Pickles’ owners, including Roughriders’ punter, are sweet on Winterhawks . . . AHL pulls plug on its season

A group that includes Saskatchewan Roughriders punter Jon Ryan has expressed interest in purchasing the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.

Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest in Portland reported Monday afternoon that the Picklesowners of baseball’s Portland Pickles are kicking the tires.

The Winterhawks have been owned by Calgary oil man Bill Gallacher since 2008, but now are in receivership after a number of his companies filed for bankruptcy last week.

“They have a broker in Toronto who is running the file on behalf of the finance company,” Alan Miller, one of the Pickles’ owners, told Jaynes. “And a representative of our company has had a conversation with them. I love hockey. Been to Winterhawks games. My partner, Jon Ryan, has had plenty of experience in hockey — he comes from Regina, Saskatchewan, and he tells the story that he was cut from five different teams in that league.”

The Pickles play in the West Coast League, a wood-bat summer league for college players.

Jaynes’ complete story is right here.

At the same time, Merritt Paulson, who owns soccer’s Portland Timbers and the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League, has told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he isn’t interested in purchasing the Winterhawks. . . . That story is right here.

Meanwhile, Scott Sepich, a Portland journalist who has covered the Winterhawks, posted a series of tweets on the current situation:

“According to documents I’ve read, Bill Gallacher anticipated defaulting on the loan and Portlandpledged to the lender in November that he would try to sell the Winterhawks by January. That obviously did not happen, nor was there any public statement that the team was for sale.

“Gallacher also seemed to have an agreement to sell a $5 million stake in the Lausanne Swiss hockey team but that seems to have fallen through. He also put a home up for sale in Scottsdale, AZ (that he bought for $11 million) for $26 million in 2018, but it never sold.

“Nearly half of the original $20 million loan in December 2018 was earmarked for arena improvements for the team in Lausanne. Other big chunks were for exercising stock options in two companies. It was a short-term loan, with repayment due in December 2019.

“The WHL had to sign off on the loan since the team was being used to secure the loan. The league approved, acknowledging that the ownership of the team would be at risk if there was a default on the loan.

“Financial statements for the Winterhawks are omitted from the public documents. However, a balance sheet for Audible Capital (the parent company) lists the Winterhawks as an asset of $2,587,166. Not sure where that number comes from (is that what he paid for the team?)

“A study of CHL team values conducted in 2016 (likely inflated as it was part of the labor lawsuit about player compensation) pegged the Hawks as worth more than $36 million. I can’t imagine that’s anywhere near accurate (especially now) but $2.5 million seems way low.”



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


The AHL cancelled the remainder of its regular season and its playoffs on Monday. . . . AHLThe AHL had suspended play on March 12. . . . According to the league, “The standings — sorted by points percentage — and statistics as of March 12 are considered final and official, and will serve as the basis for determining league awards for the 2019-20 season.” . . . When another season gets here, the AHL will have a new commissioner as this was Dave Andrews’ last go-round. A former head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Cougars (1982-84), Andrews has been the AHL’s president and CEO since 1994. . . . This season also marked the end of a franchise in San Antonio, with the Rampage relocating to Henderson, Nev., for 2020-21.


It never hurts to begin your Monday with Peter King’s Football Morning in America — even if I am in Canada. . . . This week, King started off by chatting with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has come to prominence during the pandemic. . . . If you are wondering what leagues are up against in trying to get back on the playing field — or the ice surface — you should give this piece a read. . . . King asked Dr. Fauci what would happen if four players from an NFL team’s 53-man roster tested positive on a Saturday night. The response: “You got a problem there. You know why? Because it is likely that if four of them are positive and they’ve been hanging around together, that the other ones that are negative are really positive. So I mean, if you have one outlier (only one player testing positive), I think you might get away. But once you wind up having a situation where it looks like it’s spread within a team, you got a real problem. You gotta shut it down.” . . . The complete piece is right here, and it is most enlightening. . . . Come for Dr. Fauci and stay for some great anecdotes involving Don Shula, the winningest head coach in NFL history who died on May 4.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”


“Veteran musher Lance Mackey’s 21st-place finish in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was vacated after the veteran musher’s drug test turned up positive for methamphetamine,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “So chalk up another triumph for the sport’s investigative initiative, Operation Yellow Snow.”


Solo

Has Smith signed with Tigers? . . . Has Heward left Broncos? . . . Is Chynoweth no longer with Giants?

UPDATES to indicate that Ryan Smith is joining the Medicine Hat Tigers.


MacBeth

F Brendan Shinnimin (Tri-City, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with the Växjö Lakers (Sweden, SHL). Last season, he had 14 goals and 20 assists in 48 games.


Scattershooting

A source familiar with the situation has told Taking Note that the Swift Current Broncos have lost another assistant coach. The source indicated on Sunday afternoon that Jamie SCBroncosHeward, a former NHL/WHL defenceman, is leaving the Broncos and “has signed with another team out west.”

The source didn’t indicate the team Heward would be joining. However, Steve Ewen of Postmedia indicated earlier that the Vancouver Giants had been talking with Heward about joining their coaching staff to work alongside Mike Dyck, who is preparing for his first season as their head coach. Dyck and Heward were teammates with the Regina Pats during their playing days.

Meanwhile, Dean Chynoweth, the Giants’ associate coach last season, no longer is shown on the Vancouver website. It would seem, then, that his association with the Giants is over after one season.

Heward had been with the Broncos through six seasons. He also served as their director of player development.

The same source told Taking Note that Ryan Smith also has signed with a new team. Smith, who had been the Broncos’ associate coach for three seasons, left the organization last week, about the same time that the entire scouting staff resigned. A different source, also familiar with the situation. told Taking Note late Sunday night that Smith will be joining the Medicine Hat Tigers. They have had an opening for an assistant coach since June 22 when they promoted assistant coach Bobby Fox to director of player personnel, to replace the departed Carter Sears. Fox had been an assistant coach for two seasons.

All of these moves in Swift Current, along with the departure of Jamie Porter, who had been with the Broncos since 2003, most recently as director of hockey operations, follow the hiring of Dean Brockman as director of hockey operations and head coach.

A number of teams, including the Everett Silvertips, are believed to be looking for assistant coaches. Taking Note was told last week that the Silvertips were close to making an announcement. They have room on their staff because Mitch Love left to sign on as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades.

As well, the Calgary Hitmen and Tri-City Americans have yet to announce their new head coaches.



Doug Paisley has taken over as head coach of the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes, replacing Michael Dyck, now the head coach of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. . . . The Hurricanes won the Alberta Midget Hockey League championship last season. . . . Paisley also is the president of the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, who are community-owned. . . . Paisley had been the head coach of the bantam AAA Lethbridge Val Matteotti Golden Hawks. . . . Ryan Aasman will be one of Paisley’s assistant coach. Aasman split 166 regular-season WHL games between the Prince Albert Raiders, Seattle Thunderbirds, Medicine Hat Tigers and Edmonton Oil Kings (2007-12).


Headline at Fark.com: ESPN ditches its comments sections, unfairly silencing thousands of morons.


“Serena Williams made her 10th final at Wimbledon — just her fourth tournament since returning from maternity leave,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Face it, the lady knows how to deliver.”


One more from Currie: “Reuters reports a 46-year-old armless man was charged in Florida for stabbing another man with scissors — using his feet. His lawyer plans on using the ‘no arm, no foul’ defence.”


Ron Delorme, who has been part of the Vancouver Canucks’ scouting department since 1986, was one of those inducted into the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this month. A hard-nosed forward when he played, Delorme split 154 regular-season WCHL games between the Swift Current/Lethbridge Broncos (1973-76). But there’s a whole lot more to Delorme than what you can find at eliteprospects.com. Ed Willes of Postmedia covers that right here.


If you’re an NFL fan, you will be aware that Peter King has left Sports Illustrated and joined the staff at NBC Sports. His first column at his new home — the column now is called Football Morning in America — was posted early this morning. As always, it’s a must read — even if just for Aaron Rodgers’ comments after he went eye-to-eye with a shark off the coast of San Diego — and it’s all right here.


“England not only lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semifinals,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “but the team was fined $70,000 for wearing ‘unauthorized socks.’ Since when has Roger Goodell been in charge of the World Cup?


Here’s Perry, again: “Jim Brandstatter, the Detroit Lions’ color commentator during the team’s 1-9 playoff showing the past 31 seasons, has been sacked by the team. Well, now that they’ve fixed that problem . . . on to the Super Bowl!”



After Joey Chestnut posted his 11th victory in the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog eating contest, Janice Hough (LeftCoastSportsBabe.com) noted: “So who needs the World Cup when we still have American supremacy in eating?”


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