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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