Lori Sopotyk: ‘They didn’t sugarcoat anything and told him he would never walk again’ . . . Joseph wants semi driver deported . . . Virus hits Vegas coaching staff


“They didn’t sugarcoat anything and told him he would never walk again,” Lori Sopotyk told Mart Hastings of Kamloops This Week on Tuesday. “He’s paralyzed from the belly button down and it’s a long, long journey ahead for all of us. That was the first thing out of his mouth, his hockey, that he would never skate again. And he felt like he had let everyone down.” . . . Lori was referring to Kyrell, her 19-year-old son, who was injured in a snowboarding accident near North Battleford, Sask., on Friday and is in a Saskatoon hospital. He played the last two seasons (2018-20) with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. . . . Hastings’ complete story is right here. . . .

A GoFundMe page, launched by Kathleen Zary, the mother of Blazers F Connor Zary, has surpassed $160,000. It is right here should you wish to donate.


Chris Joseph, a former WHL/NHL defenceman, and his wife, Andrea, lost their son, Jaxon, in the accident that occurred almost three years ago when a semi-trailer pulled out onto a Saskatchewan highway in front of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus. But unlike Scott Thomas, who also lost a son in the accident, Joseph doesn’t want Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to be allowed to remain in Canada whenever he is freed from jail. Thomas, whose son, Evan, died in the crash, has written a letter in support of Sidhu’s plea to avoid deportation. . . . “As much as I can admire someone who finds that forgiveness,” Joseph told Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, “I personally don’t have it yet, don’t know if I’ll ever get it to be quite honest. Everyone’s forgiveness journey is their own journey. I just can’t understand why you cannot forgive while he’s on a plane back to India.” . . . One thing that Joseph and Thomas can agree on, meanwhile, is the need for a serious upgrade to some of the rules and regulations around Canada’s trucking industry. . . . Campbell’s complete piece is right here.


Just wondering, but what have you accomplished during this pandemic? Trent Miner, a goaltender with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, has been studying and working towards a private pilot’s licence. “I always wanted to do this,” Miner, 19, told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun, “but obviously didn’t have any time to get into it until this summer.” . . . Miner started the process by taking lessons at the Brandon Flight Centre in May. Now the only thing standing between him and his licence is a written exam. . . . These days, Miner is in camp with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. . . . Bergson’s story is right here.


Here’s a snippet of the Tuesday morning post from Jack Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon):

“If 2021 were destined to be a ‘normal sports year’ teams would be setting up facilities in Florida and Arizona for the onset of spring training about now. Instead, there are reports this morning that Arizona officials have sent a letter to MLB asking for a delay in the start of spring training there because of the high rate of COVID infections in Maricopa County. The report I read in the Washington Post said that the officials there do not have the authority to order such a delay, meaning this could evolve into a negotiation with MLB. Unfortunately, any negotiation with MLB will have to involve the MLBPA as well; history tells us that those two entities have difficulty agreeing on even basic things like Tuesdays always following Mondays.”

You are able to catch all of his musings at sportscurmudgeon.com.


The latest 31 Thoughts from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman includes lots on the weekend deal between the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets, and also some interesting stuff with former Everett Silvertips D Shaun Heshka. It’s all right here.


With one member of the Vegas Golden Knights’ coaching staff having reportedly tested positive, the NHL team had to sideline all of its coaches, at least for Tuesday night’s game against the visiting St. Louis Blues. As a result, Kelly McCrimmon, the former owner/general manager/head coach of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, made his NHL coaching debut. He is the Golden Knights’ general manager. . . . On the bench with McCrimmon were Manny Viveiros, a former WHL coach and player who is the head coach of the team’s AHL franchise, the Henderson Silver Knights; Jamie Heward, a former WHL player and coach who is an assistant coach with Henderson; and former NHL player Joel Ward, also an assistant in Henderson. . . . The Blues won the game, 5-4 in a shootout. The Golden Knights hit four posts in regulation, one in OT and another in the shootout. . . . F Brayden Schenn, who spent three seasons (2007-10) with McCrimmon’s Wheat Kings, scored the shootout winner. . . . The Golden Knights’ coaching staff comprises head coach Peter DeBoer; assistants Ryan Craig, Ryan McGill and Steve Spott; goaltending coach Mike Rosati; and video coach Tommy Cruz.


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — Anyone entering Manitoba, including people coming from Western Canada, will have to self-isolate for 14 days starting Friday. . . . The travel restriction is designed to stop non-essential travel, by land or by air, and applies to people visiting the province and returning Manitobans.

CBC News — Sask. extends public health orders as daily death toll reaches new high. The measures will remain in effect until Feb. 19. They were set to expire on Jan. 29.

CBC News — Saskatchewan saw its deadliest day of the pandemic, with a record-high 14 fatalities reported on Tuesday. The previous record came on Dec. 21, when 13 people died after being diagnosed with the virus. The province has now reported 268 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic came to the province. Of those, 115 deaths have happened in 2021.

If you’re wondering how the NCAA men’s basketball season is going, check out this piece right here by Ryan Young of yahoo!sports.

The New York Times — The coronavirus death toll in Britain surpassed 100,000 on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying he accepted responsibility as fatality rates continue to soar. “I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost,” he said.

AFP News Agency, Tuesday, 1:39 p.m. PT — Global coronavirus cases pass 100 million mark, AFP tally shows.

Ron Johnson, who got into five games with the Montreal Expos in 1984, has died in Tennessee from complications related to COVID-19. He was 64. Johnson spent 25 seasons as a minor league manager, most recently with the Triple-A Norfolk Admirals, who are affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles.

Sekou Smith, who worked as an analyst for NBA TV, died Tuesday after contracting COVID-19. He was 48.


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 ECHL is expected to announce today (Wednesday) that it will have a franchise in Savannah, Ga., in time for the 2022-23 season. The team will play out of the Savannah Arena, a facility that is under construction.

WHL board chairman suggests late February or early March for start . . . Five WHL players off to USHL . . . City of Cranbrook suing WHL, Ice owners

How does the Prince George Cougars of Kamloops sound? Or how about the Victoria Royals of Kelowna?

The WHL announced on Friday that it has a “commitment” to play a 24-game WHL22021 schedule. The league didn’t announce any other particulars, other than pointing out that “he start date for the season will be determined once final approval has been received from the health authorities in each provincial and state jurisdiction, and it is anticipated the approvals will be received soon.”

Bruce Hamilton, the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors and the owner/general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, told Travis Lowe of CHBC-TV in Kelowna that the people running the show “thought that it was important that we let our players know that we’re going to do everything we can to get some kind of a season in for them,”

Taking Note was told Tuesday afternoon that one plan the WHL has looked at would have players reporting to teams on Jan. 22 in the hopes of starting a season on Feb. 8. However, that seems awfully far-fetched if only because, for example, the restrictions that presently are in place in B.C. are there until at least Feb. 5.

Hamilton told Lowe that a new season “probably” wouldn’t get started “until the end of February, early March.”

Lowe also reported: “According to Hamilton, the 24-game season will probably take about 60 days to complete. Teams would have a 21-day or 28-day training camp that would include a quarantine period for all players.”

Hamilton also told Lowe that “we may look at some kind of a setup where we would move one or two teams into Kamloops and one team into (Kelowna) and then limit the travel.”

A source told Taking Note that one option that has been discussed would have the Cougars spend the season playing out of Kamloops, with the Royals doing the same out of Kelowna.


Last week, the USHL’s Lincoln Stars added four players to their protected list, PortlandAlternateall of them American-born skaters off the roster of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. On Tuesday, the Winterhawks released those four to play for the Stars. F Cross Hanas, 19, who is from Highland Village, Tex.; F Clay Hanus, 19, from Excelsior, Minn.; F Jack O’Brien, 17, from Denver; and F James Stefan, 17, from Laguna Beach, Calif., will stay with Lincoln until the Stars’ season ends. . . . “With the uncertainty of our start date due to restrictions in Oregon and Washington, we felt the opportunity for these four American players to play significant games could not be passed up,” Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, said in a news release. . . .

Meanwhile, F Bear Hughes of the Spokane Chiefs has been given his release to play for the USHL’s Fargo Force. Hughes, 19, is from Post Falls, Idaho. . . .

On Jan. 5, the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints announced that they were adding F Matt Savoie, who turned 17 on Jan. 1, of the Winnipeg Ice to their roster. However, Savoie’s name has yet to appear on that roster. He is from St. Alberta, Alta. Savoie played six games this season with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders, putting up three goals and three assists.


If you have been holding out hope that fans will be allowed into arenas to watch games when/if the WHL gets a season started, it really doesn’t seem likely to happen.

For proof, here’s part of message from the Lethbridge Hurricanes to their fans: “The Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club has been working with the Ticket Centre and our ticket provider to begin the process of issuing full refunds to everyone who purchased 2020-21 season tickets.”


The WHL and the Winnipeg Ice are being sued by the City of Cranbrook. . . . Karin Larsen of CBC News reports that “a civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court says both the Winnipeg Ice (formerly Kootenay Ice) and WHL are responsible for breaking an arena deal that was supposed to run through June 2023. The claim says the city is out approximately $178,000 per year as a result.” . . . The Kootenay Ice franchise was purchased by 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, which is based in Winnipeg, from the Chynoweth family. The Ice played two seasons in Cranbrook under new ownership before moving to Winnipeg following the 2018-19 season. . . . Larsen’s story is right here.


Carlin


With its 2021 regular season to start Wednesday night, the NHL revealed NHLTuesday that 27 players, 17 of them from the Dallas Stars, tested positive during the training camp period from Dec. 30 to Monday. . . . According to the NHL, about 12,000 tests were conducted on more than 1,200 players. . . . The other 10 positives tests involve players from eight other teams. . . . The NHL has said it will provide “regular updates on the results of tests administered to players, including the identities of the players” with the start of the new season. . . . The Stars have returned to the practice ice, although more than a dozen players were unavailable on Tuesday, but their first three games have been postponed. They also have had an undisclosed number of staffers test positive. . . .

D Jordie Benn and F J.T. Miller won’t play for the Vancouver Canucks when they open their NHL season Wednesday night against the host Edmonton Oilers. The Canucks aren’t saying why, but Matt Sekeres of TSN 1040 AM in Vancouver tweeted that the two are out “due to COVID-19 concerns” and that they will be out “for a couple of weeks.” Sekeres added: “Both players are quarantining. Miller had been staying at Benn’s Vancouver residence.” . . . Richard Zussman of Global BC reported via Twitter that he has been told either Benn or Miller “tested positive for COVID, then negative, then positive again and when tested a fourth time tested negative. The other is a close contact.”


Spidey


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Justin Trudeau, Canadian prime minister — Update on the Canada-US border: We’ve extended the current border measures by another 30 days. Non-essential travel between our two countries remains restricted until at least February 21st. We’ll continue to do whatever is necessary to keep Canadians safe.

680 CJOB Winnipeg — Manitoba health officials reported 92 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and said eight more Manitobans with the virus have died. It’s the first time the province’s list of new daily infections has dropped below 100 since Oct. 19.

CBC News — 248 new COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in Saskatchewan. It’s the 1st time in a week the province has recorded fewer than 300 new daily cases. Health authorities also report 5 additional deaths from the virus. . . . The provincial government has extended current COVID-19-related public health orders until at least Jan. 29, due to current transmission rates.

CBC News — Alberta again breaks COVID-19 record with 38 deaths reported in single day. The province reported 652 new cases, 819 hospitalizations and 132 patients in ICUs. . . . Deaths from the illness are reported as Alberta Health compiles data, meaning not all 38 happened on the same day. The latest report includes deaths reported to the province from Dec. 30 to Jan. 12. But provincial numbers released over the last two days show that at least 21 people died from COVID-19 on Sunday alone. The total number of deaths since the pandemic began in March now stands at 1,345.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — There are 446 new cases of COVID-19, including 10 epi-linked cases, for a total of 58,553 cases in British Columbia. . . . There are 5,045 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 368 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 72 of whom are in intensive care. . . . There are 7,238 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 51,144 people who tested positive have recovered. . . . There have been nine new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,019 deaths in British Columbia.

CBC News — Ontario reports 41 more deaths and 2,903 new COVID-19 cases. That’s the 1st time the number has fallen below 3,000 since January 3.

CBC News — Quebec reports 1,934 new COVID-19 cases and 47 additional deaths. It’s the 2nd day in a row where the number of new cases is below 2,000; it was above 2,000 for the previous 8 days.

Keith Baldrey, Global BC — No surprise the Canada/US border will remain closed. Here are the latest weekly (Jan. 4-11) COVID-19 stats for Washington state: 217 deaths. 20,251 cases. 818 hospitalizations.

CNN, Tuesday, 7 p.m. PT — So far today, Johns Hopkins University has reported 212,766 new cases and 4,212 new deaths.

CNN, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. PT — 22.8 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. PT — 380,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

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The number of postponements in this young NBA season has reached six, with the latest casualty a Wednesday night game between the Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards. Due to protocols, the Wizards don’t have the necessary eight players able to play. . . . Three of the postponed games have involved the Boston Celtics, including one that had been scheduled for Chicago on Tuesday night. . . . Five of the NBA’s six postponements have occurred since Sunday. . . .

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association also have come up with some new rules aimed at keeping numbers down. From The Associated Press: “For ‘at least the next two weeks,’ the league and union said, players and team staff will have to remain at their residence when in their home markets and are prohibited from leaving their hotels when on the road — with exceptions primarily for practices and games. . . . Players also no longer will be allowed to have guests in their hotel rooms on the road. . . . Also from The AP: “Players have been told to limit on-court interactions with fellow players to elbow or fist bumps, with no extended socializing. And when a player is subbed out of a game, he can sit in a ‘cool down chair’ without a mask — but must put a mask on when he returns to the bench and sits in his assigned seat.” . . .

As if the NBA doesn’t have enough on its plate, Brian Windthorst and Zach Lowe of ESPN reported Tuesday that sources have told them “multiple players who previously tested positive for the coronavirus have recently tested positive a second time. That story is right here. . . .

Pro golfer Jhonattan Vegas has tested positive so has withdrawn from the Sony Open that is to open in Honolulu on Thursday. . . .

The Czech Republic pulled out of the world handball championship after 13 of its 21 players and a number of coaches tested positive. The event was scheduled for Egypt, Jan. 13-31.


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 ECHL has sold two expansion franchises to Deacon Sports and Entertainment, which is owned by Dean MacDonald. The new teams will begin play in 2021-21 in Coralville, Iowa and Trois-Rivières, Que.  Deacon Sports and Entertainment also owns the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers. From an ECHL news release: “Coralville will play out of Xtreme Arena, a 5,100-seat venue which was completed in September 2020, while Trois-Rivières will play out of Le Nouveau Colisée, a new construction that will host 4,390 fans.”


John

Team Canada has roster set for WJC . . . QMJHL looking at more bubbles . . . Canada extends border restrictions


With the 10 teams that are to compete in the 2021 World Junior Championship to move into the Edmonton bubble on Sunday, Team Canada made its final 2021WJCseven cuts on Friday at its selection camp in Red Deer, getting its roster down to 25. . . . The roster includes six players who won gold at the 2020 World Junior Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic: F Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves), D Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants), F Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), D Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters), F Connor McMichael (London Knights) and F Dawson Mercer (Chicoutimi Sagueneens). . . .

The roster includes nine players from WHL teams: G Dylan Garand (Kamloops Blazers), G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars), Byram, D Kaiden Guhle (Prince Albert Raiders), D Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna Rockets), D Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings), Cozens, F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice) and F Connor Zary (Kamloops). . . . F Kirby Dach played for the Saskatoon Blades before cracking the roster of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks as an 18-year-old prior to last season. . . . Of Team Canada’s 22 skaters, only two aren’t NHL first-round selections. Korczak was taken by the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round in 2019, and D Jordan Spence of the Moncton Wildcats was taken by the Los Angeles Kings in that draft’s fourth round. . . .

Players dropped by Team Canada on Friday: F Mavrik Bourque (Shawinigan Cataractes), F Graeme Clarke (Ottawa 67’s), D Lukas Cormier (Charlottetown Islanders), F Greg Goncalves (Everett Silvertips), F Seth Jarvis (Portland Winterhawks), D Ryan O’Rourke (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), F Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke Phoenix), F Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting) and D Donovan Sebrango (Kitchener Rangers). . . .

The tournament is scheduled to open with a Christmas Day triple header —  Slovakia-Switzerland, 11 a.m. Pacific; Finland-Germany, 3 p.m.; U.S.-Russia, 6:30 p.m. Canada is to open its schedule on Dec. 26 against Germany at 3 p.m. Pacific. . . . There is a complete schedule right here. . . .

TSN also will show 10 pre-tournament games, starting with two on Dec. 20 — U.S.-Switzerland, 5 p.m. Pacific, and Finland-Czech Republic, 8:30 p.m. . . . Canada will play Sweden on Dec. 21, at 5 p.m. Pacific. . . . TSN’s pre-tournament schedule is right here.


Jonathan Habashi of the Drummondville Express reports that the city’s Marcel-qmjhlnewDionne Center, home to the Voltigeurs, “could be the scene of a bubble in the QMJHL” after the regular season resumes following the pandemic-forced break that now is in place. . . . According to Habashi, one scenario has five teams playing 12 games over a nine-day stretch. . . . Last month, seven teams spent 11 days playing in a Quebec City bubble. . . . More from Habashi, via Google Translate: “Other organizations, including the Saguenéens de Chicoutimi, have already expressed their interest in hosting a bubble. According to the plan established by the QMJHL, the 18 teams on the circuit will return to action, each playing two games in three days, from January 22 to 24, in six different cities, including four in Quebec. Subsequently, the QMJHL intends to create three bubbles of four Quebec teams who would each play six games in nine days, from January 30 to February 7.” . . . Habashi’s complete story is right here.


The ECHL has created what it is calling the Commissioner’s Exempt List. It is, echlaccording to the league, “for players who have been deemed ineligible to play due to ECHL Covid-19 and Return-to-Play protocols.” . . . The league explains that “being placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List does NOT necessarily mean a player has tested positive. It could also mean the player has had close contact with someone who tested positive or is awaiting testing because of virus symptoms.” . . . Some ECHL teams opened the regular season on Friday night. The Kansas City Mavericks had to sign G Sean Bonar to a PTO on an emergency basis earlier in the day, because both of their goaltenders — Taran Kozun and Andrew Shortridge — are on the exempt list. Bonar had been released by the Jacksonville Icemen on Wednesday. The host Indy Fuel beat the Mavericks, 4-3 in a shootout. Kansas City didn’t list a backup goaltender on the game sheet.


Stock


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: 6,768 new cases of COVID-19 were reported across Canada today. Nationwide, there have been a total of 448,841 cases and 13,251 deaths. There have been 362,293 recoveries, and 73,297 cases are currently active.

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 447 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 new deaths related to the illness. There are 297 COVID-19 patients in the province’s hospitals, including 40 in intensive care. Manitoba’s 5-day test positivity rate is 13.8%. 2,723 tests were completed Thursday.

680 CJOB Winnipeg: Manitoba’s chief public health officer says the province’s COVID-19 death rate has increased by more than nine times since Thanksgiving.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 246 new cases of COVID-19. There are 133 COVID-19 patients in Saskatchewan hospitals, including 27 people in intensive care.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,738 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 additional deaths related to the illness. The province’s test positivity rate is 8.3%.

CBC News: B.C. is reporting 737 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 9,589 known active cases There have been 11 new COVID-19 related deaths in the province. There are 342 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals, including 87 in intensive care.

CBC News: Ontario reports 45 additional COVID-19 deaths, the highest daily toll since October 2. There are 1,848 new cases; 469 in Toronto, 386 in Peel Region, and 205 in York Region. Ontario processed 63,051 tests (highest so far); test positivity rate is 3.2%. . . . Clarification: A previous tweet said the 45 lives claimed by COVID-19 in Ontario yesterday is the highest daily total since Oct. 2. In fact, that total reflected a data correction including previously unreported fatalities. The last day Ontario had 45 or more deaths was June 4.

Global Montreal: Quebec is reporting 1,713 new COVID-19 cases and 53 additional deaths as hospitalizations jumped Friday.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 8 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 78 known active cases. There has been a new COVID-19 related death in the province, the 8th since the start of the pandemic.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 9 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 65 known active cases in the province. 5 cases are in the Central Zone, 3 in the Western Zone and 1 in the Northern Zone. There are currently no COVID-19 patients in the province’s hospitals.

CBC News: 1 new COVID-19 case has been reported in Newfoundland and Labrador. The new case is in the Western health region and is being investigated. The province’s known active caseload remains at 20, as 1 new recovery was also announced Friday.

CBC News: 16 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nunavut. There are 56 known active cases in the territory, all in the community of Arviat.

Tom Tapp, deadline.com: The number of daily new Covid-19 cases in California jumped 20% in the past 24 hours to a new all-time high of 35,468. It’s the third record number of new cases in the past week. The state has also seen records fall in terms of deaths — that was 220 yesterday — and hospitalizations — at 12,940 on Friday — and ICU capacity — with just 9% left statewide.

The New York Times: More than 6,600 college athletes, coaches and staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus, a New York Times analysis found. The actual tally is assuredly far larger, with dozens of schools releasing limited or no data for their athletic programs. . . . The Times was able to gather complete data for just 78 of the 130 universities in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Football Bowl Subdivision, the top level of college football. Some of those schools released the pandemic statistics only in response to requests filed under public records laws.

——

The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League is on hold until at least Jan. 10. In a brief statement, the league said it “will be evaluating our ‘go-forward’ plan at that time. . . .

The Regina High Schools Athletic Association has continued its hold on all winter sports until at least February. . . .

Eli Gold, who has called 409 straight Alabama Crimson Tide football games, will have the streak end today (Saturday) because he and his wife have tested positive. Gold, 66, hasn’t missed a game since 1987. . . . Alabama (9-0) is scheduled to visit Arkansas (3-6) today. . . .

The U of Alaska-Fairbanks has opted out of the 2021 NCAA hockey season. From a statement: “The announcement on hockey was made in conjunction with a decision to suspend competition in men’s and women’s basketball at the school as well due to health and safety concerns.” . . . The U of Alaska-Anchorage shut down its program earlier this year. . . . This means that the WCHA will have eight teams when it begins conference play in January. . . . There now have been 10 NCAA Division I hockey teams opt out of this season.


The 2021 Kamloops Kidney Walk will be held virtually, as it was in June. Yes, Dorothy will be taking part, as she has since 2014. . . . She already has registered and her granddaughters, Averi and Kara, have joined her team. If you are interested in making a donation — perhaps you are looking for a tax receipt for this year’s filing — you are able to do so right here.

——

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.


Drawer

B.C. restrictions in place through Jan. 8 . . . Vancouver Winterhawks? It’s possible . . . Inside the BCHL’s Penticton bubble proposal

If the WHL is to open its next regular season on Jan. 8, as it has announced that it plans on doing, its five B.C. Division teams will be on the sidelines unless provincial health officials loosen some restrictions.

Under those restrictions, which on Monday were extended through Jan. 8, junior hockey teams are prohibited from playing games. At the same time, players aged 19 awhlnd older aren’t allowed to practice, while those 18 and under are able to practice with restrictions.

If it is to open a regular season on Jan. 8, the WHL would want players to travel from their homes on Dec. 26 to join teams for training camps that would open on Dec. 27.

——

If you subscribe to The Athletic, you are able to follow the link in the tweet below to a story by Ryan S. Clark on what’s going on with the five teams in the WHL’s U.S. Division. . . . Spoiler alert: How does Vancouver Winterhawks sound? That would be Vancouver, Wash., of course. Hmmm . . .


In light of those restrictions being extended until Jan. 8 by the Provincial Health Office (PHO), the BCHL announced Monday evening that it has “decided to BCHLdelay the start of its 2020-21 regular season to the new year.” It had hoped to begin its regular season tonight (Tuesday).

The last sentence of the BCHL’s news release: “If current restrictions are extended beyond midnight on Jan. 8, the league will come together and make a decision on when play can resume.”

In the meantime, you can bet that the BCHL will be putting even more work into a plan aimed at getting 17 teams into a bubble in Penticton, home of the Vees. If you’re a regular here, you read about it right here on Saturday night/Sunday morning.

In one scenario, all BCHL players would spend Jan. 15-29 in quarantine, then spend Jan. 29-31 moving into the Penticton bubble. The 17 teams would play a 20- or 24-game regular season from Feb. 1 through March 22, with a playoff tournament running March 23 to April 2.

Of course, there would be a lot more to this bubble than games.

For starters, the BCHL would have to find ways to keep more than 350 mostly teenagers entertained. They will have to be fed, have their laundry done, remote learning will have to be arranged and on and on.

The BCHL has chatted with the City of Penticton’s powers-that-be and reports that they are eager to help. Penticton also is home to a first-class arena — the South Okanagan Events Centre — and a roomy convention centre. I also am hearing that at least one Penticton hotel has offered to get involved.

In the convention centre, each of the 17 teams would be allotted about 2,000 square feet, which would provide room for about 30 beds and a team lounge of some kind. Beds/cots would be separated by curtains.

There also would be room for a study area, something that is most important because players would have to move to online learning. There also would be a quiet study area with ample power outlets and Internet access. Tutors would be made available, too.

As for feeding the ravenous teenagers, the facilities feature “multiple kitchens and concessions,” according to the draft of the BCHL proposal that Taking Note has seen, and the primary kitchen would be located in the SOEC. There also would be designated eating areas in which three squares would be served every day.

Players would be allowed to order in food “on occasion. Snacks and food orders to be delivered under strict protocols and paid for by the individual.”

There also would be game rooms that would include TV sets and various gaming units, theatre rooms with access to Netflix and laptops, and a recreation room that would include table tennis, bubble hockey, a pool table, air hockey and sports simulators.

In terms of outdoor activities, players would have access to a baseball diamond, basketball nets and a place to play road hockey. None of these facilities would be open to the public.

If approval for the plan is granted, the BCHL would arrange for players to have access to Zoom conferencing that would feature NCAA coaches, as well as former and current NHL players who might, for example, deal with life after hockey.

Of course, the teams would be in Penticton to train, practise and play hockey. Each team would have daily practice ice and likely three games per week with which to deal. There also would be a gym and training area with weights, bikes and other gear, with teams having assigned time slots for use.

What about scouts? If the project comes off, the BCHL is expecting NHL and NCAA scouts to flock to the games. There would be a safe area in the suite level, with access through a back entrance, that would allow them to come and go without having to bubble up. As well, teams would be designated suites with “absolutely zero tolerance for going down to the team or a lower level.”

And, of course, masks would be mandatory “at all times” for scouts, team governors, league officials, medical staff, etc.

Yes, there still is a long way to go before all of this would end up on the desk of provincial health officials. For example, a testing plan has to be structured, one that the BCHL said “will be determined by the PHO.”

Approval would have to come from government and health officials, as well as BC Hockey and Hockey Canada.

BTW, the BCHL now is pay-to-play, at least for this season, and players would pay $1,500 per month for February and March, which is what they already have paid for October and November.


Run


Bob McKenzie, the semi-retired TSN Hockey Insider, rattled off a few texts on CanadaMonday, all of them with regards to the World Junior Championship. Here are a few of them, but in text form:

1. The 2021 IIHF World Jr. Championship is set to begin 2 weeks from this Friday (Dec. 25) in EDM in a restricted-access “bubble” format. All 10 teams are scheduled to “check in” Sunday, for a 4-day quarantine/daily-test period before being released into bubble Dec. 18.

2. Key for teams, obviously, is to try to get to the “start” line, which is this Sunday Dec. 13, when they are scheduled to report to EDM. All teams, starting today, are now in a seven-day closed preparation window. Only players currently in team camps today will be WJC eligible.

3. In order to “qualify” for Sunday’s admission to four-day quarantine/testing phase, all players must be tested three times in the current seven-day window and, obviously, test negative each time for Covid. Only then do they enter quarantine phase in their EDM hotel room.

4. If any player tests positive now, he’s out of the tournament and cannot be replaced from outside the current roster of players now in camp.

As of Monday night, McKenzie reported, “Hockey Canada is awaiting word any hour now from Alberta Health on how the remainder of this week will play out. Team Canada has been off ice/quarantined for two weeks after two players tested positive during training camp. Team Canada hopes to be back on the practice sometime today (Tuesday) in Red Deer.

McKenzie also tweeted: As I’ve said on multiple occasions, first major hurdle is to get all 10 teams — CAN, FIN, GER, SUI, SVK in one group; USA, SWE, RUS, CZE, AUS in the other group — plus the on-ice officials (all Canadian locals) to what amounts to a starting line, which is Sunday’s check-in day in EDM.

——

Another day means another positive test for a player who was expected to contribute to the Swedish team at the World Junior Championship. D William Wallinder is the third Swedish player to be knocked out of the tournament by a positive test. Wallinder, who was selected by the Detroit Red Wings with the first pick of the second round in the NHL’s 2020 draft, plays for Modo in the HockeyAllsvenskan and the team experienced a positive test last week.



Pekka Jalonen, a writer with the Helsinki newspaper Iltalehti, reports that the KHL continues to have issues with COVID-19.

Former NHLer Alexei Morozov, who is the KHL president, said that going into this week there were 21 people within the KHL with the virus, while 486 had recovered.

Jalonen wrote: “There are 23 teams in KHL, so on average there have already been 22 infected people in each club. There are still more than two and a half months left in the regular season, so it is likely that almost everyone on the KHL teams will get a coronavirus infection this season.”

The Finnish team Jokerit, which is in a stretch of playing eight of nine games on the road, “is currently on a long tour of Russia and have had just 22 infections this season. Not everyone infected has been a player. All of Jokerit’s infections have been detected after the team returned from a road trip to Russia.”


As expected, the ECHL had three more teams choose to opt out of the 2020-21 season on Monday. Players who had been on the rosters of the Cincinnati Cyclones, Idaho Steelheads and Kalamazoo K-Wings now are free agents for this season. All three organizations plan on returning to the ECHL next season. . . . Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted on Sunday that the Toledo Walleye and Fort Wayne Komets “are still undecided.” . . . The ECHL now has had 11 of its 26 teams choose not to play this season. Some of the remaining teams are expected to begin playing games on Friday.


TV


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

From a family doctor based in Alberta . . .

CBC News: Manitoba has passed 400 deaths due to COVID-19 as 12 more people have died and there are 325 new cases, health officials say. The five-day test positivity rate is at 13.7 per cent province-wide and 14.6 for Winnipeg. There are 310 people in hospital due to the illness, down 38 from yesterday, with 39 people in intensive care, down from 43 on Sunday.

CBC News: 274 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Saskatchewan, dropping the province’s 7-day average to 308. There is also one additional death being attributed to the virus.

CBC News: Alberta reports 1,735 new COVID-19 cases and 16 additional deaths. 6 of these deaths are linked to outbreak at Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre.

Shelby Thom, Global Okanagan: B.C. recorded 2,020 new cases of COVID-19 over past 3 days with 35 deaths. . . . 647 COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths from Friday to Saturday. . . . 726 cases and 10 deaths from Saturday to Sunday. . . . 647 cases from Sunday to Monday along with seven deaths.

CBC News: Ontario reported a single-day high of 1,925 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, following two consecutive days of record numbers over the weekend. . . . Ontario’s 7-day average for new cases ticks up to 1,820, the highest it has been at any point during the pandemic. 725 people in Ontario are hospitalized with COVID-19, 213 are in ICU and 121 are on a ventilator.

CBC News: Quebec adds 1,577 new COVID-19 cases, which moves the province’s 7-day average up slightly to 1,543. Health authorities also report 22 additional deaths.

Medford Mail Tribune: The Oregon Health Authority reported 12 more deaths from COVID-19 Monday and 1,331 new cases, pushing statewide totals to 1,045 deaths and 85,788 cases.

euronews.com: Italy bans Christmas travel and midnight mass after nearly 1,000 people die in one day.

——

The Toronto Raptors revealed Monday morning that three members of their organization have tested positive as they open training camp in Tampa, Fla. . . . The team didn’t disclose whether they were players or staff, but they have been put into isolation away from other personnel. . . . On Sunday, the Portland Trail Blazers shut things down after getting three positive tests, one involving a player. The Trail Blazers’ camp is in Portland; the Raptors moved to Tampa because the U.S.-Canada border remains closed to non-essential travel. . . . The San Francisco Chronicle reported that F Draymond Green and C James Wiseman of the Golden State Warriors tested positive last week, so missed the team’s first practice of training camp on Monday. Wiseman was the second overall selection in last month’s NBA draft. . . .

The NFL’s Carolina Panthers placed eight players on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. That included DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel, two of their top wideouts. As a result, the Panthers shut down their facility for Monday and Tuesday. . . . The Panthers are scheduled to play the Denver Broncos on Sunday. . . .

Texas A&M won’t be playing Ole Miss in an SEC football game on Saturday, as the latter is having COVID-19 issues. The game had been rescheduled from Nov. 21 when it was postponed because A&M was having issues. . . .

The U of Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey team has had to postponed games against the Michigan State Spartans that were to have been played today and Wednesday. The Badgers have a positive test. . . . Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s women’s team has postponed its next two series, scheduled for Dec. 11-12 and Dec. 18-19, because of COVID-19 protocols. By Dec. 19, Wisconsin will have played two if its eight scheduled games. . . .

Here is Pittsburgh men’s basketball coach Jeff Capel to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday: “These kids are away (from their families) and they’re out and they’re laying it on the line to entertain people. Something just doesn’t feel right about it right now. The numbers were what they were back in March. I look at it every day, man. It seems like every day it’s getting worse. I don’t know why you cancel it in March, but you say it’s OK to do it right now. But what do I know?”


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.


Friend

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if we’ll get to watch the WJC . . .

Scattershooting


An early Christmas present . . . Here is for KING & COUNTRY with their version of Little Drummer Boy . . .


Sweden has lost a second player off its national junior team to a positive test. F SwedenKarl Henriksson, who was selected by the New York Rangers in the second round of the NHL’s 2019 draft, won’t play in the World Junior Championship that opens Dec. 25 in an Edmonton bubble. Henriksson likely would have been the Swede’s first- or second-line centre. . . . On Saturday, it was revealed that Swedish F William Eklund, one of the top prospects for the NHL’s 2021 draft, had tested positive.


Three players from Boston U — G Drew Commesso, F Robert Mastrosimone and D Alex Vlasic — won’t be attending USA Hockey’s national junior team USAhockeyselection camp. Jeff Cox of the New England Hockey Journal broke the news on Sunday, saying that the decision involves COVID-19 protocols. BU had a positive test last week so shut down activities involving the men’s hockey team and postponed its season-opener that was to have been played on Saturday against UConn. . . . Cox also reported that Boston U won’t be playing another game until Jan. 8. . . . Team USA replaced those three on the camp roster with G Logan Stein of Ferris State, D Tyler Kleven of the U of North Dakota and D Hunter Skinner of the OHL’s London Knights. . . . Commesso was a second-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 2020 draft; Chicago took Vlasic in the second round in 2019. . . . The Detroit Red Wings picked Mastrosimone in the second round in 2019. . . . Neither Stein nor Skinner has played this season because there teams haven’t been able to get started. Kleven, a second-round pick by the Ottawa Senators in 2020, was playing for UND at a bubble in Omaha. . . . Skinner was a fourth-round pick by the New York Rangers in 2019. . . . Team USA’s camp opened Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The roster includes 29 players and the plan is to trim two defencemen and two forwards on Dec. 13.


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “If I was a parent of a junior hockey player or even an agent, I’m not sure I’d want my kid locked in an Alberta hotel room for two weeks, all in the name of quarantine and the apparent upcoming world junior tournament.”



Headline at fark.com: Washington is finally giving Texas a Wall.


Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted early Sunday that the ECHL is expected to echlannounce the loss of three more teams for the upcoming season — the Cincinnati Cyclones, Idaho Steelheads and Kalamazoo Wings. That means 11 of the league’s 26 teams have opted out, the others being Adirondack Thunder, Atlanta Gladiators, Brampton Beast, Maine Mariners, Newfoundland Growlers, Norfolk Admirals, Reading Royals and Worcester Railers. . . . Marek also wrote that he has been “told the Toledo Walleye and Fort Wayne Komets are still undecided.” . . . The ECHL is planning on having some teams being play on Friday.


Insurance


“Heisman Trophy QB Johnny Manziel said on rapper Mike Stud’s YNK Podcast that he received impermissible benefits — i.e., cash — during his playing days at Texas A&M,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, the shock dripping from his keyboard. “Or as Manziel is now known in booster circles, Johnny Windfall.”

——

Perry, again: “Star guard James Harden, who reportedly wants out of Houston, didn’t appear for the Rockets’ individual workouts Thursday as the opening of training camp looms. Harden apologists, fittingly enough, believe he was traveling.”


Bill Littlejohn, who writes from South Lake Tahoe, Calif., suggests that fans of the Cleveland Browns — hello there, Jeff DeDekker — are getting a bit ahead of themselves with their glee over their favourite team going into this weekend with a gaudy 8-3 record. Here’s Littlejohn: “Fans of the Cleveland Browns getting giddy over their team’s being 8-3, of which seven wins came against foes with losing records, should recall the case of Heavyweight contender Duane Bobick. Duane built up a record of 38-0 against a succession of stiffs and tomato cans before being demolished in 57 seconds by Ken Norton, Sr.” . . . The Browns now are 9-3 after beating the host Tennessee Titans, 41-35, on Sunday. Yes, that’s even gaudier than 8-3. Next up? The visiting Baltimore Ravens on MNF on Dec. 14.


“The Houston Texans had two players test positive,” notes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “and it was just for PEDs. Seems so quaint.”


Mom


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has taken a long look at sports in these pandemic days and that piece is right here. It carries the headline: Sports rolls on in the U.S. while the pandemic rages: Is it worth the risk? . . . It’s a good read.

——

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 383 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 additional deaths related to the virus. 1 of the deaths is a man in his 20s. The province’s 5-day test positivity rate is 13.6%. 2,231 tests were completed Saturday.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 415 new cases of COVID-19 and 4 new deaths. Today’s case count reflects a backlog from Saturday for the Saskatoon region. There are 4,550 known active cases province-wide. 135 people are in hospital, including 26 in intensive care.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: 1,836 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the last 24 hours by the province. . . . There are also 19 new deaths being reported. . . . Medicine Hat stayed at 94 active cases. The province reported six new cases in the Hat, as well as six new recoveries.

CBC News: Alberta now has 19,484 known active cases, including more than 7,200 in Calgary and over 8,900 in Edmonton. 601 people are in hospital, including 100 in ICU. Alberta’s test positivity rate is 7.8%.

B.C. on weekends: Crickets! . . . Watch for big, big numbers on Monday afternoon.

CBC News: Ontario reports new record high of 1,924 COVID-19 cases. There are 568 new cases in Toronto, 477 in Peel and 249 in York Region.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 1,691 new cases of COVID-19. The province added 24 deaths to its total, 10 of which occurred in the last 24 hours. 778 people are in hospital, including 102 in intensive care.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 4 new cases of COVID-19, all in the Central Zone. 3 cases are under investigation; the remaining case is travel-related. There are 88 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital. . . . Nova Scotia is amending today’s COVID-19 case count to add 1 more. Health officials say the latest patient is a student at an elementary school in Dartmouth. That school will now be closed until Dec. 10. The new diagnosis brings the number of new cases in the province today to 5.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 4 new cases of COVID-19. 2 are in the Saint John region, 1 is in the Moncton region and 1 is in the Edmundston region. There are 82 known active cases in the province. 2 people are in hospital, including 1 in intensive care.

CBC News: P.E.I. is reporting 4 new cases of COVID-19. All are contacts of cases in the cluster reported Saturday. Dr. Heather Morrison says the source of the current outbreak is unknown, and more positive cases are expected. There are now 11 known active cases in the province. . . . P.E.I. is bringing in ‘circuit breaker’ measures for the next 2 weeks. Some of the regulations: In-restaurant dining, gyms and casinos must close. Retail stores can operate at 50% capacity. Organized gatherings like weddings and church services can have a maximum of 10 people.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador. 3 of the cases are travel-related, and the other is a close contact of a previous known case. There are 30 known active cases in the province. No one is in hospital.

CBC News: Nunavut is reporting 2 new cases of COVID-19 in Arviat, after 8 new cases were reported there Saturday. There are 51 known active cases in the territory, all in the communities of Arviat and Whale Cove.

CNN: More than 30,000 new Covid-19 cases were reported in California Sunday, the highest number of new daily cases ever recorded in the state. Hospitalizations there are also at an all time high.

——

The Gonzaga Bulldogs, the No. 1 men’s basketball team in the NCAA, has postponed all games through Dec. 14. It was to have played the No. 2 Baylor Bears on Saturday but the game was postponed 90 minutes prior to tipoff after the Bulldogs had a pair of positive tests. . . . Gonzaga U is based in Spokane, Wash. . . .

The U of Texas has shut down all football activities after three players and two staff members tested positive on Sunday. All five are said to have tested negative on Friday, before visiting Texas whupped Kansas State, 69-31, on Saturday and then tested positive on Sunday. . . . Texas is scheduled to play at Kansas, at Lawrence, on Saturday.


——

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 Heritage Junior Hockey League, a 14-team junior B league in Alberta, has shut down at least until January. A release from the league states that it “will meet in January to discuss the best way to move forward.” . . . The Vancouver Canucks didn’t have any choice but to rid the organization of that dunderheaded anthem singer. . . . “The Vancouver Canucks have kicked anthem singer Mark Donnelly to the curb because he’s an anti-masker,” writes Patti Dawn Swansson, The River City Renegade. “Guess that rules out an appearance on The Masked Singer.” . . . If you sat down in front of a TV set on a Saturday morning and watched football through Sunday night, how much wine would you drink if you took a sip every time you saw a coach improperly wearing a facemask?


Phone

Should hockey just shut down for 2020-21? . . . ECHL loses six more teams . . . MJHL’s Blues, Freeze disciplined


“The ECHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation came out Wednesday with their latest plans for this season and they involve such a bastardized version of competition that you have to begin to wonder whether the game – at all levels from the NHL right down to minor hockey – shouldn’t consider simply shutting down for 2020-21,” writes Ken Campbell of The Hockey News.

“I mean, it’s getting ridiculous. And it just seems as though leagues all over the world are desperately trying to jam a square peg into a round hole in a desperate effort to play this season in the midst of the second wave of a global pandemic, the likes of which the world has not seen for a century.”

His complete column is right here.


All six teams in the ECHL’s North Division have “elected a voluntary echlsuspension” for 2020-21, according to a league-issued news release. The Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Maine Mariners, Newfoundland Growlers, Reading Royals and Worcester Railers all say they will return for the 2021-22 season. . . . The Atlanta Gladiators and Norfolk Admirals had already opted out of the season. . . . Players from teams that don’t play become free agents, but only for the 2020-21 season. . . .

The ECHL has 13 teams preparing to open the season on Dec. 11. . . . From thesinbin.net: “For the remaining five teams that were to start on January 15, 2021 — Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, Idaho, Kalamazoo, and Toledo — the deadline to opt out comes in 12 days. Allen, Florida, Greenville, Indy, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Orlando, Rapid City, South Carolina, Tulsa, Utah, Wheeling and Wichita all are scheduled to start play on December 11, 2020 and there hasn’t been any indication of that timetable being pushed back due to the latest surge in coronavirus cases.” . . . There is more on the story right here.



The SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers, the only Manitoba-based team in the league, are FlinFlonlooking for permission to shift their base of operations to Creighton, Sask., during the pandemic. Due to restrictions put in place by the Manitoba government and health officials, the Bombers aren’t allowed to practice or play in Flin Flon’s Whitney Forum. . . . If given the OK by health officials, they would practise in Creighton and play all of their games on the road so long as the restrictions are in place. . . . Creighton is less than two miles southwest of Flin Flon.


Carter Brooks of gameonhockey.ca has his story right here, and Skylar Peters of Global News in Winnipeg has a story right here.


Wiretap


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Canada-United States border closure extended again, this time until December 21st, CBC News has learned. The formal announcement is to be made later this week.

Jill Macyshon, CTV Manitoba: 11 more COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba today. Three deaths linked to Golden Links Lodge in Winnipeg. 400 new cases identified today in Mb. 239 of those cases in Winnipeg. The five-day test positivity rate is now over 14 percent.

CBC News: Manitoba to introduce $298 fine for people not wearing a mask in public.

CBC News: Saskatchewan records 132 new COVID-19 cases and 1 additional death. In the previous 7 days, the province had been averaging 173 cases a day.

Marc Smith, CTV Regina: This is the 7th death in the past 12 days. Hospitalizations hit a record high (76) for the 10th straight day, while the province also has a record 17 people in ICU. The 132 new cases came on only 1,619 tests, which is an 8.2 per cent positivity rate.

CBC News: Alberta reports 11 more COVID-19 deaths, 732 new infections. Province now has 10,057 active cases, slight decrease from the day before.

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: Latest covid19 BC numbers: 762 new cases, 481 in Fraser Health region; 10 more people have died for total 320; 209 people hospital (+11), 58 ICU (-5), 9871 in self isolation.

Scott Brown, Postmedia Vancouver: B.C. Premier John Horgan calls for restrictions on inter-provincial travel. “People of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba need to know that they should stay in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, until . . . we can start distributing a vaccine across the country.”

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 1,417 new cases of COVID-19. That’s consistent with the province’s 7-day average, which is 1,422. 463 of the cases are in Peel Region, with 410 in Toronto and 178 in York Region. . . . Ontario reported 32 more deaths linked to COVID-19 today — the most on any single day during the second wave of the pandemic.

CBC News: 35 more deaths in Quebec are being attributed to COVID-19. The province is also reporting another 1,179 new cases; that brings Quebec’s 7-day average down to 1,243 from 1,272.

CBC News: New Brunswick reports 9 more COVID-19 cases, the highest daily total since October 11th. The province’s average for the previous 7-days was 3.4.

CBC News: 10 new COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in Nunavut, bringing the territory’s total to 70; all have occurred in the last 2 weeks. 8 new cases are in the community of Arviat (population 2,400) on Hudson Bay’s west coast.

CBC News: U.S. leads the world in COVID-19 deaths as toll exceeds 250,000. Number of people hospitalized with the virus in the U.S. has doubled in the past month.

The New York Times: Hundreds of health care workers at the Mayo Clinic have become infected with the coronavirus as the prestigious hospital system treats rapidly growing numbers of patients with Covid-19.

The New York Times: “No one is happy about this decision,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, after announcing that the New York City public school system would shut down a second time. Virus case numbers are rising so quickly in the city that more restrictions appear likely.

The New York Times: Kentucky will close schools beginning next week, ban indoor service at bars and restaurants, and impose new limits on indoor gatherings, Gov. Andy Beshear announced, citing a steep rise in coronavirus cases in the state.

——

F Ridly Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings hasn’t yet reported to the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp in Red Deer. Now we know why . . .

A hockey league in Saskatoon for skaters ages 60 and older has shut down after experiencing four positive tests. . . . Theresa Kliem of CBC News has more right here. . . .

The NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, who are scheduled to visit the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, now have 11 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. DE Clelin Ferrell went on the list Tuesday after testing positive. He was followed on Wednesday  by S Johnathan Abram, DT Maliek Collins, DT Johnathan Hankins, DT Kendal Vickers, DE Arden Key, CB Isaiah Johnson and pratice squad DE David Irving, all of whom were deemed high-risk close contacts. . . . DB Lamarcus Joyner also is on the list. LB Cory Littleton and OT Trent Brown and been on the list since earlier in the month. . . . Players who were deemed close contacts will be able to play Sunday if they continue to test negative. . . .

The Cleveland Browns have placed K Cody Parkey, OT Jack Conklin and long snapper Charley Hughlett on the reserve-COVID-19 list. . . . They are at home to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. . . .

Kunlun Red Star arrived in Helsinki on Wednesday to play a KHL game against Jokerit. However, the game was postponed when Kunlun had several positive tests show up. . . .

The Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) has cancelled its fall season, meaning now men’s and women’s basketball or volleyball seasons.  The association had delayed its fall season in the hopes of playing in the winter semester, but now that won’t happen. . . . The association features teams from 10 colleges throughout B.C. . . .

The U of Maine was to have opened its men’s hockey season this weekend against UMass, but has postponed both home games. Maine now hopes to open next weekend at UConn. . . . Connecticut was to have played Vermont this weekend, but Vermont has paused things for now. . . . So it has been worked out for UMass and UConn to play each other. . . .

The Colorado State at UNLV football game scheduled for Saturday won’t be played because what UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois called “the surge in cases in the Las Vegas community.” . . . Earlier Wednesday, it was announced that another Mountain West game, Wyoming at Utah State, wouldn’t be happening either.

Loyola U in Chicago has paused its athletic department, other than the women’s basketball team, because of positive tests. The Loyola Phoenix reported that sources had told it that “the majority” of the men’s basketball team had tested positive.


Psychic


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 Spokane Chiefs have signed general manager Scott Carter to a two-year contract extension that goes through the 2022-23 season. He has been the GM through four seasons. . . . Tyler Valin has joined the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines as an assistant coach. He has been the head coach of the Alberta Midget Hockey League’s Fort Saskatchewan Rangers for the past three seasons. In Whitecourt, he will be working alongside Shawn Martin, the general manager and head coach. . . . The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves announced on Wednesday that they have signed Kevin Kaminski, their GM/head coach, and Gaelan Patterson, the assistant GM/associate coach, to “new multi-year contracts.”


Robber

Scattershooting on a Saturday night as WHL players head for home . . .

Scattershooting

SOME DOTS AND THOUGHTS AS WE WAIT THIS THING OUT . . .

A couple of hours after the above tweet was posted, the Kamloops Blazers announced that they “have released their players to return home immediately.”

“We will have all players return to Kamloops at an undetermined time,” the statement read.

It wasn’t long after that until the Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips said they, too, were allowing players to return to their homes.

The Cougars said they “have decided to send players home to their families until further notice as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Silvertips, according to a tweet from Josh Horton of the Everett Herald, are sending players home Sunday morning. As well, there were indications on social media that the Spokane Chiefs and Winnipeg Ice are doing the same.

However, there was nothing official from the WHL as of late Saturday night.

Look, the way things are shaping up “undetermined time” and “until further notice” may well turn out to be late August, just in time for training camp prior to the 2020-21 season.

Hey, if you are being honest and assuming you have been paying attention to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and all the numbers associated with that, you might be starting to realize that this mess isn’t anywhere near close to a conclusion. . . .

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The WHL’s board of governors apparently is scheduled to chat on Tuesday. If that’s the case, it is time for them to cancel their season and do all they can to get players back to their families. Hey, billet families are wonderful, they really are, but this league is full of teenagers, some of them as young as 16, who should be with their real families until all of this blows over. . . . So scrub the season and start hoping that things will be better in time to open training camps in August. . . . On second thought, do it today. . . .


On Saturday, the ECHL announced that it has ended its season. “This decision allows our players the opportunity to return to their homes and removes the uncertainty that currently exists,” the ECHL said in a statement. . . . The ECHL is the first North American professional league to cancel its season. . . .


The world mixed and world senior curling championships have been cancelled. They were to have been held in Kelowna, April 18-25. . . . The Memorial Cup is scheduled for Kelowna, May 21-31. . . .

ICYMI, the world men’s curling championship also has been cancelled. It was to have been held in Glasgow, from March 28 through April 5. . . .



Janice Hough, who can be found at LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Now March Madness is cancelled. No, let me rephrase that: The NCAA basketball tournaments are cancelled. We’re LIVING in March Madness.” . . .


Tom Brady, at the age of 42, isn’t yet ready to stop playing football. Of course, as comedian Argus Hamilton pointed out via Twitter: “He’s 35 years too young to run for president.” . . .


One supposes that you have to be ready just in case they come for the toilet paper . . .


All those people standing in line to buy toilet paper . . . are those the same people who complain about being third in line at a cash register during normal times? . . .


Are you tired of doing jigsaw puzzles yet? Is there anything worse than putting out 1,000 pieces before getting started on putting it together? . . .


Headline at TheOnion.com: Orioles suggest that MLB maybe consider cancelling entire season just to be safe. . . .



Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “The saddest part about MLB prematurely shutting down spring training? Our gritty young Mariners, at 6-12, were still mathematically alive to win the Cactus League championship.” . . .

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One more from Perry: “One of the best ways to avoid catching the coronavirus, health officials say, is to avoid touching your own face. Lots of luck trying to break a third-base coach of that nasty habit.” . . .


Wash your hands and stay safe out there.