Blades win Game 7 . . . No miracle for Bedard, Pats . . . WHL’s second-round matchups set, series open Friday


A few Twitter tidbits from Sunday’s lone WHL playoff game in which the host Prince George Cougars scored a 5-4 OT victory over the Tri-City Americans to move into the second round for the first time since 2007 . . .

Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow): “Riley Heidt doubles point output in series after recording a goal and 2 assists. 12th game of at least three points this season, 7th this side of 2023. Ty Young stops series high 34 of 38, becomes first Cougars goalie with 3+ wins in playoffs since Real Cyr in 2007 (8).” . . .



The stage now is set for the second round of the playoffs, with all four series scheduled to open on Friday. There weren’t any upsets in the first round, as each of the top four seeds in each conference advanced for the first time since 2015. . . .

In the Eastern Conference, the pennant-winning Winnipeg Ice, which swept the Medicine Hat Tigers, will be at home to the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, while the No. 2 Saskatoon Blades entertain the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . .

In the Western Conference, the No. 1 Seattle Thunderbirds and No. 4 Prince George Cougars will open in Kent, Wash., with the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers entertaining the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks. . . .

Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Radio NL on Monday that F Fraser Minten should be back in the lineup for Friday’s opener against Portland. Minten, a 31-goal man in the regular season, hasn’t played since March 22. . . . At the same time, F Daylan Kuefler, who missed the last game of the four-game sweep of the Vancouver Giants, is day-to-day. He also scored 31 times in the regular season.




THE BEDARD REPORT — F Connor Bedard ran out of miracles for the Regina Pats last night in Saskatoon as the Blades posted a 4-1 victory in Game 7 of a first-round series. . . . Yes, he drew an assist on Regina’s lone goal. . . . Bedard finished the series with 10 goals and 10 assists; he was in on 20 of his side’s 26 goals in the seven games. . . . BTW, at some point on Monday there was a scoring change made that impacted Bedard. Prior to Game 7, Bedard was shown with 11 goals and eight assists. He picked up an assist in Game 7, and after the game was shown with 10 goals and 10 assists. . . . On Monday, Bedard was named the WHL’s player of the week for a second straight week. . . . Most points in a WHL playoff series? Who knows? But Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun pointed out earlier that F Jamie Black of the Tacoma Rockets had 22 points, including 15 assists, in a seven-game first-round loss to the Spokane Chiefs in 1993. . . . Bedard was blanked in five of 57 regular-season games; he had at least one point in each of the seven playoff games. . . . In 64 regular-season and playoff games this season, Bedard had 163 points, including 81 goals. . . . Including his performance at the World Junior Championship, he had 186 points, including 90 goals, in 71 games. . . . In his WHL career, he totalled 291 points, including 144 goals, in 141 regular-season and playoff games. . . . What’s next for Bedard? Well, Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ well-connected play-by-play voice, said last night that he has heard that Bedard won’t play for Canada at the IIHF World Championship that is scheduled for  Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia, from May 12-28. . . . Bedard almost certainly will be the first overall selection in the NHL draft that is to run in Nashville on June 28 and 29. . . . All this and he won’t turn 18 until July 17. Amazing!



Regina (6) at Saskatoon (3) — The Saskatoon Blades scored three third-period Saskatoongoals as they beat the Regina Pats, 4-1, in Game 7 of their first round series. . . . The Blades will open the second round at home to the Red Deer Rebels on Friday night. . . . This game was goalless until Saskatoon D Spencer Shugrue scored on a redirection off a 3-on-2 break with 13.3 seconds left in the second period. The 19-year-old Vancouver native had one goal and six assists in 55 regular-season games. He was pointless in the first six games of the series. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-0 at 7:56 of the third period when F Jake Chiasson (2) scored. . . . F Stanislav Svozil (4) got the Pats to within a goal at 13:10. . . . The Blades put it away on goals from F Vaughn Watterodt (3), at 17:50, and F Trevor Wong (3), into an empty net, at 18:11. . . . Wong finished the series with 10 points, as did Saskatoon F Egor Sidorov, who had five goals. . . . Saskatoon got 25 stops from G Austin Elliott, while Regina’s Drew Sim blocked 36. . . . Saskatoon was 0-for-2 on the PP to finish 5-for-18. Regina’s PP didn’t get on the ice in Game 7 and finished 5-for-14. . . . If you were wondering who was the WHL Supervisor for this game, it was Kevin Muench, the league’s veteran senior director of officiating. . . . The announced attendance at Monday’s game was 14,768. The four playoff games in Saskatoon drew 47,729 fans. The seven-game series finished with a total attendance of 67,226. . . . The Pats’ last six trips to Saskatoon drew 77,265 fans to SaskTel Centre.



G Jesper Vikman of the Vancouver Giants has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and has joined their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights, on an ATO. . . . From Stockholm, Sweden, Vikman, 21, was 19-21-1, 3.29, .903 with the Giants this season. . . . Vegas selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . .

D Dru Krebs of the Medicine Hat Tigers has joined the AHL’s Hershey Bears on an ATO. Krebs, who turned 20 on Feb. 16, had eight goals and 33 assists in 67 regular-season games this season. He was a sixth-round selection by the Washington Capitals, the Bears’ parent club, in the 2021 NHL draft. . . . 

F Jett Jones of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has joined the ECHL’s Savannah Ghost Pirates. He is coming off a regular season in which he finished with 50 points, 21 of them goals, in 67 games. . . . Jones, 20, is an NHL free agent. . . .

The NHL’s New York Rangers have assigned G Talyn Boyko of the Kelowna Rockets to the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. . . . Boyko, who played out his junior eligibility this season, was 13-24-1, 3.55, .898 with Kelowna this season. . . . The Rangers selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

The SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers have signed Clayton Jardine as their general manager and head coach. He spent the past four seasons as head coach of the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Jardine, 32, was the Klippers’ head coach in 2018-19 when he was honoured as the SJHL’s coach of the year. . . . When the 2022-23 season began, Ken Plaquin was the Klippers’ GM/head coach. He was fired on Feb. 22 with assistant coach Tyler Traptow finishing up on an interim basis. . . . The Klippers went 13-34-9 this season and didn’t qualify for the playoffs. . . . 

F Justin Sommer scored in OT to give the Kimberley Dynamiters a 3-2 victory over the host Princeton Posse in Game 7 of the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s championship final. . . . Sommer, who is from Kimberley, had three goals and three assists in 37 regular-season games. He scored his third goal of these playoffs at 14:36 of OT. . . . Princeton F Brayden Bablitz scored his 12th goal of the playoffs to tie the score at 18:42 of the third period. G Peyton Trzaska was on the bench for the extra attacker at the time. . . . The Posse had been playing with heavy hearts since assistant coach Mort Johnston was killed in a single-vehicle auto accident on March 26.

THINKING OUT LOUD — Whenever I listen to Les Lazaruk call a Saskatoon Blades games, I get bothered. Why? Because someone like Jack Edwards gets to call NHL games and Les doesn’t. It’s true that there are times when life just isn’t fair. . . . A quick note to WHL head coaches . . . Kevin Dudley of the Mankato, Minn., News reports that Minnesota State men’s hockey coach Luke Strand, who just signed a five-year deal, will be paid US$340,000 annually. . . . The Mavericks played 39 games this season.


With the 10th anniversary of her kidney transplant within in sight, Dorothy is taking part in her 10th straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. So, yes, she is fund-raising. . . . The 2023 Walk is scheduled for June 4. . . . If you would like to donate to her cause, you are able to do so right here.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.



Bedard inks another chapter . . . Fonteynes are great hockey story . . . Blazers run streak to 10 games

THE BEDARD REPORT: F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats enjoyed his second six-point night of this season on Wednesday in a 6-3 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Bedard finished the night with a goal and five assists. . . . He leads the WHL in goals (52), assists (59) and points (111), all in 43 games. He holds a 26-point lead over F Zach Benson of the Winnipeg Ice in the points derby. . . . Bedard, who won’t turn 18 until July 17, is on the verge of averaging two points per game for his career. He now has 239 points in 120 regular-season games. . . . This was Bedard’s first five-assist game of his career. . . . Since having a 35-game point streak come to an end on Feb. 3, Bedard has 21 points, including 13 assists, in six games. . . . Next up for Bedard and the Pats? A visit to Brandon for a Friday night game with the Wheat Kings.


When I was a youngster, I had an aunt and uncle who every Christmas would buy me a subscription to The Hockey News. That is how I came to be interested in the career of Val Fonteyne, who played 820 regular-season NHL games and another 149 in the WHA. . . . The amazing thing is that Fonteyne, a native of Wetaskiwin, Alta., who now is 89 years young, totalled 30 penalty minutes in all those games. Seriously! He never had more than four PiMs in any one season. However, somehow, in 1957-58, while with the WHL’s Seattle Americans, he actually ended up with 11 PiMs. I would love to know what he did to incur a major penalty that season.

I mention him today because it seems his grandson, Matt, is cut from the same cloth. Matt, who also is from Wetaskiwin, played with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips and now is with the U of Alberta Golden Bears. On Wednesday, Canada West handed out some post-season awards and the 25-year-old was named the winner of the Sportsmanship and Ability Award.

In five seasons (2013-18) in Everett, Fonteyne’s season-high in penalty minutes was 28. In 48 games over two seasons with the Golden Bears, he has 10 penalty minutes. This season, the team captain has 12 goals and 20 assists in 28 games, and four PiMs. . . .

Four other former WHL players were honoured by Canada West.

F Riley Sawchuk (Tri-City Americans, Edmonton Oil Kings) of the Mount Royal U Cougars was named the player of the year. He signed a pro contract with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins earlier this week. . . . Connor Hobbs (Medicine Hat Tigers, Regina Pats) of the U of Saskatchewan Huskies got top defenceman honours, with Carl Tetachuk (Lethbridge Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors) of the U of Calgary Dinos the top goaltender. . . . F Jakin Smallwood (Winnipeg Ice) of the Golden Bears was saluted as rookie of the year. . . .

Mark Howell of the U of Calgary was named coach of the year. He played in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Medicine Hat Tigers, and later was an assistant coach with the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Howell’s Dinos will play a best-of-three semifinal series with Saskatchewan this weekend. The Dinos are on a 23-game winning streak.


If the WHL playoffs started today:


Winnipeg (1) vs. Medicine Hat (8)

Red Deer (2) vs. Calgary (7)

Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)

Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)



Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)

Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)

Portland (3) vs. Prince George (6)

Tri-City (4) vs. Everett (5)



F Zach Benson scored once and added three assists as the Winnipeg Ice skated to a 5-2 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Benson opened the scoring with his 30th goal at 8:25 of the first period. . . . F Matt Savoie (28) added two goals for the Ice, the first one a shorthanded effort, and F Connor McClennon (38) also scored twice. . . . G Daniel Hauser earned his 30th victory of the season with 24 saves, including a first-period stop on a penalty-shot attempt by F Sean Tschigerl. . . . Hauser is 30-3-1, 2.43, .911 this season. In 82 career regular-season appearances, he is 71-6-3, 2.29, .911. . . . Winnipeg (45-7-1) has won eight in a row and now leads the Eastern Conference by 13 points. . . . Calgary (24-25-7) and Medicine Hat are tied for seventh, two points behind Regina and two ahead of Swift Current. . . .

F Connor Bedard had a goal and five assists and wasn’t even the first star as the host Regina Pats beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . F Tanner Howe was selected as the No. 1 star after scoring twice and adding two assists. . . . While playing in Bedard’s shadow, Howe, who turned 17 on Nov. 28, is having quite a season. He now has 68 points, including 28 goals, in 53 games. Last season, he finished with 69 points, 27 of them goals, in 64 games. . . . Last night, it likely was Howe’s second goal that stung the Tigers the most. He scored seven seconds into the third period to gave the Pats a 4-1 lead. . . . Regina D Stanislav Svozil had three assists and that pushed him over the 100-point mark for his career. He now has 101 points, including 84 assists, in 101 games. . . . Regina (27-24-3) has won two in a row and now is sixth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Calgary and Medicine Hat (23-23-9), which is 6-2-3 in its past 11 games. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers are on a 10-game winning streak after beating the Broncos, 6-3, in Swift Current. . . . The Blazers have won four in a row on this tour of the Central Division that continues in Lethbridge on Friday and Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . Last night, the Blazers got two goals from each of F Ryan Hofer (36) and Connor Levis (16). . . . Hofer’s second goal gave the Blazers a 5-0 lead at 15:01 of the second period. . . . The Broncos opened the third period with three goals, but Levis put it away at 16:31. . . . F Josh Filmon got No. 34 for the Broncos, with F Connor Hvidston (17) adding a goal and an assist. . . . Kamloops held a 53-29 edge in shots, including 24-9 in the first period. . . . Kamloops (37-10-6) is second in the Western Conference, eight points behind Seattle. . . . Swift Current (25-26-3) has lost four in a row. It is ninth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Calgary and Medicine Hat. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 6-2 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . F Adam Mechura (20) and F Jalen Luypen (9) each had two goals and an assist for the winners. . . . F Ben Hemmerling scored his 20th of the season for Everett. . . . This may have been a playoff preview. . . . Tri-City (27-21-7) is fourth in the Western Conference, four points ahead of Everett (27-24-3) and five up on Prince George.


The SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers announced on Wednesday that they and Ken Plaquin, their general manager and head coach, “have agreed to part ways.” Plaquin was in his third season with the Klippers. . . . Tyler Traptow, who had been an assistant coach, will serve as the interim GM/head coach for the remainder of this season. . . . The Klippers, who lost 5-4 to the visiting Yorkton Terriers on Wednesday night, are 11-30-7, which is the poorest record in the 12-team SJHL.


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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Free Press columnist calls for stiff discipline . . . MJHL all done for 2020 . . . Heward leaving Giants after two seasons

The owner of the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and two MJHL franchises — 50 Below Sports and Entertainment — is in the eye of the storm after the two junior A franchises were caught violating COVID-19 protocols as set down by the provincial government.

And now at least one Winnipeg writer — columnist Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press — is calling for stiff discipline.

In a column headlined ‘Throw the book at league’s code-red violators,’ McIntyre calls what happened “a cold, calculated disregard for public health protocols in the middle of a global pandemic that is as brazen as you’ll see.

“The pathetic attempt to cover it up, using teenage hockey players as pawns, was even worse.”

In case you missed it, the Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze practised in Warren, a community about half an hour northwest of Winnipeg, despite the city having been placed in a critical zone by health officials. The MJHL also had told its teams they weren’t to “travel outside the region to participate in sanctioned hockey activities.”

Winnipeg media received an anonymous email that included video showing the teams skating at the arena in Warren. The president of that arena, Rhys van Kemenade, is 50 Below’s director of teams and tournaments.

A parent of one of the players involved told McIntyre that the player went along because he “didn’t want to get benched.”

“Kids didn’t have a lot of choice,” the parent said. “Coach tells you to show up, well, you show up. Or you’re in the doghouse. You know your hockey. Coaches at this age have all the power. And if a parent said ‘You can’t go!’, they become a problem parent. Most of those kids are adults, but I am a little dumbfounded by the whole thing.”

That same parent also explained to McIntyre that “Blues and Freeze players pay lots of cash to play, and there is an item in the contract that says fees are based on ‘training,’ not number of games played. So if teams still had skill sessions or ‘training,’ they continue to collect fees.”

McIntyre’s column is right here.

Meanwhile, Don McIntosh, the president of the Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League, told Jason Bell of the Free Press that he isn’t at all pleased with what went on.

“All of us will be painted with the same brush,” said McIntosh, a longtime hockey executive in his fifth season with the AAA league. “That’s the real frustration. Our league has busted our butts on mitigating risk. This is important stuff.”

McIntosh added that he “used to sit on the board of Hockey Manitoba and dealt with numerous issues. If you use an ineligible player or forge a game sheet, you can get substantive fines for that. To me, this is beyond that.

“They caught them live. There it is for all to see. This thing is way, way out of line.”

Bell’s piece is right here.

If you’re wondering, Hockey Manitoba and the MJHL are investigating.

To the best of my knowledge, nary a word has been heard from anyone involved with 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, which would include Greg Fettes, the chairman, and Matt Cockell, who is president and general manager of the Ice and president and governor of both the Blues and the Freeze.

You may recall that Fettes and Cockell were front and centre in the Kootenay Ice’s operation in Cranbrook, prior to the franchise’s relocation to Winnipeg after the 2018-19 season.

BTW, does anyone know if the Ice has settled its lease with Cranbrook city council yet?


The MJHL announced on Thursday that it is shutting things down for the remainder of 2020. The province of Manitoba is at critical level and all kinds of public health orders are in place at least until Dec. 11. The MJHL hopes to be able to resume activities on Jan. 1. . . .

Meanwhile, in the SJHL, the Flin Flon Bombers and Kindersley Klippers won’t be playing this weekend, after all. The teams had been scheduled to play a weekend doubleheader in Flin Flon. But with Manitoba locking things down on Thursday, a decision was made to play the games in Kindersley on Friday and Saturday. . . . On Thursday, however, it was decided to postpone the games.

The Vancouver Giants are expected to introduce a new associate coach today Vancouver(Friday). The WHL team announced Thursday that Jamie Heward, their associate coach for the past two seasons, is leaving the organization “to pursue a different hockey opportunity.” He is expected to join the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights as an assistant coach under Manny Viveiros. . . . The two of them spent two seasons together with the Swift Current Broncos, winning a WHL title in the spring of 2018. . . . The Silver Knights, who are preparing for their first season, are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. The Silver Knights are to play out of Paradise, Nev. . . . The Giants’ new associate coach will be working with head coach Michael Dyck, who will be spending about seven weeks bubbling up with Canada’s national junior team at its selection camp in Red Deer and then at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton. The selection camp gets started on Monday. . . . The WJC is to end on Jan. 5; the WHL says it will start its regular season on Jan. 8.


There is good news as former WHL/NHL D Blake Wesley, who spent more than a month fighting COVID-19 in Austria, says he is “back in action.”

On Wednesday, Wesley took to his Facebook page to let us know that he had his ninth COVID screening earlier in the day.

“I’m back in action!!!!” he wrote. “My COVID screening was negative.

It was his first negative since Oct. 5.

“It’s a blessing,” he wrote, “and reduces some anxiety and fear.”

Wesley, 61, played three seasons (1976-79) with the Portland Winterhawks before going on to a pro career that included 298 regular-season NHL games. These days, he is coaching at a hockey academy in Sankt Pölten, Austria.

If you aren’t aware of what Wesley went through battling the virus, click right here and see what I wrote last week.


I tried. I really did. With the entire province of Manitoba having been declared a critical zone as of Thursday, I tried to figure out what that meant in terms of travel. Here’s part of what I found about the Manitoba restrictions in the section under Travel and Self-Isolation:

“In general, anyone arriving in Manitoba is required to self-isolate for 14-days upon arrival to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, there are exceptions to this requirement specified in the order.

“In particular, Manitoba residents who have travelled to “western Canada* or “northwestern Ontario** are exempt from the self-isolation requirements when they return to Manitoba if they have not travelled outside of western Canada or northwestern Ontario and are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. Residents of western Canada or northwestern Ontario are also exempt, if they have not travelled to another country or any part of Canada outside of western Canada or northwestern Ontario in the 14-day period immediately before entering or arriving in Manitoba and are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.

“*Western Canada means British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. (as defined in the order).

“**northwestern Ontario means that portion of Ontario that is located west of Terrace Bay (as defined in the order).”

What followed that was a list of exceptions to the requirements, including “professional athletes and team members (players, coaches, managers, training and technical staff and medical personnel) employed by or affiliated with a professional sports team from Manitoba are also exempt from the self-isolation requirements as well as film production crew members (cast and crew) if they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.”

There was more, a lot more, but by now my eyes were starting to roll back in my head.

Those Manitoba restrictions are right here.

And then the Alberta government brought down some restrictions of its own. So minor hockey has been shut down for a couple of weeks in some cities, but the AJHL is scheduled to open its season tonight (Friday). Meanwhile, the 10-team Okotoks Ladies Classic, a curling event that drew some high-end rinks skipped by the likes of Jennifer Jones, Rachel Homan, Casey Scheidegger and Corryn Brown, was halted Thursday afternoon shortly after it got started.

Judging by reactions on social media there surely is a lot of confusion in provinces, including B.C., over restrictions and recommendations. You are left to wonder if the politicians and health officials are muddying the water on purpose are whether they simply no longer know how to communicate on the same level as the little people.




The Ivy League has cancelled its winter sports season, and postponed spring sports through February 2021. That means that Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Yale won’t be playing hockey this season. . . . They join Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) as NCAA Div. 1 teams to have had their hockey seasons cancelled. . . . College Hockey News has more right here. . . .

Governors in seven northeastern states have shut down interstate youth hockey competitions through the end of 2020. “All interstate hockey competitions for public schools, private schools and youth leagues in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Jersey have been suspended beginning Saturday and until Dec. 31 at the earliest,” KC Downey of WCVB-ABC reported. . . . Downey also reported: “The coronavirus-related safety measure does not cover collegiate hockey teams, professional hockey teams or the U.S. national hockey teams, officials said, but those teams will be subject to existing COVID-19 safety protocols.” . . .

CB Iman Marshall of the Baltimore Ravens tested positive on Thursday, so is on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He hasn’t played after suffering a knee injury early in training camp. . . . CB Marlon Humphrey came off the list on Wednesday after 10 days in quarantine. He is expected to play against the host New England Patriots on Sunday night. . . .

I don’t have any numbers today. Oh, I saw them. But they’re just too depressing — also frustrating — and there are far too many signs that not everyone is prepared to pull the rope in the same direction. Saskatchewan is expected to introduce measures of some sort today, meaning all four western provinces will be living with pandemic-related restrictions of one degree or another. The way things are going, I would suggest there will be more restrictions coming as B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan move closer to Manitoba’s lockdown.

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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.

WHL governors to talk today . . . Business as usual for the NFL . . . New coaches in MJHL, SJHL


The WHL’s board of governors is scheduled to talk today (Tuesday) for the first time since the league suspended its season on Thursday.

Right now, all signs point to the WHL not being able to resume play before mid-May at the earliest, so there likely will be a lot of discussion about whether to call the whole thing off right now. That, of course, would include the Memorial that is scheduled for Kelowna, May 21-31.

On Monday, Bob Tory, co-owner and general manager of the Tri-City Americans tweeted: “To all our players. Have a good off season. Be safe and we will c u in August.”

That would indicate that the Americans’ players are on their way home and won’t be returning. When the season was suspended, the Americans, who didn’t qualify for the playoffs, had five games remaining. It wouldn’t make sense to bring all the players back at some point down the road to play five games for a non-playoff team.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and officials from all 30 teams held a conference call on Monday, during which it was decided to push opening day back until at least mid-May. . . . Opening day had been scheduled for March 26. . . .

A tweet from @matttomic:

“1918: Toronto wins its first Stanley Cup

“1919: Stanley Cup canceled


“1992-93: Toronto wins its first World Series

“1994: World Series canceled


“2019: Toronto wins its first NBA championship

“2020: NBA championship potentially canceled


“What the (#$%&#@) did Toronto do?”

Is it just me, or does it seem at least a little bit bizarre to have the NFL handing out contracts worth multi-millions and swapping players all over the place — in other words, carrying on as though it’s business as usual — while the rest of the sporting world has been brought to its knees? . . . I mean, a $66-million extension to QB Kirk Cousins? . . .


Here’s Ann Killion in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“This is not about what the league can do. It’s about what it should do.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m going to hear from the NFL’s army of faithful followers. ‘But we want to be entertained! We want a distraction! We love the NFL!’

“That’s what the NFL is banking on. It believes it is Teflon. The rules that apply to other businesses and other parts of society don’t apply to the shield. Roger Goodell has gotten very rich by being amazingly obtuse.”

The Kentucky Derby, held annually on the first Saturday in May, has been moved to Sept. 5, that month’s first Saturday. The last time the Derby didn’t run in May was in 1945 when it was postponed to June. . . .

The AHL announced Monday that “the indefinite suspension of play won’t be lifted before May.” . . . With that, the AHL gave its teams the OK to have players return to their “primary residences.” . . .

The 23-team NAHL brought an end to its regular season on Monday, but still hopes to declare a champion at some point. The regular season was to end on April 4. . . . In a statement, commissioner Mark Frankenfeld said: “We understand that this is a very difficult time for our hockey community and we are working on all options in order to conclude the season with a Robertson Cup Championship. We are are actively and continuously monitoring a very difficult situation in order make the right decision everyone involved.”

Chris Perchaluk has taken over as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. He had been the head coach since November, when he moved up from associate coach. . . . The Blizzard now is looking for an assistant coach and a director of marketing. If you’re interested, there’s more info right here. . . .

The MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers have signed Hudson Friesen as their new head coach. He also is the assistant director of player personnel. This season, Friesen was the Steelers’ assistant coach and business manager. . . . Tim Schick, the head scout, has been named director of player personnel. . . . As head coach, Friesen replaces Nick Lubimiv, whose contract wasn’t renewed. . . . Earlier this month, the Steelers brought back Al Hares as senior advisor and associate coach. Hares is a former Steelers head coach who is a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.

Ken Plaquin is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. From Calgary, he had been coaching the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers. . . . In Kindersley, Plaquin takes over from Larry Wintoneak, the GM who stepped in on an interim basis late in September when head coach Garry Childerhose left because of health issues. . . .

Hope, Price are liking status quo in Victoria. . . . They’ve got Raiders Fever in P.A. . . . Bandits wrap up AJHL title


F Adam Kambeitz (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Seattle, 2008-13) has signed a one-season contract with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). This season, with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he had four goals and nine assists in 44 games. The AIHL opens its 2019 regular season on Saturday. . . .

F Zach Hamill (Everett, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Bad Nauheim (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 10 goals and 29 assists in 34 games.


In the world of hockey, you learn never to say never. But it certainly doesn’t sound as though there will be a coaching change with the Victoria Royals.

The Royals went 34-30-4 to finish second in the B.C. Division this season, 29 points behind VictoriaRoyalsthe Vancouver Giants (48-15-5). The Royals ousted the Kamloops Blazers from a first-round series that last six games and then got swept by the Giants.

Dan Price completed his third season with the Royals, his second as head coach since taking over after Dave Lowry signed on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.

Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, liked what he saw this season.

“In my time in hockey,” Hope told CHEK News earlier this week, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with some terrific coaches, guys who are head coaches in the National Hockey League right now in the playoffs . . . I can tell you that there isn’t a coaching staff that works harder, prepares more, is more intelligent in the way they do it and get their players to buy in more than this coaching staff. It’s remarkable what Dan Price, J.F. (Best) and Doug Bodger have done. It’s remarkable.”

Best and Bodger are the Royals’ assistant coaches.

Price, for his part, told CHEK News that he isn’t wanting to move.

“I would love to be here for as long as Cam and (owner) Graham (Lee) would like to have me,” Price said. “It is one of the best jobs if not the best job in hockey. I am grateful every day. . . . I love it here. I don’t want to go anywhere.”

JUST NOTES: The Eastern Conference final between the Prince Albert Raiders and Edmonton Oil Kings is scheduled to begin with Games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday nights in the Saskatchewan city. Single-game tickets went on sale in Prince Albert on Tuesday at 9 a.m. People started lining up as early as 5:30 a.m. . . . In the OHL, the Guelph Storm scored the game’s last five goals to beat the Knights, 6-3, in London in Game 7 of a second-round series. The Storm is the fifth team in OHL history to lost the first three games of a series, then win the next four. The Storm is the first team to do that against a No. 1 seed.

The QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have fired Marc-Andre Dumont, who had qmjhlbeen general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Brent Hughes. Dumont had been in that position since December 2012. . . . This season, the Screaming Eagles went 40-22-6 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, where they lost in five games to the Rimouski Oceanic. . . . “We made a commitment to evaluate the team back when I became president almost a year ago and under new ownership we also made the commitment that we would evaluate the team,” Gerard Shaw, the organization’s president, told Jeremy Fraser of the Cape Breton Post. “We felt that we wanted to go in a new direction, so we decided the time was right to make a change and to take a new direction.”

USA Hockey has named Scott Sandelin the head coach of its national junior team. USAhockeySandelin just completed his 19th season as the head coach of the U of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, who have won two straight NCAA championships. . . . Sandelin was the head coach of the national junior team in 2005 and was an assistant coach in 2012 and 2019. . . . The IIHF’s 2020 World Junior Championship is scheduled to run from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.

The Brooks Bandits won their fifth AJHL championship in 10 seasons on Tuesday night, beating the Spruce Grove Saints, 2-0, to win the series, 4-0. . . . G Pierce Charleson, a 19-year-old freshman from Aurora, Ont., stopped 22 shots to earn the shutout. . . . The goals came from F William Lemay of Marieville, Que., who is committed to the U of Vermont, and F Jakob Lee of Owen Sound, Ont., who will attend Canisius College. Lemay and Lee both are in their first AJHL seasons. . . .

In the MJHL, F Bradly Goethals scored at 1:46 of the third OT period to give the Swan Valley Stampeders a 4-3 victory over the Portage Terriers. The Stampeders hold a 3-2 lead in the championships series, with Game 6 in Swan River on Thursday. . . . Goethals, from Île-des-Chênes, Man., has played in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swan Valley also got goals from F Brian Harris, who has played 54 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings, F Kasyn Kruse of Luverne, Minn., and F Matthew Osadick of Grande Pointe, Man., who is ticketed for the U of Maine. . . .

In the BCHL, F Ben Poisson scored at 12:07 of OT to give the Prince George Spruce Kings a 4-3 victory over the Vipers in Vernon. . . . The Spruce Kings hold a 3-0 lead and get their first chance to wrap it up tonight in Vernon. . . . Poisson’s brother, Nick, drew the lone assist on the winner.

Garry Childerhose is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. He replaced Clayton Jardine, who, according to a news release, “has stepped aside to pursue other career opportunities.” . . . Jardine just completed his first season as the Klippers’ GM/head coach, and he was named the SJHL’s coach of the year. The Clippers finished 36-16-6 in the regular season, placing second in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division. They lost a first-round playoff series to the Melfort Mustangs in five games. . . . Childerhose has been the Flin Flon Bombers’ assistant GM/assistant coach for the past five seasons.

The MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals have chosen not to renew the contract of Troy Leslie, who had been with the organization for seven seasons. . . . From a news release: “Troy helped lead the team to six straight playoff appearances and a league championship final, and helped develop many players to the next level of hockey and careers beyond the game.” . . . This season, Virden finished 31-21-8, good for fifth place in the 11-team league. The Oil Capitals were 4-6 in the playoffs, beating the Selkirk Steelers in six games, then losing in four to the Portage Terriers.


Myth of junior hockey and national champions . . . Rizzo commits to UND . . . Hitmen sign two picks

It is time for hockey fans and the media alike to come to the realization, if they haven’t already, that events like the Memorial Cup and Royal Bank Cup don’t decide national championships.

They are entertainment vehicles and social gatherings and nothing more, and should be enjoyed as such.

They also are showcases for the players who are fortunate enough to get to participate in MemCupRegthe tournaments. Fans also are guaranteed to see some of the best teams in major junior and junior A hockey, so the games mostly are competitive and, as such, entertaining.

But so long as the formats include host teams and round-robin play, these events don’t culminate with the crowning of national champions.

The 2018 Memorial Cup, the 100th anniversary of the trophy, was played in Regina over the past few days. It concluded Sunday with the QMJHL-champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan beat the host Pats, 3-0.

To reach the final, the Pats, who had lost out in the first round of the WHL playoffs, eliminated two league champions — the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos and the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Pats didn’t have it on Sunday and were beaten by a superior team in the Titan.

After losing to the Pats in the final game of the round-robin and falling to 0-3, the Broncos talked of injuries and fatigue, their 26-game run to the Ed Chynoweth Cup apparently having taking a toll.

But are the Pats the better team because they won one particular game in a round-robin tournament?

Regina and Swift Current met six times in the regular season — the Broncos were 5-0-1, the Pats were 1-4-1. The Broncos wound up at 48-17-7, while the Pats finished 40-25-7.

In the playoffs, the Broncos took out the Pats in a first-round series that went seven games.

In 14 meetings between the teams this season, then, the Broncos were 9-4-1.

But on one night in May, the Pats won, 6-5. Does that mean Regina was the better team? No. It means that on any given day . . .

Meanwhile, in the world of junior A hockey, the host Chilliwack Chiefs won the Royal Bank Cup, which is a five-team tournament. Does that mean the Chiefs won the national championship and are junior A’s best team?

Consider that they finished the BCHL’s regular season at 26-26-3, with three ties. That left them fourth in the Mainland Division, 16 points out of first place. They then lost a seven-game first-round series to the Prince George Spruce Kings.

Meanwhile, the Wenatchee Wild was 37-16-4, with one tie, and third in the Interior Division, seven points out of first place. The Wild then went 16-4 to win the BCHL playoff championship. Wenatchee followed that with a five game Doyle Cup victory over the AJHL-champion Spruce Grove Saints.

At the RBC, Wenatchee won its four round-robin games, two in OT, including a 2-1 victory over Chilliwack. The Chiefs won three times, once in OT, and had the one OT loss.

During the round-robin, the Wild beat the Wellington Dukes, 7-1. But in a semifinal game, the Dukes posted a 2-1 victory, despite having been outshot 51-14.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, beat the Ottawa Jr. Senators, 3-2, in the other semifinal, then doubled the Dukes, 4-2, in the final.

Does all of this mean that Chilliwack is a better team than Wenatchee. No. It means that during one week in May things went the Chiefs’ way, just like things didn’t go Swift Current’s way the following week.

So, as long as there are host teams and round-robin formats, let’s stop concerning ourselves with national championships and just enjoy the proceedings.


The Memorial Cup final was nearing the end of the second period on Sunday when I heard from a long-time reader of this blog.

The message: “If I hear Mastercard one more time I’m gonna lose my (crap).”

If you are a regular visitor here, you will be well aware that this is one of my all-time pet peeves.

There are some things in life that should never have price tags placed on them, and the Memorial Cup is one of them.

Would the NHL sell naming rights to the Stanley Cup to, say, Visa? The Visa Stanley Cup?

How about the NBA? Would it turn its major trophy into the American Express Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy?

The winner of the NFL’s Super Bowl is awarded the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The team that wins MLB’s World Series gets the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Win the WHL title and you get the Ed Chynoweth Cup, not the Nike Ed Chynoweth Cup.

The Memorial Cup has been in competition since 1919, and if you understand its origin I think you will agree that naming rights to it never should have been on the table.

Here’s William J. Walshe, writing in the Kingston Whig-Standard on Jan. 6, 1939:

“The (Memorial) cup, coveted prize of Canadian junior hockey, was the brainchild of Capt. Jim (Sutherland) when he was overseas in the Great War (1914–18) and at the time, President of the Ontario Hockey Association (1915–17). He wrote suggesting the trophy in memory of the boys who were killed in the war and no doubt a big part of the idea was instigated by his devotion to his beloved (Alan) Scotty Davidson, who fell (June 6, 1915) with many other hockey players in the world conflict . . .”

Peter Robinson has more on the origin of the Memorial Cup right here.

Robinson writes, in part: “As the generation that it was originally meant to honour has passed on with the last surviving First World War veteran John Babcock’s death in 2010, the trophy now serves as a commemoration for all the country’s war dead and others that served.”

The 2018 Memorial Cup, held at the Brandt Centre in Regina:

Game 1, Friday, May 18 – Regina 3, Hamilton 2 (5,678)

Game 2, Saturday, May 19 – Acadie-Bathurst 4, Swift Current 3 (OT) (6,237)

Game 3, Sunday, May 20 – Acadie-Bathurst 8, Regina 6 (5,832)

Game 4, Monday, May 21 – Hamilton 2, Swift Current 1 (5,820)

Game 5, Tuesday – Hamilton 3, Acadie-Bathurst 2 (6,072)

Game 6, Wednesday – Regina 6, Swift Current 5 (6,484)

Thursday — Day off.

Friday’s Semifinal – Regina 4, Hamilton 2 (6,484)

Saturday — No Game Scheduled.

Sunday’s Final — Acadie-Bathurst 3, Regina 0 (6,484)


F Cam Braes (Lethbridge, Moose Jaw, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Thurgau (Switzerland, NL B), he had 25 goals and 22 assists in 45 games. He was second on the team in goals and points.


I have spent the past few weeks tinkering with three different blog sites.

Please take a few moments to check them out, then let me know which one you prefer.

Here are the three addresses . . .

Let me know your preference by sending an email to

F Massimo Rizzo, who was a first-round selection, 14th overall, in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft, told the Kamloops Blazers prior to the 2018 bantam draft that he wouldn’t be playing for them. On Saturday afternoon, Rizzo tweeted that he will attend the U of North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks, likely starting with the 2019-20 season.

Rizzo, from Burnaby, B.C., played last season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, putting up 38 points, including 13 goals, in his 16-year-old season. He was named the Vees’ captain earlier this month.

“It was a hard decision, especially being from Western Canada,” Rizzo told Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald. “Just seeing the success of players going through college and to the NHL, and feeling that I needed a bit more time to develop and grow and get stronger, and talking to people who went that route and the experience they had, that’s kind of why I decided to do it.”

According to Schlossman, Rizzo “chose UND over Denver, Wisconsin and Michigan.”

Rizzo will be the fourth recent Penticton captain to attend UND, following D Troy Stecher, F Tyson Jost and F Nick Jones.

Rizzo is the only one of the 21 first-round selections from the 2016 bantam draft not to sign with a WHL team.

The Calgary Hitmen have signed F Sean Tschigerl and D Tyson Galloway to WHL Calgarycontracts. . . . Tschigerl, from Whitecourt, Alta., was the fourth overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He had 70 points, including 31 goals, in 30 games with the OHA Edmonton bantam prep team. . . . Galloway, from Kamloops, played for the bantam prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. He had three goals and 11 assists in 29 games. Galloway was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

Clayton Jardine, 27, is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. He takes over from Geoff Grimwood, who left the club earlier this month. . . . Jardine, a native of Lacombe, Alta., was an assistant coach under Grimwood in 2015-16. Jardine spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at New England College, an NCAA Division III school. . . . The Klippers also announced that Larry Wintoneak will be returning as an assistant coach. Wintoneak has been with the Klippers for four seasons in what is his second go-round in Kindersley.

Parneta moves into GM’s office in Vancouver . . . Rockets release an import . . . Season ends for WHL champions


F Vladimír Sičák (Medicine Hat, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract extension with Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, Extraliga). An alternate captain, he had four goals and 18 assists in 49 games. Karlovy Vary was in 1. Liga this season and won promotion to Extraliga for next season. . . .

D Patrik Maier (Kamloops, Moose Jaw, 2014-16) signed a one-year contract extension with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he was pointless in 20 games. He had six assists in 41 games while on loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga).


The Vancouver Giants introduced Barclay Parneta as their general manager on Wednesday morning. Parneta, 47, takes over from Glen Hanlon, who left the Giants earlier this month after two seasons as GM. . . . The Giants’ news release is right here. . . . Steve Ewen, who covers the Giants for Postmedia, has a piece right here.

The Kelowna Rockets have released Czech F Marek Skrvne, who turns 19 on Aug. 6, after KelownaRocketsjust one season. He had four goals and nine assists in 69 games as a freshman last season. . . . The Rockets will make one selection in the CHL’s 2018 import draft, as Czech D Libor Zabransky, 18, will return for a second season. . . . “Marek did nothing to cause the direction we are headed except for the fact that I think we need a defenceman back there as we are trying to build a team for 2020,” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ owner, president and general manager, told Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice. . . . The Rockets are preparing to bid on the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . According to the WHL Guide, the import draft will be held on June 26 or 27.

The men who own the Regina Pats are going to take at least a $2-million bath on the 2018 ReginaPats100Memorial Cup, which is being played in their city. Not only that, but they aren’t at all surprised; in fact, they expected it. . . . They ended up handing the CHL a $3-million hosting fee and another $650,000 to cover some expenses. . . . “If every seat had been sold for the Eagles concert — part of the gala opening ceremony at Mosaic Stadium — and for every game of the tournament, the owners would still have been staring at a seven-figure shortfall,” writes Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post. . . . You have to wonder what’s going on in the world of major junior hockey when one of the CHL’s partners is forced into taking this kind of bath? . . . Vanstone’s piece is right here and it more than adequately explains the financial situation surrounding this Memorial Cup.

The Memorial Cup schedule (all times local):

Game 1, Friday – Regina 3, Hamilton 2 (5,678)

Game 2, Saturday – Acadie-Bathurst 4, Swift Current 3 (OT) (6,237)

Game 3, Sunday – Acadie-Bathurst 8, Regina 6 (5,832)

Game 4, Monday – Hamilton 2, Swift Current 1 (5,820)

Game 5, Tuesday – Hamilton 3, Acadie-Bathurst 2 (6,072)

Game 6, Wednesday – Regina 6, Swift Current 5 (6,484)

Thursday — Day off.

Friday’s Semifinal – Regina vs. Hamilton, 8 p.m.

Sunday’s Final — Acadie-Bathurst vs. Regina/Hamilton winner, 5 p.m.

Speculation has been running wild in Edmonton regarding the likelihood that the NHL’s Oilers will add Glen Gulutzan and Trent Yawney to head coach Todd McLellan’s coaching staff. . . . Gulutzan was fired as head coach of the Calgary Flames after the season, while Yawney was let go by the Anaheim Ducks. . . . The Oilers have room for one more assistant coach and those same speculators are betting on Manny Viveiros, the director of hockey operations and head coach of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos. The Broncos won the WHL’s playoff championship, but went 0-3 at the Memorial Cup, bowing out Wednesday night with a 6-5 loss to the host Regina Pats.


Clint Mylymok has signed on with the NAHL’s Maryland Black Bears as the first general manager and head coach in the franchise’s history. He had been the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Notre Dame Hounds for the previous four seasons. The Hounds play out of the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask. . . . The Black Bears will play out of Odenton, Maryland, using the Piney Orchard Ice Arena as their home base. It once was a training centre for the NHL’s Washington Capitals.

Geoff Grimwood has resigned as general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. Grimwood spent three seasons with the Klippers. He had been an assistant coach with the WHL’s Victoria Royals for three seasons (2012-15) before signing on with Kindersley.

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