IIHF to go bubble route for 2021 WJC . . . Former pro hockey player dies of COVID-19 in Texas . . . Jr. B team loses GM/head coach to border closure


IIHFThe IIHF revealed Thursday that the 2021 World Junior Championship will be played in Edmonton using a bubble system. The plan was submitted to the IIHF by Hockey Canada, as prepared by the local organizing committee, and approved by its Council. . . . Originally, the WJC was to have been played in Red Deer and Edmonton, running from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . . The IIHF hasn’t yet announced a revamped schedule. . . . At the same time, the IIHF said the 2022 tournament will be shared by Red Deer and Edmonton. Gothenburg, Sweden, which was to have played host to the 2022 event, now will have it in 2024. The 2023 tournament is scheduled for Novosibirsk, Russia. . . .

At the same time, the IIHF cancelled all lower division U-20 men’s tournament that had been scheduled for Horsholm, Denmark (Division I Group A); Tallinn, Estonia (Division I Group B); Brasov, Romania (Division II Group A); Belgrade, Serbia (Division II Group B); and Mexico City (Division III). . . . The 2021 U-18 women’s world championship that was to have been held in Linkoping and Mjolby, Sweden, also was cancelled, along with other women’s U-18 events that had been set for Gyor, Hungary (Division 1 Group A); Radenthein, Austria (Division I Group B); Dumfries, Great Britain (Division II Group A); Kocaeli, Turkey (Division II Group B). . . . The IIHF also postponed Round 1 of the women’s Olympic pre-qualification event that was to have been held in Reykjavik, Iceland, Dec. 17-19.


The OHL announced Thursday that its teams will open training camps on Nov. ohl15, with the regular season, as previously announced, to run from Dec. 1 through April 29. . . . Its playoffs are to begin on May 2 and conclude by June 14, with the Memorial Cup scheduled for Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie, June 17-27. . . . At the same time, the OHL said that it “continues to work with government and health agencies to plan the safe return of OHL action while also finalizing outstanding issues such as safe attendance at venues and cross-border travel for teams.” . . .

There are two other major junior leagues in Canada. The QMJHL’s 18 teams are holding training camps right now and is planning on opening its regular season on Oct. 1. . . . The WHL is aiming to begin its regular season on Dec. 4.


Love


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Tyler Amburgey, a youth hockey coach who had a brief pro career, died at his home in Lavon, Texas, just northeast of Dallas, on Aug. 29. His wife, Aimee, told The New York Times that the cause of death was Covid-19. . . . Amburgey, a Dallas native, was 29. . . . He had concussion issues during his pro career and recently had experienced memory issues. His brain has been donated to the CTE Center at Boston U. . . . From 2012-16, he played for six teams in three leagues — the CHL, SPHL and ECHL. . . .

——

——

Billy Witz, in The New York Times, after the Big Ten announced its football season would start on Oct. 8 after earlier cancelling it:

“Members of several fraternities and sororities at Michigan State University have been ordered to isolate for two weeks after a coronavirus outbreak on campus. Wisconsin’s chancellor urged students to “severely limit” their movements after more than 20 percent of its tests on students over Labor Day weekend came back positive. At Iowa, where the fall semester is less than a month old, more than 1,800 students have tested positive, and there are a whopping 221 cases in the athletic department alone. . . .

“The way the decision was met with hallelujahs in locker rooms, coaches’ offices, the warrens of social media occupied by die-hard fans and even at the White H0use — to say nothing of congratulations offered up by several reporters on a conference call with Big Ten leaders — it might have seemed as if Jonas Salk had risen and delivered a new vaccine.” . . .

——

The NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues have suspended operations for 2020-21 due to the pandemic. They hope to return for the 2021-22 season. The NAHL hopes to open its regular season on Oct. 8 and, at this point, Illinois is not allowing indoor gatherings of more than 50 people. . . . The  Blues were the longest-tenured franchise in the league, having first played in 1993. . . . Earlier, the Corpus Christi IceRays and Kansas City Scouts, formerly the Topeka Pilots, also chose to opt out of the 2020-21 season. . . .

The 2021 Canada Games have been postponed by the Canada Games Council, which hopes to hold them in the summer of 2022. The 2021 Games were to have taken place in the Niagara Region of Ontario in August. . . .

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that an unidentified MLB umpire has tested positive, resulting in the shuffling of a few game assignments. The umpire and four others who had been in contact with him have since tested negative. . . .

When the Kansas City Chiefs opened their NFL season at home on Sept. 10, there were 6,000 fans allowed into Arrowhead Stadium. The Kansas City Health Department revealed Thursday that one of those fans has tested positive. Ten people who came into contact with fan have been asked to quarantine. . . .

Meanwhile, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported via Twitter that the Houston Texas “are working towards having up to 15,000 fans Week 4.” . . . The Indianapolis Colts “are increasing from 2,500 fans in Week 2 to 7,500 in Week 3.” . . . The Tennessee Titans “will have fans starting at 10% capacity and scaling up beginning in Week 4.”


Phone


——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The NHL’s Stanley Cup final, featuring the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning, is to begin on Saturday. This means that the final won’t run into October as Game 7, if needed, will be played on Sept. 30. . . . The ECHL has awarded an expansion franchise to Coralville, Iowa, that will play in the new Xtream Arena beginning in 2021-22. The arena will seat 5,100 for hockey. The franchise is owned by Deacon Sports and Entertainment, a Canadian firm that also owns the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers. . . .

Nick Redding, who was preparing for his third season as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, has had to step down. The team revealed via Twitter that Redding, who is from Spokane, made the decision “due to Covid and Canadian/US restrictions on crossing the border.” The Thunder Cats had signed him to a three-year contract in March. . . . There now are at least two teams in the KIJHL that say their seasons are in jeopardy because of a shortage of billets. The Kimberley Dynamiters made the statement earlier this month. On Wednesday evening, the Revelstoke Grizzlies tweeted: “Our club is in urgent need of billet families. The season is in jeopardy of being cancelled if enough billets are not found.”


Dwarfs

NBA season suspended . . . NHL pondering immediate future . . . Maybe all leagues should shut down?


The NBA has indefinitely suspended its season after a player with the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus.

With a number of NBA teams sharing facilities with NHL teams, it is hard to see how the NHL season will be allowed to continue. In fact, the NHL said Wednesday night that it “is continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options.”

The NHL said it expects “to have a further update (Thursday).”

With the NBA having suspended its season and if the NHL follows suit, you have to wonder what the WHL will do.

Maybe it’s time for all sports leagues to suspend operations indefinitely, just to cut down on large gatherings, and see where all of this goes.

We obviously have to do something, because this has to change before we are forced to go through many more days like Wednesday when nothing got touched more than refresh buttons.

And every time you hit refresh so much had changed.


If the WHL season continues, it could end up with an entire first-round playoff series being played without any fans in attendance.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington announced Wednesday morning that public gatherings of more than 250 people are being banned through the end of March as part of the fight against the COVID-19 virus.

The Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds then let it be known that they would complete the home portions of their regular-season schedules by playing in empty arenas.

The Silvertips are second in the Western Conference, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks. Each team has five games remaining.

The Thunderbirds are destined to finish in eighth spot and will meet the first-place finisher in the opening round of the playoffs.

So if Everett was to get into that top spot and if the season continues . . .

If, if, if . . .

——

The first WHL game to be played in an arena without fans in attendance is scheduled for Saturday in Kent, Wash., with the host Seattle Thunderbirds meeting the Vancouver Giants.

The Thunderbirds also are scheduled to play at home against the Spokane Chiefs on March 17. That game, too, will be played without fans.

There had been speculation on Tuesday night in Spokane, as the Chiefs were beating the Kamloops Blazers, 3-0, that the March 17 game would be moved to Wenatchee, Wash.

Seattle’s final home game of the regular season, against the Winterhawks, is scheduled for March 21. Chances are that game, too, will be played without fans but a firm determination has yet to be announced.

The Silvertips’ final home game, against the Victoria Royals on March 20, will be closed to the general public.

The Silvertips will finish first or second in the Western Conference, so will open the playoffs with home games on March 27 and 28. Should that happen, and with no end to this crisis in sight, it would seem that those games would be closed to the public.

——

Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds are scheduled to visit the Giants at the Langley Events Centre on Friday. The Giants said they “will continue to welcome fans” to the LEC, but also said they are “continually monitoring the COVID-19 situation.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there had been 46 positive tests in B.C., almost all of them on the Lower Mainland. B.C. announced seven new cases on Wednesday, including the first on Vancouver Island.

In Alberta, the total of positives tests reached 19 on Wednesday — 11 in the Calgary Zone, seven in the Edmonton Zone and one in the Central Zone. All cases to date have been travel-related.


The IIHF men’s world U-18 championship is scheduled to be held in Plymouth, Mich., from April 16-26. But it’s hard to see that tournament being held after U.S. President Trump announced Wednesday night that some travel from Europe is being prohibited.


If the NHL season continues . . .

The San Jose Sharks will play their next three homes games without any fans in the SAP Center. The Montreal Canadiens are to play there on March 19, with the Boston Bruins there two days later and the Arizona Coyotes on March 29. . . . The Sharks’ AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda, also plays in the SAP Center and will play home games on March 17 and 22 without fans in attendance. . . .

In Ohio, the Columbus Blue Jackets will play their final five home games without fans. The Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to play in Columbus tonight (Thursday).


Daniele Rugani, a defender with the Italian soccer team Juventus, has tested positive for coronavirus, the team announced Wednesday. Rugani, 25, now is in isolation and all who have been in contact with him are being checked. . . . Play in the Italian Serie A had been suspended with the country all but shut down. . . .

The world figure skating championships that were to have been held in Montreal, from March 18 through March 22, were cancelled on Wednesday. . . .

The NCAA announced that March Madness, the annual men’s basketball championship tournament, will be played, but that fans won’t be allowed to attend any of the games. The NCAA said that only players, essential staff and family members will be allowed in the buildings. . . . NCAA president Mark Emmert also said that the Final Four is likely to be moved from the 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta to a smaller venue. It is scheduled for April 4 and April 6. . . .

The Big Ten, Big 12, American, ACC and Pac-12 announced that their men’s basketball tournaments, all of which start on Thursday, will be closed to fans. . . .

The U of Michigan has cancelled its annual spring football game that was scheduled for April 18 in Ann Arbor. The school also cancelled all events scheduled for any of its athletic facilities through April 21. . . . Ohio State cancelled its spring football game that was to have been played on April 11, while announcing that attendance at any intercollegiate events played host to by the school will be limited. . . .

USA Hockey has cancelled its national championships — high school, youth, girls, adult and sled — and its Disabled Hockey Festival. . . . The national tournaments were to being March 26 in various locations; the Festival was to be held in Pittsburgh (March 26-29, April 2-5).


If you are from Regina, this is big, big, big . . .


The BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors have signed Simon Ferguson to a two-year contract as head coach. Ferguson took over as interim head coach on Jan. 1 after the firing of Brandon West. . . . With Ferguson in control, the Warriors went 9-10-2 and earned a playoff berth. . . . They lost a first-round series to the Penticton Vees. . . .

The junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats have signed Nick Redding, their general manager and head coach, to a three-year contract. Redding, who is from Spokane, just completed his second season with Creston. . . . Before joining the Thunder Cats, he had been the hockey operations co-ordinator with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Royals add experience on back end . . . Cougars get some size up front . . . Warriors’ 50-50 draw way, way up there


MacBeth

D Petr Šenkeřík (Kootenay, Prince George, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after a successful tryout. Last season, Šenkeřík had three assists in 12 games with Vsetín (Czech Republic, 1. Liga); two goals and two assists in nine games with Slovan Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic, 1. Liga); and one goal and seven assists in 12 games with Karlovy Vary (1. Liga). Karlovy Vary won promotion to Extraliga for this season. . . .

F Radek Duda (Regina, Lethbridge, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). Last season, with Freiburg (Germany, DEL2), he had 15 goals and 21 assists in 47 games.


 

The Victoria Royals have a acquired D Jameson Murray, 19, and a 10th-round selection in VictoriaRoyalsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft from the Everett Silvertips for a seventh-round pick in 2019. . . . From Kelowna, Murray was dealt by the Calgary Hitmen to the Silvertips last season for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2019 or 2020 bantam draft. . . . In 63 games over two seasons with Calgary, he had two goals and seven assists. He was pointless in seven games with Everett last season. . . . The Hitmen placed him on their protected list three years ago. . . . The deal allows Everett to get down to nine defencemen, although two of those — Jake Christiansen (Calgary Flames) and Wyatte Wylie (Philadelphia Flyers) — are with NHL teams. Still on the roster are three freshmen defenders — Alex Moar, 17, Ronan Seeley, 16, and Dylan Anderson, who turns 16 on Oct. 23.


The Prince George Cougars and Seattle Thunderbirds got together on a deal on Monday afternoon. . . . The Cougars get F Mike MacLean, 20, D Sam Schoenfeld, 16, and an PrinceGeorgeundisclosed conditional 2021 bantam draft pick from the Thunderbirds for F Keegan Craik, 17, and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . MacLean, 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, obviously adds size to the Cougars’ roster. From Penticton, he had two goals and two assists in 38 games with Seattle last season. He also got into 24 games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats, putting up three goals and three assists. . . . Schoenfeld, like MacLean, is a list player. Last season, he had one goal and eight assists in 32 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Elite 15s. . . . Craik, from Brentwood Bay, B.C., was a fifth-round selection by the Cougars in the 2016 bantam draft. He got into two games with the Cougars last season, going pointless. In 27 games with the Delta Hockey Academy prep team, he had 13 goals and 16 assists. . . .

MacLean joins F Josh Curtis and D Joel Lakusta as the 20-year-olds on the Cougars’ roster. . . . Moving MacLean allows Seattle to get down to three 20-year-olds — F Zack Andrusiak, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan.


The Calgary Hitmen are down to three goaltenders after announcing late Monday Calgaryafternoon that they have “reassigned” Nick Sanders, 20, “to a team and league to be announced at a later date.” . . . Sanders, from Calgary, was a sixth-round selection by the Tri-City Americans in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . He made 29 appearances with the Americans before being dealt to the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 13, 2016, along with a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, for G Rylan Parenteau, 20. . . . Sanders got into 34 games with the Raiders in 2016-17 and four last season before bowing out due to hip problems. The Raiders sent him to Calgary on Jan. 8 for a sixth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . The Hitmen still have goaltenders Matthew Armitage, who turns 19 on Oct. 30, Carl Stankowski, 18, and freshman Jack McNaughton, who will hit 17 on Oct. 30, on their roster. . . . Stankowski was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Aug. 7. He was Seattle’s starting goaltender in the playoffs as the Thunderbirds made their run to the 2017 WHL championship, but hip and health issues kept him sidelined last season. . . .

Meanwhile, the Hitmen are left with two 20-year-olds on their roster — F Jake Kryski and F Luke Coleman — so have room to add one.


The buzz in junior A circles on Monday had to do with F Trevor Wong, a 15-year-old KelownaRocketsfrom Vancouver who is the only one of the WHL’s 22 first-round 2018 bantam draft selections who has yet to sign. . . . The Kelowna Rockets selected Wong with the 18th overall selection, knowing that he was looking at going the NCAA route. In November, he made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver, starting with the 2020-21 season. . . . On Monday, there were rumblings that Wong either has signed, or is on the verge of signing, with the Rockets. He attended their rookie camp late in August. . . . Last season, with the St. George’s School bantam varsity team, he had 141 points, including 64 goals, in 30 games.


SJHL

If you are an SJHL pass-holder and plan on visiting Humboldt for Wednesday’s game between the Broncos and Nipawin Hawks, you need to know that it won’t get you in the door.

This will be the Broncos’ home-opener, in Elgar Petersen Arena, which has a capacity of HumboldtBroncosaround 1,800. It will be the Broncos’ first home game since the bus accident on April 6 that claimed 16 lives.

As one might expect, the national media, likely even some international media, has descended on the community again, coming in like grasshoppers during a red-hot growing season.

All of this resulted in the SJHL sending out the release pictured above on Saturday. Bill Chow, the SJHL president, tells Taking Note that was done after “Humboldt sent out a media accreditation request about 7-10 days ago.”

It could be that not everyone received, or paid attention to, the accreditation notice from Humboldt. One observer who works in the media told Taking Note on Monday morning that “I’ve been told that the SJHL has informed all the local media from around the province that their league media passes won’t be honoured Wednesday and they won’t be allowed in to cover the game as there is no space due to national media.”

Perhaps there are people on the SJHL beat who simply assumed that their SJHL pass would get them in the door. That, however, may not be the case.

You have to feel for the SJHL for the position in which it finds itself — a small arena with minimal press facilities being home to an event such as this. With so many media people wanting in, and with TSN no doubt having a number of employees onsite to handle the national telecast, the SJHL no doubt finds itself in a no-win situation.



Craig Button, TSN’s director of scouting, released his first Craig’s List on Monday, his rankings of players eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft. F Jack Hughes of the U.S. National Team Development Program is No. 1, ahead of F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . In fact, there are four WHLers in Button’s Top 10. The list runs 40 deep and is right here.


D Jarret Tyszka, who spent the past three seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds, is in concussion protocol after being injured during a Sunday game while playing with the SeattleMontreal Canadiens’ prospects team.

Tyszka, 19, was released from a Montreal hospital on Monday after being stretchered off the ice. He was playing for the Canadiens against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was hit from behind into the boards by F Hudson Elynuik, who played out his junior eligibility last season with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Elynuik was given a match penalty for cross-checking. . . . Tyszka was a fifth-round pick by the Canadiens in the NHL’s 2017 draft. Elynuik is with the Leafs as a free-agent invitee.

Joël Bouchard, the head coach of Montreal’s AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket, was behind the Canadiens’ bench. He wasn’t happy with his team’s response, or lack of same.

Google translation: “This is unacceptable. We play as a team, we play as a team. We warned them that it had to change. The guys on the ice that time did not play for the rest of the time.”

Google translation: “Even though it’s a rookie camp, they’re wearing a Canadiens jersey. I do not advocate violence, but I ask them to stand up. We protect each other every time we have the same colour of sweater. It’s like that in any league in the world.”


A Facebook post from Randy Palmer of the Moose Jaw Express:

“Okay, this is something that has been brewing and has been the kind of thing that flies MooseJawWarriorsunder the radar until you think about it.

I can guarantee you what you are about to read is going to utterly blow your mind.

The 50-50 for the Moose Jaw Warriors’ home-opener is starting . . . STARTING . . . at over $166,000.

The winner of the massive monster 50-50 from last season never claimed his/her prize. So it rolled into the first 50-50 of the next season.

That means, from the second the 50-50 booth opens at Mosaic Place on opening night, the winner of that night’s 50-50 is guaranteed at least $83,000.

I predict the take home will be around $150,000 before the night is over.

Marc Smith of CHAB says well over $200,000. And, honestly, he’s probably right.

The best thing?

You have to be in the building that night to collect the prize.

Capacity is 4,500.

Gonna bet they’re going to stretch that a bit.”

The Warriors home-opener, against the Brandon Wheat Kings, is scheduled for Sept. 22.


If you’re a regular here, you will have seen a few paragraphs the other day relating to how junior-aged players are able to attend WHL training camps and maintain their NCAA eligibility.

That post elicited an offer from Ross Beebe, the educational advisor to the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen and the NCAA policy advisor for Global Sports Camps.

“This is year 24 for me so I am very familiar with the ‘ins/outs’ of the NCAA,” Beebe writes. “Should any of your readers wish/require more NCAA information on amateurism or academic standards, I would be more that happy to share my knowledge. This is a volunteer position for me so there would be no cost.”

If you are looking for answers, you may reach Beebe at roscolangleyrivermen@shaw.ca


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to help her get to $3,000 in donations you are able to do so right here.


Nick Redding is the new head coach of the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Redding, 26, is from Spokane. He played four seasons with the KIJHL’s Spokane Braves, before going on to Eastern Washington U. Last season, he was the general manager and assistant coach with the Braves. Earlier this summer, Redding had signed with the Seattle Thunderbirds as the hockey operations co-ordinator. . . . The Thunder Cats had been looking for a head coach since late in August when GM/head coach Brad Tobin left to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as assistant GM and associate head coach.


Liz Thunstrom turned 80 recently and on Friday received a belated birthday present that thrilled her no end. It was a ride in the Fanboni during a Vancouver Giants game at the Langley Events Centre. . . . The Langley Times has more right here.


Tweetoftheday