Name the former WHL goaltender who was among the Juno Award nominees that were announced on Tuesday? . . . That would be James Priestner, who played four seasons (2007-2010) in the WHL, doing time with the Kamloops Blazers, Brandon Wheat Kings and Prince George Cougars. . . . These days, Priestner is the leader of the Vancouver-based Rare Americans, a quartet that includes guitarists Lubo Ivan and Jan Cajka, and drummer Duran Ritz. . . . The Rare Americans are one of five Juno nominees as the Breakthrough Group of the Year. If you’re not aware, these are Canada’s music awards. . . . From the Rare Americans’ website: “Since their debut in 2018, the band has amassed over 500M global streams, 2+M social media followers, 1.3M Spotify monthly listeners and 800k YT subscribers, a 2020 Juno for their song ‘Brittle Bones Nicky’, a song featured in Warner’s Scoob! The Movie soundtrack, and a spot on Billboard Top 100 charts for their album RA2. They completely sold out their Spring 2022 US tour and nearly sold out their first Europe tour in June 2022, including performing at one of Europe’s premier festivals — PINK POP, headlined by Imagine Dragons, Metallica, Twenty one Pilots.”
Straight ahead for the Rare Americans is their Milk and Honey Tour. It opens on March 3 in Edmonton and runs through April 30 in Dublin, Ireland. They’ll make six stops in Canada and 20 overseas. They’ll be between Calgary (March 4) and Vancouver (March 18) dates when the Junos are handed out in Vancouver on March 13.
Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with some NFL-related numbers: “NFL regular season games accounted for 47 of the Top 50 telecasts from September 2022 — the start of the NFL regular season — through the end of 2022. And what were the other three TV shows that cracked that Top 50 List? . . . Ohio St./Georgia in the CFP Semi-Finals (ranked 26th); Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (ranked 27th); and Michigan/TCU in the CFP semifinals (ranked 30th).”
He added this, too: “In the first round of the playoffs, the Giants/Vikes game drew 33 million viewers while the smallest audience for one of those wild-card games was the Jags/Chargers game with a mere 22 million viewers. Last weekend, the Eagles/Niners audience was 47.5 million and the Chiefs/Bengals audience was 53.1 million viewers.”
Yes, the NFL is a TV juggernaut.
JUST NOTES — Wanting to go to Scottsdale, Ariz., for the Super Bowl? The average price per ticket on Stub Hub as of Tuesday morning was US$7,573. . . . The Montreal Canadiens wore those horrible baby blues last night as they entertained the Ottawa Senators. The Habs lost, 5-4, and now are 0-6-1 in those uniforms, while being outscored 31-14.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS — The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs are going to play out of a 3,000-seat arena in Brantford for at least the next two seasons (2023-25). That’s because the 19,000-seat FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton will be undergoing some serious renovations. The OHL last had a team in Brantford with the Alexanders from 1978-84. . . .
The Spokane Chiefs are holding Mike Babcock Bobblehead Night when they entertain the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday. The first 2,000 fans through the gates will get a bobblehead. Babcock was the Chiefs’ head coach for six seasons (1994-2000). He is second in franchise history in regular-season games coached (425) and victories (223). Don Nachbaur is No. 1 in both — 496 and 261.
TUESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
D Charlie Wright’s third goal of the season, just 15 seconds into OT, gave the Saskatoon Blades a 2-1 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Wright, 19, is in his fourth season with the Blades. He went into the game with four goals — none of them game-winners — in 164 regular-season games. . . . Wright made a rink-length dash down the left wing, cut around a defender and stuffed home the winner. . . . F Rylen Roersma (12) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 0:56 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon F Brandon Lisowsky (25) tied it on a PP at 12:17 of the third. . . . F Trevor Wong had two assists. . . . Saskatoon (30-11-4) moved into third in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the idle Moose Jaw Warriors. The Blades have three games in hand. . . . Brandon (19-21-6) is 10th, four points from a playoff spot. . . . The Wheat Kings were 8-15-2 when they fired head coach Don MacGillivray on Nov. 28. They are 11-6-4 since general manager Marty Murray went behind the bench. . . .
The Travellin’ Bedards stopped off in Red Deer long enough to help the Rebels set a single-game franchise attendance record and the 7,287 fans in attendance saw quite a game. . . . The Rebels, who led 2-0 before the game was three minutes old, had to come back with the game’s last two goals before they were able to beat the Regina Pats, 6-5, in OT. . . . F Ben King (9) scored twice for the Rebels, his second goal tying the game, 5-5, at 6:50 of the third period. . . . F Jhett Larson (12) won it at 2:16 of OT. . . . F Connor Bedard didn’t disappoint the fans as he scored once and added two assists. He ran his goal-scoring streak to 10 games (he has 21 in that stretch) and his point streak to 34. He leads the WHL in goals (43), assists (45) and points (88). . . . Regina also got four assists from F Tanner Howe, who has 53 points, 30 of them assists, in 44 games. He turned 17 on Nov. 28. . . . The Rebels (33-10-4) are second in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Winnipeg Ice. However, the Ice now has five games in hand. . . . Regina (22-21-3) is tied for seventh with the Swift Current Broncos, five points behind the Calgary Hitmen and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Rebels’ single-game attendance record had been 7,208 from a March 19, 2016 game in which the Rebels beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-2. That was the final game of the 2015-16 regular season. . . . The Travellin’ Bedards journey on to Calgary for a clash with the Hitmen tonight. The Saddledome’s capacity is 19,289. There were 90 unsold tickets as of Tuesday evening. . . . According to the 2021-22 WHL Guide and Record Book, the WHL’s single-game attendance record for an indoor game is 19,305. It was set on March 16, 2008 as the host Hitmen beat the Kootenay Ice (hey, remember them?), 6-1. . . . You may recall that the Pats and Hitmen drew 20,888 to McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Feb. 21, 2011, a game that Regina won, 3-2. . . .
F Luca Ciona, named team captain earlier in the day, scored twice to help the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in Kent, Wash. . . . Ciona, who has 21 goals, gave his guys a 2-1 lead at 19:11 of the first period and upped that to 3-1 at 9:04 of the second. . . . F Jared Davidson (27) had Seattle’s other two goals, including an empty-netter. He also had an assist. . . . Seattle (34-8-2) closed to within a point of the Western Conference-leading Portland Winterhawks. . . . Swift Current, which is 0-2-1 in the U.S., is tied with the Regina Pats for seventh in the Eastern Conference. . . . F Brad Lambert had one assist in his return to Seattle’s lineup after not playing since Jan. 14. He was sorting out some visa-related issues after being assigned to the Thunderbirds by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. He had been with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. This was Lambert’s third game with Seattle; he missed four games. . . .
The Prince Albert Raiders erased an early 1-0 deficit with five straight goals en route to a 6-3 victor over the Royals in Victoria. . . . F Jake Poole, who also had an assist, gave the home side a 1-0 lead with his 27th goal at 2:38 of the first period. . . . The Raiders, now 2-0-0 on their B.C. tour, responded with two goals before the period ended and three more in the second. . . . D Landon Kosior led the visitors with a goal, his 13th coming shorthanded, and three assists. . . . F Evan Herman (11) had two goals for the Raiders, including the empty-netter. . . . The Raiders (18-25-3) have won three in a row and are seven points from a playoff spot. . . . The Royals (14-29-5) are tied with the Kelowna Rockets for the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. Kelowna holds four games in hand.
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St. Paul’s Hospital
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