Restricted capacity coming to Ontario facilities; B.C. pondering it, too . . . OHL shuts down Erie Otters . . . Zimmer’s six-pack sparks Cougars

Merry Christmas . . .


The provincial government of Ontario announced on Wednesday that indoor arenas and venues with a capacity of more than 1,000 will be limited to 50 per cent capacity effective Saturday at 12:01 a.m. ET.

Those same Ontario facilities had moved to 100 per cent capacity on Oct. 8.

After the announcement, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns Covidthe NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, issued a news release that included this:

“MLSE’s venue operations team will implement an enhanced mask protocol within the venue beginning with Saturday’s Raptors game called ‘Operation Mask Up (or out)’ that requires all attendees to strictly adhere to all mask-wearing protocols or risk ejection from the building. MLSE also strongly encourages all fans to get vaccinated and closely follow all public health protocols to protect each other and our community at large.”

Unfortunately for Toronto basketball fans, the first game to feel the pinch of 50 per cent capacity will feature the visiting Golden State Warriors and all-world Steph Curry on Saturday.

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Meanwhile, in B.C., we are bracing for more public health orders that are likely to be announced early next week.

During a late Wednesday afternoon news conference, Adrian Dix, B.C.’s minister of health, admitted that the government is considering reducing capacity for arenas and other venues.

A move back to 50 per cent capacity would impact four of the WHL’s B.C. Division teams — the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals. Their arenas have been at 100 per cent capacity only since Oct. 19.

The Prince George Cougars, located in the Northern Health region, haven’t been permitted more than 50 per cent capacity in the CN Centre all season.

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The OHL’s Erie Otters suspended all operations after 13 players tested positive. OHLAccording to the OHL, all players are asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms. The Otters were to have met visiting the Guelph Storm on Friday and entertained the Kitchener Rangers on Saturday; both games have been postponed. . . . This comes after the Sudbury Wolves had shut things down late last month after 12 positive tests. They were scheduled to return to game action tonight (Thursday) in Barrie against the Colts. However, that game has been postponed as the Wolves continue to deal with virus-related issues. The Wolves now have had six games postponed. . . .

The OHL also postponed a game scheduled for last night (Wednesday) that would have had the Rangers in Owen Sound to meet the Attack. The OHL said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution. . . .

In the OHL, all staff, players and those eligible in billet families are fully vaccinated.

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And then there is the NHL where there were at least 53 players in protocol at the end of the day. That doesn’t include coaches and other staff members. Oh, and more positive tests are expected . . .

As of late Wednesday, the Calgary Flames had six players who WERE NOT in COVID-19 protocol — F Mikael Backlund, F Blake Coleman, F Dillon Dube, D Oliver Kylington, F Matthew Tkachuk and G Dan Vladar. The Flames added 17 people to their protocol list on Wednesday, including head coach Darryl Sutter and assistants Ryan Huska and Kirk Muller. There also are seven support staff members in protocol. . . . At that point, the Flames had 16 players, three coaches and seven staff members on the list. . . .

The Nashville Predators had six players and six other members of their travelling team in protocol. F Mikael Granlund, F Ryan Johansen, F Matt Luff, F Michael McCarron, F Philip Tomasino were on the list, along with head coach John Hynes, assistants Dan Lambert and Todd Richards, and goaltending coach Ben Vanderklok. . . . The Predators are scheduled to visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday; it could be that their AHL coaching staff — head coach Karl Taylor and assistants Scott Ford and Greg Rallo — running the Nashville bench. . . . Taylor spent one season (2013-14) as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. . . .

The Detroit Red Wings moved F Robby Fabbri and F Michael Rasmussen into protocol. The Red Wings are scheduled to meet host Carolina tonight (Thursday), but the Hurricanes have six players and a trainer in protocol. Carolina was to have played the host Minnesota Wild on Tuesday but the game was postponed. . . .

The Vancouver Canucks, who put four players on the list on Tuesday, flew to San Jose on Wednesday evening where they are scheduled to play the Sharks tonight (Thursday). Assistant coach Jason King didn’t make the trip, as he went into protocol before the flight departed. . . .

The NHL and NHLPA will try to slow the virus’s spread by going back to protocols that were used last season. . . . From Bruce Garrioch, who covers the Ottawa Senators for Postmedia: “Essentially, the league is going back to last year’s rules, which means management, staff and players will be tested daily until at least Jan. 7. With the (Ottawa) Senators on a three-game road trip that will continue Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team will essentially go into its own bubble. That means all meals will have to be eaten at the hotel and there will be no dining out or shopping during breaks in the schedule.”


Closed


The NFL said that 88 players had tested positive on Monday and Tuesday, but with players being moved on and off the COVID-19 list, there are reports that it’s likely that at least 100 players have come up positive. . . . The Washington Football Team had 18 players on its protocol list after adding eight more on Wednesday. . . . The Cleveland Browns had 18 players, half of them starters, and two coaches on the COVID-19 list by the end of the day. That included head coach Kevin Stefanski, WR Jarvis Landry and QB Baker Mayfield. . . . Still, Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, said the league isn’t considering postponing or cancelling Cleveland’s scheduled game against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. . . .

Alvin Gentry, the interim head coach with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, tested positive so wasn’t with his team for Wednesday’s 119-105 victory over the visiting Washington Wizards. He will need two negative tests 24 hours apart before being allowed to return. . . . The NBA had more than two dozen players in health and safety protocols on Wednesday, including 10 players from the Chicago Bulls. They were to play the Raptors in Toronto tonight (Thursday), but the game has been postponed. . . . According to the NBA, about 97 per cent of its players are vaccinated, with about 60 per cent having received a booster shot. . . .

The AHL-Toronto Marlies have one player who tested positive and four others isolating for precautionary reasons. . . . According to the team, “All players are double-vaccinated and are being closely monitored for symptoms while being tested daily.” . . . The Marlies dropped a 4-2 decision to the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday night. . . .

The AHL-Belleville Senators were to have played against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown, Pa., on Wednesday night but it didn’t happen. The game was postponed, the AHL said, because of “protocols affecting Belleville.” . . . The Senators are scheduled to conclude a nine-day road trip against the Syracuse Crunch on Friday. . . .

Soccer’s Premier League postponed a game between visiting Watford and Burnley less than three hours before it was to start. The league postponed a third game in four days due to an outbreak on the Watford roster that left it without enough first-team players for a game.


It isn’t just the sporting world that is feeling the impact of this latest wave. The New York Time reported Wednesday: “Broadway has seen a raft of cancellations as positive Covid tests among cast and crew members have upended productions. The pandemic continues to pose a challenge to an industry struggling to get back on its feet after a lengthy and damaging shutdown.”




The New York Times, Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. PT: “Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. surpassed 800,000 on Wednesday, as the pandemic neared the end of a second year and as known virus cases in this country rose above 50 million. The death toll is the highest known of any nation.”

Carolyn Dunn, CBC Calgary, Wednesday, 5:53 p.m. PT: “By tomorrow, 30,000 Canadians (and possibly many more) will have died from COVID-19. So many families/friends robbed of a day, a month, or many years.”



Election


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Koehn Zimmer of the Prince George Cougars put up six points Wednesday night in a 7-3 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . The Cougars, who erased a 2-0 deficit, have won four in a row. . . . Zimmer, who WHLturned 17 on Dec. 8, finished with two goals and four assists. He now has seven goals and 12 assists in 26 games this season. He started it with nine goals and three assists in 24 games. . . .

F Ollie Josephson, the fifth-overall selection in last week’s WHL draft, was in the Red Deer Rebels’ lineup for the first time on Wednesday as they met the visiting Swift Current Broncos. Josephson was pointless and plus-1 in a 6-1 Red Deer victory. . . .

The Victoria Royals went into Kamloops having earned at least a point in 10 straight games (7-0-3), but the Blazers dropped them, 3-0, as G Dylan Ernst recorded his first WHL shutout. At one point late in the second period, Kamloops held a 29-4 edge in shots and a 2-0 lead. The Blazers ended up with a 51-9 advantage. . . . Kamloops D Viktor Persson wasn’t on the bench for the third period after taking a hit from Victoria D Wyatt Wilson at 8:49 of the second period. Wilson was given a charging major and game misconduct. . . .

In Calgary, F Jakub Demek, a Slovakian freshman, had two goals and an assist as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Hitmen, 5-2. . . . Demek, a fourth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2021 draft, has 13 goals and 22 assists in 28 games. . . . Oh, yes, he’s also on a 17-game point streak. . . .

F Jack Finley and D Jonas Woo made their Winnipeg debuts on Wednesday as the Ice dumped the host Saskatoon Blades, 6-0. . . . Finley, who was acquired earlier in the month from the Spokane Chiefs, had been in camp with Canada’s national junior team before being released. He had a goal, his ninth, and an assist in his first game with the Ice. . . . Woo, whose father, Larry, is an assistant coach with the Ice, was the 18th overall selection in last week’s WHL draft. He was pointless and plus-1 in his debut. . . . Darren Steinke, the travelling blogger, was at the game and his story is right here. . . .

Earlier in the day, the Ice acquired F Alessandro Segafredo, 17, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for Czech D Martin Bohm, 18, and a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2024 draft. . . . Both players were selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Mike Sawatzky (@sawa14) of the Winnipeg Free Press notes that “the Italian-born Segafredo was a teammate of current Ice D Max Streule with GCK Lions U20 in Zurich, Switzerland, last season.” . . . Segafredo is listed on Winnipeg’s injury list as being out day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, while Bohm, who last played on Nov. 14, is out month-to-month with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Seattle roster includes three imports, including British D Leon Okonkwo Prada and Slovakian D Samuel Knazko. . . . The Thunderbirds will have to trim one, via release or trade, once Bohm is healthy. . . . The Red Deer Rebels are the only WHL team carrying one import.


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.


GPS

Tortorella wonders why ‘one guy’ couldn’t stand up and say ‘this is wrong’ . . . Viveiros: Blood test ‘probably saved my life’ . . . Oil Kings end Ice’s run

It was May 23, 2010 and the Chicago Blackhawks were ahead 3-0 in the best-of-seven Western Conference final with the San Jose Sharks. At some point prior to nhl2Game 4, seven men held a meeting to discuss an alleged sexual assault that had occurred one of the two previous days. The incident involved video coach Brad Aldrich and Kyle Beach, one of the Black Aces.

Beach had gone to one of the men to tell him what had happened. According to a report filed by the Chicago law firm of Jenner & Block following its investigation, these seven men met to decide where to go from here. As we now know, they chose to do nothing, to let nothing get in the way of the train that was head for a Stanley Cup championship.

The Blackhawks completed the sweep of the Sharks that night, then went on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers in six games in the Stanley Cup final.

Beach, a power forward who had been the 11th overall selection in the NHL’s 2008 draft, never played a game in the NHL. While his name isn’t on the Stanley Cup, Aldrich’s is — although likely not for long.

Six of the seven men who were in attendance at that meeting now are out of the NHL. John McDonough, the team president; James Gary, the mental health coach; general manager Stan Bowman; Al MacIsaac, senior vice-president of hockey operations; Jay Blunk, an executive vice-president; and head coach Joel Quenneville.

Quenneville resigned Thursday as head coach of the Florida Panthers after meeting with Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner. Cheveldayoff, who was an assistant GM with Chicago, now is the Winnipeg Jets’ general manager. He met with Bettman on Friday and wasn’t disciplined, apparently because he is seen as having been only a minion in the Chicago scheme of things more than 11 years ago.

Still, Cheveldayoff was in attendance at that meeting.

Former NHL coach John Tortorella, now an analyst with ESPN, put it best when he said on ESPN’s The Point: “That’s what’s crazy to me, it’s multiple people. This wasn’t a one-man decision, it was multiple people. I don’t know why one guy couldn’t stand up and go, ‘You know what, no, this is wrong.’ ”

Tortorella hit the nail squarely on its head. But therein lays the rub. Until the people in suits quit trying to protect the shield at all costs and as long as they put winning before humanity this kind of stuff will continue to happen. No matter how many hotlines are set up . . . no matter how many committees are struck . . . no matter how many investigations are held . . .

Former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, who knows a thing or two about sexual abuse, told Gregory Strong of The Canadian Press: “Posters and buttons and policies and procedures don’t change culture. Until sport makes this a priority as they do winning, they’ll never have the change that I think people expect from them.”

And then there was this from veteran forward Taylor Hall, now with the Boston Bruins.

“Every culture needs to keep getting better, and hockey’s no different,” he said. This is a game that’s a little bit of a . . . I guess what you’d call an old boys’ club. There’s definitely some secrecy and things that need to change and hopefully they can.”

Bingo!


Manny Viveiros, the head coach of the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights, is back SilverKnightswith the team after being away following a diagnosis of prostate cancer. He will be taking another leave in December as he undergoes surgery.

“Unfortunately,” he tweeted, “I’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had to take a leave of absence at the first part of the season. We’ve been trying at the very early stages a game plan of what we want to do going forward. Now that we have one in place through the doctors, we have an opportunity now to go after this and treat this. I’ve been able to get back to work, which is, for me, a really important part of my life.”

Viveiros is a former WHL player who was the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos when they won the 2018 championship.

He said his diagnosis was the result of a blood test in training camp: “It started with a simple blood test. The staff and players at the Golden Knights training camp went through physicals and everybody got a blood test. My PSA levels came back really high, and we did a follow up of another blood test and they came back very high again. Right away the VGK medical staff set me up with a urologist here in Las Vegas. I went in and saw him and obviously he was very concerned right away. He checked me out and we ended up doing a biopsy and unfortunately it came back that I do have prostate cancer.”

He also believes that the blood test “probably saved my life. Just having a simple blood test. I’m at the age where I’m over 50 and in perfect health. You just never know. I figured if I feel good, there’s probably nothing wrong. Getting a simple blood test can make the difference in catching something very early or saving a person’s life. I can’t help but encourage people, especially if there’s a history in their family, to go get a simple blood test. That can make a world of difference in the future.”


There were nine WHL games on Friday night. Some highlights . . .

In Edmonton, the Oil Kings’ derailed the Winnipeg Ice’s run at a record by Edmontonscoring three third-period goals in a 3-1 victory. . . . F Connor McClennon (10) gave the Ice a 1-0 first-period lead. . . . F Dylan Guenther (4) tied it at 3:28 of the third, and F Carson Latimer (5) broke the tie at 11:42. F Jaxsen Wiebe (2) added the empty-netter. . . . The Oil Kings (7-2-1) have won three in a row. They also have posted 10 straight victories against the Ice. . . . The Ice (11-1-0) had won its first 11 games. The 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos hold the WHL record for longest winning streak to open a season (12). . . . The Ice and Oil Kings were ranked second and third, respectively, in the CHL’s weekly release. The No. 1-ranked Quebec Remparts (9-2-0) lost, 2-1, to the visiting Shawinigan Cataractes on Thursday. . . .

In Everett, the Portland Winterhawks erased a 3-0 deficit and beat the PortlandSilvertips, 4-3, in a shootout. . . . G Dante Gianuzzi stopped 36 shots for Portland (4-5-1), which had lost three straight. . . . Everett (6-0-1) had a 7-0 edge in OT shots. Silvertips Color Guy (@TipsATG) tweeted that Everett hit three crossbars in OT. . . . The Silvertips scored three first-period goals, two via the PP. . . . D Clay Hanus (3) pulled Portland into a tie at 18:37 of the third period. . . . Portland’s first two goals also came via the PP. . . . F Cross Hanas, the first shooter, scored the lone goal of the shootout. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers outshot the Victoria Royals, 58-16, in skating to a 7-1 victory. . . . Kamloops held a 20-5 edge in shots in each of the first and third periods. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (3) scored the game’s first two goals. . . . The Blazers (7-1-0) have won three in a row. . . . Victoria (1-10-0) has lost nine straight. . . .

In Spokane, F Mekai Sanders scored twice to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Sanders has four goals this season. He went into this season with three goals in 47 career games over two seasons. . . . F Jared Davidson (1) added a goal and two assists. . . . Seattle (6-2-1) has won four in a row. . . . The Chiefs are 3-5-1. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants went 4-for-5 on the PP and scored twice while shorthanded in beating the Kelowna Rockets, 7-2. . . . The Giants’ PP was 1-for-17 when the game began. . . . F Justin Sourdif (4) scored twice and added two assists, and F Fabian Lysell (2) had a goal and three assists as the Giants improved to 4-2-0. . . . The Rockets are 2-3-0. . . . The Giants were without D Cade McNelly, 20, due to what the team said was personal reasons. Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted that GM Barclay Parneta “had no timeline for a return.” . . .

In Lethbridge, the Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Saskatoon Blades, 4-3. . . . F Ty Nash scored his first two goals of the season to tie the game in the second period. . . . F Justin Hall (9) snapped the tie at 1:11 of the third period. . . . F Jayden Wiens (2) scored twice for the Blades, giving them a 2-0 lead by 7:08 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon (7-2-1) had picked up points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). . . . The Hurricanes now are 5-3-0. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Brayden Yager’s seventh goal, on a PP at 4:52 of OT, gave the Warriors a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Ryder Korczak (5) had a goal and two assists for the Warriors (4-6-0), who halted a four-game skid. . . . F Noah Danielson (4) had pulled the Tigers (4-4-2) into a 3-3 tie at 18:30 of the third period. . . . Medicine Hat got three assists from F Lukas Svejkovsky. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Brett Hyland had a goal and two assists in regulation and Brandonadded a shootout goal as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Raiders, 5-4. . . . G Ethan Kruger, who had been out of Brandon’s lineup since being injured on Oct. 9, stopped 33 shots. . . . Hyland’s first career three-point game came in his 33rd outing over three seasons. He has a goal and four assists in seven games this season. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-6-0) had lost their previous three games. . . . The Raiders (2-7-1), who have lost three in a row, got three assists from D Kaiden Guhle. . . . D Remy Aquilon scored his first two goals of the season for Prince Albert. . . . Hyland and F Tyson Zimmer scored shootout goals for Brandon, with Guhle doing the same for the Raiders. . . . Darren Steinke, the travelling blogger, was on hand and posted this story right here. . . .

In Swift Current, the Regina Pats halted a seven-game losing run with a 4-1 victory over the Broncos. . . . While the Pats improved to 3-7-0, the Broncos slid to 2-6-2 with their eighth straight loss (0-6-2). . . . F Zack Stringer (4) and F Cole Dubinsky (6) each scored twice.


JUST NOTES: With the Winnipeg Ice (11-1-0) and Everett Silvertips (6-0-1) both losing on Friday night, the OHL’s London Knights (8-0-0) are the only team in the CHL not to have lost yet this season. . . . Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter has written a story right here about the Seattle Thunderbirds and attendance for their games at the accesso ShoWare Center. . . . Elizabeth Mantha worked her first game as an AHL referee on Friday night. Her brother, Anthony, plays for the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Elizabeth and former WHLer Cody Beach — yes, he’s Kyle’s brother — were the referees as the Rochester Americans scored a 4-3 victory over the Rocket in Laval.


Wifi


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.


Peloton

Kyle Beach: I’m sorry I didn’t do more . . . I felt like I was alone . . . I didn’t know what to do . . .

Kyle Beach apologized on Wednesday.

Seriously. He did.

“I’m sorry,” Beach said in an interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead. “I’m sorry I didn’t do more, when I could, to make sure it didn’t happen to (someone else).”

Hockey didn’t do anything but break Beach’s heart and his spirit. And he’s the one apologizing? To another victim of the man who abused him.

If you haven’t heard, Beach is the John Doe 1 at the centre of the sexual assault scandal and lawsuit that have rocked the NHL, in general, and the Chicago Blackhawks, in particular. Beach chose to end his anonymity on Wednesday, thus the interview with Westhead, one of the reporters — Katie Strang of The Athletic is another — who has been vigorously reporting this story from the beginning.

In short, Beach, then 20, was allegedly assaulted by Brad Aldrich, at the time a video coach with the Blackhawks, who, despite management being aware of what had happened, was allowed to stay on the job while the Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup.

Beach, now 31, is a native of North Vancouver, who plays in Germany and calls Kelowna home. He grew up there and his parents live and work there. He played four seasons in the WHL, splitting 251 regular-season games between the Everett Silvertips, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Spokane Chiefs. He was a big, aggressive forward, one of those guys who is despised by everyone but his teammates. In those four WHL seasons, he put up 273 points, including 134 goals, and 773 penalty minutes. The WHL hasn’t seen a player like Beach since, well, Beach.

The Blackhawks selected him with the 11th overall pick of the NHL’s 2008 draft. But he never played an NHL game.

Regan Bartel, the veteran radio voice of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, tweeted on Wednesday afternoon: “I often asked (Beach) in interviews what happened in Chicago. Why did he never play a game with the Hawks as a first-round pick. He always stuck to the script knowing he had to hide a deep secret . . . up until today.”

Beach spent time with the Blackhawks’ then-AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. Then there was season after season in Europe, where he is playing a second season with EHC Erfurt in Germany.

Beach scored 52 goals in 68 games with Spokane in 2009-10, then joined Rockford where he showed some promise by scoring three times in four playoff games.

The Blackhawks brought him up for their playoff run to serve as one of the Black Aces, players who practise in order to be ready to step in should a team run into injuries. It was then, on May 8 or 9, when he said, according to the lawsuit, that Aldrich struck.

“I felt like I was alone and there was nothing I could do and nobody I could turn to for help,” Beach told Westhead. “And I didn’t know what to do as a 20-year-old. I would never dream, or you could never imagine being put in this situation, by somebody who’s supposed to be there to help you and to make you a better hockey player and a better person and continue to build your career. (I was) just scared and alone with no idea what to do.”

Beach — remember that he was 20 years of age, trying to find his way as a professional athlete — went to James Gary, then the Blackhawks’ mental skills coach. One thing led to another and, according to a report from the law firm Jenner & Block that conducted an investigation into this mess, there was a meeting that involved general manager Stan Bowman, Al MacIsaac, then the vice-president of hockey operations, then-president and CEO John McDonough, head coach Joel Quenneville, assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and Jay Blunk, an executive vice-president.

Except that it was May 23, 2010, and the Blackhawks were in the Western Conference final against the San Jose Sharks, and, yes, this was going to be a distraction if word got out, so . . .

Flash forward to the summer of 2021. The cat is out of the bag. Quenneville, now a couple of years into a contract as the head coach of the Florida Panthers, tells The Associated Press: “I first learned of these allegations through the media earlier this summer.”

On Wednesday, Beach responded to that by telling Westhead that “there’s absolutely no way that he can deny knowing it.”

Beach added: “I witnessed meetings, right after I reported it to James Gary, that were held in Joel Quenneville’s office. If this had been reported to someone other than John McDonough, or Joel Quenneville or Stan Bowman that didn’t have skin in the game of winning a Stanley Cup, it would have been dealt with and would have protected all of the survivors that came after me.”

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks went on to win that Stanley Cup. As for Aldrich, well, here’s what Beach told Westhead . . .

“It was like (Aldrich’s) life was the same as the day before. Same every day. And then when they won, to see him paraded around lifting the Cup, at the parade, at the team pictures, at celebrations, it made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn’t exist. It made me feel like, that I wasn’t important and . . . it made me feel like he was in the right and I was wrong. And that’s also what “Doc” Gary told me, that it was my fault because I put myself in that situation. And the combination of these and him being paraded around, then letting him take the Stanley Cup to a high school with kids after they knew what had happened. There are not words to describe it . . . there really isn’t.”

The Blackhawks, who won the Stanley Cup on June 9, allowed Aldrich to take part in the hoopla despite his having left the organization about a week later and despite his being around the team was in violation of his separation agreement. He had been given a choice — resign or take a leave of absence while the situation was investigated. Of course, he resigned.

Aldrich later was convicted of fourth-degree sexual assault from an incident that involved a Michigan high school student. Beach’s apology on Wednesday was directed towards this student, Beach feeling that had he only done more that abusive situation could have been avoided.

“I’m sorry I didn’t do more when I could,” Beach told Westhead. “To make sure it didn’t happen to him. To protect him. But I also want to say thank you to him. Because when I decided after a teammate asked me about it when I was playing overseas, and I decided to Google Brad Aldrich’s name, that’s when I found out about the Michigan individual, the Michigan teen. And because of what happened to him, it gave the power and the sense of urgency to take action. To make sure it wouldn’t happen to anybody else. So I’m sorry and I thank you. And I hope at some point, down the road, if he’s open to it, I would love to meet him because, unfortunately, we share something in common that’s going to be a part of us for the rest of our lives.”

If only some others had done more . . .

It’s worth noting that Beach also went to the NHLPA in his search for help. Don Fehr, the NHLPA’s executive director, issued an apology on Wednesday night, saying that the association was guilty of a “serious failure.”

Like Quenneville, Cheveldayoff, now the Winnipeg Jets’ GM, denied knowing anything, despite having been in on that May 23, 2010 meeting. On July 22, 2021, Cheveldayoff issued a statement that included: “I had no knowledge of any allegations involving Mr. Aldrich until asked if I was aware of anything just prior to the conclusion of his employment with the Chicago Blackhawks.”

Quenneville was behind the Panthers’ bench on Wednesday night as they ran their record to 7-0-0. Yes, it’s the best start in franchise history and that’s really important, don’t you know. Quenneville didn’t address the media after the game, as NHL coaches normally do.

Cheveldayoff? He’s still on the job, too.

Both men should have been suspended, at least until the NHL completes whatever investigation it is going to conduct. But, then, that’s not hockey’s way, is it?

Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, is to meet with Quenneville today (Thursday) and Cheveldayoff on Monday. Beach isn’t holding his breath, and who can blame him?

“The NHL is inclusive,” Beach told Westhead. “The NHL includes everybody, and they let me down and they’ve let down others, as well. But they continue to try and protect their name over the health and the well-being of the people who put their lives on the line every day to make the NHL what it is. I hope through and through that Gary Bettman takes this seriously, and that he does his due diligence, that he talks to not only them, but Stan Bowman, John McDonough and anybody else that has information to offer before he makes his decision because they already let me down. They wouldn’t investigate for me, so why would they now?”

So where does this leave us?

Well, Bowman is gone from the Blackhawks and from USA Hockey. He was to have been the general manager of the American entry at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. McDonough is gone, too. By the end of his run, he was the Blackhawks’ president and CEO.

But Quenneville is coaching and not talking. Cheveldayoff is GMing and not talking.

And don’t forger that it was just a few short months ago, with the Chicago pot roiling, when the Montreal Canadiens used a first-round draft pick to take defenceman Logan Mailloux, despite his having been convicted in an ugly sexual incident in Sweden in 2020.

You are free to wonder if the NHL and hockey will ever learn.

Sheldon Kennedy . . . Theo Fleury . . . Todd Holt . . . Greg Gilhooly . . . Jay Macaulay . . . Jeffrey Walker . . . Frank Pietrangelo . . . Mike Sacks . . . Kelly Gee . . . Brent Cary . . . Chris Jensen . . . Benjamin Cole . . . Daniel Carrillo . . . Kyle Beach . . .

Those are only some of the men who have told their stories publicly. I would suggest that there are dozens and dozens — if not hundreds — of others who have chosen to try and live with their secrets. Like Kennedy and Fleury and Carrillo and, yes, Beach they self-medicate as they try to tame their inner demons.

It goes on and on and on.

Take any one of the stories written about Beach yesterday . . . remove his name . . . substitute with Kennedy’s name . . .

Then remind yourself that almost 25 years have passed since Graham James was charged with sexually assaulting Kennedy.

That was on Nov. 22, 1996.

Now ask yourself this: “How much has changed?”


The first three paragraphs of a story written by Kim Zarzour of YorkRegion.com:

“They were spirited and eager as they gathered at the Newmarket hockey rink, a league of older men, all double-vaccinated and keen to finally get back to a sport they’d put on ice since the start of the pandemic.

Now they are recovering from COVID-19, one of their teammates dead, wondering if this tragedy could have been averted.

“ ‘It’s just strange,’ mused Brian Dunn of Thornhill. ‘Fifteen guys who played separate nights, different change rooms, days apart, one tragic death. We vacillate between absolutely pissed off and sad . . . I lost my best friend.’ ”

As the headline on the website reads: COVID-19 sweeps through Newmarket men’s hockey league.

Zarzour’s story is right here.

——

The Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association, which is headquartered in Burnaby, B.C., has asked its teams to dump the post-game “bare-hand handshake, the glove-on handshake and the glove-on fist bump.” . . . In a memo from Rick Grant, its president, the association has told its teams that after congratulating your goaltender, players should “move to your blue line and face your opponents, who will be lining up on their blue line, and begin a stick tap. Then face the on-ice officials and repeat.” . . . The PCAHA oversees minor hockey in the Lower Mainland of B.C., from Hope to the Sunshine Coast. Its jurisdiction includes about 19,700 players, 6,000 team officials, 2,100 on-ice officials and an untold number of volunteers. . . .


There were four WHL games on Wednesday night . . .

In Calgary, the Winnipeg Ice ran its season-opening winning streak to 11 games with a 3-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . F Conor Geekie (4) broke a 2-2 tie at 16:06 of the third period. . . . D Blake Heward scored his first WHL goal and added an assist for Calgary (4-4-0), which had won its previous three games. . . . The Ice lost F Connor McClennon to a boarding major and game misconduct at 1:21 of the first period. . . . The Ice (11-0-0) is scheduled to meet the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Friday night. If you are into such, the Ice and Oil Kings (6-2-1) are second and third, respectively, in the CHL’s weekly rankings. . . .

In Portland, the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 6-4 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (5-2-1) scored three times before the game was 16 minutes old. . . . F Tyson Kozak score twice (2) and added an assist for the Winterhawks (3-5-1), who have lost three in a row. . . .

In Prince George, G Tyler Brennan blocked 31 shots to lead the Cougars to a 4-0 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Brennan posted his first shutout of this season and the second of his career. . . . F Carter MacAdams (3) and F Blake Eastman (4) each scored twice. . . . The Cougars (5-3-0) have won five in a row, all of them against the Royals. Prince George outscored Victoria, 20-5, in those five games. . . . What was to have been a six-game series was shortened by a game when inclement weather prevented the Royals from getting to Prince George to play on Tuesday night. . . . Victoria, which has lost eight in a row, now is 1-9-0. . . .

In Saskatoon, F Tristen Robins scored three times and added an assist, leading the Blades to a 6-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Saskatoon opened up a 6-0 lead, with Robins scoring at 2:10, 6:10 and 8:26 of the second period. His third goal ended a five-goal explosion in the span of 6:16. . . . Robins leads the WHL in assists (12) and points (19). . . . F Kyle Crnkovic had a goal (7) and three assists. . . . The Blades (7-1-1) have points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Warriors (3-6-0) have lost four in a row.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The WHL will hold its 2021 and 2022 drafts about five months apart. Due to the pandemic, the 2021 draft, which normally would have been held in May, was bumped to Dec. 9. It is for players born in 2006. On Wednesday, the league announced that its 2022 draft, for the 2007 age group, has been scheduled for May 19. . . .

The junior B Summerland Steam of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has signed Mark MacMillan, 29, as its general manager and head coach. The Penticton native replaces Nick Deschenes. The team announced on Oct. 19 that the organization and Deschenes had “mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately.” The Steam was 4-1-0 at the time. . . .

F Jace Weir of the Red Deer Rebels has been suspended for four games after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct in a game against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Oct. 23.


There was an interesting development involving a Canadian ECHL franchise on Wednesday when the City of St. John’s, Nfld., tossed the Newfoundland Growlers out of Mile One, the arena that it calls home. . . . With a week before its scheduled home-opener, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs are headed to the Ontario city to play at least its first six home games in the Coca-Cola Coliseum until the dispute plays itself out one way or another. . . . The Growlers are owned by Deacon Sports and Entertainment, which is headed up by Dean MacDonald. . . . From VOCM.com: “St. John’s Sports and Entertainment and Deacon recently signed a three-year lease but has been told that the employees find the workplace situation with the Growlers difficult. The city says there will be a workplace investigation by a third-party investigator. Mayor Danny Breen says employees have brought forward allegations of disrespectful workplace conduct directed towards staff at SJSEL. No other details will be provided.”


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.

 

WHL scouts on move . . . Calgary scout has good day at Stampede . . . Raiders d-man signs Czech pro deal


MacBeth

F Zane Jones (Chilliwack/Victoria, Calgary, Everett, Lethbridge, Vancouver, 2010-15) signed a one-year contract with Visby/Roma (Sweden, Division 1). Last season, in 28 games with Sollentuna (Sweden, Division 1), he had a team-high 16 goals and five assists. . . . Currently, Jones is playing his second season with the Newcastle North Stars (Australia, AIHL). In 12 games, he has eight goals and seven assists. Jones has dual Canadian/Australian citizenship, so doesn’t count as an import in the AIHL. . . .

F Geordie Wudrick (Swift Current, Kelowna, 2005-11) signed a one-year contract with the Chiefs Leuven (Belgium, BeNe Liga). Last season, with the Berlin Blues (Germany, Regionalliga), he had 29 goals and 21 assists in 22 games. He led the Blues in goals and points. . . . Presently, Wudrick is playing for the Sydney Ice Dogs (Australia, AIHL). He has 11 goals and 23 assists in 15 games. He leads the Ice Dogs in assists and points, and is second in the league in assists and third in points. This is his fourth season in the AIHL. . . .

F Kyle Beach (Everett, Lethbridge, Spokane, 2005-10) signed a one-year contract with Tölzer Löwen Bad Tölz (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had nine goals and 13 assists in 44 games. . . .

D Vojtěch Budík (Prince Albert, 2015-18) signed a one-year contract with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Prince Albert (WHL), he had 14 goals and 27 assists in 63 games. . . .

F Alexander Kuvayev (Lethbridge, Vancouver, 2010-12) has been traded by Spartak Moscow to Admiral Vladivostok (both Russia, KHL) for Vadim Pereskokov. Last season, with Khimik Voskresensk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), Kuvayev had 13 goals and 13 assists in 52 games.


ThisThat

They are the unsung heroes of the WHL — and all other junior and pro hockey teams — and a few of them are on the move.

This isn’t at all surprising, considering the changes in the player personnel/scouting whldepartments made by a handful of teams.

For starters, Dylan Franson has left the Prince George Cougars to join the scouting staff of the Everett Silvertips, who have brought in Alvin Backus as director of player personnel and Mike Fraser as head scout. Backus had been with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, while Fraser scouted for the Brandon Wheat Kings. Franson had been with the Cougars for two seasons.

Meanwhile, Matt Blair has left the Kamloops Blazers’ scouting staff. He had scouted for the Blazers for 11 seasons. The Blazers have a new general manager in Matt Bardsley, who had been with the Portland Winterhawks since 1999. However, they have yet to replace Matt Recchi, who was dropped as director of player personnel on May 10.

There also is speculation that Jamie Porter, who is vacating his post as the Swift Current Broncos’ director of hockey operations at month’s end, will surface with the Tri-City Americans. Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, has an opening after assistant GM Barclay Parneta signed on as GM with the Vancouver Giants.

As well, the buzz is that veteran scout Daryl Anning will be leaving the Broncos for the Vancouver Giants and what one source told me would be “an increased role.” Anning is the father of David Anning, the head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

If you are a scout making a move, or if you are aware of anyone switching teams, help me give these folks some recognition by emailing me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Still with the scouting fraternity, Chad Harden, who works for the Calgary Hitmen, is busy these days at the Calgary Stampede.

A pro chuckwagon driver when he’s not in the rinks, Harden won Heat 3 of the StampedeRangeland Derby at the Stampede on Saturday night.

Harden came off the No. 4 barrel and almost got the rail on Chanse Vigen of Wolseley, Sask., who was driving his father Mike’s team. Vigen got to the finish line first, by about a head, but took a five-second penalty because of a barrel infraction.

That left Harden, who won the 2009 Rangeland Derby, with the Heat 3 victory in the Kubota Dealers of Alberta rig. His time of 1:11.79 was the second-fastest of Day 2.

Harden, 47, is from Mulhurst Bay, Alta. He also has scouted for the Prince George Cougars and Kootenay Ice.


The Colorado Avalanche has signed Czech F Martin Kaut, the 16th overall selection in the NHL’s 2018 draft, to a three-year, two-way contract. The Brandon Wheat Kings hold Kaut’s WHL rights, but he is expected to open the season with the Colorado Eagles, the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate. . . . Kaut has played the past two seasons with HC Dynamo Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga, the country’s top pro league.


D Vojtech Budik won’t be back for a fourth season with the Prince Albert Raiders after signing a one-year deal with Pardubice of Czech Republic’s Extraliga. Had Budik, who is from Holice, Czech Republic, returned, he would have been a two-spotter as a 20-year-old and an import. . . . In 189 regular-season games with the Raiders, he had 18 goals and 65 assists. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2016 draft but wasn’t signed.


So . . . LeBron has joined the Los Angeles Lakers, and the way that columnist Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post sees it, LaVar Ball is about done with the that particular NBA team. Her superb column on this situation is right here.

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