Kelowna positives no surprise to IHA top doc: We knew this was most likely going to happen . . . AJHL has positives on three teams


If you’re keeping track, you will be aware that the virus had a pretty good day on Thursday.

One MLB Opening Day game was postponed due to positive tests, while the NHL, WHL and AJHL were forced into shutting down teams and/or shuffling schedules, or both.

You could even make a case for the virus having caused some national consternation in Canada where the QMJHL has chosen not to free up any of its players to play for the U18 team at the IIHF world tournament in Texas later this month.

But no to worry because, according to a tweet from Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate, Jason Kenney, Alberta’s premier, at a news conference Thursday was “continually saying we will be out of this in ‘a few weeks.’ ”

So there’s that ray of sunshine amid all the gloom. Right?

Oh, did I mention that the numbers in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan are indicative of huge victories for the virus? Yes, the three western provinces could best be described as disaster zones at the moment.


Hockey Canada named its 25-player roster and the coaching staff for the U18 team that will play in the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, from April 26 through May 6.

The Canadian roster includes nine players from WHL teams — G Thomas Milic (Seattle Thunderbirds), G CanadaTyler Brennan (Prince George Cougars), D Nolan Allan of the Prince Albert Raiders, D Olen Zellwegger (Everett Silvertips), F Logan Stankoven (Kamloops Blazers), F Conner Roulette (Seattle Thunderbirds), F Connor Bedard (Regina Pats), F Dylan Guenther (Edmonton Oil Kings) and D Carson Lambos (Winnipeg Ice). Lambos is out with a leg issue and there were reports that he won’t play again this season. So chances are that he won’t be available.

F Cole Sillinger, who played last season with the Medicine Hat Tigers and now is on loan to the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede, also is on the Canadian roster.

With those players having to self-isolate beginning on April 12, they aren’t long for the WHL teams that will have to continue without them in this developmental season. Bedard, for example, will play his final game with Regina on April 9, meaning he will miss the Pats’ last nine games.

While in self-isolation, players and staff will be subjected to three COVID-19 tests before the team heads for Texas on April 17. The team then will go into a four-day quarantine before starting a pre-tournament camp on April 21.

Canada will play Finland in an exhibition game on April 26, before opening the 10-team tournament against Sweden on April 26. Canada will be in Group A with Belarus, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland. Group B comprises Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Russia and the U.S.

Dave Barr is Canada’s head coach, with Gordie Dwyer and Mike Stothers, a former Moose Jaw Warriors head coach, as the assistants. Barr has extensive coaching experience, most recently as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks (2017-19). Dwyer was head coach of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes last season. Stothers spent five seasons (2015-20) as head coach of the AHL’s Ontario Reign.

The Hockey Canada news release is right here.


The WHL and its teams are playing games without any fans in the arenas and without any playoffs on the horizon, so obviously don’t have an issue with having players leave for the IIHF U18 tournament in Texas. The OHL hasn’t been able to get started, so it wasn’t an issue there either, and it has 13 players on the roster. There are two from the USHL, including Sillinger, and one from the AJHL.

No, there aren’t any players on the Canadian roster from the QMJHL. It is trying to finish a regular season that is nearing its completion and has a plan to hold playoffs, so apparently didn’t want to give up any of its players for an international competition just now.


If you stop off here regularly, or even on occasion, and if you like what you see here, or even if you don’t, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and help out the Taking Note coffee fund. Thank you in advance. . . . If you are one of the followers who gets my work via email, you are able to donate by going to greggdrinnan.com.


The Kamloops Blazers were to have travelled to Kelowna to play the Victoria Royals on Thursday night. However, with the Kelowna Rockets having experienced seven positive tests, four of them to players, the WHL2WHL chose to postpone the game “out of an abundance of caution.”

Instead, the Blazers stayed home and met the Prince George Cougars in a game that originally was scheduled to be played on Sunday.

Despite the positives in Kelowna, Dr. Albert de Villiers, the Interior Health Authority’s chief medical officer, said there aren’t any plans to shut down the WHL’s B.C. Division, which is playing games in Kamloops and Kelowna.

Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ long-time play-by-play voice, tweeted Thursday that de Villiers said: “We were anticipating there might be a few cases because it’s young people and they live in the community and they isolated as best they can.

“We knew this was most likely going to happen and (the WHL) do have things in place to make it safe.”

The Rockets are staying with billets, while the Royals are in a Kelowna hotel. In Kamloops, the Blazers are staying with billets, with the Cougars and Vancouver Giants in a hotel.


Walmart


The Swift Current Broncos scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 8-5, in ScurrentRegina on Thursday. . . . F Brad Ginnell (1) gave the Warriors a 5-4 lead on a PP at 18:40 of the second period. . . . The Broncos tied it on D Owen Pickering’s first WHL goal at 19:40, then took the lead at 3:14 of the third on D Mathew Ward’s second goal of the season. . . . F Aiden Bulych (4) and F Michael Farren (7) added insurance. . . . Farren and Bulych also had two assists each. . . . Broncos D Kaleb Bulych, Aiden’s older brother, scored his first goal — Aiden drew the lone assist — and was plus-5. . . . The Broncos (3-7-1) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Warriors (4-6-1) have lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored four times in the first period, two of them by F Lynden McCallum (9), en Brandonroute to a 7-2 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings (8-2-1) have won five in a row. . . . The Pats (4-5-2) had won their previous two games. . . . Brandon D Braden Schneider (3) gave his guys a 2-0 lead with a shorthanded goal in the first period. Brandon, in 11 games, and the Portland Winterhawks, in six games, lead the WHL with four SH goals apiece. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 11 games — his WHL career is 11 games old — with an assist on F Carson Denomie’s 10th goal. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers struck four times in the second period and went on to dump the Prince George KamloopsCougars, 6-1. . . . The game had been scheduled for Sunday, but was moved up because of the virus-related difficulties in Kelowna. The Blazers had been scheduled to play the Victoria Royals in Kelowna last night. . . . Kamloops now is 3-0-0; the Cougars are 1-2-0. . . . D Mats Lindgren (1) gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 7:38 of the first period, with D Jack Sander (1) equalizing at 17:14. . . . F Matthew Seminoff broke the tie 45 seconds into the second period and it was all Kamloops after that. . . . Seminoff added a second goal, his fourth, and F Caedan Bankier added a goal and two helpers for the winners. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 25 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers were without F Logan Stankoven with an undisclosed injury, while F Dylan Sydor, 17, made his WHL debut and picked up an assist. He is the son of Darryl Sydor, a former Blazers and NHL defenceman who owns a piece of the Blazers.


F Adam Gaudette of the Vancouver Canucks tested positive on Tuesday and a Wednesday night game against the visiting Calgary Flames was postponed 90 minutes before the puck was to be dropped because of another positive and a coach going into COVID-19 protocol. . . . On Thursday, Vancouver D Travis Hamonic, who opted out of the last NHL season for family reasons, was added to the protocol list and the NHL postponed the team’s next three games — on Saturday in Edmonton against the Oilers and in Winnipeg against the Jets on Sunday and Tuesday. . . . The Canucks next are scheduled to play on April 8 in Calgary. . . . Patrick Johnston of Postmedia spoke with Gaudette’s wife, Micaela, and has a rather interesting story right here.


The AJHL has three teams from the same cohort each with at least one positive test. . . . The Drayton Valley ajhlThunder, Grande Prairie Storm and Whitecourt Wolverines were playing on one cohort. Earlier Thursday, the league announced that the Thunder had a positive test. Later in the day, the league revealed that “positive COVID19 results” also have been identified with the Storm and Wolverines. . . . All three organizations have been shut down for at least 14 days. That includes the cancellation of games involving those teams through Sunday, which is when the schedule involving the three-team cohort is to end. . . .

At the same time, the AJHL has cancelled two weekend games involving the Okotoks Oilers “to allow for the analysis of a COVID-19 test” as per its return-to-play protocol. The Oilers were to have played the visiting Calgary Canucks tonight (Friday) and the host Brooks Bandits on Sunday.


Chips


The Washington Nationals were to have played host to the New York Mets in one of Opening Day’s most-anticipated games — the starters were Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom — but it didn’t happen “because of contact tracing within the Nationals organization.” . . . MLB decided that out of an abundance of caution the teams won’t play a makeup game on Friday. . . . At the time of the announcement, the Nationals had one player having tested positive and four others quarantined as close contacts. Later, GM Mike Rizzo said that two other players had were positive and another was “likely positive.” . . . Rizzo also said that he has no idea when the Nationals might play their first game.

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The San Francisco Giants will be allowed to have about 8,900 fans for games in Oracle Park, at least to start the MLB season. In order to attend, a fan is going to have to have had a negative test or proof of vaccination. Their home opener is scheduled for April 9. . . . Larry Baer, the Giants’ CEO, told the San Francisco Chronicle: “This is all about April right now. We understand the inconveniences here, but we’ve also heard from our fans that they want to the safest experience possible.” . . . In the meantime, the Oakland A’s, who like the Giants play in California, had 10,436 fans at their home opener last night. The A’s don’t have any requirements attached to attendance. . . .

And this brings us to the Texas Rangers, who could have as many as 43,000 fans in the stands on Monday when they play their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. That, U.S. President Joe Biden told ESPN, is “not responsible.” . . . He added: “I think it’s a mistake. They should listen to Dr. Fauci and the scientists and the experts. But I think it’s not responsible.”


——

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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Computers

Swift Current, Everett make deal . . . Broncos, Raiders sign imports . . . Ex-Tigers forward now coaching

MacBeth

F Marek Viedenský (Prince George, Saskatoon, 2008-11) signed a one-year contract with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had 11 goals and 10 assists in 42 games with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). . . .

F David Rutherford (Vancouver, Spokane, 2004-08) signed a one-year contract extension with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). Last season, he had 17 goals and 23 assists in 31 games. . . .

F Jamie Crooks (Saskatoon, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). Last season, he had 16 goals and nine assists in 28 games with the University of Alberta (Canada West, USports).


ThisThat

If you are here looking for coverage of the Summer Showcase, I’m sorry but . . .

It’s July, and soon to be August. The temperature in B.C.’s Interior is sizzling . . .

Teenage hockey players should be waterskiing, fishing, golfing, playing beach volleyball . . . anything but playing hockey, especially with their junior teams about three weeks away from opening training camps . . .

I’m retired and there is no way that I am going to spend part of my summer in an arena watching hockey. Not when I don’t have to . . . not a chance.

So if you’re looking for Summer Showcase coverage, I’m sorry, but you’re in the wrong neighbourhood.


The Swift Current Broncos have acquired F Ethan O’Rourke, 19, and a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft from the Everett Silvertips in exchange for D Sahvan Khaira, 20. . . . O’Rourke split last season between the Prince George Cougars and Everett, totalling six goals and 12 assists in 66 games. He was a third-round pick by the Cougars in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . The 6-foot-4 Khaira has played four WHL seasons after being selected by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the ninth round of the 2013 bantam draft. In 77 games with Seattle over two seasons, he had one goal and six assists. . . . In 168 regular-season games with the Broncos, he totalled eight goals and 42 assists. . . . Last season, he had career bests in goals (6), assists (20) and points. He added two goals and five assists in 26 games as the Broncos won the WHL title. . . . Khaira’s older brother, Jujhar, played one season (2013-14) with Everett and now is with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Sahvan has attended NHL camps with the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton. . . . The Broncos’ then-braintrust emptied the cupboard last season in building the championship team, so the acquisition of draft picks is important these days.

The Silvertips now have two 20-year-olds on their roster — Khaira and F Sean Richards. . . . F Spencer Gerth, 20, also had been on Everett’s roster but has chosen to leave the WHL and attend Trinity Western U in his hometown of Langley, B.C., and play for the Spartans. . . .

The Broncos still have six 20-year-olds on their roster — F Kaden Elder, F Andrew Fyten, F Kole Gable, Russian D Artyom Minulin, F Tanner Nagel and D Ryan Pouliot, who was claimed on waivers from the Kootenay Ice last week.

Meanwhile, the Broncos also announced that they have signed D Roope Pynnonen, who is from Finland and was one of their two selections in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. . . . Pynnonen, 17, had two assists in 16 games with HPK’s U-18 team last season. . . . Last week, the Broncos signed their other 2018 import draft selection, Finnish F Joona Kiviniemi. . . . Swift Current also has Minulin on its roster. Minulin, 20, would count as a two-spotter should he return.


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed Belarusian F Alexei Protas, their only selection in PrinceAlbertthe CHL’s 2018 import draft. Protas, 17, and the Raiders other import, D Sergei Sapego, are from Vitebsk, Belarus. . . . Last season, Protas had nine goals and 11 assists in 48 games with the U-17 Team Belarus. . . . Sapego, who will turn 19 on Oct. 9, will be returning for a second WHL season, after being acquired from the Tri-City Americans early last season. He had two assists in three games with the Americans, then put up four goals and 13 assists in 41 games with the Raiders. Injuries limited his playing time with the Raiders, who obviously are hoping he is in for a healthy season. . . . Trevor Redden of paNOW.com has more right here.


As you can see by the above tweet, Zenon Herasymiuk now is working for the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . He had been with the Kootenay Ice, but they split in May.


Matt Summers is the new head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. Summers, who is from Savage, Minn., played three seasons (2003-06) with the Blizzard. He spent last season in Bay City, Mich., as head coach of the Tri City Ice Hawks, who play in the Premier Division of the U.S. Premier Hockey League. . . . With the Blizzard, Summers takes over from Doug Hedley, who left after last season and now is the GM/head coach of the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings.


Darren Reid has joined the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder as an assistant coach. Reid, 35, played two-plus seasons (2001-04) with the Medicine Hat Tigers before going on to a pro career that included 21 games in the NHL and 259 in the AHL. . . . Before joining the Tigers, he played three seasons with the Thunder, helping them to the 2002 AJHL championship. . . . In Drayton Valley, he will work alongside GM/head coach Eric Thurston.


Tweetoftheday

Giants soon to add assistant coach? . . . Blades’ announcement today . . . Hockey world mourns death of long-time scout


ThisThat

Steve Ewen of Postmedia is reporting that that much-speculated about signing of Jamie Heward is soon to happen. . . . “The Vancouver Giants,” Ewen writes,“will announce the hiring of former NHL defenceman Jamie Heward as their assistant coach in the coming days, according to sources.” . . . Heward, a former WHL and NHL defenceman, is a native of Regina. He has been the director of player development and an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos for six seasons. . . . Ewen’s story is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades are expected to announce today (Monday) that they have added Brian Leavold to their scouting staff. Leavold, who lives in Port Coquitlam, B.C., had been a B.C. scout with the Swift Current Broncos. With the Broncos going through numerous front-office changes, Leavold and other scouts chose to leave the organization. . . . In Saskatoon, Leavold will be working with Dan Tencer, the Blades’ director of scouting.



The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder is looking for an assistant coach following the resignation of Derek Wiest. Instead of working on the coaching staff, Wiest will be the Thunder’s head scout for southern Alberta. The switch is effective Aug. 1. . . . In making the change, Wiest cited family and work considerations. He and his wife are expecting their third child, and he recently landed a full-time job close to home. . . . Eric Thurston is the Thunder’s general manager and head coach, and said the search for a replacement has started.


Tweetoftheday

Charges stayed with death of agent . . . Three WHL players suspended . . . AJHL’s Thunder signs GM/head coach

MacBeth

F Jaedon Descheneau (Kootenay, 2011-16) has been assigned on loan by Thurgau (Switzerland, NL B) to Davos (Switzerland, NL A) for the rest of this season. In 41 games, he had 18 goals and 32 assists for Thurgau, leading the team in assists and points. He was fifth in league scoring. . . . Thurgau lost Game 6 of the NL B quarterfinals 4-1 at home to Olten on Sunday. Descheneau led his team in scoring with nine points, including four goals. . . . Meanwhile, Davos leads a best-of-seven NL A quarterfinal series against Biel-Bienne, 1-0. Game 2 is today (Tuesday) in Davos.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Stacey McAlpine, a former player agent who was charged of defrauding former NHL players Dany Heatley and Chris Phillips, died on March 5 in Winnipeg. As a result, the charge have been stayed. . . . A death notice in Saturday’s Winnipeg Free Press stated that McAlpine, 54, had “passed away peacefully in his sleep, at home.” . . . Kevin Rollason of the Free Press has more right here.


D Ondrej Vala of the Everett Silvertips has drawn a two-game suspension after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on F Zack Andrusiak of the host whlSeattle Thunderbirds on Saturday night. Vala sat out Everett’s 2-0 loss in Portland on Sunday, and he will miss tonight’s game in Kennewick, Wash., against the Sri-City Americans. . . .

F Tanner Nagel of the Swift Current Broncos will begin to serve a TBD suspension by missing Wednesday’s game against the visiting Saskatoon Blades. Nagel was suspended under supplementary discipline for something that occurred during Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . .

As of Monday night, the WHL hadn’t set the length of the suspension to Moose Jaw F Barrett Sheen after he took a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on Swift Current F Tyler Steenbergen on Saturday. . . . Sheen missed Sunday’s 5-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, and he isn’t likely to play tonight against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . This is Sheen’s third suspension this season. He sat out five games after taking a headshot major and game misconduct in Medicine Hat on Jan. 27, then drew a two-game sentence for, according to the WHL website, “actions at conclusion of game at Regina on Feb. 18.”


TheCoachingGame

Eric Thurston is the new general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. . . . Thurston, 54, spent 1994-2011 on staff with the U of Alberta Golden Bears, the last four as head coach. He also has coached in the Hungarian National Ice Hockey Federation’s programs. This season, Thurston was coaching at OHA Edmonton. . . . As a player, Thurston played 206 games with the WHL’s Victoria Cougars (1981-84), then spent one season with the Golden Bears, before spending five seasons in Europe. . . . The Thunder didn’t make the playoffs this season, finishing 17-40-3. . . . Last week, general manager Joey Bouchard, head coach Ryan Rechner, Jason Nicholetts, the director of player development, and head scout Travis Gibson all resigned.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

MONDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Brandon 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.

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


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Prince Albert at Regina, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Seattle at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Victoria at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Kootenay, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

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

Everett at Victoria 7:05 p.m.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.

Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m

END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY