Rockets hit with another positive test; will this one cost them 14 days? . . . Virus may have found Canucks, too

The Kamloops Blazers were to have visited the Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday night. However, that game didn’t happen after the Rockets were forced to put WHL2all team activities on hold after the organization experienced a positive test. . . . According to the WHL, “The positive COVID-19 test results belong to a hockey staff member . . . within the team cohort. No players within the team cohort have tested positive at this time.” . . . The WHL also said that it would provide further information “pending determination of close contacts and further test results.” . . . Upon its return to play, the WHL stated: “If a WHL club has one or more players or staff test positive for COVID-19 at any point in the season, the club will be required to suspend its club activities for a minimum of 14 days.” . . . It would seem, then, that the Rockets are done until at least April 13 unless this turns out to be a false positive. The Rockets are scheduled to play eight games from March 30 through April 13. . . . This is the second positive in the Kelowna organization. The WHL said on March 19 that a positive test had been found during the return-to-play testing phase. That individual and someone who was identified as a close contact had to self-isolate for 14 days, but it was business as usual for the rest of the team because it was determined not to have occurred during the season. . . .

The Rockets have played two games to this point — they beat the Victoria Royals 5-0 in Kelowna on Friday and lost 6-0 to the Vancouver Giants in Kamloops on Sunday. They next are scheduled to play on Friday against the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops. . . . The Rockets also announced on Tuesday that F Ethan Ernst is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a scaphoid fracture. The scaphoid is a small bone in an area of the wrist that has poor blood supply, so the healing time may be longer than normal. Ernst, who turned 19 on Jan. 26, was pointless in two games this season. He was injured in Sunday’s loss to Vancouver.


Prison


Meanwhile, the QMJHL has scrubbed a Wednesday game that was to have had qmjhlnewthe Cape Breton Eagles play host to the Charlottetown Islanders. According to the Eagles, “Even though all Eagles players and staff have tested negative to COVID-19, the league is postponing the game as a precaution due to a few players experiencing flu-like symptoms.” . . . This move follows the cancellation of a game between the Eagles and Islanders that was to have been played on Sunday. That morning, the league said that “a few players from the Eagles experienced flu-liked symptoms and as a precaution, the QMJHL has cancelled the game. In the current context and as per QMJHL protocols, all Eagles’ players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 and put in preventive isolation prior to returning to regular team activities.”


These pandemic times can call for interesting manoeuvring to get players on the ice. Such was the case on Tuesday when the Spokane Chiefs announced that PGthey have acquired F Mitchell Kohner from the Prince George Cougars “on a one-year loan agreement.” . . . The Chiefs have lost veteran F Jack Finley, who will be out at least six months once he has surgery to repair a should injury, so had room to add Kohner. “This is a unique situation where an American player wasn’t able to rejoin his team due to COVID restrictions . . .,” Scott Carter, the Chiefs’ general manager, explained in a news release. . . . Kohner, from Rosemount, Minn., turned 19 on Feb. 11. A 10th-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he had two assists in 49 games with the Cougars in 2018-19, then put up eight goals and six assists in 59 games in 2019-20. . . . Kohner is expected to being practising with the Chiefs in about a week, after clearing WHL protocols. . . . His playing rights will revert to the Cougars after this season. . . .

The Cougars also announced that F Ilijah Colina, who turned 21 on Feb. 18, “is no longer with the team due to personal reasons.” . . . He has played 200 regular-season games — 117 with the Cougars, 83 with the Portland Winterhawks — over five seasons with 27 goals and 52 assists. . . . Prince George has added D Hudson Thornton, 17, to its roster. He will complete his quarantine period and then join the team. From Winnipeg, Thornton had two goals and two assists in 23 games with the USHL’s Fargo Force this season. He was a second-round pick by the Cougars in the 2018 bantam draft.


Valet


The Brandon Wheat Kings got goals from seven different players en route to a Brandon7-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Regina on Tuesday night. . . . F Ridly Greig (3), F Ben McCartney (6) and F Reid Perepeluk (2) each had a goal and an assist. . . . Greig scored 22 seconds into the game and the Wheat Kings (7-2-1) built a 4-0 lead in the second period. . . .  Brandon, which was 4-for-7 on the PP, has won four in a row. . . .  Even with F Dallyn Peekeekoot making his WHL debut, the Raiders (3-5-2) were able to dress only 17 skaters, including 10 forwards. Peekeekoot, from Ahtahkakoop First Nation, Sask., was a 10th-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. The Raiders announced his signing earlier Tuesday. . . . The Raiders had G Max Paddock back on the bench in support of Carter Serhyenko, who went the distance. . . . Raiders D Kaiden Guhle remains out with an undisclosed injury, while F Ozzy Wiesblatt, who has 11 points in nine games, also sat out this one. . . . F Kyle Crosbie, who turned 21 on Feb. 18, no longer is shown on the Raiders’ roster and apparently has left the team for personal reasons. He was pointless in six games. . . .

D Layton Feist scored at 4:33 of OT to give the Regina Pats a 3-2 victory over the PatsMoose Jaw Warriors. The game was played in Regina with the Warriors designated as the home team. . . . Feist, who has three goals, had tied the game 2-2 at 12:34 of the third period. . . . The game’s first two goals came from 15-year-old skaters. F Connor Bedard (8), the first overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, got Regina on the board at 10:29 of the second period. F Brayden Yager (3), the third-overall selection, tied the score at 1:59 of the third. . . . Bedard, who drew the lone assist on the winner, now has 19 points in 10 games; Yager, who turned 16 on Jan. 3, has seven points in 10 games. . . . F Eric Alarie (7) had Moose Jaw’s other goal. He scored seven goals in 61 games as a freshman in 2019-20. . . . The Pats improved to 4-4-2; the Warriors, who have lost five straight, are 4-5-1. . . . So just to go over that again — the Pats won on the road, while the Warriors won a home game that was played in Regina. Try explaining that to someone 10 years from now. . . .

F Eric Florchuk, who had a goal and two helpers, broke a 4-4 tie at 18:03 of the Vancouverthird period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Royals, 5-4, in Kamloops. . . . Flochuk, who has two goals, had drawn an assist on F Tristen Nielsen’s fifth goal in three games, this one on a PP, at 16:51 of the third. . . . The Royals (0-3-0) erased a 2-0 first-period deficit to hold leads of 3-2 and 4-3. . . . Nielsen also had an assist, giving him nine points in three games. . . . F Adam Hall (3) had two goals for the Giants (2-1-0), with F Justin Sourdif earning three assists. . . . F Brayden Tracey and F Taran Fizun each had a goal and an assist for the Royals (0-3-0). . . .D Alex Kannok Leipert, the Giants’ captain, played his 200th regular-season game.


Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post had a birthday on Tuesday. How did he celebrate? The same way he did a year ago. Well, not quite. This time, he wrote about what has changed over the past year, which, as he discovered, wasn’t much. . . . In fact, as he laments in this column right here, there isn’t much evidence to show that we the people are prepared to rid ourselves of this virus and that means that he may well be writing the same column a year from now, too. Unfortunately, he is correct.


F Adam Gaudette of the Vancouver Canucks left Tuesday’s practice after being informed that he had tested positive for COVID-19. The Canucks are scheduled to play the visiting Calgary Flames tonight (Wednesday). The Flames flew into Vancouver on Tuesday evening. . . . There will be more testing and contact tracing before a decision is made on tonight’s game. . . . F Jake Virtanen didn’t practise on Tuesday; the Canucks said he was ill, but didn’t indicate that it was virus-related. . . .

Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens played their first game since March 20 on Tuesday night, beating the visiting Edmonton Oilers, 4-0. F Jesper Kotkaniemi, who had been on the COVID-19 protocol list, scored one of the goals. F Joel Armia didn’t play as he remains on the protocol list.


Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., announced on Tuesday that Kevin Dickie has retired as its executive director of athletics. He spent 13 years at Acadia. That included three years as head coach of the Axemen hockey team for three seasons. . . . Before moving into administration, Dickie was a coach in the SJHL and WHL. He was the head coach of the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs for five seasons, then spent three seasons with the Axemen before joining the Saskatoon Blades as an assistant coach for 1999-2000. He took over as head coach the next season, a position he held for three seasons. . . . According to a news release, Dickie will leave his position after the USports annual general meeting in June. . . . That news release is right here.


If you missed it, the Texas Rangers opened up their home park — Globe Life Park  — to fans on Monday night for an exhibition game with the Milwaukee Brewers. The park has a capacity of 40,300 and a big crowd was anticipated; attendance was announced at 12,911. . . . “Plenty of fans sat shoulder-to-shoulder, but large portions of the stadium were empty as the Rangers lost to the Brewers, 4-0,” reported Jonathan Zizzo in The New York Times. . . . Texas announced 3,484 new cases and 41 more deaths on Tuesday, increasing the seven-day totals to 28,667 and 688. . . . On Tuesday night, with the Brewers beating the Rangers, 6-3, attendance was announced as 10,859.


Masks


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.


Arrow

Don Dietrich says thanks and farewell . . . Psst! Wanna buy a BCHL team? . . . Ahh, yes, baseball’s back!

Don Dietrich, a defenceman who played three seasons (1978-81) with the Brandon Wheat Kings, died on Feb. 16. He was 59. If you are on Facebook and haven’t checked out the tribute page that his family set up, you should take the time to do just that. This was a special, special man whose memory will long remain with the people he touched, and he touched a lot of us.

Earlier this week, Nick, one of Nadine and Don’s three sons, posted this on the tribute page . . .

Before dad passed, he asked me to send this message out to everyone after he was gone. Transcribed directly from his words.

“I truly am a lucky man. Having two chronic illnesses has taught me patience and compassion, and I really believe that they have made me a better person. A better father, son, and husband.

If I came home with a flat tire, kicked the furniture and swore at the dog, I’d look out the window and the tire would still be flat.

I wouldn’t have gotten to do so many things in my life if it wasn’t for Parkinson’s and cancer. I am grateful that these illnesses have given me another opportunity to teach and inspire.

I would like to thank everyone for the stories they’ve shared and all of the nice things that they’ve said about me. It appears that I’ve fooled you all

I’ve just tried to be a good human being and treat people with dignity, and respect.

It’s been an honour to have known and met you all. Smell ya later!

— Don Dietrich, Dieter, Dins, Beaker, Heathcliff, Double D, Redbird”


Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times reports: “NFL owners are pushing to implement a 17-game schedule for this coming season. “A$ you might $u$pect, we have our rea$ons for playing $eventeen,” said one.


Penguin


It seems that Wes Mussio, the owner of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, is fed up with Dr. Bonnie Henry, who is B.C.’s provincial health officer, and the NDP government so now wants to sell the franchise that he purchased in November 2017.

NanaimoMussio, a lawyer from Vancouver, wrote: “With games suspended for 1 year now and Dr. Bonnie Henry giving the league no indication of any starting up this year, I see no path forward to any full return to normal in hockey, even in 2021-2022.”

Mussio continued: “The NDP has offered zero financial support to the suffering teams of the BCHL or for that matter, any hope of a full return to hockey for year(s). So, it is time for me to stop my huge personal and financial contribution to BC Hockey and I will be selling the team effective immediately. Serious enquires (sic) only at mussio@mussiogoodman.com. Nanaimo needs an ownership group who can wait out the PHOs.”

Mussio told Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News-Bulletin on Sunday that he already had “close to a dozen” tire-kickers contact him.

When Mussio purchased the Clippers, he said he was going to buy a home in Nanaimo. Sakaki reported that Mussio has sold his Nanaimo condo and “has been living in Florida of late.”

Sakaki’s story is right here.

——

It’s interesting to watch the approaches taken by the BCHL and WHL as they work to hopefully get government approval for their teams to return to play.

While the BCHL and its 17 teams and the WHL’s five B.C. Division teams BCHLsupposedly are working in concert in terms of presenting return-to-play protocols to government and health officials, the opposite would appear to be happening in the public eye.

While silence seems to be golden for the WHL teams, the BCHL, or at least people associated with the league, seem to think that lots of noise is the best approach.

Former NHLer Garry Valk has taken an active role by starting a petition requesting that the NDP government loosen the reins. To be fair, he also wants to see WHL teams back on the ice, but he got involved because his son Garrett, 18, plays for the Trail Smoke Eaters.

Andy Prest of vancouverisawesome.com has more on Valk and his petition right here.

And then, on Sunday, Valk posted this on Facebook:

“So help me understand John Horgan. You approved the NHL teams to play in 24 hours? Why have we not heard anything from you or Dr. Bonnie Henry or Adrian Dix regarding our junior teams in BC? I know BCHL has sent you multiple proposals months ago, still nothing has been said at all about it. I guess our youth are not as important as multimillionaires.”

Horgan is the premier of B.C., with Dix the health minister and Dr. Henry the provincial health officer.

The BCHL hasn’t commented on Valk’s petition. News 1130, a Vancouver radio station, reported that it asked the league for a response, “but a representative said the league isn’t commenting until after the province responds about whether or not play will resume.”

You also can read into Wes Mussio’s announcement that he wants out of Nanaimo — is it at least in part a pressure tactic aimed at government officials, especially after he appears to have left himself an out?

Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin wrote: “(Mussio) said if things change and he gets ‘surprised pleasantly’ and can see a pathway forward, he won’t sell the Clippers, but he has been living in Florida and has started thinking about buying a hockey team in the U.S.”

And then there was a tweet from Tali Campbell, the Clippers’ general manager until early September when he left the organization. He now is the vice-president of team operations for the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express.

On Sunday afternoon, he tweeted: “First time in my six years in the BCHL I have had to talk to two players about the thoughts of suicide. So sad.”

It’s not often a junior hockey official broaches such a subject in a public forum, and, if you’re at all like me, you are wondering about the timing of this tweet.

If you’re at all like me, you’re also wondering how government and health officials might respond to these kinds of messages. Hopefully, they treat them as white noise, but human nature being what it is, you also might wonder if the noise results in the BCHL’s cause being bumped just a bit further down the priority list.


BowlingShoe


CBC News — Prince Edward Island closes schools, shuts down personal gatherings for 72 hours as it tries to a quash clusters of COVID-19 cases in Summerside and Charlottetown. The province is reporting 5 new cases for a total of 18 active cases.


Old friend Kevin Dickie, now the executive director of athletics and community events at Acadia U in Wolfville, N.S., tells me that university hockey in Nova Scotia has been shut down due to new restrictions. They had started up on Feb. 12, and now are hoping to get the OK again for a March 27 restart. . . . A lot of ice has been made and melted since Dickie was coaching in Saskatchewan with the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs and later the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades. He coached the Acadia Axemen for three seasons after leaving Melfort and before coaching with the Blades. He moved into the administration side of things in 2005 and really hasn’t looked back, having spent six years at the U of New Brunswick before moving over to Acadia. . . . And it’s always great to hear from a native of Shaunavon, Sask.



Headline at Fark.com: Patrick Mahomes welcomes first child, Sterling Skye Mahomes, expected to play against Tom Brady in about 20 years.


The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees opened their MLB exhibition seasons on Sunday in Tampa, Fla. Yes, it was an exhibition game. I watched every pitch and it was glorious.


John Harbaugh, the head coach of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, paid the entire restaurant bill of more than $2,000 at a recent charity event. Or, as Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com put it: “Harbaugh covered the spread.”


Crane


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: Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, will be a bit late in joining his team in the Regina hub where seven teams are to play some games starting on March 12. Teams arrived in Regina over the weekend, but Habscheid is with family after the death of his brother Robert. . . . Irv Cross died on Sunday near his Minnesota home. He was 81. Back in the day, the former All-Pro cornerback was part of CBS Sports’ Sunday NFL preview show The NFL Today, along with Brent Musburger, Phyllis George and Jimmy (the Greek) Snyder. If you were an NFL fan, you started your Sunday with Brent, Phyllis, Irv and the Greek.