How close is OHL to playing? . . . NHL adjusts its COVID protocols . . . Eyes of Texas will be on U18 Worlds


On a day when COVID-19 found the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL announced nhl2adjustments to its protocols. . . . The Oilers were without F Jesse Puljujarvi in a 3-0 victory over the Canadiens in Montreal after he tested positive. Edmonton also scratched G Mikko Koskinen for precautionary reasons. There is speculation that Koskinen was held out as a close contact. . . . The Ottawa Senators held D Artem Zub out of a 5-1 loss to the host Winnipeg Jets for precautionary reasons; however a COVID-19 test came back negative so he will be OK to play on Saturday. . . . Meanwhile, with five teams having experienced outbreaks and a total of 35 games having been postponed, the NHL has added to its protocols. One of the changes involves more game-day testing. The NHL also has moved to limit the outside activities of team members and their families. Here’s ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski: “All players, coaches, training staff, equipment staff and other members of the traveling party ‘will be required to remain at home and not leave their place of residence except to attend practices and games, to exercise outdoors on an individual basis, to perform essential activities (e.g., go to the doctor), or to deal with family or other emergencies and other extraordinary circumstances.’ The NHL also is ‘strongly recommending’ that household members limit their activities outside the home as well, and is encouraging teams to provide ways for household members to be tested for COVID-19 regularly.” . . . Wyshynski’s complete story is right here.



The IIHF’s U18 World Championship will be held in Frisco and Plano, Texas, DallasStarsfrom April 26 through May 6. Frisco is home to the Dallas Stars’ practice arena — the Comerica Center — and offices. The Stars and USA Hockey are partnering on the production. . . . The host team, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany and Russia will play out of Frisco. . . . Canada will be in Plano, along with Belarus, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland. . . . The U-18 world event hasn’t ever been held so late into a year. . . . It will be interesting to watch team construction prior to this event, because all 60 major junior teams could still be playing. . . . The 2020 event was to have been held in Ann Arbor and Plymouth, Mich., from April 16-26, but was cancelled by the pandemic. Originally, the 2021 event also was scheduled for Ann Arbor and Plymouth, but it obviously has been shifted to Texas.


As you can see from the above tweet, Bob Kaser is in hospital after having undergone heart surgery. Kaser is a veteran hockey play-by-play voice, who did a stint with the Seattle Thunderbirds (1984-89). . . . He’s a hockey guy, so somehow I expect him back before season’s end. . . . Best wishes, Bob.


Plumber


So you want to be a pro hockey player, do you? Well, let’s take a look at how G Taran Kozun’s career is going. . . . He played in the WHL (Kamloops, Seattle, 2011-15) and was named to the Western Conference’s first all-star team and also was saluted as the league’s top goaltender for 2014-15. . . . He spent the 2015-16 season playing pro, making stops with three ECHL teams — the Missouri Mavericks, Utah Grizzlies and Manchester Monarchs — and the AHL’s Ontario Reign. He only got into games (nine of them) with Utah, though. . . . Kozun then spent a season with the Chinook Hockey League’s Rosetown, Sask., Red Wings, before going on to three seasons with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. He was 37-6-2 over the last two seasons with the Huskies and was USports’ top goaltender each season. He was the Canadian university game’s player of year for 2019-20. . . . This season, he’s back playing pro, having made stops with four ECHL teams — the Kansas City Mavericks, Indy Fuel, Rapid City Rush and Orlando Solar Bears — and the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers. . . . The Solar Bears picked him up in a deal with the Rush this week. . . . Kozun’s older brother, Tad, is a forward with Orlando.



THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

If you haven’t seen any of the short videos that the WHL has made available featuring some goaltenders, here’s one of them. . . . Well done

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CBC News — Ontario’s COVID-19 case numbers are steadily declining, but more infectious novel coronavirus variants of concern pose a threat significant enough that health experts are warning a third lockdown could be required to contain them.

CBC News — Alberta reports 351 new COVID-19 cases, 16 more deaths. Starting Monday, the province is changing rules requiring negative COVID-19 tests at border crossings.

CBC News — Newfoundland and Labrador reports 100 new COVID-19 cases, nearly double Wednesday’s all-time record of 53. Of them, 74 are in people under the age of 20. Health authorities also say there is 1 additional presumptive case.

——

Prince McJunkins, a quarterback during two seasons (1983-84) with the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders, died of complications from COVID-19 in a Tulsa, Okla., hospital on Tuesday. His home was in Muskogee, Okla. He was 59 and is survived by his wife and four children. . . . While playing at Wichita State (1979-82), McJunkins was the first player in NCAA history to rush for more than 2,000 yards and pass for more than 4,000 in a career. . . .

The Australian Open, which is underway in Melbourne, has banned fans for five days following a COVID outbreak at a local hotel. While the state of Victoria will go into a lockdown, the tournament will continue. . . .

The NBA’s Toronto Raptors announced on Thursday that they will spend the remainder of this season at Tampa’s Amalie Arena. After starting the season there, they had hoped things would improve and border restrictions would loosen so they could return to Toronto, but that hasn’t happened so they’ll stay put. . . .

Penn State’s men’s hockey team last played on Jan. 29. It was to have played on Feb. 20 and 21 against Arizona State. But that won’t happen after Penn State got hit by some positive tests this week. If all goes well, Penn State will get to play again on Feb. 27. . . .

Hockey Brandon, which governs minor hockey in the Wheat City, announced Thursday that it had cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season effective immediately. . . . Curtis Storey, the organization’s president, said that “the continued restrictions on indoor facilities unfortunately forced the decision.” . . .

The junior B Heritage Junior Hockey League has cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season. The decision was made after a announcement earlier in the week from Hockey Alberta. Here’s the HJHL’s Scott Fisher, from okotoksonline.com: “We were at that time where we had to come to a decision. Hockey Alberta has made the decision to cancel all regular season and playoff games for junior B, junior C, female and senior men’s leagues.” . . . Hockey Alberta’s announcement didn’t include the junior A Alberta Junior Hockey League.


Giraffe


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.


Virus takes bite out of Grizzlies . . . Meet Duvernay-Tardif, a Canadian hero . . . Chiefs goalie wins in USHL debut

The junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey RevelstokeLeague announced Friday night that they “have ceased operations for the remainder of the 2020-21 season after members of the organization tested positive for COVID-19.” . . . The Grizzlies learned on Tuesday that “a potential COVID-19 contact” had occurred at a player’s work place. . . . According to a team statement, “The player . . . subsequently tested positive . . . and additional team members have also since received positive test results.” . . . Here’s Ryan Parent, the Grizzlies’ general manager and head coach: “Earlier this week we elected to temporarily cancel team activities in an effort to keep our billet families, players and greater community safe. “In light of having received multiple positive test results, we have had to make another hard decision. It is with a heavy heart that we have ceased operations for the 2020-21 KIJHL season.” . . . The team’s release is right here. . . . The KIJHL hasn’t played games since Nov. 20.


A year ago, OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was preparing to play in the Super Bowl, a game he and his Kansas City Chiefs teammates would win. . . . The Chiefs are back in the NFL’s championship game, but Duvernay-Tardif isn’t. He opted out of this season in order to work at a long-term care facility in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in his his home province of Quebec. He attended McGill U Faculty of Medicine, graduating with a Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery, but hasn’t completed his postgraduate training. . . . Earlier this month, he appeared on the CBC Radio show The Current with Matt Galloway. It’s a 27-minute interview that will be the best 27 minutes you will have invested in anything in the first month of 2021. Give it a listen right here.


While I was away for a couple of days, the WHL announced that it had been WHL2given the OK by the Alberta government to play a few games starting in late February. . . . If all goes well, the league’s five Alberta teams will begin playing games on Feb. 26. A schedule has yet to be announced, but it’ll be weekends only — one team will have a bye, the other four will play two games in home-and-home series, something that will mean no hotel stays. . . . Staff and players are to begin self-quarantining today and report to their teams on Feb. 6. . . . If you missed it, the WHL’s news release is right here. . . . But, please, let’s not call this return to play a season? It’s certainly not a 2020-21 season. Rather, Let’s call it a developmental season, because that’s what these games will be about. . . .

BTW, when I say that I was away for a bit, I wasn’t out of province or even out of town. I was in the backyard working with a shovel after our premier urged all of us to “dig down a little deeper.”



Book


Elemer Jerkovits is a familiar figure on the Regina and Saskatchewan sporting scenes as an umpire and hockey referee. It was in his role as the latter when he believes he contracted COVID-19 while working an adult recreational hockey game in Regina. And, yes, when he went home he passed the virus along to his wife, Kendra. . . . That was in mid-November and the after-effects continue to linger. . . . As a result, Jerkovits isn’t convinced that it’s time to open up the rinks. “People say kids aren’t as susceptible to this virus,” he told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “Well, possibly, but there are kids that are catching it. The rink environment is not the best place to be. From my understanding, it’s the humidity in the air and the ventilation. I was in a 10-year-old building when I got it, so you’d think the ventilation system was fairly up to date.” . . . Jerkovits also has decided that he’ll be staying away from officiating for the next while. “I’m not telling people what to do,” he said. “Who am I to tell people how to raise their kids or what activities they should and shouldn’t do? Just take it from somebody who caught it and (experienced) the impact on our life — as minimal as it was compared to many others. It’s just not worth it.” . . . Harder’s complete story is right here.


G Lukáš Parik, who played last season with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, made his USHL debut on Friday night, stopping 30 shots in leading the Dubuque Fighting Saints to a 4-1 victory over the host Waterloo Black Hawks. Parik, who played in two games for Czech Republic at the 2021 World Junior Championship, had been playing for HC Benatky and Jizerou in Czech2 before joining the Fighting Saints. . . . He was a third-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL’s 2019 draft..


Car


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NHL has scratched two more games involving the Vegas Golden Knights. They were to have played the San Jose Sharks in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 1 and 3, but have run into COVID-19 issues and have had to put things on hold for now. Vegas has three coaches and D Alex Pietrangelo in protocol. . . . Those two games were to have been the Sharks’ first ‘home’ games of the season. They were to play their home games in Glendale, the home of the Coyotes, because Santa Clara Country, their home in California, had prohibited the playing of contact sports. The Sharks now are hoping to play their first home game in San Jose on Feb. 13 with the Anaheim Ducks providing the opposition. . . .

The Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights, beat the visiting San Jose Barracuda, 7-3, in an exhibition game on Friday night. Deryk Engelland, the former Vegas defenceman who retired as an NHL player prior to this season, ran the Silver Knights’ bench. He is a special assistant to the owner with the Golden Knights. . . . Manny Viveiros, Henderson’s head coach, and assistants Jamie Heward and Joel Ward have been away from the team since Tuesday when they ran the Golden Knights’ bench with their coaches away because of COVID-19 protocol. . . .

There are problems in the AHL, too, as it struggles to get exhibition games played. It cancelled two weekend games — Binghamton and Hershey on Saturday, Lehigh Valley and Hershey on Sunday. “The decision was made in consultation with medical experts and the AHL and due to the health and safety of players, coaches and game-day personnel,” the league said in a tweet. . . . At that point, it had scratched seven exhibition games. . . .

F Travis Zajac didn’t practise with the New Jersey Devils on Friday, because of what the team said was “a COVID-related absence.” The Devils are scheduled to face the Buffalo Sabres today at 1 p.m. ET. . . . The Devils have Zajac, G Mackenzie Blackwood and G Aaron Dell on the protocol list. . . . The list of NHL players on the protocol list for Friday is right here. . . .

There was good news from the NBA as only one player tested positive in the week beginning Jan. 20. All told, 492 players were tested. . . .

The 2021 Alberta Summer Games that had been scheduled for Lethbridge have been cancelled. They were to have been held there in July 2020, but were postponed. . . .

The National Women’s Hockey League is playing games in a bubble in Lake Placid, N.Y., but it lost the Metropolitan Riveters on Thursday. They pulled out after an undisclosed number of players tested positive. The league will continue to play with five teams.


——

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.


Grandma

Maglio takes over Chiefs’ bench as Viveiros leaves for AHL . . . No fans for 2021 WJC? . . . Gorges joins BCHL’s Warriors

Adam Maglio is the new head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, taking over SpokaneChiefsfrom Manny Viveiros, who now is the first head coach of the Henderson Silver Knights, an AHL expansion team that is owned by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . . Viveiros leaves Spokane after one season with the Chiefs. . . . Maglio, 34, is the WHL’s youngest head coach. He joined the Chiefs as an assistant coach for the 2019-20 season. Prior to that, he was with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings, as an assistant (2015-17) and then head coach (2017-19). . . . Viveiros was an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers in 2018-19, after two seasons as head coach and director of player personnel with the Swift Current Broncos. He guided the Broncos to the 2017-18 WHL championship. . . . Viveiros, 54, was 41-18-5 with the Chiefs when the 2020-21 season was halted by COVID-19. . . . Maglio is the Chiefs’ third head coach since 2017. Viveiros replaced Dan Lambert, who left after two seasons to join the NHL’s Nashville Predators as an assistant coach. . . . Lambert took over from Don Nachbaur, who spent seven seasons in Spokane before his contract wasn’t renewed after 2016-17.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The 2021 World Junior Championship is scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer, starting on Dec. 26 and concluding on Jan. 5. . . . The tournament is to include 10 teams. . . .

The above tweet appeared on Monday. Here was Hockey Canada’s response on Tuesday:

“At present time, there has been no change to the traditional hosting model for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship . . . Hockey Canada continues to engage in daily communication with the IIHF, the host communities of Edmonton and Red Deer, and the appropriate health authorities to examine all options for hosting the World Junior Championship in December and January. The health and safety of all participants and the community at large remains a priority for Hockey Canada, and our organization will continue to work towards hosting a safe, successful event on behalf of the IIHF.” . . .

The Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament, which had been scheduled for Feb. 10-21, has been cancelled. The 2021 event was expected to include about 2,500 players. . . .

The NFL and NFLPA revealed Tuesday that there were 10 positive tests — four players and six staffers — from Aug. 21-29. These results come a week after zero players and six team personnel tested positive. . . . The NFL season is scheduled to open on Sept. 10. . . .

Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell, one of the college game’s best all-purpose offensive players, has opted out of the 2020 season. He has lost four family members to the virus. . . . LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase, another top-end player, also has opted out. However, he didn’t cite the virus for his decision, saying instead that he wants to focus on becoming an NFL player. He is eligible for the NFL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Auburn Tigers are scheduled to practice Tuesday without at least 16 players — nine have tested positive and seven are considered high risk. . . . Josh Heupel, the U of Central Florida Knights’ head coach, said Tuesday the team has had 10 players opt out of this season, all of citing the virus. . . .

The Oakland A’s spent Monday holed up in a Houston hotel after having a Sunday game there postponed by a positive test. Later tests all were negative, but a three-game series that they were to have played against the host Seattle Mariners through Thursday was  postponed. . . .

The virus has started to leave its mark on the 2020-21 season for winter sports. The International Skating Union has cancelled a World Cup speed skating meet in Calgary, Dec. 11-13, along with two short-track events — Montreal, Nov. 6-8, and Laval, Nov. 13-15. . . . Also cancelled are meets in Tomaszow-Mazowiecki, Poland, Nov. 13-15; Stavanger, Norway, Nov. 20-22; and Salt Lake City, Dec. 4-6. . . .

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced Monday that it has postponed all competition until January 2021. From a news release: “The MIAC previously announced the postponement of all medium- and high-contact risk fall sports (cross-country, football, soccer, and volleyball) to the spring season on July 28. This latest decision will push competition in golf and tennis back to the second halves of their split-season schedules, while the basketball, hockey, indoor track and field, and swimming and diving competition seasons are now planning to begin in January. The MIAC Golf Championships, previously set for October, will be rescheduled for Spring 2021. All MIAC teams will maintain the institutional autonomy to practice, train, and conduct other athletic-related activities throughout the academic year in accordance with NCAA and campus protocols.” . . . There are 13 NCAA Division III schools in the MIAC.


Devil


If you have any interest at all in how the NBA got from where it once was, with playoff games shown on tape delay late at night, to where it is today, with players leading a movement to, among other things get out the vote, Dan Le Batard of ESPN has a great piece that is right here.

——

Sticking with ESPN, Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski have produced a piece that looks at the NHL and raises all sorts of questions about the 2020-21 regular-season. When might it start? Might it be played in four bubbles? How will the U.S.-Canada being closed to non-essential travel impact it? And on and on. . . . That is all 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.


JUST NOTES: Former WHL/NHL D Josh Gorges has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors as their director of player development. Gorges, who played with the Kelowna Rockets (2000-04), played 13 seasons in the NHL (San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, 2005-18). . . . The Swift Current Broncos, one of four community-owned WHL franchises, will hold their annual general meeting on Sept. 29. . . . Aaron Spotts is the new head coach of the junior B Westshore Wolves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He takes over from Ian Birnie, the head coach for the previous two seasons.


Math

Dale Hawerchuk rings Bell of Hope . . . Will some junior teams not make it? . . . Doughty can’t see NHL season resuming


One of the things I’ve been wondering about over the last month is whether there will be some junior teams who won’t answer the bell when it’s time to start another season, whenever that might be.

On Monday, Tyler Yaremchuk, who among other things is the host of Inside The AJHL on TSN 1260 in Edmonton, tweeted (@tyleryaremchuk) a couple of things that he has “heard about the AJHL” . . .

“As many as three teams are considering a sabbatical. They would take a season off and then reassess.

“The league will vote on whether or not to make players pay a fee to play next season. somewhere around $2,500 per player for the 20/21 season. Other CJHL leagues considering this as well.

“Finally, don’t expect this to impact the arrival of the new Blackfalds franchise. (It) should be okay to begin play in 2021/22.”

I fully expect that before we are out of this mess we will be hearing more about junior hockey franchises pondering their future, especially if the start of the 2020-21 season is delayed in any fashion.

None of these leagues were able to get anywhere close to a conclusion with their playoffs, which means a number of teams lost out on a great deal of revenue. In other words, the gravy train never did reach the station.

As well, junior A and junior B teams have had to cancel the spring camps they hold on an annual basis, all of which are revenue generators.

After Yaremchuk’s tweets landed, Trent Wilhauk, governor and vice-president with the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys, tweeted: “Because my phone is blowing up I will comment only that the Olds Grizzlys ARE NOT in this situation. Yes COVID19 has been financially hard on us losing possible camps but the Grizzlys are business as usual.”



I am sure that you have heard rumblings about the NHL, NBA and MLB all having discussed playing games in facilities without fans in attendance.

Here’s Chip Kelly, the head coach of college football’s UCLA Bruins on the possibility of the NCAA playing without fans:

“If it’s not safe for fans to attend the games, then I don’t know why it would be safe for players to participate in the games.”


And here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginia-Pilot:

“Baseball’s Arizona plan is an example of a league thinking it can outsmart a pandemic. Science? Who needs that when you can send 30 teams to the desert for a mid-May start, sequestering players in hotels before letting them out to play in any of 11 stadiums? It also would prevent players from seeing their families and significant others. Whatever idea the NBA may come up with to restart its season, it cannot top this for stupidity.”


Taco


Here is Jack Finarelli’s Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”


Drew Doughty, the Los Angeles Kings’ all-star defenceman, spent some of his Monday on a conference call with reporters. Here is part of what he had to say:

“I don’t see how this season is going to return. I really don’t. We have no idea when this virus is going to be over. We’re all kind of just sitting at home, just hoping to return to the season or hoping to watch the playoffs return. But we’re just sitting here, waiting, working out, being ready to return at any point.

“I think the NHL would have to make some kind of decision on that soon, and it seems like it’s pretty tough to resume the season or the playoffs.”

Greg Wyshynski of ESPN has more right here.


Steve Ewen of Postmedia wonders “what will our new normal be?” . . . Or will there even be a normal? . . . He has a whole lot of questions but, like all of us, he doesn’t have any answers. . . . “Could we be waiting until there’s a coronavirus vaccine before the NHL and other pro sports have fans in the stands?” he wonders. “Could we be a year from big-time hockey, football, soccer, basketball and baseball with cheering crowds?” . . . Ewen’s complete column is right here.


Carl Mallette is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Victoriaville Tigres. He had been an assistant coach with the Tigres for three seasons. . . . He also played in Victoriaville for five seasons and has had his number (97) retired. . . . Mallette, 38, takes over from Louis Robitaille, who left earlier this month to sign on as general manager and head coach of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques, who had dismissed Eric Landry.


The family of the late Colby Cave returned to North Battleford, Sask., on Monday and folks lined up for miles along the highway as a show of love and support. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix had photographer Matt Smith on hand, and the photos are right here.


If you’ve been wondering, the Toronto Blue Jays are 6-11 and six games back in the AL East as the gang at Strat-O-Matic plays out a simulated version of the 2020 MLB season. . . . On Monday, the Blue Jays were blanked 2-0 by the visiting Minnesota Twins, who won despite being out-hit, 5-3. . . . Former Toronto 3B Josh Donaldson gave the Twins a 2-0 lead with a solo shot, his second homer of the season, in the fourth inning. . . . The Tampa Bay Rays (12-5) lead the AL East by two games over the New York Yankees (10-7). The other division leaders: Kansas City Royals (12-4), Oakland A’s (12-5), Washington Nationals (11-5), Chicago Cubs (11-5) and San Diego Padres (12-4). . . . Wondering about the Seattle Mariners? They’re 5-13 and 7.5 games off the pace in the AL West. It doesn’t look to be their year. Again.


Mona

Hey, WHL, fans are waiting on 18 rosters. . . . Nine WHLers on Team Canada. . . . Hitmen sign two import forwards

MacBeth

F Tyler Redenbach (Prince George, Swift Current, Lethbridge, 2001-05) signed a one-year contract with the Oji Eagles Tomakomai (Japan, Asia HL). Last season, with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had nine goals and nine assists in 50 games. . . .

F Chase Clayton (Calgary, Saskatoon, 2010-15) signed a one-year contract with Blue Devils Weiden (Germany, Oberliga Süd). Last season, in 27 games with U of British Columbia (USports, Canada West), he had eight goals and four assists.


ThisThat

Guy Flaming, the host of The Pipeline Show, chatted with Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, on July 4. Part of that conversation — a partial transcript of which is right here — included this:

Flaming: One of the questions that came in from a listener was about the updated roster pages on the WHL website. It’s something I’ve mentioned over the last couple of years as well. Right now, if I go to the QMJHL website, I can pull up a roster for a respective team, Halifax, whatever, and see every player that that team holds the rights to. If I go to the WHL website and I look at the Calgary Hitmen, Jett Woo isn’t even listed on their roster and, in fact, the roster page is blank for the 2019 pre-season. Why is that and how can we fix that moving forward because, I think you’d agree, that it would be advantageous for the fans at least to generate interest by seeing all the players that a team holds the rights to?

Robison: Well, I think that that is a very good question and I’m glad you brought it to my attention. I’ll certainly look into that. I think it’s important that we keep current rosters. Not quite sure why that would be the case but I will certainly look into it and would suggest to you that as long as there’s the ability to do that, that we would certainly have that information posted.

——

Well . . . July is about to end, meaning it has been almost four weeks since Flaming and Robison had that conversation.

I checked for pre-season rosters on the WHL website on Monday evening and here is what I found — the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Regina Pats and Victoria Royals have rosters available.

As for the other 18 teams . . . crickets!

So the next time you hear the commissioner of all things WHL talking about how important fans are, well . . .

I mean, sheesh, we’re talking about pre-season rosters here. Not the contract terms of all 22 head coaches, or how much players are being paid, or how much the WHL is paying in legal fees these days.

——

BTW, Robison’s response to Flaming’s first question — he asked for two or three highlights from the past 12 months — had me spitting out my coffee. I’m thinking the good folks of Prince Albert would have done the same. . . . One of Robison’s highlights was the Raiders having won the 2018-19 WHL championship:

“What a good news story that is,” Robison said, “and it really helped solidify that franchise moving forward, because as you’re well aware, in the smaller markets, there’s challenges and certainly in Prince Albert we need a new facility and the timing couldn’t have been better for their run in the WHL playoffs and winning the championship.”

Hey, Prince Albert, you have been forewarned. Time to start saving your pennies for a new arena.

Quit snickering, Swift Current, because you’ll be up next.


There are nine WHLers on the 22-man roster for the Canadian team that will play in the CanadaHlinka Gretzky Cup that runs from Aug. 5-10 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia. . . . The roster was revealed Tuesday after a five-day selection camp in Calgary. . . . Here are the WHL players named to the team: F Ozzy Wiesblatt, Prince Albert Raiders; F Justin Sourdif, Vancouver Giants; F Ridly Greig, Brandon Wheat Kings; F Connor McClennon, Winnipeg Ice; F Jake Neighbours, Edmonton Oil Kings; F Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; D Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert; and G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers. . . . WHLers who were in camp but weren’t selected: F Jakob Brook, Prince Albert; F Kyle Crnkovic, Saskatoon Blades; F Jack Finley, Spokane Chiefs; F Ryder Korczak, Moose Jaw; D Tyrel Bauer, Seattle Thunderbirds; D Luke Prokop, Calgary Hitmen; and D Ronan Seeley, Everett Silvertips. . . . Canada will open against Finland on Monday in Breclav. . . . Michael Dyck, Vancouver’s head coach, is the head coach of Canada’s team, with Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, one of the assistant coaches.


The Calgary Hitmen have signed Czech F Jonas Peterek, 18, and Slovakian F Samuel Krajc, Calgary17, both of whom were picked in the CHL’s 2019 import draft. . . . Peterek had two goals and seven assists in nine games with HC Ocelari Trinec’s U-19 team last season, then added two goals and nine assists in 41 games on loan to HC Frydek-Mistek (Czech2). He also had five goals and eight assists in 29 games with his country’s U-18 side. . . . Krajc had eight goals and six assists in 14 games with HK Dukla Trencin’s U-18 team, and also had 11 goals and eight assists in 27 games with the U-20 side. In seven games with Slovakia’s U-18 team, he had two goals and an assist.


Leland Mack has joined the Prince George Cougars has their head scout in the Pacific PrinceGeorgeRegion. He is the head coach of the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. Mack had been scouting for the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Cougars also have added Tim Mills, David Reekie, Rob Rogers and Trevor Sprague to their scouting staff. . . . Mills moves over from the Swift Current Broncos and will be the Cougars’ Okanagan scout. . . . Reekie, a goaltender in his playing days who suited up with the Regina Pats and Everett Silvertips (2004-07), will work Regina and southern Saskatchewan for the Cougars. . . . Rogers, who had been working with the Spokane Chiefs, will focus on B.C. . . . Sprague, the general manager of the major midget Cariboo Cougars, will keep an eye on the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and northern B.C.


Taking Note has been told that F Patrick D’Amico, who played three seasons (2012-15) with the Regina Pats, won’t be playing in 2019-20 because of concussion issues. A Winnipegger, he has played four seasons in the ECHL, with the Colorado Eagles, Atlanta Gladiators, Indy Fuel and Norfolk Admirals. Last season, he had seven goals and 10 assists in 28 games. . . . In 2017-18, he had 10 goals and 23 assists in 55 games with Norfolk.


Greg Wyshynski of ESPN has taken an in-depth look at the NHL and its fighting numbers. NHL. . . “In 1,271 regular-season games in 2018-19,” he writes, “there were 224 fights in which at least one player received a fighting major. That’s down from 280 fights in 2017-18.” . . . Also: ”The rate for 2018-19 was 0.18 fights per game, which marks the first time that the average fights per game has dropped below 0.20.” . . . And: “In 2018-19, 15.3% of regular-season games had a fight. In 2008-09, that number was 41.4%.” . . . Let’s compare a couple of those numbers to the WHL’s 2018-19 season, using numbers available at hockeyfights.com. In 748 regular-season WHL games, there were 272 fights in which at least one player received a fighting major. (That number was 345 in 2017-18, when each team played 72 games; last season, each team played 68 games.) The rate for 2018-19 was 0.36 fights per game, down from 0.44 in 2017-18. . . . Yes, there are more fights in the WHL than in the NHL these days. . . . Wyshynski’s complete story is right here.


JUST NOTES:

Dan MacKenzie has signed on as the first full-time president of the Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella under which the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League operate. . . . MacKenzie, who spent the past eight years as the managing director of NBA Canada, will report to the CHL executive council which comprises the three commissioners of the aforementioned leagues — David Branch (OHL), Gilles Courteau (QMJHL) and Ron Robison (WHL). As well as being the OHL commissioner, Branch had been the CHL president since 1996. . . . There is a complete news release right here. . . .

F Sebastian Streu, who will turn 20 on Nov. 22, has signed a tryout agreement with Eisbären  Berlin (Germany, DEL), meaning that he won’t be returning to the Regina Pats. Streu, who has German/Canadian citizenship, had seven goals and 15 assists in 36 games with Regina last season. . . . Streu’s father, Craig, is preparing for his first season as an assistant coach with Eisbären  Berlin. . . . The Pats are left with three 20s on their roster — F Robbie Holmes, F Dawson Holt and F Austin Pratt.


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Broncos sign director of scouting . . . Blades add pair of scouts . . . MJHL’s winningest coach steps aside


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F Brett Bulmer (Kelowna, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, he had 23 goals and 19 assists in 70 games with the Florida Everblades (ECHL).


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Chad Leslie, who had been scouting in Manitoba for the Saskatoon Blades, will be joining the Swift Current Broncos as their director of scouting. . . . A source familiar with the SCBroncossituation told Taking Note that the Broncos are expected to announce Leslie’s hiring as training camp opens. . . . Leslie, 40, spent three seasons with the Blades. Prior to that, he spent two seasons with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals, first as assistant GM/assistant coach, then as assistant GM/director of player personnel. He spent the previous three seasons (2009-12) with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins, working as assistant coach, then head coach and finally as a scout. Of late, he also has been scouting for the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers. . . . With the Broncos, he will be working with Dean Brockman, the team’s new general manager/head coach, and Gary Aubin, who has been hired as the director of player personnel.

Taking Note also has been told that Craig Anderson of Brandon has joined the Broncos’ scouting staff. Anderson also works as the assistant GM and head scout with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers. He also has scouted with the Edmonton Oil Kings.


The Saskatoon Blades officially added Brian Leavold and Derek Serraglio to their Saskatoonscouting staff on Thursday. Both men will scout for the Blades in B.C. . . . Leavold, who is retired from the North Vancouver Fire Department, spent the better part of 20 years with the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Serraglio, who is from Coquitlam, B.C., works for BMO Private Banking. He has remained active in minor hockey since retiring as a player. He is preparing for his first season as a WHL scout. . . . At the same time, the Blades announced that Kerry Gladson, who lives in White Rock, B.C., has left the organization after four seasons as a scout.


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How were things in our neck of the woods on Thursday? . . . Well, the above photo shows that things were a little warm and a bit smoky. The thermometer on our deck only goes up to 50 C, but the needle was past that at 4:45 p.m. . . . This is the view looking east along the South Thompson River. There is a mountain — Mount Martin — somewhere through the smoke. . . . The smoke and smokin’ hot temperatures are supposed to move out after one more day. We hope!


The Prince George Cougars have signed Czech F Matej Toman, who was the fifth overall PrinceGeorgeselection in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. . . . Toman, 17, played last season in his hometown, for HC Ceske Budejovice. With the U-18 team, he had three goals and 12 assists in 11 regular-season games, and six goals and seven assists in seven playoff games. He also played 25 games with the U-20 team, recording eight goals and six assists. With the men’s team, he had two goals and an assist in 15 games. Toman is playing with the Czech team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer and Edmonton. . . . The Cougars’ second import player is F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who will return for a second WHL season. He is from Minsk, Belarus.


D Daniel Bukac, 19, has agreed to join the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs after spending the past two seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Wheat Kings dropped the Czech native prior to the CHL’s 2018 import draft, and the IceDogs selected him in the second round. . . . The 6-foot-4 Bukac was selected by the Boston Bruins in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . In 111 regular-season games with Brandon, he had two goals and 23 assists.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


D John Miner played 217 regular-season games (1982-85 ) with the Regina Pats. An offensive defenceman, he could really shoot a puck and excelled on the power play. You might recall that Wayne Gretzky was part of a trade in which Miner ended up going from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. That was 30 years ago. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski has more on Miner right here. . . . A tip of the fedora to Brad Hornung for the link.


Ken Pearson, the winningest regular-season coach in MJHL history, has stepped aside as Winklerhead coach of the Winkler Flyers, but he will stay on as general manager. Pearson has been the Flyers’ GM/head coach for the previous seven seasons. . . . Steve Mullin, an assistant coach with Pearson for six seasons, has taken over as head coach. . . . Mullin played two seasons (2000-02) with the Flyers, then spent four seasons at the U of Maine. In 2009-10, he was the head coach of the midget AAA Pembina Valley Hawks, who won a Manitoba midget championship. . . . Pearson has coached in the MJHL for 16 seasons, going 519-295-62-14. Blake Spiller of the Portage Terriers is second on the victory list, with 487.


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