This is the first time in #StanleyCup Playoffs history the final four teams are based in “Sun Belt” states. The closest instance before came in 2020 when 3 of 4 clubs met those criteria (Tampa Bay, Dallas and Vegas). #NHLStats
Some Game 2 leftovers from the WHL’s championship final . . .
Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow): “Winnipeg’s Zach Benson does his best, scoring twice, including the icebreaker, in loss, ending the club’s 8-game winning streak. First multi-goal game of postseason after doing it eight times in the original 68. 27 goals, 62 points at home this year.” . . .
And on to Game 3, which is scheduled to be played tonight in Kent, Wash. The series is tied, 1-1, with the Winnipeg Ice having won, 3-2, at home on Friday, and the Seattle Thunderbirds bouncing back with a 4-2 victory on Saturday. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Kent on Friday night. Game time is 7 p.m. PT. . . . Starting with tonight’s game, TSN will televise the remainder of the championship series. Play-by-play man Dan Robertson and analyst Kevin Sawyer, who handle Winnipeg Jets’ telecasts on TSN, will be in Kent. . . .
Wyatt Johnston and Tucker Robertson are best friends. Tonight, Robertson scored in OT to give the Peterborough Petes a 6-5 win over London and a 2-1 lead in the OHL final. Johnston just scored to put Dallas up 2-0 over Seattle in Game 7 of the second round.
#OHLChampionship#LDNvsPBO: @PetesOHLHockey edge out in front in the series as Tucker Robertson scores 2-and-a-half minutes into overtime. 2nd straight game with the game winning goal and gives Petes 2nd OT win of playoffs. Had 1 win all of regular season in League-low 7 tries
In the OHL, F Tucker Robertson scored his eighth goal of the playoffs at 2:32 of OT to give the host Peterborough Petes a 6-5 victory over the London Knights. . . . The Petes lead the best-of-seven championship final, 2-1. . . . Game 4 is scheduled for Peterborough on Wednesday, with Game 5 in London on Friday. . . . F Chase Stillman, who had two goals and an assist, had pulled the Petes into a 5-5 tie with his fourth playoff goal at 1:13 of the third period. . . . Peterborough had erased 2-0, 3-2 and 5-4 deficits. . . . Victor Findlay and Marc Methot had the call on TSN, as they will for Games 4 and 5. . . .
In the QMJHL, the Quebec Remparts and Halifax Mooseheads are 1-1 after two games in Quebec City. They’ll play Game 3 tonight in Halifax, and it is to be televised by TSN. Game time is 4 p.m. PT.
When Gump Worsley was traded to Montreal, Gump laid all of his equipment out and Toe Blake walked by and said: When does the rest of your equipment arrive? Gump: That's it. Toe: You're Crazy!
James McEwan, who says he fought 72 times in the CHL, is among 100+ players who have joined a concussion lawsuit vs the league. Judge has set a date for lawyers to argue whether case should proceed as a class action: Oct. 25-27 in Vancouver. Background:https://t.co/ShaqWsQxHb
Lee Stone is the new general manager and head coach of the junior A Red Lake, Ont., Miners of the junior A Superior International Junior Hockey League. He spent 10 seasons as GM/head coach of the junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League . . . . Stone signed on as GM/head coach with the VIJHL’s Nanaimo Buccaneers on April 6. . . . Tali Campbell has taken over as interim GM while the Buccaneers begin the hiring process. . . . In Red Lake, Stone replaces Kevin Walker, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the season.
The hockey family mourns the passing of former player and coach Oleksandr Khmil, killed in a battle near Bakhmut, Donetsk region. Khmil, 43, played for 1998 to 2015 in Ukraine and Russia, winning a title with ATEK Kyiv in 2007. Condolences to the family @SportIconObitpic.twitter.com/LxmGdjuQzd
The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . If you are interested in helping, like maybe pushing her past $4,000, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
After a couple of nights off, the WHL playoffs are back on centre stage tonight as the Saskatoon Blades are in Winnipeg to meet the Ice.
These were the top two Eastern Conference teams in the regular season. The Ice finished with the WHL’s best record, going 57-10-1; the Blades, at 48-15-5, had the conference’s second-best record.
The Ice are 8-2 in the playoffs, having swept the Medicine Hat Tigers and then taken out the Moose Warriors in six games.
The Blades are writing an amazing story. They are 8-6 after winning a pair of seven-game series. In both series, against the Regina Pat and Red Deer Rebels, the Blades dropped the first two games on home ice, then came back to win Game 7 at home. Of course, they actually lost three in a row to Red Deer before becoming the third team in WHL history to do that and then win the series.
The Ice won four of six regular-season meetings with the Blades, who went 2-3-1. The Ice won all three meetings in Winnipeg. In their latest meeting, the host Blades put up a 3-2 victory on Feb. 4.
JUST NOTES: Game 2 will be played in Winnipeg on Saturday, with Games 3 and 4 in Saskatoon on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Saskatoon F Justin Lies is eligible to return after having sat out the last three games while serving a WHL-issued suspension. . . . The Western Conference final, featuring the No. 1 Seattle Thunderbirds and No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, is to open on Saturday in Kent, Wash. They’ll play Game 2 there on Sunday, and then head to Kamloops for games on Tuesday and Thursday. Should this series go seven games, they’ll play Games 6 and 7 on back-to-back nights — May 8 in Kamloops and May 9 in Kent. . . . Each team is 8-0 this spring, the result of that being that Seattle hasn’t played since April 19, and Kamloops last played on April 20.
The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . Things are rolling right along, too, as she now has surpassed $3,300 thanks to help from people like the former WHL general manager who has more than one Memorial Cup ring. . . . If you are interested in helping, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.
The Seattle Kraken has signed F Jagger Firkus of the Moose Jaw Warriors to a three-year entry-level contract. Firkus, who will turn 19 on Saturday, had 40 goals and 44 assists in 66 games with the Warriors this season. In 10 playoff games, he added 10 goals and 11 assists. . . . Seattle selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . .
G Dante Giannuzzi of the Portland Winterhawks has signed an ATO with the Manitoba Moose, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. Giannuzzi, who is from Winnipeg, played out his junior eligibility this season. In 109 appearances over five seasons with Portland, he went 59-32-12, 3.07, .896. . . . This season, he was 23-13-3, 3.37, .894. . . .
The New York Rangers have assigned F Ryder Korczak of the Moose Jaw Warriors to their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. Korczak, 20, had 28 goals and 41 assists in 48 games with the Warriors this season, then added three goals and eight assists in 10 playoff games. He was a third-round selection by the Rangers in the NHL’s 2021 draft.
Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Calgary tackles housing crisis by spending $867 million on new home for the Flames.
Headline at Deadspin (@Deadspin) after the New York Jets acquired QB Aaron Rodgers: Anti-vaxxer introduced as QB for franchise of Johnson & Johnson heir.
Quebec may adopt presumed consent for #organdonation – Nova Scotia was first province to adopt the practice in January 2021, and the number of donations has indeed increased significantly. https://t.co/7qfaWznK0O
The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials are looking for a new general manager and head coach after choosing not to renew Curtis Toneff’s contract. Toneff had been an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos when he joined the Centennials on Dec. 22, 2021. . . . The Centennials, who were 1-20-1 when Toneff was hired midway in the 2021-22 season, finished that season at 3-47-4. This season, they went 12-37-5. . . .
The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League have signed Vin Jackson as an assistant coach for the 2023-24 season. . . . Jackson, 20, used up his junior eligibility as a player this season, finishing up with the VIJHL’s Campbell River Storm. This season, he also played with the Princeton Posse and Fernie Ghostriders, both of the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . With the Buccaneers, he will work alongside GM/head coach Lee Stone. Jackson will be a full-time assistant as he relocates from his home in Creston, B.C., to Nanaimo.
Some Twitter tidbits from Tuesday’s WHL playoff games, thanks to Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) . . .
F Parker Bell had a goal and two assists in the Tri-City Americans’ 4-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Kennewick, Wash. It was his “sixth 3-point game of season, 3 in Dec., 3 since.”
The Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Rockets, 4-1, in Kelowna. The Thunderbirds “claim a 2nd straight 4-1 win and 3-0 series lead. 2nd win in series when trailing after 2, after 4 in season. . . . F Jordan Gustafson scores in return after missing 11 (and 29 of 31).”
The Kamloops Blazers beat the host Vancouver Giants 5-0 as they rolled “to 2nd shutout of the series with Dylan Ernst matching clean sheet number from regular season. F Caedan Banker closes with final two goals . . . is up to 22 points vs. Vancouver this season.”
The Saskatoon Blades beat the host Regina Pats, 4-3 in OT. “F Egor Sidorov kickstarts comeback and finishes with winner 5 minutes in. Struck twice in OT during the regular season.”
In Medicine Hat, the Winnipeg Ice beat the Tigers, 7-2. “The Ice is scoring at nearly a 21 per cent rate through three games. . . . D Ben Zloty adds another three helpers to total, up to combined 76 this season.”
The visiting Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-2. “F Jagger Firkus figures in four goals, including a natural hat trick to outscore Lethbridge. Up to 10 goals, 20 points in playoff career. Team’s first natural hat trick in Internet area, 4th total.”
The Thursday WHL schedule features only one game. It has the Kamloops Blazers, with a 3-0 series lead, in Langley, B.C., for Game 4 with the Vancouver Giants. . . . All you really need to know is that Kamloops G Dylan Ernst is 3-0, 0.33, .983. . . . On Wednesday, Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV in Kamloops tweeted: “Just checked with the WHL and since 2006 the lowest goals-against in a series is two (Vancouver vs. Everett, 2006 Western Conference final). The Kamloops Blazers have a chance to tie or break that mark in Game 4 on Thursday.” . . . Yes, the Blazers have outscored the Giants, 19-1, in the three games. . . . Remember, though, that the WHL doesn’t seem to have any records handy from the 30 years prior to 2006. So who knows what the league record might be.
THE BEDARD REPORT — F Connor Bedard continued his terrific playoff run as he scored two goals. . . . However, his Regina Pats dropped a 4-3 OT decision to the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Bedard got his guys into a 1-1 tie at 19:35 of the second period, then gave them a 2-1 lead 13 seconds into the third. . . . But for the second night in a row the Pats weren’t able to hold a third-period lead. . . . Through two periods, Bedard had six of Regina’s 12 shots on goal. He finished with 10 of his team’s 26 shots. . . . The Pats have scored 18 goals in the four games; Bedard has eight goals and five assists. . . . He leads the WHL playoffs in goals and points (13). . . . The game drew a second straight sellout crowd (6,499) to Regina’s Brandt Centre.
Winnipeg (1) at Medicine Hat (8) — F Ty Nash broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Winnipeg Ice beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-2. . . . The Ice, winners of the Eastern Conference title, swept the first-round series against the No. 8 Tigers. . . . Nash scored his second goal of the series at 1:10 of the third period. . . . F Matt Savoie’s sixth goal of the series, shorthanded, gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 1:14 of the first period. . . . D Dru Krebs (1) of the Tigers tied it just 16 seconds later while on a PP. . . . F Owen Pederson (1) put Winnipeg back out front at 10:50 of the second period. . . . Medicine Hat tied it at 14:59 when F Hunter St. Martin (1) scored. . . . The Tigers outshot the Ice in each game of the series, including 32-21 in Game 4. . . . Winnipeg G Daniel Hauser was 2.25, .925 in the four games. In 90 regular-season appearances over last season and this, he is 90-9-3. . . . Winnipeg lost F Zack Ostapchuk to a cross-checking major and game misconduct just 55 seconds into the game. . . .
Red Deer (2) at Calgary (7) — The Red Deer Rebels scored twice while shorthanded and three times on the PP en route to a 6-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels lead the series, 3-1. They’ll now head for Red Deer and Game 5 on Friday. . . . Red Deer broke a 1-1 tie with shorthanded goals from F Ollie Josephson (1), at 9:07 of the second period, and F Jhett Larson (1), at 18:31. . . . F Ben King scored his first two goals of these playoffs for the Rebels, both on the PP, and added an assist. . . . D Mats Lindgren earned four assists; F Jayden Grubbe had three. . . . F Kai Uchacz got his fourth goal of the series on a third-period PP. . . . The teams combined to take 23 minor penalties, 13 of them to Red Deer. . . . Red Deer was 3-for-7 on the PP; Calgary was 1-for-11. . . . Rebels G Kyle Kelsey continued his stellar play with 36 saves. . . . The Rebels had F Craig Armstrong back after he served a two-game suspension for slew-footing. . . . The Hitmen continued to be without F Riley Fiddler-Schultz, who didn’t finish the second game of the series. They also scratched F Sean Tschigerl, who didn’t finish Game 3. . . . Fiddler-Schultz, with 75 points in 64 games, and Tschigerl, with 57 in 60, were two of Calgary’s top three scorers in the regular season. . . .
Saskatoon (3) at Regina (6) — F Jake Chiasson’s OT goal gave the Saskatoon Blades a 4-3 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Saskatoon on Friday and Game 6 back in Regina on Saturday. . . . The road team has won all four games in this series. . . . This was the third straight game in the series to go to OT. The Blades won Games 3 and 4 in Regina by erasing 3-1 third-period deficits. . . . Last night, Saskatoon F Egor Sidorov, who scored the OT winner in Game 3, opened the scoring, on a PP, at 7:18 of the second period. . . . Regina took a 3-1 lead with three goals 1:18 apart. F Connor Bedard (8) scored twice — at 19:35 of the second period and 13 seconds into the third — and F Tanner Howe got his first of the series at 0:53. . . . The Blades pulled even on goals from F Jayden Wiens (3), at 2:42, and D Charlie Wright (1), at 10:01. . . . Chiasson, who was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings in January, won it at 7:20 of extra time. . . . The Blades got 23 saves from G Ethan Chadwick, with G Drew Sim stopping 33 shots for the Pats. . . . Who wins on Friday? Including the regular season, the road team has won seven of 10 games between these teams. . . .
Moose Jaw (4) at Lethbridge (5) — The Moose Jaw Warriors struck for three third-period goals as they beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-2. . . . The Warriors swept the first-round series. . . . F Tyson Zimmer (1) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 8:50 of the first period. . . . F Brayden Yager (1), at 13:56 of the first, and D Max Wanner (1), at 5:15 of the second, gave the Warriors the lead. . . . F Hayden Smith (1) pulled the hosts even at 19:00 of the second. . . . The Warriors put it away with third-period goals from F Lynden Lakovic (1), D Denton Mateychuk (2) and Yager (2), the latter into an empty net. . . . Yager also had an assist for a three-point night. . . . G Connor Ungar stopped 28 shots for Moose Jaw. . . . Interestingly, three of the four Warriors who served 17-game WHL-issued suspensions to end the season got on the scoresheet in this one. Wanner had a goal and two assists, Lakovic scored once, and Ungar again was solid in goal. In the four games, Ungar was 4-0, 1.29, .953. . . . The Warriors lost F Robert Baco with a major and game misconduct for goaltender interference at 7:35 of the second period.
Seattle (1) at Kelowna (8) — G Thomas Milic stopped 19 shots as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Kelowna Rockets, 3-0. . . . The Thunderbirds, who finished atop the Western Conference, swept the series, outscoring the Rockets, 17-4. . . . F Lucas Ciona (3) scored Seattle’s first goal, at 8:42 of the second period, and that’s all Milic would need. . . . F Dylan Guenther (5) and F Jordan Gustafson (2) added third-period goals. . . . Milic went 4-0, 1.00, .958 in the series. . . . After G Jari Kykkanen played the first three games, the Rockets turned to Talyn Boyko for Game 4. Boyko, a fourth-round pick by the New York Rangers in the NHL’s 2021 draft who is signed, stopped 35 shots. For the fourth straight game, the Rockets were very much in the game in the third period but just couldn’t close it out. . . .
Prince George (4) at Tri-City (5) — F Koehn Ziemmer and F Jaxsen Wiebe each scored twice as the Prince George Cougars beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-2, in Kennewisk, Wash. . . . The series is tied, 2-2. This is the lone first-round series to be using a 2-3-2 format, which is why Game 5 will be played in Kennewick on Friday, with Game 6 scheduled for Prince George on Sunday. A seventh game, if needed, would be played in Prince George on Tuesday. . . . Ziemmer’s second goal of the game and the series gave the Cougars a 3-0 lead at 1:50 of the second period and they were never headed. . . . Wiebe has three goals. . . . G Ty Young got the start for the Cougars after Tyler Brennan left Game 3 with an undisclosed injury. Young made 26 stops. . . . Brennan wasn’t dressed, so the Cougars had Madden Mulawka on the bench in support of Young. Mulawka, who turned 17 on March 8, is from Edmonton. He was a fifth-round pick by the Cougars in the WHL’s 2021 draft. He got into three games with Prince George earlier in the season.
Lee Stone is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . He spent the previous 10 seasons with the VIJHL’s Campbell River Storm. . . . Stone takes over from Andy Hellweger, whose mother, Nicole Brandbenburg, purchased the Buccaneers in April 2022. . . . This season, Nanaimo finished 5-41-2. . . .
The BCHL’s Penticton Vees beat the Smoke Eaters, 5-1, in Trail on Wednesday night to sweep their best-of-seven first-round playoff series. Penticton, the BCHL’s defending champion, has won 20 straight playoff games going back to last season.
With the 10th anniversary of her kidney transplant within in sight, Dorothy is taking part in her 10th straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. So, yes, she is fund-raising. . . . The 2023 Walk is scheduled for June 4. . . . If you would like to donate to her cause, you are able to do so right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
This is a big day in the Kamloops kidney community as Julie Dodds, a married
mother of three young boys, is scheduled for a transplant this morning at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
Early Tuesday afternoon, she posted on Facebook, indicating that everything is fine.
“All the pre-surgical appointments are done and we’re good to go,” she wrote. “(Wednesday) morning the weird magic of swapping body parts happens. . . . Spending the night in the hotel with plans to eat a big, delicious dinner. Fingers crossed for everything to go smoothly, especially for Jason who doesn’t have to be here.”
Her younger brother, Jason, who is from Port McNeill, is to be the live donor, while her husband, Allan, has accompanied her to Vancouver.
Julie hash-tagged her post: mylittlebrotheristhebest. Hard to argue with that.
In the second inning tonight, the lab doing COVID tests informed MLB that Justin Turner’s test from yesterday came back inconclusive. The samples from today had just arrived and were run. It showed up positive. The league immediately called the Dodgers and said to pull Turner.
. @Ken_Rosenthal: “He tested positive yesterday. They got those positive results back this afternoon. Ran a test today, came back positive again. This is NOT a case of a false positive… he was asked not to go on the field. He insisted upon it, the Dodgers insisted upon it.” pic.twitter.com/GG7PTbluuo
One correction to what I said on @FS1 about Turner timeline. First result, on the test from yesterday, came back in the second inning, not in the afternoon. His test from earlier today was then expedited, and when it came back positive, he was removed from the game.
Kevin Cash, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, can thank COVID-19 for taking at least some of the heat off him.
Cash made one of the more questionable managerial moves in World Series history on Tuesday night, but a lot of the backlash is going to get lost in a discussion on the role the virus played in Game 6.
Considering the time we are living in, it was, I suppose, only fitting that Justin Turner, the Dodgers’ third baseman, wasn’t around for game’s end. He didn’t come out on defence to start the eighth inning. A reason wasn’t provided until after the game.
It turns out he had tested positive for COVID-19.
However, Turner did join the post-game celebration, going sans mask for a team photo. While wearing a mask, he was hugging teammates and holding the World Series trophy.
A dude who just tested positive for COVID-19 sits right beside the guy who had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and pulls his mask down. In real life. https://t.co/OGgwaRMvqw
Through Monday, MLB had gone 58 consecutive days without a positive test.
So . . . had Tampa Bay won Game 6, when would Game 7 have been played? Sometime in mid-November?
In the meantime, MLB is left to try and explain what all went on here. Or is this just one more example of pandemic-induced stupidity?
Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA#WorldSeriesChamps
The World Series, one that will be talked about for a week or two, is over.
The decision by Kevin Cash, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, to yank Blake Snell, a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, in the sixth inning on Tuesday night will be hashed and rehashed, with ‘pure’ baseball fans on one side and analytics people on the other.
Snell was in complete control, having allowed but two hits while striking out nine. Snell, with a 1-0 lead, had thrown 73 pitches. The top of the Dodgers’ order was due up and the top three were 0-for-6 with six strikeouts.
However, Cash didn’t want Snell facing the Dodgers’ lineup a third time. So out came the hook.
Three pitches later, the game was tied. Three more pitches and the Dodgers were leading 2-1 and on their way to a 3-1 victory and the franchise’s first championship since 1988.
Of course, this kind of move has been vintage Cash all season, and it got the Rays into the World Series final. Yeah, but . . .
Meanwhile, the bottom of the ninth inning of Saturday’s Game 4 will be remembered for a while, too. The Rays stole that one from a Los Angeles team, winning 8-7 on a play that included two Dodgers errors. That game featured 13 pitchers, who were touched for 25 hits and nine walks, resulting in this headline in the Los Angeles Times: Rocky Pitcher Horror Show.
But, seriously, what do we do now?
No more baseball. No more NBA. No more NHL. And who knows when we will see them again?
We are left with football. But after the menu we have had to choose from for the last two or three months how will we cope?
Well, there’s always that cribbage board in the closet. Might be a Scrabble game in there, too.
The OHL, which had been aiming for a Dec. 1 start to its regular season, is expected to announce this week that the date has been bumped to Feb. 4. . . . Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted that general managers are to meet virtually, with an eventual announcement to include a Jan. 25 start to training camps. “Eight-team playoff also expected to be unveiled,” Dreger tweeted.
If we have learned anything over the last while, it is that (a) everything is always in a state of fluidity, and (b) games will be played when the virus permits it. . . . On Monday, there was speculation that the QMJHL’s Quebec-based teams might remain sidelined into December. That changed on Tuesday, though, and now four of those teams are poised to return to action this weekend. The Baie-Comeau Drakkar, Rimouski Oceanic, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and Val-d’Or Foreurs each are to play two games. They are located in what the province has declared yellow and orange zones, so have the OK for games. . . . The QMJHL continues discussions with health officials on the status of those teams located in red zones. At the same time, the QMJHL said that players and staff with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and Sherbrooke Phoenix, teams that have had at least 26 positives tests between them, continue to be tested. . . . The Drummondville Voltigeurs also have experience positives, reportedly at least five, and the QMJHL said that their “activities remain suspended until further notice.”
COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .
The NFL administered 42,687 tests to players and team personnel from Oct. 18-24. The league revealed that there were eight “new confirmed” positives among players and 11 among other personnel. . . . Since Aug. 1, the NFL says it has administered more than 500,000 tests, with 55 players and 82 others testing positive. . . .
The men’s basketball program at the U of California, Berkley, is on pause after a player tested positive. Things will be shut down for up to two weeks. The player wasn’t identified and is said to be asymptomatic. . . .
Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive again so may not play for Juventus against Lionel Messi and Barcelona on Wednesday in a UEFA Champions League game. Ronaldo tested positive for the first time on Oct. 14 while with Portugal’s national team. He then tested positive again at some point last week. . . .
QB Graham Mertz of the Wisconsin Badgers has tested positive a second time, so, according to Big Ten protocol, will be sidelined for 21 days. A red-shirt freshman, he led the Badgers to a 45-7 victory over Illinois on Friday night. . . . Backup Chase Wolf also is reported to have tested positive and is awaiting confirmation. . . . The Badgers are to play at Nebraska on Saturday.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
JUST NOTES: The Trinity Western Spartans will play host to the Captains Cup, a three-team tournament that is to start on Nov. 12. It also will feature the UBC Thunderbirds and Simon Fraser U. The double round-robin tournament, featuring afternoon start times, will end with a Dec. 2 final. All games will be played at the George Preston Recreation Centre in Langley, B.C. With fans not being allowed, all games will be streamed free at www.YouTube.com/SpartansSID. . . . The AJHL has extended its exhibition season through Nov. 8. . . . The SJHL released its regular-season schedule on Tuesday. It will open on Nov. 6 and run through April 3. . . . Reid Coleman is the new head coach of the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He replaces James Gaertner, who left to join the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals as an assistant coach. The Buccaneers also added Spencer Deakin as associate coach.
FC Dallas was taken out of the tournament on Monday after having 10 players and one coach test positive. . . . There still are 25 teams in the competition, which is to begin today (Wednesday) with Orlando City and Inter Miami CF meeting.
The Vancouver Whitecaps left for Orlando without Lucas Cavallini, Fredy Montero, Georges Mukumbilwa, Tosaint Ricketts and Andy Rose. . . . Cavallini said he has lost two family members to COVID-19 and stayed behind “to support my loved ones.” . . . Rickets said he has a pre-existing condition. . . . Rose stayed at home to be with his pregnant wife. . . . Montero cited family reasons. . . . Mukumbilwa apparently isn’t cleared for travel outside of Canada at this time. . . .
Nashville SC arrived in Orlando on Friday, and reported Tuesday that it had five positive tests with four others ruled inconclusive. . . . As a result, Nashville’s game against the Chicago Fire that had been scheduled for tonight (Wednesday) has been postponed.
Bulgarian soccer club Cherno More revealed that it has had 12 players and four officials test positive after playing Sunday against Tsarsko Selo in Sofia. Tsarsko Selo apparently had one player test positive prior to the game, but didn’t reveal it.
G Asia Durr of the WNBA’s New York Liberty won’t play this season after testing positive on June 8. She has had symptoms and hasn’t yet recovered. . . . Durr was the second overall selection in the 2019 draft. . . . The league revealed Tuesday that seven of 137 players tested had come up positive over the past week. . . . The WNBA hopes to play a 22-game season in at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., starting later this month.
With NHL teams to open training camps on July 13 with teams travelling to Edmonton and Toronto on July 26, the league announced Monday that it had nine more players test positive. That brought the total to 35. The NHL announces its numbers on a weekly basis.
#Braves' Markakis: “I’m at the point in my career where I’m not chasing the money, I’m not chasing any of that. I want to win and have fun. This game is about having fun. To have to go out and play in an environment with no fans? To me, that’s not baseball.”
OF Nick Markakis of the Atlanta Braves has opted out after a conversation with teammate Freddie Freeman, who tested positive and has symptoms. “Just hearing him, the way he sounded on the phone, it was tough,” Markakis, 36, said. “It was kind of eye-opening. With everything that’s going on, not just with baseball but all over the world, it makes you open your eyes.”
The Philadelphia Phillies reported that coaches Rob Thomson, Jim Gott and Greg Brodzinski all tested positive and aren’t in camp. . . . As well, players Scott Kingery, Tommy Hunter and Mikie Mahtook have tested positive. . . . Kingery was diagnosed on June 11 and isn’t anywhere near ready to play baseball. More on that right here. . . .
P Eduardo Rodriguez and Bobby Dalbec of the Boston Red Sox have tested positive. Rodriguez, who had been tabbed as Boston’s opening day starter, has some symptoms but is feeling better. Dalbec, an infield prospect who apparently contacted it at home, is asymptomatic. . . .
Some positive tests with a high school baseball team in Newberg, Ore. . . .
BREAKING: Eight individuals associated with the Newberg High School summer baseball team have tested positive for COVID-19, Superintendent Joe Morelock confirms.
One player was taken to the hospital on July 3 with a fever, and the seven others are currently asymptomatic. #opreps
OF Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers has been tested four times over the past 10 days. Two came back negative; two were positive. . . . The negatives came from nasal swab tests; the positives were after PCR/saliva tests. . . . Gallo hasn’t yet been allowed to work out with the Rangers as he awaits the result of yet another saliva test, one that was taken on Tuesday evening. . . .
OF Kole Calhoun of the Arizona Diamondbacks became the third player on that team’s 40-man roster to test positive. He is said to be asymptomatic and, according to manager Torey Lovullo, “feeling great.” . . .
The San Francisco Giants reported two positive tests on Monday. Here’s Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle: “The club did not identify them, and the news release specifically did not describe the two who tested positive as players. It used the term ‘individuals,’ which means one or both could be coaches or other staff members.” . . . Both individuals are in self-isolation. . . .
P Brad Keller and 1B Ryan O’Hearn of the Kansas City Royals have tested positive. Keller has minor symptoms.
G Spencer Dinwiddie won’t be with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets as they open camp in Orlando where the season is to resume on July 30. Dinwiddie has tested positive and has symptoms so won’t be playing in Orlando. . . . Earlier, C DeAndre Jordan of the Nets tested positive and opted out.
In golf, the women’s British Open will be played at Royal Troon, Aug. 20-23, without spectators. That’s one week after the Ladies Scottish Open is scheduled to be played. . . .
ESPN reported on Tuesday that the PGA of America and the European Tour will announce today that the Ryder Cup has been postponed to 2021, with the Presidents Cup pushed back to 2022. . . . The Ryder Cup was to have been held at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, Sept. 25-27. . . .
The PGA Tour had hoped to have some fans on course next week for the Memorial at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. But those plans have been scrapped because of the pandemic. . . .
CEO Gernot Tripcke informed on Monday that DEL not likely to start before 1 November. Finnish Liiga and French Ligue Magnus schedules announced. Our European leagues' Return-To-Play chart updated. pic.twitter.com/FGeAh8aHuw
Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, in writing about the kerfuffle about the NFL Washington franchise’s nickname, has a suggestion: “One team name that should offend no one because it is so obviously correct would be Washington Gridlock.That would honor the traffic situation here and the political situation nationally.” . . . He’s got more right here.
The curmudgeonly one also sent a Thought for the Day, along with this note — H.L. Mencken wrote this more than 70 years ago. Imagine what he might say today on a similar topic. . . . Here it is: “Suppose two-thirds of the members of the national House of Representatives were dumped into the Washington garbage incinerator tomorrow. What would we lose to offset our gain of their salaries and the salaries of their parasites?”
The Moose Jaw Warriors have added Gord Burnett to their coaching staff as an assistant to head coach Mark O’Leary. The coaching staff also includes assistant Scott King and coaching assistant Olivia Howe. . . . Burnett spent last season as the head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues, who are owned by the owners of the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. Burnett, who is from Regina, spent four seasons (2015-19) on the Kootenay Ice’s staff before the franchise moved to the Manitoba capital.
James Gaertner has signed on as the head coach and assistant general manager of the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . Last season, he was the head coach of the VIJHL’s Kerry Park Islanders. Prior to that, he was on the coach staff of the U of Victoria Vikes for five seasons. . . . He takes over the Buccaneers’ bench from Brad Knight, who was hired on May 8 but stepped down late last month.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Monday that the Minnesota Twins have told coaches Bob McClure, 68, and Bill Evers, 66, that they won’t be taking part in the 2020 season whenever it gets started.
The Twins said last week that an undisclosed number of players and one staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Numerous reports have indicated that people over the age of 65 have a much greater chance of dying from the coronavirus. The Twins are believed to be the first North American professional team to excuse older coaches from working with their team.
The NHL, NBA, NFL and especially MLB have numerous managers and coaches who are 60 years of age and older. Chances are that in the coming days we will hear about more MLB teams doing precisely what the Twins have done with McClure and Evers.
But what about the WHL? Might this be just one more thing its teams are going to have to deal with should they get to open training camps in mid-September and begin the season on Oct. 2?
The WHL has two head coaches past the age of 60 — Willie Desjardins of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Mike Johnston of the Portland Winterhawks, both of whom also are general managers, are 63.
Their are 11 other head coaches over the age of 50.
The WHL also has at least eight general managers 60 or older, beginning with Garry Davidson of the Everett Silvertips, at 69, and John Paddock of the Regina Pats, at 66.
There also are a couple of assistant coaches who have had at least 65 birthdays — Jerome Engele of the Saskatoon Blades is 69 and Portland’s Don Hay is 66.
Just more food for thought in these uncertain times.
The NHL announced on Monday that it knows of 26 players who have tested positive for COVID-19. Fifteen of those players were in training at team facilities. The other 11 were working out away from those facilities. . . . All 26 players have been self-isolated. . . . The NHL says there were 1,450 tests on more than 250 players administered to players who were working out in training facilities. . . . Still to announce its hub cities, the NHL has said it will release testing figures on a weekly basis. . . .
The Detroit Red Wings have cancelled the 2020 version of the eight-team prospect tournament that was to have been played in Traverse City, Mich., in early September. . . . The Red Wings also have moved the site of their 2020-21 training camp, whenever that might be held, to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
Ian Desmond is opting out of playing in MLB this season. In addition to Covid-19 he cites the MLB’s rampant racism, sexism, homophobia, cheating scandals, and labor wars. Please go to his Instagram to read the whole thing because, whew, it is outstanding. https://t.co/xnwg3vspxopic.twitter.com/2vIvpzLegB
OF Ian Desmond said Monday that he won’t be joining the Colorado Rockies for the 2020 MLB season. He made the announcement in a nine-panel posting on Instagram. . . . There’s more right here. . . .
Infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross said Monday that they won’t be joining the Washington Nationals, the defending World Series champions, for the approaching season. Also opting out is pitcher Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks. . . . All three cited health and safety concerns related to the pandemic. . . .
The Arizona Diamondbacks revealed on Monday that three players on their 60-man roster have tested positive. Two of them were in Arizona, while wasn’t yet in Arizona. . . .
OF Hunter Bishop, the San Francisco Giants’ first-round draft pick in 2019, has tested positive in Arizona. He will miss at least the start of the Giants’ workouts that are to begin on Friday in San Francisco. . . .
They have been playing Minor League Baseball (MiLB) in the United States since 1901. Prior to Tuesday, a season never had been cancelled. That’s all changed now, as MiLB announced that there won’t be a 2020 season thanks to the pandemic. There are 160 minor league teams, including the Vancouver Canadians, under the MiLB umbrella.
The Denver Nuggets closed their training facility on Tuesday after the NBA team’s travelling party was found to include three positive tests. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that 35 people were preparing to head for Orlando, Fla., and the restart of the season when the trio tested positive. . . . It’s not known if the positives are players or staff. . . . C Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets tested positive in Serbia earlier in June, while head coach Michael Malone has said that he tested positive in March. . . .
The NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans have had three players test positive, but the team hasn’t identified them. All three were tested on June 23, along with all of their teammates. . . .
Two members of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets — G Spencer Dinwiddie and F DeAndre Jordan — have tested positive and won’t be joining the team in Orlando, Fla. . . . Dinwiddie told The Athletic that he has been experiencing symptoms — fever and chest tightness. . . . The Nets also will be without F Wilson Chandler, who has opted out.
Golf Canada has cancelled the CP Women’s Open that was to have been played at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, Sept. 3-6. The 2021 LPGA event will be played at Shaughnessy. . . .
Chad Campbell is the sixth player from the PGA Tour to test positive. He was tested as part of the screening prior to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which is to start Thursday in Detroit. . . . Meanwhile, three players — Jonathan Hodge, Taylor Montgomery and Brandon Wu — tested positive and had to withdraw from the Korn Ferry Tour event that starts today (Wednesday) in Colorado.
MLS announced that four players have tested positive on Monday and Tuesday. All told, 392 people were tested, all of whom are staying in the league’s bubble hotel in Orlando, Fla. . . . On the weekend, MLS announced that 18 players and six staff members had tested positive since early June. . . . The league’s MLS is Back tournament is scheduled to open on July 8. . . .
Officials cancelled the rest of the 2020 World Rugby Seven Series on Tuesday, meaning there won’t be stops in Langford, B.C., London, Paris, Singapore or Hong Kong. . . .
A statement on the University of Georgia website on Monday indicated that at least 143 members of the school’s community, including students and staff, have tested positive. . . .
Williams College, a NCAA Division 3 school in Williamstown, Mass., has cancelled all fall sports, but has yet to decide on winter and spring activities. . . . Two other New England-area schools, Bowdoin College and UMass-Boston, have said their teams won’t play in the fall, either. . . .
The Broadway League said Monday that theatres on Broadway in New York City are likely to remain closed at least through the end of 2020. Performances have been suspended since March 12. . . . Theatres are hoping to re-open early in January.
European hockey leagues' Return-to-Play plan, updated today with Belarus. Many of the data are best-case scenarios. Many changes expected until puck is dropped. pic.twitter.com/t7uiXF5Td1
Phil Andrews, the radio voice of the Regina Pats for the past nine seasons, said on Monday that he was leaving the post. He cited family reasons for his decision. . . . Andrews was the Pats’ director of media and communications, and handled the play-by-play duties. . . . His departure opens up one of the WHL’s plum play-by-play positions and you can bet that a lot of junior hockey radio types have been preparing resumes.
And a happy Bobby Bonilla Day to you, too. It’s July 1, which means that the New York Mets paid Bobby Bonilla US$1,193,248.20 as they have been doing since 2001. It’s all part of deferred payments that were part of his last contract. The payments began in 2011 and will run through 2035. Oh, and he hasn’t played since 2001.
Congratulations to outgoing @theahl President & CEO Dave Andrews on a Hall of Fame career! He attended every PHPA Annual Meeting and always made time to sit down and talk with the players. He is leaving the League and the game at our level in great shape! pic.twitter.com/XLPvkLXGsw
The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League announced on Tuesday that Brad Knight “has stepped down” as general manager and head coach. . . . The Buccaneers had announced Knight’s signing early in May. He was returning to the team after being the head coach for its first two seasons (2012-14). . . . Last season, with then-owner Clayton Robinson as head coach, Nanaimo finished 14-23-11. . . . Robinson, who owned the franchise for about 18 months, sold the team to Carl Ollech, who owns some of Duncan Iron Works, in June. . . . Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo Bulletin has more on the sale right here.
F Brandon McMillan (Kelowna, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, in 47 games, he had seven goals and 12 assists. An alternate captain he averaged 19:04 TOI. . . .
D Anatoli Yelizarov (Edmonton, 2015-17) has been traded by Salavat Yulaev Ufa to Sochi (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. Last season, with Salavat Yulaev, he was pointless in 40 games. He also had one assist in 16 games with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), and had one assist in two games with Tolpas Ufa (Russia, MHL). . . . MHL (Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga) is Russia’s national junior league.
LA Kings 3rd round pick Lukas Pařík had an impressive development camp. Going to play in Spokane (WHL) in 2019-20. https://t.co/cZkEvGz5wN
Allan Walsh is a prominent player agent and the co-managing director at Octagon-Hockey. One of his clients would seem to be Czech G Lukas Pařík, 18, who was selected by the Spokane Chiefs in Thursday’s CHL import draft and it would seem that he is bound for the WHL. . . . A few days earlier, Pařík had been selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the third round of the NHL draft, then spent a few days in the Kings’ development camp. . . . At this point in time, he joins three other goaltenders on the Chiefs’ depth chart — veterans Bailey Brkin and Reece Klassen, both of whom are prepping for their 20-year-old seasons, and Campbell Arnold, a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft who played last season with the junior B Spokane Braves.
F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes suffered an injury to his left thumb on Saturday while in the Buffalo Sabres’ development camp. It appears that the thumb was hurt as he put his hand down in the hopes of easing a fall as he tried to absorb a hip check from D Brandon Hickey. . . . Cozens, who is to see a specialist on Monday, later told reporters: “It’s good. I saw the videos and stuff. I think it looked a lot worse than it really was. . . . but right when it happened I wanted to get right back out there, so I’m feeling good.” . . . Cozens told reporters that the thumb isn’t broken. He also kept his left hand in the pouch of his hoodie as he spoke with reporters. . . . The Sabres selected Cozens with the seventh pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft.
You may recall that the Prince George Cougars’ 2018-19 schedule included an 11-game road trip that began in early December and ran into Christmas, all but ruined their season and may well have cost head coach Richard Matvichuk his job. . . . So what kind of schedule are the Cougars looking at for 2019-20? . . . Hartley Miller of 94.3 the GOAT and the analyst on Cougars’ home broadcasts, takes a look right here.
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An interesting item from Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade, who is a must read whenever she posts a smorgasbord of thoughts and opinions, which usually is a couple of times a week
“Can it really be true that parents are required to pony up $12,000 for their 17- and 18-year-old kids to skate with Winnipeg Blues in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League? That, according to an article by Taylor Allen in the Drab Slab, is up from $3,000 last season. I don’t make a habit of telling folks how to spend their money, but in this case I will: Are you people nuts? That’s a lot of coin for a handful of hope. I mean, if the goal for your boy is the National Hockey League, you might be better off buying $12,000 worth of lottery tickets. I don’t blame parents for dreaming, though. The bad guys here are the mucky-mucks at 50 Below Sports + Entertainment. That $12,000 price tag is just wrong.”
The “Drab Slab” is the Winnipeg Free Press, in which Allen wrote:
“To suit up for the Blues this (season), it will cost $12,000 for players between the ages of 17 and 18, and $6,000 for 19- and 20-year-olds. Last (season), players had to pay roughly $3,000, with some of the cost offset by fundraising. The price has gone way up, as the Blues, who are owned by the same ownership group as the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, are now a club whose main intention is to develop players in hopes of getting them ready to play in the WHL.”
Are the Blues the only junior A team in all of Canada whose goal is to groom players for the WHL rather than try to get them hockey scholarships with NCAA teams?
The Portland Winterhawks have re-signed Rich Campbell, their athletic trainer/strength and conditioning coach, to a contract extension, the length of which wasn’t revealed. . . . Campbell is prepping for his 12th season with the Winterhawks. . . . “Rich Campbell is the longest serving member of our current staff, and we are pleased to announce that he will be returning for several more seasons,” Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, said in a news release. “One of the key reasons we are able to develop players for the National Hockey League is because of the work Rich does off the ice.” . . . Campbell’s resume includes a stint with the 2008 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team that played in the Beijing Games, and working as the head trainer for the NHL’s New York Islanders from 1997 to 2006.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Dave Hakstol as an assistant coach under head coach Mike Babcock. Hakstol, the former U of North Dakota head coach, was fired as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 17. . . . The Leafs had an opening on their staff after Jim Hiller, a former WHL player and coach, left after four seasons to join the staff of the New York Islanders. Hiller was the head coach of the Chilliwack Bruins for three seasons (2006-09) and the Tri-City Americans for five (2009-14). . . .
This move reunites PIT GM Jim Rutherford and @mike_vellucci. Vellucci was GM-coach of the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, which were owned by Peter Karmanos and administered by Rutherford. https://t.co/WMmciSc6aN
Mike Vellucci, who was the head coach of the AHL-champion Charlotte Checkers for two seasons, now is the head coach of that league’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. . . . The announcement was made on Friday, one day after Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli resigned for personals reasons. . . . Vellucci is the AHL’s reigning coach of the year. . . . He spent five seasons (2014-19) with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations. For the past two seasons, he also was Charlotte’s head coach. Before joining Carolina, he spent 14 seasons (2001-14) as the GM/head coach of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers. . . .
The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League have named Clayton Robinson their general manager and head coach, with Jesse Hammill coming on board as associate coach. . . . Robinson has owned the franchise since May 1, 2018. . . . Curtis Toneff, the team’s GM/head coach for two seasons, left to join the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos as an assistant coach.
Thank you everyone for the support. My heart grows everyday. I’m so thankful and blessed to be surrounded by amazing people. I hope to guide individuals into right path in their minds in the future. I love you all, we fight this together. Dream big. #Mentalhealth#Dreamville
F Davis Vandane (Saskatoon, Spokane, Prince Albert, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 55 games. . . .
F Jens Meilleur (Brandon, 2010-14) has announced his retirement through the website of the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Kassel, he had 15 goals and 20 assists in 52 games. Meilleur is quoted in the announcement as saying that he is returning to Manitoba to work on the family farm. . . .
D Patrik Maier (Kamloops, Moose Jaw, 2014-16) has signed a one-year contract with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he was pointless in four games, while, in 47 games on loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had six goals and nine assists.
The Prince George Cougars have been without a head coach since their season ended in March. You are free to wonder if they soon also will be looking for a general manager. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen took a look at the situation in a story for Wednesday’s paper. . . . Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager, is friends with, and has worked with, Dave Tippett, the new head coach of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . “Now entering the second year of a four-year contract with the Cougars,” Clarke writes, “Lamb would neither confirm nor deny whether he’s about to be hired by the NHL team, but the stars appear to be aligned in that direction.” . . . Clarke’s complete story is right here.
As it played its final WHL season in Cranbrook’s Western Financial Place, the Kootenay Ice had a lease that ran through the 2022-23 season. Now that the team has moved to Winnipeg, the city feels the Ice no longer is a tenant so doesn’t control the lease. . . . That’s the word from Paul Heywood, the city’s acting director of community services, who was responding to charges from a group that attempted to purchase and relocate an AJHL franchise (Calgary Mustangs) and later a KIJHL team (Kelowna Chiefs) to Cranbrook. . . . The group said in a news release that the city’s refusal to approve a sublease between it and the Ice ended the chances of placing a team in Cranbrook. . . . Heywood told Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman: “The City has not turned down any offers, and we presently have a questionnaire open for any hockey organizations that are willing to submit an offer to bring their team to Cranbrook. The City of Cranbrook decided that the Kootenay Ice (is) no longer a tenant in Western Financial Place, after establishing offices in Winnipeg and selling tickets for a new season at the Wayne Fleming Arena at the University of Manitoba. The City of Cranbrook has clearly stated that the Winnipeg Ice no longer (has) the right to assign a sublease to any hockey organization. It will remain at the discretion (of) the City of Cranbrook to choose which hockey team will be coming to WFP.” . . . Crawley’s complete story, including the group’s news release, is right here.
The Victoria Royals have signed twin brothers Jason and Ryan Spizawka to WHL contracts. Both were taken in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Jason, a defenceman, was selected in the first round. Last season, with the bantam prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., he had two goals and 23 assists in 28 games. . . . Ryan, also a defenceman, was taken in the seventh round. He also played at Yale Hockey Academy, putting up eight goals and 12 assists in 28 games. . . .
This Victoria franchise, which entered the WHL as the Chilliwack Bruins, has had at least one other set of brothers, but the Walker boys weren’t twins. From Edina, Minn., Ben played from 2011-14, and Jack was there from 2012-17.
The WHL’s 22 teams now have signed 15 first-round selections from the May 2 draft. . . .
WHL 2019 FIRST-ROUNDERS
1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie
3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk
4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer
7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren
14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward
20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis
21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth
2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie
5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson
6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer
8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson
9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky
10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski
11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk
12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt
13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann
15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton
16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma
17. Regina — D Layton Feist
18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer
19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka
22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker
It is always interesting to compare ticket prices between WHL teams. Hartley Miller, the news and sports supervisor at 94.3 the GOAT in Prince George, has done just that, taking a look at the Cougars and the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Miller also is the analyst on broadcasts of Cougars’ home games. . . . His comparison piece is right here.
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Mike Pelino, a former WHL coach, will spend next season working as an assistant coach with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL. He will be working alongside first-year head coach Craig MacTavish. . . . Pelino, 59, spent two seasons (1997-99) as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . He has spent the past six seasons working in the KHL. This season, he was an assistant coach with Avangard Omsk. Prior to that, he was on staff with Metallurg Magnitogorsk for five seasons.
The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers are in the market for a general manager/head coach after Curtis Toneff signed on as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . The Buccaneers play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . Toneff, who is from Nanaimo, was the Buccaneers’ head coach for two seasons. . . .
The VIJHL’s Saanich Braves also are looking for a general manager/head coach, with Sam Waterfield having joined the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express as an assistant coach. . . . Waterfield spent two seasons with the Braves.
The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that the worst fears of Kootenay-based WHL fans will be made official on Monday.
In a story carrying the bylines of Jeff Hamilton and Mike Sawatzky, the newspaper is reporting that “the owners of the Kootenay Ice are preparing to announce Monday they are moving their Western Hockey League franchise to Winnipeg in time for the 2019-20 season, league sources have told the Free Press.”
The WHL franchise will play out of the Wayne Fleming Arena on the U of Manitoba campus for likely two seasons while a new arena is being built in the Manitoba capital’s southwest corner.
The Free Press also reports that Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who is the president and general manager, “have not commented publicly on news reports and WHL commissioner Rob Robison has not made himself available for an interview on the subject.”
(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)
The Kelowna Rockets have acquired the WHL rights to F Alex Swetlikoff from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a fourth-round selection in the 2022 bantam draft.
Swetlikoff, a 17-year-old from Kelowna, has committed to the U of Denver for the 2020-21 season. He was a third-round pick by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the 2016 bantam draft. Seattle traded his rights to Lethbridge on May 3, getting back D Kirby Proctor, who is from Okotoks, Alta. He is with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, and has committed to attend the U of Nebraska-Omaha for 2020-21.
This season, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Swetlikoff is playing with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, with whom he has eight goals and 12 assists in 27 games. He will play for Canada West at the World Junior Challenge that opens this weekend in Bonnyville, Alta.
The Rockets will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup, so you can bet that will be a major selling point as the organization works to recruit Swetlikoff.
The Medicine Hat Tigers have dropped F Dawson Heathcote from their roster. He is expected to join the junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . Heathcote, 18, is from Nanaimo. . . . Last season, as a freshman with the Tigers, he had six goals and three assists in 47 games. This season, he had two assists in 27 games. . . . Heathcote was a seventh-round pick by the Tigers in the 2015 WHL bantam draft.
Two more WHLers are on national junior team selection-camp rosters. . . . G Mads Søgaard of the Medicine Hat Tigers will attend Denmark’s selection camp, while D Alex Alexeyev will be in camp with the Russian national junior team. . . . Søgaard is to join the Danish team after the Tigers game against the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Dec. 15. Should he make the Danish team, he could miss as many as six of the Tigers’ games after the Christmas break. . . . The 2019 World Junior Championship is to open in Vancouver and Victoria on Dec. 26.
F Spencer Gerth of the Trinity Western Spartans is on the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League’s Young Stars’ roster that will play against Kazakhstan’s national junior team on Dec. 17. . . . Gerth, 20, played the previous three seasons in the WHL, with the Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals. . . . This season, he has two goals and five assists in 11 games. . . .The Young Stars will be part of a College Hockey Showcase that also is to include U of Victoria, with the three games at the Langley Events Centre. . . . Kazakhstan is scheduled to meet the Victoria on Dec. 11 and Trinity Western on Dec. 13, then will play the Young Stars on Dec. 17. All three games are to start at 7 p.m., and will be streamed at hockeytv.com. . . . Kazakhstan opens the 2019 World Junior Championship against Finland in Victoria on Dec. 27.
As part of the Kazakhstan visit, organizers are holding Hockey Day in Langley on Dec. 10. From a news release: “The Kazakhstan . . . team will be partnering with BC Hockey to host a Hockey Day in Langley event that will allow local minor hockey teams and academies an opportunity to meet the Kazakhstan team and take part in a skills competition. Coaches will also have a chance to meet and learn from some international-level coaches.” . . . For more info, email Barret Kropf at email@example.com.
It took 54 saves from Naveen Kainth, but the Surrey Knights have their first win of the season, 6-5 over the White Rock Whalers.
It's the first victory for the Knights since Nov. 24, 2017 – a span of 376 days – and their second win since Nov. 19, 2015 – a span of 1,112 days. pic.twitter.com/Qqyfh1IKpr