F Chaz Lucius of the Portland Winterhawks underwent shoulder surgery on Monday and his season is over. The team made the announcement on Monday afternoon. . . . “Lucius surgery was successful and he is expected to make a full recovery,” the team said in a news release. . . . Lucius, 19, put up 15 points, including five goals, in six games with the Winterhawks after having been assigned to them by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. He had been with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose before joining Team USA at the World Junior Championship. . . . Lucius, a first-round pick by the Jets in the NHL’s 2021 draft, scored three goals, including the OT winner, in the third-place game at the WJC as Team USA beat Sweden, 8-7. . . . Lucius was the WHL’s player of the week for Jan. 23-29, then was injured in a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Jan. 29. Lucius had a goal and an assist, his goal at 19:43 of the third period forcing OT.
To put the 15 pts in 6 gms by Chaz Lucius for @pdxwinterhawks in perspective, there have been 71 players that played 6 or fewer gms w/ the Hawks, their combined stats equal 9-20-29 in 207 games.
Here’s a look at the WHL draft picks traded away by the Seattle Thunderbirds in recent times . . .
2023: First (to Prince Albert), first (Saskatoon), second (Edmonton), third (Edmonton), fourth (Saskatoon), fourth (Kelowna, conditional), sixth (Saskatoon).
2024: First (Kelowna, conditional), second (Saskatoon), third (Prince Albert), fourth (Edmonton), sixth (Edmonton).
2025: First (Edmonton), second (Kelowna, conditional), third (Edmonton), Fourth (Edmonton), sixth (Prince Albert).
2026: First (Edmonton), second (Prince Albert), third (Saskatoon), fourth (Edmonton), fifth (Edmonton), sixth (Prince Albert, conditional).
Of course, the Thunderbirds acquired F Dylan Guenther, D Nolan Allan, F Brad Lambert, D Luke Prokop, F Colton Dach and F Kyle Crnkovic in the deals that included those picks.
TUESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
G Ethan Chadwick blocked 21 shots to lead the host Saskatoon Blades to a 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . It was Chadwick’s second shutout this season and the second of his two-season career. This season, he is 16-7-2, 2.53, .902. . . . Chadwick also shut out the Oil Kings on Nov. 12, making 21 saves in a 5-0 victory. . . . The Oil Kings have been blanked six times this season. . . . F Brandon Lisowsky (27) scored the game’s first goal and that’s all Chadwick needed. . . . F Egor Sidorov’s 30th goal, at 18:09 of the second, gave the Blades a 3-0 lead. He has 53 points in 38 games this season, after finishing last season with 35, including 23 goals, in 58 games. . . . F Conner Roulette returned to Saskatoon’s lineup after a four-game absence and drew two assists. . . . The Blades swept the four-game season series from the Oil Kings, outscoring them 19-2 in the process. . . . Saskatoon (33-12-4), which is third in the Eastern Conference, has won three in a row. . . . The Blades are to begin a tour of the B.C. Division in Kamloops on Friday night. . . .
It’s worth noting that the Oil Kings need four victories in their remaining games to avoid setting one of those records that you’d rather not be anywhere near. . . . Last season, the Oil Kings went 50-14-4 in the regular season before going on to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup as playoff champions. This season, they are 8-38-3 and are perilously close to establishing a record for the fewest victories by the defending champions. That mark belongs to the Swift Current Broncos who won the 2017-18 WHL championship and followed that up by going 11-51-6 in 2018-19. . . . The Oil Kings have 19 games remaining in their season. . . .
The Red Deer Rebels scored on their first two shootout attempts to beat the Winterhawks, 5-4, in Portland. . . . Red Deer is 3-0-0 in the U.S. Division on this trip. . . . The Winterhawks scored twice in the last four minutes of the third period to get it to OT. . . . F Kai Uchacz and F Ben King had the shootout goals. . . . Earlier, King notched his 11th and 12th goals this season; the first one was the 100th regular-season goal of his career. King, who led the WHL with 52 goals last season, scored the first five with the Swift Current Broncos and the rest with the Rebels. . . . King’s first goal tied it, 2-2, at 11:45 of the second period. His second goal, at 10:10 of the third period, gave the visitors a 4-2 lead. . . . F Josh Zakreski (8) got the Winterhawks to within a goal at 16:08, and F Kyle Chyzowski (13) tied it at 18:59 with G Dante Giannuzzi on the bench for an extra attacker. . . . F Jack O’Brien drew three assists for Portland. . . . Red Deer (35-11-4) closed to within one point of the Eastern Conference-leading Winnipeg Ice, which holds five games in hand. . . . Portland (35-10-4) is tied with the Seattle Thunderbirds atop the Western Conference. . . .
With his mother in the stands, F Ondrej Becher scored twice and added an assist as the Prince George Cougars got past the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1. . . . Becher, an 18-year-old freshman from Czechia, has nine goals and 16 assists in 44 games. . . . F Chase Wheatcroft recorded three assists. . . . The Cougars scored the game’s last five goals. . . . Prince George (22-21-4) has won three in a row. It is sixth in the Western Conference, four points behind the Everett Silvertips with two games in hand. . . . Kelowna (17-27-3) had won its previous three games. It is eighth in the conference, seven points behind the Vancouver Giants and four ahead of the Victoria Royals. . . . The Cougars and Rockets will play again tonight in Prince George and make it three in a row on Friday in Kelowna.
Former WHL D Nolan Baumgartner was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame this week. Now an assistant coach with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, Baumgartner twice was named WHL defenceman of the year while with the Kamloops Blazers (1992-96). He also was selected as the CHL’s top defenceman for 1994-95, and helped Kamloops with two Memorial Cup titles. . . . He played in the AHL with the Portland Pirates, Norfolk Admirals, Manitoba, Philadelphia Phantoms, Iowa Stars and Chicago Wolves. He has been as assistant coach with Chicago, the Utica Comets and the Moose.
The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s will be moving to Gatineau for a handful of playoff games. With The Arena at TD Place, their normal home, busy with the World men’s curling championship, from April 1-9, the 67’s will play as many as three first-round playoff games at the Slush Puppie Centre in Gatineau, Que. The 6,700-seat Slush Puppy Centre is the home of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques. . . . Interestingly, the 67’s and Olympiques are to play a home-and-home series this week, opening Thursday in Ottawa and concluding Saturday in Gatineau.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Pat Ginnell was the general manager and head coach of the Lethbridge Broncos and was preparing to take his guys on a West Division tour. However, he had a problem — he needed a goaltender.
So . . . Jack McLeod, the GM/head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, said he would help out his old friend and loan him a goalie, which is how Ken McNabb landed on the Broncos’ roster.
McNabb had played in 29 games for the Blades in 1977-78 after they acquired him from the Flin Flon Bombers, for whom he had played 11 games.
The Blades were carrying three goaltenders — Tom Muc, Murray Stephens and McNabb.
On Oct. 10, the Star-Phoenix reported that McNabb had been “sent” to Lethbridge “on a three-game tryout.”
His stint in Lethbridge lasted six games.
We can only imagine how shocked McLeod was to discover that Ginnell cut a deal on Oct. 30 that had McNabb moving on to the Regina Pats. Yes, indeed! Ginnell dealt McNabb and F Larry Jones for G Gregg Dumba and D Alan May.
“He is our property so I don’t know how they could trade him,” McLeod said.
But trade him they did. Back in those days it seems that possession was more than nine-tenths of the law, at least in the WHL.
The Regina Pats and Saskatoon Blades dumped the benches during a game on Sept. 29, 1978.
In the aftermath, Regina F Barry Zeigler was suspended for five games for having been the first player off the bench. The Pats were fined $675 — $250 for having the first player off bench. $100 for four game misconducts and $325 for having had 13 players leave the bench.
The Blades escaped with a $400 fine for three game misconducts ($75) and 13 players leaving the bench ($325).
“I can’t see why we’re getting fined when they emptied the bench first,” Jack McLeod, the Blades’ general manager and head coach, told John Cherneski of the StarPhoenix. “How do they expect a coach to sit there and watch another team kick the hell out of your guys on the ice when they dump the bench?”
Interestingly, the discipline was handed down by Del Wilson, who was the WHL vice-president and also part-owner of the Pats.
When Kamloops acquired Slovakian F Jakub Demek, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Nov. 14, the Blazers said they hoped to have him in their lineup at some point in January. Demek, who put up 54 points, including 20 goals, in 55 regular-season games in 2021-22, underwent shoulder surgery after the 2022 World Junior Championship — he played for Slovakia in Edmonton in August — and hasn’t played this season. . . .
But now comes word that Demek won’t see game action for perhaps another four weeks. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told NL Radio earlier this week that the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights made the decision. Vegas selected Demek in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .
“He’s a drafted player and they want to push his timeline back,” Clouston told the radio station. “Right now the date, unfortunately for Jakub, because he’s pretty disappointed — and challenging for us — it’s been moved to Feb. 20.” . . . Interestingly, the Blazers are scheduled to play in Edmonton on Feb. 20. . . .
Demek had been skating with the Blazers when the Golden Knights had him report to their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights, for a week of conditioning. He then was given the once-over by the surgeon who had repaired his shoulder. . . .
“Unfortunately, he’s got a while,” Clouston said. “He feels good. He looks good. I think it’s probably a situation where they really want to be safe. They really want to take their time.” . . .
All of this could well have an impact on the conditions of the trade between the Blazers and Oil Kings. In that deal, the Blazers gave up a 2023 first-round WHL draft pick that originated with the Regina Pats, and a fourth-rounder in 2026. Also going to Edmonton were two conditional selections — a second in 2024 and a third in 2026. . . . The second is conditional on Demek playing an undisclosed number of games with the Blazers. . . . The third is conditional on his returning to the WHL as a 20-year-old.
There aren’t many WHL-related books out there, so you should know that there’s a new one on the shelves.
The Lethbridge Broncos: A History is available from Analog Books in Lethbridge or off its website, which is right here.
The Lethbridge Broncos arrived from Swift Current in time for the 1974-75 season and made the return trip following 1985-86. While they were in Lethbridge, they made quite an impact on Mark Weninger, who during part of that time was a 17-year-old gas jockey at a place owned by Earl Ingarfield, the team’s first coach, and Dennis Kjeldgaard, one of the Broncos’ owners.
Now retired, Weninger was looking for something with which to fill his time when he decided to write a book on the Broncos’ stay in Lethbridge.
He details all of it, from beginning to end, and in some instances has the players themselves, including Bryan Trottier, Brent Sutter and Lindy Ruff, tell their stories.
Pretty reasonably priced season tickets even for 1978. $230 for 40 games of 99! Yeehaw! I wonder how many people scooped them up? Then I wonder how many people demanded a refund after Gretzky was traded 8 games into the season (5 home games). pic.twitter.com/T5rsePtt7g
Chew on this for a few minutes, courtesy of Alex Mayer (@alexmayer34) . . .
The Mariners hit 4 HR from players who wear consecutive uniform numbers (26 Frazier, 27 Winker, 28 Suárez, 29 Raleigh) on July 13, 2022.
The Kraken scored 4 goals from players who wear consecutive uniform numbers (19 McCann, 20 Tolvanen, 21 Wennberg, 22 Bjorkstrand) on Jan. 25, 2023.
Seattle is the first city to produce an MLB/NHL duo to do that within a year of each other since Detroit in 1955-56.
The Tigers (5 Tuttle, 6 Kaline, 7 Kuenn, 8 Boone) on July 23, 1955.
The Red Wings (7 Lindsay, 8 Reibel, 9 Howe, 10 Delvecchio) on Feb. 21, 1956.
Stan Butler will be named head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters, assuming there are no issues with U.S. immigration. The team made the announcement on Thursday afternoon. Butler, 66, is a veteran OHL coach, having been behind a bench for 1,588 games and 737 victories to this point. At one point, he was the head coach of the Brampton/North Bay Battalion for 22 straight seasons, an OHL record for continuous service. He also spent one season (1996-97) as the head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. . . . In Erie, he takes over from B.J. Adams, who was fired on Jan. 10. Assistant coaches Vince Laise and Wes Wolfe have served as interim head coaches between then and Butler’s hiring. . . .
The junior B Pacific Junior Hockey League, which is based on the Lower Mainland of B.C., has added a 14th franchise for next season. It will be based in Port Coquitlam where it will play out of the 780-seat Jon Baillie Arena at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre. The franchise’s ownership group is headed up by Rob Toor of Port Coquitlam. . . . The Poco Buckeroos played out of the city from 1990 to 2006, then moved to Port Moody where the team plays as the Panthers. . . . The arrival of a Port Coquitlam franchise will leave B.C. with 46 junior B teams — 19 in the KIJHL, 14 in the PJHL, 11 in the VIJHL, and the Dawson Creek Kodiak and Fort St. John Huskies, who play in an Alberta-based league.
The Red Deer Rebels ran their record to 12-0-0 with a 4-0 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants on Friday. . . . G Rhett Stoesser, a 17-year-old freshman from Carstairs, Alta., stopped 18 shots as he recorded his first WHL shutout in his fourth start. He is 4-0-0, 1.25, .938. . . . The Rebels have tied the WHL record for most victories to open a season. The 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos opened 12-0-0 before dropping a 2-1 decision to the Blades in Saskatoon on Oct. 30, 1988. . . . The Rebels are scheduled to visit the Edmonton Oil Kings (1-11-1) on Sunday. . . .
Meanwhile, in Prince George, the Seattle Thunderbirds stayed perfect (9-0-0) with a 5-4 victory over the Cougars. They’ll play there again tonight and resume the triple-dip in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. . . . Last night, Seattle got two goals from each of Jared Davidson and Jordan Gustafson as they got out to a 5-2 lead. The Cougars scored twice in the game’s last two minutes.
The Brandon Wheat Kings drew their largest crowd (5,141) of the young season on Friday with the Winnipeg Ice in town. According to the Wheat Kings, it also was equipment manager Scott Hlady’s 500th game with the organization. . . . According to Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun, it was the first crowd of more than 5,000 “since 5,621 fans were in the building for a 5-4 shootout win over Moose Jaw on March 17, 2018.” . . . The Ice skated home with a 4-1 victory, ending its season-opening road schedule with a 12-1 record. The same two teams will meet in Winnipeg tonight as the Ice stages its home-opener.
Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered addressing rumblings that the Toronto Maple Leafs may be in line for a coaching change, perhaps with Barry Trotz replacing Sheldon Keefe: “It’s interesting to note though, that (general manager) Kyle Dubas has been a GM for three teams in three leagues — the Soo Greyhounds (OHL), the Toronto Marlies (American Hockey League) and the Leafs. In all that time, he has hired only one person to coach his teams, and that’s Keefe.”
You are able to check out Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell right here.
One more from Campbell: “The (OHL’s) Mississauga Steelheads, who are off to a great start this season, are once again struggling to attract fans. Their lease with the city-run Paramount Foods Centre expires after this season. Steelheads president Elliott Kerr would prefer to stay, but it’s a situation that bears watching. When Kerr bought the team, he said he would give it three years and this is his 11th. He’s lost seven figures easily.”
October 25 1968
The Pats played the Ottawa 67's their 1st interlocking game against an OJHL team. They played to a 1-1 tie at the Stadium in front of 2,175. Bob Owen scored for the Pats.
The Edmonton Oil Kings are down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds after releasing F Cole Carrier on Friday. Carrier, who is from Strathcona, Alta., was a fourth-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2017 draft. He had four assists in seven gams with Edmonton after coming over from the Lethbridge Hurricanes early in the season. In 117 regular-season games, 101 of them with the Regina Pats, he totalled 19 goals and 21 assists. . . . That move leaves Edmonton with D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golder and F Jaxsen Wiebe as its 20-year-olds. Wiebe is serving a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline after going knee-on-knee with F Josh Pillar of the Saskatoon Blades on Oct. 23. The Blades say Pillar is out week-to-week. Wiebe was given a tripping minor on the play in question. . . . Later in the day, the Oil Kings were beaten, 5-0, by the visiting Calgary Hitmen, who got 18 saves from G Brayden Peters. The defending-champion Oil Kings now are 1-11-1. . . .
In Portland, the Kelowna Rockets lost D Noah Dorey to a slew-footing major and game misconduct at 9:41 of the first period. Chances are good that Dorey will miss Game 2 of the weekend double-dip tonight. . . . The Winterhawks weren’t able to score on the five-minute power play, and it came back to haunt them when F Andrew Cristall scored in OT to give the visitors a 4-3 victory. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s last three goals, with Cristall getting them within one at 16:46 of the third period and F Nolan Flamand tying it with 5.6 seconds left. . . .
Prior to meeting the visiting Spokane Chiefs last night, the Kamloops Blazers announced that they had release F Kobe Verbicky, 19. From Victoria, he was a second-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He had one assist in six games this season. In 64 career regular-season games, 38 with Kamloops, he scored three times and added five assists. . . . Later that night, the Blazers, who had lost three straight, scored four first-period goals while outshooting the Chiefs, 24-4, en route to a 5-1 victory. F Logan Stankoven had two goals for the Blazers, who finished with a 62-23 edge in shots. The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . Stankoven now has 17 points, including eight goals, in seven games since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . .
The Saskatoon Blades ran their winning streak to seven games as they beat the Tigers, 2-1, in Medicine Hat. . . . F Tyler Parr scored both of Saskatoon’s goals and they came via the PP. . . . Parr, a 17-year-old sophomore from La Salle, Man., has three goals in 12 games this season. Last season, he scored three times in 58 games. . . . The game was scoreless until Parr struck at 9:52 of the third period. . . .
The host Moose Jaw Warriors got 46 stops from G Connor Ungar in beating the Everett Silvertips, 4-1. F Jagger Firkus scored twice. . . . The Silvertips opened an East Division trip with the loss. . . . The Warriors have won four in a row. . . .
The Victoria Royals’ starting lineup featured five Saskatchewan-born skaters as they met the host Swift Current Broncos last night. The lone exception was G Logan Cunningham of Sherwood Park, Alta., who was making his WHL debut. The starting skaters were forwards Carter Briltz of Regina, Cole Reschny of Macklin and Anthony Wilson of Swift Current, along with defencemen Nate Misskey of Melfort and Kalem Parker of Clavet. Reschny, the Royals’ top pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, third overall, was playing his second WHL game. . . . Things didn’t go well for the Royals, though, as the Broncos struck for two shorthanded goals and one on the PP in a 6-1 victory. . . . F Raphael Pelletier scored twice for the Broncos. . . .
The Ottawa 67’s, the OHL’s last unbeaten team, dropped a 5-3 decision to the host Peterborough Petes on Friday night. The 67’s had opened with nine straight victories. The Petes now are 8-3-1. . . .
In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees now are 13-0-0 after scoring a 4-1 victory over the host West Kelowna Warriors. . . . Next up for the Vees? The Trail Smoke Eaters (6-5-1) are to visit Penticton tonight.
THINKING OUT LOUD — Now that was a terrific opener for the World Series. It would have been a whole lot better if Fox’s broadcast crew — Joe Davis and John Smoltz — stopped talking on occasion and just let the game breathe. Please, guys, why not allow the viewers to experience the atmosphere a bit. Baseball is a game that sometimes doesn’t need chatter. . . . Late in Game 1, writer Joe Posnanski tweeted: “Nobody in baseball can hit any reliever.” He’s not wrong. . . . What could be more fitting than having Shane Doan and his son, Josh, drop the ceremonial first puck as the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes played their first game at Arizona State U’s Mullett Arena last night? While Shane, who owns a chunk of the Kamloops Blazers, played for the Coyotes, Josh, 20, captains the ASU Sun Devils. . . . The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 28-2 at home over the last two CFL seasons. The Edmonton Elks have lost 17 straight home games. Hmmm.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The Edmonton Oil Kings could become the WHL’s first playoff champion since the spring of 2019 with a victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds tonight (Saturday).
The Oil Kings returned home Wednesday night after having won twice in Kent, Wash. — 4-0 on Tuesday and 3-2 earlier Wednesday. That put the Oil Kings in control of the series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with a 3-1 lead.
Keep in mind, however, that the Thunderbirds haven’t been an easy out in these playoffs. In fact, this game will mark the sixth time that Seattle will have faced elimination. Yes, the Thunderbirds are 5-0 in elimination games, having come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Portland Winterhawks and 3-2 against the Kamloops Blazers. In the process, the Thunderbirds became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road.
If they are to win this series, they’ll have to do it on the road, too. Because the arena in Kent is busy with high school graduation ceremonies, this series is running on a 2-2-3 format with as many of the last three games as needed to be played in Edmonton. Should a sixth game be necessary, it would be played on Monday with the Thunderbirds designated as the home team. If needed, Game 7 would be be played on Tuesday.
Seattle will be without D Tyrel Bauer, its captain and a dominating shutdown defender, tonight and again on Monday if there is a Game 6. Bauer, 20, who has signed with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, drew a two-game suspension for an early first-period hit on Edmonton F Brendan Kuny on Wednesday. Bauer was given an interference major and game misconduct on the play. Kuny received medical attention from personnel from both teams, was placed on a backboard, then removed from the ice surface on a stretcher and taken to an area hospital. He rejoined his teammates before the night was done and returned with them to Edmonton where he was examined by the team’s medical staff on Thursday. Kuny, a 20-year-old from Ardrossan, Alta., won’t play again in this series.
The Prince Albert Raiders hold the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions, having won it in 2019. The WHL was closing in on its 2019-20 playoff season when the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the remainder of the season late in March. There wasn’t a true regular season in 2020-21 — with teams playing an abbreviated development season — before things resumed in earnest last fall.
The Oil Kings are gunning for the organization’s first WHL title since 2014. They went on to win the Memorial Cup that spring, the last time a WHL team has won it.
The 2022 Memorial Cup is scheduled to run from June 20-29 in Saint John, N.B.
The only team assured a spot in the four-team tournament to date is the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. They were eliminated in the first round, then fired head coach Gordie Dwyer on May 26, replacing him with Gardiner MacDougall, the head coach of the U of New Brunswick Reds for 22 seasons. MacDougall is to return to the Reds when the tournament is over.
Nathan Staios, in return to lineup after missing 5 games, burns former squad with tying goal scoring with the extra man with 2 minutes left. 'Dogs 2nd extra man goal this season. Staios finished T-7th in defenceman goals in season (15). Team improves to 13-1-2-0 when he scores https://t.co/B6CF0NL4Bg
Meanwhile, the OHL playoffs continued on Friday night in Windsor where the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Spitfires, 3-2, in OT. . . . F Will Cuylle gave Windsor a 2-1 lead at 12:41 of the second period, and the Spitfires nursed that edge into the last two minutes of the third period. . . . D Nathan Staios then pulled Hamilton even at 18:03 with G Marco Costantini on the bench for an extra attacker. . . . D Gavin White won it with his second goal of the playoffs, at 7:31 of extra time. The goal came 10 seconds after the conclusion of a Hamilton PP opportunity. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Hamilton on Sunday, with Game 6 scheduled for Monday in Windsor. . . .
In the QMJHL, the visiting Charlottetown Islanders scored four times in the second period on Thursday night and went on to beat the Shawinigan Cataractes, 7-0. . . . G Francesco Lapenna earned the shutout with 16 saves. . . . Shawinigan still holds a 3-1 lead in the series with Game 5 scheduled for Charlottetown tonight. . . .
Remember that all of these playoff games are being televised by TSN.
THE COACHING GAME:
The Kamloops Blazers announced on Friday that Mark Holick is leaving the organization for “personal reasons” after one season as associate coach. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “Originally, the plan was for Mark to move his family up here. There were some schooling- and work-related situations with his wife and the roads closed there for half the winter. That didn’t make it easier. And there is a situation right now they’re dealing with that was just going to make that move impossible. When you added everything up, it just wasn’t going to work out with him and his family moving forward.” . . . Clouston said that the Blazers, who will be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament, are likely to hire two full-time assistant coaches before the 2022-23 season gets here. . . . Hastings’ story is right here. . . .
The Calgary Hitmen have signed assistant coach Matt Stajan to a two-year extension. A veteran of 1,003 regular-season NHL games, Stajan just completed his first season on Calgary’s coaching staff. He works alongside head coach Steve Hamilton and fellow assistant Trent Cassan. . . .
The Regina Pats have signed five members of the their hockey operations staff to what the team referred to as “multi-year contract extensions.” . . . Assistant coach Brad Herauf is preparing for his eighth season with the Pats. A Regina native, he stepped in as interim head coach early in February and remained in that position through season’s end as John Paddock, the general manager and head coach, was sidelined with health-related issues. . . . Ken Schneider, the club’s other assistant coach, just completed his first season on the coaching staff. He previously had scouted for the Pats for three seasons. . . . Rob Muntain, the goaltending coach, is returning for his 12th season with the club. . . . Greg Mayer, the athletic therapist, is preparing for his 19th season. He is the longest-serving member of the hockey operations department. . . . Gord Cochran, the Pats’ equipment manager, will be back for his ninth season in Regina.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Prince George Cougars have acquired F Chase Wheatcroft, 20, from the Winnipeg Ice for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft. Wheatcroft, from Calgary, was acquired by the Ice from the Lethbridge Hurricanes during the 2021-22 season. In 55 games, he totalled 16 goals and 22 assists. He added a goal and five assists in 15 playoff games. . . . Wheatcroft is the second 20-year-old forward picked up by the Cougars of late. Last month, they added Nolan Boyko from the Saskatoon Blades. He and Wheatcroft were teammates in Lethbridge at one point. . . .
Cole Waldie will be the play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars when another season gets here. The former radio voice of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings has joined the Cougars as their director or broadcasting, communications and public relations. Waldie spent the past three seasons with the Spruce Kings. He replaces Fraser Rodgers, who left after five years with the Cougars to return to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees as their vice-president of business operations and director of broadcasting, communications and public relations. . . .
A couple of interesting notes from the annual meeting of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. For starters, accountant Jason Traska reported that despite attendance being limited to 500 fans per game for a lot of the season the organization was able to pay off a $40,000 COVID-19 loan and have money left over. As well, the blog Rider News reported: “Oddly enough, overall attendance was down but beer sales were up, and that’s great news for the Fernie Brewing Company and anyone who sells Tylenol.” . . . Oh, and did we mention that seven people — yes, SEVEN — attended the AGM.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
It you are a junior hockey fan, TSN is the place to be this week. All three major junior leagues are into their best-of-seven final series and all games now are being televised by TSN. . . . On Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oil Kings skated past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-0, in Kent, Wash. Edmonton leads that series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Kent tonight (Wednesday) and, yes, it’ll be on TSN with Victor Findlay calling the play and Kevin Sawyer providing analysis. . . .
In the QMJHL, the Charlottetown Islanders and Shawinigan Cataractes are scheduled to resume hostilities tonight (Wednesday). Shawinigan won twice in Charlottetown — 5-1 and 4-3 in OT — so takes a 2-0 lead into Game 3 on home ice and on TSN. . . . This will be the first game in a doubleheader on TSN tonight — the QMJHL game starts at 7 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET), with the WHL game to follow. . . . Game 4 in the QMJHL final is to be played in Shawinigan on Thursday night. . . . Adam Dunfee is doing the play-by-play and Marc Methot is the analyst. . . .
Alex Christopoulos recorded 13 goals in 47 games after being acquired by Windsor and has now struck for double-digits in these playoffs (3 multigoal games, 3 solo goal games). Wyatt Johnston has now combined for 161 points, 2nd most in a season for the Spitfires (EP). https://t.co/Z11M9MR1Ka
In the OHL, the host Windsor Spitfires dumped the Hamilton Bulldogs, 6-3, on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in that championship series. F Alex Christopoulos and F Wyatt Johnston had two goals each for the winners. With the arena in Windsor tied up with graduations, they won’t get to Game 4 until Friday night. . . . Jon Abbott is calling the play for TSN in this series, with Craig Button beside him.
TUESDAY IN THE WHL:
Championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup
Half of the offence comes from the defence as Simon Kubicek greets his old stomping grounds with a goal, joined in the column by Kaiden Guhle. Oil Kings defenders have been responsible for 26.9% of goals, 30.1% of points this postseason and scored 4 of 10 in Championship Series. https://t.co/99u4BqtP8c
In Kent, Wash., D Simon Kubicek, who began his WHL career with Seattle, had a goal and an assist and G Sebastian Cossa stopped 21 shots as the Edmonton Oil Kings skated to a 4-0 victory over the Thunderbirds. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Kent tonight. The teams then will return to Edmonton for the remainder of the series, starting with Game 5 on Saturday. . . . In these playoffs, Cossa now is 14-2, 1.98, .911 with four shutouts. He wasn’t challenged a whole lot in this one as the Oil Kings played a near-perfect defensive game, rarely allowing the Thunderbirds free travel through the neutral zone. . . . After the third goal-less first period in as many games, the Oil Kings had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring while shorthanded in the second period when F Jake Neighbours and F Jalen Luypen broke in alone on Seattle G Thomas Milic. The two skaters played give-and-go and it ended with Milic making a tremendous pad save on Neighbours at 15:28. . . . F Jakub Demek (4) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 17:02 of the second period, just 12 seconds after Edmonton had killed off a penalty. Demek, starting in his zone, broke down the right wing and got around a Seattle defender to beat Milic with a backhand-to-forehand. . . .
Kubicek (3) gave his guys a 2-0 lead when he scored at 4:10 the third period, just seven seconds into a PP from a play that developed after Edmonton won a faceoff in Seattle’s zone. . . . Kubicek, 20, is from Czech Republic. He played in 113 regular-season games with Seattle before being dealt to Edmonton for Belarusian F Vladimir Alistrov on Jan. 25, 2021. Kubicek didn’t play for Edmonton in the 2021 development season, while Alistrov, then 19, never did play for the Thunderbirds. . . . This season, Kubicek had 41 points, 14 of them goals, in 68 regular-season games with Edmonton. He also led the WHL in penalty minutes, with 133, but keep in mind the WHL doesn’t include misconducts, game misconducts, etc., in individual penalty totals. . . . The Oil Kings went ahead 3-0 when D Kaiden Guhle (7) scored from the high slot at 11:47 of the third period. . . . F Carter Souch (12) provided the empty-netter for Edmonton at 19:19. He’s got goals in five straight games now. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-for-4 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 0-for-3. . . . Milic finished with 33 saves. . . .
Edmonton F Dylan Guenther, who had 91 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games, didn’t finish the game. He has 21 points, 13 of them goals, in 16 playoff games. . . . The Thunderbirds scratched F Henrik Rybinski for a second straight game after he absorbed a check from Guhle in Game 1. He missed three of the seven games against the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Conference final and sat out Game 2 against Edmonton on Sunday. Rybinski has 18 points, 14 of them assists, in 17 playoff games after putting up 65 points, including 44 assists, in 47 regular-season games.
3/31/18 was the last time the TBirds were shutout in the playoffs. That was a 4-0 loss in Everett.
4/8/16 was the last time they were shutout at home in a playoff game. That was a 3-0 loss to Everett.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Jason Clarke, already the head coach, has added the general manager’s duties to his role with the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He signed a two-year deal. Before jumped into the QMJHL after being the owner, general manager and head coach of the junior A Carleton Place Canadiens of the Central Canada Hockey League. He was an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes when the 2021-22 season began, but signed on as head coach of the Titan in late November. . . . With the Titan, he replaces Sylvain Couturier, who resigned on May 27. . . .
Who says you can’t go home again? Former NHLer Eric Fehr has signed on with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers, his hometown team, as director of player development. In a 17-year pro career, Fehr, a former Brandon Wheat Kings star (2001-05), was on teams that won the Calder Cup, Spengler Cup and Stanley Cup. . . . In 2021-22, Fehr, 36, played five regular-season and two playoff games with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL.
Before you start complaining about the many viewings we are being treated to of Justin Bieber in that Tim Hortons commercial . . . just be thankful that he isn’t offering gambling advice.
We are saddened by the passing of former forward Eric Nesterenko at the age of 88.
Nesterenko was a key member of the 1961 Stanley Cup championship team and played 16 years with the Blackhawks. We extend our condolences to his entire family ❤️ pic.twitter.com/XSHE3EhVut
These days I am spending time going through more than 40 years worth of files. As pages and pages of clippings, news releases and more, most of them related to the WHL and various teams, go into the recycling bin there are memories, lots of memories involving personalities.
Like Patty Ginnell, or Paddy Ginnell, who was Pat Ginnell when he took over as head coach of the Flin Flon Bombers on June 1, 1966. Quick now . . . who did he succeed? That would be Tom Baird, who stayed on as the general manager.
The Bombers were in the SJHL at the time, but that changed when they moved to what was then the Western Canada Junior Hockey League for its second season (1967-68). It had been the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League for its inaugural season (1966-67).
Anyway, Ginnell was 29 when he took over the Bombers. He had spent the previous three seasons playing for the IHL’s Des Moines Oak Leafs. You know that putting Ginnell behind the bench was a popular choice in Flin Flon because he had played for the Bombers when they won the 1958 Memorial Cup.
Ginnell coached the Bombers through Dec. 9, 1973, his final game a 6-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats.
Why was that his final game?
He had purchased 40 per cent of the Victoria Cougars and was about to step in as general manager and head coach.
Ginnell told Mal Isaac of the Regina Leader-Post that he had been trying to purchase a piece of the Bombers but hadn’t met with any success.
“I’ve been manager-coach in Flin Flon for nine years,” he told Isaac, “and I don’t have a thing to show for it. I don’t even own a stick.” (If you did the math, you know that he actually was in his eighth season with the Bombers, but, hey, facts didn’t get in the way of a lot of stories back in the day.)
“It’s always been my desire to own and operate my own club and that was something I was unable to do in Flin Flon,” Ginnell continued. “Now I’ll have my own team.”
Interestingly, Ginnell’s impending move leaked with the Bombers on the road and before he was able to inform the team’s board of directors.
With the Cougars, Ginnell bought out Eric Bishop, who said he was quitting as the team’s general manager. The Cougars, who started that season with Ollie Dorohoy as their head coach, were in their third WCHL season, hadn’t made the playoffs in their first two and were struggling again.
Victoria finished that season at 22-40-6, which left it fifth in the six-team Western Division.
At some point before Ginnell bought a piece of the Cougars, he had been asked how long it would take him to turn the team into a contender. “One year minimum,” he replied.
Well, the Cougars, led by Mel Bridgman, finished the 1974-75 season atop the West Division with a 47-18-5 record but dropped a best-of-seven semifinal series to the New Westminster Bruins, 4-2.
The Bombers’ board of directors, meanwhile, accepted Ginnell’s recommendation that Mel Pearson, a teammate on the 1958 Memorial Cup-winning team, be the next GM/head coach. Pearson had spent the 1972-73 season with the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints.
Pearson didn’t get to Flin Flon in time for the Bombers next game, on Dec. 13 against, yes, the Cougars. So trainer Nick Oklobdzija — he was known as Nick Alphabet — served as the interim head coach and posted one of his dozen or so career coaching victories, this one by a 10-2 score. Ginnell watched from the Whitney Forum stands as Dorohoy continued for the moment as the Cougars’ coach.
(Bruce Penton, writing in the Brandon Sun of March 7, 1974, noted that Oklobdzija “is undefeated in 12 tests as coach of the WCHL Bombers.”
“That goes back about eight or nine years,” Oklobdzija told Penton. “I’ve filled in here and there when (Ginnell) was away or suspended, or something. And we’ve never lost while I’ve coached.” The WHL’s coaching records show Oklobdzija with a 2-0-0 coaching mark.)
Pearson made his Flin Flon coaching debut on Dec. 18 with a 7-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. (One of Brandon’s goals came from John Paddock, now the Pats’ vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach.)
Pearson, who had signed a contract taking him through 1974-75, was gone early in the 1975-76 season, fired on Oct. 29. At the time, the Bombers had two victories in 12 games.
The Bombers then hired Mickey Keating to replace Pearson, thus ending Ginnell’s connection to the Flin Flon franchise.
As an aside, my favourite Keating quote emerged late in the 1976-77 season. At one point, I wrote a few stories detailing the history of the WHL and it included this:
A nine-hour meeting in Calgary resulted in a new playoff format. Under the original format, the Flin Flon Bombers, third in the East, were 20 points ahead of Regina and all but had a playoff spot locked up. Suddenly, there was a new format and the Bombers were fighting for a spot. Oh yes, they were also on a 15-game West Coast road trip.
“In this league, you need two pieces of equipment,” said Flin Flon boss Mickey Keating. “You need a face-guard when you play some of the teams on the ice and a back protector for the committee room. I had inklings that there may be changes in the playoffs but I had confidence there were intelligent hockey men in this league. I was shown different.”
Ahh, yes, those were the days.
If you have time on your hands, you could track down the Twitter account belonging to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs (@OHLIceDogs) and check out the ‘apology’ from the Burke brothers — Billy and Joey. And then see if you can find the screen shot of the WhatsApp chat that got them into trouble with David Branch, the OHL commissioner. . . . And after you have done all that, you are free to wonder why the Burke boys weren’t suspended for life.
Meanwhile, there is ample speculation that the IceDogs are soon to be sold to, as Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered reported, “a group headed by Darren DeDobberlaer, an insurance magnate from nearby Brantford, who owns both the Brantford 99ers Jr. A team and the Brantford Bandits Jr. B team.”
Campbell also wrote: “Oh, yes, and the selling price is rumoured to be in the range of $20 million, which should disavow anyone of the notion that major junior hockey operators in Canada are mom and pop operations that require millions of dollars in tax money to meet their scholarship commitments and provincial government laws to help them skirt minimum wage requirements. Teams make money when they are strong and struggle financially when they aren’t. If the operators know what they’re doing, they can make it work. And as we’re seeing with the IceDogs, they can cash out when they sell the team.”
Campbell’s piece is right here and it’s because of reports like this that I subscribe to his site.
Bombshell out of Quebec today: Minister Isabelle Charest threatens to unsanction the QMJHL if fighting isn't banned.
“The Greater Toronto Hockey League has hired a private investigator to scrutinize allegations that Jewish players with the U-13 Avenue Road Ducks and their family members were targeted with anti-Semitic slurs during games this season,” reports Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . That story is right here.
Meanwhile, CBC Ottawa reports that “after some Black minor hockey players in western Quebec alleged they were racially abused, a Gatineau, Que., team has suspended six of its players and the provincial governing body cancelled weekend games.” . . . That story is right here.
And, from Oakland, Mich., comes this from clickondetroit.com: “A 15-year-old boy is suing three players on an under 16 youth hockey team, their parents and the coach after he said he endured antisemitic bullying until he quit the team.” . . . That story is right here.
Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . You are able to support her by making a donation right here.
FRIDAY IN THE WHL:
G Nolan Maier became the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL history as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-0. . . . Maier stopped 20 shots in posting his 121st career regular-season victory, breaking a record he had shared with Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . . Hirsch tweeted: “Congrats Nolan! Your perseverance, resilience and dedication is nothing short of inspirational. Enjoy the moment; you’ve earned it!” . . . The Blades won it with two third-period goals, from F Egor Sidorov (23), at 12:17, and F Trevor Wong (16), at 18:01. . . . Maier has three shutouts his season; he holds the franchise career record, with 11. . . . Saskatoon (37-26-4) moved into fourth place, one point ahead of the idle Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Raiders (26-34-5) are 10th, two points out of a playoff spot. . . .
F Jake Chiasson had two goals and two assists as the Brandon Wheat Kings doubled the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Chiasson, who has six goals, struck twice in the second period as Brandon took a 5-1 lead. Chiasson missed a huge chunk of the season with an injury and only began play on March 4. He now has 15 points in 16 games. . . . D Mason Ward added two goals, giving him six, and an assist for Brandon, with D Chad Nychuk getting a goal, his 21st, and two assists. Nychuk has 68 points in 60 games. . . . Brandon (34-25-5), which has won four in a row, is sixth, four points behind Moose Jaw. Each team has four games remaining. . . . Medicine Hat (11-50-4) has lost nine straight games. . . .
In Red Deer, F Ben King, who leads the WHL in goals, scored in OT to give the Rebels a 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . King, who also had two assists, scored his 49th goal of the season at 2:56 of OT. . . . King has a WHL-leading 15 game-winning goals this season. F Brian Propp of the 1978-19 Brandon Wheat Kings holds the WHL record of 16. . . . F Logan Wormald scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 14. His second goal, at 8:33 of the third period, gave his side a 4-3 lead. . . . D Christoffer Sedoff (7) forced OT with a goal at 12:04. . . . Red Deer (44-17-4) is third, four points behind the idle Edmonton Oil Kings, who have a game in hand. . . . Lethbridge (30-30-5) is headed for a seventh-place finish. . . .
F Connor Bedard set two franchise records as his Regina Pats beat the Broncos, 4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Bedard scored twice to give him 47 this season. His 46th goal, a shorthanded effort, set the Pats’ record for most goals by a player in his 16-year-old season. F Jeff Friesen scored 45 times in 1992-93. . . . Bedard now has 89 point in 58 games, and that also is a Pats’ franchise record for a player in his 16-year-old WHL season. F Doug Wickenheiser finished the 1977-78 season with 88 points. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Kelton Pyne. . . . Regina (25-34-5) is 11th and, with four games remaining, trails the eighth-place Broncos (26-34-7) by four points.
F Matthew Seminoff scored with four seconds remaining in the third period to give the Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kamloops. . . . The goal came one second after the end of a Victoria PP opportunity. . . . F Logan Stankoven had three assists for the Blazers, including the only one on the winner. . . . Seminoff has 25 goals. . . . F Bailey Peach (36) scored twice and added an assist for Victoria, which came back to tie the score three times but wasn’t able to grab the lead. . . . Stankoven now has 99 points, leaving him three behind F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels, who leads the points race. . . . Stankoven, who has played 56 games, leads the WHL in points-per-game (1.77). . . .Kamloops (47-16-2) is second, four points behind the Everett Silvertips. Each team has three games remaining. . . . Victoria (22-37-6) is tied for seventh with the Vancouver Giants, one point behind the idle Spokane Chiefs. . . .
F Alex Swetlikoff scored three times and added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . The Silvertips, who clinched the U.S. Division regular-season pennant, scored the game’s last four goals, the first two from Swetlikoff, who has 33 goals. . . . Everett was 3-for-9 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-for-2. . . . Everett had a 50-13 edge in shots. According to the online game sheet, shots were 10-0 in the third period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski had an empty-net goal and two assists for Everett. He’s got 46 goals. . . . Everett (45-10-10) leads the conference by four points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (18-42-7) has been eliminated from playoff contention. . . .
F Jack O’Brien had two goals to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 7-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . O’Brien has 13 goals. . . . F Cross Hanas scored his 25th goal and added two assists for the winners. . . . There was something of a brouhaha at 19:17 of the third period that resulted in 97 penalty minutes being handed out. . . . Portland (44-16-5) is third, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (23-36-4) is tied for seventh with Victoria, one point behind Spokane and one ahead of the idle Prince George Cougars.
JUST NOTES: F Logan Nijhoff, the Regina Pats’ captain, has signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. Nijhoff, 20, had 20 goals and 23 assists in 52 games when the signing was announced on Thursday. He is completing his fifth season with Regina. Nijhoff attended the Ducks’ rookie camp in September. . . . The EIHL’s Cardiff Devils have fired head coach Jarrod Skalde, who was in his first season there. Assistant coaches Brodie Dupont and Neil Francis will run things through the end of the season. With four games left in the regular season, the Devils are third at 27-15-3.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The boys played a hockey game last night. Yes, they shook off the rust and away they went.
They did pretty well, too, getting 37 saves from goaltender Parker Tobin in posting an 8-0 victory before a world-wide audience.
Tobin was making his first appearance with his new team, having been acquired from the junior A Humboldt Broncos in exchange for defenceman Xavier Labelle earlier in the day.
“We were fortunate we got a great performance from Tobin and our top scorers scored,” said general manager/head coach Darcy Haugan.
The boys were led by the line of Jaxon Joseph, Logan Schatz and Evan Thomas, who combined for 12 points, including six goals.
There was a scary moment early in the second period when Schatz appeared to catch an edge as he cut behind Tobin’s net. Schatz crumpled to the ice and for a moment it looked as though he had suffered a knee injury. Athletic therapist Dayna Brons, the only girl on the boys team, was quick to the scene. She helped Schatz to the dressing room and was able to get him back to the bench before too much time had elapsed.
“She’s got magic fingers and she’s great with tape,” said Schatz, who also is the team captain. “If there’s an MVP on this team, she’s it. I don’t know where we’d be without her.”
Haugan was thrilled when Schatz returned to the bench and Brons signalled that the captain was OK to go.
“That allowed us to keep our lines intact and to execute our game plan to a T,” Haugan said. “We wanted our power play to obviously be big. We didn’t expect it to be that big so we’re very fortunate. You need your top guys to be your best guys and they were.”
The boys counted five times on eight power-play opportunities and that really was huge.
Joseph finished with three goals and an assist, with Schatz chipping in two of each, and Thomas putting up a goal and three helpers.
Defenceman Adam Herold, the youngest player on the team, and forward Conner Lukan also scored. Lukan was skating alongside Jacob Leicht and Logan Hunter, and that threesome easily could have had four or five more goals. Hunter recorded two assists, with Leicht getting one. Defenceman Stephen Wack also had one assist.
As for the opposition, Haugan said, they “stepped up all night, they were relentless. Obviously our guys did a good job of keeping everything to the outside and didn’t allow them to penetrate to the middle of the ice. We did get a couple of breaks so we did get lucky but all-in-all to escape with a 1-0 lead after one, we’ll gladly take it.”
Defenceman Logan Boulet showed a lot of heart and leadership in earning six assists for the boys.
“I felt great out there,” Boulet said. “I was using a Brad McCrimmon model stick and, man, I really was able to throw some great saucer passes out there. And I don’t know that the stick had anything to do with it, but I never wanted to leave the ice.”
Haugan said one of the toughest tasks he and assistant coach Mark Cross faced was getting the players to pick out the sticks they wanted to use.
“I have never seen or heard of a team having such a wide selection to choose from,” Haugan said. “There were sticks everywhere. We may have to build some kind of stick warehouse to house them all.”
After the game, the boys admitted to being quite excited about having been able to replace one of their travelling staples.
“One of the boys picked up a copy of Slap Shot,” Haugan said. “He got it from somewhere in Portland, I think. You can’t be on the road without Reggie Dunlop and Slap Shot, but our original DVD got broken somehow and, let me tell you, there were some broken hearts when that happened.
It’s worth pointing out that the boys led 1-0 after the first period, which was played in Chicago Stadium. They were up 4-0 after the second, which was played in Maple Leaf Gardens. The teams played the final period in the Montreal Forum. The travel arrangements were all under the control of Glen Doerksen, the team’s travelling secretary.
So . . . what’s next for the boys?
Well, Haugan said, the coaches are well aware that focusing on one sport isn’t the way to go.
“The guys are talking about wanting to play some baseball,” Haugan said. “Apparently, some guy in Iowa built a ball diamond in a cornfield. So I think we’re wanting to give that a try.
“But we’ll have to scrounge some bats, balls and gloves first.”
JUST NOTES: There was a third man behind the bench with Haugan and Cross, and Haugan later revealed that he has added Brock Hirsche to his coaching staff. Hirsche played in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars, then returned to his hometown to play with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . .
Tyler Bieber, an up-and-coming play-by-play voice, called last night’s game on 107.5 FM (aka The Prayer), with sports fanatic Brody Hinz handling the analysis and statistics, including zone entries and Corsi. . . .
(Christopher Lee of the Humboldt Journal may recognize some of the quotes here. Thanks for loaning them to me.)
The OHL dropped the hammer on the Niagara IceDogs on Wednesday, a month after some members of the organization were alleged to have used improper language in a group chat on WhatsApp, a transcript of which was given to the league. Joey Burke, one of the team’s minority owner and the governor, and Billy Burke, the head coach and a minority owner, have been suspended indefinitely. The IceDogs also have been fined $150,000. . . . From an OHL news release: “Based on the results of the league investigation, it is the position of the league that their conduct is prejudicial to the welfare of the OHL as it violates the league’s Harassment & Abuse/Diversity Policy and also runs counter to the OHL’s Onside program, which emphasizes the importance of demonstrating respect for women through actions and words.” . . . According to terms of the disciplinary action, both are able to apply for reinstatement on June 1, 2024. “At that time,” reads the news release, “the Commissioner will assess whether they have successfully completed counselling and education to ensure that there will be no additional violations of League rules, policies, or expected conduct.” . . . Rick Westhead of TSN later tweeted: “IceDogs co-owner Bill Burke, Joey and Billy’s father, told The Welland Tribune that ‘today a very sad day for the Burke family. We will have more to say in the coming days. We would . . . like to thank everyone that has reached out today with their overwhelming love and support.”
Meanwhile, the AHL has suspended F Ben Holmstrom of the Rochester Americans for eight games for using “homophobic language” during a game against the visiting Utica Comets on March 30. He was ejected at the end of the first period. . . . “As part of the suspension,” the AHL said in a statement, “Holmstrom will be participating in diversity and inclusion education.”
Now let’s hop on over to Quebec for this from Guy Quenneville of CBC News . . .
“More Black minor hockey players in western Quebec are coming forward with allegations of racial slurs less than a week after another Black player spoke out.
“On Monday, Hockey Outaouais and the team L’Intrépide de Gatineau confirmed in a statement they have launched an investigation after two of the team’s players said they were subjected to racist remarks.
“One of those players, Anthony Allain-Samaké, told Radio-Canada the bullying led him to quit the team.”
His mother, Julie Allain, speaking French, told Quenneville: “Being called the N-word was still quite common for several players. I told him it is totally unacceptable.”
In Spokane, F Nick McCarry struck 10 seconds into OT was the Chiefs beat the Everett Silvertips, 3-2. . . . McCarry, who has 22 goals, has seven points, five of them goals, over his past four games. . . . Olen Zellweger, theWHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, scored his 14th goal and added an assist. He has 76 points in 53 games. . . . G Mason Beaupit stopped 32 shots, 18 of them in the second period, for Spokane. . . . Announced attendance was 7,252, an awfully impressive number for a midweek game. . . . The Chiefs’ victory eliminated the idle Tri-City Americans from the chase for a playoff spot. . . . Spokane (23-37-5), with three games remaining, is sixth, one point ahead of the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals, and two up on the Prince George Cougars. . . . Everett (44-10-10) leads the conference by four points over the Kamloops Blazers. Each team has four games remaining. . . .
The Kelowna Rockets scored the game’s last three goals as they beat the Cougars, 4-1, in Prince George. . . . The Rockets, who won 1-0 in OT there on Tuesday, have won six straight in Prince George. . . . F Colton Dach scored once, his 26th, and added two assists. . . . F Pavel Novak (28) broke a 1-1 tie at 18:52 of the first period and the visitors put it away with two third-period goals. . . . Kelowna (39-19-6) now is two points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds with each team having four games to play. . . . The Cougars are ninth, one point from a playoff spot.
Justin Hall and Alex Thacker both collect 3 assists in third. Hall hits at least 3 assists for 3rd time this year, extending point streak to 5 while Thacker thrusts a multipoint game streak to three with 5th (and first not against MH or REG). Passes 100 career points. https://t.co/hvhiIOiVbx
The host Lethbridge Hurricanes struck for six goals in the third period as they dropped the Saskatoon Blades, 6-1. . . . The game’s seven goals all came in the third period. . . . D Joe Arntsen scored twice, giving him seven, and added an assist, with F Justin Hall and F Alex Thacker each adding three assists. . . . F Jordan Keller scored his first WHL goal in his eighth game for the Blades. Keller, who turned 17 on March 8, is the son of Aaron Keller, who played four seasons (1992-96) with the Kamloops Blazers before going on to play 17 seasons in Japan. Aaron now helps out the Blazers as a development coach. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier stopped 31 shots in his first opportunity to break the WHL career record for victories. . . . Lethbridge (30-30-4) is seventh, seven points behind the Brandon Wheat Kings and five ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Saskatoon (36-26-4) remains fifth, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors and five ahead of Brandon.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs and Rick Swan, their general manager and head coach, “have mutually agreed to part ways effective immediately,” the team announced Wednesday. Swan had been with the organization for 10 years, the last nine as GM and head coach. This season, the Pontiacs went 36-16-8, good for third in the North Division, then lost a six-game first-round series to the Whitecourt Wolverines.
IN THE NEWS! 📰📣 Green Shirt Day: McLeod Lake family honours their son Taylor who was an organ donor. https://t.co/TP1DDL8rZ1
You have to wonder if we will be seeing any new Russian or Belarusian players headed this way for the next season — or longer — because of the decision by Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator, to invade Ukraine.
On Monday, the NHL revealed that it has suspended a Memorandum of Understanding that it had with the KHL, the Russia-based professional league that involves a number of Putin friends and Russian oligarchs.
As Aaron Vickers of the Daily Hive reported, the move effectively ends communication between the KHL and NHL.
Frank Seravalli of Daily Face-off obtained a memo that went from the NHL to its teams, in which teams were told to “immediately cease all dealings (direct or indirect) with the KHL and KHL clubs (and all representatives of both), as well as with player agents who are based in and continue to do business in Russia.”
Meanwhile, the CHL, which oversees the 60 major junior teams in the OHL, QMJHL and WHL, met last week and one of the items on the agenda was the 2022 import draft. There was speculation that the CHL would ban Russian and Belarusian players from the draft. However, after the meeting, the CHL announced that “the date and format for the 2022 CHL import draft have yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.”
The CHL and its leagues often operate in lockstep in a lot of ways, so it will be interesting to see the end result of the major junior deliberations, especially in light of the NHL’s decision to at least temporarily sever relationships with the KHL.
It also will be interesting to see how NHL teams deal with Russian and Belarusian players who are eligible for the 2022 draft. Considering the uncertainty surrounding those two countries at the moment, how many NHL teams will even consider drafting Russians or Belarusians? And should the CHL choose to include those players in the annual import draft, will major junior teams shy away from selecting them?
If you are wondering, there presently are six Belarussians and three Russians listed on WHL team rosters.
TUESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL: G Daniel Hauser stopped 14 shots to earn the shutout as the host Winnipeg Ice beat the Calgary Hitmen, 2-0. Hauser has four career shutouts, all of them this season. In 32 appearances over two seasons, he is 26-2-2, 2.48, .904. . . . The Ice became the seventh WHL team to clinch a playoff spot. . . . F Evan Herman scored twice, giving him 21 goals, and G Tikhon Chaika stopped 23 shots as the Prince Albert Raiders beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-0, for their third straight victory. Chaika, an 18-year-old freshman from Belarus, has two shutouts this season. He is 16-15-2, 2.92, .902. . . . The Raiders (22-28-3), Calgary (20-26-7) and Swift Current Broncos (20-28-78) are tied for the Eastern Conference’s eight and final playoff spot. . . . F Bailey Peach scored his 30th goal of the season on a penalty shot and added two assists as the host Victoria Royals dumped the Portland Winterhawks, 5-3. Victoria closed to within one point of the Spokane Chiefs, who hold down the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot. The Winterhawks had won five in a row. They remain three points behind the conference-leading Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips, each with 80 points.
The Swift Current Broncos have made Devan Praught the ninth head coach in the franchise’s history. Praught, a native of Summerside, P.E.I., had been the interim head coach since Oct. 14 when Dean Brockman resigned as general manager and head coach. The Broncos are 18-25-7 under Praught. . . . There is a news release right here. . . . The Broncos named Chad Leslie as their general manager on Jan. 31 when they removed the interim from his title.
Doug Ford really likes his junior hockey. Is it not enough that his government already lets OHL teams skirt minimum-wage laws? That's $176,470.59 of public money going to each for-profit OHL team. If you're a taxpayer in Ontario, you should be livid. https://t.co/eUiJI5V3xi
The QMJHL has suspended F Lou-Félix Denis of the Shawinigan Cataractes for five games for remarks he made in the direction of Russian D Evgenii Kashnikov of the Gatineau Olympiques during a game on Sunday. The incident occurred late in the first period, referee Pascal Saint-Jacques heard the comments, and Denis was handed a game misconduct for, according to the online game sheet, “discriminatory taunts, gestures and slurs.” Denis also will have to take part in a workshop about the QMJHL’s anti-discrimination policy. . . . Denis is the third QMJHL player to have been suspended under that policy this season.
Meanwhile, the OHL investigated allegations of inappropriate comments having been made by a member of the Sudbury Wolves towards a player with the North Bay Battalion on March 3. On Tuesday, the OHL issued a statement that read, in part: “The league has done a thorough investigation of the allegation, including speaking to players and team officials of both teams in addition to the on-ice officials, and the allegation cannot be substantiated.”
The OHL also said it “will treat any discrimination against Russian and Belarusian players as we would with all allegations in accordance with our Harassment & Abuse/Diversity Policy. Further, last week we advised all of our on-ice officials to be aware of any inappropriate conduct among players including any anti-Russian/Belarusian discrimination and are working with the Canadian Mental Health Association through our Talk Today program to ensure supports are in place for our Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian players.”
What time is it? HOGLE TIME
The Edmonton Riverhawks baseball club is excited to announce the hiring of Steve Hogle as their first General Manager!
Steve Hogle isn’t going to settle the dispute between MLB and the MLBPA, but he is getting into baseball. The West Coast League’s Edmonton Riverhawks have announced that they have hired Hogle, a former president of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, as their first general manager. Prior to working with the Blades, he was vice-president communications and broadcast with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Since returning to Edmonton from Saskatoon, Hogle had been working with Hockey Edmonton.
My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.
If you are a Seahawks fan, and you are driving, and you are listening to the radio, and you hear about Russell Wilson. …please don't drive off the road. Calmly pull over, and then react. pic.twitter.com/kObNgIJYPr
March is Kidney Health Month. Kidney disease can progress without much indication that anything is wrong, leaving many people unaware they have they have diminished kidney function. Find out why kidney disease should matter to you https://t.co/Oko3V4DExPpic.twitter.com/ePF3UDLQZ6
First things first . . . Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation — you should know that Mel Recchi was first on the bus — you are able to do so right here.
You may not have noticed but I was away for a few days. No writing. Not a whole lot of Twitter surfing. Just kicking back, reading . . . oh, and driving.
We made a return trip over the Coquihalla — the first one since October —and I have to tell you that there are some engineering and reconstruction miracles taking place on the stretch of highway between Merritt and Hope. Yes, there still is a lot of work to do before the highway is back to its pre-flood state, but what we got to drive on is a whole lot better than what I had expected.
It’s also good to see that the Coquihalla continues to attract so many NASCAR drivers-in-training. Speed limit? What speed limit? It’s 120 km-h between Kamloops and Merritt. From Merritt to Hope, the signs tell you that it’s 110, 100, 90, 80 or 60, depending on what kind of construction area you find yourself driving through. In reality, though, the areas without traffic cones have only imaginary speed limits. And don’t get me started on the driver of the Toyota SUV with Alberta plates who was in the left lane all the way from Hope to Merritt . . . speeding up and slowing down as the mood struck him.
No matter. The overall condition of the Coq was the star of this trip.
While I was away, national teams from Belarus and Russia were banned from almost the entire surface of our planet because Dr. Evil has chosen to attempt a violent takeover of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the CHL, which governs the three major junior hockey leagues, announced it has cancelled what used to be an annual series of six games featuring OHL, QMJHL and WHL teams against a touring Russian side. The series, which has lost its lustre in recent years, should have been permanently discarded.
At the same time, the CHL announced that “the date and format for the 2022 CHL import draft has yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.”
That buys some time for the three leagues to see how things develop in Ukraine. If war continues to rage, those leagues will have to decide whether to keep the 2022 import draft open for eligible Russian and Belarusian players.
The CHL’s statement also pointed out that it “is committed to the safety and well-being of all of its current players and is supportive of their continued development regardless of their country of origin.”
Hopefully that means the CHL and its teams will continue to care for current Belarusian and Russian players even after this season ends, rather than casting them to the winds. Michael Traikos of Postmedia reports that “there are about 36 Russians and Belarusians currently playing in the CHL.”
You have to think there are some awfully confused young men among that group. Here they are in a foreign country while the leaders of their countries have drawn the wrath of the vast majority of the world by blasting away at Ukraine.
While these teenagers haven’t had anything to do with any of that, you have to wonder what they think when they venture into arenas and see fans waving yellow-and-blue flags to show their support for Ukraine.
Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, and the owners have cancelled the first two series of what was to have been the 2022 regular season. These are the first MLB games cancelled by a labour dispute since 1994 and 1995, and this time there isn’t any doubt about who’s at fault. The owners locked out the players in December and then didn’t even make a proposal for more than 40 days.
Here’s Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“There are a lot of questions. But ‘who is to blame?’ is not one of them. There are no ‘both sides’ in this fight. This is on the owners, who instituted a self-described ‘defensive lockout’ Dec. 2, then waited six weeks to present an offer. And still failed to address the real issue:
“They’re making more and more money while players are getting less.
“Listening to Commissioner Rob Manfred speak on the owners’ personal broadcast mouthpiece, MLB Network, would have been comical if it wasn’t sad. (Incidentally, please don’t think you’re going to get both sides of the argument by watching an outlet run by the owners, which let go well-respected reporter Ken Rosenthal because he wasn’t sucking up enough to Manfred.)”
How well are programs to curb racism/discrimination working in GTHL, Canada's largest minor hockey league? Thru Feb 21, 11 incidents this season of racial slurs reported but referee did not hear. 32 penalties for insults re race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender. pic.twitter.com/1tqkkhsLq1
The MJHL has suspended D Klim Georgiev, 20, of the Dauphin Kings for 18 games for a racist gesture during at game against the host Waywayseecappo Wolverines on Feb. 18. . . . Georgiev, who is from Toronto, was given a gross misconduct as the third period ended. . . . Nathan Liewicki of CBC News reported that Georgiev “raised his stick and made what seemed to be a bow-and-arrow gesture toward some of the Wawayseecappo players who were skating away from Dauphin’s end of the rink.” . . . Georgiev will miss the Kings’ final 11 regular-season games and seven playoff games. . . . Georgiev began the season with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals before being traded to Dauphin. . . . Liewicki’s story, written after the gesture but before the suspension was handed down, is right here.
Meanwhile, in B.C., Zaya Morro, a player with the U17 AAA North Island Silvertips, has alleged via an Instagram post that an opposing player uttered a racist slur in his direction in a game on Nov. 7.
“As a Black player in B.C. hockey I am continually made aware that I am different,” Morro wrote. “I have to play harder, play smarter, just because of the colour of my skin. I have to be more resilient because unfortunately there is still soooo much racism in hockey and in Canada. February (was) Black History Month and as I look back at how far we have come I am also reminded how much further we need to go.”
According to Morro, an opposing player “racially assaulted” him after Morro had won a puck battle. That player, Morro wrote, “felt the need to yell ‘nice hit you F**king N****r.’ I’ve experienced other racial slurs and have been able to shake them off but being called a N****r . . . I can’t explain the anger, sadness and complete disgust it made me feel. I have never been an angry kid but this brought out something in me I never knew was there. Thankfully, my team captain also heard what was said and we were able to tell the referee who immediately threw (the offending player) out of the game.”
According to Morro, the offending player eventually was suspended for six games.
With racism so often rearing its ugly head in the arenas and on the ice surfaces of our country, I really wonder what kind of conversations take place around the dinner tables in so many homes. I really do.
A letter dated March 1 and signed by Bruce Bidney, the principal of Spectrum Community School in Victoria, has informed parents that the school “will no longer be hosting the South Island Royals program following the completion of the 2021-22 school year.” . . . The letter continues: “This means that the hockey programming your child experienced this school year will no longer be embedded in the school day. Spectrum will remain an option for your child’s academic programming as will our hockey Skills Academy. . . . In recent conversations with BC Hockey, we have mutually agreed to no longer offer the in-school programming exclusive to our South Island Royal student-athletes. We will continue offering dryland training the school day to students registered in our Spectrum Skills Academy.”: . . . According to their website (southislandroyals.ca), the program features three male teams — U18AAA, U17AAA and U15AAA. . . . In his letter, Bidney doesn’t offer up any reasons for ending the South Island program.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Craig Carter, their assistant general manager and director of player personnel, to a two-year extension. He has been with the Spruce Kings since April 2020. . . . The WHL’s injury/roster report dated March 1 doesn’t show any players in COVID-19 protocol, the first time that has happened since teams returned from the Christmas break. . . . Just don’t think for a minute that means the pandemic is over. In the OHL, the Peterborough Petes had seven players test positive, resulting in the postponement of a game that had been scheduled for last Saturday. As Mike Davies of the Peterborough Examiner noted: “The postponement comes less than 24 hours after the OHL announced the lifting of proof of vaccination and capacity limits for spectators beginning on Tuesday.” The Petes are scheduled to play host to the Niagara IceDogs tonight (Thursday).
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The good news is that the Portland Winterhawks played a hockey game on Saturday night. The bad news is that it was the only game played on what was to have been a three-game road swing into B.C., with stops in Kamloops, Kelowna and Langley.
When the Winterhawks left home via bus on Thursday, they were headed for Kamloops and a Friday night date with the Blazers. Halfway to Kamloops, Mike Johnston, Portland’s vice-president, general manager and head coach, found out that the game had been postponed because of COVID-19 issues with the Blazers. The Winterhawks continued on to Kamloops, practised there Friday morning, then left for Kelowna and Saturday’s assignment against the Rockets.
The Winterhawks beat the Rockets, 3-1. “That would have been a long trip without two points,” Johnston told Taking Note.
Before the game, Johnston was informed that Sunday’s game in Langley had been scrubbed because of COVID-19 protocols involving the Vancouver Giants, who were forced to halt all team activities.
So the Winterhawks put the two points in their pocket and headed for home.
That latest postponement meant that 22 of the 23 games originally scheduled for the weekend didn’t happen.
Also on Saturday, the WHL announced that the Moose Jaw Warriors, Regina Pats and Tri-City Americans all were cleared to resume team activities. They went into the weekend as three of 15 teams who were on hold because of having players and/or staff in protocols.
With the addition of the Giants, that list was at 13 as of Sunday night.
The Giants had been scheduled to play three games over the weekend; all three were postponed. They next are scheduled to play Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars in a game that is on TSN’s telecast schedule.
Will COVID-19 allow the game to be played?
BTW, the Portland Winterhawks had F Josh Zakreski, who turned 16 on Dec. 17, in their lineup in Kelowna on Saturday. Zakreski is from Saskatoon and plays for the U-18 Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Upon seeing his name, I was curious as to whether he was related to Peter Zakreski, who died on Feb. 5, 2020, at the age of 80. Peter, a quiet gentleman, was a giant in a lot of areas of life in Saskatoon and was a big push behind the move to bring the 1991 World Junior Championship to Saskatchewan. . . . Anyway, it turns out that Josh and Peter weren’t related, although Josh apparently gets asked that question on a regular basis.
With some Canadian teams in the NHL and WHL facing attendance restrictions in their facilities, a number of games have been postponed in the hopes that they can be rescheduled for when the various governments involved loosen the rules.
However, Dr. Brian Conway, the head of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, told Ben Kuzma of Postmedia: “That’s unrealistic.”
As Dr. Conway explained: “Right now as a society, we’re being asked to plan for a situation where on any given day, and in any workplace, one-third will be out with COVID or COVID restrictions.
“Even if you wanted to fill (Vancouver’s) Rogers Arena, you wouldn’t have the staff. And it’s probably going to be the situation at the minimum until the end of February and probably longer — and that’s pretty optimistic. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to stand up and say I’m wrong. But I’m just so not seeing this.
“Modelling is still projecting a worst-case scenario that could dwarf what we have now. It’s based on if things continue the way they are. If they change the modelling can flatten out. But, it brings the issue if we ignore this, it could actually get worse.”
BTW, Dr. Conway is a Canucks’ season-ticket holder and would love nothing more than to be able to sit in a full house and watch his favourite team. He also is a realist.
Jim Riley used to cover the Seattle Thunderbirds for the Seattle Times while also keeping an eye on the other teams in the U.S. Division. That was before the newspaper industry got out the paring knife and went to work. These days, he is in the wine business.
I mention Jim here because he is one of the thousands of people who has a health issue but hasn’t been able to have it dealt with because of a dearth of hospital beds — in Seattle, in his case.
The other day, he posted this on Facebook . . .
“I don’t post often, but this is raising my blood pressure and perhaps venting will help. I recently underwent a nuclear stress test, designed to check the blood flow in my heart. My cardiologist said results were ‘abnormal’ and immediately scheduled me for an angiogram. That angiogram now has twice been postponed. Why? There are no hospital beds in Seattle because they are almost all filled, mostly with unvaccinated covid patients. I believe in free choice, but people who came to the irresponsible decision to avoid a simple, free and easy vaccination now are imposing their choices on all of us.
“I have yet to hear a rational explanation why people refuse to use the best tool we have (vaccinations) to fight a virus that has already killed 5.47 million people around the world.”
Me, too, Jim. Me, too.
Oh boy, do I ever agree with Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette, who writes: “If you grew up during the 1970s, like me, and you’re not already following Super 70s Sports on Twitter, you really should.” I actually grew up in the 1960s — although my wife might debate whether I ever grew up — and I love the tweets that come from Super 70s Sports.
My column on Ricky Cobb, the 50-year-old sociology teacher from Chicago who is the man behind the Super 70s Sports Twitter account @Super70sSports, which is one of the best and funniest things you can find on social media. He's also an #Expos fan: https://t.co/MbhTI8zrjh
If you don’t believe that the NFL is the behemoth of North American sports leagues, you should know that 75 of the most-watched telecasts in 2021 were NFL games. Yes, Super Bowl LV was No. 1. . . . Nine of the top 10 were NFL games. Only the inauguration of Joe Biden as the U.S. president kept the NFL from a Top 10 sweep. . . . No, there weren’t any hockey games in the Top 100. Nor were there any NBA or MLB games. . . . There were 75 NFL games, 11 Olympics telecasts, seven NCAA football games and two NCAA college basketball games, both from March Madness, in the Top 100. . . . Oh, one other thing. You may not like Tom Brady, but he and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers were involved in 11 of those 75 telecasts.
From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:
“Point: Let’s expand the College Football Playoff field.
“Counterpoint: So we can have even more riveting games like Alabama 27, Cincinnati 6 and Georgia 34, Michigan 11.”
Perry also scrounged up a couple of quotes from the vault . . .
The late Mickey Mantle, at a roast for the late Billy Martin, on his former Yankee teammate’s proclivity for getting into bar fights: “This is the only man I know in the world who can hear somebody giving him the finger.”
Arkansas coach Lou Holtz, when his team was pelted with oranges after winning a trip to the 1978 Orange Bowl: “I’m glad we’re not going to the Gator Bowl.”
THINKING OUT LOUD: If you watched Sunday night’s NFL game, you saw again why live sporting events are the best of reality TV. . . . Just wondering, but have Jack and Rebecca convinced you to buy whatever it is they are flogging in that TV commercial, or are you going to have to see it another 1,000 times this week before making a decision? . . . Would have been nice if Hockey Night in Canada had picked up the Saturday game that had the Chicago Blackhawks visiting the Vegas Golden Knights. Who wouldn’t have enjoyed watching Marc-Andre Fleury return to the city that he owned not all that long ago and beat the home team, 2-1?
With Novaxx, err, Novak Djokovic having problems getting into Australia because he isn’t vaccinated, comedy writer Brad Dickson reports that “the news isn’t all bad for Novak. He just signed to be the new backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.”
BTW, Rafael Nadal, vaccinated and ready to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne, had this to say: “From my point of view, that’s the only thing that I can say is I believe in what the people who know about medicine say, and if the people say that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine. That’s my point of view. I went through the COVID. I have been vaccinated twice. If you do this, you don’t have any problem to play here.”
Yes, they have COVID-19 issues in the KHL, too. On Sunday, the league revealed that 14 players, one coach and two staffers from Dinamo Riga have tested positive. The league has scrubbed three games through Jan. 17.
After the Kingston Frontenacs were able to dress only 14 skaters for a Friday night game — they lost, 6-5, to the visiting Peterborough Petes — the OHL announced Saturday that COVID-19 protocols meant their next three games would be postponed. That included a game that had been scheduled for Saturday. . . . Meanwhile, the Chase Heat became the latest team in the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League to have games postponed, while the BCHL announced Saturday that it has paused the Nanaimo Clippers for five days.
Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “I love the idea that ESPN now believes that Alex Rodriguez can be part of the kind of ManningCast that we got this season from Peyton and Eli. . . . Right. . . . Got it. . . . One big difference: People like Peyton and Eli.”
It seems that Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle has about had enough of MLB using humans to call balls and strikes. As he put it: “Human umps were fine in the old days. So were phone booths and stage coaches.”
Teddy Balkind, a 16-year-old junior varsity hockey player with St. Luke’s School in New Caanan, Conn., died on Thursday night after he suffered a skate cut to his neck in a collision with a player from Brunswick School. . . . There is more on this story right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here: