Oil Kings add big defenceman in deal; send four assets to Hitmen . . . Bankier leads Blazers to sweep . . . QMJHL to retire No. 4


If there was any doubt about whether the Edmonton Oil Kings are serious about Edmontonthe title chase this season, it ended on Wednesday afternoon when they cut a deal with the Calgary Hitmen. Yes, the Oil Kings, the CHL’s top-ranked team, are all-in. . . . The Oil Kings (3-1-1) acquired D Luke Prokop, the first player in junior hockey history to come out as gay, from the Hitmen (1-2-0) in exchange for D Blake Heward, D Keagan Slaney, a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2024. . . .

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Prokop, 19, is from Edmonton. The Hitmen selected him with the seventh-overall pick of the WHL’s 2017 draft. He has one goal and one assist in three games this season. In 153 career games, he put up eight goals and 35 assists. . . . He came out on July 19. He signed an entry-level deal with the Nashville Predators, who had selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 2020 draft, and is the only openly gay player signed to an NHL contract. . . . “He has had a significant impact on our team, our city and the entire hockey community with his courage and determination,” Hitmen general manager Jeff Chynoweth said of Prokop in a statement. “The trade provides Luke the opportunity to finish his WHL career in his hometown. We wish him the very best.” . . .

Slaney, 18, had two goals and nine assists in 78 games with Edmonton. From CalgaryAirdrie, Alta., he was the 20th overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Heward, from Regina, is the son of former WHL/NHL D Jamie Heward, who now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Henderson, Nev., Silver Knights. Blake, a seventh-round pick by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2018 draft, has three assists in 23 games with the Oil Kings. . . .

The Oil Kings and Hitmen are scheduled to meet for the first time this season on Nov. 5 and 6 when they go home-and-home, opening in Calgary and finishing the Friday-Saturday doubleheader in Edmonton. . . . Prokop should make his Edmonton debut on Friday against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . On Friday, the Hitmen are at home to the Red Deer Rebels.

——

There were three WHL games on Wednesday night . . .

In Moose Jaw, the Prince Albert Raiders built a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Warriors. . . . F Sloan Stanick, acquired this week by the Raiders (1-4-0) from the Regina Pats, took a major for goaltender interference at 15:50 of the third period. The Warriors (2-2-0) scored twice on the PP but weren’t able to equalize. . . . D Kaiden Guhle had two assists in his first game back with the Raiders after being with the Montreal Canadiens. . . .

D Chad Nychuk scored twice, including the winner at 2:22 of OT, as the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Saskatoon Blades, 5-4. . . . The Blades (2-1-1) had a 35-24 edge in shots, but were outshot 4-0 in OT. . . . Nychuk has four goals for Brandon (3-3-0). . . . The Blades got two goals and an assist from F Brandon Lisowsky and a goal and two helpers from F Tristen Robins, who has two goals and six assists in three games. . . . Saskatoon was without F Jayden Wiens, who served the first of a two-game suspension after running into Brandon G Ethan Kruger in Saskatoon’s 6-2 victory in Brandon on Oct. 9. Kruger left that game with an apparent left leg injury, Kruger was scratched for a second straight game last night and, according to the online scoresheet, the Wheat Kings didn’t dress a backup goaltender for a second straight game. . . .

F Caedan Bankier scored three goals and set up two others to lead the Kamloops Blazers to an 8-3 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Bankier, who scored twice on the PP, has five goals with the Blazers at 4-0-0. They had beaten the host Royals, 3-2, on Tuesday. . . . F Brayden Schuurman scored his sixth goal for the Royals (1-4-0). . . . Bankier had three goals, including the OT winner, in a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on May 1 during the 2021 development season. The 18-year-old from Surrey, B.C., was a third-round pick by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Blazers will complete a stretch of four road games in five nights by playing the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday and the Giants in Langley, B.C., on Saturday.


Jamie Kompon, now an associate coach with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, spent two seasons (2014-16) as the Portland Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach. He is in his sixth season on the Jets’ staff.


Saturday


I hope you took time away from watching the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs play one of a gazillion hockey games that will be on TV this season to watch at least some of Canada’s men’s soccer team beating Jamaica, 4-1, in a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday night. . . . And if you did I hope you got to see Alphonso Davies’s goal because it was one for the ages. Yes, it should be the GOAL OF THE YEAR on every year-end highlight show two months down the road.


The QMJHL will retire No. 4 across the league in honour of the great Guy qmjhlnewLafleur. The ceremony will take place on Oct. 28 in Quebec City as the Remparts play host to the Shawinigan Cataractes. . . . From a QMJHL news release: “Lafleur was elected the league’s all-time greatest player as determined by a panel of experts during the 50th anniversary season celebrations, just ahead of the great Mario Lemieux. The Outaouais native played two seasons with the Quebec Remparts from 1969 to 1971, collecting 233 goals and 146 assists in 118 games. On Feb. 5, 1971, he became the only QMJHL player to score five goals in a single period. He finished that game with 11 points. The “Démon Blond” also led the 1971 Remparts to a Memorial Cup championship, the first of 13 national championships for the QMJHL.” . . . The Guy Lafleur Trophy is awarded to the most valuable player in the QMJHL playoffs. . . . Lafleur was among the first players inducted into the QMJHL Hall of Fame in 1997. . . . If you’re wondering, the QMJHL has had this on its agenda for a while now, but the pandemic kept getting in the way.


Cheese


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.


Vegas

Virus offers up reminder to NHL that it’s still around . . . NHL tells scouts to follow protocols . . . WHL deal includes 2025 draft pick

COVID-19 chose to rear its ugly head as the NHL regular season opened. . . . The Krakenexpansion Seattle Kraken played its first game on Tuesday night — it lost 4-3 to the host Vegas Golden Knights — with one player on the COVID-19 list after having five on there. F Cale Jarnkrok didn’t play, while F Joonas Donskoi, F Marcus Johansson, F Jared McCann and D Jamie Oleksiak, all of whom had been on the list, were cleared in time to play. . . . Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol had said during the morning skate that Donskoi, McCann and Oleksiak wouldn’t be available, but they were cleared in time to fly to Las Vegas and play. . . . As well, Everett Fitzhugh, the team’s play-by-play voice, was missing in action after he, too, tested positive. He is in the protocol and wasn’t able to travel to Las Vegas. . . . According to general manager Ron Francis, everyone on the roster is fully vaccinated. . . .

Meanwhile, F Nathan McKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche, one of the NHL’s best players, has tested positive, although he is asymptomatic. He won’t play tonight (Wednesday) against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. The Avalanche is hoping for negative tests so that McKinnon can play Saturday night when the St. Louis Blues visit Denver. . . . The Vancouver Canucks will be without F Brandon Sutter indefinitely as he deals with the long-term impact of having had COVID-19 when four coaches and 21 players tested positive in late March. There are reports that Sutter is dealing with fatigue-related issues. Sutter is the son of Brent Sutter, the owner and general manager of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels.


Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet posted his latest 32 Thoughts on Tuesday and it included this:

“There was a COVID breakout among scouts who attended the USHL Fall Classic Sept. 23-27 in Pittsburgh. Since then, the NHL has warned scouts there is a ‘zero tolerance policy with respect to the protocols in all partner leagues being respected and followed.’ Those leagues are being asked to make it known if anyone ignores protocols, with potential punishment of losing their ability to attend games — at the very least.” . . . The latest 32 Thoughts is right here.


Introverts


With the NHL’s 2021-22 regular season now rolling, there are three 18- and 19-WHLyear-old WHLers still in the big league. F Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks remains with the Carolina Hurricanes, while F Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings is with the St. Louis Blues and F Cole Sillinger of the Medicine Hat Tigers is on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ roster. . . . Jarvis, 19, was the 13th selection in the NHL’s 2020 draft and has signed, but has to be returned to Portland if he doesn’t stick with the Hurricanes. . . . Neighbours, 19, was the 26th pick in that 2020 NHL draft. He, too, has signed but has to play in the WHL if he doesn’t hang on with the Blues. . . . Sillinger, 18, was the 12th selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. He played with the Tigers in 2019-20, then spent last season with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. Because Columbus drafted him off the Stampede’s roster, he is eligible to play this season in the AHL. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic explains: “If Sillinger had been drafted out of Medicine Hat (or any other CHL club), the Blue Jackets would have had only two options this fall: either keep him on the NHL roster or send him back to junior. Per the CHL’s agreement with the NHL, its players are not allowed to play in the American Hockey League until they’re 20 years old. The USHL has no such age restriction with the AHL, mostly because it’s a feeder program for U.S. colleges.” . . .

Meanwhile, the Kamloops Blazers learned Tuesday that D Quinn Schmiemann, 20, will rejoin them later this week after being with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. . . . Three other 20-year-olds remain unsigned in AHL camps — Portland F Jaydon Dureau is with the Syracuse Crunch, F Tarun Fizer of the Victoria Royals is with the Colorado Eagles, and D Jackson van de Leest of the Calgary Hitmen is with Lehigh Valley.

——

JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed six members of their hockey operations side to contract extensions. Head coach Mark O’Leary, assistant coaches Scott King and Gord Burnett, goaltender coach Matt Weninger, athletic therapist Brooke Kosolofski and equipment manager Tanner Arnold all signed extensions. The lengths of the deals weren’t announced. . . . It’s early and there are various kinds of restrictions in place at WHL arenas. Still, it’s worth noting that the Seattle Thunderbirds had their smallest opening-night crowd since 1996-97 on Saturday when the announced attendance was 3,246 for a 4-2 loss to the Portland Winterhawks. The other two crowds in the bottom three: 4,010 (2009-10) and 4,659 (2019-20). . . . Why only back to 1996-97? That covers all the games available via the WHL website. . . .

All signs point to important news coming in the days ahead for WHL teams, especially those in the Western Conference. In B.C., it’s expected that health officials will clear arenas 100 per cent capacity in the immediate future. B.C. facilities are allowed 50 per cent capacity at the moment. As well, there were numerous reports on Tuesday night that the U.S. government is expected to open its border for southbound fully vaccinated travellers early in November. What restrictions will be involved for re-entry into Canada aren’t yet known. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have acquired G Colby Knight from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2025 draft. Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) noted via Twitter that this “is the first traded pick from the 2025 WHL draft. That draft will be 2010-born players. The kid the Oil Kings will get for Colby Knight is 10 or 11 years old today.” . . .

There was one game in the WHL on Tuesday night. . . . In Victoria, the Kamloops Blazers opened up a 3-0 lead and went on to beat the Royals, 3-2. G Dylan Garand earned the victory with 16 saves. He was beaten twice in the third period. The Blazers (3-0-0) and Royals (1-3-0) will play again tonight in Victoria.



You will recall that the OHL and WHL announced recently the additions of one female to their on-ice officiating staffs. Well, the AHL announced Monday that its “roster of on-ice officials . . . includes female referees and linespeople for the first time.” . . . Not one. . . . Not two. . . . But 10 of them, including seven referees. . . . And one of the three women who will work the lines is Alex Clarke of Weyburn, Sask., the same Alex Clarke who is the first female on-ice official in WHL history. . . . Katie Guay will become the first woman to referee an AHL game on Saturday night when she works a game between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the host Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. . . . Amalie Benjamin of nhl.com has more on this story right here.


Monsters


The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets have cut ties with G Kyrie Irving “until he is eligible to be a full participant” in practices and games, general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. . . . Irving has chosen not to get vaccinated, at least to this point. . . . “Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose,” Marks said. “Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.” . . . Marks later told reporters that the decision to exclude Irving was made by himself and owner Joe Tsai. . . . The Nets are scheduled to open the regular season in Milwaukee against the Bucks on Oct. 19.


There was a positive test in MLB with the Atlanta Braves revealing that OF Jorge Soler is out of action. The Braves were allowed a roster replacement so added OF Cristian Pache and he got into Tuesday’s game in the late going. . . . The Braves beat the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, 5-4, to win the best-of-five series, 3-1.


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.


Ass

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after nature’s paintbrush put some white on the hilltops . . .

Scattershooting2


You likely are aware that if a male hockey player joins a major junior team, he almost always loses his NCAA eligibility. Right?

What about a female player?

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques recalled Ève Gascon on Saturday and she qmjhlnewwas the backup goaltender for a pair of weekend games against the visiting Val-d’Or Foreurs. The Olympiques brought Gascon, 18, in from the Saint-Laurent Patriotes of the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League.

Gascon attended the Olympiques’ training camp prior to the start of this season and got into two games, going 2-0-0, 1.78, .934.

OK, now comes the NCAA part of the story . . .

Gascon has verbally committed to attend the U of Minnesota-Duluth and play for the Bulldogs in 2023-24. And it turns out that NCAA rules are different for women than for men, and women don’t lose their eligibility for playing major junior hockey.

Here’s Matt Wellens of the Duluth News Tribune from a story he wrote in August:

“The NCAA has separate rules for men’s and women’s hockey as it pertains to trying out and playing for professional teams — the NCAA classifies major junior leagues in Canada as professional.

“While men’s hockey players have strict rules pertaining to tryouts and playing with professionals . . . women’s hockey recruits may try out and play for a professional team prior to full-time enrolment, granted they do not receive ‘more than actual and necessary expenses,’ according to the NCAA Division 1 manual (Page 69, 12.2.2.2.1 and 12.2.3.2.1).”

——

BTW, the only females to have played in the QMJHL are Manon Rhéaume and Charline Labonté. Rhéaume played in one game for the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs in 1991-92. Labonté played in 26 games for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 1999-2000 and two more in 2000-01.

Old friend Bob Duff of detroithockeynow.com reported Sunday that Rhéaume will be part of the TV team that will be doing Detroit Red Wings games on Bally Sports Detroit.

According to Duff, who once covered the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades for the StarPhoenix, she “is living in the Detroit area. Rhéaume is working as the Girls Program Coordinator for the Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club. As well, she is serving as the head coach of the 12U girls team in Detroit.”

She will make her Detroit TV debut on Wednesday when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Red Wings.


Crew


Headline at TheOnion.com: Urban Meyer still adjusting to speed of NFL cover-ups.


It’s safe to say that MLB hitters as a group had an abysmal 2021 regular season. . . . The Associated Press reported: “The major league batting average dropped to .244 this season, its lowest since the year of the pitcher in 1968, though offense picked up markedly following baseball’s midseason crackdown on grip-enhancing substances for pitchers.” . . . The complete statistical story is right here.



If you happen to have an autographed picture of Shoeless Joe Jackson in your collection, you should know that one sold recently for US$1.47 million at Christie’s and Hunt Auctions in New York. That one, from 1911, is believed to be the only one around.


Nobody


There were 11 WHL games over the past two days — three on Sunday and eight WHLon Saturday — but there aren’t any scheduled today (Monday), which is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. . . . Here’s a look at Sunday’s games . . .

In Calgary, F Riley Fiddler-Schultz had three assists to lead the Hitmen to a 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Calgary (1-2-0) scored the game’s first three goals and later added an empty-netter. . . . The Broncos (2-3-0) got 37 stops from G Reid Dyck, a 17-year-old from Winkler, Man., as they lost their third straight game. . . .

In Regina, the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Pats, 4-2, in a game in which the last three goals were scored in the final 1:36 with two of them into an empty net. . . . D Logen Hammett gave Brandon a 2-1 lead on a PP at 7:56 of the third period. . . . Brandon scored two empty-netters before the Pats got their second goal at 19:50. . . . D Chad Nychuk had two goals and an assist. . . . The Wheat Kings (2-3-0) got 39 stops from G Carson Bjarnason, a 16-year-old freshman from Carberry, Man., who earned his first WHL victory in his first start and fourth appearance. . . . According to the WHL’s online scoresheet, the Wheat Kings didn’t dress a backup goaltender. Ethan Kruger left a Saturday game with an apparent leg injury. . . . The Pats (2-3-0) have lost three in a row. . . .

In Portland, G Dante Giannuzzi stopped 29 shots to lead the Winterhawks (2-2-1) to a 3-0 victory over the Spokane Chiefs (1-3-1). . . . It was Giannuzzi’s first shutout of this season and the second of his career. He was making his 37th appearance, all with Portland. . . . Portland scored three first-period goals, the first from F Jack O’Brien at 2:40. . . . Rich Franklin, who had been with the Winterhawks for 10 years, worked his last game before heading to Palm Springs, Calif., where he will work with the Seattle Kraken’s NHL affiliate.

Some highlights from Saturday’s WHL games . . .

G Lochlan Gordon earned his first WHL victory in his first appearance to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds (2-1-0) in Kent, Wash. . . . Gordon, 18, was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He stopped 28 shots as the Winterhawks won their first game this season. . . . Portland scored the game’s last three goals. . . .

F Bear Hughes scored twice and added an assist as the Spokane Chiefs dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane was 3-for-6 on the PP. . . . The Americans are 2-1-0. . . .

F Tristen Robins drew three assists — one shorthanded, two on the PP — as his Saskatoon Blades skated to a 6-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Saskatoon (2-1-0) was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic had two goals and an assist, with D Rhett Rhinehart adding a goal and two helpers. . . . Blades F Jayden Wiens was hit with a major penalty and a game misconduct after running into Brandon G Ethan Kruger at 8:33 of the second period. Kruger left the game favouring his left leg. . . .

F Connor McClennon scored three times — he’s got five — to lead the Ice to an 8-0 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Winnipeg. . . . The Ice (4-0-0) got two goals from F Jakin Smallwood and three assists from F Matthew Savoie. . . . Winnipeg was 4-for-7 on the PP. . . . The Raiders are 0-4-0. . . .

D Alex Cotton scored twice, the second in OT, to give the host Lethbridge Hurricanes a 2-1 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Cotton tied the game at 13:49 of the second period and won it at 2:28 of OT. . . . The Hurricanes improved to 3-1-0; the Rebels are 2-2-1. . . .

F Lukas Svejkovsky scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers (2-2-0) got 35 saves through OT from G Garin Bjorklund. . . . Svejkovsky, who scored his sixth goal of the season in the first period, was the first shooter in the second round. . . . The Oil Kings are 3-1-1. . . .

F Logan Stankoven had two goals and two assists as the Kamloops Blazers dumped the visiting Prince George Cougars, 8-3. . . . F Fraser Minten added two Kamloops goals and F Dylan Sydor had three assists. He has five assists in two games after recording five in 15 games in the 2021 development season. . . . Yes, he’s Darryl’s son. . . . F Riley Heidt drew three assists for the Cougars. . . . The Blazers are 2-0-0; the Cougars slipped to 0-3-0. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets (1-1-0) broke a 3-3 tie with two quick goals in the middle of the second period and went on to beat the Royals, 6-4, in Victoria. . . . F Jake Poole broke the tie at 9:31 and D Caden Price made it 5-3 at 12:44. . . . The Royals (1-2-0) got two goals from F Brayden Schuurman — he’s got five — and a goal and two assists from D Gannon Laroque.


Parents


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “New York has gone a full decade without any championships from its NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL teams. ‘Looking for something?’ asked a fan from Boston, which has six.”

——

Perry, again: “Mick Jagger, in Charlotte, N.C., for a Rolling Stones concert, dropped into a small bar for a drink the night before and nobody recognized who he was. ‘Why couldn’t that have been me?’ asked Jags coach Urban Meyer.”


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle hits the nail squarely on the head: “The pro-DH crowd won’t ever acknowledge this, but the game is so much more interesting when the pinch-hit-or-leave-him-in dilemma comes into play. In authentic baseball, there’s a lot more to removing a pitcher than just pointing to the bullpen. Now that it seems likely there will be a universal DH next year, I’d love to see this year’s World Series decided by a pitcher’s two-run triple.”


Toys


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Hello, Adele, it’s me. Welcome back. Yes, you’ve been gone too long. . . . If you are an unemployed placekicker, you may get a call today. Going into Sunday night’s NFL game, kickers had missed 12 field goals and 12 extra points on the day. In a game between the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals, the two kickers combined to miss five field goals in the last 2:12 of the fourth quarter and in OT. . . . If you are a fan of the Detroit Lions, you may be aware that they are the first team in NFL history to lose twice in the same season on field goals of at least 50 yards and no time left on the clock. Yes, it happened to them again on Sunday, this time to the Minnesota Vikings.


Canadians

No Ridley, no victories for Tigers . . . Benton back with ‘Tips for two . . . WHL, Raiders backtrack on alternate sweaters


The Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos completed a season-Tigersopening home-and-home series on Saturday night. The Broncos won the opener, 2-0, at home on Friday, then completed the sweep with a 3-2 victory in Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . However, you can bet that the participants recognized that something was missing. Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Tigers, wasn’t there; he’s in Lethbridge undergoing radiation treatments. . . . Darren Steinke, who keeps track of such things, notes that Ridley has done the play-by-play on 4,021 of the 4,022 games the Tigers have played since entering the WHL for the 1970-71 season. That includes regular-season games, one tiebreaker, playoff games and Memorial Cup games. . . . And let’s not forget that Ridley drove the Tigers’ bus for a lot of those seasons. You don’t even want to think about how much coffee he drank back in those days. . . . In Ridley’s absence, Scott Roblin of CHAT in Medicine Hat is calling the games.


The Everett Silvertips will play their season-opener tonight (Sunday) when Everettthey face the Chiefs in Spokane. The Silvertips won’t play again until Friday when they hold their home-opener, this time against the Portland Winterhawks. . . . With Mike Benton, the Silvertips’ radio voice for the previous six seasons, having left to join Seattle radio station KJR, you are wondering who will be doing the play-by-play for Everett now, aren’t you? . . . Well, a little birdie has told me that Benton will handle the first two games as the Silvertips work to get a new voice into place. . . . With KJR, Benton is handling the pre-game, intermission and post-game shows for Seattle Kraken games.


The WHL issued a statement late Saturday after the Prince Albert Raiders had unveiled a third sweater that included a controversial logo from their past. Yes, this qualifies as one of those ‘Yikes, what were they thinking?’ moments. . . . Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com has more right here.


Meanwhile, on the ice in the WHL on Saturday . . .

If you’re on Twitter, there are some interesting noise-related comments on the thread here . . .

In Regina, the Pats scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 5-2. F Sloan Stanick scored twice and added an assist for the Pats in a game that was televised nationally by CBC with Victor Findlay calling the play and Sam Cosentino providing the analysis. . . . If you’re on the Connor Bedard watch, he was interviewed during CBC’s pre-game show and again in the second intermission. Oh, he also scored the game’s last goal, his third in two games. . . . Regina had won, 3-1, in Prince Albert on Friday night. While the Pats rode the iron lung home after the game, the Raiders got some shut-eye in their own beds before heading south Saturday at 6:15 a.m. . . . Rob Vanstone has more on Saturday’s game right here. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice completed a home-and-home sweep of the Brandon Wheat Kings, winning 7-1 in the Manitoba capital. F Connor McClennon had two goals for the Ice, with D Carson Lambos adding a goal and two assists. . . . The Ice had won, 10-2, in Brandon on Friday. . . .

The visiting Swift Current Broncos opened up a 3-0 first-period lead en route to a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . G Isaac Poulter stopped 29 shots for his second victory in two nights. . . . The Broncos had beaten the Tigers, 2-0, in Swift Current on Friday. . . .

F Tristen Robins scored the game-winner and added an assist on the insurance goal as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-2. . . . The Warriors had dumped the Blades, 7-1, in Moose Jaw on Friday. . . .

The host Red Deer Rebels skated to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings, scoring the game’s last three goals, the final two into an empty net. . . . The Rebels earned a split in their season-opening home-and-home series, having lost 4-1 in Edmonton on Friday. . . . Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate noted that Saturday’s victory was “just the second time the Rebels have beat Edmonton since December 2018, a span of 20 games.” . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last three goals, the first two early in the second period and both from F Matthew Rempe, as they beat the Winterhawks, 3-1, in Portland. . . .

F Connor Levis broke a 4-4 tie with a PP goal at 15:09 of the third period as the Kamloops Blazers beat the Cougars, 5-4, in Prince George. The Cougars had come back from 3-0 and 4-3 deficits but weren’t ever able to grab a lead. . . . D Hudson Thornton had a goal and two assists for Prince George. . . .

G Jesper Vikman, a 19-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden, stopped 16 shots in his WHL debut as the Vancouver Giants defeated the host Victoria Royals, 5-0. . . . The game wasn’t as kind to Victoria G Sebastian Wraneschitz, who is from Vienna, Austria. He gave up three goals on six shots and left 7:24 into the game. . . . Vancouver F Connor Horning scored once and added an assist in his 200th regular-season WHL game. . . . The Giants were without head coach Michael Dyck, as he served a one-game suspension after his team was involved in a “multiple-fight situation” against Prince George on Sept. 24. Associate coach Keith McCambridge took over in Dyck’s absence. . . .

In Spokane, the Tri-City Americans erased a 3-2 deficit with three third-period goals as they scored a 5-3 victory over the Chiefs. . . . F Parker Bell’s goal at 15:13 of the third period broke a 3-3 tie and stood up as the winner.


It doesn’t happen often, but a veteran of the QMJHL wars has made his way to Royalsthe WHL. F Bailey Peach, 20, has been added to the Victoria Royals’ roster and was in the lineup on Saturday night. . . . From Falmouth, N.S., he cleared QMJHL waivers after being released by the Charlottetown Islanders. He played three seasons (2017-20) plus five games last season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix before moving on to the Islanders last season. In 184 regular-season QMJHL games, he put up 40 goals and 67 assists. He added one goal and five assists in 26 playoff games. . . . Peach joins F Tarun Fizer and F Graeme Bryks as the Royals’ 20-year-olds.


G Robin Lehner of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights hit the send button on the above tweet on Saturday evening. He has more than 107,000 followers. You can bet that we are going to be hearing a lot about this over the next few days.


Helf


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.


Specials

Former Oil Kings coach dies at 87 . . . Ex-WHL D added to Columbus coaching staff . . . Bonora leaves Chiefs for Hockey Canada

Onion


Ray Kinasewich, who coached the Edmonton Oil Kings to the 1966 Memorial EdmontonCup championship, died in Vancouver on Aug. 30. He was 87. . . . Kinasewich took over the coaching reins from Bill Warwick during the 1965-66 season. He guided the Oil Kings to their seventh straight appearance in the Memorial Cup final in 1966 — they also won in 1963 — after beating the Estevan Bruins to win the Abbott Cup, which went to Western Canada’s junior A champion. . . . The 1966 Memorial Cup final, the last one to be played in Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens, also featured Bobby Orr and the Oshawa Generals. The Oil Kings won the best-of-seven series, 4-2. . . . Kinasewich went on to stints as the head coach of the CPHL’s Houston Apollos and the GM/head coach of the WHL’s Salt Lake Golden Eagles. By 1972-73, he was back in Edmonton as head coach of the WHA’s Edmonton Oilers. However, “Wild” Bill Hunter, part-owner and GM, replaced him behind the bench in midseason. . . . Kinasewich, from Smoky Lake, Alta., played two seasons (1950-52) with the junior Calgary Buffaloes and one (1952-53) with the Oil Kings. He split 1953-54 between the Oil Kings and the senior Edmonton Flyers. During his playing career, which ended after 1964-65, he also played for the WIHL’s Nelson Maple Leafs, the AHL’s Hershey Bears and Cleveland Barons, and the WHL’s Seattle Totems.



Former Edmonton/Kootenay Ice D Steve McCarthy has joined the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets as an assistant coach after Sylvain Lefebvre quit after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. . . . In the NHL, all team employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement must be fully vaccinated. . . . McCarthy, now 40, played one season (1997-98) with Edmonton and the next two with Kootenay. The Chicago Blackhawks selected him with the 23rd pick of the NHL’s 1999 draft. He played 302 regular-season NHL games over eight seasons, splitting time with the Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Thrashers. . . . For the past five seasons, he has been an assistant coach with the Cleveland Monsters, the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate. . . .

In the CFL, two of the Toronto Argonauts assistant coaches — defensive co-ordinator Glen Young and DB coach Josh Bell — weren’t at Monday’s practice and are reportedly on leave. Dave Naylor of TSN tweeted that “this comes after (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment) implemented a policy requiring all employees (not under a CBA) to be vaccinated.” . . .

Billy Ray Stutzmann, an assistant coach with the United States Naval Academy’s football team, revealed on Monday that he no longer is with the team. “The Naval Academy Athletic Association policy regarding COVID-19 requires all coaches and staff to be vaccinated against this virus,” he wrote. “Based on my religious convictions, and after much thought and prayer, I am unable to follow (those) requirements.” . . . He continued: “After applying for a religious exemption and attempting to further negotiate alternative working arrangements, I was ultimately relieved of my duties here at Navy.”


Fire


If you’re wondering why the CFL would schedule a tripleheader on Saturday, well, just maybe it doesn’t want to face the NFL monster that owns TV whenever it’s on. . . . According to Adam Seaborn (@AHBSeaborn), Saturday’s CFL game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and host Winnipeg Blue Bombers drew 551,000 viewers, with the Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Eskimos watched by 593,000 fans, and the late game — it had the Ottawa Redblacks in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions — having an audience of 358,000. . . . Meanwhile, Thursday’s NFL season-opener that had the Dallas Cowboys in Tampa against the Buccaneers had a total viewing audience, via TV and streaming, of 26.4 million.


HandDryer


The WHL’s Vancouver Giants and Kelowna Rockets have cancelled an exhibition WHL2game that had been scheduled for Wednesday in Ladner, B.C. According to a tweet from the Giants, “The game . . . has been cancelled due to a lack of available players.” . . . In a news release on the team’s website, Vancouver GM Barclay Parneta said: “The combination of players currently attending NHL training camps, and the number of recent injuries sustained during training camp have made it so that the Vancouver Giants are unable to ice a reasonably sized roster.” . . .

Meanwhile, with Interior Health having relaxed some restrictions regarding attendance at indoor sporting events, the Kamloops Blazers and Prince George Cougars have adjusted their schedules. The Cougars now will visit Kamloops on Friday, and the teams won’t be playing in Prince George on Wednesday. That game had been switched from Kamloops to Prince George last week when the Blazers were looking at having a maximum of 50 people in their building, while the Cougars were being allowed to play in front of 50 per cent capacity in the CN Centre. . . . All fans will have to show proof of vaccination before being admitted to arenas in B.C. . . .

What this all means is that if you are thinking about attending a WHL exhibition game, you need to check your favourite team’s schedule to make sure the game is on . . . and then check to see what you need to provide in order to get into the arena.


Conspiracy


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Byron Bonora, a scout with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs for the past seven seasons, has left the team to accept a position with Hockey Canada. He now is the head scout of Hockey Canada’s Under-17 program. . . . The OHL has yet to say why it postponed an exhibition game between the visiting Guelph Storm and the Mississauga Steelheads that was to have bee played on Sunday afternoon. A date for the rescheduled game hasn’t been announced either. . . . Yes, we will hope that the remainder of this season’s Monday Night Football games are as entertaining as last night’s contest between the Baltimore Ravens and host Las Vegas Raiders. Right? I mean, were you entertained, or what?


Ketchup

Border closure forces WHL schedule changes . . . Blazers cancel two home exhibition games . . . Brandon honours Don Dietrich

If you weren’t aware that Larry Walker was in camp with the Regina Pats — actually, he was in camp with the Pats on two occasions — there’s a piece right here that Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post wrote on Jan. 22, 2020.


If it wasn’t apparent before, it is now — the WHL’s 2021-22 regular-season WHL2schedule is as fluid as the South Thompson River and it likely will continue that way for a while yet. . . . From a WHL news release that was issued on Wednesday: “Due to ongoing border restrictions preventing non-essential bus travel from Canada to the U.S., WHL clubs in the U.S. Division will compete exclusively against U.S. Division opponents, while WHL clubs in the B.C. Division will compete exclusively against B.C. Division opponents during the month of October.” . . . The original plan was to have teams in each conference playing only within their conferences in 2021-22. That plan remains in place for the 12 Eastern Conference teams. . . . As things now stand, the U.S. and B.C. division teams will play within their divisions until Nov. 3 when the Kamloops Blazers are scheduled to visit the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Unless COVID-19 decides otherwise, of course. . . . Fans of the 10 Western Conference teams are advised to consult online schedules for changes that have been made. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia points out that the changes mean the Vancouver Giants, who were to have opened against the host Victoria Royals on Oct. 2, now will start their season in Kelowna against the Rockets on Oct. 1. But the Giants still are to play in Victoria on Oct. 2. No, they aren’t likely to fly from the Little Apple to B.C.’s capital. . . .

Another result of these changes is that the Royals and Prince George Cougars will play six straight games against each other. They are to meet Oct. 16 and 17 in Prince George, Oct. 22 and 23 in Victoria, and Oct. 26 and 27 back in Prince George.


Genetics


The Kamloops Blazers cancelled a pair of home-ice exhibition games, while Kamloopsscheduling another one in Prince George against the Cougars. . . . Interior Health, which covers Kamloops, won’t allow more than 50 fans to attend indoor events. Northern Health, which governs Prince George, will allow teams to play in front of crowds that are 50 per cent of capacity. . . . Why the difference? How do they get the caramel in the Caramilk bar? . . . Anyway, Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister, told Radio NL in Kamloops that “this is why we’re bringing in the vaccine card. So that if we’re going to Blazer games — and there will be people going to Blazer games this year — will be able to do so safely. Knowing that everyone in the rink is vaccinated . . . vaccine cards don’t stop people from doing things, they enable people to do things.” . . . It all means that the Victoria Royals won’t play in Kamloops on Sept. 15, and the Cougars won’t visit on Sept. 17. . . . The Blazers, however, will play in Prince George on Sept. 15. Kamloops also will play in Prince George on Sept. 18 in a game that was on the original exhibition schedule.


Bugs


The BCHL also has had to adjust its schedule in the hopes of having the bchlWenatchee, Wash., Wild play a complete season after sitting out what there was of a 2020-21 regular season. . . . The Wild is the BCHL’s only American franchise. . . . The league announced Wednesday that because the U.S.-Canada border is closed to non-essential travel going north, the Wild will play only road games “in the early part of the season.” That means its four scheduled October home games have been dropped, hopefully to be rescheduled later in the season. . . . The Wild will open the season on Oct. 9 in Penticton against the Vees. It then will play five more road games from Oct. 16 through Oct. 30 and two in Vernon against the Vipers on Nov. 5 and 6. The Wild now is scheduled to play its home-opener on Nov. 12 against the West Kelowna Warriors. . . . “The BCHL’s Return to Play Task Force continues to investigate solutions if the land border remains closed beyond October,” the league said in a news release.


It was precisely the issue with the border that resulted in the junior B Spokane kijhlBraves pulling out of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League for a second straight season. . . . If you’re a regular here, you will recall a piece I posted here on Aug. 29 that included snippets of a conversation between Bruce Hamilton, the owner of the Kelowna Rockets and chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, and Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Rockets. In that conversation, Hamilton said that having teams cross the U.S.-Canada border remains “in question.” He added: “To have our team travel (to the U.S.), we would have to take a rapid test going down and a PCR test coming home, so you are looking at $5,000 to $6,000 each time for every trip you make across the border.” . . . Taking Note was told that KIJHL teams weren’t about to pay that kind of money to go south, and that contributed in large part to the Braves’ decision. . . . You can bet that expense will impact WHL and BCHL teams, too, if the U.S. chooses not to open the border to Canadians for non-essential travel over the next two or three months.


FiveGuys


Former Brandon Wheat Kings D Don Dietrich, who died earlier this year at 59, is Brandonto have a street in the Wheat City named after him. City Council has voted unanimously to honour Dietrich by naming a street in the Bellafield development after him. . . . Dietrich was from Deloraine, a community south of Brandon. He spent three seasons with the Wheat Kings (1978-81), playing on a WHL championship team in 1978-79 and captaining the club in 1980-81. . . . According to the Brandon Sun, Coun. Shawn Berry said: “This was a man who through his life battled cancer twice and Parkinson’s disease most of his life from 30 on, and never once felt pity or sorry for himself. He went back to his hometown, gave back to the community, started a breakfast program for kids to come out and learn hockey before school started on his own time. . . . He left us way too young, but even through he wasn’t a Brandon boy, Don’s legacy in Westman is well known and I know the short time he was in Brandon here he was very well respected.” . . . Brandon also is home to other streets named after former Wheat Kings, including forwards Ray Allison, Laurie Boschman, Ron Chipperfield, Bill Fairbairn and Ray Ferraro, and G Glen Hanlon. . . . Interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a street named after the late Brad McCrimmon. Perhaps the City of Brandon is preparing to name its next new development after the McCrimmon brothers, Brad and Kelly.


A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Señor Froggy Restaurant, which has two FroggyKamloops locations. . . . Ownership is closing both restaurants from Sept. 13 through Sept. 20 for “a mental health break.”

“We’re all exhausted. Staff and owners alike,” management posted on social media. “Something critically important to our local business is putting our people first. So as we ease into fall and before the rush of school fundraiser lunches begins, we are practising what we believe in and will be closing for a one-week ‘mental health break.’

“This decision was made with the input and support of our team. (Don’t worry — we are taking care of our staff to thank them and ensure time off doesn’t impact their ability to pay their bills.)

“We know this temporary closure may inconvenience some and for that, we apologize and hope you’ll come back when we re-open.”

No apology necessary, and we’ll see y’all when you get back.




JUST NOTES — With the NFL regular season scheduled to open tonight (Thursday), I believe that only three teams — the Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks — have told fans they will have to have proof of vaccination or a recent negative test in order to be admitted to games. . . . It’s Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the visiting Dallas Cowboys in the NFL opener. Are you aware that Brady is 44 years of age? . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that Swedish G Jesper Vikman, 19, has arrived in Vancouver and will be with the Giants until Tuesday when he heads to camp with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. He is expected back with the Giants before Oct. 1, however. According to Ewen, the Giants still expect to see Swedish F Fabian Lysell, 18, and Slovak D Marko Stacha, 19, who was with them last season, in camp. Yes, WHL teams may keep only two imports. . . .

According to Rick Dhaliwal of The Donnie and Dhali Show, D Viktor Persson, a draft pick of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks who will be 20 this season, “will be flying into Kamloops next week.” . . . The Kelowna Rockets have added to their staff by signing Quintin Laing as an assistant coach. Laing, now 42, played 260 regular-season games over four seasons (1996-2000) with the Rockets. Of late, he has been coaching with the Kelowna Minor Hockey Association, something he will continue to do. With the Rockets, Laing will work with head coach Kris Mallette, assistant Josh MacNevin and goaltending coach Adam Brown.


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.


Unvaxxed

Peeters has a real fish story to tell now . . . Speltz signs on as GM in AHL . . . Blazers, Blades in mourning

TWEET OF THE DAY:


Former NHL/WHL G Pete Peeters now lives in Sturgeon County, just north of Edmonton. So it was only fitting that Peeters was involved in the catching of a fish on the Fraser River that Patrick Johnston of Postmedia writes was “a sturgeon bigger than anything that’s been measured in modern history.” . . . Johnston writes: “The fish’s fork-length was a B.C. record: 352 cm (or 11 feet, six inches). Its girth was 141 cm (55 inches) and was estimated to weigh 890 pounds.” . . . Johnston’s story, along with a couple of photos, is right here.


Speltz

The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights have hired former Spokane Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz as the general manager of their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights. . . . Speltz, who is a long-time friend of Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon, has spent the past five seasons on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the last three as their head amateur scout. He joined the Leafs after being the Chiefs’ general manager for 26 seasons (1990-2016). He also was the Medicine Hat Tigers’ GM for two seasons (1988-90). . . . Prior to signing Speltz, McCrimmon also was responsible for the Silver Knights, who are preparing for their second AHL season.



And wouldn’t you know it . . . I just pre-ordered another book, after discovering that Bearcat Murray: From Ol’ Potlicker to Calgary Flames Legend is scheduled to be released on Nov. 2. . . . You should know that this one is written by George Johnson, who once upon a time was part of the gang at the late, great Winnipeg Tribune. Say what you want about George, just don’t question his love for Ol’ Blue Eyes and classic movies, or his ability to write. He’s one of our best, so Bearcat’s story will be a winner. . . . And, yes, he did wind up plus-1 during an NHL game. You know that story will be included.


Finally . . . we have a cancellation that hasn’t anything to do with the pandemic. The Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds were to have played an exhibition game in Kennewick, Wash., on Sept. 19. However, the teams have decided to stroke that game off the schedule, apparently because of the number of players they expect to have in NHL camps at that time. . . . The game would have been part of the Tri-City Americans’ tournament.



ICYMI, the CFL’s Edmonton Elks released Canadian OL Jacob Ruby after he Covidbreached COVID-19 protocols. This had to have been serious because CFL teams value offensive linemen the way politicians love votes. Dave Naylor of TSN later reported that Ruby “did repeatedly misrepresent to (the) team (that) he was vaccinated.” . . . Ruby had been in the CFL since 2015 when he was with the Montreal Alouettes. . . . The Elks, of course, have had 13 players test positive over the last while, and that led to the postponement of a game in Toronto against the Argonauts that was to have been played on Aug. 26. . . . As of Tuesday, the Elks had gone five days without a positive test; they are expected to return to team activities today. . . .

Meanwhile, the NFL’s New England Patriots surprised the football world on Tuesday by releasing veteran QB Cam Newton, who had started all three of their exhibition games. We may never find out if his apparently being unvaccinated had anything to do with the move by head coach Bill Belichick, who will open the season with Alabama product Mac Jones, a rookie, as the starter. . . .

In Indianapolis, the Colts placed QB Carson Wentz, C Ryan Kelly, who is a Pro Bowler, and WR Zach Pascal on the COVID-19 list as close contacts of a staff member who tested positive. . . . If the three test negative and are asymptomatic they will be able to return in five days. . . . “The fact that the three players were placed on the list as close contacts is an indication they are not vaccinated for the coronavirus as, per NFL protocols, vaccinated players would only be placed on the list for a positive test result,” writes Mike Wells of ESPN. . . . The Colts now have had at least nine players on the COVID-19 list since training camp started. They also have had two coaches test positive, including head coach Frank Reich. . . . 

And from the world of baseball and television . . . the New York Post reported Tuesday that former MLB pitchers Al Leiter and John Smoltz have refused to be vaccinated so “will no long appear in-studio for MLB Network.” . . . MLB has a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees and it goes into effect today (Wednesday). . . .

On Tuesday night, the Boston Red Sox took SS Xavier Bogaerts out of their game in the second inning after a positive test came back. The Red Sox lost the game, 8-5, to the host Tampa Bay Rays. . . . Boston has had six players test positive since Friday, the others being OF Kiké Hernández, INF Christian Arroyo, P Matt Barnes and P Martín Pérez. P Josh Taylor went on the list as a close contact.


Chapter 9,876 in the book How Did We Get Here From There — In chatting the other night with the husband and wife who own a couple of Dairy Queen franchises, I was told about a male and female who recently were refused service because she wasn’t wearing a mask. Yes, masks are mandatory indoors in B.C. . . . Anyway, the couple started beefing and the owners realized it was a waste of time and energy debating the issue so they walked away and the two disgruntled folks departed the premises. . . . That brings us to Port Alberni, B.C., where an idiot who was refused service because he wasn’t wearing a mask chose to leave the store, before returning to urinate on the counter. . . . Sheesh! What is happening to us? Just wear a mask. It’s not like you’re being asked to fight a grizzly bear with a plastic knife.


Plague


KING-TV in Seattle reports that if you’re planning on attending the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, you will have to wear a mask at all times — indoors or out — regardless of your vaccination status. . . . Why? Because Pierce County is experiencing unprecedented levels of COVID-19. . . . The State Fair runs from Sept. 3-26. . . . According to yaktrinew.com, “The masking requirement came one day after two hospital leaders said during a Washington State Hospital Association briefing that the Washington State Fair should be canceled due to the stress it would inevitably put on hospitals.”



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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Matt Calvert, who recently retired after an 11-year NHL career, has joined the Brandon Wheat Kings as their development coach. From a news release: “Along with assisting the coaching staff with day-to-day operations, Calvert will focus primarily on the career development of current players and prospects, emphasizing skill development, fitness, nutrition, mental health, and education.” Calvert, who is from Brandon, played three seasons (2007-10) with the Wheat Kings. . . . The ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones have promoted Jason Payne from assistant to head coach, replacing Matt Thomas, who now is with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Payne, who is from Toronto, is the lone Black head coach in pro hockey at the moment. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan has more on Payne right here. . . .

Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) reported Tuesday morning that former WHL F Yogi Svejkovsky is going to work with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks as a skills coach, who also will work with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks. He had been coaching at the Delta Hockey Academy. He spent 12 seasons (2006-18) as the Vancouver Giants’ skills coach. Svejkovsky, 44, had 101 points, including 58 goals, in his one WHL season (1995-96) with the Tri-City Americans. His son, Lukas, who turns 20 on Nov. 23, has split the past three seasons between the Giants and the Medicine Hat Tigers.


DrSues

Scattershooting one night after spending some time with The Bachman-Cummings Band . . .

Scattershooting2

Virus

Hey, is this a great time to be alive, or what? . . . I mean, some of the walking dead who live among us are taking their anti-everything protests to various hospitals on Sept. 1, choosing for some reason to thumb their noses and everything else at healthcare workers who mostly are in crisis after almost two years of this crap. . . . Some restaurant owners, who should be thankful that governments haven’t shut down eat-in dining again, say they won’t be checking for vaccination status when the mandates arrive. . . . And some of the New York Mets have taken to flashing thumbs down to their fans at Citi Field. Why? Javier Báez, the chief rocket scientist on that roster, says: “To let (the fans) know when we don’t get success we’re going to get booed, so they are going to get booed when we have success.” . . . Yeah, that’ll work. Especially in the Big Apple.


Saw this comment on Facebook earlier: “pages that are protesting vaxx passports say, if you don’t follow the rules you can’t join, haha oh the irony.”


Bear2
A black bear takes a stroll at the treeline of a hayfield near Barnhartvale, just southeast of Kamloops, on Saturday afternoon.


The  Bachman-Cummings Band rocked Shaw Park in Winnipeg as part of the Unite 150 show on Saturday night. I was fortunate enough to catch a lot of it on my laptop and, yes, it was a whole lot of fun, and a whole lot of Guess Who memories. . . . And, yes, it’s still hard to comprehend the decision by CBC Radio pooh-bahs to axe Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap after 16 years. . . . BTW, you are aware that Burton Cummings now calls Moose Jaw home, aren’t you? Seriously. You can look it up. . . . That has to stick in Regina’s craw, don’t you think?


While I was away from here for a few days, Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history, had his title changed by the Portland Winterhawks. Where he was an assistant coach for the past three seasons in Portland, he now is the club’s associate coach. And here — silly me! — I thought he had retired in May 2018 after spending four seasons as head coach of his hometown Kamloops Blazers.



Ian Henry, who had been the media relations, communications and digital media director with the Seattle Thunderbirds, lost his job last month in one of those mind-numbing COVID-19-related moves. Henry, who had been with the Thunderbirds since July 2002, really was one of the WHL’s good guys, and if there is a team or organization out there in need of a communications/public relations-type with a boatload of experience, well, look no further. . . . Hey, Seattle Kraken, how about it?


Sorry, ESPN, I tried to watch the Sunday night game with the New York Yankees in Oakland against the A’s. I really tried. But there is way too much chatter. The game just doesn’t get a chance to breathe and a baseball telecast needs some of that in order to be watchable.


Family


ICYMI, the state of Oregon has imposed a mask mandate for people who gather outdoors. You’re right. This isn’t going away. . . . If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the numbers, trending and modelling aren’t good in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan, along with Washington state. . . . Throw in Manitoba, where various mandates and restrictions are in place, that covers the six jurisdictions in which the WHL operates. . . . And don’t forget that indoor games being played in B.C. are limited to 50 spectators at least through Sept. 20.

——

Meanwhile, I would suggest that the WHL, which has teams scheduled to open training camps on Wednesday, will be coming up with a revamped 2021-22 regular-season schedule. . . . Bruce Hamilton, the owner of the Kelowna Rockets and the chairman of the league’s board of governors, has told Regan Bartel, the team’s long-time play-by-play voice, that “we do have plans in place that if we have to adjust for a month or two, we can.” . . . The original schedule doesn’t include any interlocking play between conferences. But the B.C. Division teams, for example, are supposed to play games against their U.S. Division counterparts. I wouldn’t bet on that happening, at least not before Christmas. . . . Hamilton told Bartel that having teams cross the U.S.-Canada border remains “in question.” Keep in mind that while the border is open to Americans wanting to visit Canada, the reverse isn’t true, with the next update expected around Sept. 21. . . . “To have our team travel (to the U.S.),” Hamilton explained, “we would have to take a rapid test going down and a PCR test coming home, so you are looking at $5,000 to $6,000 each time for every trip you make across the border.”

——

BTW, just because WHL training camps open in a couple of days doesn’t mean you should expect to see pre-season team-by-team rosters on the league’s website. As of Sunday evening, only the Edmonton Oil Kings and Kamloops Blazers had posted rosters. . . . It is absolutely mind-boggling that the WHL, which one might think needs a strong marketing effort after being mostly out of sight and perhaps also out of mind for far too long, isn’t able to provide its fans with something as basic as rosters.



Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “One of those stories I had to double check to make sure it wasn’t satire: National Rifle Association just announced they’ve canceled Sept 3-5 annual meeting because of worsening Covid-19 situation in Houston. Is this first time Texas has behaved too stupidly for the NRA?”


Randy


It isn’t often that I will pre-order a book, but I jumped all over the opportunity to do just that when I found out about Year of the Rocket: John Candy, Wayne Gretzky, a Crooked Tycoon, and the Craziest Season in Football History. . . . It was written by Paul Woods, a long-time fan of the Toronto Argonauts who was an editor with The Canadian Press. . . . The Rocket, of course, was Raghib Ismail and the Crooked Tycoon was Bruce McNall. . . . The bottom line is that the early-1990s was an amazing time — take that any which way you want — to be around the CFL, and this sounds like it will be a fun book. . . . Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun has more on it right here.



So . . . the Winnipeg Rifles travelled to Regina for a Prairie Football Conference clash with the Thunder on Sunday afternoon. Uhh, the Thunder turned a 64-3 half-time lead into a 64-19 victory. Now that’s calling off the dogs.


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Here’s an idea for the NFL: Put all the non-vaccinated players on a new team named the Freedom Fighters. Each Sunday, tell the Freedom Fighters that their game is canceled due to COVID concerns, and they have been awarded a forfeit victory. At the end of the season, announce on some murky internet site that the Freedom Fighters have been declared Super Bowl champs by default. The team’s players will believe it, because they believe anything they read on the internet. The rest of the NFL players can play football. Everyone is happy.”


Organdonation

——

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.


Turnsignals

WHL vaccine announcement on tap? . . . Blazers add Holick to staff . . . Winterhawks sign Czech defender

It has been suggested to me that the WHL will have an announcement of some WHL2sort regarding COVID-19 precautions today (Friday) or early next week. . . . No, I have no idea what that announcement might involve, but you have to think it will involve something to do with mandatory vaccinations for all involved. After all, that is exactly what the OHL and QMJHL have done, and the WHL also plays under the CHL umbrella. . . . It can’t be easy for the WHL with 22 teams scattered across four provinces and two states, meaning that there are a whole lot of health officials with whom to deal. . . . But training camps are less than three weeks away and there are nine exhibition games scheduled for the Sept. 10 weekend. In other words, as Danny Gallivan would have said, time is of the essence.

In the meantime, some Thursday headlines from WHL country . . .

Laura Sciarpelletti, CBC Saskatchewan — COVID-19 is once again ramping up in Sask. Today spike in new cases with 141, 51 higher than Wednesday. The province hasn’t recorded this many new cases in a single day since May 30. Two more deaths. 40% of all new cases are in the 20-39 age category.

Tri-City Herald — Public health officials fear they will see a surge in deaths from COVID-19 and even higher demand for hospital care as the delta variant drives new daily cases higher. . . . The Tri-Cities area had 470 new COVID-19 cases announced on Thursday, bringing the confirmed cases reported since last Friday to 220 per day on average. That’s up from an average of 58 new cases per day just three weeks ago.

CBC News — Alberta reports 550 new COVID-19 cases, highest daily case count since late May.

Byron Hackett, Red Deer Advocate — Most cases since late May. And on Monday, the province stops most contact tracing and isolation. Good times.

CBC News, 6:26 p.m. PT — Alberta is rowing back on plans to end COVID-19 protocols including isolation requirements, asymptomatic testing and contact tracing by Aug. 16, a government source told CBC News. The province’s health guidelines will remain in place for now, the source said.

CHAT News Today — A month ago on July 18, there were fewer than 10 active COVID-19 cases in Medicine Hat. Now the city has a record-high 361 active cases, with 12 people currently in hospital.

CBC News — British Columbia announced 513 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Thursday, as the seven-day rolling average of new cases in the province rises to its highest level since May 21. . . . A total of 81 people are in hospital, with 33 in intensive care. Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up 40 per cent from last Thursday, when 58 people were in hospital with the disease and have doubled from their 2021 low 18 days ago.

KIRO7 Seattle — Washington superintendent Chris Reykdal requested Gov. Jay Inslee to issue an executive order to make the COVID-19 vaccine a requirement for all K-12 school employees.

KATU News — Oregon — like Florida, Arkansas and Louisiana — has more people in the hospital with COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic.

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Guy Flaming, host of The Pipeline Show, asked his Twitter followers this week: “Should the WHL follow the lead of the OHL and QMJHL mandating full vaccination for ‘all players, coaches, trainers, team and league staff, officials, volunteers and billet families?’ ” . . . By Thursday night, he had received 335 responses with 79.1 per cent voting “Yes.”

——

Asked about a mandatory vaccination policy by Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist, Dan Price, the Royals’ general manager and head coach, replied: “We don’t have an answer to that. The league is assessing that now. They are working with each health jurisdiction, including in the U.S.”

——

CTV News has reported that the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers are discussing whether to follow the Winnipeg Jets, who have mandated that all employees, event staff and guests must be fully vaccinated and that masks will be required at all home games in 2021-22. In a statement to CTV, the Oilers ssaid: ”We are in on-going conversations with Alberta Health, Canadian venues, the NHL and other key stakeholders. Once finalized, we will communicate our plan at an appropriate time in advance on the 2021-22 NHL season.” . . . The Oilers own the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings and both teams use the same facility. So you are free to wonder whether a decision one way or the other by the Oilers will impact the Oil Kings. . . . As for the Calgary Flames, who own the WHL’s Hitmen, they told CTV in a statement: “We aren’t in a position to make any comments on that at this point. See you in September.”


As expected, the Kamloops Blazers introduced Mark Holick as their new associate coach on Thursday. . . . Holick, 52, will work alongside general manager and head coach Shaun Clouston. . . . Holick replaces Cory Clouston, Shaun’s brother, who left the organization on Wednesday, saying that he wanted to spend more time with his daughter. . . . Holick, the U-18 prep head coach at Yale Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., for the past three seasons, is a former WHL coach of the year. He was the head coach of the Kootenay Ice (2007-10) when he was honoured as coach of the year for 2009-10. He also was the head coach of the Prince George Cougars for three-plus seasons (2013-16). . . . In his playing days, Holick played four seasons (1984-88) with the Saskatoon Blades and New Westminster Bruins. . . . Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has a story right here explaining how Holick ended up with the Blazers.


Arm


The Vancouver Giants have acquired F Ty Thorpe, 19, from the Brandon Wheat VancouverKings for a conditional sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft. . . . Thorpe, from Brandon, was selected by the Victoria Royals in the third round of the 2017 bantam draft. He was traded to the Wheat Kings in January 2018. In 136 regular-season games, all with Brandon, he had 10 goals and 20 assists. In the 2021 development season, he had three goals and three assists in 21 games.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed Czech D Marek Alscher to a WHL Portlandcontract. They selected him in the CHL’s 2021 import draft on June 30. . . . Alscher, 17, had one assist in four games while playing for Czech Republic in the recently completed Hlinka Gretzky Cup. . . . Alscher has spent the past two seasons playing in Finland with the Pelicans organization. In 2020-21, he had three goals and 11 assists in 27 games with the U-18 team. . . . The Winterhawks also hold the WHL rights to Danish D Jonas Brondberg, 20, who had six assists in 20 games in the 2021 development season. As a 20-year-old, he would be a two-spotter should he return.



The Saskatoon Blades have acquired F Brendan Lee, 19, from the Everett Silvertips for G Koen MacInnes, 19. . . . Lee, from Seattle, had two goals and four assists in 17 games in the 2021 development season. In 71 career regular-season games, he has 11 goals and eight assists. The Silvertips signed the updrafted Lee out of the Colorado Thunderbirds program. . . . MacInnes backed up Nolan Maier each of the past two seasons, going 18-7-2, 2.78, .901 in 31 games. . . . Maier is expected to return for his 20-year-old season, with one of two 17-year-olds — Ethan Chadwick or Austin Elliott — backing him up. . . . In Everett, MacInnes, who is from Burnaby, B.C., will pair up with Braden Holt, 18, in goal.


Pi


CBC News — Everyone working in long-term care and assisted living in B.C., including volunteers and personal care workers, will now be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

——

Rolling Stone — The Killers will require fans attending their New York City warmup gig on August 19th to be both vaccinated and show a negative Covid test.

——

Claudia Cautillo, CTV News — Queen’s University now among growing number of Canadian universities requiring all students, staff, and faculty returning to campus to be vaccinated against COVID-19. (Note: In the past couple of days, Carleton U, U of Guelph, U of Ottawa, U of Toronto, and Western all have gone public with mandatory vaccination protocols.)

——

The Victoria HarbourCats and Nanaimo NightOwls of baseball’s West Coast League may not be playing this season because of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention. The teams are owned by Shwing Batter Investment Group and it has announced that vaccinations will be mandatory for all players, coaches and staff members. The protocol also will apply to the Victoria Golden Tide, a new team that is to play in the Canadian College Baseball Conference. . . . “Our people are out in the community,” Jim Swanson, the organization’s managing partner, told Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist. “Our programs travel — we take ferries, and cross borders — we cannot operate in a bubble. The programs are too complex.”

——

Proving that COVID-19 hasn’t forgotten about the stocks, Max Papis has tested positive so won’t be running this weekend in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series on the Indy road course. Papis, 51, was going to race for the first time since 2013 this weekend. . . . J.J. Yeley will replace Papis behind the wheel of the No. 17 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet Camaro.

——

CBC News: The Toronto International Film Festival says proof of COVID-19 vaccination won’t be required to enter its venues, but masks will be mandatory for anyone attending in-person screenings, and talent and media will be tested regularly.

——

KETV NewsWatch 7 — Nebraska health care systems will require employees to get vaccinated.

——

The New York Times — San Francisco will impose some of the toughest restrictions on unvaccinated people in the U.S., barring them from indoor dining, bars, gyms and more.


Cinderella


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.


Irony

Holick to replace Clouston with Blazers . . . Winterhawks add goaltender in swap . . . Want to go to Jets’ game? Get vaccinated

The Kamloops Blazers will introduce Mark Holick as their new Kamloopsassociate coach today (Thursday). . . . Holick, who has a long history in the WHL, replaces Cory Clouston, who has left the organization after two seasons citing “personal reasons.” Clouston had been working alongside his brother, Shaun, the Blazers’ head coach who now is also the general manager. . . . Holick, 52, played in the WHL for parts of four seasons (1984-88) with the Saskatoon Blades and New Westminster Bruins. . . . He coached junior A, in the BCHL and AJHL, from 1994-07 before spending three seasons (2007-10) as the head coach of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. He later was the head coach of the Prince George Cougars for three-plus seasons (2012-16). . . . For the past three seasons, he has been the head coach of the U-18 prep team at Yale Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . Cory Clouston, meanwhile, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week that he is leaving in order to spend more time with his daughter. “It’s not an easy decision,” Clouston told Hastings, “but it was an easy decision. To leave an organization that’s done a lot of good work in the last few years and has a great future wasn’t easy. But, in saying that, for me to focus on my daughter is a very easy decision.”


It’s 2021 and hockey is still finding itself in situations such as this one! This is nothing short of shameful and oh, so embarrassing.


The Portland Winterhawks have acquired G Mason Dunsford, 18, from the Tri-PortlandCity Americans for a conditional fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft. The Americans selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From New Westminster, B.C., he got into 23 games over two seasons with Tri-City, going 3-14-0, 6.28, .844. . . . The Americans finished the 2020-21 development season with Dunsford, Talyn Boyko and Donovan Buskey as the goaltenders on their roster. Boyko turns 19 on Oct. 16 and is the likely starter. Buskey has aged out. . . . The Winterhawks finished that season with two goaltenders on their roster — 2001-born Brock Gould and Dante Giannuzzi, the presumed starter, who will be 19 on Sept. 3.


Oven


The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets have followed the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers in nhl2announcing that only folks who are fully vaccinated will be allowed into home games. . . . The Jets’ home arena, the Canada Life Centre, “will be selling to full capacity,” the team’s statement read, “and we will require all employees, event staff and guests to provide proof of full vaccination. The majority of our season seat holders have shared with us that having a proof of COVID-10 vaccination policy for Canada Life Centre and Burton Cummings Theatre is important to them.” . . . Fans also will have to wear facemasks while in the arena while not eating or drinking. . . .

Nanos Research completed a poll for The Globe and Mail earlier this month, asking: Would you support, somewhat oppose or oppose unvaccinated people being denied access to public gatherings like sporting events of indoor dining in restaurants? The newspaper’s John Ibbiston reported that “78 per cent of respondents said they would support (59 per cent) or somewhat support (19 per cent) such a ban. Only 15 per cent opposed a ban, and five per cent were somewhat opposed. Two per cent were unsure.”


——

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.


Bean