B.C.’s top doc: I don’t see spectators being a large part of the season this year . . . Virus takes big bite out of Raiders . . . Things get worse in QMJHL


If it hasn’t been apparent before, it should be now.

The WHL, which has maintained that its teams can’t/won’t operate without whlbeing allowed to play before crowds of 50 per cent capacity, won’t be playing for a while in B.C., not unless something changes.

Brendan Pawliw, a reported with Vista Radio and mypgnow.com, spoke with Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, on Tuesday.

Here is what Dr. Henry said in regards to attendance at such events as hockey games:

“We have been in ongoing discussions with a number of professional and amateur sports leagues about how to do sports safely, and the challenge we are going to have particularly as we go into the next few months is that we’re not having large groups of people together.

“In B.C., the order around no more than 50 people still stands and I know that the WHL and the BCHL are very dependent on gate receipts to keep the league going. But it is just very dangerous during this pandemic to have people in that type of an environment, so I don’t see spectators being a large part of the season this year.

“I know that’s a difficult thing for these leagues and I know the government is looking at how we can support these leagues or postpone seasons until we have something like a vaccine, so it’s still ongoing . . . very concerning and challenging discussions.”

That entire interview is right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders, who won the WHL championship in 2018-19, held their annual general meeting on Wednesday night and announced they had lost Raiders50$331,895 in 2019-20, quite a difference from a year ago when they revealed a profit of $633,314.

The WHL has four community-owned teams that are required to hold AGMs and release their financial statements.

Late last month, the Swift Current Broncos announced a loss of $791,000 for the abbreviated 2019-20 season, while the Moose Jaw Warriors dropped $391,299.

I will do the math for you . . . the three Saskatchewan-based community-owned teams combined to lose $1,514,194.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, the WHL’s fourth community-owned team, is to hold their AGM sometime in November.

Prior to their championship season, the Raiders had shown losses totalling $806,571 in four of five seasons; the exception being a profit of $3,892 in 2015-16.

When the 2019-20 season was halted, the Raiders were 36-18-10 and had clinched first place in the East Division. They had two home games remaining and may well have had a deep playoff run in their future. Their average attendance also was up 27 over the previous season, meaning the championship love affair in that city still was in full bloom.

The pandemic short-circuited any kind of playoff run, though, and the results of that were evident on Wednesday night.

In explaining the loss, Gord Broda, the Raiders’ president, mentioned a couple of things that were pandemic-related. The Memorial Cup, which was to have been played in Kelowna, was cancelled, taking with it a revenue-sharing plan that included WHL teams. With the season ending prematurely, Sportsnet didn’t have to fulfil the financial aspects of its contract with the CHL.

There also was the matter of a minimum wage-related class-action lawsuit that the CHL chose to settle for $30 million. The Raiders say they had to pay $166,667 as their share of the settlement. Interstingly, the Warriors, at their AGM, said their share of that settlement was $180,846. (BTW, that settlement, while agreed to by the parties involved, hasn’t yet been approved by the court.)

“If you take those things out of the equation,” Broda told Lucas Punkari of the Prince Albert Daily Herald, “we would have had another season in the black.”

Punkari’s story is right here.

Trevor Redden also covered the meeting, for panow.com, and his story is right here.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The QMJHL appears to have lost another team at least until the end of October. The Drummondville Voltigeurs play out of a region that is being declared a red zone by the provincial government, which means suspending play until at least month’s end. . . . The Voltigeurs are expected to play two weekend games — tonight and Saturday against the visiting Val-d’Or Huskies — and then shut things down. . . . The same thing has happened to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and Quebec Remparts. . . . Meanwhile, the Sherbrooke Phoenix has been hit by at least eight positive tests after playing a weekend doubleheader agains the Armada, which has had 18 positives. The Phoenix also has shut down operations indefinitely.

With officials in the Saskatchewan government having approved return-to-play guidelines the SJHL has the OK to begin exhibition games on Oct. 17 and start its regular season on Nov. 1. . . . The Regina Leader-Post has more on the province’s return to play right here.

The NFL’s Tennessee Titans reported two more positive tests on Thursday, bringing the total to 25, and there were reports that the NFL and NFLPA are looking into multiple instances of players taking part in unauthorized workouts. Once the positive tests started coming in, the team was ordered to shut down everything. Apparently, some players held workouts away from the team’s facility. . . . With the Titans’ facility still closed on Thursday, the NFL moved Sunday’s game with the visiting Buffalo Bills to Tuesday night. Of course, that is only if there aren’t more positives with the Titans. . . . The Bills were scheduled to play the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 15, but that game will go to Oct. 18, as long as the Buffalo-Tennessee game doesn’t get postponed again. . . .

Les Miles, the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks football team, has tested positive. Miles, 66, found out Thursday and is in self-isolation. . . . Kansas is next scheduled to play on Oct 17 when it visits West Virginia. . . .

The New England Small College Athletic Conference, which includes 11 NCAA Division III schools, has cancelled its winter season. The conference said the decision by NESCAC presidents was unanimous. . . . The schools involved are Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Connecticut College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, Wesleyan University and Williams College. . . .

St. Francis Xavier University, which is located in Antigonish, N.S., “has suspended all varsity practices and training privileges for two weeks after some student-athletes attended a Saturday off-campus party that exceeded more than 50 people,” reports Glenn MacDonald of the Halifax Chronicle Herald. . . . Leo MacPherson, the school’s director of athletics and recreation, said “there were a number of athletes from a number of teams present . . . in numbers greater than allowed by the public health authority guidelines.” . . . The complete story is right here. . . .

NBC New York reported Thursday night that The Broadway League is to announce today that the theatres will remain closed through May 30, 2021. Broadway performances have been shut down since March 12.


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Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Hicke, Delorme into Sask. Hockey Hall . . . Gawdin to top of points derby . . . Blades win, get breathing room

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The late Bill Hicke, a former player, owner, general manager and coach with the Regina Pats, will be one of the inductees into the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. . . . The names of the inductees were revealed Saturday night in Swift Current, where the Credit Union iPlex is home to the Hall of Fame. . . . The induction dinner is scheduled for July 7 at the iPlex. . . . Also being inducted as players are Hayley Wickenheiser of Shaunavon, Sask., who won four Olympic gold medals with Canada’s women’s team; and Vancouver Canucks’ chief amateur scout Ron Delorme, who played with the Swift Current/Lethbridge Broncos before going on to a pro career. . . . The late Kelly Lovering will be inducted as a builder, with Lyle Wilhelm going in as an official. . . . Larry Johnson and the late Dennis Loeppky will be inducted in the grassroots category. . . . The 1987-88 Notre Dame Hounds, who won the Canadian junior A title, will go into the team category.


If you like what you see here, please consider clicking on the DONATE button over there to the right and helping the cause.

If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.

And don’t forget that the domain name here is greggdrinnan.com.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Victoria

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Kelowna


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Calgary, F Conner Chaulk’s second goal of the game, at 18:12 of the third period, gave the Hitmen a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Calgary (17-31-7) had lost its Calgaryprevious two games (0-1-1). . . . Medicine Hat (28-23-7) had won its previous two games. It leads the Central Division by seven points over Lethbridge, which now holds four games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat held a 20-10 edge in first-period shots but managed only a 1-0 lead, that on a goal from D David Quenneville, at 9:41. . . . Calgary took a 2-1 lead on goals by D Dakota Krebs (2), at 5:33 of the second period, and F Carson Focht, at 6:52. . . . The Tigers came back with two goals of their own, from F Ryan Jevne, on a PP, at 9:08, and F Bryan Lockner (10), at 18:59. . . . The Hitmen took a 4-3 lead as Focht (9) scored at 7:25 and Chaulk got his first at 10:09. . . . F Mark Rassell (45) pulled the Tigers into a tie at 14:25. . . . Chaulk won it with his 13th goal of the season. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from F Luke Coleman. . . . Rassell, Lockner and Quenneville had an assist each for the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-4 on the PP; Calgary was 0-1. . . . The Hitmen got 44 stops from G Nick Schneider. . . . Tigers G Michael Bullion, who was coming off back-to-back shutouts, turned aside 42 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 7,468.


At Prince Albert, F Glenn Gawdin had a goal and two assists to take over the WHL scoring lead as he helped the Swift Current Broncos to a 5-4 victory over the Raiders. . . . SCBroncosSwift Current (40-13-4) has won four in a row. It is second in the East Division, three points behind Moose Jaw, which has three games in hand. The Broncos last enjoyed at least 40 victories in a season in 2008-09 when they finished 41-24-7. Last season they finished 39-23-10. . . . Prince Albert (22-23-11) has lost three straight. It now is four points out of a playoff spot. . . . Both teams were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. The Broncos went (3-0-0); the Raiders were (0-3-0). The Broncos had beaten the visiting Raiders 5-1 on Friday. . . . Swift Current took a 1-0 lead at 3:25 of the first period when F Andrew Fyten scored. . . . F Nikita Krivokrasov (2) tied it at 7:33. . . . Fyten (9) put the visitors back ahead at 17:41, only to have F Jordy Stallard (37) tie it, on a PP, at 19:22. . . . The Raiders took a 3-2 lead at 1:59 of the second period on a goal by F Kody McDonald. . . . The Broncos followed with three straight goals. Gawdin (48) scored, on a PP, at 4:23. D Josh Anderson (3) scored at 9:33, and F Tyler Steenbergen (39) made it 5-3 at 11:36. . . . Gawdin drew assists on each of the last two goals. . . . The Raiders tied it on goals from McDonald (28), on a PP, at 4:54, and F Cole Fonstad (17), at 13:18. . . . F Max Patterson won it with his eighth goal at 15:58. . . . Gawdin now has 104 points, two more than Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke. . . . The Broncos got two assists from F Beck Malenstyn, with Patterson and Steenbergen each getting one. . . . Stallard added two assists to his goal for the home side, with Fonstad getting one. . . . The Raiders were 2-3 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-5. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 23 shots for Swift Current. . . . The Raiders started G Ian Scott, who allowed five goals on 16 shots in 31:36. Curtis Meger finished up by stopping 12 of 13 shots in 26:21. . . . The Raiders were without F Parker Kelly, who drew a TBD suspension for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct during Saturday’s 6-3 loss in Saskatoon. Each was scratched from the Blades game on Sunday. . . . F Tanner Nagel was scratched from the Broncos’ lineup after leaving Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury. . . The Broncos are 6-1-0 in the season series; the Raiders are 1-4-2. . . . Announced attendance: 1,824.


At Saskatoon, F Michael Farren scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give the Blades a 2-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Saskatoon (28-26-3) has won two in a row. It Saskatoonholds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points behind Regina and four ahead of Prince Albert. . . . The Blades have matched last season’s victory total when they finished 28-35-9. . . . Regina (29-23-6) is fourth in the East Division, one point behind Brandon. . . . Regina went 1-1-1 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. The Blades also played three times in fewer than 48 hours, going 2-1-0. . . . D Logan Christensen (3) gave the Blades a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:12 of the first period. . . . Regina tied it at 3:25 of the third period when F Matt Bradley (33) scored, on a PP. . . . Regina was 1-5 on the PP; Saskatoon was 1-6. . . . The Blades got 38 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 28 shots for the Pats. . . . The Pats were without G Ryan Kubic (ill) for a second straight game, so had Jacob Wasserman of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos backing up. . . . F Kirby Dach was among Saskatoon’s scratches. He took a hit from behind from Prince Albert F Parker Kelly on Saturday night. . . . Saskatoon leads the season series, 5-2-0. Meanwhile, Regina is 2-2-3. . . . Announced attendance: 3,647.


At Portland, the Winterhawks scored three third-period goals to erase a 3-2 deficit and beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-3. . . . Portland (35-18-4) has won five in a row. It is Portlandsecond in the Western Conference, two points behind Everett and two ahead of Victoria. . . . Seattle (27-20-8) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It and Tri-City are tied for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . On Saturday, the visiting Winterhawks beat the Thunderbirds, 4-1. . . . On Sunday, both teams played three games in fewer than 48 hours — Seattle went 0-2-1, while Portland was 3-0-0. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (13) gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead at 4:48 of the first period. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld tied it, shorthanded, at 13:16. . . . Seattle D Turner Ottenbreit (7) gave his guys a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 19:11. . . . F Lane Gilliss (4) pulled Portland back into a tie at 15:30 of the second period. . . . The Thunderbirds went back out front at 19:00 when F Matthew Wedman (13) scored on a PP. . . . F Ryan Hughes (11) tied it at 8:48 of the third period, and F Alex Overheard (13) put Portland ahead, 4-3, at 13:02. . . . Blichfeld, who also had an assist, added insurance with his 20th goal, into an empty net, at 19:40. . . . Portland got two assists from each of D Dennis Cholowski and F Jake Gricius. . . . D Austin Strand had two assists for Seattle, while Ottenbreit added one to his goal. Ottenbreit, 20, has a career-high 34 points, two more than last season. Last season, he had career highs in goals (7) and assists (25). This season, he has seven goals and 27 assists. . . . Seattle was 2-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-4. . . . G Shane Farkas stopped 19 shots for Portland, while Seattle’s Dorrin Luding turned aside 31. . . . Portland is 6-0-2 in the season series; Seattle is 2-5-1. . . . Announced attendance: 6,122.


At Spokane, the Silvertips built up a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Everett (36-17-4) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It leads the Western EverettConference by two points over Portland. . . . Spokane (30-20-5) had points in each of its previous 10 games (8-0-2). It is third in the U.S. Division, nine points behind Portland and three ahead of Settle and Tri-City. . . . These two teams also were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. Everett went 2-0-1, including a 2-1 OT loss to the visiting Chiefs on Friday. Spokane finished the hectic weekend at 2-1-0). . . . F Spencer Gerth (5) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 17:11 of the second period, and F Riley Sutter (22) upped it to 2-0 at 19:00. . . . F Connor Dewar (29) made it 3-0 at 12:32 of the third period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (33) got Spokane on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 13:10, and F Kailer Yamamoto (13) made it a one-goal game at 17:07. . . . Yamamoto also had an assist. . . . Spokane was 1-4 on the PP; Everett was 0-4. . . . The Silvertips got 24 stops from G Dustin Wolf. At the other end, Donovan Buskey blocked 18. . . . Everett leads the season series, 5-2-1; the Chiefs are 3-4-1. . . . Announced attendance: 5,219.


MONDAY (all times local):

Lethbridge vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 2 p.m.

Edmonton at Kamloops, 2 p.m.

Red Deer at Prince George, 2 p.m.

Victoria at Kelowna, 2:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY