Team Canada writes thrilling final golden chapter . . . Vegas fans get to cheer three times for one goal . . . Fire strikes Meadow Lake’s arena



You really have to feel good for the Canadian team that won the gold medal on CanadaSunday at the IIHF World men’s championship in Riga, Latvia. A gritty bunch if ever there was one, these guys lost their first three games and were outscored 10-2 in the process, only to bounce back and win four in a row, including a 3-2 OT victory over Finland in the championship game. . . . F Nick Paul of the Ottawa Senators got the winner at 6:26 of overtime. . . . It is the first time in any IIHF World championship that a team opened 0-3 and went on to win the whole thing. . . . Finland had beaten Canada, 3-2 in a shootout, in a preliminary game on Tuesday. . . . This was the 27th time Canada has won the championship, but the first since 2016. . . . After starting 0-3, Canada went on to beat three of the opening rounds top teams — Russia, the U.S., and Finland. . . . Interestingly, Canada’s overall record was 3-3-1, the 1 being an OTL, while the U.S., which beat German, 6-1, to win bronze on Sunday, wound up 6-1-0. The only loss suffered by the U.S. was to Canada — 4-2 in a semifinal. . . .

Michael Dyck, the head coach of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, was an assistant coach with Team Canada, which also included D Braden Schneider, the Brandon Wheat Kings’ captain. Schneider had one assist in nine games. . . . Also on the Canadian team were G Darcy Kuemper, who played with the Red Deer Rebels, G Aden Hill (Portland Winterhawks), F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Spokane Chiefs) and F Brandon Hagel (Red Deer). . . . Former NHL G Roberto Luongo was Canada’s general manager and now has another gold medal to hang alongside the two he won as a player (2003, 2004). . . . Canadian F Connor Brown (Ottawa Senators) drew three assists in the final to set a Canadian tournament record with 14. Brown led the tournament with 16 points. . . . Old friend Neate Sager (@n8sager) points out where Canada’s top three forwards were at age 16: “Nick Paul was undrafted, made the OHL a year later; Connor Brown was an 11th-rounder; IIHF Worlds MVP Andrew Mangiapane was never drafted.”



If you were watching the host Vegas Golden Knights’ 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night, you saw the NHL replay system at its best. . . . And you can bet that most of the fans in the building absolutely loved it because they got to cheer three times for one goal. . . . First, they roared when F Patrick Brown appeared to score at 13:13 of the third period for a 5-1 Vegas lead. However, the officials went to replay to see whether Brown had shoved G Philipp Grubauer into the net with the puck underneath him. After the review, the officials signalled that it was a good goal. The crowd roared again. . . . At that point, Colorado head coach Jared Bednar challenged the play for goaltender interference. So the officials went back to video before ruling, again, that it was a good goal. And the crowd got to roar one more time. . . . Yes, it was a good night for Vegas fans.


Anon


The MJHL has announced that “the puck will drop for opening weekend” on Friday, Sept. 17, COVID-19 and its variants willing, of course. If you haven’t noticed, Manitoba hasn’t been in a good place for the last while. . . . Opening weekend will have the 12 teams playing home-and-home rivalry series. . . . Each team will play 54 games in the regular season. . . . There is a complete news release right here. . . . BTW, the MJHL’s Neepawa franchise is scheduled to announce its rebranding today (Monday).



Arena
Meadow Lake’s arena is in ruins after a Sunday morning fire. (Photo: Meadow Lake Memories/Facebook)

The 45-year-old arena in Meadow Lake, Sask., burned to the ground early Sunday morning. . . . “The Meadow Lake fire department was on hand quickly and trying their hardest to get the flames down,” Clay DeBray, a city councillor, told Saskatoon radio station CKOM. “It was pretty devastating to see.” . . . The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported that Saskatchewan RCMP said the fire “appeared to have been set” in a nearby storage shed. According to the newspaper, the RCMP “said the concession stand that shares the parking lot with the arena was also broke into, also on June 6.”


Grinch


If you’re looking for a good read on what the PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm went through at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio on Saturday, Rob Oller of The Columbus Dispatch has a column right here. . . . “Golf and business have always gone hand-in-hand, with hammered drives sharing workspace with handshake deals,” Oller writes. “So let’s speak the language of corporate attorneys and CEO consultants: Jon Rahm made a bad business decision.” . . . The complete column is right here.


Although we’re open for donations until Aug. 31, the 2021 Kamloops Kidney Walk was completed, albeit virtually, on Sunday. Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, took part for an eighth straight year. . . . Thanks to so many of you, she had her top fund-raising Walk, too, as her friends gave her $3,875 through Sunday night. Her previous high had been $3,340 in 2020. . . . Thank you so much! . . . And if you still would like to donate, you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: G Rayce Ramsay will be back with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos for his 20-year-old season. Ramsay, from Saskatoon, played two games with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers in 2018-19 and 25 in 2019-20 (13-8-1, 3.07, .880). He started 2020-21 with the Broncos, going 5-1-0 before the season was done in by the pandemic.


Online

Let’s all strive to ‘Be Like Scott’ . . . Ice coming out of Pats’ home arena . . . Ex-Hurricanes defenceman dies at 37

It was in 1992 when Gatorade launched its “Be Like Mike” advertising campaign, one that was wrapped around then-NBA star Michael Jordan.

Here we are, almost 30 years later, and all I want is to Be Like Scott.

That would be Scott Thomas.

As hard as it may be to believe, almost three years have slid by since the bus crash involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Thomas and his wife, Laurie, lost their son Evan in the crash. He was one of the 16 people who died as a result of the bus colliding with a big rig while en route to Nipawin for a playoff game.

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the truck’s driver, is serving an eight-year sentence, and will be eligible to apply for parole in September. He also is waiting for a decision on whether he will be deported.

Not only does Scott Thomas think that shouldn’t happen, he has written a letter in support of Sidhu’s staying in Canada to the Canadian Border Services Agency. Thomas also has been in communication via email with Sidhu and his family.

“I don’t have the energy for hatred, our family just doesn’t,” Thomas told Ken Campbell of The Hockey News. “For me to go on and function and to be the best father I can be to the one daughter I have left and to leave this place with a positive impact and do something for our son’s legacy . . . for us to move forward, the best thing for us to do is forgive. There are days when I want to scream and there are days I do scream at the world, but for us to move forward, the easiest path to that is forgiveness and compassion.”

Pat McKay of CTV has a story right here, and Campbell’s piece is right here.

Take a few minutes out of your day and read them both. You’ll be a better person for having done it.

Let’s not forget, too, that Scott Thomas continues to advocate for standardized training across Canada for semi-truck drivers. You can bet that we’ll be hearing from him on that subject again and again and again, all the while wondering why politicians don’t sit up and take notice.


Bighorns
This was the scene just a few kilometres east of downtown Kamloops on Friday afternoon as five male bighorn sheep were on the prowl above the South Thompson River.


The Regina Exhibition Association announced Friday that the ice is being taken out of the Brandt Centre, the home of the WHL’s Regina Pats. . . . Under the present public health restrictions in Saskatchewan, the Brandt Centre is closed through Jan. 29. . . . . In making Friday’s announcement, the association suggested to renters that “if the ice is installed for any reason over the next three months, ice may become available to rent.” . . . Should the WHL get to play the 24-game schedule that it has said it is “committed” to, games almost certainly will be played in empty facilities. Without ice in the Brandt Centre, the Pats could play next door in the Co-operators Centre. . . .

Earlier in the week, the Edmonton Oil Kings told season-ticket holders that if they get to play games this spring they’ll be in the Downtown Community Arena rather than Rogers Place, which also is home to the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . The Spokane Arena, home of the WHL’s Chiefs, is to be used as a mass vaccination site starting on Wednesday.


In the midst of a global pandemic that is not showing any signs of abating, we take a look at messaging from a pair of under-18 hockey leagues.

In Saskatchewan, the under-18 female and male leagues have postponed their seasons, and it sure sounds as though the boys might be finished for this season.

“Due to the ongoing pandemic and health restrictions, the SU18AAAHL schedule will be postponed effective Jan. 19, 2021,” reads a release on the league’s website. “If public health measures allow for a return to game play at any time, the executive will meet and review game play options for any teams that wish to continue. “

Among the reasons for the decision: “Provide parents the freedom to move their son(s) home for personal reasons. For some parents this will take some pressure off their decision. . . . Provide billets the option to continue hosting players during the COVID-19 19 crisis. This will give them a freedom to evaluate their involvement.”

Meanwhile, next door in Manitoba, the male U18 AAA league has sent what it calls an “open letter” to Premier Brian Pallister, Heather Stefanson, the minister of health and senior services, and Dr. Roussin, the province’s chief health officer. In the letter, signed by Levi A. Taylor, the commissioner, the league makes a case for why it should be allowed to return to play.

At one point, the letter claims that “the continued prohibition of social interaction and limitation of permitted physical activities has caused immeasurable harm to the children of this province.”

Later, there is this: “The Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League calls on you to reopen recreation facilities, gyms, and fitness centres for use by children and youth. It can be done (safely), and it must be done now to curtail the harms inflicted.”

The complete letter is right here.

As of Friday morning, there had been 28,260 cases of COVID-19 recorded in Manitoba, with 795 deaths. . . . Saskatchewan’s totals were 21,643 and 247.



Energy


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — 173 COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, above the province’s 7-day average of 160. 2 additional deaths are also being reported. On the vaccine front, 23,884 doses have been administered so far.

CBC News — Saskatchewan reported 312 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday along with eight additional deaths.

CBC News — Alberta reports 643 new COVID-19 cases, 12 additional deaths.

CBC News — Nine additional deaths, 508 new COVID-19 cases reported in British Columbia on Friday.

CBC News — Ontario is reporting 2,662 new cases of COVID-19 and 87 new deaths. 779 of the new cases are in Toronto, 542 are in Peel and 228 are in York Region.

CBC News — Quebec is reporting 1,631 new cases of COVID-19 and has added 88 deaths to its tally, 18 of which occurred in the last 24 hours.

CBC News — 30 new COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick. This is the 4th time in a week the number has exceeded 30; the 7-day average for new cases in 29.

CBC News — Full lockdown announced in New Brunswick’s Zone 4 Health Zone. All schools to move to virtual learning, non-essential businesses to close, indoor formal gatherings not allowed. 19 of the 30 new cases on Friday are in Zone 4, which is the province’s northwest and includes Edmundston.

CBC News — Nunavut has its 1st new case of COVID-19 since Dec. 28. The new case is in Arviat. The person is asymptomatic and self-isolating.

KTVZ-TV — Oregon reports 22 more COVID-19 deaths, death toll at 1,865; 877 new cases, total at 136,839. . . . Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 270,453 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccinations were administered by Oregon hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency medical service (EMS) agencies, urgent care facilities and Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs).

The Olympian — The Washington State Department of Health on Friday reported 2,162 news confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 49 new deaths. Statewide totals . . . are at 298,249 cases and 4,114 deaths.

Public Health Agency of Canada, Friday, 4 p.m. PT — Total cases: 737,407. . . . Active cases: 65,750. . . . Deaths: 18,828.

CNN, Friday, 4:31 p.m. PT — 413,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Friday, 7:21 p.m. PT — 24.8 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

The New York Times — Since March of last year, at least 424,000 more Americans have died than would have in a normal year, showing that the true toll of the pandemic may be higher than previously known.

——

Former MLB player and manager Davey Johnson is back in his Florida home after spending time in hospital with COVID-19. Johnson, now 77, was the New York Mets’ manager when they last won the World Series, in 1986. He played for the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs (1965-78). He managed the Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals (1985-2013. . . .

Matt Norlander, CBS Sports: “Multiple conference commissioners and athletic directors told CBS Sports in the past week-plus that there is a growing sense of nervousness over the stability of the college basketball season. . . . With Joe Biden now holding office, high-ranking NCAA officials are in wait-and-see mode about monitoring case counts across the country and bracing for the possibility of federal shutdowns that could impact dozens if not hundreds of schools — prompting a midseason pause in the process.” . . .

After having their first four NHL regular-season games postponed after at least 17 players tested positive, the Dallas Stars were in action on Friday night. They were without F Blake Comeau, who was placed on the COVID-19 list earlier in the day, as they beat the visiting Nashville Predators, 7-0. . . . The Detroit Red Wings added F Filip Zadina to the list on Friday, too. He joined teammates F Robby Fabbri, F Adam Erne and F Sam Gagner, and D Jon Merrill on the list. . . . The Washington Capitals were without F Alex Ovechkin, F Evgeny Kuznetsov, D Dmitry Orlov and G Ilya Samsonov as they beat the visiting Buffalo Sabres, 4-3 in OT, on Friday night. All four, one of whom reportedly tested positive, will miss three more games as they all are on the COVID-19 list. . . .

The Memphis Grizzlies have had four straight games postponed, bringing the NBA’s total of such games to 20. The Grizzlies were to have met the Trail Blazers in Portland on Wednesday and last night (Friday) and were to have played the Kings in Sacramento on Sunday and Monday. . . .


Glasses


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.


Clay Plume, who spent three seasons in the WHL, died on Tuesday. He was 37. Plume was from Standoff, Alta. . . . Plume, a defenceman, spent two-plus seasons (2001-04) with the Lethbridge Hurricanes before finishing the 2003-04 season with the Prince George Cougars. In 181 regular-season games, he has 22 goals and 43 assists. . . . He went on to play one season in the ECHL and six in the CHL. . . . Plume played 24 games over the past two seasons with the senior AA Fort Macleod Mustangs of the Alberta-based Ranchland Hockey League. . . . Dale Woodard of the Lethbridge Herald has more on Plume right here.


JUST NOTES: F Nigel Dawes, who doesn’t get nearly enough plaudits when the conversation turns to great WHLers, picked up the 500th regular-season point of his KHL career in a 4-3 OT loss to host Lokomotiv on Friday. Dawes, 35, is in his 10th KHL season, but his first with Ak Bars Kazan. This season, he has 22 goals and 17 assists in 40 games. He had a goal and an assist on Friday, leaving him with 501 points, including 266 goals, in 536 games. In his WHL career, he put up 272 points, 159 of them goals, in 245 games. He played four seasons (2001-04) with the Kootenay Ice (remember them?). . . . The QMJHL returned to action with four games on Friday night, its first action since Nov. 29. Playing what it calls a “controlled environment” rather than a bubble, there were games in Shawinigan, Drummondville, Rimouski and Chicoutimi. There will be games in the same venues Saturday and Sunday.


Alarm

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if J.B. Books was John Wayne’s best role . . .

Scattershooting

Darcy Haugan was the head coach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos when he was killed in the accident involving their bus. Before coaching the Broncos, he was with the junior B North Peace Navigators. . . . On Oct. 10, the people of Peace River will gather at the Baytex Centre for the unveiling of the Darcy Haugan Memorial Statue. . . . It all starts at 2 p.m. . . . Albert Cooper, the Navigators’ president, told Gordon Anderson of Peace River Record Gazette that Darcy “was a man who was motivated be three things: his faith, his family and his friends. Included in those friends were all the kids that he coached. He wasn’t an extraordinary man, he was an ordinary man who did exceptional things and that’s what we want to honour. He touched the lives of so many kids in a very positive way, and not just in terms of hockey, but in life and how to live life. We think that’s worth honouring.” . . . Anderson complete story is right here.


Zeuss


You should know that there’s another Manning in football’s pipeline. Arch Manning threw five TD passes and ran for another in his sophomore season debut with Isidore Newman, a New Orleans high school, on Thursday. He would have had six TD passes but for a couple of end zone drops. Arch is Cooper Manning’s son, so is a nephew to Peyton and Eli, and Archie’s grandson. In his playing days, Cooper was an outstanding wide receiver at Newman but had his career ended by a spinal condition. . . . There’s more on this story right here.



By now, you likely have seen footage of whatever that was the Tampa Bay Lightning were doing to celebrate upon their return to Florida the other day. Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun saw it, too, and, as he points out right here, that party was “a perfect example of how not to mark the moment during a pandemic.”


Headline at TheOnion.com: Coronavirus Assumed White House Would Be Bigger in Person


Would you pay $25 to watch a junior A exhibition hockey game? The AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys will be at home on Oct. 10. Attendance will be limited to 100 spectators, each of whom will be charged $25. Parents and billets get first crack at tickets, then sponsors, and then the general public. . . . Doors will open 15 minutes before game time. No concession stands will be open. Facemasks must be worn at all times and social distancing will be enforced. . . . Welcome to the new normal.



The QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders, who are scheduled to play their first home game on Oct, 23, averaged 2,700 fans per game last season. They have the OK to allow fans in games this season, but don’t yet know how many the social-distancing configuration will allow. Team president Craig Foster told CBC that “the number’s going to less than half of” last season’s average. Foster also said that the financial cost is going to be large. . . . Kevin Yarr of CBC has more right here.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .


Positive tests on both teams meant the NFL had to postpone Sunday’s game that was to have featured the host Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots. QB Cam Newton of the Patriots is reported to have tested positive, as did QB Jordan Ta’amu of the Chiefs. Ta’amu spent the week’s practices playing Newton against the Chiefs’ defence. . . . The game has been rescheduled for tonight (Monday). . . .

The Tennessee Titans had two more positives tests on Saturday and two more on Sunday, meaning they have had 10 players and 10 staff members come up positive. Their scheduled Sunday game with the Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed and now there are reports that their Week 5 game against the visiting Buffalo Bills may need to be moved, too. . . .

The Greater Toronto Hockey League announced Saturday “that all sanctioned activities within its jurisdiction are postponed until at least Jan. 2, 2021, pending further advice from health authorities.” . . . The GTHL is the largest minor hockey league in the world, with more than 40,000 players in Makham, Mississauga, Toronto and Vaughan. . . .

The German DEL announced on Friday that it has postponed the start of its 2020-21 season. It had hoped to open the regular season on Nov. 13, but now is aiming for the second week in December. . . . At the moment, teams would be allowed to operate with attendance at 20 per cent of capacity, and the league says that’s not financially viable. . . .

Jay Johnstone, a former major league outfielder who won two World Series titles, died on Sept. 26 in Los Angeles. He was 74. Johnstone, who won titles with the New York Yankees (1978) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1981), died of complications from COVID-19. . . . Having lived with dementia for the past few years, he had been in a nursing home. . . . For more on one of MLB’s great pranksters, click right here.


Bank


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.


Let us take a moment and wish Steve Nash well as he prepares for his first NBA head-coaching gig with the Brooklyn Nets. If you missed it, here is Kyrie Irving of the Nets during an appearance on teammate Kevin Durant’s podcast: “I don’t really see us having a head coach. KD could be a head coach, I could be a head coach. . . . Steve is great, and I have a relationship with him that’s going to build over time, (but) Steve don’t know me from anything he heard. . . . We don’t need someone to come in with their coaching philosophy and change everything we’re doing.”


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “One word of advice for Steve Nash: Rent. Three-word evaluation of the situation: Tick. Tick. Tick.”


JUST NOTES: If you aren’t aware, Kelly Olynyk, the pride of Kamloops, has become a factor in the NBA final. In Games 2 and 3, he totalled 41 points and 16 rebounds in 68 minutes 20 seconds of playing time. His Miami Heat trail the Los Angeles Lakers, 2-1, in the best-of-seven series with Game 4 on Tuesday. . . . ESPN has two baseball analysts — Jessica Mendosa and Rick Sutcliffe — who talk and talk and talk and talk as they repeatedly tell the viewer what he/she just saw and constantly restate the obvious. So, yes, why not put both of them on the same playoff crew covering the first-round series between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres? . . . What does it say about where the U.S. is as a nation when the President tweets that he and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19 and people don’t know whether to believe him or any of his spokespeople?


FireDept

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 evening while wondering if the virus will leave when cold weather arrives . . .

Scattershooting


With MLB having started exhibition games and with a 60-game regular season soon to begin, Ann Killion, an excellent sports columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle, sums up the situation:

“Who is going to get the coronavirus next? Where is the roulette wheel going to stop? What will the repercussions be for that player’s or coach’s family? Will the games have to abruptly end?

“A welcome distraction?

“Not likely. Not when we know that the baseball players we’re watching are each receiving multiple tests a week so they can play some games that will carry asterisks forever.”

Nail, meet hammer. Killion’s complete column is right here.



With rookies for the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs reporting to training camp today (Monday), a number of NFL stars took to Twitter on Sunday to question what is going on concerning safety procedures. . . . Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback, tweeted: “My wife is pregnant. Training camp is about to start. And there’s still No Clear Plan on Player Health & Family Safety.” . . . Nicholas Reimann of Forbes has more right here.


Cats


So . . . Sidney Crosby, one of the NHL’s few true superstars, leaves a Saturday scrimmage early and doesn’t return. Mike Sullivan, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ head coach, says: “We’re to permitted to comment.” . . . There isn’t a league anywhere in the world that does a better job of suppressing information than the GBHL — Gary Bettman Hockey League. . . . And the women and men who cover the GBHL better get used to this because I’m thinking it will be the new norm whenever the virus chooses to leave us.


It’s my understanding that the virus will go away once the weather turns cold.


The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported: “Lindsay Whalen, the Minnesota women’s basketball coach, says she’ll buy hot dogs for the first 500 fans at the Gophers’ home opener this season.” . . . To which Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times responded: “In a related story, Joey Chestnut just bought 75 tickets.”

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Danica Patrick’s mouthpiece says that the former race-car driver and Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers have visited Splitsville. Here are the aforementioned Perry’s thoughts: “Rodgers apologists claim he called an audible; her spinmeisters say they hit the skids.”


The QMJHL announced on Saturday that its plan right now is for each of its 18 teams to qmjhlnewplay 60 games in a regular season that will open on Oct. 1. Training camps will open on Aug. 26 with teams bringing in a maximum of 34 players, down from around 60 in previous times. . . . The league also will be split into three divisions and teams will play only within their own divisions, meaning 12 games against each opponent. . . . The QMJHL hasn’t yet announced a playoff format, nor does it know whether fans will be allowed to attend games. . . . The QMJHL features six teams in the Maritimes, who would play in one division, with the other two divisions comprising the 12 Quebec teams. . . . If you were wondering, the Quebec Midget AAA League says it will start its regular season on Sept. 11.


Curtis Toneff, an assistant coach with the Humboldt Broncos, has been suspended by the SJHL team, which said he “will have no further association” with the team until further notice. Toneff is facing an undisclosed criminal charge by the RCMP and is looking at a court date somewhere down the road. . . . Toneff, 27, is from Nanaimo, B.C. He joined the Broncos’ staff prior to last season after spending two seasons as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.


Knife


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from Will Rogers: “The taxpayers are sending Congressmen on expensive trips abroad. It might be worth it, but they keep coming back.”


Headline at fark.com: Astros owner wants fans in the stands wo he can sell overpriced, watered down cold beer.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) has trimmed its Baltimore Orioles broadcast crew because of the pandemic, meaning play-by-play man Gary Thorne and analyst Jim Palmer won’t be on the air when things get restarted. Rick Dempsey, Brian Roberts and Gregg Olsen also won’t be taking part. . . .

Former MLB P Bob Walk, now a broadcaster with the Pittsburgh Penguins, is recovering after testing positive.

1B/DH Jose Martinez was on the field with the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. He had been out while quarantining following a positive test. . . .

P Collin McHugh of the Boston Red Sox, who has had elbow issues of late, has opted out of the season. He likely was headed to the injury list, but will spend time with his family. . . .

Golfing great Jack Nicklaus said Sunday that he and his wife Barbara, both of whom are 80, tested positive in March. Jack had some symptoms into late April, while Barbara was asymptomatic. . . .

Brandon Banks, the CFL’s most outstanding player in 2019, said via Twitter on Sunday that he won’t play in 2020 if there is a season. A wide receiver and kick returner, Banks tweeted that “Idk what they gonna do but I won’t put on a helmet til 2021.”



Gregor Chisholm, a baseball columnist with the Toronto Star, after the Canadian government refused the Blue Jays’ request to play home games in Toronto: “This was never about the sport itself. The Jays got caught up in something much bigger than a game. This is about Canada wanting to continue to distance itself from a dysfunctional neighbour who seems to have lost touch with reality.”

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So . . . why didn’t Jason Kenney, Alberta’s premier, invite the Blue Jays to play their home games out of Edmonton’s RE/MAX Field? It seats 9,200, but who cares because fans wouldn’t be allowed. Imagine the smile on Kenney’s face if he had the NHL and MLB in Alberta’s capital at the same time.

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With the Blue Jays on the move, apparently to Buffalo or Dunedin, Fla., let’s check out the standings in the Strat-O-Matic simulation league. . . . The Blue Jays were shelled 12-1 by the visiting Cleveland Indians on Sunday, falling to 46-54 and leaving them 13 games behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays (59-41). The New York Yankees (52-46) are six games back in second place. . . . The other MLB division leaders — Cleveland (61-39), Houston Astros (65-33), Washington Nationals (58-42), Milwaukee Brewers (53-45) and Los Angeles Dodgers (64-36).


After organizers cancelled the 2021 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, wondered: “If the Rose Parade is a public-health risk not worth taking, would a Rose Bowl game played in the same venue make sense?”



Hook

Trudeau: Today, we remember . . .


Michael McCann is the legal analyst for Sports Illustrated and writes regularly for SI’s website.

In his latest piece, he writes about the legal implications involved in a return to play by professional sports leagues.

It really isn’t as simple as bringing players back to a central location, holding some sort of training camp, and then playing games. Oh no! There’s a whole lot more to it than that in these bizarre times.

You can give him a read right here.

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And what if Major League Baseball ends up opening its season by having teams play in facilities without any fans.

Well, there is precedent from 2015 . . .

As Bruce Jenkins wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, Tim Kurkjian, the longtime baseball writer/analyst with ESPN, was in Baltimore when baseball got a taste of the no-fans experience. It was the spring of 2015 and the city was in chaos over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered severe spinal-cord damage while in police custody. Violent protests raged over the issues of race, justice and police brutality, and it was determined that if the April 29 game between the Orioles and Chicago White Sox were to be played at Camden Yards, the public could not be allowed inside.

“Strangest day I’ve ever known in sports,” Kurkjian said in a telephone interview this week. “Chris Davis hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and you could hear the sound of it landing. He rounded the bases in total silence in his home ballpark. (Manager) Buck Showalter told me he could hear every word the TV guys (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer) were saying. And Buck didn’t need the bullpen phone. He just yelled down there, ‘Get (Zack) Britton up!’”

Kurkjian admitted it was “pretty cool, for that day. But if it happens several times in a week, it’s no longer a novelty. After that, I think we should all be pretty careful.”


Survival


While we don’t have any idea when professional golf will return, the British Open officially was cancelled on Monday. It had been scheduled for Royal St. George’s from July 16-19, and now is set for July 15-18, 2021. The 2022 Open Championship, the 150th, is to be played at St. Andrews. . . .

The Masters, which was to have been played this week, has been rescheduled for Nov. 12-15 at Augusta. . . . The U.S. Open is to be played at Harding Park in San Francisco, Aug. 6-9, with the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Sept. 17-20. . . .

If you’re wondering about the Canadian Open, it remains on the PGA schedule at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto, June 11-14.


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “I agree with my esteemed (and sometimes steamed) fellow columnist, Bruce Jenkins, that it will be weird if the NBA plays games without fans, because of the lack of crowd noise. But there would be two benefits. We’d get to hear the game — the squeaks, the growls, the talking, the swearing. And we would be spared the incessant PA sound effects during play, which add nothing to the experience for fans in the arena or watching on TV.”


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, brings us his Thought of the Day, this one from Mark Twain: “Truth is might and will prevail. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it ain’t so.”

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BTW, The Sports Curmudgeon was at his best in Monday’s rant, where he speculates about what we will see when we emerge from this tunnel.

He points out that even with all that we are missing — from March Madness to the NHL to the NBA and on and on — “the world goes on; and as time passes without the presence of these pleasant activities, people may very well come to a point where sports reside on a lower tier of their life-importance construct. If — I said IF — that comes to pass in a significant number of people, that may mean a much smaller demand for high priced tix and a much diminished willingness to approve spending large blocks of taxpayer money to build sporting venues. If interest diminishes, TV ratings would likely drop too and that will make ever-increasing TV rights deals a bad revenue projection for leagues and owners.”

He’s got more to say on the subject and it’s all right here.


Shower


Veteran junior coach Mike Vandekamp has left the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals to join the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm, signing a three-year deal as general manager and head coach. . . . Vandekamp spent two seasons as the Capitals’ GM and head coach. . . . Whenever the next season begins, it will be Vandekamp’s 26th as a junior hockey coach. . . . Vandekamp is returning to Grande Storm, where he coached the Storm for four seasons (2007-11), going 154-72-19 and winning the AJHL title in 2009. He has spent the past nine seasons in the BCHL. . . . In Grande Prairie, he takes over from Ryan Aasman, who stepped in as interim head coach on Dec. 17 after the firing of Matt Keillor.


Will Lamb stay, or will he go? . . . Cranbrook: Ice isn’t tenant, so doesn’t control lease. . . . Royals sign local twins

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F Davis Vandane (Saskatoon, Spokane, Prince Albert, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 55 games. . . .

F Jens Meilleur (Brandon, 2010-14) has announced his retirement through the website of the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Kassel, he had 15 goals and 20 assists in 52 games. Meilleur is quoted in the announcement as saying that he is returning to Manitoba to work on the family farm. . . .

D Patrik Maier (Kamloops, Moose Jaw, 2014-16) has signed a one-year contract with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he was pointless in four games, while, in 47 games on loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had six goals and nine assists.


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The Prince George Cougars have been without a head coach since their season ended in PrinceGeorgeMarch. You are free to wonder if they soon also will be looking for a general manager. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen took a look at the situation in a story for Wednesday’s paper. . . . Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager, is friends with, and has worked with, Dave Tippett, the new head coach of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . “Now entering the second year of a four-year contract with the Cougars,” Clarke writes, “Lamb would neither confirm nor deny whether he’s about to be hired by the NHL team, but the stars appear to be aligned in that direction.” . . . Clarke’s complete story is right here.


As it played its final WHL season in Cranbrook’s Western Financial Place, the Kootenay Ice had a lease that ran through the 2022-23 season. Now that the team has moved to Winnipeg, the city feels the Ice no longer is a tenant so doesn’t control the lease. . . . That’s the word from Paul Heywood, the city’s acting director of community services, who was responding to charges from a group that attempted to purchase and relocate an AJHL franchise (Calgary Mustangs) and later a KIJHL team (Kelowna Chiefs) to Cranbrook. . . . The group said in a news release that the city’s refusal to approve a sublease between it and the Ice ended the chances of placing a team in Cranbrook. . . . Heywood told Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman: “The City has not turned down any offers, and we presently have a questionnaire open for any hockey organizations that are willing to submit an offer to bring their team to Cranbrook. The City of Cranbrook decided that the Kootenay Ice (is) no longer a tenant in Western Financial Place, after establishing offices in Winnipeg and selling tickets for a new season at the Wayne Fleming Arena at the University of Manitoba. The City of Cranbrook has clearly stated that the Winnipeg Ice no longer (has) the right to assign a sublease to any hockey organization. It will remain at the discretion (of) the City of Cranbrook to choose which hockey team will be coming to WFP.” . . . Crawley’s complete story, including the group’s news release, is right here.


The Victoria Royals have signed twin brothers Jason and Ryan Spizawka to WHL VictoriaRoyalscontracts. Both were taken in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Jason, a defenceman, was selected in the first round. Last season, with the bantam prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., he had two goals and 23 assists in 28 games. . . . Ryan, also a defenceman, was taken in the seventh round. He also played at Yale Hockey Academy, putting up eight goals and 12 assists in 28 games. . . .

This Victoria franchise, which entered the WHL as the Chilliwack Bruins, has had at least one other set of brothers, but the Walker boys weren’t twins. From Edina, Minn., Ben played from 2011-14, and Jack was there from 2012-17.

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The WHL’s 22 teams now have signed 15 first-round selections from the May 2 draft. . . .

WHL 2019 FIRST-ROUNDERS

UNSIGNED:

1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie

3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk

4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer

7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren

14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward

20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis

21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth

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SIGNED:

2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie

5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson

6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer

8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson

9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky

10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski

11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk

12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt

13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann

15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton

16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma

17. Regina — D Layton Feist

18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer

19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka

22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker


It is always interesting to compare ticket prices between WHL teams. Hartley Miller, the news and sports supervisor at 94.3 the GOAT in Prince George, has done just that, taking a look at the Cougars and the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Miller also is the analyst on broadcasts of Cougars’ home games. . . . His comparison piece is right here.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Thank you very much.


Mike Pelino, a former WHL coach, will spend next season working as an assistant coach with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL. He will be working alongside first-year head coach Craig MacTavish. . . . Pelino, 59, spent two seasons (1997-99) as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . He has spent the past six seasons working in the KHL. This season, he was an assistant coach with Avangard Omsk. Prior to that, he was on staff with Metallurg Magnitogorsk for five seasons.


The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers are in the market for a general manager/head coach after Curtis Toneff signed on as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . The Buccaneers play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . Toneff, who is from Nanaimo, was the Buccaneers’ head coach for two seasons. . . .

The VIJHL’s Saanich Braves also are looking for a general manager/head coach, with Sam Waterfield having joined the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express as an assistant coach. . . . Waterfield spent two seasons with the Braves.


Tweetoftheday

Cutler, Royals boot Blazers from playoffs. . . . Game slowed by two broken panes of glass. . . . Hitmen, Hurricanes to play Game 7 tonight


MacBeth

D Jesse Dudas (Lethbridge, Prince George, Swift Current, Regina, 2003-09) has signed a two-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with MAC Újbuda Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga), he had 11 goals and 28 assists in 51 games. He was an alternate captain. . . .

D Nick Walters (Everett, Brandon, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL). This season, he had one goal and seven assists in 48 games.


ThisThat

F Nolan Yaremko, who played out his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans, has signed an ATO with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. Yaremko, from Spirit River, Alta., had 67 goals and 92 assists in 278 games over four regular seasons with the Americans. . . . This season, the Americans’ captain had 28 goals and 38 assists in 68 games.


D Jett Woo of the Moose Jaw Warriors has joined the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. They selected Woo in the second round of the NHL’s 2018 draft and have signed him to a contract. . . . This season, he had 12 goals and 54 assists in 62 games.


The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup, staved off elimination on Monday night as they beat the visiting Quebec Remparts, 6-1. . . . The first-round series is tied, 3-3, with Game 7 set for tonight in Halifax. . . . The Mooseheads (49-15-4) finished atop the Eastern Conference; the Remparts (27-28-13) wound up eighth.


Scott Barney has signed a three-year contract as the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He began this season as an assistant coach with the Broncos, then was named interim head coach when the organization and Nathan Oystrick parted company.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The Calgary Hitmen will be in Lethbridge tonight for Game 7 of their first-round series with the Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge forced a final game with a 7-6 OT victory in Calgary on Sunday. . . . With the world men’s curling championship in the Enmax Centre, tonight’s game will be played in the Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s hockey teams. . . . The Hitmen won Game 5, 6-5, in that building on Friday night. . . .

In Monday’s only playoff game, the visiting Victoria Royals beat the Kamloops Blazers, 4-1, to win the series, 4-2. . . . The Royals, who finished second in the B.C. Division, will meet the Vancouver Giants, who wound up on top of the Western Conference, in the second round. That series will open with games in Langley, B.C., on Friday and Saturday. . . . In the regular season, the Giants were 6-2-2 in the season series; the Royals were 4-4-2. . . . Last season, the Royals took out the Giants in seven games in a first-round series. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that F Justin Sourdif was on the ice wearing a non-contact sweater on Monday as the Vancouver Giants practised. Sourdif hasn’t played since being injured in Game 1 of Vancouver’s six-game victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Vancouver F Aidan Barfoot, who also was injured against Seattle, is doubtful for the weekend.

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MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Victoria Royals scored three second-period goals en route to a 4-1 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Royals won the series, 4-2, and will open the second-VictoriaRoyalsround against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . The burning question going into Game 6 was: Who will start in goal for the Blazers? Veteran Dylan Ferguson, 20, had started Game 5 in Victoria on Saturday, but it was Dylan Garand who finished what was a 6-3 Royals victory. . . . When Game 6 began, Garand, a 16-year-old freshman, was in goal. . . . There was a sellout crowd (5,876) on hand for this one, but, as things turned out, they didn’t get many reasons to cheer. . . .

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FIRST PERIOD: After the Blazers opened in a rush and carried much of the play, everything came screeching to a halt. . . . There was a 25-minute delay at 4:14 of the first period as a pane of glass shattered just inside the Victoria blue line on the penalty box side of the ice. Victoria F Logan Doust hit Kamloops F Connor Zary and the heel of Doust’s stick appeared to strike the glass, at which point it crumbled like yesterday’s toast. . . . Victoria got the game’s first goal at 12:05 by forcing a turnover high in the Kamloops zone. That allowed F Brandon Cutler (2) to gain some room and he was able to snap a quick shot past Kamloops G Dylan Garand. At that point, the Blazers held a 6-3 edge in shots. . . . The Blazers’ best chance came a few seconds later as F Zane Franklin came free on the left side, but Victoria G Griffen Outhouse got across and made a great save with his right pad. . . . Kamloops finished with an 11-3 edge in shots. . . . The Blazers were 0-2 on the PP, getting three shots on back-to-back opportunities. . . . Victoria was 0-1.

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SECOND PERIOD: The Royals scored on their second shot of the period to go up 2-0 as Cutler (3) got his stick on a point shot by D Jake Kustra and tipped it through Garand’s legs at 5:57. The Royals were on their second PP of the game at the time with Kamloops D Sean Strange off with one of those dreaded delay-of-game (puck over glass) penalties. . . . At that point, Kamloops had outshot Victoria, 14-5. . . .

Believe it or not, the second period featured a 20-minute delay as another pane of glass exploded after Victoria F Sean Gulka and Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen came together just above the hash marks in the Victoria zone on the penalty box side of the ice. Strangely enough, they didn’t even hit the pane that shattered, but rather one beside it. This one fell apart at 10:43. . . .

Franklin was whistled for cross-checking at 13:11 — he was behind Victoria’s net while the puck on its way out of the zone — and the Royals scored on the PP, as D Ralph Jarratt (1) beat Garand with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. . . . Kamloops was leading on the shot clock, 16-7, at that point. . . .

Victoria was awarded a penalty shot at 18:10 after F Tarun Fizur picked Kamloops D Luke Zazula’s pocket at the Royals’ blue line and headed in alone, only to be hooked from behind by F Kobe Mohr. Garand came up with a glove save and you know that the fans were hoping that would give the Blazers a lift. . . .

However, Victoria F Dino Kambeitz hit F Carson Miller (4) with a centring pass and he jammed the puck through Garand for a 4-0 lead with 12.3 seconds remaining. Kambeitz had passed the puck through Kamloops D Quinn Schmiemann and, after the goal, looked back at the home team’s player and said something. Schmiemann went right at Kambeitz behind the Blazers net and was hit with a roughing minor. . . . That put Victoria on the PP to open the third period.

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THIRD PERIOD: The Blazers began the period with Ferguson in goal. He took over from Garand, who was beaten four times on 13 shots. . . . Outhouse denied Kamloops F Connor Zary on two point-blank opportunities, one on a quick shot from the slot, at 4:50, and the other on a backhand, at 5:40. . . . The Blazers finally got on the scoreboard at 14:18 as F Orrin Centazzo (1), the trailer, took a pass from Mohr and whipped it past Outhouse. . . . For a moment the fans could see a glimmer of light. . . . But Mohr took a boarding penalty at 14:57 and F Josh Pillar went off for slashing at 15:45 and the Kamloops dream was over. . . . The Royals were 2-7 on the PP; the Blazers were 0-2. . . . Outhouse finished with 34 saves. . . . Ferguson stopped all 10 shots he faced. . . .

JUST NOTES: After the handshakes, and with almost all the players off the ice, all four on-ice officials skated over and shook hands with Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen, who played his final WHL game. Loewen is one of the great stories in WHL history; if you aren’t familiar with it, Google is a wonderful friend. . . . As good as Outhouse played in the series, D Scott Walford was the Royals’ series MVP in my eyes. He is their maestro back there, and he ran the show through six games with various defencemen moving in and out of the lineup every game. . . . 

Victoria D Jameson Murray left the ice gingerly at 11:10 of the second period. He played a couple of shifts before the period’s end, but wasn’t on the Royals’ bench for the third period. . . . The Royals had D Matthew Smith back after he missed Games 4 and 5. . . . Jarratt played in his 43rd career playoff game with Victoria, two shy of the franchise record that is held by F Tyler Soy (2012-18). . . .

The Royals were without F Tanner Sidaway, who was suspended for one game for a hit on Zary at 11:48 of the third period in Game 5. Zary wasn’t injured on the play. Sidaway was given a minor penalty for charging. Sidaway had a goal and two assists in the first five games of the series. . . . Victoria also is without F Kody McDonald, who was hit with an indefinite suspension for a stick-swinging incident in Game 4. As well, F Kaid Oliver (shoulder) is out for the remainder of the season.


Tweetoftheday

Brewer says Cougars’ “uptick is coming.” . . . Raiders, Blades are up 3-0 and in control. . . . Chiefs take Winterhawks to the Woods’ shed


MacBeth


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If you are waiting for the Prince George Cougars to make a move, like out of town, forget about it.

Eric Brewer, a former NHL/WHL defenceman who is part of the organization’s PrinceGeorgeownership group of six, made a second apperance with Hartley Miller on the latter’s Cat Scan podcast, and made it quite clear that the Cougars aren’t going anywhere. He said he is in it for the long term and that means a long time.

“Long-term for me means a long way out,” Brewer said. “I don’t know how you would quantify a long term. There really has been no discussion to move the team that I’m aware of. We’re just trying to improve . . .

“We’re asking people to be patient because we feel the uptick is coming. . . . It’s coming but it does take time. Some people have stayed away a little bit . . . they want to see kind of where we’re going with it, and we understand. . . . Certainly winning a few games and a playoff run or two would help.”

Brewer added that the ownership group, which has owned the team for five years, really wants “this thing to be good and we want it to be a real positive experience for the families, for the fans, for the businesses, for the community overall. It’s a real big part of Prince George, It is the community’s team . . . we may own it, but we’re just kind of a vehicle for everyone to be a part of it.”

The Cougars missed the playoffs, and Brewer said it was “definitely a growing” season for the team. “But,” he added, “we are getting there . . . we are going up.”

Brewer also talked about the Cougars’ 17-game losing streak, the firing of head coach Richard Matvichuk, the Kootenay Ice moving to Winnipeg and a whole lot more. . . . It’s all right here.


The WHL hasn’t announced its exhibition schedule, but there will be two games, both featuring the Edmonton Oil Kings and Prince George Cougars, played in Dawson Creek, B.C. . . . Those games will be played at the Encana Events Centre on Sept. 12, 7 p.m., and Sept, 14, 1 p.m. . . . Proceeds from the games are ticketed for the Dawson Creek and District Hospital Foundation. . . . D Wyatt McLeod of the Oil Kings if from Dawson Creek, so this will be a homecoming of sorts for him.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Jacob Hoffrogge to a WHL contract. Hoffrogge, from Saskatoon, was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Hoffrogge, who turned 16 on Feb. 18, had two goals and 14 assists in 39 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts this season.


F Tristyn DeRoose scored at 4:54 of OT to give the host Estevan Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Humboldt Broncos in Game 7 of an SJHL playoff series on Tuesday night. . . . The Bruins had taken a 2-0 first-period lead on goals 19 seconds apart by F Will Koop and F Eddie Gallagher. . . . The Broncos tied it on second-period goals by D Josh Patrician, at 1:26, and F Reagan Poncelet, at 1:57. . . . DeRoose, who turned 20 on Jan. 29, won it with his first goal of these playoffs. He has played in the WHL with the Vancouver Giants and Moose Jaw Warriors. In fact, he started this season with the Warriors. In 109 WHL games, he has five goals and eight assists. In the regular season with Estevan, the native of Ceylon, Sask., recorded seven goals and 18 assists in 25 games. . . . Estevan got 29 saves from G Grant Boldt, while G Rayce Ramsay stopped 38 shots for Humboldt. . . . The announced attendance was 2,662.


Topher Scott at thehockeythinktank.com has written a piece titled: The Cost of AAA Hockey. . . . My goodness, this is scarier than Stephen King at his best. Unless you’re a loans officer or the president of a bank, of course. . . . It’s all right here.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: Going into Tuesday’s games, the first round of the playoffs had featured nine games in suspensions and $1,500 in fines. There don’t appear to have been any major incidents last night, although one hit in the Victoria Royals’ 3-2 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers may come in for a look. . . .

The Royals may ask for supplemental discipline after a second-period hit by F Brodi Stuart of Kamloops on D Matt Smith, who left the game and didn’t return. There wasn’t a penalty on the play, but Victoria head coach Dan Price obviously felt there was a high elbow involved. He could be seen signalling with an elbow at referee Sean Raphael, and also appeared to suggest to Raphael that the referee should “watch the replay.” . . . After the game, Price told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “I’m not going to comment on (the hit by Stuart). I appreciate you asking the question. I said what I had to say to the referee so I just want to make sure I leave that in the hands of the league. That’s above my pay grade. Our general manager will make that decision.” . . . As Tuesday night turned into Wednesday morning, Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, was pondering his options. . . .

Only the Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans weren’t in action last night. They will play Game 3 tonight in Kennewick, Wash., with the Silvertips leading, 2-0. . . . Only the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Calgary Hitmen won’t play tonight. They are scheduled to play Game 4 in Calgary on Thursday night. . . . Home teams were 2-5 last night and now are 14-9 in these playoffs. . . . 

Last night, F Cole Sillinger scored his first WHL goal for the Medicine Hat Tigers. It came in his third playoff game. His dad, Mike, totalled 20 goals in 23 playoff games with the Regina Pats back in the day. . . .

When F Jared Anderson-Dolan of the Spokane Chiefs was penalized for interference 24 seconds into the second period of their game in Portland last night, it was the first penalty called in more than four periods between these teams. There wasn’t even one penalty called in Game 2 or in the first period of Game 3.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Max Gerlach snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Saskatoon Blades skated to a 3-Saskatoon2 victory over the host Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Blades hold a 3-0 lead in the series, with Game 4 in Moose Jaw tonight. . . .  F Kyle Crnkovic (1) gave Saskatoon the lead at 18:03 of the first period. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (1) tied it at 11:29 of the second. . . . F Kirby Dach (2) put Saskatoon back out front at 17:15. . . . Warriors F Carson Denomie (2) tied it at 6:27 of the third. . . . Gerlach won it with his fourth goal of the series, on a PP, at 15:39. . . . The Warriors took back-to-back delay-of-game penalties at 13:40 and 14:12 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon was 1-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 22 saves. . . . Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff made his second straight start and stopped 37 shots. . . . F Brayden Tracey returned to the Warriors’ lineup after missing his club’s previous four games.


F Noah Gregor scored twice to help the visiting Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-2 victory over PrinceAlbertthe Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 3-0. Game 4 is to be played tonight in Red Deer. . . . The Raiders haven’t won a playoff series since 2005 when they dumped the Saskatoon Blades (4-0) and Medicine Hat Tigers (4-2) before losing in seven games to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference final. Since then, the Raiders were ousted six times in the first round and had seven non-playoff seasons. . . . The Raiders, who held a 42-16 edge in shots, got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and were never headed. . . . Gregor (1) made it 1-0 at 1:09 of the first period, and F Dante Hannoun (2) made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 13:22. . . . F Brandon Hagel (4) scored for Red Deer at 4:37 of the second period. . . . Gregor (2) restored the two-goal lead at 16:45 of the third period, only to have F Reese Johnson (1) get Red Deer to within one at 18:58. . . . Prince Albert F Parker Kelly (1) iced it with the empty-netter at 19:41. . . . All four of the Prince Albert goals were unassisted. . . . The Raiders got 14 saves from G Todd Scott. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders turned aside 38 shots. . . . The Raiders played without F Brett Leason, who served a one-game suspension for a hit from behind on Rebels F Cam Hausinger in Game 2. Hausinger wasn’t injured on the play. . . . The Rebels are without D Alex Alexeyev (knee), who won’t play in this series.


The Calgary Hitmen opened up a 3-0 lead midway through the game and went on to beat Calgarythe visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-3, behind two goals and an assist from F Carson Focht. . . . The Hurricanes lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 tonight in Calgary. . . . F Ryder Korczak (1) gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 3:24 of the first period, and Focht (1) made it 2-0 at 4:43. . . . F Josh Prokop (1) upped that to 3-0 at 9:01 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes got to within one on second-period goals from F Dylan Cozens (2), at 9:39, and F Zack Stringer (1), at 17:38. . . . Calgary went back up by a pair when Focht (2) scored, on a PP, at 6:13 of the third. . . . Cozens (3) got the Hurricanes back close at 11:27, before Calgary F Luke Coleman (1) got the empty-netter at 19:55. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 26 shots for Calgary, five fewer than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . F Mark Kastelic, Calgary’s captain and a 47-goal man in the regular season, was among the scratches. According to a tweet from Jeff Hollick (@JeffHollick), Kastelic “is out indefinitely with a concussion after a boarding incident and a punch to the head in Game 2.” . . . The Hurricanes were without F Scott Mahovlich and F Jackson Shepard, both of whom served one-game suspensions that were handed down after they became involved in a brouhaha at the end of Game 2. . . . When this series returns to Lethbridge for Game 5 on Friday, they’ll be playing in Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns because the world men’s curling championship will be in the Enmax Centre. The Nicholas Sheran Arena has 968 seats and 200 standing room spots.


G Mads Søgaard stopped 32 shots to lead the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-0 victory Tigers Logo Officialover the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled to be played tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . F Cole Sillinger, 15, scored his first WHL goal to get the Tigers started. The 11th-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft counted at 15:09 of the first period. . . . F James Hamblin (2) made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 9:24 of the second period, with F Elijah Brown (3) adding to the lead at 12:53. . . . The Tigers wrapped it up with third-period goals from F Ryan Chyzowski (1) and F Hayden Ostir (2). . . . Medicine Hat was 0-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-2. . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo wasn’t able to score on a third-period penalty shot. . . . Søgaard, the 6-foot-7 freshman from Aalborg, Denmark, is 2-1, 1.68, .959 in the three games of this series. He has stopped 118 of 123 shots. . . . Edmonton starter Dylan Myskiw surrendered four goals on 23 shots in 41:55. Todd Scott came on in relief and was beaten once on 11 shots in 18:05.


The Vancouver Giants erased a 3-2 deficit with three straight goals en route to a 6-4 Vancouvervictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Giants lead the series, 2-1. . . . They are to meet again tonight in Kent for Game 4. . . . Seattle went ahead 1-0 at 4:06 of the first period when F Matthew Wedman (1) scored. . . . The Giants took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Tristen Nielsen (1), on a PP, at 19:27, and D Bowen Byram (2), at 3:21 of the second period. . . . Seattle went ahead 3-2 as F Payton Mount scored his first two goals, both on the PP, at 8:40 and 11:09 of the second period. The Giants took a pair of too-many-men minors 3:19 apart, and Seattle scored on both PP opportunities. . . . Mount had scored five goals in 57 regular-season games, with just one of those coming via the PP. . . . Vancouver tied it when F Jadon Joseph (3) struck, on a PP, at 18:48 of the second period, then took the lead when D Alex Kannok Leipert (1) scored 24 seconds into the third. . . . D Dallas Hines (1) made it 5-3 at 7:02. . . . Seattle got to within a goal as F Sean Richards (2) scored at 16:38, but Vancouver F Brayden Watts (1) got the empty-netter at 19:38. . . . Nielsen and Byram each had two assists for three-point outings. . . . G David Tendeck made his first start of the series for Vancouver, stopping 25 shots. Trent Miner had started the first two games. . . . Seattle G Roddy Ross blocked 31 shots. . . . Vancouver was 2-3 on the PP; Seattle was 2-5. . . . The Thunderbirds were without D Jake Lee, who completed a two-game suspension for a hit on Vancouver F Justin Sourdif with six seconds remaining in Game 1. Sourdif hasn’t played since then, and isn’t expected to be in the lineup tonight.


F Riley Woods scored in OT to give the visiting Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the SpokaneChiefsPortland Winterhawks. . . . Spokane leads the series, 2-1. . . . They’ll do it again tonight in Game 4 in Portland. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 2-0 on first-period goals from F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (1), at 1:39, and F Joachim Blichfeld (2), at 6:57. . . . Spokane responded with three straight goals, from F Luke Toporowski (1), who had missed Game 2, at 16:37; F Luc Smith (2), on a PP, at 5:03 of the second period; and F Ethan McIndoe (2), at 5:42. . . . Portland then took a 4-3 lead as D Jared Freadrich (1) scored at 10:06 and Fromm-Delorme (2) got his second at 1:44 of the third. He had scored three times in 60 regular-season games. . . . Spokane F Jack Finley (1) tied it, 4-4, at 7:48. . . . Woods won it with his second goal of the series, at 9:35 of OT. . . . Spokane was 1-1 on the PP; Portland was 0-1. . . . The teams had played Game 2 without taking a minor penalty. There were two called in Game 3. . . . Spokane G Bailey Brkin stopped 28 shots, 10 fewer than Portland’s Joel Hofer. . . . The Winterhawks continue to play without F Cody Glass (knee), while D John Ludvig completed a two-game suspension by sitting out this one.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last two goals, both of them in the third period, VictoriaRoyalsand beat the Blazers, 3-2, in Kamloops. . . . Victoria leads the series, 2-1. . . . Game 4 is to be played tonight in Kamloops. . . . F Carson Miller (3) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 17:36 of the first period. He has a goal in each game of this series. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen (2) tied it at 19:03. . . . After a scoreless second period, F Connor Zary (1) gave Kamloops a 2-1 lead, shorthanded, at 2:15 of the third. . . . Zary was playing his first game of the series after being out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Zary scored after stripping the puck from a Victoria defenceman behind the Royals’ net and coming out the backside to stuff it into the net. . . . At 4:48, Victoria F Brandon Cutler (1) scored a playgrounder at the other end to get his guys back into a tie. . . . The Royals won it at 8:08 when D Scott Walford, the best player in this game, and F Kody McDonald broke out 2-on-1. Walford slipped the puck to McDonald, who got G Dylan Ferguson to open up and then slid the disc through his legs for his third goal of the series. . . . The Blazers had one excellent change with time winding down but F Kyrell Sopotyk had his backhand attempt sail wide of the right post. . . . Victoria was 0-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-2. . . . G Griffen Outhouse was sharp in making 32 saves. He set a franchise record for career playoff victories (10), breaking the mark he had been sharing with Coleman Vollrath (2012-16). . . . Ferguson finished with 28 saves. . . . Victoria D Matt Smith, who had missed 10 games since last playing on Feb. 24, started the game but left in the second period after a hit from Kamloops F Brodi Stuart. . . . Victoria was without D Mitchell Prowse for a second straight game. . . . With Prowse out and Smith gone, the Royals sent with four defencemen for most of the game’s final 25 minutes. In the third period, they used two pairings — Walford with Jameson Murray, and Jake Austria with Ralph Jarratt. . . . Kustra was playing his first game after missing six in a row. . . . Kamloops F Kobe Mohr sat out as he completed a two-game suspension for slashing a linesman following a faceoff in Game 1. . . . The video below provides a look at Mohr’s transgression.


Tweetoftheday

Seattle reboot underway in earnest . . . Moves out veteran goaltender, sniper . . . Everett, Lethbridge deal with T-Birds


ThisThat.

When you look at where F Zack Andrusiak was two years ago, it’s hard to believe how far he has come.

Andrusiak, who totalled six goals and five assists in 60 WHL games in 2016-17, was Everetttraded by the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Everett Silvertips on Tuesday, bringing back a veteran forward, a prospect, two WHL bantam draft selections and a conditional pick.

In the exchange, Seattle added F Sean Richards, 20, F Brendan Williamson, 16, a second-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft, a third-rounder in 2021, and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2022.

Andrusiak, 20, has 124 points, including 69 goals, in 173 regular-season games.

Andrusiak, a native of Yorkton, Sask., began his WHL career by going pointless in seven games with the Tri-City Americans in 2014-15. He split 2015-16 between the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers (two assists in 15 games) and the junior  B Kamloops Storm (32 goals and 19 assists in 32 games).

Two seasons ago, he managed a goal and an assist in eight games with the Prince Albert Raiders, who then dealt him to Seattle, along with a third-round pick in 2018, for F Cavin Leth. Andrusiak proceeded to score five goals and add four assists in 52 games with the Thunderbirds.

Andrusiak took flight last season, scoring 36 goals and earning 38 assists in 72 games.

This season, he has 27 goals and 12 assists in 34 games, including six goals in his past two games, both against the Portland Winterhawks.

“Zack has been having a very good (season) for us, which made making this trade difficult,” Bil La Forge, Seattle’s first-year general manager, said in a news release. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, La Forge had been with Everett since 2008, most recently as director of player personnel. That no doubt helped in making a deal with the arch-rival Silvertips.

In a news release, Garry Davidson, Everett’s general manager, said: “We set a goal leading up to the trade deadline to make a significant offensive upgrade for our club and Zack Andrusiak was a player we’ve targeted for a while who meets our needs.

“He’s a finisher and respected as a proven goal scorer in the WHL. His capabilities to produce against familiar competition within our division and experience two years ago on a team that won a WHL championship are valuable elements we’re excited to add to a group we’re already very proud of.”

Andrusiak is likely to make his Everett debut this weekend in a home-and-home series with Tri-City. They’ll play in Kennewick, Wash., on Friday and in Everett on Saturday. (The really good news for Andrusiak is that, while Seattle begins its East Division swing this week, Everett made that trip in October.)

Andrusiak’s arrival should help the Silvertips ride out an injury to veteran F Riley Sutter, who is listed as week-to-week. At the same time, F Akash Bains is to have probable season-ending surgery on an undisclosed injury.

Sutter, 19, has 40 points, including a team-leading 26 assists, in 38 games. Bains, also 19, has five goals and four assists in 25 games.

The Thunderbirds get back Richards, who has 10 goals and eight assists in 27 games. In Seattle212 career games, he has 41 goals and 67 assists. He began his WHL career by playing 54 games with the Regina Pats, who had listed him. The Pats traded Richards and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft to Everett for F Dawson Leedahl and the rights to F Tyson Jost, who went to the U of North Dakota, then joined the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

However, Richards is six games into an eight-game suspension he incurred after taking a boarding major and game misconduct in a game against host Seattle on Dec. 8. On the play in question, he hit D Loeden Schaufler, who now is a teammate, but according to the WHL’s Dec. 28 roster report remains out week-to-week with an “upper-body injury.”

Earlier this season, Richards sat out a five-game suspension; last season, he drew four- and two-game suspensions.

Richards, from St. Alberta, Alta., will be eligible to return to play on Jan. 8 when the Thunderbirds are to meet the Blades in Saskatoon. He will miss the first two games of Seattle’s East Division trip — against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday and Regina on Sunday.

Williamson, 16, is from Chilliwack, B.C. An undrafted list player, he hasn’t signed a WHL contract. In 24 games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, he has 10 goals and 26 assists. His 36 points have him tied for third in the league’s scoring race.

Seattle now has three selections in the second round of the 2018 draft — its own, one that originated with Regina and now Everett’s. Seattle landed Regina’s second-round pick as part of deal that had D Aaron Hyman go to the Pats.

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Earlier in the day, the Seattle Thunderbirds signalled that something more might be in the works when they added G Roddy Ross to their roster.

The Thunderbirds announced his signing on Tuesday and immediately added the 18-year-old, who is from Meadow Lake, Sask., to their roster.

Later in the day, Seattle dealt G Liam Hughes, 19, and an eighth-round selection in the Lethbridge2019 bantam draft to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Keltie Jeri-Leon, who will turn 19 on Jan. 19, F Michael Horon, 17, and a 2019 fourth-round bantam draft pick.

Hughes becomes one of three goaltenders on Lethbridge’s roster, joining sophomore Reece Klassen, 19, and freshman Carl Tetachuk, 17, who was scratched from a Saturday game with an undisclosed injury, but was back on the bench Sunday night.

In 26 games, Klassen is 11-4-7, 3.57, .891. Tetachuk has gotten into 12 games, going 7-5-0, 3.49, .892.

Hughes, from Kelowna, was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the seventh round of the 2014 bantam draft. He was traded to Seattle for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. This season, he is 10-16-3, 3.67, .899 in 29 games with Seattle. Last season, Hughes got into 36 games with the Thunderbirds, going 16-12-6, 3.15, .909.

Hughes could be available to play tonight when the Hurricanes visit the Red Deer Rebels. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one in front of Red Deer.

Jeri-Leon, also from Kelowna, joins his fourth WHL team, having previously played for the Tri-City Americans and Kamloops Blazers. This season, he has five goals and nine assists in 30 games. In 130 career games, he has 15 goals and 17 assists.

Horon, 17, is from Lethbridge. He was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the ninth round of the 2016 bantam draft. At the time, Seattle general manager Bill La Forge was Everett’s director of player personnel. The Hurricanes acquired Horon for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft on Jan. 10 and signed him to a WHL contract.

Horon is playing with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. He is leading the Alberta Midget Hockey League with 50 points, including 25 goals.

Meanwhile, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Ross joins freshman Cole Schwebius, 17, as Seattle’s two goaltenders.

Schwebius, from Kelowna, is 1-3-1, 3.27, .899 in six appearances.

Ross had been playing with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks (8-5-5, 2.93, .921). Last season, he was an all-star with the midget AAA Tisdale, Sask., Trojans.

Ross will be available on Friday when Seattle opens its six-game East Division swing in Brandon.

The Thunderbirds (11-19-4) are fifth in the U.S. Division, 14 points behind the fourth-place Americans. Seattle also is five points behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Tuesday’s action:

No. of trades: 2.

Players: 6.

Bantam draft picks: 4.

Conditional draft picks: 1.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 17.

Players: 37.

Bantam draft picks: 28.

Conditional draft picks: 10.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


F Dillon Hamaliuk of the Seattle Thunderbirds isn’t expected to play again this season. According to a Tuesday afternoon tweet from Andy Eide, who covers the team for 710 ESPN, the Thunderbirds will show Hamaliuk as “out for remainder of season” when the WHL issues its weekly roster report. . . . Hamaliuk was injured on Saturday night when he was hit by D Matthew Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks. Quigley was given a kneeing major and game misconduct and has since been handed a TBD suspension. . . . Hamaliuk, 18, has 11 goals and 15 assists in 31 games. Last season, he finished with 15 goals and 24 assists in 72 games.


For the second weekend in a row since returning from the Christmas break, the Kamloops Blazers are to play three games in fewer than 48 hours.

Last weekend, the Blazers went 2-1-0, beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 3-2 in OT, on Kamloops1Dec. 28; losing 2-1 in Kelowna on Dec. 29; and edging the visiting Prince George Cougars, 2-1, on Sunday.

However, this weekend presents the Blazers with one of those punishing quirks that the WHL seems unable to get out of its schedule.

The Blazers are scheduled to meet the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday night. Kamloops will ride the bus home right after that game, because it is to entertain the Rockets on Saturday night. After that game, it’ll be right back on the bus for the Blazers because they are to meet the Silvertips in Everett on Sunday in a game that has a 4:05 p.m. start time.

Scheduling like that makes one wonder if darts and a Wheel-of-Fortune wheel are part of the process.


It’s true! The NHL is coming to Regina next season.

The Winnipeg Jets will be the host team for a game with the Calgary Flames that is to be played at Mosaic Stadium, the home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, on Oct. 26.

There is more on the story right here.


Russian F Oleg Saprykin, who played two seasons in the WHL, ended up in jail when he allegedly became unruly on a flight from Sochi to Moscow. Saprykin, 37, apparently was upset when a flight attendant stopped serving him booze. . . . Saprykin played with the Seattle Thunderbirds (1998-2000) before going on to play 325 games in the NHL. . . . There’s more right here.


The SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos have added Troy Smith to their staff as an assistant coach HumboldtBroncosat least for the rest of this season. Smith, 40, was in his second season as head coach of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit when he was fired on Nov. 18. . . . He had coached in the OHL since 2006-07. . . . In Humboldt, Smith will work alongside Scott Barney, who took over as interim head coach last week after the departure of general manager/head coach Nathan Oystrick. . . . The Broncos (21-13-3) are third in the four-team Global Ag Risk Solutions Division, two points out of second and five from first. However, they are 2-7-1 in their past 10 outings.


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).

Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).

——

TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Calgary Hitmen opened a 5-1 lead midway through the second period and went on to Calgaryscore a 6-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals in a game played on Tuesday afternoon. . . . Calgary (17-16-4) has won two straight. It now is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Victoria (18-15-1) is 2-2-0 on its six-game Central Division tour. It remains tied with the Kelowna Rockets for second in the B.C. Division. . . . The Royals were playing their fourth game in five days and their second in fewer than 24 hours. While the Hitmen were enjoying a quite New Year’s eve, the Hitmen were beating the Kootenay Ice, 4-3 in OT, on Monday in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . F James Malm (16) and F Carson Focht gave Calgary a 2-0 first period lead, with Victoria F Kaid Oliver (17) halving the deficit at 18:40. . . . The Hitmen took control with three second-period PP goals — from F Mark Kastelic, at 0:25; Focht (9), at 9:58; and F Luke Coleman (9), at 10:17. . . . F Brandon Cutler (8), at 13)1 of the second, and F Dante Hannoun (19), at 1:11 of the third, got Victoria two within two goals, but Calgary F Kaden Elder (15) put it away with an empty-netter at 19:41. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 23 shots for the Hitmen. F Tarun Fizen wasn’t able to beat him on a first-period penalty shot. . . . Calgary was 3-5 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3.


The Saskatoon Blades held a 46-19 edge in shots as they beat the visiting Swift Current SaskatoonBroncos, 5-2. . . . Saskatoon (23-11-5) has won two in a row. It is second in the East Division, five points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold five games in hand. . . . Swift Current (7-27-3) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . The Blades, who held period leads of 1-0 and 2-1, outshot the Broncos 10-7, 16-6 and 20-6 by period. . . . F Max Gerlach (22), on a PP, put the home side ahead at 13:33 of the first period. . . . F Josh Paterson (12) made it 2-0 at 2:31 of the second. . . . D Billy Sowa, with his second career goal and second in two games, got the Broncos on the scoreboard at 19:46. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 4-2 on third-period goals from F Chase Wouters (7), at 8:58, and F Kirby Dash (16), at 13:13. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (13) pulled the Broncos within two at 15:05, but F Riley McKay (7) made it 5-2 at 18:58. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who had a goal and three assists when the Blades won 9-3 in Swift Current on Sunday, had two assists. . . . Broncos G Joel Hofer stopped 41 shots, 24 more than Nolan Maier of the Blades.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored two first-period goals and went on to a 3-1 victory over EdmontonOilKingsthe visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Edmonton (21-12-7) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). It leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes and five on the Red Deer Rebels. Lethbridge has four games in hand on Edmonton, while Red Deer has five. . . . Vancouver (23-10-2) is 1-2-0 on a six-game Central Division trip. . . . F Carter Souch (7) got Edmonton started at 1:29 of the opening period, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (24) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 12:45. . . . D Bowen Byram (10) scored for the Giants, on a PP, at 12:52 of the second. . . . F David Kope (8) scored Edmonton’s other goal, at 13:10 of the second. . . . Vancouver won 32 of 51 faceoffs and held a 35-17 edge in shots. . . . The Oil Kings got a solid game from G Dylan Myskiw, with 34 saves. . . . F Dylan Guenther, the first overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft, is back with the Oil Kings, who were without seven players, including three forwards. Despite being 15, Guenther has played in eight games — he has three goals and an assist — with the Oil Kings. A player his age is limited to five games while his club team’s season is in progress, unless brought up under emergency conditions. . . . Guenther has 38 points, 20 of them goals, in 18 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . The Oil Kings scratched G Boston Bilous, D Jacson Alexander, whose season is over, D Matt Robertson, D Will Warm, F Quinn Benjafield, F Jake Neighbours and F Brett Kemp.


The Prince Albert Raiders erased a 3-2 deficit in the last half of the third period to beat PrinceAlbertthe Pats, 5-3, in Regina. . . . Prince Albert (34-3-1) had dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Pats on Sunday night. The Raiders now are 5-1-0 in the season series. . . . Regina (12-25-1) had won its previous three games. . . . The Raiders took a 1-0 lead 19 seconds into the second period as F Parker Kelly scored while shorthanded. . . . The Raiders have scored a WHL-leading 18 times while shorthanded; the Red Deer Rebels are second, with eight. . . . F Robbie Holmes (8) pulled Regina into a tie at 18:37. . . . The teams combined for six third-period goals. . . . F Cole Fonstad gave the Raiders a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 4:04. . . . Regina tied it 14 seconds later when D Liam Schioler (3) scored, and took the lead at 5:40 on a goal by F Riley Krane (7). . . . However, the Raiders scored the game’s last three goals. F Sean Montgomery (17) tied it at 11:04. D Sergei Sapego (7) got the winner, on a PP, at 15:39. Kelly (17) got the empty-netter, at 19:59. . . . The Raiders outshot their hosts, 56-23. By periods, it was 18-4, 15-12 and 23-7. . . . Yes, Regina G Max Paddock stood tall in this one. . . . Raiders G Brett Balas, a third-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, stopped 20 shots to win his first WHL start. . . . Parker added an assist to his two goals, while Montgomery had two helpers. . . . F Noah Gregor drew three assists for the Raiders. He has 53 points, including 29 assists, in 33 games. He has 17 points, 10 of them goals, in a seven-game point streak.


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