Paddock: (Bedard) has a no-trade clause . . . Stankoven sparks Blazers past Pats . . . Korczak, Firkus stun Giants

John Paddock will be glad to get home to Regina where he (likely) won’t have to answer any more questions about the possibility of trading away F Connor Bedard.

But before Paddock and his Regina Pats head east, there was a stop in Kamloops Reginaon Wednesday. And, yes, he met with the media and, yes, he was asked . . .

“He has a no-trade clause,” stated Paddock, the Pats’ senior vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach. That conversation is right here, with Paddock having an interesting exchange with Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “He does not want to be traded. He’s not going anywhere. We don’t want to trade him and he doesn’t want to be traded. It’s simple.”

So that takes care of that. OK?

If you are wondering about the WHL’s 22 teams and no-trade clauses, here’s what Kirt Hill of the Edmonton Oil Kings told Postmedia after he dealt D Luke Prokop to the Seattle Thunderbirds.

“When teams are trying to win (championships), it’s tough to get players off their rosters and with the rules in our league now, you can’t trade 15- or 16-year-olds and the majority of high-end 17-year-olds have no-trade clauses.”

With the WHL, sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same.

Here’s part of a piece I posted here on July 24, 2018 . . .

“Taking Note has been told that the WHL has acted in an attempt to put a halt WHLto the number of young players who get traded within the league.

“The move is a reaction to the number of deals that were made in the period leading up to last season’s Jan. 10 trade deadline. . . .

“Taking Note has been told that the league has decided that its teams won’t be allowed to trade any 15- or 16-year-old players who have signed WHL contracts. On top of that, the only time the trading of a 17-year-old player will be allowed is if that player has requested a trade.

“The 17-year-old player will have had to approach the team’s general manager to ask for a trade; a team won’t be able to make the first move, asking said player to waive his no-trade clause. Taking Note was told that the WHL will approach a 17-year-old player’s parents to make sure the procedure was followed.”

A month later, I added this . . .

“It is most unfortunate that the WHL has such an uncomfortable relationship with transparency. It really would be nice if the league would let parents, players, fans, observers and anyone else who might be interested in on the particulars.

“You will recall that the Edmonton Oil Kings and Swift Current Broncos made a deal this week that involved four players and three draft picks. After the deal was announced, there was speculation on social media as to which players had signed and which players hadn’t, and also wondering about the presence of no-trade clauses.

As one observer wrote in an email after that deal was made: ‘So the rules appear to be in effect. Nice of the league to publicize everything so we all know how things work.’ “


Meanwhile, Regina F Connor Bedard told the Kamloops media that he was looking forward to matching up with Blazers F Logan Stankoven last night. In fact, Bedard referred to Stankoven as “probably the best player in the league.”

What? And tou thought Bedard was the best player in the league, didn’t you?

“He’s nuts, what he’s doing,” Bedard said. “I try to watch him a lot. What he’s done in this league is crazy, so I wouldn’t say I’m better than him, but it’s going to be a fun game.”

Bedard and Stankoven were teammates on the Canadian team that won the World Junior Championship in Edmonton in August. And they’ll be teammates again on Team Canada at the WJC that opens in Halifax and Moncton on Dec. 26.

It’s safe to say that Stankoven won the showdown last night.


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour stopped in Kamloops and his Regina Pats dropped a 9-3 decision to the Blazers, who Kamloopsexploded for seven second-period goals. . . . Kamloops (12-5-4) has won two in a row and now leads the B.C. Division by two points over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Pats (12-12-2) had won their previous three games, all in B.C. . . . The announced attendance in the 5,464-seat Sandman Centre was 5,544. . . . The Pats conclude their B.C. Division swing against the Prince George Cougars on Friday. The Cougars announced Wednesday afternoon that the game in the 5,871-seat CN Centre is sold out. . . . Last night in Kamloops, Blazers F Logan Stankoven won the battle with Bedard. Stankoven put up a goal (15) and three assists as his points streak reached 17 games. He is averaging more than two points per game (2.18) with 37 in 17 outings. . . . Bedard scored twice and drew an assist; his point streak hit 25. He now has 57 points, including 24 goals, in 26 games (2.19 per game). . . . The Blazers also got two goals and an assist from each of F Fraser Minten (9) and Caedan Bankier (17), and three assists from D Logan Bairos. . . .

In Edmonton, F Vaughn Watterodt scored twice to help the Saskatoon Blades to Saskatoona 5-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Saskatoon (17-5-0) has won two in a row. . . . Edmonton (4-21-1) has lost four straight. . . . An 18-year-old from Rosetown, Sask. Watterodt went into this season with six goals in 64 career regular-season games. He was scoreless in 18 games with Kamloops before landing in Saskatoon. This season, he has seven goals in 22 games, with six of them coming in his past six games. . . . The Blades held a 24-11 edge in shots, including 8-1 in the third period. . . .

In Portland, the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s first three goals as they Seattleskated to a 3-1 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (16-4-1) closed to within three points of the U.S. Division-leading Winterhawks (17-4-2), who have lost three in a row. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic’s 11th goal, at 7:38 of the third period, proved the winner. . . . D Kyle Korchinski drew two assists for Seattle. . . . F Jack O’Brien (6) scored for Portland at 16:56 of the third period. . . . Seattle got 35 saves from G Thomas Milic. . . .

F Ryder Korczak scored in OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 5-4 victory over WarriorsNewthe Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Warriors (17-9-0) have won four in a row, all in B.C. . . . The Giants are 9-10-5. . . . Moose Jaw erased a 4-2 deficit by scoring the game’s last three goals. . . . F Jagger Firkus (16), who extended his point streak to 19 games, pulled Moose Jaw into a tie when he scored at 19:06 of the third period with an extra attacker on the ice. . . . Korczak (4) won it at 2:41 of OT. . . . Firkus, who also had two assists, was in on each of those last three goals. . . . The Giants got a goal (5) and two assists from D Mazden Leslie, with F Samuel Honzek adding three assists. . . . The announced attendance in the Langley Events Centre was 810 with the Tuesday storm that smashed into the Lower Mainland obviously figuring in that number.


Hearing


THINKING OUT LOUD — It seems that John Paddock, the Regina Pats’ senior vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, isn’t enamoured with any line of questioning that involves the possible trading away of F Connor Bedard. Well, perhaps Paddock will go to the next WHL meeting of the pooh-bahs and suggest that they might want to inject some transparency into the proceedings by explaining — officially — who gets no-trade clauses, who doesn’t and how/if said clauses might be circumvented. . . . That person wearing a mask and standing in front of you in the lineup at the grocery store? Might be immunocompromised, so back up a bit and give them some room. Thank you. . . . There is a truckstop on the Trans-Canada Highway not far from where we live. Today, the price of one litre of diesel was 72 cents more than a litre of regular. Just in case you think prices are going to come down one of these days.


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.


Lottery

Sim overshadows Bedard in Pats’ victory . . . Warriors hang on to win in Kamloops . . . Thunderbirds slow down Portland express

A reminder that former WHLer Andrei Lupandin and his family have left their native Ukraine and are in Saskatoon hoping to start a new life after losing their home in the ongoing Russian onslaught.

Lupandin, 44, and his wife and two sons arrived in Saskatoon “with little more than a hockey bag and one suitcase for the family of four,” according to a GoFundMe page that is up and running.

“They have no work and need to start over. We are raising funds to help them with buying essentials, saving money to live and for future accommodations and household items.”

That GoFundMe page is right here.



FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour got started in Langley, B.C., as his Regina Pats beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-0, before an Reginaannounced crowd of 5,276. . . . That is the largest crowd for a Giants’ home game in the Langley Events Centre since they moved there to start the 2016-17 season. . . . The Pats (10-11-2) had lost their previous three games. . . . The Giants now are 8-10-4. . . . G Drew Sim was huge for the Pats, kicking out 47 shots to record his second shutout this season and the third of his career. Sim, 19, was a third-round pick by the Giants in the WHL’s 2018 draft. His first 11 WHL appearances were with the Giants. . . . Vancouver dealt him to Regina on Oct. 21, 13, 2021, for a conditional fourth-rounder in 2024. . . . Bedard, who takes his tour on to Victoria to meet the Royals tonight, was playing in his 100th regular-season game. He had one assist as his point streak reached 22 games. He was blanked in the season’s first game and hasn’t been shut out since then. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (19), assists (30) and points (49). . . . Bedard is from North Vancouver, and this was his first WHL game on the Lower Mainland of B.C. . . . F Borya Valis (10), who had missed the last two games, got Regina’s first goal, on a PP, at 12:47 of the first period. . . . F Riley Ginnell, 20, made his Regina debut after being acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors earlier in the week. . . .

The visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes scored three PP goals en route to a 4-3 Lethbridgevictory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Lethbridge improved to 13-10-1. It is 1-2 on a six-game road trip. . . . The Wheat Kings are 8-14-2. . . . These teams will play in Brandon again tonight. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but the Hurricanes scored the next three goals. . . . F Tyson Laventure (5) had two goals and an assist for the winners, with D Logan McCutcheon (1) chipping in a goal and two assists. . . . Lethbridge was 3-4 on the PP; Brandon was 2-5. . . . The Hurricanes got 37 stops from G Harrison Meneghin. . . .

In Calgary, F Sloan Stanick and F Keaton Sorensen each had four points to help PrinceAlbertthe Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Raiders (9-12-2) have won four in a row. . . . The Hitmen (11-6-3) had points in each of their previous two games (1-0-1). . . . After F Zac Funk (6) gave Calgary a 2-1 lead 48 seconds into the second period, the Raiders scored the game’s last four goals. . . . Sorensen (11) had two goals and two assists, with Stanick drawing four assists. . . . Raiders F Evan Herman, the team’s captain, scored his fifth goal this season — it was the 50th of his career — and added two assists. . . . The Raiders got 32 stops from G Tikhon Chaika. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets struck three times in the second period and went on to Kelownabeat the Silvertips, 4-2, in Everett. . . . Kelowna improved to 9-9-1; the Silvertips, who had been 0-3-1 in their previous four games, now are 12-9-1. . . . F Colton Dach (6), Kelowna’s captain, broke a 2-2 tie at 17:24 of the second period. He also had an assist. . . . F Max Graham (2) iced it with an empty-netter. . . . Kelowna D Jackson DeSouza had two assists and now is on a four-game point streak, with seven points over that stretch. He went into this season with one goal and 10 assists in 70 games. This season, he has three goals and five assists in 17 games, with all eight points having come over the past five games. . . . Everett F Jackson Berezowski, who hadn’t played since Nov. 4 as he missed six games, scored his 13th goal. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s first three goals, two via the PP, and WarriorsNewhung on to beat the Blazers, 3-2, in Kamloops. . . . The Warriors (14-9-0) are 1-1-0 on this seven-game road swing. . . . The Blazers (10-5-4) had points in each of their previous five games (3-0-2). . . . F Brayden Yager (11) had a goal and an assist for the Warriors, the goal giving them a 3-0 lead at 13:52 of the second period. . . . F Jagger Firkus of the Warriors ran his point streak to 16 games with an assist. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven (14) scored 45 seconds into the third period and later added an assist to extend his point streak to 15 games; he has hit the scoresheet in each game in which he has played this season. . . . The Warriors got a big game from G Connor Ungar, who made 36 stops. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers scored three times in the shootout to beat the Rebels, MedicineHat3-2, in Red Deer. . . . The Tigers (8-10-5) have won two straight. . . . The Rebels (16-4-3) have lost three in a row (16-4-3). . . . F Kai Uchacz (17) scored while shorthanded to give Red Deer a 2-1 lead at 2:26 of the second period. . . . F Brendan Lee got the Tigers even with his 14th goal at 15:39 of the third. . . . Lee, who also had an assist, has goals in six straight games, putting in eight over that stretch. He also scored Medicine Hat’s first goal in the shootout. . . . The Tigers had a 42-31 edge in shots. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Winnipeg Ice broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals en route Saskatoonto a 5-3 victory over the Blades. . . . The Ice (22-2-0) has won two in a row. . . . The Blades (15-5-0) had a four-game winning streak snapped. . . . The will have a rematch tonight, also in Saskatoon. . . . F Ty Nash (11) gave the Ice a 4-1 lead at 4:16 of the third period. He has goals in five straight games. . . . The Blades got PP goals from F Josh Pillar (4) and F Justin Lies (4) to get within a goal, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . The Ice got a goal and two assists from D Ben Zloty (6), while F Connor McClennon had three assists. . . . Zloty, 20, has 28 points in 24 games this season. . . . G Daniel Hauser made 30 saves to earn the victory. This season, he is 16-0-0, 2.43, .914. In his career, he is a remarkable 57-3-2. . . . F Zach Benson was one of the Ice’s scratches. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds have points in six straight games after beating the SeattlePortland Winterhawks, 6-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (15-3-1) are 5-0-1 in their past six games. . . . The Winterhawks (17-3-1) had points in each of their previous 12 games (10-0-2) and had won nine in a row. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (10) led Seattle with a shorthanded goal and two assists. . . . The only goal of the first period came from Seattle D Nolan Allan. He has five on the season, but this was his first with Seattle since being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 16. . . . Seattle outshot Portland, 35-21, including 24-7 through two periods. . . . The Winterhawks had F Jack O’Brien and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme back after one-game absences. Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) tweeted that “both are wearing full shields/fish bowls due to coming off illness.” . . . The Thunderbirds remain without injured D Luke Prokop. . . .

F Josh Davies scored the game’s first three goals to lead the host Swift Current SwiftCurrentBroncos to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Broncos (10-11-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Oil Kings (4-19-1) have lost two in a row. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, also in Swift Current. . . . Davies, who has eight goals, scored twice while shorthanded — at 14:02 of the first period and 9:39 of the second — to complete his first WHL hat trick in his 106th game.


Looters


THE TRADING PLACE:

The Regina Pats skated at the Langley Events Centre on Thursday in advance of their Friday night game against the Vancouver Giants. Afterwards, John Paddock, the Pats’ senior vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, met with the media. Of course, he was asked about the possibility of trading highly touted F Connor Bedard. Paddock’s response: “That’s a stupid question. That’s my response. There’s only one place where that’s come out of all year and that’s in B.C.” . . . You will note that he didn’t say “NO!” Could it be that the Pats are keeping open all of their options? . . . Hey, John, any chance of your trading Tanner Howe? . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings have acquired F Anthony Wilson, 17, and D Luke Shipley, 18, from the Victoria Royals for F Teydon Trembecky, 17, and three WHL draft picks — a third-rounder in 2023 that originally belonged to the Red Deer Rebels, a fifth in 2024 and a fourth in 2026. . . . Wilson, a third-rounder selection in the 2020 WHL draft, had nine goals and nine assists in 81 games with the Royals. He is from Swift Current. . . . Shipley was a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft. From Powell River, B.C., he had four goals and 18 assists in 105 games with Victoria. . . . Trembecky, a third-round pick by Brandon in the 2020 draft, is from Strathcona, Alta. He had two assists in 24 games with the Wheat Kings. . . . 

Since Oct. 25, WHL teams have combined on 13 trades involving 22 players, 30 draft picks and four conditional picks. . . . Only the Calgary Hitmen, Everett Silvertips, Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Portland Winterhawks and  Vancouver Giants haven’t made at least one deal in the past month.


Spotted


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Regina Pats got down to three 20-year-olds by releasing F Jakob Brook. He is expected to join the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. . . . The Pats had indicated in Tuesday’s WHL roster report that they had dropped Brook. But there wasn’t an announcement until Thursday. . . . A second-round pick by the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL’s 2017 draft, Brook had three assists in seven games this season. In 164 career regular-season games, split between the Pats and Raiders, he put up 14 goals and 23 assists. . . . Brook’s brother, Aidan, 19, also is on Dauphin’s roster. Aidan has WHL experience with the Medicine Hat Tigers (24 games) and Prince George Cougars (11). . . .

F Max Streule, a sophomore from Zurich, Switzerland, has cleared WHL waivers and has left the Winnipeg Ice for the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Streule, 19, had two goals and nine assists in 52 games last season; this season, he was pointless in six games. . . . Streule’s departure leaves F Vladislav Shilo, who is from Minsk, Belarus, as the Ice’s lone import. . . .

G Ève Gascon, who made history last season as the third female to play in a QMJHL regular-season game, with the Gatineau Olympiques, has committed to play NCAA hockey for the U of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their season-opening winning streak to 22 games on Friday, as they dumped the host Alberni Valley Bulldogs, 7-1. . . . The Vees are to travel to Powell River to meet the Kings tonight. . . .

Meanwhile, we shouldn’t be ignoring the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars, who have opened the season by playing 23 games without a regulation-time loss. . . . They will take a 20-0-3 record into their next game, against the visiting Notre Dame Hounds on Dec. 2.


Freedom


THINKING OUT LOUD — Just how big is the NFL in the world of TV and sports. Well, you may have noticed that the NHL didn’t have even one game scheduled for Thursday, which was American Thanksgiving and featured three NFL games. One of those games — New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys — averaged 42 million viewers on FOX-TV. It now is the most-watched NFL regular-season game in history. . . . I never cease to be amazed by the number of people on the sidelines of a football game in the U.S., be it NFL or NCAA. Does each one of those people have a particular responsibility, or are they just there? . . . Mask up whenever the situation calls for it. Those people with suppressed immune systems will thank you for it.


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.


Breakfast

Where did we go so wrong? . . . Are you able to help Ernie (Punch) McLean? . . . Regina’s Paddock penning quite a story

While taking time away from here to do some recharging, reflecting and, well, just re-everything, it hit me that we the people are doing a horrific job . . . just absolutely horrific.

I had always believed that one of the things foremost in our minds as we COVIDstrolled through life had to be the importance of leaving the world a better place than we found it for our children and grandchildren. Did our parents not leave us with a world that was better than it was when they came into it?

That being the case, there seems no chance of us being able to do that, what with COVID-19 continuing to run rampant; climate change occurring with frightening speed while our leaders, in business, industry and politics, refuse to act with anything close to matching urgency; the political arena having turned into a battle of us vs. them with those of different political stripes seemingly incapable of working together — but, oh my, are they good at pointing fingers! — and we won’t even get into the opioid epidemic, homelessness, mental health, the price of groceries and gasoline, and on and on . . .

Over the past few days, while pondering a lot of what is going on in our world, I got to wondering where we went wrong. If the pandemic that soon will be into its fourth year — yes, fourth! — has shown us anything it is what a horribly selfish people we have become. I don’t know where it all started but the lack of caring and respect we now hold for our neighbours is disgusting. Somehow we have decided that we won’t wear masks indoors, not even when we know that they work to protect family, friends and others. Not only that, we have decided that the elderly, the disabled, the thousands of immunocompromised who walk among us . . . all of them are expendable. Come and take them, Dr. Death. Y’er welcome!

Ed Yong, a writer with The Atlantic who has won a Pulitzer Prize for his writing on the pandemic, writes:

“Recently, after a week in which 2,789 Americans died of COVID-19, President Joe Biden proclaimed that ‘the pandemic is over.’ Anthony Fauci described the controversy around the proclamation as a matter of ‘semantics,’ but the facts we are living with can speak for themselves. COVID still kills roughly as many Americans every week as died on 9/11. It is on track to kill at least 100,000 a year — triple the typical toll of the flu. Despite gross undercounting, more than 50,000 infections are being recorded every day. The CDC estimates that 19 million adults have long COVID. Things have undoubtedly improved since the peak of the crisis, but calling the pandemic ‘over’ is like calling a fight ‘finished’ because your opponent is punching you in the ribs instead of the face.”

——

As of Monday afternoon, the death toll from Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida on Wednesday, was at 101, a figure that is all over the news. Meanwhile, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University, there were 277 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Florida over the past week, bringing the state’s total to 81,416 since the virus arrived on our doorstep. Hey, just saying . . .

——

Here’s more from Yong:

“In the spring of 2020, I wrote that the pandemic would last for years, and that the U.S. would need long-term strategies to control it. But America’s leaders consistently acted as if they were fighting a skirmish rather than a siege, lifting protective measures too early, and then reenacting them too slowly. They have skirted the responsibility of articulating what it would actually look like for the pandemic to be over, which has meant that whenever citizens managed to flatten the curve, the time they bought was wasted. Endemicity was equated with inaction rather than active management. This attitude removed any incentive or will to make the sort of long-term changes that would curtail the current disaster and prevent future ones. And so America has little chance of effectively countering the inevitable pandemics of the future; it cannot even focus on the one that’s ongoing.”

Read that last sentence again. Please.

Yong’s complete piece is right here, and it’s well worth your time.


ICYMI, Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band were to have opened a five-city Western Canadian tour in Winnipeg tonight (Tuesday). That won’t happen, though, because the former Beatles drummer has tested positive for COVID-19. Starr, 82, also had to call off shows scheduled for Saskatoon, Lethbridge, Abbotsford and Penticton.


FranErnie
Fran and Ernie McLean were married for 69 years. (Photo: Harold Phillipoff/Facebook)

A message from Harold Phillipoff, who played two seasons (1974-76) with the New Westminster Bruins:

“It is with heavy heart than I pass along this sad news . . . after 69 years of marriage, Fran McLean has passed away. She was always there for Ernie and ‘his boys.’

“This leaves Ernie tragically in a financial mess as the pandemic has shut down his mining business, leaving him with just his old-age benefits to pay all the bills.

“Ernie’s sons have set up a PayPal account and E-transfer account for the ‘Help Ernie McLean’ fund. The username for both accounts is PunchMclean@gmail.com.

“I would consider it a personal favour if you could share this post to your friends on Facebook and any other social media. Ernie entertained many for decades and made a huge positive impact on many lives. Let’s show him we enjoyed it and still remember him!”


“Are you ready for some . . . pickleball?” wonders Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “America’s fast-growing pastime is growing up — as in Major League Pickleball — with the MLP finals slated for Oct. 14-16 in Columbus, Ohio, competing for a $319,000 prize pool. The 12-team league plans to expand to 16 next year, with the likes of LeBron James and Drew Brees buying in. Now it’s just a TV contract and a steroids scandal away from official major-league status.”

——

Perry, again: “Nets guard Kyrie Irving says he turned down a four-year, $100 million-plus extension a year ago because he wanted to remain unvaccinated. Apparently it was a one-shot deal.”


Mead1


The Ponoka Stampeders are a first-year junior B team trying to find their way in Alberta’s Heritage Junior Hockey League. So far they have lost by scores of 25-1, 20-0, 23-1, 30-0 and 27-1. Yes, they continue to look for players, so if you’re of junior age and looking for ice time, you may want to check them out. . . . NOTE: A late night advisory from the Twitter account Inside the HJHL (@latesthjhl) informs that the Stampeders have folded.


If this headline — COVID, cancer can’t conquer Pats’ Paddock — can’t entice you to read a story, I can’t imagine what might do the trick. Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post recently visited with John Paddock, 68. He is coming off a season in which he stepped in as the Pats’ head coach and beat back COVID-19, something he couldn’t avoid after treatment for lymphoma left him immunocompromised. “I got sick,” Paddock told Vanstone, “and then got really sick.” Of course, what COVID-19 and lymphoma didn’t take into account is that Paddock has coaching in his blood. So the Pats’ vice-president of hockey operations and general manager also is back as the team’s head coach. . . . Vanstone’s story is right here.


Dumb


It’s early in the WHL’s regular season and the weather has been anything but hockey-like. However, you are free to wonder whether the WHL has some cracks showing when it comes to attendance.

Unfortunately, the WHL continues to have teams play afternoon games after having played the previous night, which is what happened to the Regina Pats — and F Connor Bedard — on Sunday. They dropped a 4-2 decision to the Rebels before an announced crowd of 4,806 in Red Deer on Saturday night, then were beaten, 7-3, by the Hitmen on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Prince George Cougars have played four home games — two each against the Tri-City Americans and Kelowna Rockets — and have had announced crowds of 2,497, 2,018, 2,008 and 1,937, in that order.

Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, couldn’t take it anymore so he chewed a bit on the legs of the Prince George citizenry the other day. If you haven’t seen it, it’s right here.

——

BTW, if you haven’t seen the ceremonial faceoff prior to the game between Regina and Calgary on Sunday, it’s worth a head-shaking look . . .


Dogcat


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Stewart Kemp, the president of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, reports that it’s full-speed ahead for the trek east early in January. The deadline to register passed with 28 people having signed on for the 10-day jaunt that will include games in Brandon, Winnipeg, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina. The contingent is to include two ladies who are 96 (Ardyce) and 94 (Neree), and who have been making these trips since Kemp took over as president in 2010. “They,” Kemp reports, “are the most enthusiastic to go. They wouldn’t miss this for the world.” . . . Then, he adds, “Oh, this is going to be fun, but really cold!” . . . Manitoba and Saskatchewan cold during the first two weeks of January? Nah. . . .

Jeff Dubois, the commissioner of the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, signed a five-year contract extension the other day. It will take him through the 2027-28 season. Dubois has been the commissioner since March 2020. . . .

Bruce Luebke, who had been the radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings for more than 20 years, has been acclaimed for a second term as a member of Brandon City Council. Luebke called his first Wheat Kings game in 1993-94. He and radio station CKLQ parted company in July 2016. . . . Civic elections in Manitoba are scheduled for Oct. 26. . . .


THINKING OUT LOUD — As the host Green Bay Packers were locked in a battle with the New England Patriots on Sunday, the U of Wisconsin fired its head football coach, Paul Chryst. Now that’s a smooth PR move. . . . Took a drive to Vernon and back on Monday afternoon. I am here to report that the price of gas kissing $2 a litre in B.C.’s southern interior isn’t keeping people off the road. . . . The Los Angeles Dodgers went into Monday’s games with a run-differential of plus-333. They also have some pitchers. Let’s just give them the World Series title and get on with life.


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.


Kermy

Oil Kings wrap up WHL title . . . Cossa pitches Game 6 shutout . . . Paddock: Pats plan to build around Bedard, not trade him

The Edmonton Oil Kings won their third WHL championship on Monday night, beating the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-0, to win the best-of-seven series EdCupfor the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 4-2.

The Oil Kings last won the title in 2014 when they needed seven games to get past the Portland Winterhawks in the final. They also took seven games to sideline Portland in the 2012 final. Those teams also met in the 2013 final, with Portland winning in six games.

The Oil Kings went on to win the Memorial Cup in 2014, the last time a WHL team has won the national title.

Edmonton, the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, skated through these playoffs in 19 games, going 16-3. The Oil Kings swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 4 Red Deer Rebels before taking out the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, 4-1.

The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, were the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed. They got past the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-1, then went seven games against both the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. In the process, Seattle became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s in the same playoff season on the road. The Thunderbirds trailed Portland, 3-1, in that series, then fell behind Kamloops, 3-2.

Last night, the Oil Kings came out determined to get more pucks and bodies to Edmontonthe Seattle net. . . . F Jakub Demek (5) opened the scoring, on a PP at 7:15 of the first period, corralling a loose puck in the Seattle crease off a shot by F Josh Williams and tucking it home. . . . Edmonton went ahead 2-0 at 3:44 of the second period as D Kaiden Guhle set a franchise record with his eighth goal of these playoffs. The previous Oil Kings record belonged to Martin Gernát, who scored seven times in 2012. One year later, he scored six more. . . . Guhle was named the playoff MVP. . . . Guhle also played for the Prince Albert Raiders, who won the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2019. That was the last time the WHL completed a playoff season as COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 postseason. . . . F Jake Neighbours drew two assists. . . . After getting ahead 2-0, the Oil Kings went into a 1-2-2 defence that oftentimes looked more like 1-4. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 27 shots. He finished the playoffs at 16-3, 1.93, .919, with five shutouts. . . . Seattle got 34 saves from G Thomas Milic, including 20 in the first period when his guys were outshot, 21-4. . . . Edmonton was 1-for-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-6. . . . Seattle was without D Tyrel Bauer, who served the second of a two-game suspension. . . . Edmonton played again without F Dylan Guenther. . . . The Oil Kings will join the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL and the QMJHL-champion Shawinigan Cataractes at the four-team Memorial Cup tournament that opens on June 20 in New Brunswick.

——

Meanwhile, the OHL championship for the J. Robertson Cup is going to a seventh game. The host Windsor Spitfires beat the Hamilton Bulldogs, 5-2, on Monday night to tie the series, 3-3. . . . They’ll decide the whole thing in Hamilton on Wednesday night. . . . F Daniel D’Amico led the Spitfires with two goals as they erased a 2-1 second-period deficit with the game’s last four goals. . . . F Logan Morrison had both Hamilton goals.


The Regina Pats held a spring camp on the weekend and Rob Vanstone of the ReginaRegina Leader-Post was there. No, he wasn’t competing for a spot on the Pats’ protected list; he was there in search of a story, and he found two. . . . For starters, John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, told Vanstone that the plan is to build around F Connor Bedard, meaning that the organization is more likely to acquire players than to trade away their star. . . . That story is right here.

Vanstone also chatted with Paddock about a health scare with which the latter dealt during this hockey season. Paddock left the coaching game in early February and didn’t return as he dealt with COVID-19 and lymphoma. Everything seems under control now, though, and Paddock is planning on being behind the Pats bench when a new season arrives. That story is right here.



GasPrice


Before arriving in Toronto for a four-game series with the Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles placed OF Anthony Santander, one of their best hitters, and COVIDsouthpaw reliever Keegan Akin on the restricted list. From Sportsnet: “The moves suggest Santander and Akin could not cross the border due to an insufficient COVID-19 vaccine status. Unvaccinated people cannot enter Canada or the United States without a quarantine period.” . . .

From the San Francisco Chronicle: The Golden State Warriors are going to their broadcaster bench for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night against the Boston Celtics. Tim Roye, the Warriors’ radio play-by-play announcer on radio station 95.7 The Game, tested positive for the coronavirus and was knocked out of action for the broadcast. Roye will also miss Game 6 Thursday in Boston. . . .

From The New York Times: The Rolling Stones postponed a stadium concert in Amsterdam on Monday, after Mick Jagger tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement came shortly before the show was to begin and after some fans had already entered the stadium, the AP reported. . . .

From Entertainment Weekly: One day after performing on the Tony Awards, Hugh Jackman has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time and will miss performances of ‘The Music Man.’ . . .

From ESPN News Services: NBA commissioner Adam Silver canceled plans to attend Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics on Monday night in San Francisco because of the league’s health and safety protocols. Silver typically attends all Finals games. The league did not say if Silver had tested positive for COVID-19 or been deemed a close contact of someone who had, nor did it release any details about his health.


Snowman


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s Neepawa Titans have added Zak Hicks and Landon Cameron as assistant coaches. Hicks played in the MJHL with the Winkler Flyers under then-head coach Ken Pearson, who now is the Titans’ head coach. Cameron is a familiar face in Neepawa, having been involved with various levels of hockey in the community.


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.


Single

Bilous, Bruins win Game 7 . . . Ice opens by beating Warriors . . . Bankier streak to 15 as Blazers dump Giants

The host Estevan Bruins won the SJHL championship on Friday night, taking Game 7, 4-0, over the Flin Flon Bombers. G Boston Bilous earned the shutout with 29 saves. . . . Both teams will play in the 10-team Centennial Cup, though, because the Bruins are in as the host team. The national junior A championship tournament runs from May 20 through May 29.


The Brandon Wheat Kings announced Friday that general manager Doug Gasper Brandonhas chosen to leave the organization “for personal reasons.” . . . Gasper joined the Wheat Kings as assistant GM on Aug. 15, 2019, and was named GM on April 16, 2021. . . . Gasper took over from Darren Ritchie, who moved on to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs as an amateur scout. . . . According to the news release, Gasper “will transition out of his current position over the coming weeks and will assist in hiring his replacement.” . . . Kelly McCrimmon was the Wheat Kings’ general manager for 27 seasons before leaving to join the front office of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Since 2016, Grant Armstrong, who now scouts for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Ritchie and Gasper have held the position.


With 14 of the WHL’s 22 teams having had their seasons reach the end of the road, you can bet that the coaching carousel is soon to start spinning.

For starters, the Spokane Chiefs introduced Matt Bardsley as their new general Spokanemanager this week, and you have to think there might be a coaching change in the offing there.

Ryan Smith has been the Chiefs’ interim head coach since head coach Adam Maglio was fired on Feb. 10. Smith had been the club’s associate coach.

Should Bardsley choose to hire his ‘own’ coach, you have to think Kyle Gustafson, who just completed his first season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, will be in the running. Gustafson had been on the Portland Winterhawks’ coaching staff since 2003 when he chose to join former Winterhawks associate coach Travis Green with the Canucks. Of course, Green was fired as head coach by the Canucks early in the season. Gustafson finished up the season under head coach Bruce Boudreau, who replaced Green.

Bardsley spent 18 seasons in the Winterhawks’ front office, so he and Gustafson are quite familiar with each other. In fact, early in Bardsley’s stint as general manager of the Kamloops Blazers, he offered the Blazers’ head-coaching job, and a four-year contract, to Gustafson.

There are expected to be changes in the Canucks organization and the coaching staff likely won’t escape unscathed. Thomas Drance of The Athletic tweeted on Friday that amateur scouts Brandon Benning, Pat Conacher, Tim Lenardon and Derek Richard have been dropped by the Canucks. Patrick Johnston of Postmedia added that Ted Hampson, another amateur scout, also is gone.

With change in the wind, perhaps Gustafson might be interested in making a pre-emptive move by returning to the WHL. Should that happen, expect Smith to stay on with the Chiefs as associate coach.

Meanwhile, the owners of the Regina Pats would seem to have a coaching Reginadecision on their hands, too.

You will recall that John Paddock, already the vice-president of hockey operations and general manager, took over as head coach after the firing of David Struch on Nov. 18. At the time, ownership stated that Paddock would be the head coach through the 2022-23 season. However, assistant coach Brad Herauf ended up the interim head coach from Feb. 11 through season’s end as Paddock was forced to deal with some health concerns.

It will be worth watching to see if Paddock, who will turn 68 in June, will remain the head coach.


Your daily reminder that the pandemic isn’t over, this one from The New York Times: “George Cheeks, the president and chief executive of CBS, tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, just days after sitting beside President Biden at the White House Correspondents Dinner, the network confirmed on Friday.”


Gift


There were two WHL playoff games on Friday night as the Winnipeg Ice and WHLplayoffs2022Kamloops Blazers opened best-of-seven conference semifinal series with victories. . . . The pace will pick up tonight with all eight remaining teams in action. . . . In the Eastern Conference, the No. 1 Ice will again play host to the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, who fell 6-1 last night, while the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels visit the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings, who hold a 1-0 edge. . . . In the Western Conference, the No. 2 Blazers and No. 8 Vancouver Giants will meet again in Kamloops, where the home team won, 3-1, last night, while the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds open their series in Kent, Wash.

——

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice scored in the first minute of each period en route to a WinnipegIce6-1 victory over the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Ice leads the conference semifinal, 1-0, with Game 2 set for tonight in Winnipeg. . . . F Owen Pederson (4) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead 18 seconds into the first period. . . . F Jakin Smallwood (4) upped it to 3-0 just 57 seconds into the second period. . . . F Mike Milne (6) made it 6-0 at 0:11 of the third period. . . . Pederson finished with two goals, giving him five in these playoffs, and an assist, while Milne added two assists to his goal. . . . Winnipeg G Daniel Hauser stopped 18 shots. He lost his shutout bid when F Brayden Yager (3) scored at 17:48 of the third period. . . . Winnipeg was 2-for-4 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-for-4.

Western Conference

In Kamloops, F Caedan Bankier had a goal and an assist, running his point Kamloopsstreak to 15 games in the process, as the No. 2 Blazers opened with a 3-1 victory over the No. 8 Vancouver Giants. . . . Game 2 will be played in Kamloops tonight. . . . Bankier (2) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 18:28 of the first period. . . . Bankier, who put up 60 points in 68 regular-season games, has quietly put together a 15-game point streak. He finished the regular-season on a 10-game tear (five goals, 11 assists) and has put up two goals and six assists in five playoff games. . . . F Reese Belton (1), at 2:43, and F Ethan Rowland (1), at 16:29, gave the Blazers a 3-0 lead with second-period goals. . . . F Adam Hall (8) got the Giants on the board at 7:04 of the third. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 30 shots. In these playoffs, he is 5-0, 0.80, .968. . . . The Blazers lost F Luke Toporowski late in the first period with what appeared to be an injury to his left shoulder. F Daylan Kuefler moved into his spot on the team’s top line, alongside Logan Stankoven and Drew Englot. . . . Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week tweeted later that Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ GM/head coach, said the “early feel” is that Toporowoski’s injury isn’t long-term, that he’s “sore,” and that he’ll be re-evaluated Saturday. . . . Toporowski missed the last 12 games of the regular season with a knee injury. . . . On the same stoppage during which Toporowski left, the Giants lost D Mazden Leslie, who left while favouring his right leg.


JUST NOTES: Greg Brown is the new head coach of the Boston College Eagles men’s hockey team. After spending 14 seasons as an assistant coach or associate coach with the Eagles, he now takes over from the retiring Jerry York. Brown also played at BC before going on to a pro career that included 94 games in the NHL and eight seasons in Europe. . . .

Manny Viveiros was back behind the Henderson Silver Knights’ bench for an AHL playoff game on Friday night. Viveiros, a former WHLer, had been away from the team while undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. In his absence, Jamie Heward, another former WHLer, handled the head-coaching duties. . . . Viveiros was the general manager and head coach, and Heward his assistant, with the Swift Current Broncos when they won the 2017-18 WHL championship. . . . Last night, the host Colorado Eagles beat Henderson, 5-2, thus winning the best-of-three first-round series, 2-0.


Donut


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

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.


Will

Struch pays price in Regina; Paddock back behind Pats’ bench . . . Bedard due to break out? . . . USHL’s Lancers in disarray


Dave Struch became the second head-coaching casualty of this WHL season when the Regina Pats fired him on Thursday morning.

John Paddock, a veteran of the coaching game and twice the winner of the Dunc PatsMcCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s coach of the year, has taken over and now is the organization’s vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach. Paddock ran the Pats’ practice in Regina on Thursday.

According to Pats’ owner/governor Shaun Semple, Paddock “will assume the role of head coach for the remainder of this season and next.”

Struch, 50, was in the final year of his contract. He had been with the Pats since 2014-15. He started as an assistant coach working alongside Paddock, then took over as head coach after the Pats were the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup.

Prior to joining the Pats, Struch spent eight seasons on the Saskatoon Blades’ coaching staff, the last one (2013-14) as head coach.

“Not much to say, as this is what I signed up for as a coach,” Struch told the Regina Leader-Post via text on Thursday afternoon. “I’m sad for my family. Disappointed that I couldn’t help the team get more wins. Expectations are high for this group of young men to be at the top of the conference and I couldn’t make that happen.”

Struch exits with the Pats at 6-10-0, their most-recent appearance a 6-1 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes that left them with three straight losses. The Pats’ season has been streaky — two victories, seven losses, four victories, three losses.

Assistant coaches Brad Herauf, who is in his seventh season, and Ken Schneider, in his first, were retained.

“I’m positive that with John, Brad and Ken, they will get (the Pats) back to the top where they should be this season,” Struch told The Leader-Post. “I am grateful to the organization for everything they have done for my family and I over the last seven years.”

Paddock, 67, makes his first appearance back behind the bench on Saturday as the Pats begin a six-game road trip against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

He has extensive head-coaching experience that includes stints in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators. He was the WHL’s coach of the year following the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons.

Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has his thoughts on the Pats’ situation right here.

The other coach to depart since this season got started? Dean Brockman left the Swift  Current Broncos on Oct. 14.

——

With the Regina Pats having stumbled through the first part of the WHL’s regular season, there are those who are wondering about the first 16 games of F Connor Bedard’s season.

Bedard, the first player to have been granted exceptional status allowing him to play in the WHL as a 15-year-old, put up 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games in the developmental season that was played in the Regina hub last spring.

This season, Bedard, now 16, has eight goals and four assists in 16 games.

However, as Ken Campbell wrote Thursday at Hockey Unfiltered, better numbers are likely to be in Bedard’s immediate future.

“The temptation might be to wonder what is going on with Connor Bedard these days,” Campbell wrote. “There also might be a temptation to think that the WHL’s first exceptional player and top prospect for the 2023 NHL draft is lagging behind his competition, namely Adam Fantilli and Matvei Michkov.

“Yes, Bedard has only eight goals and 12 points in 16 games for the Regina Pats after scoring 28 points in just 15 games last season and leading Canada to a gold medal at the World Under-18 Championship. And he has yet to score a single goal on the power play. But there are a couple of mitigating circumstances at play. First, Bedard leads the Western Hockey League in shots with 85, which means he’s been the victim of some terribly bad luck. People in analytics tell us all the time that, particularly with elite players who generate a lot of chances, that luck is bound to change and his shooting percentage will get way above 9.4 percent. Last season, it was 17.4 percent.”

Campbell’s complete piece, which includes notes on a lot more than just Bedard, is right here.


If you are one of those people who puts stock in power polls or rankings or whatever they might be called, consider this from Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press . . .

“ESPN calls itself the worldwide leader in sports, but it’s more like the worldwide leader in hot takes (and arguably clickbait) following Wednesday’s release of their weekly NHL ‘power rankings.’

“In case you missed it, the new U.S. rightsholder for league telecasts has seen fit to demote the Winnipeg Jets down to 20th, a drop of eight spots from the No. 12 position they occupied last Wednesday.

“This, despite the fact the Jets just went a perfect 3-0-0 over the past seven days, including a dominating 5-2 win over Edmonton on Tuesday night. That would be the same Oilers team ESPN has ranked No. 1. Seriously. “You couldn’t make this up.

“Winnipeg has just one regulation loss in the last dozen games (9-1-2), and if it keeps up this impressive pace I suspect the Jets are going to drop all the way to dead-last in the rankings rather quickly.”

BTW, the Jets dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the host Oilers on Thursday night. Yes, Edmonton F Connor McDavid scored another one of “THOSE” goals.


Monopoly


The schedule has been released for the 2022 Memorial Cup and it comes with a real change. The tournament, which is to be held in Saint John, N.B., from June 4 through June 13, will begin on a Saturday night, rather than Friday, and the championship final is scheduled for Monday night, rather than Sunday. . . . All games will begin at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) with one exception — the game on June 5 between the QMJHL and WHL champions is to start at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET). . . . There is a news release right here, and it includes ticket-buying information.


Some crazy stuff has been going down with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Let’s Lancersstart with some Thursday tweets from Brad Elliott Schlossman, the Grand Forks Herald’s superb hockey writer . . .

On Wednesday, he had tweeted:

“Four months after Omaha (USHL) hired Chadd Cassidy as head coach and GM, and after an 8-4-2 start to this season, the Lancers have pushed him out, per multiple sources.”

These followed on Thursday (all times Pacific):

10:53 a.m.: Situation in Omaha escalating: Lancers have been cutting budgets, everything from video software to some postgame player meals; after ousting Cassidy, Omaha asked him to coach last weekend’s games (per @THNRyanKennedy); Omaha discussed having an injured player be asst coach.”

10:57 a.m.: “Remaining Omaha Lancers staff members are currently resigning. I’m not sure if there will be anyone left when this is done. Players are threatening to boycott upcoming games.”

11:11 a.m.: “Assistant general manager Jeff Cox, acting head coach Sean Walsh, assistant coach Tate Maris and trainer Nick Hart have all resigned from the Omaha Lancers.”

11:49 a.m.: “The remaining Lancers staff was willing to stay for the sake of the players. Then, this morning, team president David DeLuca lost his temper with acting HC Sean Walsh. Assistant coach Tate Maris resigned. Players opted to walk out. Remaining staff backed players and resigned.”

12:30 p.m.: “The Lancers say Chadd Cassidy ‘stepped down as head coach to pursue other opportunities.’ . . . Yeah, and I bench pressed 500 pounds this morning.”

Schlossman later filed this story right here.

And right here is a story from Chris Peters of dailyfaceoff.com who also has been all over this story.


On the subject of crazy stuff, it’s hard to believe that it has been 27 years since one of the highlights of my time around the WHL. Yessss, those were the days! . . . Regina versus Moose Jaw was so much fun. Play-by-play guys in Donald Duck outfits. Coaches battling. . . . Kevin Shaw, the Regina Pats’ unofficial historian, reminds us of what happened 27 years ago with this tweet . . .



Bigfoot


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.


Toad

Questions about older managers, coaches . . . MiLB cancels season for 160 teams . . . Pats’ pxp post open as Andrews leaves

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Monday that the Minnesota Twins have told coaches Bob McClure, 68, and Bill Evers, 66, that they won’t be taking part in the 2020 season whenever it gets started.

The Twins said last week that an undisclosed number of players and one staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Numerous reports have indicated that people over the age of 65 have a much greater whlchance of dying from the coronavirus. The Twins are believed to be the first North American professional team to excuse older coaches from working with their team.

The NHL, NBA, NFL and especially MLB have numerous managers and coaches who are 60 years of age and older. Chances are that in the coming days we will hear about more MLB teams doing precisely what the Twins have done with McClure and Evers.

But what about the WHL? Might this be just one more thing its teams are going to have to deal with should they get to open training camps in mid-September and begin the season on Oct. 2?

The WHL has two head coaches past the age of 60 — Willie Desjardins of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Mike Johnston of the Portland Winterhawks, both of whom also are general managers, are 63.

Their are 11 other head coaches over the age of 50.

The WHL also has at least eight general managers 60 or older, beginning with Garry Davidson of the Everett Silvertips, at 69, and John Paddock of the Regina Pats, at 66.

There also are a couple of assistant coaches who have had at least 65 birthdays — Jerome Engele of the Saskatoon Blades is 69 and Portland’s Don Hay is 66.

Just more food for thought in these uncertain times.



The NHL announced on Monday that it knows of 26 players who have tested positive for NHLCOVID-19. Fifteen of those players were in training at team facilities. The other 11 were working out away from those facilities. . . . All 26 players have been self-isolated. . . . The NHL says there were 1,450 tests on more than 250 players administered to players who were working out in training facilities. . . . Still to announce its hub cities, the NHL has said it will release testing figures on a weekly basis. . . .

The Detroit Red Wings have cancelled the 2020 version of the eight-team prospect tournament that was to have been played in Traverse City, Mich., in early September. . . . The Red Wings also have moved the site of their 2020-21 training camp, whenever that might be held, to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.


Hockey


OF Ian Desmond said Monday that he won’t be joining the Colorado Rockies for the 2020 MLB season. He made the announcement in a nine-panel posting on Instagram. . . . There’s more right here. . . .

Infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross said Monday that they won’t be joining the Washington Nationals, the defending World Series champions, for the approaching season. Also opting out is pitcher Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks. . . . All three cited health and safety concerns related to the pandemic. . . .

The Arizona Diamondbacks revealed on Monday that three players on their 60-man roster have tested positive. Two of them were in Arizona, while wasn’t yet in Arizona. . . .

OF Hunter Bishop, the San Francisco Giants’ first-round draft pick in 2019, has tested positive in Arizona. He will miss at least the start of the Giants’ workouts that are to begin on Friday in San Francisco. . . .

They have been playing Minor League Baseball (MiLB) in the United States since 1901. Prior to Tuesday, a season never had been cancelled. That’s all changed now, as MiLB announced that there won’t be a 2020 season thanks to the pandemic. There are 160 minor league teams, including the Vancouver Canadians, under the MiLB umbrella.


The Denver Nuggets closed their training facility on Tuesday after the NBA team’s travelling party was found to include three positive tests. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that 35 people were preparing to head for Orlando, Fla., and the restart of the season when the trio tested positive. . . . It’s not known if the positives are players or staff. . . . C Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets tested positive in Serbia earlier in June, while head coach Michael Malone has said that he tested positive in March. . . .

The NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans have had three players test positive, but the team hasn’t identified them. All three were tested on June 23, along with all of their teammates. . . .

Two members of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets — G Spencer Dinwiddie and F DeAndre Jordan — have tested positive and won’t be joining the team in Orlando, Fla. . . . Dinwiddie told The Athletic that he has been experiencing symptoms — fever and chest tightness. . . . The Nets also will be without F Wilson Chandler, who has opted out.


Golf Canada has cancelled the CP Women’s Open that was to have been played at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, Sept. 3-6. The 2021 LPGA event will be played at Shaughnessy. . . .

Chad Campbell is the sixth player from the PGA Tour to test positive. He was tested as part of the screening prior to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which is to start Thursday in Detroit. . . . Meanwhile, three players — Jonathan Hodge, Taylor Montgomery and Brandon Wu — tested positive and had to withdraw from the Korn Ferry Tour event that starts today (Wednesday) in Colorado.


MLS announced that four players have tested positive on Monday and Tuesday. All told, 392 people were tested, all of whom are staying in the league’s bubble hotel in Orlando, Fla. . . . On the weekend, MLS announced that 18 players and six staff members had tested positive since early June. . . . The league’s MLS is Back tournament is scheduled to open on July 8. . . .

Officials cancelled the rest of the 2020 World Rugby Seven Series on Tuesday, meaning there won’t be stops in Langford, B.C., London, Paris, Singapore or Hong Kong. . . .

A statement on the University of Georgia website on Monday indicated that at least 143 members of the school’s community, including students and staff, have tested positive. . . .

Williams College, a NCAA Division 3 school in Williamstown, Mass., has cancelled all fall sports, but has yet to decide on winter and spring activities. . . . Two other New England-area schools, Bowdoin College and UMass-Boston, have said their teams won’t play in the fall, either. . . .

The Broadway League said Monday that theatres on Broadway in New York City are likely to remain closed at least through the end of 2020. Performances have been suspended since March 12. . . . Theatres are hoping to re-open early in January.



Phil Andrews, the radio voice of the Regina Pats for the past nine seasons, said on PatsMonday that he was leaving the post. He cited family reasons for his decision. . . . Andrews was the Pats’ director of media and communications, and handled the play-by-play duties. . . . His departure opens up one of the WHL’s plum play-by-play positions and you can bet that a lot of junior hockey radio types have been preparing resumes.


Teacher


And a happy Bobby Bonilla Day to you, too. It’s July 1, which means that the New York Mets paid Bobby Bonilla US$1,193,248.20 as they have been doing since 2001. It’s all part of deferred payments that were part of his last contract. The payments began in 2011 and will run through 2035. Oh, and he hasn’t played since 2001.


——


The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League announced on Tuesday that Brad Knight “has stepped down” as general manager and head coach. . . . The Buccaneers had announced Knight’s signing early in May. He was returning to the team after being the head coach for its first two seasons (2012-14). . . . Last season, with then-owner Clayton Robinson as head coach, Nanaimo finished 14-23-11. . . . Robinson, who owned the franchise for about 18 months, sold the team to Carl Ollech, who owns some of Duncan Iron Works, in June. . . . Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo Bulletin has more on the sale right here.


Puzzle

Pats to select first, plan on taking Bedard . . . NHL postpones draft . . . Opening of CFL season in doubt?

The Regina Pats will have the first selection in the WHL’s bantam draft. That was determined in the annual draft lottery that as held in the WHL’s Calgary office on Wednesday morning. . . . The draft is scheduled to be held online on April 22. . . .

And what will the Pats do with that selection? Here’s Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post:

“Shortly after Regina was awarded the top pick via Wednesday’s lottery, GM John PatsPaddock revealed to the Regina Leader-Post that his team will indeed select blue-chip forward Connor Bedard, who has been granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada.”

Paddock told Harder: “We will be selecting him first. I would have said this regardless but the exceptional status made it even more obvious to everybody. There’s no secret with this. He’ll be a Regina Pat, that’s for sure.”

Harder’s complete story is right here.

So . . . you’re wondering how the Pats ended up with the first pick that actually originated with the Swift Current Broncos? Here’s how it happened . . . 

It all began on Jan. 9, 2018, when the Hurricanes traded G Stuart Skinner, F Giorgio Estephan and F Tanner Nagel to the Broncos for G Logan Flodell, F Logan Barlage, F Owen Blocker, D Matthew Stanley, first- and third-round picks in the 2020 bantam draft and a conditional second-rounder in 2021.

On Nov. 29, 2018, the Pats dealt F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Jadon Joseph, F Ty Kolle, five bantam draft selections — including a 2020 first-rounder that had been Swift Current’s — and two conditional bantam draft picks.

That turned into an early selection when the Broncos, who won the WHL’s 2017-18 championship, finished with the league’s poorest record in 2019-20.

When the lottery was held yesterday, a Prince George Cougars’ ball fell, allowing them to move up from fourth to second — that is the maximum advancement permitted under draft rules. . . . The Cougars also hold the 11th and 17th picks, from the Saskatoon Blades and Medicine Hat Tigers, respectively.

The first-round order:

1. Regina Pats (from Swift Current Broncos via Lethbridge)

2. Prince George Cougars

3. Moose Jaw Warriors

4. Tri-City Americans

5. Saskatoon Blades (from Regina Pats)

6. Red Deer Rebels

7. Seattle Thunderbirds

8. Kelowna Rockets

9. Victoria Royals

10. Vancouver Giants

11. Medicine Hat Tigers (from Saskatoon)

12. Calgary Hitmen

13. Brandon Wheat Kings

14. Winnipeg Ice

15. Prince Albert Raiders

16. Lethbridge Hurricanes

17. Prince George Cougars (from Medicine Hat)

18. Spokane Chiefs

19. Kamloops Blazers

20. Edmonton Oil Kings

21. Swift Current Broncos (from Everett Silvertips)

22. Prince George Cougars (from Portland Winterhawks)

For the second and all ensuing rounds, the draft order follows the inverse order of the 2019-20 standings.

——

The WHL held its inaugural two-round draft of U.S. prospects on Wednesday afternoon. . . . All of the selections are listed right here.


Dinos


The NHL has postponed its annual draft, but hasn’t provided a new date. It was to have been held at the Bell Centre in Montreal, June 26 and 27. . . . The NHL also postponed its scouting combine and awards ceremony. The combine would have taken place in Buffalo, from June 1-6, with the awards ceremony in Las Vegas on June 18. . . .


Bob McKenzie, the godfather of hockey insiders, reported on TSN on Tuesday that the NHL has asked teams to look into the availability of their home arenas through the end NHLof August.

Emily Kaplan of ESPN later chatted with Nick Foligno, the captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Here is part of their conversation:

“I don’t know if I should be saying this, but I will. I don’t know if it makes a ton of sense for us to play into August. I think that’s pretty dangerous coming into another season. You want to have a great season the following season, and I don’t know if that gives guys enough time to rest and recover.

“If you think of the amount of games some guys would play, you’re adding on another 20 games, plus a full season, then playoffs again. That’s dangerous for some players, especially star players — the guys fans want to see — they’re usually playing deep into the playoffs, so we have to be cognizant of their health and safety. We want to make our league as great as it could be going into this big TV deal that everybody knows about. There’s so much that goes into it.”

The complete conversation is right here.


The 2020 North American Indigenous Games have been postponed until some point in 2021. The Games had been scheduled for K’jipuktuk/Halifax, N.S., July 12-18. . . . There isn’t a date set for next year but organizers are hoping for some time during the summer. . . . The 2020 B.C. Summer Games that had been scheduled for Maple Ridge have been cancelled. They were to have been held July 23-26. Maple Ridge will play host to the Games in 2024. . . . The 2020 Canada 55+ Games that were to have been held in Kamloops have been postponed to 2021. They had been scheduled for Aug. 25-28. . . . These Games are held every two years in late August. They have been held in even-numbered years, but that rotation will be broken in 2021. . . .


The Russia-based KHL has cancelled the remainder of its season. The KHL was into its playoffs and had hoped to be able to finish in time, but now has given up on that happening. . . .


The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes told full-time employees on Wednesday that they won’t be getting paid after the end of this week. . . . The Super League’s Toronto Wolfpack has laid off its Canadian staff, putting 12 full-time employees out of work until play resumes. . . .


The B.C. Lions are scheduled to hold training camp in Kamloops from May 13 through June 3. I’m thinking that is about seven weeks away. I’m also thinking that isn’t going to happen. . . . So it may not be long before the CFL announces Plan B. . . .


If you feel like clicking on that DONATE button over there on the right and making a contribution, please go ahead. . . .


The below tweet shows the price of gas in Walsh, Alta., just east of Medicine Hat, on Tuesday:


The Thought for the Day, from Jack Finarelli, who is at sportscurmudgeon.com, courtesy of Mark Twain: “How lucky Adam was. He knew when he said a good thing, nobody had said it before.” . . .


Clown


With the French Open already having been rescheduled, it now seems that Wimbledon could get the same treatment. It is scheduled for June 29 through July 12 but the All England Lawn Tennis Club now is saying the event could be postponed or, yes, even cancelled. . . . The French Open, originally scheduled for May 24 through June 7 at Stade Roland Garros in Paris, now is to be held from Sept. 20 through Oct. 4. It is to start one week after the conclusion of the U.S. Open. . . .


Terry Jones of Postmedia reports that Edmonton is likely to lose the Volleyball Super Nationals that were scheduled for May 13-19, and also the Triathlon World Series Grand Final and World Championships, Aug. 17-23. . . . While the triathlon event is expected to be moved to 2021, the next Volleyball Super Nationals isn’t scheduled until 2022. . . .



Beans

High-powered Raiders add to their offence . . . Pats’ Paddock has busy morning . . . Winterhawks bring in third goaltender


MacBeth

F Zdeněk Bahenský (Saskatoon, 2004-06) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Mulhouse (France, Ligue Magnus) after obtaining his release by mutual agreement from Corona Braşov (Romania, Erste Liga). He had one assist in three games. Last season, with Sterzing/Vipiteno (Italy, Alps HL), he had seven goals and 13 assists in 23 games.


tradewire

(WHL trade deadline: Thursday, Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Thursday’s action:

No. of trades: 4.

Players: 7.

Bantam draft picks: 8.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 25.

Players: 49.

Bantam draft picks: 40.

Conditional draft picks: 10.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)

——

The Prince Albert Raiders, already with the WHL’s top offence, added another big gun on Thursday by acquiring F Dante Hannoun from the Victoria Royals.

In exchange for Hannoun and fourth- and eighth-round selections in the WHL’s 2019 PrinceAlbertbantam draft, the Raiders surrendered F Carson Miller, 18, F Kody McDonald, 20, and a third-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. (The fourth-round pick originated with the Brandon Wheat Kings; the eighth-rounder was Prince Albert’s originally, so goes back to the Raiders.)

The Raiders are more than halfway through what has all the signs of being a record-breaking season. With a 34-3-1 record, they lead the WHL’s overall standings by nine points over the Everett Silvertips (29-7-2) and are ranked No. 1 in the 60-team CHL.

On offence, the Raiders have scored 179 goals, 25 more than the Silvertips and Portland Winterhawks.

Before acquiring Hannoun, the Raiders already had five players who are averaging more than a point per game. That figure now is six.

Hannoun, the 11th overall selection in the 2013 bantam draft, played 286 regular-season games with the Royals. From Delta, B.C., he has 19 goals and 17 assists in 28 games this season.

For his career, the 5-foot-6, 160-pound Hannoun has 98 goals and 150 assists, his 248 VictoriaRoyalspoints leaving him tied for fourth on the Royals’ all-time list. He also is fourth in assists, fifth in games played and seventh in goals.

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Miller, a native of Yorkton, Sask., was the 21st overall pick in the 2015 bantam draft. This season, he has 10 goals and eight assists in 38 games with the Raiders. In 156 career games, he has 20 goals and 27 assists.

McDonald, from Lethbridge, moved from the Prince George Cougars to Prince Albert at last season’s trade deadline. The Raiders gave up D Rhett Rhinehart, F Austin Crossley and a first-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft — the Cougars took F Craig Armstrong, who was added to their roster earlier this week — for McDonald and a conditional third-round pick in the 2018 draft.

McDonald, who was a second-round pick by the Cougars in 2013, has six goals and 12 assists in 30 games this season. In 295 career games, he has 81 goals and 93 assists.

The Royals are to continue their six-game Central Division trip against the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight.

Hannoun could make his Prince Albert debut tonight against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

——

John Paddock, the general manager of the Regina Pats, was up early on Thursday.

How early?

Early enough to complete three trades before noon.

By morning’s end, Paddock had acquired two players and two WHL bantam draft picks, Patsone of them a third-rounder, for a pair of players and three picks, the earliest a fifth-rounder.

“It’s what we’ve set out to do from the start,” Paddock told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “We got a third-round pick in a deal and two 17-year-old players who are both playing in the league. It’s a little bit harder to get younger players (due to the league’s new trade restrictions) . . . but we know it’s the direction we want to go. It’s up to us as an organization to improve them over the next three to four years.”

The Pats, who are reloading after being the host team in the 2018 Memorial Cup, got D Tyson Feist, 17, and a 10th-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft from the Spokane Chiefs for an eighth-round pick in 2019 and a fifth-rounder in 2019. The eighth-round pick originally belonged to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

“Tyson has waived his no-trade clause as he is looking for more ice time,” Scott Carter, the Chiefs’ GM, said in a news release.

This season, Feist, 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, had five assists in 25 games with the Chiefs. He also played five games with them last season, going pointless.

Feist could make his Regina debut tonight when the Pats meet the Blades in Saskatoon.

The Pats also sent F Scott Mahovlich, 19, and an eighth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a third-round selection in 2019.

Mahovlich, who is from Abbotsford, B.C., had five goals and four assists in 38 games with the Pats this season. In 130 career games — the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder also played with the Kamloops Blazers — he had six goals and 12 assists.

The Hurricanes are at home to the Vancouver Giants tonight.

Paddock’s day began when he dealt D Marco Creta, 18, to the Kootenay Ice for F Blake Allan, 17.

Allan, a 6-foot-1, 165-pounder from Davidson, Sask., was a third-round pick by the Ice in Kootenaynewthe 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he had one goal and one assist in four games with the Ice. This season, he has three assists in 31 games.

Creta is from Oak Bluff, Man., which is practically on the southwestern outskirts of Winnipeg. The Ice, which is reported to be relocating to Winnipeg after this season, has acquired six Manitoba-born players in as many trades since Oct. 8. One of those players, F Jack Cowell, refused to report and his rights reverted to the Kelowna Rockets.

In 66 games with the Pats, Creta had three goals and 11 assists. This season, he put up two goals and seven assists in 33 games.

The Ice is to meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat tonight.


ThisThat

With the WHL’s trade deadline less than a week away, the Portland Winterhawks have added a third goaltender to their roster. . . . Evan Fradette, a fifth-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, has joined the Winterhawks, who open a six-game East Division trip in Swift Current tonight. . . . The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Fradette, 17, has been playing for his hometown midget AAA St. Albert Raiders, who won the prestigious Mac’s tournament in Calgary earlier this week. Fradette was named the tournament MVP and the top goaltender, and also was chosen for the all-star team. . . . Fradette joins veteran Shane Farkas and freshman Dante Giannuzzi as Portland’s goaltenders. Farkas, 19, is 20-9-5, 2.96, .898; Giannuzzi, 16, is 1-2-0, 4.09, .833.


The Saskatoon Blades have signed D Alex Ozar, who will turn 17 on Jan. 24, to a WHL contract. Ozar, from Prince Albert, is in his second season with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. He is the team’s captain. This season, he has five goals and 16 assists in 21 games. Last season, he finished with five goals and 26 assists in 44 games. . . . Ozar was a fifth-round pick by the Blades in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


The Regina Pats have added D Makai Mitchell, 16, to their roster, likely for the remainder of this season. Mitchell, from Fort Collins, Colo., had been playing with the Rocky Mountain Roughriders 16U team. He had a goal and an assist in 11 games. He also was pointless in three games with the Pats earlier this season.


F Ethan Leyh of the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen has committed to Quinnipiac U and the Bobcats for the 2019-20 season. Leyh, 17, has 15 goals and 17 assists in 31 games with the Rivermen. From Anmore, B.C., he was an eighth-round pick by the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


If you enjoy what you see here, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and contribute to the cause. Thank you, in advance, and stay safe out there.


Tweetoftheday

‘Canes, Pats make monster deal . . . Savoies to ask for exceptional status . . . Warriors’ veteran goes home


MacBeth

F Marek Viedenský (Prince George, Saskatoon, 2008-11) has been released by mutual agreement by Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He was pointless in four games. In an interview with http://Sport.sk , Viedenský disclosed that he has a lower-body injury, the extent of which has not yet been determined. Viedenský felt it was best to terminate the contract while he and doctors try to determine the proper cause of action for his injury.


ThisThat

Well, it didn’t take long to get an answer to a question that was posed here earlier in the week.

After the Kamloops Blazers made two trades that involved four players and four bantam Lethbridgedraft picks, I speculated as to what impact the WHL’s new trade regulations might have on the marketplace.

“Who knows?” I wrote. “Maybe we’ll see trades like the one in the OHL last week in which one team gave up two players and got back two players and 11 — count ’em, 11 — draft picks.”

We didn’t quite get to 11 on Thursday, but the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Regina Pats did swap four players and a possible seven bantam draft picks.

Here are the details. . . .

Lethbridge acquired Regina’s top two forwards — Nick Henry and Jake Leschyshyn, both of whom are 19.

In return, Regina gets F Jadon Joseph, 19, F Ty Kolle, 18, five bantam draft picks and two conditional picks:

  • Lethbridge’s first-round selection in 2019;
  • Lethbridge’s third-round selection in 2019;
  • Swift Current’s eighth-round selection in 2019;
  • Swift Current’s first-round selection in 2020; and,
  • Lethbridge’s fourth-round selection in 2022
  • Should either Henry or Leschyshyn return for a 20-year-old season, the Pats will receive a conditional bantam draft pick. One of the conditional picks is a third-rounder in the 2021 draft, with the other a third-rounder in 2022.

The Pats, of course, sold the acreage over the previous two seasons in order to load up Patsfor the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament for which they were the host team.

Now they have the WHL’s second-poorest record (8-17-0) and are looking well down the road, thus the hunger for draft picks.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are all-in. At the moment, they are 11-8-5 and third in the Central Division, five points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings (14-10-4) and six in arrears of the Red Deer Rebels (16-8-1).

A year ago, the Hurricanes were sellers, a move that allowed general manager Peter Anholt to use some of the acquired assets in the deal with the Pats.

One of the interesting things about Anholt’s decision to shove all of his chips into the middle of the table is that the Hurricanes — let’s assume they make the playoffs — are going to have to vacate the 5,479-seat ENMAX Centre for a time early in the playoffs to make room for the 2019 World men’s curling championship. It is scheduled for March 30 through April 7.

Anholt has said that while displaced the Hurricanes will play in the Nicholas Sheran Ice Centre, which, according to the City of Lethbridge website, has a seating capacity of 978. He has yet to lay out plans as to how the Hurricanes will accommodate fans. The City is in the process of opening negotiations with the Hurricanes regarding compensation for their having to vacate their home arena.

It could be, then, that Anholt sees a deep playoff run as vitally important to the community-owned franchise and its financial outlook.

Anholt was one of a number of general managers to at least chat with John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager, about the availability of Henry and Leschyshyn.

Anholt took things one step further and headed west on a scouting trip. He watched the Pats beat the Blazers, 3-2, in Kamloops on Nov. 20. In fact, Anholt and Paddock were seen conversing in a Kamloops restaurant early that afternoon.

Henry, Leschyshyn and D Aaron Hyman, who was traded by Paddock to the Tri-City Americans earlier in the week, were the Pats’ best players in Kamloops.

Anholt also was in Kelowna on Nov. 21 when the Pats lost, 3-2, to the Rockets.

Joseph, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Hurricanes in the 2014 bantam draft. This season, he has 10 goals and nine assists in 23 games. In 144 career games, he has 22 goals and 44 assists.

Kolle, from Kamloops, was acquired by Lethbridge from the Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 4 for a fifth-rounder pick in the 2019 bantam draft. Portland had selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 bantam draft. In 94 career games, he has 14 goals and 15 assists. This season, he put up seven goals and four assists in 17 games with Lethbridge, after recording one assist in four games with Portland.

The two big fish, of course, are Henry and Leschyshyn.

Leschyshyn, the son of former NHLer Curtis Leschyshyn, was the Pats’ captain. Jake was a second-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has signed an NHL contract. The Red Deer Rebels selected him sixth overall in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. On Jan. 5, 2015, he was traded to Regina as part of a deal in which F Connor Gay moved to the Rebels, who were to be the host team for the 2015 Memorial Cup.

This season, Leschyshyn has 16 goals and 16 assists in 32 games. In 213 career regular-season games, all with Regina, he has 61 goals and 70 assists.

Henry, from Portage la Prairie, Man., was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has yet to sign an NHL deal.

The Everett Silvertips had taken him in the third round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft, but hadn’t signed him; in fact, he had committed to the Western Michigan U Broncos. Henry was the 2015-16 MJHL rookie of the year with the Portage Terriers when he was traded to the Pats, who signed him on Sept. 1, 2016. This season, he has 15 goals and 25 assists in 40 games. In 150 games over three seasons, he has 150 points, including 64 goals.

The Hurricanes will play three games in fewer than 48 hours this weekend, as they entertain Swift Current tonight, then visit Medicine Hat on Saturday, before playing host to Red Deer on Sunday.

The Pats also will play three games in fewer than 48 hours. They are to visit Brandon tonight, then play host to Prince Albert on Saturday and Medicine Hat on Sunday.


I spent 17 years attending Regina Pats’ games and had numerous conversations with Bill White, who died Saturday. He was 90. Condolences to his family and friends.


Hockey Canada  hasn’t had to deal with a player applying for exceptional status in order to play regularly in the WHL as a 15-year-old.

It seems that is about to change.

Scott Savoie, the father of Matt Savoie, who is to turn 15 on Jan. 1, told Dhiren Mahiban of sportingnews.com that “we’ll put in for it and then we’ll go through the draft . . . if it’s a perfect fit for him, then we’ll probably let him go. If it’s not, we might defer for a year and kind of wait and see, and see where that takes us.”

The Savoies are from St. Albert, Alta. Matt, 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. In 20 games, he’s put up 22 goals and 26 assists. Last season, with the bantam prep team, he finished with 97 points, including 28 goals, in 30 games.

In normal circumstances, a draft-eligible player would go through the WHL bantam draft. If he is selected, he is eligible to play up to five games in the upcoming season so long as his club team still is playing. Once his club team has concluded its season that player would be eligible to join the WHL team.

Exceptional status would allow a player, in this case Savoie, to play regularly as a 15-year-old.

It’s worth noting that exceptional status doesn’t make any allocation for playing junior A; in other words, it’s major junior or back to minor hockey. The Savoies have already applied to Hockey Canada in the hopes that Matt would be cleared to play in the AJHL, but that was denied.

The WHL holds a draft lottery in advance of its annual bantam draft; it includes the six non-playoff teams. At the moment, the six teams outside playoff position are the Swift Current Broncos, Regina Pats, Kootenay Ice, Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds.

Interestingly, the Prince George Cougars have Swift Current’s first-round 2019 selection, while the Saskatoon Blades have Regina’s.

The deadline to apply to Hockey Canada for exceptional status arrives on Saturday.

In the past, Hockey Canada has granted exceptional status to five players — Joe Veleno in the QMJHL, and Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad, John Tavares and Sean Day in the OHL.

Mahiban’s story is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen lost G Carl Stankowski to an ankle injury early in the week, so had Calgaryplanned to recall G Matt Armitage from the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks at least for the weekend. . . . It turns out that Armitage was injured on Wednesday night in a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Langley Rivermen. Armitage went the distance, stopping 45 shots in 63:34, but apparently was injured at some point. . . . The Hitmen now are bringing in Brayden Peters, 16, from the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. Calgary selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 WHL bantam draft. He is 8-2-0, 1.76, .929 with the Hurricanes. . . . With Stankowski out, the bulk of the goaltending load will fall to Jack McNaughton, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary. To date, he has made 12 appearances, going 4-6-1, 3.35, .890. . . . The Hitmen will play three games in fewer than 48 hours this weekend. They are in Red Deer tonight before returning home to face Edmonton on Saturday and Moose Jaw on Sunday.


When Moose Jaw beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-1, in Cranbrook on Wednesday night, the Warriors were without one of their leading scorers.

It turns out that F Ryan Peckford, 19, had left the team on Monday.

Peckford, from Stony Plain, Alta., was a second-round selection by the Victoria Royals in MooseJawWarriorsthe WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. On Dec. 11, the Warriors dealt F Noah Gregor and an eighth-round 2018 bantam draft pick to the Royals for Peckford and a fourth-rounder in 2018.

This season, Peckford had eight goals and eight assists in 20 games, his 16 points the fifth-highest on the Moose Jaw roster.

Alan Millar, the Warriors’ general manager, told Marc Smith of discovermoosejaw.com:

“Ryan came in to meet with me first thing Monday morning and expressed at that time that he wasn’t having fun playing the game any longer, it wasn’t fun to come to the rink and he’d lost some passion for the game.

“He’s a good kid, he’s a talented player, we’re certainly disappointed, but at the end of the day, if your heart’s not in it, these young guys have to make difficult decisions and Ryan has certainly made one, and we’ll see if anything changes with his time at home and away from the game.”

Millar added that while Peckford’s decision caught the Warriors off-guard, “there’s a bit of a of trend . . . our league is dealing with a number of young guys (who), for whatever reason, have decided to move on and leave their teams and I don’t think you can pinpoint any specific reason other than each person is different.”

F Peyton McKenzie, a 16-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., has joined the Warriors from the Edmonton-OHA prep team. He is expected to stay with the Warriors through the weekend.

Moose Jaw is to visit the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight for the first of three games in fewer than 48 hours. The Warriors will be in Red Deer on Saturday and in Calgary on Sunday.

Smith’s complete story is right here.




D Sam Huston, who left the Kootenay Ice earlier in the season, has joined the MJHL’s Portage Terriers.

Huston, 19, is from Brandon. He had one assist in two games with the Terriers in 2015-16, while he was playing with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. This season, he has a goal and two assists in three games with Portage.

The Ice selected him in the ninth round of the 2014 bantam draft. In 119 regular-season games, he put up four goals and 13 assists.


The story that started when former NHLer Daniel Carrillo detailed life as a first-year ohlplayer with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting continues to grow legs. On Thursday, David Branch, the OHL commissioner, told CBC Sports that his league “failed” Carcillo and “the other players involved.” Branch called Carcillo’s revelations “shocking.” . . . “You know,” Branch said, “I don’t know how else to put it.” . . . This story isn’t likely to go away anytime soon as more and more former junior hockey players are revealing incidents from the past. . . . James Strashin of CBC Sports has the latest story right here.

Meanwhile, John Chidley-Hill of The Canadian Press, who conducted the original interview with Carcillo, has spoken with more former Sarnia players about what went on with the Sting. . . .  That piece is right here.


F Harrison Blaisdell, who committed to North Dakota on April 28, 2016, has signed his letter of intent. Blaisdell, 17, is a native of Regina. His father, Mike, played six games with the Regina Pats in 1977-78, then spent 1978-79 at the U of Wisconsin. He played one game with the Badgers in 1979-80 before returning to the Pats, where he put up 109 points, 71 of them goals, in 63 games. . . . Harrison is in his second season with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. This season, he has 19 goals and 18 assists in 30 games. . . . He was a second-round pick by the Vancouver Giants in the who’s 2016 bantam draft.


D Cam York has committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines in time for next season. York, 17, is from Anaheim Hills, Calif., and plays with the U.S. national U-18 team in USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. . . . The Red Deer Rebels selected him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


F Grant Silianoff has committed to the U of Notre Dame Fighting Irish for next season. Silianoff, 17, is from Edina, Minn. In 19 games with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, he has six goals and five assists. . . . The Saskatoon Blades picked him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


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The SJHL’s Melville Millionaires have fired general manager and head coach Devin Windle. . . . Assistant coach Kyle Adams was named interim GM/head coach. . . . Windle was in his third season with Melville. . . . The Millionaires are 8-16-4, good for a third-place tie with the Weyburn Red Wings in the four-team Viterra Division.


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