Sim overshadows Bedard in Pats’ victory . . . Warriors hang on to win in Kamloops . . . Thunderbirds slow down Portland express

A reminder that former WHLer Andrei Lupandin and his family have left their native Ukraine and are in Saskatoon hoping to start a new life after losing their home in the ongoing Russian onslaught.

Lupandin, 44, and his wife and two sons arrived in Saskatoon “with little more than a hockey bag and one suitcase for the family of four,” according to a GoFundMe page that is up and running.

“They have no work and need to start over. We are raising funds to help them with buying essentials, saving money to live and for future accommodations and household items.”

That GoFundMe page is right here.



FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour got started in Langley, B.C., as his Regina Pats beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-0, before an Reginaannounced crowd of 5,276. . . . That is the largest crowd for a Giants’ home game in the Langley Events Centre since they moved there to start the 2016-17 season. . . . The Pats (10-11-2) had lost their previous three games. . . . The Giants now are 8-10-4. . . . G Drew Sim was huge for the Pats, kicking out 47 shots to record his second shutout this season and the third of his career. Sim, 19, was a third-round pick by the Giants in the WHL’s 2018 draft. His first 11 WHL appearances were with the Giants. . . . Vancouver dealt him to Regina on Oct. 21, 13, 2021, for a conditional fourth-rounder in 2024. . . . Bedard, who takes his tour on to Victoria to meet the Royals tonight, was playing in his 100th regular-season game. He had one assist as his point streak reached 22 games. He was blanked in the season’s first game and hasn’t been shut out since then. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (19), assists (30) and points (49). . . . Bedard is from North Vancouver, and this was his first WHL game on the Lower Mainland of B.C. . . . F Borya Valis (10), who had missed the last two games, got Regina’s first goal, on a PP, at 12:47 of the first period. . . . F Riley Ginnell, 20, made his Regina debut after being acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors earlier in the week. . . .

The visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes scored three PP goals en route to a 4-3 Lethbridgevictory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Lethbridge improved to 13-10-1. It is 1-2 on a six-game road trip. . . . The Wheat Kings are 8-14-2. . . . These teams will play in Brandon again tonight. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but the Hurricanes scored the next three goals. . . . F Tyson Laventure (5) had two goals and an assist for the winners, with D Logan McCutcheon (1) chipping in a goal and two assists. . . . Lethbridge was 3-4 on the PP; Brandon was 2-5. . . . The Hurricanes got 37 stops from G Harrison Meneghin. . . .

In Calgary, F Sloan Stanick and F Keaton Sorensen each had four points to help PrinceAlbertthe Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Raiders (9-12-2) have won four in a row. . . . The Hitmen (11-6-3) had points in each of their previous two games (1-0-1). . . . After F Zac Funk (6) gave Calgary a 2-1 lead 48 seconds into the second period, the Raiders scored the game’s last four goals. . . . Sorensen (11) had two goals and two assists, with Stanick drawing four assists. . . . Raiders F Evan Herman, the team’s captain, scored his fifth goal this season — it was the 50th of his career — and added two assists. . . . The Raiders got 32 stops from G Tikhon Chaika. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets struck three times in the second period and went on to Kelownabeat the Silvertips, 4-2, in Everett. . . . Kelowna improved to 9-9-1; the Silvertips, who had been 0-3-1 in their previous four games, now are 12-9-1. . . . F Colton Dach (6), Kelowna’s captain, broke a 2-2 tie at 17:24 of the second period. He also had an assist. . . . F Max Graham (2) iced it with an empty-netter. . . . Kelowna D Jackson DeSouza had two assists and now is on a four-game point streak, with seven points over that stretch. He went into this season with one goal and 10 assists in 70 games. This season, he has three goals and five assists in 17 games, with all eight points having come over the past five games. . . . Everett F Jackson Berezowski, who hadn’t played since Nov. 4 as he missed six games, scored his 13th goal. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s first three goals, two via the PP, and WarriorsNewhung on to beat the Blazers, 3-2, in Kamloops. . . . The Warriors (14-9-0) are 1-1-0 on this seven-game road swing. . . . The Blazers (10-5-4) had points in each of their previous five games (3-0-2). . . . F Brayden Yager (11) had a goal and an assist for the Warriors, the goal giving them a 3-0 lead at 13:52 of the second period. . . . F Jagger Firkus of the Warriors ran his point streak to 16 games with an assist. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven (14) scored 45 seconds into the third period and later added an assist to extend his point streak to 15 games; he has hit the scoresheet in each game in which he has played this season. . . . The Warriors got a big game from G Connor Ungar, who made 36 stops. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers scored three times in the shootout to beat the Rebels, MedicineHat3-2, in Red Deer. . . . The Tigers (8-10-5) have won two straight. . . . The Rebels (16-4-3) have lost three in a row (16-4-3). . . . F Kai Uchacz (17) scored while shorthanded to give Red Deer a 2-1 lead at 2:26 of the second period. . . . F Brendan Lee got the Tigers even with his 14th goal at 15:39 of the third. . . . Lee, who also had an assist, has goals in six straight games, putting in eight over that stretch. He also scored Medicine Hat’s first goal in the shootout. . . . The Tigers had a 42-31 edge in shots. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Winnipeg Ice broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals en route Saskatoonto a 5-3 victory over the Blades. . . . The Ice (22-2-0) has won two in a row. . . . The Blades (15-5-0) had a four-game winning streak snapped. . . . The will have a rematch tonight, also in Saskatoon. . . . F Ty Nash (11) gave the Ice a 4-1 lead at 4:16 of the third period. He has goals in five straight games. . . . The Blades got PP goals from F Josh Pillar (4) and F Justin Lies (4) to get within a goal, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . The Ice got a goal and two assists from D Ben Zloty (6), while F Connor McClennon had three assists. . . . Zloty, 20, has 28 points in 24 games this season. . . . G Daniel Hauser made 30 saves to earn the victory. This season, he is 16-0-0, 2.43, .914. In his career, he is a remarkable 57-3-2. . . . F Zach Benson was one of the Ice’s scratches. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds have points in six straight games after beating the SeattlePortland Winterhawks, 6-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (15-3-1) are 5-0-1 in their past six games. . . . The Winterhawks (17-3-1) had points in each of their previous 12 games (10-0-2) and had won nine in a row. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (10) led Seattle with a shorthanded goal and two assists. . . . The only goal of the first period came from Seattle D Nolan Allan. He has five on the season, but this was his first with Seattle since being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 16. . . . Seattle outshot Portland, 35-21, including 24-7 through two periods. . . . The Winterhawks had F Jack O’Brien and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme back after one-game absences. Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) tweeted that “both are wearing full shields/fish bowls due to coming off illness.” . . . The Thunderbirds remain without injured D Luke Prokop. . . .

F Josh Davies scored the game’s first three goals to lead the host Swift Current SwiftCurrentBroncos to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Broncos (10-11-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Oil Kings (4-19-1) have lost two in a row. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, also in Swift Current. . . . Davies, who has eight goals, scored twice while shorthanded — at 14:02 of the first period and 9:39 of the second — to complete his first WHL hat trick in his 106th game.


Looters


THE TRADING PLACE:

The Regina Pats skated at the Langley Events Centre on Thursday in advance of their Friday night game against the Vancouver Giants. Afterwards, John Paddock, the Pats’ senior vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, met with the media. Of course, he was asked about the possibility of trading highly touted F Connor Bedard. Paddock’s response: “That’s a stupid question. That’s my response. There’s only one place where that’s come out of all year and that’s in B.C.” . . . You will note that he didn’t say “NO!” Could it be that the Pats are keeping open all of their options? . . . Hey, John, any chance of your trading Tanner Howe? . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings have acquired F Anthony Wilson, 17, and D Luke Shipley, 18, from the Victoria Royals for F Teydon Trembecky, 17, and three WHL draft picks — a third-rounder in 2023 that originally belonged to the Red Deer Rebels, a fifth in 2024 and a fourth in 2026. . . . Wilson, a third-rounder selection in the 2020 WHL draft, had nine goals and nine assists in 81 games with the Royals. He is from Swift Current. . . . Shipley was a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft. From Powell River, B.C., he had four goals and 18 assists in 105 games with Victoria. . . . Trembecky, a third-round pick by Brandon in the 2020 draft, is from Strathcona, Alta. He had two assists in 24 games with the Wheat Kings. . . . 

Since Oct. 25, WHL teams have combined on 13 trades involving 22 players, 30 draft picks and four conditional picks. . . . Only the Calgary Hitmen, Everett Silvertips, Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Portland Winterhawks and  Vancouver Giants haven’t made at least one deal in the past month.


Spotted


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Regina Pats got down to three 20-year-olds by releasing F Jakob Brook. He is expected to join the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. . . . The Pats had indicated in Tuesday’s WHL roster report that they had dropped Brook. But there wasn’t an announcement until Thursday. . . . A second-round pick by the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL’s 2017 draft, Brook had three assists in seven games this season. In 164 career regular-season games, split between the Pats and Raiders, he put up 14 goals and 23 assists. . . . Brook’s brother, Aidan, 19, also is on Dauphin’s roster. Aidan has WHL experience with the Medicine Hat Tigers (24 games) and Prince George Cougars (11). . . .

F Max Streule, a sophomore from Zurich, Switzerland, has cleared WHL waivers and has left the Winnipeg Ice for the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Streule, 19, had two goals and nine assists in 52 games last season; this season, he was pointless in six games. . . . Streule’s departure leaves F Vladislav Shilo, who is from Minsk, Belarus, as the Ice’s lone import. . . .

G Ève Gascon, who made history last season as the third female to play in a QMJHL regular-season game, with the Gatineau Olympiques, has committed to play NCAA hockey for the U of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their season-opening winning streak to 22 games on Friday, as they dumped the host Alberni Valley Bulldogs, 7-1. . . . The Vees are to travel to Powell River to meet the Kings tonight. . . .

Meanwhile, we shouldn’t be ignoring the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars, who have opened the season by playing 23 games without a regulation-time loss. . . . They will take a 20-0-3 record into their next game, against the visiting Notre Dame Hounds on Dec. 2.


Freedom


THINKING OUT LOUD — Just how big is the NFL in the world of TV and sports. Well, you may have noticed that the NHL didn’t have even one game scheduled for Thursday, which was American Thanksgiving and featured three NFL games. One of those games — New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys — averaged 42 million viewers on FOX-TV. It now is the most-watched NFL regular-season game in history. . . . I never cease to be amazed by the number of people on the sidelines of a football game in the U.S., be it NFL or NCAA. Does each one of those people have a particular responsibility, or are they just there? . . . Mask up whenever the situation calls for it. Those people with suppressed immune systems will thank you for it.


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.


Breakfast

Scattershooting on a Wednesday night while watching Shohei Ohtani weave his magic . . .

scattershooting

A lot of junior hockey teams have signed assistant coaches during my 50-plus years around the game. But I can’t recall an announcement like the one the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades made on Monday.

The Blades welcomed back Wacey Rabbit, this time as an assistant coach, but they also brought his wife, Ashley Callingbull, into their organization as an ambassador.

From a Blades’ news release: “Ashley is a Cree First Nations woman from the Enoch Cree Nation on Treaty Six territory in Alberta. Ashley has many passions that include dance, and she is professionally trained in jazz, ballet, pointe and tap. She also has developed a career in acting, starring in many commercials and television shows.”

These days, she also can be found in Edmonton where she is the in-game host at Commonwealth Stadium for games involving the CFL’s Elks.

But she is making her biggest mark working with First Nations people and in these days of reconciliation the Sask Entertainment Group, which owns the Blades and lacrosse’s Saskatchewan Rush, has done well be bringing her aboard.

“I work with a lot of women and children around the communities and within Saskatoon so I am here quite often and now it will be easier for me to be more accessible to these communities,” she said in that news release.

Her position with the Blades and Rush will allow her a large platform to continue her work in the Saskatoon area and in Saskatchewan.

“I’m hoping to create more programs for not only the youth but indigenous peoples,” she said. “I can’t wait so I will be at every game.”

Sorry, Wacey, but I think your wife’s inclusion in this deal has overshadowed your return.

——

With the Blades, Wacey Rabbit, 35, fills the vacancy created when associate Saskatooncoach Ryan Marsh left after four seasons to join the DEL’s Schwenninger Wild Wings in Germany as an assistant coach. . . . Rabbit, who is from the Kainai First Nation in Alberta, played four seasons (2002-06) with the Blades and 30 games with the Vancouver Giants in 2006-07. He ended his pro career by playing three seasons (2018-21) with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen, while also playing in Czechi and Romania. . . . In 2021-22, he was an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . . From a Blades’ news release: Rabbit “will join head coach Brennan Sonne, assistant coach Dan DaSilva, goaltending coach Jeff Harvey, video coach Karter Parisloff and assistant Jerome Engele on the staff.”


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Has the reputation of one organization taken a beating in recent days and weeks as much as Hockey Canada’s has? (It) should never get another cent of government money, which won’t begin to undo anything close to all that’s gone wrong here.”

He’s not wrong.


The good folks of Imperial, Sask., got it right. Well done, folks!


Giraffe


THINKING OUT LOUD: I learned a few days ago that Johnny Rivers isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. . . . It’s also wrong, wrong, wrong that Leo Cahill isn’t in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. . . . And while we’re on the subject, it’s embarrassing that Paul Henderson isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame. . . . Is there a better race track in B.C. than the highway between Vernon and Kelowna? If you haven’t been on it, it’s one of those tracks where the speed limit seems to be whatever you want it to be. . . . Look, 3-on-3 overtime is fine for a hockey league’s regular-season games. But in the Memorial Cup? How embarrassing to see the CHL decide meaningful games in this fashion. . . . There was news the other day of thieves breaking into the Atlanta home of former NBA star Vince Carter and making off with about $100,000 in cash. So I asked my wife: “How much cash do we have in our home?” We stopped counting at $70. . . . Hope you feel at home here despite the absence of gambling ads.


Have to wonder if any junior hockey teams might try this in an attempt to attract fans and keep them coming back?



With all that is going on in our world these days, you may have missed this story, from The Associated Press:

“ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Happy the elephant may be intelligent and deserving of compassion, but she cannot be considered a person being illegally confined to the Bronx Zoo, New York’s top court ruled Tuesday.

“The 5-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals comes in a closely watched case that tested the boundaries of applying human rights to animals.”

The complete story is right here.

As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, put it: “I guess I should be happy in these days of hyper-political correctness that the NY State Court of Appeals ruled that an elephant is not a person and that an elephant in the Bronx Zoo cannot be released under habeus corpus. . . . However, before I get too carried away in my euphoria, let me point out that the vote of the judges was only 5-2.  Two judges wanted the elephant released via habeus corpus.” 


Stupid


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held its annual general meeting recently, the details of which are included in the link in the above tweet. I’m disappointed that the news release didn’t include anything about the part of the gathering in which the commissioner was kind enough to give me some free publicity. . . . BTW, the Canadian government has extended pandemic-related border restrictions at least through Sept. 19. I’m told, Mr. Commissioner, that this means the Spokane Braves will be sitting out another KIJHL season. They last played in 2019-20.



THE COACHING GAME:

I’ve been coasting for the last couple of weeks, recharging the batteries, making certain that the mask supply is up to date, and watching to see if the quicksand completely envelops Hockey Canada before the Hlinka Gretzky Cup opens in Red Deer on July 31. So a lot of what follows is a bit dated . . .

The Spokane Chiefs have removed the ‘interim’ from Ryan Smith’s title and Spokanesigned him to “a multi-year contract” as head coach. The precise length of the deal wasn’t revealed. . . . Smith was in his second season as the WHL team’s associate coach when head coach Adam Maglio was fired on Feb. 10. Smith was named interim head coach and guided the Chiefs into the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Before joining the Chiefs, Smith spent two seasons on the Medicine Hat Tigers’ coaching staff and was with the Swift Current Broncos for three seasons. . . . The Chiefs also signed Dustin Donaghy as an assistant coach for 2022-23. A part-time assistant when last season began, he assumed a full-time role when Maglio was fired. As a player, Donaghy, now 33, helped the Chiefs to the 2008 Memorial Cup title. . . . Of course, the Chiefs’ decision to stay with Smith throws a wet blanket on the speculation that the job would be going to Kyle Gustafson, who spent 18 years with the Portland Winterhawks but now is a free agent after being released by the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . .

The MJHL’s Portage Terriers have signed Blake Spiller, their general manager and head coach, to another contract. The Terriers, who do things right, revealed that it is a three-year deal. . . . Spiller has been with the Terriers since 2001 and has been head coach since 2006. . . . The Terriers will be the host team for the 2023 Centennial Cup tournament. . . . From a news release: “Spiller won the CJHL coach-of-the-year award in 2015, 2016 and 2019. He holds the MJHL record for league championships (8) and ANAVET Cups (2). He also won the RBC Cup in 2015. Spiller holds all Terriers coaching records, and has 604 career wins. He is 67 regular-season victories away from breaking Doug Stokes’ all-time MJHL record.” . . .

Scott Burt, a former WHL player and coach, now is the general manager and head coach of the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. He signed on as the Rush’s head coach and director of hockey operations in July 2021, then got the club into the second round of the playoffs. Burt was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs for six seasons (2013-19). As a player, he split four seasons (1994-98) between the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels. . . .

The BCHL has announced the sale of the Nanaimo Clippers to Northern Lights bchlHockey Canada, “an investment group headed by Brad Kwong, a Western Canadian-born investment professional with a long history in the sport of hockey as a player, executive and team owner,” according to a news release. . . . That news release is right here. Interestingly, it doesn’t mention from whom Kwong and Co. purchased the franchise. . . .

Darren Naylor is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . You may recall that Naylor, then the general manager and head coach of the Nanaimo Clippers, was placed on administrative leave by the BCHL in February due to what the league said was “allegations of code of conduct breaches.” At the time, the BCHL said that Naylor would remain on administrative leave until at least May 31. At the time, Naylor was under contract to the Clippers through the 2022-23 season. . . . The BCHL said at the time that it had appointed an independent investigator to look into the allegations, but it has never updated Naylor’s status. . . . Colin Birkas, the Clippers’ associate coach at the time, also was placed on administrative leave when Naylor was, but shortly after was reinstated. On May 24, Birkas was named the Clippers’ general manager and head coach. . . . With the Blizzard, Naylor replaces Billy Keane, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the 2021-22 season. . . .

Barret Kropf has chosen to leave the Trinity Western Spartans of the BCIHL. He had been the head coach since 2013, but is moving on to the Moose Jaw-based Prairie Hockey Academy as general manager and U15 prep head coach. Kropf is from Estevan. A three-time coach of the year, he led the Spartans to BCIHL titles in 2018 and 2019, then led them into Canada West in 2020. . . .

Eric Thurston has signed on as head coach of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. He spent the past four seasons as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. There had been speculation a few weeks ago that Bill Peters, a former NHL, KHL and WHL coach, was going to sign with the Storm.


Wifi


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Petr Moravec, 19, has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract with his hometown team, Hradec Králove of the Czechia, Extraliga, as reported by the MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport). Moravec put up 16 goals and 19 assists 68 games in 2021-22, his only WHL season. Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told me that he wasn’t surprised that Moravec wouldn’t be back. “He’s a good kid,” Tory said. “This is a good opportunity for him.” Tory was pleased to have a decision before the CHL’s 2022 import draft that is scheduled for Friday. . . . The Americans expect to make one pick, what with Czech G Tomas Suchanek, 19, back for a second season. As a freshman, he was 12-24-4, 3.87, .901 in 42 games for a non-playoff team. . . . Don’t forget that the CHL won’t permit the selection of Russian or Belarusian players in this year’s import draft. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have promoted Mike Fraser to assistant general manager — he had been director of player personnel — and signed him to a multi-year contract extension. The exact length of the extension wasn’t revealed. Fraser has been with Everett through four seasons — three as head scout and one as director of player personnel. He is a veteran WHL scout, having also worked with the Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Silvertips also have added veteran scout Brian Leavold to their staff as a senior scout. He has worked for the Broncos (1999-2018) and Saskatoon Blades (2018-22). . . .

Dan O’Connor announced via Twitter recently that he is moving on from the Vancouver Giants. O’Connor will be joining the U of British Columbia as a sports information co-ordinator. O’Connor spent the past 11 seasons doing WHL play-by-play — six with the Prince George Cougars and five with the Giants.


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.


KidDraw

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the magic of a no-hitter has been permanently lost . . .

scattershooting

Mothers


There was one playoff game in the WHL on Sunday night, and there will be WHLplayoffs2022another one tonight (Monday). . . . Last night, the host Portland Winterhawks used a shorthanded goal to get past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1, to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. . . . Tonight, in the Eastern Conference, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings take a 2-0 series lead into Red Deer for a game with the No. 3 Rebels. . . . The Rebels have yet to score in the series, having been blanked 4-0 and 5-0 by the Oil Kings and G Sebastian Cossa.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Portland, the No. 3 Winterhawks got the winner late in the third period as they defeated the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1. . . . Portland, which won, 4-2, Portlandin Kent, Wash., on Saturday night, holds a 2-0 lead in the conference semifinal. They’ll play the third game in Portland on Wednesday. . . . Last night, F Lucas Ciona (4) put Seattle in front at 9:05 of the first period. . . . F Tyson Kozak pulled Portland even at 11:02 of the second period. . . . Then, with D Josh Mori serving a tripping minor, F Gabe Klassen (4) snapped the 1-1 tie at 16:22 of the third period. . . . F Jaydon Dureau, in his return to Portland’s lineup after a two-game absence, drew the lone assist on Klassen’s goal. . . . Portland was 0-for-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-4 with two of those opportunities coming in the last half of the third period. . . . Portland got 28 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, who is 6-0, 1.17, .959 in these playoffs. Gauthier, 20, was acquired from the Prince George Cougars during the season and it would seem he is enjoying his first WHL playoff run. . . . G Thomas Milic blocked 29 shots for Seattle, including a second-period penalty-shot attempt by F Cross Hanas.


Here’s Larry Brooks, in the New York Post: “So the (New Jersey) Devils conducted a soul-searching and thorough review of the organization and appear to have to come to the conclusion that assistant coaches Alain Nasreddine and Mark Recchi were the problem and thus had to go.

“That kind of reminds me of when the Devils missed the 1996 playoffs as defending Stanley Cup champions and decided to dismiss PA announcer Bob Arsena after the season ended.”

Recchi, a Hockey Hall of Famer, had one year left on his contract. He owns a chunk of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. Recchi, 54, was an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons before spending the past two seasons with head coach Lindy Ruff and the Devils.


Joe Posnanski just couldn’t get fired up recently when five New York Mets pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies, and here’s why . . .

“The magic of a no-hitter is not that one team gets no hits,” Posnanski wrote. “That’s just a bad hitting performance. The magic is that one pitcher accomplishes the feat. The magic is that the pitcher finds a way to keep the no-hitter going even after he’s shown all his pitches, even as his stuff diminishes.

“Sending five hard-throwing pitchers out there to throw a no-hitter — ending with a closer who throws 100 mph — feels sort of the opposite of magic. It feels like playing a video game on cheat mode.”

He’s not wrong.



Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Delta and Omicron variants jealous that younger XE strain gets away with anything it wants.



THINKING OUT LOUD — Hello, baseball gods. Would you please, please, please free Joey Votto from the hell that is the Cincinnati Reds. Thank you. . . . Surely you have been stuck at a railroad crossing with a train crawling along, perhaps even getting almost past you and then backing up and doing it all over again. While you’re sitting there have you ever wondered if whoever is running that train has ever had to sit at a crossing? Yes, I sat at one for 14 minutes on Thursday afternoon. No, the ice cream in the grocery bag didn’t melt. . . . If the Vancouver Canucks were going to bring Bruce Boudreau back as their head coach, wouldn’t the deal have been done before now? . . . I’ve been told that Rylan Ferster, a veteran junior hockey coach, is soon to be back in the BCHL, if he isn’t already. Are you hearing that, too?



Here’s a thought from Sportsnet’s Luke Fox: “Based on Jim Rutherford’s half-hearted endorsement, the cleared bench in Philadelphia, and the relationship with GM Chuck Fletcher, it’s nearly impossible to find someone in hockey who doesn’t believe Bruce Boudreau will end up behind the Flyers’ bench.”


Beer


The pandemic will claim its one millionth American victim this week and we won’t even blink . . . 1,000,000 dead . . . ho hum!

Here’s Charles P. Pierce of Esquire:

“There was a point in the pandemic at which one million dead was as inconceivable to us as a million cattle would have been to an Englishman of the 12th century. There was a point in the pandemic at which 674,000 deaths, more deaths than in the 1918 pandemic, was inconceivable. But every grisly mile marker went by until we got to the past week, and one million dead, and this happened because a great deal of the country’s reaction to the pandemic was just as inconceivable at its beginning as the ultimate body count once was.

“For example, I figured that there would be a general ‘war’ on the disease, because we can’t confront any big problem without declaring ‘war’ against it. What I did not see coming was an actual political and social ‘war’ against the cure, one that included everyone from radio hosts to certain cardinals of Holy Mother Church. What I did not see coming was a ‘war’ against the public health measures that the pandemic made necessary. Pissing and moaning, yes. Bristling over the little inconveniences, absolutely. But not an all-out assault on the idea that we must adopt measures against epidemic disease that might disrupt our daily lives, however slightly.”

On Sunday night, the counter at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine showed the U.S. at 997,503 deaths, along with 81,858,744 confirmed cases.

Johns Hopkins had Canada with 39,817 deaths, along with 3,805,916 confirmed cases.


The Boston Bruins were without D Charlie McAvoy when they beat the visiting COVIDCarolina Hurricanes, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon to even their first-round NHL playoff series at 2-2. Where was McAvoy? He was in COVID-19 protocol after having tested positive. . . . A good guess would be that McAvoy was showing symptoms, which is why he was tested. . . . And now you know why professional teams playing in Canada have taken to avoiding testing by riding a bus over the U.S. border before catching a flight to an American destination. The last thing those teams want is to have an asymptomatic player test positive and have to miss playoff action.


Err


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Sign of hard times, at Wednesday’s Oakland Athletics game at the Coliseum: One food truck on the plaza. Used to be there were eight or 10 to choose from. Pretty soon it will be just a guy selling day-old churros and two kids with a lemonade stand.”



“Hey, badder batter!” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “MLB hitters had a bad April, scoring the fewest runs per game (4.0) in the month since 1981 and posting the worst   batting average (.231) in history.”


The MJHL’s championship final is going to a seventh game. The Dauphin Kings took it to Game 7 with a 2-0 victory over the visiting Steinbach Pistons on Sunday night. G Carson Cherepak earned the shutout with 24 stops. . . . They’ll decide things in Steinbach on Wednesday night with the winner moving on to the Centennial Cup tournament in Estevan, Sask.


Tuna


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

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.


Open

Dorothy gearing up for virtual Kidney Walk . . . CHL dumps series versus Russia . . . School drops South Island Royals program

First things first . . . Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation — you should know that Mel Recchi was first on the bus — you are able to do so right here.


You may not have noticed but I was away for a few days. No writing. Not a whole lot of Twitter surfing. Just kicking back, reading . . . oh, and driving.

We made a return trip over the Coquihalla — the first one since October —  and I have to tell you that there are some engineering and reconstruction miracles taking place on the stretch of highway between Merritt and Hope. Yes, there still is a lot of work to do before the highway is back to its pre-flood state, but what we got to drive on is a whole lot better than what I had expected.

It’s also good to see that the Coquihalla continues to attract so many NASCAR drivers-in-training. Speed limit? What speed limit? It’s 120 km-h between Kamloops and Merritt. From Merritt to Hope, the signs tell you that it’s 110, 100, 90, 80 or 60, depending on what kind of construction area you find yourself driving through. In reality, though, the areas without traffic cones have only imaginary speed limits. And don’t get me started on the driver of the Toyota SUV with Alberta plates who was in the left lane all the way from Hope to Merritt . . . speeding up and slowing down as the mood struck him.

No matter. The overall condition of the Coq was the star of this trip.


Ukraine

While I was away, national teams from Belarus and Russia were banned from almost the entire surface of our planet because Dr. Evil has chosen to attempt a violent takeover of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the CHL, which governs the three major junior hockey leagues, CHLannounced it has cancelled what used to be an annual series of six games featuring OHL, QMJHL and WHL teams against a touring Russian side. The series, which has lost its lustre in recent years, should have been permanently discarded.

At the same time, the CHL announced that “the date and format for the 2022 CHL import draft has yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.”

That buys some time for the three leagues to see how things develop in Ukraine. If war continues to rage, those leagues will have to decide whether to keep the 2022 import draft open for eligible Russian and Belarusian players.

The CHL’s statement also pointed out that it “is committed to the safety and well-being of all of its current players and is supportive of their continued development regardless of their country of origin.”

Hopefully that means the CHL and its teams will continue to care for current Belarusian and Russian players even after this season ends, rather than casting them to the winds. Michael Traikos of Postmedia reports that “there are about 36 Russians and Belarusians currently playing in the CHL.”

You have to think there are some awfully confused young men among that group. Here they are in a foreign country while the leaders of their countries have drawn the wrath of the vast majority of the world by blasting away at Ukraine.

While these teenagers haven’t had anything to do with any of that, you have to wonder what they think when they venture into arenas and see fans waving yellow-and-blue flags to show their support for Ukraine.


Monster


Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, and the owners have cancelled the first two series of what was to have been the 2022 regular season. These are the first MLB games cancelled by a labour dispute since 1994 and 1995, and this time there isn’t any doubt about who’s at fault. The owners locked out the players in December and then didn’t even make a proposal for more than 40 days.

Here’s Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“There are a lot of questions. But ‘who is to blame?’ is not one of them. There are no ‘both sides’ in this fight. This is on the owners, who instituted a self-described ‘defensive lockout’ Dec. 2, then waited six weeks to present an offer. And still failed to address the real issue:

“They’re making more and more money while players are getting less.

“Listening to Commissioner Rob Manfred speak on the owners’ personal broadcast mouthpiece, MLB Network, would have been comical if it wasn’t sad. (Incidentally, please don’t think you’re going to get both sides of the argument by watching an outlet run by the owners, which let go well-respected reporter Ken Rosenthal because he wasn’t sucking up enough to Manfred.)”


The MJHL has suspended D Klim Georgiev, 20, of the Dauphin Kings for 18 mjhlgames for a racist gesture during at game against the host Waywayseecappo Wolverines on Feb. 18. . . . Georgiev, who is from Toronto, was given a gross misconduct as the third period ended. . . . Nathan Liewicki of CBC News reported that Georgiev “raised his stick and made what seemed to be a bow-and-arrow gesture toward some of the Wawayseecappo players who were skating away from Dauphin’s end of the rink.” . . . Georgiev will miss the Kings’ final 11 regular-season games and seven playoff games. . . . Georgiev began the season with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals before being traded to Dauphin. . . . Liewicki’s story, written after the gesture but before the suspension was handed down, is right here.

Meanwhile, in B.C., Zaya Morro, a player with the U17 AAA North Island Silvertips, has alleged via an Instagram post that an opposing player uttered a racist slur in his direction in a game on Nov. 7.

“As a Black player in B.C. hockey I am continually made aware that I am different,” Morro wrote. “I have to play harder, play smarter, just because of the colour of my skin. I have to be more resilient because unfortunately there is still soooo much racism in hockey and in Canada. February (was) Black History Month and as I look back at how far we have come I am also reminded how much further we need to go.”

According to Morro, an opposing player “racially assaulted” him after Morro had won a puck battle. That player, Morro wrote, “felt the need to yell ‘nice hit you F**king N****r.’ I’ve experienced other racial slurs and have been able to shake them off but being called a N****r . . . I can’t explain the anger, sadness and complete disgust it made me feel. I have never been an angry kid but this brought out something in me I never knew was there. Thankfully, my team captain also heard what was said and we were able to tell the referee who immediately threw (the offending player) out of the game.”

According to Morro, the offending player eventually was suspended for six games.


With racism so often rearing its ugly head in the arenas and on the ice surfaces of our country, I really wonder what kind of conversations take place around the dinner tables in so many homes. I really do.


A letter dated March 1 and signed by Bruce Bidney, the principal of Spectrum Community School in Victoria, has informed parents that the school “will no longer be hosting the South Island Royals program following the completion of the 2021-22 school year.” . . . The letter continues: “This means that the hockey programming your child experienced this school year will no longer be embedded in the school day. Spectrum will remain an option for your child’s academic programming as will our hockey Skills Academy. . . . In recent conversations with BC Hockey, we have mutually agreed to no longer offer the in-school programming exclusive to our South Island Royal student-athletes. We will continue offering dryland training the school day to students registered in our Spectrum Skills Academy.”: . . . According to their website (southislandroyals.ca), the program features three male teams — U18AAA, U17AAA and U15AAA. . . . In his letter, Bidney doesn’t offer up any reasons for ending the South Island program.


Phone


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Craig Carter, their assistant general manager and director of player personnel, to a two-year extension. He has been with the Spruce Kings since April 2020. . . . The WHL’s injury/roster report dated March 1 doesn’t show any players in COVID-19 protocol, the first time that has happened since teams returned from the Christmas break. . . . Just don’t think for a minute that means the pandemic is over. In the OHL, the Peterborough Petes had seven players test positive, resulting in the postponement of a game that had been scheduled for last Saturday. As Mike Davies of the Peterborough Examiner noted: “The postponement comes less than 24 hours after the OHL announced the lifting of proof of vaccination and capacity limits for spectators beginning on Tuesday.” The Petes are scheduled to play host to the Niagara IceDogs tonight (Thursday).


Work


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.


Liquor

Visiting the time capsule and discovering the time Jim Harrison was in goal for the Estevan Bruins and a whole lot more . . .


It is time to let your imagination run wild for a few minutes. OK?

Just imagine that NHL teams only carried one goaltender. And let’s imagine that one team’s goaltender was injured during a pre-game warmup, played the first two periods, but then couldn’t continue.

If that team was the Pittsburgh Penguins, would Sidney Crosby go in goal for the third period? If it was the Edmonton Oilers, would it be Connor McDavid?

Because that’s exactly what happened with the Estevan Bruins during a game in 1967-68, the second season of what is now the WHL.

I had never heard this story from the annals of WHL history until stumbling on it while doing some research on Saturday.

I was looking for a goaltender, any goaltender, who might have started his WHL career by going 20-plus games without a regulation-time loss.

The Bruins — Scotty Munro was the general manager and Ernie (Punch) McLean the coach — had opened the 1967-68 season with a 22-game winning streak, so I started there.

Gord Kopp was Estevan’s goaltender — teams only carried one goaltender — so he had opened the season with 22 straight victories.

GordKopp
Gord Kopp, during a brief stint with the EHL’s Charlotte Checkers.

Unfortunately, WHL statistics from the early seasons are embarrassingly scarce. So I was relying on newspapers.com where a subscriber is able to access a whole lot of newspapers, including the Brandon Sun, Edmonton Journal and Regina Leader-Post.

Through these newspapers, I was able to ascertain that the Bruins won their 22nd straight game on Dec. 10, 1967, beating the host Swift Current Broncos, 9-6.

However, Kopp was injured in the warmup, suffering a broken nose and a bad facial cut. I think it’s safe to assume that Kopp took a puck to the face. I don’t know whether he wore a mask with the Bruins, although I did find a photo of him wearing one of those form-fitting Fibreglas masks from a time in his brief minor pro career.

Anyway, he played the first two periods in Swift Current before apparently deciding that he couldn’t continue.

This is where things get interesting because it was F Jim Harrison, perhaps the Bruins’ best player, who donned the pads and played the third period. Not only that, but Harrison had scored three goals through 40 minutes. While I wasn’t able to find out how many saves he made in the third, the Bruins did hold period leads of 5-3 and 7-3. So the Broncos outscored the visitors 3-2 with Harrison in goal.

(Harrison finished that season with 75 points, including 32 goals, in 46 games. F Gregg Sheppard led the team with 81 points, 35 of them goals, in 58 games.)

But when is the last time a WHL player — or any junior player for that matter — had a hat trick and played goal in the same game?

Still, the Bruins came out of that game boasting a 22-0-0 record.

And then came Dec. 12, 1967, and a game in Saskatoon against the Blades.

“You have to concede the Bruins win No. 23 tonight when they take on the Blades in Saskatoon,” wrote Ron Campbell in that day’s Regina Leader-Post.

With Kopp unavailable, the Bruins brought in Ed Dyck, who had turned 17 on Oct. 29, from the junior B North Battleford Beaver-Bruins. With Dyck in goal, the Bruins dropped a 4-3 decision to the Blades before 1,410 fans.

Estevan took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from Harrison and D Dale Hoganson, but F Orest Kindrachuk got the Blades to within one before the period ended. F Ron Fairbrother pulled Saskatoon into a 2-2 tie with the only goal of the second period, then gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 5:46 of the third.

F Greg Polis scored for Estevan at 6:18, only to have F Jim Nicholls score what proved to be the winner, at 10:59, as the Blades improved to 7-12-3.

“Those Blades played a whale of game,” Munro told Jack Cook of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. “We were bound to lose one eventually, and I’m glad we didn’t give it away. Blades were good enough to take it tonight.”

BTW, Cook reported that “there was no shortage of professional scouts at the game with five NHL clubs represented by nine men . . . including Dennis Ball, Danny Summers, Lorne Davis, Metro Prystai, Johnny Walker, Bud Quinn and Rudy Migay.”)

Cook also wrote: “Young Dyck, playing in his first junior A game, was remarkably calm and had little chance on the four shots that beat him.”

Dyck played four straight games with the Bruins. He beat the Oil Kings, 5-3, in Edmonton on Dec. 13, then dropped a 2-1 decision to the Buffaloes in Calgary the next night. (The Buffaloes had been 0-17-2 in their previous 19 outings.) On Dec. 16, Dyck beat the visiting Buffaloes, 7-4.

Dyck would go on to a couple of stellar seasons with the Calgary Centennials, and would spend three seasons in the NHL and one in the WHA.

Kopp returned for a Dec. 17 game against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, and stopped 23 shots in a 5-0 victory for his 23rd straight triumph.

However, Kopp’s run ended four nights later with a 4-1 loss in Brandon. The Wheat Kings outshot the Bruins, 28-20 in that one, as Brandon head coach Elliott Chorley chose to use only six forwards and four defencemen for most of the game. Yes, it was a different game in those days.

Chorley had Larry Romanchych between Jack Wells and Bob Young, although Young was injured early on and Gerald Canart slid into that spot. The other forward unit featured Jack Borotsik between Ray Brownlee and Bob Clyne, who scored twice. The defence pairings had Bill Mikkelson with Mark Kennedy, and Jack Criel with Jim Wilton.

At that point, the Bruins were 25-3, with Kopp at 23-1 and Dyck at 2-2.

In the end, however, it turned out that Kopp didn’t start his WHL career in 1967-68. As I learned with more digging, Kopp played some in 1966-67 when Prince George native Pete Neukomm was the Bruins’ starter. (Kopp actually lost his final appearance of 1966-67, 3-2, to the visiting Regina Pats.)

All told, Kopp got into 103 games with Estevan over the 1967-68 (55) and 1968-69 (48) seasons. In 1967-68, he played in 55 of the team’s 60 regular-season games, with a 2.76 GAA, .902 save percentage and six shutouts. He was 3.33 and .900 without a shutout in 1968-69. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any statistics from 1966-67.

——

All of this was necessary because the WHL wasn’t able to confirm whether G WinnipegIceDaniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice had set a record or was near a record when he went into Saturday’s game in Saskatoon with a career mark of 22-0-2.

Hauser, who turned 18 on Jan. 29, was 7-0-1 with Winnipeg in the development season of 2021. This season, he was 13-0-1 before the Blades beat the Ice, 7-2, on Saturday night.

It would seem that Hauser does indeed hold the record for longest unbeaten streak by a goaltender to begin his WHL career, at 22-0-2. Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun pointed out that Scott Olson, a native of Bloomington, Minn., who spent parts of three seasons (1977-80) with the Wheat Kings, started his career on a 15-0-3 run. We will assume, unless we hear differently, that Olson held the record before Hauser’s arrival.

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Hauser, from Chestermere, Alta., was a sixth-round selection by Winnipeg in the WHL’s 2019 draft.

——

When you go down a rabbit hole like I did in chasing Gord Kopp and the Estevan Bruins, you stumble on things like this . . .

The Bruins beat the visiting Weyburn Red Wings, 5-1, for their 20th straight victory on Dec. 5. The next day, The Leader-Post reported: “The Bruins moved one step closer to the all-time junior hockey win streak mark set at 25 by the now-defunct Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 1942.”

Of course, the Bruins didn’t quite get there.


glass


Tweet of the week — Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas), after Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers repeated the nonsense about the validity of U.S. President Joe Biden’s election victory in a Friday interview with ESPN: “Has anyone gone from ‘He could host Jeopardy!’ to ‘Legit horse paste conspiracy loon’ faster than Aaron Rodgers!?!”


John Stockton, the NBA Hall of Fame guard who starred at Gonzaga, has had his season tickets suspended by the school because he refuses to wear a mask at men’s basketball games. In an interview, Stockton, a devout anti-vaxxer, told Theo Lawson of the Spokane Spokesman-Review: “I think it’s highly recorded now, there’s 150 I believe now, it’s over 100 professional athletes dead — professional athletes — the prime of their life, dropping dead that are vaccinated, right on the pitch, right on the field, right on the court.” . . . Lawson also wrote: “During the interview, Stockton asserted that more than 100 professional athletes have died of vaccination. He also said tens of thousands of people – perhaps millions – have died from vaccines.” . . . Yes, we are in this for a long time yet.


Ducks


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Robot umpires — or ABS, the Automated Ball and Strike System — will be used in Triple-A games this season, Major League Baseball announced. So now players will be subjected to a whole different kind of annoying robocalls.”

——

A reminder from Perry: “Only 22 days till pitchers and catchers don’t report.”


The Fredonia State Blue Devils are an NCAA Division III team that plays out of the State University of New York in Fredonia. . . . And here’s a goalie goal from the Blue Devils’ Logan Dyck, a 22-year-old from Calgary . . .


Headline at fark.com: Seahawks uninstall Norton.



Fishing


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.


Abducted

WHL has hit pause button on five teams . . . NHL to Saskatoon? . . . VIJHL, Panthers in mourning

Omicron

——

According to statistics kept by Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre, the U.S. reported a single-day record 1,082,549 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, along with 1,688 deaths. . . . According to the Canadian government’s site that updates daily at 9 a.m., Canada had 35,618 new cases and 30 deaths on Monday.


The WHL doesn’t have any action scheduled until Friday, but with five teams WHLhaving paused activities because of COVID-19, three of the 10 games scheduled for that night have been postponed. So far . . .

Three of Saturday’s scheduled 10 games also have been postponed, as has one of three games scheduled for Sunday. One of the Friday postponements and one on Saturday is due to restrictions imposed on indoor gatherings by the Manitoba government.

On Tuesday, the league announced that the Edmonton Oil Kings, Moose Jaw Warriors and Red Deer Rebels had paused all activities “as a result of multiple players and staff” having been added the COVID-19 protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive.”

The league didn’t provide any further information, although the Rebels said they had eight players and/or staffers test positive as of Monday.

The WHL’s Tuesday news release stated that the three teams “have paused all team activities, including on-ice practices and off-ice training, pending further test results. Additional test results are pending and the WHL provide further information when it is available.”

Shutting down those three teams resulted in the postponement of five weekend games.

Earlier, the WHL had put the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Swift Current Broncos on hold.

On Tuesday, Peter Anholt, the Hurricanes’ general manager, said in a statement that “our players and staff are okay. They are resting and recovering. We saw a wide range of symptoms, from a combination of headaches, runny noses sore throats, coughs and congestion, to no symptoms at all. Those who showed any symptoms were mild.”

Here’s a chronology of the WHL’s relationship with COVID-19 since Christmas:

Jan. 1 — The WHL announced that it had shut down the Lethbridge Hurricanes “as a result of 14 players being” on the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive.”

Dec. 30 — The WHL announced that it had shut down the Swift Current Broncos “as a result of four players” being on the protocol list “due to exhibiting symptoms or having tested positive. . . . It is believed the exposure . . . occurred outside the team environment.”

Dec. 29 — The WHL announced the postponement of a game scheduled for that night that was to have had the Portland Winterhawks meet the host Tri-City Americans. The move was made “due to goaltenders on both clubs entering COVID-19 protocols and/or sustaining injuries.”

Dec. 27 — The WHL announced that “a total of 36 players or hockey operations staff” were added to the protocol list “as a result of displaying symptoms for COVID-19 or returning a positive test result.” The league reported that Spokane and Victoria each had four people in protocol, with Portland, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Winnipeg each at three; Brandon, Everett, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Regina each at two; and Kelowna, Moose Jaw, Red Deer, Seattle, Swift Current and Tri-City each at one. Calgary, Edmonton and Prince Albert didn’t have anyone in protocols, while Kamloops and Prince George had yet to report.

The league has yet to update the Kamloops and Prince George results.

——

——

If you’re wondering about the QMJHL, it last played games on Dec. 18 and won’t be back on the ice for at least another two weeks. The plan right now is to bring back the players around Jan. 14 with the next games scheduled for Jan. 19.

——

In the BCHL, the Trail Smoke Eaters went into a holding pattern on Tuesday, pausing all team activities, according to the league, “for the next five days per BCHL COVID-19 protocol and provincial health regulations.” Trail’s games that were to have been played tonight (Wednesday), Friday and Saturday have been postponed.

On Monday, the BCHL shut down the Cowichan Valley Capitals, Langley Rivermen and Penticton Vees. The league said all team activities have been paused for five days, and six games involving those teams through Jan. 9 have been postponed.

——

The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League hasn’t escaped the wrath of COVID-19, either. A game that was to have been played Tuesday night between the North Okanagan Knights and host Kelowna Chiefs was postponed. According to the league, the postponement is “as the result of a number of positive test results by members of the Chiefs organization over the past 48 hours.” . . . The league added that those involved are “experiencing mild symptoms and self-isolating.”

——

And if you search the Internet you will find that COVID-19 is impacting NCAA hockey and basketball play. In hockey, for example, Dartmouth has postponed weekend games with Union and RPI, while Wisconsin, with protocols within its program, has done the same with Friday and Saturday games against Ohio State. Omaha, with issues in its program, has moved a weekend series with Denver to Feb. 4-5.


Love


It was almost 40 years ago when (Wild) Bill Hunter nearly had the NHL’s St. Louis Blues moving to Saskatoon. Yes, he did! Now with some Canadian provincial governments restricting attendances in some facilities, might the NHL look at having a Canadian team or two play some games in Saskatoon? Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet had this in his latest 32 Thoughts, which is right here:

“Interesting question posed by one executive: would any Canadian teams consider temporarily playing home games at the 15,000-seat SaskTel Centre, home of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades? Saskatchewan is still allowing full capacity at this time. Obviously, the NHL, the NHLPA and the province would have to approve.”


The Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds will play their Feb. 26 game at SeattleClimate Pledge Arena, home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. The game originally was scheduled as a Thunderbirds’ home game to be played in the accesso ShoWare Centre in Kent, Wash. . . . Before being gutted and rebuilt as the home of the Kraken, what now is Climate Pledge Arena was KeyArena and was home to the Thunderbirds. They played their final game there on Dec. 30, 2008, beating the Chilliwack Bruins (hey, remember them?), 2-0. . . . The Feb. 26 game will be the ninth meeting of the season between the teams; the Silvertips hold a 5-1-0 edge at the moment.

——

Still with the Thunderbirds, the WHL’s Dept. of Discipline apparently has yet to drop the hammer — ch-ch-ching! — on head coach Matt O’Dette for his comments after a 2-0 New Year’s Eve loss to host Portland. According to Joshua Critzer of @pnwhockeytalk.com, O’Dette offered up: “I saw the worst officiated game in my nine years in the WHL, plain and simple. It is not an even standard out there. I feel for our guys. Our guys had a tough week with many different things happening . . . and we don’t get a fair shake (Friday). I feel for our guys. They put their hearts into this and work hard and we didn’t get a fair deal. Portland started to take over the game, but I thought we deserved a better fate as far as the officiating. Our goalie gets obliterated and we get the penalty. That is about as outrageous as it can get.” . . . The Thunderbirds next are up on Friday when they visit the Tri-City Americans. Gotta wonder if O’Dette is asked to cut a cheque before then. Also gotta wonder if the WHL sends referees Mark Heier and Ian Jendro, who did the game in Portland, into Kennewick on Friday.


Knife


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Another reason it’s a shame actor John Candy died so young:  His outsized persona  would have been perfect for  ‘Boom! The John Madden Story.’ ”

——

Here’s Perry, with some notes “from the John Madden quotebook” . . . “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.” . . . “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.” . . . “Winning is a great deodorant.” . . . “Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.”


Terry Frei (@TFrei) pointed this out on Twitter on Tuesday night: “Both of acting (Denver) Nuggets head coach Popeye Jones’ sons, Seth and Caleb, play for the (Chicago) Blackhawks, the Avalanche’s opponent tonight. Popeye consulted Joe Sakic years ago when Seth expressed interest in playing hockey.” . . . The Jones boys both ended up playing with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. . . . Sakic, the former Swift Current Broncos star, is the Avalanche’s general manager. His guys posted a 4-3 OT victory over the host Blackhawks last night. You may want to check out the video of D Cale Makar’s game-winner.


Grant Gilbertson, an 18-year-old forward with the Peninsula Panthers of the junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, died in a two-vehicle collision on Monday. Pete Zubersky, the Panthers’ owner and general manager, told Wolf Depner of the Peninsula News Review that Gilbertson was on his way to practice when the accident occurred at about 6 p.m. . . . This season, Gilbertson had put up 16 goals and 25 assists in 38 games.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Just a reminder that the WHL trade deadline, which under normal circumstances would fall on Jan. 10, will arrive on Jan. 17 this time around. You have to wonder how much of an influence the presence of COVID-19 will have on what will or won’t happen. . . .

The MJHL’s newest entry, a team that will call Niverville home starting next season, has signed Kelvin Cech as its first general manager and head coach. He is coaching this season at the West Vancouver Hockey Academy and will finish up there before starting in Niverville on April 1. . . . Cech was an assistant coach for three seasons with the UBC Thunderbirds, then spent 2019-20 as the head coach of the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers, and was honoured as the league’s coach of the year. . . . The Niverville franchise is excepted to announce its nickname at some point this month. . . .

The junior A Ontario Junior Hockey League said Tuesday that it is pausing its schedule from Jan. 5 through Jan. 26 due to the Ontario government’s decision to implement “a time-limited modified Phase 2 Reopening.” A number of Ontario arenas have had to close due to restrictions put in place by the provincial government. . . . Tom Annelin of the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal tweeted that “including the SIJHL, which is also based in the province, that’s 50 Jr. A teams, plus 3 U.S. clubs, not being allowed play. This despite an excellent record of negative tests, since the start of the season under very strict guidelines.”


Fir


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.


Divorce

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering how noisy things will be tomorrow (PM Justin Trudeau is in town) . . .

Scattershooting2

The National League wild-card game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals took four hours 15 minutes to play. The teams combined to use nine relief pitchers as the Dodgers won, 3-1. . . . Meanwhile, regular-season MLB games averaged three hours 10 minutes, the longest in history.

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, offers up the perfect explanation as to why games are taking so long and when something might be done about it:

“Yes, much of the problem is the time between innings when the TV networks insert a profusion of advertisements. Having acknowledged that, let us come to the realization that it is those ads that drive major numbers of dollars into the league coffers and thereby to the owners. Those ads are not going away. So, the only meaningful way for MLB to address this is to stop all the time-wasting activities on the field. We know what they are; they have been chronicled in hundreds of places; the fact that there have not been changes to address them in any meaningful way can only mean that MLB does not see this as a problem worthy of resolving.

“So . . . I have abandoned any idea that the execs in MLB and/or the MLBPA care at all about this issue. This is the vector heading for MLB now and into the foreseeable future. Only when ratings drop enough for the TV networks to refuse to pay more for television rights will there be any real action to effect change.”

Bingo!


——

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News, writing about the Kyrie Irving situation: “The Nets should look into getting rid of him sooner or later, seeing if there is possibly a taker for him, with all of his baggage, old and new, perhaps from one of the teams from the dumber states when it comes to COVID, and that means we’re talking about you Florida and Texas.”


The four women in the above tweet worked Sunday afternoon’s BCHL game between the Langley Rivermen and the host Surrey Eagles, who won 4-3 in a shootout. Grace Barlow and Megan Howes were the referees, with Melissa Brunn and Colleen Geddes on the lines. . . . For more, there is a BCHL news release right here.

Meanwhile, Katie Guay, an on-ice official since 2006, became the first woman to referee an AHL game on Saturday night when she was on the ice alongside Brandon Schrader as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins beat the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 2-1. . . . On Sunday, Kelly Cooke became the second woman to referee an AHL game when she worked with Beau Halkidis as the host Utica Comets beat the Rochester Americans, 6-2.


Pigeons


There were nine games played in the NHL on Thursday night, the second night of the regular season. My satellite TV package includes six TSN channels. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators were playing on four of them, but all were blacked out. I have access to nine Sportsnet channels — the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers were on three of them. . . . Sorry, NHL, but if you can’t do better than that you’re not going to attract new eyeballs. . . . As for me, I watched the NFL game (Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles until the MLB playoff game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants started.


Headline at fark.com: Australian cricket player suffers 10th concussion, says he’s ready to try out for the NHL.


“Cleveland Browns sack-master Myles Garrett has decorated his front yard for Halloween with tombstones featuring the names and jersey numbers of opposing quarterbacks,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “What’s he handing out this year, Nestle Crunch?”

——

Perry, again: “The Mississippi state auditor has ordered ex-QB Brett Favre — who was paid $141 million over his 20-year NFL career — to return $828,000 in welfare money he was paid for speeches he never gave. The word for that is . . . speechless.”


Auto


The WHL’s Victoria Royals had 15 skaters dressed, three below the maximum WHLallowed, when they met the Cougars in Prince George on Saturday night. When the teams played again on Sunday afternoon, the Royals, playing their fourth game in six days, were down to 13 skaters, including only eight forwards. . . . You are free to wonder at what point this becomes a safety issue for the players who are in the lineup. . . .

That was one of three WHL games played on Sunday. Some highlights . . .

In Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Victoria Royals, 4-2. . . . F Craig Armstrong (3) had two goals — the last two — and an assist. He broke a 2-2 tie at 5:45 of the third period. . . . F Riley Gannon (3) had a goal and an assist for the Royals (1-6-0). . . . The Cougars (2-3-0) now will travel to Victoria for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader as these teams face each other in six straight games. The series is to conclude in Prince George on Oct. 26 and 27. . . .

In Edmonton, G Connor Ungar stopped 29 shots to help the Red Deer Rebels to a 2-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . The Rebels (4-3-1) erased a 1-0 deficit with second-period goals from F Jace Weir (3) and F Ben King (3), the latter via the PP. . . . The Oil Kings now are 4-2-1. . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice ran its season-opening winning streak to seven games with a 3-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Ice (7-0-0) held a 46-20 edge in shots. . . . F Connor McClennon (6) snapped a 1-1 tie 17 seconds into the third period. . . . The Broncos (2-5-0) have lost five in a row.

——

There were nine WHL games on Saturday. Some highlights . . .

In Everett, G Koen MacInnes stopped 31 shots to help the Silvertips to a 3-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . That was his first shutout this season and the fourth of his career. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (5) scored twice as Everett improved to 4-0-0. . . . Seattle (2-2-1) was without F Lucas Ciona, who drew a two-game sentence after taking a charging major for running into G Braden Holt on Friday night when visiting Everett won 5-4 in OT. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks erased a 3-0 deficit and beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3. . . . F Dawson Pasternak (1) pulled the Winterhawks even at 14:41 of the third period and F Marek Alscher (1) broke the tie at 17:05. . . . Portland improved to 3-2-1; the Americans are 2-3-0. . . .

In Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Victoria Royals, 3-1. . . . The Cougars (1-3-0) won for the first time this season, while the Royals fell to 1-5-0. . . . F Riley Heidt (2) broke a 1-1 tie at 15:52 of the third period. . . .

In Langley, B.C., G Dylan Garand blocked 23 shots as the Kamloops Blazes skated to a 5-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Garand, a candidate to be Canada’s starting goaltender at the 2022 World Junior Championship, has one shutout this season and nine in his career. . . . Kamloops (5-1-0) was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . The Blazers went 3-1-0 in playing four road games in five nights. . . . The Giants are 2-1-0. . . .

In Brandon, D Chad Nychuk’s fifth goal of the season, at 3:41 of OT, gave the Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . This was the Broncos’ first game since general manager/head coach Dean Brockman announced his resignation on Thursday. . . . F Ridly Greig (4) pulled Brandon (4-3-0) into a 3-3 tie at 11:03 of the third period. . . . The Broncos, who have lost four in a row, are 2-4-0. . . . With G Ethan Kruger still injured, the Wheat Kings again started Carson Bjarnason, a 16-year-old from Carberry, Man., who now is 3-0-0, 3.84, .895. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Brandon played a third straight game without having a backup goaltender in uniform. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Tristen Robins had a goal and an assist — his fifth straight multi-point game — as the Saskatoon Blades edged the Warriors, 4-3. . . . F Cade Hayes (3) pulled the Warriors (3-3-0) into a 3-3 tie at 12:59 of the third period. . . . F Egor Sidorov (2) won it for the Blades (4-1-1) at 14:30. . . . Saskatoon was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . Blades G Ethan Chadwick, a 17-year-old from Saskatoon, stopped 25 shots to earn the victory in his first career start. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders scored the only two goals of a shootout to beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-2. . . . D Kaiden Guhle and F Reece Vitelli had the shootout goals as the Raiders improved to 2-5-0. . . . The Tigers (2-3-1) forced OT when F Noah Danielson (1) scored while shorthanded at 4:08 of the third period. . . .

In Red Deer, G Brayden Peters stopped 25 shots for his first shutout of the season and second of his career as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Rebels, 2-0. . . . The Rebels (3-3-1) had won 8-1 in Calgary on Friday night. . . . The Hitmen (2-3-0) got a goal and an assist from D Keagan Slaney (1), who had been acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings earlier in the week. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Matt Savoie scored twice and added an assist as the Ice ran its record to 6-0-0 with a 6-3 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . The Ice has outscored its opponents 40-10 in the six games it has played. . . . Savoie scored his second and third goals on a team-high six shots. . . . The Pats are 2-5-0.


——


G Dawson Green came out of a Saturday MJHL assignment with two pucks — one for the shutout and one for the goal. . . . Green, a 20-year-old from Brandon, is in his first season with the Winnipeg Blues after playing two seasons with Neepawa. . . . On Saturday, before 112 fans at the RINK Training Centre in Winnipeg, he stopped 23 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Selkirk Steelers, and he put it away with an empty-net goal at 19:44 of the third period. . . . This season, Green is 9-0-0, 1.46, .944, with one goal.



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.


SocialMedia

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while waiting for the really hot weather to arrive . . .

Scattershooting2

Deck
This was the temperature in the sun on our deck on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Yes, it was in the sun. But it was still 33 C at 9:45 p.m. Oh, and it’s only supposed to get hotter from here.

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a couple of thoughts about the tacky mess in which MLB finds itself:

“Two substances I’m not sure pitchers have tried: Tar from the LaBrea Tar Pits in Los Angeles (Mastadon Mud), and lemon meringue. Or a combo.

“Why are pitchers complaining? Because they are the biggest divas in sports, with the possible exception of bullfighters. Pitchers have been allowed to drag down the pace of play by treating every pitch like it’s a 20-foot putt for the Masters’ green jacket. Let the pitchers eat some humble pie. But not lemon meringue.”



The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders held their annual general meeting on StampedersThursday night and announced a profit of $178,702. How did that happen in what was a pandemic-riddled season? Well, according to the team, it “had received close to $83,000 in government assistance programs, which include the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, CEBA loans and Manitoba Bridge Grants.” . . . As well, Cramer Coulthart, the team president, said that “year over year we generated approximately the same revenue, but expenses were down” $250,000. He added that “with the (season) cut short, the majority of season-ticket holders and sponsors have donated some or all of their packages back to the team. This puts us in a much better position moving forward into 2021-22 season.” . . . A year ago, at their AGM, the Stampeders announced they had lost $80,906 in the 2019-20 season, leaving them in the red to the tune of about $240,000. The profit from the 2020-21 season, then, will take a big chunk out of that debt.



Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “One of these days former hero mayor Rudy Giuliani might need to borrow one of those raincoats that Wall Street guys used to throw over their heads when Giuliani was perp-walking them back in the day.”


Carts


The B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League, which has scheduled its season-Lakersopeners for Oct. 15, announced on Friday that it has added the Okanagan Lakers to its roster of teams. The Lakers, according to a news release, “are an independent collegiate team based in Kelowna and consisting of student-athletes from both UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College.” . . . Earlier, the Lakers had announced that Kevin Bathurst would be their first head coach. . . . With the Selkirk College Saints having ceased operations in March, the addition of the Lakers brings the BCIHL back up to five teams. . . . Like so many other leagues, the BCIHL didn’t play in 2020-21. The plan for 2021-22 is to have each team play 12 regular-season games with a four-game provincial championship to follow. The BCIHL will return to a 24-game schedule for 2022-23. . . . Chris Munshaw, the BCIHL’s president, also said that the league continues to look to expand. . . . The news release is right here.


In perhaps the poorest decision in the sporting world in 2021, MLB has decided that players in the All-Star Game no longer will wear their team uniforms as they have for years and years. . . . Here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Isn’t it cool to see players wearing their own uniforms at the All-Star Game? It was a perennial treasure for the baseball-card companies, able to line up superstar pairings rarely seen, and I immediately think back to the Topps card ‘Managers’ Dream,’ showing Mickey Mantle alongside Willie Mays in 1962. It’s a big part of the charm for fans as the stars maintain their team identity. Well, MLB is all done with that. Players will be wearing homogeneous, corporate-looking jerseys — that’s right, during this year’s game in Denver — and everyone will look the same. Is that Buster Posey or Max Muncy? From a certain angle, maybe you’re not quite sure. Can you imagine anyone actually thinking this is a good idea?”


Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe, notes: “Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso was arrested Wednesday in Texas for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Silly man. Pot is legal in Los Angeles. In Texas he’d have been better off carrying a couple unregistered guns.”



Noah Doherty, who played briefly in the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, is one of two men charged after Calgary police said they seized more than $1 million worth of drugs. . . . Doherty, 18, is from Airdrie, Alta. A defenceman, he was pointless in three games with the KIJHL’s Fernie Ghostriders in 2020-21. . . . According to a news release, Calgary police acted on two search warrants and “seized more than 11,000 grams of fentanyl, nearly 500 grams of methamphetamine, 200 grams of cocaine, 87 Oxycodone pills, along with smaller amounts of heroin, crack cocaine, and other unknown substances. The total street value of the drugs seized is estimated to be $1.187 million.” . . . Also charged was Justin Fedoruk, 21, who is from Airdrie. . . . Fedoruk was to have appeared in court on Friday (June 25), with Doherty scheduled to appear on Friday (July 2).


Spiders


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Jimmy McKnight has signed on as the Edmonton Oil Kings’ head athletic therapist. McKnight had been with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, as head athletic therapist and strength coach since the 2017-18 season. He takes over from Brian Cheeseman, who left the Oil Kings for the CFL’s Edmonton Elks. . . . Brandon Switzer is joining the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League as assistant general manager and associate coach. He spent last season scouting for the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines, a role with which he will continue. Prior to that he coached with the bantam AAA Brandon Wheat Kings and the Brandon AAA U17 program.


Marriage

Fraser promoted by Silvertips . . . Gustafson leaves Winterhawks for Canucks . . . Hay returning for fourth season in Portland

So . . . Dorothy got her second shot of Pfizer on Wednesday afternoon. We had soup later in the day. Whenever she tried to lift her spoon towards her mouth, it would hit her in the forehead and stick there. . . . Now I know why. . . . Lucky for her that we had some plastic spoons in our kitchen.


The Everett Silvertips promoted Mike Fraser, a longtime WHL scout, to director Everettof player personnel, effective immediately, on Wednesday. The Edmonton-based Fraser, 42, had been the team’s head scout for three seasons. . . . From a news release: “Fraser will support Silvertips hockey operations with roster management, co-ordinate scouting and recruiting efforts across North America and Europe, and prospect evaluation in conjunction with the WHL draft.” . . . Before joining the Silvertips, Fraser spent six seasons as a scout with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Prior to that, he worked with the Swift Current  Broncos for seven years. . . . The Silvertips’ complete news release is right here. . . .

When the Silvertips hired Fraser as head scout on July 3, 2018, they also named Alvin Backus as their director of player personnel. At the time, Backus, who had spent seven seasons as an amateur scout with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, was to assist general manager Garry Davidson “and the Silvertips coaching staff with roster improvements and co-ordinate the Silvertips scouting and recruiting efforts of talent across North America and Europe.” . . . Neither Backus, who has retired, nor Davidson remains with the Silvertips. They announced on May 21 that they wouldn’t be renewing Davidson’s contract. He had been their GM through nine quite successful seasons, but was dropped as part of a restructuring that the organization was going through that it said was “necessitated” by the past two seasons. . . . Head coach Dennis Williams was named acting GM on June 1.


Claus


Kyle Gustafson is moving on from the WHL after 18 seasons with the Portland PortlandAlternateWinterhawks, most recently as assistant general manager and associate coach. Gustafson, a native of Portland, is joining the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks as assistant/special assignment coach. . . . Gustafson and Canucks head coach Travis Green were on Portland’s coaching staff together for five seasons (2008-13). . . . Gustafson started with the Winterhawks as an assistant coach in 2003-04. . . . There was a time two years ago when Gustafson came this () close to signing on as the Kamloops Blazers’ head coach. During the summer of 2019, Gustafson turned down a four-year contract offer from the Blazers, who were preparing for Matt Bardsley’s second season as general manager. They had hired Bardsley away from the Winterhawks on June 1, 2018. He had been working with Portland since 1999 so had some history with Gustafson. . . .

The Canucks also announced that assistant coach Newell Brown wouldn’t be back, while signing Brad Shaw as a new assistant coach, and re-signing assistant coaches Nolan Baumgartner and Jason King, goaltending coach Ian Clark and video coach Darryl Seward. . . . Former WHL G Adam Brown, the Kelowna Rockets’ goaltender coach, is Brown’s son.


Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history, will be back with the Portland Winterhawks in 2021-22 for a fourth season as an assistant coach. Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, confirmed that with Joshua Critzer of pnwhockeytalk.com earlier this week. You may recall that the Kamloops Blazers majority owner Tom Gaglardi announced Hay’s retirement following the 2017-18 season. . . .

Johnston also told Critzer that Matt Bardsley, who resigned as the Blazers’ general manager on May 25, “has another exciting opportunity which he will be announcing in the next couple of weeks.” . . . Johnston said that after Bardsley’s Kamloops announcement, he reached out “to Matt originally when it happened in Kamloops and just talked to him about if any openings came in our organization. At the present time, in the area Matt is and was, we already have staff in those positions.”

Critzer’s complete story is right here.



Bone


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Brad Bakken, who played 53 games over three seasons (2005-08) with the Seattle Thunderbirds, has been named head coach of the junior B Langley Trappers of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. He was the Trappers’ GM and assistant coach in 2017-18, before moving up to the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen as assistant GM/associate head coach.


Fear

Team Canada writes thrilling final golden chapter . . . Vegas fans get to cheer three times for one goal . . . Fire strikes Meadow Lake’s arena



You really have to feel good for the Canadian team that won the gold medal on CanadaSunday at the IIHF World men’s championship in Riga, Latvia. A gritty bunch if ever there was one, these guys lost their first three games and were outscored 10-2 in the process, only to bounce back and win four in a row, including a 3-2 OT victory over Finland in the championship game. . . . F Nick Paul of the Ottawa Senators got the winner at 6:26 of overtime. . . . It is the first time in any IIHF World championship that a team opened 0-3 and went on to win the whole thing. . . . Finland had beaten Canada, 3-2 in a shootout, in a preliminary game on Tuesday. . . . This was the 27th time Canada has won the championship, but the first since 2016. . . . After starting 0-3, Canada went on to beat three of the opening rounds top teams — Russia, the U.S., and Finland. . . . Interestingly, Canada’s overall record was 3-3-1, the 1 being an OTL, while the U.S., which beat German, 6-1, to win bronze on Sunday, wound up 6-1-0. The only loss suffered by the U.S. was to Canada — 4-2 in a semifinal. . . .

Michael Dyck, the head coach of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, was an assistant coach with Team Canada, which also included D Braden Schneider, the Brandon Wheat Kings’ captain. Schneider had one assist in nine games. . . . Also on the Canadian team were G Darcy Kuemper, who played with the Red Deer Rebels, G Aden Hill (Portland Winterhawks), F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Spokane Chiefs) and F Brandon Hagel (Red Deer). . . . Former NHL G Roberto Luongo was Canada’s general manager and now has another gold medal to hang alongside the two he won as a player (2003, 2004). . . . Canadian F Connor Brown (Ottawa Senators) drew three assists in the final to set a Canadian tournament record with 14. Brown led the tournament with 16 points. . . . Old friend Neate Sager (@n8sager) points out where Canada’s top three forwards were at age 16: “Nick Paul was undrafted, made the OHL a year later; Connor Brown was an 11th-rounder; IIHF Worlds MVP Andrew Mangiapane was never drafted.”



If you were watching the host Vegas Golden Knights’ 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night, you saw the NHL replay system at its best. . . . And you can bet that most of the fans in the building absolutely loved it because they got to cheer three times for one goal. . . . First, they roared when F Patrick Brown appeared to score at 13:13 of the third period for a 5-1 Vegas lead. However, the officials went to replay to see whether Brown had shoved G Philipp Grubauer into the net with the puck underneath him. After the review, the officials signalled that it was a good goal. The crowd roared again. . . . At that point, Colorado head coach Jared Bednar challenged the play for goaltender interference. So the officials went back to video before ruling, again, that it was a good goal. And the crowd got to roar one more time. . . . Yes, it was a good night for Vegas fans.


Anon


The MJHL has announced that “the puck will drop for opening weekend” on Friday, Sept. 17, COVID-19 and its variants willing, of course. If you haven’t noticed, Manitoba hasn’t been in a good place for the last while. . . . Opening weekend will have the 12 teams playing home-and-home rivalry series. . . . Each team will play 54 games in the regular season. . . . There is a complete news release right here. . . . BTW, the MJHL’s Neepawa franchise is scheduled to announce its rebranding today (Monday).



Arena
Meadow Lake’s arena is in ruins after a Sunday morning fire. (Photo: Meadow Lake Memories/Facebook)

The 45-year-old arena in Meadow Lake, Sask., burned to the ground early Sunday morning. . . . “The Meadow Lake fire department was on hand quickly and trying their hardest to get the flames down,” Clay DeBray, a city councillor, told Saskatoon radio station CKOM. “It was pretty devastating to see.” . . . The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported that Saskatchewan RCMP said the fire “appeared to have been set” in a nearby storage shed. According to the newspaper, the RCMP “said the concession stand that shares the parking lot with the arena was also broke into, also on June 6.”


Grinch


If you’re looking for a good read on what the PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm went through at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio on Saturday, Rob Oller of The Columbus Dispatch has a column right here. . . . “Golf and business have always gone hand-in-hand, with hammered drives sharing workspace with handshake deals,” Oller writes. “So let’s speak the language of corporate attorneys and CEO consultants: Jon Rahm made a bad business decision.” . . . The complete column is right here.


Although we’re open for donations until Aug. 31, the 2021 Kamloops Kidney Walk was completed, albeit virtually, on Sunday. Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, took part for an eighth straight year. . . . Thanks to so many of you, she had her top fund-raising Walk, too, as her friends gave her $3,875 through Sunday night. Her previous high had been $3,340 in 2020. . . . Thank you so much! . . . And if you still would like to donate, you are able to do so right here.

——

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.


JUST NOTES: G Rayce Ramsay will be back with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos for his 20-year-old season. Ramsay, from Saskatoon, played two games with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers in 2018-19 and 25 in 2019-20 (13-8-1, 3.07, .880). He started 2020-21 with the Broncos, going 5-1-0 before the season was done in by the pandemic.


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