Will OHL ban fighting and body-checking? . . . Some Toronto-area minor hockey groups shut down for season . . . Warriors reviewing the future of primary logo


Rick Westhead of TSN spoke with Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s sport minister, on Thursday. That conversation led to these tweets from Westhead . . .

1. The Ontario Hockey League may have to ban fighting and even body-checking ohlas a condition of resuming games, provincial sport minister Lisa MacLeod told me in an interview. (The OHL has said it hopes to open training camps in mid-Nov and begin its regular season Dec. 1.)

2. MacLeod: “The fact is that you can’t have physical contact right now. . . . We certainly will not be allowing people to be body-checking at the moment. We are trying to contain a healthcare crisis.”

3. MacLeod said the OHL has said that U.S.-based OHL teams will either relocate to Ontario for the season to avoid cross-border travel or they will remain in the U.S. and only play other American-based teams.

4. I asked whether spectators would be allowed at OHL games. MacLeod: “I don’t see that happening at the moment. . . . The last thing we want is to open and then have unintended consequences that put the safety and well-being of the athletes, spectators . . . and others at risk.”

5. MacLeod said the OHL & government are talking about a pandemic aid package but the OHL has not made a specific ask.

MacLeod also said the government still hasn’t heard a proposal from the OHL about how often the league would like to test players for Covid-19.


Batteries


TSN’s Rick Westhead also spoke with a couple of doctors, both of whom are wondering about the wisdom of playing hockey in these pandemic times.

After speaking with Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist, Westhead tweeted: “Dr. Andrew Morris (@ASPphysician) says it’s a bad idea to even contemplate major junior hockey right now. Ontario has an 85K test backlog. Some sick people, he says, aren’t being tested b/c they won’t line up for 5-6 hours.”

Dr. Morris told Westhead: “The numbers are going in the wrong direction fast.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Isaac Bogoch (@BogochIsaac), an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital, told Westhead that he spoke with Toronto-area minor hockey leagues on a Sept. 24 conference call and recommended a shutdown for the 2020-21 season. “I’d be very hesitant to play,” Dr. Bogoch told Westhead. “Who do these players go home to and what’s the ripple effect this could have?”


The East York Hockey Association, with more than 800 minor hockey players, announced Monday that it was shutting down for the season.

“How would I feel, Lord forbid, if someone came into our organization, contracted this virus, took it home and their grandparent . . . gets it and dies?” Connie Mitchell, the association’s president, told Sean Fitz-Gerald of The Athletic. “How would I live with myself?”

Fitz-Gerald added: “East York announced it was cancelling its season on Monday, just a week after it opened registration to returning players. It became the second GTHL-sanctioned association to close because of COVID-19, following Amesbury/Bert Robinson Minor Hockey League. (Swansea Hockey Association, which is not part of the GTHL, has also ceased operations for the season.)”

Fitz-Gerald’s story is right here.


So . . . you think you’ve got a gambling problem! Well, consider the bettor who picked the New York Giants to cover what was a four-point spread on Sunday. He put down $500,000. The visiting San Francisco 49ers won, 36-9. . . . Meanwhile, with the 49ers missing nine injured starters, someone bet that Giants QB Daniel Jones would throw for more than 244.5 yards. Uhh, no. He finished with 179, and there went another $500,000. . . . Both bets were placed with the DraftKings Sportsbook; a spokesperson wouldn’t tell the Action Network whether both bets were placed by the same person. . . . Now you can go back to that $2 scratch-and-win crossword.


Lastcall


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

With the Tennessee Titans having reported 11 positive tests, including five players, the NFL has postponed their scheduled Sunday game against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers until sometime later in the season. Prior to two more positive tests revealed Thursday, including one player, the league had hoped to play the game Monday or Tuesday. . . . The Minnesota Vikings, who lost to the visiting Titans on Sunday, hadn’t had any positives through Wednesday tests and reopened their facilities on Thursday. . . .

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported that the bus driver who “drove the Titans last weekend in Minnesota also drove MLB’s Houston Astros on their trip for a playoff series this week against the Twins, per sources. After the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak surfaced, the Astros removed the driver.” . . .

The MLS has postponed a game between the visiting Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbermen that was scheduled for Saturday. The move comes after the Rapids had two players and one staff member test positive. . . . The game now is scheduled to be played on Nov. 4. . . . The Rapids haven’t trained since Sept. 24 when the organization first experienced positive tests. . . .

The U of Hawaii has suspended training activities for its teams in football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. The decision was made after four football players tested positive. The football team had started its fifth practice when it was halted because of the positive tests.


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Geoff Grimwood has resigned as general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s CowichanCowichan Capitals. . . . A news release from the team included this quote from Grimwood: “Effective today I have resigned my position of GM/head coach over ethical and philosophical differences with ownership. I have certain values that guide how I coach. I no longer felt comfortable continuing in this situation.” . . . Brian Passmore, the Capitals’ coach in 2017-18, has been named interim GM/head coach. . . . Grimwood didn’t get to coach even one regular-season with the Capitals. He was signed to what the team said was a “multi-year contract” on May 4. . . . In recent seasons, Grimwood has been on staff with the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers, the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors and the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders and Winkler Flyers. . . . He was hired by the Capitals to replace Mike Vandekamp, who now is with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm.


JUST NOTES: Darryl Plandowski is the new director of amateur scouting for the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. He is coming off 12 seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, most recently as assistant director of amateur scouting. He has some WHL history, having spent six seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds, four as a scout and two as an assistant coach. . . . Judging by Thursday’s loss to the visiting Denver Broncos, the NFL’s New York Jets are most fortunate that fans aren’t allowed into their home games.


Dwarfs

Hannan into B.C. Hockey Hall . . . Reichel sinks Raiders . . . Hofer gets first blank job . . . Rockets burn Tigers


MacBeth

D Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Brandon, 2002-04) announced his retirement in a long interview published Tuesday (in Swedish) on the Färjestad Karlstad (Sweden, SHL) website. He still is suffering from the effects of a concussion incurred during a game on Feb. 15, 2017. The piece is titled: I am no longer a hockey player. In it, he describes the hit (collided with a teammate on a three-on-three) and its after-effects. Last season, he had three goals and three assists in 40 games with Färjestad. He was an alternate captain.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

D Scott Hannan, who played four seasons (1995-99) with the Kelowna Rockets, is among BChallthe 2018 inductees to the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame that is located in Penticton. . . . Hannan, from Richmond, B.C., went on to play 1,055 regular-season NHL games with five teams. . . . Also going into the Hall are Willie Mitchell, another former NHL defenceman, and Gerry Sillers, who played with the WHL’s Vancouver Canucks and later spent 28 years as president of the Canucks alumni association. . . . Mitchell, from Port McNeil, played in 907 regular-season NHL games and won two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles King. . . . The 1980 Burnaby Lakers, who won the Canadian intermediate A championship, will be inducted in the team category. . . . The inductions will take place in Penticton on July 20.


F Barrett Sheen of the Moose Jaw Warriors will sit for five games after being suspended by the WHL for a headshot major and game misconduct he took on Saturday in a 5-3 loss whlto the host Medicine Hat Tigers. Sheen was penalized for a hit on Tigers D Joel Craven, who had to be helped off the ice. On this week’s WHL roster report, Craven is shown as being out week-to-week. . . . Sheen will miss four home games — against Red Deer, Prince George, Lethbridge and Kootenay — and a Feb. 14 game in Regina. He’ll be eligible to return on Feb. 16 against visiting Regina. . . .

F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks has been suspended for two games after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on Kamloops D Nolan Kneen during a 4-2 victory over the visiting Blazes on Sunday. Kneen wasn’t injured on the play. Blichfeld won’t play tonight against visiting Everett or Friday in Kennewick, Wash., against Tri-City. He will be eligible to return Saturday at home against Tri-City.


Some notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report: The following players all are listed as being out week-to-week or indefinitely with upper-body injuries — D Drea Esposito and F Conner Chaulk, Calgary Hitmen; F Akash Bains, Everett Silvertips; F Erik Gardiner, Kelowna Rockets; F Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes; D Joel Craven and D Linus Nassen, Medicine Hat Tigers; D Jett Woo, Moose Jaw Warriors; and D Sergei Sapego, Prince Albert Raiders. . . . D Bailey Dhaliwal is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. . . . D Chaz Reddekopp of the Victoria Cougars is out four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury. . . . D Roman Kalinichenko of the Tri-City Americans is out another three weeks with an upper-body injury. . . . Everett D Gianni Fairbrother will be out up to three weeks with an upper-body injury. . . . F Hayden Ostir of Medicine will miss up to six weeks with an upper-body injury. . . . F Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks is expected back this week from a hip injury, while teammate Kieffer Bellows (hand) should return next week.


If you’re interested in attending the 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina, you should know that tickets for the general public now are on sale. For more info, check out the Pats’ news release right here.


D Oscar Plandowski, who is from Halifax and is playing for the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team, has committed to Quinnipiac University for the 2021-22 season. . . . This season, Plandowski has 17 points, including 14 assists, in 22 games. . . . The 6-foot-0, 165-pounder is 14 years of age; he’ll turn 15 on May 18. . . . His father, Darryl, is the head amateur scout for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. Darryl played at Northern Michigan for four seasons. From Lloydminster, Alta., he spent two seasons (1992-94) as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Seattle Thundebirds and scouted for the team for four seasons (1994-98).


Scoreboard

TUESDAY:

In Prince Albert, F Kristian Reichel of the Red Deer Rebels scored the game’s last two goals as they beat the Raiders, 4-3, in overtime. . . . Red Deer (13-25-12) has points in four Red Deerstraight games (3-0-1). . . . Prince Albert (20-20-10) has points in six straight (4-0-2). The Raiders now are three points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Raiders will visit Saskatoon on Friday, after the Blades play host to the Rebels tonight. . . . The Rebels trailed three times before coming back for the victory. . . . F Justin Nachbaur (6) put the home side ahead 1-0 at 9:38 of the second period. . . . F Mason McCarty (26) pulled Red Deer event at 10:33. . . . The Raiders went back out front at 11:37 when F Curtis Miske (17) scored his 17th goal. . . . Red Deer F Alex Morozoff (2) tied it at 13:48. . . . F Eric Pearce (4) scored at 2:27 of the third period as Prince Albert went ahead 3-2. . . . Reichel, who has 19 goals, tied it at 7:43. He got the winner at 2:37 of OT. . . . Red Deer got two assists from F Brandon Hagel, with Reichel adding one to his two goals. . . . Red Deer was 0-1 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-3. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 25 shots for the Rebels, six more than that Raiders’ Ian Scott. . . . The Raiders had F Regan Nagy back in the lineup after he last played on Jan. 20 when he appeared to suffer a knee injury. It ended up being a whole lot better than originally feared. . . . Announced attendance: 2,056.


At Swift Current, G Joel Hofer stopped 30 shots to lead the Broncos to a 4-0 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Swift Current (36-12-4) has won four in a row. It is second SCBroncosin the overall standings, five points behind Moose Jaw, but the Warriors hold three games in hand. . . . The Cougars (18-25-8) are 0-2-1 on an East Division tour and are 13 points away form a playoff spot. . . . Hofer, a 17-year-old freshman from Winnipeg, recorded his first WHL shutout in his 14th appearance. He is 6-2-1, 2.61, .917. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen (37) scored the game’s first goal, at 13:01 of the first period. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (32) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 18:20 of the second. . . . F Max Patterson (7) and D Josh Anderson (2), who was acquired from the Cougars at the trade deadline, added third-period goals. . . . D Colby Sissons drew three assists, with F Glenn Gawdin adding two, and Steenbergen getting one. . . . G Tavin Grant stopped 36 shots for the Cougars. . . . The Broncos were without F Aleksi Heponiemi, although he wasn’t listed as being injured on the WHL roster report that was released on Tuesday. They again were missing D Sahvan Khaira and F Kaden Elder, while F Kole Gable was back after a brief absence. . . . Announced attendance: 2,816.


At Kelowna, F Dillon Dube and D Cal Foote each had a goal and two assists to help the Rockets to a 5-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Kelowna (32-14-4) has points in KelownaRocketsfive straight (4-0-1). The Rockets leapfrogged Everett and now leads the Western Conference by one point. . . . Medicine Hat (26-20-6) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). It leads the Central Division by six points over Lethbridge. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s first three goals and led 3-0 midway through the second period. . . . D Cal Foote (11) got it started at 18:08 of the first period. . . . The home team went ahead 3-0 on second-period goals from F Leif Mattson (18), at 1:35, and F Carsen Twarynski (32), on a PP, at 8:42. . . . D David Quenneville (21) got the Tigers on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 14:56. . . . F Kole Lind (27) got that one back for the Rockets at 18:54. . . . F Dawson Heathcote (6) got the Tigers to within two at 5:05 of the third period. . . . Dube (22) put it away with the empty-netter at 19:28. . . . Lind also had one assist. . . . Kelowna was 2-5 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-4. . . . The Rockets got 31 saves from G Brodan Salmond. . . . At the other end, Jordan Hollett blocked 39 shots. . . . Tigers F Ryan Chyzowski was given a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Kelowna D James Hilsendager at 10:06 of the third period. Chances are Chyzowski will be suspended, so will miss his club’s game tonight against his older brother, Nick, and the Blazers in their hometown of Kamloops. . . . Announced attendance: 4,373.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Prince George at Regina, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Edmonton vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Everett at Portland, 7 p.m.

Calgary vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.

Victoria vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY