Kaminski: Let’s shut it down and let’s do this right . . . SJHL coaches vent frustrations . . . BCIHL cancels season

During Kevin Kaminski’s playing career, his nickname was ‘Killer’ and he didn’t take any prisoners. Yes, he was tough and he played hard.

These days, Kaminski is the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La larongeRonge Ice Wolves and he hasn’t changed — he still shoots from the hip, and good for him.

With the SJHL about to shut down until after Christmas because of restrictions being implemented by the Saskatchewan government and health officials, Kaminski didn’t tiptoe around the issue.

“I don’t understand how casinos and bingos, and everything else can stay open,” Kaminski told MBC Radio’s Braden Malsbury, who does the play-by-play of Ice Wolves’ games. “If you’re going to shut it down, let’s shut it down and let’s do this right. Let’s just don’t put a Band-Aid on for two weeks and then it’s going to come back again after we get a little break from it.

“I don’t understand — it would be probably pretty easy to be a health official and just make up your own rules as you go along.”

Kaminski has hit the nail squarely on the head. By not shutting things down at the first sign of trouble a couple of months ago, we find ourselves where we are today. And the way these things have been handled since March, you can almost bet that we will get to a stage where restrictions will be loosened . . . and we will end up going through all of this again.

As Kaminski said, “If you’re going to shut it down, let’s shut it down . . .”

Kaminski has every right to be disappointed, too. His Ice Wolves are playing well, having won four straight after a season-opening setback.

“I’m very disappointed, saddened for the players,” Kaminski told Malsbury.

Malsbury’s story is right here.

Doug Johnson, the general manager and head coach of the Nipawin Hawks, also is sounding frustrated.

“In March, we didn’t know . . . everything was uncertain,” Johnson told Aaron NipawinSchulze of northeastNOW, referring to the 2019-20 season’s premature end. “Right now, with all the restrictions in place and protocols we followed, we were told we did nothing wrong. There’s not one case from hockey transmission within the SJHL. We have our guys following all the protocols, basically putting their social life on hold, just to get through this and make it work, and we get shut down even when we’ve done everything right. Yet, other things are able to stay open.

“It’s a double standard, 100 per cent. It has nothing to do with us not taking COVID-19 serious. We have 27 guys for three months and there’s not been one case within our locker room. Within the league, 12 teams, there’s been one case. We’ve done things right and proven it can work, but we’re getting throttled right now.

“Government makes money off their bars and casinos, the liquor and gambling. They’re not making a ton of money off the SJHL or hockey. Yet, our communities . . . the Nipawin Hawks bring in roughly $1.5 to $1.8 million into Nipawin and that’s on hold right now. The mental health of our young people . . . the outing, just a little sense of normalcy for our fans . . . the pride that the players’ parents can have watching their kids play and do what they love. We’re not lumped in the same.”

Schulze’s story is right here.

EstevanMeanwhile, Jason Tatarnic, the general manager and head coach of the Estevan Bruins, was on The Rod Pedersen Show on Thursday, and he was pretty much echoing Johnson, wondering why junior hockey gets shut down while people are still allowed to go to casinos and stores.

“”It’s definitely disappointed and very sad for our players,” Tatarnic told Pedersen. “It’s heartbreaking for them.”

Tatarnic also touched on the financial side of things, saying that these teams have a “big economic impact on all the communities. Our operating budget for each team between is between $500,000 to $1 million, probably more so in the middle of that for each team. . . . tremendous economic impact on our communities.”

As for the Bruins, Tatarnic said the organization is “probably projected to lose anywhere betwen $300,000 and $400,000 this (season) already. That’s a huge loss for anybody . . . you look at our organization . . . that’s tremendous. We have six full-time staff. You look at 12 teams . . . that’s a big impact.”

You can watch the Tatarnic interview right here.


With Canada’s national junior team dealing with three positive tests at its selection camp in Red Deer, the question has to be asked: Is the 2021 World Junior Championship at risk? . . . Ilan Schwartz, an associate professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alberta, has told Donna Spencer of The Canadian Press that he isn’t sure bring 10 teams into an Edmonton bubble at this point in time is such a good idea. . . . “The NHL showed that it can be done, but the stops that were pulled out in order to create and maintain a bubble for the NHL playoffs were enormous,” Schwartz said. “It’s not safe for the players to be coming into a place where there’s a surge in infections. While the players themselves are going to be young and healthy and low risk of serious complications from the virus, they are still very much able to transmit it to those people around them.” . . . The tournament is scheduled to open on Dec. 25 and run through Jan. 5. . . . Infections rates now are 10 times higher in Alberta than when the NHL was concluding its playoff run in Edmonton. . . . Spencer’s story is right here.

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What’s happening with Canada’s national junior team as the players at the selection camp in Red Deer are early in 14-day quarantine sessions? Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News takes a look at the situation right here.


The five-team B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League has cancelled its 2020-21 BCIHLseason. Earlier, the league had said that it hoped to begin on Jan. 15. . . . From a news release: “League organizers worked closely with BC Hockey and member schools in pursuing a shortened season, but with recent restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCIHL made the decision to cancel official competition until the start of the 2021-22 season.” . . . Chris Munshaw, the BCIHL president, said: “It’s not a decision we took lightly. Many of our coaches, staff, and volunteers have been with the league since it began in 2005. More importantly, this has a big impact on the lives of our student-athletes.” . . . Also from the release: “The BCIHL’s decision does not prevent member teams from pursuing exhibition games or tournaments within the guidelines allowed by their institutions, facilities and the provincial government.” . . . The last paragraph of the release indicated that the BCIHL is continuing to prepare for a “full” 2021-22 season, “including the pursuit of league expansion.”

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COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: 383 new COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in Manitoba, virtually unchanged from the previous 7-day average of 386. The province is also reporting 10 additional deaths.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 299 new COVID-19 cases, which is significantly more than the province’s previous 7-day average of 209. 3 deaths are also being attributed to the virus. . . . Saskatchewan jail reports 72 new COVID-19 cases, including 68 offenders and 4 staff. There are now 85 active cases at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, which normally houses about 450 inmates. Authorities say any new admissions to the facility will be redirected.

650 CKOM Saskatoon: ICU capacity is at nearly 100 per cent in Saskatchewan, with just three available beds in Saskatoon as of today.

Jason Herring, Postmedia, Alberta: 1,077 new cases (total now 51,878); 10 new deaths (total now 510); 383 currently in hospital, 84 in ICU (yesterday: 355 in hospital, 71 in ICU); 14,052 active cases (up from 13,719 yesterday); 15,644 tests conducted (~6.9% positive); since yesterday, hospitalizations rose by eight per cent in Alberta, and ICU admissions rose by 18 per cent.

Troy Gillard, rdnewNOW: Red Deer now with 158 active cases of COVID-19.

Christopher Foulds, Kamloops This Week: COVID-19 claims another 13 lives as province announces 887 new cases, including 65 in Interior; outbreak at The Hamlets long-term care home in Kamloops declared over.

James Peters, CFJC-TV Kamloops: Interior Health says there are 374 active cases of COVID-19 in the region, with nine people in hospital including two in intensive care.

Castanet Kamloops: Assault at Dawson Creek Walmart over wearing face mask.

INFOnews Kamloops: Walmart employee in Dawson Creek assaulted by man who refused to wear mask.

INFOnews Kamloops: Police identify woman alleged to have spit on Penticton liquor store employee in mask-wearing dispute.

CBC News: Ontario reports 21 additional COVID-19 deaths and 1,478 new cases. That’s higher than the previous 7-day average of 1,389. Of the new cases, 572 are in Peel Region, 356 are in Toronto and 111 are in York Region.

CBC Quebec: Quebec is reporting 32 additional COVID-19 deaths and has diagnosed 1,464 new cases. That appears to be the largest daily number of new reported cases since May 3, and a significant jump from the province’s previous 7-day average of 1,171.

CBC News: 12 new COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick. That’s higher than the average of 9 for the previous 7 days.

Alexander Quon, Global Halifax: Premier Blaine Higgs say that as off midnight anyone entering New Brunswick from another province, including Atlantic Canada, must now self isolate for 14 days. The Atlantic bubble is officially over.

CNN: 263,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus. . . . 12.8 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

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The NFL has a problem. With the Baltimore Ravens in the middle of an outbreak, the NFL moved their game with the host Pittsburgh Steelers from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon. On Thursday, it seems that the Ravens had four more players, including QB Lamar Jackson, and one staffer test positive. The Ravens have shut down their facility until at least Monday, so you have to think Sunday’s game won’t happen. . . . The Ravens really are up against it, too, because they are scheduled to face the Cowboys in Dallas in next week’s Thursday game. . . . Meanwhile, WR Larry Fitzgerald of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals tested positive and won’t play Sunday against the host New England Patriots. . . . The Cleveland Browns closed their facility on Thursday after getting their fifth positive in less than two weeks.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

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kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, it seems that the Swift Current SCBroncosBroncos and Golden West Radio learned that they couldn’t live without each other. . . . The Broncos and Golden West have announced a deal that will put the play-by-play of the “majority” of the team’s games in the approaching season on the Eagle 94.1. . . . Craig Beauchemin will handle the play-by-play. . . . The parties weren’t able to reach an agreement prior to the 2019-20 season so the Broncos took their broadcasts online. . . . The WHL is hoping to start its next season on Jan. 8.

Scattershooting . . . Drawing goes viral . . . Big League for Broncos . . . Vandekamp back in coaching game

Scattershooting

A drawing showing players from the Humboldt Broncos asking Jonathan Pitre to join them in a game of shinny has exploded on social media. If you haven’t seen it, it’s in the tweet below. . . . It is the work of Kerry MacGregor, whose father, Roy, writes for The Globe and Mail and whose essay on the Broncos’ tragedy was linked to here on Monday. . . . The father and daughter have been in the news this year because of the release of their children’s book The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink.


Logan Boulet, a defenceman who didn’t survive the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus on Friday, registered as an organ donor as he turned 21 on March 2. That story became most popular on social media when the information was made public by his family. But who was Logan Boulet? Dylan Purcell has the answer right here as he visits with folks who knew Boulet in his hometown of Lethbridge.



There are wordsmiths and there are wordsmiths . . . and then there is Charles P. Pierce. On Tuesday, SI.com posted a Pierce essay that is well worth your time. Yes, it’s about hockey and Humboldt and billet families and a whole lot more, and it’s all right here.


On that subject, here is Doug Johnson, the general manager and head coach of the Nipawin Hawks, talking to Postmedia’s Nick Faris:

“The people (who) are no longer with us were on that bus to play. They were on that bus to chase a dream and make it to the Canalta Cup final. If we don’t play, we do them a huge disservice. To me, the only way to truly honour Humboldt is to play.

“I think it’ll help our players with the grieving process. Will it be tough? Absolutely. Will sometimes it not make sense? Absolutely. But talking with people (who) have been through tragedies, to a person, they just say, ‘Get back and honour them through play. That’s what they would want.”

That conference call is scheduled for today (Wednesday).



Tom Cochrane, who really should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, paid a visit to TSN on Tuesday evening. Cochrane, the pride of Lynn Lake, Man., took the time to treat viewers to a special version of his hit song Big League.


Thank you so much to all who commented on the story I posted here earlier on Tuesday. I am thrilled that so many people read it, and were able to get something positive out of it.

I awoke Tuesday at 3 a.m., after having been asleep for about two hours. I was wide awake, but couldn’t figure out why. As I poked and prodded the depths of my mind, it came to me. Anyone who has written will understand when I suggest that I didn’t get much sleep for the rest of the night.

Again, thank you so much for the reaction. I would respond individually but this, I think, is better than cluttering up timelines.


And now for a couple of BCHL-related items . . .

Mike Vandekamp is back in the coaching game as the general manager and head coach Cowichanof the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals.

Vandekamp was in his seventh season as the Nanaimo Clippers’ GM/head coach when he was fired by new owner Wes Mussio on Dec. 22. Mussio cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the move.

With the Capitals, Vandekamp takes over from Brian Passmore, who will stay on in the area of hockey development, working, according to a news release, with the team’s U-16 program and other youth hockey initiatives.

This season, the Capitals finished 10-41-5, with two ties, and didn’t make the playoffs.

Meanwhile, in Trail, the Smoke Eaters, who are owned by Minnesota businessman Rich Murphy, have fired Cam Keith, their general manager and head coach, after a season in Trailwhich they went 32-21-4, with one tie, and reached the league’s final four for the first time since 2003.

In the second round of the playoffs, the Smokies won a seven-game series from the Penticton Vees, who had finished 17 points ahead of them in the Interior Division. Trail then lost the conference final in five games to the Wenatchee Wild.

Keith’s departure was announced via a one-paragraph, two-sentence, 46-word news release.

Jim Bailey of the Trail Times reported that Keith, who is from Nelson, “was conspicuously absent at the City of Trail ceremony that honoured the team Monday afternoon, and it was revealed later in a press release that Keith had been relieved of his duties that morning.”

Keith completed two seasons in Trail. In 2016-17, they finished 26-26-5, with one tie, good for third in the division.