Some B.C. teams cleared for 100 per cent capacity . . . Not Blazers, Cougars, Rockets . . . Want a drink at Kraken game? Bring money. Lots of money


B.C.’s NDP government and the Provincial Health Office have been guilty of mixed messaging and poor communications on more than one occasion over the last 18 or 19 months or however long we have been in this pandemic-induced mess.

That appears to have been the case again on Tuesday.

Of course, no one should have been surprised when it was announced that (some) facilities, including the home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, would be allowed to go to 100 per cent capacity — up from 50 — on Oct. 25. Uhh, the Canucks’ home-opener is scheduled for Oct. 26. I know. I know. Surely, a coincidence. Right?

But there are a lot of junior hockey teams in B.C., and many of them believed that they were included in the change to 100 per cent capacity. Except it turns out they weren’t.

While the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals are among the 100 Club, the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars aren’t. Neither are the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, Cranbrook Bucks, Merritt Centennials, Penticton Vees, Prince George Spruce Kings, Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Trail Smoke Eaters, Vernon Vipers and West Kelowna Warriors. Oh, and the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks aren’t in the 100 Club either. At least, not yet.

It took Richard Zussman of Global BC to unmuddy the waters.


If you missed it over the weekend, the family of the late Jimmy Hayes, a former nhl2NHLer, revealed that he had fentanyl and cocaine in his system when he died in August. That came after he had ended up addicted to painkillers while rehabbing an injury. . . . Rick Westhead of TSN spoke with Len Boogaard, whose son Derek, a former NHL/WHL player, died of an accidental overdose in May 2011. . . . “How many players have to die before the NHL acknowledges that there’s a problem?” Len Boogaard said. “Ten years ago, with Derek, I maintained that it was a learning experience for everybody, so that Derek didn’t die in vain. Well, we continue to just go through the same thing. After me it was Steve Montador’s dad. And now it’s Jimmy’s dad saying he wants to bring this to everyone’s attention, so it doesn’t happen to everyone else. I guess it’s going to take more players dying, maybe three or four back-to-back again, or maybe more, for the NHL to do something. Maybe it has to happen again, God forbid. I know it sounds so callous . . .” . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here. . . . And if you haven’t read the book Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard, written by John Branch of The New York Times, it’s well worth your time.


You should know that there aren’t any “overage” players in the WHL.

Merriam-Webster defines “overage” as being “too old to be useful.”

There was a time, prior to April 2, 1985, when the WHL and its teams referred to 20-year-old players as “overagers.” However, that came to an end at a board of governors’ meeting in Calgary on that sunny April day in 1985.

At that same meeting, governors voted to allow each team to dress three 20-year-olds, up from two, a rule that remains in existence today.

“I’m pleased about the move to three 20-year-olds,” WHL president Ed Chynoweth said at the time. “We also decided to eliminate the word ‘overage.’ From now on, those players will be referred to as 20-year-olds.”

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There were 20-year-olds in action on Tuesday night as the WHL featured two games. Some highlights . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Lukas Svejkovsky, a 20-year-old, scored his league-leading seventh goal of the season at 2:17 of OT to give the Tigers a 5-4 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . F Teague Patton (1) of the Tigers (3-3-1) had tied the game at 8:24 of the third period. . . . Svejkovsky also had three assists, with D Bogdans Hodass also finishing with a goal, his second, and three assists. . . . D Mathew Ward (4) had a goal and two assists for the visitors. . . . The Broncos (2-5-1) had opened the season with a home-and-home sweep of the Tigers. Swift Current now has lost six straight (0-4-2). . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . F Mekai Sanders (2) scored once and added an assist for Seattle (3-2-1) which had lost it previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Seattle lost F Matthew Rempe with a charging major and game misconduct at 7:06 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs (2-4-1) got to within a goal, at 4-3, when F Blake Swetlikoff (1) scored on a PP at 9:18 but they weren’t able to equalize.


Medical


The Foo Fighters were on stage at Climate Pledge in Arena, the home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, on Tuesday night. . . . If you’re thinking of catching an NHL game there once the U.S. opens up its border, well, you may want to visit your banker first. . . .


If you enjoy reading hockey-related notebooks, I’ve got one for you. Ken Campbell, who spent so many years writing for The Hockey News, now is on his own and writes at Hockey Unfiltered. . . . His weekly notebook is right here, and there is an especially interesting piece on a whole lot of scouts testing positive after attending a recent event.


JUST NOTES: F Nathan MacKinnon was back in the Colorado Avalanche’s lineup on Tuesday night, his stint with COVID-19 over after a couple of negative tests. He had been asymptomatic as he missed his team’s first two games of the NHL’s regular season. MacKinnon is fully vaccinated so, under the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, he won’t lose any pay. . . . D Jack Johnson also is back with Colorado after missing one game following a positive test. He since has had two negatives. . . . The Winnipeg Jets were without F Blake Wheeler, their captain, on Tuesday night when they visited the Minnesota Wild. He has tested positive for COVID-19 and has symptoms; the remainder of the team also tested negative on Tuesday morning. Wheeler will be in isolation for at least 10 days, so won’t play in the Jets’ home-opener on Thursday against the Anaheim Ducks.



So . . . you’re the general manager of a hockey team and you’re thinking that you had a bad day or a bad weekend. Well, let’s take a look at Derek Stuart, the GM/head coach of the junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, and what he and his squad went through last weekend. . . . Leading up to a pair of weekend games, the Dynamiters had two of their top four defencemen leave the team, one of them retiring to go into firefighting at the age of 20. . . . Then, before the weekend games arrived, three players were suspended, two of them for “participating in a multiple-fight altercation.” That mean Stuart also was suspended for a game. . . . Then, on the first shift of Saturday’s game, the Dynamiters lost their captain to a broken collarbone. Later, another forward also left with an injury. . . . When he woke up on Monday and after he had his first cuppa, he told Paul Rodgers of the Kimberley Bulletin: “I’m doing better today than I was Saturday night.” . . . There’s got to be a good country song in there somewhere. Right? . . . Rodgers’s story is right here.


The junior B Summerland Steam of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and general manager/head coach Nick Deschenes “have mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately,” according to a three-sentence news release from the team. . . . The really interesting part of this is that the Steam is 4-1-0 to start the season. . . . Gus Cave, the associate coach, now is the interim GM/head coach. . . . Deschenes, 42, had been with the Steam since April 2020.


Oil


So . . . Washington State University’s head football coach, Nick Rolovich, who had US$10 million left on his contract, got punted from his job on Monday because he wouldn’t get vaccinated. WSU is a state school and the state mandated that all employees get vaccinated. Oh, and four assistant coaches wouldn’t comply either, and, yes, they’re gone, too. As freelancer Henry Schulman, once of the San Francisco Chronicle, tweeted: “Don’t let the door hit your anti-science Palouse cabooses on your way out.”


Here’s Kendra Woodland, the pride of Kamloops, getting things done . . .


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.


Bears

OHL sets opening date, while WHL has some legitimate questions . . . Yankees, Phillies have COVID-19 issues . . . Hulak running back to Saskatoon

Parachute


When you’re trying to figure out who are the powerbrokers in the WHL, you have to know that Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, is among the select few.

He was been a WHL owner since 1991 when he purchased the Tri-City WHL2Americans. He sold that franchise in 2000 and has been the Giants’ majority owner since he paid $2 million for an expansion team and got it on the ice for the 2001-02 season.

The point being that if you’re a WHL fan, you should be paying attention when Toigo speaks, as he did last week in an interview with Postmedia’s Steve Ewen.

This particular Ewen story dealt primarily with Toigo’s reaction to having the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks move their AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets, into the Abbotsford Centre, which is 34 km east of the Langley Events Centre, the facility the Giants call home.

However, it sounded like Toigo had a lot more on his mind concerning the 2021-22 season than having an AHL team nearby.

“Are people going to be allowed to come to games?” Toigo said as he looked ahead a few months. “If they are, how many will you be allowed to have in the rink? And, if they are allowed to come, how many are going to want to? There are still a lot of question marks.”

If this is what’s on Toigo’s mind, you can bet that this is the kind of conversation that has been happening whenever the WHL’s board of governors — or even the executive committee that includes Toigo — have hooked up for a meeting.

In other words, WHL teams are well aware that they may not be able to open the doors and invite everyone in come October.

The best quote I have seen recently on what’s ahead for all of us came from Gerrit Cole, the New York Yankees’ ace right-hander.

“I don’t think this is going to be over for a few years,” he said one day last week. “I think we’re going to be dealing with this kind of thing for a while. Every time these things come up, we’re gonna have to adapt and learn as a species. So, well, we’re gonna take it one step at a time and do the best we can with it.”

I would suggest that is exactly what the WHL and its teams will be doing — one step at a time and doing the best they can under the circumstances.


BettyWhite


The OHL, which wasn’t able to get in any games in a 2020-21 season that it ohlultimately cancelled on April 20, announced on Thursday that its 2021-22 regular season will open on Oct. 7. . . . Training camps are to open on Sept. 4. The schedule, which hasn’t yet been revealed, will call for each team to play 68 games, with playoffs to begin on April 7 and run through May 30. . . . The OHL release has the Memorial Cup, which is to be held in a QMJHL city yet to be named, running from June 2-12.

Here’s hoping that the OHL is able to meet these dates, which would mean that the WHL would be able to start up about the same time. However, that fly on the wall in the OHL office actually was the virus in disguise. “Hmm,” it buzzed. “We’ll see . . .”



The New York Yankees have reported eight positive tests among players, coaches and support staff. That includes one player — SS Gleyber Torres, who went on the COVID-19 protocol list on Thursday. Torres, who had tested positive during the offseason, has been fully vaccinated, as have each of the other seven people who tested positive. They all were given the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. . . . All eight of them are asymptomatic. That includes pitching coach Matt Blake, third-base coach Phil Nevin, who had symptoms early on, first-base coach Reggie Willits and four members of the travelling staff. All are quarantining  in Tampa. . . . Yankees GM Brian Cashman said: “The one thing I take from this is that the vaccines are working. . . . It will save you and protect you from a lot more than what you think.” . . .

The Philadelphia Phillies have placed C J.T. Realmuto on the COVID-19 protocol list after her reported a stomach ache and fever on Wednesday night. He was tested for COVID-19 and was found to be negative. But he didn’t travel with the team to Florida on Thursday. . . .

Meanwhile, Bill Maher, the host of Real Time With Bill Maher, has tested positive, forcing cancellation of this week’s taping. Maher, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive during weekly staff testing. He was reported Thursday to be asymptomatic.


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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

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Derek Hulak has returned to the U of Saskatchewan, where he spent four seasons (2010-14) as a player, to work as an assistant coach with the Huskies under head coach Mike Babcock. Hulak also spent four seasons (2006-10) in the WHL, the first 19 games with the Regina Pats and the remainder with the Saskatoon Blades. Hulak, a 31-year-old native of Saskatoon, announced his retirement after playing eight games this season with HC Thurgau of the Swiss League.


Octopi

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