QMJHL looking at two options; WHL may push start into February . . . Nachbaur leaves Swiss team

The QMJHL, which announced Monday that its season is on hold until January, has a couple of options for when it resumes, but Gilles Courteau, the qmjhlnewcommissioner, says quitting isn’t one of them. . . .The QMJHL began its regular season on Oct. 2. By the time December is over, it will have postponed 161 of 253 scheduled games. . . . As Ken Campbell of The Hockey News wrote: “Like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who gradually has his limbs chopped off and insists they’re merely flesh wounds, the QMJHL vows to forge on.” . . . As things now sit, the QMJHL players are going home for Christmas, then will return to their teams on Jan. 3. If travel is allowed in the four provinces in which the QMJHL has franchises, the teams will resume playing on Jan. 6, but in empty arenas. The other option is to play in a bubble — or, as Courteau calls them, “protected environments.” That type of resumption would begin on Jan. 22. . . . So could the WHL or OHL end up in some kind of bubble environment? Well, the WHL, which has said it will open its regular season on Jan. 8, apparently is on the verge of shifting that date into February. The OHL is aiming for Feb. 4. . . . According to John Shannon in the above tweet, the WHL pooh-bahs were to meet on Tuesday. . . . Of course, as Campbell points out, the QMJHL is playing to a certain extent, with taxpayers’ money. “It’s much easier to stem those wounds when you have $20 million in taxpayer money propping up your business,” Campbell wrote in a piece that is right here.


Dr. Anthony Fauci may not be No. 1 on the White House’s hit parade, but he remains the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He also is the go-to person in terms of COVID-19. . . . Henry Bushnell of yahoo!sports went to him on Monday and was told that we are months — yes, months! — away from seeing sports stadiums and arenas filled to capacity. . . . That story is right here and there is lots in it to digest, including this from Dr. Fauci:

“We’re gonna be vaccinating the highest-priority people (from) the end of December through January, February, March. By the time you get to the general public, the people who’ll be going to the basketball games, who don’t have any underlying conditions, that’s gonna be starting the end of April, May, June. So it probably will be well into the end of the summer before you can really feel comfortable (with full sports stadiums) — if a lot of people get vaccinated. I don’t think we’re going to be that normal in July. I think it probably would be by the end of the summer.”


Plague


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Fines totalling more than $180,000 were issued to COVID-19 rule breakers in the last week, the government of Manitoba says.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 181 new cases of COVID-19, 4 more deaths and 237 recoveries. The province now has 8,745 total cases, 51 deaths, 3,819 active cases and 4,875 recoveries.

Marc Smith, CTV News: For the third time in nine days, Saskatchewan has reported four COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours. More people have died in the last 25 days than did in 240 days prior.

CBC News: Alberta reports 10 more COVID-19 deaths, 1,307 new cases. November was by far the worst month of the pandemic, so far.

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: 656 cases, 16 deaths (457), 336 hospital (+20), 76 ICU (+1), 8796 active cases, 10123 self-isolation.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 1,707 new cases of COVID-19. That sends the 7-day average to 1,666, the highest since the pandemic began. There are 727 new cases in Toronto (also a record high) with 373 in Peel and 168 in York. 7 additional deaths are also reported.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 28 additional deaths and 1,177 new COVID-19 cases. That’s a decrease from the province’s previous 7-day average of 1,309.

CBC News: Quebec’s plan to allow people to gather over the Christmas period may be scrapped, given the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Premier François Legault said Tuesday.

KOMO News: Washington state reported over 2,100 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. In total, the Washington State Department of Health reported 2,197 new COVID-19 cases and 31 more deaths due to the virus. The latest surge pushes the statewide total since the start of the pandemic to 167,216 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 10,920 hospitalizations and 2,774 deaths.

oregonlive.com: 1,233 cases, record 24 reported deaths as state hits ‘grim milestone.’

CBC News: U.S. reported 4.2 million COVID-19 cases in November, as hopes rest on vaccine. Number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 hit record high of nearly 93,000 on Sunday.

Seattle Times: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the ban on nonessential travel with the United States will not be lifted until COVID-19 is significantly more under control around the world.

The New York Times: California has long had one of the nation’s lowest number of hospital beds relative to its population. Now officials say that shortfall may prove catastrophic as the state faces another coronavirus surge, with an average of nearly 15,000 new cases a day.

——

Curling Canada announced Tuesday that it plans on playing the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Tim Hortons Brier, world men’s championship and Canadian mixed doubles in a bubble environment at the Mackin MacPhail Centre in Calgary. Dates for the events have yet to be announced. . . . The Brier had been scheduled for Kelowna, a city that also lost out when the 2020 Memorial Cup tournament was cancelled last spring. . . . The Scotties was to have been held in Thunder Bay, which now will play host in 2022, from Jan. 28 through Feb. 6. . . . The world men’s had been scheduled for Ottawa. . . .

It would seem that the coronavirus can’t wait for NBA teams to open their buffets, er, training camps. The Golden State Warriors have had to push back the opening of their camp by a day after two players tested positive. . . . The NBA completed its 2019-20 season in a bubble in Orlando, Fla., proving that teams can do so without positive tests. Now, however, it is planning on opening its 2020-21 season without putting teams in bubbles. And it is going to be interesting to watch developments. . . . The Warriors will hold individual player workouts today, and hope to start practices on Monday. . . . Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards have had one player test positive, while C Mo Bamba of the Orlando Magic, a 22-year-old who tested positive on June 11, isn’t yet ready to return. . . .

The Baltimore Ravens flew into Pittsburgh on Tuesday evening in advance of meeting the Steelers this afternoon. The Ravens got on the plane despite experiencing two more positive tests on Wednesday — one player, reportedly S Geno Stone, and one staff member. . . . This afternoon’s game had been scheduled to be played last Thursday. It was rescheduled for Sunday and then Tuesday after the Ravens experienced more than a dozen positives. It is to be televised by NBC. . . .

Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One driving champion, has tested positive and will miss Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain. Hamilton tested negative three times last week, but woke up Monday with mild symptoms and tested positive. He took a second test and it, too, was positive. Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday before becoming ill.


Milkshakes


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.




JUST NOTES: Don Nachbaur, the third winningest head coach in WHL regular-season history, has resigned as the head coach of SC Bern of the Swiss National League due to personal reasons. He was replaced by Mario Kogler, an Austrian who is the club’s U-20 coach. . . . The ECHL has yet to receive a franchise application for Trois-Rivières, Que., but the city and Deacon Sports and Entertainment have agreed on a five-year least for a team to play in a new arena that is being built there.


Poll

AJHL, QMJHL, PJHL teams have positives . . . B.C. leagues awaiting clarification on travel restrictions . . . USHL moves more games

Coming Friday: Part 2 of a look back at the history of the WHL.


The AJHL revealed Thursday that “a member of the Canmore Eagles has tested ajhlpositive for COVID-19.” . . . According to a four-sentence news release, the team has activated the required protocols, schedule adjustments will be made, and “for privacy reasons, no further comments will be provided.” . . . Four minutes after the AJHL released the news, the Olds Grizzlys tweeted that “our games this weekend vs the Drumheller Dragons now are cancelled.” They were to have played in Drumheller on Friday and in Olds on Saturday. . . . In their last game, the Eagles beat the Dragons, 6-3, in Drumheller on Saturday night. . . . According to the AJHL schedule, Canmore’s games scheduled for Nov. 27 (vs. Brooks Bandits) and Nov. 28 (at Brooks) have been “cancelled.”


The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs have had a staff member come up positive so qmjhlnewhave suspended “team in-person activities.” . . . According to the team, “players and staff now will be isolated” and “members of the organization who have been in contact with the infected person will be tested.” . . . The Cape Breton Eagles, who played the visiting Sea Dogs on Wednesday night, won’t play again until public health officials have completed their investigation. According to the Sea Dogs, the infected person didn’t travel with the team to Wednedsay’s game. . . . All told, the QMJHL has had to postpone five games through Nov. 25. . . . There is a news release right here.


Protip


The Fort Knox junior B team that plays in the Prairie Junior Hockey League announced Thursday that “an individual within” its organization has tested positive. As it awaits directions from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the team has postponed its Friday-Saturday home-and-home series with the Regina Capitals. . . . Fort Knox plays out of Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.


With the B.C. government and health officials having announced increased BCHLtravel restrictions on Friday, the BCHL has decided to cancel its weekend exhibition games as it awaits what it calls “further clarification.” . . . The one game scheduled for Friday — the Merritt Centennials were in Cranbrook to play the Bucks — was played. . . . The league has three Saturday games on its schedule, along with one on Sunday. . . . The BCHL has been aiming for a Dec. 1 start to its new season. However, the new travel restrictions are to run through at least Dec. 7. . . . Late Thursday, it seemed that the junior B leagues in the province also were awaiting further clarification on the impact these restrictions will have. It could be that one part of Thursday’s edict — “no spectators and no travel outside your community for sports games” — may not have meant what the words would seem to mean. Yes, we’re talking about mixed messages.


Thanksgiving


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

CBC News: Manitoba reports 8 more coronavirus deaths and 475 new cases. That’s the province’s 3rd-highest daily total during the pandemic, and raises the 7-day average to 386. Manitoba also has a 14% test positivity rate, the highest in the country.

680 CJOB Winnipeg: The Manitoba government is adding teeth to province-wide COVID-19 restrictions, banning gatherings at private residences and limiting retail sales to essential items only.

CBC News: Saskatchewan reports 98 new COVID-19 cases, lowest in 6 days and significantly below the province’s previous 7-day average of 175.

CBC News: With 1,105 new COVID-19 cases, Alberta sets another single-day record. Eight more people died from the disease, four in Edmonton and four in Calgary.

Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW: Alberta sets another daily record with 1,105 new COVID-19 cases. . . . Active cases in Red Deer sit at 110 (up one).

CBC News: B.C. reports 538 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 more death.

BC Government News: Mandatory mask mandate for workers & customers in indoor public & retail spaces – & in workplace common areas; no events or social gatherings with anyone outside your household or core bubble (if you live alone); COVID-19 travel advisory in BC: essential travel only; spin classes, hot yoga, and high-intensity interval training are suspended; no spectators — and no travel outside your community — for sports games.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 28 additional deaths due to COVID-19 and 1,210 new cases. That’s lower than the previous 7-day average, which drops to 1,365 from 1,418. 361 of the new cases are in Peel Region, 346 in Toronto and 143 in York Region.

CBC News: 34 additional COVID-19 deaths are being reported in Quebec along with 1,207 new cases. That drops the province’s 7-day average for new cases to 1,221 from 1,243.

CBC News: New COVID-19 case confirmed in Whitehorse as Yukon imposes travel restrictions; everyone except critical services workers now required to self-isolate for 14 days when entering territory.

CBC News: 4 new COVID-19 cases detected in Nunavut. 3 are in Arviat, an isolated fly-in community on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay; that brings the number there to 57. Across the territory, which is now in a 2-week lockdown, there are 74 cases.

The New York Times: Our survey of more than 1,900 U.S. colleges and universities has revealed more than 321,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with most of them announced since students returned to campus for the fall term.

The New York Times: New coronavirus infections in Europe appear to be slowing for the first time in months, the WHO said on Thursday. Restrictions re-imposed late last month on businesses and public gatherings appear to be working, and schools have generally remained open.

CBC News: Sweden’s health agency says a number of people who work in the mink industry tested positive for COVID-19. Authorities are analyzing the virus from the infected people and from infected minks to see if there is a link between the strains.

——

The USHL continues to have problems trying to play its schedule. A news release from the league on Thursday revealed that Waterloo Black Hawks games against the Lincoln Stars (Nov. 20 and 25), Des Moines Buccaneers (Nov. 21), Dubuque Fighting Saints (Nov. 26) and Green Bay Gamblers (Nov. 28) “have been declared No Contests.” . . . Lincoln’s Nov. 18 game against the Tri-City Storm also “has been declared a No Contest.” . . . From the release: “Per league safety protocols, minimum standards were not met to play these upcoming games.” . . .

WR J.J. Arecega-Whiteside of the Philadelphia Eagles tested positive and is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, along with close contacts WR John Hightower and WR Deontary Burnett. The Eagles are to play the host Cleveland Browns on Sunday. . . .

The San Francisco 49ers placed OL Hroniss Grasu and LB Joe Walker on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. They join DL Arik Armstead, who tested positive, and DT Javon Kinlaw who were added earlier in the week. . . . The 49ers have a bye this week. . . .

Yahoo!Sports reports: “As of Thursday afternoon, 15 games scheduled for Week 12 of the college football season have been canceled or postponed because of coronavirus cases. There have been 40 games either canceled or postponed over the past three weeks of the season as virus cases have surged across the country.” . . . That includes a scheduled game between Maryland and Michigan State. Maryland wasn’t able to play last weekend against No. 3 Ohio State because of eight positive tests. On Thursday, Maryland said that number over the past week is up to 15. . . . On top of that, there are seven Maryland staff members, including head coach Mike Locksley, who have tested positive. . . . Also cancelled on Thursday was a Mountain West game between the Fresno State Bulldogs, who have had at least one positive test, and the visiting San Jose State Spartans. . . .

Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, 83, has tested positive. He also is a former ESPN football analyst. . . . You may recall that it was Holtz in August who, in explaining why he thought college football should get on with playing, said: “When they stormed Normandy, they knew that there were going to be casualties, there was gonna be risk. Two percent of the people that go to the emergency room go for COVID-19. But young people . . . they think it’s like cancer. They think they’re gonna die.” . . .

The DePaul men’s basketball team is pausing all team activities, according to the Chicago-based school, “following positive COVID-19 test results among its Tier 1 group.” The team’s first three games of a new season — scheduled for Nov. 25, 28 and Dec. 1 — have been cancelled. . . .

Juan Domingo Roldan, who three times challenged for the world middleweight boxing title, died on Wednesday of COVID-19. He was 63 when he died in his hometown of San Francisco, Argentina. In the 1980s, he lost title bouts to Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Michael Nunn.



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.


CHL lawsuit settlement rejected by two judges . . . Third QMJHL team has positive test . . . NHL postpones two events

It was May 17 when the CHL announced that it had agreed to a $30-million settlement in a class-action lawsuit that had been brought against it. The lawsuit asked that teams be forced to pay their plays minimum wage.

Under terms of the settlement, the CHL would pay out $30 million by Oct. 20, 2020, with no legal obligation to treat players as employees.CHL

Two WHL teams, the Moose Jaw Warriors and Prince Albert Raiders, told shareholders at their annual general meetings that they had paid $180,846 and $166,667, respectively, as their parts of the settlement.

Well . . . it turns out that the lawsuit is anything but settled; in fact, it is very much alive.

On Thursday, two judges rejected the settlement.

According to Rick Westhead of TSN, Madam Justice Chantal Corriveau, a Quebec judge, “wrote the settlement terms were overly broad and may give the CHL too much protection from liability for conduct that falls outside the claims alleged in this case.”

Westhead added, via Twitter, that the judge “suggested sides file new settlement with amended terms and noted in her decision the CHL faces at least 3 other legal cases — a proposed class action over concussions, and other cases involving alleged abuse and violation of anti-competition laws.”

Meanwhile, Westhead reported, Ontario Justice Paul Perell “also rejected the minimum-wage lawsuit settlement, saying if it was approved, it might prevent current/former players from suing the CHL in other class actions for compensation for significant injuries.”

Westhead added that “Justice Perell wants a renegotiation of the settlement agreement and seems to take issue with how much money lawyers working on the case were to collect.”

In his decision, Perell wrote: “In the immediate case, Class Counsel had far more to gain ($9M) than the $8,381 net recovery of a class member . . .”


The QMJHL has had a third team hit with a positive test for the coronavirus. qmjhlnewThis time the Drummondville Voltigeurs had a player test positive, so all in-person activities have been halted while other players and staff are tested. . . . The league’s Quebec-based teams have been in a holding pattern since Oct. 14 because of rising numbers in the province. Activities have been halted until at least Oct. 28. . . . Earlier this month, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada had 18 positives, with the Sherbrooke Phoenix being hit with eight. The teams had met in a doubleheader on the regular season’s first weekend. Two on-ice officials who worked in those games also tested positive.


Cheese


With the WHL and its teams focussed on opening their regular season on Jan. 8, Saskatoonthe Saskatoon Blades are exploring a number of seating plans for their home games, all of them with the assumption that they will be allowed to have fans in attendance. The unknown, of course, is just how many fans will be at their home-opener, whenever that may come. . . . Ryan Flaherty of Global-TV Saskatoon checked in with Tyler Wawryk, the Blades’ director of business operations, and that piece is right here.


Former WHLer JC Lipon is spending this season with the KHL’s Dinamo Riga, meaning his home base is in Latvia. From Regina, Lipon spent four seasons (2010-13) with the Kamloops Blazers before ending up in the Winnipeg Jets’ organization. So how did he end up in Riga? . . . Read all about it, in his own words, right here.


Congrats


The Ukrainian Hockey League began its 2019-20 season on Sept. 14, 2019; it ended it on Tuesday when HK Kremenchuk won the championship, beating Bily Bars, 3-2 in OT, in Game 7 of the final series. When Kremenchuk captain Nikolai Kiselyov scored the winner on a PP, it was the first time his team held the lead in Game 7. . . . As for the 2020-21 season, well, it’s scheduled to get started next week. . . . Andy Potts has more right here.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NHL has postponed its 2021 Winter Classic and All-Star Game. The Winter Classic had been scheduled for Jan. 1 at Target Field in Minneapolis, with the All-Star Game in Sunrise, Fla., on Jan. 30. . . . The NHL continues to have a target date of Jan. 1 for the start of its next regular season. . . .

In what we used to see as normal times, more than 250,000 people would file through Macy’s store in New York City every Christmas just to visit with Santa Claus. That won’t happen this time because, for the first time in 160 years, Mr. Claus won’t be there. Yes, this grinchy pandemic has claimed another tradition. . . . There is more on that story right here. . . .

Emily Potter, a pro basketball player from Winnipeg, has tested positive in the Czech Republic where she plays for KP Brno. Potter, 25, attend the U of Utah and is involved in the Canadian national women’s team program. She tested positive this week with the league already shut down following a nationwide lockdown. So far, the head coach, a manager and two of her teammates also have tested positive. . . . Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun has her story right here. . . .

Massachusetts’ Public Health Department has shut down indoor arenas and skating facilities for two weeks due to rising coronavirus cases. Kaitlin McKlnley Becker of NBC Boston reported that “health officials say the order is in response to multiple COVID-19 clusters occurring at rinks throughout the state following games, practices and tournaments. . . . In Massachusetts, there have been at least 30 clusters of COVID-19 associated with organized ice hockey activities involving residents from more than 60 municipalities. Each of these includes two or more confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases, totalling 108 confirmed cases.” . . . The shutdown doesn’t impact collegiate or professional hockey. . . .

In a cost-cutting measure brought on by the pandemic, Michigan State said Thursday that it will drop men’s and women’s swimming and men’s and women’s diving after the 2020-21 season. . . .

The NFL may be on the verge of moving another game. The Las Vegas Raiders have moved two OL to the COVID-19 list, so many not have enough eligible for Sunday’s scheduled game against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rules call for teams to dress eight OL per game. At the moment, the Raiders only have seven available. . . . The game already has been moved once. It was to have been played Sunday night, but the NFL moved it to the late afternoon slot the Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals to the night game. The NFL wants to guarantee that there is a game for Sunday Night Football.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers have signed D Gianni Fairbrother, 20, who played the past three seasons with the Everett Silvertips. From North Vancouver, B.C., he was a third-round pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2019 NHL draft. . . . Mark Readman has joined the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League as assistant general manager and assistant coach. Readman, 25, spent last season as head coach of the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks of the junior B Northwest Junior Hockey League. In Creston, he will work alongside GM/head coach Bill Rotheisler.


Perfect

Bedard makes Swedish debut with HK71 . . . Blades’ coach really (new) hip guy . . . Beyak ready to get back to work

F Connor Bedard, who turned 15 on July 17, is expected to play for the Regina HV71Pats when/if a WHL season gets started in January. In the meantime, he’s playing for HV71, which is based in Jönköping, in Sweden’s U-20 league. Bedard played his first game in Sweden on Wednesday, going pointless in a 2-1 loss to Färjestad. . . .

Dave Struch, the Pats’ head coach and assistant general manager, told Taking Note that they released Bedard to HV71 “with the understanding that he will be back to us when we get going.”

The WHL has said it will open its regular season on Jan. 8.

“We have been in regular communication with Connor, his agent (Newport Sports Management) and HV71,” Struch said. “We have built a good relationship that we hope will benefit Connor’s development.”

Bedard was granted exceptional status that allows him to play regularly with the Pats at 15 years of age. He is the first WHL player to be given such status. Following that declaration, the Pats selected him with the first overall pick of the 2020 bantam draft, then signed him to a contract.


The break in the WHL schedule couldn’t have come at a better time for at least Saskatoonone head coach. Mitch Love of the Saskatoon Blades is about 14 weeks removed from having a hip replaced. “The hip is coming along. Sure glad I did it this offseason,” Love, 36, told Taking Note on Wednesday night. Love, who is preparing for his third season as the Blades’ head coach, has been on skates once since the surgery. But, as he said, “I’ll be active on it soon enough.” . . . Love also is an assistant coach with Canada’s national junior team, as is Michael Dyck, the head coach of the Vancouver Giants. André Tourigny, the head coach of the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s, is Canada’s head coach.


Playoffs


Dennis Beyak says it will be great to get back to work.

Beyak, one of TSN’s hockey play-by-play voices, will be spending part of JetsTSNDecember and January in an Edmonton bubble working the 2021 World Junior Championship.

The fun gets underway on Dec. 20 as TSN televises two exhibition games to kickoff a 10-game pre-tournament schedule. That will include a pair of Canadian games — versus Sweden on Dec. 21 and Russia on Dec. 23 — and two featuring Team USA — vs. Switzerland on Dec. 20 and Finland on Dec. 22.

The 10-team tournament starts for real on Dec. 25, one day earlier than it normally would. This is because all games will be played on the same ice surface ice surface. In order to accomplish, the schedule includes four days with three games each and two with four, including Jan. 2 when all four quarterfinals will be featured.

Canada opens on Dec. 26 against Germany, then meets Slovakia on Dec. 27, Switzerland on Dec. 29 and Finland on Dec. 31.

There aren’t any games scheduled for New Year’s Day, with quarterfinals on Jan. 2 and semifinals on Jan. 3. The third-place game is on Jan. 5 at 2:30 p.m. PT (5:30 p.m. ET) with the championship game to follow at 6:30 p.m. PT (9:30 p.m. ET). Yes, the good folks in the east will have to stay up past their bedtime to see the title decided.

Beyak and Gord Miller, as usual, will handle play-by-play duties. Miller, of course, gets lots of exposure, but Beyak, who is the TV voice of the Winnipeg Jets, is one of hockey’s best play-by-play secrets. Beyak did 60 TV games for the Jets last season; he hasn’t worked since March 12 when the Jets beat the host Edmonton Oilers, 4-2.

Yes, he’ll be ready to go by Dec. 20.

The complete WJC schedule is right here.

BTW, if you’re a veteran WHL follower you may remember Beyak as the play-by-play voice of the Flin Flon Bombers and later the Saskatoon Blades and Victoria Cougars. He also worked as the Blades’ assistant general manager and even did stints as the general manager of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Tri-City Americans.


F Keegan Kolesar played four seasons (2013-17) with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, and now is with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. In fact, he was with them in the Edmonton bubble as they skated in the NHL playoffs, and he signed a one-year, two-way contract earlier this week. . . . But while Kolesar was with the Golden Knights, his father, Charles Peterson, died after a battle with the coronavirus. A former pro baseball player who had turned to scouting, he was 46. . . . Carter Brooks of fullpresshockey.com has that story right here.


Secret


The BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild will scrimmage twice in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, this Wenatcheeweek, on Thursday and Friday, and then again on Nov. 6 and 7, and Nov. 13 and 14. At the moment, at least eight WHLers are scheduled to participate — F Bear Hughes and F Erik Atchison of the Spokane Chiefs; F Mekai Sanders of the Seattle Thunderbirds; G James Porter Jr., who has played with the Kelowna Rockets and Spokane; D Luke Gallagher, who played with the Chiefs but is ticketed to the Wild this season; F Jack Lambert, who played four games with the Everett Silvertips last season; F Sal Collora, who got into five games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes last season; and Everett G Braden Holt. . . . The Wild are taking their show to Idaho for scrimmages because Washington state health regulations at the moment don’t allow 5-on-5 games with contact.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Some headlines from Wednesday:

Global News: For the first time, B.C. has recorded more than 200 cases of COVID-19 in a single day.

CBC News: Alberta broke two COVID-19 records on Wednesday, for the most new cases in a single day, 406, and for the most active cases.

CBC Saskatchewan: COVID-19 in Sask: 57 new cases reported Wednesday, 3rd largest daily bump of pandemic.

CBC News: Manitoba posts 3rd-highest daily increase in COVID-19 cases, with 135 on Wednesday.

KOMO News: The Washington State Department of Health reported 720 new COVID-19 cases, 25 additional hospitalizations and four more deaths due to the virus.

KOIN News: Oregon reports 331 new COVID cases, 2 deaths.

The school board in Kennewick, Wash., the home of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, voted 3-2 on Wednesday to delay the start of middle and high school in-person learning until Feb. 2. The original plan was to have had hybrid learning — a mix of online and in class — begin on Nov. 2. The school district has had 16 positives since Aug. 26. . . .

The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) has cancelled all of its winter championships. From a news release: “The decision was made in response to the sport restrictions that are in place across the country, the variety of provincial health restrictions CCAA hosts were facing and the limitations effecting travel of teams across the country.” . . . The decision impacts badminton, men’s and women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball. . . . The curling championships were cancelled in September, while the CCAA cancelled golf, men’s and women’s soccer and cross-country in June. . . .

Michigan health officials have issued a “stay-at-home” order for the U of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. This order comes after the county in which the school is located experienced hundreds of new cases, including on campus, and contact tracing showed that students are ignoring restrictions. . . . So the students have been told to leave the campus or stay in residence unless they have an essential reason to go outside. . . . You won’t be surprised to learn that none of this applies to the Wolverines football team. . . . As Dustin Foote of Deadspin wrote: “If there is any silver lining to college sports in a pandemic, it’s that COVID-19 has revealed the rot of amateurism. There are different rules for ‘amateur’ athletes who generate money for the university versus the majority of students who do not.” . . . The Big Ten is to return to football action this weekend, and the Wolverines are to play at Minnesota on Saturday night.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Cameron Hope, who was the general manager of the WHL’s Victoria Royals for eight seasons (2012-20), has joined BC Hockey as its new chief executive officer. He replaces Barry Petrachenko, who, after 20 years with BC Hockey, was dismissed in April. . . . Enrico Ciccone, an enforcer in his hockey-playing days, now is a Liberal MNA in the Montreal riding of Marquette. As the opposition critic for sports, recreation and healthy lifestyles, he has presented a bill calling for the prohibition of fighting in sports, including hockey, for those under the age of 18. “Of course some people will say ‘look at this guy, he’s a hypocrite. He made a bunch of money and now he wants to change things,’ ” Ciccone told the Montreal Gazette’s Herb Zurkowsky. “Of course I do. And I’m probably the best guy to do it. I’ll raise that flag for the safety of our kids, any time of the day. I don’t care.” Zurkowsky’s story is right here.


Hockey world is mourning loss of Hawerchuk . . . Here’s hoping CFL is able to find itself


As you no doubt are aware, the CFL won’t happen in 2020. For the first time since 1919, the Grey Cup won’t be awarded.

(There wasn’t a Grey Cup game for four years — 1916-19 — because of the First World War. The CFL didn’t pause for the Second World War.)

I would suggest that this day of reckoning has been in the CFL’s windshield for a few years now. I don’t know exactly when it was that the CFL came to the fork in the road and took the wrong one, but somewhere along the way it lost track of who it is.

Hopefully it can find itself over the next few months. Hopefully it can figure out where the fans went in Edmonton and Toronto and B.C. Hopefully it can get things back on track in Montreal. Hopefully it can get back to being the CANADIAN Football League.

I spent a fair amount of time around the CFL and its teams while with the Winnipeg Tribune and Regina Leader-Post through 1999. It hurts to see this happen to the CFL, but here’s hoping it comes back with a redesign that makes it bigger and better whenever COVID-19 allows another season to be held. . . .

In the meantime, two columnists I worked with while in Regina took a look at the CFL and the situation in which it now finds itself. . . . Ed Willes of Postmedia has his take right here, while Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post has a column right here. . . . Ed Tait of the Blue Bombers has a terrific piece right here with thoughts from LB Adam Bighill and QB Zach Collaros. . . . Here’s part of what Collaros had to say: “The optics of going to the federal government without consulting with us at all was definitely tough. Guys were definitely not happy about that. It’s kind of a microcosm of how this pandemic has been handled from leadership in North America. The transparency is not there, the communication hasn’t been great. That needs to improve moving forward if 2021 is going to be successful.”


Fans of the Vancouver Canucks have had to put their plans for a Stanley Cup parade on hold since their favourites now find themselves at 2-2 with the defending-champion St. Louis Blues in the opening round of the NHL’s bubble tournament. . . . The Canucks, you may recall, won the first two games, only to have the Blues wake up in time for a 3-2 OT victory in Game 3 on Sunday, and then pound their way to a 3-1 triumph on Monday. . . . The Blues have gotten more and more physical with the Canucks young guns, especially Elias Pettersson, as the series has worn on. How the Canucks and Pettersson respond in Game 5 tonight will tell the story.

Meanwhile, the NHL revealed on Monday that it completed the third week of its return to play without any positive tests. There had been 5,640 tests administered through Aug. 15. . . . Yes, if everyone is on the same page with the same goal in mind, the bubble approach does work.


Nuts


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The U of Notre Dame reported 147 positive tests — 146 students and one staff member — on Tuesday, so suspended in-person classes for two weeks just eight days into the fall semester. Some of the positives apparently were traced to an off-campus party where there were neither masks nor social distancing. . . . The U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill cancelled in-person undergraduate classes on Monday with at least 135 positive tests on campus. A spokesperson said that as of Monday morning, there were 177 students in isolation and 349 in quarantine. . . . Also on Tuesday, Michigan State ordered undergrads to stay home for the remainder of the fall. MSU hadn’t yet started its fall semester when it told students to say home “effective immediately.” . . . In a letter to students, Samuel Stanley Jr., MSU’s president, said the move was due to the “current status of the virus in our country — particularly what we are seeing at other institutions as they re-populate their campus communities.” . . .

The Atlanta Braves have placed OF Nick Markakis on the 10-day IL because he may have been exposed to the virus. Interestingly, Markakis, 36, originally opted out of playing this season. However, he changed his mind and returned to the Braves shortly after the season began. . . .

Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot with a pertinent observation: “Something’s wrong with the business model at many American universities when the cancellation of a football season threatens to wreck a school’s budget.”



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.


Stars


The 16-team USHL announced Tuesday that it hopes to open a 54-game regular season on Nov. 6 and wrap it up on April 24. Teams will open training camps on Sept. 14 with exhibition games to start in mid-October. . . . From a news release: “All activities are designed to take place in accordance with local, state and federal guidelines as well as the League’s Return to Play Protocols which are currently being finalized. The regular season schedule allows for flexibility for games to be moved to the back of the schedule due to postponements, capacity restrictions, or other factors.” . . . The news release didn’t make any mention of the situation in Des Moines, Iowa, where Buccaneer Arena, the home of the USHL’s Buccaneers, was damaged by an intense storm on Aug. 10. The ImOn Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids, the home of the RoughRiders, also suffered some damage.


These leagues are hoping to start their 2020-21 regular seasons on these proposed dates:

AHL: Dec. 4

AJHL: Sept. 18

BCHL: Dec. 1

ECHL: Dec. 4

Heritage Junior B Hockey League: Oct. 28

KHL: Sept. 2

KIJHL: Oct. 2

MJHL: Sept. 25

NAHL: Oct. 9

NHL: Dec. 1

OHL: Dec. 1

Pacific Junior Hockey League: Sept. 29

QMJHL: Oct. 1

SJHL: Oct. 9

USHL: Nov. 6

Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League: Sept. 7 (48 games), Oct. 12 (40), Nov. 16 (40), Dec. 14 (32)

WHL: Dec. 4



Paul McFarland now is the general manager and head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. An assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019-20, McFarland signed as Kingston’s head coach on May 8. He was named general manager on Tuesday. . . . The Frontenacs had been looking for a GM since July 23 when they announced that they wouldn’t be renewing Darren Kelly’s contract. . . . Prior to his one season with the Maple Leafs, McFarland was an assistant coach with the NHL’s Florida Panthers for two seasons.


The SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos have reinstated assistant coach Curtis Toneff. The team made the announcement on Monday after a stay of proceedings had been agreed to regarding charges faced by Toneff. . . . He had been charged with assault on June 2 after a May 24 incident. The Broncos suspended Toneff after the charge was laid. . . . Last season was Toneff’s first with the Broncos after two seasons as head coach of the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.


Plaid

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering who now has home-ice advantage in NHL bubble playoffs . . .

Scattershooting


Deer1
John Deer dropped by the Drinnan residence for a feed off our Jon Gold apple tree the other evening. You’re right. He didn’t look all that impressed. And, no, he hasn’t been back. Perhaps he was too busy watching NHL games.

COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

The Mid-American Conference cancelled fall sports, including football, on Saturday. It is the first Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conference to drop football, at least for now. The MAC is hoping to be able to play football in the spring. . . . The decision was announced after school presidents held a virtual meeting on Saturday morning. . . . The move by the MAC comes days after UConn was the first FBS school to cancel its football season. . . . Sean Frazier, Northern Illinois’ athletic director, summed up the decision: ““It’s real. No one wants to have football or sports more than me. Football gave me all the opportunities I have today. But I can’t do it at the expense of people’s lives. I can’t do that and I won’t do that. Not on my watch.” . . . Chris Vannini of The Athletic wrote that Frazier “said his family has lost loved ones to the pandemic.” . . .

——

——

The football team and the band at Oneonta, Ala., High School are in quarantine after a number of positive tests, including five football players. This is the second time the football team has been shut down by positive tests. . . . “I looked my wife in the eyes Monday night before I went to bed and I said, ‘You know I sure hope we didn’t kill anybody’s grandmother today by having a football practice,” head coach Phil Phillips told WBMA-TV. “You’re torn because the kids want to play so bad.” . . .

——

The MLS is Back tournament is to end Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., and the league is preparing to resume its regular season on Wednesday. Each of the 26 teams is to play 18 games, with games being played without fans. . . . The three Canadian teams — Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver — aren’t included for now because the U.S.-Canada border remains closed to non-essential traffic. . . .

——

——

After having a weekend series with the Chicago Cubs postponed, the St. Louis Cardinals now have played only five games. This means that they have 55 games remaining and only 49 days in which to play them. . . . Whoops! The Cardinals now have had a three-game series with the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates postponed; it was to have started Monday. . . . That now leaves St. Louis with 46 days in which to play those 55 games. . . . As Jesse Spector of Deadspin explained: “If all of the Cardinals-Cubs games wind up being part of doubleheaders, and it’s hard to see how they won’t be, that would mean 16 of St. Louis’ 60 games this season are seven-inning affairs. That’s 27 percent of the schedule consisting of these shortened games . . . and that’s assuming it doesn’t rain in the Midwest for the rest of the summer.” . . . Spector wrote that before the series with the Pirates was flushed. . . . The Cardinals, who have had 10 players and seven staff members test positive, have had 15 games postponed since last playing on July 29. . . . St. Louis is scheduled to return to play on Thursday with a doubleheader against the Tigers in Detroit.

——

James Click, Houston Astros GM: “I really do think that whichever team has the fewest cases of coronavirus is going to win.”


Somewhere old friend Pat Ginnell is looking down while smiling and nodding . . .


Son



“New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes vanished from the team hotel in Atlanta before finally announcing hours later that he was opting out of the 2020 season,” Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times reports. “In other words, the old hidden-ballplayer trick.”

——

Perry, again: “A Twins-Pirates game was delayed for nine minutes when an unauthorized drone flew over center field. Possible charges range from violating the outfield fly rule to the most-feared one — lack of express written consent.”

——

Perry vows that he saw this on Facebook: “Hippos can run faster than humans on land, and swim faster than humans in water. Which means the bicycle is your only chance of beating a hippo in a triathlon.”


Hotel



The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques don’t know when their next season will start but they do know that as of right know they don’t have a home arena. Health officials have told team officials that the Robert-Guerin Arena is going to be used as a COVID-19/homeless shelter for the next 12 months. Originally, the Olympiques were to be back in the rink next week to begin preparing for a new season. . . . A new arena is part of a complex that is being built; however, construction has slowed with costs having soared from a project cost of $78.5 million to more than $100 million. . . . The OHL has said it hopes to open on Dec. 1, while the WHL is aiming for Dec. 4. The QMJHL hasn’t moved its opening date since announcing that it will being its regular season on Oct. 1. . . . Norman Provencher of the Ottawa Citizen has more right here.


Here’s Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, points out: “Alabama senate candidate and former college football coach Tommy Tuberville said $600 a week is “way too much. We’re having people just sit out not working because they’re (paid) more sitting around.” . . . After a 5-7 record coaching at Auburn in 2008, school told him to resign and paid Tuberville $5 MILLION not to work in 2009.”



JUST NOTES: Oh boy, is this NHL race for the Covid Cup proving to be confusing. Fans of the Vancouver Canucks are acting as though their favourite team won a playoff series, when they actually won a play-in series that the NHL apparently isn’t counting as playoffs. Or is it? . . . The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, lost a play-in series and their detractors — and there are a few of those, aren’t there? — point out that the Leafs didn’t make the playoffs. . . . So which is it? . . . Aaron Boone’s lack of feel for his pitching staff is going to cost him his job as the manager of the New York Yankees. He really has a knack of leaving a pitcher, starter or reliever, in for one batter too long. . . . Yankees management also is going to have to do something with C Gary Sanchez, who would strike out in t-ball. . . . A tip of the cap to Mike Morreale, the commissioner of the Canadian Elite Basketball League, and his crew for the masterful job they did of pulling off their championship tournament with all teams in St. Catharines, Ont. They called it the Summer Series and the Edmonton Stingers won the final, 90-73, over the Fraser Valley Bandits on Sunday.


Magic


——

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.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from Mark Twain: “A man who picks up a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”


Moses

Team takes leave with border closed . . . KHL has 38 positive tests, no schedule . . . Will MLB season end Sunday?

The Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Buffalo Jr Sabres have decided not to play in 2020-21 JrSabresdue to “issues related to border travel with COVID-19,” according to a news release. From an OJHL release: “The team and the league have been in communication for a number of weeks as the situation of travel between Canada and the United States continues to be monitored.  With so much uncertainty as to when the border will be open to allow for OJHL teams to travel inter-country between the US and Canada, the collective decision has been made to have the Jr Sabres take a leave of absence for the 2020-2021 season.” . . . Larry Playfair, who played two seasons 1976-78) with the Portland Winterhawks, is Buffalo’s governor. . . .

The Jr Sabres are believed to be the first team to withdraw from play because the U.S.-Canada border is closed and appears likely to remain that way indefinitely. . . . A number of Canadian-based leagues, including the OHL, WHL, BCHL and KIJHL, include teams that play in U.S. cities.


Scott Moe, the premier of Saskatchewan, has expressed his disappointment in the five minor hockey teams from that province who travelled to Winnipeg for tournament play, July 16-19. . . . “I’m just disappointed that a few teams would put the entire safe restart of the province at risk,” he said. “Here is a prime example of a group of people putting their own self-interests ahead of the greater public health and safety of their neighbours, of their family and of their community.” . . . Bryan Eneas of CBC News has more right here.

Stupid

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, gave some space in a post this week to the Saskatchewan stupidity. And he hit the nail on the head with this:

“What is the lesson for those kids (ages 7-12) to learn here? If there is a rule or regulation that gets in your way, then what you should do is to figure out a way to circumvent that rule/regulation in such a way that you are not likely to get caught?”


Alexei Morozov, who played seven NHL seasons (1997-2004) with the Pittsburgh Penguins, now is the president of the Russia-based KHL. The league plans on opening on KHLSept. 2, although it has yet to release its regular-season schedule. Morozov, 43, said that will happen early this month. . . . However, it seems the KHL is having pandemic-related issues. . . . “Currently to the date we have 38 players that have tested positive,” Morozov told RSport on Wednesday. “We also have team staff members have tested positive. Some cases have been very severe and people have been hospitalized. There are people that feel very ill but they are all getting better and there are no worries about players not being able to continue their careers or having any threat to their life.” . . . There are reports that Avangard Omsk has had 20 positive tests, with Spartak Moscow at 15. . . . The KHL also has teams in Belarus, China, Finland, Kazakhstan and Latvia, something that will cause problems because various borders remain closed. The Chinese team Kunlun Red Star already has moved from Beijing to Mytischich, which is on the outskirts of Moscow.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

MLB’s pandemic-related woes continued Friday with the postponement of a game between the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, who came up with two positive tests, and Milwaukee Brewers. The teams are hoping to make up the game with a Sunday doubleheader. Both games would be seven innings in duration. . . . That is barring more positives, of course. . . . The Cardinals were self-isolating in their Milwaukee hotel rooms on Friday. They played the host Minnesota Twins on Tuesday and Wednesday, then had an off-day in Milwaukee on Thursday. . . .

Friday’s MLB news means that six teams — the Miami Marlins, Milwaukee, the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis, the Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals all are sidelined, at least for now, due to COVID-19. . . . The Phillies now have had to postpone six games — that’s 10 per cent of their schedule — because of COVID-19. . . . By now MLB has to be asking itself: How much is too much? . . .

The Texas Rangers lost two broadcasters on Friday as Matt Hicks tested positive and Eric Nadel chose to opt out of games, at least through the weekend. . . . Nadel has been the play-by-play voice, with Hicks as an analyst. . . . A radio technician on the Rangers’ crew also tested positive. . . .

The NFL’s Buffalo Bills had five players test positive, so they sent all their rookies home on Thursday. Earlier in the week, the NFL said that there were 21 positives in testing done as players reported to training camps. . . . At the same time, at least 32 players have opted out of playing in the 2020 season. There’s a list right here. . . .

Gaby Lopez, 26, withdrew from the Drive On Championship in Toledo, Ohio, after becoming the first LPGA player to test positive. She was tested on Monday and now is in self-isolation for at least 10 days. . . .

Sergio Perez, who drives on the Formula 1 circuit for Racing Point, will sit out this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silvertsone after testing positive. He believes he contracted the virus after returning to his home in Mexico on a private plane to see his mother. She recently had been released from hospital after being in an accident. . . . Perez also will miss next weekend’s 70th anniversary Grand Prix that also is to be held at Silverstone.


Social


Derek Cornet of larongenow.com reports that “La Ronge councillors have decided to forgive debt owed by the La Ronge Ice Wolves, as well as pause ice fees for the team and other organizations.” . . . The Ice Wolves apparently owed about $20,000. That has been waived, and now the SJHL team won’t have to pay for ice in 2020-21. . . . Cornet’s story is right here.


Duvernay-Tardif a real Canadian hero . . . CHL looking for money from feds . . . Zary: ‘It’s just a waiting game . . .’

Just a few months ago, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a native of the Montreal suburb of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, was on the offensive line as the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. He played every offensive snap in finishing his fifth season as the team’s starting right guard. . . . On Friday, he became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season, choosing to work on the front lines of the battle against the pandemic over football. . . . His contract with the Chiefs called for him to be paid US$2.75 million this season; instead, he will receive US$150,000 from the NFL’s opt-out deal with the NFLPA. . . . Duvernay-Tardif, 29, has his medical doctorate from McGill U in Montreal, but his football career has kept him from a full-time residency. He worked as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Montreal through June and now is waiting for another role. . . . In making his announcement, he wrote: ”Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system,” he wrote. “I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.”


Rick Westhead of TSN reported on Friday that “The Canadian Hockey League has hired lobbyists in Ottawa to discuss financial aid” as we continue to steer our way through this pandemic. . . . Those lobbyists have met with government officials going back to late June. . . . As Westhead wrote: “It’s unclear whether the CHL will be able to hold a 2020-21 season, given restrictions on large public gatherings and how crucial ticket revenue is to the CHL’s business model.” . . . Westhead’s story is right here.


F Connor Zary of the Kamloops Blazers is training as though the WHL season is going to Kamloops1start on Oct. 2, but he is a realist and senses that isn’t likely to happen. . . . “I’m training as if I was starting in August,” he told Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV on Kamloops on Friday. “Obviously, we’re not. Honest opinion is we won’t be able to start in October, but I’ve still got to train and still got to have the train of thought that I’m training as hard as I can, and that’s what I can do to be ready no matter when it does start.” . . . The WHL has said that it is aiming for an Oct. 2 start, but it hasn’t yet released a schedule. . . . However, Zary is expecting a later start, but, like everyone else, hasn’t any idea when that might be. “Just the way everyone’s talking and you hear things,” he told Klassen. “Obviously no one can give you a final answer that ‘yeah, it’s happening.’ It’s up in the air with every single thing that’s going on this year. It’s just a waiting game to see what happens.” . . . Zary, who is preparing for his fourth season with the Blazers, will be an early first-round selection in the NHL’s 2020 draft, which now is scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10. He had 86 points, including 38 goals, in 57 games when last season was halted in March.


Former Kamloops Blazers general manager Stu MacGregor will be back for a second season as a co-GM of the Thompson zone U18, U16 and U15 minor hockey teams for 2020-21. MacGregor will be teaming up with Jan Antons to run the Kamloops-based teams. . . . MacGregor also is a senior regional scout (west) for the WHL’s Victoria Royals.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Michigan State said Friday that its entire football team was being quarantined for 14 days after one student-athlete and one staff member tested positive. The school had halted workouts on Wednesday after a different staff member tested positive. . . . David Cobb of CBS Sports wrote that “the full-team quarantine is in accordance with athletic department policy. The policy also mirrors guidelines released by the NCAA last week that mandate 14-day quarantines for student-athletes who are found to have been in ‘high-risk’ contact with others who have tested positive. That means other schools are likely to be faced with similar situations.” . . .

The 2020 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix officially was cancelled on Friday. It originally was to have run June 12-14, but had been postponed to Oct. 9-11. . . . The U.S., Mexico and Brazil Formula 1 races also have been cancelled. . . .

Before playing the visiting New York Mets on Friday afternoon, the Atlanta Braves scratched their top two catchers. Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers tested negative but were exhibiting symptoms so were left in Atlanta. It had been hoped that one or both would be feeling better by Friday morning and would then fly to New York. But it wasn’t to be. . . .

D Brett Kulak of the Montreal Canadiens told reporters on Friday that he tested positive after arriving in Montreal for Phase 3 of the NHL’s return-to-play protocol. He was back on the ice with the team on Thursday. Kulak said he tested negative, but then had two positives. He’s feeling fine now, but said he experienced headaches, respiratory issues and a lack of energy. . . .

The Falkland, B.C., Stampede has been cancelled, meaning it won’t be held for the first time since the inaugural event in 1919. Normally held on the May long weekend, it was postponed to Aug. 28-30 before being cancelled.


USNTDP experiences positive tests . . . NHL preparing for restart; Flames D-man opts out . . . Giants catcher Posey won’t play

With the NHL announcing Friday that it has a new CBA in place and that almost 80 per cent of its players had voted for a return to play, a story out of Plymouth, Mich., didn’t seem to have the impact it probably should have.

ICYMI, Craig Custance and Katie Strang of the The Athletic reported that “at least three players from USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program have tested positive for COVID-19, multiple sources have confirmed. . . . The players had been participating in on-ice skills training at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., the venue for USA Hockey’s 2020 World Junior Summer Showcase later this month.”

Custance and Strang also reported that “additional participants in the on-ice skills training who are not members of the USNTDP have also tested positive, according to a source.”

The complete story is right here.

One source was quoted as saying: “It’s hockey players who hang out together. One person got tested, found out they had it and so they all did.”

This, I believe, is the first report of teenage hockey players testing positive, and this has to be ominous for junior hockey owners and operators.

Obviously, if you are going to bring teams of athletes together and have them in close quarters, like in locker rooms and on buses, there are going to be positive tests. That means that if you own a team, say, in the WHL and you are hell-bent on opening the 2020-21 season at some time in the not-too-distant future, your return-to-play protocol better have something in it about dealing with positive tests.

Or you have you fingers crossed, a rabbit’s foot in your hip pocket, and you’re hoping for a miracle.


Dog


Meanwhile, Adam Wodon, the managing editor of College Hockey News, posted a thought-provoking piece on Friday that spells out a lot of things.

He starts:

“The shutdown of Ivy League sports until Jan. 1 and its implications for college hockey are just the first of many shoes to drop in the coming weeks and months.

“Trying to summarize what college sports will look like this fall, seems silly at the moment. It changes day by day, and usually in the wrong direction.

“The trajectory, however, points to a continued steady drip towards the seemingly inevitable: that there will be no college sports in the fall, or, at best, nothing close to how we know it to be, thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic crisis.

“College sports departments continue to go through the motions of preparing for the season, what with the social media countdowns to the next game, and so on. But it all seems so pointless. I mean, I get it — what else are those staffs supposed to do? Gotta do something. Can’t all be like me, catching up on my golf game and rewatching Lost.

“Coaches have been going through offseason workouts in all sorts of ways, keeping training facilities open, but with certain distancing measures in place. And so on.

“But nothing anyone says about ‘we plan on this . . .” or ‘we plan on that . . . “ has any real substance at this point, even if they’re sincere in saying it.”

There’s a whole lot more to his piece and it’s well worth your time. It’s all right here.


D Travis Hamonic of the Calgary Flames has opted out of the NHL’s season. Hamonic cited family considerations in making his decision.


Hey, you want some optimistic news?

Here you go . . .

The 15-team AJHL released its 2020-21 schedule on Friday, with opening night set for Sept. 18. Each team is to play 58 games in the regular season. According to the news release: “The schedule has been created to remove pre-determined blocks of games should the season start be delayed.” . . . The complete news release is right here.

Meanwhile, the 16-team USHL said Friday that it plans to open in the fall “with the intention to play a full schedule.”

But, in Germany, the 14-team DEL season that was to have started on Sept. 18 now has been pushed back to an unspecified date in November.


Flatearth


Michael Bidwill, the owner of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, has been in hospital after testing positive. His condition has improved of late and he may be released sometime this weekend. . . . He is believed to have contracted the virus while travelling in the eastern U.S. . . . Bidwill, 55, isn’t believed to have had any contact with the team’s football personnel.


In a release issued Friday, MLB and the MLPBA said that 71 players and 12 staff members have tested positive since intake screening began on June 27. That is out of 11,149 samples. All told, 66 of the positives came from intake screening. . . .

C Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants won’t play this season. He and his wife adopted twin girls who were born about six weeks prematurely on July 3, so he has chosen to stay with his family rather than play in the pandemic-shortened MLB season. . . . “In the current state we are in now, and these babies being as fragile as they are for the next four months at a minimum, this just ultimately was not a difficult decision for me,” Posey, 33, said on a ZOOM call. “From baseball, it was a tough decision. From a family standpoint, that I feel I’m making a decision to protect our children, I think it was relatively easy.” . . .

P Michael Kopech of the Chicago White Sox also has opted out of the approaching MLB season. The right-hander, 24, is seen as one of MLB’s top pitching prospects. . . .


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, posted a terrific piece on Friday detailing difficulties encountered by MLB in getting two plane loads of Dominican players to Miami on July 1. It’s all right here. . . .

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The Pac-12 announced on Friday that fall sports, including football, will be conference only if their seasons are able to start. The cancellations include a Sept. 5 football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and USC. . . .

Dartmouth has dropped a handful of NCAA Division 1 sports, effective immediately. Gone are men’s and women’s golf, men’s lightweight towing, and the men’s and women’s diving and swimming programs. The Ivy League school also shuttered the Hanover Country Club, which was built in 1899. . . .

The 11-member New England Small College Athletic Conference has cancelled all fall sports. Bowdoin College and Williams College had made that move last month. Now the other nine schools — Amherst College, Bates College, Colby College, Connecticut College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Tufts University, and Wesleyan University — have chosen to do the same.


Canucks cancel Penticton event . . . Will NFL fans have to sign virus waivers? . . . High River team bows out

 


The Vancouver Canucks have pulled the plug on the 2020 version of the Young Stars Classic that was to have been held in Penticton, B.C., Sept. 11-15. . . . The tournament was to have featured prospects from the Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets. . . .

The NBA announced on Thursday that nine of its players tested positive from June 24-29. It has acknowledged that it has had 25 players and 10 staff members test positive. . . . All told, 351 players and 884 staff have been tested. . . .

The NFL is planning on playing a complete season, although it has trimmed its exhibition season, which it hopes to to start on Aug. 20, to a pair of games per team rather than four. At the same time, the NFL really wants to have fans in attendance at its games. The Athletic has reported that the league may ask fans to sign a coronavirus liability waiver before being allowed into a stadium. As John Breech of CBS Sports explained: “By signing the waiver, fans would agree not to hold the NFL responsible if they were to catch COVID-19 while attending a game. Basically, fans would be forfeiting their right to sue the league and would be assuming all health risks that come with being in a stadium during a global pandemic.” . . .


Hornets


FC Dallas arrived at its ‘bubble’ in Orlando on Saturday and had six players test positive. . . . On Wednesday night, The Athletic reported that three more players and a coach also tested positive, although “those four results still must be confirmed by follow-up tests.” If those tests stand, Dallas FC will have had nine players and a coach test positive, all since arriving in Orlando. . . . Does this mean the ‘bubble’ already is contaminated? . . . MLS says not to worry, everything is under control. . . . Thomas Laforgia of Deadspin isn’t convinced: “Here’s the important part, which seems to have gotten lost in the league’s self-congratulatory wash: Only two of the six players tested positive on the day of the squad’s June 27 arrival. The remaining four players spent at least two days among the hotel’s general population — bound to a particular floor, but out of quarantine, in relatively close quarters with teammates. Put in practical terms? Over the next few days, more positive tests are likely to emerge in and around Disney’s ‘Swan and Dolphin‘ resort complex.”

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The Vancouver Whitecaps are to open the MLS tournament on July 9 against . . . Dallas FC. The Whitecaps were to have flown to Orlando on Wednesday but considering all that’s going on there — the Columbus Crew also have had a player who was in the ‘bubble’ test positive — they have delayed their departure. The Whitecaps also had all their players tested again on Thursday. . . . Toronto FC also has delayed its departure and head coach Greg Vanney told The Canadian Press: “There’s concern, no doubt. Because it’s showing that the bubble is not impenetrable and there are some issues that are going on. The question is how quickly can the protocols that are in place down there get things under control so it doesn’t start to spread inside of the bubble. That remains to be seen.”


Rick Pitino now is the head coach of the Iona College Gaels men’s basketball team and the Greek national men’s team . . .

 

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Boise State has trimmed US$3 million from its budget by dropping its men’s baseball and its diving and swimming programs because of the pandemic. . . . The baseball program had been revived a year ago, after a long absence, and there had been plans to build a new stadium.


If you are on Twitter, there is a good thread here . . .

 

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Meanwhile, college kids in Tuscaloosa, Ala., are throwing COVID parties. . . . “They put money in a pot, and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense,” Sonya McKinstry, a city councillor, told ABC News. “They’re intentionally doing it.” . . . The city is home to the U of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College. . . . This gives new meaning to Roll Tide!


BusinessCard


The National Basketball Coaches Association has expressed concern that some of its members won’t be allowed to work during the NBA’s anticipated restart because of age concerns during the pandemic. However, Rick Carlisle, the association president, said Tuesday: “We’ve been assured by the league that no one will be red-flagged by the league from going to Orlando based on age alone.” . . . According to the NBA, all coaches and staff members, like the players, will be screened and tested.


 


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Dr. Harry Edwards will be nominating Colin Kaepernick for a Nobel Peace Prize. . . . And wouldn’t it be something in Kaepernick was awarded one of those and you know who doesn’t get a Noble Prize?

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Here’s part of what Dr. Edwards told Ostler: ““A Nobel nomination was always my ultimate goal for Kaepernick, not only because he deserves it, but because he would stand in representation of all of the other unsung athletes who have contributed and sacrificed so much while paving the way and priming the pump for those who would come after.”


The Heritage Junior B Hockey League has lost a second team with the news that the High River Flyers have chosen to sit out the 2020-21 season. “The 2019-20 season was already difficult financially for the club, and the pandemic still affects everyone and everything has not made things any easier,” the team said in a news release. “The main sources of fundraising . . . have all been placed on hold or potentially will be cancelled altogether, and with uncertainty around the amount of fans that will be allowed to be in the arena, along with the potential restrictions around how fans can watch the games, the team’s home-game revenue will be very much affected as well.” . . . Earlier, the Medicine Hat Cubs announced that they won’t be answering the bell for the 2020-21 season whenever that may be.

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We are starting to get a feel for other junior teams that really are feeling the pinch. The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers have asked city council for financial help to the tune of about $44,000 as they try to deal with what was about $60,000 in debt before the pandemic hit. . . . Meanwhile, the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders were around $200,000 in the hole when last season began. Yes, that figure is likely greater than that now, which is why they are about to start charging players $2,000 to play for them. . . . Danielle Gordon-Broome of the Swan Valley Star and Times has more on the Stampeders right here and how they got in this deep.


If ever you wondered how July 1 came to be known as Bobby Bonilla Day, Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, has the story right here.


Elephant