Paddock: (Bedard) has a no-trade clause . . . Stankoven sparks Blazers past Pats . . . Korczak, Firkus stun Giants

John Paddock will be glad to get home to Regina where he (likely) won’t have to answer any more questions about the possibility of trading away F Connor Bedard.

But before Paddock and his Regina Pats head east, there was a stop in Kamloops Reginaon Wednesday. And, yes, he met with the media and, yes, he was asked . . .

“He has a no-trade clause,” stated Paddock, the Pats’ senior vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach. That conversation is right here, with Paddock having an interesting exchange with Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “He does not want to be traded. He’s not going anywhere. We don’t want to trade him and he doesn’t want to be traded. It’s simple.”

So that takes care of that. OK?

If you are wondering about the WHL’s 22 teams and no-trade clauses, here’s what Kirt Hill of the Edmonton Oil Kings told Postmedia after he dealt D Luke Prokop to the Seattle Thunderbirds.

“When teams are trying to win (championships), it’s tough to get players off their rosters and with the rules in our league now, you can’t trade 15- or 16-year-olds and the majority of high-end 17-year-olds have no-trade clauses.”

With the WHL, sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same.

Here’s part of a piece I posted here on July 24, 2018 . . .

“Taking Note has been told that the WHL has acted in an attempt to put a halt WHLto the number of young players who get traded within the league.

“The move is a reaction to the number of deals that were made in the period leading up to last season’s Jan. 10 trade deadline. . . .

“Taking Note has been told that the league has decided that its teams won’t be allowed to trade any 15- or 16-year-old players who have signed WHL contracts. On top of that, the only time the trading of a 17-year-old player will be allowed is if that player has requested a trade.

“The 17-year-old player will have had to approach the team’s general manager to ask for a trade; a team won’t be able to make the first move, asking said player to waive his no-trade clause. Taking Note was told that the WHL will approach a 17-year-old player’s parents to make sure the procedure was followed.”

A month later, I added this . . .

“It is most unfortunate that the WHL has such an uncomfortable relationship with transparency. It really would be nice if the league would let parents, players, fans, observers and anyone else who might be interested in on the particulars.

“You will recall that the Edmonton Oil Kings and Swift Current Broncos made a deal this week that involved four players and three draft picks. After the deal was announced, there was speculation on social media as to which players had signed and which players hadn’t, and also wondering about the presence of no-trade clauses.

As one observer wrote in an email after that deal was made: ‘So the rules appear to be in effect. Nice of the league to publicize everything so we all know how things work.’ “


Meanwhile, Regina F Connor Bedard told the Kamloops media that he was looking forward to matching up with Blazers F Logan Stankoven last night. In fact, Bedard referred to Stankoven as “probably the best player in the league.”

What? And tou thought Bedard was the best player in the league, didn’t you?

“He’s nuts, what he’s doing,” Bedard said. “I try to watch him a lot. What he’s done in this league is crazy, so I wouldn’t say I’m better than him, but it’s going to be a fun game.”

Bedard and Stankoven were teammates on the Canadian team that won the World Junior Championship in Edmonton in August. And they’ll be teammates again on Team Canada at the WJC that opens in Halifax and Moncton on Dec. 26.

It’s safe to say that Stankoven won the showdown last night.


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour stopped in Kamloops and his Regina Pats dropped a 9-3 decision to the Blazers, who Kamloopsexploded for seven second-period goals. . . . Kamloops (12-5-4) has won two in a row and now leads the B.C. Division by two points over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Pats (12-12-2) had won their previous three games, all in B.C. . . . The announced attendance in the 5,464-seat Sandman Centre was 5,544. . . . The Pats conclude their B.C. Division swing against the Prince George Cougars on Friday. The Cougars announced Wednesday afternoon that the game in the 5,871-seat CN Centre is sold out. . . . Last night in Kamloops, Blazers F Logan Stankoven won the battle with Bedard. Stankoven put up a goal (15) and three assists as his points streak reached 17 games. He is averaging more than two points per game (2.18) with 37 in 17 outings. . . . Bedard scored twice and drew an assist; his point streak hit 25. He now has 57 points, including 24 goals, in 26 games (2.19 per game). . . . The Blazers also got two goals and an assist from each of F Fraser Minten (9) and Caedan Bankier (17), and three assists from D Logan Bairos. . . .

In Edmonton, F Vaughn Watterodt scored twice to help the Saskatoon Blades to Saskatoona 5-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Saskatoon (17-5-0) has won two in a row. . . . Edmonton (4-21-1) has lost four straight. . . . An 18-year-old from Rosetown, Sask. Watterodt went into this season with six goals in 64 career regular-season games. He was scoreless in 18 games with Kamloops before landing in Saskatoon. This season, he has seven goals in 22 games, with six of them coming in his past six games. . . . The Blades held a 24-11 edge in shots, including 8-1 in the third period. . . .

In Portland, the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s first three goals as they Seattleskated to a 3-1 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (16-4-1) closed to within three points of the U.S. Division-leading Winterhawks (17-4-2), who have lost three in a row. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic’s 11th goal, at 7:38 of the third period, proved the winner. . . . D Kyle Korchinski drew two assists for Seattle. . . . F Jack O’Brien (6) scored for Portland at 16:56 of the third period. . . . Seattle got 35 saves from G Thomas Milic. . . .

F Ryder Korczak scored in OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 5-4 victory over WarriorsNewthe Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Warriors (17-9-0) have won four in a row, all in B.C. . . . The Giants are 9-10-5. . . . Moose Jaw erased a 4-2 deficit by scoring the game’s last three goals. . . . F Jagger Firkus (16), who extended his point streak to 19 games, pulled Moose Jaw into a tie when he scored at 19:06 of the third period with an extra attacker on the ice. . . . Korczak (4) won it at 2:41 of OT. . . . Firkus, who also had two assists, was in on each of those last three goals. . . . The Giants got a goal (5) and two assists from D Mazden Leslie, with F Samuel Honzek adding three assists. . . . The announced attendance in the Langley Events Centre was 810 with the Tuesday storm that smashed into the Lower Mainland obviously figuring in that number.


Hearing


THINKING OUT LOUD — It seems that John Paddock, the Regina Pats’ senior vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, isn’t enamoured with any line of questioning that involves the possible trading away of F Connor Bedard. Well, perhaps Paddock will go to the next WHL meeting of the pooh-bahs and suggest that they might want to inject some transparency into the proceedings by explaining — officially — who gets no-trade clauses, who doesn’t and how/if said clauses might be circumvented. . . . That person wearing a mask and standing in front of you in the lineup at the grocery store? Might be immunocompromised, so back up a bit and give them some room. Thank you. . . . There is a truckstop on the Trans-Canada Highway not far from where we live. Today, the price of one litre of diesel was 72 cents more than a litre of regular. Just in case you think prices are going to come down one of these days.


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.


Lottery

Hit by a positive test after almost three years . . . Sold out in Kelowna, or not? . . . Pats, Warriors both win in B.C.

I am going to try and explain what it’s like for someone who is Covidimmunocompromised to navigate through a society filled with politicians, health officials and fellow citizens who couldn’t care less about them, and, furthermore, don’t mind letting them know how they feel just by their inaction.

There are hundreds of thousands of people walking around today who are immunocompromised. Solid organ transplant recipients, cancer patients, people on various kinds of medication . . . the list goes on.

And you wouldn’t know it just by walking past one of them. There is no scarlet “I” on their foreheads. For the most part, they look just like ‘normal’ people.

If you think that number is an exaggeration, consider that the National Kidney Foundation, an American organization, tweeted on Monday that “24,670 people received a kidney transplant in 2021.”

If you do the math it works out to 68 such procedures carried out every single day in the U.S.

I don’t know what the number was for Canada, but I can tell you that, according to BC Transplant, there were 529 organ transplants carried out in this province in 2021, including 340 kidneys, 97 livers, 66 lungs and 22 hearts.

Through Oct. 31, the numbers for 2022 were 242 kidneys, 90 livers, 45 lungs and 20 hearts.

All of the recipients take anti-rejection drugs that prevent their systems from rejecting the foreign body that has been surgically implanted into their bodies. In order to do that, some of those medications work to suppress the immune system.

This is a round-about way to tell you that Dorothy, my wife of 50 years, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning. It’s been more than nine years since she underwent a kidney transplant, so we knew to be careful from the moment COVID hit the fan. We had avoided the bullet for almost three years. She has had five vaccinations; I am to get my fifth this week. We have had our flu shots. We have had our first Shingrix vaccinations. We have been avoiding large crowds. We have been masking up when going for groceries or being anywhere with other people, most of whom, of course, now are unmasked.

For the first couple of years of this pandemic, we ordered our groceries online. We didn’t go into restaurants, choosing drive-thru or pickup instead. We didn’t have guests into our home. We didn’t travel.

Last spring, we loosened up a bit. We decided that we had to live at least a bit. So, on rare occasion, we went inside a couple of our favourite eateries, masking up to go in and unmasking to eat/drink. We brought the Kamloops Kidney Support Group back together for monthly gatherings. We went back to in-person grocery shopping, always wearing masks, of course. Dorothy went back to one of the loves of her life — playing the piano once a week for the residents of a care home.

But, still, it got her, and we haven’t any idea how or when.

Thankfully the scientific and medical communities are there for us. After an exchange of phone calls with staff at Royal Inland Hospital on Tuesday, Dorothy underwent her first infusion of anti-bodies via IV on Wednesday morning. She will be back for a second one on Thursday and a final one on Friday.

By Wednesday afternoon, she was feeling somewhat better. The pounding headache that was there on Tuesday was receding. But the coughing, sneezing and stuffiness still was hanging around.

After she is up and about, hopefully at some point after Friday, we’ll see how things go. We will have to decide whether we want to wade back into the great unmasked community. What about going back into restaurants? What about the much-discussed long COVID, something that is as real as the nose on your face?

As for the anti-vaxxers and the anti-maskers, here’s hoping that your immune systems never go away on you. Here’s hoping that you never need a solid organ transplant. Because if you do you are in for a horrible feeling of loneliness when it hits you that you are expendable to a whole of people out there.

You will find out what it feels like to hear politicians and medical officials “recommend’ the wearing of facemasks rather than mandating it. It will dawn on you that the almighty dollar is more important than the lives of a bunch of people with wonky immune systems or a whole lot of senior citizens.

Yes, you really will find out, and it will sting.

And all of this was/is so avoidable. Mask up. Get vaccinated. Wash your hands.

Please!



TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

It would appear that F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas ReginaTour experienced its first non-sellout in Kelowna. The Pats beat the Rockets, 6-5 in OT, before an announced crowd of 6,407. There were plenty of references on social media to it being a sellout crowd; however, Prospera Place, on its website, lists its capacity for hockey at 6,886. . . . The fans who were in attendance saw F Alexander Suzdalev win it for the Pats with a PP goal at 3:07 of Prospera 2OT. . . . The Pats (12-11-2) have won three in a row, all in the B.C. Division. . . . The Rockets (9-10-2) have lost two straight (0-1-1). . . Suzdalev, who has 14 goals, scored twice and added two assists. . . . Bedard kept his point streak alive with the primary assist on the winning goal. That ran his streak to 24 games. . . . Regina D Stanislav Svozil helped out with four assists. . . . The Rockets got two goals and two assists from F Andrew Cristall (18), who is riding a 12-game point streak. D Caden Price (3) had a goal and two assists, and F Gabriel Szturc had three assists. . . . D Tanner Brown, who is from Kelowna, gave Regina a 5-4 lead with his first goal of the season at 17:32 of the third period. . . . Cristall tied it on a 5-on-3 PP with the goaltender pulled for an extra attacker at 19:08. . . . The Rockets were without F Adam Kydd, 20, who is expected to miss up to six weeks with a fractured foot. He has 11 goals and 12 assists in 20 games this season. . . . The Pats are to face the Blazers in Kamloops tonight and then conclude their B.C. swing against the Prince George Cougars on Friday. . . .

D Denton Mateychuk enjoyed a five-point night as the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Royals, 8-3, in Victoria. . . . The Warriors (16-9-0) have won three in a row. WarriorsNewThey are 3-1-0 on a B.C. Division swing that wraps up tonight with a game against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Royals (3-18-3) have lost nine straight (0-8-1). . . . F Brayden Schuurman (4) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead just 49 seconds into the first period. The Warriors scored the next seven goals. . . . Mateychuk scored his sixth goal and added four assists, leaving him with 25 points in 21 games. . . . F Atley Calvert (12) scored twice and D Max Wanner had three assists for Moose Jaw. . . . Warriors F Jagger Firkus scored his 15th goal as he ran his point streak to 18 games. . . . Victoria F Marcus Almquist has left to join Denmark’s team that is preparing for the IIHF Division I World Junior tournament in Asker, Norway, Dec. 11-17. . . . The Royals also are without veteran G Tyler Palmer, who is on personal leave with his family.


Lego


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Ryan Kuwabara is the new head coach of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs. . . . Jeff Angelidis had been serving as interim head coach since the firing of Daniel Fitzgerald on Nov. 14. Angelidis will stay on as an assistant coach under Kuwabara. . . . There is a news release right here.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Democracy

Victoria fans doff hats for Bedard . . . Howe’s six-pack sparks Pats . . . Firkus, Warriors stun Rockets with late goal

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour made its second stop on Saturday night, this one in Victoria. How’d it go? Well, his team won, he scored three goals and some fans threw hats onto the ice. And when is the last time that happened for a visiting player?

Anyway, the Pats (11-11-2) won the game, 9-5, and now are 2-0-0 in the B.C. ReginaDivision. . . . The Royals (3-17-3) have lost eight straight (0-7-1). . . . The announced attendance was 7,006. That is the largest crowd in Victoria since Feb. 22, 2020, when 7,006 fans watched the Royals beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-3 in OT. . . .

Bedard, F Tanner Howe and D Stanislav Svozil combined for 14 points. . . . Howe, a Prince Albert native who will turn 17 on Monday, scored four times and added two assists. This season, he has 33 points, 15 of them goals, in 23 games. In 87 games over his 16- and 17-year-old seasons, he has 102 points, including 42 goals. . . . Svozil, a sophomore from Prerov, Czech Republic, had a goal and three assists. He has four goals and 20 assists in 21 games this season. . . .

As for Bedard, well, he scored three times — the second time he has done that this season and the fourth time in two seasons — and added an assist as he extended his point streak to 23 games. He leads the WHL in goals (22), assists (31) and points (53). His leads are four, five and 14, respectively. . . . In 101 career regular-season games, Bedard has 181 points, 85 of them goals. . . .

The Royals actually led this game 2-1 at 14:51 of the first period. The Pats scored the next six goals — three by Bedard, two by Howe and one by Svozil. . . . F Jake Poole (13) had a goal and two assists for Victoria, which ws 4-5 on the PP, with F Alex Thacker adding three assists. . . .

The Bedard tour continues with stops in Kelowna on Tuesday and Kamloops on Wednesday. . . . Yes, both building will be sold out. . . . Perhaps the B.C. Division teams could kick back 10 per cent of the gate to Berard?

——

ELSEWHERE IN THE WHL ON SATURDAY NIGHT:

F Tyson Laventure scored three times to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-Lethbridge4 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . The Hurricanes swept the weekend doubleheader, having won 4-3 in Brandon on Friday. . . . Lethbridge (14-10-1) has won two in a row. . . . The Hurricanes are 3-1-0 on a six-game swing that continues Friday in Kennewick, Wash., against the Tri-City Americans. . . . Brandon (8-15-2) has lost two straight. . . . Brent Kisio, the Hurricanes’ head coach, posted his 249th regular-season victory, all of them with Lethbridge. According to Dustin Forbes, the Hurricanes’ radio voice, Kisio is 40th coach in WHL history to get to 250. . . . Laventure, who has eight goals, opened and closed the scoring, and his second goal, at 6:35 of the second period, provided a 4-1 lead and proved the winner. He completed his first WHL hat trick with an empty-netter. . . . F Jett Jones had three assists for the winners. . . .

F Jagger Firkus scored the winner with 18 seconds left in the third period as the WarriorsNewMoose Jaw Warriors beat the Rockets, 4-3, in Kelowna. . . . The Warriors (15-9-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Rockets now are 9-10-1. . . . Firkus (14) had two goals and two assists as he ran his point streak to 17 games. . . . Larry Fisher (@LarryFisher_KDC) pointed out that Firkus and the goaltender he beat, Jari Kykkanen, were U15 teammates in Lloydminster, Alta., for two seasons. . . . F Brayden Yager (13) added two goals and an assist — he set up the winner with a terrific pass on a PP — for Moose Jaw. . . . Moose Jaw had a 3-1 lead until F Andrew Cristall (16) and F Colton Dach (7) got Kelowna even in the latter half of the third period. . . . The Warriors were 3-5 on the PP. . . .

F Riley Fiddler-Schultz’s three-point night sparked the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-Calgary2 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . The Hitmen now are 12-6-3. . . . The Tigers (8-11-5) had won their previous two games. . . . Calgary erased a 1-0 deficit with three second-period goals — from F Zac Funk (7), F Sean Tschigerl (5) and F David Adaszynski (2). . . . Fiddler-Schultz’s 13th goal came with the man advantage as the Hitmen were 3-8 on the PP. . . . The Tigers were 0-6. . . .

F Caedan Bankier broke a 1-1 tie early in the second period and the Kamloops KamloopsBlazers went on to beat the Cougars, 4-1, in Prince George. . . . The Blazers (11-5-4) moved into a tie atop the B.C. Division with the Cougars (13-10-0), who had won their previous four games. Kamloops holds three games in hand. . . . Bankier’s 14th goal of the season came at 4:11 of the second period, and F Fraser Minten (7) added insurance, on a PP, at 8:02. . . . Bankier got his second goal of the game, shorthanded, just 40 seconds into the third period. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven now is on a 16-game scoring streak after drawing one assist. . . . The Blazers got 34 stops from G Dylan Ernst, who is 10-4-2, 2.29, .922 this season. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels scored the first six goals en route to a 6-1 victory over RedDeerthe Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Red Deer (17-4-3) has lost its previous three games (0-1-2). . . . The Raiders (9-13-2) had a four-game winning streak snapped. . . . F Kai Uchacz (18) had a goal and two assists. . . . F Arjun Bawa scored his first WHL goal for the Rebels. He is the son of Robin Bawa, who played in the WHL with the Kamloops Junior Oilers, Kamloops Blazers and New Westminster Bruins. Robin was the first person of Indian descent to play in the NHL. He split 61 games between the Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. . . . Prince Albert is 1-1-0 on a five-game road trip that continues today in Medicine Hat as the Raiders play their third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . .

F Egor Sidorov struck for three goals as the Saskatoon Blades got past the Saskatoonvisiting Winnipeg Ice, 5-2. . . . The Blades (16-5-0) gained a measure of revenge on the Ice, which had beaten them, 6-3, in Saskatoon on Friday. . . . The Ice (22-3-0) had won its previous two games. . . . Sidorov completed his hat trick with the game’s last two goals, at 13:11 and 16:24 of the third period. . . . F Trevor Wong had three assists for Saskatoon. . . . Ice F Ty Nash (12) scored the game’s first goal; he has goals in five straight. . . . Sidorov, now with 12 goals, has played in only 10 games this season. He also has nine assists. . . . The Blades held Pride Night for this one, thus the sharp sweaters in the above tweet. . . .

In Swift Current, the Broncos scored the game’s last two goals to beat the SwiftCurrentEdmonton Oil Kings, 5-3. . . . The Broncos (11-11-0) had beaten the visiting Oil Kings, 5-2, on Friday. . . . The Oil Kings (4-20-1) have lost three in a row. The Oil Kings, the WHL’s defending champions, lost 18 games (50-14-4) all of last season. . . . Edmonton overcame one-goal deficits on three occasions, but couldn’t do it a fourth time. . . . F Josh Filmon (12) broke a 3-3 tie at 13:07 of the third period, and F Mathew Ward (12) added insurance at 18:06. . . .

F Parker Bell had two goals to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 4-2 victory over Tri-Citythe Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans (9-13-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Chiefs (4-15-1) have lost four games. . . . F Carter Streek (6) has goals in three straight after giving Spokane a 1-0 lead at 2:53 of the first period. . . . The Americans scored the next four goals, two of them from Bell (8). . . . Tri-City D Lukas Dragicevic had an assist as he ran his point streak to 15 games.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees now are 23-0-0 this season after posting a 4-2 victory over the Kings in Powell River on Saturday night. . . . The Vees went 9-0-0 in November. . . . They are scheduled to entertain the West Kelowna Warriors on Dec. 3 and then travel to Wenatchee, Wash., for a Dec. 9 date with the Wild.


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.


Lowbridge

Punch hits 90! Happy Birthday!! . . . Aldridge: We have lost the impact of shame in our society . . . Svatos’ brain showed CTE


David Aldridge of The Athletic wrote a superb column on the latest imbroglio involving Kyrie Irving and the New York Nets. Here is just one paragraph:

“We have lost the impact of shame in our society. The notion that certain things shouldn’t be done, and certain things shouldn’t be said, because they would bring shame to us and embarrassment to our families. You didn’t steal candy from the store not just because you feared getting caught and arrested; you didn’t steal because it was wrong, and because if you got caught, you would be ashamed of what you did. So this isn’t just about Kyrie Irving. It’s about a team that, in the pursuit of a championship, seems incapable of self-reflection, of someone saying ‘Whoa. Maybe we shouldn’t do this.’ ”

And then along came the Boston Bruins on Friday to announce the signing of F Mitchell Miller, a player who was a fourth-round selection by the Arizona Coyotes in the NHL’s 2020 draft.

The Coyotes later did some due diligence and discovered an extremely unsavoury situation in Miller’s past, so they renounced his rights. As Sportsnet reported: “Miller . . . had assaulted, bullied and abused a Black classmate with a learning disability.” The victim has said that this went on for years.

No matter. The Bruins, without speaking with the victim’s family, signed Miller to a three-year entry-level deal. He will report to the AHL’s Providence Bruins.


“Marek Svatos, who played parts of eight NHL seasons and skated for Slovakia in the 2006 Olympics in Torino, had the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his death in 2016,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN. “Svatos’ wife, Diana, confirmed his posthumous diagnosis in a series of recent interviews with TSN. Diana – who said the date of her husband’s death has been misreported on the Internet – wanted to speak publicly about Svatos’ life and death because she says it was more complicated than media reports have portrayed.

“Svatos died Nov. 4, 2016, at the age of 34 in his home in Lone Tree, Colo. A coroner reported Svatos had codeine, morphine and anti-anxiety medication in his system when he died, The Denver Post reported at the time. His official cause of death was an accidental overdose, Diana said.”

Svatos played two seasons (2000-02) with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

Westhead’s complete story — it’s a tough but important read — is right here.


Prince


“An upstart Okanagan hockey program is coming under fire by a parent who claims allegations of hazing and cyber bullying within the program are being dismissed,” Wayne Moore of castanet.net wrote earlier this week. “James Kellett levelled those accusations against Okanagan HC which operates three teams (U18, U15 and U14) within the new Junior Prospect Hockey League. The accusations are at this point unproven, but have triggered a public statement and investigation from the league.

“Accusations include hazing, what Kellett termed sexual misconduct involving cyber bullying and other off ice infractions involving the organization. Many came about during a road trip from Sept. 20 to 25 in Edmonton.”

Moore’s complete story is right here.

On Friday, Carli Berry of infotel.ca reported that the RCMP is investigating the situation after “receiving information about misconduct” within the Okanagan HC.

Berry wrote: “RCMP initiated the investigation after receiving information Nov. 3 about misconduct and it is being handled by the Kelowna Vulnerable Persons Section as it involves people under the age of 18, according to a RCMP media release.”



Friday in the WHL . . .

If you aren’t already following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) on Twitter for WHL stats and info, you should be.

The Red Deer Rebels ran their season-opening record to 14-0-0 with a 4-1 victory over the host Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 1967-68 Estevan Bruins RedDeerhold the WHL record for longest season-opening winning streak, at 22 games. . . . The Rebels tied a franchise record with 14 straight victories; the 2001-02 team also won 14 in a row. . . . The Broncos had won their previous four games. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored twice, giving him 13, and added an assist. . . . Uchacz now is tied for the WHL goal-scoring lead, along with F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats, F Austin Roest of the Everett Silvertips and F Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Rebels had a 41-20 edge in shots, including 20-8 in the third period. . . . Next up for the Rebels? Their nine-game road trip continues tonight with stop No. 3, a visit to the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

The Tri-City Americans overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the host Tri-CityBrandon Wheat Kings 4-3 on a goal by D Lukas Dragicevic at 3:11 of OT. . . . Dragicevic, 17, has three goals and nine assists in a nine-game point streak. On the season, he has five goals and 14 assists in 15 games. . . . Tri-City snapped a three-game losing skid; Brandon has lost five straight. . . . The Americans are 2-3-0 in a six-game swing into the East Division that will end with a game tonight against the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Americans trailed 3-1 early in the third period, then tied it on goals from F Jake Sloan, at 7:47, on a PP, and F Ethan Ernst, at 15:16. . . . F Nate Danielson scored one of Brandon’s goals while it was two-men short. . . . F Cash Koch, the 24th overall selection in the 2022 WHL draft, made his Tri-City debut. Koch, 15, is from Calgary. . . .

F Rhett Melnyk’s fourth goal of the season, at 3:57 of OT, gave the host Edmonton Oil Kings a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Carson Golder, a former Victoria player, gave Edmonton a 3-1 lead at 17:52 of the second period. . . . The Royals tied it on goals from F Alex Edwards, at 19:30, and F Anthony Wilson, at 3:56 of the third. . . . Victoria went 1-4-1 on its Central Division trip and now is 3-12-3. . . . The Oil Kings, who had lost nine in a row, are 2-12-1. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen ran their winning streak to five with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The game was played at the 2,000-seat Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina First Nation. Announced attendance was 1,096. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz had a goal and two assists for the Hitmen. . . . The Tigers have lost four straight (0-2-2). . . .

F Samuel Honzek and F Jaden Lipinski scored shootout goals to give the visiting VancouverVancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Honzek and Lipinski also had regulation-time goals for the Giants, who completed their Central Division trip with a 3-2-1 record. . . . F Ty Thorpe had a goal and two assists for the Giants. . . . F Cole Shepherd scored once and drew two assists for Lethbridge, which acquired Shepherd, 20, from the Giants prior the start of the season for a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. . . .

F Robbie Fromm-Delorme set up three goals, two of them on the PP, to lead the PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland scored the game’s first four goals. . . . Seattle F Kyle Crnkovic had his point streak end at 11 games. Acquired from the Saskatoon Blades as the season was getting started, he had at least one point in each of Seattle’s first 11 games. He has seven goals and 10 assists in 12 games. . . . F Jared Davidson, Seattle’s leading scorer, was scratched with an undisclosed injury, while F Mekai Sanders played his first game this season. Sanders last played a game on March 18; he missed all of Seattle’s run to the 2022 WHL final thanks to a knee injury. . . . These two teams will meet 12 times this season, with a second meeting tonight, this time in Kent, Wash. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s final two goals to beat the host Prince Albert Raiders, 3-2. . . . F Riley Ginnell tied it at 4:19 and F Jagger Firkus snapped the deadlock with a shorthanded goal at 5:25. . . . The Warriors are without head coach Mark O’Leary, who is one of the Canadian coaches at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge ongoing in Langley, B.C. . . .

D Ty Gibson scored twice to help the Everett Silvertips to a 5-3 victory over the EverettBlades in Saskatoon. . . . Gibson, a 19-year-old from Victoria, went into the night with three goals in 98 career regular-season games. This season, he has three goals and an assist in 15 games. . . . F Austin Roest scored his 13th goal of the season and added an assist for Everett. This was his fourth straight game with a goal and an assist. . . . The Silvertips are 3-2-0 on a six-game East Division trip that concludes tonight against the Prince Albert Raiders. . . .

The Prince George Cougars got two goals from F Chase Wheatcroft in a 7-2 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs have lost six in a row. . . . The Cougars got three assists from Slovakian D Viliam Kmec. It was the sophomore’s first three-point game; he had four two-pointers last season, the final one on Dec. 10. . . . He has six points, all assists, in 15 games this season.



Grouchy


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Ben Thornton doesn’t have a timeline for returning to play with the Brandon BrandonWheat Kings, but has been cleared to fly so will be rejoining his teammates on Monday. He has been doing what his father, Erin, told Taking Note is “very light exercise this week” and is waiting to see how he responds to that. . . . Thornton was injured on Oct. 14 during a game against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. He absorbed a nasty hit, was taken off the ice on a stretcher and then went via ambulance to Royal Columbia Hospital in New Westminster. He spent on night in hospital and since then has been at the family home in Chilliwack while dealing with concussion-related issues. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees are 15-0-0 after beating the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, 4-0, on Friday night. . . . The Vees are scheduled to entertain the Wenatchee Wild tonight. . . . The Wild improved to 3-9-1 with a 5-4 OT victory over the visiting Merritt Centennials last night. . . .

The Prince George Cougars acquired F Cole Dubinsky, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 4, from the Regina Pats on Friday, giving up F Zackary Shantz, 17, and third-round selection in the 2023 WHL draft in the exchange. . . . The Cougars now have the maximum three 2002-born players on their roster, the others being F Noah Boyko and F Chase Wheatcroft. . . . Dubinsky, from Ardrossan, Alta., was a fourth-round pick by Regina in the 2017 WHL draft. He put up 38 goals and 65 assists in 203 regular-season games with Regina. This season, he had two goals and five assists in 11 games. . . . Shantz, from Sucker Creek, Alta., was a third-round pick by the Cougars in the 2020 WHL draft. A WHL freshman, he is pointless in four games this season. . . . Regina now is carrying three 20-year-olds — F Jakob Brook, D Luke Bateman and D Tanner Brown. . . .

The Kam River Fighting Walleye of the Superior International Junior Hockey League fired head coach Matt Valley on Friday. The Walleye, which plays out of the municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, Ont., was 49-12-2-1 in Valley’s two and a half seasons behind the bench, and he was the SIJHL’s coach of the year for 2021-22. . . . “It was a tough decision for our organization,” general manager Kevin McCallum said, “but we believed we had to make a decision on bringing in a full-time coach.” . . . McCallum and Vern Ray, the hockey operations advisor, will handle the coaching duties while a search for a replacement continues.


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.


Zeuss

Rebels still perfect, tie WHL record . . . Thunderbirds unbeaten, too . . . What happened in the JPHL?

The Red Deer Rebels ran their record to 12-0-0 with a 4-0 victory over the RedDeervisiting Vancouver Giants on Friday. . . . G Rhett Stoesser, a 17-year-old freshman from Carstairs, Alta., stopped 18 shots as he recorded his first WHL shutout in his fourth start. He is 4-0-0, 1.25, .938. . . . The Rebels have tied the WHL record for most victories to open a season. The 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos opened 12-0-0 before dropping a 2-1 decision to the Blades in Saskatoon on Oct. 30, 1988. . . . The Rebels are scheduled to visit the Edmonton Oil Kings (1-11-1) on Sunday. . . .

Meanwhile, in Prince George, the Seattle Thunderbirds stayed perfect (9-0-0) Seattlewith a 5-4 victory over the Cougars. They’ll play there again tonight and resume the triple-dip in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. . . . Last night, Seattle got two goals from each of Jared Davidson and Jordan Gustafson as they got out to a 5-2 lead. The Cougars scored twice in the game’s last two minutes.


The Brandon Wheat Kings drew their largest crowd (5,141) of the young season Brandonon Friday with the Winnipeg Ice in town. According to the Wheat Kings, it also was equipment manager Scott Hlady’s 500th game with the organization. . . . According to Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun, it was the first crowd of more than 5,000 “since 5,621 fans were in the building for a 5-4 shootout win over Moose Jaw on March 17, 2018.” . . . The Ice skated home with a 4-1 victory, ending its season-opening road schedule with a 12-1 record. The same two teams will meet in Winnipeg tonight as the Ice stages its home-opener.



Starbucks


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion) — Jose Altuve Still Can’t Get Over How Small He Looks Out There.


——

Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered addressing rumblings that the Toronto Maple Leafs may be in line for a coaching change, perhaps with Barry Trotz replacing Sheldon Keefe: “It’s interesting to note though, that (general manager) Kyle Dubas has been a GM for three teams in three leagues — the Soo Greyhounds (OHL), the Toronto Marlies (American Hockey League) and the Leafs. In all that time, he has hired only one person to coach his teams, and that’s Keefe.”
You are able to check out Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell right here.

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One more from Campbell: “The (OHL’s) Mississauga Steelheads, who are off to a great start this season, are once again struggling to attract fans. Their lease with the city-run Paramount Foods Centre expires after this season. Steelheads president Elliott Kerr would prefer to stay, but it’s a situation that bears watching. When Kerr bought the team, he said he would give it three years and this is his 11th. He’s lost seven figures easily.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings are down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds after releasing F Cole Carrier on Friday. Carrier, who is from Strathcona, Alta., was a fourth-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2017 draft. He had four assists in seven gams with Edmonton after coming over from the Lethbridge Hurricanes early in the season. In 117 regular-season games, 101 of them with the Regina Pats, he totalled 19 goals and 21 assists. . . . That move leaves Edmonton with D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golder and F Jaxsen Wiebe as its 20-year-olds. Wiebe is serving a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline after going knee-on-knee with F Josh Pillar of the Saskatoon Blades on Oct. 23. The Blades say Pillar is out week-to-week. Wiebe was given a tripping minor on the play in question. . . . Later in the day, the Oil Kings were beaten, 5-0, by the visiting Calgary Hitmen, who got 18 saves from G Brayden Peters. The defending-champion Oil Kings now are 1-11-1. . . .

In Portland, the Kelowna Rockets lost D Noah Dorey to a slew-footing major and game misconduct at 9:41 of the first period. Chances are good that Dorey will miss Game 2 of the weekend double-dip tonight. . . . The Winterhawks weren’t able to score on the five-minute power play, and it came back to haunt them when F Andrew Cristall scored in OT to give the visitors a 4-3 victory. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s last three goals, with Cristall getting them within one at 16:46 of the third period and F Nolan Flamand tying it with 5.6 seconds left. . . .

Prior to meeting the visiting Spokane Chiefs last night, the Kamloops Blazers announced that they had release F Kobe Verbicky, 19. From Victoria, he was a second-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He had one assist in six games this season. In 64 career regular-season games, 38 with Kamloops, he scored three times and added five assists. . . . Later that night, the Blazers, who had lost three straight, scored four first-period goals while outshooting the Chiefs, 24-4, en route to a 5-1 victory. F Logan Stankoven had two goals for the Blazers, who finished with a 62-23 edge in shots. The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . Stankoven now has 17 points, including eight goals, in seven games since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades ran their winning streak to seven games as they beat the Tigers, 2-1, in Medicine Hat. . . . F Tyler Parr scored both of Saskatoon’s goals and they came via the PP. . . . Parr, a 17-year-old sophomore from La Salle, Man., has three goals in 12 games this season. Last season, he scored three times in 58 games. . . . The game was scoreless until Parr struck at 9:52 of the third period. . . .

The host Moose Jaw Warriors got 46 stops from G Connor Ungar in beating the Everett Silvertips, 4-1. F Jagger Firkus scored twice. . . . The Silvertips opened an East Division trip with the loss. . . . The Warriors have won four in a row. . . .

The Victoria Royals’ starting lineup featured five Saskatchewan-born skaters as they met the host Swift Current Broncos last night. The lone exception was G Logan Cunningham of Sherwood Park, Alta., who was making his WHL debut. The starting skaters were forwards Carter Briltz of Regina, Cole Reschny of Macklin and Anthony Wilson of Swift Current, along with defencemen Nate Misskey of Melfort and Kalem Parker of Clavet. Reschny, the Royals’ top pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, third overall, was playing his second WHL game. . . . Things didn’t go well for the Royals, though, as the Broncos struck for two shorthanded goals and one on the PP in a 6-1 victory. . . . F Raphael Pelletier scored twice for the Broncos. . . .

The Ottawa 67’s, the OHL’s last unbeaten team, dropped a 5-3 decision to the host Peterborough Petes on Friday night. The 67’s had opened with nine straight victories. The Petes now are 8-3-1. . . .

In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees now are 13-0-0 after scoring a 4-1 victory over the host West Kelowna Warriors. . . . Next up for the Vees? The Trail Smoke Eaters (6-5-1) are to visit Penticton tonight.


Paper


THINKING OUT LOUD — Now that was a terrific opener for the World Series. It would have been a whole lot better if Fox’s broadcast crew — Joe Davis and John Smoltz — stopped talking on occasion and just let the game breathe. Please, guys, why not allow the viewers to experience the atmosphere a bit. Baseball is a game that sometimes doesn’t need chatter. . . . Late in Game 1, writer Joe Posnanski tweeted: “Nobody in baseball can hit any reliever.” He’s not wrong. . . . What could be more fitting than having Shane Doan and his son, Josh, drop the ceremonial first puck as the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes played their first game at Arizona State U’s Mullett Arena last night? While Shane, who owns a chunk of the Kamloops Blazers, played for the Coyotes, Josh, 20, captains the ASU Sun Devils. . . . The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 28-2 at home over the last two CFL seasons. The Edmonton Elks have lost 17 straight home games. Hmmm.


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.


Drawer

Milestone for Giants’ head coach . . . Rebels continuing record chase . . . BCHL’s Vees are perfect, too



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Vancouver Giants opened a Central Division swing on Thursday night with a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. That was Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck’s 250th head-coaching victory. . . . Dyck, who is in his fifth season with the Giants, picked up 113 victories in three seasons (2006-09) with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The defending-champion Oil Kings, obviously in the early days of a rebuild, are carrying four 20-year-olds, one over the limit, so there will be something happening there. They had F Cole Carrier, D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golden and F Jaxsen Wiebe vying for the three spots. Carrier and Wiebe were scratched last night. Wiebe is serving a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline for something dastardly that happened the other night in a game against the Saskatoon Blades. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels ran their season-opening winning streak to 11 games on Wednesday, beating the visiting Victoria Royals, 6-2. . . . The Rebels’ next game is scheduled for tonight when they are to play host to the Vancouver Giants. . . . A victory over the Giants will give the Rebels a share of the WHL record for victories to open a season; the 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos began with 12 straight on their way to a Memorial Cup title. . . . The 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings hold the WHL record for longest unbeaten streak to begin a season; they opened with 24 wins and five ties. . . .

The WHL’s only other unbeaten team, the Seattle Thunderbirds (8-0-0), are in Prince George for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader with the Cougars (5-5-0). . . . The Cougars are coming off road victories over the Vancouver Giants (5-1) and Kamloops Blazers (4-3 OT), the first time this season they have won consecutive games. . . . The Thunderbirds and Cougars will make it three games in a row when they meet Tuesday in Kent, Wash. . . .

Regina F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 12 games as he picked up one assist as the Pats dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. The game was to have been played on Sunday but was postponed due to inclement weather. . . . The Warriors scored two first-period PP goals — by F Jagger Firkus and F Brayden Yager — and got 19 saves from G Connor Ungar. . . . F Tanner Howe was back in Regina’s lineup after a one-game absence. . . . D Denton Mateychuk was among Moose Jaw’s scratches. . . . Bedard’s assist was his 150th career regular-season point, coming in his 90th game. . . . Bedard continues to lead the WHL in points (20). He and F Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds lead in goals (10), while Bedard and F Owen Pederson of the Winnipeg Ice each has 12 assists. . . . Bedard also has the lead in game-winning goals, with four. . . .

In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees have opened the season on a 12-game winning streak, which is the best start in franchise history. The league’s only unbeaten team improved to 12-0-0 with a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Cranbrook Bucks on Wednesday night. . . . Remember, too, that the Vees closed out last season by winning their last 16 playoff games. Yes, Penticton is on a 28-game winning streak. . . . The Vees are back at home tonight against the West Kelowna Warriors (8-1-0).


Humans


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “It’s a full-blown five-ring circus out there. Eight months have gone by since the Tokyo Olympics, and the U.S. figure-skating team, which finished behind the Russians in the team competition, still hasn’t been awarded a medal — any medal — while the ‘investigation’ into Russian doping continues. NFL replay looks competent by comparison.”


THE COACHING GAME:

The junior A South Shore Lumberjacks of the Maritime Hockey League have signed Kirk Tomlinson as their head coach. Tomlinson, 54, played one season (1984-85) with the WHL’s New Westminster Bruins before moving on to the OHL for three seasons. . . . He takes over from Brad Tesink, who was fired last week. . . . Tomlinson was behind the bench for the first time on Wednesday as the Lumberjacks lost, 5-0, to the visiting Campbellton Tigers. The Lumberjacks now are 2-8-2.


Ice


Dan Daly of DalyOnSports.com, with a pertinent observation: “Too many NFL games this season feel like Week 4 in 1987, when the Real Players were on strike and your gym teacher was playing linebacker.”


THINKING OUT LOUD — The World Series — you do remember that the MLB season isn’t over yet, don’t you? — begins tonight in Houston with the Astros facing the Philadelphia Phillies. Terry Puhl, the pride of Melville, Sask., will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. You may remember that he was a pretty fair centre fielder for Houston back in the day. . . . ICYMI, the Vancouver Canucks won for the first time in this NHL season when they beat the host Seattle Kraken, 5-4, on Thursday night. They now are 1-5-2 and will try to make it two in a row tonight against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . Which team is the NBA’s biggest gong show/soap opera at the moment: Los Angeles Lakers, New York Nets or Philadelphia 76ers? . . . And then there are the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose fans are calling for a coaching change. It seems that Barry Trotz is the apple of their eye these days. Of course, the New York Islanders are paying him US$4 million not to coach this season, so perhaps he won’t be in a hurry to get back into the coaching racket. . . . Don’t forget that the NHL reaches a new low tonight when the Winnipeg Jets visit the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena, the new home of the Arizona Coyotes. Hey, Saskatoon, there’s still hope!


Beatles


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.


Exercise

Ex-WHL goaltender making saves in Ukraine . . . Raiders’ reign gets chilled in Winnipeg . . . Wild and crazy night in Langley

Michael Garnett played two seasons in the WHL, starting with the Red Deer Rebels in 2000-01. He was traded to his hometown Saskatoon Blades during that season, then got into 67 games with the Blades in 2001-02. . . . His pro career included 24 games with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers before he went to the KHL and and ultimately finished up with two seasons with the Nottingham Panthers of the Elite Ice Hockey League. . . . So where is Garnett today? Well, the 39-year-old Saskatoon native and his wife, Rebecca, have spent the past month at the border between Poland and Ukraine working with refugees. . . . Check out their story in the tweet posted below.


Sleep


Allow me to take time to commend Dennis Williams and Michael Dyck, the head coaches of the Everett Silvertips and Vancouver Giants, respectively, for going WHLold school in a playoff game on Wednesday night. . . . It almost was like back in the day when coaches provided some entertainment value and gave folks something to talk about, and often resulted in this question: “Were they just trying to sell tickets?” Ahh, those were the days, when coaches would climb on partitions and try to get at each other, or they would meet under the stands and engage in, yes, fisticuffs. . . .

Williams and Dyck are embroiled in a best-of-seven first-round WHL playoff series that has, at times, gotten a bit heated, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. . . . As Steve Ewen of Postmedia wrote on Thursday, “The benches at the Langley Events Centre are side-by-side and Everett coach Dennis Williams came toward the partition that separates them and began yelling at the Vancouver group, and presumably counterpart Michael Dyck, during a stoppage in play with one minute left and the Silvertips leading 6-2 in Game 3 on Wednesday . . .” . . . Two Vancouver players — D Tom Cadieux and F Matthew Edwards — had been ejected and would miss Friday’s Game 4 with one-game suspensions. . . . When things quieted down and the teams lined up for a face-off with 60 seconds left, Williams chose to call a timeout. . . . Ewen reported that “prompted Dyck to start yelling at the Everett bench.” . . .

Ewen wrote: “Neither Dyck nor Williams was willing to get into particulars after Wednesday’s game about what was said. Dyck admitted he was upset by the timeout, saying it was something that he wouldn’t do at that stage of the game with the score 6-2. Williams admitted he ‘didn’t like’ the Edwards hit on (D Ty) Gibson.” . . . Williams also said that it all was “heat-of-the-moment” stuff. . . . The interesting thing here is that Dyck and Williams have coached together with the Canadian team that played in the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and again with Canada’s national junior team. They didn’t let that stand between them adding some colour to the proceedings. . . . And things didn’t cool off  a whole lot last night as the Giants skated to an 11-6 victory in a wild and crazy Game 4.


Waffles


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Only two teams in WHL history have been the defending champions for three PrinceAlbertseasons or more in a row. The New Westminster Bruins actually ruled for four straight seasons (1974-78), something that involved four consecutive championships. The Raiders’ reign was a bit quirkier; they won the Ed Chynoweth Cup on May 13, 2019, then COVID got in the way so there weren’t any playoffs in 2020 or 2021. That, of course, meant that the WHL hasn’t had another champion since 2019, so the Raiders were the defending champions when this playoff run began. . . . Unfortunately for them, their three-year reign ended on Friday night in Winnipeg as they lost, 8-2, to the Ice, which won the series, 4-1. . . . Here’s a brief look at last night’s goings-on . . .

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., the No. 8 Vancouver Giants got two goals and four assists from VancouverF Zack Ostapchuk, their captain, as they skated to a wild 11-6 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 scheduled for tonight in Everett. They’ll be back in Langley for Game 6 on Monday. . . . Vancouver took a 6-4 lead into the third period, only to have Everett tie it on goals from F Jacob Wright (5), his third of the game, at 0:12, and D Olen Zellweger (2), at 2:49. . . . The Giants responded with the game’s last five goals — Ostapchuk (2), at 5:55, F Colton Langkow (2), at 5:40, F Fabian Lysell (3), at 9:27, D Evan Toth (1), at 14:14, and F Kyle Bochek (1), at 19:46. . . . Everett held a 3-1 lead at 11:16 of the first period, but the Giants scored the next three goals, taking a 4-3 lead when D Alex Cotton scored at 5:00 of the second. . . . F Hunter Campbell (3) tied it at 9:48, with the Giants taking a 6-4 lead on Cotton’s second goal of the game, at 13:32, and Lysell, at 15:47. . . . Cotton also had two assists, for a four-point outing. . . . D Connor Horning had three assists for the winners. . . . Wright also had an assist, giving him four points. . . . Each team had 30 shots. . . . Vancouver was 4-for-7 on the PP; Everett was 2-for-6. . . . Everett F Jackson Berezowski, a 46-goal man, was scratched again. An undisclosed injury has kept him out of the first five games of this series. . . .

In Spokane, F Logan Stankoven scored three times to lead the No. 2 Kamloops KamloopsBlazers to a 3-0 victory over the No. 7 Chiefs. . . . The Blazers swept the series, outscoring the Chiefs, 23-3, in the process. . . . G Dylan Garand blocked 20 shots as he put up his second clean sheet of the series. . . . Kamloops outshot Spokane, 45-20. . . . Stankoven scored at 3:12 of the first period, 18:17 of the second and 5:59 of the third. . . . He finished the four games with 13 points, including seven goals. . . . F Luke Toporowski, acquired by the Blazers from the Chiefs during the season, had two assists.  He put up five goals and five assists in the series. . . . The series opened with three games in Kamloops because the Chiefs’ facility wasn’t available thanks to a concert by Sir Paul McCartney on Thursday night. Had the series continued, Games 5 and 6 also would have been played in Spokane . . . The Chiefs scratched G Mason Beaupit with an undisclosed injury. They got 42 stops from G Cooper Michaluk. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Matt Rempe, who was scratched from Game 4, scored twice, Seattleincluding the OT winner, as the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds beat the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-3. . . . The Thunderbirds won the series, 4-1. . . . The WHL’s online scoresheet has Kelowna F Nolan Flamand scoring the game’s first goal, at 5:09 of the second period. But Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ longtime play-by-play voice, says it was F Max Graham. So who are you going to believe — the scoresheet or the voice? I’m going with Bartel. . . . Seattle took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Jared Davidson (3), at 9:47 of the second period, Rempe, at 7:24 of the third, and F Jordan Gustafson (2), at 10:19. . . . The Rockets tied it on goals 10 seconds apart from D Jake Lee (1), at 12:24, and F Gabriel Szturc (2), at 12:34. . . . Rempe won it with his third goal of the series at 1:20 of OT. . . . The Thunderbirds held a 44-21 edge in shots.

——

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice scored four times in the first period en route to an 8-2 WinnipegIcevictory over the No. 8 Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Ice, which outscored the Raiders, 27-9, won the series, 4-1, and will open the second round at home on Friday against either the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors or No. 6 Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Winnipeg held a 13-1 edge in shots in the first period, and 35-13 through 60 minutes. . . . F Zach Benson (5), who also had an assist, and F Connor McClennon (4) each scored twice for the Ice, with F Mikey Milne (5) also scoring once. . . . F Jack Finley (1) had a goal and two assists. . . . The Ice had F Matt Savoie back in the lineup, and he scored once and added an assist. He missed three games with an apparent leg injury after being hurt in Game 1. . . .

In Red Deer, F Kai Uchacz scored twice as the No. 3 Rebels beat the No. 6 RedDeerBrandon Wheat Kings, 3-1. . . . The Rebels hold a 3-2 lead in the series, with Game 6 scheduled for Sunday in Brandon. . . . Uchacz gave his guys a 1-0 lead, on a PP, just 47 seconds into the game. . . . F Jhett Larson (1) made it 2-0 at 12:32 of the first period. . . . Brandon got to within a goal at 6:28 of the third when D Vincent Iorio (1) scored. . . . Uchacz provided insurance with his second goal of the game and series at 13:03. . . . G Chase Coward earned the victory with 27 saves. . . . This now is the lone Eastern Conference series remaining alive, as the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings and No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors all have advanced to the second round. . . . Should Red Deer win this series, the second round will have Winnipeg meet Moose Jaw and Edmonton play Red Deer. A Brandon victory in seven games would mean Winnipeg gets the Wheat Kings with Edmonton drawing Moose Jaw. . . .

In Moose Jaw, the No. 4 Warriors got out to an early 2-0 lead and were never MooseJaw2headed as they doubled the No. 5 Saskatoon Blades, 6-3. . . . The Warriors swept the series. . . . F Jagger Firkus (3) scored twice and added an assist for the Warriors, giving them a 1-0 lead at 5:55 of the first period and making it 3-1 at 8:52 of the second. . . . F Josh Pillar (3) kept the Blades close with two goals, getting his side to within one twice, at 2-1 and 3-2. . . . F Thomas Tien (1) restored Moose Jaw’s two-goal lead at 5:26 of the third period, only to have F Trevor Wong (1) pull Saskatoon close again, at 12:47. . . . The Warriors iced it when F Atley Calvert (2) scored at 16:22, then F Robert Baco (1) got the empty-netter at 18:09. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (1) had a goal and two assists for the Warriors.


Apple


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: G Garin Bjorklund of the Medicine Hat Tigers has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals. Bjorklund, 19, was selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft. He has been with the Hershey Bears, the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, since signing an amateur tryout agreement with them on April 20. . . .

The QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders and the host Moncton Wildcats were tied 2-2 when the Friday night game went to a shootout. It took 19 rounds before the Islanders won, 3-2. The 38 shooters combined to score five goals. F Xavier Simoneau, the second shooter in the 19th round, won it.


You may think it’s over but it isn’t. Far from it. . . . Valour FC was to have played its Canadiap Premier League home-opener in Winnipeg on Sunday, but that won’t happen. The match has been postponed, according to a news release, “due to league COVID protocols, based on advice from medical experts.” . . . Valour has had at least three players and two coaches test positive. . . . The scheduled opponent, the Hamilton-based Forge FC, was to have flown into Winnipeg today.


Dog


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Monopoly

Hurricanes delete one from staff . . . Blades’ Maier closing in on career mark . . . Oil Kings’ streak now at 13

Earlier this week, I posted a piece here that led with some comments on announced attendance totals at WHL games this season.

Yes, some teams really are struggling at the gate, but there are a number of possible reasons, some of them pandemic related.

Anyway . . . that piece created a lot of interest and a few comments.

So now I’m asking readers to drop me a line and explain why they no longer go to games or why they don’t go to as many games as they once did. Also feel free to comment on what you think the WHL and its teams might do to increase attendance at their games.

You are able to contact me by DM at Twitter (@gdrinnan) or via email at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

Responses will be used for a posting here at some point in the not-too-distant future.


The OHL announced on Thursday that it has “expelled” Terry Christensen, the OHLFlint Firebirds’ president of hockey operations, for conduct that is “prejudicial to the welfare” of the league. An investigation, sparked by an allegation that was made via the OHL’s player communications system, revealed that Christensen had make remarks that violated the league’s Harassment and Abuse/Diversity Policy. . . . “His conduct violated the league’s expectation of the appropriate conduct of a representative of an OHL Team and he has lost the privilege to participate in the League,” the league said in a statement. . . . Christensen had been with the Firebirds since May.

Meanwhile, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet tweeted Thursday morning that “the OHL is launching an independent investigation into the Niagara IceDogs over alleged offensive comments made by people in senior positions on a team group chat.”

Greg Cowan is a sports reporter with the Owen Sound Sun Times:

https://twitter.com/GregCowanST/status/1501969145952407553?s=20&t=mGTe9yMl1lERdkg59YQaXw


The Lethbridge Hurricanes fired assistant coach Jeff Hansen on Friday. Hansen, Lethbridgefrom Calgary, was in his fifth season after spending four seasons as the video coach with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt, in a news release: “Jeff is a good man and a hard worker, and this wasn’t an easy decision, but we felt it was time to make a change. We weren’t happy with the development of our defence and the accountability of our blueline.” . . . The Hurricanes’ coaching staff now comprises head coach Brent Kisio, Matt Anholt, the assistant GM/assistant coach, and video coach Ryan Aasman. According to the news release, those three will run things “for the remainder of the season.”


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

In Brandon, the Winnipeg Ice scored three third-period goals and beat the WinnipegIceWheat Kings, 6-3. F Mikey Milne’s 28th goal of the season, at 2:37 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie. . . . Through a promotion involving Heritage Co-op, fans 18 and older who purchased an adult ticket received a $10 gas card. Announced attendance was 2,880. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Winnipeg. . . . The Ice (38-9-5) leads the East Division by 12 points over the Moose Jaw Warriors. Winnipeg, with five games in hand, trails the Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings by eight points. . . . The Wheat Kings (28-19-5) are a comfortable sixth in the Eastern Conference. . . .

F Braxton Whitehead broke a 3-3 tie at 15:30 of the third period as the host ReginaRegina Pats beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Whitehead has seven goals. . . . Regina F Connor Berard had a goal, his 35th, and an assist as he ran his point streak to 16 games. He has 33 points, including 16 goals, in what is the WHL’s longest active such streak. . . . Lethbridge is 2-3-1 on a seven-game road trip while the Canadian men’s curling championship is in their home arena. The Brier ends on Sunday. . . . Regina (21-27-4) is 11th in the Eastern Conference, but just two points shy of eighth. . . . Lethbridge (23-27-4) is seventh, two points ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Calgary Hitmen, who are tied for eighth. . . . From Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “Factoring in last season, when Bedard debuted as a 15-year-old, he has 99 points (including 47 goals) in 61 games as a WHLer. Bedard is on the verge of tying the Pats’ record for most WHL goals by a player who has yet to turn 17. Jeff Friesen had 48 goals over his first 74 games. He scored three goals in four games as a 15-year-old call-up with the 1991-92 Pats. The following season, he had 45 goals in 70 games en route to being named the CHL’s rookie of the year.” . . .

F Egor Sidorov’s 16th goal, at 2:40 of OT, give the visiting Saskatoon Blades a 3-Blades2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders before a sellout crowd of 2,600. . . . G Nolan Maier turned aside 49 shots for the Blades, but wasn’t selected as one of the three stars. Gee, do you think the Blades are that unpopular in P.A.? Maier now has 117 regular-season victories, three shy of the WHL career record that, according to quanthockey.com, is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . Maier now is tied for fourth with Mac Carruth (Portland, 2009-13), two behind Jordan Papirny (Brandon, Swift Current, 2012-17). . . . F Hayden Pakkala scored twice for the Raiders, giving him nine this season. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Saskatoon, on Nolan Maier Bobblehead Night. . . . The Blades (32-18-4) are fifth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Raiders (22-28-4) are tied for eighth. . . .

In Swift Current, F Jalen Luypen scored twice, the second into an empty net, as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Broncos, 3-1. He’s got 25 goals. . . . The Oil Kings have won 13 in a row. They’ll go for 14 tonight back in Swift Current. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 25 shots in posting his WHL-leading 29th victory. . . . The Oil Kings (43-11-3) lead the Eastern Conference by eight points over Winnipeg, which has five games in hand. . . . Swift Current (20-29-7) is 10th, one point out of eighth. . . .

F Jagger Firkus broke a 2-2 tie with his 31st goal, at 5:12 of the third period, and the host Moose Jaw Warriors went on to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Warriors (32-19-5) are fourth in the Eastern Conference, eight points behind the Red Deer Rebels and one ahead of Saskatoon. . . . The Hitmen (20-27-8) are tied for eighth with Prince Albert, two points behind Lethbridge and one ahead of Swift Current. . . .

F Ben King had a goal, his 44th, and four assists as the Red Deer Rebels clinched a playoff spot with a 6-3 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . King leads the WHL in goals and points (85). He has one more point than linemate Arshdeep Bains, who signed with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks earlier in the day. Bains had a goal and two assists in this one. He leads the WHL with 53 assists. . . . The Rebels were 4-for-5 on the PP; King leads the WHL with 21 PP goals. . . . Red Deer (37-16-3) is third in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Winnipeg, which has four games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (10-40-4) is in next-season country. . . .

F Tarun Fizer scored his 13th goal and added an assist to help the Victoria VictoriaRoyalsRoyals to a 5-3 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. Fizer, who has three goals and five assists in his past three games, iced this one with an empty-netter. . . . The Cougars, who have lost seven in a row, had been 7-0-0 against the Royals this season. . . . Prince George led 2-0 before the game was seven minutes old, but surrendered the next four goals. . . . Victoria (17-33-6) closed to within one point of Prince George (19-32-3) and the Spokane Chiefs, who are tied for seventh in the Western Conference. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers got two goals from F Logan Stankoven — he’s got 33 — Kamloopsas they beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-2. . . . Stankoven broke a 1-1 tie at 14:27 of the first period and then added insurance at 1:53 of the third. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots in his first appearance since suffering a leg injury on Feb. 16. . . . F Luke Toporowski of the Blazers, a 35-goal man, didn’t return after a collision with Kelowna D Tyson Feist in the first period. . . . The same teams are to meet tonight in Kelowna. In fact, they also will play home-and-home each of the next two weekends. . . . The Blazers (40-14-2) lead the B.C. Division by 10 points over the Rockets (34-15-4). . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored two late third-period goals, Portlandboth with their goaltender on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, but ended up dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . D Luca Cagnoni, the 14th shooter, won it with the only goal of the circus. . . . Portland nursed a 2-0 lead from the 11:18-mark of the second period. . . . Seattle F Reid Schaefer (27) scored at 17:58 of the third period and F Jared Davidson (28) tied it at 19:28. . . . Portland got 51 saves through OT from G Taylor Gauthier . . . The Thunderbirds saluted head athletic trainer Phil Varney, one of hockey’s good guys, as he worked his 1,000th game. He is in his 15th season with Seattle. . . . Seattle F Henrik Rybinski missed his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle F Lucas Ciona, who has 32 points, including 17 goals, didn’t finish with apparent arm injury. . . . Portland (38-14-5) is third in the Western Conference, one point out of first. . . . Seattle (34-14-6) trails Portland by seven points. . . .

F Fabian Lysell’s 19th goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie at 18:08 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Jaden Lipinski, who has five goals, scored twice for the Giants, his second forging a 2-2 tie at 17:04 of the second period. . . . F Samuel Huo, who has 24 goals, scored twice for the Americans. . . . Vancouver (21-29-3) is sixth in the Western Conference, 27 points behind Kelowna and four ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . Tri-City (15-34-5) is last in the conference, six points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen scored twice, giving him 30, and added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips dumped the Spokane Chiefs, 6-3. . . . Everett erased a 2-1 deficit with four straight goals. . . . Everett (37-9-8) is tied with Kamloops atop the Western Conference, but the Silvertips hold two games in hand. . . . Spokane (18-32-5) is tied for seventh with Prince George, four points behind Vancouver and one ahead of Victoria.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Vancouver Canucks signed F Arshdeep Bains, 21, to a three-year free-agent deal on Friday. CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) reported that the entry-level contract calls for an NHL salary of US$750,000 for 2022-23 and $775,000 each of the next two seasons. There also is a $50,000 signing bonus payable each season. His minor-league salary would be $70,000. Bains is from Surrey, B.C.; the Canucks’ AHL affiliate is just down the road in Abbotsford. . . .

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques added G Ève Gascon to their roster on Thursday. She had been 9-5-0 with the CÉGEP St-Laurent Patriotes in the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League (Division 1). . . . Gascon is to join the Olympiques this morning (Saturday) and could get the start against the visiting Val D’Or Foreurs later in the day. . . . The last woman to play in the QMJHL? G Charline Labonté got into 26 games (4-9-2, 5.22, .841) with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 1999-2000 and two in 2000-01.


Shawn Mezei, a former WHL player, died in Lethbridge on Wednesday. He was 36. Funeral arrangements hadn’t yet been arranged as of Friday night. Mezei was a native of Taber, Alta. A defenceman, he played 116 games over five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, totalling two goals, 12 assists and 165 penalty minutes.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Colonel


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.


Pearls Before Swine
Pearls Before Swine

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching the Daytona 500 (aka Daytona Demolition Derby) . . .

Scattershooting2

There was a time when I would have told you that the best rivalry in the WHL featured the Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina Pats. Brent Parker, then the Pats’ general manager, was never shy about firing verbal darts. You had head coaches battling at the player benches. You had a helmet ending up in the other team’s dressing room and coming out in unwearable condition. There was the play-by-play guy who showed up one night dressed as Donald Duck.

I mean, stuff happened. And I can only imagine what stuff might have happened had there been social media back in the day.

These days I would suggest that torch has been passed to the Portland PortlandWinterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds. Because when these two teams meet now . . . stuff happens. And there often seems to be an aftermath, too.

Take Saturday night in Portland. . . .

The first period wasn’t even two minutes old when Winterhawks’ F Jack O’Brien left with what appeared to be a bad leg injury.

That came after he was hit along the boards by Seattle F Matthew Rempe. SeattleRempe, who is listed at 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, was given a kneeing major and game misconduct.

After the game, Joshua Critzer, who covers the Winterhawks for @pnwhockeytalk, asked the two head coaches about the incident.

Mike Johnston of the Winterhawks responded: “I thought it was a cheap hit. I know Rempe has had quite a few of those. He’s been suspended a few times this year even. He’s a big guy who has to get control when he’s hitting people. I don’t know what he was thinking. I just know it was knee-on-knee. You have to be careful when you go in with your knee, especially when you are a big guy like that.”

(NOTE: Rempe has served two suspensions this season. The first was for two games under supplemental discipline for something that happened in game with the host Tri-City Americans on Nov. 5. The second, for one game, was assessed after he was given a charging major and game misconduct during a game against the Silvertips in Everett on Nov. 21. Last season, Rempe was suspended once for one game, that after he took a kneeing major and game misconduct in a game at Portland on Dec. 31.)

When Critzer asked Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette about Saturday’s hit, the response was:

“I thought their player was coming down the boards and our guy tried to finish his check. It was along the boards, wasn’t in open space where it was knee-on-knee in my opinion. I thought their guy lunged out of the way and (Rempe) kind of hit his leg that was dragging behind.

“(Rempe) is a big guy and, when he’s on his path, he’s come a long way to be a clean hitter. He’s a big guy and sometimes he’s just bigger than the other guy, which is why he gets penalties. I thought everything was compact — arms down, legs in — on that hit. Sometimes unfortunate plays can happen not intentionally.”

So . . . that was that. Right? Well, not quite. On Sunday, just as the Daytona 500 was heating up, there were sparks flying between Portland and Seattle.

It started when Thom Beuning, the long-time play-by-play voice of the Thunderbirds, tweeted: “So just saw that video of the Rempe major for kneeing. My reaction? ‘Where’s the penalty?’ I don’t see a minor, let alone a major. No initial call on the ice, so what changed?”

Beuning also tweeted: “Incidental contact happens all the time in hockey, including knee-to-knee. Doesn’t mean it is a penalty, doesn’t mean it’s a major, doesn’t mean it is a suspension. Example A, Ty Bauer injury.”

(Bauer, a forward with the Thunderbirds, suffered a knee injury during a game against the Blazers in Kamloops on Dec. 10 and hasn’t played since that night. There wasn’t a penalty on the play.)

After Beuning fired things up, Andy Kemper, a former Portland radio analyst who now is the Winterhawks’ historian, tweeted: “Rempe led into the check with his leg not his upper body. O’Brien was moving to the corner and Rempe put his leg out to stop him and it went knee on knee. That is not incidental. No intent, but it was a kneeing penalty.”

Beuning: “Wrong.”

Kemper: “Yeah, I figured that would be your response. Have a nice day.”

That is when Nick Marek, the Winterhawks’ broadcaster and media relations manager, chimed in with: “Andy said it very well. Everyone knew there was no intent to injure (also why no match penalty assessed) and ‘he didn’t mean to do it.’ Still looks like everything was followed correctly according to the WHL Rule Book.”

Beuning: “Rempe compacts his body to deliver the hit, to avoid a check to the head. O’Brien moves down along the boards to avoid the hit, thus exposing his trailing leg to the contact. Incidental. Same reason there was no penalty when Bauer was injured. Or are you saying the league was wrong?”

Kemper: “The rulebook doesn’t account for incidental or not. The first four words in the rule book are clear: ‘All knee on knee.’ Since it resulted in an injury, the major penalty was assessed. I didn’t see the Bauer hit. Are you saying the league is wrong?”

Beuning: “By not calling a penalty on the Bauer hit, the league has determined there is knee-on-knee contact that doesn’t warrant a penalty.  Plenty of time to review and bring forth supplemental discipline. They didn’t.”

Kemper: “OK. But there is a difference between assessing a penalty and assessing a suspension. Doesn’t mean that a penalty should not have been assessed at the time on the Bauer play. The league may decide to not suspend Rempe for the infraction.”

Beuning: “Have you not been around the WHL for a while now? I might very, very reluctantly concede the minor. But players often put themselves in vulnerable positions. Some of the onus is on that player.”

Marek: “Thom, this take is ridiculous. Essentially saying ‘he shouldn’t have been standing there.’ If that’s your belief, then I suppose you should say the same onus is on Bauer for his major injury he suffered. Can’t believe you just said that honestly.”

Beuning: “What’s the old expression? Keep your head up? It happens all the time. Players duck to avoid a hit and put their heads in the path of an opposing players shoulders. Or they turn at the last second and put their backs to the hit in the corner, exposing their numbers.”

Kemper: “I have been around a long time and every time something like this happens, the bias of the individual looking at the play comes out in how they see it called. I’m not going to change your opinion, nor you mine. By the rule book, it was a major penalty. I’m done.”

——

Here’s a tweet that includes the video of the play in question, so you can be the judge . . .

And here’s another angle . . .

——

The Winterhawks played host to the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday night and O’Brien was in the lineup; in fact, he scored twice and added an assist in a 9-1 victory.

It could be that, as the old all-star centre Billy Shakespeare of the Stratford-upon-Avon Rivermen once wrote, it all was “much ado about nothing.”

The Winterhawks and Thunderbirds are scheduled to meet four more times this season — March 11 and 19 in Kent, Wash., and March 20 and April 2 in Portland.

So there’s still time for even more fun.

——

BTW, the Thunderbirds won Saturday’s game, 5-1. Portland leads the season series, with a 5-4-0 record. Or maybe the series is tied, because Seattle is 4-3-2. Yes, thanks to loser points each team has 10 points from the series.


Bruce Vance is one of the good guys. He really is. At one time he worked in the Prince Albert Raiders’ front office, and now he is the the city’s marketing and sponsorship co-ordinator. He and his wife, Liane, also have been through more in the past few years than anyone should have to face in three lifetimes, but they have kept on smiling. Both have battled cancer and Bruce now is having another go-round with the Big C. . . . My wife, Dorothy, is a wonderfully positive person and she will tell you how important that frame of mind was as she went through a kidney transplant. . . . Well, Liane and Bruce are writing about their adventures on a blog — it’s right here — and through all the ups and downs positivity is a huge part of their approach. . . . Teena Monteleone of paNOW wrote about Liane and Bruce right here.


RuinDay


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “A cargo ship packed with luxury cars caught fire and is aimlessly adrift in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Sort of the nautical equivalent of the L.A. Lakers.”

——

Perry, again: “The team that won the opening coin toss now has now lost the past eight Super Bowls. Where’s the public outcry over the unfairness of that?”



SATURDAY IN THE WHL: The Everett Silvertips, with points in 12 straight (10-0-2), clinched a playoff spot on Saturday night, beating the visiting Victoria Royals, 3-1. This is the Silvertips’ 18th season in the WHL and they have been in the playoffs in every one of them. . . . F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers ran his point streak to 19 games on Saturday in a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants. Stankoven, who had a goal and an assist, has 17 goals and 22 assists on his tear. Vancouver, now 1-19-0 when trailing after two periods, won it on F Fabian Lysell’s second goal of the game, and 17th of the season, at 4:33 of extra time. Kamloops is 28-1-2 when trailing after two. . . .

F Ben King’s second goal of the game, his WHL-leading 37th, gave host Red Deer a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Ice as the Rebels overcame a 2-0 third-period deficit. F Arshdeep Bains had two assists for Red Deer; after Saturday’s games, he led the WHL in assists (46) and points (71). . . . F Connor Bouchard’s ninth goal of the season at 2:01 of OT gave the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Jagger Firkus scored his 29th goal and added two assists as the Moose Jaw Warriors doubled the Raiders, 4-2. The Warriors have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . F Dylan Guenther scored four times, giving him 32, as the host Edmonton Oil Kings spanked the Saskatoon Blades, 9-1. G Sebastian Cossa is 24-6-3, 2.30, .915 for the Oil Kings, who have won five in a row. . . .

F Ridly Greig had a goal and an assist to lead the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings to a 2-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. He’s got 50 points, including 23 goals, in 32 games. The Wheat Kings went into the Central Division and won four games in six nights. The Wheat Kings ended up spending the night in Swift Current because of the horrid weather conditions that swept across the Prairies. . . . F Reid Schaefer scored twice, giving him 23, as the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-1, for their seventh straight victory. . . .

In Prince George, the Kelowna Rockets got past the Cougars, 3-2, giving them a sweep of the weekend doubleheader. On Friday, the Rockets also had won, 3-2. . . . The Lethbridge Hurricanes rode two first-period goals to a 2-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers, who have lost six in a row.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL: F Kyle Crnkovic reclaimed the WHL scoring lead with two goals — giving him 32 — and an assist as the visiting Saskatoon Blades beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-1. That boosted Crnkovic’s points total to 73, two more than F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Clay Hanus had a goal — his 13th — and two assists as the host Portland Winterhawks dropped the Spokane Chiefs, 9-1. The teams combined for 118 minutes in penalties, with 69 of those going to the visitors. It was the sixth game between these teams since Feb. 5; the Winterhawks won five of them, outscoring the Chiefs, 39-10, in the process. Portland won the season series, 10-2-0, while the Chiefs went 2-9-1.


Headline at fark.com: NBC wants you to know their Super Bowl ratings KILLED IT. Oh, and their Olympics . . . look, a bunny.


“A new study shows the horse medicine, ivermectin, is useless in combating COVID,” tweets comedy write Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg). “This is hard to believe based on the tireless research of that great medical mind Aaron Rodgers.”


Minecraft


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Dr. Oz vs. Dr. Phil in an old-time steel cage match — no way to root, right?”

——

Lupica, again: “Novak Djokovic says he’s not anti-vaccine, but he’s still not going to get jabbed. What an amazing tennis hill on which to die. Taking this kind of stance against something that has saved lives all over the world.”



Dick Butkus — yes, that Dick Butkus — is enjoying Twitter, witness this: “The USFL is back. Herschel Walker is all over the news. Did I have a stroke, or is it still 1985?”


You may have heard that NBA analyst Charles Barkley is talking about retiring in a couple of years once his contract with TNT expires. As he explained: “I don’t want to die on TV. I want to die on the golf course or somewhere fishing. I don’t want to be sitting inside over (by) fat-ass Shaq (waiting) to drop dead.”


Arthur Blank, who owns the Atlanta Falcons, apparently referred to the NFL teams and their seeming inability to hire minority head coaches as “just not acceptable.” It was then that Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune pointed out: “It’s apparently acceptable in Atlanta, where his Falcons are one of 13 franchises never to have had a Black head coach.”


THINKING OUT LOUD:

As a hockey fan, are you old enough to remember when the boards were the boards and not the wall? . . . Are you old enough to remember when the goaltender’s crease was the crease and not the blue paint? . . .

The best entertainment-related news I’ve heard in a long while: Randy Bachman has cut a deal with Corus Entertainment under which some of its radio stations will carry a two-hour Vinyl Tap once a week. It all starts on March 6. . . . CBC Radio dumped Vinyl Tap in July after a 16-year run. . . .

Here’s to a happy retirement to Vicci Weller after 22 years as the Thompson Nicola-Regional District film commissioner. It was because of her that Clint Black was once in the area filming a movie and made acquaintance with my wife, Dorothy, who was working at the time at a Shoppers Drug Mart outlet. Yes, it gave her quite a thrill when he struck up a conversation and then showed her family pictures.


ChocBars


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.


Math

Clippers go along with BCHL and put coaches on leave pending investigation; two assistants run bench in win; interim staff to be installed


Most times the action in a junior hockey league is on the ice with one team playing another. But these days in the BCHL it’s league versus team in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

Or is it?

Let’s recap . . .

The BCHL informed players on the Nanaimo Clippers via email on Tuesday that Darren Naylor, the vice-president, general manager, head coach and director of hockey operations, and Colin Birkas, the associate GM and associate coach, had been placed on administrative leave while a league-appointed independent investigator reviewed “allegations of Code of Conduct breaches.” . . .

With the Clippers next scheduled to play last night (Friday) against the host NanaimoPowell River Kings, the league told the players that it would put another coach in place in order to keep their season going. . . .

On Thursday, the Clippers, Naylor and Birkas received a temporary injunction from a BC Supreme Court justice after filing a lawsuit that also asked for damages from the BCHL. . . . However, Naylor and Birkas weren’t on the Clippers’ bench for a 6-4 victory over the Kings last night. Instead, assistants Ken McPhalen and Bob Foglietta did the coaching. . . . The teams are to play again tonight in Powell River. . . .

On Friday night, the BCHL issued a statement via email, saying that the Clippers “without notice to the BCHL” had “made an ex parte injunction application and obtained a court order restraining the BCHL from placing the coaches on leave. The BCHL will be applying to have the order set aside.” . . .

The Clippers are owned by Wes Mussio, whose bio on the team website says he is a personal injury/estate litigation lawyer and the managing partner and founder of Mussio Goodman Law. . . .

Victoria-based CHEK News reported Friday that “a notice of civil claim was filed . . . by Clippers Hockey Limited Partnership, Naylor and Birkas, arguing that the league acted ‘erroneously and in a high-handed manner’ in issuing the suspensions when no allegations have been proven, irreparably damaging the coaches’ reputations and putting the team’s season in jeopardy because there are no alternate coaches to take over.” . . .

According to CHEK News, “The lawsuit indicates that the Nanaimo Clippers organization conducted its own internal investigation into the allegations after being alerted to the BCHL investigation at the start of the season in October 2021 and found no wrongdoing.” . . . The Clippers, including the two coaches, “argued that the complainants who first brought forward the allegations were mostly disgruntled former employees and former billet parents ‘who have significant motivation to lie, exaggerate and attack without evidence in support as they had a falling out with the coaches before leaving the Clippers organizations.’ ”

The CHEK News story is right here.

But, wait, there’s more . . .

Shortly after Friday’s game ended, the Clippers issued a statement that was signed by Mussio.

According to the statement, the Clippers have decided to “place their coaching staff on temporary leave to allow the BCHL to complete their internal investigation process. . . .

“We stand with our players and will allow them to continue the push for the conference title without any further distractions. An interim coaching staff will be implemented forthwith while the BCHL also has a chance to investigate the allegations to their satisfaction.”

So . . . it would seem that takes the whole mess out of the courts and back into the BCHL’s boardroom.

Stay tuned. . . .


Change


G Kelton Pyne benefited from F Connor Bedard’s five-point night as the host ReginaRegina Pats beat the Calgary Hitmen, 5-0, on Friday night. Pyne, 16, was making his second appearance with the Pats, whose two regular goaltenders are sidelined with concussions. He stopped 24 shots in posting his first victory. . . . Bedard scored three times, giving him 28 on the season. He has 52 points in 35 games, including 28 in his last 11 outings. . . . Don’t be sleeping on Regina F Tanner Howe, either. Howe, who turned 16 on Nov. 28, had two assists. He’s got 38 points, including 22 assists, in 37 games. . . . If you track such things, Regina assistant coach Brad Herauf earned his first WHL head-coaching victory as he filled in for an ailing John Paddock. . . .

G Taylor Gauthier of the Portland Winterhawks had his shutout streak halted at Portland251:11 in an 8 -1 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. While Gauthier set a franchise record for longest shutout streak, he fell short of the record (265:13) set by Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers in 1967-68. . . . F Cross Hanas scored three times for Portland, once on a penalty shot. He has six goals and 11 assists over his past six games. . . . According to the Winterhawks, Mike Johnston made his 700th regular-season appearance behind their bench. The WHL record (1,411) is held by Ken Hodge, who coached the original Edmonton Oil Kings and the Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs and Winterhawks are in a stretch of five straight games against each other; Portland has won the first three — 7-3, 9-0 and 8-1. . . . The game was Ryan Smith’s first as Spokane’s head coach after he took over from Adam Maglio on Thursday. . . .

G Nolan Maier of the Saskatoon Blades stopped 29 shots in a 4-1 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. That was the 112th regular-season victory of his career, eight shy of the WHL record that is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . .

G Sebastian Cossa turned aside 21 shots as the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Red Deer Rebels, 4-0. The Rebels could have closed to within four points of the Central Division-leading Oil Kings, but instead fell eight points off the pace. . . . Cossa leads the WHL with five shutouts this season. He has 13 in 84 career appearances. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers, beaten 4-3 by visiting Tri-City on Wednesday, scored Kamloopsfour times in the first period en route to a 6-1 victory over the Americans. F Luke Toporowski scored twice and added two assists, while linemate Logan Stankoven ran his point streak to 15 games with two goals and a helper. . . . Toporowski has 13 goals and seven assists in 11 games since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Stankoven, who has 63 points in 36 games, has 34 points in that 15-game tear. . . . BTW, a Kamloopsian contacted me with a friendly reminder for the four Tri-City players who were in a downtown Tim Hortons sans face masks on Friday morning: There is mask mandate in B.C. that takes in all public indoor settings. Hey, guys, not a good look to be wearing team colours and not abiding by provincial mandates. . . .

In other games . . . D Max Wanner (4), F Jagger Firkus (27) and D Daemon Hunt (13) each had a goal and assist to lead the host Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . F Connor Hvidston’s sixth goal, at 2:36 of OT, gave the Swift Current Broncos a 4-3 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . F Pavel Novak scored the only goal of the shootout as the host Kelowna Rockets beat Everett, 4-3, snapping the Silvertips’ eight-game winning streak in the process. Czech freshman Gabriel Szturc scored his eight goal for the Rockets, this one was special because his parents were in the stands. . . . F Ty Thorpe scored twice to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-1 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. The Giants had had their previous two games postponed due to some positive tests within the organization. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last six goals — two each from F Lukas Svejkovsky and Reid Schaefer — as they beat the Royals 6-1 in Victoria.


Scrabble


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.


Dinos

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