WHL and Ice: Is there fire where there’s smoke? . . . KIJHL suspends coach indefinitely after line brawl . . . Blazers get goaltender from Pats

It was on Jan. 29, 2019, when some members of the Winnipeg media gathered in Oak Bluff, Man., for a news conference involving the WHL and the Winnipeg Ice. WHLThis followed the decision by the WHL’s board of governors to approve the sale of the Kootenay Ice and the subsequent move to the Manitoba capital.

Officials at the news conference included Ron Robison, the WHL’s commissioner, and Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell.

“A new 4,500-seat rink will be built, likely near Oak Bluff,” reported Sean Kavanagh of CBC News. “The team will for its first two years, play out of the University of Manitoba’s 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena as the new arena is built outside Winnipeg.”

And now, here we are, almost four years later and halfway through the 2022-23 WinnipegIceWHL season, with the Ice still playing out of the Wayne Fleming Arena.

On Dec. 14, the Winnipeg Free Press, in a story by Mike Sawatzky, reported that the WHL had fined the Ice $500,000 because it won’t have a new arena ready for the 2023-24 season.

On Dec. 17, the WHL and the Ice issued statements contradicting that story. Those statements are right here on the Ice’s website.

The WHL’s statement reads, in part: “Reports of the Western Hockey League issuing a fine against the Winnipeg ICE and its ownership group are false and inaccurate. The Winnipeg ICE (has) assembled a highly-competitive team this season and the WHL continues to work with the ICE regarding a solution to the Club’s long-term plans for a suitable facility in Winnipeg. Further information will be available in the new year.”

The Ice statement reads, in part: “The Winnipeg ICE were not and have never been fined by the Western Hockey League.”

It’s interesting that it took the WHL and the Ice three days to respond to a story of this magnitude. I mean, a $500,000 fine is nothing at which to sneeze.

It’s also interesting that the news release is on the Ice website but doesn’t appear anywhere on the WHL’s site.

And it’s interesting that the Free Press, in reporting that the WHL and Ice were denying that a fine had been issued, didn’t indicate that it was (or wasn’t) standing by its story.

(UPDATE: On Dec. 19, the Free Press printed a correction on Page A2: “The Western Hockey League did not fine the Winnipeg Ice for delays related to the construction of a new arena, as the Free Press reported last week. . . . The Free Press regrets the error.”)

Anyway . . . I don’t know what happened in that instance, but it seems that there is something going on involving the WHL and the Ice, and I’m guessing it has something to with the lack of a new home for the Ice in the Winnipeg area.

WHL insiders have clammed right up on this one. In fact, about all I have been able to determine is that midnight on Dec. 31 had some kind of relevance — a deadline of some kind? — in whatever is happening.

As someone said, “I’m sure the coming days will be interesting.”


Adulthood


Old friend Dwight Perry has retired from the Seattle Times, meaning his column, Sideline Chatter, no longer appears in the newspaper’s pages. In honour of his departure, here are a couple of items from his final column . . .

——

Canada won its first Davis Cup title in the event’s 109-year history, beating Australia 2-0 in Malaga, Spain.

The euphoria quickly died, however, when the U.S. refused to trade the Stanley Cup for it.

——

Seattle has been declared the No. 1 city for singles, according to a study released by the personal-finance website WalletHub.com.

Heck, Ichiro could have told you that two decades ago.

——

And here is how Perry signed off . . .

With the world safely back on its axis — the Mariners finally back in the playoffs and the Huskies reclaiming the Apple Cup — I guess I can safely retire now.

Thanks for going along on this 23-year Sideline Chatter ride in The Seattle Times. Adios.



Columnist Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette, after the host Washington Capitals dumped the Montreal Canadiens, 9-2, on New Year’s Eve:

“The hat trick Alexander Ovechkin scored on the hapless Canadiens propelled him closer to Wayne Gretzky’s career goal-scoring record, even as Ovechkin’s pal Vladimir Putin rains missiles on civilians and infrastructure in Ukraine and blocks humanitarian grain shipments from leaving Russian ports.

“Why is Ovechkin still playing in the NHL? Why has he not been suspended and deported in view of his vocal, active support for a murderous dictator? That question promises to be a continuing theme in 2023.”


History


Adam DiBella, the head coach of the junior B Nelson Leafs, has been suspended kijhlindefinitely by the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League  “pending completion of an investigation . . . into his actions” in a New Year’s Eve game that featured a line brawl. The Leafs and the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks became involved in a brawl as the second period started. . . . On Tuesday, the league hit Nelson players with 35 games in suspensions, including eight-games each to four different players, while Beaver Valley players got eight games. . . . The KIJHL’s news release is right here.

Jim Bailey, the Black Press sports editor, described the incident like this: “After a physical but scoreless first period, as the puck dropped to open the second, each of the Nelson players attacked their Beaver Valley counterpart in an effort to start a brawl. Even the two Nelson defencemen skated to the opposite blueline to engage the Nitehawks’ defencemen.

“The intent from the Leafs’ bench was obvious, as Nelson coach Adam DiBella sent out his fourth line, prolific in penalty minutes but slight in points, to take some of the Nitehawks top skaters out of the game.”

BTW, the Leafs won the game, 3-1.

And if you’re interested in some social media reaction to all of this, check out KIJHLSniper (@KijhlS) on Twitter.


Road


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Andy Kemper, the Portland Winterhawks’ historian, points out that G Dante Giannuzzi picked up his 10th career assist the other night, and that set a franchise record. That record had been shared by Byron Dafoe (109 games, 1986-91) and Clint Malarchuk (77games, 1978-81). Giannuzzi, a 20-year-old from Winnipeg, has played in 89 games over five seasons. . . . Unfortunately, I don’t believe the WHL record book includes an entry for most career assists by a goaltender. . . . However, quanthockey.com has Randy Petruk and Dean Cook sharing the career record, each with 20. Petruk played 196 games over four seasons (1994-98) with the Kamloops Blazers. Cook got into three games with the Victoria Cougars (1985-86) and 147 with the Blazers (1986-89). . . . 

Hey, wouldn’t it be great if the WHL and its other 21 teams followed the Winterhawks’ example by adding historians to their organizations? . . .

The Winterhawks are scheduled to open an East Division swing against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night. And the six East Division teams better be ready because the Winterhawks Booster Club also is on the road. . . . Planning for the trek began four years ago. Stuart Kemp, the booster club’s president, reports that the travelling party of 30 will fly into Regina on Thursday, get settled there, and ride the bus to Brandon for Friday’s game. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings revealed on Tuesday that D Graydon Gotaas “has taken a leave of absence . . . due to personal reasons.” Gotaas, an 18-year-old from Camrose, Alta., had two assists in 15 games this season. He was acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 17, 2021, along with a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft, for D Ross Stanley. In 43 career games, 23 with Edmonton, Gotaas has two goals and five assists. . . . The Oil Kings also announced that D Rhys Pederson, 16, will finish the season on their roster. A fifth-round pick in the 2021 WHL draft, he had been a regular with the NAX U18 prep team. He has been in seven games with the Oil Kings, but has yet to register a point. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have signed Czech D Marek Rocak, 17, and he may be in their lineup as soon as Friday against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. Those same teams play again Saturday in Kamloops. . . . Rocak, a selection in the CHL’s 2022 import draft, has been playing with HC Frýdek-Místek in the Czechia2 league. He played for Czechia in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer in August, recording one assist in five games. . . . Kelowna’s other import player is F Gabriel Szturc, 19, who has been playing for Czechia at the World Junior Championship. . . .

Bruce Hamilton, the owner, president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, has said that F Colton Dach, the team’s captain, “is likely out eight weeks for sure” with a shoulder injury suffered at the World Junior Championship. Hamilton told Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice, that Dach “will likely move right into the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks’ medical team and they will make a decision (on) how long he is going to be out.” . . . Dach remains with Team Canada in Halifax, where he was spotted at Tuesday’s practice with his right arm in a sling. . . . Bartel’s chat with Hamilton is right here. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers have acquired G Matthew Kieper, 18, from the Regina Pats for a pair of WHL draft picks — a fourth-rounder in 2023 that originated with the Edmonton Oil Kings and a sixth-rounder in 2025. . . . Kieper, from Winnipeg, will partner with starter Ethan Ernst as the Blazers prepare to play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. Ernst has been more than a pleasant surprise for Kamloops, having gone 20-5-2, 2.36, .919 in 28 games. . . . In 55 career games with the Pats, Kieper is 23-22-3, 3.88, .873. This season, in 12 games, he is 4-5-1, 4.39, .865. . . . Freshman Czechia G Michael Schnattinger, 18, would appear to be the odd man out in Kamloops. He is 1-2-3, 3.74, .880 in nine appearances. . . . The Blazers also have two other imports on their roster — Finnish D Aapo Sarell, 19, and Slovakian F Jakub Demek, 19. Demek was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Nov. 14, but has yet to play this season after having had offseason shoulder surgery. He is expected to return later this month. . . .

The junior B Castlegar Rebels have removed the interim from head coach Nick Headrick. The team’s board of directors has decided that Headrick will finish this season as head coach. He was an assistant under Arnie Caplan, who was fired in mid-November. . . . When that move was made, the Rebels were 5-12-1. They are 2-9-2 under Headrick. . . . Caplan also was the general manager. The Rebels now have hired Jesse Dorrans to fill that role. Dorrans is a former Castlegar GM and head coach. In fact, this will be his third go-round with the Rebels.


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.


Truck

Rebels put Mayo on that victory . . . Roest fills hat for Silvertips . . . Ams’ Dragicevic keeps on rolling


Dorothy and I have a dear, dear friend who left Manila for Canada on July 20, 1967. She was 22 years of age and had a bachelor of science and medical technology degree, with majors in microbiology and chemistry, to her credit.

She also had decided that she wanted to live in Canada because that is where she wanted to raise any children that might be in her future. That, by the way, is exactly what happened, and a daughter and a son have blessed her with five grandchildren.

She worked in Toronto as a medical lab technologist until 1971, when it was off to Winnipeg and Grace Hospital. After that there was a stretch in Fort McMurray and then Kamloops.

Anyway . . . we love nothing more than to take our friend out for a drive that always seems to include lunch or ice cream.

That is how we came to be sitting in a downtown food emporium the other day, slurping down ice cream and sipping on coffee, when our friend started telling us what it means to her to be Canadian.

She got quite emotional, too.

“You know,” she said, “if I’m laying on the couch and a baseball game comes on the TV and O Canada starts to play . . . I get up and stand at attention and sing. Sometimes I even cry . . . sometimes there are tears in my eyes.”

With that, she stood up to show us exactly what she meant, using an index finger to simulate tears running down her cheeks.

“It just means so much to me to be Canadian. I am so blessed,” she said with a glowing smile.

So . . . the next time you feel like bitching and moaning about how tough you have it here in Canada, take a moment and think about our dear friend and what being one of us means to her.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Alberta premier mandates that all students must have at least 2 infectious diseases at all times.



ICYMI, the Winnipeg Jets held a three-goal lead in a game against the host Carolina Hurricanes a week ago. Carolina pulled its goaltender and scored three times. Yes, three times! . . . Four nights later, the Jets were in Dallas and held a late two-goal lead on the Stars. The home side pulled its goaltender and scored twice. . . . From the Jets’ perspective, it’s got to be hard to give up five extra-attacker goals, doesn’t it? . . . Interestingly, the Jets won both games in OT, both on goals from D Josh Morrissey.


Drunk


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

D Hunter Mayo scored in OT to give the Red Deer Rebels a 3-2 victory over the RedDeerHitmen in Calgary. . . . The Rebels (18-4-3) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Hitmen are 12-7-3. . . . Mayo scored twice in the game, tying things 1-1 at 6:26 of the second period and winning it with his 10th goal, on a PP, at 3:51 of OT. . . . F Kalan Lind (6) had a goal and two assists for the Rebels. . . . Mayo has 17 points in 25 games this season. He finished last season with 17 points, three of them goals, in 65 games. . . . Calgary F Jacob Wright (5) forced OT when he scored at 7:24 of the third period. . . . G Kyle Kelsey, an 18-year-old freshman, stopped 37 shots for Red Deer. He is 12-2-3, 2.08, .926. . . .

The Prince Albert Albert Raiders erased a 1-0 deficit with four second-period PrinceAlbertgoals as they dumped the host Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert is 10-13-2. . . . Medicine Hat (8-12-5) has lost two in a row. . . . F Oasiz Wiesblatt (10) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 1:49 of the second period. . . . The Raiders took control with the next four goals — from F Cole Peardon (2), at 9:16; F Sloan Stanick, on a PP, at 14:33; F Evan Herman (6), at 17:55; and Stanick (8), at 19:35. . . . Stanick also had an assist for a three-point outing. . . . Herman, who scored his 50th career goal on Friday, reached the 100-point mark for his career with his sixth goal of the season last night. . . .

F Austin Roest scored three times to help the Everett Silvertips to an 8-3 victory Everettover the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . Everett (13-9-1) had lost its previous five games (0-4-1). . . . Spokane (4-16-1) has lost five in a row. . . . Roest, who has 16 goals, completed his first WHL hat trick at 10:11 of the second period. He had scored his second goal just 46 seconds earlier. . . . Roest, who also had an assist, had 13 goals and 19 assists in 59 games last season. This season, in 23 games, he has 35 points, including 19 assists. . . . Roest’s father, Stacy, is a former WHL/NHL player has been in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s front office since 2013-14. These days, he is assistant GM and director of player development. . . . F Ryan Hofer’s 13th goal gave the visitors a 7-0 lead at 11:13 of the second period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski drew four assists for Everett, with F Jesse Heslop (4) adding a goal and two assists. . . . Spokane got two goals from F Ty Cheveldayoff (11). . . . F Julien Maze, a first-round pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, picked up his first WHL point, an assist, on Roest’s third goal. Maze, from Edmonton, was playing his fourth game with Everett. He will turn 15 on Dec. 7. . . . The Silvertips held a 47-32 edge in shots, including 26-8 in the second period. . . .

D Lukas Dragicevic’s shorthanded goal early in the third period stood up as the Tri-Citywinner as the Tri-City Americans got past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-3, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans (10-13-0) have won two straight. . . . The Thunderbirds (15-4-1) had points in their previous six games (5-0-1). . . . Dragicevic, whose goal came at 2:27 of the third, also had an assist as he extended his point streak to 17 games. He leads all WHL defencemen in assists (24) and points (32). . . . F Ethan Ernst (15) also scored a shorthanded goal for the winners. . . . F Lucas Ciona (9) ended an 11-game drought with two Seattle goals. . . . Tri-City got a terrific start out of G Nick Avakyan, who finished with 42 stops in posting his first victory in five decisions this season. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants scored two shorthanded goals en route to Vancouvera 3-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Vancouver improved to 9-10-4. . . . The Winterhawks (17-3-2) have lost two in a row for the first time this season. . . . D Ryan McCleary (5) gave Portland a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:19 of the first period. . . . The Giants took the lead on unassisted shorthanded goals from F Ty Thorpe (10) at 5:00 of the second period and F Samuel Honzek (14) just 37 seconds into the third. . . . Thorpe (11) added insurance at 4:55. . . . Vancouver held a 38-24 edge in shots.


Gravy


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, who has graciously allowed me to steal items from his Sideline Chatter column for a whole lot of years, is retiring on Dec. 3. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 51 years, with more than 23 of those years spent with the Times, so it’s not like he’s leaving early. Here’s to a happy and healthy retirement, Dwight. . . .

——

“This is what you call a bad plus/minus,” Perry writes in his most recent Sideline Chatter. “Evander Kane’s bankruptcy filing is being challenged by his leading creditor, Centennial Bank, which wants to know how the Edmonton Oilers forward came to have $10.2 million in assets but $26.8 million in debt.”

——

Perry, again: “KHOU-TV, Houston’s CBS affiliate, cut away from the Bills-Lions game on Thursday with 23 seconds to play to air a tornado warning in the area — so viewers missed the winning 45-yard field goal by Tyler Bass. Somewhere, Heidi was giggling — and taking cover.”


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Jeff Ingram was honoured Sunday afternoon as the WHL presented him with a Milestone Award. Ingram, who has been an on-ice official for 14 seasons, is from Langley, B.C., and he was presented with the award by Kevin Muench, the league’s senior director, officiating, prior to a game in Langley between the Portland Winterhawks and Vancouver Giants. . . . According to the WHL, Ingram has worked more than 650 regular-season games and 99 playoff games. He also has been on the ice in six WHL finals and two Memorial Cups.


THINKING OUT LOUD — They tell me that the Toronto Maple Leafs are 9-1-4 in their past 14 games. So I’m wondering if the clowns are still wanting head coach Sheldon Keefe’s head on a platter? Sometimes patience really is a virtue. . . . The early reviews are in on the FIFA World Cup and it really is amazing how many of social media’s anonymous hockey experts also turn out to be soccer experts.


NoseHair


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.


Yoda

Ice, Chiefs in goaltender swap . . . Short-staffed Wheat Kings sting Rebels . . . Ex-WHLer headed for ECHL Hall of Fame

The Winnipeg Ice has added some goaltending experience with the acquisition of Mason Beaupit from the Spokane Chiefs. . . . In exchange for Beaupit, 19, and WinnipegIcean eighth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft, the Ice gave up G Dawson Cowan, 17, and three draft picks — a fourth-rounder in 2025 and third- and sixth-rounders in 2026. . . . In 71 regular-season games with the Chiefs, Beaupit was 24-35-7, 3.83, .888. . . . He was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Following last season, he was named the Chiefs’ player of the year, after going 20-22-4, 3.63, .893. . . . This season, with the Chiefs’ clearly in a major rebuild, he was 0-8-0, 5.58, .833 Spokanein nine games. . . . From Surrey, B.C., Beaupit’s NHL rights belong to the San Jose Sharks, who took him in the fourth round of the 2022 draft. . . . Beaupit will team with Daniel Hauser as Winnipeg’s goaltenders. Hauser, 18, went into Friday games at 13-0-0, 2.37, .915. . . . Cowan, from Warren, Man., was 3-1-0, 2.52, .901 in five appearances with the Ice this season. . . . The Chiefs now have two 17-year-old freshman goaltenders on their roster — Cowan and Cooper Michaluk, who is 3-2-1, 4.97, .853. Michaluk started against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night, with Cowan backing up.


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

The host Brandon Wheat Kings scored three times in the shootout as they got past the Red Deer Rebels, 3-2. . . . The Wheat Kings (7-9-2) snapped their six-Brandongame losing streak (0-5-1). . . . The Rebels (15-2-1), who opened the season with 15 straight victories, now have lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Wheat Kings got shootout goals from F Brett Hyland, F Nolan Ritchie and F Jake Chiasson. F Kai Uchacz scored in the shootout for the Rebels, He also scored once in regulation time, taking over the WHL goal-scoring lead (16). A few hours later, F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats scored twice to pull into a tie with Uchacz. . . . Red Deer F Craig Armstrong tied the score, 2-2, at 15:48 of the third period. . . . Red Deer remains without veteran F Ben King, who led the league in goals (52) last season. . . . Brandon was able to dress only 16 skaters, including four defencemen. . . . Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun reported that D Mason Ward is injured, while Eastyn Mannix and Zach Turner both were “unable to dress due to illness.” The Wheat Kings then lost Owen Harris to injury in the first period, so F Calder Anderson slipped into the rotation. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders jumped out front 12 seconds into the first period PrinceAlbertand never looked back en route to a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Raiders improved to 6-12-2; the Oil Kings, who have lost three in a row, are 2-15-1. . . . F Harrison Lodewyk’s second goal of the season gave the Raiders the early lead and away they went. . . . F Carson Latimer had a goal and two assists for the winners, who were 2-2 on the PP. . . .

The Swift Current Broncos overcame a 2-0 deficit and then coughed up a 4-2 SwiftCurrentlead before scoring in OT to beat the visiting Regina Pats, 5-4. . . . The Broncos (8-8-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Pats are 8-8-2. . . . D Owen Pickering won it 58 seconds into extra time. . . . The Broncos got a goal and two assists from F Connor Hvidston. . . . F Alexander Suzdalev had a goal and three assists for Regina, which got two scores and a helper from F Connor Bedard. . . . The tweet posted above features some Bedard numbers going into Friday’s games. Last night, Bedard ran his point streak to 17 games. He has 17 points over his past five games. . . .

D Denton Mateychuk’s shootout goal gave the Moose Jaw Warriors a 5-4 victory WarriorsNewover the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . The Warriors (11-6-0) have won two straight. . . . The Tigers (4-9-4) have lost seven in a row (0-4-3). . . . D Bogdans Hodass pulled the Tigers into a 4-4 tie at 12:56 of the third period. . . . The Warriors had scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the opening period but weren’t able to hold the lead. . . . F Jagger Firkus gave them a 4-3 lead at 11:07 of the third, only to have Hodass tie it 1:49 later. . . . F Noah Degenstein, a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, made his debut with the Warriors. From Airdrie, Alta., he plays for his hometown U18AAA CFR Bisons. . . . These same two teams will play tonight in Moose Jaw. . . .

In Spokane, the Seattle Thunderbirds scored on each of their first three shots en Seattleroute to a 7-2 victory over the Chiefs. . . . F Gracyn Sawchyn, F Nico Myatovic and D Kevin Korchinski all scored unassisted goals for Seattle before the first period was five minutes old. . . . The Thunderbirds (12-3-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Chiefs (3-11-1) have lost nine straight (0-8-1). . . .  F Jared Davidson was back in Seattle’s lineup after not playing since Nov. 1; he missed three games. He had a goal and two assists in this one, and has points in 10 of 11 games as he rides a nine-game streak. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Everett Silvertips built up a 4-0 lead early in the Everettsecond period and hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Everett (12-5-0) has won four straight. . . . Tri-City (7-10–0) has lost two in a row. . . . F Ryan Hofer scored twice — he’s got 12 — as Everett grabbed a 4-0 lead at 1:30 of the second period. . . . F Tyson Greenway pulled the Americans to within one at 3:50 of the third period, but they weren’t able to equalize. . . . D Lukas Dragicevic had two assists in running his point streak to 11 games. He has two points in each of his last two games, and has 23 points, including five goals, in 17 games. . . .

D Luca Cagnoni and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme each scored twice to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Portland led 4-0 by 11:23 of the second period. . . . The Winterhawks (12-1-2) have points in seven straight (5-0-2). . . . The Royals (3-13-3) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Portland was 3-6 on the PP. . . . They’ll do it again tonight in Victoria.


“Northwestern freshman Michael Cole couldn’t find a taker for one of the $8.50 tickets he bought to the Oct. 26, 1984 Chicago Bulls game, so he kept it,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “And finally sold it this year — for $468,000. Seems there’s still a market for the NBA debut of Michael Jordan.”


And you thought it was over. . . . Henrik Sedin is one of the 2022 inductees who COVIDwill be going into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Monday. Unfortunately, he wasn’t available to attend Friday’s news conference and ring presentation as he is recovering from COVID-19. By taking an extra day to recover, he is hopeful of attending Monday night’s ceremony and perhaps other events over the weekend. . . . Mask up!

BTW, Perry Bergson began covering the Brandon Wheat Kings for the Brandon Sun in 2015. And he hadn’t missed a home game . . . until Friday’s contest against the Red Deer Rebels. . . . “I’m about to miss my first home game — pre-season, regular season or playoff — since I began covering the Wheat Kings in 2015,” he tweeted, “as I deal with round two of COVID. Happily, this time it’s just a bad cold.” . . . Mask up!



THINKING OUT LOUD — Looking for an interesting read? You won’t go wrong with Rising From the Deep: The Seattle Kraken, a Tenacious Push for Expansion, and the Emerald City’s Sports Revival. Written by Geoff Baker, who covers the Kraken for the Seattle Times, this is an engrossing look at what went on financially and politically as the Kraken arrived in Seattle ahead of an NBA team. . . . In 2019-20, the WHL’s average announced attendance for 694 games was 4,154. Last season, for 748 games, the number was 3,205. This season, going into Friday games, that average was 3,182 for 177 games. On a scale of 1-10, how much concern do you think there is among the governors? . . . So the NHL stages its annual Hall of Fame game in Toronto on Friday night — and there is a wonderfully emotional story there involving Börje Salming — and the game isn’t shown nationally. Sheesh, NHL, what were you thinking?




JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Victor Gervais, a former high-scoring WHL forward, will be inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in January. . . . Gervais, from Prince George, played four seasons (1985-90) with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, putting up 119 and 160 points in the last two. . . . From a news release: “Gervais notched 462 points in just 266 career ECHL games, an average of nearly 1.75 points-per-game. He racked up 305 assists over his career in the league, making him just one of 31 players all-time to record at least 300 helpers. During the 1992-93 season, he led the ECHL with 80 assists while finishing second with 118 points in 59 games. In 1993-94, he racked up 53 assists in just 31 games, an average of 1.71 assists-per-game which ranks as the best single-season average in ECHL history. Gervais’ 1.15 assists-per-game average over his career is tied for the top spot in league history.” . . . The induction ceremony will take place on Jan. 16 in Norfolk, Va., in conjunction with the ECHL’s All-Star Classic. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their season-opening record to 17-0-0 on Friday night, beating the visiting Vernon Vipers, 6-2. . . . The Vees are scheduled to visit the Trail Smoke Eaters tonight.


Usher


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.


Quartet

Evason: ‘He’s from Manitoba. Right?’ . . . Ice completes doubleheader sweep of Rebels . . . Four WHLers enjoy five-point nights

There was a rather funny moment during Wednesday night’s NHL game Wildbetween the visiting Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks. . . . Wild F Connor Dewar, a product of the Everett Silvertips who is a native of The Pas, Man., got into a second-period scrap with D Nathan Beaulieu. . . . A few minutes later, Darren Pang, who was the TNT reporter at ice level, chatted with Wild head coach Dean Evason. “Young kid fighting, too . . . gotta like that,” Pang said. . . . Evason, who wears intensity like a fitted suit, smiled as much as he ever does during a game and replied: “He’s from Manitoba. Right?” . . . Evason, former WHL player and coach, was born in Flin Flon and grew up in Brandon. . . . Dewar let set up former WHL D Matt Dumba for what turned out to be the game-winner in a feisty 4-1 victory.


THE WHL ON WEDNESDAY . . .

The Winnipeg Ice ran their winning streak to 12 games with a 7-4 victory over WinnipegIcethe visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Rebels arrived in Winnipeg riding a season-opening 15-game winning streak. The Ice beat them, 3-1, on Tuesday, then completed the doubleheader sweep last night. . . . While Winnipeg improved to 17-1-0, Red Deer now is 15-2-0. . . . The Ice took control early, scoring four times before the first period was 16 minutes old. . . . The Ice, which was 4-5 on the PP, got two goals and three assists from F Owen Pederson, two and two from F Connor McClennon, and two and one from Skyler Bruce. . . . Pederson, who enjoyed his first career five-point night, has nine goals and 19 assists in 18 games. . . .

F Borya Valis scored three times and added an assist, and F Connor Bedard had five points in leading the host Regina Pats to a 7-4 victory over the Edmonton ReginaOil Kings. . . . F Marshall Finnie pulled Edmonton into a 2-2 tie at 10:51 of the second period, but Regina scored the next five goals with Bedard scoring once and setting up three others. He finished with a goal and four assists in running his point streak to 16 games. . . . This was Bedard’s second five-pointer in three games; he has three goals and nine assists in the three games. He also had two five-point outings last season. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in assists (22) and points (36). His 14 goals are one behind the leaders (F Kai Uchacz of the Red Deer Rebels and F Koehn Ziemmer of the Prince George Cougars). . . . Valis, an 18-year-old sophomore from Boulder, Colo., enjoyed his first career hat trick and his first four-point outing. He has eight goals and seven assists in 15 games. . . . Edmonton F Luca Hauf, an 18-year-old freshman from Krefeld, Germany, had had goal and two assists. . . . The Pats improved to 8-8-1; Edmonton now is 2-14-1. . . . F Zane Rowan, an 18-year-old from Torrence, Calif., was back in Regina’s lineup after not playing since Sept. 29. . . . F Zack Shantz, 17, made his Regina debut after being acquired from the Prince George Cougars in a Nov. 4 deal that had F Cole Dubinsky, 20, go the other way. . . .

In Lethbridge, the Hurricanes scored the game’s first two goals and hung on for Lethbridgea 2-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Hurricanes (9-8-1) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Raiders (4-12-2) have lost three in a row. . . . Lethbridge got goals from F Tyson Laventure and D Joe Arntsen, the latter providing a 2-0 lead at 6:12 of the third period. . . . C Carson Latimer got the Raiders to within a goal at 16:57. . . . G Harrison Meneghin stopped 21 shots for Lethbridge. . . .

F Reid Schaefer’s 14th goal of the season, at 1:24 of OT, gave the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds a 2-1 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . F Caedan Bankier had given the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 18:26 of the first period. . . . F Sam Popowich pulled Seattle even with a shorthanded goal at 1:19 of the second. . . . Seattle (11-3-0) had lost its previous two games. . . . Kamloops (7-4-3) has lost two in a row. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven drew an assist to run his point streak to 10 games. He has 21 points, 10 of them goals, in that stretch. . . . G Thomas Milic stopped 38 shots for the visitors, including a stop on a Stankoven penalty shot attempt in OT. . . . D Luke Prokop, 20, who was added to Seattle’s roster on Tuesday, was in the starting lineup, but the Thunderbirds remain without F Jared Davidson. . . .

F Adam Kydd scored three times and added two assists to help the Kelowna KelownaRockets to a wild 8-6 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . It was the first WHL three-goal game — and first five-pointer, too — for Kydd, who has eight goals. . . . F Andrew Cristall drew five assists for the Rockets, who held leads of 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, 4-3, 5-3, 6-5, 7-6 and, finally, 8-6. . . . F Rilen Kovacevic snapped a 6-6 tie at 16:44 of the third period and F Colton Dach added the empty-netter, his second goal of the game. . . . Cristall has 27 points, including 11 goals, in 14 games this season. This was his second five-point outing; he had two goals and three assists in an 8-4 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants on April 9. . . . F Riley Heidt had four assists for the Cougars, who got two goals and an assist from each of F Chase Wheatcroft and F Koehn Ziemmer. . . . Kelowna (6-7-1) has won two in a row; Prince George (9-8-0) had a three-game winning streak ended. . . . F Cole Dubinsky, 20, who was acquired from Regina on Nov. 4, was in the Cougars’ lineup for the first time. He scored once and added an assist.


Sewer


Allen Lazard, a receiver with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, suffered a shoulder injury in a game with the Washington Commanders this season. He explains the feeling: “A pop, a crack — snap, crackle, pop. Three Rice Krispies men showed up, too. Not the good kind. All three of them.”


Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, will be the head coach HockeyCanadaof Team Canada at the 2023 World Junior Championship. . . . The tournament is to open on Dec. 26 in Halifax and Moncton. . . . Williams was an assistant coach on the 2022 Canadian team that won a gold medal in Edmonton. . . . Canada’s assistant coaches will be Stephane Julien of the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix, Brent Kisio of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Alan Legant of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. . . . Kelly Guard of the Prince Albert Raiders will serve as the goaltending consultant. . . . While Hockey Canada hasn’t yet announced a selection camp roster, that camp is scheduled to be held in Moncton, from Dec. 9-12.


Congratulations to California voters for a couple of decisions they made on Tuesday. Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Two California ballot props that would have legalized and expanded sports wagering went down in flames.

Our lovable state remained the largest market in America closed to legal sports betting. We overwhelmingly rejected the promised riches that would have come from allowing casinos and racetracks to offer in-person sports betting (Prop. 26), and from allowing online and mobile sports betting for adults (Prop. 27). For some reason, we don’t trust people in the gambling industry when they say, ‘Trust us.’ ”


“The Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant — who called for coach Steve Nash’s ouster last summer — said he was ‘shocked’ when Nash was fired last week,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Somewhere, Steve Urkel is giggling.”


Morgue


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Kamloops Blazers have acquired 2004-born F Shea Van Olm from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2024 draft. . . . Van Olm, from Calgary, was a fourth-round pick by the Oil Kings in the 2019 draft. This season, he has two goals and an assist in 16 games. . . . In 74 games over three seasons, Van Olm had 10 goals and seven assists with Edmonton. . . . Van Olm didn’t play for the Blazers last night against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . .

The Vancouver Giants have made an adjustment to their 20-year-old situation. They have signed D Dylan Anderson, while releasing D Tom Cadieux, who had been one of their alternate captains. . . . Anderson, from Langley, B.C., started this season with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks after spending three seasons with the Everett Silvertips. . . . He totalled five goals and 26 assists in 143 regular-season games with Everett. Last season, he put up three goals and 17 assists in 62 games. . . . Cadieux, from Saskatoon, also has played with the Tri-City Americans and Regina Pats. In 179 regular-season games, he has six goals and 27 assists. This season, in 11 games, he earned three assists. . . . The Giants had acquired Cadieux from Regina on Jan. 17, surrendering a 2022 fifth-round WHL draft pick and a third in 2023. . . .

G Keegan Maddocks, 19, has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. He had been with the Winnipeg Ice before being released on Oct. 27. . . . Maddocks also has made WHL stops with the Victoria Royals and Kamloops Blazers. . . .

If you were wondering, the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, who are 16-0-0 to open the season, next are scheduled to play Friday when the Vernon Vipers (7-7-2) are to visit. On Saturday, the Vees are to face the host Trail Smoke Eaters (7-8-1). . . . It’s worth noting that the Vees closed out last season by winning their last 16 playoff games. . . . Yes, Penticton has won its last 32 games.


Keith


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.


Unsub

Milestone for Giants’ head coach . . . Rebels continuing record chase . . . BCHL’s Vees are perfect, too



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Vancouver Giants opened a Central Division swing on Thursday night with a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. That was Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck’s 250th head-coaching victory. . . . Dyck, who is in his fifth season with the Giants, picked up 113 victories in three seasons (2006-09) with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The defending-champion Oil Kings, obviously in the early days of a rebuild, are carrying four 20-year-olds, one over the limit, so there will be something happening there. They had F Cole Carrier, D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golden and F Jaxsen Wiebe vying for the three spots. Carrier and Wiebe were scratched last night. Wiebe is serving a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline for something dastardly that happened the other night in a game against the Saskatoon Blades. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels ran their season-opening winning streak to 11 games on Wednesday, beating the visiting Victoria Royals, 6-2. . . . The Rebels’ next game is scheduled for tonight when they are to play host to the Vancouver Giants. . . . A victory over the Giants will give the Rebels a share of the WHL record for victories to open a season; the 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos began with 12 straight on their way to a Memorial Cup title. . . . The 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings hold the WHL record for longest unbeaten streak to begin a season; they opened with 24 wins and five ties. . . .

The WHL’s only other unbeaten team, the Seattle Thunderbirds (8-0-0), are in Prince George for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader with the Cougars (5-5-0). . . . The Cougars are coming off road victories over the Vancouver Giants (5-1) and Kamloops Blazers (4-3 OT), the first time this season they have won consecutive games. . . . The Thunderbirds and Cougars will make it three games in a row when they meet Tuesday in Kent, Wash. . . .

Regina F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 12 games as he picked up one assist as the Pats dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. The game was to have been played on Sunday but was postponed due to inclement weather. . . . The Warriors scored two first-period PP goals — by F Jagger Firkus and F Brayden Yager — and got 19 saves from G Connor Ungar. . . . F Tanner Howe was back in Regina’s lineup after a one-game absence. . . . D Denton Mateychuk was among Moose Jaw’s scratches. . . . Bedard’s assist was his 150th career regular-season point, coming in his 90th game. . . . Bedard continues to lead the WHL in points (20). He and F Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds lead in goals (10), while Bedard and F Owen Pederson of the Winnipeg Ice each has 12 assists. . . . Bedard also has the lead in game-winning goals, with four. . . .

In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees have opened the season on a 12-game winning streak, which is the best start in franchise history. The league’s only unbeaten team improved to 12-0-0 with a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Cranbrook Bucks on Wednesday night. . . . Remember, too, that the Vees closed out last season by winning their last 16 playoff games. Yes, Penticton is on a 28-game winning streak. . . . The Vees are back at home tonight against the West Kelowna Warriors (8-1-0).


Humans


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “It’s a full-blown five-ring circus out there. Eight months have gone by since the Tokyo Olympics, and the U.S. figure-skating team, which finished behind the Russians in the team competition, still hasn’t been awarded a medal — any medal — while the ‘investigation’ into Russian doping continues. NFL replay looks competent by comparison.”


THE COACHING GAME:

The junior A South Shore Lumberjacks of the Maritime Hockey League have signed Kirk Tomlinson as their head coach. Tomlinson, 54, played one season (1984-85) with the WHL’s New Westminster Bruins before moving on to the OHL for three seasons. . . . He takes over from Brad Tesink, who was fired last week. . . . Tomlinson was behind the bench for the first time on Wednesday as the Lumberjacks lost, 5-0, to the visiting Campbellton Tigers. The Lumberjacks now are 2-8-2.


Ice


Dan Daly of DalyOnSports.com, with a pertinent observation: “Too many NFL games this season feel like Week 4 in 1987, when the Real Players were on strike and your gym teacher was playing linebacker.”


THINKING OUT LOUD — The World Series — you do remember that the MLB season isn’t over yet, don’t you? — begins tonight in Houston with the Astros facing the Philadelphia Phillies. Terry Puhl, the pride of Melville, Sask., will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. You may remember that he was a pretty fair centre fielder for Houston back in the day. . . . ICYMI, the Vancouver Canucks won for the first time in this NHL season when they beat the host Seattle Kraken, 5-4, on Thursday night. They now are 1-5-2 and will try to make it two in a row tonight against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . Which team is the NBA’s biggest gong show/soap opera at the moment: Los Angeles Lakers, New York Nets or Philadelphia 76ers? . . . And then there are the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose fans are calling for a coaching change. It seems that Barry Trotz is the apple of their eye these days. Of course, the New York Islanders are paying him US$4 million not to coach this season, so perhaps he won’t be in a hurry to get back into the coaching racket. . . . Don’t forget that the NHL reaches a new low tonight when the Winnipeg Jets visit the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena, the new home of the Arizona Coyotes. Hey, Saskatoon, there’s still hope!


Beatles


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.


Exercise

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while continuing to wonder what hit the Blue Jays . . .

Scattershooting2

You are able to find Randy’s Vinyl Tap on a Corus radio station near you for two hours every Sunday evening. Check it out!


While watching the Toronto Blue Jays implode on Saturday, I kept seeing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. beating the visiting New York Yankees with a walk-off home run a few weeks ago and screaming something about it being “my house” as he trotted from third to home. . . . Of course, the Yankees won in Toronto the next night to clinch the AL East. And then along came Friday-Saturday and the Seattle Mariners. . . . Let’s not forget that Aaron Judge hit No. 61 there, too. . . . All of that means that the Yankees and Mariners have done a lot of celebrating in Vladdy’s house. . . . Maybe he and the rest of Toronto’s young guns will learn something about humility and the baseball gods from how this season ended . . . Oh, and get rid of that gawdawful jacket thing, too.



Amazon


Joe Posnanski, who writes baseball as well as anyone, had this after Saturday’s marathon between the visiting Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Guardians: “For almost five hours, under the heat of playoff baseball, we watched two teams fail to score a single run. They failed to score a single run off FIFTEEN different pitchers. Until the last batter, Cleveland hit .090 and struck out 20 times. Tampa Bay hit a stouter .122 and struck out only 19 times.”

——

And here’s Posnanski on a key point in the Seattle-Toronto game: “And Blue Jays manager John Schneider, the one who did not play in ‘Dukes of Hazzard,’ went to the mound, pulled (Kevin) Gausman, and brought in lefty Tim Mayza. It didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense when he did it, since Gausman clearly was not gassed and (switch-hitter Carlos) Santana has, throughout his career, been a better hitter against lefties. This year, he hit just .178 and slugged .366 against righties — he hit almost 90 points better and had 150 more OPS points against lefties.

“But, he was 0-for-3 against Mayza, so maybe that’s what Schneider saw. I don’t know.”

Of course, the bases were loaded, Mayza threw a wild pitch and then Santana drilled a three-run homer. The rest, as they say, is history.


Here’s Matt Rhule, the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, after losing, 37-15, to the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Sunday: “We’re not going to win unless we score more points. I’m not going to lie to you.”


Corndogs


“Minnesota Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson made major-league history by having the longest last name on the back of his jersey, supplanting ex-catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The team seamstress is now on the 10-day injured list with RSI.”

——

Perry also passed along this gem from Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune after Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady threw a tantrum: “Brady broke two tablets vs. the Saints, tying the cherished 3,500-year-old world record set by Moses.”


Here’s Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Herschel Walker isn’t the one who belongs in a concussion tent. No. Anybody who’s still thinking of voting for this guy belongs in the blue tent.”

——

Lupica, again: “One more thing about Herschel. I’m really starting to worry about just the sheer logistics of what next Father’s Day are going to be like for this guy. The more you read, the more you think he hooked up with everybody except Stormy Daniels.”


There are some parts of the world of hockey that really do need to pay more attention to history and, in particular, to the people who put so much into the building of leagues and franchises. So . . . here’s hoping the decision to remove banners from the Regina Pats’ home arena is a temporary measure to accommodate the removal of dust from the rafters or some other house-cleaning item. . . . And here’s hoping, too, that there is a plan in Regina to hang more banners representing names from the Pats’ glorious past to those rafters.


Keith


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Logan Stankoven, the CHL’s player of the year for 2021-22, has been returned to the Kamloops Blazers by the Dallas Stars, who selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. He has signed a three-year deal with the Stars. Last season, Stankoven had 104 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games, then added 17 goals and 14 assists in 17 playoff games. . . . Remember that the Blazers are to be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. . . . Stankoven, 19, is expected to be in the Kamloops lineup on Friday night against the host Tri-City Americans. . . . While returning Stankoven to his hometown team, the Stars kept F Wyatt Johnston, 19, who was their first pick in that 2021 NHL draft. He played the past two seasons with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, putting up 124 points, 46 of them goals, in 68 games last season. . . .

Meawhile, the Vancouver Giants got back F Zack Ostapchuk, their captain, from the Ottawa Senators. Ostapchuk, 19, was a second-round pick in the NHL’s 2021 draft. Last season, he had 26 goals and 17 assists in 60 regular-season games, then added 23 points, 16 of them assists, in 12 playoff games. . . . The Giants next are scheduled to play on Friday against the Brandon Wheat Kings in Langley, B.C. . . .

The Tri-City Americans, playing their home-opener, got two goals and two assists from F Jordan Gavin in beating the Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-1, on Saturday night. Gavin, from Surrey, B.C., was the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft, and has two goals and five assists in five games. He won’t turn 16 until Nov. 13. . . .

When host Kamloops dropped Victoria, 3-1, on Saturday night, it was the Blazers’ 23rd consecutive victory over the Royals. . . . Seriously! . . . The loss also left the Royals at 0-7-0, not quite the start the franchise needed. . . . Victoria is the only one of the league’s 22 teams without a victory. . . .

At the other end of the spectrum, the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds remain unbeaten — the former at 5-0-0, the latter 4-0-0. They’ll go home-and-home on Nov. 4 and 5, opening in Portland and closing the series in Kent, Wash. . . . Before then, the Winterhawks are home to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday, the same night the Thunderbirds entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . According to TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits), this is the first time in franchise history that the Thunderbirds have opened with four straight victories. . . . The Red Deer Rebels, meanwhile, are 5-0-0, the first time that has happened since 2000-01, according to Troy Gillard, their director of broadcasts and media.


Commas


THINKING OUT LOUD — In getting swept from a best-of-three series, the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t get even one pitch out of Jose Berrios or Yusei Kikuchi. Berrios has an average salary of US$18,714,286, while Kikuchi’s annual average is $12 million. . . . Hockey Canada didn’t make a big news dump late Friday afternoon, but Andrea Skinner, the interim chair of the board of directors, did resign on Saturday. Hey, it’s a start. . . . How come I didn’t know before Saturday evening that the Okanagan Sun has a hotshot KR/WR named Mike O’Shea, who just happens to be the son of Mike O’Shea, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ head coach? . . . BTW, the Sun just finished off a 10-0 regular season. . . . ICYMI, the Cincinnati Bengals left three points on the field Sunday night in Baltimore and lost by two to the Ravens. Could it be some of those coaches are spending too much time listening to the analytics people? Sheesh, kick the field goal!


I wish I had seen this trick on Twitter about 50 years ago. . . .


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.


Store

Where did we go so wrong? . . . Are you able to help Ernie (Punch) McLean? . . . Regina’s Paddock penning quite a story

While taking time away from here to do some recharging, reflecting and, well, just re-everything, it hit me that we the people are doing a horrific job . . . just absolutely horrific.

I had always believed that one of the things foremost in our minds as we COVIDstrolled through life had to be the importance of leaving the world a better place than we found it for our children and grandchildren. Did our parents not leave us with a world that was better than it was when they came into it?

That being the case, there seems no chance of us being able to do that, what with COVID-19 continuing to run rampant; climate change occurring with frightening speed while our leaders, in business, industry and politics, refuse to act with anything close to matching urgency; the political arena having turned into a battle of us vs. them with those of different political stripes seemingly incapable of working together — but, oh my, are they good at pointing fingers! — and we won’t even get into the opioid epidemic, homelessness, mental health, the price of groceries and gasoline, and on and on . . .

Over the past few days, while pondering a lot of what is going on in our world, I got to wondering where we went wrong. If the pandemic that soon will be into its fourth year — yes, fourth! — has shown us anything it is what a horribly selfish people we have become. I don’t know where it all started but the lack of caring and respect we now hold for our neighbours is disgusting. Somehow we have decided that we won’t wear masks indoors, not even when we know that they work to protect family, friends and others. Not only that, we have decided that the elderly, the disabled, the thousands of immunocompromised who walk among us . . . all of them are expendable. Come and take them, Dr. Death. Y’er welcome!

Ed Yong, a writer with The Atlantic who has won a Pulitzer Prize for his writing on the pandemic, writes:

“Recently, after a week in which 2,789 Americans died of COVID-19, President Joe Biden proclaimed that ‘the pandemic is over.’ Anthony Fauci described the controversy around the proclamation as a matter of ‘semantics,’ but the facts we are living with can speak for themselves. COVID still kills roughly as many Americans every week as died on 9/11. It is on track to kill at least 100,000 a year — triple the typical toll of the flu. Despite gross undercounting, more than 50,000 infections are being recorded every day. The CDC estimates that 19 million adults have long COVID. Things have undoubtedly improved since the peak of the crisis, but calling the pandemic ‘over’ is like calling a fight ‘finished’ because your opponent is punching you in the ribs instead of the face.”

——

As of Monday afternoon, the death toll from Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida on Wednesday, was at 101, a figure that is all over the news. Meanwhile, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University, there were 277 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Florida over the past week, bringing the state’s total to 81,416 since the virus arrived on our doorstep. Hey, just saying . . .

——

Here’s more from Yong:

“In the spring of 2020, I wrote that the pandemic would last for years, and that the U.S. would need long-term strategies to control it. But America’s leaders consistently acted as if they were fighting a skirmish rather than a siege, lifting protective measures too early, and then reenacting them too slowly. They have skirted the responsibility of articulating what it would actually look like for the pandemic to be over, which has meant that whenever citizens managed to flatten the curve, the time they bought was wasted. Endemicity was equated with inaction rather than active management. This attitude removed any incentive or will to make the sort of long-term changes that would curtail the current disaster and prevent future ones. And so America has little chance of effectively countering the inevitable pandemics of the future; it cannot even focus on the one that’s ongoing.”

Read that last sentence again. Please.

Yong’s complete piece is right here, and it’s well worth your time.


ICYMI, Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band were to have opened a five-city Western Canadian tour in Winnipeg tonight (Tuesday). That won’t happen, though, because the former Beatles drummer has tested positive for COVID-19. Starr, 82, also had to call off shows scheduled for Saskatoon, Lethbridge, Abbotsford and Penticton.


FranErnie
Fran and Ernie McLean were married for 69 years. (Photo: Harold Phillipoff/Facebook)

A message from Harold Phillipoff, who played two seasons (1974-76) with the New Westminster Bruins:

“It is with heavy heart than I pass along this sad news . . . after 69 years of marriage, Fran McLean has passed away. She was always there for Ernie and ‘his boys.’

“This leaves Ernie tragically in a financial mess as the pandemic has shut down his mining business, leaving him with just his old-age benefits to pay all the bills.

“Ernie’s sons have set up a PayPal account and E-transfer account for the ‘Help Ernie McLean’ fund. The username for both accounts is PunchMclean@gmail.com.

“I would consider it a personal favour if you could share this post to your friends on Facebook and any other social media. Ernie entertained many for decades and made a huge positive impact on many lives. Let’s show him we enjoyed it and still remember him!”


“Are you ready for some . . . pickleball?” wonders Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “America’s fast-growing pastime is growing up — as in Major League Pickleball — with the MLP finals slated for Oct. 14-16 in Columbus, Ohio, competing for a $319,000 prize pool. The 12-team league plans to expand to 16 next year, with the likes of LeBron James and Drew Brees buying in. Now it’s just a TV contract and a steroids scandal away from official major-league status.”

——

Perry, again: “Nets guard Kyrie Irving says he turned down a four-year, $100 million-plus extension a year ago because he wanted to remain unvaccinated. Apparently it was a one-shot deal.”


Mead1


The Ponoka Stampeders are a first-year junior B team trying to find their way in Alberta’s Heritage Junior Hockey League. So far they have lost by scores of 25-1, 20-0, 23-1, 30-0 and 27-1. Yes, they continue to look for players, so if you’re of junior age and looking for ice time, you may want to check them out. . . . NOTE: A late night advisory from the Twitter account Inside the HJHL (@latesthjhl) informs that the Stampeders have folded.


If this headline — COVID, cancer can’t conquer Pats’ Paddock — can’t entice you to read a story, I can’t imagine what might do the trick. Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post recently visited with John Paddock, 68. He is coming off a season in which he stepped in as the Pats’ head coach and beat back COVID-19, something he couldn’t avoid after treatment for lymphoma left him immunocompromised. “I got sick,” Paddock told Vanstone, “and then got really sick.” Of course, what COVID-19 and lymphoma didn’t take into account is that Paddock has coaching in his blood. So the Pats’ vice-president of hockey operations and general manager also is back as the team’s head coach. . . . Vanstone’s story is right here.


Dumb


It’s early in the WHL’s regular season and the weather has been anything but hockey-like. However, you are free to wonder whether the WHL has some cracks showing when it comes to attendance.

Unfortunately, the WHL continues to have teams play afternoon games after having played the previous night, which is what happened to the Regina Pats — and F Connor Bedard — on Sunday. They dropped a 4-2 decision to the Rebels before an announced crowd of 4,806 in Red Deer on Saturday night, then were beaten, 7-3, by the Hitmen on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Prince George Cougars have played four home games — two each against the Tri-City Americans and Kelowna Rockets — and have had announced crowds of 2,497, 2,018, 2,008 and 1,937, in that order.

Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, couldn’t take it anymore so he chewed a bit on the legs of the Prince George citizenry the other day. If you haven’t seen it, it’s right here.

——

BTW, if you haven’t seen the ceremonial faceoff prior to the game between Regina and Calgary on Sunday, it’s worth a head-shaking look . . .


Dogcat


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Stewart Kemp, the president of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, reports that it’s full-speed ahead for the trek east early in January. The deadline to register passed with 28 people having signed on for the 10-day jaunt that will include games in Brandon, Winnipeg, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina. The contingent is to include two ladies who are 96 (Ardyce) and 94 (Neree), and who have been making these trips since Kemp took over as president in 2010. “They,” Kemp reports, “are the most enthusiastic to go. They wouldn’t miss this for the world.” . . . Then, he adds, “Oh, this is going to be fun, but really cold!” . . . Manitoba and Saskatchewan cold during the first two weeks of January? Nah. . . .

Jeff Dubois, the commissioner of the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, signed a five-year contract extension the other day. It will take him through the 2027-28 season. Dubois has been the commissioner since March 2020. . . .

Bruce Luebke, who had been the radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings for more than 20 years, has been acclaimed for a second term as a member of Brandon City Council. Luebke called his first Wheat Kings game in 1993-94. He and radio station CKLQ parted company in July 2016. . . . Civic elections in Manitoba are scheduled for Oct. 26. . . .


THINKING OUT LOUD — As the host Green Bay Packers were locked in a battle with the New England Patriots on Sunday, the U of Wisconsin fired its head football coach, Paul Chryst. Now that’s a smooth PR move. . . . Took a drive to Vernon and back on Monday afternoon. I am here to report that the price of gas kissing $2 a litre in B.C.’s southern interior isn’t keeping people off the road. . . . The Los Angeles Dodgers went into Monday’s games with a run-differential of plus-333. They also have some pitchers. Let’s just give them the World Series title and get on with life.


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.


Kermy

Scattershooting on a Monday night after KIJHL rocked by Creston Valley hazing incident . . .

Scattershooting2

While Hockey Canada was busy trying to determine whether the mess it finds itself in has been swept far enough under the carpet so as to cut down the glare, CrestonValleythe Kootenay International Junior Hockey League was dealing with a hazing incident.

What’s that? You thought hazing was a thing of the past.

Well, think again.

Following a quick investigation, the KIJHL, a junior B league with 19 teams in the Interior of B.C. and one inactive franchise in Spokane, dropped the hammer on the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

In a news release, the league said it learned of the incident on Sept. 13 and “immediately suspended team activities, including the cancellation of the team’s exhibition game” on Sept. 14. Creston Valley was to have played host to the Fernie Ghostriders that night.

On Sept. 15, the league sent staff into Creston to “conduct interviews with . . . players and coaches.”

“Throughout this process,” the league said, it “has consulted with its Safe Sport partner, ITP Sport, and with BC Hockey.”

On Monday, the league announced that the Thunder Cats have been fined an undisclosed amount and been “placed on probation for a period of two years.”

“During this time,” the news release continued, “the Thunder Cats must take proactive steps to ensure a positive team culture free from abuse, bullying and harassment. Any occurrence of a similar incident will result in further sanctions.”

Furthermore, members of the Thunder Cats “will be required to complete training designed to identify and eliminate instances of abuse, bullying and harassment.”

The KIJHL also suspended two members of the team’s leadership group — captain Clayton Brown, a 20-year-old defenceman from Beaverlodge, Alta., will sit out 12 games and alternate captain Campbell McLean, who will turn 20 on Nov. 4, is to miss six games, both “for violations of the league’s individual conduct policy.” McLean, a forward, is from Whitecourt, Alta.

“The KIJHL is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for our athletes, volunteers, staff and fans,” Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL’s commissioner, said in the news release. “What occurred in Creston was unacceptable, and the discipline imposed against the Thunder Cats’ organization and members of the team reflect our zero-tolerance approach to these types of incidents.

“Our investigation made clear that we have considerable work to do in order to educate our players on the standard of behaviour and leadership expected of them in a team environment. We take this responsibility seriously, and we are taking immediate steps to address this issue.”

The news release concluded with the one sentence that has become standard when leagues are dealing with these kinds of issues:

“The KIJHL will not comment further on this matter.”


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Hockey Canada seems to be carrying on as if nothing is wrong and all is well. Somebody from the government, somebody with some kind of power, somebody with sponsorship clout needs to unseat the board of directors and replace the senior executives without much delay. Otherwise, it will just be same old, same old.”


Inn


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Nebraska — college football bluebloods — got taken down in Week 2 by supposed cannon fodder Appalachian State, Marshall and Georgia Southern. Even worse, they each had to cough up $1 million-plus in appearance fees to the teams that beat them. Well, as mom always used to say, ‘Don’t play with your food!’ ”

——

Perry, again: “Nebraska has fired its last four football coaches — Bill Callahan, Bo Pelini, Mike Riley and Scott Frost — and paid them a combined $32 million in buyouts, all within a year of awarding them contract extensions. In other words, Groundhog Day I, II, III and IV.”



Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Local consultant not sure what he does, either.

——

Headline at TheOnion.com — Referees call for replay to admire great call.


THINKING OUT LOUD — ICYMI, Arizona State fired head football coach Herm Edwards on Sunday. Yes, he’s the former NFL coach. The Sun Devils are 1-2 this season and the program is under NCAA investigation. ASU could be on the hook for a payout of more than $9 million, though, because Edwards was signed through 2024. That’s still less than the $15 million that Nebraska will be coughing up after dumping head coach Scott Frost after just two games. . . . There are a lot of great stories in this young NFL season, but none will bear watching more than the San Francisco 49ers. I have never really understood how it was that QB Jimmy Garoppolo fell out of favour there, but they weren’t able to move him. Of course, now he’s the starter after Trey Lance broke his right ankle on Sunday and had season-ending surgery on Monday. . . . BTW, Garoppolo pocketed more than $750,000 on Sunday, including a $382,000 game cheque. Grant Marek of sfgate.com has more on Garoppolo’s contract situation right here, and it’s an interesting read. . . . You may have noticed that the New York Mets, Yankees, Jets and Giants all won on Sunday. That’s the first time that has happened since Sept. 27, 2009. So all was well with the Big Apple as another week began.


Ignorance


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Congratulations to Scottie Pippen for being the latest big sports star to lend his name and fame to the LIV Golf circuit. Pippen filmed a heartfelt commercial welcoming the LIV tour to Chicago. Maybe he figures we’ll all stop calling him basketball’s greatest sidekick, and start calling him the murderin’ Saudis’ goofiest pawn.”

——

Here’s Ostler again, this time with a great idea: “If MLB hitters have walk-up songs, they should also be required to have slink-back songs for when they strike out, songs to be chosen by the opposing team’s pitching staff. Some possibles: ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,’ ‘I’m Missing You,’ ‘Heat of the Moment,’ ‘Walk Away, Renee,’ and ‘Blue Bayou’ (blew by you).”



Asked how he felt rookie RB Jaylen Warren fared in his first NFL game, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin replied: “He didn’t urinate down his leg, man — that’s a great place to begin.”


Blinker


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.


Iron

Scattershooting on a Monday night while trying to figure out what it was that the Denver Broncos just did . . .

Scattershooting2


The Prince Albert Raiders won a WHL exhibition game on Saturday night, beating the Pats, 3-2, in Regina on a goal at 18:23 of the third period by 15-PrinceAlbertyear-old F Dayce Derkatch. “It’s what you always dream of,” Derkatch told Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post. “It’s so special. I’m so honoured and so proud.” . . . He was a third-round selection by the Pats in the 2022 WHL draft. . . . His father, Dale, is in the books as one of the best and most-exciting players in WHL history. Playing with the Pats, he put up 491 points, including 222 goals, in 204 regular-season games. In 54 playoff games, he scored 30 goals and added 73 assists. Add it up — 252 goals, 342 assists, 594 points, all accomplished in 258 games. . . . Vanstone wrote: “Dayce’s ground-breaking goal was scored nearly 41 years after his father registered his first pre-season tally. In his exhibition debut with Regina, Dale had a goal — and two fights — in a 9-4 loss to the host Saskatoon Blades on Sept. 15, 1981. He went on to enjoy a 62-goal, 142-point rookie season.” . . . Dayce signed with the Raiders on Monday and is expected to spend this season with his hometown Regina Pat Canadians of the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League. . . . Vanstone’s story is right here.


Sale


If it hadn’t before now, I would suggest that baseball statistics have jumped the shark. Officially. . . . I saw this on Twitter on Saturday morning: “Bo Bichette’s HR last night came on a pitch 16″ off the ground. It was the second-lowest pitch hit for a HR in Bichette’s career & the lowest by a #BlueJays hitter this season.” . . . Seriously! . . . Perhaps the MLB player who homers off the closest pitch to the ground each season gets a lifetime supply of tees?


If you hang out regularly in these parts, you may remember the five-part WHL history that I posted here a while back. Well, a short time ago, I received an email asking where it could be found. . . . If you’re new here and you haven’t seen them, you may enjoy these pieces . . .

Part 1: https://greggdrinnan.com/2020/11/18/the-whl-in-the-beginning/

Part 2: https://greggdrinnan.com/2020/11/20/the-whl-part-2-changes-of-scenery-battles-on-and-off-the-ice-and-uhh-a-toupee/

Part 3: https://greggdrinnan.com/2020/11/23/the-whl-part-3-bruins-dynasty-ends-franchises-on-the-move-and-more-mayhem/

Part 4: https://greggdrinnan.com/2020/11/26/the-whl-part-4-winds-of-change-ferraro-lights-it-up-and-yes-a-player-for-a-bus/

Part 5: https://greggdrinnan.com/2020/11/28/the-whl-part-5-there-was-tragedy-lots-of-movement-and-marshmallow-punches/


Texas


Here’s Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times with a look ahead to a major sporting event that is quickly approaching: “Another prestigious sporting event will return to the global stage after being mothballed two years by COVID: the 37th World Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Ireland, on Sept. 21-22. The winner — the Marquis de Sod? — will undoubtedly be decided by the turnover advantage.”



Island


IT’S ONLY MONEY, PART I — Under the subhead ‘Pot, meet Kettle,’ Perry writes: “Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney — the same guy who once said, ‘As far as paying players, professionalizing college athletics, that’s where you lose me . . . there’s enough entitlement in this world as there is’ — has just agreed to a record 10-year, $115-million contract.”

BTW, a national championship would be worth an extra $1 million to Swinney. His average annual salary — $11.5 million — is behind only Nick Saban at Alabama, who is at $11.7 million. No. 3 on the list is Kirby Smart of Georgia, at $11.25 million. . . . The Athletic’s Grace Raynor notes that only one coach (Saban) made at least $9.5 million in 2021. Now there are at least six of them, the other three being Mel Tucker of Michigan State, Ryan Day of Ohio State and Bryan Kelly of LSU. . . . For coaching football. College football.

——

IT’S ONLY MONEY, PART II — The Nebraska Cornhuskers lost, 45-42, to visiting Georgia Southern on Saturday and promptly fired head coach Scott Frost, never mind that the season is only three games old. Nebraska will pay him US$15 million not to coach, a figure that would have been $7.5 million had it waited until Oct. 1 to make the move. Frost, in his fifth season with Nebraska, watched his guys lose 10-straight one-score decisions. . . . You may recall that Frost was the biggest thing in college football since Knute Rockne when he led Central Florida to a 13-0 record in 2018. Well, he left Nebraska with a 16-31 mark, including 10-16 in the Big Ten. Oh yes, he left with a whack of cash, too. . . . From Shehan Jeyarajah of CBS Sports: “It’s hard to contextualize how badly Nebraska wanted this hire to work. Frost was a beloved son and the apparent chosen one for this program. Unfortunately, his winning percentage goes down as the worst by any full-time Nebraska coach since the Eisenhower administration.”

——

IT’S ONLY MONEY, PART III — The Tampa Bay Rays are again in Toronto with without reliever Brooks Raley, who isn’t vaccinated and will miss the five-game set with the Blue Jays. The Rays put him on the restricted list, meaning it will cost him US$93,407 in salary. . . . He wasn’t allowed into Canada earlier in the season and that also cost him four days’ pay. . . . What it means is that his decision not to get vaccinated has cost him $186,814. No biggie, though, because the Rays are paying him $4.25 million this season. . . . BTW, when the Rays were in Toronto earlier, reliever Ryan Thompson also wasn’t on the trip because he isn’t vaccinated. But he’s on the injured list this time. . . . The Blue Jays opened with a 3-2 victory on Monday night. They’ll play two today.


Beers


It is hard to mis-state the size of the mess in which MLB finds itself these days. It’s hard to argue against outlawing the shift and the pitch clock and the larger bases, but, sheesh, when you are bringing in rule changes that legislate against strategy you really have some issues. Especially when there is — or at least used to be — so much strategy involved in baseball. . . . But, hey, if you really want to improve the offensive side of the game, why not limit pitchers to throwing no harder than 90 mph? Just make any pitch faster than 90 a ball. . . . Hello, Bud Segal, are you interested in being commissioner, again? Please.

——

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle has a couple of rule changes that he would like to see MLB implement:

“No more check swings. A check swing, no matter how far the bat goes around, is no swing. These are garbage strikeouts, pure umpire guesswork and satisfying to nobody. Result: Fewer strikeouts, more action.

“If there are five or more people in line at a beer stand, everyone in line gets free beer. Hire more damn vendors. If we want to stand in line, we’ll go to Disneyland or the DMV.”


Witches


THE COACHING GAME:

Carter Rigby has joined the Prince George Cougars as an assistant coach. He had been the head coach of the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Hockey League, who actually announced the signing on Thursday night. The Cougars made their own announcement on Saturday. . . . Rigby played in the WHL, spending time with three teams — the Cougars, Kelowna Rockets and Swift Current Broncos — through 2015. He had been with the Coyotes for the past three seasons. . . . Ken Law has been named the Coyotes’ new head coach. . . .

Eric Williams, a former WHL goaltender, has joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs as their goaltending coach. He also works with the BCEHL’s West Valley Giants and the CSSHL’s West Vancouver Academy. . . . Williams, 29, played four seasons (2010-14) in the WHL, spending time with the Prince Albert Raiders and Spokane Chiefs. . . . In Chilliwack, he takes over from Mackenzie Skapski, another former WHL goaltender, who now is the development goaltending coach for the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Chase Johnston is the new radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings. He joins them after calling games for the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors for the past four seasons. In Brandon, he takes over from Brandon Crowe, who left the position late last season to join Hockey Canada. . . . The Wheat Kings also announced that their broadcasts are returning to 91.5 FM (Q Country) and 880 AM, both of which recently were purchased by the Jim Pattison Group. . . . It was only a year ago that the Wheat Kings had announced an agreement with Bell Media that put games on Bounce 96.1. Prior to that, the games had been heard on CKLQ from 1992-2021.


Chummy


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.


Costume

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while cringing at Hockey Canada’s chutzpah . . .

Scattershooting2

If you ever wondered about the arrogance of Hockey Canada, well, wonder no longer. You only had to see the end of the IIHF World Women’s Championship HockeyCanadain Herning, Denmark, on Sunday to understand. . . . Yes, that was Scott Smith, the president and CEO of Hockey Canada, handing out the gold medals to the Canadian team after its 2-1 victory over the U.S., in the process allowing controversy to creep into what should have been a time that belonged strictly to the winners. . . . The arrogance, the tone deafness . . . call it whatever you want . . . it was off the charts. . . . What it wasn’t was surprising. . . . If you haven’t realized it before, you should be aware by now that the Hockey Canada pooh-bahs seem to be planning to wait this out while the whole mess gets swept (shovelled?) under the carpet and disappears from the public mind. . . . At the end of the day, it’s all about the power and the accompanying perks. Once your nose is in the trough, it’s awfully hard to walk away on a voluntary basis. Obviously, the time has come for someone — politicians? sponsors? — to push harder.


Old friend Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times is nearing a well-earned retirement. For a long time now, he has allowed me to lift items from his weekly Sideline Chatter column. Yes, he has taken the odd thing from me, but the exchange is heavily weighted the other way. . . . His column is wonderful. If you aren’t familiar with it, here’s how he opened this week’s effort:

Warning: Dogleg ahead … and maybe    a giraffe leg.

Play at the Skukuza Golf Club in the wilds of South Africa had to be held up until the carcass of a giraffe — killed by a couple of lions, who were then replaced by 20 hungry hyenas — could be hauled away from the fairway of the third hole.

“It is what makes Skukuza so special,” greenskeeper Jean Rossouw told the London Daily Mail, “not knowing what is going to happen every time you play.”


Soup


DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME, SAYS COVID-19 — Craig Dickenson, the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, was back on the sideline for Sunday’s Labour Day Classic — that isn’t played on Labour Day — in Regina. Dickenson had tested positive for you know what and missed practices starting on Tuesday. He also missed Saturday’s walk through because he needed a negative test before he would be allowed to return. . . . The Roughriders know they have to be careful with this because it was only in July when they had 13 players and five staff members test positive. . . . ICYMI, the Blue Bombers (11-1) escaped with a 20-18 victory over the Roughriders (6-6). And now it’s on to Winnipeg for Saturday’s Banjo Bowl. If you’re a Roughriders’ fan you are pleading with your guys to play with more discipline — even a player who wasn’t dressed took a penalty yesterday and took them out of FG range — but you know you’re likely yelling into a void.


Headline at The Beaverton: Man who is “done with COVID” sure doing everything he can to keep it going.

——

One more from The Beaverton: No one is ever productive working from home declare CEOs working from Barbados.


Newquik


The Florida State football team had 140 staff members and 116 players on hand for its team photo. As Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wondered: “Do the grad assistants really need grad assistants?”


Mark your calendar. Game 1 of the World Series is scheduled for Oct. 28. As Bob Molinaro asks in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot: “Who will be the next Mr. November?”



ICYMI, Nick Saban, the head coach of the Alabama football team, signed a contract extension the other day that will pay him US$93.6 million through the 2030 season. . . . As sports business analyst Darren Rovell noted on Twitter — $26,326: In-state student tuition, room & board at Alabama for the 2022-23 school year. . . . $29,315: What Alabama football coach Nick Saban gets paid PER DAY this season.”


Teeth


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Jon Gruden, man, there’s a man who can apologize. Not. On eight years of his email hate, Gruden said, ‘I’ll make no excuses for it, it’s shameful. BUT. I am a good person. . . . I made some mistakes but I don’t think anyone here hasn’t.’ Gruden should be given another chance to work. The job should involve a mop and broom.”

——

Ostler, again: “Cameron Smith, world No. 2 golfer, calls LIV golfers not receiving world ranking points ‘perhaps a little bit unfair.’ Pal, if you’re looking for a shoulder to cry on, try your Saudi sugar daddies. They seem like sympathetic folks.”


THINKING OUT LOUD — A tip of the fedora to the Moose Jaw Warriors. Admission to their Black-White game on Sunday was by donation, and proceeds went to the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association in memory of Ethan Williams. Well done, Warriors! Never forget. . . . The American League’s third wild-card spot could come down to the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, and they’ll meet 10 times between now and season’s end. Seven of those games will be in Baltimore. They start with a doubleheader in Baltimore today (Monday). . . . Oh, did I mention that Baltimore has won six of nine meetings with Toronto to this point? . . . Of course, both teams still are within range of the AL East-leading Yankees, who are folding like a cardboard suitcase in a rain storm. . . . Is it time to blow up Hockey Canada entirely, including rules and regulations and everything else, and start over?


Desk


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Kudos to the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation, which doesn’t want its players working in the KHL because of its disapproval of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If you play in the KHL this season, you can’t play hockey for a Swedish national team.”



You may have watched Northwestern and Nebraska in a college football game from Dublin, Ireland, a couple of Saturday’s ago. At one point in the telecast, St. Andrew’s Cathedral could be seen. “In Omaha,” wrote comedy writer Brad Dickson, formerly of the Omaha World-Herald, “it would be razed to make room for a strip mall.”


Scott Frost, Nebraska’s head coach, is on the hot seat this season. After losing, 31-28, to Northwestern in Dublin, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Nick Canepa wrote: “Scott Frost . . . unemployment nipping at his nose.” . . . The Wildcats bounced back with a 38-17 victory over the North Dakota Fighting Hawks on Saturday.


Chicken


THE COACHING GAME:

The WHL’s Vancouver Giants have added former NHL D Brent Seabrook to their staff as a player development coach. Seabrook, from Delta, B.C., isn’t a stranger to the Giants. He joined the coaching staff in December when head coach Michael Dyck was with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship tournament that was postponed shortly after it got started. . . . Seabrook won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks during an NHL career that included 1,114 regular games and 123 more in the playoffs. . . . He spent four seasons (2001-05) with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes. He played 15 seasons in Chicago before retiring after the 2019-20 season. . . .

The BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers have added Tyler Gow to their staff as an assistant coach. Gow, 39, is from Nanaimo. He finished his junior A career by playing 40 games with the Clippers in 2000-01, then spent for years at St. Norbert College, an NCAA Division III school. In Nanaimo, Gow will be working alongside Colin Birkas, the general manager and head coach, associate coaches Bob Beatty and Bob Foglietta, assistant coach Dave Liffiton, skills coach Ben Walter and goaltender coach Sean Murray.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Wisconsin Lumberjacks of the Superior International Junior Hockey League played an exhibition game against the host Brooks Bandits of the AJHL on Thursday night. The Bandits won. 23-0. Shots were 56-12. . . . A couple of nights earlier, the Lumberjacks had dropped a 7-1 decision to the host Okotoks Oilers. . . . The Lumberjacks ventured into the SJHL on Sunday, where they were outshot, 49-19, and beaten, 3-2, by the Kindersley Klippers.


Service


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.


Shopping

%d bloggers like this: