Bardsley leaving Blazers after three years . . . Dillabough makes retirement official . . . QMJHL final ready to go


Citing family reasons, Matt Bardsley announced his resignation as the Kamloops Blazers’ general manager on Tuesday morning.

Bardsley, who left the Portland Winterhawks to sign with the Blazers on June 1, Kamloops2018, said in a news release: “This was a very difficult decision for me and my wife, but one we needed to make for our young children. When we moved here in 2018, we planned on making this our home for many years. Unfortunately because of COVID-19, it has restricted our ability to see our family as they reside in the United States.”

Bardsley, 50, grew up in San Jose. He and his wife, Stacy, have two children — Brooke, 5, and Vince 2, who was born in Kamloops. There are grandparents in California and Oregon, who, as Bardsley explained to Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week, haven’t seen their grandchildren in more than a year. (Hastings’ story is right here.)

“We’re not sure when things are going to change,” Bardsley told Hastings, “but we just felt it was the right decision to make for our family, for the kids, and if we were going to make it, it was right for the organization to do it now, rather than wait until August or September to see where things are at and change then. . . . In the states, it’s a lot more mobile right now. If we are in Portland, Washington or California, we know we can still get to and from to see family, as opposed to waiting to see when things will be lifted.”

Before signing with Kamloops, Bardsley had spent almost 20 years with the Winterhawks, starting as an area scout in 1999. He took over as director of player personnel inn 2007 and was named assistant general manager in 2013.

With Bardsley in the GM’s office, the Blazers had a regular-season record of 87-54-12; he was the Western Conference’s executive of the year for 2019-20. The Blazers won B.C. Division titles each of the past two seasons but, of course, there weren’t any playoffs in the spring of 2020 and the recently completed 2020-21 season was only for developmental purposes.

So now the two WHL teams that finished on top of the U.S. Division and B.C. Division in the 2020-21 developmental season each is without a general manager.

Last week, the Everett Silvertips parted company with Garry Davidson after a nine-year relationship. The Silvertips said that not renewing Davidson’s contract was part of a restructuring process brought on by the pandemic’s impact on the past two seasons. Perhaps they are going to go outside hockey’s box and not have a general manager.

Bardsley told Kamloops media that he doesn’t have a job to go to, nor does he have any immediate plans. He had three years left on his contract with the Blazers, so another team would have to ask permission before being able to speak with him about employment.

According to Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV, Bardsley said that he’s “not sure what is next for me at this time.”

Klassen’s story is right here.


It’s hard to imagine the Brandon Wheat Kings without Rick Dillabough, the Brandonhardest worker in all of the WHL, not in their office. But he has made his retirement official, writing on LinkedIn that “after more than 30 years of wonderful memories and service to this great organization, I have decided to step down from my position of Director of Business Operations, Sales and Sponsorship with the Brandon Wheat Kings.”

He added: “I can’t describe how exciting it was to be a part of so many highlights over the years. Two WHL championships, three trips to the Memorial Cup and, of course, having the opportunity to be a member of the host committee that brought the Memorial Cup to Brandon and Manitoba for the first time ever.

“I want to especially thank Kelly McCrimmon for seeking me out in 1989 and inviting me to embark on what turned out to be an incredible journey through the WHL.

“Off the ice, some of my proudest days were having the chance to work with so many talented people. From the coaches, the players, the management and staff, I feel fortunate to have spent so many years with some of the brightest minds in the game. What made it more special is that you always felt that you were a member of a big family — one that worked, supported, cheered and celebrated one another.

“My wife and I will continue to call Brandon home and I look forward to seeing what life has in store.”

So . . . what’s ahead for Dillabough? Well, a source familiar with the situation told Taking Note that Dillabough “is looking forward to retirement and helping his neighbour with his horses.”

Hey, Rick, that sounds like a plan. Enjoy!


Bond


Meanwhile, on the COVID-19 front, the province of B.C. unveiled a four-stage re-opening plan on Tuesday. If all goes according to plan, indoor sports could be permitted to play before live crowds starting on Sept. 7. . . . In making the four-stage announcement, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said: “Once we get to September, if the data still shows that we’re on the right track, we can have larger gatherings where we can have audiences.”

Of course, that is more than three months away and a lot can happen between now and then, as we have seen in recent times. But we still are allowed to hope that more and more people get fully vaccinated so that by then we are allowed to begin building what will be our new normal.


The Victoriaville Tigres beat the host Charlottetown Islanders, 2-0, on Tuesday night to advance to the QMJHL final where they will meet the Val-d’Or Foreurs. . . . Victoriaville won the last two games of the best-of-five series for a 3-2 victory. . . . The Foreurs are 9-0 in these playoffs; the Tigres are 9-2 with both losses coming in OT. . . . The Islanders had finished with the QMJHL’s best regular-season record (35-5-0). Geoffrey Brandow notes that this will be the “first time the No. 1 seed has not competed in the championship series since 2003.” . . . In the regular season, the Foreurs finished 29-3-4, second to the Islanders, while the Tigres wound up 16-9-1. . . . The best-of-seven final is scheduled to open Thursday in Val-d’Or.


Robot



Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

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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

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs have signed head coach Steve Hartley, 35, to a five-year contract extension through 2025-26. He and general manager Philippe Boucher now have matching contracts in terms of length. Hartley, who has been with the Voltigeurs for five seasons, is the son of former NHL coach Bob Hartley, who is the head coach of the host Latvian team at the IIHF World championship in Riga. Bob also is head coach of Avangard Omsk, which won this season’s KHL championship. Steve was an assistant coach for two seasons in Drummondville before moving up for 2018-19. . . . The SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers have signed assistant coach/marketing director Cole McCaig to a two-year extension and also named him assistant general manager. McCaig, who played 123 games with the Bombers over three seasons (2011-14), has been on staff for three seasons. Jon Klassen, who had been the AGM, has moved over to become director of player personnel. . . . Mark Readman, who had been the associate general manager/associate coach with the Creston Thunder Cats, is the new head coach and assistant GM of the Princeton Posse. The junior B teams both play in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Mark McNaughton, the Posse’s previous head coach, remains as the general manager. . . . Ray Tremblay has signed on as the first general manager and head coach of the junior B Lake Cowichan Kraken of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Tremblay, 35, was the head coach of the Danville, Ill., Dashers of the Federal Prospects Hockey League in 2019-20.


Jesus

CHL lawsuit settlement rejected by two judges . . . Third QMJHL team has positive test . . . NHL postpones two events

It was May 17 when the CHL announced that it had agreed to a $30-million settlement in a class-action lawsuit that had been brought against it. The lawsuit asked that teams be forced to pay their plays minimum wage.

Under terms of the settlement, the CHL would pay out $30 million by Oct. 20, 2020, with no legal obligation to treat players as employees.CHL

Two WHL teams, the Moose Jaw Warriors and Prince Albert Raiders, told shareholders at their annual general meetings that they had paid $180,846 and $166,667, respectively, as their parts of the settlement.

Well . . . it turns out that the lawsuit is anything but settled; in fact, it is very much alive.

On Thursday, two judges rejected the settlement.

According to Rick Westhead of TSN, Madam Justice Chantal Corriveau, a Quebec judge, “wrote the settlement terms were overly broad and may give the CHL too much protection from liability for conduct that falls outside the claims alleged in this case.”

Westhead added, via Twitter, that the judge “suggested sides file new settlement with amended terms and noted in her decision the CHL faces at least 3 other legal cases — a proposed class action over concussions, and other cases involving alleged abuse and violation of anti-competition laws.”

Meanwhile, Westhead reported, Ontario Justice Paul Perell “also rejected the minimum-wage lawsuit settlement, saying if it was approved, it might prevent current/former players from suing the CHL in other class actions for compensation for significant injuries.”

Westhead added that “Justice Perell wants a renegotiation of the settlement agreement and seems to take issue with how much money lawyers working on the case were to collect.”

In his decision, Perell wrote: “In the immediate case, Class Counsel had far more to gain ($9M) than the $8,381 net recovery of a class member . . .”


The QMJHL has had a third team hit with a positive test for the coronavirus. qmjhlnewThis time the Drummondville Voltigeurs had a player test positive, so all in-person activities have been halted while other players and staff are tested. . . . The league’s Quebec-based teams have been in a holding pattern since Oct. 14 because of rising numbers in the province. Activities have been halted until at least Oct. 28. . . . Earlier this month, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada had 18 positives, with the Sherbrooke Phoenix being hit with eight. The teams had met in a doubleheader on the regular season’s first weekend. Two on-ice officials who worked in those games also tested positive.


Cheese


With the WHL and its teams focussed on opening their regular season on Jan. 8, Saskatoonthe Saskatoon Blades are exploring a number of seating plans for their home games, all of them with the assumption that they will be allowed to have fans in attendance. The unknown, of course, is just how many fans will be at their home-opener, whenever that may come. . . . Ryan Flaherty of Global-TV Saskatoon checked in with Tyler Wawryk, the Blades’ director of business operations, and that piece is right here.


Former WHLer JC Lipon is spending this season with the KHL’s Dinamo Riga, meaning his home base is in Latvia. From Regina, Lipon spent four seasons (2010-13) with the Kamloops Blazers before ending up in the Winnipeg Jets’ organization. So how did he end up in Riga? . . . Read all about it, in his own words, right here.


Congrats


The Ukrainian Hockey League began its 2019-20 season on Sept. 14, 2019; it ended it on Tuesday when HK Kremenchuk won the championship, beating Bily Bars, 3-2 in OT, in Game 7 of the final series. When Kremenchuk captain Nikolai Kiselyov scored the winner on a PP, it was the first time his team held the lead in Game 7. . . . As for the 2020-21 season, well, it’s scheduled to get started next week. . . . Andy Potts has more right here.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NHL has postponed its 2021 Winter Classic and All-Star Game. The Winter Classic had been scheduled for Jan. 1 at Target Field in Minneapolis, with the All-Star Game in Sunrise, Fla., on Jan. 30. . . . The NHL continues to have a target date of Jan. 1 for the start of its next regular season. . . .

In what we used to see as normal times, more than 250,000 people would file through Macy’s store in New York City every Christmas just to visit with Santa Claus. That won’t happen this time because, for the first time in 160 years, Mr. Claus won’t be there. Yes, this grinchy pandemic has claimed another tradition. . . . There is more on that story right here. . . .

Emily Potter, a pro basketball player from Winnipeg, has tested positive in the Czech Republic where she plays for KP Brno. Potter, 25, attend the U of Utah and is involved in the Canadian national women’s team program. She tested positive this week with the league already shut down following a nationwide lockdown. So far, the head coach, a manager and two of her teammates also have tested positive. . . . Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun has her story right here. . . .

Massachusetts’ Public Health Department has shut down indoor arenas and skating facilities for two weeks due to rising coronavirus cases. Kaitlin McKlnley Becker of NBC Boston reported that “health officials say the order is in response to multiple COVID-19 clusters occurring at rinks throughout the state following games, practices and tournaments. . . . In Massachusetts, there have been at least 30 clusters of COVID-19 associated with organized ice hockey activities involving residents from more than 60 municipalities. Each of these includes two or more confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases, totalling 108 confirmed cases.” . . . The shutdown doesn’t impact collegiate or professional hockey. . . .

In a cost-cutting measure brought on by the pandemic, Michigan State said Thursday that it will drop men’s and women’s swimming and men’s and women’s diving after the 2020-21 season. . . .

The NFL may be on the verge of moving another game. The Las Vegas Raiders have moved two OL to the COVID-19 list, so many not have enough eligible for Sunday’s scheduled game against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rules call for teams to dress eight OL per game. At the moment, the Raiders only have seven available. . . . The game already has been moved once. It was to have been played Sunday night, but the NFL moved it to the late afternoon slot the Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals to the night game. The NFL wants to guarantee that there is a game for Sunday Night Football.


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 BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers have signed D Gianni Fairbrother, 20, who played the past three seasons with the Everett Silvertips. From North Vancouver, B.C., he was a third-round pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2019 NHL draft. . . . Mark Readman has joined the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League as assistant general manager and assistant coach. Readman, 25, spent last season as head coach of the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks of the junior B Northwest Junior Hockey League. In Creston, he will work alongside GM/head coach Bill Rotheisler.


Perfect