COVID-19 finds Roughriders . . . AHL team takes bite out of two WHL coaching staffs . . . Red Wings add former Everett coach as assistant


Riders


The WHL’s Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds have vacancies on their coaching staffs after the San Jose Barracudas signed Louis Mass and Kyle Hagel as assistant coaches. . . . The Barracudas are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Both men were on the ice with the Sharks at their development camp late last week. . . . Mass, who had been the Silvertips’ associate coach, spent four seasons with Everett. . . . Hagel had been with Seattle for five seasons. . . . They will be working with Barracudas head coach John McCarthy. . . .

Meanwhile, a couple of former Silvertips coaches were making news on Monday.

The long and winding coaching road finally has led Jay Varady to the NHL. A former assistant coach with the Silvertips, Varady now is an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings. He spent the past four seasons in the Arizona Coyotes organization, one as an NHL assistant and three as head coach of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. . . . Varady, 44, spent eight seasons (2003-11) on the Silvertips’ staff, the last four as associate head coach. Since leaving Everett, he has coached the Ducs d’Angers in France, the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs and the Roadrunners. . . .

Kevin Constantine, the Silvertips’ head coach for eight seasons, has been named the head coach of Hungary’s national men’s team. Constantine, 63, also is the head coach of Fehérvár AV19 in the Austrian-based ICE Hockey League, Fehérvár AV19 plays out of Székesfehérvár, Hungary. . . . Constantine did two stints as the Silvertips’ head coach — 2003-07, 2013-17.


Kong


A report from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A group of farmers and unemployed youngsters have been busted for running a fake Indian Premier League, streaming staged cricket matches online and swindling Russian bettors out of thousands of dollars. But we’ll never know how it turned out. The scam was detected before it reached the championship round.”

——

Perry, again:

No kidding — Simone Biles got reverse-carded at the airport.

The 4-foot-7 world-champion gymnast was mistaken for a child when she caught a flight home after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom this month.

“The flight attendant (tried) to give me a coloring book when I board . . .” she wrote on Instagram. “I said, ‘No, I’m good, I’m 25.’

“The other flight attendant gave me a mimosa, so we’re in the clear.”

Even better, the pilot stuck the landing.



As you no doubt are aware, the BCHL withdrew from the Canadian Junior bchlHockey League, the umbrella under which junior A leagues operate in Canada, more than a year ago. That means that BCHL teams can’t compete for the Centennial Cup that was won this season by the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits at a 10-team tournament in Estevan, Sask. . . . With the BCHL on the outside of the CJHL and looking in, it is at least a bit interesting that the Wenatchee Wild will play four road exhibition games against USHL teams in September, while the Cranbook Bucks will go on the road to play games against the AJHL’s Bandits and the Okotoks Oilers. . . . If you’re wondering, the Wild will play two games against the Fargo Force and singles versus the Sioux Falls Stampede and Sioux City Musketeers.


THINKING OUT LOUD: Canada’s women’s soccer team had a chance to clinch a berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics on Monday night when it met the U.S. in Monterrey, Mexico, and the game wasn’t on Sportsnet or TSN. There is something horribly wrong with that picture. . . . By the way, the Americans won, 1-0. . . . If you were able to watch the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the visiting Calgary Stampeders, 26-19, on Friday night, you were treated to the CFL at its best. . . . And then, if you were lucky, you switched over to watch the Milwaukee Brewers and the host San Francisco Giants. OF Mike Yastrzemski won it with a ninth-inning walk-off grand slam, the first time the Giants have managed that since Bobby Bonds beat the Los Angeles Dodgers with one in 1973. The best part, though, was listening to Jon Miller, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow call the game. . . . I don’t know when/why the Saskatchewan Roughriders decided to try and become the CFL’s version of Al Davis’s Oakland Raiders but it isn’t working.


Waldo


There was an interesting development in the junior B Kootenay International kijhlJunior Hockey League on Monday when it released its regular-season schedule, one that includes the Spokane Braves. . . . Because of the pandemic, the Braves have sat out the past two seasons. . . . From the KIJHL news release: “The Spokane Braves are scheduled to play their first KIJHL regular-season game since February 2020 when they host Osoyoos Coyotes on Sept. 23 to begin their long-awaited 50th season. The league is continuing to monitor circumstances around the Canada-U.S. border and will provide updates.” . . . Taking Note has been told that the Braves have been given until Aug. 1 to declare their intentions for 2022-23. So you have to think that the KIJHL has another schedule ready to be released, one that doesn’t include Spokane. . . . With the U.S. and Canadian governments not allowing anti-vaxxers to cross their borders, the Braves don’t have enough vaccinated players to ice a team. In fact, owner Bob Tobiason and head coach Darin Schumacher aren’t vaccinated, either. That fact prevented Tobiason from attending the KIJHL’s annual general meeting at Fairmont Hot Springs in late June.


After the International Olympic Committee decided — finally! — to give the late Jim Thorpe back his classic pentathlon and decathlon gold medals from the 1912 Olympic Summer Games in Stockholm, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg summed things up: “In an equally timely move, the IOC strongly feels women should be allowed to vote.”


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Phil Mickelson keeps saying how happy he is that he went with that Blood Money Tour. And, boy, he sure looks happy these days, doesn’t he?”


Family


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes revealed on Monday that F Yegor Klavdiev, 19, won’t be returning for a second season. He has decided to stay at home in LethbridgeBelarus and begin his pro career with Shakhtyor Soligorsk of the Belarusian Extraliga. . . . Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt, from a news release: “We are really disappointed about the news of Klavdiev not returning. It’s disappointing to lose a good player who was going to be a key 19-year-old for us this coming season and someone that we were going to count on. The timing isn’t great for us, but his decision was made, and we respect that and wish him the best in his next step.” . . . Klavdiev had 21 goals and 26 assists in 61 games last season; he was one of three 20-goal scorers on the roster. . . . F Justin Hall led Lethbridge with 34 goals last season, but that was as a 20-year-old. F Jett Jones, who is to turn 20 on Aug. 27, was the other 20-goal man last season, with 20. . . . In the CHL’s 2022 import draft, the Hurricanes selected Slovakian F Alex Ciernik, who turns 18 on Oct. 8, in the first round and then passed on their second pick. The Hurricanes also hold the rights to Swiss F Liekit Reichie, 19, who had two goals and nine assists in 34 games after being claimed off waivers from the Prince George Cougars last season.

The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express is looking for a head coach with Brandon Shaw having left to join the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs as an assistant coach. Shaw, who was with Coquitlam for one season, also was the assistant general manager. . . . Shaw has been coaching in the BCHL for the past five seasons — two with the Merritt Centennials and two with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . .

The OHL’s Soo Greyhounds have extended the contract of general manager Kyle Raftis for four years, taking him through the 2025-26 season. Raftis is preparing for his ninth season with the Greyhounds.


Jason Knight, a former WHL player, died on June 30 in Regina, four days after his 49th birthday. . . . Knight played 56 WHL regular-season games over three seasons (1990-93) — 26 with the Saskatoon Blades, 29 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one with the Tacoma Rockets. He finished with three goals and four assists. . . . From the obituary: “There will be no Funeral Service at this time but a Celebration of Life will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made, in memoriam, to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 100 – 119 14 Street NW Calgary, AB, T2N 1Z6 or to KidSport Canada, 423 – 145 Pacific Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 2Z6.” . . . That obituary is 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.


Puns

WHL’s conference finals all even . . . Milne, Alexander lead Ice to win . . . Roulette, Milic spark Thunderbirds

Tyson


Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was in Kamloops for Game 1 of the Western Conference final between the Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night.

WHLplayoffs2022Matt O’Dette, the head coach of the Thunderbirds, wasn’t there, though. It seems an undisclosed illness — sorry, no idea whether it’s an upper-body or lower-body illness — kept him at home in Kent, Wash.

And, furthermore, it seems that no one wanted to talk about it.

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week visited the Seattle dressing room after the game and met up with assistant coach Kyle Hagel. Here’s what Hastings wrote:

“He’s just not here,” Seattle assistant coach Kyle Hagel told KTW.

Why is he not here?

“He’s just not here,” Hagel said.

Is it health related?

“He’s just not here,” parroted the T-Birds’ assistant coach.

Hastings added: “Hagel does not expect O’Dette to return for Game 2 . . .”

O’Dette wasn’t there for Game 2 on Saturday night, a game the Thunderbirds won, 4-1, to tie the Western Conference final, 1-1.

The question now becomes: Will O’Dette be back behind the Seattle bench for Game 3 in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday night?

Of course, there also are all kinds of questions concerning O’Dette’s health.  Thom Beuning, the Thunderbirds’ veteran play-by-play man, said in the third period of Friday’s broadcast that O’Dette was out because of “illness” and that he had stayed home as a precautionary measure.

You are free to wonder if O’Dette has the flu or whether his “illness” is related to COVID-19. He didn’t respond to a text on Saturday night asking if he could provide clarification about his health and/or his status for Game 3.


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice scored the game’s last four goals, all in the third WinnipegIceperiod, as it beat the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings, 5-1, to even the best-of-seven final, 1-1. . . . This was Edmonton’s first loss after nine straight playoff victories. . . . The Oil Kings had won, 5-4 in OT, on Friday night. . . . The next three games are scheduled to be played in Edmonton — Monday, Wednesday and Friday. . . . F Mikey Milne, who finished with three goals, got the scoring started, giving the Ice a 1-0 lead at 10:08 of the first period. . . . The Oil Kings pulled even at 18:45 when D Logan Dowhaniuk (2) scored, on a PP, at 18:45. . . . After a scoreless second period, Edmonton F Jaxsen Wiebe took a headshot major and game misconduct two minutes into the third. The Ice promptly took control with a pair of PP goals. . . . F Owen Peterson (7) struck at 3:15 and Milne made it 3-1 at 6:20. . . . Milne completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 18:24. That was his 13th goal of these playoffs. . . . D Max Streule (1), who had been the victim of Wiebe’s high hit, completed the scoring at 19:17. . . . Winnipeg was 2-for-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-for-4. . . . Chances are Wiebe won’t be around for the next game or two as he almost certainly will be hearing from the WHL’s Dept. of Discipline. . . . The Ice got a big game from G Gage Alexander, who finished with 35 stops. Alexander started a game for the first time since March 5. He had come into Game 1 in relief of Daniel Hauser and stopped 18 of 19 shots. . . . G Sebastian Cossa turned aside 18 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . As per the tweets from Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press, Ice forwards Matt Savoie and Connor McClennon didn’t finish the game. Both will be evaluated Sunday before the teams heads for Edmonton. Savoie was the Ice’s leading regular-season scorer, with 90 points, while McClennon was tied for second, with 81. McClennon had a team-high 43 goals.

——

Western Conference

In Kamloops, F Conner Roulette broke a 1-1 tie early in the second period and Seattlethe Seattle Thunderbirds went on to a 4-1 victory over the Blazers, evening the best-of-seven conference final, 1-1. . . . Kamloops had put up a 5-2 victory on Friday night. . . . The series now shifts to Kent, Wash., for games on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Game 5 scheduled for Kamloops on Friday. . . . Last night, the Thunderbirds scored the game’s last four goals after F Logan Stankoven gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 14th goal at 1:39 of the first period. . . . F Lucas Ciona (7) shot Seattle into a tie at 6:39. . . . Roulette (2) gave the visitors the lead at 5:32 of the second period. . . . F Sam Oremba (2) added some insurance at 5:25 of the third period, and F Reid Schaefer (6) iced it with the empty-netter at 17:55. . . . Seattle G Thomas Milic was the game’s first start, with 40 saves. He beat Stankoven on a late second-period breakaway with Seattle leading 2-1, then made a wonderful come-across stop on Kamloops D Viktor Persson off a Stankoven pass. In the third period, Milic stopped F Luke Toporowski on a breakaway immediately after the Thunderbirds had gone ahead 3-1. . . . The Blazers got 23 saves from G Dylan Garand. . . . The Thunderbirds were without F Henrik Rybinski, who apparently suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 1 of the series. He has 13 points, including 10 assists, in 13 playoff games. . . . Seattle also was again without head coach Matt O’Dette, who stayed home with an apparent illness. In his absence, assistant coaches Kyle Hagel and Matt Marquardt ran things for a second straight game.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning has signed F Jaydon Dureau of the Portland Winterhawks to a three-year entry-level contract. Dureau, who turned 21 on Jan. 20, was a fifth-round pick by the Lightning in the NHL’s 2020 draft. From White City, Sask., Dureau had 66 points, including 24 goals, in 49 regular-season games with the Winterhawks this season.


Decaf


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

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.


Salad

Blazers, fans to celebrate with Hay . . . T-Birds assistant coach looks back, ahead

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Kamloops Blazers will honour head coach Don Hay in a pregame ceremony on Feb. 16 with the Kelowna Rockets in the house.

Hay became the winningest regular-season coach in WHL history on Saturday when he Kamloops1got No. 743 as the Blazers beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. He had tied the record one night earlier when his guys beat the visiting Winterhawks, 5-2.

The record had been held since 1993 by former Portland head coach Ken Hodge, who retired after the 1992-93 season.

Hay also holds the WHL coaching record for most career playoff victories (108). Hodge (101) is No. 2 on that list, too.

On Feb. 16, the first 4,000 fans will receive commemorative pucks. There also will be a banner raising as part of the celebration.

It likely is safe to assume there will be representation from the WHL office, too, although that isn’t mentioned in the news release.


Kyle Hagel is in his first season as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Seattle SeattleThunderbirds; in fact, he’s in the first season of what he hopes will be a long and fruitful coaching career. He admits that it wasn’t easy to leave his playing career behind, but he also admits that his playing career wasn’t easy. . . . Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator has a piece right here on Hagel, who looks back at his career as a middleweight enforcer and wonders what’s ahead.


The CHL’s Top Prospects Game will be played in Red Deer next season. The 24th annual game is scheduled for Jan. 23. This season’s game was played in Guelph, home of the OHL’s Storm, on Jan. 25. . . . The game was last played in a WHL city in 2014 when it was held in Calgary. It also has been played in Calgary in 1999 and 2001, Edmonton in 2008, Saskatoon in 2002, Vancouver in 2005 and 2016, and in Kelowna in 2012.

Meanwhile, the WHL has scheduled its annual awards show and the 2018 bantam for Red Deer. The awards luncheon is scheduled for May 2, with the bantam draft on May 3.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Alex Thacker to a WHL contract. Thacker, a sixth-round selection by the Broncos in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, plays for the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. He told Lindsay Morey of the Fort Saskatchewan Record that he signed on Jan. 23. . . . With the Rangers, he has 13 goals and 17 assists in 30 games.


The junior B Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have a new general manager. Jamie Cominotta, the assistant GM for three years, has moved up to the GM’s position. Terry Jones, a former WHL player, had been GM and head coach; he now will focus on his head-coaching duties. He has been the head coach since 1997. . . . “Over time we’ve been looking at the process of our entire coaching staff and we’ve worked hard to delegate all the duties,” Jones told Jim Bailey of the Trail Times.“We’re doing this all largely as a hobby, so with all of us breaking down our duties it makes the job more manageable, and it also creates a team approach to building a hockey team.” . . . Jones played two seasons (1982-84) with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Bailey’s story is right here.


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If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.

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Enjoy!


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Red Deer at Moose Jay, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Swift Current at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Spokane vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Everett at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Calgary vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

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