WHL releases regular-season sked . . . No Bedard for U.S. Division fans . . . Portland fans going to Regina to see him

The WHL released its 2022-23 regular-season schedule on Tuesday afternoon with each of the 22 teams to play 68 games — 34 home and 34 on the road.

And, yes, there will be some interlocking play between conferences, something WHLthat was missing in 2021-22.

So . . . all you Western Conference fans who are planning on watching your home club play the Regina Pats and superstar F Connor Bedard in your building please take two steps forward. . . .

Uhh, sorry, not so fast U.S. Division fans. You are going to get visits from the six Central Division teams, but not from East Division clubs. B.C Division cities will get to see the East Division teams once each, but not the Central Division teams.

Bedard, who will turn 17 on July 17, is the favourite to be the first-overall selection in the NHL’s 2023 draft. Despite his age, he is preparing for his third WHL season, that is if you include the development season that was played early in 2021 when the pandemic wiped out what would have been the 2020-21 regular season.

Prior to that season, Hockey Canada granted Bedard exceptional status, the first WHL player to be given the right to play an WHL entire season at 15. Playing in a Reginasemi-bubble situation in Regina, Bedard, who is from North Vancouver, B.C., had 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games before leaving to play for Team Canada at the 2021 IIHF U-18 World Championship in Frisco, Texas. He had seven goals and seven assists in seven games as Canada won gold.

Then, with each team playing a 68-game 2021-22 regular-season schedule, the WHL chose not to have its teams cross over and play in the other conference. Playing strictly within the Eastern Conference, then, Bedard put up 51 goals and 49 assists in 62 games. He also captained Canada’s U-18 team at the 2022 IIHF U-18 World Championship in Germany in April. He totalled six goals and an assist in four games, although Canada lost a quarterfinal game.

With a generational player like Bedard on one of its teams, and considering the pandemic-related circumstances that impacted the past two seasons, the WHL could have scored a public relations coup had it made sure that each of its teams played at least one game in every other arena in 2022-23. But it chose not to do that, so while the Pats are scheduled to visit each of the B.C. Division’s five teams, from Nov. 25 through Dec. 2, they won’t be venturing into the five-team U.S. Division.

That’s really too bad because assuming Bedard is the No. 1 selection in the 2023 NHL draft and depending on which team selects him, he may well be preparing for his final WHL season. That would mean the fans of U.S. Division teams could miss out entirely on seeing Bedard.

And that’s a cryin’ shame.

Unless you’re a member of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club and have booked a seat on their 2023 East Division tour. The Winterhawks are scheduled to play in Regina on Jan. 14 and Stewart Kemp, the Booster Club’s president, tells me that they have 25 of 50 slots already filled.


References


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The WHL’s 2022-23 regular-season schedule is to open on Sept. 23 and wrap up on March 26. . . . According to the WHL, 585 of the 748 scheduled games “will be played on weekends or holidays.” . . . The 2023 playoffs are to begin on March 31. . . . The 2023 Memorial Cup is scheduled for May 26 through June 5 in Kamloops. . . . The defending-champion Edmonton Oil Kings will open at home to the Red Deer Rebels on Sept. 23. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice is to open the new season with 13 straight road games. The Ice is to open on Sept. 24 in Brandon against the Wheat Kings and finish the trip back in Brandon on Oct. 28. That trek will include five games in the B.C. Division. Neither the WHL nor the Ice explained why the season-opening road trip in news releases. However, the U of Manitoba Bisons men’s team, which also plays in the Wayne Fleming Arena, has scheduled four early-season home games at the Rink Training Centre in Oakbank before getting into their regular home rink on Nov. 11. So perhaps the Wayne Fleming Arena is undergoing more renovations. . . .

There will be one game on Dec. 18 (Edmonton at Calgary) after which the WHL will pause until a seven-game slate on Dec. 27. . . .

At this point, the schedule has the Seattle Thunderbirds playing all of their home games at the accesso Showare Centre in Kent, Wash., with the Everett Silvertips having all their home games in the Angel of the Winds Arena. In 2021-22, the teams met in one game at Climate Pledge Arena, the home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Everett won the game, 4-0, before an announced crowd of 8,381. . . . The Calgary Hitmen, according to their schedule, will play all their home games at the Scotiabank Saddledome, which also is to be the home arena for the NHL’s Calgary Flames and their AHL affiliate, which has relocated from Stockton, Calif., as well as the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks. Hmm, that is going to be one busy facility. . . .

As you read in this space on Sunday night, Norm Daley has joined the Kamloops Blazers as their president. Daley, who also will be the alternate governor, was introduced at a Monday morning news conference. He replaces Don Moores, who died of a heart attack on June 30, 2021, at the age of 65.


The WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, who have a long relationship with the WarriorsNewMooseJawSnowbirds aeronautic team, have undergone a branding change that includes a complete overhaul of their logo. The logo that had been a red Indian chief sporting a headdress now is circular and includes one of the Snowbirds planes — a Canadair CT-114 Tudor. . . . Ben Lypka of the Abbotsford News tweeted on June 29 that the Warriors had “filed a trademark” for the new logo. . . . The Warriors had announced in October 2020 that they were reviewing their brand. “This is not a knee-jerk reaction to what other sports teams have done,” Alan Millar, then the Warriors’ general manager, told the Regina Leader-Post at the time.“This was something that we’ve been having internal discussions about for a couple of years. I think it got to a point where we felt this was the right time and the right thing to do.” . . . The Warriors officially made the move on Tuesday. From a news release: “After two years of consultation with local stakeholders, community leaders and the Indigenous community, the Warriors launched a new brand on Tuesday.” . . . The news release is right here.


Blood


Headline at TheOnion.com: Nation unable to enjoy baseball without dozens of pitchers hitting .124.


G Ivan Fedotov won the KHL championship with CSKA Moscow earlier this year and had planned to play for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers next season on a recently signed entry-level contract. Instead, his plans were interrupted by officials over the weekend and now, according to J.P. Barry,  his agent, he is ensconced at a remote military base. . . . The Associated Press has more on the Fedotov story right here.


Phillip Sitter of the Ames Tribune reported:

“The men’s hockey club at Iowa State University engaged in years of alcohol abuse, hazing and coercing money out of club members in exchange for status during ‘Rookie Parties,’ ‘Kangaroo Court’ and ‘Rookie Run’ events, according to university investigations’ findings.

“On (June 23), those findings led the club’s suspension to be extended to include all competition for the coming school year. All activities of the Cyclone Hockey Club were suspended in May after allegations about hazing and other concerns were brought to university administration in April.”

Interestingly, Sitter also wrote that “team and club community members, however, denied the university’s findings in a statement provided through an attorney on (June 23). The statement said the university mischaracterized the events and it accused Iowa State of using the allegations as a means to restructure management of the club.”

That complete story is right here.


Lie


On the subject of those golfers who have filled their bank accounts with Saudi Arabian money, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel asks: “Why do we expect American golfers to have more ethics and morals than American corporations, American sports leagues and the American government — all of which do business with nefarious nations?”


You may be aware that Phil Mickelson got US$200 million to join the LIV Tour, while Dustin Johnson got a cool $150 million. Charles Barkley piped up: “Hey, for $150 million I’d kill a relative, even one I liked.”


Bitcoin


THE COACHING GAME: The Coachella Valley Firebirds, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, have hired Jessica Campbell as an assistant coach. She is the first female assistant coach in the AHL’s history. Most recently, Campbell has been working with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. She also was an assistant coach with the German national men’s team at the IIHF World Championship. With the Firebirds, she will work alongside head coach Dan Bylsma. . . . The Firebirds will play their first season in 2022-23. . . .

The junior B Columbia Valley Rockies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Emery Olauson to a “long-term contract” as their general manager and head coach. The length of the contract wasn’t revealed. He joins the Rockies, who play out of Invermere, B.C., from the Edmundston Blizzard of the Maritime Junior Hockey League with whom he had been head coach and assistant GM. His resume also includes a stint as GM and head coach of the KIJHL’s Grand Forks Border Bruins. . . . With the Rockies, he replaces Briar McNaney, who has joined the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers as an assistant coach. . . .

Doug Houda, who played four WHL seasons (1982-86), has signed on with the NHL’s New York Islanders as an assistant coach. He has been an NHL assistant coach for the past 16 seasons — 10 with the Boston Bruins and the past six with the Detroit Red Wings. Houda, 56, played three-plus seasons with the Calgary Wrangers, then finished up his WHL career by playing 35 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . .

The MJHL’s Portage Terriers have added Robbie Moar to their coaching staff as an assistant to Blake Spiller, their long-time general manager and head coach. Moar played in the MJHL, mostly with the Neepawa Natives and he spent two seasons (2019-21) there as an assistant coach. In 2021-22, Moar, a 29-year-old native of Portage la Prairie, played with the South East Manitoba Hockey League’s Portage Islanders.


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.


FindWater

Scattershooting on a Sunday evening while enjoying Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap . . .

scattershooting

NormDaley
Norm Daley is to be introduced as the Kamloops Blazers’ president on Monday. (Photo: Daley and Co. LLP/Facebook)

GOOD MORNING, MR. PRESIDENT: The WHL’s Kamloops Blazers are scheduled to hold a news conference today (Monday) to introduce Norm Daley, who is well-known in the city’s business and sporting communities, as the organization’s president. . . . Daley will fill the office vacated when Don Moores died of a heart attack while golfing on June 30, 2021. Moores was 65. He had been the team’s president since June 30, 2016. . . . Daley, who recently retired from Daley and Company LLP, an accounting firm, already is chairman of the organizing committee that won the right for Kamloops and the Blazers to play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup. He also has been the chairman of the Blazers’ advisory board that helps the organization connect with the community. . . . Daley also is co-owner of the Kamloops NorthPaws, who are in their first season in the West Coast League, a short-season summer baseball league. . . . Among other things, he was co-chair of the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship that was held in Kamloops.


SORRY, BUT IT ISN’T OVER: If you regularly tune in to Donnie and Dhali on Victoria’s CHEK-TV, well, you can skip today (Monday). That’s because co-hosts Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal, and producer Ryan Henderson, all tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. . . . According to a Tweet from the show’s account, they are in isolation and “won’t have a show” on Monday. “We hope to be back on Tuesday.” . . . No, the pandemic isn’t over. And, by the way, it’s here for at least another year or two. . . . Get vaccinated. . . . Get boosted. . . . Wear a mask. . . . Thank you!


Bodies


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Supreme Court overturns Alien v. Predator.


“The Dallas Cowboys coined the term Hail Mary, and now they’re putting a different spin on the coffin corner,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Rabid fans of the team have something to die for — a custom casket decked out in the NFL team’s colors and iconic lone-star logo. For a proud franchise that hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1996, it’s just one more letdown.”

——

Perry, again: “Major League Baseball will allow its teams to sell sponsorships to cannabis companies that market CBD products, the Sports Business Journal reported. ‘Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain’ is about to be supplanted by ‘Cheech and Chong and Pass the Bong.’ ”


There can’t be anything more painful in sports these days than watching Joey Gallo of the New York Yankees at the plate with a bat in his hands. He is more lost than was Dr. Livingstone. You want proof? In June, Gallo struck out 32 times. The late Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres struck out 27 times — total— in the final three seasons of his career.


TurnSignal


There is an expression in major junior hockey that goes like this: “Because it’s qmjhlnewthe Q.” . . . It has long been a way for observers to shrug off some of the bizarre things that often seem to occur involving the QMJHL and its teams. Take Saturday, for example. The QMJHL’s summer trading period opened and no one was more active than the Cape Breton Eagles. How active were they? Well, they made 10 trades in one day — yes, 10 . . . in one day. When they were done, the Eagles had acquired seven players and nine draft selections while moving out eight players and nine picks. . . . Only in the Q.



THINKING OUT LOUD: Wouldn’t you love to know how today’s NHL players really feel about the salary cap under which they play? F Kevin Fiala put up 33 goals and 52 assists in 82 games with the Minnesota Wild in 2021-22, but then was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings for cap-related reasons. He signed with the Kings for US$55.125 million over seven years. At the same time, NBA teams were giving players five-year deals worth $200 million or more. . . . F Chris Boucher, who played about 20 minutes per game last season, re-signed with the Toronto Raptors for $35.25 million over three years. . . . F Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, arguably the best player in hockey today, is about to enter the fifth year of his eight-year, $100-million contract. . . . Here’s Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: “When the NHL went to (a) salary cap in 2004, the highest-paid players were Jaromir Jagr and Peter Forsberg, each at $11 million a year. The salary cap then was $39 million. It has more than doubled in the 18 years since then, but the highest-paid player’s salary has only grown from $11 million to $12.5 million. The salaries of the middle-range players have grown out of control in the NHL, and that’s happened at the expense of the superstars, who aren’t paid comparable to what the greats are paid in other leagues.” . . . There was a time early in my newspaperin’ career when the item referred to in the following tweet was my favourite book. . . .


WifeTrunk


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News, on the NBA and its teams’ penchant for throwing around the Benjamins: “This has become a league that is ridiculous with money, a league where Bradley Beal — maybe you’ve ever actually watched him play, maybe not — can command a $250-million contract with the Wizards and where (Kyrie) Irving, whom the Nets don’t even want, can exercise an option and put the Nets on the books for $36.5 million. And who wouldn’t want to pay Dr. Irving that, after he was such a team guy in 2021-22?”

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Lupica, again: “The Blue Jays missed the postseason by one game last season and if that happens to the Red Sox this time, they might remember a couple of games they lost this week in Toronto because they didn’t have the unvaxxed Jarren Duran or their unvaxxed closer Tanner Houck with them. Two more graduates of the Kyrie Irving School of Medicine.”


Headline at fark.com: Kevin Durant the player not happy with the team Kevin Durant the GM has created, demands to be traded to any team that was in the Finals in the last 3 years.


Let’s close with one more from Dwight Perry: “Muhammad Ali on a commemorative stamp? It’s way overdue. As the ever-confident heavyweight champ, who died in 2016, once said: ‘I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.’ ”


Alien


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.


Cosell

Former WHL goaltender dies at 64 . . . Recchi stays in NHL . . . Kamloops gets new baseball team


Ken Campbell of The Hockey News posted an interesting piece on Tuesday involving F Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In it, Campbell explained how the Lightning came to draft Point and how Al Murray, the organization’s director of amateur scouting, led the charge. It’s great to see a veteran scout like Murray, who is from Regina, get some acknowledgement. . . . Campbell’s piece is right here.

On Wednesday, Campbell wrote about the Vegas Golden Knights and how George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon were able to shape an expansion into a Stanley Cup contender is such a short period of time. . . . They certainly have done that, and it should be said that they got a considerable amount of help from Vaughn Karpan, their director of player personnel. . . . Karpan, a native of The Pas, Man., and Murray have one thing in common — they both are quiet men who love to work in the shadows. Oh, and one other thing — they may be the best in their field. . . . Campbell’s piece on Vegas is right here.


Plasma


Loosely translating the above tweet: Each of the Canadian major junior teams must pay $266,667 as its share of the settlement of the class-action lawsuit that the CHL decided to settle for $30 million earlier in the summer. The QMJHL’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar are owned by their respective cities, so the citizens will pay the bill via their municipal taxes.


Blaine Peterson, a former WHL goaltender who played with the Brandon Wheat Kings and New Westminster Bruins, died suddenly on Sept. 3. He was 64 and living in Stonewall, Man. Peterson’s death came less than a month after he was profiled by Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun as part of his excellent series on former Wheat Kings. . . . Peterson is survived by his partner Paulette and two adult children — Teague and Kael. . . . Peterson was with the Bruins for two Memorial Cup tournaments, losing in the 1976 final and winning it all in 1977. . . . He was a real contributor to minor hockey, coaching in Stonewall and doing a stint as president of the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba. . . . There won’t be a formal funeral service, but a celebration of life is to be held at a later date. . . . There is an obituary available right here.


TP

COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

You will recall that Canadian OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Kansas City Chiefs opted out of the NFL’s 2020 season a while back. During the pandemic, the graduate of McGill U’s medical school has been working as an orderly at a long-term care facility near Montreal. From Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., he is planning to take online classes from Harvard U’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. . . . Julian MacKenzie of The Canadian Press has more right here. . . .

Louisiana Tech and Baylor had to postpone their football game that was set for Saturday. Why? Because Louisiana Tech had 38 players test positive in the days following Hurricane Laura. . . . The game was to have been Fox-TV’s first Big Noon game of the season, but now has been replaced by Arkansas State-Kansas State. . . .

Australian tennis star Ash Barty, ranked No. 1 in the world, has opted out of the French Open, which is scheduled to open on Sept. 27. She is the tournament’s defending champion. She also chose not to play in the U.S. Open because of concerns about COVID-19. . . .

The U of Lethbridge has suspended its women’s soccer program after it was found to be violating some pandemic-related restrictions. With Canada West having cancelled the fall season, teams still are being allowed to practice, but they are to do it in cohorts. The women’s team was allowing players who were from outside to take part in practice sessions. . . . Justin Goulet of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here. . . .

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association, which covers more than 500 high schools, has postponed football, volleyball and cheer seasons until March.


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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.


JUST NOTES: Mark Recchi, one of five owners of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, is back in the NHL after a rather brief absence. Dumped as an assistant coach by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Aug. 12, he has joined the New Jersey Devils in the same role. The Devils gave Recchi a three-year contract. He had been with the Penguins for six seasons — three as development coach and the past three as assistant coach. . . . The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials have signed F Dylan Sydor, 17, whose father Darryl is a former WHL/NHL defenceman who also is a co-owner with the Blazers. Last season, Dylan had 17 goals and 20 assists in 40 games with the U-18 Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops. . . . The Red Deer Rebels’ 15-year lease with Westerner Park, which operates the Centrium, was to have expired this year. Before it got to that, the two parties agreed on a seven-year lease. . . . Baseball’s West Coast League unveiled its newest franchise on Wednesday. The Kamloops NorthPaws will begin play in 2021 — Opening Day is set for June 4 — and it’ll be a 54-game regular season. The WBL is a short-season collegiate league. The NorthPaws are one of four Canadian teams, joining the Kelowna Falcons, Nanaimo NightOwls and Victoria HarbourCats. The NightOwls are another expansion team; they are owned by the group that operates the HarbourCats. The NorthPaws are owned by Norm Daley of the Kamloops accounting firm Daley & Company; Jon Pankuch, who owns a few Tim Hortons franchises; and Neal Perry of Westway Plumbing and Heating.


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