COVID-19 finds Roughriders . . . AHL team takes bite out of two WHL coaching staffs . . . Red Wings add former Everett coach as assistant


Riders


The WHL’s Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds have vacancies on their coaching staffs after the San Jose Barracudas signed Louis Mass and Kyle Hagel as assistant coaches. . . . The Barracudas are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Both men were on the ice with the Sharks at their development camp late last week. . . . Mass, who had been the Silvertips’ associate coach, spent four seasons with Everett. . . . Hagel had been with Seattle for five seasons. . . . They will be working with Barracudas head coach John McCarthy. . . .

Meanwhile, a couple of former Silvertips coaches were making news on Monday.

The long and winding coaching road finally has led Jay Varady to the NHL. A former assistant coach with the Silvertips, Varady now is an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings. He spent the past four seasons in the Arizona Coyotes organization, one as an NHL assistant and three as head coach of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. . . . Varady, 44, spent eight seasons (2003-11) on the Silvertips’ staff, the last four as associate head coach. Since leaving Everett, he has coached the Ducs d’Angers in France, the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs and the Roadrunners. . . .

Kevin Constantine, the Silvertips’ head coach for eight seasons, has been named the head coach of Hungary’s national men’s team. Constantine, 63, also is the head coach of Fehérvár AV19 in the Austrian-based ICE Hockey League, Fehérvár AV19 plays out of Székesfehérvár, Hungary. . . . Constantine did two stints as the Silvertips’ head coach — 2003-07, 2013-17.


Kong


A report from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A group of farmers and unemployed youngsters have been busted for running a fake Indian Premier League, streaming staged cricket matches online and swindling Russian bettors out of thousands of dollars. But we’ll never know how it turned out. The scam was detected before it reached the championship round.”

——

Perry, again:

No kidding — Simone Biles got reverse-carded at the airport.

The 4-foot-7 world-champion gymnast was mistaken for a child when she caught a flight home after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this month.

“The flight attendant (tried) to give me a coloring book when I board . . .” she wrote on Instagram. “I said, ‘No, I’m good, I’m 25.’

“The other flight attendant gave me a mimosa, so we’re in the clear.”

Even better, the pilot stuck the landing.



As you no doubt are aware, the BCHL withdrew from the Canadian Junior bchlHockey League, the umbrella under which junior A leagues operate in Canada, more than a year ago. That means that BCHL teams can’t compete for the Centennial Cup that was won this season by the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits at a 10-team tournament in Estevan, Sask. . . . With the BCHL on the outside of the CJHL and looking in, it is at least a bit interesting that the Wenatchee Wild will play four road exhibition games against USHL teams in September, while the Cranbook Bucks will go on the road to play games against the AJHL’s Bandits and the Okotoks Oilers. . . . If you’re wondering, the Wild will play two games against the Fargo Force and singles versus the Sioux Falls Stampede and Sioux City Musketeers.


THINKING OUT LOUD: Canada’s women’s soccer team had a chance to clinch a berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics on Monday night when it met the U.S. in Monterrey, Mexico, and the game wasn’t on Sportsnet or TSN. There is something horribly wrong with that picture. . . . By the way, the Americans won, 1-0. . . . If you were able to watch the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the visiting Calgary Stampeders, 26-19, on Friday night, you were treated to the CFL at its best. . . . And then, if you were lucky, you switched over to watch the Milwaukee Brewers and the host San Francisco Giants. OF Mike Yastrzemski won it with a ninth-inning walk-off grand slam, the first time the Giants have managed that since Bobby Bonds beat the Los Angeles Dodgers with one in 1973. The best part, though, was listening to Jon Miller, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow call the game. . . . I don’t know when/why the Saskatchewan Roughriders decided to try and become the CFL’s version of Al Davis’s Oakland Raiders but it isn’t working.


Waldo


There was an interesting development in the junior B Kootenay International kijhlJunior Hockey League on Monday when it released its regular-season schedule, one that includes the Spokane Braves. . . . Because of the pandemic, the Braves have sat out the past two seasons. . . . From the KIJHL news release: “The Spokane Braves are scheduled to play their first KIJHL regular-season game since February 2020 when they host Osoyoos Coyotes on Sept. 23 to begin their long-awaited 50th season. The league is continuing to monitor circumstances around the Canada-U.S. border and will provide updates.” . . . Taking Note has been told that the Braves have been given until Aug. 1 to declare their intentions for 2022-23. So you have to think that the KIJHL has another schedule ready to be released, one that doesn’t include Spokane. . . . With the U.S. and Canadian governments not allowing anti-vaxxers to cross their borders, the Braves don’t have enough vaccinated players to ice a team. In fact, owner Bob Tobiason and head coach Darin Schumacher aren’t vaccinated, either. That fact prevented Tobiason from attending the KIJHL’s annual general meeting at Fairmont Hot Springs in late June.


After the International Olympic Committee decided — finally! — to give the late Jim Thorpe back his classic pentathlon and decathlon gold medals from the 1912 Olympic Summer Games in Stockholm, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg summed things up: “In an equally timely move, the IOC strongly feels women should be allowed to vote.”


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Phil Mickelson keeps saying how happy he is that he went with that Blood Money Tour. And, boy, he sure looks happy these days, doesn’t he?”


Family


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes revealed on Monday that F Yegor Klavdiev, 19, won’t be returning for a second season. He has decided to stay at home in LethbridgeBelarus and begin his pro career with Shakhtyor Soligorsk of the Belarusian Extraliga. . . . Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt, from a news release: “We are really disappointed about the news of Klavdiev not returning. It’s disappointing to lose a good player who was going to be a key 19-year-old for us this coming season and someone that we were going to count on. The timing isn’t great for us, but his decision was made, and we respect that and wish him the best in his next step.” . . . Klavdiev had 21 goals and 26 assists in 61 games last season; he was one of three 20-goal scorers on the roster. . . . F Justin Hall led Lethbridge with 34 goals last season, but that was as a 20-year-old. F Jett Jones, who is to turn 20 on Aug. 27, was the other 20-goal man last season, with 20. . . . In the CHL’s 2022 import draft, the Hurricanes selected Slovakian F Alex Ciernik, who turns 18 on Oct. 8, in the first round and then passed on their second pick. The Hurricanes also hold the rights to Swiss F Liekit Reichie, 19, who had two goals and nine assists in 34 games after being claimed off waivers from the Prince George Cougars last season.

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express is looking for a head coach with Brandon Shaw having left to join the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs as an assistant coach. Shaw, who was with Coquitlam for one season, also was the assistant general manager. . . . Shaw has been coaching in the BCHL for the past five seasons — two with the Merritt Centennials and two with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . .

The OHL’s Soo Greyhounds have extended the contract of general manager Kyle Raftis for four years, taking him through the 2025-26 season. Raftis is preparing for his ninth season with the Greyhounds.


Jason Knight, a former WHL player, died on June 30 in Regina, four days after his 49th birthday. . . . Knight played 56 WHL regular-season games over three seasons (1990-93) — 26 with the Saskatoon Blades, 29 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one with the Tacoma Rockets. He finished with three goals and four assists. . . . From the obituary: “There will be no Funeral Service at this time but a Celebration of Life will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made, in memoriam, to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 100 – 119 14 Street NW Calgary, AB, T2N 1Z6 or to KidSport Canada, 423 – 145 Pacific Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 2Z6.” . . . That obituary is right here.


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.


Puns

Habscheid leaves Raiders for team in Austria . . . Exits with 582 regular-season victories, two WHL titles . . . Will see some familiar faces in ICE Hockey League

Habby
Marc Habscheid, who coached the Prince Albert Raiders to the WHL’s 2018-19 championship, will coach in Austria in 2022-23. (Photo: raiderhockey.com)

It really is hard to imagine the WHL without Marc Habscheid. But that’s what the league and its fans are faced with after the Prince Albert Raiders announced on Thursday that Habscheid has resigned as head coach effective immediately.

Habscheid, 59, is to become the first head coach in the history of the Bemer PioneersPioneers Vorarlberg of the ICE Hockey League. The Pioneers play out of Feldkirch, Austria.

Dylan Stanley, a former WHL player, is on the Pioneers’ staff as an assistant coach.

Habscheid last played in 1995-96 with the DEL’s Augsburger Panther, with whom he put up 46 points in 48 games.

He began his coaching career the next season, signing on with the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs as general manager and head coach.

One year later, he began a two-season stint as head coach the Kamloops Blazers. That was followed by five seasons with the Kelowna Rockets, a couple of seasons with the Canadian national team program, and one season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Boston Bruins.

He returned to the WHL as the GM/head coach of the Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?) and made the move to Victoria with that franchise as it became the Royals.

For the past seven-plus seasons, he has been the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, where he put the cherry on top of the sundae by winning the WHL championship in 2019.

That was Habscheid’s second WHL title; he also won in 2003 with the Rockets, who went on to win the Memorial Cup on home ice.

Habscheid leaves the WHL with 582 regular-season victories, trailing only Don Hay (750), Ken Hodge (742), Don Nachbaur (692) and Lorne Molleken (626).

Habscheid is fifth on the all-time list of regular-season games coached (1,166) and seventh with 76 playoff victories.

“I am at a point in my career where I am looking for a new challenge and one has presented itself,” Habscheid said in a message to Raiders’ fans. “I am accepting the head coach position with a team in Europe.”

He is scheduled to make his debut behind the Pioneers’ bench on Aug. 19 in the first of six exhibition game, this one against the visiting Freiburg Wolves, a German team that plays in the DEL-2.

Habscheid and the Pioneers are to play their first regular-season game on Sept. 16 against HCB Südtirol Alperiathe, aka the Bolzano Foxes, of head coach Glen Hanlon.

Among the other head coaches Habscheid will encounter in the ICE Hockey League are Kevin Constantine, with Hydro Fehérvár AV19, and Rob Daum of EC iDM Wärmepumpen VSV.

Ben Cooper, who was an assistant coach under Habscheid in Victoria, is an assistant coach with the Red Bull Salzburg.


Royals

We learned on Wednesday that 10 of the 26 players on the Kansas City Royals’ roster wouldn’t be travelling to Toronto for a four-game series with the Blue Jays because they aren’t vaccinated. On Thursday, before the Royals opened the series with a 3-1 victory, we found out that three coaches also couldn’t travel for the same reason — pitching coach Cal Eldred, assistant hitting coach Keoni De Renee and Parker Morin, a strategist and bullpen catcher.

OF Whit Merrifield, one of the anti-vaxxers, showed his true character when he said that he might get vaccinated were he traded to a playoff team that might have to travel to Toronto.

Here’s Stephanie Apstein, a senior writer with si.com: “He is not a winning player. None of these scientists in baseball pants are. (This is a uniquely American breed of stupidity: Foreign-born players had to contend with U.S. entry requirements to play the season, so almost all of them are vaccinated.) Professional athletes have more resources than nearly anyone on earth, yet some of them cannot muster the energy to do enough research to come to the conclusion that every expert has: Vaccines are safe and effective. They give us our best shot at tamping down a pandemic that has already killed a million Americans and reshaped the lives of millions more. And players who refuse to get those vaccines — in addition to contributing to the extension of that pandemic — run the risk of fracturing their clubhouses and extinguishing their teams’ playoff hopes.”

Apstein’s piece is right here.

And a few words on the Royals from Sam McDowell, a columnist with the Kansas City Star:

“For more than a year now, the Royals’ medical and training staff, led by Nick Kenney, and front office have encouraged players to receive a vaccine that health experts have deemed both safe and effective in preventing serious illness. While nodding along to their injury and rehab advice, some Royals players have turned a cold shoulder to that health-preservation education, a contradiction that defies logic.”

McDowell’s column is right here.


Voodoo


Gregor Chisholm, a baseball columnist with the Toronto Star, is tired of unvaccinated MLB players pointing fingers at Canada:

“What these players and so many reporters in the U.S. can’t seem to get through their thick skulls is that their country has a similar mandate. Tennis star Novak Djokovic’s uncertain status for the upcoming U.S. Open is one example, there are countless others through professional sports that are conveniently overlooked when this topic comes up.

“Across MLB, this is almost an exclusively American problem. The Jays weren’t the only team with players who needed to be vaccinated to compete this year. Every non-American citizen in the league who left the U.S. during the off-season had to go through the same process before reporting to spring training.”

Chisholm’s column is right here.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, wrote about issues facing Major League Baseball on Thursday. Here’s part of what he wrote, and he is exactly right:

“The pace of play problem is clear and so are potential cures. The pitch clock used in minor league games works; if you do not believe that, please take yourself to a minor league game and try not to focus on the lower level of talent on display but focus on the action presented to you. The game is faster and more entertaining; pitchers do not get the ball back from the catcher and then take a stroll around the mound pondering the origins of the universe; batters do not step out of the batter’s box on every pitch to adjust their gloves even if they took the previous pitch. The games move; there is action; it is far more dynamic than a game in MLB.”

His complete piece is right here.


Cakes


The Canadian Professional League’s Winnipeg-based Valour FC was to have visited Atlético Ottawa on Sunday. However, the soccer game has been postponed until July 20 “due to league COVID protocols, based on advice from medical experts,” Valour FC said in a Thursday tweet.


THE COACHING GAME:

Nick Prkusic has signed on as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. Prkusic, 25, played three seasons (2014-17) with Brooks and is a former team captain. The Bandits reached the AJHL final three times and won twice with him in their lineup. He went on to play at Robert Morris U, and was the team captain his last two seasons there. . . . He has been coaching at the Prairie Hockey Academy in Caronport, Sask., where he was head coach of the U-17 men’s team. . . . In Brooks, he will work alongside Ryan Papaioannou, the general manager and head coach, assistant coach Taylor Makin, skills coach Kevin Yellowaga and goaltender coach Keven Sajinovic. . . .


Wine


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.


NoTats

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