Crusaders, Rebels loving their bus drivers . . . Red Deer, Winnipeg set for Manitoba doubleheader . . . Winterhawks, Chiefs share 15 goals

Players and personnel with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders are crediting their bus driver with keeping them out of harm’s way when they were involved SherwoodParkin a multi-vehicle accident on Saturday afternoon.

The Crusaders had played in Olds on Friday night and were en route to Blackfalds for a Saturday night date with the Bulldogs.

The Crusaders didn’t make it as they ended up among numerous vehicles involved in accidents on No. 2 Highway south of Edmonton.

Things were fine until visibly turned sour south of Ponoka and the road iced up.

“We rolled up on a massive pile-up where our bus driver just told everyone to hold on,” Evan McFeeters, the Crusaders’ associate general manager and head coach, told Adam Lachacz of CTV News Edmonton. “He did an incredible job of keeping us safe and upright, weaving through the mayhem in front of us.

“We saw it all . . . cars doing 360s smashing into each other, semis jackknifing, but our bus driver is the hero of the day for us.

“Keeping us upright when we hit the ditch and avoiding collisions along the way till we finally came to a stop.”

(Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to learn the bus driver’s name, just that his first name is Robert. So, Robert, well done!)

There weren’t any injuries to anyone on the Crusaders’ bus.

Eventually, school buses were sent from Ponoka and the team ended up spending the night in the Ponoka Centennial Centre. They returned to Sherwood Park on a different bus on Sunday afternoon.

Lachacz’s complete story is right here.


Inclement weather resulting in horrendous driving conditions prevented two WHL teams from getting home following Saturday night games. . . . The Saskatoon Blades beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-1, and then headed for home along the Trans-Canada Highway. They got as far as Moosomin, before pulling in for the night. The Blades finally arrived home on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

At the same time, the Swift Current Broncos, who had beaten the Pats, 5-2, in Regina, chose not to even try to get home after the game, hunkering down in a local hotel instead.


Boss


The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey CastlegarLeague were in the middle of it all, too, because driving conditions in B.C.’s Interior have been horrendous for a few days now. After playing in Kamloops on Friday night and 100 Mile House on Saturday night, the Rebels arrived home on Sunday and tweeted: “Special thanks to our bus driver Craig Luke for his great work in snowy road conditions.”


How poor were driving conditions in the Regina area. Kevin Gallant made the 45-minute drive from Regina to Moose Jaw for the Saturday night game between the Warriors and Red Deer Rebels. His son, Matthew, is a sophomore defenceman with the Warriors.

When Kevin arrived home after the game, here’s what he wrote on Facebook:

“Made it home, drove 40 kilometres an hour sometimes 30 kilometres an hour. About a 90-minute drive. . . . I will never do another drive like that again, not used to it. Got behind a vehicle and did the slow drive, sometimes no visibility, looked like a few cars in ditch.”

Been there, done that! But I only did it once. When I was with the Regina Leader-Post, I once headed for Moose Jaw for a Saturday night game. Things were fine on the way there. But it was ugly going back with snow and more snow and wind and more wind. I was fortunate to tuck in behind a big rig and follow the taillights all the way to Regina.

Yes, that was a lesson learned.


Bass


Meanwhile, in Kamloops and area, we had a dump of snow late Thursday and into Friday. But it didn’t stick around too long. Then it snowed some more and, yes, there is more in the forecast. People here like to giggle about what goes on in Vancouver on the odd occasion when it snows there. But, truth be told, things are no better in Kamloops on the occasion of that first snowfall. The Sahali and Aberdeen areas have some steep hills that always seem to turn messy when things get slippery. And this time it wasn’t any different. Then, of course, there is the Coquihalla Highway that always seems to end up being shut down a time or three in one or both directions. Such has been the case for the past two or three days, and we now are left to see what Monday brings.

This weekend, however, seems to have brought some ugliness with it.

There is a twitter account — Kamscan (@Kamscan) — whose operator monitors road conditions. On Sunday, the account featured these tweets:

“And the entitled are showing their colours . . . just passed a plow truck on the right and gave the operator the finger.”

“Operator was mentioning vehicles were right on his ass. Guess some can lose the time and deductible on their windshields.”

“And a second one just passed him and probably touched the tip of the plow.”

“Yesterday a plow operator had stuff thrown at him as he was passing a trucker who had hit the ditch.”


ProduceBag


The WHL has eight mid-week games on its upcoming schedule and two stand WHLout among all the rest. Those two games will feature the Red Deer Rebels in Winnipeg to face the Ice on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . The Rebels are on a franchise-record 15-game winning streak. Yes, they have won their first 15 games — the WHL record of 22 is held by the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins. . . . Meanwhile, all the Ice, which has won 10 straight, has done is go 15-1-0, despite opening with 13 consecutive road games. . . . Red Deer’s freshman goaltenders have some pretty fine numbers — Rhett Stoesser is 5-0-0, 1.40, .934, while Kyle Kelsey is 10-0-0, 1.80, .935. . . . Veteran Daniel Hauser of the Ice goes into the doubleheader at 11-0-0, 2.35, .920. His running mate, freshman Dawson Cowan, is 3-1-0, 2.52, .901.


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

The Portland Winterhawks opened an early 4-0 lead — thanks to three PP goals — and then had to go to a shootout to beat the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 8-7. . . . PortlandF Jack O’Brien’s second goal of the game gave Portland that 4-0 lead at 13:28 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Ty Cheveldayoff tied it, 7-7, at 19:25 of the third period. It was his third goal of the game and seventh of the season. It also was the second multi-goal game of his 92-game WHL career; he had a two-goal outing last season. . . . Portland got shootout goals from F Marcus Nguyen and D Luca Cagnoni, with F Raegan Wiles counting for Spokane. . . . F Gabe Klassen had a goal and three assists for Portland. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and two assists from Wiles and a goal and three helpers from F Blake Swetlikoff. . . . The Winterhawks (11-1-2) moved into sole possession of first place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Everett Silvertips (11-5-0). Portland has points in six straight games (4-0-2). . . . The Chiefs (3-10-1) have lost eight in a row (0-7-1).


THINKING OUT LOUD — If you were watching the CFL game from Vancouver on Sunday, were you wondering how much pride Dave Dickenson, the Calgary Stampeders’ head coach, had to swallow before getting QB Bo Levi Mitchell into the game? And if Dickenson was going to send him in to open the fourth quarter, why didn’t he make the change at halftime? . . . One other thing about Mitchell: How do you think he’ll look in Saskatchewan Roughriders’ colours? . . . The Boston Bruins tried to right a wrong on Sunday night. We are left to wonder how long it will be before the stink goes away and they are able to patch the giant hole that has been left in their credibility. . . . The Prince George Cougars (9-7-0) have won three in a row and woke up Sunday morning atop the B.C. Division. They will visit the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday, then head home for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader with the Vancouver Giants. Have to wonder if this early success will create some interest in Cougartown?


Call


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.


Fish

Coyotes give Guenther the good news . . . Rebels roar back for 15th victory . . . AJHL team’s players OK after bus accident

The Arizona Coyotes have told F Dylan Guenther that he’ll be staying in the NHL. Guenther, 19, had two goals and four assists in nine games when he was Edmontongiven the news on Saturday. . . . He played his 10th game last night — he was pointless in a 3-2 victory over the host Washington Capitals — meaning the first year of his three-year contract has kicked in. . . . From Edmonton, he was the ninth overall selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . Last season, he put up 45 goals and 46 assists in 59 games with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, then added 13 goals and eight assists in 16 games as the team won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . In 137 regular-season WHL games, all with the Oil Kings, he totalled 86 goals and 92 assists. . . . The Coyotes could change their minds later and return him to the Oil Kings, of course, but the first year of his contract will have been used up. Because he is 19 and was drafted out of major junior, he has to play in major junior or the NHL; he can’t be assigned to the AHL. . . . With the Oil Kings early in a rebuilding cycle, chances are that he would have been moved for future assets had he been returned.


Sewage


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

The Red Deer Rebels are 15-0-0 after going into Moose Jaw and beating the RedDeerWarriors, 4-2. . . . Moose Jaw led 2-1 after the second period. It was the first time this season that the Rebels trailed going into a third period; the Warriors had been 6-0-0 when leading after two. . . . The 1967-68 Estevan Bruins hold the WHL record for most consecutive wins (22) to open a season. . . . This victory allowed the Rebels to set a franchise record for longest winning streak. The 2001-02 team had a mid-season 14-game streak . . . F Kai Uchacz scored twice for Red Deer. He leads the WHL with 15 goals and has scored at least once in five straight games. . . . The Rebels are 3-0-0 on a nine-game road trip. . . . F Jace Isley also scored twice for the winners. His shorthanded goal at 10:28 of the third period tied the score, 2-2, and his ninth goal of the season, at 13:30, stood up as the winner. . . .


F Jordan Keller scored twice as the Saskatoon Blades counted the game’s last Saskatoonthree goals and beat the Wheat Kings, 4-1, in Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings have lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Keller scored one goal in eight games last season. This season, he has four goals and three assists in 14 games. . . . The Blades were 2-for-4 on the PP, while penalty killers were 4-for-4 and now have killed off 18 straight penalties over three games. . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Tyson Zimmer scored his second goal of the season and added an assist to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Tigers. . . . The Hurricanes have points in four straight (3-0-1); the Tigers have lost five in a row (0-3-2). . . .

D Olen Zellweger and F Caden Zaplitny each scored twice as the Everett EverettSilvertips doubled the Raiders, 4-2, in Prince Albert. . . . Zellweger scored once and Zaplitny twice before the first period was seven minutes old. . . . The Silvertips went 4-2-0 on their East Division trip, finishing up with three straight victories. . . . Zaplitny has three goals and three assists in 16 games. Last season, he finished with three and three in 38 games. . . .

The visiting Swift Current Broncos scored the game’s first three goals and went on to beat the Regina Pats,5-2. . . . F Josh Filmon scored twice for the Broncos, giving him 10. He has 15 points in 10 games. . . . F Connor Bedard drew two PP assists for Regina as he ran his point streak to 15 games. . . . G Gage Alexander stopped 40 shots for the Broncos. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks erased a 1-0 deficit with four straight goals en route Portlandto a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . One night earlier, the Winterhawks had beaten the Thunderbirds, 5-1 in Portland. . . . The Winterhawks have points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . Portland was 4-for-5 on the PP and also scored a shorthanded goal. . . . Seattle was 0-for-11 with the man advantage. . . . F Gabe Klassen scored twice for Portland — one of them shorthanded — and now has 11 goals. . . . F Luca Cagnoni had two goals for the winners. . . . Seattle was again without F Jared Davidson, its leading scorer, with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Thunderbirds are 1-3-0 since opening the season with nine straight victories. . . .

F Connor Dale scored his first two WHL goals to help the host Winnipeg Ice to a WinnipegIce5-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Ice has won 10 straight. . . . The Americans went 2-4-0 on their East Division trip. . . . Dale, a 17-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., has six points in 12 games. He was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft. . . . The Americans got a goal and two assists from F Ethan Ernst. He’s got 22 points, 10 of them goals, in 15 games. . . . Tri-City D Lukas Dragicevic ran his point streak to 10 games with two assists. . . .

G Talyn Boyko stopped 44 shots and F Andrew Cristall scored twice to lead the Kelownahost Kelowna Rockets to a 3-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Cristall broke a 1-1 tie with his 10th goal at 1:28 of the second period and added insurance at 10:32 of the third. . . . F Logan Stankoven scored his 10th goal for Kamloops. He has at least one point in each of the nine games he has played since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . Kelowna had F Colton Dach, its captain, back in the lineup after he sat out five games with a concussion. . . .

The Prince George Cougars completed a doubleheader sweep in Spokane, PrinceGeorgebeating the Chiefs, 5-3. . . . The Cougars had won 7-2 on Friday. . . . Prince George now has won three in a row; the Chiefs have lost seven straight. . . . F Chase Wheatcroft of the Cougars scored twice in each game, giving him 10. . . . F Riley Heidt gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead with a shorthanded penalty shot goal at 19:04 of the second period. . . . Prince George got 40 stops from G Ty Young. . . . The Chiefs are to entertain the Portland Winterhawks this evening with each team playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Cougars (9-7-0) find themselves atop the B.C. Division. although the second-place Kamloops Blazers (7-4-2) have three games in hand. . . .

Don’t forget . . . if you aren’t already, start following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) on Twitter for more game-related stats and info. You can’t go wrong there.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Victoria Royals announced on Saturday that their Nov. 26 game against the visiting Regina Pats and F Connor Bedard is sold out. “This is the most-anticipated regular-season game in Royals franchise history since opening night in 2011,” the Royals tweeted. . . .

The Penticton Vees ran their BCHL season-opening record to 16-0-0 on Saturday night with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Wenatchee Wild. Next on the schedule for the Vees is a visit from the Vernon Vipers on Thursday. . . .

The BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals have added F Anton Yatsyshin, 18, to their roster. He has played in 45 WHL regular-season games — 40 with the Calgary Hitmen last season and five this season with the Prince Albert Raiders. From Kyiv, Ukraine, he had nine points, four of them goals, with Calgary and one goal with the Raiders before being release.


THINKING OUT LOUD — Really, just what was the Boston Bruins’ braintrust thinking? What were the conversations about as they reached a decision to sign that guy? I just hope they aren’t surprised at the backlash. . . . I have had to quit watching intermission shows. The gambling blorf has driven me elsewhere. It all is just so shameful, especially when we see the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Connor McDavid and even Kevin Weekes flogging this stuff. . . . Would you agree that the Houston Astros have MLB’s best pitching staff? . . . It was a tough day for Canada’s national men’s soccer team with Alphonso Davies (hamstring) and keeper Maxime Crépeau (leg) going down with injuries. Canada plays its first game at the World Cup on Nov. 23. Ouch! . . . Sorry, Canucks fans, but I fear your favourites are in for another one of those seasons. I mean, sheesh, leading the stumbling Nashville Predators 3-0 early on home ice and losing 4-3 in a shootout. Bo Horvat’s overskating the puck on Vancouver’s final shootout sums up the season to this point, doesn’t it?


Boring


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.


Radio

Wheat Kings’ Thornton released from hospital, now with family at home . . . Health of Rockets’ Dach a concern . . . WHL still has three unbeaten teams

F Ben Thornton of the Brandon Wheat Kings was released from Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday afternoon and now is at home with his family in Chilliwack.

Thornton, an 18-year-old sophomore, was taken to hospital after absorbing a Brandonhard hit in a game with the Vancouver Giants at the Langley Events Centre on Friday night.

The Wheat Kings, who beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-2, tweeted on Saturday that all of “Ben’s CT scans came back clear.”

On Sunday evening, Erin Thornton, Ben’s father, told Taking Note that Ben is dealing with concussion-related issues — a bad headache and dizziness — and also has a “hip that needs attending to.”

It sounds as though Ben won’t be rejoining his team for at least a few days, and could know more after seeing a doctor today (Monday).

“We are extremely grateful the situation isn’t worse and that he will be back with the team in the near future,” added Erin, who played 52 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds over two seasons (1990-92). “The support from the team and messages from friends and family have been overwhelming.”

Vancouver F Kyle Bochek was given a charging major and game misconduct for the hit. The WHL suspended Bochek, with the length yet to be determined. At the same time, Brandon F Brett Hyland was given a TBD suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver D Mazden Leslie in Friday’s game.

The Wheat Kings, without Thornton and Hyland, surrendered the game’s last five goals in losing 5-3 to the Royals in Victoria on Saturday night. Brandon is to play the fifth game of an eight-game road swing in Kamloops against the Blazers on Tuesday.


Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen has taken a long look at the Cougars and their attendance woes. That includes a conversation with John Pateman, one of PrinceGeorgethe team’s six owners and the organization’s president.

At one point, Clarke wrote:

“Pateman doesn’t like to think about how much money the owners have lost since they bought the Cougars but it is substantial, and it’s getting more expensive to run a junior hockey team. Hotel rooms have doubled in price and hotel managers are refusing to cut hockey teams deals that used to allow them to check out after the pre-game nap. Restaurants are still trying to recoup their losses from the pandemic years and the higher cost of food is showing up on menus. Then there’s the price of diesel fuel for the bus, which only seems to go up.

“ ‘We’ve got to get more of the business community on board just as much as the fans,’ said Pateman. ‘In terms of dollars, we probably need 50 per cent more fans at the game and probably 50 per cent more sponsorship revenue. We think we have a playoff team and you never know what happens in the playoffs. We’d like to get to the stage of maybe breaking even in the season and then maybe getting a bit ahead of the game in the playoffs.’

“So where does that leave the Cougars? Despite their losses, there’s no indication ownership is going to move the team to greener pastures or sell it to somebody that might want to build a rink a rink in Nanaimo. The Cougars’ braintrust has faith the bleeding will stop eventually and a winning team on a lengthy playoff run would do wonders to make that happen. But it is up to the fans to show whether they want a WHL team to continue waving the P.G. flag.”

Clarke’s complete piece is right here.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Sportsnet apologizes for interrupting gambling commercial with hockey.


The sons of two former NHLers, both of whom own chunks of the Kamloops Blazers, scored newsworthy goals on Friday night. . . . F Tij Iginla, the 16-year-old son of Jarome, counted his first WHL goal as the Seattle Thunderbirds dumped the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-0. Iginla, the ninth overall pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft, scored the game’s final goal. . . . Meanwhile, in Tempe, Ariz., F Josh Doan, the son of Shane, scored the first goal in the school’s new hockey facility — Mullett Arena — and the Sun Devils went on to a 2-0 victory over the Colgate Raiders. Doan, ASU’s captain, scored on a breakaway at 19:15 of the first period, banging in his own rebound. “I couldn’t have made it harder on myself to put it in,” Doan told Jenna Ortiz of the Arizona Republic. “A great pass from (Lukas Sillinger) and it was a pretty special moment. You get an opportunity to score the first in this rink and that’s pretty special. That goes up to a lot of guys that played in the program before me.” . . . Doan, 20, was selected by Kamloops in the WHL’s 2017 draft, but chose the NCAA route. The Arizona Coyotes grabbed him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . BTW, Lukas Sillinger, 22, is the son of former WHL/NHL F Mike Sillinger.



Rick Bowness, the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, won’t be behind the bench COVIDtonight (Monday) when they visit his former club, the Dallas Stars. Bowness tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and missed that night’s home game, a 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers. The Jets are hopeful that Bowness will be available on Friday when they meet the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. . . . With Bowness sidelined, associate coach Scott Arniel is in charge.



Meeting


You have to think the Kelowna Rockets are concerned about the health of their captain, Colton Dach, who took a high hit during a 5-4 loss to the Silvertips in KelownaEverett on Friday night. Dach, 19, needed help getting off the ice after a hit from D Dexter Whittle, who was given a major and game misconduct. On Saturday, he was hit with a three-game suspension.

Regan Bartel, the longtime radio voice of the Rockets, wrote at rocketfan.ca: “You hope Dach suffered nothing more than a neck injury on the play when he was struck by Whittle just outside the Tips’ blueline. The concern is the injury is worse.”

Dach recently returned to Kelowna after a stint in camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. And it turns out that he missed time there after suffering a concussion during a prospects’ game with the Minnesota Wild on Sept. 16. He was placed in concussion protocol the next day.

Dach told Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune: “For me it’s still a mystery, I kind of just hit someone. Having just one shift I was going out there running around hitting some guys and came back to the bench and got a little headache.

“During intermission, it didn’t go away. I was going to try and just play through it but it kept getting worse and worse and never went away. (Those are the) kind of things you need to tell the training staff. . . . (It’s) pretty serious.”

As for symptoms, Dach told Thompson: “A lot of headaches, a lot of neck pain and dizziness, sensitive to the light a little bit. So everything was kind of normal. There (were) no weird things going on.”

The Rockets are scheduled to entertain the Brandon Wheat Kings on Wednesday and the Winnipeg Ice on Saturday, and then will be off until Oct. 28.



Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Phil Mickelson was in Saudi Arabia this week, singing the praises of that LIV Tour, and I was just happy to see Phil back with his people. Mickelson can’t play a lick any more, but he still can talk.”


Workout


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The WHL goes into a new week with three undefeated teams . . . the same three that were unbeaten when the weekend games began. . . . The Red Deer Rebels, Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds all are 7-0-0. . . . The Rebels went on the road and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-2, on Friday and the Swift Current Broncos, 4-3, on Saturday. This is the second time in franchise history that the Rebels have opened with seven victories. They also did it in 2000-01, a season in which they won the Memorial Cup. Red Deer next is scheduled to play Wednesday against the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Winterhawks played once on the weekend; they beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 5-4, in a shootout. Portland erased a 4-1 deficit with three goals in the latter half of the second period. Kamloops had won its previous four games. The Winterhawks are scheduled to visit the Tri-City Americans on Saturday. . . . Seattle, meanwhile, dumped the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-0, on Friday and then went into Everett and thrashed the Silvertips, 11-3, on Saturday. The Thunderbirds got four goals and five assists from F Lucas Ciona in the two games. Next up for the Thunderbirds will be a visit by the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday. . . . BTW, TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits) points out that the Thunderbirds are the first visiting team ever to score 10 goals in Everett. The Chiefs had held the record, having scored nine in a 9-1 victory on Jan. 28, 2009. . . . It’s worth noting that the host Silvertips bounced back Sunday with a 7-3 victory over the Chiefs behind three goals from F Jackson Berezowski and three assists from F Austin Roest. . . .

The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline (whl.ca/discipline) has been busy of late. Including discipline handed down on Oct. 9, the league issued 13 games in suspensions through Sunday, with two other sentences yet to be determined. As well, the Regina Pats were fined $250 for a warmup violation against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 12; the Edmonton Oil Kings paid $500 for “instigator in last five minutes” of a game against the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Oct. 14. . . .

F Gabe Klassen of the Portland Winterhawks struck for seven goals in his first three games before suffering an undisclosed injury. Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ veep/GM/head coach told Joshua Critzer, who covers the Winterhawks for @pnwhockeytalk, that Klassen is back skating and “I would expect he’ll play next week as long as he has a good week in practice.” Sounds like he could return Saturday in Kennewick, Wash., against the Tri-City Americans.


Slugs


THE BEDARD UPDATE — F Connor Bedard scored twice on Friday — he had eight shots on goal — as the Pats beat the Broncos, 4-3, in Swift Current. Bedard, the likely No. 1 selection in the 2023 NHL draft, broke a 3-3 tie at 19:52 of the third period. The announced attendance was 1,922, the largest Swift Current crowd through four games this season. . . . On Sunday, Bedard ran his point streak to 10 games with one assist as the Pats, who erased a 3-0 deficit with three third-period goals, dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. Bedard drew the primary assist on F Tanner Howe’s tying goal at 9:34 of the third period. Announced attendance was 3,211, the second-largest crowd through five games in Regina this season. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (9) and points (20). F Austin Roest of the Everett Silvertips has 17 points; Roest, teammate Jackson Berezowski and F Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds each has eight goals. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in shots on goal, with 73, in 11 games. Berezowski has 43 in nine games.



Jon Runyan Jr., a guard with the Green Bay Packers, was fined US$5,215 by the NFL after leg-whipping an opponent during the 27-22 loss to the New York Giants in London on Oct. 9. The letter he got informing him of the fine read “further offenses will result in an escalation of disciplinary action, up to and including suspension.” . . . The letter was signed by Jon Runyan Sr. Yes, Junior’s father is the NFL’s vice-president of football operations. . . . “My dad and I always joked about this happening, but I never thought my style of play would ever warrant what he deemed to be unnecessary roughness, but it happened,” Junior told ESPN. “I thought since I left for college, I wouldn’t have to deal with him punishing me anymore, but I was wrong about that.”


Fateddy


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.


Urinal

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the magic of a no-hitter has been permanently lost . . .

scattershooting

Mothers


There was one playoff game in the WHL on Sunday night, and there will be WHLplayoffs2022another one tonight (Monday). . . . Last night, the host Portland Winterhawks used a shorthanded goal to get past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1, to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. . . . Tonight, in the Eastern Conference, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings take a 2-0 series lead into Red Deer for a game with the No. 3 Rebels. . . . The Rebels have yet to score in the series, having been blanked 4-0 and 5-0 by the Oil Kings and G Sebastian Cossa.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Portland, the No. 3 Winterhawks got the winner late in the third period as they defeated the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1. . . . Portland, which won, 4-2, Portlandin Kent, Wash., on Saturday night, holds a 2-0 lead in the conference semifinal. They’ll play the third game in Portland on Wednesday. . . . Last night, F Lucas Ciona (4) put Seattle in front at 9:05 of the first period. . . . F Tyson Kozak pulled Portland even at 11:02 of the second period. . . . Then, with D Josh Mori serving a tripping minor, F Gabe Klassen (4) snapped the 1-1 tie at 16:22 of the third period. . . . F Jaydon Dureau, in his return to Portland’s lineup after a two-game absence, drew the lone assist on Klassen’s goal. . . . Portland was 0-for-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-4 with two of those opportunities coming in the last half of the third period. . . . Portland got 28 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, who is 6-0, 1.17, .959 in these playoffs. Gauthier, 20, was acquired from the Prince George Cougars during the season and it would seem he is enjoying his first WHL playoff run. . . . G Thomas Milic blocked 29 shots for Seattle, including a second-period penalty-shot attempt by F Cross Hanas.


Here’s Larry Brooks, in the New York Post: “So the (New Jersey) Devils conducted a soul-searching and thorough review of the organization and appear to have to come to the conclusion that assistant coaches Alain Nasreddine and Mark Recchi were the problem and thus had to go.

“That kind of reminds me of when the Devils missed the 1996 playoffs as defending Stanley Cup champions and decided to dismiss PA announcer Bob Arsena after the season ended.”

Recchi, a Hockey Hall of Famer, had one year left on his contract. He owns a chunk of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. Recchi, 54, was an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons before spending the past two seasons with head coach Lindy Ruff and the Devils.


Joe Posnanski just couldn’t get fired up recently when five New York Mets pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies, and here’s why . . .

“The magic of a no-hitter is not that one team gets no hits,” Posnanski wrote. “That’s just a bad hitting performance. The magic is that one pitcher accomplishes the feat. The magic is that the pitcher finds a way to keep the no-hitter going even after he’s shown all his pitches, even as his stuff diminishes.

“Sending five hard-throwing pitchers out there to throw a no-hitter — ending with a closer who throws 100 mph — feels sort of the opposite of magic. It feels like playing a video game on cheat mode.”

He’s not wrong.



Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Delta and Omicron variants jealous that younger XE strain gets away with anything it wants.



THINKING OUT LOUD — Hello, baseball gods. Would you please, please, please free Joey Votto from the hell that is the Cincinnati Reds. Thank you. . . . Surely you have been stuck at a railroad crossing with a train crawling along, perhaps even getting almost past you and then backing up and doing it all over again. While you’re sitting there have you ever wondered if whoever is running that train has ever had to sit at a crossing? Yes, I sat at one for 14 minutes on Thursday afternoon. No, the ice cream in the grocery bag didn’t melt. . . . If the Vancouver Canucks were going to bring Bruce Boudreau back as their head coach, wouldn’t the deal have been done before now? . . . I’ve been told that Rylan Ferster, a veteran junior hockey coach, is soon to be back in the BCHL, if he isn’t already. Are you hearing that, too?



Here’s a thought from Sportsnet’s Luke Fox: “Based on Jim Rutherford’s half-hearted endorsement, the cleared bench in Philadelphia, and the relationship with GM Chuck Fletcher, it’s nearly impossible to find someone in hockey who doesn’t believe Bruce Boudreau will end up behind the Flyers’ bench.”


Beer


The pandemic will claim its one millionth American victim this week and we won’t even blink . . . 1,000,000 dead . . . ho hum!

Here’s Charles P. Pierce of Esquire:

“There was a point in the pandemic at which one million dead was as inconceivable to us as a million cattle would have been to an Englishman of the 12th century. There was a point in the pandemic at which 674,000 deaths, more deaths than in the 1918 pandemic, was inconceivable. But every grisly mile marker went by until we got to the past week, and one million dead, and this happened because a great deal of the country’s reaction to the pandemic was just as inconceivable at its beginning as the ultimate body count once was.

“For example, I figured that there would be a general ‘war’ on the disease, because we can’t confront any big problem without declaring ‘war’ against it. What I did not see coming was an actual political and social ‘war’ against the cure, one that included everyone from radio hosts to certain cardinals of Holy Mother Church. What I did not see coming was a ‘war’ against the public health measures that the pandemic made necessary. Pissing and moaning, yes. Bristling over the little inconveniences, absolutely. But not an all-out assault on the idea that we must adopt measures against epidemic disease that might disrupt our daily lives, however slightly.”

On Sunday night, the counter at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine showed the U.S. at 997,503 deaths, along with 81,858,744 confirmed cases.

Johns Hopkins had Canada with 39,817 deaths, along with 3,805,916 confirmed cases.


The Boston Bruins were without D Charlie McAvoy when they beat the visiting COVIDCarolina Hurricanes, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon to even their first-round NHL playoff series at 2-2. Where was McAvoy? He was in COVID-19 protocol after having tested positive. . . . A good guess would be that McAvoy was showing symptoms, which is why he was tested. . . . And now you know why professional teams playing in Canada have taken to avoiding testing by riding a bus over the U.S. border before catching a flight to an American destination. The last thing those teams want is to have an asymptomatic player test positive and have to miss playoff action.


Err


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Sign of hard times, at Wednesday’s Oakland Athletics game at the Coliseum: One food truck on the plaza. Used to be there were eight or 10 to choose from. Pretty soon it will be just a guy selling day-old churros and two kids with a lemonade stand.”



“Hey, badder batter!” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “MLB hitters had a bad April, scoring the fewest runs per game (4.0) in the month since 1981 and posting the worst   batting average (.231) in history.”


The MJHL’s championship final is going to a seventh game. The Dauphin Kings took it to Game 7 with a 2-0 victory over the visiting Steinbach Pistons on Sunday night. G Carson Cherepak earned the shutout with 24 stops. . . . They’ll decide things in Steinbach on Wednesday night with the winner moving on to the Centennial Cup tournament in Estevan, Sask.


Tuna


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.


Open

Government hits WHL’s Sask. teams with PST . . . Big crowd watches Blades dump Pats . . . Garand blanks Rockets again

By now you will be aware that the cost of most everything is rising, rising, rising . . . with no end in sight. Well, six WHL teams learned earlier this week that their ticket prices will be going up, too, and there isn’t anything they can do about it.

That’s because this increase is thanks to the Saskatchewan government having slapped a six per cent PST on various entertainment events, all of which had been exempt. That announcement was part of the government’s latest budget that was announced on Wednesday.

“I’m just not sure about pairing an additional tax with the recovery of the live entertainment industry,” Tim Reid, the president and CEO of Regina Exhibition Association Limited, the Regina Pats’ landlord, told Regina radio station 980 CJME. “After everything we’ve been through, I just feel like the timing and the consultation has been not in the right place. . . .

“I think it probably gives us an opportunity to understand the co-dependencies between what we do to drive the visitor economy that they depend on and some of the decisions that they make fiscally.

“This is not an insignificant item for a business like ours, and it does change the affordability of our events.”


Safe


The IIHF recently created an Ethics Board and, according to a news release, its purpose “is to determine if the actions of an IIHF Member National Association IIHFor an individual associated with the IIHF or its members could constitute an ethical conduct violation.” . . . That Ethics Board now has two cases on its table. . . . From that same news release: “The IIHF Council has referred the Russian Ice Hockey Federation to the Ethics Board for review, due to reports that the RIHF allegedly sent instructions to Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) teams to take demonstrative actions in support of the Russia-Ukraine war. As such an action would constitute a violation of the IIHF Ethics Code, the Ethics Board will investigate further and determine whether this case will be referred to the IIHF Disciplinary Board. . . . The IIHF Council also decided to refer IIHF Life President René Fasel to the Ethics Board for review, following reports of his involvement with Russia and the KHL as well as public statements made about the war.” . . . Fasel has long been a supporter of Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator who chose to launch attacks on Ukraine. . . . The Ethics Board will ponder things and then decide whether to refer either case, or both of them, to the Disciplinary Board. . . . Fasel, 72, now works as an advisor to the KHL. He has been critical of the IIHF’s decision to ban Russian and Belarus from future competitions.


Yes, those were the days. . . . Back in the days when newspapers were seriously into newspapering, we at the Regina Leader-Post tried to cover the local scene like a blanket. That included a nightly SJHL roundup that sometimes gave a headline to Cam Moon. Yes, that Cam Moon, who now is a radio voice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers after all those years with the Red Deer Rebels. . . . BTW, on nights when Ian Hamilton was at his desk at The Leader-Post, we often had SJHL roundups that included quotes. . . . Yes, those really were the days! . . . BTW, Part 2: Lucas Punkari, who covered the Prince Albert Raiders for the Daily Herald not that long ago, now is at the Brandon Sun. Just in case you were wondering. These days he is busy churning out MJHL playoff previews.



The World Figure Skating Championships are taking place this week in Montpellier, France, and somehow things are just fine even though the Russians aren’t there, having been punted by the International Skating Union. . . . And just how have things been without the Russians? . . . Jon Wertheim of sicom wrote: “One official, who preferred to remain anonymous, remarked that, if anything, the event would be more legitimate, not less, since without Russians competing, there would be considerably less skepticism and speculation ‘over who was and was not doping.’ ” . . . Wertheim’s piece on whether various sports are missing the Russians is excellent and it’s right here.


Fashion


FRIDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

Habscheid
Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, asks the on-ice officials why the fire alarm hasn’t sounded during Friday night’s game in Brandon. (Photo: wheatkings.com)

F Nolan Ritchie scored twice and added two assists as his Brandon Wheat Kings Brandongot past the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 5-3. . . . The Wheat Kings also got a goal and two assists from F Riley Ginnell. . . . Ritchie, who scored on the PP and while shorthanded, has 29 goals, while Ginnell has 14. . . . Brandon G Ethan Kruger blocked 34 shots as the Raiders held a 37-19 edge in shots. . . . The Raiders’ loss allowed the idle Moose Jaw Warriors to clinch a playoff spot. . . . The Wheat Kings (29-24-5) appear headed for the sixth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. They are nine points behind Saskatoon and seven ahead of Lethbridge. . . . The Raiders (24-30-5) are ninth, two points out of the last playoff spot that is held by Swift Current. The Raiders hold two games in hand. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Carter Souch put up four points to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings Edmontonto a 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Souch had three assists as the Oil Kings took a 4-0 lead through two periods, then added his 20th goal into an empty net at 19:42 of the third. . . . Souch now has 68 points in 61 games. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 24 shots in running his numbers to 31-7-3, 2.26, .914 this season. . . . Freshman F Brayden Edwards scored both goals for Lethbridge, giving him four in 39 games. . . . Edmonton (46-12-3) is tied with the idle Winnipeg Ice for top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Ice has two games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (26-29-4) is seventh, seven points behind Brandon and one ahead of Swift Current. . . .

G Chase Coward stopped 13 shots to help the Red Deer Rebels to a 3-0 victory RedDeerover the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Coward has two career shutouts, both of them this season. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, the WHL’s leading point getter, scored his 35th goal and added an assist. His goal, at 14:05 of the second period, was the winner. . . . Red Deer F Ben King had an assist and now has at least a point in 14 straight games. He has 31 points, including 13 goals, during that stretch. . . . Bains now has 96 points, two more than King. . . . The Rebels (40-17-4) are sixth in the Eastern Conference and appear headed to a first-round series with Brandon. . . . The Tigers (11-44-4) have lost three in a row. . . .

D Marek Schneider’s first WHL goal proved the winner as the host Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades beat the Regina Pats, 3-1. . . . The Blades (34-22-4) now have clinched a playoff spot. They are fifth in the conference, one point behind Moose Jaw and nine ahead of Brandon. . . . Schneider, who turned 19 on Feb. 5, scored his first goal in his 56th game, 36 of them this season. He broke a 1-1 tie at 16:14 of the second period. . . . The announced attendance was 7,523 as the Blades ran a Kids Takeover promotion and also welcomed Regina F Connor Bedard for perhaps the last time this season. . . . Bedard had his point streak end at 21 games, the longest in the WHL this season. He put up 23 goals and 22 assists in those 21 games. . . . Regina (23-30-5) has lost three straight. It is 10th in the conference, four points behind eight-place Swift Current but with three games in hand. . . .

G Dylan Garand turned aside 41 shots in winning for the 30th time this season Kamloopsas the host Kamloops Blazers blanked the Kelowna Rockets, 6-0. . . . The Blazers have won nine in a row and six of those victories are over Kelowna. These two teams played home-and-home each of the previous two weekends and are doing it again this weekend. Yes, they’ll play in Kelowna tonight. . . . Garand, who blanked the Rockets, 4-0, in Kamloops last Saturday, has four shutouts this season 12 in 129 career appearances. This season, he is 30-7-0, 1.98, .929. . . . The Blazers got two goals and an assist from F Logan Stankoven, who now has 85 points, including 37 goals, in 51 games.. . . . F Reese Belton helped out with three assists. . . . Kelowna has lost seven in a row (0-5-2). . . . When the same two teams hit the ice in Kelowna tonight, it will be the 14th meeting between them this season. Kelowna is 7-4-2; Kamloops is 6-6-1. . . . Kamloops (44-14-2) will clinch the B.C. Division pennant with a victory tonight. The Blazers are second in the Western Conference, two points behind Everett. . . . The Rockets (34-19-6) are fifth, six points in arrears of Seattle, their likely first-round opponent. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen struck for three goals and an assist as the Everett Silvertips Everettskated to a 7-2 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Huuhtanen, an 18-year-old freshman from Finland, has 35 goals and 37 assists in 57 games. Interestingly, he scored just one goal in his first 15 games. . . . This was his first hat trick. . . . F Michal Gut picked up his 14th goal and two assists, with F Jackson Berezowski getting three assists. . . . Everett F Alex Swetlikoff had his 29th goal and an assist to run his point streak to 15 games. He’s got eight goals and 14 assists in those games. . . . Everett had a 48-15 edge in shots, including 20-2 in the third period. . . . This was the 12th meeting of the season between the Chiefs and Silvertips, each of whom now has played 60 games. So they have played 20 per cent of their games against each other. . . . BTW, the Silvertips won all 12 games; the Chiefs are 0-10-2. . . . Everett (42-10-8) leads the Western Conference by two points over Kamloops. . . . The Chiefs (19-36-5), who have lost four in a row, are tied with Prince George for the conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

F Marcus Almquist scored in a third straight game as his Victoria Royals VictoriaRoyalsdoubled up on the visiting Prince George Cougars, 4-2. . . . Almquist, an 18-year-old from Denmark, has four goals in 36 games with three of them coming in his last three games. . . . F Riley Gannon’s 21st goal, at 2:19 of the third period, gave the Royals a 3-1 lead. . . . Victoria now has won five in a row. . . . The Royals (22-34-6) are tied for sixth with Vancouver in the conference, with the Giants holding four games in hand. . . . The Cougars (20-35-3), who have lost three in a row, are tied with Spokane for the conference’s last playoff spot. . . . Prince George has two games in hand over Spokane. . . .

The host Portland Winterhawks got two goals and two assists from F Gabe PortlandKlassen en route to a 7-1victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The home side led this one 6-0 early in the second period. . . . Klassen’s second goal was his 30th of the season. . . . F James Stefan scored his 33rd goal and added two assists, with F Jaydon Dureau and F Cross Hanas each earning three assists. . . . The Winterhawks (41-15-5) are third in the conference, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (17-38-5) is four points out of the last playoff spot. . . .

F Lukas Svejkovsky scored twice as his Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Vancouver SeattleGiants, 5-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . Sjejkovsky played 85 games over two seasons (2018-20) with the Giants, who dealt him to the Medicine Hat Tigers. Seattle acquired him from the Tigers this season. He has 27 goals this season, 14 of them in 27 games with the Thunderbirds. . . . F Reid Schaefer and F Jared Davidson, who combined to score nine goals in the 2021 development season, each scored his 30th goal for Seattle. Davidson also had two assists. . . . Seattle (37-17-6) is a comfortable fourth in the Western Conference, seven points behind Portland and six ahead of Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (23-31-4) is tied for sixth with Victoria, 24 points behind Kelowna and seven ahead of Prince George.



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.


Chute

COVID-19 forces OHL to shut down Wolves . . . Issues in NHL, AHL and MHL, too . . . Blazers, Rockets get good news . . . BCHL revamps schedule

Oh boy, COVID-19 has reared its ugly head all over the hockey world . . .

In the OHL, the Sudbury Wolves suspended all team activities after 12 players OHLtested positive. According to the OHL, “All players affected are currently asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms. . . .” All of the players are fully vaccinated as per OHL regulations. As the league pointed out in a news release: “The Ontario Hockey League had previously incorporated specific COVID-19 protocols including mandatory vaccination for all members of the OHL Community including players, staff, officials and billets.” . . . The Wolves have had their next three games postponed — they were to have visited the Soo Greyhounds tonight, played host to the Barrie Colts on Friday and then played in Barrie on Saturday. . . .

——

With COVID-19 numbers seemingly on the rise, the NHL sent a memo to all 32 teams on Monday that puts new restrictions in place “due to the recent increase nhl2in the number of COVID-19 infections, the number of clubs under enhanced measures, and the temporary shutdown of two NHL clubs.” . . . Through this memo, the NHL instructed clubs to cancel all team-organized Christmas parties, speaking events, autograph sessions and any charity events that would have been open to the public. . . . The memo reads: “Players and staff are reminded to limit the amount of exposure they have to large groups over the holidays, including large family gatherings, in order to reduce the risk of introducing infection into their team.” . . .

If you have watched any NHL games on TV over the past couple of nights you will have noticed what appears to be an enhanced effort by coaches to properly wear their masks. Have to think the NHL has talked with its coaches about that, too. . . .

The Edmonton Oilers cancelled their Tuesday practice after placing D Cody Ceci in COVID-19 protocol. . . . The New York Islanders are in the midst of an outbreak and have had three games postponed. . . . The Ottawa Senators are trying to get back on track after at one point having 10 players and an assistant coach in protocol. They also had games postponed. . . . The Carolina Hurricanes have three players in protocol — D Ethan Bear, D Tony DeAngelo and D Brett Pence — while F Tyler Bozak of the St. Louis Blues also is in protocol. . . .

The Boston Bruins were without head coach Bruce Cassidy when they dropped a Covid2-1 decision to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night game because he went into protocol. With Cassidy out, assistant coach Joe Sacco ran the bench. . . . The Bruins had F Jake DeBrusk in their lineup on Tuesday night despite acknowledging that he has asked to be traded; the Boston faithful welcomed him with some booing. The Bruins also were without F Brad Marchand, who has been suspended for three games after a slew-footing incident, and F Anton Blidh (injured). . . .  Boston general manager Don Sweeney said that the Bruins weren’t able to bring up anyone from the Providence Bruins because of COVID-19 issues with their AHL affiliate. Providence actually has ceased all team activities because of what is reported as a mounting number of cases.

——

The AHL also has shut down the Bridgeport Islanders, while a Wednesday night game that was to have had Hartford entertain the Springfield Thunderbirds was postponed because of COVID-19 issues involving the WolfPack. . . . The AHL also postponed a Wednesday game that was to have had the Bakersfield Condors visit the Stockton Heat. There is a COVID-19 issue with the Condors and the organization now is following enhanced protocols. . . . The Hershey Bears also have problems. They postponed a Nov. 27 game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and won’t play tonight in Lehigh Valley as they deal with COVID-19.

——

Let’s not forget that the NHL has a schedule that will free up players to skate at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing that aren’t that far away. . . . But, as Elliotte Friedman writes in his latest 32 Thoughts, “As the COVID cases grow, it’s harder and harder to be optimistic about Beijing.” . . . His complete column is right here.

——

The junior A Miramichi Timberwolves of the Maritime Junior Hockey League said Tuesday that a player on their roster tested positive on Saturday. That test resulted in the postponement of a game that night against the visiting Campbellton Tigers. The player in question took a rapid test on Saturday that came back positive; he later took a PCR test that came back positive on Monday evening. . . . The Timberwolves have also had to postpone a Thursday game against the visiting Fredericton Red Wings.

——

Despite all of the above and with the Omicron variant on its way, Dr. Bonnie WHLHenry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, lifted some restrictions in the Interior Health region on Tuesday, including one that limited indoor sporting events to 50 per cent capacity. That means the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets now are able to have all the seats in their facilities available to fans who are fully vaccinated for the first time since March 2020. . . . At the same time, restrictions remain in place for the Northern Health region, so the Prince George Cougars remain limited to 50 per cent capacity in the CN Centre. . . . The Blazers’ next home game is scheduled for Saturday, when the Rockets visit. Kelowna is scheduled to entertain the Vancouver Giants tonight (Wednesday). . . . The Blazers will honour the memory of Don Moores during Saturday’s game. Moores, who was the club’s president and COO, died of a heart attack on June 30. Moores, 65, collapsed while on the course at the Kamloops Golf and Country Club.


IKEA


The BCHL has announced more schedule changes due to “travel issues and highway closures in the province.” . . . The league also announced that “due to ongoing floods, road closures and the approaching winter weather, the BCHL will remove all out-of-conference games for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.” . . . If you are planning to attend a game of any kind, it’s best to check a website or make a phone call to be sure that it’s still on the schedule. . . . The BCHL news release is right here.


COVID-19 didn’t ignore the NBA, either, as the Los Angeles Lakers were without LeBron James on Tuesday night when they met the Sacramento Kings. James had gone in to what the NBA calls its health and safety protocols. The Lakers went into Sacramento and beat the Kings, 117-92, without King James.


CIA


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: USA Hockey has announced a 31-player roster for its national junior team’s selection camp that is to open in Plymouth, Mich., on Dec. 12. There are three major junior players on the roster, all of them from the OHL. The roster is right here. . . . Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News has a look at the team right here. This year’s tournament is set to open in Edmonton and Red Deer on Dec. 26. . . . Hockey Canada is to announce its selection camp roster this morning and F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats is expected to be on it. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks are believed to have set a WHL record on Tuesday when they put letters on the sweaters of eight — yes, eight! — players. They named D Clay Hanus and F Tyson Kozak co-captains, with the alternates being Jonas Brøndberg, Jaydon Dureau, Robbie Fromm-Delorme, Cross Hanas, Gabe Klassen and Kurtis Smythe. You get a letter and you get a letter and you . . . well, not so fast. . . . According to a news release: “Hanus will begin wearing the ‘C’ when the Winterhawks wear their red and black jerseys and Kozak will act as captain when the team wears its white jerseys.” . . . The six alternates will, uhh, alternate at home and on the road. . . .

Jake Grimes has resigned as head coach of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles, citing “personal/family reasons,” according to a team-issued news release. Assistant coach Matt Anthony has taken over as the interim head coach. Chris Culligan remains as assistant coach, with John Hanna now an interim assistant coach. . . . Grimes, 49, was in his second season as the Eagle’s head coach. Before joining the Eagles, he spent two seasons as associate coach with the Guelph Storm, helping it to the OHL championship in 2018-19. . . .

The website Victoria Cougars Hockey Project did a countdown of the defunct team’s “TOP 10 All-Time Moustaches.” . . . It was quite a ride. . . .


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.


Theory

Klassen hat trick lifts Portland . . . Owner’s son scores for Blazers . . . Royals get regulation victory


Mask


The WHL had another good week with the COVID-19 testing process, this time WHL2having zero positives out of 729 tests for the period May 1 through May 7. . . . From the WHL’s news release: “To date, the WHL has administered a total of 9,735 tests for COVID-19 from Feb. 12 through May 7, with 14 positive test results.” . . . Meanwhile, there were four games on Saturday night, with the Everett Silvertips concluding their season with another victory . . . There now are only eight games remaining in this season — remember, there won’t be any playoffs. . . .

F Gabe Klassen scored three times and added an assist to lead the host Portland PortlandAlternateWinterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (11-8-3) has won two in a row. . . . Spokane (6-9-5) has lost four straight (0-2-2). . . . F Seth Jarvis (14) and Klassen gave the Winterhawks a 2-0 first-period lead, with Klassen upping it to 3-0 at 8:7 of the second. . . . F Adam Beckman (17) got Spokane’s goal, on a PP, at 3:35 of the third period. . . . F Jaydon Dureau (8), on a PP, and Klassen added third-period goals for Portland. . . . Klassen’s first WHL hat trick gives him seven scores in 17 games this season. He finished last season with seven goals in 30 games. . . . Portland F Reece Newkirk drew three assists. . . . While Portland was 1-for-1 on the PP, Spokane was 1-for-7. . . . The Winterhawks held a 37-18 edge in shots, including 11-4 and 13-5 in the first two periods. . . .

F Gage Goncalves drew three assists to help the Everett Silvertips to a 4-1 Everettvictory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett ran its record to 19-4-0 in its final game of this season. . . . Seattle (9-12-1) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . . F Ben Hemmerling (3), F Ethan Regier (9), on a PP, and F Jacob Wright (9) had Everett out front 3-0 going into the third period. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon (16) got Seattle’s goal at 18:18 of the third period, but Everett F Ryan Hofer (6) got that one back at 19:24. . . . Everett got 29 saves from G Dustin Wolf, who finished the season 18-3-0, 1.80, .940, with four shutouts. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 3-Kamloops1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (16-4-0), the visitor in this one, has won four in a row and will finish with the best record among the five B.C. Division teams. . . . The Giants now are 11-10-0. . . . The Blazers got first-period goals from F Fraser Minten (2) and F Dylan Sydor (1). . . . Yes, Sydor is the son of former WHL/NHL D Darryl Sydor, who now owns a chunk of the Blazers. . . . Dylan, who was playing in his 13th game, also has two assists. . . . Kamloops went ahead 3-0 when F Caedan Bankier got his 10th goal at 2:43 of the third period. . . . F Justin Sourdif (10) scored for the Giants at 11:39. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 20 shots for the Blazers, 10 fewer than Vancouver’s Trent Miner. . . .

In Kelowna, the Victoria Royals scored two second-period goals and held on for Royalsa 2-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Victoria (3-15-2) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). This was its first regulation-time victory of the season. . . . Prince George (9-8-3) had points in each of its previous six games (5-0-1). . . . The Cougars went 3-1-2 against the Royals this season, which means the Royals were 3-3-0. . . . F Brandon Cutler (9) put Victoria ahead 1-0, shorthanded, at 5:24 of the second, and F Keanu Derungs (4) added a PP goal at 16:23. . . . F Connor Bowie (8) pulled the Cougars to within a goal, on a PP, at 19:21. . . . G Adam Evanoff stopped 33 shots for the Royals, while the Cougars’ Ty Young turned aside 19. . . . F Jonny Hooker was back in Prince George’s lineup after serving a four-game suspension for a high hit on F Connor Zary of the Kamloops Blazers, who missed his fifth game last night.


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: It definitely is worth noting that former WHL referee Steve Kozari worked his 1,000th NHL game on Friday night when the Vegas Golden Knights were at home to the St. Louis Blues. That’s a lot of miles for a guy who was a terrific WHL official. Kozari, 47, is from Penticton.


Pictures

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering the writings of Jim Coleman . . .

Scattershooting2Behave


Don’t think for a minute that we are done with COVID-19, because we’re not . . . not even close.

On Sunday, the NBA’s Orlando Magic revealed that head coach Steve Clifford has tested positive and will miss at least five games. He actually tested positive twice in a three-day span. . . . Clifford also has had two vaccinations, having received his second Moderna dose on Thursday. But because two weeks haven’t elapsed, he isn’t considered fully vaccinated. . . . Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin ran things for Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. . . .

And then there’s Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu, who tested negative twice before heading to Spain for the Madrid Open, only to test positive upon her arrival. . . . So she won’t be playing in the tournament. . . . “I am feeling good, I’m resting and continuing to follow the health protocols and safety guidelines,” she said in a statement.



If MLB is really serious about shortening the time it takes to play its games, it needs to take a long, hard look at its replay system. Oh boy, does it ever!

Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Two months after the Super Bowl, NFL draft palaver engulfs sports TV and radio. Two weeks into its season, what you mostly hear about Major League Baseball is that its replay system is a farce. Therein lies a problem for the National Past-its-time.”

And one more fro Molinaro, who thinks it might be time for all sports to do away with replay reviews:

“Don’t know about others, but I could live out my life perfectly well without official replays. Just as I lived a perfectly happy childhood absorbed by sports long before reviewing calls became a thing. I just wish all leagues and sports could keep things moving. Replay rules prevent that from happening.”

You know what? It’s hard to disagree.

——

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, chose to focus on replay reviews in one of his rants last week. Here’s part of it . . .

We got to where we are with ‘instant replay’ because we looked at technological wizardry through rose-colored glasses and imagined that it would lead us to a land flowing with milk and honey. The premise sounded irrefutable — replay would always ‘get it right.’ The problem is that it does not always ‘get it right’ and that its scope has been expanded to too many aspects of the games such that it is an intrusion and not a godsend.

“Perhaps we should not be so surprised to come to such a realization.  Technology has been welcomed as a glorious blessing in many parts of our lives only to let us recognize down the line that it may not be all it was cracked up to be. Social media platforms would be one such technological encroachment in society that we now recognize is ‘less than a perfect addition’ to our lives. Just because technology can do something doesn’t mean that we need to put up with technology’s baggage as it does that something . . . sometimes less is better.”

That rant in whole is right here.

——

I watched the Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants on Saturday night, simply because there isn’t anything better than listening to Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper call a game. . . . When it ended, I switched over to the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. After four video reviews, I went to the PVR and watched two episodes of Hogan’s Heroes. Seriously! . . . The Sunday game between the Padres and Dodgers was a whole lot better, especially with the sound turned down to blot out some of the ESPN crew’s endless nattering and the infatuation with numbers, numbers and more numbers.



Here’s Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The Oakland A’s unveiled plans to spend $12 billion on their Howard Terminal development, which will include a ballpark. A’s owner John Fisher, who can’t afford to pay his baseball team anywhere near a major-league average payroll, must have found some money under his mattress.

“A $12-billion development, including a $1 billion ballpark? The line of skeptics starts with Bay Area sports management and marketing genius Andy Dolich, who says, “I’ll believe it when I see Gov. Caitlyn (Jenner) throwing out the first pitch.”



Apostrophe


It would appear that the Portland Winterhawks are in the process of replacing their longtime logo. At least, all signs seem to point in that direction. For a whole lot more, check out this story right here from Jason Cohen that appeared in Portland Monthly.

Meanwhile, the Winterhawks were involved in one of the WHL’s six games on Sunday, but the night belonged to F Lynden McCallum of the Brandon Wheat Kings as he came within a handful of seconds of breaking a record that has stood since 1972. . . .

F Cole Nagy scored the Swift Current Broncos’ last three goals in a 4-2 victory Scurrentover the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Regina hub. . . . The Broncos (6-16-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (8-13-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Swift Current led 1-0 after the first period on a PP goal by F Raphael Pelletier (3). . . . F Riley Krane (5) pulled Moose Jaw even at 1:17 of the second, only to have Nagy put the Broncos back in front at 6:19. . . . D Cole Jordan (3) got the Warriors back into a tie at 9:21. . . . Nagy snapped the tie at 11:29 of the third period, on a PP, then completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:21. . . . Nagy now has six goals. He went into this season with five goals in 59 games. . . . The Broncos were 2-for-4 on the PP; the Warriors were 0-for-3. . . . Swift Current got 36 saves from G Isaac Poulter. . . .

F Lynden McCallum scored four PP goals as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the BrandonRegina Pats, 5-1. . . . The victory guaranteed that the Wheat Kings (18-3-2) will finish atop the Regina hub standings. . . . Brandon has won seven in a row. . . . The Pats now are 9-11-3. . . . McCallum struck four times in two minutes 58 seconds, just off the WHL record. The WHL record book has F Boyd Anderson scoring four times in 2:35 (or was it 2:39?) during the third period as his Medicine Hat Tigers beat the host Flin Flon Bombers, 10-1, on Oct. 7, 1972. According to the record book, he scored at 10:08, 10:17, 11:50 and 12:47, which would be 2:39. . . . F Ridley Greig (10) of Brandon scored the game’s first goal, at 7:53 of the first period. It came while shorthanded. He leads the WHL with four such goals and Brandon leads with seven. . . . F Tanner Howe scored his first WHL goal for Regina to tie the game at 3:47 of the second period. A fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft, Howe was playing in his seventh game. . . . McCallum, who counted his first WHL hat trick, broke the tie at 18:10 and scored again at 18:41. He then added goals at 0:27 and 1:08 of the third. . . . McCallum has 19 goals and six assists in 21 games. . . . Brandon was 4-for-5 on the PP. . . . Regina was 0-for-6. . . . The Wheat Kings got four assists from each of D Braden Schneider and F Ben McCartney. . . . G Ethan Kurger stopped 34 shots for Brandon. . . .

F Jalen Luypen broke a 2-2 tie at 14:20 of the third period as the host Edmonton EdmontonOil Kings scored a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Oil Kings (17-1-1) have points in nine straight (8-0-1) and will finish atop the Central Division (minus the Swift Current Broncos) this season. . . . Medicine Hat (12-6-1) has lost three in a row — all three were to the Oil Kings this weekend. . . . Edmonton is 14-2-1 against Medicine Hat over the past three seasons. . . . Luypen, who has 14 goals, opened the scoring at 4:04 of the first period and F Josh Williams (12) made it 2-0 at 6:29 of the second. . . . The Tigers tied it on goals from F Nick McCarry (6), at 9:34 of the second, and F Lukas Svejkovsky (10), on a PP, at 3:54 of the third. . . . F Cole Clayton had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours had one assist, running his point streak to 19 games. Yes, he has at least a point in every Edmonton game this season. . . . The Oil Kings held a 37-19 edge in shots, including 16-5 in the second period. . . .

F Logan Barlage scored twice as the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the LethCalgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . Lethbridge (8-10-2) had lost its previous three games, including two to Calgary. . . . The Hitmen (8-7-2) had points in each of their previous four games (3-0-1). . . . F Sean Tschigerl (10), who had three goals in Saturday’s 7-2 victory over Lethbridge, gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 2:43 of the first period. . . . D Logan McCutcheon tied it with his first WHL goal at 13:47. . . . A third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, McCutcheon was playing in his 23rd game, 19 of them this season. . . . Barlage, who has seven goals, scored the next two goals, both via the PP, at 17:41 of the second and 3:14 of the third. . . . F Noah Boyko (10) completed the scoring at 16:27. . . . The Hurricanes got 40 saves from G Carl Tetachuk. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the PortlandAlternatevisiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-1. . . . Portland (8-5-3) has won two in a row, having beaten the Thunderbirds, 6-3, in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. . . . The Thunderbirds (7-9-0) have lost four in a row. . . . On Sunday, F Keltie Jeri-Leon (11) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead just 22 seconds into the game. . . . The lead held into the second period when F Gabe Klassen, who has four goals, scored twice, at 9:10, on a PP, and 15:24. . . . Portland got third-period insurance goals from F Simon Knak (10), who also had two assists, and F Mason Mannek, who got the empty-netter. . . . Portland had a 30-18 edge in shots. . . . G Dante Gianuzzi stopped 17 shots for the victory. He is 5-5-3, 2.71, .908. . . . Joshua Critzer of PNW Hockey Talk tweeted after the game that the four Portland players who had been with the USHL’s Lincoln Stars could play this week. F Jack O’Brien has completed his quarantine and could play on Tuesday and Friday against the visiting Everett Silvertips, while F Cross Hanas, D Clay Hanus and F James Stefan are in quarantine and could play Saturday against visiting Tri-City depending on the Americans’ status in regards to COVID-19 protocol. . . . Critzer also reported that Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ GM and head coach, is going to Texas for the U18 IIHF World Championship, so associate coach Kyle Gustafson will be in charge in his absence. . . . If you’re wondering, Stefan had 28 points, 10 of them goals, in 41 games with Lincoln, while Hanus had seven goals and 20 assists in 36 games, Hanas had three goals and 13 assists in 27 games, and O’Brien had a goal and six assists in 23 games. . . .

G Dylan Garand stopped 18 shots to earn the shutout as the Kamloops Blazers Kamloopsbeat the Vancouver Giants, 2-0. . . . The game was played in Kamloops, with the Giants as the home team. . . . Kamloops (11-2-0) has won four in a row. . . . Vancouver (9-5-0) has lost three straight. . . . Garand has two shutouts this season and seven in his career. . . . G Trent Miner had blanked the Blazers twice, both by 4-0 counts, this season. He stopped 28 shots in this one. . . . F Daylan Kueffler (2) scored the game’s first goal, at 11:36 of the second period, and F Connor Zary (6) got the other one, at 10:28 of the third. . . . F Josh Pillar had two assists.


Spell


Hey, want to be part of a team? Dorothy, my wife of almost 49 years, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and now is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. It happens virtually on June 6. You are able to join her team with a donation right here. . . . Thanks to your generosity, she has surpassed her original goal, so she has gone ahead and raised it.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Darren Dupont of Dupont Media tweeted on Sunday that he has been told “Brandin Cote will be announced as assistant coach (and Mike Babcock’s successor)” with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team. Babcock has volunteered to work as the Huskies’ head coach for the next two seasons. He was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 20, 2019, but remains under contract to the NHL team. Cote spent five seasons with the Spokane Chiefs (1997-02); Babcock was the head coach for three of those (1997-2000). Cote, 40, is in his third season as an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos.


Commas

No comment from Hurricanes on Memorial Cup bid . . . Silvertips’ sales booming . . . Winterhawks sign first-round pick

MacBeth

D Rasmus Rissanen (Everett, 2009-11) signed a two-year contract with Örebro (Sweden, SHL). This season, he had three assists in 31 games with Jokerit Helsinki (Finland, KHL).


ThisThat

The WHL’s deadline for teams to declare an official interest in bidding to be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup tournament was May 31.

The Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals had made no secret of the whlfact that they were all-in. The Blazers and Rockets made their intentions known at news conferences; Victoria didn’t hold a news conference but general manager Cam Hope said on numerous occasions that his organization would bid.

However, May 31 came and went and there was nary a word from the WHL. June 1 . . . June 2 . . . June 3 . . . nothing.

On the morning of Monday, June 4, Bruce Hamilton broke the silence. Hamilton is the president and general manager of the Rockets; he also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors.

Hamilton told Kelowna radio station AM 1150 that four teams had filed letters of intent with the WHL office and that those four teams were Kamloops, Kelowna Victoria . . . and the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Hamilton even went out of his way to point out that the Hurricanes “will have a good opportunity. They will have a real good hockey team.”

Until that moment, there hadn’t been even the smallest of hints that would have indicated the Hurricanes had an interest in bidding on the event.

On Monday, a WHL spokesperson told me that the league “will be issuing a release on this matter at the appropriate time.”

As of Tuesday evening, there hasn’t been anything official from the Hurricanes or from the WHL office.

In fact, the only thing that I have seen from Lethbridge came in the form of a Tuesday tweet from Kaella Carr of CTV-Lethbridge.

So we are left to wonder if Hamilton spoke out of turn, or is there more to this than meets the eye?

One supposes that we will find out whenever it is deemed to be the appropriate time.


One team that apparently didn’t express official interest in bidding on the 2020 Memorial Cup was the Everett Silvertips.

It’s really too bad that American teams seem to be on the outside looking in when it Everettcomes to bidding on the Memorial Cup, because it would be interesting to see how fans in the Everett area would respond.

According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Silvertips averaged 5,686 fans through 12 home playoff games this spring, trailing only the Regina Pats (6,484 for three games) and Victoria Royals (5,726 for six games).

In the regular-season, Everett’s announced average attendance was 5,129, good for seventh in the 22-team league. That was up from 4,865 in 2016-17.

This season, the Silvertips finished atop the 10-team Western Conference, then reached the WHL championship final where they lost in six games to the Swift Current Broncos.

On Tuesday, Zoran Rajcic, the COO of Consolidated Sports Holdings, which owns the Silvertips, released a statement that read, in part:

“This last Saturday, we experienced a response and demand in Silvertips hockey from our community like we’ve almost never seen before.

“Our commitment to providing a first-class service to our season-ticket holders resulted in a projected boost of 500 new season tickets, adding to a 92 percent retention from this last season. It’s proof that our region’s thirst for the game has developed into a full passion.”

The Silvertips play in the Angel of the Winds Arena, which, according to the WHL Guide, has a capacity of 8,149.


Apologies to members of the 1980-81 Victoria Cougars, who won the WHL championship. In a piece I posted here Monday night, I made mention of the fact that Victoria had never VicCougarsplayed in a Memorial Cup tournament. That was in error. . . . The Cougars won a thrilling seven-game championship series from the Calgary Wranglers that spring. . . . Here’s what I wrote as part of an essay on the 1981 Memorial Cup that was played in Windsor:

Jack Shupe, a veteran of the western Canadian coaching wars, was running the Cougars. Shupe had last been to the Memorial Cup tournament in 1973 with the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Cougars actually trailed the Calgary Wranglers 3-1 in the WHL’s best-of-seven final before rallying. They didn’t win the WHL title until Terry Sydoryk broke a 2-2 tie at 18:07 of the third period of Game 7. An empty-netter by Grant Rezansoff made the final score 4-2.

The Cougars had finished on top of the West Division, their 121 points (60-11-1) leaving them eight ahead of the Portland Winter Hawks.

The Cougars’ offensive leader was centre Barry Pederson, whose 147 points left him third in the scoring race, just 13 points off the lead.

Pederson added 36 points in the playoffs, second behind the 43 points put up by Calgary’s Bill Hobbins.

Pederson was supported by Rezansoff, who totalled 27 playoff points after a 97-point regular season, Rich Chernomaz (113 regular-season points), Torrie Robertson 111), Brad Palmer, Paul Cyr, Bud McCarthy and Mark Morrison. This was a team that could score — witness its league-high 462 goals.

But it was Fuhr who dominated this team. He was the primary reason for it surrendering only 217 regular-season goals, 49 fewer than any other team.

The Cougars opened the playoffs by sweeping the Spokane Flyers in four games. They then took apart the Winter Hawks in four straight.

That sent them into the final where they fell behind the Doug Sauter-coached Wranglers, who featured goaltender Mike Vernon, 3-1 in games before roaring back to win their first WHL championship since they entered the league in 1971.

“Fuhr was the difference,” Sauter said. “There’s no doubt he’s an all-star.”

This would also mark the first Memorial Cup appearance for a team from Victoria.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Gabe Klassen and G Lochlan Gordon to WHL Portlandcontracts. . . . Klassen, from Prince Albert, will turn 15 on June 30. He was taken in the first round, 19th overall, of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had 52 goals and 37 assists in 31 games with the bantam AA Prince Albert Mintos. He led the league in goals and points. . . . Gordon, from Edmonton, was a third-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. Gordon, 15, played this season with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team, going 12-5-0, 2.68, .891, with four shutouts in 18 games.


WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

——

The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Conner Roulette to a WHL contract. Roulette, a 15-year-old from Winnipeg, was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, he played for the bantam AAA Winnipeg Hawks, putting up 52 goals and 49 assists in 34 games. He led his league in goals, assists and points.


Inde Sumal, the president and CEO of a Vancouver-based private equity firm, is leading the charge to build a new arena on B.C.’s Lower Mainland. Sumal sees a facility with about 10,000 seats somewhere in Surrey, which has a population of more than 500,000 people. . . . Kenneth Chan of dailyhive.com has more right here.


TheCoachingGame

Ben Simon is the new head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. He takes over from Todd Nelson, who left last week to join the NHL’s Dallas Stars as an assistant coach. . . . Simon, 39, is from Shaker Heights, Ohio. He spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Griffins.


The San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, have signed Drew Bannister as their head coach. He had been the head coach of the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds. Bannister spent three seasons as the Greyhounds’ head coach and is the CHL’s reigning coach of the year. The Greyhounds were 136-50-18 under Bannister, winning two division titles and, this season, the OHL’s regular-season championship. This season, they set franchise records with 55 victories and 116 points.


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