Another WHL trade deadline here and gone . . . Seattle gets golden boy’s rights . . . Blades grab Chiasson


The WHL’s trade deadline arrived on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 48.

No. of players traded — 83.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 81.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 29.

Teams involved in trades — 11: Edmonton; 6: Everett, Kamloops, Kelowna, Seattle, Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Brandon, Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina, Tri-City; 4: Portland, Prince Albert; 3: Red Deer, Spokane, Swift Current; 2: Moose Jaw; Saskatoon, Vancouver; 1: Calgary; 0: Medicine Hat.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.


Late Tuesday afternoon, just before the trade deadline whizzed past, the Edmonton Oil Kings announced that they had acquired the rights to F Koji SeattleGibson, 15, six conditional WHL draft picks and a fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft from the Seattle Thunderbirds for the rights to F Dylan Guenther, 19, the rights to F Jordan Ramsay, who will turn 16 on Jan. 24, and a 2023 eighth-round pick. . . . The conditional picks — a second in 2023, sixth in 2024, fourth in 2025, and first, fourth and fifth in 2026 — all hinge on the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes assigning Guenther to Seattle. . . . Guenther, a first-round pick by the Coyotes in the NHL’s 2021 draft, has three goals and eight assists in 22 games with Arizona this season. . . . He scored the OT goal on Thursday as Team Canada beat Czechia, 3-2, in the World Junior Championship final in Halifax. . . . The Oil Kings selected Guenther with the first overall pick of the WHL’s 2018 draft. He helped the Oil Kings to the WHL championship last season as they beat the Thunderbirds in the championship final. . . .

Gibson, from North Vancouver, plays for the U18 prep team at the Burnaby Winter Club. Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . . Ramsay, from Victoria, is with the U18 prep team at the Pacific Coast Academy. He was an eighth-round pick by the Oil Kings in the 2022 draft.


The Saskatoon Blades, perhaps the most under-appreciated team in all of the SaskatoonCHL at the moment, acquired F Jake Chiasson, 19, from the Brandon Wheat Kings for a first-round WHL draft pick in 2023, a second-rounder in 2025 and a conditional second in 2026. . . . Chiasson, from Abbotsford, B.C., was a fourth-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL’s 2021 draft. The Wheat Kings selected him in the first round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . He was in his fourth season with Brandon, having put up 30 goals and 41 assists in 141 regular-season games. . . . This season, he has 10 goals and 18 assists in 37 games. . . . From the Saskatoon news release: “Chiasson made international news earlier this winter as he and three teammates, who were driving over a bridge in Brandon, helped save the life of a distressed man.” . . . The 2023 first-round pick was Saskatoon’s and not the one the Blades acquired from Seattle in the deal that had F Brad Lambert’s rights move to the Thunderbirds. . . .

The Blades (26-6-3) are rather quietly putting together a solid season. In fact, their points percentage of .786 trails only the Winnipeg Ice (.853) and Seattle Thunderbirds (.806). . . . BTW, the Thunderbirds and Ice are to meet tonight (Wednesday) in Winnipeg.

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In a second deal, Brandon acquired F Dawson Pasternak, 19, and a conditional fourth-round pick in an undisclosed WHL draft from the Portland Winterhawks for the rights to F Colin Frank, a sixth-rounder in 2025 and a second in 2026. . . . Pasternak, from Winnipeg, was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft. This season, he has 17 points, five of them goals, in 28 games. Last season, as a freshman, he had five goals and nine assists in 34 games. . . . Pasternak had an assist on Brandon’s first goal Tuesday night as the Wheat Kings beat the visiting Thunderbirds, 4-2. . . . Frank, from Ladera Ranch, Calif., will turn 17 on March 3. He was taken by Brandon in the 2021 U.S. prospects draft. He plays for the U16 AAA Anaheim Jr. Ducks and has 34 goals and 39 assists in 45 games.

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In a third deal, the Wheat Kings acquired F Nolan Flamand, who will turn 19 on Thursday, from the Kelowna Rockets for F Trae Johnson, 17, and two picks — a third-rounder in the 2023 WHL draft and a fifth in 2024. . . . Flamand, from Saskatoon, had four goals and 12 assists in 35 games with Kelowna this season. He was a second-round pick by Kelowna in the 2019 draft. . . . Johnson, from Martensville, Sask., had two goals and four assists in 37 games with Brandon this season. He was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft.


Just before the deadline, the Winterhawks acquired the rights to F Ozzy PortlandWiesblatt, 20, from the Prince Albert Raiders for three conditional draft picks — a first in 2025 and two seconds in 2026. . . . The picks — one of the second-round picks was acquired from Brandon earlier on Tuesday —  are conditional on Wiesblatt being assigned to Portland by the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Wiesblatt, a first-round pick by the Sharks in 2020, is with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda with whom he has a goal and four assists in 17 games. . . . Prince Albert picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2017 draft. He put up 179 points, including 58 goals, in 195 regular-season games with the Raiders. . . .

The Winterhawks also dealt G Donavan Bodnar and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft to the Everett Silvertips for a fourth-rounder in 2024. . . . Bodnar, from West St. Paul, Man., won’t turn 18 until Nov. 22. He was a seventh-round pick by Portland in the 2020 draft. . . . Bodnar now is playing for the Seven Oaks Raiders in the Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League. . . . Earlier this season, the Portage Terriers acquired Bodnar’s rights from the Selkirk Steelers for D Jacob Ziegler, 18. . . .

In another move, the Winterhawks traded D Nicholas Andrusiak, 18, to the Red Deer Rebels for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft. . . . Andrusiak, from Tisdale, Sask., is with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires, and has two goals and an assist in 20 games. He got into two games with Portland early this season.


The Prince George Cougars announced their presence on Deadline Day by PrinceGeorgeacquiring F Zac Funk, 19, from the Calgary Hitmen for F Carter MacAdams, 18, and three WHL draft picks — second-rounders in 2023 and 2024, and a fourth in 2024. . . . Funk, from Coldstream, B.C., had 13 goals and 19 assists in 33 games with the Hitmen this season. In 129 career games, he has 78 points, 39 of them goals. . . . He was a second-round pick by Calgary in the 2018 draft. . . . MacAdams, from South Surrey, B.C., was picked by the Cougars in the fourth round of the 2019 WHL draft. He has 18 goals and 30 assists in 117 regular-season games over three seasons with Prince George. This season, he has six goals and 15 assists in 36 games.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes reacquired G Jared Picklyk, 19, from the Tri-City Americans for a 10th-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. The Hurricanes had traded him to the Americans for a 2024 sixth-round pick on Nov. 17, but he got into only two games with Tri-City. . . . Before that deal, he was 4-5-0, 3.50, .877 with Lethbridge this season. . . . Picklyk, from Kelowna, will report to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos.


The Kelowna Rockets acquired D Landon Cowper, 16, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a conditional fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. Cowper, from Whitehorse, was a fourth-round pick by the Raiders in the 2021 draft. . . . He is playing for the U18 team at the RINK Hockey Academy in Kelowna, and has one goal and 15 assists in 18 games.


The Kamloops Blazers picked up the rights to D Daylan Weigel, 19, from the KamloopsSwift Current Broncos for a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft. Weigel, from Warman, Sask., is with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and, according to the Blazers, “will remain with the Broncos for the 2022-23 season and become an affiliate player.” . . . He has six goals and 18 assists in 31 games with Humboldt this season. . . . Weigel has played in 25 WHL games — one with the Regina Pats and 24 with Swift Current. He has six assists in those games. . . . Regina picked him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2018 draft.


The Vancouver Giants have acquired the rights to D Ben Feenan, 18, from the Tri-City Americans for a seventh-round pick in the 2026 WHL draft. . . . Feenan, a sixth-round pick by the Americans in the 2019 draft, is from Surrey, B.C. He had three assists in 22 games this season when he left the team and joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.


In the final trade before the deadline, announced more than three hours after it Reginahad passed, the Regina Pats acquired F Steel Quiring, 19, from the Everett Silvertips for a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft. Quiring, from Vernon, B.C., had three goals and three assists in 30 games with Everett. He also has played for the Kelowna Rockets and Calgary Hitmen. The Silvertips acquired him from the Hitmen on Sept. 30. . . . The Rockets selected him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. . . . Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) pointed out on Twitter that “the Pats are Quiring’s 4th WHL team in the last  year and five days.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Edmonton Oil Kings have claimed F Loick Daigle, 20, off CHL waivers from the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. In 108 QMJHL regular-season games, he has 24 goals and 26 assists. . . . F Brad Lambert wasn’t in Seattle’s lineup on Tuesday night in Brandon, nor was F Chaz Lucius with Portland in Prince Albert. . . . The junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that Briar McNaney has signed on as their interim head coach. . . . The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder have announced that Sean Brown, its general manager and head coach, has stepped down for “family reasons.” Corey Bricknell, who had been assistant GM and associate coach, has stepped in as interim GM/head coach. The Thunder (11-27-2) is eighth in the eight-team North Division.


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.


Phone

A quieter Monday in the WHL . . . Six more deals as deadline nears . . . Portland, Seattle add AHL assignees

As Monday disappeared over the horizon, there had been nothing in the way of WHLSunday’s craziness and with the WHL’s deadline now only hours away.

One supposes that some teams took time to count their remaining draft picks after what had transpired on Sunday.

Still, there were a handful of trades made on Monday, one of which involved a player who had been part of one of those Sunday blockbusters.

And two U.S. Division teams had players who began the season in the AHL assigned to them by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.

Read on . . .

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The Swift Current Broncos were involved in a couple of trades. . . .

First, they and the Brandon Wheat Kings swapped a pair of defencemen, with SwiftCurrentMason Ward, 20, moving to the Broncos for Kayden Sadhra-Kang, 19. . . . The Wheat Kings acquired Ward from the Red Deer Rebels prior to the 2021-22 season. From Lloydminster, the 6-foot-5 Ward had four goals and six assists in 38 games with Brandon this season. . . . The 6-foot-4 Sakhra-Kang, from Richmond, B.C., was acquired by Swift Current from the Lethbridge Hurricanes early last season. In 90 games with the Broncos, he had four goals and 19 assists. . . .

The Broncos also made a deal with Everett, getting F Drew Englot, 20, from the Silvertips for F Raphael Pelletier, 20, and a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2024 draft. . . . This was the second time Englot was traded in fewer than 24 hours. On Sunday, he was part of the massive trade between the Kamloops Blazers and Everett. . . . Englot, from Candiac Sask., had three goals and 11 assists in 34 games with the Blazers this season. Kamloops had acquired him from the Regina Pats last season. . . . Pelletier, from Legal, Alta., had 37 goals and 53 assists in 162 games with the Broncos over the past four seasons. This season, he has 11 goals and 17 assists in 28 games. . . .

Ward and Englot are expected to be in the Broncos’ lineup tonight (Tuesday) when they meet the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

——

The Everett Silvertips acquired F Nolan Chastko, 17, from the Prince George Cougars for a conditional sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2025 draft. . . . Chastko, from Brandon, wasn’t picked in the WHL draft. He signed with the Cougars, and has been playing with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. He has 10 goals and 14 assists in 29 games with Virden.

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The Tri-City Americans also were involved in a couple of Monday deals. . . . They Tri-Citygot D Ethan Peters, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. From Moose Jaw, Peters was in his third season with Edmonton. He recorded 28 points, including 24 assists, in 119 regular-season games. . . . Following last season, he was presented with the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy as the WHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year. . . .

The Americans also acquired D Jackson Romeril, 17, from the Kelowna Rockets for a fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft. . . . From Calgary, the Rockets selected him in the sixth round of the 2020 draft. . . . This season, he is pointless in 13 games with Kelowna.

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Edmonton was involved in another Monday exchange when it got D Jacob Hoffrogge, 19, from the Everett Silvertips for a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. . . . He had two goals and two assists in 23 games with Everett this season. He also has played with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

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The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 36.

No. of players traded — 65.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 65.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 16.

Teams involved in trades — 10: Edmonton; 6: Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Kamloops, Seattle; 4: Everett, Kelowna, Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina; 3: Spokane, Tri-City; 2: Brandon, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; Swift Current; 1: Saskatoon, Vancouver; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.


The Seattle Thunderbirds and Portland Winterhawks each has added a player to their roster who began this season with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets assigned F Brad Lambert to Seattle and F Chaz Lucius to Portland. Neither has played since they were in the 2023 World Junior Championship in Moncton and Halifax.

Lambert, 19, had two goals and an assist in 14 games with the Moose. He had Seattleone goal in five games with Finland at the WJC. . . . Seattle acquired his WHL rights from the Saskatoon Blades on June 30 for fourth- and sixth-round picks in the WHL’s 2023 draft, a conditional first-rounder in 2023 and a conditional second-rounder in 2024. . . . With Lambert having been assigned to Saskatoon, the Blades now are in possession of those two conditional draft picks. . . . Might the Blades spend some draft capital today before the trade deadline arrives?

Lucius, 19, is a native of White Bear Lake, Minn. He had two goals and three Portlandassists in 12 games with the Moose. The Jets selected him with the 18th pick of the NHL’s 2021 draft. Portland grabbed his WHL rights in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he played at the U of Minnesota, putting up 19 points, including nine goals, in 24 games. . . . Last week, he helped Team USA to a bronze medal at the WJC. He finished with seven points, five of them goals, in as many games. He had three goals, including the OT winner, as the Americans beat Sweden, 8-7, in the third-place game.

Portland and Seattle both are in the midst of East Division road trips.

Lucius is expected to join the Winterhawks once they return home. He could make his Portland debut on Jan. 20 against the visiting Victoria Royals.

Seattle general manager Bil La Forge said in a news release that his club looks “forward to getting (Lambert) in a Thunderbirds jersey soon.”


THINKING OUT LOUD: Look, I’m not a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, but those baby blue outfits they were wearing on Monday night should be sent to Mars. Sheesh, who is responsible for the Habs wearing those things instead of their traditional outfits? . . . If you were wondering, the Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds will meet three more times this season. They’ll play March 7 and 21 in Kent, Wash., and March 22 in Kamloops. . . . How much of the NCAA’s championship football game did you watch on Monday night? . . . Today’s WHL trade deadline arrives at 4 p.m. in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 3 p.m. in Alberta, and 2 p.m. in B.C.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

In the middle of all the trading frenzy, the Erie Otters chose to fire head coach BJ Adams on Monday. Adams, who was in his second season as the head coach, had been on the Otters’ staff since 2015. . . . The Otters, who are 1-9-0 of late, are 12-20-3 and in last place in the 10-team Western Conference. . . . The plan is for assistant coaches Vince Laise and Wes Wolfe to run the team while management searches for a head coach. . . .

The junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay Junior International Hockey League are believed to be poised to introduce Briar McNaney as their new head coach. He would replace Adam DiBella, who resigned this week after the league suspended him for the remainder of this season for his role in a New Year’s Eve line brawl in a game against the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks. . . . McNaney, 30, spent five seasons on staff with the KIJHL’s Columbia Valley Rockies; he finished last season as general manager and head coach. . . . From Kamloops, he began this season as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers


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.


Trust

T-Birds trade for Rockets’ captain . . . Leafs’ coach resigns after being hit with suspension . . . How about those North Stars?

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 29.

No. of players traded — 48.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 49.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 11.

Teams involved in trades — 8: Edmonton; 6: Victoria; 5: Winnipeg, Seattle; 4: Kamloops, Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina; 3: Kelowna, Spokane; 2: Everett, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; 1: Brandon, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Tri-City; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland, Vancouver.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.

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Less than 48 hours after celebrating Team Canada’s gold medal-winning effort at the World Junior Championship in Halifax, F Colton Dach, the captain of the SeattleKelowna Rockets, was traded to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday morning. . . . Dach, who suffered an injury to his right shoulder in a game against Sweden on Dec. 31, won’t play for Seattle for perhaps eight weeks. The good news is that it doesn’t appear that he will need surgery to repair the damage. . . . The Rockets also gave up a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2024 draft, while getting back F Ty Hurley, D Ethan Mittelsteadt, a first-rounder in 2024 — it originated with the Regina Pats — two conditional picks, a second-rounder in 2025 and a fourth-rounder in 2023. The latter originally belonged to the Everett Silvertips. . . .

Dach, who turned 20 on Wednesday, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. The KelownaSaskatoon Blades selected him in the first round, sixth overall, of the WHL’s 2018 draft. He had 22 goals and 27 assists in 82 games over two seasons with the Blades. . . . The Rockets acquired him from the Blades on Sept. 28, 2021, in exchange for F Trevor Wong. Last season, Dach put up 29 goals and 50 assists in 61 games with Kelowna. This season, he had nine goals and eight assists in 14 games. . . . He missed time early in the season because of two concussions, one incurred in training camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago picked him in the second round of the 2021 NHL draft. These days, the Blackhawks’ medical staff will be keeping close tabs on Dach and his shoulder. . . .

Hurley, an 18-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., now has been traded twice this season. The Thunderbirds had acquired him from the Swift Current Broncos, who picked him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. He had one assist in 16 games with the Broncos, and recorded one assist in 15 games with Seattle. . . . Last season, he had a goal and two assists in 31 games with Swift Current. . . .

Mittelsteadt, who turned 17 on Dec. 18, is from Victoria. Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2020 draft. He had two goals in 16 games with the Thunderbirds last season; this season, he had a goal and an assist in 24 games. . . .

Hurley and Mittelsteadt both played for Kelowna on Saturday night as the Rockets dropped a 5-1 decision to the host Kamloops Blazers, who had Team Canada forwards Caedan Bankier and Logan Stankoven back in their lineup. . . .

When Dach finally gets into the Thunderbirds’ lineup, he will join four teammates from Team Canada — D Nolan Allan, D Kevin Korchinski, Thomas Milic and F Reid Schaefer. (By coincidence, the Blackhawks also hold the NHL rights to Allan and Korchinski.) Earlier in the season, the Thunderbirds acquired Allan from the Prince Albert Raiders. They also added Luke Prokop, a high-end defenceman, in a deal with the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . .

Since Oct. 25, the Thunderbirds have made five trades, acquiring five players and four WHL draft picks, while giving up six players, eight draft picks and six conditional picks. . . .

The Thunderbirds (28-5-2) lead the U.S Division, the Western Conference and the overall standings. They presently are on a six-game East Division trip that opened with a 6-0 victory over the Regina Pats on Friday and continued Saturday with a 6-2 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Thunderbirds will face the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday and then be in Winnipeg on Wednesday to meet the Ice (28-5-0) in a game that some observers see as a likely preview of the WHL’s championship final.

——

In another Saturday swap, the Winnipeg Ice acquired F Easton Armstrong, who is to turn 20 on Jan. 24, from the Regina Pats for D Omen Harmacy, 17. . . . Armstrong, 19, has 13 goals and nine assists in 39 games this season, his third with the Pats. From Los Angeles, he was a 10th-round pick by the Pats in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He has 20 goals and 14 assists in 121 regular-season WHL games. . . . Harmacy, from Winnipeg, was an eighth-round pick by the Ice in the 2020 draft. A sophomore, he has three assists in 30 games after recording six assists in 32 games last season.


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced on Friday that Adam DiBella, the head coach of the Nelson Leafs, has been kijhlsuspended for the remainder of the 2022-23 regular season and the playoffs. . . . The suspension amounts to the regular-season’s final 15 games and whatever playoff games the Leafs end up playing. . . . The move followed a New Year’s Eve line brawl between the host Leafs and Beaver Valley Nitehawks. . . . Earlier in the week, the KIJHL issued 35 games in suspension to Nelson players and eight to the Nitehawks. . . . Later Friday, the Leafs, who won’t appeal any of the disciplinary decisions, announced that they had accepted DiBella’s resignation. . . . “Our investigation determined that the incident in Saturday’s game was instigated by the Leafs at Mr. DiBella’s direction,” Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL commissioner, said in a news release. “The KIJHL has zero tolerance for these types of actions by any team staff member, and the severity of Mr. DiBella’s suspension reflects the seriousness that we place on leadership and player safety.” . . . Should DiBella want to coach in the KIJHL in the future, he will have to apply to the Nelsoncommissioner for reinstatement. . . . The KIJHL also ruled that DiBella won’t be allowed in “any KIJHL facility for a period beginning one hour before and ending one hour after any Nelson Leafs game. He may not travel on the team bus and he may not be present on the ice, players’ bench, dressing room or office immediately before, during or after team practices. He is not to conduct any official business as a representative of the Nelson Leafs, such as player meetings, trade negotiations and athlete recruitment.” . . . As well, the Leafs were fined $5,000 “and instructed to take proactive steps to ensure all team staff are sufficiently trained and educated in the standards of conduct required under KIJHL regulations. A written report outlining steps taken by the organization in these areas must be submitted to the Commissioner no later than June 1, 2023.” . . .

In announcing DiBella’s resignation, the Leafs also issued an apology to the “Beaver Valley Nitehawks, all Nelson Leafs fans, hockey fans in general and all member clubs of the KIJHL. . . . As a proud member of the KIJHL, the Nelson Leafs failed to abide by league principles to encourage participation in hockey in a manner so as to foster clean play and good sportsmanship. As an organization the Nelson Leafs intend to ensure that our club is seen as a healthy, competitive and respectable recreational activity for our players and fans and as a club that promotes hockey, education and life skills.” . . .

The Leafs (17-9-5) opened a three-game road swing Friday night in Chase with a 4-3 victory over the Heat, then were beaten, 3-2, by the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Saturday night. The Leafs will finish the trip against the Kamloops Storm on Sunday. General manager Lance Morey and assistant coach Tyson Soobotin are running things while the board of directors makes “a decision concerning the head-coaching position in the days to come.”

The KIJHL’s news release is right here.

The Leafs’ news release is right here.


Swing


Here is Ken Campbell at Hockey Unfiltered on Friday:

“The Regina Pats have been very clear to this point that they have no intention of trading World Junior hero and future NHL superstar Connor Bedard, despite the fact that they currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference of the Western Hockey League and are likely first-round fodder. In fact, they’re not even a lock at this point to make the playoffs.

“This comes despite the fact that the Seattle Thunderbirds . . . are apparently prepared to offer an enormous package of players and picks to the Pats in exchange for Bedard. ‘I don’t know how you don’t do it,’ one scout said. ‘Regina could get 10 assets for this guy. And if Seattle were to get Bedard, you might as well just give them the Memorial Cup right now.’ ”

——

Meanwhile, there have been reports that the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets will assign F Brad Lambert, who turned 19 on Dec. 19, to Seattle. Lambert is fresh off playing for Finland at the World Junior Championship; he had one goal in five games. . . . The 30th overall selection in the NHL’s 2022 draft, Lambert has two goals and one assist in 14 games with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. The Thunderbirds acquired his WHL rights from the Saskatoon Blades on June 30, giving up two conditional draft picks — fourth- and sixth-rounders in 2023 — in the exchange.


F Ben King, who led the WHL with 52 goals during the 2021-22 regular season, RedDeerhasn’t played for the Red Deer Rebels since Oct. 22 due to an undisclosed injury. Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner and general manager, told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com this week that King might return in two weeks. “We’re getting a hell of a player back in a couple of weeks who’s been out of our lineup for a long time,” Sutter said. “We’re looking forward to that.” . . . Sutter admitted that knowing King is close to returning will impact his thinking at Tuesday’s trade deadline. “If something comes up we’ll look at it, but we like our team the way it is,” Sutter said. . . . King, who started this season in camp with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, had five goals and five assists in five games when he was injured.


Bags


THINKING OUT LOUD: It always amazes me that major junior teams are in such a rush to get their World Junior Championship players back into the lineup. Why not send them home for a few days, if possible, allowing them to get some rest — mentally and physically — and getting them as far away from the coaches as possible? . . . Just because I know you’re wondering, it looks like pitchers and catchers will report on Feb. 14 and spring training games are to start on Feb. 24. . . . The U of Calgary Dinos men’s hockey team ran its winning streak to 15 on Saturday with a 4-1 victory over the host MacEwan Griffins. The Dinos, who put it away with two empty-net goals, now are 17-3-0. . . . Nothing ruins a day like having the power go out just as the lasagna is going in the oven. So guess what’s on the menu for Sunday evening? . . . QB Nathan Rourke of the CFL’s B.C. Lions is able to sign an NFL deal starting Monday, but he still has more team visits on his schedule. Unfortunately for CFL fans, I have to think NFL money will be awfully hard for him to leave on the table.


Becky Sullivan of npr.org reports that the faculty of Lake Superior State University has issued its “annual list of words that is says deserve to be ‘banished’ from our vocabularies over ‘misuse, overuse, and uselessness.’ ” . . . And it’s hard to argue with any of them, from GOAT to ‘it is what it is.’ ” . . . Irregardless of all that, and moving forward, Sullivan’s story is absolutely right here.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Single-use plastic bags to be replaced by reusable bags you will use a single time.

——

Headline at The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) — Pigeon with meth backpack caught in B.C. prison yard, says officers’ union president.


Mummy


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars won their 31st game of the season on Saturday, beating the host Kindersley Klippers, 5-1. Why is that worth noting? Because the North Stars have yet to lose in regulation time this season. They now are 31-0-3. . . . Battlefords had beaten visiting Kindersley, 5-1, on Friday. . . . The North Stars next are scheduled to play on Thursday against the Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. . . .

The Chilliwack Chiefs announced that they set a BCHL attendance record on Saturday night when their announced attendance was 5,008 for a 4-3 victory over the Cranbrook Bucks. . . . The Chilliwack Coliseum, which once was home to a WHL franchise, lists its capacity as 5,000 for hockey. . . . Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything about the previous BCHL single-game attendance record. . . .

ColoradoGritThe NAHL has approved a franchise for Greeley, Colo. The Colorado Grit will begin play in the Greeley Ice Haus in time for the 2023-24 season. The Grit will play out of the South Division. One of the team’s three owners is former NHLer David Clarkson. . . . There’s more 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.


Muppet

WHL and Ice: Is there fire where there’s smoke? . . . KIJHL suspends coach indefinitely after line brawl . . . Blazers get goaltender from Pats

It was on Jan. 29, 2019, when some members of the Winnipeg media gathered in Oak Bluff, Man., for a news conference involving the WHL and the Winnipeg Ice. WHLThis followed the decision by the WHL’s board of governors to approve the sale of the Kootenay Ice and the subsequent move to the Manitoba capital.

Officials at the news conference included Ron Robison, the WHL’s commissioner, and Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell.

“A new 4,500-seat rink will be built, likely near Oak Bluff,” reported Sean Kavanagh of CBC News. “The team will for its first two years, play out of the University of Manitoba’s 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena as the new arena is built outside Winnipeg.”

And now, here we are, almost four years later and halfway through the 2022-23 WinnipegIceWHL season, with the Ice still playing out of the Wayne Fleming Arena.

On Dec. 14, the Winnipeg Free Press, in a story by Mike Sawatzky, reported that the WHL had fined the Ice $500,000 because it won’t have a new arena ready for the 2023-24 season.

On Dec. 17, the WHL and the Ice issued statements contradicting that story. Those statements are right here on the Ice’s website.

The WHL’s statement reads, in part: “Reports of the Western Hockey League issuing a fine against the Winnipeg ICE and its ownership group are false and inaccurate. The Winnipeg ICE (has) assembled a highly-competitive team this season and the WHL continues to work with the ICE regarding a solution to the Club’s long-term plans for a suitable facility in Winnipeg. Further information will be available in the new year.”

The Ice statement reads, in part: “The Winnipeg ICE were not and have never been fined by the Western Hockey League.”

It’s interesting that it took the WHL and the Ice three days to respond to a story of this magnitude. I mean, a $500,000 fine is nothing at which to sneeze.

It’s also interesting that the news release is on the Ice website but doesn’t appear anywhere on the WHL’s site.

And it’s interesting that the Free Press, in reporting that the WHL and Ice were denying that a fine had been issued, didn’t indicate that it was (or wasn’t) standing by its story.

(UPDATE: On Dec. 19, the Free Press printed a correction on Page A2: “The Western Hockey League did not fine the Winnipeg Ice for delays related to the construction of a new arena, as the Free Press reported last week. . . . The Free Press regrets the error.”)

Anyway . . . I don’t know what happened in that instance, but it seems that there is something going on involving the WHL and the Ice, and I’m guessing it has something to with the lack of a new home for the Ice in the Winnipeg area.

WHL insiders have clammed right up on this one. In fact, about all I have been able to determine is that midnight on Dec. 31 had some kind of relevance — a deadline of some kind? — in whatever is happening.

As someone said, “I’m sure the coming days will be interesting.”


Adulthood


Old friend Dwight Perry has retired from the Seattle Times, meaning his column, Sideline Chatter, no longer appears in the newspaper’s pages. In honour of his departure, here are a couple of items from his final column . . .

——

Canada won its first Davis Cup title in the event’s 109-year history, beating Australia 2-0 in Malaga, Spain.

The euphoria quickly died, however, when the U.S. refused to trade the Stanley Cup for it.

——

Seattle has been declared the No. 1 city for singles, according to a study released by the personal-finance website WalletHub.com.

Heck, Ichiro could have told you that two decades ago.

——

And here is how Perry signed off . . .

With the world safely back on its axis — the Mariners finally back in the playoffs and the Huskies reclaiming the Apple Cup — I guess I can safely retire now.

Thanks for going along on this 23-year Sideline Chatter ride in The Seattle Times. Adios.



Columnist Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette, after the host Washington Capitals dumped the Montreal Canadiens, 9-2, on New Year’s Eve:

“The hat trick Alexander Ovechkin scored on the hapless Canadiens propelled him closer to Wayne Gretzky’s career goal-scoring record, even as Ovechkin’s pal Vladimir Putin rains missiles on civilians and infrastructure in Ukraine and blocks humanitarian grain shipments from leaving Russian ports.

“Why is Ovechkin still playing in the NHL? Why has he not been suspended and deported in view of his vocal, active support for a murderous dictator? That question promises to be a continuing theme in 2023.”


History


Adam DiBella, the head coach of the junior B Nelson Leafs, has been suspended kijhlindefinitely by the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League  “pending completion of an investigation . . . into his actions” in a New Year’s Eve game that featured a line brawl. The Leafs and the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks became involved in a brawl as the second period started. . . . On Tuesday, the league hit Nelson players with 35 games in suspensions, including eight-games each to four different players, while Beaver Valley players got eight games. . . . The KIJHL’s news release is right here.

Jim Bailey, the Black Press sports editor, described the incident like this: “After a physical but scoreless first period, as the puck dropped to open the second, each of the Nelson players attacked their Beaver Valley counterpart in an effort to start a brawl. Even the two Nelson defencemen skated to the opposite blueline to engage the Nitehawks’ defencemen.

“The intent from the Leafs’ bench was obvious, as Nelson coach Adam DiBella sent out his fourth line, prolific in penalty minutes but slight in points, to take some of the Nitehawks top skaters out of the game.”

BTW, the Leafs won the game, 3-1.

And if you’re interested in some social media reaction to all of this, check out KIJHLSniper (@KijhlS) on Twitter.


Road


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Andy Kemper, the Portland Winterhawks’ historian, points out that G Dante Giannuzzi picked up his 10th career assist the other night, and that set a franchise record. That record had been shared by Byron Dafoe (109 games, 1986-91) and Clint Malarchuk (77games, 1978-81). Giannuzzi, a 20-year-old from Winnipeg, has played in 89 games over five seasons. . . . Unfortunately, I don’t believe the WHL record book includes an entry for most career assists by a goaltender. . . . However, quanthockey.com has Randy Petruk and Dean Cook sharing the career record, each with 20. Petruk played 196 games over four seasons (1994-98) with the Kamloops Blazers. Cook got into three games with the Victoria Cougars (1985-86) and 147 with the Blazers (1986-89). . . . 

Hey, wouldn’t it be great if the WHL and its other 21 teams followed the Winterhawks’ example by adding historians to their organizations? . . .

The Winterhawks are scheduled to open an East Division swing against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night. And the six East Division teams better be ready because the Winterhawks Booster Club also is on the road. . . . Planning for the trek began four years ago. Stuart Kemp, the booster club’s president, reports that the travelling party of 30 will fly into Regina on Thursday, get settled there, and ride the bus to Brandon for Friday’s game. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings revealed on Tuesday that D Graydon Gotaas “has taken a leave of absence . . . due to personal reasons.” Gotaas, an 18-year-old from Camrose, Alta., had two assists in 15 games this season. He was acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 17, 2021, along with a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft, for D Ross Stanley. In 43 career games, 23 with Edmonton, Gotaas has two goals and five assists. . . . The Oil Kings also announced that D Rhys Pederson, 16, will finish the season on their roster. A fifth-round pick in the 2021 WHL draft, he had been a regular with the NAX U18 prep team. He has been in seven games with the Oil Kings, but has yet to register a point. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have signed Czech D Marek Rocak, 17, and he may be in their lineup as soon as Friday against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. Those same teams play again Saturday in Kamloops. . . . Rocak, a selection in the CHL’s 2022 import draft, has been playing with HC Frýdek-Místek in the Czechia2 league. He played for Czechia in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer in August, recording one assist in five games. . . . Kelowna’s other import player is F Gabriel Szturc, 19, who has been playing for Czechia at the World Junior Championship. . . .

Bruce Hamilton, the owner, president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, has said that F Colton Dach, the team’s captain, “is likely out eight weeks for sure” with a shoulder injury suffered at the World Junior Championship. Hamilton told Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice, that Dach “will likely move right into the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks’ medical team and they will make a decision (on) how long he is going to be out.” . . . Dach remains with Team Canada in Halifax, where he was spotted at Tuesday’s practice with his right arm in a sling. . . . Bartel’s chat with Hamilton is right here. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers have acquired G Matthew Kieper, 18, from the Regina Pats for a pair of WHL draft picks — a fourth-rounder in 2023 that originated with the Edmonton Oil Kings and a sixth-rounder in 2025. . . . Kieper, from Winnipeg, will partner with starter Ethan Ernst as the Blazers prepare to play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. Ernst has been more than a pleasant surprise for Kamloops, having gone 20-5-2, 2.36, .919 in 28 games. . . . In 55 career games with the Pats, Kieper is 23-22-3, 3.88, .873. This season, in 12 games, he is 4-5-1, 4.39, .865. . . . Freshman Czechia G Michael Schnattinger, 18, would appear to be the odd man out in Kamloops. He is 1-2-3, 3.74, .880 in nine appearances. . . . The Blazers also have two other imports on their roster — Finnish D Aapo Sarell, 19, and Slovakian F Jakub Demek, 19. Demek was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Nov. 14, but has yet to play this season after having had offseason shoulder surgery. He is expected to return later this month. . . .

The junior B Castlegar Rebels have removed the interim from head coach Nick Headrick. The team’s board of directors has decided that Headrick will finish this season as head coach. He was an assistant under Arnie Caplan, who was fired in mid-November. . . . When that move was made, the Rebels were 5-12-1. They are 2-9-2 under Headrick. . . . Caplan also was the general manager. The Rebels now have hired Jesse Dorrans to fill that role. Dorrans is a former Castlegar GM and head coach. In fact, this will be his third go-round with the Rebels.


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.


Truck

Taking Note’s pick as sportsmen of the year . . . Come on, folks, mask up . . . Rockets, Giants stung by WJC injuries

As another old year gives way to a new one, numerous organizations hand out end-of-year awards. That doesn’t happen at Taking Note, but if it did I would Brandonbe quick to salute Calder Anderson, Jake Chiasson, Nolan Ritchie and Ben Thornton of the Brandon Wheat Kings as this site’s sportsmen of the year. . . . In case you missed it, in the words of the Brandon Sun’s Perry Bergson, they “successfully interceded to help a distressed man who was contemplating suicide on the First Street Bridge” on the evening of Nov. 29. . . . “We’re very happy that we were able to save him and get him some help,” Thornton told Bergson, who added: “They also learned another lesson when 30 or 40 vehicles drove by without stopping in the short span they were trying to help the man. Yet they never considered leaving until the man was safe.” . . . Gentlemen, I salute you. . . . Bergson’s complete story is right here.


Let’s be honest. We are part of a society that is putting together an absolutely Covidabysmal record unless being selfish and uncaring is the objective. Really, had you told me four years ago that the time was coming when our children would by dying, when our children would be unable to get much-needed surgical procedures, when our hospital’s emergency rooms would be over-run and that society would refuse to help by doing something as simple as masking up, well, I would have told you that you were crazy. . . . But, well, here we are.

——

After avoiding COVID-19 for almost three years, it caught up with me almost five weeks ago. Ironically, I tested positive on a day when I was to have visited a pharmacy for my fifth shot. Thankfully, the boosters did what they were supposed to, leaving me with a bit of a cough and some fatigue. The strangest thing is that there have been good days followed by bad. Just when you think you’re over the rough road, it reappears. Kind of like city streets, if you know what I mean. . . . As for that fifth shot, well, it’ll have to wait until May. . . . In the meantime, I will be here as fatigue’s curtain allows.

——

André Picard wrote this in The Globe and Mail last week:

“In some ways, these more recent viral challenges have distracted us from the main event: COVID-19. While we largely returned to ‘pre-pandemic’ normalcy this year, this has actually been the deadliest year yet for COVID-19; in 2022, Canada will surpass 17,000 deaths, more than the 14,642 deaths we recorded in 2020 or the 16,489 in 2021. A fifth wave of Omicron is just beginning.

“We still don’t know if SARS-CoV-2 will mutate further. We do not know if it will become seasonal, like most respiratory viruses. And we definitely do not yet have a handle on what it will mean if we suffer repeated COVID-19 infections — but it certainly won’t be good news.

“Viruses are ubiquitous, and will continue to pose new threats. We can’t live a virus-free existence, nor can we place our children and seniors in a protective bubble.

“But we also cannot hang them out to dry on a viral firing range, without any protection. We need to use the mitigation tools (vaccinations and masks) we have while we develop new ones. That’s what ‘living with COVID’ really needs to mean, moving ahead into a new year.”

——

The Angus Reid Institute released results of an online survey early in December that showed of 5,013 participants 54 per cent would be prepared to mask up if it was made mandatory if COVID-19 levels increase. But only 31 per cent are wearing masks more than half the time when they are in indoor public places. Sheesh, people, that just doesn’t make any sense.

Get vaccinated and wear a mask when appropriate, like when shopping or anywhere in a crowded area. . . . Just because the politicians and health officers won’t do their part by mandating masks doesn’t mean you can’t do the right thing and be part of the solution.



Look, F Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is not the greatest goal scorer nhl2in NHL history. So stop trying to tell me that he is. He’s still 88 behind Wayne Gretzky. Have people already forgotten just how great Gretzky was? . . . Allow me to point out that Gretzky also scored 92 goals in the WHA, which was a better league than many of those same people seem to recall. As for Gordie Howe, well he scored 801 NHL goals and another 174 in the WHA. . . . But when Ovechkin puts in No. 895, then you can call him the greatest goal scorer in NHL history. OK?

——

While some hockey fans celebrate Ovechkin’s scoring accomplishments, there are those who don’t and never will go that way. Why? Because of Ovechkin’s long-time support of Russian ruler Vladimir Putin, who, of course, is responsible for the ongoing war on Ukraine. Luke Fox of Sportsnet took a look at the Ovechkin-Putin situation the other day and it really is an interesting read. That piece is right here.

——

BTW, did Gretzky really have to throw mud on his legacy by jumping on the gambling gravy train?


It is every general manager’s worst nightmare . . . a top player leaves for an international assignment and then suffers a serious injury. . . . That is what has happened with the Kelowna Rockets and Vancouver Giants, each team having had a player seriously injured at the 2023 World Junior Championship. Those injuries may well have an impact on the WHL’s Western Conference playoff race from which eight teams will qualify. . . .

F Colton Dach, the Rockets’ captain, initiated a hit during a Saturday game — KelownaCanada beat Sweden, 5-1 — and left the game in obvious discomfort thanks to an injury to his right shoulder area. Dach, who turns 20 on Wednesday, has 17 points, nine of them goals, in 14 games with the Rockets this season. Earlier, he missed some time with a concussion. . . . The Rockets (12-18-3), who have lost five in a row, are eighth in the conference, seven points ahead of the Victoria Royals (8-24-4). . . .

Meanwhile, freshman F Samuel Honzek, the Vancouver Giants’ leading scorer, Vancouversuffered a skate cut to the back of his left leg on Wednesday as his Slovakian side beat the U.S., 6-3. The 18-year-old Honzek, who is expected to be out as long as six weeks, leads the Giants in assists (26) and points (43) in 31 games. . . . Vancouver (14-16-6) is tied for fourth in the conference with the Tri-City Americans, who hold two games in hand. They are one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips. . . .

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Jan. 10.


The Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals swapped 19-year-old goaltenders on Dec. 28. Tyler Palmer, who had left the Royals for what the team said was WHLpersonal reasons, was dealt to Everett in exchange for Braden Holt. . . . Palmer, from Fernie, B.C., was in his second season with Victoria. He left the Royals sometime after a 7-4 loss to the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Nov. 12. . . . Holt, from Bozeman, Mont., was in his fourth season with Everett. In his first start with Victoria, he stopped 35 shots in a 3-0 victory over the host Vancouver Giants. . . . Having acquired Holt, the Royals then traded G Logan Cunningham, a 17-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., to the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fifth-round pick in the 2025 WHL draft. . . . After adding Cunningham to their roster, the Oil Kings dropped G Ronin Geraghty, 18. From Burnaby, B.C., he was 0-5-0, 6.48, .819 in seven games with Edmonton. . . .

Still with goaltending, the Swift Current Broncos lost starter Gage Alexander on Dec. 30 when the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks signed him to an entry-level deal and assigned him to the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. Alexander, 20, had played in 15 games for the Broncos this season, two more than Reid Dyck. Alexander was 8-5-1, 3.47, .898. . . . The Ducks had selected Alexander in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Broncos had acquired him from the Winnipeg Ice on July 28, giving up a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft in the exchange. . . . The move left the Broncos with Dyck, an 18-year-old from Winkler, Man., and Joey Rocha, 17, from Nanaimo, B.C., as their goaltenders. . . . Dyck, in his third season, was 4-10-0, 4.07, .880 at the time of the deal; Rocha, a freshman, had been in four games. . . .

And while we’re on the subject of goaltending, how about the run Scott Ratzlaff is on with the Seattle Thunderbirds while starter Thomas Milic is with Team Canada at the WJC? Thom Beuning, the veteran radio voice of the Thunderbirds, points out that Ratzlaff’s December looked like this: 8-0-1, 1.65, .941, with two shutouts. . . . Ratzlaff, 17, is from Irma, Alta. He was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 draft. This season, the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder is 14-2-1, 2.04, .925. In 42 career appearances, he is 32-4-2, 2.31, .912. . . .

And let’s not forget about Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice. An 18-year-old from Chestermere, Alta., Hauser recorded his 20th victory of the season the other night. This season, in 22 games, he is 20-2-0, 2.36, .912. He has made 70 regular-season appearances over three seasons, going 61-5-2, 2.24, .911. Not at all shabby, eh?


The junior B Nelson Leafs and the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the kijhlKootenay International Junior Hockey League took time out from chasing a puck to exchange Happy New Year greetings as they began the second period on Saturday evening. . . . The Leafs are the team in white in the above video, and the video evidence would seem to indicate that they were first off the mark. . . . The puck now has been passed to Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL commissioner. . . . Happy New Year, Mr. Dubois.


MyWay


THINKING OUT LOUD — The best part of the World Junior Championship? That’s easy. Having the opportunity to listen to Dennis Beyak do play-by-play again. It says here that he is the best in his field even if he is semi-retired. . . . The other day, the choice was Beyak calling Slovakia and Switzerland from the WJC on TSN or Jack Edwards handling the Buffalo Sabres against his beloved Boston Bruins on Sportsnet. Sorry, Sportsnet. . . . The most annoying commercial on TV these days (pick one) — Clay Matthews for Tide, Rogers’ Wrapped in Red spots, the Subway ads featuring the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes, or the Sobeys’ family of four. . . . If you enjoy your time on this site, and even if you don’t, you may want to consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right side. Thanks in advance. . . . Dan Russell, the now-retired host of the long-running Vancouver-based radio show Sportstalk, release his memoir — Pleasant Good Evening: A Memoir — My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportsnet — in 2022 and now is thinking of spinning off a podcast. “My plans,” he writes on his blog, “now are to add more content to this site, especially in the audio vault. And I will update this blog from time to time. I’m also considering a podcast as my 2023 project. One that will combine what is happening today with the large archive of Sportstalk audio I have saved over the years.” If you haven’t seen his blog, it’s right here.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after the final game in soccer’s World Cup: “If you watched this game and came away from it with the idea that it was not a good expenditure of your time, then you simply do not like soccer and should make a note to yourself not to waste any more time trying to appreciate the sport.” . . . Hey, he is correct!


How many WHLers do you know of, past or present, who have put together and released an album? Yes, an album of their own music. . . . F London Hoilett of the Calgary Hitmen is quite a story, having made the team prior to this season despite never having been drafted. He also is something of a musician and has his first album — Can’t Sit Still — ready for release on Jan. 10. . . . Cami Kepke of Global Calgary has more right here.


Mitts


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

A few things of note that popped up while I was away from here . . .

D Ethan Samson, the captain of the Prince George Cougars, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, who selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. Samson, 19, is from Delta, B.C. He had two goals and an assist as the Cougars beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 10-6, on Saturday night. This season, Samson has 11 goals and 16 assists in 28 games. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have added former player Curtis Hamilton, 31, to their front office as assistant general manager. Yes, his father, Bruce, is the Rockets’ owner, president and general manager. There is a news release right here. . . .

Gilles Courteau, who took over as the QMJHL’s president during the 1985-86 season, will retire at the end of this season. A replacement is expected to be named in May, with Courteau staying on into 2024 to help with the transition. . . . The league has changed the name of its championship trophy from the President’s Cup to the Gilles Courteau Trophy. . . . Courteau first worked in the QMJHL office in 1977 as a statistician. . . .

The junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced that they will ice a team for the 2023-24 season. The Braves have sat out the past two KIJHL seasons for reasons related to the pandemic. . . .

Another high-end WHL forward changed teams on Dec. 31 when the Winnipeg Ice acquired Carson Latimer, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for F Aiden Quiring, 17, and third-round selections in the 2024 and 2025 WHL drafts. . . . Latimer, a fourth-round selection by the Ottawa Senators in the NHL’s 2021 draft, had 22 goals and 38 assists in 75 regular-season games with the Raiders. This season, he had 10 goals and 18 assists in 31 games when he was dealt. . . . Quiring, a freshman who was a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL draft, had five goals and three assists in 26 games at the time of the trade. . . .

The Tri-City Americans revealed on Dec. 30 that D Ben Feenan “has left the team for personal reasons and will join the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.” . . . Feenan, 18, is from Surrey, B.C. He had three assists in 22 games this season, after recording six helpers in 48 games in 2021-22. . . . The Americans selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. . . .

The Americans got past the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 7-6 in OT, on New Year’s Eve. And wouldn’t you know it . . . Americans D Lukas Dragicevic didn’t pick up so much as one point, thus ending his 27-game point streak. He put up seven goals and 30 assists during that stretch.


Grinch


Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press recently wrote a piece in a newsletter about things he would change if he ruled the hockey world for a day. Here’s one item with which I completely agree:

“Severely limit betting/gambling advertisements. Heck, I might just consider an outright ban. I could tolerate them when they first began, in small doses. But it’s to the point now of being completely obnoxious. Seemingly every second commercial is for some website, and now even hosts such as Ron MacLean are routinely shilling for these services. To be clear, I’ve got absolutely nothing against gambling. If you have the means and can do it responsibly, knock your socks off. It’s the idea of having it shoved down my throat everywhere I turn that I find so offensive.”


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.


Dinner

Timing not right for one WHL award . . . Oil Kings draw first blood as playoffs begin . . . Wheat Kings borrow Broncos’ radio voice

Having spent more than 40 years paying close attention to the WHL, mostly as a sports reporter at four different daily newspapers and lately in retirement, I WHLlearned a long time ago not to pay a lot of attention to post-season awards.

While they rarely make everyone happy, they almost always end up as a source for discussion among fans. It also seems that there almost always are one or two that seem to carry with them something of a political odour.

The WHL announced a whole bunch of awards and nominations and all-star teams on Thursday, and one of them was a real eyebrow-raiser.

The way things work in the WHL is that the divisional nominees for various awards are named, then at some point the list is shortened to conference nominees. Then, much later, the league award winners are announced.

On Thursday, then, the Prince Albert Raiders were revealed as the East Division nominee for the WHL Business Award. According to a WHL news release, this award goes annually to the organization “that best exemplifies giving back to the community and producing an electrifying game-day experience for fans.”

While I have no doubt that the Raiders meet the criteria — you are able to read about the group’s accomplishments right here — let us not forget that the organization was guilty of a real mis-step during the season.

It was early in the season when the Raiders revealed that they were revisiting their past to introduce an alternate sweater. That sweater would include a logo that harkened back to the early 1980s, one that no longer is seen as being politically correct.

The end result included an apology from Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, who said in a statement: “On Friday night, the Prince Albert Raiders unveiled an alternate third jersey, which was inspired by a highly successful era in club history. We recognize the dated design is insensitive and offensive. After consultation with the Prince Albert Raiders, this uniform and brand will be discontinued effective immediately. On behalf of the WHL and the Prince Albert Raiders, we regret this uniform design was approved and sincerely apologize for any harm it may have caused.”

(You only have to turn to Google and look for “Prince Albert Raiders logo offensive” to see the reaction to the unveiling of the alternate sweater.)

It should also be remembered that early in the 2013-14 season the Raiders had introduced a new mascot that was fashioned after that same logo. It was met with such a response that it was put back in the closet in short order.

Look, you don’t have to dig very deep these days to find incidents involving racism in various levels of hockey, each of them accompanied with comments about how hockey really has to do better if it is ever to rid itself of these occurrences.

While I don’t doubt that the Raiders have done a whole lot of good work that benefited their community, I would suggest this just wasn’t the right time to salute them by giving them the East Division’s WHL Business Award.

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If you visit the WHL website at whl.ca you will find all of Thursday’s announcements, including conference first- and second-team all-stars and individual award nominees.


Child


There are few things in life that compare to the histrionics hockey coaches go Everettthrough when asked about injuries to any of their players, especially during playoffs. . . . Take the case of Dennis Williams, the general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, who will open their first round tonight against the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Everett didn’t have Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, for its last two games, while F Jackson Berezowski, a 46-goal man, sat out the last game. . . . Asked on Wednesday about their status, Williams told Steve Ewen of Postmedia: “You’re just going to have to wait and see on Friday. I won’t be commenting on any injuries.” . . . That came a day after Williams, when asked about Zellweger, told Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald: “Olen will be set to play.” . . . The betting here is that Berezowski and Zellweger both are in the lineup.



Flower


THURSDAY IN THE WHL:

In Edmonton, G Sebastian Cossa stopped 25 shots to lead the Oil Kings to a 4-1 Edmontonvictory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings lead the best-of-seven first-round series, 1-0, with Game 2 scheduled for Edmonton on Saturday. . . . Cossa lost his bid for his first playoff shutout when F Tyson Laventure scored, on a PP, at 18:12 of the third period. . . . Cossa has 14 regular-season shutouts in his career. But with the playoffs being cancelled each of the previous two seasons, this was his first post-season appearance. . . . F Carter Souch scored the game’s first goal, at 9:30 of the second period, with F Dylan Guenther upping the lead to 2-0 at 14:47. . . . The Hurricanes got 44 saves from G Bryan Thomson. . . . There are seven playoff games scheduled for tonight, with eight set for Saturday.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: When Brandon opens its first-round playoff series against the host Red Deer Rebels on Friday night, Craig Beauchemin will be the radio voice of the Wheat Kings. Beauchemin, the play-by-play voice of the Swift Current Broncos, will handle all Wheat Kings playoff games after Branden Crowe left to join Hockey Canada. . . .

G Garin Bjorklund and D Dru Krebs, both from the Medicine Hat Tigers, have joined the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Bjorklund, who will turn 20 on May 28, was a sixth-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2020 draft. Krebs, who turned 19 on Feb. 16, was taken by Washington in the sixth round of the 2021 draft. . . .

D Logan Nijhoff, 20, will finish the season with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. He was the Regina Pats’ captain this season. . . . Earlier in the week, he was named the 2022 Dayna Brons Honorary Award recipient for his work with Hockey Gives Blood. . . . The Pats also saluted Nijhoff with the Mike Kartusch Community Service Award.


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.


Peanuts


JUST NOTES: Vaughn Rody was a WHL linesman back in the day, before going on to work 21 seasons in the NHL. Rody is from Winnipeg and now lives in Lake Stevens, Wash. It was only fitting that the final game of his NHL career should come in Seattle on Wednesday as the Kraken beat the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2. . . .

Tom Renney, who once coached with the Kamloops Blazers, is retiring from Hockey Canada, effective July 1, after eight years as the CEO. Sean Smith, already Hockey Canada’s president, will add CEO to his office door. . . . “This is a decision I have been preparing for over the past year and while it is never easy, I know the time is right and I am grateful for the past eight years,” Renney, a Cranbrook native, said in a news release. . . .

Carla MacLeod, the head coach of the U of Calgary Dinos women’s hockey team, has been named head coach of the Czechia national women’s team. She is the first woman to be that team’s head coach. . . .

Jokerit, a pro hockey team that plays out of Helsinki, spent eight seasons in the KHL before pulling out late in February after Russia attacked Ukraine. Now it has announced that, while it won’t operate in 2022-23, it hopes to return to Finland’s top league (Liiga) for 2023-24. It’s also worth noting that former Edmonton Oilers star Jari Kurri now is Jokerit’s sole owner after buying the 40 per cent of the club that had been owned by the Russian company Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta Oy. . . .

Adam DiBella has been named head coach of the junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He replaces his father, Mario, who has chosen to retire. Adam spent four seasons as an assistant coach alongside his father. . . . Lance Morey remains as the Leafs’ general manager. . . .

Mark Peterson is the new head coach of the U-18 AAA Saskatoon Contacts. He had been the team’s director of scouting and recruitment. Peterson replaces Dale Lambert.


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.


Dawn

Royals complete sweep of Rockets . . . Ice alone atop WHL standings . . . Coaching vacancy in MJHL

In a piece posted here late Tuesday, I questioned why some hockey leagues are so quick to get through their playoffs after playing through a lengthy and kijhlgrinding regular season. . . . As an example, I used the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . Well, the Nelson Leafs and Revelstoke Grizzlies will play in the KIJHL’s best-of-seven championship final, and the schedule was released on Wednesday. . . . If the series goes seven games, the teams will play seven games in nine days. Seriously! . . . The series is scheduled to open Friday in Revelstoke, with Game 2 there on Saturday. The scene shifts to Nelson for games on Monday and Tuesday. If necessary, they then will play three games in as many nights — March 31 in Revelstoke, April 1 in Nelson, April 2 in Revelstoke. . . . Just thinking out loud here but maybe it is time junior hockey players had some kind of players’ association to stand up on their behalf when things like this happen.


A tip of the hat to the BCHL for taking advantage of more playoff time to spread bchlthings out. You may recall that the BCHL no longer is part of the Canadian Junior Hockey League, so won’t take part in the Centennial Cup tournament.

From Steve Ewen of Postmedia:

“The BCHL champion won’t be in the running for the Centennial Cup national title, since the league pulled out of the Canadian Junior Hockey League last spring and lost its spot in that tournament. The BCHL had sent a letter to the CJHL regarding multiple concerns. They wanted player transfers to be less restricted, for instance. The CJHL never responded to BCHL’s concerns, and the BCHL opted to leave.

“It did give the BCHL an opportunity to start its season later, which allowed it to spread out games. The league wasn’t concerned about having its schedule completed to link up with the other leagues for playoffs.

“I think this will make winning our league mean even more,” said (Penticton Vees GM/head coach Fred) Harbinson.

Ewen’s story is right here.


Stress


The Team 980, a radio station in Washington, D.C., had been the voice of the city’s NFL franchise since 2008. It ended its relationship with the team, known the Commanders, on Wednesday morning. Why? Kevin Sheehan, the station’s morning host, made the announcement. He explained: “The team and our company disagreed on the value of the broadcast. It’s also very important for us as a sports talk station, even as a long-time flagship station for the team, it was important for us to continue to be able to provide honest, objective information and analysis about the team on our talk shows.” . . . As Brandon Contes of Awful Announcing wrote: “Sheehan’s statement implies the Commanders have or would attempt to censor the content and topics that were discussed about the team on-air. The ability to speak objectively and honestly about NFL teams should be a requirement for sports radio stations, especially as it pertains to the Washington Commanders.” . . . Hmm, shouldn’t that be a requirement for any broadcast outlet?



WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

In Victoria, F Marcus Almquist had a goal and two assists to lead the Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Almquist, an 18-year-old from Denmark, went into the game with two goals and four assists in 34 games. . . . He also has goals in two straight games, having scored the game’s first goal on Tuesday when the Royals beat the Rockets, 4-2. . . . Last night, the Rockets got four assists from F Tanner Scott and two goals — he’s got 28 — and an assist from F Brayden Schuuman. . . . Almquist’s second goal, at 4:00 of the third period, gave the Royals a 4-2 lead. . . . The game featured two minor penalties — one to each team — and each team was 1-for-1 on the PP. . . . G Campbell Arnold stopped 36 shots to earn the victory. . . . Victoria (21-34-6), with four straight victories, is seventh in the Western Conference, two points behind the Vancouver Giants and five ahead of the Prince George Cougars and Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kelowna (34-18-6) is fifth, four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at this game and his post is right here. . . .

G Daniel Hauser ran his winning streak to 10 games as the visiting Winnipeg Ice beat the Saskatoon Blades, 4-2. . . . Hauser, who was called on to make only 16 stops, now is 26-2-1, 2.06, .913 this season. His career numbers are 33-2-1, 2.28, .909. . . . F Chase Wheatcroft’s 13th goal, at 2:06 of the third period, gave Winnipeg a 3-1 lead and stood up as the winner. . . . The Ice was without top-end forwards Matthew Savoie and F Conor Geekie, both of whom were in Kitchener, Ont., at the Top Prospects Game. . . . Winnipeg (45-9-5) leads the overall standings and the Eastern Conference by two points over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Saskatoon (33-22-4) is fifth in the conference, three points behind the Moose Jaw Warriors and nine ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s OCN Blizzard won’t be re-signing Billy Keane, who had been the general manager and head coach since July 16, 2020. The Blizzard (18-29-7) finished last in the six-team West Division and didn’t qualify for the playoffs.


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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.


Tequila

WHL’s B.C. teams back to 100 per cent capacity . . . Blazers will welcome back Sopotyk . . . Tetachuk takes rare shutout loss

Shirley


B.C.’s provincial government announced on Tuesday that it was adjusting some pandemic-related restrictions, one of which will allow the province’s five WHL teams to open up their facilities to 100 per cent capacity. . . . The teams had been restricted to 50 per cent. . . . Starting with Thursday games, there won’t be any attendance restrictions. . . . However, the province’s NDP majority government left in place its mask mandate for indoor public places and its vaccine card requirements.

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The Kamloops Blazers are scheduled to entertain the Everett Silvertips on KamloopsFriday night. The home team also will be entertaining Kyrell Sopotyk, a teammate who was paralyzed from the waist down after a snowboarding accident on Jan. 21, 2021, near North Battleford, Sask. . . . This will be Sopotyk’s first time back in the Blazers’ home arena since before he was injured. Now in a wheelchair, Sopotyk, a 20-year-old from Aberdeen, Sask., will take part in a ceremonial opening faceoff. . . . Everett (33-7-6) leads the Western Conference by five points over Kamloops (33-12-1). The Silvertips have points in 10 straight (8-0-2); Kamloops has won two in a row and nine of 10. The Blazers are at home tonight to the Victoria Royals (12-28-5), who have one point in their last 16 outings (0-15-1).

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JUNIOR JOTTINGS: G Carl Tetachuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors earned a 33-save shutout but took the loss as the host Lethbridge Hurricanes put up a 1-0 shootout victory on Tuesday night. The Hurricanes got 30 saves from G Bryan Thomson, who has two career shutouts. F Yegor Klavdiev won it with the night’s only goal in the fourth round of the shootout. . . . F Ridly Greig’s 22nd goal of the season, 45 seconds into OT, gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 3-2 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . One game after having an 11-game point streak snapped, D Clay Hanus had a goal, his 12th, and an assist to help the visiting Portland Winterhawks to a 4-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. Hanus has 47 points in 47 games this season. This was the fifth straight game between these teams; Portland won four of them. G Taylor Gauthier got the victory; he’s 11-0-0, 1.36, .953 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. . . . In Kent, Wash., F Henrik Rybinski had a goal and two assists to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. Rybinski has 51 points, including 18 goals, in 35 games.


Pizza


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with some notes while watching the Super Bowl . . .

Don’t mess with karma: In a city where there are enough homeless folks to fill SoFi, Odell Beckham Jr. takes the field wearing $200,000 diamond-studded cleats. . . .

Beckham blows out a knee on a non-contact play. All those beautiful TV aerial shots of Los Angeles, and do you know what that glorious sunshine is good for? Growing grass. Beckham is another victim of fake grass, aka: green concrete. If only Stan Kroenke and the NFL had enough money to afford real grass! . . .

Several NFL team owners say, “If that fake grass is good enough for my head, it’s good enough for our fields.”



Mario DiBella, the head coach of the junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, says he’s done whenever this season ends. DiBella, 65, has guided the Leafs to a 29-10-1 record this season as the playoffs approach. . . . DiBella has been the head coach since December 2015. His son, Adam, is the team’s assistant general manager and assistant coach. . . . Tyler Harper of the Nelson Star has more right here.


THINKING OUT LOUD:

My wife, who isn’t anything close to a follower of the sporting world, offered this gem late Tuesday afternoon: “Is it just me or does Sportsnet show the Boston Bruins all the time?” . . . She’s right. So the channel was changed to TSN and women’s curling from Beijing. . . .

If you are surprised that there is a Russian athlete caught up in a doping scandal at the Olympic Winter Games, you haven’t been paying attention. . . .

Pitchers and catchers were to have reported to spring training this week. That didn’t happen and it’s looking more and more as though Opening Day is in danger of not happening on schedule as the billionaires and millionaires continue to do battle. . . .

Took a drive to Vernon and back on Tuesday afternoon. Just want to thank all those truckers we saw on the highway for doing their part in keeping the shelves stocked and the economy moving. And maybe someone can explain to me why a litre of regular gasoline is six cents cheaper in Vernon than in Kamloops.


Smoking


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.


Stacked

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering old friend Bob Turner . . .

Scattershooting2

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Two things about Super Bowl LV — 1. QB Tom Brady was solid for Tampa Bay, but it was the Buccaneers’ defence that was great, dominating an offensive line that was forced to play two backup tackles; Brady should at least share the MVP award with defensive co-ordinator Todd Bowles; 2. It’s amazing how many comedians come of the woodwork and do their thing on social media during major sporting events. What did they do before social media? Try out their lines on their dogs?

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Montreal Gazette headline — Former Montreal Expos draft pick wins Super Bowl, named MVP

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Allow me to remember an old friend by pointing out that Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl on the 16th anniversary of the death of Bob Turner, a former NHL defenceman, who was part of five consecutive Stanley Cup championships (1956-60) with the Montreal Canadiens. He also won a Memorial Cup, coaching the Regina Pats to the 1974 title in the Calgary Corral.


Chart


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Saturday kijhlthat it has cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season. The league last had games played on Nov. 20. . . . The decision to cancel was made after B.C. provincial health officials said Friday that restrictions presently in force will remain in place at least through month’s end. . . . Here’s Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL commissioner, in a news release: “As we approach March and April, we are faced with the reality of arenas removing their ice for the spring and summer, and that leaves us unable to plan for a meaningful conclusion to our season.” . . . Also from the news release: “KIJHL clubs will have the option to continue to train under the current PHO guidelines, and the possibility remains that exhibition games may be played if restrictions are relaxed in the future.” . . . The Kamloops Storm and Kelowna Chiefs both have said they will go on training. . . . The KIJHL features 18 teams, with 17 of them in B.C. The Spokane Braves didn’t start the season because of the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential travel. . . .
There are two other junior B leagues in B.C. — the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and the Pacific Junior Hockey League. Both remain on pause. The nine-team VIJHL hasn’t played since Nov. 20; the 13-team PJHL last played on Nov. 7.



Facebook


Headline at TheOnion.com: Charles Barkley blasts today’s fragile NBA players who can’t just play through COVID like he did.


By now you will have heard that some players, including LeBron James, aren’t at all pleased with the NBA’s plan to hold an all-star game in Atlanta on March 7. Here’s Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, explaining things: “A meaningless exhibition game during a pandemic. Gue$$ the league ha$ it$ rea$on$.”


On the subject of money, here’s a gem from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi’s four-year contract he agreed to in 2017 would have netted him $168.5 million a season if all incentives had been met. That pencils out to roughly $3.7 million per goal.”



So . . . you wake up every morning wondering: What’s wrong with the Vancouver Canucks? Well, they were mediocre last season and then let their starting goaltender, two good defencemen and a scoring forward go elsewhere. I also would suggest that the goaltender and one of those defencemen were two of the team leaders. Looks to me like they haven’t filled those holes in the roster to this point. But, yeah, let’s get rid of the coach.



Gift



THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Two former WHL forwards — Dylan Cozens and Curtis Lazar — were added to the Buffalo Sabres’ COVID-19 protocol list on the weekend. The Sabres now have eight players on the list, and let’s not forget that head coach Ralph Krueger is in quarantine after testing positive. . . . The Sabres’ facility has been closed since Tuesday. They next are scheduled to play Thursday and Saturday against the visiting Washington Capitals. . . .

As of Sunday, the NHL had 46 players on the protocol list. . . . That included D Travis Sanheim of the Philadelphia Flyers, who is another WHL grad. . . . Sanheim practised with the Flyers on Saturday, but didn’t play in Sunday’s 7-4 victory over the host Washington Capitals. From an NHL news release on Sunday: “As a result of a Philadelphia Flyers player entering the league’s COVID protocol earlier today, a decision was made by the NHL’s and NHLPA’s medical experts to have all Flyers players, coaches and staff receive POC tests in advance of this afternoon’s game vs. the Washington Capitals. After all tests returned negative, the league’s, NHLPA’s and clubs’ medical groups determined that it was appropriate to play the game.” . . . The Flyers and Capital are scheduled to meet again Tuesday in Washington. . . .

Public Health Agency of Canada, Sunday, 4 p.m. PT — 804,260 total cases . . . 44,727 active cases . . . 20,767 deaths.

CNN, Sunday, 4:27 p.m. PT — 463,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.


Meet my new friend Heather. She isn’t smiling because she had Tampa Bay in Sunday’s Super Bowl. No. She’s smiling because she had a kidney transplant in Edmonton on Wednesday, and she knows she’ll be on her way home early in the week. . . . Heather, who had been on dialysis since March, received a kidney from a good friend.

——

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.



 

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after getting a taste of MLB with Vin and Joe . . .

Scattershooting


Jeff Wright, the vice-president of the junior B Nelson Leafs, has said that the 20 teams in kijhlthe Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have been given the option to sit out the 2020-21 season if finances dictate it. . . . “We don’t want to lose anybody if we don’t have to,” Wright told Tyler Harper of Black Press. “We’re willing to assist them.” . . . At the same time, Leafs president Corey Viala told Harper that he wouldn’t be surprised if the KIJHL season didn’t start until sometime after September. . . . “I’ll be quite honest,” Viala said. “I cannot see us having a league next (season) unless things change, and I’m not really sure how much things need to change in order for us to be back on the ice for next (season).” . . . Harper’s story is right here.


A tweet from @AndyHermanNFL after the Green Bay Packers drafted QB Jordan Love to back up Aaron Rodgers: “Just realizing that the Packers’ current QBs are A-Rod and J-Lo.”


There has been speculation that the NHL’s best-case scenario has players back in their NHLteam’s home facilities on May 15 for what likely would be a three-week training camp before the resumption of a regular season. Chances are that games would be played without fans in five or six different arenas. . . . However, Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, said Sunday in his daily briefing that players coming into Canada would have to self-quarantine for two weeks. . . . “I think it’s a question we’ll have to look into,” Trudeau said. “Certainly at a strict minimum, anyone who arrives from another country will have to follow all the rules of quarantine in an extremely strict manner, but we’re not there yet in our discussions with the NHL.” . . . Of course, some kind of a deal would have to be struck to allow those players to return to Canada, because the border with the U.S. remains closed to non-essential travellers. . . . I believe that the last extension of that closure is to run through May 20. With the way the numbers are running amok in the U.S., it’s hard to see the Canadian government wanting to re-open the border anytime soon.


The  Burnaby Winter Club had suspended its operations because of the pandemic and a closure order from the Fraser Health Authority that is in force until May 31. But BWC now has informed members that it has the OK to re-open on Wednesday under a few conditions, including physical distancing practices as well as limiting the number of skaters and instructors on an ice surface at any one time. . . .

The U.S. Tennis Association has come up with a plan under which the U.S. Open could move across the continent from New York City to Indian Wells in California’s Coachella Valley. . . . If the pandemic prevents the Open from being played at the Billy Jean National Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y., from Aug. 24 through Sept. 13, it could be moved to the Indian Wells Tennis Centre and played there at some point in the fall. . . .


“U.S. sprinter Deajah Stevens has been provisionally suspended for being unavailable for drug testing,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “In other words, you can hide but you can’t run.”


With NASCAR planning on opening with four races in 11 days, Perry notes that “Kawhi Leonard is urging drivers to take a couple of races off in the name of load management.”


The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers announced Sunday that assistant coach Geoff Grimwood has resigned in order to sign on as general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals. . . . Grimwood started last season as the GM/head coach of the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. He left on Dec. 6, saying that he wanted to “take some time away from the game.” He joined the Flyers on Jan. 9, working there alongside head coach Kevin Cech. . . . Grimwood will replace Mike Vandekamp with the Capitals. Vandekamp left to take over as GM/head coach of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm.


Sitting here watching the Montreal Expos — the return of Tim Raines — and the host New York Mets in a game from May 2, 1987. It’s Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola and, oh my, it’s enjoyable. . . . So let’s scoot over to see how the 2020 season is going at Strat-O-Matic where the simulation is in full swing. . . . On Sunday, the New York Yankees moved into first place in the AL East with a 5-3 victory over the host Toronto Blue Jays. RHP Gerrit Cole had 10 Ks in 5 1/3 innings but didn’t get a decision. . . . The Yankees (22-13) hold a half-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays (22-14). Toronto (14-20) is last in the East, 7.5 games back. . . . Other division leaders: Minnesota (21-13), Houston (22-12), Washington (22-11), Chicago Cubs (22-13) and Los Angeles Dodgers (21-12). . . . You are able to find it all right here. . . . Meanwhile, Raines had quite a comeback game, with a grand slam, a triple, two singles, a walk and a stolen base. Yes, the Expos won — 11-7 in 10 innings. It was Raines’ first game that season, the one that you may recall followed the offseason of collusion, after he signed a new contract.


With lots of talk about the NBA perhaps taking its season to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., comedy writer Brad Dickson went to Twitter with: “This is gonna be so embarrassing when Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs defeat the Golden State Warriors.”


There is a whole lot of chatter about MLB starting up in the not-too-distant future. But the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Nick Canepa suggested that no one rush into it. As he pointed out: “If you’ve never seen the floor of a baseball dugout after a game, know this: It’s a virus and bacteria Petri dish.”


Oil

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