Ice in command going home . . . Oil Kings eliminate host Rebels . . . Milic, Svejkovsky lead Thunderbirds in road victory

And then there were seven. . . . Yes, what once was a field of 16 WHL playoff teams is down to seven following the departure of the Red Deer Rebels on WHLplayoffs2022Wednesday night. The Edmonton Oil Kings now are 8-0 in these playoffs after completing a sweep of the Rebels with a 4-2 victory in Red Deer last night. . . . The Oil Kings await the winner of the other Eastern Conference semifinal in which the Winnipeg Ice holds a 3-1 lead over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

In the Western Conference, the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds scored a 5-0 victory over the No. 3 Winterhawks in Portland. The Winterhawks hold a 2-1 lead in the semifinal with the next game in Kent, Wash., on Friday. . . .

There is one game scheduled for tonight and it features the other Western Conference semifinal with the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, holding a 2-1 edge, facing the No. 8 Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. The host Giants won, 3-2, on Tuesday night.

——

WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

WinnipegIceIn Moose Jaw, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice rode three second-period goals to a 5-3 victory over the No. 4 Warriors. . . . The Ice holds a 3-1 edge in the conference semifinal. They’ll play Game 5 in Winnipeg on Friday night. . . . F Mikey Milne (8) got Winnipeg started at 16:28 of the first period, only to have F Jagger Firkus (5) tie it at 18:57. . . . The Ice took a 3-1 lead on two quick goals early in the second period, as F Jack Finley (6), at 6:45, and F Owen Pederson (5), on a PP, at 7:20, found the range. . . .Firkus (6), who also had an assist, cut into that lead, on a PP, at 13:09, but F Matt Savoie (4) got that one back just 29 seconds later. . . . F Cole Muir (1) stretched Winnipeg’s lead to 5-2 at 3:55 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw D Majid Kaddoura (2) rounded out the scoring at 11:22. . . . Finley has goals in five straight games during which time he has totalled six goals and four assists. . . . F Ryder Korczak had three assists for Moose Jaw. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 30 shots for the Ice, four more than Moose Jaw’s Jackson Unger. . . . The Warriors were without F Robert Baco, who was hit with a TBD suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct in Game 3. . . .

EdmontonIn Red Deer, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings unleashed a 51-shot attack as they beat the No. 3 Rebels to complete a sweep of their conference semifinal. . . . The Oil Kings, who led 1-0 after the first period, took control with two goals 31 seconds apart in the first minute of the second. . . . F Jalen Luypen (3) had scored at 15:51 of the first period. Then F Dylan Guenther (8), scored eight seconds into the second and F Carter Souch (5) made it 3-0 at 0:39. . . . F Jhett Larson (3) pulled the Rebels to within two at 8:20, but Guenther (9) stretched the lead to three at 18:34. . . . D Blake Gustafson (2) got a shorthanded score for the Rebels at 13:47 of the third period. . . . Guenther also had an assist for a three-point outing. He’s got 12 points in eight playoff games. . . . The Oil Kings held a 42-10 edge in shots through two periods. . . . G Sebastian Cossa turned aside 14 shots for Edmonton. In these playoffs, he is 8-0, 1.48, .932. . . . The Rebels got 47 stops from G Connor Ungar.

——

Western Conference

SeattleIn Portland, F Lukas Svejkovsky scored once and added three assists, and G Thomas Milic turned aside 28 shots, leading the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-0 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . This was the Winterhawks’ first loss in seven playoff games this spring. . . . Portland holds a 2-1 lead in the conference semifinal. This series is following a 1-2-1-1-1-1 format. They return to Kent, Wash., for Game 4 on Friday. . . . F Jared Davidson (5) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 6:14 of the first period, the third time in three games that the Thunderbirds opened the scoring. . . . Svejkovsky (5) scored at 5:29 of the second period, and F Conner Roulette (1), on a PP, made it 3-0 at 7:29 of the third. . . . Seattle added two empty-netters, from Davidson (6), who also had an assist, and F Lucas Ciona (5). . . . Milic, who had three shutouts in the regular-season, posted his second of these playoffs. He is 5-3, 1.82, .929. . . . Seattle was 1-for-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-for-3. . . .

As an interesting aside to this series, it seems that Dan Leckelt, one of the Thunderbirds’ owners, wasn’t enthralled with the officiating in Game 1, a 4-2 victory by visiting Portland, on Friday night.

He retweeted a tweet by a fan that read: “The reffing in this game has been disgusting. Our boys have been absolutely molested with no calls, yet they (bleeping) call a soft penalty on us in a tied game with 4 (bleeping) minutes left. #whlrefssuck”

Portland D Clay Hanus broke a 2-2 tie on a PP at 16:21 of the third period.

Leckelt later tweeted: “Development leagues need to develop more than players.” He may or may not have been referring to the WHL. What do you think?


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Riley Kidney scored at 16:14 of the third OT period to give the Acadie-Bathurst Titan a 4-3 victory over the host Halifax Mooseheads on Wednesday night. It was the third-longest game in QMJHL history. . . . The Titan held a 72-46 edge in shots. . . . Halifax won the first two games of the best-of-five series on the road, but now has lost twice at home. The deciding game is scheduled for tonight in Bathurst, N.B. . . .

Tim Speltz, the former long-time general manager and governor of the Spokane Chiefs, is the latest recipient of the WHL’s Governors Award. According to the WHL, this is the “highest honour” that it “bestows on an individual who has been associated with the league.” . . . Speltz was the Chiefs’ GM for 26 years before leaving the join the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs as director of western area scouting in 2016. He was promoted to head of amateur scouting in 2018 and filled the role for three years. He now is the general manager of the Henderson Silver Knights, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . .

Brett Smith announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he has left the Prince Albert Raiders. The team’s manager of communications and community relations, Smith had been with the Raiders for six years. . . .

The Dauphin Kings won the Turnbull Cup as champions of the MJHL on Wednesday night, scoring a 2-1 victory over the host Steinbach Pistons in Game 7 of the final series. F Brayden Dube broke a 1-1 tie at 11:33 of the third period. . . . Dube, 16, is from Roblin, Man. He was a second-round selection by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL’s 2020 draft and has signed with them. . . . The Kings, who last won the MJHL title in 2010, will represent the league at the Centennial Cup tournament that opens next week in Estevan, Sask. . . .

Rylan Ferster is the new general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. The team announced on Twitter earlier this week that Craig Didmon wouldn’t be back after 12 years with the organization. His contract expired and wasn’t renewed. . . . Ferster, who has spent the past two seasons working with the Philadelphia Hockey Club, previously has coached in Victoria. He spent two seasons (2004-06) as head coach of the BCHL’s Salsa and, after a regime change, spent 2006-07 as the Grizzlies’ head coach.


Stupid


From The New York Times: Bill Gates, who has donated millions to pandemic relief efforts, tested positive for the coronavirus, he said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in the world of MLB, the Cleveland Guardians were to have played against the host Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. But the virus had other ideas. From MLB: “Following multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the Guardians organization, their game vs. the White Sox has been postponed to allow for continued testing and contact tracing.”


Virus



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.


Stove

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the magic of a no-hitter has been permanently lost . . .

scattershooting

Mothers


There was one playoff game in the WHL on Sunday night, and there will be WHLplayoffs2022another one tonight (Monday). . . . Last night, the host Portland Winterhawks used a shorthanded goal to get past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1, to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. . . . Tonight, in the Eastern Conference, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings take a 2-0 series lead into Red Deer for a game with the No. 3 Rebels. . . . The Rebels have yet to score in the series, having been blanked 4-0 and 5-0 by the Oil Kings and G Sebastian Cossa.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Portland, the No. 3 Winterhawks got the winner late in the third period as they defeated the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1. . . . Portland, which won, 4-2, Portlandin Kent, Wash., on Saturday night, holds a 2-0 lead in the conference semifinal. They’ll play the third game in Portland on Wednesday. . . . Last night, F Lucas Ciona (4) put Seattle in front at 9:05 of the first period. . . . F Tyson Kozak pulled Portland even at 11:02 of the second period. . . . Then, with D Josh Mori serving a tripping minor, F Gabe Klassen (4) snapped the 1-1 tie at 16:22 of the third period. . . . F Jaydon Dureau, in his return to Portland’s lineup after a two-game absence, drew the lone assist on Klassen’s goal. . . . Portland was 0-for-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-4 with two of those opportunities coming in the last half of the third period. . . . Portland got 28 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, who is 6-0, 1.17, .959 in these playoffs. Gauthier, 20, was acquired from the Prince George Cougars during the season and it would seem he is enjoying his first WHL playoff run. . . . G Thomas Milic blocked 29 shots for Seattle, including a second-period penalty-shot attempt by F Cross Hanas.


Here’s Larry Brooks, in the New York Post: “So the (New Jersey) Devils conducted a soul-searching and thorough review of the organization and appear to have to come to the conclusion that assistant coaches Alain Nasreddine and Mark Recchi were the problem and thus had to go.

“That kind of reminds me of when the Devils missed the 1996 playoffs as defending Stanley Cup champions and decided to dismiss PA announcer Bob Arsena after the season ended.”

Recchi, a Hockey Hall of Famer, had one year left on his contract. He owns a chunk of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. Recchi, 54, was an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons before spending the past two seasons with head coach Lindy Ruff and the Devils.


Joe Posnanski just couldn’t get fired up recently when five New York Mets pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies, and here’s why . . .

“The magic of a no-hitter is not that one team gets no hits,” Posnanski wrote. “That’s just a bad hitting performance. The magic is that one pitcher accomplishes the feat. The magic is that the pitcher finds a way to keep the no-hitter going even after he’s shown all his pitches, even as his stuff diminishes.

“Sending five hard-throwing pitchers out there to throw a no-hitter — ending with a closer who throws 100 mph — feels sort of the opposite of magic. It feels like playing a video game on cheat mode.”

He’s not wrong.



Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Delta and Omicron variants jealous that younger XE strain gets away with anything it wants.



THINKING OUT LOUD — Hello, baseball gods. Would you please, please, please free Joey Votto from the hell that is the Cincinnati Reds. Thank you. . . . Surely you have been stuck at a railroad crossing with a train crawling along, perhaps even getting almost past you and then backing up and doing it all over again. While you’re sitting there have you ever wondered if whoever is running that train has ever had to sit at a crossing? Yes, I sat at one for 14 minutes on Thursday afternoon. No, the ice cream in the grocery bag didn’t melt. . . . If the Vancouver Canucks were going to bring Bruce Boudreau back as their head coach, wouldn’t the deal have been done before now? . . . I’ve been told that Rylan Ferster, a veteran junior hockey coach, is soon to be back in the BCHL, if he isn’t already. Are you hearing that, too?



Here’s a thought from Sportsnet’s Luke Fox: “Based on Jim Rutherford’s half-hearted endorsement, the cleared bench in Philadelphia, and the relationship with GM Chuck Fletcher, it’s nearly impossible to find someone in hockey who doesn’t believe Bruce Boudreau will end up behind the Flyers’ bench.”


Beer


The pandemic will claim its one millionth American victim this week and we won’t even blink . . . 1,000,000 dead . . . ho hum!

Here’s Charles P. Pierce of Esquire:

“There was a point in the pandemic at which one million dead was as inconceivable to us as a million cattle would have been to an Englishman of the 12th century. There was a point in the pandemic at which 674,000 deaths, more deaths than in the 1918 pandemic, was inconceivable. But every grisly mile marker went by until we got to the past week, and one million dead, and this happened because a great deal of the country’s reaction to the pandemic was just as inconceivable at its beginning as the ultimate body count once was.

“For example, I figured that there would be a general ‘war’ on the disease, because we can’t confront any big problem without declaring ‘war’ against it. What I did not see coming was an actual political and social ‘war’ against the cure, one that included everyone from radio hosts to certain cardinals of Holy Mother Church. What I did not see coming was a ‘war’ against the public health measures that the pandemic made necessary. Pissing and moaning, yes. Bristling over the little inconveniences, absolutely. But not an all-out assault on the idea that we must adopt measures against epidemic disease that might disrupt our daily lives, however slightly.”

On Sunday night, the counter at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine showed the U.S. at 997,503 deaths, along with 81,858,744 confirmed cases.

Johns Hopkins had Canada with 39,817 deaths, along with 3,805,916 confirmed cases.


The Boston Bruins were without D Charlie McAvoy when they beat the visiting COVIDCarolina Hurricanes, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon to even their first-round NHL playoff series at 2-2. Where was McAvoy? He was in COVID-19 protocol after having tested positive. . . . A good guess would be that McAvoy was showing symptoms, which is why he was tested. . . . And now you know why professional teams playing in Canada have taken to avoiding testing by riding a bus over the U.S. border before catching a flight to an American destination. The last thing those teams want is to have an asymptomatic player test positive and have to miss playoff action.


Err


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Sign of hard times, at Wednesday’s Oakland Athletics game at the Coliseum: One food truck on the plaza. Used to be there were eight or 10 to choose from. Pretty soon it will be just a guy selling day-old churros and two kids with a lemonade stand.”



“Hey, badder batter!” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “MLB hitters had a bad April, scoring the fewest runs per game (4.0) in the month since 1981 and posting the worst   batting average (.231) in history.”


The MJHL’s championship final is going to a seventh game. The Dauphin Kings took it to Game 7 with a 2-0 victory over the visiting Steinbach Pistons on Sunday night. G Carson Cherepak earned the shutout with 24 stops. . . . They’ll decide things in Steinbach on Wednesday night with the winner moving on to the Centennial Cup tournament in Estevan, Sask.


Tuna


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.


Open

Dorothy gearing up for virtual Kidney Walk . . . CHL dumps series versus Russia . . . School drops South Island Royals program

First things first . . . Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation — you should know that Mel Recchi was first on the bus — you are able to do so right here.


You may not have noticed but I was away for a few days. No writing. Not a whole lot of Twitter surfing. Just kicking back, reading . . . oh, and driving.

We made a return trip over the Coquihalla — the first one since October —  and I have to tell you that there are some engineering and reconstruction miracles taking place on the stretch of highway between Merritt and Hope. Yes, there still is a lot of work to do before the highway is back to its pre-flood state, but what we got to drive on is a whole lot better than what I had expected.

It’s also good to see that the Coquihalla continues to attract so many NASCAR drivers-in-training. Speed limit? What speed limit? It’s 120 km-h between Kamloops and Merritt. From Merritt to Hope, the signs tell you that it’s 110, 100, 90, 80 or 60, depending on what kind of construction area you find yourself driving through. In reality, though, the areas without traffic cones have only imaginary speed limits. And don’t get me started on the driver of the Toyota SUV with Alberta plates who was in the left lane all the way from Hope to Merritt . . . speeding up and slowing down as the mood struck him.

No matter. The overall condition of the Coq was the star of this trip.


Ukraine

While I was away, national teams from Belarus and Russia were banned from almost the entire surface of our planet because Dr. Evil has chosen to attempt a violent takeover of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the CHL, which governs the three major junior hockey leagues, CHLannounced it has cancelled what used to be an annual series of six games featuring OHL, QMJHL and WHL teams against a touring Russian side. The series, which has lost its lustre in recent years, should have been permanently discarded.

At the same time, the CHL announced that “the date and format for the 2022 CHL import draft has yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.”

That buys some time for the three leagues to see how things develop in Ukraine. If war continues to rage, those leagues will have to decide whether to keep the 2022 import draft open for eligible Russian and Belarusian players.

The CHL’s statement also pointed out that it “is committed to the safety and well-being of all of its current players and is supportive of their continued development regardless of their country of origin.”

Hopefully that means the CHL and its teams will continue to care for current Belarusian and Russian players even after this season ends, rather than casting them to the winds. Michael Traikos of Postmedia reports that “there are about 36 Russians and Belarusians currently playing in the CHL.”

You have to think there are some awfully confused young men among that group. Here they are in a foreign country while the leaders of their countries have drawn the wrath of the vast majority of the world by blasting away at Ukraine.

While these teenagers haven’t had anything to do with any of that, you have to wonder what they think when they venture into arenas and see fans waving yellow-and-blue flags to show their support for Ukraine.


Monster


Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, and the owners have cancelled the first two series of what was to have been the 2022 regular season. These are the first MLB games cancelled by a labour dispute since 1994 and 1995, and this time there isn’t any doubt about who’s at fault. The owners locked out the players in December and then didn’t even make a proposal for more than 40 days.

Here’s Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“There are a lot of questions. But ‘who is to blame?’ is not one of them. There are no ‘both sides’ in this fight. This is on the owners, who instituted a self-described ‘defensive lockout’ Dec. 2, then waited six weeks to present an offer. And still failed to address the real issue:

“They’re making more and more money while players are getting less.

“Listening to Commissioner Rob Manfred speak on the owners’ personal broadcast mouthpiece, MLB Network, would have been comical if it wasn’t sad. (Incidentally, please don’t think you’re going to get both sides of the argument by watching an outlet run by the owners, which let go well-respected reporter Ken Rosenthal because he wasn’t sucking up enough to Manfred.)”


The MJHL has suspended D Klim Georgiev, 20, of the Dauphin Kings for 18 mjhlgames for a racist gesture during at game against the host Waywayseecappo Wolverines on Feb. 18. . . . Georgiev, who is from Toronto, was given a gross misconduct as the third period ended. . . . Nathan Liewicki of CBC News reported that Georgiev “raised his stick and made what seemed to be a bow-and-arrow gesture toward some of the Wawayseecappo players who were skating away from Dauphin’s end of the rink.” . . . Georgiev will miss the Kings’ final 11 regular-season games and seven playoff games. . . . Georgiev began the season with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals before being traded to Dauphin. . . . Liewicki’s story, written after the gesture but before the suspension was handed down, is right here.

Meanwhile, in B.C., Zaya Morro, a player with the U17 AAA North Island Silvertips, has alleged via an Instagram post that an opposing player uttered a racist slur in his direction in a game on Nov. 7.

“As a Black player in B.C. hockey I am continually made aware that I am different,” Morro wrote. “I have to play harder, play smarter, just because of the colour of my skin. I have to be more resilient because unfortunately there is still soooo much racism in hockey and in Canada. February (was) Black History Month and as I look back at how far we have come I am also reminded how much further we need to go.”

According to Morro, an opposing player “racially assaulted” him after Morro had won a puck battle. That player, Morro wrote, “felt the need to yell ‘nice hit you F**king N****r.’ I’ve experienced other racial slurs and have been able to shake them off but being called a N****r . . . I can’t explain the anger, sadness and complete disgust it made me feel. I have never been an angry kid but this brought out something in me I never knew was there. Thankfully, my team captain also heard what was said and we were able to tell the referee who immediately threw (the offending player) out of the game.”

According to Morro, the offending player eventually was suspended for six games.


With racism so often rearing its ugly head in the arenas and on the ice surfaces of our country, I really wonder what kind of conversations take place around the dinner tables in so many homes. I really do.


A letter dated March 1 and signed by Bruce Bidney, the principal of Spectrum Community School in Victoria, has informed parents that the school “will no longer be hosting the South Island Royals program following the completion of the 2021-22 school year.” . . . The letter continues: “This means that the hockey programming your child experienced this school year will no longer be embedded in the school day. Spectrum will remain an option for your child’s academic programming as will our hockey Skills Academy. . . . In recent conversations with BC Hockey, we have mutually agreed to no longer offer the in-school programming exclusive to our South Island Royal student-athletes. We will continue offering dryland training the school day to students registered in our Spectrum Skills Academy.”: . . . According to their website (southislandroyals.ca), the program features three male teams — U18AAA, U17AAA and U15AAA. . . . In his letter, Bidney doesn’t offer up any reasons for ending the South Island program.


Phone


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Craig Carter, their assistant general manager and director of player personnel, to a two-year extension. He has been with the Spruce Kings since April 2020. . . . The WHL’s injury/roster report dated March 1 doesn’t show any players in COVID-19 protocol, the first time that has happened since teams returned from the Christmas break. . . . Just don’t think for a minute that means the pandemic is over. In the OHL, the Peterborough Petes had seven players test positive, resulting in the postponement of a game that had been scheduled for last Saturday. As Mike Davies of the Peterborough Examiner noted: “The postponement comes less than 24 hours after the OHL announced the lifting of proof of vaccination and capacity limits for spectators beginning on Tuesday.” The Petes are scheduled to play host to the Niagara IceDogs tonight (Thursday).


Work


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.


Liquor

No hockey games for Saskatchewan until late March? . . . Savoie on Fighting Saints’ roster . . . Toporowski shines for Stampede


A brief letter from the Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA) to its members on Thursday seems to indicate that any chance of playing hockey games in that jurisdiction between now and April is slim.

The letter, from Kelly McClintock, the SHA’s general manager, came after Saskatchewan health officials extended Public Health Orders until Jan. 29.

Then, on Wednesday, Ken Dueck of the government’s Business Response Team informed the province’s sport governing bodies that, according to McClintock, “there would be no consideration of return to play (games) for at least four weeks and that a return to game play is unlikely to happen before the end of March.”

McClintock wrote: “With the current rate of positive cases per 100,000 people placing Saskatchewan near the top in Canada, the likelihood of things changing before the end of March is looking bleak. . . .

“Please be aware that the landscape related to COVID-19 in the province can change at any time.”

At the same time, Saskatchewan health officials rejected CurlSask’s proposal for using a bubble-format to select it’s men’s and women’s champions. That resulted in the provincial association cancelling its championships and selecting teams for the Canadian men’s and women’s championships via a performance-based system covering the previous two seasons.


The New York State Amateur Hockey Association posted a letter on its website on Thursday, part of which reads: “The New York State Amateur Hockey Association (NYSAHA) Board of Directors has retained the services of the law firm of Hogan Willig of Amherst New York for the purposes of filing a legal action against the Honorable Andrew Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York et al to obtain a court ruling that will allow the resumption of hockey in New York State.” . . . Hockey is considered a high-risk sport under restrictions presently in place in the state, so teams are limited to practices only and aren’t allowed to scrimmage. . . . There’s more on this story right here.


Oldies


F Matt Savoie of the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice was added to the roster of the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints on Thursday. Savoie, from St. Albert, Alta., played four games with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders this season, scoring three goals and adding three assists. . . . The Fighting Saints announced on Jan. 5 that they were adding Savoie, the first selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, to their roster. . . . Savoie, who turned 17 on Jan. 1, is eligible for the NHL’s 2022 draft. He and his brother, Carter, now a freshman at the U of Denver, attending the Fighting Saints’ main training camp prior to the 2019-20 season. . . . Dubuque is scheduled to play two homes games this weekend — against the Waterloo Black Hawks tonight (Friday) and the Des Moines Buccaneers on Saturday night. . . .

F Luke Toporowski of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs played his first game with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede on Thursday night. He was the game’s first star with a goal — the game-winner — and two assists in a 3-2 OT victory over the visiting Sioux City Musketeers. Toporowski won it 2:08 into OT. . . . F Cole Sillinger of the Medicine Hat Tigers also played his first game with the Stampede, but went pointless.


Dwarves


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — Manitoba announces 2 additional COVID-19 deaths and 261 new cases, the highest daily total since January 2 and well above the 7-day average of 174. More than half of the new cases are in the Northern health region.

CBC News — Saskatchewan is reporting 312 new COVID-19 cases, which is consistent with the province’s 7-day average. . . . Saskatchewan Health Authority releases latest modelling forecast. Daily bump in COVID-19 cases could triple even if people closely follow rules, province warns.

Lethbridge Herald — Alberta reports Thursday 967 new cases of COVID-19 . . . 12,434 active cases . . . 806 in hospital, 136 of those in ICU . . . 21 additional deaths for a total of 1,389 fatalities provincially.

CBC News — Alberta to ease some COVID-19 restrictions starting Monday, health minister says. The province is reporting 967 new cases, 21 more deaths.

CBC News — B.C. reports 536 new COVID-19 cases, 7 more deaths. . . . B.C. identifies case of infectious coronavirus variant first seen in South Africa.

CBC News — New COVID-19 cases in Ontario surge above 3,000 for the 1st time in 3 days. 3,326 reported, with 968 in Toronto, 572 in Peel, 357 in York. 62 people died. Just over 71,000 tests were done.

CBC News — Quebec adds 2,132 new COVID-19 cases. It’s the highest number in 4 days but below the 7-day average of 2,330. Health authorities are also attributing 64 additional deaths to the virus.

CBC News — New Brunswick has 23 new COVID-19 cases as the province experiences a surge in 2021; the number of new cases has been in double-digits for all but 3 days in January. There are now 246 active cases, the highest since the pandemic began.

CNN, Thursday, 1:52 p.m. PT — 387,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Thursday, 4:48 p.m. PT — 388,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CBC News — Global COVID-19 cases top 93M with over 1.99M deaths: Johns Hopkins University.

——

Early this week, the NHL said that 17 players with the Dallas Stars had tested positive since Dec. 30. On Thursday, 13 players were missing from practice. Saad Yousuf of The Athletic reported that these players weren’t on the ice — forwards Nick Caamano, Jason Dickinson, Justin Dowling, Radek Faksa, Rhett Gardner, Riley Tufte and Joel Kiviranta; and defencemen Taylor Fedun, Miro Heiskanen, Julius Honka, Esa Lindell, Jamie Oleksiak and Mark Pysyk. . . . The Stars’ first three games have been postponed. They are scheduled to open Jan. 19 against the host Tampa Bay Lightning, but there are rumblings that game also may be postponed. The Stars’ next scheduled game is Jan. 22 against the visiting Nashville Predators. . . .

The NBA’s Phoenix Suns have had a third straight game postponed. They were to have entertained the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night, but that game won’t happen. . . . The Suns were to have played the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday and the Golden State Warriors tonight (Friday), but neither game happened. . . . The Suns are dealing with contact tracing. . . . The Saturday postponement will be the 10th since Dec. 23. . . .

The Australian Open, which is scheduled for Feb. 8-21, has lost American Madison Keys after she revealed that she has tested positive. Keys is the 16th-ranked women’s player. . . . Andy Murray, who received a wild-card berth, also has tested positive so likely won’t play. He is isolating at his London-area home. . . . Charter flights will begin taking players to Australia in the coming days. Upon arrival, players must quarantine for 14 days. . . .

Organizers of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am have cancelled the pro-am part of the PGA tournament, meaning Bill Murray won’t be putting on a show this year. The tournament is scheduled for Feb. 11-14 at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. . . . Next week’s event at La Quinta in Riverside Country also has cancelled its pro-am. . . .

San Jose State’s women’s basketball team won’t play again this season. The Spartans had played four games while having seven cancelled. The university cited “health and safety concerns stemming from COVID-19” in making the announcement on Thursday. . . . The U of Virginia Cavaliers women’s team also has ended its season. They haven’t played since Dec. 13, having missed six games since a positive test.


——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: You will recall that just before Christmas the AJHL suspended Andrew Milne, the GM and head coach of the Canmore Eagles, for 15 games and fined him $1,000. His sin? It seems he spoke with media about a COVID-19 outbreak that hit his team and, in turn, the community. Well, it seems that supporters set up a GoFundMe page and in fewer than 24 hours raised more than enough to cover the fine. Now if the AJHL would get off its high horse and do the right thing by erasing the suspension. . . . The MJHL’s Dauphin Kings have signed Doug Hedley, their general manager and head coach, to a contract extension that runs through 2022-23. In his third stint with the Kings, Hedley has been the GM/head coach since April 24, 2018.


Police

Blake Wesley: I never want to have a reoccurrence of this nightmare!! . . . Former WHLer battled virus in Austria . . . AJHL team has positive test

Blake Wesley, a former WHL player and coach, wants you to know that, if you aren’t already, you need to get serious about your approach to COVID-19. . . . “I’ve had pneumonia, I’ve had bronchitis — you can intensify that by 10 times,” he told rdnewsNOW. . . . Wesley, 61, coaches at a hockey academy in Sankt Pölten, Austria. . . . Wesley played for the Portland Winterhawks (1976-79). He also was an assistant coach with the Tri-City Americans (2001-02) and Portland (2002-04). . . .

BlakeWesley1
Blake Wesley, in his Lilienfield, Austria, hospital room, as he fought the coronavirus. (Photo: Blake Wesley/Facebook)

In a story written by Josh Hall and Troy Gillard, Wesley said that despite taking all the recommended precautions he started to feel poorly on Oct. 2 and found out on Oct. 7 that he was positive. He can’t be certain, but he may have gotten infected from a colleague who also tested positive but wasn’t hospitalized. . . . Later that day, Wesley got an ambulance ride to a hospital where the medical team did tests and blood work. Doctors there then transferred him to a hospital in Lilienfield, which is about 35 minutes from Sankt Pölten. The hospital there is strictly for COVID-19 patients. . . . He was in that hospital until Oct. 23. . . .

Wesley, whose wife was in Penticton, B.C., through all of this, added: “It was exhaustive and, quite honestly, what drained me the most was when the doctors came in to do the second test and they said ‘Nope, you’re not going home.’ I got pretty weepy and teary-eyed because there’s no one there to comfort you.” . . . Wesley was discharged from hospital on Oct. 23 and feels that he now is ready to get back on the ice.

In a highly emotional Facebook post, Wesley explained the symptoms he felt: “Friday October 2. This was the day I started feeling symptoms (raging headache, heart racing, elevated BP, nausea, fatigue, weariness, respiratory infection, loss of taste, loss of appetite). Honestly, I thought I was having a heart attack, and there was someone squeezing the air out of my lungs. Dry cough, dry scratchy eyes, fever, chills. It was a horrible flu, along with pneumonia and bronchitis symptoms.”

While in that hospital, he wasn’t allowed outside his room.

“I was wheeled into the hospital by the ambulance attendants,” Wesley wrote. “That’s the last time I was outside the hospital room. I felt like a prisoner! . . . That was difficult. I thought there was a remote chance to walk about the floor outside the room. No chance of that!!”

And then things started to get worse.

“Over the next few days my symptoms worsened. . . . It was very hard to breathe, and the oxygen Infusions gave some relief. The coughing was painful. Sore throat couldn’t eat food somedays.”

According to Wesley, his daily regimen included lots of blood work, daily infusions of medication via IVs, blood-thinner injections, oral antibiotics and oxygen infusions three times a day. He said he also was treated with Remdesivir.

“There were some really challenging days — mentally, spiritually and physically,” he wrote. “I had four Corona tests while I was in the hospital. None of them were negative. I was so discouraged and disappointed when the test results came back each time.”

Finally, he was discharged on Oct. 23 and returned home. He said that by this time he didn’t have any symptoms “even though I was still positive.” He quarantined at home through Nov. 2.

On Nov. 1, he wrote that “over these past days, I have improved tremendously.”

But, he added, “I never want to have a reoccurrence of this nightmare!!”

In summing up, he wrote:

“I thought I was immune to this virus!!!

“I wore a mask, I always did my best to take all the necessary precautions. I will be vigilant every day. Good nutrition, sanitizing my hands, wearing a mask, distancing . . . the virus is powerful, and we are mere mortals in its path.

“Wear a mask, wash your hands, and avoid physical contact.”

The story by Hall and Gillard is right here. . . . If you’re on Facebook, search for Wesley’s page and read his story in its entirety.


And now it’s the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s turn to deal with COVID-19. ajhlThe AJHL, which plans on opening its regular season on Nov. 13, revealed Wednesday morning that “a member” of the Whitecourt Wolverines tested positive and that the Alberta Health Services protocols had been activated.

A tweet from the AJHL stated: “For privacy reasons, no further comments will be provided.”

The Wolverines haven’t played since Oct. 17 when they beat the visiting Grande Prairie Storm, 4-2. Whitecourt’s next exhibition game was to have been played on Friday, at the Drayton Valley Thunder, but it has been cancelled. The Thunder was to have visited Whitecourt the following night but that game also has been cancelled.


The WHL has said it will open its next regular season on Jan. 8. If you’re wondering what things might look like inside arenas with limited seating SCBroncoscapacities because of the pandemic, there were a few hints in a news release issued by the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday.

That release deals with what the team refers to as “season-ticket deadline and process.”

Included in the release . . .

“While the comprehensive development of the guidelines and protocols are in progress and subject to change, at this point in time, we are expecting the following key measures to be included in our return-to-play protocols:

“Reduced overall capacity and a seating plan which allows for social distancing between groups of fans that are considered part of a household and/or extended household group. This will require most season-ticket holders to be moved to different seats for the 2020-21 season; however for subsequent seasons when capacities are allowed to return to normal, season-ticket holders will be returned to their regular seats.

“A requirement to create separate contained zones in the i-Plex, requiring groups to stay within their assigned zone throughout a game. Each zone will have separate parking, entrances and exits, and will have access to washrooms, concessions, merchandise store or tables, and 50/50 booths. Fans will not be able to enter into any other zone.

“At this time, fans will most likely be required to wear a face mask at all times, except when eating or drinking within their own seat.”

The Broncos also point out that “there will likely be several other guidelines and protocols to adhere to, and these may change prior to and throughout the season.”

In other words, the only sure thing these days is that things likely will change.


Santa


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

From Oct. 25-31, the NFL had 42,916 tests administered to 7,884 players and team personnel. There were eight positive tests among players and 17 among other personnel. . . . Since Aug. 1, the NFL says more than 550,000 tests have been administered, and there have been positive tests for 63 players and 99 other personnel. . . .

The Detroit Lions place QB Matthew Stafford on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. It’s his second time on the list, as he was on it in August for what turned out to be a false positive. . . . According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Stafford is considered a “high-risk, close contact” of someone who tested positive. . . . That contact apparently occurred on Monday, so Matthews will be eligible to come off the list on Sunday, in time to play against the host Minnesota Vikings.

The San Francisco 49ers will be without WR Kendrick Bourne when they play host to the Green Bay Packers tonight (Thursday). Bourne, who is into self-quarantine, tested positive so won’t play. Also among San Francisco’s scratches will be LT Trent Williams, WR Brandon Aiyuk and WR Deebo Samuel, who are seen as high-risk contacts to Bourne and went on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . . San Francisco, which also will be without more than a dozen injured players, including QB Jimmy Garoppolo and TE George Kittle, shut down its facility on Wednesday and held virtual meetings. There are more test results due Thursday. . . . The game is still scheduled to be played, at least until those results are seen. . . . The Packers are without RB AJ Dillon, who came up positive on Monday. RB Jamaal Williams and LB Kamal Martin also won’t play after being designated as “high-risk” contacts. . . .

The Winnipeg Free Press reported Tuesday that one player with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard has tested positive. While the MJHL has yet to confirm the report, it did do some rescheduling of games on Wednesday. That included the postponing of two weekend games in which the Dauphin Kings were to have played the Portage Terriers “due to precautionary public health concerns.” The Kings played host to the Blizzard on Saturday night. . . . Why hasn’t the MJHL commented on the positive test? According to a news release that included scheduling changes, “Public Health (is) the only informed authority to provide public information via daily bulletins on possible exposure, close contact to exposure or the declaration of an outbreak.” . . . That news release is right here. . . .

The Pac-12 football season is scheduled to start on Saturday. Whoops! Guess what? . . . On Wednesday, the U of California, Berkley, athletic department released a statement indicating that “a member of the Cal football program has tested positive . . . marking the first positive test within the program since the start of daily testing” early in October. The statement also said that “several student-athletes were held out of practice Wednesday as a precautionary measure while contact tracing is being completed.” . . . Cal is scheduled to play host to the Washington Huskies on Saturday night, but that game may well be in jeopardy now. . . .

The U of Louisville has paused all football activities after 10 players and five support staff members tested positive. The Cardinals were to have played at the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday, but the game has been postponed to Nov. 14. . . .

Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported Wednesday that the five members of Fox Sports’ Big Noon Kickoff show won’t appear this week “due to COVID-19 quarantine protocols.” . . . Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Urban Meyer, Brady Quinn and host Rob Stone will be held off the network’s college football pregame show on Saturday prior to the USC-Arizona State game. . . . Marchand reported that Fox Sports will have Emmanuel Acho, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and host Charissa Thompson on the program that will be one hour long instead of its normal two. . . .

The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), which has 17 member schools, announced Wednesday that it “has officially cancelled the 2021 extended winter semester of athletics.” . . . According to a news release, “A surge in COVID-19 cases in Alberta has caused the majority of ACAC member institutions to extend on-line academic program delivery into the winter 2021 semester in the interests of protecting the health and safety of students and the broader community.” . . . For most of the schools involved, that takes care of basketball, volleyball and futsal for this season.


Shady


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.


Halloween

COVID-19 playing havoc with MJHL; Free Press: OCN player positive . . . Gogol had quite a season in ’77-78

It didn’t take long for life in the pandemic to take a nasty turn for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

The 12-team league was cruising along, having gotten in 38 regular-season mjhlgames since opening on Oct. 9, until the province’s numbers started running wild. By Tuesday, the Winnipeg Free Press was suggesting the MJHL’s season might be in doubt.

Let’s recap . . .

On Monday, Hockey Manitoba announced that it had shut down all hockey activity in the Winnipeg metropolitan region effective immediately, with things to be revisited on Nov. 15. As a result, the MJHL postponed weekend games that were to involve the Selkirk Steelers, Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze. At the time, the league said the weekend’s other games would go ahead as scheduled, after which it would shut down until Nov. 20.

On Tuesday, the MJHL announced that “this week’s games involving the OCN Blizzard have been postponed due to a public health concern.”

It wasn’t long before Jason Bell and Mike Sawatzky of the Free Press were OCNreporting that “at least one player with the OCN Blizzard has tested positive for COVID-19, putting the club’s season and perhaps even the MJHL’s 2020-21 campaign into doubt.”

The Blizzard was to have played the Kings in Dauphin on Tuesday night, but that game was postponed. The teams played Sunday in Dauphin, with the Blizzard winning, 7-4. The Blizzard player who tested positive played in that game.

OCN’s lineup on Sunday included two players on loan from the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders — F Justin Nachbaur and F Evan Herman — and F Eric Alarie of the Moose Jaw Warriors. Dauphin’s lineup included F Tyson Kozak of the Portland Winterhawks, F Jakob Brook of the Regina Pats and F Kade Runke of the Warriors.

The parent of an OCN player told the Free Press: “All the details haven’t been released yet. I certainly wouldn’t want to provide any misinformation, so the information has to come from the right channels. (The organization said) just that there’s been possible exposure in the division, so we’re following proper health protocols and going into isolation mode until there’s more information.”

The Free Press also reported it had been told by multiple sources that “OCN players from outside The Pas were being told to return home.”

A parent of a player with a different MJHL team told the Free Press: “Almost close to calling that anonymous line for COVID reporting. Something I think MJHL commissioner should answer questions on. Certainly OCN. But sure the league is done until (Christmas) at least after this.”

Taking Note has been told that at least one of the four on-ice officials who worked Sunday’s game has been told he should self-isolate for 14 days.

According to the MJHL’s schedule, weekend games in Winkler, Portage la Prairie, Steinbach and Dauphin will be played before the league breaks until Nov. 20.

The story from the Free Press is right here.


Brent Gogol holds the WHL record for most penalty minutes in one season — 511 in 1977-78. He started the season with the Victoria Cougars, earning 46 minutes in six games. He was dealt to the Billings Bighorns, where he added another 465 minutes in 61 games. . . . Interestingly, Mel Hewitt, who split his 1977-78 season between the Saskatoon Blades and Calgary Wranglers, finished only three minutes behind Gogol in that same season. . . . In 1990-91, Kerry Toporowski of the Spokane Chiefs got to 505 minutes. You have to wonder if he knew how close he was to Gogol’s record at the time.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CB Marlon Humphrey of the Baltimore Ravens has tested positive. He played every defensive snap on Sunday in the Raven’s 28-24 loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers. . . . The Steelers announced Monday that all of their tests had come back negative. . . . By Tuesday, though, the Ravens had put seven players on the reserve/COVID-19 list — linebackers Tyus Bowser, L.J. Fort, Malik Harrison, Matthew Judon and Patrick Queen, DB DeShon Elliott and practice squad DB Terrell Bonds. Those seven will quarantine for five days but could be activated in time to face the host Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. . . .

RB AJ Dillon of the Green Bay Packers has tested positive and won’t play Thursday against the host San Francisco 49ers. Dillon played on Sunday as the Packers dropped a 28-22 decision to the visiting Minnesota Vikings. He was on the field for 10 offensive snaps and seven plays on special teams. . . . RB Jamaal Williams and LB Kamal Martin, named as high-risk close contacts, also won’t play. . . .

The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals came off their bye week and head coach Cliff Kingsbury revealed a pair of positive tests from the weekend. Kingsbury wouldn’t provide identities of the two players, but LB Devon Kennard later reported on Twitter that he had tested positive. . . . The team also has placed CB Byron Murphy on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . . The Cardinals are to play the visiting Miami Dolphins on Sunday. . . .

The Denver Broncos revealed Tuesday that team president Joe Ellis and general manager John Elway have tested positive. Meanwhile, assistant coaches Ed Donatell, Curtis Modkins and Mike Munchak are under COVID-19 protocols, as is OL Graham Glasgow. . . . The Broncos are scheduled to visit the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. . . .

QB Andy Dalton of the Dallas Cowboys had been expected to return on Sunday against the host Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. . . . Dalton missed the Cowboys’ previous game with a concussion. . . .

The U of Wisconsin Badgers have had a second straight football game cancelled. The Badgers were to have played Purdue on Saturday. Wisconsin has had 27 positives since Oct. 24 — 15 players and 12 staff. . . . Interestingly, there isn’t room in the Big Ten schedule to play games that are affected by the virus, so the games are cancelled. . . .

Following one positive test, the junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay DynamitersInternational Junior Hockey League have nine additional members of the organization self-isolating until Nov. 11. This comes after the Interior Health Authority completed contact tracing. The Dynamiters’ last exhibition game, scheduled for Friday against the visiting Fernie Ghostriders has been cancelled. . . . The KIJHL plans on opening its regular season on Nov. 13. The Dynamiters are scheduled to be at home to Fernie that night. . . .

The Chilliwack Minor Hockey Association has paused for at least two weeks. An outbreak at a Chilliwack dance studio — there are at least 30 positives — resulted in meetings between the CMHA and health authorities, and a decision was made to suspend all hockey activities. . . .

The South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League has delayed the start of its regular season to Nov. 26. The seven-team league hopes to play a 12-game regular season. . . . The original plan was to play the regular 18-game season starting on Nov. 6. . . .

The QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs have lost assistant coach Mathieu Turcotte, who has left the team for personal reasons. According to Mikael Lalancette of TVA Sports, Turcotte “has health problems that put him at risk” during these pandemic times. . . . The Voltigeurs are one of the QMJHL teams that has experienced positive tests. . . .

The U of Rhode Island Rams football team has had to put things on hold after a player and a staff member tested positive. All players and staff members have been told to quarantine for two weeks. . . . The Rams have been hold light workouts as they aren’t scheduled to play until Feb. 27 as the Colonial Athletic Association chose not to play in the fall.


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.


Giants’ import forward reassigned. . . . Thompson heads for Dauphin. . . . Broncos get new play-by-play voice

MacBeth

D Chase Harrison (Regina, 2013-17) has signed a one-year contract with Corona Brașov (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL), he had one goal and 12 assists in 51 games. He also had one assist in nine games with the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL). . . .

F Yannik Valenti (Vancouver, 2018-19) has been assigned by Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL) to Heilbronner Falken (Germany, DEL2) for the 2019-20 season. Last season, with the Vancouver Giants (WHL), he had four goals and five assists in 52 games. . . . According to Mannheim’s website, Valenti signed a four-year contract with Mannheim in April 2018 and was on a loan assignment to Vancouver for last season. . . .

F Vince Loschiavo (Kootenay, Moose Jaw, Edmonton, 2014-19) has signed a one-year contract with Asiago (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, with the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL), he had 37 goals and 25 assists in 63 games. He was tied for the team lead in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Jaroslav Kristek (Tri-City, 1998-2000) has signed a one-year contract extension with Courchevel-Méribel-Pralognan (France, Division 1). In 18 games in Division 2, he had 24 goals and 32 assists. He led Division 2 in goals, assists and points. The club won promotion from Division 2 for 2019-20.


ThisThat
The Vancouver Giants may have openings for two imports with the news that German F VancouverYannik Valenti won’t be back for another season. . . . As you will have read in The MacBeth Report, Valenti was with the Giants last season on loan from Adler Mannheim of the DEL, and now has been assigned to Heilbronner Falken (Germany, DEL2). . . . Valenti had four goals and five assists in 52 regular-season games, then turned into something of a power-play force in the playoffs, scoring three times, each one with the man advantage, in 22 games as the Giants got to Game 7 of the WHL’s championship final. . . . Slovakian F Milos Roman, the Giants’ other import last season, could return for a third season. However, he would be a two-spotter as a 20-year-old import. He put up 27 goals and 33 assists in 59 games last season. . . . A fourth-round pick by the Calgary Flames in the NHL’s 2018 draft, Roman has yet to sign a pro contract. . . . The 2019 CHL import draft is scheduled for Thursday.


F Baron Thompson, who played the past three seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings, BrandonWKregularhas signed to play with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings in 2019-20. . . . Thompson, who is heading into his 20-year-old season, had eight goals and nine assists in 65 games with the Wheat Kings last season. In 172 career regular-season games, the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder put up 24 goals and 26 assists. . . . From Lakeville, Minn., Thompson was selected by the Victoria Royals in the third round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft and later traded to the Wheat Kings. . . . Without Thompson, the Wheat Kings have three 20-year-olds on their roster — F Connor Gutenberg, D Zach Wytinck and Czech G Jiri Patera.


Craig Beauchemin has joined the Swift Current Broncos as their play-by-play man. SCBroncosUnable to reach a broadcast agreement with Golden West Broadcasting, which had carried games on the Eagle 94.1, the Broncos are going it alone, with their games to be available via the Internet. . . . Beauchemin will handle the Living Sky Casino Broncos Hockey game broadcasts, and also will prepare podcasts and serve as the manager of community relations. . . . He spent the past two seasons as the director of communications and broadcasting with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. . . . Beauchemin replaces Shawn Mullin, who is headed east where he will be the radio voice of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping here, why not consider donating to the cause? Thank you very much.



The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have traded F Massimo Rizzo, their captain, to the Coquitlam pentictonExpress to complete a June transaction in which the Vees got F Alex DiPaolo, 19. . . . Rizzo, 18, is from Burnaby, B.C., and has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21. . . . Last season, he had 11 goals and 29 assists in 37 regular-season games. In 2017-18, He had 13 goals and 26 assists in 39 games. . . . The Carolina Hurricanes selected him in the seventh round of the NHL draft in Vancouver on Saturday. . . . Rizzo was selected by the Kamloops Blazers with the 15th-overall pick of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He was beset with injury problems over his two seasons in Penticton. . . . “The past two seasons have been trying for Massimo, dealing with significant injuries which forced him to start the seasons late and miss substantial stretches of games,” Fred Harbinson, the Vees’ president, general manager and head coach, said in a news release. “We felt that with Massimo’s recent surgery, it would be best for him to rehab at home next season. Fortunately, we were able to make a hockey trade with Coquitlam that helped our team in the process.”



More undrafted WHLers who are either in or soon to attend NHL development camps:

F Logan Barlage, 18, of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, to the Colorado Avalanche;

D Nolan Kneen, 20, of the Saskatoon Blades, to Colorado;

D Wyatt McLeod, 19, of the Edmonton Oil Kings, to Colorado;

G Taylor Gauthier, 18, of the Prince George Cougars, to the Boston Bruins;

D Scott Walford, 20, of the Victoria Royals, to the Winnipeg Jets;

F Noah Philp, who completed his junior eligibility with the Seattle Thunderbirds, to Winnipeg;

F Luke Toporowski, 18, of the Spokane Chiefs, to WInnipeg;

D Clay Hanus, 18, of the Portland Winterhawks, to the Ottawa Senators;

D Conner McDonald, 20, of the Edmonton Oil Kings, to Ottawa;

D Dylan MacPherson, who played out his junior eligibility with the Medicine Hat Tigers, to the Florida Panthers;

F Jaydon Dureau, 18, of the Portland Winterhawks, to Florida;

F Ben McCartney, 18, of the Brandon Wheat Kings, to Philadelphia;

F Eli Zummack, 19, of the Spokane Chiefs, to the Tampa Bay Lightning;

F Vladimir Alistrov, 18, of the Edmonton Oil Kings, to the Toronto Maple Leafs;

F James Hamblin, 20, of the Medicine Hat Tigers, to Toronto;

F Riley Woods, who completed his junior eligibility with the Spokane Chiefs, to Toronto;

D Sergei Sapego, who is to turn 20 on Oct. 8, of the Prince Albert Raiders, to Toronto;

F Josh Williams, 18, of the Edmonton Oil Kings, to the Pittsburgh Penguins;

F Jake Gricius, who will turn 20 on Oct. 13, of the Portland Winterhawks, to the San Jose Sharks;

D Jake Lee, 18, of the Kelowna Rockets, to San Jose; and,

G Beck Warm, 20, of the Tri-City Americans, to the Washington Capitals.


Tweetoftheday

Royals “definitely in” on 2020 Memorial Cup . . . Bajkov fills hat as Everett wins Game 3 . . . Bo knows it’s Game 7 in SJHL

Scattershooting

If there was doubt in your mind about the Victoria Royals and the 2020 Memorial Cup, you can forget it. They’re in.

“We’re 100 per cent, definitely in,” Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general VictoriaRoyalsmanager, told Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist late last week.

The Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets also are all-in on this one, with both having held news conferences to announce their intentions. The Royals haven’t gone that far yet, but they will.

“We have let the Western Hockey League know we are bidding,” Hope told Dheensaw, adding that there isn’t any rush to hold a news conference because the WHL’s deadline to file an expression of interest is June 1 and bids won’t be heard until Oct. 3.

“The deadline for the expression of interest is not until later in the summer,” Hope said. “We have been (working) quietly behind the scenes. There will be a time to be louder.”

Dheensaw’s complete story is right here.


In Kennewick, Wash., the Everett Silvertips broke open a 4-4 game with four third-period goals in the span of 4:50 and went on to an 8-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans before Everettan announced crowd of 3,268 in Game 3 of the WHL’s best-of-seven Western Conference final. . . . Everett leads the series, 2-1. . . . The visitors got three goals from F Patrick Bajkov, who snapped the 4-4 tie at 6:54 of the third period, then made it 6-4 at 9:21. . . . The Americans had tied the score 4-4 on third-period goals from F Isaac Johnson, at 0:47, and F Michael Rasmussen, at 1:45. . . . Tri-City scored its first two goals via the PP and now is 17-33 with the man advantage through 11 playoff games. . . . Things got a bit heated early in the third period with the head coaches — Everett’s Dennis Williams and Tri-City’s Mike Williamson — exchanging greetings at the benches. . . . The series won’t resume until Thursday because Kennewick’s Toyota Center is playing host to Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story Onstage on Wednesday night. . . .

Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference final is set to continue tonight (Tuesday) in Lethbridge with the Swift Current Broncos holding a 2-0 edge over the Hurricanes. . . . The Broncos lost D Artyom Minulin and F Glenn Gawdin to injuries in the first two games. It’s playoffs, so their status for Game 3 isn’t known.


G Bo Didur stopped 36 shots on Sunday leading, leading the host Estevan Bruins to a 4-0 victory over the Nipawin Hawks in Game 6 of the SJHL’s championship final for the SJHLCanalta Cup. The best-of-seven series is 3-3 and will be decided Tuesday night in Nipawin. Game time is 7:30 p.m. . . . That, considering all that has transpired over the past two-plus weeks, is the only way this could end, isn’t it? . . . F Jake Fletcher, the Bruins’ captain, had a goal, his 10th of the playoffs, and two assists. Fletcher has 20 points, one behind playoff co-leaders Kaelan Holt of Estevan, who is the son of former Swift Current Broncos star Todd Holt, and Nipawin’s Brandan Arnold. Kaelan Holt had two assists on Sunday. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was in Estevan and did up this piece right here on Didur, who is into the final games of his junior hockey career. . . . The winner of Tuesday’s game will meet the MJHL-champion Steinbach Pistons for the ANAVET Cup and a berth in the Royal Bank Cup.


The other day, a woman changed her mind about singing the U.S. national anthem at a Reno Aces’ baseball game when she was told she couldn’t bring her gun along with her. As Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., noted: “Apparently they got her name off the wrong list of sopranos.”


The MJHL’s Dauphin Kings have signed Doug Hedley as their general manager and head coach. Hedley, a former Kings head coach, spent the past two seasons with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . Hedley has been behind the Kings’ bench for 358 games, going 217-116-17-8. According to a Kings’ news release, he is “second behind Marlin Murray (556) in all-time regular-season games coached and second in wins as a Kings coach.”. . . . With Dauphin, Hedley takes over from Mitch Giguere, an assistant coach who had been working as the interim GM/head coach after Marc Berry was fired on Nov. 19. . . . This season, the Kings finished 14-44-1-1, good for 10th in the 11-team league.



Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “The Metropolitan King County Council approved a ban on vaping and chewing tobacco in sports facilities — particularly the Mariners’ Safeco Field — effective May 19. In other words, Skoal’s out for the summer.”


MacBeth

F Tyler Spurgeon (Kelowna, 2001-06) has signed a one-year extension with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). The team captain, he had 18 goals and 31 assists in 54 games this season. . . .

F Jordan Hickmott (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Edmonton, 2005-11) has signed a one-year contract with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had 20 goals and 22 assists in 51 games. He led his club in goals and points. . . .

F Justin Feser (Tri-City, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL), he had 14 goals and 12 assists in 44 games. . . .

F T.J. Mulock (Vancouver, Regina, Kamloops, 2002-03, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, with Cologne Haie (Germany, DEL), he had two goals and seven assists in 46 games. He is a dual German-Canadian citizen.

Four Don Cherry games remaining . . . Giants’ Ronning gets NHL deal . . . Dauphin beckons for Wheat Kings

MacBeth

F Grant Toulmin (Swift Current, 2005-07, 2008-09) has signed a one-season extension with the Sydney Ice Dogs (Australia, AIHL). Last season he had 22 goals and 20 assists in 27 games. He led the team in goals and points. . . . The AIHL regular season opens on April 21.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Four of the WHL’s 17 Canadian teams will hold their WHL Suits Up With Don Cherry games this weekend.

The Victoria Royals will have their game on Friday, with the Kelowna Rockets, Red Deer Rebels and Saskatoon Blades following suit on Saturday.

If you’re new to this, the home teams wear sweaters fashioned after the outfits worn by Don Cherry on Coach’s Corner. Those sweaters are available via auction, with proceeds going to the local branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

There also are Don Cherry bobbleheads available, as well as Upper Deck cards featuring Cherry, and some really nifty mini-hockey helmets.

The Medicine Hat Tigers are one of the teams that held their game last weekend. When it was all over, the Tigers had raised almost $50,000 through the sweater auction.

Scott Roblin of CHAT News in Medicine Hat has a story right here that tells all you need to know about this promotion and its importance. It’s about people like the mother and daughter who took part in the ceremonial puck drop in Medicine Hat, and it’s all about organ donor awareness.


When the Portland Winterhawks chose to try and get an exemption from Oregon laws regarding the paying of minimum wage and other benefits, you have to think they, and the WHL, weren’t anticipating what followed.

“What started as something the WHL and the Winterhawks thought would be a simple whlprocess,” Ken Campbell of The Hockey News writes, “has degenerated into a nightmare, largely because some people in Oregon stood up to junior hockey. The local United Food and Commercial Workers, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, Oregon Working Families and the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association all spoke out against the bill and in fact created a website urging people to contact their senators to vote against the bill.”

Campbell’s complete piece, which explains what went on, is right here.


The New York Rangers have signed F Ty Ronning of the Vancouver Giants to a three-year entry-level NHL contract. Ronning, 20, has 55 goals and 22 assists in 64 games with the Giants this season. . . . He is the WHL’s second-leading goal scorer and now holds the Giants’ record for goals in one season. . . . The 5-foot-9, 172-pound Ronning was a seventh-round pick by the Rangers in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . He finished last season with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, and had two goals and three assists in 12 games. . . . He is the son of former WHL/NHL F Cliff Ronning. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on Ty’s signing right here.


JUST NOTES . . .

The Portland Winterhawks will induct former players Andrew Ference, Marian Hossa, Brendan Morrow and Todd Robinson into their Hall of Fame on Saturday night, prior to a game against the visiting Tri-City Americans. At the same time, they will honour the 1998 Memorial Cup-winning team, with most of the players and coaches from that team expected to be on hand. The ceremony will be emceed by the legendary Dean (Scooter) Vrooman, who was the radio voice of the Winterhawks for so many years. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings announced Monday that should they qualify for the playoffs, they will play their first-round home games at Credit Union Place in Dauphin, Man. As always happens, the Wheat Kings will get bumped from their home arena, Westoba Place, by the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. . . . The Wheat Kings, who have seven games remaining, hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Prince Albert and eight ahead of Saskatoon. 


TheCoachingGame

The MJHL’s Dauphin Kings are looking for a general manager and head coach. . . . The Kings started the season with Marc Berry as the GM and head coach. But they fired him in November after a 4-18-2 start. . . . Mitch Giguere, an assistant coach since August, was named interim GM and head coach on Nov. 19. At the time, the Kings stated that they would be “looking into all options” to fill the GM/head coach position following the season. . . . The Kings finished the season at 14-44-2 — 10th in the 11-team league — and didn’t make the playoffs. . . . There’s more on the opening right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

MONDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Lethbridge at Brandon, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Regina at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.

Portland at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

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