Scattershooting on a Sunday night while pondering the mystery of the Prospera Place deficiencies . . .

scattershooting

Perhaps you are wondering about the “significant deficiencies” in Prospera Place, the home of the Kelowna Rockets, that prevented the WHL team from Kelownabidding to be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup.

That honour, of course, has gone to Kamloops, with the Canadian Hockey League having announced on Friday that the Blazers would be the host team for the four-team tournament in 2023.

The 2020 tournament had been scheduled for Kelowna before the pandemic got in the way. Because of that cancellation and because preparations were well underway at the time, a lot of observers had expected the 2023 event to go to Kelowna.

Not so fast.

As the announcement was being made in Kamloops prior to a playoff game on Friday night, the Rockets issued an open letter in which they pointed a finger at the GSL Group.

“When we submitted our intent to bid,” the letter stated, “there was an audit conducted of Prospera Place, commissioned by the Rockets, the City of Kelowna, and the GSL Group, who own, operate and manage the arena.

“This audit found that there were significant deficiencies that needed to be upgraded for the facility to meet the CHL standards for hosting the Memorial Cup.”

An agreement couldn’t be reached to “make the necessary capital improvements to the building,” thus the Rockets weren’t able to enter a bid.

At this point, no one in the know has explained what those deficiencies might be.

So let’s turn to Doyle Potenteau of Global News in Kelowna. He covered the Rockets for a number of years while with the Kelowna Daily Courier, including the 2004 Memorial Cup that was held there. Yes, he is more than a little familiar with the arena. Anyway, he filed a story for Global that may have shed some light on the subject.

“It’s not known what the issues are,” Potenteau reported, “but one concern is dressing rooms for the players. While the Rockets have a large room, visiting (WHL) teams to Prospera Place are usually squeezed into two smaller rooms.

“Further, when Kelowna hosted the 2004 Memorial Cup, which the Rockets won, two portable dressing rooms had to be built outside the rink for the third and fourth teams, which happened to be the OHL and QMJHL champions.”

Whatever the deficiencies are, they obviously weren’t an issue on Oct. 3, 2018, when the WHL’s board of governors awarded the 2020 Memorial Cup to Kelowna over bids from Kamloops and the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Since then, however, it would seem that issues have come to the fore involving the Rockets’ home arena.

Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that the WHL board of governors no longer selects the host team. That decision now is made at the CHL level.


Glass


The stage has yet to be set for the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final, the WHLplayoffs2022winner of which will be awarded the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings, the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, now has to wait until Tuesday to find out whether the Kamloops Blazers or Seattle Thunderbirds will open the final in the Alberta capital on Friday night. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for Edmonton on June 5. . . . TSN is to begin televising the championship series with Game 3 from Kamloops or Kent, Wash., on June 7. . . .

On Sunday night in Kent, the Thunderbirds beat the Blazers, 2-1, in Game 6 of the Western Conference final. It’s even, 3-3, so they’ll decide it all in Kamloops on Tuesday. . . . The last time that Kamloops was the site of Game 7 in a WHL playoff series? That would be May 10, 1994. The Blazers beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades, 8-1, in Game 7 of the WHL final, behind three goals from F Ryan Huska and two from F Jarome Iginla, then went on to win the Memorial Cup in Laval, Que.

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SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the last two goals to beat the SeattleKamloops Blazers, 2-1. . . . The best-of-seven conference final is tied, 3-3, with Game 7 scheduled for Kamloops on Tuesday. . . . The Blazers had taken a 3-2 lead by beating the Thunderbirds, 4-3 in OT, in Kamloops on Friday. . . . The Blazers won Game 1 of this series at home, 5-2, with Seattle taking Game 2 on the road, 4-1. . . . Seattle, which came back to oust the Portland Winterhawks after trailing 3-1, is 4-0 in elimination games this spring. . . . Last night, F Kobe Verbicky’s first WHL playoff goal gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 12:53 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it at 4:42 of the second period when F Jared Davidson scored his ninth goal of these playoffs. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky (9), who drew the primary assist on Davidson’s goal, broke the tie at 3:28 of the third period. Davidson returned the favour, too, as he got the primary assist on the winner. . . . Seattle was 0-for-2 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-for-3. . . . G Thomas Milic stopped 34 shots to earn the victory over G Dylan Garand, who made 32 saves.


Masks

Just when you thought the pandemic was over you find out that Mike Breen tested positive so wasn’t able to call the play for Game 7 of the NBA conference final that had the Boston Celtics meeting the Heat in Miami on Sunday night. With Breen out of action, Mark Jones was given the assignment. . . . Jones recently signed a contract extension with ESPN; he’s been there for 32 years. Are you old enough to remember when he was at TSN. . . .

Pandemic over? Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center shows 2,576 deaths and 716,435 new cases in the U.S. in the past week. . . . Those figures for Canada are 305 and 18.292. . . . Over? No, not yet.



Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “The headline said that Rick Bowness had stepped down as coach of the Stars. The truth: He was pushed out. Owner Tom Gaglardi wanted the change. Good-guy Bowness is now contemplating between retirement, family time, grandchildren visits, and continuing to coach in the NHL.”


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): Congress Placed on Lockdown after Deranged Man Enters Senate with Gun Control Measures.

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Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): “Electricity” added to “policing” for services no longer provided by the City of Ottawa.


So . . . I’m watching the Toronto Blue Jays and the host Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night. . . . There is a small sign to the left of home plate that reads: $44 — 4 tickets, hot dogs, & sodas — $44. . . . In the eighth inning, Matt Devlin, who is calling the play, reads a Blue Jays’ promo about what the team calls its “value combo.” Devlin informs us that we can get four tickets to the 200 level, four food items and four drinks for $30 per person. . . . You do the math. . . . Hmmmmm!


A puzzler from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Most bitter rivalry on display this month — Edmonton-Calgary in hockey or Johnny Depp-Amber Heard in a courtroom?”


Asked by Detroit radio station WXYT-FM about today’s NBA players, former Los Angeles Lakers star James Worthy replied: “All they do is practise threes, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media.”


America


So . . . it has come to this in the WHL where this t-shirt is available in adult and youth sizes on the Portland Winterhawks’ website. . . .

Portlandtee


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Somehow I missed it a few days ago when the junior A Aurora Tigers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League signed Sierra Costa as their general manager. She is the OJHL’s first female GM, and I’m thinking she just might be the first one in all of Canadian junior A hockey. . . . Costa graduated from Humber College’s sports management program. . . . The Tigers are owned by former NHL player Jim Thomson. . . . The fact that this story doesn’t seem to have been a big deal just might signal that a woman in a hockey team’s front office isn’t out of the ordinary any more. . . . And that’s a positive, for sure. . . .

The MJHL’s Portage Terriers will be the host team for the 2023 Centennial Cup tournament. The AJHL’s Brooks Bandits won the 2022 junior A tournament in Estevan on Sunday, beating OJHL’s Pickering Panthers, 4-1, in the final. The 2023 tournament will be held in May with the dates yet to be finalized. Portage la Prairie was to have been the host city for the 2020 tournament but it was cancelled because of the pandemic.


Farm


My wife, Dorothy, a kidney transplant recipient in 2013, will take part in the 2022 #kamloops Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year on Sunday. Yes, it’s virtual again. But she will be there, and you are able to sponsor her right here.


THINKING OUT LOUD — Yes, the annual Kamloops Kidney Walk is set for Sunday, and we’ll be taking part over here in our little corner of the world. If you want to be part of Dorothy’s team, please think about sponsoring her. . . . If you missed it, TSN is going to start showing the WHL’s championship final with Game 3 from Kamloops or Kent, Wash. Can’t imagine why it won’t show us Games 1 and 2 from Edmonton on Friday and June 5, but it does make one yearn for the days when Shaw-TV had a relationship with the WHL. . . . Actually, when Sportsnet handed off the CHL deal to TSN early this season, for some reason I thought we would see quite a few more major junior games, but that hasn’t happened. In fact, when’s the last time a WHL game was shown by TSN? . . . In the days ahead, TSN is going to show the OHL, QMJHL and WHL finals starting with the third game of each. They no doubt will use those telecasts to promote their coverage of the Memorial Cup that opens in Saint John, N.B., on June 20. . . . There isn’t much better than a good cup of coffee on a Sunday morning while listening to Jon Miller call a Major League Baseball game. . . . Coming to a bookstore near you on June 7 — Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original, by Howard Bryant. Can’t wait to dig into this one. . . . And speaking of books, Dan Russell, who spent 30 years as the host of the radio show Sportstalk, didn’t pull any punches in his memoir that is just out. Pleasant Good Evening — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk is available through Amazon (soft cover and Kindle) and Indigo (Kobo).


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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Peanuts

WHL’s U.S. teams gearing up to play . . . B.C. Division remains on hold . . . Iginla now coaching in Kelowna

The WHL announced on Jan. 28 that it’s five Alberta-based teams would begin a 24-game schedule on Feb. 26. The Swift Current Broncos, who under what once WHL2was normal circumstances, are in the Central Division, but they won’t be for these games. . . . On Friday, the WHL announced that its five U.S.-based teams will begin play on March 19, although it didn’t reveal how many games teams are hoping to play. According to the news release, the teams will “return to play in Washington state.” With Oregon not having yet approved a return to play, the Portland Winterhawks are expected to play ‘home’ games in Kent, while practising in Vancouver, Wash. . . . Washington Gov. Jay Inslee gave the WHL the OK to return earlier this week. . . . Details are sketchy, but what is known is that fans won’t be allowed at any of these games. . . .

Earlier Friday, it became apparent that the five B.C. Division teams won’t be playing games until perhaps the latter half of March. Pandemic-related restrictions that were to have expired in the province on Friday have been extended indefinitely and likely to be re-examined at month’s end.

With Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, giving her Friday update, Richard Zussman of Global B.C. tweeted: “On WHL hub city, Dr. Henry says they received a proposal in January that was rejected. Says they are buying time overall until the end of the month. Doesn’t look like anything will change until the end of February. ‘We want to work to salvage a spring season.’ “

There has been talk of having the Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals play out of a Kelowna bubble of some kind, with the Kamloops Blazers and Prince George Cougars doing the same in Kamloops. It isn’t known what would happen with the Vancouver Giants under that scenario.

And, please, let’s stop calling any upcoming games the 2020-21 regular season. Uhh, 2020 is in the rearview mirror and a maximum of 24 games does not a regular season make.

——

Meanwhile, the QMJHL isn’t likely to be playing games in New Brunswick for a qmjhlnewwhile after a public health spokesperson said Thursday that “it’s unlikely that restrictions for sports will be relaxed in the near future.” . . . With the Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Victoriaville Tigres on pause — the Tigres have had some positive tests among players; the Sagueneens were the last team to play the Tigres — the QMJHL has had to revise its schedule again. Victoriaville was to have played host to what the league is calling a ‘protected environment’ event, but that obviously won’t happen. So the next two such events are to be played in Quebec City and Shawinigan, from Feb. 12-18. There will be seven teams, including Chicoutimi, in Quebec City, with four teams playing in Shawinigan.


Former WHLer Colton Orr is the head coach of the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale, which pulled out of the league’s bubble format in Lake Placid N.Y., this week because of positive tests. Orr said that about two-thirds of the Whale’s players had tested positive. “We felt we had no choice,” Orr said, referring to a decision not play Monday against the Minnesota Whitecaps. “We had a choice to play that game, and our team chose not to play. We chose the safety of our players.” Orr added: “The team’s concerns and decision not to play were definitely validated and confirmed by the failure to maintain a controlled environment.” . . . The NWHL later cancelled the remaining games. That included the semifinals and final, both of which were to have been televised by NBCSN. . . . Orr was neither suspended nor fined for talking with the media about the virus attacking his team.


Ronnie


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The Vegas Golden Knights returned to action on Friday night for the first time in 10 days, but the NHL still has four American teams on pause. . . . The Golden Knights, who had four games scratched, didn’t show much rust as they scored three first-period goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Kings. . . . Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils won’t play again before Tuesday, while the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild will be idle until at least Thursday, and the Colorado Avalanche is on the shelf until at least Feb. 14. . . . The NHL has postponed 26 games since it opened its season on Jan. 13. None of those games involved any of the seven Canadian teams. . . .

Hockey Canada has cancelled the Esso Cup, Telus Cup, Centennial Cup and Allan Cup championships, all of which were scheduled to be played in the spring. . . . The Esso Cup, Canada’s national U18 AAA women’s championship, was to have been played in Prince Albert. . . . The Telus Cup, the national U18 AAA men’s championship, had been scheduled for Sydney, N.S., while the Centennial Cup, the junior A championship, would have been played in Penticton, B.C. . . . The Allan Cup goes to the national senior AAA men’s champions. It became evident in October that there wouldn’t be a champion declared for 2020-21 because there weren’t any teams playing. . . .

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about what happened with Kevin Durant of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets while they were losing, 123-117, to the visiting Toronto Raptors on Friday night. Due to contact tracing, Durant was late getting into the game. He played 19 minutes, before he was taken out, again due to protocols. Durant, who tested positive in March, apparently was in contact yesterday with someone who was found to be positive during the game.


Politician


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: In recent days, the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed general manager Mike Hawes to a three-year contract extension. He is in his 10th season as the team’s GM. The Spruce Kings also have signed head coach Alex Evin to a two-year extension, while signing associate coach Lukáš Lomicky, assistant coach Jason Garneau and trainer Joel Walkey to one-year deals. . . . Hey, Sportsnet, whenever you want to stop showing us games involving the Boston Bruins, at least with their homer-centric mouthpieces doing the yakking, it would be just fine. . . . Former WHL/NHL F Jarome Iginla is the new head coach of the RINK Hockey Academy’s U15 prep team in Kelowna. Iginla, who owns a piece of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, has been coaching minor hockey, and his sons, Tij and Joe, in Boston for the past four seasons. TJ is a highly ranked 2006-born forward.


Phones

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