Agent disappointed with WHL reaction to “racially motivated situation” after offender traded . . . Gut returning to Everett . . . Cougars release two forwards

Kai Uchacz, one of the players involved in some nasty stuff with the Seattle WHL2Thunderbirds, has been traded to the Red Deer Rebels for a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft.

From a WHL news release:

“Uchacz was removed from the roster of the Seattle Thunderbirds on March 25, 2021 following a thorough review by Thunderbirds staff after it was discovered he had directed racist comments and actions towards another player on the team.”

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reported in March that the Thunderbirds had released two forwards because of “a racist taunting incident in which the squad’s lone Black player alleged he was called a racial slur and a banana was waved in front of him.”

The target of the slur was F Mekai Sanders. His agent, Scott Norton, the president of Norton Sports Management, didn’t react to the trade in a favourable fashion on Friday.

Norton tweeted: “Enough is enough. Time for things to change in hockey and society!”

That was on top of this statement from Norton:

“On behalf of my client Mekai Sanders and myself, we are very disappointed that the Western Hockey League has not issued a statement or any disciplinary actions following the racially motivated situation that occurred on the Seattle Thunderbirds during the 2020-21 season. We appreciated the actions of general manager Bil La Forge and the Thunderbirds management during the season, but a league that claims ‘zero tolerance’ should have stepped up and dealt with the individuals as well. In light of today’s trade involving one of the offenders, we are calling upon the WHL Commissioner Rob (sic) Robison and the league to take action immediately.”

Norton also tweeted: “What is the point of having a zero tolerance policy if you do not hold your players to that standard? This was not a 1-time isolated, incident! How many chances does the victim get to live his life and chase his dreams?”

According to the WHL, Uchacz has undergone training and education in the areas of “anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion. . . . As a result of demonstrating significant progress with his ongoing education and genuine remorse for his prior behaviour, Uchacz’s return to the WHL has been fully endorsed by the diversity consulting agencies that conducted the training and education program.

“In addition, once he joins the Rebels, Uchacz will be required to continue his diversity and respect training in Red Deer. All WHL players are required to complete the Respect in Hockey educational program, which includes Respect in Sport certification, each season.”

Uchacz, 18, is from Calgary. The Thunderbirds selected him with the 10th overall pick of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . He had one goal and one assist in five games in 2018-19, then added two goals and six assists in 52 games in 2019-20. In 2020-21, he played three games with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints, picking up one assist. . . . According to Alan Caldwell, who keeps track of such things, the Rebels held two second-round picks in the 2021 draft — their own (No. 24) and the Winnipeg Ice’s (40). It’s not clear which pick was sent to Seattle.


The Everett Silvertips confirmed Friday that Czech F Michal Gut will be in their Everettlineup for 2021-22. He was the team’s rookie of the year for 2019-20 after putting up 13 goals and 23 assists in 51 games. . . . Gut, who will turn 19 on Aug. 16, stayed home for 2020-21 and played with HC Banik Sokolov in the Czech2. He finished with 10 goals and 11 assists in 20 games. . . . The Silvertips now have their two imports in Gut and Finnish F Niko Huuhtanen, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in last weekend’s NHL draft.


Golf


American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, the world champion, won’t compete at Covidthe Tokyo Olympics after testing positive. Kendricks, 28, had won a bronze medal at the 2016 Games. . . . Another pole vaulter, German Chiaraviglio of Argentina, also has tested positive and has been ruled out of the Games. . . . Organizers revealed 24 new positives on Thursday among Olympic personnel, with three of those being athletes. At that point, six American athletes had tested positive. . . . There’s more on the Kendricks story right here.


CTV Calgary — “Canada’s top doctors say Alberta’s decision to end isolation requirements for those who test positive for COVID-19, or who have been in close contact with someone who has, could have ripple effects across the country.”



Entertainment Weekly: “Netflix is not taking the fourth wave lightly. It has become the first major Hollywood studio to require vaccinations on productions.”

Entertainment Weekly: “Broadways sets rule for audiences to be vaccinated and wear masks for performances through October. . . . Performers, backstage crew and theatre staff are also required to be vaccinated.”



CBC News: “The Australian city of Sydney experienced a rise in local COVID-19 cases and warned the outbreak would get worse. Australian authorities have sought help from the military to enforce a city-wide lockdown.”


Masks


It’s believed that more than 90 per cent of the players with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers are vaccinated. DE Nick Bosa, a Pro Bowler, isn’t one of them. “I’m just evaluating everything right now,” he told reporters on Thursday. “I haven’t made a decision quite yet.” . . . Meanwhile, the team’s entire coaching staff has been vaccinated.


Matthew Dolan, Detroit Free Press: “University of Michigan to require COVID-19 vaccination on all campuses. All students, faculty and staff on all three campuses of the University of Michigan are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, submit their vaccination information before the start of the fall.”


The 2022 World Women’s Curling Championship is scheduled to be played in PGPrince George, from March 19-27. The event was to have been held there in 2020 but was cancelled as the pandemic was just getting started. . . . The 2021 championship was decided in a bubble in Calgary. . . . The 2022 event will be held at the CN Centre, the home of the WHL’s Cougars. This means that the Cougars will finish the 2021-22 WHL regular season by playing seven of their last eight games on the road. . . . After entertaining the Victoria Royals on March 11 and 12, the Cougars will hit the road for four games — yes, four in a row — in Victoria on March 18, 19, 25 and 26, and singles against  the Vancouver Giants, Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets. The Cougars will return home to conclude their regular season on April 3 against the visiting Blazers. . . . The big question is: How will they spend their time between doubleheaders in Victoria? Do they stay on Vancouver Island or return home, then travel back to Victoria? Does it influence the decision if there is a playoff spot on the line?


Divorce


F Ethan Browne and F Dave Griffin have cleared WHL waivers and been released by the Prince George Cougars. . . . Browne, 20, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. The Everett Silvertips selected him 14th overall in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He got into nine games with Everett before landing in Prince George and playing four seasons there. In 149 regular-season games, he scored 19 goals and added 53 assists. . . . Griffin, 19, had one assist in three games with the Cougars in 2019-20 and one assist in 15 games during the 2021 development season. . . . The Cougars had six other 2001-born players on the roster that finished the 2021 season — F Connor Bowie, F Brendan Boyle, G Taylor Gauthier, F Jonny Hooker, D Majid Kaddoura and F Tyson Upper.


The New York Times — Starting Friday, Disney World in Florida will require guests older than 2 to wear masks in indoor spaces, reversing its policy that allowed fully vaccinated guests to go without them.



G Roman Basran, 20, has cleared WHL waivers after having released by the RocketsKelowna Rockets, so now is a free agent. He got into eight games in the 2021 development season, going 4-2-1, 3.86, .876. . . . Basran, from Vancouver, played 120 games over four seasons with the Rockets, finishing 52-41-11, 2.90, .905. He also put up five shutouts. . . . The Rockets finished that 2021 season with seven other 2001-born players on their roster — D Tyson Feist, D Jake Lee, D Kaedan Korczak, F Mark Liwiski, G Cole Schwebius, F Alex Swetlikoff and F Dallon Wilton. . . . That same roster also included two other goaltenders — Nicholas Cristiano, who will be 17 on Sept. 3, and Cole Tisdale, 19.


F Kishaun Gervais would appear to be finished with the Portland Winterhawks. PortlandGervais, who will turn 20 on Nov. 4, wrote on his Instagram account on Wednesday: “Thank you for making my dreams of playing in the WHL come true. #RoseCityForever.” . . . From Kamsack, Sask., he was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . He had eight goals and nine assists in 31 games in 2019-20, then added a goal and an assist in 19 games in the 2021 development season. . . . The roster with which Portland finished the season contained six more 2001-born players — Danish D Jonas Brondberg, F Jaydon Dureau, G Brock Gould, D Clay Hanus, F Reece Newkirk and D Kade Nolan. . . .

Off the ice, Gervais founded a clothing company — Teddy Wear Clothing — over a year ago and also has been involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. . . . For more on Gervais, take a look at this story right here by Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.

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Brian Pellerin has joined the Portland Winterhawks as an assistant coach. He’ll work alongside Mike Johnston, the organization’s vice-president, general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Don Hay. . . . Earlier in his career, Pellerin spent four seasons (2004-08) with the Winterhawks as an assistant coach. He also worked as associate coach with the Tri-City Americans (2014-20). . . . Pellerin is a former WHL player, having spent four seasons (1987-91) with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . BTW, Pellerin is from Hinton, Alta., which is just a couple of slapshots west of Old Drinnan Town, the entrance to which is pictured at the top of this site.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The Swift Current Broncos have signed Devan Praught as an assistant coach. From Summerside, P.E.I., he has been in Wilcox, Sask., at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame for the past eight seasons. Praught, 33, has been the head coach of the U-18 AAA Hounds for five seasons. . . . Former WHLer Jason Christie has joined the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres as an assistant coach. Christie, 52, spent the previous four seasons as the head coach and vice-president of hockey operations with the ECHL’s Jacksonville IceMen. From Gibbons, Alta., he played four seasons (1986-90) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . .

Former WHL G Ty Rimmer has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters as their goaltending coach. From Edmonton, Rimmer split 159 regular-season WHL games over four seasons (2009-13) between the Brandon Wheat Kings, Prince George Cougars, Tri-City Americans and Lethbridge Hurricanes. In Trail, he replaces Cam Basarab, who now is with the Rink Academy in Kelowna. . . . Kory Achtymichuk is the Prince George Cougars’ new equipment manager. From Wadena, Sask., he has spent the past four seasons as the Regina Pats’ assistant equipment manager. In Prince George, he takes over from Ramandeep (Chico) Dhanjal, who left to become the equipment manager with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks.


LSD

Lowry returns to WHL. . . . Broncos sign Finnish defender. . . . Tri-City adds ex-player to scouting staff


MacBeth

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2013-16) has been traded by Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) to Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (Russia, KHL) for the KHL rights to Mikko Rantanen. Last season, with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL), Fazleyev had two assists in 15 games. In 16 games with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had two goals and five assists.


ThisThat

The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed Dave Lowry as their new head coach. He replaces BrandonWKregularDavid Anning, whose contract wasn’t renewed after three seasons. . . . No terms of Lowry’s contract with the Wheat Kings were released. . . . Lowry, 54, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He wasn’t retained when Todd McLellan took over as the Kings’ head coach. . . . Before that, Lowry was the head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Royals for five seasons (2012-17), going 209-124-27. . . . After his playing career ended — he split 1,084 regular-season NHL games with five teams — he started his coaching career with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. He was an assistant coach for two seasons (2005-07), the associate coach for one and the head coach for one. He then worked for three seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, before signing with Victoria. . . . The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed Finnish D Kasper Puutio, who was the first SCBroncosoverall selection in the CHL’s 2019 import draft. Puutio, 17, had a goal and three assists in 31 games with Kärpät’s U-20 team last season, and also had four goals and eight assists in 10 games with the U-18 side. He got into 13 games with Finland’s U-17 team, scoring once and adding eight assists, and had two assists in five games with the U-18 team. . . . He joins F Joona Kiviniemi, who also is from Finland, as the Broncos’ two import players. Kiviniemi, who will turn 18 on Dec. 17, also played for Kärpät before joining the Broncos. Last season, as a freshman with Swift Current, he had 16 goals and nine assists in 62 games.


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JUST NOTES:

Mason Wilgosh is back with the Tri-City Americans, this time as a scout. The Winnipeg native will work as a regional scout in Manitoba. . . . Wilgosh, 28, played five seasons (2007-12) with the Americans, then went on to spend four seasons at the U of Prince Edward Island. . . . The Americans’ news release is right here. . . .

The ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen have signed Jason Christie, their vice-president of hockey operations and head coach, to a multi-year contract extension. The length of the extension wasn’t revealed. . . . Christie, 50, has been the team’s head coach since June 6, 2017. He has spent 16 seasons coaching in the ECHL and holds the league record for most regular-season victories (609). . . . From Gibbons, Alta., Christie played four seasons (1986-90) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . .

Keycorp Sports and Entertainment, led by Victoria businessman Jim Hartshorne, has purchased majority ownership in the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Also in the ownership group are Ron Coutre of Victoria; Tim MacLean, Dennis See and Stefanie Weber of Port Alberni; and the Port Alberni Jr. Hockey Society. . . . David Michaud, the president of Keycorp Sports and Entertainment, now is the Bulldogs’ president. He will oversee the organization’s business and hockey operations. . . . A news release on the sale is right here. . . .

Brent Polischuk is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Saanich Braves, who play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. From a news release: “Brent has extensive experience in coaching, player development, player evaluation and scouting. As a certified High Performance 1 coach, Brent has coached at all levels of competitive hockey and served in many roles in the BC Hockey and Hockey Canada Program of Excellence. These include Team Pacific Director of Operations, Vancouver Island District Evaluator, BC Hockey coach mentor and coach evaluator and most recently worked as Team USA host in the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship.” . . . Polischuk replaces Sam Waterfield, who left after two seasons. He now is an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express.


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