WHL now has paused 20 of 22 teams . . . Hitmen take two games to alternate arena . . . SJHL is having COVID-19 issues, too

The WHL announced on Wednesday that it had placed the Brandon Wheat Kings WHLand Kelowna Rockets on pause “as a result of multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive for COVID-19.” . . . This means that the league has had 20 of its 22 teams pause all activities at one time or another since Dec. 30. . . . I had written that the only team not to have had to pause was the Seattle Thunderbirds, but Nick Marek, Portland’s media relations and broadcast manager, points out that the Winterhawks haven’t been paused, either. . . . On the roster/injury report released Tuesday, the Thunderbirds showed 10 players in protocol and two others having been cleared to return. Portland had one player in protocol. . . . On that same report, Brandon listed one player in protocol, with the Rockets showing two. Obviously, more positive tests came in after the weekly report was filed. . . .

——

With the WHL putting Brandon and Kelowna on pause, three games were postponed. One of them — Brandon at the Regina Pats on Friday — was to have been televised nationally by TSN. . . . Instead, viewers will be able to watch the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds against the host Guelph Storm. And, with the QMJHL on pause, TSN won’t have a Jan. 28 game between the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Drummondville Voltigeurs. Instead, TSN will show the Prince Albert Raiders and the host Pats. . . . The WHL also postponed Kelowna’s next two games — at the Everett Silvertips tonight (Friday) and at the Vancouver Giants on Saturday. The Everett game already has been rescheduled for Feb. 6. . . . The WHL continues to reschedule games, so make sure to check your favourite team’s website before making plans to attend a game.


The WHL’s Calgary Hitmen share their home arena — the Scotiabank CalgarySaddledome — with the NHL’s Flames and the NLL’s Roughnecks. So it’s not always easily to reschedule games. . . . That has resulted in the Hitmen moving two rescheduled games to the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina Nation. That is the same facility in which the Hitmen played during the 2021 development season. . . . The Hitmen will play the Moose Jaw Warriors there on Feb. 16 and the Winnipeg Ice on Feb. 18.



Eyes


We all love stories involving EBUGs, don’t we? Well, here’s one about a guy who answered the call after a 15-year absence . . .


The SJHL has put the Battlefords North Stars on pause for at least five days due sjhlto COVID-19 having found its way into the organization. They were headed into a stretch of schedule that called for them to play four games in five days, so those games, through Jan. 25, have been postponed. . . . Battlefords is at least the ninth of the SJHL’s 12 teams to have had to pause team activities since Jan. 4. As of Thursday night, the Notre Dame Hounds also were on pause. . . . The SJHL has a terrific chronology of pauses and postponed/rescheduled games right here.


Sandals


ICYMI, NBC, the host broadcaster for the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Games that are to begin in Beijing on Feb. 4, announced on Thursday that it won’t be sending any announcing teams to China. . . . Greg Hughes, NBC Sports’ senior vice president communications, told Christine Brennan of USA TODAY: “The announce teams for these Olympics, including figure skating, will be calling events from our Stamford (Conn.) facility due to COVID concerns. We’ll still have a large presence on the ground in Beijing and our coverage of everything will be first rate as usual, but our plans are evolving by the day as they are for most media companies covering the Olympics.” . . . Brennan also reported that two sources had told her “ESPN is not going to send anyone to cover” the Games in Beijing. “If true,” she tweeted, “this is another sign of the extraordinary concern media companies now have with COVID testing and quarantine in Beijing.” . . . ESPN had planned to send four reporters, but has dropped that plan.

——

Meanwhile, CBC reporter Devin Heroux, who spent 50 days in Tokyo covering the Summer Games and the Paralympics last summer, revealed that he won’t be going to Beijing. He tested positive on Christmas Day and, while he’s over that part of it, he is unable to meet the Beijing Olympic Committee requirement of three negative tests within 30 days of departure. . . . CBC also has a policy of not sending anyone to Beijing who has tested positive within 30 days of leaving Canada.



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.


unnamed

Teenage transplant hopeful named COTS ambassador for 2022 . . . Robson, B.C., resident waits, hopes for new kidney

The Children’s Organ Transplant Society of BC has named Zach Tremblay of Robson, B.C., as its 2022 Ambassador.

Zach, a graduate of Stanley Humphries Secondary in Castlegar, will turn 19 in March and is a candidate for a kidney transplant. Born with renal hypoplasia-dysplasia, he has had one transplant, on June 1, 2017, but there was a problem and the ‘new’ kidney had to be removed.

Two years ago, his mother, Jana, told Gord McIntyre of Postmedia what had happened:

“What should have been a fairly routine four-hour surgery lasted about eight hours. They finally came and found my husband and me to tell us that a technical error had been made during the surgery and it cut off the blood flow to the kidney.”

McIntyre added: “Two more surgeries were performed overnight trying to save the kidney. When a test the next morning showed the kidney was not functioning, Zach required a fourth operation within 24 hours to remove the failed organ.”

He has made the transition from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis, but that has meant travelling to Trail three times a week because there isn’t a facility in Castlegar. At one point, early in 2020, he and Jana were forced to live at Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver for a period of time so that Zach could do hemodialysis there, while he waited to turn 17. He had to be 17 in order for the hospital in Trail to take over his treatments.

What all of this means, of course, is that Zach is well-positioned for this new position as the 2022 Ambassador for COTS. Not only that, but he already has had an impact in the world of organ donation.

Here’s a note that Joan Alexander, a friend of Jana’s, posted on Facebook on Jan. 18:

“Several years ago, on this day, I became an NDD (non-directed kidney donor). Zach got me started on my journey and, although I was not a match for him, I was able to donate to someone else. I am well, healthy and would donate again if I could.

“As an active volunteer for The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Atlantic Branch PEI, I advocate and raise funds for donors and recipients.

“Look at Zach now! He is the 2022 Ambassador of the Children’s Organ Transplant Society! He continues to wait for a miracle and struggles with all of the health implications that long-term dialysis brings.

“Please consider being tested for Zach.”

Zach3









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.


Time is everything. This is why we promise registering as an organ donor should only #TakeTwoMinutes. That’s faster than microwave popcorn! #Register2Give

B.C. capacity restrictions staying put . . . Schedule forces Royals to grind it out . . . Goalie scores in AJHL game

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, announced on Tuesday that capacity limits will remain in place until at least Feb. 16. That means that the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the WHL’s five B.C. franchises won’t be able to open up their arenas to 100 per cent capacity for at least another month. . . . “We are still in a pandemic, as much as we would like to be over it,” Dr. Henry said during a news conference. . . . Dr. Henry also said that the rate of transmission and number of hospitalizations in B.C. haven’t been higher since the start of the pandemic almost two years ago. . . . The latest restriction on building capacity was announced on Dec. 17 with the hope that it would be in place for a month. Now it seems that it will be there for at least another month.


The WHL issued its weekly injury/roster report on Tuesday, one day after the WHLleague put the Winnipeg Ice on pause “out of an abundance of caution due to pending further test results for COVID-19 with players and staff.” . . . The weekly report listed 24 players in COVID-19 protocol, with 30 having come out of protocol. . . . The Ice didn’t list any players in either category. . . . So let’s no take the roster report as anything resembling gospel. OK? . . . BTW, the Seattle Thunderbirds, one of three teams not to have been shut down to this point, had 10 players in protocol as of Tuesday, with two others having been cleared to return. . . . The Kamloops Blazers and Vancouver Giants didn’t show anyone out or returning, despite officials from both organizations having said last week that the majority of players and staff had tested positive at some point. . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings and Kelowna Rockets are the other two teams not to have had to pause activities. The Rockets listed two players in protocol, and the Wheat Kings one.


Wolves


The Swift Current Broncos were to have visited the Winnipeg Ice on Tuesday WinnipegIcenight, but that didn’t happen. The WHL announced on Monday that it had postponed the game pending results of those tests with the Ice. The WHL didn’t issue an update on Tuesday. . . . The Ice last played on Saturday against the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . This isn’t the Ice’s first run-in with COVID-19. On Dec. 27, the WHL announced that the Ice had three players and/or staff in protocol. On Jan. 8, Winnipeg was one of 15 teams that were put on pause by the WHL. The Ice was cleared to return to team activities on Jan. 10. . . . Winnipeg is scheduled to visit the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night.


The Victoria Royals were swept by the Rockets — 6-4 and 9-1 — in a Friday-VictoriaRoyalsSaturday doubleheader in Kelowna. The Royals then rode their bus to Prince George, where they were beaten, 5-3, by the Cougars on Tuesday night. The teams will play there again tonight. . . . The Royals will get back on the bus after that and head for home where they are to entertain the Vancouver Giants on Friday and the Everett Silvertips on Saturday. By then, they will have played six games in nine nights. . . . Before this stretch is over, the Royals will have played 10 games in 16 nights. . . . Victoria listed 12 players on this week’s injury list — five in COVID-19 protocol, two week-to-week, two day-to-day, one two-to-four weeks and two season-ending.




ICYMI, Jim Matheson, Postmedia’s veteran hockey writer in Edmonton, and Oilers F Leon Draisaitl exchanged words during a Tuesday media availability. It was all rather interesting and, at the same time, totally harmless, something that would happen more often if reporters had access to dressing rooms. The pandemic, of course, has changed those rules. . . . But, in this instance, sheesh, the social media world exploded, with a lot of the venom towards Matheson being spewed by those enjoying the anonymity that is so popular with so many members of the peanut gallery.



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.


Looters

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after some uninspiring NFL playoff games . . .

Scattershooting2

Shortbread
Do you know what this is? The last two shortbread cookies are on the verge of disappearing, signalling the end of another festive season in our home. Yes, it is one of the saddest pictures every year. And, yes, they tasted mighty good.

Think about taking two minutes out of your busy day to watch this. It will help you understand how a whole lot of people are feeling at this point of this seemingly never-ending pandemic . . .


The way I figure it, there was a WHL record set in Portland on Sunday night as Portlandthe Winterhawks erased a 2-0 deficit and beat the Kamloops Blazers, 5-2. . . . Four of the coaches — two with each team — total 1,875 regular-season victories. . . . Don Hay, Portland’s associate coach, holds the WHL career record, of course, having put up 750 victories. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, is No. 10, at 472. . . . Kamloops1Mike Johnston, Portland’s vice-president, GM and head coach, has 432, good for 16th spot. . . . Mark Holick, the Blazers’ associate coach, has 221 victories to his credit. . . . Understand that those numbers all are unofficial as we await a new WHL Official Guide and Record Book, but that is a whole lot of victories signifying that those men have been behind WHL benches for a whole lot of games. . . . Oh, the stories they can tell!


It was late Friday night — early Saturday morning further east of here — when there was some interesting discourse on Twitter, featuring Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) and Taylor Rocca (@taylorrocca).

Brandow is a stats guy who posts interesting facts and numbers from every WHLmajor junior hockey game; Rocca is the WHL’s director of communications.

Brandow, in the course of posting tidbits after Friday night’s WHL games, wondered about the fact the WHL hasn’t made available an updated Official Guide and Record Book since the 2019-20 season.

Rocca’s responses provide some insight into the workings of the WHL’s Calgary office during this pandemic:

“Contrary to popular belief, we do not have a staff member solely dedicated to media guide/stats. We’re a small office desperately working to simply keep junior hockey on the ice, players healthy, etc. Because, you know, we’re into Year 2 of a global pandemic. . . .

“I’m not trying to fight. Just trying to provide some context. In the case of our office, specifically, we experience widespread layoffs and had LITERALLY one full-time Communications staff member for over a year who was responsible for . . .

“Web/social content, PR/media relations (people have had some questions), mobile app mgmt, dev consult/admin/launch of new streaming service, internal/external comms/Club support, COVID test results processing, etc. I’m sure I’m missing plenty of other time-consuming tasks. . . .

“Point I’m trying to make is most people don’t understand the incredible challenge it has been for small staffs to keep these leagues running. Speaking for myself, I’ve worked nothing short of 100+ hours a week, almost every single week since March 2020. . . .

“I’m not one to speak out or be overly vocal, especially on social media.

But a lot of people in junior hockey are beyond burnt out. They’re doing the best they can every day to show up & make sure the hockey gets delivered. That is what needs to happen first. For the players. . . .

“People work in jr hockey because they love the game. It’s not for the pay. When we’re frustrated about a stream that errors, or a media guide that’s later than ideal, we need to remember there are hard-working people doing their best to survive & meet beyond high demands. . . .

“Just remember: There are real people w/ real emotions, who have been working tirelessly to keep these leagues alive & navigate a world that no one has a blueprint for. And sometimes, keeping the players/staff healthy & games going is all that’s possible from one day to the next.”

It all ended on a positive note as Brandow wrote: “Fair’s fair.  I greatly appreciate the explanation and once again, I apologize for the outburst.”

Rocca closed with: “It’s all good, Geoffrey. The media guide is on the list. It will get done. All I ask for is your patience & understanding. Appreciate the time & effort you put into tracking stats across the entire CHL. I check in on them every single game night & I’m always impressed.”

While you aren’t able to download a new WHL Guide, the OHL’s new Media and Information Guide (aka record book) is available right here, while the QMJHL’s updated Media Guide, which includes a records section, is right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS — While the OHL is playing without fans in most of its buildings, the QMJHL has decided that it won’t resume its schedule until at least Feb. 1. It had hoped to start up again during the week of Jan. 17, but government-imposed restrictions aren’t likely to be lifted before then. . . . The CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game that was to have been held in Kitchener, Ont., on Feb. 2, has been postponed. Officials hope to reschedule it for some point during this season. . . . Congrats to referee Brett Iverson, who was presented with a WHL Milestone Award prior to Saturday’s game in Langley, B.C. Iverson has been working WHL games since 2008-09 and has been on the ice for more than 650 regular-season games. He also has done four WHL finals and two Memorial Cup tournaments. . . . If you were watching the Prince George Cougars and Vancouver play in Langley, B.C., on Friday night, you may have seen Giants F Ty Thorpe shove a linesman at 19:30 of the second period. Somehow, he escaped with only a misconduct penalty, but he missed Saturday’s rematch after the WHL hit him with a one-game suspension. . . . The Cougars swept the two games from the host Giants, leading some fans to wonder whether Vancouver will be buying or selling as the trade deadline arrives today (Monday).



Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “You can start marking time until the guy who runs Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, walks the plank for his role in this fiasco with Novak Djokovic. I still love Djokovic trying to blame the mistakes on his paperwork on his agent. . . . Got it. . . . Dog ate my visa.”

——

Lupica, again: “It’s going to be fun, now that ESPN has hired David Cone, to go back to watching Sunday Night Baseball with the sound on.”


Wrench


In the SJHL, the Humboldt Broncos beat the host Melfort Mustangs, 4-3 in OT, sjhlon Friday night. No, wait a minute. Not so fast. . . . That was thought to be the final score until the Mustangs protested over what they felt was an officiating error at 10:23 of the third period. The Mustangs won the protest, so the teams replayed the last 9:37 of the third period prior to Saturday night’s game in Humboldt. . . . On Friday, the Broncos scored a 5-on-3 goal at 10:23 to get to within 3-2, at which point there was confusion over whether anyone should be allowed out of the penalty box. When no one was allowed out, Humboldt scored again another PP goal, then thought it had won it in OT. . . . When play resumed Saturday night, Melfort stretched that 3-2 lead to a 5-2 victory. . . . Humboldt then won the regularly scheduled game, 6-4. . . . There is a complete explanation right here.


There was a time, before the birth of the Toronto Blue Jays, when a lot of Canadian baseball fans got their fix through Dave Van Horne, the voice of the Montreal Expos. Van Horne, who has been calling Miami Marlins’ games for the past 21 years, has chosen to retire. It seems the Marlins cut his schedule back to 54 games last season and wanted him to do fewer than 20 games in 2022. In speaking with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Van Horne, 82, took the high road, saying: “After they made the last offer to have me come back in some role in 2022 . . . less than 20 games, I could not do it. I said I’m a baseball play-by-play broadcaster. I’m not one who makes guests appearances and works on recorded interviews. . . . I’m not upset about it. I’ve thought about it during last season. I thought this could very well be it for me. I’m comfortable with the decision I’ve made. Life goes on. I have, in effect, retired. I’m living on my pensions. I have no plans to pursue anything else. I will not pursue another baseball broadcast position.” . . . Jackson’s story is right here.


Antlers


The NFL’s regular season ended on Jan. 9 and the next day, as is the norm, featured a number of teams firing their head coaches. “Since the NFL is all about sponsorships,” wondered Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Babe, “how long until we start hearing about ‘Black Monday, brought to you by LinkedIn?’ ”



There was a time when pro and college football teams didn’t each employ a couple of dozen assistant coaches and aides. As Steve Spurrier, a former head coach at Florida, explained to the Orlando Sentinel, the Gators back in the day had only one nutritionist on staff: “We had one, and it was me. I used to go around during meals and tell the players to stop eating just meat and potatoes and go put something green on their plates. That’s how we handled nutrition back then.”


Bacon


THINKING OUT LOUD — Isn’t there something strange about hockey leagues that hand out minor penalties for checking to the head, but allow two players to stand and repeatedly punch each other in the face? . . . The Florida Panthers, one of the NHL’s best and most-entertaining teams, were at home and on my TV set a couple of times in recent days, beating the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars in front of a whole lot of empty seats. Meanwhile, Gary Bettman’s NHL doesn’t include a team in Quebec City, which has an arena and a huge hunger for hockey. . . . The worst thing about live sports on TV in Canada? The same commercials over and over and over and over, again. The first time I saw the spot for Cavendish waffle fries, I thought I might like to try them. By the 10th or 12th time in a couple of hours, well, there’s not a chance. . . . Isn’t it absolutely bizarre the way the NFL allows non-playoff teams with coaching vacancies to interview coaches from playoff teams while their teams are involved in preparing for games? Two of the men on the Buffalo Bills’ coaching staff interviewed for head-coaching positions prior to their Saturday night playoff game. . . . Do you think that it will bother the NFL that it let two more teams into the playoffs and the first weekend of play wasn’t especially entertaining? You’re right. They’ll likely add two more to the bracket next season.


Remote


Perhaps you follow Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner) on Twitter or perhaps you have seen reference to a tweet or two of his on this site. When it comes to the history of the Regina Pats, he’s THE MAN. He often posts tweets involving Pats games from the 1960s and early ’70s, and chances are that the stories in those posts were written by Mal Isaac, then of the Regina Leader-Post. . . . Isaac, who went through two hearts, both of which were stronger and tougher than any hockey player, died on Saturday. He was 84. . . . Condolences to Vivian and family, and to Mal’s brother, Dale. Both brothers are in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.


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.


Kitchen

All WHL teams now cleared for action . . . Hurricanes to add two ex-players to Wall of Honour . . . 2022 WJC soon to have new dates

When the WHL posted its roster/injury report on Tuesday, it included 52 players WHLlisted as being in COVID-19 protocols and another 22 having been giving clearance to return.

The numbers obviously are higher because at least one team, the Kamloops Blazers, didn’t show any players in either category despite having been shut down last week due to positive tests. Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week reported this week that “he Blazers appear ready to push forward after most of the team, including (GM/head coach Shaun) Clouston, tested positive for COVID-19 on either Jan. 4 or Jan. 5.”

On Thursday, the WHL, which has had to stop team activities for 19 of its 22 teams at one time or another since Dec, 27, announced that all of its teams have received medical clearance to return to the ice. The Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals were the last teams to get the OK.

Only the Brandon Wheat Kings, Kelowna Rockets and Seattle Thunderbirds haven’t been shut down by the league. Interestingly, Seattle listed 10 players in COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday’s injury/roster report.

At the same time, the WHL announced that 14 postponed games have been rescheduled so, again, check your favourite team’s website for new game dates.

The league, which managed to play just one of 23 scheduled games last weekend, returns to full-time action in a big way with nine games set for each of tonight (Friday) and Saturday, and six more on Sunday.

Mention must be made here of the Royals, who showed 12 players out with injuries — four with COVID-19, one with an undisclosed illness, two season-ending upper-body injuries, one day-to-day upper body, two week-to-week lower bodies, one six-to-eight weeks upper body and one TBD lower body. The Royals also show five players as having come out of COVID-19 protocols.

The Royals, who last played on Jan. 1, will resume their schedule tonight and Saturday in Kelowna.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes will salute former players Mark Greig and Kevin St. LethJacques by inducting them into the team’s Wall of Honour on Feb. 4 with the Regina Pats at the ENMAX Centre. . . . Greig had 270 points — he twice enjoyed 100-point seasons — including 100 goals, in 201 regular-season games (1987-90). Yes, he was with the Hurricanes for their first season in Lethbridge. . . . Greig’s son, Ridly, now plays for the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Hurricanes acquired St. Jacques from the Spokane Chiefs during 1988-89. He went on to play 234 regular-season games over parts of four seasons with Lethbridge, putting up 300 points, 139 of them goals. . . . Already on the Wall of Honour as players: Jamie McLennan, Shane Peacock, Jamie Pushor, Byron Ritchie, Jason Ruff, Bryce Salvador and Wes Walz. . . . There is a news release right here.


Korina Caller, the mother of former WHL D Jackson Caller, has a “pretty cool” memory of the night she met Bob Saget, the TV star and comedian who died on Sunday at the age of 65. . . . Korina was soon to be married, so her girlfriends threw the big bash for her at the Roxy, a legendary night spot in Vancouver. . . . Korina recalls that Saget “was there with Joely Fisher, probably shooting a movie. I got the pic and they both signed my shirt. Made this bride-to-be’s stag memorable!” . . . You know what they say about “it didn’t happen if there isn’t a picture.” Well, Korina has the pic! . . . BTW, Saget and Fisher were shooting Jitters, a movie directed by Saget and featuring Fisher that was filmed in Vancouver in 1997. . . . One more BTW: Jackson now is attending UBC and playing for the Thunderbirds.


Parents


Howard Bryant of ESPN has written what is easily the best piece I have read on Novak Djokovic, Kyrie Irving, Aaron Rodgers and the other anti-vaxxers in professional sports, as well as the role that the leaders in sports have played in this ongoing pandemic. . . . It’s a long read, so make sure you’ve got two cups of y0ur favourite morning beverage ready.


The Russian news agency Tass reported on Wednesday that the IIHF is preparing to announce a location and dates for the 2022 World Junior Championship. Luc Tardif, the IIHF president, told Tass that an announcement will be made at some point during the Beijing Olympics, which are to begin on Feb. 4. . . . The tournament actually got started in Edmonton and Red Deer on Dec. 26, but was cancelled on Dec. 29 following a number of positive tests among players and on-ice officials. . . . Tardif had said following the cancellation that the IIHF hoped to reschedule the tournament for some time during the summer.


After a Tuesday meeting, the KHL reaffirmed its plans to play out its regular season to its completion. On Wednesday, however, the league announced that it will shut down for a week because a number of its clubs are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. Thus, the league will pause Saturday and not resume until Jan. 22.


Timmy


Vyacheslav Bykov, a former Russian national team head coach, got a few NHL-related thoughts off his chest during an interview with Dmitry Larin, a VseProSport correspondent the other day. . . . Here’s a taste, with translation via Google:

“I don’t follow the NHL and don’t intend to, because this is an organization that does not respect others. Therefore, this topic is generally closed for me. I’m not going to talk about it. We will now again praise this league, although the KHL themselves also have enough problems that we must disclose and promote. Therefore, I categorically speak out, this is my personal opinion, really, I am not going to agitate anyone, but I prefer that we develop our league.

“Although our players play there as well. This is their business, their right, of course. I wish them only good and good luck, but I am not going to talk about it.

“Do I think the NHL is the best league in the world? Of course, I agree, this is the best league in the world. But she is the best thanks to whom? Including thanks to Russian hockey players, probably, and European hockey players. And the attitude of the NHL to the same federations, to the same hockey powers, to hockey fans, what attitude do they always express? For them, business is business, as they like to say.

“I think that this is too selfish in relation to those countries, federations, which gave our players the opportunity to develop this league. But a good mushroom picker will never destroy a mycelium, and these mushroom pickers from the NHL are brazenly raking, regardless of mycelium or anything, just raking everything into their wallet. But at some point, the mushrooms will stop growing.

“And in Europe, hockey is also a social project, it provides an opportunity for the development of sports, the development of youth, and the education of youth. And I would prefer that we educate our youth on the correct life principles, and not just create a temptation for the young.

“Would I be the coach of an NHL club if I was invited? No . . . no one is going to invite me, and they would not, that’s for sure. You know, I have enjoyed coaching both children and youths in other countries where hockey is developing. It is important for me that the development of sports itself goes on, and hockey is an opportunity for young children to develop themselves with high-quality life, and not only business, not only earn money.”

Bykov last coached in 2014-15 with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. From 2015-16 through 2020-21, he was on the board of directors of HC Fribourg-Gotteron of the Swiss NLA.


Mike


G Jack LaFontaine, 24, left the U of Minnesota in the middle of the season to sign an entry-level contract with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. The 75th overall pick in the NHL’s 2016 draft, he had won the Mike Richter Award as the NCAA’s best goaltender in 2019-20. The Hurricanes’ depth chart was dinged by injuries and COVID-19; LaFontaine already is No. 3 on that depth chart.

And now some NCAA teams are about to lose players to Team Canada and Team USA for the Beijing Olympics.

Not everyone is pleased with these happenings.

Here is Jeff Jackson, the head coach at Notre Dame, thanks to tweets from Jess Myers (@JessRMyers):

“Playing in the Olympics is an incredible opportunity and an incredible experience for those kids. I just find it quite interesting that it is not safe for NHL players to go but it’s safe for college kids to go.

“I don’t blame LaFontaine for making the decision he made. I do question the decision by Carolina to pull a kid out midseason that impacts another 28 players and the coaching staff.

“It’s something I hope doesn’t become commonplace — we’re not farm teams for NHL teams. We’re supposed to be about student-athletes and graduating players & developing players for the NHL. I think that’s getting a little skewed right now.”


In Europe, the Champions Hockey League has had to reschedule one semifinal — between Red Bull Munich and Tappara Tampere — to Jan. 25. It will be played in Tampere, Finland. The semifinal had been scheduled as a home-and-home series to be played on Jan. 4 and 11. However, the Red Bull team was put into quarantine by German health officials after a number of players tested positive. . . . The winner will meet Sweden’s Rogle Angelholm in the final. Rogle Angelholm beat Frolunda Gothenburg, 5-3 and 3-1 to win 8-4 on aggregate.


The UBC Thunderbirds had to postpone weekend Canada West hockey games because of COVID-19 protocols. The women were to have entertained the Mount Royal Cougars, while the UBC men were scheduled to visit Mount Royal. . . . As well, the UBC-Okanagan Heat men’s and women’s volleyball teams had to postpone their weekend series at the Fraser Valley Cascades. . . .  According to Canada West, the UBC and UBC-Okanagan teams don’t have the “minimum number of players available to safely compete.”



Bobcats


Hockey PEI has apologized to Keegan Mitchell and overturned the indefinite suspension with which it hit him following a racist incident during a recent junior B game between Mitchell’s Sherwood Metros and the Kensington Vipers. . . . “We acknowledge and express our sincere regret for errors that were made in our handling of the incident,” Hockey PEI said in a statement. “This incident has made us realize that our inclusivity and anti-harassment guidelines for officials, teams, players and their families do not go far enough to protect those that they should. We are committed to changing not only the guidelines of the game on the Island but the culture as well. We can and will do better.” . . . After a player directed a racial slur at one of Mitchell’s teammates, Mitchell turned to social media to criticize Hockey PEI for the two-game suspension that it handed out. Mitchell was promptly suspended indefinitely for violating its social media policy. . . . That suspension now has been erased, and the perpetrator’s suspension was increased from two games to five.


Red River College Polytechnic, which is based in Winnipeg, had sports teams in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC), but didn’t compete in 2020-21 because of COVID-19. The plan was to return at some point, but Thomas Friesen of the Brandon Sun reported Wednesday that the school is “permanently shutting down” its varsity athletics program. The school confirmed on Thursday that it is shutting down its eight athletic programs — men’s and women’s basketball, futsal, soccer and volleyball teams. . . . Nathan Liewicki of CBC News has more on this story right here.


Plant


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.


Egg

WHL teams getting clearance to return . . . Three games on tap tonight . . . Giants’ owner admits to seven-figure loss last season

Sheep011022
This guy, apparently having gotten over Sunday’s loss to the 49ers, was looking for salt on Shuswap Road near Kamloops on Tuesday afternoon.


The WHL, which postponed 22 of 23 games it had scheduled for last weekend, had three games on its schedule for last night (Tuesday). However, they also were postponed.

But now, with teams starting to return to the ice after being put on pause by WHLCOVID-19 protocols, there are three games scheduled to be played tonight (Wednesday), with the Swift Current Broncos to visit the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Brandon Wheat Kings at the Medicine Hat Tigers and the Tri-City Americans in Everett for a game with the Silvertips. Two other games — Kelowna Rockets at Prince George Cougars, Spokane Chiefs at Victoria Royals — were postponed.

On Monday, the Edmonton Oil Kings, Everett, Medicine Hat, Prince Albert Raiders, Red Deer Rebels, Saskatoon Blades, Spokane and Winnipeg Ice all were cleared to resume team activities. Earlier, Lethbridge, the Moose Jaw Warriors, Portland Winterhawks, Regina Pats, Swift Current and Tri-City also were cleared.

The WHL has begun rescheduling the games that have been postponed, so check your favourite team’s website for that information.

With the Manitoba government continuing to restrict attendance in some facilities, including arenas in Brandon and Winnipeg, two doubleheaders, both involving Regina as the visiting team, have been postponed. The Pats were to have played at Winnipeg, Jan. 15 and 16, and Brandon, Jan. 21 and 22. Those games will be rescheduled.


In a pre-Christmas appearance on Donnie and Dhali — The Team, Ron Toigo, Vancouverthe majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, said his WHL team’s losses reached seven figures for 2020-21.

The show, featuring Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal as hosts, is on Victoria TV station CHEK. Toigo was a guest on Dec. 22, five days before COVID-19 became a real issue with this WHL season.

Asked about the economics involved in operating a team in these trying times, Toigo replied:

“There is no economics to it. Last year, we lost north of a million dollars. We’re probably going to be maybe not that bad this year but we’re certainly going to be in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands. Just our team . . . when you spread it across the league it is significant and material.”

Based on attendance figures compiled by the WHL, the Giants, who play out of the 5,276-seat Langley Events Centre, have an average attendance this season of 2,937 after 15 home games. At present, their crowds are restricted to 50 per cent of capacity by provincial government restrictions.

The Giants played 11 home games last season when fans weren’t allowed.

In 2019-20, the Giants got in 30 home games, averaging 3,920 fans, before the season was halted by the pandemic.

In 2018-19, the last season prior to the pandemic, their 34-game average was 3,826.

The league-wide average in 2018-19, for 748 games, was 4,361. That number was 4,154 for 694 games in 2019-20. This season, after 348 games, the number is 3,051. However, 13 of the 22 teams are averaging fewer than 3,002 fans per game.

“Our goal all along,” Toigo continued, “is to make sure the players can play to get through this cycle of their development and by all accounts I think we’ve done a pretty good job of it.

“But there is no economics . . . to this sports business or probably any level of sports business while this is going on. . . . Sports business is not a good business to be in these days.”

As for the pandemic and all that comes with it, Toigo said: “It is what it is. We’re certainly a lot better off than we were a year ago with all the vaccines. . . . but we still have a long way to go.

“A lot of this we’re doing is because of all the unvaccinated issues we’ve got. If everybody was vaccinated I think we’d be a lot further ahead than we are now.”

At present, the Giants are on hold because of COVID-19 protocols. They hope to be cleared in time to face the visiting Prince George Cougars on Friday in a game that is scheduled to be televised by TSN.


Warranty


As of Tuesday, the KHL had 97 players and 29 staff members out after having tested positive for COVID-19. All told, 14 games involving Avtomobilist, Salavat Ulaev, CSKA, Dinamo Riga and Torpedo have been postponed. All this came out of an emergency meeting involving the KHL and team executives that was held on Tuesday. . . . Later in the day, it was revealed that Moscow Spartak had gone into quarantine after 10 positive tests, while Metallurg Magnitogorsk had nine players and two staffers test positive. . . . Following the meeting, the KHL confirmed its desire to complete the regular season by playing all games. That may result in playing games during the approaching Olympic break or extending the season, thus delaying the start of playoffs. A final decision is to be made after Jan. 23, which is when the KHL’s Olympic break is to begin.


Tyler Moore is the new general manager of the junior B Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, with Nick Deschenes signing on as head coach. They take over from Ron Sleeman and Gerald Bouchard, who no longer are with the organization. In December, Sleeman was suspended by the KIJHL for 45 days and Bouchard for eight games after the Eagles were sanctioned for violations of the the league’s COVID-19 policy. . . . Deschenes began this season as the GM and head coach of the KIJHL’s Summerland Steam, but left five games into the season in one of those mutual partings. . . . Moore had been the director of scouting with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors.


Plan


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.


Drummer

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

Scattershooting2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will COVID-19 allow the game to be played?

Stay tuned.

——

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


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

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

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

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

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

Kuzma’s complete story is right here.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Me, too, Jim. Me, too.


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


BevHills


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


From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:

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

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

——

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

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

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



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


2022


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

——

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


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


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


Snowman


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


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


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


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Printer

Lower Mainland woman looking for kidney with high antibodies . . .

Yvonne

Just before Christmas, I spotted what follows on Facebook, posted by Yvonne Langlois, who is in the Lower Mainland of B.C., and waiting, waiting, waiting and hoping for a kidney transplant. She provides an awfully good overview of what it’s like to be in her position, especially because of the role antibodies are playing.

Here it is, in her words, with a minimum amount of editing; the ALL CAPS are hers:

“I thought that I would share this again to bring attention to the critical need for Living Donor Kidney transplants.

“My kidney doctor, Dr. Gil from St. Paul’s Hospital, called last week for an update on my health and to let me know where I was on the (transplant) list. I have being doing (hemo-)dialysis three times a week for over eight years, traveling to Abbotsford and Vancouver and even Mission for tests.

“I am near the top BUT unfortunately it is my high antibodies holding me back.

“What are high antibodies? They protect my body from infections and anything foreign that might harm me, They would see a kidney and basically try to reject it.

“I need a kidney that has HIGH ANTIBODIES that (will) get along with mine.

“I asked Dr. Gil: ‘Where do you find one of these?’

“Well he said — and this is exactly what he said — ‘SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT LOOK LIKE YOU.’

“ ‘Oh . . .,’ I said, ‘you mean somebody from a different culture than me.’

“ ‘Yes,’ he said.

“ ‘This is so funny,’ I told him.

“If we all did DNA testing we would find out we all have so many old families from all over the world in our histories. Is that not true of your family. All of our ancestors were nomads all over the world . . . no borders!

“Anyway . . . what I am asking . . . no, pleading for from all of you reading this is ‘Could you find a small place in your heart to think about sharing one of your precious kidneys with me if it matches, or with someone else?’

“It really is the very best gift you ever could give. Age is not a factor in those that need or those that give.

“If you belong to any churches or clubs please pass this message on.

“I am asking everyone to look into the Living Donor Program. It is the greatest gift you will ever give. Actually, I am being selfish as there is a need for all kinds of organ donors.

“Please, please sign up to be a Living Organ Donor. You are able to do that at www.blood.ca.

“Merry Christmas everyone out there.

“Stay safe and Happy Holidays.”


I noticed this tweet on Dec. 23 . . .

This would be the first human organ transplant of any kind that resulted in long-term survival. . . . Bryan Marquard of the Boston Globe wrote on Dec. 30, 2010, that Richard, who was to receive a kidney from his identical twin, Ronald, wasn’t sure he wanted to go through with it. Ronald’s wife, Cynthia, told Marquard: “Ron got a note from Richard the night of the surgery telling him to get out of there and go home. Ron sent a note back saying, I’m here, and I’m going to stay, and that’s it.” . . . The brothers were 23 years of age. . . . After surgery, Richard lived for eight more years, at least seven years more than previous transplant recipients. . . . Ronald, who had heart issues later in life, died in December 2010 after undergoing heart surgery in October. . . . Marquard’s story is right here.





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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Do good, feel good! Register to be an organ donor and get that warm fuzzy feeling. 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives. Taketwominutes.ca #TakeTwoMinutes

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

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

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


Idol


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


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


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


Ricky


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

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

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

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


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


FixinTo


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Hearing

NHL’s Jets circling Saskatoon . . . WHL’s weekend schedule takes pounding . . . Maritime junior league shortens sked, pauses until February

Santa


The WHL’s Saskatoon Blades and NLL’s Saskatchewan Rush may be about to get some company in their home arena, SaskTel Centre. Elliott Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada tweeted on Thursday night:

“Earlier tonight, the Winnipeg Jets sent out a survey asking season-seat holders their opinion on the possibility of home games in another jurisdiction. It is believed the Jets are exploring playing some games at Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre while there are attendance restrictions in Manitoba. That arena seats 15,000. At this point, Saskatchewan does not have restrictions. Obviously, there is work that needs to be done, and approvals to be secured. But the Jets are doing their legwork.”


The Portland Winterhawks boarded their bus on Thursday and headed for B.C., Portlandand what they thought would be a three-game weekend. They would meet the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday night, play the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday and finish up in Langley against the Vancouver Giants on Sunday.

But . . .

The Winterhawks were about halfway to Kamloops when they found out that Friday’s game had been postponed due to an unknown number of positive tests in the Blazers organization.

So instead of having a morning skate in Kamloops today, the Winterhawks will have a full-blown practice.

As of Thursday night, Portland’s games in Kelowna and Vancouver remained on the schedule.

The Winterhawks listed six players in COVID-19 protocol when the WHL released its roster/injury report on Wednesday. They left four players in Portland and will add three new faces to their roster for the games in Kelowna and Langley.

G Taylor Gauthier, who was acquired from the Prince George Cougars on Dec. 27, likely will start one of the two games if they, indeed, get played. Gauthier, a 20-year-old veteran, has had three practices with his new club. He was in protocol, but is out, on the trip and ready to go.

The Blazers, meanwhile, are waiting for results of more tests before being able Kamloops1to decide what’s next for them. The schedule has them heading into the U.S. Division next week for games against the Winterhawks on Wednesday, the Tri-City Americans on Friday and the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday. Of course, a bunch of positive tests could put that trek in jeopardy.

The Rockets reported that their Friday game against visiting Vancouver had been postponed “as a result of multiple Giants players and staff being added” to the protocol list. The Giants listed four players in COVID-19 protocol in the WHL’s roster/injury report that was released on Wednesday. The Rockets said they don’t have any players in protocol.

Between COVID-19 and inclement weather, the WHL’s schedule has taken quite a beating.

Before Thursday was done, all 10 games scheduled for Friday night had been postponed, while eight of 10 games on Saturday’s schedule had met the same fate, as had two of three Sunday games. Yes, the WHL ended up postponing 20 of the 23 games that had been on the schedule.

The changes actually started rolling on Wednesday when the league postponed a doubleheader that would have had the Victoria Royals in Prince George. It also scrapped a home-and-home doubleheader between the Regina Pats and Saskatoon Blades.

Most of the postponements were for positive tests among players and staff with various teams. Some, however, were scrubbed due to miserable weather in the Pacific Northwest.

The Everett Silvertips were to have visited Spokane on Friday, Tri-City on Saturday, and then entertained the Americans on Sunday. But all three games have been postponed because of road closures, potential traffic delays and safety concerns. Also scrubbed is a Friday game that was to have had Seattle visit the Americans.

Games in Brandon and Winnipeg have been postponed because of provincial government-issued restrictions limiting attendance in facilities there. The hope is that the government eventually will lift those restrictions and the games can be rescheduled.

Meanwhile, the WHL issued its roster/injury report on Wednesday. WHLInterestingly, the WHL, before Wednesday, frequently stated in virus-related news releases that “in accordance with WHL policy” the teams involved and the WHL “will not be providing comment or identifying the individuals concerned.”

However, in its first roster/injury report since Dec. 14, the WHL identified the players who were in protocol and those who have come out of it with the 14 teams who filed the information with the league office.

Regina had one player in protocol, as did Saskatoon. The Saskatoon player is F Noah Boyko, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who had 14 players/staffers go into protocol. At the same time, the Blades listed three players as having returned from protocol. The Prince Albert Raiders also showed one player in protocol — D Trevor Thurston, who was acquired from Lethbridge.

Prince George didn’t list any players in protocol, while Victoria showed seven. (On Thursday, the Royals announced they were shutting down their Team Store “until Jan. 11 or until further notice to help curb the spread of COVID-19 at” Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.)

All told, the report — it is available right here — showed 42 players in protocol with another six having come out of protocol. Seattle and Swift Current each listed eight players in protocol.

However, Brandon, the Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat Tigers, Moose Jaw Warriors, Red Deer Rebels and Winnipeg Ice, all with no games on tap, didn’t report.

According to the report, the 14 teams that did report also had a total of four players out with undisclosed illnesses, with another seven having returned from being out with undisclosed illnesses.

What all of this means is that you should check your favourite team’s website to make sure a game still is on the schedule before you leave home and head for the arena.


Change


A chronology of the WHL’s battle with COVID-19 since the Christmas break ended:

Jan. 6 — The WHL announced the postponement of two games involving the CovidPrince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos “due to multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list. . . . The league also announced the postponement of seven games, all of them involving Western Conference teams, “as a result of travel delays due to weather in the Pacific Northwest or multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list.

Jan. 5 — The WHL announced the postponement of four games involving the Regina Pats, Saskatoon Blades, Victoria Royals and Prince George Cougars “as a result of multiple players and staff being added” to the protocol list.

Jan. 4 — The WHL announced that the Edmonton Oil Kings, Moose Jaw Warriors and Red Deer Rebels have paused all team-related activities “as a result of multiple players and staff” having been added the COVID-19 protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive.” The Rebels say that they had eight players and/or staffers test positive as of Monday.

Jan. 1 — The WHL announced that it had shut down the Lethbridge Hurricanes “as a result of 14 players being” on the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive.”

Dec. 30 — The WHL announced that it had shut down the Swift Current Broncos “as a result of four players” being on the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive. . . . It is believed the exposure . . . occurred outside the team environment.”

Dec. 29 — The WHL announced the postponement of a game scheduled for that night that was to have had the Portland Winterhawks meet the host Tri-City Americans. The move was made “due to goaltenders on both clubs entering COVID-19 protocols and/or sustaining injuries.”

Dec. 27 — The WHL announced that “a total of 36 players or hockey operations staff” were added to the protocol list “as a result of displaying symptoms for COVID-19 or returning a positive test result.” The league reported that Spokane and Victoria each had four people in protocol, with Portland, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Winnipeg each at three; Brandon, Everett, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Regina each at two; and Kelowna, Moose Jaw, Red Deer, Seattle, Swift Current and Tri-City each at one. Calgary, Edmonton and Prince Albert didn’t have anyone in protocols, while Kamloops and Prince George had yet to report.


Noah


The OHL’s board of governors held a Wednesday meeting and later released a OHLstatement saying “the league has reaffirmed its commitment to continue the 2021-22 season.” . . . The OHL has 17 teams in Ontario and three in the U.S. At present, the OHL teams aren’t allowed to have fans attend their games, something that will continue for at least the next three weeks. . . . Later in the day, the OHL announced the postponement of seven more games due to COVID-19 protocol. At that point, the OHL had postponed 49 games, with 20 of those already having been rescheduled. . . . As of Thursday night, the OHL had postponed eight of the 24 games it has scheduled for this weekend.

——

The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Thursday that it had postponed weekend games involving the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, Castlegar Rebels, Fernie Ghostriders and Kelowna Chiefs “due to a number of positive COVID-19” tests. . . .

The BCHL announced on Thursday that the Powell River Kings and Wenatchee Wild “have paused all team activities for the next five days per COVID-19 protocol and provincial health regulations.” . . . On Wednesday, the Victoria Grizzlies were shut down. . . . Earlier, the BCHL put four other teams on pause — the Cowichan Valley Capitals, Langley Rivermen, Penticton Vees and Trail Smoke Eaters. . . .

The Maritime Junior Hockey League has cut its regular season from 52 games to 42, and is paused until at least Feb. 2. . . . According to the league: “This decision is due to the amount of time remaining to play the season and playoffs, as well as the dates for both the Fred Page Cup in Summerside and the National Championship. This will remove one home game and one away game for every team against each of their divisional opponents.” . . .

The AJHL announced Thursday that five games involving the Lloydminster Bobcats have been postponed “due to COVID-related issues.” . . .


Meanwhile, even with all the uncertainty, teams in the OHL and QMJHL continue to shuffle the deck chairs. . . . In the QMJHL, there were 13 deals made on Thursday. The Saint John Sea Dogs, who will be the host team for the 2022 Memorial Cup, assuming COVID-19 gives its approval, were especially busy.




JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Kamloops Blazers will be out of their home arena, the Sandman Centre, for a couple of weeks in February 2023. That’s because the building will be home to the 2023 Canadian women’s curling championship, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, from Feb. 17-26. . . . The Blazers also are expected to bid on the 2023 Memorial Cup, which is scheduled to be held in the home of a WHL franchise. . . .

Slovakian F Peter Repcik, who started this season with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, has signed on with the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles. Repcik, who will turn 18 on Jan. 9, had two assists in 25 games with Lethbridge. The Hurricanes grabbed him in the 2021 CHL import draft. Repcik helped Slovakia to a silver medal at the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup with eight pints in five games. . . . Repcik lost his spot in Lethbridge when the Hurricanes claimed Swiss F Liekit Reichie, 18, off waivers from the Prince George Cougars.


Plunger


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.


Commit

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