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

WHL’s B.C. teams closer to playing . . . Oilers new goalie had myocarditis . . . Junior A league cancels season

Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister, told media on Monday afternoon that the WHL2WHL’s return-to-play protocol for its five B.C. Division teams has been approved. Richard Zussman of Global BC tweeted that Dix said he “expects the season to go ahead. Says there are some health authority issues still being worked out, but the season will be played.” . . . Postmedia’s Steve Ewen reported: “Through the negotiations, there had been some suggestion from the health authority about a one-city hub. There’s been talk as well through the process of a 24-game season spread over six weeks. WHL officials weren’t sure Monday what exactly had been approved.” . . . Ron Toigo, the Vancouver Giants’ majority owner, told Ewen: “We’re definitely going in the right direction.” . . . Ewen’s story is right here. . . .

Wondering why the WHL apparently has received clearance to play, while the BCHL continues to wait? It might have to do with the WHL hubs in Kamloops and Kelowna both being in the Interior Health Authority, while the BCHL wants to play in five hubs which means it will be dealing with more than one health authority. . . . Also, WHL teams are to stay in hotels; the BCHL plan apparently calls for the use of billets. . . .

The WHL reported on Friday that it hadn’t received any positives from 481 tests done on its five Alberta teams. The schedule involving those teams began on Friday. The five Saskatchewan-based teams and two from Manitoba have gathered in Regina and will begin play on March 12. The five U.S. Divisions are scheduled to start up on March 18. . . .

B.C. health officials don’t report COVID-19 numbers during weekends — it is the only jurisdiction in Canada that chooses not to — and on Monday it was announced that the province experienced 1,478 news cases over the previous three days. Eight weekend deaths brought B.C.’s total to 1,363.



Selfish


The Edmonton Oilers claimed G Alex Stalock on waivers from the Minnesota Wild on Monday, despite the fact that he hasn’t played all season. Stalock was diagnosed with COVID-19 in November, then was listed by the Wild as being out with an upper-body injury. . . . Stalock told Michael Russo of The Athletic that he was found to have myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that can come along with COVID-19. Upon being diagnosed, he was told to rest for six weeks. . . . Here’s what he told Russo: “Those first couple weeks were scary. You go on the internet and read stuff and you’re like, ‘Holy shit.’ I was completely asymptomatic, but they think because I had no symptoms and had it in my system that because it was right at the time where we were ramping things up with skating and working out and ramping up for the season that my heart was working and working and working and started to get stressed and swell because of the virus in my system.” . . . Stalock also said: “It was mentally draining and very frustrating. Every doctor you talk to, they’re like, ‘This is so new, we don’t know what can happen.’ And you’re like, ‘Well, that doesn’t help.’ “


The seven-team junior A Superior International Junior Hockey League’s board of governors announced on Monday that it has “discontinued its effort to resume play in 2020-21 . . . effective immediately.” . . . From a news release:

“Throughout the entire return-to-play process, the league has never sought exemptions from public health guidelines and recommendations. The stark reality is that the Thunder Bay District and Northwestern region is currently amongst the hardest hit in the province — perhaps even the country — with virus activity and trending in the wrong direction.

“The SIJHL is confident that its strict safety protocols mitigated risk and ensured the league has not contributed to the spread of the virus, it is simply no longer reasonable to hold out hopes that the region will revert to an environment that permits return to play in time to resume any sort of meaningful competition this season.”


Speed


In the world of NCAA men’s hockey, a series between visiting Denver U and Colorado College that was to have been played Thursday and Saturday has been cancelled. Why? Positive tests, contact tracing and quarantining in the Colorado College program. The NCHC playoffs are scheduled for March 12-16 in Grand Forks. The cancellations meant teams haven’t played the same number of games, so playoff seedings were determined by points percentage. Colorado College’s status — it is the No. 7 seed — will be monitored over the next few days.


The Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons were to have played an NBA game in Tampa tonight, but it was postponed and now it’s hoped that they will be available to play on Wednesday night. According to the NBA, the move was made because of “positive test results and ongoing contact tracing within the Raptors organization.” . . . A game between the Raptors and Chicago Bulls that was to have been played Sunday also was postponed, and Toronto played without F Pascal Siakam, head coach Nick Nurse and five members of his staff on Friday,


Tim McCarver, a former MLB catcher, opted out of his job as an analyst on Fox Sports Midwest’s telecasts of St. Louis Cardinals games last season. McCarver, 79, likely won’t be taking part in telecasts again this season. “Everything is fine with me, I’m very healthy — and plan on keeping it that way,” McCarver told Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I just have to use common sense.”


James Bradshaw, The Globe and Mail — CIBC has pushed back its return-to-office plans again, telling employees currently working remotely that most of them shouldn’t expect to come back until the end of June, at the earliest.


The AJHL will resume its season on March 12 with its 13 remaining teams playing in five cohorts. The Canmore Eagles and Lloydminster Bobcats have opted out. . . . Teams will play on weekends through April 14, without fans, then pause, change groups and start up again. . . . The first round of COVID-19 testing didn’t return any positives from 367 players and staff.


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.


Pinging

Yes, Ray Ferraro had quite a season — 108 goals — with 1983-84 Wheat Kings . . . Name only WHL team he didn’t score against . . .


These days, you may know Ray Ferraro as the analyst on some of TSN’s telecasts from the World Junior Championship in Edmonton. You may even

RayFerraro
RAY FERRARO (Photo: TSN)

remember him from an NHL career during which he played 1,258 regular-season games and totalled 898 points, including 408 goals, with six teams. . . . But there was a time when he had the greatest goal-scoring season in WHL history. That was in 1983-84 when he was with the Brandon Wheat Kings, who had acquired him from the Portland Winterhawks with whom he had won the 1983 Memorial Cup. . . . The really interesting thing about that deal is that it was a one-for-five exchange and Ferraro wasn’t the one. The Wheat Kings acquired Ferraro, D Brad Duggan and forwards Derek Laxdal, Dave Thomlinson and Tony Horacek for C Blaine Chrest, at the time a 17-year-old prospect of note. . . . It’s not like Ferraro hadn’t scored in Portland. In 1982-83, playing mostly in a third-line role, he had 41 goals and 49 assists. A broken wrist meant that he only played 50 games. . . .

In Brandon, playing mostly on a line with wingers Stacy Pratt and, in the latter half of the season, Dave Curry, who was acquired from the Seattle Breakers, Ferraro struck for 108 goals in 72 regular-season games. What is mostly forgotten is that Ferraro finished with 192 points, then added 13 goals and 15 assists in 11 playoff games. . . . Add it all up and he wound up with 220 points, including 121 goals, in 83 games. . . . The figure that stands out, of course, is 108, because, for one thing, that’s a lot of goals. And for another thing, it will never be broken. I know, never say never, but in this instance that is a record that won’t be broken, if only because of the way the game is played today. . . .

This was a long introduction leading to a couple of stories that appeared in the Regina Leader-Post on Tuesday. Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post spoke with Ferraro about his memorable season. . . . Ferraro, for example, remembers having scored 54 goals in 36 games by the time the 1984 World Junior Championship began in Sweden. He also remembers being disappointed, really disappointed, at not being invited to play for Team Canada. Of course, had Ferraro played for Team Canada he wouldn’t have scored 108 goals for the Wheat Kings. . . . Vanstone covers all that and more in this piece right here. . . . If you check out the photos that accompany that story, you will notice that it was a Cooperall season. . . .

Vanstone also took the time to chat with two of the goaltenders who were terrorized by Ferraro that season. . . . Doug Lunney, who was then with the Winnipeg Warriors, told Vanstone that Ferraro “was the first guy I ever saw who had the confidence and patience to slam the brakes on in mid-deke on a breakaway, then slide the puck in an open net after the goalie over-committed.” . . . Vanstone also spoke with Jamie Reeve, who faced Ferraro while with the Regina Pats. . . . That piece is right here. . . .

Ferraro

Ferraro broke the WHL’s single-season record of 96 goals that had been set by Brandon C Bill Derlago in 1976-77. At the time, Ferraro, who was a terrific interview, admitted the record pursuit was causing him sleepless nights.

I was at The Leader-Post at the time and wrote a lengthy feature on Ferraro that appeared in the paper of March 23, 1984.

“I tried to tell myself not to think about it because when you think about it, it’s just that much harder to get,” he told me. “It was just impossible not to think about. I’d go to bed at night — I really had a lot of trouble sleeping the last couple of weeks — and all I could think about was getting this record.

“I wanted to get it over with so I could get back to playing the type of hockey I should be playing. I noticed I was turning away from guys, trying for the poke-check and the breakaway.”

He also admitted that he was having problems comprehending his accomplishment.

“I can’t believe I’ve got this many goals,” he said. “I was coming here hoping to get 70 goals, not 38 past that. Man, that’s a lot of goals.”

Here’s a look at how many goals Ferraro scored against each of the WHL’s 13 other teams that season: Prince Albert, 10 games, 24 goals; Winnipeg, 12-21; Regina, 10-15; Saskatoon, 10-14; Lethbridge 6-7; Calgary, 6-7; Medicine Hat, 6-6; Victoria, 2-5; Kelowna, 2-3; Portland, 2-3; New Westminster, 2-2; Kamloops, 2-1; and Seattle, 2-0.



If you’re a WHL fan and have a Twitter account, you should be following John Winton (@NewWestBruins); Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner); and Victoria Cougars Hockey Project (@victoriacougars). . . . Winton posts all kinds of interesting things involving the New Westminster Bruins. . . . Shaw is always posting about Regina Pats’ history, including highlights of each date in franchise history. . . . The Victoria Cougars Hockey Project provides ample items involving that franchise’s history in the B.C. capital.



Protip


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Public Health Agency of Canada: Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT: Tested: 13,775,115 . . . Cases: 572,982 . . . Active: 72,927 . . . Recovered: 484,583 . . . Deaths: 15,472.

CBC News: Global deaths from COVID-19 top 1.8M mark: Johns Hopkins University.

CBC News: Air travellers entering Canada must have a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, Ottawa says.

CNN, Wednesday, 3 p.m. PT: 341,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Wednesday, 8:10 p.m. PT: 342,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

Ryan Struyk, CNN: The US coronavirus death toll will reach 396,000 by Inauguration Day, according to a new CDC ensemble model estimate.

Kate Feldman, New York Daily News: The United States hit another grim COVID-19 landmark Tuesday with its highest daily death toll since the pandemic started. . . . At least 3,725 Americans died Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker, more than 1,000 fatalities higher than the previous peak on Dec. 16. . . . More than 247,000 new cases were also reported Tuesday.

The New York Times: Roughly 60 percent of Ohio nursing home workers offered a coronavirus vaccine have refused to be inoculated, Gov. Mike DeWine announced at a news conference on Wednesday, citing anecdotal evidence.

——

The governors of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont have announced “an extension of the suspension of interstate youth hockey competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey leagues through at least Jan. 31.” . . . At the same time, “the prohibition will no impact interstate collegiate, professional or U.S. national team hockey activities, which will remain subject to existing health and safety protocols ard/or restrictions.” . . .

Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN’s top college football analyst, will work Friday’s Sugar Bowl — No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State — from home after testing positive. Interestingly, Herbstreit’s two sons, Jake and Tye, are redshirt freshmen with Clemson. . . .

Meanwhile, Greg McElroy of ESPN was to have worked on the telecast of the Cotton Bowl and the radio broadcast of the Rose Bowl. But he, too, has tested positive and will miss both games.

In the world of NCAA hockey, North Dakota was to have travelled to Omaha this weekend, but the doubleheader was postponed because of positives tests in the Omaha program. . . .

The Texas Bowl, that was to have featured TCU (6-4) and Arkansas (3-7), has been cancelled. It was scheduled to be held on Thursday in Houston’s NRG Stadium. . . . The decision was made “due to an increased number of positive tests and other circumstances within the TCU football program,” according to organizers. . . .

The BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament that is held annually in Indian Wells, Calif., from March 8-21 has been postponed. The ATP-WTA event was cancelled last spring. Organizers are hopeful that it will be played at some point later in 2021. . . .

Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on the TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island, has died of COVID-19. She was 82 when she died in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning.


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.



Deer

OHL expected to move on from Feb. 4 start date . . . Who’s on your Pats’ all-time teams? . . . Zach needs a kidney


As we head into Christmas weekend, it would seem that we are at least a month CHLaway from major junior hockey being played anywhere. . . . The OHL pooh-bahs have met and are expected to announce today (Wednesday) that they haven’t cancelled their season but have gone away from having a target date. The OHL had announced on Oct. 29 that it was planning to open a 40-game regular season on Feb. 4. With Southern Ontario entering a four-week lockdown on Dec. 26, the Feb. 4 date became unreachable. . . . The WHL, which had targeted a Jan. 8 start date, has moved on from that and now says its board of governors will meet later in January to reassess its position. . . . The QMJHL, unlike the OHL and WHL, has government (read: taxpayers) money in its jeans, and is planning to play some bubble hockey late in January. . . . Of course, we are going to have to wait and see whether COVID-19 will allow it.


Let the arguments begin! Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post and Kevin PatsShaw, who is a walking, talking Pats encyclopedia, put their heads together and came up with lists of the best players in the history of the WHL franchise. . . . They didn’t produce just a first team, but also second, third and fourth teams. . . . They’re all right here, so take a look and discuss, then direct all comments to Mr. Vanstone. . . . I don’t know who I would have dropped off their first team, but I would have found room for Jason Smith.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: 155 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, the 2nd day in a row where the cases have been below 200. That hasn’t happened since the end of October. The province is also reporting 18 additional deaths.

Skylar Peters, CJOB Winnipeg: The province says it handed out 283 warnings and 62 tickets in the latest round of COVID-19 enforcement (Dec. 14-20), including: 2 $5,000 business tickets; 48 $1,296 individual tickets; 12 $298 mask-wearing tickets; 35 of those tickets were related to gatherings at homes.

CBC News: Saskatchewan has 181 new COVID-19 cases, well below the province’s 7-day average of 216. Health authorities are also attributing 3 additional deaths to the virus.

Courtney Theriault, City News: 11 new COVID deaths in Alberta, now up 871 . . . 1021 new cases on 14199 tests (7.2% +) . . .  802 in hospital (+7), 152 in ICU (+1) . . . 18331 active cases in AB (-834).

CBC News: B.C. announces 444 new cases of COVID-19, the lowest single-day total in more than a month.

CBC News: Ontario has 2,202 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the 7-day average to 2,288. There are 636 in Toronto, 504 in Peel Region, and 218 in York. 45,265 tests were completed, with a positivity rate of 5%. 1,005 people are in hospital with 273 in ICU.

CBC News: Quebec reports 2,183 new COVID-19 cases, the province’s highest single day total since the pandemic began. 28 additional deaths are also being attributed to the virus.

CNN: The continent of Antarctica has recorded its first coronavirus cases after 36 individuals tested positive on a research base, according to the Chilean military.

——

Strike another bowl game off the schedule. The Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl has been cancelled because South Carolina can’t answer the bell due to virus-related issues. The game was to have had South Carolina (2-8) — yes, 2-8! — against Alabama Birmingham (6-3) in Tampa Bay on Saturday. . . .

Might the Music City Bowl be in jeopardy? Scheduled for Dec. 30 in Nashville, the game is to feature No. 15 Iowa (6-2) and Missouri (5-5). However, Iowa has suspended in-person football activities until Saturday after an increase in positives. According to the Des Moines Register, six coaches and several players have come up positive. That includes head coach Kirk Ferentz. . . .

The NFL had 14 players and 31 other personnel test positive from Dec. 13-19. In that span, 6,927 people underwent 41,501 tests. . . . Since Aug. 1, the NFL has had 201 positives among players and 359 among other personnel. That’s out of 840,460 tests. . . .

The San Francisco 49ers have lost quarterbacks Nick Mullens and Jimmy Garoppolo to injuries, which means C.J. Beathard will start against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday. However, they ran out of quarterbacks on Tuesday when Josh Johnson went on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That’s why they signed Josh Rosen off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad.


Zach16

——

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.

WJC exhibition games start today . . . WHL moves draft to December . . . Former Pats owner has died



After having eight German players and two Swedish team managers test 2021WJCpositive last week at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton, the IIHF announced Monday that it has had only one positive test since then. One German staff member has tested positive and will remain in quarantine until Dec. 30. . . . The two Swedes who tested positive will remain quarantined until Sunday, with all players now having been cleared to return to the ice. . . . The WJC’s exhibition schedule begins today (Tuesday) with two games — Switzerland-Austria, 3 p.m. PT, and Finland-U.S., 6:30 p.m. PT . . . The exhibition schedule wraps up Wednesday with two more games — Canada-Russia, 3 p.m. PT, and Slovakia-Czech Republic, 6:30 p.m. PT. . . .  The tournament opens with three games on Friday — Slovakia-Switzerland, 11 a.m. PT; Finland-Germany, 3 p.m. PT; and U.S.-Russia, 6:30 p.m. PT. Canada plays its first game on Saturday when it meets Germany at 3 p.m. PT.


Fir


There had been a school of thought that the WHL might change the age of players eligible for its annual bantam draft, taking it from a player’s 15-year-old season to 16. But that isn’t going to happen. . . . While the WHL has changed the event’s name — the WHL bantam draft now is the WHL draft — it has only moved it from its normal date in May to an undisclosed date in December 2021. . . . “Moving the 2021 WHL draft from May to December allows additional time for players in the 2006 age group to be evaluated following a challenging season due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, said in a news release. “We anticipate minor hockey leagues and tournaments will be fully operational in the fall, which will allow players to compete at a high level once again.”



The QMJHL’s 12 Quebec-based team are planning to resume play on Jan. 22 in Chicoutimi, Drummondville, Rimouski and Shawinigan. They won’t be in bubbles; rather, the QMJHL is referring to them as protected environment events. Each host team will be joined by two other teams Jan. 22-24. . . . Chicoutimi, Drummondville and Rimouski also will play host to similar events, from Jan. 29-Feb. 6, with four teams in each venue.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Headline from The Onion — Arizona: Tumbleweeds must quarantine for 14 days after rolling in from out of state.

CBC News: As of 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, there were 515,314 cases of COVID-19 recorded in Canada, with 423,621 of those considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 14,332.

Brittany Greenslade, Global News: It’s been weeks but Manitoba’s numbers are way down Monday. 167 new COVID cases today and 4 deaths. 5,736 active cases. 16,717 recovered. 572 total deaths. 310 hospitalized, 42 in ICU. Test positivity rate 11.5%. Test positivity rate 10.5% in Winnipeg.

Bob Holliday, Winnipeg: “WOW!!! For those who refuse to believe that social distancing and masks don’t prevent the spread of COVID-19, check out the latests stats from Manitoba Health. On Dec. 6, 380 new cases were reported n the province, with 272 in Winnipeg. Well, folks, on Dec. 21 the provincial new cases dropped to 166, while Winnipeg’s dropped to 83. Both are the lowest since Nov. 25 when there were 349 new cases provincially and 213 in the city. Keep wearing the masks and stay two metres apart in crowds, and we’ll all have a Happy New Year.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 206 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the province’s 7-day average down to 217. The province is also reporting 4 additional deaths.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,240 new COVID-19 cases, 9 more deaths. The province has a test positivity rate of 6.8%.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat sits at 78 active COVID-19 cases. There are six new cases and seven new recoveries. . . . Other numbers: Cypress County, 10 active; Forty Mile, one; Lethbridge, 155; Taber, 19; Brooks, 42; Calgary, 5,836; Edmonton, 7,367.

rednewsNOW: Red Deer with 415 active COVID-19 cases as of Monday.

Richard Zussman, Global BC: There are 1667 new cases of COVID-19 in BC. There were 652 cases from Fri to Sat, 486 cases from Sat to Sun and 529 cases from Sun to Mon. There have been 47,067 total cases. . . . There are 341 people in hospital, this is down 15. There are 80 in ICU, down 12. So far 35,455 people have recovered. There are 9,718 active cases of the virus. . . . There have been 41 COVID deaths over the last  3 days in BC.

CBC News: 2,123 new COVID-19 cases in Ontario, 7th straight day above 2,000. There are 17 additional deaths. 915 people are in hospital, with 265 in ICU and 152 on ventilators. 54,505 people tested; positivity rate 4.7%. Comes ahead of lockdown announcement.

CBC News: All of Ontario will move into a lockdown on Boxing Day in a bid to curb climbing COVID-19 case numbers and spare hospitals and their intensive care units from being inundated in January, Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday. The lockdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 26 and remain in place until at least Jan. 23, 2021, in the 27 public health units that comprise southern Ontario. In the seven public health units in Ontario’s north, where daily case numbers have been significantly lower, the lockdown is set to expire on Jan. 9.

CBC News: Quebec reports 2,108 new COVID-19 cases. The province’s 7-day average now tops 1,935 cases. There are 30 additional deaths attributed to the virus. Quebec has 1,852 new recoveries and 1,048 COVID-19 patients in hospital.

——

The 2021 Saskatchewan Summer Games that were to have been held in Lloydminster have been cancelled. Originally, the 2020 Games were to have been held July 26 through Aug. 1, but they were postponed to 2021. A decision also was made to return the Summer Games to a quadrennial cycle, meaning the next ones will be held in 2024. Lloydminster has been given the first right of refusal to act as host city. . . .

If you’re into football bowl games, you should know that the Independence Bowl was cancelled on Sunday. It was to have featured Army (9-2) but an opponent couldn’t be found. Seriously. . . . Later Monday, Army accepted an invitation to the Liberty Bowl where it will face West Virginia (5-4). That game is set for Dec. 31 in Philadelphia. . . . Army got in only because Tennessee (3-6) pulled out because of COVID-19 issues. ESPN reports that head coach Jeremy Pruitt, some assistants and a bunch of players all tested positive. . . . So far, 16 bowl games have been cancelled and at least 22 teams have opted out. . . . The Independence Bowl was to have been played Saturday at Shreveport, La. . . . Also cancelled on the weekend: The Guaranteed Rate Bowl that was to have been played Saturday in Phoenix and the Birmingham Bowl that would have gone on New Year’s Day. . . . Also on Sunday, Boise State joined the list of teams opting out of playing in bowl games.

The Baltimore Ravens once had 23 — yes, 23! — players on their reserve/COVID-19 list. On Monday, they activated DB Geno Stone on the list, leaving that list empty. Finally. . . .

Manitoba and Ontario curling officials announced Monday that they have cancelled their women’s, men’s and mixed doubles curling championships for 2021. . . . The Northern Ontario Curling Association made the same decision earlier this month. . . . B.C. officials have said they will announce a decision on Jan. 8.


Dogs


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.


Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if that really was an NFL game in Denver . . .

Scattershooting

EarlyMorning
Sunrise over the South Thompson River . . . Campbell Creek, B.C. . . . Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 . . . 7 a.m.

There was a wonderful outpouring of emotion the other day when Fred Sasakamoose was taken from us by COVID-19 at the age of 86. Mel Recchi of Kamloops felt the loss, too.

FredSasakamoose, who would have turned 86 on Christmas Eve, played four seasons (1956-60) with the Kamloops Chiefs of the long gone Okanagan Senior Hockey League. This came after his 11-game stint with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks (1953-54) and time with the New Westminster Royals, Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Calgary Stampeders.

During Sasakamoose’s stint with the Chiefs, Recchi sometimes would serve as a practice goaltender.

“He was a hell of a hockey player and also a pretty nice guy,” Recchi remembers. “He could shoot that puck. He really liked Kamloops . . . and they loved him here.”

Of course, goaltenders didn’t wear masks back in the day.

“I was a brash kid in those days . . . no mask and no fear,” recalls Recchi, who also got ice time with the Western league’s Vancouver Canucks when they would train in Kamloops. “I can’t believe it now.”

BTW, Sasakamoose played 94 games through three of those seasons with the Chiefs, scoring 43 goals and adding 57 assists. The stats for the 1958-59 season aren’t available.

Sasakamoose has family in Kamloops, including his younger brother, Pete, who didn’t make the Chiefs when Fred did, but ended up staying in the city and making it his home.

Solaine Sasakamoose, a great-grand niece, played for the Kamloops-based Thompson Rivers University women’s soccer team in 2019. She was born in Kamloops, but was living and playing soccer on the Lower Mainland when she was recruited by TRU coach Mark Pennington.

Patrick Johnston of Postmedia has more on Fred Sasakamoose and his Kamloops connections right here.


Papercut


Earl Seitz, the sports voice at CFJC-TV in Kamloops, has been an observer of the sporting universe for more than 50 years. Here’s a relevant thought that he posted on Facebook this weekend:

“Can’t understand the NFL and college basketball keep plowing ahead with growing number of COVID-19 cases. I make my living from sports, but if we want to keep living it’s time for sports, all sports, to take a complete break until there is a reliable vaccine for everyone.”

He’s right.


Columnist Ann Killion, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“At UCLA, registered nurses protested the fact that the athletic department conducted 1,248 tests in a single week but health-care workers at the university hospitals have been denied testing.

“National Nurses United, the nation’s largest RN union, released a survey of more than 15,000 members: two-thirds reported never having been tested. Yet the NFL administered more than 43,000 tests in a two-week period in November.

“Do you think our priorities might be just a little bit skewed?

“Sports is a nice distraction. But at what price?”


“Veteran NBA forward Trevor Ariza got traded from Portland to Houston to Detroit to Oklahoma City in three separate deals in barely two days after this year’s draft,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Thunder is listing Ariza as day-to-day with severe jet lag.”

——

Perry also served up what he calls a “Turkey quiz.” Here it is: “The worst dish served up each Thanksgiving Day is: a) Tofu; b) Plantains; c) the Detroit Lions.”

——

It would seem that Perry isn’t a Lions fan, because he also had this one: “Eastern Market Brewing Co. has stopped sales and production of ‘Same Old Lager’ after Lions legend Barry Sanders — pictured on the can in team colors without his consent — threatened to sue. Apparently it was a little too Lions: It went flat the minute you opened the can.”

——

Perry’s tweet of the week came from George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on TV’s original Star Trek: “Breaking: Professional sports fall into disarray as concerns mount over whether losing teams will concede to winning ones despite what the scoreboard says.”


Fixed


After Alabama football coach Nick Saban tested positive and another 19 NCAA football games were scratched, Janice Hough, who can be found at LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, wondered: “Wouldn’t it be simpler to write ‘COVID-19’ on the College Football 2020 Trophy and be done with it?”



Coming at some point over the next 10 days, the annual Taking  Note Bookshelf. Yes, it’s coming back by popular demand — two loyal readers have asked about it! . . . It looks like it’ll be in three parts, but be forewarned that I strayed from sports books over the past 12 months. Still, you may find a Christmas idea or two, especially if you’re shopping for yourself.


The story to which Jack McCallum refers in the above tweet is a wonderful piece of work by the great Steve Rushin. Take a few minutes and give it a read. You won’t be sorry.



Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Against titanic odds, the NBA and MLB managed to complete seasons with historical significance — wildly different to be sure, but nevertheless authentic in the end. That’s hardly the case with the Pac-12 football season, a terrible idea (especially after the initial plan to call it off) that has descended into farce. Retrospective views will offer nothing but disdain, dismissal and wonderment, as in, What were we doing? Now the plague of stupidity (with a special dose of greed) has infected college basketball, with alarming developments expected throughout the land. . . . That’s the key word, expected. Positive tests, outbreaks, shutdowns, fractured schedules — all of this was going to be part of the deal, and the power brokers just brushed it aside, like lint. ‘Surely,’ wrote Chuck Culpepper in the Washington Post, ‘there’s an admirable human trait tucked somewhere into the way everybody continues to act.’ ”


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Catherine Litt worked in the newsroom at the Kamloops Daily News while I was the sports editor. As she writes: “It happens to other families until it happens to yours.” . . . Wear a mask, keep your distance and be safe out there.

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CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 365 new COVID-19 cases, 11 additional deaths. Officials say the current 5-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 13.3% per cent provincially, 13.5% in Winnipeg.

Marc Smith, CTV Regina: Record highs for hospitalizations (115) and ICU patients (23). . . . There were a record high 120 positive cases in Regina in the past 24 hours. The high one month ago was 21. . . . Regina’s test positivity was 10.78%.

COVID-19 Tracker Canada: Both COVID-19 hospitalizations and patients in ICU in Saskatchewan are at all-time highs, with 115 in hospital (+9) and 23 in ICU (+5). . . . Today’s increase of +5 in ICU is the highest ever daily increase for COVID-19 ICU census data in Saskatchewan.

Robson Fletcher, CBC Calgary: The latest COVID-19 data for Alberta: 1,609 cases yesterday (1,608 net w/adjustments to past days); 15,692 active cases. A record; 435 in hospital / 95 in ICU. Both records; 9 more people have died. 533 total now.

rdnewsNOW: Red Deer up to 191 active COVID-19 cases.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Another COVID-19 death is being reported in the Hat today. Bringing the total to four. . . . There are 107 active cases and 152 recoveries. . . . 1,608 new cases were identified in the last 25 hours. Nine new deaths (including the one here) are being reported

CBC News: Ontario reported 1,708 new cases and 24 deaths today: The province’s health ministry says another 53,959 tests were completed in the last 24 hours. Labs are reporting a 3.7% positivity rate for Ontario.

CBC News: Quebec reported 1,395 new cases today: The province has added 12 deaths to its total, including 4 from the last 24 hours and 8 that happened earlier this week. 665 people are in hospital, including 92 in ICU.

CBC News: P.E.I. has no new confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are 4 active cases in the province. No one is in hospital.

CBC News: New Brunswick is reporting 14 new cases of COVID-19. 4 of the cases are in the Moncton region, 9 are in the Saint John  region and 1 is in the Bathurst region. There are now 119 cases in the province, including 1 person who is in hospital.

CBC News: Nova Scotia is reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19. 9 of the new cases are in the Central Zone and 1 is in the Western Zone. There are now 125 known active cases in the province. No one is currently in hospital.

CBC News: 4 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador. All of the cases are in the Eastern Health region, but they are not connected to each other. There are 36 active cases in the province. No one is in hospital.

KOMO News: Washington State health officials report more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases.

Top U.S. & World News: The US has surpassed 100,000 new daily Covid cases for the 27th consecutive day as those who traveled for the holiday risk spreading the virus.

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Things have gotten to a point in the NFL where it is shutting down almost all team-related activities for Monday and Tuesday. Yes, there are games scheduled for both nights, but other than that it will be mostly quiet as the league tries to get a handle on what has been happening. . . . Yeah, good luck with that. . . . WR Willie Snead of the Baltimore Ravens tested positive on Sunday. He is the seventh Baltimore starter to test positive. The Ravens, who are to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, have had at least one positive test each of the past eight days and have 20 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. They also have had 10 staff members test positive. . . .  That is the game that was to have been played on Thursday, then was bumped to Sunday and, finally, to Tuesday. . . . The Steelers will be without RB James Conner, a cancer survivor who has tested positive, and a couple of assistant coaches.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: If you’re a regular viewer of PTI you have to know that Michael Wilbon is going to be an angry man on Monday afternoon, what with Northwestern and his beloved Chicago Bears both laying eggs on the weekend. . . . If you are interested in WHL history and if you’re on Twitter, you need to be following Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner). He posts something every day slugged “On this date in @WHLPats history” and it’s great stuff. Yes, every once in a while my name shows up, but more often it’s someone like Fran Huck or Billy Hicke or Terry Harper or Gord Berenson. You may know Berenson as Red. Anyway, check it out.


Bills

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