Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the NFL playoffs can top that game . . .

Scattershooting2

The good news is that the Portland Winterhawks played a hockey game on Saturday night. The bad news is that it was the only game played on what was to have been a three-game road swing into B.C., with stops in Kamloops, Kelowna and Langley.

When the Winterhawks left home via bus on Thursday, they were headed for PortlandKamloops and a Friday night date with the Blazers. Halfway to Kamloops, Mike Johnston, Portland’s vice-president, general manager and head coach, found out that the game had been postponed because of COVID-19 issues with the Blazers. The Winterhawks continued on to Kamloops, practised there Friday morning, then left for Kelowna and Saturday’s assignment against the Rockets.

The Winterhawks beat the Rockets, 3-1. “That would have been a long trip without two points,” Johnston told Taking Note.

Before the game, Johnston was informed that Sunday’s game in Langley had been scrubbed because of COVID-19 protocols involving the Vancouver Giants, who were forced to halt all team activities.

So the Winterhawks put the two points in their pocket and headed for home.

That latest postponement meant that 22 of the 23 games originally scheduled for the weekend didn’t happen.

Also on Saturday, the WHL announced that the Moose Jaw Warriors, Regina Pats and Tri-City Americans all were cleared to resume team activities. They went into the weekend as three of 15 teams who were on hold because of having players and/or staff in protocols.

With the addition of the Giants, that list was at 13 as of Sunday night.

The Giants had been scheduled to play three games over the weekend; all three were postponed. They next are scheduled to play Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars in a game that is on TSN’s telecast schedule.

Will COVID-19 allow the game to be played?

Stay tuned.

——

BTW, the Portland Winterhawks had F Josh Zakreski, who turned 16 on Dec. 17, in their lineup in Kelowna on Saturday. Zakreski is from Saskatoon and plays for the U-18 Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Upon seeing his name, I was curious as to whether he was related to Peter Zakreski, who died on Feb. 5, 2020, at the age of 80. Peter, a quiet gentleman, was a giant in a lot of areas of life in Saskatoon and was a big push behind the move to bring the 1991 World Junior Championship to Saskatchewan. . . . Anyway, it turns out that Josh and Peter weren’t related, although Josh apparently gets asked that question on a regular basis.


With some Canadian teams in the NHL and WHL facing attendance restrictions in their facilities, a number of games have been postponed in the hopes that they can be rescheduled for when the various governments involved loosen the rules.

However, Dr. Brian Conway, the head of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, told Ben Kuzma of Postmedia: “That’s unrealistic.”

As Dr. Conway explained: “Right now as a society, we’re being asked to plan for a situation where on any given day, and in any workplace, one-third will be out with COVID or COVID restrictions.

“Even if you wanted to fill (Vancouver’s) Rogers Arena, you wouldn’t have the staff. And it’s probably going to be the situation at the minimum until the end of February and probably longer — and that’s pretty optimistic. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to stand up and say I’m wrong. But I’m just so not seeing this.

“Modelling is still projecting a worst-case scenario that could dwarf what we have now. It’s based on if things continue the way they are. If they change the modelling can flatten out. But, it brings the issue if we ignore this, it could actually get worse.”

Kuzma’s complete story is right here.

BTW, Dr. Conway is a Canucks’ season-ticket holder and would love nothing more than to be able to sit in a full house and watch his favourite team. He also is a realist.


Jim Riley used to cover the Seattle Thunderbirds for the Seattle Times while also keeping an eye on the other teams in the U.S. Division. That was before the newspaper industry got out the paring knife and went to work. These days, he is in the wine business.

I mention Jim here because he is one of the thousands of people who has a health issue but hasn’t been able to have it dealt with because of a dearth of hospital beds — in Seattle, in his case.

The other day, he posted this on Facebook . . . 

“I don’t post often, but this is raising my blood pressure and perhaps venting will help. I recently underwent a nuclear stress test, designed to check the blood flow in my heart. My cardiologist said results were ‘abnormal’ and immediately scheduled me for an angiogram. That angiogram now has twice been postponed. Why? There are no hospital beds in Seattle because they are almost all filled, mostly with unvaccinated covid patients. I believe in free choice, but people who came to the irresponsible decision to avoid a simple, free and easy vaccination now are imposing their choices on all of us.

“I have yet to hear a rational explanation why people refuse to use the best tool we have (vaccinations) to fight a virus that has already killed 5.47 million people around the world.”

Me, too, Jim. Me, too.


Oh boy, do I ever agree with Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette, who writes: “If you grew up during the 1970s, like me, and you’re not already following Super 70s Sports on Twitter, you really should.” I actually grew up in the 1960s — although my wife might debate whether I ever grew up — and I love the tweets that come from Super 70s Sports.


BevHills


If you don’t believe that the NFL is the behemoth of North American sports leagues, you should know that 75 of the most-watched telecasts in 2021 were NFL games. Yes, Super Bowl LV was No. 1. . . . Nine of the top 10 were NFL games. Only the inauguration of Joe Biden as the U.S. president kept the NFL from a Top 10 sweep. . . . No, there weren’t any hockey games in the Top 100. Nor were there any NBA or MLB games. . . . There were 75 NFL games, 11 Olympics telecasts, seven NCAA football games and two NCAA college basketball games, both from March Madness, in the Top 100. . . . Oh, one other thing. You may not like Tom Brady, but he and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers were involved in 11 of those 75 telecasts.


From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:

“Point: Let’s expand the College Football Playoff field.

“Counterpoint: So we can have even more riveting games like Alabama 27, Cincinnati 6 and Georgia 34, Michigan 11.”

——

Perry also scrounged up a couple of quotes from the vault . . .

The late Mickey Mantle, at a roast for the late Billy Martin, on his former Yankee teammate’s proclivity for getting into bar fights: “This is the only man I know in the world who can hear somebody giving him the finger.”

Arkansas coach Lou Holtz, when his team was pelted with oranges after winning a trip to the 1978 Orange Bowl: “I’m glad we’re not going to the Gator Bowl.”



THINKING OUT LOUD: If you watched Sunday night’s NFL game, you saw again why live sporting events are the best of reality TV. . . . Just wondering, but have Jack and Rebecca convinced you to buy whatever it is they are flogging in that TV commercial, or are you going to have to see it another 1,000 times this week before making a decision? . . . Would have been nice if Hockey Night in Canada had picked up the Saturday game that had the Chicago Blackhawks visiting the Vegas Golden Knights. Who wouldn’t have enjoyed watching Marc-Andre Fleury return to the city that he owned not all that long ago and beat the home team, 2-1?


2022


With Novaxx, err, Novak Djokovic having problems getting into Australia because he isn’t vaccinated, comedy writer Brad Dickson reports that “the news isn’t all bad for Novak. He just signed to be the new backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.”

——

BTW, Rafael Nadal, vaccinated and ready to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne, had this to say: “From my point of view, that’s the only thing that I can say is I believe in what the people who know about medicine say, and if the people say that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine. That’s my point of view. I went through the COVID. I have been vaccinated twice. If you do this, you don’t have any problem to play here.”


Yes, they have COVID-19 issues in the KHL, too. On Sunday, the league revealed that 14 players, one coach and two staffers from Dinamo Riga have tested positive. The league has scrubbed three games through Jan. 17.


After the Kingston Frontenacs were able to dress only 14 skaters for a Friday OHLnight game — they lost, 6-5, to the visiting Peterborough Petes — the OHL announced Saturday that COVID-19 protocols meant their next three games would be postponed. That included a game that had been scheduled for Saturday. . . . Meanwhile, the Chase Heat became the latest team in the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League to have games postponed, while the BCHL announced Saturday that it has paused the Nanaimo Clippers for five days.


Snowman


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “I love the idea that ESPN now believes that Alex Rodriguez can be part of the kind of ManningCast that we got this season from Peyton and Eli. . . . Right. . . . Got it. . . . One big difference: People like Peyton and Eli.”


It seems that Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle has about had enough of MLB using humans to call balls and strikes. As he put it: “Human umps were fine in the old days. So were phone booths and stage coaches.”


Teddy Balkind, a 16-year-old junior varsity hockey player with St. Luke’s School in New Caanan, Conn., died on Thursday night after he suffered a skate cut to his neck in a collision with a player from Brunswick School. . . . There is more on this story right here.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Printer

Jets won’t be landing in Saskatoon . . . WHL has 15 teams on pause; two others cleared to return; weekend sked down to two games


As of Friday afternoon, the WHL had 15 teams on pause “as a result of multiple players and staff” having been placed on the COVID-19 protocol list “due to Covidexhibiting symptoms or having tested positive.”

The Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Medicine Hat Tigers, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders, Prince George Cougars, Red Deer Rebels, Regina Pats, Saskatoon Blades, Spokane Chiefs, Tri-City Americans, Victoria Royals and Winnipeg Ice all went into the weekend having paused all team-related activities.

At the same time, the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Swift Current Broncos were cleared to return. In fact, they are scheduled to play on Wednesday in Lethbridge.

As a result of all this, the WHL also postponed eight more games — Spokane at Seattle (Teddy Bear Game), tonight (Saturday); Calgary at Regina, Prince Albert at Edmonton, Spokane at Victoria, and Kelowna at Prince George, on Tuesday; and, Calgary at Moose Jaw, Spokane at Victoria, and Kelowna at Prince George, on Wednesday.

You may recall that Spokane was to have visited Victoria on Nov. 12 and 13, but that doubleheader was postponed after two of the Chiefs tested positive. Going into the Christmas break, those were the only two positive tests in the 22-team WHL to that point. The total number of positive tests now likely is somewhere north of 100.

With the postponement of tonight’s game in Spokane, it means that only two of the 23 games originally scheduled for this weekend are still alive — the Portland Winterhawks are to visit Kelowna tonight and then play the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., on Sunday.

The Winterhawks, who left four players in Portland because of protocol, have added three 16-year-olds to their roster for the two weekend games — F Josh Zakreski of the U-18 Saskatoon Blazers, F Nick Johnson of the Calgary-based Edge School’s U-18 prep team, and D Rhett Ravndahl of the U-18 Prince Albert Mintos.

The Winterhawks were to have played in Kamloops last night. That game was postponed, of course, after the Blazers came up with a number of positives. The Winterhawks practised in Kamloops on Friday morning, then climbed on the bus and headed for Kelowna.

Despite all that has gone on, including 34 postponements since Christmas, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, said in a statement that the league and its teams “remain fully committed to playing through” a 68-game regular season and playoffs.

Remember that not all of the postponements have been due to COVID-19. A handful of games in Brandon and Winnipeg have been postponed because of the provincial government restricting attendance, while a few games this weekend were scrubbed because of inclement weather in the Pacific Northwest.

——

If you are wondering about the WHL’s procedure in dealing with COVID-19, this is from a news release issued on Friday:

“WHL clubs are responsible for monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 among players and hockey operations staff on a daily basis. Upon a player or hockey operations staff member exhibiting symptoms, the individual completes a rapid antigen test and isolates. If the rapid antigen test result is positive, the individual is sent for a PCR test to confirm the positive result and determine next steps.

“If there are multiple rapid antigen positive test results for COVID-19, WHLall team activities are paused immediately. The entire team completes one round of PCR testing and isolates until the results are received and the WHL Chief Medical Officer is made aware of the situation. The WHL, in consultation with its Chief Medical Officer, treats each situation as unique. As such, the WHL Chief Medical Officer reviews all positive test results and scenarios on a case-by-case basis, factoring in a number of variables, including travel, recent schedule, and potential exposures that may have occurred.”


Idol


Because of COVID-19, there are all kinds of moving parts in the WHL these days. BrandonLet’s take a look at the Brandon Wheat Kings’ upcoming schedule. . . . The Wheat Kings are one of seven teams not have had to pause team activities. But that doesn’t mean that won’t be impacted. . . . First, they were to have entertained the Calgary Hitmen last night (Friday), but that game was postponed because of the attendance restrictions imposed by the Manitoba government. . . . In the coming week, the Wheat Kings are scheduled to venture into Alberta for four games in five nights. But all four opponents — Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary — have been shut down by the WHL as part of their protocols. . . . After that road trip, the Wheat Kings next games are scheduled for home ice, against the Regina Pats on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22. But what if the provincial government hasn’t lifted its restrictions by that time? . . . And so it goes. . . . One would assume that the Wheat Kings have a few uncertain days ahead of them as they and so many others wait to see if/how this all sorts itself out. . . . The Wheat Kings also were planning a reunion of the 1978-79 WHL championship team and had hoped to hold it on the Feb. 4 weekend. The reunion was postponed on Friday, and the organization now is looking to hold it at some point during the 2022-23 season.


The BCHL put the Merritt Centennials and Vernon Vipers on pause for at least five days on Friday, citing COVID-19 protocol and provincial health regulations. The Vipers had three games postponed, while the Centennials lost a pair.


So . . . there are reports of a racial slur having been made during a junior B hockey game in Prince Edward Island on Dec. 17. It seems that a player on the Kensington Vipers directed the slur at a player on the Sherwood Metros. The guilty party drew a two-game suspension for his transgression. . . . Keegan Mitchell, 20, of the Metros was suspended for two games for slashing the offender across the legs in retribution. . . . Then, on Jan. 5, Mitchell took to social media and criticized officials for their response to the incident. . . . The Canadian Press reported that Mitchell posted: “For those of you who know me personally or through hockey, I am almost absolutely certain you recognize me as someone who always stands up for themselves, but more importantly for my friends and teammates. If Hockey P.E.I. took these scenarios as seriously as they say they do, this player would have been suspended appropriately. . . . A two-game suspension for a racist slur is absolutely disgraceful.” . . . Mitchell added that the “pitiful suspension is making our whole community look racist.” . . . This week, Mitchell was suspended indefinitely by Hockey P.E.I. for violating the league’s social media policy. Mitchell was told that has been found to be “a member not in good standing.” . . . Seriously! . . . There’s more right here.


Ricky


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

As expected, Matt O’Dette, the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, has heard from the WHL’s Dept. of Discilpine and was dinged for $500 “for public comments” following a 2-0 loss to the host Portland Winterhawks on New Year’s Eve. . . . Among other things, O’Dette told Joshua Critzer of pnwhockeytalk.com: “I saw the worst officiated game in my nine years in the WHL, plain and simple.” . . .

The QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles signed Chadd Cassidy as their head coach on Friday. Cassidy, who is from Lake Placid, N.Y., replaces Jake Grimes, who stepped down on Nov. 30, citing personal and family reasons. Assistant coach Matt Anthony stepped in as interim head coach. . . . Cassidy began this season as the head coach of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. . . .

In the OHL, the Kingston Frontenacs had only 14 skaters — nine forwards and five defencemen — available for a game against the visiting Peterborough Petes on Friday night. The Petes won, 6-5, snapping Kingston’s eight-game winning streak. . . . The OHL had eight games scheduled last night, but had to postpone four of them. . . . It also has postponed four of 11 games scheduled for Saturday.


The 2022 Saskatchewan Winter Games organizing committee announced Friday that the Games have been cancelled “due to COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of all participants.” . . . The Games were to have been held in Regina, Feb. 20-26.


FixinTo


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.


Hearing

Flyers, host Habs play without fans . . . NHLer suggests season be paused . . . B.C. restrictions coming today?

Merry Christmas . . .


Welcome to the start of the college football bowl season. That’s right. It kicks off today with the Bahamas Bowl in Nassau. . . . It’s the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (6-6) against the Toledo Rockets (7-5), and it’s on TSN at 9 a.m. PT (noon ET). It’ll be the ESPN telecast with Matt Barrie calling the play, Booger McFarland doing the analysis, and Katie George on the sidelines. . . . The Rockets are 10-point faves and the over-under is 50.5. . . . Enjoy!


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The tragedy is that we could have been long-since done with all this pandemic. If everyone masks, everyone gets vaccinated, the coronavirus has no place to go and it dies.

“Sports could have played a bigger role, but a few — too many — athletes decided they were stronger than COVID-19 and smarter than scientists.”


The Montreal Canadiens got past the visiting Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2 in a shootout, in the Bell Centre on Thursday night without any fans in attendance. CovidThe decision to play in an empty building was made late in the afternoon at the request of Quebec public health officials. . . . The Canadiens said they will have clarity regarding their next game — Saturday against the Boston Bruins — sometime this morning. . . . “We have obtained assurances that we will be able to welcome our fans to our January games at 50 per cent capacity.” . . .

The Nashville Predators put F Nick Cousins and assistant coach Dan Hinote into COVID-19 protocol on Thursday before beating the visiting Colorado Avalanche, 5-2. . . . The Predators had seven players and seven staff members in protocol. Hinote was to have run the bench last night, with head coach Dan Hynes and assistants Dan Lambert and Todd Richards also in protocol. Instead, they brought in head coach Karl Taylor and assistant Scott Ford from their AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. They were joined by assistant GM Scott Nichol. . . . The Avalanche was without G Darcy Kuemper and D Cole Makar, who went into protocol just prior to game time, as well as F Andre Burakovsky, F J.T. Compher and D Devon Toews, and ended up playing with 11 forwards and five defenceman. . . .

The Calgary Flames added two more players to the list on Thursday. At that point, they had 18 players, three coaches and eight support staff in protocol. The Flames also confirmed that the Omicron variant was present in some of the positive tests. . . . F Dillon Dube and D Oliver Kylington were the latest to join the list. That left only F Matthew Tkachuk, G Dan Vladar, F Blake Coleman, F Michael Stone, and F Mikael Backlund as roster players who hadn’t yet tested positive. . . . Calgary’s games have been postponed through Saturday. . . .

The Edmonton Oilers added F Devin Shore to the list where he joined head coach Dave Tippett and F Ryan McLeod. . . . Edmonton then went out and beat the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2. . . .

The Carolina Hurricanes managed to arrange for a private plane to pick up F Sebastian Aho, F Seth Jarvis and a member of the training staff, who had been quarantining in Vancouver, and take them to Minneapolis. There, they pick up four players who were in isolation and then took everyone home to Raleigh. . . . The Hurricanes dressed 10 forwards and six defencemen for Thursday’s game against the visiting Detroit Red Wings, which they won, 5-3. . . .

The Boston Bruins placed F Anton Blidh, F Trent Frederic, G Jeremey Swayman and a staff member into protocol, where they joined F Patrice Bergeron, F Brad Marchand and F Craig Smith. . . . The Bruins dropped a 3-1 decision to the host New York Islanders last night. . . . If you watched the game on TV, did you get the feeling that Boston play-by-play voice Jack Edwards was unhappy about not being in the building? . . .

Before losing, 4-1, to the visiting Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, the Florida Panthers put five players into protocol — F Sam Bennett, D Aaron Ekblad, D Radko Gudas, F Ryan Lomberg, D Brandon Montour, F Frank Vatrano and F Carter Verhaege. . . . The Kings were without D Drew Doughty after he went into protocol earlier Thursday.


Contact


The virus has made its way to the OHL and the QMJHL.

The OHL’s Owen Sound Attack postponed a pair of weekend games “due to COVID protocols.” It seems that the Attack had one player test positive. . . . The Attack is the third OHL team to be forced to postpone games, after the Erie Otters, who had 13 positives, and Sudbury Wolves (12).

On top of all that, Kingston has been found to have the highest COVID-19 rate in Canada, so the OHL has postponed the Frontenacs’ two weekend games. They were to have entertained the Barrie Colts on Friday and visited the Oshawa Generals on Sunday. . . .

The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs had a player come up positive. He was placed in isolation, while all other staff and players were tested twice, with all coming back negative. The situation is being closely monitored.


Adrian Dix, B.C.’s minister of health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s health officer, are scheduled to hold a news conference today at 1 p.m. PT. There is speculation that new restrictions could be coming, including a 50 per cent capacity limit to arenas, including NHL and WHL venues. . . . The Vancouver Canucks are scheduled to entertain the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. . . . The Kamloops Blazers and Victoria Royals are at home Friday night, with the Royals, Kelowna Rockets and Vancouver Giants to play home games on Saturday. . . . The Giants also have a home game scheduled for Sunday. . . . After Sunday, the WHL pauses for the Christmas break, not returning until Dec. 27.



If there aren’t any further developments before Sunday, QB Nick Mullens will start for the Cleveland Browns against the Las Vegas Raiders. That’s because Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum, who are ahead of him on the depth chart, are two of 20 Browns on the COVID-19 list. Both tested positive. Keenum was added on Thursday. . . .

Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) tweeted Thursday afternoon that “over 125 NFL players have been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list since Monday.” . . . The Los Angeles Rams added nine players on Thursday, including LB Von Miller, raising their total to 25. . . .

All three of the Chicago Bears’ co-ordinators are in COVID-19 protocol. Bill Lazor (offence), Sean Desai (defence) and Chris Tabor (special teams) took part in meetings remotely on Thursday. The Bears, who also have six players on the list, are to play host to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. . . .

The Seattle Seahawks, who got through the 2020 season without even one positive test, had two on Thursday as they put WR Tyler Lockett and RB Alex Collins on the list. . . .

The NFL issued a news release on Thursday, stating that it is upping its defence against COVID-19:

“Effective immediately, all clubs will implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel. We will continue to strongly encourage boosters shots as the most effective protection. Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19. All of these changes are grounded in our data and science-backed approach, with safety our No. 1 goal for the entire NFL community.”


In the world of NCAA men’s basketball, the CBS Sports Classic Saturday game was to have featured the No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes and the No. 21 Kentucky Wildcats from Las Vegas. However, there were some positive tests among the Buckeyes and the game was cancelled. . . .

High school wrestling in Clark County, Wash., is on hold until at least Jan. 3. Micah Rice, the sports editor of The Columbian in Vancouver, Wash., reports that more than 80 COVID cases were traced to four tournaments that were held on Dec. 4. The events involved wrestlers from 13 counties.



Fourdollar



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.


Cavemen

Winterhawks unveil their new look . . . Everett gets d-man from Brandon . . . Spokane, Lethbridge sign imports

Portland

The Portland Winterhawks, preparing for their first WHL season under new ownership, unveiled their new look on Wednesday, as they dumped the Indian chief logo they had worn since debuting in Portland in 1976.

Originally, the Winterhawks had been the Edmonton Oil Kings. The franchise made the move south in time for the 1976-77 season. Ownership at that time had ties to the Chicago Blackhawks and accepted the NHL team’s offer of a set of used jerseys, which is how that logo made its way to Portland.

“We are so proud to finally have our own identity,” Michael Kramer of Winterhawks Sports Group, a co-owner and managing partner, said in a news release after the unveiling. “We feel our new look is fresh and unique, one that we are excited about and believe our community will be as well.”

More from the news release:

“The club’s new primary logo, a right-facing hawk featured with a predominantly white head, also carries the tradition of former colors black and red. The new scheme adds ‘celly gold’ and also squall gray, a color distinct to the new Winterhawks brand. . . .

“Also featured on the bird head are two feathers, carrying the legacy of the franchise’s roots and serving as a subtle nod to the feathers in the previous logo. The bottom of the hawk’s head includes Mount Hood in the aforementioned new squall gray, an iconic mountain from the Cascade Range synonymous with the Portland area. Located within the Mount Hood figure are also the letters ‘W’ and ‘H,’ for further characterization of Winterhawks.”

The Winterhawks also unveiled a new secondary logo.

Again, from the news release:

“The refreshed color scheme can also be seen in the club’s new secondary logo, which features a revitalized edition of the ‘Portland P’ that the team has utilized in the past. The logo will be worn on the team’s jerseys as a shoulder patch, with the P being in gold font at the forefront of two hockey sticks in squall gray. ‘Est. 1976’ — a nod to the 45-year success of the franchise in The Rose City, one of the longest tenured in the WHL — is also included on the patch. ‘Winterhawks’ can be seen hung in a banner atop the logo.”

The complete news release is right here.




The Everett Silvertips have acquired D Jonny Lambos, 20, from the Brandon EverettWheat Kings for a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. . . . Lambos, from Winnipeg, has five goals and 14 assists in 126 regular-season games, all with Brandon. He had two assists in 21 games in the Regina hub earlier this year. . . . He was selected by the Victoria Royals in the third round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Brandon picked him up in a January 2018 trade. . . . His 18-year-old brother, Carson, is a defenceman with the Winnipeg Ice and is likely to be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft on July 23. . . . The Silvertips ended the 2021 developmental season with five 2001-born players on their roster — D Zach Ashton, F Hunter Campbell, F Gage Concalves, F Jalen Price and G Dustin Wolf. . . . Brandon still has six such players on the roster with which it finished the season — Finnish F Marcus Kallionkieli, G Ethan Kruger, F Ben McCartney, D Chad Nychuk, D Neithan Salame and D Braden Schneider. Last week, the Wheat Kings dealt D Rylan Thiessen, 20, to the Swift Current Broncos for a conditional ninth-round pick in the 2021 draft.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed D Tsimafei Kauharenia, 18, of Belarus to a WHL Spokanecontract. . . . An interesting note from the Chiefs’ news  release: “Kauharenia (previously listed as ‘Tomofei Kovgorenya’) was the Chiefs’ first-round pick in the 2021 CHL import draft.” . . . In 2020-21, Kauharenia had seven goals and nine assists in 26 games with the Minsk Bison of Vysshaya Liga. He also got into 17 games — he was pointless — with Dinoma Molodechno of Belarus’s top pro league. . . . The Chiefs now hold the rights to four import players, the other three being Czech G Lukas Parik, Czech D David Jiricek, who turns 18 on Nov. 28, and German F Yannick Proske, 18. . . . Parik has signed with the Ontario Reign, the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliated. . . . Jiricek and Proske haven’t signed with the Chiefs.

——

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Yegor Klavdiev of Belarus to a WHL Lethcontract. They selected him in the first round of the 2021 CHL import draft. . . . From Minsk, the 18-year-old had six goals and five assists in 24 regular-season games with his country’s U-18 team. He also played in the IIHF U-18 World Championship in Texas, putting up a goal and two assists in five games. . . . He also had two goals and two assists in 13 games with Dinamo Molodechno of the country’s top pro league, and one goal in two games with Minskie Zubry of Vysshaya. . . . The Hurricanes didn’t have any imports on the roster with which they concluded the 2021 developmental season. They did have one on their 2019-20 roster — D Danila Palivko of Belarus. He turns 20 on Nov. 30 and signed with Admiral Vladivostok of the KHL earlier this month.


Ram


So . . . when the Olympic Summer Games open on July 23 is the story going to be the competitions involving the athletes or the competition between the human race and COVID-19?

“Tokyo reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost six months on Wednesday, with the Olympics due to open in the capital in just nine days,” reads a report from Thomson Reuters.

“The city government said there were 1,149 new cases, the highest daily tally since Jan. 22, adding to evidence that a new fifth wave of infections is under way, driven by more infectious virus variants and a low vaccination rate. . . .

“Just 31 per cent of people in Japan have received at least one COVID-19 inoculation dose, among the lowest rate among wealthy countries, according to a Reuters tracker. The vaccination push finally gained steam last month, but has recently ebbed among supply and logistical snags.

“The Delta variant now accounts for more than 30 per cent of cases in Tokyo, and the rate is climbing.”

One of these days, if it hasn’t already been done, an editorial cartoonist is going to redesign the Olympic logo using colourized versions of the graphic that represents the virus.

——

An Olympics-related note from Jesse Campigotto of CBC:

“In a pandemic-induced change to the traditional practice of an official placing the hardware around athletes’ necks on the medal stand, medals ‘will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself,’ IOC president Thomas Bach said. Medallists and officials will also be required to wear masks, and no fans are allowed at any Olympic venues, so these ceremonies will look a lot different in Tokyo.”


The CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers have gotten the all-clear from government and health officials to open up every CFLseat in the house for their home-opener at IG Field on Aug. 5. But you will have to be fully vaccinated — meaning you will have to have had your second shot by July 21 — and have a Manitoba immunization card in order to attend. Also, children under 12 will be allowed in, but only if accompanied by at least one fully vaccinated parent. . . . The wearing of facemasks will be optional for fans. . . . The Blue Bombers, who haven’t played since winning the 2019 Grey Cup with a 33-12 victory over Hamilton on Nov. 24 in Calgary, are to entertain the Tiger-Cats in their opener. The stadium in Winnipeg has a capacity of 33,500. . . . Interestingly, provincial governments and health officials in Saskatchewan and Alberta have said the Roughriders, Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks are free to open to full capacity and that fans don’t have to be fully vaccinated.


Wile


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: The WHL’s Everett Silvertips have lost veteran equipment manager James Stucky to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Stucky had been with the Silvertips since the franchise entered the WHL in 2003. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed Josh Mallory as their video coach and hockey operations co-ordinator. Mallory, 24, spent the previous three seasons working with the Brock U Badgers women’s team. . . .

The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs have promoted Luca Caputi to head coach. As the club’s associate coach, he was on the bench for two seasons (2018-20) before the OHL lost its 2020-21 season to the pandemic. He replaces Paul McFarland, who was hired on May 8, 2020, and left to join the NHL’s Seattle Kraken as an assistant coach earlier this month. . . . Ryan Hawes, who played 20 games over two seasons (1993-95) with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, has joined the expansion Okanagan Lakers of the BCIHL as an assistant coach. A veteran coach, he has been coaching at various levels in the Okanagan since 2016. . . .

Ty Valin has signed on as general manager and head coach of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He had been an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines. In Fernie, Valin replaces Jeff Wagner, who now is associate coach and director of scouting with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. . . . Brodie St. Jacques has left the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks to join the WHL’s Vancouver Giants as their equipment manager. He had been the Silverbacks’ trainer and equipment manager for two seasons. In Vancouver, he takes over from Shingo Sasaki, who has joined the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. . . .

The QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats announced Wednesday that head coach Daniel Lacroix will be back for a second full season, while assistant coach Josh Hepditch is returning for a fifth season. Moncton also has signed Antoine Samuel as its goaltending coach. Darryl Boyce and Ryan Salvis won’t be returning as assistant coaches, while Marc Theriault won’t be back as the goaltending coach.


Pacemaker

Thunderbirds sign two imports . . . Broncos acquire defenceman . . . Wheat Kings lose assistant to OHL



If you were watching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final on Monday night, you may have seen intermission host Ron MacLean’s interview with Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner. And you may be aware that MacLean didn’t ask Bettman about the sexual assault investigation in which the Chicago Blackhawks have found themselves. . . . MacLean took a fair amount of heat, albeit on social media, for not asking. On Tuesday, Ken Campbell got MacLean’s side of the story and wrote about it right here. This, folks, is why I am a subscriber to Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell. Check it out.


Aliens


The WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Alessandro Segafredo and D SeattleLeon Okonkwo Prada, their two selections in the CHL’s 2021 import draft on June 30. . . . From Italy, Segafredo, who won’t turn 17 until Sept. 15, played in Switzerland last season. He had a team-high 52 points, including 25 goals, in 26 games with the ZSC Lions U17 team in 2020-21. He also had a goal and an assist in one game with ZSC’s U20 team, and 10 goals and an assist with the GCK Lions U20 side. . . . Okonkwo Prada, who turns 18 today (Wednesday), was born in Colchester, Great Britain. He played in Sweden in 2020-21, putting up a goal and six assists in eight games with Rögle BK’s U18 team. . . . Each WHL team is allowed to use two import players. Seattle also holds the rights to F Vladimir Alistrov, a 20-year-old from Belarus, having acquired them from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Jan. 25 for D Simon Kubicek, who is from Czech Republic. . . . Alistrov, who had 19 goals and 16 assists in 57 games with the Oil Kings in 2019-20, spent this season in the KHL with Dinamo Minsk. He had a goal and three assists in 38 games, then signed a one-year contract extension on April 30. . . . The Oil Kings announced last week that Kubicek, who will turn 20 on Dec. 19, is committed to play for them in 2021-22.


The 2022 Memorial Cup championship will be decided in Quebec City or Saint CHLJohn, N.B. The QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts and Saint John Sea Dogs both are putting together bids in the hopes of earning hosting rights. Bids are to be in to the CHL by Aug. 23, with a winner to be announced the week of Sept. 6. . . . The Remparts have played host to the four-team tournament in 2003 and 2015; Saint John never has been the host city. . . . The 2022 tournament is scheduled for June 3-12. . . . Due to the pandemic, the Memorial Cup tournament hasn’t been held since 2019. The 2020 tournament was to have been held in Kelowna, with the 2021 tournament in Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie. Both events were cancelled due to the pandemic.


Icecream


MLB and team owners must be wallowing in poverty, because now they’re altering some of the most glorious uniforms in all of sports in what is an obvious attempt to sell, sell, sell. . . . That includes the uniforms of the San Francisco Giants, which look the way the best ones are supposed to look — neat and clean. . . . Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a column that was sharply critical of MLB. He ended that column like this:

“I hope one of our sharp Chronicle editors kills this column before it goes into print, realizing that the unveiling of those new Giants’ uniforms was a fake news flash from the Onion, or a late April Fool’s joke.

“But if it is for real, the Giants will wear those uniforms all weekend, and every Tuesday home game the rest of the season. Willie Mays must be spinning in his hammock.”


This reminds me of a story involving Dunc McCallum, then the coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Jake Milford, who was then the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, and centre Bill Derlago. . . . The Canucks had selected Derlago, who had piled up 437 points in 209 regular-season games with the Wheat Kings, with the fourth pick of the NHL’s 1978 draft. . . . When the Canucks arrived for training camp, players had to do some running, after which Milford, a one-time Wheat Kings’ GM/head coach, called McCallum to express his disappointment in Derlago, who, he said, had huge calves and couldn’t run at all well. . . . To which McCallum replied: “Jake, are you putting together a hockey team or a track team?”


Bike


The Swift Current Broncos acquired D Rylan Thiessen, 20, from the Brandon ScurrentWheat Kings on Monday, giving up a conditional ninth-round pick in the WHL draft. Thiessen, who is from Brandon, had three goals in 25 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who had signed him as an undrafted free agent. He later was dealt to the Wheat Kings, for whom he had one goal and nine assists in 31 games over two seasons. . . . Other 2001-born players on the Broncos’ roster that finished the 2020-21 season: D Cayde Augustine, F Aiden Bulych, F Eric Houk, D Alex Moar, F Cole Nagy and G Isaac Poulter. . . . The Wheat Kings still have four 2001-born defencemen on the roster that completed the 2020-21 season: Braden Schneider, who has signed with the New York Rangers, Jonny Lambos, Chad Nychuk and Neithan Salame, as well as forwards Marcus Kallionkieli, who is from Finland, and Ben McCartney.



Another reminder that the pandemic continues to live with us. . . . The Australian Grand Prix, that had been scheduled for Nov. 18-21 near Melbourne, has been cancelled. According to a news release from the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, it was cancelled “due to restrictions and logistical challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”


The NBA final began on Tuesday night with the host Phoenix Suns beating the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-105. . . . Perhaps the most interesting part of this final will involved the TV ratings. As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon points out: “The big TV markets are on the sidelines. Phoenix is the 11th largest TV market per Nielsen and Milwaukee is the 35th largest. . . . The number of ‘TV homes’ in these two markets combined is about half the number in Los Angeles (No. 2 in market size) and about 40 per cent of the number in New York (No. 1 on the list).” . . . Game 2 is to be played on Thursday.


Carnival


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: The QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have signed head coach Bruce Richardson to a three-year extension. Richardson, 44, is preparing for his fourth season as the team’s head coach. . . . The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan have signed head coach Mario Durocher, 58, to a one-year contract. He also is readying for his fourth season as that team’s head coach. . . .

The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs have lost Paul McFarland, their general manager and head coach, to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. McFarland, 35, had been in Kingston for one season. He has signed on with the Kraken as an assistant coach. The Kraken also signed Jay Leach, 41, as an assistant under head coach Dave Hakstol. Leach had been the head coach of the AHL’s Providence Bruins for four seasons. . . . If you were wondering, the NHL expansion draft is scheduled for July 21. . . . The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs have signed Jay McKee, 43, as their head coach. McKee, a former NHL player, was the head coach of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers for two-plus seasons (2016-19). He was fired on Nov. 25, 2019. Hamilton also signed Andreas Karlsson, 45, and Andrew Campbell, 33, as assistant coaches. Karlsson, from Sweden, is a former NHL player, who spent three seasons (2017-18) as an assistant coach in Kitchener. Campbell, another former NHLer, played with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2018-19. . . .

The OHL’s Oshawa Generals have signed Todd Miller as their head coach. Miller spent 2020-21 as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. Miller, 43, was an assistant coach with the OHL’s Barrie Colts for 10 seasons before his one season with Brandon. The Generals had announced on June 17 that they were “parting ways” with head coach Greg Walters, who said the parties weren’t able to come to terms on a contract. He had been there for three years. The Generals also announced on Tuesday the signings of associate coaches Kurtis Foster and Dave Matsos, and assistant coach Mike Hedden. Foster, 39, was the Kingston Frontenacs’ head coach for two seasons (2018-20). Matsos, 47, has been an OHL coach since 2010, most recently having spent three seasons (2017-20) with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Hedden, 36, has ended his playing career after spending 2020-21 with the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush.


Mother

Two OHL teams file lawsuits over COVID-19 losses . . . Berard and Canada into semifinal at U18 tourney . . . Ominous words from B.C.’s top doctor?

That was a public service announcement from the premier of Nova Scotia. Please pay attention to what he has to say.


A pair of OHL teams — the Kingston Frontenacs and Sudbury Wolves — had pandemic-related insurance claims rejected by insurers and now have filed lawsuits claiming breach of contract, according to Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . Westhead reported that the Frontenacs filed a $1.1-million lawsuit against Lloyd’s Insurance Co., on Jan. 22, and the Wolves filed a $1-million lawsuit against Intact Insurance Co., on March 12. . . . Both teams are claiming that insurers breached contracts by “refusing to cover financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Westhead wrote. . . . His complete story is right here. . . . You are free to wonder if this is the start of something.


An update to something I mentioned here late last week. . . . F Peyton Krebs isn’t Vegasgoing to the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights; rather, he bypassed the AHL and went straight to the NHL where he made his debut with the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night against the host Minnesota Wild. . . . Krebs recorded his first NHL point — an assist — in 9 minutes 5 seconds of ice time in a 6-5 loss to the Wild. He got the primary assist on a first-period goal by F Alex Tuch that gave Vegas a 3-2 lead. . . . Vegas selected him with the 17th pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft. Krebs just finished his 19-year-old season with the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice by leading the Regina hub with 43 points in 24 games. . . . He has AHL experience, having put up a goal and four assists in five games with the Silver Knights before the WHL season began. . . .

Meanwhile, the NHL’s San Jose Sharks have said they have assigned F Ozzy Wiesblatt of the Prince Albert Raiders to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. The Sharks selected him 31st overall in the NHL’s 2020 draft. Wiesblatt, who turned 19 on March 9, made his AHL debut before the WHL season started, scoring one goal in three games. . . . This season with the Raiders, he had seven goals and 21 assists in 23 games in the Regina hub.



F Connor Bedard had two goals and three assists on Monday as Canada dumped U18Czech Republic, 10-3, in one of four quarterfinal games at the IIHF U18 World Championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas. . . . Also on Monday, Sweden dumped Team USA, 5-2; Finland blanked Switzerland, 2-0; and Russia beat Belarus, 5-2. . . . The semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday with Canada playing Sweden at 2 p.m. PT, and Finland meeting Russia at 6 p.m. PT. . . . Bedard, 15, has three goals and six assists in five games. . . . Russian F Matvei Michkov, who turned 16 on Dec. 9, leads the tournament in goals (10) and points (12).


It appears that the WHL’s Everett Silvertips have lost D Kasper Puutio to KalPa EverettKuopio of Finland’s top professional league. It was announced Monday that Puutio has signed a two-year contract with the Liiga team. . . . Puutio, who will turn 19 on June 3, played with the Swift Current Broncos, who had selected him first overall in the 2019 CHL import draft, and the Silvertips in 2019-20, but pandemic-related travel restrictions meant he stayed in Finland this season. . . . Playing in Liiga with Kärpät, Puutio had a goal and two assists in 29 games. He also had two assists with Finland’s national junior team as it finished third at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton. . . . The Silvertips acquired him from the Broncos on Jan. 10, 2020. He had one goal and 15 assists in 35 games with the Broncos, then added four goals and eight assists in 21 games with the Silvertips. . . . The Florida Panthers selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft.


The AHL announced that is has postponed a game between the Utica Comets and host Rochester Americans that was to have been played on Monday night. The move was made “out of an abundance of caution in accordance with league protocols.” . . . The AHL didn’t release any other information. . . . Earlier this season, the Comets lost 10 straight games due to an outbreak within their roster.

Meanwhile, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche placed G Devan Dubnyk on the COVID-19 protocol list on Monday. Later that night, it was confirmed that he has tested positive and will be sidelined for at least two weeks while he is in quarantine.


Whistleblower


If you are in B.C., and if you’re looking forward to big crowds at sporting events in three or four months, well, there were some ominous words from Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, on Monday.

During a news conference, she said:

“We have seen that things can happen and change very quickly . . . there is not likely to be big events of any sort, even outdoors, through this summer, and into the fall and winter of next year.”

I don’t know exactly what this means, but I have a feeling there will be a whole lot more on this in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, there was one WHL game on Monday night . . .

In Kamloops, F Matthew Seminoff opened and closed the scoring and D Fraser KamloopsMinten picked up four assists as the Blazers beat the Victoria Royals, 5-2. . . . Kamloops (14-4-0) has won two in a row. . . . Victoria (2-14-2) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). . . . The Blazers points percentage now is .778, putting them back atop the B.C. Division, just ahead of the idle Kelowna Rockets (8-2-1, .773). . . . Seminoff, who has eight goals, gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:19 of the first period. . . . The Royals tied it at 10:46 when F Brandon Cutler (8) scored on a PP. . . . Kamloops went back in front at 1:23 of the second period on a goal by F Daylan Kuefler (4). But the Royals got it right back when F Tarun Fizer (5) scored 25 seconds later. . . . However, Kamloops scored the game’s next three goals. . . . F Tye Spencer (2) broke the tie 16 seconds after Fizer’s goal. . . . F Connor Levis (6) struck on a PP at 18:24, and Seminoff wrapped up the scoring at 14:40 of the third period. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots for Kamloops, four fewer than the Royals’ Adam Evanoff. . . . Minten, 16, was a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. He went into this game with a goal and seven assists in 15 games. . . . D Austin Zemlak made his WHL debut with the Royals. From Fort McMurray, he was the ninth overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft. . . . The Blazers were without F Connor Zary for a third straight game after he was injured on a high hit in a 5-1 loss to the Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night. The Blazers have four games remaining before wrapping up their season on May 12 and you have to wonder if Zary will return at all. . . . F Jonny Hooker of the Cougars had his suspension set at four games on Monday. He has sat out two, so won’t play tonight or Wednesday — the Cougars are scheduled to play Kelowna and Vancouver — before being eligible to return Saturday against Victoria.


CBC News reported Monday afternoon that Bernie Lynch, a longtime hockey coach who was on the staff of the WHL’s Regina Pats in 1988-89, “has been charged with sexual assault and assault . . . following a complaint from a former player.” . . . The Regina Police Service issued a warrant for his arrest on Friday and, according to CBC News, Lynch turned himself in to police in Devon, Alta. . . . “He faces one count each of sexual assault and assault,” CBC reported, “dating back to August 1988. The complainant was 17 at the time.” . . . The complete story is right here.


——

Don’t forget that my wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Gator

Hockey world is mourning loss of Hawerchuk . . . Here’s hoping CFL is able to find itself


As you no doubt are aware, the CFL won’t happen in 2020. For the first time since 1919, the Grey Cup won’t be awarded.

(There wasn’t a Grey Cup game for four years — 1916-19 — because of the First World War. The CFL didn’t pause for the Second World War.)

I would suggest that this day of reckoning has been in the CFL’s windshield for a few years now. I don’t know exactly when it was that the CFL came to the fork in the road and took the wrong one, but somewhere along the way it lost track of who it is.

Hopefully it can find itself over the next few months. Hopefully it can figure out where the fans went in Edmonton and Toronto and B.C. Hopefully it can get things back on track in Montreal. Hopefully it can get back to being the CANADIAN Football League.

I spent a fair amount of time around the CFL and its teams while with the Winnipeg Tribune and Regina Leader-Post through 1999. It hurts to see this happen to the CFL, but here’s hoping it comes back with a redesign that makes it bigger and better whenever COVID-19 allows another season to be held. . . .

In the meantime, two columnists I worked with while in Regina took a look at the CFL and the situation in which it now finds itself. . . . Ed Willes of Postmedia has his take right here, while Rob Vanstone of The Leader-Post has a column right here. . . . Ed Tait of the Blue Bombers has a terrific piece right here with thoughts from LB Adam Bighill and QB Zach Collaros. . . . Here’s part of what Collaros had to say: “The optics of going to the federal government without consulting with us at all was definitely tough. Guys were definitely not happy about that. It’s kind of a microcosm of how this pandemic has been handled from leadership in North America. The transparency is not there, the communication hasn’t been great. That needs to improve moving forward if 2021 is going to be successful.”


Fans of the Vancouver Canucks have had to put their plans for a Stanley Cup parade on hold since their favourites now find themselves at 2-2 with the defending-champion St. Louis Blues in the opening round of the NHL’s bubble tournament. . . . The Canucks, you may recall, won the first two games, only to have the Blues wake up in time for a 3-2 OT victory in Game 3 on Sunday, and then pound their way to a 3-1 triumph on Monday. . . . The Blues have gotten more and more physical with the Canucks young guns, especially Elias Pettersson, as the series has worn on. How the Canucks and Pettersson respond in Game 5 tonight will tell the story.

Meanwhile, the NHL revealed on Monday that it completed the third week of its return to play without any positive tests. There had been 5,640 tests administered through Aug. 15. . . . Yes, if everyone is on the same page with the same goal in mind, the bubble approach does work.


Nuts


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The U of Notre Dame reported 147 positive tests — 146 students and one staff member — on Tuesday, so suspended in-person classes for two weeks just eight days into the fall semester. Some of the positives apparently were traced to an off-campus party where there were neither masks nor social distancing. . . . The U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill cancelled in-person undergraduate classes on Monday with at least 135 positive tests on campus. A spokesperson said that as of Monday morning, there were 177 students in isolation and 349 in quarantine. . . . Also on Tuesday, Michigan State ordered undergrads to stay home for the remainder of the fall. MSU hadn’t yet started its fall semester when it told students to say home “effective immediately.” . . . In a letter to students, Samuel Stanley Jr., MSU’s president, said the move was due to the “current status of the virus in our country — particularly what we are seeing at other institutions as they re-populate their campus communities.” . . .

The Atlanta Braves have placed OF Nick Markakis on the 10-day IL because he may have been exposed to the virus. Interestingly, Markakis, 36, originally opted out of playing this season. However, he changed his mind and returned to the Braves shortly after the season began. . . .

Here’s Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot with a pertinent observation: “Something’s wrong with the business model at many American universities when the cancellation of a football season threatens to wreck a school’s budget.”



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.


Stars


The 16-team USHL announced Tuesday that it hopes to open a 54-game regular season on Nov. 6 and wrap it up on April 24. Teams will open training camps on Sept. 14 with exhibition games to start in mid-October. . . . From a news release: “All activities are designed to take place in accordance with local, state and federal guidelines as well as the League’s Return to Play Protocols which are currently being finalized. The regular season schedule allows for flexibility for games to be moved to the back of the schedule due to postponements, capacity restrictions, or other factors.” . . . The news release didn’t make any mention of the situation in Des Moines, Iowa, where Buccaneer Arena, the home of the USHL’s Buccaneers, was damaged by an intense storm on Aug. 10. The ImOn Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids, the home of the RoughRiders, also suffered some damage.


These leagues are hoping to start their 2020-21 regular seasons on these proposed dates:

AHL: Dec. 4

AJHL: Sept. 18

BCHL: Dec. 1

ECHL: Dec. 4

Heritage Junior B Hockey League: Oct. 28

KHL: Sept. 2

KIJHL: Oct. 2

MJHL: Sept. 25

NAHL: Oct. 9

NHL: Dec. 1

OHL: Dec. 1

Pacific Junior Hockey League: Sept. 29

QMJHL: Oct. 1

SJHL: Oct. 9

USHL: Nov. 6

Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League: Sept. 7 (48 games), Oct. 12 (40), Nov. 16 (40), Dec. 14 (32)

WHL: Dec. 4



Paul McFarland now is the general manager and head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. An assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019-20, McFarland signed as Kingston’s head coach on May 8. He was named general manager on Tuesday. . . . The Frontenacs had been looking for a GM since July 23 when they announced that they wouldn’t be renewing Darren Kelly’s contract. . . . Prior to his one season with the Maple Leafs, McFarland was an assistant coach with the NHL’s Florida Panthers for two seasons.


The SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos have reinstated assistant coach Curtis Toneff. The team made the announcement on Monday after a stay of proceedings had been agreed to regarding charges faced by Toneff. . . . He had been charged with assault on June 2 after a May 24 incident. The Broncos suspended Toneff after the charge was laid. . . . Last season was Toneff’s first with the Broncos after two seasons as head coach of the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.


Plaid

Seattle NHL team has nickname; Washington NFL team doesn’t . . . Neepawa MJHL team does but it’s changing it

So . . . on a day when Seattle’s expansion NHL franchise dug into the depths for its nickname — Kraken — the NFL’s Washington franchise announced that it will spend the approaching season as the Washington Football Team. . . . The New York Yankees and host Washington Nationals opened the delayed MLB season with a game that was played in front of empty seats and was shortened by inclement weather, while the visiting San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers played before cardboard cutouts. . . . What a time to be alive, eh?


The MJHL’s Neepawa Natives have begun the process of changing their nickname. . . . Ken Pearson, the club’s general manager and head coach, told CBC News: “We’re just trying to get ahead of the curve here and . . . be ahead of the game.” . . . Neepawa has had a team with that nickname, either in intermediate or junior hockey, since the early 1960s. . . . A decision on a new nickname for the MJHL team is expected before the 2021-22 season.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

OF Juan Soto wasn’t in the Washington Nationals’ opening night lineup Thursday after testing positive. He was placed on the injured list about five hours before game time. . . . Soto, 21, is reportedly asymptomatic and will need two negative tests before he is allowed to return. . . .

OF Hunter Dozier of the Kansas City Royals has tested positive. He said he has a “couple of symptoms” so won’t be available when the team opens the season in Cleveland on Friday. . . . He is the ninth Kansas City player to have tested positive. . . .

Veteran MLB scout Johan Maya died of COVID-19 on Thursday. Maya, 40, had been working for the Arizona Diamondbacks and was in the Dominican Republic at the time of his death. . . .

Former MLBer Mike Napoli, now a quality assurance coach with the Chicago Cubs, has tested positive so has been away from the team. . . .

Two more NHL players have revealed that they tested positive and have recovered. . . . D Anthony Bitetto, who was back on the ice for the first time with the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, said he tested positive about a month ago and self-quarantined for 29 days. . . . D Xavier Ouellet of the Montreal Canadiens actually tested negative before coming up positive and never did have any symptoms. He returned to the ice on Wednesday. . . .

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has announced a tentative plan under which some fall sports, including football, soccer and volleyball, will start on March 1. . . . Under the plan, basketball would get going on Jan. 4, with track and field starting on April 26. . . . Other sports like cross-country, slo-pitch, golf and tennis are to begin on Sept. 7. . . . Mick Hoffman, the WIAA executive director, said everything remains fluid. “When you look at dates,” he said, “those are definitely written in pencil.” . . .

Earlier in the week, the Florida High School Athletic Association went against the recommendation of its medical people and said football season would begin with practices starting on Monday. After a whole lot of backlash, the FHSAA reversed its field on Thursday and pushed things back until at least Aug. 24. But like so many other things these days all of that seems to be fluid. . . .

The KHL has made it official. With the Russia-China border closed to people — it’s open to the transportation of goods — a decision was made that Kunlun Red Star Beijing will play its home games for 2020-21 in Mytishchi, which is on the northern outskirts of Moscow. . . . The KHL, unsure of how many teams will play this season, has yet to release a schedule but has said that should happen by month’s end.


Social


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from former MLB owner Bill Veeck: “Baseball is almost the only orderly thing left in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can’t get you off.”


The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs are looking for a general manager, having revealed on Thursday that they won’t be renewing Darren Kelly’s contract when it expires on Aug. 12. . . . The Frontenacs added a new head coach this summer, with Paul McFarland returning after three seasons as an NHL assistant coach. . . . Kelly had been with the Frontenacs since 2008, including the past three seasons as general manager.


Alexander Gusev, a defenceman on the Soviet Union team that played Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, died on Wednesday, according to his former club, CSKA Moscow. Gusev was 73. . . . He was a contributing factor on the Soviet national teams of the 1970s. . . . Andy Potts of iihf.com has more right here.


Pam

Pandemic responsible for rash of WHL signings? . . . Co-owner: Cougars 1,500 fans a game from breaking even . . . Hanlon’s latest gig in German DEL

With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


After the Red Deer Rebels announced the signing of Arjun Bawa, a second-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft, on Thursday, Alan Caldwell, who keeps track of these things, tweeted:

“Bawa makes 15 of 22 second-rounds picks signed now. Add to 19 of the 22 first-rounders and that’s 34 of the first 44 picks from 2020.

“Five 3rd-rounders, one 4th and one 5th make 41 players signed from the 2020 draft already.”

And, as Caldwell also noted, the numbers “may actually be higher as some teams don’t announce signings.” (Note: There were more signings on Friday, too, with 21 of 22 first-round picks from 2020 now having signed.)

Whatever the numbers, I can’t ever recall a time when the WHL’s 22 teams signed so many players in such a short period of time. After all, the draft was held on April 22.

So . . . why the rush?

I had wondered if perhaps the WHL’s 22 teams were feeling more pressure than usual from leagues like the BCHL and USHL. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Two people with an understanding of the situation have told me that you likely can chalk it up to the pandemic. Unable to take vacations and with not a whole lot of other things on their plate at the moment, team executives simply have sped up the signing process.

And, no, neither Bill Gates nor 5G have had anything to do with it.



Wondering how much money the Prince George Cougars lost last season? Hartley Miller PrinceGeorgeof 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97 takes a look in his weekly Hart Attack column and it’s all right here. . . . On Tuesday, John Pateman, one of the team’s owners and the franchise’s president, took part in a virtual town hall with fans. At one point, he offered: “It’s been a struggle financially for the ownership group over the last several years. We’ve obviously lost a lot of money. I would suggest, last season, we were probably 1,500 fans short of paying all our bills per game, that’s without making the playoffs.” . . . Do the math, as Miller does in his column, and this looks a lot like about a $1-million loss. Yikes!


Married


Glen Hanlon is the new head coach of the Krefeld Pinguine of the German DEL. He finished last season as the head coach of DVTK Jegesmedvek in Slovakia. . . . Hanlon, 63, spent two seasons (2016-18) as the general manager of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants before going back to Europe where he gained considerable experience after spending the better part of four seasons on staff with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.


Paul McFarland has left his position as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs to take over as head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. . . . McFarland spent three previous seasons (2014-17) as the Frontenacs’ head coach before joining the Florida Panthers for two seasons as an assistant coach. He then spent one season with the Maple Leafs. . . . In Kingston, he replaces Kurtis Foster, who was fired on April 29 after two seasons in the position.


Mike Rooney is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. Rooney, from Yellow Grass, Sask., spent last season working as a skating/skills coach with the Notre Dames Hound program in Wilcox, Sask. . . . Rooney replaces Kyle Adams, who was dismissed on Feb. 26. . . . Rooney is a familiar face in Saskatchewan hockey circles, but hasn’t done a whole lot of coaching. He was the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers for two seasons (1995-97) and the GM/director of player personnel for the SJHL’s Hounds (1997-2000). . . . He also has considerable experience as an NHL and WHL scout.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon with his Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “If x is the population of the United States and y is the degree of imbecility of the average American, then democracy is the theory that x × y is less than y.”


Banjo


Oliver David of the Dubuque Fighting Saints has been named the USHL’s coach of the year for 2019-20. The Fighting Saints had the USHL’s best defensive record en route to finishing second in the overall standings. . . . Oliver spent one season (2016-17) as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, where he worked alongside general manager and head coach Mike Johnston. . . . You have to admit that Johnston’s managerial coaching tree is looking rather impressive. It includes Garry Davidson, the general manager of the Everett Silvertips; Matt Bardsley, the GM of the Kamloops Blazers and the Western Conference’s executive of the year; Grant Armstrong and Josh Dye, who both have gone on to scout with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning; Karl Taylor, the head coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals; and Travis Green, the head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . It is somewhat interesting that Johnston, despite Portland being one of the WHL’s premier franchises, has never been saluted as executive or coach of the year. The Winterhawks are the reigning Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy holders as regular-season champions.



The B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame has cancelled its 2020 induction dinner that was to have been held in Penticton on July 24. It is expected that the 2020 inductees will be installed in the Hall of Fame at a celebration in the summer of 2021. The class features players Eric Brewer and Mattias Ohlund, official Jay Sharrers, builder Ray Stonehouse, and two teams — the 2002 Kootenay Ice and 2012 Penticton Vees.


The West Coast League says it still hopes to play baseball this season, despite the fact that five of its 12 teams have said they aren’t able to play because of restrictions having been placed on facilities by health officials and the fact that the U.S.-Canada border remains closed. That includes the Kelowna Falcons and Victoria HarbourCats, the league’s two Canadian franchises. Also out are the Bellingham Bells, Bend Elks and Corvallis Knights. . . . The WCL’s regular season was to have started on June 5. In a news release, the league said it now is “targeting early July for the return of baseball to our member cities.” . . . The WCL’s other franchises are located in Portland the Washington communities of Longview (Cowlitz Black Bears), Port Angeles, Ridgefield, Walla Walla and Yakima. . . .

Baseball Alberta announced on Friday that it has cancelled all sanctioned events and activities through Aug. 31. . . . The senior Red Deer Riggers immediately tweeted that their season was over, but they are looking forward to 2021 when they are to be the host team for nationals.


Grandma

Royals make change at top . . . Number of leagues are looking for financial help . . . Coaching award to McGuigan

The Victoria Royals fired Cam Hope, their president and general manager, on Wednesday. He had been with the Royals through eight seasons. . . . The Royals are VictoriaRoyalsowned by GSL Group, which is based in Vancouver. Graham Lee is GSL Group’s CEO and president. . . . “We would like to thank Cameron for contributions and for guiding our franchise,” Lee said in a three-paragraph news release announcing the decision. “The COVID-19 crisis has given us the time to reassess our organization and to set a new direction. We are committed to finding strong leadership that will help the Royals reach their full potential both on-and-off the ice.” . . . The news release’s third paragraph dealt with ticket-related info. . . . A lawyer, Hope, who is from Edmonton, had been with the NHL’s New York Rangers for seven seasons, first as vice-president of hockey operations and then as assistant general manager, when he signed with the Royals in time for the 2012-13 season. . . . The Royals qualified for the playoffs in each of Hope’s first seven seasons, and won five first-round series. However, they weren’t able to get past the second round. . . . In 2019-20, his eighth season in Victoria, the Royals were second in the B.C. Division, at 32-24-8, when the season was halted. . . . Interestingly, Victoria head coach Dan Price signed what the team said was a “multi-year contract extension” on Dec. 17. It is believed that contract runs through the 2021-22 season. . . . You are free to wonder if former Kamloops Blazers general manager Stu MacGregor is a candidate to replace Hope. MacGregor was fired by the Blazers after the 2018-19 season, his third with them after a lengthy career as an NHL amateur scout. Prior to last season, MacGregor joined the Royals as their senior regional scout for Western Canada.


Lettuce


In speaking about the late Jack Bowkus, F Rocco Grimaldi of the Nashville Predators told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that “California hockey is where it is today because of him.” . . . Bowkus, a former WHLer, died on March 28. He was 53 when he lost his two-year battle with cancer. . . . Bowkus played four seasons (1984-88) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts is right here and it includes more on Grimaldi’s relationship with Bowkus.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one from A.J. Leibling: “The function of the press in society is to inform, but its role in society is to make money.”


The lineup of sports organizations looking to the federal government to help them get through the pandemic continues to grow. . . . On Wednesday, soccer’s Canadian Premier League and the Canadian Elite Basketball League both confirmed that they have requested financial help from the feds. . . . Devin Heroux of CBC Sports reported that the eight-team CPL has asked for $15 million in short-term financing, with the seven-team CEBL having asked for a loan of $5 million. . . . The CPL’s second season was scheduled to start on April 11, but has been postponed indefinitely. . . . The CEBL had been scheduled to begin play in May, but is on hold indefinitely. . . . At the same time, the CFL is hoping to get as much as $150 million, and would like to see $30 million of that ASAP. . . . As well, at least two B.C.-based junior hockey leagues, the junior A BCHL and the junior B KIJHL, are asking for help. . . . Heroux’s story is right here.


Lincoln


“As if all the other shutdowns weren’t enough, now they’re telling us there won’t be a Scripps National Spelling Bee this year,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “There are no words . . .”



The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., has cancelled its 2020 induction weekend that had been scheduled for July 26. This year’s class of inductees, including Canada’s own Larry Walker, now will be inducted on July 25, 2021. . . . Also in this year’s class are Derek Jeter, former catcher Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller, the long-time leader of the Major League Baseball Players Association. . . .

Baseball’s 15-team Coastal Plain League said Wednesday that it plans to open its 2020 season on July 1 with fans in attendance. The CPL is a wood-bat collegiate summer league with teams in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. . . .

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, has said the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games won’t go ahead unless the coronavirus is “contained.” At the same time, Yoshiro Mori, the president of Tokyo 2020, said if that happens, the Games will be cancelled and not postponed. . . . The Japanese Medical Association is on record as saying that if there isn’t a vaccine available the Games shouldn’t go ahead. . . .


Parachute


The Toronto Blue Jays have won two in a row and are 13-18 in the AL East after Wednesday’s games in Strat-O-Matic’s simulated MLB season. The Jays beat the visiting Boston Red Sox, 6-4, yesterday. . . . Toronto is last in the AL East, 7.5 games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays (21-11), who are half-a-game up on the New York Yankees (20-11). . . . The other division leaders — Minnesota (19-12), Houston (19-11), Washington (19-10), Chicago Cubs (20-11) and Los Angeles Dodgers (.633). . . . Check out all the stats right here.


Billy McGuigan, the head coach of the junior A Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Hockey League, is the recipient of the Darcy Haugan/Mark Cross Memorial Award for 2019-20. The award is presented annually to the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s coach of the year. It is in memory of Haugan and Cross, the head coach and an assistant coach who were among those killed in the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus on April 6, 2018. . . . McGuigan spent one season (2013-14) as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats. . . . There is a news release right here.


The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs have fired head coach Kurtis Foster after two seasons on the job. Foster, a veteran of 15 NHL seasons as a player, was an assistant coach in Kingston for one season before moving up as head coach. . . . The rebuilding club went 14-52-2 in Foster’s first season, then was 19-39-4 last season.


BassBoat

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