B.C.’s top doc points to adult rec team; more restrictions come down . . . Marek: Winterhawks in process of changing hands

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, singled out an unidentified adult hockey team from the province’s Interior at her Wednesday briefing.

“We know that there are sports teams in BC that have travelled to other provinces despite the restrictions that we’ve put in place,” she said. “There’s a hockey team in the Interior that travelled to Alberta and has come back and now there are dozens of people who are infected, and it has spread in the community.”

According to Dr. Henry that after the team returned the virus spread to family members, work places, long-term care and the broader community.

“We need to stop right now to protect our communities and our families, and our healthcare workers. This is avoidable and these are the measures that we need to take.”

This team apparently chose to travel to Alberta despite a provincial health order in place banning “travel for teams outside their community.” It is that order that shut down hockey games in B.C., and put a junior A league and at least three junior B leagues on pause.

Later Wednesday, more restrictions were placed on sports in B.C. For example, all adult team sports, indoors or outdoors, now are banned. That includes curling, adult hockey (whether you call it beer league, adult, rec league or anything else), basketball, soccer, combat sports, cheerleading and anything else. Period.

As well, minor sports have had to move back to Phase 2 — they had been in Phase 3 — meaning physical distancing, small groups, no spectators and no travel. Minor hockey teams will be able to practice but there will be restrictions in place.



The NBA has plans to resume play with exhibition games next week, something that would lead to the opening of its regular season on Dec. 22. However, it is trying to do this without bubbling up. . . . Will it work? . . . In advance of opening training camps, the NBA began testing again last week. The league announced Wednesday that 546 players were tested and 48 came up positive between Nov. 24-30. . . . Some teams hope to start 5-on-5 workouts on Friday. . . . Doc Rivers, the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, offered: “I’m very concerned if we can pull this off.”



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

CBC News: Manitoba has 14 more COVID-19 deaths and 277 new cases. That’s 2 straight days below 300, the 1st time that’s happened in almost a month. The province says there are 351 people in hospital with the virus, a new record. Of those, 51 are in intensive care.

Marc Smith, CTV Regina: Another day of new record highs for active cases (3,970), hospitalizations (132) and ICU patients (26) in Saskatchewan. . . . Two more deaths also makes 20 deaths in the past two weeks from COVID-19. . . . The 238 new cases came on 2,473 tests, which works out to a 9.62 test positivity rate. The province’s seven-day test positivity is 8.16.

CBC News: Alberta reports 1,685 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 more deaths. More than 61,000 Albertans have now contracted the disease.

CBC News: B.C. reports 834 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths. The province reports new community outbreaks in homeless shelter in Surrey and greenhouse in Delta.

CBC News: In Ontario, 656 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 183 are in ICU and 106 on a ventilator. Labs processed 44,200 more tests in the province.

CBC News: 1,514 new COVID-19 cases in Quebec, the province’s biggest single-day tally since the pandemic began. Health authorities also report 43 additional deaths due to the virus. 740 people are in hospital, with 99 in intensive care. . . . Clarification: 2,209 COVID-19 were reported in Quebec on May 3, but of those, 1,317 cases were older cases that had not been reported. Today’s number of 1,514 is the province’s largest single-day tally for new cases.

CBC News: 17 new COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia, up from the province’s previous 7-day average of 12. The province currently has 127 active cases; none are in hospital.

The New York Times: At least 2,760 people were reported dead from Covid-19 in the U.S. on Wednesday, more than on any other day since the pandemic began.

The New York Times: Winter will be “the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation” unless more people follow precautions, the CDC director said.

——

The Michigan Wolverines won’t be playing football against the visiting Maryland Terrapins on Saturday. The Wolverines are having COVID-19 problems and won’t be back on the practice field until Monday at the earliest. This was to have been Michigan’s last home game of the shortened season. The Wolverines are 0-3 at home so this will be first season in program history in which they didn’t win a home game. . . .

Also gone from the weekend schedule is Friday’s game that was to have UNLV play host to Boise State, which lost its game last weekend when San Jose State had COVID-19 issues. . . . A statement from the Mountain West Conference said that “both medical teams have been in communication in order to understand the full picture of COVID issues in our region.” . . .

Houston and SMU were to have played a football game on Nov. 21. However, it was moved to Dec. 5 when Houston was hit with the virus. Now the game has been postponed again, this time because of issues with SMU, which is believed to have more than 20 players out. . . . This is the third straight Houston game to be postponed. . . .

The virus is into Liberty’s football team so its game at Coastal Carolina on Saturday may not be played. Liberty (9-1) expects to be able to make a decision sometime today. If Liberty can’t play, BYU (9-0) may fill in against Coastal Carolina (9-0) in Conway, S.C. . . . If Liberty does play, it will be without QB Malik Willis. According to ESPN, he has tested positive three times since Sunday. . . .

Scratch the Las Vegas Bowl from your list of college bowl games to be played this year. It was to feature a Pac-12 team against one from the SEC and would have been the first bowl game played at Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. . . . From ESPN: “The Las Vegas Bowl is the 10th bowl game canceled because of the pandemic — the Bahamas, Celebration, Fenway, Hawaii, Holiday, Motor City, Pinstripe, Redbox and Sun bowls are the others.”

The NFL finally was able to have the Baltimore Ravens play the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Wednesday afternoon, a game that had been scheduled for last Thursday. The Ravens ran into COVID-19 issues — the Steelers had a few, too — and the game was moved to Sunday, then to Tuesday and, finally, to Wednesday. It couldn’t be played Wednesday night because NBC-TV had the annual Christmas tree lighting from Rockefeller Center scheduled for prime time. . . . Of course, Wednesday’s game didn’t come off without another positive test as the Steelers placed C Maurkice Pouncey on the reserve/COVID-19 list before the game. . . . But not to worry because Roger Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, told reporters on a Wednesday conference call: “We feel strongly our protocols are working.” . . . Oh, the Steelers won Wednesday’s game, 19-14, but it didn’t come anywhere close to living up to the hype. Gee, I wonder why? . . . 

The Tennis Channel has reported that the Australian Open, normally held in the last two weeks of January, won’t start until Feb. 8.


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 pauses season until January . . . NFL makes more schedule changes . . . Mount Royal hockey team has outbreak

The QMJHL has been trying to play regular-season games since Oct. 2. It had its Maritime Division teams playing each other until the virus got in the way there. And after some virus-related issues with its Quebec-based teams, it bundled up seven of them and headed to Quebec City for some bubble play. . . . On Monday, however, the QMJHL announced that it is shutting down until at least Jan. 3. . . . Here is Gilles Courteau, the QMJHL commissioner, from a news release: “The current situation with the pandemic in the regions in which we operate makes it extremely difficult to play games. With the holidays just around the corner, the provinces in the Maritimes have restricted access and travel, while red zone restrictions in Quebec do not permit us to play.” . . . Courteau is scheduled to hold a news conference today. . . . The other two major junior leagues — the OHL and WHL — haven’t attempted starts. The WHL has said it will open its regular season on Jan. 8, with the OHL aiming for Feb. 4.


How are things in the NFL?

Well, remember that game that was to have been played last Thursday night with the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers? Yeah, the one that got moved to Sunday and then to Tuesday. Well, now it has been rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon. . . . An NFL game on a weekday afternoon? Well, NBC-TV has the rights to the game but the NFL chose not to press the network to move its prime-time showing of the annual Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center for a football game. . . .

The NFL also has moved Pittsburgh’s game at Washington from Sunday to Monday night, and Baltimore’s game at Dallas, that was to have been played on Thursday, to Dec. 8 (Tuesday). . . . The Buffalo-San Francisco game from Glendale, Ariz., will follow Pittsburgh-Washington on Monday. . . . The NFL has had more than 100 players and 175 other staff test positive. But, hey, it hasn’t had to cancel a game. Yet. . . .

The San Francisco 49ers, who really don’t play in San Francisco, are going to finish their home season in Arizona. Yes, the 49ers play their home games in Santa Clara, but the county has banned contact sports for the next while. So the 49ers are moving their home games to State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., the home of the Cardinals. . . . I don’t know what it means but the virus numbers are much worse in the Glendale area than in Santa Clara County. . . . The 49ers will play two home games in Glendale — Dec. 7 against the Buffalo Bills and Dec. 13 against Washington. They also have a home game, against the Seattle Seahawks, scheduled for Jan. 3; it remains to be seen where it will be played. . . .

Here’s Ann Killion, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

”Santa Clara County should get praise for treating its resident NFL team the same way it treats everyone else. The coronavirus doesn’t play favorites, but society does. The testing and supplies, manpower and dollars being devoted to playing sports in a surging pandemic continues to underscore how out of whack our priorities are.

“The NFL has not been operating in a bubble in terms of the coronavirus. But it always operates in a bubble of privilege and self-importance, so it’s a bit jolting when a team gets treated like a normal business.”

Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette:

“The only way the NFL could have made a bigger mess of this season is if the league was taking advice on how to handle the coronavirus directly from the Trump administration. . . .

“The NFL mess is on commissioner Roger Goodell, whose half-hearted approach pretty much guaranteed that the virus would be an issue every week. If you’re going to let Baltimore slide without forcing the Ravens to forfeit, then more teams are going to go the same route.

“And don’t even get me started on the NCAA.”


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

There aren’t any numbers today. They are available if you want to go looking for them. But trust me on this. . . . They are bad. Let’s just leave it at that for tonight.

——

The Mount Royal Cougars men’s hockey team, which is based in Calgary, has shut things down after 18 positive tests among players and staff. The Cougars play in Canada West, which won’t have a 2020-21 season, and players have been skating together. They might get back on the ice early in the new year. . . . The Cougars were to have played exhibition games against Canada’s national junior team on Dec. 5 and 6. Those games were cancelled after two Team Canada players tested positive in Red Deer and everyone was self-isolated. . . .

Hockey Manitoba announced Monday that it has cancelled all of its 2021 provincial championships that annually involve about 250 teams and 4,000 players. . . . From a news release: “The decision to cancel the minor hockey championships has been made with the safety of all members and the community in mind.  These tournaments will not be rescheduled for the 2021 season. The cancellation will provide leagues with more time to plan the current season and the ability to extend the season past February as we return to play.” . . .

Brady Laing of CKOM Saskatoon reported Monday that the city has removed the nets from all of its 52 indoor and outdoor rinks. “Since the current provincial public health order clearly states that hockey is not permitted, the recommendation from City of Saskatoon Community Development has been that nets be put away on the rinks for the next three weeks to discourage hockey being played,” city spokesperson Allison Collins told Laing. . . .

The Penticton, B.C., Curling Club has shut its doors after four members tested positive. It will remain closed until at least Dec. 7 as it awaits the outcome of contact tracing. . . .

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has issued a warning about a “large number” of COVID-19 cases linked to curling clubs in Regina. The SHA has issued a news release referring to issues at the Highland and Caledonian clubs. . . .

The U of Vermont men’s hockey team has paused all team activities after four positive tests. According to the school, the positives were among “the program’s Tier 1 personnel,” which is defined as student-athletes, coaches, managers and support staff. . . .

The Minnesota Golden Gophers have cancelled their game against visiting No. 16 Northwestern on Saturday. Minnesota, which also cancelled a game last Saturday at Wisconsin, has paused football activities because of positive tests and contact tracing. . . . Minnesota has had 47 positives since Nov. 19, including 21 players. . . .

The Stanford Cardinal football team plays in Santa Clara County, where contact sports have been prohibited. So the Cardinal will travel to Seattle today (Tuesday) to practise for Saturday’s game against the Washington Huskies. . . .

I’m not even going to attempt to try to get into what all is happening with NCAA men’s and women’s basketball teams and their schedules. Suffice to say that the virus appears to be winning there, too. . . . And it has to be licking lips with NBA teams about to open training camps without bubbling up.


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.

Two coaches in isolation after COVID-19 finds Team Canada . . . QMJHL’s Mooseheads hit pause button . . . Hockey Alberta honours Bartlett

Michael Dyck and Jason Labarbera, two of Team Canada’s assistant coaches, Canadahave been put into isolation for 14 days at the national junior team’s selection camp in Red Deer after being in close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19. . . . Dyck is the head coach of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, while Labarbera is the goaltending coach for the Calgary Hitmen. . . . According to a statement from Hockey Canada, a “non-core member” of the team’s staff tested positive on Saturday morning. “The staff member who tested positive, as well as a number of colleagues who have been in close contact with that person, were placed in quarantine at the team hotel in Red Deer,” the statement read. . . . The scheduled Red vs. White game went ahead as scheduled, with Team White putting up a 4-2 victory. . . . The camp opened in Red Deer on Monday and will run through Dec. 13 when the team will move into a bubble in Edmonton.


The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads revealed Saturday that they had “recorded a qmjhlnewpositive COVID-19 test among the staff and are suspending in-person activities.” . . . According to the team, “the infected person didn’t have any contact with players or hockey staff.” However, players and staff have been “preventively isolated” and anyone in the organization who may have had contact with the infected person will be tested. . . . The Mooseheads were to have played host to the Charlottetown Islanders on Saturday night, but the game was postponed. . . . The Mooseheads’ Wednesday game against the visiting Cape Breton Eagles also has been postponed.


The SJHL posted a one-sentence news release on its website Saturday morning. This is it: “The La Ronge Ice Wolves at Melfort Mustangs game scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21 has been postponed.” . . . The teams played Friday night in La Ronge with the Ice Wolves winning, 3-1. . . . If the Mustangs have been hit with a positive test, or tests, it will mark the second time in two months. They had a player test positive late in September.


Coffee


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Ken Squier, 85, is best known for his work as an announcer on NASCAR coverage with CBS (1979-97) and TBS (1983-99). If you watched NASCAR in those days, you appreciated Squier.

——

CBC News: 387 new COVID-19 cases, 10 more deaths announced in Manitoba Saturday.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 439 new cases of COVID-19 for a new daily case record. The province says today’s numbers reflect the single-day high of 4,580 tests that were processed Friday. The province has 2,537 active cases, including 93 people in hospital.

CBC News: (Saturday) marks the 4th time Alberta has reported more than 1,000 cases in a single day. 320 people are currently in hospital and 56 are in intensive care. A woman in her 20s was among the 9 deaths reported today. . . . Alberta is reporting a record 1,336 new cases of COVID-19, as well as 9 new deaths related to the virus. This is the 3rd day in a row that the province has seen a record number of new cases.

CTV News Edmonton: Arrest at Edmonton Costco after man refuses to wear mask.

In B.C., government and health officials, unlike in other jurisdictions in Canada, don’t supply updates on Saturdays or Sunday. Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t take the weekend off, so we’ll get some huge and ugly numbers on Monday afternoon.

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,588 COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths, breaking previous record for daily case count. . . . Ontario’s daily case counts on Saturday are the highest seen in the pandemic so far.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 1,189 new cases of COVID-19. The province has added 32 deaths to its total, 5 of which occurred in the past 24 hours. . . . 646 people are in hospital, including 99 in intensive care. The latest major outbreak in the province is at a Quebec City convent, where 39 nuns and 43 workers have tested positive.

CBC News: 23 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in New Brunswick. It’s the province’s largest single-day case count since the start of the pandemic. 16 of the new cases are in the Saint John region. There are now 71 active cases in the province, including 1 person in hospital.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 8 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 33 known active cases. All 8 new cases are in the Central Zone. 2 are linked to previously reported cases; the other 6 cases are being investigated. No one is currently in hospital.

CBC News: 5 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Newfoundland and Labrador. All 5 are linked to previously reported cases. There are now 18 known active cases in the province, including 1 person in hospital. 58,601 people have been tested in N.L. to date.

CBC News: 25 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nunavut. 22 of the cases are in Arviat and 3 are in Whale Cove. There are now 107 known active cases in the territory.

——

So in this year of pandemic, it has come to this. . . . Florida State and visiting Clemson were to have played a football game on Saturday but, according to the ACC, it was postponed because the teams’ medical personnel couldn’t mutually agree on moving forward. . . . Andrea Adelson of ESPN reported: “Multiple sources told ESPN that a Clemson player tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday after practising with the Tigers during the week. That player was symptomatic but had tested negative twice during the week, according to sources. That led Florida State to say it was not comfortable playing Saturday’s game, the source said.” . . . The postponement came after the Tigers had flown into Tallahassee on Friday.

The season-opening series between the men’s hockey teams from Boston College and New Hampshire was postponed. The teams were to have played Friday and Saturday at BC. The decision was reached after a UNH player tested positive. . . . 

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that “more than 200 people” who live or work at Golden Gate Fields, a horse racing facility in the Bay Area, have become infected with COVID-19. The track was closed on Nov. 13 after 24 positive tests on track workers.


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 junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League is on hold until further notice. The nine-team league had shut down its North Division on Nov. 10 after a positive test at Dover Bay Secondary School in Nanaimo, which is attended by some players. Then B.C. health officials implemented further restrictions on Nov. 19 that are to last until at least Dec. 7. . . . Bob Bartlett, a former WHL executive, has been honoured with a life membership from Hockey Alberta. Bartlett, now 79, was the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ general manager for five seasons (1990-95). He later spent five seasons working with the Moose Jaw Warriors before returning to the Hurricanes with whom he now is senior scout.


Redbull

Armada back in action in QMJHL bubble . . . McArthur, former WHLer, dies at 57 . . . Virus impacting NCAA hockey

The QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada is in Quebec City as one of the seven teams who are in a bubble for the next few days. Prior to Tuesday night, qmjhlnewthe Armada hadn’t played in more than a month after having had 18 people in the organization test positive following two games against the Sherbrooke Phoenix. . . . The Phoenix had eight players test positive after those games, as did two on-ice officials. . . . The Armada returned to the ice last night with a 5-1 victory over the Victoriaville Tigres in the Quebec City bubble. . . . Douglas Gelevan of CBC News has more on the Armada and how it dealt with COVID-19 in a piece that is right here. . . .

Meanwhile, the Drummondville Voltigeurs received the all-clear on Tuesday so headed to Quebec City to take part in the games there. One of their players had received an inconclusive test result on Monday. The Voltigeurs are scheduled to meet the Gatineau Olympiques on Wednesday afternoon. . . . In Tuesday’s other game, the Quebec Remparts beat the Shawinigan Cataractes, 4-2.


Former WHLer Dean McArthur died on Thursday. McArthur was 57 when he died at White Bear First Nation Sask. McArthur played parts of three seasons (1981-84) with the Medicine Hat Tigers. A native of Taber, Alta., he played one game with the Lethbridge Broncos in each of the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons, before going on to play 136 games with the Tigers. A right winger, he totalled 31 goals, 34 assists and 195 penalty minutes. . . . A funeral service is scheduled for Thursday, 10 a.m., at the White Bear Community Hall. COVID-19 restrictions will apply and masks are mandatory.


After being away since early April, columnist Jack Todd is back in Monday pages of the Montreal Gazette. Here’s a taste from this week’s column, part of which dealt with Jack Nicklaus, Brett Favre and a retired hockey player who went public with their support for someone in the U.S. election:

“The one that stung Canadians was a slapshot to the head from Bobby Orr. After Orr placed an ad in the New Hampshire Union-Leader in support of Donald Trump, Canadians were furious.

“Somewhere deep inside, we don’t simply admire Bobby Orr — we are Bobby, even those who have never watched a hockey game. He is part of our national myth — the humble boy next door, hockey on a frozen pond, our national game played at an almost unimaginable level of excellence.

“I suspect that by now, Orr realizes he made a terrible mistake. Canadians will forgive him, because that’s what we do — but the relationship might never be quite the same. It has been that kind of year.

Todd’s complete column is right here.


Gym


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Manitoba announces 7 more COVID-19 deaths and 270 new cases. The number is the 2nd-lowest in more than a week, and is well below the average of the previous 7-days, which is 403.  However, Manitoba’s test positivity rate has risen to a new high of 13.6%.

680 CJOB Winnipeg: Manitoba has hired a private security company to help enforce restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 240 new COVID-19 cases, the province’s 2nd-highest daily total since the pandemic began. The record (307 cases) was set 3 days ago. With today’s figure, Saskatchewan’s 7-day average rises to 173 from 155.

CTV Regina: Masks mandatory across province, indoor gatherings reduced to 5.

Adam Hunter, CBC: 240 new cases in Sask. . . . Four more health care workers have tested positive since yesterday. . . . 58 new cases in the 0-19 age group. . . . All 13 regions have at least 25 active cases. . . . 97 new cases in Saskatoon. . . . Far North West 109 active cases and Far North East 80.

Calgary Sun: Alberta logs 773 new COVID-19 cases as cops called on for enforcement.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat is now at 51 active cases of COVID-19. That is an increase of two cases and one new recovery. . . . There are 40 active cases in Cypress County and 30 active in Forty Mile. . . . Lethbridge has 174 active cases. There are 32 active cases in Brooks.

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: Another bad day in BC for covid numbers:  717 new cases, 11 deaths (310), 198 hospital (+17), 63 ICU (+6), 6589 active cases, 10960 self isolation.

CBC News: Cases in Nunavut more than double as 34 additional people test positive. That brings the territory’s total to 60, all in the last 12 days. Of the new cases, 26 are in Arviat, a community of about 2,400 on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay and 8 others are 150 km north in Whale Cove.

CBC News: Quebec is attributing 24 more deaths to the coronavirus. The province is also reporting 982 new cases. That’s the 1st time the number has been below 1,000 since November 3, and is far below the average of the previous 7 days, which is 1,298.

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,249 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths.

CBC News: As of midnight on Thursday and continuing until Feb. 15, 2021, non-medical masks will be required in all indoor public places on P.E.I.

Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington state: We set another record for new COVID cases in a single day today – over 2600. We need everyone doing their part to stop this virus.

——

Simon Fraser University, which is based in Burnaby, B.C., has opted out of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s winter season. Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that the decision impacts the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as indoor track and field, swimming and diving, and wrestling teams. According to Ewen, “SFU is among six schools in the conference that have decided against” playing basketball this season. . . . Ewen’s story is right here.

——

It is safe to say that things are getting messy in NCAA hockey circles. . . .

Colorado College has shut down hockey-related activities for 14 days after a player tested positive. The Tigers play in the NCHC, which is open its season with a bubble setup in Omaha. Colorado College is scheduled to open against Omaha on Dec. 1, but you have to think there now will be changes to the schedule. . . .

Sacred Heart, with some positives tests, has postponed its opening weekend games. It was to have played at American International on Nov. 21 and at Quinnipiac on Nov. 24. Sacred Heart also has postponed two games against Army on Nov. 27 and 28. . . .

Union College has cancelled its men’s and women’s hockey seasons. . . . That means eight of the ECAC’s 12 men’s teams have opted out of the 2020-21 season. Chris Dilks at sbncollegehockey.com points out that “the ECAC is down to just four active teams at both the men’s and women’s level: Clarkson, Colgate, Quinnipiac and St. Lawrence.” . . .

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) cancelled the 2020-21 season for its men’s and women’s hockey seasons last week. On Tuesday, it announced that it has reconsidered those decisions. The men play in the Atlantic Hockey Association; the women are in College Hockey America. Both conferences have submitted return-to-play protocols to New York state for approval. If that approval comes, RIT’s hockey teams will play. . . . All team personnel will be tested three times per week, which is called for by the NCAA. . . .

——

Kermit Davis, the men’s basketball coach at Ole Miss, has tested positive and is likely to miss the season’s first two games. . . .

The UMass men’s basketball team has paused team activities after someone within the program tested positive. . . .

The ACC has moved three football games involving the Miami Hurricanes because of positive tests within the program and three others that were impacted by the Miami changes. . . . As Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports wrote: “With little indication that college football decision-makers will push the 2020 season back any further, the sport is clearly limping towards the finish line as every program tries to squeeze in as many games as possible.” . . . There’s more on that right here.


Knee


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 Torrin White has joined the South Alberta Hockey Academy as a member of the U18 prep team’s coaching staff. White, 25, played four seasons (2011-15) with the Moose Jaw Warriors, then spent the past four seasons with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . . ICYMI, the WHL and its teams have launched T’s for Toys, which is aimed at making sure “as many children as possible receive toys during the Christmas season.” Details are right here. . . . McGill University of Montreal announced Tuesday that its men’s varsity teams now will be known as Redbirds. The school had announced in April 2019 that it was doing away with Redmen. The women’s teams are nicknamed the Martlets.


Buns

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering what to do with the day’s extra hour . . .

Scattershooting

JulieHotel
Julie Dodds soaks up some fresh air and sunshine after being discharged from hospital on Sunday afternoon. (Photo: Allan Dodds)

Julie Dodds of Kamloops, who underwent a kidney transplant on Wednesday, was discharged from St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sunday. . . . She will spend the next few weeks in Vancouver — for now, she’s staying in a hotel close to St. Paul’s — while her medical team monitors her levels through regular bloodwork. . . . Julie, who has a genetic kidney disease, is from Kamloops. The married mother of three young boys received a kidney from a living donor — her younger brother, Jason Brauer of Port McNeill, B.C. . . . After giving up a kidney on Wednesday, Jason was discharged from hospital on Thursday.


If you haven’t listened to this blurb with baseball fan Bob Costas talking about Game 6 of the World Series and MLB’s pace-of-play issue, this is well worth your time.


The book, from Penguin Random House, is to be published on April 6. The title is Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s First Treaty Indigenous Player. . . . The author is Fred Sasakamoose, and if you don’t know who he is, well, Google is your friend. . . . Yes, I eagerly await the arrival of this one.



If you were to take one bite of a hot dog every time you saw a football coach — NCAA or NFL — improperly wearing a facemask you would be as big as the Goodyear Blimp after just one weekend’s viewing.


Here are a couple of hockey chirps left over from the other day when I lifted a few from a Twitter thread started by Jason Gregor of TSN1260 in Edmonton . . .

“Playing junior in PEI and one of the teams had recruited a Newfoundlander who played defence. He got beat 1-on-1 and scored against and while skating past our bench to go off the ice someone said ‘Come by plane, go home by boat.’ ”

“Pushing during faceoff, other guy says, ‘Easy there cheese burger.’ Buddy on my own team was in tears. I was a little portly. Nickname has stuck with me ever since.”


Mess



“At the end of the first half, an all-out physical brawl erupted at midfield between Florida and Missouri football players,” notes Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe. “But, sure, these young men are mature and disciplined enough to play football during a pandemic.”


Disaster


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

MLS postponed one game and cancelled another after more positive tests. . . . Los Angeles FC had three positives so its Sunday night game at San Jose against the Earthquakes was postponed. The league is working to see if it can be rescheduled. . . . Minnesota United had a positive test come up on Wednesday and another one on Saturday. Its game at Sporting Kansas City was cancelled because it wouldn’t have any impact on the playoff picture. . . .

The United Soccer League cancelled its Sunday championship final after what it said were “multiple” positives on the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who were to have played the Phoenix Rising in St. Petersburg, Fla. Head coach Neill Collins was among those who tested positive. . . . The league said it was cancelling the final “for the health and safety of everyone involved.”


“One of the shortest marriages in NFL history was Evelyn Lozada filing for divorce from wideout Chad Johnson after 41 days,” reports RJ Currie over at sportsdeke.com. “Or as football receivers call it — a quick out.”


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

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


If the West Van Hockey Academy, which had been the home of the Warriors, is to operate again it seems it won’t be until at least 2022-23. The academy had been running its academics out of Sentinel Secondary in West Vancouver, but the school district didn’t renew its contract after last season. The pandemic then got in the way of a possible relocation to Seycove Secondary in North Vancouver. . . . Jane Seyd of the North Shore News has that story right here.



JUST NOTES: Are you ready for Tuesday night and whatever circus that arrives with it? . . . When a team is really poor, like the Dallas Cowboys, there should be a way for the NFL to keep it off TV. . . . The Cowboys didn’t score even one offensive TD in either of their past two games. They are scheduled to play the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. The Steelers are 6-0. The Steelers have the NFL’s best defence. . . . The best nickname in sports today belongs to Damon Harrison, aka Snacks, a veteran nose tackle who is on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice roster. How large is Snacks? About 6-foot-3 and 350 lb. . . . The SJHL concluded its exhibition season Sunday and now will open regular-season play on Friday. All games will be played before a maximum of 150 fans.


Puzzle

NHL one step closer to return . . . Canada out of junior Summer Showcase . . . Fragle hoping to rock in Trail

There still are a number of hurdles to get over but the NHLPA has given the OK for its executive to keep on talking to the NHL about a return to play. So if things continue to progress, hockey fans may yet get to watch 24 teams take part in some kind of a Stanley Cup tournament with games played in a number of hub cities. . . . Keeping in mind that there still negotiations to be held, Carol Schram, a senior contributor for Forbes, has more right here.

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Here’s one more thing for NHL players to think about as they prepare for a potential return to the ice. . . . Dr. Andrew Morris, who specializes in infectious diseases at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, has told TSN’s Rick Westhead that players need to make sure their long-term health is looked after should they happen to end up becoming infected with the novel coronavirus during a return to play. . . . Dr. Morris said: “Young athletes do not think about this stuff because they think they are invincible, but every so often we see young, healthy people get very bad diseases, and this is no different. It would be unusual for a healthy young athlete to get really sick with COVID and wind up in the ICU, but, hey, somebody wins the lottery, right? . . . They should want their health care and income insured, seeing that they are taking an additional risk, especially if residing in the U.S.” . . . As the medical community learns more and more about the impact of this virus, it is finding survivors who have been left with heart, kidney, liver and lung damage. . . . Westhead’s story is right here.



And what of the NBA and its efforts to get its season back on track? It is look as though it will re-open with all of its teams playing out of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., without fans in attendance. . . . As Rohan Nadkarni of si.com points out in this piece right here, it really is all about the Benjamins.


Here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle on the NBA and a return to play:

“In the wonderful world of asterisks, we’re already talking Extra Large for whichever team wins the title. If you’re trying to play through a pandemic in neutral settings with nobody in the stands, you connect with nothing in Finals history. Don’t ruin this risky venture by welcoming the absurd.

“Those 16 teams worked hard to establish playoff position. Nobody else has the right to qualify after such a maddening layoff. The Warriors have long disappeared from view, but the same goes for Portland, New Orleans or any other team trying to sneak into this science-fiction film. They all had their chance.

“And for heaven’s sake, forget the idea (actually discussed) of a ‘play-in tournament’ to determine the final playoff slots in each conference. Could it be more boring, especially during times of urgency? ‘Hey, come see the teams that don’t deserve this.’ ”



With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team and put a smile on her face by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


BillPosters


USA Hockey is planning to play host to the World Junior Summer Showcase later this USAhockeysummer but Canada won’t be taking part. Teams from the U.S., Finland and Sweden will participate in the event that is to run from July 24 through Aug. 1 at Plymouth, Mich. . . . “We’ve heard from Canada and they will not be able to come, but we’re checking in every two weeks with Sweden and Finland,” said John Vanbiesbrouck, USA Hockey’s assistant executive director of hockey operations who also is the GM of the U.S. national junior team. “Obviously things are different in Sweden than they are in Finland. There’s also the whole restriction part on international travel which looks like it’s going to be lifted sometime in June, so we’re just staying on top of everything from what’s going on newsworthy to bringing it back internally. That’s how we’re going to go. We’re not going to change anything.”



Hockey Canada announced on March 13 that it had cancelled all sanctioned events until further notice. . . . Earlier this week, Hockey Canada issued “An Open Letter to Canadians” that was signed by Michael Brind’Amour, the chairman of the board of directors, CEO Tom Renney and Scott Smith, the president and COO. . . . Included in that letter was this paragraph:

“The health and safety of everyone involved in the game will determine when we return, not our desire to get back on the ice. When our country is ready, Hockey Canada will be ready. Until then, continue to follow the guidelines set by your provincial and territorial government to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Only by working together will we be able to make a difference and safely return.”

That letter is right here.



Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken, who died in 1956 put perhaps foresaw the future rather clearly: “When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost. . . . All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre.”


Granted, it’s not going to happen until 2021, but a new hockey league — 3ICE — is on the way. Headed up by CEO E.J. Johnston and Commissioner Craig Patrick, 3ICE will feature eight teams playing 3-on-3 hockey over nine weekends, each one in a different city, during the summer of 2021. . . . Each team’s roster will comprise six skaters and one goalie. . . . The team’s head coaches are Guy Carbonneau, Grant Fuhr, Ed Johnston, John LeClair, Joe Mullen, Larry Murphy, Angela Ruggiero and Bryan Trottier. . . . E.J. Johnston is the son of Ed Johnston, one of the head coaches who is a former NHL goaltender, head coach and GM. . . . There’s more right here.


After watching all 10 episodes of The Last Dance, Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “These questions will never be answered, but here goes: For Jordan, was there really a higher level of emotional fire that could be reached only by disrespect? Did that disrespect supercharge his physical skills, or was that higher level of fire a self-created myth to enhance his greatness?”


Tinfoil


Brian Wiebe, a veteran observer of the BCHL, has a solid piece right here on that league and how it and its teams are coping with the pandemic and all that has come with it.

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Tim Fragle is the new general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. TrailFrom Edmonton, Fragle has spent the past four seasons as the head coach of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Ooks of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. . . . While at NAIT, Fragle won three coach-of-the-year awards. . . . Fragile was the GM/head coach of the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders for seven seasons (2009-16). . . . He played three seasons (1997-2000) with the Smoke Eaters, finish the last of those seasons with the Merritt Centennials. . . . While playing in Trail, he was teammates with Craig Clare, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta., and is the Smokies’ director of hockey and business operations. . . . In Trail, Fragle takes over from Jeff Tambellini, who left in April to join the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning as a pro scout and NCAA free-agent recruiter.


David Legwand, a co-owner of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, is moving from associate coach to be the team’s president of hockey operations. Legwand and Derian Hatcher, another former NHL player, purchased the Sting in 2015. . . . Legwand has been the associate coach for three seasons, with Hatcher as the head coach. Hatcher remains in the role, with Dylan Seca the general manager.


Darren Rovell of actionnetwork.com reports that a Mike Trout signed rookie card has sold at auction for US$900,000. It was from the Bowman Draft Chrome Prospect set. . . . That “obliterated the record for the highest-priced modern-day baseball card and tied the record for the most expensive modern-day card ever — the LeBron James/Michael Jordan logoman card, sold in February 2020,” Rovell wrote. . . . Perhaps the most interesting part of Rovell’s story involved seven unopened boxes of 1986-87 Fleer NBA cards. These boxes weren’t at all popular when they debuted; in fact, boxes were returned by hobby stores for $6 refunds. At auction, Rovell wrote, they sold for “as much as $109,200 each.” . . . Rovell’s story is right here.


Border

Scattershooting on a Monday night while waiting for pitchers and catchers to report . . .

Scattershooting

Here’s Pete Blackburn of CBS Sports, following news that New York Giants QB Eli Manning was about to announce his retirement: “So, I’ll ask you . . do you think he’s a Hall of Famer? You can let me know by tweeting me your thoughts, but just know that I don’t care what you think because I’m a Patriots fan and Eli Manning has been dead to me for years.”


Larry Walker, the pride of Maple Ridge, B.C., is going into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., later this year. But how close was he to becoming a goaltender? . . . Legend has it that he was in camp with the WHL’s Regina Pats and ended up being cut — twice! — by general manager Bob Strumm, who is one of the most popular figures in WHL history. . . . Anyway, Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post chatted with Strumm for a column that is right here.


Passwords


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Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle on the Baseball Hall of Fame: “The truth is, (Barry) Bonds deserves to be in the Hall. Not for his hitting — the PED business makes it hard to fairly evaluate Bonds’ hitting — but because baseball is the rudest sport, and Bonds should be in the Hall representing that aspect of our national pastime.”

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Ostler, again: “If I had a HOF vote, I’d write in Mike Fiers.”


The Bosa family doesn’t talk about it a whole lot, but it’s a story you are going to hear about as Super Bowl LIV (54) approaches. . . . It seems the great-grandfather of San Francisco 49ers DL Nick Bosa was a Chicago mobster who worked with Al Capone. Seriously! . . . Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle has more right here.


Congrats to Kelly Kisio, who is to be honoured by the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen on March 1. CalgaryKisio will become the third person to be saluted as Forever A Hitmen, after players Ryan Getzlaf, who was honoured in 2015 and Andrew Ladd (2017). . . . In 18 seasons with Calgary, Kisio filled various roles, including stints as general manager, head coach and president of hockey operations. He twice was named the WHL’s executive of the year. . . . My favourite Kisio story doesn’t involve the Hitmen. In 1982-83, he was playing with HC Davos in Switzerland. He had eight goals and two assists in a 19-7 victory over HC Lugano. That was Kisio’s second-last game with Davos; three days later he was with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. . . . He finished that season with Davos with 87 points, 49 of them goals, in 38 games. . . . Now a scout with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, Kisio will be honoured prior to an afternoon game against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.


CallImportant


The NFL’s 2020 draft is to be held in Las Vegas, which now has its own franchise — the Raiders. . . . As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, points out, “The NFL has come a long way in just a few years.  About five years ago, the league would not allow Tony Romo to be a part of a Fantasy Football Convention in Las Vegas because of ‘close ties to gambling’. This year, the league will be part of a show that will close The Strip for three days.”

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Mike Leach, the new head coach of the Mississippi State football team, tweeted the other day: “Love being out in the great state of Mississippi recruiting some absolute studs! Any restaurant advice for me throughout the state?”

That was enough for The Sports Curmudgeon to come up with this response: “There was a time early in my career when I was in the Research, Development and Engineering business and I had reason to travel very extensively in the U.S. That tweet made me realize that Mike Leach’s wanderings as a head coach for the last couple of decades have taken him to places that would make him relish the idea of traveling around Mississippi. I have been to Lubbock TX and to Pullman WA and to Starkville MS. Let me just say that none of those venues can claim to be as close to the Garden of Eden as exists on Earth. If you spent a lot of time lobbying me, you might get me to concede that Pullman is a ‘bustling burb’ — but it won’t be easy. That will not be possible regarding either Lubbock or Starkville.

“Given where he has had to live for the last 20 years or so, I think I now understand why he is obsessed with pirates and aliens. There are not a lot of things to prevent his mind from wandering through the cosmos.

“As for restaurant advice, let me suggest to Coach Leach that he have some fun with his dining events. I have always wanted to go into a Denny’s for dinner and to ask the waiter to see the wine list.”


Sleep


You may have been watching when RB Raheem Mostert of the San Francisco 49ers ran for 220 yards and four touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers’ defence in the NFC final. As Mike Hart of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it: “There hasn’t been anything carved up like that since Emeril Lagasse was introduced to his first turkey.”


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Prior to a recent NBA game between the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers, StubHub was listing tickets for as low as $4. The Left Coast Sports Babe wondered: “Are they asking or paying?”


Sportsbetting.ag, an offshore site, has listed a whole lot of prop bets for the Super Bowl. . . . Here’s one: “Which will be higher? (Tweets and retweets count). Donald Trump total tweets on 2/3/20 or the 49ers point total?” . . . Yes, Trump’s total will come from the day after the Super Bowl. . . . BTW, the over/under for Demi Lovato’s version of the U.S. anthem is two minutes one second. Take the over.


ipadexpert


You know how an NHL team now might fire its head coach and then hire a head coach who recently had been fired as the head coach of a different team? Well, it seems that trend has reached the junior A ranks. . . . The AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys have hired Scott Atkinson as general manager and head coach, replacing Joe Murphy, who resigned on Jan. 15. The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks had ousted Atkinson on Dec. 30.


The Kamloops Blazers beat the host Prince George Cougars, 3-0, on Friday night, the first time in franchise history that its goaltenders have put up three consecutive shutouts. The Kamloops1Blazers had beaten the visiting Tri-City Americans, 9-0, on Jan. 18 and the host Vancouver Giants, 4-0, on Jan. 19. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 27 shots on Friday night. He blocked 21 against Vancouver, with G Rayce Ramsay turning aside 24 against the Americans. . . . The Cougars got a split on Saturday night, beating the Blazers, 3-1, and ending Kamloops’ shutout streak at a franchise-record 233 minutes 30 seconds. . . . The Blazers also put together back-to-back shutouts on Oct. 15 and 18, beating the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 4-0, and Vancouver, 6-0. Ramsay had 23 saves against the Broncos, with Garand stopping 23 in the victory over the Giants. . . .

Kamloops first posted back-to-back shutouts in 1991-92 when Corey Hirsch made 20 and 21 saves respectively in home-ice victories — 13-0 over the Tacoma Rockets and 9-0 over the Seattle Thunderbirds — on Feb. 7 and 9. . . . Kamloops scored 11 times in the second period against Tacoma. . . . Those two shutouts came in a seven-game stretch during which Hirsch put up four shutouts. . . .

Back-to-back shutouts didn’t occur again until 2006-07 when Dustin Butler did it on Jan. 10 and 13. He stopped 20 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane, then turned aside 18 in beating the visiting Prince George Cougars, 6-0. . . .

In 2011-12, Cole Cheveldave did it on Jan. 1 and 6, blocking 22 shots in blanking the visiting Cougars, 5-0, then turning aside 32 shots in a 2-0 triumph in Prince George. . . . Cheveldave did it again in 2012-13, on March 3 and 5. He kicked out 25 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets, then stopped 14 in a 6-0 beating of Victoria. Both games were in Kamloops. . . .

It was Connor Ingram’s turn in 2016-17, when he made 28 stops in a 3-0 victory over the visiting Cougars on Feb. 19, then blocked 23 shots in a 7-0 triumph over the Edmonton Oil Kings in Kamloops on Feb. 21. . . .

One other shutout-related note involving Kamloops: In 2004-05, 19 of the Blazers’ 72 games ended in a shutout. Unfortunately for Kamloops, it was on the wrong end in 13 of those.


“Just wondering,” ponders the always deep-thinking Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “if Wheaties is the Breakfast of Champions, what is the Breakfast of Upsets, Coco Gauffs?”



JUST NOTES: If you watched Serena Williams lose a third-setter to China’s Qiang Wang in the third round of the Aussie Open the other night/morning, you have to wonder if we are watching the end of an era. Serena, who was the No. 8 seed, certainly seemed to be suffering from fatigue near the end of her loss to the No. 27 seed. . . . Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if Williams just once would give some credit to her opponent? . . . The NHL all-star stuff on Friday and Saturday evenings? Not in my home. The Aussie Open was on my TV. . . . One of the best things about the Aussie Open, and other tennis tournaments, is the lack of commentary while the ball is in play. . . . I did find time to watch The Irishman during the week. If you like gangster movies and know at least a bit about Jimmy Hoffa, you should like this one. If you aren’t aware, though, it’s three hours and 20 minutes long. . . . The book with the movie tie-in — The Irishman: Frank Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa — is rather good, too. . . . Sheesh! If only some people would learn the difference between cancelled and postponed!

Scattershooting on a Thursday evening while wondering if NHL teams are moving back to dump-and-chase game . . .

Scattershooting

Not in the Christmas spirit? Watch this . . .


In his weekly compilation, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times included an obit of the week for football fan John J. Ford, 86, from the Minneapolis Star Tribune: ”Passed away surrounded by family on December 2nd after the Vikings allowed 17 unanswered points . . .”

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“A Las Vegas hospital billed the parents $2,659 to pull a tiny doll’s shoe from their child’s nostril,” Perry reported. “Imagine what it would cost to extract Antonio Brown’s foot from his mouth.”


Mozart


Congratulations and best wishes to Innes Mackie, who has been around the WHL since the Christmas Wish Book was used for shin pads, or maybe even earlier. . . .

And congrats, too, to Dan O’Connor, the play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Giants. While Mackie, the Tri-City Americans’ equipment guru, was working Game No. 3,200, O’Connor was calling No. 600.


ICYMI, Part 1: D Nikita Zadorov of the visiting Colorado Avalanche recently took out Montreal Canadiens F Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was left with a brain injury. There wasn’t a penalty; there wasn’t a suspension. “So how could Zadorov get away with it?” Jack Todd writes in the Montreal Gazette. “Blame hockey’s pervasive knucklehead culture, which has survived well into the 21st century. The loudest of the braying donkeys in the barn may have been shuffled off to the Podcast Porch — but the brutal culture Don Cherry helped foster lives on.” . . . The complete column is right here.

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ICYMI, Part 2: Hockey Canada trimmed a bunch of players from the selection camp for its national junior team on Thursday. Yes, it has to be done. But why make these teenagers walk the media gauntlet after they’ve been chopped from the roster? Come on, Hockey Canada, be better than that.


Puppy


If the Kelowna Rockets continue to unload premium bantam draft picks and perhaps a prospect or two in the hunt for a Memorial Cup title in the spring, when they will be the tournament’s host team, you have to wonder if their aftermath will be more like the Prince Albert Raiders, Regina Pats or Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Raiders are 19-7-4 and atop the East Division after making a deal or three — but not selling out — that helped them win the WHL’s 2018-19 championship. The Pats are 7-18-3 after selling out as the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup. The Broncos are 6-20-3 while still trying to recover after emptying the cupboard as they successfully chased the WHL’s 2017-18 title. . . . Over the past one season-plus, the Pats are 26-63-7 and the Broncos are 17-71-9. Neither team made the playoffs last spring and they won’t be there in 2020.


If you are wanting to attend the 2021 World Junior Championship, with games in Edmonton and Red Deer, you may want to see your banker about a loan. . . . Considering the political/labour situation in Alberta at the moment, it will be interesting to see how tickets sales play out. . . .


The New York Yankees signed P Gerrit Cole to a nine-year deal valued at US$324 million. . . . The Los Angeles Angels got 3B Anthony Rendon for US$245 million over seven seasons. . . . F Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has hockey’s richest deal — US$124 million over 13 years. That was signed in January 2008. . . . According to an entry at Wikipedia, Ovechkin’s contract, the richest in NHL history, is tied for the 79th richest in sports history. . . . That’s what having a hard salary cap does for you.


I didn’t finish Michael Connelly’s latest book — The Night Fire — in time to get it into my Bookshelf series that was posted here earlier in the week. But if you’re a fan of Connelly’s Harry Bosch series, you’ll enjoy this one. It features the retired-but-not-retired Bosch and LAPD Det. Renée Ballard doing their thing on the streets of L.A. and area. Good fun, unless you’re the bad guys.


The Kelowna Rockets were in Prince Albert to play the Raiders a week ago. Hear from both coaches — Marc Habscheid of the Raiders and Adam Foote of the Rockets — after the game, and then decide who won . . .

Habscheid: “I don’t blame referees or anything, but there were three soft calls and they talked to (Foote) all night. I don’t know if they wanted to get his autograph, because he was a Stanley Cup champion or what, but it didn’t look good. They talked to him all night, (and Foote) ran line changes. He did whatever he wanted, and he slowed the game down, and they just let him do it. I don’t know if they wanted his autograph or what the deal was.”

Foote: “The refs were pretty good all night . . .”

Thanks to Darren Steinke for the quotes. His complete blog post is right here.

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One night later, the Rockets visited the Blades in Saskatoon. The Rockets tied the game, 3-3, late in the third period and won it in a shootout, much to the chagrin of at least one Blades fan.

That fan was on social media bemoaning — you guessed it! — the officiating. Someone else asked: “Who were the refs?”

I laughed out loud when I saw the response: “Hamilton and Foote.” That, of course, was in reference to Kelowna owner/president/general manager Bruce Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, and Adam Foote, the Rockets’ head coach.



SocialMedia


JUST NOTES: Judging by video clips from the Wayne Fleming Arena, there certainly seems to be a lot of room available on the benches for Winnipeg Ice home games. I realize that a lot of people choose to stand during the games, but you have to wonder how the empty seat-look sits with the WHL’s board of governors. . . . And, hey, if anyone has any photos of the Ice’s future home under construction feel free to send them along to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. . . . Was anyone watching Monday Night Football and not pulling for Eli Manning? . . . With the Giants on MNF and the Jets on Thursday night, was it enough to make you feel sorry for the football fans of New York City? . . . A tip of the hat to the Seattle Thunderbirds and Saskatoon Blades for a deal involving F Alex Morozoff. A native of Saskatoon, Morozoff was traded for a sixth-round pick in the 2023 bantam draft. “Alex and his family are currently dealing with a family medical issue,” Seattle GM Bil LaForge said in explaining the deal in a news release. “We have made this trade to help get Alex closer to his family in Saskatoon.”

Scattershooting on a Wednesday night while wondering if Babcock’s next stop will be Seattle . . .

Scattershooting


When Roy MacGregor writes, I read. Such was the case with the superb essayist’s piece on the Don Cherry situation. As we have come to expect from MacGregor, it is terrific. . . . At one point, he writes that Cherry was fired “for a last straw no one could fit into the overstuffed barn that holds all the previous last straws.” . . . It doesn’t get any better, and it’s right here.


ICYMI, here’s how the annual junior hugfest between CHL teams and a touring Russian side ended last Thursday in Prince Albert. The Russians won the game, but had to go to a shootout to get it done. That outcome left the series — the Russians play two games against teams from the QMJHL, OHL and WHL — all even. . . . Guess what? . . . Yes, they went to another shootout. The WHL won that one on a goal by F Nolan Foote of the Kelowna Rockets to win the series. . . . Seriously!

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BTW, the CHL’s broadcast partner, Rogers Sportsnet, put that final game on one of its channels, something called 360. When that game began, Sportsnet was showing an NHL game — New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning — on four other channels. ICYMI, the Lightning opened up a 4-0 first-period lead en route to a 9-3 victory.

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Tyler Yaremchuk was part of the TSN1260 broadcast crew in Edmonton on Friday when the Alberta Golden Bears skated to a 4-2 victory over the visiting Regina Cougars. . . . After the game, he tweeted: “50 straight wins for the Bears over Regina.” . . . Think about that for a moment or two . . . 50 in a row! Yikes!!! Now that’s a streak. . . . Dustin Nielson, the play-by-play voice on that broadcast team, tells me that the Golden Bears last lost to the Cougars in 2009. “Also haven’t lost at home to them since 1996,” he added. . . . Connor Hood, writing on the U of A’s website, pointed out that the streak “dates back to March 13, 2009, and includes 43 conference games, two playoff games and five non-conference games.” . . . On Saturday night, the Golden Bears ran that streak to 51 games with a 9-0 victory.



Running back Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants had one yard rushing on 13 carries in a recent loss to the New York Jets. . . . Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times broke that down a bit more: “To put that in perspective, that’s 2.9 per attempt — inches, not yards. Or . . . at that rate, just 117 more carries and he’d have a first down!”



By now, you may have seen video of Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers working the referees in the hopes they would give his father, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, a technical foul on Nov. 13. Officials did just that, and then they ejected him. . . . Later, on Twitter, Austin wrote: “Welp . . . Thanksgiving is going to be weird . . .”


Hey, Kamloops, I got gas in Burnaby on Saturday night for $1.24.9. That’s only five cents more than I paid in our town on Friday night.

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On the way to the Lower Mainland on Saturday morning, I collapsed a hundred times, if not more. Actually, we ran into snow, sleet, ice pellets and rain, lots of rain. . . . So what’s with all the drivers who can’t be bothered to turn on their headlights to that their taillights are on?



Mike Babcock now has been fired by two hockey teams — the Toronto Maple Leafs and the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. The big difference is that the Warriors didn’t owe him about $23 million when they did the deed. . . .

Jack Todd has been writing about Don Cherry for a long time. So you knew that something was coming after Rogers Sportsnet fired Cherry. Todd’s column is right here.


Bucks
Cranbrook’s Western Financial Place now is the official home of the Cranbrook Bucks, a BCHL team that will begin play next season. Their sign was installed just the other day. The Bucks put their sign directly into the frame that once held a sign indicating the facility was home to the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, a franchise that now calls Winnipeg home. (Photo: Darren Cottingham)


Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade, hits the nail on the head right here: “Really annoying people: The 7-Eleven Guy and Matthew McConaughey. I think a perfect commercial would be the 7-Eleven Guy spilling a strawberry Slurpee on the posh seats of McConaughey’s fancy-schmancy Lincoln.” . . . There’s more right here.



JUST NOTES: Would someone at ESPN please tell Randy Moss that he is speaking into a microphone so he doesn’t need to yell at us. Thank you. . . . Gotta think the World Curling Federation will be making a rule change in the not-too-distant future after a ruling caused Norway’s men to forfeit a game to England during the European championships in Helsingborg, Sweden on Sunday. It seems Norway subbed in a curler who didn’t use the broom of the player he was replacing. Yes, that’s against the rules. There’s more right here. . . .

Going by the part of the WHL website that lists disciplinary actions, Adam Foote, the Kelowna Rockets’ head coach, hasn’t yet been fined for not doing a post-game media interview after a 5-2 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops on Nov. 11. The WHL has a rule that states a coach must be available to media 15 minutes after a game. Conspiracy theorists, have at it. . . . The NHL announced on Tuesday that the season-ending award it gives to its top GM will be named after the late Jim Gregory. There isn’t an award named for Sam Pollock, Glen Sather or Bill Torrey, each of whom put together dominant teams. Of course, the NHL doesn’t have any individual awards named in honour of Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux, either. . . . Hey, TSN, I realize that Toronto is the centre of your universe. I get that. So when the Maple Leafs fire Mike Babcock, your world stops. Yes, I get that, too. But you’ve got five channels so why cut off PTI before the episode is over just to show what’s available elsewhere? Why not show the viewer — me — some respect?

Hanlon leaving Giants . . . Blazers’ top pick gives them the word . . . Thunderbirds’ import will stay home

MacBeth

F Adam Kambeitz (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Seattle, 2008-13) a signed one-year contract with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with the U of Calgary (Canada West), he had two goals and eight assists in 28 games. . . .

F Dominik Uher (Spokane, 2009-12) signed a two-year contract with the Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (Germany, DEL). This season, with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and three assists in 48 games. . . .

F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) signed a one-year contract extension with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). He had three goals and seven assists in 19 games. . . .

D Tomáš Kundrátek (Medicine Hat, 2008-10) signed a one-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL), he had two goals and 11 assists in 53 games. . . .

D Zack Yuen (Tri-City, 2008-13) signed a one-year two-way contract extension with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). He had two goals and one assist in 21 games this season. He also was pointless in eight games with KRS Heilongjiang Harbin (China, Russia Vysshaya Liga).


ThisThat

The Vancouver Giants became the third B.C. Division team searching for a general manager when they revealed on Monday that Glen Hanlon is leaving after two seasons in that role. . . . The Prince George Cougars, who didn’t bring back Todd Harkins, and Kamloops Blazers, who dumped Stu MacGregor, also are looking to hire general managers. . . . According to a Giants news release, Hanlon “has decided to pursue other opportunities.” . . . Hanlon, 61, spent two seasons (2011-13) with the Giants as an assistant coach under Don Hay before spending a couple of seasons coaching in Belarus and Switzerland. . . . Dean Chynoweth, the Giants’ associate coach, may be the leading candidate to replace Hanlon. Chynoweth, 49, spent five seasons (2004-09) as the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos. He just completed his first season with the Giants, working alongside head coach Jason McKee.


The Hamilton Bulldogs won the OHL championship on Sunday night. Here are a few paragraphs written earlier in the week by Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator:

When the Canadian Hockey League awarded the Memorial Cup to Regina, it cited the failings of FirstOntario Centre as the main reason why.

“At the end of the day, it was the facility that would not allow Hamilton to stay in the race,” CHL president David Branch said back then.

That may be true. Then again, the yellow-T-shirt-wearing, noise-making, atmosphere-creating, lower-bowl-filling crowd — which was 2,100 people bigger than will be at any of the Memorial Cup games at the Brandt Centre (capacity 6,500) — sure looked good and suggested the tournament really should’ve been here.

Not to mention the fact that Hamilton has a championship-calibre team that’s playing the country’s best outfit to a standstill right now. The host Regina Pats? They were eliminated from their playoffs 40 days ago.”


Here’s more from Radley:

Sure, most teams’ TV and radio announcers are homers to one degree or another. Many are employees of the team, so it’s hardly a surprise. Most keep it reasonably in check, however.

That said, is there any call in sports more finger-nails-on-a-chalkboard grating than Buck Martinez yelling “Get up, ball!” every time a Blue Jay hits a home run? It’s just one step short of running onto the field and hugging the guy as he rounds third base.


It seems that Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, didn’t give us all of the organization’s bad news when he announced the departure of four people from Kamloops1the front office on Thursday.

Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, reported Tuesday that the Blazers were told before the May 3 bantam draft that F Massimo Rizzo is “pursuing an NCAA scholarship and will not be coming to training camp in the fall.”

The Blazers selected Rizzo with the 15th overall selection of the 2016 bantam draft. This season, Rizzo had 13 goals and 25 assists in 50 games with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. He will be back with the Vees in 2018-19.

On Thursday, Gaglardi announced the departures of general manager Stu MacGregor, head coach Don Hay, assistant coach Mike Needham and director of player personnel Matt Recchi.


The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers signed G Stuart Skinner of the Swift Current Broncos to a three-year entry-level contract on Monday. Skinner, who is from Edmonton, was a third-round selection by the Oilers in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . He posted a record-tying six shutouts in helping the Broncos to the WHL championship.


So . . . if you’re Eli Manning, the New York Giants’ starting quarterback, what’s it like playing in Philadelphia?

“Philly, you just gotta get used to,” Manning tells Steiner Sports. “. . . because you’re not used to seeing a nine-year-old cursing at you and talking about my mom and stuff. Once you get used to it, it’s fine. It just takes a year or two. Now (15 years later) he’s 24 and training his four-year-old to curse at me.”


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed D Nolan Allan, the third overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Allan, from Davidson, Sask., had 12 goals and 32 assists in 26 games with the bantam AA Humboldt Broncos.


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times notes that Kiyaunta Goodwin of Louisville, Ky., “is six-feet-seven, weighs 370 pounds, wears size-18 shoes, leg presses 1,000 pounds, bench presses 315, displays uncanny agility, likes art music and robotics, and has a football offer from Georgia in his pocket, according to Bleacher Report.” . . . Perry then adds: “Oh and did we mention that he’s only 14 years old and an eighth-grader?”


It appears that F Sami Moilanen won’t be back with the Seattle Thunderbirds for what Seattlewould have been his 19-year-old season. From Sipoo, Finland, Moilanen played two seasons with Seattle. He had 43 points, including 21 goals, in 70 games as a freshman, adding 16 points, seven of them goals, in 20 playoff games as the Thunderbirds won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. This season, he had 22 goals and 23 assists in 50 games as he was hampered by injuries. . . . Seattle’s second import, Russian F Nikita Malukhin, had five goals and four assists in 52 games as a freshman this season.


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, is a hockey fan, and as he writes: “A difference between Canadian and U.S. hockey fans — at least Canadian fans can find Winnipeg on a map?”


“Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning should both do well with playoff ticket sales,” Hough notes. “As we get into mid- May, I’m guessing people in both cities will pay well for a chance to spend three hours inside out of 30-plus degree weather.”


“So the Leafs are bounced in the first round,” pens Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette, “the Raptors pull an epic choke after Drake makes an ass of himself, and the Jays get no-hit the night Stroman pitches. This Toronto 24/7 thing is entertaining.”


A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Reuters reports a Paris museum is offering special viewing hours to ‘naturists.’ Nudes taking in nudes? Busts before busts? Art-wise I’m not sure how to frame it.”


Currie, again: “The Toronto Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey two days after he was named NBA coach of the year.  It’s the fastest fall from grace for a Casey since the Mudville nine.”