Scattershooting on a Sunday night while knowing the hockey world will answer the call to help out a family . . .

Scattershooting2

F Kyrell Sopotyk of the Kamloops Blazers suffered what The Sports Corporation, the agency that represents him, described in a Sunday tweet as “an injury . . . that will be life-changing” in a snowboarding accident. . . . Sopotyk, 19, is from Aberdeen, Sask., which is located 42 km northeast of Saskatoon. He was injured on Saturday and is in a Saskatoon hospital. . . . He played two seasons (2018-20) with the Blazers, totalling 22 goals and 23 assists in 107 regular-season games. . . . As a 15-year-old, Sopotyk played for the Prince Albert Mintos and led the Saskatchewan U18 AAA league in goals, with 42 in 42 games. . . . The Blazers selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Sports Corporation, which is based in Edmonton, is headed up by by Gerry Johannson, its president and CEO. . . .

Kathleen Zary, the mother of Blazers F Connor Zary, who is from Saskatoon, started a GoFundMe page on behalf of the Sopotyk family on Sunday afternoon. Kathleen wrote that Sopotyk has been “paralyzed,” adding: “We’re raising this money to help support any possible renovations, healthcare costs, and any additional supports they may require.” . . . Shortly after it opened, the fund blew past its initial goal of $10,000. That resulted in the goal being changed to $50,000; as of Sunday night, the fund had surpassed $60,000. . . . If you wish to donate, click right here.


If you were watching Sunday’s NFL conference finals, you will have noticed fans in the stands. . . . There were about 9,000 present as the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers dumped the Green Bay Packers, 31-26, and about 17,000 fans in Kanas City as the Chiefs dropped the Buffalo Bills, 38-24.

Gee, you’re wondering, what’s going on?

Well . . . let’s look at some numbers, all as of Sunday . . .

According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Wisconsin has had 580,003 confirmed cases and 6,184 deaths, with Missouri at 459,748 confirmed cases and 6,774 deaths. . . . The U.S. has had 25,124,064 confirmed cases and 419,204 deaths.

Now how about some Canadian comparisons, with numbers from government sites as of Sunday morning . . .

Saskatchewan has had 22,177 cases and 253 deaths. In Ontario, those numbers were 255,002 and 5,803, and in Quebec they were 253,633 and 9,478. . . . Canada has had 747,000 cases and 19,094 deaths.

BTW, some populations — Wisconsin, 5,8 million; Missouri, 6.15 million; Saskatchewan, 1.18 million; Ontario, 14.7 million; Quebec, 8.57 million. . . . The U.S. population is 331 million; Canada’s is 37.7 million.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a Hank Aaron story — Among Aaron’s chilling memories: When he played for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues in ’51, his team had breakfast at a restaurant near the ballpark in Washington D.C. As the players were finishing, they heard the kitchen staff shattering the dishes the players had eaten off. “What a horrible sound,” Aaron recalled years later.

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“Yogi Berra, the late New York Yankees legend, is about to get his own commemorative postage stamp,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “New U.S. Postal Service motto: It ain’t delivered til it’s delivered.”


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, isn’t a fan of documentaries, so doesn’t plan on watching HBO’s two-parter about the life and times of Tiger Woods. But the curmudgeonly one did notice HBO plugging the shows with the tagline: “The raw truth about Tiger Woods is about to be revealed.” . . . That got the curmudgeonly one to write: “The reason there might even be ‘raw truth’ to reveal about Tiger Woods is because he has had nothing but fawning coverage — bordering on idolatry — for about 20 years. A major component of the existence of such ‘raw truth’ is the complicity of the toadies who covered golf and Tiger Woods.”

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Earlier this week, Finarelli began his daily post with what he referred to as a “personal note.” It went like this . . .

There is a benefit to being an old fart; yesterday afternoon, my number came up and I received my first dose of the Moderna Vaccine. The selection process is the mirror image of ageism; rather than experiencing an adverse action as a result of my advanced age, I received a benefit based on nothing more than my date of birth.

And . . . regarding any worries I might have that I was just ‘microchipped’ such that the chip can be interrogated to locate me and track me, I have two simple responses:

  1. Why would anyone give a damn — hat tip to Rhett Butler — regarding my whereabouts?
  2. My cell phone already does that.”


Jon Rosen spent four seasons (2007-11) as the play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. So when he writes about what it was like riding a bus through the WHL, he knows of what he remembers. . . . He has written about it of late, and it’s entertaining, and it’s right here. . . . Somehow Rosen managed to write this piece without gloating about his Los Angeles Dodgers and for that he is to be commended!


You may recall that Urban Meyer, the new head coach of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, walked away from NCAA head-coaching jobs with Florida and Ohio State for health reasons. As blogger Chad Picasner points out: “Of course, the best treatment for that is money. . . . I’m sure he feels better already.”


If you’re a fan of the Baltimore Orioles or Washington Nationals, you may be interested in knowing that MASN, the TV station shared by the two teams, has made some cuts. Gone are Gary Thorne, the play-by-play voice of the Orioles, along with the likes of Mike Bordick, Tom Davis, Rick Dempsey, Jim Hunter and Dave Johnson. . . . Also gone are pre- and post-game shows. . . . There are reports that MASN is having cash-flow issues.


A tweet from Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt following the retirement of Indy Colts QB Philip Rivers: “I’ll never forget lining up for a play and Phil pointing to one of our linebackers and telling him he was lined up wrong based off the blitz we were about to run and being 100% correct about it haha.”


Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel writes about the legacy of former RHP Don Sutton, who died on Monday at 75: “Just a friendly reminder to all of the baseball pitchers of today who skip starts because they might have a strained cuticle on their pinkie and for all the NBA players who sit out games because of load management, Sutton was never on the injured list and never missed a turn in the rotation in 756 big-league starts over 23 seasons.”


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Ryan Struyk, CNN, Sunday, 7:38 a.m. PT — The US death toll will reach 569,000 by May 1, according to new coronavirus projections from a University of Washington model.

The New York Times — Mexico’s president, a coronavirus skeptic, is the latest world leader to become infected. Hospitals are overrun as the country’s death toll nears 150,000.

The U of Michigan has suspended all athletics for at least two weeks after cases of the B.1.1.7. variant of COVID-19 were found within the department. There have been five confirmed cases, with another 15 presumed positive cases in the athletic department. . . . The men’s basketball teams is 13-1 and ranked No. 7, with the women’s team (10-1) ranked No. 11.

It is expected that the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., the home of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, will be used as a vaccination site. The city and King County expect to have all the paperwork done within days. The plan is to have the site open six days a week and to provide 500 vaccinations per day.

The NHL’s San Jose Sharks opened the NHL regular-season with an eight-game road trip. Under normal circumstances, they play in Santa Clara County, which has a ban in place on contact sports. That means the Sharks are going to play home games at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., the home of the Arizona Coyotes. The Sharks’ ‘home’ schedule opens with games against the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 1 and 3.


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.


Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching Brady cash in as he proves again that he’s the GOAT . . .

Scattershooting2

It was a tough weekend for Saskatchewan Roughriders’ supporters of a certain age as they learned of the deaths of Steve Molnar and Bruce Bennett. . . . Molnar, who was a terrific fullback in the Ron Lancaster/George Reed era, was 73 when he died on Saturday. Molnar backed up Reed, then took over as the team’s workhorse following Reed’s retirement and had a terrific 1976 season. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has more on Molnar right here. . . . Vanstone also remembers Bennett with a piece that is right here. Bennett, 77, died on Tuesday of complications from pneumonia and COVID-19. Bennett was Saskatchewan’s starting safety in 1966 as the Roughriders won the Grey Cup. Bennett went from there to a truly hall-of-fame career.


Mantle

Actor Rob Gough purchased a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card for US$5.2 million at auction in November. Had you strolled into your neighbourhood’s cornerstone in 1952, you could have purchased a pack of Topps baseball cards for a nickel. Gough’s card was graded Mint 9, meaning it was never bounced off a wall, stuck in the spokes of a bicycle, or atop a stack that had an elastic wrapped around it. . . . There are reportedly three Mint 10 Mantles in existence. . . . Prior to this purchase, a 2009 autographed Mike Trout card from Bowman that sold in August for $3.93 million had held the highest price of any sports card. Prior to that, the record ($3.7 million) belonged to a T206 Honus Wagner card that changed hands in 2016. . . . Records in other sports: A 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie card, $1.29 million, sold in December; a 2003-04 Upper Deck LeBron James rookie card, $1.8 million, sold in July.


Cat


On Thursday, Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, weighed in on the NBA trade in which James Harden moved from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets:

Harden and (Kyrie) Irving both want/need the ball to be as effective as they can be. (Kevin) Durant does not need the ball as much as the other two, but he is more efficient offensively than the other two in the sense that he scores a lot of points with the ball in his hands for a relatively short time. There is an unalterable fact about NBA basketball that applies here.  There is only one ball in use on the court at any given time. We will soon find out if James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant learned their lessons about ‘sharing with others’ in kindergarten.”

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Here is the curmudgeonly one on Urban Meyer’s move to the Jacksonville Jaguars as head coach: “In his seven years at Ohio State, Meyer’s teams lost a total of nine games. If his first year with the Jags results in the Jags losing fewer than nine games, he might be the Coach of the Year in the NFL.”



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, who tracks such things, provides us with a couple of headlines . . .

At Fark.com: “NHL announced that each division will have sponsor names this year. NFL expected to follow suit, starting with the Waste Management NFC East.”

At TheOnion.com: “Nervous Browns fan still worried team going to blow 48-37 lead over Steelers from days ago.”


A couple of notes from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:

As part of its pandemic vigilance, the NBA may eliminate shoot-arounds — a notion certain to be applauded by the players. Show up in the morning with a game that night? Total waste of time for everybody. . . .

“More good news: Players are banned from touching hands with teammates at the free-throw line. Not sure who started this, several years ago, but it’s very dumb. (Ball clanks off the front rim.) ‘Hey, great miss, man.’ And if it goes in, why would you want your routine interrupted?”


So . . . what happened to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who started 11-9 and finished 1-5. Head coach Mike Tomlin explained to reporters: “We were a group that died on the vine.”



Among other things, the late Tommy Lasorda was known for run-ins with mascots. If you haven’t seen Lasorda get Youppi, the Montreal Expos’ mascot, tossed from a game, click right here. . . . But Lasorda also got into it with the Phillie Phanatic and the San Diego Chicken. . . . As Michael Clair of MLB.com pointed out: “Probably for the best that Lasorda never appeared on Sesame Street.”


Doctors


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .


CBC News — Manitoba is reporting 189 new cases of COVID-19 and 8 additional deaths. Sunday’s total includes 95 new cases in the Northern health region and 65 new cases in the Winnipeg health region. The province’s 5-day test positivity rate is 10.4%.

CBC News — Saskatchewan is reporting 287 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 new deaths. There are 4,121 known active cases in the province.

CBC News — Alberta is reporting 750 new cases of COVID-19. The province is also reporting 19 new deaths, pushing Canada’s total COVID-19 death toll past 18,000.

Keith Baldrey, Global BC — Latest BCCDC data shows 5 kids (under 20 yrs) were in the ICU with COVID-19 over the holidays and that 3 more people in their thirties in BC died from the virus. This is not just an old person’s ailment folks.

CBC News — Ontario sees 3,422 new cases and 69 additional deaths linked to COVID-19. Toronto recorded more than 1,000 new infections.

CBC News — Quebec is reporting 1,744 new cases of COVID-19. Sunday’s case count was impacted by a delay in the transmission of laboratory data. The province is also reporting 50 new deaths, 8 of which occurred in the last 24 hours. . . . 1,460 people are in hospital, including 215 in intensive care.

CBC News — There are 36 new COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick on Sunday, a single-day record. 24 of those cases are in Zone 4, the Edmundston region. Public health recommended that Zone 4 move to the red level alert effective at midnight Sunday.

CBC News — Nova Scotia is reporting 4 new cases of COVID-19, all related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. There are 29 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital.

CBC News — 1 new case of COVID-19 has been identified in Newfoundland and Labrador. The new case is in the Eastern Health region and is travel-related. There are 6 known active cases in the province, including 1 hospitalized patient.

Public Health Agency of Canada, Sunday, 4 p.m. PT — Total cases: 708,619 . . . Active cases: 75,281 . . . Recovered: 615,324 . . . Deaths: 18,014.

CNN, Sunday, 5 p.m. PT — 23.9 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, Sunday, 4 p.m. PT — 397,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

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The NBA postponed a scheduled Sunday night game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the host Oklahoma City Thunder when COVID-19 protocols prevented the 76ers from dressing the league-minimum eight players. . . . Philadelphia had only nine players available on Saturday when it lost, 106-104, to the Grizzlies in Memphis. . . . This was the 14th postponement of this NBA season, with the last 13 of those occurring within the past week. . . .

Things don’t seem to be going too well as tennis players and their entourages begin to arrive in Melbourne for the Australian Open that is scheduled to open on Feb. 8. In fact, there already are calls to cancel the event amid reports that at least 72 players are in quarantine. . . . There’s more right here. . . .

An AHL exhibition game between the San Diego Gulls and Ontario Reign scheduled for Saturday in Irvine, Calif., was cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols. The Gulls are playing out of Irvine for the next while. . . . The game would have featured the pro debuts of F Trevor Zegras and D Jamie Drysdale, both of whom played for the gold medal at the World Junior Championship. Zegras, the tournament MVP, and Team USA beat Drysdale and Team Canada, 2-0, in the final. . . .

Kim Mulkey, the head coach of the Baylor U women’s basketball team, contracted COVID-19 on Christmas Day. She was back on the sideline for the first time on Saturday. . . . Mechelle Voepel of ESPN.com wrote that Mulkey said she is feeling OK physically, but “when asked if she is concerned about the season being completed amid a pandemic, she didn’t mince words:

“The answer is this: The season will continue on. It’s called the almighty dollar. The NCAA has to have the almighty dollar from the men’s tournament. The almighty dollar is more important than the health and welfare of me, the players or anybody else.

“One conference does this, one conference does that. The CDC says this. Everybody is confused. I’m confused. I’m uncomfortable coaching. I understand, COVID is real. I’ve had it — come talk to me sometime. But I don’t know . . . all the calls and procedures, that’s gonna go on and make it unusual, uncomfortable for every program. We’re no different at Baylor.”


——

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.

——

Did you know there are more than 750 people in BC waiting for transplants? You can give someone hope by registering your decision today at taketwominutes.ca. One organ donor can save up to eight lives. #Register2Give #TakeTwoMinutes


JUST NOTES: If you weren’t aware, Tom Brady picked up a cool $500,000 in bonus money with Sunday’s victory by his Tampa Buccaneers over the host New Orleans Saints. So far this season, Brady has picked up $1.25 million in playoff bonus money. . . . Almost two weeks after domestic terrorists attacked the U.S. Capitol, their leader not only is still in the White House, but there are reports that he is selling pardons and commutations. Is this a great time to be alive, or what? . . . If you were wondering, there were about 16,000 fans in the stands for the Sunday NFL playoff game between the Cleveland Browns and the Chiefs in Kansas City. The Saints had about 3,500 fans at their game, with 500 of those being vaccinated healthcare workers who were admitted free of charge. . . . On Saturday, there were 6,700 fans in the stadium in Buffalo, all of whom had to test negative before being admitted. Each fan paid US$63 for the test, too. In Green Bay, the Packers played in front of about 6,000 fans.


Tip

Scattershooting on a Sunday night following an NFL weekend and with Alabama-OSU yet to come . . .

Scattershooting2

Whatever it was that the WHL was selling on Friday — hope? — F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers and F Conor Geekie of the Winnipeg Ice WHL2were buying. Both players have decided to stay put rather than play in a U.S. junior league. . . . The deadline for players released by Hockey Canada to move south was Sunday. . . . Stankoven chose not to join the USHL’s Fargo Force. He told Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV that he made his decision on Friday night. . . . “I decided (Friday) night to stay in town,” Stankoven, who is from Kamloops, told Seitz, “and stick with the Blazers since the WHL came out with a statement (Friday) night saying that we’ll be having a 24-game season starting in February.” . . . The WHL said Friday that it had “made a commitment” to play a 24-game season, but didn’t indicate a potential starting date, saying that would be determined once health officials “in each provincial and state jurisdiction” give the OK for a return to play. . . . Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reported that Geekie, the second overall pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, had offers from two USHL and two NAHL teams. Geekie, who is from Strathclair, Man., got into nine games with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals this season, scoring once and adding four assists. . . .

The Dubuque Saints announced on Jan. 5 that they were adding Ice F Matt Savoie. Savoie, the No. 1 pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, didn’t play in either of Dubuque’s two weekend games and, in fact, hadn’t been added to the team’s roster as of Sunday night. . . . A notice on the Dubuque website: “Our offices have been closed temporarily due to recommendations from the CDC in regards to COVID-19.”

——

The WHL has done the smart thing in moving away from declaring potential starting dates for a new season. Here’s Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, in an Oct. 15 Zoom call with media:

“We just felt that at some point we needed to create some certainty around the start of the season. We had announced already two tentative target dates but this is not a tentative date, this is a firm date. We are going to start on Jan. 8.”


From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “The 6-10 Giants think they got hosed by missing out on an NFL playoff berth? ‘Cry us a river,’ said the 10-6 Miami Dolphins.


After Trump’s stormtroopers stormed the gates on Wednesday, wouldn’t it have been nice to have heard from the likes of Brett Favre, Jack Nicklaus and/or Bobby Orr, all of whom were proud to be seen as Trump supporters before the November election? You may recall that Orr took out a full-page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader, stating that Trump was “the kind of teammate I want.” . . . Really, Bobby? He wasn’t anywhere near the joint as his troopers were storming the gates. Some teammate!

And let’s not forget that it was Nicklaus who wrote in a tweet about Trump: “His love for America and its citizens, and putting his country first, has come through loud and clear.” . . . Yeah, hasn’t it!

——

Meanwhile, I wake up every morning and wonder how it is that the United States of America could experience what it did on Wednesday and still have the same orange clown operating out of the White House five days later.

——

Here’s Steve Kerr, the always thoughtful head coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors: “A legitimate election is suddenly questioned by millions of people, including many of the people who are leading our country in government, because we’ve decided to, over the last few years, allow lies to be told. So this is who we are. You reap what you sow.”

If you aren’t familiar with Kerr’s background, well, Google is your friend.

——

And here is Draymond Green, a veteran forward with the Warriors: “Through social media and all these different tools we have at our fingertips today, we’re more aware. But nothing’s changed. We’re still the same America that it’s been. It’s no different. I’ve seen a lot of (statements) of ‘shoot (the protestors) like (Black people) would’ve been shot.’ Nah, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. Stop shooting us. That’s more the battle cry than necessarily shoot them like we would’ve been shot. Just stop shooting us.”

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Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, has a question: “While he’s banned from most sites has anyone checked to see if Trump is trying to sell the White House china on eBay?”



A big thank you to the NHL and TSN or whoever was responsible for blacking out the Toronto Maple Leafs’ scrimmage that was held on Saturday night. It was live on TSN-4 and, had it been available here, I may have watched it, all the while wondering if I wouldn’t have been better off playing solitaire. . . . Update: Later Saturday night, I stumbled on replays on two separate Sportsnet channels. I watched about three minutes of it and, yes, play-by-play voice Joe Bowen was in Game 7 form.

——

So . . . why wasn’t the Montreal Canadiens’ Sunday night scrimmage available on TSN or Sportsnet?


If you’re a football fan, please allow me to suggest that you make Jack Finarelli’s Football Friday a regular stop. Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon) dropped a terrific all-encompassing read on his website last Friday. Take a look right here and I think you’ll agree that it should become a habit.


The Pittsburgh Steelers, who were 11-0 at one point and had a quarterback being mentioned as a potential MVP, finished 1-5. . . . BTW, that quarterback’s cap hit next season is to be more than US$41 million.


Leftfield


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: As of Sunday, more than 90 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 49.8 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracking tool. The global death toll stood at more than 1.9 million.

CBC News: As of 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 660,289 cases of COVID-19, with 84,567 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 16,950.

CBC News: Ontario registered 3,945 new cases and 61 additional deaths. The new cases mark a single-day record for the province.

CBC News: Quebec reported 2,588 new cases and 39 new deaths, a day after it topped 3,000 new cases for the first time. Recent projections suggest Montreal’s hospitals could soon exceed capacity.

CNN, Sunday, 7:15 p.m. PT: 374,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Sunday, 3:15 p.m. PT: 22.3 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

——

The Vancouver Canucks cancelled their Sunday on-ice sessions because of a possible exposure to someone in their organization. They are due back on the ice today (Monday) and are to start the regular season in Edmonton against the Oilers on Wednesday and Thursday. . . . The Canucks are the fourth team to have cancelled training camp sessions, after the Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins. Of the four clubs, though, only the Stars have reported positive tests — six players and two staffers. . . .

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat were to have played an NBA game on Sunday night. However, one of the Heat players had an inconclusive test. That result and contact tracing left the Heat without the required eight players needed in order to play a game. The Celtics had eight players available after nine were ruled out because of protocols. . . . On Saturday night, the Philadelphia 76ers played despite having only seven healthy players, and lost to the visiting Denver Nuggets. Philadelphia lost Seth Curry to a positive test on Thursday and four teammates were out due to contact tracing. . . . Tim Bontemps of ESPN has a great look at the NBA’s situation right here.


Shopping


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.


Cxn

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering if the Canucks would consider Flin Flon . . .

Scattershooting

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With the German and Swedish teams looking at extra time in quarantine 2021WJCbecause of positive tests, the World Junior Championship exhibition schedule in Edmonton has been slashed to four games from 10. And the first games will be on Tuesday, instead of today (Sunday) and Monday.

Here is the new schedule:

Tuesday, Dec. 22: Switzerland-Austria, 3 p.m. PT; Finland-USA, 6:30 p.m. PT

Wednesday, Dec. 23: Canada-Russia, 3 p.m. PT; Slovakia-Czech Republic, 6:30 p.m. PT.

This means that only the eight teams who don’t have anyone in quarantine at the moment each will get to play one exhibition game. Germany and Sweden are out of luck.

The tournament schedule hasn’t been touched, at least not yet, so it all begins on Christmas Day with Slovakia-Switzerland, 11 a.m. PT; Finland-Germany, 3 p.m. PT; and U.S.-Russia, 6:30 p.m. PT. Canada plays its first game on Saturday when it meets Germany at 3 p.m. PT.


Sorry, but I can’t get all worked up about whatever it is that’s going on between B.C. and the NHL over whether a team will be allowed to play out of Vancouver if a new season gets started next month. Fans won’t be allowed to attend so does it really matter where the games are played? If the Canucks really want home-ice advantage maybe they should play out of the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon. . . . Hey, as Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said on Friday, “There are people dying from this, people that are losing livelihoods, that are struggling to get by.” . . . Can we wait to see the mid-January numbers before we start ranting and raving?


Sissies


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, calls them “rants” and he had an especially good one earlier this week. Here is part of what he wrote:

“The NBA has problems. Those problems are significant but not fatal — unless the NBA decides to make them fatal. The core of the set of problems facing the NBA is demonstrated by diminishing interest in the NBA product. The playoffs in the ‘Orlando Bubble’ were a huge success from the point of view of epidemiology; the playoffs in the ‘Orlando Bubble’ were a disaster in terms of television ratings. Let’s get one thing clear:

“Epidemiology is important to the CDC and medical practitioners; those folks do not care about TV ratings . . . Television ratings are important to the NBA; the basketball mavens have only a passing concern about matters epidemiological.”

The entire piece is right here and I highly recommend it.



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times writes: “Raiders coach Jon Gruden wore an ‘Oakland Raiders’ cap during the first half of Thursday’s game against the Chargers, then switched to ‘Las Vegas Raiders’ for the second half. Apparently his ‘L.A. Raiders’ cap was still in the wash.”


Here’s Janice Hough, who is at leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “Minnesota Vikings placekicker Dan Bailey missed all three field goals and an extra point against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Uh, if Vanderbilt classes are over for the year is Sarah Fuller available?”


Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks signed a new contract worth US$228 million over five years. If you’re wondering what that is in Canadian money, the answer is $291,576,620 based on a 78-cent dollar, or enough to buy all of Alberta.


Someone with the Prince George Cougars was having some fun. . . . See if you can figure out what they’re up to here. . . .



Henry Schulman won’t be covering the San Francisco Giants for that city’s chronicle after Jan. 4, having decided to retire from the beat. Here he is the other day with the true meaning of the news release in which the Cleveland baseball club announced it will be changing its nickname, but not until at least 2022: “We are going to keep our racist logo for another year and sell souvenirs featuring this highly offensive stereotype because we have a lot of this crap sitting in storage, but to make ourselves feel better we’re going to give the money to the people we are insulting.”


Army beat Navy, 15-0, in last weekend’s annual football game. Here’s blogger Chad Picasner summing things up: “Army lived up to its training as ground forces, running the ball 53 times and passing only once. . . . Navy was severely handicapped because there was no water on the field, and their battleship wouldn’t fit through the gate.”


Bob


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Canada surpasses 500,240 cases after Saskatchewan adds 252 new infections to national caseload of COVID-19. . . . Latest tally of 500,242 cases includes 14,128 deaths; currently 76,391 active cases across Canada with 409,723 others having recovered.

CBC News: 9 more deaths, 238 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Manitoba Saturday.

CBC News: Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says 1,352 new provincial cases and 26 more deaths from COVID-19. . . . 19,260 active cases.

CBC News: Ontario reports 2,357 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 new deaths on Saturday. Ontario is reporting 27 new deaths related to COVID-19. There are currently 895 COVID-19 patients in the province’s hospitals, including 256 in intensive care. 146 of the patients are on ventilators.

580 CFRA: Ottawa Public Health says there are currently no patients in Ottawa ICUs with COVID-19 complications.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 2,038 new cases of COVID-19 and 44 additional deaths related to the illness. 2 of the deaths occurred within the last 24 hours. . . . There are 1,005 COVID-19 patients in the province’s hospitals, including 142 in intensive care.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 5 new cases of COVID-19. There are 49 known active cases in the province. 3 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, including 1 in intensive care.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 2 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 46 known active cases. 1 of the new cases is in the Western Zone and the other is in the Eastern Zone. Both cases are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

CBC News: P.E.I. confirms 1 new case of COVID-19 related to travel; woman in 50s self-isolating after arriving in Charlottetown on Dec. 17 from Montreal on Air Canada flight 8302

CBC News: 8 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Newfoundland and Labrador. All of the new cases are in the Eastern Health Region. There are 31 known active cases in the province, including 1 patient who is in hospital. 

CBC News, 7 a.m. PT: U.S. sets new record of 249,709 coronavirus cases in one day; 2,814 more people have died across U.S., pushing its death toll to more than 314,300: JHU.

——

The New York Giants, already without offensive co-ordinator Jason Garrett because of a positive test, found out Saturday that offensive assistant Stephen Brown also has the virus. On Thursday, the Giants placed starting CB James Bradberry on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Bradberry tested positive, too, but his case isn’t believed related to either of the other two. . . .

The Ohio State Buckeyes played in the Big Ten championship football game on Saturday without 22 players, who were missing for reasons related to COVID-19. Yes, the game went on. . . . The Cal Golden Bears, meanwhile, experienced three positive tests during their season and ended up with four cancelled games. As John Branch of The New York Times tweeted: “I’ll let others decide if playing college football was worth it, but little debate that it was not equal.”


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.


Scattershooting on a Sunday night while waiting for the snow to arrive . . .

Scattershooting


If as expected the sale of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks closes on Dec. 31, Michael Kramer, a 52-year-old native of Los Angeles who has been described by one of his former professors as “a rock star in the world of finance,” will be one of the new owners.

MichaelKramer2
MICHAEL KRAMER

The Winterhawks are planning a news conference at which it will be announced that Kerry Preete, a native of Melfort, Sask., and Kramer have purchased the franchise out of receivership for US$5,850,000.

Preete, 60, spent more than 30 years with Monsanto, and was its executive vice-president and chief strategy officer when it was sold to Bayer A.G., in 2018.

Kramer, who has a bachelor’s degree in finance from California State U Northridge (CSUN), lives in New Canaan, Conn. He is the CEO and founding partner of Ducera Partners LLC, an investment bank. As such, he has been involved in some monster deals.

Ducera advised Monsanto in the US$70-billion deal in which it was purchased by Bayer. Yahoo!finance reported in 2016, two years before the deal was completed, that “approximately $100 to $110 million in fees are expected to be divvied up between lead adviser Ducera and Morgan Stanley for their sell-side advisory roles, according to estimates by consultant Freeman & Co.”

Ducera also was involved in the restructuring or sales of iHeart Radio ($20 billion) and Nieman Marcus ($5 billion), among others.

Kramer also has been described as having been “the architect” of the sales of such professional franchises as the Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and Texas Rangers.

If you’re wondering just what it is that Kramer does, he explained during a speaking engagement at CSUN in 2019 how he handled a project involving Hostess Brands in 2012.

As Olivia Herstein of CSUN Today reported, Kramer told his audience:

“It’s the great American icon, the Twinkie. We can’t live without our Twinkies. Seven years ago, I was called by the board of Hostess. They said, ‘We’re having a lot of financial trouble, we’re running out of money — we don’t know how we’re going to continue. Can you come in and help us think through this?’

“When I, or any investment banker, gets involved in these transactions, it is usually a multi-year process. It’s not two or three weeks. In that situation, we had to figure out how to restructure the company. They had approximately 42 different union contracts! Two of the primary unions were the International Teamsters and the Bakers (the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International). So, I got to spend six months of my life, going three or four days a week down to D.C., to the headquarters of the Teamsters, negotiating with their most senior leaders.

“We actually cut a deal. The Teamsters were an incredibly tough counterpart, but we cut a deal. Unfortunately we weren’t as successful with the Baker’s Union. We were forced to totally shut the company down — that was me, I’m the guy who took away Twinkies for a few months. About six months later, we sold the company for approximately $1 billion. In many ways, that’s what we deal with all the time. It was a success in the price we were able to receive for the assets, but a failure in some respects, because a lot of people lost their jobs.”

Meanwhile, thanks to Joshua Critzer’s reporting on Twitter (@jjcritzer), we know that Mike Johnston, the vice-president, general manager and head coach, and Kyle Gustafson, the assistant GM and associate, will remain with the Winterhawks. Critzer also reported that Doug Piper, the franchise’s president and governor, will be staying put.


Dennys


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, lives in the Washington, D.C., area. Of late, it seems that he has been trying to find some morning listening on the ol’ wireless. Here he is, trying to explain his adventure as only he can:

“I have tried for a couple of months to warm up to the current morning show on ESPN Radio. I decided about a week ago that was never going to happen. Jay Williams is the only one of the three hosts who ever says anything that is thought-provoking and among the three, he is generally the silent partner. As of now, I will only listen to these three guys in the morning if my alternatives are NPR’s Morning Edition and a televangelist preaching in some unknown language.

“This restricts my morning radio options in the DC area significantly. There are two other options. One is called The Sports Junkies — a show featuring 4 insufferably uninteresting people sharing inside jokes and ‘frat boy banter.’ The other option is the Kevin Sheehan Show which is now going to be my morning aural experience. I arrived at that position by selecting the least worst option available to me.”


Cooking


“The Gonzaga-Baylor men’s basketball game featuring the 1-2 teams in the country was scuttled by positive tests in the Bulldogs’ camp,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “In a related story, COVID-19 was just voted No. 1 in the latest AP poll.”


The Onion: Taylor Swift Fans Furious After Artist Excluded From ESPN’s List Of Best NBA Players Of 2020.


So . . . Michael Jordan has a new golf course — The Grove XXIII — in Hobe Sound, Fla., and it uses drones to deliver beverages. Why drones? Well, as Nick Piastowski of Golf.com, points out: “He was Michael ‘Air’ Jordan. Not Michael ‘Beer Cart’ Jordan. Not Michael ‘Hot Dog at the Turn’ Jordan.”



The 2021 Kamloops Kidney Walk will be held virtually, as it was in June. Yes, Dorothy will be taking part, as she has since 2014. . . . She already has registered and her granddaughters, Averi and Kara, have joined her team. If you are interested in making a donation — perhaps you are looking for a tax receipt for this year’s filing — you are able to do so right here.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Bartley Kives, CBC Manitoba: Manitoba announced 273 new cases of COVID-19 and 7 more deaths on Sunday. . . . Active cases: 5,728 (overstated due to backlog in calling patients to designate active cases as recovered). . . . Total caseload: 21,023. . . . Recovered: 14,805. . . . Deaths: 490. . . . In hospital: 304, and In ICU: 43 (Understated. Both these counts do not include long-term COVID patients who are no longer contagious but still require hospital care.) . . . Five-day test-positivity rate: 13.5 per cent. . . . Tests completed Saturday: 2,145.

CTV News: There have been 222 new cases of COVID-19 and three related deaths reported in Saskatchewan in the past 24 hours.

CBC News: Alberta reports 1,717 new COVID-19 cases as well as a record 22 deaths.

B.C.: More crickets.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 1,677 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 58,200 tests completed. Locally, there are 456 new cases in Toronto, 356 in Peel and 143 in York Region. There are 1,678 more resolved cases.

CBC News: Quebec reported 1,994 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 more deaths.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 6 new cases of COVID-19. All of the new cases have been traced back to previously reported cases or travel outside Atlantic Canada.

CBC News: N.B. reports 2 new cases of COVID-19, both in Fredericton region.

BNO News: 16,987 COVID deaths were reported in the U.S. this week, making it the deadliest week on record.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: 299,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: 16.2 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

——

Pierre Lacroix, a former general manager of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, died on Sunday in Las Vegas. According to Le Journal de Quebec, he died due to COVID-19 complications. He was 72. . . .

Offensive line coach John Benton of the San Francisco 49ers missed their Sunday game with Washington in Glendale, Ariz., after testing positive. This was the 49ers’ first positive test since they were forced to relocate to Glendale.


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: F Štěpán Novotný, who played in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets and Swift Current Broncos (2008-11), has retired due to concussions. The MacBeth Report tweeted that he “suffered his fourth concussion in 10 years in a game against Liberec on March 3.” . . . The BCHL’s Penticton Vees appear to have lost F Quinn Hutson to the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. His name now is on the Lumberjacks’ roster on their website. Hutson, who will turn 19 on Jan. 1, is from Chicago and has committed to Boston U. He was in his first BCHL season and led the Vees with 10 goals in 14 games during the extended exhibition season.


Paranoia

Customer visits hot dog stand and finds his kidney donor . . . Sports Curmudgeon on NCAA football, hoops and virus . . . Men’s Beanpot tossed for 2021

Skully White operates a gourmet hot dog stand — Lullys Food Experience — in a Canadian Tire parking lot in Abbotsford, B.C. Tim Hiscock is a long-time customer. . . . “One day,” White told Glenda Luymes of Postmedia, “his wife called me up and said he had some medical issues and I wasn’t supposed to feed him without her permission.” . . . One thing led to another and now, on Dec. 14, if all goes according to schedule, White will be giving Hiscock one of his kidneys. . . . White and Hiscock have become friends through all of this, with Hiscock referring to them as the doctor and Frankenstein. “I’m the doctor and he’s Frankenstein,” Hiscock told Luynes. . . . That story is right here.


The QMJHL has seven Quebec-based team bubbled in Quebec City in the hopes of rattling off a number of games in a short period of time. It all was scheduled to open on Tuesday with the Drummondville Voltigeurs meeting the Quebec Remparts. But the QMJHL has been forced to adjust the schedule after there was an inconclusive test on a member of the Drummondville organization. . . . So now it’ll be the Shawinigan Cataractes meeting the Remparts in the bubble opener.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, weighed in on NCAA basketball and football in his Monday musings that can be found right here. Here’s part of what he wrote:

The NCAA has decreed that the college basketball season will commence on 25 November; that is nine days from now. Given the public health data and the trends extant today where there are almost 100,000 new cases of coronavirus infection tabulated each day, it would seem to be only a matter of time until college basketball games run into the same fate that college football games have encountered. The college football season is a mess; it is only a matter of time until the college basketball season faces the same reality.

Moreover, there is another thing that is very wrong with the NCAA’s messaging with regard to COVID-19:

  • Public health officials have warned for months about the need for social distancing and mask wearing as actions that can slow the spread of the virus.
  • Public health officials have determined that close contact involving cheering, singing and heavy breathing encourages the spread of the virus.
  • NCAA football games violate virtually every one of those public health warnings and when you add “field-storming events,” tail-gating and post-game celebrations/commiserations you realize that the NCAA is enabling super-spreader events every week.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Manitoba announces 10 more COVID-19 deaths and 392 new cases of COVID-19. That’s just below the province’s average from the previous 7-day of 407.

Global News: In Steinbach, Man., the local hospital is so overcrowded with COVID-19 cases, that nurses are having to triage patients in their cars.

CBC News: 181 new cases of coronavirus reported in Saskatchewan, same daily total as reported Sunday. Compares to province’s previous 7-day average of 157.

CBC News: Number of COVID-19 cases in Nunavut jumps with 6 more in the hamlet of Arviat and 2 in Rankin Inlet. Total is now 26 in 3 different communities, even though the 1st case in the sparsely populated territory was diagnosed just 10 days ago.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 20 new COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours. This is by far the highest daily increase in deaths since the pandemic began. The province also reported 860 new COVID-19 cases and had a positivity rate of about 7 per cent.

Lethbridge Herald: Alberta reports 860 cases Monday — 10,031 active cases — 264 in hospital, 57 of those in ICU — 20 additional deaths reported for a total of 427 fatalities.

Tina Karst, CJOC/CKBD Lethbridge: There were 41 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Lethbridge over the weekend. With recent recoveries there are now 168 active cases in the city. 

Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW: RedDeer now has 116 active cases of COVID-19, up from 94 on Friday.

CBC News: B.C. is reporting 1,959 new cases of COVID-19 and 9 additional deaths over the weekend.

CBC News: New Brunswick reports 8 more COVID-19 cases, a significantly high daily number for the province, which is experiencing a recent surge. By comparison, there were 13 cases in the previous 7 days.

CBC News: 25 additional deaths in Quebec are being attributed to COVID-19 as the province reports 1,218 new cases. That’s virtually unchanged from the previous day’s total of 1,211. The province’s 7-day average is also fairly consistent, moving to 1,326 from 1,318.

CBC News: Ontario has 1,487 new cases of COVID-19. That’s the 11th straight day above 1,000, and pushes the 7-day average to 1,442 from 1,408. 508 new cases are in Toronto, 392 in Peel Region and 170 in York Region. The province is also reporting 10 more deaths.

The 2021 Beanpot Tournament, which is played annually at Boston’s TD Garden, has been cancelled. It was to have been played on the first two Mondays of February. . . . The men’s hockey tournament normally features teams from Boston College, Boston U, Harvard and Northeastern. . . .

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) cancelled it’s men’s and women’s hockey seasons on Monday. In the men’s game, there now are nine NCAA Div. 1 teams whose seasons have been cancelled.


MayoClinic

There is some interesting news from Mayo Clinic that should have some impact on the process of attracting living kidney donors.

From Mayo Clinic’s news network:

“Mayo Clinic has a rich resource of kidney biopsy material in its Aging Kidney Anatomy Study, led by Andrew Rule, M.D., a Mayo Clinic nephrologist. A new study of living kidney donors at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Arizona from 1999 to 2018 has found some microstructural features that can indicate some long-term susceptibility for chronic kidney disease in otherwise healthy adults.

“The study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, reinforces that kidney donation is safe for living donors, and it provides new insights for counseling donors on how to take care of themselves and preserve kidney function, according to Naim Issa, M.D., Mayo Clinic transplant nephrologist.”

There’s a whole lot more right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.

QMJHL looking at December restart? . . . Winterhawks asked to change logo . . . Ice’s Lambos goes to Finland


With the numbers showing no signs of slowing down, François Legault, qmjhlnewQuebec’s premier, has extended the red zone restrictions until Nov. 23. They had been schedule to be lifted on Thursday. . . . The QMJHL has six teams located in these zones — the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Drummondville Voltigeurs, Gatineau Olympiques, Quebec Remparts, Shawinigan Cataractes and Victoriaville Tigres. . . . The Armada and Voltigeurs have had players test positive, as have the Sherbrooke Phoenix. . . . Earlier, the QMJHL suspended play for its Quebec-based teams until Oct. 28. There is speculation that those teams won’t return to play until early December. . . .

Meanwhile, the Olympiques won’t be returning to their home arena, the Robert-Guertin Centre, anytime soon, and maybe not at all this season. The arena will continue to be used as an emergency accommodation centre for the homeless during the pandemic. The Olympiques had hoped to have their arena back on Dec. 1. . . . If/when the Olympiques return to action, they will continue at the Baribeau Arena. They are scheduled to move into a new arena next season.


The WHL’s Portland Winterhawks have been asked to dump their primary logo. Shannon Gormley of the Willamette Week reported Monday that “a local nonprofit is petitioning the Winterhawks to change their logo.” Earlier this year, the team unveiled a third jersey with a different logo but, as Gormley wrote, “the team still wears its original jersey, featuring a caricature of an Indigenous person, at most games, and continues to manufacture and sell merchandise with the figure.” . . . Gormley continued: “The Native American Youth and Family Center started the petition two weeks ago, urging the team to permanently switch to a hawk. It’s now nearly reached its goal of 1,500 signatures.” . . . There wasn’t an immediate response from the Winterhawks. . . . Gormley’s story is right here. . . . The Winterhawks are in receivership at the moment and the WHL is searching for a buyer.


Mask


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, writing in his Sunday column about the NHL’s plans for next season: “There is talk of hub cities. There is talk of an All-Canadian division being played, which is all but a certainty. But just as each market and both Canada and the United States are dealing with increased COVID-19 numbers, consider this: On the day the NHL shut down in March, following the NBA, there were 42 positive tests in Ontario. On Saturday, the number was 978.” . . .

——

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with a suggestion to the NFL “mavens” in his Monday posting: “You have put in place COVID-19 protocols that are purposefully and intelligently designed to reduce the probability of viral transmission. One element of those protocols is that coaches and team staff must wear masks on the sidelines during games.  Obviously, there will be moments when a coach needs to lower his mask to enable others to hear or understand what he is saying; those sorts of brief ‘exposures’ are imperfect but understandable.

“Here is what should not be tolerated:

(1) Coaches, assistant coaches and staff members on the sidelines with masks that cover only their mouth and not their nose.

(2) In the past, the NFL has levied fines for not wearing a mask; coaches with ‘noses out’ should be fined half that amount and the league office only need to watch the television feeds for the games to identify which coaches to collect from.” . . .

——

Quarterback Graham Mertz of the Wisconsin Badgers tested positive after the freshman led his team to a 45-7 season-opening win over Illinois on Friday night. . . . The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Monday that backup QB Chase Wolf, a sophomore, also has tested positive. . . . Paul Chryst, the Badgers’ head coach, won’t comment on the status of either player. . . .

RB Ryquell Armstead of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars is expected to miss the rest of this season as he works to recover from COVID-19. ESPN has reported that he has twice been hospitalized and has had numerous complications, including “significant respiratory distress.” Armstead is 23. . . .

At least 39 members of the Delta, B.C., fire department were exposed to COVID-19, and a recreational hockey game is getting at least some of the blame. . . . “The game took place early last week,” Vancouver radio station NEWS 1130 reported. “A member of Delta Fire and Emergency Services attended, not knowing they and a family member had the virus. Those who played in the game and others who were later on shift with this person at the department were all exposed to COVID-19. At least 39 members of the department were in isolation at one point.” . . . Firefighters who tested negative have started returning to work, while others await results.


Ghosts


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: Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reports that D Carson Lambos of the Winnipeg Ice has left the Manitoba capital for Jyväskylä, Finland, where he is skating with JYP of the country’s U-20 league. If his transfer gets done, he could play in games on the weekend. Lambos, 17, is expected to be an early selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. Sawatzky’s story is right here. . . . The BCHL’s Langley Rivermen have decided they won’t have any American players in their roster this season because of COVID-19. “We just thought it was the right thing to do,” Bobby Henderson, the team’s GM/head coach, told Dan Ferguson of the Langley Advance Times. “Normally, we would be allowed to have six” Americans on the roster. Ferguson’s story is right here.


Jupiter

Sports Curmudgeon: Baseball, you’ve got a problem! . . . SJHL prexy: Losses are in excess of $1m . . . Turkey time: 2021 WJC opens Dec. 25

The World Series is upon us — the Los Angeles Dodgers drubbed the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-3, on Tuesday night in Game 1 — and Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, has a few words about baseball.

WorldSeriesThe curmudgeonly one has watched a lot of baseball over the last while, as have I. And he has concerns — I happen to agree with him, for whatever that’s worth — about what we have been seeing.

“Think about it,” he writes in his daily post. “In an inning where we have batters ‘working the count’ and there is a walk plus three strikeouts, there might be 25-30 pitches where the ball is never in play. That would be fine if it happened once a week; it happens far more frequently than that. Even in an inning where you mix in a home run, the ‘excitement factor’ tends to focus on the style of the bat flip and/or the pace of the ‘home run trot’ after the ball lands in the seats.

“One thing that detracts from ‘action’ in baseball games is The Shift. It does precisely what it is designed to do; it keeps pull hitters off the bases to a greater extent than in the days before The Shift. The fact that players and managers are so blockheaded as to allow The Shift to be as efficient as it is makes me wonder why baseball analytics only seems to apply to the defensive aspects of the game. Forget the lost art of bunting; just look at the defenders deployed in The Shift and apply the wisdom of Wee Willie Keeler from more than a century ago and . . . ‘Hit ’em where they ain’t.’ ”

His full piece is right here.


Pirate


The SJHL will open exhibition play on Thursday night with its teams limited by SJHLhealth officials to an arena capacity of 150 fans. However, Bill Chow, the SJHL president, is hoping that is short-lived. . . . If it doesn’t change, Chow told Claire Hanna of CTV Regina, “I’ll make no bones about it but that will be a catastrophe.” . . . Chow said that the SJHL and its teams have lost “probably in excess of $1 million collectively” with last season being halted in the playoffs and the pandemic-related issues that have followed. . . . Hanna’s story is right here.



2020

COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Boston University shut down all athletic activities on Tuesday. From a statement by the Department of Athletics: “In consideration of the current situation showing a slight uptick in COVID cases on campus, we have temporarily paused all in-person team activities, including practices and training sessions. We will re-examine our return to activity early next week following further consultation with campus officials.” . . . College Hockey News has more right here. . . .

The ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals announced Tuesday that they are opting out of the 2020-21 season. The ECHL is planning to open its regular season on Dec. 11. . . . From an Admirals news release: “The safety of the Admirals players, staff and the community, combined with the state’s COVID-19 restrictions on limiting Norfolk Scope to a 1,000-person capacity limit, has led to the decision.” . . . The Admirals say they will return for the 2021-22 season. . . .

Officials in the California government gave pro teams the OK to have limited attendance at upcoming days. However, Santa Clara County health officials stepped in and told the San Francisco 49ers that they still aren’t allowed to sell tickets to home games. . . . In a statement, county officials said that sporting events with fans in attendance “will not be allowed any time soon in Santa Clara county.” . . .

The New Orleans Saints will have 3,000 season-ticket holders at their game on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. That total will increase to 6,000 for Nov. 15 and Nov. 22 home games. . . .

An outbreak of 34 positives in Vermont “can be traced to games played at a hockey rink earlier this month,” according to a report by CNN’s Nakia McNabb and Brian Ries. . . . A news release from the Vermont Department of Health states that the cases have been traced to a broomball league, as well as youth and adult hockey leagues. . . . There’s more right here. . . .

New Hampshire shut down all hockey activities in the state on Thursday, a move that is expected to last until at least Oct. 30. The move impacted at least 26 hockey leagues. . . . Beth Germano of CBS Boston reported that “more than 150 cases have now been linked to hockey in several outbreaks that state officials say have spread into communities.” . . . Germano added: “It’s unclear why the sudden spike in cases, but some are questioning if it’s out-of-state travel by some teams to tournaments and bringing the virus back.” . . . According to Gov. Chris Sununu, six outbreaks and 158 cases have been tied directly to hockey in the state over the past two months.

The State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) cancelled its winter sports season on Monday. That impacts men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s and women’s track and field. . . . SUNYAC features 10 full members and one affiliate in NCAA Division III sports.


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 Morden Blackhawks, a senior hockey team that plays in the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League, said in August that it would be changing its nickname. That new nickname will be Bombers. That nickname has some history in the area, as the Morden Bombers played two seasons (1983-85) in the Central Amateur Senior Hockey League. . . . If you missed it on Monday, the IIHF released the scheduled for the 2021 World Junior Championship, which will be played in a bubble without spectators in Edmonton. The tournament will open on Dec. 25 with Switzerland meeting Slovakia at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET). It’s Germany and Finland at 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET), and the day’s big one, Russia vs. U.S., at 6:30 p.m. PT (9:30 p.m. ET). I’m sure you will be able to schedule the carving of the turkey for the appropriate time. Canada opens play on Dec. 26 against Germany, 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET). TSN’s complete telecast schedule, including 10 exhibition games, is right here.


Toy

WHL: Broncos drop $791,000, while Warriors’ losses hit $391,299 . . . Virus finds an NFL team . . . Smith leaves Tigers for Chiefs


The Swift Current Broncos had a tough go of it on the ice last season, putting up a record of 10-48-5.

Things were just as bad in the accounting ledger as the WHL team announced a loss SCBroncosof $791,000 at its annual general meeting on Tuesday night. One year earlier, after a 2018-19 season in which it was 11-51-6, the team announced a profit of $38,196.

After last night’s AGM, the team explained in a statement: “The financial results for (the) season were severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the settlement of a CHL-wide class-action lawsuit, an accounting revaluation of the education scholarship liability, and several unexpected reductions in key supplementary revenue streams, amounting to over $470,000 of additional losses for the season.”

The Broncos’ news release is right here.

——

Meanwhile, the Moose Jaw Warriors announced a 2019-20 loss of $391,299 at MooseJawWarriorstheir AGM, which also was held on Tuesday night. One year earlier, the team announced a loss of $165,145 for 2018-19.

“In total,” wrote Corey Atkinson of discovermoosejaw.com, “the Warriors lost $391,299 on the season, handing over $282,286 in lost revenues due to COVID and their share of a lawsuit assessment — $180,846 — against the Canadian Hockey League in May.”

Atkinson also reported: “The Warriors have trimmed staff and have been able to get some pay decreases to try to minimize the impact. They’re also taken a deferral of the commitment they made annually to the multiplex — a $200,000 commitment for this season. They pledged $2.5 million in 2011-12 for the building, and have been able to come through on $2.1 million of that over the last 10 years.”

The Warriors finished last in the six-team East Division, at 14-44-4. They lost three home dates to the pandemic, and averaged 2,981 fans for 31 games. That was down from 2018-19 when the average for 34 games was 3,347.

Atkinson also reported that “regular-season receipts were down from $1,661,649 last (season) to $1,356,766.”

Atkinson’s story is right here.


AlMurray
Al Murray and his wife, Lori, celebrated the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stanley Cup victory with a Tuesday morning walk in Regina. (Photo: Murray McCormick/Facebook)

So . . . you’re Al Murray and you have been with the Tampa Bay Lightning for 10 NHL seasons. You are the assistant general manager/director of amateur scouting, so you have had a lot to do with the construction of the team’s roster. . . . You’re Al Murray and your team won the Stanley Cup on Monday night in Edmonton, while you watched from your home in Regina. So what did you do on Tuesday morning? . . . You went for a walk, that’s what. . . . Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post was out for a morning stroll when he encountered Murray and his wife, Lori. Yes, they both were smiling. . . .

You should know that Al Murray isn’t a stranger to winning. In three years as Hockey Canada’s head scout, his teams won two World Junior titles, one at the IIHF U-18 championship, and three Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament titles. . . . I first met him when he was the head coach of the U of Regina Cougars men’s team, a position he held from 1985-88. Sheesh, Al, that was a long time ago!



A note from the Monday posting by Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon:

“Dr. Harry Edwards is a noted sociologist who has spent a long time as an observer and a critic of sports as they impact Black athletes’ lives. Over the weekend, I ran across a Tweet from him related to the decision by the PAC-12 schools to reverse course and play football this fall:

“ ‘For PAC12 programs to use ‘our student-athletes want to play’ as a PRINCIPAL reason for restarting football/fall sports programs while soft-peddling COVID risks to athletes, denying MONEY considerations significantly driving this decision is disingenuous, delusional,& dangerous.’ ”


Two


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NHL announced on Monday that it had completed a ninth week of bubble play without any positive tests. There were 773 tests done from Sept. 20-26. All told, there were 33,174 tests to players and club personnel while the playoffs were conducted in the Edmonton bubble. . . . Of course, the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup last night in Edmonton, securing a six-game victory over the Dallas Stars with a 2-0 victory in Game 6. . . . The NHL deserves straight As for getting through these playoffs in two bubble cities — Toronto being the other one — without any positive tests. . . .

The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings played an NFL game in Minneapolis on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Titans announced eight positive tests — three players and five other employees — and shut things down until at least Saturday. The Vikings have closed their practice facility pending further test results. . . . The NFL also is doing daily testing and monitoring of on-field officials from Sunday’s game. That crew won’t work in Week 4. . . . This all started on Saturday when Titans LB Shane Bowen tested positive and didn’t make the trip to Minneapolis. All other Tennessee players, coaches and staff were negative on Saturday. . . . The Titans are scheduled to meet the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, while the Vikings at to travel to Houston to meet the Texans. . . .

The 2020 Spengler Cup has been cancelled. The tournament, held annually in Davos, Switzerland, had been scheduled to run from Dec. 26-31. . . .

The five-school Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference has cancelled its 2020 soccer season. The decision was made as Winnipeg shifted to a Code Orange response to the pandemic. . . .

After cancelling Saturday’s football game against host Wake Forest because of seven positive tests, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish revealed that they now have 18 positives. . . . All told, there are 25 players in isolation and another 14 in quarantine. . . . Notre Dame’s next scheduled game is Oct. 10 against visiting Florida State. . . .

The KHL has cancelled its all-star game and the week long festivities that accompany it. The party was to have been held in Riga, Latvia, in January.

Blake Anderson, the head football coach at Arkansas State, has admitted to testing positive after the Red Wolves beat host Kansas State on Sept. 12. That likely is no surprise because the Red Wolves have had to postpone their last two games because of positive tests and contact tracing. . . .

Central Arkansas is to play North Dakota State in Fargo on Saturday. NDSU was going to allow more than 8,000 fans into the game, this despite numbers rising in the area and the state having suggested a cap of 250 fans at indoor events. The Fargodome seats 18,700 for football. . . . On Tuesday, however, the school changed plans and will allow only the families of players to watch from the stands.


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.



Phone


Ryan Smith has left the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, where he was an assistant coach, to join the Spokane Chiefs as associate coach. . . . In Spokane, Smith will work alongside Adam Maglio, who was promoted to head coach to replace Manny Viveiros, who has joined the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights as head coach their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights. . . . Smith is coming off two seasons with the Tigers after spending three on the Swift Current Broncos’ coaching staff.


I haven’t seen an announcement from either team — although perhaps I missed it — but Gary Aubin appears to have moved on from the Swift Current Broncos and landed with the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Aubin, from St. Albert, Alta., had been the Broncos’ director of player personnel since July 18, 2018; in fact, he guided them through the 2020 WHL bantam draft. Before joining the Broncos, he spent 11 seasons on the Spokane Chiefs’ scouting staff and before that he worked with the Kamloops Blazers for 15 years. . . . Now he is listed on the Rockets’ website as a member of their scouting staff.


JUST NOTES: Hey, NFL, it’s time to do away with kickoffs. Just spot the ball at the 25 and carry on. . . . I don’t know about you, but I really, really miss the CFL. . . . QB Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs looks like a man playing in a city’s minor football program. . . . Two WHLers — F Lukas Svejkovsky of the Medicine Hat Tigers and G Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips — are among the 39 players invited to USA Hockey’s national junior team evaluation camp. That camp, which will be closed to fans, media and scouts, is scheduled for Oct. 8-13 in Plymouth, Mich. . . . The USHL has released its 2020-21 regular-season schedule. It calls for each of its 14 teams to play 54 games in what the league called a “regionally based schedule.” The regular season is to end on April 24. The USHL also said that its teams “are working with health and government officials regarding spectator policies. Each team will develop its own plan for spectators based on local and state guidelines.” . . . I don’t know about you, but rather than watch last night’s debate, I spent the evening with Statler and Waldorf.


Keys

OHL teams look to bring U.S. teams north . . . B.C.’s top doc says “many more months of this to come” . . . NAHL team out for season


If you are a junior hockey fan living in Western Canada or the Pacific Northwest, there hasn’t been much to cheer about the past few days. The COVID-19 numbers haven’t been good. And with summer’s last long weekend around the corner and schools soon to open in Canada, I really wonder what is in our immediate future. . . . On Monday, in releasing the latest statistics for B.C., Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s top medical official, offered this ominous note: “There are many more months of this to come.” . . . She also said: “What we need to do is figure out how to do all that we want to do in our society safely for the next year, maybe longer.” . . . The maximum number of people allowed at indoor gatherings in B.C. these days is 50 and, Dr. Henry said, there is “no opportunity” to change that in the near future.



Adam Wodon, the managing editor at collegehockeynews.com, addressed a few things in a piece he posted on Tuesday. This column really resonated because it deals with those folks who get upset when people like him report things that point out it is going to be difficult to get hockey in at some levels in 2020. . . . “I pointed out the delusion of thinking the sports-minded ‘go get ‘em’ mentality was going to get us through this,” he writes. “These remarks have been interpreted wrong in a variety of ways, which is frustrating, to say the least. I’ve heard three main negative critiques, all of which are preposterous, frankly.” . . . He addresses those right here as he hammers the nail on the head.



Interestingly, The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at the U of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has decided that it no longer will use the term “student athlete,” opting instead for “college athlete,” “athlete” or “student.” . . . The newspaper’s reasoning is in an editorial that is right here. . . . Gotta wonder if major junior hockey pooh-bahs might ever consider doing the same. Nah, never mind.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The Corpus Christi IceRays announced Monday that they are suspending operations for the 2020-21 NAHL season. . . . From a team-issued statement: “After much consideration surrounding the developments of COVID-19, and for the health and safety of our organizational family, which includes our players, our coaches, our operating and arena staff, our billet families, and the fans that make up the Greater Corpus Christi and Coastal Bend communities, we have made the difficult decision to suspend operations for the upcoming 2020-21 season and return or the 2021-22 season.” . . .

Retired track star Usain Bolt has tested positive and is in self-isolation, albeit asymptomatic, in his Jamaican home. Bolt, 34, may have contracted the virus at his recent 34th birthday party. . . . The Jamaican government has limited gatherings to 20 people, and Andrew Holness,the country’s prime minister, has said Bolt won’t be given any special treatment, so there could be discipline of some sort involved once an investigation is completed. . . . Two international soccer players — Raheem Sterling of Manchester City and Leon Bailey of Bayer Leverkusen — also were in attendance at the birthday party. . . .

The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to open the regular season on Sept. 13 and they will do it in front of empty seats at Levi’s Stadium. Chances are good that fans won’t be allowed at any of their next three home games, either — Oct. 4, Oct. 11 and Oct. 18. At the moment, the Santa Clara County public health department is limiting outdoor gatherings to 60 people. . . . Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Raiders have said they won’t have fans at home games all season, and the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams, both of whom play at SoFi Stadium, said they won’t have spectators “until further notice.” . . . The Buffalo Bills say they won’t have fans in attendance at their first two home games, on Sept. 13 and Sept. 27. . . . When the Bills open on the road against Miami on Sept. 20, the Dolphins say they will allow in 13,000 fans, all of whom must wear masks while in the stadium. . . .

The Rural Manitoba Football League suspended its 2020 season on Tuesday “with an eye toward playing our competitive season in the spring of 2021,” it said in a news release. . . .

The U of Alabama has reported 531 positives on its Tuscaloosa campus, along with another 35 on campuses in Birmingham and Huntsville. Those come after six days of classes. . . . There are countless reports of American universities suspending students for reckless behaviour at off-campus parties and a lack of social distancing, including 23 by Syracuse U, 36 by Purdue U, more than 200 at Ohio State, 11 at Montclair State and on it goes.


Congress


——

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.


Sask


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from Dwight Eisenhower, a former U.S. president: “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from a corn field.”


The 52-team Provincial Junior Hockey League, a junior C circuit in Ontario, hopes to begin a regular-season schedule on Dec. 1 that will have teams playing at least 24 games. Of course, that is contingent on approval from all of the appropriate health and hockey officials.



Jamie Russell, a native of Kamloops, is the new director of hockey operations and head coach of the 18U team at South Kent School, a private all-boys boarding school in South Kent, Conn. . . . Russell has extensive NCAA coaching experience with stops at Ferris State, Cornell, Michigan Tech and Providence College. He also was the director of hockey operations and head coach with the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals. . . . He spent three seasons (2016-19) as the general manager and head coach of the ECHL’s Worcester Railers. . . . There is a news release right here.


Dense