Giants without captain for a while . . . Oil Kings add a 20-year-old off waivers . . . One WHL coach gets three-year extension

F Zack Ostapchuk, the Vancouver Giants’ captain, apparently suffered an undisclosed injury while in camp with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. He definitely Vancouverwon’t play tonight (Friday) against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that Ostapchuk “reportedly will be sidelined two to three weeks” and that GM Barclay Parnetta said he “wasn’t expecting to see Ostapchuk . . . back for as many as four weeks.” . . . Ostapchuk was a second-round selection by the Senators in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . On Wednesday, the Giants dealt F Cole Shepard, 20, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a third-round pick in the 2023 WHL draft. Shepard, who has struggled with injuries for the past few seasons, had seven goals and 13 assists in 28 games last season with Vancouver. Shepard is in camp with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.


Silence


The Edmonton Oil Kings have placed three players on what the team said in a Edmontonnews release is “Long-Term Injury Reserve.” F Jakub Demek, 19, D Graydon Gotaas, 18, and F Tyler Horstmann, 20, all went on LTIR as they continue to recover from offseason surgery to repair undisclosed injuries. . . . With Horstmann on the shelf, the Oil Kings claimed F Reid Jacobson, 20, off waivers from the Spokane Chiefs. Jacobson put up 35 points, including 12 goals, in 114 games over three seasons with the Chiefs. . . . The Oil Kings now have four 20-year-olds on their roster, with Jacobson joining D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golder and F Jaxsen Wiebe.


Hartley Miller, among other things the colour analyst on broadcasts of Prince George Cougars’ home games, is back with his Cat Scan podcast. And this week he discovered that Mark Lamb, the club’s general manager and head coach, has a new three-year contract extension. Lamb is entering his fourth season with the Cougars.



ONE MORE SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE —The fact that this was news on Wednesday: “Bengals QB Joe Burrow has decided to remove Twitter and Instagram from his phone.”



THINKING OUT LOUD — Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that it is impossible to avoid gravel trucks on our streets and highways these days? . . . If you scurry over to Entertainment Weekly’s website, you will be able to find a story on all the new Hallmark Christmas movies that are on the way. . . . If you’re hoping to watch Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees hit No. 61 tonight (Friday) against the visiting Boston Red Sox, you’ll have to do it via Apple TV.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS — The 2023 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is to be played at the Langley Events Centre — that is the home arena of the Vancouver Giants — on Jan. 25. From a news release: The game “showcases top NHL Draft eligible talent from across the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance.” . . . Yes, hundreds! . . . The game also was held in the Lower Mainland of B.C. in 2005 and 2016. . . . Don’t forget that the 2022 World U-17 Challenge is scheduled for the Langley Events Centre and the Sungod Arena in North Delta, from Nov. 5-12. . . . The Prince George Coliseum, the home of the BCHL’s Spruce Kings, is to be called the Kopar Memorial Arena under the terms of a four-year naming deal. Kopar Administration Ltd. is to pay $15,000 per year for the naming rights. Kopar also will be on the hook for new signage. . . .

Two junior B leagues — the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and the Pacific Junior Hockey League — have formed a partnership that they are calling the British Columbia Hockey Conference. According to a news release that is right here, the BCHC’s “inaugural season includes two major projects: the creation of a Department of Player Safety that will oversee enhanced supplementary disciplinary procedures for its members, as well as a Prospects Game that will highlight its top young players.” The KIJHL has 19 active franchises in the province’s Interior, while the PJHL has 13 teams centred on the Lower Mainland.


Turnsignal


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.


Hours

Scattershooting on a Thursday night while remembering Queen Elizabeth II and her wonderful sense of humour . . .

Scattershooting2



WHERE ARE THEY NOW DEPT. — Ian Henry had been with the Seattle Thunderbirds since July 2002 when he lost his job a year or so into the pandemic. He was their director of media, communications and digital at the time. These days, he is the communications co-ordinator for the Mercer Island School District where he is doing great work as can be seen in the below tweet. Go ahead. Click on the link. You’ll love it.


There are times when Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, steps outside the sporting arena to offer up a gem, and this is just another reason to read him on a daily basis:

“I feel sorry for people who misuse two English words — unique and masterpiece. Unique cannot have modifiers; things are not very unique or somewhat unique; things are either unique or they are not unique. . . . Masterpiece does not have a proper plural form. An artist or an author can only produce one masterpiece. This is not a pet peeve of mine because I am only allowed one ‘pet peeve’ in life and this one is not nearly important enough to have earned that status.”

That was from his Thursday post, which also included this gem:

“I will spend less time using Facebook. I have spent about 1.5 hours per week on the site over the last month — and it is just not worth it.”



THINKING OUT LOUD — A tip of the fedora to Kyle McIntyre, the SJHL’s new commissioner, on his use of social media to connect with fans. Asked on Twitter for clarification on a player suspension, McIntyre (@SJHLCommish) responded that “the suspension includes all remaining exhibition games and five regular-season games.” That amounts to transparency without any redactions and that’s a breath of fresh air. . . . The NFL’s regular season begins and we are bombarded with gambling-related TV commercials. I bet you’re surprised. . . . How much will the New York Yankees pay Aaron Judge when they get around to signing him after this season? Might he become the first US$50-million-a-year MLB player? Remember that he turned down $213.5 million over seven seasons, starting in 2023, prior to the start of this season.



THE COACHING GAME:

The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Hockey League have a new head coach in Ken Law. He takes over from Carter Rigby, who apparently has joined the Prince George Cougars as an assistant coach. . . . It should be noted that while the Coyotes have announced the move, the Cougars haven’t yet said a word, although they just might today (Friday) or early next week. . . . Law spent eight seasons (2010-18) with the Coyotes, as their general manager and head coach. He was with the KIJHL’s Kelowna Chiefs for four seasons (2018-22) — three seasons as assistant GM/head coach and last season as GM. . . . Rigby played four games with the Cougars in 2009-10 and three in 2010-11. He went on to play three seasons plus seven games (2011-15) with the Kelowna Rockets before getting into 55 games with the Swift Current Broncos in 2014-15 to conclude his WHL playing career. Rigby, 28, had been preparing for his fourth season as the head coach in Osoyoos.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Ian Wilson is the new play-by-play voice of the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, taking over from Eddie Gregory, who has filled the position for the past 18 seasons. Gregory now is the voice of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. . . . From an Express news release: “Wilson comes to the Express with a ton of experience. He currently is the voice of the UFV Cascades, Fraser Valley Bandits and Arena Lacrosse League West. He also brings along his experiences working with the Chilliwack Chiefs, Chilliwack Jets, Richmond Sockeyes and Delta Ice Hawks.”



There was a time back in the day when curling on radio was a big deal, especially on the Prairies. No one was bigger in that area than Chuck Pachkowsky of radio stations CFSL-Weyburn and CJSL-Estevan. He died on Wednesday at the age of 89. . . . Glenn Rogers of discoverweyburn.com has more 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.


Ex-Storm head coach back in BCHL . . . Americans add pair of associate coaches . . . Cougars back on The Goat

THE COACHING GAME:

The junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League made it official on Monday morning. As you read here on Sunday night, the Storm has promoted former NHLer Jan Ludvig to head coach, replacing Geoff Grimwood. . . . According to the Storm’s news release, “Grimwood is pursuing other opportunities closer to his family on Vancouver Island.” Shortly after the news release was issued, Taking Note was told that Grimwood now is an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. He was with the Storm for one season. . . . In Victoria, Grimwood will be working with GM/head coach Rylan Ferster. In July 2018, Ferster, then the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, hired Grimwood as assistant GM and associate head coach. Ferster resigned about a month later and Grimwood replaced him. If you’re wondering how that went, visit Google and search for Grimwood West Kelowna Warriors. . . . Ludvig was to have been an assistant coach with the Storm this season. The Storm is to begin training camp on Aug. 29. . . . The Storm’s complete news release is right here. . . .

The Tri-City Americans have added Jody Hull and T.J. Millar as associate coaches who will work alongside Stu Barnes, the co-owner who is heading into his second season as head coach. . . . Barnes and Hull played together for a bit with the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Hull, 53, has been coaching the OHL for the past 16 years, most recently as an associate coach with the Niagara IceDogs. . . . Millar, 28, was a coaching development associate with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He is familiar with the Americans, having worked for them on a work placement through university in 2015-16. . . .

The junior B 100 Mile House Wranglers have agreed to a multi-year contract extension with Dale Hladun, their general manager and head coach. The new deal will take them through the 2024-25 season. Hladun has been with the Wranglers since the 2014-15 season, and guided the Wranglers to the 2015-16 KIJHL, Cyclone Taylor Cup and the Keystone Cup titles. . . . The Wranglers opted out of the 2020-21 season because of the pandemic. . . .

The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers have added Coltyn Bates to their staff as assistant general manager and assistant coach. He’ll be working alongside Justin Falk, the GM and head coach. . . . Bates, 25, played three seasons (2015-18) with the Flyers before going on to the U of Wisconsin-Superior for four seasons. . . .

The MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues issued a news release on Monday about their “coaching and player development staff.” . . . That staff includes Alex Mandolidis, the general manager and head coach, along with two assistant coaches (Zach Heisinger and Austin Lauder, both back for a third season); a goaltending coach (Byron Spriggs, for a second season); a skill development coach (Larry Woo); someone to oversee culture and leadership (Mel Davidson); a strength-and-conditioning coach (Derek Tarko); a mental skills coach (Justine Fredette); an athletic therapist (Lana DeBeer, back for a 21st season); and a director, athlete performance (Tommy Howell). . . . The Blues are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, an organization that also includes the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze. Some of the aforementioned, including Spriggs, Wood, Fredette and Davidson, appear on the websites of two or three of the teams.


Roosters


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio have reached agreement on a deal that will have the WHL team’s games broadcast on 94.3 The Goat for the 2022-23 season. The deal includes one exhibition game — against the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Sept. 17 — along with 68 regular-season games and the playoffs. . . . Cole Waldie is prepping for his first season as the radio voice of the Cougars, with Hartley Miller back for a 10th season as the analyst for home games. . . . Under terms of the agreement, game broadcasts also may be found at myprincegeorgenow.com. . . . The WHL’s B.C. Division now has games scheduled to be heard on The Goat, The Lizard (Kelowna Rockets) and The Zone (Victoria Royals). . . . 

Justin Sturtz is the new head equipment manager with the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks. He was the Seattle Thunderbirds’ head equipment manager last season. . . . Prior to that, he was with the AHL’s Iowa Wild for three seasons and the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers for four seasons (2013-17).


NewCar


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.


Barbie

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while eagerly awaiting QB Rourke’s next start . . .

scattershooting

Hockey in Canada was big news with The New York Times on Sunday and for all the wrong reasons.

The story and photos, by Ian Austen, carried this headline on Twitter: Sexual Assault Revelations Turn Canada’s Game Into the Nation’s Shame.

The subhead: Once a jewel of Hockey Canada’s schedule, the world junior tournament is playing to a largely empty arena as turmoil forces Canadians to rethink what they believe about the sport.

In the actual newspaper, the story appeared in the A section, on Page 29, with this headline: Sexual Assault Revelations Dim the Shine of Canada’s National Game.

The hook for the story was the prevalence of empty seats at the 2022 World Junior Championship that is ongoing in Edmonton. But woven into the story is the embarrassingly sad saga of Hockey Canada and the mess it has become.

“All of Hockey Canada’s corporate sponsors, which include one of the country’s largest banks and the ubiquitous Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut chain, have abandoned it,” Austen wrote, “leaving the arena free of the usual advertising on the ice and rink boards. Edmonton’s tourism board is no longer promoting the tournament, and the federal government has also cut off its funding to Hockey Canada and ordered an audit to make sure that its funds were not used to silence victims while lawmakers in Ottawa hold hearings. Police have also resumed investigating the events of 2018. As the story began to dominate the news, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for a ‘real reckoning at Hockey Canada and condemned its leaders for their ‘willful blindness.’ ”

It’s a mess . . . a morass . . . it really is. And it’s a big enough mess that The New York Times felt the story was worthy of some major play.

If you’re able to access it, Austen’s story is right here. BTW, Austen is from Windsor and lives in Ottawa, so this isn’t an American writing about a scandalous time in Canadian hockey.


Coffee


Old friend Hartley Miller touches on a whole lot of pet peeves in his latest edition of Hartley’s Hart Attack. Somehow, though, he missed the fact that there isn’t any such thing as “first annual.” The first one is the inaugural; the second one is the second annual. . . . Miller’s list is a good one, though, and it’s all right here.


Boat


COVID-19 SAYS HELLO (AGAIN): The Minnesota Vikings didn’t have QB Kirk Cousins on hand Sunday when they opened their 2022 exhibition season with a 26-20 loss to the host Las Vegas Raiders. Cousins, who isn’t vaccinated, was sent home from training camp on Thursday and tested positive on Friday. He missed one regular-season game in 2021 after testing positive.

——

The New York Yankees will retire Paul O’Neill’s No. 21 on Sunday (Aug. 21). I know! I know! You’re wondering if the team that has retired the numbers of the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Mariano Rivera has lowered the bar. But O’Neill did hit .303 over nine seasons in the Bronx and was on four World Series winners. . . . However, it turns out that he is another of baseball’s anti-vaxxers, which is why he, as an analyst for Yankees games on the YES Network, works from his home in Cincinnati. . . . He is the lone YES broadcaster granted this privilege despite the network having imposed a vaccine mandate. On Sunday at Yankee Stadium, O’Neill won’t be allowed in the YES broadcast booth because he isn’t vaccinated. Also, because of MLB regulations, he won’t be permitted on the Yankees’ clubhouse or dugout. He will be allowed onto the field, but won’t be joined by any players. . . . It isn’t known whether Dr. Google will be joining him on the field.

——


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “What’s this world coming to when stealing classified nuclear documents is treated like some kind of crime?”

——

Lupica, again: “My friend Stanton is wondering how Aaron Rodgers worked it out that he’s afraid of vaccines, but not psychedelic drugs.”


Chapstick


THINKING OUT LOUD: If you missed it, QB Nathan Rourke of the B.C. Lions was lighting it up again on Saturday night in a stunning 41-40 victory over the host Calgary Stampeders. Despite a first quarter during which he actually looked mortal, Rourke finished with 488 passing yards in erasing a 20-3 deficit. Rourke, 24, is a CFL sophomore after three seasons with the Ohio U Bobcats. And he’s magic, he really is. Won’t be long and they’ll be comparing him to a young Dieter Brock — he was Ralph then — and Doug Flutie. Asked about Rourke after Saturday’s game, Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell offered: “Enjoy him while he’s here.” . . . Or, as Lions DB T.J. Lee put it: “Man, we call him Nate Brady for a reason.” . . . Next up for the Lions? They go home-and-home with the Saskatchewan Roughriders — Friday in Regina and Aug. 26 in Vancouver. . . . The Baltimore Orioles are in Toronto for a three-game series with the Blue Jays and all of the visiting players now are vaccinated. That wasn’t the case in June when LHP Keegan Akin and OF Anthony Santander weren’t vaccinated so couldn’t cross the border into Canada. . . . RHP Mike Soroka may yet get back into the Atlanta Braves’ lineup before this season is over. The Calgary native will make a rehab start in Rome, Ga., on Tuesday for the High-A Braves as he continues working his way back from a twice-ruptured right Achilles tendon. He hasn’t pitched for Atlanta since first injuring it in August 2020. . . . If you haven’t yet read Pleasant Good Evening, the memoir written by former Sportstalk host Dan Russell, you should. If you’re wondering what it’s all about, check out this story right here by John Ackerman of CityNews 1130 in Vancouver.


THE COACHING GAME:

Todd Nelson is the new head coach of the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Nelson, 53, was an assistant coach with the NHL’s Dallas Stars for the past four seasons. . . . Nelson takes over from Scott Allen, who now is an assistant coach with Washington. Allen spent one season as the Bears’ head coach after three as an assistant. . . . A native of Prince Albert, Nelson played four seasons (1986-90) with the WHL’s Raiders. . . . The Bears also signed Adam Purner, who spent time with the Portland Winterhawks, as their video co-ordinator and video coach. Purner, 46, was in the New Jersey Devils organization for the past two seasons with their AHL affiliate in Binghamton and then Utica. . . . He spent four seasons (2016-20) with the Winterhawks.


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): Food Network Goes Off Air After Every Iteration of Ingredient Combinations Completed.


Billy Napier, the head coach of the Florida Gators football team, has banned all but white socks at practice sessions. As Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel put it: “You know what the great Grantland Rice once wrote: ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you match your socks!’ ”


Ankle


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.


Airbag

How to get fans back into WHL arenas? The Insider offers up some suggestions . . .

The good news for the WHL is that there have been some great crowds of late. The Spokane Chiefs had their largest crowd (7,918) since before the pandemic on Saturday night for a visit by the Tri-City Americans. The Moose Jaw Warriors drew a season-high 4,895 that same night with the Regina Pats in town.

But there is a long way to go before things get back to where they once were.

Granted, we are in the middle of a pandemic and teams have had to deal with WHLmandates and restrictions. But this season, using figures compiled by the WHL, its 22 teams have combined to play 642 games through Sunday with an announced average attendance of 3,080 — that’s actually up 34 fans per game in nine days. Hey, baby steps . . .

In 2018-19, the last time the WHL was able to play a complete season, teams played 748 games with the announced average at 4,361.

But the warning signs were there before this season.

In 2019-20, teams got in 694 games before the pandemic brought the season to a close. The announced average for those games was 4,154, which was down 207 from the previous season. Eighteen teams  experienced a decrease in attendance from 2018-19, with only the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Prince Albert Raiders showing an increase.

Last season, a number of teams received government funding due to the pandemic, with six teams in Saskatchewan counting $600,000 apiece among their revenues. The Prince Albert Raiders, for example, received $1,081,179 in government grants and were able to announce a profit of $25,891.

Richard Doerken, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, told Hartley Miller on his Cat Scan podcast earlier this year that none of the teams has received any government money this season.

We can only imagine how much some of the other teams bled last season and how large the puddle on the floor is this season.

Recently, I asked fans why they no longer attend WHL games, or perhaps are going to fewer games than they once did. A number of Portland fans referenced the hassle of getting into Winterhawks games. The above video, which was posted on Twitter on Sunday evening by Chad Balcom, a regular at Portland games, is an example of to what they were referring.

And it is that kind of thing that WHL teams have to deal with as they work to get fans to return to their games.

They also have to deal with the lifting of so many things pandemic-related that now some of those fans who choose to continue to wear masks are concerned about being around the unmasked and even anti-vaxxers. Back in the day one of the biggest beefs likely had to do with the in-game music. Too loud? Not loud enough?

But as things continue to inch towards some semblance of whatever normal is going to be, we wonder what WHL teams should be looking at in their attempts to get fans back into their buildings.

One person who has been on the front lines in the WHL and maintains a love for the league contacted me and offered up some suggestions. The Insider has been deep inside a team’s front office — on the business and marketing side — so has a feel for what is happening there. As well, The Insider remains in the game; he now is in the front office of a pro team.

In writing to me, the approach was: “I thought I would focus on the ‘what to do about it.’ ”

With that, The Insider approached the situation from three angles — teams needing to show patience, teams needing to take a long, hard look at the fan experience, and teams needing to look at the overall cost of attending games.

“First,” The Insider wrote, “it is going to take time for fans, particularly casual fans, to get back into their pre-pandemic habits, so understand that the further the pandemic and mandates recede into memory (let’s hope there’s not another variant around the corner) the more likely fans are to return . . . Teams should understand that it isn’t going to correct itself overnight so set some realistic timeframes for attendance growth.”

When you think about it, as we go through life a lot of what we do is dictated by habits. There is a reason why your favourite TV show is on at the same time every week. Marketers want to create a habit. Once they are able to do that, they know that should you ever break that habit you may never come back. That is what WHL teams are up against now.

“Second,” The Insider wrote, “teams need to raise their game when it comes to the fan experience, not only in-venue but also with their streaming video production . . . Give kids in particular plenty to do on the concourse, offer fun experiences like Fanboni rides and puck shoots, let them meet the players after games, etc. . . . As for the video production, bad lighting, poor camera work, lousy graphics and unstable streaming platforms aren’t going to help any team/league monetize their video content, and in-home viewing continues to grow and grow.”

One season-ticket holder who emailed me on Sunday seemed to echo The Insider, writing about his favourite team: “It’s also the same thing every season. Same promotions. Same giveaways (first 500 or 1,000 people). Same first- and second-period intermissions. They really need to jazz it up and make changes.”

“And third,” The Insider wrote, “teams and the league need to re-examine their pricing structure/value proposition to bring in new fans to the sport, particularly younger families . . . As gas prices and other ‘basics’ increase in price, junior hockey needs to price the game-night experience (tickets, parking, food, etc.) so that a family can attend a game at a reasonable investment. Otherwise they’ll stay at home and stream Disney+ for the evening . . . cheaper and less hassle.”

From where I sit, WHL teams have to learn to put a whole lot of attention on game operations and presentation. They need to get to a place where even if the home team gets blown out the fans go home feeling that they still received good entertainment value and that not only would they return, but that they would spread the word.

“I don’t know that enough WHL teams are thinking that way,” The Insider wrote. “And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it.”

In closing, The Insider added:

“It takes creativity. Thinking outside the box. Looking at other sports like minor league baseball and events like music festivals. The sport itself is a great product, but these days fans want more if they are going to pay the prices and fight the traffic and deal with the hassles at the doors. Otherwise you’re right . . . fans will watch from home whether it’s WHL or NHL or Schitt’s Creek or whatever.”

And if the fans are going to stay home, some teams are going to be up the creek without the proverbial paddle. If they aren’t already, that is.

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching a terrific Brier final . . .


It’s not too late for you to tell me why you no longer go to WHL games, or why you cut back on the number you attend. Or if you’re one who attends regularly, let me know why you think other folks should be going. . . . Thanks to those who already have contacted me. I hope to put something together at some point in the next week or 10 days. . . . If you want to, you are able to DM me via Twitter or email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Who was the last goaltender in professional hockey to play without a mask? Was it Andy Brown of the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers or Gaye Cooley of the NAHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms? What about Joe Daley of the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets? . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post decided to try and find out, and settle the age-old argument in the process. Was he successful? You are able to find out right here in the best thing you will read today. . . . You should know, too, that Vanstone is writing a book about goaltenders and their love/hate relationship with facial protection. Can’t wait to read that one.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Stuart Kemp has led quite a life, going from professional wrestling announcer to being an active wrestler — yes, he has taken a chair or two to the noggin — to the president of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, one of the most successful organizations of its kind in junior hockey. . . . He also has experienced some serious health problems over the past few years but really is persevering as he continues to put one foot in front of the other. . . . Kemp was the latest guest on Hartley Miller’s Cat Scan podcast out of Prince George. Give it a listen right here. You won’t be sorry that you did.


Bacon


“Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley has been suspended for the 2022 season for betting on NFL games,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Evidently he didn’t get the express written consent of the NFL’s official betting partners, Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel.”

——

More from Perry:

“Last week wasn’t a good week for truth-telling, as a lot of pants spontaneously caught fire:

  • MLB: We are canceling the first two weeks of the season.
  • Seahawks: There are no plans to trade Russell Wilson.
  • Wilson: My aim is to play my whole career in Seattle.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: We didn’t attack Ukraine.

Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, tweeted Saturday that he saw F Luke Toporowski of the Kamloops Blazers “with crutches, sporting a knee brace on left knee” on Friday night. Toporowski had left the Blazers’ 4-2 victory over the visiting Rockets in the first period following a collision with Kelowna D Tyson Feist as both players were leaving the penalty box. . . . Toporowski has 35 goals this season, including 20 in 22 games with the Blazers since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Toporowski and Feist were teammates with the Spokane Chiefs for a few games in 2017-18 and 2018-19 before the latter was dealt to the Regina Pats. . . . The Blazers likely will learn more about Toporowski’s injury when their medical staff sees him today.


You may recall that offensive lineman Alex Karras of the Detroit Lions once was suspended for a year because of gambling. Legend has it that upon his return to game action, he was asked to call the pre-game coin flip, at which point he told the referee: “I’m sorry, sir, I’m not permitted to gamble.”



Shopping


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

F Bear Hughes struck for three goals and added two assists to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 6-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Hughes, the Chiefs’ captain, has 21 goals. . . . The Chiefs also got a goal, his 10th, and three assists from F Carter Streek. . . .

F Dylan Guenther scored twice — he’s got 38 — and added an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Broncos, 5-1, in Swift Current. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 20 shots in posting his WHL-leading 30th victory of the season. He lost the shutout when Russian F Alexei Shanaurin scored his second goal in 21 games with 0.1 left in the third period. . . . Cossa is 30-6-3, 2.22, .915 this season. Over his three-season career, the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder is 68-13-7, 2.09, .923. . . .

F Connor Bedard scored twice to help the host Regina Pats to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Bedard is riding a 17-game point streak during which he has 17 goals and 18 assists. . . . Bedard, 16, has 73 points, including 37 goals, in 47 games this season. Add in the 15 games he played in the 2021 development season and he has 101 points, 49 of them goals, in 62 games. . . . The Pats also got two assists from F Tanner Howe, who turned 16 on Nov. 28. He’s got 54 points, including 31 assists, in 49 games. . . . Brad Herauf, in his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Pats, has been running the bench along with assistant Ken Schneider since Feb. 11 as John Paddock, the club’s GM and head coach, deals with an undisclosed illness. . . .

In Portland, the Vancouver Giants opened up a 6-0 lead and then hung on to beat the Winterhawks, 6-5. . . . F Adam Hall scored twice for the Giants, giving him 14. He scored his second at 8:11 of the second period to give the visitors that 6-0 lead. . . . The Winterhawks got back in it with three second-period goals, two from F Marcus Nguyen, who has 17, and two in the third. . . . D Clay Hanus had four assists for Portland. He leads WHL defencemen with 62 points — 15 goals and 47 assists — in 58 games. . . .

F Drew Englot scored in the 12th round of a shootout to give the Kamloops Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Each team scored twice in the circus — in the fifth and seventh rounds — before Englot won it. . . . F Daylan Kuefler, who has 32 goals, scored all three of the Blazers’ goals, each one on a PP. . . . Kamloops was 3-for-8 on the PP; the Rockets were 2-for-7. . . . Kelowna erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits on goals from F Colton Dach (19) at 13:22 of the third period and F Adam Kidd (13) at 14:16. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 35 shots for Kamloops; G Talyn Boyko had 30 saves for the Rockets. Both are draft picks of the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals to beat the host Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-2. . . . The Hurricanes went 3-3-1 in a seven-game road trip with the Canadian men’s curling championship in their home arena. . . . Belarusian F Yegor Klavdiev’s 12th goal, at 3:25 of the second period, broke a 2-2 tie. . . . F Brayden Yager tied the Warriors’ franchise record for goals in one season by a 16-year-old when he scored No. 29 at 1:02 of the second period. He now shares the record with Theo Fleury (1984-85). Fleury did it in 71 games; Yager has played 53 games this season. He also played 24 games in the 2021 development season but the WHL has decreed that skaters are rookies if they haven’t appeared in more than 25 games prior to this season. The rule for goaltenders is 25 times on the scoresheet or more than 420 minutes played. . . . Fleury tweeted: “Congrats young man honoured to share the record with you tonight. Here’s hoping you break it!!!” . . .

G Daniel Hauser stopped 25 shots and D Nolan Orzeck had a goal, his fifth, and two assists to lead the Winnipeg Ice to a 5-0 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Hauser has five career shutouts, all of them this season. He is 21-2-1, 2.20, .909 this season. Include his eight appearances from last season and he is 28-2-2, 2.42, .906 in his career. . . .

The Everett Silvertips scored two goals in each of the first two periods en route to a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . F Ben Hemmerling (8) broke a 2-2 tie at 7:14 of the second period and F Jackson Berezowski (38) made it 4-2 at 15:00. . . . Seattle F Matthew Rempe was tossed after taking a boarding major at 9:30 of the first period. He already has been suspended three times for a total of five games this season. . . .

F Ben King’s WHL-leading 45th goal was the winner as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Tigers, 6-2, in Medicine Hat. . . . King has 14 game-winners this season, two shy of the WHL single-season record. F Brian Propp scored 16 winners for the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Arshdeep Bains drew three assists for Red Deer. He leads the WHL in assists (45) and points (88). . . .

D Nolan Allan scored the goal and Tikhon Chaika suppled the goaltending as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders beat the Saskatoon Blades, 1-0. . . . Allan scored his fourth goal in 52 games this season at 12:12 of the third period; it was his third game-winner. He went into the season with three career goals in 81 games. . . . Chaika blocked 31 shots in recording the third shutout of his freshman season. The 18-year-old is from Minsk, Belarus. He is 17-15-3, 2.84, .905. . . . G Nolan Maier turned aside 28 shots for the Blades on Nolan Maier Bobblehead Night. . . . Chaika was selected as the game’s first star. On Friday night in Prince Albert, Maier wasn’t named a star despite turning aside 49 shots in the Blades’ 3-2 OT victory. . . .

In Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s last nine goals as they rallied to a 9-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer scored four times, giving him 27, and F Craig Armstrong got his 11th goal and added three assists. . . . Ziemmer single-handedly erased Victoria’s 1-0 lead with goals at 9:04, 9:25 and 13:33 of the first period. He got his fourth goal at 1:24 of the third period. . . . The Cougars were without Mark Lamb, their general manager and head coach, for a second straight game due to illness. In his absence, associate coach Josh Dixon and Steve O’Rourke, their development coach, ran the bench.


Has anyone had a better description of Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers than Charles Barkley? He told ESPN Radio: “I think he’s the pretty girl that you gotta tell her she’s pretty every day.”


Bikers


The OHL’s Oshawa Generals fired head coach Todd Miller on Saturday. OshawaAssistant coaches Kurtis Foster and Mike Hedden will run things for the remainder of this season. . . . “We feel our team is underperforming right now,” Roger Hunt, the Generals’ general manager, said in a news release. “We all think the group can benefit from a different voice down in the room.” . . . Miller was in his first season as Oshawa’s head coach. He spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Barrie Colts before working as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings last season. . . . The Generals, who dropped a 7-2 decision to the Frontenacs in Kingston on Friday, were 24-24-5 and tied for sixth place with the Ottawa 67’s (23-25-7) in the 10-team Eastern Conference going into Saturday’s games. . . . The Generals beat the visiting Peterborough Petes, 5-4 in OT, on Sunday. Oshawa is to meet the host Hamilton Bulldogs in the OHL’s Outdoor Showcase today.


Veteran junior coach Mike Vandekamp is a free agent again after he and the GrandePrairieAJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm parted company on Saturday. According to a news release from the team, the parties “mutually agreed to part ways effective immediately.” Vandekamp was the Storm’s general manager and head coach for two seasons. . . . This season, the Storm finished 22-30-8 and didn’t qualify for the playoffs. . . . Until a replacement is hired, the Storm said that business manager Ryan Carter and assistant coach Chris Schmidt will run things.


Children


With MLB’s labour difficulties over, at least for now, Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News writes that it’s a big deal for his city: “We need baseball in New York right now, unless you think that the Knicks can write some kind of miracle on their side of the East River or think the Nets can make a run in the playoffs with Dr. Kyrie Irving of the Center for Sports Disease Control, as a part-time, un-vaxxed star. We need baseball more than ever after another lost pro football season, as the Giants and Jets continue to be teams from Loserville over there in Jersey.”

——

More from Lupica: “Novak Djokovic, another graduate of the Center for Sports Disease Control along with Dr. Irving, says he hasn’t yet gotten vaccinated because he doesn’t trust the science behind the vaccine. Right. Got it. Six million people, worldwide, have now died because of this pandemic. What does Dr. Djokovic think that number would be if there had been a vaccine he doesn’t trust from the beginning? If he is allowed to play in the French Open, I hope he gets his Asics hat handed to him by Rafael Nadal.”



Mom


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.


Mom2

OHL investigating alleged anti-Russian slur . . . Iran makes mark on international stage . . . Gauthier continues big week with Winterhawks

Rick Westhead of TSN tweeted on Friday afternoon that “a Russian player on the OHL’s North Bay Battalion (one of two Russians on NB) was allegedly targeted during Thursday game with an anti-Russian slur by at least one Sudbry Wolves player, North Bay GM Adam Dennis confirms. Dennis says OHL is investigating and conducting interviews.”

Shortly after, Dan Milstein, a Ukraine-born hockey agent, tweeted: “Disturbing news . . . I confirm Rick Westhead’s report that my teenage Russian-born client on OHL North Bay Battalion was targeted with Anti-Russian slur at (Thursday’s) game.”


It is because of information like this that I subscribe to Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell:

“Iran has a national hockey team that is currently playing in the Division IV World Championship in Kyrgyzstan. Their backup goalie’s name is Oveis Hassanzadeh Moghadam Tabalvandani. Their first-line left winger is Mohammadmatin Ghaharzadehmahabadi and manning the blueline is Abbas Dehghanimohammadabadi. Despite a spirited effort, Iran lost 13-1 to the host country in its international hockey debut before beating Singapore 5-2 on Friday.”

Seriously, while Campbell did have that in a Friday piece, he also reported this:

“The Canadian Hockey League could be doing a major about-face when it comes to having players from Russia and Belarus included in its 2022 import draft. A source close to the situation said the CHL was prepared this week to announce that players from those two countries would be barred from the draft this year as a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“But there was significant pushback from some owners on the proposal, which led the CHL to delay making an announcement. It’s believed they will continue deliberating and will have a decision by the end of this month. There are 24 Russians and 13 Belarusians playing in the Ontario, Western and Quebec Leagues this season. The OHL has the majority of Russian players this season, with 15 on rosters. There is only one player from Ukraine in the entire CHL this season, Barrie Colts defenseman and Vegas Golden Knights prospect Artur Cholach.”

You are able to check out Campbell’s work right here.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes are on the road for six games because the Brier, the Canadian men’s curling championship, has taken over the ENMAX Centre. . . . The Hurricanes met the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Friday night, losing 6-3, and also will make stops in Regina, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina (again) and Moose Jaw before returning home to face the Pats on March 16.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here. . . . A huge thank you to those who already have joined Dorothy’s team. Much appreciated!


Richard Doerksen’s name first shows up in a WHL Guide prior to the 1978-79 season. He is listed, quite simply, as statistician. I am pretty sure he kept the WHL stats with pencil and paper in those days. . . . Anyway, Doerksen, now the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was Hartley Miller’s latest guest on Cat Scan. They chatted about the past two seasons, scheduling and rescheduling and a whole lot more. . . . It’s a 30-minute listen and it’s all right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Nolan Ritchie, playing in his 100th regular-season game, had three goals and an assist to lead the host Brandon Wheat Kings to a 6-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday night. . . . Brandon F Jake Chiasson had a goal and an assist in what was his first game this season. He underwent shoulder surgery after being injured while at an Edmonton Oilers rookie camp in September. The Oilers selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

F Connor Bedard had one assist to run his point streak to 14 games as the Regina Pats dropped a 3-2 decision to the visiting Red Deer Rebels, who have won seven in a row. . . . F Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings also is riding a 14-game streak, but he is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. . . . Bedard has 29 points, including 16 assists, in his past 14 games, while Neighbours has 23 points, 10 of them goals. . . .

Dan O’Connor, the radio voice of the Vancouver Giants, called the play of his 700th WHL game on Friday night in Langley, B.C. The Giants lost 4-3 in OT to the Kamloops Blazers as F Daylan Kuefler tied the game at 19:31 of the third period and won it at 4:43 of extra time. O’Connor also has done play-by-play with the Prince George Cougars. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings clinched a playoff spot by scoring the game’s last five goals in a 7-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . In Kelowna, F Gabriel Szturc’s 12th goal, at 1:29 of OT, gave the Rockets a 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals who took a 4-2 lead into the last 10 minutes of the third period. Kelowna has won nine of 10 from Victoria. . . . In Prince George, the Spokane Chiefs scored the last three goals and beat the Cougars, 4-3. F Graham Sward (8) broke a 3-3 tie 37 seconds into the third period. The Cougars are 2-13-1 in their past 16 outings. . . .

F Jakin Smallwood scored his 20th goal of the season with 0.7 showing on the clock as the visiting Winnipeg Ice got past the Saskatoon Blades, 4-3, in OT. F Jack Finley (17) had pulled Winnipeg even with a PP goal at 17:15 of the third period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt scored his 10th goal and added two assists as the Prince Albert Raiders escaped from Moose Jaw with a 5-3 victory over the Warriors. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds scored once in each period as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-1, in Kennewick Wash. . . .

G Taylor Gauthier, who signed a three-year free-agent deal with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the week, stopped 47 shots as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Silvertips, 4-2, in Everett. Portland scored the game’s last four goals. Gauthier is 14-1-0, 1.66, .945 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. The Winterhawks have taken four straight from the Silvertips and now trail the U.S. Division leaders by five points. . . .

Russian F Ivan Miroshnichenko, a potential top 10 selection in the NHL’s 2022 draft, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the Russian Hockey Federation has said he will be taking time away from the game. “At the moment,” the federation said in a tweet, “he is receiving medical treatment in Germany and might miss the entirety of next season.” Miroshnichenko, 18, had 16 points, including 10 goals, in 31 games with the VHL’s Omskie Krylia club. He captained the Russian team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last summer, putting up four goals and five assists in five games.


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.

——


Kids

Cougars’ co-owner opens up on Cat Scan . . . Royals end lengthy skid . . . Veteran coach joins BCHL’s Clippers

Hartley Miller hit another home run with his Cat Scan podcast this week. In his previous two episodes, Miller, the sports director at Vista Radio in Prince PrinceGeorgeGeorge, chatted with Rick Brodsky, a former owner of the Cougars and once the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors. This week, Miller visited with John Pateman, one of the men who purchased the Cougars from Brodsky and the organization’s president.

Pateman is one of the Cougars’ six owners, and he was quick to admit that these aren’t the best of times. He also talked about the Cougars having received government subsidies to help them through these pandemic times.

“We get an update on attendance around the league every Monday,” Pateman told Miller. “On average, it’s down about 30 per cent. There are people who aren’t vaccinated, there’s people who wearing a mask for two or three hours straight is an issue. There’s people who don’t feel comfortable coming out too much in public . . . that’s been across the league. The attendance being down that much . . . that’s the negative.

“Certainly, a lot of businesses, ourselves included . . . the federal wage subsidy . . . we received significant subsidies through that time period to help us out. The province . . . in August or so, we received significant funds there. We’re probably not losing any more money than we have the last few years. It’s obviously not good but, again, we believe we’re heading into a three- or four-year run. We’ve kind of hurt for six or seven so . . . it’s going to get better.”

According to Pateman, the Cougars have the youngest team in the WHL, but they are on pace to make the playoffs. And, as he said, a good run would certainly help the bottom line.

“We have been able to do some things on the expense side,” he explained. “If we can get into the playoffs and end up having a bit of run that makes a huge difference.”

If the playoffs were to start today, the Cougars would meet the Portland Winterhawks in the first round. Pateman also talked about what that would mean, especially with Taylor Gauthier now Portland’s starting goaltender. The Winterhawks acquired him from the Cougars earlier this season, giving up D Jonas Brøndberg, a 2023 third-round draft pick and a pair of conditional fifth-rounders. Those latter two picks just might be tied into how deep the Winterhawks get in the playoffs, so a first-round meeting with the Cougars could prove interesting.

Pateman also reaffirmed that the Cougars’ owners remain committed to making it work in Prince George.

“Certainly, that is the case,” he told Miller. “Over the next three, four years, all being well, we have a pretty good hockey team and I still think wins make a big difference. If we can get a bit of run in the playoffs at some point over the next year or two or three, I think we’ll have that fan support to at least not lose money to any great degree.

“If we can just pay the bills in the end, we’d be quite happy.”

It runs about 36 minutes, it’s well worth listening to, and it’s all right here.


The WHL announced adjustments to its regular-season schedule on Thursday, WHLindicating that the 68-game season now is to conclude on April 17. If there is a need for tiebreakers, they will be played on April 19. The first round of playoffs is to begin on April 22. . . . The playoffs will include four rounds of best-of-seven series, with the first three rounds all in-conference. The championship final is to start on June 3 and, if seven games are needed, would end on June 14. . . . The WHL’s playoff format is explained right here. . . . The Memorial Cup, which is to be held in Saint John, N.B., is to run from June 20 through June 29. . . . The WHL also announced a number of rescheduled games all of which can be found on the schedule at whl.ca. . . . And, again, make sure you check your favourite team’s schedule for any changes that may have been made.


Agree


The International Ice Hockey Federation had news about a couple of tournaments on Thursday. . . . The 2022 World Junior Championship that got started in Red Deer and Edmonton before being cancelled due to multiple positive tests among players and on-ice officials will be held in Alberta in August. No dates were provided, but Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted that organizers are aiming for Aug. 8-19. . . . If all goes according to plan — in other words, if COVID-19 allows it — the WJC will proceed at some point after the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. It is scheduled for Red Deer early in August. The exact dates haven’t yet been announced. . . . The WJC will feature the same teams that gathered in December with all players who are on those teams still eligible. Results of the few games that were played in December have been scrubbed, so teams will start fresh.

Meanwhile, the U18 Women’s World Championship that was to have been held in Linköping and Mjölby, Sweden, in January now will be played “in June in the north of the USA,” Luc Tardif, the IIHF president, told reporters on Thursday. The 2023 event likely will be held in Sweden. . . . There is a whole lot more on these stories right here.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

EverettMarty Hastings of Kamloops This Week tweeted on Thursday that Shaun Clouston, the Kamloops Blazers’ GM/head coach, said G Dylan Garand isn’t “likely to play this weekend, but injury not expected to keep him out long term.” Garand appeared to suffer an injury to his left leg during the second period of a 6-4 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals on Wednesday night. . . . That means that G Dylan Ernst started on Friday night against the visiting Everett Silvertips, with Jesse Sanche, 15, on the bench. Sanche plays at OHA in Kelowna. . . . The Silvertips were without G Braden Holt (non-COVID illness) and had Evan May up from the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals to back up Koen MacInnes, who stopped 28 shots to beat the Blazers, 4-1. . . . Everett scored three times in 10:31 in the first period. The Silvertips got two goals from each of F Niko Huuhtanen (28) and F Jackson Berezowski (34). . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven had an assist to run his point streak to 18 games. . . . The Western Conference-leading Silvertips now lead the Blazers by five points. . . .

The WHL hasn’t posted a roster/injury report since Feb. 8, so there is no way of knowing how many players tested positive for COVID-19 from then through Feb. 14. The Vancouver Giants experienced some positives and had a couple of games postponed during that time period. . . .

F Adam Kydd’s 10th goal of the season gave Kelowna a 3-1 lead and stood up as the winner as the Rockets beat the Cougars, 3-2, in Prince George. He’s got 14 points, including six goals, in 14 games since coming over from the Calgary Hitmen. On the season, Kydd, 19, has 33 points in 44 games. . . . In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Spokane Chiefs, 3-1. F Matthew Rempe’s 12th goal, at 2:38 of the second period, broke a 1-1 tie. . . .

F Mathew Ward scored three times — it was his first WHL hat trick — and added an assist to lead the host Swift Current Broncos to a 7-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. He’s got 46 points, including 18 goals, in 44 games. Ward, 18, now has 68 career points in 68 regular-season games. . . . F Connor Bedard drew the lone assist on F Cole Carrier’s game-tying goal at 15:29 of the third period and then won it with this 30th goal of the season 24 seconds into OT as the Regina Pats beat the Raiders, 5-4, in Prince Albert. Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was on hand and filed this piece right here. . . .

F Nate Danielson scored three times, giving him 18 this season, and F Ridly Greig put up three assists in his hometown as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the host Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-2. The Wheat Kings wrapped it up with two empty-net goals. . . . In Red Deer, F Arshdeep Bains scored two goals — he’s got 25 — and added to assists as the Rebels beat the Saskatoon Blades, 5-3. Bains broke a 3-3 tie with his second goal at 9:12 of the third period. . . .

F Zach Benson scored the game’s last two goals as the Winnipeg Ice beat the Hitmen, 3-1, in Calgary. Benson, who has 16 goals, scored at 2:00 and 17:52 of the third period. . . . F Robbie Fromm-Delorme had three third-period goals to spark the Portland Winterhawks to a 6-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. Fromm-Delorme, who has eight goals and 11 assists in 18 games, completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 18:06 of the third period. His first career multi-goal game came in his 157th game. Fromm-Delorme has missed 30 games this season; he was playing just his second game since returning from an injury. . . . In Langley, B.C., the Victoria Royals got a goal and two assists from F Tarun Fizer, their captain, as they snapped a 17-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. The Royals broke a 1-1 tie with three goals in 2:57, scoring at 19:27 of the first period and 2:09 and 2:24 of the second. The Royals are 13-29-5, with seven of the victories coming over the Giants.


With two coaches suspended pending an independent investigation, the BCHL’s NanaimoNanaimo Clippers have added veteran coach Bob Beatty to their staff. Beatty was behind the bench Friday night, along with assistant Ken McPhalen, as the Clippers dropped a 5-0 decision to the visiting Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . Darren Naylor, Nanaimo’s vice-president, general manager, head coach and director of hockey operations, and Colin Birkas, the associate GM and associate coach, were suspended by the BCHL for what the league has said are alleged “Code of Conduct breaches.” . . . Beatty spent 17 seasons coaching (1996-2013) in the SJHL and then was in the BCHL for four seasons with the Cowichan Valley Capitals. He was at Shawnigan Lake School for two seasons (2017-19) before joining the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons prior to the 2019-20 season. He left the Oil Barons on Jan. 14, 2020. Most recently, he has been scouting for the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires.



THINKING OUT LOUD:

If you missed it — if you blinked you likely did — MLB and the MLBPA met again on Thursday. This negotiating session lasted all of 15 minutes. . . . Before the owners locked out the players, pitchers and catchers were to have begun reporting three days ago. . . . There isn’t much doubt now but that Opening Day is in jeopardy and there are those who suggest — wait for it! — that the entire season is in danger of not happening. . . . Oh wait! Owners and players say they are prepared to meet every day next week. Don’t hold your breath for a deal. . . . On Friday, it was announced that they already have flushed away the first week of spring training games. . . .

I saw a graphic on Thursday that showed the entire coaching staff of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Head coach Doug Pederson has a staff of 23 assistant coaches. Yes, 23! . . . When I first had anything to do with covering the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the late, great Tribune in the mid-1970s, I believe head coach Bud Riley had four assistants one season and three the next. . . . And then, on Friday, I happened upon a list showing the Miami Dolphins’ coaching staff. Head coach Mike McDaniel has 26 assistants. Yes, 26! . . .

Derek Taylor, the radio voice of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, revealed on Thursday that he won’t be back for a third season at CKRM. Speculation has him ending up in Winnipeg, where the Blue Bombers will have a new play-by-play voice on CJOB following the retirement of Bob Irving, or back at TSN, where he was before moving to Regina. Hmmm! I’m thinking TSN. . . .

It would seem more obvious than ever that the rest of the curling world has caught up with Canada, at least it has if we can go by the results from the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. I don’t know what it means but it sure is interesting to see just how many Canadians are coaching Olympic curling teams from other countries. . . .

Here’s how Jesse Campigotto of CBC Sports’ The Buzzer summed it up: “So, has the rest of the world ‘caught up’ to Canada in curling? In terms of depth, no. This country still produces roughly half of the top 10 men’s and women’s teams. But you can only send one to the big international tournaments. And it’s becoming clear that, here, the players wearing the maple leaf are no longer exceptional. At best, they’re first among equals. Often, they’re simply among equals.”


Quiz


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

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Facebook

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after an entertaining Super Bowl — it was great to see Meadow and A.J. again, too . . .

Scattershooting2

Rick Brodsky spent somewhere around 40 years involved in the WHL. His family owned the Saskatoon Blades and he later purchased the Victoria Cougars, operating the franchise in the B.C. capital for two seasons before moving it to Prince George. He even did a stint as chairman of the WHL’s board of directors. . . . Brodsky recently appeared on Hartley’s Cat Scan — a podcast that is owned and operated by Hartley Miller, a longtime Prince George radio voice and analyst on Cougars’ home broadcasts. . . . Brodsky’s visit was so good that Miller split it into two parts. . . . And it is really good stuff. . . . Part 1 is right here. . . . Part 2 is right here.


When Nanaimo beat the host Powell River Kings 7-3 in a Saturday night BCHL game, the Clippers had assistant coaches Ken McPhalen and Bob Foglietta running the bench for a second straight game. That’s because Darren Naylor, the general manager and head coach, and Colin Birkas, the associate GM and associate coach, were placed on administrative league by the BCHL, a move later endorsed by Clippers’ owner Wes Mussio, pending the outcome of an investigation. The BCHL has appointed what it says is an independent investigator to look into allegations of breaches of a Code of Conduct. . . . The Clippers are next scheduled to play on Friday against the visiting Chilliwack Chiefs.


WR Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams finally got his MVP award after his side beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, in Sunday’s Super Bowl. The easy thing, it seems, is to give the NFL’s regular-season MVP award to a quarterback, but Kupp won a Triple Crown of sorts, leading all receivers in receptions, touchdowns and yardage. Kupp was saluted as the NFL’s offensive player of the year after what was one of the greatest offensive seasons in the league’s history, but he deserved to be the MVP. Instead, the award went to QB Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.


Put it on your calendar: The next Super Bowl is scheduled for State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 12, 2023. . . . After that, it’s on to Las Vegas for 2024 and New Orleans in 2025. . . . The game on Sunday was quite entertaining, but, yes, the 2021 Grey Cup game was more exciting.


Hose


“Five female competitors were disqualified from the Olympic mixed team ski-jump final near Beijing because officials said their jumpsuits didn’t comply with the rules,” reported Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The NFL, simply out of habit, piled on with a $10,000 fine.”

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Perry, again: “SiriusXM fired PGA Tour Radio analyst Mark Lye after he said on-air ‘I’ll shoot myself’ rather than watch a WNBA game. Now they call him Unplayable Lye.”




Back in the day when Kevin Kaminski was known as Killer and was putting up points and penalty minutes with the Saskatoon Blades (1986-89), I don’t know how many people saw him as a coach. But here we are. He’s now the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves and they are saluting him for putting up the 600th career coaching victory on Saturday night. . . . Kaminski has been the head coach of the Long Beach Ice Dogs (WCHL and ECHL), Missouri River Otters (UHL), Youngstown Steelhounds (CHL), Mississippi River Kings (CHL), Louisiana IceGators (SPHL), Portland Jr. Pirates (USPHL Elite), Louisiana Drillers (NA3HL), Fresno Monsters (WSHL) and now the Ice Wolves. . . . All that and he’s still on 52 years of age. . . . The Ice Wolves beat the host Melfort Mustangs, 5-4, on Saturday night for No. 600.


Two sporting figures were guilty of really telling it like it is last week. . . . Here’s Mike McDaniel after signing on as the Miami Dolphins’ head coach, when asked how he feels when someone points out his lack of head-coaching experience: “The thing that trips me up is every single head coach in the history of football has never been a head coach until he’s been a head coach. Everyone has to have their first time.” . . . And then there’s legendary surfer Kelly Slater, who is retiring at the age of 50 but told The Associated Press that he’s not worried about future plans: “Everyone who retires from surfing just goes surfing more.”


gas


THINKING OUT LOUD:

It was in the wee hours of Friday when Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa put a big bow on an 8-5 victory over Canada’s Jennifer Jones in a women’s curling match at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. I watched a lot of it and must say I don’t know that I have ever seen a team in any sport have as much fun and do as much smiling as the Fujisawa foursome. . . .

When Pittsburgh played the host Ottawa Senators on Thursday night, Penguins star Sidney Crosby was gunning for his 500th regular-season goal. If you live in Canada, the game was only available via TV in the Ottawa zone. The rest of us got to listen to the bizarre Jack Edwards cheering his Boston Bruins on to a 6-0 loss at the hands of the visiting Carolina Hurricanes. . . . On Friday night, with Jay Woodcroft and Dave Manson making their debuts behind the bench as the Oilers played the New York Islanders, the game was blacked out everywhere but in the Edmonton zone. . . . The NHL really makes it easy to become less and less of a fan. . . . BTW, the Penguins are home to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night and you know that the hockey gods will see to it that Crosby gets No. 500 in that one. . . .

So . . . F Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins punched Pittsburgh Penguins G Tristan Jarry in the head, albeit with a gloved hand, and then poked him in the facemark with his stick. That resulted in a six-game suspension for Marchand, who later told Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic: “Of course it was stupid. I’m not denying that. I absolutely should not have done it. But suspension-worthy? I don’t think so.” . . . Marchand is appealing the suspension. Perhaps the NHL should overturn it and then give him 10 games for stupidity. . . . BTW, this is the NHL-record eighth time Marchand has been suspended. That’s one more time than the retired and nasty Chris Pronger. . . .

It’s just about time for Elon Musk or Richard Branson or one of those other guys who don’t pay taxes to put the guy who is in the ice bath in the garbage can and the gal on the forklift platform into one of their rocket ships and send them to the sun. Please! . . .

The best of the Super Bowl commercials? I would vote for the Chevy ad that featured Meadow and A.J. . . . E.J. Schultz of Ad Age has an excellent story right here on the commercial and its ties to the original opening to The Sopranos. Good stuff.


Moray


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.


Bob

Courneyea gives Opening Ceremony a WOW! . . . Raiders show small profit for 2020-21 thanks to gov’t money . . . Chiefs retire Johnson’s No. 9

Dan Courneyea, our man at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, is there to work as an off-ice official at the hockey venues. But he took time to attend the Opening Ceremony on Friday, writing that “all I can say is WOW! It was AWESOME!” . . . Courneyea, who heads up the Kamloops Blazers’ crew of off-ice officials, is part of the Olympic hockey crew for the third time, having also been at Vancouver in 2010 and PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018. . . . He got his Beijing Games started by working Canada’s 11-1 victory over Switzerland on Thursday, and was back at the NIS today as Canada skated past Finland, 11-1. . . . Before going to the hockey game, Dan sent along some photos from the Opening Ceremony. I am partial to the third one, which provides a proud moment for Canadians. . . . Enjoy!

Ceremony1

Ceremony2

Ceremony3


Despite not playing any home games in what would have been the 2020-21 WHL season, the community-owned Prince Albert Raiders announced a profit Raidersof $25,891 during their annual general meeting on Thursday night.

The pandemic resulted in the WHL’s Manitoba- and Saskatchewan-based teams playing a 24-game schedule a bubble in Regina in the spring of 2021.

At their previous AGM, the Raiders announced a loss of $331,895 for the 2019-20 season. That was when they had $1,074,857 in ticket sales. In 2020-21, the Raiders didn’t have any ticket sales, but did receive a $600,000 grant from the provincial government, as did each of the other four Saskatchewan-based WHL teams.

“That lost revenue was made up for by generosity,” reported Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW. “The Raiders received $1,081,179 in grants, including the $600,000 WHL Support Grant from the Government of Saskatchewan, and $416,111 from the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) along with others.”

His story is right here.

Kyle Kosowan of the Prince Albert Daily Herald reported that the Raiders’ revenue for 2020-21 totalled $515,917, down $1,776,412 from 2019-20.

“The expense total,” Kosowan wrote, ”was nearly $1 million less in 2020-21. Advertising was the largest factor of expenses. Spending just $39,690, that’s a difference of $204,770 from 2019-20. The difference in expenses was $917,347. While revenue generated wasn’t nearly as high, being able to cut down on expenses was a huge game-changer.”

Kosowan’s story is right here.

The WHL has four community-owned teams; all four now have held their AGMs.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who received $668,000 in government funding, showed a profit of $72,250.

The Swift Current Broncos declared a loss of $129,968 after factoring in the $600,000 in provincial government money.

The Moose Jaw Warriors didn’t post a news release on their website, but president Chad Taylor said at the time: “If it wasn’t for the provincial government our balance sheet . . . would look a lot different than it is today. We are still showing a loss. You can’t just recover . . . With no revenues it’s impossible to try and pull a profit out of an organization like this.”

The Warriors lost $391,299 for 2019-20, after losses of $165,145 for 2018-19 and $463,566 for 2016-17. In 2017-18, the Warriors declared a profit of $704,182.


These days, Rick Brodsky mostly hangs his hat in Kelowna, although in non-pandemic times he also spends time in Arizona. Of course, there are times, like now, when you might find him in northern Manitoba, helping nephews get heavy equipment over winter roads and into position to do a big-time construction job. . . . There was a time, though, when he was a prominent WHL owner, first with the Saskatoon Blades, and then the Victoria Cougars, a franchise he would move to Prince George. . . . Hartley Miller, the news supervisor and sports editor for VISTA Radio in Prince George, does a weekly podcast that most often is wrapped around the Cougars. On Thursday, he released Part 1 of a two-part interview with Brodsky, who also is a former chairman of the WHL’s board of governors. . . . It is right here.


Carey


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Spokane Chiefs retired No. 9 on Friday night in honour of  F Tyler Johnson, who put up 128 goals and 154 assists in 266 regular-season games over four seasons (2007-11). Johnson, who is from Spokane, helped the Chiefs win the 2008 Memorial Cup title. He is in his ninth NHL season, the first eight with the Tampa Bay Lightning and this one with the Chicago Blackhawks. However, injuries have limited him to eight games this season.  . . . F Bear Hughes, who had been wearing No. 9, gave his sweater to Johnson and now wears No. 8. . . . Among those in attendance in Spokane was former Chiefs GM Tim Speltz and former head coach Bill Peters, whose final season there was 2007-08. . . . F Ray Whitney is the only other Spokane player to have had his number (14) retired. . . .

The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder and Eric Thurston, the general manager and head coach, have agreed on a contract extension that runs through 2024-25. According to a news release, the contract makes “Eric one of the highest-paid coaches in the AJHL.” No figures were release. He has been with the Thunder since March 13, 2018.


Passwords


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.


Rodent

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