All the excitement, joy disappear in a Sunday morning crash . . . Snowbirds’ Operation Inspiration ends, at least for now, in Kamloops

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A six-pack of Snowbirds flies over the Drinnan residence in Campbell Creek, about 20 kilometres east of Kamloops, on Saturday afternoon.

There was so much excitement from the Shuswap through Kamloops on Saturday as the Snowbirds on their Operation Inspiration tour headed this way from Rocky Mountain House, Alta.

The first thing I said when I climbed out of bed was: “Don’t forget. Snowbirds. 1:30.”

Yes, Dorothy and I were on our deck. We live on the north side of the South Thompson snowbirdsRiver, which flows alongside the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway. Flights heading west from the lower half of Alberta often follow the river/highway and end up going right over our place.

Such was the case on Saturday at about 1:45 p.m.

It began with two of the Snowbirds zipping by . . . followed shortly after by six in formation . . . and finally by a single plane.

It was over in about nine blinks of an eye, but, yes, it was exciting, especially when you stopped and thought about why the Snowbirds were on this tour.

Then came Sunday morning. Lousy weather in the Okanagan meant the plans for a flight over that area, including Kelowna and Penticton, were cancelled. Instead, they would leave Kamloops and head for Comox on Vancouver Island. They would set up shop there and make plans for flyovers on the island, weather permitting, of course.

Those plans came to a halt when one of the CT-114 Tutors went down in a neighbourhood near the Kamloops airport at about 11:45 a.m. Capt. Jenn Casey, the Snowbirds’ public affairs officer who was from Halifax, was killed. Capt. Richard MacDougall of Dieppe, N.B., is in hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The Snowbirds are grounded in Kamloops while an investigation takes place.

And just like that all of the excitement from the previous day was all but forgotten.

So much anticipation and joy and excitement one day, and so much sorrow the next.

Hey, 2020, when does it all end? You can take your foot off our throat any day now.


Dexter Manley, who was a top-notch defensive end during a run with the NFL’s Washington Redskins back in the day, is in a Washington-area hospital being treated for coronavirus-related issues. Manley, 61, was on a pair of Super Bowl champions with the Redskins. . . . He later played in the CFL with the Ottawa Rough Riders and Shreveport Pirates. . . .

Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Best wishes to Art Howe, a good guy who was turned into a bad guy in ‘Moneyball.’ Howe was hospitalized Tuesday with COVID-19. In the movie version of this chapter of his life, Howe, played by Danny DeVito, will invent the coronavirus in a tiny lab in his clubhouse office. . . . (Note: Howe, a former MLB player and manager, was released from a Houston hospital on Sunday). . . .

The LPGA has scrapped its Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Mich., that had been scheduled for July 15-18. The next event on the LPGA schedule is the Marathon Classic in Sylvania Ohio, July 23-26. . . .

The Spa-Francorchamps race track in Belgium will open for practice today (Monday), but when the Belgian Grand Prix is held there Aug. 28-30 there won’t be any fans in attendance. . . . The government has banned large gatherings through Aug. 31.


With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


Here’s a note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “May 13 marked the 35-year anniversary of O.J. Simpson and Bill Cosby serving as the groomsmen in ex-football star Ahmad Rashad’s wedding. Just for the record, O.J. was the best man.”

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One more from Perry: From the Life Ain’t Fair File comes word that a 110-year-old Shoeless Joe Jackson baseball card just sold at auction for $492,000. In other words, nearly 100 times the $5,000 Joe was bribed to throw the 1919 World Series.”


Well, I tried to watch a couple of Bundesliga games on the weekend. Sorry, but I couldn’t do it, not without fans in attendance. With all the quiet, it might have been a high school scrimmage. Well, a high-level high school scrimmage. . . . Having invested some time in that, I can’t imagine watching NHL games in a world of quiet. . . . No, I didn’t give NASCAR a look later Sunday.


The Banff Hockey Academy has announced that it is on the move — to Dunmore, Alta., where its operation will be overseen by Willie Desjardins, the general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. Desjardins already owns and operates the South Alberta Hockey Academy and runs it in partnership with the Prairie Rose School Division. . . . The Banff academy has been operating for 26 years.



There is a $20 bill in my money clip that has been there since March 4. Yes, it has grown lonely. However, there is little chance that it will get company or move on to someone’s cash register in the near future.


The OHL’s Erie Otters have extended the contracts of head coach Chris Hartsburg, associate coach BJ Adams and assistant coach Wes Wolfe through the 2021-22 season. . . . The Otters are 75-99-25 in Hartsburg’s three seasons as head coach. The Otters won the OHL title for 2016-17 and have been in a rebuilding process. . . . Hartsburg spent four seasons (2009-13) as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. . . . Adams is going into his sixth season with Erie, with Wolfe to start his fifth season there.


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If/when Major League Baseball is able to open an 82-game regular season, it apparently plans on banning spitting and sunflower seeds. Is it really baseball without spitting and seeds? . . . Along that same vein, is it really an NHL game if they ban fighting, scrums and spitting?


Checking in with the gang at Strat-O-Matic and their simulated MLB season, we find that the Toronto Blue Jays dropped a 5-0 decision to the host Chicago White Sox on Sunday. . . . The Blue Jays (21-26) are seven games behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays (29-20), who are two games up on the New York Yankees (26-21). . . . The White Sox (20-27) are 11 games behind the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians (32-17). . . . Other division leaders: Houston Astros (31-16), Washington Nationals (30-16), St. Louis Cardinals (25-22) and Los Angeles Dodgers (30-15). . . . If you’re a baseball fan, you will love this site right here. It’s got all the stats and then some.


OHL player draws suspension after positive test . . . Get your Hitmen record book here . . . OHL champs have new coach


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F Justin Kelly (Prince Albert, Spokane, Saskatoon, 1997-2002) signed a one-year contract with Deggendorf (Germany, DEL2). Last season, he had four goals and 11 assists in 23 games with the Bietigheim Steelers (Germany, DEL2). Then, in the playoffs, he added eight goals and 15 assists in 16 games for the DEL2 champions, leading the league in assists and points.


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F Danial Singer, who was involved in a trade on Tuesday, has been suspended by the OHL for eight games after failing a drug test during the OHL playoffs last spring. Singer, ohl19, tested positive for an undisclosed prohibited substance and, as called for by the CHL Drug Education Anti-Doping Program, will sit for eight games. He will miss the first eight games of the upcoming regular season. . . . On Tuesday, the Erie Otters acquired Singer and a fifth-round selection in the OHL draft, from the Niagara IceDogs for F Ivan Lodnia, who had requested a trade. . . . Last season, Singer, who is from St. Catharines, Ont., had 26 goals and 22 assists in 67 games with the IceDogs. . . . Lodnia, 18, was Erie’s first-round pick in the 2015 OHL draft. Last season, he had 22 goals and 37 assists in 62 games. . . . Dave Brown, the Otters’ general manager, told Victor Fernandes of goerie.com that he was aware of the positive drug test before making the trade for Singer. If’s unfortunate, Brown said, that the positive test became public knowledge. “Whoever let it out had a complete disregard for not only the player but his family and the policy that’s in place in the CHL,” Brown said. “The purpose of our policy is to avoid situations like this. What’s happened here is an error in judgment has become blown out of proportion.” . . . That complete story is right here.


This is a thing of beauty, and I have to think that Jeff Chynoweth, the general manager of the Calgary Hitmen, had something to do with it. It is the Official Calgary Hitmen Record Book/Media Guide and it is all-inclusive, even including a section showing who has worn which numbers in the team’s 23-year history. . . . Chynoweth always has had a love affair with numbers and has long understood the value of statistics and their place in hockey’s history. . . . Well done!


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


Dave Matsos has been promoted from associate coach to head coach of the OHL-champion Hamilton Bulldogs. Matsos, 44, has worked in the OHL with the Sudbury Wolves and Windsor Spitfires. He was in Sudbury for four seasons, and spent the last two-plus of those as head coach. He was an assistant coach in Windsor for three seasons. . . . Matsos also has coached in England, where he led the Sheffield Steelers to three straight titles (2006-09). . . . In Hamilton, Matsos takes over from John Gruden, who now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Islanders. . . . The Bulldogs also have promoted Vince Laise, 35, from assistant coach to associate coach. He is going into his third season in Hamilton, after working as an assistant coach with the Erie Otters for three seasons.


Mike Bavis has signed on as head coach of the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, who are affiliated with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Bavis, who spent 15 seasons as an assistant coach at Boston U, replaces Mark Dennehy, who left without coaching in even one game. He signed in May but left earlier this month to take over as head coach of the Binghamton Devils, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. . . . Bavis left BU after 2012-13, following the retirement of head coach Jack Parker. Bavis, 48, went on to coach with the AHL’s Springfield Indians and at Babson College, an NCAA Division 3 school.


What if your favourite hockey team had its home arena shut down and had to relocate to another arena about 2,700 km away? Well, that’s what has happened to Avangard Omsk Oblast of the KHL. Rather serious structural problems have been found in the team’s home arena, so it will be starting the approaching season in a 6,000-seat arena near Moscow. . . . Patrick Conway has more on this story right here.


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