CFL commish admits season may not happen . . . Oregon gatherings gone through September . . . WHL salutes Kennedy


The news was anything but good for followers of the CFL and WHL on Thursday.

Randy Ambrosie, the CFL commissioner, was in Ottawa, appearing before a House of Commons standing committee on finance. The CFL is asking for as much as $150 million in financial aid to help it survive the pandemic.

At one point, Ambrosie said the CFL’s future is “very much in jeopardy.” He also said that “our best-case scenario for this year is a drastically truncated season. And our most likely scenario is no season at all.”

Meanwhile, in Oregon, the home state of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, Gov. Kate Brown announced some guidelines, one of which involves the cancelling of all concerts, sporting events and large gatherings through the end of September.

You have to think chances are pretty good that Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state, will issue similar guidelines at some point.

The 22-team WHL has four teams in Washington state.

These guidelines likely refer to teams playing in front of fans. But the WHL is a ticket-driven league and it is hard to imagine its teams playing in empty arenas for any length of time.


Sheldon Kennedy has been honoured by the WHL with its Governors Award. . . . According to a WHL news release, the award “is the highest honour the WHL bestows on whlan an individual who has been associated with the league.” The award “is presented annually to an individual who, through their outstanding hockey and overall contributions to the game, has impacted on the growth and development of the WHL.” . . . Kennedy, now 50, is from Elkhorn, Man. He played three (1986-89) seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, survived a bus accident in which four teammates died, and was a key contributor to the team that won the 1989 Memorial Cup. After Kennedy’s pro career ended, it came to light that he had been sexually abused by general manager/head coach Graham James while with the Broncos. Kennedy moved on from that to found, with Wayne McNeil, the Respect Group Inc., and to campaign endlessly for the safety and empowerment of young people and young athletes. . . . The WHL’s news release is right here.


James Patrick, the head coach of the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, is among the U of North Dakota’s Hall of Fame class of 2020. Patrick, a defenceman, played two signs with what was then the Fighting Sioux. As Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald points out: “No former UND player has played more NHL games (1,280) or seasons (21) than Patrick, who suited up for the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres. Patrick wore an ‘A’ for both the Rangers and Sabres.” . . . The Hall of Fame induction is set for Oct.9 as the Fighting Hawks football team meets visiting Missouri State.


Even the geese have had enough . . .


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from A.J. Liebling: “The country’s present supply of foreign news depends largely on how best a number of dry goods merchants in New York think they can sell underwear.”


Swear


Tennis Australia is looking ahead to the 2021 Australian Open and wondering it it will even take place. “Worst-case scenario is no AO,” Craig Tiley, who heads up Tennis Australia, told the Australian Associated Press. “Our best-case scenario at this point is having an AO with players that we can get in here with quarantining techniques and Australian-only fans.” . . . ICYMI, Wimbledon has been cancelled for 2020, and the French Open, which had been scheduled for May 27 through June 7, now will run from Sept. 27 through Oct. 11. The French Tennis Federation had announced earlier that it would run from Sept. 20 through Oct. 4, but moved it back another week on Tuesday. . . . The U.S. Open is scheduled to open on Aug. 24, but that still is up in the air with an announcement due at some point in June. . . .

NBA teams have the OK from the league to open practice facilities, with some restrictions, of course, but Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, isn’t interested just yet. . . . “The problem obviously is that because we can’t test people, then we can’t assure everybody’s safety, whether they’re basketball players or anybody else,” Cuban told The Athletic’s 77 Minutes in Heaven podcast. “Even though we can try to take all different kids of precautions, it’s just not worth it — particularly when our guys are staying in shape and they’re going outside and shooting on outdoor hoops and working out in various ways. So I just don’t think the risk is worth the reward.”



Jason Tatarnic is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. Tatarnic, 47, spent eight seasons (2005-13) as head coach of the Maritime Junior League’s Woodstock Slammers, before moving west as GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs for four seasons (2014-18). . . . The Chiefs dismissed him a few days before the 2018 RBC Cup, the national junior A tournament in which they were the host team. In fact, the Chiefs went on to win the tournament. . . . After that, Tatarnic went to work with Hockey Pathways, which bills itself as a family advisory service whose mission “is to get you to the next level.” . . . In Estevan, Tatarnic takes over a franchise that is to be the host team for the 2022 Centennial Cup. . . . He takes over the Bruins from Chris Lewgood, who was fired on April 15 despite getting the team to the playoffs in each of his seven seasons. That included a seven-game loss in the SJHL final in the spring of 2018.


Call

Dewar goal gives Silvertips win in Game 1 . . . Wild goes home with Doyle Cup . . . Pistons push Hawks to the brink . . . Lots of coaching news

MacBeth

D Kirill Vorobyov (Portland, 2012-13) was traded by Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL) to CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) for cash compensation. This season, with Sibir Novosibirsk, he had four assists in 43 games while averaging 17:10 TOI per game. . . .

F Linden Vey (Medicine Hat, 2006-11) signed a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). This season, in 50 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL), he had 17 goals and 35 assists while averaging 21:52 TOI. He was second in the league in assists and fifth in the points race. . . . Vey finished the season with the ZSC Zurich Lions (Switzerland, NL A), recording two goals and four assists in 10 games. . . .

D Dmitri Sinitsyn (Regina, 2013-14) signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Novokuznetsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). He had signed with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL) for this season but missed the entire season due to injury. In 2016-17, he had nine assists in 42 games with Lada Togliatti (Russia, KHL), and one assist in nine games with Dizel Penza (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). . . .

F Lukáš Vantuch (Calgary, Lethbridge, 2005-07) signed a one-year contract with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had two assists in 29 games with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He also had a goal and two assists in three games on loan to Benatky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), and one goal and one assists in five games on loan to Piráti Chomutov. . . .

D Micki DuPont (Kamloops, 1996-2000) signed a one-year contract extension with Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL). He had seven goals and 16 assists in 52 games. . . .

D/F Sena Acolatse (Seattle, Saskatoon, Prince George, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, he had one goal and seven assists in 30 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL).


ThisThat

The Everett Silvertips drew first blood in the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final, for Everettthe Ed Chynoweth Cup, beating the host Swift Current Broncos, 2-1, on Friday night. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar (10) broke a 1-1 tie at 1:49 of the third period. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (14) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 14:43 of the first period. . . . The Broncos tied it at 11:26 of the second period on a goal by F Aleksi Heponiemi (4). . . . F Garrett Pilon had two assists for the winners, who got 34 saves from G Carter Hart. . . . G Stuart Skinner blocked 23 shots for Swift Current. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Steve Papp. . . . The Broncos took three of the game’s five minors. . . . Everett was 1-2 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-1. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Swift Current tonight (Saturday). . . . Everett now is 8-0 on the road in these playoffs.


The BCHL-champion Wenatchee Wild scored the game’s last five goals en route to a 7-2 Wenatcheevictory over the host Spruce Grove Saints, the AJHL champions, on Friday night. . . . The Wild won the best-of-seven Doyle Cup series, 4-1, and now advance to the Royal Bank Cup that opens in Chilliwack on May 12. . . . F Logan Ganie’s second goal of the game, at 1:00 of the second period, pulled the Saints into a 2-2 tie. . . . Wild F August Von Ungern broke the tie at 1:57 and the Wild never looked back. . . . Wenatchee will be the second U.S.-based team to play in the Royal Bank Cup; the Minnesota Wilderness of the Superior International Junior Hockey League got there in 2013.


In Nipawin, Sask., the MJHL-champion Steinbach Pistons scored twice in the third period Steinbachand took a 2-1 victory over the SJHL-champion Hawks on Friday night. . . . The Pistons hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series for the ANAVET Cup and a berth in the Royal Bank Cup. . . . The teams now head back to Steinbach for Game 6 on Monday and, if needed, Game 7 on Tuesday. . . . Last night, F Brandan Arnold gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead at 17:05 of the first period. That was his sixth goal — and 11th point — of the series. . . . The Pistons pulled even on F Drew Worrad’s goal at 3:58 of the third period. . . . F Jack Johnson broke the tie at 12:22 with his first goal of the series. . . . Steinbach G Matthew Thiessen stopped 24 shots, while Nipawin’s Declan Hobbs turned aside 34.


TheCoachingGame

The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs are to be the host team for the Royal Bank Cup tournament that runs from May 12 through May 20 at Prospera Centre. On Thursday, the Chiefs fired general manager/head coach Jason Tatarnic, replacing him with Brian Maloney, who had been the associate GM and associate head coach. . . . Tatarnic was in his fourth season with the Chiefs. This season, they finished 26-26-3-3, good for fourth place in the five-team Mainland Division. They went on to lose a first-round series to the division-winning Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . The change was announced with a three-sentence paragraph that was posted on the Chiefs’ website. The announcement didn’t mention Tatarnic. It ended with this: “President Glen Ringdal said the decision to elevate Maloney was made by Chiefs’ ownership (Thursday).” . . . The Chiefs are owned by Moray Keith, Jim Bond and Heinz Hasselmann, all successful Lower Mainland-based businessmen.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a look right here at the Tatarnic firing and a few other strange moves that have occurred of late in the world of junior hockey and the impact they could have.


Brad Berry, the head coach of the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, has signed a five-year deal that funs through 2022-23. Berry just completed his third season as the UND head coach and had one year left on his original four-year contract. . . . Major junior coaches will be interested in learning that the new contract gives Berry a base salary of US$400,000 per year. . . . College Hockey News has more right here.


Rob Wilson is the new head coach of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. He spent the past three seasons as head coach of the Nuremberg Ice Tigers of Germany’s DEL. . . . Wilson played part of one season (1988-89) with the Petes before going on to a pro career that included stops in North America and Europe. . . . Wilson replaces Andrew Verner, who had been the interim head coach since Jody Hull was fired in January.


Eric Veilleux is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, who will be the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup tournament. Veilleux, 46, has been an assistant coach with the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, for the past two seasons. He has previous QMJHL head-coaching experience with the Shawinigan Cataractes, helping them win the 2012 Memorial Cup as the host team. He also spent two seasons as head coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. . . . In Halifax, Veilleux replaces Jim Midgley, who was fired on April 25 after one season as head coach. The Mooseheads went 43-18-6-1 and finished fourth overall under Midgley, then lost a second-round playoff series to the ninth-place Charlottetown Islanders. He had been an assistant coach for five seasons with the Mooseheads.


Casey O’Brien has signed on as the head coach of the Melville Prairie Fire, a team in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League. O’Brien was fired this season as the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers.


Kelly Guard, a former WHL goaltender, has joined the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats as an assistant coach. Guard, 34, had been working as the Prince Albert Raiders’ goaltender coach. . . . Guard played two seasons (2002-04) with the Kelowna Rockets, helping them win the 2004 Memorial Cup.


The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have fired general manager and head coach Bill Rotheisler, who had one year left on his contract. . . . He just completed his second season with the Rebels. . . . “I don’t know what happened, to be honest with you,” Rotheisler told John Boivin of the Castlegar News. “I’m still waiting for my official papers that would explain the reason. I would love to provide you with an answer.” . . . Mike Johnstone, the team president, told Boivin that the board of directors “decided to go in a different direction.” . . . The Rebels finished this season in second place in their division, winning 30 of 47 games. They got past the defending-champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks in the first round of the playoffs, then lost a five-game series to the Nelson Leafs. . . . Boivin’s story is right here.