Americans make coaching change . . . Love leaves Blades for Heat . . . Winterhawks dumping logo


You need a head coach . . . and you need a head coach . . . you don’t need a general manager . . . you do need a GM . . . sounds like you have a new logo. Oh, and your arena has a new name . . .

Such was life in the WHL on a busy Monday.

Bob Tory, the part-owner, governor and general manager of the Tri-City AmericansAmericans, got the day started by announcing that head coach Kelly Buchberger’s contract isn’t being renewed.

Regan Bartel, the long-time radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, tweeted what some people no doubt were thinking: “The arrival of Don Nachbaur was a sure sign a move was imminent.”

Buchberger, 54, was named the Americans’ head coach in July 2018. He replaced Mike Williamson, who had left the organization the previous month after four seasons as head coach. Buchberger had been an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Islanders before joining the Americans.

Nachbaur, 62, was the Americans’ head coach for six seasons (2003-09). After spending one season and five games of another coaching in Europe, Nachbaur returned to the Americans on Feb. 18 as associate coach under Buchberger.

Nachbaur began his WHL coaching career with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 1994-95. All told, he has spent 19 seasons as a WHL head coach, splitting time with the Thunderbirds, Americans and Spokane Chiefs. He is a three-time winner of the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s coach of the year, winning once in each of his stops.

Nachbaur is the WHL’s third-winningest head coach, with 692 regular-season victories, second only to Don Hay (750) and Ken Hodge (742).

Tory has been the Americans’ GM since 2000-01 and also owns part of the franchise, along with former players Stu Barnes and Olaf Kozig, and area businessman Dennis Loman. They purchased the team from Brian Burke, Darryl Porter and Glen Sather in April 2005.

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Meanwhile, in Saskatoon, the Blades are looking for a head coach after Mitch BladesLove joined the NHL’s Calgary Flames as head coach of their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat.

Love, 37, spent the past three seasons as the Blades’ head coach, putting up a 95-44-16 regular-season record.

Love also was an assistant coach with Canada’s last two entries in the IIHF World Junior Championship, winning gold and silver, and with Canada’s U18 team at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Love was an assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips for seven seasons (2011-18) before joining the Blades as head coach.

In Stockton, Love takes over from Cail MacLean, who was added to the Flames’ coaching staff over the summer. MacLean had taken over the Heat from former Kelowna Rockets coach Ryan Huska, who has been on the Flames’ staff for three seasons now.

The Blades reported that associate coach Ryan Marsh and goaltender coach Jeff Harvey will remain with the team, “as will all support staff.” The Blades also are looking to hire one more assistant coach.

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Also on Monday morning, Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reported that Everett“sources confirm that Dennis Williams will become the Silvertips’ full-time general manager.” Williams, who also is Everett’s head coach, had been serving as interim GM since the club parted ways with Garry Davidson.

The Silvertips made Williams’ promotion official later in the day.

Davidson had been the GM for nine seasons when the club announced on May 20 that his contract wouldn’t be renewed, citing an ongoing restructuring of hockey operations necessitated by the past two seasons.

Davidson was introduced by the Calgary Hitmen as their new director of player personnel on June 10. He replaced Dallas Thompson, who left the organization on May 26.

Williams, 41, is preparing for his fifth season as Everett’s head coach. On Feb. 12, 2020, the Silvertips signed him to an extension that runs through the 2022-23 season. On Monday, the team announced that it had signed him to a “multi-year contract extension.”

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Meanwhile, in Kamloops, the Blazers remain without a general manager Kamloopsfollowing the departure of Matt Bardsley, whose last day with them was June 30. He left the Blazers after three seasons as GM and with three years left on his contract. Bardsley and his family have returned to Portland. He now is an amateur scout with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.

All signs seem to point to head coach Shaun Clouston taking on the dual role of GM/head coach in Kamloops. He spent seven seasons doing both jobs with the Medicine Hat Tigers before being replaced by Willie Desjardins prior to the 2019-20 season. Clouston, 53, then signed with the Blazers.

The process in Kamloops will have been slowed by the death of Don Moores, the organization’s president and chief operating officer. Moores, 65, died of an apparent heart attack while golfing on June 30. A celebration of life is to be held today (Tuesday), 1 p.m., at the Sandman Centre with capacity limited to 2,500.

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In Portland, the Winterhawks will hold a news conference on Wednesday morning at which they will announce the beginning of a rebrand that is going to mean a new logo.

“Portland’s hockey franchise needed a set of jerseys in 1976,” writes The Oregonian coumnist John Canzano. “The Chicago Blackhawks had a pile of used ones. Don’t know if you know this, but the Winterhawks’ biggest acquisition in that inaugural season was to accept the donation of an old set of Blackhawks’ jerseys.

The iconic Illinois Sauk Nation figure made the trip to Portland on the chest, where it’s been squatting for 45 years.”

The Winterhawks, of course, now have new owners, so things are about to change in a big, big way.

Canzano’s column is right here.

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And that brings us to Red Deer where the Rebels’ home has a new name. That RedDeerarena, which is located in Westerner Park, was named the Peavey Mart Centrium on Monday. The two parties have agreed on a five-year sponsorship deal. No financial terms were revealed. . . . The Peavey Mart Centrium is to be home to, among other things, part of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship. . . . Peavey Industries, which has its head office in Red Deer, also becomes an “official agricultural supply partner” to Westerner Park. . . . The Centrium hadn’t had a name sponsor since a contract with Enmax expired a few years ago.


Moon


Zach Johnson tested positive before getting on a charter flight that was carrying golfers to the British Open that is to open on Thursday at Royal St. George’s. Johnson, who won the Open in 2015, will end a run of having started in 69 consecutive majors. . . . Interestingly, Johnson played in the John Deer Classic that wrapped up Sunday in Illinois. . . . Louis de Jager of South Africa, a local qualifier, also has tested positive and was forced to withdraw from the Open. . . . Among others who will be missing are Masters champ Hideki Matsuyama, who tested positive on July 2 and again since then, and two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson, who withdrew after being in close contact with someone who tested positive.


Bianca Andreescu of Canada announced on social media Monday that she won’t play tennis at the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. The Games are scheduled to open on July 23. . . . “I have been dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympics since I was a little girl,” she wrote, “but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself. I look forward to representing Canada in future Fed Cup ties, and competing at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.”


Island


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: Dean Chynoweth, a former WHL player, GM and coach, has signed on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. Chynoweth, 52, replaces Dave Hakstol, who left Toronto to become the first head coach of the expansion Seattle Kraken. Chynoweth had been with the Carolina Hurricanes for the previous three seasons after a season as an associate coach with the Vancouver Giants.


User

Kraken to play first game in Spokane . . . Munz returns to WHL . . . Dillabough goes back to work


The NHL’s Seattle Kraken doesn’t have any players on its roster just yet, but it Krakendoes have a six-game exhibition schedule, including three games in WHL arenas. . . . The Kraken will play its first-ever NHL game in Spokane on Sept. 26 against the Vancouver Canucks. It then will play the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 1 in Everett, and the Calgary Flames in Kent, Wash., the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds, on Oct. 2. . . . The Kraken will play three road exhibition games — in Edmonton on Sept. 28, in Calgary on Sept. 29 and in Vancouver on Oct. 5. . . . The Kraken will take part in an expansion draft on July 21.


Hockey Canada announced early in July 2020 that the 2020 World U-17 Hockey Challenge had been cancelled. It was to have been held in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I., from Oct. 31 through Nov. 7. . . . At the same time, it was decided that the 2021 tournament would be held in Charlottetown and Summerside. Now, although there doesn’t appear to have been an official announcement from Hockey Canada, it seems that tournament also has been cancelled.


Danger


Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, reiterated on Friday during a news conference in Coquitlam, B.C., that unvaccinated travellers won’t be allowed into Canada for “quite a while.” . . . Here’s what he said: “We need to continue to ensure that the safety of Canadians, of all the sacrifices that so many people have made over the past many, many months, are not for nothing. If you are wondering when unvaccinated tourists can come to Canada, I can tell you right now that’s not going to happen for quite a while.” . . . WHL players and team personnel aren’t tourists, but does this mean that the league will require those people to be fully vaccinated before reporting to training camps? After all, those camps will open in a little over two months.



Brian Munz is back in the WHL. On Thursday, the Winnipeg Ice announced that WinnipegMitch Peacock, its manager, broadcast and communications, had left the organization. On Friday, the Ice announced that Munz would replace Peacock, thus becoming the team’s play-by-play voice. Among Munz’s responsibilities will be media relations . . . Munz is a former radio voice of the Prince Albert Raiders. He also has done play-by-play for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. . . . Munz had joined Golf Manitoba in April as director of communications. He had been with TSN 1290 AM in Winnipeg, but lost his job when Bell Media shuttered the station in February.


Pizza


F Danis Zaripov re-signed with the Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL on Friday. He spent one season (1998-99) with the Swift Current Broncos and now is Ak Bars Kazan’s captain. . . . You have to like how the team announced his signing . . .



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: Zack Hartwick has signed on as the Brandon Wheat Kings’ new athletic therapist. He had been with the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. . . . Joel Bouchard has joined the AHL’s San Diego Gulls as their head coach. The Gulls are affiliated with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Bouchard, 47, had been the head coach of the Laval Rocket, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, for three seasons. In San Diego, he replaces Kevin Dineen, whose contract wasn’t renewed after two seasons. . . . Rick Dillabough wasn’t off work for long. Dillabough left the Wheat Kings last month after being with them for 30 years, most recently as director of business operations, sales and sponsorships. On Friday, the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba announced that Dillabough was joining the organization as manager of operations and sponsorship lead.


Coffee

WHL has all divisions in action . . . Oil Kings, Blades, Silvertips keep rolling . . . Ice’s Lambos done for this season


For the first time since March, 11, 2020, the WHL had teams from each of its WHL2four divisions cleared to play on Friday night. . . . The longest of the night’s eight games took 2 hours 31 minutes to play (Everett beat Portland 2-1 in OT). Victoria and Kelowna finished in 2:10. The other game times were 2:15, 2:16, 2:17, 2:18 (twice) and 2:25. . . . Three of the games ended in shutouts, while G Dustin Wolf and the Everett Silvertips surrendered their first goal in four games. . . . If you’re on Twitter and interested in WHL numbers, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). . . . Some highlights and tidbits from Friday. . . .

D Aidan De La Gorgendiere drew four assists to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a Blades7-3 victory over the Regina Pats on Friday. . . . F Chase Wouters had two goals and an assist for the Blades. The assist was the 100th of his career. He has 169 points in 267 regular-season games. . . . F Colton Dach also scored twice for Saskatoon. . . . The Blades (7-0-1) scored the game’s first three goals and never looked back. . . . Despite playing in their home arena, the Pats (2-4-2) are 0-2-2 in games when they have been designated the home team. . . . Spencer Welke, one of three goaltenders on the Pats’ roster, made his WHL debut with 40 saves. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard, 15, scored once, giving him at least a point in each of his first eight career games. . . .

In the other game in Regina, F Mathew Ward had four assists in helping the Swift Current Broncos to a 7-4 triumph over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Broncos, who scored the game’s first three goals, got two goals from F Aidan Bulych and a goal and two assists from F Michael Farren. . . . Ward, 17, is from Kamloops and has nine assists in eight games to start his first season. . . . F Peyton Krebs had a goal and two helpers for the Ice as he went over the 200-point mark for his career. Krebs has five goals and nine assists in eight games in the Regina hub. In 183 career regular-season games, he’s got 202 points, including 148 assists. . . . The Broncos (2-5-1) have points in three straight games (2-0-1), while the Ice (5-3-0) has lost two in a row. . . . The Ice has lost D Carson Lambos, 18, for the remainder of this season. He left Regina on March 17 and returned to Winnipeg in order to “meet with doctors at home in the Manitoba capital to deal with an unspecified medical condition,” the Winnipeg Free Press reported. This situation also takes Lambos out of consideration for the Canadian team that will play at the U18 IIHF world championship in Dallas, April 26 through May 6. Lambos is projected as a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings stayed perfect as they dropped the visiting Calgary EdmontonHitmen, 4-3. . . . F Jalen Luypen had two goals and an assist for the Oil Kings (8-0-0), who got 26 saves from G Sebastian Cossa. . . . Goals by Luypen and F Josh Williams, each of whom has six, gave the Oil Kings a 4-1 lead by the middle of the second period. . . . Luypen has 10 points in eight games. . . . Edmonton has outscored its opponents, 38-12, in eight games. . . . The Hitmen slipped to 4-4-1. . . . Bob Stauffer, the host of Oilers Now on 630 CHED and the analyst on Oilers’ broadcasts, tweeted that there were 27 NHL scouts, including four assistant GM/head scouts, at the game. . . .

G Garin Bjorklund stopped 22 shots to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers (5-3-0) got two goals from F Lukas Svejkovsky. . . . Bjorklund’s first shutout of this season was the second of his career. Geoffrey Brandow reports that Bjorklund is 5-0-0, 1.94, .929 against Lethbridge in his career. . . . The Hurricanes (3-5-1) have lost three in a row. . . . F Corson Hopwo’s fifth goal, shorthanded at 3:41 of the first period, was all the Tigers needed. . . . Svejkovsky now has five goals this season. . . . Lethbridge G Carl Tetachuk stopped 44 shots. . . .

F Matthew Seminoff scored twice and added an assist in leading the Kamloops Blazers to a 7-3 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . The Blazers, who got three assists from F Connor Zary, led 4-1 after the first period. . . . F Connor Levis, 16, also scored twice for Kamloops. It was his first WHL game. . . . The Giants got a goal and an assist from F Tristen Nielsen. . . . Earlier Friday, the Giants announced that “due to off season surgery, Cole Shepard will miss the 2020-2021 season.” The Giants didn’t release any particulars on the surgery. . . . From West Vancouver, he first had surgery on a hip in May 2019. . . . Shepard, who turned 19 on Jan. 2, had 11 goals and 18 assists in 50 games in 2019-20. He played the previous season for the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and was ticketed for Harvard before joining the Giants. . . .

In Kelowna, G Cole Schwebius stopped 19 shots to help the Rockets to a 5-0 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . He’s got two career shutouts. . . . The Rockets got two goals from F Alex Swetlikoff and a goal and and assist from each of F Elias Carmichael and D Jake Lee. . . . F Andrew Cristall, 15, had two assists in his first WHL game. . . . Kelowna held a 35-19 edge in shots. . . .

F Cole Fonstad scored at 4:17 of OT to give the visiting Everett Silvertips a 2-1 Everettvictory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Silvertips (4-0-0) got 35 saves from G Dustin Wolf, who had his shutout streak end at 16:32 of the second period. He had posted a shutout in each of his first three starts this season, and finished with a club-record shutout streak of 216:27. The previous record (195:12) belong to Carter Hart, who now is with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. . . . F Gage Concalves gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 3:42 of the second period. . . . F Simon Knak pulled Portland even at 13:16 of the second. That was the third shorthanded goal — two of them from Knak — in two games for Portland (2-0-2). . . . Going back to last season, the Silvertips are 24-2-1 in their past 27 games. . . . Joe Mahon, who played in the WHL with the Winterhawks (2012-13) and Calgary Hitmen (2013-14), was one of the linesmen. It was his first WHL game as an on-ice official. . . . Jackson Kozari was one of the referees. His father, Steve, is a former WHL referee who now works in the NHL. . . .

G Thomas Milic turned aside 35 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-0 victory over the host Spokane Chiefs. . . . Milic, a 17-year-old from Coquitlam, B.C., put up his first career shutout in his fifth appearance, three of them this season. He is 2-1-0, 1.95, .938 this season. . . . The Thunderbirds (2-1-0) got two goals and an assist from F Conner Roulette, two goals from F Keltie Jeri-Leon, and a goal and two helpers from F Jared Davidson. . . . The Chiefs fell to 0-3-1. . . . Former WHL/NHL referee Dennis (Lash) LaRue worked the game as an analyst on the broadcast crew. He mentioned that one of the linesmen was Rance Hughes, whose brother, Bear, has played for the Chiefs.

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The WHL announced Friday that it had 1,002 tests administered in its seventh week back and didn’t have any positive tests. Between Feb. 12 and March 26, it has received one positive test from 4,094 tests. . . . That news release is right here.


Funeral


The virus took a third team out of the chase for the NCAA men’s hockey championship on Friday when the Michigan Wolverines had to withdraw from the regional in Fargo, N.D., because of positive tests. That allowed the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs to advance to the regional final where they will meet the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, who beat the American International Yellow Jackets, 5-1, on Friday night. . . . Earlier in the week, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were knocked out of a regional in Albany, N.Y., by positive tests, while St. Lawrence University Saints withdrew after their head coach, Brent Brekke, tested positive.

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The junior B Prairie Junior Hockey League, an 11-team Saskatchewan-based league, announced Friday that its 2020-21 season is over. “With the current Sask Health rules in place,” it tweeted, “the PJHL will be unable to return to play, therefore the remainder of the 2020-2021 season has been cancelled.The league would like to thank the players, officials, fans, and sponsors for their commitment and support during these times.” . . . The league hadn’t played games since Nov. 26.

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The Greater Toronto Hockey League announced on Friday that it has cancelled the balance of the 2020-21 season “after conducting an evaluation of the current situation in Toronto, Peel and York Regions and consulting with health experts from Toronto Public Health.” . . . The GTHL is the largest minor hockey organization in the world with more than 40,000 annual participants.


Like


Hey, how are we doing in Canada? Thanks for asking, but the numbers are depressing. And with a long weekend just a week away . . . ahhh, I don’t even want to think about it. . . . While you’re partying on, Garth, just think about this lasting for another year. OK? Thanks. . . .

CBC News — Canada closes in on 1 million COVID-19 cases as mounting daily case loads are projected to reach as many as 12,000 a day. Canada’s top doctors urge more vigilance, saying that vaccinations can’t keep up to the spread of the virus.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — There are 908 new cases of COVID-19 in BC, for a total of 95,677 cases in British Columbia. This one of the highest days in the pandemic for new cases. The 7 day average has jumped around 100 cases per day over the last week. . . . There are 294 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 81 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. The hospital number down 12, ICU up 2. . . . There have been three new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,449 deaths in British Columbia. . . . There are 6,245 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 9,996 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 87,866 people who tested positive have recovered. . . . There have been 140 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province, for a total of 1,912 cases. Of the total cases, 258 are active and the remaining people have recovered. . . . This includes 1,666 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 47 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 199 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

CTV Edmonton — Alberta reported more than 700 new cases of COVID-19 for a second straight day as the province’s active and variant case counts continue their upward trends.  . . . The province reported 717 new cases Friday, a day after adding 764 new cases on Thursday. . . . Alberta’s active case count surpassed 7,000 for the time since late January, and is now at 7,077. . . . A total of 1,976 Albertans have now died due to COVID-19 after three new deaths were reported Friday. 

CBC News — 8 additional deaths in Saskatchewan and 213 new cases of COVID-19. That’s the province’s highest daily case total since February 13; the province’s 7-day average is now 186.

CBC News — Manitoba is reporting 116 new COVID-19 cases, the 2nd day in a row above 100 and the highest daily total since February 18. There are also 3 new deaths.

CBC News — For the second day in a row, Ontario is reporting more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19. The province announced 2,169 new cases today, well above the 7-day average of 1,849. The province is also reporting 12 additional deaths. . . . 401 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, Ontario Hospitals Association says. Marks one of the highest totals since the pandemic began.

CBC News — New Brunswick is reporting 13 new cases of COVID-19, all in the Edmundston region. There are 99 known active cases in the province, including 4 hospitalized patients.


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.


Stupid

A fond farewell to the Swamp Dog . . . Sopotyk family says ‘Thank You’ . . . Canmore opts out of AJHL return to play

Let’s start with a couple of stories involving old friends.

Andy Murray and I go back a long way . . . when I was getting started at the Brandon Sun, he was the starting QB for the Brandon U Bobcats, a ragtag football team full of guys who sure had a lot of fun. He also was a star forward on the Bobcats hockey team.

AndyMurray
ANDY MURRAY

Murray, of course, went on to a lengthy coaching career and now is the head coach of the Western Michigan U Mustangs. On Monday, Bods (@Bods27) posted three tweets involving Murray, and the story is just too good not to share.

“Since it’s the anniversary of Miracle on Ice, I’ll share a story about it.

“We were on a road trip to Miami several years ago and watching Miracle on the way down. We get to Goggin (the arena in Oxford, Ohio) with about 20 minutes or so left in the movie.

“The guys on the bus want to finish it since we were just going to unload the bus, not practice or anything like that. Coach Murray stands up and abruptly shuts off the DVD player. The guys all boo him.

“Murray simply looks down the aisle of the bus and says ‘In Canada, we don’t need to make movies about things that happen every four years,’ and then walks off the bus.”

O Canada . . .

And that brings us to old friend Murray Rauw, who died in Calgary on Sunday night after a long illness. We were part of the fun bunch in the sports department at the Winnipeg Tribune in the mid-1970s. Swamp Dog, as we called him, was one of those special people with a big, big heart and a laugh I’ll never forget.

Here’s a story from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, who was then writing out of Edmonton while Murray was covering the Stampeders for the Calgary Herald. . . .

“One of my favourite sports writing stories involved Murray Rauw, and then Stampeders head coach Wally Buono.

“I was down in Calgary for a game, and walked into Buono’s office after practice for his daily gab with the media. Murray, the Herald beat guy, was ill, and on leave.

“When I arrived, all the seats were taken but for a chair right in front of Wally’s desk. I hesitated in the doorway, wondering why that prime seat would be open.

“Wally noticed, quietly put up his hand as a stop sign, and said: ‘We’re saving Murray’s seat for when he comes back.’

“No scribe sat in that chair for weeks.

“I’m not sure if that story says more about Wally or Rauwser, but I consider myself lucky to have known both.”

Condolences to Maureen and family. Be safe.


It almost has been a month since F Kyrell Sopotyk of the Kamloops Blazers suffered a devastating injury while snowboarding near North Battleford, Sask. He was left paralyzed below the waist and remains in a Saskatoon hospital. . . . A GoFundMe effort had raised $195,868 as of Monday evening, with the money ticketed to his family to use for expenses, including whatever home renovations may be required.

On Monday, Lori Sopotyk, Kyrell’s mother, posted this update:

“Our family would like to express the immense gratitude and thanks for the overwhelming support and kindness during this tough time. Kyrell is working towards months of recovery with his medical and rehab team at Saskatoon City Hospital.

“We ask that you please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers on his long journey ahead. The incredible support of family, friends and the community makes a huge difference in Kyrell’s road to recovery and maintaining a positive attitude.

“Thank you to everyone for your support and generosity whether it be through cards, calls, texts, donations, food or the purchase of decals.”

If you haven’t donated and would like to, the page is right here.



The 15-team AJHL announced on Friday that it has been given the OK to return Canmoreto play, although it didn’t reveal a schedule or a start date. On Sunday, the Canmore Eagles announced that they are opting out “due to challenges in meeting the requirements of the approved Return-to-Play Plan and of existing restrictions due to COVID-19.” . . . A news release on the AJHL website added: “We have worked tirelessly through several options not only within the town of Canmore, but also exploring possible solutions to work with other communities. Regrettably, we have not been able to arrive at a workable solution.” . . . The Eagles were hit with an outbreak of COVID-19 in late November, one that resulted in at least 16 positive tests within the organization and some community transmission. Andrew Milne, the Eagles’ general manager and head coach, did some resulting media interviews in which he candidly discussed what the team had gone through. The AJHL followed by hitting him with a 15-game suspension and a $1,000 fine for “bringing discredit to the league.”



Bigfoot


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The New York Times — President Biden honored the “truly grim, heartbreaking milestone” of 500,000 lives lost to the coronavirus at the White House on Monday. “The people we lost were extraordinary,” Biden said.

The New York Times — The United States reached a staggering milestone on Monday, surpassing 500,000 known coronavirus-related deaths in a pandemic that has lasted almost a year. The nation’s total virus toll is higher than in any other country in the world. It has far surpassed early predictions of loss by some federal experts. . . . The United States accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s known Covid deaths, but makes up just 4.25 percent of the global population.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Monday, 9:37 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,720 have died from coronavirus; 854,190 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Monday, 9:37 p.m. PT — United States: 500,236 people have died. . . . 28,188,311 have tested positive.

CBC News — Manitoba announced 97 new cases of COVID-19, up slightly from the province’s 7-day average of 92. The test positivity rate for the last week is 5.4%. The province has also had 2 additional deaths.

CBC News — B.C. has confirmed 1,428 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths from the disease over the last three days. There are 223 people in hospital with the disease, 63 of whom are in intensive care.

CBC News — Alberta reports 273 new COVID-19 cases, 16 more deaths from illness. Variant cases account for about 3.5% new infections in the province this month, Dr. Hinshaw says.

CBC News — Saskatchewan reports 177 new COVID-19 cases, up from the province’s 7-day average of 158. Announcement comes after province says it has reached agreement with pharmacists to help administer vaccines for the virus.

CBC News — Newfoundland and Labrador announces 14 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest total in 6 days and well below the 7-day average of 34. The number of recoveries is exceeding the number of new cases, a development the chief medical officer calls ‘encouraging.’

CBC News — Nunavut has 12 more confirmed cases of COVID-19, all in the small fly-in community of Arviat on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay. It’s the 1st time the territory has seen a double-digit daily increase since January 24.

CBC News — 805 new COVID-19 cases in Quebec as number stays below 1,000 for 9th straight day while 7-day average rises slightly to 773. Authorities are also attributing 11 additional deaths to the virus.

CBC News — Ontario reports 1,058 new COVID-19 cases, 5th day in a row number has exceeded 1,000. 7-day average up slightly to 1,045. Authorities also say there have been 11 more deaths. However, the number of hospitalizations and ICU patients continues to fall.

KTVZ NewsChannel 21 — Gov. Kate Brown today ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday in memory of the more than 500,000 Americans who have lost their lives due to COVID-19. This includes 2,155 Oregonians.

National Geographic — In 2020, the U.S. saw a more than 15 percent increase in deaths over the prior year, the highest year-on-year rise in deaths across the U.S. since 1918, which experienced both a global flu epidemic and the First World War

KOMO News — Washington State health officials reported almost 1,200 more COVID-19 cases, 77 hospitalizations and 35 deaths in the past two days as the United States reached a grim COVID-19 milestone. State officials have reported 334,962 cases, 19,110 hospitalizations and 4,857 deaths since the pandemic began.

The New York Times — More Americans have died from Covid-19 than did on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.

——

Sooner or later, our lives are going to be able to return to some sense of normalcy, which will include being able to go back into arenas to enjoy hockey games, concerts and other shows. But what will the interior of those arenas look like? Well, the City of Kent is spending about $545,000 on the accesso ShoWare Centre to make it a “safer environment for fans,” as Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter writes right here. . . .

It was in November when Iona men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino pleaded with the NCAA to move the start of the season to March “and then have May Madness” because of the pandemic. The NCAA wasn’t listening. On Monday, Iona announced that the men’s team won’t be able to play its last five regular-season MAAC games because it doesn’t have enough healthy players. The Gaels (8-5) hope to play in the MAAC tournament that begins on March 8. . . . Earlier, Iona had a 51-day layoff, between Dec. 23 and Feb. 12, because of COVID-19.


Carpet


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 Moose Jaw Warriors are in the market for a general manager after Alan Millar announced that he is leaving to join Hockey Canada as director of player personnel. Millar joined the Warriors as director of hockey operations in 2010, then was named GM in 2012. Millar isn’t a stranger to Hockey Canada, having worked with the U-18 program for two years and then the U-20 team last year.


Ship

Lori Sopotyk: ‘They didn’t sugarcoat anything and told him he would never walk again’ . . . Joseph wants semi driver deported . . . Virus hits Vegas coaching staff


“They didn’t sugarcoat anything and told him he would never walk again,” Lori Sopotyk told Mart Hastings of Kamloops This Week on Tuesday. “He’s paralyzed from the belly button down and it’s a long, long journey ahead for all of us. That was the first thing out of his mouth, his hockey, that he would never skate again. And he felt like he had let everyone down.” . . . Lori was referring to Kyrell, her 19-year-old son, who was injured in a snowboarding accident near North Battleford, Sask., on Friday and is in a Saskatoon hospital. He played the last two seasons (2018-20) with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. . . . Hastings’ complete story is right here. . . .

A GoFundMe page, launched by Kathleen Zary, the mother of Blazers F Connor Zary, has surpassed $160,000. It is right here should you wish to donate.


Chris Joseph, a former WHL/NHL defenceman, and his wife, Andrea, lost their son, Jaxon, in the accident that occurred almost three years ago when a semi-trailer pulled out onto a Saskatchewan highway in front of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus. But unlike Scott Thomas, who also lost a son in the accident, Joseph doesn’t want Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to be allowed to remain in Canada whenever he is freed from jail. Thomas, whose son, Evan, died in the crash, has written a letter in support of Sidhu’s plea to avoid deportation. . . . “As much as I can admire someone who finds that forgiveness,” Joseph told Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, “I personally don’t have it yet, don’t know if I’ll ever get it to be quite honest. Everyone’s forgiveness journey is their own journey. I just can’t understand why you cannot forgive while he’s on a plane back to India.” . . . One thing that Joseph and Thomas can agree on, meanwhile, is the need for a serious upgrade to some of the rules and regulations around Canada’s trucking industry. . . . Campbell’s complete piece is right here.


Just wondering, but what have you accomplished during this pandemic? Trent Miner, a goaltender with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, has been studying and working towards a private pilot’s licence. “I always wanted to do this,” Miner, 19, told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun, “but obviously didn’t have any time to get into it until this summer.” . . . Miner started the process by taking lessons at the Brandon Flight Centre in May. Now the only thing standing between him and his licence is a written exam. . . . These days, Miner is in camp with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. . . . Bergson’s story is right here.


Here’s a snippet of the Tuesday morning post from Jack Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon):

“If 2021 were destined to be a ‘normal sports year’ teams would be setting up facilities in Florida and Arizona for the onset of spring training about now. Instead, there are reports this morning that Arizona officials have sent a letter to MLB asking for a delay in the start of spring training there because of the high rate of COVID infections in Maricopa County. The report I read in the Washington Post said that the officials there do not have the authority to order such a delay, meaning this could evolve into a negotiation with MLB. Unfortunately, any negotiation with MLB will have to involve the MLBPA as well; history tells us that those two entities have difficulty agreeing on even basic things like Tuesdays always following Mondays.”

You are able to catch all of his musings at sportscurmudgeon.com.


The latest 31 Thoughts from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman includes lots on the weekend deal between the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets, and also some interesting stuff with former Everett Silvertips D Shaun Heshka. It’s all right here.


With one member of the Vegas Golden Knights’ coaching staff having reportedly tested positive, the NHL team had to sideline all of its coaches, at least for Tuesday night’s game against the visiting St. Louis Blues. As a result, Kelly McCrimmon, the former owner/general manager/head coach of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, made his NHL coaching debut. He is the Golden Knights’ general manager. . . . On the bench with McCrimmon were Manny Viveiros, a former WHL coach and player who is the head coach of the team’s AHL franchise, the Henderson Silver Knights; Jamie Heward, a former WHL player and coach who is an assistant coach with Henderson; and former NHL player Joel Ward, also an assistant in Henderson. . . . The Blues won the game, 5-4 in a shootout. The Golden Knights hit four posts in regulation, one in OT and another in the shootout. . . . F Brayden Schenn, who spent three seasons (2007-10) with McCrimmon’s Wheat Kings, scored the shootout winner. . . . The Golden Knights’ coaching staff comprises head coach Peter DeBoer; assistants Ryan Craig, Ryan McGill and Steve Spott; goaltending coach Mike Rosati; and video coach Tommy Cruz.


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — Anyone entering Manitoba, including people coming from Western Canada, will have to self-isolate for 14 days starting Friday. . . . The travel restriction is designed to stop non-essential travel, by land or by air, and applies to people visiting the province and returning Manitobans.

CBC News — Sask. extends public health orders as daily death toll reaches new high. The measures will remain in effect until Feb. 19. They were set to expire on Jan. 29.

CBC News — Saskatchewan saw its deadliest day of the pandemic, with a record-high 14 fatalities reported on Tuesday. The previous record came on Dec. 21, when 13 people died after being diagnosed with the virus. The province has now reported 268 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic came to the province. Of those, 115 deaths have happened in 2021.

If you’re wondering how the NCAA men’s basketball season is going, check out this piece right here by Ryan Young of yahoo!sports.

The New York Times — The coronavirus death toll in Britain surpassed 100,000 on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying he accepted responsibility as fatality rates continue to soar. “I am deeply sorry for every life that has been lost,” he said.

AFP News Agency, Tuesday, 1:39 p.m. PT — Global coronavirus cases pass 100 million mark, AFP tally shows.

Ron Johnson, who got into five games with the Montreal Expos in 1984, has died in Tennessee from complications related to COVID-19. He was 64. Johnson spent 25 seasons as a minor league manager, most recently with the Triple-A Norfolk Admirals, who are affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles.

Sekou Smith, who worked as an analyst for NBA TV, died Tuesday after contracting COVID-19. He was 48.


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 ECHL is expected to announce today (Wednesday) that it will have a franchise in Savannah, Ga., in time for the 2022-23 season. The team will play out of the Savannah Arena, a facility that is under construction.

Thomas’s ‘pilot project’ sounds great from here . . . Hockey gang coming through again; Sopotyk fund tops 100 grand

It seems so simple in theory . . . make semi-truck driving a trade, just like plumbing and electrical work and heavy-duty mechanic. If someone wants to be a truck driver, they would have to attend a trade school, one like Saskatchewan Polytechnic, aka SIAST, or the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT). . . . Candidates would be eligible for student loans.

Why not? Are there any politicians out there who are paying attention?

As Scott Thomas puts it: “The trucking industry needs to have its drivers treated with more respect.”

You will recall that Thomas’s son, Evan, died in the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus almost three years ago. In the aftermath, Scott has been advocating for changes to driver training, including turning it into a trade, something that he refers to at the moment as a “pilot project.”

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, who was driving the truck that pulled into the path of the Broncos’ bus at a highway intersection, is serving an eight-year sentence and is eligible to apply for parole in September. Thomas has been in email contact with Sidhu and his family, and, in fact, has written in support of Sidhu not being deported.

“Jaskirat Sidhu took his semi drivers job as a second job to put his wife through dental hygiene school,” Thomas says. “No one should have a second job as a semi-driver operating in a part of the world he has never been before. His second job should have been selling 50/50 tickets at a Flames game, not in charge of a lethal weapon rolling down a highway!”

As Thomas has pointed out time and again, the trucking industry “needs federal regulation just as our rail lines and skies are federally regulated . . . our highways should be as well for commercial trucking purposes.”

The point, of course, is to increase accountability in the trucking industry and to make our highways safer.

I happen to agree wholeheartedly with Thomas. I live on a plateau a couple of km north of the Trans-Canada Highway just east of Kamloops. I can see the highway from our back deck and the eye test tells me that truck traffic has really, really increased over the past few years.

So all Thomas needs now is for a courageous politician or two or three to throw their support behind this “pilot project” and get things rolling.

Surely there are some of those out there, aren’t there?


Sopotyk
Kyrell Sopotyk: Zamboni driver.

The GoFundMe page that was started on Sunday afternoon in support of Kyrell Sopotyk and his family has surpassed $100,000. Sopotyk, 19, played two seasons (2018-20) with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. From Aberdeen, Sask., he was left paralyzed following a snowboarding accident on Friday at Table Mountain, which is near North Battleford. . . . The GoFundMe page was started by Kathleen Zary, the mother of Blazers F Connor Zary, who has been friends with Sopotyk since they were youngsters. . . .

On Nov. 25, Jon Keen, the Blazers’ play-by-play voice, tweeted that he had asked Sopotyk what he was up to during the pandemic. The response: “I’m working at the rink in Aberdeen. You get ice whenever you want and I get to drive the Zamboni.” Sopotyk even supplied Keen with photographic evidence that he, indeed, got to drive the Zamboni. . . .

As of Monday, 10 p.m. PT, 1,268 people had donated $129,274. The GoFundMe page is right here.


Opinion


As the AHL gets ready to begin play next week, it has become obvious that the Calder Cup that goes to the winner of its playoff champion won’t be awarded for a second straight season. . . . Instead, the league reportedly will feature the top four teams in each division meeting in best-of-three series to decide division champions. Those ‘playoffs’ will last a week. . . . What this means, of course, is that the AHL season is being held for developmental reasons only. . . . That is exactly the purpose of the WHL’s decision to “commit” to a 24-game schedule. It isn’t at all concerned with declaring a champion; it is all about playing games for developmental purposes.


Judy Battista of nfl.com posted an interesting story on Monday. It starts with this . . .

“A paper published Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that during the season, the NFL found that transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 occurred in less than 15 minutes of cumulative contact between individuals — the timeframe the CDC initially used in its definition of close contact. That led the NFL to redefine what made a close contact high risk — factors like masking and ventilation — findings that the CDC and the NFL hope will be broadly applicable to the public to limit the spread of the virus, especially in schools, long-term care facilities and high-density essential workplaces, like manufacturing centers.” . . . The complete piece is right here.


Clint


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — Manitoba reports 113 new COVID-19 cases, 5 more deaths.

CBC News — Sask. reports 239 new COVID-19 cases and 1 more death. Province aims to vaccinate all nursing home workers and residents by end of March.

CBC News — 2,000 students from two Edmonton high schools are being sent home due to COVID-19. More than 700 students and staff already in quarantine.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — There are 1,344 new cases of COVID in BC over 3 days. That is from Fri to Sat 527 new cases, Sat to Sun 471 new cases, Sun to Mon 346 cases, There has been a total of 64,828 cases in BC. . . . There are 328 people in hospital with COVID, up 13. There 68 in ICU, down 6. . . . There have been 26 additional COVID deaths over the past 3 days. There have been 1,154 deaths in BC due to COVID-19.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — The sense I am getting from this briefing is there is nothing more many people can give in the fight against COVID. And that is what makes this so terrible. The majority of people in BC are fighting the battle for those unwilling (or unable) to change their behaviour.

CBC News — Ontario is reporting 1,958 new cases of COVID-19, including 727 cases in Toronto, 365 in Peel and 157 in York Region.

CBC News — Quebec is reporting 1,203 new cases of COVID-19. The province is also reporting 43 additional deaths, 12 of which occurred in the last 24 hours.

CBC News — N.B. reports 27 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death.

CBC News — No new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nova Scotia. The number of known active cases in the province is down to 15, the lowest number since early November. No one is in hospital because of the virus.

CBC News — N.L., with no new COVID-19 cases for 3rd straight day, eyes St-Pierre-Miquelon outbreak.

CBC News — Nunavut is reporting 2 new cases of COVID-19, both in Arviat, for a total of 17 known active cases in the territory. A news release from the Nunavut government says: ‘All individuals are asymptomatic, doing well and are isolating.’

Public Health Agency of Canada, Monday, 4 p.m. PT — Total cases: 753,011 . . . Active cases: 62,447 . . . Deaths: 19,338.

CNN, Monday, 2 p.m. PT — 25.2 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, Monday, 2 p.m. PT — 420,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

——

The U of Alabama-Huntsville hockey team has postponed games scheduled for Thursday and Friday at Minnesota State. AUH next is scheduled to play on Feb. 5 and 6. . . .

The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, with six players on the COVID-19 protocol list, now have had four games postponed. The latest game to be scrubbed was scheduled for tonight (Tuesday) against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . You will recall that the Dallas Stars, who played their first game on Friday, lost their first four games to postponements after having 17 players test positive during training camp. . . .

The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks have placed F Alex DeBrincat and D Adam Boqvist to the COVID-19 protocol list. . . .

The U of Michigan shut down all athletics programs for at least two weeks over the weekend. On Monday, the U of Maine announced that it was pausing all of its athletic teams at least through Feb. 4. . . .

The NBA postponed Monday’s game that was to have the San Antonio Spurs playing the Pelicans in New Orleans. Neither team would have had eight players available for the game. . . . The NBA now has had to postpone 22 games. . . . Kawhi Leonard and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers won’t play tonight (Tuesday) against the Atlanta Hawks due to protocols. ESPN reported that the two didn’t travel to Atlanta with the team on Monday. Interestingly, both played in a 108-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Heat on Sunday.

The Colorado College Tigers men’s hockey team has had a player test positive so its weekend series against the Denver Pioneers has been scratched. . . .

The Interlake Minor Hockey Association, which is based in the Interlake region of Manitoba, has cancelled its 2020-21 season. “Unfortunately,” the association said in making the announcement, “this is not at all what any of us were hoping for, but it is what it is and we can only move forward from here and start looking towards next season.”


——

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.


Snapchat

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while knowing the hockey world will answer the call to help out a family . . .

Scattershooting2

F Kyrell Sopotyk of the Kamloops Blazers suffered what The Sports Corporation, the agency that represents him, described in a Sunday tweet as “an injury . . . that will be life-changing” in a snowboarding accident. . . . Sopotyk, 19, is from Aberdeen, Sask., which is located 42 km northeast of Saskatoon. He was injured on Friday and is in a Saskatoon hospital. . . . He played two seasons (2018-20) with the Blazers, totalling 22 goals and 23 assists in 107 regular-season games. . . . As a 15-year-old, Sopotyk played for the Prince Albert Mintos and led the Saskatchewan U18 AAA league in goals, with 42 in 42 games. . . . The Blazers selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Sports Corporation, which is based in Edmonton, is headed up by by Gerry Johannson, its president and CEO. . . .

Kathleen Zary, the mother of Blazers F Connor Zary, who is from Saskatoon, started a GoFundMe page on behalf of the Sopotyk family on Sunday afternoon. Kathleen wrote that Sopotyk has been “paralyzed,” adding: “We’re raising this money to help support any possible renovations, healthcare costs, and any additional supports they may require.” . . . Shortly after it opened, the fund blew past its initial goal of $10,000. That resulted in the goal being changed to $50,000; as of Sunday night, the fund had surpassed $60,000. . . . If you wish to donate, click right here.


If you were watching Sunday’s NFL conference finals, you will have noticed fans in the stands. . . . There were about 9,000 present as the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers dumped the Green Bay Packers, 31-26, and about 17,000 fans in Kanas City as the Chiefs dropped the Buffalo Bills, 38-24.

Gee, you’re wondering, what’s going on?

Well . . . let’s look at some numbers, all as of Sunday . . .

According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Wisconsin has had 580,003 confirmed cases and 6,184 deaths, with Missouri at 459,748 confirmed cases and 6,774 deaths. . . . The U.S. has had 25,124,064 confirmed cases and 419,204 deaths.

Now how about some Canadian comparisons, with numbers from government sites as of Sunday morning . . .

Saskatchewan has had 22,177 cases and 253 deaths. In Ontario, those numbers were 255,002 and 5,803, and in Quebec they were 253,633 and 9,478. . . . Canada has had 747,000 cases and 19,094 deaths.

BTW, some populations — Wisconsin, 5,8 million; Missouri, 6.15 million; Saskatchewan, 1.18 million; Ontario, 14.7 million; Quebec, 8.57 million. . . . The U.S. population is 331 million; Canada’s is 37.7 million.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a Hank Aaron story — Among Aaron’s chilling memories: When he played for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues in ’51, his team had breakfast at a restaurant near the ballpark in Washington D.C. As the players were finishing, they heard the kitchen staff shattering the dishes the players had eaten off. “What a horrible sound,” Aaron recalled years later.

——

“Yogi Berra, the late New York Yankees legend, is about to get his own commemorative postage stamp,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “New U.S. Postal Service motto: It ain’t delivered til it’s delivered.”


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, isn’t a fan of documentaries, so doesn’t plan on watching HBO’s two-parter about the life and times of Tiger Woods. But the curmudgeonly one did notice HBO plugging the shows with the tagline: “The raw truth about Tiger Woods is about to be revealed.” . . . That got the curmudgeonly one to write: “The reason there might even be ‘raw truth’ to reveal about Tiger Woods is because he has had nothing but fawning coverage — bordering on idolatry — for about 20 years. A major component of the existence of such ‘raw truth’ is the complicity of the toadies who covered golf and Tiger Woods.”

——

Earlier this week, Finarelli began his daily post with what he referred to as a “personal note.” It went like this . . .

There is a benefit to being an old fart; yesterday afternoon, my number came up and I received my first dose of the Moderna Vaccine. The selection process is the mirror image of ageism; rather than experiencing an adverse action as a result of my advanced age, I received a benefit based on nothing more than my date of birth.

And . . . regarding any worries I might have that I was just ‘microchipped’ such that the chip can be interrogated to locate me and track me, I have two simple responses:

  1. Why would anyone give a damn — hat tip to Rhett Butler — regarding my whereabouts?
  2. My cell phone already does that.”


Jon Rosen spent four seasons (2007-11) as the play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. So when he writes about what it was like riding a bus through the WHL, he knows of what he remembers. . . . He has written about it of late, and it’s entertaining, and it’s right here. . . . Somehow Rosen managed to write this piece without gloating about his Los Angeles Dodgers and for that he is to be commended!


You may recall that Urban Meyer, the new head coach of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, walked away from NCAA head-coaching jobs with Florida and Ohio State for health reasons. As blogger Chad Picasner points out: “Of course, the best treatment for that is money. . . . I’m sure he feels better already.”


If you’re a fan of the Baltimore Orioles or Washington Nationals, you may be interested in knowing that MASN, the TV station shared by the two teams, has made some cuts. Gone are Gary Thorne, the play-by-play voice of the Orioles, along with the likes of Mike Bordick, Tom Davis, Rick Dempsey, Jim Hunter and Dave Johnson. . . . Also gone are pre- and post-game shows. . . . There are reports that MASN is having cash-flow issues.


A tweet from Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt following the retirement of Indy Colts QB Philip Rivers: “I’ll never forget lining up for a play and Phil pointing to one of our linebackers and telling him he was lined up wrong based off the blitz we were about to run and being 100% correct about it haha.”


Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel writes about the legacy of former RHP Don Sutton, who died on Monday at 75: “Just a friendly reminder to all of the baseball pitchers of today who skip starts because they might have a strained cuticle on their pinkie and for all the NBA players who sit out games because of load management, Sutton was never on the injured list and never missed a turn in the rotation in 756 big-league starts over 23 seasons.”


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Ryan Struyk, CNN, Sunday, 7:38 a.m. PT — The US death toll will reach 569,000 by May 1, according to new coronavirus projections from a University of Washington model.

The New York Times — Mexico’s president, a coronavirus skeptic, is the latest world leader to become infected. Hospitals are overrun as the country’s death toll nears 150,000.

The U of Michigan has suspended all athletics for at least two weeks after cases of the B.1.1.7. variant of COVID-19 were found within the department. There have been five confirmed cases, with another 15 presumed positive cases in the athletic department. . . . The men’s basketball teams is 13-1 and ranked No. 7, with the women’s team (10-1) ranked No. 11.

It is expected that the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., the home of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, will be used as a vaccination site. The city and King County expect to have all the paperwork done within days. The plan is to have the site open six days a week and to provide 500 vaccinations per day.

The NHL’s San Jose Sharks opened the NHL regular-season with an eight-game road trip. Under normal circumstances, they play in Santa Clara County, which has a ban in place on contact sports. That means the Sharks are going to play home games at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., the home of the Arizona Coyotes. The Sharks’ ‘home’ schedule opens with games against the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 1 and 3.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Scattershooting on a Wednesday night while wondering from where Hogan and his Heroes got their clothes . . .

Scattershooting

Sorry for all the hockey content in this episode of Scattershooting, but, hey, stuff happens. And, no, don’t be looking for any Don Cherry content here. I don’t know about you, but I am Cherryed out. . . .



ICYMI, Don Nachbaur, a former WHL player and head coach, is back in the coaching game. He had Andrej Podkonicky, also a former WHL player, now are co-head coaches of HKM Zvolen, a Slovakian team in the Extraliga. . . . Podkonicky and Michal Kobezda had been coaching the club; Kobezda remains as an assistant coach. . . . Nachbaur, who spent seven seasons as head coach of the Spokane Chiefs after also working with the Tri-City Americans and Seattle Thunderbirds, was an assistant with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings for 2017-18, but was dismissed 13 games into last season when head coach John Stevens was fired. . . . Podkonicky played two seasons (1996-98) with the Portland Winterhawks.


If you’re a WHL fan, you should know that the 2019-20 WHL Guide is available for download at whl.ca. . . . Just go to the tab slugged The WHL and click on WHL Guide and Record Book.


SpiderMan


When the Vancouver Canucks entertained the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night, there was at least one celebrity in the stands. . . . Yes, Bill Murray had his 50/50 numbers; no, he didn’t seem to win. He also appeared to be wearing a Chicago Blackhawks sweater, which wasn’t a surprise as he is from Evanston, Ill.


Yes, Monday night’s NFL game between the visiting Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers — who, by the way, don’t play in San Francisco — was messy and sloppy and all of those things. But, hey, was it exciting, or what? . . . If you weren’t aware, the 49ers visit the Seahawks on Dec. 29. Happy New Year a few days early!


In his story after the host Kamloops Blazers beat the Kelowna Rockets, 5-2, on Monday, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week included this: “Rockets’ head coach Adam Foote refused a post-game interview request from KTW.”

Included in the WHL Guide is this, under Media Access to Players and other Team Personnel: “A member of the coaching staff of each team must be available to the media for interviews within 15 minutes following the game.”

Hmm, gotta wonder if the WHL will stick a hand into Foote’s wallet for this indiscretion?

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That loss on Monday was the Rockets’ fourth straight. The Rockets, the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup tournament, have allowed 25 goals in those four losses. That also was Kelowna’s 10th loss in 19 games this season. As well, veteran F Kyle Topping, 20, has had surgery to repair a broken ankle suffered during a 1-0 victory over the Royals in Victoria on Oct. 30, so he won’t play for a long time.

We now are left to wait and see how much of the winery the Rockets will sell in an attempt to bolster their roster for the tournament.

The Swift Current Broncos and Regina Pats sold their farms in order to make title runs in 2017-18 when both played in the Memorial Cup tournament, the Broncos as WHL champions and the Pats as the host team.

They since have fallen on hard times. Last season, they combined for 24 victories in 136 games and neither team made the playoffs. This season, they have totalled five victories — yes, five — in 33 games and, again, aren’t likely to appear in the playoffs.

The Rockets’ management, it would seem, has some big decisions ahead of it.

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When the WHL’s board of governors awarded the 2020 Memorial Cup tournament to Kelowna, it also heard presentations from the Kamloops Blazers and Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Blazers are 13-6-0 and riding high atop the B.C. Division; the Hurricanes are 13-5-3 and second in the Central Division, one point out of first.

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This was ugly . . . big-time nasty . . . and it drew an eight-game suspension from the WHL early Wednesday evening.

(I would have started at 20 games, but then I was in the building the night that Brad Hornung was injured, so I’m a little sensitive about hits like this.)

That’s F Pavel Novak of the visiting Kelowna Rockets drilling Kamloops Blazers F Kyrell Sopotyk from behind during a Monday afternoon game. Sopotyk (shoulder) is expected to sit for up to two months.

The Blazers will open a six-game East Division trek against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Dec. 6 and Sopotyk, who is from Aberdeen, Sask., won’t make the trip.

That means he has been robbed of the opportunity to play in front of family and friends in his home province — Aberdeen is a few slapshots northeast of Saskatoon. He’s 18 so, due to the way the WHL works its schedule, will have to wait until the 2021-22 season for the next opportunity, in his 20-year-old season.

When the Blazers wrap up their East Division trip on Dec. 14, against the Prince Albert Raiders, Sopotyk will have missed 14 games.



I can’t remember anything like what is about to happen in the CFL’s West Division final in Regina on Sunday. I mean, the Saskatchewan Roughriders acquired quarterback Zach Collaros for the 2018 season, then signed him over the off-season thinking he would be their guy. But he got mugged three plays into this season and, once recovered from the concussion, was traded to the Toronto Argonauts. Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost their starter, Matt Nichols, and dealt for Collaros. On Sunday, then, Collaros will lead the Bombers into Regina with a berth in the Grey Cup on the line. . . . Wait, there’s more. . . . Cody Fajardo, who took over the Roughriders when Collaros was hurt, went on to have a fabulous season. But now there’s this problem with an oblique muscle, meaning Fajardo may not be able play on Sunday, which would give Isaac Harker his second career CFL start. . . . A year ago, you may recall, the Roughriders and Bombers played a West Division semifinal in Winnipeg. Collaros was concussed and wasn’t able to start for the Roughriders, who, after days of intrigue, trotted out Brandon Bridge. . . . The Blue Bombers won that one, 23-18.


Superman


In case you missed it, and I did, Team WHL played a touring Russian side in Saskatoon on Wednesday night. It was Game 5 of the annual CIBC-sponsored funfest. While the first four games — two each versus the QMJHL and OHL — got great exposure from the CHL’s broadcast partner, Rogers Sportsnet, last night’s game started on something called OLN and then was joined in progress on some Sportsnet channels. . . . I wanted to watch, but I couldn’t find OLN and, no, I don’t stream. . . . But, hey, it was the Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Islanders on five channels on my setup, with the Ottawa Senators at New Jersey Devils on another. Oh, and two channels had on something called Gotta See It, leading eventually into the Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames. . . . And by the time the WHL/Russian game was joined in progress, I had moved on to a couple of PVR’d episodes of Hogan’s Heroes. (Was a men’s wear store part of Stalag 13? If not, how is it that Hogan and Co. always seem to be wearing such well-fitting clothes?) . . . Anyway, I seem to recall a dearth of CHL playoff games on Sportsnet last spring and there was no sign of the outdoor game last month between the Calgary Hitmen and host Regina Pats. . . . Seriously, CHL, if this is the best your broadcast partner is able to do for you, it might be time to move on.

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BTW, I went to Google hoping to find out something about OLN. This is from Wikipedia: “OLN is a Canadian English-language Category A specialty channel. OLN primarily broadcasts factual-based adventure-related programming and reality television series primarily aimed at male audiences.”


You have to love the big story in Major League Baseball these days about the Houston Astros and cheating. Only in baseball is their ‘honest’ cheating — having a runner on second base stealing an opponent’s signs — and ‘dishonest’ cheating — doing it with a camera from centre field and banging a garbage can in a tunnel to let the hitter know that he’s about to see an off-speed pitch. . . . And we won’t even get into the fact that the Astros are investigating themselves on this one.


Gotta run. Time to dig into Ken Dryden’s latest work . . . Scotty: A Hockey Life Like No Other. You’re right. I couldn’t wait until Christmas.


DogVoice

Kamloops dumps visiting Kelowna in tiebreaker. . . . Two shorthanded goals in 28 seconds seal deal. . . . Blazers go to playoffs; Rockets go home

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The Kamloops Blazers scored two goals in 28 seconds on the same third-period penalty kill en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets in the seventh tiebreaker game in WHL history on Tuesday night. . . . With the victory, the Blazers move into the playoffs. They will open against the Royals in Victoria on Friday. . . . Last night was only the second time in the seven tiebreakers that the home team has won. . . .

Kamloops had taken a 2-1 lead in the third period when Blazers F Ryley Appelt was Kamloops1penalized for tripping at 8:16. . . . F Connor Zary got an early jump off the Kamloops bench during a change, allowing him to get to the back of the Kelowna net in a hurry. He stripped the puck from G Roman Basran, came out the back side and stuffed it home for a 3-1 lead at 8:44. . . . A short time later, Kamloops F Brodi Stuart avoided an attempt by Basran to get a hip into him behind the net, skated out and scored for a 4-1 lead at 10:12. . . . The Rockets, whose offence pretty much dried up late in the season, weren’t able to get back in this one. . . . F Jermaine Loewen got the Blazers’ last goal, into an empty net. . . .

The Blazers dominated the first period, especially the first 12 or 13 minutes, and held a 17-7 edge in shots. Only Kelowna G Roman Basran, a post and a crossbar kept the Blazers off the scoreboard. . . . Kamloops D Jackson Caller drilled a post from the point at 9:00; F Connory Zary glanced a bad-angle flip off the crossbar two minutes later. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand had his moments later, especially stoning F Alex Swetlikoff from the doorstep. . . .

Kelowna pushed back in the second, but Kamloops got the game’s first goal at 4:11, just six seconds after Rockets F Dallon Wilton was penalized for interference for a hit on D KelownaRocketsJeff Faith. Zary pulled the face-off win back to F Kyrell Sopotyk on the point. He ripped a wrist shot past Basran’s blocker, off a post and in. . . . The officials went to video review at 7:38 after the Blazers crashed the Kelowna net, but whatever had happened was ruled no goal. . . . The Rockets tied it at 7:56 when D Kaedan Korczak got to a shoot-in along the right boards, and slipped a pass to F Mark Liwiski. His quick backhand seemed to surprise Garand and got past him for the equalizer. . . . The Blazers thought they might have scored at 13:14 when the puck bounced off the back boards, over top of the net and into the Kelowna crease area. However, it was ruled that Kamloops F Logan Stankoven had come in contact with the puck with a high stick. . . . Kelowna got its first PP at 15:26 after Faith was hit with an interference penalty for a hit on F Nolan Foote. Other than Foote hitting a post early, the Rockets really didn’t threaten. . . . Kelowna outshot Kamloops, 13-7, in that period. . . .

The Blazers broke the 1-1 tie at 6:10 of the third period when Kelowna D Dalton Gally went down early in an attempt to cut off a pass, only to have Blazers F Kobe Mohr toedrag around him and snap a shot past Basran from the high slot. . . . Then came Zary’s shorthanded goal, followed by a Mohr penalty shot on which Basran was able to get his five-hole closed in time to prevent a goal. . . . It was left for Stuart to get his shorthanded goal and for Loewen to add the empty-netter. . . .

Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria, made his seventh straight start in the absence of the injured Dylan Ferguson. The Blazers are 6-0-1 over that stretch. . . . Garand finished with 27 saves in this one. . . . Ferguson skated with the Blazers on Monday, but wasn’t dressed last night. The burning question in Kamloops until Friday night will be this: Does Garand get to start his first playoff game in his hometown if Ferguson is healthy? . . . G Danton Belluk, whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips, remains with the Blazers on an emergency basis. He backed up Garand last night. . . .

Basran, who kept the Rockets from getting blown out in the first period, self-destructed in the third when he gave up the two shorthanded goals. He was beaten four times on 34 shots in 50:12. James Porter came on to finish up after the Blazers’ fourth goal. He stopped all five shots he faced. . . .

As expected, each team added a first-round 2018 bantam draft pick to its lineup. Stankoven, who won the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League scoring title with the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers, was in the Kamloops lineup. F Trevor Wong, from the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians, played for the Rockets. . . . Stankoven was the fifth-overall pick in that draft; Wong was taken with the 18th selection. . . .

Attendance was announced at 5,876, and there weren’t many empty seats. It was the Blazers’ second announced sellout of the season. On Feb. 18, the Blazers beat the visiting Tri-City Americans, 3-1, on Family Day. The announced crowed that day also was 5,876, but there were about 1,000 empty seats. . . .

While the Blazers head for Victoria, the Rockets’ season has ended. This means that the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup won’t appear in this spring’s playoffs. . . . The Rockets fired head coach Jason Smith after a 4-10-0 start. They hired Adam Foote to replace him and went 24-22-8, plus last night’s loss, with him in control. . . .

The WHL’s draft lottery is scheduled to be held today (Wednesday). As one of six non-playoff teams, the Rockets will be participants. The six lottery teams, with regular-season points in parenthesis, are the Swift Current Broncos (28), Winnipeg Ice (36), Regina Pats (42), Prince George Cougars (46), Kelowna Rockets (64) and Brandon Wheat Kings (70). . . . A team is able to move up only two spots in the lottery, so one of those first three teams will own the first pick. However, the Cougars hold Swift Current’s selection, and the Saskatoon Blades own Regina’s pick. . . . When the draft is held on May 2 in Red Deer, the Blazers will hold the seventh selection.

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There have been seven tiebreakers in WHL history . . .

2018-19: Kelowna 1 at Kamloops 5.

2015-16: Edmonton Oil Kings 6 at Medicine Hat Tigers 4.

2013-14: Prince Albert Raiders 5 at Red Deer Rebels 3.

2008-09: Edmonton Oil Kings 2 at Prince Albert Raiders 1 (OT).

1989-90: Brandon Wheat Kings 4 at Swift Current Broncos 5.

1983-84: Calgary Wranglers 8 at Saskatoon Blades 7 (OT).

1980-81: Spokane Flyers 10 at New Westminster Bruins 9 (OT).

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You may recall that on Feb. 15 the OHL announced that the Niagara IceDogs had been ohlfined $250,000 and also had two first-round draft picks taken away for recruiting violations. . . . Rick Westhead of TSN reported Tuesday that all of this had to do with a player emailing David Branch, the OHL commissioner, to say that the IceDogs had promised to pay him $10,000 for each season he played with them, and then reneged on the deal. . . . As Westhead reported: “A law firm hired by the Ontario Hockey League concluded that the Niagara IceDogs breached the league’s player recruitment rules by entering into a secret ‘side deal’ with a former player, according to a court decision obtained by TSN.” . . . Westhead’s story is right here.


The Prince George Cougars have signed D Ethan Samson to a WHL contract. He was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From North Delta, B.C., he played this season with the Delta Hockey Academy’s Elite 15 team. In 33 games, he had seven goals and 17 assists.



The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Logen Hammett to a WHL contract. From Regina, Hammett will turn 16 on April 3. This season, with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, he had four goals and 19 assists in 40 games. The Wheat Kings selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


F Rieger Lorenz, a likely first-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers. Lorenz, who will turn 15 on March 30, is from Calgary. He had 11 goals and 25 assists in 30 games with the Edge School’s bantam prep team this season. . . . Lorenz is the fourth high-end bantam draft prospect to announce a commitment to the NCAA route in the last while, following F Matt Savoie (Denver), D Mats Lindgren (Michigan) and F Connor Levis (Michigan).


F Tanner Nagel, who finished up his WHL career with the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday, made his pro debut on Tuesday night with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies. . . . Nagel was pointless in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Rapid City Rush. . . . With the Broncos, Nagel had 13 goals and 10 assists in 65 games.


Tweetoftheday

Colina cites personal reasons in leaving P.G. . . . Tracey, Warriors rolling . . . Oil Kings win in P.A. . . . Farkas, Klassen record shutouts

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On Friday night, the Kootenay Ice played its first home game since the WHL and the team’s owners announced on Tuesday that the franchise will be relocating to Winnipeg at the end of this season. Scroll down for more photos from the game in Cranbrook, which the Ice won, 3-2, over the Swift Current Broncos.


MacBeth

F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) has been recalled by Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) from Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). With Dinamo, he was pointless in 15 games. He had four goals and seven assists in 14 games with Liepaja. . . .

F Juraj Bezúch (Lethbridge, 2011-12) has been traded by Hradec Králove (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Dukla Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga) for Petr Štindl. With Hradec Králove, Bezúch had three goals and four assists in 30 games. On loan to Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had two goals and two assists in three games. . . .

F Roman Pšurný (Medicine Hat, 2004-06) has been assigned on loan to Brno (Czech Republic Extraliga) by Přerov (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). In 45 games, he had 11 goals and 25 assists with Přerov. He is eligible to play the rest of this season with both clubs. . . .

D Jordan Rowley (Kamloops, Prince Albert, 2005-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Pelicans Lahti (Finland, Liiga) after requesting and receiving his release from Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga) on Thursday. In 24 games, he had one goal and four assists. He played last season for Pelicans, recording two goals and seven assists in 45 games.


ThisThat

F Ilijah Colina has left the Prince George Cougars for what the teams says is “personal PrinceGeorgereasons.” . . . In a news release, the team says Colina’s decision is “fully supported by the Cougars organization.” . . . This season, Colina, who turns 19 on Feb. 18, has six goals and six assists in 39 games. From North Delta, B.C., he has 55 points, including 18 goals, in 151 career regular-season games. He played 83 games with the Portland Winterhawks, before being acquired by the Cougars. Colina was part of a Jan. 10, 2018 deal in which Portland got D Dennis Cholowski and the rights to G Ty Taylor. The Cougars landed Colina and F Connor Bowie, along with a 2020 first-round bantam draft pick, second-rounders in 2018 and 2019, a third-rounder in 2020, and a conditional sixth-rounder in 2019. . . .

With Colina gone, the Cougars have added F Craig Armstrong to their roster. Armstrong, from Airdrie, Alta., was the ninth overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.. He plays at the Edge school in Calgary, where he has 12 goals and 13 assists in 24 games with the prep team. . . . Armstrong was with the Cougars on Friday night in Kamloops, but didn’t play against the Blazers.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brayden Tracey scored the game’s first three goals and later added an assist to lead the MooseJawWarriorsMoose Jaw Warriors to a 6-1 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Moose Jaw (28-11-8) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, three points behind the Saskatoon Blades with three games in hand. . . . This was Moose Jaw’s first home game after a seven-game road swing (6-0-1), and the Warriors now will play their next five games away from home. . . . Medicine Hat (27-18-4) has lost two in a row. The Tigers are fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Red Deer Rebels. Medicine Hat also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, three points ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Tracey, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. This season, he has 51 points, including 22 goals, in 47 games. This was his second hat trick of the season. . . . Tracey opened the scoring at 8:52 of the first period, then completed his hat trick in the second period with goals at 4:57 and 8:40. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (12), F Kjell Kjemhus (1) and F Justin Almeida (19) also scored for Moose Jaw. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (16) scored the Tigers’ goal, at 10:36 of the third period. . . . Kjemhus got his first goal in 22 games with the Warriors after coming over in a deal with the Prince George Cougars. . . . G Adam Evanoff stopped 33 shots for the Warriors. . . . The Tigers had F Cole Sillinger in their lineup for the third time this season. Sillinger, 15, is from Regina. He was the 11th-overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky and D Conner McDonald each scored twice to help the Edmonton EdmontonOilKingsOil Kings to a 6-3 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Edmonton (28-15-8) has won three in a row and now leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Prince Albert (41-7-2) now is 20-4-0 at home. The lead the East Division by 17 points over the Saskatoon Blades. This was the Raiders’ first home game since Jan. 12. They were 4-1-1 on a road swing in the interim. . . . F Cole Fonstad gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 12:41 of the first period. . . . Edmonton took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Jalen Luypen (7), at 7:59, and McDonald, at 9:13. . . . Fonstad tied it with his 20th goal, at 16:28, and D Brayden Pachal (13) gave the Raiders a 3-2 lead at 17:49. . . . Edmonton took control with the next four goals, two of them late in the second, and both from Fix-Wolansky, at 18:25, on a PP, and 19:21. He’s got 27 goals. . . . McDonald added his 14th goal at 5:09 of the third and F Vince Loschiavo, who was playing in his 301st regular-season game, got his 22nd goal into an empty net at 16:36. . . . Edmonton got 39 saved from G Todd Scott. . . . The Oil Kings sent Prince Albert starter Ian Scott to the bench after scoring five times on 27 shots in 45:09. . . . D Matthew Robertson was among Edmonton’s scratches.


F Gary Haden scored twice as the Saskatoon Blades skated to a 3-1 victory over the Pats Saskatoonin Regina. . . . Saskatoon (30-13-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). it is second in the East Division, three points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Regina (13-35-3) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . Saskatoon had a 17-3 edge in shots in the first period but only F Max Gerlach (28) was able to beat Regina G Max Paddock. . . . Haden made it 2-0 at 7:35 of the second period. . . . The Pats outshot the visitors 22-14 in the second period and got one goal, that from F Sergei Alkhimov (11), at 15:31. . . . Haden iced it with an empty-netter at 19:59 of the third. He’s got 23 goals. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 34 shots for the Blades, five fewer than Paddock. . . . D Ryker Evans was back in Regina’s lineup after missing 23 games, but the Pats were without G Dean McNabb and F Duncan Pierce. . . . With McNabb, out, Regina had Carter Woodside backing up Paddock. Woodside, who plays with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, was a sixth-round pick by the Kootenay Ice in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. Regina acquired him from Kootenay on Aug. 20, giving up a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . F Cole Dubinsky of the Pats began serving a four-game suspension for a kneeing major and game misconduct he incurred on Tuesday in Calgary. F Hunter Campbell of the Hitmen, who was on the receiving end, was scratched from last night’s game in Calgary.


F Luka Burzan scored in OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 6-5 victory over the centsCalgary Centennials (aka the Calgary Hitmen) in a game played at the Calgary Corral. . . . Brandon (22-19-7) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It is four points behind Calgary, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Calgary (25-19-5) has lost three in a row (0-1-2). . . . Calgary took a 1-0 lead as F Tye Carriere (5) scored at 1:53 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Caiden Daley (4) tied it 15 seconds later. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (31) gave Brandon a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 5:58 of the second period. . . . Calgary followed with goals from F Luke Coleman, on a PP, at 6:37, and F Mark Kastelic, at 15:15. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it when F Connor Gutenberg (12) scored, on a PP, at 17:17. . . . Kastelic (34), who also had an assist, put the Centennials ahead, on a PP, at 1:08 of the third period. . . . Brandon then took the lead on two goals from F Ben McCartney, who has 15, at 2:21 and 14:15. . . . Coleman forced OT when he scored his 17th goal at 18:18. . . . Burzan won it with his 29th goal just 16 seconds into OT. . . . Mattheos added two assists to his goal, including the only helper on the winner. . . . Brandon got three assists from D Zach Wytinck, with McCartney adding one to his brace of goals. . . . Both teams are without their starting goaltenders, Brandon’s Jiri Patera with a leg injury and Calgary’s Carl Stankowski with an ankle problem. . . . The Wheat Kings got 27 saves from Ethan Kruger, with Jack McNaughton stopping 32 shots for Calgary. . . . The Wheat Kings were without D Braydyn Chizen, who is two games into a four-game suspension for a headshot major he took Tuesday in Edmonton.


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There were messages for the players as the Kootenay Ice played its first home game since a move to to Winnipeg was made official on Tuesday . . .

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. . . and there was a message to the many billet families who have taken in players over the 21 seasons in which the Ice has called Cranbrook home . . .

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. . . and, yes, there was a message for the owners of the Ice, too.

F Jaeger White broke a 2-2 tie late in the third period to give the Winnipeg Ice (aka KootenaynewKootenay Ice) a 3-2 victory in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (11-32-8) has lost its previous four games (0-3-1). . . . The Broncos (10-36-3) have lost two in a row. . . . The Ice took a 1-0 lead when F Connor McClennon scored at 9:12 of the first period. . . . F Owen Blocker (4) pulled the Broncos even at 15:10, and D Christian Riemer (1) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at 12:10 of the second. . . . Riemer, an 18-year-old freshman from Regina, got his first goal in his 38th game of the season. . . . McLennon (8) tied it at 8:18 of the third period, and White got the winner at 19:08. He’s got 21 goals this season. . . . G Jesse Makaj stopped 24 shots for the Ice, four fewer than the Broncos’ Isaac Poulter. . . . F Tanner Nagel, the team captain, was among the Broncos’ scratches. . . . The was the Ice’s first home game since the WHL announced on Tuesday that the franchise will relocate to Winnipeg when this season ends.


F Jake Leschyshyn, F Nick Henry and D Igor Merezhko each scored twice to lead the LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (26-15-8) had lost its previous two games. It is second in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Rebels. . . . Red Deer (28-17-3) has lost two straight. . . . Leschyshyn and Henry, mid-season acquisitions from the Regina Pats, made it 2-0 with goals at 5:39 and 16:49 of the first period. . . . F Josh Tarzwell (7) scored for Red Deer at 2:03 of the second. . . . Leschyshyn (29) scored again at 5:20, with Henry (20) counting at 9:46. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev (9) got Red Deer closer at 14:57. . . . Merezhko, who now has three goals, iced it with third-period goals at 3:12 and 14:40, the latter a shorthanded empty-netter. . . . Henry also had an assist for a three-point outing. . . . Lethbridge was 2-4 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-6. . . . Rebels F Brandon Hagel went to the dressing favouring a hand after a scrap with Lethbridge F Jordy Bellerive at 6:43 of the second period, but he later returned. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 26 shots to earn the victory.


F Kyrell Sopotyk scored twice, the second one into an empty net, to help the host Kamloops1Kamloops Blazers to a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Kamloops (20-25-4) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). The Blazers are tied with the Seattle Thunderbirds for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, one point behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers and Rockets are to meet in Kelowna tonight. . . . Prince George (16-28-5) has lost eight straight (0-6-2) and now trails Kamloops by seven points. . . . Sopotyk gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 9:35 of the first period, with F Orrin Centazzo (13) upping it to 2-0 at 19:35. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (18) scored for the Cougars, on a PP, at 3:09 of the second period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (14) got that one back for Kamloops at 10:31 of the third period. . . . Sopotyk, who has nine goals, got the empty-netter at 18:34. . . . The Cougars were 1-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-4. . . . Both goaltenders were sharp, with Dylan Ferguson making 26 saves for Kamloops and Taylor Gauthier stopping 40 for the Cougars. . . . The Blazers had D Quinn Schmiemann back after a four-game absence. He was injured on Jan. 20 on a hit by Prince George F Josh Maser, who was given a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline. . . . Kamloops was without D Jeff Faith, who drew a two-game suspension for a kneeing major and game misconduct against the visiting Vancouver Giants on Wednesday night. . . . F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, played his fourth game of the season with Kamloops. He didn’t pick up any points, but the Cougars took two minor penalties on him.


G Shane Farkas stopped 24 shots and F Reece Newkirk had two goals as the Portland PortlandWinterhawks dumped the visiting Vancouver Giants, 3-0. . . . Portland (31-14-5) is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Vancouver (32-13-3) had points in each of its previous 10 games (9-0-1). It leads the B.C. Division by 15 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Portland is 3-0-0 against Vancouver this season. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld scored the game’s first goal, his WHL-leading 43rd, at 8:48 of the second period. . . . Newkirk made it 2-0 at 4:42 of the third, and added an empty-netter, his 20th goal of the season, at 19:16. . . . Blichfeld also had an assist. He leads the WHL in points, with 90, nine more than F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. Blichfeld’s 43 goals are five more than Langan.


F Zack Andrusiak scored a goal and added three assists as the visiting Everett Silvertips Everettbeat his old team, the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-2, in Kent, Wash. . . . Everett (36-12-2) has won three in a row. It leads the U.S. Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (19-23-6) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). The Thunderbirds are tied with the Kamloops Blazers for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Silvertips and Thunderbirds will meet again tonight, this time in Everett. . . . The Silvertips are 5-0-0 in the season series. . . . Everett acquired Andrusiak from Seattle in a Jan. 1 deal that included F Sean Richards going the other way. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (13) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 14:51 of the second period. . . . Everett took a 3-1 lead on three PP goals from F Bryce Kindopp — at 16:37 of the second period and 0:26 and 6:42 of the third. . . . Kindopp, who has 28 goals, enjoyed his first career hat trick. . . . F Matthew Wedman (23) got Seattle to within a goal, on a PP, at 8:11. . . . F Dawson Butt (7), at 14:11, and Andrusiak (35), at 15:23, put it away. . . . Everett was 3-5 on the PP; Seattle was 1-5. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the victory with 29 saves. . . . Seattle remains without F Nolan Volcan, the team captain. . . . The Thunderbirds had F Kai Uchacz in their lineup for the first time. A 15-year-old from De Winton, Alta., Uchacz was the 10th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He has 15 goals and 15 assists in 26 games with the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers. Uchacz will return to Okotoks after weekend games.


G Reece Klassen stopped 25 shots and F Adam Beckman had two goals as the host SpokaneChiefsSpokane Chiefs beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-0. . . . Spokane (26-17-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, 10 points behind the Portland Winterhawks and and four ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kelowna (20-25-5) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Victoria Royals and one ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who are to visit Kelowna tonight. . . . The Rockets have been blanked five times this season. . . . Klassen, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Jan. 2, posted his first career shutout. It came in his fourth appearance with the Chiefs. . . . F Jake McGrew (21) scored the game’s first goal, at 8:02 of the first period, with Beckman making it 2-0 at 15:55 of the second. . . . D Nolan Reid (9) upped it to 3-0 at 1:54 of the third period. . . . Beckman, a 17-year-old freshman from Saskatoon, rounded out the scoring with his 21st goal at 3:50. A fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, he’s got 39 points in 48 games. . . . Kelowna G James Porter stopped 13 of 15 shots, but left with an apparent injury after giving up the second goal. Roman Basran finished up, stopping 15 of 17 shots in 23:11.


The Victoria Royals grabbed a 3-1 first-period lead and went on to a 5-2 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsvisiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Victoria (25-20-2) is second in the B.C. Division, seven points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Tri-City (25-19-3) holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. It also is fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Victoria went ahead 1-0 at 2:58 of the first period on a goal by F Igor Martynov (8), only to have the Americans tie it at 10:50 when F Krystof Hrabik (11) scored. . . . D Ralph Jarratt gave (5) Victoria a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 15:07, and F Logan Doust (3) made it 3-1 at 17:55. . . . Tri-City got to within a goal at 7:32 of the third period as F Kyle Olson (16) scored on a PP. . . . The Royals locked it up on goals from F D-Jay Jerome (19), at 8:35, and F Tarun Fizer (11), into an empty net, at 15:51. . . . Victoria had D Jake Kustra back in the lineup after he had been out since Jan. 10. . . . These teams meet again tonight in Victoria.


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