No large gatherings in Alberta through August . . . Calgary and Edmonton lose major events . . . WHL planning to open on schedule

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, has said that restrictions on large gatherings in that province will run through the end of August.

Since Thursday, a number of events scheduled for Edmonton, including K-Days, and the city’s folk and jazz festivals, have been cancelled.

On Thursday, the Calgary Stampede and that city’s folk music festival were cancelled. On Friday, the City of Calgary extended its ban on large public gatherings and events through Aug. 31.

“The virus that causes COVID-19 will be with us for many months to come, and the relatively low case numbers we’re seeing in many parts of the province are the result of our collective efforts and sacrifices,” Hinshaw said in her daily briefing. “COVID-19 is still with us, and it spreads rapidly through social interactions.

“We have had several instances in the province of social gatherings where one person passed the virus on to many others at a single event before the individual knew they had COVID.”

She mentioned a bonspiel in Edmonton that included 73 attendees, 40 of whom later tested positive for COVID-19.

“Unfortunately,” she added, “this virus does not respect our feelings. I am keenly aware of the depth to which these measures are affecting everyone. I do not take them lightly. I ask you to do the same.”

Meanwhile, according to a tweet from Rod Pedersen, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, told him that the league plans “to open the 2020-21 season on schedule and the June 27 import draft is unchanged.”

That, of course, is what Robison would be expected to say.

The WHL hasn’t yet released its 2020-21 regular-season schedules, but chances are it would begin the weekend of Sept. 25, about five weeks after teams will want to open training camps.

However, you would hope that the WHL has Plan B, Plan C, Plan D and maybe a few others . . . you know, just in case.

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, with 19 teams in B.C. and one — the Spokane Braves — in Washington, normally would open its regular season in mid-September. Steve Hogg, the general manager of the Summerland Steam, has told John Arendt of Black Press that “we have full plans on having a league,” but that it might not get rolling until mid-October.

You also are free to wonder if the annual CHL import draft really will be held on June 27. It normally is held a day or two after the NHL draft, which, this year, is scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Montreal.

But . . . hold on . . . there are rumblings that the NHL may postpone its draft because there will be a whole lot to sort out if it is to be held prior to the end of the regular season. And you will recall that the NHL’s regular season remains in a holding pattern.



The Bellingham Bells of baseball’s West Coast League have cancelled their 2020 season, but the league says its remaining 11 teams are preparing to open on June 5. . . . The league includes two Canadian teams — the Kelowna Falcons and Victoria HarbourCats. . . . The Bells’ hand was forced when the city shut down all activities in its facilities through Aug. 31. . . .

The 10-team Cape Cod Baseball League, perhaps the top summer league for college players, has cancelled its 2020 season. The league has been around since 1885 and has played every season since 1945. . . . Its season was to have opened on June 13, with playoffs starting on Aug. 4. . . .

The 12-team Western Canadian Baseball League is expected to cancel its 2020 season after officials meet on Wednesday. The 12-team league features teams in Melville, Moose Jaw, Regina, Swift Current, Weyburn and Yorkton, all in Saskatchewan, and the Alberta communities of Brooks, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Okotoks. . . .

Organizers have cancelled the World Triathlon event that was scheduled to be held in Edmonton. The Grand Final of the ITU World Triathlon group was set for Aug. 17-23. . . . Reid Wilkins of Global News has more right here, including news that the Prairie Football Conference, which is scheduled to begin play in mid-August, is looking at a delayed start.



A nondescript wooden cudgel discovered in a Vermont home in 1980 — and just sitting in an umbrella stand ever since — turned out to be a circa-1850s hockey stick now up for auction online. It’s been appraised at $3.5 million,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Proving once again that it pays to forecheck.”


Pizza


Greg Cote, in the Miami Herald: “The PGA Tour is planning a mid-June return with no fans, assuring the look and ambiance of it will have all the excitement of a Tuesday practice round. Meantime, GolfTV reported exclusively that the gum Tiger Woods chews on a golf course is orange-flavored Trident. Run to the store and start hoarding!”



Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with the Thought of the Day, this one from A.J. Liebling: “Khrushchev, too, looks like the kind of man his physicians must continually try to diet, and historians will someday correlate these sporadic deprivations, to which he submits ‘for his own good,’ with his public tantrums. If there is to be a world cataclysm, it will probably be set off by skim milk, Melba toast, and mineral oil on the salad.”


Wasps


Nick Deschenes has signed on as the head coach and director of player personnel with the junior B Summerland Steam of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . He has spent the past four seasons working with minor hockey programs and academies near his home in West Kelowna. . . . Prior to that he spent one season (2012-13) as the GM/head coach of the KIJHL’s Grand Forks Border Bruins and the next two as the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Deschenes takes over the Steam from Ken Karpuk, who departed after one season. . . . Tim Hogg, the play-by-play voice of the Steam has more right here.


Barry Petrachenko spent 20 years running BC Hockey. On Monday, the province’s hockey CEO lost his job. . . . If you’re wondering what happened, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has the story right here.


StayAway

Scattershooting on a Thursday night while wondering what it is about Regina drivers and their phones . . .

Scattershooting


The New York Yankees and host Houston Astros combined to use 14 pitchers — seven apiece — in Game 6 of the ALCS. The game, won 6-4 by the Astros as they won the series, took four hours nine minutes.

——

On Oct. 13, 1960, Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski hit a ninth-inning home run to give the Pirates a 10-9 victory over the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series. That game featured nine pitchers, five by the Yankees, and took two hours 36 minutes.

——

Yes, Major League Baseball has a problem.


Messages


I really don’t know what was more fun — social media in the two weeks before the Canadian election or social media on Tuesday, the day after said election.


With the NBA regular season opening this week, Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, writes: “I would like to pose a rhetorical question to the players on the team that wins the NBA Championship next June. I am sure that many — if not most — of those players would choose not to accept an invitation to go to the White House as part of their championship celebration — and I have no problem at all with that. Here is my question: If President Xi Jinping of China invites the NBA champions to come to his office for an honorary visit, would you go, or would you stiff the President of the PRC? . . . Oh, while I am at it, let me ask Commissioner Silver what his position might be in this circumstance?”


Hey, Regina, this police officer wrote 1,134 distracted driving tickets all of last year. . . .


Patti Dawn Swansson, the River City Renegade, writes: “Tiger Woods has taken up the quill and will write a memoir to tell the ‘definitive story’ of his life as a golf prodigy and icon. So we’ll finally get the answer to that burning question: ‘When Elin found out about all the blonde cocktail waitresses and escorts that Tiger was shagging, did she attack him with a nine-iron or a pitching wedge?’ ” . . . There is a lot more Swansson gold right here.


AirportSecurity


“Some 310 birds crashed into the windows of the NASCAR Hall of Fame building in Charlotte, N.C.,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Even more stunning, the birds were chimney swifts, not racing pigeons.”


Here’s a memory from Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Welterweight boxing champ Errol Spence spectacularly flipped his Ferrari, but he apparently got off easy with fairly minor injuries. Spence, unbelted, was ejected from his chariot. Flash back decades. A flight attendant asks then-heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali to fasten his seatbelt. Ali: ‘Superman don’t need no seat belt.’ Flight attendant: ‘Superman don’t need no airplane.’ ”



Alexander Gulyavtsev is the head coach of the KHL team Amur Khabarovsk. He is from the Russian city of Perm, as is Victor Gashilov, a referee in a game on Monday. During that game, an unhappy Gulyavtsev told Gashilov: “I’m going to set fire to your car in Perm.” . . . The KHL has fined the coach 300,000 rubles, or about US$4,700. . . . Gulyavtsev later said it was a joke. As he put it: “I just said car; it’s not as if I said apartment.” . . . The score in the game? Dynamo Moscow won, 5-1.


In all of hockey, there may be nothing more over-rated than the game-day morning skate. In an era when the importance of rest finally is being recognized, more and more teams are doing away with something that has been there seemingly forever. Here is Mike Sullivan, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, explaining why he has done away with them to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey: “It’s like, ‘Why does the whole league have morning skates?’ It reminds me of why my mother cut the side of the hams off before she cooked ‘em. I asked her, ‘Why do you cut the sides of the hams off?’ She said, ‘I don’t know. Because that’s how my mother taught me.’ So I asked my grandmother. I said, ‘Why do you cut the side of the hams off before you put ’em in the oven?’ She said, ‘That was easy. I didn’t have a pan that was big enough.’ That’s my analogy.”


Here’s Greg Cote of the Miami Herald: “Kenyan superstar runner Eliud Kipchoge broke the 2-hour marathon barrier in 1:59.40.2, a once unfathomable feat. I once covered 26.2 miles even quicker, but didn’t get credit because I was in a car.”


ICYMI . . . the WHL returned to Cranbrook on Thursday . . .

Scattershooting after dozing through Stupor Bowl . . . Brodsky family gets Hall call . . . Seattle’s O’Dette voices some displeasure

Scattershooting

Greg Cote, in the Miami Herald: “Tiger opens season at Torrey Pines: Justin Rose carries a three-shot lead into Sunday’s final round of the Farmers Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Tiger Woods, in his first event of the new season, made the cut but is 13 off the lead. Except on the attention leaderboard, where he remains on top.”


Prior to this season, the WHL cut its regular-season from 72 to 68 games, and there still are far too many instances of teams having to play three games in fewer than 48 hours. Maybe it’s time to cut back to 64 games, or even 60, and get rid of even more of those dastardly mid-week games.


Itch

How excited was Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, to see the Super Bowl halftime show? “This year’s performance will feature Maroon 5 as the headliner,” he wrote, “In the event that Maroon 5 were to pull out of the performance at the last minute and be replaced by Chartreuse 7.5, I would not know the difference.”


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “There’s rumblings out of L.A. that the Lakers are itching to swing a three-city trade to land Pelicans big man Anthony Davis. In return, the Lakers would send Lonzo Ball to New Orleans, and LaVar Ball to Flin Flon.”

——

Perry, again: “Whacky ex-slugger Jose Canseco tweeted that aliens have been trying to teach mankind the fine art of time travel but, alas, our species has just been too reluctant ‘to change our body composition.’ Which raises the question: Is there a concussion-protocol statute of limitations for home-run balls off the top of the noggin?


chicken


The group that owns the Victoria HarbourCats of baseball’s West Coast League has announced that if all goes well it will field a team in Nanaimo’s Serauxmen Stadium in time for the 2020 or 2021 season. It would be the third Canadian team in a league that also includes the Kelowna Falcons. The 12-team WCL has expressed interest in Kamloops and NorBrock Stadium in the past but hasn’t been able to find anyone interested in bankrolling the project.


The NBA has fined Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans the grand sum of $50,000 because his agent went public with a trade request. As RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com points out: “Tsk. There’s seven minutes salary he’ll never get back.”


When it came to watching the NFL Pro Bowl on TV, Hampton Roads, Va., was third in the ratings, behind only Kansas City and Pittsburgh. “Hey, neighbors,” wrote Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, “maybe it’s time we got out of the house more often.”


olddays


The best part of that Super Bowl game is that it’s over, which means it’s now baseball season. . . . Although I have to admit that the NFL’s showcase game did one thing good — it put me to sleep. Not once, but twice.


“Perhaps the highlight of the Super Bowl for most average Americans,” notes Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.com, “was the realization that 70,000 members of 1% paid thousands of dollars to be inside where they couldn’t change the channel.”


Former UCLA star Bill Walton, now a TV analyst, has suggested that Barack Obama should replace the fired Steve Alford as the men’s basketball coach at UCLA. To which Brad Rock of Salt Lake City’s Desert News asked: “What? Gene Hackman was busy?”



ThisThat

The Brodsky family, a major contributor to the WHL over the years, is among the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2019 inductees. The announcement was made on Saturday, with the saskhallinduction ceremony scheduled for July 6 at Saskatoon’s Prairieland Park.

“As probably everybody in the room will tell you, you come into these things and you just go to work every day and you do the things you want to be doing and enjoy doing,” Jack Brodsky said. “To be recognized, I’m especially appreciative of the fact that it’s the entire family going in. My dad (Nate) and my brothers (Rick and Bob) and sister (Debbie) were so supportive. To be here, for us to be recognized for this, is a wonderful thing. It’s humbling.”

Nate was a long-time owner of the Saskatoon Blades, which stayed in the Brodsky family until the franchise was sold to Mike Priestner of Edmonton after the 2012-13 season. . . . Rick Brodsky purchased the Victoria Cougars, moved them to Prince George in 1994 and and was involved until selling the franchise to local interests after the 2013-14 season. . . . Jack and Rick Brodsky both were heavily involved in the WHL at the administrative level, as well.

Also in the class of 2019 — Players: Bert Olmstead, Fernie Flaman, Keith Magnuson, Curtis Leschyshyn, Brian Skrudland and Ed Van Impe; Grassroots: Jim McIntyre and Joe Bloski; Builders: Murray Armstrong, Max McNab, Bill Thon and the Brodsky family; Official: Brad Watson; Teams: 2004-05 Saskatoon Contacts and 1966-67 Saskatoon Centennials. . . . The SHHOF is located at the Credit Union I-Plex, the Swift Current Broncos’ home arena.

Darren Zary of the SaskatoonStarPhoenix has more right here.


Officials of WHL teams and the folks who run their home arenas need to read this piece right here from CBS News. It details how the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons cut their concession prices, some by as much as 50 per cent, and had revenues rise by 16 per cent. Other teams have since followed suit and have experienced similar results. . . . “We talk about lifetime value of customers … and the lifetime value of the customer, for the Atlanta sports fan is, I think, quite higher now because people want to go there,” Scott Rosner, director of Columbia University’s sports management program, told CBS. “They don’t feel like they’re being taken advantage of. It’s an affordable experience.”


You are free to wonder if Matt O’Dette, the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, will Seattlebe hearing from Kevin Acheson, the WHL’s sheriff, after expressing some disgruntlement after a 7-2 loss to the host Everett Silvertips on Saturday night.

For starters, O’Dette wasn’t happy with the fact that Everett F Connor Dewar, who finished with four goals and two assists, wasn’t given a kneeing penalty for a hit on Seattle F Matthew Wedman.

“They saw everything that we did obviously,” O’Dette told Andy Eide, who covers the Thunderbirds of 710 ESPN in Seattle. “We know what knees can do and we’re pretty sensitive about that. They continue not to call them. I don’t know why, but they continue to not call them.”

The Thunderbirds are sensitive because F Dillon Hamaliuk had his season ended by a knee-on-knee hit agains the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Dec. 29. D Matthew Quigley was suspended for four games after that hit.

On Saturday, Everett finished with nine power-play opportunities, while Seattle had two, none after the early part of the second period.

O’Dette was so frustrated that when referees Tyler Adair and Fraser Lawrence awarded Seattle a PP at 19:56 of the third period, he ended up with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“A typical referee move to give us a call with two seconds left,” O’Dette said. “No, no, no, no, we’re not taking that. We’re not making it look good on the boxscore. Typical cowardly ref move to do that. We didn’t want that power play.”

Eide’s complete story is right here.


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