WHL governors to talk today . . . Business as usual for the NFL . . . New coaches in MJHL, SJHL


The WHL’s board of governors is scheduled to talk today (Tuesday) for the first time since the league suspended its season on Thursday.

Right now, all signs point to the WHL not being able to resume play before mid-May at the earliest, so there likely will be a lot of discussion about whether to call the whole thing off right now. That, of course, would include the Memorial that is scheduled for Kelowna, May 21-31.

On Monday, Bob Tory, co-owner and general manager of the Tri-City Americans tweeted: “To all our players. Have a good off season. Be safe and we will c u in August.”

That would indicate that the Americans’ players are on their way home and won’t be returning. When the season was suspended, the Americans, who didn’t qualify for the playoffs, had five games remaining. It wouldn’t make sense to bring all the players back at some point down the road to play five games for a non-playoff team.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and officials from all 30 teams held a conference call on Monday, during which it was decided to push opening day back until at least mid-May. . . . Opening day had been scheduled for March 26. . . .

A tweet from @matttomic:

“1918: Toronto wins its first Stanley Cup

“1919: Stanley Cup canceled


“1992-93: Toronto wins its first World Series

“1994: World Series canceled


“2019: Toronto wins its first NBA championship

“2020: NBA championship potentially canceled


“What the (#$%&#@) did Toronto do?”

Is it just me, or does it seem at least a little bit bizarre to have the NFL handing out contracts worth multi-millions and swapping players all over the place — in other words, carrying on as though it’s business as usual — while the rest of the sporting world has been brought to its knees? . . . I mean, a $66-million extension to QB Kirk Cousins? . . .


Here’s Ann Killion in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“This is not about what the league can do. It’s about what it should do.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m going to hear from the NFL’s army of faithful followers. ‘But we want to be entertained! We want a distraction! We love the NFL!’

“That’s what the NFL is banking on. It believes it is Teflon. The rules that apply to other businesses and other parts of society don’t apply to the shield. Roger Goodell has gotten very rich by being amazingly obtuse.”

The Kentucky Derby, held annually on the first Saturday in May, has been moved to Sept. 5, that month’s first Saturday. The last time the Derby didn’t run in May was in 1945 when it was postponed to June. . . .

The AHL announced Monday that “the indefinite suspension of play won’t be lifted before May.” . . . With that, the AHL gave its teams the OK to have players return to their “primary residences.” . . .

The 23-team NAHL brought an end to its regular season on Monday, but still hopes to declare a champion at some point. The regular season was to end on April 4. . . . In a statement, commissioner Mark Frankenfeld said: “We understand that this is a very difficult time for our hockey community and we are working on all options in order to conclude the season with a Robertson Cup Championship. We are are actively and continuously monitoring a very difficult situation in order make the right decision everyone involved.”

Chris Perchaluk has taken over as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. He had been the head coach since November, when he moved up from associate coach. . . . The Blizzard now is looking for an assistant coach and a director of marketing. If you’re interested, there’s more info right here. . . .

The MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers have signed Hudson Friesen as their new head coach. He also is the assistant director of player personnel. This season, Friesen was the Steelers’ assistant coach and business manager. . . . Tim Schick, the head scout, has been named director of player personnel. . . . As head coach, Friesen replaces Nick Lubimiv, whose contract wasn’t renewed. . . . Earlier this month, the Steelers brought back Al Hares as senior advisor and associate coach. Hares is a former Steelers head coach who is a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.

Ken Plaquin is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. From Calgary, he had been coaching the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers. . . . In Kindersley, Plaquin takes over from Larry Wintoneak, the GM who stepped in on an interim basis late in September when head coach Garry Childerhose left because of health issues. . . .

Special night in Kamloops, Prince Albert. . . . Dr. Smillie, Clark will be honoured. . . . NAHL adds two teams, USHL loses one


D Richard Nedomlel (Swift Current, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Hradec Králové (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he has four assists in 37 games.


Two men who have made huge contributions to the WHL will be honoured tonight.

In Kamloops, Dr. Bob Smillie will be presented with a Distinguished Service Award. In whlPrince Albert, the Raiders will induct Donn Clark into their Wall of Honour as a builder.

Dr. Smillie has had a long association with the league, starting with the Kamloops Chiefs in 1973-74 when he served as the team’s doctor. Later, he filled various roles with the Kamloops Jr. Oilers and the Blazers, including team doctor and education liaison. He also served on the Blazers’ board of directors when the franchise was community-owned. Now he is the executive director of the Kamloops Sports Legacy Fund, which began with the sale of the franchise in 2007. The fund has contributed more than $3.26 million to community sports groups in the Thompson-Nicola region.

Dr. Smillie will be saluted prior to the Blazers’ game against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Clark, who will turn 57 on Monday, will be honoured before the Raiders meet the Red PrinceAlbertDeer Rebels.

Clark is from Kelvington, Sask. Yes, Wendel is his younger brother.

Donn played 68 games over three seasons with the Saskatoon Blades, before getting into 31 games for the Raiders in 1982-83. However, he is better known for his work in the Raiders’ front office. He did two stints as the team’s head coach (1993-95, 2000-02) and also worked as the club’s general manager and director of hockey operations (2001-08).

Bruce Vance, who once worked for the Raiders, is in Krasnoyarsk, Russia,  where daughter Jessica is a goaltender with Team Canada at the Winter Universiade. Bruce took time Thursday to tweet that Clark is a “great choice. This wall was Donn’s concept. He told me he’d never be on it . . . glad he is. Wish I could attend.”

While you’re here, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.

The NAHL has added two franchises — the Maine Nordiques and the New Mexico Ice Wolves.

The Nordiques are owned by ISS Kings of Youth Hockey Club, LLC., which is owned by NAHLDr. Darryl Antonacci. The Nordiques will be the seventh team in the East Division and play out of the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine. The arena seats 3,677 with a capacity of 4,000. The arena once housed the QMJHL’s Lewistone Maineiacs.

Dr. Antonacci also owns the ISS Kings Youth Hockey Club, which has been around for six seasons. Nolan Howe, the son of Hockey Hall of Fame Mark Howe, has been the Kings’ head coach from the start.

The Ice Wolves, who will be based in Albuquerque, are owned by Desert Ice Investment, LLC., which is owned and operated by Stan E. Hubbard. The Ice Wolves will play out of the Outpost Ice Arenas, which was purchased by Hubbard in August, and will become the seven team in the NAHL’s South Division.

This season, the NAHL comprises 24 teams playing in four six-team divisions.

Meanwhile, the USHL has lost a team with the news that the Central Illinois Flying Aces, who are based in Bloomington, Ill., have received approval for what they are calling a “one-year temporary withdrawal from play” for 2019-20. . . . More from a news release: “The Flying Aces’ current five-year lease to play in Grossinger Motors Arena ends at the close of this season. The team has fulfilled all the terms of the lease and commits to ensure all vendors continue to be paid in full for all services provided.” . . . The franchise is owned by CSH International, Inc., which, among other things, also owns the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.

While all of that was going on, the Canadian Sport School Hockey League issued a news release announcing “expansion of teams for existing members” for next season.

St. George’s School, which is based in Vancouver, will add a team in the Midget Prep Division. St. George’s already had teams in the Elite 15, Bantam Prep and Bantam Varsity divisions.

The Notre Dame Hounds of Wilcox, Sask., are adding an Elite 15 Division team. The team joins clubs in the Elite 15 and Bantam Prep divisions.

The Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy is adding a team in the Female Varsity Division. RHA also has teams in the Midget Prep, Elite 15 and Bantam Prep divisions.

The CSSHL annual general meeting is scheduled for Winnipeg, May 6-8.