Dietrich leaves quite a legacy; ex-Wheat Kings captain dies at 59 . . . Byram fitting right in with Avalanche

Don Dietrich, a former defenceman with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings (1978-81) who went on to a pro career, died on Tuesday morning. From Deloraine, Man., and proud of it, he was 59.

He is survived by his wife Nadine and three sons — Tristan, Jake and Nick. The latter two, like their Dad, played in the WHL.

Tristan posted Tuesday morning on the Facebook tribute page that they recently started to honour their husband and father:

“We are sad to announce that Don, Dad, Dins, Beaker passed away this morning peacefully. He fought hard til the end. The ‘I Can’ in him stayed true right til the end.

“If ever having a hard day, remember it can always be worse. A bad day doing something you love is still better than a good day doing something you don’t. Keep your toes up ice! The golden rule must always be followed. Get the most out of life by finding out what you can do for others. Take a second to look at the man in the mirror. Be true to your self. Take ownership. Find a way to win.

“Don made sure he passed on lessons so he could live on in all of us. We love him. Will see him on the other side . . . just not yet . . . not yet.”

It has been almost five years since Randy Turner of the Winnipeg Free Press wrote a terrific piece about Don after a Molson Canadian promotion resulted in his being part of a group that got to play hockey on a frozen lake in the mountains near Invermere.

Dietrich, who was battling Parkinson’s disease and then was diagnosed with cancer, later told Turner: “I’ll put it to you this way. If there’s a heaven on Earth, I’ve been there.”

Turner’s story is right here.

If you paid any attention to the Don Dietrich tribute page over the past couple of weeks, it became readily apparent that Don had a positive impact on the lives of a whole lot of people.

There can be no doubt that he left this world a much better place today than it was when he first made his presence heard.

Sleep well, old friend. You were one of a kind. Finally, the pain is gone.


Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has taken a look at the WHL’s plans to get WHL2players back on the ice, with a particular focus on the five teams in the U.S. Division. . . . Those five teams are scheduled to begin games on March 19, with all games in Everett or Kent, and with the Portland Winterhawks practising in Vancouver, Wash. . . . At one point, Baker writes: “I’m told not all U.S. Division teams favored playing, which isn’t surprising given risks to players, aged 16-20, paid only nominal ‘stipends.’ There’s no TV revenue at stake and gate-driven WHL squads will lose a bundle by taking the ice.” . . . Officials with the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds told Baker that “their motivation is showcasing and developing players for NHL careers.” That, of course, is what everyone is saying. . . . According to Baker, the Silvertips will have their players in a bubble — “most likely in currently empty dormitories at Everett Community College.” The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, will have their players with billets. . . . As Baker writes, “We’ll see how effective one ‘bubble’ team is when playing others mingling daily with nonquarantined people.” . . . Baker’s complete story is right here.

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Meanwhile, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, held an in-person briefing on Tuesday. Asked when the WHL’s B.C. Division will be able to get its five teams playing again, according to Liza Yuzda of News 1130, she said that health officials “haven’t received an updated proposal in the last few weeks,” adding that they would be “happy to look at it.” . . . She also said that if the province continues on its present trajectory, she would hope for games in March or April.


The NHL announced a number of schedule changes on Tuesday, but also had another postponement on its hands. For the second night in a row, it had to postpone a game between the Nashville Predators and host Dallas Stars because of power-related issues in Texas all due to the inclement weather. . . . Former Lethbridge Hurricanes D Calen Addison made his NHL debut on Tuesday night as the Minnesota Wild played its first game since Feb. 2 because of protocols. The Wild dropped a 4-0 decision to the Kings in Los Angeles. . . .

The NHL had 22 players on its COVID-19 protocol list on Tuesday, with seven of them from the Philadelphia Flyers, who last played on Feb. 7 and are scheduled to play the visiting New York Rangers on Thursday. The Flyers, with seven players on the protocol list, practised on Tuesday after being off for a week. However, they had only 14 skaters, four of them from the taxi squad, and two goaltenders available.


News


The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs have had four players test positive and now have had four games postponed, including Tuesday game against the host Detroit Pistons. . . . The Spurs remain in quarantine in Charlotte, N.C., since playing the Hornets there on Sunday. . . . The Spurs were to have played road games against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, the New York Knicks on Saturday and the Indiana Pacers on Monday. . . .

Due to contact tracing, the Hornets’ next two games have been scrubbed. They were to have played at home against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday and the Denver Nuggets on Friday. . . . The NBA now has postponed 29 games for virus-related issues.


I have received a query from a WHL fan who has in his possession a black New Westminster Bruins sweater (No.22) from 1977-78 or 1978-79. He doesn’t know who wore it, although he wonders if it may have been Don Werbeniuk. . . . If you are able to help with some ID, please email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Dear hockey gods: We really, really need a best-of-seven series — a best-of- nine would be better — between the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights. Their game in Vegas on Tuesday, especially the third period, was hockey as art, even without fans. . . . D Bowen Byram, 19, made the play that led to Colorado’s winning goal late in the third period of a 3-2 victory. The former Vancouver Giants star played 25:03 last night, after going 23:07 in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over the Golden Knights. The Avalanche is without three defencemen — Cale Makar, Erik Johnson and Samuel Girard — but hasn’t missed a beat with Byram back there.


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Monday, 10:44 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,298 have died from coronavirus; 832,375 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Tuesday, 9:48 p.m. PT — Canada: 21,395 have died from coronavirus; 836,594 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Monday, 10:44 p.m. PT — United States: 486,321 have died from coronavirus . . . 27,692,967 have tested positive.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, Tuesday, 9:48 p.m. PT — United States: 487,927 people have died. . . . 27,753,824 have tested positive.

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NBC Montana — State Medical Officer Dr. Greg Holzman announced his resignation from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Thursday in a letter to new Director Adam Meier. . . . The announcement came one day after Gov. Greg Gianforte announced plans to lift the state’s mask mandate, which went into effect Friday.


Panel


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: Troy Gillard will be the interim play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels for the approaching 24-game developmental season. He takes over from Cam Moon, now the radio voice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Gillard, a familiar media face in Red Deer since 2006, has been the host of Rebels broadcasts since 2011. He will be joined on home games by veteran analyst Mike Moller. . . . You may recall reading there last week about the travels of former WHL star goaltender Taran Kozun. Well, add another chapter because he was released by the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears on Tuesday.


Diet

Tough COVID-19 day for NHL . . . WHL close to Saskatchewan return? . . . NLL gives up on having spring season

The NHL had a rough day on Wednesday as COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc with American teams.

The latest team to feel its bite is the Minnesota Wild, which has had its games NHLpostponed at least through Tuesday after adding five players to the COVID protocol list. Those five players — F Nick Bjugstad, F Nick Bonino, F Joel Eriksson Ek, F Marcus Johansson and D Jared Spurgeon — all played in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. . . . The Wild had put F Marcus Foligno on the list prior to Tuesday’s game. . . . The teams were scheduled to meet again on Thursday, but it will be the 18th game postponed this season which is barely three weeks old. . . . The Avalanche put F Tyson Jost on the COVID list on Wednesday. So a lot of eyes are watching the Avalanche as things move forward. . . .

As of Wednesday evening, the COVID protocol list included 40 players, 17 of them from the New Jersey Devils. They added three more players to the list yesterday. . . .

The Vegas Golden Knights returned to the practice ice on Wednesday morning, but head coach Pete DeBoer and assistants Ryan Craig and Ryan McGill weren’t there. Neither was D Alex Pietrangelo, who is on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. . . . The Knights, who haven’t played since Jan. 26, are scheduled to return Friday against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.


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The QMJHL’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Victoriaville Tigres have been put qmjhlnewinto 14-day quarantines, thus bringing to an end the four-team “protected environment” games that were being played in Chicoutimi. . . . The Tigres have experienced four positive tests so all players and staff are in quarantine. The Sagueneens had to follow suit having last played the Tigres. . . . The other two teams in the bubble — the Val-d’Or Foreurs and Gatineau Olympiques — met last night, instead of on Feb. 7 as had been scheduled, and the other games were postponed.


Conspiracy


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — As of 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 786,419 cases of COVID-19, with 49,562 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 20,215.

Public Health Agency of Canada, Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT —789,651 cases; 48,221 active; 20,355 deaths. 

CNN, Tuesday, 1:59 p.m. PT — 446,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

CNN, Wednesday, 6:14 p.m. PT 450,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

The National Lacrosse League announced Wednesday that it has given on plans to hold a shortened season this spring “due to uncertainties arising from the ongoing pandemic.” The league said it now will “move to start a traditional season in the fall of this year.” . . . In a news release, Nick Sakiewicz, the NLL commissioner, said: “We have gone through many scenarios, including playing a bubble season in Canada in April, but the logistical challenges, including the recently announced tighter travel and quarantine restrictions across the Canadian border have required us to pivot. We have decided to focus on playing a full season in our markets, starting in the fall of this year.” . . .

Hockey Calgary has cancelled the remainder of what it called its “traditional hockey season,” effective Feb. 3. It says it will focus on providing development. . . .

The American Collegiate Hockey Association has cancelled its 2021 national championship events for men’s Division 3 and women’s Division 2 due to the pandemic. . . . Craig Barnett, the ACHA’s executive director, said in a news release: “While we had hoped to have Nationals for both the M3 and W2 divisions this season, there simply are not enough teams playing at each level in the midst of the pandemic to warrant having a Nationals event.” . . . Brandon’s Assiniboine Community College Cougars play in the ACHA. . . .

From CBC Sports’ The Buzzer, by Jesse Campigotto: “All of (Thursday’s) Australian Open tuneup matches were cancelled. A worker at a hotel in Melbourne where some 600 players and support staff are quarantining tested positive for the coronavirus. So play was suspended for at least a day at the six warmup events currently taking place ahead of the Feb. 8-21 Grand Slam. Everyone is being tested before organizers decide what to do next.” . . .

B.C. School Sports has cancelled its 2021 winter season tournaments. The move was made official in a memo that went out to schools earlier this week. That means no provincial basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre this spring.


Child


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.


Tex

Everett captain gets NHL contract. . . . McKinstry details battles with concussions. . . . Blades continue to roll along


MacBeth

G Patrik Bartošák (Red Deer, 2011-14) has signed a contract beginning next season with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, in 45 games with Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he was 25-17-3, 2.20, .935, with one shutout. He led the league in save percentage. . . . http://iSport.cz reports that with the Třinec contract, Bartošák will make 700,000 Czech crowns (~$31,000 US) a month; 30,000 crowns (~$1,300 US) for each standing point; and 90,000 crowns (~$4,000 US) for each regulation win. . . . Czech Extraliga awards three points for a win in regulation, two points for an overtime or shootout win, one point for an overtime or shootout loss, and no points for a loss in regulation. . . .

F Spencer Machacek (Vancouver, 2005-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). He has 18 goals and 13 assists in 49 games. . . .

F Johannes Salmonsson (Spokane, 2005-06) has signed a two-year contract extension with Timrå (Sweden, SHL). He has three goals and 15 assists in 31 games.


ThisThat

The NHL’s Minnesota Wild has signed F Connor Dewar of the Everett Silvertips to a NHLthree-year entry-level contract. . . . Dewar, from The Pas, Man., was a third-round pick by the Wild in the NHL’s 2018 draft. The 19-year-old is the Silvertips’ captain. . . . This season, Dewar has career highs in assists (41) and points (75), in 54 games. He has 34 goals, four shy of his career high. . . . In 265 regular-season games, Dewar has 97 goals and 94 assists. . . . He has added 14 goals and 15 assists in 41 playoff games. . . . Everett selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.


F Mark Liwiski of the Kelowna Rockets has drawn a TBD suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct during a 4-3 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Sunday. . . . Portland F Seth Jarvis, who absorbed the hit from Liwiski, isn’t shown as being injured on the WHL’s weekly roster report that was issued on Tuesday. . . . Kelowna’s next game is scheduled for Friday against the Blazers in Kamloops. The teams also will meet on Saturday in Kelowna. . . . The Winterhawks are to meet the Cougars in Prince George on Friday and Saturday nights.

The WHL roster report is right here.


Ryely McKinstry was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the second round, 23rd overall, of the 2013 WHL bantam draft. A defenceman from Calgary, he played 43 games with the Giants — two in 2013-14, 30 in 2014-15 and 11 in 2015-16. . . . He didn’t play at all in 2016-17. . . . He had to leave hockey behind after playing one game with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers last season. . . . Yes, he was forced out of the game by concussions. Eight of them, by his count. . . . McKinstry has written a detailed account of what he’s been through and it’s all right here.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

D Brandon Schuldhaus scored twice to help the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 4-2 victory Saskatoonover the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Saskatoon (42-14-8) has won five in a row. . . . The Blades won for the 12th time in 13 games and clinched second place in the process. That gives them home-ice advantage in what almost certainly will be a first-round series with the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw (25-19-8) is third in the East Division, 14 points behind the Blades with six games remaining. . . . F Tristin Langan (48) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead just 56 seconds into the game. . . . Schuldhaus, who has seven goals, tied the game at 15:02, then put his guys out front at 6:24 of the second period. . . . F Justin Almeida (27) got the Warriors into a 2-2 tie, while shorthanded, at 11:55. . . . Blades D Dawson Davidson broke the tie with his 11th goal, on a PP, at 12:15. . . . F Kirby Dach (24) iced it at 19:17. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 26 saves. . . . G Brodan Salmond also stopped 26 shots for the Warriors.


G Ian Scott turned aside 24 shots to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 6-0 victory over PrinceAlbertthe visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . With the victory, Prince Albert (51-9-4) clinched the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy that goes to the WHL team with the best regular-season record. The only other time in franchise history when the Raiders had the league’s best record was in their Memorial Cup-winning season of 1984-85. . . . The Raiders’ first-round playoff opponent hasn’t yet been decided. . . . Swift Current (10-46-6), the WHL’s defending champion, has lost 15 games in a row (0-12-3). . . . The Raiders and Broncos will meet again Friday in Prince Albert and Sunday in Swift Current. The Broncos also will meet the Blades in Saskatoon on Saturday. . . . Scott put up his sixth shutout of the season and the ninth of his career. He has tied the franchise’s single-season record and shares it with Luke Siemens (2012-13) and Rejean Beauchemin (2003-04). . . . D Sergei Sapego (9) got the Raiders started at 5:30 of the first period. . . . F Dante Hannoun (29) made it 2-0 at 7:00 and the Raiders never were threatened. . . . F Justin Nachbaur, who turned 19 on Monday, added two goals, giving him 18, with F Aliaksei Protas (11) and F Eric Pearce (7) also scoring. . . . Hannoun also had two assists. . . . The Ice got 33 stops from G Riley Lamb. . . . The Raiders had D Max Martin back after he sat out six games, while F Parker Kelly returned after serving a three-game suspension.


FanClub
The booth belonging to the Kootenay Ice’s booster club looks as though it’s ready to lose its hockey team to Winnipeg.

G Jiri Patera put up his first WHL shutout as the Brandon Wheat Kings dumped the BrandonWKregularKootenay Ice, 7-0, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Brandon (30-24-8) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). The Wheat Kings moved into a tie with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Kootenay (12-42-10) has lost three in a row. It has been blanked five times this season, with three of them coming on home ice. . . . The Ice has two homes games remaining, on March 15 and 17, before it leaves Cranbrook for Winnipeg. . . . Patera, an 18-year-old freshman from Praha, Czech Republic, stopped 29 shots. He is 22-15-5, 3.20, .910. . . . The Wheat Kings got two goals from each of F Baron Thompson and F Luka Burzan. . . . Thompson, who has eight goals, made it 1-0 at 9:11 of the first period. . . . Burzan, who has 37 goals, upped it to 2-0 at 16:06. . . . F Ridley Greig (14), F Stelio Mattheos (41) and F Connor Gutenberg (15) also scored for Brandon, which is 1-1-1 on a six-game trip through the Central Division while the Tim Hortons Brier — the Canadian men’s curling championship — is being played in its home arena. . . . Burzan added an assist for a three-point game. . . . Kootenay D Martin Bodak has played his final WHL game. He is returning to his native Slovakia to write a mandatory high school exam, so will miss the Ice’s final four games. . . . Bodak, 20, put up 11 goals and 14 assists in 58 games this season. In 117 regular-season games over two seasons, he had 18 goals and 38 assists.


The Everett Silvertips erased a 1-0 deficit with three third-period goals and beat the host EverettSpokane Chiefs, 3-1. . . . Everett (45-14-4) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). It leads the Western Conference by two points over Vancouver, but the Giants have one game in hand. While Everett is idle tonight, the Giants are to meet the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Spokane (35-20-7) had points in each of its past six games (5-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (15) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:40 of the second period. He has goals in five straight games. . . . D Ronan Seeley got the Silvertips even with his first career WHL goal, at 1:38 of the third period. . . . F Dawson Butt (8) broke the tie at 3:33, and F Reece Vitelli (10) added insurance at 16:03. . . . Seeley, the 20th overall pick in the 2017 bantam draft, scored in his 48th career game, all of them this season. . . . Everett got 24 saves from G Dawson Wolf, who won for the 40th time this season. He now is 40-13-3, 1.71, .936. . . . G Bailey Brkin turned aside 24 shots for the Chiefs.


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