Are the messages mixed, or what? . . . SJHL cancels its season as BCHL unveils schedule . . . Canadiens on pause; Bruins hope to skate today

Yellow


If the past year has proven anything, it has been the inability of the politicians and health officials from the various provinces to work together. Forget about them being on the same page; they aren’t even reading from different chapters in the same book.

I would go so far as to say that this is one of the most disappointing things to come out of the pandemic.

Lockdown? Stop complaining. We have yet to see a complete lockdown, certainly not in western Canada. And it’s too late now because COVID-19 is so entrenched that a true lockdown isn’t going to keep it and its variants from multiplying. It’s just too bad that we couldn’t have been locked down months ago, just for six or eight weeks, because I really would like to know what normal would look like today had that happened.

But, of course, the embarrassingly selfish society that we have created and in which we now live couldn’t live with that kind of inconvenience for any length of time.

So we are where we are today, entirely dependent on vaccines, and we are going to need to get perhaps 70 per cent of the population inoculated before we are able to find out what the new normal will be.

In the meantime, consider the following and then try to figure out how the politicians and health officials are making their decisions . . .

Other than the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and their AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, there aren’t any hockey games being played in Manitoba. That has been the case since late October or early November.

The province’s two WHL teams — the Brandon Wheat Kings and Winnipeg Ice — are secluded in school dorms in Regina where they are playing in that league’s developmental season with five teams from Saskatchewan.

The 12-team MJHL cancelled the remainder of its season on Feb. 12, explaining that “in the end, our advocacy efforts were not enough for Public Health to allow for a return to on-ice team training activity, even in a non-contact, professionally managed, closed to public, distanced, 100 per cent masked and extremely protected environment.”

——

Cameron MacLean, CBC News — Manitoba won’t move down to orange-level COVID-19 pandemic restrictions after spending more than four months in the red zone, the province said on Tuesday. The decision to keep the province at the highest level of restrictions during the pandemic stemmed from feedback from Manitobans, concern over rising numbers of more transmissible coronavirus variants, and the need to maintain stability in the health-care system, the province said.

680 CJOB — Another Manitoban with COVID-19 has died and the province says an additional 98 people have been infected with the virus. The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 5.3 per cent provincially and 3.9 per cent in Winnipeg.

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Next door in Saskatchewan, the 12-team SJHL announced Tuesday that its sjhlseason is over. In a news release, the league said: “A decision by Saskatchewan Government and Health has been made on the submissions that have been before them; unfortunately the SJHL will not be allowed to return to play.”

Taylor Shire of Global Regina reported that the SJHL proposed putting seven teams into a Weyburn hub, with the other five teams having decided to opt out of continuing the season.

The WHL has seven teams playing in a Regina hub, with players staying in dorms at the U of Regina and Luther College. According to Shire, the SJHL plan called for teams to stay in two Weyburn hotels, one of which would still have been open to the public. According to Shire, SJHL president Bill Chow told him that the league “had a process in place it felt would be able to overcome the public/hockey players interaction in the partial hotel but he said SK Gov/health authority were not ok with this and the submission was not approved.”

Shire also reported that the SJHL could have “altered the proposal and submitted it again . . . which would have taken two to three more weeks.”

Instead, the SJHL held a governors’ meeting on Monday night and decided to end the uncertainty.

The SJHL, which received $1 million from the Saskatchewan government in January, last played on Nov. 23.

With COVID-19 numbers in Regina seemingly out of control, the province has announced that effective immediately “travel is not recommended in or out of the Regina area unless absolutely necessary” and that effective Sunday “event venues such as conference facilities, museums, libraries, live theatre, cinemas, bowling or any non-essential indoor locations that had limits of 30 individuals are not permitted to operate.”

——

CBC News — Saskatchewan is reporting 150 new COVID-19 cases, just below the province’s 7-day average of 158. However, the daily number has fluctuated dramatically during that time, from a low of 87 to a high of 205. . . . From CBC’s Adam Hunter: Due to increased COVID-19 transmission risk in Regina area all indoor gatherings must be household only effective immediately. As of Sunday, restaurants, bars must close to in-person dining. Non-essential indoor venues like movie houses, museums must close. . . . Restaurants to close Sunday, private gatherings banned under new Regina public health orders.

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That brings us to Alberta, where the WHL’s five teams have been playing since Feb. 26, with the schedule now calling for six games involving four teams each weekend. One of the teams has a bye each weekend, while the other four play tripleheaders — one here, one there, one here — with no overnight trips.

The 15-team AJHL, which had two teams opt out, began play on March 12 with games on weekends. It postponed a March 20 game that was to have had the Okotoks Oilers meet the Bandits in Brooks “due to precautionary measures within the AJHL Return-to-Play Plan.” The Bandits played the Canucks in Calgary the next night.

Who knows what happened with the Oilers or Bandits, and the AJHL has things locked down when it comes to anyone mentioning COVID-19. The last AJHL insider to discuss the subject with the media now is believed to be roommates with Alexei Navalny.

——

CBC News — Alberta reports 465 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 more deaths. 197 new variants of concern cases recorded Tuesday, making it the highest daily variant case count to date. Variant cases now account for 18 per cent of all active cases in the province. . . . The province reported Tuesday that 290 people are being treated in hospital for COVID-19, 53 in intensive care beds. . . . The Alberta government will not move into the next phase of reopening, Step 3. Health Minister Tyler Shandro said on Monday that no restrictions will be eased at this time because hospitalizations are on the rise. . . . Hospitals in Alberta are preparing for a third wave of the pandemic, driven by more aggressive variants of the coronavirus. Doctor says teams are planning how to isolate those with variants.

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In B.C., where COVID-19 numbers continue to climb, the five WHL teams are to start playing games in Kamloops and Kelowna on Friday. The Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals are set up in Kelowna, with the Kamloops Blazers, Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants holed up in Kamloops. The Blazers and Rockets are with billets; the other three teams are in hotels.

The WHL announced a positive test “within the Rockets team cohort” on March 18, but nary a word has been said since then, and Kelowna’s scheduled wasn’t impacted.

Meanwhile, as the SJHL was announcing that it was done until September, the bchlBCHL was revealing a 20-game schedule that will open on April 2 and conclude May 9. The Wenatchee, Wash., Wild is out due to the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential travel, while the Langley Rivermen opted out of a return to play. That leaves 16 teams left, with each assigned to one of five pods— in Chilliwack, Coquitlam (games will be played in Burnaby), Penticton, Port Alberni and Vernon.

All three of B.C.’s junior B leagues had already announced they were done for this season.

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CBC News — B.C. records 682 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 more death. There are 314 people in hospital with the disease — the highest total since Jan. 25 — including 83 in intensive care. . . . The latest numbers mean that the seven-day rolling average of new cases has hit 617, the highest since Dec. 20. . . . There are currently 5,409 active cases of coronavirus in the province, the highest total since Jan. 9. Public health is now monitoring 9,488 people across B.C. who are in self-isolation because of COVID-19 exposure.

Rod Mickleburgh, former Globe and Mail correspondent — BC reported more new COVID-19 cases Tuesday than the state of Washington (682 compared with 566) . . . that may be a first.

——

And as of Monday evening there had been 22,735 deaths in Canada, including 19 on Tuesday. There have been 942,325 confirmed cases, with 3,607 of those reported on Tuesday. There have been 883,280 recoveries.



The virus found the NHL’s Canadian division this week, with the Montreal nhl2Canadiens having been shut down through Sunday. They put F Joel Armia and F Jesperi Kotkaniemi on the COVID-19 list and by Sunday will have had four games postponed. They were to have played Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday against the visiting Edmonton Oilers and Sunday at home against the Ottawa Senators. . . . These are the first postponements involving Canadian teams this season. . . . The Canadiens hope to return to practice on Monday. . . . The Oilers are scheduled to play the host Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. . . .

Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins, with five players on the protocol list, hope to skate today (Wednesday). The Bruins are scheduled to meet the visiting New York Islanders on Thursday, and there should be some fans in attendance for the first time since March 7, 2020. . . . Boston hasn’t played since beating the Sabres 4-1 in Buffalo on Thursday. Forwards Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, David Pastrnak and Craig Smith went on the protocol list the next day. . . . The Bruins were to have played the Sabres again on Saturday and the Islanders on Tuesday.


The AHL’s Utica Comets were to have played at home against the Rochester Americans tonight (Wednesday). But the game was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, the fifth straight Utica game to meet that fate.



Vaccine


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.


Account

Seven WHL teams OK’d to play in Regina hub . . . Ridley two games from milestone . . . MJHL latest to cancel season

Now that was a big day for the WHL.

First, it announced on Friday that its five Saskatchewan-based teams and the WHL2two from Manitoba are going to play in a Regina hub situation beginning next month.

And then it revealed that there were 245 COVID-19 tests administered to four Alberta-based teams from Feb. 6 through Feb. 12, without any of them coming up positive. The Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers and Red Deer Rebels are the teams that were tested; the news release doesn’t mention the Calgary Hitmen.

From that news release: “Using private PCR testing provided by DynaLIFE, testing was administered twice to all members of the team delegations of players and staff . . . All members of the team delegations were tested once upon arrival and a second time after a mandatory quarantine period in the club centre. As a result of no positive tests, the teams now are in a position to commence with team on-ice practices.”

While it’s been known for a while that the five Alberta teams will begin play on Feb. 26 and five U.S. Division teams are to start on March 19, the WHL also announced Friday that its Manitoba and Saskatchewan teams will open a 24-game schedule on March 12 with all games to be played in Regina. Fans won’t be allowed at any of these games.

The seven teams — Brandon Wheat Kings, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders, Regina Pats, Saskatoon Blades, Swift Current Broncos and Winnipeg Ice — will live in dorms at the U of Regina and Luther College, with games and practices at the Brandt Centre and the Co-operators Centre, which contains six ice surfaces.

A big reason that all of this is possible is that the Saskatchewan government has given $600,000 to each of the five teams from that province, three of which are community-owned and two of which are privately owned.

All players and personnel will be tested regularly and, according to the WHL, should a team experience any positive tests it will have to shut down for at least 14 days.

The WHL news release is right here.

Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.

Randy Palmer of moosejawtoday.com has more on all of this, from a Moose Jaw Warriors perspective, right here.

As things sit right now, only the five B.C. Division teams haven’t been given the OK to return to play from health officials. . . . While the Rebels are being housed in the corporate suites in their home arena, the Centrium, the Hitmen will be at the Grey Eagle Resort on the Tsuut’ina Nation, just outside Calgary’s southwest edge, where they will practise and play their games in the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex. . . . The Hurricanes, who were on the practice ice on Friday, have been paired up and are living in apartments near Lethbridge College within easy walking distance of the Enmax Centre. . . . According to Darren Steinke, whose blog is right here, Bob Ridley will call his 4,000th game involving the Tigers on Feb. 27 when they play host to the Rebels. Ridley has called all but one of the Tigers’ games since the franchise arrived, leaving him at 3,998. The one he missed? In the spring of 1973, he was assigned to cover a curling event in Saskatoon in which his boss’s wife was competing.


Ticket


On a day when the WHL announced that its two Manitoba franchises would be mjhlmoving to Regina to begin play next month, the junior A MJHL announced that it has cancelled the remainder of its season. . . . From an MJHL news release: “After multiple discussions with public health, representatives of the provincial government, facility managers and stakeholders, the MJHL board of governors has determined that the resumption and completion of the 2020-21 regular league/playoff season is not feasible due to current conditions. It has become unrealistic to continue operating in a state of hope with so much uncertainty and no timeline provided. It is unfair to our athletes and staff, our community organizations who have been severely impacted financially and the communities/regions our organizations support and garner support from.” . . . The news release, over commissioner Kevin Saurette’s name, also said that teams “will have the option to continue to provide training and development opportunities, exhibition games, etc. . . .” based on updated orders and directives from health officials and Hockey Manitoba. . . . The MJHL hadn’t played since Nov. 12. . . . The complete news release is right here.



The Philadelphia Flyers were to have played on Thursday and Saturday nights, nhl2but both games were postponed. As of Friday, they had seven players on the COVID-19 protocol list, including F Oskar Lindblom, who was added on Friday. Being on the list, doesn’t mean that a player tested positive; it might mean that contact tracing has shown a possibility of exposure. . . . Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, 14 months ago and was declared free of the disease two months ago. . . . Also on the Flyers’ protocol list are D Justin Braun, F Morgan Frost, F Claude Giroux, F Scott Laughton, D Travis Sanheim and F Jakub Voracek. . . . F Steven Stamkos didn’t play for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, with the team saying he had a lower-body injury. On Friday, the Lightning put him on its protocol list. Stamkos later tweeted that he had gotten a false positive. . . . The NHL had 47 players on the protocol list on Friday.


Curve

THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News — Federal government to implement new rules for international travellers February 22. Anyone arriving in the country, including Canadians, must first have a COVID-19 test and quarantine in an approved hotel for 3 days at their own expense.

CBC News — 81 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, marking the 1st time since October the province has gone a full week where the number of new daily cases has been less than 100. 4 additional deaths are also being reported.

CBC News — Saskatchewan reports 195 new coronavirus cases and 2 additional deaths.

CBC News — Alberta is reporting 314 new COVID-19 cases and 16 additional deaths.

CBC News — On the Friday before the Family Day long weekend, B.C. health officials are pleading with everyone to stay local and stick to their households in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. . . . The warning came as the province announced 445 more cases of COVID-19 and 10 more deaths from the disease. . . . Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there are now 4,347 active cases of the novel coronavirus across the province. That includes 226 patients who are in hospital, including 61 in intensive care.

CBC News — Ontario is reporting 1,076 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 additional deaths related to the illness. 763 people are in hospital, including 295 in intensive care.

CBC News — 984 new COVID-19 cases in Quebec as the number falls below 1,000 again for the 4th time in a week. The number of hospitalizations is dropping steadily; it’s been below 1,000 for a week. 24 additional deaths are being attributed to the virus.

CBC News — New Brunswick reports 5 new COVID-19 cases as January’s surge in cases appears to be fading; the province’s 7 day-average has fallen to 8.

CBC News — 50 new cases of COVID-19 are being reported in Newfoundland and Labrador. 47 of the cases are in the Eastern Health region; the other 3 are in the Central Health region. 20 of the new cases involve people under 20 years old. There are 260 known active cases in the province. . . . Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, says the latest COVID-19 outbreak in the St. John’s metro area is the variant from the UK. . . . A surge in COVID-19 infections has thrown Newfoundland and Labrador’s election into chaos. The vote, set for Saturday, has just become solely a mail-in election.

——

While the CFL didn’t get to play in 2020, it is planning on a 2021 season. However, there already are rumblings that maybe that won’t happen. Gerry Moddejonge of the Edmonton Sun has quoted someone “familiar with the league at an executive level” as saying that “I don’t even know this year if it’s plausible for them to play with the (COVID-19) numbers the way they are. It would honestly be, to me, smarter for them to forego another season and plan for 2022.” . . . Yes, it’s early, but it’s food for thought, and it’s all right here. . . .

Canada’s Larry Walker was to have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., last summer. However, the party was postponed by the pandemic. And now the Hall of Fame has announced that the 2021 induction ceremony will be done entirely on TV on June 25. . . . Walker will be joined by Derek Jeter, Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller in being inducted. . . .

Brendan Batchelor, the radio play-by-play voice of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, will miss the club’s next four games. He revealed via Twitter on Friday that he was exposed to someone who had tested positive, so is self-isolating. While he will take part in pre- and post-game shows from home, Joey Kenward will call the play for at least the next four games. . . . Batchelor and Kenward both are former WHL radio voices.


Stocks


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.


Vote

Hard to figure AJHL’s reasoning in disciplining Eagles’ Milne for “bringing discredit” to league . . . OHL ditches Feb. 4 start . . . QMJHL has playoff format


Andrew Milne, a former WHL player and coach who now is the general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles, has been suspended for 15 games and fined $1,000.

His crime?

Ryan Bartoshyk, the AJHL commissioner, told Meghan Grant of CBC News that ajhlMilne was disciplined for “bringing discredit to the league.”

Did Milne rip into the on-ice officiating? Was he stealing hotdogs from the concession stand in Drumheller? Did he throw a plastic straw onto the concourse in Sherwood Park? He must have cross-checked a little old lady from behind in Calgary. Right?

Actually, none of the above.

According to Postmedia, Bartoshyk said Milne, who is in his 13th season with the Eagles, was whacked for “bringing discredit to the league in the reasonable opinion of the board.

“Milne’s comments in several media interviews reflected his lack of knowledge regarding the league’s COVID protocols, or at the very least a misinterpretation of those protocols, which has resulted in the public misconceptions that strong protocols were not in place and put the AJHL’s partnership with AHS (Alberta Health Services) in jeopardy, both of which have now negatively impacted a return-to-play plan. Consequences of his actions led to inconsistent statements regarding the circumstances and damaged the extensive work undertaken by the league office and its members to operate.”

It’s worth pointing out that the AJHL didn’t announce the suspension and fine, both of which apparently were decided upon at some point last week. Nor is there a news release of any sort on the AJHL’s website. You would think that a 15-game suspension and a four-figure fine to a junior A GM/coach might be worthy of some kind of news release. Heck, it’s not even included in the discipline section of the website.

Did the AJHL really think no one outside of the Eagles and Milne’s immediate family would find out? Hey, 15 games and a grand is a lot more than a slap on the wrist. But now it’s out in the open and . . .

To go back, Milne first became aware that something was happening during a Nov. 14 game with the host Drumheller Dragons when one player took ill following the second period. At the time, it was thought that the player simply was fatigued because it was the Eagles’ second game in two days — they had played the Dragons in Canmore the previous night — after not having played since Nov. 7.

But by the time the team bus arrived back in Canmore it was obvious that the player in question was ill. So he went right into isolation at his billet’s home.

A couple of days later, six more players had symptoms and were isolated.

So the entire team was tested and 16 players and coaches came up positive.

In an interview with CBC’s Calgary Eyeopener that aired on Nov. 27, Milne said: “We tested everybody and that’s when obviously the numbers started climbing. And . . . it was evident that we had a massive outbreak in our club.

“I think part of the reason for the large numbers was the fact that we were just on a bus and there was very limited ability for us to move about in some recycled air.”

Milne said that number (16) didn’t include families that were impacted. Yes, there were positive tests among billet families. Milne’s wife tested positive, as did one of their children.

Milne said that “it is quite amazing” how rapidly the virus spread.

“We were a pretty tight group,” he told the Eyeopener. “We didn’t do much outside of our group. That’s why you see the infection rate pretty high within our group because we were together all the time. Right from the bus, the practice, to travelling to and from the facility, a group of four or five guys are car-pooling. They’re hanging out in the evenings because they’re not supposed to be outside of their bubble. You can see how fast it moves and how quickly it gets from one guy to the next.”

Near the end of the interview, Milne mentioned other teams that ended up with positive tests.

“(Drumheller) had some positives,” he said. “The Calgary Canucks, the team we played the week before, had some positives. I heard Okotoks (Oilers) had some positives.

“It’s definitely something that I think can be transferred through game play and that’s something that I’m assuming that we’re doing some research into to figure out. It wasn’t our team alone and where we got it we don’t know.

“These kids are in such tight groups and out and about that it becomes a challenge to sort of mitigate where it’s come from. But we’ve had a  number of teams that have been affected by the virus for sure.”

Meanwhile, CBC’s Grant also reported that the AJHL now “is preventing teams from speaking publicly or posting on social media ordering all media requests related to the pandemic or the league’s return to play plan to the AJHL office.

“The AJHL has also changed its protocols, deciding not to publicly report confirmed cases of COVID-19 in players and staff, according to a Nov. 21 email obtained by CBC, sent from Bartoshyk to team executives.”

When I checked late Thursday night, Grant’s story on the CBC website had drawn 106 comments. The AJHL wasn’t being treated at all favourably.

Perhaps the most pertinent of the comments was posted by Lisa Rosvold of Canmore:

“This is so ridiculous. I am a billet Mom for one of the Canmore Eagles players. I thought Coach Milne handled this whole thing in a very professional, transparent and caring way. The fact that the AJHL is now shaming Milne for being transparent is disgraceful. The fine and suspension are heavy-handed, and the AJHL should retract their COVID shaming punishments immediately. The AJHL should instead be thanking Milne for being so forthcoming and providing a human experience to COVID and helping to take the stigma out of it.”

For what it’s worth, I agree wholeheartedly with Rosvold. For some reason, the AJHL has decided to make a mountain out of something that is less than a molehill. Hey, why don’t you be the judge? Check out the three links that follow and see what you think.

The Eyeopener interview is right here.

The first story done by CBC News is right here.

The CBC News story from Wednesday is right here.


As expected, the OHL announced on Wednesday that it has chosen to delay the ohlstart of its regular season. It had said it would open on Feb. 4. . . . From a news release: “This decision follows Premier Ford’s announcement of a province-wide shutdown in Ontario commencing on Dec. 26. The league will continue to consult and work closely with governments and health authorities to determine potential start dates in the new year. The safety of all of our stakeholders and communities is our priority and we are committed to starting the 2020-21 season when it is safe to do so. We know that this is difficult news for many of our players, fans, billets, parents, staff and teams. However, the restrictions both provincially in Ontario as well as nationally with regards to cross-border travel have informed our decision.” . . . Last week, the WHL ditched its proposed Feb. 4 start date and now will wait until some time in January to assess its situation. . . . The QMJHL, which received $12 million from the provincial government for its Quebec-based teams, plans on resuming play in late January under a bubble-type format. The QMJHL has revealed its playoff format and it has all 18 of its teams taking part. See the tweet below.



The Lethbridge Hurricanes announced on Wednesday that their 2020 annual Lethbridgegeneral meeting will be held on Jan. 18. The team had announced in September that it would be held in November, but that didn’t happen. . . . The Hurricanes are one of four community-owned teams in the 22-team WHL. The other three — the Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos — announced losses totalling more than $1.5 million for 2020. The Warriors lost $391,299; the Raiders $331.895; and the Broncos $791,000. However, those totals included payments totalling $612,513 as their portions of a class-action lawsuit that the major junior leagues announced had been settled, only to have the courts reject the settlement. Lawyers are believed to be working on refining the settlement.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: There are 201 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba and 15 more deaths, the province reports. Manitoba’s 5-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is down to 10.4% from 11.5% on Tuesday.

CBC News: 159 new COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, the lowest daily total since Nov. 19 and 2nd day in a row it has been below 200. Health authorities are also reporting 5 additional deaths due to the virus.

CBC News: Alberta reports 19 more deaths and 1,301 new cases of COVID-19. As case numbers decline, hospitalizations across the province continue to rise.

Vancouver Sun: Second wave has peaked, B.C. health officials say, announcing 518 new cases.

Chilliwack Progress: COVID death toll nears 800 in B.C.; 5,600 people have received first dose of vaccine

CBC News: Ontario has 2,408 new COVID-19 cases, the 2nd-highest daily total of the pandemic. 629 are in Toronto, 448 in Peel Region, 234 in Windsor-Essex, and 190 in York Region. 1,002 people are in hospital, with a record 275 people in ICUs. 41 people died.

CBC News: 74 additional deaths due to COVID-19 in Quebec as province sets record with highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began. Health authorities say there were 2,247 new cases Wednesday, which tops the high of 2,183 reported Tuesday.

CNN, 4 p.m. PT: 326,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

KOMO News: Washington state’s COVID-19 cases eclipsed 230,000 Wednesday according to the state health department’s latest reporting. State health officials confirmed 2,315 new COVID-19 cases, 27 additional hospitalizations and 31 more deaths in the past 24 hours. This brings the state’s totals to 230,202 cases, 13,617 hospitalizations and 3,162 deaths. Health officials reported 8,507 “probable cases” of COVID-19 in its Wednesday reporting. Health officials said as many as 150 confirmed cases could be duplicates as test result data from Wednesday is incomplete. 1.4 percent of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Washington have died, according to the state.

KATU News: The Oregon Health Authority on Wednesday reported 1,000 new cases of coronavirus and 21 new deaths. 1,403 people have now died from the disease in the state. OHA said there are currently 527 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 109 of whom are being treated in the ICU. The state has now reported 105,970 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

——

F Keyontae Johnson of the Florida Gators, the SEC’s preseason player of the year, collapsed during a basketball game on Dec. 12. He was released from hospital on Tuesday. Zach Abolverdi of the Gainesville Sun reported Tuesday night that Johnson “has been diagnosed with a heart inflammation that may be related to an earlier infection for COVID-19. Following the collapse that left Johnson unresponsive, he was transferred last Monday from Tallahassee Memorial to UF Health in Gainesville, where an MRI on his heart led to a diagnosis of acute myocarditis, according to a person with first-hand knowledge. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensibility of the situation.” . . .

The NBA opened its regular season on Tuesday, and postponed its first game for virus-related reasons on Wednesday when the Houston Rockets didn’t have the mandated eight players available for a game against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder. The Rockets had three players with tests that were positive or inconclusive and four others who were quarantined because of contact tracing. . . . As well, James Harden, their star, was ruled out because of a violation of health and safety protocols. There is a video making the rounds that shows a mask-less Harden at a private party on Tuesday night. . . . Harden also was fined $50,000 for what the NBA said was violating protocols, “which among other things prohibit attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges, clubs or similar establishments.” Harden is to be paid US$38.2 million this season. . . .

The NAHL has decided to extend its regular season until May 16, with the opening round of playoffs to run from May 20-30. . . . There is a news release right here. . . .

An NCAA men’s basketball game between visiting UCLA and No. 25 Oregon didn’t happen Wednesday afternoon after one of the referees tested positive. . . . Chicago State suspended its men’s basketball program for the remainder of the season on Wednesday. The Cougars (0-9) lost head coach Lance Irvin before the season started due to COVID-19 concerns and have had virus-related issues since then.


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.

Hey, coach, you should wear that mask properly because world is watching . . . Words of emotional advice from Emily Cave . . . Blues, Freeze say they’re sorry, but . . .

A friendly reminder to hockey coaches everywhere. . . . If you are required to wear a facemask while behind your team’s bench or anywhere else in the arena, make sure you wear it properly — covering your mouth and your nose. . . . Someone emailed me a nice big photo of a coach that got prominent play in his local newspaper — unfortunately, he was using his mask as a chin diaper, and that’s just not a good look. . . . So make sure to wear it properly because in this day and age there are cameras everywhere, and part of your job is to set a good example. . . . Thank you!


Colby Cave, a former WHLer (Swift Current, 2011-15), died on April 11, a few days after suffering a brain bleed. He and Emily had been married for nine months when he died in Toronto. Due to hospital restrictions brought on by the pandemic, Emily wasn’t with her husband at the end.

On Thursday, she took to her Instagram account to express some feelings, words that have echoed around the globe and been picked up by all kinds of media outlets.

Here are Emily’s words:

“I have kept my opinions regarding COVID to myself or people in my close circle but today I hit my breaking point with Alberta making new restrictions. I personally see & hear so many people complaining. I understand a lot of people feel that they won’t get it & if they did they would survive it.

“However, what would happen if your loved one became sick very fast with something else, was in a car accident, or was dying . . . & then because of the COVID restrictions you weren’t allowed to be with them?!?!

“My 25-year-old husband died alone. . . . I have no clue what his last breath was like. . . . I have yet to be able to have a funeral. . . . because of this global pandemic.

“So for goodness sake wear a mask, wash your freaking hands & it’s not the end of your world if you can’t go to house parties or do things that are essentially a ‘luxury’ in your blessed world because let me tell you . . . it’s not a luxury having your husband die alone. It’s not a luxury getting a phone call saying he’s dead compared to being there holding his hand. It’s not a luxury losing a loved one during a freaking global pandemic.

“If this insults any of my followers, unfollow me or grow up because until you’re in my shoes . . . which I pray to God you never have to be . . . your opinion can eat sh*t.”

Wear a mast. Social distance. Wash your hands. Please.


The MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze, both of whom are under fire for holding unsanctioned practices in Warren, Man., last week, issued a lengthy apology on Friday. . . . Both teams are owned by 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, which also owns, among other properties, the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. . . . Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, is the president and governor of both the Blues and Freeze. . . . The apology, which doesn’t include any names and isn’t signed, runs to 1,511 words. . . . It goes to great lengths to rationalize what occurred. If you are one of us who takes this pandemic seriously, you might see all of this as a weak explanation about looking for loopholes. . . . Carter Brooks of gameonhockey.ca has more right here, including the entire, uhh, apology.

Columnist Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun read the, uhh, apology and wrote: “Two Manitoba Junior Hockey League teams who flouted public health guidelines by staging practices just outside the city early this week have both apologized for and justified their actions.” . . . Perhaps the headline on Friesen’s column — “MJHL teams offer apology, but remain in hiding” — says more than anything. . . . His column is right here.


The Vancouver Giants have signed Keith McCambridge as their new associate Vancouvercoach, replacing Jamie Heward, who left “to pursue a different hockey opportunity.” . . . Heward, who spent two seasons with the Giants, is expected to join the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights as an assistant coach under Manny Viveiros. . . . McCambridge, a native of Thompson, Man., the hometown of former WHL coach of the year Jack Sangster, played four seasons in the WHL (Swift Current, Kamloops, 1991-95). He was a defenceman on the Blazers team that won the 1994 Memorial Cup. . . . The 46-year-old McCambridge coached in the AHL for 10 seasons, most recently as the head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack (2016-19). The Wolf Pack is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers, who chose to let McCambridge go after the 2018-19 season. . . . In Vancouver, McCambridge will work with head coach Michael Dyck, who leaves this weekend for Red Deer to join Canada’s national junior team for its selection camp. He is an assistant coach so will be gone until the World Junior Championship ends on Jan. 5. . . . WHL teams plan on bringing players in for brief training camps right after Christmas, and then hope to open their season on Jan. 8. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on the Giants’ story right here.


Bob


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Karel Houde-Hébert of Radio-Canada in Regina reports that the SJHL “would FlinFlonlike” the Flin Flon Bombers to play out of Creighton, Sask., which is located two km west of the Manitoba city. . . . The Bombers have put their season on hold because of Manitoba being on a province-wide lockdown. The Bombers were to have played a weekend doubleheader against the visiting Kindersley Klippers. When the restrictions came in this week, the Bombers announced that they would play the two games in Kindersley. However, they announced Thursday that the games would be postponed. . . . Travis Rideout, the Bombers’ president, says the organization is “still looking at all the possibilities to continue our season.” . . . Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health, doesn’t like the Creighton option at all. “Sanitation measures were put in place for a reason. They save lives,” he said. “I encourage all Manitobans to play by the rules and not try to bend them.” . . . Houde-Hébert’s story is right here.

CBC Saskatchewan: The province is rolling out more COVID-19 rules including mandatory masking in 59 communities, limits on when alcohol can be served and the reduction of fitness-class sizes. The restrictions come into effect on Nov. 16.

CBC Saskatchewan: COVID-19 in Sask.: 81 new cases, 53 people in hospital on Friday. There are now 1,427 active cases, out of a total of 4,513 reported since the start of the pandemic.

——

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 907 new cases of COVID-19 and 5 additional deaths related to the virus. 240 people are in hospital, including 54 in ICU. The province has 8,593 known active cases.

Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW: Friday’s numbers are in and Red Deer is back to 94 active cases of COVID-19.

Mo Cranker, Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat now has 34 active cases of COVID-19, meaning we have been added to the watch list.

——

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: Latest covid19: 617 new cases, 2 deaths for total 290, 167 people hospitalized, 50 ICU, just about 6000 active cases and nearly 12000 in self isolation.

James Peters, CFJC-TV, Kamloops: B.C. records daily record 617 new cases of COVID-19 (Friday), including 42 in Interior Health. Hospitalizations up to 167 with 50 in ICU.

——

CBC News: Number of daily coronavirus cases in Ontario drops to 1,396, down from Thursday’s all-time high of 1,575. But the number still exceeds the province’s average from the previous 7-days of 1,299.

——

CBC News: 30 additional deaths due to the coronavirus are being reported by health authorities in Quebec. The province also has 1,301 new cases, the lowest in 3 days but still above the average of the previous 7-days of 1,263.

——

CBC News: Nunavut confirms a new case of COVID-19; the territory reported its 1st case on November 6; there are now 4. The latest one is in Arviat, a community of about 2,600 people on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay just north of the Manitoba border.

——

CBS2 News: The Washington State Department of Health reported 2,142 new COVID-19 cases, 88 additional hospitalizations and 12 more deaths due to the virus.

oregonlive.com: Oregon governor orders 2-week coronavirus freeze, restricting bards and restaurants to takeout, closing some businesses.

——

North Dakota has shut down all winter high school sports until at least Dec. 14. Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald writes that “the shutdown includes all extracurricular K-12 school activities and applies to all association, community and club sports for youth and adults.” The fall sports that now are wrapping up will be allowed to complete their championships. . . .

Jeremy Turley, inforum.com: North Dakota has enacted a statewide mask mandate and occupancy limits on restaurants, bars and event venues as the state’s worst-in-the-nation COVID-19 outbreak keeps spiraling out of control. Violators of the mask order could be charged with infractions.

680 CJOB Winnipeg: North Dakota is now allowing health-care workers who are COVID-19 positive, but asymptomatic, to continue working in corona virus units.

——

I think it’s fair to say that’s quite a circus going on south of the 49th. Consider the case of the Cal Golden Bears football team. Cal was to have opened its season last weekend against the visiting Washington Huskies. But a positive test led to Cal coaches and players going into quarantine as close contacts and the game was cancelled. This weekend, Cal was scheduled to visit Arizona State, but that game was cancelled on Friday because of positive tests, including head coach Herm Edwards, among the Sun Devils. Instead, Cal will meet the UCLA Bruins on Sunday at the Rose Bowl. . . . The Bruins were to have played host to Utah but the Utes pulled out because of — you guessed it — positive tests. . . . As of Friday, Cal still had its entire defensive line, some coaches and other players in quarantine. The Golden Bears practised this week with one defensive lineman. . . . Rusty Simmons, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “As California eclipsed 1 million coronavirus cases this week and counties throughout the state rescind plans to reopen businesses and still can’t operate in-person schools, it’s difficult to find a reason to play a football game.” . . .

The U of Alaska-Anchorage cancelled its indoor winter sports season on Friday, meaning the Seawolves hockey team won’t be playing this winter. Also shut down are men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track, and women’s gymnastics. . . . Volleyball and cross-country teams found out in July that their fall seasons wouldn’t be happening. . . . This decision could signal the end of the Seawolves’ hockey program as the school said in mid-August that the 2020-21 season would be its final one. . . .

The NCAA hockey season that is to start this weekend lost one game on Friday when Long Island U’s first-ever game was postponed. It was to have played Army at West Point. However, the game was postponed due to an outbreak on the Army team. . . . Army also postponed its Nov. 20 game against visiting Holy Cross. . . . 

Golden Gate Fields, a thoroughbred race track in the San Francisco Bay area, has suspended live racing until at least Nov. 20. That’s because it has experienced 24 positive tests since Oct. 30.


Job


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.


Roger Bader, the head coach of Austria’s national men’s hockey team, has stepped in as head coach of the country’s national junior team. He takes over from Marco Pewal, who is an assistant coach with VSV Villach of the Erste Bank Hockey League. His club team could play as many as 15 games while Pewal would have been away, so it chose not to release him to the national junior team. Last season, with Pewal as head coach, Austria earned promotion. . . . Martin Merk has more right here. . . . The World Junior Championship is scheduled to open Dec. 25 in an Edmonton bubble.


Dogs

Free Press columnist calls for stiff discipline . . . MJHL all done for 2020 . . . Heward leaving Giants after two seasons

The owner of the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and two MJHL franchises — 50 Below Sports and Entertainment — is in the eye of the storm after the two junior A franchises were caught violating COVID-19 protocols as set down by the provincial government.

And now at least one Winnipeg writer — columnist Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press — is calling for stiff discipline.

In a column headlined ‘Throw the book at league’s code-red violators,’ McIntyre calls what happened “a cold, calculated disregard for public health protocols in the middle of a global pandemic that is as brazen as you’ll see.

“The pathetic attempt to cover it up, using teenage hockey players as pawns, was even worse.”

In case you missed it, the Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze practised in Warren, a community about half an hour northwest of Winnipeg, despite the city having been placed in a critical zone by health officials. The MJHL also had told its teams they weren’t to “travel outside the region to participate in sanctioned hockey activities.”

Winnipeg media received an anonymous email that included video showing the teams skating at the arena in Warren. The president of that arena, Rhys van Kemenade, is 50 Below’s director of teams and tournaments.

A parent of one of the players involved told McIntyre that the player went along because he “didn’t want to get benched.”

“Kids didn’t have a lot of choice,” the parent said. “Coach tells you to show up, well, you show up. Or you’re in the doghouse. You know your hockey. Coaches at this age have all the power. And if a parent said ‘You can’t go!’, they become a problem parent. Most of those kids are adults, but I am a little dumbfounded by the whole thing.”

That same parent also explained to McIntyre that “Blues and Freeze players pay lots of cash to play, and there is an item in the contract that says fees are based on ‘training,’ not number of games played. So if teams still had skill sessions or ‘training,’ they continue to collect fees.”

McIntyre’s column is right here.

Meanwhile, Don McIntosh, the president of the Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League, told Jason Bell of the Free Press that he isn’t at all pleased with what went on.

“All of us will be painted with the same brush,” said McIntosh, a longtime hockey executive in his fifth season with the AAA league. “That’s the real frustration. Our league has busted our butts on mitigating risk. This is important stuff.”

McIntosh added that he “used to sit on the board of Hockey Manitoba and dealt with numerous issues. If you use an ineligible player or forge a game sheet, you can get substantive fines for that. To me, this is beyond that.

“They caught them live. There it is for all to see. This thing is way, way out of line.”

Bell’s piece is right here.

If you’re wondering, Hockey Manitoba and the MJHL are investigating.

To the best of my knowledge, nary a word has been heard from anyone involved with 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, which would include Greg Fettes, the chairman, and Matt Cockell, who is president and general manager of the Ice and president and governor of both the Blues and the Freeze.

You may recall that Fettes and Cockell were front and centre in the Kootenay Ice’s operation in Cranbrook, prior to the franchise’s relocation to Winnipeg after the 2018-19 season.

BTW, does anyone know if the Ice has settled its lease with Cranbrook city council yet?

——

The MJHL announced on Thursday that it is shutting things down for the remainder of 2020. The province of Manitoba is at critical level and all kinds of public health orders are in place at least until Dec. 11. The MJHL hopes to be able to resume activities on Jan. 1. . . .

Meanwhile, in the SJHL, the Flin Flon Bombers and Kindersley Klippers won’t be playing this weekend, after all. The teams had been scheduled to play a weekend doubleheader in Flin Flon. But with Manitoba locking things down on Thursday, a decision was made to play the games in Kindersley on Friday and Saturday. . . . On Thursday, however, it was decided to postpone the games.


The Vancouver Giants are expected to introduce a new associate coach today Vancouver(Friday). The WHL team announced Thursday that Jamie Heward, their associate coach for the past two seasons, is leaving the organization “to pursue a different hockey opportunity.” He is expected to join the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights as an assistant coach under Manny Viveiros. . . . The two of them spent two seasons together with the Swift Current Broncos, winning a WHL title in the spring of 2018. . . . The Silver Knights, who are preparing for their first season, are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. The Silver Knights are to play out of Paradise, Nev. . . . The Giants’ new associate coach will be working with head coach Michael Dyck, who will be spending about seven weeks bubbling up with Canada’s national junior team at its selection camp in Red Deer and then at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton. The selection camp gets started on Monday. . . . The WJC is to end on Jan. 5; the WHL says it will start its regular season on Jan. 8.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

There is good news as former WHL/NHL D Blake Wesley, who spent more than a month fighting COVID-19 in Austria, says he is “back in action.”

On Wednesday, Wesley took to his Facebook page to let us know that he had his ninth COVID screening earlier in the day.

“I’m back in action!!!!” he wrote. “My COVID screening was negative.

It was his first negative since Oct. 5.

“It’s a blessing,” he wrote, “and reduces some anxiety and fear.”

Wesley, 61, played three seasons (1976-79) with the Portland Winterhawks before going on to a pro career that included 298 regular-season NHL games. These days, he is coaching at a hockey academy in Sankt Pölten, Austria.

If you aren’t aware of what Wesley went through battling the virus, click right here and see what I wrote last week.

——

I tried. I really did. With the entire province of Manitoba having been declared a critical zone as of Thursday, I tried to figure out what that meant in terms of travel. Here’s part of what I found about the Manitoba restrictions in the section under Travel and Self-Isolation:

“In general, anyone arriving in Manitoba is required to self-isolate for 14-days upon arrival to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, there are exceptions to this requirement specified in the order.

“In particular, Manitoba residents who have travelled to “western Canada* or “northwestern Ontario** are exempt from the self-isolation requirements when they return to Manitoba if they have not travelled outside of western Canada or northwestern Ontario and are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. Residents of western Canada or northwestern Ontario are also exempt, if they have not travelled to another country or any part of Canada outside of western Canada or northwestern Ontario in the 14-day period immediately before entering or arriving in Manitoba and are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.

“*Western Canada means British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. (as defined in the order).

“**northwestern Ontario means that portion of Ontario that is located west of Terrace Bay (as defined in the order).”

What followed that was a list of exceptions to the requirements, including “professional athletes and team members (players, coaches, managers, training and technical staff and medical personnel) employed by or affiliated with a professional sports team from Manitoba are also exempt from the self-isolation requirements as well as film production crew members (cast and crew) if they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.”

There was more, a lot more, but by now my eyes were starting to roll back in my head.

Those Manitoba restrictions are right here.

And then the Alberta government brought down some restrictions of its own. So minor hockey has been shut down for a couple of weeks in some cities, but the AJHL is scheduled to open its season tonight (Friday). Meanwhile, the 10-team Okotoks Ladies Classic, a curling event that drew some high-end rinks skipped by the likes of Jennifer Jones, Rachel Homan, Casey Scheidegger and Corryn Brown, was halted Thursday afternoon shortly after it got started.

Judging by reactions on social media there surely is a lot of confusion in provinces, including B.C., over restrictions and recommendations. You are left to wonder if the politicians and health officials are muddying the water on purpose are whether they simply no longer know how to communicate on the same level as the little people.

——

——

——

The Ivy League has cancelled its winter sports season, and postponed spring sports through February 2021. That means that Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Yale won’t be playing hockey this season. . . . They join Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) as NCAA Div. 1 teams to have had their hockey seasons cancelled. . . . College Hockey News has more right here. . . .

Governors in seven northeastern states have shut down interstate youth hockey competitions through the end of 2020. “All interstate hockey competitions for public schools, private schools and youth leagues in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Jersey have been suspended beginning Saturday and until Dec. 31 at the earliest,” KC Downey of WCVB-ABC reported. . . . Downey also reported: “The coronavirus-related safety measure does not cover collegiate hockey teams, professional hockey teams or the U.S. national hockey teams, officials said, but those teams will be subject to existing COVID-19 safety protocols.” . . .

CB Iman Marshall of the Baltimore Ravens tested positive on Thursday, so is on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He hasn’t played after suffering a knee injury early in training camp. . . . CB Marlon Humphrey came off the list on Wednesday after 10 days in quarantine. He is expected to play against the host New England Patriots on Sunday night. . . .

I don’t have any numbers today. Oh, I saw them. But they’re just too depressing — also frustrating — and there are far too many signs that not everyone is prepared to pull the rope in the same direction. Saskatchewan is expected to introduce measures of some sort today, meaning all four western provinces will be living with pandemic-related restrictions of one degree or another. The way things are going, I would suggest there will be more restrictions coming as B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan move closer to Manitoba’s lockdown.


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.

Hey, 50 Below, what’s up with this? . . . Michigan’s Power won’t be in Canada’s camp . . . More nasty COVID-19 news and numbers

Well . . . isn’t this interesting.

With southern Manitoba pretty much locked down since Nov. 2 — and headed mjhlto a province-wide lockdown that could last four weeks starting on Thursday — Carter Brooks, the associate editor of the Winnipeg-based Game On Magazine, writes: “50 Below Sports + Entertainment has some serious explaining to do.”

That’s the parent company of, among other things, the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice and two MJHL franchises — the Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze. Yes, two franchises in a 12-team league are owned by the same outfit.

Some background: Health officials in Manitoba went to Code Red in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region on Nov. 2, then extended it to the Southern Health-Santé Sud Region a week later. On Tuesday, it was announced that the entire province will be under Code Red for four weeks starting on Thursday.

Code Red means no hockey. Period. “Playing team sports . . . will also be out of the question,” reads a CBC News story from Tuesday.

But it seems that the Blues and Freeze chose to book practice ice in Warren, Man., despite the fact that they operate out of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region. That resulted in, as Brooks wrote, “an anonymous email to MJHL President Kevin Saurette (BCC’d to members of the local Manitoba sports media) of images” that appear to show players from the Blues and Freeze on the ice.

This comes after Hockey Manitoba specifically told teams on Nov. 2 that “for the safety of all members, both hockey teams and individuals (players, officials, and team staff) residing in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region are ineligible to participate in hockey programming beginning November 2, 2020 . . . (that) will be revisited on November 15, 2020.”

The Blues and Freeze, it seems, practised at Warren’s Sunova Arena on Monday. According to Brooks, they also had practices booked for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in Warren, which is located 45 km northwest of Winnipeg.

Rhys van Kemenade, the president of the Sunova Centre, 50 Below Sports + Entertainment’s director of teams and tournaments.

As well, Brooks reported, “Not only did the two teams . . . illegally book the ice and use it for practices against direct orders from both the Province of Manitoba and the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, they did so in a manner that attempted to falsify what they were doing. Originally booking their ice under their two team names, the Blues and Freeze since changed their bookings to ‘Laker Academy.’

As evidence, Brooks’ story includes screen grabs from the Warren arena’s date book, information that has since disappeared from the arena’s website.

As Brooks concludes his story: “This program is certainly in line for massive repercussions following such a selfish act of blatant disobedience amid a global pandemic.”

Ya think?

Brooks’ story is right here.

Taylor Allen of the Winnipeg Free Press also did a story that is right here.

His story included this paragraph:

“The Free Press has requested comment from MJHL commissioner Kevin Saurette, Blues and Freeze president Matt Cockell, Blues head coach and GM Taras McEwen, Freeze head coach and GM Josh Green and Laker Hockey Academy instructor Larry Woo to comment on the situation but there has been no response, thus far.”

There’s also a piece in the Winnipeg Sun, written by Paul Friesen and Scott Billeck. That one is right here.

That’s a lot of publicity for all the wrong reasons, isn’t it?

——

680 CJOB: Manitoba health officials reported 384 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths Tuesday.

CBC News: Manitoba goes ‘red’ as of Thursday to prevent COVID-19 spread. Household-only social contacts, no gatherings. Closures include restaurants (take-out only), personal services (hair salons etc.), gyms, sports, religious centres, museums, libraries, theatres.

——

The MJHL didn’t mention the Winnipeg Blues or Winnipeg Freeze in a Tuesday news release that referenced the Nov. 2 directive from Hockey Manitoba.

“Any hockey activity that takes place outside the . . . Hockey Manitoba restrictions for regions identified as Critical (Red) is not permitted and is not sanctioned by Hockey Manitoba, the governing body of the MJHL,” the statement from the MJHL reads. “Any teams or individuals who participate(d) in hockey activities outside of the above restrictions would be choosing to do so in an un-sanctioned environment outside of Hockey Manitoba and MJHL jurisdiction.

“The MJHL will provide no further public statement regarding the restrictions outlined above.”

With all of Manitoba locking down starting Thursday for what could be as long as four weeks, the MJHL board of governors is to meet today (Wednesday). You have to think that the league will shut down indefinitely as it awaits for direction from health officials.



Hockey Canada announced Tuesday that D Owen Power of the U of Michigan Canadawon’t be attending the national junior team’s selection camp in Red Deer. . . . Players are scheduled to arrive in Red Deer on Monday with the camp running from Nov. 17 to Dec. 13. The World Junior Championship, to be played in an Edmonton bubble, will open Dec. 25 and close on Jan. 5. . . . According to a statement by Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s senior vice-president of national teams, “Power will not be released to participate” in the camp. . . . Mel Pearson, the U of Michigan’s head coach, had said Monday that he would release Power for the camp; he just didn’t know when that might happen. . . . With two of the three major junior leagues not yet playing games due to the pandemic, the selection camp will run for almost four weeks, resulting in a conflict with NCAA schedules. Some NCAA teams are about to start and Power, with no guarantee of making Canada’s team, could miss as many as 10 Michigan games.


Peaches


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League has put some of its schedule on hold for a week after COVID-19 exposures at two Nanaimo high schools that are attended by several players. . . . The four North Division teams — the Nanaimo Buccaneers, Campbell River Storm, Comox Valley Glacier Kings and Oceanside Generals — will sit for a week. . . . Simon Morgan, the VIJHL president, said in a statement that the four North Division governors “are taking this measure out of an abundance of caution and to do everything that they can to help slow the spread of COVID-19.” He added that “no VIJHL player has tested positive . . . this is a precautionary measure that will allow the VIJHL to monitor the situation and evaluate re-start activities when appropriate.”

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: Latest covid19 numbers:  525 new cases, 3 deaths, 142 hospital (+9), 46 ICU (+3), 9781 self isolation, 5133 active cases, hospitalizations highest since Apr 5

Castanet Kamloops: BC announces 525 new coronavirus cases, 27 in IH region.

Shelby Thom, Global Okanagan: Interior Health warning Metro Vancouver-style restrictions could be coming to the Southern Interior if the region doesn’t get a handle on a surge in COVID-19 cases. Health authority urges against ANY non-essential travel.

——

CBC News: Saskatchewan reports 127 new COVID-19 cases. That’s the lowest total in 3 days, but still above the province’s previous 7-day average of 114. Health authorities say no new deaths have occurred.

——

CBC News: Alberta reports 713 new coronavirus cases and 7 more deaths. Province sets new COVID-19 records with 207 people hospitalized with the illness. Province also breaks record with 8,090 active cases. . . . Doctors and other health-care workers are warning that the province’s hospitals may not be able to handle the rising number of cases.

——

The junior B St. Catharines Falcons of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that they have “experienced a number of COVID-19 positive cases.” According to the team, “The initial cases were from contact outside of our team bubble through asymptomatic transmission. Unfortunately, subsequent to this we had further transmission within the team and . . . the entire team now is under a 14-day quarantine process.” . . .

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,328 new COVID-19 cases, marking new record for 2nd straight day.

CBC News: Toronto won’t follow province when some COVID-19 restrictions lift Saturday. Ban on indoor dining remains, event spaces, casinos, gyms, fitness centres to stay closed for another 28 days. Chief medical officer also recommends limiting social gatherings to household members only.

——

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 38 additional deaths due to COVID-19. Health officials are also reporting 1,162 new coronavirus cases. That pushes the province’s 7-day average to 1,180 from 1,139.

——

oregonlive.com: Coronavirus in Oregon: 3 deaths, 771 new cases as officials sound alarm on hospitalizations.

WA Dept. of Health: Increase in COVID-19 activity statewide extremely concerning as holiday season nears; Health officials call for renewed efforts now.

Seattle Times: Washington state health officials have warned that “any in-person gathering is risky” as daily COVID-19 cases are at record-high numbers. Another stay-at-home order is still possible if counts don’t improve, officials said.

The New York Times: The number of Covid-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. hit an all-time high, as the pandemic continued shattering records and straining medical facilities.

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed four players, including QB Ben Roethlisberger, on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday morning. OL Jerald Hawkins, RB Jaylen Samuels and LB Vince Williams also went on the list. . . . TE Vance McDonald went on the list on Monday. . . . The players have to isolate for five days while undergoing testing. Negative results would get them off the list in time to play against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. . . . At 8-0, the Steelers are the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team. . . . The Philadelphia Eagles revealed Tuesday that a staff member has tested positive and is self-isolating.

The NCAA has dropped three football games from Saturday schedule — Alabama at LSU and Texas A&M at Tennessee were postponed Tuesday, after Auburn at Mississippi State went by the wayside on Monday. . . . LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn all are dealing with positive tests. Auburn paused practices Tuesday after getting 12 positives. . . . The Cal Golden Bears had their season-opener cancelled last weekend because of positives and haven’t yet gotten the OK to return to practice. That included having the entire defensive line quarantined for two weeks. Cal is supposed to play at Arizona State on Saturday. . . .

The Minneapolis StarTribune reports that “multiple members of the Gophers men’s and women’s basketball teams have tested positive . . .” The men’s team has paused activities indefinitely; the women’s team paused last week and then started practising again on Friday. The women’s team now is hoping to start up again before this week is out. . . . Duke announced Tuesday that it won’t allow fans at its men’s and women’s basketball games at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. The school isn’t allowing fans at football games either. . . .

The Rochester Institute of Technology is a member of the Liberty League (NCAA Div. III), which cancelled its winter sports season on Monday. It turns out that the cancellation includes RIT’s hockey programs, which are the school’s only Div. 1 teams. The players are protesting the decision, but if it holds the Tigers will be the first Div. I teams to have their seasons cancelled. The RIT men play in Atlantic Hockey, while the women are in College Hockey America. Both conferences are planning on playing. . . .

The New York Knicks closed their practice facility on Tuesday after three employees tested positive. The NBA allowed teams to open up facilities on Oct. 30. Players won’t report for training camps for a while yet with the season to open on Dec. 22.


Elevator


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.


Pilates

QMJHL taking seven teams into bubble . . . BCHL cancels some games . . . MJHL shuts down three more teams



While you may be aware that this was a week for hard-hitting journalism, you may not be aware as to precisely how hard-hitting it was. . . . For example, on the evening of the U.S. election, Jordan Armstrong, an anchor and reporter with Global TV in Vancouver, was decrying an apparent shortage of Hawkins Cheezies in his part of the world. . . . Someone suggested via Twitter, of course, that there was a pandemic-related shortage. . . . It remained for Steve Ewen of Postmedia to do the grunt work. On Wednesday morning, Ewen contacted the good people at Hawkins via email and received this response: “Due to the covid virus we were behind in production in the spring, but have ramped up production and are making and shipping record amounts.” . . . Ewen ended his tweet with: “Glad to bring good news.” . . . Jason Pires of CTV Vancouver followed with: “Excellent, important journalism.” . . . I’m just thrilled to know Cheezies will be available for my Christmas stocking. I was beginning to get worried.



Dummy


Headline at TheOnion.com: Antonio Brown agrees to one-year plea deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Dodgers players and employees allowed or encouraged virus-positive Justin Turner to join the on-field World Series celebration, in defiance of MLB security. Fines, penalties, suspensions? Zero. I’m starting to wonder what you have to do to get Rob Manfred ticked off.”


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “MLB announced its won’t discipline Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner for returning to the field to celebrate his team’s World Series championship after testing positive mid-game for COVID-19. Hey, it was either that or suspend him for 10 spring-training games.”


You may have heard that Jon Gruden, the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, was fined $150,000 for repeated violations of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. As Dan Daly of ProFootballDaly.com put it: “Maybe it would help if somebody explained to Gruden that COVID gets up even earlier in the morning than he does.”


Here’s Chad Picasner, who blogs at chadpicasner.blogspot.com, describing Major League Baseball today: “You used to judge a pitcher by things like: How good is his curveball? Or how hard does he throw? Now you need to know spin rates, arm angles and BABIP, which is Batting Average of Balls In Play. Hitting coaches have to know bat speed, time in the zone and launch angles. Base-running coaches need to know . . . a different career, since the new metrics frown on stealing bases.”


Airport


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .


The QMJHL announced Sunday that it is going to move seven of its Quebec-qmjhlnewbased team into a bubble in Quebec City, from Nov. 17-27. . . . Interestingly, one of those teams — the Chicoutimi Sagueneens — had a member of its organization test positive and suspended all activities on Saturday. . . . According to the QMJHL, its plan has gotten the all-clear from the province’s Assembly of Members and public health officials. . . . The seven teams, each of which is located in a provincially designated red zone so recently was shut down, are Chicoutimi, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Drummondville Voltigeurs, Gatineau Olympiques, Quebec Remparts, Shawinigan Cataractes and Victoriaville Tigres. . . . Each team is to play six regular-season games at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City. . . . Earlier, the Armada had to shut things down after experiencing 18 positive tests. All told, it’s believed that QMJHL teams have had about 30 positive tests. . . . On Oct. 15, the Quebec government said it would give the QMJHL $12 million in funding to help the Quebec-based teams through the pandemic. . . . Roby St-Gelais of Le Journal de Quebec reported that each organization will be allowed to have 34 people in the bubble, with a maximum of 25 being players. On-ice officials also will be isolated in the bubble. Unless something changes, media and scouts won’t be permitted to attend. . . . St-Gelais also reported that the QMJHL still is working on the process for testing those in the bubble. As he pointed out, a “COVID-19 test costs an average of $200” in the private sector.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 1,397 new cases of COVID-19. This is Quebec’s highest single-day increase according to Public Health Canada’s historical data. The province also added 9 deaths, for a total of 6,440 deaths since the pandemic began.

——

The BCHL has cancelled seven exhibition games involving its four Lower BCHLMainland teams — the Chilliwack Chiefs, Coquitlam Express, Langley Rivermen and Surrey Eagles — in light of restrictions announced Saturday by the province’s health officer. . . . Those games were to have been played from Nov. 13-21. . . . Under the restrictions, all indoor sports incapable of physical distancing have been suspended in two health regions — Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal — until Nov. 23. . . . Powell River is within Vancouver Coastal, but the BCHL is awaiting clarification on the status of the Kings. Powell River is in a two-team cohort, along with the Cowichan Valley Capitals. They were to have played on Sunday in Duncan, but the game was cancelled because of travel restrictions that also were implemented. . . . The four Lower Mainland teams were playing in a cohort among themselves. . . . The BCHL has said that it wants to open its regular season in “early December.”

——

Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reports that he MJHL has had to shut down three more teams as part of the decision by mjhlManitoba health officials to declare the Southern Health Region a red zone. The Portage Terriers, Steinbach Pistons and Winkler Flyers have joined the Selkirk Steelers, Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze in a holding pattern. . . . The Pistons, Steelers, Blue and Freeze comprise the Southeast Division, while the Terriers and Flyers are in the Interior Division with the Virden Oil Capitals and Neepawa Natives. . . . The OCN Blizzard, one of four teams in the Northwest Division, were shut down last week after a player tested positive.

Brandon Sun: Three more people have died and 441 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Manitoba on Sunday.

——

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 159 new cases of COVID-19, a new single-day record, and 1 new death. The province has 1,122 active cases.32 people are in hospital, including 7 in intensive care.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 727 new cases of COVID-19 and 6 new deaths for a total of 33,504 cases and 363 deaths since the pandemic began.

CBC News: Nunavut’s 2nd case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Sanikiluaq. The territory’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson says: “The individual is part of the same household as the first positive case, is asymptomatic, isolated and is doing well.”

The New York Times: The U.S. reported its 10 millionth coronavirus case on Sunday. The latest million was added in just the last 10 days, and the country now accounts for about one-fifth of all reported cases in the world.

The New York Times: The U.S. surpassed 10 million coronavirus cases on Sunday, and experts say the virus is spreading out of control. With winter ahead, the next 73 days before Inauguration Day could be critical for controlling the pandemic.

Minyvonne Burke of NBC News reported Sunday that the Los Angeles Dodgers have had nine positive tests within their organization. As well, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, one family member has tested positive. . . . It isn’t known if Dodgers 3B Justin Turner is included in the total. Turner was removed late in the team’s Game 6 World Series-clinching victory on Oct. 27, but returned to the field to take part in the post-game celebrations in Arlington, Texas.


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.


Mike Bianchi, in the Orlando Sentinel: “Why did the officials pick up the flag for pass interference on the Tampa Bay Bucs during the potential game-tying two-point conversion for the New York Giants on Monday Night Football? Because Daniel Jones threw the pass and not Tom Brady. No matter what the sport is, don’t ever forget this: The studs get the calls and duds don’t.”


Horses

Nasty day as COVID-19 numbers continue to grow . . . SJHL ready to open . . . OJHL targets mid-January; each team gets disinfectant fogger machine


The 12-team SJHL has five games scheduled for tonight (Friday) and six on Saturday as it opens its 2020-21 regular season. . . . While the Saskatchewan-based teams will be limited to having 150 fans in the pews, the Manitoba-based Flin Flon Bombers will be allowed to have Whitney Forum at 25 per cent, or about 400 fans. . . .

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 129 new cases of COVID-19, the highest climb in daily cases in the province since the beginning of the pandemic. 30 new cases are in the north central zone, 55 in Saskatoon area.


The 22-team junior A Ontario Junior Hockey League doesn’t have an exact starting date, but said Thursday that it has a targeted starting date in early January. . . . It hopes to play a 30- to 36-game schedule before going into a shorter than normal playoff season. . . . From a news release: “In preparation for today’s announcement, various OJHL teams have already started the cohort bubbling process — as permitted under applicable law in conjunction with their Regional Public Health Unit (PHU) regulations — with scrimmages and exhibition games. Further announcements will be forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead, with dates and coverage details of established cohort bubbles and their respective exhibition game play. . . . OJHL teams have been in a training phase for the last number of weeks with the plan on getting rosters down to 25 players. Once clubs are down to a maximum 25 players on their rosters, they are then eligible to start playing scrimmage or non-contact games that follow the league’s governing regulations and otherwise comply with applicable PHU regulations and guidelines.” . . . Something else of interest: “Most importantly, each team is also receiving a disinfectant fogger machine in partnership with CleanQuip Systems Inc., which will be used to disinfect and sanitize team dressing rooms and other team areas within each facility.” . . .

CBC.ca: Ontario reports 998 new COVID-19 cases, concerns over hospitalizations mount.


Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reported via Twitter that “three members of the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons are isolating and waiting for the results of their COVID-19 tests. All of the Pistons’ team activities have halted until further notice.” . . . Paul Dyck, the Pistons’ general manager and head coach, told Sawatzky: “We had three players (who) exhibited flu symptoms — one Monday and two Tuesday. So we’re just taking precautions. The players have been tested. We don’t have results back.” . . . Sawatzky pointed out: “On Wednesday night, the number of potential cases prompted the league to postpone Steinbach’s home-and-home series this weekend with the Winkler Flyers.” . . . The MJHL has postponed 16 games of late, but still has two on Friday night’s schedule — Waywayseecappo at Neepawa and Swan Valley at Virden. . . .

CBC News: Manitoba is reporting 427 new COVID-19 cases, the province’s 2nd highest daily total since the pandemic began. The 7-day average is now 326, which is a Manitoba record. The province is also attributing 4 additional deaths to the virus.


The 14-team Heritage Junior B Hockey League postponed two games involving the Medicine Hat Cubs and Coaldale Copperheads. They were to have played in Medicine Hat on Friday and Coaldale on Saturday. . . . Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News tweeted: “Cubs president Troy Sandau added one member of the Cubs has been tested and results came back negative. Coaldale HC/GM Doug Paisley says three players have tested positive, though none played in either of the two games last weekend. . . . Copperheads now are isolating and will return to practice Nov. 12.” . . .

Tina Karst, CJOC/CKBD Lethbridge: Dr. Deena Hinshaw says she does not have exact numbers but says there have been about 800 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the past 24 hours. She says this is “extremely concerning.”  Nine hospitals now have outbreaks, including Lethbridge’s Chinook Regional Hospital.


The BCHL, which plans on opening its regular season on Dec. 1, has addressed the situation involving the Wenatchee Wild, the league’s only U.S.-based team. . . . The BCHL said that with the U.S.-Canada border closed to non-essential travel, the Wild isn’t on the regular-season schedule at this point in time. From a news release: The Wild’s “plan remains to continue training camp . . . and play intra-squad exhibition games until they are able to travel north to play against BCHL competition. If the border opens early in 2021, or before the regular season commences, the league has plans in place to add the Wild into the schedule . . .”

Chilliwack FC, which oversees minor soccer in the B.C. city, announced Thursday that is has shut everything down through Nov. 16 because of rising numbers in the area. An email from Chilliwack FC read: “While we continue to believe it is a parent’s choice as to whether their child participates in our programs, we feel it is in the best interest of our organization that we pause all activities effective immediately. These activities include all practices and games from the U4 level through to adult.” . . .

Janet Brown, CKNW Radio, Vancouver: Record number of new COVID-19 cases in BC 425, 97 in hospital (+5), 24 ICU (highest number of people in hospital since Apr27) 3389 active cases also highest on record, 7519 in self isolation, no new deaths.


CBC News: Canada surpasses 250,000 COVID-19 cases with the reporting of 1,138 new cases in Quebec. That’s the highest daily number in the province in almost 3 weeks. Quebec is also attributing 10 additional deaths to the virus.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Here was how Thursday began for the NFL. . . . The Houston Texans, who are to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, shut down their facility after being informed the previous night that an unidentified player tested positive. Later in the day, LB Jacob Martin went on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also reported that two other linebackers — Whitney Mercilus and Dylan Cole — were identified as close contacts and also went on the list. . . . The Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts each had a staff member test positive. . . . C Cody Whitehair of the Chicago Bears tested positive, so they paused in-person football activities and closed their facility. Earlier in the week, the Bears put OL Jason Spriggs and OL Germain Ifedi on the list. Spriggs tested positive, while Ifedi was declared a high-risk close contact. . . . The Bears are to play the Titans in Tennessee on Sunday. . . . The Philadelphia Eagles, who are on a bye week, had S Marcus Epps come up positive. . . . The Detroit Lions placed S Jalen Elliott on the list, but head coach Matt Patricia wouldn’t speak to the condition of QB Matthew Stafford, who went on the list earlier in the week. The Lions are at Minnesota on Sunday. . . .

Meanwhile, a number of U.S. college football games have been removed from Saturday’s schedule. . . . The Washington Huskies won’t be visiting the California Golden Bears, while Air Force at Army and Tulsa at Navy also are off. . . . Cal had one player test positive and contact tracing meant a number of other players had to go into isolation. It all left Cal without enough scholarship players for a game. . . . Air Force cited an increase in cases at the Academy and surrounding area. . . . Navy has had a number of positive tests and has halted football activities. . . . Other scheduled games that won’t be played this weekend: North Texas-Louisiana Tech, Wisconsin-Purdue, Louisville-Virginia and Florida International-UTEP. . . .

The USHL has shuffled a number of games. For starters, Omaha at Waterloo games scheduled this weekend were, according to the league, “declared a No Contest. Per league safety protocols, minimum standards were not met to play.” . . . Also postponed were two games in Des Moines, involving the Buccaneers, Sioux Falls Stampede and Tri-City Storm. . . . On Wednesday, the USHL had postponed a series between the Lincoln Stars and host Fargo Force for the same reason. . . .

UConn suspended men’s basketball activities after one player tested positive. The Huskies are scheduled to open their season on Dec. 2. . . .

Sporting Kansas City, which is to play its final MLS regular-season game on Sunday at Real Salt Lake City, had what it called a “first-team player” test positive on Thursday. . . .

CTV has reported that the Canadian national ski cross team has had several members contract the virus while in Switzerland training for the new season. Alpine Canada, which wouldn’t confirm reports of illness, is bringing at least some team members back to Canada. CTV also reported that cases of COVID-19 “have also been reported in members of the Russian and Norwegian alpine teams.”


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.


Blake Wesley: I never want to have a reoccurrence of this nightmare!! . . . Former WHLer battled virus in Austria . . . AJHL team has positive test

Blake Wesley, a former WHL player and coach, wants you to know that, if you aren’t already, you need to get serious about your approach to COVID-19. . . . “I’ve had pneumonia, I’ve had bronchitis — you can intensify that by 10 times,” he told rdnewsNOW. . . . Wesley, 61, coaches at a hockey academy in Sankt Pölten, Austria. . . . Wesley played for the Portland Winterhawks (1976-79). He also was an assistant coach with the Tri-City Americans (2001-02) and Portland (2002-04). . . .

BlakeWesley1
Blake Wesley, in his Lilienfield, Austria, hospital room, as he fought the coronavirus. (Photo: Blake Wesley/Facebook)

In a story written by Josh Hall and Troy Gillard, Wesley said that despite taking all the recommended precautions he started to feel poorly on Oct. 2 and found out on Oct. 7 that he was positive. He can’t be certain, but he may have gotten infected from a colleague who also tested positive but wasn’t hospitalized. . . . Later that day, Wesley got an ambulance ride to a hospital where the medical team did tests and blood work. Doctors there then transferred him to a hospital in Lilienfield, which is about 35 minutes from Sankt Pölten. The hospital there is strictly for COVID-19 patients. . . . He was in that hospital until Oct. 23. . . .

Wesley, whose wife was in Penticton, B.C., through all of this, added: “It was exhaustive and, quite honestly, what drained me the most was when the doctors came in to do the second test and they said ‘Nope, you’re not going home.’ I got pretty weepy and teary-eyed because there’s no one there to comfort you.” . . . Wesley was discharged from hospital on Oct. 23 and feels that he now is ready to get back on the ice.

In a highly emotional Facebook post, Wesley explained the symptoms he felt: “Friday October 2. This was the day I started feeling symptoms (raging headache, heart racing, elevated BP, nausea, fatigue, weariness, respiratory infection, loss of taste, loss of appetite). Honestly, I thought I was having a heart attack, and there was someone squeezing the air out of my lungs. Dry cough, dry scratchy eyes, fever, chills. It was a horrible flu, along with pneumonia and bronchitis symptoms.”

While in that hospital, he wasn’t allowed outside his room.

“I was wheeled into the hospital by the ambulance attendants,” Wesley wrote. “That’s the last time I was outside the hospital room. I felt like a prisoner! . . . That was difficult. I thought there was a remote chance to walk about the floor outside the room. No chance of that!!”

And then things started to get worse.

“Over the next few days my symptoms worsened. . . . It was very hard to breathe, and the oxygen Infusions gave some relief. The coughing was painful. Sore throat couldn’t eat food somedays.”

According to Wesley, his daily regimen included lots of blood work, daily infusions of medication via IVs, blood-thinner injections, oral antibiotics and oxygen infusions three times a day. He said he also was treated with Remdesivir.

“There were some really challenging days — mentally, spiritually and physically,” he wrote. “I had four Corona tests while I was in the hospital. None of them were negative. I was so discouraged and disappointed when the test results came back each time.”

Finally, he was discharged on Oct. 23 and returned home. He said that by this time he didn’t have any symptoms “even though I was still positive.” He quarantined at home through Nov. 2.

On Nov. 1, he wrote that “over these past days, I have improved tremendously.”

But, he added, “I never want to have a reoccurrence of this nightmare!!”

In summing up, he wrote:

“I thought I was immune to this virus!!!

“I wore a mask, I always did my best to take all the necessary precautions. I will be vigilant every day. Good nutrition, sanitizing my hands, wearing a mask, distancing . . . the virus is powerful, and we are mere mortals in its path.

“Wear a mask, wash your hands, and avoid physical contact.”

The story by Hall and Gillard is right here. . . . If you’re on Facebook, search for Wesley’s page and read his story in its entirety.


And now it’s the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s turn to deal with COVID-19. ajhlThe AJHL, which plans on opening its regular season on Nov. 13, revealed Wednesday morning that “a member” of the Whitecourt Wolverines tested positive and that the Alberta Health Services protocols had been activated.

A tweet from the AJHL stated: “For privacy reasons, no further comments will be provided.”

The Wolverines haven’t played since Oct. 17 when they beat the visiting Grande Prairie Storm, 4-2. Whitecourt’s next exhibition game was to have been played on Friday, at the Drayton Valley Thunder, but it has been cancelled. The Thunder was to have visited Whitecourt the following night but that game also has been cancelled.


The WHL has said it will open its next regular season on Jan. 8. If you’re wondering what things might look like inside arenas with limited seating SCBroncoscapacities because of the pandemic, there were a few hints in a news release issued by the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday.

That release deals with what the team refers to as “season-ticket deadline and process.”

Included in the release . . .

“While the comprehensive development of the guidelines and protocols are in progress and subject to change, at this point in time, we are expecting the following key measures to be included in our return-to-play protocols:

“Reduced overall capacity and a seating plan which allows for social distancing between groups of fans that are considered part of a household and/or extended household group. This will require most season-ticket holders to be moved to different seats for the 2020-21 season; however for subsequent seasons when capacities are allowed to return to normal, season-ticket holders will be returned to their regular seats.

“A requirement to create separate contained zones in the i-Plex, requiring groups to stay within their assigned zone throughout a game. Each zone will have separate parking, entrances and exits, and will have access to washrooms, concessions, merchandise store or tables, and 50/50 booths. Fans will not be able to enter into any other zone.

“At this time, fans will most likely be required to wear a face mask at all times, except when eating or drinking within their own seat.”

The Broncos also point out that “there will likely be several other guidelines and protocols to adhere to, and these may change prior to and throughout the season.”

In other words, the only sure thing these days is that things likely will change.


Santa


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

From Oct. 25-31, the NFL had 42,916 tests administered to 7,884 players and team personnel. There were eight positive tests among players and 17 among other personnel. . . . Since Aug. 1, the NFL says more than 550,000 tests have been administered, and there have been positive tests for 63 players and 99 other personnel. . . .

The Detroit Lions place QB Matthew Stafford on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. It’s his second time on the list, as he was on it in August for what turned out to be a false positive. . . . According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Stafford is considered a “high-risk, close contact” of someone who tested positive. . . . That contact apparently occurred on Monday, so Matthews will be eligible to come off the list on Sunday, in time to play against the host Minnesota Vikings.

The San Francisco 49ers will be without WR Kendrick Bourne when they play host to the Green Bay Packers tonight (Thursday). Bourne, who is into self-quarantine, tested positive so won’t play. Also among San Francisco’s scratches will be LT Trent Williams, WR Brandon Aiyuk and WR Deebo Samuel, who are seen as high-risk contacts to Bourne and went on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . . San Francisco, which also will be without more than a dozen injured players, including QB Jimmy Garoppolo and TE George Kittle, shut down its facility on Wednesday and held virtual meetings. There are more test results due Thursday. . . . The game is still scheduled to be played, at least until those results are seen. . . . The Packers are without RB AJ Dillon, who came up positive on Monday. RB Jamaal Williams and LB Kamal Martin also won’t play after being designated as “high-risk” contacts. . . .

The Winnipeg Free Press reported Tuesday that one player with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard has tested positive. While the MJHL has yet to confirm the report, it did do some rescheduling of games on Wednesday. That included the postponing of two weekend games in which the Dauphin Kings were to have played the Portage Terriers “due to precautionary public health concerns.” The Kings played host to the Blizzard on Saturday night. . . . Why hasn’t the MJHL commented on the positive test? According to a news release that included scheduling changes, “Public Health (is) the only informed authority to provide public information via daily bulletins on possible exposure, close contact to exposure or the declaration of an outbreak.” . . . That news release is right here. . . .

The Pac-12 football season is scheduled to start on Saturday. Whoops! Guess what? . . . On Wednesday, the U of California, Berkley, athletic department released a statement indicating that “a member of the Cal football program has tested positive . . . marking the first positive test within the program since the start of daily testing” early in October. The statement also said that “several student-athletes were held out of practice Wednesday as a precautionary measure while contact tracing is being completed.” . . . Cal is scheduled to play host to the Washington Huskies on Saturday night, but that game may well be in jeopardy now. . . .

The U of Louisville has paused all football activities after 10 players and five support staff members tested positive. The Cardinals were to have played at the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday, but the game has been postponed to Nov. 14. . . .

Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported Wednesday that the five members of Fox Sports’ Big Noon Kickoff show won’t appear this week “due to COVID-19 quarantine protocols.” . . . Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Urban Meyer, Brady Quinn and host Rob Stone will be held off the network’s college football pregame show on Saturday prior to the USC-Arizona State game. . . . Marchand reported that Fox Sports will have Emmanuel Acho, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and host Charissa Thompson on the program that will be one hour long instead of its normal two. . . .

The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), which has 17 member schools, announced Wednesday that it “has officially cancelled the 2021 extended winter semester of athletics.” . . . According to a news release, “A surge in COVID-19 cases in Alberta has caused the majority of ACAC member institutions to extend on-line academic program delivery into the winter 2021 semester in the interests of protecting the health and safety of students and the broader community.” . . . For most of the schools involved, that takes care of basketball, volleyball and futsal for this season.


Shady


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

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Halloween

COVID-19 playing havoc with MJHL; Free Press: OCN player positive . . . Gogol had quite a season in ’77-78

It didn’t take long for life in the pandemic to take a nasty turn for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

The 12-team league was cruising along, having gotten in 38 regular-season mjhlgames since opening on Oct. 9, until the province’s numbers started running wild. By Tuesday, the Winnipeg Free Press was suggesting the MJHL’s season might be in doubt.

Let’s recap . . .

On Monday, Hockey Manitoba announced that it had shut down all hockey activity in the Winnipeg metropolitan region effective immediately, with things to be revisited on Nov. 15. As a result, the MJHL postponed weekend games that were to involve the Selkirk Steelers, Winnipeg Blues and Winnipeg Freeze. At the time, the league said the weekend’s other games would go ahead as scheduled, after which it would shut down until Nov. 20.

On Tuesday, the MJHL announced that “this week’s games involving the OCN Blizzard have been postponed due to a public health concern.”

It wasn’t long before Jason Bell and Mike Sawatzky of the Free Press were OCNreporting that “at least one player with the OCN Blizzard has tested positive for COVID-19, putting the club’s season and perhaps even the MJHL’s 2020-21 campaign into doubt.”

The Blizzard was to have played the Kings in Dauphin on Tuesday night, but that game was postponed. The teams played Sunday in Dauphin, with the Blizzard winning, 7-4. The Blizzard player who tested positive played in that game.

OCN’s lineup on Sunday included two players on loan from the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders — F Justin Nachbaur and F Evan Herman — and F Eric Alarie of the Moose Jaw Warriors. Dauphin’s lineup included F Tyson Kozak of the Portland Winterhawks, F Jakob Brook of the Regina Pats and F Kade Runke of the Warriors.

The parent of an OCN player told the Free Press: “All the details haven’t been released yet. I certainly wouldn’t want to provide any misinformation, so the information has to come from the right channels. (The organization said) just that there’s been possible exposure in the division, so we’re following proper health protocols and going into isolation mode until there’s more information.”

The Free Press also reported it had been told by multiple sources that “OCN players from outside The Pas were being told to return home.”

A parent of a player with a different MJHL team told the Free Press: “Almost close to calling that anonymous line for COVID reporting. Something I think MJHL commissioner should answer questions on. Certainly OCN. But sure the league is done until (Christmas) at least after this.”

Taking Note has been told that at least one of the four on-ice officials who worked Sunday’s game has been told he should self-isolate for 14 days.

According to the MJHL’s schedule, weekend games in Winkler, Portage la Prairie, Steinbach and Dauphin will be played before the league breaks until Nov. 20.

The story from the Free Press is right here.


Brent Gogol holds the WHL record for most penalty minutes in one season — 511 in 1977-78. He started the season with the Victoria Cougars, earning 46 minutes in six games. He was dealt to the Billings Bighorns, where he added another 465 minutes in 61 games. . . . Interestingly, Mel Hewitt, who split his 1977-78 season between the Saskatoon Blades and Calgary Wranglers, finished only three minutes behind Gogol in that same season. . . . In 1990-91, Kerry Toporowski of the Spokane Chiefs got to 505 minutes. You have to wonder if he knew how close he was to Gogol’s record at the time.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CB Marlon Humphrey of the Baltimore Ravens has tested positive. He played every defensive snap on Sunday in the Raven’s 28-24 loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers. . . . The Steelers announced Monday that all of their tests had come back negative. . . . By Tuesday, though, the Ravens had put seven players on the reserve/COVID-19 list — linebackers Tyus Bowser, L.J. Fort, Malik Harrison, Matthew Judon and Patrick Queen, DB DeShon Elliott and practice squad DB Terrell Bonds. Those seven will quarantine for five days but could be activated in time to face the host Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. . . .

RB AJ Dillon of the Green Bay Packers has tested positive and won’t play Thursday against the host San Francisco 49ers. Dillon played on Sunday as the Packers dropped a 28-22 decision to the visiting Minnesota Vikings. He was on the field for 10 offensive snaps and seven plays on special teams. . . . RB Jamaal Williams and LB Kamal Martin, named as high-risk close contacts, also won’t play. . . .

The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals came off their bye week and head coach Cliff Kingsbury revealed a pair of positive tests from the weekend. Kingsbury wouldn’t provide identities of the two players, but LB Devon Kennard later reported on Twitter that he had tested positive. . . . The team also has placed CB Byron Murphy on the reserve/COVID-19 list. . . . The Cardinals are to play the visiting Miami Dolphins on Sunday. . . .

The Denver Broncos revealed Tuesday that team president Joe Ellis and general manager John Elway have tested positive. Meanwhile, assistant coaches Ed Donatell, Curtis Modkins and Mike Munchak are under COVID-19 protocols, as is OL Graham Glasgow. . . . The Broncos are scheduled to visit the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. . . .

QB Andy Dalton of the Dallas Cowboys had been expected to return on Sunday against the host Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. . . . Dalton missed the Cowboys’ previous game with a concussion. . . .

The U of Wisconsin Badgers have had a second straight football game cancelled. The Badgers were to have played Purdue on Saturday. Wisconsin has had 27 positives since Oct. 24 — 15 players and 12 staff. . . . Interestingly, there isn’t room in the Big Ten schedule to play games that are affected by the virus, so the games are cancelled. . . .

Following one positive test, the junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay DynamitersInternational Junior Hockey League have nine additional members of the organization self-isolating until Nov. 11. This comes after the Interior Health Authority completed contact tracing. The Dynamiters’ last exhibition game, scheduled for Friday against the visiting Fernie Ghostriders has been cancelled. . . . The KIJHL plans on opening its regular season on Nov. 13. The Dynamiters are scheduled to be at home to Fernie that night. . . .

The Chilliwack Minor Hockey Association has paused for at least two weeks. An outbreak at a Chilliwack dance studio — there are at least 30 positives — resulted in meetings between the CMHA and health authorities, and a decision was made to suspend all hockey activities. . . .

The South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League has delayed the start of its regular season to Nov. 26. The seven-team league hopes to play a 12-game regular season. . . . The original plan was to play the regular 18-game season starting on Nov. 6. . . .

The QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs have lost assistant coach Mathieu Turcotte, who has left the team for personal reasons. According to Mikael Lalancette of TVA Sports, Turcotte “has health problems that put him at risk” during these pandemic times. . . . The Voltigeurs are one of the QMJHL teams that has experienced positive tests. . . .

The U of Rhode Island Rams football team has had to put things on hold after a player and a staff member tested positive. All players and staff members have been told to quarantine for two weeks. . . . The Rams have been hold light workouts as they aren’t scheduled to play until Feb. 27 as the Colonial Athletic Association chose not to play in the fall.


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.