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.

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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


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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.