Medicine Hat rocked by suicides; mental health awareness takes spotlight . . . KHL game postponed . . . Finnish juniors have positive tests

Being a regular on social media, I was aware that Medicine Hat had been rocked by the sudden deaths of a few young men. However, I had no idea of the depth of the problem until reading this story right here that was written by the CBC’s Robson Fletcher. . . . It is most unfortunate that this story had to be written, but this is outstanding journalism. Please give it a read because this is important in today’s world.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Here is the official KHL news release:

“The Dinamo Riga vs Neftekhimik game, which was scheduled to take place on Friday, Sep. 11, is postponed. On arrival in Riga on Thursday, the Neftekhimik players underwent the obligatory express tests for SARS-CoV-2. Seven players showed positive results.

“The Neftekhimik players and staff are flying to St. Petersburg, where the entire team will prompting undergo additional testing using a combination of PCR and IgG tests. More extensive testing will provide more detailed results and help to determine what happens with the rest of Neftekhimik’s current road games.

“Further details about the rearranged date for the game between Dinamo and Neftekhimik will be announced in due course.” . . .

Jukurit, a U-20 team in Finland, has had 22 positives tests since last weekend, so all players, managers, coaches and staff are quarantining for 14 days. . . . The Jukurit team that plays in Liiga has one positive. Liiga is to open its regular season on Oct. 1. In the meantime, a number of exhibition games have been cancelled. . . . Meanwhile, HPK’s junior team also is in quarantine after three positive tests. . . .

The NCAA’s 11 hockey conferences, men’s and women’s, announced Thursday that their seasons won’t begin in October as originally was scheduled. . . . The earliest possible start date now appears to be Nov. 20. . . . Chris Dilks of sbncollegehockey.com has more right here. . . .

The Winnipeg High School Football League has postponed its 2021 fall season. It hopes to be able to have a spring season. . . . The three Brandon teams that play in the league had said earlier that they wouldn’t take part in a fall season. . . . The last time the WHSFL season was interrupted was in 1953 when a polio epidemic was on a rampage. . . .

Curling Canada has cancelled six more 2021 championships. From a news release: “The Continental Cup in Oakville, Ont., the Canadian Under-18 Championships in Timmins, Ont.; the New Holland Canadian Junior (Under-21) championships in Fort McMurray, Alta.; the Canadian Wheelchair Championship in Moose Jaw, Sask.; the inaugural Canadian Under 15 RockFest, and the U SPORTS/Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled for later in the season.” . . . Meanwhile, the 2021 Canadian senior championships still are on the schedule, with dates and host city yet to be announced. . . .

The U of Minnesota is cutting men’s gymnastics, men’s tennis, and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field from its athletic programs. The cuts will take place upon the conclusion of the 2020-21 school year. . . . School officials are projecting a loss of revenue of around US$75 million this fiscal year because of the pandemic and the Big Ten’s postponement of fall sports. . . .

The 2022 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games that were to have been held in Medicine Hat have been cancelled. . . . From a news release: “Due to COVID-19, there will be no regional competitions in 2020 and the majority of Chapters are not planning to host Provincial/Territorial Games in 2021. As a result, our ‘typical’ pathway for athletes to qualify for National Games is not possible.” . . . Brian Varga, a former WHL sniper who now is a city councillor in Medicine Hat, told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News: “We planted a seed that maybe somewhere down the road, when things get back to normal a little bit, that we might have a chance to do it again. But it’s a long ways off. Next one would be 2026, so that’s six years away, but we’re optimistic. We would be ready for it, that’s for sure. Who knows, by that time, what kind of new things and little added features that we might have in the city that would make them think about coming back here again.”


Cookies


The WHL and RE/MAX of Western Canada announced Thursday that they now whlhave raised more than $585,000 for local chapters of the Kidney Foundation of Canada through three seasons of the RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up to Promote Organ Donation program. . . . The program features the auctioning of special jerseys, something that the Calgary Hitmen, Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals weren’t able to do after the 2019-20 season was cut short by the pandemic. Those teams’ sweaters will be available for bids at a later date. . . . In 2017-18, the first season of the promotion, kidney foundations benefited by approximately $265,500. That figure was about $196,600 for 2018-19. For the 2019-20 season, with three teams still to auction sweaters, the promotion brought in about $122,900.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Josh Green, a former WHL player, was introduced Thursday as the general Freezemanager and head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze, a new team that is owned by 50 Below Sports & Entertainment. The company also owns the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues and the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. . . . Green, 42, played five seasons (1993-98) in the WHL, playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers, Swift Current Broncos and Portland Winterhawks. He was an assistant coach with the Blues in 2018-19 and filled that same role last season with the Ice. . . . The Freeze website shows Jake Heisinger as the vice-president of hockey operations. He also is the Blues’ v-p of hockey ops and alternate governor, and the Ice’s v-p of hockey operations and assistant GM. . . . Ice head coach James Patrick is shown as a consultant, while Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president, GM and alternate governor, is the Freeze’s president. Cockell also is the Blues’ governor and president. . . . Raylin Kirsch, Cockell’s wife, is the Freeze’s vice-president. She is also the v-p with the Blues and the Ice. . . . The Freeze website also shows Leah Watkins as the director of business operations, Mack Heisinger as manager of communications and digital media, Rylee Andersen as the manager of ticketing and office administration and Blake Eden as the co-ordinator of marketing and content. Those four hold the same positions with the Blues and with the WHL franchise. . . . The Freeze is to begin play with the 2020-21 season, which the MJHL hopes will begin on Oct. 9. The plan is for each team to play 40 games almost exclusively on 22 weekends with the regular season ending on March 13. . . . There is a news release right here.


Pigeon

Blazers, Hurricanes swap forwards . . . Ice, The Drive cut radio deal . . . Ex-WHLers sign on as coaches


MacBeth

D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) signed a tryout contract with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). The contract runs through the end of November. Last season, he had one goal and seven assists in 47 games with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). Jobke has dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

D Shaone Morrisonn (Kamloops, 1999-02) signed a one-year contract with the Oji Eagles Tomakomai (Japan, Asia HL). Last season, he had one goal and six assists in 29 games with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL). . . .

D Cody Corbett (Edmonton, 2011-14) signed a one-year contract with Pusteral/Val Pusteria Brunico (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, he had three goals and 18 assists in 35 games with the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL), and two goals and two assists in 12 games with Orly Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga).


ThisThat

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have acquired F Jackson Shepard, 18, from the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for F Zane Franklin, 19, and a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s Lethbridge2020 bantam draft. . . . Last season, Shepard, who is from West Vancouver, had nine goals and 13 assists in 72 games. In 115 career games, all with Kamloops, he has 12 goals and 22 assists. The Blazers selected him in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . .

Franklin, from Marwayne, Alta., had 14 goals and 24 assists in 67 games with Lethbridge last season. In 137 regular-season games, he has 20 goals and 34 assists. Lethbridge sKamloops1elected him in the second round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . .

This is an interesting deal if only because both teams are putting together bids on the 2020 Memorial Cup tournament. That would be Shepard’s 19-year-old season, while Franklin would be 20. . . .

The Hurricanes feel they have acquired a top-nine forward who will provide them with a lot of energy and some offence. . . . The Blazers are thrilled with the fact that Franklin also has 30 games of playoff experience. On the subject of that experience, Kamloops general manager Matt Bardsley told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “That’s real valuable to a team. We don’t just want to make the playoffs. We want to be in the playoffs and make a bit of a run.” . . . The Blazers have missed the playoffs three of the past five seasons, including last season. . . . Hastings’ story is right here.


The Kootenay Ice announced Tuesday that it and The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group has Kootenaynewagreed to a three-year contract extension involving play-by-play rights. . . . According to a news release, all games, “including select pre-season, all regular-season and playoff games will continue to be heard exclusively on 102.9 FM The Drive and through their website www.thedrivefm.ca.” . . . The Drive has carried Ice games since the franchise arrived in Cranbrook for the 1998-99 season. . . . Brant Hilton will be back as the radio voice of the Ice.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2018. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


TheCoachingGame

Brett Parker, a former WHL player, has signed on as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars. . . . Parker, who is from Melville, Sask., joins head coach Brayden Klimosko in Battlefords. . . . Parker, 33, played thee seasons (2002-05) with the Prince George Cougars, then played five games with the Vancouver Giants in 2005-06. He also played four seasons with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies.


The MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues have added Josh Green to their staff as an assistant coach. . . . Green, 40, played five seasons (1993-98) in the WHL, and had stints with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Swift Current Broncos and Portland Winter Hawks. In 282 regular-season games, he put up 142 goals and 136 assists. He went on to a pro career that included 341 NHL games. He has retired as a player after spending the past four seasons in Finland.


Sometimes the life of a hockey coach goes like this . . . Mark Dennehy had been the head coach at Merrimack College for 13 seasons when he was fired in March, following the 2017-18 season. . . . He wasn’t out of work too long, though, as he signed on May 30 as the head coach of the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, who are hooked up with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . However, he won’t coach even one game with the Nailers because he now is the head coach the Binghamton Devils, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. They received permission from the Penguins to speak with Dennehy and ended up hiring him. . . . Rick Kowalsky had been the head coach of New Jersey’s AHL affiliate for eight seasons before moving up to the parent club as an assistant coach.


Misko Antisin has joined the Wichita Falls Force as its director of player personnel and head coach. The Force is one of the franchises in the USA-Central Hockey League, which bills itself as a junior A circuit. . . . Antisin, 54, worked with league president Troy Mick with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks and the now-defunct Steamboat Wranglers in Colorado. . . . Antisin played two seasons (1983-85) with the WHL’s Victoria Cougars before going on to a lengthy pro career in Europe.


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