NFL to be hard on unvaccinated . . . Bergson 17-parter on Wheaties arrives Monday . . . Ice inks two imports

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in the locker room of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills?

The NFL on Thursday informed its teams that it won’t be postponing any games that can’t be played for COVID-related reasons because there isn’t room in the 18-game schedule. The NFL also said that if a team can’t field a team because of virus spread within unvaccinated players, then that team will forfeit the game and be given a loss in the standings, something that could have rather expensive playoff implications.

As well, the NFL said the forfeiting team would be responsible for all expenses incurred by the other club and that players from both teams wouldn’t be paid for the missed game. The forfeiting team also could be disciplined by Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner.

That brings us to the Bills . . .

Here’s a tweet from OG Jonathan Feliciano, out of the U of Miami: “It’s been proven that COVID was made in lab. Fauci also a part of Pfizer . . . that’s why ppl don’t want to get the vaccine. Sad to come to the realization that you can not trust the government. #dontshootthemessenger.”

And then there was this one from WR Cole Beasley, an SMU product who has been spewing anti-vaxx stuff for a while now: “The players association is a joke. Call it something different. It’s not for the players. Everyone gives me the 98 percent of people who are vaccinated don’t get cover again. The odds of me getting in the NFL and playing for 10 years are lower than that and I’m here.”

Meanwhile, DE Jerry Hughes Jr., who played at TCU, came at it like this: “Sooo the top scientists in the entire world got together to figure out how to combat Covid-19. And when they came up with a vaccine, you question them. They are trying to save lives and you have doubt.”

Yes, these could be interesting times around the Bills, who are scheduled to open camp on Wednesday.

And then there was WR DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals, who fired off this tweet: “Never thought I would say this, But being put in a position to hurt my team because I don’t want to partake in the vaccine is making me question my future in the @NFL.”

Shortly after, Hopkins deleted that tweet, and added this one: “Btw I got about 9 more years in me, y’all have a good day”

That second tweet might have something to do with the fact that were Hopkins to leave the NFL, he would have to repay the Cardinals US$22 million in unearned signing bonus money.

BTW, last week The Associated Press reported that the NFL had four teams that didn’t have as many as 50 percent of their players vaccinated, although it now says those teams have surpassed that mark. USA TODAY reported that 78 percent of NFL players have had at least one shot.

Earlier, the NFL had told its teams that unvaccinated players will be subjected to daily testing; will have to wear masks inside the team facility; won’t be allowed to leave the team hotel while on the road other than for the game; and won’t be allowed to eat meals with teammates on the road or at the team facility.


Organizers announced 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday that have been linked to the Tokyo Olympics. With the Games about to get into high gear, the total since July 1 rests at 106. . . .

Remember that it was IOC president Thomas Bach who said a while back that there was “zero risk” of there being any spread because of these Games. . . .

Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, who is in Tokyo: “As the circus gets under way, the citizens of Tokyo are going about their business in this city, which is somewhat muted under a state of emergency. There are no visible protests, but the displeasure is clear. It has been measured by polls that show how opposed the public is to these Games. Perhaps the most damning development is that Toyota pulled all its Olympic-related advertising in the country. One of the most important corporations in Japan doesn’t want to give any implication of endorsing these COVID Games.”


Phil Hoad, at theguardian.com: “From Wednesday, showing either a health pass, or proof of a negative PCR test dated to within 48 hours, is obligatory in France for anyone wishing to access any cultural or leisure facilities with a capacity of more than 50 people. This includes cinemas, art galleries, libraries, museums, sports centres and work-related events. Cafes, restaurants and trains will fall under the measures at the beginning of August.

“The measures are part of President Macron’s push to reignite France’s flagging vaccination drive amid a fourth wave of the pandemic. With 18,000 cases reported in the 24 hours prior to 20 July, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal described the Delta variant-driven surge as ‘stratospheric’; the national week-on-week infection rate has jumped 125% to 86 per 100,000, well above the national alert threshold of 50.”

The New York Times: “Italy said it will require vaccination proof or a negative Covid test for many social activities, including indoor dining and attending shows, as debate grows over limits being placed on the unvaccinated. France made a similar announcement last week.”


If the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings aren’t the greatest team in WHL history, Brandonthey certainly are in the discussion. Perry Bergson covers the Wheat Kings for the Brandon Sun and is about to unleash a 17-part series on that team, one that went 58-5-9 — the 9 representing ties (remember them?) — and earned 125 of a possible 144 regular-season points. . . . The Wheat Kings won the WHL title that season, but lost the Memorial Cup final in OT. . . . The series will include a capsule on each of the 104 games the team played that season. . . . Bergson, who finished the writing part on Wednesday at 6 a.m., will have a new feature each day as he looks at the 21 players and the late Dunc McCallum, who was the team’s coach. Bergson also has been into The Sun’s photo files and the series will include previously unpublished pics. . . . It all starts on Monday. Watch for it!


Murphy


As I do from time to time, I would like to point out that the cartoons that appear on this website are provided by Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon. . . . Thanks a bunch, Jack. . . . And if you haven’t already you should check out his rants at sportscurmudgeon.com. It’s well worth a daily visit.


The Winnipeg Ice has signed D Martin Bohm and D Maximilian Streule to WHL Winnipegcontracts. . . . Both were selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. . . . Bohm, 18, is from Czech Republic. From a news release: “Bohm played for Bili Tygri Liberec in the Czech U20 league where he scored three goals and added seven assists in eight games. He also spent time playing for HC Benatky nad Jizerou in the Czech2 league where he scored two goals in 17 games.  Bohm has represented the Czech Republic at the U16 and U18 levels.” . . . Streule, 17, is from Switzerland. He played last season with the GCK Lions in a U20-Elit league, putting up five goals and eight assists in 28 games.


Stabbing


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: Kris Mallette, the head coach of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, has been added as an assistant coach for Hockey Canada’s U-18 team’s summer development camp. He replaces Dennis Williams, the GM/head coach of the Everett Silvertips, who now is an assistant coach with the national junior team. . . . Carter Duffin has joined the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats as assistant general manager and assistant coach. He spent the past three seasons as the GM/head coach of the junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . .

Kelly Buchberger, whose contract as the head coach of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans wasn’t renewed, has joined the Laval Rocket, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, as an assistant coach. Buchberger, who spent three seasons with the Americans, signed a three-year deal with Laval. . . . The Americans haven’t yet introduced their next head coach. . . .

Daniel Renaud has signed on as the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. Renaud was the Cataractes’ head coach for three seasons (2017-20) before moving on to become head coach of the Val-d’Or Foreurs. Jason Clarke, former GM/head coach of the Carleton Place Canadians of the junior A CCHL is joining Shawinigan as an assistant coach. . . Darryl Robinson has taken over as the director of scouting for the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles. He joined the Eagles’ scouting staff in 2020 after working with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs.


Stab

Canucks’ Miller says team needs more recovery time . . . Rockets out of quarantine and back on ice . . . Maier, Garand pitch shutouts

F J.T. Miller of the Vancouver Canucks always has worn his emotions on his sleeve and spoken his mind.

So you have to think the team’s management wasn’t at all surprised when he Canuckstook the NHL to task on Wednesday.

“This is nothing to do with hockey,” Miller said during a virtual media availability. “To be brutally honest, we’re going to need more time than this to come back and play hockey. Even the guys that didn’t get it aren’t ready.”

The Canucks are scheduled to play host to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. Thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak that impacted players, coaches, staff members and family members that would be the Canucks’ first game since March 24. All told, there were 22 players, three coaches and one staffer who tested positive.

When the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list was released on Wednesday is still contained seven Vancouver players — D Jalen Chatfield, D Alex Edler, F Jayce Hawryluk, F Nils Höglander, F Zack MacEwen, D Nate Schmidt and F Jake Virtanen.

“I don’t feel ready if I’m being honest . . . It’s kind of crazy,” Miller said. “I know everyone has a job to do but to expect our entire team to be ready to play in one practice and a pre-game skate is a bit hard to comprehend.”

Now the NHL wants the Canucks (16-18-3) to play their last 19 games over a 30-day span. They are sixth in the North Division and not likely to qualify for the playoffs.

“I hope people don’t take this the wrong way,” Miller continued, “I’m a super competitive guy . . . but this isn’t about hockey for our team. This is about the health and safety of our players, their family and their children. This isn’t about making the playoffs.

“What we’re being asked to do is not going to be too safe, if you’re asking me.”

The Canucks are scheduled to practice this morning at 11:15, and it’s to be open to the media.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Blackhawks head coach said that F Adam Gaudette, who was acquired Monday from the Canucks, will be given some time before he dresses for a game. Gaudette was the first of the Canucks to test positive. He was removed from the ice during a practice on March 30.


The Colorado Avalanche cancelled their Wednesday morning skate in St. Louis “due to one positive test from (Tuesday’s) COVID-19 testing.” That person went into isolation; all others tested negative. . . . G Philipp Grubauer was added to Colorado’s COVID-19 protocol list on Wednesday. . . . G Devan Dubnyk, acquired Monday from the San Jose Sharks, made his first start for the Avalanche last night, stopping 31 shots in a 4-3 victory in St. Louis. . . . After last night’s victory, Colorado head coach Jared Bender said that Grubauer will be out for “more than 14 days.” . . .

The AHL’s Toronto Marlies are on hold through Wednesday because of the league’s COVID-19 protocol. They have had three games postponed. . . . The Toronto Maple Leafs added F Nick Robertson to the COVID-19 protocol list on Wednesday. He had been with the Marlies so this move quite likely was precautionary. . . . The AHL also has the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who are affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers, shut down through Sunday. The league postponed the Phantoms game last night against the host Hershey Bears, and also scrubbed Friday and Sunday games.

The Houston Astros put five players, four of them starters, on the injured list on Wednesday. Catcher Martin Maldonado, infielders Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, DH Yordan Alvarez and utility player Robel Garcia all went on the list. James Click, the Astros’ general manager, later said all five were placed on the list “as a result of health and safety protocols.” . . . The Astros dropped a 6-4 decision to the visiting Detroit Tigers last night.


Xrays


This is interesting because Sportsnet announced on Feb. 18, 2014, a 12-year “partnership extension” with the CHL that was to run through the end of the 2025-26 season. That made Sportsnet the exclusive broadcaster of the CHL and the Memorial Cup. . . . Makes one wonder if Sportsnet will pay TSN to take the contract off its hands?


The four Canadian teams that were to have been part of the West Coast League, a wood-bat summer baseball league, have chosen not to play in 2021. The Edmonton Riverhawks, Kamloops NorthPaws, Nanaimo NightOwls and Victoria HarbourCats had announced that they would play a schedule of games among themselves. The Edmonton, Kamloops and Nanaimo franchises are expansion teams. . . . The Kelowna Falcons announced in March that they wouldn’t take part this season. . . . The WCL’s 10 Oregon- and Washington-based teams are going ahead with a 2021 season.


If you have ever been close to a hockey team you will know that it is people like the equipment manager and athletic therapist/trainer who really keep things going. . . . But what’s it like for the people in those positions with a WHL team in these pandemic times? What’s it like behind the scenes in the Regina hub? . . . Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun checked in with the three men who fill these roles with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He came out of it with a terrific long read that is right here.


The Kelowna Rockets were back on the ice at Prospera Place on Wednesday Rocketsmorning, the first time they have skated since they went into a 14-day quarantine after seven positive tests within the organization. An eighth positive was discovered during the quarantine period, but because it happened to someone already in isolation it didn’t impact the 14 days off.

Head coach Kris Mallette was one who tested positive.

“What’s crazy,” he told Global News, “is how it affects everybody differently, that’s the scariest aspect. I was fortunate that for me it was headaches, aches and a cough but it wasn’t anything that wasn’t manageable without taking some sort of medication.”

The Rockets, who had eight games postponed, have only played twice in what is supposed to be a 24-game season. They are scheduled to return to game action on Saturday against the Prince George Cougars in Kamloops.

Meanwhile, there were four WHL games on Wednesday . . .

G Nolan Maier recorded his ninth career shutout as the Saskatoon Blades beat Bladesthe Swift Current Broncos, 3-0, in Regina. . . . The Blades (13-2-2) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Broncos (3-13-1) have lost six in a row. . . . Maier now shares the Saskatoon franchise record for career shutouts with Andrei Makarov (115 games, 2011-13). . . . Maier, who has made 151 appearances in three-plus seasons, stopped 27 shots in posting his second shutout of this season. . . . F Blake Stevenson scored twice, at 10:35 and 12:21 of the first period for a 2-0 lead. He’s got seven goals. . . . F Chase Wouters also scored his seventh goal of the season. . . .

F Ben McCartney scored Brandon’s last three goals as the Wheat Kings beat the BrandonWinnipeg Ice, 5-3, in Regina. . . . McCartney, who has 11 goals, completed his evening with the empty-netter. . . . The Wheat Kings (13-3-2) opened an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Riley Ginnell (4) and F Brett Hyland (2). . . . The Ice halved the deficit at 4:55 of the second period on F Connor McClennon’s 11th goal, but McCartney got that one back at 9:07. . . . F Conor Geekie (7) got Winnipeg back to within at goal at 13:36, but McCartney counted again at 7:18 of the third. . . . F Owen Pederson (8) again pulled the Ice to within a goal, this time at 14:47, but McCartney put it away at 19:51. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs had an assist to run his point streak to 16 games, while McClennon has points in 10 straight. . . . The Wheat Kings were handed all six of the game’s minor penalties and gave up two PP goals. . . . The Ice (12-5-0) had won its previous six games. . . . Brandon G Connor Ungar stopped 38 shots. He is 5-1-1, 2.57, .915 in the Regina hub. . . . Brandon is 3-0-0 against Winnipeg this season — 3-2, 4-3 and 5-3 — with one meeting left. . . .

F Eli Zummack scored the game’s last two goals to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-Spokane3 OT victory over the host Portland Winterhawks. . . . Zummack, who has five goals, tied the game on a PP at 19:29 of the third period, then won it at 3:27 of OT. . . . Zummack is on a real roll at the moment. He scored a shorthanded goal and added an assist in Portland’s 7-6 victory on Saturday, then had a goal and three assists in a 4-3 victory over the host Everett Silvertips on Tuesday. . . . F Simon Knak (8) and F Kyle Chyzowski (3) gave the Winterhawks a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . The Chiefs tied it on goals from F Blake Swetlikoff (3), at 6:17 of the second, and F Adam Beckman (9), at 5:35 of the third. Beckman has goals in six straight games. . . . F Tyson Kozak’s first goal gave Portland a 3-2 lead at 9:10. . . . D Bobby Russell assisted on each of Zummack’s goals. . . . G Mason Beaupit was outstanding for the Chiefs, making 48 saves, 25 more than Portland’s Dante Giannuzzi. . . . The Chiefs now are 4-5-3; the Winterhawks are 5-4-3. . . . These teams played each other three times since Friday with Spokane winning twice. . . . D Sage Weinstein, a 15-year-old from Edmonton who was the 18th overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Chiefs. . . .

In Kamloops, G Dylan Garand posted a 16-save shutout as the Blazers beat the KamloopsPrince George Cougars, 5-0. . . . That was Garand’s first shutout this season and the sixth of his career. . . . F Josh Pillar scored the game’s first goal, at 8:06 of the first period. He finished with two goals, giving him five, and an assist. . . . F Caedan Bankier had a goal, his fourth, and an assist, with F Connor Zary and F Orrin Centazzo each recording two assists. . . . The Blazers (7-1-0) have won three in a row. . . . The Cougars (3-3-2) had picked up at least a point in each of their previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Kamloops held a 40-16 edge in shots, including 20-2 in the third period.


Lady


Please don’t forget that Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to help her out, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . And a huge thank you to those who have already responded to this. Love seeing her smile every time she gets a notification of a new donor.

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats are looking for an assistant coach following the departure of Brady Bakke. He joined the Bobcats prior to the 2019-20 season. From a news release: “A search for a new assistant coach has begun and any candidates looking to put their name forward are asked to send a cover letter and resume to nigel@lloydminsterbobcats.com.” . . . The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves also are in the market for an assistant coach. From a news release: “To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume and references electronically to head coach/general manager Kevin Kaminski at coach.icewolves@sasktel.net.”


Sign

WHL’s wait is almost over; two games set for tonight . . . Second team opts out of AJHL restart . . . Beast prexy with good dope on folderoo

It was March 11. The Victoria Royals and host Kelowna Rockets were tied, 2-2, in the third period of a WHL game.

F Brayden Tracey of the Royals broke the tie, banking a shot off G Roman Basran and into the Kelowna net. The goal would give the Royals a 3-2 victory and would be the last score of the WHL’s 2019-20 season.

The last goal of the CHL’s 2019-20 season was to have been scored in Kelowna, but it should have happened in the Memorial Cup in May. That tournament, like so many other things, was cancelled.

With the world in the early stages of what has turned into a full-blown pandemic, the WHL put things on hold after March 11, a pause that will end tonight (Friday) with two games featuring four Alberta teams.

In Red Deer, the Rebels will play the Medicine Hat Tigers, while the Lethbridge Hurricanes meet the Oil Kings in Edmonton. The same teams will play again Saturday, only they will switch venues. The Calgary Hitmen, the fifth of the league’s five Alberta teams, have the bye.

In Red Deer, Troy Gillard will make his debut as the interim play-by-play voice of the Rebels, replacing Cam Moon, now the radio voice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Down the way from Gillard, Bob Ridley will be calling his 3,999th game as the only voice the Tigers have known.

If the excitement of tonight’s game doesn’t get to him, Ridley will do No. 4,000 in Medicine Hat on Saturday night. If you haven’t heard, he has called every game in Tigers history — except for one. It’s an oft-told story, but back in the day — way, way back — his then-boss’s wife was playing in the Canadian women’s curling championship in Saskatoon and, well, Ridley missed a Tigers game while covering curling. Yes, that’s a true story!

Meanwhile, the Oil Kings game won’t be heard on an Edmonton radio station, but will be available, with Andrew Peard on the call, on the team’s website.

(I had written here that G Lukáš Pařík of the Spokane Chiefs had scored the last goal of the season. That was in error.)

——

JUST NOTES: You may not have been aware of it, but the WHL’s trade deadline came and went on Thursday at 1 p.m. PT. For the first time in league history, there wasn’t even one trade. . . . The league released a U.S. Division schedule this week. The five American teams will open their season on March 18 with the Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans meeting in Kennewick, Wash. With the Winterhawks not having clearance to play in Oregon, they will play their two March home games at the accesso ShoWare Centre in Kent, Wash. (aka the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds). The Portland home games April 2 through May 7 have TBD as the home arena. . . .

A schedule hasn’t yet been announced, but the seven-team Regina hub is expected to begin play on March 12. The hub will feature the five Saskatchewan-based teams, along with the two from Manitoba. . . . The five B.C. Division teams have yet to receive clearance to return to play from government and health officials. . . . Earlier this week, on the subject of 15-year-olds, the afore-mentioned Gillard tweeted: “So I confirmed that Alberta players are good to go since the U18AAA season here is cancelled, but Sask players are limited to 5 WHL games for now as they’ve yet to officially cancel league play in that province.” . . .

The Oil Kings have added three people to their front office — Shaun Mahe as video coach and hockey operations co-ordinator, the afore-mentioned Andrew Peard to handle hockey broadcasting and media, and Erin Klatt in charge of game-day operations. Mahe has been with the Oilers Entertainment Group for eight years, most recently in statistical analysis with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Peard’s duties include play-by-play, taking over from Corey Graham who somehow lost his job during recent Bell Media cuts. Klatt has been with OEG for two years, working as a hockey engagement co-ordinator. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers have added Brodi Stuart, 20, to their coaching staff. Stuart, from Langley, B.C., played three seasons with the Blazers. His WHL career came to an end when he had knee surgery on Jan. 20. In 204 regular-season games, he had 115 points, including 45 goals. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders have added Ryan McDonald as an assistant coach. He will work with the team during its time in the Regina hub. A Prince Albert native, McDonald, 33, played four plus seasons in the WHL (Regina Pats, Raiders, 2004-09). He was the head coach for the U18 AAA Warman Wildcats in 2020-21. . . .

Josh Green, the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze, has moved to the Winnipeg Ice as an assistant coach. The Ice and Freeze are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment Inc. Green, who played five WHL seasons in the WHL (Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Portland, 1993-98), was an assistant coach with the Ice in 2019-20. . . . Ryan Guenter, who had been on the Ice’s scouting staff, also will be on the team’s coaching staff in the Regina hub. When that stint is over, he will step in as the Ice’s manager of scouting and hockey operations. . . . The Ice also has added Byron Spriggs as goaltending consultant. He has been the U of Manitoba Bisons’ goaltending coach for the past two seasons and is expected to work with both clubs. . . . Cole Hillier, a former head equipment manager with the ECHL’s Jacksonville IceMen, now is in that role with the Ice. Darcy Ewanchuk, who made the move to Winnipeg from Cranbrook with the franchise, now is on staff as a consultant.


Questions, there are questions . . .

We have been hearing for a while now that the WHL’s return to play is all about giving players development opportunities. If that’s the case, and considering the special circumstances, why not allow teams to carry five or six 20-year-olds, even if they only are allowed to dress three per game? Had the league done that, teams wouldn’t have had to cut 20-year-olds over the past few days. . . .

F Seth Jarvis of the Chicago Wolves is tied for the AHL lead in goals (6) and points (9). He has played seven games. Jarvis, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes with the 13th pick of the NHL’s 2020 draft. The rules call for him to be returned to the Portland Winterhawks, but if this odd-ball season, with no fans allowed, is all about development why not leave him in the AHL? . . .

If you are a hockey fan who lives in Canada, does your NHL include only your country’s seven teams? And would you be content with a seven-team NHL and having those teams play an 84-game regular season? . . .

If you get vaccinated in the next month or six are you going to want to go back into an arena next fall not knowing how many unvaccinated people are in the same facility? Is that same thing going to be an issue in some work places? . . .

If you are paying attention to the coronavirus-related numbers in B.C., with variants showing up in schools and teachers in at least one city having marched in protest, will you be surprised if the province’s five WHL teams have to wait a while longer before getting the OK to return to play? . . .

What’s wrong with this picture? . . . On March  21, B.C. announced 76 new positives, raising the number of confirmed cases to 424. There were 27 people in hospital and 12 in intensive care. There was one new death, for a total of 10. So health officials closed all personal service establishments — remember when you couldn’t get a haircut? — and ordered all restaurants to go to takeout and delivery only. . . . On Feb. 25, B.C. reported 395 new cases — down from 559 two days earlier — for a confirmed total of 78,673, with 4,489 of those active. Ten new deaths raised the grim total to 1,348. But, hey, you can get a haircut and eat in a restaurant.


On Feb. 12, Brendan Batchelor, the play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet 650, revealed via Twitter that he had been “exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19” and was going into self-isolation. . . . All is well and Batchelor, whose resume includes calling Vancouver Giants games, returned to action on Thursday night as the Canucks lost, 3-0, to the visiting Edmonton Oilers.


The Lloydminster Bobcats are the second team to opt out of the AJHL’s return Bobcatsto play. According to a news release from the team, it was “denied participation . . . due to public health restrictions of the Saskatchewan government.” . . . More from that news release: “The organization exhausted all efforts to resolve barriers to meet the requirements of the Saskatchewan government. So far the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has also been unable to meet requirements, while the Western Hockey League has been approved by forming a bubble in Regina, SK. Attempts were made to establish a bubble in Lloydminster, but the team was shut out by circumstance.” . . . While they play in the AJHL, the Bobcats’ home arena, the Centennial Civic Centre, is in Lloydminster, Sask. . . . Earlier, the Canmore Eagles announced that they were opting out of a return to play. 


For the last while we regularly have heard from junior hockey pooh-bahs about Beasthow some teams may not survive the pandemic. To date, they’re all still alive, but that’s more than can be said for the Brampton Beast, a seven-year-old ECHL franchise.

The Beast called it quits last week, another victim of COVID-19, but one that won’t show up in death totals.

Cary Kaplan, the Beast’s president, general manager and minority owner of Brampton Beast, said that the pandemic simply made the hurdles too huge to continue.

Here’s part of what he told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, and all of this will be applicable to junior hockey teams, as well . . .

“What we realized recently is that next season is compromised. Normally at this time of year, you sell a lot of season tickets, you renew your season tickets, you make group sales, you do a lot of sponsorship. There’s so much nervousness out there, we realized for the upcoming season . . . that revenues would be greatly depleted. You’re losing revenues in three distinct hockey seasons. As a business, it’s not sustainable. We came to that realization probably since Christmas, (and) for us that was just too much.”

And now we wait to see if more teams meet the same fate.

If you haven’t already seen it, Friedman’s weekly 31 Thoughts is right here.


Sauce


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The City of Toronto has cancelled outdoor events and parades through July 1. That includes Canada Day celebrations and its Pride Parade. . . .

The Prince Albert Minor Hockey Association has cancelled any games for the remainder of its 2020-21 season. The provincial government has extended restrictions until at least March 19, so the association decided it was time to move on from this season. Teams are still able to practice with eight mask-wearing, social-distancing players on the ice at a time. . . .

The San Jose Sharks had F Thomas Hertl enter COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday, so their Thursday game against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights has been postponed. The Sharks didn’t hold any practice or training sessions on Wednesday. . . . San Jose next is scheduled to play on Saturday against the visiting St. Louis Blues. . . . Also on Wednesday, the New York Rangers placed F K’Andre Miller on the COVID-19 protocol list, but they still played that night, losing 4-3 to the Flyers in Philly. . . .

Dan Ralph of The Canadian Press reports that the CFL, which didn’t play in 2020, is looking at holding training camps in May with the first exhibition game on May 23. He also writes that an 18-game regular season would open on June 10 without fans in the stands. . . . That story is right here. . . .

The 10-team Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League announced on Tuesday that it has cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season. “These are unprecedented times,” Kerry Lines, the league president, said in a news release, “and the events around COVID have impacted so many lives and families. Our priority as a league is to be compliant with the health orders and respect and support the decisions that are made to keep our communities safe and reduce the risk.” . . . The MMJHL last played on Oct. 29.


Warranty


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.


Kids

Restrictions hit some B.C. hockey teams . . . Another football buffet in U.S. . . . Did Red Wings get the wrong Brown?

And so it begins . . .

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, took action Saturday in an attempt to halt skyrocketing COVID-19 numbers. . . . Restrictions placed on two health districts — Coastal and Fraser Valley — shut down hockey in most of B.C.’s Lower Mainland. . . .

The 12-team Pacific Junior Hockey League, with junior B teams scattered across the region, tweeted that it would be postponing all games after Saturday at 10 p.m. “We are working with BC Hockey, ViaSport and Provincial Health Office to manage through this period,” the PJHL tweeted.

The junior A BCHL has four teams in the restricted area, but the league hadn’t made an announcement of any kind as of late Saturday. . . . However, the Powell River Kings announced on Twitter that their Sunday exhibition game against the Cowichan Valley Capitals has been cancelled “due to recent orders from the Provincial Health Officer.” . . .

While minor hockey teams won’t be allowed to play games in the two health districts, they will be permitted to practice. In fact, BC Hockey said that games are “cancelled/postponed . . . until further notice.” . . .

Dr. Henry said the restrictions mean “no indoor competitions or games for this short period of time. These activities can be replaced with individual exercise or practice and drills, as we did previously before we started the phases of our restart of sports programs. That allows everyone to maintain safe physical distancing when participating in these important physical activities.”

Adrian Dix, the health minister, added: “Indoor sports where physical distancing can’t be maintained are suspended, as are all travel for sports into/out of these regions.”


CBC News: Alberta is reporting 919 new cases of COVID-19, another all-time high for the province. An additional 5 deaths have been reported, for a total of 357 since the pandemic began.

Hockey Canada has as many as 47 players heading to Red Deer for its national junior team selection camp that is to run from Nov. 17 through Dec. 13. . . . Two U.S. college coaches — Mel Pearson of Michigan and Tony Granato of Wisconsin — have expressed reluctance to free up players to attend a Canadian camp that is to be four weeks long and with no guarantees that their guys will make the final roster. . . . So it could be that D Owen Power, a 17-year-old freshman at Michigan, would be in Red Deer. “I wish I didn’t have to make a tough decision like I’m probably going to have to,” Pearson told The Michigan Daily.“But he’s here to go to school and play hockey, not just the hockey.” . . . Tony Granato, the head coach at Wisconsin, has the same thoughts on F Dylan Holloway, a first-round pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL’s 2020 draft. “You’re asking a lot of a young man to leave school for that length of time for an 11-day tournament,” Granato told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I know it’s a unique situation. I know it’s a unique year. It’s a unique year for all of us. That’s why we’re playing a lot of games before Christmas, because we’re squeezed as far as the length of our season.” . . . The Big Ten is to open its season on the Nov. 13 weekend.



Ryan Thorpe, Winnipeg Free Press: Manitoba reports 271 new cases of COVID-19 (Saturday). 156 cases from Winnipeg health region. 39 cases for Southern health region, which goes into level red Monday. There are seven more deaths — a new, grim record high for the province.

Peter Woods, the executive director of Hockey Manitoba, told Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun earlier in the week that there have been some issues with rec leagues. . . . “If you’re irresponsible that could cause our program to shut down and effectively that’s what has happened,” Woods said. “There’s been a spread within hockey, not within our program, but outside our program and we’ve been tarnished, in a sense, because they participate in the same sport but they’re not members of our program and we have no control over them. . . . It’s been reported that people are drinking in the dressing room and congregating outside the dressing room. We all get tarnished with the same brush and it’s a disservice to the people in our programs that are following the proper protocols. We’re forced to pay a penalty for that because we play the same game.” . . .

The MJHL is on a break until Nov. 20, although the Steinbach Pistons and host Winnipeg Freeze may complete a suspended game on Nov. 15. The game at the RINK Training Centre was suspended at 14:40 of the first period because of poor ice conditions.

Other hockey, like the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League, is on hold until further notice.


The QMJHL’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens have suspended activities after a staff member tested positive. The Sagueneens played the Rimouski Oceanic on Tuesday. . . . On Saturday night, a game between the Oceanic and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar was halted moments after it began. The league said it was making the move as a preventive measure.

CBC News: Quebec reports 1,234 new cases of COVID-19 and 29 additional deaths. The province has seen a total of 113,423 known cases and 6,431 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. 523 people are in hospital and 78 are in intensive care.


CBC News: Ontario’s Peel Region is bringing in stricter COVID-19 measures than ordered by the province. Among them: Banquet halls and event spaces must close. Wedding receptions are not allowed. Residents are asked not to visit another household, even outside.


Ann Killion, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“As darkness and cold set in over the Northern Hemisphere, coronavirus cases spike, deaths continue to mount, previously reopened countries lock down again . . . and American football keeps trying to play games.

“The 49ers and Packers played a game on Thursday that they shouldn’t have. Twelve NFL teams are struggling with positive tests, and five shut down their facilities during the week. The Raiders have thus far been fined a cool million dollars for violations of coronavirus protocol. Ten college football games were canceled or postponed this weekend, including Cal against Washington and another Pac-12 game, Arizona at Utah. That brings the cancellations this season to 47. Three Stanford players were ruled out of the Cardinal’s game against Oregon, hours before kickoff, “due to COVID-19 testing results and contact tracing protocols.” A top-four contest took place between Clemson and Notre Dame, but college’s biggest star, Trevor Lawrence, couldn’t play because of a positive test.

“Everyone in football is walking a tightrope, but no one knows where it ends.”


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

I think it’s fair to say that the coronavirus looks forward to Saturdays, especially with the buffet that NCAA football and the teams that represent institutions of higher learning serves up on a weekly basis. In case you think there is any chance of the numbers coming down soon in football country, I present . . .

Tim Brando and Spencer Tillman, who were calling the game for FOX, had a real chuckle about the Mike Gundy lookalike — he is the Oklahoma State head coach who wears his facemask as a chin diaper all game long every Saturday — and the bodyguards. Brando and Tillman couldn’t be bothered to point out that not one of the five was wearing his facemask the proper way.

In the hours before opening the Pac-12 season against host Oregon, Stanford scratched starting QB Davis Mills, WR Connor Wedington and DE Trey LaBounty, all due to COVID-19 protocols. . . . The game, however, went on. . . . Oregon won, 35-14. . . .

The Chicago Bears placed DB Deon Bush on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday night. He won’t play in Sunday’s game at the Tennessee Titans.


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.


Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun has been writing features on former Wheat Kings and you really should think about checking them out. The latest one is about D Larry Brown, who once was traded by the New York Rangers to the Detroit Red Wings, who may have been thinking they were getting Arnie Brown. Seriously! . . . It was a terrific deal for Larry Brown, though, because he got to room with Gordie Howe. . . . Oh, and the photos with the Larry Brown story are flashes from the past. That’s Rich Bull, long-time pro at the Brandon Golf and Country Club, beside a bespectacled Brown in the middle row of the team photo of the juvenile Brandon Travellers. . . . Bergson’s latest story in what has become a long and entertaining series is right here.


Record isn’t Stankoven’s just yet . . . Makaj, Ice freeze out Broncos . . . Almeida sparks Warriors past Blazers

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MacBeth

G Brett Jaeger (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, Saskatoon, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Bayreuth Tigers (Germany, DEL2). This season, in 22 games, he is 10-10-0, 3.72, .892.

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ThisThat

Whoops!

It seems that F Logan Stankoven doesn’t own the major midget Thompson Blazers’ thompsonblazerssingle-season points record. At least, not yet.

The Kamloops-based Blazers, who play in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, sent out a tweet on Monday that indicated Stankoven, now with 63 points, had broken the record of 59 that had been set by F Riley Nash in 2005-06.

Except it seems that F Alex Rodgers finished that season with more points than did Nash, and it seems that Nash actually finished with 60.

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week asked a few questions and got a response from Nash, who now plays for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Nash told Hastings that Rodgers “actually holds the scoring record.”

Hastings got in touch with Rodgers “who thinks he had 67 in 2005-06.”

Or as a laughing Rodgers told Hastings: “Who is this kid coming after my record? Just write down 87 to keep him motivated.”

So, for now, the record doesn’t belong to Stankoven. But it will in time.

While Stankoven keeps piling up the points, the search for evidence of Rodgers’ 67-point season will continue.

Hastings’ story is right here.

Meanwhile, Stankoven played his second career WHL game on Tuesday night. His hometown Kamloops Blazers selected him fifth overall in the 2018 bantam draft. He had one assist in his first WHL game. Last night, he played his second game as the Blazers dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

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Notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report:

F Jake Kryski of the Calgary Hitmen is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Kryski, 20, is in his fifth WHL season and this one was shaping up as the best of them all. He has 46 points, including 19 goals, in 41 games. His goal total is one off his single-season high from 2016-17. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have dropped F Bronson Sharp from their roster. Sharp, who turned 19 on Dec. 29, is from Mission, B.C. He was pointless in seven games with Everett, but hadn’t played since Oct. 13 because of a concussion. . . . His junior A rights were traded on Thursday, going from the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials to the Langley Rivermen. . . .

The Regina Pats are showing G Max Paddock as being out indefinitely with an illness. With him out, G Matt Pesenti, 17, has been backing up Dean McNabb. . . . Pesenti, from Saskatoon, plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . .

F Eli Zummack of the Spokane Chiefs is out week-to-week with a lower-lower-body injury. Zummack, 18, is in his third WHL season and already has single-season career highs in assists (33) and points (45), in 41 games. . . . He had a goal and an assist in an 8-3 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Jan. 12.

The weekly roster report is right here.

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The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have signed Nigel Dube, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract. Dube, 30, joined the Bobcats in mid-November, replacing the fired Travis Clayton, who was in his third season in Lloydminster. . . . At the time he joined the Bobcats, Dube was in his second season as the associate coach with the aJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . The Bobcats are 8-33-1 and in last place in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North.

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The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that assistant coach Dean Maynard has been named interim head coach. . . . He replaces Mark Chase, who was fired on Monday.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Jesse Makaj stopped 16 shots to help the Kootenay Ice to a 2-0 victory over the Broncos Kootenaynewin Swift Current. . . . Kootenay (9-29-7) had lost its previous nine games (0-8-1). . . . The Broncos (9-31-3) now trail the Ice by four points in the race to stay out of the WHL’s cellar. . . . Makaj, who will turn 18 on Jan. 27, posted his first career WHL shutout by making 16 saves. It came in his 27th appearance, 26 of them this season. . . . The Broncos got 32 stops from G Isaac Poulter. . . . F Jaeger White (17) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 0:51 of the second period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (16) added insurance, on a PP, at 4:55 of the third period. . . . F Alex Thacker made his WHL debut with the Broncos. Thacker, 16, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., and was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He is in his second season with the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. . . . Thacker is the 37th player to have suited up for the Broncos this season. . . . The Ice has had 43 players dress for at least one game.

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F Justin Almeida scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors MooseJawWarriorsto a 5-2 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . Moose Jaw (22-11-7) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). The Warriors, who began a seven-game road trip with this one, are 13-3-1 on the road. They are third in the East Division, seven points behind Saskatoon but with five games in hand on the Blades. . . . Kamloops (15-23-3) has lost five in a row, and remains two points away from the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff berth. . . . F Tristin Langan (33) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:26 of the first period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (13) tied it at 6:40. . . . Moose Jaw took a 3-1 lead before the period ended on goals from Almeida, on a PP, at 9:59, and F Daniil Stepanov (4), at 16:01. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (15) got the Blazers to within a goal at 12:03 of the second period. . . . The Blazers hung around but weren’t able to get the equalizer past Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff, who finished with 34 saves. . . . Moose Jaw put it away with two late third-period goals from Almeida (13), at 15:27, and D Dalton Hamaliuk (3), on a PP, at 17:55. . . . Moose Jaw had either D Josh Brook or D Jett Woo, or both of them, on the ice for every shift in the third period until the score was 5-2. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson allowed three goals on 13 shots in the first period. Dylan Garand played the last two periods, stopping 17 of 19 shots. . . . Almeida enjoyed his third four-point game this season. He has 55 points, including 42 assists, in 36 games this season. . . . F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft, played his second game with the Blazers. . . . F Carson Denomie, who was acquired Thursday by the Warriors, played his third game with his new teammates and his first against his ex-teammates. Yes, head coach Tim Hunter had him in the starting lineup. . . . Blazers F Jeff Faith sat out the third game of a five-game WHL suspension. . . . With Faith, who can also play on the back end, and the injured Quinn Schmiemann out, the Blazers dressed five defencemen. . . . The Warriors are without D Daemon Hunt, who is listed as being out week-to-week. . . . According to the Warriors’ Twitter account, this road trip will involve playing seven games in 14 days, and spending 51 hours on the bus to travel 4,629 km.

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Tweetoftheday

When is .500 not a winning record? . . . Winterhawks ink two forwards . . . Fix-Wolansky leads charging Oil Kings


ThisThat

The WHL standings include categories for points and winning percentage.

According to the latter, there are 15 teams in the 22-team league that have a record of whl.500 or better. That, of course, would seem to indicate that there are 15 teams that have won more games than they have lost.

That is because we are stuck in the quagmire brought on by the doling out of loser points. To date, WHL teams have banked 42 of those, with the Brandon Wheat Kings having six of them. Yes, they have lost three times in OT and three times in shootouts. The Wheat Kings’ record is 9-4-6, which, put another way, means they have lost one more game than they have won.

If you’re wondering how many of the 22 teams have won more games than they have lost, well, the answer would be nine. Yes, nine!

In the 10-team Western Conference, the Vancouver Giants, Everett Silvertips, Portland Winterhawks, Tri-City Americans and Victoria Royals have more victories than losses. In the 12-team Eastern Conference, only the Prince Albert Raiders, Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton Oil Kings and Saskatoon Blades fall in that category.

Such is life in the era of the loser point.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Jack O’Brien and F James Stefan, both of whom Portlandare playing in the U-15 Little Caesars midget program. Their Tier I team is ranked second in the U.S. . . . O’Brien, a 15-year-old from Denver, has six goals and 14 assists in 20 games. . . . In 25 games, Stefan, who is from Laguna, Calif., has 15 goals and 13 assists. Stefan, 15 is the son of Patrik Stefan, whose playing career included 455 NHL games — 414 with the Atlanta Thrashers and 41 with the Dallas Stars. Patrik now is the head coach of the Little Caesars midget team. . . . The then-Edmonton Ice selected Patrik in the 1997 CHL import draft but he never played in the WHL.


The Kootenay Ice has returned D Anson McMaster to the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. KootenaynewMcMaster, 16, is pointless in three games with the Ice this season. He was a second-round pick by the Ice in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . D Ben Zloty, 16, has gone back to the midget AAA Calgary Royals, while F Owen Pederson, 16, was returned to the prep team at OHA Edmonton. Pederson, a fifth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, is pointless in six games; Zloty, a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, is pointless in three. . . . The Ice already has had 32 players dress for at least one game. . . . At 6-12-3, the Ice is three points out of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, but has played five more games than the Moose Jaw Warriors (7-5-4), who are in possession of that berth, at least for now.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have hired Nigel Dube, 30, as their general manager and head coach. He replaces Travis Clayton, who was fired on Friday while in his third season with the team. . . . Dube, who is from Lampman, Sask., was in his second season as the associate coach with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. Earlier, he spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the NAHL’s Minot, N.D., Minotauros. . . . The Bobcats are 5-15-1 and in last place in the eight-team Viterra North Division.


There was a neat story out of an OHL game between the Guelph Storm and ohlhost Windsor Spitfires on Saturday night. . . . Windsor won the game, 2-1, in a shootout and when it was over three goaltenders — two from the Storm — were introduced as the three stars. . . . Windsor’s Michael DiPietro was the first star, after stopping 31 shots. . . . Guelph starter Anthony Popovich blocked 28 shots and was selected as second star. . . . Nico Daws, Guelph’s backup on this night, was named the third star, despite not being credited with any playing time. . . . Daws came off the bench at 2:58 of OT and stopped Windsor F Cody Morgan on a penalty shot. On the play that led to the penalty shot, Morgan was hauled down from behind and fell into Popovich, who ended up with a broken skate blade. When the skate couldn’t be repaired quickly, referee Joe Celestin called for Daws to enter the game. . . . Daws stopped Morgan, and Popovich, a new blade in place, re-entered the game. . . . While Daws was announced as third star after the game, it appears to have been changed later because the OHL website now shows the third star as Windsor F Daniel D’Amico. He scored the winner in the eighth round of the shootout. . . . Tony Saxon of guelphtoday.com has the story right here.


MONDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

F Trey Fix-Wolansky had a goal and two assists in leading the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 6-4 EdmontonOilKingsvictory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton (13-7-2) has points in nine straight games (8-0-1). The Oil Kings lead the Central Division by one point over the Red Deer Rebels (13-5-1), who hold three games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (8-6-4) was 1-0-1 in its previous two outings. . . . The same teams will be back at it Friday, again in Lethbridge. . . . Fix-Wolansky now leads the WHL in assists (32) and points (45). He has points in 10 straight games, with seven goals and 20 assists in that run. . . . Fix-Wolansky (13) broke a 2-2 tie at 7:19 of the second period, while shorthanded, and D Conner McDonald (6) made it 4-2, on a PP, at 19:42. . . . The Hurricanes got to within a goal just 53 seconds into the third period when F Zachary Cox scored, but F Vince Loschiavo (10) got that one back for Edmonton at 9:39. . . . Cox (6) made it a one-goal game again, at 11:16, but the Oil Kings got insurance from F Jalen Luypen (2) at 18:30. . . . F Brett Kemp scored his 15th goal and added two assists for the winners, with F Quinn Benjafield earning three assists. . . . Lethbridge F Jadon Joseph had his point streak snapped at 11 games. He had nine goals and six assists in that time.


Tweetoftheday

Letter-writing time in Ontario . . . Jones close to KIJHL milestone . . . Raiders’ victory streak now at 10


ThisThat

So . . . early in the week, David Branch, the OHL’s commissioner, penned an open letter directed at the Ontario government, stating that his league’s players should be exempt ohlfrom the province’s minimum-wage legislation because they are student-athletes and not employees.

On Tuesday, Michael Tibollo, Ontarios’ minister of tourism, culture and sport, wrote an open letter pledging his support and, presumably, that of the provincial government.

Then it seems it was the turn of Goldblatt Partners, the Toronto law firm that represents an untold number of former and present players who filed a class-action lawsuit against the OHL — and the WHL — asking that, among other things, players be paid minimum wage.

Joshua Mandryk, a lawyer with Goldblatt, wrote that OHL teams are owned by companies “who make money, big money in most cases, from the players’ work — work that the owners and the media like to call ‘play’ . . . Virtually all (OHL teams) are owned by private companies that are able to hide their books, and their profits, from the players, from their employees.

“Other multi-million dollar employers don’t get to avoid paying the employees who drive their revenue. Paying wages is part of doing business. Why should the OHL be any different?”

Rick Westhead of TSN has more on this story right here.


Terry Jones, the head coach of the junior B Beaver Valley Nitehawks, who play in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, went into Friday night with 998 career victories — 759 of the regular-season variety and 239 from playoff games. . . . Jones, 52, is in his 23rd season with the Nitehawks. Imagine that . . . 23 seasons with one team. Amazing! . . . As a player, he spent two seasons (1982-84) with the Portland Winterhawks.

“When I started coaching, well before the Nitehawks, it was a ‘winning is everything’ attitude,” Jones told Jim Bailey of the Trail Times. “Now I’ve flip-flopped and believe coaching is more about developing young men into adults and good citizens, and hockey is the vehicle we do that. As a result of that attitude, we’ve won a lot of games, we’ve won some championships.

“When you change your goals of winning to just building a good team, a good group of guys that care about each other, I think anything can happen.”

Bailey’s complete story is right here and it is a great read about a remarkable man.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have acquired D Parker Gavlas, 19, from the Regina Pats for an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . The Pats, who acquired D Kyle Walker, 18, from the Everett Silvertips on Thursday, were carrying nine defencemen, so this kind of move was hardly a surprise. At the same time, the Oil Kings’ roster included only six healthy defencemen. . . . Gavlas, from Saskatoon, had one assist in 12 games with the Pats. Last season, he was pointless in eight games with Regina.


The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have fired general manager/head coach Travis Clayton. He was in his second season with the Bobcats. . . . According to a post on the team’s website, “IHD and Lance Ward will provide interim coaching support . . . while the organization seeks a new head coach and general manager.” . . . IHD is Impact Hockey Development and Ward, a former WHLer (Red Deer Rebels, 1994-98), is a lead instructor in Lloydminster. . . . At the time of the move, the Bobcats were 5-13-1 and in last place in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North Division. . . . On Friday night, the Bobcats dropped a 6-2 decision to the host Sherwood Park Crusaders.


Dinamo Minsk of the KHL has fired head coach Gordie Dwyer, along with assistant coaches Sergey Stas and Konstantin Koltsov, goaltending coach Andrey Kudin and trainer Gennady Lyango. . . . Dinamo was seven points out of a Western Conference playoff spot at the time. . . . Dwyer, 40, was in his second season as Dinamo’s head coach. . . . No replacements were named.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


FRIDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

In Brandon, the Wheat Kings erased a 2-0 second-period deficit with five straight goals BrandonWKregularen route to a 6-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Brandon improved to 9-4-5. This was Brandon’s first home game since Oct. 20. The Wheat Kings went 2-3-2 on a seven-game trek that included a 2-2-1 record in the B.C. Division. . . . Red Deer (11-5-1) had won its previous three games. . . . F Brandon Hagel (13) and F Arshdeep Bains (3) gave Red Deer a 2-0 lead early in the second period. . . . F Lynden McCallum (4) got the Wheat Kings started at 10:10 and F Stelio Mattheos (17) tied it on a PP at 15:26. That was his 100th regular-season goal. Mattheos also had two assists. . . . D Neithan Salame’s first goal, at 17:04, made it 3-2 and F Marcus Sekundiak (2) scored what proved to be the winner at 8:41 of the third. . . . The Wheat Kings got 40 stops from G Jiri Patera. . . . Brandon lost F Linden McCorrister to a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on Red Deer F Jacob Herauf at 4:47 of the first period. Herauf needed help getting off the ice and was taken to hospital “where he remained for several hours” with an undisclosed injury, according to Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. . . . Meachem’s story is right here.


F Noah Gregor, F Kody McDonald and F Sean Montgomery each scored twice as the PrinceAlbertPrince Albert Raiders beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 6-2. . . . The Raiders (17-1-0) have won 10 in a row. . . . The Broncos (3-15-1) had points in each of their previous three games (2-0-1). . . . F Eric Houk (2) got the Broncos to within a goal, at 3-2, at 18:17 of the second period. The Raiders, who had a 43-19 edge in shots, put it away with the next three goals. . . . Houk’s father, Rod, was a goaltender who played two seasons (1987-89) with the Regina Pats. . . . McDonald (3), playing his first game after missing eight, got his second of the night at 18:31 of the second. . . . Gregor (8) upped it to 5-2 at 2:11 of the third period. . . . Gregor also had three assists for a five-point outing. . . . F Brett Leason of the Raiders ran his point streak to 18 games with an assist on F Sean Montgomery’s eighth goal just eight seconds into the second period. Leason has at least one point in each of the Raiders’ 18 games this season. . . . Montgomery scored his ninth goal at 14:13 of the third period, on a PP. . . . The Raiders brought in D Nolan Allan for his fourth game and he picked up his first WHL point, an assist, on McDonald’s first goal. Allan, 15, was the third overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From Davidson, Sask., Allan plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Broncos were without D Matthew Stanley (ill) and D Garrett Sambrook (undisclosed injury). . . . Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com was at the game and has a story right here.


F Jake Leschyshyn scored three goals and F Nick Henry had four assists to lead the host PatsRegina Pats to a 5-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Regina (6-12-0) has won two in a row. . . . Tri-City (10-5-0) had won its previous six games. This was Game 6 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans, who are 5-0-0 since last playing at home on Oct. 19. They next are scheduled to play at home on Nov. 23. . . . The Pats got started 30 seconds into the first period when F Austin Pratt (9) scored. . . . Leschyshyn made it 2-0 at 2:36, scored his second at 15:53 of the second period, for a 4-0 lead, and completed the hat trick with his 12th goal of the season at 7:27 of the third. . . . Regina got 39 saves from G Max Paddock. . . . Pats D Aaron Hyman had three assists; he’s got four goals and 16 assists in 18 games. Last season, in 26 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 28 with Regina, he totalled three goals and 10 assists.


F Liam Keeler broke a 2-2 tie late in the second period and the Edmonton Oil Kings went EdmontonOilKingson to beat the Kootenay Ice, 5-2, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Oil Kings (11-7-1) have points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Ice (6-10-3) has lost three in a row. . . . Kootenay erased a 2-0 deficit to tie the game on F Jaeger White’s 11th goal at 9:01 of the second period. . . . Keeler’s third goal, at 19:01 of the second, stood up as the winner. . . . F Quinn Benjafield had a goal, his eighth, and two assists for Edmonton. . . . F Vince Loschiavo returned to Edmonton’s lineup after a five-game absence. . . . F Tyler Horstmann, 16, scored his first WHL goal in his first game with the Oil Kings, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2017 bantam draft. From Richmond, B.C., Horstmann plays for the Delta Hockey Academy’s prep team.


F Jadon Joseph of Lethbridge ran his point streak to 11 games as the Hurricanes doubled Lethbridgethe visiting Calgary Hitmen, 4-2. . . . Lethbridge (8-5-4) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Calgary (5-12-2) has lost three in a row. . . . Joseph scored the game’s first goal, his ninth, at 1:01 of the first period. He has nine goals and six assists during his streak. . . . D Calen Addison (4) gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead at 8:13 of the second period and D Alex Cotton (1) made it 3-1 at 12:31. . . . Each team was assessed one minor penalty. . . . Calgary had a 36-19 edge in shots, but Lethbridge G Reece Klassen was solid.


F Max Gerlach and F Gary Haden scored against their former team as the Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades beat the Tigers, 3-1, in Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon improved to 11-7-2. . . . The Tigers now are 9-8-2. . . . F Josh Williams (3) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 10:03 of the first period. . . . Gerlach, who was acquired from the Tigers in January, got his 13th goal, on a PP, at 17:57 of the second period. . . . Haden’s fifth goal — his fourth with the Blades since being acquired in a deal this season — turned into the winner at 5:31 of the third. . . . This was the first appearance in Medicine Hat as visiting players by Gerlach and Haden. . . . F Logan Christensen, who went the other way in the Haden deal, was pointless. . . . The Blades got 35 stops from G Nolan Maier.


The Everett Silvertips scored five PP goals as they beat the Blazers, 6-1, in Kamloops. . . . EverettEverett (12-6-0) has won two straight. . . . Kamloops (6-8-2) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . At 10:32 of the second period, the Silvertips had a 6-0 lead and had outshot the Blazers, 22-3. . . . F Sean Richards (3) got Everett rolling, on a PP, at 4:02 of the first period. . . . F Akash Bains then scored twice, at 10:29 on a PP, and at 1:41 of the second, for a 3-0 lead. He’s got four goals. However, he wasn’t on the bench for the third period after leaving while appearing to favour a knee in the second. . . . Everett finished 5-for-8 on the PP. . . . The Silvertips got four assists from D Gianni Fairbrother. . . . When Max Palaga entered the game for Everett to start the second period, it marked the first time this season that a goaltender other than Dustin Wolf was in the Silvertips’ goal. . . . Palaga, who is from Kamloops, spent last season with the Blazers, but was cut early this season. He was with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers when the Blazers dealt him to Everett on Oct. 29 for a sixth-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. . . . Palaga stopped seven of eight shots, after Wolf turned aside all six shots he faced. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson was beaten six times on 22 shots. He came out at 10:32 of the second, with Rayce Ramsay going in to make his WHL debut. He was perfect in stopping 14 shots. . . . Ramsay, 17, is with the Blazers while G Dylan Garand is at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. When Garand returns, Ramsay will go back to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . D Artyom Minulin, 20, had one assist in his debut with the Silvertips. He had been acquired from the Swift Current Broncos. This was Minulin’s first game after he had off-season shoulder surgery. . . . Part of the game was played with two referees and one linesman after Nick Bilko left with a knee injury. He was injured when he got caught up in traffic along the boards in the middle of the first period. Nick Panter entered late in the second period to replace Bilko. . . . Former Blazers head coach Guy Charron was in the press box, helping the team’s new coaching staff as an eye in the sky. He also has been on the ice during recent practices. . . . The Silvertips left immediately after the game as they are to meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., tonight. Everett then returns to Kamloops for a Sunday evening game. The Blazers don’t play tonight.


The Kelowna Rockets scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 3-1 victory over the KelownaRocketsSeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Rockets (8-10-0) have won four in a row and seven of their last nine. . . . Five of Kelowna’s victories have come on the road. . . . Seattle (7-7-2) has lost four in a row. . . . F Kyle Topping scored Kelowna’s first goal, on a PP, at 10:44 of the first period. He ran his goal-scoring streak to five games and his point streak to 12 games. . . . D Libor Zabransky (2) upped it to 2-0 at 3:10 of the second period. . . . F Nolan Foote (11) made it 3-0 at 4:57. Foote has eight goals in a six-game goal-scoring streak. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (7) scored for Seattle at 15:03 of the second. . . . Kelowna D Dalton Gally was hit with an interference major and game misconduct at 7:59 of the second period after a hit on Seattle F Jaxan Kaluski. . . . Kelowna is 4-0 since Adam Foote replaced the fired Jason Smith as head coach. . . . The Rockets opened a six-game road trip with this one; they’ll play those six games in nine nights. . . . The trip continues with games in Portland tonight and Sunday.


The host Victoria Royals scored nine seconds into the game and went on to a 7-5 victory VictoriaRoyalsover the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Royals (10-5-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Chiefs (8-7-3) have lost three in a row. . . . F Tarun Fizer (2) got the Royals going with the early goal. . . . The WHL record for fastest goal to start a game? Dean Sexsmith of the Seattle Thunderbirds scored five seconds into a 7-6 victory over the visiting Victoria Cougars on Jan. 30, 1987. . . . The Royals went ahead 2-0 when F D-Jay Jerome scored at 1:55. . . . The Chiefs would trail 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . Jerome, who also had an assist, got his second goal of the game, and 10th of the season, at 10:20 of the third period for a 6-4 lead and D Scott Walford (1) added insurance at 13:43. . . . The Royals got three assists from F Sean Gulka, who, as you will have noticed from the above tweet, had some fans in the stands. He went into the game with two assists in 11 regular-season games, eight of them with the Chiefs. . . . F Brandon Cutler added a goal, his fifth, and two assists for Victoria. . . . F Riley Woods scored twice and added an assist for Spokane. He’s got six goals and three assists over his past four games. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt (foot) is on the shelf for the second time this season. According to the team, this one could keep him out for up to six weeks. . . . F Dante Hannoun, who missed three games, and F Kaid Oliver, who missed one, both were back in the Royals’ lineup. . . . Hannoun scored his seventh goal and added an assist.


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Hamilton talks a bit about lawsuit . . . Are Chiefs all-in on this season? . . . Pats player draws six-game suspension

Deer

We had some visitors to our backyard on Friday afternoon. Two does — one with two offspring, the other with one — stopped by to say hello and see how the hedge tasted. Oh, and the two moms also sampled what’s in the bird feeders. It’s amazing how their tongues fit perfectly in the slots in the feeders.



MacBeth

G Andrei Makarov (Saskatoon, 2011-13) has been placed on waivers by Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (Russia, KHL). In one game, he was 5.36, .786.


ThisThat

Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets and the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, was in attendance earlier this week when the Moose Jaw Warriors held their annual general meeting.

Among other things, the Warriors, one of the WHL’s four community-owned teams, MooseJawWarriorsrevealed a profit of $704,182 for the 2017-18 season and a bank balance of $1,157,466. As Marc Smith of discovermoosejaw.com reported, that bank balance is “after the team spent $233,648 on new boards and glass at Mosaic Place.” (Smith’s story on the annual meeting is right here.)

After the formal part of the meeting, Hamilton took part in an open session that also included Warriors general manager Alan Millar and head coach Tim Hunter.

According to Smith, Hamilton provided an update on the minimum-wage lawsuit that some of the CHL’s teams are facing. If you’ve tuned in late, some past and present players are involved in a class-action lawsuit asking, among other things, that teams pay minimum wage to players. The leagues/teams are fighting the lawsuit.

“We have legislation in every province now except Alberta and Ontario,” Hamilton said, referring to legislation to exempt teams from minimum-wage laws in some jurisdictions. “We anticipate Ontario when the new premier can find time to work towards that . . . we feel confident that it will go through; Alberta, we may need to wait until there’s an election there.”

Of the possibility that the teams could lose the lawsuit, Hamilton said: “It’s sad because if it came to be, it would really impact a lot of other sports and amateur athletics in Canada.”

According to Smith, Hamilton also said: “We’re confident that in the end, we’ll succeed, but how long it takes is the thing that probably wears people out a bit. But we can only do what we’re asked to by the courts and in the end our plan is to be successful and save the amateur status for the players.”

What I don’t understand is this . . . major junior players aren’t amateurs. They just aren’t.

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines amateur as “one who engages in a pursuit, study, science or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession.”

Over at dictionary.com, it’s “an athlete who has never competed for payment or for a monetary prize.”

Another online definition: “A person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid basis.”

By those definitions, there are few, if any, true amateurs left in our sporting world.

Major junior players already receive a stipend of some kind so they aren’t amateurs, something with which the NCAA obviously agrees.

So why not bring an end to all of this by negotiating a settlement, making certain that players receive, if not minimum wage, at least something from merchandise sales and cash cows like the World Junior Championship and Memorial Cup tournament?

If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of the book written by former NCAA and NBA basketball player Ed O’Bannon. It’s title is Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA.

Yes, comparing the CHL and its teams to the NCAA is in a lot of ways comparing apples and oranges. But O’Bannon’s book is all about the rights of a player to control his likeness — including in computer games — and there are similarities, for sure.

By the way, Smith’s piece on the hot-stove session is right here.


The WHL’s three other community-owned teams are the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos.

The Raiders held their AGM on Aug. 21 and declared a loss of $168,430 for 2017-18, after losing $250,850 in 2016-17. The Raiders made the playoffs last spring, but lost a seven-game first-round series to the Moose Jaw Warriors.

The Hurricanes’ AGM is scheduled for Sept. 17, with the Broncos’ on Sept. 25.

A year ago, the Hurricanes announced a profit of $737,710 for the 2016-17 season. In 2017-18, they reached the Eastern Conference final for a second straight season.

For 2016-17, the Broncos announced a profit of $135,922. That came after reaching Game 7 of a second-round playoff series. In 2017-18, the Broncos won the Ed Chynoweth Cup as playoff champions, so it will be most interesting to see what that has meant to the franchise’s bottom line.


If early indications mean anything, it would appear that the Spokane Chiefs are all-in on SpokaneChiefsthe 2018-19 WHL season. . . . It isn’t often that a WHL team keeps two 19-year-old goaltenders on its roster, but that’s the position in which the Chiefs find themselves after dropping Campbell Arnold, 16, from their roster. . . . The move left the Chiefs with a pair of 19-year-olds — Dawson Weatherill, who has rejoined the team after being in camp with the NHL’s Boston Bruins, and Bailey Brkin. . . . Weatherill made 46 appearances with the Chiefs last season, going 26-12-6, 3.09, .893. . . . Brkin got into 23 games with the Kootenay Ice (7-12-2, 4.51, .874) before being acquired by the Chiefs. In Spokane, he was 4-2-0, 2.59, .913 in seven games. . . . Arnold, a second-round selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, will remain on the Chiefs’ protected list. He played last season at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . .

Last season, the Chiefs, under head coach Dan Lambert, who was in his first season in Spokane, went 41-25-6 to finish third in the U.S. Division. They lost a seven-game first-round playoff series to the Portland Winterhawks.


F Brian Harris has joined the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders after being released by the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Harris, 19, is from Wawanesa, Man. . . . Last season, he had two goals and one assist in 49 games with the Oil Kings. In 2016-17, he had one goal in five games with Edmonton. He also played with Swan Valley that season, putting up 15 goals and 11 assists in 60 games. . . . He was an 11th-round selection by Edmonton in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . .

G Nick Sanders, 20, who was released by the Calgary Hitmen, has joined the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. Sanders missed a lot of last season due to hip problems, but he did get into 13 games with the Bobcats and four with the Prince Albert Raiders, who dealt him to the Hitmen. . . .

F Blake Bargar, 20, who played the past four seasons in the WHL, has joined the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild. Bargar, from Torrance, Calif., spent two seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors and one each with the Victoria Royals and Seattle Thunderbirds. In 238 regular-season games, he put up 19 goals and 23 assists.


The Moose Jaw Warriors now have four 20-year-olds on their roster after bringing in D Dalton Hamaliuk, who had been released by the Spokane Chiefs. Hamaliuk was in the Warriors’ lineup on Friday night for an exhibition game in Brandon against the Wheat Kings. He scored once in a 3-2 loss to the Wheat Kings. . . . From Leduc, Alta., Hamaliuk has six goals and 31 assists in 213 regular-season games, all with the Chiefs. . . . In Moose Jaw, he joins G Brodan Salmond, D Brandon Schuldhaus and F Tristin Langan in the competition for the three 20-year-old spots. . . . By the way, Schuldhaus will sit out the first three games of the regular season with a suspension left over from last season. He was suspended after taking a match penalty in Game 7 of a second-round playoff series with the visiting Swift Current Broncos on April 16.


D Parker Gavlas of the Regina Pats has been hit with a six-game suspension after taking a Patschecking-to-the-head major and game misconduct during an exhibition game against the host Saskatoon Blades on Thursday night. . . . Gavlas, 19, is from Saskatoon. He was pointless in eight games with the Pats last season. He had one goal and 11 assists in 35 games with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . The Blades won Thursday’s game, 3-2, to run their exhibition record to 6-0-0. . . . Gavlas sat out Regina’s final exhibition game — a 5-2 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night — and will miss the first five games of the regular season.


If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk — a walk, I should point out, that she is helping to organize — you may do so right here. Thank you!


There was an interesting development in the camp of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. They announced that, effective immediately, they will be much more specific when it comes to reporting player injuries. In other words, there won’t be any more lower-body and upper-body injuries in the Blackhawks’ injury reports.

They were as good as their word on Friday, too, with goaltender Corey Crawford speaking with reporters about a concussion he suffered last season. He admitted that he still has symptoms, so hasn’t yet been cleared to take part in training camp.


Riley Cote played four seasons (1998-2002) with the Prince Albert Raiders before going on to a pro career that included 156 regular-season NHL games. He was an enforcer with the Philadelphia Flyers, totalling one goal, six assists in 411 penalty minutes. . . . These days, the 36-year-old native of Winnipeg is “preaching the gospel of medicinal marijuana,” writes David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail. . . . Canada will legalize marijuana in October, and Shoalts also spoke with CHL president Dave Branch, who said that his organization is educating itself about what remains a banned substance. . . . Shoalts’s complete story is right here.


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Dewar goal gives Silvertips win in Game 1 . . . Wild goes home with Doyle Cup . . . Pistons push Hawks to the brink . . . Lots of coaching news

MacBeth

D Kirill Vorobyov (Portland, 2012-13) was traded by Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL) to CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) for cash compensation. This season, with Sibir Novosibirsk, he had four assists in 43 games while averaging 17:10 TOI per game. . . .

F Linden Vey (Medicine Hat, 2006-11) signed a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). This season, in 50 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL), he had 17 goals and 35 assists while averaging 21:52 TOI. He was second in the league in assists and fifth in the points race. . . . Vey finished the season with the ZSC Zurich Lions (Switzerland, NL A), recording two goals and four assists in 10 games. . . .

D Dmitri Sinitsyn (Regina, 2013-14) signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Novokuznetsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). He had signed with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL) for this season but missed the entire season due to injury. In 2016-17, he had nine assists in 42 games with Lada Togliatti (Russia, KHL), and one assist in nine games with Dizel Penza (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). . . .

F Lukáš Vantuch (Calgary, Lethbridge, 2005-07) signed a one-year contract with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had two assists in 29 games with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He also had a goal and two assists in three games on loan to Benatky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), and one goal and one assists in five games on loan to Piráti Chomutov. . . .

D Micki DuPont (Kamloops, 1996-2000) signed a one-year contract extension with Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL). He had seven goals and 16 assists in 52 games. . . .

D/F Sena Acolatse (Seattle, Saskatoon, Prince George, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, he had one goal and seven assists in 30 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL).


ThisThat

The Everett Silvertips drew first blood in the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final, for Everettthe Ed Chynoweth Cup, beating the host Swift Current Broncos, 2-1, on Friday night. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar (10) broke a 1-1 tie at 1:49 of the third period. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (14) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 14:43 of the first period. . . . The Broncos tied it at 11:26 of the second period on a goal by F Aleksi Heponiemi (4). . . . F Garrett Pilon had two assists for the winners, who got 34 saves from G Carter Hart. . . . G Stuart Skinner blocked 23 shots for Swift Current. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Steve Papp. . . . The Broncos took three of the game’s five minors. . . . Everett was 1-2 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-1. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Swift Current tonight (Saturday). . . . Everett now is 8-0 on the road in these playoffs.


The BCHL-champion Wenatchee Wild scored the game’s last five goals en route to a 7-2 Wenatcheevictory over the host Spruce Grove Saints, the AJHL champions, on Friday night. . . . The Wild won the best-of-seven Doyle Cup series, 4-1, and now advance to the Royal Bank Cup that opens in Chilliwack on May 12. . . . F Logan Ganie’s second goal of the game, at 1:00 of the second period, pulled the Saints into a 2-2 tie. . . . Wild F August Von Ungern broke the tie at 1:57 and the Wild never looked back. . . . Wenatchee will be the second U.S.-based team to play in the Royal Bank Cup; the Minnesota Wilderness of the Superior International Junior Hockey League got there in 2013.


In Nipawin, Sask., the MJHL-champion Steinbach Pistons scored twice in the third period Steinbachand took a 2-1 victory over the SJHL-champion Hawks on Friday night. . . . The Pistons hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series for the ANAVET Cup and a berth in the Royal Bank Cup. . . . The teams now head back to Steinbach for Game 6 on Monday and, if needed, Game 7 on Tuesday. . . . Last night, F Brandan Arnold gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead at 17:05 of the first period. That was his sixth goal — and 11th point — of the series. . . . The Pistons pulled even on F Drew Worrad’s goal at 3:58 of the third period. . . . F Jack Johnson broke the tie at 12:22 with his first goal of the series. . . . Steinbach G Matthew Thiessen stopped 24 shots, while Nipawin’s Declan Hobbs turned aside 34.


TheCoachingGame

The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs are to be the host team for the Royal Bank Cup tournament that runs from May 12 through May 20 at Prospera Centre. On Thursday, the Chiefs fired general manager/head coach Jason Tatarnic, replacing him with Brian Maloney, who had been the associate GM and associate head coach. . . . Tatarnic was in his fourth season with the Chiefs. This season, they finished 26-26-3-3, good for fourth place in the five-team Mainland Division. They went on to lose a first-round series to the division-winning Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . The change was announced with a three-sentence paragraph that was posted on the Chiefs’ website. The announcement didn’t mention Tatarnic. It ended with this: “President Glen Ringdal said the decision to elevate Maloney was made by Chiefs’ ownership (Thursday).” . . . The Chiefs are owned by Moray Keith, Jim Bond and Heinz Hasselmann, all successful Lower Mainland-based businessmen.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a look right here at the Tatarnic firing and a few other strange moves that have occurred of late in the world of junior hockey and the impact they could have.


Brad Berry, the head coach of the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, has signed a five-year deal that funs through 2022-23. Berry just completed his third season as the UND head coach and had one year left on his original four-year contract. . . . Major junior coaches will be interested in learning that the new contract gives Berry a base salary of US$400,000 per year. . . . College Hockey News has more right here.


Rob Wilson is the new head coach of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. He spent the past three seasons as head coach of the Nuremberg Ice Tigers of Germany’s DEL. . . . Wilson played part of one season (1988-89) with the Petes before going on to a pro career that included stops in North America and Europe. . . . Wilson replaces Andrew Verner, who had been the interim head coach since Jody Hull was fired in January.


Eric Veilleux is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, who will be the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup tournament. Veilleux, 46, has been an assistant coach with the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, for the past two seasons. He has previous QMJHL head-coaching experience with the Shawinigan Cataractes, helping them win the 2012 Memorial Cup as the host team. He also spent two seasons as head coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. . . . In Halifax, Veilleux replaces Jim Midgley, who was fired on April 25 after one season as head coach. The Mooseheads went 43-18-6-1 and finished fourth overall under Midgley, then lost a second-round playoff series to the ninth-place Charlottetown Islanders. He had been an assistant coach for five seasons with the Mooseheads.


Casey O’Brien has signed on as the head coach of the Melville Prairie Fire, a team in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League. O’Brien was fired this season as the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers.


Kelly Guard, a former WHL goaltender, has joined the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats as an assistant coach. Guard, 34, had been working as the Prince Albert Raiders’ goaltender coach. . . . Guard played two seasons (2002-04) with the Kelowna Rockets, helping them win the 2004 Memorial Cup.


The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have fired general manager and head coach Bill Rotheisler, who had one year left on his contract. . . . He just completed his second season with the Rebels. . . . “I don’t know what happened, to be honest with you,” Rotheisler told John Boivin of the Castlegar News. “I’m still waiting for my official papers that would explain the reason. I would love to provide you with an answer.” . . . Mike Johnstone, the team president, told Boivin that the board of directors “decided to go in a different direction.” . . . The Rebels finished this season in second place in their division, winning 30 of 47 games. They got past the defending-champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks in the first round of the playoffs, then lost a five-game series to the Nelson Leafs. . . . Boivin’s story is right here.