Scattershooting on a Monday night after KIJHL rocked by Creston Valley hazing incident . . .

Scattershooting2

While Hockey Canada was busy trying to determine whether the mess it finds itself in has been swept far enough under the carpet so as to cut down the glare, CrestonValleythe Kootenay International Junior Hockey League was dealing with a hazing incident.

What’s that? You thought hazing was a thing of the past.

Well, think again.

Following a quick investigation, the KIJHL, a junior B league with 19 teams in the Interior of B.C. and one inactive franchise in Spokane, dropped the hammer on the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

In a news release, the league said it learned of the incident on Sept. 13 and “immediately suspended team activities, including the cancellation of the team’s exhibition game” on Sept. 14. Creston Valley was to have played host to the Fernie Ghostriders that night.

On Sept. 15, the league sent staff into Creston to “conduct interviews with . . . players and coaches.”

“Throughout this process,” the league said, it “has consulted with its Safe Sport partner, ITP Sport, and with BC Hockey.”

On Monday, the league announced that the Thunder Cats have been fined an undisclosed amount and been “placed on probation for a period of two years.”

“During this time,” the news release continued, “the Thunder Cats must take proactive steps to ensure a positive team culture free from abuse, bullying and harassment. Any occurrence of a similar incident will result in further sanctions.”

Furthermore, members of the Thunder Cats “will be required to complete training designed to identify and eliminate instances of abuse, bullying and harassment.”

The KIJHL also suspended two members of the team’s leadership group — captain Clayton Brown, a 20-year-old defenceman from Beaverlodge, Alta., will sit out 12 games and alternate captain Campbell McLean, who will turn 20 on Nov. 4, is to miss six games, both “for violations of the league’s individual conduct policy.” McLean, a forward, is from Whitecourt, Alta.

“The KIJHL is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for our athletes, volunteers, staff and fans,” Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL’s commissioner, said in the news release. “What occurred in Creston was unacceptable, and the discipline imposed against the Thunder Cats’ organization and members of the team reflect our zero-tolerance approach to these types of incidents.

“Our investigation made clear that we have considerable work to do in order to educate our players on the standard of behaviour and leadership expected of them in a team environment. We take this responsibility seriously, and we are taking immediate steps to address this issue.”

The news release concluded with the one sentence that has become standard when leagues are dealing with these kinds of issues:

“The KIJHL will not comment further on this matter.”


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Hockey Canada seems to be carrying on as if nothing is wrong and all is well. Somebody from the government, somebody with some kind of power, somebody with sponsorship clout needs to unseat the board of directors and replace the senior executives without much delay. Otherwise, it will just be same old, same old.”


Inn


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Nebraska — college football bluebloods — got taken down in Week 2 by supposed cannon fodder Appalachian State, Marshall and Georgia Southern. Even worse, they each had to cough up $1 million-plus in appearance fees to the teams that beat them. Well, as mom always used to say, ‘Don’t play with your food!’ ”

——

Perry, again: “Nebraska has fired its last four football coaches — Bill Callahan, Bo Pelini, Mike Riley and Scott Frost — and paid them a combined $32 million in buyouts, all within a year of awarding them contract extensions. In other words, Groundhog Day I, II, III and IV.”



Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Local consultant not sure what he does, either.

——

Headline at TheOnion.com — Referees call for replay to admire great call.


THINKING OUT LOUD — ICYMI, Arizona State fired head football coach Herm Edwards on Sunday. Yes, he’s the former NFL coach. The Sun Devils are 1-2 this season and the program is under NCAA investigation. ASU could be on the hook for a payout of more than $9 million, though, because Edwards was signed through 2024. That’s still less than the $15 million that Nebraska will be coughing up after dumping head coach Scott Frost after just two games. . . . There are a lot of great stories in this young NFL season, but none will bear watching more than the San Francisco 49ers. I have never really understood how it was that QB Jimmy Garoppolo fell out of favour there, but they weren’t able to move him. Of course, now he’s the starter after Trey Lance broke his right ankle on Sunday and had season-ending surgery on Monday. . . . BTW, Garoppolo pocketed more than $750,000 on Sunday, including a $382,000 game cheque. Grant Marek of sfgate.com has more on Garoppolo’s contract situation right here, and it’s an interesting read. . . . You may have noticed that the New York Mets, Yankees, Jets and Giants all won on Sunday. That’s the first time that has happened since Sept. 27, 2009. So all was well with the Big Apple as another week began.


Ignorance


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Congratulations to Scottie Pippen for being the latest big sports star to lend his name and fame to the LIV Golf circuit. Pippen filmed a heartfelt commercial welcoming the LIV tour to Chicago. Maybe he figures we’ll all stop calling him basketball’s greatest sidekick, and start calling him the murderin’ Saudis’ goofiest pawn.”

——

Here’s Ostler again, this time with a great idea: “If MLB hitters have walk-up songs, they should also be required to have slink-back songs for when they strike out, songs to be chosen by the opposing team’s pitching staff. Some possibles: ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,’ ‘I’m Missing You,’ ‘Heat of the Moment,’ ‘Walk Away, Renee,’ and ‘Blue Bayou’ (blew by you).”



Asked how he felt rookie RB Jaylen Warren fared in his first NFL game, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin replied: “He didn’t urinate down his leg, man — that’s a great place to begin.”


Blinker


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.


Iron

KIJHL loses its only international team . . . Spokane out because not enough vaccinated staff, players . . . League drops vaccine mandate


As expected, the junior B Spokane Braves won’t be participating in the 2022-23 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League season. The Braves don’t have kijhlenough staff members and players fully vaccinated, so have had to give up any hope of playing, meaning the KIJHL is really the KJHL.

The league, which now features 19 B.C. teams, made the announcement on Wednesday.

The KIJHL had a vaccine mandate in place for the 2021-22 season, but Jeff Dubois, the league’s commissioner, told Taking Note on Wednesday that “our Vaccination Policy was a measure that was taken for the 2021-22 season only. We aren’t planning to renew it for 2022-23 at this time.” . . . Still, Canada and the United States both have border restrictions in place — foreigners crossing into Canada must be fully vaccinated, and the same holds true for foreigners going the other way. Any Braves staffers and players who aren’t vaccinated wouldn’t have been able to come north; any unvaccinated staff members or players on Canadian teams wouldn’t have been able to travel to Spokane.

The KIJHL released its 2022-23 regular-season schedule on July 18 and it included Spokane. At the same time, the league had given Spokane an Aug. 1 deadline by which time it had to declare its intentions. Well, the league revealed those intentions on Wednesday. The Braves, who last played in February 2020, won’t be playing their 50th anniversary season this winter.

“The Braves’ primary challenge has been recruiting players at a time when athletes and team staff must be fully vaccinated in order to enter into Canada,” Dubois said in a news release. “Despite their best efforts, the Braves look unlikely to be able to fill a roster of players who meet that requirement, and we reached a point where a decision needed to be made as to whether our season would proceed with or without Spokane. To be clear, we fully support those measures that have been taken to keep our communities safe from COVID, and we look forward to the Spokane Braves rejoining the KIJHL as soon as they are able to do so.”

As of mid-July, neither Spokane owner Bob Tobiason nor head coach Darin Schumacher was vaccinated. At that time, Taking Note was told that the Braves had only a handful of vaccinated players.

After the announcement, the Braves tweeted: “We draw players from Spokane and North Idaho. Spokane County is sitting around 65 per cent fully vaxxed. Kootenai County is 51 per cent . . . Those numbers are much lower when you drill down to junior-eligible ages.”

The KIJHL news release, which includes several schedule adjustments, is right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Saskatoon Blades have released F Josh Paulhus, 20. In 74 games with the Blades, the Saskatoon native had three goals and three assists in 57 games last season. The move leaves Saskatoon with three 2002-born players — F Kyle Crnkovic, F Josh Pillar and D Aidan De La Gorgendiere. . . . The Blades have added Spencer Stehouwer to their staff as equipment manager. He spent the past four seasons in that role with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. Stehouwer takes over from Riley Kosmolak, who has moved on to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose after three seasons with the Blades.



Sumo


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.


Running

CHL facing another potential class-action lawsuit . . . Most everything with WHL these days is fluid . . . Former WHL owner, GM, coach dies at 79

These have to be tough days to be the owner of a WHL franchise, don’t they?

The WHL is only a few weeks removed from the CHL, the umbrella under which it, the whlOHL and the QMJHL operate, having settled a civil suit for $30 million. In that suit, players, former and present, were, among other things, asking to be paid minimum wage under labour legislation in various jurisdictions. While not admitting to any wrongdoing or agreeing to pay minimum wage, the CHL settled, with insurance covering half the tab and each of the Canadian teams believed to be on the hook for more than $280,000.

And there is another WHL-related lawsuit before the courts, this one involving concussions, with the parties waiting to see if it will be certified as a class-action.

And another lawsuit dropped on Thursday, this one also seeking to be certified as a class-action. It carries the signatures of two former major junior players — Daniel Carcillo, who played in the OHL, and Garrett Taylor, who split a couple of seasons (2008-10) between the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders — and is looking for more co-signees.

This one could prove to be particularly ugly because, as you will see by reading this piece right here from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, Carcillo and Taylor are alleging that they were subject to abuse that is, to be honest, beyond description.

(BTW, you may recall that Taylor and his mother, Kim, were among those who appeared before an Oregon Senate committee on workforce on Feb. 27, 2018. They were opposing a proposed bill that would have exempted the Portland Winterhawks from state labour legislation. Ultimately, that request was denied.)

Geez, we haven’t even mentioned the hot mess that former OHL player Eric Guest hit that league and his old team, the Kitchener Rangers, with earlier in the week. The allegations, which included the forced ingestion of cocaine, are beyond messy, and the league, the team and the RCMP now are said to be conducting investigations.

And let’s not forget about the pandemic, you know, the coronavirus, COVID-19, and all that goes with that.

On Wednesday, following the completion of its annual meeting, the WHL issued a news release in which it said it “has targeted a start date of Friday, Oct. 2, for the 2020-21 regular season, but this date remains contingent on receiving the necessary approvals from government and health authorities in each of the six jurisdictions in WHL territory.”

Those would be Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C., Washington and Oregon. To this point, the citizens of the four Canadian provinces have done a good job of battling this virus. As for the two states, well, let’s just point out that Canada has closed its border with the U.S. until at least July 21 for a reason. And Canadians, especially those in B.C., are pleading with the feds to keep it closed for a whole lot longer.

On Thursday, Ron Robison, the WHL commish, was on a Zoom gathering with various media types and it is obvious that a proposed starting date really is a moving target.

At his point, the WHL hopes to have a 68-game regular season, but . . .

It hopes to open training camps on Sept. 15, but . . .

It’s becoming more and more apparent that it’s all in the hands of the medical community and, as Rafferty Baker of CBC News, reports right here, people like Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, the province’s health minister, aren’t ready to commit to anything just yet.

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week was on the Zoom call and his report is right here. . . . The word “fluid” appears on more than one occasion and for good reason.

How fluid are things?

Don Moores, the Kamloops Blazers’ president and chief operating officer, told Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV this week that the club isn’t even selling season tickets.

Moores explained: “We actually haven’t sold any season tickets yet. One of the things we don’t want to do is over-promise and under-deliver. It’s important for us to make sure that we know what we’re going to have and what that season will look like before we move ahead with that.”

As for the Winterhawks, who aren’t believe to be experiencing financial difficulties but are in receivership, Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune reported that Robison “said there has been a lot of interest in acquiring the club.”

Danzer’s piece is right here.


Earlier in the week, the University of Alberta stunned the Canadian sporting community by announcing it has cancelled the 2020-21 seasons for it’s men’s and women’s basketball, hockey and volleyball teams.

Ian Reade, the school’s athletic director, made the announcement, stating in a news release that “the Athletics budget is no longer able to support participation in the 2020-21 season.”

As The Canadian Press reported: “Earlier this year, the provincial government announced cuts to the Campus Alberta Grant and ordered universities to immediately begin balancing their budgets and reducing expenditures.

“Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a ripple effect on revenues.”

In April, the U of Lethbridge dropped men’s and women’s hockey from its program for financial reasons. Might there be more cuts on the way?

With two Alberta schools already having made moves, you are excused for wondering how things are with the U of Calgary, MacEwan U and Mount Royal U, the three other Canada West members based in Alberta.

Of course, it could be that there won’t even be basketball, hockey or volleyball seasons.

U Sports, which oversees Canadian university sports, and three of its four conferences announced last week that football, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s field hockey and women’s rugby wouldn’t be played during the first term.

Canada West has said it will make a decision by Oct. 8 on whether basketball, hockey and volleyball will be played after Jan. 1.

Gerry Moddejonge of Postmedia has more on the U of Alberta story right here.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with a Thought for the Day, this one from Will Rogers: “Don’t gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it.”


Robbers


You may be aware that the Buffalo Sabres’ owners staged a massive house-cleaning this week, sweeping out more than 20 people from the hockey operation, including general manager Jason Botterill. . . . Also caught up in the mess were two men with ties to the WHL. . . . Mark Ferner played with the Kamloops Jr. Oilers/Blazers. He also coached in Kamloops and with the Everett Silvertips. . . . Randy Hansch played with the Victoria Cougars and the Blazers. He later was the Blazers’ director of player personnel before spending 11 seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings, first as assistant GM/director of player personnel, then as general manager.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ coaching staff returned to the NFL team’s facility on Monday. By Thursday, one assistant coach had tested positive for the coronavirus, although he was asymptomatic, and was placed in quarantine. Two other assistant coaches also have bee quarantined.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S.’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, on Thursday that he doubts the NFL will be able to have a season without placing teams in bubbles much like the NBA has planned for next month in Orlando, Fla.

“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Fauci said. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”

The NFL doesn’t have any interest in the bubble format.

Dr. Allen Sill, the NFL’s chief medical officer, told the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that “we do not feel it’s practical or appropriate to construct a bubble. Anyone who tests positive will be isolated until medically appropriate to return.”


Real Turcotte, at one time a WHL owner and coach, died Monday after fighting congestive heart failure. He was 79. . . . Turcotte was born in East Angus, Que., but made a real mark as a coach in the Detroit area. . . . He was the owner and general manager of the Nanaimo Islanders for their only season (1982-83). He took over as head coach when he chose to replace Les Calder during the season. . . . Turcotte was the father of Alfie Turcotte, who played with the Islanders and Portland Winter Hawks (1982-84) and was selected 17th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL’s 1983 draft. . . . There is an obituary right here.


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held its annual meeting on Saturday and revealed in a Wednesday news release that it is aiming for open its regular season on Oct. 2. . . . As with so many other leagues, however, that is contingent on a number of things. As the league said in a news release: “As has been the case since the league’s 2019-20 season was cancelled on March 13, all decisions related to Return to Play will be made with the health and safety of players, staff, fans, volunteers and sponsors as our top priority.” . . . In that same release, Jeff Dubois, the league’s commissioner, said: “There are still a number of obstacles for us to navigate ahead of resuming league play this fall, but I’m confident that we’re trending in a positive direction.” . . . The complete news release is right here.


Herman

Scattershooting on a Thursday night after noticing the Vees went Ho-Ho-Ho in Game 1 . . .

Scattershooting

By now you’ve likely seen the ugly video of the fight in which F Kale Kessy, a former WHL scrapper now with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, was KO’d. . . . If you haven’t seen it, find it, watch it and then tell me why fighting needs to be a part of hockey. . . . If you’re wondering, Kessy spent Tuesday night in hospital and was released on Wednesday. . . . According to the Bears, Kessy now is sidelined with an “upper-body injury.” Yeah, I bet.

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Headline at The Onion: Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Horrified To Learn Madison Bumgarner Risking Health as Baseball Pitcher.


You don’t see something like this happen every day in the world of hockey. . . . Jeff Dubois, the general manager and head coach of the junior B Comox Valley Glacier Kings of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, is leaving to take over as commissioner of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. The KIJHL is a 22-team junior B circuit in the interior of B.C. . . . Dubois stepped in as the Glacier Kings’ head coach during an October shuffle. . . . He will move into the commissioner’s chair, replacing Larry Martel, on May 1. . . . Dubois spent three seasons as GM/head coach the KIJHL’s Creston Valley Thunder Cats, and was the league’s coach of the year for 2016-17. . . . Martel had been commissioner since June 2018 when he took over on an interim basis from longtime president Bill Ohlhausen. . . . The KIJHL’s news release is right here.



Former WHLer Jake Toporowski is to make his head-coaching debut tonight (Friday) with the Quad City Storm meeting the host Evansville Thunderbolts in a Southern Professional Hockey League game. . . . Head coach Dave Pszenyczny, the Storm’s head coach, drew a one-game suspension for the actions of his players late in a game against the Fayetteville Marksmen on Feb. 16. . . . BTW, Toporowski is to turn 22 on Friday. . . . “I always wanted to have a head coaching job,” Toporowski told Bobby Metcalf of the Quad-City Times,”so there’s got to be a first game at some point.” . . . Toporowski played three seasons (2014-17) with the Chiefs, then retired after playing one game in 2017-18. Injuries had limited him to 36 games in 2016-17,


The New York Yankees owe OF Giancarlo Stanton more than US$200 million through 2027. Stanton, who rooms with the injury bug, has been on the injury list six times in his career. In nine seasons, he has played fewer than 125 games five times. That includes last season when he got into 17 regular-season games. . . . You guessed it. He’s hurt again, this time with a Grade 1 calf strain that likely will have him on the shelf when this season starts.


Fishing


The SJHL’s Melville Millionaires didn’t waste any time putting this season behind them as they fired Kyle Adams, the general manager and head coach, on Tuesday. . . . Jarett Waldbauer, the assistant coach and assistant GM, now is the interim GM and head coach. . . . With three games remaining in the regular season, the Millionaires are 15-34-6, good for fourth in the four-team Viterra Division. . . . Adams was in his first full season as GM/head coach after signing a two-year contract in April. He had joined the club as an assistant coach early in 2018-19, then moved up to interim GM/head coach in December 2018.



In a column suggesting that it’s time for a “de-escalation of in-game technology” in Major League Baseball, Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle writes:

“The aim of my campaign is not to stop analytics. That ship has sailed and it can’t be squeezed back into the toothpaste tube. Let the numbers jockeys have their fun, but once the game starts, let’s mix in a little baseball with our video-gamery, shall we?”

Ostler says he is on a crusade “to inject some baseball back into baseball.”

Ostler also took time to add this:

“While I’m at it, I also advocate a ban on cell-phone use by fans seated in the first five rows behind home plate. Hello, you rich, cool people! Many of us watching the game on TV cling to a romantic fantasy that a fan blessed with amazing seats that the rest of us would kill to sit in is actually, you know, watching the freaking baseball game.”

Bingo!


Parrot


JUST NOTES: Craig MacTavish is back in the coaching game, this time has head coach of Lausanne HC, which dumped Ville Peltonen. MacTavish began this season as the head coach of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL, but was fired eight games into the season. Lausanne HC plays in the National League, Switzerland’s top pro league. . . . Brantt Myhres, a former WHL enforcer who totalled 137 points and 1,025 penalty minutes in 241 games, has a book in the works, and that’s one I will be sure to read. He has battled alcohol and drug addiction, and now has been sober for more than 11 years. . . . The BCHL’s Penticton Vees opened the playoffs Thursday night with a 7-1 victory over the visiting West Kelowna Warriors. What was different about this one? F Tyler Ho, who had 13 goals in 42 regular-season games, scored three times, each one of them with his side shorthanded. . . .

I have access to six TSN channels. On Thursday evening, five of them were blacked out because Canadian NHL teams were playing and only folks in each region are permitted to watch. One Sportsnet channel, featuring the Calgary Flames, also was blacked out. But, hey, we could watch the Dallas Stars and the Bruins play in Boston. . . . I need someone to explain to me how keeping Canadian teams off Canadian TV screens helps grow the game. . . . On Wednesday night, the Edmonton Oilers played the host Vegas Golden Knights. You will be aware that Edmonton’s lineup includes Connor McDavid, perhaps the best player in the game today, and Leon Draisaitl, who is right up there, too. But — you guessed it! — the game was blacked out too.

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