WHL rests before busy weekend . . . B.C. sports hall honours Ewen . . . Avalanche coach tests positive


There weren’t any WHL games on Thursday’s schedule as it prepares for a 19-game weekend, although there aren’t any games on Monday, which is the Canadian Thanksgiving. . . . However, there were two WHL games on Wednesday night . . .

In Lethbridge, F Logan Dowhaniuk scored at 17:42 of the third period to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Edmonton got its other goal from F Jalen Luypen, shorthanded, with 1.1 seconds left in the second period. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Zach Benson, the 14th pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft, scored twice to help the Ice to a 5-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Ice F Mikey Milne had two assists, giving him seven points in three games.


Machete


The QMJHL has suspended Nicolas Daigle and Massimo Siciliano of the Victoriaville Tigres at least until the court has dealt with charges against them. They were charged with sexual assault on Tuesday. They also were charged with recording the incident and Daigle is facing a charge of having shared images of the alleged victim. . . . The charges arose after an incident that is alleged to have occurred in a hotel in Lac-Beauport on June 6 after the Tigres’ won the QMJHL championship in June. . . . The QMJHL’s news release is right here.


Jared Bednar, a former WHLer who is the head coach of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, will miss a pair of exhibition games after testing positive for COVID-19. . . . The Avalanche is to play the Stars in Dallas on Thursday, with the two teams meeting in Denver on Saturday. . . . In Bednar’s absence, assistant coaches Ray Bennett and Nolan Pratt, both of whom are former WHLers, will run the Colorado bench. . . . Bednar played in the WHL (Saskatoon Blades, Spokane Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers, Prince Albert Raiders, 1990-93). He is in his sixth season as Colorado’s head coach. . . . Bennett spent one season (1992-93) as the Moose Jaw Warriors’ assistant general manager. He also scouted for the Spokane Chiefs (1994-95). . . . Pratt spent three-plus seasons (1991-95) as a defenceman wit the Portland Winter Hawks.



Steve Ewen of Postmedia has been named as a recipient of an Eric Whitehead Inspired Service Award as presented by the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. Among other things, Ewen covers junior hockey for the Vancouver Province and Vancouver Sun. “In 2010, Ewen was diagnosed with a solitary plasmacytoma, a type of blood cancer, needing two rods and 15 screws to be inserted into his back and neck,” wrote Postmedia’s J.J. Adams. “In a six-month hospital stay, he had eight back surgeries, leaving his spine fused from his neck to the middle of his back. The cancer returned in 2017, when he had a stem cell transplant.” . . . Whitehead, a former Province sports editor, was heavily involved in the founding of the Hall of Fame. . . . Adams’s story is right here.


Diaper


David Branch, the OHL commissioner, told reporters on Wednesday that all of his league’s players are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. He also said that the OHL had one player opt out of playing rather than get vaccinated. . . .

The OHL’s Sarnia Sting opened its regular season on Thursday night with a 6-3 victory over the Spitfires in Windsor. But associate coach Brad Staubitz wasn’t there. The team announced earlier in the day that Staubitz has taken a leave of absence for non-COVID-related personal reasons. He has been on the Sting’s coaching staff since 2016. . . . On Wednesday, the Sting announced that assistant coach Mark Mancari would be away “for the foreseeable future to deal with a personal health issue.” He had been with the Sting since June 2020. . . . Alan Letang, the head coach, and goaltending coach Franky Palazzese are the only other coaches listed on the Sting’s website.


The Brooklyn Nets are scheduled to play an exhibition game at home against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night and guard Kyrie Irving is listed on their roster as out/ineligible. . . . Irving has refused to get vaccinated and under New York City requirements only those who are fully vaccinated are allowed in city facilities.


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: Maggie Sinclair was elected to the Moose Jaw Warriors’ board of directors at the organization’s AGM on Sept. 30. She is the first female member of the board; the Warriors have been around since 1984. From a Warriors’ news release: “Sinclair currently works as a the Chief Risk and Compliance Officer with Conexus and has decades of experience in banking.” . . . Krista Funke made her debut as an AJHL referee on Wednesday night in Lloydminster where the Bobcats beat the Sherwood Park Crusaders, 8-2. She and fellow referee Daniel Gadowski handed out 10 minor penalties, five to each team. Funke, from Regina, is quite story. She was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2012 while at the U of Toronto. Jennifer Ackerman of the Regina Leader-Post detailed Funke’s story on Jan. 31, 2019. That story is right here.


Penguin

Looking for WHL rosters? Look no further . . . Thompson no longer on Sharks’ staff . . . NHL lays out restrictions for unvaccinated players

Unvaxxed


If you’re looking for WHL rosters, I would suggest that you check out the work of Alan Caldwell. He has the latest rosters right here, and you should know that they include a whole lot more than name and position. . . . And if you aren’t following him on Twitter, he’s at @smallatlarge.


The OHL, under commissioner David Branch, has issued an indefinite OHLsuspension to D Logan Mailloux of the London Knights. Yes, that’s the same Logan Mailloux who was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . Branch’s reasoning behind the suspension was that Mailloux “violated the league’s expectation of appropriate conduct for an OHL player.” . . . He will be eligible to apply for reinstatement on Jan. 1 “based in part on his conduct since his return to Canada and the appropriate treatment, counselling, mentoring and/or education he receives from the date of this decision.”. . . Ken Campbell has more at his site right here.



The Prince Albert Raiders announced on Wednesday that Bruno Zarrillo is the club’s new director of player personnel, replacing Curt Brownlee “effective immediately.” . . . Brownlee had been with the Raiders since 2011, first as a scout and then as director of player personnel for the past two-plus seasons. . . . Zarillo has been scouting for the Raiders since 2011-12. . . . The last sentence of the Raiders’ news release stated: “No further comments will be made at this time.”


NoVax


You will recall that the Edmonton Elks weren’t able to play an Aug. 26 game after having 13 positive tests. That game, in Toronto against the Argonauts, now will be played on Nov. 16. . . . The Elks now will play their final three regular-season games in seven days, meeting the host Saskatchewan Roughriders on Nov. 13, playing in Toronto on Nov. 16, and facing the B.C. Lions in Vancouver on Nov. 19. . . . The Elks, Argos and Lions will be allowed to each add five players to their game rosters for those dates.


Rocky Thompson no longer is part of the San Jose Sharks’ coaching staff. The Covidformer WHL player and coach had been the NHL team’s associate coach. . . . “Due to a medical exemption that prevents me from taking the COVID-19 vaccine, under the new league protocols, I am not permitted to fulfill my duties on the Sharks coaching staff at this time,” Thompson said in a news release.”I will have no further comment on this matter.” . . . As a player, Thompson split three seasons (1994-97) between the Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos. He later was an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings for three seasons (2007-10). . . .

Meanwhile, in MLB, Bob Boone, a vice-president with the Washington Nationals, has quit rather than comply with the organization’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Boone, 73, is a former catcher, and is the father of New York Yankees manager Aaron and Bret, who also play in the majors. Bob had been with the Nationals since 2005. The Nationals told employees on Aug. 14 that they have until Sept. 15 to be fully vaccinated or face losing their jobs unless there is a medical exemption involved.


Demons


The NHL is going to make life a lot tougher on unvaccinated players than those nhl2who have been vaccinated once the approaching season gets started. . . . Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported: “On the road, unvaccinated players will not be able to go anywhere except for the team hotel, practice facility and arena, according to a 27-page document outlining the protocols, which was obtained by ESPN. At the team hotel, unvaccinated players can’t use the bar, restaurant, gym or pool and cannot have teammates or visitors in their rooms. . . . Unvaccinated players are prohibited from carpooling or using saunas. They are encouraged not to eat and drink on flights, attend bars or clubs or eat indoors — even at home — with people outside their households or personal bubbles.” . . . Kaplan has more, a whole lot more, right here.

——

In the meantime, two NFL teams — the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — are 100 per cent vaccinated. That’s all players and staff. . . . The NFL’s regular season is scheduled to get rolling on Thursday with the Buccaneers, the defending Super Bowl champions, entertaining the Dallas Cowboys, who were 0-4 in the preseason, if that means anything.



The Oakland A’s have closed their minor-league complex in Mesa, Ariz., at least through Sunday because of COVID-19 issues. . . . “Following a number of positive COVID-19 tests by members of the Oakland A’s organization at the Lew Wolff Training Complex, the Club will close the Mesa complex through Sunday,” a news release from the A’s reads.“We are following Major League Baseball’s recommendations for testing and protocols to ensure the health and safety of our players and staff.”


Marines


Boxer Oscar De La Hoya is in a Los Angeles hospital after having tested positive for COVID-19. De La Hoya, who said he is fully vaccinated, was quoted as saying: “I feel bad, bad, bad, bad. I have Covid, my chest doesn’t — I can’t breathe well.” . . . The 48-year-old was to have returned to the ring on Sept. 11 in Los Angeles against Vitor Belfort, a former UFC champion. That fight isn’t going to happen now. . . . De La Hoya last fought in 2008 when he lost to Manny Pacquiao.


Matt Hagan, the NHRA points leader in Funny Car and the defending champion, won’t be able to compete in the U.S. Nationals after testing positive. The Nationals are being held this weekend in Indianapolis.


Musketeers


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: General manager Steve Yzerman has made some changes to the Detroit Red Wings’ scouting staff. Two men who know their way around the WHL — Bruce Haralson and Marty Stein — are gone, while Greg Hawgood has been added. Haralson had been with the Red Wings since 1996, first as an amateur scout and then, for the past 12 seasons, as a pro scout. Before joining Detroit, he split 10 seasons between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers. Stein had been an amateur scout since 1996. Hawgood, a former Kamloops Blazers defenceman who was the team’s head coach for part of one season, was a scout with the Chicago Blackhawks for the past three seasons. . . . Think about his for a minute or two — in his last three seasons with Kamloops, Hawgood put up 119, 123 and 133 points. . . .

The Regina Pats have added Ken Schneider to their staff as an assistant coach. Schneider spent the past three seasons scouting for the Pats. He is a former WHLer (Brandon, 1980-82). He has coached at various levels and was behind the bench with the Ile-des-Chenes, Man., North Stars when they won the Allan Cup as Canada’s national senior champions.


Coffee

It was a gay day for Luke Prokop . . . OHL implements mandatory vaccination policy . . . Giants add two from T-Birds

Kamloops


D Luke Prokop of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen became the answer to a trivia question on Monday. But what he did to gain this status was anything but trivial.

Prokop, 19, revealed on social media that he is gay.

“While the past year and a half has been crazy,” he wrote, “it has also given me the chance to find my true self. I am no longer scared to hide who I am.

“Today, I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.”

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Prokop, was selected by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the NHL’s 2020 draft. He signed a three-year entry-level contract in December. A native of Edmonton, Prokop is preparing for his fourth full season with the Hitmen, who picked him seventh overall in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.

Prokop, an alternate captain in 2020-21, played 14 games with Calgary in 2017-18, before becoming a regular in 2018-19. In 150 regular-season games, he has seven goals and 34 assists.

The response to Prokop’s becoming the first player under NHL contract and the first WHL player to come out as gay was quick, large in volume and supportive.

If you were on social media at any point on Monday, you will have seen a steady stream of messages.

His mother tweeted her love and support, while his brother, Josh, who completed his junior career last season as Calgary’s captain, tweeted: “Words cannot describe how proud I am of you each and every day. The amount of strength and courage you have displayed is truly remarkable. Being able to play hockey with you is just a bonus on top of being your brother. Love you always.”

The onslaught of tweets included this one from the Hitmen:

“We’re so proud of you, Luke. Representation matters and your courage will help so many others. We hope that future athletes won’t need to make these sort of statements & we remain committed to promoting inclusion & acceptance in our sport & supporting the LBGTQ+ community.”

“All of SMASHVILLE is behind you, Luke,” the Predators tweeted.

Here are a few others that appeared on Twitter . . .

Pittsburgh Penguins: “Thank you . . . for sharing your truth.”

Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs: “Much respect & support Luke!”

Boston Bruins: “An important day for the hockey community! We’re excited to support you, Luke, as you help show that hockey truly is for everyone.”

Roman Josi, Predators captain: “We’re obviously very proud of him for taking that step. Our message as a team (is that) we’re obviously very supportive of him . . . hockey is for everyone, and I think the organization with the Predators really lives that.”

Vancouver Canucks: “It’s a big week for hockey, but no announcement will be more important than this. It’s a groundbreaking day. Thank you Luke.”

Western Hockey League: “All of us across the WHL are incredibly proud of you, Luke. Your leadership is inspiring & your courage will help so many others in the LGBTQ+ community.”

NHLPA: “NHL players commend the courage demonstrated by Luke Prokop to disclose his truth. We know the NHL hockey community will support Luke as he strives toward his goal of playing in the NHL, and we applaud the example he is setting for those in the game of hockey and beyond.”

Calgary Flames (who own the Hitmen): “When people feel empowered to be their authentic self, the world becomes a better place. Thank you, Luke, for being such an incredible representative for the Calgary Hitmen and our community. We’re so proud that you’re a member of the CSEC family.”

You cannot overstate the importance of Prokop’s decision as an active player within the hockey world. Time will tell whether others will follow suit. But I can tell you that I never thought I would see something like this in my lifetime, especially not in junior hockey.

Hopefully we now are closer to the day when an announcement like Prokop’s won’t even be a story.


Plans


Yes, the OHL is adopting a mandatory vaccination policy in time for the 2021-22 season.

In fact, that policy already is up on the OHL website for all to read.

In a letter dated July 15 and addressed to players and parents, David Branch, the OHL commissioner, wrote:

“In order to ensure a safe and healthy return to hockey this coming season, we OHLare implementing a mandatory vaccination policy to prevent against the transmission of COVID-19. Under this policy, we will require that players, along with all members of the OHL community, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide a proof of vaccination to the OHL at least two weeks prior to the start of training camps.”

Branch went on to write that the OHL believes “the vaccination of all OHL players, coaches, officials, billets and others involved in the league will provide a significant decrease in the likelihood of contacting COVID-19.”

He added: “There will be extremely high protection from developing severe illness from COVID-19 thereby enhancing player safety.”

Branch also pointed out that “teams will be able to travel across the Canada/US border and (it will) enhance other international travel for players with fewer restrictions and likely without quarantine requirements.”

As well, Branch wrote, that mandatory vaccinations will result in a “reduced requirement for COVID-19 testing throughout the season.”

The OHL’s mandatory vaccination policy that is posted on the league’s website states that it “includes individuals who attend training camp, practices, games or play in the OHL, and specifically includes all players, coaches, trainers, team and league staff, officials, volunteers, and billet families. Billet family members under the permitted age for vaccination by applicable Public Health Agencies are excluded.

“This policy is effective immediately, with due regard for the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.”

If someone in the above group chooses not to get vaccinated and isn’t able to provide documentation to substantiate their reason, the OHL will place that person “on an unpaid leave of absence for the duration of the pandemic or until such time that COVID-19 no longer poses a significant public health risk.”

If it is a player in that situation, he will be removed from his team’s roster until the pandemic ends or COVID-19 is deemed to no longer be a risk.

There hasn’t yet been reaction from the CHL, QMJHL or WHL, which would seem to indicate that this is strictly an OHL initiative.

But it’s hard to see one major junior league going ahead with this and the others not following suit.

Stay tuned . . .


KidDuck


The Kamloops Blazers say they will introduce their new general manager at a Kamloopsnews conference today (Tuesday) at 10 a.m. PT. . . . They have needed a GM since Matt Bardsley announced on May 25 that he was leaving the organization after three years. He left with three years remaining on his contract, saying that because of travel restrictions he wanted to get his family back to the U.S. They have since relocated to Portland and Bardsley has signed on with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers as an amateur scout. . . . Bardsley had worked in Portland with the Winterhawks since 1999 before joining the Blazers. . . . There has been speculation that Blades head coach Shaun Clouston will add the GM’s role to his duties. He has been the Blazers’ head coach for two seasons. Prior to signing in Kamloops, he spent 16 seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers, the last seven as GM/head coach. . . . Earlier this month, the Everett Silvertips gave the GM’s title to head coach Dennis Williams and signed him to a contract extension. The Silvertips dumped general manager Garry Davidson after nine seasons, saying it was a cost-cutting move.


The Vancouver Giants have acquired F Payton Mount, 19, and D Cade McNelly, Vancouver20, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a pair of draft picks — a second-rounder in 2023 and a fifth-rounder in 2024. . . . Mount, a 5-foot-8, 180-pounder from Victoria, was the 19th overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 draft. In 140 regular-season games, he has 23 goals and 45 assists. His best season was 2019-20, when he put up 14 goals and 24 assists in 62 games. . . . The 6-foot-3, 205-pound McNelly, from Westlock, Alta., has six goals and 11 assists in 121 regular-season games. . . . The Giants finished the 2020-21 season with five other 2001-born players on their roster — F Bryce Bader, F Adam Hall, D Connor Horning, G Trent Miner and F Dallon Wilton. . . . At the same time, Seattle has two 2001-born players remaining on its roster from the end of the season — D Ryan Gottfriend and F Henrik Rybinski.


The Edmonton Oil Kings would appear to have their two import players for the Edmonton2021-22 WHL season. On Monday, they announced the signing of Slovakian F Jakub Demek, who was picked in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Last season, Demek, 18, had two assists in 10 games with HC Kosice in the Slovak Extraliga, and had six goals and 15 assists in 31 games with the country’s U-18 side. . . . Earlier, the Oil Kings announced that Czech D Simon Kubicek, who turns 20 on Dec. 19, had committed to playing for them. He was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds.


The Saskatoon Blades have signed F Yegor Sidorov of Belarus, whose rights Bladeswere selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . From the Blades’ news release: “Born and raised in Vitebsk, Belarus, Sidorov spent last year playing and training under his home country’s national U17 and U18 development programs. The majority of his workload came as an underage forward in the U18 ranks, dressing in 24 games and racking up 14 points (7G-7A) along with 10 penalty minutes.” . . . Saskatoon also drafted German F Moritz Elias, 17, last month but has yet to announce his signing.


The Everett Silvertips have signed Finnish F Niko Huuhtanen, the second Everettoverall selection in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Huuhtanen, 18, is ranked 49th overall among European skaters eligible for the NHL draft that is to be held Friday and Saturday. . . . In 2020-21, he had 20 goals and 14 assists in 37 games with Tappara’s U-20 side. He also had two goals and three assists for Finland at the IIHF U-18 World championship in Texas. . . . He had signed a two-year contract with the Finnish pro team Tappara on May 19. . . . The Silvertips also hold the CHL rights to Czech F Michal Gut, 19, and Finnish D Kasper Puutio, 19, both of whom finished last season on their roster although choosing to play in Europe.



The Olympic Summer Games that are to get started this week were to have been held a year ago. Thus, they were the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

After the Games were postponed by the pandemic, organizers decided to maintain the name. So . . . the Games that are being held in 2021 actually are the 2020 Games, and they have kept the 2020 logo. . . .

BTW, the opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday but competition actually gets started today (Tuesday) with a women’s softball tripleheader — Australia vs. Japan, a 5 p.m. PT; U.S. vs. Italy, 8 p.m; and Mexico vs. Canada, 11 p.m. . . .

——

American tennis star Coco Gauff pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday Covidafter revealing that she has tested positive for COVID-19. . . . “I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won’t be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” she tweeted. ”It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future.’’ . . .

Meanwhile, six British athletes were isolating in Tokyo after being close contacts of someone who tested positive. And the two athletes who were residents of the Olympic Village and tested positive Saturday have been identified as South African soccer players. They are believed to have had least 21 close contacts. . . . The South African team’s video analyst also tested positive. . . . As well, a men’s beach volleyball player from Czech Republic has tested positive, but hopes to be cleared in time to play on Monday. . . .



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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks have signed general manager/operations manager Brooks Christensen to a two-year contract extension. He joined the Silverbacks on June 2, 2017 as marketing manager. . . . The Silverbacks signed head coach Tyler Shattock to a two-year extension on June 29. From Salmon Arm, he took over as head coach during the 2019-20 season. . . . Larry Woo, 50, has joined the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice as an assistant coach. Woo, who is from Winnipeg, played two WHL seasons (1989-91) with the Victoria Cougars and Swift Current Broncos. With the Ice, he will work alongside head coach James Patrick, 58, who is preparing for his fifth season, and assistant coaches Josh Green and Byron Spriggs. Green, 43, has been an assistant there for two seasons and Spriggs, 27, is entering his second season. . . .

Former WHLer Mark Morrison has signed on as head coach the Manitoba Moose, the Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate. Morrison, 58, spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks. Prior to that, he spent six seasons as an assistant coach in the Jets’ organization, with the St. John’s IceCaps and the Moose. During a four-season WHL career, he put up 394 points, including 159 goals, in 244 regular-season games with the Victoria Cougars. With the Moose, he replaces Pascal Vincent, who left to join the Columbus Blue Jackets as an assistant coach. . . . Darryl Williams, who played 38 games with the WHL’s Victoria Cougars in 1985-86, has joined the Philadelphia Flyers as an assistant coach. A coach for more than 20 years, he had been an assistant with the AHL’s Newfoundland Growlers. He will be rejoining Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault; the two spent nine seasons together with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers.


Moles

How close is OHL to playing? . . . NHL adjusts its COVID protocols . . . Eyes of Texas will be on U18 Worlds


On a day when COVID-19 found the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL announced nhl2adjustments to its protocols. . . . The Oilers were without F Jesse Puljujarvi in a 3-0 victory over the Canadiens in Montreal after he tested positive. Edmonton also scratched G Mikko Koskinen for precautionary reasons. There is speculation that Koskinen was held out as a close contact. . . . The Ottawa Senators held D Artem Zub out of a 5-1 loss to the host Winnipeg Jets for precautionary reasons; however a COVID-19 test came back negative so he will be OK to play on Saturday. . . . Meanwhile, with five teams having experienced outbreaks and a total of 35 games having been postponed, the NHL has added to its protocols. One of the changes involves more game-day testing. The NHL also has moved to limit the outside activities of team members and their families. Here’s ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski: “All players, coaches, training staff, equipment staff and other members of the traveling party ‘will be required to remain at home and not leave their place of residence except to attend practices and games, to exercise outdoors on an individual basis, to perform essential activities (e.g., go to the doctor), or to deal with family or other emergencies and other extraordinary circumstances.’ The NHL also is ‘strongly recommending’ that household members limit their activities outside the home as well, and is encouraging teams to provide ways for household members to be tested for COVID-19 regularly.” . . . Wyshynski’s complete story is right here.



The IIHF’s U18 World Championship will be held in Frisco and Plano, Texas, DallasStarsfrom April 26 through May 6. Frisco is home to the Dallas Stars’ practice arena — the Comerica Center — and offices. The Stars and USA Hockey are partnering on the production. . . . The host team, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Russia will play out of Frisco. . . . Canada will be in Plano, along with Belarus, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland. . . . The U-18 world event hasn’t ever been held so late into a year. . . . It will be interesting to watch team construction prior to this event, because all 60 major junior teams could still be playing. . . . The 2020 event was to have been held in Ann Arbor and Plymouth, Mich., from April 16-26, but was cancelled by the pandemic. Originally, the 2021 event also was scheduled for Ann Arbor and Plymouth, but it obviously has been shifted to Texas.


As you can see from the above tweet, Bob Kaser is in hospital after having undergone heart surgery. Kaser is a veteran hockey play-by-play voice, who did a stint with the Seattle Thunderbirds (1984-89). . . . He’s a hockey guy, so somehow I expect him back before season’s end. . . . Best wishes, Bob.


Plumber


So you want to be a pro hockey player, do you? Well, let’s take a look at how G Taran Kozun’s career is going. . . . He played in the WHL (Kamloops, Seattle, 2011-15) and was named to the Western Conference’s first all-star team and also was saluted as the league’s top goaltender for 2014-15. . . . He spent the 2015-16 season playing pro, making stops with three ECHL teams — the Missouri Mavericks, Utah Grizzlies and Manchester Monarchs — and the AHL’s Ontario Reign. He only got into games (nine of them) with Utah, though. . . . Kozun then spent a season with the Chinook Hockey League’s Rosetown, Sask., Red Wings, before going on to three seasons with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. He was 37-6-2 over the last two seasons with the Huskies and was USports’ top goaltender each season. He was the Canadian university game’s player of year for 2019-20. . . . This season, he’s back playing pro, having made stops with four ECHL teams — the Kansas City Mavericks, Indy Fuel, Rapid City Rush and Orlando Solar Bears — and the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers. . . . The Solar Bears picked him up in a deal with the Rush this week. . . . Kozun’s older brother, Tad, is a forward with Orlando.



THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

If you haven’t seen any of the short videos that the WHL has made available featuring some goaltenders, here’s one of them. . . . Well done

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CBC News — Ontario’s COVID-19 case numbers are steadily declining, but more infectious novel coronavirus variants of concern pose a threat significant enough that health experts are warning a third lockdown could be required to contain them.

CBC News — Alberta reports 351 new COVID-19 cases, 16 more deaths. Starting Monday, the province is changing rules requiring negative COVID-19 tests at border crossings.

CBC News — Newfoundland and Labrador reports 100 new COVID-19 cases, nearly double Wednesday’s all-time record of 53. Of them, 74 are in people under the age of 20. Health authorities also say there is 1 additional presumptive case.

——

Prince McJunkins, a quarterback during two seasons (1983-84) with the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders, died of complications from COVID-19 in a Tulsa, Okla., hospital on Tuesday. His home was in Muskogee, Okla. He was 59 and is survived by his wife and four children. . . . While playing at Wichita State (1979-82), McJunkins was the first player in NCAA history to rush for more than 2,000 yards and pass for more than 4,000 in a career. . . .

The Australian Open, which is underway in Melbourne, has banned fans for five days following a COVID outbreak at a local hotel. While the state of Victoria will go into a lockdown, the tournament will continue. . . .

The NBA’s Toronto Raptors announced on Thursday that they will spend the remainder of this season at Tampa’s Amalie Arena. After starting the season there, they had hoped things would improve and border restrictions would loosen so they could return to Toronto, but that hasn’t happened so they’ll stay put. . . .

Penn State’s men’s hockey team last played on Jan. 29. It was to have played on Feb. 20 and 21 against Arizona State. But that won’t happen after Penn State got hit by some positive tests this week. If all goes well, Penn State will get to play again on Feb. 27. . . .

Hockey Brandon, which governs minor hockey in the Wheat City, announced Thursday that it had cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season effective immediately. . . . Curtis Storey, the organization’s president, said that “the continued restrictions on indoor facilities unfortunately forced the decision.” . . .

The junior B Heritage Junior Hockey League has cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season. The decision was made after a announcement earlier in the week from Hockey Alberta. Here’s the HJHL’s Scott Fisher, from okotoksonline.com: “We were at that time where we had to come to a decision. Hockey Alberta has made the decision to cancel all regular season and playoff games for junior B, junior C, female and senior men’s leagues.” . . . Hockey Alberta’s announcement didn’t include the junior A Alberta Junior Hockey League.


Giraffe


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.


Did Branch laugh, slap forehead or roll eyes? . . . Chirpin’ hockey with Jason Gregor . . . Blades add assistant coach

I spent some of Friday afternoon wondering if David Branch, the OHL commissioner, burst out laughing or slapped his forehead when he discovered that Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s sport minister, now is running his league.

ohlIf you missed it, a Canadian Press story indicated that MacLeod, who apparently was speaking to the Empire Club of Canada, stated that the OHL’s teams will play without bodychecking should their season get started on Feb. 4 as planned.

According to CP, MacLeod said that removing purposeful physical contact from the game is a necessary step to preventing the spread of COVID-19. She also said the decision was influenced by the QMJHL, which has had three teams experience a number of positive tests. Two of the QMJHL’s on-ice officials also tested positive.

Surely, Branch, who has been the man in charge of the OHL since 1979, must have had a good laugh, or another forehead-slapping experience. Or maybe he just rolled his eyes.

Anyway, it wasn’t long before the OHL put out this statement: “Until such time as we arrive at an agreed upon Return to Play protocol with the Government of Ontario, the League will have no further comment on the matter of body contact.”

Hopefully, Branch didn’t turn to Twitter to see the reaction. I mean, to say that people lost their stuff, well, that would be too kind.

People . . . people . . . really! Yesterday was Oct. 30. A couple of days ago, you thought the OHL was going to start on Dec. 1. Now it’s Feb. 4. This is, as they say, a fluid situation. If you haven’t learned that the virus is in charge here, you really haven’t been paying attention.

Meanwhile, allow me to share some of Friday’s virus-related headlines and tweets with you, just to, you know, keep you up to date because, hey, stuff is happening and it isn’t good . . .

CBC News: Quebec adds 1,108 new coronavirus cases; that’s the highest daily total in almost 2 weeks and pushed the province’s 7-day average to 961.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 896 new cases of COVID-19. . . . The province’s 7-day average is now 909, the highest recorded since the pandemic began.

Daily Hive Vancouver: Canada is extending its ban on cruise ships until February of next year.

Bartley Kives, CBC Manitoba: Manitoba announced a record 480 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.

Justin McElroy, CBC Vancouver, on Manitoba’s announcement: Per capita, that’s by far the highest any province in Canada has seen in a single day since the pandemic began.

Global News: St. Boniface Hospital intensive care unit officially over capacity.

Global News: Winnipeg closing rec centres, pools, arenas, libraries under new coronavirus restrictions.

680 CJOB: With over 400 new COVID-19 cases reported on Friday in Manitoba, new, tighter restrictions will effectively end sports in the Winnipeg region as of Monday.

Mike Sawatzky, Winnipeg Free Press: “Hockey Winnipeg president Chris Hall says that his organization is ‘shutting down everything effective (Saturday)’ after it was announced city would be under code red status by Monday. Several facilities, including the Iceplex, have already said they are shutting the doors.”

CBC News: Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said there were active alerts or COVID-19 outbreaks at 249 schools in the province.

CBC News: Alberta adds a record 622 new cases of COVID-19, as well as 5 new deaths, bringing the province’s total number of deaths to 323. This is significantly above the average of 450 new cases the province has been seeing for the last 10 days.

CBC British Columbia: B.C. announces 272 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 more death.

Global Okanagan: B.C. has granted regional medical health officers the powers to issue COVID-19 restrictions for their own jurisdictions. It comes as the province topped 6,000 people in isolation due to exposure for the first time.

Keith Baldrey of Global TV: Updating our southern neighbour’s COVID-19 situation: more than 1,000 cases in Washington state today (highest in weeks). In the past week alone: 5,200 cases/70 deaths/291 hospitalizations. 

Associated Press: Confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases surge past 9 million as infections are on the rise in 47 states. (NOTE: There are 50 states in the U.S.)

CNN: The US surpasses 9 million coronavirus cases just 14 days after reaching 8 million. It was the nation’s fastest 1 million-case rise of the pandemic.

The COVID Tracking Project: Our daily update is published. States reported a new record number of cases — 97k — and 1.4 million tests. Currently, 47k people are hospitalized. There were 933 COVID-19 deaths reported.

Detroit News: President Trump claims country is ‘rounding the corner’ amid new COVID-19 surges.

The Globe and Mail: Bobby Orr endorses Donald Trump, calling him ‘the kind of teammate I want’


Hating


Now for something completely different . . .

Jason Gregor of TSN1260 in Edmonton was looking for good hockey chirps on Friday. . . . He tweeted that a texter who had played junior hockey sent him this one: “I started chirping a guy to scrap, and his response was ‘Put a coat on; it might be cold when you wake up.” . . . D Hal Gibb, who played with the Prince George Cougars, said he “slashed Ty Rattie after he scored to complete his hat trick and he said, ‘Don’t touch me. I have more goals this period than you do in your career.’ That was a little hurtful but fair.”

A few others that showed up on Gregor’s timeline . . .

To an opponent wearing an Itech bubble mask: “Nice window . . . can I get fries with that?”

“You better pack a lunch but, ’cause I’ll be beating you for days.”

“Another kid used to call me Shrek every time we played. I scored to make it 7-0 us and skated to his bench and told him, “This is my swamp now.”

“I was filling in as PA Announcer in MedHat for the Tigers. Clarke MacArthur just returned from a Gold Medal performance with Canada at the World Jrs, and was getting chirped about punching a rookie. His answer was . . . ‘How was your Christmas? Did you like watching me on TV?’ ”

“GMAC VS NAIT in playoffs. There’s a big round guy chirping in the stands as we come off the ice. One of our dmen yells back, ‘Hey buddy gravy isn’t a beverage!!’ The crowd on both sides laughed. Priceless.”

“At a high school basketball game in Southern Alberta an elderly lady yelled, ‘Come on Ref! I’ve seen better eyes on a potato!’ ”

“I was chirping a guy who played on the Canadian World Junior Team. I kept using his name and he turned to me and said: ‘Why do you know my name but I don’t know yours?’ That hurt.”


Corona


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

An unidentified member of the junior B Kimberley Dynamiters organization has Dynamiterstested positive, resulting in the postponement of the team’s next two scheduled games. From a Kootenay International Junior League news release: “The individual in question has been placed in a 14-day quarantine and the Kimberley Dynamiters organization is following the direction of the Interior Health Authority relative to further testing and contact tracing, and adhering to all KIJHL Return to Play protocols.” . . . It wasn’t revealed whether this person is a player or staff member. . . . The Dynamiters were to have visited the Fernie Ghostriders on Friday and the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Sunday. . . .

The 10-team Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League has put its schedule on hold until further notice due to a possible exposure and as the province’s numbers continue to climb. There were 480 positives announced on Friday; Manitoba’s previous single-day record had been 193. . . . Kerry Lines, the MMJHL president, told Game On Magazine: “We are taking a cautious approach due to exposure to COVID-19. We will reassess the situation on Monday. Games will be re-scheduled.” . . .

The Manitoba Female Hockey League has postponed all games until further notice. . . .

The MJHL postponed Friday and Sunday games between the Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze. A scheduled Sunday assignment between the Steinbach Pistons and host Selkirk Steelers will be played tonight (Saturday). . . . After weekend games, it also will suspend games in its South East Division until further notice. The Blues, Pistons, Steelers and Freeze are in that division. . . .

The Manitoba AAA U18 Hockey League has postponed all games involving the Winnipeg Bruins, Winnipeg Thrashers and Winnipeg Wild through Nov. 15. . . .

Nineteen days after testing positive, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has tested negative so is able to return to play with Juventus. He tested positive while with the Portuguese national team, but has missed four Juventus games. Ronaldo is eligible to return Sunday against host Spezia in a Serie A game. . . .

The Hockey Hall of Fame won’t have a Class of 2021. However, the Class of 2020 will be inducted during the 2021 induction weekend (Nov. 12-15, 2021). The Class of 2020 comprises Ken Holland, Marian Hossa, Jerome Iginla, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre and Doug Willson. . . .

MLB has cancelled its owners’ meetings that had been scheduled for November and the winter meetings that were to have been held in December. Any sessions deemed necessary now will be held virtually.


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.


The Saskatoon Blades have added Tyler Dietrich as an assistant coach. He fills Saskatoonthe void created when Ryan Keller, an assistant coach there since 2016, decided to step back a bit for family reasons. Keller will stay involved as a skills and development coach. . . . Dietrich, 36, spent the past four seasons involved with Hockey Canada’s video coaching program. . . . In Saskatoon, Dietrich will work alongside head coach Mitch Love and associate coach Ryan Marsh. . . . Dietrich is a former WHL player (Moose Jaw, Medicine Hat, Everett, 2000-05). He and Love were teammates in Moose Jaw and Everett.


Orange

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while thinking it’s starting to get late early these days . . .

Scattershooting

Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle has become a go-to read for me.

Of all that has gone on in recent days, she writes:

“(Athletes in their 20s and early 30s) have the pressure of short careers and massive amounts of money — both for themselves and their employers — hanging in the balance. They have all eyes on them. They are under vicious attack by many. What they are doing is organic. And it is powerful.

“Underestimate them at your peril.”

She is correct. Yes, we have seen movements similar to this in the past, but this one feels different. It really does.

I believe it was LeBron James who started the push to get out the vote, even before the past week, but now this has picked up steam, backed by the NBA and its teams. We are going to see a lot of the the facilities in which these teams play turned into polling places for the U.S.’s Nov. 3 election.

With the NBA and its teams supporting all of this, it just might provide safe havens where citizens will feel safe to cast their ballot in a place that seems to be moving closer to becoming a third-world country/dictatorship every single day.

Not that it’s going to be easy.

As Kilion also writes:

“Of course, a lifetime in diverse sports does not always make one empathetic to the concerns of others, as witnessed by the words of former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher on social media, when he degraded the NBA’s actions.

“But the belittling and denouncing coming their way isn’t working. There’s too much at stake.

“ ‘These guys are so popular and secure in themselves, not only economically but as people, that they really don’t care what people are saying,’ Astros manager Dusty Baker said. ‘They are tired of what’s going on.’ “

Yes, this one feels different. It really does.


Parents


The Spokane Braves of the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey kijhlLeague posted this on Twitter on Sunday:

“After much consideration, we have elected to suspend operations for the 2020-21 season due to the uncertainty surrounding the US/Canada border. We want to thank our players, coaching staff, sponsors, billet families, volunteers, and the fans for their support. We look forward to returning to the ice for our 50th season in the KIJHL in 2021-21.”

Shortly after, the KIJHL requested that the post be removed and it disappeared.

The league is expected to announce this week that it has moved its proposed start from Oct. 2 to Nov. 13, and that a new schedule will call for each of its teams to play 30 regular-season games. Sources have told Taking Note that the 100 Mile House Wranglers also have opted out of a 2020-21 season, a move that combined with Spokane sitting out would leave the league with 18 teams. Williams Lake was to have played host to the 2020 Cyclone Taylor Cup, which decides B.C.’s junior B championship, but that went by the wayside when the KIJHL ended its season on March 13. . . . The Braves told their players last week that the franchise is stepping back for one season.


Let’s give columnist Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post the award for the best lede of 2020. With the Post having uncovered even more sleazy revelations involving the NFL’s Washington franchise and its owner, Jenkins started her column with: “This is what the NFL gets for not scraping Daniel Snyder off its shoe before now.”


“That 6½-foot asteroid hurtling our way has only a 0.41 per cent chance of striking Earth, astronomers say,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Or, to put it in terms a baseball fan can understand, there’s a 99.59 per cent chance that Angel Hernandez would call it a strike.”

——

Perry, again: “Owning a dog is a plus for men trying to get a date, according to Dr. Helen Fisher, a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute. And it’s double-bonus points if you just so happen to own the Knicks.”

——

Perry is on a roll: “The Brooklyn Nets are interested in hiring Gregg Popovich away from the Spurs as their next head coach, The Athletic reported. And in a related story, the Jets covet Bill Belichick and we’d like to win the Lotto.”


Argue


Bob Molinaro, in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot: “As I type this, the Red Sox have the American League’s worst record. They are irrelevant, in other words.  Somebody remind ESPN’s programming department.”


Beaver

COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

The Anchorage Daily News reports that the U of Alaska-Fairbanks hockey team is in quarantine after six players and an athlete from another school team tested positive following an off-campus party on Aug. 22. The paper reported that 21 other hockey players and head coach Erik Largen, along with six other athletes, will be quarantine until at least Sept. 5 after being exposed to those who tested positive. . . .

Another MLB game was postponed on Sunday after a member of the Oakland A’s organization tested positive. The A’s were to have played the host Houston Astros. Instead, the team ended up self-isolating in Houston. . . . Since this season started, five teams now have had positive tests within their organizations. . . . “It should be noted,” wrote Mike Axisa of cbssports.com, “this is the first time a team in the West region has had a positive COVID-19 test. MLB went with regional play this year to reduce exposure (i.e. East vs. East, Central vs. Central, West vs. West) and now all three regionals have experienced some level of outbreak. This is also the first positive test among American League teams.” . . .

French tennis player Benoît Paire withdrew from the U.S. Open after testing positive. Ranked 22nd in the world and seeded 17th in the tournament that is to open today (Monday), he was to have met Kamil Majchrzak of Poland on Tuesday. . . . While Paire self-isolates for at least 10 days, four other French players — Richard Gasquet, Grégoire Barrère, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Adrian Mannarino — were confined to their hotel rooms until further notice. . . .

Humourist Brad Dickson, via Twitter: “Some say I’m not nice to the non-maskers but that’s not true. I wish them nothing but the best and encourage them to stick with the night classes until they get their G.E.D.’s.”



In the NBA world, Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers is known as Playoff P. But as TNT analyst Charles Barkley explains: “You can’t be calling yourself Playoff P and lose all the time. . . . They don’t call me Championship Chuck.”


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.


Titanic


It doesn’t seem likely that the OHL will continue to investigate allegations of ohlhazing brought against it by F Eric Guest, 20, who played three seasons (2016-19) with the Kitchener Rangers. . . . You may recall that earlier this summer Guest posted a video on social media in which he detailed some alleged hazing incidents, one of which included the use of cocaine. . . . Having twice tried to contact Guest and not having received a response, David Branch, the OHL commissioner, said in a statement that “we have assumed that Mr. Guest is not prepared to meet and provide the assistance required for the OHL to conduct an investigation into his allegations.” . . . In June, the Rangers asked Waterloo Regional Police to conduct an investigation, but, according to Mark Pare of kitchenertoday.com, “Guest reportedly told police he didn’t wish to proceed with a criminal investigation into the matter.”


Randy Wong has signed on as general manager and head coach of the Medicine Hat Cubs of the junior B Heritage Hockey League. Wong, 53, is from Redcliff, Alta., which is a slapshot or two west of Medicine Hat. He played one game with the Medicine Hat Tigers (1983-84) and 32 with the New Westminster Bruins (1985-86). . . . He also worked as an assistant coach with the Tigers (1997-2001). . . . In 2018-19, he was the head coach as the U18 Medicine Hat Hounds won the provincial AA title. . . . Wong takes over from GM Dave Kowalchuk and coaches JD Gaetan and Steve Leipert. . . . Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News reports that the Cubs’ new board of directors has chosen to combine the positions “as a cost-cutting measure.”


JUST NOTES: Columnist Ed Willes’s 22-year run at the Vancouver Province ends today. Yes, Postmedia is shuffling another one out the door, which means neither Vancouver daily employs a sports columnist. There was a time in the newspaper business when that would have been seen as something of an embarrassment, especially with the Canucks in the hunt for the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. . . . His weekly Musings column always was worth a read, and the one he filed on Sunday night is right here. . . . If you’re looking for more good reading with your morning coffee, you can’t go wrong with Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts, the latest edition of which is right here. . . . Remember that item I referred to a week ago, the one I had ordered from walmart.ca but now, according to tracking, was in Jamaica, N.Y. Well, I checked on Friday evening and it was still in Jamaica. Except that it showed up in our mailbox on Thursday afternoon. So Trump’s tracking seems to be working about as well as Trump’s Postal Service.


Mask

OHL aiming for Dec. 1 start . . . 2021 Memorial Cup gets June 17 start . . . WHL update expected today

The OHL announced Wednesday that it is hoping to begin a 64-game regular schedule on ohlDec. 1. It would end on April 29, with 16 of its 20 teams moving into playoffs. . . . The OHL also revealed that the plan is for the 2021 Memorial Cup to be played from June 17-27 with either the Oshawa Generals or Soo Greyhounds the host team. . . . Here’s David Branch, the OHL commissioner, in a news release: “Players will remain at home until the season resumes and teams will work closely with them on both their academic studies and overseeing their on- and off-ice development. In addition, the league will liaise with our facilities to ensure that our venues are safe for our return to play.”

The WHL, which earlier said that it hoped to begin play on Oct. 2, is expected to announce today — governors chatted on Wednesday — that it has moved that date to early December. I am told that date could be Dec. 4 and that the WHL schedule is expected to include 68 games for each of the 22 teams. Teams will spend the first two months playing inside their own divisions. . . . Of course, among a whole lot of other things, like testing and tracing, the WHL still will have to solve the U.S.-Canada border conundrum and the fact that, at least in B.C., large gatherings aren’t likely to be allowed by health officials until at least the new year.

——

——

What follows are 2020-21 starting dates as proposed by various hockey leagues:

AHL: Dec. 4

AJHL: Sept. 18

BCHL: Dec. 1

ECHL: Dec. 4

KHL: Sept. 2

KIJHL: Oct. 2

MJHL: ??

NAHL: Oct. 9

NHL: Dec. 1

OHL: Dec. 1

Pacific Junior Hockey League: Sept. 29

QMJHL: Oct. 1

SJHL: Sept. 25

USHL: ??

Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League: Sept. 7 (48 games), Oct. 12 (40), Nov. 16 (40), Dec. 14 (32)

WHL: Oct. 2

(NOTE: These were compiled off the Internet and from news releases. Feel free to email greggdrinnan@gmail.com with additions or corrections.)


Pandemic


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

The ECHL was to have started its 2020-21 regular season on Oct. 16. It announced Wednesday that it now hopes to get started on Dec. 4, with teams playing a full 72-game schedule. . . .

The NBA announced Wednesday that it conducted 343 tests over the previous week with no positives. In the two weeks before that it conducted 344 and 346 tests without any positive tests. . . . The NBA has its teams in a bubble in Orlando, Fla., as it works toward finishing its season. . . .

The U of Connecticut has cancelled its 2020 football season, citing the coronavirus pandemic. UConn, which left the American Athletic Conference after last season (when it finished 2-10), was to play this season as an independent. . . . It is the first FBS school to cancel its season. . . . The Huskies’ roster includes two Canadian quarterbacks — Jack Zergiotis of Montreal and Jonathan Senecal of Quebec City. . . . Here’s David Benedict, the school’s athletic director, in a news release: ”After receiving guidance from state and public health officials and consulting with football student-athletes, we’ve decided that we will not compete on the gridiron this season. The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk.” . . .

——

——

The U of Louisville has suspended all activities involving its men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams after 29 players on the four teams tested positive. A number of other teammates and student-athletes from other sports are in quarantine after contact tracing. The primary source of the outbreak apparently was an off-campus party. . . .

——

——


Fiji


Enio Sacilotto has taken over as the head coach of the Vancouver Northwest Hawks U15 AAA team. . . . Sacilotto, 62, spent the past three seasons at the West Van Academy. . . . He has extensive coaching experience in Europe, including with the Croatian national team program. . . .  He also spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royals.


The Regina Pats announced on June 29 that Phil Andrews, their director of media and communications, was leaving the club effective July 31. On Wednesday, Andrews, who also has been the club’s play-by-play voice, tweeted that he will be hanging around for a while longer. . . . It seems that he will be with the Pats until the whole pandemic thing gets sorted out and there is more definition surrounding the start of a new season.


Old

Branch prepping to lobby Ontario gov’t . . . Reid, Brkin spark Chiefs . . . Franklin, Zary lead Blazers’ comeback


MacBeth

F Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, 2002-06) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one assist in six games with Traktor Chelyabinsk (Russia, KHL) 6 GP, 0+1, and 17 goals and 19 assists in 47 games with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). He led Kunlun Red Star in goals and points. . . .

F/D Curt Gogol (Kelowna, Saskatoon, Chilliwack, 2007-11) has been released by mutual agreement by Manglerud (Norway, GET-Ligaen). He had one goal in six games. Earlier this season, he had one assist in four games with Kalmar (Sweden, Division 1).


ThisThat

Rick Westhead of TSN reported Friday that David Branch, the OHL commissioner, “has registered as a provincial government lobbyist, a move signalling the league is renewing ohlefforts to argue its players should not be paid at least minimum wage.” . . . Branch doubles as the president of the CHL, the umbrella under which the OHL, WHL and QMJHL operate. . . . Westhead also reported that, according to Ontario’s lobbyist registry, Branch and Toronto-based lawyer Robert Bayne, who also registered as a lobbyist, “plan to meet with Ministry of Labour officials and other members of Queen’s Park to discuss the player wage issue.” . . . To date, seven provinces — B.C., Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan — have passed legislation that exempts major junior hockey teams from minimum wage legislation. Michigan and Washington State also have done so. . . . All of this is ongoing while a class-action lawsuit continues, asking that OHL and WHL players be paid a minimum wage. . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here.

The move by Branch to register as a lobbyist recalls a story written two years ago by Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun. It carried this headline: WHL being back-checked for whlpossibly violating lobby law. . . . Mulgrew wrote: “The Western Hockey League did not register as a lobbyist before leaning on B.C.’s cabinet to exempt major junior players form the minimum wage, the provincial watchdog says.” . . . Records showed that Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, began working the back-channels of the then-Liberal government in March 2015. “The direct lobbying effort worked — cabinet quietly passed an order-in-council on Feb. 15, 2016 granting the league the exemption,” Mulgrew wrote. . . . Erin Beatty, the communications director for the B.C. Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists, told Mulgrew at the time that the regulator now is “acting on the potential incident of non-compliance in this case.” . . . Robison told Mulgrew that the WHL didn’t spent a whole lot of time lobbying “and it was certainly not 100 hours. We were not required to register as a lobbyist.” . . . It’s not known what the outcome of the regulator’s investigation was, and it very well may have quietly disappeared when B.C. elected an NDP government. . . . Mulgrew’s piece from two years ago is right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders have returned D Nolan Allan, 15, to the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. From Davidson, Sask., he was the third-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was pointless in two games with the Raiders.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Wyatt Wylie scord 21 seconds into OT to give the Everett Silvertips a 2-1 victory over Everettthe Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Everett (9-5-0) is 3-2-0 on its East Division trek. . . . The Warriors (5-3-3) have lost two in a row. . . . F Tristin Langan (10) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 15:33 of the first period. . . . D Sahvan Khaira (3) pulled Everett even at 16:47 of the second period. . . . Wylie won it with his third goal of the season. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots for the winners. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. He’s eligible to return tonight as the Silvertips wrap up their eastern swing in Swift Current.


The Medicine Hat Tigers scored four times in the span of 5:59 of the second period en Tigers Logo Officialroute to a 8-5 victory over the host Regina Pats. . . . The Tigers (8-6-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Pats (3-10-0) have lost four straight. They now are 0-8-0 on home ice. . . . The Tigers got two goals and an assist from each of F James Hamblin, who has nine goals, and F Ryan Chyzowski, who has five. . . . F Duncan Pierce (3) gave Regina a 3-2 lead at 8:56 of the second period. . . . The Tigers scored the game’s next five goals, including one from F Logan Christensen (2), who was acquired Wednesday from the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Medicine Hat was 4-for-6 on the PP. . . . According to the online scoresheet, the Pats won 54 of the game’s 75 faceoffs. . . . F Cole Sillinger made his WHL debut for the Tigers. From Regina, he is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. Cole was the 11th-overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Regina Pats Canadians.


F Alex Morozoff scored in OT to give the host Red Deer Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Red DeerSaskatoon Blades. . . . The Rebels improved to 9-4-1. . . . The Blades (8-4-2) have lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . Morozoff won it with his second goal of the season, at 1:21 of extra time. . . . F Jeff de Wit (8) gave Red Deer a 3-1 lead at 11:01 of the second period. . . . The Blades tied it on third-period goals from D Brandon Schuldaus (2) and F Kirby Dach (8), the latter at 17:55. Schuldaus also had two assists. . . . F Brandon Hagel (12) had two goals for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels had a 48-26 edge in shots. . . . F Gary Haden, acquired Thursday by the Blades from the Medicine Hat Tigers, was pointless in his Saskatoon debut. . . . This was the third game between these teams this month, which each holding serve on home ice. They’ll complete the season series in Saskatoon on March 3. . . . Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ GM/head coach, was back behind the bench after missing two games while spending time with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks  on a road trip that included fathers. Sutter’s son, Brandon, plays for the Canucks.


F Zachary Cox broke a 6-6 tie at 13:26 of the third period as the visiting Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes beat the Calgary Hitmen, 7-6. . . . Lethbridge (7-4-3) has points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . Calgary (4-8-2) has lost two in a row. . . . The Hurricanes snapped a 2-2 tie with three goals in a span of 4:10 early in the second period. . . . The Hitmen tied it, 5-5, on F Mark Kastelic’s second goal of the game and 12th of the season at 6:29 of the third. . . . F Jadon Joseph (6) gave Lethbridge a 6-5 lead at 7:31, only to have Calgary F Kaden Elder (6) tie it at 10:29. . . . Cox won it with his third goal of the season. . . . D Igor Merezhko had three assists for the winners, with F Logan Barlage adding a goal, his seventh, and two assists. . . . Kastelic also had two assists for a four-point night, and Elder finished with two goals and an assist. . . . The Hitmen lost F Josh Prokop to a spearing major and game misconduct at 14:18 of the third period. . . .


The Edmonton Oil Kings built a 7-0 second-period lead and went on to a 7-2 victory over EdmontonOilKingsthe Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Oil Kings (7-7-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice slipped to 4-6-3. . . . Edmonton had beaten visiting Kootenay 6-3 on Sunday. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings took control on first-period goals from D Conner McDonald (4), F Scott Atkinson (4) and F Liam Keeler (2). . . . The visitors added four more in the second period and coasted from there. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 39 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . G Sebastian Cossa, who has yet to play this season due to an undisclosed injury, was on the bench backing up Myskiw. . . . The Ice had G Jesse Makaj back in the lineup after he was scratched for one game. He came on in relief of starter Duncan McGovern and stopped six of seven shots in 27:06.


D Nolan Reid had a goal and two assists to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 victory SpokaneChiefsover the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs (7-3-3) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Winterhawks (7-4-1) had won their previous two games. . . . Spokane G Bailey Brkin stopped 36 shots. . . . The Chiefs got out to a 3-0 lead, getting first-period goals from F Carter Chorney (4) and F Eli Zummack (6), shorthanded, and a second-period tally from F Adam Beckman (7), on a PP. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (9) got Portland’s goal 42 seconds into the third period. . . . Reid (2) iced it at 14:29. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan was pointless in his first game after being returned by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. . . . G Dante Giannuzzi made his first WHL start for Portland by stopping 18 shots.


F Zane Franklin scored three times as the Kamloops Blazers erased an early 2-0 deficit Kamloops1and went on to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-2, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Blazers (4-6-1) have won two in a row after a seven-game losing skid (0-6-1). . . . Kamloops hadn’t scored seven or more goals in a game since Feb. 21, 2017 when they beat the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-0. They last scored seven or more goals on the road on Dec. 17, 2016, in an 8-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Thunderbirds (6-3-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Seattle got off to a 2-0 lead on PP goals 50 seconds apart in the first period. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who scored his first two goals of the season, got Kamloops on the board at 11:47 of the first period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (3), playing his first game after serving a four-game suspension, tied it at 7:25 of the second. . . . Franklin then scored twice to give the Blazers a 4-2 lead heading to the third. He completed his second career hat trick with his 10th goal at 6:04 of the third. . . . Kamloops F Connor Zary had two goals, giving him four, and two assists, for his first career four-pointer. A sophomore, Zary went into the game with a goal and three assists in eight games. . . . The Blazers now head for Portland and a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader with the Winterhawks. Portland swept two games in Kamloops — 7-3 and 5-3 — on Oct. 3 and 5.


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