Scattershooting on a Sunday night while waiting to see if the Thunderbirds can do it again . . .

scattershooting

The Edmonton Oil Kings get their second opportunity at winning the WHL championship for the Ed Chynoweth Cup when they entertain the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.

It’s Game 6 of the best-of-seven series and the Oil Kings lead, 3-2. The EdCupThunderbirds, who will be facing elimination for the seventh time in these playoffs, won Game 5, 3-2, on Saturday night. Because the Thunderbirds’ home arena in Kent, Wash., has been unavailable due to graduation ceremonies, this series is following a 2-2-3 format. As a result, the Thunderbirds will be designated as the home team tonight and, as such, will have the last change.

While the Thunderbirds welcomed back F Henrik Rybinski in Game 5, they will be without D Tyrel Bauer, their captain, as he completes a two-game suspension.

In Game 5, the Oil Kings remained without F Dylan Guenther, who didn’t finish Game 3. He put up 91 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games; he had 25 PP points, 13 of them goals. In their last two games against Seattle, the Oil Kings were 0-for-8 on the PP, including 0-for-6 in the Game 5 loss.

A Seattle victory in Game 6 would force a seventh game in Edmonton on Tuesday night.

Earlier in these playoffs, Seattle beat the Portland Winterhawks three times and the Kamloops Blazers twice while staring elimination squarely in the face.

As they face a seventh such game, one thing is certain — Seattle won’t be afraid of the situation into which they will skate tonight.

——

In the OHL, F Mason McTavish’s two goals helped the host Hamilton Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires on Sunday. . . . Hamilton holds a 3-2 lead in the championship series, with Game 6 scheduled for tonight in Windsor. . . . McTavish tied the score, 2-2, at 12:58 of the second period, then notched the winner at 1:59 of the third. He has 14 goals in these playoffs. . . . Hamilton scored two PP goals. . . . F Logan Morrison had two assists for the Bulldogs. . . .

The two other Memorial Cup teams have been decided, with the Shawinigan Cataractes having won their first QMJHL championship and the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL as the host team. The four-team tournament is to run June 20-29 in Saint John.


OldSpice


ICYMI, Rob Walton, whose first names seem to be Walmart heir, is the lead in a group that is buying the NFL’s Denver Broncos for US$4.65 billion. The Carolina Panthers changed hands for $2.275 billion just four years ago, and that was an NFL record at the time. . . . Walton isn’t about to go broke, even after spending that kind of money. According to Forbes, Walton is worth at least $60 billion. Well, about $55 billion now.


A couple of weeks ago, there were two MLB managers named Joe. Then the Philadelphia Phillies fired Joe Girardi. Shortly thereafter, the Los Angeles Angels dumped Joe Maddon. It’s amazing how quickly Maddon became a poor manager, though. The Angels were being touted as a playoff team — maybe even a World Series contender — and then came a 12-game losing streak, followed by Joe saying: “Say it ain’t so.” . . . It’s worth noting that the Phillies, under interim manager Rob Thomson, won their first eight games after the change. I wonder if that success had anything to do with Thomson being Canadian, meaning the most-popular words in the Phils’ locker room now are “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry.”


“The Angels, trying to snap a 13-game losing streak, used Nickelback tunes for their walk-up music during Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox, a 1-0 loss,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Whatever happened to simply rounding up the bats and burning them?”

——

“Managers Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon got fired one day apart last week,” Perry writes. “Say it ain’t so, Joes.”


Pandemic


THINKING OUT LOUD — I don’t care what the NBA says, it’s the NBA final. Singular. And it’s the NHL final. Singular. Etc., etc., etc. . . . People aren’t really surprised about all these pro golfers, who are independent contractors, taking the money and running, are they? . . . At present, there are seven NHL teams without a head coach — the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets. Throw in openings for assistant coaches and the NHL has more vacancies than the Bates Motel. . . . You are free to wonder how many days Tony La Russa has left as the manager of the Chicago White Sox.


Married


Here’s Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Golf likes to hold itself up as a game of high integrity and morals, somehow above the fray. Players call penalties on themselves, the argument goes, and compete with dignity and respect for their opponent.

“That line of thinking seems haughty and presumptuous even in normal times. And now, as several top PGA Tour pros defect for the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series, it’s downright comical. . . .

“But peer beneath all these layers, the stream of news flashes over the past few days, and it’s really quite simple. The game’s top players had a choice between money and morals.

“Money won. Shocking.”

——

The great Charles P. Pierce of Esquire, writing on the golf situation: “Watching professional golfers leap for the blood money of the new Saudi golf tour should shock approximately nobody. These guys generally have the social conscience of a flesh-eating amoeba. And that Phil Mickelson was their drum major is even less of a surprise. Good on the PGA for suspending the players who signed up for the Bone Saw Tour.”


Jared Jacobson, the owner and governor of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, won the 60th edition of the Grey Owl golf tournament on the Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park on Sunday. It was the second time he has won what is one of Manitoba’s most-popular golf tournaments, the first time being in 2014. As the winner, Jacobson was presented with the “Cactus” Jack Wells Memorial Trophy. Yes, it turned out nice again . . . for Jacobson, who won by birdieing each of the last three holes for a 2-under 70 and a two-round total of 141. He had been four shots off the lead while standing on the 16th tee. He ended up with a one-shot victory over Noel Ngo of Winnipeg and Ross Sheard of Brandon.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Former Kamloops Blazers F Kyrell Sopotyk was named to the tournament all-star team at the 2022 Canadian junior national wheelchair basketball championship that wrapped up Sunday in Charlottetown, P.E.I. B.C. won the tournament; Sopotyk and his Saskatchewan teammates placed sixth. Sopotyk, now 20, was left paralyzed from the waist down in a snowboarding accident on Jan. 22, 2021. . . . F Luke Toporowski, who was acquired by Kamloops from the Spokane Chiefs during this season, has signed a two-year deal with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Toporowski, who completed his junior eligibility this season, is expected to attend training camp with the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Toporowski totalled 63 points, 35 of them goals, in 49 games this season. He had 20 goals and 14 assists in 22 games with Kamloops, then put up 23 points, nine of them goals, in 16 playoff games. . . .



Congrats to former Brandon Sun sports editor Bill Davidson on his being added to the Brandon University Sports Wall of Fame. As the sports editor, he had more than a little to do with hiring me in June 1971. I couldn’t have started in the sports journalism field under a better editor, too, because he, more than anyone else, taught me the basics and fundamentals and the importance of getting the little things right. Oh, and he always kicked my butt at Hearts, too.



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.


Single

Kamloops gets 2023 Memorial Cup . . . Building “deficiencies” prevent Kelowna bid . . . Oil Kings take out Ice; Blazers beat T-Birds in OT

The Canadian Hockey League and the Kamloops Blazers announced Friday CHLevening that they will be the host team for the four-team 2023 Memorial Cup tournament.

The big reveal was done prior to Game 5 of the Blazers’ WHL Western Conference final series with the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds.

Dates for the 2023 event weren’t announced.

This will be the second time that a Memorial Cup champion will be decided in Kamloops. Playing at home in 1995, the Blazers, who were the host team but also had won the WHL championship, beat the OHL-champion Detroit Jr. Red Wings, 8-2, in the championship game on May 21.

That tournament also featured the QMJHL-champion Hull Olympiques and the Brandon Wheat Kings, who were in as the other WHL finalist.

That was the Blazers’ second straight Memorial Cup title and third in four seasons.

You may recall that the Blazers fired general manager Bob Brown just 15 days after having won that Memorial Cup on home ice, with then-president Colin Day saying it was time for the franchise to go in a different direction.

The 2023 tournament will be the first time the Memorial Cup will be presented in a WHL city since the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the QMJHL champions, beat the host Regina Pats, 3-0, on May 27, 2018.

The 2020 tournament was to have been held in Kelowna with the WHL’s Rockets as the host team. Preparations were well underway before everything was scrubbed because of the pandemic.

The 2021 tournament also was cancelled. The 2022 Memorial Cup is to be played in Saint John, N.B., June 20-29.

In recent years, teams interested in playing host to the tournament would make bid presentations in front of a league’s board of governors. A vote would be held and a winner declared. Such was the case prior to Kelowna being awarded the 2020 event over bids from Kamloops and the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Now, however, the CHL has taken control of the process and it’s all done behind closed doors, so we don’t know what other WHL teams made bid presentations.

In July 2020, Doug Nicholas, the City of Kelowna’s sport and events services manager, told councillors that “decisions are already underway regarding the possibility of Kelowna getting their opportunity to host the Memorial Cup (in 2023),” Castanet reported. “Preliminary discussions have been positive to date with the WHL and the CHL.”

According to Castanet, Nicholas told councillors that the Rockets, who had made a handful of trades to add to the team they had thought would play in the 2020 event, would have time to “rebuild a strong cup-winning team” for 2023. He also pointed out, Wayne Moore of Castanet wrote, that “club owner and president Bruce Hamilton has committed to a 10th two-year term as chairman of the board of directors of the WHL.”

——

Rockets

While the Kamloops Blazers were informing their fans of their good news, the Kelowna Rockets were issuing an open letter addressed to “Season Ticket Holders, Sponsors and Rocket Fans” in which they attempted to explain why the 2023 Memorial Cup won’t be held in their city.

In the letter, the Rockets pointed the finger squarely at the GSL Group, which “owns, operates and manages” their home arena, Prospera Place. The GSL Group also owns, among other things, the WHL’s Victoria Royals and their home arena, Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

According to the Rockets, they submitted their intent to bid after which an audit of Prospera Place “found that there were significant deficiencies that needed to be upgraded for the facility to meet the CHL standards for hosting the Memorial Cup.”

The open letter continues: “Ultimately, an agreement with the Rockets, City of Kelowna and the GSL Group could not be reached to make the necessary capital improvements to the building. As a result, the building did not meet the minimum standards required to host the event by the CHL and, consequently, the Rockets could not proceed with our bid to host the 2023 Memorial Cup.”

The Rockets didn’t explain exactly what those “significant deficiencies” are, nor did they explain how the building became so deficient in only three years. After all, it must have met the CHL standards to have been declared the home arena for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

“Our hope,” the letter concludes, “as we look toward the future is that the GSL Group will work to complete the necessary improvements the audit identified so that we can once again bring a Memorial Cup back to Kelowna.”

The letter was signed “Your Kelowna Rockets.”


Peanuts


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Edmonton, the No. 2 Oil Kings dismantled the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, 7-1, to Edmontonadvance to the WHL final for the first time since 2014. . . . The Oil Kings won the best-of-seven conference final, 4-1, and now are 12-1 in the playoffs. . . . The series, which opened in Winnipeg, followed a 2-3-2 format because of the travel distance between the cities. The Oil Kings got a split in Winnipeg and then swept their home games. Edmonton outscored Winnipeg, 15-6, in those three games and 21-15 in the series. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings struck for four first-period goals and added three more in the second as they built a 7-0 lead. . . . They got two goals and two assists from F Carter Souch (9), with F Dylan Guenther drawing four assists. D Kaiden Guhle (6) had two goals and an assist, F Jakub Demek (3) added a goal and two assists, and F Jake Neighbours (3) scored twice. . . . Neighbours counted at 4:52 and 5:00 of the first period to give his guys a 3-0 lead. . . . Those two goals eight seconds apart were one second off the WHL playoff record that is shared by Bill Derlago (Brandon Wheat Kings, April 9, 1978, 1:02 and 1:09 of third period in 9-6 victory over the visiting Flin Flon Bombers); F Ron Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos, 19:21 and 19:28 of second period in 7-4 victory over the host Portland Winterhawks); and F Joachim Blichfeld (Portland, March 29, 2018, 13:38 and 13:45 of third period in 4-3 victory over the host Spokane Chiefs). . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 19 shots, losing his shutout bid at 17:20 of the third period when F Connor McClennon (8) scored. . . . Ice G Gage Alexander gave up four goals on nine shots. Daniel Hauser came on in relief at 910:18 of the first period and was beaten three times on 28 shots. . . . Edmonton F Jaxsen Wiebe, returning from a two-game suspension, finished with zero points but did earn 29 penalty minutes — two misconducts, one major and two minors. . . . The Ice was again without F Matt Savoie, who was injured in Game 2. . . . The Oil Kings won the WHL title in 2014, the last time they were in the final. They went on to win the Memorial Cup, the last WHL team to do so.

——

Western Conference

In Kamloops, F Daylan Kuefler scored in OT to give the No. 2 Blazers a 4-3 Kamloopsvictory over the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 5 of the conference final. . . . The Blazers hold a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series with Game 6 scheduled for Kent, Wash., on Sunday. . . . A seventh game, if necessary, would be played in Kamloops on Tuesday. . . . Last night, the teams went to OT for the second straight game, the Thunderbirds having won, 2-1, at home on Wednesday. . . . F Conner Roulette (3) put Seattle out front at 1:51 of the first period, only to have F Matthew Seminoff (6) tie it at 6:44. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky (8), back after missing a game with an undisclosed injury, gave Seattle a 2-1 lead at 2:32 of the second period. . . . The Blazers tied it at 8:24 when F Daylan Kuefler (8) scored. . . . Kamloops went ahead 3-2 at 4:58 of the third period after F Connor Levis (3) knocked in a puck out of mid-air. The call on the ice was “no goal,” but that was overturned after about a six-minute video review. . . . Seattle got that one back less than six minutes later when D Kevin Korchinski (6) corned at 10:27. . . . Kuefler, a 38-goal man in the regular season, won it with his ninth goal at 5:39 of extra time. . . . Kuefler also had an assist, for a three-point outing. He’s got 15 points in 15 playoff games. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 34 shots for Kamloops, six more than Seattle’s Thomas Milic. . . . Each team was 0-for-2 on the PP. . . . F Henrik Rybinski also returned to Seattle’s lineup. He hadn’t played since Game 1 because of an undisclosed injury. . . . Earlier in the day, the Thunderbirds were fined $750 for “warmup violations” prior to Game 4 in Kent on Wednesday.


Cars


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Sylvain Couturier has resigned as the general manager of the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan after 20 seasons with the organization. He chose not to expound on the reasons for his resignation, but did suggest that there may be litigation down the road. . . . 

The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs won the Eastern Conference playoff title on Friday night, beating the host North Bay Battalion, 6-0, to sweep the best-of-seven final. The Bulldogs, who will meet either the Flint Firebirds or Windsor Spitfires in the final, are 12-0 in the playoffs. The Firebirds and Windsor are 2-2 after the Spitfires won, 4-2, in Flint on Friday. . . .

Ryan Tobler has signed on with the AJHL’s Blackfalds Bulldogs as their associate coach. Tobler, 46, played three seasons in the WHL (Saskatoon Blades, Calgary Hitmen, Swift Current Broncos, Moose Jaw Warriors, 1994-97). He was the head coach of the Chinook Hockey League’s Bentley Generals for four seasons (2012-16), then spent four-plus seasons on the coaching staff of the Colorado Eagles, the first two in the ECHL and the rest in the AHL. . . . In Blackfalds, he’ll work alongside Doug Quinn, the owner, president and head coach.


Woods


My wife, Dorothy, a kidney transplant recipient in 2013, will take part in the 2022 #kamloops Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year on June 5. Yes, it’s virtual again. But she will be there, and you are able to sponsor her 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.


Phones

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