Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering the writings of Jim Coleman . . .

Scattershooting2Behave


Don’t think for a minute that we are done with COVID-19, because we’re not . . . not even close.

On Sunday, the NBA’s Orlando Magic revealed that head coach Steve Clifford has tested positive and will miss at least five games. He actually tested positive twice in a three-day span. . . . Clifford also has had two vaccinations, having received his second Moderna dose on Thursday. But because two weeks haven’t elapsed, he isn’t considered fully vaccinated. . . . Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin ran things for Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. . . .

And then there’s Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu, who tested negative twice before heading to Spain for the Madrid Open, only to test positive upon her arrival. . . . So she won’t be playing in the tournament. . . . “I am feeling good, I’m resting and continuing to follow the health protocols and safety guidelines,” she said in a statement.



If MLB is really serious about shortening the time it takes to play its games, it needs to take a long, hard look at its replay system. Oh boy, does it ever!

Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Two months after the Super Bowl, NFL draft palaver engulfs sports TV and radio. Two weeks into its season, what you mostly hear about Major League Baseball is that its replay system is a farce. Therein lies a problem for the National Past-its-time.”

And one more fro Molinaro, who thinks it might be time for all sports to do away with replay reviews:

“Don’t know about others, but I could live out my life perfectly well without official replays. Just as I lived a perfectly happy childhood absorbed by sports long before reviewing calls became a thing. I just wish all leagues and sports could keep things moving. Replay rules prevent that from happening.”

You know what? It’s hard to disagree.

——

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, chose to focus on replay reviews in one of his rants last week. Here’s part of it . . .

We got to where we are with ‘instant replay’ because we looked at technological wizardry through rose-colored glasses and imagined that it would lead us to a land flowing with milk and honey. The premise sounded irrefutable — replay would always ‘get it right.’ The problem is that it does not always ‘get it right’ and that its scope has been expanded to too many aspects of the games such that it is an intrusion and not a godsend.

“Perhaps we should not be so surprised to come to such a realization.  Technology has been welcomed as a glorious blessing in many parts of our lives only to let us recognize down the line that it may not be all it was cracked up to be. Social media platforms would be one such technological encroachment in society that we now recognize is ‘less than a perfect addition’ to our lives. Just because technology can do something doesn’t mean that we need to put up with technology’s baggage as it does that something . . . sometimes less is better.”

That rant in whole is right here.

——

I watched the Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants on Saturday night, simply because there isn’t anything better than listening to Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper call a game. . . . When it ended, I switched over to the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. After four video reviews, I went to the PVR and watched two episodes of Hogan’s Heroes. Seriously! . . . The Sunday game between the Padres and Dodgers was a whole lot better, especially with the sound turned down to blot out some of the ESPN crew’s endless nattering and the infatuation with numbers, numbers and more numbers.



Here’s Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The Oakland A’s unveiled plans to spend $12 billion on their Howard Terminal development, which will include a ballpark. A’s owner John Fisher, who can’t afford to pay his baseball team anywhere near a major-league average payroll, must have found some money under his mattress.

“A $12-billion development, including a $1 billion ballpark? The line of skeptics starts with Bay Area sports management and marketing genius Andy Dolich, who says, “I’ll believe it when I see Gov. Caitlyn (Jenner) throwing out the first pitch.”



Apostrophe


It would appear that the Portland Winterhawks are in the process of replacing their longtime logo. At least, all signs seem to point in that direction. For a whole lot more, check out this story right here from Jason Cohen that appeared in Portland Monthly.

Meanwhile, the Winterhawks were involved in one of the WHL’s six games on Sunday, but the night belonged to F Lynden McCallum of the Brandon Wheat Kings as he came within a handful of seconds of breaking a record that has stood since 1972. . . .

F Cole Nagy scored the Swift Current Broncos’ last three goals in a 4-2 victory Scurrentover the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Regina hub. . . . The Broncos (6-16-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (8-13-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Swift Current led 1-0 after the first period on a PP goal by F Raphael Pelletier (3). . . . F Riley Krane (5) pulled Moose Jaw even at 1:17 of the second, only to have Nagy put the Broncos back in front at 6:19. . . . D Cole Jordan (3) got the Warriors back into a tie at 9:21. . . . Nagy snapped the tie at 11:29 of the third period, on a PP, then completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:21. . . . Nagy now has six goals. He went into this season with five goals in 59 games. . . . The Broncos were 2-for-4 on the PP; the Warriors were 0-for-3. . . . Swift Current got 36 saves from G Isaac Poulter. . . .

F Lynden McCallum scored four PP goals as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the BrandonRegina Pats, 5-1. . . . The victory guaranteed that the Wheat Kings (18-3-2) will finish atop the Regina hub standings. . . . Brandon has won seven in a row. . . . The Pats now are 9-11-3. . . . McCallum struck four times in two minutes 58 seconds, just off the WHL record. The WHL record book has F Boyd Anderson scoring four times in 2:35 (or was it 2:39?) during the third period as his Medicine Hat Tigers beat the host Flin Flon Bombers, 10-1, on Oct. 7, 1972. According to the record book, he scored at 10:08, 10:17, 11:50 and 12:47, which would be 2:39. . . . F Ridley Greig (10) of Brandon scored the game’s first goal, at 7:53 of the first period. It came while shorthanded. He leads the WHL with four such goals and Brandon leads with seven. . . . F Tanner Howe scored his first WHL goal for Regina to tie the game at 3:47 of the second period. A fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft, Howe was playing in his seventh game. . . . McCallum, who counted his first WHL hat trick, broke the tie at 18:10 and scored again at 18:41. He then added goals at 0:27 and 1:08 of the third. . . . McCallum has 19 goals and six assists in 21 games. . . . Brandon was 4-for-5 on the PP. . . . Regina was 0-for-6. . . . The Wheat Kings got four assists from each of D Braden Schneider and F Ben McCartney. . . . G Ethan Kurger stopped 34 shots for Brandon. . . .

F Jalen Luypen broke a 2-2 tie at 14:20 of the third period as the host Edmonton EdmontonOil Kings scored a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Oil Kings (17-1-1) have points in nine straight (8-0-1) and will finish atop the Central Division (minus the Swift Current Broncos) this season. . . . Medicine Hat (12-6-1) has lost three in a row — all three were to the Oil Kings this weekend. . . . Edmonton is 14-2-1 against Medicine Hat over the past three seasons. . . . Luypen, who has 14 goals, opened the scoring at 4:04 of the first period and F Josh Williams (12) made it 2-0 at 6:29 of the second. . . . The Tigers tied it on goals from F Nick McCarry (6), at 9:34 of the second, and F Lukas Svejkovsky (10), on a PP, at 3:54 of the third. . . . F Cole Clayton had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours had one assist, running his point streak to 19 games. Yes, he has at least a point in every Edmonton game this season. . . . The Oil Kings held a 37-19 edge in shots, including 16-5 in the second period. . . .

F Logan Barlage scored twice as the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the LethCalgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . Lethbridge (8-10-2) had lost its previous three games, including two to Calgary. . . . The Hitmen (8-7-2) had points in each of their previous four games (3-0-1). . . . F Sean Tschigerl (10), who had three goals in Saturday’s 7-2 victory over Lethbridge, gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 2:43 of the first period. . . . D Logan McCutcheon tied it with his first WHL goal at 13:47. . . . A third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, McCutcheon was playing in his 23rd game, 19 of them this season. . . . Barlage, who has seven goals, scored the next two goals, both via the PP, at 17:41 of the second and 3:14 of the third. . . . F Noah Boyko (10) completed the scoring at 16:27. . . . The Hurricanes got 40 saves from G Carl Tetachuk. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the PortlandAlternatevisiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-1. . . . Portland (8-5-3) has won two in a row, having beaten the Thunderbirds, 6-3, in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. . . . The Thunderbirds (7-9-0) have lost four in a row. . . . On Sunday, F Keltie Jeri-Leon (11) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead just 22 seconds into the game. . . . The lead held into the second period when F Gabe Klassen, who has four goals, scored twice, at 9:10, on a PP, and 15:24. . . . Portland got third-period insurance goals from F Simon Knak (10), who also had two assists, and F Mason Mannek, who got the empty-netter. . . . Portland had a 30-18 edge in shots. . . . G Dante Gianuzzi stopped 17 shots for the victory. He is 5-5-3, 2.71, .908. . . . Joshua Critzer of PNW Hockey Talk tweeted after the game that the four Portland players who had been with the USHL’s Lincoln Stars could play this week. F Jack O’Brien has completed his quarantine and could play on Tuesday and Friday against the visiting Everett Silvertips, while F Cross Hanas, D Clay Hanus and F James Stefan are in quarantine and could play Saturday against visiting Tri-City depending on the Americans’ status in regards to COVID-19 protocol. . . . Critzer also reported that Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ GM and head coach, is going to Texas for the U18 IIHF World Championship, so associate coach Kyle Gustafson will be in charge in his absence. . . . If you’re wondering, Stefan had 28 points, 10 of them goals, in 41 games with Lincoln, while Hanus had seven goals and 20 assists in 36 games, Hanas had three goals and 13 assists in 27 games, and O’Brien had a goal and six assists in 23 games. . . .

G Dylan Garand stopped 18 shots to earn the shutout as the Kamloops Blazers Kamloopsbeat the Vancouver Giants, 2-0. . . . The game was played in Kamloops, with the Giants as the home team. . . . Kamloops (11-2-0) has won four in a row. . . . Vancouver (9-5-0) has lost three straight. . . . Garand has two shutouts this season and seven in his career. . . . G Trent Miner had blanked the Blazers twice, both by 4-0 counts, this season. He stopped 28 shots in this one. . . . F Daylan Kueffler (2) scored the game’s first goal, at 11:36 of the second period, and F Connor Zary (6) got the other one, at 10:28 of the third. . . . F Josh Pillar had two assists.


Spell


Hey, want to be part of a team? Dorothy, my wife of almost 49 years, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and now is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. It happens virtually on June 6. You are able to join her team with a donation right here. . . . Thanks to your generosity, she has surpassed her original goal, so she has gone ahead and raised it.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Darren Dupont of Dupont Media tweeted on Sunday that he has been told “Brandin Cote will be announced as assistant coach (and Mike Babcock’s successor)” with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team. Babcock has volunteered to work as the Huskies’ head coach for the next two seasons. He was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 20, 2019, but remains under contract to the NHL team. Cote spent five seasons with the Spokane Chiefs (1997-02); Babcock was the head coach for three of those (1997-2000). Cote, 40, is in his third season as an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos.


Commas

Seattle dive-bar doesn’t want to be hockey bar . . . You get a shutout, and you get a shutout, and you get a shutout . . . Coach gone in Halifax

The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks have been hooked up with the AHL’s Utica AHLComets since 2013-14. Now there is ample speculation that the Canucks will be moving their AHL franchise, with the New Jersey Devils taking their AHL affiliate from Binghamton, N.Y., to Utica.

Granted, this is all speculation, but you know what they say about smoke. . . .

So, of course, people are wondering where the Canucks would place their AHL team should they decide to move it. One of the places high on anyone’s list is Abbotsford, where the Calgary Flames’ AHL team played for five seasons once upon a time.

So . . . I got to thinking about this and I actually had a thought: Why couldn’t the Canucks operate an AHL team out of Kamloops or Kelowna? Is either city large enough to be home to two teams — one in the AHL and the other in the WHL? . . . Likely not, mainly because there wouldn’t be enough sponsorship and fan dollars to keep both franchises happy. So forget it.

Besides, teams owned by Francesco Aquilini (Vancouver) and Tom Gaglardi (Kamloops Blazers) could never operate out of the same building, which would be the case in Kamloops. In case you have forgotten, they once were going to partner in buying the Canucks. How did that go? It ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada.

As for Kelowna, well, why not? Before COVID-19 became the decision-maker that it now is, there was all kinds of speculation in the hockey community that Rockets owner Bruce Hamilton was planning to sell the WHL franchise after playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup. Of course, that didn’t happen. Now what’s to stop him from selling the franchise to someone who would want to move it, and then partnering with the Canucks to bring the AHL to Kelowna?

Hey, I’m only thinking out loud . . . maybe it’s the isolation from the pandemic. Know what I mean?


So . . . you may be aware that Seattle as an NHL team — the Kraken. But did you Krakenknow that Seattle also is home to the Kraken Bar & Lounge and has been since 2011? . . . Now, Kraken, the bar, has served up a high, hard one to Kraken, the team. . . . As Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes: “A University District punk-rock bar is suing the Kraken for $3.5 million, alleging the NHL expansion team’s name choice and plans to open a Northgate Mall practice facility restaurant risks irreparably harming its brand.” . . . The lawsuit was filed on Thursday. . . . Baker added: ”The lawsuit claims the punk bar’s owners didn’t know what to do last summer when the better-resourced NHL team announced its name and new patrons began showing up wanting to turn their establishment into a hockey bar.” . . . From the lawsuit: “That The Kraken Bar would or should become a ‘hockey bar’ or a sports bar of any kind was anathema to The Kraken Bar and its regular patrons. The Kraken Bar’s regular patrons frequented the bar precisely because it was a dive-bar . . .” . . . Baker’s complete story is right here.


Phoenix


There were five games in the WHL on Thursday night and three of them ended in shutouts. One of the goaltenders with a clean sheet was Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. It was the 24th of his career, two off the WHL record. With time winding down on this developmental season, will Wolf be able to post two more? . . . Stay tuned. . . .

G Max Paddock stopped 20 shots to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-0 Raidersvictory over the Saskatoon Blades in the Regina hub. . . . Paddock has two shutouts this season and nine in his career. . . . This season, Paddock, 20, is 7-6-0, 2.65, .909. . . . The Raiders got first-period goals from F Ozzy Wiesblatt (5) and D Terrell Goldsmith (1), a second-period score from F Landon Kosior (3) and a third-period goal from F Justin Nachbaur (7). . . . Goldsmith, the 15th overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, got his first goal — and first point — in his 11th game. The native of Fort St. James, B.C., turns 16 on May 13. . . . The Raiders (8-10-3) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Blades (14-4-3) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . .

F Caleb Wyrostok broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Swift Current ScurrentBroncos skated to a 4-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Wyrostok’s winner, at 8:04, was his fifth goal of the season. . . . F Aiden Bulych (6) got the empty-netter, with his brother, Kaleb, getting the lone assist. . . . F Michael Farren gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 18:41 of the first period. . . . The Pats took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Logan Nijhoff (10) and F Carson Denomie (14), both via the PP. . . . Farren’s second goal of the game and ninth of the season, also on the PP, tied it at 18:18. . . . The Broncos got 31 saves from G Reid Dyck. . . . D Ryker Evans had one assist for the Pats as he ran his point streak to 11 games. . . . Swift Current (5-16-1) had lost its previous two games. . . . Regina (8-10-3) had won its previous two games. . . .

G Sebastian Cossa earned the shutout, F Jake Neighbours scored twice and F EdmontonJosh Williams had a goal and two assists as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-0. . . . Cossa turned aside 30 shots in recording his third shutout in 14 appearances this season and the seventh of his career. He is 13-0-1, 1.49, .944 and almost certainly will be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Oil Kings (15-1-1) have points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Tigers (12-4-1) had points in each of their previous nine games (8-0-1). . . . Edmonton held a 52-30 edge in shots. . . . The Tigers got 49 saves from G Garin Bjorklund. . . . Neighbours, who has eight goals, opened the scoring at 5:18 of the first period and Williams (10) made it 2-0 at 13:21. . . . Neighbours got his second goal at 1:46 of the third. . . . Williams, who turned 20 on March 8, has 21 points in 16 games. . . . Neighbours, who turned 19 on March 29, has 28 points in 16 games. . . .

G Dustin Wolf earned his fourth shutout of the season as the Everett Silvertips Everettdumped the host Spokane Chiefs, 5-0. . . . Wolf, who stopped 32 shots, has 24 shutouts in his career, two off the WHL record that is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 2013-18). . . . If nothing disrupts Everett’s schedule, it has eight games remaining. . . . In 14 games this season, Wolf is 11-2-0, 1.69, .944. . . . F Hunter Campbell, who has seven goals, gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 2:27 of the first period and made it 3-0, on a PP, at 14:11 of the second. . . . In between F Ryan Hofer scored his fourth goal. . . . F Jacob Wright (6) and F Ethan Regnier (7) also scored. . . . Spokane F Adam Beckman had his goal-scoring streak end at six games. He came close by hitting a post with Everett leading 2-0 in the second period. . . . The Silvertips (12-3-0) have won three straight. . . . The Chiefs (4-6-3) had won their previous two games. . . . Spokane hadn’t played in eight days after losing two games due to a positive test in the Tri-City Americans’ camp. . . . The same two teams will do it all over again tonight in Spokane. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers rode three third-period goals to a 4-1 victory over the KamloopsPrince George Cougars. . . . The Blazers (9-2-0) were the visiting team despite the game being played in Kamloops. . . . The Cougars (4-6-2) have lost three straight. . . . F Connor Bowie (5) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 19:30 of the first period. . . . D Inaki Baragano (4) got the Blazers into a tie at 19:19 of the second. . . . The Blazers got third-period goals from F Matthew Seminoff (5), F Reese Belton (2) and F Connor Zary (4). . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 43 shots for Kamloops, 16 more than Prince George’s Taylor Gauthier. . . . The two goaltenders were teammates on Team Canada at the 2021 World Junior Championship. . . . BTW, Kamloops F Connor Levis had his four-goal game on Tuesday night become a three-goal effort on Thursday. The goal that originally was Levis’s third of the game has been changed to F Caedan Bankier, with Levis getting the primary assist. According to Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, the puck “went off (Bankier’s) backside.” . . . It gave the Blazers a 5-1 lead over the Kelowna Rockets in what became a 6-2 victory. Bankier also had two assists.


The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads dumped head coach J.J. Daigneault on HalifaxThursday just days after he had completed his second season in the position. The Mooseheads were 15-19-9 this season, leaving Daigneault with a two-season record of 35-67-14. . . . In a news release, majority owner Bobby Smith said: “The past two years have been rebuilding seasons for our club after playing in the 2019 Memorial Cup final and this past season we had the youngest team in the QMJHL. Over the course of a trying 2020-21 season our young players developed tremendously and for this Coach Daigneault deserves much credit.” . . . That may be so, but it obviously wasn’t enough to save the man’s job. . . . Daigneault, 55, a longtime NHL defenceman in his playing days, spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens and one with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage before taking over as head coach in Halifax. . . . While searching for a new head coach, the Mooseheads also announced that assistant coaches Jon Greenwood and Sylvain Favreau, and goaltender coach Joey Perricone have been retained. Perricone is a former WHL goaltender (Moose Jaw Warriors, 2003-08).


Science


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.


Taxes

Canucks’ Miller says team needs more recovery time . . . Rockets out of quarantine and back on ice . . . Maier, Garand pitch shutouts

F J.T. Miller of the Vancouver Canucks always has worn his emotions on his sleeve and spoken his mind.

So you have to think the team’s management wasn’t at all surprised when he Canuckstook the NHL to task on Wednesday.

“This is nothing to do with hockey,” Miller said during a virtual media availability. “To be brutally honest, we’re going to need more time than this to come back and play hockey. Even the guys that didn’t get it aren’t ready.”

The Canucks are scheduled to play host to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. Thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak that impacted players, coaches, staff members and family members that would be the Canucks’ first game since March 24. All told, there were 22 players, three coaches and one staffer who tested positive.

When the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list was released on Wednesday is still contained seven Vancouver players — D Jalen Chatfield, D Alex Edler, F Jayce Hawryluk, F Nils Höglander, F Zack MacEwen, D Nate Schmidt and F Jake Virtanen.

“I don’t feel ready if I’m being honest . . . It’s kind of crazy,” Miller said. “I know everyone has a job to do but to expect our entire team to be ready to play in one practice and a pre-game skate is a bit hard to comprehend.”

Now the NHL wants the Canucks (16-18-3) to play their last 19 games over a 30-day span. They are sixth in the North Division and not likely to qualify for the playoffs.

“I hope people don’t take this the wrong way,” Miller continued, “I’m a super competitive guy . . . but this isn’t about hockey for our team. This is about the health and safety of our players, their family and their children. This isn’t about making the playoffs.

“What we’re being asked to do is not going to be too safe, if you’re asking me.”

The Canucks are scheduled to practice this morning at 11:15, and it’s to be open to the media.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Blackhawks head coach said that F Adam Gaudette, who was acquired Monday from the Canucks, will be given some time before he dresses for a game. Gaudette was the first of the Canucks to test positive. He was removed from the ice during a practice on March 30.


The Colorado Avalanche cancelled their Wednesday morning skate in St. Louis “due to one positive test from (Tuesday’s) COVID-19 testing.” That person went into isolation; all others tested negative. . . . G Philipp Grubauer was added to Colorado’s COVID-19 protocol list on Wednesday. . . . G Devan Dubnyk, acquired Monday from the San Jose Sharks, made his first start for the Avalanche last night, stopping 31 shots in a 4-3 victory in St. Louis. . . . After last night’s victory, Colorado head coach Jared Bender said that Grubauer will be out for “more than 14 days.” . . .

The AHL’s Toronto Marlies are on hold through Wednesday because of the league’s COVID-19 protocol. They have had three games postponed. . . . The Toronto Maple Leafs added F Nick Robertson to the COVID-19 protocol list on Wednesday. He had been with the Marlies so this move quite likely was precautionary. . . . The AHL also has the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who are affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers, shut down through Sunday. The league postponed the Phantoms game last night against the host Hershey Bears, and also scrubbed Friday and Sunday games.

The Houston Astros put five players, four of them starters, on the injured list on Wednesday. Catcher Martin Maldonado, infielders Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, DH Yordan Alvarez and utility player Robel Garcia all went on the list. James Click, the Astros’ general manager, later said all five were placed on the list “as a result of health and safety protocols.” . . . The Astros dropped a 6-4 decision to the visiting Detroit Tigers last night.


Xrays


This is interesting because Sportsnet announced on Feb. 18, 2014, a 12-year “partnership extension” with the CHL that was to run through the end of the 2025-26 season. That made Sportsnet the exclusive broadcaster of the CHL and the Memorial Cup. . . . Makes one wonder if Sportsnet will pay TSN to take the contract off its hands?


The four Canadian teams that were to have been part of the West Coast League, a wood-bat summer baseball league, have chosen not to play in 2021. The Edmonton Riverhawks, Kamloops NorthPaws, Nanaimo NightOwls and Victoria HarbourCats had announced that they would play a schedule of games among themselves. The Edmonton, Kamloops and Nanaimo franchises are expansion teams. . . . The Kelowna Falcons announced in March that they wouldn’t take part this season. . . . The WCL’s 10 Oregon- and Washington-based teams are going ahead with a 2021 season.


If you have ever been close to a hockey team you will know that it is people like the equipment manager and athletic therapist/trainer who really keep things going. . . . But what’s it like for the people in those positions with a WHL team in these pandemic times? What’s it like behind the scenes in the Regina hub? . . . Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun checked in with the three men who fill these roles with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He came out of it with a terrific long read that is right here.


The Kelowna Rockets were back on the ice at Prospera Place on Wednesday Rocketsmorning, the first time they have skated since they went into a 14-day quarantine after seven positive tests within the organization. An eighth positive was discovered during the quarantine period, but because it happened to someone already in isolation it didn’t impact the 14 days off.

Head coach Kris Mallette was one who tested positive.

“What’s crazy,” he told Global News, “is how it affects everybody differently, that’s the scariest aspect. I was fortunate that for me it was headaches, aches and a cough but it wasn’t anything that wasn’t manageable without taking some sort of medication.”

The Rockets, who had eight games postponed, have only played twice in what is supposed to be a 24-game season. They are scheduled to return to game action on Saturday against the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops.

Meanwhile, there were four WHL games on Wednesday . . .

G Nolan Maier recorded his ninth career shutout as the Saskatoon Blades beat Bladesthe Swift Current Broncos, 3-0, in Regina. . . . The Blades (13-2-2) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Broncos (3-13-1) have lost six in a row. . . . Maier now shares the Saskatoon franchise record for career shutouts with Andrei Makarov (115 games, 2011-13). . . . Maier, who has made 151 appearances in three-plus seasons, stopped 27 shots in posting his second shutout of this season. . . . F Blake Stevenson scored twice, at 10:35 and 12:21 of the first period for a 2-0 lead. He’s got seven goals. . . . F Chase Wouters also scored his seventh goal of the season. . . .

F Ben McCartney scored Brandon’s last three goals as the Wheat Kings beat the BrandonWinnipeg Ice, 5-3, in Regina. . . . McCartney, who has 11 goals, completed his evening with the empty-netter. . . . The Wheat Kings (13-3-2) opened an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Riley Ginnell (4) and F Brett Hyland (2). . . . The Ice halved the deficit at 4:55 of the second period on F Connor McClennon’s 11th goal, but McCartney got that one back at 9:07. . . . F Conor Geekie (7) got Winnipeg back to within at goal at 13:36, but McCartney counted again at 7:18 of the third. . . . F Owen Pederson (8) again pulled the Ice to within a goal, this time at 14:47, but McCartney put it away at 19:51. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs had an assist to run his point streak to 16 games, while McClennon has points in 10 straight. . . . The Wheat Kings were handed all six of the game’s minor penalties and gave up two PP goals. . . . The Ice (12-5-0) had won its previous six games. . . . Brandon G Connor Ungar stopped 38 shots. He is 5-1-1, 2.57, .915 in the Regina hub. . . . Brandon is 3-0-0 against Winnipeg this season — 3-2, 4-3 and 5-3 — with one meeting left. . . .

F Eli Zummack scored the game’s last two goals to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-Spokane3 OT victory over the host Portland Winterhawks. . . . Zummack, who has five goals, tied the game on a PP at 19:29 of the third period, then won it at 3:27 of OT. . . . Zummack is on a real roll at the moment. He scored a shorthanded goal and added an assist in Portland’s 7-6 victory on Saturday, then had a goal and three assists in a 4-3 victory over the host Everett Silvertips on Tuesday. . . . F Simon Knak (8) and F Kyle Chyzowski (3) gave the Winterhawks a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . The Chiefs tied it on goals from F Blake Swetlikoff (3), at 6:17 of the second, and F Adam Beckman (9), at 5:35 of the third. Beckman has goals in six straight games. . . . F Tyson Kozak’s first goal gave Portland a 3-2 lead at 9:10. . . . D Bobby Russell assisted on each of Zummack’s goals. . . . G Mason Beaupit was outstanding for the Chiefs, making 48 saves, 25 more than Portland’s Dante Giannuzzi. . . . The Chiefs now are 4-5-3; the Winterhawks are 5-4-3. . . . These teams played each other three times since Friday with Spokane winning twice. . . . D Sage Weinstein, a 15-year-old from Edmonton who was the 18th overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Chiefs. . . .

In Kamloops, G Dylan Garand posted a 16-save shutout as the Blazers beat the KamloopsPrince George Cougars, 5-0. . . . That was Garand’s first shutout this season and the sixth of his career. . . . F Josh Pillar scored the game’s first goal, at 8:06 of the first period. He finished with two goals, giving him five, and an assist. . . . F Caedan Bankier had a goal, his fourth, and an assist, with F Connor Zary and F Orrin Centazzo each recording two assists. . . . The Blazers (7-1-0) have won three in a row. . . . The Cougars (3-3-2) had picked up at least a point in each of their previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Kamloops held a 40-16 edge in shots, including 20-2 in the third period.


Lady


Please don’t forget that Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to help her out, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . And a huge thank you to those who have already responded to this. Love seeing her smile every time she gets a notification of a new donor.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats are looking for an assistant coach following the departure of Brady Bakke. He joined the Bobcats prior to the 2019-20 season. From a news release: “A search for a new assistant coach has begun and any candidates looking to put their name forward are asked to send a cover letter and resume to nigel@lloydminsterbobcats.com.” . . . The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves also are in the market for an assistant coach. From a news release: “To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume and references electronically to head coach/general manager Kevin Kaminski at coach.icewolves@sasktel.net.”


Sign

Canada down to three goalies as seven players go home . . . Portland WHL fan offers some perspective

In case you haven’t yet seen/heard this Christmas tune . . .


Hockey Canada trimmed seven players from its national junior team selection camp in Red Deer on Thursday, and two of them were goaltenders.

That means Team Canada will go into the World Junior Championship in the 2021WJCEdmonton bubble with Dylan Garand (Kamloops Blazers), Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) and Devon Levi (Northeastern U) as its goaltenders when the tournament opens on Dec. 25.

The players cut on Thursday were G Brett Brochu (London Knights), G Tristan Lennox (Saginaw Spirit) and forwards Adam Beckman (Spokane Chiefs), Tyson Foerster (Barrie Colts), Hendrix Lapierre (Chicoutimi Sagueneens), Cole Schwindt (Mississauga Steelheads) and Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs). . . . Beckman, 19, led the WHL in goals (48) and points (107) in 63 games last season. . . . Wright, who will turn 17 on Jan. 5, already is seen as the probably No. 1 pick in the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . .

Levi, a freshman at Northeastern, stopped 36 shots on Thursday night to help Red to a 4-0 victory White in an intrasquad game. The goals came from D Justin Barron (Halifax Mooseheads), F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice), F Connor McMichael (London) and F Dylan Holloway (U of Wisconsin Badgers). In White’s goal, Garand allowed three goals on 21 shots in his half, with Gauthier giving up one goal on 15 shots. . . . White had posted a 6-4 victory on Wednesday night. . . .

All 10 teams are to get into the Edmonton bubble on Sunday. Teams will quarantine for five days and all participants will be tested daily. . . . There weren’t any reported positive tests on Thursday. . . . At this point, Sweden has lost four players and four coaches off its roster, while Germany has had four players test positive. . . . Canada had two unidentified players test positive, then cut five players, saying they were, according to Hockey Canada’s Scott Salmod “unfit to continue to play based on return-to-play protocols.” . . . Switzerland has had three players come up positive, while the U.S. lost three players who attend Boston U where the program was paused due to COVID-19. . . . Austria has had one positive test. . . . That leaves Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Slovakia as the only competing teams not to have reported a positive test.


After reports on Wednesday that the United States had experienced what was whlthen a single-day record of 3,055 deaths to COVID-19, a WHL fan from Portland emailed me what follows:

“I would urge everyone to give the following scenario/exercise some thought and perspective . . .

“It’s a Wednesday night and the Hawks are hosting an Eastern Division team (let’s say Moose Jaw) in the Memorial Coliseum.

“You are at the game — and because you are at the game and you have been to many weekday MC games before . . . you have a real good ‘feel’ for the size of the crowd.

“The ‘true’ attendance at the MC is 3,055 — a routine attendance figure for a Wednesday night home game at the Memorial Coliseum for an Eastern squad.

“Now . . . take a deep breath/close your eyes/and imagine what the size and feel of that crowd is — 3,055 spectators — try and take a good picture of just how many people that is.

“Thanks for reading and hopefully you got a picture in your mind of what 3,055 people looks like to you.”

Then he added . . .

“Damn . . . I was gonna try and equate it to Canada . . . but I see on the same day Canada had 116 deaths. . . . 3,000 people — that’s a half-full rink in many of the WHL rinks.

“That’s a standing room only crowd in Swift Current . . .”


Opportunist


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 293 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 additional deaths related to the virus. There are 298 COVID-19 patients in hospital in the province, including 43 in intensive care. Manitoba’s 5-day test positivity rate is 13.3%.

CBC News: COVID-19 in Sask.: 4 more deaths, 324 new cases, 345 recoveries reported Thursday. . . . The seven-day average of daily new cases in Saskatchewan is now 283, a record high.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,566 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 new deaths related to the illness.

CBC News: As of Wednesday, there were 202 COVID patients in Calgary hospitals, including 36 in intensive care, pushing the facilities beyond 100 per cent capacity.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat is up to 93 active cases of COVID-19. There are 10 new active cases and eight recoveries in the city. . . . Cypress County is at 12 active cases, Forty Mile is at six. . . . Lethbridge is at 229 active cases. Brooks is at 25 active cases.

Richard Zussman, Global BC: COVID-19 cases up in BC. There are 723 new cases in the province of the virus. There have been 40,060 total cases. . . . Tragic day in BC. Most deaths in 24-hour period in the province. There have been 28 deaths due to the virus. There have been 587 deaths due to the virus in BC. . . . There are 346 people in hospital, up 8. There are 83 people in ICU, a new record high. This is also up 8. There are 9,524 active cases and 11,947 people in self-isolation.

CBC News: B.C. has sent a rapid-response team of paramedics to Fort St. James, where at least 60 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the community of around 1,500.

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,983 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, a new single-day high for the province. The new cases come with a record-high 61,809 tests completed. 515 new cases in Peel, 496 in Toronto and 208 in York Region. . . . Ontario records 35 more deaths linked to COVID-19, and there are 829 people hospitalized with the virus; 228 in ICU and 132 are on ventilators.

CBC News: Quebec reports 1,842 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 additional deaths linked to the virus. Province also has 1,218 new recoveries. 848 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in QC, 113 in ICU.

CBC News: 1 new case of COVID-19 has been reported in N.L. The new case involves a man in his 60s in the central region.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nova Scotia, for a total of 64 known active cases in the province. 1 case is in the Eastern Zone and the other 3 are in the Central Zone. There are currently no COVID-19 patients in hospital in the province.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in New Brunswick.

CBC News: Zero new COVID-19 cases reported in Nunavut on Thursday.

CNN: 292,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: World War II US battle deaths: 291,557 . . . US coronavirus deaths (so far): 292,091.

NBC News: The U.S. recorded 3,110 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, a new single-day record.

Governor Jay Inslee: Yesterday was the deadliest day of the pandemic so far in Washington. 49 people died — pushing us over 3,000 total deaths from COVID-19. Our hearts are with the families who have lost loved ones to this virus.

CBC News: Ellen DeGeneres says she has COVID-19. Production on comedian’s talk show halted until January.

——

The Oklahoma Sooners were to have played football against the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday on ABC-TV, but it won’t happen. The game has been cancelled because the Mountaineers have an outbreak. The game had been scheduled for Nov. 28 but didn’t happen then, either. . . . The Washington at Oregon game won’t happen, either. Washington doesn’t have the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes available for the game. . . .

The Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled to visit New Orleans on Dec. 20 and the Saints were planning on having 15,000 fans in attendance. That changed on Thursday when the Saints and the city said that capacity now will be 3,000. . . .

The Chicago Bears closed their facility on Thursday after a positive test. The same thing happened on Nov. 5, and the Bears were back in business the next day. . . . The Houston Texans are scheduled to visit Chicago on Sunday. . . . The Bears put three practice-roster players on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, and added DeAndre Carter, a punt returner/receiver, on Thursday.


Mike


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.


Fitbit

Scattershooting on a Monday night while waiting for pitchers and catchers to report . . .

Scattershooting

Here’s Pete Blackburn of CBS Sports, following news that New York Giants QB Eli Manning was about to announce his retirement: “So, I’ll ask you . . do you think he’s a Hall of Famer? You can let me know by tweeting me your thoughts, but just know that I don’t care what you think because I’m a Patriots fan and Eli Manning has been dead to me for years.”


Larry Walker, the pride of Maple Ridge, B.C., is going into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., later this year. But how close was he to becoming a goaltender? . . . Legend has it that he was in camp with the WHL’s Regina Pats and ended up being cut — twice! — by general manager Bob Strumm, who is one of the most popular figures in WHL history. . . . Anyway, Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post chatted with Strumm for a column that is right here.


Passwords


——

Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle on the Baseball Hall of Fame: “The truth is, (Barry) Bonds deserves to be in the Hall. Not for his hitting — the PED business makes it hard to fairly evaluate Bonds’ hitting — but because baseball is the rudest sport, and Bonds should be in the Hall representing that aspect of our national pastime.”

——

Ostler, again: “If I had a HOF vote, I’d write in Mike Fiers.”


The Bosa family doesn’t talk about it a whole lot, but it’s a story you are going to hear about as Super Bowl LIV (54) approaches. . . . It seems the great-grandfather of San Francisco 49ers DL Nick Bosa was a Chicago mobster who worked with Al Capone. Seriously! . . . Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle has more right here.


Congrats to Kelly Kisio, who is to be honoured by the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen on March 1. CalgaryKisio will become the third person to be saluted as Forever A Hitmen, after players Ryan Getzlaf, who was honoured in 2015 and Andrew Ladd (2017). . . . In 18 seasons with Calgary, Kisio filled various roles, including stints as general manager, head coach and president of hockey operations. He twice was named the WHL’s executive of the year. . . . My favourite Kisio story doesn’t involve the Hitmen. In 1982-83, he was playing with HC Davos in Switzerland. He had eight goals and two assists in a 19-7 victory over HC Lugano. That was Kisio’s second-last game with Davos; three days later he was with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. . . . He finished that season with Davos with 87 points, 49 of them goals, in 38 games. . . . Now a scout with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, Kisio will be honoured prior to an afternoon game against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.


CallImportant


The NFL’s 2020 draft is to be held in Las Vegas, which now has its own franchise — the Raiders. . . . As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, points out, “The NFL has come a long way in just a few years.  About five years ago, the league would not allow Tony Romo to be a part of a Fantasy Football Convention in Las Vegas because of ‘close ties to gambling’. This year, the league will be part of a show that will close The Strip for three days.”

——

Mike Leach, the new head coach of the Mississippi State football team, tweeted the other day: “Love being out in the great state of Mississippi recruiting some absolute studs! Any restaurant advice for me throughout the state?”

That was enough for The Sports Curmudgeon to come up with this response: “There was a time early in my career when I was in the Research, Development and Engineering business and I had reason to travel very extensively in the U.S. That tweet made me realize that Mike Leach’s wanderings as a head coach for the last couple of decades have taken him to places that would make him relish the idea of traveling around Mississippi. I have been to Lubbock TX and to Pullman WA and to Starkville MS. Let me just say that none of those venues can claim to be as close to the Garden of Eden as exists on Earth. If you spent a lot of time lobbying me, you might get me to concede that Pullman is a ‘bustling burb’ — but it won’t be easy. That will not be possible regarding either Lubbock or Starkville.

“Given where he has had to live for the last 20 years or so, I think I now understand why he is obsessed with pirates and aliens. There are not a lot of things to prevent his mind from wandering through the cosmos.

“As for restaurant advice, let me suggest to Coach Leach that he have some fun with his dining events. I have always wanted to go into a Denny’s for dinner and to ask the waiter to see the wine list.”


Sleep


You may have been watching when RB Raheem Mostert of the San Francisco 49ers ran for 220 yards and four touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers’ defence in the NFC final. As Mike Hart of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it: “There hasn’t been anything carved up like that since Emeril Lagasse was introduced to his first turkey.”


——

Prior to a recent NBA game between the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers, StubHub was listing tickets for as low as $4. The Left Coast Sports Babe wondered: “Are they asking or paying?”


Sportsbetting.ag, an offshore site, has listed a whole lot of prop bets for the Super Bowl. . . . Here’s one: “Which will be higher? (Tweets and retweets count). Donald Trump total tweets on 2/3/20 or the 49ers point total?” . . . Yes, Trump’s total will come from the day after the Super Bowl. . . . BTW, the over/under for Demi Lovato’s version of the U.S. anthem is two minutes one second. Take the over.


ipadexpert


You know how an NHL team now might fire its head coach and then hire a head coach who recently had been fired as the head coach of a different team? Well, it seems that trend has reached the junior A ranks. . . . The AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys have hired Scott Atkinson as general manager and head coach, replacing Joe Murphy, who resigned on Jan. 15. The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks had ousted Atkinson on Dec. 30.


The Kamloops Blazers beat the host Prince George Cougars, 3-0, on Friday night, the first time in franchise history that its goaltenders have put up three consecutive shutouts. The Kamloops1Blazers had beaten the visiting Tri-City Americans, 9-0, on Jan. 18 and the host Vancouver Giants, 4-0, on Jan. 19. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 27 shots on Friday night. He blocked 21 against Vancouver, with G Rayce Ramsay turning aside 24 against the Americans. . . . The Cougars got a split on Saturday night, beating the Blazers, 3-1, and ending Kamloops’ shutout streak at a franchise-record 233 minutes 30 seconds. . . . The Blazers also put together back-to-back shutouts on Oct. 15 and 18, beating the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 4-0, and Vancouver, 6-0. Ramsay had 23 saves against the Broncos, with Garand stopping 23 in the victory over the Giants. . . .

Kamloops first posted back-to-back shutouts in 1991-92 when Corey Hirsch made 20 and 21 saves respectively in home-ice victories — 13-0 over the Tacoma Rockets and 9-0 over the Seattle Thunderbirds — on Feb. 7 and 9. . . . Kamloops scored 11 times in the second period against Tacoma. . . . Those two shutouts came in a seven-game stretch during which Hirsch put up four shutouts. . . .

Back-to-back shutouts didn’t occur again until 2006-07 when Dustin Butler did it on Jan. 10 and 13. He stopped 20 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane, then turned aside 18 in beating the visiting Prince George Cougars, 6-0. . . .

In 2011-12, Cole Cheveldave did it on Jan. 1 and 6, blocking 22 shots in blanking the visiting Cougars, 5-0, then turning aside 32 shots in a 2-0 triumph in Prince George. . . . Cheveldave did it again in 2012-13, on March 3 and 5. He kicked out 25 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets, then stopped 14 in a 6-0 beating of Victoria. Both games were in Kamloops. . . .

It was Connor Ingram’s turn in 2016-17, when he made 28 stops in a 3-0 victory over the visiting Cougars on Feb. 19, then blocked 23 shots in a 7-0 triumph over the Edmonton Oil Kings in Kamloops on Feb. 21. . . .

One other shutout-related note involving Kamloops: In 2004-05, 19 of the Blazers’ 72 games ended in a shutout. Unfortunately for Kamloops, it was on the wrong end in 13 of those.


“Just wondering,” ponders the always deep-thinking Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “if Wheaties is the Breakfast of Champions, what is the Breakfast of Upsets, Coco Gauffs?”



JUST NOTES: If you watched Serena Williams lose a third-setter to China’s Qiang Wang in the third round of the Aussie Open the other night/morning, you have to wonder if we are watching the end of an era. Serena, who was the No. 8 seed, certainly seemed to be suffering from fatigue near the end of her loss to the No. 27 seed. . . . Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if Williams just once would give some credit to her opponent? . . . The NHL all-star stuff on Friday and Saturday evenings? Not in my home. The Aussie Open was on my TV. . . . One of the best things about the Aussie Open, and other tennis tournaments, is the lack of commentary while the ball is in play. . . . I did find time to watch The Irishman during the week. If you like gangster movies and know at least a bit about Jimmy Hoffa, you should like this one. If you aren’t aware, though, it’s three hours and 20 minutes long. . . . The book with the movie tie-in — The Irishman: Frank Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa — is rather good, too. . . . Sheesh! If only some people would learn the difference between cancelled and postponed!

Scattershooting on a Tuesday night while waiting for Meghan and Harry to arrive for tea . . .

Scattershooting


Tyler Kepner of The New York Times, writing about the MLB sign-stealing scandal and the Houston Astros:

“It was clear the Astros were doing something unusually effective. While power hitters generally strike out frequently — a trade-off for swinging aggressively — the Astros’ lineup has an extraordinary knack for slugging without whiffing. From 1910 through 2016, only two teams — the 1948 Yankees and the 1995 Cleveland Indians — led the majors in slugging percentage while also recording the fewest strikeouts. The Astros did it in both 2017 and 2019.”



G Taran Kozun, who played in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds, now is with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies in Saskatoon. On Saturday night, he posted a shutout as the Huskies beat the host Calgary Dinos, 3-0. Oh, Kozun also scored a goal. . . . That also was Kozun’s second straight shutout, as the Huskies had beaten the Dinos, 4-0, on Friday night.

Kozun is the second goaltender in Canada West to be credited with scoring a goal, but the first to actually shoot the puck into the opposing team’s goal.

On Oct. 26, 2012, Kurtis Mucha of the Alberta Golden Bears

As Neate Sager reported for Yahoo! Sports at the time: “It was the standard opposing-goalie-off-on-a-delayed-penalty, errant-pass-goes-in-the-net scenario. Mucha . . . was credited with the goal since he was the last U of A man to touch the puck after stopping a long shot. The one twist is that the Lethbridge Pronghorns’ off-the-mark pass from out of the corner to the goaltender’s left banked off the boards in the neutral zone and rolled into the net.”

That night, Mucha, like so many snipers before him, was talking about the points that got away. He was quoted in a U of Alberta news release: “The funny thing is, I almost had a couple of assists that night, too. I moved the puck up ice a couple of times and was the third assist on a couple of goals, so I was pretty close to a two- or three-point night.”


There is good news for followers of the Winnipeg Ice. F Matt Savoie, who turned 16 on New Year’s Day, is captaining Team Canada at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, Switzerland. . . . Savoie hasn’t played for the Ice since Dec. 28 when he was KO’d on a fierce open-ice hit during a 3-2 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The first selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, Savoie has five assists in 12 games with the Ice. When he isn’t with the Ice, he is with the Rink Hockey Academy Prep team in Winnipeg. He’s got 16 goals and 26 assists in 17 games with RHA. . . . Savoie had a shorthanded goal and an assist on Sunday as Canada beat Denmark, 6-0, outshooting the Danes, 44-8, in the process. That left Canada at 1-1 as it earlier had dropped a 6-2 decision to Russia. . . . Canada then lost 2-1 to the U.S. in a semifinal game played on Tuesday.




“Hey,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “if Clint Eastwood can talk to an empty chair, why not this? Philadelphia’s WTXF-TV ‘interviewed’ T.C., the Astros’ dugout trash can, as part of its coverage of MLB’s sign-stealing scandal. ‘I was beat over and over and over,’ T.C. revealed to the Good Morning Philadelphia show. ‘It took me two years to get all the dents out. It’s the worst job in sports.’ ”

——

Perry spent some time on the NFL crime beat recently . . .

“New Orleans police issued an arrest warrant for Odell Beckham Jr. after the Browns receiver slapped the butt of a Superdome security guard following LSU’s championship-game win. Though he hopes to get the simple-battery charge reduced to illegal use of hands.

New England receiver Julian Edelman jumped on the hood of a car in Beverly Hills, Calif., apparently damaging it and earning himself a police citation for vandalism. Or as Patriots apologists tried to spin it, he got flagged for piling on.”

I would suggest that Perry should be flagged for being offside.



The Kamloops Blazers lit up the visiting Tri-City Americans for a dozen goals in a 12-3 victory on Friday night. . . . If you were wondering — and I know you were — that was Kamloops1the 27th time in franchise history that Kamloops scored at least 12 times in one game. The franchise’s single-game record is 16 — the Jr. Oilers beat the visiting Kelowna Wings, 16-1, on March 11, 1983; the Blazers whipped the visiting Victoria Cougars, 16-4, on Jan. 19, 1990. . . . The last time the Blazers had struck for 12 goals in one game was on March 13, 1994, in a 12-4 victory over the host Americans. . . . Interesting note: The Blazers have scored in double figures twice this season — they beat the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 10-1, on Nov. 20. Prior to Nov. 20, Kamloops last scored at least 10 goals in a game on Sept. 20, 2002, in a 10-2 victory over visiting Seattle. . . . Interesting note No. 2: Kamloops once scored 10 goals in a game and lost. On March 6, 1984, the host Seattle Breakers scored an 11-10 victory. . . .

On Saturday night, the Blazers romped to a 9-0 home-ice victory over the Americans behind G Rayce Ramsay, who made 24 saves. . . . On Sunday, the Blazers went into Langley and beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-0, with G Dylan Garand stopping 21 shots. . . . The Blazers have put up six shutouts this season, with Garand and Ramsay each earning three. . . . The last time Kamloops blanked the opposition six times in one season? That would be 2012-13 when the total was seven (Cole Cheveldave, 6; Taran Kozun 1). . . . The franchise record is nine from 2003-04 (Devan Dubnyk, 6; Dustin Slade, 2; Geoff McIntosh, 1). . . .

BTW, Garand now has four shutouts in his WHL career, putting him into a tie with Kenric Exner for 10th on Kamloops’ career list. Ramsay has three and is tied for 12th with Dylan Ferguson, Jeff Bosch and Daryl Reaugh. . . . Dubnyk is the franchise’s career record holder, with 15, one more than Corey Hirsch. . . . Prior to Saturday, the Blazers last won a game by a 9-0 count on Jan. 11, 1995 when they beat the host Thunderbirds behind 21 saves by G Rod Branch. . . . Kamloops now has eight 9-0 victories in its regular-season history.



Scattershooting on a Monday night while wondering how long they’ll be the Houston Asterisks . . .

Scattershooting

——

Columnist Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, on the cheating mess in MLB:

“This scandal is a perfect illustration of why cheating in professional sports is so bad. It ruins everything. There is no way to fix the damage. And that scar across a sport’s visage is permanent, as with the World Series 101 years ago that is still known by just two words: Black Sox.

“That is why it is so important to make every effort to catch cheaters and crush those who get caught with penalties that get the attention of the next person who is tempted to do the same. We never seem to understand the true weight of the phrase ‘integrity of the game’ until some team or player tries to rip it to shreds to win.”

Boswell’s complete column is right here.

——


The person who came up with the idea to feature Cam Hope, the president and general manager of the WHL’s Victoria Royals, in a video as he put together a deal with the Moose Jaw Warriors that brought sniper Brayden Tracey to Vancouver Island deserves a raise in pay. . . . If you haven’t seen the video, it’s about six minutes in length and it’s right here. . . . The script writer got a perfect ending, too, as Tracey scored the OT winner in his first game with the Royals. . . . BTW, I have all kinds of time for Hope, who has never shied away from answering any question that I may have asked him.


Psst! Did you hear about the hockey game that wasn’t able to start on time because one of the referees forgot his pants? No, it wasn’t in the WHL. . . . It was a National Ice Hockey League game in the United Kingdom between the Peterborough Phantoms and Telford Tigers. . . . Officials are required to wear black pants with some padding, and referee Richard Belfitt didn’t have his with him. He ended up finding a pair in the arena’s lost-and-found bin and the game started after a 15-minute delay. . . . That story is right here.



Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, noted the other day that there was only one winless NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball team at that point of the season — Mississippi Valley State at 0-13. . . . “Twelve of those 13 losses were road games for the Delta Devils,” he wrote. “The NCAA loves to refer to its ‘student-athletes’. Surely those 12 road games enhanced significantly the ‘student’ portion of college life for those ‘student-athletes’. . . . The Delta Devils have since split two games, both on the road, and now are 1-14. Last night, they beat the host Alabama A&M Bulldogs, 72-66. The Bulldogs are 5-10.

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After the Miami Dolphins fired offensive co-ordinator Chad O’Shea, Finarelli confessed: “I could not pick him out of a lineup with the WNBA all-star team.”



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times reports: “It now has been revealed that New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes broke an ankle at his Florida ranch last season when he stepped in a hole while trying to elude a wild pig. Or as Mets publicists immediately tried to spin it, he’s been out because of a bad hammy.”

——

One more from Perry: “According to a study conducted by four universities in Ireland, the average doctor visit there lasts 14.1 minutes. Or roughly the same as an NFL video replay review.”



While the Battle of Alberta was showing life in Calgary on Saturday night, thanks to the Kamloops1Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian of the Edmonton Oilers, the Battle of the Okanagan blew up in Kelowna as the Rockets and the Kamloops Blazers brawled their way to the conclusion of what was a 7-2 victory by the visitors, who had won 4-1 at home on Friday. . . . Saturday’s game included battling goaltenders as Kelowna’s Roman Basran and Dylan Garand of the Blazers gave fight fans across the Internet an orgasmic moment.

“The league’s got to take a hard look at how their refs are letting it get out of control,” Kelowna head coach Adam Foote told David Trifunov of the Kelowna Daily Courier. “I talked to a league official before the game. I said, ‘They’ve let three hitting from behinds go, and they let 23 (Kamloops F Jeremy Appelt) board a guy.’ They call the right call there to control the game . . . Our guys, I never promote that stuff, but I think they just got fed up.”

The Rockets were upset about a hit by Appelt on F Liam Kindree at 12:49 of the second period.

Trifunov added: “The coach said he thought that precipitated much of the shenanigans at KelownaRocketsthe end of the game. But he also said after Kelowna’s Pavel Novak was suspended eight games for a check-from-behind on the Blazers’ Kyrell Sopotyk on Nov. 11, the Rockets have watched numerous similar calls go nearly unpunished.”

There are a few other WHL teams, like maybe 21 of them, who will be slapping foreheads and chuckling from behind hands over a Rockets coach complaining about the officiating. After all, everyone knows that the Rockets get all the officiating breaks because their owner, governor, president and general manager, Bruce Hamilton, rules the roost.

Right?

——

When Basran and Garand tumbled to the ice as their scrap neared its end, the Kelowna goaltender said something to his Kamloops counterpart and the two quickly separated and got to their feet. Basran, though, was favouring his right arm/shoulder as he skated away. . . . Basran is the Rockets’ No. 1 goaltender, having played in 33 games (1,816 minutes) to Cole Schwebius’s 13 (652 minutes). . . . If Basran is injured, remember that the fight took place slightly more than 24 hours after the passing of the WHL’s trade deadline. And remember that the Rockets are the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup that is four months down the road.

——

BTW . . . In the end, the goofiness resulted in one suspension — Kelowna D Kaedan Korczak got three games — and fines totalling $4,500, with the Rockets dinged for $3,000 of that. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia pointed out via Twitter that there were “18 fighting majors in the Kamloops-Kelowna game on Saturday night. That’s more fighting majors than all but five teams have incurred this season in the WHL.” . . . Kamloops has won seven of eight meetings with Kelowna this season, having outscored the Rockets 33-14 in the process. They will conclude the season series on March 13 (at Kamloops) and 14 (at Kelowna).

——

Meanwhile, in Calgary, there seemed to be a whole lot of consternation from various NHLcorners because Tkachuk refused to fight Kassian when challenged in the third period of what was then a 3-3 game. Those who are up in arms seem to be forgetting one thing — Why do you play the game? As then-New York Jets head coach Herm Edwards so famously explained more than 17 years ago: “You play to win the game.” . . . Well, Kassian ended up in the penalty box and the Flames, with Tkachuk screening in front of the Edmonton net, scored on the power play as they went on to a 4-3 victory. . . . On Monday, Kassian was hit with a two-game suspension. . . . Gotta think Tkachuk won the night. . . . With the all-star break approaching, Kassian will be eligible to return on Jan. 29 when — you guessed it! — the Flames are scheduled to play in Edmonton.

Paul Stewart, a former NHL referee who was a tough cookie as a WHL/NHL player, has his take on Tkachuk vs. Kassian right here.


The AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys announced on Monday that Joe Murphy, their general manager and head coach, had resigned, effective immediately. . . . Pete deGraaf was named interim head coach. . . . The Grizzlys are 9-17-5 and in sixth place in the seven-team South Division. . . . Murphy, a former Olds player, was in his second season as head coach, his first as GM. . . . DeGraaf is in his third season with Olds.



JUST NOTES: Why do I get the feeling that Houston’s American League time will be known as the Asterisks for the next while? . . . And it would seem that the Boston Red Sox and manager Alex Cora are next up at MLB’s Cheaters’ Waltz. . . . When MLB lowers the boom on the Red Sox, the New York tabloids — the Post and Daily News — should be worth a look. . . . Are the drivers who don’t clean the snow off their vehicles — especially the windows — before leaving home/work the same people who don’t use their turn-signals? . . . All things considered, Boston play-by-play fan Jack Edwards was rather restrained as Bruins F Brad Marchand muffed that shootout attempt last night. Could it be that Edwards simply was in a state of shock? . . . Why do journalists continue to write/report that a team or person has “punched their ticket” to an event? For example, The Canadian men’s volleyball team didn’t punch a ticket to anywhere on Sunday; rather, it qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games.

Hey, WHL, fans are waiting on 18 rosters. . . . Nine WHLers on Team Canada. . . . Hitmen sign two import forwards

MacBeth

F Tyler Redenbach (Prince George, Swift Current, Lethbridge, 2001-05) signed a one-year contract with the Oji Eagles Tomakomai (Japan, Asia HL). Last season, with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had nine goals and nine assists in 50 games. . . .

F Chase Clayton (Calgary, Saskatoon, 2010-15) signed a one-year contract with Blue Devils Weiden (Germany, Oberliga Süd). Last season, in 27 games with U of British Columbia (USports, Canada West), he had eight goals and four assists.


ThisThat

Guy Flaming, the host of The Pipeline Show, chatted with Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, on July 4. Part of that conversation — a partial transcript of which is right here — included this:

Flaming: One of the questions that came in from a listener was about the updated roster pages on the WHL website. It’s something I’ve mentioned over the last couple of years as well. Right now, if I go to the QMJHL website, I can pull up a roster for a respective team, Halifax, whatever, and see every player that that team holds the rights to. If I go to the WHL website and I look at the Calgary Hitmen, Jett Woo isn’t even listed on their roster and, in fact, the roster page is blank for the 2019 pre-season. Why is that and how can we fix that moving forward because, I think you’d agree, that it would be advantageous for the fans at least to generate interest by seeing all the players that a team holds the rights to?

Robison: Well, I think that that is a very good question and I’m glad you brought it to my attention. I’ll certainly look into that. I think it’s important that we keep current rosters. Not quite sure why that would be the case but I will certainly look into it and would suggest to you that as long as there’s the ability to do that, that we would certainly have that information posted.

——

Well . . . July is about to end, meaning it has been almost four weeks since Flaming and Robison had that conversation.

I checked for pre-season rosters on the WHL website on Monday evening and here is what I found — the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Regina Pats and Victoria Royals have rosters available.

As for the other 18 teams . . . crickets!

So the next time you hear the commissioner of all things WHL talking about how important fans are, well . . .

I mean, sheesh, we’re talking about pre-season rosters here. Not the contract terms of all 22 head coaches, or how much players are being paid, or how much the WHL is paying in legal fees these days.

——

BTW, Robison’s response to Flaming’s first question — he asked for two or three highlights from the past 12 months — had me spitting out my coffee. I’m thinking the good folks of Prince Albert would have done the same. . . . One of Robison’s highlights was the Raiders having won the 2018-19 WHL championship:

“What a good news story that is,” Robison said, “and it really helped solidify that franchise moving forward, because as you’re well aware, in the smaller markets, there’s challenges and certainly in Prince Albert we need a new facility and the timing couldn’t have been better for their run in the WHL playoffs and winning the championship.”

Hey, Prince Albert, you have been forewarned. Time to start saving your pennies for a new arena.

Quit snickering, Swift Current, because you’ll be up next.


There are nine WHLers on the 22-man roster for the Canadian team that will play in the CanadaHlinka Gretzky Cup that runs from Aug. 5-10 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia. . . . The roster was revealed Tuesday after a five-day selection camp in Calgary. . . . Here are the WHL players named to the team: F Ozzy Wiesblatt, Prince Albert Raiders; F Justin Sourdif, Vancouver Giants; F Ridly Greig, Brandon Wheat Kings; F Connor McClennon, Winnipeg Ice; F Jake Neighbours, Edmonton Oil Kings; F Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; D Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert; and G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers. . . . WHLers who were in camp but weren’t selected: F Jakob Brook, Prince Albert; F Kyle Crnkovic, Saskatoon Blades; F Jack Finley, Spokane Chiefs; F Ryder Korczak, Moose Jaw; D Tyrel Bauer, Seattle Thunderbirds; D Luke Prokop, Calgary Hitmen; and D Ronan Seeley, Everett Silvertips. . . . Canada will open against Finland on Monday in Breclav. . . . Michael Dyck, Vancouver’s head coach, is the head coach of Canada’s team, with Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, one of the assistant coaches.


The Calgary Hitmen have signed Czech F Jonas Peterek, 18, and Slovakian F Samuel Krajc, Calgary17, both of whom were picked in the CHL’s 2019 import draft. . . . Peterek had two goals and seven assists in nine games with HC Ocelari Trinec’s U-19 team last season, then added two goals and nine assists in 41 games on loan to HC Frydek-Mistek (Czech2). He also had five goals and eight assists in 29 games with his country’s U-18 side. . . . Krajc had eight goals and six assists in 14 games with HK Dukla Trencin’s U-18 team, and also had 11 goals and eight assists in 27 games with the U-20 side. In seven games with Slovakia’s U-18 team, he had two goals and an assist.


Leland Mack has joined the Prince George Cougars has their head scout in the Pacific PrinceGeorgeRegion. He is the head coach of the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. Mack had been scouting for the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Cougars also have added Tim Mills, David Reekie, Rob Rogers and Trevor Sprague to their scouting staff. . . . Mills moves over from the Swift Current Broncos and will be the Cougars’ Okanagan scout. . . . Reekie, a goaltender in his playing days who suited up with the Regina Pats and Everett Silvertips (2004-07), will work Regina and southern Saskatchewan for the Cougars. . . . Rogers, who had been working with the Spokane Chiefs, will focus on B.C. . . . Sprague, the general manager of the major midget Cariboo Cougars, will keep an eye on the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and northern B.C.


Taking Note has been told that F Patrick D’Amico, who played three seasons (2012-15) with the Regina Pats, won’t be playing in 2019-20 because of concussion issues. A Winnipegger, he has played four seasons in the ECHL, with the Colorado Eagles, Atlanta Gladiators, Indy Fuel and Norfolk Admirals. Last season, he had seven goals and 10 assists in 28 games. . . . In 2017-18, he had 10 goals and 23 assists in 55 games with Norfolk.


Greg Wyshynski of ESPN has taken an in-depth look at the NHL and its fighting numbers. NHL. . . “In 1,271 regular-season games in 2018-19,” he writes, “there were 224 fights in which at least one player received a fighting major. That’s down from 280 fights in 2017-18.” . . . Also: ”The rate for 2018-19 was 0.18 fights per game, which marks the first time that the average fights per game has dropped below 0.20.” . . . And: “In 2018-19, 15.3% of regular-season games had a fight. In 2008-09, that number was 41.4%.” . . . Let’s compare a couple of those numbers to the WHL’s 2018-19 season, using numbers available at hockeyfights.com. In 748 regular-season WHL games, there were 272 fights in which at least one player received a fighting major. (That number was 345 in 2017-18, when each team played 72 games; last season, each team played 68 games.) The rate for 2018-19 was 0.36 fights per game, down from 0.44 in 2017-18. . . . Yes, there are more fights in the WHL than in the NHL these days. . . . Wyshynski’s complete story is right here.


JUST NOTES:

Dan MacKenzie has signed on as the first full-time president of the Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella under which the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League operate. . . . MacKenzie, who spent the past eight years as the managing director of NBA Canada, will report to the CHL executive council which comprises the three commissioners of the aforementioned leagues — David Branch (OHL), Gilles Courteau (QMJHL) and Ron Robison (WHL). As well as being the OHL commissioner, Branch had been the CHL president since 1996. . . . There is a complete news release right here. . . .

F Sebastian Streu, who will turn 20 on Nov. 22, has signed a tryout agreement with Eisbären  Berlin (Germany, DEL), meaning that he won’t be returning to the Regina Pats. Streu, who has German/Canadian citizenship, had seven goals and 15 assists in 36 games with Regina last season. . . . Streu’s father, Craig, is preparing for his first season as an assistant coach with Eisbären  Berlin. . . . The Pats are left with three 20s on their roster — F Robbie Holmes, F Dawson Holt and F Austin Pratt.


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2020 WJC gold-medal game for less than $27? . . . Nine WHLers to U17 camp. . . . Raiders, Giants draw first blood


MacBeth

F Andrej Kudrna (Vancouver, Red Deer, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 52 games.


ThisThat

Tickets for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship are scheduled to go on sale on 2020WJCApril 24. The tournament is to be held in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, opening on Dec. 26 and concluding on Jan. 5. . . . Ticket prices for the gold-medal game will start at €17.50 — on Friday, Cdn$1 equalled 0.66 Euro; it also equalled 17.07 Czech Koruna. . . . Games will be played in the Ostravar Arena, which has a capacity of 7,800, and the Week Arena in Trinec, with a capacity of 4,200. . . . Ticket prices are the same in both facilities. . . .

From a news release:

“Thanks to the unobstructed sightlines from all seats at both arenas, all tickets are available at a single price level for each game. Tickets for group-stage games are in three price categories — 290 CZK (€11.30), 240 CZK (€9.30) and 140 CZK (€5.40).

“For the same price of 290 CZK (€11.30), tickets to all four quarter-final games will be available in both cities: two in Ostrava and two in Trinec. The last two days of the tournament will take place in Ostrava — the semi-finals and medal games will be played in Ostravar Arena.

“Tickets for both semi-finals will be available for 290 CZK (€11.30), and then fans can watch the bronze-medal game for 350 CZK (€13.60) and the championship final for 450 CZK (€17.50). Tickets for games of the best-of-three relegation series that will also take place at Ostravar Arena will be sold for 90 CZK (€3.50).” . . . About 25 per cent of tickets have been blocked off for the IIHF, teams and media, and for technical purposes. . . .

Tickets will be available online at 2020.worldjuniors.hockey.

In Canadian dollars, a ticket to the gold-medal game will set you back about $26.

The 2019 tournament was held in Victoria and Vancouver. A ticket package for games in Victoria (14 games) started at $399 ($28.50 a game), with a Vancouver package (19 games) starting at $650 ($34.21 a game).

Ticket prices for the 2019 tournament were markedly lower than the 2018 tournament, which was held in Buffalo, and the 2017 event (Montreal/Toronto). Swaths of empty seats at those tournaments resulted in organizers rethinking ticket prices before the 2019 WJC.

(A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Matt Smith — “a long-time reader from Portland who has been living in Prague, Czech Republic, for the past five years” — for steering me to this information. Yes, he will be in attendance at the 2019 WJC “for its entirety.”)


There are nine WHLers among the 23 players invited by Hockey Canada to attend a Canadaselection camp next week prior to the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. . . . That tournament will be held in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden, from April 18 through April 28. . . . The 23 Canadian players will gather in Kisakallio, Finland, next week for a training camp prior to two pre-tournament games. The camp will run from Monday through Friday, with exhibition games set for April 14 (Belarus, in Umeå) and April 15 (Russia, in Örnsköldsvik). . . .

The camp roster features three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards. . . . The WHLers invited to camp are G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George Cougars; G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers; D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Kaedan Korczak, Kelowna Rockets; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; F Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw; F Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes; F Connor Zary, Kamloops; and F Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg Ice. . . . Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, is an assistant coach with the U18 team. . . . Canada hasn’t won this tournament since 2013.

The training camp roster is right here.


The Spokane Chiefs have extended the contracts of three members of their hockey staff through the 2020-21 season. . . . Joseph Hurley, the team’s athletic trainer and conditioning coach, is finishing up his second season with the Chiefs. He also has worked with the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and USA Ball Hockey. . . .  Chris Baird, the assistant director of hockey operations, began with the Chiefs as a video co-ordinator in 2006-07. He has been in his present full-time position since August 2017. . . . Sports psychologist Jon Hammermeister has been an Eastern Washington U professor since 1999.


D Jared Freadrich of the Portland Winterhawks has signed on with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. Freadrich, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 15 goals and 33 assists 67 games with Portland this season. . . . He also played with the Regina Pats, Red Deer Rebels and Victoria Royals during a WHL career in which he totalled 38 goals and 93 assists in 263 regular-season games.


D Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will spend the remainder of this season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Addison, who will turn 19 on Thursday, was a second-round pick by Pittsburgh in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign with them. . . . This season, his third with Lethbridge, he had 11 goals and 54 assists in 67 games. He added two goals and seven assists in seven playoff games.


D Aaron Hyman, who completed his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans this season, has signed with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. Hyman, who also played with the Calgary Hitmen, Seattle Thunderbirds and Regina Pats, had 16 goals and 66 assists in 232 career regular-season games. . . . This season, he had 10 goals and 40 assists in 68 games as he started with the Pats and finished with the Americans. . . . Hyman played in back-to-back Memorial Cup tournaments — with Seattle and then Regina.


G Joel Hofer of the Portland Winterhawks will finish his season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Hofer, 18, was a fourth-round pick by the Blues in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He started this season with the Swift Current Broncos, before being dealt to Portland. All told, he was 15-29-3, 3.72, .906.


Chris Murray, a former NHL/WHL player, is the new head coach of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Murray, 44, played three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, helping the team to Memorial Cup titles in 1991 and 1994. He went on to a pro career that included stints with the Montreal Canadiens, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. . . . A city firefighter in Kamloops these days, Murray just completed his fifth season as a part-time assistant coach with the WHL Blazers. He also was the head coach of the minor midget Blazers. That position will be filled by Crosby Dorais of Kamloops.


USA Hockey named 23 players — two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 13 forwards — USAhockeyto its U-17 team on Friday. These players, all born in 2003, are expected to join USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and compete as the national U-17 team. The NTDP is a two-year residency program based in Plymouth, Mich. . . . The roster includes two players whose WHL rights belong to the Portland Winterhawks, and one who was drafted by the Prince George Cougars. . . . D Ty Murchison of Corona, Calif., played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings U-16 team. The Winterhawks selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with them, nor has he made an NCAA commitment. F Chaz Lucius of Grant, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2021-22. The Winterhawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, Lucius had 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy in St. Paul, Minn. . . . Prince George selected D Aidan Hreschuk of Long Beach, Calif., in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. He also played for the U16 Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Hreschuk has committed to Boston College for 2021-22. . . .

There are a couple of other players on USA Hockey’s U-17 team with WHL connections. . . .  F Tyler Boucher of Scottsdale, Ariz., is the son of former Tri-City Americans G Brian Boucher (1994-97). . . . F Colby Saganiuk of Valencia, Pa., is the grandson of Rocky Saganiuk, who played with the Kamloops Chiefs and Lethbridge Broncos (1975-77) and was the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 1995-96.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: Two second-round series began on Friday night. . . . In Prince Albert, the Raiders got three goals from F Sean Montgomery and a goal and three helpers from F Brett Leason in beating the Saskatoon Blades, 6-1. They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday. The first three games of this series are being televised by Sportsnet. . . . In Langley, B.C., G Trent Miner recorded the shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Royals, 3-0. They’ll play again tonight in Langley. . . .

The other two series get going tonight, with the Edmonton Oil Kings — the Edmonton Oilers’ logo at centre ice in Rogers Place is gone — playing host to the Calgary Hitmen, and the Spokane Chiefs meeting the Silvertips in Everett.

——

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert duo of F Brett Leason and F Sean Montgomery proved too much in the PrinceAlbertearly going as the Raiders beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades in Game 1 of their second-round series. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday, then head to Saskatoon for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Montgomery and Leason were in on the Raiders’ first three goals. Montgomery scoring twice, with Leason getting a goal and two helpers. Montgomery later completed his first career WHL hat trick. . . . Montgomery (2) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 3:47 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Chase Wouters (2) tied it at 5:24. . . . Leason (3) broke the tie at 12:07, and Montgomery (3) upped the lead to 3-1 at 11:39 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 4-1 when F Parker Kelly (2) scored at 17:42. . . . Montgomery (4) completed his hat trick at 5:51 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Montgomery’s first hat trick came in his 362nd career game — 345 in the regular season and 17 playoff games. . . . It also was Prince Albert’s first three-goal playoff game since F Milan Kraft did it on March 30, 2000. On that night, Kraft scored the game’s last three goals, two of them via the PP, as the Raiders won, 3-2, in Swift Current. F Layne Ulmer had both Swift Current goals. That was Game 1 in a first-round series that the Broncos won, 4-2. . . . Kelly (3) gave the Raiders a 6-1 lead on a PP at 13:40, with Leason earning his third assist, and fourth point, of the night. . . . The Raiders were 2-6 on the PP; the Blades were 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 23 shots for Prince Albert. He is 5-0, 1.60, .925 in these playoffs. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier was beaten five times on 36 shots in 47:04. Koen MacInnes came on in relief to make his WHL debut with the Blades trailing, 5-1. He gave up one goal on three shots. . . . G Dorrin Luding (undisclosed) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. MacInnes, 17, was dressed as Maier’s backup. MacInnes, from Burnaby, B.C., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He played this season for the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.


G Trent Miner turned aside 15 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 3-0 victory over Vancouverthe Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight in Langley. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Victoria on Tuesday and Thursday. . . . F Davis Koch (2) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 13:44 of the first period, on a PP. . . . Koch, who had a goal and nine assists in the first round, now leads the WHL’s playoff points race, with 11. . . . The Giants went ahead 2-0 at 5:50 of the third period as F Jared Dmytriw (2) scored. . . . F Dawson Holt (2) made it 3-0 with an empty-netter at 18:12. . . . Dmytriw also had an assist, while D Bowen Byram had two. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3. . . . Miner, who turned 18 on Feb. 5, was 24-5-2, 1.98, .924, with three shutouts, in the regular season. In the playoffs, he is 3-1, 1.51, .938 as he shares time with David Tendeck. . . . The Royals got 25 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Vancouver F Justin Sourdif played for the first time since he was injured late in Game 1 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . As expected, the Giants scratched F Aidan Barfoot. He was injured in Game 4 against Seattle. . . . F Kody McDonald (suspended) and F Kade Oliver (shoulder) were among Victoria’s scratches. Oliver’s season is over.


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Who would you start in goal? . . . Hurricanes, Hitmen going to Game 7. . . . Oil Kings take care of Tigers in 6

MacBeth

G Leland Irving (Everett, 2003-08) signed a one-year extension with Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga). This season, in 45 games, he was 2.50 and .921. He was third in the league in GAA and second in save percentage.


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The Victoria Royals are in Kamloops tonight with a chance to wrap up their first-round series with the Blazers. A 6-3 victory in Victoria on Saturday left the Royals with a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series.

According to Blazers broadcaster Jon Keen, this will be the eighth time the Blazers will Kamloops1have been one loss from having either their playoff hopes or their season come to an end.

So . . . if you’re Kamloops head coach Serge Lajoie who do you start in goal tonight? Your choices are Dylan Ferguson 20, who started but didn’t finish on Saturday, or Dylan Garand, 16.

In this series, Ferguson is 2-2, 3.56, .876 in four appearances, all starts. He has turned aside 92 of 105 shots.

Garand is 0-1, 2.18, .933 — he has stopped 42 of 45 shots — in two appearances.

In the regular season, Ferguson, who has signed with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, was the unquestioned starter, finishing 17-24-5, 3.01, .908 in 49 appearances. However, he was injured on March 6 and Garand — he went 11-7-3, 2.94, .902 in 27 regular-season appearances — was spectacular as the go-to down the stretch.

In the last six regular-season games, with Ferguson unable to even dress as the backup, when a regulation loss would have ended the Blazers’ playoff hopes, Garand went 5-0-1, 1.63, .939.

Garand also went the distance in the tiebreaker, stopping 27 shots as the Blazers beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, to get into the first round.

So . . . if you’re Kamloops head coach Serge Lajoie who do you tap on the shoulder tonight?

As an aside, the Blazers have added G Rayce Ramsay to their roster. He has been with the team previously, most recently as Garand’s backup for part of the time while Ferguson was injured. Ramsay spent this season with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, whose season ended with a Game 7 loss to the host Estevan Bruins on Tuesday.


If was a year ago when Kelly Sowatsky took a sign with her to a Pittsburgh Penguins’ home game. She was in desperate need of a kidney transplant and had decided it might not hurt to get her message out there. . . . In the end, the sign paid off, and how it all came about is quite a story. . . . Ryan McGee, a senior writer at ESPN, has it all right here.


F Cam Recchi and F Coalson Walford each had a goal and an assist as the Notre Dame Hounds won the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League championship with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Hounds won the best-of-five final, 3-1. . . . Recchi, 17, is the son of former WHL star Mark Recchi, who is a Hockey Hall of Famer and also a part-owner of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Hounds will join the Brandon Wheat Kings, Thunder Bay Kings and the host Tisdale Trojans in the Telus Cup’s western regional tournament starting Thursday.


Matt Hughes is the new head coach of the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s female prep team. He spent the past two seasons as the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs.


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NOTES: There is one WHL game on the playoff schedule tonight, with the Victoria Royals in Kamloops to face the Blazers. The Royals won, 6-3, in Victoria on Saturday night to move into a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. . . . Game 7, if needed, would be played in Victoria on Wednesday night. . . . The winner of this series will face the Vancouver Giants in the second round. That series is to open in Langley, B.C., on Friday. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen and Lethbridge Hurricanes are going to a Game 7. The Hurricanes skated to a 7-6 OT victory in Calgary on Sunday in a game that featured six third-period goals, including one with 33 seconds left in regulation time. . . .

In Sunday’s other game, the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Tigers, 4-3 in OT, in Medicine Hat to win that series, 4-2. . . . The Oil Kings now await the winner of the series between Calgary and Lethbridge. . . . This was the third spring in a row that the Tigers’ season was ended by an OT goal. . . . Last season, F Linden McCorrister’s goal at 10:37 of OT gave the host Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Tigers in Game 6 of a first-round series. . . . In 2017, F Tyler Wong’s shorthanded goal at 3:03 of OT gave the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Tigers in Game 7 of a second-round series. . . .

Darren Steinke, who worked at the Medicine Hat News not that long ago, tweets that Bob Ridley, the voice of the Tigers, called his 3,935th game on Sunday. . . . With road teams winning twice on Sunday, the home teams now are 21-20 in the first round. . . .

F Phillip Schultz scored three times for the host Victoria Royals in Saturday’s 6-3 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. A freshman from Germany, he is the first import in Royals history to enjoy a playoff hat trick. . . . He also is the fourth Royals player with a playoff hat trick, after F Tyler Soy (2018), F Brandon Magee (2015) and F Jamie Crooks (2012). . . .

The dates for one second-round Western Conference series have been announced. . . . Everett and Spokane Chiefs will use a 2-3-2 format because Cirque du Soleil will take over the Silvertips’ home arena for a few days. The series will open in Everett on Saturday and Sunday, then move to Spokane for games on April 10 and 12 and, if necessary, April 13. The last two games, if needed, would be played in Everett on April 15 and 17. . . . Everett finished on top of the U.S. Division, at 47-16-5, with Spokane second, at 40-21-7. The Silvertips won the season series, 6-0-2; the Chiefs were 2-5-1. . . . They have met once since the Jan. 10 trade deadline — Everett won, 3-1, in Spokane on March 5. . . .

Meanwhile, the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades are looking on with interest after sweeping their first-round series. They’ll being the second round with games in Prince Albert on Friday and Sunday, with Games 3 and 4 in Saskatoon on April 9 and 10. If needed, Game 5 would be played in Prince Albert on April 12, with Game 6 in Saskatoon on April 14, and Game 7 back in Prince Albert on April 16. . . . Prince Albert went 54-10-4 to finish atop the overall standings; Saskatoon was second in the East Division, at 45-15-8. . . . The Raiders were 6-2-0 in the season series; the Blades were 2-5-1. . . . They have met twice since the trade deadline — Saskatoon won, 3-2, at home on March 15; the Raiders won, 3-1, at home the next night.

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who were 33 seconds from having their season end, got a Lethbridgegoal from F Taylor Ross at 3:57 of OT to earn a wild 7-6 victory over the host Calgary Hitmen. . . . The series is tied, 3-3, with Game 7 set for the Nicholas Sheran Arena in Lethbridge on Tuesday night. You will recall that the world men’s curling championship is being decided in the Enmax Centre, so the Hurricanes are playing home games in the arena that is home to the U of L Pronghorns women’s and men’s teams. . . . On Sunday, the Hurricanes jumped out to an early 3-1 lead but weren’t able to hold it. . . . F Kaden Elder (1) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 1:00 of the first period. . . . Lethbridge responded with three quick goals from F Zachary Cox (1), at 2:08; F Dylan Cozens (4), at 3:08; and F Jordy Bellerive (2), on a PP, at 6:32. . . . Calgary pulled even on goals from F Cael Zimmerman (2), on a PP, at 12:53, and D Devan Klassen (2), at 5:42 of the second period. . . . F Nick Henry (4) put Lethbridge back in front, on a PP, at 2:57 of the third period. . . . Calgary tied it when F Ryder Korczak (2) scored at 11:12. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (6) gave Lethbridge a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 11:47. . . . Calgary went ahead 6-5 on goals from F James Malm (2), at 13:05, and F Mark Kastelic (4), at 17:37. . . . With the Hitmen seemingly on the verge of winning the series, Lethbridge D Calen Addison, who also had three assists, scored his second goal of the series at 19:27. . . . Ross, a 34-goal man in the regular season, won it with his first goal of the series. . . . Leschyshyn also had three assists, with Zimmerman chipping in two. . . . Lethbridge was 3-4 on the PP; Calgary was 1-4. . . . The Hurricanes got 27 stops from G Carl Tetachuk, while G Jack McNaughton stopped 34 shots for Calgary. . . . Calgary had a 3-2 edge in OT shots.


F Vince Loschiavo scored at 2:43 of OT as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Tigers, 4-3, in EdmontonOilKingsMedicine Hat. . . . Edmonton won the series, 4-2, and will play either the Calgary Hitmen or Lethbridge Hurricanes in the second round. That series likely will open on Friday night in Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings won on Sunday by scoring the game’s last three goals. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (3) put Edmonton out front at 4:09 of the first period. . . . The Tigers took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Corson Hopwo (1), at 5:54 of the first; F James Hamblin (4), at 7:14 of the second; and Hamblin (5), on a PP, at 7:41. . . . D Wyatt McLeod (1) scored at 8:06 to get the Oil Kings to within a goal, and D Conner McDonald (1) tied it 31 seconds into the third period. . . . Loschiavo’s fourth goal of the series, off a pass from Fix-Wolansky, won it at 2:43 of extra time. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-3 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-1. . . . Edmonton held a 37-29 edge in shots, including 10-5 in the third period and 3-1 in OT. . . . The Oil Kings got 26 saves from G Todd Scott, while G Mads Søgaard stopped 33 shots for the Tigers.


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