Silvertips now have interim GM . . . Rockets lose assistant coach . . . QMJHL final all even after four games

Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, now is also the WHL Everettteam’s interim general manager. The Silvertips announced on May 21 that the contract of general manager Garry Davidson wouldn’t be renewed. Davidson had a highly successful nine-year run as the team’s general manager, but the team said that cutbacks have been necessitated by the pandemic. The WHL’s 2019-20 season was ended prematurely by the pandemic, and teams haven’t played in front of fans since then. There also haven’t been any playoff games, which are a healthy revenue stream for WHL teams. . . . Williams has spent four seasons as Everett’s head coach, twice being named the Western Division’s coach of the year. . . . Before joining the Silvertips, Williams spent three seasons as the general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls for four seasons. At the time, the Thunder and Bulls were owned by Consolidated Sports Holdings, which owns the Silvertips. Bill Yuill of Medicine Hat is CSH’s CEO. . . . In a weekend column by Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald, Zoran Rajcic, CSH’s chief operating officer and the Silvertips’ president and COO, made it clear that the decision not to bring back Davidson was made by “corporate.” . . . “It’s been a very difficult decision that corporate looked at,” Rajcic told Patterson.


Flay


Vernon Fiddler is leaving his position as an assistant coach after two seasons Rocketswith the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. He had signed on with the Rockets on July 3, 2019. In leaving the organization, Fiddler said he wants “to take more time to be with my family.” . . . Before joining the Rockets, he was helped out the coaching staffs with the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the AHL’s Texas Stars. . . . Fiddler is a former Rockets player (1997-2001) who went on to play 14 seasons in the NHL. . . . The Rockets have begun searching for a replacement to work alongside head coach Kris Mallette. Also on staff are goaltender coach Adam Brown and skill development/assistant coach Curtis Hamilton.


Katie Macleod was the Wheat Kings’ director of operations and ticket sales. Also leaving the franchise’s business operation is Rick Dillabough, who had been the director of sponsorship and business development. Dillabough, who had been with the Wheat Kings for more than 30 years, announced his retirement in May and worked his final day on Monday.


It was bright and early on Tuesday morning when a regular reader of this site sent me an email informing that “I did hear the former guy agrees with the Leafs that they didn’t lose their last game, either.” . . . On the subject of Monday night’s Game 7, Jack Todd, who often contributes to the Montreal Gazette, has his biting take on “The team Hockey Night forgot” right here.


In the QMJHL, the Val-d’Or Foreurs beat the Victoriaville Tigres, 4-1, on Tuesday night, evening the best-of-seven championship final, 2-2. . . . They’ll play Game 5 on Thursday. The entire series is being played in Quebec City. . . . On Tuesday night, the Foreurs fell behind 1-0 early in the first period, then scored three times in the second period, the last two of those goals coming at 18:19 and 19:05.



Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on Sunday. If you would like to be part of her team, you still have time 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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Bryan Collier is the Tri-City Americans’ new equipment manager. He has WHL experience, having helped out the Seattle Thunderbirds where his father, Brent, has been the assistant equipment manager since 1994. Bryan most recently was with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. . . . Derian Hatcher has stepped aside after five seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. He and David Legwand, both former NHL players, are co-owners. Hatcher will remain as the team’s governor. . . . Dave Hnatiuk has signed a five-year contract as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Grand Forks Border Bruins of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He spent three seasons (2016-19) as an assistant coach with the U of Regina Cougars before signing on as head coach of the Selkirk College Saints of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League. Selkirk College, which is based in Castlegar, announced in March that it was discontinuing the hockey program. Hnatiuk takes over from John Clewlow, who signed a five-year extension in July 2019 but isn’t coming back. The Border Bruins are under new ownership, with Dr. Mark Szynkaruk and his wife, Tracey, have purchased the franchise from the local non-profit group that had owned it.


Jimmy

Grand Forks doctor buys junior B team . . . Dyck, Schneider with Team Canada to Worlds . . . Whistle, Holoien get head-coaching spots



Here’s a tremendous hockey story from small-town Canada for you . . .

When Dr. Mark Szynkaruk moved to Grand Forks, B.C., in 2017, the thought of owning a hockey team had to have been the furthest thing from his mind. . . . But, hey, here he is, the new owner of the junior B Grand Forks Border Bruins of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . Dr. Szynkaruk, a family practitioner and a married man with two young sons, purchased the franchise from the Grand Forks Border Bruins Association, the community group that owned the team. The Border Bruins have played in the KIJHL since 1969. . . .  “The first thing,” he said in explaining what owning the Border Bruins means to him, “is that the Border Bruins is a legacy team. It comes with an immense amount of pride to be involved with something that has been run successfully for that long. The team means a great deal for the community, so as somebody who’s immersed in the well-being of folks in town I think this investment to make the on-ice product the best possible in Junior B is wonderful to be part of.” . . . There is more on this terrific story right here.


Some things to think about if you are hoping for a WHL season to open in October with bums in the seats . . .

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said Friday that the country needs 75 per cent of all adults to have at least one shot and 20 per cent to be fully vaccinated before public health restrictions should start to be lifted. Statistics released Friday showed 50 per cent of Canadian adults with one shot.

From CBC News: “The U.S. is much further along in fully vaccinating its adult population; about 45 per cent of American adults have had two doses, compared to fewer than 4 per cent of all Canadians. Canada has delayed second doses by up to 16 weeks to give more people at least some level of antibody protection against COVID-19.”

Patty Hajdu, Canada’s health minister, said on Friday that restrictions on indoor sports can start to be lifted in the fall if 75 per cent of the country’s adults have had two shots.

She said: ”We should be able to do more activities indoors with people outside our household. More people need to be vaccinated so we can ease restrictions.”

Tam also said on Friday that Canadians should plan on social distancing and wearing masks for the foreseeable future.

Tam said: “I think masks might be the last layer of that multi-layer protection that we will advise people to remove.”

Meanwhile, the closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential travel is expected to be extended on May 21 when it is next scheduled to expire. But preliminary talks aimed at re-opening it have begun but there apparently is a lot of work left to do, so that won’t be happening soon.

And, in Washington state, the goal is to reopen by June 30. Gov. Jay Inslee said that may happen earlier if 70 per cent of people over 16 have received at least one shot.

He said: ”Trends suggest it won’t be until late June when we reach our desired vaccination rate, which is why we’ve set June 30 for reopening, but I hope people will see this as an opportunity to reopen even sooner if we can stay motivated, stay informed and get more people vaccinated faster.”

According to the state’s Department of Health, 57 per cent of those 16 and over have received at least one shot, with 43.7 per cent fully vaccinated.

Washington State reported 2,375 new positives on Friday. . . . B.C. announced 494 new cases, with Alberta at 1,433, Saskatchewan 227 and Manitoba 491.


As you may be aware, eight members of the New York Yankees — one player, three coaches and four support staff — have tested positive for COVID-19. All eight had been vaccinated, each one receiving the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccination. . . . But what does this mean? How can someone who is fully vaccinated test positive? . . . The best piece I’ve read about the situation involving the Yankees is right here. It includes a lot of questions and answers, and is well worth a read.


Soccer’s Canadian Professional League said Thursday that it continues “to move forward with our plans for a full 2021 season” and that “our target date to start the season is mid-June to early July.” . . . The plan is to bring all eight teams into one city and begin the season without fans. By season’s end, it is hoped that each team will have played 28 games.


Jobs


The WNBA began its 25th season on Friday, but it did it without guard Asia Durr of the New York Liberty, who has been ill for more than a year now. . . . “I haven’t been able to (practice),” she told HBO’s Real Sports. “It’s really challenging for me. But I’ve talked to doctors and they’ve told me I’m not cleared yet. I’m not cleared to be able to do anything physically, which could cause flare-ups . . . and that’s what’s really hard for me because in life whenever something was hard I would go and play. I can’t even do that now. I can’t even shoot a free throw.” . . . Durr was the No. 2 pick in the league’s 2019 draft, but opted out of last season because of complications from COVID-19. She apparently has lost 30 pounds and remains symptomatic. . . . Asia Durr is 24 years of age.


Michael Dyck, the head coach of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, has been added Canadato the coaching staff of the team that will represent Canada at the IIHF World Championship that opens in Riga, Latvia, on May 21. . . . Dyck will work alongside head coach Gerard Gallant and assistants Mike Kelly and Andre Tourigny. . . . Earlier this year, Dyck was an assistant coach with the Canadian team at the World Junior Championship. . . . Team Canada’s roster for Riga also includes D Braden Schneider, who played this season with the Brandon Wheat Kings.


The Canada Cup International, a women’s softball championship tournament, has been cancelled for a second straight year. It was to have run July 2-11 with most of the games at Softball City in Surrey, B.C. Greg Timm, the tournament’s chair, told Nick Greenizan of the Surrey Now-Leader: “The decision to cancel this year’s event is terribly disappointing, but there are simply too many health-related concerns and logistical issues to allow the event to take place. “The health and safety of players, their families, our volunteer base and the fans needs to come first and foremost.” . . . The NTT Indycar Series has pulled the Honda Indy Toronto out of the Ontario city because of ongoing restrictions in that province. It was to have held July 9-11.


Chicago


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: Dave Whistle is the new general manager and head coach of the Leeds franchise in Great Britain’s NIHL. He is no stranger to hockey in that part of the world, having previously coached the Belfast Giants, Bracknell Bees, Cardiff Devils and Sheffield Steelers. Whistle, 55, has been coaching at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C. . . . Rob Holoien is the new head coach of the junior B Carrot River Outback Thunder of the Prairie Junior Hockey League. Holoien, who is from Melfort, Sask., had been an assistant coach with the team for two seasons (2016-18). Most recently, he was an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars. Holoien, 34, played four games with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans in 2004-05.


Mental

Scattershooting, with some of this and some of that . . . Winterhawks sign imports . . . Knoblauch a head coach again

MacBeth

F Luke Lockhart (Seattle, 2007-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). Last season, he had one goal and nine assists in 41 games. He also had one goal in one game with KRS-ORG Beijing (China, Vysshaya Liga). . . .

D Jagger Dirk (Kootenay, 2009-14) has signed a one-year contract with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, he had one assist in nine games with the Utica Comets (AHL), and had four goals and 17 assists in 49 games with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). . . .

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). Last season, with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had four goals and three assists in 19 games. He also had four goals and five assists in nine games with Tours (France, Division 1). . . .

G Jackson Whistle (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2011-16) has signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). Last season, with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite), he was 3.20, .898, with two assists, in 50 games. . . .

F Dylan Willick (Kamloops, 2009-13) has signed a tryout contract with Podhale Nowy Targ (Poland, PHL). Last season, he had eight goals and seven assists in 68 games with the Worcester Railers (ECHL). . . .

D Brady Gaudet (Kamloops, Red Deer, 2010-15) has signed a one-year contract with Annecy (France, Division 2). Last season, with the Redvers Rockets (Big Six Hockey League), he had nine goals and eight assists in 13 games. . . .

F Marek Škrvně (Kelowna, 2017-18) signed a tryout contract with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, in 18 games with Kometa Brno Junioři (Czech Republic, Extraliga Juniorů), he had eight goals and 12 assists. On loan to Horácká Slavia Třebíč (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had one goal in 16 games. . . .

F Radovan Bondra (Vancouver, Prince George, 2015-18) signed a tryout contract with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL), he was pointless in two games. In 66 games with the Indy Fuel (ECHL), he had 10 goals and 25 assists. . . .

F Denis Tolpeko (Seattle, Regina, 2003-06) signed a try-out contract through the end of August with AIK Stockholm (Sweden, Allsvenskan). Tolpeko didn’t play last season. In 2017-18, with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL), he had one assist in four games.


ThisThat

I have spent the past couple of days trying to keep up with a three-year-old. So if I fall asleep in the middle of this, you’ll understand why. . . . In the meantime, here’s something of a potpourri. . . . A little Scattershooting, a little of this, and some of that. . . .


I don’t know about where you live, but there sure are a lot of vehicles with faulty turn signals in Kamloops. I mean, drivers are smart enough to use them if they work, right? Right?


The Portland Winterhawks have signed Swiss F Simon Knak, 17, and Danish D Jonas PortlandBrøndberg, 18. . . . Just last week I wrote this about the two of them: Knak has played in the EHC Kloten organization. Last season, he had 14 goals and 11 assists in 37 games with the U-20 team. He also had five goals and eight assists in five games with the U-17 side, and had one assist in three games with the Kloten team in the NLB. Knak also played 26 games with the U-18 national team. He was the captain, and put up 10 goals and six assists. . . . Brondberg played in Sweden last season, splitting 28 games between two U-18 teams (Växjö Lakers), totalling three goals and six assists. He also had one assist in 21 games with a U-20 team. In 14 international games, he had four assists. Brondberg captained Denmark’s U-18 team at the U-18 IIHF World championship tournament.


“Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Leaf and Lance Armstrong — three disgraced pariahs not that long ago — are suddenly high-profile TV commentators,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Pundits said they’d never seen anyone land on their feet like that since Mary Lou Retton.”

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One more from Perry: “Hungary swamped host South Korea 64-0 in the women’s water polo world championships, breaking the mark for biggest victory margin by 27 goals. Even the U.S. women’s soccer team urged the Hungarians to tone it down a bit.”

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Here’s Perry, one more time: “A message in a bottle — dropped overboard by a teen boy in 1969 — finally washed up on shore in South Australia. In other words, aimlessly adrift at sea only two years less than the Toronto Maple Leafs.”


Kris Knoblauch is the new head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers. . . . He takes over from Keith McCambridge, who was fired in April. . . . Knoblauch spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, who fired head coach Dave Hakstol mid-season and hired Alain Vigneault earlier this summer. Scott Gordon, who took over as interim coach when Hakstol was fired, now is the head coach of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers’ AHL affiliate. . . . . . . Knoblauch, 40, worked in the WHL as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Raiders (2006-07) and Kootenay Ice (2007-10). He was the Ice’s head coach for two seasons (2010-12), and spent four-plus seasons (2012-17) as head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters.



Jack Finarelli, the Sports Curmudgeon, on NBC Sports Network hiring Lance Armstrong as an analyst for its Tour de France coverage: “The analogy that leaps to mind is that Lance Armstrong doing color commentary for the Tour de France is about as apropos as the Food Network naming Hannibal Lecter as its next Iron Chef.”


If you haven’t yet seen this editorial from the Baltimore Sun, take a couple of minutes out of your day and give it a read.

 


The junior B Grand Forks Border Bruins of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League had agreed to a five-year contract extension with head coach John Clewlow, 30. He is heading into his second season as the team’s head coach. Last season, the Border Bruins finished third in the Neil Murdoch Division. . . .

Grant Sheridan, the president and general manager of the junior B Kelowna Chiefs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, has died. Sheridan passed away on Sunday night in Kelowna General Hospital. . . . Sheridan’s health problems began during the KIJHL playoffs when he was ended up in hospital in Revelstoke with bacterial meningitis. He was transferred to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, then was moved to Kelowna General Hospital.


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