Virus takes bite out of Grizzlies . . . Meet Duvernay-Tardif, a Canadian hero . . . Chiefs goalie wins in USHL debut

The junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey RevelstokeLeague announced Friday night that they “have ceased operations for the remainder of the 2020-21 season after members of the organization tested positive for COVID-19.” . . . The Grizzlies learned on Tuesday that “a potential COVID-19 contact” had occurred at a player’s work place. . . . According to a team statement, “The player . . . subsequently tested positive . . . and additional team members have also since received positive test results.” . . . Here’s Ryan Parent, the Grizzlies’ general manager and head coach: “Earlier this week we elected to temporarily cancel team activities in an effort to keep our billet families, players and greater community safe. “In light of having received multiple positive test results, we have had to make another hard decision. It is with a heavy heart that we have ceased operations for the 2020-21 KIJHL season.” . . . The team’s release is right here. . . . The KIJHL hasn’t played games since Nov. 20.


A year ago, OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was preparing to play in the Super Bowl, a game he and his Kansas City Chiefs teammates would win. . . . The Chiefs are back in the NFL’s championship game, but Duvernay-Tardif isn’t. He opted out of this season in order to work at a long-term care facility in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu in his his home province of Quebec. He attended McGill U Faculty of Medicine, graduating with a Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery, but hasn’t completed his postgraduate training. . . . Earlier this month, he appeared on the CBC Radio show The Current with Matt Galloway. It’s a 27-minute interview that will be the best 27 minutes you will have invested in anything in the first month of 2021. Give it a listen right here.


While I was away for a couple of days, the WHL announced that it had been WHL2given the OK by the Alberta government to play a few games starting in late February. . . . If all goes well, the league’s five Alberta teams will begin playing games on Feb. 26. A schedule has yet to be announced, but it’ll be weekends only — one team will have a bye, the other four will play two games in home-and-home series, something that will mean no hotel stays. . . . Staff and players are to begin self-quarantining today and report to their teams on Feb. 6. . . . If you missed it, the WHL’s news release is right here. . . . But, please, let’s not call this return to play a season? It’s certainly not a 2020-21 season. Rather, Let’s call it a developmental season, because that’s what these games will be about. . . .

BTW, when I say that I was away for a bit, I wasn’t out of province or even out of town. I was in the backyard working with a shovel after our premier urged all of us to “dig down a little deeper.”



Book


Elemer Jerkovits is a familiar figure on the Regina and Saskatchewan sporting scenes as an umpire and hockey referee. It was in his role as the latter when he believes he contracted COVID-19 while working an adult recreational hockey game in Regina. And, yes, when he went home he passed the virus along to his wife, Kendra. . . . That was in mid-November and the after-effects continue to linger. . . . As a result, Jerkovits isn’t convinced that it’s time to open up the rinks. “People say kids aren’t as susceptible to this virus,” he told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “Well, possibly, but there are kids that are catching it. The rink environment is not the best place to be. From my understanding, it’s the humidity in the air and the ventilation. I was in a 10-year-old building when I got it, so you’d think the ventilation system was fairly up to date.” . . . Jerkovits also has decided that he’ll be staying away from officiating for the next while. “I’m not telling people what to do,” he said. “Who am I to tell people how to raise their kids or what activities they should and shouldn’t do? Just take it from somebody who caught it and (experienced) the impact on our life — as minimal as it was compared to many others. It’s just not worth it.” . . . Harder’s complete story is right here.


G Lukáš Parik, who played last season with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, made his USHL debut on Friday night, stopping 30 shots in leading the Dubuque Fighting Saints to a 4-1 victory over the host Waterloo Black Hawks. Parik, who played in two games for Czech Republic at the 2021 World Junior Championship, had been playing for HC Benatky and Jizerou in Czech2 before joining the Fighting Saints. . . . He was a third-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL’s 2019 draft..


Car


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NHL has scratched two more games involving the Vegas Golden Knights. They were to have played the San Jose Sharks in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 1 and 3, but have run into COVID-19 issues and have had to put things on hold for now. Vegas has three coaches and D Alex Pietrangelo in protocol. . . . Those two games were to have been the Sharks’ first ‘home’ games of the season. They were to play their home games in Glendale, the home of the Coyotes, because Santa Clara Country, their home in California, had prohibited the playing of contact sports. The Sharks now are hoping to play their first home game in San Jose on Feb. 13 with the Anaheim Ducks providing the opposition. . . .

The Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights, beat the visiting San Jose Barracuda, 7-3, in an exhibition game on Friday night. Deryk Engelland, the former Vegas defenceman who retired as an NHL player prior to this season, ran the Silver Knights’ bench. He is a special assistant to the owner with the Golden Knights. . . . Manny Viveiros, Henderson’s head coach, and assistants Jamie Heward and Joel Ward have been away from the team since Tuesday when they ran the Golden Knights’ bench with their coaches away because of COVID-19 protocol. . . .

There are problems in the AHL, too, as it struggles to get exhibition games played. It cancelled two weekend games — Binghamton and Hershey on Saturday, Lehigh Valley and Hershey on Sunday. “The decision was made in consultation with medical experts and the AHL and due to the health and safety of players, coaches and game-day personnel,” the league said in a tweet. . . . At that point, it had scratched seven exhibition games. . . .

F Travis Zajac didn’t practise with the New Jersey Devils on Friday, because of what the team said was “a COVID-related absence.” The Devils are scheduled to face the Buffalo Sabres today at 1 p.m. ET. . . . The Devils have Zajac, G Mackenzie Blackwood and G Aaron Dell on the protocol list. . . . The list of NHL players on the protocol list for Friday is right here. . . .

There was good news from the NBA as only one player tested positive in the week beginning Jan. 20. All told, 492 players were tested. . . .

The 2021 Alberta Summer Games that had been scheduled for Lethbridge have been cancelled. They were to have been held there in July 2020, but were postponed. . . .

The National Women’s Hockey League is playing games in a bubble in Lake Placid, N.Y., but it lost the Metropolitan Riveters on Thursday. They pulled out after an undisclosed number of players tested positive. The league will continue to play with five teams.


——

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.


Grandma

Former WHL goaltender dies at 64 . . . Recchi stays in NHL . . . Kamloops gets new baseball team


Ken Campbell of The Hockey News posted an interesting piece on Tuesday involving F Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In it, Campbell explained how the Lightning came to draft Point and how Al Murray, the organization’s director of amateur scouting, led the charge. It’s great to see a veteran scout like Murray, who is from Regina, get some acknowledgement. . . . Campbell’s piece is right here.

On Wednesday, Campbell wrote about the Vegas Golden Knights and how George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon were able to shape an expansion into a Stanley Cup contender is such a short period of time. . . . They certainly have done that, and it should be said that they got a considerable amount of help from Vaughn Karpan, their director of player personnel. . . . Karpan, a native of The Pas, Man., and Murray have one thing in common — they both are quiet men who love to work in the shadows. Oh, and one other thing — they may be the best in their field. . . . Campbell’s piece on Vegas is right here.


Plasma


Loosely translating the above tweet: Each of the Canadian major junior teams must pay $266,667 as its share of the settlement of the class-action lawsuit that the CHL decided to settle for $30 million earlier in the summer. The QMJHL’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar are owned by their respective cities, so the citizens will pay the bill via their municipal taxes.


Blaine Peterson, a former WHL goaltender who played with the Brandon Wheat Kings and New Westminster Bruins, died suddenly on Sept. 3. He was 64 and living in Stonewall, Man. Peterson’s death came less than a month after he was profiled by Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun as part of his excellent series on former Wheat Kings. . . . Peterson is survived by his partner Paulette and two adult children — Teague and Kael. . . . Peterson was with the Bruins for two Memorial Cup tournaments, losing in the 1976 final and winning it all in 1977. . . . He was a real contributor to minor hockey, coaching in Stonewall and doing a stint as president of the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba. . . . There won’t be a formal funeral service, but a celebration of life is to be held at a later date. . . . There is an obituary available right here.


TP

COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

You will recall that Canadian OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Kansas City Chiefs opted out of the NFL’s 2020 season a while back. During the pandemic, the graduate of McGill U’s medical school has been working as an orderly at a long-term care facility near Montreal. From Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., he is planning to take online classes from Harvard U’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. . . . Julian MacKenzie of The Canadian Press has more right here. . . .

Louisiana Tech and Baylor had to postpone their football game that was set for Saturday. Why? Because Louisiana Tech had 38 players test positive in the days following Hurricane Laura. . . . The game was to have been Fox-TV’s first Big Noon game of the season, but now has been replaced by Arkansas State-Kansas State. . . .

Australian tennis star Ash Barty, ranked No. 1 in the world, has opted out of the French Open, which is scheduled to open on Sept. 27. She is the tournament’s defending champion. She also chose not to play in the U.S. Open because of concerns about COVID-19. . . .

The U of Lethbridge has suspended its women’s soccer program after it was found to be violating some pandemic-related restrictions. With Canada West having cancelled the fall season, teams still are being allowed to practice, but they are to do it in cohorts. The women’s team was allowing players who were from outside to take part in practice sessions. . . . Justin Goulet of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here. . . .

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association, which covers more than 500 high schools, has postponed football, volleyball and cheer seasons until March.


——

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: Mark Recchi, one of five owners of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, is back in the NHL after a rather brief absence. Dumped as an assistant coach by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Aug. 12, he has joined the New Jersey Devils in the same role. The Devils gave Recchi a three-year contract. He had been with the Penguins for six seasons — three as development coach and the past three as assistant coach. . . . The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials have signed F Dylan Sydor, 17, whose father Darryl is a former WHL/NHL defenceman who also is a co-owner with the Blazers. Last season, Dylan had 17 goals and 20 assists in 40 games with the U-18 Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops. . . . The Red Deer Rebels’ 15-year lease with Westerner Park, which operates the Centrium, was to have expired this year. Before it got to that, the two parties agreed on a seven-year lease. . . . Baseball’s West Coast League unveiled its newest franchise on Wednesday. The Kamloops NorthPaws will begin play in 2021 — Opening Day is set for June 4 — and it’ll be a 54-game regular season. The WBL is a short-season collegiate league. The NorthPaws are one of four Canadian teams, joining the Kelowna Falcons, Nanaimo NightOwls and Victoria HarbourCats. The NightOwls are another expansion team; they are owned by the group that operates the HarbourCats. The NorthPaws are owned by Norm Daley of the Kamloops accounting firm Daley & Company; Jon Pankuch, who owns a few Tim Hortons franchises; and Neal Perry of Westway Plumbing and Heating.


Video

Duvernay-Tardif a real Canadian hero . . . CHL looking for money from feds . . . Zary: ‘It’s just a waiting game . . .’

Just a few months ago, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a native of the Montreal suburb of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, was on the offensive line as the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. He played every offensive snap in finishing his fifth season as the team’s starting right guard. . . . On Friday, he became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season, choosing to work on the front lines of the battle against the pandemic over football. . . . His contract with the Chiefs called for him to be paid US$2.75 million this season; instead, he will receive US$150,000 from the NFL’s opt-out deal with the NFLPA. . . . Duvernay-Tardif, 29, has his medical doctorate from McGill U in Montreal, but his football career has kept him from a full-time residency. He worked as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Montreal through June and now is waiting for another role. . . . In making his announcement, he wrote: ”Being at the frontline during this offseason has given me a different perspective on this pandemic and the stress it puts on individuals and our healthcare system,” he wrote. “I cannot allow myself to potentially transmit the virus in our communities simply to play the sport that I love. If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.”


Rick Westhead of TSN reported on Friday that “The Canadian Hockey League has hired lobbyists in Ottawa to discuss financial aid” as we continue to steer our way through this pandemic. . . . Those lobbyists have met with government officials going back to late June. . . . As Westhead wrote: “It’s unclear whether the CHL will be able to hold a 2020-21 season, given restrictions on large public gatherings and how crucial ticket revenue is to the CHL’s business model.” . . . Westhead’s story is right here.


F Connor Zary of the Kamloops Blazers is training as though the WHL season is going to Kamloops1start on Oct. 2, but he is a realist and senses that isn’t likely to happen. . . . “I’m training as if I was starting in August,” he told Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV on Kamloops on Friday. “Obviously, we’re not. Honest opinion is we won’t be able to start in October, but I’ve still got to train and still got to have the train of thought that I’m training as hard as I can, and that’s what I can do to be ready no matter when it does start.” . . . The WHL has said that it is aiming for an Oct. 2 start, but it hasn’t yet released a schedule. . . . However, Zary is expecting a later start, but, like everyone else, hasn’t any idea when that might be. “Just the way everyone’s talking and you hear things,” he told Klassen. “Obviously no one can give you a final answer that ‘yeah, it’s happening.’ It’s up in the air with every single thing that’s going on this year. It’s just a waiting game to see what happens.” . . . Zary, who is preparing for his fourth season with the Blazers, will be an early first-round selection in the NHL’s 2020 draft, which now is scheduled for Oct. 9 and 10. He had 86 points, including 38 goals, in 57 games when last season was halted in March.


Former Kamloops Blazers general manager Stu MacGregor will be back for a second season as a co-GM of the Thompson zone U18, U16 and U15 minor hockey teams for 2020-21. MacGregor will be teaming up with Jan Antons to run the Kamloops-based teams. . . . MacGregor also is a senior regional scout (west) for the WHL’s Victoria Royals.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Michigan State said Friday that its entire football team was being quarantined for 14 days after one student-athlete and one staff member tested positive. The school had halted workouts on Wednesday after a different staff member tested positive. . . . David Cobb of CBS Sports wrote that “the full-team quarantine is in accordance with athletic department policy. The policy also mirrors guidelines released by the NCAA last week that mandate 14-day quarantines for student-athletes who are found to have been in ‘high-risk’ contact with others who have tested positive. That means other schools are likely to be faced with similar situations.” . . .

The 2020 Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix officially was cancelled on Friday. It originally was to have run June 12-14, but had been postponed to Oct. 9-11. . . . The U.S., Mexico and Brazil Formula 1 races also have been cancelled. . . .

Before playing the visiting New York Mets on Friday afternoon, the Atlanta Braves scratched their top two catchers. Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers tested negative but were exhibiting symptoms so were left in Atlanta. It had been hoped that one or both would be feeling better by Friday morning and would then fly to New York. But it wasn’t to be. . . .

D Brett Kulak of the Montreal Canadiens told reporters on Friday that he tested positive after arriving in Montreal for Phase 3 of the NHL’s return-to-play protocol. He was back on the ice with the team on Thursday. Kulak said he tested negative, but then had two positives. He’s feeling fine now, but said he experienced headaches, respiratory issues and a lack of energy. . . .

The Falkland, B.C., Stampede has been cancelled, meaning it won’t be held for the first time since the inaugural event in 1919. Normally held on the May long weekend, it was postponed to Aug. 28-30 before being cancelled.