Scattershooting on a Monday night after KIJHL rocked by Creston Valley hazing incident . . .

Scattershooting2

While Hockey Canada was busy trying to determine whether the mess it finds itself in has been swept far enough under the carpet so as to cut down the glare, CrestonValleythe Kootenay International Junior Hockey League was dealing with a hazing incident.

What’s that? You thought hazing was a thing of the past.

Well, think again.

Following a quick investigation, the KIJHL, a junior B league with 19 teams in the Interior of B.C. and one inactive franchise in Spokane, dropped the hammer on the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

In a news release, the league said it learned of the incident on Sept. 13 and “immediately suspended team activities, including the cancellation of the team’s exhibition game” on Sept. 14. Creston Valley was to have played host to the Fernie Ghostriders that night.

On Sept. 15, the league sent staff into Creston to “conduct interviews with . . . players and coaches.”

“Throughout this process,” the league said, it “has consulted with its Safe Sport partner, ITP Sport, and with BC Hockey.”

On Monday, the league announced that the Thunder Cats have been fined an undisclosed amount and been “placed on probation for a period of two years.”

“During this time,” the news release continued, “the Thunder Cats must take proactive steps to ensure a positive team culture free from abuse, bullying and harassment. Any occurrence of a similar incident will result in further sanctions.”

Furthermore, members of the Thunder Cats “will be required to complete training designed to identify and eliminate instances of abuse, bullying and harassment.”

The KIJHL also suspended two members of the team’s leadership group — captain Clayton Brown, a 20-year-old defenceman from Beaverlodge, Alta., will sit out 12 games and alternate captain Campbell McLean, who will turn 20 on Nov. 4, is to miss six games, both “for violations of the league’s individual conduct policy.” McLean, a forward, is from Whitecourt, Alta.

“The KIJHL is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for our athletes, volunteers, staff and fans,” Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL’s commissioner, said in the news release. “What occurred in Creston was unacceptable, and the discipline imposed against the Thunder Cats’ organization and members of the team reflect our zero-tolerance approach to these types of incidents.

“Our investigation made clear that we have considerable work to do in order to educate our players on the standard of behaviour and leadership expected of them in a team environment. We take this responsibility seriously, and we are taking immediate steps to address this issue.”

The news release concluded with the one sentence that has become standard when leagues are dealing with these kinds of issues:

“The KIJHL will not comment further on this matter.”


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Hockey Canada seems to be carrying on as if nothing is wrong and all is well. Somebody from the government, somebody with some kind of power, somebody with sponsorship clout needs to unseat the board of directors and replace the senior executives without much delay. Otherwise, it will just be same old, same old.”


Inn


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Nebraska — college football bluebloods — got taken down in Week 2 by supposed cannon fodder Appalachian State, Marshall and Georgia Southern. Even worse, they each had to cough up $1 million-plus in appearance fees to the teams that beat them. Well, as mom always used to say, ‘Don’t play with your food!’ ”

——

Perry, again: “Nebraska has fired its last four football coaches — Bill Callahan, Bo Pelini, Mike Riley and Scott Frost — and paid them a combined $32 million in buyouts, all within a year of awarding them contract extensions. In other words, Groundhog Day I, II, III and IV.”



Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Local consultant not sure what he does, either.

——

Headline at TheOnion.com — Referees call for replay to admire great call.


THINKING OUT LOUD — ICYMI, Arizona State fired head football coach Herm Edwards on Sunday. Yes, he’s the former NFL coach. The Sun Devils are 1-2 this season and the program is under NCAA investigation. ASU could be on the hook for a payout of more than $9 million, though, because Edwards was signed through 2024. That’s still less than the $15 million that Nebraska will be coughing up after dumping head coach Scott Frost after just two games. . . . There are a lot of great stories in this young NFL season, but none will bear watching more than the San Francisco 49ers. I have never really understood how it was that QB Jimmy Garoppolo fell out of favour there, but they weren’t able to move him. Of course, now he’s the starter after Trey Lance broke his right ankle on Sunday and had season-ending surgery on Monday. . . . BTW, Garoppolo pocketed more than $750,000 on Sunday, including a $382,000 game cheque. Grant Marek of sfgate.com has more on Garoppolo’s contract situation right here, and it’s an interesting read. . . . You may have noticed that the New York Mets, Yankees, Jets and Giants all won on Sunday. That’s the first time that has happened since Sept. 27, 2009. So all was well with the Big Apple as another week began.


Ignorance


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Congratulations to Scottie Pippen for being the latest big sports star to lend his name and fame to the LIV Golf circuit. Pippen filmed a heartfelt commercial welcoming the LIV tour to Chicago. Maybe he figures we’ll all stop calling him basketball’s greatest sidekick, and start calling him the murderin’ Saudis’ goofiest pawn.”

——

Here’s Ostler again, this time with a great idea: “If MLB hitters have walk-up songs, they should also be required to have slink-back songs for when they strike out, songs to be chosen by the opposing team’s pitching staff. Some possibles: ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,’ ‘I’m Missing You,’ ‘Heat of the Moment,’ ‘Walk Away, Renee,’ and ‘Blue Bayou’ (blew by you).”



Asked how he felt rookie RB Jaylen Warren fared in his first NFL game, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin replied: “He didn’t urinate down his leg, man — that’s a great place to begin.”


Blinker


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.


Iron

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering “Henderson has scored for Canada” . . .

Scattershooting2

We purchased our first colour television set in August 1972. Yes, it was because the eight-game Summit Series — Canada vs. Soviet Union — was to begin on Sept. 2 in Montreal.

At the time, we had been married for about two months and I was a year into my TVsports journalism career that began at the Brandon Sun.

If memory serves, the price tag on the TV set — it was a beauty, a 19-inch RCA XL100— at Eaton’s in downtown Brandon was $499, which we didn’t have in our bank account. So I went to the Royal Bank for a little financial help.

At the time, I spent a lot of time covering the Manitoba Senior Baseball League and one of the players with the Brandon Cloverleafs worked at the Royal Bank. So . . . he turned me down.

But the CIBC, with whom my parents had banked for years in Lynn Lake, came to the rescue, which is how I (we?) came to enjoy the Summit Series in glorious colour. Not just colour . . . 100 per cent solid state AccuColor!

And what a glorious time it was.

We are going to hear a lot about the Summit Series over the next while, this being the 50th anniversary of what I would suggest is the greatest and most meaningful event in Canada’s sporting history.

What other event brought an entire country to a screeching halt on a number of days? What other event brought an entire country to a fever pitch after first leaving it in a horrid depressive state? What other event dominated the country’s conversation for that long a period of time?

Without going into great detail, Team Canada won the last three games to win the series, 4-3-1. Yes, the “1” was a tie.

Incredibly, Paul Henderson scored the winning goal in each of those three games, the winner in Game 8 coming with 34 seconds remaining in the third period.

If you were watching, Foster Hewitt’s play is etched forever in your memory:

“Cournoyer has it on that wing. Here’s a shot. Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell. Here’s another shot. Right in front, they score! Henderson has scored for Canada!”

(Let us pause for a short rant . . .

After all that, Henderson somehow isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame. And, yes, he was a pretty fair NHL/WHA player. He put up 477 points, 236 of them goals, in 707 regular-season NHL games. Throw in five seasons in the WHA and he totalled 760 points, including 376 goals, in 1,067 games. He’s a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame — individually and with Team Canada — and the IIHF Hall of Fame.

But, somehow, he’s not in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and that’s amazing! It’s also a damn shame.)

Anyway . . .

Unfortunately, some of the joy in reliving the series is dampened because Russian despot Vladimir Putin continues to make war on Ukraine. That will prevent surviving players from the Soviet team from being involved in any Summit Series-related events.

I have read two of the books that have been published with the 50th anniversary in mind.

Scott Morrison’s contribution — 1972: The Series That Changed Hockey Forever — tells a terrific story, from before training camp through the exhibition game that Team Canada, while on its way home from Moscow, played in what was then Czechoslovakia. That happened to be Canadian C Stan Mikita’s homeland and he was greeted as a conquering hero.

I also would highly recommend Ice War Diplomat: Hockey Meets Cold War Politics at the 1972 Summit Series. Author Gary J. Smith was in the Canadian diplomatic service. He could speak Russian and was stationed at the Canadian embassy in Russia. The story he tells could only be related by someone who was heavily involved behind the scenes and he does a masterful job.

I haven’t yet read Ken Dryden’s new book — The Series — but I definitely have it on my list. It’s only 200 pages in length, but you can bet that Dryden, one of three goaltenders on Team Canada, will tell things his way.

Also available: The Greatest Comeback: How Team Canada Fought Back, Took the Summit Series and Reinvented Hockey, by John U. Bacon; and Montreal to Moscow — 1972 Summit Series: Cartoons & Anecdotes, by Terry Mosher (aka Aislin, the Montreal Gazette’s superb editorial cartoonist).

On top of that, a four-part documentary — Summit 1972 — will begin on CBC-TV on Sept. 14. The series will air on four consecutive Wednesdays. I will be watching and, yes, I will set the PVR and watch it again, and likely again.

“Henderson has scored for Canada!”


Dylan


The Seattle Thunderbirds tweeted on Wednesday that their “training camp is closed to the public,” except for the Future Thunderbirds and Blue-White Seattlegames on Sept 4. On Friday, however, the Thunderbirds reversed field, tweeting that “training camp begins Aug. 31 and starting Thursday (Sept. 1) it is open to the public.” . . . Meanwhile, Sarah Brusig of ilovekent.net reported that Dan Hearst, a citizen of Kent, appeared at the City Council meeting of Aug. 16. Why was he there? According to Brusig, “he asked Council to stop funding the Seattle Thunderbirds because they don’t reference Kent in their branding. ‘They need to understand that they owe the citizens of Kent,’ Hearst said.” . . . Hmm. . . . Might be time to start referring to them as the Seattle Thunderbirds of Kent.



From Bill James Online (@billjamesonline), in response to a question posed by former MLBer-turned-broadcaster Kevin Youkilis: “You asked in a recent broadcast how many balls go through BECAUSE of the shift, vs. those lost to the shift.  According to the Bill James Handbook 2022, in 2021 there were 4,802 hits taken away by the shift, but 3,946 balls that went through BECAUSE of the shift. . . . Ratio is 11 to 9. For every 11 hits taken away by the shift, 9 balls beat the shift by hitting through the vacated area.”


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Trump to represent self in case against United States; has already stiffed self out of legal fees.


Joe Posnanski, a terrific baseball writer, with a note about his friend Len Dawson, the former NFL quarterback who died on Wednesday at the age of 87: “For much of (his time with the Chiefs), he was also a sports broadcaster in Kansas City. On Dec. 25, 1971, the Kansas City Chiefs lost a soul-crushing, double-overtime playoff game to the Miami Dolphins — it remains the longest game in NFL history. Dawson was the Chiefs’ quarterback in that game. And when it ended, he put on a suit and did the sports report for KMBC television in Kansas City. ‘One of the toughest things I’ve ever done,’ he said. ‘But I didn’t stutter.’ ”


Brain


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion) — Durand and Kyrie Agree To Be Teammates So Long as They’re Never in Same Room Together.


There was an intriguing report on Friday about a trade in the QMJHL that will qmjhlnewhave F Justin Robidas, 19, the captain of the Val-d’Or Foreurs, move to the Quebec Remparts for a package that will include G Mathys Fernandez, 17, and a number of draft picks. The intriguing part is that, as Mikael Lalancette of Le Soleil reported, the transaction will “be announced during the holiday season.” That would be “holiday” as in Christmas. . . . Yes, because it’s the Q. . . . BTW, Robidas’ father, Stéphane, is a former NHLer who now is an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens.


Spiderjpg


Jack Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon) tells me that he first heard of a Lisfranc injury “about 20 years ago when Philadelphia Eagles RB Duce Staley suffered the injury and had to have surgery on his foot.” It turns out that Staley’s 2000 season came to an early end because of the injury to his right foot. He underwent surgery and had two pins inserted. Staley returned to play six more seasons — three with the Eagles and three with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2002, he rushed 269 times for 1,029 yards. . . . QB Nathan Rourke of the B.C. Lions underwent surgery to repair the Lisfranc injury to his right foot on Friday. The Lions later tweeted that “surgery went well.” Of course, when’s the last time an athlete had surgery and the team informed fans that it didn’t go well?


The CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers obviously are onto something here . . . It works just like a coat check. You turn your bike over to a valet and you are given a number in return. At game’s end, you hand over the number and your bike is brought to you . . .


Dentist


THINKING OUT LOUD — The Baltimore Ravens beat the visiting Washington Commanders, 17-15, on Saturday night. From the department of meaningless statistics: Baltimore has won 23 straight exhibition games. . . . ICYMI, Nebraska and Northwestern opened the U.S. college football season at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on Saturday. The highlight may have occurred when Internet issues prevented fans from paying for concession items with credit cards or even cash. As a result, many products, including beer, were given away. “Fans ended up able to get as much beer as they could carry,” CBS reported, “. . . all at no cost to them.” Can you see that happening in an American or Canadian sporting facility? . . . Has a Canadian business or organization ever read the room worse than Bell Media with its decision to dump anchor Lisa LaFlamme? Well, other than Hockey Canada, that is. . . . Just wondering who in the Alberta tourism industry had the idea to allow someone with a limited wardrobe and who seems to struggle with one language to welcome home Canada’s deputy prime minister and minister of finance, who is fluent in five languages and a Rhodes Scholar? And the video hits the Internet and you aren’t even on the hook for advertising costs. Smooth move!


THE COACHING GAME:

Former WHLers Morgan Klimchuk and Ralph Jarratt have joined the Victoria Royals as assistant coaches. . . . Last season, Klimchuk was an assistant coach with the the U15 prep team at the Edge School in Calgary. Klimchuk, 27, played four WHL seasons, starting with the Regina Pats (2010-15) and finished with the Brandon Wheat Kings (2014-15). . . . Jarratt, 24, spent five seasons (2014-19) with the Royals. . . . Ed Fowler, the Royals’ director of player personnel since 2019, is retiring. As a result, J.F. Best, who had been associate coach and assistant general manager, is the club’s new director of player personnel and player development. Best joined the Royals as an assistant coach in 2017. Fowler had been there since 2013, and had worked as a scout and senior regional scout. . . . There is a news release right here that details the Royals’ hockey operations staff.


Texas


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.


Freud

Scattershooting on a Wednesday night while wondering if CFL will have to postpone a game . . .

scattershooting

You have to think warning bells are going off in team offices of various leagues these days.

The CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders didn’t practise on Tuesday. They didn’t COVIDpractise on Wednesday. Their scheduled game against the visiting Toronto Argonauts on Saturday is likely to be postponed.

All because the team has had 13 players and five members of its support staff test positive for COVID-19. TSN’s Dave Naylor reported that “at least one QB” had tested positive.

Jeremy O’Day, the Roughriders’ general manager and vice-president of football operations, told reporters on Wednesday: “We’re not at the point where we’re changing or postponing any games right now, but it is getting close to the point where it becomes difficult to have a game if you haven’t had enough time to practise or to make sure that you have enough players to put on the roster.”

The Roughriders last played on Saturday when they dropped a 30-24 decision to the Argos in a game played at Acadia U in Wolfville, N.S.

It turns out that Saskatchewan had one player miss that game with symptoms; he later tested positive.

Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post wrote on Wednesday: “Comprehensive testing has been a daily occurrence since the team returned to the Queen City. Dating back to July 12, the Roughriders have had 13 players and five staff members test positive. Three players had been removed from COVID protocol, as of Wednesday afternoon.”

Vanstone’s comprehensive story is right here.


Facebook


As the pandemic drags on — I see some in the medical/scientific communities are referring to a seventh wave on the way or maybe even here already — I continue to be dumbfounded by the apparent inability of  provincial health officials to get on the same page. Some recent headlines . . .

From Winnipeg radio station 680 CJOB on Wednesday: Manitoba’s chief public health officer says the province has no immediate plans to expand fourth COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include all adults.

From CBC News on July 13: Sask. not offering 2nd COVID-19 booster doses to people under 50 until fall, despite low booster rates.

From CBC News on Tuesday: Alberta expands access to second COVID-19 booster shots to all adults.

From the Saanich News on July 7: B.C. rolling out fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose in the fall.


Milk


Jim Souhan, a columnist with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, writing in advance of the PGA Tour’s 3M Open in Blaine, Minn., this week: “Imagine being worried about losing Dustin Johnson to LIV Golf. Have you ever met Dustin Johnson? He needs a caddie to make it through a sentence. Beige wants its personality back.”

More from Souhan’s column: “The only humorous aspect of LIV has been watching formerly popular golfers who joined it trying to defend the move. They can’t, and they embarrass themselves trying.

“On Friday (at The Open), Woods limped to the 18th green while receiving a massive ovation as he missed the cut. Phil Mickelson also missed the cut. LIV golf’s biggest name received a few golf claps.

“Woods will be remembered as a champion. Mickelson will be remembered as a sellout. Even LIV money won’t buy back his reputation.”

Souhan’s complete column is right here.



The tweet above is Marc Habscheid introducing himself to fans of his new team. . . . Over the past couple of days, the Pioneers have signed former WHLers Matt Revel and Clayton Kirichenko.

THE COACHING GAME:

The QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles have hired Jon Goyens as their new head coach. He was the head coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for 2019-20, but left the team during the pandemic season of 2020-21. Prior to that, the Montreal native was with the Lac St-Louis team in the Quebec M18 league. . . . Goyens replaced Chadd Cassidy, who resigned as the Eagles’ head coach on July 6. . . . BTW, the Eagles issued the news release announcing Goyens’ hiring at midnight local time. Why? Because it’s the Q. . . .

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks have added Angus Redmond to their staff as the goaltending coach. Redmond, 26, is from Langley, B.C. He is a former Silverbacks goaltending, having played 132 games over four seasons (2012-16) before moving on to Michigan Tech for one season. He has spent the past five seasons playing in the ECHL and AHL.


Waiter


THINKING OUT LOUD: Does anyone have any idea what Hockey Canada will look like in a year? Two years? . . . Hey, Calgary Flames fans, how are you coping? First, Johnny Hockey takes a hike and now it seems that Chucky is going to follow him out the door. Ryan Pike (@@RyanNPike), the editor of @FlamesNation, points out that “in the salary cap era (2005-06 onward), there were 39 100+point seasons prior to 2021-22. All 39 of those players were on the same team the following season. To call Calgary’s off-season ‘unprecedented’ would be an understatement.” . . . Pike also points out that “Jaromir Jagr being traded by Pittsburgh following the 2000-01 season is the last time a 100-point player changed teams before the following season.” . . . The MLB All-Star Game always seems to be worth watching, but those uniforms have got to go. Whatever happened to each player wearing his club’s uniform?


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.


Turn

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the Calgary Wranglers are coming back . . .

scattershooting

Camper2

Hello, friend. Yes, you . . . from the white one-ton truck that was pulled in off Wittner Road east of Kamloops on Saturday morning. You know, on the south side of the South Thompson River, just across from the Lafarge plant.

I was wondering if you lost your camper?

When I walked past your truck with the white camper on the back I didn’t see anyone, so I assumed you were fishing off the shore. I even wondered if you might be camping there for the weekend.

Then when I went for my Sunday morning stroll, I noticed your truck was gone but the camper was still there, albeit on its roof.

I can only assume that it slid off the back of your truck as you drove away and that you didn’t notice it. I mean, you wouldn’t be ignorant enough just to dump the old camper right there now, would you? Perhaps you were too busy trying to figure out how to use your turn signals to notice that the camper was gone. Hey, it happens to all of us.

Anyway . . . by now you likely have noticed that it’s missing and now you know where it is, so I’m sure you’ll drop by one day this week and pick it up.

Right?

Camper3



Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Jon Berti of the Miami Marlins leads all of baseball in steals, with 25,  at the season’s halfway point. Unless you count the former treasurer of the Oakville, Ont., Minor Baseball Association, who is accused of  embezzling $468,000 from the league.”

——

Perry, again: “Green Bay Packers QB  Aaron Rodgers has a new tattoo on his left arm — intricate astrological designs by Hungarian artist Balazs Bercsenyi. What were you expecting, a bull’s-eye with the words ‘insert vaccination here?’ ”


THINKING OUT LOUD: If you were on Twitter the afternoon of July 4, I think you’ll admit it was kind of surreal with tweets about the mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., and a hot dog-eating contest in Coney Island, N.Y., seemingly alternating in that particular social media universe. . . . During the NHL’s 2022-23 regular season, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames will meet three times — none once in the season’s second half. Seriously! In the CFL this season, the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos meet on four occasions. . . . Battle of Alberta? Not in the NHL, I guess. . . . In the WHL, the Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen will clash on eight occasions. . . . Still with the NHL’s 2022-23 schedule, the New York Rangers and New York Islanders will see each other only three times, all before Christmas. . . .

Hey, Blue Jays fans, how did you survive Friday night with your favourites and the host Seattle Mariners available only on Apple TV+? In its attempts to find new fans, MLB does that every once in a while just to remind some of us that at the end of the day it really does take those of us who are regular viewers for granted. . . . Don’t look now but here come the Baltimore Orioles. . . .

Yes, the Saskatchewan Roughriders should release DT Garrett Marino after that embarrassing performance on Friday night. Will they? Marino, in his second season with the Roughriders, has proven he can be a productive player, so I would be shocked if he is cut loose. . . . Until Sunday night, I haven’t been eagerly awaiting the arrival of robo umps in Major League Baseball. But after watching Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees take six pitches, all of which were balls, and be called out on strikes, well, I guess it’s time.



“Kevin Durant is turning into the Taylor Swift of baseball,” writes Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe. “But at least her breakups result in good songs.”



Lazuli
I had company for a brief time on my Sunday morning walk. Lazuli buntings are frequent visitors to our neighbourhood in Campbell Creek.

After I posted a story here the other day about the Kelowna Rockets switching radio stations — they left AM 1150 after more than 20 years and now are with 104.7 The Lizard — one reply to the tweet about the piece had me chuckling. . . .

BTW, some WHL fans really are waiting anxiously to find out if Regan Bartel, the long-time radio voice of the Rockets, will ever pitter-patter and get at ‘er again. . . . Hey, TSN, do you still need a play-by-play voice for your Winnipeg Jets telecasts?


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Brandon Wheat Kings have promoted Chris Moulton to director of hockey operations. He had been the director of player personnel since joining the organization on July 2, 2021. Before signing on with Brandon, Moulton spent 13 seasons with the Spokane Chiefs as director of scouting and director of player personnel. . . . Moulton’s promotion follows the May 6 announcement that general manager Doug Gasper had resigned for personal reasons. He had been with the Wheat Kings for three seasons, the first two as assistant general manager and the last one as GM. . . .

The OHL’s board of governors has approved the sale of the Niagara IceDogs to a group headed by majority owner Darren DeDobbelaer and including minority owner Wayne Gretzky. . . . DeDobbelaer and Gretzky both are from Brantford, Ont. . . . They purchased the IceDogs from Denise and Bill Burke, who had bought the franchise from the late Eugene Melnyk. . . . Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered has reported that the price the DeDobbelaer group paid is “believed to be $18 million, which is actually 10 percent less than the $20 million owners Bill and Denise Burke were seeking for the franchise.” . . . The IceDogs play out of St. Catharines, Ont. . . . This isn’t Gretzky’s first time being involved in the ownership of a major junior franchise. He was involved in the ownership of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls (1982-84) and  owned a piece of the QMJHL’s Hull Olympiques (1985-92).



DeerApple
We had a visitor to our Jon Gold apple tree at noon on Sunday. She helped herself — without asking, I might add — and then laid down under the tree and digested her meal.

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.


Posters

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while waiting to see if the Thunderbirds can do it again . . .

scattershooting

The Edmonton Oil Kings get their second opportunity at winning the WHL championship for the Ed Chynoweth Cup when they entertain the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.

It’s Game 6 of the best-of-seven series and the Oil Kings lead, 3-2. The EdCupThunderbirds, who will be facing elimination for the seventh time in these playoffs, won Game 5, 3-2, on Saturday night. Because the Thunderbirds’ home arena in Kent, Wash., has been unavailable due to graduation ceremonies, this series is following a 2-2-3 format. As a result, the Thunderbirds will be designated as the home team tonight and, as such, will have the last change.

While the Thunderbirds welcomed back F Henrik Rybinski in Game 5, they will be without D Tyrel Bauer, their captain, as he completes a two-game suspension.

In Game 5, the Oil Kings remained without F Dylan Guenther, who didn’t finish Game 3. He put up 91 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games; he had 25 PP points, 13 of them goals. In their last two games against Seattle, the Oil Kings were 0-for-8 on the PP, including 0-for-6 in the Game 5 loss.

A Seattle victory in Game 6 would force a seventh game in Edmonton on Tuesday night.

Earlier in these playoffs, Seattle beat the Portland Winterhawks three times and the Kamloops Blazers twice while staring elimination squarely in the face.

As they face a seventh such game, one thing is certain — Seattle won’t be afraid of the situation into which they will skate tonight.

——

In the OHL, F Mason McTavish’s two goals helped the host Hamilton Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires on Sunday. . . . Hamilton holds a 3-2 lead in the championship series, with Game 6 scheduled for tonight in Windsor. . . . McTavish tied the score, 2-2, at 12:58 of the second period, then notched the winner at 1:59 of the third. He has 14 goals in these playoffs. . . . Hamilton scored two PP goals. . . . F Logan Morrison had two assists for the Bulldogs. . . .

The two other Memorial Cup teams have been decided, with the Shawinigan Cataractes having won their first QMJHL championship and the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL as the host team. The four-team tournament is to run June 20-29 in Saint John.


OldSpice


ICYMI, Rob Walton, whose first names seem to be Walmart heir, is the lead in a group that is buying the NFL’s Denver Broncos for US$4.65 billion. The Carolina Panthers changed hands for $2.275 billion just four years ago, and that was an NFL record at the time. . . . Walton isn’t about to go broke, even after spending that kind of money. According to Forbes, Walton is worth at least $60 billion. Well, about $55 billion now.


A couple of weeks ago, there were two MLB managers named Joe. Then the Philadelphia Phillies fired Joe Girardi. Shortly thereafter, the Los Angeles Angels dumped Joe Maddon. It’s amazing how quickly Maddon became a poor manager, though. The Angels were being touted as a playoff team — maybe even a World Series contender — and then came a 12-game losing streak, followed by Joe saying: “Say it ain’t so.” . . . It’s worth noting that the Phillies, under interim manager Rob Thomson, won their first eight games after the change. I wonder if that success had anything to do with Thomson being Canadian, meaning the most-popular words in the Phils’ locker room now are “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry.”


“The Angels, trying to snap a 13-game losing streak, used Nickelback tunes for their walk-up music during Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox, a 1-0 loss,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Whatever happened to simply rounding up the bats and burning them?”

——

“Managers Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon got fired one day apart last week,” Perry writes. “Say it ain’t so, Joes.”


Pandemic


THINKING OUT LOUD — I don’t care what the NBA says, it’s the NBA final. Singular. And it’s the NHL final. Singular. Etc., etc., etc. . . . People aren’t really surprised about all these pro golfers, who are independent contractors, taking the money and running, are they? . . . At present, there are seven NHL teams without a head coach — the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets. Throw in openings for assistant coaches and the NHL has more vacancies than the Bates Motel. . . . You are free to wonder how many days Tony La Russa has left as the manager of the Chicago White Sox.


Married


Here’s Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Golf likes to hold itself up as a game of high integrity and morals, somehow above the fray. Players call penalties on themselves, the argument goes, and compete with dignity and respect for their opponent.

“That line of thinking seems haughty and presumptuous even in normal times. And now, as several top PGA Tour pros defect for the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series, it’s downright comical. . . .

“But peer beneath all these layers, the stream of news flashes over the past few days, and it’s really quite simple. The game’s top players had a choice between money and morals.

“Money won. Shocking.”

——

The great Charles P. Pierce of Esquire, writing on the golf situation: “Watching professional golfers leap for the blood money of the new Saudi golf tour should shock approximately nobody. These guys generally have the social conscience of a flesh-eating amoeba. And that Phil Mickelson was their drum major is even less of a surprise. Good on the PGA for suspending the players who signed up for the Bone Saw Tour.”


Jared Jacobson, the owner and governor of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, won the 60th edition of the Grey Owl golf tournament on the Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park on Sunday. It was the second time he has won what is one of Manitoba’s most-popular golf tournaments, the first time being in 2014. As the winner, Jacobson was presented with the “Cactus” Jack Wells Memorial Trophy. Yes, it turned out nice again . . . for Jacobson, who won by birdieing each of the last three holes for a 2-under 70 and a two-round total of 141. He had been four shots off the lead while standing on the 16th tee. He ended up with a one-shot victory over Noel Ngo of Winnipeg and Ross Sheard of Brandon.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Former Kamloops Blazers F Kyrell Sopotyk was named to the tournament all-star team at the 2022 Canadian junior national wheelchair basketball championship that wrapped up Sunday in Charlottetown, P.E.I. B.C. won the tournament; Sopotyk and his Saskatchewan teammates placed sixth. Sopotyk, now 20, was left paralyzed from the waist down in a snowboarding accident on Jan. 22, 2021. . . . F Luke Toporowski, who was acquired by Kamloops from the Spokane Chiefs during this season, has signed a two-year deal with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Toporowski, who completed his junior eligibility this season, is expected to attend training camp with the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Toporowski totalled 63 points, 35 of them goals, in 49 games this season. He had 20 goals and 14 assists in 22 games with Kamloops, then put up 23 points, nine of them goals, in 16 playoff games. . . .



Congrats to former Brandon Sun sports editor Bill Davidson on his being added to the Brandon University Sports Wall of Fame. As the sports editor, he had more than a little to do with hiring me in June 1971. I couldn’t have started in the sports journalism field under a better editor, too, because he, more than anyone else, taught me the basics and fundamentals and the importance of getting the little things right. Oh, and he always kicked my butt at Hearts, too.



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.


Single

Scattershooting on a Sunday while thinking about that great deal on regular gasoline . . .

scattershooting

A huge thank you to all those who stop by here and chose to support Dorothy in her fund-raising effort on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. . . . The 2022 Kamloops Kidney Walk was held virtually on Sunday and she was part of it for a ninth straight year. If you’re new here, she underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . This year, she raised $4,325, a personal-best after the $3,900 she raised a year ago. And, if you’re wondering, she has raised $28,171 since she got involved with the Kidney Walk for the first time in 2014. . . . She couldn’t have done it without all of you, so thanks again! . . . If you still want to help out her cause by getting in under the wire, you are able to do so right here.


So . . . where are we with the championship finals in the three major junior CHLleagues? . . . Well, the host Edmonton Oil Kings got past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-4, on Sunday to even that the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup at 1-1. . . . The series will resume with Games 3 and 4 in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . The games will be televised by TSN. Victor Findlay will be calling the play with former Spokane Chiefs F Kevin Sawyer (1992-95) providing the analysis. He also spent one season (2013-14) as a Spokane assistant coach. . . . During the NHL season, Sawyer provides analysis on TSN’s telecasts of Winnipeg Jets games. . . . Remember that as many of Games 5, 6 and 7 are needed will be played in Edmonton, beginning with Game 5 on Saturday night. . . .

In the OHL, F Avery Hayes had two goals and two assists on Sunday to lead the Hamilton Bulldogs to a 5-4 victory over the visiting Windsor Spitfires. That series also is 1-1. . . . The OHL final for the J. Robertson Cup heads to Windsor for Game 3 tonight (Monday) and it is to be televised by TSN, starting at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET). Game 4 won’t be played until Friday because the Spitfires’ home arena is booked for graduation ceremonies. . . . Jon Abbott will handle the play calling for TSN, while Craig Button is the analyst. . . .

The QMJHL’s President Cup final opened on Saturday night with the visiting Shawinigan Cataractes posting a 5-1 victory over the Charlottetown Islanders behind two goals from F Xavier Bourgault and three assists from D Jordan Tourigny. . . . On Sunday, again in Charlottetown, Bourgault scored in OT as the Cataractes posted a 5-4 victory to take a 2-0 series lead. Shawinigan F Pierrick Dubé forced extra time when he scored with six seconds left in the third period. . . . They’ll play Game 3 in Shawinigan on Wednesday and it is scheduled to be shown by TSN (4 p.m. PT, 7 p.m. ET). . . . For this series, TSN will have Adam Dunfee doing play-by-play and Marc Methot providing analysis.


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup

In Edmonton, F Brendan Kuny, who scored twice in 50 regular-season games, broke a 4-4 tie in the third period as the Oil Kings beat the Seattle EdmontonThunderbirds, 5-4. . . . The Oil Kings also got four points, two of them goals, from D Luke Prokop, who has been in on five of the six goals his side has scored in the first two games. . . . The series now is 1-1 with Game 3 scheduled for Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. . . . This was the sixth straight one-goal game in which Seattle has been involved; it had won the first five of those. . . . Prokop (3) got the scoring started, giving the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead when he got a shot through traffic and into the net at 1:35 of the second period. . . . Seattle tied it at 3:29 when F Matt Rempe (7) backhanded home the rebound off a shot by D Jeremy Hanzel. Rempe had scored a similar goal in Seattle’s 2-1 victory in Game 1 on Friday night. . . . Last night, Edmonton went ahead 2-1 at 4:19 when Prokop (4) joined the rush and scored off a pass from F Jake Neighbours. . . . F Carter Souch (11) capitalized on a turnover and upped Edmonton’s lead to 3-1 at 13:11, only to have Seattle F Lukas Svejkovsky (10) strike, on a PP, at 15:12. . . . F Justin Sourdif (5) restored Edmonton’s two-goal lead, on a PP, at 17:28 to close out a six-goal second period — four by the Oil Kings. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it 4-4 with two early third-period scores — F Jared Davidson (12) notched a PP goal from the right face-off dot at 0:26 and Svejkovsky (11) banged in the rebound of a shot by F Reid Schaefer at 2:50. . . . The Oil Kings went back in front at 8:46 when Kuny (1) tipped in a Prokop point shot. . . . Seattle was 2-for-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-for-3. . . . G Sebastian Cossa blocked 26 shots for Edmonton, 10 fewer than Seattle’s Thomas Milic.


Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The Tampa Bay Rays were about to receive $35 million in public money for a spring training site, but Florida governor Ron DeSantis vetoed the funding after the Rays tweeted support for gun-violence prevention and donated $50,000 to Everytown.org. If (NBA commissioner Adam) Silver were MLB commissioner, he would tell the Rays and other Grapefruit League teams that he will gladly help them relocate their camps to California, which also has nice spring weather, but without the bugs.”


Number


THINKING OUT LOUD: Is Rafael Nadal the GOAT among men’s tennis players? When American Pete Sampras called it quits in 2002, he had won a record 14 Grand Slam tournaments. Nadal, who is from Spain, won his 14th French Open on Sunday; he now has 22 Grand Slam titles. It says here that you can make the case for Nadal as the best ever. . . . Were you counting out the Tampa Bay Lightning when the New York Rangers took a 2-0 lead in Sunday’s game? . . .

Prior to this MLB season, OF Aaron Judge turned down the New York Yankees’ contract offer of US$213.5 million over seven years. Judge, 30, now is on pace for a humungous offensive season. If he stays healthy, might he become a $300-million man? No. How about $400-million? . . . Yes, Edmonton Oilers F Evander Kane should have been suspended for more than one game for his Game 3 hit on Colorado Avalanche F Nazem Kadri, who likely is done for the season. Fortunately, he would seem to have ‘only’ a broken thumb when it could have been a whole lot worse. Always remember that this is the NHL where the most dangerous play in hockey is worth only one game. . . . Edmonton F Connor McDavid may be the best hockey player in the world today. But if I was starting an NHL team and had the pick of any player, I would begin with Colorado D Cole Makar.


Him


Congratulations to Angie Straub, who will be going into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in July as a member of the class of 2021. You have to think she will be extra excited because she will be inducted with, among others, the great Steve Nash. . . . A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since Straub was Angie Johnson, a fiercely dominant player with the U of Winnipeg Wesmen, and I was a wide-eyed sports writer with the late, great Winnipeg Tribune. She represented Canada in the 1972 World University Games, the 1973 World championship, the 1975 Pan Am Games and the 1976 Olympic Summer Games. She is a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, the Manitoba High School Sports Hall of Fame and the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame. Yes, she’s a hall of famer. . . .

So, too, is old friend Ron Arnst, who has been the public address announcer for baseball’s Winnipeg Goldeyes since 1974. A Strat-O-Matic baseball opponent in Brandon a long, long time ago, it’s great to hear that he’s headed for the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. Yes, that beats rolling a 1-7 on Jim Rice’s 1978 card.



Fooled


If you’ve been paying attention, the mess Canada Soccer finds itself in CanadaSoccershouldn’t be surprising. The lack of merchandise  — and the lack of variety — available immediately after the men’s team qualified for the World Cup was shocking, while someone goofed in a big, big way by scheduling a ‘friendly’ with Iran that ultimately was cancelled. And now there’s an ugly dispute with the players that resulted in the cancellation of Sunday’s game with Panama that was to have replaced that game with Iran. Such a golden opportunity kicked right out the door. Stephen Brunt of Sportsnet has more on this mess right here.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Canadian man furious that Liberals infringing on his second amendment rights.


It was Thursday afternoon. My gas gauge was showing half. . . . I drove past a gas station at which regular was priced at $2.06.9, where it had been for a couple of weeks. A few minutes later, I went past another one and the price was $2.17.9. . . . What did I do? What any sales-hunting driver would do. I turned around and made a bee-line for that first station and I filled up for the bargain price of $2.06.9. Of course I did.



GPS


“Can you imagine someone up in heaven trying to explain the concept of Name, Image and Likeness payouts to Woody Hayes?” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Ohio State football coach Ryan Day told about 100 business people Thursday that it would take $13 million in NIL money to keep his roster from getting poached. As in, a $2-million price tag for top-shelf quarterbacks, and $1 million for major offensive tackles and edge rushers. No word on what a bargain-basement long snapper might fetch.”


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.


Lock

Seattle goalie stars in Game 1 win . . . Kelowna paper reports Rockets’ home needs more than $7 million in work . . . Ex-WHL assistant now head coach in AJHL

All three major junior hockey leagues are into their best-of-seven championship series. . . . The WHL final got started on Friday night with the WindsorSeattle Thunderbirds in Edmonton against the Oil Kings. . . . In the OHL, the Windsor Spitfires opened in Hamilton against the Bulldogs on Friday night. Windsor won, 4-3 in OT, getting the winner from former Bulldogs D Michael Renwick at 9:30 after Hamilton had been assessed a checking-from-behind major at 6:56. Hamilton went into the game with a 12-0 record in these playoffs and, including the regular season, had won 24 in a row at home. They’ll play Game 2 on Sunday afternoon in Hamilton. . . . In the QMJHL, the Shawinigan Cataractes will face the host Charlottetown Islanders in Game 1 tonight (Saturday). . . . The QMJHL’s opening playoff rounds all were best-of-five because the league got off to a later start than its two counterparts. But it now is caught up, so the final is best-of-seven. . . .

TSN will televise all three series, starting with the third game in each — Hamilton at Windsor on Monday, 4 p.m. PT; Edmonton vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., Tuesday, 7 p.m. PT; and Charlottetown at Shawinigan, Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT. . . . There is a complete telecast schedule right here. . . . TSN also will show all games in the Memorial Cup, which is to run in Saint John, N.B., from June 20 through June 29.

——

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Championship Final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup

In Edmonton, the Seattle Thunderbirds, fresh off a Game 7 victory in Kamloops, opened the best-of-seven WHL final with a 2-1 triumph over the Oil Kings. . . . SeattleEdmonton went into the game with a 7-0 record at Rogers Place in these playoffs. . . . They are scheduled to play Game 2 in Edmonton on Sunday, before shifting to Kent, Wash., for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Remember that because of issues with building availability in Kent, Games 5, 6 and 7, as needed, would be played in Edmonton. . . . Last night, F Matt Rempe (6) got the scoring started for Seattle, backhanding home the rebound off a shot by F Reid Schaefer at 1:59 of the second period. . . . F Conner Roulette (4), who had an assist on Rempe’s goal, upped Seattle’s lead to 2-0 at 8:55 of the third period, tipping in a shot by D Tyrel Bauer. . . . Edmonton got on the board at 11:40, on a PP, as F Carter Souch (10) found the range with a redirect of a shot by D Luke Prokop. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-for-2 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-1. Referees Chris Crich and Fraser Lawrence handed out only three minor penalties. . . . Seattle G Thomas Milic, who was named the game’s first star, continued his strong playoff run with 43 saves. . . . Edmonton got 20 stops from G Sebastian Cossa.


Music


According to a report prepared by consultants hired by the City of Kelowna, Prospera Place, the home of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, is in need of about Kelowna$7.7 million worth of upgrades. The report, acquired by the Kelowna Daily Courier through a Freedom of Information request, was prepared by Toronto-based Stadium Consultants International. . . . The arena, which opened on March 28, 1999, is owned by GSL Group, which also owns, among other things, the WHL’s Victoria Royals and that city’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. In Kelowna, an agreement between GSL Group and the city calls for ownership to be turned over to the city in 2029. . . . According to the SCI report, 6,500-seat Prospera Place should have its roof and outer walls replaced within seven years. There also should be improvements made to ventilation, vinyl and carpeted floors, among other things. . . . Ron Seymour of The Daily Courier wrote: “Issues are said to include some water leakage on the roof, outdated and undersized food and beverage facilities, small dressing rooms, and a cramped concourse. But other aspects of the building are said to be in surprisingly good condition given their age.” . . . The consultants suggest replacing the roof would have an estimated cost of $2.4 million, while upgraded lighting would come in at $1.5 million. . . .

The Rockets were to have been the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup; however, that event was cancelled because of the pandemic. Many observers expected Kelowna to be awarded the 2023 tournament, but the Kamloops Blazers were named the host team on May 27. As that announcement was being made in Kamloops, the Rockets issued an open letter stating that they weren’t able to bid on the 2023 Memorial Cup because of “significant deficiencies” in Prospera Place. . . . Seymour wrote that GSL Group issued a statement this week saying it “had complied with all the terms and conditions for building maintenance set out in the agreement with the city.” . . . From that statement: “Prospera Place and GSL Group have been and continue to be in compliance with our obligations and contractual agreements. That will not change, nor will our commitment to Kelowna.”

Seymour has stories right here and right here.


The Minnesota Twins opened a three-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays on Friday, and the visitors were missing four players. The U.S. and Canada both have pandemic-related restrictions that don’t allow unvaccinated people to cross their borders. Thus, the Twins placed four players on the restricted list before flying into Toronto after losing four of five games to the Tigers in Detroit. . . . OF Max Kepler and pitchers Trevor Megill, Emilio Pagán and Caleb Thielbar were left behind presumably because all four are unvaccinated. . . . The Twins also are without SS Carlos Correa, who tested positive for COVID-19 while in Detroit. . . . The Twins beat the Blue Jays, 9-3, on Friday night. . . .

Bob Weeks of TSN tweeted on Friday afternoon: “According to Golf Canada, Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar are not able to play the RBC Canadian Open ‘due to current Government of Canada travel restrictions . . .’ Both are RBC ambassadors.” . . . Neither the American nor Canadian governments allow unvaccinated travellers into their countries.


Banjo


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Brad Flynn has signed a three-year contract as the head coach of the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs. Flynn, 37, spent the 2021-22 season as an associate coach with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach with the Red Deer Rebels for three seasons (2018-21). . . . In Bonnyville, Flynn takes over from Rick Swan, the winningest coach in franchise history. Swan left the organization early in April in one of those mutually-agreed-upon parting of the ways. . . . There is a news release right here. . . .

The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s board of governors has cut the regular-season schedule from 52 games to 48. According to a news release from the 11-team league: “The decision to drop to 48 games will provide VIJHL players with a little more rest in-season and allow clubs to have more prime night home games.” . . . The league also is going to hire a “head of player and safety discipline.” Again, from a news release: “The paid position will be in charge of reviewing all major penalties and determining what supplemental discipline, if any is required.” . . . That news release, which covers the board’s annual meeting, is right here.


My wife, Dorothy, is taking part in her ninth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk, which will be held (virtually) on Sunday. As usual, she is fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. . . . If you would like to support her, you are able to do so right here.


Marley


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.


Bishop

WHL final opens tonight in Edmonton . . . Thunderbirds, Oil Kings ready to roll . . . Another hall of fame opens doors to Kid Dynamite

The 2022 Kamloops Kidney Walk is almost upon us. It will take place (virtually, Dorothy-040719thanks to the pandemic) on Sunday. . . . What this means is that you’re running out of time if you would like to sponsor my wife, Dorothy, who received a kidney on Sept. 23, 2013, and is fund-raising for a ninth straight year. . . . Thanks to so many of you who stop by here, she has set a new personal-best as she closes in on $4,000. . . . If you would like to join an NHL head coach, a former WHL franchise owner, a former WHL general manager who once won three Memorial Cups in four years, three former WHL play-by-play voices, the wife of a WHL general manager and head coach, the head coach of a team that will play in the Memorial Cup later this month, someone who once worked in the WHL office and a whole lot of other friends and acquaintances by donating, you are able to do so right here. . . . Thank you so much in advance.


Breakfast


The WHL’s 2022 championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup gets started tonight (Friday) in Edmonton as the Oil Kings face the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . EdCupEdmonton went into these playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed. The Oil Kings swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels, then dismantled the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, 4-1. So the Oil Kings go into this final with a 12-1 record. . . . Seattle, the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, has travelled a much more difficult road. It started by eliminating the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-1, then went seven games to sideline the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and seven more to oust the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. That all adds up to the Thunderbirds taking a 12-7 record into Game 1. . . . In the process, the Thunderbirds went 5-0 in elimination games, became the 16th team in WHL history to win a series after trailing 3-1, and became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road in one playoff year. No, playing at Rogers Place in Edmonton isn’t going to bother these guys. . . . The Oil Kings were 29-4-1 at home in the regular season; they are 7-0 in the playoffs. On the road, they were 21-10-3 in the regular season and are 5-1 in the playoffs. . . . The Thunderbirds were 23-10-1 on the road in the regular season and are 6-4 in the playoffs; at home, they were 21-8-5 in the regular season and now are 6-3 in the playoffs. . . .

The Oil Kings will be a whole lot fresher, having played six fewer games this spring. . . . For what it’s worth, the Oil Kings are averaging 4.38 goals per game, while allowing 2.08. . . . The Thunderbirds are scoring 3.32 per game, and surrendering 2.42. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa is 12-2, 1.97, .909, while Seattle’s Thomas Milic is 12-7, 2.16, .926. . . .

It doesn’t mean a thing, but these teams last faced each other on Oct. 26, 2019, when the host Oil Kings scored the game’s first three goals and the last three in a 6-2 victory. F Dylan Guenther, who will be a key figure in the championship final, had two goals and an assist.

There is a comprehensive series preview right here.

——

So . . . the Seattle Thunderbirds’ home arena is booked for graduation ceremonies, meaning their WHL championship series will follow a 2-2-3 format. Should the series go seven games, five of them will be played in the home of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

But, you’re wondering, why couldn’t the Thunderbirds play in the Everett Silvertips’ home arena, or where the NHL’s Seattle Kraken play? . . . Here’s the explanation . . .



If you watched Game 1 of the NBA final on Thursday night, you were listening to Mark Jones call the play, with Mark Jackson providing the analysis and Lisa Salter on the sidelines. It was the first time in the history of the NBA final that a telecast featured all Black announcers. . . . How did that come to be? Because Mike Breen, who had been scheduled to call the play, remains out after testing positive for COVID-19, and because analyst Jeff Van Gundy and ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski both have tested positive. . . . Breen missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final after testing positive last week.


Gerry James, who once was the head coach of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, doesn’t get nearly his dues as one of Canada’s all-time greatest athletes. Sheesh, this is a man who played in the CFL and the NHL at the same time; in fact, he is the only man ever to play in the Grey Cup game (Nov. 28, 1959) and a Stanley Cup game (April 9, 1960) in the same season. . . . The Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame will be the sixth such honour for James. He also is an honoured member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (1981), Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1982), Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (1994), Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame (1998) and Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hall of Fame (1999). . . . Through it all, he also was a huge supporter of Special Olympics. . . . Hey, Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, are you paying attention? It’s long past time for you to make room for Gerry (Kid Dynamite) James alongside his father, Eddie, who already is an honoured member.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals have signed general manager and head coach Tyson Ramsey to a four-year contract extension that is to run through the 2025-26 season. Ramsey joined the Oil Capitals as an assistant coach prior to 2018-19 and took over as GM/head coach for the 2019-20 season.


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.


Meteor

Seattle stares down elimination for fifth time . . . First team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on road . . . Championship series opens in Edmonton on Friday

The WHL’s championship final, featuring the Edmonton Oil Kings and Seattle WHLplayoffs2022Thunderbirds, will open in the Alberta capital with games on Friday and Sunday.

The series will follow a 2-2-3 format — yes, you read that correctly. Due to building availability issues — the arena is booked for graduation ceremonies from June 9-15 — in Kent, Wash., the Thunderbirds will get only two home games, although they will be designated as the home team for one of the possible five games in Edmonton.

They will play Games 3 and 4 in Kent on Tuesday and Wednesday (June 8), before returning to Edmonton, if necessary, to finish up. Those games would be played on June 11, 13 and 14, with the Thunderbirds the ‘home’ team for Game 6. TSN will televise the series, beginning with Game 3.

The Oil Kings, the Eastern Conference’s second seed, advanced to the final by taking out the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice in five games. Edmonton has been sitting and waiting for an opponent since eliminating the Ice on Friday.

The Thunderbirds, the Western Conference’s fourth seed, ousted the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, winning Game 7, 3-2, on the road on Tuesday night.

The Oil Kings last reached the WHL final in 2014 when they beat the Portland Winterhawks in seven games en route to winning the Memorial Cup. That was the third of three straight WHL finals to feature Edmonton and Portland — the Oil Kings won in 2012 and 2014.

Edmonton is 12-1 in these playoffs, having swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels before taking out the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice in five games.

Seattle last appeared in the WHL final in 2017 when it won the championship by taking out the Regina Pats in six games. One year earlier, the Thunderbirds lost the final, 4-1, to the Brandon Wheat Kings.

In these playoffs, Seattle now is 12-7, having eliminated the Kelowna Rockets, 4-1, and then gone seven games with both Portland and Kamloops.

Interestingly, the Thunderbirds won Game 6 in both those series by a 2-1 count at home, then went on the road to win Game 7. In the process, they became the first team in WHL history — which begins in 1966-67 — to win two Game 7s on the road in the same playoff season.

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TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Kamloops, F Jared Davidson scored twice and linemate Lukas Svejkovsky drew three assists as the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Blazers, 3-2, in SeattleGame 7 of the conference final. . . . It was the fifth time the Thunderbirds faced elimination in these playoffs and they now are 5-0 in such games. . . . The Blazers opened the scoring for the sixth time in the series when F Fraser Minten (6) struck at 8:34 of the opening period. . . . Seattle F Lucas Ciona drilled the left post behind G Dylan Garand a few minutes later. . . . The Thunderbirds pulled even at 15:47 when Davidson (10) snapped one home from the right face-off dot just seven seconds into the game’s first PP opportunity. That would be the only PP by either team on this night. . . . Davidson (11) shot Seattle into the lead at 2:27 of the second period following another face-off win in the Kamloops zone. . . . The Thunderbirds went ahead 3-1 at 14:56 as F Henrik Rybinski (4) beat Garand by tipping in a shot by D Jeremy Hanzel. . . . Seattle G Thomas Milic preserved the two-goal lead with a big stop off Kamloops F Logan Stankoven through traffic to start the third period. . . . The Blazers finally got  to within a goal, but there were only 7.4 seconds left to play when F Daylan Kuefler (10) scored. . . . Milic finished with 33 saves, four fewer than Garand. . . . What was the key to Seattle’s series victory? Over the last four games of the series, the Thunderbirds held Stankoven, who leads the playoffs with 30 points, to three assists, while shutting out linemate Luke Toporowski, who finished with 23 points. Stankoven had scored hat tricks in Games 1 and 3, with Toporowski recording six helpers. . . . Meanwhile, Svejkovsky put up two goals and eight assists in six games, while Davidson had five goals and three assists in seven games, and Rybinsky, the third member of that line, played in only four games but had a goal and four assists.


Cyclops


The Minnesota Twins will be in Toronto for a weekend series with the Blue Jays, COVIDbut shortstop Carlos Correa, a two-time all-star with the Houston Astros, won’t be with them. He was placed on the COVID-19 restricted list on Tuesday after exhibiting symptoms on Sunday and getting worse on Monday. Also on that list are Joe Ryan, a right-handed started, and backup OF Gilberto Celestino. . . . According to Sportsnet, the Twins, who began the week in Detroit against the Tigers, “have already said they’ll have ‘a few’ players on the restricted list not travelling to Toronto. This generally means players unvaccinated against COVID-19.”


My wife, Dorothy, a kidney transplant recipient in 2013, will take part in the 2022 #kamloops Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year on Sunday. Yes, it’s virtual again. You are able to sponsor her right here.


Bank


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Beau McCue won’t be back as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, but he will be remaining with the organization. According to a news release, McCue, who played four seasons (2012-16) with the Americans, “will remain with the club in a supportive role within hockey operations.” . . . BTW, I asked American’s general manager Bob Tory, who is one of four co-owners, a while back if Stu Barnes would be back as head coach. The one-word response was: “Absolutely.” . . . Barnes, who also owns a piece of the Americans, now is preparing for his second season as the club’s head coach. . . .

The BCHL’s Surrey Eagles have added Matt Dawson as an assistant coach. A former Eagles defenceman, he played five seasons (2015-20) at the U of New Hampshire. In 2022-23, he was an assistant coach with the junior B Delta Ice Hawks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. . . .

The junior B Westshore Wolves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League have signed general manager and head coach Derek Sweet-Coulter to a three-year contract extension. He is preparing for his second season with the club. . . .

The junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s defending champions, have promoted Jiri Novak to assistant general manager and associate head coach. He is going into is fourth season on the coaching staff. . . .

Alex Mandolidis has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. He is coming off three seasons as an assistant coach with the Calgary-based Mount Royal U Cougars men’s hockey team. Before that, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs for one season. . . . With the Blues, he takes over from Taras McEwen, who now is the director of hockey operations. . . . The Blues are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, which also owns, among other things, the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze.


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

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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.


Sense

Blazers or T-Birds? Who’s going to Edmonton? . . . Seattle d-man gets off-day treat . . . Shedding light on arena deficiencies in Kelowna

The combatants for the WHL’s championship final will be known tonight (Tuesday) after the Seattle Thunderbirds and host Kamloops Blazers meet in WHLplayoffs2022Game 7 of the Western Conference final.

The winner of tonight’s game will open the championship series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup against the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Friday night.

Kamloops, the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed, opened this series by winning, 5-2, at home on May 20, and since then the teams have alternated victories. The No. 4 Thunderbirds tied the series, 3-3, with a 2-1 victory in Kent, Wash., on Sunday.

Seattle has won two of the last three games while holding Kamloops F Logan Stankoven to two assists and shutting out F Luke Toporowski. Stankoven leads all playoff scorers in goals (17) and points (30), while Toporowski is tied for second in points (23).

The Thunderbirds also have been in this position before in this playoff season. In their conference semifinal, they went seven games with the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks. In fact, the Thunderbirds won Game 6 at home, 2-1, and then went into Portland and won Game 7, 6-3, on May 17.

Will history repeat? We’ll find out tonight.

Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun informs us via Twitter that this will be the first Game 7 in a conference final since 2013 when the Oil Kings, behind 26 saves from G Laurent Brossoit, beat the Calgary Hitmen, 2-0, at Rexall Place in Edmonton on April 30. . . . The last Western Conference final to go the distance featured the Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs in 2008. The Chiefs won Game 7, 4-1, in Kennewick, Wash., on April 29 to end a series that featured five games that went to OT, with three of those going to double OT.


Treat


One day before playing in Game 7 of the Western Conference final, D Tyrel nhl2Bauer of the Seattle Thunderbirds signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. He was selected by Winnipeg in the sixth round of the 2020 draft. . . . Bauer turned 20 on March 23. If he doesn’t earn a spot with the Jets, he is eligible to return for one more WHL season, or he could end up with the Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate.

Three other NHL draft picks who played in the WHL this season have to sign NHL deals by Wednesday or they will go back into the draft or become unrestricted free agents.

F Connor McClennon of the Winnipeg Ice was a sixth-round pick by the Philadelphia Flyers but hasn’t signed. He is eligible to return to the WHL for his 20-year-old season.

D Alex Cotton of the Vancouver Giants and F Bear Hughes of the Spokane Chiefs completed their 20-year-old seasons so have used up their junior eligibility. Cotton was a fifth-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings, while Hughes went to the Washington Capitals in the fifth round. Neither has signed an NHL deal, although Hughes has signed with the AHL’s Hershey Bears for 2022-23. Still, if he doesn’t sign with Washington, he will become an NHL free agent.


Franklin


More light has been shed on the mystery of the deficiencies at Prospera Place in KelownaKelowna. According to the Kelowna Rockets, those deficiencies prevented them from putting in a bid to host the 2023 Memorial Cup.

The Rockets were to have been the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup only to have it cancelled by the pandemic. On Friday, the CHL announced that the 2023 event will be played in Kamloops with the Blazers as the host team.

Anyway . . . Regan Bartel, the longtime radio voice of the Rockets, posted four tweets on Monday that added some clarification to things:

  1. GSL, the owner and operator of Prospera Place, have some explaining to do on Kelowna’s inability to bid for the 2023 Memorial Cup. Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, “City of Kelowna taxpayers shouldn’t be (footing) a bill that could potentially reach the millions of dollars . . .”
  2. “. . . to host this event (for upgrades to building) when the partner (GSL), who stands to gain the most revenue because of this event, was not coming to the party as a full partner.” Substandard lighting was a concern heading into 2020 tournament. City/Rockets paid for it.
  3. “GSL, which is in care and control of the arena until 2029, was not willing to pay the cost to change the lighting. This has been a long standing issue. One just needs to walk through the building. Tell me what has changed since that facility opened in 1999?”
  4. “This is not a facility that is in the care/control of the City of Kelowna”, Basran added. “I truly believe the CHL wants to bring the event back, but it’s clear we have a partner that’s not quite as accepting to make that happen.”

I have a feeling there’s more to come on this story. Stay tuned!


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The Chicago White Sox are scheduled to open a series in Toronto against the Blue Jays today, and they’ll be without two of their key pitchers. Starter Dylan Cease and reliever Kendall Graveman, both right-handers, have been placed on MLB’s restricted list, which would indicate that they aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 so are able to cross the U.S.-Canada border. . . . Players don’t get paid while on MLB’s restricted list.


My wife, Dorothy, a kidney transplant recipient in 2013, will take part in the 2022 #kamloops Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year on Sunday. Yes, it’s virtual again. You are able to sponsor her 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.


Senators

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