NHL executive: COVID defines everything we do . . . Doctors want Flames, Oilers to change direction . . . 2022 Memorial Cup has a home

Cats


If you haven’t seen it, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada posted his first 32 Thoughts of a new NHL season this week. He had been on a bit of an NHL media tour, so had gotten to speak to a number of people, including Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner.

And it was Daly who said something that really jumped off my computer screen. Here’s how Friedman wrote it:

“On the 32 Thoughts podcast, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said he was recently asked, “Putting COVID aside, what is your biggest challenge?”

“You can’t put COVID aside,” he responded. “COVID defines everything we do and everything we’re going to do, unfortunately.”

Words that all sporting leagues are having to live by. Unfortunately.

The first 32 Thoughts of the season is right here.


Some COVID-related NHL notes . . .

While about 78 per cent of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, the NHL is saying that it expects at least 98 per cent of its players will be there come nhl2opening night, which is scheduled for Oct. 12. . . . If you do the math, that would leave about 15 players on the 32 rosters who won’t be fully vaccinated when the regular season begins. . . . Of course, you know that we are going to be hearing about those 15. . . .

On Tuesday, the Columbus Blue Jackets revealed that F Zac Rinaldo, who isn’t vaccinated, won’t be in their training camp; instead, he will go to camp with the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters. . . .

At this point, F Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings is the only player on their roster not to have been vaccinated. That could result in him not playing in any of their nine games in Canada, something that would cost him about US$450,000. . . . “It’s his decision,” Detroit GM Steve Yzerman said, “and it’s the world we live in today. I’m not in a position to force anyone.” . . . You’re wondering if Yzerman is disappointed in Bertuzzi? “I personally am vaccinated,” he said. “My family is vaccinated. I will leave it at that.” . . .

G Tyler Parsons won’t be taking part in the Calgary Flames’ training camp. Brad Treliving, the Flames’ GM, said Parsons was “unable to satisfy quarantine rules” so he’s out. The Flames say that every player on the camp roster is fully vaccinated. . . .

General manager Tom Fitzgerald of the New Jersey Devils has said his club has one unvaccinated player whom “we are trying to help (get) through this.” . . .

The Edmonton Oilers aren’t expecting to have G Alex Stalock in uniform at any point this season. He ended up with COVID-19 last season and was found to have myocarditis, a swelling of the heart muscle that is associated with the virus. . . .

Edmonton general manager Ken Holland also said Wednesday that the Oilers have one player who isn’t vaccinated. Holland said that he and head coach Dave Tippett have met with the unidentified player and are trying to persuade him to get vaccinated. . . . Reports later Wednesday indicated that the player in question is F Josh Archibald.



Rocky


The Stettler Lightning of Alberta’s Heritage Junior B Hockey League announced Wednesday that they won’t play in 2021-22. “The new COVID restrictions put us in a very depleted player situation,” the team said via Twitter, “so the decision was made so players could join other teams for the remainder of this season.” The Lightning has been in the league since 1994.



Mike Benton, the Everett Silvertips’ director of broadcasting/public relations, is leaving the team. Benton was preparing for his seventh season as the Silvertips’ radio voice. . . . He is joining Seattle radio station 950 KJR where he will be the host of pregame, intermission and postgame shows on broadcasts involving the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.


Lifeboats


WR Antonio Brown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, Tampa Bay placed LB Kevin Minter, a special teams captain, on the list. Both players are fully vaccinated, so would need two negative tests at least 24 hours apart prior to Sunday in order to play against the host Los Angeles Rams. . . . LB Keanu Neal of the Dallas Cowboys is on the COVID list and his status for Monday’s game against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles is up in the air. . . . The Minnesota Vikings have placed CB Harrison Hand on the COVID list. They are at home to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.


The 2022 Memorial Cup has been awarded to Saint John, N.B., so the QMJHL’s CHLSea Dogs will be the host team. The CHL made the announcement on Wednesday, with the tournament to run from June 3-12. One other team — the Quebec Remparts — had been in the running. . . . The Sea Dogs are in their 16th season in the QMJHL; this is the first time they will play host to the tournament. . . . Because of the pandemic, the four-team tournament hasn’t been held since 2019. It was to have been held in Kelowna in 2020 and in an OHL city — either Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie — in 2021. Because of the uncertainty, the OHL never got around to selecting a host city for 2021.


MaskSign


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.


Takeout

Blue Jackets’ prexy: We want our people vaccinated . . . Report: Kraken players all vaccinated . . . U.S. keeping border closed for at least another month

When the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets revealed their training camp roster on JacketsTuesday, F Zac Rinaldo’s name was nowhere to be found even though they had signed him as a free agent to a two-way contract last month — US$750,000 in the NHL, $275,000 in the AHL. . . . John Davidson, the Blue Jackets’ president of hockey operations, explained that Rinaldo “is not vaccinated and because of that — and that’s his decision — the plan is to start him in the American Hockey League and he will not be coming to our training camp.” . . . And wouldn’t you love to know what the other players in the Cleveland Monsters’ camp think about that? . . . Rinaldo, 31, was pointless in five games with the Calgary Flames last season. . . . Davidson also said: “When you read the amount of players, the percentage that have been vaccinated, it’s a big, big number. There’s very few who aren’t, and that’s their own personal choice. I’m not going to sit here and tell them what to do, even though I’d like to see the whole world get vaccinated. My daughter’s a doctor. She believes in this, and I believe in her because she’s a whole lot smarter than I am. I’d like to see the whole world get vaccinated. We have a responsibility as the leaders of the organization. We want our people vaccinated. We want them wearing masks as much as possible.” . . . Earlier this month, the Blue Jackets dumped assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre after he chose not to get vaccinated. . . . It’s interesting, too, that the Blue Jackets’ training camp is presented by Ohio Health, which bills itself as “a family of not-for-profit, faith-based hospitals & healthcare organizations.” . . .

Aaron Portzline of The Athletic later tweeted: “Told the NHL Players’ Association is reviewing the #CBJ decision to ban forward Zac Rinaldo from attending #NHL training camp because he’s not vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.”

——

CBC News — “COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have climbed to an average of more than 1,900 a day for the first time since early March, with experts saying the virus is preying largely on a distinct group: 71 million unvaccinated Americans.”

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Meanwhile, Lou Lamoriello, the president of hockey operations and general manager of the New York Islanders, told reporters on Tuesday that everyone in that organization is vaccinated, with the exception of one player. “That is his voluntary decision not to be vaccinated,” said Lamoriello, who didn’t identify the player. Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press tweeted that the Islanders are “looking to assign him to Europe. (He) won’t be invited to camp.”



Taco


Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times wrote Tuesday that he has been told that 100 Krakenper cent of the Seattle Kraken’s players are fully vaccinated “even though general manager Ron Francis said he wasn’t authorized to comment.” . . . In an interesting piece, Baker writes: “Given our city’s dark history with pandemics and hockey, it’s a relief to see Kraken players aren’t testing the resolve of both the team and most of the local community. With the 1919 Stanley Cup final in Seattle still the lone major sports championship ever canceled by a pandemic that also killed some players and maybe coaches as well, it’s good to see the league and Players’ Association getting tough about vaccine compliance.” . . . Baker’s piece, which is well worth a read, is right here.


Weight


Officials with a pair of American junior hockey teams said late last month that they had players who chose not to get vaccinated. In a Spokane Spokesman-Review story written by Dan Thompson and published on Aug. 26, Bob Tobiason, the owner of the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, and Bliss Littler, the general manager of the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild, both say they experienced that situation. . . . “Some of the kids, they were willing to get vaccinated,” Tobiason said, “but there were quite a few who weren’t gonna do it.” The Braves announced last month that they will sit out their second straight KIJHL season. . . . “Did we lose a player or two? Yeah, we did, a few kids who didn’t wanna get a shot,” Littler said. “But there’s a lot of kids who wanna play in the BCHL.” . . . The Wild sat out last season, but it’s full steam ahead right now, although it is scheduled to play its first eight regular-season games in B.C., as the league hopes for the U.S. to open its border in the near future. The Wild’s home-opener is scheduled for Nov. 12. . . . Thompson’s story is right here.



The U.S. government said Monday that it will keep its land border with Canada closed at least until Oct. 21. It has been closed since March 2020. . . . Interestingly, fully vaccinated Americans have been allowed entry to Canada since Aug. 9. . . . The WHL, of course, is watching this with great interest because the closure already has resulted in major schedule revisions. The league’s original plan for 2021-22 was to have teams playing within their conferences. But because the border is closed to southbound traffic, the WHL has adjusted its schedule for October and now has the 10 Western Conference teams playing only within their divisions.



Organizers of the Brian Steele Early Bird Tournament that is sanctioned by the Greater Toronto Hockey League and scheduled for Toronto, Oct. 25-31, have dropped three age groups — U-10, U-11 and U-12 — because players on those teams are too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Sean Fitz-Gerald of The Athletic reported Tuesday that organizers cited “rising infections, safety concerns and risks to the event itself by having unvaccinated children take part.” . . . Apparently, two teams had pulled out of the tournament because of what they felt was the risk presented by COVID-19. . . . Fitz-Gerald’s story is right here.



Remember when Colin Kaepernick was kneeling and other NFL players were following suit and a whole lot of people were whining about longer watching games on TV because of those actions? . . . Here are a few observations on the NFL’s Week 2 ratings from Sports Media Watch: “Mannings double their Week 1 audience. . . . CBS scores most-watched Sept. doubleheader since 2014. . . . FOX has most-watched Week 2 singleheader since 2016. . . . NBC has most-watched Week 2 SNF game since 2018.” . . . Whatever happened to those people who were done with watching the NFL?


Possum


The Central Plains Capitals have been granted a leave of absence for 2021-22 by the Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League. . . . “You can blame the pandemic and a declining number of eligible hockey players in the region for that,” wrote Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press. . . . Nancy Funk, the general manager of the team that plays out of Portage la Prairie, told Sawatzky: “It was an extremely difficult decision, obviously. “We’ve been talking about it for a few days pretty intensely but we were hoping that there would be some kind of heroes come in at the 11th hour and hopefully it would be able to round out the roster. But it just didn’t happen this year.”


Vivaldi


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.


Citation

Looking for WHL rosters? Look no further . . . Thompson no longer on Sharks’ staff . . . NHL lays out restrictions for unvaccinated players

Unvaxxed


If you’re looking for WHL rosters, I would suggest that you check out the work of Alan Caldwell. He has the latest rosters right here, and you should know that they include a whole lot more than name and position. . . . And if you aren’t following him on Twitter, he’s at @smallatlarge.


The OHL, under commissioner David Branch, has issued an indefinite OHLsuspension to D Logan Mailloux of the London Knights. Yes, that’s the same Logan Mailloux who was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . Branch’s reasoning behind the suspension was that Mailloux “violated the league’s expectation of appropriate conduct for an OHL player.” . . . He will be eligible to apply for reinstatement on Jan. 1 “based in part on his conduct since his return to Canada and the appropriate treatment, counselling, mentoring and/or education he receives from the date of this decision.”. . . Ken Campbell has more at his site right here.



The Prince Albert Raiders announced on Wednesday that Bruno Zarrillo is the club’s new director of player personnel, replacing Curt Brownlee “effective immediately.” . . . Brownlee had been with the Raiders since 2011, first as a scout and then as director of player personnel for the past two-plus seasons. . . . Zarillo has been scouting for the Raiders since 2011-12. . . . The last sentence of the Raiders’ news release stated: “No further comments will be made at this time.”


NoVax


You will recall that the Edmonton Elks weren’t able to play an Aug. 26 game after having 13 positive tests. That game, in Toronto against the Argonauts, now will be played on Nov. 16. . . . The Elks now will play their final three regular-season games in seven days, meeting the host Saskatchewan Roughriders on Nov. 13, playing in Toronto on Nov. 16, and facing the B.C. Lions in Vancouver on Nov. 19. . . . The Elks, Argos and Lions will be allowed to each add five players to their game rosters for those dates.


Rocky Thompson no longer is part of the San Jose Sharks’ coaching staff. The Covidformer WHL player and coach had been the NHL team’s associate coach. . . . “Due to a medical exemption that prevents me from taking the COVID-19 vaccine, under the new league protocols, I am not permitted to fulfill my duties on the Sharks coaching staff at this time,” Thompson said in a news release.”I will have no further comment on this matter.” . . . As a player, Thompson split three seasons (1994-97) between the Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos. He later was an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings for three seasons (2007-10). . . .

Meanwhile, in MLB, Bob Boone, a vice-president with the Washington Nationals, has quit rather than comply with the organization’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Boone, 73, is a former catcher, and is the father of New York Yankees manager Aaron and Bret, who also play in the majors. Bob had been with the Nationals since 2005. The Nationals told employees on Aug. 14 that they have until Sept. 15 to be fully vaccinated or face losing their jobs unless there is a medical exemption involved.


Demons


The NHL is going to make life a lot tougher on unvaccinated players than those nhl2who have been vaccinated once the approaching season gets started. . . . Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported: “On the road, unvaccinated players will not be able to go anywhere except for the team hotel, practice facility and arena, according to a 27-page document outlining the protocols, which was obtained by ESPN. At the team hotel, unvaccinated players can’t use the bar, restaurant, gym or pool and cannot have teammates or visitors in their rooms. . . . Unvaccinated players are prohibited from carpooling or using saunas. They are encouraged not to eat and drink on flights, attend bars or clubs or eat indoors — even at home — with people outside their households or personal bubbles.” . . . Kaplan has more, a whole lot more, right here.

——

In the meantime, two NFL teams — the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — are 100 per cent vaccinated. That’s all players and staff. . . . The NFL’s regular season is scheduled to get rolling on Thursday with the Buccaneers, the defending Super Bowl champions, entertaining the Dallas Cowboys, who were 0-4 in the preseason, if that means anything.



The Oakland A’s have closed their minor-league complex in Mesa, Ariz., at least through Sunday because of COVID-19 issues. . . . “Following a number of positive COVID-19 tests by members of the Oakland A’s organization at the Lew Wolff Training Complex, the Club will close the Mesa complex through Sunday,” a news release from the A’s reads.“We are following Major League Baseball’s recommendations for testing and protocols to ensure the health and safety of our players and staff.”


Marines


Boxer Oscar De La Hoya is in a Los Angeles hospital after having tested positive for COVID-19. De La Hoya, who said he is fully vaccinated, was quoted as saying: “I feel bad, bad, bad, bad. I have Covid, my chest doesn’t — I can’t breathe well.” . . . The 48-year-old was to have returned to the ring on Sept. 11 in Los Angeles against Vitor Belfort, a former UFC champion. That fight isn’t going to happen now. . . . De La Hoya last fought in 2008 when he lost to Manny Pacquiao.


Matt Hagan, the NHRA points leader in Funny Car and the defending champion, won’t be able to compete in the U.S. Nationals after testing positive. The Nationals are being held this weekend in Indianapolis.


Musketeers


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: General manager Steve Yzerman has made some changes to the Detroit Red Wings’ scouting staff. Two men who know their way around the WHL — Bruce Haralson and Marty Stein — are gone, while Greg Hawgood has been added. Haralson had been with the Red Wings since 1996, first as an amateur scout and then, for the past 12 seasons, as a pro scout. Before joining Detroit, he split 10 seasons between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers. Stein had been an amateur scout since 1996. Hawgood, a former Kamloops Blazers defenceman who was the team’s head coach for part of one season, was a scout with the Chicago Blackhawks for the past three seasons. . . . Think about his for a minute or two — in his last three seasons with Kamloops, Hawgood put up 119, 123 and 133 points. . . .

The Regina Pats have added Ken Schneider to their staff as an assistant coach. Schneider spent the past three seasons scouting for the Pats. He is a former WHLer (Brandon, 1980-82). He has coached at various levels and was behind the bench with the Ile-des-Chenes, Man., North Stars when they won the Allan Cup as Canada’s national senior champions.


Coffee

Smoke too much for Lions . . . Twins hit seven homers and lose . . . KHL’s 2021-22 season has started

Having lived just east of Kamloops — in Campbell Creek — since the spring of 2000, we have lived through smoky skies in past years. But we haven’t lived through anything like we are seeing these days, and there isn’t an end in sight.

How bad is it?

Where we live, visibility has been down to about one km for two or three days now. We have air-conditioning, thankfully, but it brings some smoke into the house, and our air-purifier has been working overtime. It signals air quality with a light that is blue (for clean), purple or red. We are seeing red rather frequently these days.

One map I saw on Tuesday showed eight fires burning within 20 or 30 km of Kamloops. The one that is sending so much of this smoke in the direction of Campbell Creek is the White Rock Lake fire, which is burning to the south of here. As of Wednesday evening, it was believed to be somewhere around 20,000 hectares in size (that’s 49,422 acres). It has shown extreme behaviour, preventing firefighters from really getting at it, and heavy smoke has prevented accurate mapping and a sustained air attack. As well, the plus-30 C temperatures and winds aren’t helping.

Meanwhile, the CFL’s B.C. Lions have been training in Kamloops, but they cut their stay short and headed for Surrey on Wednesday.

Here’s J.J. Adams in the Vancouver Province:

“The CFL team has cut short its training camp in Kamloops after cancelling practice for the second straight day because of air quality concerns. There are four separate large fires burning near the Interior city, blanketing the area with a layer of smoke that’s made it impossible to practise.”

The Lions open the season against the host Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 6. The Roughriders are welcoming all fans, including the unvaccinated, to that game.


A couple of headlines, both from Wednesday:

CBC News — COVID-19 spreading faster in Alberta than during peak of 3rd wave.

CBC News — Alberta to remove most COVID-19 isolation, testing requirements by mid-August.



QB Lamar Jackson of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday before the team’s first practice session of training camp. . . . From Jason La Confora of CBS Sports: “Jackson . . . has declined to offer his vaccination status in the past, but (head coach John) Harbaugh indicated he has taken multiple tests in the past week — many of them negative — which, given the NFL’s testing protocols, is indicative of a player who has not been vaccinated. Those players, when testing positive, are precluded from practicing for 10 days, which takes Baltimore up to the week of its first preseason game, Aug. 14 against New Orleans.” . . . Jackson also missed time last season after a positive test. At that time, he struggled with some of the symptoms.


Taco


ICYMI, Geoff Molson, the Montreal Canadiens’ owner, president and CEO, threw some gasoline on the blaze that was started when his team made F Logan Mailloux its first-round selection in the NHL draft on Friday.

Molson released an open letter that was posted on the team’s website, then held Canadiensa Zoom call for invited media members. Interestingly, the English-speaking Montreal Gazette was among those outlets not invited to participate.

“I understand that you expect more from us and we let you down,” Molson wrote. “The Montreal Canadiens are more than a hockey team. Logan’s actions do not reflect the values of our organization and I apologize for the pain this selection has caused.”

Except that the Canadiens made this kid their first-round selection after he tried to withdraw his name from the draft after being charged with invasion of privacy and defamation in a sex-related case in Sweden and paying a fine of about $1,700.

Molson chose to make his statement and hold the Zoom call as NHL teams were handing out bushels of cash to free-agent players. You don’t suppose that the Canadiens picked Wednesday afternoon knowing (hoping?) that their effort would got lost in all the transactions, do you? You know, like governments so often dump the bad news on us late on Friday afternoons?

Anyway . . . Molson needs to realize that despite what he says publicly this is what the Canadiens now stand for, and this does reflect the values of his organization.

Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered says that it’s time for the Canadiens to stop with the lip service and for them to renounce the pick. That piece is right here.


Fishing


The Minnesota Twins are having an abysmal season. How abysmal, you ask? . . . On Wednesday, the Twins entertained the Detroit Tigers. The Twins hit seven home runs; the Tigers didn’t hit any. . . . The Twins lost, 17-14. . . . That is the first time in MLB history that one team has outhomered the other team by seven and lost. . . . LHP J.A. Happ started for the Twins. He didn’t give up any homers — he has allowed 21 in 98 innings — but was touched for nine earned runs on 10 hits and four walks in three innings. The Twins are paying him $8 million on a one-year contract. . . . Each of the Detroit players who went to the plate in Wednesday’s game had at least one hit, one run and one RBI. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that’s the first time that has happened since the then-California Angels did it on Sept. 14, 1978.


No one brightened up a scouts/media room at a WHL game more than Charlie Hodge. . . . And, oh boy, did he love Nanaimo bars. . . . Oh, he also could tell a story or two. . . . Yes, we miss him.


You will recall that the Washington Senators pulled SS Trea Turner during the first inning of a Tuesday night game with the Phillies in Philadelphia because of a positive test. Well, Wednesday’s game didn’t even get to the first inning. It was postponed with the Nationals now having at least 12 positive tests, four of them players. . . . The majority reportedly were fully vaccinated, with a number of them having been given the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. . . . They will try to get in a doubleheader today (Thursday). Presumably, the Nationals will be bringing in a few players.


Don’t look now but the 2021-22 hockey season hit the ice on Wednesday; at KHLleast it did in the KHL where Admiral Vladivostok scored a 4-3 shootout victory over Dinamo Minsk in an exhibition game. . . . It was return to the KHL for the winners, who sat out last season after, as Andy Potts wrote at en.khl,ru, “local authorities diverted funds away from the sport to help fight the pandemic.” . . . D Sergei Sapego, who played two seasons in the WHL, made his debut with Dinamo Minsk. Sapego started his WHL stint with three games with the Tri-City Americans to start the 2017-18 season. He finished that season by playing 41 games with the Prince Albert Raiders, whom he helped to a WHL title in the spring of 2019.


The Guardian — ‘Disinfo kills’: protesters demand Facebook act to stop vaccine falsehoods.

The Washington Post — Analysis: People are more anti-vaccine if they get their covid news from Facebook than from Fox News, data shows.


The NCAA has granted eligibility to F Austen Swankler, who had 18 goals and 27 assists in 59 games with the OHL’s Erie Otters in 2019-20, and has committed to the Bowling Green U Falcons. With the OHL not playing in 2020-21 because of the pandemic, Swankler sat out. . . . Swankler, from North Huntington, Penn., will turn 20 on Aug. 21. . . . USCHO.com reported that “according to a CCHA news release, Swankler and his family applied directly to the NCAA for eligibility prior to expressing interest to the Falcons.”


Lawsuit


The Victoria Royals have signed Austria G Sebastian Wraneschitz to a WHL Royalscontract. The Royals selected his rights in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Wraneschitz, 19, played for the Vienna Capitals in the ICE Hockey League in 2020-21. In the pro league, he was 5-7-0, 3.18, .886 in 12 games. He also played for Austria at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, going 0-3-0, 7.45, .892 in three appearances. . . . The Royals had one import — Swiss F Keanu Derungs — on the roster that finished the 2021 development season. . . . They also have one goaltender who is eligible to return remaining on that roster — Connor Martin, who will turn 19 on Dec. 17.



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: Ashley Chase is the new director of operations and play-by-play voice of the NAHL’s St. Cloud Norsemen. From the team’s news release: “Chase becomes the first female team play-by-play broadcaster across junior hockey in the United States, including the North American Hockey League (NAHL).”


Call

Scattershooting on a Sunday evening as the smoke rolls in like the tide . . .

Scattershooting2

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John Schultz of the San Francisco Chronicle, in a Saturday morning piece: “COVID-19 has claimed its first Olympic competition: Czech beach volleyball player Marketa Slukova tested positive this week, forcing a cancellation of her match with teammate Barbora Hermannova against Japan’s Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishiibeing, The Associated Press reports. The Japanese were awarded a victory by default in what would have been the tournament’s opening match. Olympics-related COVID cases in Japan has reached 127, including 14 athletes.”

By Sunday, that number had reached 137. . . . There’s more on all of that right here, including a list of athletes who have tested positive.

Meanwhile, Bryson DeChambeau was knocked out of the Games on Saturday by a positive test before he left for Tokyo. Patrick Reed, who finished play in the PGA’s 3M Open, will replace him on the American team. The Olympic golf tournament is scheduled to begin on Thursday.

The field for that even may be set at 59 because Spain’s Jon Rahm may not be replaced after he, too, tested positive.

You will recall that Rahm, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive on June 5 while holding a six-stroke lead after three rounds in the Memorial Tournament. This time, he tested positive in the final round of tests prior to leaving for Tokyo.


Fire


On Saturday evening, I had flashbacks to December 1985 when the WHL’s KrakenRegina Pats came oh, so close to relocating to Swift Current over the Christmas break. It all began in May when the Regina Leader-Post reported that “Regina Pats fans are going to have to dip into their pockets for an extra dollar to cover parking charges announced by the Pats’ landlord, the Regina Exhibition Association.” . . . You may recall that it ultimately led to Herb Pinder Jr. and his family selling the Pats to a group of Regina businessmen. . . . Anyway, the reason for the flashback was this tweet from the Seattle Times: “The Seattle City Council will consider a proposal Monday to raise on-street parking fees in Uptown during large events at Climate Pledge Arena.” . . . That, of course, will be the home arena for the NHL’s newest franchise, the Seattle Kraken.

Michelle Baruchman of the Times reported:

“Under a proposal before the City Council on Monday, drivers would pay $3 per hour for their first two hours of street parking and $8 per hour for the second two hours during events that attract 10,000 or more guests.

“That means Uptown visitors parking near the arena who spend four hours shopping, eating and watching the Kraken play would pay $22 to park. On-street parking would be limited to four hours during the day and evening hours.”



I have never been a Montreal Canadiens’ fan — it was always Gordie Howe and the Detroit Red Wings for me — but I must admit to having had a tear in my eye on Friday night when the Montreal Canadiens revealed the name of their first-round selection in the NHL draft. There was a time when they set the bar for everyone else. But I guess it’s fair to say they no longer hold the torch as high as they once did.

——

Here’s veteran hockey writer Ken Campbell on the Montreal Canadiens and that first-round pick:

“When Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin faced his questioners Friday night after choosing defenseman Logan Mailloux in the first round of the NHL draft, he provided the following answer in French: ‘On the hockey side, he was the best pick.’

“And that, ladies and gentlemen, tells you everything you need to know about the toxic culture that surrounds this great game. You do have to hand it to “hockey people”, however. No matter how much they embarrass themselves, they simply don’t seem to care what people outside their tight little circle think about their attitudes and actions.”

Campbell’s complete piece is right here, and if you haven’t already you should consider subscribing to Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell.

——

Colin Priestner, the president and general manager of the WHL’s Saskatoon BladesBlades, apparently was watching the draft, and he chose to hit Twitter three times with his opinion of what transpired with the Montreal Canadiens and their first pick. Priestner hitting social media with his red-hot reaction really was something when you consider that WHL and team officials rarely offer anything resembling hard-hitting commentary, or anything that might stir the pot, on anything these days. . . . BTW, he wasn’t wrong.


Beer


It is quite evident that the NFL isn’t going to show any patience with unvaccinated team personnel who don’t follow the restrictions that are being placed on them.

According to ESPN, Bruce Arians, the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told his players that an unvaccinated player will be fined “$14,000 on the spot every time he isn’t wearing a mask or is breaking a protocol.”

Arians later told ESPN in a text: “NFL policy. League rules.”

It turns out that the fine actually is $14,650.

Things could get interesting with the Bucs, too, because RB Leonard Fournette tweeted on Thursday: “Vaccine I can’t do it.”

They opened training camp on Sunday.

——

The NFL lost a pair of offensive line coaches on Friday and both appear to have departed over a refusal to be vaccinated. Rick Dennison chose not to be vaccinated so no longer is an offensive line coach/run game co-ordinator with the Minnesota Vikings, while Cole Popovich isn’t with the New England Patriots. He was their co-offensive line coach. . . . Under NFL rules, all coaches must be vaccinated in order to have any direct interactions with players, including on the field and in meeting rooms.

——

If you are wondering why the NFL is going to such disciplinary lengths to try and protect its product from COVID-19 consider this: Each team will be paid $309 million for its share of television revenue; the NFL’s salary cap this season is $198 million.


Ear


If all goes according to plan — in other words, if COVID-19 doesn’t rear its ugly head in a big way again — WHL teams will open their training camps on or about Sept. 8. That is six weeks from Wednesday. So . . . if the WHL is going to a mandatory vaccine protocol as is the OHL, anyone who hasn’t yet been fully vaccinated is running out of time.


Steve Sparks, an analyst on the Houston Astros’ radio crew, won’t be on an eight-game road swing that opens today (Monday) against the Seattle Mariners. Yes, he tested positive on Sunday.


Here’s Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot: “For this season, unlike last, if a college football team can’t post for a game because of a COVID outbreak in its locker room, it should lose by forfeit. There are no excuses anymore.”

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, added: “I could not agree more. And I do not care if one of the elite teams has to be the one to forfeit a game and ruins its chances for the CFP.”



Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “I guess we’re past the point where couples counselling is going to help with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.”


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Peter Repcik, 17, to a WHL contract. The Slovakian was selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. Repcik had nine goals and 15 assists in 27 games with Team Slovakia’s U-18 side. He also had two assists in three games with the U-20 team.


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.


Motel

Thunderbirds sign two imports . . . Broncos acquire defenceman . . . Wheat Kings lose assistant to OHL



If you were watching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final on Monday night, you may have seen intermission host Ron MacLean’s interview with Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner. And you may be aware that MacLean didn’t ask Bettman about the sexual assault investigation in which the Chicago Blackhawks have found themselves. . . . MacLean took a fair amount of heat, albeit on social media, for not asking. On Tuesday, Ken Campbell got MacLean’s side of the story and wrote about it right here. This, folks, is why I am a subscriber to Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell. Check it out.


Aliens


The WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Alessandro Segafredo and D SeattleLeon Okonkwo Prada, their two selections in the CHL’s 2021 import draft on June 30. . . . From Italy, Segafredo, who won’t turn 17 until Sept. 15, played in Switzerland last season. He had a team-high 52 points, including 25 goals, in 26 games with the ZSC Lions U17 team in 2020-21. He also had a goal and an assist in one game with ZSC’s U20 team, and 10 goals and an assist with the GCK Lions U20 side. . . . Okonkwo Prada, who turns 18 today (Wednesday), was born in Colchester, Great Britain. He played in Sweden in 2020-21, putting up a goal and six assists in eight games with Rögle BK’s U18 team. . . . Each WHL team is allowed to use two import players. Seattle also holds the rights to F Vladimir Alistrov, a 20-year-old from Belarus, having acquired them from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Jan. 25 for D Simon Kubicek, who is from Czech Republic. . . . Alistrov, who had 19 goals and 16 assists in 57 games with the Oil Kings in 2019-20, spent this season in the KHL with Dinamo Minsk. He had a goal and three assists in 38 games, then signed a one-year contract extension on April 30. . . . The Oil Kings announced last week that Kubicek, who will turn 20 on Dec. 19, is committed to play for them in 2021-22.


The 2022 Memorial Cup championship will be decided in Quebec City or Saint CHLJohn, N.B. The QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts and Saint John Sea Dogs both are putting together bids in the hopes of earning hosting rights. Bids are to be in to the CHL by Aug. 23, with a winner to be announced the week of Sept. 6. . . . The Remparts have played host to the four-team tournament in 2003 and 2015; Saint John never has been the host city. . . . The 2022 tournament is scheduled for June 3-12. . . . Due to the pandemic, the Memorial Cup tournament hasn’t been held since 2019. The 2020 tournament was to have been held in Kelowna, with the 2021 tournament in Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie. Both events were cancelled due to the pandemic.


Icecream


MLB and team owners must be wallowing in poverty, because now they’re altering some of the most glorious uniforms in all of sports in what is an obvious attempt to sell, sell, sell. . . . That includes the uniforms of the San Francisco Giants, which look the way the best ones are supposed to look — neat and clean. . . . Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a column that was sharply critical of MLB. He ended that column like this:

“I hope one of our sharp Chronicle editors kills this column before it goes into print, realizing that the unveiling of those new Giants’ uniforms was a fake news flash from the Onion, or a late April Fool’s joke.

“But if it is for real, the Giants will wear those uniforms all weekend, and every Tuesday home game the rest of the season. Willie Mays must be spinning in his hammock.”


This reminds me of a story involving Dunc McCallum, then the coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Jake Milford, who was then the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, and centre Bill Derlago. . . . The Canucks had selected Derlago, who had piled up 437 points in 209 regular-season games with the Wheat Kings, with the fourth pick of the NHL’s 1978 draft. . . . When the Canucks arrived for training camp, players had to do some running, after which Milford, a one-time Wheat Kings’ GM/head coach, called McCallum to express his disappointment in Derlago, who, he said, had huge calves and couldn’t run at all well. . . . To which McCallum replied: “Jake, are you putting together a hockey team or a track team?”


Bike


The Swift Current Broncos acquired D Rylan Thiessen, 20, from the Brandon ScurrentWheat Kings on Monday, giving up a conditional ninth-round pick in the WHL draft. Thiessen, who is from Brandon, had three goals in 25 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who had signed him as an undrafted free agent. He later was dealt to the Wheat Kings, for whom he had one goal and nine assists in 31 games over two seasons. . . . Other 2001-born players on the Broncos’ roster that finished the 2020-21 season: D Cayde Augustine, F Aiden Bulych, F Eric Houk, D Alex Moar, F Cole Nagy and G Isaac Poulter. . . . The Wheat Kings still have four 2001-born defencemen on the roster that completed the 2020-21 season: Braden Schneider, who has signed with the New York Rangers, Jonny Lambos, Chad Nychuk and Neithan Salame, as well as forwards Marcus Kallionkieli, who is from Finland, and Ben McCartney.



Another reminder that the pandemic continues to live with us. . . . The Australian Grand Prix, that had been scheduled for Nov. 18-21 near Melbourne, has been cancelled. According to a news release from the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, it was cancelled “due to restrictions and logistical challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”


The NBA final began on Tuesday night with the host Phoenix Suns beating the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-105. . . . Perhaps the most interesting part of this final will involved the TV ratings. As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon points out: “The big TV markets are on the sidelines. Phoenix is the 11th largest TV market per Nielsen and Milwaukee is the 35th largest. . . . The number of ‘TV homes’ in these two markets combined is about half the number in Los Angeles (No. 2 in market size) and about 40 per cent of the number in New York (No. 1 on the list).” . . . Game 2 is to be played on Thursday.


Carnival


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: The QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have signed head coach Bruce Richardson to a three-year extension. Richardson, 44, is preparing for his fourth season as the team’s head coach. . . . The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan have signed head coach Mario Durocher, 58, to a one-year contract. He also is readying for his fourth season as that team’s head coach. . . .

The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs have lost Paul McFarland, their general manager and head coach, to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. McFarland, 35, had been in Kingston for one season. He has signed on with the Kraken as an assistant coach. The Kraken also signed Jay Leach, 41, as an assistant under head coach Dave Hakstol. Leach had been the head coach of the AHL’s Providence Bruins for four seasons. . . . If you were wondering, the NHL expansion draft is scheduled for July 21. . . . The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs have signed Jay McKee, 43, as their head coach. McKee, a former NHL player, was the head coach of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers for two-plus seasons (2016-19). He was fired on Nov. 25, 2019. Hamilton also signed Andreas Karlsson, 45, and Andrew Campbell, 33, as assistant coaches. Karlsson, from Sweden, is a former NHL player, who spent three seasons (2017-18) as an assistant coach in Kitchener. Campbell, another former NHLer, played with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2018-19. . . .

The OHL’s Oshawa Generals have signed Todd Miller as their head coach. Miller spent 2020-21 as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. Miller, 43, was an assistant coach with the OHL’s Barrie Colts for 10 seasons before his one season with Brandon. The Generals had announced on June 17 that they were “parting ways” with head coach Greg Walters, who said the parties weren’t able to come to terms on a contract. He had been there for three years. The Generals also announced on Tuesday the signings of associate coaches Kurtis Foster and Dave Matsos, and assistant coach Mike Hedden. Foster, 39, was the Kingston Frontenacs’ head coach for two seasons (2018-20). Matsos, 47, has been an OHL coach since 2010, most recently having spent three seasons (2017-20) with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Hedden, 36, has ended his playing career after spending 2020-21 with the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush.


Mother

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering how much smoke awaits tomorrow . . .

Scattershooting2

By now you probably have heard about the USOC having suspended sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson over a positive test for marijuana. She has accepted the disciplinary action and has said that she was dealing with the death of her mother at the time. Of course, marijuana isn’t performance-enhancing, but it’s still on WADA’s banned list. Still, as Seth Rogen, who knows a thing or two about weed, put it: “If weed made you fast, I’d be FloJo.”


A note from Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe: “Wonder how many advertisers signed up expected an NBA final with the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets? Oops.”


Bear


For whatever reason, Ken Campbell no longer is writing for The Hockey News after what was a lengthy run. Now he’s a freelancer and has set up shop at Substack. . . . Campbell is a hockey writer. Period. He never has been beholden to anyone in the game and he writes like it. . . . If you check on his new site, you’ll find pieces like the one referred to in the above tweet. The NHL has made a new hire and, well, you have to read Campbell’s piece to believe it. . . . He also is providing almost-instant analysis as things happen in the hockey world. For example, it may have been Canada Day on Thursday, but that didn’t stop Campbell from writing about the Arizona Coyotes’ new head coach and a trade between the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators. That piece is right here. . . . It’s worth your while to check out Campbell’s new home.



Larry Brooks, in the New York Post: “ I read something the other day about how Ryan Nugent-Hopkins reupping with the Oilers on an eight-year deal for an average annual value of $5.125 million coincides with Edmonton’s Stanley Cup window remaining open, and I must confess, the joke went way over my head.”


Peas


Ferrisposter

Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Here’s a hearty toast to the WNBA, which recently announced a 99 percent vaccination rate among its players and no positive tests since the start of the season. If only that were the norm in a country tarnished by rockhead thinking. On the verge of playing for the College World Series championship (a run that included a 10-4 win over Stanford), North Carolina State was sent home due to positive tests and contact tracing protocols. It seems coach Elliott Avent just couldn’t be bothered, saying he didn’t want to ‘get political’ or ‘indoctrinate’ his players to get vaccinated. Talk about shocking ignorance of the big picture.”



Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News explains how it was that the Yankees got swept by the Red Sox in Boston last weekend: “The Yankees had a DH playing first, a second baseman who ought to be at first playing second, a second baseman playing short, a third baseman in left, a right fielder in center, and left fielder in right.”



——

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.


Marriage

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering about Prime Mooner Socks . . .

Scattershooting2

Hey, if you’re going to be in New York City on June 26, you may be interested in knowing that Springsteen on Broadway will be playing at the St. James Theater. It is scheduled to run through Sept. 4. Yes, you will need a ticket. You also will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. Enjoy!



So many people criticize athletes for providing stock answers in any kind of news conference situations. . . . Then, earlier this week, Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets offered comment on the four-game suspension he had received after a nasty hit in a playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens. . . . “I thought I was going to be tried to be shut down by Phillip Danault,” Scheifele said, referring to a Montreal forward. ”Instead, it was department of player safety that shut me down.” . . . For that, the social media mavens were all over him. Yes, it’s a hard world out there.


Jackson


By now you will be aware that the MLB spotlight has shifted from inept hitters who are incapable to going the other way against the shift to pitchers who are gooping up in order to increase their spin rates, which makes the ball to previously unseen things. Apparently, one of the products at least some of the pitchers are using is Spider Tack, which is what serious weightlifters use in order to make sure they have a solid grip on the bar.

Anyway, it turns out that there is another theory out there. Here’s slugger Pete Alonso of the New York Mets in conversation with media during the week: “The biggest concern is MLB manipulates the baseballs year in and year out depending on the free agency class. . . . Oh, no, that’s a fact. Yes, guys have talked about it. It’s not a coincidence. It definitely is something that they did.”

That brought this response from R.J. Anderson, who covers MLB for CBS Sports: “Whether or not one finds merit in Alonso’s conspiracy theory — and it’s reasonable to doubt that MLB is a competent enough organization from top to bottom to pull off such maneuvers — his willingness to publicize it, and to suggest other players hold the same belief, points to the distrust that exists within clubhouses toward commissioner Rob Manfred and the owners.”

And therein is the rub . . . the distrust between players and owners in MLB is off the charts.


Brazil, which has been something of a hotbed for COVID-19, is preparing to play host to Copa America, but first, well, a couple of teams have this problem. . . . Venezuela had eight players and three coaches test positive after arriving in Brazil, while three of Bolivia’s players and one coach also came up positive. . . . Venezuela, which also had two players test positive before departing for Brazil, responded by bring in 15 new players for its opening game today (Sunday) against Brazil. . . . The Bolivians are to play Monday against Paraguay. . . . The tournament will be played without spectators.


Autopsy


After 10 seasons in the KHL, former Kootenay Ice star Nigel Dawes has chosen to move to the DEL, having signed a two-year deal with Adler Mannheim. . . . Dawes, 36, played this season with Ak Bars Kazan, scoring 23 goals and adding 20 assists in 47 games. . . . Dawes, a Winnipeg native, left North America to play in the KHL with Barys Astana for the 2011-12 season. He spent seven seasons with the team in Kazakhstan and has a Kazakh passport. In fact, he has played internationally for Kazakhstan. . . . Dawes then played two seasons with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg before moving to Ak Bars Kazan. . . . According to Addler Mannheim’s news release, Dawes played in 608 KHL regular-season and playoff games, putting up 293 goals and 257 assists. He is No. 1 among non-Russian goal scorers and No. 2 overall. Dawes also is the fifth-leading point-getter in KHL history. . . . He played four seasons with the Ice in Cranbrook. . . . The New York Rangers selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2003 draft. In 212 NHL games, split among the Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens, he had 39 goals and 45 assists.


The legend lives on . . .


If/when the Okanagan Lakers get final approval, they will begin play in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League in time for the start of the 2021-22 season. . . . The Lakers, who will play out of UBC-Okanagan in Kelowna, announced Friday that Kevin Bathurst will be their first head coach. He has been with the Pursuit of Excellence midget varsity team since 2018. . . . The Lakers also announced that Gage Colpron has signed on to the “coaching and operations staff.” He played four seasons at this level, splitting time between the BCIHL’s VIU Mariners and ACAC’s Augustana Vikings.


——

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: The Victoria Royals and Medicine Hat Tigers cut a deal on Friday. The Victoria Royals added D Damon Agyeman (2002) and a ninth-round selection in the 2023 WHL prospects draft with the Tigers getting a conditional sixth-round pick in that same draft. . . . Agyeman, from Cochrane, Alta., has one goal and one assist in 21 games over three seasons with the Tigers.


Wok

Todd: No vaccine for what ails NHL . . . Bedard, Stankoven, Canada are big in Texas . . . WHL’s Americans opening sections for vaccinated fans

Donkey


When the NHL awoke on Thursday, it should have been awash in T.J. Oshie and Marc Andre Fleury, Anze Kopitar and David Backes.

Oshie, a forward with the Washington Capitals, scored three goals on nhl2Wednesday night. It was his first game back following the death of his father, Tim, at 52, from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Fleury and his Vegas Golden Knights won another game on Wednesday night. This one was Fleury’s 490 regular-season victory, moving him into third place on the career list.

Kopitar, the captain of the Los Angeles Kings, earned his 1,000th regular-season point on Wednesday night.

Yes, there was lots for the NHL to celebrate.

But, by Thursday morning, none of those things mattered unless you were related to one of those three players.

Instead, any NHL-centred conversation was all about the shenanigans that had taken place at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. And then the NHL threw more gasoline on the conversation by announcing that it had fined the New York Rangers $250,000 for going public with its disgust over the league’s decision not to hit Washington F Tom Wilson with anything more than a $5,000 fine for his actions in a Monday night game.

And then, not long after announcing it had fined the Rangers, the league, as if to try and prove that this all really was part of a Saturday Night Live skit, announced it has cut a sponsorship deal with Clorox, which now is the “official cleaning and disinfecting product partner of the NHL.”

You just can’t make this stuff up. You just can’t.

——

Jack Todd, a regular contributor to the Montreal Gazette, sat down at his keyboard on Thursday morning and wrote this piece right here that kind of explains the NHL in about 1,200 words.

As Todd wrote, “The NHL is a sick league and for this sickness, there is no vaccine in sight.”

——

——


Team Canada won the gold medal at the IIHF U18 World championship in CanadaFrisco, Texas, on Thursday, beating Russia, 5-3, in the final. . . . Canada last won this tournament in 2013 in Sochi, Russia. . . . Sweden won the bronze medal, whipping Finland, 8-0, earlier in the day. . . . Canada got two goals F Shane Wright, its captain, F Brennan Othmann, F Logan Stankoven and F Connor Berard. . . . Stankoven, who plays for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, gave Canada a 4-2 lead at 16:39 of the second period and that goal stood as the winner. . . . Stankoven finished with four goals and four assists in seven games. . . . Russian F Matvei Michkov was named the tournament MVP. He scored his tournament-leading 12th goal in the final. He also led the tournament with 16 points. . . . F Shane Wright, Team Canada’s captain, and Bedard tied for second, with 14 points. Wright, who played five of his team’s seven games, had a team-high nine goals. . . . Bedard had a goal and an assist, to finish the tournament with seven goals and seven assists in seven games. He tied the tournament record for most points (14) by a 15-year-old and now shares it with F Connor McDavid, who did it in Sochi in 2013.


Teleport


The Tri-City Americans didn’t play on Thursday night, but they’ll will be in Americansaction at home tonight against the Seattle Thunderbirds, and they will have five sections open to fans who have been vaccinated. . . . Fans will have to show proof of vaccination. . . . From a news release: “There will not be refunds or exchanges if you cannot show proof of vaccination. A face-covering must be worn at all times except while actively eating or drinking. Children ages 2-15 may sit in the vaccinated section, but only with proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72-hours of the game.” . . . Meanwhile, there were two WHL games last night . . .

G Sebastian Cossa stopped 29 shots as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the host TigersMedicine Hat Tigers, 3-0. . . . Edmonton finished its season at 20-2-1 with its second straight win, while the Tigers wound up at 14-8-1. . . . This was the final game of the schedule involving the five Alberta teams. . . . Cossa, who is eligible for the NHL’s 2021 draft, put up four shutouts in 19 appearances. Last season, as a freshman, he had four shutouts in 33 games. This season, he finished 17-1-1, 1.57, .941. . . . F Scott Atkinson, the Oil Kings’ captain who was playing his final WHL game, opened the scoring with his sixth goal at 10:26 of the first period. . . . F Logan Dowhaniuk (5) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 16:32 of the second. . . . F Kaid Oliver (11) got the empty-netter. . . . F Ethan Cap, also playing his final WHL game, drew two assists. . . . The Tigers got 25 stops from G Garin Bjorklund. . . .

In Kelowna, the Kamloops Blazers got two goals from each of F Orrin Centazzo Kamloopsand F Matthew Seminoff as they beat the Victoria Royals, 5-1. . . . The Blazers, who have won three in a row, now are 15-4-0. They went 6-0-0 against Victoria in this developmental season. . . . The Royals (2-15-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Centazzo, who has five goals, opened the scoring at 4:00 of the first period and made it 2-0, on a PP, at 1:26 of the second. . . . Seminoff made it 3-0 at 6:01 and F Caedan Bankier (9) upped the lead to 4-0 at 7:22. . . . F Tarun Fizer (6) got Victoria’s goal 12 seconds into the third period. . . . Seminoff finished the scoring with his 10th goal at 12:12. . . . F Josh Pillar helped out with three assists. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 28 shots for Kamloops. He is 13-3-0, 2.36, .915.


Media coverage of the WHL has taken a hit with the news that Greg Harder, the Regina Leader-Post’s man on the Pats beat for more than 20 years, has left sports. Harder, who absolutely owned the Pats/WHL beat in that city, now is the newspaper’s arts and features editor. . . . Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post has more on Harder right here. . . . Vanstone’s piece doesn’t mention whether Harder will be replaced in the sports department, but recent history would indicate that won’t happen. The Leader-Post sports department that once was home to 10 or 12 writers and copy editors now is down to two.


Yes, today is May 7. And, yes, Green Shirt Day was on April 7. . . . But what’s to keep us from promoting organ donation on the seventh day of every month, saving the really big annual push for April 7? . . . If you have even had a glimmer of thought about registering for organ donation, do the research and ask some questions. . . . And if you have thought about being a living kidney donor, again, please do the research and ask the questions. Be sure to investigate the Living Kidney Donor Program. You will learn, for example, about how you are able to be a living donor without being a blood-type match for any one person in particular. Yes, you can look it up!

And, hey, happy Green Shirt Day for May.

——

Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Lie

Rockets dinged by positive test . . . Brandon to get hockey academy, rink . . . P.A. moves closer to three new arenas

Someone within the Kelowna Rockets organization has tested positive for RocketsCOVID-19, with one other individual identified as a close contact. The WHL announced Thursday that “the positive test result was discovered during the initial return-to-play testing phase.” . . . That means that person will self-isolate, as will the person who was found to be a close contact. . . . The Rockets hadn’t yet moved into team activities, so at this point their schedule won’t feel any impact from these positive tests. . . . The Rockets and Victoria Royals are headquartered in Kelowna as the five B.C. Division teams prepare for a return to play. The Rockets’ players are with billets, while the Royals are staying in a hotel owned by the GSL Group, which also owns the WHL team. . . . The Royals and Rockets are scheduled to meet in Kelowna on March 26 in the division’s first game of the developmental season. At this point, the Rockets’ schedule hasn’t needed to be changed. . . .

The three other B.C. teams — the Kamloops Blazers, Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants — are centred in Kamloops. The Blazers are with billets; the Cougars and Giants are in a hotel owned by Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner who also owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . The Blazers, Cougars and Giants have been cleared to begin skating and, in fact, were on the ice for the first time in Kamloops last night. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted Thursday that Giants F Cole Shepard has an undisclosed injury and that GM Barclay Parneta has said Shepard, 19, isn’t likely to play in this 24-game set. Shepard has 11 goals and 18 assists in 2019-20 after having hip surgery in May 2019. That was his first season with Vancouver after playing with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees.


Ladder


F Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks was tied for the AHL scoring lead with 11 points in nine games when he had to leave the Chicago Wolves, who are affiliated with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

F Connor Zary of the Kamloops Blazers had seven points in nine games with the AHL’s Stockton Heat, an affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, when he had to leave, too.

Obviously, both were doing just fine in their first tastes of pro hockey. But under the terms of the NHL-CHL agreement (aka the pro-junior agreement) Jarvis and Zary had to return to their WHL clubs. Drafted players under the age of 20 have two options — play in the NHL or return to major junior.

However, there could be interesting times ahead for that agreement, which expired after the 2019-20 season, but was extended for a year because of the pandemic.

There long has been a feeling among NHL executives and scouts that exceptional 18- and 19-year-old players should be allowed to play in the AHL once they are seen as having nothing left to prove in major junior. At the same time, major junior operators don’t want anything to do with such exceptions because they don’t want to prematurely lose their best players.

This is going to be worth watching over the next while.

Frank Seravalli has a whole lot more on this situation right here.


Drivers


Jared Jacobson isn’t about to let the ice melt under his feet. The new owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings — he purchased the WHL team from Kelly McCrimmon in September — is building a new ice surface in Brandon and also will open a hockey academy in the city. . . . Jacobson is CEO and president of the Jacobson and Greiner Group of Companies. . . . Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun reports that the new facility that will be home to the Western Canadian Hockey Academy “will include a National Hockey League-sized ice surface, three shooting bays on ice, a performance centre, middle-years classroom, six-lane 100-metre track and on-ice video training.” . . . Jacobson is hopeful that this will do something to keep younger hockey players at home longer. As he told Bergson: “For me it’s about developing players and keeping people in the centres they grew up in. Time flies by for families, and I just look at when kids are 12, 13, 14, it’s tough to leave home . . . I just wanted to look at a hybrid model to help the mid-market centres keep kids if they want to have another choice in their years of hockey to stay local and develop. I think it’s just a great fit, and it’s been well received by Hockey Brandon. I’m so happy for that because we wanted to create an opportunity, not a conflict.” . . . Players who attend WCHA will play for their minor hockey teams. The academy will ice teams — the Wolves — in the spring. . . . Bergson’s complete story is right here.


Hey, who knew that Saskatchewan was a province of such riches?

No sooner had I wondered here yesterday whether Regina or Saskatoon would be the first city with a new arena than I received a note informing me that “you forgot the third entry in the race: PA. They might even be in the lead.”

Yes, it’s true. And, yes, Prince Albert is in the lead. And it isn’t close!

Prince Albert is working towards a facility that will include three arenas — one with 4,500 seats and two others, each with an NHL-sized ice surface and perhaps 800 seats. Also included will be an aquatic centre with wave pool, water slides and a whole lot more.

That is Phase 1 of the project, and it might be ready late in 2023.

Phase 2 will include a new home for the WHL’s Raiders, with 20 corporate boxes and a banquet room. Opening date? Sometime in 2024.

The total cost is likely to run around $140 million.

Work already has started on getting the site ready for construction, which is to begin late this fall.

Now back to Saskatchewan and all that money . . .

You will recall that Regina now is home to Mosaic Stadium, a football facility that opened in 2017 and cost in the neighbourhood of $278 million. . . . And let’s not forget Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw that opened in 2011 — yes, it already has been almost 10 years — and cost $61.2 million to build.

Hey, Swift Current, are you getting in on this, too?


Toby Boulet sees the contradiction and, seriously, it’s hard not to. While the Alberta government studies a private member’s bill that would raise some speed limits to 120 km/h from 110 km/h, another private member’s bill that would promote organ and tissue donation didnn’t make the cut so won’t get to the floor this spring. . . . In fact, as Boulet said, “It’s not going to happen for a long, long time.” . . . Unfortunately. . . . Yes, one bill is certain to lead to more accidents and deaths, while the other would save lives, providing people with the opportunity to enjoy extended lives. . . . Boulet has been a leading proponent for organ donation in Western Canada since his son, Logan, died as a result of the bus crash involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos on April 6, 2018. Logan had registered as an organ donor and his organs went to six people. . . . Colette Derworiz of The Canadian Press has more on this story right here.


The AJHL announced Thursday night that it has “completed a fourth round of testing in its return-to-play plan with no positive COVID-19 results across 391 players and staff.” . . . There have been 1,532 tests conducted to day and the weekly tests will continue through the end of the season.


The QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar had two players come up positive on Thursday, so the team has had to pull out of a protected environment event — that’s what the league calls its scheduled events where three or four teams play in one city — that was to run in Sherbrooke from March 19-24. The Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Sherbrooke Phoenix now will play each other four times over that stretch. . . . Meanwhile, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies will be without general manager/head coach Mario Pouliot indefinitely after he suffered a heart attack. Brad Yetman has taken over as the interim head coach.


Justin McElroy, CBC Vancouver — 622 cases of #COVID19 announced in B.C. today, as the province is now at its highest rolling average of new cases since January 12. . . . Hospitalizations up to 286, a 32% increase in one month. . . . Eight new deaths.

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CBC News — Alberta reports 505 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 more death. The province has identified 91 new variant of concern cases which account for 12% of all active cases.


March Madness got rolling in Indianapolis with play-in games on Thursday, but it is without six game officials who were to have worked the tournament. One of them tested positive and contact tracing impacted the other five. . . . The NCAA had four other officials on standby, so those four now are in the regular rotation.



The AHL’s Utica Comets were to have met the visiting Rochester Americans tonight (Friday), however the game has been postponed. According to the league, the move was made due to COVID-19 protocols involving the Comets, who are affiliated with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. In this pandemic season, the Canucks also are sharing the Comets with the St. Louis Blues.




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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The Northern Alberta Xtreme announced Thursday that Adam Stuart has taken over as the head coach of the academy’s U15 team for 2021-22. He had been on the staff of the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks after working for two seasons as an assistant coach with Edge Academy’s U18 prep team. . . . Kevin Undershute, who played four WHL seasons (2004-08) with the Medicine Hat Tigers and Portland Winterhawks, has signed on as an assistant coach alongside Stuart.


Wings