Oil Kings chasing WHL title tonight . . . Thunderbirds facing elimination for sixth time . . . Seattle captain draws two-game suspension

The Edmonton Oil Kings could become the WHL’s first playoff champion since EdCupthe spring of 2019 with a victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds tonight (Saturday).

The Oil Kings returned home Wednesday night after having won twice in Kent, Wash. — 4-0 on Tuesday and 3-2 earlier Wednesday. That put the Oil Kings in control of the series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with a 3-1 lead.

Keep in mind, however, that the Thunderbirds haven’t been an easy out in these playoffs. In fact, this game will mark the sixth time that Seattle will have faced elimination. Yes, the Thunderbirds are 5-0 in elimination games, having come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Portland Winterhawks and 3-2 against the Kamloops Blazers. In the process, the Thunderbirds became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road.

If they are to win this series, they’ll have to do it on the road, too. Because the arena in Kent is busy with high school graduation ceremonies, this series is running on a 2-2-3 format with as many of the last three games as needed to be played in Edmonton. Should a sixth game be necessary, it would be played on Monday with the Thunderbirds designated as the home team. If needed, Game 7 would be be played on Tuesday.

Seattle will be without D Tyrel Bauer, its captain and a dominating shutdown defender, tonight and again on Monday if there is a Game 6. Bauer, 20, who has signed with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, drew a two-game suspension for an early first-period hit on Edmonton F Brendan Kuny on Wednesday. Bauer was given an interference major and game misconduct on the play. Kuny received medical attention from personnel from both teams, was placed on a backboard, then removed from the ice surface on a stretcher and taken to an area hospital. He rejoined his teammates before the night was done and returned with them to Edmonton where he was examined by the team’s medical staff on Thursday. Kuny, a 20-year-old from Ardrossan, Alta., won’t play again in this series.

The Prince Albert Raiders hold the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions, having won it in 2019. The WHL was closing in on its 2019-20 playoff season when the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the remainder of the season late in March. There wasn’t a true regular season in 2020-21 — with teams playing an abbreviated development season — before things resumed in earnest last fall.

The Oil Kings are gunning for the organization’s first WHL title since 2014. They went on to win the Memorial Cup that spring, the last time a WHL team has won it.

The 2022 Memorial Cup is scheduled to run from June 20-29 in Saint John, N.B.

The only team assured a spot in the four-team tournament to date is the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. They were eliminated in the first round, then fired head coach Gordie Dwyer on May 26, replacing him with Gardiner MacDougall, the head coach of the U of New Brunswick Reds for 22 seasons. MacDougall is to return to the Reds when the tournament is over.

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Meanwhile, the OHL playoffs continued on Friday night in Windsor where the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Spitfires, 3-2, in OT. . . . F Will Cuylle gave Windsor a 2-1 lead at 12:41 of the second period, and the Spitfires nursed that edge into the last two minutes of the third period. . . . D Nathan Staios then pulled Hamilton even at 18:03 with G Marco Costantini on the bench for an extra attacker. . . . D Gavin White won it with his second goal of the playoffs, at 7:31 of extra time. The goal came 10 seconds after the conclusion of a Hamilton PP opportunity. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Hamilton on Sunday, with Game 6 scheduled for Monday in Windsor. . . .

In the QMJHL, the visiting Charlottetown Islanders scored four times in the second period on Thursday night and went on to beat the Shawinigan Cataractes, 7-0. . . . G Francesco Lapenna earned the shutout with 16 saves. . . . Shawinigan still holds a 3-1 lead in the series with Game 5 scheduled for Charlottetown tonight. . . .

Remember that all of these playoff games are being televised by TSN.


Jury


THE COACHING GAME:

The Kamloops Blazers announced on Friday that Mark Holick is leaving the Kamloopsorganization for “personal reasons” after one season as associate coach. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “Originally, the plan was for Mark to move his family up here. There were some schooling- and work-related situations with his wife and the roads closed there for half the winter. That didn’t make it easier. And there is a situation right now they’re dealing with that was just going to make that move impossible. When you added everything up, it just wasn’t going to work out with him and his family moving forward.” . . . Clouston said that the Blazers, who will be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament, are likely to hire two full-time assistant coaches before the 2022-23 season gets here. . . . Hastings’ story is right here. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen have signed assistant coach Matt Stajan to a two-year extension. A veteran of 1,003 regular-season NHL games, Stajan just completed his first season on Calgary’s coaching staff. He works alongside head coach Steve Hamilton and fellow assistant Trent Cassan. . . .

The Regina Pats have signed five members of the their hockey operations staff Reginato what the team referred to as “multi-year contract extensions.” . . . Assistant coach Brad Herauf is preparing for his eighth season with the Pats. A Regina native, he stepped in as interim head coach early in February and remained in that position through season’s end as John Paddock, the general manager and head coach, was sidelined with health-related issues. . . . Ken Schneider, the club’s other assistant coach, just completed his first season on the coaching staff. He previously had scouted for the Pats for three seasons. . . . Rob Muntain, the goaltending coach, is returning for his 12th season with the club. . . . Greg Mayer, the athletic therapist, is preparing for his 19th season. He is the longest-serving member of the hockey operations department. . . . Gord Cochran, the Pats’ equipment manager, will be back for his ninth season in Regina.


Beer


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Prince George Cougars have acquired F Chase Wheatcroft, 20, from the Winnipeg Ice for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft. Wheatcroft, from Calgary, was acquired by the Ice from the Lethbridge Hurricanes during the 2021-22 season. In 55 games, he totalled 16 goals and 22 assists. He added a goal and five assists in 15 playoff games. . . . Wheatcroft is the second 20-year-old forward picked up by the Cougars of late. Last month, they added Nolan Boyko from the Saskatoon Blades. He and Wheatcroft were teammates in Lethbridge at one point. . . .

Cole Waldie will be the play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars when another season gets here. The former radio voice of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings has joined the Cougars as their director or broadcasting, communications and public relations. Waldie spent the past three seasons with the Spruce Kings. He replaces Fraser Rodgers, who left after five years with the Cougars to return to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees as their vice-president of business operations and director of broadcasting, communications and public relations. . . .

A couple of interesting notes from the annual meeting of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. For starters, accountant Jason Traska reported that despite attendance being limited to 500 fans per game for a lot of the season the organization was able to pay off a $40,000 COVID-19 loan and have money left over. As well, the blog Rider News reported: “Oddly enough, overall attendance was down but beer sales were up, and that’s great news for the Fernie Brewing Company and anyone who sells Tylenol.” . . . Oh, and did we mention that seven people — yes, SEVEN — attended the AGM.


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.


Genie

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after a day full of football and glorious weather . . .

Scattershooting2


Research


So . . . some members of Canada’s goof troop say they again will be protesting whatever it is they don’t like in front of various hospitals today (Monday). . . . There aren’t words anywhere in the English language to describe how despicable these protesters are. We have friends who are doing a stint in Vancouver while John recovers from a kidney transplant. His wife is 61 years of age and as kind and gentle a soul as you would ever hope to meet. The last time the loonies protested in front of Vancouver General Hospital, she had to manoeuvre through the clown show in order to visit her husband and that just shouldn’t be allowed to happen. . . . Come on, people, be better than that. Take your protests somewhere else, like to the nearest landfill.


Another sign that the apocalypse is upon us . . .

Yes, Darren Steinke was in attendance. He’s got a blog entry and photos right here.


One more sign that the apocalypse is upon us . . .

If you watched the visiting Oregon Ducks upset the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon, you may have noticed that there didn’t appear to be many masks in the crowd of 100,482 fans. That’s because Ohio State doesn’t require fans to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test, and masks are only required in indoor spaces — like restrooms, suites and the press box. . . . “We’re leaving it up to our fans to be safe and responsible,” explained athletic director Gene Smith. . . . Yeah, because expecting people to be “safe and responsible” really is working well in this pandemic, isn’t it?


Robber


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on the NFL’s first Sunday of another season — “Pregame observation: Jimmy Johnson’s hair is in midseason form. And, is that the same Randy Moss who cave-manned the media throughout his career? Some see it as charm, I call it smarm.”

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Ostler, again: “How many pages are there on that flip chart the 49ers’ quarterbacks wear on their left wrists? It looks like they’re getting ready to order off the TGI Fridays menu.”


The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League informed fans on KrakenThursday that “starting Sept. 13, you must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine” in order to attend games. “By Oct. 24, you must be fully vaccinated.” This is, of course, by order of B.C.’s provincial health officer. . . . As the VIJHL pointed out, “These orders apply to everyone in this league: players, team staff, volunteers, executives, etc., and will apply to all spectators at VIJHL games as well.” . . . At the same time, the league has had to postponed the expansion Lake Cowichan Kraken’s first three games. Kevin Rothbauer of the Lake Cowichan Gazette reported that according to the league the decisions were made out of “an abundance of caution” following a decision by its COVID committee. . . . The Kraken was to have played three games by now — at the Westshore Wolves on Wednesday, versus the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Friday, and at the Kerry Park Islanders on Saturday. All three games were postponed.


Lego


By now you will be aware that Montreal’s Leylah Fernandez won over the world after losing the U.S. Open final in New York on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of 9/11. At the ripe old age of 19 — she hit that milestone on Sept. 6 — she took the microphone after the match and told the crowd: “I know on this special day it’s especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States. I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York has been the last 20 years.” . . . Did you know, though, that she also did post-match news conferences in English, French and Spanish?


Once a person learns to relax and take Twitter for what it is, it becomes a tremendous source of humour. . . . Example? . . . On Thursday, Larry Brooks of the New York Post tweeted that the NHL’s Rangers, among other things, were going to need proof of vaccine from fans 12 years of age and over wanting to attend games. . . . “What if my religion prevents me and my children from getting vax?” responded one fan. To which another answered: “Then it prevents you from going to Rangers games, too.” . . . Still another fan tweeted: “Ok and what about those who don’t want the vaccine? We can enjoy going to games?” That drew this response: “Enjoy the couch, get used to it.”


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “About the idea of banning air travel for the unvaccinated. Strikes me if you don’t believe science could develop a safe vaccine, you wouldn’t believe that science could make 100-plus tons of metal to fly passengers through the air safely either.”


Internet



The WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings have two home exhibition games on their Edmontonschedule, and announced on Thursday that fan’s won’t be allowed in Rogers Place for either contest. . . . The Oilers Entertainment Group will use the games, along with the Edmonton Oilers’ rookie game on Sept. 18, “to deliver staff and building operations training related to the updated venue protocols.” . . . The Oil Kings entertained the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday night and will meet the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Sept. 24.


The OHL postponed a Sunday afternoon exhibition game between the Guelph Storm and the host Mississauga Steelheads, but didn’t provide a reason for the decision. The postponement apparently wasn’t COVID-19 related.



The New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation has withdrawn two of its teams from IIHF world championships due to concerns about the pandemic. The U-18 women’s team was to have competed in the Division II Group B event in Turkey in January, while the U-20 men’s team was in the Division III tournament in Mexico, also in January. . . . As well, Iran has pulled out of the IIHF women’s world championship Division III Group B.



Ear


The Boston Red Sox simply can’t shake COVID-19. Now it’s starter Chris Sale who has tested positive. He missed his start on Sunday against the host Chicago White Sox. The Red Sox did get back SS Xander Bogaerts late in the week; he had been quarantining for 10 days in St. Petersburg, Fla. Over the past two weeks, the Red Sox have put 12 players on MLB’s COVID-19 list with 10 of them having tested positive. . . . RHP Nick Pivetta, a native of Victoria, came off the COVID list to make the start on Sunday for Boston. He allowed one unearned run on three hits in 5.1 innings as the Red Sox dropped a 2-1 decision.


JUST NOTES: Isn’t it about time that the Baltimore Orioles were relegated somewhere, like to High A or the Mexican League? . . . The best team in the CFL? Well, here’s Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson after his club was beaten 33-9 by the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg on Saturday: “Winnipeg is the class of the league right now. They are better than the rest of us and it’s by quite a bit.” The Bombers had won, 23-8, in Regina on Sept. 5. . . . Did fans of the Cleveland Browns really believe that they were going to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City even with that late lead? How many Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans jumped from the bandwagon when they were trailing the Bills 10-0 in Buffalo? . . . Famed documentarian Ken Burns has been putting together a four-parter on the life of Muhammad Ali for the past seven years. It debuts on PBS on Sept. 19 and continues each night through Sept. 22.. Enjoy!


Mime


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.

——

JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Calgary Hitmen have signed former NHL F Matt Stajan as an assistant coach. He replaces Joel Otto, an assistant for 15 years. According to a news release, Otto “is relinquishing his role on the coaching staff due to a hip injury that will not allow him to continue providing on-ice instruction.” . . . Stajan played in 1,003 career NHL games before concluding his playing career with Munich EHC in Germany’s DEL in 2018-19. He spent more than eight seasons with the Calgary Flames, whose parent company owns the Hitmen. . . . Stajan will work alongside head coach Steve Hamilton, assistant Trent Cassan and goaltending coach Brad Kirkwood. . . .

Steve Young, a former WHL player and coach, will spend this season as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Northern Bears, a female U-18 AAA team. Young, 52, was on the Prince Albert Raiders’ coaching staff for five seasons (2008-13). As a player, he split 200 regular-season games over four seasons (1986-90) between the Calgary Wranglers, Lethbridge Hurricanes, New Westminster Bruins, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert and Portland Winterhawks.


Wedding

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