Gov’t money helps Hurricanes show profit . . . Veteran Ridley on health-related break . . . Gaume moves into broadcast booth in Red Deer

Despite not being able to have fans attend any of their 12 home games in the LethWHL’s 2021 developmental season, the Lethbridge Hurricanes showed a profit of $72,250 for 2020-21. The team, which is publicly owned, revealed its financial statement at its annual general meeting on Monday night. . . . At its previous AGM, delayed by the pandemic and held virtually on Jan. 18, the shareholders had been told that in a worst-case scenario, there could be a $1.3-million loss for 2021. That was based on projected expenses of $1.7 million and revenues of $383,000. Obviously, the worst-case scenario didn’t happen. . . . A big part of being able to show a profit was government grant funding that came in at $668,000. . . . Terry Huisman, the team’s general manager of business operations, said that it cost the Hurricanes $850,000 to prepare for and play in 2021’s abbreviated schedule. . . . Dale Woodard of the Lethbridge Herald quoted Huisman as saying: “Had we not gotten that money we would have been probably right back to where we were when I started six years ago and we all know that wasn’t fun. So for me, I sit here and I’m happy about it, but there is a tremendous amount of work that went in behind the scenes. Not only just to secure that money, but also to make sure we ran as lean as possible and we capitalized on every opportunity to increase revenue.” . . . In the period from 2011-15, the Hurricanes lost more than $1.25 million. Starting with 2015-16 and running through 2018-19, the Hurricanes showed profits of $197,000, $737,710, $422,443 and $282,168. . . . With the 2019-20 season halted in March by the pandemic, the Hurricanes announced a loss of $1,030 at their 2020 AGM. . . . Woodard’s complete story is right here.

A familiar voice — and face — will be missing on Friday night when the Medicine Hat Tigers open their 2021-22 regular season against the Broncos in Swift Current. The teams will meet again Saturday night, this time in Medicine Hat.

This will be the Tigers’ 52nd season in the WHL, but Bob Ridley, the play-by-play voice of the Tigers for the first 51, won’t be on the air.

Ridley, who reached the 4,000-game mark during the WHL’s developmental season last spring, tweeted on Monday that he will be in Lethbridge undergoing radiation treatments.

In Ridley’s absence, Scott Roblin will be calling the play of Tigers games.

As amazing as it sounds, Ridley has called the play of every single Tigers’ game over those first 51 seasons — with one exception. In the spring of 1973, he was sent to Saskatoon to cover a curling event in which — yes! — his boss’s wife was playing.


Hockey Canada announced on Monday that has cancelled the 2021 national women’s U-18 championship, the 2021 Para Hockey Cup, and the 2021 World Junior A Challenge. . . . The women’s tournament was to have been held in Dawson Creek, B.C., from Oct. 31 through Nov. 6. . . . The Para Hockey Cup was going to be decided in Bridgewater, N.S., Dec. 5-12. . . . The Junior A event was scheduled for Cornwall, Ont., Dec. 12-19.

The NHL’s New York Islanders have found a place to play for their one unvaccinated player — D Bode Wilde. He will join Västerviks IK of HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden’s second tier pro league. The Islanders announced on Tuesday that they have loaned Wilde, 21, to Västerviks IK. A second-round pick by the Islanders in the NHL’s 2018 draft, he had three goals and three assists in 22 games with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers last season.

G Mackenzie Blackwood of the New Jersey Devils, who missed some games last season while ill with COVID-19, admitted Tuesday that he has yet to get vaccinated. “I’ve not decided one way or the other . . . I’m taking a little bit of extra time,” Blackwood, 24, said. . . . Greg Wyshynski of ESPN has a whole lot more on that story right here.

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, closed his Tuesday entry with this — “With all the sturm und drang surrounding which NBA players have been vaccinated and which have not, I believe this observation by Oscar Wilde is relevant: ‘Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease.’ ”

The Tampa Bay Rays may be without LHR Adam Conley when the MLB playoffs start after he tested positive on Monday. Although he is asymptomatic, he is in quarantine for 10 days, so likely will be missing when the postseason begins.

When the Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour stops in Atlanta on Nov. 11, the Zac Brown Band is scheduled as the opening act. Uhh, not so fast, says COVID-19. . . . The Zac Brown Band has its own tour on the go — Comeback Tour — but that has been put on hold after Zac tested positive. For starters, the band has had to cancel four shows through Oct. 3. . . . Time will tell whether Zac and his gang can keep their date with Mick and the boys.


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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Former WHL F Nick Drazenovic has joined The Sports Corporation as its director of player development. TSC is an Edmonton-based sports agency. Drazenovic, 34, played four-plus seasons (2002-07) with his hometown Prince George Cougars. He retired as a player after the 2015-16 season. He then spent three seasons with the Cougars as director of player development and one on the coaching staff of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . Dallas Gaume is taking over from Mike Moller as the analyst on broadcasts of Red Deer Rebels’ games. Moller, who had filled the role for 23 years, told the team after last season that he wouldn’t return. “Cam (Moon) and I were buddies and I always said to Cam that ‘when you leave, I leave,’ and of course he went up to Edmonton earlier this year.” Moon, the long-time voice of the Rebels, now works Edmonton Oilers’ games. Gaume, a former Rebels assistant coach (1999-2010), now manages the Red Deer Minor Hockey Association. Gaume will work alongside Troy Gillard, who took over from Moon. Greg Meachem of the Rebels has more right here.


Wrapping up a busy week with a Friday feast of odds and ends . . .


D Riley Guenther (Tri-City, Prince Albert, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract with Angers (France, Ligue Magnus). Last season, he had one goal and two assists in 28 games with the U of British Columbia (USports, Canada West). . . .

F Dávid Šoltés (Prince George, 2013-15) has signed a one-year contract extension with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, he had three goals and four assists in 10 games. . . . He started the season with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga), putting up seven goals and eight assists in 31 games. He was traded to Banská Bystrica on Jan. 25. . . .

F Nathan Burns (Vancouver, Saskatoon, Swift Current, 2009-14) has signed a one-year contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with Saale Bulls Halle (Germany, Oberliga Nord), he had 27 goals and 49 assists in 40 games. He led the team in goals, and was second in assists and points. . . .

D Dylan Wruck (Edmonton, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract with Heilbronner Falken (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had one goal and nine assists in 38 games. He is a dual German-Canadian citizen.



Now that F Matt Savoie has signed with the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, you are free to wonder where he’ll play next season. I would suggest that he will end up at the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy — Ice co-owner Greg Fettes owns a piece of the action there — or, if Hockey Canada should decide to give him exceptional status, he’ll play for the Ice. . . . Savoie will be one of a few Ice prospects to play at RHA, which before long will have other WHL owners exploring how to hook their wagons to nearby academies.


Don’t forget that 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, which owns the Ice, also owns the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. So you can look for an Ice prospect or three to play there, too. . . . Maybe that also will bring on a rush of other WHL franchises looking to purchase their own junior A teams.


Having Savoie playing at RHA will allow the Ice to take advantage of the WHL rule that covers 15-year-old players and emergency recalls. By playing with a short roster and declaring an emergency situation at various points during the season, the Ice will be able to get Savoie into its lineup for far more than five games.


There are rumours out there that claim the WHL has changed its 15-year-old rule in order to allow Savoie to play more than 30 games with the Ice in 2019-20. We know that isn’t true because the WHL surely would have informed its fans were that the case. Right?


On Friday, the Ice acquired the WHL rights to F Dylan Holloway from the Everett Silvertips. Holloway, a Calgarian who is to turn 18 on Sept. 23, had 40 goals and 48 assists in 53 regular-season games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers last season. He was honoured as the AJHL’s MVP and the CJHL’s player of the year. However, he has committed to play for the U of Wisconsin Badgers in the fall. . . . The Silvertips got a fifth-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft in the exchange, along with a conditional first-rounder in 2021 and a conditional second-rounder in 2022.

The WHL held its annual general meeting in Kelowna on Tuesday and Wednesday. When it was over, the league posted a news release on its website that contained nothing in the way of breaking news.

Included in that news release, under the headline Over $10 Million Invested in Capital Improvements to WHL Arena Facilities, was this:

“All WHL Arena Facilities across Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest United States will undergo over $10 million in capital improvements prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, including the installation of new NHL-licensed acrylic rinkboard systems, improved video scoreboards, and ugraded lighting standards. The improvements are designed to address player safety and improve the fan experience.”

The WHL forgot to thank taxpayers in various communities for their help in funding these projects. An oversight, surely.

The best part of the Toronto Raptors’ championship-winning victory on Thursday night in Oakland? Drake chose to stay in Toronto so his TV time, at least on the ABC telecast, was, well, it wasn’t.


Look, the Raptors’ victory on Thursday night was a terrific accomplishment. But please don’t try telling me it was the greatest moment in Canadian sporting history. Because of the political situation at the time, nothing will ever top 1972 and the eight-game series between Canada and the Soviet Union that was won by Paul Henderson’s goal. . . . Put the Raptors’ championship right there with the Blue Jays’ first World Series victory, one step below Team Canada’s victory over the big, bad Russian bear.

The CFL’s regular-season opener was three plays old on Thursday night and the Saskatchewan Roughriders already had lost their No. 1 quarterback — Zach Collaros — to a headshot. This really wasn’t the start that the league or the Roughriders had wanted. Collaros has a history of concussions, so this was horrible news for the Roughriders. . . . The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were penalized 25 yards on the play, but Simoni Lawrence, who delivered the cheapshot, wasn’t ejected. . . . A four-game suspension would be about right if the CFL wants to deliver a message about such plays. That won’t happen, though. Instead, it’s likely to be one game and a stern warning.

%d bloggers like this: