Rebels still perfect, tie WHL record . . . Thunderbirds unbeaten, too . . . What happened in the JPHL?

The Red Deer Rebels ran their record to 12-0-0 with a 4-0 victory over the RedDeervisiting Vancouver Giants on Friday. . . . G Rhett Stoesser, a 17-year-old freshman from Carstairs, Alta., stopped 18 shots as he recorded his first WHL shutout in his fourth start. He is 4-0-0, 1.25, .938. . . . The Rebels have tied the WHL record for most victories to open a season. The 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos opened 12-0-0 before dropping a 2-1 decision to the Blades in Saskatoon on Oct. 30, 1988. . . . The Rebels are scheduled to visit the Edmonton Oil Kings (1-11-1) on Sunday. . . .

Meanwhile, in Prince George, the Seattle Thunderbirds stayed perfect (9-0-0) Seattlewith a 5-4 victory over the Cougars. They’ll play there again tonight and resume the triple-dip in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. . . . Last night, Seattle got two goals from each of Jared Davidson and Jordan Gustafson as they got out to a 5-2 lead. The Cougars scored twice in the game’s last two minutes.


The Brandon Wheat Kings drew their largest crowd (5,141) of the young season Brandonon Friday with the Winnipeg Ice in town. According to the Wheat Kings, it also was equipment manager Scott Hlady’s 500th game with the organization. . . . According to Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun, it was the first crowd of more than 5,000 “since 5,621 fans were in the building for a 5-4 shootout win over Moose Jaw on March 17, 2018.” . . . The Ice skated home with a 4-1 victory, ending its season-opening road schedule with a 12-1 record. The same two teams will meet in Winnipeg tonight as the Ice stages its home-opener.



Starbucks


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion) — Jose Altuve Still Can’t Get Over How Small He Looks Out There.


——

Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered addressing rumblings that the Toronto Maple Leafs may be in line for a coaching change, perhaps with Barry Trotz replacing Sheldon Keefe: “It’s interesting to note though, that (general manager) Kyle Dubas has been a GM for three teams in three leagues — the Soo Greyhounds (OHL), the Toronto Marlies (American Hockey League) and the Leafs. In all that time, he has hired only one person to coach his teams, and that’s Keefe.”
You are able to check out Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell right here.

——

One more from Campbell: “The (OHL’s) Mississauga Steelheads, who are off to a great start this season, are once again struggling to attract fans. Their lease with the city-run Paramount Foods Centre expires after this season. Steelheads president Elliott Kerr would prefer to stay, but it’s a situation that bears watching. When Kerr bought the team, he said he would give it three years and this is his 11th. He’s lost seven figures easily.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings are down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds after releasing F Cole Carrier on Friday. Carrier, who is from Strathcona, Alta., was a fourth-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2017 draft. He had four assists in seven gams with Edmonton after coming over from the Lethbridge Hurricanes early in the season. In 117 regular-season games, 101 of them with the Regina Pats, he totalled 19 goals and 21 assists. . . . That move leaves Edmonton with D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golder and F Jaxsen Wiebe as its 20-year-olds. Wiebe is serving a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline after going knee-on-knee with F Josh Pillar of the Saskatoon Blades on Oct. 23. The Blades say Pillar is out week-to-week. Wiebe was given a tripping minor on the play in question. . . . Later in the day, the Oil Kings were beaten, 5-0, by the visiting Calgary Hitmen, who got 18 saves from G Brayden Peters. The defending-champion Oil Kings now are 1-11-1. . . .

In Portland, the Kelowna Rockets lost D Noah Dorey to a slew-footing major and game misconduct at 9:41 of the first period. Chances are good that Dorey will miss Game 2 of the weekend double-dip tonight. . . . The Winterhawks weren’t able to score on the five-minute power play, and it came back to haunt them when F Andrew Cristall scored in OT to give the visitors a 4-3 victory. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s last three goals, with Cristall getting them within one at 16:46 of the third period and F Nolan Flamand tying it with 5.6 seconds left. . . .

Prior to meeting the visiting Spokane Chiefs last night, the Kamloops Blazers announced that they had release F Kobe Verbicky, 19. From Victoria, he was a second-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He had one assist in six games this season. In 64 career regular-season games, 38 with Kamloops, he scored three times and added five assists. . . . Later that night, the Blazers, who had lost three straight, scored four first-period goals while outshooting the Chiefs, 24-4, en route to a 5-1 victory. F Logan Stankoven had two goals for the Blazers, who finished with a 62-23 edge in shots. The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . Stankoven now has 17 points, including eight goals, in seven games since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades ran their winning streak to seven games as they beat the Tigers, 2-1, in Medicine Hat. . . . F Tyler Parr scored both of Saskatoon’s goals and they came via the PP. . . . Parr, a 17-year-old sophomore from La Salle, Man., has three goals in 12 games this season. Last season, he scored three times in 58 games. . . . The game was scoreless until Parr struck at 9:52 of the third period. . . .

The host Moose Jaw Warriors got 46 stops from G Connor Ungar in beating the Everett Silvertips, 4-1. F Jagger Firkus scored twice. . . . The Silvertips opened an East Division trip with the loss. . . . The Warriors have won four in a row. . . .

The Victoria Royals’ starting lineup featured five Saskatchewan-born skaters as they met the host Swift Current Broncos last night. The lone exception was G Logan Cunningham of Sherwood Park, Alta., who was making his WHL debut. The starting skaters were forwards Carter Briltz of Regina, Cole Reschny of Macklin and Anthony Wilson of Swift Current, along with defencemen Nate Misskey of Melfort and Kalem Parker of Clavet. Reschny, the Royals’ top pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, third overall, was playing his second WHL game. . . . Things didn’t go well for the Royals, though, as the Broncos struck for two shorthanded goals and one on the PP in a 6-1 victory. . . . F Raphael Pelletier scored twice for the Broncos. . . .

The Ottawa 67’s, the OHL’s last unbeaten team, dropped a 5-3 decision to the host Peterborough Petes on Friday night. The 67’s had opened with nine straight victories. The Petes now are 8-3-1. . . .

In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees now are 13-0-0 after scoring a 4-1 victory over the host West Kelowna Warriors. . . . Next up for the Vees? The Trail Smoke Eaters (6-5-1) are to visit Penticton tonight.


Paper


THINKING OUT LOUD — Now that was a terrific opener for the World Series. It would have been a whole lot better if Fox’s broadcast crew — Joe Davis and John Smoltz — stopped talking on occasion and just let the game breathe. Please, guys, why not allow the viewers to experience the atmosphere a bit. Baseball is a game that sometimes doesn’t need chatter. . . . Late in Game 1, writer Joe Posnanski tweeted: “Nobody in baseball can hit any reliever.” He’s not wrong. . . . What could be more fitting than having Shane Doan and his son, Josh, drop the ceremonial first puck as the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes played their first game at Arizona State U’s Mullett Arena last night? While Shane, who owns a chunk of the Kamloops Blazers, played for the Coyotes, Josh, 20, captains the ASU Sun Devils. . . . The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 28-2 at home over the last two CFL seasons. The Edmonton Elks have lost 17 straight home games. Hmmm.


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.


Drawer

Things are sparking in Riderville . . . Rebels (8-0-0) set franchise record . . . Bjarnason, Wheat Kings enjoy Kelowna stop

MondayMorning
This was the scene from our deck in Campbell Creek at 8 o’clock on Monday morning, looking east down the South Thompson River valley. The picture, taken with my cheap phone, really doesn’t show how pink the sun was as it fought through some smoke and, yes, that’s a fog bank over the river.

There is stuff going on in and around the Saskatchewan Roughriders and it isn’t going to end well for someone. The Roughriders are 6-10 — 2-9 in their last 11 Ridersoutings — as they come out of a bye week and prepare to meet the visiting Calgary Stampeders on Saturday. . . . The fun began on Tuesday when Cody Fajardo, the starting quarterback, didn’t take an active role in practice. Head coach Craig Dickenson, whose job would seem to be on the line, said that Fajardo was taking a “vet” day and that he would start on Saturday. Headline at leaderpost-com — Cody Fajardo given ‘vet day’; will start Saturday against Calgary. . . . On Wednesday, however, Dickenson said that backup Mason Fine will start. On top of which, Fajardo told the newshounds that he had been told five days previous that he wouldn’t be starting. . . . “Cody Fajardo has absorbed more than his fair share of hits during the 2022 CFL season,” writes Murray McCormick of The Leader-Post, “but even he was blindsided by his demotion from starting quarterback to second string with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.” . . . As for Fajardo, he told those same newshound: “I hope there’s somebody out there that might still want me. I don’t think this is the end of the Cody Fajardo book. But it might be the end of this chapter.” . . . With two games remaining — they finish up next weekend in Calgary — the Roughriders haven’t yet been eliminated from the playoff picture, but time is of the essence. . . . “We need a spark,” Dickenson said in giving his reason for the QB switch. . . . Well, take a trip around social media and check out the Saskatchewan fans. I think Dickenson’s spark has started a fire. Yes, they do take their football seriously on the flatlands.



Beer


G Talyn Boyko, 20, was back on the ice with the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday night. Unfortunately for him, things didn’t go particularly well as they were Kelownabeaten, 3-0, by the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Rockets find themselves with three goaltenders on their roster after the NHL’s New York Rangers returned Boyko on Monday. Boyko, selected in the fourth round of the NHL draft, has signed with the Rangers, who had assigned him to the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen. . . . The Rockets acquired the 6-foot-8 Boyko from the Tri-City Americans early last season. With Kelowna, he was 28-12-4, 2.79, .913 in 46 games. In 102 career WHL regular-season games, he is 43-43-8, 3.56, .899. . . . The other two goaltenders on the Rockets’ roster are both 18-year-old freshmen — Nicholas Cristiano of Langley, B.C., and Jari Kykkanen of Lloydminster, Alta. Kykkanen, a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 draft, is 3-3-1, 3.71, .883 in seven appearances; Cristiano, who has been in three games, is 0-1-0, 2.61, .879. . . . The Rockets now are carrying two 20-year-olds — Boyko and F Adam Kydd. . . .

The Rockets also announced that they have placed F Colton Dach, their captain, in concussion protocol, although I can’t find anything on the WHL website that indicates exactly what that means. Dach, who has experienced two concussions in about a month, is shown on the WHL roster report as being out week-to-week. The first of those two concussions came while he was in camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Red Deer Rebels ran their record to 8-0-0 on Wednesday night with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels set a franchise record with the victory. The 2000-01 team, which won the Memorial Cup in Regina, opened 7-0-0 before dropping a 9-2 decision to the Warriors in Moose Jaw. Red Deer will try to run its record to nine in a row when it meets the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Friday. . . . F Ben King, 20, had two goals and an assist in last night’s victory; he’s got four goals and four assists in three games since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. . . .

The WHL has two other unbeaten teams, with the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds both at 7-0-0. The Winterhawks are scheduled to visit the Tri-City Americans on Saturday. That same night, the Thunderbirds are to entertain the Spokane Chiefs. . . .

D Andrei Malyavin scored his first WHL goal for the Brandon Wheat Kings as they dumped the host Kelowna Rockets, 3-0, on Wednesday night. He also has five assists in 10 games. . . . Last season, Malyavin, an 18-year-old Russian, scored twice and added 11 assists in 44 games with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. . . . The Wheat Kings got 29 saves from G Carson Bjarnason, who record his first WHL shutout. A 6-foot-4 sophomore who is eligible for the NHL’s 2023 draft, he is 5-2-1, 2.12, .942 this season. . . . Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun reports that the Wheat Kings last won a game in Kelowna on Oct. 26, 2010. He adds: “Brandon blanks the Rockets for the first time since the franchise moved from Tacoma in 1995.” . . .

F Kyle Bochek of the Vancouver Giants ended up with a four-game suspension for the hit that resulted in F Ben Thornton of the Brandon Wheat Kings ending up in Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., on Friday night. Thornton, who suffered a concussion and a hip injury, is listed on the WHL roster report as being out week-to-week. He was released from hospital on Monday and is at home with family in Chilliwack. . . . F Brett Hyland of the Wheat Kings was given a three-game suspension for a high hit on Vancouver D Mazden Leslie in that same game. Leslie wasn’t injured on the play and, in fact, scored once and added an assist as the Giants dropped a 4-3 decision to the Winnipeg Ice in Langley, B.C., on Wednesday night. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers released F Alex Drover, 20, on Wednesday after acquiring D Kurtis Smythe, 20, from the Portland Winterhawks for an eight-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. Drover had two goals and two assists in six games with the Tigers after being released by the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic. . . . Smythe played 121 games over four seasons with the Winterhawks, putting up two goals and 29 assists. . . . Smythe joins F Dallon Melin and F Brendan Lee as the Tigers’ 20-year-olds. . . . The Winterhawks have only two 20-year-olds on their roster — G Dante Giannuzzi and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme — so it could be that another move is imminent. . . . FYI: These aren’t overage players — if they were overage, they wouldn’t be eligible; they are 20-year-old players and each team is allowed to have a maximum of three on its roster.


Gnome


Headline at fark.com — “What are you in for? Bank robbery. You? Murder. You? Cheating at fishing.”

——

Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion) — Study Links Binge Eating to Stress, Contentment, Depression, Joy, Boredom, Anger, Relaxation.


YOU THOUGHT IT WAS OVER — From Reuters: China’s capital, Beijing, has dialled up measures to stop COVID, strengthening public checks and locking down some residential compounds after a quadrupling of its case load in recent weeks, just as a key Communist Party congress entered full swing. The city of 21 million people on Thursday reported 18 new locally transmitted cases for the previous day, bringing the tally for the past 10 days to 197. That is four times more than the 49 infections detected in the previous 10-day period.


Clowns


THE COACHING GAME:

Rick Bowness, in his first season as the head coach of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, remains MIA after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. He wasn’t with the club on Wednesday for a 4-3 OT victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, and he’ll be missing again tonight when the Jets meet the host Vegas Golden Knights. The team is hopeful that Bowness will back on the bench for the home-opener on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. . . .

Former NHL D Ladislav Smid has been hired by the Edmonton Oil Kings as a development coach. Smid, 36, has retired after 17 seasons as a pro, the last five in his home country of Czechia. He also played 474 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, whose parent company owns the Oil Kings. . . . Smid was a guest coach during the Oil Kings’ training camp prior to the start of this season.



THINKING OUT LOUD — OK, Sportsnet, we get it . . . you’ve put together a new set for Sportsnet Central, featuring Evanka Osmak and Ken Reid. We’ve seen the spot a few times by now, and I have a question: Why does Reid refer to her by her last name, while she calls him by his first name? . . . Sorry, fans of the New York Yankees, but your guys are done. Seventeen strikeouts! Yikes!! And Josh Donaldson looks completely lost, like a thirsty man wandering in the Gobi Desert. . . . BTW, the Houston Astros struck out twice in that game. Yes, twice! . . . The Vancouver Canucks have lost their first four games. They are the first team in NHL history to hold a multi-goal lead in each of its first four games and lose them all. They will go against the host Minnesota Wild tonight, and here’s hoping Vancouver wins so that Canucks Nation finally can get some sleep. Hey, it’s been ugly. Four games in and the fans want everyone replaced, from the owner to the head coach to F J.T. Miller, who signed to a seven-year extension a couple of months ago.


Universe


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.

http://www.transplant.bc.ca/health-info/organ-donation/living-donation


Bears

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while continuing to wonder what hit the Blue Jays . . .

Scattershooting2

You are able to find Randy’s Vinyl Tap on a Corus radio station near you for two hours every Sunday evening. Check it out!


While watching the Toronto Blue Jays implode on Saturday, I kept seeing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. beating the visiting New York Yankees with a walk-off home run a few weeks ago and screaming something about it being “my house” as he trotted from third to home. . . . Of course, the Yankees won in Toronto the next night to clinch the AL East. And then along came Friday-Saturday and the Seattle Mariners. . . . Let’s not forget that Aaron Judge hit No. 61 there, too. . . . All of that means that the Yankees and Mariners have done a lot of celebrating in Vladdy’s house. . . . Maybe he and the rest of Toronto’s young guns will learn something about humility and the baseball gods from how this season ended . . . Oh, and get rid of that gawdawful jacket thing, too.



Amazon


Joe Posnanski, who writes baseball as well as anyone, had this after Saturday’s marathon between the visiting Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Guardians: “For almost five hours, under the heat of playoff baseball, we watched two teams fail to score a single run. They failed to score a single run off FIFTEEN different pitchers. Until the last batter, Cleveland hit .090 and struck out 20 times. Tampa Bay hit a stouter .122 and struck out only 19 times.”

——

And here’s Posnanski on a key point in the Seattle-Toronto game: “And Blue Jays manager John Schneider, the one who did not play in ‘Dukes of Hazzard,’ went to the mound, pulled (Kevin) Gausman, and brought in lefty Tim Mayza. It didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense when he did it, since Gausman clearly was not gassed and (switch-hitter Carlos) Santana has, throughout his career, been a better hitter against lefties. This year, he hit just .178 and slugged .366 against righties — he hit almost 90 points better and had 150 more OPS points against lefties.

“But, he was 0-for-3 against Mayza, so maybe that’s what Schneider saw. I don’t know.”

Of course, the bases were loaded, Mayza threw a wild pitch and then Santana drilled a three-run homer. The rest, as they say, is history.


Here’s Matt Rhule, the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, after losing, 37-15, to the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Sunday: “We’re not going to win unless we score more points. I’m not going to lie to you.”


Corndogs


“Minnesota Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson made major-league history by having the longest last name on the back of his jersey, supplanting ex-catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The team seamstress is now on the 10-day injured list with RSI.”

——

Perry also passed along this gem from Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune after Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady threw a tantrum: “Brady broke two tablets vs. the Saints, tying the cherished 3,500-year-old world record set by Moses.”


Here’s Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Herschel Walker isn’t the one who belongs in a concussion tent. No. Anybody who’s still thinking of voting for this guy belongs in the blue tent.”

——

Lupica, again: “One more thing about Herschel. I’m really starting to worry about just the sheer logistics of what next Father’s Day are going to be like for this guy. The more you read, the more you think he hooked up with everybody except Stormy Daniels.”


There are some parts of the world of hockey that really do need to pay more attention to history and, in particular, to the people who put so much into the building of leagues and franchises. So . . . here’s hoping the decision to remove banners from the Regina Pats’ home arena is a temporary measure to accommodate the removal of dust from the rafters or some other house-cleaning item. . . . And here’s hoping, too, that there is a plan in Regina to hang more banners representing names from the Pats’ glorious past to those rafters.


Keith


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Logan Stankoven, the CHL’s player of the year for 2021-22, has been returned to the Kamloops Blazers by the Dallas Stars, who selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. He has signed a three-year deal with the Stars. Last season, Stankoven had 104 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games, then added 17 goals and 14 assists in 17 playoff games. . . . Remember that the Blazers are to be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. . . . Stankoven, 19, is expected to be in the Kamloops lineup on Friday night against the host Tri-City Americans. . . . While returning Stankoven to his hometown team, the Stars kept F Wyatt Johnston, 19, who was their first pick in that 2021 NHL draft. He played the past two seasons with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, putting up 124 points, 46 of them goals, in 68 games last season. . . .

Meawhile, the Vancouver Giants got back F Zack Ostapchuk, their captain, from the Ottawa Senators. Ostapchuk, 19, was a second-round pick in the NHL’s 2021 draft. Last season, he had 26 goals and 17 assists in 60 regular-season games, then added 23 points, 16 of them assists, in 12 playoff games. . . . The Giants next are scheduled to play on Friday against the Brandon Wheat Kings in Langley, B.C. . . .

The Tri-City Americans, playing their home-opener, got two goals and two assists from F Jordan Gavin in beating the Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-1, on Saturday night. Gavin, from Surrey, B.C., was the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft, and has two goals and five assists in five games. He won’t turn 16 until Nov. 13. . . .

When host Kamloops dropped Victoria, 3-1, on Saturday night, it was the Blazers’ 23rd consecutive victory over the Royals. . . . Seriously! . . . The loss also left the Royals at 0-7-0, not quite the start the franchise needed. . . . Victoria is the only one of the league’s 22 teams without a victory. . . .

At the other end of the spectrum, the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds remain unbeaten — the former at 5-0-0, the latter 4-0-0. They’ll go home-and-home on Nov. 4 and 5, opening in Portland and closing the series in Kent, Wash. . . . Before then, the Winterhawks are home to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday, the same night the Thunderbirds entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . According to TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits), this is the first time in franchise history that the Thunderbirds have opened with four straight victories. . . . The Red Deer Rebels, meanwhile, are 5-0-0, the first time that has happened since 2000-01, according to Troy Gillard, their director of broadcasts and media.


Commas


THINKING OUT LOUD — In getting swept from a best-of-three series, the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t get even one pitch out of Jose Berrios or Yusei Kikuchi. Berrios has an average salary of US$18,714,286, while Kikuchi’s annual average is $12 million. . . . Hockey Canada didn’t make a big news dump late Friday afternoon, but Andrea Skinner, the interim chair of the board of directors, did resign on Saturday. Hey, it’s a start. . . . How come I didn’t know before Saturday evening that the Okanagan Sun has a hotshot KR/WR named Mike O’Shea, who just happens to be the son of Mike O’Shea, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ head coach? . . . BTW, the Sun just finished off a 10-0 regular season. . . . ICYMI, the Cincinnati Bengals left three points on the field Sunday night in Baltimore and lost by two to the Ravens. Could it be some of those coaches are spending too much time listening to the analytics people? Sheesh, kick the field goal!


I wish I had seen this trick on Twitter about 50 years ago. . . .


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.


Store

Hockey Canada delays election, heads to court to keep gov’t from seeing some numbers . . . Sponsors running for the hills . . . Blazers’ Clouston gets to 500 victories


So . . . it was late on the Friday afternoon of a long weekend and I really was expecting one of those late news dumps from Hockey Canada. I know! I know! I should have known better.

Those people aren’t leaving of their own volition, are they?

Instead, as CBC News reported, “The next election for members of (Hockey HockeyCanadaCanada’s) board of directors is being delayed by a month.” That election had been scheduled for next month, but now is to be held on Dec. 17.

CBC News also got a look at minutes from an August board meeting, and reported this gem: “Hockey Canada is frustrated with the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the facts occurring in the public. Efforts need to be focused on our members and key stakeholders to provide them with accurate information.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that the people at the top of Hockey Canada are “deluded.”

“If these individuals continue to be deluded enough to think there is a pathway forward for them to continue to run Hockey Canada,” he said on Friday, “then Canadians will have no choice but look for another structure to run our national winter sport.”

That came one day after he offered this:

“There needs to be wholesale change. They need to do it. They need to realize that if we have to create an organization, get rid of Hockey Canada, and create an organization called ‘Canada Hockey’ instead, people will look at doing that. There is a lack of understanding that they’ve lost the confidence of Canadians. And the sooner they get to that, the better it will be for everyone.”

On top of all that, Alexander Pratt of the Montreal-based newspaper La Presse reported on Friday: “Hockey Canada has gone to court to stop the federal government from releasing sensitive financial information to the organization. The publication of this data ‘would cause serious difficulties,’ argued Hockey Canada, in documents filed in the Federal Court that La Presse consulted.

Anthony Housefather, Liberal MP for Mount Royal on the island of Montreal, tweeted on Friday that “Hockey Canada is taking the Government of Canada to court now to stop disclosure of financial information. Perhaps Hockey Canada prefers our Heritage Committee to summon the documents and have us ask them questions at a public hearing.”

Uhh, Mr. Housefather, yes, please. And on live TV, too.

While all of this has been going on, sponsors have been scurrying to distance themselves from Hockey Canada, either terminating agreements completely or limiting sponsorship to women’s program and/or minor hockey. Those include Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Nike, Telus, Sobeys, which is the parent company of Safeway and Thriftys, Skip the Dishes, Scotiabank, Esso, Chevrolet Canada, BDO, BFL Canada, and Recipe Unlimited, the parent company of The Keg and Swiss Chalet.

Also cutting ties — CBC reported that it was done “quietly” in June — was Predator Ridge, a golf resort near Vernon. B.C., that has advertised itself as “The Official Summer Home of Hockey Canada.”

Brad Pelletier, senior vice-president of Wesbild Okanagan, told castanet.net that Predator Ridge did “suspend all activities back in June” and now has “taken the next step this week to terminate our relationship.”

Castanet’s Jon Manchester wrote: “Predator Ridge became an ‘exclusive partner’ with Hockey Canada in 2012, naming itself Hockey Canada’s ‘summer home.” Several hockey events were held at the resort, including visits from the national men’s and women’s teams. Those events included player and sponsor meetings and charitable events.”

——

Let’s be honest. There is something rotten — really, really rotten — in the state of Canadian sports.

Here’s a chunk of what Myles Dichter wrote in The Buzzer for CBC on Wednesday:

“Hockey Canada isn’t alone. More than 90 current and former sliding athletes have called for the resignation of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton CEO Sarah Storey and high-performance director Chris Le Bihan over an alleged toxic culture. Over the weekend, Storey abruptly adjourned the organizations annual general meeting in Calgary at which a leadership vote had been set to occur. BCS later said the meeting was halted over irregularities in voter verification. An independent report released (Tuesday) detailed similar athlete mistreatment at Rowing Canada. Gymnastics Canada is facing a class-action lawsuit over claims of physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Boxing Canada’s leadership was also called on to resign over allegations of widespread abuse.”

——

Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Experts debate who is faster: Connor McDavid or The Sponsors fleeing Hockey Canada.


Target



You are Tom Gaglardi. You own the NHL’s Dallas Stars and you are the majority Kamloopsowner of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. F Logan Stankoven of the Blazers was the CHL player of the year last season. He was a second-round selection by the Stars in the NHL’s 2021 draft and has signed with them. These days, Stankoven, 19, is in camp with the Stars. . . . If Stankoven continues to show well, does Gaglardi keep him with the Stars or does he return him to the Blazers, who will play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup?

Here’s Matthew DeFranks, who covers the Stars for the Dallas Morning News: “If the Stars carry 13 forwards, and they are choosing from the 14 forwards remaining in camp . . . one of the teenagers have made the NHL roster. Wyatt Johnston and Logan Stankoven remain entering the final preseason game Saturday in Minnesota.”


Acne


This ad appeared in the Regina Leader-Post just as the 1973-74 season was about to start. The Pats, under head coach Bob Turner and with Ed Staniowski starring in goal, would go on to win the Memorial Cup that season.

An adult season-ticket was $60. I have a feeling that it might cost about that much for an adult to attend one game this season, including parking and a trip or two to a concession stand.



Hartley Miller’s weekly Cat Scan podcast features Bob Simmonds who, besides being a fan of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, is the Prince George Cougars’ director of scouting. It’s an entertaining listen and it’s right here.


Parents


Czech F Pavel Novak, 20, played two seasons (2019-20, 2021-22) with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. He was a fifth-round pick by the Minnesota Wild in the NHL’s 2020 draft. On Wednesday, he posted a rather poignant message on Twitter on Wednesday:

On Friday, the Rockets posted the following video:


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Shaun Clouston of the Kamloops Blazers recorded his 500th regular-season victory as a WHL head coach on Friday night as his guys dumped the visiting Victoria Royals, 5-2. Clouston, who also is Kamloops’ general manager, is the 10th member of the WHL’s 500 Club, which is led by Don Hay (750), who now is the associate coach with the Blazers. . . . Pat Ginnell is No. 9 on the list, at 518. . . .

Willie Desjardins, the general manager and head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, grabbed his 401st regular-season victory in a 6-3 defeat of the host Everett Silvertips on Friday night. . . . Desjardins has 391 victories with the Tigers and 10 from a stint as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades in 1997-98. . . .

Andrew Peard, the radio voice of the Edmonton Oil Kings, called the team’s game against the host Spokane Chiefs on Friday. That game, Peard noted on Twitter (@AndrewPeard), was the Oil Kings’ first visit to Spokane since Oct. 4, 2018, or 1,462 days ago. . . . The Oil Kings posted a 3-1 victory on Friday, giving Luke Pierce his first victory as their head coach. He had 26 victories to his credit from a two-season stint as head coach of the Kootenay Ice (remember them?). . . .

Curling Canada has announced that the 2023 Canadian mixed championship will be held in Swift Current, from Nov. 5-11. That means the Broncos will spend at least the first two weeks of November 2023 on the road. . . .

Steve Staios has left the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs to join the Edmonton Oilers as special advisor to hockey operations. He had been the Bulldogs’ president and general manager. Matt Turek, the Bulldogs’ assistant GM, has taken over as interim GM. . . . Staios had been president since 2015 and had held both titles since prior to the 2016-17 season. With Staios in charge, the Bulldogs won OHL titles in 2018 and 2022. . . . He played 573 games over eight seasons with the Oilers.


Milk


THINKING OUT LOUD — First, they gave us the Indy Colts and Denver Broncos on Thursday night. Then it was the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats stumbling around on Friday night. The football gods will start smiling on us today. Won’t they? . . . Is it just me or are a number of NHL teams playing a whole lot of exhibition games this time around? . . . The most amazing part of Friday was watching the St. Louis Cardinals fall apart in the ninth inning as they saw a 2-1 lead turn into a 6-3 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.



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.


Lottery

Blades and Raiders help Big River celebrate special occasion . . . First Nation opens complex in honour of ex-NHLer Jim Neilson . . . Rangers were there, too

Hey, folks, this is what it’s all about . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades joined the people of the Big River First Nation on Tuesday to take part in the grand opening of the Jim Neilson Sports Complex, a multi-use facility that includes a 1,500-seat arena. It is named in honour of Neilson, the late NHL defenceman who was from Big River.

Joel Willick of MBC Radio has more on the opening right here.

Meanwhile, Dan Tencer, the Blades’ scouting director, posted four tweets later Tuesday, and here they are, in order:

  1. I’m in the hotel elevator last week in downtown Saskatoon and a mother and daughter get in. I ask about the very yummy plate of food they have and the daughter smiles. They tell me they’ve come from a barbecue for a gender reveal.
  2. Mom sees the logo on my shirt and asks if I work for the Blades. I say yes, I lead the group that scouts players for them. She excitedly says “you’re coming to Big River! We’re all coming out to watch.” I tell her I can’t wait to be there and they should find me and say hi.
  3. Game today ends, I’m outside by the team bus. Same mother and daughter walk up with the little girl imploring her mom to find the “scout leader.” It made my week. I was so touched that she had remembered our 25-second meeting.
  4. I was so proud that we were there to play at the opening of the new rink in their community. Hockey is a wonderful game and can facilitate so many connections in so many ways. Small as it might be, I’m so glad they found me again today.



Music


More than a few followers of the Kamloops Blazers were surprised (shocked?) when D Mats Lindgren, 18, was traded to the Red Deer Rebels on Aug. 29. Those Kamloopssame people were even more surprised to find out that Lindgren, a fourth-round selection of the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2022 draft, had asked out of Kamloops. . . . So what happened? . . . “It was the best thing for me for personal reasons and I’m just excited for this new opportunity,” Lindgren told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Marty Hastings of Kelowna This Week: “Sometimes, players are looking for a different opportunity. Sometimes, things aren’t a perfect fit. This is a scenario where both teams are able to give their players an opportunity with another team.” . . . The Blazers, who open their exhibition season at home to the Kelowna Rockets on Friday, acquired D Kyle Masters, 19, and a lottery-protected 2025 first-round draft pick in the deal. If the Rebels miss the 2024-25 playoffs and thus are in the draft lottery, the pick will move to the 2026 draft. . . . Lindgren would have eaten up a lot of minutes for the Blazers this season, and would have been on the No. 1 power-play unit on a team that will play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. So to find out that he had asked for a trade immediately after the NHL draft left a lot of people wondering what had gone wrong in Kamloops. . . . The Blazers, then under general manager Matt Bardsley, selected Lindgren with the seventh pick of the WHL’s 2019 draft. Bardsley was able to get Lindgren signed a couple of months later, but two years later the GM resigned for what he said were family reasons. . . . Just spit-balling here, but you wonder if Bardsley’s departure, followed by that of associate coaches Cory Clouston, after the 2020-21 development season, and Mark Holick, after last season, had anything to do with Lindgren’s unhappiness?

Meanwhile, Holick is back at Yale Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., where he will coach the U17 men’s prep team. He had spent three seasons as the head coach of Yale’s U18 prep team before joining the Blazers. That lasted one season before he resigned citing “personal reasons.”


Yogi


You could make the case that a penalty taken by an inactive player cost the Saskatchewan Roughriders a victory in what ended up being a 20-18 loss to the CFLlogoWinnipeg Blue Bombers in Regina on Sunday. . . . With the game tied 17-17 in the fourth quarter, and neither team having yet scored in the second half, the Roughriders had moved into field goal range when a schmozzle developed at the Saskatchewan bench. WR Duke Williams of the Roughriders, not dressed because of an ankle injury, was flagged for yapping with fewer than 11 minutes to play. Saskatchewan took a holding penalty on the next play and, because the penalty had pushed them out of field goal ranger, was forced to punt.

According to freelancer Jeff DeDekker, who covers Saskatchewan home games for The Canadian Press, Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson had this to say about the Williams penalty:

“I can tell you this much, moving forward there will be no players on the bench area that aren’t either playing or thoroughly involved in coaching because that was very disappointing. That hurt us and it hurt us bad.

“It was a stupid penalty and Duke feels bad about it and he should. Hopefully he’s expressed that to his teammates.

“He’s an emotional guy and his emotions got the best of him. I think they called it pretty tight. I don’t know what he said to the guy but it wasn’t complimentary. I’ll talk to (Roughriders general manager) Jeremy O’Day and see what we can do. That hurt our team. He feels bad about it and he should.”

On Tuesday, the Roughriders released an American, but it wasn’t Williams. Instead, it was DL Garrett Marino, who also has been more than a handful in the discipline department. Already having served a four-game suspension for, among other things, a hit that took out Ottawa Redblacks’ QB Jeremiah Masoli, Marino got away with a late hit on Winnipeg QB Zach Collaros late in Sunday’s game.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Hockey Canada insists it can change its culture without replacing leadership, changing culture.


THINKING OUT LOUD — I don’t know what it means, but think about this for a moment: The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks signed F J.T. Miller to a contract the other day that will pay him US$56 million over seven seasons; the NFL’s Denver Broncos signed QB Russell Wilson to a five-year, US$242,588,236 deal that included a $50-million signing bonus. . . . Miller is 29 years of age; Wilson is 33. . . . Summer is over. How do I know? Because the junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League opened its regular season with one game on Wednesday night. There are two more on tonight’s schedule and four on Friday. . . . I also know that summer is over because the NFL season gets started tonight (Thursday). I’m riding with the host Buffalo Bills over the Los Angeles Rams. Could it be a Super Bowl preview?


LittleLeague


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Vincent Tremblay, the play-by-play voice of the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, tweeted Tuesday that the club “will have a sponsor on the helmet.  Real estate company Trilogies Inc.” . . . Hmm, corporate logos on helmets. Can other junior teams be far behind? Not if there’s sponsorship money involved. . . .

Joe Mahon, who played in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks and Calgary Hitmen, will be in the NHL this season . . . as a linesman. Mahon, 28, is from Calgary. He has been officiating since 2019. Last season, he worked in the WHL and the AHL; this season, he’ll see action in the AHL and NHL. And he’ll be wearing No. 89. . . . Mahon played two seasons in the WHL. He had two goals and an assist in 41 games with Portland in 2012-13, then put up nine goals and nine assists in 56 games with the Hitmen in 2013-14. . . .

Eddie Gregory is the new play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Giants, having joined them after spending 18 seasons calling games for the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. Gregory, 40, takes over from Dan O’Connor, who left for the athletic department at UBC where he now is sports information co-ordinator. . . .

Damon Pugerude has signed on as the Everett Silvertips’ head equipment manager. He had been with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles, as head trainer and equipment manager, for the past six seasons. He also has worked with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs and the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder and Sherwood Park Crusaders.


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.


Babymaking

Royals complete sweep of Rockets . . . Ice alone atop WHL standings . . . Coaching vacancy in MJHL

In a piece posted here late Tuesday, I questioned why some hockey leagues are so quick to get through their playoffs after playing through a lengthy and kijhlgrinding regular season. . . . As an example, I used the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . Well, the Nelson Leafs and Revelstoke Grizzlies will play in the KIJHL’s best-of-seven championship final, and the schedule was released on Wednesday. . . . If the series goes seven games, the teams will play seven games in nine days. Seriously! . . . The series is scheduled to open Friday in Revelstoke, with Game 2 there on Saturday. The scene shifts to Nelson for games on Monday and Tuesday. If necessary, they then will play three games in as many nights — March 31 in Revelstoke, April 1 in Nelson, April 2 in Revelstoke. . . . Just thinking out loud here but maybe it is time junior hockey players had some kind of players’ association to stand up on their behalf when things like this happen.


A tip of the hat to the BCHL for taking advantage of more playoff time to spread bchlthings out. You may recall that the BCHL no longer is part of the Canadian Junior Hockey League, so won’t take part in the Centennial Cup tournament.

From Steve Ewen of Postmedia:

“The BCHL champion won’t be in the running for the Centennial Cup national title, since the league pulled out of the Canadian Junior Hockey League last spring and lost its spot in that tournament. The BCHL had sent a letter to the CJHL regarding multiple concerns. They wanted player transfers to be less restricted, for instance. The CJHL never responded to BCHL’s concerns, and the BCHL opted to leave.

“It did give the BCHL an opportunity to start its season later, which allowed it to spread out games. The league wasn’t concerned about having its schedule completed to link up with the other leagues for playoffs.

“I think this will make winning our league mean even more,” said (Penticton Vees GM/head coach Fred) Harbinson.

Ewen’s story is right here.


Stress


The Team 980, a radio station in Washington, D.C., had been the voice of the city’s NFL franchise since 2008. It ended its relationship with the team, known the Commanders, on Wednesday morning. Why? Kevin Sheehan, the station’s morning host, made the announcement. He explained: “The team and our company disagreed on the value of the broadcast. It’s also very important for us as a sports talk station, even as a long-time flagship station for the team, it was important for us to continue to be able to provide honest, objective information and analysis about the team on our talk shows.” . . . As Brandon Contes of Awful Announcing wrote: “Sheehan’s statement implies the Commanders have or would attempt to censor the content and topics that were discussed about the team on-air. The ability to speak objectively and honestly about NFL teams should be a requirement for sports radio stations, especially as it pertains to the Washington Commanders.” . . . Hmm, shouldn’t that be a requirement for any broadcast outlet?



WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

In Victoria, F Marcus Almquist had a goal and two assists to lead the Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Almquist, an 18-year-old from Denmark, went into the game with two goals and four assists in 34 games. . . . He also has goals in two straight games, having scored the game’s first goal on Tuesday when the Royals beat the Rockets, 4-2. . . . Last night, the Rockets got four assists from F Tanner Scott and two goals — he’s got 28 — and an assist from F Brayden Schuuman. . . . Almquist’s second goal, at 4:00 of the third period, gave the Royals a 4-2 lead. . . . The game featured two minor penalties — one to each team — and each team was 1-for-1 on the PP. . . . G Campbell Arnold stopped 36 shots to earn the victory. . . . Victoria (21-34-6), with four straight victories, is seventh in the Western Conference, two points behind the Vancouver Giants and five ahead of the Prince George Cougars and Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kelowna (34-18-6) is fifth, four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at this game and his post is right here. . . .

G Daniel Hauser ran his winning streak to 10 games as the visiting Winnipeg Ice beat the Saskatoon Blades, 4-2. . . . Hauser, who was called on to make only 16 stops, now is 26-2-1, 2.06, .913 this season. His career numbers are 33-2-1, 2.28, .909. . . . F Chase Wheatcroft’s 13th goal, at 2:06 of the third period, gave Winnipeg a 3-1 lead and stood up as the winner. . . . The Ice was without top-end forwards Matthew Savoie and F Conor Geekie, both of whom were in Kitchener, Ont., at the Top Prospects Game. . . . Winnipeg (45-9-5) leads the overall standings and the Eastern Conference by two points over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Saskatoon (33-22-4) is fifth in the conference, three points behind the Moose Jaw Warriors and nine ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s OCN Blizzard won’t be re-signing Billy Keane, who had been the general manager and head coach since July 16, 2020. The Blizzard (18-29-7) finished last in the six-team West Division and didn’t qualify for the playoffs.


——


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.


Tequila

B.C. capacity restrictions staying put . . . Schedule forces Royals to grind it out . . . Goalie scores in AJHL game

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, announced on Tuesday that capacity limits will remain in place until at least Feb. 16. That means that the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the WHL’s five B.C. franchises won’t be able to open up their arenas to 100 per cent capacity for at least another month. . . . “We are still in a pandemic, as much as we would like to be over it,” Dr. Henry said during a news conference. . . . Dr. Henry also said that the rate of transmission and number of hospitalizations in B.C. haven’t been higher since the start of the pandemic almost two years ago. . . . The latest restriction on building capacity was announced on Dec. 17 with the hope that it would be in place for a month. Now it seems that it will be there for at least another month.


The WHL issued its weekly injury/roster report on Tuesday, one day after the WHLleague put the Winnipeg Ice on pause “out of an abundance of caution due to pending further test results for COVID-19 with players and staff.” . . . The weekly report listed 24 players in COVID-19 protocol, with 30 having come out of protocol. . . . The Ice didn’t list any players in either category. . . . So let’s no take the roster report as anything resembling gospel. OK? . . . BTW, the Seattle Thunderbirds, one of three teams not to have been shut down to this point, had 10 players in protocol as of Tuesday, with two others having been cleared to return. . . . The Kamloops Blazers and Vancouver Giants didn’t show anyone out or returning, despite officials from both organizations having said last week that the majority of players and staff had tested positive at some point. . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings and Kelowna Rockets are the other two teams not to have had to pause activities. The Rockets listed two players in protocol, and the Wheat Kings one.


Wolves


The Swift Current Broncos were to have visited the Winnipeg Ice on Tuesday WinnipegIcenight, but that didn’t happen. The WHL announced on Monday that it had postponed the game pending results of those tests with the Ice. The WHL didn’t issue an update on Tuesday. . . . The Ice last played on Saturday against the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . This isn’t the Ice’s first run-in with COVID-19. On Dec. 27, the WHL announced that the Ice had three players and/or staff in protocol. On Jan. 8, Winnipeg was one of 15 teams that were put on pause by the WHL. The Ice was cleared to return to team activities on Jan. 10. . . . Winnipeg is scheduled to visit the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night.


The Victoria Royals were swept by the Rockets — 6-4 and 9-1 — in a Friday-VictoriaRoyalsSaturday doubleheader in Kelowna. The Royals then rode their bus to Prince George, where they were beaten, 5-3, by the Cougars on Tuesday night. The teams will play there again tonight. . . . The Royals will get back on the bus after that and head for home where they are to entertain the Vancouver Giants on Friday and the Everett Silvertips on Saturday. By then, they will have played six games in nine nights. . . . Before this stretch is over, the Royals will have played 10 games in 16 nights. . . . Victoria listed 12 players on this week’s injury list — five in COVID-19 protocol, two week-to-week, two day-to-day, one two-to-four weeks and two season-ending.




ICYMI, Jim Matheson, Postmedia’s veteran hockey writer in Edmonton, and Oilers F Leon Draisaitl exchanged words during a Tuesday media availability. It was all rather interesting and, at the same time, totally harmless, something that would happen more often if reporters had access to dressing rooms. The pandemic, of course, has changed those rules. . . . But, in this instance, sheesh, the social media world exploded, with a lot of the venom towards Matheson being spewed by those enjoying the anonymity that is so popular with so many members of the peanut gallery.



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.


Looters

Struch pays price in Regina; Paddock back behind Pats’ bench . . . Bedard due to break out? . . . USHL’s Lancers in disarray


Dave Struch became the second head-coaching casualty of this WHL season when the Regina Pats fired him on Thursday morning.

John Paddock, a veteran of the coaching game and twice the winner of the Dunc PatsMcCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s coach of the year, has taken over and now is the organization’s vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach. Paddock ran the Pats’ practice in Regina on Thursday.

According to Pats’ owner/governor Shaun Semple, Paddock “will assume the role of head coach for the remainder of this season and next.”

Struch, 50, was in the final year of his contract. He had been with the Pats since 2014-15. He started as an assistant coach working alongside Paddock, then took over as head coach after the Pats were the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup.

Prior to joining the Pats, Struch spent eight seasons on the Saskatoon Blades’ coaching staff, the last one (2013-14) as head coach.

“Not much to say, as this is what I signed up for as a coach,” Struch told the Regina Leader-Post via text on Thursday afternoon. “I’m sad for my family. Disappointed that I couldn’t help the team get more wins. Expectations are high for this group of young men to be at the top of the conference and I couldn’t make that happen.”

Struch exits with the Pats at 6-10-0, their most-recent appearance a 6-1 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes that left them with three straight losses. The Pats’ season has been streaky — two victories, seven losses, four victories, three losses.

Assistant coaches Brad Herauf, who is in his seventh season, and Ken Schneider, in his first, were retained.

“I’m positive that with John, Brad and Ken, they will get (the Pats) back to the top where they should be this season,” Struch told The Leader-Post. “I am grateful to the organization for everything they have done for my family and I over the last seven years.”

Paddock, 67, makes his first appearance back behind the bench on Saturday as the Pats begin a six-game road trip against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

He has extensive head-coaching experience that includes stints in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators. He was the WHL’s coach of the year following the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons.

Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has his thoughts on the Pats’ situation right here.

The other coach to depart since this season got started? Dean Brockman left the Swift  Current Broncos on Oct. 14.

——

With the Regina Pats having stumbled through the first part of the WHL’s regular season, there are those who are wondering about the first 16 games of F Connor Bedard’s season.

Bedard, the first player to have been granted exceptional status allowing him to play in the WHL as a 15-year-old, put up 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games in the developmental season that was played in the Regina hub last spring.

This season, Bedard, now 16, has eight goals and four assists in 16 games.

However, as Ken Campbell wrote Thursday at Hockey Unfiltered, better numbers are likely to be in Bedard’s immediate future.

“The temptation might be to wonder what is going on with Connor Bedard these days,” Campbell wrote. “There also might be a temptation to think that the WHL’s first exceptional player and top prospect for the 2023 NHL draft is lagging behind his competition, namely Adam Fantilli and Matvei Michkov.

“Yes, Bedard has only eight goals and 12 points in 16 games for the Regina Pats after scoring 28 points in just 15 games last season and leading Canada to a gold medal at the World Under-18 Championship. And he has yet to score a single goal on the power play. But there are a couple of mitigating circumstances at play. First, Bedard leads the Western Hockey League in shots with 85, which means he’s been the victim of some terribly bad luck. People in analytics tell us all the time that, particularly with elite players who generate a lot of chances, that luck is bound to change and his shooting percentage will get way above 9.4 percent. Last season, it was 17.4 percent.”

Campbell’s complete piece, which includes notes on a lot more than just Bedard, is right here.


If you are one of those people who puts stock in power polls or rankings or whatever they might be called, consider this from Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press . . .

“ESPN calls itself the worldwide leader in sports, but it’s more like the worldwide leader in hot takes (and arguably clickbait) following Wednesday’s release of their weekly NHL ‘power rankings.’

“In case you missed it, the new U.S. rightsholder for league telecasts has seen fit to demote the Winnipeg Jets down to 20th, a drop of eight spots from the No. 12 position they occupied last Wednesday.

“This, despite the fact the Jets just went a perfect 3-0-0 over the past seven days, including a dominating 5-2 win over Edmonton on Tuesday night. That would be the same Oilers team ESPN has ranked No. 1. Seriously. “You couldn’t make this up.

“Winnipeg has just one regulation loss in the last dozen games (9-1-2), and if it keeps up this impressive pace I suspect the Jets are going to drop all the way to dead-last in the rankings rather quickly.”

BTW, the Jets dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the host Oilers on Thursday night. Yes, Edmonton F Connor McDavid scored another one of “THOSE” goals.


Monopoly


The schedule has been released for the 2022 Memorial Cup and it comes with a real change. The tournament, which is to be held in Saint John, N.B., from June 4 through June 13, will begin on a Saturday night, rather than Friday, and the championship final is scheduled for Monday night, rather than Sunday. . . . All games will begin at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) with one exception — the game on June 5 between the QMJHL and WHL champions is to start at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET). . . . There is a news release right here, and it includes ticket-buying information.


Some crazy stuff has been going down with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Let’s Lancersstart with some Thursday tweets from Brad Elliott Schlossman, the Grand Forks Herald’s superb hockey writer . . .

On Wednesday, he had tweeted:

“Four months after Omaha (USHL) hired Chadd Cassidy as head coach and GM, and after an 8-4-2 start to this season, the Lancers have pushed him out, per multiple sources.”

These followed on Thursday (all times Pacific):

10:53 a.m.: Situation in Omaha escalating: Lancers have been cutting budgets, everything from video software to some postgame player meals; after ousting Cassidy, Omaha asked him to coach last weekend’s games (per @THNRyanKennedy); Omaha discussed having an injured player be asst coach.”

10:57 a.m.: “Remaining Omaha Lancers staff members are currently resigning. I’m not sure if there will be anyone left when this is done. Players are threatening to boycott upcoming games.”

11:11 a.m.: “Assistant general manager Jeff Cox, acting head coach Sean Walsh, assistant coach Tate Maris and trainer Nick Hart have all resigned from the Omaha Lancers.”

11:49 a.m.: “The remaining Lancers staff was willing to stay for the sake of the players. Then, this morning, team president David DeLuca lost his temper with acting HC Sean Walsh. Assistant coach Tate Maris resigned. Players opted to walk out. Remaining staff backed players and resigned.”

12:30 p.m.: “The Lancers say Chadd Cassidy ‘stepped down as head coach to pursue other opportunities.’ . . . Yeah, and I bench pressed 500 pounds this morning.”

Schlossman later filed this story right here.

And right here is a story from Chris Peters of dailyfaceoff.com who also has been all over this story.


On the subject of crazy stuff, it’s hard to believe that it has been 27 years since one of the highlights of my time around the WHL. Yessss, those were the days! . . . Regina versus Moose Jaw was so much fun. Play-by-play guys in Donald Duck outfits. Coaches battling. . . . Kevin Shaw, the Regina Pats’ unofficial historian, reminds us of what happened 27 years ago with this tweet . . .



Bigfoot


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.


Toad

WHL rests before busy weekend . . . B.C. sports hall honours Ewen . . . Avalanche coach tests positive


There weren’t any WHL games on Thursday’s schedule as it prepares for a 19-game weekend, although there aren’t any games on Monday, which is the Canadian Thanksgiving. . . . However, there were two WHL games on Wednesday night . . .

In Lethbridge, F Logan Dowhaniuk scored at 17:42 of the third period to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Edmonton got its other goal from F Jalen Luypen, shorthanded, with 1.1 seconds left in the second period. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Zach Benson, the 14th pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft, scored twice to help the Ice to a 5-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Ice F Mikey Milne had two assists, giving him seven points in three games.


Machete


The QMJHL has suspended Nicolas Daigle and Massimo Siciliano of the Victoriaville Tigres at least until the court has dealt with charges against them. They were charged with sexual assault on Tuesday. They also were charged with recording the incident and Daigle is facing a charge of having shared images of the alleged victim. . . . The charges arose after an incident that is alleged to have occurred in a hotel in Lac-Beauport on June 6 after the Tigres’ won the QMJHL championship in June. . . . The QMJHL’s news release is right here.


Jared Bednar, a former WHLer who is the head coach of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, will miss a pair of exhibition games after testing positive for COVID-19. . . . The Avalanche is to play the Stars in Dallas on Thursday, with the two teams meeting in Denver on Saturday. . . . In Bednar’s absence, assistant coaches Ray Bennett and Nolan Pratt, both of whom are former WHLers, will run the Colorado bench. . . . Bednar played in the WHL (Saskatoon Blades, Spokane Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers, Prince Albert Raiders, 1990-93). He is in his sixth season as Colorado’s head coach. . . . Bennett spent one season (1992-93) as the Moose Jaw Warriors’ assistant general manager. He also scouted for the Spokane Chiefs (1994-95). . . . Pratt spent three-plus seasons (1991-95) as a defenceman wit the Portland Winter Hawks.



Steve Ewen of Postmedia has been named as a recipient of an Eric Whitehead Inspired Service Award as presented by the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. Among other things, Ewen covers junior hockey for the Vancouver Province and Vancouver Sun. “In 2010, Ewen was diagnosed with a solitary plasmacytoma, a type of blood cancer, needing two rods and 15 screws to be inserted into his back and neck,” wrote Postmedia’s J.J. Adams. “In a six-month hospital stay, he had eight back surgeries, leaving his spine fused from his neck to the middle of his back. The cancer returned in 2017, when he had a stem cell transplant.” . . . Whitehead, a former Province sports editor, was heavily involved in the founding of the Hall of Fame. . . . Adams’s story is right here.


Diaper


David Branch, the OHL commissioner, told reporters on Wednesday that all of his league’s players are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. He also said that the OHL had one player opt out of playing rather than get vaccinated. . . .

The OHL’s Sarnia Sting opened its regular season on Thursday night with a 6-3 victory over the Spitfires in Windsor. But associate coach Brad Staubitz wasn’t there. The team announced earlier in the day that Staubitz has taken a leave of absence for non-COVID-related personal reasons. He has been on the Sting’s coaching staff since 2016. . . . On Wednesday, the Sting announced that assistant coach Mark Mancari would be away “for the foreseeable future to deal with a personal health issue.” He had been with the Sting since June 2020. . . . Alan Letang, the head coach, and goaltending coach Franky Palazzese are the only other coaches listed on the Sting’s website.


The Brooklyn Nets are scheduled to play an exhibition game at home against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night and guard Kyrie Irving is listed on their roster as out/ineligible. . . . Irving has refused to get vaccinated and under New York City requirements only those who are fully vaccinated are allowed in city facilities.


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: Maggie Sinclair was elected to the Moose Jaw Warriors’ board of directors at the organization’s AGM on Sept. 30. She is the first female member of the board; the Warriors have been around since 1984. From a Warriors’ news release: “Sinclair currently works as a the Chief Risk and Compliance Officer with Conexus and has decades of experience in banking.” . . . Krista Funke made her debut as an AJHL referee on Wednesday night in Lloydminster where the Bobcats beat the Sherwood Park Crusaders, 8-2. She and fellow referee Daniel Gadowski handed out 10 minor penalties, five to each team. Funke, from Regina, is quite story. She was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2012 while at the U of Toronto. Jennifer Ackerman of the Regina Leader-Post detailed Funke’s story on Jan. 31, 2019. That story is right here.


Penguin

Who will be Blazers’ next GM? . . . Sheffield fan remembers a ‘Frankie wonderland’ . . . Tigres one victory from title

Matt Bardsley surprised a whole lot of people on May 25 when he announced that he was leaving his post as general manager of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. After all, the signs seem to point to the Blazers finally having returned to prominence in the B.C. Division. However, Bardsley cited family reasons in wanting to return to the U.S., so he will depart following month’s end. . . . But who will move into the GM’s office when Bardsley is gone? Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week checks in with a handful of candidates right here.


Frank Kovacs, one of hockey’s good guys, turned 50 on Thursday. Kovacs, who played five seasons (1987-92) with the Regina Pats, also spent three seasons (1996-99) with the Sheffield Steelers of what was then the British Ice Hockey Super League. After playing with the Steelers, he finished up with four seasons in Hungary. . . . But it’s interesting the relationships that live on with some of these players and fans. . . . On Thursday, Bryan Crabtree (@BryanCrabtree) tweeted to Kovacs: “Thanks for the wonderful memories when you played for the Steelers.” . . . Crabtree closed with: “There’s only one Frankie Kovacs, skating along, singing a song, skating in a Frankie wonderland.” . . . Wonderful! . . . Kovacs, by the way, now is a member of the Regina Police Service.


The Victoriaville Tigres scored a 3-1 victory over the Val-d’Or Foreurs on Thursday night and now hold a 3-2 edge in the QMJHL’s best-of-seven championship final. . . . The entire series is being played in Quebec City. . . . Game 6 is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with a seventh game, if necessary, to be played Sunday afternoon. . . . In Game 5, as in Game 4, the Foreurs scored a first-period goal and then didn’t score again. . . . F Olivier Coulombe pulled Victoriaville even at 18:21 of the first period and the Tigres added a pair of third-period goals, with F Nicolas Daigle counting at 0:45 and F Benjamin Tardif adding insurance at 9:07. . . . G Nikolas Hurtubise stopped 33 shots to earn the victory. . . . If you’re wondering about attendance, the series opener was played without fans, but the league received the OK to allow 2,000 fans in for each of ensuing games. The next four games drew, in order, crowds of 1,958, 2,146, 1,948 and 1,808.



Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on Sunday. 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. She just had a big day and now is having her best fund-raising Walk yet.


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: Castan Sommer, an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds since Aug. 4, 2017, has resigned. According to Bill La Forge, the Thunderbirds’ general manager, Sommer “has accepted an assistant coach position with a soon-to-be-announced team.” The Thunderbirds now are on the hunt for a replacement. Head coach Matt O’Dette’s staff includes assistant coach Kyle Hagel and goaltender coach Ian Gordon.


Jeep

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