Scattershooting on a Monday night after surviving another Coquihalla round trip . . .

scattershooting

So . . . we took a few days away to spend time with our son, Todd, and his family in Coquitlam. While there, I saw the above tweet and sent it along to him. . . . It just happens that Todd, a journeyman printer, works with a few Filiponos. . . . “I talked to the older Filipino guy I work with about the bat,” Todd messaged me during our drive home on Monday, “and he told me stories about hunting them with his dad and grandpa. Using slingshots. Though he said they weren’t usually that big.” . . . And then he added: “Good bbq apparently.”


As you may be aware, the junior B Spokane Braves won’t ice a team in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League in 2022-23. Why not? Well, the owner, Bob Tobiason, isn’t vaccinated, nor is the head coach. And they apparently couldn’t get enough players to get vaccinated so that they could put together a team that would be allowed into Canada. . . . And, yes, there are fingers pointed at the Canadian government; never mind that the U.S. government has the same restriction in place. . . . Of course, as one source told Taking Note last week, “the elephant in the room” is “team fees” of somewhere around US$10,000. . . . No matter. Late last week, Cathy Tobiason, Bob’s wife, issued this statement . . .

Braves


ICYMI, head coach Dave Dickenson was MIA on Friday night when his Calgary COVIDStampeders went into Ottawa and scored a 17-3 victory over the Redblacks. Dickenson was in COVID-19 protocol, so special teams coach Mark Kilam, who is in his 18th season with the Stampeders, was the acting head coach. . . . Dickenson, who was cleared to return to practice later in the weekend, was in his usual place on the sidelines when the Stampeders dropped a 35-28 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers on July 30 but missed practices during the following week. . . . And then came word that Dusty Baker, the manager of the Houston Astros, had tested positive prior to a Friday night game. Baker is 73 so you can bet the Astros’ medical staff is keeping a close eye on him.


TurnSignal


A note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “The American Massage Therapy Association’s national convention is scheduled for Aug. 25-27 in Cleveland. Alas, the keynote speaker is Michael Phelps, not Deshaun Watson.”

——

Perry, again: “Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday’s Mariners-Yankees game in Seattle. In keeping with the theme, the catcher will be wearing an extra mask.”


Blinker


While I was away . . .

When the 2022-23 major junior season opens, Travis Crickard will be the head coach of the defending Memorial Cup champions. Crickard, 35, was named head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday, taking over from Gardiner MacDougall, who ran the bench during the Memorial Cup tournament, which the Sea Dogs won as the host team. . . . MacDougall, the head coach of the U of New Brunswick Reds, took over the Sea Dogs after they fired head coach Gordie Dwyer following a first-round playoff loss. After winning the Memorial Cup, MacDougall returned to the Reds. . . . Crickard, a former assistant coach with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets (2014-19), joined the Sea Dogs as an assistant coach in November. He also has worked with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s so now has a CHL coaching hat trick to his credit. . . . Crickard and the Sea Dogs are scheduled to open training camp on Aug. 15 — yes, Aug. 15 — and their first exhibition game is scheduled for Aug. 18. . . . There is a complete news release right here. . . .

The OHL’s Oshawa Generals signed Derek Laxdal, a former WHL player and coach, as head coach. Laxdal, 56, had been an assistant coach with the NHL’s Dallas Stars since the middle of the 2019-20 season when he was added to head coach Rick Bowness’ staff. He was the head coach the Texas Stars, Dallas’s AHL affiliate for five-plus seasons. . . . Laxdal was the head coach of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings for four seasons (2010-14), winning the 2012 and 2014 championships. He guided the Oil Kings to a Memorial Cup title in 2014. He played in the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks, Brandon Wheat Kings and New Westminster Bruins (1982-86). . . . In Oshawa, Laxdal takes over from Todd Miller, who was fired on March 12, with assistants Kurtis Foster and Mike Hedden finishing the season as interim co-head coaches. . . .

Jason Clarke has stepped down as general manager and head coach of the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He left to join the AHL’s San Diego Gulls as an assistant coach. . . . He had been the Titan’s head coach since Nov. 29 and the GM since June 7. . . .

The MJHL’s OCN Blizzard has hired Doug Johnson as head coach and assistant general manager. Johnson, 46, spent more than 11 seasons with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks before he was fired as GM and head coach on Dec. 4. . . . With the Blizzard, Johnson replaces Billy Keane, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the 2021-22 season. . . . Interestingly, it was in June when the Blizzard named Darren Naylor as its general manager and head coach. Naylor started last season as the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers but was placed on a BCHL-directed administrative leave in February for what the league said was an alleged breach of its code of conduct. In March, the BCHL revealed that Naylor was to stay on administrative leave through May 31 while an independent investigation was completed. The BCHL has yet to comment on the investigation. . . . Meanwhile, Greg Hunter is shown on the Blizzard’s website as the general manager and associate coach. . . .

The AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers have signed general manager and head coach Tyler Deis to a contract extension that runs through the 2027-28 season with options that could take him through 2029-30. . . . Good on the Oilers for revealing the length of the deal. . . . Deis, 48, started with the Oilers as assistant coach in 2013-14. He has been the head coach since June 6, 2016, and has a gaudy 209-79-18 (.712) regular-season record. . . . The Oilers also announced “the return of his support staff, including assistant and goaltending coach Derek Purfield, assistant coach and equipment manager Brody Hailwood, and assistant coach Reid Hnatowich, who return for their 10th, third and fifth seasons on the staff, respectively.” . . . There is a news release right here. . . .

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express signed Patrick Sexton as its new head coach. He has been an assistant coach with the Penticton Vees for the past three seasons. Sexton, 28, won two BCHL titles with the Vees — one as a player (2014-15) and one as an assistant coach (2021-22). . . . With the Express, Sexton replaces Brandon Shaw, now an assistant coach with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs. . . .

The WHL’s Calgary Hitmen released their home schedule with venues and they will play 28 of the 34 games at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The other six games are scheduled to be played at the 2,000-seat Seven Chiefs Sportsplex, which is on Tsuut’ina Nation, just to the southwest of Calgary. . . . The Hitmen played in the Sportsplex during the 2021 development season and will hold their training camp there next month. . . . The Saddledome will be a busy place as it also is the home arena for the NHL’s Flames and AHL’s Wranglers, along with the NLL’s Roughnecks. . . .

Rob Klinkhammer, a former WHL player, has retired from playing and joined the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, as an assistant coach. . . . He will be working alongside head coach Anders Sorensen and with fellow assistants Peter Aubry, Adam Gill and Jared Nightingale. . . . Klinkhammer, 35, played in Rockford for four seasons (2008-12). . . . He spent four seasons in the WHL, playing for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Seattle Thunderbirds, Portland Winter Hawks and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . He played the past six seasons in the KHL, including last season with the Dynamo Moskva. . . .

Dave Lowry, who has coached in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen, Victoria Royals and Brandon Wheat Kings, now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Lowry, 57, started last season as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets; he finished as the club’s interim head coach after head coach Paul Maurice stepped aside. . . . He also has been an NHL assistant coach with the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings. . . . In the WHL, he spent four seasons (2005-09) on Calgary’s staff, the last one as head coach; five seasons (2012-17) as Victoria’s head coach; and one (2019-20) as Brandon’s head coach.


animal


THINKING OUT LOUD: Former RHP Dennis Eckersley has spent 20 seasons providing analysis of Boston Red Sox games on NESN. Unfortunately, there won’t be a 21st season because he’s bowing out after this one. That’s really too bad, too, because Eck provides an entertaining listening experience. Yes, he pulls for the Red Sox, but his enthusiasm for the game overcomes that if you’re not a Boston fan. . . . If anyone can explain why the price of a litre of regular gasoline is as much as seven cents cheaper in areas of the Lower Mainland than it is in Kamloops, please feel free to let me know. . . . I happened upon a news release today that began: “Paid parking is being introduced to the ENMAX Centre starting Sept. 1 for both facility events and overflow Lethbridge College parking.” There will be an exemption for Lethbridge Hurricanes’ season-ticket holders, but others will have to fork over $5 per vehicle.” I immediately had flashbacks to 1985 when Regina Pats fans learned that they were going to have to pay $1 to park at what was then the Agridome. The fans protested by not showing up. That led to the Pinder family selling the franchise to a Swift Current group. But the WHL’s board of governors chose not to approve the deal. Eventually, four local businessmen — Morley Gusway, Bill Hicke, Ted Knight and Jack Nicolle — purchased the team. They would later try to sell it to the Ochapowace First Nations for $1.7 million, but the WHL board rejected that deal. The league then bought the team and later solid it to Calgary businessman Russ Parker. Yes, it was all because of a $1 parking fee. . . . ICYMI, the Atlanta Braves released veteran 2B Robinson Cano the other day. He also has been dumped by the New York Mets and San Diego Padres this season. But shed no tears for him, because he is still owed US$33.7 million by various teams.



Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a suggestion for Sportsperson of the Year: “Tiger Woods, for rejecting an offer from the LIV golf tour for at least $700 million. Likely he could have negotiated that offer up to a cool billion. Phil Mickelson got $200 million to sign. Woods hasn’t fully explained why he spurned Saudi blood money, although he did criticize the LIV golfers for abandoning the PGA Tour that made them rich and famous. Whatever his reasoning, Woods was the guy the Saudis desperately needed to legitimize their greed-a-palooza clown show. Instead, Tiger took one for the team, the human race.”


Selfies


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Brandon Wheat Kings have acquired F Calder Anderson, 20, from the Moose Jaw Warriors for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft. Anderson played just 15 games last season, scoring four goals and adding two assists. In 108 regular-season and playoff games with Moose Jaw, he has 13 goals and 16 assists. . . . I would love to tell you which 20-year-olds are on the Brandon and Moose Jaw rosters, but those rosters aren’t yet available on team websites. With training camps less than a month away, the WHL and its teams should be embarrassed about the lack of information. . . . D David Jiricek tested positive for COVID-19 so wasn’t able to join his Czechia teammates when they left for Edmonton and the WJC last week. But he has been cleared to play and now is in Edmonton. His WHL rights belong to the Spokane Chiefs.


Peanuts


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.


Beer

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while watching Dean and Frank do the Christmas thing . . .

Scattershooting2

I spent some time running errands on Sunday afternoon, which means I stayed in the Tucson while Dorothy went in and out of a few stores. Why did I stay in the Tucson? So that I could listen to the CFL’s West final. It was the last game of Hall of Famer Bob Irving’s superb play-by-play career and he went out — as one might expect — by having an excellent game. . . . While he now may be official retired, he does have to be on the air at some point during the Grey Cup game’s national broadcast, doesn’t he?


Elf


It was Sunday at 5:05 p.m. PT when Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted: Canucks“Hearing tonight that Bruce Boudreau will be the next coach of the Vancouver Canucks.” . . . And the social media feeding frenzy was on. It continued for the better part of five hours until the Vancouver Canucks issued a news release at 10:30, confirming what had already been leaked, that general manager Jim Benning, assistant GM John Weisbrod, head coach Travis Green and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner had been fired. . . . Stan Smyl now is the interim GM, with Ryan Johnson the interim assistant GM. Bruce Boudreau is the head coach, apparently signing on for the remainder of this season and 2022-23, with Scott Walker coming in as assistant coach. . . . If you think coaching is responsible for the Canucks’ woes, you really haven’t been paying attention. . . . BTW, Green is signed through next season. . . . Surely it is only a coincidence that the Canucks have been mostly dysfunctional since then-president Trevor Linden disappeared into the ether. . . . And here’s hoping the Canucks’ fans are prepared for another four- or five-year plan to be put into place because that’s where this is headed.


Denial


HEY, KID, SEAL THAT EDGE: Mike Vrabel, now the head coach of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, played for the New England Patriots and, according to former QB Matt Cassell, was on the phone while on the way home after a game in Kansas City. Cassell wrote at NBC.com that Vrabel was saying: “We’ve got to be better at the end of the line of scrimmage on the defensive side! . . . We’ve got to set the edge in the run game! The interior guys, look, we can set up some stunts!” . . . Cassell then pointed out that Vrabel “was talking to a fellow dad — about the Pee Wee team of 7- and 8-year-olds he was coaching.”


NYET, NYET: Bill Peters, once the head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, was fired on Tuesday by Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. He was in his second season with the KHL team. . . . Avtomobilist signed Peters in April 2020. He had been head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames until resigning on Nov. 29, 2019 after he was alleged to have used racial slurs and been physically abusive with players while in the Chicago Blackhawks’ organization. . . . Avtomobilist was 14-15-5 and holding down the Western Conference’s last playoff spot when Peters was replaced by Nikolai Zavarukhin. . . . Peters, now 56, spent three seasons (2005-08) as the Chiefs’ head coach.




VIEW FROM BEANTOWN: I was watching the Detroit Red Wings and the Bruins from Boston on Tuesday night and Jack Edwards, the TV voice of the Beantowners, kept referring to F Brad Marchand as having been suspended for an “alleged” slewfoot when he took down D Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Vancouver Canucks. And that’s when it dawned on me that Edwards really is “alleged” to be an NHL play-by-play guy. . . . Edwards wouldn’t even admit that there was a slew-foot after watching a replay, or maybe his Bruins toque had slid over his eyes.


Peanuts


HEADLINES: At AwfulAnnouncing.com — MLB insider Marcus Stroman breaks the news that he signed with the Cubs. . . . At fark.com: Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy tests positive for COVID-19, blames the officials.


PERRY TIME: “Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma to seek his fortune in California,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, who also supplied the above Headlines, “finding about $100 million when he got there. In other words, he fared a little better than Tom Joad.”

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One more from Perry: “Topps, Donruss and Score are scrambling to produce the first fake Antonio Brown trading card. Or is it Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson?”


HEY, UNCLE, HOW’S THAT? D Graydon Gotaas, who scored the Edmonton Oil Kings’ Teddy Bear goal on Saturday night, is the nephew of Steve Gotaas, who put up 314 points in 266 regular-season games with the Prince Albert Raiders (1983-87). Graydon, 17, scored his first Edmonton goal in his first game with the Oil Kings, who acquired him from the Raiders in October. He had been playing for his hometown Camrose Kodiaks of the AJHL.


Empty


NOTHING WRONG HERE: Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey unfiltered after Hockey Canada issued invitations to its national junior team’s selection camp:

“Connor Bedard is not a lock to make Canada’s World Junior team, but it would be a shock if he were not on the final roster. All Canada’s coaching staff has to do is go back and look at the tapes of both Bedard and Shane Wright in last summer’s World Under-18 championship and see what those two young men did with the maple leaf on their chests. Granted, there is a big difference between being 15 and playing against 17-year-olds and being 16 and playing against 19-year-olds, but still. People keep looking at the scoring totals put up by Bedard and Wright this season and continue to ask what is wrong. Nothing is wrong. These two young men are going to be just fine.”

——

In the same piece, Campbell also dropped this gem: “Patrick Roy claims the Montreal Canadiens have nothing to lose by making him the GM. That’s some sound reasoning right there.”


WHEELING AND DEALING: If you ever wondered what the best junior hockey Raidersplayer in the world might bring in a trade, well, we found out on Wednesday. That’s when the Prince Albert Raiders dealt D Kaiden Guhle, 19, to the Edmonton Oil Kings for F Carson Latimer, 18, D Eric Johnston, 17, and as many as four draft picks — a 2021 first that originated with the Kelowna Rockets, a 2023 first, a 2022 sixth and a conditional 2025 third. . . . The deal came just four days after Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jason Kerr of the Prince Albert Daily Herald that Guhle “might be, for his age, the best player in the world. He’s a special player.” . . . Do you think Habscheid really meant it, or was he just trying to drive up the price?


Waldo


NOT A POSITIVE TIME: The OHL postponed a Saturday night game that was to have had the Mississauga Steelheads visit Peterborough after a Petes player came up positive. “Our actions were to hopefully alleviate concerns,” David Branch, the OHL commissioner, told the Peterborough Examiner. “There was a positive test, the numbers we’re not disclosing and the names we’re  not disclosing, and we took the action. The player are being tested once again and we’ll see how it evolves.” . . . Earlier in the week, the OHL had to shutdown the Sudbury Wolves after 12 positive tests.


ICYMI: G Nolan Maier made his 177th regular-season appearance for the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday night in a 6-2 victory over the Ice in Winnipeg. That equalled the franchise record that he now shares with Braden Holtby (2005-09). . . .

Some shutouts are more special than others. Right, Jackson Unger? Unger, a 16-year-old from Calgary, posted his first WHL victory and shutout — he stopped 30 shots — on Friday night when the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Rebels, 4-0, in Red Deer. This one was extra special, though, because Unger blanked the Rebels in their Teddy Bear Toss game. . . . As for the Teddy Bears, the fans tossed them late in the game after the Warriors had scored their final goal into an empty net.


NO LOVE HERE: Olen Zellweger put up six points — a goal and five assists — Everettas the Everett Silvertips beat the visiting Tri-City Americans, 8-2, on Friday night. That set a club record for most points by a defenceman in one game, breaking the mark that had been held by fan-favourite Mitch Love, who had a goal and four assists in a 5-2 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon on Nov. 6, 2004. Interestingly, Love scored his goal on the PP and added three PP assists and one on a shorthanded EN goal. That was Love’s first WHL season — he finished with nine goals and 20 assists in 59 games. . . . Zellweger, 18, came out of his six-pointer with seven goals and 19 assists in 19 games. He went into this season with 25 points, including 21 assists, in 70 career games over three seasons. . . . No, he isn’t related to Renée.


THE COACHING GAME: The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks fired Doug Johnson, their general manager and head coach, on Saturday. Johnson, 45, who played three seasons (1993-96) with the Hawks, had been with Nipawin since March 2010. He is a three-time SJHL coach of the year and the franchise’s winningest head coach. Assistant coach Tad Kozun, a 28-year-old Nipawin native, has been named interim head coach. At the time of the firing, the Hawks were 10-12-5, and tied for third in the four-team Sherwood Division, six points out of second.


Donuts


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.

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

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


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.

 

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