B.C.’s WHL, BCHL teams are looking for $9.5 million from gov’t . . . We remember Mickey Mouse Night at the Crushed Can . . . Hey, whatever happened to Doyle Potenteau?

——

Walter Gretzky would have loved this little guy’s approach to the game . . .


As the sun set on Thursday, there didn’t seem to be anything new to report on bchlthe BCHL, its 17 teams and a potential return to play. . . . During Question Period on Wednesday in Victoria, Shirley Bond, the interim leader of the B.C. Liberals and the MLA for Prince George-Valemount, asked: “Simple question, hopefully a very simple answer: Will the premier provide B.C.’s local hockey teams with the $9.5 million in funding they need to survive the hockey season? They are asking for $9.5 million so that WHL teams and B.C. Hockey League teams, like the premier’s own Victoria Grizzlies and my Prince George Spruce Kings, can survive.” . . . Premier John Horgan, the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca on Vancouver Island, replied: “There’s going to be more news about both hockey leagues. They provide an economic benefit. Certainly the WHL restart will be a bonus for Kamloops and Kelowna. But it will also be a difficult time for those teams, because outside of those two cities, they will not be having revenue coming in. We understand the issue. We’ve been working on it for a number of months. I regrettably have to say, ‘Stay tuned’ at this point.” . . . Bob Mackin of theBreaker.news obtained a letter written last week by Chris Hebb, the BCHL’s commissioner, to government and health officials. In his report, Mackin wrote: “If (the) BCHL does not get the go-ahead by March 3 for the its return-to-play plan, Hebb wrote that a motion will be prepared for team owners to vote March 4 to cancel the season.” . . . Apparently, that didn’t happen on Thursday. . . .  Jay Janower of Global tweeted on Wednesday afternoon that “it’s my understanding that as of right now, league will continue to hold its vote on cancelling the season on Friday.” . . . That, of course, would be today. The waiting game continues.


Trees


It was on Feb. 25 when I wrote this:

“We have been hearing for a while now that the WHL’s return to play is all about giving players development opportunities. If that’s the case, and considering the special circumstances, why not allow teams to carry five or six 20-year-olds, even if they only are allowed to dress three per game? Had the league done that, teams wouldn’t have had to cut 20-year-olds over the past few days.”

It turns out I wasn’t alone with that thought.

Steve Ewen, who covers junior hockey, the Vancouver Giants in particular, for Postmedia, wrote this on Wednesday:

“The WHL fanned on a glorious opportunity to show they believe intentions outweigh outcomes. . . .

“No one official has ruled it out, but playoffs aren’t likely. This is going to be an exhibition season. At its very best, it’s giving players something to grasp onto in the midst of this pandemic chaos. For some, it’s also a chance to show their wares for NHL teams or minor-pro clubs, or even Canadian universities moving forward.

“So why did the WHL stick to the traditional roster construction and only allow three 20-year-olds per team? Why not give teams a fourth or even a fifth 20-year-old so they can bolster the resume of some older players who have been loyal to the league in this very tricky time?”

Ewen’s complete piece is right here.



What ever happened to . . . Doyle Potenteau?

Potenteau spent a lot of years at the Kelowna Daily Courier and was a regular on the WHL beat as he wrote and wrote and wrote, mostly about the Kelowna Rockets.

At one point, he started up an on-line publication — DubNation — that was all WHL all the time, and really was ahead of its time.

He left print journalism a while back — he had left sports and was the Daily Courier’s managing editor — and now is in TV with Global Okanagan out of Kelowna. That’s him in the above photo — top row, second from right.


The 2022 Arctic Winter Games have been postponed. They were to have been held in Wood Buffalo, Alta., from March 6-12, 2022. The Games that attract about 2,000 international participants normally are held every two years. The 2020 Games were to have been held in Whitehorse but were cancelled a week before opening. Organizers didn’t want a repeat of that so made the decision well in advance.



It is readily apparent that the medical profession continues to learn new things about COVID-19 as we move through this pandemic. On Thursday, there were reports about a peer-reviewed study of pro athletes returning to play after dealing with the coronavirus that found few cases of myocarditis or pericarditis. . . . Thomas Ketko of Sportsnet reported that “several professional North American sports leagues collaborated on the effort, including the NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, WNBA and MLS. A total of 789 athletes who had COVID-19 participated in the study, which took place between May and October 2020 and sought to gauge how often the leagues’ return-to-play cardiac screening techniques found instances of inflammatory heart disease.” . . . Only five of those athletes were found to have inflammation of the heart. . . . Ketko also reported that “prior studies on the risk COVID-19 poses to the heart drew more uncertain conclusions, too.” For example, one earlier study found that 60 of 100 people who had tested positive had at least some signs of myocarditis. . . . Yes, the learning continues. . . . Ketko’s complete story is right here.


Bernie Lynch, a former WHL coach (Regina Pats, 1988-89), has been suspended by the junior A Fort Frances Lakers of the Superior International Junior Hockey League. According to a report from CBC News, Lynch was suspended on Jan. 2 via a letter that referenced “inappropriate” emails and conduct. He also was ordered to have no further contact with the players. . . . The CBC report also notes that “more than two months later, neither the team nor the league has publicly disclosed this.” . . . According to the CBC story, “Hockey Canada says it has launched an investigation, under the guidance of Glen McCurdie, its vice-president of insurance and risk management. Yet neither the player nor his parents have been contacted. Nor, apparently, has Lynch.” . . . The entire CBC story is right here.


Hello there, ESPN. It’s been a long winter so I really have been looking forward to watching some baseball. But I have tried to watch two of your telecasts in the last few days — Cubs and Mariners, then Nationals and Mets — but have bailed on both of them. I want to watch baseball with the accompanying play-by-play and commentary, and not be subjected to a bunch of interviews over top of the play. Please stop trying to re-invent the wheel. . . . Thank you for listening!


Bacon


The IIHF’s nine-team 2021 women’s world championship that is scheduled to be held in Halifax and Truro, N.S., has been moved to May 6-16. It had been scheduled for April 7-17 in those communities. . . . The 2020 tournament was to have been held there but was cancelled. . . . The IIHF is hoping that a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend games.


Some NCAA hockey teams are dealing with virus-related issues. . . . Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonCHN) reported via Twitter on Thursday: “Merrimack won’t be able to continue with its season. Games vs. UVM (the U of Vermont) this weekend are canceled and per a source, Merrimack won’t compete in the HEA playoffs, which is scheduled to begin with the first round on Wednesday.” . . . St. Lawrence U cancelled its last four regular-season games, all of which were to have been against Clarkson. . . . Earlier, Colorado College had cancelled its final two games, both against Denver, that had been scheduled for last night (Thursday) and Saturday. . . . College Hockey News has more right here.


Restrictions are being loosened in Nova Scotia, meaning the province’s three QMJHL teams will be allowed to play home games again. The Halifax Mooseheads are scheduled to play at home three times in the next 10 days, while the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have one home game scheduled.



DrGoogle


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: Phil Andrews is returning as the radio voice of the Regina Pats on 620 CKRM. He had been the play-by-play voice since 2011, and took over as director of media and communications in 2016. He left that post in July and the position was filled by the hiring of Evan Daum, who will serve as the analyst on Pats’ broadcasts. CKRM will carry 19 of the club’s 24 games in the upcoming developmental season, with five weekdays games available on the station’s website. . . . The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers have signed Justin Falk as assistant general manager/assistant coach. A 32-year-old native of Snowflake, Man., Falk will work alongside GM Jeff Jeanson and head coach Kelvin Cech. Falk played in the WHL (2005-08) with the Calgary Hitmen and Spokane Chiefs before going on to a pro career that included stints with five NHL teams. He last played in 2018-19, when he spent time with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles and Belleville Senators and the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. . . . The Flyers also announced that Mike McAulay has added the director of player personnel duties to his previous job as head scout.


Pizza

Royals and Rebels make deal . . . Broncos now have brother act . . . Turbulent times for BCHL’s Warriors


MacBeth

F Dalibor Bortňák (Kamloops, 2008-11) signed a one-year contract with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, he had seven goals and seven assists in 31 games with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). He was an alternate captain. . . .

F Jozef Balej (Portland, 1999-2002) signed a one-year contract with Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga), he had nine goals and eight assists in 30 games.


ThisThat

The Victoria Royals have acquired F Brandon Cutler, 18, and a second-round selection in VictoriaRoyalsthe WHL’s 2019 bantam draft from the Red Deer Rebels for F Dallon Melin, 16, and a fifth-rounder in 2019. . . . Cutler, from Spruce Grove, Alta., was a ninth-round pick by the Rebels in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he had six goals and five assists in 68 games with the Rebels. As a freshman, in 2016-17, he had a goal and two assists in 38 games. . . . Melin, from Camrose, Alta., has yet to sign a WHL contract. . . . He had six goals and 14 assists in 27 games with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings last season. He also had one assists in three games with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Victoria selected Melin in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Swift Current Broncos have acquired D Sam Pouliot, 18, from the Red Deer Rebels SCBroncosfor a conditional 10th-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Pouliot had one goal in 16 games with the Rebels last season. He also got into 16 games with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings, drawing three assists. In 2016-17, he had a goal and 12 assists in 36 games with the major midget Vancouver Northwest Giants. . . . Pouliot joins his brother, Ryan, 20, on the Broncos’ roster. Ryan, a 20-year-old defenceman, played the previous two-plus seasons with the Kootenay Ice. The Broncos claimed him on waivers during the summer.



Steve Konowalchuk, who coached the Seattle Thunderbirds to the WHL’s 2017 championship, has joined the NHL’s New York Rangers as an amateur scout. . . . Konowalchuk 45, was the Thunderbirds’ head coach for six seasons. After winning the 2017 Ed Chynoweth Cup, he left for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks where he spent last season as an assistant coach. . . . With the Rangers, according to a news release, Konowalchuk “will be primarily responsible for scouting amateur players in the Western Hockey League.” . . . That news release is right here.


The BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors have undergone another coaching change, with Jason Beckett coming on board as the team’s third head coach since Aug. 21. . . . Rylan WestKelownaFerster, who had been the general manager and head coach for seven seasons, left the organization on Aug. 21. He had helped the Warriors win a national championship in 2016. . . . Geoff Grimwood, the assistant GM and associate head coach, was named the interim head coach on Aug. 21. However, Grimwood was dismissed on Monday night. . . . Assistant coach Matt Miller also is gone, having left on Monday, while athletic therapist Mike Bois, who had been there through four seasons, chose leave, as well. . . . Asked if he was surprised at being fired, Grimwood told Wayne Moore of castanet.net: “No, because I know the situation right now seems unstable. But I was surprised in the sense that I didn’t think they would pull the rug out on you going into the first week of the season. I thought I would have a chance to get out of the gate and see how we did. I respect that’s the owner’s choice and he has to make decisions he thinks are right. I happen to disagree with that because I think the players needed stability, and right now, it’s just not being provided.” . . . As for the players, Taking Note received an anonymous text early Tuesday afternoon, stating that they left the ice during practice and didn’t return. That later was confirmed by Moore. . . . The Warriors are scheduled to open the regular season against the Smoke Eaters in Trail on Friday night. Trail is scheduled to visit West Kelowna on Saturday night. . . . The Warriors are owned by KD Sports Ltd., which purchased the franchise in August. Kim Dobranski is the majority owner and president.

If you check out the above tweet from Bois, the Warriors’ ex-athletic therapist, you will see that a number of West Kelowna players have retweeted it and/or liked it. . . . Hmmm!


The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express have acquired the junior A playing rights to F Ethan O’Rourke, 19, who is on the roster of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos at the moment. . . . The Broncos acquired O’Rourke and a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL bantam draft from the Everett Silvertips for D Sahvan Khaira, 20, on July 30. . . . Last season, O’Rourke had five goals and nine assists in 37 games with the Prince George Cougars, then recorded a goal and three assists in 29 games with Everett. . . . The Express got O’Rourke and future considerations from the Prince George Spruce Kings for F Sam Kozlowski, 20. Kozlowski had eight goals and 22 assists in 55 games with the Express last season.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


Tweetoftheday

Doing some scattershooting . . . Giants salute their bus driver . . . Pats to retire No. 15

Scattershooting

If you haven’t noticed, the Kootenay Ice and Red Deer Rebels are tied for third place in the WHL’s Central Division, each with 51 points. Each team has 14 games remaining. This being the era of the loser point, it’s worth noting that the Ice (24-31-3) has five more victories and five more losses than the Rebels (19-26-13), who have 10 more loser points. In this instance, it’s all about those loser points.


Whichever team loses the race to third in the Central Division likely will miss the playoffs. That’s because the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot is 10 points away.


The Moose Jaw Warriors (42-9-3) lead the overall standings by three points over the Swift Current Broncos (41-13-4). However, the Warriors have four games in hand. If you’re wondering, those teams only have two games remaining with each other — Wednesday at Swift Current and March 10 in Moose Jaw. . . . Five of Moose Jaw’s remaining 18 games will be played against the Brandon Wheat Kings.


It‘s good to see former Brandon D Dwayne Gylywoychuk working the bench with the Canada’s women’s team at the Olympic Winter Games. He’s an assistant coach, and if you catch a glimpse of him you’ll see why his nickname is Chewy. I still can’t believe he doesn’t have an endorsement from Double Bubble.


Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“If Tom Brady can be at the top of his game at 40, why not a rebuilt Tiger Woods at 42? There’s just too much accumulated golf knowledge, hunger and battle savvy packed into that bad-ass, free-safety body for Tiger to fade away. Plus, Woods never gets sacked, so to speak.”


One of the interesting things to happen this week has been the tweets from Mr. T — remember him? — professing to a new-found love for curling. This has led to speculation on social media that curling’s pooh-bahs will change the name of the T-line to the Mr. T line.


Former MLB pitcher Jim Deshaies, who now provides analysis on Chicago Cubs’ telecasts, remembers a time when the late Oscar Gamble saw pitcher Nolan Ryan’s name on a marquee in Anaheim and said: “Ooh, boy . . . 0-for-4 and no fractured skull is a good day.”


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, points out: “The last ‘Really Good’ QB for the NY Jets may in fact have been Joe Willie Namath. To put that in perspective, he is six months older than I am; and when I was in high school, they were able to teach all of World History in four days.”


Those international hockey games between the American and Canadian women’s teams certainly have a lot of body contact for a game in which bodychecking is against the rules. . . . I got a personal introduction to that rivalry two years ago when the IIHF Women’s World Championship was decided in Kamloops. It only seems to have grown hotter since then.


MacBeth

D Austin Madaisky (Calgary, Kamloops, 2008-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Leksand (Sweden, Allsvenskan) after receiving his release from the Straubing Tigers (Germany DEL). He had five goals and eight assists in 45 games with Straubing this season.


DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, one of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice officials, is at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. With the men’s hockey competition having started, he is a busy man.

Early Thursday (Pacific time), he reported . . .

“A day at the exciting last game of the day. Korea vs Czech Republic. The Czech won 2-1, Olylogobut the big thing was what happened inside the game building, actually. We’re in South Korea in an ice rink and who comes in — nope, not him — but a singing and dancing choir from North Korea. WOW is all I had to say.

“Hockey is interesting without the NHL. Anyone can win this tournament.”

Later Thursday — it was well into Friday in PyeongChang — Courneyea worked the men’s game between Slovakia and the U.S.

“I’m now supervising the upstairs crew,” he wrote, “Ed (Petrullo) from Seattle was moved downstairs onto scorekeepers row. You might see him on TV. He’s at centre ice level right above the large snowflake on the boards.

“The atmosphere in here is great.”

Petrullo is an off-ice official with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.

Courneyea added:

“We are doing training for the local Koreans who came to work and will move on to the Paralympics.

“We originally came to do one job but our experience has over-ridden that. We also didn’t want to cut out those locals who have been training and working for this time. That was our group’s consensus when the four of us came in on the first day.”

As for the men’s tournament, he wrote:

“This is ANYONE’S tournament. No clear winners!”

It’s worth noting, too, he wrote, that the sweaters players are wearing in these Olympics, “have chips to track all the on-ice stats.”

If you weren’t watching, Team USA beat the Slovakians, 2-1.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

A tip of the Taking Note cap to the players on the Vancouver Giants for something they did after their 4-2 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland on Wednesday night.

Many junior teams have something that goes to a player of the game. In the Giants’ case, Vancouverit is a replica of a WWE championship belt.

Jess Rubenstein is the prospect editor for the Blueshirt Bulletin, and keeps close tabs on New York Rangers’ prospects, including Giants F Cliff Ronning.

All Ronning did in Portland was score twice — Nos. 50 and 51. In the process, he became the first player in franchise history to score 50 times on one season. No, he didn’t get the replica WWE belt.

Rubenstein was at the game and sent along a couple of notes after the game:

“The belt was given to bus driver Derek Holloway. He was wearing the belt with a giant-sized smile as he supervised the postgame loading.

“It was a huge win for the Giants players but they honoured their driver for his 600th road game. Hockey truly is special.

“It was truly a classy move by the players to honour the guy who gets them from place to place. The rest of the world doesn’t know how important these drivers are, so it was great to see the Giants do that for Holloway.”


The Regina Pats will honour Jock Callander by retiring his number (15) prior to a game against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Sunday. . . . Callander played four seasons ReginaPats100(1978-82) with the Pats, totalling 368 points, 158 of them goals, in 201 games. In franchise history, he is sixth in points, tied for seventh in goals, and sixth in assists (210). . . . In 1981-82, Callander led the WHL in scoring, with 190 points in 71 games. . . . Callander, who is from Regina, went on to a pro career that included a Stanley Cup title with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. . . . He also played 1,054 games in the now-defunct International Hockey League. He finished with 1,242 points, and that’s No. 1 in IHL history. . . . The last Regina player to wear No. 15 was F Braydon Buziak, who was traded to the Victoria Royals earlier this season.

Other numbers retired by the Pats — 1. Ed Staniowski; 7. Jordan Eberle; 8. Brad Hornung; 9. Clark Gillies; 12. Doug Wickenheiser; 14. Dennis Sobchuk; 16. Dale Derkatch/Mike Sillinger; 17. Bill Hicke.


If you like what you see here, please consider clicking on the DONATE button over there to the right and helping the cause.

If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Edmonton vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY