Scattershooting on Wednesday night while waiting for spring and Year 3 of pandemic . . .

Scattershooting2

Sheesh, a guy steps away from the keyboard for a day or two and, well, let’s review . . .

Theo Fleury surfaced on Fox-TV on Tuesday night, telling an audience of a gazillion Trumpsters that the convoy of Canadian truck drivers — with time on their hands and apparently having somehow lost their freedoms — that started last weekend will bring 1.4 million people to Ottawa in about 50,000 trucks. . . . Uhh, that’s 28 people per truck. . . . He also told the Trumpsters that those same truckers are “going to stay there until (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau resigns or they give us back all of our freedoms and rights.” . . . . Prior to hearing about this, I wasn’t aware that Fleury, with C.W. McCall apparently unavailable, had become Fox’s Trucking Convoy Insider, kind of like Darren Dreger is a TSN Hockey Insider. . . . BTW, a respected citizen of our land who has followed Fleury’s behaviour for a lot of years, recently told Taking Note: “It started a few years ago and it’s all been downhill since then.” . . .

Also this week came news that there were a lot of grocery stores out there with empty shelves. Except that search parties sent out in search of same weren’t able to find them. Not in big box stores. Not in the chain grocery stores. Not in the neighbourhood grocery marts. . . . That didn’t stop members of the official opposition at the federal level, the CPC, from hitting up social media to tell us about these food shortages. One of them tweeted a photo showing a woman looking at empty shelves as though it was a regular occurrence in Canada. Except that Internet sleuths found out the photo actually was from London, England, and was a ‘stock’ photo, meaning you and I are able to purchase and use it. If you looked closely, the price tags that were visible were in Euros. . . . Geez, they don’t even try to fib a little bit now; it’s just blatantly lie to us without even thinking twice about it. . . .

Here in Kamloops, my wife and I were in a grocery store on Monday and the only thing we couldn’t find was canned mushrooms. Of course, we live in B.C., so it could be that people are smoking them, or whatever they do with those things out here, so there has been a run on them. . . .

And then there’s Creston, B.C., where the goofballs were out in force on Saturday night. As Kelsey Yates of the Creston Valley Advance reported: “Five people have been charged with mischief after barging into a Creston Valley Thunder Cats game without masks and encouraging others to come inside. . . . the five men ignored security at the Creston and District Community Complex (CDCC) without showing vaccine passports or tickets to the hockey game. Once inside the Johnny Bucyk Arena, the men started opening locked doors of the building to let in other trespassers from outside.” Yates’s complete story is right here.

The past couple of days have shown that (a) social media, and Twitter in particular, just gets loonier and loonier, and (b) this pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon. . . . So get triple-vaxxed, mask up, wash your hands and try to stay safe.


Let’s drop in to Saskatoon and see how Colin Priestner, the general manager of the WHL’s Blades is doing.

Here he is on Monday . . .

There was something of a reprieve on Tuesday, when he tweeted: “This Just In: the PCR lab I got the COVID test at called and said due to a lab error . . . the result was misidentified as positive! I just have a regular boring chest cold! The tech (who felt terrible) said he basically screwed up and entered the result wrong. All is forgiven!”

But then came Wednesday morning . . .


On Monday, the WHL shut down the Blades and postponed two of their games because of their inability to ice a team due to having nine players in COVID-19 protocols. The Blades were to have gone into Alberta and played the Medicine Hat Tigers on Tuesday and the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday. . . . On Wednesday, the WHL postponed Friday’s game that was to have had the Blades playing host to the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . As of Wednesday night, Brandon’s game in Saskatoon on Sunday was still on the schedule. . . .

Also on Monday, the Wheat Kings and Kelowna Rockets were cleared to return to team activities. . . . And the WHL also has announced new dates for some reschedule games. So, again, check your favourite team’s schedule for updates.

——

While the WHL hasn’t given any indication that it is looking at extending its schedule past what now is the final day (April 3), the OHL may end up doing just that. Josh Brown of the Kitchener Record reported on Wednesday that David Branch, the OHL commissioner, said “all options are on the table,” including running its 68-game regular season past what now is an April 3 closing date and lobbying to have the Memorial Cup schedule changed. The Memorial Cup is to held in Saint John, N.B., opening on June 4 and closing on June 13. . . . Gilles Courteau, the QMJHL’s commissioner, told Global News last week that his league also is prepared to extend its season and “we’re even prepared to modify our playoff format. We’re even looking at the possibility of pushing back the start of the Memorial Cup a week or two later.”


Lavatory


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: There was a real WHL touch to an NHL game in Seattle on Tuesday night as the Kraken entertained the Nashville Predators. The linesmen were Ryan Gibbons and Travis Toomey, both of whom are former WHL players. Gibbons, 37, played five season (2001-06) with the Seattle Thunderbirds; Toomey, 31, was with the Saskatoon Blades for three seasons (2007-10) and the Thunderbirds for 2010-11. . . . Patrick McNeil, the play-by-play voice and communication co-ordinator for the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles, points out via Twitter: “When Quebec moves to next phase on Feb. 7, maximum attendance would be 500 people. Previous indication was that league wouldn’t resume with less than 50 per cent capacity.” In the meantime, the three QMJHL teams from New Brunswick are planning to set up mini-training camps in Quebec centres to prepare for a return to play. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan will be in Carleton-su-mer, the Saint John Sea Dogs are going to set up shop in Rivière-du-Loup, and the Moncton Wildcats will go to Quebec City. The QMJHL has been paused since Dec. 18 and hopes to resume play on Feb. 1. . . . The junior A BCHL has chosen to extend its regular season by one week, allowing it to get in games that were postponed from earlier in the season. So rather than wrapping up on March 20, the regular season now will finish on March 27, with playoffs to begin on April 1. Barring further change, of course.



Pat Siedlecki, a former play-by-play voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has left radio station CJOC. His last day there was on Wednesday. In a Jan. 21 tweet, Siedlecki wrote: “After 15 years at CJOC and now 25 years in radio, I’m leaving for a new career in the funeral industry.” Most recently, he was the station’s news director.


One of my weekly reads comes from Jeff Pearlman (pearlman.Substack.com), the author of a number of books, including the terrific The Bad Guys Won, which was subtitled A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo-chasing and Championship Baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, The Kid, and the Rest of the 1986 Mets, the Rowdiest Team Ever to Put on a New York Uniform — and Maybe the Best. . . . Anyway, here’s Pearlman’s take on the Baseball Hall of Fame voting that was announced on Tuesday and, yes, I happen to agree with him:

“For the first time, I’m supporting Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s Hall of Fame candidacies (although they’re all DOA). This comes after my fellow writers voted to elect David Ortiz, a clear-cut juicer whose smile and warmth won over the crowd. There’s simply no longer a justification to keep other cheaters out. I know Bonds was a jerk, but if we’ve decided to overlook PED usage, he has to be in well before Ortiz. So, for that matter, do Clemens, Sosa and McGwire. Oy. What a mess — and what a disgraceful showing.”

BTW, Pearlman also wrote Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty. . . . I haven’t yet read it, but it is on the list. . . . And if you haven’t read Pearlman’s Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL, well, you’re cheating yourself. Yeah, a guy named Trump took down that version of the USFL.


Wings


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.


Walken

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after some uninspiring NFL playoff games . . .

Scattershooting2

Shortbread
Do you know what this is? The last two shortbread cookies are on the verge of disappearing, signalling the end of another festive season in our home. Yes, it is one of the saddest pictures every year. And, yes, they tasted mighty good.

Think about taking two minutes out of your busy day to watch this. It will help you understand how a whole lot of people are feeling at this point of this seemingly never-ending pandemic . . .


The way I figure it, there was a WHL record set in Portland on Sunday night as Portlandthe Winterhawks erased a 2-0 deficit and beat the Kamloops Blazers, 5-2. . . . Four of the coaches — two with each team — total 1,875 regular-season victories. . . . Don Hay, Portland’s associate coach, holds the WHL career record, of course, having put up 750 victories. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, is No. 10, at 472. . . . Kamloops1Mike Johnston, Portland’s vice-president, GM and head coach, has 432, good for 16th spot. . . . Mark Holick, the Blazers’ associate coach, has 221 victories to his credit. . . . Understand that those numbers all are unofficial as we await a new WHL Official Guide and Record Book, but that is a whole lot of victories signifying that those men have been behind WHL benches for a whole lot of games. . . . Oh, the stories they can tell!


It was late Friday night — early Saturday morning further east of here — when there was some interesting discourse on Twitter, featuring Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) and Taylor Rocca (@taylorrocca).

Brandow is a stats guy who posts interesting facts and numbers from every WHLmajor junior hockey game; Rocca is the WHL’s director of communications.

Brandow, in the course of posting tidbits after Friday night’s WHL games, wondered about the fact the WHL hasn’t made available an updated Official Guide and Record Book since the 2019-20 season.

Rocca’s responses provide some insight into the workings of the WHL’s Calgary office during this pandemic:

“Contrary to popular belief, we do not have a staff member solely dedicated to media guide/stats. We’re a small office desperately working to simply keep junior hockey on the ice, players healthy, etc. Because, you know, we’re into Year 2 of a global pandemic. . . .

“I’m not trying to fight. Just trying to provide some context. In the case of our office, specifically, we experience widespread layoffs and had LITERALLY one full-time Communications staff member for over a year who was responsible for . . .

“Web/social content, PR/media relations (people have had some questions), mobile app mgmt, dev consult/admin/launch of new streaming service, internal/external comms/Club support, COVID test results processing, etc. I’m sure I’m missing plenty of other time-consuming tasks. . . .

“Point I’m trying to make is most people don’t understand the incredible challenge it has been for small staffs to keep these leagues running. Speaking for myself, I’ve worked nothing short of 100+ hours a week, almost every single week since March 2020. . . .

“I’m not one to speak out or be overly vocal, especially on social media.

But a lot of people in junior hockey are beyond burnt out. They’re doing the best they can every day to show up & make sure the hockey gets delivered. That is what needs to happen first. For the players. . . .

“People work in jr hockey because they love the game. It’s not for the pay. When we’re frustrated about a stream that errors, or a media guide that’s later than ideal, we need to remember there are hard-working people doing their best to survive & meet beyond high demands. . . .

“Just remember: There are real people w/ real emotions, who have been working tirelessly to keep these leagues alive & navigate a world that no one has a blueprint for. And sometimes, keeping the players/staff healthy & games going is all that’s possible from one day to the next.”

It all ended on a positive note as Brandow wrote: “Fair’s fair.  I greatly appreciate the explanation and once again, I apologize for the outburst.”

Rocca closed with: “It’s all good, Geoffrey. The media guide is on the list. It will get done. All I ask for is your patience & understanding. Appreciate the time & effort you put into tracking stats across the entire CHL. I check in on them every single game night & I’m always impressed.”

While you aren’t able to download a new WHL Guide, the OHL’s new Media and Information Guide (aka record book) is available right here, while the QMJHL’s updated Media Guide, which includes a records section, is right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS — While the OHL is playing without fans in most of its buildings, the QMJHL has decided that it won’t resume its schedule until at least Feb. 1. It had hoped to start up again during the week of Jan. 17, but government-imposed restrictions aren’t likely to be lifted before then. . . . The CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game that was to have been held in Kitchener, Ont., on Feb. 2, has been postponed. Officials hope to reschedule it for some point during this season. . . . Congrats to referee Brett Iverson, who was presented with a WHL Milestone Award prior to Saturday’s game in Langley, B.C. Iverson has been working WHL games since 2008-09 and has been on the ice for more than 650 regular-season games. He also has done four WHL finals and two Memorial Cup tournaments. . . . If you were watching the Prince George Cougars and Vancouver play in Langley, B.C., on Friday night, you may have seen Giants F Ty Thorpe shove a linesman at 19:30 of the second period. Somehow, he escaped with only a misconduct penalty, but he missed Saturday’s rematch after the WHL hit him with a one-game suspension. . . . The Cougars swept the two games from the host Giants, leading some fans to wonder whether Vancouver will be buying or selling as the trade deadline arrives today (Monday).



Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “You can start marking time until the guy who runs Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, walks the plank for his role in this fiasco with Novak Djokovic. I still love Djokovic trying to blame the mistakes on his paperwork on his agent. . . . Got it. . . . Dog ate my visa.”

——

Lupica, again: “It’s going to be fun, now that ESPN has hired David Cone, to go back to watching Sunday Night Baseball with the sound on.”


Wrench


In the SJHL, the Humboldt Broncos beat the host Melfort Mustangs, 4-3 in OT, sjhlon Friday night. No, wait a minute. Not so fast. . . . That was thought to be the final score until the Mustangs protested over what they felt was an officiating error at 10:23 of the third period. The Mustangs won the protest, so the teams replayed the last 9:37 of the third period prior to Saturday night’s game in Humboldt. . . . On Friday, the Broncos scored a 5-on-3 goal at 10:23 to get to within 3-2, at which point there was confusion over whether anyone should be allowed out of the penalty box. When no one was allowed out, Humboldt scored again another PP goal, then thought it had won it in OT. . . . When play resumed Saturday night, Melfort stretched that 3-2 lead to a 5-2 victory. . . . Humboldt then won the regularly scheduled game, 6-4. . . . There is a complete explanation right here.


There was a time, before the birth of the Toronto Blue Jays, when a lot of Canadian baseball fans got their fix through Dave Van Horne, the voice of the Montreal Expos. Van Horne, who has been calling Miami Marlins’ games for the past 21 years, has chosen to retire. It seems the Marlins cut his schedule back to 54 games last season and wanted him to do fewer than 20 games in 2022. In speaking with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Van Horne, 82, took the high road, saying: “After they made the last offer to have me come back in some role in 2022 . . . less than 20 games, I could not do it. I said I’m a baseball play-by-play broadcaster. I’m not one who makes guests appearances and works on recorded interviews. . . . I’m not upset about it. I’ve thought about it during last season. I thought this could very well be it for me. I’m comfortable with the decision I’ve made. Life goes on. I have, in effect, retired. I’m living on my pensions. I have no plans to pursue anything else. I will not pursue another baseball broadcast position.” . . . Jackson’s story is right here.


Antlers


The NFL’s regular season ended on Jan. 9 and the next day, as is the norm, featured a number of teams firing their head coaches. “Since the NFL is all about sponsorships,” wondered Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Babe, “how long until we start hearing about ‘Black Monday, brought to you by LinkedIn?’ ”



There was a time when pro and college football teams didn’t each employ a couple of dozen assistant coaches and aides. As Steve Spurrier, a former head coach at Florida, explained to the Orlando Sentinel, the Gators back in the day had only one nutritionist on staff: “We had one, and it was me. I used to go around during meals and tell the players to stop eating just meat and potatoes and go put something green on their plates. That’s how we handled nutrition back then.”


Bacon


THINKING OUT LOUD — Isn’t there something strange about hockey leagues that hand out minor penalties for checking to the head, but allow two players to stand and repeatedly punch each other in the face? . . . The Florida Panthers, one of the NHL’s best and most-entertaining teams, were at home and on my TV set a couple of times in recent days, beating the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars in front of a whole lot of empty seats. Meanwhile, Gary Bettman’s NHL doesn’t include a team in Quebec City, which has an arena and a huge hunger for hockey. . . . The worst thing about live sports on TV in Canada? The same commercials over and over and over and over, again. The first time I saw the spot for Cavendish waffle fries, I thought I might like to try them. By the 10th or 12th time in a couple of hours, well, there’s not a chance. . . . Isn’t it absolutely bizarre the way the NFL allows non-playoff teams with coaching vacancies to interview coaches from playoff teams while their teams are involved in preparing for games? Two of the men on the Buffalo Bills’ coaching staff interviewed for head-coaching positions prior to their Saturday night playoff game. . . . Do you think that it will bother the NFL that it let two more teams into the playoffs and the first weekend of play wasn’t especially entertaining? You’re right. They’ll likely add two more to the bracket next season.


Remote


Perhaps you follow Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner) on Twitter or perhaps you have seen reference to a tweet or two of his on this site. When it comes to the history of the Regina Pats, he’s THE MAN. He often posts tweets involving Pats games from the 1960s and early ’70s, and chances are that the stories in those posts were written by Mal Isaac, then of the Regina Leader-Post. . . . Isaac, who went through two hearts, both of which were stronger and tougher than any hockey player, died on Saturday. He was 84. . . . Condolences to Vivian and family, and to Mal’s brother, Dale. Both brothers are in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.


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.


Kitchen

Scattershooting on a Sunday night before taking a Christmas break . . .

Scattershooting2

Merry Christmas . . .


OK, this is it from here for a while folks. I’m taking some time away — Less time here, less time on social media . . . you know, just away . . . more time between some book covers . . . more time doing crosswords . . . 

I have watched for almost two years as we have spun our wheels, like a gerbil on a running wheel, and gotten absolutely nowhere. This pandemic is almost two years old and where are we compared to March or April of 2020?

Restaurants open. Restaurants closed. Restaurants . . . uhh, not sure. . . . Capacity at the local arena is 50 per cent. Capacity is 100 per cent. Capacity is 50 per cent. . . . It just goes on and on and on . . .

Rinse . . . repeat . . . rinse . . . repeat . . . rinse . . . repeat. Over and over and over, again. And here we are, with 2021’s clock ticking down, starting to think about whether this will ever end. And all the while people are dying and healthcare workers are burning out and still we spin our wheels.

Rinse and repeat . . . rinse and repeat . . .

Hey, has there been anything more bizarre than watching the NBA and NHL trying to keep from pausing their seasons?

The answer to that is: Yes, the decision by the NFL to cut back on the testing of asymptomatic players and staff members. That move is right out of the orange guy’s playbook from May 2020. You might remember that proclamation: “If we don’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.”

While you think about that, take a minute to think about this from a thread tweeted by Dr. Katharine Smart (@KatharineSmart), a pediatrician from Whitehorse who is president of the Canadian Medical Association: “We need to get serious about vaccination, the consequences of choosing to be unvaccinated, third doses, proper masks, rapid tests and limiting contacts. I can’t state this strongly enough — our system is breaking and so are the people in it.”

The good doctor is absolutely correct. We are almost two years into this mess and we have people among us who still aren’t taking this serious.

Is it any wonder we’re still treading water?


I also will spend the next while searching for an NHL team for which to cheer. My lifelong love affair with the Detroit Red Wings — it started with Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Roger Crozier, Bill Gadsby et al — is over, broken beyond repair because their roster is home to the only unvaccinated player in the entire NHL. . . . For now, while I may no longer have a favourite team, I do have a favourite player. That would be Mason Geertsen, a product of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings.


Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette:

“We are nearly two years into this miserable plague, caught in an ellipse of hope and despair that has left everyone drained and weary and cranky. Just when you thought you were free, it comes back again, like a drunken party guest who missed his cab and decided to spend the night snoring on your couch.

“Once respected people in the world of sports are making public fools of themselves, in such a way you wonder if the pandemic hasn’t affected their judgment.

“Our old friend Richard Pound, once a maverick who didn’t kowtow to anyone, now falls in with the IOC party line despite China’s abysmal record on human rights, calling China’s critics ‘silly.’

“Steve Yzerman, one of the brighter fellows in the NHL, betrays an understanding of this plague on par with an evangelical pastor in the Florida panhandle.”


Here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, making a point about the NBA schedule, a point that could easily be transferred to the WHL:

“The NBA often promises a more relaxed schedule but never really delivers. Back-to-back games remain far too prevalent in the league, and playing three road games in four nights — the workload the Warriors are facing right now — is simply inexcusable.

“Old-school players scoff at the complaints, recalling the days when the schedule and travel demands were far more taxing than today’s, but the scientists have made themselves known. Fatigue is a serious problem for overworked players, presenting health concerns and a less-than-energetic performances on the court. Owners’ greed will prevail, preventing something sensible — like a 58-game schedule, teams facing each opponent twice. So instead, we sometimes get lacklustre play and some grave disappointments, leaving fans a bit short of what they were expecting.”


Laddie


Old friend Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, is a huge football fan, CFLand he watched last Sunday’s Grey Cup game while comfortably ensconced in his home in the Washington, D.C., area. He actually spent Sunday watching NFL games, of course, while recording the Grey Cup game for Monday viewing. . . . He then took to the keyboard and provided some thoughts on what he had seen. All of that is right here. . . . There is a message for the CFL in his writing, too. He likes a whole lot of what he sees in the Canadian game, so leave it alone. . . . And if you aren’t already checking out his stuff, you should. He normally provides food for thought five days a week.


Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, on Urban Meyer, one day before he was fired by the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars: “He’s as close to a legitimate head coach as a grackle is to an attack helicopter.”


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “In a dive bar somewhere, Jon Gruden and Urban Meyer are having a beer and drawing up plays on cocktail napkins, plotting their next gigs.”



Here’s the lede on Kurt Streeter’s Friday Sports of The Times column in The New York Times:

“In the midst of a new wave of coronavirus infections sweeping the globe, sports officials are scrambling to figure out how to keep their seasons going with schedules intact, to maintain the normal churn of competition and revenue.

“They shouldn’t dither with such foolishness.

“It’s time to press pause on games, matches and meets. If we’re genuinely interested in public health, genuinely invested in slowing the virus and saving lives, we need to look at the storm that has gathered and take shelter from it.

Come back in February, or later. By then, if we play this right and we’ve collectively worked to slow the spread and proliferation of variants, we can get back to the games. Only this time with a renewed sense of diligence and tighter restrictions.”

He’s not wrong, but, you know as well as I do that it’s the money. It always is.



Flatearth


Hockey Canada is expected to announce today (Monday) that it has pulled its entry from the Spengler Cup because of the pandemic situation. The Spengler Cup, which is held in Davos, Switzerland, runs from Dec. 26 through Dec. 31. Canada has won the tournament four of the last five times it has been held. . . . Michael Farber (@MichaelFarber3) tweeted Sunday afternoon that Canadian head coach Claude Julien had already returned home. Julien’s staff was to have included Nolan Baumgartner, Jeremy Colliton and Ben Cooper, all of them former WHL players and/or coaches. . . .

If you’re wondering about the World Junior Championship that is to open in Red Deer and Edmonton on Boxing Day, the teams all are in Alberta and there have been only negative tests to date.

The plan is to play all games with capacity crowds in both cities . . . although, as we have seen in so many instances, COVID-19 may have something to say about that.


The junior A Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League revealed Friday that five organizations have had to forfeit 30 games because of “utilizing ineligible players/staff who did not meet the requirements of the GOJHL Vaccination Policy. . . . From a news release: “The sanctions are issued in accordance with the GOJHL’s regulations for ineligible players along with Ontario Hockey Federation regulations.  All games will revert to a 5-0 loss.  In the cases where both teams had ineligible participants, no points will be awarded.” . . . The complete news release is right here.


Meanwhile, minor hockey associations in Brandon and Portage la Prairie say they will be cracking down on unvaccinated parents who manage to sneak into arenas to watch their children play. The associations have said that if an unvaccinated parent is found to be inside an arena, the child will be dropped from that team’s roster and there won’t be a refund issued. . . . I know. I know. You’re shocked to hear that minor hockey parents would act in such a fashion.


Dave Lowry, a former WHL player and coach, will be the head coach of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets at least through the end of this season. He took over on Friday after Paul Maurice stepped down, saying the Jets needed to hear from a new voice. Maurice was in his ninth season as the club’s head coach. Lowry, 56, has been a WHL head coach with the Calgary Hitmen (2008-09), Victoria Royals (2012-17) and Brandon Wheat Kings (2019-20). He is in his third season on the Jets’ staff. . . . The Jets dropped a 5-2 decision to the Washington Capitals in Lowry’s debut as head coach later Friday, but he got his first victory on Sunday, 4-2 over the visiting St. Louis Blues.


The Saskatoon Entertainment Group, owners of the Saskatoon Blades and lacrosse’s Saskatchewan Rush, is taking on managing rights for events in the SaskTel Centre via a five-year deal that is effective Jan. 1. SEG, under owners Mike Priestner and his son, Colin, will pay the Saskatchewan Place Association “the greater of either $1.35 million, or a combination of 15 per cent of gross food and beverage profits, $2 from every ticket sold and half of all revenues from sponsorship, naming rights, parking and eligible gaming,” according to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. According to the newspaper, “SEG will also put a maximum of $1 million into upgrades at the stadium, with SPA to match whatever money they invest.”


CatWins


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.

www.transplant.bc.ca/health-info/organ-donation/living-donation


Merry Christmas . . .

Scattershooting on a Tuesday night while not watching the World Series game . . .

Scattershooting2

Hello, Interior Health . . . anyone home? Call for you on Line 1 . . . and Line 2 . . . and Line 3 . . . and . . .

Hey, Interior Health, when you say there’ll be news on Friday and then you stiff the commoners without so much as a whisper, well, we’re into Wednesday and we’re still waiting. Oh, and the people whose livelihoods are being messed with also are waiting.

Maybe it’s time for you to lift the veil of secrecy or come out from under the cone of silence and explain why you do the things you do. Tell them the gypsy fortune teller didn’t show up for work, or that it’s the health ministry that operates the puppet strings that control the messages you send out. Tell them something. Anything.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, announced on Oct. 19 that restrictions on attendance at some sporting events — including Vancouver Canucks’ home games — were to be lifted. (Yeah, I know. I was shocked at the timing of that one, too.)

When the announcement was made, the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets were among those to express relief. But, wait, not so fast . . .

It turned out that while the lifting of restrictions also included the Vancouver Giants, who play their home games in Langley, and the Victoria Royals, it didn’t apply to the Prince George Cougars, who are in the Northern Health Region, or the Blazers and Rockets, who are within the Interior Health Authority. So those three teams are left to operate under a restriction that allows them to sell only 50 per cent of available seats in their arenas.

Why? If it really is because of the hospitalization (high) and immunization rates (low) out here in the boonies, why not say so? Why not tell that to the teams on Friday?

“We kind of felt when Dr. Henry made her announcement that would be all Rocketsencompassing,” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ owner and general manager, told Madison Erhardt of castanet.net for a story that is right here. “I understand they have decided now to have some regional rules put in where we didn’t have that most of the year. In the Northern region things are tougher up there right now than they are down here. But for you to allow Vancouver and Victoria to get going it has such a huge impact on our business and not just us.

“We just don’t understand it and we can’t get any answers and I guess that is the biggest frustration.”

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week reported Tuesday morning that the WHL “has formally requested exemption from Interior Health’s indoor spectator limit of 50 per cent of a facility’s capacity.”

The newspaper got its hands on an email sent by Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, to Dr. Sue Pollock, the IHA’s interim chief medical health officer, on Monday.

“Given the preventative measures we have taken, combined with the public health guidelines currently in place in the province of B.C., we believe that WHL games in Kamloops and Kelowna represent no significant risk to the Interior public health system,” the email reads.

“With this in mind and given our proven track record with the WHL hub centres in Interior B.C., we would formally request that the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets be granted an exemption from the indoor events capacity order and be permitted to operate at 100 per cent spectator capacity.”

In his story, Hastings pointed out that “there has been some confusion as to whether the 50 per cent capacity limits in Interior Health were eliminated by last week’s decision to lift capacity limits. Interior Health stated it would have clarification by Oct. 23, but the health authority did not address the matter by that date and has yet to respond to myriad media requests for answers on the issue.”

At a media briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Henry claimed that the situation is fluid.

“We’re looking at this on a day-to-day basis,” she said, “and I do believe it will be settling in the next few days and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to lift restrictions and get back to those important hockey games and arts and other events safely and very soon.”

At the same time, Dr. Henry explained: “Where we are still seeing high rates of transmission and low rates of immunization, those are all things that are important and we take into account.”

She also stated that “we’re not at the point where we feel we can take that risk of allowing that type of activity to occur with the stresses that are on the healthcare system right now.”

It would seem then that the Blazers, Cougars and Rockets are out of lock for the immediate future.

As for Robison’s request, perhaps he should have emailed Dr. Henry because she’s the one who pulls the strings.


Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, in a column on former football coaches Jon Gruden and Nick Rolovich, one of whom emailed his way out of the Las Vegas Raiders’ organization and the other of whom was fired as Washington State’s head football coach because he refused to be vaccinated:

“Too often coaches, operating in their own little fiefdoms, are insulated from the real world. They are awarded absurd amounts of power, compensation and fealty for coaching a sport. A study of the highest-paid state employees in 2021 reveals that in 41 states, the highest paid state employee is either a basketball or football coach (including California, where the dubious honor goes to UCLA football coach Chip Kelly).”

Yes, Rolovich was the highest paid state employee in Washington.

BTW, if you aren’t familiar with the Rolovich situation, well, Google is your friend. He has since filed a lawsuit against Washington State claiming that he was fired because of his — wait for it — Catholicism.

——

Headline at fark.com: “The NFL has investigated all the emails, and found it was only Jon Gruden being racist and homophobic. Trust us. Pinky swear. Honest.”

——

As you will be aware, Jon Gruden’s emails surfaced in an NFL investigation into the operation of the Washington Football Club. Despite going through 650,000 emails, the NFL claimed only some from Gruden were found to be sketchy. As Nick Canepa of The San Diego Union-Tribune put it: “Football’s Warren Report. Gruden acted alone.”


Clowns


Three notes from Jack Todd in the Montreal Gazette: “With their roster, the Los Angeles Lakers are a lock for the 2012 NBA championship. . . . The only way a World Series between the can-banging Astros and the tomahawk-chopping Braves could be worse is if the Blue Jays had made it. . . . . Has it occurred to Tyler Bertuzzi that he’s a really rotten teammate?”


It’s believed that Tyler Bertuzzi, a forward with the Detroit Red Wings, is the only unvaccinated player left in the NHL. That’s because G Mackenzie Blackwood of the New Jersey Devils got his first vaccination last week. He has begun the process but will have to follow the NHL protocols for unvaccinated players until two weeks after he gets a second dose. . . . You wonder if the fact that he has a chance to be part of Canada’s Olympic team factored into his decision to finally get vaccinated?


We have news from Calgary . . .


As of Tuesday afternoon, the Chicago Blackhawks had five players in COVID-19 Covidprotocol — F Jonathan Toews, F Henrik Borgstrom, F Patrick Kane, D Riley Stillman and F Jujhar Khaira — along with assistant coaches Marc Crawford, Tomas Mitell and Jimmy Waite. . . . The Blackhawks, who have yet to win this season (0-5-1), face the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. . . .

The St. Louis Blues placed F Ryan O’Reilly and F Brandon Saad on the non-roster COVID list on Tuesday. . . . O’Reilly has tested positive and is experiencing symptoms. He will miss at least four games. . . . Saad sat out the past two games and is expected to miss at least two more, including Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. . . . The Blues are 5-0-0 in the early going of this season. . . .

The Minnesota Wild is on a road trip without assistant coach Darby Hendrickson, goaltender coach Freddy Chabot and video assistant T.J. Jindra, all of whom are in COVID protocol. . . . Wild general manager Bill Guerin was in protocol and will rejoin the team in Seattle on Thursday. . . .

Matt Nagy, the head coach of the NFL’s Chicago Bears, announced on Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. They had placed RT Elijah Wilkinson and LB Caleb Johnston on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Sunday morning. . . . The Bears are scheduled to entertain the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon. . . .

The Green Bay Packers (6-1) have placed WR Davante Adams and WR Allen Lazard on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, meaning they’re not likely to play Thursday night against the host Arizona Cardinals (7-0). As well, Green Bay defensive co-ordinator Joe Barry tested positive on Monday. . . . Meanwhile, the Cardinals, who had bye last weekend, have activated DL Zach Allen and LB Chandler Jones from the list.



Unsubscribe


You may be aware that there was some nasty weather off the West Coast coming WHLout of the weekend and that it resulted in the cancellation of a number of ferry sailings to and from Vancouver Island. As a result, the WHL had to reschedule a Tuesday night game that had been scheduled for Prince George. The Victoria Royals were to have been in Prince George for the fifth straight game between these teams — the Cougars won the first four. . . . But the Royals weren’t able to get off the island, so that game has been moved to Jan. 18. . . . The Royals are still scheduled to be in Prince George for a game tonight. . . . Victoria, with nine roster players injured, is scheduled to meet the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday and the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . BTW, the Royals have dropped Austrian G Sebastian Wraneschitz, 19, from their roster. He was selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . .

Meanwhile, there was one WHL game on Tuesday night . . .

In Red Deer, the Winnipeg Ice ran its record to 10-0-0 with a 3-1 victory over the Rebels. . . . The last WHL team to open a season with 10 straight victories? The 2014-15 Kelowna Rockets. . . . F Skyler Bruce (6) broke a 1-1 tie at 1:48 of the third period and F Connor McClennon (9) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . F Arshdeep Bains played in his 200th regular-season game with the Rebels (6-4-1). . . . The Ice has outscored its opponents, 61-18. . . . The Ice is scheduled to visit the Calgary Hitmen (4-3-0) tonight and the Edmonton Oil Kings (6-2-1) on Friday.


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “St. Louis pitching prospect Dalton Roach was bitten by a black bear while bow hunting in Wisconsin. Cubs-Cardinals vitriol, it appears, knows no offseason.”

——

Perry also spotted this tweet from Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register: “Congratulations to the first person who said Kyrie Irving finally found a shot he couldn’t take.”


Headline at @TheOnion: Astros Hope Victory Will Inspire Kids To Break Rules Without Punishment.

——

Headline at The Beaverton: No one on Raptors has the heart to tell Drake he’s not on the team.


Stupid


I’ve got a couple of early Christmas presents for you, both from Jeff Pearlman, who knows his way around a keyboard. Both of these pieces are lengthy, so don’t think you’ll read them both in one sitting. Set one aside for a different pot of coffee or tea.

First, right here is a list of what Pearlman calls his “64 favourite sports writers of 2021.”

And then there’s this right here. . . . Pearlman’s list of what he considers to be the top 50 all-time sports books.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings have signed general manager and head coach Cody Mapes to a three-year contract that will run through the 2023-24 season. Mapes had been an assistant coach with the Red Wings for two years. He was promoted on Aug. 4 after the Red Wings dropped GM/head coach Rich Pilon on Aug. 4, with team president Brent Stephanson saying at the time that “there are no further details at this time due to legal reasons.” . . . The Red Wings are 3-6-2 and tied for third place in the four-team Viterra Division. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders have added F Carter Massier, 20, to their roster and dropped F Michael Horon, 20. After being dropped by the Regina Pats, Massier had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . .

Former Kamloops Blazers D Nolan Baumgartner, now an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, will be inducted into the AHL Hall of Game on Feb. 7 in Laval, Que. Baumgartner played in 878 AHL games, splitting them between the Portland Pirates, Norfolk Admirals, Manitoba Moose, Philadelphia Phantoms, Iowa Stars and Chicago Wolves. He also was an assistant coach for five AHL seasons with Vancouver affiliates in Utica, N.Y., and Chicago.


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.


Tinfoil

Silvertips now have interim GM . . . Rockets lose assistant coach . . . QMJHL final all even after four games

Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, now is also the WHL Everettteam’s interim general manager. The Silvertips announced on May 21 that the contract of general manager Garry Davidson wouldn’t be renewed. Davidson had a highly successful nine-year run as the team’s general manager, but the team said that cutbacks have been necessitated by the pandemic. The WHL’s 2019-20 season was ended prematurely by the pandemic, and teams haven’t played in front of fans since then. There also haven’t been any playoff games, which are a healthy revenue stream for WHL teams. . . . Williams has spent four seasons as Everett’s head coach, twice being named the Western Division’s coach of the year. . . . Before joining the Silvertips, Williams spent three seasons as the general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls for four seasons. At the time, the Thunder and Bulls were owned by Consolidated Sports Holdings, which owns the Silvertips. Bill Yuill of Medicine Hat is CSH’s CEO. . . . In a weekend column by Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald, Zoran Rajcic, CSH’s chief operating officer and the Silvertips’ president and COO, made it clear that the decision not to bring back Davidson was made by “corporate.” . . . “It’s been a very difficult decision that corporate looked at,” Rajcic told Patterson.


Flay


Vernon Fiddler is leaving his position as an assistant coach after two seasons Rocketswith the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. He had signed on with the Rockets on July 3, 2019. In leaving the organization, Fiddler said he wants “to take more time to be with my family.” . . . Before joining the Rockets, he was helped out the coaching staffs with the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the AHL’s Texas Stars. . . . Fiddler is a former Rockets player (1997-2001) who went on to play 14 seasons in the NHL. . . . The Rockets have begun searching for a replacement to work alongside head coach Kris Mallette. Also on staff are goaltender coach Adam Brown and skill development/assistant coach Curtis Hamilton.


Katie Macleod was the Wheat Kings’ director of operations and ticket sales. Also leaving the franchise’s business operation is Rick Dillabough, who had been the director of sponsorship and business development. Dillabough, who had been with the Wheat Kings for more than 30 years, announced his retirement in May and worked his final day on Monday.


It was bright and early on Tuesday morning when a regular reader of this site sent me an email informing that “I did hear the former guy agrees with the Leafs that they didn’t lose their last game, either.” . . . On the subject of Monday night’s Game 7, Jack Todd, who often contributes to the Montreal Gazette, has his biting take on “The team Hockey Night forgot” right here.


In the QMJHL, the Val-d’Or Foreurs beat the Victoriaville Tigres, 4-1, on Tuesday night, evening the best-of-seven championship final, 2-2. . . . They’ll play Game 5 on Thursday. The entire series is being played in Quebec City. . . . On Tuesday night, the Foreurs fell behind 1-0 early in the first period, then scored three times in the second period, the last two of those goals coming at 18:19 and 19:05.



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

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Bryan Collier is the Tri-City Americans’ new equipment manager. He has WHL experience, having helped out the Seattle Thunderbirds where his father, Brent, has been the assistant equipment manager since 1994. Bryan most recently was with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. . . . Derian Hatcher has stepped aside after five seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. He and David Legwand, both former NHL players, are co-owners. Hatcher will remain as the team’s governor. . . . Dave Hnatiuk has signed a five-year contract as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Grand Forks Border Bruins of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He spent three seasons (2016-19) as an assistant coach with the U of Regina Cougars before signing on as head coach of the Selkirk College Saints of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League. Selkirk College, which is based in Castlegar, announced in March that it was discontinuing the hockey program. Hnatiuk takes over from John Clewlow, who signed a five-year extension in July 2019 but isn’t coming back. The Border Bruins are under new ownership, with Dr. Mark Szynkaruk and his wife, Tracey, have purchased the franchise from the local non-profit group that had owned it.


Jimmy

Todd: No vaccine for what ails NHL . . . Bedard, Stankoven, Canada are big in Texas . . . WHL’s Americans opening sections for vaccinated fans

Donkey


When the NHL awoke on Thursday, it should have been awash in T.J. Oshie and Marc Andre Fleury, Anze Kopitar and David Backes.

Oshie, a forward with the Washington Capitals, scored three goals on nhl2Wednesday night. It was his first game back following the death of his father, Tim, at 52, from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Fleury and his Vegas Golden Knights won another game on Wednesday night. This one was Fleury’s 490 regular-season victory, moving him into third place on the career list.

Kopitar, the captain of the Los Angeles Kings, earned his 1,000th regular-season point on Wednesday night.

Yes, there was lots for the NHL to celebrate.

But, by Thursday morning, none of those things mattered unless you were related to one of those three players.

Instead, any NHL-centred conversation was all about the shenanigans that had taken place at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. And then the NHL threw more gasoline on the conversation by announcing that it had fined the New York Rangers $250,000 for going public with its disgust over the league’s decision not to hit Washington F Tom Wilson with anything more than a $5,000 fine for his actions in a Monday night game.

And then, not long after announcing it had fined the Rangers, the league, as if to try and prove that this all really was part of a Saturday Night Live skit, announced it has cut a sponsorship deal with Clorox, which now is the “official cleaning and disinfecting product partner of the NHL.”

You just can’t make this stuff up. You just can’t.

——

Jack Todd, a regular contributor to the Montreal Gazette, sat down at his keyboard on Thursday morning and wrote this piece right here that kind of explains the NHL in about 1,200 words.

As Todd wrote, “The NHL is a sick league and for this sickness, there is no vaccine in sight.”

——

——


Team Canada won the gold medal at the IIHF U18 World championship in CanadaFrisco, Texas, on Thursday, beating Russia, 5-3, in the final. . . . Canada last won this tournament in 2013 in Sochi, Russia. . . . Sweden won the bronze medal, whipping Finland, 8-0, earlier in the day. . . . Canada got two goals F Shane Wright, its captain, F Brennan Othmann, F Logan Stankoven and F Connor Berard. . . . Stankoven, who plays for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, gave Canada a 4-2 lead at 16:39 of the second period and that goal stood as the winner. . . . Stankoven finished with four goals and four assists in seven games. . . . Russian F Matvei Michkov was named the tournament MVP. He scored his tournament-leading 12th goal in the final. He also led the tournament with 16 points. . . . F Shane Wright, Team Canada’s captain, and Bedard tied for second, with 14 points. Wright, who played five of his team’s seven games, had a team-high nine goals. . . . Bedard had a goal and an assist, to finish the tournament with seven goals and seven assists in seven games. He tied the tournament record for most points (14) by a 15-year-old and now shares it with F Connor McDavid, who did it in Sochi in 2013.


Teleport


The Tri-City Americans didn’t play on Thursday night, but they’ll will be in Americansaction at home tonight against the Seattle Thunderbirds, and they will have five sections open to fans who have been vaccinated. . . . Fans will have to show proof of vaccination. . . . From a news release: “There will not be refunds or exchanges if you cannot show proof of vaccination. A face-covering must be worn at all times except while actively eating or drinking. Children ages 2-15 may sit in the vaccinated section, but only with proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72-hours of the game.” . . . Meanwhile, there were two WHL games last night . . .

G Sebastian Cossa stopped 29 shots as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the host TigersMedicine Hat Tigers, 3-0. . . . Edmonton finished its season at 20-2-1 with its second straight win, while the Tigers wound up at 14-8-1. . . . This was the final game of the schedule involving the five Alberta teams. . . . Cossa, who is eligible for the NHL’s 2021 draft, put up four shutouts in 19 appearances. Last season, as a freshman, he had four shutouts in 33 games. This season, he finished 17-1-1, 1.57, .941. . . . F Scott Atkinson, the Oil Kings’ captain who was playing his final WHL game, opened the scoring with his sixth goal at 10:26 of the first period. . . . F Logan Dowhaniuk (5) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 16:32 of the second. . . . F Kaid Oliver (11) got the empty-netter. . . . F Ethan Cap, also playing his final WHL game, drew two assists. . . . The Tigers got 25 stops from G Garin Bjorklund. . . .

In Kelowna, the Kamloops Blazers got two goals from each of F Orrin Centazzo Kamloopsand F Matthew Seminoff as they beat the Victoria Royals, 5-1. . . . The Blazers, who have won three in a row, now are 15-4-0. They went 6-0-0 against Victoria in this developmental season. . . . The Royals (2-15-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Centazzo, who has five goals, opened the scoring at 4:00 of the first period and made it 2-0, on a PP, at 1:26 of the second. . . . Seminoff made it 3-0 at 6:01 and F Caedan Bankier (9) upped the lead to 4-0 at 7:22. . . . F Tarun Fizer (6) got Victoria’s goal 12 seconds into the third period. . . . Seminoff finished the scoring with his 10th goal at 12:12. . . . F Josh Pillar helped out with three assists. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 28 shots for Kamloops. He is 13-3-0, 2.36, .915.


Media coverage of the WHL has taken a hit with the news that Greg Harder, the Regina Leader-Post’s man on the Pats beat for more than 20 years, has left sports. Harder, who absolutely owned the Pats/WHL beat in that city, now is the newspaper’s arts and features editor. . . . Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post has more on Harder right here. . . . Vanstone’s piece doesn’t mention whether Harder will be replaced in the sports department, but recent history would indicate that won’t happen. The Leader-Post sports department that once was home to 10 or 12 writers and copy editors now is down to two.


Yes, today is May 7. And, yes, Green Shirt Day was on April 7. . . . But what’s to keep us from promoting organ donation on the seventh day of every month, saving the really big annual push for April 7? . . . If you have even had a glimmer of thought about registering for organ donation, do the research and ask some questions. . . . And if you have thought about being a living kidney donor, again, please do the research and ask the questions. Be sure to investigate the Living Kidney Donor Program. You will learn, for example, about how you are able to be a living donor without being a blood-type match for any one person in particular. Yes, you can look it up!

And, hey, happy Green Shirt Day for May.

——

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

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Lie

$catter$hooting on a $unday night while wondering why the NHL didn’t $crub the re$t of the Canuck$’ $ea$on . . .

Scattershooting2

It’s hard to restrain the enthusiasm for the Vancouver Canucks after watching Canuckstheir 3-2 OT victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night. . . . But based on that one game Travis Green should be the favourite for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year. . . . Oh, and maybe the Canucks’ ownership might see fit to sign him to a contact before he chooses free agency after this season. . . . If you aren’t aware, Green was one of the 20-plus folks in the Canucks organization who tested positive for COVID-19 — and that doesn’t include numerous family members. Green also was quite ill. . . . If you are wondering what he went through, Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet has that story right here.

Full marks to Canucks G Braden Holtby for his performance on Sunday. He was solid all night, but it was his early play that allowed the Canucks to get their legs underneath them and gave them time to come to the realization that, yes, they could still play this game at a high level. . . . Kudos, too, to D Tyler Myers. His season to date has been so-so, but he was a minute-eater in this one, especially after D Alex Edler was tossed with a kneeing major. Myers also made a terrific play to get F Bo Horvat started towards the play that resulted in the game-winner. . . . It’s the Canucks and Maple Leafs from Vancouver again on Tuesday night. It should be just as interesting as was Sunday’s game. . . . Vancouver assistant coach Newell Brown was missing on Sunday because of COVID-19.


Dorothy . . . Kamloops Kidney Walk . . . June 6, virtually . . . Join her team with a donation right here. You’ll be glad you did!



Old friend Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times dug up this nugget — “Stumpycricket blogger Jack Mendel, to News.com.au, on cricket officials wanting to change the term ‘wickets’ to ‘outs’ to attract new fans: ‘Utterly, utterly nonsensical semantic bollocks . . . It almost feels like they are trying to de-cricket cricket.’ ”

It could be said that’s what MLB is trying to do by allowing each team to start extra innings with a runner on second base — trying to de-baseball baseball.


A statue of the late Fred Sasakamoose, the first hockey player with treaty status to play in the NHL, is being commissioned and is likely to be placed near the entrance to Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre. . . . COVID-19 claimed Sasakamoose in hospital on Nov. 24. . . . His story — Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s First Treaty Indigenous Player — is to be released to book stores on May 18.


Fraser Downs, a harness racing track in Cloverdale, B.C., closed its door after Friday night’s races. According to Harness Racing BC, it simply couldn’t make ends meet without receiving money from the casino that it isn’t allowed to operate in these pandemic times. The closure put 135 people out of work.


——

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle attended an Oakland A’s home game the other night. Afterwards, he wrote: At the A’s ballpark, I interviewed one of those cardboard fans, the only one that was not smiling. Said the fan, “I wasn’t cut out for this.”


Apple


The Minnesota Twins had Saturday and Sunday games against the host Los Angeles Angels postponed because of positive tests, and now their Monday series-opener in Oakland against the A’s also has been postponed. The reason? MLB says it’s “to allow for continued testing and contact tracing involving members of the Twins organization.” The Twins have had at least three players and one staffer test positive.

——

A quick note from Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe: “Minnesota Twins’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons declined a COVID-19 vaccine last week, and Wednesday tested positive. Another reminder there is no correlation between athletic ability and intelligence.”



Seattle University informed students this week that it now has a requirement that “all SU students —undergraduate, graduate and professional — be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and report it to the university prior to arriving on campus in the fall. Additional details will be provided in the coming weeks, but students will be required to register their vaccination status once completed.”


The pitching mound in the six-team independent Atlantic League will be moved back one foot, to 61 feet, six inches, for the second half of the season. It’s an experiment being conducted at the behest of MLB, which badly wants to see fewer strikeouts and more balls in play.

Here’s former starting pitcher Mike Krukow, now a broadcaster with the San Francisco Giants in conversation with Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“I’m really not sure what to think about it. Nobody does — you can’t know until you try it. This could have a big effect on breaking pitches, which are the hardest to command. Just in general, though, the players’ union could prevent all this with a widespread emphasis on situational hitting — using the whole field, a style that worked so well for years and really keeps the fans interested. Now we have to change the rules because players can’t make the adjustment? To me, that’s insulting.”

He’s right.

The complete column is right here.


If MLB really wanted fewer strikeouts and more balls in play, it could start by putting the New York Yankees’ season on hold. If you haven’t noticed, the Yankees can’t hit and can’t catch the ball. Manager Aaron Boone is lucky that George Steinbrenner no longer is with us, because he would have brought back Billy Martin by now. Yes, I know that Martin no longer is with us. The Boss still would have made the change.


D Bill Mikkelson of the 1974-75 Washington Capitals finished at minus-82, the worst plus-minus in NHL history, on a team that wound up 8-67-5. As he told TSN: “We had a good team. We were just in the wrong league.”


The QMJHL’s regular season is over, with playoffs of some sort set to begin on qmjhlnewTuesday. . . . The 18 teams in the league played between 27 and 43 games. . . . The Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Moncton Wildcats and Saint John Sea Dogs, the league’s three New Brunswick-based teams, open a nine-game round-robin tournament on Tuesday. There aren’t any playoffs for the other Maritimes teams because of travel restrictions. . . . The round-robin is scheduled to end on May 2, with the winner meeting the Charlottetown Islanders in the Maritimes Division final. The Islanders finished with the QMJHL’s best record (35-5-0). . . . The Maritimes winner and three Quebec-based teams that emerge from their series will meet in a bubble event to decide the championship.


Wolves


In the WHL on Sunday . . .

D Braden Schneider came out of the penalty box to score the winner in OT as the BrandonBrandon Wheat Kings got past the Winnipeg Ice, 5-4, in Regina. . . . F Peyton Krebs (10) had given the Ice a 4-3 lead, on a PP, at 15:23 of the third period. . . . F Ridly Greig, who was in the penalty box when Krebs scored, tied it at 18:34. . . . Schneider took a headshot minor at 19:49 of the third period, then scored the winner, his fourth goal this season, at 1:56 of OT. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (8) and F Marcus Sekundiak (2) scored first-period goals for Brandon, with F Jakin Smallwood (11) counting for Winnipeg at 19:35. . . . F Owen Pederson (11) got the Ice into a tie at 4:08 of the second. . . . D Neithan Salame (3) put the Wheat Kings back out front at 13:31. . . . Ice F Connor McClennon tied it at 8:16 of third period with his 13th goal. He also had two assists as he ran his point streak to 12 games. He has nine goals and 11 assists over that stretch. . . . Brandon (15-3-2) has won four in a row; it went 4-0-0 against Winnipeg in this shortened season. . . . The Ice now is 13-5-1. . . . Winnipeg was 3-for-8 on the PP; Brandon was 1-for-4. . . . F Ben McCartney drew four assists for the Wheaties. . . . Krebs added three assists to his goal and now is on an 18-game point streak. He was blanked in the season’s first game and now leads the Regina hub with 35 points, 25 of them assists. . . .

F Drew Englot’s first goal of the season broke a 3-3 tie as the Regina Pats beat Patsthe Prince Albert Raiders, 4-3. The game was played in the Regina hub, but the Pats were the visiting team. . . . Englot scored his first goal, on the PP, in 19 games at 17:59 of the second period. . . . The Pats (7-9-3) had lost three in a row. . . . The Raiders (7-9-3) had been 3-0-1 in their past four outings. . . . F Cole Dubinsky and F Carter Chorney (3) gave Regina a 2-0 lead before F Tyson Laventure got the Raiders on the board at 9:03 of the second period. . . . Dubinsky (4) upped Regina’s lead to 3-1 just 48 seconds later. . . . Laventure scored his fourth goal of the season at 14:28 and D Tre Fouquette (1) tied it at 15:50. . . . Laventure has four goals and three assists this season, all against the Pats. . . . Fouquette, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, also added an assist in just his second WHL game. . . . The Raiders lost F Justin Nachbaur in the first period with a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on F Braxton Whitehead. . . .

The host Everett Silvertips scored three third-period goals as they skated to a Everett6-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Ethan Regnier completed his first WHL three-goal game at 15:33 of the third period. He’s got six goals. . . . Regnier and F Jalen Price (1) gave Everett a 2-0 lead with second-period goals. . . . Everett F Brendan Hunchak, who turned 18 on April 10, earned the primary assist on Price’s goal for his first career point in his eighth game. He is the son of former WHL coach Dave Hunchak. . . . F Seth Jarvis (7) got Portland on the board at 11:42 of the second, but Regnier got that one back at 16:23. . . . D Ryan McCleary (2) pulled the Winterhawks to within one at 19:36. . . . The Silvertips put it away with third-period scores from F Hunter Campbell (5), F Ryan Hofer (3) and Regnier. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the victory with 37 stops. . . . Everett is 11-3-0 after its second straight win. . . . Portland (6-5-3) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . .

G Trent Miner stopped 27 shots and F Tristen Nielsen scored three times as the VancouverVancouver Giants beat the host Kamloops Blazers, 4-0. . . . Miner leads the WHL with four shutouts. He blocked 30 shots in a 4-0 victory over the Blazers on April 5. . . . The Giants (7-3-0) have put up five shutouts in their 10 games. . . . Nielsen enjoyed his second natural hat-trick of the season as he gave the Giants a 4-0 lead with the game’s last three goals. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (3) got the game’s first goal at 3:34 of the first period. . . . Nielsen, who has 11 goals in 10 games, scored at 11:01 of the first period and 9:20 and 18:07 of the second. . . . The Blazers (7-2-0) had won their previous three games. . . .

F Carter Souch scored twice and added an assist to help the Edmonton Oil Kings Edmontonto a 5-3 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Souch, who has four goals, opened the scoring at 9:23 of the first period. . . . F Josh Williams (9) made it 2-0 at 17:24. . . . F Dino Kambeitz, who had sat out the Hurricanes’ last two games, scored his fourth goal 40 seconds into the second period. . . . The Oil Kings came back with goals from F Caleb Reimer (2) and Souch at 1:44 and 2:15 for a 4-1 lead. . . . F Carson Latimer (5), who also had two assists, had Edmonton’s other goal, while F Logan Barlage (5) and F Noah Boyko (9) finished Lethbridge’s scoring. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours ran his point streak to 15 games with one assist. He’s got 26 points, 20 of them assists, during his tear. . . . The Oil Kings now are 14-1-1. . . . The Hurricanes are 7-8-2. . . . On Saturday, Lethbridge went into Edmonton and won 6-5 in a shootout after losing 4-0 to the visiting Oil Kings on Thursday.


Manitoba


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.


Editor

Sweden loses fourth coach to virus . . . Germany has another positive test . . . Sask. curling clubs, hockey teams hit by outbreaks


It has been confirmed that F Xavier Simoneau, 19, of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs and D Daemon Hunt, 18, of the WHL’s Moose Jaw 2021WJCWarriors  Wheat Kings tested positive during the Canadian national junior team’s training camp in Red Deer. Both players were among five players sent home on Tuesday because they were, according to Hockey Canada, “unfit to play.”

Jonathan Habashi of the Drummondville L’Express wrote that according to his information, “Simoneau was diagnosed positive for COVID-19 at the start of the junior Team Canada quarantine.”

Hunt told Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun that he found out he had tested positive on the second day of the quarantine.

“I got symptoms the day we went into self-isolation,” Hunt told Friesen. “I only had a sore throat for a couple of days, and that was about it.”

It could be, then, that at least four players tested positive early in the camp. Hockey Canada announced on Nov. 25 that two players had tested positive and that all players, coaches and staffs were to go into a two-week quarantine retroactive to Nov. 23.

F Ridly Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings tested positive well before the camp and was late getting to the selection camp. He told Danica Ferris of Global Lethbridge on Tuesday that he hasn’t recovered completely and that his lungs still are weak.

Meanwhile, Team Canada held an intrasquad game in Red Deer on Wednesday night with White getting two goals and two assists from F Kirby Dach in a 6-4 victory over White.

——

Sweden’s national junior team has lost a fourth coach with the news that goaltender coach Nizze Landen has tested positive. That makes four players and four coaches, including head coach Tomas Montén, having tested positive in the Swedish camp. Anders Eriksén has moved up from the U-18 team to help Joel Rönnmark, the lone remaining coach on the staff. . . .

Germany suffered its fourth positive test on Wednesday, this one to F Elias Lindner. F Enrico Henriquez-Morales and F Jan-Luca Schumacher have been added to Germany’s camp roster.


The QMJHL, which is on hold at least until early in 2021, will have a trading window open on Dec. 20. The league has yet to decide how long it will last, but this one is going to be different because of COVID-19.

As Stéphane Julien, the head coach of the Sherbrooke Phoenix, told Jerome Gaudreau of the Sherbrooke Tribune:

“There will be a lot of clauses in all transactions. If our club decides to go ahead and aim for the cup, we could go looking for players by adding a COVID clause to the exchange by asking to get something in return if there is no series or if the season is limited to 10 other games. Teams won’t dare to pay top dollar for a player if the season is called off. There will be a few asterisks with each transaction.”


If you are on Twitter, feel free to check out Keith Baldrey’s timeline. He is a political journalist with Global TV in B.C. His account is @keithbaldrey. . . . There was a junior hockey-related exchange there with a number of people, including former SportsTalk host Dan Russell, over the last day or two.


“Nearly two dozen COVID-19 outbreaks were declared for Saskatchewan curling clubs and hockey teams or leagues in less than four weeks — including 10 outbreaks after the sports suspension was in effect,” reports Nicholas Frew of CBC News. “Five curling clubs and at least 17 hockey teams or leagues have had COVID-19 outbreaks since Nov. 13, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s (SHA’s) outbreak list.” . . . Ryan Demmer, University of Minnesota associate professor of epidemiology and community health, was asked how to avoid spread in those environments and replied: “Don’t play hockey, is the simple answer.” . . . That complete story is right here.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Sask. reports 302 new COVID-19 cases, 5 more deaths.

CBC News: Alberta reports 1,640 new COVID-19 cases, 13 more deaths. Province to start rollout of COVID-19 vaccine for acute-care staff next week. There are 685 people in the hospital including 121 in ICU.

rdnewsNOW: Red Deer with 385 active COVID-19 cases.

CBC News: B.C. reports 619 new COVID-19 cases, 16 more deaths. The province aims to immunize 400,000 people against the coronavirus by March 2021, with priority given to residents and staff of long-term care homes and health-care workers.

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,890 new COVID-19 cases, which pushes the 7-day average up to 1,840. Of the new cases, 517 are in Toronto, 471 in Peel Region and 187 in York Region. The province also says there have been 28 additional deaths due to the virus.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 38 additional deaths due to COVID-19. The province also has 1,728 new cases, pushing the 7-day average up to 1,629.

CBC News: 9 more cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Nunavut, all in the community of Arviat on the west shore of Hudson’s Bay. There are now 48 active coronavirus cases in the territory; all are in Arviat, which remains on lockdown.

CBC News: COVID-19 detected in wastewater in Yellowknife, government says. Anyone who was self-isolating in Yellowknife from Nov. 30 until the present should get a COVID-19 test.

Keith Baldrey, Global TV: A couple of months ago Washington state health officials thought they were getting #COVID19 under control. Here are their numbers for the past  week: 19,521 cases. 1042 hospitalizations. 166 deaths. And it’s getting worse.

Philip Rucker, Washington Post: U.S. records more than 3,000 deaths in a single day, a new high.

CNN: 289,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

The New York Times: At least 356,000 more people than normal have died in the U.S. between March 15 and Nov. 21 according to our analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is nearly 20% higher than what would be expected in a normal year.

yahoo.com: California Counties Run Out Of ICU Capacity; Predicted Covid-19 “Surge On Top Of A Surge” Hits; Deaths Spike Dramatically.

The New York Times: Arnie Robinson Jr., who won the gold medal in the long jump at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, died on Dec. 1 from complications of Covid-19. He was 72.

The Onion: South Dakota Unveils New ‘Come Die Here’ Tourism Campaign.

——

The U of Washington has halted all football-related activities because of positive tests. Its scheduled Saturday game against Oregon now is in doubt.


Zach16

——

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


Vic2

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.

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