Blades and Raiders help Big River celebrate special occasion . . . First Nation opens complex in honour of ex-NHLer Jim Neilson . . . Rangers were there, too

Hey, folks, this is what it’s all about . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades joined the people of the Big River First Nation on Tuesday to take part in the grand opening of the Jim Neilson Sports Complex, a multi-use facility that includes a 1,500-seat arena. It is named in honour of Neilson, the late NHL defenceman who was from Big River.

Joel Willick of MBC Radio has more on the opening right here.

Meanwhile, Dan Tencer, the Blades’ scouting director, posted four tweets later Tuesday, and here they are, in order:

  1. I’m in the hotel elevator last week in downtown Saskatoon and a mother and daughter get in. I ask about the very yummy plate of food they have and the daughter smiles. They tell me they’ve come from a barbecue for a gender reveal.
  2. Mom sees the logo on my shirt and asks if I work for the Blades. I say yes, I lead the group that scouts players for them. She excitedly says “you’re coming to Big River! We’re all coming out to watch.” I tell her I can’t wait to be there and they should find me and say hi.
  3. Game today ends, I’m outside by the team bus. Same mother and daughter walk up with the little girl imploring her mom to find the “scout leader.” It made my week. I was so touched that she had remembered our 25-second meeting.
  4. I was so proud that we were there to play at the opening of the new rink in their community. Hockey is a wonderful game and can facilitate so many connections in so many ways. Small as it might be, I’m so glad they found me again today.



Music


More than a few followers of the Kamloops Blazers were surprised (shocked?) when D Mats Lindgren, 18, was traded to the Red Deer Rebels on Aug. 29. Those Kamloopssame people were even more surprised to find out that Lindgren, a fourth-round selection of the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2022 draft, had asked out of Kamloops. . . . So what happened? . . . “It was the best thing for me for personal reasons and I’m just excited for this new opportunity,” Lindgren told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Marty Hastings of Kelowna This Week: “Sometimes, players are looking for a different opportunity. Sometimes, things aren’t a perfect fit. This is a scenario where both teams are able to give their players an opportunity with another team.” . . . The Blazers, who open their exhibition season at home to the Kelowna Rockets on Friday, acquired D Kyle Masters, 19, and a lottery-protected 2025 first-round draft pick in the deal. If the Rebels miss the 2024-25 playoffs and thus are in the draft lottery, the pick will move to the 2026 draft. . . . Lindgren would have eaten up a lot of minutes for the Blazers this season, and would have been on the No. 1 power-play unit on a team that will play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. So to find out that he had asked for a trade immediately after the NHL draft left a lot of people wondering what had gone wrong in Kamloops. . . . The Blazers, then under general manager Matt Bardsley, selected Lindgren with the seventh pick of the WHL’s 2019 draft. Bardsley was able to get Lindgren signed a couple of months later, but two years later the GM resigned for what he said were family reasons. . . . Just spit-balling here, but you wonder if Bardsley’s departure, followed by that of associate coaches Cory Clouston, after the 2020-21 development season, and Mark Holick, after last season, had anything to do with Lindgren’s unhappiness?

Meanwhile, Holick is back at Yale Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., where he will coach the U17 men’s prep team. He had spent three seasons as the head coach of Yale’s U18 prep team before joining the Blazers. That lasted one season before he resigned citing “personal reasons.”


Yogi


You could make the case that a penalty taken by an inactive player cost the Saskatchewan Roughriders a victory in what ended up being a 20-18 loss to the CFLlogoWinnipeg Blue Bombers in Regina on Sunday. . . . With the game tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter, and neither team having yet scored in the second half, the Roughriders had moved into field goal range when a schmozzle developed at the Saskatchewan bench. WR Duke Williams of the Roughriders, not dressed because of an ankle injury, was flagged for yapping with fewer than 11 minutes to play. Saskatchewan took a holding penalty on the next play and, because the penalty had pushed them out of field goal ranger, was forced to punt.

According to freelancer Jeff DeDekker, who covers Saskatchewan home games for The Canadian Press, Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson had this to say about the Williams penalty:

“I can tell you this much, moving forward there will be no players on the bench area that aren’t either playing or thoroughly involved in coaching because that was very disappointing. That hurt us and it hurt us bad.

“It was a stupid penalty and Duke feels bad about it and he should. Hopefully he’s expressed that to his teammates.

“He’s an emotional guy and his emotions got the best of him. I think they called it pretty tight. I don’t know what he said to the guy but it wasn’t complimentary. I’ll talk to (Roughriders general manager) Jeremy O’Day and see what we can do. That hurt our team. He feels bad about it and he should.”

On Tuesday, the Roughriders released an American, but it wasn’t Williams. Instead, it was DL Garrett Marino, who also has been more than a handful in the discipline department. Already having served a four-game suspension for, among other things, a hit that took out Ottawa Redblacks’ QB Jeremiah Masoli, Marino got away with a late hit on Winnipeg QB Zach Collaros late in Sunday’s game.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Hockey Canada insists it can change its culture without replacing leadership, changing culture.


THINKING OUT LOUD — I don’t know what it means, but think about this for a moment: The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks signed F J.T. Miller to a contract the other day that will pay him US$56 million over seven seasons; the NFL’s Denver Broncos signed QB Russell Wilson to a five-year, US$242,588,236 deal that included a $50-million signing bonus. . . . Miller is 29 years of age; Wilson is 33. . . . Summer is over. How do I know? Because the junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League opened its regular season with one game on Wednesday night. There are two more on tonight’s schedule and four on Friday. . . . I also know that summer is over because the NFL season gets started tonight (Thursday). I’m riding with the host Buffalo Bills over the Los Angeles Rams. Could it be a Super Bowl preview?


LittleLeague


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Vincent Tremblay, the play-by-play voice of the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, tweeted Tuesday that the club “will have a sponsor on the helmet.  Real estate company Trilogies Inc.” . . . Hmm, corporate logos on helmets. Can other junior teams be far behind? Not if there’s sponsorship money involved. . . .

Joe Mahon, who played in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks and Calgary Hitmen, will be in the NHL this season . . . as a linesman. Mahon, 28, is from Calgary. He has been officiating since 2019. Last season, he worked in the WHL and the AHL; this season, he’ll see action in the AHL and NHL. And he’ll be wearing No. 89. . . . Mahon played two seasons in the WHL. He had two goals and an assist in 41 games with Portland in 2012-13, then put up nine goals and nine assists in 56 games with the Hitmen in 2013-14. . . .

Eddie Gregory is the new play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Giants, having joined them after spending 18 seasons calling games for the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. Gregory, 40, takes over from Dan O’Connor, who left for the athletic department at UBC where he now is sports information co-ordinator. . . .

Damon Pugerude has signed on as the Everett Silvertips’ head equipment manager. He had been with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles, as head trainer and equipment manager, for the past six seasons. He also has worked with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs and the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder and Sherwood Park Crusaders.


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.


Babymaking

Silvertips add Struch to staff . . . Cote replaces Babcock with Huskies . . . Shockey back in coaching game

David Struch has joined the WHL’s Everett Silvertips as an associate coach. Struch, 51, has been involved in the WHL coaching ranks for 16 seasons, most recently as head coach of the Regina Pats. . . . He joined the Pats as an assistant coach for 2014-15 and took over as head coach for 2018-19. He was fired early last season. . . . Struch also was assistant GM for five of his seasons in Regina. . . . He also spent eight seasons with the Saskatoon Blades, working as assistant coach, associate coach and, finally, as head coach. . . . As a player, Struch played four seasons with the Blades and then 14 seasons as a professional before retiring after 2004-05. . . . With Everett, he fills a spot created when Louis Mass joined the San Jose Barracuda, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, as an assistant coach. . . . Struch will be working with Dennis Williams, the GM and head coach, assistant coach Dean DeSilva and goaltending coach James Jensen.


The Mike Babcock era at the U of Saskatchewan is over, having lasted one season. Brandin Cote was promoted from associate head coach to interim head Huskiescoach on Thursday, taking over from Babcock, who has moved into a mentorship role with the Huskies. . . . According to Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Babcock will “serve as a mentor and will also work on program recruiting and fundraising.” . . . Babcock worked as a volunteer head coach last season and was expected to coach one more season before stepping aside. . . . The NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs still owe him for one more season after having fired him on Nov. 20, 2019, with three-plus years remaining on an eight-year, $50-million deal. . . . Babcock’s son, Mike Jr., will remain on the Huskies’ staff as an assistant coach. . . . Cote, 41, a former WHL player from Swift Current, has been on the coaching staffs of the Prince Albert Raiders (2016-17) and Swift Current Broncos (2018-21). . . . Cote played five season (1997-2002) with the Spokane Chiefs and was the team captain for the last two of those seasons while Babcock was the head coach there. . . . The Huskies were 13-7 under Babcock last season, then lost a best-of-three first-round series, 2-1, to the Calgary Dinos.


Biscuits


QB Nathan Rourke of the B.C. Lions says he hopes to return before the end of this CFLlogoCFL season, but he knows that might be asking too much. He is to have surgery to repair the Lisfranc injury he suffered to his right foot in a 28-10 victory over the host Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 19. . . . Interestingly, QB Matt Corral of the Carolina Panthers suffered the same injury on the same night and the NFL team has said he won’t play this season. . . . And then Chet Holmgren, a 7-footer who was the No. 2 selection in the NBA’s 2022 draft, suffered a Lisfranc injury to his right foot on Saturday in Seattle and the Oklahoma City Thunder has said he will miss the 2022-23 season. . . . Hands up if you had heard of Lisfranc injuries before Aug. 19.


Birdseed


THINKING OUT LOUD — Tennis star Novak Djokovic said on Thursday that he won’t be playing in the U.S. Open. Why not? He isn’t vaccinated so isn’t allowed into the U.S. So maybe all those people who are critical of the Canadian government for its restrictions that won’t allow unvaccinated MLB players into the country finally will realize that it’s the same for unvaccinated foreigners wanting to enter the U.S. . . . And the next MLB team scheduled to visit Toronto will be the Chicago Cubs. They’ll be there — minus three or four unvaccinated players — for a three-game series next week, Monday through Wednesday. We will learn the names of those players at some point during the weekend with the Cubs in Milwaukee. . . . ICYMI, Pete Carroll, the head coach of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, said his club “may have” two No. 1 quarterbacks, in Geno Smith and Drew Lock. And when is the last time that having two No. 1s worked, be it with quarterbacks or goaltenders? For what it’s worth, Smith is to start Seattle’s final exhibition game, tonight (Friday) against the host Dallas Cowboys, with Lock coming off the bench. . . . Did you know: The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, who will play three seasons in the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena on the Arizona State U campus in Tempe, have entered into an affiliation with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators. Uhh, the Gladiators play in the 13,000-seat Gas South Arena.


Colonel


THE COACHING GAME:

The Brandon Wheat Kings have added Del Pedrick to their organization as an assistant coach. He replaces Dan Johnston, who now is with the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers. . . . Pedrick, who is from Melita, Man., was the head coach of the Notre Dame Hounds U18AAA men’s team for the past two seasons. He also has been the head coach of the MJHL’s Waywayseecappo Wolverines (2000-02) and Swan Valley Stampeders (2002-06). . . . From a news release: “Over his career, Pedrick was an MJHL coach-of-the-year finalist three times, coached in the Under-16 Challenge Cup in 2012 and 2013, and coached in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in 2004 and 2006. More recently, he led his Notre Dame Hounds in 2021-22 to a SMAAAHL U-18 league championship.” . . . In Brandon, Pedrick will work with head coach Don MacGillivray, assistant coach Mark Derlago and goaltending coach Tyler Plante. . . . The Wheat Kings open camp on Wednesday. . . .

The BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild has signed Chris Clark, its assistant general manager and head coach, to a two-year contract extension that will run through the 2023-24 season. Clark, 40, has been with the Wild since joining the organization as its goaltender coach in 2008-09, the franchise’s inaugural season. He has been the head coach since the middle of the 2019-20 season. . . .

Jake Toporowski has signed with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers as assistant coach and director of hockey operations. . . . Toporowski, 24, was an assistant coach with the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Quad City Storm for 2019-20 and 2021-22. . . . Toporowski, his brother, Luke, and their father, Kerry, all played for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.


Yearbook


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.


Healthy

COVID-19 finds Roughriders . . . AHL team takes bite out of two WHL coaching staffs . . . Red Wings add former Everett coach as assistant


Riders


The WHL’s Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds have vacancies on their coaching staffs after the San Jose Barracudas signed Louis Mass and Kyle Hagel as assistant coaches. . . . The Barracudas are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Both men were on the ice with the Sharks at their development camp late last week. . . . Mass, who had been the Silvertips’ associate coach, spent four seasons with Everett. . . . Hagel had been with Seattle for five seasons. . . . They will be working with Barracudas head coach John McCarthy. . . .

Meanwhile, a couple of former Silvertips coaches were making news on Monday.

The long and winding coaching road finally has led Jay Varady to the NHL. A former assistant coach with the Silvertips, Varady now is an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings. He spent the past four seasons in the Arizona Coyotes organization, one as an NHL assistant and three as head coach of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. . . . Varady, 44, spent eight seasons (2003-11) on the Silvertips’ staff, the last four as associate head coach. Since leaving Everett, he has coached the Ducs d’Angers in France, the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs and the Roadrunners. . . .

Kevin Constantine, the Silvertips’ head coach for eight seasons, has been named the head coach of Hungary’s national men’s team. Constantine, 63, also is the head coach of Fehérvár AV19 in the Austrian-based ICE Hockey League, Fehérvár AV19 plays out of Székesfehérvár, Hungary. . . . Constantine did two stints as the Silvertips’ head coach — 2003-07, 2013-17.


Kong


A report from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A group of farmers and unemployed youngsters have been busted for running a fake Indian Premier League, streaming staged cricket matches online and swindling Russian bettors out of thousands of dollars. But we’ll never know how it turned out. The scam was detected before it reached the championship round.”

——

Perry, again:

No kidding — Simone Biles got reverse-carded at the airport.

The 4-foot-7 world-champion gymnast was mistaken for a child when she caught a flight home after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this month.

“The flight attendant (tried) to give me a coloring book when I board . . .” she wrote on Instagram. “I said, ‘No, I’m good, I’m 25.’

“The other flight attendant gave me a mimosa, so we’re in the clear.”

Even better, the pilot stuck the landing.



As you no doubt are aware, the BCHL withdrew from the Canadian Junior bchlHockey League, the umbrella under which junior A leagues operate in Canada, more than a year ago. That means that BCHL teams can’t compete for the Centennial Cup that was won this season by the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits at a 10-team tournament in Estevan, Sask. . . . With the BCHL on the outside of the CJHL and looking in, it is at least a bit interesting that the Wenatchee Wild will play four road exhibition games against USHL teams in September, while the Cranbook Bucks will go on the road to play games against the AJHL’s Bandits and the Okotoks Oilers. . . . If you’re wondering, the Wild will play two games against the Fargo Force and singles versus the Sioux Falls Stampede and Sioux City Musketeers.


THINKING OUT LOUD: Canada’s women’s soccer team had a chance to clinch a berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics on Monday night when it met the U.S. in Monterrey, Mexico, and the game wasn’t on Sportsnet or TSN. There is something horribly wrong with that picture. . . . By the way, the Americans won, 1-0. . . . If you were able to watch the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the visiting Calgary Stampeders, 26-19, on Friday night, you were treated to the CFL at its best. . . . And then, if you were lucky, you switched over to watch the Milwaukee Brewers and the host San Francisco Giants. OF Mike Yastrzemski won it with a ninth-inning walk-off grand slam, the first time the Giants have managed that since Bobby Bonds beat the Los Angeles Dodgers with one in 1973. The best part, though, was listening to Jon Miller, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow call the game. . . . I don’t know when/why the Saskatchewan Roughriders decided to try and become the CFL’s version of Al Davis’s Oakland Raiders but it isn’t working.


Waldo


There was an interesting development in the junior B Kootenay International kijhlJunior Hockey League on Monday when it released its regular-season schedule, one that includes the Spokane Braves. . . . Because of the pandemic, the Braves have sat out the past two seasons. . . . From the KIJHL news release: “The Spokane Braves are scheduled to play their first KIJHL regular-season game since February 2020 when they host Osoyoos Coyotes on Sept. 23 to begin their long-awaited 50th season. The league is continuing to monitor circumstances around the Canada-U.S. border and will provide updates.” . . . Taking Note has been told that the Braves have been given until Aug. 1 to declare their intentions for 2022-23. So you have to think that the KIJHL has another schedule ready to be released, one that doesn’t include Spokane. . . . With the U.S. and Canadian governments not allowing anti-vaxxers to cross their borders, the Braves don’t have enough vaccinated players to ice a team. In fact, owner Bob Tobiason and head coach Darin Schumacher aren’t vaccinated, either. That fact prevented Tobiason from attending the KIJHL’s annual general meeting at Fairmont Hot Springs in late June.


After the International Olympic Committee decided — finally! — to give the late Jim Thorpe back his classic pentathlon and decathlon gold medals from the 1912 Olympic Summer Games in Stockholm, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg summed things up: “In an equally timely move, the IOC strongly feels women should be allowed to vote.”


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Phil Mickelson keeps saying how happy he is that he went with that Blood Money Tour. And, boy, he sure looks happy these days, doesn’t he?”


Family


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes revealed on Monday that F Yegor Klavdiev, 19, won’t be returning for a second season. He has decided to stay at home in LethbridgeBelarus and begin his pro career with Shakhtyor Soligorsk of the Belarusian Extraliga. . . . Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt, from a news release: “We are really disappointed about the news of Klavdiev not returning. It’s disappointing to lose a good player who was going to be a key 19-year-old for us this coming season and someone that we were going to count on. The timing isn’t great for us, but his decision was made, and we respect that and wish him the best in his next step.” . . . Klavdiev had 21 goals and 26 assists in 61 games last season; he was one of three 20-goal scorers on the roster. . . . F Justin Hall led Lethbridge with 34 goals last season, but that was as a 20-year-old. F Jett Jones, who is to turn 20 on Aug. 27, was the other 20-goal man last season, with 20. . . . In the CHL’s 2022 import draft, the Hurricanes selected Slovakian F Alex Ciernik, who turns 18 on Oct. 8, in the first round and then passed on their second pick. The Hurricanes also hold the rights to Swiss F Liekit Reichie, 19, who had two goals and nine assists in 34 games after being claimed off waivers from the Prince George Cougars last season.

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express is looking for a head coach with Brandon Shaw having left to join the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs as an assistant coach. Shaw, who was with Coquitlam for one season, also was the assistant general manager. . . . Shaw has been coaching in the BCHL for the past five seasons — two with the Merritt Centennials and two with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . .

The OHL’s Soo Greyhounds have extended the contract of general manager Kyle Raftis for four years, taking him through the 2025-26 season. Raftis is preparing for his ninth season with the Greyhounds.


Jason Knight, a former WHL player, died on June 30 in Regina, four days after his 49th birthday. . . . Knight played 56 WHL regular-season games over three seasons (1990-93) — 26 with the Saskatoon Blades, 29 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one with the Tacoma Rockets. He finished with three goals and four assists. . . . From the obituary: “There will be no Funeral Service at this time but a Celebration of Life will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made, in memoriam, to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 100 – 119 14 Street NW Calgary, AB, T2N 1Z6 or to KidSport Canada, 423 – 145 Pacific Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 2Z6.” . . . That obituary is 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.


Puns

WHL releases regular-season sked . . . No Bedard for U.S. Division fans . . . Portland fans going to Regina to see him

The WHL released its 2022-23 regular-season schedule on Tuesday afternoon with each of the 22 teams to play 68 games — 34 home and 34 on the road.

And, yes, there will be some interlocking play between conferences, something WHLthat was missing in 2021-22.

So . . . all you Western Conference fans who are planning on watching your home club play the Regina Pats and superstar F Connor Bedard in your building please take two steps forward. . . .

Uhh, sorry, not so fast U.S. Division fans. You are going to get visits from the six Central Division teams, but not from East Division clubs. B.C Division cities will get to see the East Division teams once each, but not the Central Division teams.

Bedard, who will turn 17 on July 17, is the favourite to be the first-overall selection in the NHL’s 2023 draft. Despite his age, he is preparing for his third WHL season, that is if you include the development season that was played early in 2021 when the pandemic wiped out what would have been the 2020-21 regular season.

Prior to that season, Hockey Canada granted Bedard exceptional status, the first WHL player to be given the right to play an WHL entire season at 15. Playing in a Reginasemi-bubble situation in Regina, Bedard, who is from North Vancouver, B.C., had 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games before leaving to play for Team Canada at the 2021 IIHF U-18 World Championship in Frisco, Texas. He had seven goals and seven assists in seven games as Canada won gold.

Then, with each team playing a 68-game 2021-22 regular-season schedule, the WHL chose not to have its teams cross over and play in the other conference. Playing strictly within the Eastern Conference, then, Bedard put up 51 goals and 49 assists in 62 games. He also captained Canada’s U-18 team at the 2022 IIHF U-18 World Championship in Germany in April. He totalled six goals and an assist in four games, although Canada lost a quarterfinal game.

With a generational player like Bedard on one of its teams, and considering the pandemic-related circumstances that impacted the past two seasons, the WHL could have scored a public relations coup had it made sure that each of its teams played at least one game in every other arena in 2022-23. But it chose not to do that, so while the Pats are scheduled to visit each of the B.C. Division’s five teams, from Nov. 25 through Dec. 2, they won’t be venturing into the five-team U.S. Division.

That’s really too bad because assuming Bedard is the No. 1 selection in the 2023 NHL draft and depending on which team selects him, he may well be preparing for his final WHL season. That would mean the fans of U.S. Division teams could miss out entirely on seeing Bedard.

And that’s a cryin’ shame.

Unless you’re a member of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club and have booked a seat on their 2023 East Division tour. The Winterhawks are scheduled to play in Regina on Jan. 14 and Stewart Kemp, the Booster Club’s president, tells me that they have 25 of 50 slots already filled.


References


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The WHL’s 2022-23 regular-season schedule is to open on Sept. 23 and wrap up on March 26. . . . According to the WHL, 585 of the 748 scheduled games “will be played on weekends or holidays.” . . . The 2023 playoffs are to begin on March 31. . . . The 2023 Memorial Cup is scheduled for May 26 through June 5 in Kamloops. . . . The defending-champion Edmonton Oil Kings will open at home to the Red Deer Rebels on Sept. 23. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice is to open the new season with 13 straight road games. The Ice is to open on Sept. 24 in Brandon against the Wheat Kings and finish the trip back in Brandon on Oct. 28. That trek will include five games in the B.C. Division. Neither the WHL nor the Ice explained why the season-opening road trip in news releases. However, the U of Manitoba Bisons men’s team, which also plays in the Wayne Fleming Arena, has scheduled four early-season home games at the Rink Training Centre in Oakbank before getting into their regular home rink on Nov. 11. So perhaps the Wayne Fleming Arena is undergoing more renovations. . . .

There will be one game on Dec. 18 (Edmonton at Calgary) after which the WHL will pause until a seven-game slate on Dec. 27. . . .

At this point, the schedule has the Seattle Thunderbirds playing all of their home games at the accesso Showare Centre in Kent, Wash., with the Everett Silvertips having all their home games in the Angel of the Winds Arena. In 2021-22, the teams met in one game at Climate Pledge Arena, the home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Everett won the game, 4-0, before an announced crowd of 8,381. . . . The Calgary Hitmen, according to their schedule, will play all their home games at the Scotiabank Saddledome, which also is to be the home arena for the NHL’s Calgary Flames and their AHL affiliate, which has relocated from Stockton, Calif., as well as the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks. Hmm, that is going to be one busy facility. . . .

As you read in this space on Sunday night, Norm Daley has joined the Kamloops Blazers as their president. Daley, who also will be the alternate governor, was introduced at a Monday morning news conference. He replaces Don Moores, who died of a heart attack on June 30, 2021, at the age of 65.


The WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, who have a long relationship with the WarriorsNewMooseJawSnowbirds aeronautic team, have undergone a branding change that includes a complete overhaul of their logo. The logo that had been a red Indian chief sporting a headdress now is circular and includes one of the Snowbirds planes — a Canadair CT-114 Tudor. . . . Ben Lypka of the Abbotsford News tweeted on June 29 that the Warriors had “filed a trademark” for the new logo. . . . The Warriors had announced in October 2020 that they were reviewing their brand. “This is not a knee-jerk reaction to what other sports teams have done,” Alan Millar, then the Warriors’ general manager, told the Regina Leader-Post at the time.“This was something that we’ve been having internal discussions about for a couple of years. I think it got to a point where we felt this was the right time and the right thing to do.” . . . The Warriors officially made the move on Tuesday. From a news release: “After two years of consultation with local stakeholders, community leaders and the Indigenous community, the Warriors launched a new brand on Tuesday.” . . . The news release is right here.


Blood


Headline at TheOnion.com: Nation unable to enjoy baseball without dozens of pitchers hitting .124.


G Ivan Fedotov won the KHL championship with CSKA Moscow earlier this year and had planned to play for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers next season on a recently signed entry-level contract. Instead, his plans were interrupted by officials over the weekend and now, according to J.P. Barry,  his agent, he is ensconced at a remote military base. . . . The Associated Press has more on the Fedotov story right here.


Phillip Sitter of the Ames Tribune reported:

“The men’s hockey club at Iowa State University engaged in years of alcohol abuse, hazing and coercing money out of club members in exchange for status during ‘Rookie Parties,’ ‘Kangaroo Court’ and ‘Rookie Run’ events, according to university investigations’ findings.

“On (June 23), those findings led the club’s suspension to be extended to include all competition for the coming school year. All activities of the Cyclone Hockey Club were suspended in May after allegations about hazing and other concerns were brought to university administration in April.”

Interestingly, Sitter also wrote that “team and club community members, however, denied the university’s findings in a statement provided through an attorney on (June 23). The statement said the university mischaracterized the events and it accused Iowa State of using the allegations as a means to restructure management of the club.”

That complete story is right here.


Lie


On the subject of those golfers who have filled their bank accounts with Saudi Arabian money, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel asks: “Why do we expect American golfers to have more ethics and morals than American corporations, American sports leagues and the American government — all of which do business with nefarious nations?”


You may be aware that Phil Mickelson got US$200 million to join the LIV Tour, while Dustin Johnson got a cool $150 million. Charles Barkley piped up: “Hey, for $150 million I’d kill a relative, even one I liked.”


Bitcoin


THE COACHING GAME: The Coachella Valley Firebirds, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, have hired Jessica Campbell as an assistant coach. She is the first female assistant coach in the AHL’s history. Most recently, Campbell has been working with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. She also was an assistant coach with the German national men’s team at the IIHF World Championship. With the Firebirds, she will work alongside head coach Dan Bylsma. . . . The Firebirds will play their first season in 2022-23. . . .

The junior B Columbia Valley Rockies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Emery Olauson to a “long-term contract” as their general manager and head coach. The length of the contract wasn’t revealed. He joins the Rockies, who play out of Invermere, B.C., from the Edmundston Blizzard of the Maritime Junior Hockey League with whom he had been head coach and assistant GM. His resume also includes a stint as GM and head coach of the KIJHL’s Grand Forks Border Bruins. . . . With the Rockies, he replaces Briar McNaney, who has joined the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers as an assistant coach. . . .

Doug Houda, who played four WHL seasons (1982-86), has signed on with the NHL’s New York Islanders as an assistant coach. He has been an NHL assistant coach for the past 16 seasons — 10 with the Boston Bruins and the past six with the Detroit Red Wings. Houda, 56, played three-plus seasons with the Calgary Wrangers, then finished up his WHL career by playing 35 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . .

The MJHL’s Portage Terriers have added Robbie Moar to their coaching staff as an assistant to Blake Spiller, their long-time general manager and head coach. Moar played in the MJHL, mostly with the Neepawa Natives and he spent two seasons (2019-21) there as an assistant coach. In 2021-22, Moar, a 29-year-old native of Portage la Prairie, played with the South East Manitoba Hockey League’s Portage Islanders.


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.


FindWater

Ex-WHLer Henderson set to retire from scouting game . . . Remembering the night he met a future CFLer . . . Those were the days, my friends!


Archie Henderson, a legendary figure from the WHL’s past, will retire from his role as the Edmonton Oilers’ director of pro scouting after the NHL draft that is to be held in Montreal on Thursday and Friday. Henderson, 65, has been with the Oilers through three seasons. He had been with Detroit but moved to Edmonton when Ken Holland left the Red Wings to join the Oilers as their general manager. . . . The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Henderson played 23 NHL games after being a 10th-round selection by the Washington Capitals in the 1977 draft. . . . A native of Calgary, he played three seasons (1974-77) in the WHL — 86 games with the Lethbridge Broncos and 78 with the Victoria Cougars. In those 164 games, he totalled 26 goals, 29 assists and 700 — yes, 700! — penalty minutes. . . .

On Nov. 19, 1974, Henderson was involved in one of the most memorable scraps in WHL history. The Broncos were in Regina to play the Pats, who had a guy named Bob Poley in their lineup. At the time, the 6-foot-4, 244-pound Poley was a defensive end with the junior Regina Rams, but was still four years from starting his CFL career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. On this day, he was four days past his 19th birthday, while Henderson was two years younger. . . . Regina was leading 5-2 at 14:20 of the second period when Henderson and Poley came together. . . . Gyle Konotopetz, then of the Regina Leader-Post, wrote that Henderson “picked a fight” with Poley, who had never fought while wearing skates. “When Henderson dropped his gloves, Poley was caught off-guard,” Konotopetz wrote. “But, after taking a couple of punches, Poley tackled Henderson as if he were playing defensive end for the Rams and returned a few of his own punches.” . . . Later, Henderson said: “The second time I hit him I thought I knocked him out, but then he just nailed me. Where’d they get him anyway? Boy, is he strong.” . . . Yes, the fans booed Henderson, who said: “I think the fans are a little unreal here. He can’t even skate. At least I can play hockey.” . . . Earl Ingarfield, then the Broncos’ head coach, said Regina coach Bob Turner had put Foley on the ice “for a reason. That took the sting out of us. . . . It’s a good thing (Henderson) fell. (Poley) would have beaten the (bleep) out of Archie.” . . . Turner felt Poley, who hadn’t gotten even one shift as the Pats had lost their previous three games, had given his club “the shot in the arm we needed.” . . . The Pats went on to win the game, 9-3, to move within one point of the second-place Broncos in the Eastern Division. The starting goaltenders were a couple of guys who would go on to become rather well-known— Ed Staniowski of the Pats and Lorne Molleken of the Broncos.

——

Poley

By now, perhaps you’re wondering how it was that Bob Poley ended up wearing a Regina Pats’ uniform.

Well, in 1974-75, the legendary Norm Fong, who would go on to a lengthy career as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ equipment manager, was the Pats’ trainer/equipment manager; one person did both jobs back in the day. Fong also Reginaplayed some Friday night hockey, as did Poley and Roger Aldag, another aspiring football player.

Bob Turner, the Pats’ coach, was in the market for some size and toughness. One night he asked Fong if any of “those Rams kids . . . do any of them skate?”

So . . . Fong spoke with both of them.

“Roger didn’t want to have anything to do with it,” Fong recalled, “but Poley jumped at the chance.”

Poley dressed for his first game on Nov. 15, 1974 — a 6-6 tie with the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings — but didn’t see even one shift.

That led to the encounter with Lethbridge’s Archie Henderson on Nov. 19. Then, on March 11, the New Westminster Bruins went into Regina and came out with a 5-5 tie. The Bruins wound up in a post-game altercation with a Regina broadcaster after that one and coach Ernie (Punch) McLean ended up with a five-game suspension.

“It almost has reached the point where you have to go out and recruit some big stupid guy who can beat up everybody else,” Turner said after that one.

Ten days later, the Pats were in New Westminster. The Bruins won, 6-1, on March 21. The Pats beat the Cougars, 4-2, in Victoria the next night, then returned to New Westminster for a rematch on March 23 in McLean’s first game back from his suspension.

“We were playing in New West and Kerry Fraser was the ref,” Fong recalled. “They always pulled that crap where they’d have one of their guys shoot a puck in your end and then they’d come get the puck and challenge everybody. Poley shot a puck into the New West end and went and got it . . . and nobody touched him.”

Poley didn’t get a lot of ice time; in fact, his first shift came late in the game.

“With just over four minutes remaining in the game,” wrote Lyndon Little of the Vancouver Sun, “Turner sent 6-foot-5, 235-pound Bob Poley lurching off the bench to line up against Harold Phillipoff, one of the biggest of the Bruins. A former member of the Regina Rams . . . Poley — known affectionately as the Hulk from Hudson’s Bay — was along on the road trip, Turner candidly admits, to straighten out the Bruins.”

Turner told Little: ““I sent him out there to kick the bleep out of Phillipoff. I didn’t like the way he was picking on Mike McCann.”

“But,” Little wrote, “with the fans pleading for what they felt would be a classic matchup, McLean prudently replaced Phillipoff. And so the jockeying continued for the remainder of the game. Whenever Poley came on, Phillipoff would withdraw, despite the fact the Regina player was pointedly challenging the New Westminster bench.”

McLean explained his thought process: “I’m not going to risk having one of my best players break his hand on that guy’s skull. If I tried a crazy stunt like that I’d be suspended for life.”

At the time, Philipoff had 26 goals and 31 assists. Poley played 25 games with zero points and five penalty minutes to show for it. Then, in 11 playoff games, he had 10 PiMs.

But wait . . . there’s more . . .

“At the end of the game, they were lipping off and Poley went over to their bench,” Fong said. “All our guys are crapping themselves on their way to the dressing room and Poley’s out there . . . the whole New West team is in their bench and he’s chasing them into their locker room. Kerry Fraser comes over and says, ‘Bob (Turner), you’ve got to come out here and get this . . . monster off the ice. He’s chasing those guys into their dressing room.’ But nobody would fight him.”

Ahh, yes, those were the days, weren’t they?


On the day the CHL held its 2023 import draft, there were reports in the Russian media that G Ivan Fedotov of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers had been detained in Russia.

According to Joshua Manning of euroweeklynews.com, Fedotov “has been detained over suspicions of ‘dodging the Russian Army.’ ” He apparently was taken to a military registration and enlistment office.

Fedotov, 25, played this season in the KHL with CSKA Moscow. The team won the Gagarin Cup as KHL champions.

In April, Fedotov said he would be playing with the Flyers next season.

Of course, news like this makes one wonder if there might be more Russian players in this same situation. That also likely is why some players, like Flyers D Ivan Provorov, who played with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, chose not to return to Russia this offseason.


Two Russian players and one from Belarus were among 64 selected by teams in the CHL’s 2022 import draft on Friday.

Wait a minute, you’re saying. Didn’t the CHL announce in April that Russians CHLand Belarusians were ineligible for the draft, thanks to the invasion of Ukraine?

Well, as the CHL news release wrapping up the draft pointed out: “All non-(20-year-old), import players that were previously drafted in the CHL import draft but were deleted by a CHL team before the 2022 cut-down date were eligible to be re-drafted by another CHL club in the 2022 import draft.”

The Brandon Wheat Kings used their first-round selection on Russian D Andrei Malyavin, 18, who played last season with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. He had two goals and 11 assists in 44 games.

JUST NOTES: Nine of the CHL’s 60 teams didn’t participate in the 31st import draft. All told, six goaltenders, 18 defencemen and 40 forwards were selected. . . . Of the 64 players taken, 23 were from Czech Republic. . . . Of the WHL’s 22 teams, only the Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Winnipeg Ice sat out. . . . The WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers held the first overall selection and took Slovakian F Adam Sýkora, who will turn 18 on Sept. 7. He had 10 goals and seven assists in 46 games with HK Nitra of the Slovakian League last season. He also had two goals and an assist in six games with the Slovakian national team at the IIHF World Championship. Sýkora’s father, Roman, had one assist in eight games with the Tri-City Americans in 1997-98 before going on to play two seasons with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . F Nikita Zozulia, 17, was the lone Ukrainian player to be selected, going to the OHL’s Flint Firebirds in the first round. He played last season with the U-16 Anaheim Jr. Ice Dogs. . . . BTW, 47 of the CHL’s 60 teams didn’t take part in the draft’s second round. Of the WHL teams, only the Vancouver Giants, Regina Pats, Kamloops Blazers and Everett made second-round selections.


Osprey
An osprey couple mind the nest along the South Thompson River on Friday morning. I got close enough to overhear them. He was talking about how the temperature might get to 30 C, and she told him to quit his whining and to remember that one year ago, on June 30, it got to 46.6. That shut him up. BTW, this photo is for K.C., who likes the wildlife photos I sometimes post here.


The WHL rights to F Brad Lambert, a high-profile Finnish player who might be a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft, have been traded by the Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades to the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . In return, the Blades received fourth- and sixth-round selections in the WHL’s 2023 draft, a conditional first-round selection in 2023 and a conditional second-rounder in 2024. The 2023 fourth-rounder originated with the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Saskatoon had selected Lambert, whose father, Ross, is a former Blades player, in the 2020 CHL import draft. Brad also is a nephew to former WHL player/coach Lane Lambert, now the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders. . . . With the 2022 CHL import draft having been held Friday, days before the NHL draft, the Blades had to make a decision on whether to Seattlekeep Lambert’s rights or give them up in order to make a selection. With that pick they took Czech D Tomas Ziska, 17, who had one goal and 13 assists in 31 games with a junior team this season. . . . Their other import slot belongs to sophomore Belarusian F Egor Sidorov, 18. . . . NHL Central Scouting had Lambert rated No. 10 among European skaters going into the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . “This was definitely a unique situation all-around,” said Saskatoon general manager Colin Priestner in a statement, “given he’s a high-profile player with family connections to Saskatoon, but we’ve had his rights for over two full years and we felt the odds of him ever playing junior hockey in Canada were quite low and this way we get three good assets guaranteed up front plus two more really high picks if he ever plays in Seattle. We felt after two years of communications we’d exhausted all our options in recruiting him since he’s been playing pro hockey in Finland since he was 16-years-old.” . . . According to the Blades, they will get the conditional draft picks should Lambert sign with Seattle. . . . That likely will be a tall task for the Thunderbirds, who are looking to fill vacancies created by two of their leading scorers — Henrik Rybinski and Lukas Svejkovsky. Because Lambert, who will turn 19 on Dec. 19, will be drafted off a European roster, he will be eligible to play in the NHL, AHL or with Seattle next season.


Loon
Hey, K.C., here’s another one for you. A loon stops by the South Thompson River for a visit that ended up being short-lived because of the appearance of a couple of noisy boats.


Meanwhile, three teams from the WHL’s U.S. Divisions selected players in Friday’s import draft after losing 19-year-olds to pro contracts back home. . . . The Everett Silvertips took Czech F Dominik Rymon, 18, and Swiss G Tim Metzger, 17, after F Niko Huuhtanen signed with Jukurit of Liiga. He put up 37 goals and 40 assists in 65 games as a freshman with Everett last season after being the second-overall selection in the 2021 import draft. . . . The Silvertips still have Czech F Michal Gut on their roster, but, as a 20-year-old, he would be a two-spotter should he return. Still, he put up 18 goals and 53 assists in 53 games last season. . . .

As mentioned here the other day, Czech F Petr Moravec has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract at home with Mountfield. He had 16 goals and 19 assists in 68 games as a freshman in Tri-City last season. . . . The Americans had the fourth-overall pick and took Czech F Adam Mechura, 19. . . . Czech G Tomas Suchanek, who is heading into his second season, is the Americans’ other import. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs dropped F Yannick Proske and D Timafey Kovgoreniya prior to the draft, while retaining the rights to Czech D David Jiricek, who is the fourth-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting going into the NHL draft that is scheduled for July 7 and 8. The Chiefs selected Jiricek, now 18, in the 2020 import draft, but he has stayed at home to play for HC Plzen and the Czechia national team. . . . Proske, 19, had 12 goals and 18 assists in 58 games with the Chiefs last season and is returning to the German DEL’s Iserlohn Roosters, who chose not let him return to Spokane. . . . On Friday, the Chiefs took Italian F Tommaso De Luca, who will turn 18 on Dec. 19, then passed in the second round.



A former WHLer who knows his way around the movie/television scene and who once owned a chunk of an NHL team checks in. . . . What? You don’t know the name? You never SAW him play? Google is your friend. . . . 



Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Anti-vaxxer demands you produce a single study showing mRNA vaccines are safe — no not that one.


ShoppingCarts


THE COACHING GAME: The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have signed Levi Stuart as an assistant coach. Stuart, 26, spent the previous three seasons with his hometown team — the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. In Nipawin, he’ll work alongside general manager and head coach Tad Kozun, who signed a two-year deal on March 29. Before joining Merritt, Stuart worked with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants as a video coach. . . .

The junior B Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Connor McLuckie as an assistant coach. From Cranbrook, he played in the KIJHL with the Fernie Ghostriders and Golden Rockets in 2011-12, then had his playing career ended by injuries in 2012. He spent the past three seasons on the coaching staff of the East Kootenay Tier 1 Avalanche, last season as head coach. . . .

The QMJHL’s Val-d’Or Foreurs have signed head coach Maxime Desruisseaux to a contract extension, the length of which wasn’t revealed. Desruisseaux is preparing for his second season as the club’s head coach. . . .

Jeremy Colliton is the new head coach of the Abbotsford Canucks, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. He takes over from Trent Cull, who now is an assistant coach with the parent club. . . . Colliton spent most of the past four seasons as the head coach of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He was fired last season. . . . Colliton, 37, played four seasons (2001-05) with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.


Obama


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.


Math

Scattershooting on a Wednesday night while watching Shohei Ohtani weave his magic . . .

scattershooting

A lot of junior hockey teams have signed assistant coaches during my 50-plus years around the game. But I can’t recall an announcement like the one the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades made on Monday.

The Blades welcomed back Wacey Rabbit, this time as an assistant coach, but they also brought his wife, Ashley Callingbull, into their organization as an ambassador.

From a Blades’ news release: “Ashley is a Cree First Nations woman from the Enoch Cree Nation on Treaty Six territory in Alberta. Ashley has many passions that include dance, and she is professionally trained in jazz, ballet, pointe and tap. She also has developed a career in acting, starring in many commercials and television shows.”

These days, she also can be found in Edmonton where she is the in-game host at Commonwealth Stadium for games involving the CFL’s Elks.

But she is making her biggest mark working with First Nations people and in these days of reconciliation the Sask Entertainment Group, which owns the Blades and lacrosse’s Saskatchewan Rush, has done well be bringing her aboard.

“I work with a lot of women and children around the communities and within Saskatoon so I am here quite often and now it will be easier for me to be more accessible to these communities,” she said in that news release.

Her position with the Blades and Rush will allow her a large platform to continue her work in the Saskatoon area and in Saskatchewan.

“I’m hoping to create more programs for not only the youth but indigenous peoples,” she said. “I can’t wait so I will be at every game.”

Sorry, Wacey, but I think your wife’s inclusion in this deal has overshadowed your return.

——

With the Blades, Wacey Rabbit, 35, fills the vacancy created when associate Saskatooncoach Ryan Marsh left after four seasons to join the DEL’s Schwenninger Wild Wings in Germany as an assistant coach. . . . Rabbit, who is from the Kainai First Nation in Alberta, played four seasons (2002-06) with the Blades and 30 games with the Vancouver Giants in 2006-07. He ended his pro career by playing three seasons (2018-21) with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen, while also playing in Czechi and Romania. . . . In 2021-22, he was an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . . From a Blades’ news release: Rabbit “will join head coach Brennan Sonne, assistant coach Dan DaSilva, goaltending coach Jeff Harvey, video coach Karter Parisloff and assistant Jerome Engele on the staff.”


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Has the reputation of one organization taken a beating in recent days and weeks as much as Hockey Canada’s has? (It) should never get another cent of government money, which won’t begin to undo anything close to all that’s gone wrong here.”

He’s not wrong.


The good folks of Imperial, Sask., got it right. Well done, folks!


Giraffe


THINKING OUT LOUD: I learned a few days ago that Johnny Rivers isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. . . . It’s also wrong, wrong, wrong that Leo Cahill isn’t in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. . . . And while we’re on the subject, it’s embarrassing that Paul Henderson isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame. . . . Is there a better race track in B.C. than the highway between Vernon and Kelowna? If you haven’t been on it, it’s one of those tracks where the speed limit seems to be whatever you want it to be. . . . Look, 3-on-3 overtime is fine for a hockey league’s regular-season games. But in the Memorial Cup? How embarrassing to see the CHL decide meaningful games in this fashion. . . . There was news the other day of thieves breaking into the Atlanta home of former NBA star Vince Carter and making off with about $100,000 in cash. So I asked my wife: “How much cash do we have in our home?” We stopped counting at $70. . . . Hope you feel at home here despite the absence of gambling ads.


Have to wonder if any junior hockey teams might try this in an attempt to attract fans and keep them coming back?



With all that is going on in our world these days, you may have missed this story, from The Associated Press:

“ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Happy the elephant may be intelligent and deserving of compassion, but she cannot be considered a person being illegally confined to the Bronx Zoo, New York’s top court ruled Tuesday.

“The 5-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals comes in a closely watched case that tested the boundaries of applying human rights to animals.”

The complete story is right here.

As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, put it: “I guess I should be happy in these days of hyper-political correctness that the NY State Court of Appeals ruled that an elephant is not a person and that an elephant in the Bronx Zoo cannot be released under habeus corpus. . . . However, before I get too carried away in my euphoria, let me point out that the vote of the judges was only 5-2.  Two judges wanted the elephant released via habeus corpus.” 


Stupid


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held its annual general meeting recently, the details of which are included in the link in the above tweet. I’m disappointed that the news release didn’t include anything about the part of the gathering in which the commissioner was kind enough to give me some free publicity. . . . BTW, the Canadian government has extended pandemic-related border restrictions at least through Sept. 19. I’m told, Mr. Commissioner, that this means the Spokane Braves will be sitting out another KIJHL season. They last played in 2019-20.



THE COACHING GAME:

I’ve been coasting for the last couple of weeks, recharging the batteries, making certain that the mask supply is up to date, and watching to see if the quicksand completely envelops Hockey Canada before the Hlinka Gretzky Cup opens in Red Deer on July 31. So a lot of what follows is a bit dated . . .

The Spokane Chiefs have removed the ‘interim’ from Ryan Smith’s title and Spokanesigned him to “a multi-year contract” as head coach. The precise length of the deal wasn’t revealed. . . . Smith was in his second season as the WHL team’s associate coach when head coach Adam Maglio was fired on Feb. 10. Smith was named interim head coach and guided the Chiefs into the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Before joining the Chiefs, Smith spent two seasons on the Medicine Hat Tigers’ coaching staff and was with the Swift Current Broncos for three seasons. . . . The Chiefs also signed Dustin Donaghy as an assistant coach for 2022-23. A part-time assistant when last season began, he assumed a full-time role when Maglio was fired. As a player, Donaghy, now 33, helped the Chiefs to the 2008 Memorial Cup title. . . . Of course, the Chiefs’ decision to stay with Smith throws a wet blanket on the speculation that the job would be going to Kyle Gustafson, who spent 18 years with the Portland Winterhawks but now is a free agent after being released by the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . .

The MJHL’s Portage Terriers have signed Blake Spiller, their general manager and head coach, to another contract. The Terriers, who do things right, revealed that it is a three-year deal. . . . Spiller has been with the Terriers since 2001 and has been head coach since 2006. . . . The Terriers will be the host team for the 2023 Centennial Cup tournament. . . . From a news release: “Spiller won the CJHL coach-of-the-year award in 2015, 2016 and 2019. He holds the MJHL record for league championships (8) and ANAVET Cups (2). He also won the RBC Cup in 2015. Spiller holds all Terriers coaching records, and has 604 career wins. He is 67 regular-season victories away from breaking Doug Stokes’ all-time MJHL record.” . . .

Scott Burt, a former WHL player and coach, now is the general manager and head coach of the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. He signed on as the Rush’s head coach and director of hockey operations in July 2021, then got the club into the second round of the playoffs. Burt was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs for six seasons (2013-19). As a player, he split four seasons (1994-98) between the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels. . . .

The BCHL has announced the sale of the Nanaimo Clippers to Northern Lights bchlHockey Canada, “an investment group headed by Brad Kwong, a Western Canadian-born investment professional with a long history in the sport of hockey as a player, executive and team owner,” according to a news release. . . . That news release is right here. Interestingly, it doesn’t mention from whom Kwong and Co. purchased the franchise. . . .

Darren Naylor is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . You may recall that Naylor, then the general manager and head coach of the Nanaimo Clippers, was placed on administrative leave by the BCHL in February due to what the league said was “allegations of code of conduct breaches.” At the time, the BCHL said that Naylor would remain on administrative leave until at least May 31. At the time, Naylor was under contract to the Clippers through the 2022-23 season. . . . The BCHL said at the time that it had appointed an independent investigator to look into the allegations, but it has never updated Naylor’s status. . . . Colin Birkas, the Clippers’ associate coach at the time, also was placed on administrative leave when Naylor was, but shortly after was reinstated. On May 24, Birkas was named the Clippers’ general manager and head coach. . . . With the Blizzard, Naylor replaces Billy Keane, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the 2021-22 season. . . .

Barret Kropf has chosen to leave the Trinity Western Spartans of the BCIHL. He had been the head coach since 2013, but is moving on to the Moose Jaw-based Prairie Hockey Academy as general manager and U15 prep head coach. Kropf is from Estevan. A three-time coach of the year, he led the Spartans to BCIHL titles in 2018 and 2019, then led them into Canada West in 2020. . . .

Eric Thurston has signed on as head coach of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. He spent the past four seasons as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. There had been speculation a few weeks ago that Bill Peters, a former NHL, KHL and WHL coach, was going to sign with the Storm.


Wifi


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Petr Moravec, 19, has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract with his hometown team, Hradec Králove of the Czechia, Extraliga, as reported by the MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport). Moravec put up 16 goals and 19 assists 68 games in 2021-22, his only WHL season. Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told me that he wasn’t surprised that Moravec wouldn’t be back. “He’s a good kid,” Tory said. “This is a good opportunity for him.” Tory was pleased to have a decision before the CHL’s 2022 import draft that is scheduled for Friday. . . . The Americans expect to make one pick, what with Czech G Tomas Suchanek, 19, back for a second season. As a freshman, he was 12-24-4, 3.87, .901 in 42 games for a non-playoff team. . . . Don’t forget that the CHL won’t permit the selection of Russian or Belarusian players in this year’s import draft. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have promoted Mike Fraser to assistant general manager — he had been director of player personnel — and signed him to a multi-year contract extension. The exact length of the extension wasn’t revealed. Fraser has been with Everett through four seasons — three as head scout and one as director of player personnel. He is a veteran WHL scout, having also worked with the Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Silvertips also have added veteran scout Brian Leavold to their staff as a senior scout. He has worked for the Broncos (1999-2018) and Saskatoon Blades (2018-22). . . .

Dan O’Connor announced via Twitter recently that he is moving on from the Vancouver Giants. O’Connor will be joining the U of British Columbia as a sports information co-ordinator. O’Connor spent the past 11 seasons doing WHL play-by-play — six with the Prince George Cougars and five with the Giants.


Elevator


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.


KidDraw

Ice, Oil Kings continue to dominate in WHL’s east with shutouts . . . Blazers get past Giants . . . Winterhawks open with victory

There was a full slate of WHL playoff games on Saturday night, meaning all WHLplayoffs2022eight surviving teams were in on the action. When the smoke cleared, three teams, all playing at home, held 2-0 leads in the best-of-seven conference semifinal series. . . . In the other series, the Portland Winterhawks opened with a 4-2 victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. They will resume that series today in Portland. This series has a 1-2-1-1-1-1 format. It wasn’t able to open with two in Portland because the Winterhawks’ home arena was busy with grad ceremonies. . . .

At this point, it would seem that if you are looking for close games, you best pay attention to the Western Conference. In the Eastern Conference, through four games, the winners hold a 22-1 edge in goals scored, including 12-0 last night.

——

THE WHL ON SATURDAY:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, F Jack Finley scored the game’s first two goals and G Daniel WinnipegIceHauser recorded the shutout as the No. 1 Ice steamrolled the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, 7-0, in Game 2 of their semifinal. . . . The Ice had won the opener, 6-1, on Friday night. . . . The teams now head for Moose Jaw and Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Finley, who has four goals in these playoffs, struck at 2:49 and 3:35 of the first period. . . . F Connor McClennon (5) made it 3-0, on a PP, at 9:01 and the Ice was off to the races. . . . F Matt Savoie (3), F Mikey Milne (7), F Zach Benson (6) and F Chase Wheatcroft (1) also scored. . . . Savoie and Benson, who also had three assists, scored while shorthanded; Milne struck on a PP.  . . . The Ice was 2-for-5 on the PP; the Warriors were 0-for-3. . . . Hauser finished with 27 saves in earning his first playoff shutout after putting up eight in the regular season. In seven playoff games, he is 6-1, 1.29, .936. . . . The Warriors are playing without D Daemon Hunt, their captain, who is out with an undisclosed injury. He hasn’t played since being injured on March 19, missing the Warriors’ final eight regular-season games and their seven playoff games to date. . . .

In Edmonton, F Jaxsen Wiebe scored his first two playoff goals as the No. 2 Oil EdmontonKings held serve on home ice with a 5-0 victory over the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The series will resume in Red Deer with games on Monday and Wednesday, and with the Rebels still looking for their first goal. They were beaten 4-0 in Thursday’s opener. . . . Wiebe, who played the previous two seasons with Red Deer, opened the scoring with his first playoff goal at 11:45 of the second period. . . . F Dylan Guenther (6) upped the lead to 2-0 at 17:02. . . . F Justin Sourdif (1) counted Edmonton’s third goal on a penalty shot at 2:56 of the third period. . . . F Jakub Demek (2), on a PP, at 7:10, and Wiebe, while shorthanded, at 9:22, completed the scoring. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 26 shots in posting his second straight shutout. In these playoffs, he is 6-0, 1.00, .957, with three shutouts.

——

Western Conference

In Kamloops, the No. 2 Blazers got past the No. 8 Vancouver Giants, 4-3, to take Kamloopsa 2-0 lead in their semifinal. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Langley, B.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . F Drew Englot (2) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 11:04 of the first period, but the Giants took a 2-1 lead into the second on goals from D Alex Cotton (5), at 12:49, and D Evan Toth (2), while shorthanded at 19:53. . . . Kamloops responded with three straight second-period goals, from F Connor Levis (2), at 1:21, F Caedan Bankier (3), at 6:41, and F Daylan Kuefler (3), on a PP, at 14:21. . . . Kuefler’s goal turned into the winner after F Ethan Semeniuk (2) pulled the Giants to within one at 15:53. . . . Bankier’s goal ran his point streak to 16 games — 10 to close out the regular season and six playoff games. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 23 shots for Kamloops, 12 fewer than Vancouver’s Jesper Vikman. . . . Kamloops was 1-for-9 on the PP, with five of those coming in the third period. . . . Vancouver was 0-for-5 after going 0-for-3 in Game 1. When they eliminated the No. 1 Everett Silvertips in six games, Vancouver was 12-for-32 on the PP. . . . The Blazers were missing F Luke Toporowski, who left in the first period of Game 1 with an apparent shoulder injury. . . . The Giants lost D Mazden Leslie and F Colton Langkow to undisclosed injuries in Game 1. Vancouver already was without forwards Payton Mount, Cole Shepard and Jacob Boucher, none of whom travelled to Kamloops. . . .

In Kent, Wash., D Clay Hanus struck for a PP goal late in the third period, Portlandbreaking a 2-2 tie and sending the Portland Winterhawks on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for today in Portland, with a third game to be played there on Wednesday. . . . F Jared Davidson (4) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 9:28 of the first period. . . . Portland took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Marcus Nguyen (1), at 8:44 of the second period, and F James Stefan (3), at 14:44. . . . F Matthew Rempe (4) pulled Seattle even at 19:00. . . . OT was on the horizon when Hanus scored his first goal of these playoffs, at 16:21 of the third period, on Portland’s fourth PP opportunity. The Winterhawks finished 1-for-4; Seattle was 0-for-1. . . . Portland F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (1) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 23 shots for Portland, three more than Seattle’s Thomas Milic.


Informer


JUST NOTES: F Niko Huuhtanen of the Everett Silvertips has joined the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch for the remainder of the season. Huuhtanen, who will turn 19 on June 26, was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. From Finland, he had 37 goals and 40 assists in 65 regular-season games with the Silvertips. He added 10 points, including five goals, in five playoff games. . . .

F Jake Chiasson of the Brandon Wheat Kings now is with the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Chiasson, who will turn 19 on May 25, was a fourth-round pick by the Oilers in the 2021 NHL draft. He was limited to 20 games this season by shoulder surgery, and finished with six goals and 12 assists. . . .

The Brooks Bandits won the AJHL championship on Saturday night, beating the visiting Spruce Grove Saints, 2-0, to win the best-of-seven final, 4-1. . . . G Ethan Barwick recorded a 21-save shutout. . . . The Bandits now move on to the Centennial Cup tournament in Estevan, Sask., that is to run from May 18-29. . . .

The Niverville Nighthawks, an MJHL expansion team, have signed Ethan Maertens-Poole as an assistant coach to work alongside head coach Kelvin Cech. Maertens-Poole spent the 2021-22 season as an associate coach with the junior B Golden Rockets of the KIJHL.


Cereal


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, 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.


Bengay

2023 WJC to Halifax/Moncton . . . Oil Kings’ Cossa blanks Rebels . . . McCrimmon not going anywhere

The 2023 World Junior Championship will be played in Halifax and Moncton. The bid from the Maritimes cities won out over other bids from Kitchener and London, Ottawa, Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres, and Regina and Saskatoon. . . . You may recall that the tournament had been awarded to Novosibirsk, Russia, but the IIHF cancelled that plan after the attack on Ukraine. . . . Halifax last played host to the tournament in 2003. . . . The 2023 tournament will run from Dec. 26, 2022, through Jan. 5, 2023. . . . The 2022 tournament, which got started in December in Edmonton and Red Deer before being postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests among players and on-ice officials, is to be held in Edmonton, Aug. 9-20.



Sportsnet has a story right here on how professional teams are altering their travel arrangements in order to avoid mandatory testing for COVID-19.


Dan Shulman, who has been handling play-by-play of Toronto Blue Jays games COVIDon TV and radio of late, informed fans via Twitter on Thursday that he’ll be away for a few days “because of a close contact with someone who tested positive.” The Blue Jays began a series in Cleveland against the Guardians on Thursday and Ben Wagner and analyst Pat Tabler had the call on TV and radio. . . . Yes, Sportsnet has turned to simulcasting. . . .

Meanwhile, Karl Ravech of ESPN, who is the play caller for the network’s Sunday night MLB game, has tested positive so won’t be doing this week’s game that has the Los Angeles Dodgers in Chicago against the Cubs. Boog Sciambi will be calling the play in his place, joining analysts Eduardo Perez and David Cone.


Facebook


The WHL playoffs resumed on Thursday night with one game — the host WHLplayoffs2022Edmonton Oil Kings opened their Eastern Conference semifinal with a 4-0 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors will start the other semifinal in Winnipeg against the No. 1 Ice tonight. . . . One Western Conference semifinal also is to begin tonight as the No. 8 Vancouver Giants visit the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. . . . There are four games scheduled for Saturday, including Game 1 between the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . .

Joshua Critzer, who covers the Winterhawks for @pnwhockeytalk reported from Portland’s practice on Thursday that “Clay Hanus, Jaydon Dureau and Aidan Like, all of whom missed games in Round 1, are in regular jerseys. No one is in a non-contact sweater.” . . .

——

THURSDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Edmonton, G Sebastian Cossa earned the shutout and added an assist on the Edmontongame-winning goal as the No. 2 Oil Kings opened an Eastern Conference semifinal with a 4-0 victory over the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The series will resume in Edmonton on Saturday night. . . . F Dylan Guenther (5) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 10:18 of the first period, with D Kaiden Guhle, the game’s first star, and Cossa drawing the assists. . . . D Simon Kubicek (1), Guhle (3) and F Dawson Seitz (2) added second-period goals. . . . Cossa finished with 18 saves as he recorded his first career playoff shutout to go with 14 in three regular seasons. . . . Red Deer starter Chase Coward was beaten four times on 27 shots. Connor Ungar came on for the third period and stopped all eight shots he faced. . . . Red Deer was blanked three times during the regular season, all of them at home. Cossa stopped 21 shots in a 4-0 victory in Red Deer on Feb. 11. . . . Red Deer F Liam Keeler didn’t return after absorbing a check from behind at 16:49 of the first period. Seitz was given a minor penalty on the play. . . . Troy Gillard, the Rebels’ play-by-play voice, called the game off a monitor at home after tweeting: “Omicron says it’s my turn to call a game from home.”


Gym


JUST NOTES:

Bill Foley, the owner of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, confirmed on Thursday that general manager Kelly McCrimmon will be back for a fourth season. McCrimmon, 61, is a former player, coach, general manager and owner of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. . . .

D Ronan Seeley of the Everett Silvertips has joined the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. Seeley, who will turn 20 on Aug. 2, was a seventh-round selection by Carolina in the NHL’s 2020 draft. He has played four seasons with the Silvertips. . . .

Jay Pandolfo is the new men’s hockey coach at Boston University. Pandolfo, who replaces Albie O’Connell, played four seasons with the Terriers before going on to a professional career that included 899 games and two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils. . . . He worked as an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins for seven seasons (2014-21). In 2021-22, he was an associate coach at BU. . . . O’Connell went 58-49-16 in his four seasons with the Terriers. . . .

Curtis Brolund will return for a fourth season as head coach of the U-18 AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. The team’s executive made the announcement on Thursday. The Wheat Kings went 33-4-3 this season.


Fred


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, 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.


Fired

WHL’s second round set to begin . . . It’s Rebels at Oil Kings tonight . . . Bardsley takes over in Spokane

WHLplayoffs2022After taking a couple of nights off, the WHL playoffs resume tonight (Thursday) as the second round gets started with an Eastern Conference matchup — the Red Deer Rebels visiting the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . No, I’m not going to make predictions but I will tell you that the teams met 10 times this season — the Oil Kings were 5-3-2, while the Rebels were 5-5-0. . . . Edmonton had a 34-29 edge in goals scored. . . . Over 68 games, the Oil Kings finished 50-14-4, which left them 10 points ahead of the Rebels (45-19-4). . . . If you’re looking for a harbinger, perhaps this is it — they evenly split their last four regular-season meetings, all of which came in April, with each team winning once at home and once on the road. Edmonton outscored Red Deer, 16-15, in those four games. . . . Does that signal a close series? . . . The Oil Kings are coming off a sweep of the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes, while the Rebels took six games to shake off the No. 6 Brandon Wheat Kings. . . .

The other Eastern Conference semifinal is to open Friday night in Winnipeg with the Ice playing host to the Winnipeg Warriors. . . . They met seven times in the regular season, with Winnipeg going 5-1-1 and Winnipeg 2-5-0. . . . There was a large discrepancy in offence with the Ice holding a 37-16 edge. . . . Winnipeg had the WHL’s best regular-season record (53-10-5) and wound up 20 points ahead of the Warriors (37-24-7). . . . They met three times late in the regular season, with Winnipeg winning, 4-0 and 8-1, on March 16 and 29. The last time they played each other, on April 2, the host Warriors won, 3-1. . . . In the first round, the Ice took care of the No. 8 Prince Albert Raiders in five games, while the Warriors did the same to the No. 5 Saskatoon Blades. . . .

Meanwhile, one Western Conference semifinal opens Friday night, with the other swinging into action on Saturday. . . .

The Vancouver Giants, fresh off perhaps the biggest upset in WHL playoff history, are to be in Kamloops to face the Blazers on Friday night. . . . The Blazers are the highest seed in the Western Conference now. They went in as the second seed, but the top-seeded Everett Silvertips were ousted by the No. 8 Giants. . . . Kamloops finished the regular season at 48-17-3, 46 points ahead of Vancouver (24-39-5). . . . The Blazers, who swept the No. 7 Spokane Chiefs while outscoring them, 23-3, dominated the regular-season series, going 10-1-1 — Vancouver was 2-9-1 — and outscoring the Giants, 50-24. . . . These teams have met four times since Feb. 1 with Kamloops winning three of them — 3-2, 4-3 (OT) and 5-2 — while losing 4-3 in OT at home. . . .

The No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds are to open on Saturday night. Because the arena in Portland is busy with high school grads, this series will have a 1-2-1-1-1-1 format, meaning it is to begin in Kent, Wash., before moving to Portland for two games. . . . The Winterhawks, who swept the No. 6 Prince George Cougars, had a 47-16-5 regular-season record, leaving them five points ahead of Seattle (44-18-6). . . . The Thunderbirds took out the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets in five games. . . . Portland and Seattle met 13 times in the regular season with the Winterhawks going 9-4-0; the Thunderbirds were 4-6-3. . . . Nine of the games were decided by one or two goals with Portland outscoring Seattle, 44-36. . . .

Go ahead. Make your picks. Then let the fun begin . . .


In the OHL, the No. 7 Kitchener Rangers took out the No. 2 London Knights on Wednesday night . . .


Cables


As expected, the Spokane Chiefs have signed Matt Bardsley as their general Spokanemanager, replacing Scott Carter who announced earlier in the season that he is leaving for health and family reasons. Carter had been the GM for six seasons (2016-22). . . . Contract terms weren’t revealed, but you would be safe to say that Bardley got three years and perhaps as many as five. . . . Bardsley is only the Chiefs’ third GM since 1990. Carter had replaced Tim Speltz (1990-2016), who left to scout for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. . . . Bardsley was the Kamloops Blazers’ general manager from 2018-21. Recently, he has been working as an amateur scout with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. . . . Bardsley, who is from Portland and spent 18 seasons in the Winterhawks’ organization, left Kamloops for family reasons in May 2021. . . . Bardsley was in Kamloops last week for the third game of the Chiefs’ first-round playoff series with the Blazers and, in fact, was spotted in the Spokane dressing room after the game. . . . The Chiefs’ news release is right here.


In case you thought the pandemic was over, it isn’t. . . . Jackson Browne was supposed to have opened for James Taylor and his All-Star Band tonight (Thursday) at the Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg. But that isn’t going to happen because a “small number of positive COVID-19 cases” were found among tour staff. . . . According to a note on the tour’s website, the decision “was made out of an abundance of caution for the touring personnel, general public and the audience in Winnipeg.” . . . The next stop on the tour is scheduled for Saturday in Calgary. If the virus approves, of course.


Marathon


Mitch

Mitch Love, a former WHL coach and player, has been named the recipient of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s coach of the year. Love, 37, is in his first season as head coach of the Stockton Heat, an affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Love played five seasons (2000-05) in the WHL, splitting time with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos and Everett Silvertips. He was an Everett assistant coach for six seasons before spending three seasons as the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Stockton went 45-16-7 to finish atop the Pacific Division and is awaiting a first-round playoff opponent.


JUST NOTES:

F Bear Hughes of the Spokane Chiefs will finish up this season with the AHL’s Hershey Bears after signing an amateur tryout agreement with them. Hughes, who just completed his 20-year-old season, was a fifth-round pick by the Washington Capitals in the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . .

D Olen Zellweger of the Everett Silvertips has joined the AHL’s San Diego Gulls for the remainder of the season. The Anaheim Ducks selected Zellweger, who will turn 19 on Sept. 10, in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

F Ridley Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings has joined the AHL’s Belleville Senators for their playoff run, as long or short as it may be. The Ottawa Senators grabbed Greig, 19, with the 28th overall pick in the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . .

CapFriendly reported Wednesday that F Ryder Korczak of the Moose Jaw Warriors has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the NHL’s New York Rangers. Korczak, 19, was selected by the Rangers in the third round of the 2021 draft. . . .

The BCHL’s Surrey Eagles have been purchased by brothers Ron and TJ Brar from Chuck Westgard, who had owned the team for 12 seasons. The league’s board of governors approved the sale last weekend, and it is effective immediately. . . . The Brars own Evergreen Herbs, which, according to a BCHL news release, is “a Surrey-based business that has grown into a leading provider of fresh herbs and vegetables to grocery stores across the country.” . . .

Rob DiMaio, a former WHL player, has been named assistant general manager with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. He also will serve as the general manager of their AHL affiliate, the San Diego Gulls. DiMaio was with the St. Louis Blues for the past 13 seasons, most recently as director of player personnel. He won back-to-back (1987 and 1988) Memorial Cups with the Medicine Hat Tigers and was the tournament MVP in 1988. . . .

Adam Nightingale is the new head coach of the Michigan State Spartans. For the past two seasons, he was a head coach with the U.S. National Team Development Program. He also has experience as an NHL assistant coach, most recently (2019-20) with the Detroit Red Wings. Nightingale replaces Danton Cole, the head coach for the past five seasons. . . .

The QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles have renewed the contract of head coach Chad Cassidy. He took over the Eagles’ position on Jan. 7, replacing Jake Grimes, who had resigned for personal reasons.


Therapist


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, 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.


Cake

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if there is giant upset in WHL’s future . . .

scattershooting



A report from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “University of Miami basketball star Isaiah Wong will enter the transfer portal if his Name, Image and Likeness compensation isn’t increased, his NIL agent said. It wasn’t that long ago — OK, 2011 — when Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor traded signed memorabilia for tattoos at a local tattoo parlor, earning him a five-game NCAA suspension.”


Hey, Sportsnet, there is nothing better, when done correctly, than baseball on radio. Having one person call an entire game by himself — unless that person is named Vin Scully — isn’t doing it correctly. For goodness sake . . . don’t be so cheap. Get the play-by-play guy — who is pretty good — a story-telling partner, at least for home games. Or is this all a harbinger of more cuts to come as soon as the hockey season ends?


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Florida introduces ‘Don’t Say Science’ Bill.


Tree


The Everett Silvertips revealed on Sunday that F Jackson Berezowski has Everettundergone surgery to repair an undisclosed injury, so won’t play again this season. Berezowski, a 46-goal scorer, was injured during a 5-1 loss to the host Portland Winterhawks on April 15. That was Everett’s second-last regular-season game and Berezowski, who left the game while favouring a shoulder, hasn’t played since then. . . . Berezowski, who turned 20 on Feb. 12, is from Yorkton, Sask. In 211 regular-season games with the Silvertips, he has 151 points, including 82 goals. . . .

The Silvertips, the Western Conference’s top seed, will be in Langley, B.C., WHLplayoffs2022tonight (Monday) for Game 6 of their first-round series with the No. 8 Vancouver Giants. Vancouver has won the last two games — 11-6 in Langley on Friday and 3-0 in Everett on Saturday — and holds a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series. . . . Should Vancouver win tonight, the Giants would move on to the second round against the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. That would leave the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds to meet in the other series. . . . Should the Silvertips win tonight, the series will return to Everett for Game 7 on Wednesday night. If Everett wins this series, the Silvertips would meet Seattle in the second round, with Kamloops playing against Portland.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Brandon, F Jayden Grubbe’s goal at 7:41 of the third OT gave the No. 3 Red RedDeerDeer Rebels a 5-4 victory over the No. 6 Wheat Kings. . . . The Rebels won the series, 4-2, and will meet the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. . . . Red Deer F Ben King, the WHL’s leading regular-season goal scorer, counted twice before the game was three minutes old. . . . The Wheat Kings pulled even on goals from F Ridley Greig, at 8:41 of the first period, and F Rylen Roersma (1) at 2:16 of the second. . . . King (4) completed his hat trick at 10:07, only to have Greig (2) score, on a PP, at 15:11. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, who also had three assists, put Red Deer back out front with his third goal of the series, at 15:58. . . . Brandon F Marcus Kallionkieli (3) tied it at 2:38 and that goal took the teams into OT. . . . Grubbe won it with his second goal of the series. . . . Red Deer held a 55-50 edge in shots, including 21-18 in OT. . . . The Rebels got 46 stops from G Chase Coward, while Brandon’s Ethan Kruger turned aside 50 shots. . . .

The Rebels and Oil Kings will open with games in Edmonton on Thursday and Saturday. . . . The other conference semifinal will feature the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice versus the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors. That series is scheduled to open with games in Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday.



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ICYMI, five New York Mets pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. The five threw a total of 159 pitches — the most pitches ever thrown in a nine-inning no-hitter dating back to 1988, which is as far back as pitch totals go. That’s a lot of pitches for a team to look at without getting even one hit. . . . Tyler Kepner of The New York Times pointed out that it was Father’s Day of 1964 when pitcher Jim Bunning of the Phillies needed only 90 pitches when he threw a perfect game at the host Mets. . . . Tylor Megill, who started for the Mets on Friday, was lifted after throwing 88 pitches. . . . “If Bunning’s game was a masterpiece for a museum,” Kepner wrote, “Friday’s was something more suited for the refrigerator door. Both are works of art. One is just a little less perfect.”


EV Zug won the Swiss National League championship on Sunday, beating the ZSC Lions, 3-1, in Game 7 of the championship series. Zug is the first team in league history to overcome a 0-3 deficit to win the final series. . . . Josh Holden, a star with the WHL’s Regina for four seasons (1994-98), is an assistant coach with Zug. He spent 10 seasons playing for Zug, which also won the championship last season. . . . Earlier in the playoffs, Zug had swept HC Lugano and HC Davos before losing the first three games to the Lions.


Have you ever wondered how much Shaquille O’Neal weighs. As Charles Barkley said on The Dan Patrick Show: “If he gets on the scale, it’s gonna be saving, ‘One person at a time, please.’ ”


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My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

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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

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


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