Cents’ Astorino has quite a story to tell . . . Jarvis unlikely to return to Portland now . . . Blazers’ Clouston moving on up

F Blake Astorino of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials was among the residents of that B.C. community who were forced out by horrific flooding on Nov. 15. In MerrittMerritt, Astorino, a 20-year-old from Prince George, was billeting with Jenny and Jesse Pierce, whose home is a snapshot away from the Coldwater River.

Here’s a bit of what Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen wrote in a story about Astorino’s experiences . . .

It was just past 5 a.m. and the flood waters hadn’t reached the end of the driveway but within 15 minutes nature’s fury was lapping at their feet and waves rippled as a torrent of rising water enveloped their yard. As a third-generation Merritt resident, Jenny knew the house her grandparents built was prone to flooding occasionally, because it was only a short walk from the river, and Jesse told Blake they would likely be back later that day when the water level dropped. But it didn’t.

“I didn’t really pack as much stuff as I probably should have, and when I looked outside the water was starting to get a little worse, but it wasn’t serious,” Astorino said. “So I went back to my room for a bit and I heard (Jenny) yelling, ‘OK, we’ve got to go, we’ve got to go,’ and it happened within five minutes. It was like nothing to water almost in the house in 20 minutes. It was coming so fast and the water was strong.”

By the time Astorino got into his car, the rushing water was already lapping at the doors and as soon as he backed out of the driveway and started down the road his car was half-submerged.

“It was pretty scary for me because my car is so low to the ground and the water was coming up to my windshield and going over the roof,” Astorino said. “If I had left any later I would have been stuck. Luckily, it didn’t stall and I got out.”

Clarke’s complete story — and it’s an excellent one — is right here.


Bronx


It now is really doubtful that the Portland Winterhawks will have F Seth Jarvis in their lineup this season. Jarvis, 19, played in his 10th regular-season game with the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night, meaning the first-year of his three-year entry-level contract has started. . . . The Hurricanes lost, 2-1 in OT, to the host San Jose Sharks. . . . Carolina selected Jarvis with the 13th pick of the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . . He has four goals and one assist in 10 games with the Hurricanes this season. . . . Interestingly, it was an injury to F Nino Niederreiter that opened a spot in the lineup for Jarvis on Oct. 31. Niederreiter also is a product of the Winterhawks. . . . Jarvis put up 73 goals and 93 assists in 154 regular-season WHL games, all with Portland. . . . Yes, Jarvis still could be assigned to the Winterhawks, but that isn’t likely to happen because the first year of his contract would be burned in any case.


QUESTIONS: Did the late Nat King Cole release only one Christmas song, that one being The Christmas Song? You know the one: Chestnuts roasting . . . Considering the battering that TE Rob Gronkowski of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has taken — and continues to take — how is it that he is still able to walk, never mind run? . . . Have you seen enough of that Connor McDavid commercial yet? Or do you agree that Sportsnet could/should squeeze it in a few more times each evening?


Mitch Love suffered the first regulation-time defeat of his AHL head-coaching career on Monday night when the Stockton Heat dropped a 5-3 decision to the host Ontario Reign. . . . Love, a former WHL player and coach, spent the previous three seasons as the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades. That followed seven seasons as an assistant with the Everett Silvertips. . . . In last night’s loss, the Heat goals came from F Matthew Phillips, F Glenn Gawdin and and F Luke Philp, all three former WHLers. . . . The Heat now is 10-1-2.


Humor


Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Kamloops Blazers, reminds us via Twitter (@JonKeenNLSports) that Shaun Clouston, the team’s general manager and WHLhead coach, is moving up the WHL’s all-time victories ladder. “He sits at 464,” Keen tweeted. “One more win ties him with Dean Clark and Kelly McCrimmon for 12th all-time. Peter Anholt and Jack Shupe are next at 466.” . . .

Officially, the top five on that list won’t change, with Don Hay (750) on top, followed by Ken Hodge (742), Don Nachbaur (692), Lorne Molleken (626) and Mike Williamson (572). Of course, Hay, now the associate coach with the Portland Winterhawks, could add to his total should he have an opportunity to run the bench if head coach Mike Johnston is absent. That happened earlier this season but the Winterhawks dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Everett Silvertips with Johnston away on a scouting trip. . . .

Marc Habscheid of the Prince Albert Raiders is the winningest active coach. He’s in sixth spot, at 560, ahead of Ernie (Punch) McLean (548), Brent Sutter (526) and Pat Ginnell (518). . . .

Shupe and Anholt are tied for 10th, at 466, with McCrimmon and Clark next, at 465. . . . Clouston, whose club next is scheduled to play Wednesday in Kent, Wash., against the Seattle Thunderbirds, is 14th and has a chance to join the 500 Club before this season ends. . . . The Blazers (14-2-0) are on pace to win 60 games, but it isn’t likely they can play to an .875 winning percentage for 68 games. Still, a 50-victory season would have Clouston at an even 500 victories, making him the 10th head coach in WHL history to reach that milestone. . . .

Also in the 400 Club: Bob Lowes (453), Mike Johnston (420), Doug Sauter (417) and Marcel Comeau (411). . . . Johnston moved past Sauter this season. . . . Next into the 400 Club will be Willie Desjardins with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He is at 392, good for 19th on the all-time list.

NOTE: The WHL hasn’t updated its Media Guide and Record Book since before the 2019-20 season, so the totals for active coaches are unofficial.

——

Shaun Clouston and his Blazers are one game into something of a bizarre road Kamloopstrip. They beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, in Kent, Wash., on Saturday night and are scheduled to play their again on Wednesday. But rather than stay in Kent or return home, the Blazers moved into Vancouver for a couple of days. . . . “Some guys went and rode bikes on the seawall and a bunch of our players went to the Canucks game (Sunday) night,” Clouston told Radio NL. “It was a nice break.” . . . The Blazers skated with players from St. George’s School at UBC on Monday. Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner, has served on the board at St. George’s and has had sons play hockey there. . . . After playing in Kent, the Blazers are scheduled to meet the Winterhawks in Portland on Friday and the Silvertips (15-0-1) in Everett on Saturday.


Fryer


It doesn’t appear that the situation involving the USHL’s Omaha Lancers has reached any sort of resolution just yet. Chris Peters of faceoff.com has been following the goings-on and his latest report is right here.


A tip of the fedora to F Carter Streek of the Spokane Chiefs, who just happens to Spokanebe from Kamloops. Due to injuries and a couple of positive tests, the Chiefs were short of forwards earlier this month, which is one of the reasons they gave up a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft to acquire Streek, 17, from the Saskatoon Blades on Nov. 11. . . . In 21 games with the Blades, six of them this season, Streek had yet to score. So guess what happened in his first game with the Chiefs? Yes, he scored his first WHL goal — it was Spokane’s first goal, tying the score 1-1 at 3:54 of the second period, in what would be a 5-3 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds.


COVID-19 NOTES: Boston College has postponed a pair of weekend men’s hockey games “due to COVID-19 protocols and out of an abundance of caution.” The Eagles were to have met host Notre Dame on Friday and then entertained Harvard on Nov. 30. . . . D Ethan Bear of the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t play Monday night against the Sharks in San Jose after testing positive. . . . You do realize that more people died from COVID-19 in 2021 than in 2020. USA TODAY reported on Monday: “The disease was reported as the underlying cause of death or a contributing cause of death for an estimated 377,883 people in 2020, accounting for 11.3% of deaths, according to the CDC. As of Monday, more than 770,000 people have died from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. That means over 15,000 more people have died in 2021 than last year from COVID-19 — and there’s still more than a month left.” . . . On Monday, The New York Times reported that “as Americans travel this week to meet far-flung relatives for Thanksgiving dinner, new virus cases are rising once more, especially in the Upper Midwest and Northeast.”


Cow


A group in Quesnel, B.C., that is headed up by Cory Broadhead is preparing to kijhlmake a proposal to the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League in the hopes of landing a franchise that would be known as the Thunder and begin play in 2022-23. . . . Broadhead told George Henderson of mycariboonow.com: “We’ve received letters of support from some of the businesses in the community and a letter of support from the North Cariboo Advisory Committee to rent us the ice at the West Fraser Centre. I haven’t heard anything negative in town. It’s all been really positive and it sounds like this town would really support a team and go to the games.” . . . Broadhead said a proposal would be into the league “by the end of the week.” He added that according to its bylaws the KIJHL has “about 30 days to have a meeting.” A decision apparently would be announced three or four days after that meeting. . . . Henderson’s complete story is 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.


Taxes

Struch pays price in Regina; Paddock back behind Pats’ bench . . . Bedard due to break out? . . . USHL’s Lancers in disarray


Dave Struch became the second head-coaching casualty of this WHL season when the Regina Pats fired him on Thursday morning.

John Paddock, a veteran of the coaching game and twice the winner of the Dunc PatsMcCallum Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s coach of the year, has taken over and now is the organization’s vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach. Paddock ran the Pats’ practice in Regina on Thursday.

According to Pats’ owner/governor Shaun Semple, Paddock “will assume the role of head coach for the remainder of this season and next.”

Struch, 50, was in the final year of his contract. He had been with the Pats since 2014-15. He started as an assistant coach working alongside Paddock, then took over as head coach after the Pats were the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup.

Prior to joining the Pats, Struch spent eight seasons on the Saskatoon Blades’ coaching staff, the last one (2013-14) as head coach.

“Not much to say, as this is what I signed up for as a coach,” Struch told the Regina Leader-Post via text on Thursday afternoon. “I’m sad for my family. Disappointed that I couldn’t help the team get more wins. Expectations are high for this group of young men to be at the top of the conference and I couldn’t make that happen.”

Struch exits with the Pats at 6-10-0, their most-recent appearance a 6-1 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes that left them with three straight losses. The Pats’ season has been streaky — two victories, seven losses, four victories, three losses.

Assistant coaches Brad Herauf, who is in his seventh season, and Ken Schneider, in his first, were retained.

“I’m positive that with John, Brad and Ken, they will get (the Pats) back to the top where they should be this season,” Struch told The Leader-Post. “I am grateful to the organization for everything they have done for my family and I over the last seven years.”

Paddock, 67, makes his first appearance back behind the bench on Saturday as the Pats begin a six-game road trip against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

He has extensive head-coaching experience that includes stints in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators. He was the WHL’s coach of the year following the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons.

Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has his thoughts on the Pats’ situation right here.

The other coach to depart since this season got started? Dean Brockman left the Swift  Current Broncos on Oct. 14.

——

With the Regina Pats having stumbled through the first part of the WHL’s regular season, there are those who are wondering about the first 16 games of F Connor Bedard’s season.

Bedard, the first player to have been granted exceptional status allowing him to play in the WHL as a 15-year-old, put up 12 goals and 16 assists in 15 games in the developmental season that was played in the Regina hub last spring.

This season, Bedard, now 16, has eight goals and four assists in 16 games.

However, as Ken Campbell wrote Thursday at Hockey Unfiltered, better numbers are likely to be in Bedard’s immediate future.

“The temptation might be to wonder what is going on with Connor Bedard these days,” Campbell wrote. “There also might be a temptation to think that the WHL’s first exceptional player and top prospect for the 2023 NHL draft is lagging behind his competition, namely Adam Fantilli and Matvei Michkov.

“Yes, Bedard has only eight goals and 12 points in 16 games for the Regina Pats after scoring 28 points in just 15 games last season and leading Canada to a gold medal at the World Under-18 Championship. And he has yet to score a single goal on the power play. But there are a couple of mitigating circumstances at play. First, Bedard leads the Western Hockey League in shots with 85, which means he’s been the victim of some terribly bad luck. People in analytics tell us all the time that, particularly with elite players who generate a lot of chances, that luck is bound to change and his shooting percentage will get way above 9.4 percent. Last season, it was 17.4 percent.”

Campbell’s complete piece, which includes notes on a lot more than just Bedard, is right here.


If you are one of those people who puts stock in power polls or rankings or whatever they might be called, consider this from Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press . . .

“ESPN calls itself the worldwide leader in sports, but it’s more like the worldwide leader in hot takes (and arguably clickbait) following Wednesday’s release of their weekly NHL ‘power rankings.’

“In case you missed it, the new U.S. rightsholder for league telecasts has seen fit to demote the Winnipeg Jets down to 20th, a drop of eight spots from the No. 12 position they occupied last Wednesday.

“This, despite the fact the Jets just went a perfect 3-0-0 over the past seven days, including a dominating 5-2 win over Edmonton on Tuesday night. That would be the same Oilers team ESPN has ranked No. 1. Seriously. “You couldn’t make this up.

“Winnipeg has just one regulation loss in the last dozen games (9-1-2), and if it keeps up this impressive pace I suspect the Jets are going to drop all the way to dead-last in the rankings rather quickly.”

BTW, the Jets dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the host Oilers on Thursday night. Yes, Edmonton F Connor McDavid scored another one of “THOSE” goals.


Monopoly


The schedule has been released for the 2022 Memorial Cup and it comes with a real change. The tournament, which is to be held in Saint John, N.B., from June 4 through June 13, will begin on a Saturday night, rather than Friday, and the championship final is scheduled for Monday night, rather than Sunday. . . . All games will begin at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) with one exception — the game on June 5 between the QMJHL and WHL champions is to start at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET). . . . There is a news release right here, and it includes ticket-buying information.


Some crazy stuff has been going down with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Let’s Lancersstart with some Thursday tweets from Brad Elliott Schlossman, the Grand Forks Herald’s superb hockey writer . . .

On Wednesday, he had tweeted:

“Four months after Omaha (USHL) hired Chadd Cassidy as head coach and GM, and after an 8-4-2 start to this season, the Lancers have pushed him out, per multiple sources.”

These followed on Thursday (all times Pacific):

10:53 a.m.: Situation in Omaha escalating: Lancers have been cutting budgets, everything from video software to some postgame player meals; after ousting Cassidy, Omaha asked him to coach last weekend’s games (per @THNRyanKennedy); Omaha discussed having an injured player be asst coach.”

10:57 a.m.: “Remaining Omaha Lancers staff members are currently resigning. I’m not sure if there will be anyone left when this is done. Players are threatening to boycott upcoming games.”

11:11 a.m.: “Assistant general manager Jeff Cox, acting head coach Sean Walsh, assistant coach Tate Maris and trainer Nick Hart have all resigned from the Omaha Lancers.”

11:49 a.m.: “The remaining Lancers staff was willing to stay for the sake of the players. Then, this morning, team president David DeLuca lost his temper with acting HC Sean Walsh. Assistant coach Tate Maris resigned. Players opted to walk out. Remaining staff backed players and resigned.”

12:30 p.m.: “The Lancers say Chadd Cassidy ‘stepped down as head coach to pursue other opportunities.’ . . . Yeah, and I bench pressed 500 pounds this morning.”

Schlossman later filed this story right here.

And right here is a story from Chris Peters of dailyfaceoff.com who also has been all over this story.


On the subject of crazy stuff, it’s hard to believe that it has been 27 years since one of the highlights of my time around the WHL. Yessss, those were the days! . . . Regina versus Moose Jaw was so much fun. Play-by-play guys in Donald Duck outfits. Coaches battling. . . . Kevin Shaw, the Regina Pats’ unofficial historian, reminds us of what happened 27 years ago with this tweet . . .



Bigfoot


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.


Toad

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if London will be OK in the morning . . .

Scattershooting2

Smoke
The South Thompson River valley from our deck on Sunday, 6:45 p.m. Somewhere behind the smoke in mid-photo is Mount Martin. And over on the right, somewhere beyond the river, is the Trans-Canada Highway.

Virus


Cole Beasley, a receiver with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, has said that he won’t get vaccinated, adding: “I may die of Covid, but I’d rather die actually living.” To which Ron Borges of si.com wrote: “How many times has this guy been hit on the head again?”

——

Bob Molinaro, in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot: “Buffalo Bills anti-vaxxer, anti-masker Cole Beasley tweeted, ‘I may die of COVID, but I’d rather die actually living.’ What a drama queen. One who sings in the key of me. The comic irony of NFL players avoiding vaccine needles is that in their line of work, they get shot up more often than race horses.”


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, drops the hammer on the nail with this one: “Joey Chestnut set a new world’s record in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4. Chestnut ate 76 hotdogs — and buns, of course — in the 10-minute event. Here is a task for historians and observers of societal/cultural trends: At exactly what point did gluttony cease to be one of the seven deadly sins and become a sport?”



Headline at The Onion on July 18, 2011: “U.S. Quietly Slips Out Of Afghanistan In Dead Of Night.”
Headline at the BBC on July 6, 2021: “US left Bagram Airbase at night with no notice, Afghan commander says.”



Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels is going to pitch and DH in Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game. If you haven’t been paying attention to him, you should. Here’s Angels manager Joe Maddon explaining why: “We all romanticize what it would have been like to watch Babe Ruth play — he pitched, really? I mean, you hear this stuff and it’s a larger-than-life concept. Now we’re living it. So don’t underestimate what we’re seeing.”


If you aren’t familiar with Kaye Kaminishi, please allow Google to be your friend. Kaminishi is 99 years of age now. He is the last surviving member of the Asahi baseball team — he played third base. Again, let Google be your friend. . . . The Asahi team was huge in Vancouver in the years before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After the bombing, Kaminishi was one of those rounded up and taken to an internment camp in the Interior of B.C. . . . One day in June 2013, I visited his Kamloops home. The plan was to write a short story about Kaminishi’s exploits on the badminton court. I ended up writing a pair of lengthy stories on a man who didn’t have a bitter bone in his body despite the wrongs that had been forced upon him. He really and truly is a remarkable human being.


I spent some time over the past few days watching the visiting Detroit Tigers play the Minnesota Twins. And what a treat it was to listen to Jim Kaat, who was riding shotgun with play-by-play man Dick Bremer. The ex-southpaw known as Kitty is 82 now but he hasn’t lost a step. It was just so great to listen to someone whose analysis wasn’t full of launch angles, exit velocities, spin rates and barrel rates.


Canada Soccer has cancelled a bunch of 2021 national championships due to the pandemic. From a news release: “Canada Soccer’s Toyota National Championships, which include the U-15 Cup, U-17 Cup, Jubilee and Challenge Trophy, as well as the Eastern and Western Masters competitions, have been cancelled for 2021 in respect of the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic related to participant health and safety.”

So . . . England scored in the second minute to take a 1-0 lead over Italy in Sunday’s UEFA Euro Cup final at London’s Wembley Stadium. Italy, of course, went on to win on penalties, after which the fun started in the city streets. Gee, instead of blaming the three young fellows who came up empty in penalties, perhaps England fans should be wondering why their favourites didn’t push harder for a second goal during regulation time.


Headline at theonion.com: Bob Baffert Once Again Denies Doping Allegations After Medina Spirit Wins Coca-Cola 600.


Drunk


At least 13 players have withdrawn from the British Open that is scheduled to start Thursday at Royal St. George’s. That includes Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, and Bubba Watson, a two-time Master champ who came in contact with someone who was positive.


Right-hander Aaron Nola was to have started Sunday for the Philadelphia Phillies against the host Boston Red Sox. But he had to be scratched after being placed on the COVID-19 injured list, along with RHP Connor Brogdon, LHP Bailey Falter and 3B Alec Bohm. . . . Bohm was taken out of Saturday’s game against the Red Sox after testing positive. . . . Nola, Brogdon and Falter went on the list as close contacts. Brogdon and Falter both played in Saturday’s game; in fact, Falter got the victory in an 11-2 triumph. . . . I was watching the Phillies and Red Sox on Sunday and Boston’s TV crew mentioned that neither team has reached the 85 per cent vaccination threshold needed for some restrictions to be loosened. . . .

Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners placed RHP Yusei Kikuchi on the COVID-19 list on Sunday. He tested positive after showing symptoms, but is fully vaccinated. He since has tested negative, and needs just one more such result in order to be cleared to play in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. . . . The Mariners went over the 85 per cent threshold late in May.



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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Chadd Cassidy is the new general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Cassidy spent the previous five years coaching at the Northwood School in Lake Placid, N.Y. In Omaha, he replaces former WHL player David Wilkie, 47, who, according to a news release, “stepped down earlier to pursue other opportunities.” Wilkie played four seasons (1990-94) in the WHL, playing with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Kamloops Blazers and Regina Pats. . . . The Val-d’Or Foreurs have signed Maxime Desruisseaux, 37, as their new head coach. He had been an associate coach with the Victoriaville Tigres. In Val-d’Or, Desruisseaux takes over from Daniel Renaud. Shortly after Val-d’Or lost to Victoriaville in the QMJHL final, the Foreurs announced that they and Renaud had gone their separate ways by mutual agreement.


Wishbone

Blazers’ owner: It’s disappointing, but people are dying from this . . . German junior team hit with eight positives; Sweden has two more


The Kamloops Blazers were 41-18-4 and enjoying a 14-point lead atop the WHL’s B.C. Division when the pandemic brought a premature end to the season in March.

They were poised to have their best regular season since 2012-13, when they Kamloops1finished 47-20-5. (In 2016-17, they went 42-24-6, for 90 points, a number last season’s team was within easy reach of with five games remaining.)

The point is that no one has more reason to be upset with how things went down in March than fans of the Blazers, who had waited a long time for a team that could bring them out of their seats. The same could be said for the players and, yes, ownership, too. But, as majority owner Tom Gaglardi points out, this situation really is all about perspective.

“It’s super disappointing, but you have to let go of what you can’t control,” Gaglardi told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “There are people dying from this, people that are losing livelihoods, that are struggling to get by. The Blazers’ winning window, it’s super discouraging, but you have to look at the things that really matter. We’re all frustrated, but the leagues that rushed out and tried to play have all failed.”

Gaglardi, who also owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars, added: “It’s challenging, but boy, oh boy, is this a league that is determined to find a way. We are trying everything, but we’re not getting a lot of help. We’re not getting help from the public, in terms of managing the virus. It’s growing. The governments are not blessing our plans, but we’re trying.

“I think we will have a season. I really do. I’m a guy that believes we’ll find a way.”

At one point in the interview, Hastings asked about lost revenue and the state of the franchise.

“If the club didn’t have solid sponsorship, in terms of its ownership,” Gaglardi replied, “it would be in a lot worse shape. The business is in terrible shape, obviously, having lost all that revenue and continuing to lose revenue and carry costs. Fortunately, the Blazers are going to survive COVID-19. I think all the clubs around the league will survive it, too.

“This will easily jump into seven figures of damages and bills to pay when we get going again, so it’s devastating.”

While Gaglardi is the franchise’s majority owner, former NHLers Shane Doan, Jerome Iginla, Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor are the other co-owners.

“It wasn’t exactly a real solid business in the first place,” Gaglardi added, “but it’s going to mean some tough decisions. It’s already meant tough decisions. We’ve had to thin down our staff. We’re just trying to stay around. Luckily, bankers have been supportive and done whatever they can to help us through. We’ll survive, but it’s devastating.”

Hasting’s interview with Gaglardi is right here.



It seems that the virus has found the teams that are holed up in Edmonton awaiting the start of the 2021 World Junior Championship. Eight players off the 2021WJCGerman team have tested positive, as have two management people with Team Sweden.

The 10 teams all were to have come out of quarantine on Friday to begin on-ice preparations. However, the Germans now will quarantine until Thursday. Most of the Swedes will stay in quarantine until Monday. Those who had previous positive tests don’t have to because those infections, according to Hockey Canada, “provide a personal immunity and no threat of infection to others.”

Ryan Allenby, a Team Sweden doctor, ran practice on Friday for the seven players who were cleared to skate. Don’t forget that before even leaving for Canada on Sunday, the Swedes had to drop four players and four coaches, including head coach Tomas Monten, because of positive tests.

Canada and Sweden are scheduled to play an exhibition game on Monday.

The Germans are scheduled to open the tournament against Finland on Dec. 25 and then play Team Canada on Dec. 26. Having to quarantine until Thursday means the Germans will have to scrub exhibition games against Austria and Czech Republic.

Chris Peters of ESPN, who follows this tournament closely, tweeted Friday: “Germany and Sweden shared planes with other countries. Team sources indicated they were concerned with the travel set-up after they saw size of the planes. Sweden was on same flight with Finland and Russia and it looked pretty crowded based on social media posts.”

As near as I can tell, the Germans flew over with the Swiss team. The third flight carried Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Mark Masters of TSN has more WJC news right here.



Christmas2020

COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News, 11:36 a.m. PT: Canada’s total COVID-19 death toll has passed 14,000. Nationally, there have been 493,308 confirmed cases.

CBC News: Number of new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba jumps to 350 after 6 straight days of recording less than 300. The province is also reporting 10 additional deaths.

Anya Nazeravich, CJOB Winnipeg: Manitoba has 350 new cases of COVID-19. . . . Deaths: 547. . . . Hospitalizations: 305. . . . ICU: 43. . . . TP: 13.6% . . . TP in Winnipeg: 13.1%. . . . Active: 5,602. . . . Tests on Thursday: 2,167.

650 CKOM: Saskatchewan reported two more deaths related to COVID-19 on Friday. The province also reported 245 new cases and 485 recoveries, dropping the active caseload to 3,736.

Marc Smith, CTV Regina: With 485 more recoveries Friday, the province’s active case number is 3,736, which is the lowest it’s been since Nov. 29.

CBC News: Alberta is reporting 1,413 new cases of COVID-19 and 25 new deaths related to the illness. There are 19,607 known active cases in the province. 759 COVID-19 patients are in Alberta hospitals, including 141 in ICU. The province has a 7.4% positivity rate.

Dave White, CBC: Two of Friday’s 25 reported deaths involve a woman in her 20s from the Calgary zone and a man in his 40s from the Edmonton zone with no known co-morbidities.

CBC News: B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced 624 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 more deaths on Friday.

CBC News: 2,290 new COVID-19 cases in Ontario, the 4th day in a row above 2,000 and the 2nd-highest daily number of the pandemic. There are 40 more deaths, with 877 people in hospital and 261 in intensive care. 68,246 tests were completed; 3.9% were positive. 

CBC News: Quebec reports 1,773 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the province’s 7-day average up slightly to 1,825. Health authorities say there have also been 36 additional deaths.

CNN, 5 p.m. PT: 17.4 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus.

CNN, 5 p.m. PT: 313,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

The New York Times: Officials in New York State announced 12,606 new cases on Friday, The Times found, a single-day record that exceeds a previous high of 12,274 cases recorded on April 4, when testing was less widely available and significantly fewer tests were being conducted. But there was also a rare bit of good news: The number of people hospitalized with the virus in the state decreased on Thursday for the first time since late October, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday.

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The 14-team Western Collegiate Club Hockey Association has cancelled its 2020-21 season. It had hoped to begin a delayed season in the spring. . . .

While I have mostly ignored NCAA basketball, it would seem that it has served up quite a buffet for the virus. On Thursday, Kelvin Sampson, the men’s coach at the U of Houston, said his entire roster has tested positive. According to the Washington Post, the team has had 15 players and some coaches test positive so far this season. Take a break? Pause the season? Are you kidding! While a Saturday game with Alabama won’t happen, Sampson hopes to have eight or nine players back in time to play Alcorn State on Sunday. . . . Meanwhile, Louisville head coach Chris Mack says 90 per cent of his team has had the virus and has recovered. . . .

If you haven’t already, search out Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and read up on his views of this NCAA basketball season. . . .

Al Michaels won’t be calling an NFL games this weekend — he was to have done Cleveland-New York Giants — after NBC pulled him “in accordance with NBCUniversal COVID-19 safety protocols.” . . . That means we’ll get Mike Tirico calling the play of that game on Sunday night, alongside Cris Collinsworth and with Michele Tafoya on the sidelines. . . . Tirico was to have handled Carolina-Green Bay, but has been replaced by Joe Davis, who will work with Kurt Warner. . . . BTW, Michaels reports that he feels fine. . . .

Santa Clara County has extended its ban on contact sports that was to have ended on Monday, meaning the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers will continue to play ‘home games’ at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. That includes their final regular-season game on Jan. 3 against the Seattle Seahawks. . . .

All participants in the Australian Open (Feb. 8-21) are going to have to spend two weeks in quarantine in Melbourne before the tournament opens. They will be allowed to train for up to five hours at Melbourne Park during the quarantine. . . .

The Heritage Junior Hockey League, with 14 junior B teams in Alberta, announced Friday that it has “decided all January games will be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” . . . From a release: “After the Alberta government and Hockey Alberta have given further instruction, team officials will once again meet virtually to map out the first few months of 2021.”


Peephole


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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.



JUST NOTES: D Nathan Paetsch, who played four seasons in the WHL (Moose Jaw, 1999-2003), announced his retirement Thursday, ending a pro career that began in 2003-04 with the AHL’s Rochester Americans and included 167 NHL games over five seasons. Paetsch, 37, is a native of Humboldt. He got into 258 regular-season and 34 playoff games with Moose Jaw. . . . The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs have hired former WHL G Mackenzie Skapski as their goaltending coach. Skapski, 26, is from Abbotsford, B.C. He played three seasons (2011-14) with the Kootenay Ice (hey, remember them?). His pro career included two games with the NHL’s New York Rangers. Skapski last played in 2018-19 with the Slovakian team HKM Zvolen. You may recall that Skapski reached the NHL just five years after suffering broken bones in the left side of his face and assorted other injuries after the bus carrying he and his U-18 Fraser Valley Bruins to Williams Lake hit black ice and ended up on its side in a ditch. . . .

Former WHL D David Wilkie picked up his 100th regular-season victory as the head coach of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers on Friday night. According to a tweet from the team, the only Omaha coach to have gotten there quicker was Bliss Littler. Wilkie played four seasons in the WHL (Seattle, Kamloops, Regina, 1990-94). . . . The junior B Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have shuffled the chairs, with Ron Sleeman coming in as general manager, replacing Wayne March, who has been with the club since its inception. Gerald Bouchard is the team’s new head coach, replacing Tyler Gunn, who joined the team on May 8, 2019. The Eagles, who went 15-32-1-1 last season, were 1-1 when this season was put on hold.


Bobsled

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