On Feb. 26, 1986, as the Regina Pats were beating the Warriors, 4-2, at the Crushed Can in Moose Jaw, no one was thinking about that day more than 30 years down the road when Kevin Gallant’s oldest son would score two goals and set up another in one game . . . for the Warriors.
In 1986, Kevin was the radio voice of the Pats. After a Jan. 11 game, in which the Warriors beat the Pats, 4-2, there were whispers that during the post-game show Gallant might have referred to the Moose Jaw organization as — gasp! — Mickey Mouse.
On Feb. 26, then, it was Mickey Mouse Night in Moose Jaw and Gallant did his part by showing up to another game in what then was the league’s hottest rivalry in a Donald Duck outfit.
Yes, stuff like that used to happen in the WHL. It really did.
Fast forward to 2021 and we find Matthew Gallant, 17, in the Warriors’ training camp, hoping to earn a spot on their roster as a defenceman. He had been listed by the Warriors a while back and, lo and behold, he had a terrific camp and the Warriors signed him to a WHL contract.
On Saturday night, he had three points — the goals came 16 seconds apart and gave his guys a 4-1 lead — as the Warriors won, 5-2, in Regina.
And don’t you know that young Matthew was named the game’s first star.
Yes, it was only an exhibition game, but still . . . the Brandt Centre in Regina once was the Agridome and it was then when the echo of Matthew’s father’s voice owned the rafters of that building.
Kevin now lives on the Lower Mainland of B.C., with his wife, Eva, and their other son, Michael, who also is a defenceman.
“Well,” Kevin told me, “I must tell you the irony of my son playing at the Agridome or Brandt Centre and scoring two goals and getting one assist for Moose Jaw over the Pats and then being named first star is quite a moment and one that I will never forget. Sitting in my living room and watching on WHL Live was surreal and quite a proud Dad moment.”
The Warriors’ regular-season home-opener is scheduled for Friday against the Saskatoon Blades. Eva and Kevin plan to be there. I don’t think he’ll be hauling the Donald Duck suit out of the closet for this one.
But maybe the Warriors will ask Kevin to drop the ceremonial first puck. Just for old time’s sake, you know.
In his weekly Last Call column, Charles P. Pierce of Esquire began:
“We have become numb to the numbers. The pandemic continues to sicken people, and to make them die, and gradually, we’ve worked this situation into the habits of our daily being. The butcher’s bill is now as regular a part of the evening news as cold fronts and box scores. The stories even sort themselves now into iron categories: the Exhausted Nurses story, the No Beds Available story, and, most maddening of all, the Radio Talk Show Host Who Railed Against Vaccines and Masks and Died of COVID story.”
Dr. Ilan Schwartz is an infectious disease specialist at the U of Alberta in Edmonton. He told Dean Bennett of The Canadian Press that more restrictions and a vaccine card were needed in Alberta at least a month ago. Dr. Schwartz also noted:
“It’s absurd that we have (hospital) morgues that are full, we are cancelling cancer surgeries, we’re calling for the military, we’re talking about transporting patients 3,000 kilometres in order for them to find an ICU bed and we still have society going on as if nothing is the matter.”
Judging by a couple of tweets from Postmedia’s Steve Ewen, the Vancouver Giants won’t have their head coach at their bench when the WHL season opens:
“The WHL discipline page shows Giants coach Michael Dyck and Fs Kyle Bochek and Colton Langkow will miss the season opener Saturday on the road vs. Victoria Royals with one-game suspensions from the line brawl vs. the Prince George Cougars in preseason action on Friday in Maple Ridge.
“There were eight fighting majors, nine game misconducts and a cross-checking major assessed to Bochek at 19:03 mark of the third in Vancouver’s 3-1 win over PG. Giants have also been given a $1,000 fine. There’s no list of supplementary discipline for the Cougars.”
Keith McCambridge is the Giants’ associate coach. The team doesn’t list another assistant coach on its website.
If you’re wondering when the last time a WHL coach drew a suspension, well, according to the WHL website you have to go back more than three years. Kelly Buchberger, then the head coach of the Tri-City Americans, was suspended for one game after his team got involved in a “multiple-fight situation” with the Giants. That was on Sept. 2, 2018.
David Beard, the starting centre for the CFL’s Edmonton Elks, didn’t practise on Sunday because he was put into COVID-19 protocol. He is the 17th Edmonton player to be in protocol since this season began. The list is for those who have either tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who did. . . . Beard isn’t likely to play Tuesday against the host Ottawa Redblacks.
Here’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to Rolling Stone:
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team. There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
The really good news is that Dwight Perry, he of Sideline Chatter fame at the Seattle Times, is back in the saddle, and he didn’t lose it while he was away. “Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins is reportedly unvaccinated, putting his availability for some games into question,” Perry notes. “Making him the first NBA player this season to be criticized for his shot selection.”
After that dustup between the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay, Perry wrote: “Toronto plunked the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier with a pitch, two days after he swiped Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk’s data card. Flummoxed scorekeepers couldn’t decide how to score it — hit by pitch or caught stealing?”
The Prairie Junior Hockey League, a 12-team junior B league based in Saskatchewan, revealed on Saturday that “team governors have voted to implement a mandatory vaccination policy. The players will be informed of the details and timeline by their individual teams.” . . . When the Heritage Junior B Hockey League in Alberta made the same decision it lost two of its 15 teams.
This one had me laughing . . .
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