COVID-19 takes beloved Regina sportscaster . . . Darby Mills loses her father, ex-General, to virus . . . Remember MacTavish vs. Harvey?

I spent 17 years in the Regina Leader-Post’s sports department and had the good fortune of spending time in Warren Woods’ company on more than one occasion. He really was one of those people who had the ability to lift a room. His smile. His laugh. His demeanour. He didn’t work at it; he was just Woodsy.

When you hear the name ‘Woodsy,’ you don’t picture some miserable SOB who prefers the clouds to the sunshine. You think of someone with a lifelong smile and an infectious laugh — well, Woodsy had the smile but his laugh was more of a cackle.

When I was told in early December that Woodsy was in a Regina hospital after having contracted COVID-19, I just knew that he would laugh/cackle and the virus would run for the hills. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Woodsy, 66, died in a Regina hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

The Regina sporting community — indeed, all of Saskatchewan — will be a long time getting over this loss.

Now . . . if you think this pandemic is a hoax, I’ve got news for you. It’s real and we’re in it for a while yet. So wear a mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Again and again and again. Just do your part.

Woodsy’s memory and those of so many others deserve nothing less.

If you didn’t know Woodsy, Rob Vanstone will introduce you to him via the tweet below.


Back in the day, Stan Mills played junior hockey with the Oshawa Generals, alongside the likes of Harry Sinden, Alex Delvecchio and Lou Jankowski. But you perhaps know more about Stan’s daughter, Darby, a Canadian rocker who came to fame with the Headpins. . . . These days, Darby is mourning the loss of her father. Stan, 90, who had dementia, died on Jan. 14 in a long-term care home in Vernon, B.C. He was a COVID-19 victim, gone five days after being diagnosed. . . . “He was a great man and he worked his whole life to supply his four children with everything he and mom possibly could,” Darby told Megan Turcato of Global News. “(He was) just a wonderful guy that we are all going to miss greatly, for sure.” . . . Having lost her father, Darby wants people to know that this pandemic is real. “Before you lose someone to this . . . wash your hands, throw on a mask,” she said. . . . Turcato’s story is right here, and there is a great photo at the bottom of it that shows Stan moments after scoring a goal against Guelph during the 1950-51 OHA season.


One of the great moments in NHL history occurred 18 years ago — on Jan. 20, 2003. That was the night when Craig MacTavish, then the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, reached up and . . . well, you should watch the video. . . . As a point of interest, the coach to MacTavish’s left, the gentleman wearing the headset, is Billy Moores, one of hockey’s truly good guys. Moores spent 17 seasons on staff with the U of Alberta Golden Bears, but left for one season (1985-86) to work as general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Regina Pats.


Beauty


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

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CBC News — The Dutch government has proposed the first countrywide curfew since the Second World War and a ban on flights from South Africa and the U.K.

Skylar Peters, CJOB Winnipeg — Manitoba is reporting 154 new cases of COVID-19, and 6 new deaths Wednesday. . . . Totals — Cases: 27,893 . . . Active: 3,137 . . . Deaths: 788 . . . Hospitalized (infectious/total): 129/273 . . . ICU: 25/36 . . . Winnipeg test positivity rate: 6.7% . . . Provincial test positivity rate: 9.5%.

CBC News — Saskatchewan is reporting 234 new cases of COVID-19 and  4 additional deaths. . . . Superspreader event at Saskatoon karaoke bar now linked to over 80 COVID-19 cases. Crackers Restaurant was closed after an outbreak linked to the establishment was declared Jan. 10.

CBC News — Alberta reported 21 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday and 669 new cases of the illness. Laboratories conducted about 14,900 tests over the past 24 hours putting the positivity rate at about 4.5 per cent.

Richard Zussman, Global BC — There are 500 new cases of COVID-19 in BC, for a total of 62,412 cases in British Columbia. There have been 14 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,104 deaths. There are 4,345 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. There are 320 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 66 of whom are in intensive care.

Daily Hive Vancouver — British Columbians petition government to close provincial border. . . . The petition asks Premier John Horgan to ban recreational travel into the province for one month to curb COVID-19 transmission at a time when officials believe new variants could be circulating in the community. . . . It has more than 5,000 signatures so far, and many of the supporters say they’re tired of seeing people from places like Ontario come to BC for vacation at a time when locals are adhering to public health restrictions.

CBC News — Ontario reports another 2,655 cases of COVID-19 and 89 deaths. 54,307 tests completed, 4.9% positivity rate.

CBC News — Quebec is reporting 1,502 new COVID-19 cases and 66 more deaths.

CBC News — The British diplomat whose kidnapping in 1970 by radical Quebec separatists triggered the October Crisis has died. James Richard Cross was 99. His death, from COVID-19 on Jan. 6, was confirmed Wednesday by his son-in-law, John Stringer. Cross spent 59 days in captivity after armed members of the Front de libération du Québec barged into his Montreal home on Oct. 5, 1970.

CBC news — New Brunswick Public Health reports 21 new COVID-19 cases, with new cases in five of the province’s seven zones, and declares an outbreak at a special care home in Edmundston.

CNN, Wednesday, 2:56 p.m. PT — 405,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Wednesday, 7:27 p.m. PT — 406,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Wednesday, 8:02 p.m. PT — The United States reported at least 4,229 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, the second highest number of new deaths in a single day since the pandemic began.

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The NHL has postponed the Carolina Hurricanes’ games through Saturday as the team deals with COVID-19 and protocols. The Hurricanes, who beat host Nashville, 4-2, on Monday, were to have played the Predators again on Tuesday but that game was postponed. Now two games against the visiting Florida Panthers that had been scheduled for Thursday and Saturday have been scratched and Carolina’s training facility has been closed. The Hurricanes next are scheduled play on Tuesday and Thursday nights when they are to entertain the Tampa Bay Lightning. . . .

Later Wednesday, the NHL added four players from the Washington Capitals, including F Alex Ovechkin, to the COVID-19 list and fined the team $100,000 for violating protocols. F Evgeny Kuznetsov, D Dmitry Orlov and G Ilya Samsonov also went on the list. The Capitals were fined for “social interactions among team members who were in close contact and who were not wearing face coverings.” . . . The players reportedly gathered in a hotel room during a recent road trip and that isn’t allowed under the NHL’s protocols. According to those protocols, each player is “required to stay in a single occupancy room, and no individual shall permit guests or other personnel in their room.” . . . Washington is next scheduled to play on Friday against the visiting Buffalo Sabres. As of Wednesday night it wasn’t clear if the four players would be able to play. . . . The Capitals share their playing facility with the NBA’s Washington Wizards, who were back at practice Wednesday after going through an outbreak that resulted in five postponements. . . .

The number of NBA postponements reached 16 on Wednesday when the league postponed that night’s game between the Memphis Grizzlies and host Portland Trail Blazers. . . . The Grizzlies were involved in contact tracing and didn’t have eight healthy players for the game. . . . Fifteen of the postponements have come since Jan. 10. . . . Whoops! Make that 17 total postponements. Late Wednesday night word came that Friday’s game between the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks has been scrubbed. The Wizards, who had six straight games postponed, have six players out because of protocols.


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Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

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Or, for more information, visit right here.

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Tears

Warriors’ GM pays price for getting tossed . . . Stankoven lighting it up for Blazers . . . Huskies howl for Houlder

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MacBeth

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Blackburn Hawks (England, National). He started the season with Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga), and had five assists in eight games. . . . He was released by mutual agreement on Dec. 27. . . .

F Jan Eberle (Seattle, 2006-08) has signed a two-year contract extension with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He has nine goals and seven assists in 32 games. . . .

D Nolan Yonkman (Kelowna, Brandon, 1996-2001) has signed a contract extension for the rest of this season with JYP Jyväskylä (Finland, Liiga). Yonkman had signed a two-month contract on Nov. 7 that took effect on Nov. 14. He has one assist in 12 games. . . .

F Björn Svensson (Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, 2003-06) has been released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga). He had five goals and 15 assists in 35 games. . . . No reason was given for the release, however Medveščak Zagreb is in financial difficulties and has been releasing players for financial reasons over the past month.

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ThisThat

Ch-ch-ch-ching!

Alan Millar, the general manager of the Moose Jaw Warriors, is a little lighter in the MooseJawWarriorswallet today after being fined $1,500 on Monday.

According to the WHL website, Millar was fined “for receiving a game misconduct” during Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings.

On the online scoresheet from that game there is this line: “GM Alan Millar issued game misconduct at second intermission.”

That penalty may have had something to do with a Brandon goal and a minor penalty, as described at discovermoosejaw.com by James Gallo, who also is the Warriors’ play-by-play voice:

“Brandon scored a controversial goal with just over three minutes left in the (second) period to make it 3-1.

“While on the power play, (Brandon’s) Ben McCartney took a shot from the bottom of the Warriors’ left circle. As the rebound came between the circles, Brandon’s Ridly Greig crashed the Warriors’ net and was on top of goalie Adam Evanoff. The play was allowed to continue and Baron Thompson scored.

“Brandon’s goal was allowed to stand even though Greig was issued a penalty for goalie interference on the play.”

Thompson’s goal gave Brandon a 3-1 lead and ended up being the game-winner.

Millar is the first GM to be fined since Stu MacGregor, then the GM of the Kamloops Blazers, was touched up for $500 for “actions following game versus Spokane” on Jan. 9, 2018.

The Warriors open a seven-game road swing tonight against the Kamloops Blazers. It could be that Millar will have a little less spending money than usual on this trek.

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The Kelowna Rockets played host to a news conference on Monday at which former KelownaRocketscaptain Josh Gorges announced his retirement as a player.

Gorges, who is from Kelowna, was a list player who went on to play four seasons (2000-04) with the Rockets. An intelligent, puck-moving defenceman, he was the team captain in 2003-04, when he also played for Canada at the World Junior Championship, helping win silver in Helsinki, Finland.

Gorges, now 34, went on to a pro career that included 783 regular-season NHL games split among the San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres. He played 34 games with the Sabres last season.

There has been speculation that the Rockets would be adding Gorges to head coach Adam Foote’s staff. The Rockets have had a vacancy since parting company with Travis Crickard on Dec. 8.

There was no such announcement Monday, however, as the spotlight was strictly on Gorges and his retirement. The Rockets will honour Gorges on Saturday prior to a game against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

Could there be an announcement made at that time?

There is more on Gorges’ retirement right here.

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During the news conference at which former WHL/NHL D Josh Gorges announced his retirement, Bruce Hamilton, the owner, president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, said he wasn’t about to have any comment on a proposed class-action suit that has been filed by James McEwan. Like Gorges, McEwan is a former Rockets captain.

“This press conference has nothing to do (with) nor will we have any statement with regards to the legal issue that (was) brought forward this weekend,” Hamilton said.

Megan Turcato of Global News in Kelowna has more right here.

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You can hardly blame fans of the Kamloops Blazers if they are licking their lips at the thought of watching F Logan Stankoven over the next three or four WHL seasons.

Stankoven, who will turn 16 on Feb. 26, is from Kamloops, and was selected fifth overall thompsonblazersby the Blazers in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

Last season, he put up 90 points, including 57 goals, in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Abbotsford, B.C.

This season, he is lighting up the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League with his hometown Thompson Blazers.

Stankoven set a franchise record for points in a season on the weekend. He leads the league with 63 points, including 36 goals, in 26 games. The Blazers’ previous record (59) was set by F Riley Nash in 2005-06. Nash has played 443 NHL regular-season games and now is with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Stankoven also leads the league in goals and is tied for the lead in assists, with 27.

The league record for goals in a season (44) was set by F Tyson Jost of the  Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. He did it in 36 games.

The record for points in one season is held by F Alex Kerfoot, who put up 108 in 38 games with the Vancouver NW Giants in 2010-11. F Mathew Barzal had 103 in 34 games with the Vancouver NE Chiefs in 2012-13, and F Jordan Weal got to an even 100 points in 40 games with the Vancouver NW Hawks in 2007-08.

Of course, Jost and Kerfoot now are with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, while Barzal is with the New York Islanders and Weal is with the Arizona Coyotes.

Stankoven has played one game with the WHL’s Blazers this season, picking up an assist in a 5-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Oct. 19. He may have been the best of the Kamloops forwards on that night, too.

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The Grimshaw Huskies of the North Peace Hockey League honoured F Terry Houlder by retiring his number on Saturday night. According to NPHL stats guru Chris Clegg, Houlder put up 1,763 points in 669 regular-season games, plus 382 in 176 playoff games. He finally retired after turning 50. . . . Houlder, now 52, played three seasons (1984-87) in the WHL, the first two with the Lethbridge Broncos and the last one with the Calgary Wranglers. He enjoyed seasons of 88, 105 and 105 points. . . . Please read the thread on the above tweet for a whole lot more about Houlder and the game of senior hockey.

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One day after completing parent’s weekend, the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League tweeted on Monday that “as of today, Mark Chase has been relieved of his duties” as the team’s general manager and head coach. . . . The Coyotes are 13-21 with two ties and one OTL. They are third in the five-team Okanagan Division. . . . Chase was in his first season with the Coyotes after spending two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . Chase is from Kamloops, where he was the GM/head coach of the major midget Thompson Blazers from 2013-15. . . . The Coyotes are expected to announce an interim head coach today.

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