0-2 when he suffered his first regulation-time loss.

He went 7-0-1 in the 2020-21 development season, then was 34-3-1 last season.

That 2020-21 loss came in Regina when the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Ice, 5-4 in OT, on a goal by D Braden Schneider at 1:56.

Hauser’s first regulation-time setback occurred in Saskatoon on Jan. 22 when the Blades posted a 7-2 victory, scoring seven times on 24 shots. On Feb. 21, he was in goal for a 6-3 loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton. And he and the Ice were beaten, 3-1, by the host Moose Jaw Warriors on April 2. The Warriors won that one with two goals in the third period’s final 30 seconds.

Hauser, whose first 19 career decisions all were victories, also was the goaltender of record in a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 28.

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Hauser was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 draft. He was eligible for the NHL’s 2022 draft but wasn’t selected.

You might think an NHL team might take a chance on him at some point in the 2023 draft. Wouldn’t it be worth using a mid- or late-round selection on Hauser? After all, it seems that all he does is win.

The Ice concludes its season-opening road trip on Friday in Brandon, then plays its home-opener on Saturday against, yes, those same Wheat Kings.


The Edmonton Oil Kings won the WHL championship last spring, beating the Seattle Thunderbirds in six games in the final. On Tuesday, the two teams got Seattletogether on a trade that had the playing rights to D Luke Prokop, 20, move from Edmonton to Seattle. . . . In return, the Oil Kings got three conditional draft picks — a third-rounder in 2023, and first- and third-rounders in 2025. According to a news release from the Thunderbirds, “All draft picks are conditional on Prokop returning to the WHL.” . . . The Oil Kings acquired Prokop, 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, from the Calgary Hitmen early last season and played a big role in the championship season, putting up 35 points, 11 of them goals, in 58 games with Edmonton. He added four goals and 12 assists in 19 playoff games. . . . The Nashville Predators selected Prokop in the third round of the NHL’s 2020 draft and have signed him. At present, he is with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals with whom he is pointless (and minus-5) in three games. . . . The Thunderbirds are carrying two 20-year-olds on their roster — F Jared Davidson and F Kyle Crnkovic — so wouldn’t have to make a move should Nashville choose to send Prokop back to the WHL. . . . The Thunderbirds already are seen as a title contender, so Prokop definitely would fit right in there. They are 8-0-0 to this point in the season as they head into Prince George for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader with the Cougars.


Peppers


Dan Russell, the former voice of the WHL on Shaw-TV, is among the 2023 inductees to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. Russell is best-known as the host of Sportstalk, a nightly radio show that held listeners throughout B.C. for 30 years. The inductees will enter the hall during an induction gala in June, with a specific date yet to be announced. . . . At one point in his career, Russell was the radio voice of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. He also called the play of WHL games on Shaw TV. . . . He has written a book — Pleasant Good Evening — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sporstalk. . . . Yes, there are a number of WHL-related anecdotes told between the covers. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on that story right here.


IT’S STILL HERE — You may recall that Rick Bowness, in his first season as COVIDhead coach of the Winnipeg Jets, missed four road games last week after testing positive for COVID-19. He returned for the Jets’ home-opener, a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, and had planned on being behind the bench for a Monday night visit by the St. Louis Blues. But he took ill early in the day, as he was experiencing dizzy spells, so was at home resting as the Jets, with associate coach Scott Arniel running the bench, beat the Blues, 3-0. . . . The Jets leave Wednesday on a three-game road swing and it will be interesting to see if Bowness is well enough to go along.

Ted Wyman, in the Winnipeg Sun: “Bowness tried to get through his media availability on Monday but appeared to be having difficulty, at one point stopping, mid-sentence to try to shake something off.”



Beef


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Ben King of the Red Rebels, who led the WHL with 52 goals last season, suffered an undisclosed injury in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. The Rebels announced on Tuesday that King, 20, will be out “for approximately six to eight weeks.” . . . King, who attended training camp with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, has five goals and five assists in five games this season. . . .

F Dallyn Peekeekoot has left the Prince Albert Raiders. The team announced Monday that he left “to pursue education endeavours.” Peekeekoot, an 18-year-old from Saskatchewan’s Ahtahkakoop First Nation, had two assists in 11 games. Last season, he finished with four goals and two assists in 62 games, the same numbers he had put up in 15 games in the 2020-21 development season. . . . The Raiders played three games in fewer than 48 hours on the weekend. He didn’t play in a 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday, was pointless in a 3-0 loss to the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday and then was scratched again on Sunday as the Raiders dropped a 6-2 decision to the Calgary Hitmen. . . .

The Tri-City Americans acquired D Nicco Camazzola, 19, from the Vancouver Giants on Monday, sending a 2024 fifth-round WHL draft pick the other way. He had one assist in games with the Giants this season. In 91 games over four seasons, all with the Giants, had put up nine points, including three goals. . . . His father, Tony, and uncle Jim, both are former WHL players. Tony, a defenceman, played 130 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings over three seasons (1979-82). Jim, a forward, spent three seasons (1982-85) in the WHL, spending time with the Kamloops Junior Oilers, Seattle Breakers and New Westminster Bruins. . . .

G Nicholas Cristiano, 18, who began the season with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, has signed with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. The Rockets released Cristiano after G Talyn Boyko, 20, was returned by the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . The Warriors followed the signing by placing G Cayden Hamming, 18, on injured reserve.



THINKING OUT LOUD — Who is taking things better on social media these days, fans of the Vancouver Canucks or followers of the New York Yankees? . . . On Monday night, when F Phil Kessel of the Vegas Golden Knights tied an NHL record by playing in his 989th consecutive game, the attendance in Las Vegas was 17,989. Hmmm. . . . Kessel now owns the record by himself after playing against the host San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. . . . If you were wondering, the World Series doesn’t open until Friday in Houston. By waiting until Friday, MLB and TV can push the series between the Astros and Philadelphia Phillies over two weekends should it go seven games.


Amazon


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.


Recipe

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if we’ll see 40 C this week . . .

scattershooting

It is the St. Louis Cardinals’ turn to visit the Toronto Blue Jays; they’ll play a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday without three players, including COVIDtwo future Hall-of-Famers. . . . 1B Paul Goldschmidt and 3B Nolan Arenado aren’t vaccinated so can’t cross into Canada due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Of course, the rules are the same going the other way — all of the Blue Jays are vaccinated — but there are Americans who blame all of this on Canadian rules whenever it’s revealed that players can’t get into the country. . . . You may recall that the Kansas City Royals showed up without 10 of the players on their 26-man roster when they played in Toronto prior to the All-Star break. . . . The Cardinals also will be without C Austin Romine. Yes, he is unvaccinated, too. . . . All three will be placed on MLB’s restricted list so won’t be paid. According to ESPN, Arenado will lose $384,416, Goldschmidt $241,758 and Romine $10,989. . . .

Jeff Jones, who covers the Cardinals for the Belleville, Ill., News-Democrat, tweeted that St. Louis GM John Mozeliak said “he had a conversation with Arenado in which Arenado expressed a desire to start a family soon, which informed some of his hesitance.” . . . Jones added that “COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infertility.” . . .

Goldschmidt explained his decision this way: “It was not an easy decision, but over this year-plus that this has happened, I’ve tried to talk to as many doctors and professionals as I could, figured out as much as I could, and I decided the potential risks outweighed the potential benefits of doing it. It stinks that I can’t play in Toronto and can’t play these next couple of games — I hate that part of it, but that’s unfortunately the consequence.” . . .

The Cardinals are in the National League wild-card race and are in danger of missing the playoffs — despite Goldschmidt being the favourite at this point to be named the NL’s MVP — so these two games, especially if they were to lose both of them, could turn out to be rather important.

Of course, both players said on Sunday that they would reconsider their decisions if the Cardinals make the playoffs, especially if they got in and made a run to the World Series.

Arenado: “I would probably consider (it), especially if it’s a chance to play in the World Series. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

BTW, after the Cardinals leave Toronto, the Detroit Tigers are to come in for a four-game set. Yes, it’ll be deja vu all over again.


Christmas


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Lucky for MLB that the All-Star Game wasn’t scheduled for Toronto, where un-vaccinated players would have been shut out. Recently, 10 Royals missed a four-game series in Toronto because they were un-vaxxed. As they say in baseball, We’ll shoot any random stuff into our bodies, as long as it’s not something that will help stop a worldwide killer pandemic.”

——

Ostler again:SI.com writer Stephanie Apstein called athletes’ vax resistance ‘a uniquely American breed of stupidity.’ To which Novak Djokovic said, ‘Hey, what about me?’ ”


VanGogh


Casey Close, a player agent, is suing American national sports-radio host Doug Gottlieb over a tweet claiming he and Excel Sports Management didn’t show the Atlanta Braves’ final offer to Freddie Freeman, who eventually signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. . . . As Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wrote: “Hey, if we start suing hosts for being inaccurate, then the entire talk-radio industry will crumble like sand castles at high tide.”


It turns out that QB Cody Fajardo was one of the 13 players with the Saskatchewan Roughriders who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. As a result, he wasn’t able to even dress for Sunday’s 31-21 over the visiting Toronto Argos. . . . BTW, Mason Fine, Saskatchewan’s backup QB, also was in COVID-19 protocol, but he was well enough to backup on Sunday. That left freshman QB Jake Dolegala, normally third on the depth chart, to start the game.


Carrots


THINKING OUT LOUD: In the 1982-83 season, F Pat LaFontaine of the QMJHL’s Verdun Juniors put up 274 points, including 118 goals, in 89 games, including playoffs and the Memorial Cup. Think about that for a moment or two. . . . Kurleigh Gittens Jr. is a wide receiver with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, who had 152 yards and a touchdown in a 31-21 victory over the host Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday. If his nickname isn’t Jake, they’re doing it wrong. . . . Yes, I know that the Jack Nicholson character in Chinatown was Jake Gittes, but, hey, it’s close enough. . . . With 4:23 left in Sunday’s game, TSN analyst Glen Suitor made reference to the game being played before a “packed house.” Suitor must have had an obstructed-view seat because attendance in the 33,350-seat Mosaic Stadium was announced at 27,134 and TSN cameras showed that there were fewer than that in the house.


One more sign that the apocalypse is upon us . . . 


Back in the day, Marie-Antoinette, the queen of France, upon being told that the peasants didn’t have any bread, may or may not have said: “Let them eat cake.” . . . Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, proved that he is a student of French history when, after being asked about the salaries (?) being paid to minor-league players, he responded: “I reject the premise that (minor-leaguers) are not paid even a living wage.”



Headline from the Los Angeles Times: The University of California Irvine on Monday will require all students and staff to wear masks while inside campus buildings, following the lead of other colleges that have chosen to strengthen safety measures as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.


Twitter


You may be aware that Dan Russell, the well-known former host of the Vancouver-based radio show Sportstalk, has written a book — Pleasant Good Evening: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk. . . . If you are thinking about writing your own book, you may want to check out this interview right here because Russell does a good job of explaining all that he went through in order to get his book from start to finish. . . . And if you haven’t read the book, you should. It’s a solid no-holds-barred look at the man, his life and his career. (Disclaimer: Yes, I helped him in the editing process.)

Former Sportstalk Radio host Dan Russell is making headlines with his new memoir


A track-and-field quiz from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:

Noah Lyles won the 200 meters in 19.31 seconds at the world championships in Eugene, Ore., breaking the U.S. record held by:

  1. Michael Johnson
  2. Forrest Gump
  3. Josh Hawley

Ken Brown, a goaltender who played with the Moose Jaw Canucks in the first two seasons (1966-68) of what now is the WHL, has died in Austin, Texas, at the age of 73. . . . He was the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League’s goaltender of the year for 1966-67 when he put up a 3.22 GAA in 54 games. . . . In 1967-68, he was a second-team all-star in the Western Canada Junior Hockey League with a 5.07 GAA in 58 games. . . . A native of Port Arthur, Ont., Brown spent four seasons (1968-72) with the Dallas Black Hawks, the Central Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He got into one game with Chicago in 1970-71, giving up one goal on 14 shots in 18 minutes. Of course, Chicago had Tony Esposito and Gerry Desjardins ahead of him. . . . He later spent two seasons (1972-73, 1974-75) with the WHA’s Alberta/Edmonton Oilers.


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.


Nudist

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

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



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


Temple


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


Remote


THE COACHING GAME:

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

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

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


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Math

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while pondering the mystery of the Prospera Place deficiencies . . .

scattershooting

Perhaps you are wondering about the “significant deficiencies” in Prospera Place, the home of the Kelowna Rockets, that prevented the WHL team from Kelownabidding to be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup.

That honour, of course, has gone to Kamloops, with the Canadian Hockey League having announced on Friday that the Blazers would be the host team for the four-team tournament in 2023.

The 2020 tournament had been scheduled for Kelowna before the pandemic got in the way. Because of that cancellation and because preparations were well underway at the time, a lot of observers had expected the 2023 event to go to Kelowna.

Not so fast.

As the announcement was being made in Kamloops prior to a playoff game on Friday night, the Rockets issued an open letter in which they pointed a finger at the GSL Group.

“When we submitted our intent to bid,” the letter stated, “there was an audit conducted of Prospera Place, commissioned by the Rockets, the City of Kelowna, and the GSL Group, who own, operate and manage the arena.

“This audit found that there were significant deficiencies that needed to be upgraded for the facility to meet the CHL standards for hosting the Memorial Cup.”

An agreement couldn’t be reached to “make the necessary capital improvements to the building,” thus the Rockets weren’t able to enter a bid.

At this point, no one in the know has explained what those deficiencies might be.

So let’s turn to Doyle Potenteau of Global News in Kelowna. He covered the Rockets for a number of years while with the Kelowna Daily Courier, including the 2004 Memorial Cup that was held there. Yes, he is more than a little familiar with the arena. Anyway, he filed a story for Global that may have shed some light on the subject.

“It’s not known what the issues are,” Potenteau reported, “but one concern is dressing rooms for the players. While the Rockets have a large room, visiting (WHL) teams to Prospera Place are usually squeezed into two smaller rooms.

“Further, when Kelowna hosted the 2004 Memorial Cup, which the Rockets won, two portable dressing rooms had to be built outside the rink for the third and fourth teams, which happened to be the OHL and QMJHL champions.”

Whatever the deficiencies are, they obviously weren’t an issue on Oct. 3, 2018, when the WHL’s board of governors awarded the 2020 Memorial Cup to Kelowna over bids from Kamloops and the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Since then, however, it would seem that issues have come to the fore involving the Rockets’ home arena.

Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that the WHL board of governors no longer selects the host team. That decision now is made at the CHL level.


Glass


The stage has yet to be set for the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final, the WHLplayoffs2022winner of which will be awarded the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings, the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, now has to wait until Tuesday to find out whether the Kamloops Blazers or Seattle Thunderbirds will open the final in the Alberta capital on Friday night. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for Edmonton on June 5. . . . TSN is to begin televising the championship series with Game 3 from Kamloops or Kent, Wash., on June 7. . . .

On Sunday night in Kent, the Thunderbirds beat the Blazers, 2-1, in Game 6 of the Western Conference final. It’s even, 3-3, so they’ll decide it all in Kamloops on Tuesday. . . . The last time that Kamloops was the site of Game 7 in a WHL playoff series? That would be May 10, 1994. The Blazers beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades, 8-1, in Game 7 of the WHL final, behind three goals from F Ryan Huska and two from F Jarome Iginla, then went on to win the Memorial Cup in Laval, Que.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the last two goals to beat the SeattleKamloops Blazers, 2-1. . . . The best-of-seven conference final is tied, 3-3, with Game 7 scheduled for Kamloops on Tuesday. . . . The Blazers had taken a 3-2 lead by beating the Thunderbirds, 4-3 in OT, in Kamloops on Friday. . . . The Blazers won Game 1 of this series at home, 5-2, with Seattle taking Game 2 on the road, 4-1. . . . Seattle, which came back to oust the Portland Winterhawks after trailing 3-1, is 4-0 in elimination games this spring. . . . Last night, F Kobe Verbicky’s first WHL playoff goal gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 12:53 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it at 4:42 of the second period when F Jared Davidson scored his ninth goal of these playoffs. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky (9), who drew the primary assist on Davidson’s goal, broke the tie at 3:28 of the third period. Davidson returned the favour, too, as he got the primary assist on the winner. . . . Seattle was 0-for-2 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-for-3. . . . G Thomas Milic stopped 34 shots to earn the victory over G Dylan Garand, who made 32 saves.


Masks

Just when you thought the pandemic was over you find out that Mike Breen tested positive so wasn’t able to call the play for Game 7 of the NBA conference final that had the Boston Celtics meeting the Heat in Miami on Sunday night. With Breen out of action, Mark Jones was given the assignment. . . . Jones recently signed a contract extension with ESPN; he’s been there for 32 years. Are you old enough to remember when he was at TSN. . . .

Pandemic over? Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center shows 2,576 deaths and 716,435 new cases in the U.S. in the past week. . . . Those figures for Canada are 305 and 18.292. . . . Over? No, not yet.



Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “The headline said that Rick Bowness had stepped down as coach of the Stars. The truth: He was pushed out. Owner Tom Gaglardi wanted the change. Good-guy Bowness is now contemplating between retirement, family time, grandchildren visits, and continuing to coach in the NHL.”


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): Congress Placed on Lockdown after Deranged Man Enters Senate with Gun Control Measures.

——

Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): “Electricity” added to “policing” for services no longer provided by the City of Ottawa.


So . . . I’m watching the Toronto Blue Jays and the host Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night. . . . There is a small sign to the left of home plate that reads: $44 — 4 tickets, hot dogs, & sodas — $44. . . . In the eighth inning, Matt Devlin, who is calling the play, reads a Blue Jays’ promo about what the team calls its “value combo.” Devlin informs us that we can get four tickets to the 200 level, four food items and four drinks for $30 per person. . . . You do the math. . . . Hmmmmm!


A puzzler from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Most bitter rivalry on display this month — Edmonton-Calgary in hockey or Johnny Depp-Amber Heard in a courtroom?”


Asked by Detroit radio station WXYT-FM about today’s NBA players, former Los Angeles Lakers star James Worthy replied: “All they do is practise threes, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media.”


America


So . . . it has come to this in the WHL where this t-shirt is available in adult and youth sizes on the Portland Winterhawks’ website. . . .

Portlandtee


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Somehow I missed it a few days ago when the junior A Aurora Tigers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League signed Sierra Costa as their general manager. She is the OJHL’s first female GM, and I’m thinking she just might be the first one in all of Canadian junior A hockey. . . . Costa graduated from Humber College’s sports management program. . . . The Tigers are owned by former NHL player Jim Thomson. . . . The fact that this story doesn’t seem to have been a big deal just might signal that a woman in a hockey team’s front office isn’t out of the ordinary any more. . . . And that’s a positive, for sure. . . .

The MJHL’s Portage Terriers will be the host team for the 2023 Centennial Cup tournament. The AJHL’s Brooks Bandits won the 2022 junior A tournament in Estevan on Sunday, beating OJHL’s Pickering Panthers, 4-1, in the final. The 2023 tournament will be held in May with the dates yet to be finalized. Portage la Prairie was to have been the host city for the 2020 tournament but it was cancelled because of the pandemic.


Farm


My wife, Dorothy, a kidney transplant recipient in 2013, will take part in the 2022 #kamloops Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year on Sunday. Yes, it’s virtual again. But she will be there, and you are able to sponsor her right here.


THINKING OUT LOUD — Yes, the annual Kamloops Kidney Walk is set for Sunday, and we’ll be taking part over here in our little corner of the world. If you want to be part of Dorothy’s team, please think about sponsoring her. . . . If you missed it, TSN is going to start showing the WHL’s championship final with Game 3 from Kamloops or Kent, Wash. Can’t imagine why it won’t show us Games 1 and 2 from Edmonton on Friday and June 5, but it does make one yearn for the days when Shaw-TV had a relationship with the WHL. . . . Actually, when Sportsnet handed off the CHL deal to TSN early this season, for some reason I thought we would see quite a few more major junior games, but that hasn’t happened. In fact, when’s the last time a WHL game was shown by TSN? . . . In the days ahead, TSN is going to show the OHL, QMJHL and WHL finals starting with the third game of each. They no doubt will use those telecasts to promote their coverage of the Memorial Cup that opens in Saint John, N.B., on June 20. . . . There isn’t much better than a good cup of coffee on a Sunday morning while listening to Jon Miller call a Major League Baseball game. . . . Coming to a bookstore near you on June 7 — Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original, by Howard Bryant. Can’t wait to dig into this one. . . . And speaking of books, Dan Russell, who spent 30 years as the host of the radio show Sportstalk, didn’t pull any punches in his memoir that is just out. Pleasant Good Evening — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk is available through Amazon (soft cover and Kindle) and Indigo (Kobo).


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.


Peanuts

WHL’s Final Four all set . . . Thunderbirds complete comeback, oust Winterhawks . . . Kamloops next up for Seattle

Dan Russell, the longtime host of the Vancouver-based radio show Sportstalk, has written a book. Oh, has he! . . . While it’s the story of his life and career to this point, Russell doesn’t pull any punches. There are lots of anecdotes and a ton(ne) of behind-the-scenes stories. . . . You are able to purchase Kindle and soft-cover editions at Amazon and a hard-cover edition is on the way. . . . Full disclosure — I may have provided Russell with a helping editing hand, an ear and, at times, a shoulder. Despite all that, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed in Russell’s story.


Router


And then there were four . . .

WHLplayoffs2022The WHL’s 2022-23 playoffs are down to the Final Four — the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice and No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference, and the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers and the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds in the Western Conference. . . . The Thunderbirds beat the Winterhawks, 6-3, in Portland on Tuesday night to win that series, 4-3. Seattle trailed, 3-1, only a few days ago. . . .

So . . . the playoffs now take time off while the WHL holds a couple of its drafts. Game action is to resume on Friday with the opening games in both conference finals — the Oil Kings will be in Winnipeg and the Thunderbirds will spend some time in Kamloops.

——

TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Portland, the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds scored three second-period goals in a span of 2:11 and went on to beat the No. 3 Winterhawks, 6-3, in Game 7 of Seattletheir conference semifinal. . . . Seattle became the 16th team in WHL history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series. . . . The Thunderbirds last appeared in a Western Conference final in 2017 when they went on to win the franchise’s first league championship. . . . They will open the conference final with games against the No. 2 Blazers in Kamloops on Friday and Saturday. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Kent, Wash., on May 24 and 25. If necessary, they’ll play in Kamloops on May 27, in Kent on May 29 and in Kamloops, again, on May 31. . . . Last night, F Nico Myatovic (2) got Seattle started with a shorthanded goal at 19:05 of the first period. . . . The Thunderbirds really took control early in the second period with those quick goals. D Jeremy Hanzel scored his first two playoff goals at 5:48 and 7:20, and F Lucas Ciona (6) made it 4-0 at 7:59. . . . The Winterhawks halved the deficit with a pair of PP goals — F Jaydon Dureau (1) struck at 10:03 and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (3) at 19:09. . . . Seattle F Lukas Svejkovsky (7) pretty much iced it when he upped the lead to 5-1 at 11:51 of the third period. . . . Portland brought G Taylor Gauthier to the bench as it went on the PP with 5:22 left in the third period and it paid off as Fromm-Delorme (4) scored at 15:50. . . . Seattle F Reid Schaefer (5) iced it for good with an empty-netter at 17:22. . . . G Thomas Milic, who was especially solid over the final three games, stopped 33 shots in this one, nine more than Gauthier. . . . Portland was 3-for-6 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-4. . . .

The last time a WHL team erased a 3-1 deficit to win a series? It happened twice in the spring of 2017 — and remember that there weren’t any playoffs in 2020 or 2021. Anyway, in 2017, the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the Red Deer Rebels, who had led 3-1, in a first-round series, and, in an Eastern Conference semifinal, the Regina Pats got past the Swift Current Broncos after trailing 3-1. . . . That same Pats squad went on to lose to the Thunderbirds in the championship final. . . .

Kamloops and Seattle met three times earlier this season, with the Blazers winning twice. . . . They faced off twice in November in Seattle, with Kamloops winning, 5-1, on the 20th and, 4-1, on the 24th. . . . They played in Kamloops on Dec. 10, with the Thunderbirds winning, 6-1.



Chris Branch, writing The Athletic Pulse for Tuesday, sums up the biggest story going into the weekend’s PGA Championship:

Terror reigns in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this week. Fans at the PGA Championship, which starts Thursday, will have to pay the following prices for beer:

Michelob Ultra: $18

Stella Artois: $19

People are understandably flabbergasted. We are used to paying more on gameday as sports fans, but this feels like too much. . . . Who’s paying $19 for a Stella anywhere?

Sadly — and as a cheap-beer lover, I don’t say this lightly — the beers are simply suffering from a branding problem. Nowhere on the menu does it say how many ounces are in that beer — they’re 25-ounce brews. Still expensive at about $9 for a 12-ounce beer, but not the rip-off you think it is. Just a little more expensive than the average beer price at NFL stadiums.

The $16 chicken caesar salad, though? That’s a bridge too far.


Bill and Denise Burke, the owners of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, announced on OHLTuesday that they have sold the franchise to Darren DeDobbelaer, a businessman from Brantford, Ont. . . . The transaction awaits the stamp of approval from the OHL’s board of governors. . . . DeDobbelaer owns the junior A Brantford 99ers and the junior B Brantford Bandits. . . . The Burkes had owned the franchise for 15 years. . . . The Burkes purchased the Mississauga IceDogs and moved the franchise to St. Catharines where it has operated as the Niagara IceDogs. . . . From Luke Edwards of the St. Catharines Standard: “While the team had made an impact and was visible throughout Niagara, the franchise also experienced some turbulent waters earlier this year. Billy and Joey Burke, the team’s head coach and general manager, respectively, were given two-year suspensions after the league learned about a group chat where the pair made comments that violated the league’s harassment and abuse/diversity policy. The pair are also part-owners of the team. . . .”


Needs


COVIDFrom the New York Daily News: Eric Clapton, who has railed against lockdowns and vaccines, has tested positive for COVID-19. The 77-year-old English singer has canceled two upcoming concerts, Tuesday in Zurich and Wednesday in Milan, after being diagnosed, his team announced Monday.

From The New York Times: Apple, in a blow to its efforts to restore normalcy to its operations, has suspended its requirement that employees return to the office this month for at least three days a week because of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Ryan Ward is the new head coach of the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms. He had been the director of player development with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. Ward replaces Brad Patterson, who had been with the Phantoms since 2009-10, the franchise’s inaugural season, and had been head coach since 2016-17. . . .

If you have interest in being a junior hockey play-by-play voice, you should know that two BCHL teams — the Merritt Centennials and Salmon Arm Silverbacks — are looking for new radio voices. . . .

In the BCHL last night, the visiting Penticton Vees got a goal from F Stefano Bottini (3) at 2:55 of OT to beat the Nanaimo Clippers, 3-2. . . . The announced attendance was 2,332. . . . The Vees lead the series, 3-0. Game 4 is scheduled for tonight in Nanaimo.


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

——

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.


Waste

Blazers and Ice one victory from conference finals . . . Stankoven powers Kamloops past Giants . . . Memorial Cup host team ousted


The WHL’s best regular-season team in 2021-22 looks to move on to the WHLplayoffs2022Eastern Conference final when it plays host to a Friday night playoff game. Yes, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice take a 3-1 series lead into Game 5 against the visiting No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Warriors will be without F Robert Baco, whose suspension for a charging major in Game 3 had been set at two games. . . . A Winnipeg victory would send the Ice into a series against the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings, who are 8-0 in these playoffs, having swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . .

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the Kamloops Blazers hold a 3-1 lead over the Vancouver Giants and they’ll play Game 5 in Kamloops tonight. . . . At the same time, the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks have a 2-1 edge on the Seattle Thunderbirds as they meet in Kent, Wash. The Thunderbirds are coming off a 5-0 victory in Game 3 in Portland on Wednesday night.

——

THURSDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., F Logan Stankoven broke a 2-2 tie on a late third-period PP as Kamloopsthe No. 2 Kamloops Blazers skated to a 4-2 victory over the No. 8 Vancouver Giants. . . . The Blazers hold a 3-1 lead in the series, and they’re right back at it tonight as they meet in Game 5, this time in Kamloops. . . . The teams exchanged goals in this one, with F Luke Toporowski (6) giving Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 13:54 of the third period. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (4) got the Giants even at 17:42. . . . The Blazers went back in front at 12:59 of the second period on a goal by F Caedan Bankier (4). . . . Ostapchuk (5) tied it again, this time at 6:21 of the third. . . . Stankoven’s eighth goal, at 17:23, was the game-winner. . . . The Giants were hit with a minor for too many men just 46 seconds after Stankoven’s goal. . . . Stankoven followed that with his ninth goal in eight games into an empty net with 7.9 seconds remaining. . . . Ostapchuk and linemate Fabian Lysell, who had two assists, lead the WHL playoff scoring race, each with 19 points, one more than Stankoven. . . . Kamloops was 2-for-3 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-for-1. . . . The Blazers got 18 stops from G Dylan Garand, while G Jesper Vikman blocked 34 for the Giants. . . . F Cole Shephard, who last played on March 16, was back in Vancouver’s lineup.


In all my years of covering junior hockey, I don’t know that I encountered a player with a bigger personality than Brandon Underwood. . . . He played five seasons (Kamloops Blazers, Regina Pats, Red Deer Rebels, 2008-13) in the WHL before going on to spend four seasons with the UBC Thunderbirds. . . . He now is a Vancouver firefighter. . . . On Thursday night, after former Moose Jaw Warriors F Brayden Point scored in OT to give the host Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Underwood won Twitter . . . 


Music


We had a goalie goal on Thursday night. . . . Former WHLer Joel Hofer, now with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, lit the lamp in a 6-2 victory over the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. . . . In his Calder Cup playoffs debut, he made 34 stops as the Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Atlantic Division semifinal. . . . Hofer, 21, is from Winnipeg. He played three seasons (2017-20) in the WHL, making stops with the Swift Current Broncos and Portland Winterhawks.


Julie Stewart-Binks had to cancel out of being part of ESPN’s coverage of Game COVID6 of the NHL playoffs series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the host Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night because she tested positive for COVID-19. “Thankfully through contract tracing everyone else is negative,” she wrote on Twitter. “I have been extremely diligent with safety protocols the entire pandemic. I am devastated not to work this game.” . . .

The Cleveland Guardians have at least seven members of their coaching staff in COVID-19 protocol after they tested positive — manager Terry Francona, bench coach DeMarlo Hale, hitting coach Chris Valaika, assistant pitching coach Joe Torres, first-base coach Sandy Alomar, third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh and hitting analyst Justin Toole.


Eye


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Saint John Sea Dogs, the host team for the 2022 Memorial Cup tournament, were eliminated from the QMJHL playoffs on Thursday night when they lost, 4-3 in OT, to the visiting Rimouski Oceanic. F Alexander Gaudio scored 30 seconds into extra time to give the Oceanic the series victory. The QMJHL is playing best-of-fives this time around and this was Game 5. . . . The Sea Dogs are next scheduled to play on June 20 when they get the Memorial Cup started with a game against the OHL champions. . . .

Three of the last four Memorial Cup host teams have lost out in the first round of playoffs — in 2017, the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires lost in seven games to the London Knights; in 2018, the Regina Pats were ousted by the Swift Current Broncos in seven games; and now the Sea Dogs are gone. . . . Windsor went on to win the Memorial Cup at home, while Regina lost out in the tournament final. . . . The Halifax Mooseheads were the host team in 2019; they reached the QMJHL final where they were swept by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. . . .

The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Halifax Mooseheads were to have played the fifth game in their best-of-five series on Thursday night. But, with Wednesday’s fourth game having gone into the third OT period, the league chose to move Game 5 to Friday night. Because of the length of Game 4 in Halifax and the fact the teams would have had to travel about five hours to Bathurst, N.B., for Game 5 “the league judged it prudent for the well-being and security of the players to postpone the game to Friday.” A tip of the fedora to the QMJHL for making such a decision. . . .

The AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks have signed Nick Prkusic as the organization’s first full-time assistant coach. He will be working alongside head coach Clayton Jardine. . . . Prkusic, who played in the AJHL with the Brooks Bandits, has been working as the head coach of the Caronport, Sask.-based Prairie Academy’s U-17 team.


Wallet


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, after the Golden State Warriors were whipped, 134-95, by the host Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA playoff game: “If Wednesday’s Game 5 box score was a report card, the Warriors would be grounded for a year. If the Warriors don’t respond in Game 6 Friday, that box score will become an autopsy report.”


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

——

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.


Shoe

Gov’t money helps Hurricanes show profit . . . Veteran Ridley on health-related break . . . Gaume moves into broadcast booth in Red Deer


Despite not being able to have fans attend any of their 12 home games in the LethWHL’s 2021 developmental season, the Lethbridge Hurricanes showed a profit of $72,250 for 2020-21. The team, which is publicly owned, revealed its financial statement at its annual general meeting on Monday night. . . . At its previous AGM, delayed by the pandemic and held virtually on Jan. 18, the shareholders had been told that in a worst-case scenario, there could be a $1.3-million loss for 2021. That was based on projected expenses of $1.7 million and revenues of $383,000. Obviously, the worst-case scenario didn’t happen. . . . A big part of being able to show a profit was government grant funding that came in at $668,000. . . . Terry Huisman, the team’s general manager of business operations, said that it cost the Hurricanes $850,000 to prepare for and play in 2021’s abbreviated schedule. . . . Dale Woodard of the Lethbridge Herald quoted Huisman as saying: “Had we not gotten that money we would have been probably right back to where we were when I started six years ago and we all know that wasn’t fun. So for me, I sit here and I’m happy about it, but there is a tremendous amount of work that went in behind the scenes. Not only just to secure that money, but also to make sure we ran as lean as possible and we capitalized on every opportunity to increase revenue.” . . . In the period from 2011-15, the Hurricanes lost more than $1.25 million. Starting with 2015-16 and running through 2018-19, the Hurricanes showed profits of $197,000, $737,710, $422,443 and $282,168. . . . With the 2019-20 season halted in March by the pandemic, the Hurricanes announced a loss of $1,030 at their 2020 AGM. . . . Woodard’s complete story is right here.


A familiar voice — and face — will be missing on Friday night when the Medicine Hat Tigers open their 2021-22 regular season against the Broncos in Swift Current. The teams will meet again Saturday night, this time in Medicine Hat.

This will be the Tigers’ 52nd season in the WHL, but Bob Ridley, the play-by-play voice of the Tigers for the first 51, won’t be on the air.

Ridley, who reached the 4,000-game mark during the WHL’s developmental season last spring, tweeted on Monday that he will be in Lethbridge undergoing radiation treatments.

In Ridley’s absence, Scott Roblin will be calling the play of Tigers games.

As amazing as it sounds, Ridley has called the play of every single Tigers’ game over those first 51 seasons — with one exception. In the spring of 1973, he was sent to Saskatoon to cover a curling event in which — yes! — his boss’s wife was playing.


Sleep


Hockey Canada announced on Monday that has cancelled the 2021 national women’s U-18 championship, the 2021 Para Hockey Cup, and the 2021 World Junior A Challenge. . . . The women’s tournament was to have been held in Dawson Creek, B.C., from Oct. 31 through Nov. 6. . . . The Para Hockey Cup was going to be decided in Bridgewater, N.S., Dec. 5-12. . . . The Junior A event was scheduled for Cornwall, Ont., Dec. 12-19.



The NHL’s New York Islanders have found a place to play for their one unvaccinated player — D Bode Wilde. He will join Västerviks IK of HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden’s second tier pro league. The Islanders announced on Tuesday that they have loaned Wilde, 21, to Västerviks IK. A second-round pick by the Islanders in the NHL’s 2018 draft, he had three goals and three assists in 22 games with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers last season.


G Mackenzie Blackwood of the New Jersey Devils, who missed some games last season while ill with COVID-19, admitted Tuesday that he has yet to get vaccinated. “I’ve not decided one way or the other . . . I’m taking a little bit of extra time,” Blackwood, 24, said. . . . Greg Wyshynski of ESPN has a whole lot more on that story right here.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, closed his Tuesday entry with this — “With all the sturm und drang surrounding which NBA players have been vaccinated and which have not, I believe this observation by Oscar Wilde is relevant: ‘Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease.’ ”


The Tampa Bay Rays may be without LHR Adam Conley when the MLB playoffs start after he tested positive on Monday. Although he is asymptomatic, he is in quarantine for 10 days, so likely will be missing when the postseason begins.


When the Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour stops in Atlanta on Nov. 11, the Zac Brown Band is scheduled as the opening act. Uhh, not so fast, says COVID-19. . . . The Zac Brown Band has its own tour on the go — Comeback Tour — but that has been put on hold after Zac tested positive. For starters, the band has had to cancel four shows through Oct. 3. . . . Time will tell whether Zac and his gang can keep their date with Mick and the boys.


Hiring


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.

www.transplant.bc.ca/health-info/organ-donation/living-donation


Steve


JUST NOTES: Former WHL F Nick Drazenovic has joined The Sports Corporation as its director of player development. TSC is an Edmonton-based sports agency. Drazenovic, 34, played four-plus seasons (2002-07) with his hometown Prince George Cougars. He retired as a player after the 2015-16 season. He then spent three seasons with the Cougars as director of player development and one on the coaching staff of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . Dallas Gaume is taking over from Mike Moller as the analyst on broadcasts of Red Deer Rebels’ games. Moller, who had filled the role for 23 years, told the team after last season that he wouldn’t return. “Cam (Moon) and I were buddies and I always said to Cam that ‘when you leave, I leave,’ and of course he went up to Edmonton earlier this year.” Moon, the long-time voice of the Rebels, now works Edmonton Oilers’ games. Gaume, a former Rebels assistant coach (1999-2010), now manages the Red Deer Minor Hockey Association. Gaume will work alongside Troy Gillard, who took over from Moon. Greg Meachem of the Rebels has more right here.


Shot

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