A bizarre night as world goes to war . . . Habscheid moves into fifth spot . . . Shutouts for Chaika, Pyne

Ukraine

What a bizarre night!

Look, there’s a Twitter video showing Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations at the end of a Security Council meeting telling his Russian counterpart: “There is no purgatory for war criminals. They go straight to hell, Ambassador.”

And there’s a photo from Ukraine that shows people seated on the floor in an underground shelter.

Tweet after tweet after tweet providing information, some of it instantaneous, about what was happening in Ukraine.

All of them mixed in with so many other tweets as the sporting world continued on its merry way.

“Ghostriders even their series 1-1 with a 5-2 win in Invermere” reads a tweet from the junior B Fernie Ghostriders.

There’s the WHL’s highlight of the night. An OT winner by Chad Nychuk of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Oh, there’s video of a goal by the Arizona Coyotes, who are entertaining the Los Angeles Kings.

Oh, look, it’s snowing in Surrey.

And all the while Dr. Evil’s troops are invading Ukraine in what almost appears to be one more step in an attempt to put the USSR back together. With a former U.S. president and a U.S. television network applauding all the while.

With all of this and a global pandemic and vehicle convoys and border blockades and all the rest . . . we really are living in troubled times.



Marc Habscheid moved into fifth place on the WHL’s list for all-time regular-WHLseason coaching victories when his Prince Albert Raiders beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 1-0, on Wednesday night.

That was Habscheid’s 573rd victory as a WHL head coach, moving him past Mike Williamson and into fifth place. Habscheid now trails Don Hay (750), Ken Hodge (742), Don Nachbaur (692) and Lorne Molleken (626).

Habscheid also has been the head coach with the Kamloops Blazers (1997-99), Kelowna Rockets (1999-2004) and Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royals (2009-12). In Kelowna, he took over from Garth Malarchuk during the 1999-2000 season. He replaced Cory Clouston as the Raiders’ head coach during the 2014-15 season.

Here are the active WHL head coaches and their victory totals:

Shaun Clouston, Kamloops, 485; Mike Johnston, Portland, 445; Willie Desjardins, Medicine Hat, 397; Mark Lamb, Prince George, 272; Steve Konowalchuk, Red Deer, 250;

Michael Dyck, Vancouver, 242; Brent Kisio, Lethbridge, 223; Steve Hamilton, Calgary, 211; Dennis Williams, Everett, 182; John Paddock, Regina, 177;

Brad Lauer, Edmonton, 137; Matt O’Dette, Seattle, and James Patrick, Winnipeg, each 129; Dan Price, Victoria, 121;

Mark O’Leary, Moose Jaw, 63; Don McGillivray, Brandon, 44; Kris Mallette, Kelowna, 42; Brennan Sonne, Saskatoon 26; Devan Praught, Swift Current, 17; Stu Barnes, Tri-City, 14; Ryan Smith, Spokane, 1.

Louis Mass, the associate coach with Everett, has five victories as he ran the bench while Williams was with Canada’s national junior team in December.

Ryan Marsh, the associate coach with Saskatoon, recorded a pair of victories while Sonne was sidelined by COVID-19 in January.

Josh McNevin, an assistant coach with Kelowna, picked up two victories while Mallette was at the Capital City Challenge in Ottawa in late November.

Keith McCambridge, the associate coach with Vancouver, got one victory while Dyck was with Canada’s national junior team in December.

Brad Herauf, an assistant coach in Regina, posted one victory when Paddock missed a Feb. 11 game due to illness.

Please remember that these totals all are unofficial.

——

WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL: G Tikhon Chaika posted the shutout as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders beat the Calgary Hitmen, 1-0. Chaika, an 18-year-old freshman from Minsk, Belarus, recorded his first WHL shutout. He is 13-14-2, 2.98, .900. F Evan Herman (19) scored the game’s only goal, at 12:45 of the first period. . . . In Regina, the Pats beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 2-0, behind 21 saves from G Kelton Pyne, a 16-year-old from White City, Sask. He is with the Pats because of injuries to other goaltenders. In three starts, Pyne has two WHL victories, both by shutout. D Ryker Evans (12) broke a scoreless tie at 13:31 of the third period and F Connor Bedard (32) got the empty-netter. . . .

The host Brandon Wheat Kings surrendered 2-0 and 4-2 leads before coming back to beat the Saskatoon Blades, 6-5, in OT. F Kyle Crnkovic (33), who leads the WHL with 74 points, gave the Blades a 5-4 lead at 19:17 of the second period. F Nolan Ritchie (20) got Brandon even at 18:31 of the third period with his second goal — he also had two assists — and F Chad Nychuk (15) won it at 4:55 of extra time. . . . The Winnipeg Ice opened up a 3-0 second-period lead and hung on to beat the Hurricanes, 3-2, in Lethbridge. F Matthew Savoie (22) got the goal that turned into the winner at 10:50 of the second. Goals from F Corson Hopwo (9) and D Kade Nolan (2) got Lethbridge to within a goal before the third period was 11 minutes old.

——

JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The WHL has suspended D Trevor Thurston of the Prince Albert Raiders for five games after he incurred charging and cross-checking majors during the same stoppage in play on Monday night in a game against the host Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state, has announced that a statewide indoor mask mandate will be lifted on March 21. At the same time, vaccine verifications or proof of a negative test won’t be required to attend indoor events after Feb. 28.


Apathy


Derek Taylor, who revealed last week that he wouldn’t be returning for a fourth season as the play-by-play voice of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, is the new radio voice of the two-time Grey Cup-champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers on 680 CJOB. . . . In Winnipeg, Taylor will take over from the legendary Bob Irving, who retired following the 2021 season. . . . Taylor isn’t a stranger to Winnipeg as he spent nine years calling the play of U of Manitoba Bisons football games. He will make his Blue Bombers play-by-play debut on May 23 when Winnipeg meets, yes, the host Roughriders in an exhibition game. . . . Before moving to Regina, he spent almost five years with TSN. . . . “It’s just a better job opportunity for me,” Taylor told Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post. “It’s a better family opportunity because my wife (CBC-TV weather specialist Fiona Odlum) is from Winnipeg and it’s the place that I’ve lived in the longest as an adult. It’s essentially home for me.”


Corn


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.


Baby

Clippers go along with BCHL and put coaches on leave pending investigation; two assistants run bench in win; interim staff to be installed


Most times the action in a junior hockey league is on the ice with one team playing another. But these days in the BCHL it’s league versus team in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

Or is it?

Let’s recap . . .

The BCHL informed players on the Nanaimo Clippers via email on Tuesday that Darren Naylor, the vice-president, general manager, head coach and director of hockey operations, and Colin Birkas, the associate GM and associate coach, had been placed on administrative leave while a league-appointed independent investigator reviewed “allegations of Code of Conduct breaches.” . . .

With the Clippers next scheduled to play last night (Friday) against the host NanaimoPowell River Kings, the league told the players that it would put another coach in place in order to keep their season going. . . .

On Thursday, the Clippers, Naylor and Birkas received a temporary injunction from a BC Supreme Court justice after filing a lawsuit that also asked for damages from the BCHL. . . . However, Naylor and Birkas weren’t on the Clippers’ bench for a 6-4 victory over the Kings last night. Instead, assistants Ken McPhalen and Bob Foglietta did the coaching. . . . The teams are to play again tonight in Powell River. . . .

On Friday night, the BCHL issued a statement via email, saying that the Clippers “without notice to the BCHL” had “made an ex parte injunction application and obtained a court order restraining the BCHL from placing the coaches on leave. The BCHL will be applying to have the order set aside.” . . .

The Clippers are owned by Wes Mussio, whose bio on the team website says he is a personal injury/estate litigation lawyer and the managing partner and founder of Mussio Goodman Law. . . .

Victoria-based CHEK News reported Friday that “a notice of civil claim was filed . . . by Clippers Hockey Limited Partnership, Naylor and Birkas, arguing that the league acted ‘erroneously and in a high-handed manner’ in issuing the suspensions when no allegations have been proven, irreparably damaging the coaches’ reputations and putting the team’s season in jeopardy because there are no alternate coaches to take over.” . . .

According to CHEK News, “The lawsuit indicates that the Nanaimo Clippers organization conducted its own internal investigation into the allegations after being alerted to the BCHL investigation at the start of the season in October 2021 and found no wrongdoing.” . . . The Clippers, including the two coaches, “argued that the complainants who first brought forward the allegations were mostly disgruntled former employees and former billet parents ‘who have significant motivation to lie, exaggerate and attack without evidence in support as they had a falling out with the coaches before leaving the Clippers organizations.’ ”

The CHEK News story is right here.

But, wait, there’s more . . .

Shortly after Friday’s game ended, the Clippers issued a statement that was signed by Mussio.

According to the statement, the Clippers have decided to “place their coaching staff on temporary leave to allow the BCHL to complete their internal investigation process. . . .

“We stand with our players and will allow them to continue the push for the conference title without any further distractions. An interim coaching staff will be implemented forthwith while the BCHL also has a chance to investigate the allegations to their satisfaction.”

So . . . it would seem that takes the whole mess out of the courts and back into the BCHL’s boardroom.

Stay tuned. . . .


Change


G Kelton Pyne benefited from F Connor Bedard’s five-point night as the host ReginaRegina Pats beat the Calgary Hitmen, 5-0, on Friday night. Pyne, 16, was making his second appearance with the Pats, whose two regular goaltenders are sidelined with concussions. He stopped 24 shots in posting his first victory. . . . Bedard scored three times, giving him 28 on the season. He has 52 points in 35 games, including 28 in his last 11 outings. . . . Don’t be sleeping on Regina F Tanner Howe, either. Howe, who turned 16 on Nov. 28, had two assists. He’s got 38 points, including 22 assists, in 37 games. . . . If you track such things, Regina assistant coach Brad Herauf earned his first WHL head-coaching victory as he filled in for an ailing John Paddock. . . .

G Taylor Gauthier of the Portland Winterhawks had his shutout streak halted at Portland251:11 in an 8 -1 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. While Gauthier set a franchise record for longest shutout streak, he fell short of the record (265:13) set by Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers in 1967-68. . . . F Cross Hanas scored three times for Portland, once on a penalty shot. He has six goals and 11 assists over his past six games. . . . According to the Winterhawks, Mike Johnston made his 700th regular-season appearance behind their bench. The WHL record (1,411) is held by Ken Hodge, who coached the original Edmonton Oil Kings and the Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs and Winterhawks are in a stretch of five straight games against each other; Portland has won the first three — 7-3, 9-0 and 8-1. . . . The game was Ryan Smith’s first as Spokane’s head coach after he took over from Adam Maglio on Thursday. . . .

G Nolan Maier of the Saskatoon Blades stopped 29 shots in a 4-1 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. That was the 112th regular-season victory of his career, eight shy of the WHL record that is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . .

G Sebastian Cossa turned aside 21 shots as the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Red Deer Rebels, 4-0. The Rebels could have closed to within four points of the Central Division-leading Oil Kings, but instead fell eight points off the pace. . . . Cossa leads the WHL with five shutouts this season. He has 13 in 84 career appearances. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers, beaten 4-3 by visiting Tri-City on Wednesday, scored Kamloopsfour times in the first period en route to a 6-1 victory over the Americans. F Luke Toporowski scored twice and added two assists, while linemate Logan Stankoven ran his point streak to 15 games with two goals and a helper. . . . Toporowski has 13 goals and seven assists in 11 games since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Stankoven, who has 63 points in 36 games, has 34 points in that 15-game tear. . . . BTW, a Kamloopsian contacted me with a friendly reminder for the four Tri-City players who were in a downtown Tim Hortons sans face masks on Friday morning: There is mask mandate in B.C. that takes in all public indoor settings. Hey, guys, not a good look to be wearing team colours and not abiding by provincial mandates. . . .

In other games . . . D Max Wanner (4), F Jagger Firkus (27) and D Daemon Hunt (13) each had a goal and assist to lead the host Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . F Connor Hvidston’s sixth goal, at 2:36 of OT, gave the Swift Current Broncos a 4-3 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . F Pavel Novak scored the only goal of the shootout as the host Kelowna Rockets beat Everett, 4-3, snapping the Silvertips’ eight-game winning streak in the process. Czech freshman Gabriel Szturc scored his eight goal for the Rockets, this one was special because his parents were in the stands. . . . F Ty Thorpe scored twice to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-1 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. The Giants had had their previous two games postponed due to some positive tests within the organization. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last six goals — two each from F Lukas Svejkovsky and Reid Schaefer — as they beat the Royals 6-1 in Victoria.


Scrabble


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.


Dinos

WHL positive tests somewhere above 150 . . . Winterhawks, Gauthier on real roll . . . BCHL suspends Nanaimo coaches pending investigation

Dan Courneyea, our man at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, was on hand Beijingfor the opening day of the men’s hockey competition on Wednesday.

“Well . . . that was an interesting first day of men’s ice hockey,”  he reported. “ROC almost lost to the Swiss, who played a great game. A bounce is how that game ended.

“Denmark has come to play! They also played a great game and beat Czechia in what I saw was a big upset. Denmark, as a team, played very well with their goalie standing on his head.”

ROC scored a first-period goal and hung on for a 1-0 victory over Switzerland. In the other game to which our man referred, Denmark, playing in the Olympics for the first time, got past Czechia, 2-1.

In one other game, Sweden eked out a 3-2 victory over Latvia.

“Three games today,” he added. “It’s just going to get better as it goes along.”

Games on the second day (Thursday) will have Slovakia meeting Finland (National Indoor Stadium, 12:40 a.m. PT), China taking on the U.S. (5:10 a.m. PT, NIS), and Canada versus Germany (5:10 a.m. PT, Wukesong Sports Centre).

There is a women’s game Thursday, too, with Czechia and the U.S. meeting in a quarterfinal at 8:10 p.m. PT. On Friday, it’ll be Sweden and Canada at 5:10 a.m. PT and Switzerland versus ROC at 8:10 p.m. PT. The other quarterfinal will have Japan playing Finland on Saturday at 12:40 a.m. PT.


According to the WHL’s weekly roster/injury report, teams didn’t report any players in COVID-19 protocol until after the Christmas break. Since then, teams have shown 149 players having been in protocol.

However, the real number isn’t known because four teams — the Kamloops WHLBlazers, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels — haven’t listed even one player as having been in protocol. Interestingly, each of those teams has been shut down by the WHL at one point or another. Kamloops, Medicine Hat and Red Deer were among 15 teams that were told to pause team activities on Jan. 7 “as a result of multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive for COVID-19.”

Also on Jan. 7, the WHL announced that Lethbridge had been “cleared to resume team activities” after it had been put on pause.

That figure of 149 also doesn’t include staff members who have  tested positive.

Here are the WHL teams who have reported having had players in protocol since returning from the Christmas break — Saskatoon Blades, 18; Seattle Thunderbirds, 17; Swift Current Broncos, Victoria Royals, each 14; Tri-City Americans, 13; Prince George Cougars, 11; Everett Silvertips, 10; Prince Albert Raiders, 9; Portland Winterhawks, 8; Spokane Chiefs, Vancouver Giants, each 7; Edmonton Oil Kings, Kelowna Rockets, Moose Jaw Warriors, Winnipeg Ice, each 4; Brandon Wheat Kings, Calgary Hitmen, each 2; and Regina Pats, 1.

As well, Spokane had two players test positive in November, but they weren’t shown on the roster report.


Airport


The Spokane Chiefs were in Portland for a Wednesday night date with the PortlandWinterhawks, the second of five straight games between these teams. . . . Portland, which had posted a 7-3 victory in Spokane on Saturday, delivered a quick message with five first-period goals, en route to a 9-0 victory. . . . They’ll play the next three in Spokane — on Friday, Saturday and Tuesday — and finish their season series on Feb. 20 in Portland. . . . Portland has points in 17 straight games — 16-0-1. . . . After last night, Portland is 7-1-0 in the season series; Spokane is 1-6-1. . . . Also last night, Portland G Taylor Gauthier, a recent acquisition from the Prince George Cougars, set a franchise record for longest shutout streak. He now has put up three straight shutouts and the shutout streak is at 232:19. The previous record (174:57) was set by Brendan Burke during the 2013-14 season. . . . In nine starts with Portland, Gauthier, who will turn 21 on Tuesday, is 9-0-0, 1.33, .954. His three shutouts leave him with nine in his WHL career.


Some Super Bowl trivia for you just in case you are trying to impress someone between now and Sunday. . . . In nine different Super Bowl games, there has been a starting quarterback named Joe — Namath, Kapp, Montana (4 times), Flacco, Theismann and Burrow. . . . In 10 different Super Bowl games, there has been a starting QB named Tom — Brady.


The BCHL has notified players with the Nanaimo Clippers that it “has appointed bchlan independent investigator to review allegations of Code of Conduct breaches” by Darren Naylor, the team’s vice-president, general manager, head coach and director of hockey operations, and Colin Birkas, the associate GM and associate coach. . . . In a Tuesday email from the Executive Committee to “Nanaimo Clippers Players,” the players were informed that the BCHL “has placed the coaches on temporary administrative leave while the investigation proceeds. At this time, the allegations are allegations only; no findings have been made against the coaches.” . . . According to the BCHL, it “cannot comment on particulars of the investigation itself due to privacy laws . . .” The letter also informs players that they may be contacted by the investigator “to discuss the allegations. It is very important for all concerned, particularly the game of hockey, that you provide the investigator with your full and honest cooperation. This is not the time for silence or silencing others; no one should lie on any person’s behalf for any reason.” . . . The league has told the Nanaimo players that “we will be advising your billets about this situation” and “we strongly encourage you to inform your parents as soon as possible as they will want to hear this development from you first . . . Please do not hesitate to reach out for support, whether it is to your parents, your billets or the league.” . . . The letter also indicates that the league will be “appointing an interim coaching solution to continue your day-to-day team activities and games.” . . . The Clippers are 23-13-2 and five points out of first place in the nine-team Coastal Division. They are scheduled to be in Powell River for games with the Kings on Friday and Saturday nights.


Pipe


Chad Harden, who scouts for the Calgary Hitmen, will be back in the Calgary Stampede’s chuckwagon races this year. Krista Sylvester of the Calgary Citizen reports that Harden, who was facing a potential lifetime ban after an accident in the 2019 Rangeland Derby, has been invited to return and has accepted the invitation. Harden received a stiff reprimand after the accident in which one horse died and three others were injured. A driver since 2000, Harden also was fined $10,000 and had to pay $10,000 for the horse that was killed. . . . Sylvester’s story is right here.


The Regina Pats ran out of goaltenders this week. Yes, they did! That’s how PatsKelton Pyne, a 16-year-old from White City, Sask., came to make his WHL debut with 36 saves in a 6-3 loss to the host Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday. . . . Matthew Kieper and Drew Sim, the two goaltenders on the Pats’ roster, both are sidelined with concussions. . . . Pyne wasn’t selected in the WHL draft and has been on the Pats’ protected list since last fall. . . . He is a regular with the U-18 Regina Pat Canadians of the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League. . . . The Pats are scheduled to meet the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Friday and then visit the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday. Regina’s goaltenders are expected to be Pyne and Spencer Welke, who has come in from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has more on this story right here.


The B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League will have a new team — the Logan Lake LoganLakeMinersMiners — when the 2022-23 season arrives. The Miners will play out of the Logan Lake Recreation Centre. As an independent team, they will, according to a news release, feature players “enrolled in full-time courses at Thompson Rivers University and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.” . . . Those schools are located in Kamloops and Merritt, respectively. . . . Logan Lake will get a look at a couple of BCIHL teams this weekend as the Okanagan Lakers meet Vancouver Island University at the Recreation Centre on Friday and Saturday nights. There won’t be an admission charge for either game, but public health guidelines will be in place. . . . The BCIHL’s news release is right here.


Bed


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.


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