NFL to be hard on unvaccinated . . . Bergson 17-parter on Wheaties arrives Monday . . . Ice inks two imports

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in the locker room of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills?

The NFL on Thursday informed its teams that it won’t be postponing any games that can’t be played for COVID-related reasons because there isn’t room in the 18-game schedule. The NFL also said that if a team can’t field a team because of virus spread within unvaccinated players, then that team will forfeit the game and be given a loss in the standings, something that could have rather expensive playoff implications.

As well, the NFL said the forfeiting team would be responsible for all expenses incurred by the other club and that players from both teams wouldn’t be paid for the missed game. The forfeiting team also could be disciplined by Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner.

That brings us to the Bills . . .

Here’s a tweet from OG Jonathan Feliciano, out of the U of Miami: “It’s been proven that COVID was made in lab. Fauci also a part of Pfizer . . . that’s why ppl don’t want to get the vaccine. Sad to come to the realization that you can not trust the government. #dontshootthemessenger.”

And then there was this one from WR Cole Beasley, an SMU product who has been spewing anti-vaxx stuff for a while now: “The players association is a joke. Call it something different. It’s not for the players. Everyone gives me the 98 percent of people who are vaccinated don’t get cover again. The odds of me getting in the NFL and playing for 10 years are lower than that and I’m here.”

Meanwhile, DE Jerry Hughes Jr., who played at TCU, came at it like this: “Sooo the top scientists in the entire world got together to figure out how to combat Covid-19. And when they came up with a vaccine, you question them. They are trying to save lives and you have doubt.”

Yes, these could be interesting times around the Bills, who are scheduled to open camp on Wednesday.

And then there was WR DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals, who fired off this tweet: “Never thought I would say this, But being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the @NFL.”

Shortly after, Hopkins deleted that tweet, and added this one: “Btw I got about 9 more years in me, y’all have a good day”

That second tweet might have something to do with the fact that were Hopkins to leave the NFL, he would have to repay the Cardinals US$22 million in unearned signing bonus money.

BTW, last week The Associated Press reported that the NFL had four teams that didn’t have as many as 50 percent of their players vaccinated, although it now says those teams have surpassed that mark. USA TODAY reported that 78 percent of NFL players have had at least one shot.

Earlier, the NFL had told its teams that unvaccinated players will be subjected to daily testing; will have to wear masks inside the team facility; won’t be allowed to leave the team hotel while on the road other than for the game; and won’t be allowed to eat meals with teammates on the road or at the team facility.


Organizers announced 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday that have been linked to the Tokyo Olympics. With the Games about to get into high gear, the total since July 1 rests at 106. . . .

Remember that it was IOC president Thomas Bach who said a while back that there was “zero risk” of there being any spread because of these Games. . . .

Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, who is in Tokyo: “As the circus gets under way, the citizens of Tokyo are going about their business in this city, which is somewhat muted under a state of emergency. There are no visible protests, but the displeasure is clear. It has been measured by polls that show how opposed the public is to these Games. Perhaps the most damning development is that Toyota pulled all its Olympic-related advertising in the country. One of the most important corporations in Japan doesn’t want to give any implication of endorsing these COVID Games.”


Phil Hoad, at theguardian.com: “From Wednesday, showing either a health pass, or proof of a negative PCR test dated to within 48 hours, is obligatory in France for anyone wishing to access any cultural or leisure facilities with a capacity of more than 50 people. This includes cinemas, art galleries, libraries, museums, sports centres and work-related events. Cafes, restaurants and trains will fall under the measures at the beginning of August.

“The measures are part of President Macron’s push to reignite France’s flagging vaccination drive amid a fourth wave of the pandemic. With 18,000 cases reported in the 24 hours prior to 20 July, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal described the Delta variant-driven surge as ‘stratospheric’; the national week-on-week infection rate has jumped 125% to 86 per 100,000, well above the national alert threshold of 50.”

The New York Times: “Italy said it will require vaccination proof or a negative Covid test for many social activities, including indoor dining and attending shows, as debate grows over limits being placed on the unvaccinated. France made a similar announcement last week.”


If the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings aren’t the greatest team in WHL history, Brandonthey certainly are in the discussion. Perry Bergson covers the Wheat Kings for the Brandon Sun and is about to unleash a 17-part series on that team, one that went 58-5-9 — the 9 representing ties (remember them?) — and earned 125 of a possible 144 regular-season points. . . . The Wheat Kings won the WHL title that season, but lost the Memorial Cup final in OT. . . . The series will include a capsule on each of the 104 games the team played that season. . . . Bergson, who finished the writing part on Wednesday at 6 a.m., will have a new feature each day as he looks at the 21 players and the late Dunc McCallum, who was the team’s coach. Bergson also has been into The Sun’s photo files and the series will include previously unpublished pics. . . . It all starts on Monday. Watch for it!


Murphy


As I do from time to time, I would like to point out that the cartoons that appear on this website are provided by Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon. . . . Thanks a bunch, Jack. . . . And if you haven’t already you should check out his rants at sportscurmudgeon.com. It’s well worth a daily visit.


The Winnipeg Ice has signed D Martin Bohm and D Maximilian Streule to WHL Winnipegcontracts. . . . Both were selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Bohm, 18, is from Czech Republic. From a news release: “Bohm played for Bili Tygri Liberec in the Czech U20 league where he scored three goals and added seven assists in eight games. He also spent time playing for HC Benatky nad Jizerou in the Czech2 league where he scored two goals in 17 games.  Bohm has represented the Czech Republic at the U16 and U18 levels.” . . . Streule, 17, is from Switzerland. He played last season with the GCK Lions in a U20-Elit league, putting up five goals and eight assists in 28 games.


Stabbing


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: Kris Mallette, the head coach of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, has been added as an assistant coach for Hockey Canada’s U-18 team’s summer development camp. He replaces Dennis Williams, the GM/head coach of the Everett Silvertips, who now is an assistant coach with the national junior team. . . . Carter Duffin has joined the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats as assistant general manager and assistant coach. He spent the past three seasons as the GM/head coach of the junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . .

Kelly Buchberger, whose contract as the head coach of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans wasn’t renewed, has joined the Laval Rocket, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, as an assistant coach. Buchberger, who spent three seasons with the Americans, signed a three-year deal with Laval. . . . The Americans haven’t yet introduced their next head coach. . . .

Daniel Renaud has signed on as the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. Renaud was the Cataractes’ head coach for three seasons (2017-20) before moving on to become head coach of the Val-d’Or Foreurs. Jason Clarke, former GM/head coach of the Carleton Place Canadians of the junior A CCHL is joining Shawinigan as an assistant coach. . . Darryl Robinson has taken over as the director of scouting for the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles. He joined the Eagles’ scouting staff in 2020 after working with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs.


Stab

Scattershooting on a Saturday night after enjoying a mostly smoke-free evening . . .

Scattershooting2

It appears that the OHL is in the process of preparing a policy that will deal with mandatory vaccination prior the start of training camps for the 2021-22 season.

Mark Scheig, who among other things covers the OHL and specifically the Erie Otters for thehockeywriters.com tweeted on Saturday afternoon:

OHL“I am hearing that the OHL . . . will be implementing a policy that will require all players, staff, officials, volunteers and, I believe, billet families to be fully vaccinated within two weeks of the start of training camp.

“My understanding is that there will be accommodations to some degree. But the significance of this is non-vaxxed players/staff could be removed from the roster or placed on leave for the duration of the pandemic.”

Players in the OHL are scheduled to report to training camp on Sept. 4 with the regular season to open on Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, there isn’t any word on whether mandatory vaccination is something that might be implemented as a CHL-wide measure, meaning the QMJHL and WHL also would be involved.

As regards the WHL, you have to think it has at least been discussed by the board of governors.

The move towards mandatory vaccination in some areas is getting noisier and noisier, and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I also wonder how WHL teams will deal with seating in their home arenas when it comes to opening the doors to those who are fully vaccinated and those who aren’t vaccinated at all.

But when it comes to mandating that players must be vaccinated, can a sports league really tell a group of players ages 16 to 20 that they have to fall in line? Then again there isn’t a players’ union involved, so . . .


F Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t play in Game 5 of the NBA final on Saturday night after having to enter health and safety protocols. . . . The 28-year-old has averaged 0.7 points and 3.5 minutes per game in these playoffs. . . . The visiting Bucks, who were down 16 points in the early going, won Saturday’s game, 123-119, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. They get their first chance to wrap it up at home on Tuesday. . . . Milwaukee last won an NBA title in 1971.


ICYMI, the New York Islanders traded F Andrew Ladd and three draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon. That’s it. That’s the trade. The Islanders didn’t get anything in return. Don’t you just love today’s NHL where teams are able to do that just to dump some salary? . . . BTW, those draft picks are a second-rounder in 2021, a conditional second-rounder in 2022 and a conditional third-rounder in 2023. . . . Ladd, 35, has played 950 regular-season NHL games, the last four of them in 2019-20. Last season, he played one game — with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game:

“It was a happenstance instead of a happening.  A quick summary here:

  1. The AL won the game.
  2. The teams wore uniforms made specifically for the All-Star Game.
  3. The uniforms were genuinely ugly.”

——

Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle didn’t like those uniforms, either: “After bombing horribly with those generic All-Star uniforms — yo, Rob Manfred, nobody loved them — we’ll get more of the same next year at Dodger Stadium. It’s all about sponsorship bucks, and Nike really blew it with this year’s designs, especially the all-blue disasters with unreadable names. We’re thinking they really get creative next year with special team pajamas. Maybe those really silly ones with the squirrels chasing hippos.”

——

While those All-Star Game uniforms were butt ugly, there was some good news as Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, said before the game that there likely will be a couple of changes prior to the 2022 season. That free runner on second base in extra innings? Gone. Seven-inning doubleheaders? Gone. . . . Manfred said those two situations “were adopted based on medical advice to deal with COVID” and that “they are less likely to become part of our permanent landscape than some of the other rules.” . . . Don’t forget that the CBA between MLB owners and the players runs out on Dec. 1, and these parties have a history that isn’t good when it comes to these kinds of negotiations.


Mars


A note to CBC Radio: So you really did dump Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap after 16 wonderful seasons. Well, then, I’m just going to have to give you your walking papers, too. I mean, I quite enjoy listening to Kathleen Edwards, but one of her 2012 shows in place of Vinyl Tap just doesn’t cut it. So you are free to count me as a former listener of all things CBC Radio. For whatever that might be worth. . . . Hey, Randy, please let me know where Vinyl Tap ends up after you’ve taken care of business. Oh, and thanks so much for 16 years of great listening.



Headline at The Onion: Conor McGregor Undergoes 3 Hours Of Surgery To Repair Fractured Ego


A midweek tweet from comedy writer Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg): “Just learned on ‘Jeopardy’ a coyote can run 40 MPH, twice as fast as a roadrunner. Next thing you know they’ll try to tell us a coyote can’t paint a train tunnel on a canyon wall and then get run over by the train that comes out of it.”


Delta

Three athletes, two of them residents of the Olympic Village, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo. . . . These are the first two athletes who are staying in the Village to have tested positive. Another athlete who is not staying there also has tested positive. There are a number of athletes staying in hotels. . . . The IOC has said that the Olympic Village will be the “safest place” in Tokyo when it comes to avoiding the coronavirus. . . . Organizers haven’t identified the athletes or their countries of residence. . . . Since July 1, there have been 55 positive tests involving people linked to these Games.

——

The Colorado Rockies are without manager Bud Black, first-base coach Ron Gideon and four players as they play a weekend series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers. All are involved with MLB’s contact-tracing protocols. . . . Three RHP — Yency Almonte, Jhoulys Chacin and Antonio Senzatela — and OF Yonathan Daza were placed on the injured list. . . . The team wouldn’t say whether anyone was experiencing symptoms or had tested positive. . . . It is known that the Rockies were one of the first teams to reach the 85 per cent vaccination rate.

——

Virus

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Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News, after six players with the New York Yankees went on the MLB COVID-19 list:

“They can say whatever they want to, but one of the reasons it happens this way, absolutely, is because there are members of this baseball team — and others for sure — who are too stupid or selfish or stubborn or all of the above to get vaccinated, one summer after one of the darkest our country has ever known.

“And that is on these ballplayers who don’t just endanger themselves, but endanger people around them. This isn’t about religious liberty or politics or anything else at this point with the anti-vaxxers. It is about living in a new kind of bubble, the one in Stupidville. You feel sorry for these guys. There’s a reason why doctors are now talking about a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated.’ ”

That complete column is right here.


Lupica, again: “Tom Brady is telling us now that he played last season with a torn MCL . . . why? Was Brady this chatty in Foxboro, I can’t recall.”


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“If I was Joe Biden, I would send a heath expert to the WNBA with instructions to find out how that league became a sports-world leader in COVID vaccinations. While men’s leagues struggle to reach minimum levels of vax, the WNBA steps up and takes it like a woman. It’s almost as if WNBA players value team over personal politics and misinformation.”


Bigfoot


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The USHL’s Fargo Force needs a head coach following the departure of Pierre-Paul Lamoureux. He had been the head coach for two seasons after earlier working as associate head coach, director of scouting and assistant coach at various times. Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald tweeted: “Pierre-Paul Lamoureux stepping down after leading Fargo to the Clark Cup Finals. Lamoureux says he will invest more time in his family. Not sure if it played a role, but it was fairly widely known in USHL circles that he wasn’t exactly compensated like other league head coaches.”


CIA

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if London will be OK in the morning . . .

Scattershooting2

Smoke
The South Thompson River valley from our deck on Sunday, 6:45 p.m. Somewhere behind the smoke in mid-photo is Mount Martin. And over on the right, somewhere beyond the river, is the Trans-Canada Highway.

Virus


Cole Beasley, a receiver with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, has said that he won’t get vaccinated, adding: “I may die of Covid, but I’d rather die actually living.” To which Ron Borges of si.com wrote: “How many times has this guy been hit on the head again?”

——

Bob Molinaro, in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot: “Buffalo Bills anti-vaxxer, anti-masker Cole Beasley tweeted, ‘I may die of COVID, but I’d rather die actually living.’ What a drama queen. One who sings in the key of me. The comic irony of NFL players avoiding vaccine needles is that in their line of work, they get shot up more often than race horses.”


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, drops the hammer on the nail with this one: “Joey Chestnut set a new world’s record in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4. Chestnut ate 76 hotdogs — and buns, of course — in the 10-minute event. Here is a task for historians and observers of societal/cultural trends: At exactly what point did gluttony cease to be one of the seven deadly sins and become a sport?”



Headline at The Onion on July 18, 2011: “U.S. Quietly Slips Out Of Afghanistan In Dead Of Night.”
Headline at the BBC on July 6, 2021: “US left Bagram Airbase at night with no notice, Afghan commander says.”



Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels is going to pitch and DH in Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game. If you haven’t been paying attention to him, you should. Here’s Angels manager Joe Maddon explaining why: “We all romanticize what it would have been like to watch Babe Ruth play — he pitched, really? I mean, you hear this stuff and it’s a larger-than-life concept. Now we’re living it. So don’t underestimate what we’re seeing.”


If you aren’t familiar with Kaye Kaminishi, please allow Google to be your friend. Kaminishi is 99 years of age now. He is the last surviving member of the Asahi baseball team — he played third base. Again, let Google be your friend. . . . The Asahi team was huge in Vancouver in the years before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After the bombing, Kaminishi was one of those rounded up and taken to an internment camp in the Interior of B.C. . . . One day in June 2013, I visited his Kamloops home. The plan was to write a short story about Kaminishi’s exploits on the badminton court. I ended up writing a pair of lengthy stories on a man who didn’t have a bitter bone in his body despite the wrongs that had been forced upon him. He really and truly is a remarkable human being.


I spent some time over the past few days watching the visiting Detroit Tigers play the Minnesota Twins. And what a treat it was to listen to Jim Kaat, who was riding shotgun with play-by-play man Dick Bremer. The ex-southpaw known as Kitty is 82 now but he hasn’t lost a step. It was just so great to listen to someone whose analysis wasn’t full of launch angles, exit velocities, spin rates and barrel rates.


Canada Soccer has cancelled a bunch of 2021 national championships due to the pandemic. From a news release: “Canada Soccer’s Toyota National Championships, which include the U-15 Cup, U-17 Cup, Jubilee and Challenge Trophy, as well as the Eastern and Western Masters competitions, have been cancelled for 2021 in respect of the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic related to participant health and safety.”

So . . . England scored in the second minute to take a 1-0 lead over Italy in Sunday’s UEFA Euro Cup final at London’s Wembley Stadium. Italy, of course, went on to win on penalties, after which the fun started in the city streets. Gee, instead of blaming the three young fellows who came up empty in penalties, perhaps England fans should be wondering why their favourites didn’t push harder for a second goal during regulation time.


Headline at theonion.com: Bob Baffert Once Again Denies Doping Allegations After Medina Spirit Wins Coca-Cola 600.


Drunk


At least 13 players have withdrawn from the British Open that is scheduled to start Thursday at Royal St. George’s. That includes Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, and Bubba Watson, a two-time Master champ who came in contact with someone who was positive.


Right-hander Aaron Nola was to have started Sunday for the Philadelphia Phillies against the host Boston Red Sox. But he had to be scratched after being placed on the COVID-19 injured list, along with RHP Connor Brogdon, LHP Bailey Falter and 3B Alec Bohm. . . . Bohm was taken out of Saturday’s game against the Red Sox after testing positive. . . . Nola, Brogdon and Falter went on the list as close contacts. Brogdon and Falter both played in Saturday’s game; in fact, Falter got the victory in an 11-2 triumph. . . . I was watching the Phillies and Red Sox on Sunday and Boston’s TV crew mentioned that neither team has reached the 85 per cent vaccination threshold needed for some restrictions to be loosened. . . .

Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners placed RHP Yusei Kikuchi on the COVID-19 list on Sunday. He tested positive after showing symptoms, but is fully vaccinated. He since has tested negative, and needs just one more such result in order to be cleared to play in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. . . . The Mariners went over the 85 per cent threshold late in May.



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: Chadd Cassidy is the new general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Cassidy spent the previous five years coaching at the Northwood School in Lake Placid, N.Y. In Omaha, he replaces former WHL player David Wilkie, 47, who, according to a news release, “stepped down earlier to pursue other opportunities.” Wilkie played four seasons (1990-94) in the WHL, playing with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Kamloops Blazers and Regina Pats. . . . The Val-d’Or Foreurs have signed Maxime Desruisseaux, 37, as their new head coach. He had been an associate coach with the Victoriaville Tigres. In Val-d’Or, Desruisseaux takes over from Daniel Renaud. Shortly after Val-d’Or lost to Victoriaville in the QMJHL final, the Foreurs announced that they and Renaud had gone their separate ways by mutual agreement.


Wishbone

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while daring to watch Where Eagles Dare . . .

Scattershooting2


Betty


You may have heard that LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers may or may not have been in violation of NBA protocol when he recently attended a promotional event for a tequila brand that he has backed as an investment. No, the NBA didn’t suspend him, so he was able to play in that play-in game against the Golden State Warriors. . . . The best explanation I have seen as to why he wasn’t disciplined came from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon: “The NBA is not going to suspend LeBron James from the playoffs or require him to be in quarantine for a week or so unless he tests positive for the coronavirus three or four times in succession as do a half-dozen of his teammates along with his family with whom he has had close contact for the past 10 days.”


If you’ve been wondering just how things went down in Everett as the Silvertips made the decision no to renew GM Garry Davidson’s contract, Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has the dope right here . . .


I saw this note from TSN on Tuesday night, after the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Montreal Canadiens, 4-0, in a playoff game: “The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs shutout the Montreal Canadiens in playoffs was April 22, 1967. It was Johnny Bower’s last playoff shutout.” . . . Gotta love historical notes like that one. And if you haven’t read Dan Robson’s book on Bower — Bower: A Legendary Life — give it a look. Bower, a terrific person, was a great story and this is a truly enjoyable read.


Phone



If you’re a regular here, you know that Dwight Perry’s name shows up in Scattershooting on a regular basis. He writes and puts together Sideline Chatter for the Seattle Times, something he has done since 1999. However, he is on the IL as he deals with a health-related issue, but if you click right here you will find what a tribute to him that was put together by his friend and workmate, Scott Hanson . . . Enjoy!


The next time you’re on your deck or patio putting the chops on the barbecue — or grill — think about this for a moment: The Food Network just signed Guy Fieri to a new three-year contract said to be worth US$80 million, or more than Cdn$96 million. . . . You are correct. We picked the wrong line of work but, hey, enjoy the chops!


Taster


Remember the Vancouver riot of 2011? If so, you’ll remember the iconic photo of the couple — Alex Thomas and Scott Jones — laying in an empty street and embracing, with a riot cop in the forefront. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski checked in with them in Australia and with the Vancouver-based photographer, Richard Lam, this week and came up with a great read that is right here. Enjoy!


So I was puttering around in our yard earlier this week and got to wondering if anyone else has noticed that we really are living on one giant anthill (aka earth)?


Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “They’ve taken down the ‘Loretta’s Lounge’ sign at the White Sox’ ballpark, honoring the late Loretta Micele, whose service in club concessions dated to the original Comiskey Park in 1945. The eating/seating area is now called ‘La Russa’s Lounge’ after manager Tony La Russa, 76, certain to retire within the next few years (if not sooner) and who has a history of DUI issues. Man, that’s tacky.”


If you haven’t already seen this, turn up the volume . . .


And so it begins . . . maybe . . .

The NBA’s New York Knicks announced Friday that if they advance to the second round of the playoffs, tickets will be sold only to people who have been fully vaccinated. . . . “With the Knicks’ sizeable and boisterous crowds becoming a national conversation,” wrote Marc Berman of the New York Post, “the Knicks announced they will sell second-round tickets to only vaccinated fans. No socially distanced sections will be available.” . . . Of course, the Knicks are trailing the Atlanta Hawks, 3-1, in a best-of-seven first-round series so the announcement may have been for naught. They’ll play Game 5 in New York on Wednesday.


Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News: “It is worth pointing out, as the second tennis major of the season begins at Roland Garros, that Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic have combined to win 58 major tennis championships. Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe combined to win 26.”


CrimeRate


In the QMJHL, the host Victoriaville Tigres scored three times in the last 6:36 of the third period and went on to beat the Val-d’Or Foreurs, 4-3 in OT, in the championship final. Victoriaville leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1. . . . F Conor Frenette got the winner at 7:03 of OT. . . . They’ll play Game 4 in Victoriaville on Tuesday. . . . On Sunday, the Tigres tied it on goals from F Nicolas Daigle, at 13:25 of the third period; F Shawn Element, at 18:54; and F Alex Beaucage, at 19:55.


Some Friday numbers for you to chew on . . .


A note from Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “RIP Gavin MacLeod, aka Captain Stubing. Must admit I loved ‘The Love Boat.’ Except for when I got into the travel industry and clients expected cruise ship cabins to look like they did on TV.” . . . In real life, she’s a travel agent in Palo Alto, Calif.

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One more note from The Left Coast Sports Babe: “In St. Petersburg, Fla., a concert promoter is offering tickets for $18 if you’re vaccinated . . . $1,000 if you aren’t. Sometimes I love the free market!”


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6; yes, that’s coming up on Sunday. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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: Zach Hodder revealed via Twitter on Friday that “my time as manager of player development with the WHL has come to an end.” He joined the WHL office staff on Sept. 13, 2018. Hodder, 27, is a former WHL player who split 128 regular-season games between the Vancouver Giants, Saskatoon Blades, Prince Albert Raiders, Medicine Hat Tigers and Moose Jaw Warriors (2010-14). . . . Vukie Mpofu, who once played for the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, has been named manager of hockey operations and legal affairs with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He played four games with the Rebels in 2012-13 and 65 more in 2013-14. . . . The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Carter Duffin, their general manager and head coach, to a “multi-year extension.” He is preparing for his fourth season with the Rebels. . . . The BCHL’s Langley Rivermen have signed Thomas Koshman as assistant GM and associate coach. He had been with the junior B Langley Trappers as GM and associate coach for the previous three-plus seasons.


Selfie

Where do Silvertips, Blazers go from here? . . . Would WHL expand for the money? Who and where?

I STAND WITH ETHAN BEAR . . .


What is sure to be an interesting summer in WHL circles is off to quite a start with two teams presently without general managers and one club looking for a head coach.

The Everett Silvertips parted company with general manager Garry Davidson on EverettMay 20, ending a highly successful relationship that was more than nine years old. The Silvertips chose not to renew Davidson’s contract, just 10 days after the club wrapped up the 2020-21 developmental season with a 19-4-0 record, easily the best in the five-team U.S. Division.

On Tuesday, Matt Bardsley announced that he was resigning as general manager of the Kamloops Blazers, citing a desire to move his family back to the U.S., to be closer to relatives and so that grandparents in California and Oregon would have more access to their two grandchildren.

Bardsley made his announcement just 13 days after the Blazers wound up their Kamloopsseason with an 18-4-0 record, easily the best in the five-team B.C. Division. The Blazers also had the division’s best record when the 2019-20 season was cut short by the arrival of COVID-19.

I wrote on Tuesday night that Bardsley was believed to have one year left on his contract with Kamloops. That turned out to be incorrect. A source with knowledge of the situation has since told Taking Note that Bardsley signed a five-year contract with the WHL team when he joined it from the Portland Winterhawks. Then, with COVID-19 coming along and employees taking pay cuts, the Blazers’ ownership group extended his contract another year.

So . . . where might those two teams go from here.

Well, in the news release announcing Davidson’s departure, the Silvertips said: “The past two seasons have necessitated the restructuring of Silvertips hockey operations, and this process is ongoing.”

That would suggest that the Silvertips are cutting payroll and perhaps trimming positions, what with not having had any playoff revenue for the past two years and having had to play a shortened season in front of empty seats for 2020-21.

Does it all mean that the Silvertips will operate without a traditional general manager, perhaps giving Mike Fraser, their head scout, more responsibilities?

(Of course, the administrative staff page on the team’s website still listed Davidson as the general manager as of Wednesday evening, so maybe . . .)

Meanwhile, in Kamloops, you can bet that the Blazers will take a serious look at adding the GM’s title to head coach Shaun Clouston’s portfolio. After all, he was the GM/head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers for seven seasons before landing in Kamloops. He still might be in Medicine Hat had the beloved Willie Desjardins not come available prior to the 2019-20 season.

Or perhaps the Blazers will turn Clouston into strictly a general manager, and promote his brother, Cory, to head coach. Cory, on staff as an assistant coach, certainly has ample experience as a head coach.

I really expect the Blazers to promote from within their organization rather than add a new face to the structure. And I would think that the vast majority of WHL teams will be taking the same approach to any vacancies that may arise in the next while.

Except for the Red Deer Rebels, who are in the market for a head coach after RedDeerBrent Sutter, who also is the owner, president and general manager, stepped down on April 10.

Assistant coaches Ryan Colville and Brad Flynn, along with assistant GM Shaun Sutter, handled the team for the remainder of the season. Brent was in his 17th season as the team’s head coach, although he spent some time in the NHL during that stretch.

The Rebels were 2-10-2 when he announced that he was stepping down; they finished 4-15-4.

While Sutter no doubt has some ideas and may well already have sounded out a few candidates, I would imagine that he isn’t in a hurry and will wait until the NHL season ends to see just who shakes free.

But ever since he announced his decision, I have wondered: What if he conducts a search and discovers that the best candidate for the job is Brent Sutter?


Scams


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, wrote a bit on Wednesday about whether the NBA might be able to recoup some pandemic-related losses by selling a couple of expansion franchises.

As he pointed out, the Los Angeles Clippers recently changed hands for US$2 billion, while the Houston Rockets went for US$2.2 billion and the New Jersey Nets for US$3.2 billion.

So if the NBA was to sell two expansions franchises for US$1.5 billion each, well, that would put $100 million in the jeans of each of the existing franchises. That kind of cash might help some of the franchises get over the pandemic pain.

All of which got me to thinking about the WHL, whose teams no doubt also have felt the pain, although not nine figures worth of it. But deep six-figure losses will sting a WHL franchise as much if not more than what NBA teams might be feeling.

Still, if the WHL could peddle a couple of expansion franchises for, say, Cdn$4 million apiece and then divvy up the proceeds, each of the existing teams would get about Cdn$364,000.

Remember, now, we’re just spitballin’ here . . .

Of course, I have no idea what an expansion franchise would be valued at, especially with the WHL working to escape the grip of this pandemic. Nor do I have any understanding as to whether there is anyone out there who might even be interested in purchasing a franchise.

On top of that, are there any arenas out there that aren’t being used by a junior team that would meet the WHL’s standards?

Nah, didn’t think so. Back to the drawing board.


Robert Morris U, which is located in Moon Township, Pa. announced on Wednesday that it has dropped it’s men’s and women’s hockey teams, both of which played at the NCAA Division I level. . . . RMU played host to the NCAA men’s Final Four in Pittsburgh just two months ago. . . . USCHO.com reported that the university attributed the decisions to a “series of strategic initiatives” intended to “position the university to be amongst the most agile and professionally focused schools in the nation” as it prepares for its upcoming 100th anniversary. . . . According to USCHO.com, “Approximately 55 student-athletes and seven staff positions will be impacted by this decision, which is effective immediately.” . . . Derek Schooley had been the men’s head coach since 2004-05, while Paul Colontino has been the women’s coach for 10 seasons.


Birthday


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation 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: Parker MacKay has joined the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints as an assistant coach. He will work alongside head coach Bram Stephen. MacKay played three seasons (2012-15) with the Saints, winning one title, before going on to the U of Minnesota-Duluth where he won two NCAA championships. There is a news release right here. . . . Burt Henderson is taking over as the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen. Henderson, 46, spent the past two seasons as president and head coach of the junior B Langley Trappers of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. With the Rivermen, he replaces Bobby Henderson, a cousin, who hasn’t been with the team since some time in March although the team didn’t mention his departure until May. . . . The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express has signed Tali Campbell, its vice-president and general manager, to a three-year extension. He joined the team in October 2020.


Cxn

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering whether King James has been vaccinated . . .

Scattershooting2


Larry Brooks, in the New York Post: “You do understand that the mayhem the NHL authorizes on the ice every night of the playoffs, in which players are permitted to hack, rough, interfere and throw punches without consequence, would be tantamount to Major League Baseball allowing — nay, encouraging — pitchers to throw a stream of 100 mph pitches at batters’ heads during its playoffs because of, well, ‘intensity,’ don’t you?” . . . The complete column is right here.


A Sunday morning tweet . . .


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, had a friend direct him to a website that “tracks NBA players who were on the injured list, players who have been designated as ‘rest,’ meaning they got ‘approved leave’ from the team and players who missed games for ‘personal’ reasons.” . . . That website also tracks money earned by those same players. In the 2020-21 regular season, such players missed 6,319 games and earned, while not playing, US$906,171,634. . . . That website, should you be interested, is right here.


BigBird


If you happened to be watching the last couple of innings of the Detroit Tigers’ 5-0 victory over the host Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night, Dave Sims, the play-by-play guy, provided some funny moments. You will be aware that a lot of broadcasters, those of the homer variety, at least, are reluctant to mention a no-hitter when one is in progress for fear of jinxing the pitcher. In this case, with the Mariners the team without a hit, Sims was quite liberal with mentions of a no-hitter over the last couple of innings. . . . However, it didn’t work as the Mariners were no-hit for the second time in 14 days — this time by right-hander Spencer Turnbull, who led MLB in losses (17) in 2019. . . . When the no-hitter was over, the Mariners’ team batting average had slid all the way to .199. Yes, as a team they were below the Mendoza Line. Might there be more no-hitters in their immediate future? . . . (After the weekend, the Mariners are hitting .198 as a team.) . . . BTW, if you are a baseball fan and weren’t watching, you may be surprised to learn that Angel Hernandez was behind the plate for Turnbull’s no-no. Yes, it’s the first time Hernandez has been the pitch-caller for a no-hitter.

——

The morning after Turnbull’s no-no, The Sports Curmudgeon presented his readers with some numbers:

The Yankees had 5 players hitting below .200 Tuesday.

The Mariners had 4 players hitting below .200 Tuesday.

The Cubs, Pirates, Rangers, Twins and White Sox had 3 players hitting below .200 Tuesday.

The Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Marlins, Orioles, Royals and Tigers had 2 players hitting below .200 Tuesday.

The total for Tuesday was 40 players batting below .200. No wonder we have had so many no-hitters in 2021.

——

And that was before Wednesday night . . .

That’s when RHP Corey Kluber of the New York Yankees tossed a no-hitter against the host Texas Rangers, winning 2-0 in the process. That was the sixth no-hitter of this weak-hitting season. The MLB record for no-hitters in a season belongs to 1884, with eight. The modern-era record (since 1900) is seven (1990, 1991, 2012, 2015). . . . This also is the first time in MLB history that three teams have been no-hit twice in one season. So far, the Mariners, Rangers and Cleveland Indians are on the list.



Here’s John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday:

“While strikeouts are at an all-time high (9.01 per game), hits are at the lowest rate (7.87) since 1908 during the Dead Ball Era (7.75), even lower than 1968, the so-called Year of the Pitcher (7.91) that led to the lowering of the mound by five inches. No wonder the league-wide batting average dropped from .262 in 2009 to .245 last year to .237 this year.”


When the OHL announced dates for its 2021-22 season the other day, it also revealed that the 2022 Memorial Cup tournament will open on Jun 2. As OHL Arena Guide (@ohlarenaguide) pointed out on Twitter: “It will have been seven years and five days (2,562 days) since the WHL champion last won a game at the Memorial Cup as of June 2, 2022.”


An interesting note from variety.com: “In a scary-good box office milestone, the stomach-churning ‘Saw’ franchise has surpassed $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales. ‘Spiral,’ the latest entry in the horror series, earned another $4.5 million in North America and $2.67 million overseas this weekend. That haul pushed the property to $1,000,799,533 globally across nine films.”

Why am I pointing this out? Because Oren Koules is one of the producers of all nine ‘Saw’ movies. Koules, now 60, played three seasons (1979-82) in the WHL, splitting time with the Portland Winter Hawks, Great Falls Americans, Medicine Hat Tigers, Spokane Flyers, Calgary Wranglers and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . His son, Miles, spent three seasons (2012-15) in the WHL, playing with Medicine Hat and Portland.


Horsebarn

Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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.


Sasquatch

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering the writings of Jim Coleman . . .

Scattershooting2Behave


Don’t think for a minute that we are done with COVID-19, because we’re not . . . not even close.

On Sunday, the NBA’s Orlando Magic revealed that head coach Steve Clifford has tested positive and will miss at least five games. He actually tested positive twice in a three-day span. . . . Clifford also has had two vaccinations, having received his second Moderna dose on Thursday. But because two weeks haven’t elapsed, he isn’t considered fully vaccinated. . . . Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin ran things for Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. . . .

And then there’s Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu, who tested negative twice before heading to Spain for the Madrid Open, only to test positive upon her arrival. . . . So she won’t be playing in the tournament. . . . “I am feeling good, I’m resting and continuing to follow the health protocols and safety guidelines,” she said in a statement.



If MLB is really serious about shortening the time it takes to play its games, it needs to take a long, hard look at its replay system. Oh boy, does it ever!

Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Two months after the Super Bowl, NFL draft palaver engulfs sports TV and radio. Two weeks into its season, what you mostly hear about Major League Baseball is that its replay system is a farce. Therein lies a problem for the National Past-its-time.”

And one more fro Molinaro, who thinks it might be time for all sports to do away with replay reviews:

“Don’t know about others, but I could live out my life perfectly well without official replays. Just as I lived a perfectly happy childhood absorbed by sports long before reviewing calls became a thing. I just wish all leagues and sports could keep things moving. Replay rules prevent that from happening.”

You know what? It’s hard to disagree.

——

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, chose to focus on replay reviews in one of his rants last week. Here’s part of it . . .

We got to where we are with ‘instant replay’ because we looked at technological wizardry through rose-colored glasses and imagined that it would lead us to a land flowing with milk and honey. The premise sounded irrefutable — replay would always ‘get it right.’ The problem is that it does not always ‘get it right’ and that its scope has been expanded to too many aspects of the games such that it is an intrusion and not a godsend.

“Perhaps we should not be so surprised to come to such a realization.  Technology has been welcomed as a glorious blessing in many parts of our lives only to let us recognize down the line that it may not be all it was cracked up to be. Social media platforms would be one such technological encroachment in society that we now recognize is ‘less than a perfect addition’ to our lives. Just because technology can do something doesn’t mean that we need to put up with technology’s baggage as it does that something . . . sometimes less is better.”

That rant in whole is right here.

——

I watched the Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants on Saturday night, simply because there isn’t anything better than listening to Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper call a game. . . . When it ended, I switched over to the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers. After four video reviews, I went to the PVR and watched two episodes of Hogan’s Heroes. Seriously! . . . The Sunday game between the Padres and Dodgers was a whole lot better, especially with the sound turned down to blot out some of the ESPN crew’s endless nattering and the infatuation with numbers, numbers and more numbers.



Here’s Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The Oakland A’s unveiled plans to spend $12 billion on their Howard Terminal development, which will include a ballpark. A’s owner John Fisher, who can’t afford to pay his baseball team anywhere near a major-league average payroll, must have found some money under his mattress.

“A $12-billion development, including a $1 billion ballpark? The line of skeptics starts with Bay Area sports management and marketing genius Andy Dolich, who says, “I’ll believe it when I see Gov. Caitlyn (Jenner) throwing out the first pitch.”



Apostrophe


It would appear that the Portland Winterhawks are in the process of replacing their longtime logo. At least, all signs seem to point in that direction. For a whole lot more, check out this story right here from Jason Cohen that appeared in Portland Monthly.

Meanwhile, the Winterhawks were involved in one of the WHL’s six games on Sunday, but the night belonged to F Lynden McCallum of the Brandon Wheat Kings as he came within a handful of seconds of breaking a record that has stood since 1972. . . .

F Cole Nagy scored the Swift Current Broncos’ last three goals in a 4-2 victory Scurrentover the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Regina hub. . . . The Broncos (6-16-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (8-13-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Swift Current led 1-0 after the first period on a PP goal by F Raphael Pelletier (3). . . . F Riley Krane (5) pulled Moose Jaw even at 1:17 of the second, only to have Nagy put the Broncos back in front at 6:19. . . . D Cole Jordan (3) got the Warriors back into a tie at 9:21. . . . Nagy snapped the tie at 11:29 of the third period, on a PP, then completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:21. . . . Nagy now has six goals. He went into this season with five goals in 59 games. . . . The Broncos were 2-for-4 on the PP; the Warriors were 0-for-3. . . . Swift Current got 36 saves from G Isaac Poulter. . . .

F Lynden McCallum scored four PP goals as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the BrandonRegina Pats, 5-1. . . . The victory guaranteed that the Wheat Kings (18-3-2) will finish atop the Regina hub standings. . . . Brandon has won seven in a row. . . . The Pats now are 9-11-3. . . . McCallum struck four times in two minutes 58 seconds, just off the WHL record. The WHL record book has F Boyd Anderson scoring four times in 2:35 (or was it 2:39?) during the third period as his Medicine Hat Tigers beat the host Flin Flon Bombers, 10-1, on Oct. 7, 1972. According to the record book, he scored at 10:08, 10:17, 11:50 and 12:47, which would be 2:39. . . . F Ridley Greig (10) of Brandon scored the game’s first goal, at 7:53 of the first period. It came while shorthanded. He leads the WHL with four such goals and Brandon leads with seven. . . . F Tanner Howe scored his first WHL goal for Regina to tie the game at 3:47 of the second period. A fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft, Howe was playing in his seventh game. . . . McCallum, who counted his first WHL hat trick, broke the tie at 18:10 and scored again at 18:41. He then added goals at 0:27 and 1:08 of the third. . . . McCallum has 19 goals and six assists in 21 games. . . . Brandon was 4-for-5 on the PP. . . . Regina was 0-for-6. . . . The Wheat Kings got four assists from each of D Braden Schneider and F Ben McCartney. . . . G Ethan Kurger stopped 34 shots for Brandon. . . .

F Jalen Luypen broke a 2-2 tie at 14:20 of the third period as the host Edmonton EdmontonOil Kings scored a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Oil Kings (17-1-1) have points in nine straight (8-0-1) and will finish atop the Central Division (minus the Swift Current Broncos) this season. . . . Medicine Hat (12-6-1) has lost three in a row — all three were to the Oil Kings this weekend. . . . Edmonton is 14-2-1 against Medicine Hat over the past three seasons. . . . Luypen, who has 14 goals, opened the scoring at 4:04 of the first period and F Josh Williams (12) made it 2-0 at 6:29 of the second. . . . The Tigers tied it on goals from F Nick McCarry (6), at 9:34 of the second, and F Lukas Svejkovsky (10), on a PP, at 3:54 of the third. . . . F Cole Clayton had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours had one assist, running his point streak to 19 games. Yes, he has at least a point in every Edmonton game this season. . . . The Oil Kings held a 37-19 edge in shots, including 16-5 in the second period. . . .

F Logan Barlage scored twice as the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the LethCalgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . Lethbridge (8-10-2) had lost its previous three games, including two to Calgary. . . . The Hitmen (8-7-2) had points in each of their previous four games (3-0-1). . . . F Sean Tschigerl (10), who had three goals in Saturday’s 7-2 victory over Lethbridge, gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 2:43 of the first period. . . . D Logan McCutcheon tied it with his first WHL goal at 13:47. . . . A third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, McCutcheon was playing in his 23rd game, 19 of them this season. . . . Barlage, who has seven goals, scored the next two goals, both via the PP, at 17:41 of the second and 3:14 of the third. . . . F Noah Boyko (10) completed the scoring at 16:27. . . . The Hurricanes got 40 saves from G Carl Tetachuk. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the PortlandAlternatevisiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-1. . . . Portland (8-5-3) has won two in a row, having beaten the Thunderbirds, 6-3, in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. . . . The Thunderbirds (7-9-0) have lost four in a row. . . . On Sunday, F Keltie Jeri-Leon (11) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead just 22 seconds into the game. . . . The lead held into the second period when F Gabe Klassen, who has four goals, scored twice, at 9:10, on a PP, and 15:24. . . . Portland got third-period insurance goals from F Simon Knak (10), who also had two assists, and F Mason Mannek, who got the empty-netter. . . . Portland had a 30-18 edge in shots. . . . G Dante Gianuzzi stopped 17 shots for the victory. He is 5-5-3, 2.71, .908. . . . Joshua Critzer of PNW Hockey Talk tweeted after the game that the four Portland players who had been with the USHL’s Lincoln Stars could play this week. F Jack O’Brien has completed his quarantine and could play on Tuesday and Friday against the visiting Everett Silvertips, while F Cross Hanas, D Clay Hanus and F James Stefan are in quarantine and could play Saturday against visiting Tri-City depending on the Americans’ status in regards to COVID-19 protocol. . . . Critzer also reported that Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ GM and head coach, is going to Texas for the U18 IIHF World Championship, so associate coach Kyle Gustafson will be in charge in his absence. . . . If you’re wondering, Stefan had 28 points, 10 of them goals, in 41 games with Lincoln, while Hanus had seven goals and 20 assists in 36 games, Hanas had three goals and 13 assists in 27 games, and O’Brien had a goal and six assists in 23 games. . . .

G Dylan Garand stopped 18 shots to earn the shutout as the Kamloops Blazers Kamloopsbeat the Vancouver Giants, 2-0. . . . The game was played in Kamloops, with the Giants as the home team. . . . Kamloops (11-2-0) has won four in a row. . . . Vancouver (9-5-0) has lost three straight. . . . Garand has two shutouts this season and seven in his career. . . . G Trent Miner had blanked the Blazers twice, both by 4-0 counts, this season. He stopped 28 shots in this one. . . . F Daylan Kueffler (2) scored the game’s first goal, at 11:36 of the second period, and F Connor Zary (6) got the other one, at 10:28 of the third. . . . F Josh Pillar had two assists.


Spell


Hey, want to be part of a team? Dorothy, my wife of almost 49 years, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and now is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. It happens virtually on June 6. You are able to join her team with a donation right here. . . . Thanks to your generosity, she has surpassed her original goal, so she has gone ahead and raised it.

——

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: Darren Dupont of Dupont Media tweeted on Sunday that he has been told “Brandin Cote will be announced as assistant coach (and Mike Babcock’s successor)” with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey team. Babcock has volunteered to work as the Huskies’ head coach for the next two seasons. He was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 20, 2019, but remains under contract to the NHL team. Cote spent five seasons with the Spokane Chiefs (1997-02); Babcock was the head coach for three of those (1997-2000). Cote, 40, is in his third season as an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos.


Commas

Get your Last Man Back gear right here . . . Bedard continues red-hot start for Pats . . . Selkirk College drops hockey


We are nearing the third anniversary of the bus crash that involved the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. It occurred on April 6, 2018. Morgan Gobeil, who wore No. Humboldt24, was injured in the crash and spent almost a year in hospital. Morgan was, in fact, the last person from the crash to be released from hospital; he was the Last Man Back.

His brother, Ryan, was in the hospital with his brother one day when he found himself entranced by the heart monitor. So Ryan had Morgan’s heartbeat off the monitor tattooed onto one arm.

“I was watching the screen for, I don’t know how long it was,” Ryan told Global News. “I thought to myself, I never want this moment to end for me.

“I have this on me and it is something that I can see all the time. Whether we’re in the waiting room or going to catch some sleep, or eating or whatever. We can always see it. It’s always there.”

Ryan also has taken to marketing Last Man Back clothing, with all proceeds going to STARS air ambulance, the service that responded to the bus crash. The Last Man Back logo also incorporates No. 24.

If you’re interested, there’s more info in the tweet below . . .


Former WHL G James Priestner and his brother, Jared, are part of a Vancouver-based rock band — Rare Americans — these days. And they have had to ask for help from police after a thief or thieves stole some instruments and unreleased music . . . . CTV Vancouver reported: “The items were taken on Wednesday night, while James and his girlfriend were asleep in their home in Gastown. But it wasn’t until Friday, when the band got together in James’ basement studio, that they noticed several things were missing.” . . . The complete story is right here.



I don’t watch a lot of NCAA basketball, but I do see some of it during March Madness. One thing that crossed my mind while watching this weekend was that the men’s coaches sure seem to spend a lot of time whining about or at the officials. I kind of shrugged it off, until Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, posted this as part of a brief Monday comment on the Florida State-Michigan game: “I also liked the fact that both coaches avoid histrionics on every possession and they also accept some of the calls that go against their team without making it seem as if they are suffering more than Job.” . . . Glad to know it wasn’t just me.



G Nolan Maier stopped 24 shots on Monday night, helping the Saskatoon Blades Bladesto a 4-0 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Regina. . . . This was the 11th shutout of this WHL season, but the first in the Regina hub. . . . Maier has eight career shutouts, all of them with the Blades, who are off to a franchise-best 8-0-1 start. He is one shutout shy of the franchise record held by Andrey Makarov. . . . This season, Maier is 6-0-0, 2.00, .913. . . . The victory was the 85th of Maier’s career, tying him with Tim Cheveldae for the franchise’s regular-season record. . . . Saskatoon got two goals and an assist from F Colton Dach (6). . . . The Raiders slid to 3-4-2. . . . The Blades were 2-for-5 on the PP. . . . The Raiders lost F Logan Linklater to a butt-ending major and game misconduct for a play involving Colton Dach at 3:20 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon F Chase Wouters got the ol’ heave-ho for cross-checking for a hit on Raiders F Ozzy Wiesblatt at 11:50 of the third. . . . The Raiders continue to play without D Kaiden Guhle and G Max Paddock, so again had only one goaltender — Carter Serhyenko — dressed. . . .

F Connor Bedard, the only player in WHL history to have been granted exceptional status to play at 15 years of age, had a goal and three assists as the Regina Pats dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 9-4. . . . Because of the pandemic, Bedard is hardly the only 15-year-old in the WHL, but he is at the head of the class with seven goals and 10 assists in nine games. . . . The Pats (3-4-2) got two goals and an assist from F Zack Smith, three assists from F Carter Chorney, and two more goals from F Carson Denomie (9). . . . D Mathew Ward had a goal, his first, and an assist for the Broncos (2-7-1). The 14th overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft has a goal and 12 assists in his first 10 games. . . . F Owen Williams of the Broncos scored once in his 200th regular-season WHL game. . . .

F Connor Bowie scored three times to spark the Prince George Cougars to a 5-3 PGvictory over the Victoria Royals in Kelowna. . . . This one was the Royals’ home-opener. . . . Bowie, who will turn 20 on April 10, went into this one with 17 goals in 137 regular-season games with the Cougars (1-1-0). That included three in 64 games as a freshman in 2018-19. . . . F Riley Heidt, the second overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, scored his first goal in his second game. . . . Prince George F Ethan Browne (2) snapped a 3-3 tie at 6:55 of the second period and Bowie added insurance at 19:19. . . . The Royals (0-2-0) and Spokane Chiefs (0-4-1) are the only WHL teams without at least one victory.


Elliotte Friedman posted his weekly 31 Thoughts on Monday, and the top of it is terrific. He wrote about Ryan Fanti and his parents. Who? Fanti is a goaltender with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. He spent six periods on the bench Saturday night watching his guys play the North Dakota Fighting Hawks in a regional final game in Fargo, N.D. But when starter Zach Stejskal started cramping up early in the fourth OT, Fanti got the call. He finished with six saves and the Bulldogs won, 3-2. But it’s what happened right after the goal was scored that made an impression with Friedman and anyone else who saw it on TV. Fanti took time away from celebrating to console UND G Adam Scheel. . . . Friedman’s piece is right here.



The Montreal Canadiens were back on the practice ice on Monday, the first time they had skated since being shut down on March 22 because of COVID-19 protocol. F Jesperi Kotkaniemi has been removed from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, but F Joel Armia and newly acquired F Eric Staal remain. . . . General manager Marc Bergevin has said that one player had tested positive for a variant. That player wasn’t Armia or Kotkaniemi, but several players were identified as close contacts of the player so things were shut down. . . . The Canadiens, who haven’t played since March 20, are scheduled to return to game action tonight (Tuesday) against the visiting Edmonton Oilers.


Volcano


Selkirk College, which has is main campus in Castlegar, B.C., has dropped its men’s hockey program “due to budgetary constraints.” The Saints had been members of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League since 2006. The Saints won four consecutive BCIHL championships (2013-16). . . . Selkirk College’s departure leaves the BCIHL with four teams — Simon Fraser U, Trinity Western U, the U of Victoria and Vancouver Island U. However, Trinity Western was to join Canada West for the 2020-21 season that ended up being scrubbed because of the pandemic. Presumably Trinity Western will make the move whenever the next season gets started.


The Vancouver Canadians announced Monday that they will at least open the 2021 baseball season by playing out of Hillsboro, Ore. They usually play out of Nat Bailey Stadium in Vancouver, but that isn’t possible these days with the U.S.-Canada border closed to non-essential travel. The Canadians will share Ron Tonkin Field with the Hillsboro Hops. . . . Both the Canadians and Hops play in the High-A West; the Canadians are affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Hops with the Arizona Diamondbacks.


——

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.


Mitts

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering when COVID-19’s winning streak will end . . .

The Boston Bruins were to have played the Sabres in Buffalo on Saturday, but nhl2that didn’t happen. Boston’s game against the visiting New York Islanders that was to have been played on Tuesday also has been postponed and the Bruins’ team facilities are closed until at least Wednesday. . . . Yes, it’s all because of the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols. . . . Boston F Sean Kuraly went on the list on Thursday, and four more players — F Jake DeBrusk, F David Krejci, F David Pastrnak and F Craig Smith — were added on Friday . . . The Bruins had won, 4-1, in Buffalo on Thursday, as the Sabres had a staff member enter protocol. From Feb. 2-13, the Sabres missed six games and had nine players on the protocol list. Ralph Krueger, then the Sabres’ head coach, also tested positive during that time. . . . The NHL now has had to postpone 37 games because of COVID-19 protocols.


The Okotoks Oilers were to have met the host Brooks Bandits in an AJHL game ajhlon Saturday night. However, the league announced Saturday morning that the game “has been canceled due to precautionary measures within the AJHL Return to Play Plan.” . . . Brooks is scheduled to visit the Calgary Canucks today at 2 p.m. . . . On Thursday, the AJHL announced that it had “completed a fourth round of testing . . . with no positive COVID-19 results across 391 players and staff.” . . . Don’t be expecting anyone from the AJHL or any of its teams to be talking about this latest development, either. The last person who talked to the media on the subject got drilled with a 15-game suspension and a $1,000 fine. That discipline was dished out before Christmas but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of it on the AJHL’s website.



Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after watching an early March Madness game: “The officials in the UCLA/Michigan State game may have been auditioning for jobs in the NBA. They certainly ignored enough traveling violations to demonstrate to the NBA mavens that they have that part of their officiating duties down pat.”


Vaccine


It won’t show up on your bracket, but COVID-19 actually won a game in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Saturday in Indianapolis. No. 7 Oregon was to have met No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth. However, the game was declared a no-contest because of COVID-19 issues with VCU, so Oregon was handed the victory. . . . Oregon will play No. 2 Iowa on Monday. . . . Matt Norlander of CBS Sports reported that VCU experienced positive tests on Wednesday and Friday evenings and Saturday morning. . . . Don’t forget that the virus knocked Duke, Kansas and Virginia out of their conference tournaments just a week earlier.


Headline at TheOnion.com — Report: Most NFL teams just 1 or 2 overpriced free agents away from Super Bowl victory.


“We concern ourselves with the money athletes make,” notes Nick Canepa of The San Diego Union-Tribune. “The video game Grand Theft Auto II has made $6 billion.”

——

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times checked out the transaction wire the other day and found this: “Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez: headed for free agency one day, exercising their mutual option the next.”

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Perry also has discovered that “Tigerleg has supplanted dogleg as the more currently discussed golf term.”



The NBA’s San Francisco Warriors were left without even one centre after Kevin Looney went into the league’s health and safety protocols and missed Saturday’s 111-103 loss to the host Memphis Grizzlies. . . . If Looney is out for a week, as is often the case in the NBA, he’ll miss four games. . . . The Warriors also have centre James Wiseman and forward Eric Paschall on protocol list.



Cukes


With MLB working hard to find gimmicks that will draw new fans to its game, Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out a few things in a recent column. Here’s part of it:

“Major League Baseball announced it will ‘slightly deaden’ the balls this season, enough to take a couple feet off deep drives. Maybe promote more hitting, less clouting.

“This comes after decades of commissioners insisting MLB has no control over the juiciness of the ball. MLB was always like the hot-dog vendor telling his customer, ‘Buddy, I have no idea what goes into these tube steaks, I just sell ’em. You want to ask questions, go on Jeopardy!, OK?’

“Suddenly Rob Manfred and his crew are micro-controlling the flight of the balls? Did they just find out where the ball factory is and phone the juicemaster?

“In the 2015 season, total homers jumped from 4,186 to 4,909, and the total in 2019 was 6,776, and MLB officials shrugged and said they had no idea what was going on.

“Now they’re microtweaking the ball like it’s the intake manifold of a moon rocket.

“How about getting one ball you like and sticking with it?

“At least MLB has a swell new motto for the 2021 season: ‘Baseball: Slightly deadened!’ ”

Ostler’s complete column is right here.


The Toronto Blue Jays were back on Sportsnet on Saturday afternoon, beating the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-1. If you’re a Blue Jays fan, you had the pleasure of listening to the Phillies’ broadcast crew. . . . On Sunday, it’s the Blue Jays and the New York Yankees on Sportsnet, and I’m betting it’ll be Michael Kay of the YES Network calling the play, perhaps with David Cone riding shotgun. So if you’re wanting to learn about the Blue Jays’ players and how their spring has been, well, you’re going to have to wait. Yes, Rogers is taking an interesting approach to promoting its baseball team by picking up telecasts from other teams.


Pie


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders fired general manager Kyle Chase on Friday. He had been GM since May 27, 2016, with the going 153-83-8 since then. Chase had been with the organization since 2004 and also had been co-owner and governor. . . . Colorado College is looking for a new men’s hockey coach now that Mike Haviland is out after seven seasons with the Tigers. This was one of those mutual agreement decisions with athletic director Lesley Irvine announcing that Haviland had “decided to move on.” The Tigers were 4-17-2 this season during which they were shut down three times by positive tests. . . . The U of Wisconsin won the NCAA women’s hockey championship on Saturday, beating Northeastern 2-1 in OT in Erie, Pa. Wisconsin’s roster included Dara Greig of Lethbridge, whose brother Ridly plays for the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, along with Saskatoon’s Shirley sisters, Sophie and Grace. Their brother, Collin, played 344 regular-season games over five WHL seasons (Kootenay Ice, Kamloops Blazers, 2012-17).


Smoking

The strain of loving a critically ill child . . . Bedard scores twice in WHL debut, but Pats lose . . . BCHL prepping to play games

Ferris2
That’s Elmo from Sesame Street keeping Ferris company in her hospital bed in Vancouver. Ferris’s mother, Lindsey, says her daughter often crosses her legs in this fashion. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

If you’re a parent with a young child, you will have known the helpless feeling that takes over when your youngster is ill. Still, you know that the illness will be gone in a day or two and your child will be back to running and playing and generally creating havoc.

But what if your child was four years of age and had been ill, seriously ill, for most of that time? What does that do to your emotional state and to that of others in your family? What about your family’s financial status when there have been numerous trips to Vancouver, along with a number of lengthy stays?

That is the situation in which Lindsey and Pat Backmeyer find themselves. Ferris, their four-year-old daughter, was diagnosed with Mainzer-Saldino Syndrome shortly after birth and has been on dialysis — peritoneal dialysis (PD) or hemo-dialysis — for most of her life. She now is in B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver after having undergone a kidney transplant a week ago. Unfortunately, the kidney began bleeding into Ferris’s abdomen and had to be removed a few hours later.

Ferris was moved from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on Thursday but still has a long road ahead of her.

Lindsey is a respiratory therapist at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and hasn’t been shy about telling Ferris’s story, even if it means baring her own soul. It’s hard to read Lindsey’s writings without your gut tightening, your heart breaking and your eyes tearing up.

“We have felt an overwhelming cocoon of support by my work family . . since the beginning,” Lindsey wrote earlier this week after Alexa McMillan, a co-worker, issued a plea for financial help to the Kamloops business community. “They protect me, provide for me and my family and have provided endless emotional support.”

As someone who works in the healthcare field, Lindsey has “a pretty solid understanding of critical care medicine and the reality is Ferris has been critically ill for a huge part of her life.

“I’ve spent four years assessing her and caring for her and very few people actually know what it’s taking to keep our ship afloat. My immediate family, closest friends, home nurses and then my work people probably understand best.

“I’ve worked on the other side of what I witnessed Saturday. It was like the hardest night shift ever, where you just did all the things working on your patient for hours except I so rarely see people survive that. I’ve been scared for Ferris’s life before and every time I’ve had a work person by my side . . . through the night. Saturday night was no exception.”

Her training and understanding of all that she and her family — including daughters Tavia, 9, and Ksenia, 7 — have been through has Lindsey knowing full well what’s happening to them from an emotional standpoint, but also financially.

“I have ridiculous trauma to overcome,” Lindsey explained. “My work family would also attest that I’ve worked really hard to keep it all going. If we aren’t here or she’s not admitted, I’ve been at work. Lots of times it’s the very next day. The reality is Ferris’s life has been financially devastating and I really just want to be able to maintain the quality of life we’ve had. For my big girls and for Ferris.

“Even if we get to make our way home . . . I know now this will never be over.”

While the Backmeyers do have a home in Kamloops, they have been in a rental in Vancouver since the last week of December. Pat has been doing a lot of commuting as he attends Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, with plans to become a registered nurse.

The whole family, including Lindsey’s mother, Leslie, thought they were on their way back to Kamloops last weekend, but then the call came saying that a kidney was available and transplant surgery had been scheduled.

“Living in limbo is pretty accurate,” Lindsey wrote, “or like a marathon that you never get to finish but always have to run. Feels like we are on a runaway train. It’s bumpy and scary and makes you nauseous and every once in awhile we get allowed off and create life and memories and then the train comes and we have no choice but to get back on.

“If and when we get to go home I need to give myself a bit of time before coming back. I never have done that before. Ever.”

In her plea to local businesses, McMillan asked that they contact her or donate to a GoFundMe page that has been set up to benefit the Backmeyers. That page is right here.



The WHL’s Regina hub swung into game action with two games on Friday. The Pats dropped a 6-3 decision to the Prince Albert Raiders in the second game, with highly touted Regina F Connor Bedard, 15, scoring his first two goals at 5:01 and 5:49 of the second period. . . . In the earlier game, the Moose Jaw Warriors got past the Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-3, in OT. . . .

Meanwhile, the Portland Winterhawks announced that their final 11 home games of this developmental season will be played at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Their first home game, on March 21, is to be played at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash. . . .

As first reported by Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post earlier this week, Shaun and Gavin Semple of the Brandt Group of Companies now own all of the Regina Pats. They had owned 50 per cent and now have purchased the other half from Todd Lumbard and Anthony Marquart. The move was unanimously approved by the WHL’s board of governors on Friday. Shaun Semple has replaced Marquart as the franchise’s governor. Lumbard, a former goaltender with the Pats and Brandon Wheat Kings, had been the team president; he remains with the organization as an advisor.


Menu


The BCHL has received the all-clear for the return of game play from provincial government and health officials. The league plans to set up pods in five league centres — Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Penticton, Port Alberni and Vernon — with three or four teams in each place. The abbreviated season will begin the first week of April and the hope is that each team will play 18 or 20 games before it ends. . . . The Wenatchee, Wash., Wild opted out of this season because the U.S.-Canada border is closed to non-essential travel. That leaves the BCHL with 17 teams that could being play in April, although the league has given teams a couple of days to make that decision. . . .

Meanwhile, the AJHL had 13 of its 15 teams back playing games on Friday for the first time since Nov. 21. The final all-clear came earlier in the day when it announced that its third round of testing featured 389 players and staff, and no positives. . . . The Canmore Eagles and Lloydminster Bobcats are the only two teams not playing, both having opted out. . . . On Friday, five games were played in five different venues with all teams playing in their home arenas.


Deadspin has put together a brief slideshow that provides some first-person information on a handful of high-profile athletes who have contracted COVID-19 and their experiences. It’s right here and well worth a look.

One slide features Demi Washington, a Vanderbilt basketball player. Washington, 19, had a mild case, but wasn’t allowed to return to play until she had a cardiac MRI. That test uncovered acute myocarditis.

“It’s horrifying to think that, without that MRI, I would have gone back out there and played and something could have gone wrong,” she wrote for The Athletic. “I could have passed out on the court. I could have died. I saw what happened to Keyontae Johnson and it terrified me. After he collapsed, he was ultimately diagnosed with acute myocarditis — just like me. I wonder how many other athletes are playing with it right now and have no idea.”


Quarantine


The Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team had its season come to an end on Thursday with the news that one player tested positive. That knocked the Blue Devils (13-11) out of the ACC tournament and may have taken away any chance they had of qualifying for March Madness. The last time Duke was in the NCAA tournament was 1995. . . . “If they do get an invitation, it will be a basketball equivalent of a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,’ Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, wrote on Friday. “This year’s Duke squad is not nearly as powerful as the ones that fans have come to expect for most of the Mike Krzyzewski Era in Durham.” . . . On Friday came word that No. 16 Virginia had to pull out of the ACC tournament because of a positive test, thus forfeiting a semi-final game to Georgia Tech. Virginia no doubt will get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Virginia won the title in 2019; there was no tournament a year ago. . . . Also on Friday, No. 11 Kansas withdrew from the Big 12 tournament after a positive test. The Jayhawks were to play No. 13 Texas in a semifinal game, so the Longhorns now are into the final. . . . Florida International and North Carolina A&T are among smaller schools that have had to withdraw from tournaments. . . . The 2021 tournament is scheduled to begin on Friday in Indianapolis. . . . The Sports Curmudgeon has more on the tournament right here.


You will recall that Clarkson shut down its men’s hockey program for this season earlier in the week and there was speculation that the move was virus-related. College Hockey News reported via Twitter on Thursday that it “was a school decision based not on positive COVID tests — but on a party attended by most of the team that broke the school’s COVID safety protocols.”

——

College Hockey News also reported that the Bentley Falcons (5-11-0) had withdrawn from the Atlantic hockey tournament. One week earlier, Holy Cross pulled out before the first round began. . . . Bentley had beaten Air Force to move into a second-round best-of-three series against American International, which now gets a bye into the semifinals. . . . From CHN: “For its part, AIC hasn’t played since January, due to its own COVID-19 issues and that of other league teams. By the team of the semifinals, the Yellowjackets will have gone almost seven weeks without a game. Bentley missed most of January with COVID issues, though played most of February.”


Once again, thanks for asking how things are going in B.C., as government and health officials work on loosening some restrictions . . .

Robyn Crawford, CKNW/Global BC — 648 new cases; no new deaths; 255 in hosp, 67 in ICU; 5,070 active; 9,155 in isolation; 79 new variant cases (total at 717).

CBC News — Alberta is reporting 425 new cases of COVID-19 and 2 additional deaths. And 365 more people have recovered from coronavirus.

CBC News — Number of new COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan climbs again with 176. That pushes the province’s 7-day average up to 134; 3 additional deaths have also been recorded.

CBC News — Manitoba announces 104 new cases of COVID-19, the 1st time the number has been above 100 since February 18. The province’s 7-day average now rises to 74. Health authorities also say there has been 1 additional death.


——

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: Former WHL F Ryan Hollweg is the new head coach of the U18 AAA Vancouver North West Hawks. Hollweg, 37, played 233 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers over five seasons (1999-2004) before going on to a pro career that included 228 NHL games. He finished up playing (2012-18) with HC Plzen in the Czech Extraliga. Hollweg was the North West Hawks’ associate coach for two seasons (2018-20) under Chris Shaw.


Wreath