Junior hockey, CFL looking for help . . . Hlinka Gretzky Cup done . . . Pro-junior agreement extended one year


Mike Hawes, the general manager of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings, has told Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen that the pandemic has cost the league’s teams about $3 million in ticket sales and sponsorships. . . . Clarke also wrote: “Teams have been granted the option to opt out of (the) league for next season to allow them a year to restore operating budgets, but Hawes said none have yet indicated they plan to do that.” . . . The 18-team league announced in January that it was cutting its regular season from 58 games to 54. According to Clarke, it hopes to open on Sept. 18, but it has “alternate plans for 50- or 46-game seasons, depending on when COVID-19 restrictions on crowd gatherings are lifted.” . . . Clarke’s complete story is right here.

——

ICYMI, the afore-mentioned Ted Clarke is the winner of the 2019-20 Fred (Gus) Collins Award. According to a news release: “The award is handed out annually to a member of the media who works tirelessly covering Canada West and it student-athletes, and is named in honour of the late Fred (Gus) Collins.” . . . Collins was a longtime member of the Winnipeg Tribune and Calgary Herald sports departments. He covered university sports as a reporter and also was a longtime statistician with university sports in the west. . . . Clarke has covered the UNBC Timberwolves for 20 years, the last eight of them in Canada West. . . . The complete Canada West news release is right here.


Meanwhile, the junior B Kootenay Junior B International Hockey League announced Tuesday that it “will be seeking financial assistance from the provincial and federal governments” to help the 20-team league get through the pandemic. . . . The KIJHL has 13 community-owned teams and seven that are privately owned. Of its 20 teams, 19 are in B.C., the exception being the Spokane Braves. . . . According to a KIJHL news release, the league “has already experienced heavy financial losses due to the virus and expects continued challenges when play resumes. For that reason, the league is looking to the provincial government for support, and will also hope to tap into a program announced by the federal government that has earmarked $500 million towards arts, culture and sport organizations.” . . . Earlier, the junior A BCHL said that it will be looking for help from that same program. . . . The KIJHL’s news release is right here.


The CFL also is looking for some financial help from the federal government. From a report by The Canadian Press: “CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie told The Canadian Press on Tuesday that the league’s proposal involves three phases: $30 million now to manage the impact the novel coronavirus outbreak has had on league business; additional assistance for an abbreviated regular season; and up to another $120 million in the event of a lost 2020 campaign.” . . . The CFL season had been scheduled to open on June 11, but that won’t happen. The league now hopes to begin play early in July.


Elected


Hockey Canada has confirmed the speculation by officially announcing the cancellation of the eight-country Hlinka Gretzky Cup, the U-18 tournament that was to have been played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 3-8. . . . While Hockey Canada pinned the blame on the pandemic, it’s no secret that the building in Edmonton will need to be ready in case the NHL is able to return to play. . . . The 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup is scheduled for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, before returning to Edmonton and Red Deer in 2022. . . . The 2021 World Junior Championship, which is to run from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, also is to be played in Edmonton and Red Deer.



We could be watching baseball on TV next week, as South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reports that ESPN and the Korean Baseball Organization are closing in on a deal. . . . The KBO season has been on hold but is scheduled to start on May 5. . . . The Korean league began two weeks of exhibition play on Tuesday without fans in stadiums. According to an Associated Press report from a game in Seoul: “Umpires wore masks and gloves, and some coaches and team staff wore masks in the dugouts. Some of the players and a coach wore messages on their caps that read ‘Corona 19 Out.’ ” As well, all people entering the stadium had their temperatures checked. . . . Oh, and one other thing — there is to be no spitting. That will be interesting because spitting has been around baseball as long as dirt. . . .

Perhaps forgotten in all of the news about postponements and cancellations in the sporting world is that the AHL season also is on hold. The AHL shut down on March 12, the same day that the NHL hit the ‘hold’ button. The Associated Press reported Monday that the AHLis “quite likely” to cancel the remainder of its season. In its report, the AP quoted a person with direct knowledge of discussions. The 31-team league responded by saying there is “nothing imminent” in terms of an announcement. . . .

With the government of France having banned public gatherings until mid-July, the French Grand Prix, scheduled for June 28, has been cancelled. Formula One now hopes to get its season started with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5. . . .

I would suggest that tennis star Rafael Nadal gets it. In a story that appeared in newspapers in Spain on Monday, he was quoted as saying: “I don’t think training would be a problem, but competing . . . I see it very difficult. It’s a moment to be responsible and coherent, so I don’t see how we can travel every week to a different country.” . . . To this point, both tennis tours are on hold until at least mid-July. . . .

Argentina’s soccer federation, on hold since March 15, has cancelled the remainder of its 2020 season. It is hoping to get its 2021 season started in January. . . .

The Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede that was to have been held July 22-25 has been cancelled. . . .

The Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was to have included Canada’s Larry Walker, still is scheduled for July 26, but that may change this week after directors hold a virtual meeting. . . .

NASCAR, idle since March, hopes to get its schedule rolling on May 17 at Darlington, S.C., with the state having relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.



The NHL’s board of governors has approved extensions of its player development agreements through the 2020-21 season. That includes the pro-junior agreement with the CHL that covers the OHL, QMJHL and WHL. . . . With that agreement staying in place, it means that nothing will change for a 19-year-old player who signs an NHL contract; he will have to play with the NHL team or be returned to the major junior club. There had been speculation that a new agreement might include an option that would allow a signed 19-year-old to play in the AHL, something the NHL has been wanting for a while now.


MonaLisa


Brady Leavold played 200 regular-season WHL games over five seasons (2003-08), splitting time with the Swift Current Broncos and Kelowna Rockets. However, his page at eliteprospects.com or hockeydb.com doesn’t begin to tell the story. . . . That’s because those pages only include hockey-related numbers, and nothing to do with addiction or rehab. Gare Joyce has written Leavold’s story right here and, well, it isn’t pretty, but it’s worth a read.


Marty Murray has left the NAHL’s Minot Minotauros to take over as general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. . . . Murray, who spent four seasons (1991-95) playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings, had spent more than eight seasons as Minot’s GM/head coach. . . . Murray, 45, was with the Minotauros from the start, beginning as an assistant coach and moving up to GM/head coach midway through the franchise’s first season. . . . The Minotauros immediately named Shane Wagner, who had been Murray’s assistant coach, as their head coach. Wagner has spent three years in Minot. . . . In Sioux Falls, Murray takes over from Scott Owens, who retired after five seasons there. . . . Minot’s complete news release is right here.

——

The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have signed associate coach Jeremy Blumes to a two-year contract. He spent the past two seasons as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Golden Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . In Nipawin, Blumes will be working with GM/head coach Doug Johnson.


ToBe

No surprises from Bettman in front of MPs. . . . Fix-Wolansky turns into Monster. . . . Nyren to undergo psychiatric assessment


MacBeth

D Martin Gernát (Edmonton, 2011-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had eight goals and 12 assists in 48 games. . . .

F Brandon Kozun (Calgary, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia, KHL). This season, with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (Russia, KHL), he had 19 goals and 22 assists in 52 games. He led his team in goals, and was tied for the team lead in points. . . .

F Malte Strömwall (Tri-City, 2011-13) has signed a one-year contract with Sochi (Russia, KHL). This season, with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga), he had 30 goals and 27 assists in 52 games. He led the league in goals and points. . . .

G Patrik Bartošák (Red Deer, 2011-14) has signed a two-year contract with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he was 26-21-0, 2.17, .935, with one shutout and one assist in 47 games. He led the league in save percentage. . . .

D Vojtěch Budík (Prince Albert, 2015-18) has signed a one-year plus option contract with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two assists in 34 games. On loan to Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had one goal and one assist in three games. . . .

D Paul Postma (Swift Current, Calgary, 2004-09) has signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia, KHL). This season, with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL), he had eight goals and 20 assists in 57 games.


ThisThat

Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, appeared on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday to appear before a committee of Members of Parliament who are studying sports-related concussions. . . . “Sure, Bettman has been on the job more than 26 years,” writes Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star. “He’s been an honoured member of the hockey hall since he was inducted last fall. But Wednesday confirmed they didn’t put him there because he benevolently served the good of the sport, its players and its future. They gave him the blue blazer and the ring because he profitably grew the business of his employers. And the business of his employers is clearly still served best by concussion denial.” . . . Feschuk’s column is right here.


The WHL announced its individual award winners, all-stars teams and more on Wednesday in Red Deer. You will find all of that information on the WHL’s website at whl.ca.

The annual bantam draft is scheduled to begin bright and early today (Thursday) in Red Deer. You won’t find much draft coverage here because it’s something that I just don’t spend a lot of time following.



F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings will finish his season with the Cleveland EdmontonOilKingsMonsters, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. . . . Fix-Wolansky, an Edmonton native, will turn 20 on May 26. The Blue Jackets selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2018 draft and have signed him to a three-year entry-level contract. . . . This season, his third with the Oil Kings, he had 37 goals and 65 assists in 65 regular-season games. In 206 career regular-season games, he has 245 points, including 93 goals. . . . He wasn’t in Cleveland’s roster last night as it dropped a 5-2 decision to the Marlies in Toronto in Game 1 of a playoff series.


Giffen Nyren, the former WHL defenceman who is facing charges after a youngster was taken from his mother on Sunday at a Kelowna beach, appeared in court on Wednesday and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment. . . . Nyren, 30, is facing one count of assault and one count of willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer. . . . He remains in custody and is to be back in court on May 15. Nyren’s mother was in court when he made his appearance yesterday. . . . Doyle Potenteau of Global TV has more right here.


Taking Note has been told that veteran coach Barry Wolff will be joining the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials as their general manager and head coach. . . . After spending five seasons (2013-18) with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, one as head coach and four as general manager/head coach, Wolff spent this season as GM/head coach with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. They lost Game 7 of the championship final to the Portage Terriers. . . . Wolff has had previous BCHL stints with the Quesnel Millionaires, Langley Hornets and Langley Chiefs. He also has coached the junior B Fernie Ghostriders, the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard and the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. . . . In Merritt, Wolff will replace Joe Martin, who left to take over as GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Thank you very much.


Aaron Schulze of northeastnow.com reported Wednesday that the Tisdale Trojans of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League have decided not to renew the contract of Darrell Mann, their general manager and head coach. . . . Mann had been with the Trojans, in one position or another, for 16 years. . . . Schulze wrote that team president Greg McShannock “confirmed to northeastNOW that Mann’s contract was up for renewal and the team decided to move in a different direction.” . . . Mann spent 10 seasons with the Trojans before singing on as head coach of the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs. He returned to the Trojans for 2013-14. This season, the Trojans finished second in the regular season, at 32-7-5, before losing a best-of-five semi-final series, 3-1, to the Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Trojans then won the Western Regional as host team and went on to finish third at the Telus Cup. . . . Schulze’s story is right here.


Marty Murray, the general manager and head coach of the Minot Minotauros, has been honoured as the NAHL’s GM of the year. Murray, 44, is from Deloraine, Man., and played four seasons (1991-95) with the Brandon Wheat Kings before going on to a pro career that included 261 regular-season NHL games. . . . The Minotauros went 36-21-3 to finish second in the Central Division this season, and are presently involved in a second-round playoff series. They finished ninth in the NAHL in attendance, drawing more than 1,400 fans per game.


Tweetoftheday